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Nov 15, 2013 - 1:00 PM - by dgstorm
Speaking of the FCC, it looks like they are really doing great things to protect consumer rights lately. Not only are they currently working to make sure phones can be carrier unlocked by consumers, they also just released a cool app which allows consumers to test the data speeds of their smartphone. It is designed to help keep your carrier honest so they can't claim overly inflated download speeds for their network. Not only that, but this app also collects data from everyone who uses the app. This database will eventually cull enough data to show which carriers offer the fastest speeds and most consistent service throughout the country.
This is a similar app to the one they offered in 2011 for fixed broadband services. That one is meant to compare the advertised speeds of ISPs and compare them to what they actually deliver. You can download this new mobile based version from the Google Play Store at the source link below.
Source: Google Play Store - FCC Speed Test App
Nov 15, 2013 - 12:25 PM - by dgstorm
If you had any doubt that Android dominates the mobile landscape, prepare to have that doubt vanish. According to a new report from Gartner, their Q3 smartphone numbers reveal a startling statistic. Due to explosive growth in China, Android now empowers 81.9% of all smartphones across the glove... that's 4/5ths in other terms. Here are some other interesting factoids from their assessment:
- Android adoption rose 9.3 percent over last year.
- Apple smartphone sales dropped 2.2 percentage points over the year and now hold 12.1 percent of the smartphone market
- Windows Phone gained and now holds 3.6 percent of the market
- Lenovo actually leapfrogged LG to grab the number three spot in the world
- China accounted for 41 percent of all Android sales in the last quarter... this is an increase of seven percent from a year ago
- Samsung accounted for almost 1/3rd of all smartphones sold globally
There is one thing to keep in mind about this report. At the time of this report, which ended in Q3, very little of Apple's iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C sales were accounted for in this report. The Q4 report should show a difference in numbers, although ultimately, it won't topple the Android King. It will simply skew some of these figures, and slightly diminish the size of the Android Tsunami.
Nov 15, 2013 - 12:08 PM - by dgstorm
Several times throughout the year we shared stories related to the FCC law making it illegal for owners of smartphones to carrier unlock their smartphones without permission from the carrier. A petition was filed asking the US President and Congress to change this law. The President and several politicians from both sides have been working on laws to get this changed, but of course, we all know how glacially slow Congress moves on things. Luckily, folks who want to see this law changed have a little known ally from within the FCC themselves, Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Apparently, Chairman Wheeler has been working hard for the last eight months directly with the CTIA to get the regulations altered and allow customers to carrier unlock their devices when their contract is fulfilled. Unfortunately, the CTIA has been dragging their feet on the issue. Despite this, Chairman Wheeler is working on a plan to get things changed. Wheeler recently sent a letter to the CTIA. He demanded they take action on several key points, and gave them a deadline of December. If they don't comply, the FCC will take regulatory action against them. These are the five key points outlined in his letter,
- provide a clear, concise and readily accessible policy on unlocking
- unlock mobile devices for legitimate owners of those devices once their service contract has been fulfilled
- notify customers when their devices are eligible to be unlocked and/or automatically unlock those devices for free
- unlock devices or provide an explanation of a denial of any unlock requests within two days
- unlock devices for military service men and women upon deployment
Interestingly, right now the FCC and the CTIA are actually in agreement on all of these points except for one. Point number three is contentious to the CTIA because they don't want to be forced to tell customers when their phones can be unlocked, and especially not for free. Luckily, Wheeler's ultimatum means they can't really get stuck on this point for long. They either have to agree to his terms or come up with an alternative solution by December. If not, then the FCC will be able to step in and make the necessary changes.
Source: FCC Letter
Nov 15, 2013 - 11:23 AM - by dgstorm
Lately Big Red has been offering some surprisingly good deals, and today's deal alert falls into that category. You can get the plain black or white Moto X from Verizon for FREE on a new contract with a special promo code. Normally you can grab the device for $49 bucks through the Verizon site, and you will still need that much money if you want to get the customized Moto Maker version. Despite this, if you use the promo code vzwdeal at checkout for the black or white version directly from Verizon's website, it will knock the last remaining balance down to zero.
The offer is very limited and may run out soon, so you might want to check this out quickly.
Nov 14, 2013 - 12:56 PM - by dgstorm
It seems like so long ago (because it was) that Apple defeated Samsung in a California court winning a $1 Billion+ verdict against the company. Shortly thereafter the award was reduced by Judge Lucy Koh down to $600 Million. This was because the judge felt the way the jury calculated the damages during the trial were erroneous. The new re-trial for that particular part of the case just kicked off yesterday, and Apple is trying to prove that Judge Koh should increase the damages by another $380 Million. This would put the total amount nearly back to what it was before she reduced it.
This new trial has eight jurors assigned to the case. They will be determining just how much Samsung should owe Apple for infringing on five patents. Apple came up with this $380 million figure, claiming they calculated their lost profits and royalties owed to them. Apple is also claiming that Samsung made over $3.5 billion in revenue by selling infringing products.
The decision in this case should come within just a few weeks. It's important to note that this is a separate damages trial in this case. It is not the Samsung appeal case for the entire verdict. That trial is set in March of 2014.
Nov 14, 2013 - 11:52 AM - by dgstorm
Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on AT&T can start doing a happy dance now. The Android 4.3 update, version I337UCUEMJ9, is being pushed out to your device. Of course, as usual, it will roll out in chunks. This update already hit Verizon and Sprint. This is a bit surprising considering Big Red is usually the last carrier to get new updates. The update is a massive 719 MB so you will probably want to get it over WiFi.
