Mid-range specifications, 13MP camera included in US ZTE smartphone
ZTE has unveiled a new mid-range smartphone it will be shipping to the United States. The Nubia 5S mini LTE, originally launched in China late last year, offers a 4.7-inch 720p IGZO display, backed by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, Adreno 305 graphics, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage with microSD expansion also available.
New store has to deal with complexities of multiple carriers, hardware vendors
Verizon is allegedly in discussions with other carriers and Android device manufacturers to launch its own app store. According to sources familiar with the matter, the carrier is building up the store, similar to the shuttered V Cast, as a response to reductions in revenue sharing arrangements with Google through the Google Play store.
Sprint launches Sharp Aquos Crystal with slim bezel design
Sprint has confirmed it will carry the recently-announced Sharp Aquos Crystal smartphone on its network. Boasting a 5-inch 720p display with minimal bezel and mid-ranged specifications, Sprint will be selling the Aquos Crystal for $240 off-contract and $10 per month under Easy Pay, while the prepaid brand Boost and Virgin will both offer it for $150. Sprint did not advise of when the Aquos Crystal will be available, but the Japanese launch earlier this week points to a release on August 29th.
Independent tester finds that Verizon beats out all other carriers for first half of 2014
A new study of wireless carriers for the first half emerged today, putting Verizon at the top of the pile in five categories, marking it as the best overall carrier in the United States. Market research firm RootMetrics announced its findings, showing that Verizon was the best carrier in reliability, speed, data performance and call performance.
Windows Phone version of HTC One M8 uses same specifications as Android original
HTC has launched the Windows Phone version of its One M8 flagship at an event in New York. The HTC One (M8) for Windows is a metal-clad smartphone with the same specifications as the Android original, including an identical five-inch 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage.
Limited-time plan offers up to 10 lines, bonus 2GB per line on promo 20GB plan
On top of a new single line plan from Verizon today, Sprint has announced its new Family Share Pack offering adjustable data caps to share across 10 lines in a single plan. Sprint's new plan also comes with a bonus for its 20GB tier, as the company is offering an additional 2GB per line on the plan as a part of its "new day for data" campaign.
Gazelle offers locked price for selling iPhone before new release
Gazelle, a company which focuses on buying used phones, has announced a limited offer on locking the current selling value of an iPhone. Until September 9, Gazelle will give customers who wish to sell their current iPhone a locked price value, allowing until October 10 to send the device in. The purpose of this promotion is to maintain the same price value for a phone to be traded in even after the anticipated release of the iPhone 6, which will inevitably decrease the value of iPhones currently owned. Once Gazelle receives a traded in device, it is inspected to verify the claimed condition and a payment is then sent within one week. Gazelle accepts smartphones from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other major cell phone carriers in addition to Apple products.
New More Everything comes with $15 overage charges, requires new activation or upgrade
Verizon announced a new plan today in an attempt to be competitive with data in the mobile market. Under the new plan, Verizon customers will be getting a discounted rate for a single line account, while gaining an additional 1GB of data for two years, along with unlimited talk and text for a single phone line.
Slim-bezel Sharp Aquos Crystal may arrive in United States tomorrow
Sharp has created two new Aquos smartphones with an extremely minimal bezel, giving the appearance of an edge-to-edge display. The Aquos Crystal and the Aquos Crystal X, with respective 5-inch 720p and a 5.5-inch 1080p displays, will both be going on sale in Japan, with at least one of the devices heading to the United States in the near future.
Accessory manual reveals name of upcoming Sony Xperia tablet
Sony may have confirmed the existence of a new Xperia tablet in support documentation. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is refereed to by name in a user guide for the BSC10 Bluetooth Speaker with Magnetic Charging Pad, suggesting the company will be going for a smaller tablet as a follow-up to the Xperia Z2 Tablet, launched earlier this year.
