Phandroid » Industry News Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:28:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Verizon adds over 1.5 million new customers in Q3 2014 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:56:04 +0000 verizon wireless logo brick wall featured

Verizon has reported their Q3 2014 financial results, and things seem to be as they should be. There weren’t any new records broken this go ’round like Verizon seems to do every quarter, but they did enjoy steady growth in a couple of different areas. One of those areas is the addition of 1.53 million new retail connections, 1.52 million of which were postpaid accounts.

Phones accounted for just 457,000 of that, while tablets saw huge growth at 1.1 million additions. In all, smartphones accounted for 77% of Verizon’s connections which is no small feat. That brings Verizon’s total up to 106.2 million, with the only other carrier being able to come remotely close being AT&T.

Verizon also recorded an uptick in revenue of 4.3% to $31.6 billion compared to the same quarter a year ago. Wireless was responsible for $21.8 billion of that, and it enjoyed growth of 7%.

The numbers aren’t eye-popping by Verizon’s standards, but good enough to confirm that they’re doing enough right to keep the arrow pointing upward (even if most of that “right” is in sheer network quality opposed to value and customer service).

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Final Android 5.0 Lollipop SDKs and APIs now available, as well as preview images for Nexus 5 and 7 Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:09:52 +0000 Lollipop-Forrest-Cropped large

Developers, listen up: Android 5.0 Lollipop will soon be headed to handsets, and that means final APIs and SDKs are ready for you to begin developing against. You’ll use these to make sure everything’s good to go by the time the update begins hitting the first handsets (which are sure to be those from the Nexus camp).

There are over 5,000 new APIs to get your feet wet with, including libraries for material design animations and UI elements, new under-the-hood features, new user-facing features and more. You’ll be looking for API Level 21, and apps made at that level can now be uploaded to Google Play for use when Android Lollipop arrives for the masses.

Google also has tons of documents to help you get started with building Material Design user interfaces, building user interfaces for Android TV and a whole lot more. Here are a few relevant links for you to get started with:

And at the source link you’ll be able to find download links for the final preview images for both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, though they haven’t gone live as of the time of this writing (and note that these aren’t to be considered final images — those will be along once the final Android 5.0 upgrade begins rolling out for these devices).

Have fun and get those apps ready for the next exciting chapter of Android! As for users, be sure to get a refresher on everything new in Android 5.0 right here (and cross your fingers that it doesn’t take too long for it to make its way to your handset or tablet if you’re a non-Nexus user).

[via Android Developers]

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New Chromecast SKU hits FCC, but your current one is not being replaced Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:19:53 +0000 Chromecast featured 2

You may come across news today that a new Chromecast model has found its way to the FCC, but that isn’t cause to put yours up on Craigslist or eBay in preparation for a new one. A Googler was questioned about the device’s appearance at the FCC in a recent Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, and he suggests this new model won’t be anything to sing to high heaven about:

We’re always working to update Chromecast with the the latest software and hardware components, but we don’t have any new user-facing features planned for this device.

He continues:

No plans for big announcement on this one. Mostly because it will have the same features as the original and most users won’t notice a difference. Sorry–I can’t say more about this topic.

So there’s that. He says “most” users won’t notice a difference, though we’re not exactly sure what he considers “most” to be, nor does he go into any detail about what the difference might bring. Smoother performance might sit atop the list for anyone who thinks the current model is a bit too slow, but I’m sure that’s something we’d all notice if we were using them side-by-side.

There really shouldn’t be anything to worry about, though. Set-top boxes, consoles and the like have long been updated with more efficient internals without most users noticing the difference. The original Xbox 360 comes to mind, with the jumps to Jasper and Falcon chipsets that offered the same processing and graphics performance, but cut down on excessive heat and lowered the failure rate.

For Chromecast, this could just be a case of Google using better internals, more affordable internals or simply rewiring a couple of things to ensure long-term use without issues. All of that is to say if you were planning to get a Chromecast then there probably is no use in waiting to pull the trigger.

