Phandroid » Industry News http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:55:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 New Google patent shows contact lens with built-in iris sensor and capacitive detection, could finally make your eyeball your next password http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/contact-lens-iris-scanner-password/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/contact-lens-iris-scanner-password/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:34:50 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145671 Hollywood loves dreaming up future technologies in movie scripts, and although we may not (yet) have the beloved hovercrafts and flying cars from the Back to the Future trilogy, other flicks have proved more accurate. Remember the iris scanning seen in Minority Report starring Tom Cruise? If a new Google patent comes to fruition, that might become a reality sooner than you think.

The idea is nothing new: ever since the inception of Android people have lusted for apps that leverage iris scanning unlock, and more recently, developments to use your face and your fingerprint to unlock your phone have hit the mass market. But these solutions have average performance and can be circumvented, making them more of a gimmick than anything else.

Two Google patents hot off the presses imagine a world where special contact lenses essentially turn your eye into a fingerprint, with each person having a unique, snowflake like signature. Built in capacitive sensors would be used to ensure it’s an actual eyeball, not a fake replica, that is being scanned.

The process has three steps:

  1. Receiving light on an iris of an eye
  2. Detecting, at one or more light sensors disposed on or within a transparent lens covering at least a portion of the eye, light reflected from the light incident on the iris of the eye, wherein the light reflected comprises image data indicative of a pattern associated with the iris.
  3. Outputting an iris fingerprint based in part on the image data

google-iris-scanner

This would make iris scanning much more predictable because it normalizes the output into a predictable set of data. Think of it as a contact lens with an invisible QR code; when light reflects off your eye and back out of the contact lens, you’re able to scan the balance of returning light which would form a unique pattern based on the person wearing the contact.

What if someone ripped your eye out and tried to use it to unlock whatever was being protected? What if you tried to simulate the iris fingerprint with fake light output? That could be prevented with a second patent titled “facilitation of contact lenses with capacitive sensors”.

When we think of contact lenses, we think of touch screens. No, Google isn’t expecting you’ll have pattern unlock on this contact lens (ouch!), but they do anticipate it will sense the liquids in your eye and other materials rolling atop your eyelid- most notably your eyelids.

These contact lenses could sense when you blink. They could sense the thickness of your eyelids. They could sense the density of liquid in your eyes to ensure its a human eye with familiar traits using the contact lens. They could, if it all works out, ensure that the person using the contact lens is the right person before proceeding to the much higher confidence check of cross referencing the iris signature.

contact-lens-capacitive-sensor

This is mostly conjecture: I don’t have any inside knowledge of Google’s plans for these patents or if they plan to leverage them at all, but they exist and this implementation makes the most logical sense.

If we wanted to get wacky with hypotheses we could suggest that Google contact lenses will be the next Google Glass. Instead of looking up to the right, nodding your head and swiping the side of your noggin, users could be composing text messages with disturbing combinations of eye blinking a la morse code, making everyone look like a maniacal uber dork.

Let’s hope not, but even that wouldn’t be a new idea: some might recall Jeremiah Denton, the former senator and Vietnam War POW who blinked T-O-R-T-U-R-E in morse code in a televised interview from 1966. Denton’s spectacular story came to an end earlier this year as he passed away at the age of 89.

Privacy buffs will most certainly rebuff the notion that anyone would want such invasive technology. I can understand that based on principle, but think of the possibilities beyond the consumer market. Think how this could be used in government facilities or corporations to protect access to high clearance areas or sensitive information. Unlocking your phone by looking at it is cool, but let’s pretend our motivational pool is a little less shallow, shall we?

So what do you think? Will these contact lenses ever come to market, and if so, how long will it take? Would you buy them? If your employer required them, would you wear them? And what do you see as being the most useful integration of this technology?

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The House unanimously passes cellphone unlocking bill, Obama need only to sign it into law http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/house-of-representatives-passes-cellphone-unlocking-bill/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/house-of-representatives-passes-cellphone-unlocking-bill/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:03:25 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145668 samsung galaxy s5 vs htc one m8 camera

It’s happening… Soon it will once again be legal to unlock your smartphone (or have someone else do it for you) in the US. After the Senate passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act nearly 2 weeks ago, The House of Representatives is now following suit. The cellphone unlocking bill was passed unanimously by the HoR this afternoon, leaving only President Obama as the only thing keeping this bill from becoming law. But don’t worry — Obama has already come out in support of the bill, saying in a statement:

“The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.”

While this is a huge step in the right direction, keep in mind the new bill isn’t permanent, merely a 3-year exemption that will need to be examined by the Library of Congress again in 2015. You can thank 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act for that (as well as a boatload of other headaches surrounding copyright claims around the net).

Once signed into law, expect to find mom n’ pop shops popping up around your city offering cellphone unlocking services, or even a few who can do everything online. With telecoms gradually making the transition to LTE services — both data and voice — the days of universal cross network compatible devices could soon be upon us.

[Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy]

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Report: Google and Twitch agree to $1 billion acquisition terms, expect an announcement shortly http://phandroid.com/2014/07/24/google-twitch-buyout-confirmed-rumor/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/24/google-twitch-buyout-confirmed-rumor/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:09:07 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145565 Twitch-Logo-720

Last month, we heard rumors that Google would soon be buying the game streaming service Twitch for upwards of $1 billion. That deal — lead by Google-owned YouTube — was apparently still on the table, but now has reportedly been confirmed by sources from Venture Beat. According to VB, there’s still no word on exactly when Google/YouTube plans on disclosing details of the deal, although with everyone now in agreement, an official announcement could be right around the corner.

The general feeling of a Google buyout amongst Twitch fans is one of fear and uncertainty. It’s not exactly clear what Google or YouTube plans on doing with Twitch, although we’re sure it should help alleviate some of the problems game streamers have been facing with the constant barrage of DMCA take-down requests. We’re sure Google will tread lightly, and in the end the deal will help benefit everyone. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

 

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LG Mobile has a record quarter with 14.5 million smartphones shipped; ends 3-quarter streak of losses http://phandroid.com/2014/07/24/lg-q2-2014/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/24/lg-q2-2014/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:09:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145517 LG G3 IMG_5365

LG had a pretty good Q2 2014 that they can be proud of. The biggest highlight for their mobile division was that they shipped a record-high 14.5 million smartphones, enough for the mobile division to turn a profit for the first time in four quarters. Those profits came on the back of $3.51 billion in sales, $83.4 million of which was pure profit.

It’s not a huge amount of money to drop into the pocketbook for a big company like LG, but a profitable business means they can continue to invest in their research and development and keep introducing the innovations that helped them to results like this. LG has made considerable strides in their phone business in the past two years.

A noticeable uptick in smartphone quality, new display features that no other company is matching (such as 4K resolution and virtually unbreakable displays) and improved software have all contributed to a product line that is now pulling as much attention as HTC’s One series. They still have some ways to go to match Samsung’s prowess, but doesn’t everybody these days?

LG made it a point to mention that it wasn’t only the LG G3 and other flagship smartphone releases that helped them to these results, though. They gave a good portion of credit to the L-Series III lineup, a collection of mid-range smartphones to fit any budget. They might not be as flashy as LG’s recent releases, but the phones seem to be good enough at their affordable price points to fill the needs of many smartphone users.

For the entirety of the company, LG pulled in 399.8 million in net profit (26% increase year-on-year) on the back of $14.93 billion in revenue (7% increase quarter-over-quarter). Let’s hope the rest of 2014 is just as good for the company because there’s nothing quite like healthy competition.

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Google acquires drawElements to help them tackle Android fragmentation http://phandroid.com/2014/07/23/google-buys-drawelements-for-undisclosed-amount/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/23/google-buys-drawelements-for-undisclosed-amount/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:40:19 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145490 Google DrawElements acquisition

Adding to Google’s ongoing business ventures comes the acquisition of drawElements, a 3D graphics firm based out of Finland that provides graphics analytics across various hardware. Google’s Android department has long been looking for new ways at combating the still very real “fragmentation issue” — the cold reality that comes with dealing with such a wide variation of hardware — so the taking of drawElements under its wing sounds like a match made in heaven.

While it’s true there are a variety of software benchmarks to help test performance, but drawElements work goes beyond that. drawElements’ Quality Program software (dEPQ) is able to product quality, providing developers with detailed comparisons across hardware to find out exactly what about the hardware was causing incompatibility. With this information, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to see how Google could later set basic hardware guidelines OEMs can adhere to in order to ensure everything works properly with the latest or future versions of Android.

Of course, drawElements sounded more than excited about the move, announcing on their site:

“We’re excited to announce that we’re joining Google. Thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way; we’re grateful for your support. Over the next few months, we’ll be working with our colleagues on the Android team to incorporate some of our technology into the compatibility test suite. Stay tuned!”

Although specific terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, expect the dollar amount to hit somewhere around the 8 figure mark.

[via ArticStartup]

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Verizon records highest revenue growth in the past six quarters http://phandroid.com/2014/07/22/verizon-q2-2014/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/22/verizon-q2-2014/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:10:01 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145336 verizon_logo

Verizon’s Q2 numbers are ready for the world to see, and we’re sure they couldn’t be more happy with the results. On the wireless side of things, the company managed to add 1.4 million net postpaid retail connections, bringing their total number to 98.6 million. That puts Verizon’s overall connection base at around 106 million which is a lot more than any other carrier can say right now. We’re sure they couldn’t be happier with their position atop the ladder.

Interestingly enough, tablets accounted for way more connections than phones: 1.15 million for the former and just 304,000 for the latter. Smartphones accounted for 75% of the phone side of things, while this is Verizon’s third consecutive record breaking quarter for tablet additions.

On the money side of things Verizon raked in $31.5 billion, a 5.7% increase over the same quarter a year ago, and their highest revenue growth in the past six quarter. Their wireless business was responsible for a majority of that at $21.5 billion in revenue.

Verizon has had to move to keep people interested in their services thanks to pressure put on by T-Mobile and the rest of their competitors. While they haven’t yet made any changes as drastic as Magenta, they’ve given folks easy enough ways to continue to upgrade their phones on a yearly basis without having to break the bank. Their solution doesn’t quite bring you the same savings as T-Mobile’s, but I guess a strong network always makes up for any of the few weaknesses Verizon still has.

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Verizon to start giving back with Smart Rewards http://phandroid.com/2014/07/21/verizon-to-start-giving-back-with-smart-rewards/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/21/verizon-to-start-giving-back-with-smart-rewards/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:31:10 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145267 verizon_logo

Verizon’s name is typically associated with the carrier’s tendency to bill and charge you for anything and everything they can. They’re often considered the most expensive wireless carrier to do business with. But it looks like they want to change that perception with a new rewards program they’ve announced.

Dubbed Verizon Smart Rewards, the program will allow you to earn points for doing what you already do with your Verizon account today. Whether that’s signing into your My Verizon account and paying a bill or signing up for paperless billing, points can be earned without you having to jump through hoops.

Points are useless without anything to spend them on, though, so what are they offering? Nothing out of the ordinary, really. They’ll have discounts for goods and services from over 200 well-known brands, travel discounts at over 26,000 hotels, and offers on local shopping and dining, all of which are redeemable from your smartphone (likely through either MyVerizon or a standalone app).

You’ll also have opportunities to win NFL game tickets (Verizon being their official carrier sponsor, and all) as well as discounts on Verizon Wireless gift cards and access to exclusive sales and auctions. Sounds like a pretty good deal if you’re the type who likes to get a little something back for all the hard-earned money you spend with them.

The program launches July 24th and folks needn’t look further than the MyVerizon site to get started with the signup process. You’ll be given 10,000 points to start off with, and while we’re not sure just how much you’ll be able to take advantage of with that amount it sounds like you’ll be able to get some of the smallest rewards right away without much work.

The caveat to all this? Verizon warns some users may have to sign up for Verizon Selects, a program that allows them to use location, web browsing and apps usage information to get insight into their demographics. They might also use said information to serve up targeted ads in their apps, on the web, via text message or via email. Not OK with that? Simply refuse to sign up for rewards. Otherwise, enjoy the new benefits!

[via Verizon]

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Analysts expect T-Mobile to have another good quarter http://phandroid.com/2014/07/21/t-mobile-q2-financials/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/21/t-mobile-q2-financials/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:40:15 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145255 T-Mobile-logo-sign

T-Mobile threw an online parade and celebrated the fact that they were considered the fastest growing wireless carrier in the United States last quarter. They did so with over 2 million net additions on the back of their most bold and brilliant marketing campaign yet — Uncarrier. So will they be able to boast similar numbers for Q2?

That’s going to be tough to say without an official report, though some analysts believe T-Mobile will be able to post results that are just as pleasing. UBS analyst John Hodulik predicts that while T-Mobile won’t be able to match or exceed the 2 million net additions of last quarter, they will still add enough customers to maintain their “fastest growing” sash.

