One of the problems with the pricing structure of American carriers is that people who buy their phones outright don't get any kind of break on the service plans themselves, giving people fewer incentives to get away from subsidies. T-Mobile has addressed this (by essentially throwing out subsidies all together), but today AT&T fires back with the new Mobile Share Value Plan. Basically it's a $15 discount if you buy a phone unsubsidized, including the new AT&T Next plans, or if you've already paid off your on-contract device.
The Moto X is undeniably one of the most important Android devices of 2013, and it's probably also one of the best. This phone can be had for a pittance on-contract, but many prospective buyers were disappointed the off-contract cost was so high. If $500 for this phone seems like too much, Republic Wireless is offering an alternative. The Moto X on this Sprint MVNO is just $299 and you can walk away at any time.
Update: Brightspot is official.
Already confused by the myriad of prepaid carriers out there? Well, Target thinks there should be one more. After @evleaks outed the name and pricing last night, more details have emerged. Target's prepaid service will run on the T-Mobile network and is launching October 6th online and in Target stores.
Pricing starts at $35 per month for unlimited talk and text, but no mobile data. For $50 you get "unlimited" data, including 1GB of 4G.
The T-Mobile Moto X got it's surprise update the other day with a couple nice fixes and enhancements, and now it's Sprint's turn to get the update. It's rolling out in stages, so mashing the update button won't do any good. Not that anyone's stopping you from trying.
The software, with the easy to remember version number 13.9.0Q2.X-116-MX-17-57-1, appears to have the same changelog we got with the T-mobile update, but here it is again anyway:
- Camera – Improved Photo Quality: Improved capture of natural light (auto-white balance) and color accuracy for more precise exposure in outdoor and backlit scenes.
The Moto X is still rolling out to all corners of the (American) Android world, but the T-Mobile variant is getting an update that improves camera performance dramatically. The difference is noticeable in a variety of situations, most notably in backlit and low-light settings. Presumably the update will hit other Moto X variants once testing and certification is completed by the carriers.
Low light – left: not updated, right: updated
The Moto X uses a fairly large sensor with 1.4µm pixels with an RGBC color array and F/2.4 aperture.
Verizon got the jump on everyone with LTE, but AT&T has been doing its best to catch up. The carrier's newly announced upgrade plans should get it a fair way toward that goal. Ma Bell is flipping the switch on 5 new LTE markets and 8 expansions this very day, but the rate of the rollout is going to pick up for the rest of the year. AT&T plans to launch at least 50 new markets before January 1st.
Pre-paid smartphone users were in an uproar a few months ago when Straight Talk stopped selling AT&T SIM cards to new customers. At the time, all we were able to ascertain was that the cards were sold out online, but a few retailers like Walmart still had some in stock. Well, they're back – in a limited sort of way.
When you go through the sign up process, the website will only show you T-Mobile or AT&T cards for a given ZIP code.
Two-year contracts are a drag for all sorts of reasons, but AT&T just found a way to make them even more annoying. The carrier has quietly altered its upgrade terms to stipulate that customers have to wait for the full 24 month term to be up before getting subsidized pricing on an upgrade. You can see the before and after versions of Ma Bell's upgrade page below.
It would be one thing if the change only affected new contracts from the effective date of June 9th, but it also pushes back the upgrade date for anyone whose contract ends after March 1, 2014.
AT&T has long had a chip on its shoulder when it comes to video chat apps running on its network. It took a few years to enable Apple's solution, but Android users were stymied just last week when the new Hangouts app refused to connect to video calls over AT&T's 3G and 4G. The rationale the carrier is using to justify its decision is incredibly convoluted, to say the least. However, things are going to change in the second half of 2013.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together in the sight of the FCC and these witnesses to join MetroPCS and T-Mobile in the bonds of holy mergrimony. If any shareholder can show just cause why they may not be joined together, let them speak now or forever shut the hell up.
Today, MetroPCS shareholders approved the merger between the company and T-Mobile USA. As a result of the deal, Deutsche Telekom will own a 74% stake in the new company, while the former MetroPCS shareholders will own 26%.