The Verizon iPhone will soon be upon us, and in anticipation of its release, Verizon Wireless updated its website on Friday with a "countdown clock" ticking down to 3:00 AM EST, Feb. 3rd, after which customers can pre-order the iPhone. The move is sure to put pressure on AT&T, criticism of whose service has ranged from "not terribly bad" to "awful" to "at least we have the iPhone," and it's a bit of a wonder that it's taken Apple this long to start offering their popular device to other carriers in spite of consumer demand. With this development, AT&T looks to be turning to Android to further bolster their smartphone sales. The Wall Street Journal quotes AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson as saying "We have not been very aggressive in the Android portfolio and we're bringing Android into the mix very aggressively this year," and notes that the company will be releasing twelve new devices running the Android platform in 2011.
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The vast majority of AT&T iPhone owners are still under contract, and the main draw for potential defectors (aside from the desire to get away from AT&T), the promise of an option for unlimited data, may vanish into thin air for those who are still tethered to AT&T. Verizon will be offering an unlimited data plan to new iPhone users "for a limited time," which will run for the duration of the user's contract. No details have been given on future pricing or data limits, but one would expect something along the lines of AT&T's $25 for 2GB plan. While 2GB sounds like a hefty amount, any smartphone user will tell you how quickly one can burn through data, particularly when one factors in audio and video streaming. I average about 2GB per month, and that's with moderate usage -- downloading a few apps per month, checking facebook, email, and watching Youtube on the bus to and from work -- so those who are heavy users might be in a bit of a spot.
There's no denying that smartphones have made gaming a part of everyday life -- one might even imagine some gin-soaked captain of industry playing a few minutes of Angry Birds between multi-million dollar deals -- and i for one am curious about the impact on gaming as a whole. The recently-released Dead Space for iPhone (video below) showcased it's muscle, and while its visual quality seems laughable in the face of the NGP, ongoing advances in technology -- particularly phones carrying the Tegra chipset -- may increase the status of smartphones as viable contenders in the gaming arena. Will this translate into a beneficial trend for the gaming industry as a whole, will it take away from "hardcore" gaming devices, or will it have no impact at all?
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