AT&T Branded Galaxy Note And Galaxy S II Skyrocket Are Receiving ICS Today

AT&T Galaxy users shall be rejoicing as of today, because Samsung announced that both the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy S II Skyrocket will be receiving Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Now, ICS isn’t even the newest version of Android anymore, and the devices will only be getting 4.0.4 and won’t get the upgrade to the newest version of TouchWiz, but it’s still ICS. Android 4.0 will bring a slew of improvements from lessened visual lag to ICS-only apps and app updates.

The Note and the GSII Skyrocket have been some of AT&T’s best devices to offer for quite a while, and really have only been best by the HTC One X and of course, the Galaxy S III. The Note will be receiving a better deal from this upgrade than the Skyrocket though, with its “premium suite” of apps. A specialized S Memo and S Note app will be coming, both updated to newer versions, My Story will be receiving an upgrade as well. It’s good to see Samsung still supporting these devices after the launch of their new flagship phone, and users can grab the update today via the Samsung Kies desktop application.

Verizon Continues LTE Domination, Adding 28 Markets On Thursday

Verizon Wireless has announced that their 4G/LTE rollout continues. Thursday they’ll throw the LTE switch on for 28 new markets and expand their coverage in 11 existing markets. They are by far the market leader with 4G/LTE which has been implemented or announced for all four US carriers.

AT&T has also been expanding their 4G/LTE footprint, but not quite at the pace of rival Verizon Wireless.

Sprint has announced that six cities will have 4G/LTE speeds in the middle part of this year. From what we’ve heard from several sources, those cities could be lit up next month.

As for Verizon Wireless, here are the new cities getting 4G/LTE Thursday. As with all of their other market roll outs, you should check your phones today as they tend to turn it on a few days before the official date for testing.

Houma/Thibodaux and Lake Charles, La.; Hyannis/Mid-Cape, Mass.; Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Mich.; Biloxi/Gulfport/Pascagoula and Oxford, Miss.; Atlantic City/Toms River, N.J.; Dickinson and Williston, N.D.; Ashtabula, Bucyrus and Defiance, Ohio; Eugene/Springfield, Ore.; Lancaster, New Castle, Northern Cambria County, Oil City/Franklin, Somerset and York, Pa.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Mitchell, S.D.; Paris, Texas; Burlington/Northern, Vt.; Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Martinsville and Staunton/Waynesboro, Va.; and Sheridan, Wyo.

These are the 11 markets that are getting their 4G/LTE service enhanced:

Denver, Colo.; Dover, Del.; Fort Myers and Lakeland, Fla.; Hagerstown, Md.; Canton, Lima, Mansfield, Toledo and Youngstown/Warren, Ohio; and Erie, Pa.

That brings Verizon Wireless to 258 markets. As you can see from the graphic above Verizon Wireless is well underway with bringing their entire 3G footprint to 4G.

source: Verizon Wireless via Phandroid

AT&T Making A Move On Cricket Wireless?

Rumors are hot and heavy that after the failed AT&T T-Mobile merger, AT&T has it’s eyes set on prepaid wireless carrier Cricket.

Cricket, whose parent company is Leap Wireless, is a steadily growing prepaid carrier with stand alone stores in most major US cities. They also have distribution channels set up at most of the Best Buy’s in the continental United States as well as Walmart and other retailers.

Cricket prides itself on it’s portfolio of both Android smartphones, and smartphones with their proprietary Muve Music service that’s been a hit with their customers. The service allows them unlimited downloads of songs from their cloud based music store to their Cricket Muve Music enabled handsets. The songs can’t be taken off the phone but can be streamed via BlueTooth and of course 3.5mm headset jacks.

The AT&T/T-Mobile merger was all the talk at last years CTIA Mobile Life show in 2011. The announcement about the proposed merger came on Sunday, the eve before CTIA was to kick off. In fact CTIA that year, in Orlando, kicked off with a round table with all four CEOs and moderator Jim Cramer. T-Mobile CEO Phillip Humm backed out of that years appearance because of the merger announcement.

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AT&T Store Employees Recommending iPhone And Android To Those Interested In Lumia 900

Two weeks ago Brent reported on the fact that Nokia was going to line the pockets of AT&T employees for recommending their new Lumia 900 smartphone. Well it appears that some employees either didn’t get that memo or get that check.

CNet reporter Marguerite Reardon set out on a mission Monday to see what AT&T employees at stores in New York City had to say about the new Nokia Lumia 900, a Windows Phone 7 device. She went into several area stores posing as a first time smartphone buyer and expressed interest in the latest Windows Phone 7 device.

Despite a star studded launch event in New York City over the weekend, and the fact that there is signage everywhere in AT&T stores promoting the Lumia, Reardon found that New York City AT&T Wireless employees were still quick to recommend the iPhone.

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AT&T Hoping To Revive Windows Phone With $150 Million Ad Spend

Although T-Mobile was the first company to support Google’s Android operating system, much of the credit for the adoption of Android in the United States goes to Verizon Wireless. The nation’s largest carrier spent over $100 million dollars advertising the original Motorola Droid smartphone in 2009. The results for that campaign were phenomenal, Android quickly overtook Blackberry in Verizon Wireless stores.

AT&T is hoping to replicate that success with it’s Nokia Lumia 900 for which they are the sole US Carrier. The Lumia 900 is a great piece of hardware running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. AT&T is hoping to sell lot’s of Lumia 900’s and they are backing it with $150 million dollars in advertising money.

Business Insider’s Jim Edward’s doesn’t think that $150 million dollars in advertising for the Lumia 900 is a wise idea. As he points out in this article, Windows Phone is doing so poorly that it wasn’t even mentioned by name in the most recent Nielsen report on smartphone sales. Couple that with the fact that Windows only commands 2% of the app space and the fact that they are “paying” developers to develop on the platform and this may be a recipe for disaster.

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Knowing There’s NO Interest In Window Phone 7, Nokia Willing To Bribe AT&T Employees


Window Phones 7 which never picked up any steam now may get a push due to some bribing by Nokia. The Verge and other outlets are reporting that due to no one in the public actually wanting a WP7, Nokia will be bribing AT&T and their employees with their latest one. The Lumia 900 will be free for all AT&T employees as part of their “Company Use” phones.  While this isn’t a first for a manufacturer to offer a phone for free to employees as part of a program. This is the first time one paid a company over $25 million to bribe it’s employees to use it.

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#CES2012 Intel, Ultrabooks, Isis, and Gemalto: is this the year of NFC?

Our good friend Sylvie Barak was quoted on the Gemalto blog 
Intel demos NFC on an ultrabook: tap your credit card on your laptop touchpad to pay. #AWESOME #CES #eet_CES
Personally I don’t see making payments with a laptop being an option that many people would adopt. Bringing the ability for retailers, small businesses, or the average consumer to accept payments via built-in NFC hardware is an entirely different matter. We have already begun to witness the downfall of the traditional payment options and watched as first PayPal then Square knocked down the payment barriers.
With Google Wallet and Isis using NFC payments and PayPal by phone at Home Depot stores (without NFC) and NFC payments in Sweden  it is clear we have almost arrived at a new paradigm in the ability to accept payments. When your smartphone can act as a terminal for both positive and negative cash flow, without any additional hardware, the benefits will market themselves.
Last year I heard over and over “2011 is the year of NFC (in the U.S.)” beginning at CES. I was not clear on why people were making that statement at the time. If I remember correctly, there were no high-profile devices announced in Las Vegas last year.  The Nexus S had been announced in November the previous year, sure, but that was it. There was extremely limited NFC functionality for the end-user at the time.