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Dec 11, 2013 - 12:11 PM - by dgstorm
Sprint's rush to upgrade their WiMAX network to 4G LTE has not been without some hiccups. They recently took some hits to their previously stellar customer service reputation due to network issues caused by their expansion. Despite these setbacks, Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse is confident that 2014 will be a breakout banner year for the carrier. He made it clear that their network enhancements, including the newly launched Tri-Band LTE Sprint Spark in Chicago will put them ahead of their competitors. Hesse compared the Sprint network rollout to the three little pigs, suggesting that Sprint is building a house of bricks while everyone else is building houses of sticks and straw.
Hesse also shared that Sprint is taking a long view approach to their growth, trading initial short-term difficulties for long-term gains. He said,
He also shared,
"We will see churn get worse as we build Network Vision. And then it starts to improve and will improve to a level that is much better than where we started when it's over. So we have to go through the short term pain to reach the long term gain."
He indicated that while the subscriber losses during this difficult phase were inevitable, they are also predictable and will turn around quickly in the future. Hesse added, “We believe that what we are building is something that is worth waiting for.”
“This is personally painful for me. We have worked so hard to improve customer satisfaction. ”What’s been frustrating is when we come out with something like ‘unlimited data for life,’ and then we have network issues. Unfortunately, we have to go through this hard period of time, so we face a headwind that our competitors don’t have.”
It's easy to admire his confidence and optimism. What do you guys think? Can Sprint really turn things around next year? Their "Unlimited for Life" plans are actually the least expensive option of any of the carriers, including T-Mobile's "Uncarrier" initiative. It also happens to be the only truly unlimited option available. Additionally, with the help of their new parent company, Softbank, Sprint now has a great deal more "chips on the table" to bet with. This could give them the leverage they need to make good on these plans. Share your perspective on Sprint's strategy.
Dec 11, 2013 - 11:23 AM - by dgstorm
We have a Padfone double-hitter for you today. First up, the new Asus Padfone Mini was just officially announced. Here's a breakdown of specs:
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- 4.3 inch smartphone (qHD display) with a 7 inch (1280 x 800) tablet dock
- Dual SIM capabilities for the phone
- Quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 16GB of Storage
- MicroSD card support
- 8MP rear camera with Hi-Light Mode (for shooting in dark environments)
- 1,500 mAh battery
- The tablet dock comes with a 2,200 mAh battery, which can charge the smartphone too
It will launch in the US, Europe and other Asian markets, but prices and a concrete time-frame have not yet been announced.
The second Padfone news for today is an official announcement from ASUS CEO Jerry Shen. At the end of an interview with Engadget, Chen indicated that the next generation version of the Padfone Infinity will be coming to the United States. He said that Asus was working with a "big operator" in the States to bring the device here. He didn't specify whether that "big operator" was a mobile carrier or simply a third party retailer, but we will share more intel when it becomes available.
Dec 11, 2013 - 10:13 AM - by dgstorm
The next game in the Angry Birds universe just hit the Google Play Store and is available for free. It's called Angry Birds Go!, and this one is a kart racer rather than the typical Angry Birds fare. You can race downhill as either the Angry Birds or the Pigs. Keep in mind that this is one of those games where in-app purchases are how it makes its revenue, just in case that matters to you.
Here's a quote from the Google Play Description,
... [Read More]
Welcome to downhill racing on Piggy Island! Feel the rush as you fling those freewheeling birds and piggies down the track at breakneck speed – with plenty of twists and turns in a thrilling race to the finish line! But beware! Look out for hazardous roads, mischievous opponents riding your tail and special powers to put the race leader behind the pack. Plus, go from soapbox car to supercar by upgrading your ride! Ready…Set…Angry Birds Go!
FIRST-EVER 3D ANGRY BIRDS WORLD! See the birds and pigs from every angle as Piggy Island comes alive in this rich and colorful 3D world!
RACE AS THE BIRDS OR PIGS! Jump behind the wheel and race as Red, Chuck, Terence, Stella, King Pig, Moustache Pig and many other favorites!
