As Android 4.4/KitKat updates begin rolling out to devices on all the major US carriers, one frequently asked question has to do with whether or not these devices will include Android's new "Tap and Pay" feature. This was one of the major additions in KitKat and allows almost any device with an NFC chip to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if said chip doesn't have a built-in secure element.
It looks like AT&T and T-Mobile are gearing up to push Android 4.4. and Sense 5.5 to their respective variants of the HTC one, according to HTC Executive Product Manager @moversi.
T-Mobile HTC One Owners! We have received technical approval for 4.4 OS + Sense 5.5! Expect the OTA out shortly! Thank you for your patience
— Mo (@moversi) February 21, 2014
Another Great News! We have received AT&T's technical approval for the HTC One w/4.4 + Sense 5.5.
According to TmoNews, Americas magenta-est carrier (and don't you forget it!) will unveil some changes to the company's JUMP! device installment plans on February 23rd, and while they're heavy on "unlimited" language, the plans are actually getting a bit more restrictive for customers.
First, in the "good news" departments, tablets are joining the JUMP! family of devices, so you'll soon be able to finance a tablet from T-Mobile. Which if that's something you, you know, want, sounds good.
Remember when we reported that T-Mobile was suing AT&T because the marketing for the Aio budget carrier used a shade of purple that was too close to T-Mobile's (literally) trademark magenta? Yes, that is a thing that happened. And apparently at least one Texas judge thought it was a valid complaint, because a federal court has ruled that Aio did, in fact, infringe on T-Mobile's corporate trademark.
Here's the PR statement that T-Mobile issued after the ruling:
You may have noticed that AT&T and T-Mobile are in a bit of a spat at the moment. T-Mobile offers early upgrades with no-contract financing plans, and AT&T does the same a few weeks later. T-Mo woos people with credits towards early termination fees, AT&T gives a whopping $450 of credit ($250 for trading in a T-Mo phone, $200 for transferring service) to former T-Mobile customers. But it looks like the gravy train has run out of fuel - CNET reports that the promotion is over.
If you've been holding your breath for LG's curved, flexible G Flex and... well, the somewhat less remarkable Optimus F3Q to come to Magenta, then you won't have to wait much longer. T-Mobile announced this morning that both smartphones will be available starting on February 5th online and at retailers. The G Flex will cost $672 ($28 a month on T-Mobile's two-year payment plan), while the budget QWERTY slider will cost $312 ($13 for 24 months).
T-Mobile is doing a lot of unconventional things for the mobile industry, and now it's branching out to banking as well. The carrier has announced a new service called Mobile Money that works like any number of other online banks. You set up the account, deposit your checks through an app, and use a Visa debit card to spend. As for the fees, most of them are waived for T-Mobile customers.
The new Xperia Z1s on T-Mobile is almost identical to the international Z1, except for the radio bands and some software tweaks. One thing that definitely isn't the same is the bootloader – it appears that T-Mobile has requested Sony not allow bootloader unlocks on this device. For a company trying to upend the traditional carrier model, this is awfully old-fashioned carrier behavior.
If you're too impatient to wait for Samsung to get Android 4.4 to your carrier variant of the Galaxy Note 3 (or if you're just tired of TouchWiz), the indefatigable boys and girls of CyanogenMod are here to help. They've just released the first nightly builds of CM 11 (KitKat) for Samsung's plus-sized flagship, with support for the international LTE model (N9005), plus Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint versions.
As it happens, Samsung just started sending out the official 4.4 update for the N9005 earlier this week, so those of you who are on the unlocked version of the phone might want to go for the TouchWiz build of KitKat instead.