Phandroid » Industry News http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 22 Nov 2014 03:05:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Sony’s 21 megapixel Exmor RS IMX230 smartphone camera sensor looks to change the game for 2015 http://phandroid.com/2014/11/17/sony-exmor-rs-imx230-official/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/17/sony-exmor-rs-imx230-official/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:12:29 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153336 Sony-Building-Logo-600x450

Sony this morning announced a new camera sensor made for smartphones that they’ll look to introduce starting April 2015. It’s the Sony Exmor RS IMX230, a stacked 21 megapixel CMOS sensor that features the world’s first image plane phase detection autofocus system that makes for super fast focusing.

Alongside fast focus, image plane phase detection helps improve focus tracking for fast-moving targets, something other smartphones look to handle with software but often aren’t up to scratch. Sony uses 192 different autofocus points to help achieve that, a mark rivaling what you’d find inside a mirrorless SLR camera.

Sony also mentioned that the sensor is capable of capturing high resolution HDR images, as well as capturing HDR-enhanced 4K HD footage (most phones will lower image quality to equip HDR capabilities). For comparison’s sake, they note that the 13 megapixel IMX135 sensor captures HDR images at 3.2 effective megapixels, while the IMX230 can grab the full capabilities of the sensor. Here’s a quick comparison shot to note the massive difference in image quality:

sony imx230 sample comparison

The achievement is such an important one as HDR technology becomes an industry standard for folks who want to capture images and footage with balanced lighting. So when’s it coming? Tough to say for sure. April 2015 availability of the sensor doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing it in smartphones that soon.

We imagine Sony will load their biggest 2015 flagships up with it when that time does come, though, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see other OEMs tap Sony for the sensor in various smartphones at its reasonable price of around $18 per unit. Sony is also planning a 16 megapixel unit with the same features, though that particular sensor isn’t expected to arrive until later in 2015. Unfortunately there aren’t any other samples to be had from Sony at this point, but we’ll be looking to chase some down as time goes on.

[via Sony]

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Verizon’s updated ETF policy won’t start shaving dollars off until 8 months in http://phandroid.com/2014/11/14/verizon-etf-changes/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/14/verizon-etf-changes/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 20:48:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153302 verizon-ominous

Folks looking to sign up with Verizon won’t like this one: they have made a pretty big change to how their ETF policy works. As it stood just yesterday, the company would hit you with a $350 early termination fee for breaking out of a smartphone contract within its first month, though they’d shave off $10 every month until it expired.

That is no longer the case. A recent change to the policy now  keeps the fee firmly at $350 throughout the first 7 months of a contract. It isn’t until the 8th month that you’ll begin to see the fee deteriorate, and it’s broken down like so:

  • $10 reduction each month between the 8th and 18th month
  • $20 reduction each month between the 19th and 23rd month
  • $60 reduction on the final month.

Comes out to be about the same by the end of it all, but it certainly doesn’t look as appealing to break out within the first year and a half of the contract’s life. This is no doubt a move to counter T-Mobile’s promise to pay folks’ early termination fees for leaving their current carriers. Make it much more expensive for T-Mobile and it just might pressure the carrier to back out of that promise.

Of course, such a move could also note that the tactic is working beyond their wildest imagination. T-Mobile has added more and more customers each quarter, after all, and they’ve stolen the title of fastest growing carrier thanks to their new unCarrier strategy.

We’ve always gushed over the potential T-Mobile’s bold moves would have on the competitive state of the industry, though we’d rather see competing carriers look to add more value to their offerings instead of using sly tactics like this to try and stiff the competition.

A business has got to do what it’s got to do, though, and you can’t really tell Verizon much about how to run theirs — they still command the largest user base and the best network despite being known to have some of the priciest service, after all. The change goes into effect starting today for new contracts, though any contracts signed prior to the change are still subject to the old $10 deduction each month. You can read the full text of the change straight ahead.

verizon_logo

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY POSTPAY SERVICE IS CANCELED BEFORE THE END OF MY CONTRACT TERM?

