Has AT&T Enabled Visual Voicemail for non-LTE Windows Phones?


This afternoon, I noticed that my Nokia Lumia 800 prompted me for a voicemail password out of nowhere. Thinking that there was some connectivity glitch, I entered the password and guess what, it took me to a visual voicemail screen! I have not seen that screen on my Lumia before, and as I was made to understand, Visual Voicemail for Windows Phone was only available if you added a 4G LTE plan with AT&T.

AT&T Lumia 800 Visual Voice Mail Checking

Before everyone gets excited, I should provide a few disclaimers: I am on my company’s corporate plan, so I don’t know what plan I am on. However, knowing that my plan is actually an “iPhone data” plan, I know it could not be a 4G LTE plan, since there is no such plan. The other thing is that the screen stays at “syncing voicemail” and does not actually show me my voicemails. At some point this afternoon, I did get a message that it was not able to connect and that I could call the traditional voicemail. I restarted the phone to see if this disappeared, and it has not, so I suppose this functionality may actually be rolling out slowly. I sure hope so.

AT&T Lumia 800 Visual Voicemail Settings

Could this be another move by Nokia (and AT&T) to further the Windows Phone cause? We have seen that Nokia has been able to get a few exclusives and are making quite a splash in bringing the Windows Phone platform on par with iOS and Android. Could this be another move in that plan?

Lumia 800 About Screen

I am unable to confirm if this is true with other non-Lumia or non-LTE devices. If anyone has a Windows Phone (Lumia or otherwise) and is with AT&T but *not* on a 4G LTE plan, let me know. Let’s hope things are changing at AT&T with regard to their love of Windows Phone.

Update: I never saw it on my AT&T Samsung Focus, but here’s a response I saw on twitter:



More, from twitter:

Airtel Launches 4G Services In Bengaluru

Last month, Airtel launched the much-awaited 4G service in India. Airtel became the India’s first private operator to launch its 4G services. Until now, the much talked about 4G services was available only for the Airtel subscribers living in the Kolkata circle. However, the company went ahead and finally launched the lightning fast 4G services in Bengaluru circle. Airtel’s 4G network in Bengaluru was launched by Mr. D. V. Sadananda Gowda, Hon’ble Chief Minister of the state of Karnataka.

airtel logo

Mr. Sanjay Kapoor, CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti airtel said,

“As seen the world over, the total data usage is exploding and is doubling each year to grow to nearly 3.6 hexabytes by 2014. With the launch of 4G, India will move from being a follower in technology to matching the world in this domain. Leading from the front, Airtel is now the only operator that gives citizens of the Information Technology capital of Bengaluru, access to entire spectrum of broadband services including 2G, 3G and now 4G – thereby giving the customers never seen before data experience”.

In 2010, Airtel had successfully bid for BWA license spectrum in Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) circles. The company has launched its 4G LTE services in Kolkata and Bengaluru and is currently working towards rolling out the 4G network in remaining licence circles. Last year, Airtel became one of the founding members of the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) which was launched at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011.

Airtel offers 3 different 4G plans starting at Rs.999 for 6 GB of free data, going up to Rs.1,999 for 18 GB of free data usage. However, the company has launched a new plan for heavy data users, which offer 30 GB of data for Rs.2,999 per month. Airtel has also announced the new Smartbytes for 4G, which allows the customers to continue enjoying the 4G experience even after exhausting their monthly data limits using the add-on packs. As part of the introductory offer by Airtel, customers subscribing to 4G services will now be given a cashback for dongle on Rs 1,999 and Rs 2,999 plans.

Nexus Tablet: Why It is Different from a Nexus Phone

Google Nexus Phone

In the past few days, the rumors of Google making and selling their own tablet have gained steam. The rumors also point to a Kindle Fire-like price point of $199. The instant reaction is to look at Google’s earlier attempt to sell hardware directly to consumers, the Nexus One phone. We know it was a failed experiment which Google acknowledged, by shutting down the operations.

