AT&T, a company with a reputation for evil such that placing their logo inside a Death Star has always seemed genuinely appropriate, has announced some changes to pricing on its mobile data plans today. While some of those changes are genuinely good if you're a subscriber with a large data bucket or have some pretty particular usage habits, many new customers can expect to pay $5-10 more a month under the new structure, which AT&T of course claims is a totally innocuous attempt to "simplify" things for customers. Read More
Here's something you already knew about the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ before today's announcement—both devices are expensive. Samsung charged a ton for its massive phones before, and nothing about introducing more premium materials into this year's iterations says cheap. So you're looking at parting with uncomfortably close to a grand by the time taxes are factored into the equation.
AT&T, for example, wants around $740 for the Galaxy Note 5 and $815 for the S6 Edge+. You can divide those up into however many payments you want using AT&T Next plans, but it still amounts to a lot of money. Read More
Competition in Android smartphones is better now than it's ever been, and not just in the flagship segment. With devices like the Moto G, the ZenFone 2, and various Blu designs, the mid-range is heating up with phones that are jam-packed with value. But how about the low-end, entry phone segment? For those people who just want a device that runs a few apps, plays a nice round of Threes, and maybe browse for some sports scores? Before a few years ago, they were limited to whatever bottom-of-the-line, low-margin phones Samsung and LG would spare.
These days things are a little different. Read More
AT&T, who prefers to keep as many $100 millions as they can, has strongly suggested to the FCC that the carrier should not be required to pay the $100 million fine levied for throttling users on unlimited data plans. The punishment comes for failing to make it clear to customers that have grandfathered packages that while their service is called "unlimited," they will actually be throttled to 2G speeds once monthly usage exceeds an arbitrary amount that is not disclosed to subscribers.
To sum up AT&T's rebuttal, they say that the FCC is wrong about the current law and wrong about whether AT&T informed their customers about how unlimited data plans work. Read More
Having an FM radio built right into your phone seems like a really good idea, but for some reason the feature seems to be relegated to "value" phones like the Moto G in the US. In fact, the OEM chipsets for a lot of devices (including many of Qualcomm's super-popular Snapdragon SoCs) include FM capability, but the manufacturer disables it for whatever reason. According to a quoted report on RadioWorld.com, that's going to change for Android phones on AT&T in 2016.
Screenshots from the built-in radio tuner on the Moto G.
Two companies owned by Emmis Communications are claiming that AT&T will begin requiring an active FM receiver in every Android phone it receives from manufacturers starting next year. Read More
AT&T approved the Android 5.1 update for the first-gen Moto X (XT1058) on July 7th, but yesterday the carrier decided to halt the update. AT&T is calling this a "temporary" suspension, but isn't saying what exactly the issue is.
Asus has seen some success with the budget-oriented unlocked Zenfone 2, and now a less expensive variant of the device is coming to AT&T as a prepaid GoPhone. The Zenfone 2E keeps many of the design cues from the Zenfone 2, but pulls back on the spec sheet a bit. Read More
HTC One M9 owners on AT&T, your update is now ready. The Android 5.1 update is going out to customers starting today. Well, yesterday, at least according to the support page text, though we haven't actually heard from any AT&T customers who have actually spotted the OTA yet. In addition to the software goodies in Lollipop 5.1, this build includes "Device Protection." Remember, it may be a week or more before the staggered rollout gets to everyone.
Can't wait that long to get software version 2.6.502.16? HTC has provided its ROM Update Utility (RUU) for the upgrade, weighing in at a rough 2.25 gigabytes. Read More