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printed April 24, 2014
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Google's Vic Gundotra Departing Immediately

Today, 12:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google executive Vic Gundotra today announced his departure from the company after working there for more than eight years. Gundotra played a major role in developing some of Google's mobile applications and helped conceive and build Google+, Google's social network. In a blog post on Google+, Gundotra said, "I'm forever in debt to the Google+ team. This is a group of people who built social at Google against the skepticism of so many. They are invincible dreamers." Gundotra also publicly thanked Google CEO Larry Page. Gundotra said he is moving on to new things, but didn't reveal them. Gundotra's successor at the head of Google+ has not yet been named. Google didn't announce any changes to the staffing in its Android and Chrome units, which are led by Sundar Pichai.


FreedomPop Now Lets Customers Bring Their Own Phone

Today, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

FreedomPop today announced that customers interested in its service can supply their own device if they so wish. The company already sells the Samsung Galaxy SII for $159, and today added the HTC EVO 4G to its roster for $119. If customers aren't interested in these phones, they can supply their own Sprint-compatible handset and activate it with FreedomPop. FreedomPop is an MVNO that uses Sprint's network. It relies on VoIP to route calls over Sprint's data network. FreedomPop offers 200 voice minutes, 500 texts and 500 MBs of data for free, and also has an unlimited voice and text plan for $4.58 per month. Customers can select from a handful of different data options.


Opera's WebKit Browser, Coast, Available for iPhone

Today, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Opera Software today made its Coast browser available to the Apple iPhone. The browser, which is based on the WebKit standard, has been available to the iPad since last year. Coast offers an alternative browsing experience with a simplified home screen, visual search that provides animated text suggestions, and tools that make it simple to access recently visited sites, and share menu information. The browser includes a wide number of wallpapers, iCloud syncing of home screen tiles, and a Stuff We Like section for viewing popular content from across the web. Opera is also offering an updated version of Coast for the iPad, which includes improved security and stability, improved search functions, faster launch times and animations, and support for more types of icons. Opera first announced its intent to switch to WebKit in February 2013, and has slowly been bringing WebKit-based browsers to the market since. Apple uses WebKit in its own Safari browser, and Google uses WebKit in its Chrome browser. Opera still offers its older Opera browser to Android smartphones and Opera Mini to the iPhone.


FCC Says T-Mobile Can Buy Verizon's 700MHz Spectrum

Today, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Federal Communications Commission has approved T-Mobile's proposed purchase of 700MHz A Block spectrum from Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile is paying Verizon $2.4 billion for the airwaves, and is also giving Verizon some PCS and AWS spectrum in return. T-Mobile plans to use the 700MHz spectrum to enhance its LTE 4G network. The 700MHz airwaves are considered beachfront property in the wireless market thanks to their strong propagation properties. Verizon already owns country-wide 700MHz spectrum in the C Block. T-Mobile will eventually use 700MHz alongside its existing AWS spectrum to provide LTE 4G service. Verizon is pursuing much the same target, using AWS to supplement its own 700MHz LTE.


FCC's Net Neutrality Proposal a Win For Broadband Cos

Yesterday, 3:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Federal Communications Commission is prepared to release a revised set of rules concerning the governance of web traffic. The proposal, which is expected to make an official appearance Thursday, would prevent broadband providers from discriminating against certain web sites and/or content, but it would also allow broadband providers to give select companies and their traffic preferential treatment. The preferential treatment must be made at "commercially reasonable" rates that are available to all content companies, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. The FCC would examine such arrangements to ensure that their terms are in fact favorable. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has decided not to reclassify broadband as a utility, which would give the FCC greater control over the market. Wheeler did, however, leave the possibility on the table. The FCC also wants greater transparency from broadband providers so consumers can more easily suss out details pertinent to their local service, such as speed and congestion. Last, the Journal reports that wireless broadband companies won't be subject to this proposal for now, but Wheeler is questioning if they should be allowed to make similar arrangements with content companies. Net Neutrality supporters prefer the idea that all web traffic is treated equally, with none held back or treated preferentially. The FCC's proposal won't be voted on until May, and will then require several more steps before it can become law.


