If you’re a T-Mobile customer, your company just gave you a very unexpected gift at yesterday’s UnCarrier event: a wireless router. Yes, a fully functioning, magenta-branded, ASUS-built router, which can do essentially everything your current router can do — and if yours is old, this will likely do even more. The device, which would cost roughly $200 if you purchased it on Amazon without T-Mobile’s tweaks, only requires a $25 deposit, which gets returned to you once you’re done using it. The company is going all-in on its commitment to providing every subscriber and every carrier-branded smartphone with free WiFi calling, and the router — called the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot — is the icing on the cake. But, you may ask, why is this a thing that’s happening in the year 2014, especially when most of us already have access to a router (and thus, WiFi calling) nearly everywhere we go?
It’s a very good question, because the CellSpot isn’t a necessity if you want to take advantage of WiFi calling at home, work or the local Starbucks. Chances are you already have a router that can handle that, but CMO Mike Sievert believes customers will enjoy it because it’s a portable device that’s easy to set up wherever you go. “Your office, home, man cave, cabin, any place you get broadband, you can now get T-Mobile coverage,” he said. More importantly — especially for those who still use their phones as, y’know, phones – it also prioritizes your HD-quality calls over any other activity on the network; on most routers, your call might get dropped when your significant other starts binge-watching Breaking Bad, whereas the CellSpot ensures that your call gets saved at the expense of your family’s Netflix marathon.
Of course, there are enough benefits on T-Mobile’s side to justify the new program. At yesterday’s event, CTO Neville Ray mentioned that the carrier’s traffic has grown by more than 10 times from three years ago, and given the company’s recent growth (it added nearly 3 million new subscribers in August alone, which is a record for T-Mobile), it makes sense to find alternative methods of alleviating the additional burden that comes with it. Thus, when you use the CellSpot (or any WiFi calling, for that matter), everybody wins: The network is less saturated for customers who aren’t in the vicinity of a WiFi hotspot, and subscribers get themselves a brand-new router and full bars of service.
The idea of loaning out equipment to help subscribers improve their coverage isn’t new. Microsites (also known as femtocells) have been around for a while; AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have all offered the tech as the 3G MicroCell, Verizon 3G Network Extender and AiRave, respectively. These devices used your home’s landline or broadband service to offer more bars of coverage in your home or office, which came in especially handy if your abode or workspace fell smack-dab in the middle of a network dead zone. However, these could only be used as peripherals to your WiFi router, instead of replacements. T-Mobile’s new option hits two birds with one stone, providing you with a fresh ASUS 802.11ac router that also happens to boost your signal.
That said, there’s one tiny misnomer in T-Mobile’s marketing efforts: Throughout yesterday’s event and on the company’s website, the company said that the CellSpot program is “like adding millions of towers to your network every single day.” That may technically be accurate, but it’s misleading because you don’t have open access to all of those towers; T-Mobile customers won’t be able to use everyone else’s CellSpots for service as they walk down the sidewalk. CEO John Legere says that such a concept isn’t completely out of the question in the future, but it just wasn’t feasible for UnCarrier 7.
“Do those CellSpots become T-Mobile-ubiquitous sites? Not yet, but we’re going to try to solve that as the industry moves,” he said. “That’s the start of WiFi being a tied-in component to the network. At some point, I wouldn’t rule out every personal CellSpot becoming a tower, but we couldn’t get there yet.” It’s certainly food for thought for upcoming UnCarrier moves (though Legere says there are plenty of ideas in the funnels for 8.0, 9.0 and 10.0 already, and this item likely isn’t on the agenda), as long as T-Mobile can find a way to do it without jeopardizing the privacy of its CellSpot owners. If any John Doe can come along and hook up to your network, it would raise a whole new set of concerns.
Sure, handing out routers seems like a random move for even T-Mobile, but it’s a solid one. And if you’re a customer (or are thinking of making the switch), it’s hard to say no to a free wireless router. It’ll be available in stores beginning September 17th.