If you’re signing up for Postpay Service, you’re agreeing to subscribe to a line of Service either on a month–to–month basis or for a minimum contract term, as shown on your receipt or order confirmation. (If your Service is suspended without billing, that time doesn’t count toward completing your contract term.) Once you’ve completed your contract term, you’ll automatically become a customer on a month–to–month basis for that line of Service. If you cancel a line of Service, or if we cancel it for good cause, during its contract term, you’ll have to pay an early termination fee. If your contract term results from your purchase of an advanced device on or after November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $350, which will decline by: $10 per month in months 8–18, $20 per month in months 19–23, and $60 in the final month of your contract term. For other contract terms entered into on or after November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $175, which will decline by: $5 per month in months 8–18, $10 per month in months 19–23, and $30 in the final month of your contract term. If your contract results from your purchase of an advanced device prior to November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $350 minus $10 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. For other contract terms entered into prior to November 14, 2014, your early termination fee will be $175 minus $5 for each full month of your contract term that you complete. Cancellations will become effective on the last day of that month’s billing cycle, and you are responsible for all charges incurred until then. Also, if you bought your wireless device from an authorized agent or third–party vendor, you should check whether they charge a separate termination fee.

[via Verizon]

 

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Samsung Mobile chief gets pay cut by nearly 50% following poor performance http://phandroid.com/2014/11/14/samsung-mobile-pay-cut/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/14/samsung-mobile-pay-cut/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:41:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153278 Samsung Galaxy S4 JK Shin

While Samsung still sits firmly atop the smartphone world, the company hasn’t been able to maintain the same pace of growth they enjoyed throughout the past few years. After recent financial results showed a 60% drop in net profit year-over-year, Samsung Mobile head JK Shin has taken a pretty steep pay cut. He was paid $630,000 for last quarter’s performance, nearly half of the $1.5 million he earned in Q2.

Despite the poor performance, Samsung as a whole continues to rake in the dough. They reported revenue of $43 billion in the third quarter for a still-not-bad profit boost of $4.3 billion. So why the sharp decline? It’s tough to say without a clear look inside Samsung’s operations, though it’s possible the company’s desire to push innovation in areas of TV and mobile could be driving the costs of research and development way up.

Another possibility is that Samsung simply can’t stop some of these up-and-coming smaller guys from eating into their market share. Worldwide smartphone share is shifting day by day, with manufacturers from the Asian sector seeing perhaps the biggest uptick in market share and sales. Affordable, yet capable, smartphones from Chinese and Taiwan OEMs are capturing the interests and dollars of many, and stiffened mobile competition overall (from the big guys like HTC, Sony, LG and Motorola) means Samsung doesn’t have it quite as easy as they once did.

There’s no easy answer for rebounding, but this price cut for JK Shin should be a big enough kick in the pants to find whatever strategy they can to make sure they reverse course and get back on track to the sort of growth Samsung’s shareholders are used to. We’ll see if the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge will do anything to help Samsung out as we look ahead to 2015.

[via Wall Street Journal]

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Samsung introduces Flow, their version of Apple’s Continuity http://phandroid.com/2014/11/13/samsung-flow/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/13/samsung-flow/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:13:11 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153195

Samsung had a very interesting new development to show off at their first annual global developers’ conference. The name? Samsung Flow. Its purpose? To let you take what you do on your phone, and do it on your tablet. Or computer. Or even your TV. You can liken it to Apple’s Continuity, a feature that lets you send and receive messages, email and calls, edit documents, view pictures and more from your Mac OS computer, iPad or iPhone and sync it up in real time.

Samsung’s Flow follows those same lines. You can be looking at a photo on your phone and send it over to your Smart TV. Pretty basic stuff there. You can also transfer a video call from your tablet to your phone, or from your phone to your TV, and have it pick up where you left off without seemingly seamless hand-offs. You’ll even be able to start editing documents like spreadsheets and presentations on one device and pick it back up on another, or begin watching a movie on your tablet and flip it back over to your TV without having to mess around with a timeline scrubber.

samsung flow

What’s more is Samsung’s using Android’s built-in sharing and viewing intent APIs so developers can make their apps work with Flow with very little effort. It’s a great development, though we’re sure some folks will attempt to call Samsung out on trying to “copy” another Apple feature (even though this sort of seamless hand-off has been worked on by independent developers of apps like Pushbullet and AirDroid for quite some time).