Microsoft Lets Windows Phone 8.1 Access PCs Remotely

Yesterday, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released a beta application that will let Windows Phone 8.1 devices remotely access and control Windows computers. Windows Phone 8.1 itself has not been widely distributed to new and existing hardware, but it is available for free to registered developers. Anyone can register for the developer preview edition of Windows Phone 8.1 and install it on their Windows Phone 8 device. With the WP8.1 preview and the Microsoft Remote Desktop app installed, users can connect to a remote PC and access and interact with their Windows machines. The app includes support for Windows 8 touchscreen gestures, and can be used to open files, run apps, and more. According to Microsoft the app is secure, so it can be used by businesses, and connections can be managed by a simple dashboard. The app also supports high-definition video streaming and sound streaming from the PC to the smartphone through the network. Microsoft Remote Desktop is free to download from the Windows Phone Store. Microsoft has offered a similar tool to Android and iOS devices since last year.


FCC Eyes 3.5GHz Band for Various Uses

Yesterday, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Federal Communications Commission today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could result in yet more spectrum put to use for mobile broadband and other purposes. The FCC is looking at a slice of airwaves between 3550MHz and 3650MHz, and hopes to extend that to 3700MHz to forge a 150MHz block. The FCC said it will create a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service for general consumer use, carrier-grade small cell deployments, fixed wireless broadband, and other potential uses. Portions of the spectrum in question are in use by the federal government, so the FCC is proposing a three-tiered access and sharing model that will include: federal and non-federal incumbents; priority access licensees; and general authorized access users. Though the proposal says these three groups will share the spectrum, the federal government's portions thereof will need to be protected from interference. The FCC is seeking comment on potential rules that would govern auctioning the spectrum, allocating it, and technical specifications. The FCC has been on a major push to make spectrum available for the last few years. It already has two auctions on deck including an incentive auction for the 600MHz band and another for AWS-3 spectrum.


Samsung Reveals the Entry-Level T199 for T-Mobile

Yesterday, 11:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung recently published details about the SGH-T199, a simple feature phone bound for T-Mobile. The T199 is a traditional candybar-style device with a small, 2-inch display and numerical keypad on the front. Other than basic calling, SMS/MMS, and browsing, the T199 offers few features, though it is capable of downloading apps through an on-board content store. The device has a 400MHz single-core processor, 128MB of RAM, 800mAh battery, and support for T-Mobile's HSPA network, but not LTE. It doesn't include a camera or expandable memory. The Samsung T199 has yet to appear on the web sites of T-Mobile and MetroPCS, so pricing and availability aren't available.


CTIA Names Meredith Baker as President and CEO

Yesterday, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The CTIA Wireless Association today announced Meredith Attwell Baker will become the president and CEO of the organization beginning June 2. Baker succeeds Steve Largent, who held the post for more than a decade. Baker is a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, and most recently served as senior vice president of government affairs for Comcast-NBCUniversal. Baker outlined an initial agenda that she'll begin to pursue once she takes the helm of the lobbying group. Baker intends to place more emphasis on technical and engineering expertise with respect to spectrum and wireless technologies; to create a five-year spectrum plan with the help of commercial and government agencies; and to regularly asses the effectiveness of spectrum use. "I am thrilled to have this opportunity to use my experience in both the public and private sectors to help the vital and fast-growing wireless communications industry," Baker said. "The wireless industry has grown significantly over the past decade and now permeates every part of our lives from education, and health care to energy and business. CTIA should be in the center of discussions about how wireless is reshaping our economy, our society and our culture." The CTIA Wireless Association represents the wireless network operators and their constituents in Washington.


