Phandroid » Industry News Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 18 Apr 2014 00:28:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sorry, Google Fiber wont be coming to New York anytime soon Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:16:45 +0000 google_fiber_03

Earlier today, folks living near the Big Apple were excited at the prospect that they could soon become Google Fiber’s newest test market. This was after a Google Fiber job posting was discovered in New York, suggesting the high-speed internet service would soon find a new home. But, in a statement to Ars Technica, a Google spokesperson is here to quickly shoot down your hopes of buffer-free 4K video streaming.

“Don’t read into the job listing. We’ve had a full team of folks working on Fiber in the New York office (and other locations around the world) for years. We don’t currently have any plans to bring Google Fiber to New York. We’re entirely focused on building out our networks in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, and on exploring the possibility of bringing Fiber to the 34 locations we announced in February.”

Google is a very large company, with many branches throughout the US (and the world). While they don’t currently have plans to bring Fiber to New York, the good news is that they are hiring, and Google Fiber is, in fact, growing. I’m sure we’ll all see Google Fiber come to our areas at some point in our lifetimes. Dream on, Phandroids.

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Google posts Q1 2014 earnings with a $15.4 billion in revenue Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:35:40 +0000 larry_page_google_AH

Google has their hands in just about everything these days. Whether it’s robots, flying drones, or 3D mapping smartphones — it’s clear Google isn’t content with being only your default search engine. The internet search giant revealed their Q1 2014 earnings, raking in $15.4 billion in revenue, a 19% increase over the previous year’s $12.95 billion.

Google’s site revenues saw an increase of 21% over the previous year, hitting $10.47 billion. Still, Google managed to miss analyst estimates, resulting in a 5% drop in stocks following their earnings report. For more details on Google’s financial performance for the first quarter of 2014, hit up their Investor Relations page below.


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Google Fiber coming to New York? Job listing seems to suggest so Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:25:41 +0000 google building ny

It looks like Google could be looking to bring Fiber internet service to their biggest market yet. Places like San Antonio and Kansas City are nothing to sneeze about, but New York is a whole different beast.

A job listing for a “regional sales manager” for Google Fiber in New York, NY could hint toward Google’s latest aspirations. The listing calls for someone who “will manage multiple teams that evangelize Google Fiber services to MDU (multi-dwelling apartments and condos) and large SMB owners.” Neato.

The listing notes all sorts of complicated experience and qualifications that the average Joe may or may not have, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that Google is getting so comfortable with their Fiber initiative that they’re looking to go beyond odd markets and expand into mainstream.

We’ve already seen a taste of said initiative with 9 main metro areas being probed for the new high-speed internet service, but this would be the boldest statement Google has made in their campaign to get more people hooked up with insane speeds. Let’s just hope they expand further than Verizon’s been able to do with FiOS over the past few years.

[Google via]

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Reminder: Registration for Google I/O 2014 starts tomorrow April 15th Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:54:05 +0000 Google_IO_Registration_2014

If you’re the developer type, registration for Google’s annual developer conference starts tomorrow on April 15th and extends through April 18th. Registration was supposed to begin last week, but Google needed a little more time to prepare for this years’ registration process. Unlike the mad frenzy and rage inducing server crashes of the past, Google I/O registration is being handled a bit different this year. Instead of first come first serve, potential attendees can sign up over the course of a few days and then are randomly selected, getting their proverbial golden ticket.

Google I/O 2014 is scheduled for June 25th – 26th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Registration begins at 4 PM PT tomorrow. The regular price of an IO ticket will set you back $900. Those of the academic variety – students, faculty, and staff – you can get a ticket for much less, at $300. You’ll need a Google+ account and a valid credit card entered into Google Wallet.

Good luck.


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Google bought a company that makes solar drones, and we’re officially freaked out Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:26:25 +0000 titan drone

It isn’t unheard of for some of Google’s acquisitions to come with a bit of unease, but their latest one probably takes the biggest piece of cake of them all. The Mountain View company has confirmed the purchase of New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace, a company that specializes in creating high-altitude drone technology for use in… whatever.

The company is said to begin interfacing with the team working on Project Loon, which is a vision that Google hopes can bring balloon-carried high-speed WiFi transmitters and deliver widespread connectivity for the masses. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Google could work with Makani, an internal team tasked with researching and developing airborne wind-powered turbines for more efficient energy.