We’re sure Samsung’s going to lock this one into their own hardware ecosystem. It’d be a great feature for all of the Android world to enjoy, but if the Gear line of smart watches is anything to go by they won’t let you in on the fun without buying their products. For now, though, we’re excited to see where this thing is headed, and can’t wait to see what Samsung has in store for the future.

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Samsung throws Velocity under the bus in “unconscionable” lawsuit says CEO Randy Copeland http://phandroid.com/2014/11/12/samsung-vs-velocity-micro/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/12/samsung-vs-velocity-micro/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 19:10:53 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153134 velocity-micro-vs-samsung

We’re all familiar with the Apple vs. Samsung legal battles, but a new rivalry is brewing between industry juggernauts, and it seems some small businesses may get decapitated by the shrapnel. First NVIDIA sued Samsung, then Samsung retaliated with a lawsuit of their own to which NVIDIA boastfully responded. While these two companies spar it seems a small company in Virginia is being used as a pawn in their legal chess match.

Velocity Micro CEO Randy Copeland took to their company’s blog to acknowledge the situation:

“Samsung has decided to drag us in to its legal battle with Nvidia purely for the purpose of claiming that the Federal District Court for Virginia’s Eastern District here in Richmond, also informally known as “the rocket docket” by some, is a reasonable jurisdiction for their litigation. They tactically need Velocity, a Richmond company, to be part of this new suit so they can have a faster time to trial to counter their lawsuits with Nvidia that are pending in those other courts. They are trying to beat Nvidia to the punch on other fronts, but they are all too willing to throw a private company under the proverbial bus for their own strategic reasons. It’s simply wrong, and a shining example of what’s broken in big corporate America.”

Phandroid cannot speak to the validity of these claims; patents are complicated things which is why it will take full legal teams months of diving through hundreds of pages of literature to concoct arguments and defenses. Maybe Velocity Micro is right and it’s just about geographical strategy. Maybe Samsung is right and Velocity has violated patents. That’s for the courts to determine.

What we are sure of, though, is that Samsung’s legal team is much larger than that of Velocity Micro’s (and that may be the understatement of the year). Whereas it’s just another day in court for Samsung, defending against Samsung can and will effect smaller businesses dramatically as Copeland explains:

“precious company resources and energy will be diverted from our core business and wasted to fight one of the world’s largest companies, just so they can play legal games with Nvidia and the court system.”

We sincerely hope that Samsung isn’t systematically using Velocity as a stepping stool to get to NVIDIA, disregarding the dramatic effect it could have on their business, but Velocity’s CEO insists that’s exactly what’s going on:

“Comparatively, we are a small private business, and have absolutely nothing to do with the disputes between these business giants. This is not our fight, and it’s unconscionable that Samsung is willing to completely disregard the effects and financial fallout this legal tactic will have on the undeserving employees of Velocity Micro and our local community.”

We love technology, but with billions of dollars at stake, this is one of the unfortunate realities that rears its ugly head. Once again, Phandroid has absolutely no opinion on who is right or wrong in this particular situation, we’re merely extending the opinion of Velocity CEO Randy Copeland whose complete statement can be read here.

But we know you – our readers – always have an opinion and always have something to say, so enlighten us. Vote in the poll below and head to the comments to explain your opinion on the NVIDIA, Samsung, Qualcomm, Velocity Micro spat and the state of patent lawsuits in tech in general.

