I got a nice little surprise on my drive into the office today. While stopped at a red light, I looked at my Evo 4G LTE that I have mounted on my dash, and the 4G icon was on! I quickly opened up the Speedtest.net app and ran a quick test while still stopped at the light. Hit the break to see the results:
Better than Sprint’s 3G by a mile, though that’s not saying much these days. The interesting part, however, is that San Jose isn’t scheduled to get Sprint LTE until some time in 2013. San Jose didn’t even make an appearance on Sprint’s list of upcoming LTE cities, though San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City are all present. I work near Redwood City and I’m still stuck on 3G. As a matter of fact, this little spot in San Jose, near 85 and Camden Avenue, is the only place in California that I’ve gotten 4G LTE.
So what does this mean? Unfortunately, probably not much more than testing on Sprint’s part, and I’m sure this little hot spot in San Jose won’t be live in any sort of dependable way for very long. The previously leaked Sprint map of LTE coverage shows the Bay Area as covered in LTE by 2014, so seeing it pop up this early is at least promising.
I just returned from traveling to Atlanta, where Sprint’s LTE is already a reality. It wasn’t on everywhere I traveled but it was on most of the time. For comparison, here’s a screenshot of speed tests I did in Atlanta (the top entry is San Jose, the rest are Atlanta).
As you can see, the speeds are all over the place, but the lowest is 2.92Mbps down, and 2.67Mbps up, so I’ll take that over Sprint’s 3G any day!
Anyone else in Silicon Valley seeing Sprint’s LTE light up anywhere? Let us know!
T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, was poised to merge with MetroPCS for a purchase price of $1.5 billion, until the shareholders stepped in. MetroPCS, who has been successful with their low-cost LTE service, is currently sitting at around $11.33 per share. Deutsch Telekom’s original offer of $1.5 billion would hand over 74% of the stock, which works out to around $12.48 per share, as well as include a 1-for-2 reverse stock split. The remaining 26% would stay in the shareholders hands.
The current shareholders are feeling a bit undervalued, which you can’t completely blame them since the company was once valued at $10 billion. They feel that the small asking price is a far cry from the $39 billion AT&T dropped for T-mobile itself, and T-Mo doesn’t even offer LTE service. This barricade by stockholders could potentially affect not only the mobile service business, but also increase the value of the MetroPCS stock on the New York Stock Exchange.
As Softbank’s deep pockets have suddenly opened up a new challenger to Verizon & AT&T, it’s only natural for Sprint & Softbank to make an official statement confirming the major news. In a press release unveiled this morning, Softbank announced it will acquire Sprint Nextel for a whopping $20.1 billion ($12.1 billion in cash consideration & $8 billion in capital). The major highlight of this is the deal is the fact this will give Softbank a 70% stake of Sprint and 30% ownership, effectively giving it full control over the Now Network. The hope of this deal is Softbank will effectively give Sprint a better platform to use in rolling out not just its LTE network, but an LTE network with a significantly better structure than its competitors. Here’s Sprint CEO Dan Heese:
“This is a transformative transaction for Sprint that creates immediate value for our stockholders, while providing an opportunity to participate in the future growth of a stronger, better capitalized Sprint going forward. Our management team is excited to work with SoftBank to learn from their successful deployment of LTE in Japan as we build out our advanced LTE network, improve the customer experience and continue the turnaround of our operations.”
Of course all of this will be pending regulatory approval– so hopefully we won’t see some sort of mishap like we’d seen before. Hit the break for the full presser.
