The state of North American cellular contract plans might be something that makes Europeans shake their heads in disbelief, but when it comes to phone pricing, Americans have always had it pretty good. Hand over your soul for two years, get Phone X for free (after MIR). Well, it looks like AT&T doesn't think that's the best way to go. No, that doesn't mean cheaper tariffs; don't be silly. Instead, it means more expensive phones, of course!
Good news for all you prepared individuals out there who are subscribed to Sprints TEP (Total Equipment Protection) plan: You now have access to a new app that adds a whole new level of useful to protecting your device through Asurion, the third party company that handles the insurance rigmarole for Sprint (and pretty much every other U.S. carrier, but they don't get an app).
The Sprint Total Equipment Protection App essentially mirrors the functionality of services like Lookout Mobile Security (but without the antivirus part): It can be used for locating your phone via GPS, helping to find it by sounding an alarm (even when on silent mode), backing up your contacts, remotely locking your device with a pin code, and remotely wiping the contacts.
Wirefly just opened pre-orders for the highly anticipated Motorola XOOM, the world's first Honeycomb tablet, and like Best Buy, they'll be selling the device for $799.99 on a mandatory one-month contract that will cost a minimum of $20 (oh, and what's up with the "Switch My Existing Wireless Number to my new MOTOROLA XOOM" option?).
In related news, Wirefly lists a February 24th shipping date, though they note that this is "subject to change." Additionally, if you pre-order an unreleased phone along with your XOOM, your whole order will be held until both items are ready to ship (as opposed to something like Amazon's model, where your orders are shipped separately).
AT&T users, rejoice! Brief Mobile has been informed that user DesignGears, along with Getaphixx, has rooted the Motorola Atrix before its official release.
AT&T is notorious for restricting its users to only Market apps. Through rooting, however, non-Market apps can run via sideloading. These privileges also provide an easy way to free users of the bloated social-networking service MOTOBLUR and disable many other unnecessary applications.
Full instructions follow:
What you’ll need first:
- .NET Framework 2.0 or Mono v1.2.6 (more information on Linux) (Windows XP: Download .NET Framework 2.0)
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
- Ubuntu Hardy (8.04 LTS)
- Ubuntu Jaunty (9.04)
- Ubuntu Karmic (9.10)
- Ubuntu Lucid (10.04 LTS)
- Ubuntu Maverick (10.10)
- Debian Lenny (5.0)
- Debian Squeeze (testing)
- Debian Sid (unstable)
- Debian Experimental
- Install Motorola drivers on your computer
- Mount the device for Media Sync.
About this time last week, I first started playing with our Inspire 4G review unit. And at first blush, I admittedly found myself enamored with this phone. Unfortunately, it was a love that started to splinter as the days went on, and the more I used it, the more I noticed just how unfinished some parts of this phone can feel. Overall, the Inspire is a good phone with the potential to be great, and I'll talk about what's holding it back (software, connectivity) further on in the review.
That wasn't so long, was it? As expected, Sprint has officially announced the official Android 2.2 update for the Epic 4G is set to start rolling out February 21 and will continue to be sent in waves until February 25, when all devices will have received the update. While you probably already know everything Froyo entails, Sprint has compiled a list of the major enhancements and additions you can expect:
This software update (version EB13) will include:
- Upgrade of the Google OS from Éclair to Froyo (2.2.1)
- Ability to install applications to external storage
- Improved Bluetooth device support
- Bluetooth Voice Dialing
- Flash Player 10.1
- GPS Enhancements
- Improved OS performance
It's certainly been a long time coming, but maybe this Froyo update will win back some customers for Samsung.
The Galaxy S 4G is not the most exciting phone coming out on T-Mobile, but if you've been looking at T-Mobile and eyeing the Samsung Vibrant, then the Galaxy S 4G may be for you. It is essentially a 4G (HSPA+21) capable version of the Vibrant that also comes with a front-facing camera and a mobile HD version of the movie Inception (wait, what?). Sorry, it still ships with Froyo - no word on Gingerbread for any T-Mobile phones other than the Nexus S has been released.
The Shack has officially announced the Atrix launch details via their Facebook page. The skinny: it lands in the store on February 22 for $150 with a new qualified 2-year plan. If you buy the dock at the same time, you can get it for $330, at a total cost of $480 - or $20 less than you'll pay at AT&T. I'm not looking to beat a dead horse on whether or not that price is too much, so I'm going to skip straight to the deetz:
The device is equipped with features that will blow you away:
- MOTOBLUR with Android 2.2 Operating System
- Adobe Flash 10
- 5.0 Megapixel camera with 720p video capture
- 4”"qHD Display with Touchscreen
- 1GHz dual core processor that outputs 2x 1GHz of processing speed and 1GB of RAM
- 4G capable speeds
The ATRIX blurs the line between smartphone and computer with the MOTOROLA LAPDOCK, available in select stores for $479.99*
- The MOTOROLA LAPDOCK gives you a full Firefox browser and access to web apps just like on a PC.
Sure, you've already spent hours salivating over the Motorola XOOM, checked out some apps built for Android 3.0, and even played with the Honeycomb emulator, but obviously, the one thing you've really been longing for is the XOOM's user guide.
Thanks to Droid Life, you can now sift through that clumsy collection of instructions you never would have read otherwise. Nonetheless, go ahead and download the guide if you so desire; we didn't discover anything previously unknown during our preliminary reading, but who knows - something new and exciting could be contained within!
Earlier today, Android Central caught word that the Epic and Zio would receive an over-the-air (OTA) update to Froyo on February 21, but had nothing more than copied and pasted text from the Sprint system. Fast forward a few hours, and we now have more concrete evidence in the form a screenshots from Sprint's internal system that confirm the update is coming: