AT&T To Enter Wireless Dog-Collar Business?

The American mobile market is pretty much saturated with almost everyone owning a cellphone. While other major carriers are thinking of ways to expand overseas to grow their business, AT&T sees things differently. The company wants to target the small gizmo market for things like wireless dog collars and pallet tracking for shipping companies.

Citing AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph De La Vega’s talk at the CTIA annual wireless trade show, Reuters writes,

“A wireless dog collar set to hit the market this year is just one of a plethora of new devices the telephone company hopes will catch on with U.S. consumers.

The collar could send text messages or emails to the owner of a pet when it strays outside a certain area, or the device could allow continuous tracking of the pet.

Other gadgets include a pill box that uses a wireless connection to remind people to take their medicine, e-readers, a device that tracks product pallets for shipping companies, and entertainment systems for people riding in cars.”

There is a tremendous scope for alternate business as these and I guess AT&T is taking the right step here. What are your thoughts?

[via Reuters]

iPhone On T-Mobile USA Coming Later This Year

Is Apple’s exclusive partnership with AT&T coming to an end this year? Speculations over this are not new and will never cease to do the rounds. However, if an optimistic note made by René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive – the parent company of T-Mobile USA, is anything to go by, then we may end up seeing iPhone being made available on T-Mobile later this year.

In an interview to the Financial Times, Obermann said that his company was hoping to start selling iPhones by late 2010 or early 2011. To be fair, this may just be a fervent appeal to Apple to help the languishing network up its profile, but we just wonder if there is more to the story than just that.

What do you think?

[via FT]

Verizon MiFi Plan For iPad To Take On AT&T 3G

A leaked memo from Verizon has revealed the company’s plans to target customers looking to buy Apple iPad’s 3G version which comes with an exclusive AT&T data plan. The memo apparently is to convince customers to sign up for Verizon’s MiFi device that comes with a Verizon data plan.

Considering that a good chunk of iPad customers are likely to go for the Wi-Fi only version of the device, Verizon is apparently looking to communicate the message that the Wi-Fi only version of the device is not AT&T exclusive and can be used to access hotspots from Verizon as well.

Taking a potshot at AT&T, the memo reads

“Why pay more for the 3G version and get 3G service on an overloaded network with limited coverage?”

[via Engadget]

Palm Elan TouchScreen Phone Coming To AT&T?

Ok, first and foremost, we are not still sure if “Elan” is the name of an upcoming model from Palm or if this is a codeword for something that exists already. But rumors are in that AT&T has been testing on this WebOS handset due for release in the first half of May.

You might recall that we had written about WebOS coming to AT&T last month. Back then, the speculations were that Palm Pre and Pixi could be the models coming to Ma Bell. The new name doing the rounds is expected to be a completely touchscreen phone with soft keyboard – much like the iPhone or Nexus One.

We hope this rumor turns out to be true. You can then expect the Palm handset to be out on AT&T stores on May 10.

[via PreCentral]

HTC Desire On AT&T Launching In May

Remember our story earlier this month that Nexus One could be launching with AT&T? Well it turns out that the AT&T connected device might actually be HTC Desire and not the Google branded clone as we earlier thought.

Spilling the beans on this, folks at BGR write that while it is still possible that the Google branded Nexus One is offered with AT&T over Google’s website, the device on AT&T’s shelves could be HTC Desire and the launch could be around the May-June time frame.

BGR also reports that certain physical attributes of the handset like material finish and color could change in the device on shelf.

[via Boy Genius Report]

T-Mobile Entering Netbook Arena With Dell Mini 10

Speculations surrounding T-Mobile’s foray into the Netbook market has been doing the rounds for quite a while now. However, it is only now that the actual product behind the rumors is coming to light.

Quoting trusted sources, folks at TmoNews claim that the carrier could be partnering with Dell to bring its newly unveiled Dell Mini 10 netbook to the market. No information regarding the price or launch date is known as yet, though a roll-out is expected by the end of March.

Dell Mini 10 was unveiled earlier this year during the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas and has since then garnered overtly positive reviews.  In fact, Dell Mini has been a popular choice among the carriers. After Sprint Nextel introduced the device, AT&T Mobility too has jumped in. T-Mobile’s entry while later than the other major players could still be a significant business decision moving forward in 2010.

What do you think?

[via TmoNews]

Skype VoIP Over 3G Not To Come On iPhone?

Last week, Verizon signed a bizarre deal with Skype. According to the terms of the deal, Verizon will embed Skype’s click to call application by default on all Verizon powered smartphones. The company said this will give its users the ability to quickly make calls to anywhere in the world using Skype.

Why is this bizarre? Because there is apparently no take away whatsoever for Verizon. Not only is Skype able to reach out to Verizon’s subscribers in a quick and easy way, but also the VoIP solution to call international numbers would mean loss of lucrative dollars to Verizon.

More insights about the deal are now coming to light. According to a report on GigaOm, the deal between Verizon and Skype could be exclusive in nature. This would forbid the VoIP service from making their 3G based calling solution available to rival networks, including AT&T which is the operator for iPhone. It is believed as an aggressive approach that Verizon has employed to deprive iPhone customers of a much in-demand service that could motivate them to move to rival platforms and potentially become Verizon customers.

I do believe that Verizon’s strategy appears far-fetched. While Skype is no doubt the most popular VoIP service, it is by no means the only one. Competitor services like Fring are already available over 3G and this means users will more interested in trying out these alternative VoIP over 3G services.

What do you think?

[via BGR, GigaOm]

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Priced At $199 In USA?

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is expected to launch in just a couple of months from now. According to a source folks at BGR spoke to, the handset could be launched on the AT&T network at a price of $199. Of course, this is with a two year contract. The unsubsidized cost of the phone could well be over $900.

According to this source, the phone could be expected at around the April-May time. We wonder if Sony Ericsson got it wrong with the timing. There have been a couple of hyped Android phones being launched of late and with possible announcements regarding the iPhone speculated to be announced around April, we might just guess that Xperia X10 might lose a fair chunk of customers to its rivals mainly because of a delayed launch. What do you think?

[via BGR]

AT&T To Sell iPad From Its Stores

This sounds like a no-brainer to me, but Boy Genius Report has just revealed that their AT&T source has claimed that the company might be selling the iPad 3G version from their stores when the device goes on sale in April of this year.

The iPad is slated to come in two versions – WiFi only and WiFi+3G. Apple has announced that AT&T shall be partnering the company in the sale of latter.  It was hence quite likely that AT&T could be ramping its stores up to dedicate a section to the iPad. BGR writes

“We’re told that the general plan is to convert one or two existing netbook display sections in each corporate AT&T location into a pretty substantial iPad display area.”

However, unlike earlier speculated a subsidy based contract model doesn’t appear likely at the moment though.

[via BGR]

Verizon To Partner With Skype On International Calling Service?

Verizon has released a media statement announcing a joint news conference with Skype on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona next week. There is not enough details provided on the specifics of the conference though indications are that it could be about a partnership on cheaper international calls.

AT&T and Verizon have locked horns lately each claiming superiority of their network. A partnership with Skype for cheaper international voice traffic could help Verizon score a crucial point over AT&T in convincing customers about the superiority of their network.

We will keep track of the news in this front and let you know of updates as they happen.

[via Verizon PR]