SoftBank to Acquire 70% Stake in Sprint
Sprint Stockholders to Receive Total Consideration of $12.1 Billion in Cash and 30% Ownership in Newly Capitalized Sprint
Transaction Provides Sprint with $8.0 Billion of New Capital
Sprint to Leverage SoftBank’s Experience in Deployment of LTE as Sprint’s Nationwide Rollout of 4G LTE Continues
Significant Investment in the United States by One of the World’s Most Successful and Innovative Companies
Sprint will host an investor conference call to discuss the transaction at 8 a.m. ET today. Participants may dial 800-938-1120 in the U.S. or Canada (706-634-7849 internationally) and provide the following ID: 44906693 or may listen via the Internet at www.sprint.com/investors
TOKYO & OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 15, 2012 – SOFTBANK CORP. (“SoftBank”) (TSE: 9984) and Sprint Nextel Corporation (“Sprint”) (NYSE: S) today announced that they have entered into a series of definitive agreements under which SoftBank will invest $20.1 billion in Sprint, consisting of $12.1 billion to be distributed to Sprint stockholders and $8.0 billion of new capital to strengthen Sprint’s balance sheet. Through this transaction, approximately 55% of current Sprint shares will be exchanged for $7.30 per share in cash, and the remaining shares will convert into shares of a new publicly traded entity, New Sprint. Following closing, SoftBank will own approximately 70% and Sprint equity holders will own approximately 30% of the shares of New Sprint on a fully-diluted basis.
SoftBank’s cash contribution, deep expertise in the deployment of next-generation wireless networks and track record of success in taking share in mature markets from larger telecommunications competitors are expected to create a stronger, more competitive New Sprint that will deliver significant benefits to U.S. consumers. The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both SoftBank and Sprint. Completion of the transaction is subject to Sprint stockholder approval, customary regulatory approvals and the satisfaction or waiver of other closing conditions. The companies expect the closing of the merger transaction to occur in mid-2013.
SoftBank Chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, said, “This transaction provides an excellent opportunity for SoftBank to leverage its expertise in smartphones and next-generation high speed networks, including LTE, to drive the mobile internet revolution in one of the world’s largest markets. As we have proven in Japan, we have achieved a v-shaped earnings recovery in the acquired mobile business and grown dramatically by introducing differentiated products to an incumbent-led market. Our track record of innovation, combined with Sprint’s strong brand and local leadership, provides a constructive beginning toward creating a more competitive American wireless market.”
The SoftBank transaction is expected to deliver the following benefits to Sprint and its stockholders:
Provides stockholders the ability to realize an attractive cash premium or to hold shares in a stronger, better capitalized Sprint
Provides Sprint with $8.0 billion of primary capital to enhance its mobile network and strengthen its balance sheet
Enables Sprint to benefit from SoftBank’s global leadership in LTE network development and deployment
Improves operating scale
Creates opportunities for collaborative innovation in consumer services and applications
Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, said, “This is a transformative transaction for Sprint that creates immediate value for our stockholders, while providing an opportunity to participate in the future growth of a stronger, better capitalized Sprint going forward. Our management team is excited to work with SoftBank to learn from their successful deployment of LTE in Japan as we build out our advanced LTE network, improve the customer experience and continue the turnaround of our operations.”
SoftBank will form a new U.S. subsidiary, New Sprint, which will invest $3.1 billion in a newly?issued Sprint convertible senior bond following this announcement. The convertible bond will have a 7-year term and 1.0% coupon rate, and will be convertible, subject to regulatory approval, into Sprint common stock at $5.25 per share. Immediately prior to the merger, the bond will be converted into shares of Sprint, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Sprint.
Following Sprint stockholder and regulatory approval, and the satisfaction or waiver of the other closing conditions to the merger transaction, SoftBank will further capitalize New Sprint with an additional $17 billion and effect a merger transaction in which New Sprint will become a publicly-traded company and Sprint will survive as its wholly-owned subsidiary. Of the $17 billion, $4.9 billion will be used to purchase newly issued common shares of New Sprint at $5.25 per share. The remaining $12.1 billion will be distributed to Sprint stockholders in exchange for approximately 55% of currently outstanding shares. The other 45% of currently outstanding shares will convert into shares of New Sprint. SoftBank will also receive a warrant to purchase 55 million additional Sprint shares at an exercise price of $5.25 per share.
Pursuant to the merger, holders of outstanding shares of Sprint common stock will have the right to elect between receiving $7.30 per Sprint share or one share of New Sprint stock per Sprint share, subject to proration. Holders of Sprint equity awards will receive equity awards in New Sprint.
Post-transaction, SoftBank will own approximately 70% and Sprint equity holders will own approximately 30% of New Sprint shares on a fully-diluted basis.