All of this sounds quite fine — in fact, it’s all kind of cool — but there’s one other harrowing thing Google could be looking to do with their new-found knowledge of drone technology. It’s said that the drones could likely be put to use for purposes of gathering and collecting data, likely to help improve Google’s mapping business.

Google already employs the likes of self-driving cars and camera-equipped airplanes to take snapshots of the world for use in Google Maps, but Titan’s drones could bring a flexible, modular system that does all of that and more. That “more” could including anything from atmospheric sensors for recording climate data to delivering aforementioned airborne WiFi to countries that aren’t well-equipped for hard-line access.

The drones themselves aren’t your Amazon Drone Delivery or consumer-focused Parrot AR Drone-sized pieces of equipment, either — the smallest drone Titan makes is slightly larger than a Boeing 767, which is a passenger cruiser that can seat anywhere between 181 and 375 people. Let that sink into your brain for just a second.

Of course, Google’s intentions probably aren’t as scary as our brains will make them out to be, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the culmination of all these different pieces (Google has made a strong push to acquire robotics and AI companies recently) ends up being.

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Verizon announces plan savings for month-to-month customers to jump to MORE Everything Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:03:27 +0000 verizon wireless logo brick wall featured

Verizon Wireless is announcing some new plan savings for those who still happen to be on month-to-month plans (read: those hanging onto their unlimited data for dear life). Starting April 17th, existing customers still on month-to-month contracts can get $10 or $25 off their monthly service by moving to Verizon’s MORE Everything plan. Here’s how you know which savings you’ll be entitled to:

  • Plans 8GB or below = Add a smartphone for $30 ($10 in savings over current rates)
  • Plans 10GB or higher = Add a smartphone for $15 ($25 in savings over current rates)

And it’s as simple as that. New customers bringing a Verizon-compatible phone they already own or jumping onto an Edge plan are also entitled to these savings. It’s not quite the flat rate that T-Mobile provides under their Simple Choice plans, but it’s a start.

So, customers who choose a MORE Everything plan with 10 GB of data and four smartphones, either on Edge, moved from month-to-month contracts, or brought to the Verizon Wireless network, will pay $160 month for service and access.

Unfortunately Verizon says this will only be available for a limited time, so you’ll want to take advantage as soon as possible once the floodgates open this Thursday. Existing customers will be able to login to their MyVerizon account and make necessary plan changes to get the savings they desire, so be sure to take care of that if you’re already currently eligible for the upcoming deal.

[via Verizon]

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Documents show Android didn’t have touch input until after the iPhone was announced (but you already knew that) Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:51:00 +0000 android-emulator

Not that we need formal confirmation, but some new slides presented in the Apple vs Samsung battle of 2014 have confirmed that Android originally didn’t implement a way to input commands, text or anything else by way of touch screen. As early as 2006, Android was designed to be a platform controlled by nothing but buttons.

“Touchscreens will not be supported. The product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the products [SIC] architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future.”

We’d always assumed as much, with early snapshots of the Android SDK and Emulator portraying a Blackberry-esque device with trackpads and a full hardware QWERTY.

What we actually ended up with was the G1 and a platform that was almost completely driven by touch. That platform got even more button-independent when the MyTouch 3G dared to ditch the hardware keyboard.

The rest, as they say it, is history. For what it’s worth, the document confirms that all the other staples of the Android platform — such as widgets, notifications and user-made apps — have all been there from jump street.

The point of the slide was to confirm that Google didn’t have intentions to introduce touch until after the original iPhone was announced in 2007, which should stand to help Apple in their whole “Samsung is copying us” hissy-fit they’re having.

On the contrary, it confirms suspicions that Apple is using their latest battle against Samsung to target Android as a whole, which is the reason Google and the key executives responsible for Android have been pulled into the courtroom.

[via Recode]

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T-Mobile UNcarrier Day 3 of 3: get rid of carrier overages Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:56:13 +0000 T-Mobile-4G-LTE-featured-LARGE

We thought T-Mobile would be announcing day 3 of their latest “UNcarrier” announcements last Friday — the first two days consisted of new plans and affordable connected tablets — but we had to wait a full weekend to hear anything (which CEO John Legere says was done to help support the launch of two of the year’s biggest smartphones). The day has finally come, though, with T-Mobile capping off this hat-trick with an announcement that they’re abolishing domestic carrier overages.