He predicts they’ll do so with roughly 7% of growth in Q2, which is still pretty good performance compared to what T-Mobile was able to pull before they started the Uncarrier movement. It’s important to set the stage early for the numbers: a decline from last quarter might indicate that last quarter was a spike. Coming down from a spike is still pretty good as long as the drop isn’t drastic.

We must also consider that T-Mobile didn’t make nearly as many huge Uncarrier moves this quarter (unlimited data for popular music apps and free iPhone trials) as they did in Q1 (which included them footing the bill to leave your wireless carrier, giving free international roaming and more). T-Mobile promises that even more is in store for Q3 so it’s possible they still have enough tricks in the bag to sustain growth this year.

We’re still waiting for T-Mobile to finish crunching the numbers and fully unveil their Q2 results, but we’ll be sure to bring you the full details as soon as they turn up. Let us know if you were one of the millions who have switched to T-Mobile recently by dropping a line below!

[Investors via TmoNews]

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Google will no longer list games or apps as ‘free’ if they offer in-app purchases http://phandroid.com/2014/07/18/google-no-longer-listing-apps-as-free-if-they-offer-iaps/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/18/google-no-longer-listing-apps-as-free-if-they-offer-iaps/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 19:13:15 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145172 Marvel Run Jump Smash in-app purchases

We’ve all heard the horror stories. Some parent unknowingly allowed their children to rack up hundreds of dollars from a game or app after they discovered the wonderful world of in-app purchases. As most of us have already figured out, just because a game is offered for “free” in the Google Play Store, doesn’t mean you get to have a good time without paying anything. It’s this shaky ground that the European Commission is now issuing some guidelines they’d like app stores to adhere to.

The EC is asking that all games advertised as “free” aren’t misleading consumers about their “true costs.” They also ask that apps or games don’t ask children to make purchases, make it clear how payments are made, and provide an email address to answer questions or complaints. While the EC will continue to monitor adherence, they’ll be leaving its actual enforcement up to national authorities.

In a statement, European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes said:

“In-app purchases are a legitimate business model, but it’s essential for app-makers to understand and respect EU law while they develop these new business models.”

Unsurprisingly, Google is one of the first companies to welcome the changes, announcing that by the end of September, they will no longer advertise games as “free” when in-app purchases are available. What’s more, Google says they’ve already altered the default Google Play Store settings so that a password is required before each and every purchase (but can be altered in the app’s settings). It’s unclear if Google’s new policy change will only apply to Europe or worldwide.

In a later statement, Apple too agreed to make similar changes, although they didn’t commit to an exact time frame or reveal exactly how they plan on going about it, only that they are already doing a better a job at protecting consumers from unwanted charges than some of the competition. They also talked about iOS 8′s upcoming “Ask to Buy” feature that pings parents on their device for permission when a child wants to buy something.

[European Commission | via Engadget]

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Report: Google, Samsung at crossroads over smart watches http://phandroid.com/2014/07/18/google-samsung-smart-watches/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/18/google-samsung-smart-watches/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:19:25 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145122 Samsung Galaxy Gear Tizen update

As much as Google and Samsung like to pretend that they have a happy relationship in the public eye, we’re always hearing about some closed doors feelings of theirs. This time, the two sides are said to be butting heads over Samsung’s focus on their Tizen-based smartwatch products in the wake of Android Wear.

Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee and Google’s Larry Page reportedly had a heated meeting over the matter earlier this month. Samsung has long had plans to migrate over to Tizen after launching the original Samsung Galaxy Gear with Android, though the operating system wasn’t quite ready for prime time at that point. They didn’t hesitate to take Android out of the original, however, and the new lineup launched with Tizen pre-installed.

We would have thought Google would be alright with it considering Samsung was one of two OEMs to offer the first Android Wear smart watches, but it appears even that isn’t enough to satisfy their wishes. It’s an interesting stance by Google who has largely let OEMs do what they will with Android and doesn’t often have much to say about the other interests of the companies they work with.

One could wonder if Google’s supposed hostile stance against Samsung’s actions is because they’re afraid of seeing Tizen catch steam and threaten Android. While the smart watch market might not be big enough to sweat over right now, they still have to worry about Samsung’s desire to get Tizen up and running on commercial smartphones (the first of which has already been made official).

