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Apple iPad mini

Apple had a big “Event” today they announced a updates to the MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad, and a new iPad mini that is smaller iPad with similar specs as the iPad. The new mini has a 7.9 inch diagonal screen with the same 1024 x 768 resolution as the iPad. It runs a slower A5 processor but has the same 10 hour expected battery life, along with a 5MP rear camera and 1.2MP front camera, and the new Lightning connector. It will come in a Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cell version that runs all the normal iPad apps with no special changes to the app. There is both a Black and White version, in 16/32/64GB and you can get a special smart cover that comes in multiple colors.

Check out the gallery and tech spec table below.

Screen 7.9 inch 1024 x 768 resolution
Processor Dual-core A5
Storage 16, 32, 64 GB
Wireless Dual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GSM or CDMA, LTE,
Carriers in USA AT&T, Sprint, Verizon
Colors Black and White,
Camera 5MP back 1080p video, 1.2MP front 720p video
Connectors Lighting, 3.5mm headphone, nano-SIM
Battery 10 hours web, 9 hours web on cell data
Pre-Order / Ships October 26 2012 / November 2 2012 for Wi-Fi
Price Wi-Fi 16GB $329, 32GB $429, 64GB $529
Price Wi-Fi + Cell 16GB $459, 32GB $559, 64GB $659

FreedomPop Free 4G Data

FreedomPop is a company using Sprint WiMax 4G service to give users 500MB of free data usage a month. They also plan on updating the service later on to use Sprints 4G LTE network for wider coverage. While you get 500MB of data free they also offer reasonable rates for extra data, such as the “Casual 2GB Data Plan” is $17.99 a month. To get the service you also have to put down a security deposit for the MiFi or USB Stick, and depending on the one you get the price.

After looking at their coverage map it shows that the WiMax is the real problem, it’s only in major cities. For me the closest cities are Salt Lake or Denver that have coverage. If this worked on Sprint’s entire network I would be down for spending the $20.98 for the 2GB and the “Speed Plus” that is said to give a 50% boost in speeds whatever that means. The change to LTE is expected to happen sometime in 2013.

They also have an iPhone and iPod sleeve being made that works like a MiFi but also adds 6 hours of battery life to the iPhone case. With one of these you could turn an iPod into a real mobile device without an expansive contract. Both sleeves are only pre-order right now and will cost $99.

Check out the charts below for more details.

Device Deposit
Freedom Sleeve for iPod Touch $99
Freedom Sleeve for iPhone 4/4S $99
Freedom Spot – Photon $89
Freedom Stick – Bolt $49

The iPhone and iPod sleeves are said to come in a few weeks if you pre-order them.

Name Data per Month Price per Month
Free 500MB 500MB + $0.02 per 1MB after Free
Casual 2GB 2GB + $0.01 per 1MB after $17.99
Premiere 4GB 4GB + $0.01 per 1MB after $28.99

All plans can add FreedomPop Speed Plus for $2.99 per month for “50% faster speeds”.

For now if you have service in your area this could be a nice way to add data to a Tablet, Laptop, or other device if you want some free data that you would use from time to time, but otherwise hold off for a while until they change over to LTE. But it is good to see companies taking some risks in the mobile data field trying to come up with new ways to get people data service, also Sprint should be thought of as they seem to be the one network that is open to other companies trying new things using their equipment.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

More IFA releases this from Samsung, the Galaxy Note II. This is the new version of the popular large screen Android smartphone that comes with a stylus dubbed the S Pen. This phone has a large 5.5″ screen, Android 4.1 and 1.6 GHz quad-core processer. Full specs below.

  • 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED screen
  • Android 4.1
  • 8MP front, 1.9MP back camera
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core processer
  • S Pen and digitizer
  • 16/32/64 GB Memory, microSD (up to 64GB), and 2 GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, mHL, GPS
  • 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+
  • S Pen applications

The Note II comes with a lot of extra applications and customizations to make using the S Pen more useful on Android. They also include a bunch of Samsung apps that you may or may not want to use. But from the looks and specs this is a good upgrade to the Galaxy Note.

T-Mobile Releases Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data

Starting September 5th 2012 T-Mobile will be offering unlimited 4G data with no data caps, speed caps and no unknown bills. Both new and existing customers can upgrade to the new plan, new customers can also get a 4G device that T-Mobile sells. The plan also works on the normal phone plans and the “Value” plans or monthly plans they have.

It costs $20 when added to a Value plan, and $30 when added to Classic plans. And will be available though T-Mobile stores, on their website, and select dealers.

For example, a single line Value plan with unlimited talk and text combined with unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $69.99 or a single line Classic plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $89.99.

This sounds good, but there was no info on if you don’t have a 4G device or in an area that they say is 4G and are on 3G if it is still unlimited, I would guess it’s all unlimited. May have to look over this and see if I can get a low cost value plan and add the data to my old Nexus One and make it a hotspot and backup phone for when I’m out working. I’ll keep an eye on this.

Verizon 4G LTE now covers 75% of US Population

With a new group of cities added to Verizon’s 4G LET data network in 337 cities, they claim to have 75% of the US population covered.

With more 4G LTE coverage than all other networks combined, you can experience the speed and power of Verizon in more places. Verizon 4G LTE is available in 337 cities, covering nearly 75% of the U.S. population.

