Virgin America boosts in-flight Wi-Fi with ViaSat Ka-band satellite connection
Virgin America is upgrading its in-flight Wi-Fi service, claiming it will be powerful enough to stream video. Partnering with ViaSat to use its high-capacity 140-gigabit Ka-band satellite connection, it is said that Virgin America's in-flight Wi-Fi will be between eight and ten times faster than similar services on other aircraft, and close to connections available at home. Ten A320 planes will be the first to get the connection in September, with passengers on routes to Hawaii likely to benefit from the connections first.
FreedomPop, Ting, Virgin Mobile, more preparing to offer iPhone 6, latest Androids
New reports indicate that Sprint has dropped a previous requirement that resellers of its network -- FreedomPop, Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, Virgin, and some others -- wait more than a year before offering support for the latest models of Android and iOS devices. The change allows the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to immediately begin offering the current iPhone 6 line from Apple, the top-selling smartphone worldwide.
Virgin Galactic investment could help Google satellite plans
Google could be looking to expand its space-based acquisitions, such as the recent purchase of Skybox Imaging, with a report claiming the search company is planning an investment in Virgin Galactic. It is claimed the company is attempting to acquire access to Virgin Galactic's technology relating to launching vehicles into space, as well as a stake of equity in the space tourism business.
Boost, Virgin Mobile USA add LG Volt to rosters for $200
Boost and Virgin Mobile USA have announced the availability of the new Spark-enabled LG Volt smartphone with unlimited service options plans. The tri-band supported smartphone comes with new, pre-loaded apps that focus on entertainment and productivity, including radio, remote, memo-taking and guest functions. Running Android 4.4 KitKat, the LG Volt features a 4.7-inch IPS display, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, and an eight-megapixel rear camera. Boost Mobile's Unlimited Select plan start at $40, and Virgin's Mobile Beyond Talk No-Contract plans begin at $35.
WhatsApp experiences server problems today
Mobile messaging app WhatsApp has experienced issues with its servers today, days after being purchase by Facebook for $19 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. Users began to report experiencing outages around 11AM PT. WhatsApp acknowledged on Twitter that server issues are to blame, and that attempts were being made to recover service.
Virgin TV Anywhere boasts 67 channels through mobile app
British cable service Virgin Media has updated its Virgin TV Anywhere service, by introducing an Android app to compliment its existing iOS offering. At the same time, the company is adding nine more live channels to the service for both platforms, as it continues to compete against dominant broadcaster Sky and its similar Sky Go service.
TiVo protects rights to patents by using them to countersue DVR maker Cisco
Very soon after Cisco sued TiVo to challenge TiVo's claims to patents used in DVRs, TiVo has gone ahead and sued Cisco back. According to a Tuesday report, there are four patents in contention and TiVo is involved in several lawsuits against a number of companies that bought the allegedly offending DVRs from Cisco. Cisco's Scientific Atlanta arm sells boxes to cable providers that include AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon Communications.
WiMAX 4G network launches at Virgin, Boost on May 31, hardware detailed
As promised late last month, Sprint's WiMAX 4G network will soon come to Virgin and Boost Mobile, with the two providers releasing more details on Tuesday. The initial 4G-capable devices were announced, with the ship dates and live date for them being May 31. Virgin will get data devices: the Broadband2Go-branded Sierra Wireless Overdrive Pro hotspot and the Franklin U600 USB modem.
ZTE's first WP7 device coming to Virgin
Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE and Virgin Media are teaming up to launch the ZTE Tania in the United Kingdom. The Tania, set for a May UK launch, is ZTE's first Windows Phone 7 device. At launch, the Tania will be available for £199 on pay as you go with Virgin, or customers can pick it up for £17.99 a month on a 24 month contract.
No definite plans stated
Apple is a candidate for replacing the Virgin Megastore at the Champs-Élysées in Paris, according to Le Figaro. The French newspaper claims that Apple "will be in the running" for the location, which Virgin is reportedly trying to sell. The latter company is in the process of closing down some outlets; president Jean-Louis Reynard has said that the chain is switching to a "new model of store, smaller, with a more segmented offer."
Galaxy Nexus volume fix goes over the air
The previously leaked volume fix for the Galaxy Nexus is pushing out now, Google confirmed in a statement. Owners of the HSPA+ version, mostly in Europe, should be getting an over-the-air update starting now and should finish within a week. The CDMA version won't need the fix.
We go hands on with the first Android 4.0 phone
We were given a brief first opportunity to play with Samsung's Canadian variant of the Galaxy Nexus on Monday afternoon. The reps on hand included Ken Price, Samsung Canada's Director of Marketing for the Mobile Communications Division and Vlastimir Lalovic, Director of Wireless Product Realization. They gave us a quick run-through of some of the handset's unique features, while dropping hints that a more official announcement is coming a little later in the week. Hopefully, this includes pricing, but thus far, they kept mum. They were willing to say in advance that the Canadian model only supports HSPA+ networks, while the US version will support the higher-speed LTE, with this being the major and perhaps only difference between the devices.
