? All Tech Radio Episode 321
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  • Although it appears that ATT is dropping their bid to buy T-Mobile, the truth is that it's a ploy to gain support for their next move. ATT is planning on resubmitting the deal but altering the terms. ATT will sell 40% of T-Mobile's assets if they can get the approval to do the merger with the new proposal that will soon be presented by ATT executives. This should appease companies like Sprint who wanted to buy T-Mobile last year but lost out in the bidding.
  • The news was good for retailers last week during Black Friday. Everyone seems to be reporting sales were up as American consumers go back into debt to pay for Christmas presents for their loved ones. Best buy was up 25%, and online sales were up 39% over last year. The big e-tailor winners were Amazon and Ebay.
  • Apple's Black Friday sales were a resounding success according to two separate accounts, which revealed that most of the company's retail stores sold out of the iPhone 4S on the biggest shopping day of the year. Analyst Chris Whitmore with Deutsche Bank and his team of analysts checked with more than 200 stores on Black Friday to assess demand for Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad and Mac lineup. His checks included about 100 Apple retail stores and more than 100 AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Best Buy, Walmart and Target stores. He found that about 75 percent of Apple retail stores polled were completely sold out of the iPhone 4S by the end of the day on Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. But Apple had restocked many of those stores by Saturday, as follow-up calls found that just 30 percent of Apple's stores remained sold out of the iPhone 4S.
  • They say Cyber Monday is the day the best online deals are to be had, but that's just a myth. The best deals are spread out by category and company and could be had on any day. You can download apps like Pricetracker to inform you when the product you want is available at the price you want to pay. You can get these types of apps for ipads, iphones, Android devices, and PCs. The busiest day on line can also be the week before Christmas and the week before Mother's Day.
  • Siri may not be as innovative as people have thought. Microsoft claims they have had a Siri like interface on their Windows 7 phones for over a year, but never thought to market it as Apple has done. Microsoft's TellMe was unveiled last year during a conference and Microsoft ran a similar demo as Apple geared towards businesses, but without the marketing genius of Steve Jobs to sell it to consumers. Siri suffered a big outage this week.
  • The Kindle Fire is heating up sales at Amazon.com. The company announced it was their most successful Black Friday yet, with sales quadrupled from last year. We're guessing it will be a fantastic Cyber Monday, as well. Amazon Kindle Fire ships early, reviews are in "Even before the busy holiday shopping weekend, we'd already sold millions of the new Kindle family and Kindle Fire was the bestselling product across all of Amazon.com. Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family - customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday - and last year was a great year," said Amazon Kindle vice president Dave Limp. With the affordable price of the Kindle Fire, a popular joke has been you can buy two for the price of an iPad. The reality is not far off.
  • Sprint's initial LTE deployment, expected by June 2012, will be in the G-Block of the 1900 MHz band, where Sprint has a nationwide 5X5 MHz block of spectrum. That spectrum gap could put pressure on Sprint's LTE network once it gets loaded with devices, since network capacity is directly related to the amount of available spectrum. "It's a very bare-bones implementation of LTE," Tolaga Research analyst Phil Marshall told Reuters. "The risk is, if you don't have headroom as your LTE subscriber base grows, then the speeds will go down. Unlimited is going to kill them. I think they're going to have to back off from the all-you-can-eat plan." One solution would be for Sprint to institute data caps on its LTE smartphones that offer higher data allotments than ones being offered by Verizon and AT&T. (Verizon offers 2 GB for $30, 5 GB for $50 and 10 GB for $80, while AT&T offers 200 MB for $15 and 2 GB for $25.)
  • An Al Qaeda-linked terrorist cell in the Philippines was busted last week for hacking into AT&T business accounts, stealing nearly $2 million over the course of two years. Four suspects--three men and one woman aged between 21-31--were arrested in Manila, according to a statement from the Philippine National Police (PNP). The hackers are accused of breaching the corporate private branch exchanges (PBX) of U.S. AT&T account holders, among others. They then used these numbers to make premium calls overseas and diverted revenues into accounts held by to Saudi-based terrorist outfit Jemaah Islamiyah, which supposedly financed the deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. On Monday, AT&T shot down numerous reports that the carrier itself had been hacked.
  • Best Buy confirmed to CNET that it has sold out of Research In Motion's tablet. It was among several retailers offering a Black Friday promotion, which reduced the price of a 16GB and 32GB PlayBook to $199.99 and $299.99, respectively. Best Buy said it plans to get additional units in the "near future," and that they could be purchased online. That comes amid speculation and reports that Best Buy was dropping the PlayBook after canceling some orders and removing it from its site. (The only PlayBooks available on Best Buy's Web site are refurbished versions at a discounted price.)
  • Adding to its lineup of free mobile applications, property search and valuation site Zillow has launched an app for tablet computers powered by Google's Android platform. In an announcement, Zillow said its Android tablet app is unique in allowing users to compare multiple homes side by side. On the comparison screen, users can view photos and sort properties by home details such as price and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Other features of the app include map-based search of for-sale, for-rent, and recently sold homes; Google Street View; full-screen photos; a home screen widget to browse nearby homes; and voice-based property search. Users can also save listings and share properties through email, Facebook or Twitter.

email from listeners:

  • Sherry from Seattle asks "Is Android or Iphone safer from hackers?"