Tag Archive | general

T-Mobile’s Latest Promo Offers Entire Lineup of Phones for No Upfront Payment

T-Mobile is continuing to shake things up.

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The No. 4 U.S. carrier on Friday announced a promotion that will offer its entire lineup of phones for no upfront payment. It isn’t really dropping the price of phones, just spreading the entire cost of the phone over 24 months instead of using a mix of an initial down payment and monthly payments.

Still, the move shows the flexibility T-Mobile has since moving to a model in which it separates the cost of the phone from its monthly service.

“The number of reasons not to switch to T-Mobile this summer is ZERO,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. “This is a fantastic offer and we’re making it easier than ever for customers to get the latest amazing devices.”

Under the new promotion, which starts on Saturday, customers can get a 16 gigabyte iPhone 5, for example, for no upfront fee and 24 monthly payments of $27 per month. The Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Q10 and HTC One are all $25 per month, while the entry-level Nokia Lumia 521 is just $5 per month.

The device fee is then added to T-Mobile’s monthly service fees. Options range from a $50-per-month plan that includes unlimited talk, text and 500 megabytes of high-speed data to an option for $70 per month that includes unlimited high-speed data. Additional lines for family members cost $30 for the first extra line and $10 per additional line after that.

Though not cutting device prices, the move could nonetheless be attractive to those looking to get a new phone without a big initial cost.

Update: In a telephone interview, T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said that the new option came in response to a move by AT&T to offer some devices for no money down.

“This is really about being fast and highly competitive,” Sievert said. “We aren’t going to cede one inch of the territory and of the momentum” it has gained from its “un-carrier” approach.

As part of its Next early-upgrade program, AT&T is offering a number of phones for no money down, with installment payments of $15 to $50 per month for 20 months. A Samsung Galaxy S4, for example, would cost $32 a month for 20 months under that program. (Customers would also pay AT&T’s standard monthly rates in addition to the device financing payment.)

Sievert did not give an end date for T-Mobile’s new offer, but said promotions such as these tend to run days or weeks, and not for months.

He also said this move was not the next step that Legere had hinted will come in the fall.

“Un-carrier 3.0 is still to come,” Sievert said.

L.A. Unified School District Wants iPads for All 640,000 Students

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Back in June, the Los Angeles Unified School District awarded Apple a $30 million contract to provide its students with iPads. Under its terms, the company will supply about 31,000 iPads to 47 LAUSD schools, each preloaded with a bunch of educational software. But evidently that’s just the first phase of the program.

According to an LAUSD representative, the nation’s second-largest school district hopes to provide iPads to all 640,000 students by late 2014. Which means it’s going to buy a few hundred thousand more iPads over the next year – though it’s not yet sure how it’s going to do it. “We’re hoping that we will get a lot of private donors,” Mark Hovatter, chief facilities executive for LAUSD, told CITEworld.

That’s very good news for Apple. If LAUSD is able to pull together the money to realize this plan, it will be purchasing hundreds of thousands of additional iPads. Which potentially means another big iPad contract in the offing, and the chance to expose thousands of kids to the iOS ecosystem.

Mark Zuckerberg to Speak on Immigration Issues at S.F. Film Premiere

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Home launch event.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to deliver an address on immigration issues in early August, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the first time he has spoken publicly on the matter.

The speech will include the San Francisco premiere of a new film, “Documented,” which chronicles the struggles of undocumented immigrants entering the United States.

The film was written and directed by Jose Antonio Vargas, a writer and immigration rights activist who revealed his own status as an undocumented immigrant in a widely circulated New York Times Magazine article in 2011. (Vargas also wrote a lengthy profile of Zuckerberg for the New Yorker a few years ago.)

The premiere is sponsored by and ties in perfectly with FWD.us, the sometimes controversial Zuckerberg-backed political action group focused on U.S. immigration reform. The issues that FWD.us supports are felt by many tech companies in Silicon Valley; in particular, the focus on changing certain legislation which would allow for more annual H-1B visas, ultimately granting more foreign workers entry into the U.S.

