So you know about that big scary update for Verizon's Galaxy S 4 that blocks root, patches the bootloader, and haunts your children's dreams. The question is, though, what else does it do? Verizon finally spilled the beans (someone grab a mop and clean this mess up, please), and it's chock-full of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.
The Verizon Stratosphere II is one of those phones. You know, the quirky - I mean, qwerty - kind that packs just enough punch to be functional but not enough to wow the bulk of us. Today Verizon has announced the latest firmware update, version I415VRBMF1, that gives the little handset a little tune-up. The device should now give a more accurate read of data usage and leave behind a few jarring bugs, such as issues where auto-correct inadvertently replaces an entire text message and the SIM pin entry screen displays the incorrect number of remaining attempts.
At a time when T-Mobile is trying to redefine the less-than-stellar reputation of wireless carriers, it looks like regional player US Cellular has taken a big step backwards. The company is no longer allowing customers to access the upgrade reward in the Belief Project, which allowed those who had completed an eighteen month contract to buy a new phone at the subsidized price without signing another contract. After July 27th, US Cellular customers will have the same old contractual ball and chain if they buy a new device at the advertised price.
It's time for Verizon to roll out its next wave of exclusive devices, as the company has just sent out invitations to its upcoming press event. Verizon will hold the shindig in New York City on July 23rd, where we expect the carrier to announce the latest generation of its DROID handsets. Likely candidates include the DROID Ultra, the DROID MAXX (an Ultra with a bigger battery), and the DROID Mini (convenient travel sized).
If you're having reception issues or dropped calls at your home or office, Verizon Wireless (and other carriers) might recommend you pick up a femtocell. This is a small device that plugs into your router and acts like a miniature cell tower. However, a pair of security researchers have revealed how they managed to use that same device to snoop on phone calls and other communications.
Late last night, AT&T began promoting its new "Next" smartphone upgrade plan in earnest. And earlier yesterday, a leaked training document revealed Verizon's "Edge" upgrade plan. Both are very obvious four-letter copies of T-Mobile's new Jump plan. Let me give you the breakdown on these Jump competitors as quickly as I can.
AT&T will allow you to finance (0% interest, no down payment, no finance charges) a phone for 20 months, pay it off monthly, and after 12 months of payments, will let you trade it in and start financing a new phone, and remaining payments on the old phone will be forgiven.
T-Mobile's version of the Sony Xperia Z is now available on the carrier's website in both black and purple. We were previously under the impression this was just the pre-order date, with wide availability following tomorrow, July 17th. The device appears to actually be ready for purchase, though. If you jump on it now, you get free overnight shipping and a Sony Bluetooth wireless speaker. These are limited time, online-only offers.
Whether or not you want to partake in T-Mobile's "Uncarrier" experiments, they're obviously having an effect on the wider American carrier landscape. Today AT&T announced plans to counter T-Mobile's JUMP! upgrade/trade-in plan with one of their own, called Next. The Next plan will allow similar installment payments on new phones with no money down, and users will be given the option to trade in their existing phone and begin paying off a new one.
Droid-life has gotten its hands on some leaked Verizon employee training materials, and they reveal the existence of something called "VZ Edge" - what can only be described as Verizon's four-letter answer to T-Mobile's new Jump upgrade plan. The gist is this: Verizon will allow you to upgrade your phone every 6 months, with strings attached. Here's what we know so far.
Edge is part of Verizon's existing device payment plan program.