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Samsung’s lawsuit against NVIDIA prompts blog post defending Tegra K1’s power versus Exynos http://phandroid.com/2014/11/12/samsung-vs-nvidia/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/12/samsung-vs-nvidia/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 16:24:38 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153108 nvidia booth mwc

Many casual followers of the mobile industry might think Samsung vs Apple is the only battle going on these days, but the truth is that many of these companies have a lot more going on. Samsung, for instance, has a pretty significant microprocessor division that makes mobile chipsets and GPUs used in all their major smartphones and tablets. NVIDIA, a major player in the desktop and mobile GPU arena, accused Samsung of using some of their technology without proper licensing.

Those two have been bumping heads since September when NVIDIA launched lawsuits against their biggest competitors (Qualcomm was also included in that round of lawsuits) for using unlicensed patents. It looks like Samsung has decided to strike back in a characteristic counter-lawsuit.

The company alleges that NVIDIA is using some of their technology, as well. You already know how this goes — both companies try to throw dirt on each other, and one of them will come out the victor after grueling sessions of litigation. There are 8 patents being fought over here, with Samsung claiming NVIDIA to be infringing on 6, and one of NVIDIA’s Virginia-based customers — Velocity Micro — infringing on all 8.

But more interesting is the side battle going on between the two: Samsung argued in their formal complaint that NVIDIA is falsely advertising the SHIELD Tablet as the fastest tablet in the game. They allege that their Exynos 5433 is better than Tegra K1 as it supposedly beats NVIDIA’s chipset in a couple of benchmarks. NVIDIA’s response? While they don’t have a formal counteraction against Samsung in the courtroom just yet, they did come out to attempt to refute Samsung’s claims.

NVIDIA published a graph showing benchmarks comparing speed between the Tegra K1 inside the SHIELD Tablet up against the Exynos 5433 inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. If their findings are accurate, the Tegra K1 beat the Exynos 5433 in all but 3 benchmarks in terms of total speed (though many of the victories were only by narrow margins).

nvidia vs samsung benchmark

NVIDIA says the tests were performed on both devices with out-of-the-box configurations and publicly-available software, though we’ve seen in the past that software skins on top of Android — such as TouchWiz — can produce significantly different benchmark results compared to the exact same hardware with stock Android. It might help that NVIDIA’s SHIELD Tablet doesn’t do anything to change the Android user interface outside of a few pre-installed apps, but we can’t say for sure.

More than just false advertisement claims, though, NVIDIA says they’re more upset that a mega corporation like Samsung is looking to sue small town guys like Velocity Micro in a tactic that serves them no purpose other than to get their main case — the one directly against NVIDIA — to court faster. While we can’t be sure that’s Samsung’s true intention, NVIDIA certainly isn’t shy about telling their side of the story. Let’s hope Samsung comes out to do the same in due time.

[via NVIDIA]

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Verizon’s “Connection Day” brings 8 great gifts for holiday travelers on November 26th http://phandroid.com/2014/11/12/verizon-connection-day/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/12/verizon-connection-day/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:31:24 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153094 Verizon_Wireless_store

Verizon has just announced Connection Day, a one-day opportunity to get loaded up with great gifts that will help keep you busy, entertained and connected while you’re traveling this holiday season. The calendar date is set for November 26th, and on that day folks will be able to cash in on the following goodies — even if you aren’t a Verizon customer:

  • Verizon FiOS: Special mobile access to popular movies and TV shows on November 26, compliments of Verizon FiOS, by downloading the free FiOS Preview app.
  • Amazon: Selection of 10 free/discounted apps, plus two free Audible book downloads (new members) or $10 Audible credit (current members)
  • Apple: A special offer from iTunes to be revealed on Nov. 26
  • Condé Nast: Free Digital Edition downloads of 17 Conde Nast Publications, including Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ.
  • Free Wi-Fi: 30-minute complimentary Internet sessions through Boingo Wireless (at airports) and Gogo Technologies (in-flight).
  • JetBlue: Free in-flight Fly-Fi (Wi-Fi) for flights between November 26th and December 31st.
  • Pandora Media: Free seven-day trial of Pandora One

Doesn’t sound bad if you have a lot of traveling to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those who do have an account with Verizon will be entitled to a little more extra. 1GB of extra shared data for MORE Everything plans can be had from the day they register until the end of their next billing cycle, as well as an additional 1GB of data for the entirety of the next billing period of after that. Basically, go nuts with contacting family and friends or sending photos and videos of holiday festivities to everyone.