“The old carriers’ entry-level plans lure you in with a low monthly cost for a fixed amount of domestic minutes, texts or data. Once you go over those limits – even by a little – you’re hit with bill shock,” said CEO John Legere in a blog post today. “On behalf of all U.S. wireless consumers, we’re putting an end to the fear of getting one too many pics or clicking on one too many links – and bam. You’re hit with overages. Not at the Un-carrier.”

Simply put, they don’t want to charge you for accidentally sending a few too many texts or talking a couple of extra minutes. These changes will apply to all “consumer customers,” which likely means those on a business account might be subject to different rules. Regardless, it’s a pretty ballsy change, and T-Mobile is challenging other carriers to follow suit.

They’ve gone as far as creating a petition that calls on Sprint, AT&T and Verizon to fall in line with the vision. T-Mobile has always been pretty bold about calling out carriers and forcing them to compete, but this is the first time they’ve done something to make that happen in a tangible way.

Consumers can head to the petition here and sign it if they want to try and coerce these carriers into making similar changes. And if that doesn’t work, well, you can just as easily switch to T-Mobile. We’ll be awaiting the fine print on these changes before truly jumping for joy, but if T-Mobile’s other long string of unorthodox moves are anything to go by, we can be sure they aren’t pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.

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T-Mobile announces Tablet Freedom to make it easier and cheaper to add tablets to your lines Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:42:12 +0000 t-mobile-the-uncarrier

T-Mobile is continuing to count down the days until they implement their latest uncarrier moves. Yesterday, they revealed a new entry-level plan for $40 that gives folks unlimited talk and text with 500MB of data for $40 per month. Announcement 2 of 3 deals with tablets, and how sucky other carriers make it to add connected devices to their account.

They’re calling their latest moves “Tablet Freedom,” and here’s what it’ll bring:

  •  A T-Mobile 4G LTE + Wi-Fi tablet for zero down and pay no more than you’d pay for the cheaper Wi-Fi-only model of the same tablet.
  • 1GB of free 4G LTE data each month combined with the 200MB of free data you already automatically get every month with T-Mobile’s previously announced “Free Data for Life” offer
  • Access to T-Mobile’s JUMP! program and Contract Freedom program, where T-Mobile will pay every penny of your ETFs from another carrier when you trade-in your existing tablet at T-Mobile, including Wi-Fi only tablets, and upgrade to your latest-generation tablet of choice at the new lower same-as-Wi-Fi prices.

No convoluted process to get a tablet line added to an account primarily meant for phones. No extra charges simply because it’s a bigger device. No more justifying a $300 premium over the price of the WiFi model simply because it has 4G radios. That’s the kind of stuff that all adds up to make T-Mobile one of the most compelling options in the game (even if their coverage isn’t up to snuff yet).

Like the Simple Starter plan, these changes will be available starting April 12th, and it wouldn’t be a bad guess to suggest whatever tomorrow’s announcement ends up being will be available that day, as well. Circle back for more news on that front as the week winds down.

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Project Ara’s newly released Module Developers Kit gives us new insight on the upcoming modular smartphone Wed, 09 Apr 2014 22:37:18 +0000 Motorla Project Ara modules

Project Ara is officially one step closer to becoming a reality. As highlighted on the official Project Ara site, Google is now making available the “Module Developers Kit” (MDK for short) for developers. Using the MDK, devs will finally have the tools they need to begin creating the tiny components that will make up the modular smartphone.

The MDK details specific guidelines for Project Ara, showing what the phone will look like and the various sized endoskeletons it will be available in: mini, medium, and large at a later date. While developers will be able to create the various modules that make up the phone, only Google is allowed to make the endoskeletons (for now).

Project Ara enoskeleton sizes

Speaking of the modules, Google lays out guidelines relating to their size (how far they can extend out from the phone) and even lists off specific modules like Wi-Fi, battery modules, different sized displays, speakers, QWERTY keyboards, and even a thermal imager like the Predator. When it comes to applications, project Ara will run on Android, meaning apps shouldn’t be any different than those we see today.

This MDK is only the first of a few the Project Ara team will release in the coming months. As far as when you can expect to get your hands on the first Ara smartphone, Google is targeting a Q1 2015 release and plans to have an online market place similar to Motomaker where prospective buyers can build their perfect smartphone. The future of mobile is bright, and Project Ara has the potential to change everything we know about mobile devices. What could possibly be next, an Ara tablet? Stay tuned!

