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Straight Talk is MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator. That means the company acts like a phone company, but it actually sells you air time on someone else’s network — typically at a much lower price than you’d pay if you went straight through that larger network.
Up until recently, Straight Talk allowed customers a choice of “unlimited” data plans on AT&T or T-Mobile networks, but a little while ago the company ran out of AT&T SIM cards. Now they’re back, which means if you’re in an area where AT&T offers faster or more reliable coverage than T-Mobile you might be able to get yourself a $45 per month all-you-can-eat plan.
There are a few catches: Straight Talk supports HSPA+ but not LTE. And it calls its plans unlimited, but will actually start throttling your speeds if you go over a certain unspecified amount of data in a limited time. If you use less than a few hundred megabytes per day and less than 2GB of month, you can probably save a lot of money with this sort of carrier.
Here’s a roundup of tech news stories from around the web.
- Straight Talk is selling AT&T network SIM cards again, offers $45/month “unlimited” data plans
The service may not be available in all areas, but you can pick up a SIM card for $15 and sign up for a contract-free plan using either T-Mobile or AT&T’s networks now. [Android Police]
- MixBit is a mobile video shooting, editing, sharing app from the founders of YouTube
Shoot 16 seconds of video on your phone. Then shoot another 16 shot. And so on. Later you can edit them together to create complex videos which you can share. It’s sort of like Vine meets Final Cut… and it probably won’t be as big a deal as YouTube. [TechCrunch]
- Acer to invest less in Windows computers, more in Android, Chrome OS devices
Acer didn’t have a great quarter, and the company appears to be laying at least part of the blame on Microsoft Windows. So Acer is trying to hedge its bets by offering devices with other operating systems — specifically Google’s. [WSJ]
- Battle of the $199 x86 dev boards: Gizmo Explorer and Minnowboard comparison chart
The recently announced Minnowboard is a $199 dev board with an Intel Atom x86 processor. But some folks would like to remind us that the Gizmo Explorer board has been out for more than half a year, offering a dev board with an x86 chip from AMD. On paper, that $199 board offers a lot that Intel’s doesn’t. [Semiconductor Store]
- Toshiba Excite Write tablet reviewed, found unexciting
Toshiba’s top of the line tablet has a high-res display, an NVIDIA Tegra 4 ARM Cortex-A15 quad-core processor, and a digital pen for writing and drawing. On paper it looks awesome. In reality it seems to be a bit more of a mixe bag. [Engadget]
- Google Play All Access music subscription service now live in Europe
Google’s subscription-based music service is now available in parts of Europe, offering all-you-can-eat music streaming for a monthly fee. It’s already available in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. [Android Police
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Finally glad AT&T SIMs are back. I live in an area with very good coverage on all the major carriers – except T-Mobile. This is much nicer.
I gave up on the Windows tablets and returned to Android. The apps for larger screens are getting better. However, there are still quite a few that say they are configured for tablets, yet are only stretched out versions of phone apps. We need developers to jump on the large screen bandwagon in order to get Android to be a serious threat to the iPad.
For about a year I’ve been using StraightTalk on a Google Play version of the Galaxy Nexus and it’s been great. HSPA+ is plenty fast for me and even with pretty heavy usage I’ve only been throttled once. One thing: I’d like to see them offer a Nano SIM for use with phones like the iPhone 5 and the Moto X.
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