Sprint to Make Most Devices Unlockable By Feb 2015

Yesterday, 9:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint recently indicated via its support site that it will devise a way to unlock its phones by February 2015. According to Sprint, none of the SIM-equipped phones it has sold during the past three years - including Apple's iPhones - can be unlocked for use on competing networks. The company said it will unlock the SIM card slot of devices that have one, but this will only apply to devices launched after February 2015. Sprint said phones purchased through its subsidiaries Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Assurance Wireless will not be compatible with Sprint's network, even if unlocked. Further, customers need to meet certain criteria in order to be given the unlock code. For example, the phone must be paid for and no longer attached to a contract. The change in Sprint's policy is a voluntary action, though the Federal Communications Commission threatened all network operators with regulation if they failed to act on their own. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all have to implement their own unlocking policies, too, but have yet to announce the details thereof.


AT&T to Relaunch Cricket By End of Second Quarter

Yesterday, 7:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T plans to relaunch Cricket Wireless, the prepaid provider it acquired earlier this year, at the end of the second quarter. AT&T CFO John Stephens said new customers will be given devices that run on AT&T's LTE network, rather than Cricket's, as the company looks to transition customers away from Cricket's spectrum so it can be reused. Stephens said Cricket will be given a national presence, with 3,000 locations around the country. At the same time, AT&T's existing prepaid service, Aio Wireless, will be folded into Cricket. AT&T expects it will take 18 months to transition all Cricket's customers away from Cricket's CDMA network to AT&T's LTE network. AT&T is pursuing a path similar to one set by T-Mobile with MetroPCS. When T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS last year, it began selling new devices that worked on its own HSPA/LTE network rather than MetroPCS's CDMA network. AT&T's ultimate goal is to repurpose Cricket's spectrum.


OnePlus One Aims to Steal Sales from Flagships

Yesterday, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Yesterday, 8:24 AM

OnePlus, a company based in China, today announced the One, a low-cost smartphone that goes toe-to-toe with the world's best devices. The OnePlus One runs CyanogenMod, which is based on Android 4.4 KitKat but includes stronger security and some features not found in stock Android, such as Voice Wakeup and custom on-screen gestures. The OnePlus One is one of the first mass-market devices to ship with CyanogenMod on board. The phone includes a 5.5-inch full HD display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and has exchangeable rear covers that come in a variety of difference materials, such as cashew and bamboo. The One is powered by a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM. It packs a 13-megapixel Exmor camera sensor from Sony, with an f/2.0 aperture and six lens elements. It can record 4K video as well as slow motion in 720p HD. The One also has a 5-megapixel user-facing camera. The device offers worldwide HSPA/LTE support and includes Bluetooth 4.1, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS/GLONASS, and a range of sensors. The One has a 3,100mAh battery, USB 3.0 with QuickCharge 2.0, but does not support microSD cards. OnePlus said the One will go on sale in select markets, including the U.S., during the second quarter. It is priced at $299 for a 16GB model and $349 for the 64GB model (similar price points to the LG-made Google Nexus 5). OnePlus is offering the One for $1 to those who (literally) smash their old device, but the company requires in invite in order to purchase the One.


Apple Releases iOS 7.1.1 to Squash Bugs

Tuesday, 12:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 7.1.1 available for download. The minor system update, which applies to the iPhone and iPad, resolves a handful of ongoing issues. It further improves performance of the TouchID function of the iPhone 5s, tweaks keyboard responsiveness, and tackles a bug related to Bluetooth keyboards when VoiceOver is activated. The update marks the first maintenance update to iOS 7.1, which was released last month, and is free to download and install.


T-Mobile and MetroPCS Score LG's L Series III Phones

Tuesday, 9:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Yesterday, 1:40 PM

T-Mobile and MetroPCS today announced the availability of the LG L90 and L70 (pictured), devices that fall into LG's L Series III lineup. Both phones were revealed by LG earlier this year. The L90 and L70 run Android 4.4 KitKat with LG's user interface enhancements. The hardware puts LG's minimalistic design esthetic to use. Shared features include support for Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi.


