Saturday, March 30, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
appears to be ready to take Android seriously, as they just sent out invites to a press event that is happening on April 4. All the invite says, as you can see, is “Come see our new home on Android.
Source: Droid Life
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Pick Your Plan
T-Mobile has several new plans to choose from, but understanding them is very easy. First, you can either choose from a $50 “unlimited plan” that includes unlimited text, voice and “web” surfing per month. Now make no mistake, web surfing isn't considered “data” in this case, so you’ll still need to rely on data for downloading videos and music, among other things. This entry-level plan comes with 500MB of “high speed” data. That means you can use 500MB of data per month before you fall back off of LTE or HSPA+ and to a slower network.
If 500MB isn't enough, and we doubt it is for most of you, you can add an additional 2GB, which means you’re getting a total of 2.5GB of data, for $10 extra per month. If you want truly unlimited data, T-Mobile will charge you an additional $10. All said and done, the most expensive plan is $70 per month. Keep in mind, however, that the final “truly unlimited” plan actually limits your tethering to 500MB per month. There is not a limit on the 2GB or 500GB option.
To make it easier, you can choose between a 500MB unlimited plan for $50, a 2.5GB (2GB + 500GB) plan for $60, or a fully unlimited plan.
Pick Your Device
Now comes what seems like the “tricky” part because T-Mobile is ditching subsidies as we know them. But really it’s very simple. T-Mobile will allow you to purchase a high-end device such as the HTC One, an iPhone 5, the BlackBerry Z10 for just $99 at check-out (T-Mobile has not yet disclosed pricing for the Galaxy S4). You’ll need to pass a credit check, otherwise you’ll have to buy the device at its full cost. If you pass the credit check, you can opt to either buy the phone outright, at which point T-Mobile will unlock it, or you can choose to pay it off over 24 months. No, this isn't a contract. Basically you’re agreeing to pay either at the beginning of each month (prepaid, you didn't pass your credit check) or when you’re billed (postpaid, you passed your credit check).
So that means you’ll choose your plan above $70 at the high end then pay for your phone in $20 monthly installments each month. That means you’ll be paying a max of $90 per month for a single plan. The good part? You can walk away at any point and simply keep paying down your $20 monthly payment, buy your phone outright or trade-it in and pay the difference in “fair value.”
Ok, so stuff changes a bit if you decide to add additional lines, but it’s very easy to understand. Each additional line with the entry-level 500MB plan is just $10. If you add a line to your unlimited account (the one we went over above) with 2GB of data you’ll pay $100 per month total. If you have two unlimited lines you’ll pay $120 per month, total.
Now a little math: if you’re paying for unlimited data ($70), plus your own phone each month ($20), you’re paying $90. If you have a second line with 500MB of data you’re paying an additional $10 for the new line plus $20 for the new premium phone. That totals out to $120 for two lines with two premium phones, one with a fully unlimited plan and one with a 500MB plan. If you want two unlimited plans with two premium smartphones you’re paying $70 for unlimited, plus $20 for your own phone ($90), plus $50 for the second unlimited line and $20 for the second premium phone. In total, an unlimited bill for two people with two premium phones purchased at $99 each would cost $160. Not terrible.
It might sound complicated, but it’s very simple and you can see the prices on your own on T-Mobile’s site.
T-Mobile will offer the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 is the only one that will support the carrier’s 4G LTE network, however, and will always fall back to its still-fast HSPA+ 42Mbps network. You can buy it for $99 and pay down $20 each month, or buy it outright. It’s a unique device from Apple that adds support for AT&T’s LTE network too but only if you’re unlocked! That means, however, that it supports many required bands that haven’t been in other iPhones before T-Mobile said it worked with Apple to make sure of that. So, again, you can buy the iPhone 5 for $99 which is a steal in any market, and pay it down at $20 per month, or buy it outright at the time of purchase.
Apparently Apple will be phasing out the existing version of the AT&T phone in favor of this new version of the A1428, so that may mean that phones on Ma Bell may include the support for T-Mobile moving forward. Do expect, however, for the feature to be dormant unless you unlock it.
