Archive for category AT&T

AT&T to expand marketing with mini-drama

In an effort to explore new marketing territory, AT&T is launching a mini-drama titled Daybreak to showcase its products and technology.

Throughout the course of  five, 10-minute clips, viewers will follow protagonist Ben Wilkins as he becomes entangled in a global conspiracy against an underground crime group known as the “Jack Boxers,”  all while wielding AT&T gadgets. Aside from the 10-minute shorts, fans can play an interactive role with the Daybreak storyline at  www.daybreak2012.com or www.jackboxers.com. Daybreak applications for AT&T smartphones and tablets will be introduced shortly.

AT&T deserves kudos for trying to engage customers through new channels. Hopefully the clips will have a good balance between advertising AT&T products and actual storyline. The last thing anyone wants to sit through is a cheesy 10-minute commercial.

The first Daybreak clip will be available Thursday, May 31 at www.daybreak.com

Click here to watch the Daybreak trailer.

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Tech Review: HTC One X

AT&T and HTC launched their latest smartphone, the HTC One X, last weekend to eager customers who wanted to see if it would live up to its buzz as the newest Android device and a real competitor against the iPhone. After spending some time with the HTC One X, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up this device if you’re an Android enthusiast.

While its large 4.7-inch screen initially made me question my feelings for the smartphone, I found its unibody polycarbonate design, similar to that of the Nokia Lumia 900, made it sleek and quite easy to handle without it feeling like a drag to carry around. If you’re concerned with bulkiness as I found with the One X’s cousins, the Titan and Titan II, don’t worry. The One X weighs in at just 4.6 ounces and is easy to carry around. However, because of the unibody design, there is no way to change the battery. If there are battery or battery charge issues down the road, there’s little the user can do.

The large LED screen of the One X makes it easy to read messages, browse the web and watch videos. If screen quality is important to you, the One X may be for you. As someone who encounters many smartphones, it had been awhile since a device’s screen really caught my attention. The resolution and sharpness of the One X is worth checking out.

The HTC One X runs the latest Android software, Ice Cream Sandwich. With some devices still coming out with the old Android Software, it’s good to see HTC avoid the hassle of developing an update and releasing the phone with newest software from the get-go. I found it easy to run multiple applications, stream video and browse the web with the combination of Ice Cream Sandwich and the dual core processor.

Photo enthusiasts should seriously consider the One X. While the 8-megapixel camera is common in the smartphone market, the application allows users to shutter photos, which helps users find the best photo in a series. Mobile users partial to the trendy nostalgia look – thanks Instagram – will be happy to know the One X comes with a slew of similar features.

The HTC One X has been available for pre-order through AT&T the past few weeks and is expected in retail outlets in the next few weeks for $200 with a two-year contract. With a bunch of smartphones and other Android devices available for less, there’s a question whether or not this device is worth it. If you’re looking for the probably the best all-around Android device, I’d say $200 is worth it.

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AT&T’s Aspire Program prepares workers for high-tech world

I came across an interesting article this morning about the struggles of frustrated job seekers and frustrated employers who also struggle to find workers with the right skill set. This problem appears to be especially true for high-tech industries, telecommunications included. However, the article highlights how AT&T is working to close the skill set gap among future workers with its Aspire program.

The Aspire program is a multi-faceted program aimed at increasing high school graduation rates and improving skill sets among students. A $250 million commitment from AT&T during the next five years will provide grants to schools, non-profits and other projects dedicated to improving high school graduation rates. Aside from a financial commitment, AT&T has had more than 100,000 students participate in its job shadowing program, giving high school students firsthand business experience.

It’s great to see big companies dedicate their resources to ensure American workers are prepared to work in a high-tech world. I hope that more companies in similar industries invest in comparable programs in the future. Not only are programs such as AT&T’s Aspire program beneficial for students, but for employers looking for skilled workers.

To read more about AT&T’s Aspire program, click here.

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Tech Review: HTC Titan II

When I encountered the original HTC Titan last fall, I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of what I thought was a mini tablet. While I was impressed by the screen quality and resolution, I felt like I was handling a smartphone that could also double as a brick or a paperweight. So when I heard HTC would be creating a Titan II, I had to see what the next generation had in store.

If you’re a fan of the HTC Titan and its mega size, there’s a good chance you will like the Titan II. Although the Titan II has a 4.7-inch screen just like the original, the design feels sleeker. Or perhaps I’m getting used to seeing the mega sized smartphones on the market? Regardless, its screen size makes it easy to browse web pages without constantly zooming in and out as well as watching video without having to squint at a small screen.