But, as the Chronicle notes, the premiere will be the first time Silicon Valley will enter the wider debate on immigration reform as a whole, rather than just focus on the expansion of visa programs in order to recruit international engineering talent.

The film debuts at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Aug. 5.

Google Suggests Web-TV Thingies You Can Buy Instead of Google’s Sold-Out Chromecast

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Google has not only sold out of Netflix giveaways to bundle with its Chromecast device, but it doesn’t have any Chromecasts to sell right now, period. If you place an order on Google’s site, you’ll be told there is a two- to three-week wait before one will ship.

As a helpful AllThingsD reader points out, as of this morning, you could still buy a Chromecast from Best Buy’s website. That’s no longer the case, either.

But if you do end up looking for a Chromecast on BestBuy.com, you will find a list of other ways you can watch Web video on your TV.

The list is provided by Google, via its AdSense ad units, which means that, even if Google can’t sell you a gadget, it might still make money by getting you to click on a link.

The list will change over time, and will vary depending on your browsing history. Here’s one I just saw:

best buy chromecast adsense

If you’re in the market for a Chromecast, you might very well have heard of Roku, which offers gadgets that do similar things, but at a higher price point.

It’s interesting to note that Google’s auction/algorithm thinks you might also want to check out devices from Western Digital, which has had a hard time getting attention for its streaming boxes. It’s also interesting to see that Aereo, a subscription service that can’t show up on your TV without help from Apple TV, Roku (or, theoretically, Chromecast), is on the list, too.

Orchestra To-Do, the Predecessor to Mailbox, Will Be Shut Down

Orchestra, the to-do list app that never took off but helped inspire its creators to make Mailbox, the innovative mobile email client now owned by Dropbox, is going away. It will effectively stop working September 6, the company said in an email to users today.

Barnaby Jack, Famous Hacker, Dies

Barnaby Jack, the hacker known for making an ATM literally spit out cash, died Thursday, days before he was set to show how to disable a pacemaker from 30 feet away at Black Hat, the large annual hacker conference. He was 36 years old.

Jack was the director of embedded security research at security firm IOActive. He had previously worked at a variety of security firms, including McAfee.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the death Friday but didn’t yet know the cause.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

After Hacking Attack, Apple’s Dev Center Site Is Up and Running Again

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Eight days after taking it down in response to a security breach, Apple has restored the website for its Developer Center.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. But the entry page of the site was clearly visible this afternoon. Some sections, like forums, were still offline. Certificates, identifiers and profiles were back online.

An email circulated to Apple developers said, “Thank you for bearing with us while we bring these important systems back online. We will continue to update you with our progress.” It has also added a system status page so members can keep track of what’s back and working and what’s not.

Access to the site had been curtailed for several days as Apple investigated the circumstances of a security incident said to have occurred on July 18.

The company said in an email to its developer community (see below) three days after the incident took place that the site had been accessed by what it called “an intruder.”

Apple said in the original email disclosing the breach that it would be “completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database.” It hasn’t gone into any further detail about the nature of the attack.

The Apple developer site grants access to iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and other software development tools. When it first went down it was marked with a notice saying it was down for maintenance. A later notice apologized that maintenance was taking longer than expected. Developers were told that memberships that would have expired during the downtime had been automatically extended.

Since extended downtime of this sort is rare with Apple, people in the dev community naturally began to wonder what was up. Apple finally came clean about the attempted attack and said that “…we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers’ names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed.” Still no word on that.

Here’s the full text of the email sent around to developers.

Developer Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles Now Available

We appreciate your patience as we work to bring our developer services back online. Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles, software downloads, and other developer services are now available. If you would like to know the availability of a particular system, visit our status page.

If your program membership expired or is set to expire during this downtime. It will be extended and your app will remain on the App Store. If you have any other concerns about your account please contact us.

