Phandroid » Industry News http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Thu, 02 Oct 2014 15:54:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Verizon cancels plans to throttle unlimited data users following massive wave of backlash http://phandroid.com/2014/10/02/verizon-cancels-throttling/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/02/verizon-cancels-throttling/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:33:26 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150085 verizon_logo

Everyone at Verizon Wireless knew it wouldn’t be a popular decision to begin throttling their heaviest unlimited data users, but they went and made the announcement anyway. The change, which was scheduled to go live yesterday, was met with tons of backlash and scrutiny. It seems your heavily-voiced opinions have worked as Verizon has decided to ditch the idea. Here’s a statement from the United States’ number one wireless carrier:

Verizon is committed to providing its customers with an unparalleled mobile network experience.  At a time of ever-increasing mobile broadband data usage, we not only take pride in the way we manage our network resources, but also take seriously our responsibility to deliver exceptional mobile service to every customer.

We’ve greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we’ve decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.  Exceptional network service will always be our priority and we remain committed to working closely with industry stakeholders to manage broadband issues so that American consumers get the world-class mobile service they expect and value.

Verizon’s explanation for throttling heavy users of unlimited data was that this was a “network optimization” move, though many quickly called them out on their inconsistent criteria. Said criteria was that an unlimited data customer had to be using at least 4.7GB of data in a billing period during a time of network congestion. Note that folks on Verizon’s latest tiered data plans were not subject to these terms.

The argument by the opposition was simple: how do 4.7GB of unlimited data and 4.7GB of data from a pool differ in terms of network impact? Simple answer is that it doesn’t. It simply doesn’t. And thus, Verizon found themselves trying to justify a move that smelled more like nickle and dime revenue-packing tactics than anything else.

Verizon has attempted to make life hard for users still on unlimited data for quite some time. The company was quick to plug up any loopholes that would afford those customers discounts on upgrades and service, and other perks you’d get for being on Verizon’s latest and “greatest.”

Most people still clinging to unlimited data have found a way to manage, whether that’s buying their smartphones outright, using multiple lines to fuel upgrades without losing unlimited data or simply dealing with the situation and using their smartphone until it refuses to turn on. Verizon has been hesitant to outright pull the rug from beneath these customers and demand they hop onto MORE Everything, and the reason for that is clear today more than ever before — people won’t just accept this stuff lying down.

[via GigaOM]

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Sprint counters AT&T with their own double data promo for Family Share Pack and business customers http://phandroid.com/2014/10/01/sprint-double-data-promo/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/01/sprint-double-data-promo/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:45:47 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150036 sprint-logo

AT&T opened some eyes the other day when they announced they’d be offering double data for family plans until the end of October, and now one carrier wants to match that deal. Sprint is offering double data for their Family Share Pack plans starting at the 32GB level and business customers starting at 40GB.

Sprint’s move is directly in response to AT&T’s, and they made it clear by mentioning their plans now double AT&T’s plans AFTER the original doubling… for the same price. So here’s how it breaks down in case you’re confused:

Family Share Pack:

  • 32GB becomes 60GB for $130
  • 40GB becomes 80GB for $150
  • 60GB becomes 120GB for $225

Business Share:

  • 40GB becomes 80GB for $135
  • 60GB becomes 120GB for $200
  • 80GB becomes 160GB for $270
  • 100GB becomes 200GB for $330

Like AT&T’s offering, the double data promotion will be available until the end of October, and customers will be entitled to the increased pool of bits and bytes until they opt to cancel service or change plans. Sprint’s unique bit is that they’ll be waiving the monthly access charge of $10 per month, per line through 2015 so you’re saving even more money. Not a bad way to get people to try out the new wheels of your network while it’s still getting flogged via social media and word of mouth.

