If you own a T-Mobile G2, you may have been left wondering why you still do not have the much touted Wi-Fi calling functionality on your Android phone when lesser priced models like the Optimus T come with the facility. News is now in that T-Mobile is now rolling out this new functionality to G2 users starting November 3 through an Over-The-Air update. The update is expected to reach all users between the 3rd and 8th of this month.
The OTA for Wi-Fi calling would also bring another much anticipated feature – the ability to set up your G2 as a mobile hotspot and tether other computers. That is significant because the carrier had only recently introduced its new data plans that will bring tethering available to smartphone users. If you are looking for one such plan, you should be ready to shell out $30 a month for the Web Unlimited plan that can be expanded to include tethering services at a cost of $14.99 a month. Details here.
Looks like these are happy times for the T-Mobile G2 fans. We just reported about the new phone getting a massive discount in selling price on Amazon. Following upon this news, we are hearing rumors that T-Mobile could soon be sending an Over-The-Air update to the newly launched phone that could bring two important features – the ability to call over Wi-Fi as well as the ability to connect your G2 to a PC to surf the internet – what is commonly known as tethering.
Well, while this is still a rumor at this point, do note that the T-Mobile G2 runs on Android 2.2 which natively supports internet tethering. However this functionality was left unsupported to start with. Also, the Wi-Fi calling functionality is not exclusive. T-Mobile has in fact indicated that this functionality will be made available on all of their future Android handsets. Nevertheless, this new update should get features that are pretty popular to the G2 users. One may however be left wondering if the rumored introduction of these features have got anything to do with what is seen as a modest sale numbers. Isn’t that also the reported reason why Amazon too has chosen to slash the prices?
T-Mobile has announced that their full line up of Android handsets, including the recently announced Motorola Defy will soon get the ability to natively make Wi-Fi-based voice calls. The functionality should help users save a lot of calling minutes as they can alternately call over Wi-Fi. T-Mobile has said that the carrier’s solution would be based on the Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi Application and on devices that come pre-installed with the Wi-Fi calling system, the service will work out of the box. T-Mobile is expected to offer complete tutorial to users who are not aware about the Wi-Fi calling functionality.
This is a pretty interesting move considering that T-Mobile could be shooting itself in the foot by trading paid calling minutes for free Wi-Fi calls. However, what T-Mobile could be betting on is the fact that this option could push a lot of new subscribers to migrate from their feature phones to a more sophisticated Android phone that could also bring in greater moolah on a monthly basis. Also, since Wi-Fi calling is not possible under all circumstances, T-Mobile should not be expecting a very significant drop in ARPU either.
Verizon Wireless has announced the launch of a new Fivespot internationally compatible mobile hotspot device that will let users to incorporate a Wi-Fi system on-the-move from anywhere in the world. The Fivespot system is compatible with the CDMA EVDO 800/1900 MHz, WCDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA 850/1900/2100 MHz and GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz frequencies and shall be available for purchase beginning the 7th of October at a price of $99.99. This includes a 2-year service contract that will provide users a $100 mail-in rebate. This will help the user access the mobile hotspot in over 200 countries with 3G-speeds in over 120 of these countries.
Verizon has also announced the data plans for domestic as well as international travelers and this is how the pricing will work out
$39.99 monthly access for 250 MB monthly allowance and $0.10/MB overage
$59.99 monthly access for 5 GB monthly allowance and $0.05/MB overage
Prepaid Mobile Broadband plans are also available:
$15 for 100 MB (one day of use)
$30 for 300 MB (one week of use)
$50 for 1 GB (30 days of use)
$80 for 5 GB (30 days of use)
$129.99 monthly access (5 GB allowance for the United States and Canada, $0.05/MB overage), 100 MB allowance in select countries ($0.005/KB after allowance)
$219.99 monthly access (5 GB allowance for the United States and Canada, $0.05/MB overage), 200 MB allowance in select countries ($0.005/KB after allowance)
GlobalAccess Pay Per Use for occasional use must be purchased with a $59.99 Mobile Broadband service plan in the United States. The Pay Per Use rate is $0.002/KB in Canada, $0.005/KB in Mexico, and $0.02/KB in more than 200 other destinations.