The Gist of it All
The idea behind the new plans is that you’ll save money by not being “screwed” by your carrier. T-Mobile wants you to own your device, and it’s doing exactly that. You don’t have to worry about early termination fees because you can walk away from those aforementioned plans at any time. You just need to settle up your bill with them when it comes to the phone. And honestly, it’s not a bad deal, especially because it’s just $20 per month for a premium phone. It also allows you to upgrade more frequently, because T-Mobile, as I said earlier, is willing to give you a “fair value” price for trading it in.
So what about “unlocking” my device?
T-Mobile fully supports the idea of unlocked devices, but like other carriers it wants you to finish paying for your phone first. Unlike other carriers, however, you don’t have to continue paying your data/voice/text message fees each month. No, indeed you just have to finish paying for your phone. You can do that up front by buying an unlocked device right away (full cost and T-Mobile will give it to you unlocked) or whenever you’re done paying for it. Like other carriers, of course, you can always buy a new device without signing a contract. It’s just that T-Mobile is breaking its payments down between your actual plan and the payments you make for your device.
The biggest thing I took away from the event is what I just wrote above: you’re not buying a plan and a device and signing a contract. You’re agreeing to a plan and paying off the cost of your device over two years. You can choose to walk away from the plan, but you can’t always just walk away from the phone. T-Mobile is a business and ultimately you need to pay the price of the hardware you want to use. Thankfully, however, it’s not hiding the price of a subsidy inside its plans. Put $100 down for your premium device, pay $20 a month for 24 months ($480) and you’re done.
Hopefully this clarifies what was going on today. It’s a great idea for people who are worried they’re paying too much from their wireless bills and prefer to pay a monthly fee for a product they own. Think of it, sort of, as an interest-free way of renting your cable box. You pay for Time Warner service, but you also pay a monthly fee for the box rental. Of course, with T-Mobile, you can keep the box and move elsewhere (if you don’t like the service) and continue paying for the “box” while canceling the service.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Google Play Store link
Apple iTunes link
Source: Android World
HTC Sense 5 has been ported over to the HTC EVO 4G LTE, and the first public beta has been released to the public.
There are reportedly a few bugs being beaten to death for the next release, and right now the focus, according to the development thread, is more on development than supporting a public user base. But still, a public beta is now available if you’re interested in seeing what it looks like.
There have been various leaks recently pointing to the EVO 4G LTE being on the short list to get Sense 5, but it looks like it’ll be completely here for rooted users very soon.
It should be noted that the gallery and Bluetooth don’t function correctly, and there are some sizing issues with a few things that stem from the HTC ONE M7 base image that’s being used. I would expect those to be ironed out fairly quickly after the important things are rock solid.
Unfortunately I can’t flash anything on my phone that could take it down for any amount of time for the next couple of weeks, so I’m stuck oooohing and ahhhhing at pictures and reports of the preliminary HTC Sense 5 fabulousness.
If you’re planning on trying this out, don’t expect a daily driver (although many have reported it’s quite capable), and don’t pester the developers too much on what works and what doesn’t. It’s a huge project and it’s here a lot sooner than I would have expected.
As for HTC Sense 5, it looks like quite a step in the right direction. I’ll be extremely interested to see what the end-result resource footprint of the thing ends up being in comparison to the mighty hog that Sense 4 has been.
If you give it a try, let us know how it works for you.
A Google patent application from 2011 described a smartwatch with a dual-screened “flip-up display”, “tactile user interface,” and on board camera. All or none of those features could be included in the final design.
Source: Financial Times
While Germany, Taiwan and the UK are slated to receive their first shipments of the HTC One next week, the rest of Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific will have to wait until April before the HTC One is made available to them.
"HTC has seen unprecedented demand for and interest in the new HTC One, and the care taken to design and build it is evidenced in early reviews. The new HTC One will roll out in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week and across Europe, North America and most of Asia-Pacific before the end of April. We appreciate our customers’ patience, and believe that once they have the phone in their hands they will agree that it has been worth the wait."
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Android users can now, finally, get Up.
Jawbone’s Up, the fitness tracking wristband that has both a troubled past and a bright future, is now compatible with devices running Google’s mobile operating system thanks to a new Up Android app that hit Google Play on Tuesday night.
The Up previously only worked with Apple’s iOS, and as owners of both the $130 bracelet and an iPhone know, the wearable can be used to track steps and physical movement to calculate an estimate of calories burned throughout the day. If you wear the Up to bed, it’ll track how much sleep you got, and it can even determine how much of that was a deep sleep or light sleep. Like the iOS app, the Android app will include extra features, such as a bar-code scanner to help track the healthiness of what you’re eating and optional notifications that suggest going for a walk if you’ve been stuck at your desk too long.