Thank you for bearing with us while we bring these important systems back online. We will continue to update you with our progress.

Yahoo Plans Splashy New San Francisco Digs (And Dreams of Neon Billboard’s Return)

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Justin Sullivan, Getty Images News

According to multiple sources close to the situation, Yahoo is close to signing a lease for a splashy new San Francisco outpost to keep up with the fast growth of other Web companies that have opened high-profile offices here.

Yahoo’s Mayer apparently is hoping for a big PR announcement of the space in San Francisco, much as she did with the recent news that the company was opening new digs in Times Square in Manhattan, in the former offices of the New York Times.

Mayer apparently likes old media locations. While the company has been looking at a number of locations in an increasingly tight office real estate market in San Francisco, it has zeroed in on a large amount of space in the famed San Francisco Chronicle building at 5th and Mission Streets.

That is now the location of Square, the high-profile online payments company which did a handsome redo of its office there. It is expected to vacate and move to an even swankier new space nearby by the end of September.

It’s not clear if Yahoo has actually signed the lease there or how many floors it will take, but sources said that the deal is in advanced stages.

Yahoo, whose main headquarters are in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley, already has a large location in San Francisco that houses several hundred sales, engineering and other employees over three floors.

But it is located in a nondescript office tower in the duller financial district of the city and not in the more hip environs south of Market Street, which has seen a major renaissance over the last two years due to the opening of numerous Internet companies.

That’s where companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Square and also many Sand Hill Road venture firms have built dramatic and highly designed offices. In addition, companies with existing big Silicon Valley campuses, such as Google, have also located fast-forward spaces in San Francisco.

In fact, the search giant is apparently now dramatically expanding its footprint at its SF HQ in Morgan Stanley’s Hills Plaza building, which is right at the foot of the Bay Bridge on the city’s waterfront.

As does Google, so copies Yahoo these days – from free food to trendy offices.

In fact, sources said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer – who was a longtime Google exec – has been eager to up the company’s attractiveness to younger entrepreneurs, which includes providing appropriate urban digs within a stone’s throw of twee coffee roasters and ironic donut purveyors.

There are, obviously, no molasses, Guinness-soaked pear donuts easily found in Sunnyvale.

Yahoo has tried to create some hipster cred in the big city before. In 2006, it founded an incubator space in San Francisco called Brickhouse, to foster fast-forward ideas. But it ended up shuttering it two years later due to cost-cutting.

The same expense-chopping was to blame for the end of the iconic Yahoo billboard on the eastbound lane of the Bay Bridge – a retro motel-style one with many quirky mottos, including, “A Nice Place to Stay in the Internet” – that the company gave up in 2011 after a decade. It has since been rented by Clear Channel to the Gap’s Old Navy.

According to sources, Yahoo’s marketing head has told employees that the company has been trying hard to reclaim its past glory, in neon lights at least.

I emailed Yahoo for comment, but horses will fly – it could happen! – before I expect any kind of substantive response from PR at the company.

Fab Overhauls Its Design, Highlights Personalized Recommendations and Exclusive Merchandise

E-commerce shop Fab unveiled a redesign of its website today, with a simplified homepage that features giant product images, an area dedicated to product recommendations personalized to each shopper, and a new navigation tab that highlights merchandise exclusive to the company. The company’s mobile apps for iOS and Android phones are expected to hit their respective app stores within a few days, Fab said.

Top Skype Exec Mark Gillett Departs Microsoft

According to an internal memo sent this morning to employees, top Skype exec Mark Gillett is leaving Microsoft. Sources said that Gillett – who is corporate VP for Skype, as well as its Lync communications product – has another job he is headed to, although the memo did not mention where he was going. Gillett, who is responsible for Skype’s product, engineering and operations worldwide, has been with the online telephony company for several years, including before Microsoft bought it. Previous to that, he worked at private equity giant Silver Lake in Europe.

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