Phone Scoop

printed March 31, 2015
See this page online at:
http://www2.phonescoop.com/index.php

Home

News New Phones  

Google Duplicating Google+ Photos in Google Drive

Yesterday, 1:56 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said it is giving people more options for organizing their photos and videos online. Moving forward, all the photos and videos users have stored in Google+ will be accessible from Google Drive. This change applies to the Android and iOS apps, as well as the web. Google believes adding photos/videos to drive will help people organize them more easily alongside their other files. Even so, Google+ Photos will continue to operate separately, where people can store, edit, and share their pictures. Google said Drive users should see their photos begin to appear automatically over the next few weeks.


Google Adds Master Inbox View to Gmail for Android

Yesterday, 1:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today updated its Gmail application for Android devices with the ability to see all emails from various accounts in a single, master inbox. Using the new "All Inboxes" option will lump together emails from Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and IMAP/POP accounts into a single view. This way users can respond to emails from all their accounts without having to switch inboxes. Further, Google will automatically thread email conversations from non-Gmail addresses to help users keep their inbox under control. Other new features include improved auto-complete when using the search box, more responsive animations, larger attachment previews, and the ability to save to Drive with a single tap. The new version of Gmail for Android devices is available from the Google Play Store.

AD       more news below...


Verizon CEO Slams FCC, Wants Congress In Charge

Yesterday, 12:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam pleaded with Congress to "re-take responsibility for policymaking in the Internet ecosystem" in a letter sent Friday to the House and Senate Commerce committees. Lowell pointed to the FCC's recently proposed net neutrality rules and Dish Network's "abuse" of the AWS-3 bidding process as indicators that things have gone off the rails. "For the past few weeks, telecom and technology issues have been prominent in the news," wrote Lowell, "but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons." Lowell believes the 1996 Telecommunications Act is now horribly outdated and needs to be re-thought by Congress. "The existing legal regime and its accompanying regulatory processes are outdated and broken. It is time for Congress to re-take responsibility for policymaking in the Internet ecosystem." Lowell asked Congress first to come up with a short-term solution to curb the FCC's net neutrality rules with bipartisan legislation, and then to follow it up with a fully revised set of policies for governing the internet. "Congress [needs] to assert its longstanding role of setting, in a bipartisan fashion, public policies for the communications sector that both protect consumers and provide incentives for investment and innovation in new products and services." The FCC wants to reclassify broadband providers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934, which would brand them common carriers and allow the FCC to regulate them more stringently.


AT&T Targeting Summer Launch for LTE in WCS Spectrum

Yesterday, 12:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T plans to begin deploying LTE service in its 2.3GHz WCS spectrum holdings this summer. AT&T acquired some WCS spectrum from NextWave in 2012 and more from Sprint in 2014. AT&T's Tom Keathley, senior vice president of network and product planning, told Fierce Wireless it will use the WCS band to add capacity to its LTE 4G network in markets that need it. "We went out fast to deploy the coverage layer [in 700MHz]. WCS will be a capacity layer. So to the extent that we need capacity in an area, that will be more the indicator of how fast we go." Though deployments will start this summer, Keathley said work will continue into 2016. The company already has handsets on deck that will support the new spectrum band. AT&T expects the deployment will run smoothly. Since most of its cell sites include the necessary antennas, the carrier will need only another remote radio head at each tower. AT&T is already refarming portions of its PCS spectrum to add capacity to its LTE 4G network. AT&T also recently acquired licenses for AWS-3 spectrum from the FCC that it will use to boost downlink performance for its network.


Apple Offering Credit for Some Android, Windows Phones

Yesterday, 9:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has expanded the scope of its Reuse and Recycling Program to include smartphones, tablets, and PCs not made by Apple. Customers can take their old smartphones directly to Apple Stores and receive credit towards new Apple gear for turning them in. Customers who don't have access to Apple Stores can mail in their devices for credit. Apple will recycle just about any old phone, tablet, or computer for free. Apple says not all devices are eligible for credit and suggests customers check eligibility (online) before heading to Apple Stores. According to Apple's web site, it is accepting handsets from Sony, Samsung, Nokia, LG, and BlackBerry. Apple has partnered with Brightstar and DataServ to handle the actual device recycling processes. The expanded Apple Reuse and Recycling Program is available in the U.S., the U.K., and select European countries.