We wouldn’t worry about top lines like the Note and Galaxy S series getting infused with Tizen instead of Android in the near future. Samsung won’t want to make such drastic changes while they don’t yet have an applications and content ecosystem that can rival the likes of Google Play. But they’re obviously building toward that future, and if these reports are anything to go by it’s something Google certainly doesn’t want to see happen (no matter how much they claim they don’t want Samsung to have a stranglehold on the smartphone market).

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Kyocera to push the bar in smartphone durability with sapphire displays [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/07/18/kyocera-sapphire-shield-display/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/18/kyocera-sapphire-shield-display/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:51:26 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145113

If Apple was planning on making people believe they were the first to use sapphire in smartphone displays for a more durable screen, Kyocera has made it a point to spoil those plans. The Japanese company has put out a video directly targeted at all the iPhone 6 rumors tipping the tech world off to Apple’s plans to use the displays.

They counter the rumors by saying that they have been doing this a lot longer than Apple has, with 41 years of experience using sapphire in everything from computer components to watch faces. And now they’re planning to beat Apple to the punch in smartphone displays.

They’re calling it the “Sapphire Shield,” and if you know anything about sapphire you’d know that it’s supposed to be virtually indestructible. Coins and keys wouldn’t be able to make scratches and dents, and it would come out looking like a champ if it were dropped flat on its face onto a slab of concrete. Sapphire is said to be used as transparent armor for many military vehicles, and if it’s good enough for a soldier it should be more than good enough for your smartphone.

kyocera sapphire shield

The problem with sapphire is that it’s expensive — a lot more expensive than tempered glass like Corning’s Gorilla Glass being used in so many smartphones. It was only last year that sapphire displays were going for $20 to $30 a pop, whereas Gorilla Glass can be had for under $3 per unit. Kyocera says they have found a way to make sapphire-based displays affordable, though, and that we’ll be hearing something very soon from their camp.

As much as we make fun of Kyocera’s phones for being underwhelming and uninspiring, one thing we can say they’ve always done well is durable smartphones. This is a natural step forward for them, and hopefully it can be used as a barometer for other OEMs to get in line and compete — we sure wouldn’t mind a future with fully indestructible displays.

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Google posts Q2 2014 earnings report: $15.96 billion in revenue, 22% increase from previous year http://phandroid.com/2014/07/17/google-q2-earnings-report-15-96-billion-in-revenue-22-increase-from-2013/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/17/google-q2-earnings-report-15-96-billion-in-revenue-22-increase-from-2013/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:05:52 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145083 Google 2014 Q2 earnings

Ahead of their Q2 2014 earnings call, Google has issued an official press release for their Q2 earnings. Revenue is up 22% from last year, hitting a cool $15.96 billion.

Operating income came in at $4.26 billion (up from $3.47 billion the previous year), making for 27% of their revenue. When all is said and done, Google’s net income came in at $3.42 billion. For those curious about how Google did last quarter, they posted $15.4 revenue and $4.12 billion net (27% of revenue). That’s a nice 3% increase.

Google sites (Google owned properties like YouTube, Maps, etc.) accounted for $10.94 of their total revenue, a 23% increase from last year (partner sites accounted for $3.42 billion). Paid clicks saw a 25% increase from 2013, while cost-per-click dropped 6%.

Patrick Pichette, Google CFO Patrick Pichette said during the call:

“We are moving forward with great product momentum and are excited to continue providing amazing user experiences, with a view to the long term.”

Google also mentions they saw 300% increase in bringing traffic to businesses via smartphones and tablets and when it came to the Motorola team, they’re said to still hard at work, seeing “strong sales in emerging markets” with the wallet-friendly Motorola Moto E and Motorola Moto G.

The earnings call was kind of bitter sweet, as it was — after 10 years with the company — Google’s Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora’s last call before parting ways for a new role at SoftBank. Arora will now be the Vice Chairman and CEO of SoftBank’s Internet and Media Division and we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors. Omid Kordestani will be he filling his shoes moving forward.

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Microsoft finally puts the axe to Nokia’s Android lineup http://phandroid.com/2014/07/17/nokia-x-dead/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/17/nokia-x-dead/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:12:13 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145050 Nokia-X-XL-5

When we first heard Microsoft had acquired Nokia and that Nokia was working on an Android device, we assumed their new ownership would persuade them to drop all plans to launch that device. They didn’t, of course, as we were introduced to the Nokia X family of devices a short time after the rumors started spiraling out of control. The acquisition wasn’t final at that point in time, so we figured Nokia had no reservations about that launch.