HTC One M8 for Windows Phone shares physical appearance with Android model
Images for what is believed to be the Windows Phone equivalent of the HTC One M8 have leaked, showing what could be HTC's latest foray onto the platform. Said to be called the One M8 for Windows, the displayed smartphone appears to be identical in physical construction to the Android version of the device, except for a Windows Phone logo on the back.
Blackberry launches 1.1 version of BBM for Windows Phone
BlackBerry has officially released BBM for Windows Phone, taking it out of beta. The new release implementes a number of bug fixes and speed improvements that the company gathered during the beta phase. The 1.1 version of the app allows users to engage in BBM Chats with one or many contacts, with the ability to share pictures, voice notes, contacts and location. Features like BBM Voice, Channels, and location sharing are still yet to be added.
Plans being tested involve changes to Sprint Framily, $50 unlimited plan
Sprint is allegedly testing a suite of price plans for potential launch in the near future, not long after Marcelo Claure took to the Chief Executive Officer position. The new plans being trialled are apparently aggressive, partly to fend off T-Mobile and to recoup its haemorrhaging customer base, with one plan said to offer unlimited voice, text, and data for $50 per month.
LTE-based broadcasting system due on AT&T next year
AT&T is expecting to start rolling out its LTE Broadcast system next year, an executive has revealed. Also called LTE Multicast, the system would allow AT&T the ability to broadcast one set of content, such as a TV channel or some other form of video content, to multiple subscribers simultaneously, a system which in theory could help AT&T efficiently conserve its network resources.
Invitation depicts four devices, suggesting multiple Motorola launches
Motorola is preparing to hold an event in Chicago on September 4th, according to invitations sent to members of the media. Though light on detail, the invitation depicts an animated paper fortune teller showing four images, suggesting the smartphone producer could potentially have four devices launching at the event at the same time.
Specifications list claims Galaxy Note 4 has 5.7-inch 1440x2560 display
Specifications for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 may have leaked, weeks before its expected launch. An Indonesian smartphone retailer called erafone has listed the device on its store pages, including what appears to be a complete breakdown of the Note 4's specifications list, and a price tag of what equates to around $810 off-contract.
P2P file-sharing, unofficial tethering both violations of the terms of plans
On the heels of Verizon's announcement that it will periodically throttle the LTE speeds of its most prodigious users during times of network congestion, a leak from T-Mobile has revealed a similar program -- but with a different approach. Rather than targeting a certain percentage of the heaviest users without discrimination, the carrier plans to first educate and then restrict the speeds of only those users who are in violation of the terms and conditions of the "unlimited' data plans through torrenting or tethering abuse.
Hashtags, new profile options, links and a subscription service added to messaging app
Early this week, the ubiquitous messaging app Yo received an update that moves it beyond the single-word phrase that made it popular. In the 1.1.0 version of the free application, new profile options, links, a subscription service and hashtags were all added to give Yo some more communication options and perhaps more appeal.
Metal Samsung Galaxy Alpha uses 4.7-inch 720p Super AMOLED display
Samsung has unexpectedly launched the Galaxy Alpha smartphone, weeks before an Unpacked launch event. The rumored smartphone has been revealed as using a metal frame with a soft back cover, a change from the heavily use of plastic in earlier Galaxy devices, with the Alpha's 7mm (0.28-inch) thickness making it one of the slimmest Galaxy smartphones the company has ever produced.
Squarespace releases Blog and Note apps for Android
Website design platform Squarespace has released two new apps in beta format for Android users today, entitled Blog and Note. Originally launched for iOS, Blog facilitates Squarespace site management from a smartphone or tablet, and Note is a minimalist note-taking app.
Device hacked enabling root access, SecureCircle apps unaffected
The "super-secure" Android Blackphone has been hacked by an attendee at the DefCon conference. In less than five minutes, the Google-backed device surrendered root access without unlocking the Android bootloader. Initially contested by the manufacturer, the company, Geeksphone, later thanked "Justin Case" for pointing out the flaw.