The Google-friendly Up by Jawbone app, which runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or newer, is free, just as it was in Apple’s App store. Along with the new Android compatibility, a Jawbone rep told Wired on Tuesday that the Up is now on sale in Europe, and that it will hit Asia, Australia and the Middle East in April. And the iOS version of the Up by Jawbone app has been updated to support 11 new languages.
Source: Google Play Store
Google has unveiled Google Keep, a tool that allows users to create notes and lists that are synced across all their devices. The service can transcribe voice memos automatically to create notes that are organized with multiple colors or even pictures. Google Keep is available now through the Web and for Android devices running Android 4.0 or higher.
Google Keep is available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above. You can access, edit and create new notes on the web at http://drive.google.com/keep and in the coming weeks you'll be able to do the same directly from Google Drive.
A video demonstration of Google Keep follows below.
Source: Google Blog
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Moreover, it's said to add Maps updates for the nation of Japan, while also adding a variety of undisclosed "security patches." It looks as if all modern iOS devices (iPad and iPod touch included) are eligible, so feel free to hit up the Settings menu on your device or plug it into iTunes.
If you aren't seeing it right away (as is the case with this particular editor's iPhone 4S), just keep trying.
Verizon's Galaxy Nexus is lagging behind its purebred brethren in the update department. But the delays are getting shorter and, as the carrier's just confirmed, users should begin to see Android 4.2.2 rolling out to their handsets as early as today.
Initially released back in February, this Jelly Bean update brings with it the ability to snap 360-degree photospheres, various camera UI improvements, lock screen widgets, and a Swype-like Gesture keyboard. It's set to be released gradually, the OTA update notification takes a few days to make itself known.
Source: Verizon Wireless
Monday, March 18, 2013
Source: Google Blog
AT&T is positioned to acquire Alltel’s assets and customers in their entirety in the second half of this year. It is still business as usual for the once large regional carrier, mostly bought out by Verizon Wireless.
As you may recall from that merger some years ago, Verizon had to divest several markets or work some spectrum swaps with other providers (like AT&T) in order to secure regulatory approval. The leftovers remained as the Alltel brand, operated by Atlantic Tele-Network Wireless and that is what AT&T will be taking on later in the year.
Meanwhile, Alltel continues to maintain its lineup of products and services and that includes the iPhone. In addition to the iPhone 5, Alltel will also begin selling the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. The16GB iPhone 4S will run just $49.99 and the iPhone 4 will move for $0.99. The iPhone 5 starts at just $149.99 for the 16GB flavor, add an additional $100 for each iteration up the storage ladder for the other models.
Alltel operates a CDMA/EV-DO network in 6 states and hold spectrum licenses that AT&T will certainly be able to make use of. Though with the addition of the more expensive hardware, it will be interesting to see what route AT&T takes as it converts Alltel’s network to GSM/UMTS and LTE.
With the success of Evernote, it is pretty obvious that people are very serious about taking digital notes on their computers or mobile devices, and they are doing this very much using Evernote. So it is only very evident that Google would want to try this service as well, after its Notebook service failed. The service we are talking about is Google Keep.
If you have heard of this before, you are not alone. This is because we have heard the name and seen the logo before. But according to a post on Android Police, the service was briefly up on http://drive.google.com/keep and that just means that we have to keep an eye on it. Also, the web publication features the above screenshot of the service which was submitted by a Google+ user.
Last year, the search engine giant accidentally leaked a screenshot on its Google Plus page which had a link labelled, “save to Google Keep.” Now, even though we do have anything like that, we have this official image to hold on to. And until the company makes any official announcement this is all we have.
Source: The Verge
Friday, March 15, 2013
It looks like Facebook is bypassing Google Play by sending updates for their Android app straight to your device. While we have still to see the update arrive in our devices Liliputing has reported that the update auto downloads and will give you a notification once it is ready to download.
Another feature that is included in this update is that future updates will be automatically downloaded without the app notifying you. Included in the permissions of the recent update is the line “download files without notification.” This means that future updates will be automatically downloaded without the need for Google Play. You will still get a notification once the update has downloaded completely and is ready to be installed. Those concerned about data charges have nothing to worry about since the app only downloads updates over a Wi-Fi network and not through your network carrier.