SoftBank is financing the transaction through a combination of cash on hand and a syndicated financing facility.
The transaction does not require Sprint to take any actions involving Clearwire Corporation other than those set forth in agreements Sprint has previously entered into with Clearwire and certain of its shareholders.
After closing, Sprint’s headquarters will continue to be in Overland Park, Kansas. New Sprint will have a 10-member board of directors, including at least three members of Sprint’s board of directors. Mr. Hesse will continue as CEO of New Sprint and as a board member.
The Raine Group LLC and Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. acted as lead financial advisors to SoftBank. Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and Deutsche Bank AG, Tokyo Branch acted as mandated lead arrangers to SoftBank. Deutsche Bank also provided financial advice to SoftBank in connection with this transaction. SoftBank’s legal advisors included Morrison & Foerster LLP as lead counsel, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto as Japanese counsel, Dow Lohnes PLLC as regulatory counsel, Potter Anderson Corroon LLP as Delaware counsel, and Foulston & Siefkin LLP as Kansas counsel.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Rothschild Inc. and UBS Investment Bank acted as co-lead financial advisors. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP acted as lead counsel to Sprint. Lawler, Metzger, Keeney and Logan served as regulatory counsel, and Polsinelli Shughart PC served as Kansas counsel.
SoftBank was established in 1983 by its current Chairman & CEO Masayoshi Son and has based its business growth on the Internet. It is currently engaged in various businesses in the information industry, including mobile communications, broadband services, fixed-line telecommunications, and portal services. In terms of consolidated results for fiscal 2011, net sales increased 6.6% year on year to ¥3.2 trillion, operating income increased 7.3% to ¥675.2 billion, and net income rose 65.4% to ¥313.7 billion.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements
This document includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The words “may,” “could,” “should,” “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “intend,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “target,” “plan,” “providing guidance” and similar expressions are intended to identify information that is not historical in nature.
This document contains forward-looking statements relating to the proposed transaction between Sprint Nextel Corporation (“Sprint”) and SOFTBANK CORP. (“SoftBank”) and its group companies, including Starburst II, Inc. (“Starburst II”) pursuant to a merger agreement and bond purchase agreement. All statements, other than historical facts, including statements regarding the expected timing of the closing of the transaction; the ability of the parties to complete the transaction considering the various closing conditions; the expected benefits of the transaction such as improved operations, enhanced revenues and cash flow, growth potential, market profile and financial strength; the competitive ability and position of SoftBank or Sprint; and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing, are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon current plans, estimates and expectations that are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The inclusion of such statements should not be regarded as a representation that such plans, estimates or expectations will be achieved. You should not place undue reliance on such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such plans, estimates or expectations include, among others, that (1) one or more closing conditions to the transaction may not be satisfied or waived, on a timely basis or otherwise, including that a governmental entity may prohibit, delay or refuse to grant approval for the consummation of the transaction or that the required approval by Sprint’s stockholders may not be obtained; (2) there may be a material adverse change of SoftBank or Sprint or the respective businesses of SoftBank or Sprint may suffer as a result of uncertainty surrounding the transaction; (3) the transaction may involve unexpected costs, liabilities or delays; (4) legal proceedings may be initiated related to the transaction; and (5) other risk factors as detailed from time to time in Sprint’s and Starburst II’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including Sprint’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 and the proxy statement/prospectus to be contained in Starburst II’s Registration Statement on Form S-4, which are (or will be, when filed) available on the SEC’s web site (www.sec.gov). There can be no assurance that the merger will be completed, or if it is completed, that it will close within the anticipated time period or that the expected benefits of the merger will be realized.
