Facebook is taking its standalone app strategy to an extreme new level on Wednesday. It’s starting to notify users they’ll no longer be able to send and receive messages in Facebook for iOS and Android, and will instead have to download Facebook Messenger to chat on mobile. In an on stage talk I did with Mark Zuckerberg in November, the EO revealed an explanation for today’s change that Facebook’s PR team referred me to: “the other thing that we’re doing with Messenger is making it so once you have the standalone Messenger app, we are actually taking messaging out of the main Facebook app. And the reason why we’re doing that is we found that having it as a second-class thing inside the Facebook app makes it so there’s more friction to replying to messages, so we would rather have people be using a more focused experience for that.”
Read the full story at TechCrunch.
If you like Samsung smartphones with alternative operating systems you might want to listen up with the Wave 3 smartphone launching globally. The Wave 3 is a nice looking smartphone that runs the Samsung bada OS. We were hands on with the Wave 3 back in early September.
Samsung calls the Wave 3 smartphone its flagship offering and it has a 4-inch WVGA super AMOLED screen. The Wave 3 also runs a 1.4GHz processor and has a 5MP rear camera with autofocus and a LED flash along with a VGA resolution front camera. It operates on networks that will let it work in countries around the world.
The Wave 3 runs BADA 2.0 and as of today, it is available in Germany, Italy, Russia, as well as the French market it first launched in. Samsung notes the smartphone will come to other countries later this year. There is barely a month left in this year so those other locations will have to come soon. We also heard in September that Bada would go open source in 2012.
Apple is supposedly having an event on September 10, and one of the rumored announcements for this hypothetical event is the final version of iOS 7. While support is planned for the iPhones 4, 4S, and 5; the fifth-generation iPod touch; and the iPad 2, iPad mini, and both Retina iPads, a report from 9to5Mac says that the tablet builds are running behind the phone builds and may be delayed slightly. Citing “chatter within Apple” and a feeling among developers that the iPad builds are relatively “unstable and unreliable,” the report says that Apple may opt to upgrade its tablets in a 7.0.1 release that trails the iPhone’s upgrade by a few weeks. The beta builds of iOS 7 also came to the iPhones first-the public beta introduced after WWDC supported iPhones and iPods, but it wasn’t until Beta 2 was issued two weeks later that the software could be installed on iPads.
Read the full story at Ars Technica.
If you’re staying at the Aloft Hotel in Manhattan or Silicon Valley, you’ll soon have a brand new way to get into your room. These two Starwood Hotels locations are fitting all of their rooms with technology that will let you unlock your door by using your smartphone as a room key. The best part of all? You don’t even need to check-in at the front desk. Guests will get a message in the official Starwood app before they arrive, containing a virtual key that unlocks your hotel room via Bluetooth. The tech is compatible with all iPhones 4s and newer, as well as on Android phones running version 4.3 or later. While some hotel owners have found that many travelers prefer to talk to a person when they check in to a hotel, many others have been searching for ways to eliminate the traffic jams that can sometimes be found at a hotel’s front desk. Could this tech become a new standard in the hotel industry? We’ll find out when the feature rolls out this spring.
Apple and China Mobile just announced that they’ve reached an agreement that will see the iPhone 5s and 5c launch on the China Mobile’s 4G and 3G networks early next year. Pre-registration is supposed to begin on December 25, with phones actually available on January 17 of next year. “China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the release. China Mobile says it has more than 760 million customers. Apple has been in talks with the network since 2011, and The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that a deal had been reached. According to a recent report from Canalys, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan collectively account for 39 percent of the global smartphone market, with Apple ranking fifth in the region’s smartphone sales.
Read the full story at TechCrunch.
Shelly Palmer chats with Juliet Huddy and Ben Simmoneau on Fox 5 s Good Day Wake Up about the BlackBerry Q10.
Rather than “rethinking possible,” AT&T is rethinking its plans, as it becomes the latest wireless carrier to offer customers the option to upgrade their phones more frequently. Starting July 26, AT&T will offer new “Next” plans for smartphones and tablets, on a post-paid basis. The plan allows customers to trade in their devices (feature phones excluded) every 12 months, provided the customer pays a monthly installment fee based on a 20-month cycle. So, you would take the full retail price of a smartphone or tablet, divide it by 20 and add that cost to your monthly traditional or family-share AT&T plan. Twelve months later, you trade in that device for a new one, and a new cycle begins. If you decide you want a new phone before the 12 months is up, Next owners still owe the cost of the remaining months’ fees.
Read the full story at All Things D.
Back in April, after extending upgrade periods to a full 24 months, Verizon introduced a new device payment that would allow customers to upgrade phones by purchasing them at full prices with the payments spread out over a 12-month period. According to sources of ours, Verizon will introduce a new upgrade initiative on August 25 called “VZ Edge” that will allow customers to upgrade their phones much more frequently to “stay on the leading edge of technology.” In an training slide detailing the new plan, we can see that Verizon is offering up VZ Edge as a way for customers to avoid signing contracts and upgrade fees, while remaining on the “best network” and with the latest devices. All of the specifics are not yet available, but this slide does mention that if customers are on the previously mentioned monthly payment plan, that they can upgrade to a new device at any time once they have paid off 50% of their current phone.
Read the full story at Droid-Life.