An internal training slide from T-Mobile has provided us some interesting information on a Wi-Fi calling option that could be made available on future T-Mobile Android handsets, including the T-Mobile G2. According to the document, the free Wi-Fi calling application on T-Mobile Android phones will allow users to make VoIP calls, in much the same way as they do from Skype, to friends and family members. The document notes that not all Android phones will have this option and the functionality shall be restricted to work with only a few phones. The VoIP client is reportedly named “Wi-Fi calling without hand-off“.
While this is an interesting addition, it is no good than other free alternatives available. From what we hear, the Wi-Fi calling shall not make a seamless transition to plain voice calling when the users moves out of a Wi-Fi zone. That is definitely not the ideal choice but given that this is going to come pre-installed, expect a lot of users to adopt to this new application soon.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 users recently had a firmware update issued to them and if you are among those who tried to update to the latest firmware, then you are likely to be hit by this latest bug. The latest firmware does more harm than good and not only do Xperia 10 users have to suffer the ignominy of having to stay with the outdated Android 1.6 OS, but now also have to suffer from frequent network disconnection.
So, this is how it works. If you are in an area of low cellular signal, it is observed that the new bug will automatically turn your Wi-Fi off when the cellular signal drops to zero and when when it bounces back, the Wi-Fi will restart. That’s a torture considering that users are such low signal areas are particularly needful of a consistent Wi-Fi connection.
Nevertheless, if you are noticing this bug on your Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, then hold on, another update to undo the bug in this latest update may soon be on the way.
Soon after the iPad launched earlier this month, we had heard an overwhelming number of new iPad users complain about problems that their device had with detecting Wi-Fi connections in the network. The problem, it was presumed, was because of the back casing that prevented proper signal transfer. Later that week, Apple issued a two step resolution procedure:
Create separate Wi-Fi network names to identify each band. This can be done easily by appending one or more characters to the current network name. Example: Add a G to the 802.11b/g network name and an N to the 802.11n network name.
Ensure that both networks use the same security type (WEP, WPA, WPA2, and so on)
Now, users who have spoken to the Apple support team have reported additional resolution suggestions offered. Here are a few
Turn off Wi-Fi, turn off the device and reboot.
There are increased likelihoods of problems being noted on secure networks. If you have a secure network, try working on open networks like from McDonald’s.
Confirm if other devices work properly from the location. If so, then try a system restore. Apple Support apparently claims that 30%-40% of Wi-Fi issues are resolved by this step.
Ok, all’s not well with the iPad. Yesterday, quite a few blogs had reported about the way the iPad refused to charge from USB ports of Windows powered computers. As if that was not enough, today, we are also getting to hear about the iPad’s problems in connecting via Wi-Fi.
Several early-bird iPad buyers have been complaining on the Apple support website that their tablet reports a ‘low signal‘ even from places where other devices including the iPhone work without any issue. A user writes on the Apple website,
“I have also noticed very weak wifi signal in my 16GB iPad. Even when standing in front of the wlan router the signal fluctuates from strong to very weak. The router has very strong signals as every other computer here has full signal strength, even 20-30 meters from the router. So there is definitely a wifi signal issue here with the iPad. “
That does not abode too well for a device that is being touted as THE device for casual web surfers. In the absence of proper internet connectivity, the iPad is just a brick.
Are you noticing issues on your iPad (if you have one, that is)? Let us know.
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?”
When the iPhone launched in China last year, one of the most talked about issues was the device’s lack of Wi-Fi. Apple had released an iPhone model without Wi-Fi in order to comply with local laws that outlawed Wi-Fi and instead insisted on a local standard called WAPI.
While the Chinese government has since then softened its ‘No WiFi’ stand, it now appears that Apple could be launching a conventional Wi-Fi supported iPhone later this summer in the country. Earlier this week, Chang Xiaobin, Chairman of China Unicom, the company that sells the iPhone in China had said
“I know that in the market there is hope we will offer an iPhone with Wi-Fi … We have been holding talks with Apple in this area.”
It is however not clear if these iPhones will also support the local WAPI standard.