Mailbox for iOS Gains Tighter Dropbox Integration

Tuesday, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Dropbox recently pushed out an update to its iOS Mailbox email app that brings the two services closer together. Mailbox now takes advantage of Dropbox to store and sync preferences between different devices. Mailbox also gains an auto-swipe feature that will learn from user interactions to automate actions such as deleting and archiving emails and email threads. Dropbox offers cloud-based storage for mobile devices, as well as a photo uploading/sharing service. It debuted Mailbox for Android devices for the first time earlier this month. Mailbox 2.0 for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Microsoft Joins Power Matters Alliance

Tuesday, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Power Matters Alliance today welcomed Microsoft as its newest member. Microsoft will join the PMA in its goal of developing interoperable wireless charging products. By joining the PMA, Microsoft also now has access to its specifications for wireless charging technology. This is significant because Microsoft will complete its purchase of Nokia's handset business later this week and use that technology in future products. The PMA joined forces with the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) earlier this year, bringing together two of the three competing standards for wireless charging. The PMA claims to have the largest installed base of wireless chargers and accessories, though many of today's smartphones, including those sold by Verizon Wireless, support the competing Qi standard.


Apple Will Recycle Any of Its Products at Apple Stores

Tuesday, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Beginning today, consumers can bring any aging Apple product to an Apple Store for free recycling. The company explained its renewed commitment to sustainability in a post on its web site, which also includes other initiatives. Before today, Apple required users to fill out an online form before accepting old gear for recycling, and only accepted certain devices. The new program covers Apple smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and accessories. Apple will provide customers with Apple Store gift cards for select products (iPhones and iPads) that are in good, working condition. Apple said it will also accept products from other companies during special, pre-announced recycling events. In addition to the recycling program, Apple said it is looking to make devices more power efficient, make devices free of toxic materials, as well as power its plants and facilities with renewable energy sources.


HTC Offers Peek at Sense 6.0 Progress for One (M7)

Monday, 4:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC today published a dashboard that should help consumers understand where the Sense 6.0 software update is for their One (M7) and when it might it arrive. For example, HTC has already completed updating most versions of the One (M7) to Android 4.4 KitKat, and is currently in the process of "integrating" Sense 6.0 into the operating system. After the software is integrated, it will need to be certified by the carrier before it can be delivered to customers. This dashboard is for devices specific to the U.S., including carrier variants, and unlocked/Google Play Edition variants. It is meant to provide general information and not exact dates.


Hangouts for Android to Merge SMS/IM Convo Threads

Monday, 3:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced the pending availability of Hangouts for Android version 2.1. This update to Google's messaging application will resolve a long-standing complaint with the app, which until now has kept two separate conversation threads (one for SMS, one for IM) for the same contact. According to Google, the app will clearly mark which type of message is being viewed, and will allow users to choose between sending an SMS or IM. The application will create separate contact lists: One for those with whom you Hang often, and another for phone-based contacts. Hangouts adds a new homescreen widget, too, which provides a view of recent conversations, and also fixes bugs and resolves performance issues. Hangouts for Android 2.1 is free to download from the Google Play Store. The new version will be available some time this week.


Motorola Solutions Agrees to License Microsoft Patents

Monday, 11:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola Solutions has signed a patent-licensing agreement with Microsoft that will allow it to use Microsoft's intellectual property in its Android and Chrome devices. Neither Microsoft nor Motorola Solutions identified the patents at issue, nor the cost of the licensing agreement. It is important to note that Motorola Solutions is not Motorola Mobility. Motorola Solutions makes enterprise-grade mobile products for businesses, some of which run Android and/or Chrome. Just last week, Motorola Solutions agreed to sell its enterprise business to Zebra Technologies for $3.45 billion. Motorola Mobility is currently owned by Google and makes Android smartphones. Motorola Mobility is on deck to be divested by Google to Lenovo in the months ahead. Motorola Mobility has staunchly refused to sign a licensing agreement with Microsoft, as it believes its own patents cover the disputed technologies.