New cities include:

  • El Dorado / Magnolia Arkansas
  • Russellville Arkansas
  • New London County Connecticut
  • Fort Pierce Florida
  • Melbourne / Titusville Florida
  • Columbus Georgia
  • Rome Georgia
  • Burley Idaho
  • Mattoon Illinois
  • Anderson Indiana
  • Muncie Indiana
  • Manhattan / Junction City Kansas
  • McPherson Kansas
  • Lafayette / New Iberia Louisiana
  • St. Joseph Missouri
  • Bozeman / Livingston Montana
  • Kalispell Montana
  • Missoula Montana
  • Goldsboro / Kinston North Carolina
  • Roanoke Rapids North Carolina
  • Rocky Mount / Wilson North Carolina
  • Zanesville Ohio
  • Meadville Pennsylvania
  • Punxsutawney / Dubois / Clearfield Pennsylvania
  • Orangeburg South Carolina
  • Sherman / Denison Texas
  • Cedar City Utah
  • Logan Utah
  • Rutland / Bennington Vermont
  • Lynchburg Virginia
  • Winchester Virginia
  • Bellingham Washington
  • Beckley West Virginia

If you are looking to see if you can get Verizon 4G LTE in your area check out there up-to-date map and city finder.

Too bad my city isn’t on the list I did talk with some of the techs that were installing the antennas that I can see from my house but they just haven’t finished it for my area. When I was in Denver I tried my Galaxy Nexus and it was fast but nothing will take the place of Cable or DSL Internet.

Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE on Sprint with Keyboard

Good news for fans of smartphones with keyboards the Motorola PHOTON G 4G LTE that runs on Sprint will be available August 19th for a price of $199.99. This phone is running Android 4.0.4 ICS 1.5GHz dual-core processer, 4.3″ display, and all the wireless goodies such as LTE, NFC and WiFi. It does have extra Smartactons applications that are Motorola’s extra add-on applications for Android.

But if you like having a keyboard, want the new Android 4.0.4, 4G LTE, and the updated new hardware this phone looks like it would be good for a good upgrade.

Name: Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE
Carrier:
Sprint
Price:
$199.99 at launch with 2-year contract.
Available:
August 19 2012 (Pre-Order August 13 2012)

Specs and Features

  • PC-like 5-row keyboard
  • 4.3″ ColorBoost™ Display with scratch-resistant glass
  • SMARTACTIONS™ extend battery life, automate tasks and suggest ways to improve and personalize your smartphone
  • 4G LTE Speed
  • Splash Guard coating protects against spills and splashes
  • 1.5 GHz Dual-Core Processor
  • Business Ready Worldphone
  • Android™ 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • 8MP Camera with HD Video Capture
  • 1.3MP Front-Facing Camera for Video Chat
  • NFC for sharing content and pairing with accessories

CES 2012 Wrap Up

Now that CES 2012 is over lets look over what came from the show. There were a lot of new products introduced over the week, but it wasn’t anything all that new.

Some of the most innovative things out were the OLED TV’s that were 55″ from LG and [OTHER NAME]. These were very thin screens with great colors, and they were looking as if they were going to be put into production not just showing that they could make it but will be selling it soon. But I would have to say hold off on getting one of these screens when they first come out and give it one to two years from when they come out so that the price will drop, sizes will increase, and more options on who makes them will increase.

Another big deal at this CES was the Ultrabooks being introduced. These were thin and light laptops that are built to exceed the Ultrabook spec by Intel in most cases. What makes these different from normal laptops is that they are thin, light, long battery, and fast. Most of the laptops that were thin and light were slow and didn’t get much in the way of battery, but most of the ones shown looked very nice. If you were looking at a nice portable system then these would be one to get, and the prices weren’t all that much more than a normal laptop with the same specs.

There were a lot of Android phone announcements most having big screens, LTE, and having fast processers. One thing to look past on these when hearing the hype matchean is that they will be running Android 2.3, while this sounds bad because Android 4 just came out, it has to do with the fact that Android 4 is only a few months old and these were developed when Android 3 was a tablet only version and Android 2.3 was all there was. I’m sure by the end of the year a new set of phones will come out in the summer and will be all build running Android 4 and also be faster. But for now these phones will be running faster processers, have more storage, and be able to run on LTE 4G networks for the carrers who are working on setting them up. But one thing to know about LTE is that it is only avalible in a select set of Major Cities and you would want to see if your city is on their list.

Android tablets were also a big item, but not as much as last year, most of these will run Android 3.2 and be able to update to Android 4 at some point. There are a few good looking ones, and also a bunch of cheep tablets that are also lacking in a lot of specs. The less expensive, but better tablets are contract locked with phone companies.

Windows 8 was a big thing for some of the tablet makers and PC makers, they were showing it running and talking about products that will have it when it is out, but Microsoft talked only a little on it and how it is part of their phone stratigy coming up. But from what I see it may be good on a tablet but not so good on a desktop.

Windows Phone 7 had some press and also a few new phones including Nokia making a comeback, but we will have to see if anyone will every buy these phones. I think all the hype seems a lot like the Palm Pree [FIX NAME]. Most people only know the iPhone and they want an Android Smartphone, but that may change because Microsoft will be paying the people at stores commissions to sell the phones so who knows marketing is what sells products, that’s why the iPhone is doing good.

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