Project Ara medium endo Project Ara ribs and connectors Project Ara pulse module

[Project Ara | via The Verge]

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T-Mobile’s new “Simple Starter” plan gives unlimited talk/text and 500MB of LTE for $40 Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:54:42 +0000 T-Mobile-logo-sign

T-Mobile has introduced a great new plan for those who aren’t interested in guzzling down buckets of data day by day. It’s the all new “Simple Starter” plan giving you 500MB of LTE data and unlimited talk and text for just $40 per month. It’s not yet clear what T-Mobile does to your data once you reach that threshold, but we have a feeling they won’t leave you totally high and dry for the entirety of the billing cycle.

Comparable plans at competing carriers tend to be as much as $15-$20 higher, with AT&T’s cheapest plan only affording you 300MB for $60. The new Simple Starter plan is fully compatible with the carrier’s JUMP program that lets you get smartphones for $0 down off-contract.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of a deal that allows you to get your ETF paid if you jump from a carrier you’re still under contract with. There is literally no reason you shouldn’t try T-Mobile if you’ve been looking for a new carrier now (unless, of course, their coverage isn’t up to par in your area).

The greatest part of today’s news? T-Mobile feels like they’ve been a bit quiet on the uncarrier front as of late, so they’re stacking three announcements back-to-back-to-back. More exciting announcements are expected both Thursday and Friday, so stay tuned to see what else they’ll be doing to change the game up and force these carriers into healthy competition. The new plans begin April 12th.

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Someone created a charger that can fully charge your smartphone in 30 seconds [VIDEO] Tue, 08 Apr 2014 23:05:12 +0000 StoreDot proof of concept 30 second charger prototype

Battery life has long been a major concern in mobile. It’s only recently we’re finally seeing small strides being taken with how chip vendors and smartphone manufacturers are approaching the issue. This typically involves either creating additional low-power CPU cores, or throwing higher mAhs into our smartphones and tablets. But what about charge times?

As our phones become more powerful (and bigger), and we begin to demand more out of our devices, we really need to start thinking about other avenues to explore if we hope to break free from constantly being tethered to a wall socket.

It was early last year we saw Qualcomm’s attempt at speeding up our device’s charging times with their Quick Charge 1.0 technology that can be found in most current smartphones (the recently released HTC One M8 even features Quick Charge 2.0, though compatible chargers wont be available until later in the year).

And while being able to charge a phone in under an hour and half is all good and dandy, how cool would it be if you could charge your smartphone in under 30 seconds? Suddenly, that 15 hour battery life doesn’t sound so bad.

StoreDot is an Israeli startup introducing their prototype charger and battery technology that does just that, taking a near depleted smartphone to a full charge in 30 seconds or less. The charger, which is about the size of your everyday laptop charger, was shown doing just that on a Samsung Galaxy S3 (support for additional smartphone models is also in the works). The battery itself features biological semiconductors made from “naturally occurring organic compounds” (peptides) and short chains of amino acids. While quite large right now, StoreDot says it should roughly be the size of current smartphone batteries by the time its ready for release.

The best part is you might not even need to wait until you’re old and grey before we see this in the real world. StoreDot says that when the product becomes commercially available in 2016, pricing should be about twice that of the average phone charger. Right now, they also have another project aimed at making the charger smaller for more practical use.

The biggest question we have is how long these batteries will be able to hold a charge, and how well they handle our power hungry mobile devices. You can find a video of the prototype charger in action below.


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Sprint to begin decommissioning WiMax towers by the end of 2015 Tue, 08 Apr 2014 15:45:44 +0000 sprint-logo

The first bell tolls for WiMax have officially started ringing, as the service is about to be stripped down by Sprint. A filing with the SEC suggests the company is planning to begin decommissioning as much as 6,000 towers by the end of 2015.

This move would effectively be the first in getting older WiMax customers over to LTE, though the transition might not be as smooth as folks are expecting. For starters, some of the WiMax towers are likely in areas where LTE currently isn’t deployed.

While Sprint could get LTE up and running in those areas by the time the hardware is taken down, there are no guarantees. This means folks might be hopped back over to Sprint’s 3G network, which has gained notoriety for its declining performance over the past few years.

Sprint outlined plans to handle customer accounts who aren’t pleased with the changes whenever it comes time to cross that bridge. You could continue service and be upgraded to an LTE-capable smartphone at no cost and no change to your service plan, or you could choose to discontinue service without the penalty of an early termination fee.

