Carriers and Federal Gov Kick Off Emergency Alerts
The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service, a joint effort between U.S. wireless network operators and the federal government, officially launches this month. The WEA will deliver text message warnings to cell phone users based on a number of potential hazards, including tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, dust storms, extreme winds, blizzards, and ice storms. The messages are delivered based on location, so even those who are traveling will receive alerts for where they are, not where they live, if there's danger. Carriers participating in the program include AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. "These text alerts will be very brief, under 90 characters," said National Weather Service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan in an interview with USA Today. They "are intended to prompt people to immediately seek additional information through the wide range of weather alert communications available to them, such as the Internet, television, radio or NOAA Weather Radio." The alerts are not sent via the traditional SMS pipes, and are instead delivered through a system that is not affected by congestion. The WAE can also deliver both AMBER Alerts and Presidential Alerts. Wireless subscribers can opt out of AMBER and Weather Alerts but not Presidential Alerts.
Galaxy S8 to Cost $750, S8+ to Cost $850: Carriers Share Launch Details
Samsung's new Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones will cost $750 and $850, respectively. The phones share almost all features other than size and both ship with 64 GB of internal storage.
Alcatel A30 Reaches Amazon Prime for Just $60
Amazon recently added the Alcatel A30 to its roster of Prime Exclusives. This entry-level Android handset includes a 5-inch HD screen and a 1.1 GHz Snapdragon 210 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage.
Facebook to Display Amber Alerts
Facebook today said it has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and will begin to push Amber alerts to users' Facebook news feeds. Facebook said it was inspired to create the service after an Amber alert posted to Facebook by a user resulted in the recovery of an abducted child.
Google Jazzes Up Weather Search Results
Checking the weather forecast via Google Search just received a big upgrade. On Android devices, searches in the Google app for "weather" will include far more information than before in a more appealing design.