When Samsung introduced its gigantic yet frugal Galaxy Mega line, I had a feeling that it would be a hit with smaller and more budget-conscious carriers. Lo and behold, Metro PCS is the latest US carrier to get a branded version of the ginormous Galaxy Mega 6.3, starting on November 25th. AT&T, Sprint, and US Cellular have already released the phone. After a $100 instant rebate, the phone costs $399 on a MetroPCS contract-free plan.
If you thought Google Fiber sounded like a game changer, you may want to keep an eye on this story. According to the Wall Street Journal, which has a history of having well-placed sources, Google has held talks with Dish Network discussing the possibility of partnering on a wireless carrier to compete with AT&T, Verizon, and all the rest. At first, it sounds like a pipe dream. The kind we've been hoping for since the G1.
When we think of "budget" phones, a $500 Galaxy S III may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, MetroPCS' usual strategy of having customers buy phones off contract and save money on the service is in full swing here. The device comes with a hefty price tag up front, but pick up the carrier's $50/month plan for unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB of data, and you're looking at around $1700 over the course of 2 years.
Rounding out the list of budget Android handsets for which details emerged overnight, it looks like Samsung will be releasing the Droid Charge look-alike Galaxy S Lightray 4G to MetroPCS in mid-August.
The Galaxy S Lightray is not your average budget device, though – besides a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display (carrying an unknown resolution), 8MP rear camera (with flash), 4G LTE connectivity and (maybe) a 1.3GHz single-core processor, this phone appears to be packing a TV antenna for "Mobile TV" (evidently powered by Dyle TV).
Remember back in December when Verizon announced its plans to buy a truckload of spectrum licenses from several cable companies? T-Mobile does, and they're not happy about it. The fourth-largest US carrier told the FCC that the deal would allow Verizon to "accumulate even more spectrum on top of an already dominant position."
Verizon fired back with the time-honored legal defense of "Well, why not? Nobody else is using it!" In a response to the filing, Verizon claimed that the deal would make use of spectrum that is currently going unutilized by the cable companies.
Chitika released new Android market share figures today by carrier, and the results are somewhat interesting. Verizon, who previously controlled over 50% of the market for Android smartphones, has dropped to almost 40% over the last five months. Who's to blame? AT&T and small budget carriers, apparently (US Cellular, MetroPCS, Virgin Mobile).
AT&T now makes up nearly 9% of all Android phones in the US - having more than doubled its share back in March, when it was a mere 3.5% of the pie.
After yesterday's launch of Optimus V on Virgin Mobile USA for $150, MetroPCS, another prepaid carrier, just followed the same suit and dropped the price of its own Optimus variant, the Optimus M, from $229 to $149.
The $80 President's Day price drop consists of an instant $30 discount and a $50 mail-in rebate, valid on purchases made from February 1st (that's today as of 5 hours ago) and February 28th.