T-Mobile Updates Coverage Map with Customer Data

Yesterday, 8:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today unveiled a new coverage map that it claims is far more accurate than the maps offered by its competitors. T-Mobile is populating the map with data generated by its own customers. The map shows coverage that's been verified by real customers and shows exactly where LTE, 4G, and 3G coverage is available. T-Mobile is using "Verified Coverage" icons to show where the data has been provided by its customers versus third-party companies. It is using a company called Inrix to verify and backup the customer data. T-Mobile said all coverage map data is updated twice per month, based on on-going customer usage. The map also details speed test data from third-party apps so customers can see what sort of speeds to expect in any given location. The new coverage map is live on T-Mobile's web site. T-Mobile said its LTE network covers 265 million Americans. It expects to cover 300 million Americans by the end of the year.


LG's Mid-Range Phones On Sale, But US Launch Unknown

Yesterday, 7:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said its new mid-range handsets, the Magna, Spirit, Leon, and Joy, are going on sale in South America. The phones will be made available across Latin America first, but will soon also reach Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and, eventually, North America. So far, none of the major U.S. network operators has voiced support for these phones. Until they do, the devices will only be sold overseas. The phones range from the 4-inch Joy to the 5-inch Magna.


Sony Music Unlimited Goes Offline, Spotify Takes Its Place

Yesterday, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony today followed through on an announcement made in January concerning Sony Music Unlimited and Spotify. Sony Music Unlimited has gone offline in all 19 countries where it was offered. The service, which cost $10 per month, let Xperia device and PlayStation owners stream songs and playlists. Sony partnered with Spotify, which is officially taking Music Unlimited's place across Sony's devices. Spotify gives Sony hardware owners access to 30 million songs and 1.5 billion playlists. PlayStation owners will be able to create and listen to playlists when playing games, as well as listen to music on-demand whenever they wish. Spotify replaces Sony's Music Unlimited service on Xperia smartphones and tablets, too, but it isn't yet available. Sony said it should be ready for mobile devices soon. Spotify is already available to Android and iOS devices from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.


Windows 10 Preview to Reach Dozens More Phones Soon

Yesterday, 7:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft said it is preparing to make the technical preview of Windows 10 available to a large batch of phones in the coming weeks. Microsoft delivered an early build of the technical preview to just a few handsets in February. However, due to the way most handsets' partitions were created, the preview couldn't function properly on the vast majority of devices. Microsoft has completed a process called partition stitching, which allows devices to adjust the partition dynamically. Microsoft has since been testing the technical preview on a wide variety of Windows handsets to make sure the build is functional. Microsoft expects to spend about another week engineering the code, and then will likely make the preview available through its Windows Insiders program. Some of the handsets that will be able to test the new operating system include the Lumia 1520, 1320, 1020, 920, 925, 928, Icon, and a smattering of handsets from the Lumia 500, 600, 700, and 800 series. Microsoft will have more details about timing of the release in the days to come.


FCC Chair Floats 3.5GHz Sharing Proposal

Friday, 4:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC is moving forward with plans to free up a portion of the 3.5GHz band for wireless broadband use. The agency has been exploring the idea of sharing the airwaves with the incumbent users, including the military, and wants to make 150MHz of the spectrum available for wireless purposes. Chairman Tom Wheeler today circulated a draft Report and Order proposing to create a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The idea is to use a three-tiered sharing paradigm. In a segment called General Authorized Access, any FCC-certified device would be able to access the spectrum as long as it doesn't cause interference. In the Priority Access tier, users would have to acquire "short-duration licenses" at auction. Any service provided in the Priority Access would have to protect GAA users. Existing government users would stand at the top of the three tiers. They use the spectrum for satellite and radar, and will be protected from the two lower tiers. The tiers will be managed by something called the Spectrum Access System, which uses cloud computing technology to visualize and control what entities are using the spectrum in which locations. "I look forward to my fellow Commissioners' feedback on the draft Report and Order," said Wheeler. "I think it provides a peek of the future, and that future is very exciting indeed."


Vine Improves Video Quality to 720p HD

Friday, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Vine today announced new support for higher-resolution video. Since launch, the video-sharing service has uploaded videos with a maximum resolution of 480p. An update to its mobile application will record and upload videos in 720p HD. The update will hit the iOS version of Vine in the coming days, with the Android version to follow at some point down the road. Vine is owned by Twitter and lets people record 6-second videos that are then played back in loops. Earlier this week, Twitter released an app called Periscope, which lets people broadcast live video from their smartphones.


US Cellular Accepting Preorders for Galaxy S6

Friday, 10:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular has begun accepting preorders on its web site for the Samsung Galaxy S6. U.S. Cellular wants $199.99 for the 32 GB S6 or $299.99 for the S6 Edge, each with a two-year contract. Customers who prefer to pay over time can score the S6 for $34 per month or the S6 Edge for $39.50 per month. The 64GB models of the S6 and S6 Edge cost $299.99 and $399.99 with a two year contract, respectively, or $38.50 and $44 per month. U.S. Cellular is offering the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in black or white, but not the gold color being sold by the big four carriers. U.S. Cellular didn't specify shipping dates.