Nexus tablet, on the other hand, is a completely different story. I have firmly believed that tablets should not be sold by the carriers. Yes, there are some options with tablets where you can get cellular broadband service, but first and foremost, a tablet should be sold like a PC. I mean, a computer store or a consumer electronics store. Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics and the like. The carriers can also hop in and sell the 3G/4G versions of the tablets like they tried selling the 3G-enabled netbooks. So, taking the sales point away from the carrier stores is a good sign. Compare this with the phone where, at least in the US, it is extremely hard to sell a phone without subsidies. Nokia tried it long time ago and failed. Even Apple briefly tried the unsubsidized route but realized people are much more sensitive to upfront price than you would think. Given that the sale of the phone is tied so much to a carrier, it does not make much sense to conduct the sale away from the carrier. Apple is clearly an exception here, like in many business processes today.

Secondly, the price. If the rumors are true and the tablet is in fact around $199, it will be a huge win. A stock Android tablet with no “skins” installed, for $199 could be an interesting device. Kindle Fire has its ecosystem to rely upon but out of the box, it does limit which Android apps can run on the device. If a Nexus tablet can run all Android apps, and additionally support Amazon media consumption (either via Amazon apps like Kindle app or via the browser for Amazon Video), it becomes a superset of the Fire, for the same price as the Fire. Yes, the current Android tablets already do all of that, I understand. However, none of them have gained any traction yet, and if Google can get behind the marketing and sales, and create a Nexus phone-style clean and crisp user experience, I think users may get interested.

In fact, if this strategy does not work, you can presumably call it the end of the road for Android tablets.

Verizon Wireless, Windows Phone, LTE and Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy Problem


Verizon Wireless Chief Marketing Officer, Marni Walden,  while speaking to CNET, said that Windows Phone needs to support LTE in order to compete. She said that they have communicated to Microsoft that LTE is critical for Verizon Wireless and that they need to see a timeline, if Microsoft expects them to continue to represent Windows Phone.

Ouch! This is the first time Verizon Wireless has come out and pointed at a specific problem they have in carrying more Windows Phone devices. Currently, the only Windows Phone they carry is the HTC Trophy, which is a first generation device, released a few months after the OS supported CDMA. There have been no announcements about a Mango device coming to Verizon Wireless.

The stakes are high for Microsoft (and related, for Nokia especially, in its return to the US market). Verizon Wireless is the largest mobile network in the US at 107.7 million subscribers. At the same time, due to AT&T’s initial exclusivity on the iPhone in the US, Verizon ended up becoming an Android champion. They started a huge marketing campaign around their trademark Droidand became a close partner of Google. Meanwhile, iPhone is now also available on Verizon network and as a result they now have arguably the best portfolio of smartphones in the US. Windows Phone clearly has an uphill battle to get the carrier’s attention. Getting cut out of Verizon Wireless will take half the addressable US market away from Microsoft.

In a lot of ways, what Verizon Wireless is asking makes sense. On one hand, they carry the juggernaut that is the iPhone, and on the other hand, they have a slew of Android devices which come in various form factors, with a variety of hardware differentiators and at all kinds of price points. Their marketing message for some time and definitely for the holiday season is their network which is the only one with real4G (LTE). For the typical (high-end) smartphone price of $200 with a 2-year contract, they cannot offer a 3G Windows Phone when most Android devices are 4G-enabled. Also of course, 4G data plans do offer additional revenue to Verizon Wireless.

Like it or not, Microsoft is going to have to compete with Android from a sales and marketing strategy perspective, rather than the iPhone. There is no single Windows Phonelike the iPhone or even the Nexus line of Android phones. Windows Phone is a licensed OS and as a result, there are going to be multiple OEMs making similar phones and multiple carriers carrying them. In order to differentiate, and in this case in order to even participate, Microsoft and its partners will be forced to play the speeds-and-feeds game and keep bumping up the phone features. This is somewhat the opposite of how Microsoft has set up Windows Phone with its strict chassis specification and also how they have set their update schedule to be one big update a year interspersed with smaller updates in between.