With the acquisition finalized and closed we thought “no way could there be another one.” And then we were proven wrong again with the launch of the X2. Had Microsoft been alright with Nokia making Android devices all this time? It appeared so… until today.

Microsoft vice president Stephen Elop, in an open letter to the company’s employees (that he was nice enough to publish online), addressed future plans for Nokia and the team that came over as part of that aforementioned acquisition. The one thing that stood out for us was the revelation that Nokia would continue to address the affordable smartphone market, but not with their Nokia X line. Instead, they want to spawn a new line of affordable Windows-based Lumia devices to fill that same void.

Nokia-X2-Dual-SIM-OneDrive

We will be particularly focused on making the market for Windows Phone. In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia.

In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices.

That doesn’t mean the Nokia X or Nokia X2 you just bought has instantly become irrelevant and obsolete. Elop made it a point to remind folks that those devices would continue to be supported and updated throughout their life cycle. That said, don’t expect any hot sequels a couple of years down the line.

This shift in strategy didn’t come as a surprise — it’s Microsoft. And while the company has never been quite as bloodthirsty as the likes of Apple when it comes to these mobile wars (as evidenced by a wide range of their apps and services being made available on Google Play), we’re sure it didn’t sit well with them that the company they spent $7.2 billion on was making smartphones with competing platforms (though obviously nothing nearly as good as they’ve made with the Lumia line to this point).

At the end of the day, we’re glad Nokia put aside their petty reservations about Android and gave it a shot, even if the device they did it with was nothing to write home about. They did everything they could to mask Android, going as far as changing the very nature of the operating system and refusing to use any Google services.

But they still used it, and that’s something they said they didn’t want to do from the beginning. We’re not sure whether we should be crediting that to Android’s dominance and influence or a lack of resolve on Nokia’s part, but it was all fun to watch either way.

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Senate passes bill to make cellphone unlocking legal again http://phandroid.com/2014/07/16/legal-cellphone-unlocking-coming-soon/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/16/legal-cellphone-unlocking-coming-soon/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 19:20:33 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145002 htc one m8 wm_7

You all know the drill. You buy a phone from AT&T or other wireless provider and the phone is tied down to their specific. For those looking to take their smartphone elsewhere, 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act actually made it illegal for anyone to unlock their own cellphone. It wasn’t until 2006 that the Library of Congress provided an exemption that allowed consumers to unlock their phones for the sole purpose of changing providers. Only problem is that exemption expired in 2013 (late 2012).

If you thought consumers were just going to be SOL from here on out, Senate has passed a new bill that will once again makes cellphone unlocking legal. Announced in a press release by Senator Patrick Leahy, The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows consumers to unlock their cellphone — either “professionally” or by themselves — for use on different networks once their current contract is up.

It never made much sense that consumers couldn’t modify a phone they already own and made even less sense when you factor in those who purchase a secondhand device were often times left out in the cold. While cellphone unlocking isn’t permanently legal, a new exemption will be in place in place (that will also need to be renewed again later) and grants 3rd parties the right to unlock the phones.

Once President Obama signs it into law, expect to see signs for “cellphone unlocking” services arriving at mom and pop shops around the country (or even online) in the coming weeks. Given the split of CDMA and GSM devices between the major 4 networks in the US, this might not sound like the best news. Just keep in mind with VoLTE coming fast down the pipeline, it’s possible we could one day see an AT&T device making voice calls on Verizon’s network.

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Verizon 4G LTE coming to ALLSET pre-paid plans tomorrow http://phandroid.com/2014/07/16/verizon-allset-4g/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/16/verizon-allset-4g/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:24:29 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=144990 verizon_logo

No longer is Verizon treating pre-paid customers like red-headed stepchilds. The company has announced that folks on ALLSET plans will now be able to use 4G LTE phones. Starting tomorrow you can grab many popular phones like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S5 and more. Cheaper options also exist for those who aren’t interested in breaking the bank, including last year’s LG G2 and the LG Lucid 3.

ALLSET plans give you unlimited talk and text and at least 500MB of data for $45 per month. That’s not a ton of data for that fast 4G connection to chew through, though for a limited time you’ll be able to add another 500MB if you sign up for automatic payments. Pay another $5 per month for 500MB more and that’s 1.5GB of data which should be more than enough if you’ve managed to survive on those meager offerings up to this point.

[via Verizon]

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