MASTER THE TRACKS! Plenty of racetracks, stunt roads, air courses and off-road races – each throwing big and unexpected challenges your way!
AWESOME SPECIAL POWERS! Smash your opponents off the road and take that winning position thanks to unique special powers for each character!
MANY GAME MODES! Test your skills with super-fun and surprising game modes: Race, Time Boom, Fruit Splat, Champion Chase and Mega Match!
UPGRADE YOUR RIDE! From a homemade soapbox car to a super-fly supercar, with tons of karts and awesome ways to upgrade – yours to earn or purchase!
MUCH MORE TO COME! The race has only just begun – so look out for many more fun things coming your way!
TELEPODS! A groundbreaking new way to play! Now teleport your favorite characters into the race by placing your Angry Birds Go! TELEPODS* figures on your device’s camera!
~~~ToonsTV READY TO GO! The home of the hugely popular Angry Birds Toons animated series, plus many other top-quality videos!
*Availability varies by country. Angry Birds Go! Telepods sold separately and are compatible with select mobile devices. See the full list of supported devices from Hasbro: Angry Birds GO! | Angry Birds Toys - Telepods & Jenga Games | Hasbro
Important Message for Parents
This game may include:
- Direct links to social networking websites that are intended for an audience over the age of 13.
- Direct links to the internet that can take players away from the game with the potential to browse any web page.
- Advertising of Rovio products and also products from select partners.
- The option to make in-app purchases. The bill payer should always be consulted beforehand.
This application may require internet connectivity and subsequent data
Dec 10, 2013 - 10:55 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like the Chinese smartphone OEM Oppo has made in-roads into Europe and the United States. They just released the N1 to both of these markets. This device is most notable for two unique features. The first one is that you can choose whether you want the manufacturer's ColorOS on the device which is based upon Android 4.2.2, or the CyanogenMOD that was specifically designed for this device with cooperation between Oppo and the CyanogenMod Team. (It's important to note that the second option is not available yet, but is marked as coming soon on Oppo's website.) The other unique characteristic of this device is that the camera up top can swivel ( rotate) front to back. Here's a breakdown of the rest of the specs:
- 5.9-inch 1080p display
- Rotating 13-megapixel camera
- 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 3,610mAh battery.
- Pentaband HSPA+ support up to 42Mbps
There's no LTE for this device which means it won't come to Verizon. The pricing on it is €449 for the 16GB European version or $599 for the 16GB U.S. version. You can also get a 32GB version for €479 or $649 respectively.
Dec 10, 2013 - 9:35 AM - by dgstorm
If you are looking for a truly all-in-one case for your Samsung Galaxy Note 3, then you might want to check out the ZeroLemon Rugged Case. Not only does it have a very resilient ruggedized design, it also includes a massive 10,000 mAH additional battery for the device and NFC capabilities built-in. This is actually there to make up for the fact that the thickness of the case actually blocks the regular NFC inside the GNote3. The case also includes a screen protector and a kickstand attachment.
We aren't sure when or why the average user would want this behemoth case, but there are certainly instances when the ridiculous battery and the stout physical case could prove useful. Sound off if this item has you intrigued and check out the Amazon link below to grab one if you can make use of it.
Update to the update? Yes indeed. Some users are reporting another update rolling in on their Nexus 5 devices. Looks like this one brings the Nexus 5 up to Android 4.4.2. and it’s all about the camera. What's confusing is that 4.4.1 was supposed to fix the camera woes. Now either that update didn't work out as planned, or they are just pumping it up even more. With this news, this will put some Nexus 5 users two (2 ) updates behind and pretty grumpy.
Let us know if you have received the update in the comments below.