Instead of having customers focus on the elegance of the OS and its ability to run well even on previous generation hardware, Microsoft is being forced by Verizon Wireless to play the Android game and keep focusing on specification numbers. Something will have to give because Microsoft simply cannot afford to get left out of the Verizon Wireless footprint. Perhaps more chassis specifications? More aggressive updates to the OS? Maybe we will see a more aggressive schedule after the first round of Nokia devices come into the market and the platform gains a reasonable installed base? Any/all of this better happen because Verizon Wireless customers deserve the choice of Windows Phone Smile

Reliance to Offer 4G Services by Early 2012

The Mukesh Ambani-headed company, Reliance Industries (RIL) is all set to roll out the next generation services (or 4G) in India sometime in early 2012, and is planning to scale it up to a nationwide network by the mid of 2012.

According to a source, RIL is planning to offer 4G enabled data cards for tablets which are priced at Rs. 3,000 ($60) or lesser. It plans to provide data connectivity with speeds of 50-100 Mbps at cheaper prices compared to the current 3G services.

RIL confirmed stating that its telecom unit was “in the process of setting up a world-class broadband wireless network using state-of-the-art technologies and finalising the arrangement with leading global technology players, service providers, infrastructure providers, application developers, device manufacturers and others to help usher the 4G revolution into India”.Speed

It is also noted that RIL is in talks with Walt Disney’s Indian venture UTV Software, to acquire content for its wireless broadband services. With this, Reliance will be able to offer games, entertainment and applications which are mainly targeted towards the younger generation. However, the deal is yet to be finalized and hopefully we will see a positive reply.

The company indicated that it has completed trial tests with vendors like Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson and China’s Huawei for its broadband services and will be partnering with either one of them or might split the contract between the three.

Amabani’s strategy of tantalizing customers with low prices is very much similar to the winning strategy in 2003, where the company started selling mobile phones at a very low rate, mainly targeting the middle class people. This made RIL win more than 1 million customers in just 10 days.

Reliance took over Infotel Broadband Service Pvt. Ltd in June 2010. RIL agreed upon the terms and invested about Rs. 4,800 crore, and following the investment, RIL acquired 95% of Infotel Broadband’s equity. RIL plans to have full scale commercial operations by next year, and expects to have its network cross over 700 cities.

According to a post by Reliance Industries, 4G broadband service contracts are expected to be finalized between the October-December 2011 quarter and operators, including Reliance Infotel, are expected to start rolling out services to consumers by early 2012 when favorable operational conditions are in place, which includes design and production of latest handsets, data cards and updated networks.

AT&T’s Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 4G Announced; Releasing On September 18

Sony Ericsson has just announced the Xperia Play 4G, which is headed to AT&T’s network. Don’t be fooled by the ‘4G’ tag though; the Xperia Play 4G is exactly the same as European version of the Play, and the Verizon’s version as well.

This means the Xperia Play 4G still sports the same 1GHz Scorpion processor from Qualcomm, and an Adreno 205 GPU. There is also 512MB of RAM, along with 400MB of internal storage on-board. Compared to the recent dual-core offerings from other Android manufacturers, the Xperia Play 4G hardware definitely feels old.

Other key specs of the Play include a 4-inch FWVGA (854×480) screen, quality stereo speakers, 5MP camera at the back and a VGA camera in the front, and the usual Wi-Fi, GPS with A-GPS and a bunch of other sensors and connectivity features. The main highlight of the Xperia Play is its PSP like gamepad, which is bound to attract die-hard gamers.

A point to note here is that the Xperia Play 4G, unlike its 4G moniker, does not support AT&T’s true  upcoming  4G LTE support. Instead, it supports its current so called 4G network, HSDPA+.