Verizon to Scoop Up Two Small Carriers

Monday, 10:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless recently filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission seeking permission to buy the assets of Golden State Cellular in California and Mobi PCS in Hawaii. Verizon confirmed with Fierce Wireless its plans to acquire Golden State Cellular's spectrum, network assets, and customers in several markets in California, including Amador, Alpine, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa counties. Verizon will transition Golden State Cellular's 18,000 subscribers to its network within 15 months of the deal's closing. In Hawaii, Verizon will acquire 20-30MHz of PCS spectrum from Mobi PCS, and then lease back 10MHz of that spectrum so Mobi can transition away from being a stand-alone service provider. Verizon said Mobi is still exploring several different ways to exit its wireless business. Both proposal are subject to FCC and other government regulatory approval. Verizon and competitor AT&T have spent the last 12 to 18 months acquiring a significant number of small, regional network operators mostly for their spectrum assets.


Microsoft's Acquisition of Nokia to Close April 25

Monday, 9:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Monday, 9:48 AM

Nokia will finalize the sale of its handset business to Microsoft on April 25, the company said today. The deal, first proposed last September, has Microsoft acquiring the Devices & Services business from Nokia, which will retain its network business and HERE Maps business. The transaction has already been approved by regulators in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has been approved by the boards of both Microsoft and Nokia. According to Microsoft there are a few changes to the agreement: Microsoft will manage the Nokia.com domain name and social media sites for a year; Nokia will transfer 21 employees from Nokia's Chief Technology Office in China to Microsoft; and Microsoft will no longer acquire Nokia's manufacturing plant in Korea. Once the sale is complete, Microsoft will officially become a manufacturer of smartphones, putting it more directly into competition with Apple and Google.


Dominos Now Accepting Google Wallet to Pay for Pizza

Monday, 7:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Dominos Pizza today announced that customers can pay for their pies using Google Wallet. Dominos added support for Google Wallet to its own mobile ordering application. Android device owners can use the app to order a pizza as well as pay for it with Google Wallet rather than a credit or debit card. Dominos is not, however, accepting Wallet-based tap-and-go payments at its stores. The Dominos Pizza app is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Facebook's Paper App for iPhone Refreshed with New Features

Apr 18, 2014, 12:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today made Paper version 1.1 available to the iPhone. Paper re-encapsulates Facebook content and presents it in a more appealing digital magazine. Today's update adds a number of new features including: birthdays and other events, photo commenting, group updates, new story buttons, more article covers, and accessibility options. Paper is only available to the iPhone at the moment, though Facebook said an Android version is in the works. Paper 1.1 for iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


AT&T Debuts New GoPhone Plans with More Data

Apr 18, 2014, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today upped the amount of data available to its GoPhone plans at no additional charge. Beginning April 25, the $40 plan jumps from 250MB to 500MB per month, and the $60 plan jumps from 2GB to 2.5GB per month and adds Wi-Fi hotspot. AT&T inserted a new $45 plan in between the two, which includes 1GB of data and is available at Walmart stores. Customers who already subscribe to these plans will receive the added data automatically. AT&T GoPhone is a prepaid service that does not require contracts.


Verizon Pushing System Update to HTC One (M8)

Apr 18, 2014, 11:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today made a system update available to the HTC One (M8). The update adds several minor features to the Gallery app, including a copy/paste function, and resolves a number of bugs, such as web connection errors and data syncing when the Dot Matrix case is attached. The system update is free to download and install.


Microsoft Offers Developers First Step Toward Universal Apps

Apr 18, 2014, 10:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced the availability of WinJS 2.1, a tool developers can use to help port their Windows apps to Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft says it should be painless for most developers to recreate their full Windows apps for the Windows Phone platform thanks to WinJS 2.1's familiar set of technologies, APIs, and other resources. WinJS 2.1 ties into recent changes made to Visual Studio, which includes templates for Windows apps, Windows Phone apps, and universal apps that run on both platforms. Microsoft hopes the allure of universal apps will entice developers into supporting Windows Phone.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Reaches MetroPCS Today

Apr 18, 2014, 8:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy S5, which is in stores and online beginning today. The GS5 costs $649 and can be paired with Metro's $40 no-contract plans.


