DNP Editors Letter Who cares for the UNcarrier

It seems like a year ago already, but it's been only a few days since we wrapped up our inaugural Engadget Expand event. If you weren't able to join us in person, you missed a seriously good time. Attendees got to take a ride in a Tesla Model S, perform surgery using a da Vinci robotic surgery system and cruise around the show floor on the San Francisco Special edition of the electric ZBoard, which made its debut at the show.

Oh, and there was also that time I bet Gene Munster $100 (to charity) that we won't see an Apple-branded TV by the end of the year.

Up on stage we had conversations with... well, too many people to list, but highlights for me were conversations with Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler, OUYA CEO and Founder Julie Uhrman and a panel that featured Veronica Belmont, Robopocalypse author Daniel H. Wilson and John Scalzi, president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors of America. Oh, and there was also that time I bet Gene Munster $100 (to charity) that we won't see an Apple-branded TV by the end of the year.

Think I'm going to win?

It was a pretty great time, and if you missed it, don't fret. We'll give you a little retrospective in this issue, but more importantly, there'll be another chance to see it for yourself when we hold another Engadget Expand event in New York City in Q4. This one will be even bigger.

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Moedls hands-on

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Lenovo ThinkPad Terminator Edition (T431s prototype)

And with that I think you're officially done with having me go on and on about Expand. Moving on to the broader world of tech news, Google unveiled its Keep service, a bit of a replacement for the now retired Notebook. Keep is more directly targeting Evernote with the ability to store multiple kinds of content and aggregate it together as individual notes, and it should come as no surprise that everything gets stored in Google Drive.

T-Mobile is holding an event next week, and we know at least one thing Big Magenta will be talking about: formalizing its plans to become the UNcarrier. This means month-to-month plans featuring unlimited texting, unlimited voice and unlimited data -- though the default plans starting at $60 would have only 500MB of data. Going truly unlimited across the board steps things up to $90 monthly, which is considerably cheaper than competing plans from AT&T and Verizon.

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Sony Xperia SP hands-on

Sony unveiled a pair of new Xperia devices, neither aiming for (or reaching) the heights of the Z. Instead, Sony is filling out its lower-cost devices, starting with the Xperia L. This is a budget-friendly 4.3-inch device with 8GB of (expandable) internal storage and an 8-megapixel camera. Then there's the Xperia SP, which (wait for it) offers a blend of the previous Xperia S and Xperia P. It's a 4.6-inch device packing a similar 8-megapixel camera triggered by a discrete shutter release button. No word on US availability for either, but we wouldn't recommend anyone holding their breath.

That all sounds shocking enough -- until you realize Samsung has already made such intelligent timepieces in the past, such as 2009's S9110

Samsung's mobile executive VP Lee Young Hee confirmed that the company is working on a smartwatch of some sort, saying, "We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them." That all sounds shocking enough -- until you realize Samsung has already made such intelligent timepieces in the past, such as 2009's S9110. This, then, would be less a new direction and more a reboot.

Finally, Apple's gone and got itself embroiled in another bit of patent litigation, this time on the receiving end of a lawsuit. It's THX playing the role of plaintiff, suing Apple for a speaker patent that describes narrow-profile speakers with skinny outlets -- exactly the kind used in the latest rendition of the iMac. Not a lot of detail at this point, but we wouldn't be surprised if this trial -- like so many other unfortunate patent spats -- gets settled out of court.

In this week's Distro we'll be taking you back to the weekend that was at Expand, sharing some stats and photos from the show floor. Additionally, we have Joe Pollicino's review of the Turtle Beach Ear Force XP Seven Series, a headset with an entirely too-long name, and Joseph Volpe's early impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S 4. We'll take you on a trip to Oculus VR HQ to take a peek at the Rift dev kits and chat about what's next for the resurgence of virtual reality. We'll also take a look at how Valve plans to use the headset. Switched On takes a look at the perils of crowdfunding, Modem World examines the transience of currency and we sit down for a Q&A with the winner of our first-ever Insert Coin: New Challengers competition, Azorean CEO Edmundo Nobre. Now, it's time to kick-start your weekend. Enjoy.



Tim Stevens is Editor-in-chief of Engadget and Editorial Director for AOL Tech. You can find him on Twitter at @tim_stevens.

This piece originally appeared in Distro #83

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Editors Letter: Who cares for the UNcarrier?