We are really not sure as to why Facebook is implementing this new change in the way they are updating their Android app. One possible reason is they might need a faster method to deploy their updates and passing through Google Play might delay the process.
One problem that may arise because of this is that Android devices will have a greater chance of getting malware. Before you can install the updates from Facebook you will need to enable the “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources” feature. If you forget to disable this feature after installing the update then you place your device at risk from malware.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Redbox Instant, the unlimited movie streaming service launched by Redbox and Verizon, today opened its doors to more users in the US, launching in public beta as it looks to take on its established rivals Netflix and Amazon. The service offers four one-night DVD rentals and unlimited video streaming as part of its $8 monthly subscription.
Announcing the joint-venture in February 2012, Redbox and Verizon launched an invite-only beta version of the streaming service in December, offering 4,500 movies to early testers. However, that trial has been expanded as it looks towards a full public launch.
Users can stream movies via their iOS or Android device, as well as their Xbox 360 and Mac / PC (via a Silverlight plugin). Samsung also offers access via its connected TVs and Blu-ray players. In terms of content, Redbox Instant has EPIX on board a joint venture operated by three of the major studios Viacom, MGM and Lions Gate Entertainment although we may also see Redbox and Verizon follow in Netflix's footsteps and step into the world of original programming. While Redbox seems to have a competitive service at launch, it may have a tough fight ahead of it as it moves away from the DV kiosk especially with Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Hulu, Amazon, and Walmart's Vudu already offering their own video-on-demand services.
Rubin reaffirmed those thoughts with a letter to the various Android partners Google deals with, otherwise known as members of the Open Handset Alliance. These members consist of the very OEMs and carriers that have helped pushed Android to where it is today. In the letter, Rubin reminded everyone that his heart is with entrepreneurship in other words, he likes a good project.
His stint with Danger to bring the legendary Sidekick OS to prominence didn’t go undocumented, and he has been with Android since the very beginning. Rubin’s track record is unmatched by many, and this is another way to say he’s bored. He wants something new to build and grow. He’s the proverbial nanny who only makes $5 an hour to take care of a crying, defecating baby, but does it out of the love of giving a baby nourishment and guidance and raising them into a fine young lad.
That’s Andy’s forte, his specialty, and his knack, so to speak. His rumored departure to the Google X team definitely fits that bill. The letter is, among all things, reassuring of the strength of Android and gives no one anything to worry about. Android is fine, folks, but it’s time for another 12 rounds with the next big innovation in tech for Andy Rubin. Read the full letter below.
"In November of 2007 we announced the Open Handset Alliance with 34 founding members. Today, I’m grateful to the over 85 OHA members who have helped us build Android and drive innovation at such an incredible pace. The Android ecosystem has seen tremendous growth since the launch of the very first Android device in October 2008. The volume and variety of Android devices exceeds even my most optimistic expectations over 750 million compatible devices and counting!
At its core, Android has always been about openness the idea that a thousand brains are better than one. Just as the ecosystem has grown, so has our team at Google. I am incredibly proud of the phenomenal group of people that spend their days (and nights) building the Android platform and services. Just look at last year…a lean yet incredibly ambitious team released Jellybean with Google Now, launched Google Play in many languages and countries and collaborated with several partners to build three new Nexus devices to help drive innovation in the ecosystem.
Today, the success of Android combined with the strength of our management team, gives me the confidence to step away from Android and hand over the reins. Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Hiroshi Lockheimer who many of you already know well plus the rest of the Android leadership team will work closely with all of our partners to advance Android and prepare the platform for new products and services yet to be imagined.
As for me, I am an entrepreneur at heart and now is the right time for me to start a new chapter within Google. I am amazed by what we have accomplished from those early days (not so long ago!), and remain passionate about the power of a simple idea and a shared goal an open source platform freely available to everyone to transform computing for people everywhere."
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
LinkedIn has been trying to increase the mobile advertising it displays. Last quarter, the "marketing solutions group," which includes traditional advertising, accounted for 27% of LinkedIn's revenue. Pulse's app competes with Flipboard, Google Currents and some other lesser known names in the battle for eyeballs. One competitor, Zite, was purchased by CNN in 2011 for $20 million.