Galaxy Nexus arriving late on Rogers
Rogers on Monday afternoon revealed that it would be later than its peers to get the Galaxy Nexus. Where Bell and Virgin will get it in early December, Rogers will get Samsung's Android 4.0 flagship in January. It will show in the carrier's reservation system as of Tuesday.
UK government working with ISPs on porn opt-in
In its latest attempts to curb online pornography, the UK government has worked with four of the country's biggest ISPs to develop an opt-in program. Under this measure, those who wish to access sexually explicit websites will have to let those ISPs know, The Guardian explained. The official announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron takes place Tuesday during the tenth meeting with the Mothers' Union.
iPhone 4S pricing, pre-orders go live in Canada
Many Canadian wireless providers have began offering the newly announced iPhone 4S for pre-orders. We've summarized the prices for the various capacity models at each. The device is available in either black or white at all, and the prices are in Canadian dollars.
Gogo ATG-4 Wi-Fi and Vision video due in 2012
Gogo has unrolled a major upgrade to its in-air Wi-Fi access for 2012. Starting with Virgin America, its ATG-4 spec Wi-Fi promises to quadruple the practical speed, enough to where HD video streaming is an option. It upgrades to the faster EVDO Revision B standard for its 3G and also has upgrades to improve the connection quality, such as two modems on the aircraft to reduce bottlenecks and a directional antenna to focus the signal.
Free offering limited to 0.5Mbps
Virgin Media has confirmed plans to build a free Wi-Fi network across London. The company is said to be aiming to compete with British Telecom's Openzone network, which is only available for users willing to pay up to £6 for 90 minutes of connection time if they do not have a BT broadband subscription.
Virgin America to give demo Chromebooks, Wi-Fi
Google teamed up with Virgin America in an unusual promo Thursday to spur on early adoption of Chromebooks. Special areas known as Chrome Zones at the departure gates of flights in either direction between San Francisco International and Boston's Logan International, Chicago O'Hare International, and Dallas-Fort Worth International will both serve as pitches for the Chrome OS systems as well as give an opportunity to check out a free Chromebook for their flight. The promo not only gives use of the portable but free Wi-Fi from that system for the whole flight.
SK Telecom may buy out Blockbuster
Korean cell carrier SK Telecom said Thursday that it was contemplating making a bid for the struggling video chain Blockbuster. An official didn't explain the motivations, but it's suspected the deal would be an attempt to diversify away from its Korea-only network, where it leads but has a tough fight with KT and LG Telecom. Daewoo Securities analyst Byun Sung-jae told the WSJ that SK Telecom might feel oversaturated but could thrive in Internet video, where Blockbuster's content rights would be advantages.
Region mostly devoid of full-scale Apple Stores
The first Apple Shop in the United Arab Emirates will open at 5PM on March 16th, Virgin has confirmed. In particular, the shop will actually be located within the Virgin Megastore at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. An Apple Shop is notably distinct from an Apple Store; instead of a full-scale operation, a Shop is simply a dedicated Apple section within a third-party outlet.
PlayBook confirmed for Bell through Source flyer
Page four of the latest online flyer reveals that the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will soon be sold at The Source. What this also means is that Bell will carry the tablet, as the chain is owned by the Canadian carrier and only advertises and carries devices for Bell, Virgin and Solo Mobile. Exactly when the RIM tablet will arrive or what it will cost isn't being revealed, however.
LG Optimus V official for Virgin Mobile US
Virgin Mobile today picked up its least expensive smartphone to date by confirming plans for the LG Optimus V. The sibling to the Optimus S at Sprint shares the same 3.2-inch 480x320 screen, 3.2-megapixel camera and 600MHz processor but with a lower cost. At $150 off-contract, the Android 2.2 phone is one of the least expensive in the US.
AOL Editions magazine app coming for iPad
AOL has taken its first concerted step into iPad apps with the tease of AOL Editions. The title takes a cue from Flipboard but, as teased in a video (below), may be more reactive. Instead of the user creating custom feeds, it would work based on interests and collate the content into a very stylized, magazine-like format with a clearer theme, such as music.
News Corp to skip iAd for iPad news source
News Corp.'s delayed The Daily publication will have major ads from the start but won't tap into Apple's own iAds if a slip is accurate. Land Rover, Macy's, Pepsi and Virgin are all reportedly signing onboard for the iPad magazine's first ad run. Despite Apple's rumored direct involvement, though, AdAge heard Medialets would handle the ads instead of Apple's iAd system.
