Update 10/4/14: The price has now dropped another $35 to a very low $214.99. The phones are still available in black and silver, while blue is sold out.
If you need a great phone and aren't interested in a contract, but you're willing to compromise on what's technically the cutting edge, you're in a good position to save a bit of money. For example, take this perfectly good 32GB HTC One M7 (that's the one before the one they're selling now).
Are you and your family so-called "data hounds," who need much, much more mobile data per month than the average user? Then for God's sake, avoid the limited plans on AT&T and Verizon, and go for T-Mobile or Sprint instead. But if those carriers aren't an option (say, because you occasionally like to stray beyond the limits of major metropolitan areas), then you'll definitely want to check out AT&T's latest data promotion.
Galaxy S4 Active users on AT&T, don't get too excited when you see a new software update message appear in your notification bar. This is a minor update with minor changes, and once you apply it the phone will still be running the same Android 4.4.2 build that you've had since June. According to an AT&T support page, the update includes just three things:
Connectivity improvements related to receiving calls and text messaging
Updated Google apps
We've got no idea what kind of updated Google apps Ma Bell put in there, since Google prefers to do its own updating via the Play Store these days.
If the LG G3 strikes your fancy but you can't quite justify the cost, perhaps the LG G3 Vigor will do the trick. After pre-announcing the device recently, AT&T is now finally telling interested customers when they can get it and how many money-dollars it'll cost. The answers to those questions are September 26th and 'it depends.'
The Galaxy Alpha, on paper at least, is a dream phone for scores of Samsung users. You get the look of a Galaxy device without necessarily getting the feel of one. The phone is made of metal and premium materials, making up for the cheap build-quality that plagues even Samsung's high-end devices. Americans turned on by such an idea can now pick a Galaxy Alpha up come September 26th, when the phone will go on sale exclusively from AT&T online and in stores.
An over-the-air software update is set to hit AT&T's version of the Galaxy S4. The change log for this one isn't particularly long, but it will bump users up to baseband number KOTH49H.1337UCUFNB1. There's a certain satisfaction that comes from having the freshest set of software available on a device, and that feeling is what the bulk of owners will notice about this release.
As for what's actually new, AT&T says this update will provide better connectivity when making calls and text messaging.
Hot on the heels of Sprint's launch of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, AT&T announced that it will begin selling both the 8.4- and 10.5-inch LTE variants online and in stores beginning September 26. The carrier is also taking pre-orders for both tablets right now with a shipping date of September 23.
Big Blue is only selling the tablets in charcoal gray, so if you were hoping for white, you're out of luck.
Last year's Moto X was a very well-liked phone, but now there's a new version that seeks to turn more of that admiration into sales. The 2014 Moto X has just gone live in the US on Motorola's website, and is also up for preorder on AT&T. Are there customizations? Oh, you better believe there are customizations.
If you like LG's style but aren't ready to pay for a top-of-the-line smartphone, AT&T and Sprint would like a word. Both of them have announced carrier-customized models of the LG G3 Vigor, which was launched this summer in international markets as the G3 Beat. The 5-inch phone is decidedly mid-range (stretching to low end for some specs), but it's got the same look and layout as the full-sized G3, complete with rear-mounted buttons.
The AT&T version of the LG G Flex is getting upgraded! Huzzah! But don't bust out the champagne just yet, G Flex owners: at the end of your upgrade you'll still be using Android 4.4.2, like you have been since April. According to AT&T's update support page, the newest patch for the phone doesn't add very much at all.
G Flex software build D95020f adds the "latest Android security patches," an updated version of LG's built-in music app that you don't use, and some compatibility fixes for the LG G Watch.