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Samsung introduces their first 64-bit chipset — the Exynos 7 Octa Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:00:30 +0000 exynos 7 banner

Samsung has revealed a new chipset with a first for their long-standing Exynos line — it’s 64-bit goodness. It’s being called the Exynos 7 Octa, a 20nm setup that features four Cortex-A57 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores in a big.LITTLE configuration. That means any of the cores from any of the two sets of processors may be in use at any time, and usually contributes to a healthy mix of high power and high efficiency. Samsung says it offers 57% performance improvement over the previous generation.

For graphics, you can expect an ARM Mali T-760 GPU that is said to offer an improvement rate of 74%. It enables the use of 2560 x 1440 and 2560 x 1600 displays, and can also support simultaneous photo and video capture at 16 megapixels and 5 megapixels for the rear and front cameras, respectively (both at 30 frames per second). Not too shabby, and for typical use cases — like gaming — it should prove to be more than enough for any user’s needs.

Interestingly enough, it appears that the Exynos 7 Octa is actually nearly the same as the Exynos 5433 that is featured in international versions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with the only difference being that the Exynos 7 Octa offers 64-bit support. That should effectively erase buyer’s remorse for anyone who was thinking their smartphones were immediately outdated by this announcement (especially for North American folks who are on Qualcomm-made configurations anyway).

Samsung didn’t have many more details to offer such as clock speeds, though we imagine we’ll be hearing a lot more about this new generation of Exynos in 2015 as Samsung looks to use it in all their flagship products.

[via Samsung]

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Sprint WiMax will officially shut down November 6th, 2015 Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:55:03 +0000 sprint-store1

Looks like America’s first 4G WiMax network will be shut down soon. Sprint has confirmed that they’ll look to sunset the currently operational WiMax network on November 6th, 2015. Sprint’s WiMax network was the first one advertised as “true” 4G (technical specifications at the time would have argued with that), and it did bring substantial improvements over traditional 3G data.

WiMax was quickly supplanted by LTE as the dominant technology, though, which is what caused AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to begin their rollouts with the technology. That, coupled with Clearwire’s inability to efficiently build the WiMax network out in times of financial turmoil, eventually caused Sprint to jump onto the LTE bandwagon and essentially spell its impending doom.

There aren’t many consumers still on Sprint’s 4G WiMax as they stopped putting the radios into smartphones, tablets and hotspots from mid 2012 onward. And for those who are on WiMax phones at this point? Sprint’s prepared to give you several sufficient options for upgrading to newer technology:

  • Continue using the phone without WiMax functionality
  • Terminate service (contract termination fees will not be assessed if you are still under contract and decide to go this route)
  • Get a free LTE device (we assume you won’t be able to get a top-end phone without paying top dollar).

It’s also worth noting that MVNOs who use Sprint’s WiMax networks will also be affected, though many of those MVNOs already offer access to LTE and should be offering similar transition options. It’s been a wild ride, WiMax, but ultimately you just weren’t up to scratch. Let’s hope the

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Once again, AT&T customer data breached by rogue insider Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:46:23 +0000 att-store-logo

Looks like AT&T had a spoiled apple on their hands. The company has recently discovered that a rogue employee took it upon themselves to gain unauthorized access to sensitive customer data. The insider may have had deep access to information such as social security numbers and driver’s licenses, though it’s unclear how many folks were affected as the information comes from a letter sent from AT&T’s director of finance and billing operations Michael Chiarmonte to Vermont’s attorney general.

AT&T says law enforcement officials are involved and that the individual responsible for the breach has already been terminated from employment. They’re also forking over the cash for a year’s worth of credit monitoring for all those affected. It sounds like AT&T will send notices directly to any individuals who were affected so there’s no way to know if your information was part of the breach unless you simply don’t get a notice.

AT&T has not yet determined the reason for the breach, whether that be conspiracy to commit fraud or sell information off to third-party no-gooders. Or it could be just as likely that this person was just a nosy punk snooping into personal information because he thought he could get away with it. Whatever the case, though, it appears AT&T is treating it as seriously as they need to.