[via Sprint]

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AT&T offers huge double data promotion until the end of October http://phandroid.com/2014/09/29/att-double-data-promo/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/29/att-double-data-promo/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:02:36 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=149861 dbpix-att-store-tmagArticle

AT&T’s name doesn’t exactly scream value up against the likes of Sprint and T-Mobile, but it sure looks sweet today. Ma Bell has kicked off a huge double data promotion that will net you double the normal data of mobile share plans between 15GB and 50GB until the end of October. The plan is available for both new and existing customers, with the latter crop of folks even able to receive retroactive bill credits for the data they’ve already been paying for. Here’s how the plans now break down:

  • 15GB for $130 becomes 30GB
  • 20GB for $140 becomes 40GB
  • 30GB for $225 becomes 60GB
  • 40GB for $300 becomes 80GB
  • 50GB for $375 becomes 100GB

Of course, all these plans come with a smartphone access charge of $15 per month for AT&T Next and no-contract customers or $40 per month for those on two-year contracts, but note that it also includes both unlimited talk and text for all lines.

Even better is the fact that the plans won’t last for a mere couple of years or so — AT&T says it’s yours to keep for as long as you keep service. Doesn’t sound too bad if you’ve been missing unlimited data and need a little more breathing room for month to month. The promotion began yesterday so be sure to call AT&T or stop by a store to get hooked up. There’s no telling when a promotion like this will make its way back onto the deals table so don’t lollygag on getting going with it.

[via AT&T]

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Report: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge to be produced in limited quantities http://phandroid.com/2014/09/25/galaxy-note-edge-availability/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/25/galaxy-note-edge-availability/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:55:37 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=149722 note-edge

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is one of Samsung’s most innovative ideas this year, but the company doesn’t want to go all in on an idea that might not pan out. According to ZDNet Korea, Samsung is considering the Note Edge a “limited edition release,” and as such they won’t be producing nearly as many units as they would for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

We’d already had suspicion that Samsung wasn’t going to look to produce this thing at the same rate as their two big yearly flagships despite heading to all four major United States carriers. It’s understandable of Samsung to approach this new lineup with caution. Not only is it unclear how the market will respond to this new idea, they probably don’t want to take any of the limelight away from the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 on the eve of its release.

The timing of the latter situation is especially important considering they have a lot to respond to with Apple’s stellar iPhone 6 and 6+ launch. The launch pressured them so much that they decided to move the Note 4′s release date to tomorrow in South Korea, and promised to be in over 140 countries by the end of October.

We can’t imagine it’ll be terribly hard to get your hands on a Samsung Galaxy Note Edge once they finally make their way to retail, but you’d better not lollygag too long or you might miss out.

[via Neowin]

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Samsung moving 500 engineers out of their mobile division to work on Tizen http://phandroid.com/2014/09/25/samsung-mobile-division-changes/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/25/samsung-mobile-division-changes/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:53:38 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=149713 samsung-tizen-6

Looks like Samsung is getting serious about the Internet of Things — that is, engineering consumer electronics that can work and communicate with each other through the glorious use of internet. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has made the decision to move over 500 engineers out of their mobile division and into other areas of the company, including consumer electronics,  TVs, network, printers and enterprise software.

What does this mean for their mobile software? We’re not entirely sure, but the move is being made to bolster their “competitive edge in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry and increase synergies for the Tizen platform.”

That line initially makes it sound like they want to focus on Tizen more than Android, but what it really means is that they want to help grow Tizen into a central operating system that they can use on all their smart products going forward. We’ve seen them make the transition to the operating system for most of their smart watches so we’re not surprised they want to explore other areas for its use.

As for the implications this move may have on their smartphone business? There might be none — Samsung’s Tizen efforts on smartphones simply aren’t going well. The Samsung Z, Samsung’s first Tizen phone, was delayed indefinitely after lack of consumer and developer interest, and there’s no telling if Samsung will ever look to explore the platform’s viability on smartphones down the line.

We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Samsung isn’t willing to make a drastic move and drift away from using the world’s most popular operating system for their flagship phones and tablets. That said, there’s no reason not to continue to build Tizen up by using it on products where the operating system used doesn’t make a clear difference.