This update gives you support for using the SGS4 with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch as well as Samsung's Knox security.
Nov 14, 2013 - 11:34 AM - by dgstorm
The ISIS mobile payment system has been in development testing for over a year in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas; however, the testing is complete and the new service is rolling out today nationwide. The ISIS mobile payment platform was developed in a partnership between Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. An updated version of the Isis mobile wallet is now available in the Google Play Store. The app and service allow you to load only American Express or Chase cards into a virtual wallet on NFC-enabled smartphones. This lets you pay for goods and services with a swipe of your phone instead of a credit card or cash.
Supposedly, the service is now available at over 200,000 retail locations across the United States. Here's a list of some of the more popular phones on Verizon which are capable of utilizing the NFC based service:
- Motorola DROID Maxx
- Motorola DROID Ultra
- Motorola DROID Mini
- Motorola DROID RAZR M
- Motorola Moto X
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2
- LG G2
So far, the Isis app and service has been receiving horrible reviews on the Google Play Store. Of course this is mostly for the previous versions, but is also because of the limited amount of cards available on the service. It does not bode well for a smooth launch of the service, potentially putting a black eye on the entire NFC-based mobile payment system.
Nov 13, 2013 - 12:45 PM - by dgstorm
According to the master news leaker himself @evleaks, the new G Flex from LG is now confirmed for Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T. He didn't specify a time-frame but at least it's at least good intel for folks on these carriers who are curious about this device. Of course, if we get official word we will update you accordingly. This device should appeal primarily to the "phablet" crowd considering its monstrous size. Here's the ubiquitous spec refresh:
- 6 inch display, 1280 x 720 pixels
- Entire device is flexible
- LTE connectivity
- 13MP rear camera
- Quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 32GB of internal memory
- 3,500 mAh battery
- Android 4.3 - will quickly be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat
Sound off if you are eyeing this device.
Nov 13, 2013 - 12:33 PM - by dgstorm
Since these three devices are the current pinnacle of customization and are designed with the tinkerers/modders in mind, we thought it would be worthwhile to offer a comparison between the new Motorola Moto G, the Motorola Moto X and the Google Nexus 5. With a $180 off-contract price, the new Moto G could be worth grabbing simply as a backup, a secondary mod testing device, or any number of creative uses. Because of this it could give the Nexus 5 a run for its money.
Of course, this also depends on how easy it is to unlock the bootloader for the Moto G. The Nexus 5 is already built to be super-friendly to the tweakers of the world while Motorola is not so much. Still... knowing our developer community, the Moto G will probably be ready for the same treatment in short order.
Here's the primary spec comparison:
What do you guys think of the new Moto G compared to these other devices? At this price it is very tempting...
Nov 13, 2013 - 11:44 AM - by dgstorm
For folks interested in the phablet-style HTC One Max, you might be pleased to learn that both Best Buy and Sprint accidentally tipped off the launch. Unless something changes because of the leak, the new device should hit retail stores on November 15th. No official announcements have been made, but where there's smoke there's fire, and two big companies making the same slip-up at the same time seems like a pretty solid confirmation. Here's a recap of specs for the device:
- 5.9-inch 1080p full HD display
- 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor
- UltraPixel rear camera
- 32GB of internal storage
- 2GB of RAM
- 3,300 mAh battery
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- HTC’s new Sense 5.5 software
Sound off if you are excited for this device to hit the streets on Friday!
Source: Sprint, Best Buy
Nov 13, 2013 - 11:22 AM - by dgstorm
The initial rollout for the Moto G in the US next year will see the device available on Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T; however, it turns out that Verizon will get the device too, in some capacity. Verizon just tweeted that the Moto G will be coming to their prepaid service some time in Q1 of 2014. No other details have been shared just yet, but we will keep you updated.
Source: Twitter - VZW
Nov 13, 2013 - 10:59 AM - by dgstorm
The Moto G was officially unveiled this morning. The device could hold some surprising value considering its price. It will be available for $179/£135 for the 8GB version or $199/£159 for the 16GB version. Both of these prices are unlocked and off contract. Here's a breakdown of specs:
- 4.5-inch LCD, HD (1280 x 720), 326ppi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, quad-core @ 1.2GHz, Adreno 305
- RAM 1GB
- 8GB or 16GB Storage
- Battery 2070 mAh
- 5 MP rear LED flash Camera
- 1.3 MP front Cam
- GPS, GLONASS, microUSB, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, KitKat update guaranteed in January
- Dimensions 129.9 x 65.9 x 6-11.6mm
- Black/White, replaceable colored backplates
Obviously the big hit to this is the lack of LTE support. Regardless, for many average users this could be a tremendous deal. We can see folks snapping this up and heading to T-Mobile for a very affordable total package price. Here's a breakdown of the availability of the device:
- Initial launch within the next few weeks: Brazil, UK, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Colombia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina, France, Peru, Chile, Honk Kong, Netherlands, Singapore.
- Second launch starting rollout in January 2014: US, India, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Australia, Honduras, Ghana, New Zealand, El Salvador, Kuwait, Indonesia, Panama, Oman, Ecuador, Uruguay, Jordan, Venezuela, Paraguay, Dominican Republic , UAE.
With these prices this device could become the budget-friendly device of choice across the globe in a short period of time.
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