Tag - TracFone
A carrier has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over complaints it offered mobile phone contracts that claim to have "unlimited" data, but turn out do not. TracFone was accused by the FTC of capping and throttling customers on the "unlimited" plans, with the carrier agreeing to pay out $40 million in refunds to consumers as part of its settlement.
Alcatel is attempting to make the large-screen phablet useful to those wanting a smaller device, by bundling it with a secondary phone device. One of two new devices, the Pop Mega is a phablet with a six-inch display which Alcatel has paired with a small "Buddy" candybar-style accessory, capable of making and receiving calls without needing physical access to the main device.
TracFone has announced that it will be offering prepaid iPhone 5s and 5c handsets, sold through the company's Net10 and Straight Talk brands. The iPhone 5c will sell for $549 with 16GB of storage and the standard range of color choices, while the 16GB iPhone 5s fetches $649 in gray, silver or gold.
Regional wireless provider Amťrica Můvil and its TracFone subsidiary and prepaid provider have purchased T-Mobile brand Simple Mobile on Thursday. While the financial details of the sale weren't revealed, TracFone is the largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the US, with about 20 million subscribers. Simple Mobile, which sells only SIM cards and service to those with their won smartphones, has about one million subscribers and 2.5 million device activations.
Largely unknown patent holder LVL Patent Group late last week quietly sued much of the US cellphone business and beyond for alleged patent violations (below). It claims that the iPhone, many Android devices, Symbian, and basic feature phones as well as their carriers violate one or more of a group of four generic patents, including data transaction servers and devices for entering transactions. Most of the patents were issued in or before 2000, but one of the device patents was only live on September 13, two days before the lawsuit was filed.
Walmart will be adding the Samsung Galaxy Precedent to its cellphone line up. Straight Talk, the retailer's prepaid wireless service, has begun pre-marketing the smartphone as a web exclusive on a special website. The company offers no details on the phone itself, but encourages viewers to sign up to receive emails with more information in the future.
The latest quarterly report on customer satisfaction from the American Customer Satisfaction Index found that AT&T and T-Mobile's scores have dropped while Sprint is now at the top. The overall customer satisfaction score with wireless telephone services has dropped by 1.4 percent to a score of 71 but is stronger than it was before 2010. Sprint showed the best increase over the course of three years, from trailing the second worst provider by 15 points to the top of the pack.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl