Raise your hand if you like carrier apps added to your phone. Anyone. Go ahead, don't be shy. Well if you don't, here's a great example of why companies like AT&T should leave the software alone. An over-the-air update to 4.4.4 for the carrier-customized version of the Galaxy Note 3 was sent out on November 28th, then unceremoniously pulled. A previous message on the support page explained why:
Here's something you don't see every day. American carriers AT&T and Verizon both offer the fourth-generation models of the Galaxy Tab 8.0 and 10.1, and this weekend, they're each updating both versions. That indicates some kind of coordinated effort on the part of Samsung's software engineers... or a remarkable coincidence. In any case, owners should start seeing the over-the-air updates come in today, though some will have to wait a few more days.
It isn't often that we issue a Deal Alert for a phone that still costs more than $500 after a discount, but thanks to AT&T's somewhat inflated pricing, this one qualifies. The carrier-branded version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 flagship is being sold on eBay for $659.99 today. That's a bit more than $160 off of AT&T's off-contract price for the phone, and still $50 cheaper than the international version of the Note 4 on Amazon.
AT&T's Samsung tablet lineup is getting a couple of small updates, but it probably won't be all that interesting unless you've got a very specific need for carrier billing or kid-friendly content. The AT&T branded versions of both the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 (good grief, Samsung, your names are a mouthful) are receiving minor updates to their firmware. Neither one boosts the Android software on the tablets (4.4.2), but they do add a few tools.
Remember last night, when we were excited about the Galaxy S5 getting its Android 5.0 update already, at least in Poland? That was nice. Let's try to hang on to that warm, comforting feeling while we face this cold fact: a combination of lowered expectations for non-flagship devices and good old US carrier apathy means many Android owners won't be so lucky. For example, the Galaxy S4 Zoom on AT&T is just now getting its update to Android 4.4, more than a year after the release of both KitKat and the phone itself.
Sprint has a plan up its sleeve that it hopes will entice customers to its more affordable network. This time around, rather than competing with T-Mobile, it has its sights set squarely on AT&T and Verizon Wireless. For a limited time starting this Friday, it will offer to cut folks' previous wireless bill in half. So if your old carrier was charging $140 a month, Sprint will let you get by just paying $70 instead.
The Galaxy S II Skyrocket, AT&T's first LTE phone, was released a little over three years ago. During its lifetime, it had pretty good support from Samsung regarding Android version updates. It launched with Gingerbread, and got subsequent bumps to Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean 4.1. That OTA to Jelly Bean was the last time the phone saw any kind of software update, and that was 19 months ago. With that in mind, AT&T apparently can't let its first LTE love go because, out of nowhere, Samsung has announced a new software update for the aging device.
If you want a high-end phone for a GSM network, this deal will probably beat anything you're likely to find on Black Friday. Right now one eBay seller is unloading a refurbished AT&T version of the HTC One M8 for just $379.99, almost $300 off of the retail off-contract price and a solid eighty bucks cheaper than our previous best One M8 deal. You can pick it up with free shipping in grey, silver, or gold colors.