The wireless service landscape is undergoing significant changes in the US this year. T-Mobile just launched it's kind-of no contract plans with monthly hardware payments, something no other US carrier offers. Sprint is in the early stages of its LTE rollout, a buyout from Japanese firm Softbank, and the acquisition of Clearwire (which seems more likely with each passing day). AT&T has already gained the #2 LTE spot in the US, but may have turned off a good number of potential Galaxy S4 buyers by pricing the device at $250 on contract, while continuing to push its own shared data plan model.
Don't forget - the Android Police Podcast's live broadcast is every Thursday at 5PM PST (www.androidpolice.com/podcast). The unedited video version of the podcast can be found here - and will likely include various verbal expletives, technical snafus, tangents, and probably a good 5-10 minutes of pre-podcast banter as we prepare. Watch at your own risk!
We sure weren't expecting this, but today Sprint announced on its support site that the Epic 4G Touch (the Now Network's branded version of the Galaxy S II) is getting an update to Jelly Bean. Undoubtedly version 4.1, but this would still be a welcome upgrade as it brings with it the ability to access Google Now, among a host of other features.
The update will require Samsung's Kies software to install.
An active thread at XDA has multiple posters (here, here, and here) claiming that Sprint is cutting off shipments of the Optimus G, and that the device has reached 'end of life' status, meaning it will be discontinued soon. One poster included a photo of an inventory spreadsheet indicating as much:
Two other posters claimed to have received similar information, one of whom suggested quite correctly that the Optimus G's recent participation in the "buy one get one free" promo means Sprint is probably trying to clear out remaining stock.
Yesterday, T-Mobile officially announced its new "UNcarrier" plans to much fanfare and profanity. The idea is simple: you pay one price for your service, and a separate price for your device. You can either choose to pay the full cost of your phone up front, or pay a deposit at first and then a monthly fee after that.
"But wait," the entire tech world cried, "That monthly fee is still a contract, right?
Today, at a media event in New York, T-Mobile announced that it's finally ready to join the big-boy world of LTE networks. The initial round of activations match up just about perfectly with the earlier leaks. Major cities include Houston, Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and more. The proper 4G network can be used with the new "Uncarrier" plans that just went live a couple days ago.
Here's the full list of launch cities:
Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, needs no introduction. This man is a star in the Android community and a true Nexus warrior (hi, /r/acj!). 19 months ago, in August of 2011, he joined Samsung to change the world and make beautiful mobile babies together. Today, he's a free man once again, as he announced his departure from the company via a Google+ post on his Galaxy S4 impressions minutes ago:
The rumors were true and now T-Mobile has launched its new, simplified, contract-free plans. Starting at $50/month for unlimited talk and text with 500MB of high-speed data (throttled, but sans overage fees after that), the new services allow customers to forget about counting minutes and messages and focus solely on data. This could be good or bad news, depending on your usage, but perhaps the most important aspect of these new plans is that you can get them without a 2-year commitment.
The Xperia ZL is the 'little' brother to Sony's recently-unveiled Xperia Z, and to get the most pressing question out of the way immediately: what's the difference between the two? Well, the ZL isn't waterproof (and thus has a different chassis and design), has a hardware camera button, and uses a minutely larger (by 40mAh) battery. That's really it. The display, the chipset, the camera, and the software are all near as makes no difference identical to those on the Z.
T-Mobile customers have been waiting for what seems like ages to get their hands on some sweet, sweet Long Term Evolution data speeds. In five days, the wait is over... assuming you live in one of seven disparate states and cities in the lower forty-eight. According to a leaked document posted by TmoNews (which has an excellent record for this sort of thing) T-Mobile's networks in Houston, TX, Las Vegas NV, Phoenix, AZ, Kansas City, MO, San Jose, CA, Baltimore, MD and Washington DC will activate next Tuesday, March 26th.