Flat rate for calls in upcoming T-Mobile prepaid service changes
T-Mobile will be launching changes to its prepaid service on August 17th, it has revealed. The new Pay as You Go plans aim to be simpler to understand and more affordable than earlier prepaid offerings, by providing a flat rate for texts and talk of 10 cents per message or minute, with customers required to use a minimum of $3 on the service each month.
Brown likely to sign into law; iOS devices are already compliant
The California state Senate has passed a bill requiring cellphone manufacturers to implement, and providers to activate, a "kill switch" that can be triggered remotely in the case of theft that renders the phone inoperable and unable to be reactivated. Owners of the iPhone are long familiar with these abilities, as Apple has offered them as opt-in features for some time, but the requirement that it be activated when users sign up for service will be new to many.
Clear Image function in OnePlus One camera app creates composite from ten photographs
OnePlus has started to roll out an over-the-air update to the OnePlus One smartphone, upgrading the device to Android 4.4.4. The staggered rollout, which should reach all device owners by the end of this week, fixes a number of bugs in the firmware and updates Android itself to a more recent version, as well as introducing a new function to the camera app called Clear Image.
Square register service adds appointment booking feature
Square has announced today that the register service has added an appointments feature. Square Appointments aims to manage users' appointments, and is available to all business owners -- even those who do not use Square Register -- for a free 30-day trial. Users of Appointments can request to create a booking through a web form that automatically adds itself to the shop's calendar. Pricing for the service is $30 per month for individual sellers, $50 for business owners with two to five employees, and $90 for unlimited staff usage.
Twin leaks point to two HTC smartphone launches in coming months
A pair of leaks for HTC smartphones have surfaced, for Android and Windows Phone devices. One leak includes photographs of the A11, a variant in the Desire range said to use a 64-bit system-on-chip, while another appears to reiterate earlier rumored specifications for a version of the HTC One M8 running on Windows Phone instead of Android.
Microsoft continues creating low-cost mobile phones for emerging markets
After announcing a move away from its Android and Asha ranges, Microsoft's mobile phone arm has surprisingly launched another low-cost mobile phone. Following in the footsteps of the Nokia 105 and the Nokia 108, the Nokia 130 is a Series 30 device with basic functionality, which the company is pitching as a mobile phone for first time users, priced at 19 euro ($25) for both the single and dual-SIM models.
Philips' 28-inch 4K Ultra HD monitor now available
Philips has announced the availability of its new 28-inch 4K Ultra HD display, offering 1080p Full HD video quality. The model (288P6LJEB) is ideal for use while gaming due to its high resolution of 3840 x 1260 pixels, with a color depth of 1.07 billion colors. Its Multi-View functionality enables users to work with multiple devices like a PC and laptop simultaneously. The UltraClear display is equipped with HMDI, DisplayPort, Dual-Link DVI and VGA SmartConnect ports, as well as USB 3.0 connectivity. Priced at $600, the display is now available for purchase online.
Executive outlines technology tied to server reporting, changes including ability to opt-in
Since last month, Chinese phone and tablet manufacturer Xiaomi has been under suspicion of data practices that could be considered harmful to its user base, including the discovery of spyware installed in the Star N9500. Recent reports, and testing by a security firm, indicates that Xiaomi's smart phones, including the RedMi 1S, are reporting information back to servers in China.
Trial period will be free, pricing expected to be similar to US premium cost
Roughly a month after first announcing its expansion into Canada, subscription streaming music service Spotify is now sending invites to people who signed up to receive notification when the service was imminent. Invitations are currently still on a limited basis, but the company is testing the service in Canada presently, Electronista has verified. Canada is not yet officially listed on the company's website as one of the countries it serves, but an official debut is expected in the coming weeks.
