TechZone360 Week in Review

By Steve Anderson November 17, 2012

Once again a huge, huge week in gadgets and technology has come and gone, and with it, a whole lot of news was left behind for us to consider. With all that kind of news, it's a good idea to take a look at the high points and run down some of the biggest and best, which we do every weekend in our Week in Review. So strap in and let's check out the biggest parts of the week in tech!

To lead things off, we got a look at the concept of rural broadband. A hot-button issue, rural broadband is essentially on the horns of a dilemma. On one side is "economic rationality," which means essentially that something make sense because of its return, and the other is "political rationality" which means that something makes sense because a lot of people want it and won't take "no" or "it costs too much" for an answer. That's making for plenty of trouble as rural dwellers want connections, but providing them can be costly and difficult.

Next was an all too rare note of good news for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, as AT&T and Verizon cell phone users in the area look to get a bit of their monthly bill relaxed. Verizon plans to waive charges related to voice and text messages made from October 29 to November 16, while AT&T plans to relax voice and text overage charges as well as provide some extra slack on the late-payment window.

Then came another surprise as AT&T brought in another piece of news, this time changing its stance on Apple's popular FaceTime video chatting app. AT&T announced that it would bring FaceTime over cellular out at no additional cost for those users with an LTE device and a tiered plan. It would also provide support for the app for any customer with an AT&T Mobile Share Plan, as well as use of FaceTime over Wi-Fi. This is actually a fairly major sea change for AT&T, who had originally been fighting several organizations with allegations of net neutrality violations.

Next, Internet radio is finding a lot of new audiences, but oddly, it seems to be coming at the cost of both CDs and digital music downloads. Reports from The NPD Group indicated that, while over half of all Internet users were using some breed of online radio (or similar on-demand service) to enjoy music online, the number of CD users has been in decline. So too have the numbers for AM / FM radio and digital downloads, showing that the radio on the Internet is rapidly becoming the go-to point for music.

Finally came word from Gartner, though it wasn't so much news as a confirmation of what most had figured for some time. While the overall sale of mobile phones was down just a bit, the sale of smartphones grew at dizzying rates. The global mobile phone sales totals were down 3.1 percent from the same time last year, but smartphones shot up to prominence, accounting for 39.6 percent of the entire mobile phone market.

That was the week that was in technology, and it was clearly a big week. Mobile devices, broadband access, and plenty more topics filled our sights this week, and our global online community is tireless in its pursuit of more. So be sure to join us back here next week for more big news, and of course, every weekend for our Week in Review coverage!



Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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