Both AT&T and Verizon have repeatedly and vociferously stated that their policy of locking bootloaders isn't going away any time soon. And in both cases, public-spirited security researcher Dan Rosenberg has managed to fox them on at least some hardware. Like a mischievous trickster deity, the Loki tool has been pressed into service to work around the locked bootloaders of various Samsung and LG devices, and the latest update adds support for the flagship LG G2 on both carriers.
Those of you looking for a cheap, small phone running Android will have one more option on AT&T starting later this month. The company issued a press release this morning finally announcing the release date for the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini. That's Samsung's cheaper, smaller version of the GSIII which actually has very little in common with the GSIII in terms of hardware. It will launch on AT&T on September 27th for $.99 on a two-year contract.
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After a lonesome stint on the US Play Store (and various random retailers across the world) with only T-Mobile SIMs available, the LTE Nexus 7 is now available on the Play Store in nine countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, UK, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Here's a URL that should work to get to the product listing.
The US version is available with AT&T and T-Mobile SIMs, but as some have suspected, Verizon SIMs remain MIA, and may for the foreseeable future.
There was a time not long ago that you couldn't even get AT&T-compatible Straight Talk SIMs due to a mysterious shortage. Well, things have certainly turned around. Straight Talk has just started listing 4G LTE service for AT&T devices. You can break free from the traditional carriers, save some money, and still keep your LTE data. That's a deal.
Straight Talk offers monthly plans starting at $45 with "unlimited" data.
It doesn't take very long for new phones to go on sale these days, especially if you're savvy enough to check Amazon. For example, the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now just $108 for new customers, or $118 for those who are eligible for an upgrade. (You can also add a new line and get the phone for $108.) Want something a little tougher? Amazon is offering the ruggedized Galaxy S4 Active at the same prices.
The Galaxy Note II is getting an OTA update. Hooray, right?! Eh, kind of. The update clocks in at 165MB, but it doesn't bump the Android version or even add new features. What you're getting is 165MB of updates to Google and AT&T preloaded apps.
The update will be pushed down to everyone automatically over the coming days, but you can check for the OTA manually from the Software Update menu.
LG is hoping to step out of Samsung's shadow a bit with the new G2. Having dropped the Optimus naming scheme, the G2 is the company's 2013 flagship, and it has the specs to earn the name. If the raw numbers don't get you, it's always got those back-facing buttons.
AT&T is asking $199 for the G2 on a 2-year contract, or $575 without subsidy. If you want to save a little scratch up front, AT&T Next gets you the phone for $27 per month.
AT&T is making the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 available on its LTE network. This is the almost same tablet you can get online without the LTE, but it costs a bit more here.
If you want a big phone with a faux-leather back, the Galaxy Note 3 is the only game in town. AT&T customers can get in line now to wrap their hands around the Note 3. Well, assuming they can fit their hands around it at all. AT&T is taking pre-orders right this minute.
The Note 3 comes in black and white – no sign of that stylish pink one yet. If the prospect of a 2-year contract frightens you, there's always the outrageous $724.99 full price option.