Dec 09, 2013 - 11:01 AM - by dgstorm
We have three news blasts to share regarding the Chromecast today, so here's a quick round-up of them. First, the Chromecast was just named as Time's Best Gadget of the Year. It's not surprising consider the incredible popularity of the device and the incredible response it has received from consumers and the media. The Chromecast beat out a powerful pedigree of other gadgets in the top 10, including the newest iPads in 2nd place, the Oculus Rift development kit in 3rd, and even the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX in 7th place. To check out all of the different gadgets on their list, here's a link: Time
The second interesting news flash for the Chromecast will make it even better than it already is. The famed developer Koushik “Koush” Dutta, found something intriguing hidden within the Android 4.4.1 code. Android mirroring may soon be coming soon to the Chromecast. Right now, mirroring only works with a PC, but Android tablets and smartphones may soon receive a similar feature if the data contained within the Android 4.4.1 APIs is accurate. ~Google+ - Koushik Dutta
The final news piece is only indirectly related to the Chromecast. There are insider reports that Google has been so thrilled with the success of the Chromecast, they are working on a new set top box solution called Nexus TV. This new version of Google TV will allow users to play content from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. It will also allow access to some of the same features and functions as Chromecast and even might include some limited game functionality. ~BGR
Dec 06, 2013 - 12:07 PM - by dgstorm
The Oppo Find series of phones typically have excellent bag for your buck with higher-end specs for a decent price. The Chinese manufacturer has had trouble getting their phones out to a wide international audience and they especially have problems bringing their phones to the U.S. Regardless, their devices are worth perking up and paying attention to. We have some new rumored specs for the next-generation Oppo Find 7 and they are impressive indeed. Here's the intel:
- 5.7-inch 2,560×1,440 touchscreen
- 13 MP rear camera
- 5 MP front camera
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor
- 3 GB of RAM
- LTE support
As you can see, that's quite a list of powerful specs. Perhaps next year Oppo will be able to find more success in getting deals pushed through to bring their products to a wider audience.
The above pic says "4G LTE, Oppo is ready!" and is likely just Oppo's way of congratulating China Mobile for launching 4G LTE in the country.
Dec 06, 2013 - 11:20 AM - by dgstorm
A new QWERTY slider Android smartphone has been tipped for T-Mobile. The ever-amazing @evleaks shared the above pic but few details regarding the new device. We do know it is called the LG Optimus F3Q. We suspect it will be a mid-range or budget device with middling specs. The current speculation suggests a WVGA display, 1GB of RAM, a dual-core processor and Android Jelly Bean. If we had to guess, the device will likely retail for $180-250 off contract, but nothing official has been confirmed yet.
What do you guys think? Even though this isn't a very appealing device, does it have you pining for the days of the OG Droid?
Dec 05, 2013 - 2:25 PM - by dgstorm
It's obvious this game is more like the old school PC game Pirates, than it is the current Assassin's Creed series. Regardless of this, if you are looking for an action game that will let you engage in 16th century naval warfare with some serious fun and action, then you should check this game out. Assassin's Creed: Pirates is now available for both iOS and Android. As you can see in the video above, as you progress in wealth by stealing booty from the wrecked hulls of your conquests, you can upgrade your ship and your crew to become an even more efficient Pirate. You can even learn new combat techniques, effectively leveling up your very own personal "Dread Pirate Roberts" as you play. Here's a quick description taken from the Google Play Store:
We aren't too sure how or why they are using the Assassin's Creed name for this game, other than it coincides with the flavor/story of the most current game in that series. We won't fault them for cashing in on the name a bit though because this game has some great visuals and packs in quite a bit of fun. The game... [Read More]
Become one of the most feared pirates of the Caribbean in this exclusive Assassin's Creed adventure on smartphones and tablets!
Play as Alonzo Batilla, a young and ambitious captain, a pirate eager to take on the fiercest of enemies...
Break all the rules, challenge empires and make your own fortune!
ENGAGE IN BRUTAL NAVAL COMBATS
Fight in real-time naval battles all over the Caribbean Sea.
Choose from a wide range of weapons to destroy your enemies and become a true pirate legend!
BUILD UP YOUR CREW AND YOUR SHIP
Acquire the most iconic boats of the Golden Age of Piracy; ranging from the smallest gunboat to the Man O’War floating fortress
Upgrade your vessel using the massive bounty plundered from your encounters
Recruit the finest crew members and learn more than 50 new pirating techniques to become a better captain and the true master of naval combat.