Pulse has added some new features that allow its users to share with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Flickr, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr right from Pulse. LinkedIn has also been adding features to its service including customized news feeds for users, which would seem to fit perfectly with Pulse.
iOS fans jealous of Jelly Bean's creepy Google Now might finally have something to get excited about. An October update to the Google Search app finally delivered an updated voice recognition experience to Apple's platform, but sadly alerts and contextual cards of data were nowhere to be seen. Of course, Mountain View has never been one to keep its wares to a single platform, and many expect that it's only a matter of time before Now makes its proper debut on iOS. Those that like to dip their toes in both ponds might be interested in a video brought to our attention by a tipster earlier today.
The clip from our friends over at Engadget is allegedly a low resolution version of a promotional video for Google Now on iPhone and iPad. The video has since been pulled from YouTube and appears to feature the same voice actress as the original Now announcement. Supposedly, Now will be accessible in an upcoming iOS app update simply by swiping up from the main screen. Of course, there's always the chance that is an impressive fake or even a canceled project that's only being leaked now.
We've seen hints before of Google Now-like functionality in the code for the desktop version of Google’s Chrome browser, but the feature appears almost set to launch with the most recent release. Code hound Francois Beaufort found a more or less fully-fledged implementation of the predictive digital assistant software. The only thing missing was the necessary server-side code to get it running.
It will be interesting to see how Google handles the release of such a feature. Will they time its launch with Google I/O and announce the feature to much fanfare? Or will they quietly roll out the feature to users?
The code can be seen in the latest Chromium Beta release, which is available for download if checking out code is the sort of thing that interests you. It won’t serve much use to the average Chrome user just yet.
Netflix subscribers who also own a new Samsung Chromebook on ARM can now enjoy Netflix on there Chromebook. The streaming movie giant is now officially supported on this Chromebook, around five months after the device was released.
Up until today, users who attempted to stream Netflix from the ARM-powered Chromebook were greeted with a message that Netflix was working with Google to provide access to the service “soon.” But “soon” has turned into “now,” which honestly doesn't come as much of a surprise: Google included a brand new Netflix plugin for the Samsung Chromebook in a dev release last month. Still, it was a frustrating waiting game – one that many people are now glad is over.
The hold up was due to the need for Google and Netflix to work out some DRM issues – issues that are solved by Silverlight on Windows and OS X, and by NaCl technology on Intel-powered Chromebooks. For the ARM Chromebook, DRM will be handled by that new Netflix plugin and some HTML5 magic.
Even with the FCC’s blessing, though, there’s still work to be done. MetroPCS has to hold a shareholders’ meeting where the folks who have stake in the company will vote on whether or not they want this deal to go through. This is a step that isn’t necessarily seen as an issue, but recent murmurings suggest not everyone is on the bandwagon for this to happen. Several shareholders, including some top hedge-funds, have reportedly expressed distaste, saying MetroPCS is being severely undervalued.
The voting process will commence in another few weeks or so, and that will ultimately determine how all of this plays out. It’s worthy to note that even if shareholders vote against the merger there’s still a chance Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS can tweak some details and flip some numbers to make everyone happy.
In other words, any fear of objections by the FCC, Department of Justice, and any other anti-competitive protection groups are gone, and now it’s all down to Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS to make this happen smoothly. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski had this to say:
“With today’s approval, America’s mobile market continues to strengthen, moving toward robust competition and revitalized competitors. We are seeing billions more in network investment, while the courts have upheld key FCC decisions to accelerate broadband build-out, promote competition, and benefit consumers, including our broadband data roaming and pole attachment rules. Today’s action will benefit millions of American consumers and help the U.S maintain the global leadership in mobile it has regained in recent years.
“Mobile broadband is a key engine of economic growth, with U.S. annual wireless capital investment up 40% over the last four years, the largest increase in the world, and few sectors having more potential to create jobs. In this fast-moving space, of course challenges remain, including the need to unleash even more spectrum for mobile broadband and continuing to promote competition and protect consumers. The Commission will stay focused on these vital goals.”
It sounds like he’s quite excited to give T-Mobile a chance to grow and remain competitive to keep Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon from getting too big. T-Mobile will look to gain control over significant spectrum used by MetroPCS, and that should help get its LTE network off the ground. The FCC wants a faster, more connected America and giving the fourth largest carrier the digital capital to do so.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
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Posted by "The Phone Ninja" at 11:39 PM