None of Sprint, SoftBank or Starburst II undertakes any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which the statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
In connection with the proposed strategic combination, Starburst II plans to file with the SEC a Registration Statement on Form S-4 that will include a proxy statement of Sprint, and that also will constitute a prospectus of Starburst II. Sprint will mail the proxy statement/prospectus to its stockholders. INVESTORS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE BECAUSE IT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. The proxy statement/prospectus, as well as other filings containing information about Sprint, SoftBank and Starburst II, will be available, free of charge, from the SEC’s web site (www.sec.gov). Sprint’s SEC filings in connection with the transaction also may be obtained, free of charge, from Sprint’s web site (www.sprint.com) under the tab “About Us – Investors” and then under the heading “Documents and Filings – SEC Filings,” or by directing a request to Sprint, 6200 Sprint Parkway, Overland Park, Kansas 66251, Attention: Shareholder Relations or (913) 794-1091. Starburst II’s SEC filings in connection with the transaction (when filed) also may be obtained, free of charge, by directing a request to SoftBank, 1-9-1 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-7303, Japan; telephone: +81.3.6889.2290; e-mail: email@example.com.
Participants in the Merger Solicitation
The respective directors, executive officers and employees of Sprint, SoftBank, Starburst II and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the transaction. Information regarding Sprint’s directors and executive officers is available in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. Other information regarding the interests of such individuals as well as information regarding SoftBank’s and Starburst II’s directors and executive officers will be available in the proxy statement/prospectus when it becomes available. These documents can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above. This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
Today Sprint has unveiled a whopping 22 new LTE enabled cities. These cities are:
- San Francisco, CA, San Mateo-Redwood City, CA
- Cape Coral-Ft Meyers, FL
- Dyersburg-Union City-Martin, TN
- Emporia, KS
- Fort Wayne, IN
- Greenwood, MS
- Joplin, MO
- Kokomo, IN
- Lafayette/West Lafayette, IN
- Lexington Park, MD
- Marion, IN
- Napa, CA
- Naples-Marco Island, FL
- Ottawa-Streator, IL
- Punta Gorda, FL
- Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
- Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
- Sebring, FL
- South Bend-Mishawaka, IN
- Terre Haute, IN
- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
- Warsaw, IN
Anyone living in any of these cities notice LTE speeds on their LTE enabled device yet? If so, let us know what speeds you’re getting!
Even though this information relies solely on rumors, ByteNow expects that the price will be around the $399 mark, well-priced for a device that is likely to support the speedy 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and the crystal clear SLCD display.
There could be one possible flaw that the Nexus might have with certain carriers. The upcoming superphone isn’t expected to carry LTE support, leaving Verizon Wireless in the dust. The recent FCC filing doesn’t mention LTE at all. This means the only U.S. carriers to support the device will be AT&T, T-Mobile, and the smaller MNVO’s. Though that may seem alright with many users, customers of Big Red will miss out on a spectacular device, just like with the predecessors of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Lastly, the name of the device isn’t official, but now the latest rumor suggests it will be called the Optimus Nexus. A name we’ve heard before.
Remember these details are not official yet, and are subject to change anytime. Just make sure to keep checking back with TalkAndroid for the latest and greatest LG Nexus news.
ASUS fans have been eagerly awaiting October 16th to roll around as ASUS is scheduled to unveil the new Padfone 2 device. Originally thought to be on target for a 2013 release, the “Save the Date” announcement from ASUS was a pleasant surprise for those hoping the Padfone 2 will live up to the hype left by the original version. We have already seen the new device will have a quad-core processor based on AnTuTu benchmark scores. A leaked photo thought to be the device seemed to reveal some additional specs.
At least one of those specs, LTE capability, appears to be confirmed after the Padfone 2 showed up on the Global Certification Forum web site. U.S. buyers will be disappointed as the LTE bands listed correspond to Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Good news for consumers is those areas, although a U.S. LTE version is probably close behind.
LG has announced that its flagship Optimus G handset will be hitting US store shelves in both Sprint and AT&T flavors later this year. This would inevitably make the Optimus G the most powerful smartphone to arrive in America. Both handsets will sport the exact same specs, sans the camera sizes. While Sprint will be receiving the 13-megapixel model, which the company claims will offer “the world’s best image quality”, AT&T is opting for a more modest 8-megapixel shooter. Both 16GB and 32GB models will be available, and the device will come pre-loaded with a 16GB MicroSD card.