Prototype in testing claimed to use screen which covers sides of smartphone
Samsung is testing a prototype smartphone with a wraparound display, according to a report. The previously-rumored smartphone is said to employ a display panel that stretches over from the front onto the two sides of the device, effectively treating the edge displays as a software-defined interface instead of the typical volume and power buttons used by current devices.
GIV Mobile announces new plans on T-Mobile's 4G LTE network
GIV Mobile has announced the launch of four new plans that feature access to T-Mobile's 4G LTE network. A no-contract wireless service, subscribers can choose from plans that start at $30 per month for unlimited talk, text and data, with data speeds increasing as plan pricing increases. The plans also offer an opportunity to select up to three charities, from eight different categories, that will receive a monthly donation, taken from a portion of the user's monthly plan fee.
Support no longer offered as Sony transitions to content for PlayStation Vita, Vita TV
Sony announced today that it would no longer be supporting PlayStation Mobile for Android going forward. In a statement on the PlayStation Japan website, Sony outlined that support for the program ends with Android version 4.4.2 (KitKat). Users that haven't updated to Android versions past 4.4.2 will still be able to access the PlayStation store, play games and re-download titles.
Obstacles in regulation are said to be the reason for Sprint's withdrawal
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that T-Mobile's possible purchase by Sprint may no longer be on the table. Sources tell the publication that Sprint's parent company, SoftBank, no longer believes that it would be able to convince regulators that the merger of the two companies would be favorable to the wireless industry. It's believed that officials had given enough of a signal that it would oppose any change in the current wireless market.
Firm states that Chinese company overtook Samsung on weak shipment quarter
Research firm Canalys ushered in some less-than-welcome news for Samsung this week, as the firm indicates that the Korean electronics manufacturer has lost the leading smartphone spot in China. Xiaomi, a Chinese manufacturer that has rapidly risen in popularity, has claimed the top spot for market share in the country, dethroning Samsung on the back of weak quarterly results.
Company claims all the other wireless carriers do so, so it should as well
Verizon is the first mobile provider that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has queried about Internet speed slowdown for certain customers on an "unlimited" data plan. In a response filed with the FCC yesterday, the wireless company explained its rationale for reneging on its "unlimited" promise, and noted that a user needs to consume 4.7GB of mobile data per month to be put in the class of users that it would throttle, for what it claims is a need to protect the experience of the rest of its customers on the network.
High-resolution display of Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro has pixel density of 490ppi
Lenovo has launched its previously rumored flagship smartphone with a six-inch Quad HD-resolution display. The Vibe Z2 Pro sports a pixel density of 490ppi in its thin 7.7mm (0.3 inches) frame, with the smartphone also boasting a 16-megapixel rear camera with a BSI sensor, optical image stabilization, and a number of features to help photographers.
Pre-IFA event could see unveiling of Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Alpha
Samsung is planning to launch new devices in early September, according to an invitation sent to members of the media. An Unpacked event is set to take place on September 3rd in Berlin, two days before the IFA tradeshow is set to take place, and based on items launched at previous Unpacked events at this time of year, it may be the launch venue for the Galaxy Note 4.
Android overall inching forward, but top two take 78.7 percent of traffic
A new study of North American smartphone share by mobile ad platform Chitika shows that some 78.7 percent of all smartphone web traffic in the region is run off just two brands of smartphones: Apple and Samsung, with the former's share being roughly double that of the latter (52.3 percent versus 26.4 percent). Korean manufacturer Samsung saw a higher percentage growth between February and July of this year, at 1.2 percent, but the figure shows how little volatility there remains in the mature NA market.
Usage begins mirroring device ownership
For the first time, global usage of Android devices has surpassed that of iOS, according to Net Applications tracking data. iOS slipped from 45.61 percent in June to 44.19 percent in July, while Android advanced from 43.75 percent to 44.62. Windows Phone has made some more marginal progress, growing from below the 1 percent mark in April to 2.49 percent.