This isn’t the first time in recent months that AT&T’s been affected by an inside job. The company was a victim to such foulness back in April of this year. We can’t single AT&T out for the unfortunate incidents, though, as there’s no way they can protect themselves from rogue employees. Any company of AT&T’s size is bound to have a few bad apples so the most they can do is react swiftly and appropriately as soon as they realize what’s happened. Good on them that they’ve continued do that with this latest episode.

[via ThreatPost]

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Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp is now complete and valued more than it was initially Mon, 06 Oct 2014 22:15:37 +0000 whatsapp

After announcing their engagement back in February, Facebook’s borderline crazy $19 billion dollar acquisition of popular messaging service WhatsApp is now officially complete. Although regulators were initially concerned about the effect the deal could have on competition (WhatsApp’s user base is nearing the 1 billion mark) and user privacy, it appears everything worked out in the end.

Interestingly enough, the deal is now worth more than it was back in February. This is thanks to the value of Facebook’s rising shares, making it closer to around $21.8 billion. With WhatsApp now officially a Facebook company, it still remains to be seen exactly how The Social Network plans on further monetizing the messaging service outside it’s $1 a year membership fee. We’d imagine stickers and other in-app purchases are incoming but here’s to hoping Facebook doesn’t ruin a good thing.

[SEC via Forbes]

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Virgin Mobile outs new unlimited plans Mon, 06 Oct 2014 19:00:43 +0000 Virgin-Mobile

Some new plan options are headed to Virgin Mobile today. The theme is unlimited, though that term only really applies to talk and text for the upper tier plans. There are a lot of changes and some of it might be confusing, so here it all is laid out as neatly as possible:

  • $20 — 300 minutes with unlimited text, but you can only get data through WiFi
  • $35 — choose between the following plan options:
    • Unlimited Talk OR Unlimited Text and 250MB of 3G/4G data or
    • 300 Talk Minutes + Unlimited Text and 2.5GB of 3G/4G data
  • $45 — 1GB of high speed data and unlimited talk + text
  • $55 — Unlimited Talk + Text and 3GB of 3G/4G data

Phew, that’s a lot. Don’t forget that — aside from the $20 option — all plans feature unlimited data at the 2G rate. And if all that wasn’t enough, you’ve also got new add-on options for international calling and messaging.

$5 gets you unlimited calls to any Canadian phone, unlimited calling to landlines and Mexico and unlimited texting around the globe. Another $5 would add 1,000 minutes for mobile devices in Mexico, unlimited landline calling to cities in more than 70 countries and discounted calling rates for 200 countries worldwide. Not too bad if you’re on a tight budget with friends and family abroad. Be sure to check all of them out over at Virgin’s site right now.

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HTC beats Q3 2014 expectations with modest profit of $21 million Fri, 03 Oct 2014 14:50:44 +0000 HTC logo misc

HTC has once again kept their head above water as the company has performed better than expected in Q3 2014. $1.37 billion in revenue drove the company to $21 million in profit. That’s not the most amount of money you can stuff into the coffers of a company the size of HTC’s, but the goal is to make money and they did that this quarter.

It was a down period for HTC as the company goes from $75 million in profit last quarter to today’s result, but those numbers could be seen as a surge as the HTC One M8 was released throughout that period. Aside from the “One M8 Mini” (which is sold on Verizon as the HTC One Remix) HTC hasn’t had any notable handset launches since then.

It would be unfair to leave out HTC’s sound strategy of getting back to filling out the market with entry-level and mid-range offerings to target a large array of wallets as a key factor in the company’s continued success. They haven’t quite gotten back to the same levels of efficiency as they enjoyed earlier this decade or late last decade, but with time they should be able to spring back to former success and keep the ball rolling.

[via HTC]

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Verizon cancels plans to throttle unlimited data users following massive wave of backlash Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:33:26 +0000 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 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:45:47 +0000 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 Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:02:36 +0000 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 Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:55:37 +0000 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 Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:53:38 +0000 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 Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:07:53 +0000 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.


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.


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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