It seems that no good deal can go unpunished, whatever it is – and if it offends the slacktivists' idea of internet purity, then it must be forbidden.T‑Mobile US' problems with its ambitious new all-you-can-eat deal aren't oddball activists, but economics and physics. All-you-can-eat internet plans are never really all you can eat – nor can you reasonably expect them to be, given finite resources and cost constraints. And not one, anywhere, has lasted very long.Deutsche Telekom-owned T‑Mobile US is the third largest of the four national mobile networks in America, and so it likes to make splashy pronouncements. It even pretends not to be a mobile network at all. But fair play to them, under CEO John Legere, T‑Mobile US has tried to simplify pricing, improve customer service, and innovate where it can, surpassing Sprint in the process.The odd thing about T‑Mob's One plan is the echo of H3UK's One plan, launched in 2010. Back then, Hutchison's 3 was the fifth largest out of five operators and also liked to make splashy announcements. The One plan was a great way to entice new customers, and 3 shifted a lot of iPhones. But after four years it scaled 3 back, as it repositioned itself more upmarket. The One Plan became "unlimited data plus tethering," and you can still buy an unlimited bucket from 3. Now called the "Advanced Plan," it costs 33 quid and 30GB of hotspot data is thrown in, when you commit for a year.
T-Mobile US's One plan introduces a new pricing structure that rewards multi-SIM family packages but makes the on-ramp quite a bit steeper. It's $70 for one SIM, the second is $50, and each additional line is $20. So a family of four pays $40 a head for unlimited LTE. If you're Octomom, the price goes down to $20 per line.(T-Mo says lower-priced plans will continue, starting at $50 for 2GB, but this is clearly a push to volume users and away from bargain hunters.)T-Mobile US says the highest three per cent of users – those using more than 26GB of high-speed data per month – "may see their data traffic prioritized behind other users once they cross that threshold during their billing month."CCS Insight notes that "in general, plans have adjusted to reasonable modern-day data use," meaning that you get what you pay for.The biggest complaint about the small print that comes with AYCE plans is tethering. Laptop users expect broadband quality, not downsampled video streams. And they burn through a lot of data. T‑Mobile US has put tethering outside the One plan, as a $15 bolt-on, and that buys you 5GB of data.It seems a sensible precaution. Full high-def video will also require an extra $25 a month per SIM. Ouch. Experience suggests that as long as operators put the caveats up front, people don't care. It's the bill shock that they really do mind.
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For connoisseurs of net neutrality nuttiness, the Witchfinder General Barbara van Schewick offered the most far-fetched reasons for why T‑Mobile US's Binge On was eeeevil, here [PDF]."A customer who has used almost all of her data could still binge on HBO, but would be unable to make an important video call with her doctor," she wrote. And best of all: "Binge On harms free expression by favoring commercial entertainment over other forms of video content." Like watching lectures by law professors on net neutrality, I suppose, or Albanian folk-dancing. So-called artificial intelligence reader performs reality check Email is a fundamental format for modern life, but one that many of us have yet to fully understand.While a concise/firm response may seem perfect to you, others may see it as, shall we say, a little rude. Likewise, your careful and accurate rundown can often result in people's eyes glazing over and failing to respond with the information you asked for (at the end of the 800-word exposition).Boomerang says it hopes to change all this with an artificial intelligence reader that plugs into your Gmail and will let you know if your email is going off the rails in terms of length, subjectivity, politeness and so on. And it breaks each part down, providing you with the overall likelihood of you receiving a response to the email you are about to send.
Hands On Microsoft’s Continuum is one of the spookiest computing experiences you can have. Either plug a phone into a dock, or turn on a nearby wireless display and keyboard, and the phone doubles up as an ersatz Windows PC. No more lugging a laptop around.Back in January, we described Continuum reviewers as sharing the surprise and disdain that Samuel Johnson had for women preachers. So has much changed? Is Continuum still a limited use novelty or a transformative feature, allowing you to shed multiple devices for one very powerful, pocketable one?HP is betting on the latter. HP has put a lot of thought and work into making Continuum usable, and so finding a profitable business niche. It’s about to debut not just a powerful Continuum-capable phone, but a static and mobile dock and a streaming app service that plugs the gaps left by lack of native x86 support.So as a prelude to our rundown of HP’s work, we took Continuum for a work out with the latest cut of Windows 10 Mobile (this week’s, in fact) and the most powerful Continuum-capable Lumia, the 950 XL.You can see why people dismiss Continuum as a novelty. It’s a pretty damn novel experience. First impressions are unsettling: yes, your phone really is a PC. It isn’t just projecting. Look! The same start menu. Look! The same wallpaper. Fire up Outlook Email and it’s really the same software!
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In the latest builds of Windows 10 mobile, Edge really shines in Continuum. I kept trying to trip it up, but came back surprised. It’s just a pity that the latest Edge won’t run the handy extensions (ad blocker, Evernote clipper, Last Pass) that the desktop Edge can now run. Hmmph.Plug in, detach, and go: this basic part of the Continuum experience is really fundamental and should work perfectly. You shouldn’t get BSODs or catatonic screen flickering. And by and large it does. That wasn’t true a earlier this year, when the phone could have random seizures (and, yes, BSODs too).Getting going with Continuum has obviously been a major focus for Microsoft this year, so much so it’s brushed aside niceties. It's really now plug it in and go. For example, I noticed every time I un-docked, there was a polite dialog box on the phone asking me whether I’d want to connect via a cable or wirelessly - a box that had been displayed back when I plugged the phone in. It’s just that Continuum is in such a rush to turn your phone’s display into a touchpad, you don’t see this request until you undock.I found I could plug in a random, ancient USB headset and Continuum picked up the audio output stream nicely. (But wouldn’t take audio input.)I’ve been trying Continuum with two Lumias, the 950XL and 950. The former has the notorious (for overheating) Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, last year’s flagship SoC. The latter runs the more modest Snapdragon 808. And you know what? It doesn’t really matter which you use. There’s a fraction more lag switching between apps, but not much. There’s a fraction of a second Alt-Tabbing, which brings up the expected thumbnails.