DROID 4 Accessories Arrive at Indirect Verizon Retailers

While we think we know just about every single DROID 4 (full recap) detail, a release date has continued to avoid us. An early target date showed December 22 (clearly that didn’t happen) with the most recent showing some time in February. We have seen it in Best Buy ads, on droiddoes.com, as a dummy unit, in training materials, in official press shots, and even the accessory lineup that will accompany it at launch. Any normal person would guess that it could launch any day now.

Well, you can add “accessories in stores” to the list of D4 details that suggest an imminent release. Except, we don’t really believe that the release is imminent, do we? Are we expecting this to be Motorola’s CES device since nothing else has leaked? Surely they couldn’t hang out in a giant booth at the year’s biggest electronics show with nothing new to show but a couple of XYBOARDs, could they?   (more…)

How is Your 4G LTE Connection Doing Today?

While my 4G and 3G connection seem to be operating normally today in Portland, we have had enough emails and mentions on Twitter from readers that are not having such a fun time to toss up another potential LTE outage post. We are getting reports out of Detroit, Indiana, Florida, Wisconsin, and more that have had issues for a number of hours today. Issues vary from readers have no connection at all to seeing their connection cut in and out sporadically.

So we’ll ask just as we always do – running into 4G or 3G connection issues? If you are, feel free to drop your city and state in the comments. With Verizon claiming to have (or in the near future) implemented a geographic segmentation fix, we could potentially narrow this down by region that is affected.

Also, it’s safe to assume that VZW is currently (as in this very minute) testing, tweaking and working on a number of fixes to prevent major outages from happening again. These issues that some of you are running into today, could just be from Big Red working to stabilize everything. At this time, we do not have enough reports to consider this a full nationwide outage.

DROID 4 Dummy Unit Poses for the Camera

Has the DROID 4 been pushed back to February from a late December launch? We will likely never know, but what we are sure of, is that the droiddoes.com landing page for it is almost 100% complete, that training materials for the device were released a month or so ago, and that demo (dummy) units are now floating around the back halls of tech blogs.

The folks over at TechnoBuffalo spent some quality time with a non-functional until, taking a handful of multi-angle shots for your viewing pleasure. You get thickness, how it compares to the iPhone, and another look at its new edge-lit keyboard. As you can see, it looks just like the functional unit we first posted for you back in October.   (more…)

Breaking: Verizon Cancels $2 Convenience Fee for Online and Telephone Single Payments

In somewhat shocking fashion, Verizon has announced that they will not institute their single payment $2 convenience fee that we first reported on just 2 days ago. Here is the statement that just came across the wire:

Verizon Wireless Will Not Institute Single Payment Fee

December 30, 2011

Verizon Wireless has decided it will not institute the fee for online or telephone single payments that was announced earlier this week.

The company made the decision in response to customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions. The company continues to encourage customers to take advantage of the numerous simple and convenient payment methods it provides.

“At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers.  Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time,” said Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless.

+1 to Verizon for listening to their customers, and +1 to all of you for speaking your minds.

FCC is “Concerned” About Verizon’s New Convenience Fee, Will “Look Into” it

After we first reported news that Verizon had plans to push forward with a $2 “convenience fee” on January 15 for customers who normally make one-time bill payments, the backlash could be heard from all corners of the country. Thanks to your strong opinions, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has decided to at least look into the matter. Here is their brief statement from today:

On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter.

By no means does this assure us that they will try to stop Verizon from charging you the $2 convenience fee. It does however give us a little bit of hope.

Again, there are options available for customers to avoid the fee, but as you will see from yesterday’s poll, the majority of folks would like to continue paying their bill as a one time transaction.

And so  you are aware, a Change.org petition has been started.

Via:  NY Times

Verizon Holding $50 Off 4G LTE Tablet Sale Until December 31

If an on-contract 4G LTE tablet is in your future, purchasing one within the next couple of days will save you $50 through Verizon. All of the new DROID XYBOARD tablets along with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 series can be had at a discounted price through tomorrow 12/31. And I specifically said “on-contract” because that’s the only department you will see the discount in – nothing droppin’ from the full retail unfortunately.

Buy.

Verizon Needs Google [Opinion]

 

Think back to January 5th, 2010. That was the date that the Nexus One was first announced and made available for purchase. I can vividly remember the announcement. I impatiently waited for someone to review the device, but the images I saw already confirmed my suspicions: this was going to be an incredible device. Even though it wasn’t on Verizon yet, I had plans to upgrade to it as soon as possible.

This vision of the Nexus One was a phone sold directly by Google to consumers. There was no store to try the device out. You went to google.com/phone to purchase the phone. If you had T-Mobile you could buy the phone unlocked for $529 or $179 on a new two year contract. Eventually a version of the Nexus One with AT&T bands was released in March. By April it was announced that the Nexus One would never be released on Verizon and that customers should buy the Droid Incredible instead. I was crushed, but I moved on (and eventually did get a Droid Incredible, which now sits on my desk running CM7).  (more…)

Verizon Issues Statement on Their 4G LTE Outages, Taking Number of Steps to Ensure the “Integrity” of the Network Going Forward

After 3 major 4G LTE outages in the last month, Verizon has finally released a statement detailing the situation (and no, it wasn’t a half-baked Tweet) and what their plans are going forward. According to this release, each incident that occurred was different from a “technical standpoint” and has not re-occurred thanks to their engineering team. While Big Red is estimating that their LTE network has had approximately 99% up time for the year, they have admitted that as a “pioneer” in the LTE market, that there are growing pains and that they are doing everything in their power to rectify them.

So what exactly happened though? We don’t know specifics, but we do now have somewhat of an idea as to how Verizon plans to move forward so that these massive nationwide outages do not happen again. The two biggest things are “geographic segmentation” which will allow them to isolate issues and correct them before they become widespread, and also fix backend software that will provide better performance and reliability.

Update:  GigaOM had a chance to speak with Mike Haberman, Verizon’s VP of network engineering, who was willing to provide some of the technical details. The first outage back in April was due to an IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) core software bug that “led to a complete failure.” The December 7 outage was due to a failure of a back-up communications database. The outages from the last two weeks were the result of IMS elements not communicating correctly. These bugs were not something that could have been predicted and simply decided to show themselves in the span of a few weeks here in December.

I think the big key here, is to remember that this LTE network is still brand spankin’ new and will have issues. There may be more next week or we could get lucky and not see one for another year. Just know that Verizon will have an extra $2 per person starting January 15 to help pay for the corrections (Hah! Sorry, one last cheap shot before the end of the year just felt necessary). :)

The full statement from Verizon is after the break.   (more…)