DISCOVER GROUNDBREAKING 3D VISUALS ON MOBILE AND TABLETS
Changing weather conditions directly impact the gameplay and redefine every landscape.
Beware of storms and of the treacherous fog that will conceal your enemies until the last moment!
Bask in the West-Indies sunshine, admire beautiful sunsets and sail through the night along breathtaking coastlines.
EXPLORE THE IMMENSITY OF THE CARRIBEAN
Sail throughout a vast array of islands as you explore a Caribbean huge map
Enjoy more than 50 story and side missions, search for nearly one hundred treasures and lost parchments and compete with your friends for the highest bounty.
EMBARK ON AN EPIC QUEST FOR A LEGENDARY TREASURE
Live an adventure that will reveal the truth about La Buse’s mysterious lost treasure.
Cross paths with Assassins and Templars and take part in their age-old struggle.
Meet the most notorious and colorful pirates of the era, including Sam Bellamy, Ben Hornigold and Blackbeard!
Assassin’s Creed Pirates is fully compatible with tablets.
Game available in: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
Dec 05, 2013 - 12:09 PM - by dgstorm
Today's smartphones have really come a long way with vibrant and colorful high resolution displays, but there's one area they still lack; in bright sunlight it can be next to impossible to read text on them. The YotaPhone was just announced and the unique design of this phone aims to fix that. The YotaPhone basically includes a secondary e-Ink reader display on the back of the device. This monochrome e-Ink display not only makes it easy to read in any lighting condition, it also simply makes it easier to simply read text since it appears just like a book, magazine or newspaper.
Both the main display and the e-Ink display are 4.3-inches. The regular LCD display has decent if not impressive specs with a 720p (1280 x 720) resolution. Here's a quick breakdown of the rest of the specs:
- Dual Display - One 4.3-inch Color LCD 720P & One 4.3-inch Monochrome e-Ink rear display
- 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4
- 2GB of RAM
- 13MP camera
- 1,800mAh battery
Here's a quote with some final details,
What do you guys think of this intriguing concept?
Developers will also be able to create apps for the second display using APIs from Yota Devices. The YotaPhone is available for pre-order in Austria, France, Spain, and Germany for €499 ($678) and will hit another 20 markets by the end of the 1st quarter 2014. It will also be available in Russia (Yota’s home market) starting tomorrow for a price of 19,990 Russian Rubles ($602).
Dec 04, 2013 - 2:47 PM - by dgstorm
When Andy Rubin stepped down as head of the Android Division at Google earlier this year it came as a shock. At that time, they made it clear that he wasn't leaving the company, but was instead focusing on other projects for Google. The year is almost up and only now are we getting the details on just what Andy has been up to. It turns out, Mr. Rubin is still in charge of androids, just not the Google mobile OS variety. A new report from the New York Times indicates that Andy Rubin is now the head of Google's robotics division. He is working on developing more intelligent robotics for industrial based applications, right now, but his work could lead to other advancements.
Right now they are calling his work a "moonshot" which refers to the fact that it could take a decade before the results of his work are realized. Here's a quote from the NYT article with a few more details,
What do you guys think? Will Andy Rubin help to usher in a new era of automated prosperity or slavery to robotic overlords?
“Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor,” Mr. Rubin said. “We need enough runway and a 10-year vision.”
Mr. Rubin, the 50-year-old Google executive in charge of the new effort, began his engineering career in robotics and has long had a well-known passion for building intelligent machines. Before joining Apple Computer, where he initially worked as a manufacturing engineer in the 1990s, he worked for the German manufacturing company Carl Zeiss as a robotics engineer.
“I have a history of making my hobbies into a career,” Mr. Rubin said in a telephone interview. “This is the world’s greatest job. Being an engineer and a tinkerer, you start thinking about what you would want to build for yourself.”
He used the example of a windshield wiper that has enough “intelligence” to operate when it rains, without human intervention, as a model for the kind of systems he is trying to create.
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