If you use the stock browser on the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S4, you may notice the strange button in the corner. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Lumen Toolbar. It shipped on the S4, but Sprint is just now detailing it as part of the carrier's Pinsight Media+ mobile advertising program. You know those obnoxious toolbars that programs are always trying to cram on your PC? This is the same thing, but your carrier is doing it to you.
It's not much of a surprise at this point, but the Federal Communications Commission has approved the tri-company merger deal involving Japanese carrier SoftBank, Sprint, and Clearwire. The FCC ruling follows Justice Department approval several weeks ago, and some delicious drama that ended with Dish Network being shut out of the deal.
SoftBank is throwing $21.6 billion at Sprint to acquire a 78% stake in the company. Sprint is now also free to buy the remaining 49% of Clearwire it doesn't already own, giving it a big juicy slice of wireless spectrum.
If you bought into the ruggedized LTE device hype and picked up a Kyocera Torque on Sprint, then good news is afoot: your little tank is getting its taste of Jelly Bean beginning in just three days' time. According to Sprint's update blog, the Torque should begin receiving an update on July 5th that not only brings Android 4.1.2 to the rough-and-tough handset, but also international calling, the ability to "power cycle," email sync fixes, and enhancements to sleep mode.
If you've been clinging steadfastly to one of the tiny number of iDEN Android phones ever produced, you better have backup plan. Sprint shut off the old Nextel iDEN network yesterday (June 30th) just like it said it would. That juicy Nextel spectrum will be worth much more to Sprint as the backbone of its ever-expanding LTE network. Sprint is still happy to take you money, but only if you use the CDMA/LTE network.
On today's episode of All My Mergers And Acquisitions, the long-running Sprint bidding war between Dish Network and Japanese carrier SoftBank appears to be over, at least for the moment. After SoftBank increased its Sprint bid to 21.6 billion dollars for 78% of the company last week, and Sprint subsequently sued both Dish and Clearwire for getting in the way of its corporate matchmaking, Dish has withdrawn its offer. According to Reuters, the company stated that submitting a new offer by today's deadline was not practical.
If you're thinking this whole Sprint-SoftBank-Clearwire-DISH fiasco is getting a bit confusing, you're not alone: Sprint's fed up with the whole ordeal, and is now suing DISH and Clear for trying to run off together in a lurid affair of megahertz and majority ownership.
Why, exactly? Well, SoftBank, basically. One requirement of the Japanese firm's deal to buy out Sprint is that the Now Network take a controlling interest in Clearwire, whose juicy 2500MHz spectrum lease is the apple of SoftBank's eye.
Amazon Wireless sales are so dramatic and frequent that I don't know why anyone buys a retail-priced phone anymore. Case in point: Today's one-day sale is a reduced-price HTC One, on-contract for both AT&T and Sprint users. New contract signees can pick up one of the best Android smartphones around for a jaw-dropping $79.99, while those renewing their contracts can get it for just a bit more at $99.99. Two-day shipping is free (no Amazon Prime account required), and the phone is offered in silver or black on both carriers.
Oh, what a tangled web gigantic mega-corps weave. Japanese telecom SoftBank wants to get its hands on an American wireless carrier, come Hell or high water, and they've just outbid Dish Network to do so. According to Reuters, Softbank has upped its bid from October of last year to $21.6 billion USD for 78% control of Sprint, topping its previous commitment of $20 billion for 70%. Dish Network is currently offering $25.5 billion in a mix of cash and stock for an outright sale, about 10% less on a share-by-share basis.
There's a place in every carrier's line up for a mid-range phone, and that's what the Sprint Vital is. We got the early details on this device back in March when it was known as the ZTE Quantum, and the official announcement jives with the leak pretty well. This phone has a few notable features, but the hardware is a bit lackluster.
So here's something we're not used to hearing: Dell's got some pretty good deals going for phones right now. Verizon's Galaxy S4 is only $129 for new customers ($160 for upgrades), Sprint's version is $119 for new customers, and both come with a $50 Dell eGift card.
The deals don't end there, either – all versions of the GS4 come with a $50 eGift card, even if they haven't knocked a bundle off the price.