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AT&T to offer free global texting in over 200 countries

AT&T

AT&T has just announced a great bonus to customers of its Mobile Share and Mobile Share Value plans with the ability to send free text, video or picture messages to over 200 countries around the globe. This will help AT&T users connect with their loved ones or friends abroad through standard messaging, while a majority of the global users rely on third party IM clients for their messaging needs. This new feature will take effect starting from the 28th of February.

In addition to the free texts plan, AT&T has also introduced the new World Connect Value plan for $5 per month which will allow AT&T customers to call over several countries for just  per minute which is incredible value, especially for customers who rely on third party VoIP clients like Skype. The complete set of countries which will come under this offer are listed below:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten,  St. Martin, St. Pierre and Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Venezuela.

Source: AT&T

Via: Android Guys

Samsung & RIM Being Sued Over Emoticons

thedroidguy, thedroidguy.com, android, emoticons, samsung, blackberryOne might assume that emoticons are as common as tissues or drawing a smiley face on the screen. After all you were probably typing cute little smiley faces in email long before you had a “smartphone”. That’s all well and good, except for one a smartphone manufacturer like Samsung or RIM/Blackberry wants to make using and choosing emoticons easier.

A firm called Varia Mobile, and it’s patent holding group Varia Holdings, lay claim to the pop up button on the smartphone handset that serves up a a list of emoticons that you can enter into an email, instant message or text message. Yes, this convenience factor that brightens up people’s days is now part of a patent war.

More after the break
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NTSB Lobbying To Ban Cell Phones In Cars All Together?

After a horrible accident involving a pick up truck, two school buses and a 19 year old driver who sent out 11 text messages in 11 minutes, causing two fatalities, the National Transportation Safety Board has stepped up their efforts to encourage legislation that would just about outlaw phone use in cars (by the driver) all together.

The National Transportation Safety Board doesn’t actually make laws. They do investigate all major accidents involving transportation and legislators listen to their recommendations.

The ban the NTSB is recommending involves all aspects of phone operation not contributing to the operation of a motor vehicle. That paves the way for GPS functionality.  There is legislation at the state level that bans both using a cellular phone without a hands free device and text messaging.

Don’t get into panic mode just yet, as we said above the NTSB can’t make legislation and laws against phones all together would be hit hard by the lobbyists of cell phone carriers, and manufacturers. Also state governments want the ability to regulate this issue at a local level.

Naturally safety should be job one but with voice activated commands, hands free operation and other distracted driving apps the manufactures, carriers and app developers are taking this issue just as seriously.

source: phonearena

Text Messaging Still Dominates Mobile Phone Useage In The United States

comScore’s latest quarterly mobile lens report was recently published. The report showed that texting is still the dominant content usage across all phones (both smart and feature phones) in the U.S. at 71.8%. In fact texting actually increased from July 2011 to October 2011 by 1.8%.

Web browsing was up 2.9% while downloading mobile apps saw the biggest increase (3.2%) to 43.8% in the most recent quarter.

No factors in this part of the survey showed a decrease. According to comScore 234 million Americans over the age of 13 use a mobile phone of some sort. 90 million of those mobile phone users, use smart phones which was up 10% from the previous quarter.

As that number continues to increase we will see things like downloading apps, listening to music and browsing the web, increase as well.

source: comScore

Texting in Philly, City of “Brother Loves To Give Out Tickets”

I need to preface this story, I love my city, it is an amazing city. We also have a Parking Authority which is now infamous, as well as a police force that is already stretched too thin.

So while watching a natioanal newscast tonight i found myself somewhat stunned to hear that the city had enacted a law banning you from texting and operating a vehicle WALKING!

Apparently the law was passed earlier this year and went in to effect this month. Philadelphia tends to be fair when it comes to newly effective laws, letting people have anywhere between 30-90 days to become educated and aware of laws before enforcement. But beginning in August if you are on a public sidewalk or city street, they will begin to hand out tickets.

The fine is steep though, ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY dollars. $140, for risking only your life, I am aware that it could POSSIBLY lead to another person being hurt or killed by texting and walking but the odds are miniscule compared to texting and driving.  Personally have absolutely no complaint regarding fines for texting and driving. I have been known to text and drive a time or two, and it is a very poor decision on my part.
Texting and walking is a bit of a stretch for me, as an individual, and as a resident in the Greater Philadelphia region I find this to be a huge waste of the City’s time, money, and resourses.

