NicknamesAreStupid writes "Many outlets are reporting that AT&T will allow owners of iPhones whose contracts have expired to unlock their devices. One might think that a call or a quick trip to their local AT&T store would do the trick, and they do provide this service to people who are currently under contract with a newer phone and want to use their older one. However, AT&T has never made anything free to be easy, and this may not bode well for former customers who offer no profitable revenue. For example, when AT&T bought Bell South, they were ordered by the court as part of the acquisition to offer $10/month 'DSL lite' service. The maze in their website which led to this opportunity is now a story of legend. Will the key to this unlocking the iPhone be as byzantine for former customers?"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
retroworks writes "'Wi-Fi network use will nearly double in homes around the world come 2016, according to new Strategy Analytics research. Already used in some 439 million households worldwide, equivalent to 25% of all households, Wi-Fi home network penetration will expand to 42%.' The report says China already has the highest home Wi-Fi use."
An anonymous reader writes "U.S. consumers will be making a multimillion dollar donation to an Australian government agency in the near future, whether they like it or not. After the resolution of a recent lawsuit, practically every wireless-enabled device sold in the U.S. will now involve a payment to an Australian research organization called the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, which hired U.S. patent lawyers who told a very lucrative tale in an East Texas courtroom, that they had '[invented] the concept of wireless LAN ... [and] when the IEEE adopted the 802.11a standard in 1999 — and the more widely-used 802.11g standard years later — the group was choosing CSIRO technology. Now CSIRO had come to court to get the payments it deserved.'"
Qedward writes "British telecoms operator O2 has found that 88% of its staff are just as productive working remotely, while one-third claimed that they actually got more work done when they worked from home. 3,000 employees at O2's head office took part in a program that had them to work from home for one day, as practice for problems that may occur during the Olympic Games. From the article: '“The success of O2’s experiment extends much further than just allowing some of the workforce to stay at home and work. It proves that with the right thinking and planning, even the largest organizations can protect themselves from the most severe disruptions to their business,” said Ben Dowd, business director at O2.'"
Eponymous Hero writes "The Geordi La Forge in all of us rejoices as Google announces Google Glasses, the augmented reality glasses that will no doubt spy on everything you look at and target you with ads at that crucial moment. The only question left begging is how soon can we merge them with bionic eye implants?"
MrSeb, zachareye, and others wrote in with several reviews of the Nokia Lumia 900. Starting things off, Extreme Tech asks if the Lumia redefines the smartphone; BGR chimes in declaring the phone "terrific". Ars Technica, on the other hand, isn't quite so enthusiastic, especially about the camera optics. Anandtech joins Ars in not being particularly enthused. It looks like most reviewers are happy with the UI, but not so enthused about the hardware (low display resolution for one). Signs point to an OK handset, but nothing spectacular.
redletterdave writes "Popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which has been one of the most popular social start-ups despite only being housed on a single platform (iOS), was finally released onto the Android ecosystem on Tuesday. The app, which boasts more than 10 million users and plenty of ways to stylize and share photos, is available as a free download from Google Play."
alphadogg writes with a distressing bit of analysis of the training materials acquired by the ACLU last week. From the article: "Many law enforcement agencies across the U.S. track mobile phones as part of investigations, but only a minority ask for court-ordered warrants, according to a report released Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union. More than 90 law enforcement agencies said they track mobile phones during investigations, but only six reported receiving court-approved warrants after demonstrating that there's probable cause of a crime, according to an ACLU report based on public information requests filed by the group last year." The ACLU has a handy page allowing you to see if your local PD engages in such practices.
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from Broadband Convergent: "We all have been taught the basics of supply and demand since high school. If demand is high, prices rise. If demand is low, prices fall. Simple, but true; yet this concept can be manipulated artificially if, as seen with the latest projections of mobile operators, that higher demand means higher prices. Are the dire predictions being promoted by operator's a true demand, as we have been told, or capacity hoarding that will lead to artificially higher prices and more profits for the mobile industry?" The gist seems to be: operators have no incentive to maintain good infrastructure because it costs money and the artificial scarcity of capacity allows them to charge more.
Hugh Pickens writes "Ben Grubb reports that an iPhone app that essentially allowed users to stalk women nearby using a location-based social networking service has been pulled from the iTunes app store by its developer after an outcry of criticism including a comment by Gizmodo labelling the 'Girls Around Me' app as the 'world's creepiest' app and a comment in The New York Times Bits blog, which said it 'definitely' won the prize for being 'too creepy'. The 'Girls Around Me' app utilized publicly available data to show a map with women who had checked-in to locations nearby using Foursquare and let users view Facebook information of those ladies if they had tied their Facebook account to their Foursquare account and if their Facebook account privacy settings were lax enough to allow any user to access it. The promotional website used for marketing the app states that the service 'helps you see where nearby girls are checking in, and shows you what they look like and how to get in touch, adding 'In the mood for love, or just after a one-night stand? Girls Around Me puts you in control! Reveal the hottest nightspots, who's in them, and how to reach them.' Foursquare yanked the Girls Around Me app's access to its data, which in turn led to the app's developer removing it from iTunes as it didn't work properly. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, the company behind the app defended its creation: 'Since the app's launch till last Friday nobody ever raised a privacy concern because, again, it is clearly stated that Girls Around Me cannot show the user more data than [what Foursqure or Facebook] already does.'"
First time accepted submitter Kangburra writes "Australian government science body CSIRO said Sunday it had won a multi-million-dollar legal settlement in the United States to license its patented technology that underpins the WiFi platform worldwide. Scientists from the agency invented the wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that is the basis of the WiFi signal employed by computers, smartphones and other Internet-ready devices around the world."
judgecorp writes "The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple's approach."
jfruh writes "When tech geeks debate the state of the smartphone world, they usually focus on the iPhone and its high-end Android rivals from the major carriers. But Android is rapidly entering the lower-end world of contractless prepaid phones that you can buy at 7-11 or Wal-Mart. 63 percent of prepaid phones sold in 2011 were smartphones, and while they might not offer cutting-edge hardware or easy customization, they do provide a smartphone experience without an onerous contract."
MrSeb writes "Late last week, Jen-Hsun Huang sent a letter to Nvidia employees congratulating them on successfully launching the highly acclaimed GeForce GTX 680. After discussing how Nvidia changed its entire approach to GPU design to create the new GK104, Jen-Hsun writes: 'Today is just the beginning of Kepler. Because of its super energy-efficient architecture, we will extend GPUs into datacenters, to super thin notebooks, to superphones.' (Nvidia calls Tegra-powered products 'super,' as in super phones, super tablets, etc, presumably because it believes you'll be more inclined to buy one if you associate it with a red-booted man in blue spandex.) This has touched off quite a bit of speculation concerning Nvidia's Tegra 4, codenamed Wayne, including assertions that Nvidia's next-gen SoC will use a Kepler-derived graphics core. That's probably true, but the implications are considerably wider than a simple boost to the chip's graphics performance." Nvidia's CEO is also predicting this summer will see the rise of $200 Android tablets.
itwbennett writes "Research in Motion (RIM) reported grim Q4 results Thursday and announced sweeping personnel changes. Leading the parade of departing execs is Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of the company, who has given up his board seat. David Yach, who has been CTO of software for the company for 13 years, is retiring. And Jim Rowan, chief operating officer of global operations, who has been with the company for four years, is leaving to pursue other interests."