If you thought Chrome was pretty good for Android, it’s about to get even better. The Google Chrome team just announced via their blog the launch of a few new features and upgrades coming to the highly popular mobile browser. The company will be implementing a new data compression option and the ability to manage allocated bandwidth for the app, reducing your overall data usage by up to 50%. That’s a pretty big deal for those keeping a hawk’s eye on how much monthly data they’re using. In addition, the search giant is adding enhancements such as “Safe Browsing” technology in an attempt to thwart malicious webpages. Once the update rolls out, you’ll be able to go to Settings->Bandwidth management->Reduce data usage and toggle to “On“. This will also allow you to track how much bandwidth you’re saving on a monthly basis. Read more
Data caps are a hard reality for many customers on a majority of carriers, and managing that data usage can be tricky. Even on prepaid plans, hard and soft data caps are put in place for carriers to make a bit of extra money ensure their network is optimized for all of their customers. Unless you don’t mind facing ridiculous overage charges or buying top up cards six times a month, keeping up with how your data is used is important for any smartphone user. In this guide we’re going to go over a handful of apps that do a great job of giving you an easy way to track your data usage and keep you from going over your limit. Head on past the break to get started.
We love market shares and usage statistics. The latest number crunching has to do with who consumes the most data and compares basic phones to smartphones to tablets. Since the rise of the smartphone, we’ve seen a constantly increasing usage of data on smartphones, hitting an extremely high 78 – 79% in 2011 and 2012. Most people would think that usage would continue to grow until feature phones are totally phased out, but it looks like tablets are coming in to grab up a bit of that usage share. Read more
Verizon is hoping to add some value for its customers by helping them rate the value of the apps they run on their smartphones. Rather than rating apps based on things like graphics or usability for a certain task, Verizon is looking at qualities that may affect the overall ownership experience. Major areas that are assessed include battery drain and data usage along with some other factors. Verizon makes a couple lists available, one that assesses top Google Play apps and another that highlights apps they find especially worrisome. Read more
You would expect that the average Android smartphone user would use at least a couple of gigabytes a month. But according to statistics provided by NPD Collective Intelligence, it is much lower.
Research suggests that on average, Android smartphone users utilize only use about 870MB a month on cellular networks, as opposed to 2.5GB on home wireless networks. To be honest, when I read this I thought everyone was crazy, or it was time for me to get new glasses. Especially with network restrictions and data caps provided by large carriers like Verizon and AT&T, you think people would use as much data as possible without exceeding limits.
Using software by the name of “SmartMeter”, NPD tracked 1,000 Android devices to obtain data for their recent tests. After collecting what the company needed, NPD categorized the experiment ”by age”. As it turns out, users that were 55 years or older, used a very light amount of 750MB on a monthly basis, while participants within the age group of 18-24 used around 1.05GB. This data consisting all on cellular data.
Readers with Android devices from Verizon may have already noticed a message today about the “My Verizon Data Widget” being discontinued. The widget was a tool users could include on their screens to quickly view their data usage. Seeing that information is extremely useful if one does not have an unlimited data plan. Without the widget, one has to navigate the Verizon web site to access data usage information.
The good news is the removal of the widget is a temporary measure. A tweet from Verizon support indicates the widget is being reworked to be compatible with their new Share Everything Plans.
Barely a month has passed since we took the time to explain exactly how and when AT&T throttles data usage for customers on the unlimited data plan. Since then the spotlight has really been on the network giant due to some high profile complaints. Fox News very own Shep Smith made his thoughts known live on TV after he personally fell foul of data throttling and more recently a small claims court ruled in favour of an AT&T customer who took legal action against the network following a similar issue.
As a result of thousands of complaints from subscribers, AT&T has revised its throttling policy and posted an update to the support page on its website. Moving forward, data will only be throttled for customers who exceed 3GB of usage within a billing cycle. Previously all customers who were within the top 5% of data users were throttled, irrespective of the actual amount of data consumed. The previous policy was particularly unfair as a user would have no obvious ways of knowing when they were edging towards that top 5% until they received the infamous text message warning, by which time it would normally be too late.
In a statement released on Thursday, an AT&T spokesperson stated “Our unlimited plan customers have told us they want more clarity around how the program works and what they can expect,” So what’s the verdict subscribers to AT&T’s unlimited data plan, are these recent changes sufficient? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
How is it the old saying goes? Hell hath no fury like a… newsreader scorned?! Well that certainly seemed to be the case when Fox News’ Shep Smith received a text message from AT&T informing him that his data is to be throttled. We helped you understand AT&T’s data restrictions earlier this month, the highlight of which explains that the top 5% of users are throttled for the duration of their billing period.
So it seems poor Shep managed to reach that top 5%, here’s hoping he didn’t upload the youtube video whilst on his data plan!
Check out the video for the full rant in all it’s glory.
What can a carrier do to keep their data networks running smoothly when the appetite for bits keeps growing? One method is called “throttling”. This simply means slowing down a user’s access to the network when that user passes a certain threshold of data used. The theory behind this is that heavy data users, once throttled, cannot continue to consume massive amounts of data when the pipe is made narrower, leaving more bandwidth for everyone else.
Last summer, AT&T announced new restrictions for users on their unlimited plan. The restrictions look at the top 5% of the heaviest data users who are grandfathered in to the plan, and throttle them for the rest of the billing month. The problem is that the amount of data used by the top 5% changes every month. So, for example, if the top 5% all used around 2GB of data, that’s where they set the threshold. Any user approaching that threshold would be warned, then throttled once they pass it.
Well, I guess it’s come to this. Gone are the days when you could get an all-you-can-eat buffet of data for a flat-rate every month. Now, it’s all about how quickly carriers can get you to hit the arbitrary data cap every month, so that they can charge you exorbitant fees. But I digress…
This app does serve a purpose, and a very useful one at that. Not only does it track the data usage like so many other apps out there, but it actually keeps track of your minutes and texts, even breaking them down to night/day minutes and SMS/MMS texts. There is no better way to prevent these overages other than keeping a close eye on them, and this app does just that.
That said, the app is still in closed beta and one must contact the dev in order to get access. As far as I know, he isn’t rejecting anyone. Jump in while you can (and while the app is free!)