The year was 2012. A mere two days before the alleged Mayan apocalypse—and about nine days before people stopped making tired old jokes about it—we got wind of the Developer Edition of the Galaxy Note II for Verizon. There were three differences between this handset and the version you could buy in the carrier's stores: it had an unlocked bootloader, it's unsubsidized, and it was not available for sale yet.
When I was a kid, my grandfather used to always say "last to market, last to get official builds of CyanogenMod." Seems the old man's wisdom once again proves to be true, as official CM 10.1 nightlies just showed up for Verizon's variant of the Galaxy Note II.
Update: Looks like Sprint's version of the Note II just got CM10.1, too.
For those of you who own said Note II, this means you can finally get away from Samsung's Playskool-inspired Technicolor UI and experience Android in its natural form.
Most of the time when we post a good deal – especially on a free phone – it's typically for new customers. In a rare event, though, Wirefly has turned that deal on its head by making the RAZR HD free for upgrades only. New customers will still have to shell out $50 for the same devices. It's a pretty good deal either way, but it's particularly killer for existing Verizon customers.
Note II owners on Big Red, an OTA update is coming your way. Don't get too excited, though – it's just a small security patch that fixes the dreaded Exynos bug. Thus, if it's anything like the Exynos patch for the Galaxy S III, you can also expect a new bootloader. That usually means bad news for the root community (especially when it's a Verizon phone we're talking about), and it's likely no different in this case.
You know, for an underdog, Pantech has been proving it knows how to put out some pretty decent, affordable hardware as of late. Just two days ago, it unearthed the upcoming Discover for AT&T, and now a leak of what appears to be the VZW equivalent – the Perception – just showed up in a leak over at Unwired View.
Much like it's Big Blue-powered cousin, the Perception is said to be packing a 720p display and 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4.
Verizon has a thing for carrier branding. Lately though, they've really been going overboard, particularly on the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which had a Verizon logo on the home button. That easily won the award for most obnoxious carrier branding ever on a phone.
In Vegas though, Verizon has topped themselves. David and I were wandering around the "CES Digital Experience" pre-show event and we saw THIS:
This thing Is the Verizon Galaxy Note 10.1.
Samsung's on stage today at CES announcing all the devices (TVs, cameras, smart fridges and microwaves... seriously). Among them is a shiny new LTE version of the Galaxy Note 10.1. No word on how much the unit is going to cost but it will be arriving on Verizon sometime this month.
There's also no word yet on how much the plans will cost, but we can likely expect it will launch with comparable prices to the myriad other LTE tablets with Share Everything plans.
One of the biggest frustrations of dealing with Verizon, if you're someone who likes to tweak their phone, is that the carrier insists on locking the bootloaders on its phones that otherwise would not be locked. Samsung has offered Developer Editions of its phones in the past, including the Galaxy S III, largely to avoid that problem and appease the dev crowd. Today, that tradition continues with the Galaxy Note II which has now appeared on the company's site in a similar hacker-friendly model.
Would-be Netflix competitor Redbox – in conjunction with Verizon – has just released its official app into the Play Store. Dubbed Redbox Instant, the service allows unlimited movie and TV show streaming, along with four monthly rentals from Redbox kiosks for a mere $8 a month.
We've known that Redbox and Verizon have been beta testing the service for the last several weeks, but it looks like they're one step closer to a full, public release at this point.
The CyanogenMod team has been slowly but surely rolling out CM 10.1 builds for various devices - mostly Samsung - over the last week or so. A handful of new tablets and phones hit just yesterday, including the LTE Galaxy Nexus variants, 3G Nexus 7, Galaxy S, SII, some SIII variants, and Galaxy Tab 2. Adding to that list, builds for the Verizon and Sprint variants just hit the scene this morning.