ASUS and Acer, the last two holdouts in the netbook market, will no longer be manufacturing the devices in 2013. Acer just announced that it will be ceasing production of tablets come January 1, 2013, while ASUS made the decision recently. This follows in the footsteps of other manufacturers like Samsung, HP, and Dell, which have one by one realized that netbooks aren’t as important as the initial hype purported them to be.
There are a number of reasons behind the downfall of netbooks, but the two biggest factors are likely the introduction of ultrabooks and, more importantly, tablets. Personally, I have completely replaced my laptop and netbook with a tablet. This is due in large part to the dual-nature of new Windows 8 tablets like the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, which seamlessly (or almost seamlessly) blends the laptop and tablet form factors. With one of these devices, there’s really no need for a netbook.
Do you still use a netbook? Or do you – like me – prefer tablets?
AT&T will no longer be offering tablets with subsidized pricing, according to a leaked internal memo which has since been proven to be legitimate. As a result, you will be required to pay the full retail price for any tablets purchased through the company’s website or in retail stores. This change brings the rest of AT&T’s tablets in line with the iPad, which has never been offered at subsidized pricing.
There is, however, an upside. You’ll no longer be tied into a two-year contract, and the price of tablet data plans has dropped to $14.99 for the DataConnect 250MB plan, $30 for the DataConnect 3GB plan, and $50 for the DataConnect 5GB plan. With a price cut of $5 per month, the total savings comes out to $120 over the course of what would have been a two-year contract. Of course, you can always still go with the Mobile Share plan, which tacks on $10 for each tablet in addition to the standard data pricing.
[Engadget via Pocketables]
After months of rumors and vague promises, Verizon has finally announced its shared family data plan–officially known as the Share Everything Plan–which is scheduled to go into effect on June 28.
At first glance, it’s very exciting, featuring unlimited minutes, texting, and a set amount of shared data for up to ten devices. The cheapest plan starts at 1GB for $50/mo or 2GB for $60/mo, with every additional 2GB increasing the monthly cost by $10 (up to 10GB). Best of all, tethering is included at no additional charge. When I first learned of these details, I was genuinely excited. Then I learned that each device type also has a “monthly line access” fee associated with it. Own a tablet? Tack on $10 a month. Want a WiFi hotspot? $20/mo. Basic phones will cost an additional $30, while smartphones will run you a whopping $40 extra every month. Ouch.
If the monthly line access fees were more reasonable, Verizon’s Shared Everything Plan would be fantastic. Unfortunately, this new plan is more likely to increase your monthly cost than bring it down to a more reasonable level. While Verizon undoubtedly needs to make a profit, it really seems like the company made a misstep. There’s no way to share just your data plan, and $40 per smartphone could get very expensive very fast. AT&T also plans to introduce shared data plans at some point. I just hope that it goes down a more consumer-friendly route.
Things are shaking up a bit at Samsung, and for once it’s not due to frustration over failed policies or poor business choices. Choi Gee-sung is the outgoing CEO, but he isn’t “going” so much as moving—into an ‘overwatch’ position as the head of corporate strategy. The Incoming CEO is Kwon Oh-hyun, who until now had been the top dog of Samsung’s component business.
“There’ll be no major changes in overall strategy as Kwon will continue to oversee the components business, while telecoms and consumer electronics are separately run by other executives,” said James Song, analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities.
“Choi is the best candidate [for the head of corporate strategy position] who can chart Samsung through the global economic crisis and ever-intensifying competition,” Samsung said in a statement, citing an unnamed executive. “Under Choi, Samsung plans to pursue innovative changes.”
The short of it is this: Verizon doesn’t like having unlimited users on its LTE network. To solve this problem, it will no longer allow 3G customers with “grandfathered” unlimited plans to stay unlimited when purchasing a 4G LTE device. Of course, 4G LTE is really your only option at Verizon these days, so this effectively does away with grandfathered $30 unlimited plans, except for those who have already switched to 4G LTE and those who refuse to buy a new phone.
The change was revealed by Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo at the 40th J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference and is set to take place by mid-summer. Fran also stated that “a lot of our 3G base is on unlimited,” which can’t be good for the bottom line as users become evermore data-hungry. While this is obviously a money-driven move, it’s also a ploy to push Verizon’s new data share plans. “When they migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share.”
Verizon has yet to announce pricing for its data share plans, but we do know that it will be a per-account data monitoring system, instead of per-device, and that it will launch by mid-summer.