Other specs include:
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 True HD IPS Display (with Zerogap Touch)
- 1.5-GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
- 2,100mAh battery
- 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
- 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0
Pricing and availability haven’t been revealed just yet, though you can expect announcements from individual carriers to come in the future. Until then, hit the break to read the official press release.
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — LG Electronics today announced that the high-powered LG Optimus G superphone will be available in the United States on the AT&T and Sprint networks. As the world’s first quad-core LTE (Long-Term Evolution) smartphone with the Qualcomm SnapdragonTM S4 Pro processor, LG Optimus G is not only one of the fastest phones on the market, but also one of the most powerful
Designed to set a new standard in the industry, LG Optimus G combines LG’s leading LTE, display and energy technologies with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro processor to create an extremely fast and incredible mobile experience. Equipped with a high-density 2,100mAh battery and impressive 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus display, Optimus G users can seamlessly multitask between personal, business and entertainment needs and go beyond the boundaries of traditional on-the-go smartphone capabilities.
“LG Optimus G is the culmination of cutting-edge technologies provided by LG’s class-leading global entities,” said James Fishler, senior vice president, marketing and go-to-market operations, LG Electronics USA. “Drawing upon expertise from the LG Mobile Communications Company, LG Display, LG Chem and LG Innotek , we have carefully designed a new superphone that encourages users to step beyond everyday boundaries and explore a limitless world of power and creativity.”
The elegant yet sleek design and the imaginative user experience displayed in the new Optimus G are made possible thanks to a collection of technologies from industry-leading developers in their fields. State-of-the-art display technologies from LG Innotek and LG Display such as True HD IPS Plus and Zerogap Touch, a unibody unit that eliminates the gap between the glass and the LCD panel, harmonize to offer one of the slimmest, sharpest and clearest viewing experience yet. The new battery from LG Chem has a longer life designed for multitasking. An ultra high-resolution, compact camera is employed in the Optimus G to offer super sharp photos without pixilation.
Sprint and AT&T will be among the first wireless service providers in the world to offer the LG Optimus G, which is powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor – a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU processor with Asysnchronous Symmetric Multiprocessing, which enables each core to power up and down independently to increase performance while saving battery life.
Combined with LTE technology, the impressive processor allows users to easily and quickly view a video while running other apps at the same time. All of this power and functionality is housed in a light weight, eye-catching slim body to cater to fashionable lifestyles. LG developed and patented Crystal Reflection to give the back cover the ability to display different patterns depending on the angle and lighting. The intricate pattern gives Optimus G a clean finish reminiscent of a jewel.
The Optimus G creates the perfect combination of pleasure and functionality through a unique user experience not seen on any other device. While mobile communication, business, and entertainment are easily accommodated with the Optimus G, the all-new device can also release one’s inner artist with a wide range of features including:
- The QSlide Function shows two different screens simultaneously on one display so users can quickly send an important work email while playing a graphic-intense video at the same time.
- QuickMemo allows users to take notes on captured documents or photos with their fingers and instantly share with colleagues as an attachment or URL.
- Live Zooming enhances viewing experiences by enabling consumers to zoom in up to five times while watching video to see small details normally hidden on the screen.
- Photographs can be intensified with camera capabilities like Time Catch Shot, which empowers the user to choose the best photo among various shots taken before the shutter button is pressed.
- Dual Screen Dual Play not only allows mirroring between the smartphone and a TV or monitor, it also has the ability to display different content on each screen. For example, a slide presentation can be displayed on the monitor while the Optimus G shows the accompanying speaking notes.
- Creativity is also put to the test by the Icon Personalizer, which allows consumers to customize the sizes and images of their most-used apps.
- Advanced 13 MP or 8 MP rear-facing camera with Time Catch Shot, “cheese shutter” and Smart Shutter and Low Light Shot Noise Reduction
- Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system
- Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro processor with 1.5GHZ Quad-Core Krait CPUs and LTE
- 32 GB of memory or 16 GB of on-board memory and microSD slot pre-loaded with a 16GB SD card that can accommodate up to 64GB of expandable memory
- 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus Display (1280 x 768 pixels)
- Display technologies including Zerogap Touch
- 2,100mAh battery
- Bluetooth® Version 4.0
- 1.3 MP front-facing camera
- Capable of 2G/3G/ 4G LTE networks
- Crystal Reflection glass finish
- DualScreen Dual Play feature that wirelessly displays different content on both a TV and the smartphone
- Screen Zooming allows zooming in and out of lists in music player, email, text messages and the photo gallery for increased visibility.
