FAA Takes a Fresh Look at Gadget Use on Planes

Today’s mobile roundup features AT&T’s loss Against Spaccarelli, Apple’s iPad, a new Android app to help tablet owners find the right app and more.

FAA – Gadgets on a plane

If you’re one of those plane passengers who get irritated when the flight attendant tells you that you have to turn off your electronic device during take-off, taxi, and landing, there’s a possibility that you no longer have to turn them off during those times.

According to a report from the New York Times, the Federal Aviation Administration is going to take a “fresh look” with regards to using electronic gadgets in airplanes.

“With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft,” said Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs for the F.A.A.

AT&T in court

Last week Matthew Spaccarelli celebrated his win against AT&T for throttling his unlimited data plan, but AT&T wanted to appeal the small claims court’s decision of paying $850 plus $85 for court costs to Spaccarelli.  Nevertheless, late Friday they decided instead to just pay up.

Spaccarelli already received AT&T’s check, to which AT&T confirmed but declined to further comment on.  But Spaccarelli has plenty more to say, even posting a photo of his settlement on Twitter, saying, “to me the check means AT&T didn’t stand a chance in the appeal.  If they did, they wouldn’t have paid me.”

Though AT&T paid Spaccarelli, they’re still throttling his data speed.  On Saturday, his download speed was at .31Mbps.  Compared to the second iPhone he acquired with a SIM Straight Talk, a reseller with download speed at 3.83 Mbps on an AT&T 3G network.

“Not bad for paying $45 per month for unlimited talking, texting, data and no contract,” Spaccarelli said.

The check will be used to pay the early termination fee from AT&T and attend AT&T’s April stockholders meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It isn’t about the money,” Spaccarelli said. “It’s about getting the service I’m paying for. I pay $130 per month and with that I expect a little bit of reasonableness.”

Android market gets curated

A new app in Google Play is made just for tablet owners, Tablified Market – a curated market made for tablet-specific apps.

According to a review from CNET, “The people behind it have a strict set of criteria that an app must meet in order to be included in the database, which to us means no more phone apps in search results. For one, an approved app must be distinguishable from its phone-specific counterpart (if it has one). This means it has to take full advantage of the larger screen somehow. Also, the Tablified gatekeepers are specifically on the lookout for apps that incorporate Android’s Action Bar and use the tablet-specific Fragments API.”

The only downside of the app is because it pulls content from its website, the app can have annoyingly long load time.  The app is available in free and paid versions.  So if you want to try it, better get the free version first.

On the other side of the Android app story, the angry mob of developers who ranted that they haven’t been paid by Google was finally addressed by Google.

“We have worked to resolve this, and payouts were initiated on 15 March 2012. However, your bank may take up to three additional business days to register the payout in your account,” said a message from Google employee Crystal H.

“We apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced and appreciate your understanding.”

The complaint started when one developer stated that he hasn’t been paid by Google, he usually gets paid every 7th of the month.  It lead to a stream of 275 comments from over 100 users, nearly all of which have complained that Google was around two weeks late with app earnings payments.  What ticked them off the most was Google’s lack of response to their woes.

Dell’s new tablet strategy – Windows 8

According to a report from Reuters, Dell is looking into trying out the tablet market again.  This time it will be Windows 8-based.

“We’re very encouraged by the touch capability we are seeing in the beta versions of Windows 8,” Felice told Reuters in an interview in London, adding that Dell may also make Android tablets again.

“We have a roadmap for tablets that we haven’t announced yet. You’ll see some announcements.. for the back half of the year,” he said. “We don’t think that this market is closed off in any way.”

Aside from abandoning the Android platform, they had a few unsuccessful Android-based tablets which are no longer in existence in the market, they want to try to infiltrate workplaces with their PCs and tablets.

Earlier this year, Dell already announced that 2012 will be the year that they launch their first commercial tablet.  With the interest in the Windows 8 platform from multiple OEMs, 2012 could actually be a game-changer for Dell and Microsoft alike.