Samsung Hints At Premium, Paid Version of Milk

Apr 18, 2014, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today published an infographic explaining how its Milk streaming music service works. The company launched Milk earlier this year. It is based on Slacker's music engine and gives Galaxy-branded device owners free, ad-free streaming. The infographic suggests, however, that Milk is ad-free for only a limited time and will eventually include advertisements for basic service. The premium version, which Samsung indicates will launch soon, will cost $3.99 per month and include an ad-free experience as well as other exclusive features. Samsung did not say when this switch might be made.


FCC Chair Stands by Proposal to Limit AT&T and Verizon

Apr 17, 2014, 3:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today reasserted his belief that AT&T and Verizon need to be restricted from purchasing too much 600MHz spectrum in the reverse auction planned for mid 2015. Wheeler's comments came in the form of a letter in which he responded to Representative John Barrow. "The Incentive Auction offers the opportunity, possibly the last for years to come, to make low-band spectrum available to any mobile wireless provider, in any market, that is willing and able to compete at auction," said Wheeler. "At the same time, a priority of the auction should be to assure that companies that already possess low-band spectrum do not exploit the auction to keep competitors from accessing the spectrum necessary to provide competition." AT&T and Verizon Wireless both hold significant blocks of 700MHz spectrum. Low-band spectrum is coveted for its propagation properties. Wheeler wants to make sure smaller companies, such as Sprint and T-Mobile, get a shot at the 600MHz airwaves. Wheeler's proposal involves reserving 30MHz in each market for companies that control less than one-third of the low-band spectrum in that market. This essentially precludes AT&T and Verizon from participating. AT&T believes the conditions are unfair and amount to the FCC picking the auction's winners and losers before it even starts. The company threatened to not participate, which could hurt the auction's ability to raise capital for a national safety network.


Windows Phone Store Rolling Out App Review Replies

Apr 17, 2014, 1:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has begun allowing developers to post responses to reviews of their application in the Windows Phone Store. For now, Microsoft is limiting this feature on a trial basis, though it will expand soon. The responses are emailed to the review author through Microsoft. Microsoft does not provide the developer with reviewer contact data. Microsoft thinks the ability to respond to user reviews will help developers improve their apps over time. Developers will be able to respond to reviews posted from devices running Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 only. The feature will be limited to the U.S. from the onset. Microsoft didn't say if it will expand review responses to more countries.


Facebook to Begin Rolling Out 'Nearby Friends' Feature

Apr 17, 2014, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today announced a new feature that will let people share their location with their friends. The tool, called Nearby Friends, is opt-in and needs to be turned on by users. It can be turned off at any time. Users will be able to share their location with all their friends, just close friends, or with specific lists of people. In order to see friends who are nearby, other users will need to have it on and share their location, too. The feature lets people share their exact location for a defined period of time, which is then visible on a map in order to make the person easy to find. Facebook suggests Nearby Friends be used by people to meet up when near one another. Nearby Friends will be added to the Android and iOS apps in the coming weeks.


Verizon Adds LG Lucid 3 to Inexpensive Phone Roster

Apr 17, 2014, 10:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the LG Lucid 3, a low-cost Android smartphone. The Lucid 3 includes a 4.7-inch qHD display and a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It features a 5-megapixel camera with full HD video capture and a VGA user-facing camera for self portraits. The phone runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and comes with a wide selection of LG apps, such as Knock Code, QSlide and QuickMemo. Other features include Isis Mobile Wallet, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE 4G, and a removable 2,440mAh battery. The LG Lucid 3 is free with a new two-year agreement, $12.50 per month with Verizon Edge, or $300 at full retail. It is available beginning today.