About LG Electronics USA LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a $49 billion global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. In the United States, LG Electronics sells a range of stylish and innovative mobile phones, home entertainment products, home appliances, and air conditioning systems and energy solutions, all under LG’s “Life’s Good” marketing theme. LG Electronics is a 2012 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. For more information, please visit www.lg.com.
The United Kingdom’s first 4G LTE carrier, Everything Everywhere, has announced that it will be receiving the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The 5.5-inch beast will join the carrier’s other LTE-capable handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S III and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, which are both available beginning today. Customer interested in the Note II LTE, however, will have to wait until October 15th.
While the Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE will have access to EE’s newly introduced 4G LTE network, there’s no word on when exactly the new service will officially launch. This means users who sign up for a new contract will have to do so under an Orange or T-Mobile plan, and then proceed to switch to Everything Everywhere once its LTE network is ready. Pricing remains a mystery, though its expected to set you back a pretty penny when it’s all said and done.
When it comes to Android, one of the hottest topics has always been how fast updates are. It has been a problem for a while now and there’s no question that Google recognizes that. At last year’s I/O, they announced a new agreement with OEMs that would make them commit to updates over an 18-month period. That didn’t seem to do much, so at this past June’s I/O, they announced the PDK. which is the hardware equivalent of the SDK. It gives manufacturers of hardware and chipsets early access to Android builds so they can get a jump start on current and upcoming devices. It’s still too soon to judge if this will help or not, but I really have to point out that things are going in the wrong direction in a major way.
Lets start with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The SDK was launched in December 2010 and by December 1st, 2011, it was on 50.6% of devices. I’m not sure what you think, but to me, 50% of devices after a year is pretty dismal. It will actually sound pretty good when you read how Ice Cream Sandwich is going. The SDK for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released last October and we just reported the figures as of October 1st (1 year later). It was sitting on 23.7% of devices. That’s not even half of what Gingerbread was able to achieve in the same time frame. To say it’s a disappointment would be a huge understatement.
Considering the trend in the numbers, I’m not sure Google will be able to ever fix this. The fact that there are so many manufacturers and so many devices makes it that much more difficult. Even Motorola, who is owned by Google, can’t release new devices with Jelly Bean.
Maybe the PDK will improve things or maybe this year’s rumor of more Nexus phones is a way to speed things up since those devices get update quicker. If Google does indeed release four or five Nexus phones, it could dramatically change these percentages, and at the same time lessen the effect of OEM differentiation in the marketplace. There still would be one question, and that’s how LTE would affect things? I can only assume the next flock of Nexus devices would be LTE capable. If that’s the case, could that slow updates a little?
So it’s that time of the year again when people wonder if they should buy a Nexus phone or not, and things haven’t changed. If updates are important to you, your next phone needs to be a Nexus.
It was only a matter of time before Samsung threw the next slap in its epic catfight against Apple. After Apple’s massive victory, Samsung vowing sweet revenge and of course, the recent release of the iPhone 5 smartphone, Samsung has gone ahead and asked the courts to allow it to include the iPhone 5 in its countersuit. In this filing, Samsung alleges Apple infringed on the same patents as other devices which includes standards-essential 3G patents and specific feature patents. The countersuit is still quite young and developing, so it’s uncertain of whether or not the courts will allow it to include the iPhone 5 added to the list of devices to flag for. Then again, there is the belief that Samsung will be allowed to include the iPhone 5 among the infringing devices, so we should formally see it when both parties convene in November.
So where we stand now is Apple trying to ban many Samsung devices for infringement, while Samsung on the other hand, has filed a counterclaim and is now trying to ban multiple Apple devices on the devices of 3G and LTE standards. Boy, oh boy this is getting tough to keep track of. Sheesh.
source: The Verge
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