The handset runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and features Facebook Inside Xperia as well.  The Xperia Play is also the first PlayStation Certified phone in the world, and will come with seven games pre-loaded including Dungeon Defenders, Asphalt 6, Star Battalion, Madden NFL, The Sims 3, Tower Bloxx and Crash Bandicoot.

AT&T owners can get their hands on the Xperia Play 4G in an exclusive “Stealth Blue” color for only $49.99, after a two-year contract. The phone will hit the retail stores on September 18.


Acer Iconia Tab 4G A501 Up For Pre-Order At Amazon For $499.99

Acer announced the Android powered Acer Iconia Tab A501 at the CTIA 2011. This tablet runs on the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Operating System and features a 10.1 inch touchscreen display, 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra dual core processor, 5 megapixel rear camera and more. Later, AT&T announced the 4G version of this tablet, the Iconia Tab A501. This tablet is already available in most of the countries including UK and India. AT&T customers in the US are still waiting to get this device. But, the wait is finally over. Amazon has finally started taking the pre-orders of the Acer Iconia Tab 4G A501 in the US.

“Consumers are seeking cutting-edge mobile computing devices and we look forward to giving them another great choice with the Acer Iconia Tab A501,” said David Haight, vice president of business development, AT&T Emerging Devices. “This tablet is packed with features that will enable HD gaming and exceptional video playback. It offers a first-class on-the-go entertainment experience.”

acer iconia tab a501 amazon

Acer Iconia Tab A501 comes a 10.1 inch touchscreen display with 1280 X 800 resolution, 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra dual core processor, Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS, Acer User Interface, 5 megapixel rear camera with flash, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, Full HD (1080p) Playback, HDMI port, Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G connectivity, USB port, DLNA certified, Dolby Mobile, 3.5mm headset jack, 16 GB internal memory, 32 GB expandable memory and a Li-polymer battery with up to 8 hrs back up.

Acer Iconia Tab A501 is available for pre-order for just $499.99. The release date of this tablet is still unknown. To pre-order the Acer Iconia Tab A501, head over to this page at Amazon.

Samsung And AT&T Announce The Infuse 4G

Samsung and AT&T have gone ahead and finally announced the Samsung Infuse 4G.

The Samsung Infuse 4G was first shown at CES, and since then both the companies have been mum about it. The Infuse 4G sports a mammoth 4.5-inch Super-AMOLED+ screen, with WVGA (800×480) resolution.


The handset will also be the thinnest ‘4G’ branded handset available on the AT&T network, measuring only 8.99mm thick. The Infuse 4G sports a 1.2GHz Hummingbird processor, along with 512MB of RAM and a microSD card slot (2GB card pre-installed).

The back of the handset sports an 8MP camera with an LED flash, which is capable of recording videos in 720p HD resolution. There is also a 1.3MP camera in the front.   The usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS with A-GPS, Proximity Sensor, and a 3.5mm audio jack are also present.

Sadly, the Infuse 4G runs on Android 2.2 FroYo, with Samsung’s TouchWIZ UI on top of it.   The handset will also come with a special version of Angry Birds pre-installed with some hidden levels.

The Samsung Infuse 4G will be available at all AT&T stores from May 15, for $199.99 on a two-year contract.

(Press Release)

AT&T Announces The HP Veer 4G

hp veer Last week, we posted that AT&T might announce the white version of the HP Veer smartphone, along with the 4G connectivity. Now, AT&T finally announced the 4G variant of the HP Veer smartphone. HP Veer 4G comes with a touchscreen display as well as a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. This handset will be exclusively available on the airwaves of AT&T in the US.

There are no changes in the specs of this handset, except the 4G connectivity. HP Veer 4G is AT&T’s first smartphone to run the latest version of webOS software. The new AT&T billing will help the HP Veer 4G customers to easily purchase their favorite apps on the phone and have the cost added to their monthly AT&T bill.

