From Ars Technica: AT&T to set (some) iPhones free beginning April 8

AT&T has confirmed that it will begin unlocking iPhones for qualifying customers beginning Sunday, April 8. This means that, if you have purchased an AT&T-locked iPhone and you meet AT&T’s (somewhat strict) requirements, you’ll be able to take that phone to another GSM carrier here in the US or abroad.

Engadget was first to report the anonymous information about the new policy, but AT&T was quick to confirm once the word got out. According to AT&T, the iPhone you want to unlock can’t be associated with a current active term commitment, and you must already be out of your contract terms (usually two years from purchase) or you must have paid an early termination fee. Your account must be in good standing, too—no $700 overdue phone bills for you.

Apple does sell already unlocked, contract-free iPhones that work on GSM carriers, including AT&T. But those devices cost $649 up front for the 16GB iPhone 4S, going up to $849 for the 64GB version—significantly higher than the $199 subsidized starting price when you buy from AT&T or another carrier. As such, the majority of current iPhone users in the US have carrier-locked devices, but AT&T’s latest announcement will undoubtedly help to set a few of those users free with minimal pain involved. How many of you are going to try and get your devices unlocked come April 8 so you can hop over to T-Mobile?



from Ars Technica

From Engadget: Toray unveils new self-repairing film for devices, fixes scratches in under 10 seconds

Toray unveils new self-repairing film for devices, fixes scratches in under 10 seconds

Toray’s advanced film department has finished its new self-cure coating and is set to start using it as a decorative layer on a series of as-yet unannounced notebooks. Fortunately, the company is already chasing down more pervasive uses on smartphones and touch-panels. The science involves a wet coating method that adds a special recovering layer to PET film. Alongside that mutant healing factor, the layer responsible also throws in some elastic and cushioning properties. During Toray‘s demonstration (what, no video?) scratches made with a metal brush apparently repaired themselves, resulting in the rehabilitated glossy surface you see above. According to the Japanese manufacturer, the ability to heal improves at lower temperatures, but room temperature is apparently enough to make scratches disappear in 10 seconds or less — more than fast enough to differentiate Toray’s offering from existing solutions. The film can repair itself around 20,000 times in succession, although if pierced beyond the layer, it’s — unsurprisingly — unable to recover any damage done. The screen is also softer than the typical protective surfaces found to devices. Maybe Toray and Gorilla Glass should get together. GorillToray?


from Engadget

From Technology Review RSS Feeds: New Challenger Pinterest Becomes Third Most Popular Social Network

Pinterest, the social network where users “pin” photos to virtual pin boards, has become the third most popular with Web users behind Facebook and Twitter, a report from marketing company Experian says. Like all social networks, Pinterest is dogged by questions of how to make money but Experian’s data suggests that it may not be difficult. Ads for consumer goods and retail are the most successful kinds on Facebook, Experian says, categories that are a natural fit with the photos of home décor and fashion items most pinned by Pinterest users.

from Technology Review RSS Feeds