Not on MORE Everything but have a Verizon account? You can get $10 off a Mophie Juice Pack 4,000. Not the great consolation prize in the world, but better than nothing. Interested souls can head to Verizon’s site to sign up for Connection Day right now, and expect everything to kick into second gear the day before Thanksgiving. Let us know if you’ll be taking advantage.

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Carrier IQ finally settles controversial lawsuit following allegations of monitoring keystrokes on smartphones http://phandroid.com/2014/11/06/carrier-iq-settlement/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/06/carrier-iq-settlement/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:48:41 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152604 carrieriq logo

A big stink was worked up in 2011 when it was revealed that software called “Carrier IQ” was running on many of the smartphones from major manufacturers and carriers. One sleuthing digital detective found that the software — which is installed at the system level and completely hidden from public view — was logging keystrokes and had the capability to read messages being sent over the network.

Obviously it worried the sweat out of many, and a brave group of consumes sought it necessary to right the wrongs with a good ol’ class action lawsuit. That lawsuit has now been settled according to new reports. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but it ends a three-year fight between consumers and the software firm to ensure our civil liberties aren’t being violated.

This ordeal obviously sparked up a huge controversy and set off a manhunt to find out which phones and carriers used it. The findings? Nearly every major phone and carrier had utilized the software. Sprint went as far as ordering manufacturers to remove it from all their phones in software upgrades, while outside parties like Lookout did their part to create apps to find out whether your device was plagued with Carrier IQ.

Carrier IQ says its only intentions were to help carriers diagnose their network with information that could only be provided by this solution. Of course, many called bologna on the issue and decided to drag them to court in a class action lawsuit.

Lawsuits against the 6 manufacturers (which included big names such as HTC, LG and Samsung) were consolidated into one trial, though that group has yet to announce plans to settle. That could change in the near future as further talks between the consumers and the manufacturers are expected to take place next week. HTC has already had to face judgment from the FTC as the regulatory body ordered 20 years of security audits because they implemented Carrier IQ in such a way that third-party apps could read the data that was being logged.

The whole thing was a mess, and at the time it was a very scary thought for carriers and OEMs to be logging information like that (even if they say it was for nothing more than the good of their network). Let’s hope all of it will be squashed by the time the calendar turns.

[via MediaPost]

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HTC: We won’t be looking to compete in low-end tablet space in 2015 http://phandroid.com/2014/11/05/htc-tablets-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/05/htc-tablets-2015/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:43:52 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152519 htc-logo-600x399

HTC’s gotten their tablet groove back with the successful launch of the Nexus 9, and now the company is looking ahead to 2015. Speaking to North Asian press at a Taiwanese event, HTC executive Jack Tong mentioned that they’re not interested in getting into the affordable tablet war. He believes it’s not a profitable market, noting that while lower cost tablets may attract more buyers, the profit margins are too slim for it to matter.

Instead, it sounds like HTC will look to focus on mid-range and high-end tablets going forward. The company confirmed plans to continue their revitilization in the tablet space through 2015, and says we should expect an own-branded device by them at some point then. This doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be tapped to make a Nexus 9 follow-up, but it does confirm they’re ready to get their feet into the deep end of the tablet pool after stumbling out of the starting gate a few years ago.

HTC’s fierce comeback in the phones space should be proof positive that they can do the same for tablets, and it’ll be interesting to see what they do to try and steal thunder from the likes of ASUS and Samsung in the months ahead. Let us know what you hope to see in HTC’s next tablet once it comes to pass sometime next year.

