T-Mobile rolls out iPhone-compatible HSPA+ to Chicago, Reno, Sacramento, Fresno, Southern Calif., now accessible to 100 million people

T-Mobile-iPhoneOn Monday, we told you that T-Mobile was enhancing its 4G network in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis to provide access to its iPhone-compatible 1900 MHz spectrum for more users. Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile USA Neville Ray announced more enhancements to the network today, including the roll out of more iPhone-compatible 4G HSPA+ to five major metro areas, such as: Chicago; Reno, Nev.; and Fresno, Sacramento and Southern Calif.

A spokesperson confirmed to us that the launch of the enhanced network in these new areas brings T-Mobile’s total covered for iPhone compatible 1900 MHz PCS spectrum to 100 million people.

Internal tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on our 1900 MHz network recorded on average 70% faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network. Savings based on comparison of T-Mobile $69.99/month Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan against AT&T Unlimited Talk, Text, and 3GB Smartphone Data plan.

T-Mobile also said more enhancements to the network are on the way to “Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, the New York metro area, Philadelphia, and San Diego,” with many customers already experiencing unlocked iPhone “speed sightings.”

A full list of areas included in the  rollout is below:

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Microsoft launches Surface Tablet with keyboard Touch Cover, kickstand

Microsoft unveiled its Surface Tablet at an event in Los Angeles today. As Microsoft attempted to demonstrate, it follows a long line of Microsoft hardware achievements including the Microsoft Mouse, Microsoft Keyboard, and more recently the XBox (we must have missed the Zune, Courier, and Kin slides). The Surface has some notable features including a full-sized USB port, kickstand, and a 9.3-mm thickness. It runs on an ARM processor, and it is housed in a magnesium alloy case.

Probably the biggest feature is its 3 mm thick Touch Cover. Added to the iPad 2-ish 9.3-mm thickness, you get a “full package” of just 12.3-mm total. The ability to touch type on a 3 mm thick piece of plastic compared to, say, an 8 mm thick UltraThin Logitech iPad keyboard case, for instance, will be a big determining factor for this thing to take off.

While it would not be a Microsoft demo without a few crashes, Microsoft Vice President Steven Sinofsky was eventually able to launch apps like MS Office, Adobe Lightroom, and Netflix on a backup demo model. The Surface will come in 32GB and 64GB ARM RT varieties and separately with Intel processors.

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Will Microsoft try to take on Apple by manufacturing its own tablet?

Microsoft is allegedly prepping to directly compete with Apple in the tablet market

The Redmond, Wash.-based Company scheduled an event in Los Angeles on Monday to make a “major announcement.” AllThingsD reported earlier this week that the event would unveil Microsoft’s tablet plans:

  • After signaling for months that it would attack the market only through its traditional hardware partners, Microsoft has decided to enter the tablet business more directly. [...]
  • Sources say that Microsoft concluded that it needs its own tablet, with the company designing both the hardware and software in an effort to better compete against Apple’s strengths. Microsoft’s tablets may include machines running ARM-based processors as well as models running on traditional PC processors, sources said.

Perhaps more interesting: The Wrap claimed Microsoft will self-manufacture the device, which is an assertion that AllThingsD supports. The move is certainly plausible, because Microsoft snatched a 17.6-percent stake in Barnes and Noble’s Nook eReader business last month for $300 million. One could speculate that Apple and Amazon’s dominating presence in the market causes companies like Microsoft and Barnes and Noble to join forces.

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Which iPhone carrier has the fastest network in your area? AT&T, Verizon, & Sprint get accurate comparison by city

The argument over which carrier has the fastest network speed in any given location in the United States is still up for debate. Putting network speed comparisons aside, which are often not an accurate representation of speeds, you will receive in your specific area, a new app from startup SwayMarkets aims to provide a more realistic comparison.

The app, CarrierCompare, allows users to test the network speed of their current carrier against the two other major iPhone providers. CNNMoney went hands-on when the app released last month and just posted the user data it obtained that compares major iPhone carriers in multiple locations.

Analyzing user-generated data from Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, these were the results:

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MacTech: Parallels smokes VMWare

We haven’t put the two head to head (been on Parallels exclusively for about a year personally), but the folks over at MacTech had a chance to run the latest versions of VMWare for Mac against Parallels 6 which was released just a few months ago (VMware Fusion 3.1.1 and Parallels Desktop 6.0.11828.615184)  It appears that Parallels is the winner in both general and 3D tests.

Parallels 6 is available in Box form ($63) or for immediate download.

Full results will be posted in MacTech magazine next month.  More below: Read more