If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought convincing signs that BlackBerry users are moving away from physical keyboards, along with a new budget Android smartphone for MetroPCS and a stumbling block that's holding up AT&T's acquisition of Alltel. These stories and more await. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of August 26th, 2013.
WSJ reveals weak BlackBerry Q10 sales
When Thorstein Heins sat down with Engadget for an interview, he was rather clear about the importance of the physical keyboard to BlackBerry, saying, "We own the QWERTY segment... and we want to continue to own this market." A recent report from the WSJ, however, suggests that there isn't much market to be had. The article sources carrier executives and retailers throughout the US and Canada, and the situation seems bleak regardless. According to a Verizon reseller in the midwest, there is "virtually no demand" for the Q10, and most of the inventory has been returned to the equipment vendor. The story is similar in Canada, with a carrier executive claiming, "I think we'd all say that the Q10, the one we all thought was going to be the savior, just hit the ground and died."
BlackBerry has yet to disclose sales figures for the Q10 (instead preferring to lump them together with the Z10), but the report suggests that physical keyboards may no longer be a key selling point among the BlackBerry fan base. No wonder the rumored upcoming model is of the full touchscreen variety. [WSJ]
FCC presses AT&T on Alltel buyout
AT&T has already committed to purchase Alltel for a cool $780 million, but it still needs to convince the FCC that it's looking out for Alltel's subscribers. This week, the regulator revealed that AT&T has yet to submit any plans for transitioning the regional carrier's prepaid customer base, and as such, it's put a hold on the review process. AT&T responded in kind that it's "Extremely disappointed at the FCC delay today on this small transaction," but did little to explain why it's yet to submit a transition plan. [Phone Scoop]
Huawei Valiant arrives at MetroPCS
MetroPCS welcomed the Huawei Valiant into its lineup this week, which sells for $79 outright and now stands as the least expensive Android smartphone on the carrier. The Valiant features a 4-inch 800 x 480 (WVGA) display, a dual-core 1GHz CPU, an Adreno 203 GPU, a 3-megapixel rear camera, a microSD slot and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). [@evleaks (Twitter), MetroPCS]
Other random tidbits
- By adding the towns of Ashford, Bicester, Colchester, Guildford, Milton Keynes, Redhill, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and Woking to its LTE roster, EE surpassed 100 towns and cities in the UK with 4G coverage. According to the carrier, it now offers LTE service to 60 percent of the nation's population. [EE]
- Proving a previous leak correct, the HTC One is now available at Wind Mobile for $629 outright or starting at $329 on WindTab. Separately, the carrier also welcomed the Huawei Ascend Mate into its ranks, which features a gigantic 6.1-inch display and a price tag of $399 outright. [MobileSyrup 1, 2]
- The 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega is now available in Canada through Bell, Rogers and Telus, along with Koodo and SaskTel. Shoppers can expect to pay between $500 and $550 to snag the phone outright, or as low as $99 on a two-year contract. [MobileSyrup]
- A purported inventory listing suggests that the Meizu MX3 will be available in a 128GB storage configuration. [GizChina]
- Sprint has announced that it'll eliminate nearly 800 customer service positions, which it states is a result of increased customer satisfaction levels and decreased complaints. As Bloomberg points out, however, the carrier's recent loss of 1 million subscribers is also a likely factor in the reduction of customer service positions. [Bloomberg]
Must-read mobile stories
- Apple's iPhone trade-in program hits its retail stores today
- Huawei unveils outdoor-ready Honor 3 smartphone, MediaQM310 set-top box
- Aio Wireless to offer nationwide prepaid cellular service in September
- BLU Products launches trio of Dash smartphones starting at $49
- Nokia's giant Lumia 1520 reportedly poses for the camera
- Nexus 4 price drops by $100 to $199 for 8GB, $249 for 16GB
- HTC 8XT for Sprint: what's different?