Flipboard adds magazine layouts for sites
Flipboard today made a claim to becoming a full tablet magazine producer today by adding a framework to its iPad app (free, App Store) with special versions of sites as well as ads. Known as Flipboard Pages, the format takes the content from publishers and turns it into an HTML5-based, multi-page layout that more closely resembles a paper magazine. The conversions are automatic and will appear whenever a supporting site is shared on Facebook or Twitter.
TiVo boxes coming to the UK through Virgin Mobile
The UK's Virgin Media on Wednesday announced it is bringing out home entertainment service called Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo. Such a partnership was a long time in the making, and users will be able to access on-demand programs, pause and rewind live TV, record programs and access apps. UK buyers will get new hardware, with a set-top box that contains a 1TB hard drive and three tuners.
Virgin launches Project iPad mag with plans
Virgin today formally launched Project magazine, a publication it claims is the first purely digital magazine available. The title (App Store) focuses on a mix of design, entertainment and technology and uses the iPad's nature to provide both interactive and live content. Unlike Wired and other rivals, new articles and features arrive over the course of an issue, giving readers an incentive to come back.
Project iPad magazine gets preview before launch
Virgin founder Richard Branson's iPad-focused magazine Project has received both a placeholder page and an iTunes link (App Store) ahead of its release tomorrow. The first issue focuses on Jeff Bridges' role in Tron: Legacy, and a teaser video of the cover (below) already shows that it will likely take advantage of the tablet format with a video cover. A glance also gives a view of the diversity of the magazine, which is targeted mainly at men but has subjects as wide-ranging as French music labels and Jaguar's C-X75 supercar.
Branson to unveil iPad magazine for November 30
Virgin founder Richard Branson today sent out invites to a launch event for an iPad-specific magazine on November 30. So far known as Project, it should focus on a variety of topics that include business, culture, design, entertainment and travel. Other details would come at the New York City gathering.
Google gives free Wi-Fi on AirTrain, Delta, Virgin
Google today restarted its free holiday Wi-Fi program with an approach that focuses on the flights. The new plan will give free Internet access on any AirTran, Delta or Virgin America domestic flight from November 20 through to January 2. The effort is promoted by the Chrome browser team in an attempt to drive use of the browser.
BlackBerry Torch delayed by a week in Canada
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone, which was supposed to launch today at Canada's major providers, Bell and Rogers, has been delayed by one week, until September 29 and 30 respectively. While no official reason was given, it's likely the issue lies on RIM's side, as it's the common denominator in both cases.
BlackBerry Bold 9780 gets early video comparison
A newly posted preview of the yet to be announced BlackBerry Bold 9780 has suggested the phone may be much better in practice than the Torch. Quick tests by BGR support beliefs that it may be using a more recent if still 624MHz Marvell ARM chip and that the doubled, 512MB of RAM may go great lengths to improving its speed, even versus a software-upgraded Bold 9700. The 9780 boots in less than half the time of the 9700 and at least superficially isn't affected by the slowdowns that plague the Torch.
Will be available from eight UK carriers
Nokia has confirmed that it will begin selling its new N8 flagship in the UK during the last week of September. The phone will be available directly from the Nokia website. The long delayed device will become available on October 1 from third parties and mobile carriers. All major providers are onboard, including 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Tesco, Virgin and Vodafone, along with retailers such as Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u.
TiVo still developing tru2way, DirecTV due 2010
During a quarterly earnings call this week, DVR maker TiVo revealed that it is still working on bringing tru2way technology to its set-top boxes. This would allow two-way interaction over cable set-tops, including services such as games, chat, web browsing and shopping. At the same time, CEO Tom Rogers said DirecTV TiVo is still scheduled for a 2010 release, but there is now some doubt as to whether this can happen before 2011.
HTC Legend dropped by Bell due to parts shortages
The HTC Legend that arrived at Canadian provider Bell in mid-June has already been discontinued. According to a screenshot sent to MobileSyrup, this is due to an ongoing parts shortage, which is more than likely to mean the device's 3.2-inch AMOLED screen. The document adds that any remaining phones should be sold until they are out, and to keep offering extended warranties.
Gogo gives frequent travelers Wi-Fi subscription
Gogo provided a first for in-flight Internet today by adding a monthly subscription plan to its lineup. Instead of paying per flight or for a 30-day pass, the $35 per month offer gives permanent, auto-renewing Internet access. It should work on all flights covered by Gogo and is potentially much less expensive for those who travel multiple times per month.
Apple notes NYT, Flickr onboard with HTML5
Apple fired a shot at Adobe on Thursday by posting a list of iPad ready sites. All of the pages support HTML5 for video when seen on the iPad and either show a special site without Adobe Flash or have already dropped Flash in favor of the plugin-free option. In addition to known sites like Vimeo and Virgin America, it also confirms that CNN, Flickr, the New York Times and several other major sites have made the switch.