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Report: iPhone 6 and 6+ success sparks acceleration on Galaxy Note 4 launch http://phandroid.com/2014/09/23/note-4-launch/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/23/note-4-launch/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:07:53 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=149503 galaxy-note-4-front

With news that Apple managed to sell over 10 million units of the new iPhone devices (those being the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+), Samsung is sweating a bit — so much so that they’ve reportedly brought the launch of the device up to a nearer date. According to the Korea Times, Samsung is now planning to launch the phone on major South Korean carriers this Friday, September 26th. The device was originally billed for an October release.

The timing for Samsung makes sense as Apple has not yet launched in all of their planned markets. The initial launch weekend only invited folks from the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK to the party.

Apple’s second phase — this Friday — takes place in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

iphone-6-plus

Beyond responding to Apple’s sudden launch of the latest iPhone units by adjusting their timing, Samsung also wants to undercut prices. Not only is their own phone being offered cheaper than any of the iPhone models, but it’s now being offered for less than any other Note device has debuted at:

In Korea, the suggested retail price for the Note 4 was set at 957,000 won without contracts ― the lowest price tag since Samsung opened its phablet chapter with the Note series in 2011. The Note 1 was priced at 999,000 won, while the Notes 2 and 3 were sold for 1.08 million won and 1.06 million won, respectively, to Korean consumers.

It’s clear Samsung has a lot riding on this launch. For years they’ve been marketing to what was largely seen as a niche audience of folks who desired huge, high resolution displays.

HTC and LG ultimately caught on and began to challenge Samsung in that particular space, but that wasn’t enough to keep each iteration of the Note line from reaching 10 million unit sales. With Apple into the mix, things just got a whole lot more interesting.

Now more than ever, Samsung has to work hard to convince consumers their “big phone” is more than just a “big phone.” Unique additions like the Wacom-powered S Pen experience and a superior multi-tasking system should give them enough to go toe-to-toe with Apple. Samsung’s also created a timely marketing campaign to help show folks that they’ve been at this phablet game for years, and they’ll need to make sure they capitalize on that with a launch sooner rather than later.

iphone-6-plus-vs-galaxy-note-split-screen

Samsung believes they can sell about 15 million units with its first 30 days of going on sale despite increased pressure from Apple. That would be a remarkable feat as it took them a couple of months to reach that mark for last year’s Galaxy Note 3.

It doesn’t sound like they’re expecting to reach Apple’s numbers within just 3 days, though you’ll have to remember that the Note 4 won’t be launching in nearly as many markets on day one as the iPhone 6 and 6+ did. Reaching even just 10 million sales within the first month would be huge for Samsung.

There’s still no clue when the rest of the world will be able to get their hands on the Galaxy Note 4, though their estimation makes it sound like they won’t be waiting far into October. Be sure to read our iPhone 6+ vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comparison for a better idea of how these two behemoths stack up to each other, and stay on the lookout for more coverage in the weeks to come!

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Google “active watching” patent aims to track and identify everyone in the room http://phandroid.com/2014/09/18/google-active-watching-patent/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/18/google-active-watching-patent/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:05:27 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=149289 Android users who have grown to love their voice commands could be in for a treat: Google’s been working on some crazy improvements. Recent updates have already improved how voice search works with Google Now, tightly integrated voice commands with Android Wear, and added an always listening “Ok Google” voice command to all search screens, but perhaps the best is yet to come.

Deep inside a September 4th patent – titled “detecting the end of a user question” – we find some hidden gems that show us how Google could soon add “active watching” technology to futurize Google Search and beyond. But at what cost?

The patent starts off fairly straightforward, describing some features already available in some Android devices such as the new Moto X (2nd gen). The phone uses multiple microphones to detect the location of voices, enabling it to ignore speech input coming from unintended sources. But the patent takes an interesting turn when it mentions capturing visual indicators, and not just any visual indicators- video.

The digital capture device may be a digital video recorder, digital camera, a webcam, etc. The visual capture device may capture visuals and represent the visuals as a stream of images that may form a video.

On the surface (at least to some) this might seem innocent and run-of-the-mill: earlier this year we showed you some Galaxy S5 Tips & Tricks which include a Samsung feature called Smart Stay that keeps the screen on whenever it detects you’re looking. As depicted below, Google is suggesting combining visual indicators with audio indicators to improve Google Search functionality. It doesn’t take long for things to get a lot more interesting, though.

google-active-watching

Google attempts to detect “deliberation” between people with audio/visual indicators, and depending on what their algorithmic statistical mojo recommends, can offer answers as if engaged in an ongoing dialogue or choose to stop actively listening altogether.

