In case we didn't make it clear with yesterday's post, we were more than a little miffed at Verizon's dismissal of Chromebook Pixel LTE owners. The company told customers that it had unceremoniously ended Google's free 100MB/month data bundle for the Pixel LTE after just one year, despite the initial two-year service promotion. Today Google is offering a consolation prize to those customers who bought the Chromebook Pixel LTE from the Play Store: a $150 refund credit.
Google and Verizon Wireless seem to be in a perpetual state of "it's complicated." The protracted issues with the Nexus 7 LTE, the infamously terrible launch and support of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, and a few other spats come to mind. Now JR Raphael of ComputerWorld is reporting that Verizon has unceremoniously dumped the 100MB per month of free packaged wireless data that came with the LTE model of the Chromebook Pixel that went on sale last year.
Of the Big Four American carriers, AT&T has the best selection of Android tablets available... which, admittedly, isn't saying much. Today their shallow ranks get bolstered by two new Samsung tablets, one in the original Galaxy Tab line (which is now the de facto budget option) and one in the new Pro series. The Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 and the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 will be available on the carrier starting this Friday, June 6th.
Samsung has been dabbling around with the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 LTE Edition's KitKat update for a while now, first rolling out the update to the Wi-Fi only version of the tablet several weeks ago. Now SamMobile reports that the LTE Edition, SM-P605, is getting its taste of Android 4.4 now in select countries. The first up are those in the Nordic region such as Denmark and Finland, with more on the way.
If you want a mid-sized tablet with a high-resolution screen, LTE connectivity, and you don't mind going with Amazon's ecosystem, but don't want to spend much money, today's Gold Box deal should be particularly compelling. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE version (the previous high-end Kindle Fire model, from late 2012) is discounted by $80 today, bringing its price down to $219.
Nearly every phone sold in the last few years has a 4G LTE radio, but when you place a call it's still falling back to traditional 3G technologies. The all-IP voice technology known as VoLTE (voice over LTE) is still in the early days, but AT&T is beginning its rollout this very month on May 23rd.
Alongside the launch of the brand new super-budget Moto E, Motorola also announced an improved variant of its marginally more expensive Moto G. The updated version is now equipped with an LTE radio and an SD card slot. Naturally, the price of the LTE model is also a bit higher at $219, which is still a bargain. Oh yeah, now it also comes in white!
This is certainly a boon to those seeking a low-cost device, but don't want to settle on 3G speeds.
The Moto G is probably the best deal in low-end Android hardware at the moment, but its modest specs are missing one vital component: LTE connectivity. It looks like Motorola is aiming to fix that omission, admittedly with a slight premium. LTE versions of the previously 3G-only phone are now on Amazon in a pre-order form, set to ship on June 30th for $219.99.
As other carriers have ended unlimited data in recent years, Sprint has held firm. This was perhaps the saving grace of its network as Sprint struggled to catch up to other carriers in the race for LTE coverage. According to a report from Fierce Wireless, Sprint is going to be pulling back a bit on unlimited 3G/4G data for the biggest users on its network. Beginning as soon as next month in some markets, anyone who falls in the top 5% of data consumers could potentially be throttled down to ensure others can get connectivity.