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:
Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like dystopian teenagers forced to murder one another. If you have a recently-released Samsung phone or tablet, you can load up a copy of The Hunger Games or its sequel Catching Fire for that long journey home. Just install this app from Lionsgate (only compatible with some devices) and follow the instructions below to get a couple of free movies.
According to SlickDeals, the free redemption codes are available to owners of the Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Note Pro, Galaxy Tab Pro, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy S4.
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.
Those looking for an off-contract deal on fairly recent phones have a treat today: the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 are available in refurbished condition on eBay for $320 (Note 3) and $220 (S4) with free shipping. They are Verizon devices, but are unlocked and technically able to pick up 3G from GSM carriers, according to the seller.
You can buy a Gear VR in the US now, but you need a Galaxy Note 4 to get any use out of the device. While the headset comes with extra sensors, much of the computing power takes place on the smartphone side of things. An update is now rolling out to the Sprint and Verizon versions of the Note 4 that get things ready to go.
So you own a Galaxy S4, Tab 4 8.0 LTE, or Avant and have just received an over-the-air update from T-Mobile. What does it do? Regardless of which of the three devices you own, the answer is the same: not much.
The Galaxy S4, easily the most popular gadget of the three, is receiving a bump to version M919UVUFNK2. This brings with it Chinese language support. Don't speak Chinese? Proceed not to care about this update.
Samsung's virtual reality-producing pair of Galaxy Note 4-powered goggles have gone on sale in the US on the manufacturer's website. Gear VR Innovator Edition, as the experimental product is actually called, is available for $199.99.
Gear VR works similarly to Google Cardboard, with a phone providing the processing power and display needed for the experience. But instead of cheaply assembled paper holding up the handset, Samsung and Oculus have worked together to create something that looks as though it should serve a function on its own.