Judy’s Tech News Digest

Free BlackBerry, Anyone?

z10In an effort to unload their BlackBerry Z10 stock, Verizon is offering the phone for free and it is just 49 cents at AT&T.  A two-year contract is required, of course.

The Z10 was originally priced at $199 by both carriers.  But the demand has been pretty abysmal.  $934 million of BlackBerry’s $965 million fiscal second-quarter loss this year was attributed to the Z10.

Even for free, will many people be interested?  The smartphone world is currently ruled by devices sporting Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android operating system.

With BlackBerry’s recent problems with looking for a buyer and then, wait, no, not looking for a buyer, how many people will be willing to commit to a two-year contract for a phone that wasn’t successful to begin with?


Oh, No!  Cellphone Calls on Planes!

planeOne of the few places where we have been spared of hearing people’s personal, sometimes inane cellphone conversations may soon be quiet no more.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing easing restrictions on mobile broadband during flights.  The proposal will be taken into consideration at the FCC’s December 12th meeting.

The proposal would also allow passengers to use their smartphones for phone calls, email, texting and download data when their plane altitude is at least 10,000 feet.  Use would be restricted during takeoff and landings.


NASA Launches Next Generation Phone Satellite

phonesatOn November 19th, PhoneSat 2.4 was launched  aboard a U.S. Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket.  Sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, Phonesat 2.4 will test the smartphone’s capability as communication technology for nanosatellites and as hardware to manage pointing, taking images and software execution.

Improvements incorporated into PhoneSat 2.4 include a two-way radio to enable command of the satellite from the ground, solar arrays to enable it to be operational for up to a year, and a system for attitude control.


Verizon Offers Daily Data Plan for Tablets

verizonVerizon is offering a new $5 “Daily Plan.”  The new plan gives you 24 hours of access to 300MB of data.  The plan runs out whenever you reach either of these limits (time or data).  The new Daily Plan is applicable to any of Verizon’s tablets or connected devices.

This plan makes sense if you are going to need cellular data for no more than three days a month, which would cost $15 for 900MB.

If you use more cellular data than that, you are better off signing up for a monthly plan ($20 for 1 GB) or adding the tablet to a Share Everything plan ($10).


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