[Image credits: Associated Press (router, Neville Ray), T-Mobile (last image)]
It looks like everybody in the smartphone industry is having a go at Apple‘s new iPhone announcements. ASUS‘ attempt is a pretty good one, claiming that you can get 6 ZenFones – shaped in a 6, of course – for the price of one “Apple”, presumably referring to the large individual cost of Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While ASUS’ latest ZenFone, the ZenFone 6, doesn’t necessarily compete with the new iPhones on a performance level, it must be said that their devices are not bad value, and it’s not at all a bad way, at least, financially, to get your family decked out with smartphones.
For reference, the ZenFone 6 is a 5-inch device carrying a dualcore Intel Atom processor 2GHz and 13MP camera. While the iPhone’s internals look quite a lot like the ZenFone’s on paper, their outright performance could not be more different. The ZenFone 6 isn’t likely to be a candidate for a pocket supercomputer and the new iPhones should be able to stick it to even the newest Android phones. But again, 6 ZenFones or 1 Apple?
What do you think of ASUS’ attempt at commenting on the new iPhone 6 devices? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.
The post ASUS asks: Would you prefer 6 ZenFones or 1 Apple? appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
If you’ve wanted an affordable 8-inch Windows tablet from ASUS, your only recent option has been the VivoTab Note 8. While that’s no doubt a fine machine, you might not want to pay extra for pen input if you don’t need it. Thankfully, you don’t have to any more; ASUS has quietly launched the VivoTab 8, a close cousin to the Note 8 that drops the stylus and digitizer. In many ways, it’s now a MeMO Pad 8 running Microsoft’s software instead of Google’s. You’ll still find a 1.33GHz Atom processor, a 1,280 x 800 display and a 2-megapixel front camera, but a few things have switched up to accommodate Windows while keeping the price in check. The newer slate has a larger 32GB of expandable storage and ships with 2GB of RAM in some regions instead of 1GB, but it drops back to a 2-megapixel rear cam — sorry, you won’t be capturing any photographic masterpieces here. ASUS hasn’t revealed any launch plans yet. However, it’s safe to presume that the VivoTab 8 will save you at least some cash versus the Note 8’s original $330 sticker.
Everything that goes out of fashion, we’re told, will eventually come back, which is why we still have a pair of tight leather pants and some bell-bottom flares stashed in the back of our wardrobe. It’s a similar trend with consumer technology, and this year’s IFA has seen fit to bring back head-mounted VR (last seen in the early ’90s), netbooks (declared dead a in 2011) and digital watches. Of course, it wasn’t just these devices that got unveiled at the show, after all, there was also Samsung’s bent-screen phablet and Kobo’s waterproof e-reader. Still, if you think that you missed out on any of the devices that were announced over the last week, why not check out our gallery for a few of the highlights.
Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge are Official! Samsung Gear VR will Hopefully Blow Our Minds! – ManDroid Daily
IFA 2014 has kicked off, and a lot of goodies came out today. The Galaxy Note 4 was finally made official, as well as the Galaxy Note Edge. Samsung also showed off the Gear VR, that will bring quite an experience to your home theater experience. If you want to hear most of the things that came out of IFA today, check out the Daily below, or hit the links provided as well.
The post Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge are Official! Samsung Gear VR will Hopefully Blow Our Minds! – ManDroid Daily appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Today, we take a look at the Galaxy Note Edge’s bent display, test drive Samsung’s Gear VR headset, go hands-on with the Xperia Z3 and more from IFA 2014! Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
Filed under: Misc
We have been watching ASUS release little teasers for their upcoming Android Wear powered smartwatch, the ASUS ZenWatch, for the last coupe of weeks. We knew they would be making their official announcement at IFA, which is well underway in Berlin right now. ASUS has made the device official, at least in terms of specs and pricing in Europe.
Actual hardware specs we are looking at the following:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor at 1.2GHz
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB internal storage
- 1.63″ AMOLED display (320×320 with a 278ppi)
- 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- 9 Axis sensor and Bio Sensor
- IP55 rated water resistance
- Measures in at 50.6 x 39.8 x 7.9 – 9.4 mm
- Weighs 50g, Strap weighs 25g
- Comes in Silver and Rose Gold with a brown leather strap
ASUS expands Android Wear a little and tosses in their own little software flares. Such as being able to cover the watch’s face to silence an incoming phone call, trigger your devices camera from the ZenWatch, Tap Tap and Find My Phone helps you locate your phone from the watch and it also has a suite of health apps through the Wellness manager. ASUS also tossed in over 100 combination watch faces to give it the look that is right for you when you want it.
