Sometimes PR people make up words they think are clever—they usually aren't. Kyocera's new "fragiphoniphobia" line is an example of this. The "fear of fragile phones" will allegedly be mitigated by the new ruggedized Kyocera Hydro Life. Whether or not you want a rugged phone, I think we can all agree that fragiphoniphobia should never appear in print again.
When it comes to Android tablets on US carriers, you're lucky to find anything that isn't Samsung. But LG has been making a determined push as of late - in addition to expanding its G Pad lineup with three new models, they landed last year's G Pad 8.3 on Verizon. Today AT&T announced that it would make the smallest and cheapest current LG tablet, the G Pad 7.0, available on its LTE network starting this Friday, August 8th.
I really like my LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition (or as we call it 'round the office, the LGGP83GPE), and it's a bit disheartening that the standard version isn't getting more traction. But at least Verizon's LTE model is now on Android 4.4, as confirmed by Google+ users. Verizon's standard upgrade page says that the KitKat 4.4.2 OTA update adds a few changes to LG's software skin as well.
The rumors have been percolating up through the internet for months that Sprint (and parent company SoftBank) was nearing a deal to buy controlling interest in T-Mobile US, but a French company you've probably never heard of just threw a monkey wrench in the works. Iliad has offered $15 billion in cash for 56.6% of T-Mobile.
Update: Verizon's specification page has been changed to indicate that the LG G Vista has an "HD" screen. It looks like there was an error in the original spec list. We're going to assume that means that it's a 1280x720 screen.
Looking for a mid-range phone on Verizon? Then you've got two more choices starting today. The LG G Vista, an enormous "phablet" device, and the Kyocera Brigadier, the latest in the company's line of "tough" phones, are both on sale now at Verizon's website.
Sprint is continuing to expand the reach of its 4G LTE network, and today it has unveiled that faster data speeds are now available in seventeen new markets. Areas affected by this expansion stretch from coast to coast, though a third of them are concentrated in the Northeast. Both New York and Pennsylvania see three markets apiece join the ranks, with the large Buffalo and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas accounting for the most people.
Sprint's Virgin Mobile pre-paid brand is announcing a new plan option today called Virgin Mobile Custom. Can you guess what the hook is from the name? Yes, it's a cell phone plan that you can customize. The plans come with a basic level of service, then you choose what extras to add. The catch is that you'll only be able to get these plans at Walmart stores.
Not everything in the Android world is super-high-end, and if your carrier is building a brand on being cheaper than the other guys, perhaps having a few cheap phones around isn't a bad idea. Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Avant, the latest addition to T-Mobile's hardware lineup. The internal specs won't blow anyone away, but with an off-contract price of just $216 (or $9 a month for two years on Jump), they don't need to.
It's never a bad thing when phones get the latest version of Android software, and Motorola seems committed to sending it to their devices sooner rather than later. After the usual Verizon soak test a couple of weeks ago, the updated ROMs are ready and apparently flying out to both the high-end Moto X and Verizon's customized CDMA Moto G. If you don't see the update alert in your notification bar, you should sometime over the next few days.