HTC Titan II

The Titan II offers nearly the same user experience as using the original;  the Titan II runs a Windows OS just like the Titan. However, the Titan II is 4G LTE, making the phone significantly faster than its predecessor. The fast speed of the Titan II is pretty great, but the biggest upgrade comes from the camera, an impressive 16-megapixel camera. In comparison to the original Titan’s camera or the iPhone 4s, both of which have 8-megapixel cameras, the Titan II is a significant upgrade.  If you rely on your mobile to snap pictures while you’re out and about, the Titan II is a better choice.

The improvements to the Titan II don’t make it strikingly different than its predecessor, yet it’s a worthy contender in the smartphone market, especially if you consider yourself an amateur photographer. You can pick the HTC Titan II for $200 with a two year contract from AT&T.

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The New iPad hits stores March 16

After months of speculation, Apple unveiled the “new iPad” at a press conference today featuring a 9.7-inch retina display. The device’s high-resolution display has a resolution of 2,048×1,536, or a whopping 3.1 million pixels. The new iPad also has an updated processor and is the first Apple device to connect to 4G LTE services offered by carriers, including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.


Weighing 1.4 pounds, the new iPad will be slightly heavier than the iPad 2 but will still have a generous 10 hour battery life. The new iPad includes similar features as other Apple devices like the iPhone 4. The iPad features a backside 5-megapixel camera that allows for 1,080-pixel video recording and image stabilization.

The new iPad will start at $499 for Wi-Fi only model which had been the same starting price as the previous model. Models capable of 4G speeds will start at $629, not including service plans.

While I am excited to the see the new iPad up close, today’s press conference also shows Apple isn’t immune from competition. Apple also stated it will continue to sell the iPad 2, at a reduced starting price of $399, making it more competitive with the lower-priced devices on the market such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

The new iPad will be available starting on March 16 in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Germany

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Updates from Wisconsin service providers

Several mobile carriers in Wisconsin recently made announcements regarding infrastructure updates, improved data plans and capital expenditures. Wisconsin mobile users should expect faster and better mobile service in the coming months. See below for specific announcements from Wisconsin providers.

AT&T

AT&T announced yesterday it has invested $450 million from 2008-2011 in the Milwaukee area to improve mobile broadband coverage and overall performance. Upgrades include more than 250 network enhancements to deploy 4G speed and increase cell site capacity. The Milwaukee-area upgrades are just a portion of the $1 billion AT&T invested in Wisconsin mobile infrastructure since 2008.

Verizon

Verizon announced earlier this week plans to launch its family data plan. As mobile consumers continue to purchase and use more than one device, the family data plan is an opportunity to combine data and save money in the long run. This could be a great option for families who already use ‘family plans’ to budget talking minutes and text messages or for someone looking to share data between a smartphone and tablet.  Verizon will begin its family data plan rollout midyear.

US Celluar

US Cellular recently announced a slew of Wisconsin cities that will be getting 4G LTE access in 2012 (see my post here). Also, the popular Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II (see my review here) will be available to US Cellular customers sometime in March.

Cellcom

Cellcom engineers recently completed testing on three 4G cell sites located in Sturgeon Bay. Sturgeon Bay is just part of Cellcom’s first phase of 4G LTE rollout that also includes Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Wausau, and parts of Oconto and Marinette Counties. An additional 69 cell sites will light up by the end of 2012 in the second phase of the company’s 4G launch.

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Tech Review: Pantech Burst

If you’re anxious to hop on a 4G LTE network, but can’t afford to spend a lot on a new phone, Pantech’s Burst is the first 4G LTE smartphone from AT&T with an under-$100 price tag. It may not be as flashy as other 4G LTE smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket (read our review here), but it’s still a solid smartphone for someone who doesn’t want to wait to tap into the LTE network.

Pantech Burst

While other mega-screen smartphones might have the ‘wow’ factor, the slightly smaller Burst is much easier to handle and more hand friendly. The 4-inch Super AMOLED screen doesn’t disappoint and the display is vibrant enough to make any smartphone user happy. Even with a slightly smaller screen, the touch screen was responsive with very few texting mistakes.

 

The Burst runs on an Android Gingerbread platform, though it is expected to run Android’s newest platform Ice Cream Sandwich in the near future. From running apps to web browsing, I didn’t experience any glitches or snags with the Burst.

For the $50 price tag, there are a few tradeoffs. If taking photos with your phone is important to you, you might want to rethink the Burst. Its 5-megapixel camera takes decent photos, but nothing to write home about. Also, the battery life on the Burst may cause problems for those on the go without a portable charger.  However, I think these are livable tradeoffs for the price.

Though the Burst may not be a top-tier smartphone, don’t discount it without first checking it out.  If you’re looking to utilize the 4G LTE network as soon as possible, the Burst is worth looking into. If you’re in the market for a tablet as well, AT&T has an almost unbeatable deal where customers can pick up the Burst and Pantech’s Element tablet for $250 with a two-year contract.

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