HTC plans more than just black for Desire
In a rare example of design variety at HTC, a leak today has shown that the company is making a dark silver version of the Desire. The color scheme would supplement the existing black and keep the existing chrome-effect and metal accents. No carrier branding is visible, so it remains unknown if this would be a regular option from HTC or limited to a specific network.
TiVo making UK comeback with Virgin
As announced last fall, TiVo will return to the UK market after a seven-year absence. TiVo will partner with the UK's Virgin Media, which will develop the cable firm's next-generation set-top box. While details on the hardware are thin on the ground, TiVo chief executive Tom Rogers said it will be heavily based on the TiVo Premiere slated for other markets and confirmed for the US.
Virgin trials fiber Internet, TV for UK villages
Virgin Media today outlined plans to test one of the fastest rural Internet services available. The trial, in the UK village of Woolhampton, would use existing telegraph poles to link the area directly to Virgin's fiber optic network. It would give the residents the same 50Mbps access as those in larger towns without having to bury lines or relying on the existing, DSL-only BT network.
Virgin says Adobe Flash too limiting
Virgin America late Tuesday said it has dropped Flash altogether from its website. The change, which quietly took effect Monday, instead just uses newer web technologies like CSS. The airline explained the move as a deliberate gesture towards the iPhone and other handhelds, as the previous dependence on Flash kept most mobile hardware from checking into flights and favored certain devices over others.
Also extending 200Mbs test to new market
Virgin Media said today that it will begin offering 100Mbps broadband service to the UK by the end of 2010. Virgin claims the speed up is possible by taking advantage of its fiber optic network in tandem with DOCSIS 3.0 cable access. The company also announced that it would add Coventry to the test of its 200Mbps service currently underway in Kent. Virgin currently offers 10Mbps, 20Mbps and 50Mbps service to its broadband customers, most of whom are cable Internet subscribers.
Alaska Air to use Gogo Internet everywhere
Alaska Airlines today said it would bring Wi-Fi to all its flights. The service will on Gogo's 3G-to-Wi-Fi system and, like with other carriers, will vary in price depending on the device and duration of the flight. Notebooks will have access from $5 for red-eye flights and will scale up to $10 or $13 for regular flights under or over three hours long. Using a smartphone or other handheld device will cost $8 regardless of the length of the flight.
Delayed Continental Wi-Fi due spring
Continental Airlines today set out more concrete plans for its in-flight Wi-Fi service. Pushed back from its original January 2009 target, the service is now due to launch in spring aboard 21 Boeing 757 airliners. Most of these will be present on domestic flights, the transport service says.
TiVo, Virgin form partnership for set-top boxes
DVR maker TiVo and UK-based cable provider Virgin Media on Tuesday said they have agreed on a partnership that will see TiVo develop Virgin's next-generation TV platform. TiVo will use its expertise to create a custom interface for Virgin's upcoming HD boxes. In return, Virgin will be the exclusive distributor of TiVo service and hardware in the UK.
Carrier's first HSPA device
Virgin Mobile's Canadian division will soon carry the iPhone, according to an announcement. The company has revealed few details, except that it will sell both the 3G and 3GS, and that a launch should happen sometime "in the coming months." The device will also be the carrier's first HSPA-based phone, possible through an upgraded Bell cellular network.
Google Wi-Fi hits 47 airports
Google today extended its free holiday Wi-Fi deal to include 47 airports. Major stops in common destinations such as Boston, Las Vegas, Orlando and San Jose will have unrestricted wireless Internet access starting from today and lasting through to January 15th. Two of the airports, in Burbank and Seattle, will have the Wi-Fi permanently.
Sprint buys out iPCS for $831m
Sprint on Monday said it would buy out one of its affiliate carriers, iPCS, for $831 million. The deal puts the smaller company's push-to-talk iDEN phone service directly under Sprint's control and settles a legal battle between the two that had blocked Sprint from advertising its network and might have prevented Sprint from selling service in those areas. Under the new agreement, Sprint would no longer need to sell off parts of its network in iPCS areas.
Free Virgin Air Wi-Fi from Nov to Jan
Google on Monday pushed its belief in widespread Internet access with a free Wi-Fi deal with Virgin America. The team-up will give no-cost Internet access to passengers on any of the airline's current flights between November 15th and January 15th. The search engine creator sees it as a way of easing stress during the holidays by keeping up on news from the ground, though it also encourages use of Google's services in the air.
United Wi-Fi starts with 13 planes
United Airlines this week began deploying Wi-Fi on some of its flights. The rollout will at first cover longer flights between California and New York and should have 13 Boeing 757 planes in United's fleet offering Internet access by mid-November. Much as with similar approaches from Virgin and other airlines, the new approach is based on Aircell's Gogo technology and shares a 3G cellular connection (typically EVDO Revision A) with the entire cabin over a Wi-Fi hotspot in the plane itself.