Capturing video and identifying people

This Google patent goes deeper though, not only actively watching and capturing visuals, but collecting a bunch of other information along the way.

“the visual analyzer may determine the number of people in an area represented by the visual data, the identity of the people, the vertical and horizontal angles of the heads of the people, and lip movement of the people”

Determine the identity of people? Yes… and then using audio and video together they can further:

“determine the identity of the person providing the voice input based on the lip movement of people and the acoustic characteristics of the voice”

If you thought Google only wanted to extrapolate this data to differentiate between the different speakers it was hearing, you’d be wrong… it doesn’t stop there. Not only does it watch, listen, capture information about people it successfully identifies, it then stores this data in user profiles. Directly from the patent:

“the system may analyze audio and visual data and store information in a user profile…”

Google even describes some examples of the data it may want to collect and store, further explaining the data would be used to serve content that is more relevant to the user:

  • User’s social networks
  • Social actions or activities
  • Profession
  • User preferences
  • Current location

My reaction when reading this? Awesome!

What’s your reaction? Today’s Google searches at Google.com are already able to identify this type of information and store it in your Google Account history to improve performance and features, but that won’t stop some people from feeling paranoid. This patent is open ended and far reaching; I’m sure plenty of freedom fighters have already rushed to the comments in defense of our civil liberties and protection of our privacy.

Ok Google… stop reading my lips

There are often two opposing camps in the privacy debate:

  1. If you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have to worry
  2. Private life should be private. After all, what happens if Google gets hacked, or shares my info with law enforcement, or people with access to this information abuse their privileges?

Regardless to which camp you belong, Google has made it clear in their patent that these settings will be optional, allowing the user to choose whether or not their personal information is stored:

“For situations in which the systems discussed here collect personal information about users, or may make use of personal information, the users may be provided with an opportunity to control whether programs or features collect personal information”

Notice the users “may” be provided with- it’s not necessarily guaranteed. They also mention anonymizing data so that they can still collect it in aggregate without connection to personally identifiable information.

Patents serve to protect intellectual property, not as an operating guide, so critiques in advance of a formal Google announcement should be hypothetical. Google would attempt to address privacy concerns once implementing, and if overlooked, they’d be sure to face backlash.

What type of backlash? Probably the type Microsoft faced earlier last year, leading up to the launch of the Xbox One and Kinect. The main issue? Kinect was always listening, always watching, and you couldn’t turn it off. Sound familiar?

Microsoft later backtracked on that demand and most of the Kinect privacy hysteria has subsided. Dissenters likely purchased the Playstation 4 or Nintendo Wii U instead… and the world went on.

Whether the tech from this patent sees the light of day remains to be seen. If it does, privacy will certainly be an imperative issue to discuss, and I urge you to begin that discussion in the comments below. But I’m hopeful that Google would implement it responsibly. A more interesting discussion, I believe, is what this patent could mean for the future of Android devices.

How will Google use this data?

I love Google voice commands and it’s a feature I use daily. If you don’t, you really need to try it. It’s not perfect though and can be especially irritating when you’re not the only person in the room. At the very least, Google’s hopes of improving voice commands through visual indicators is promising.

This patent could mean much more than voice search improvements and its parallels with Kinect aren’t only in the privacy department. When most people think “Android” they think “smartphone” but Google’s scope is much broader and motives more sweeping. The “detecting the end of a user question” patent may feature a mobile phone in its illustrations, but it explicitly mentions computers, web cams, and other types of video and audio equipment that can collect information from what seems like a much larger and more physically static area than is likely with your phone.

