Verizon to put some video playback limits on its unlimited data plans

Unlimited limits

We hope you had a chance to see the amazing eclipse yesterday, but if not, good news: the next one to cross a major portion of the U.S. — and Mexico — is just seven short years away, so start planning your trip now. Anyway, there’s lots going on in tech today, including a reshuffling by Verizon of their “unlimited” cellular data plan, which will now consist of two unlimited plans that include many more limitations.

The basic “unlimited” plan, known as the Go Unlimited plan, restricts video playback to a nearly unwatchable 480P on phones and 720P on tablets, along with a long list of other restrictions, including giving Verizon license to throttle your data stream any time they want, all for just $75 a month. Add a few more dollars for the oxymoronically named “Beyond Unlimited” plan and you bump up video to 720P on phones – but that’s it.

That’s right, no Netflix or Amazon Video or HBO GO in HD for you or anyone using the Verizon network, apparently. Seems like actually giving people actual “unlimited data” isn’t a great business plan, thus the growing list of limitations. Here’s an idea: if it’s not an actual “unlimited data plan,” then stop calling it that.

Google cans

When Apple deleted the headphone jack from the iPhone, lots of people thought it was mostly a ploy to force – or at least strongly suggest – that a pair of wireless Apple-owned Beats headphones would be accessory number one. That really hasn’t happened, but it looks like Google was taking notes, and now 9to5Google is saying Google may be working on a pair of “smart” headphones to pair with its upcoming Google Pixel 2 smartphone.

9to5 says they found reference to a product code-named “Bisto” that appears to be a wireless headset with Google Assistant tech built in. Apparently, Google Assistant will be able to vocalize notifications and you can respond via voice, which would be pretty cool. No design info for the Google cans was discovered. It’s all conjecture at this point; Google may or may not even make the headphones, but it does kind seem right in line with their overall plans.

The bus we all truly want to take

If you’re a vintage VW fan, great news: positive reaction to Volkswagen’s recent unveiling of their I.D. Buzz microbus concept car has been so strong, Volkswagen says they are going to put it into production with a release date of 2022. Lots of good news here too: the new microbus will be a full-on electric vehicle, and with that relatively long wheel base, that means room for lots of battery storage – and therefore some decent range and power – maybe upwards of 300hp.

Additionally, the rig will be packed with assisted driving tech, although the fold-away steering wheel for autonomous driving shown in the concept model will likely not make it into the production – at least at the start. Now, about that name: I-D Buzz may need a rethink. Let us know what you’d like VW to call the new microbus in the comments section.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

Product Review

Microsoft’s $350 Surface Headphones are a good first try, but not good enough

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones are stylish, comfortable, and have great noise-canceling, but at $350 a pair, they’ll have a hard time matching the industry leaders like Sony and Bose.
Mobile

Verizon reveals 20 new cities that will get its 5G network in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it has also begun deploying mobile 5G. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network, including when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Smash your carrier shackles with the best unlocked phones

If you want the freedom to switch carriers at will or you prefer to get your phone directly from the company that makes it, you'll want to buy an unlocked smartphone. These are the best unlocked phones you can buy in the U.S.
Home Theater

Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones get a $93 price cut

Good head-fi is expensive, but a premium set of headphones is worth it. The excellent Bose Quietcomfort 35 Series II is on sale right now from Rakuten with a two-day coupon code that can save you more than 90 bucks.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook outage, best of SXSW, and more

On episode 86 of Digital Trends Live, host Greg Nibler discussed trending tech news from a widely felt Facebook outage to the best tech at SXSW. Drew Prindle also stopped by the show to talk about the latest skateboard from OneWheel.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla Model Y, The Missing Link, and good digital hygiene

Episode 89 of Digital Trends Live covered topics including Tesla's newest crossover, as well as an interview with What's Trending co-founder Shira Lazar. We also talked about Laika Studios' latest stop-motion animated film, Missing Link.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Robocalls, robot dogs, and tech in government

On episode 92 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Nicole Raney broke down the biggest news stories from the world of tech, including an embarrassing robocall incident, an uncanny robot dog, and Oregon's State Treasurer talks tech.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple event recap, digital drive-thrus, and grooming awards

On episode 95 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Adrien Warner explored the biggest stories form the world of tech. On the docket this time: A recap of the recent Apple event, McDonald's digital drive-throughs, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: April Fools’ pranks, SodaStream in space, and more

On episode 99 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Sam Slaughter broke down the biggest news stories from the world of tech, and talked to some fascinating guests, including astronaut Scott Kelly.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon mothership, HP’s 80th-anniversary sale, and more

On episode 101 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Dan Gaul broke down the biggest stories from the world of tech, and talked to some fascinating guests. On the docket this time: The Amazon blimp, HP's anniversary sale, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon satellites, Women of the Manhattan Project, and more

On Friday's episode of Digital Trends Live, cameras in Telsa vehicles finally explained by Elon Musk. We also interviewed Wally Zheng at the Edison Awards, and talked to the co-founder of MoviePass, Stacey Spikes, about her latest app.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Julian Assange arrested, LG foldable phone, and more

On episode 107 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Caleb Denison broke down the biggest stories from the world of tech. On today's episode: Police arrested Julian Assange, LG may have a foldable phone in the works, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: All-digital Xbox One S, hyper-flavorful basil, and more

On Wednesday's episode of Digital Trends Live, we discussed trending headlines like an all-digital Xbox One S. We also welcomed Loni Hull of Structure Cycleworks to the show. Jenny McGrath also stopped by to talk about MIT's hyper-favorable…
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!