So you know about that big scary update for Verizon's Galaxy S 4 that blocks root, patches the bootloader, and haunts your children's dreams. The question is, though, what else does it do? Verizon finally spilled the beans (someone grab a mop and clean this mess up, please), and it's chock-full of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.
The Verizon Stratosphere II is one of those phones. You know, the quirky - I mean, qwerty - kind that packs just enough punch to be functional but not enough to wow the bulk of us. Today Verizon has announced the latest firmware update, version I415VRBMF1, that gives the little handset a little tune-up. The device should now give a more accurate read of data usage and leave behind a few jarring bugs, such as issues where auto-correct inadvertently replaces an entire text message and the SIM pin entry screen displays the incorrect number of remaining attempts.
If you're having reception issues or dropped calls at your home or office, Verizon Wireless (and other carriers) might recommend you pick up a femtocell. This is a small device that plugs into your router and acts like a miniature cell tower. However, a pair of security researchers have revealed how they managed to use that same device to snoop on phone calls and other communications.
Just yesterday Verizon dropped the price of its Galaxy S 4 by $50, which in itself was a noteworthy deal since directly from Big Red was the only place you could find the 32 gigger. Until today, that is. Wirefly has now made itself the only other retailer to offer the 32GB S 4 running on Verizon, and of course, it's also more affordable at only $220 for both upgrades and new customers.
Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on Verizon, there's a new update available for your phones. But don't bother checking your Settings menu for an over-the-air prompt: it's only available via the Verizon Software Upgrade Assistant after connecting the device to a PC. Standard users should be fine, but rooted users (or those who intend to root or flash a new ROM sometime in the future) should avoid this one. According to several posters on XDA, the VRUAME7 patches existing root methods, and flashes a new version of the locked bootloader that prevents users from flashing a pre-release kernel, effectively blocking another path to root.
So here's a new one: a carrier-branded device is going to get an Android version bump while its Wi-Fi only counterparts are stuck on an older version. This is against everything we've seen in the Android world since the dawn of time, where Wi-Fi devices normally surpass their cellular-connect brethren on a regular basis. To make the situation even more interesting, we're talking about Verizon devices here.
Here's the skinny: Motorola recently updated its upgrade page for the Verizon Xyboard twins, stating that they would each get updated to Android 4.1.
Locked bootloaders can be a real drag. While it's possible to circumvent these security measures on the GS4, it can be a messy process. Maybe a developer edition device is the way to go? Well, Verizon customers can finally buy the developer edition Galaxy S4 from Samsung for the paltry sum of $649. The AT&T developer edition is still missing in action.
This device first appeared on the Samsung site along side the AT&T model in May.
Verizon pushed out an update at the end of May to add a number of enhancements to the Galaxy S III. However, after users flooded the Verizon forums with reports of broken LTE, Big Red pulled the update. A slightly tweaked version is about to roll out with a few more features, and presumably no LTE issues.
The update listing doesn't make mention of the data fix, but that's understandable. It should be noted that this update's changelog is a bit different than the last one.
If Verizon's HTC One kind-of announcement just didn't do it for you because you can't stay away from the red-and-black-themed Droid line, Amazon has HTC's next best offering on the table for a solitary penny. Of course we're talking about the Droid DNA, the undeniable king of Big Red's Droid lineup for the time being.
Despite the fact that the DNA was released back in November of last year, its spec sheet is still a fairly impressive one:
- 5-inch Super LCD3 at 1920x1080 (440 PPI)
- Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB built-in storage
- 8MP rear shooter, 2.1MP front camera
- 2020mAh battery
- Android 4.1.1 with Sense 4+
Sure, it doesn't have BOOMSOUND, Zoes, Ultrapixels, or other buzzwords – but c'mon, it's got its own now-famous red eye and a DROID logo, and it's only a penny.
A few days ago, Dell dropped the price of both Sprint's and Verizon's variants of the Galaxy S 4 to $119 and $129 respectively. Not to be outdone, Amazon Wireless has now undercut Big D by $10, and is offering Verizon's GS4 for $119 for new contracts ($170 for upgrades). That's a pretty solid deal if you don't want to buy from Dell, though I'd be remiss not to mention the $50 eGift card that Dell is throwing in if you do decide to buy through them.