Three obvious places (beyond smartphones and laptops) where Google could awesomely employ these features to create stunning new experiences:

  • Android TV
  • Android Auto
  • Android @Home

Television is still in the stone ages, begging to be revolutionized. Google’s initial attempt – Google TV – failed quite miserably, but they’ve since announced Android TV. In its current alpha form it’s a direct competitor to products and services like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Netflix, but it could be so much more. Advanced voice operation that smartly “lives” with you and the people in your house could make the difference between a cheap set top box and truly next generation multimedia solutions. At the ground level, consider an Android TV that greatly improves upon the voice functionality already found on Xbox and PS4.

The auto industry hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past few decades, either. Google isn’t waiting two decades for their self-driving cars to become a reality, they’re launching consumer vehicles with Android built-in later this year through Android Auto. What interesting experiences, apps, and games could Google create by knowing who is in the car, where each person is sitting, when each person is talking, and what they’re each saying? That’s a challenge I’m sure developers would love to tackle.

Then we’ve got the ever-cliche, George Jetson style “home connectivity” vision. We’ve been hearing about and seeing Android appliances since 2010, but even with the advent of Android @Home, truly connected homes have made few inroads into your typical homes. Google has shown a recommitment to home connectivity after buying Nest for $3.2 Billion. Being able to communicate with your home, hands-free and with great accuracy, could be the missing link in helping the connected home emerge as the next cultural revolution.

Creepy? Awesome? Or both?

The three main takeaways from this article (and Google’s patent):

  1. This could help immediately improve Google Voice Search
  2. Extending the idea could revolutionize voice commands across many devices
  3. There will be no lack of privacy concerns

Using visual queues and pairing them with audio queues is a brilliant way to improve an already wonderful product, but is capturing video, listening to voices, watching lips, identifying real people, and correlating it with personally identifiable information going further than you want your relationship with Google to go? Let us know in the comments!

Note: the term “active watching” is not used by Google in this patent. They do, however, call the existing audio functionality “active listening”. I’m using the term “active watching” for this article as a logical extension of an already understood and well accepted concept. In reality, I’d hope Google would announce this feature using a term that seems less intrusive, such as “active aware” or “always aware” (which could include both audio and video).

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Punit Soni steps down as senior product manager at Motorola http://phandroid.com/2014/09/17/punit-soni-leaves-motorola/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/17/punit-soni-leaves-motorola/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:39:36 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=149257 punit-soni

Punit Soni, Motorola senior product manager, has stepped down from his post, sharing a farewell note and thanks via his Google+ page today. Soni joined Motorola two years ago, shortly after the company’s acquisition by Google, and was central to reshaping its approach to mobile devices.

Soni had a hand in developing the Moto X and Moto G, two devices that signaled a shift in Motorola’s business strategy and helped to rescue the Chicago-based wireless firm from its decline as one of the major players in the mobile industry. He was particularly proud of his work on the Moto G, and shared that his favorite moment as part of the company was when he had the opportunity to introduce the budget-friendly handset to a live audience in Brazil (the phone went on to become Motorola’s best-selling smartphone, and we are quite fond of its recent update).

Soni has not made public what he plans to pursue now that he has left Motorola. We’d be willing to bet he will land somewhere in the mobile space.

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5 million Google accounts and passwords may have been leaked http://phandroid.com/2014/09/10/gmail-account-leak/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/10/gmail-account-leak/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:36:39 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148816 onlineSecurity

This piece of news might not hit you well at first, but listen up: a fairly large database of over 5 million email accounts and passwords has been leaked. Many of the accounts are of Google origin, though some Russian email services such as Yandex have also been affected.

Speaking on the issue, Google says this leak is not tied to any security breach of their knowledge, and is most likely a collection of passwords that were unfortunately phished through online scams (always check that URL and security certificate before dishing over login information, folks).

As such, many of the passwords in the leaked database are likely to be outdated, or the accounts may have been purged altogether as many of them are pretty old. Some might not even be real. There’s a chance that many of them do still work, though.

Whether you were affected by this or not, it’s always a good idea to do a couple of key things when hearing news like this to make sure your account is secure:

That should be enough to put a pretty secure digital padlock on your inbox should you be a bit paranoid about this whole ordeal. There should be little reason to worry for the most part, but it’s always important to stay up to date on issues like these.