ASUS CEO, Jerry Shen, said they were looking to make this a competitive watch in the states and bring it in under $199. However, pricing details list it for 199 eruos in Europe. If that price sticks state side that puts it at $261.59 USD. Hardly under the $199. I assume pricing will vary here in the US.
If ASUS pushes it under the $199 barrier int he states, will it entice your wallet, or is the Moto360 still the Android Wear device of the year to beat? Even though we know very little about it.
Pricing courtesy of Phandroid
Almost seven years ago, ASUS tried to launch the $199 Eee PC Linux laptop that ended up costing above $300, and since then the Eee brand shifted its focus to the more premium market before quietly fading away. That’s why we’re slightly surprised to see ASUS launching the EeeBook X205 — not to be confused with ASUS’ dual-screen concept device — at IFA today, which is an 11.6-inch Windows 8.1 laptop that’ll cost just $199 (or €199; both including tax). If all goes well, this will be another very affordable option alongside the leaked HP Stream 14 of the same price and operating system, and it’ll even be cheaper than ASUS’ own Chromebooks.
The X205 weighs only 980 grams and packs a quad-core Intel Atom T3735 Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, a 1,366 x 768 LED backlit screen, a VGA webcam, a microSDXC slot and a micro-HDMI socket. The machine — available in black, white, gold or red — boasts a full-size keyboard along with a large trackpad, and its 38Wh battery claims to offer up to 12 hours of web browsing time. In terms of storage, you can choose either 32GB or 64GB of flash memory, in addition to a generous amount of free cloud storage space: 15GB of Microsoft OneDrive for life, plus 100GB of Microsoft OneDrive and 500GB of ASUS WebStorage for two years.
There’s no word on the exact launch date for the X205, but we’ve been told that it’ll become available some time between late Q3 and early Q4 this year. Let’s see if HP can beat that, and more importantly, here’s hoping both companies that deliver their promises.
ASUS’ Zenbook UX301 was already rather impressive with its glass-covered body and 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen, but its record has just been broken by yet another ZenBook. Announced at IFA today, the new UX305 is a gorgeous all-aluminum Ultrabook that packs an insanely sharp 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800 (276 ppi) display (as used by the bulkier UX303LN), and at just 12.3mm thick, it’s certainly the world’s slimmest laptop to carry this class of screen resolution. The trade-off here is that this isn’t a touchscreen, but the 1.2kg weight does beat the 1.35kg 13-inch MacBook Air. Much like the rest of the ZenBook series, the UX305 is also quite the looker with its diamond cut highlights plus signature spun-metal finish in either “Obsidian Stone” or “Ceramic Alloy” color option. Little else about this laptop has been mentioned so far: All we know is that it’ll pack an Intel Core M processor, 10 hours of battery life and a choice of 128GB / 256GB SSDs. We’ll get back to you guys when we hear more later this year.
It’s IFA, so of course ASUS is going to launch a new tablet. This time it’s a new MeMO Pad 7 (ME572C) that not only sports a different Intel Atom chip (the 64-bit quad-core Z3560 that clocks up to 1.83GHz), but it also has a new chic look that’s “inspired by clutch bags and wallets,” as well as a screen upgrade to a whopping 1,920 x 1,200 resolution (323 ppi) — a nice jump from the predecessor’s 1,280 x 800 panel. The new Android 4.4 tablet is also thinner at 8.3mm and slimmer at 269 grams, thanks to its fiberglass body, duralumin frame and slim screen bezels. Other features include 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of internal storage, up to 64GB of microSD expansion, up to 16GB of free cloud storage, dual speakers and 5MP/2MP cameras.
Come late Q3 or early Q4, the new MeMO Pad 7 will be available starting from €199 (about $260) with red, gold and black color options; and there will also be an LTE version (ME572CL) if you don’t mind paying a bit more.