Softbank can safely say it has a pretty decent quarter here recently, but compared to NTT DoCoMo, it's looking weak. The exclusive iPhone 3G carrier in Japan has decided to answer outcries of "too expensive!" by lowering the minimum monthly data charge that each iPhone 3G user must pay. Previously, users were forced to hand over ¥5,985 ($55) per month for unlimited data; now, users can pay just ¥1,695 ($16) per month to cover 20,175 packets of data "after which users will pay per-packet until 71,250 packets, at which time the previous ¥5,985 charge is reached and further data use is not charged." In semi-related news, the carrier has also announced that it will begin taking reservations for the handset, so yeah, there's that.

HP EliteBook 8730w gets the hands-on treatment