There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to which carriers release updates for their Android updates first, and once you stray outside of the shallow waters of flagship smartphones, things start to get really inconsistent. For example, AT&T is updating its carrier-specific version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 to 5.1.1 today, at least according to this support page. But at the same time, Sprint's Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 is only just now getting upgraded from Android 4.4 to 5.0.
Remember that time Verizon announced it will carry a version of the Xperia Z4 called the Xperia Z4v three months ago? And said it would be out "this summer?" Well, summer ends in exactly... tomorrow, and the phone still isn't out. It was actually allegedly supposed to be released over a month ago, but now any kind of launch before October seems highly unlikely. Some guy got one anyway (somehow) and reviewed it in this video on YouTube. Verizon's site, by the way, says the phone is still "coming soon."
As I hope we can all agree, this is tremendously, mind-bendingly dumb for several reasons.
AT&T's prepaid service is set to expand its budget offerings this week with the ZTE ZMAX 2. As the name implies, this is the followup to the original ZMAX . Like its predecessor, the ZMAX 2 tries to offer some more premium features while keeping the price reasonable. This one is even cheaper, though.
Marshmallow is around the corner, but you know the routine by now. Updates take a while to roll out to some devices. Right now Verizon Wireless is pushing Lollipop to the Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 and Note Pro 12.2.
There are a plethora of budget smartphones in the $150-250 price range that are fine devices. If you're looking to go even cheaper than that, things get a little sketchy. T-Mobile and Coolpad are teaming up (yes, Coolpad) to offer the Rogue. It's only $50 and has Android 5.1. The specs are not impressive, but hey, fifty bucks.
Samsung's top-end tablets tend to be much more expensive than their contemporaries, and even more so if you spring for a mobile radio. Today (and only today!) you can grab the original Galaxy Tab S 10.5, with a 16:10 Super AMOLED screen and a Verizon LTE radio, for just $359.99 on eBay. That's an incredible $500 and change off of the original retail price, and about $100 off of the going rate for the year-old tablet. This is a new item in the white-and-gold color, but hurry - according to the eBay listing, this deal will be gone in about 12 hours (approximately 12 PM Eastern US time on Monday).
We like to (deservedly) give AT&T a lot of grief around here, but it looks like they have a case in their latest lawsuit. According to the legal documentation, AT&T has evidence of several employees having engaged in a scheme to illegally obtain unlock codes for AT&T customers that were still under contract. Why would they do that? Well, the lawsuit alleges they were taking money from Swift Unlocks, a web-based company that charges a small fee to unlock people's carrier smartphones.
The nearly-defunct two-year contract model that all carriers once used was built on the premise of making top smartphones more affordable up front.
If you're a Sprint customer and you've added Sprint Open World coverage, the carrier won't charge you any extra to place calls to certain parts of the world. You also get unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of data when you travel to any of the "Included" locales. "Additional" ones cost 20 cents a minute.
Sprint has added 33 more destinations to the list, bringing the total up to over 60.
Should you step across an international border, most carriers seize the opportunity to nickle and dime you into oblivion, but T-Mobile has a different take on things. Simple Global makes most services free or very cheap in supported countries, and the carrier is adding 20 more locations to the program today. Remember, this is only for Simple Choice postpaid customers, no prepaid subscribers need apply.
While many of us have been living the Lollipop life and looking forward to Marshmallow, life hasn't been so grand for owners of the first generation Moto X on Verizon. They've been languishing on Android 4.4.4 all this time, but it looks like that's finally changing. A soak test for Android 5.1 is starting to roll out, and that could soon mean a general release of Lollipop for this once proud device.