Either way, you have some options coming up if your two-year contract is still intact and you still happen to have a WiMax-enabled device. All of this should go toward helping Sprint reach 100 million pops on their Sprint Spark network upgrades (faster speeds, better building penetration and all that good stuff) by 2016′s end.

[via Fierce Wireless]

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HTC’s numbers in the red for Q1 2014, but HTC One M8 could reverse the trend Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:31:14 +0000 htc-logo-600x399

It’s no secret by now that some of HTC’s magic has worn off over the years. In fact, it’s more than worn off — it’s almost disappeared. The company still makes fantastic phones, but hasn’t been able to match the marketing prowess of their neighbors up north in South Korea, namely Samsung and LG.

That has resulted in the company’s first consecutive quarterly losses ever, and the trend continues with the release of today’s unaudited Q1 2014 results. HTC announced they pulled in revenues of over $1.92 billion on the quarter, but that still amounted to a net operating loss of about $64 million before taxes.

On the slightly brighter side, HTC did reverse their trend of declining revenue year-over-year as that number is up a slight 2.2%. HTC also expects Q2 2014 to be a profitable quarter, largely due to the fact that their flagship HTC One M8 has started seeding into the market as of March 25th. How much profit is an entirely different question, one that can only be answered with time.

It’s tough to see the company who once seemed like a giant now struggling to keep up with the industry. HTC has admitted to their own shortcomings, with the company particularly pointing out their troubling marketing efforts and their negligence in filling out the entry-level and mid-range markets.

The former bid cost the company $1 billion with almost nothing to show for it, while the latter gave Samsung room to flood the market with a myriad of devices at all price points and virtually no competition.

It’s a series of mistakes the company won’t likely make again, though you have to wonder if it’s too late to start pushing the train back in the other direction. We’ll certainly be looking forward to forward statements and an inevitable conference call about all of this at some point within the next month or two.

[via HTC]

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Qualcomm announces next-gen Snapdragon 810 and 808 64-bit chipsets Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:33:19 +0000 qualcomm-snapdragon

The Snapdragon 801 chipset has enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame, but a new wild pair of cowboys are riding into town soon. Qualcomm has announced the next generation of Snapdragon 800 processors, with both the Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 808 being brought into the light this morning. What kind of horsepower will they provide? Why, we never thought you’d ask!

The Snapdragon 810 is being billed as their most powerful processor yet. One of the reasons is due to the Adreno 430 GPU on-board, which is said to be 30% faster graphics performance than the 420 found in the Snapdragon 805 (which hasn’t come to market in many smartphones or tablets as of yet).

Adreno 430 also provides 100% faster GPGPU performance while sucking battery a rate of 20% less. The Snapdragon 810 is also second processor Qualcomm has made with built-in 64-bit computing, something only the mid-range Snapdragon 410 enjoyed to this point. Beyond that, it has a set of both quad-core Cortex-A57 and quad-core Cortex-A53 cores.

An integrated, carrier-aggregated LTE modem makes it easy to make one device for ALL the airwaves, and support for OpenGL ES 3.1, 4K support over HDMI 1.4, 4K embedded display support, up to a 55 megapixel camera sensor, LPDDR4 memory, Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.0, WiFi ac MIMO and more gives OEMs everything they need to create the devices they want.

The Snapdragon 808 is a bit less beefy, with an Adreno 418 GPU that’s about 20% faster in graphics performance than the Adreno 330 (which is what’s found in Snapdragon 801 devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8). It only has two Cortex-A57 cores to go along with the set of quad-core Cortex-A53. Snapdragon 808 can support embedded displays up to 2560 x 1600, and can push 4K video to an external display over HDMI 1.4. It also only supports LPDDR3 memory. Otherwise, the 808 enjoys much of the same features that the Snapdragon 810 does.

And that’s about it as far as major differences go. Both chipsets support 64-bit computing, though that won’t matter much for Android until Google gets their feet moving on a 64-bit OS. Still, it’s nice to know that all of Qualcomm’s latest processors will be future-proofed for whenever that eventually happens.

We’ll need to await more technical details about these two pieces of silicon before we know just how significant of a bump they are over today’s offerings, but early claims by Qualcomm have us excited to see these shoved into a device near you at some point in the future.

Worried that your shiny new Snapdragon 801-based device has been upended? Don’t be. We likely won’t be finagling any devices with these chipsets for ourselves before the year closes, as Qualcomm won’t begin sampling the chipsets until the second half of this year (which means we should expect first devices to land in the first half of 2015).

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