Free Kindles, local mobile news, and pissed off fanboys: My recent CNN.com Tech mobile stories

It’s been a very busy month and a half for me. I spent a week in Los Angeles as a featured presenter for the Mobile News Week at the journalism school there, and now I’m finishing preparations to travel to two other journalism schools next week for the Knight Digital Media Center’s Mobile Symposium. So I haven’t been letting Contentious.com readers know what I’ve been writing elsewhere.

But I’ve been logging a lot of cool mobile stuff for CNN.com Tech. So here’s a quick list of what I’ve been covering there…

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AT&T: Way to spin a mobile data plan backstep! (OR: Why I’m going Android)

You may have heard that yesterday AT&T stopped offering unlimited mobile data plans.

Their spin, according to this press release: New Lower-Priced Wireless Data Plans to Make Mobile Internet More Affordable to More People

Hah! That’s smooth! But now, the real point: AT&T now offers only these pay-as-you-go data plan options for new or renewing mobile contracts:

  • 200 MB/month: $15/month, plus an extra $15 for each additional 200 MB
  • 2G/month: $25/month, plus an extra $10 for each additional 1G
  • Tethering service: $20 month

No more all you can eat. Which makes sense! AT&T’s network can’t really handle unlimited mobile broadband for a large swath of its smartphone and tablet users. No US mobile carrier can. That’s just begging for network congestion — which annoys everyone and is bad for business… Continue reading

Missing some iPhone calls? Turn off 3G

I’ve been having a rather troubling (but hopefully solveable) problem with my new 3G iPhone. Several of my incoming calls have been going straight to voice mail. The phone isn’t even ringing.

This is happening when my line is free, and when I’m showing adequate signal bars to receive a call.

I’m on the phone with AT&T Mobile support right now, and they said they’re tracking this problem with iPhone service. It appears to be happening when your iPhone is set to be on the 3G network. Apparently 3G isn’t as good for voice as it is for data.

Is this happening to you? Call AT&T! AT&T Mobile is collecting examples of this problem occurring. I’ve entered a trouble ticket for my problem. But if this is happening to you, call AT&T (611 on your iPhone) and let them know that you’re having the same problem. They have a master trouble ticket going on this, and they’re encouraging people to report the problem. The more examples they have, the better they can diagnose and fix the problem (so they say).

When you call, it helps if you can cite a specific example of a call you missed that you should have received.

Recommended tip: If you’re missing some calls, be sure to deactivate the 3G network on your iPhone when you don’t need it to browse the web. (Settings -> General -> network, then click “off” next to “enable 3G”)

This will also save on battery life.

Apparently while you’re not on the 3G network, it’s pretty tough to take a call and browse the web at the same time. I can live with that particular tradeoff for now, as long as I’m receiving all the calls I should be receiving.