Low-budget Kogan smartphone takes on Moto G
Australian hardware manufacturer Kogan has made its latest LTE-equipped smartphone available for international purchase. The Agora 4G, effectively an upgraded version of the Agora launched last year, is attempting to take on the low-budget Moto G and Moto E with a similar-specification list featuring a few improvements, including a five-inch 720p IPS display.
Leaked photographs shows Samsung using chamfered edges in future smartphone
A premium smartphone touted by Samsung in its financial results may arrive with a metal casing, according to new leaked photographs. Believed to be called the Galaxy Alpha, the mobile device appears to use a metal band around the edge, and is a marked departure from the typical plastic bodies the company uses throughout its smartphone and tablet ranges.
Debate not over, Librarian of Congress needs to re-evaluate in 2015
President Barack Obama has signed the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act," making cellphone unlocking by individuals or businesses legal again, at least temporarily. The bill reauthorizes an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allowed unlocking. The matter will come up for debate before the Library of Congress in 2015, so the bill signature today isn't a permanent fix.
Roam Mobility announces new unlimited talk, text and data roaming plans
Roam Mobility, a Canadian independent roaming SIM replacement provider, has announced its new unlimited roaming plans for travellers while in the US. Upon purchasing a one-time upgrade to the network ($2), users with one of the company's SIMs and an unlocked device can access Roam Mobility's new Text+Data plan ($2 per day) offering unlimited texting and 2G data; plans that include 4G LTE data, flex scheduling, a Snowbird incremental option, and more are also available at generally lower rates than before. Roam Mobility can be purchased from major retailers across Canada, such as London Drugs, Staples, 7-Eleven, and more.
Campaign funds a second low power screen for Android devices
It's time for Thursday's edition of Crowdfunding Critic. Every Tuesday and Thursday here on MacNN and Electronista, we're going to look at crowd-funded projects that we find interesting. Keep in mind that we aren't specifically endorsing anything, or telling you that there aren't any risks in funding a prospective project, we're just pointing out projects we found that we like. Please do your research before investing! Today's selection brings an underused technology, E-ink, to smartphone cases -- the InkCase Plus by Oaxis.
Monthly carrier promises 'unlimited' data, cheaper plans for users
Sky Communications has launched a new wireless provider, Sky Mobile, across the US. The new carrier offers several options for mobile users, with basic users still being able to purchase flip phones, while smartphone users are able to choose from devices from Apple, LG, Samsung, and Kyocera.
Rugged Kyocera Brigadier has sapphire glass display, dust and water resistance
Verizon has quietly launched two smartphones on its network, with both available to buy today. The LG G Vista is a previously-rumored 5.7-inch smartphone with a qHD resolution, while the Kyocera Brigadier is a ruggedized smartphone with a 4.5-inch 720p display, a screen which is unusually protected by a front panel made from sapphire glass.
Waterproofing, higher-resolution Duo Camera in Japan-specific HTC Butterfly J
A new version of the HTC One M8 for the Japanese market has been announced by local carrier KDDI. The HTC J Butterfly manages to hold on to the majority of the One M8's specifications, including its five-inch 1080p display, but stems down the same route as the One E8 in having a plastic body, with the Japan-specific smartphone also having a few more minor changes.
Letter from Chairman Wheeler asks Verizon to justify its network management
Last week, one of the largest mobile carriers in the United States announced it would begin throttling some unlimited accounts that access 4G LTE. Verizon stated that it would begin the effort in October, but it would be limited to only the top five percent of data users on unlimited plans. While the slowdown won't have an effect on all LTE customers, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler believes that the new policy is running afoul of several regulations.
Virgin Custom can limit data to specific services, can be changed mid-month
Sprint's prepaid cellular service Virgin Mobile is offering a new tariff which offers a high level of personalization to users. From a base plan, Virgin Custom users are able to pick and choose what parts of their plan can be adjusted throughout the month, including limiting the smartphone's data usage to accessing specific social networks or online services.