HTC's Design Chief Departs After One Year at the Helm

Friday, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Jonah Becker, HTC's VP of Industrial Design, announced he is departing the company. Becker joined One & Co., a design firm bought by HTC, 17 years ago. He succeeded Scott Croyle, who himself left HTC a year ago. "It's been an amazing journey with One & Co and HTC, but it's time for a new adventure," said Becker through his personal Twitter account. Of his departure HTC said, "We would like to thank Jonah for his work with HTC, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. He has been succeeded by Daniel Hundt, based in our San Francisco design office." Becker's departure comes just a week after HTC announced a change at the executive leadership level. Long-time CEO Peter Chou switched roles to run the company's Future Development Lab. Cher Wang, who helped found HTC, has assumed the role of CEO. HTC is on the cusp of releasing its 2015 flagship smartphone, the One M9, which Becker played a large role in designing.


Review: ZTE Warp Sync for Boost Mobile

Thursday, 7:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

This Android phone for Boost Mobile covers the basics in a plain, but usable package. Budget shoppers who prefer pre-paid services might enjoy its stick-to-the-basics approach.

continued ›


Verizon Not Yet Saying when Galaxy S6 Goes On Sale

Thursday, 3:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon was the last of the major carriers today to announce pricing and availability details for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. The company will begin taking pre-orders for the phones on April 1, but Verizon did not provide a shipping or in-store date. The 32GB Galaxy S6 will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract, $24.99 per month with an Edge plan, or $599 at full retail. The 64GB model will cost $299.99 with a contract, $29.16 per month, or $699. The 128GB model will cost $399.99 with a contract, $33.33 per month, or $799. Verizon is offering the S6 Edge with similar pricing breakdowns. The 32GB model starts at $299.99 with a contract, $29.14 per month, and $699; the 64GB model runs $399.99, $33.33, and $799; and the 128GB model runs $499.99, $37.49, and $899. (All on-contract prices reflect a $50 mail-in rebate.) Both the GS6 and GS6 Edge will include VoLTE and HD Voice, as well as simultaneous voice and data access.


Sprint Will Be First to Sell HTC One M9 In Stores On March 27

Thursday, 2:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said it will begin selling the HTC One M9 both online and in stores on Friday, March 27. Sprint is offering the device for $0 down followed by 24 monthly lease payments of $20. Customers who want to upgrade their device after 12 months can pay $10 more per month. Sprint leases require customers to turn in their device at the end of the leasing period, but they'll be able to lease a new phone with $0 down. For a limited time, customers who buy the One M9 from Sprint will be able to purchase a Harmon Kardon speaker for $99 (savings of $50). Sprint said it is still willing to pay all of potential customers' costs if they switch to Sprint from a competing carrier.


Verizon Kicking Off HTC One M9 Preorders April 1

Thursday, 2:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today released pricing and availability details of its variant of the HTC One M9. Verizon is opening up pre-orders for the device on April 1. The phone will reach Verizon's retail stores on April 10. Verizon is selling the M9 for $199.99 with a two-year contract or for $25 per month for 24 months with a Verizon Edge plan. The One M9 will launch with Verizon's Advanced Calling 1.0 capabilities, which enables HD Voice and Video Calling to other compatible Verizon smartphones over LTE. Activating this feature also lets Verizon customers talk and surf the web at the same time.


Sprint Hopes 600MHz Auction Permits Joint Bidding

Thursday, 12:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure recently suggested the company might participate in the forthcoming auction for 600MHz spectrum if it is allowed to bid jointly with smaller carriers. Claure made the remarks during a roundtable discussion at the Competitive Carrier Association's Global Expo in Atlanta. "Hopefully the rules of the auction will allow us to participate," said Marcelo, noting the incentive auction will be a "great opportunity for us to lobby together to potentially form a coalition to go after this spectrum together." The 600MHz low-band spectrum is valued highly because of its propagation characteristics. Sprint said CCA members operate regional networks in areas it doesn't provide coverage, and vice versa. Allowing them to bid together would be advantageous to all involved and might let them actually win the licenses. The FCC hasn't finalized the rules for the auction yet, but it is scheduled to begin early next year. Surely AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which already own vast sums of low-band spectrum, will oppose any rules that might limit their participation or prevent them from competing for the licenses.

Subscribe to Phone Scoop News with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Twitter Phone Scoop on Facebook Phone Scoop on Google+ Subscribe to Phone Scoop on YouTube Follow on Instagram

 

All content Copyright 2001-2015 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.
2