[via Focus Taiwan]

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Google and LG agree to license each other’s patents for the next 10 years http://phandroid.com/2014/11/04/google-and-lg-agree-to-license-eachothers-patents-for-the-next-10-years/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/04/google-and-lg-agree-to-license-eachothers-patents-for-the-next-10-years/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 01:06:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152508 Nexus 5 back 1

Following in the footsteps of arch nemesis Samsung, tonight, LG and Google are announcing their own global cross patent license agreement. According to LG’s press release, the inked deal will see the two companies using each other’s patents whenever they like — both existing and future patents — over the next 10 years. Google’s deputy general counsel for patents said in a statment,

“We’re pleased to enter into this agreement with a leading global technology company like LG. By working together on cross-licenses like this, companies can focus on bringing great products and services to consumers around the world.”

They didn’t exactly reveal any sort of back story about why they came to this agreement, but the obvious assumption that that both will benefit greatly by using each other’s technologies with the fear of stepping on anyone’s toes or ruffling any features, further strengthening Android’s foothold across the globe. Legal battles, while not Google’s forte, are still a reality in today’s mobile market.

[LG]

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Google and Apple team up to finally bring diversity to emoji characters http://phandroid.com/2014/11/04/google-apple-propose-more-diverse-emoji/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/04/google-apple-propose-more-diverse-emoji/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 23:20:23 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152485 Emoji human

In a newly proposed update to Unicode, both Google and Apple are working together to bring more diversity to those little yellow smilies (better known as emoji) that are all the rage on messaging and social networking apps. Working with the Unicode Consortium, the proposed update to Unicode 8.0 will introduce a skin tone modifier — using the Fitzpatrick Scale of dermatology — that could be added to existing emoji (smilies and other basic human characters) to change the skin color to better reflect the identity of the user. You know, because we don’t all look like Simpsons characters.

Unicode Skin Tone Fitzpatrick scale

Emoji skin tone adjust

How it works is the user would select the usual emoji followed by a color swatch to change the skin color. It’s really easy. The best part is for legacy mobile devices that haven’t been updated to the new code (8.0), the skin color would fallback to the old color on the receiving end of things. But not everything is official just yet.

The Consortium still needs to accept the changes and implement them before we’ll see them in Hangouts, WhatsApp, or Facebook or other messaging services. But with tech’s biggest already in agreement (and breathing down their neck), something tells me they wont stand in the way of political correctness.

[Unicode | via TechCrunch]

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AT&T Next 24 gives you 30 months to pay devices off + an option to upgrade after 24 months http://phandroid.com/2014/11/04/att-next-24/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/04/att-next-24/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:24:16 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152414 att-store-logo

AT&T has introduced a new option for their Next program that allows folks to buy smartphones for $0 down on monthly payment plans. It’s AT&T Next 24, and as its name suggests it’ll give you the option to go the AT&T Next route to receive an upgrade every two years instead of after 12 or 18 months.

Next 24 actually spreads payments out over the course of 30 months which makes the monthly installments for expensive smartphones considerably more easy to swallow. You have the option of upgrading your device at the 24-month point as long as you trade your device in while in good condition.

And that’s pretty much the only difference compared to the other Next plans — you still get $15 (less than 10GB data plans) or $25 (10GB or more data plans) off of your monthly access charge, you still have $0 down, and you still have a brand new phone as often as you could ask for. The plan will be available beginning November 9th.

[via AT&T]

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Virginia judge rules police can order a suspect unlock their phone via fingerprint (but not passcode) http://phandroid.com/2014/10/31/virginia-police-can-order-phone-unlock-via-fingerprint-but-not-passcode/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/31/virginia-police-can-order-phone-unlock-via-fingerprint-but-not-passcode/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 19:52:11 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152248 Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Reader

On Thurdsday, a Virginia Circuit Court judge made a fairly groundbreaking and eye opening ruling involving the police asking someone to unlock their secured smartphone. According to the judge, demanding a suspect to provide the passcode to unlock their phone would be unconstitutional, while a suspect providing their fingerprint to unlock their phone would be fair game.

For those living under a rock, iPhone users since the iPhone 5s have been able to secure their smartphones using a fingerprint, a feature Apple calls TouchID. This was seen as a more convenient, but still plenty secure method of locking a smartphone to keep one’s data secure. If you’re a suspect detained police in Virginia, that’s not the case.