There is only one location in all of Philadelphia that I truly hate, Philadelphia Traffic Court.  If there were ever a place that could break a man or woman’s soul, it is this god forsaken place.  I would prefer to pay $140, $280, even $560 to avoid Philadelphia Traffic Court.  You can be certain that you will be heading here to deal with your WALKING violations.

Ticket Image courtesy: WHYY

Tired of Carrier restrictions? Meet the Government Restriction

Tired of the carriers telling you how you can and can’t use your phone? Now lets see how you feel about the good old government of ours doing the same thing… Thats what Raymond LaHood of the Secretary of Transportation wants to do in stopping ALL use of cell phones in the car…

“And I think you’re going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones.”

Worst part is he is not alone… Everyone could remember who took drivers ed those horror video’s we had to watch, now they are going to be making a comeback with the DOT(Department of Transportation) “Faces of Distracted Driving.” The series of online videos tells the stories of several victims of distracted driving which will be a series in which a new video is released every few weeks.

During his talk last week LaHood said that nearly 5,500 people died from distracted driving last year, however of those how many do we know are from using your cellphone in the car and not changing the radio, eating fast food you just picked up or putting on make-up?

Is it really the phones that are the problems or is it everything else and the fact that to many drivers really don’t know how to drive yet are doing so also. Why don’t schools making drivers ed mandatory to graduate… Or if you’ve taken a drivers class you can get the credits instead. While I don’t condone texting and driving for some people, others at least shouldn’t be punished because they know how to drive… I’ve driven at speeds of over 125 on freeway while texting and nothing happened. I also know how to drive as I’ve taken classes on it. I know  if something happens how to control your car in an emergency so I feel that I am well capable of handling it if something happened.

The government wants to stop distractions while we drive… what about all those billboards with flashing lights and food on them to make us look at them INSTEAD of on the road we are driving on. I feel that if laws like this pass where I can’t use the phone in the car I am being punished for people who don’t know how to drive in the beginning and taking the phone out of there hand isn’t the issue… Its the lack of knowing how to control a car. Many of us use our phones now for GPS and Turn-by-Turn navigation… unless the US government now wants to put a GPS in my ’78 Nova I wont use my phone any more for that. Since that wont ever happen sorry I’ll always use my phone in my car while driving… I’ll make calls and even text while driving… I know I’ll get hate comments back about how wrong I am for driving and texting but the fact of the matter is I know how to drive so I’ll keep doing so.

Source: Discovery.com
Graphic: realdupont.com

AT&T: Mom TXT 2 PLS

It wasnt that long ago but do you remember the commercial below? Kids fight with mom in texting language? Well now that 85% of those 13-34 are texting on a regular basis carriers like AT&T would love for their parents to join in the fun.  Currently 42% of Americans 50 and older text more than once per month, and you would be surprised at who you see texting.

How crazy is this texting phenomenan, Washington DC Based CTIA says that there were over 170 billion billion text messages sent in the US alone in June of this year, that’s up from 7.2 billion in 2005. David Inns, the CEO of Great Call Inc, makers of the Jitterbug phone, told Bloomberg.com he expects that 80% of those 55 and older will start texting within the next three years.

Manufacturers are already catering this boom. Both Samsung and Pantech offer phones with oversized buttons for under $50. The carriers are kicking in by offering classes for those over 50 to learn how to text.

Source: Bloomberg

Live Strong Die Texting

Police in Iowa have started handing out pink “Texting Kills” thumb bands to teenagers caught texting and driving while near their schools. As we are well aware texting while driving is a very legitimate safety concern. All AT&T phones come with a sticker overlay that serves as a reminder to wait to text until your not driving.

These “thumb bands” are similar to the Lance Armstrong “Live Strong” bracelets that have become so popular in the last few years, there seems to be a “Live Strong” style band with just about every slogan on earth.

Although they will probably opt for a more aggressive approach later on, these police in Iowa seem to be onto something. In addition to the thumb bands they are currently on an “educational” drive of sorts to spread the word about just how dangerous texting while driving can be.

Will the thumb band idea spread, c’mon now who thought the “Live Strong” bracelets would be this popular. In addition to the “fashion appeal” the thumb bands are supposed to make it more uncomfortable to text and serve as a reminder to drivers who are wearing them, hey the message can wait.

What do you think?

source: Techdirt