[via RT, DDot]

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In wake of iPhone 6 launch, Samsung takes to Twitter with the last laugh about big phones http://phandroid.com/2014/09/10/samsung-toots-big-horn/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/10/samsung-toots-big-horn/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:06 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148809 samsung iphone big phone

Once upon a time, Apple didn’t want big phones. “No one wants them,” they said. “Phones are meant to be used with one hand,” they contended. “Horse raddish,” said Samsung and all the other companies who boldly ventured into phablet territory starting back in 2011.

And it worked for them! The Samsung Galaxy Note line went on to be a big seller after its first couple of iterations, with Samsung proudly inducting the third iteration in the lineup into their 10 million sales club. LG is looking to do the same with their 5.5-inch flagship LG G3. Turns out people love big phones, and they sell quite well in this day and age.

Samsung being Samsung, you know that just have to have the last laugh — they’ve taken to Twitter to acknowledge that they were right all along. The Samsung Philippines Twitter account posted the image you see above, effectively tooting their own horn and letting everyone know that they were the ones that made big phones a thing.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ launch yesterday must have been really hard for Apple knowing that they swallowed their pride and crushed one of the biggest values they’ve held onto to step into the times and offer phones that people actually want. Samsung opting to rub the salt directly into the wound certainly can’t help.

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Reminder: T-Mobile announces Un-Carrier 7.0 tomorrow, live streaming it for all to see http://phandroid.com/2014/09/09/un-carrier-7-stream/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/09/un-carrier-7-stream/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:38:33 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148644 T-Mobile-Uncarrier-7.0

T-Mobile has just informed us that they’ll be showering the tech world about news regarding Un-carrier 7.0 tomorrow. We heard about the event a couple of weeks ago, but you’ll be happy to know that they’ll live stream whatever it is they have to show off.

As usual, we have absolutely no idea what to expect from T-Mobile. Sometimes these announcements have nothing to do with Android (a couple have been iPhone-specific), and with the timing of today’s Apple event we have to imagine there’s a chance T-Mobile’s announcements could be related.

But that’s what we wake up early in the morning for. Whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be big — John Legere and a couple of other execs are taking on a pretty big stage in San Francisco to announce it — so you won’t want to forget to check Phandroid tomorrow as the news rolls in. It all goes down at 1pm Pacific tomorrow, and you can follow along with us right here. Let us know what you hope to see announced!

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The new Moto G (2nd Gen) specs, pricing, and availability now official [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/09/05/moto-g-2014-specs-pricing-availabilityl/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/05/moto-g-2014-specs-pricing-availabilityl/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 06:01:04 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148249 Motorola Shells for Moto G

It’s happening! The follow up to Motorola’s most successful smartphone to date — the Motorola Moto G — is here and it’s aptly called, what else, but the “Moto G.” Why ruin a good thing? The idea behind the Moto G line is to provide consumers with quality smartphones that goes easy on the wallet without skimping on any user experience. Sadly, too often budget Android smartphones are stuck running old, outdated software or consist of older generations of premium smartphones that have long since been forgotten in the ever changing release cycle. The Moto G, however, is a breathe of fresh air in this regard. Offering a winning combination of hardware and user experience, Motorola plans on focusing their success with the Moto G towards connecting the next billion people.

Moto G 2014 Features

As mentioned above, the new Moto G focuses on user experience, bringing a slightly larger edge-to-edge 5-inch HD display to the table this time around, as well as stereo sound, thanks to the dual equipped speakers on the front and bottom of the phone. Just as before, the Moto G offers of plenty of customization options thanks to interchangeable shells. The new Moto G is packing that familiar Snapdragon 400 processor, all day battery life, an FM radio, and dual SIM support in certain regions. For the full list of hardware features, check out the specs below.

Moto G Back Dynamic Moto G Front

On the software side of things, Motorola continues to stick with their version of the pure Android experience, adding only small tweaks here and there to enhance the usual Android offerings. Motorola guarantees that the Moto G will receive at least one software update to Android L, launching sometime this fall.

Motorola’s software tweaks include touching anywhere on the screen to take a picture from inside the camera app, the contextually aware Motorola Assist app, as well as Motorola Migrate to help users make the switch to the Moto G, Trusted Devices for easy device security and unlocking, and Motorola’s safety application dubbed Motorola Alert.