Flickr Chasing Instagram with New Android, iOS Apps

Apr 17, 2014, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Flickr today introduced completely new versions of its mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The revised photo app places a higher priority on capturing, sharing, and interacting with photos. The photo stream has been redesigned and is easier to navigate. The built-in camera has Instagram-like filters and all photos now have the ability to favorite, share, or comment on them. The app supports video capture and editing, and allows users to upload clips up to 30 seconds in length. It includes more robust editing functions, such as crop, rotate, and tools to fix contrast, exposure, and color. The app makes it a cinch to see metadata so users can examine the details of each photo. Flickr for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.


AT&T Doesn't Like 600MHz Auction Rules, May Skip It

Apr 17, 2014, 7:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T indicated to the Federal Communications Commission this week that it disapproves of proposed rules for the upcoming incentive auction for 600MHz spectrum. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has floated a plan that would reserve spectrum in each market for companies that don't already have low-band spectrum. Thanks to its 700MHz spectrum holdings, AT&T would be restricted from bidding in about 70% of U.S. markets for the 600MHz spectrum. Wheeler's proposal has yet to be officially implemented, but AT&T's Joan Marsh said, "If the restrictions as proposed are adopted, AT&T will need to seriously consider whether its capital and resources are directed toward other spectrum opportunities that will better enable AT&T to continue to support high-quality LTE network deployments to serve its customers." If AT&T doesn't participate in the auction, it could hinder the FCC's goal of generating money to build a public safety network. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the incentive auction rules by May.


YouTube for Android Garners Commenting Improvements

Apr 17, 2014, 7:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google updated the YouTube application for Android devices recently and made a number of improvements. YouTube now lets users reply to comments, delete their own comments, and see if comments were shared publicly or privately. The app also improves video quality for devices running Android 4.2 and up, lets users share and like playlists, and moves playlists to the left-hand guide drawer. YouTube for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store.


LG G Flex to See KitKat Update Today

Apr 17, 2014, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T is making Android 4.4.2 KitKat available to the LG G Flex starting today. The update includes new status and navigation bars, and improves battery life and processor performance. The update is free to download via Wi-Fi.


Android Smartphones Given Remote Access to PCs

Apr 16, 2014, 1:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced the availability of Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android, a tool that allows Android devices to remotely access Windows and Mac computers. In order to gain remote PC access, users will need to download and install software on their PC as well as the Chrome Remote Desktop app on their Android device. Once configured, users should be able to access PC-based files from their Android device. The service is free to set up and use. Google said an iOS version of the Chrome Remote Desktop app us due later this year.


Google Pulls Camera App Out of Android

Apr 16, 2014, 1:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today released a separate version of the stock camera application that ships with many Android smartphones. The app, which can receive improvements outside of full OS updates, has a slightly revised user interface with larger buttons. Google Camera offers a handful of new features, such as Lens Blur mode, which adds depth-of-field effects to make subjects pop. Google Camera also includes Photo Spheres, panorama mode, and a 100% viewfinder so users see everything that will appear in their photos. Google Camera is available to devices running Android 4.4. KitKat and up.


Aio Wireless Takes a Page from Sprint's 'Framily' Plans

Apr 16, 2014, 11:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Aio Wireless, which is owned and operated by AT&T, today announced new service plans that offer increasing discounts for adding lines to a single account. The Group Save plans are available today to accounts with two to five lines of service. According to Aio Wireless, a two-line account will pay full price for the first line and then receive a $10 discount on the second line. A three-line account will receive a $10 discount for the second line and a $20 discount for the third line. Four- and five line accounts will receive a $10 discount on the first line, a $20 discount on the second line, and a $30 discount on the fourth (and fifth) lines. The idea is similar to that of Sprint's Framily Plans, which offer increasing per-line discounts the more lines are added to a single account. AT&T is in the process of acquiring prepaid provider Cricket Wireless. The Aio Wireless brand will eventually be retired in favor of Cricket Wireless.


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