Did Virgin Mobile USA cut an anti-Android deal with Apple?

All right, so the big news is, Virgin Mobile USA will soon carry the Apple iPhone 4S. Which is to say, my pre-paid, Sprint-owned cellular telephone carrier may have cut a deal with Apple to make all their Android devices suddenly look unattractive. Why do I think that? Oh, no reason, just the plan prices. As my long-time Web contact Zoli Erdos asked of Virgin Mobile’s Twitter customer service account, and got an interesting (but not entirely clear) answer: Wait, “Auto top-up” just means letting them charge for monthly service automatically. I let them do that for my Motorola Triumph. …

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“No Evil”: My NET10 Wireless Experiences

Update (2012-02-26): Apparently NET10 now sells SIMs for use with AT&T, T-Mobile, and unlocked GSM phones, if you’re willing to pay for the $50/month Unlimited Talk/Text/Data plan. Thanks to Anna for her comment. Last summer I began using a prepaid cell phone (an LG 300G, the cheapest, most basic model available at my purchase location) from NET10 Wireless, supposedly the “high-usage division” of TracFone. NET10’s rates are flat: 10¢ per minute (even if it’s actually one second, like any other per-minute charge) and 5¢ per text message in or out. The phone’s been very handy for some important calls and …

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Google Voice App Rejections: Catalyst for Cellular Openness?

If you haven’t heard, Apple rejected Google’s official Google Voice application several weeks ago (article from this week). However, I (at least) didn’t hear the news until recently, when it became known that Apple also began pulling other Google Voice apps from its iPhone/iPod Touch App Store. TechCrunch’s sources say that AT&T was behind the bans, and I’ll believe it. Now, I’m not an Apple fanboy, but I’ve been considering getting an iPod Touch lately. One of my roommates here at Emerson’s summer program (yes I know I need to blog about that too; soon, I promise) has one, and …

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iPhones Generate iTypos

A study conducted by Chicago-based usability research firm User Centric reveals that iPhone users make over twice as many typos in SMS messages as users of full-keyboard and keypad phones. Their results also indicated that iPhone users do not get better at using the touch-screen keyboard with experience; users of other phone groups were given iPhones and asked to type a message, and they had the same error rate as veteran (a month or more) iPhone users. Kind of interesting that the latest user interface revolution has flaws over and above preexisting technologies. Perhaps users make errors because of the …

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Hacker Software Jailbreaks iPhones Without a Computer

This seems to be an Apple banner day: three out of five news items concern the company. The latest news? A hacker program for the iPhone named AppSnapp installs itself on iPhone and iPod Touch devices by exploiting a vulnerability in the embedded Safari browser, and then patches the vulnerability after installation. A rather interesting idea, that is. The website for the program boasts that your device is more secure with AppSnapp than it is without, as the vulnerability used is a long-standing TIFF handler problem. The program does not unlock the phone; users must use anySIM for that. The …

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No Credit or Debit Card, No iPhone

Speaking of Apple, it has come out recently that consumers can only buy an iPhone with a credit or debit card; cash isn’t accepted any more. This restriction comes as an addition to the two-phone-per-person limit enforced since the iPhone’s release. An employee at the Apple Store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood says Apple needs to do it so they can track who buys the iPhones. The estimated are costing them money — up to $4,500,000, according to some estimates — and Apple wants to crack down. This whole business of unlocking and relocking the iPhone is getting ridiculous; it’s …

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iPhone Stats: 250,000 Units Unlocked

Apparently, the 10% to 15% guestimations analysts made about unlocked iPhones were too low. A whopping 18% (approximately 250,000) of all iPhones sold so far (about 1.4 million) are unlocked and running on networks other than AT&T. Apple COO Tim Cook, who made the announcement, also warned users that Apple won’t let the phones remain unlocked for long. Remember ? I’m watching for another one; it’s definitely coming. Apple may be , but you’ll still have to take your apps on an AT&T service plan.

iPhone Incites Consumer Awareness of Locked Phones

Apparently, has sparked consumer awareness in the United States. People are starting to ask themselves why their phones are locked. This is a good thing; carriers have been locking phones for years, and it boils down to the insertion of a few lines of code in each phone’s software that keeps it from working with someone else. The handset makers and service providers do it intentionally, to make more money at the expense of their consumers. In other parts of the world, where GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) phones are the norm (we have them here, but some networks …

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iPhone SDK Due in February

In what looks like a response to all the iPhone hacking going on, Apple has announced that they will be releasing an SDK (Software Development Kit) for the iPhone and iPod Touch this coming February. A step in the right direction, finally. Soon, hacks like Jailbreak and the newer iPhoneJailBreak won’t be necessary. Third-party apps will be written and installable directly on the phone without any tweaks. I can finally say, “Go Apple!”

iJailBreak: New iPhone App Installer

PC World reports that a thirteen-year-old coder, named AriX, has released an application to install third-party applications on the new iPhone firmware. It is freely downloadable from Google Code. The only interaction necessary, according to the article, is a soft-reset of the iPhone. I don’t know what’s more impressive: The fact that the new encrypted software has been cracked, or the fact that a 13-year-old did this. Very impressive! Congratulations, AriX!