Moto G 2014 Specs

  • Android 4.4.4 (KitKat)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 305 450MHz GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB & 16GB versions
  • Supports up to 32GB microSD
  • Dimensions: Height: 141.5mm Width: 70.7mm
  • Weight: 149 grams
  • 5.0” 720p IPS HD display at  720×1280 (294 ppi)
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • 2070 mAh battery (mixed usage up to 24 hours)
  • Rear Camera: 8 MP (4:3) 6 MP (16:9) (LED flash, 4x digital zoom, HDR, panorama, burst mode, slow motion)
  • Front Camera: 2 MP + 720p HD video
  • Water repellency
  • Micro USB, 3.5mm headset jack
  • FM Radio
  • Dual SIM with Intelligent Calling
  • US GSM Model:
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 1700 (AWS), 1900 MHz)
  • Global GSM Model:
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)

Moto G 2014 Pricing

Just like the original Moto G, the new Moto G (2014) will debut at a highly affordable $179.99 USD (8GB model), making Motorola’s latest offering quite temping for those looking for a wallet friendly smartphone.

Moto G 2014 Availability

Starting today, the new Moto G will be available unlocked and off contract from Motorola’s online store front as well as retailers in the US. International users will be happy to know that the Moto G also goes on sale today in India, France, UK, Brazil, Spain, and German residents can pick up a Moto G from Motorola’s German online store. Motorola hopes to have the Moto G in more than a dozen countries, with several carriers, by the end of this year.

If you’re looking for an exceptional smartphone at an exceptional price, the new Moto G might just be for you. Be sure to check out our official Moto G forums and stay tuned to Phandroid.com for additional Moto G news and resources.

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Google settles with FTC to issue $19 million in refunds for Google Play in-app purchases http://phandroid.com/2014/09/04/google-ftc-in-app-refund/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/04/google-ftc-in-app-refund/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:16:06 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148228 Google-HQ_logo

Looks like Apple isn’t the only company taking a lashing from the FTC for “lack” of “proper” protection against “unauthorized” in-app purchases. The governmental body has also tapped Google to issue refunds to customers for purchases bought within various games and apps in the Google Play Store. Google has settled to pay out over $19 million refunds, and that’s just the minimum amount before any extra claims crop up. The FTC contends that many of these purchases are to be considered accidental as Google hasn’t always had proper authentication steps for in-app purchases.

What does this mean? Well, if Apple’s fiasco was anything to go by then anyone who purchased in-app goods before Google implemented their latest authentication measures can claim their son Little Jimmy downloaded in-game coins, toys and other nonsense without their consent, citing Google’s lack of a stopgap in the purchase process to make sure the account holder / card owner was the one responsible for making the purchases.

So what’s going to happen? Google will soon send notices to anyone who has purchased content within an app or game on Google Play and ask them to submit a claim if they believe their purchase was unauthorized or accidental. The problem? People who had every intention of buying those goods are going to make claims anyway. You needn’t look further than the most popular technology forums out there to see the hordes of folks plotting to get refunds for legit purchases.

It sucks, but some will consider it a victimless crime — Google does have a crap load of money, after all. Keep an eye out on those inboxes.

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Let’s talk about how terrible Comcast is (and how afraid Time Warner customers should be) http://phandroid.com/2014/09/01/dear-comcast-please-stop/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/01/dear-comcast-please-stop/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 17:00:31 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=147989 raging baby

There’s no secret Comcast isn’t the world’s most favorite internet service provider. Heck, they probably don’t even have the` favor of a few innocent souls who don’t know the difference between dial-up and fiber. There’s no shortage of Comcast horror stories on the internet. We’re not sure why Comcast is so bad, but they are. And it’s about time we put a spotlight on some of the most troubling testimonials you’ll ever see.

This young man was put on hold by a customer service rep. By the grace of some supernatural source he actually waited. On the phone. For 3 hours. No one came back after said time, so he ended up being on hold until their customer service line was closed.