HP Veer features a 2.57 inch touchscreen display with 320 x 400 pixels resolution, 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, WebOS, Slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard, 4G Connectivity, 5 megapixel camera with extended depth of field, geotagging, and video capture, Stereo Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and A2DP and so on

Other features include a 3.5mm headset jack, 8 GB internal memory (~6.1GB available), Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, webOS WebKit browser with Flash support, GPS, Wi-Fi, Facebook integration, up to 5.0 hours of talk time, up to 300 hours of standby time and a 910 mAh battery.

HP Veer 4G will be available in both black and white colors. This handset will be available at AT&T’s company-owned stores and online from May 15th for $99.99 with a two years service agreement. HP Veer 4G comes preloaded with several popular apps including mobile hotspot, which allows the users to share wireless internet connectivity with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Apple iPhone 5 Expectations

WWDC is still a couple of months away, but the Internet is already abuzz with rumors regarding the iPhone 5 and the next version of iOS. Rumors suggest that the 5 launch may be pushed back to Fall, this year. However, I doubt this is going to happen. Instead, this year at WWDC the iPhone 5 will take a backseat, and let iOS and OS X Lion grab the spotlight.

iPhone 5

Nevertheless, below is a short list of all the features which the iPhone 5 should hopefully sport :

Slimmer, Faster And Sleeker

With every passing generation, the iPhone gets slimmer, sleeker and faster. The iPhone 5 should be no exception to this rule. Last year, the was the slimmest handset available to consumers. However, fast forward to 2011 and Samsung has managed to launch (err…announce) the Galaxy S II which is thinner than the iPhone 4.

Expect the iPhone 5 to be thinner than the iPhone 4 and the Galaxy S II, when launched. Since the iPhone 4 got a major design over-haul, don’t expect the iPhone 5 to look radically different from its predecessor. The iPhone 5 will sport the same dual-core A5 processor, which powers the iPad 2 and pack 1GB of RAM.


No Antennagate

The iPhone 4 was heavily criticized for its Antennagate‘ issue last year. In fact, the issue was so much over-hyped that Apple had to hold a special press conference regarding it, and even had to give free bumpers to existing iPhone 4 owners. I am more than pretty sure that Apple will make sure that the iPhone 5 does not suffer from the Antennagate issue.

Higher Storage Capacity

Apple did not bump the storage capacity of the iPhone 4, which currently maxes out at 32GB. However, this time around with HD videos becoming a common sight expect the iPhone 5 to come with higher storage capacities.

4G Support

This one remains a big mystery for now. No one knows whether the iPhone 5 will support the latest 4G’ network from AT&T and Verizon or not. According to me, the iPhone 5 won’t come equipped with a 4G-LTE radio. However, it may be very well possible that Apple will launch only one iPhone, which will work on both AT&T and Verizon’s network.

NFC Support

NFC (Near-Field Communication) is sure to catch up with the general consumer in the coming future. Google has already started supporting this new technology with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the Nexus S incorporating a NFC chip. Many other industry giants have also showed interest in supporting NFC.

If Apple also starts supporting NFC and the iPhone 5 incorporates a NFC chip, expect this technology to become mainstream by end- 2012.

Bigger Screen

The Internet is abuzz with rumors that the iPhone 5 will sport a bigger 3.75-inch screen, whilst maintaining the same physical size. Rumors suggest that the iPhone 5 will sport a bigger edge-to-edge display, so as to maintain its same physical dimensions.

Steve Jobs had earlier said that a 3.5-inch screen is more than enough for the average consumer. However, times have changed and a 3.5-inch screen barely cuts it. Hopefully, the iPhone 5 will sport a screen bigger than 3.5-inches.

These are the top 5 features/changes which I expect the iPhone 5 will sport. Obviously, this is only the hardware side of the thing and I am pretty sure Apple has some big changes planned for iOS5 including a new notification system and a better home screen.

(iPhone Image credit Unknown)