This relates back to the case of a man who allegedly strangled his girlfriend and police believe, may have recorded the act with this smartphone. Because his phone was locked with a passcode (and not a fingerprint), the defendant’s attorney argued that it was protected by the Fifth Amendment given that it would require a suspect to divulge knowledge. This is not in the same category as a person’s identity, which includes DNA, handwriting, or — you guessed it — fingerprints, all of which are within the bounds of the law.

While it would be easy to scoff at iPhone (or even Samsung) users who use fingerprint locking on their devices, keep in mind that Apple has a safeguard for anyone who hasn’t unlocked their phone in 48 hours which requires a secondary passcode be entered in the event that TouchID is enabled. That still gives police plenty of time after a suspect has been apprehended to require a fingerprint for unlocking.

How do you guys feel about the judge’s ruling? If you have a Samsung device, will any of you start using passcodes over the fingerprint scanner to secure your phone? Keep in mind, the NSA is watching this post. We kid…. (we think).

[Ars Technica]

 

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Android founder Andy Rubin is no longer working at Google http://phandroid.com/2014/10/30/android-founder-andy-rubin-is-no-longer-working-at-google/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/30/android-founder-andy-rubin-is-no-longer-working-at-google/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:29:36 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152166 andy-rubin

After Andy Rubin helped build the best mobile operating system the world has ever seen, it took many by surprise when he decided to leave Android last year to pursue other ventures, building robots within Google’s secretive X labs. Today, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Android co-founder is now leaving Google entirely, creating an “incubator” for new hardware-based startups.

It’s not really directly Android-related per se, but given Andy Rubin is the Godfather of Android, we’re sure this comes as a major blow to Google and the people who’ve worked closely with him for so many years. Google CEO Larry Page had this to say on Rubin’s departure:

“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next. With Android he created something truly remarkable—with a billion plus happy users. Thank you.”

According to Jessica Lessin of The Information, Rubin was looking for more freedom from his robotics unit, similar to the independent anti-aging company, Calico. Best of luck to him.

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You can barely see the bezel on LG’s latest display http://phandroid.com/2014/10/30/lg-07-mm-bezel-display/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/30/lg-07-mm-bezel-display/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:09:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152148 07mm lg display

LG Display has announced a remarkable achievement for folks who can’t stand those annoying black bars bordering their screens. The company has developed a 5.3-inch full HD LCD panel that has a bezel width of 0.7mm, which is said to be thinner than the width of a standard credit card.

07mm lg display girl

That mark gives them the title of thinnest bezel in the industry, and there are some pretty darn thin ones out there. LG gave us a pretty good rundown of how they were able to achieve the feat:

To realize the 0.7mm bezel width on the left and right sides of the panel, which is narrower than the 0.8mm thickness of a credit card, LG Display used its “Neo Edge” module processing technology and the world’s first “Advanced In-Cell Touch (AIT)” technology.

LG Display’s Neo Edge technology uses an adhesive instead of double-sided tape to attach and completely seal the total area and edges of the panel’s circuit board and backlight unit. Because there is no plastic guide panel to attach the panel and backlight, the Neo Edge technology helps achieve minimal bezel width, while blocking light leakage and being waterproof and dustproof.

The adhesive seal also prevents corrosion that sometimes occurs along the edge of the glass panel when double-sided tape is used, while dramatically improving the panel’s durability despite the narrow bezel because of increased elasticity as the adhesive hardens.

The company’s AIT technology, exclusively developed by LG Display, reduces the need for bezel space because the touch panel is embedded into the LCD module. The technology offers a slim design and excellent touch, while saving costs since a separate process for touch functions is not required.

LG’s all set to begin mass production of the display this November, with Chinese markets set to get first dibs on distribution (mainly due to the advent of demand for displays by many of the country’s up-and-coming OEMs). LG says they’ll also be promoting it and shopping it out on a global scale to anyone finding themselves in need of such a display.

We imagine the company will eventually want to get one of these things loaded up into their own smartphones, though they certainly aren’t talking about any possible internal uses today.

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