Granted, he most likely would have been able to get back through if he’d hung up and called back (could be a technical error), but it’s still remarkable. Power to those who can wait on hold for 3 full hours and not end up with your phone smashed to bit in the corner of a dark, cold room.

Here’s an hour and change of horrible customer service goodness courtesy of this guy on Reddit. The guy was passed around by customer service reps like a cheese plate at an awkward social gathering:

This fellow’s story in particular is interesting: not only is Comcast showing sings of environmental irresponsibility, but they’re overcharging for service that he didn’t even have. That they failed to rectify their own mistake months after the fact is enough for a grand ol’ face palm.

And the list goes on and on. Granted, there are likely just as many folks who are perfectly fine with the service they’re receiving from Comcast, and you can find horror stories about any fairly large company if you look hard enough, but Comcast’s name is by far the most cursed in the industry.

The saddest part is that despite all the outcries from customers, it appears Comcast hasn’t done a thing to help alleviate some of these complaints over the years. It’s even more startling when you think about the fact that some of these folks don’t even have better options — despite the issues, Comcast is still the best they can get.

It’s a problem that has plagued the American wireline industry for quite some time. Companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have a pretty significant stranglehold on many key markets, and while regional providers and the might of AT&T have tried to test their stomping grounds they still can’t offer enough to put a significant dent into those companies’ market share.

fiber-cable

Speaking of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the two are about to become a couple. A thing. A conglomerate that we all should be deathly afraid of. It’s a scary thought that absolutely should have you quivering in your boots. As a long-time Time Warner Cable customer for the past 14 years, I think I can speak with authority when I say they’re no different.

Quality of service has consistently declined since the early days I’ve had them. Some days I wake up and wonder if I’ll even be able to sign onto Phandroid.com and pump out articles. Customer service has gotten a bit better, but they still don’t give you the attention and care that a homely regional provider seems to be able to. And let’s not even get started on prices increasing year after year without any considerable improvements in service.

Sure, I could have gone with the only (and I do mean only) viable alternative in my area in AT&T Uverse, but their speeds don’t meet my professional needs, nor does DSL technology excite me quite like a traditional cable connections. Add to that fact that AT&T’s “half the cost of competition” price tag they like to advertise only lasts for the first 12 months of service (after which they become just as expensive as Time Warner) and there just hasn’t been anyone better.

But don’t let Time Warner take that quote out of context in one of their cheesy ads — there’s no one better because there’s NO ONE ELSE PERIOD. I long for the day that the Milwaukee, WI area finally gets a stout competitor that can keep these cable companies on their heels, but until then this is the reality we have to live in.

So yes, Comcast users, I do understand where you’re coming from. I understand the frustration. And as one bad company gets ready to merge with another I’m close to considering internet suicide.

It sucks, and the only thing we can do is to continue to express our distaste unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a market where you can vote with your wallet. Here’s to hoping something like Verizon FiOS or Google Fiber journeys to the rest of the country before Comcast and Time Warner are able to get a devastating death grip on the internet business here in America.

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Google takes battle with Amazon to the sky, introduces a drone-based delivery system of their own [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/08/28/google-x-labs-project-wing-video/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/28/google-x-labs-project-wing-video/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 00:23:36 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=147851 Google X Project Wing featured

Those boys at the Google X Labs are at it again, announcing their latest project that looks to take the battle with Amazon to the sky: Project Wing. A drone-based delivery system, Google is looking to change the world by removing some of the friction involved with simply moving things around in the world. It’s definitely ambitious, and not too unlike a similar project, Amazon Prime Air, which we saw unveiled late last year.

Google uploaded a video a few minutes ago showing off exactly what they’ve been working on these past 2 years. In the video, we watch as the Project Wing team travels to Queensland, Australia where test flights were successfully able to deliver basic items like a first aid kit, dog treats, and water to a few lucky farmers.

Google sees a drone delivery system as being more safe, quick, and efficient than traditional methods and despite acquiring a solar drone company earlier this year, are currently looking for partners to help bring this new technology to the world (wherever, you know, it’s actually legal).

Those interested can find a sign up form here with more info.

[The Atlantic]

 

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