It's hard to be Sprint these days. Its LTE rollout is lagging way behind the competition, it's losing subscribers and cash fast, and everyone is making fun of its "Framily" plans. That's too bad, but Sprint isn't going to get back in our good graces by charging money for things we already have or don't need in the first place. That's just what it's doing with the new Total Equipment Protection (TEP) Plus plan.
The Galaxy S5 is a pricey phone, the cost of which the big four American carriers typically offset by pushing consumers towards two-year contracts. They generally also offer the choice to pay for the entire phone upfront, but people who want to own the phone outright and have the several hundred necessary to do so stand to benefit from shopping around for the lowest price, and lowest commitment, option available. Today both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile have added their names to the list of providers willing to sell a Galaxy S5, doing so for $599.99 with no contract.
Before last week, the term "XLTE" basically didn't exist. Then rumors started pouring out that Verizon would be offering a new kind of LTE with twice the bandwidth of its current offering using this unheard of moniker as its namesake. Turns out all the rumors were true, as Big Red just took the wraps off of this new high(er)-speed LTE offering.
On the surface, it's not a lot different than the company's current LTE: the icon is the same, the phones are basically the same (we'll actually get to a list a little bit later), and no modifications are needed to current plans.
The rumors surfaced last week, and AT&T made it official yesterday evening. The telecom company has agreed to pay nearly $50 billion in cash and stock for satellite TV provider DirecTV. If approved by regulators, the new AT&T would have control of about 26 million TV subscribers.
If you've got an HTC One on T-Mobile, whether it's the original from 2013 or the new One M8, you have a software update headed your way. Nether is packing a new version on Android, because they're both running KitKat, but new features are inside nonetheless. One M7 owners get a refreshed version of HTC's Sense interface, and One M8 owners now have access to the Extreme Power Saving mode.
Nearly every phone sold in the last few years has a 4G LTE radio, but when you place a call it's still falling back to traditional 3G technologies. The all-IP voice technology known as VoLTE (voice over LTE) is still in the early days, but AT&T is beginning its rollout this very month on May 23rd.
That shiny new HTC One M8 is supposed to come with 50GB of free Google Drive space, but what gives? AT&T is holding out on us. It was actually just a bug that popped up last month, but AT&T promised it would be fixed by mid-May. Here we are right about the middle of May, and the fix is rolling out.
You can't have everything, which is why the ZTE Concord II exists. This entry-level smartphone has just been announced for T-Mobile and Metro PCS. It will be on sale later today on the magenta carrier and next week on Metro PCS.
This phone isn't going to set the world on fire with its specs, but it's going to be available in carrier stores for cheap. Here's the full spec sheet.
If you happen to own an Atrix HD from AT&T, get ready for something you haven't seen in a very long time: a firmware update. Unfortunately, this is only a "security enhancement" and not an upgrade to the Android operating system. Motorola hasn't specified exactly what this update is supposed to fix, but it's almost certainly a patch for the Heartbleed bug that was widely reported last month.
The last update to the Atrix HD shipped out at the end of 2012, which brought it from 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean).
Play Store carrier billing support has rolled out to another mobile provider, 3 (Drei) in Austria. If you head over to Google's carrier billing support page, the site doesn't list it just yet, but thanks to a tip, we've laid our eyes on screenshots suggesting otherwise. Here, feast your eyes as well.
Why is this a big deal? Some people don't want to provide Google with their credit card numbers.