There's no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S III is the best phone on all four major carriers right now. If you're considering picking one up on Big Red (despite its locked bootloader), you can now score the 32GB version in white or blue from either Amazon Wireless or Wirefly. Yeah, we know: it's a tough choice. First you have to decide which color to buy, then which vendor to buy it from.
Last week, we took at a look at the best tablets for students and parents alike. Today, we've picked through the hundreds of offerings out there to pick the best overall and best on-a-budget smartphones on all the major carriers. As a bonus, we took a look at the latest offerings on some of the more popular pay-as-you-go carries, which can oftentimes be the best choice for a student.
With that, let's get started.
If you still had any doubts at this point that the HTC Rezound Ice Cream Sandwich update was indeed rolling out as reported by the first batch of users, let me dispel them right now. Verizon Wireless just updated the official document detailing the Android 4.0.3 rollout (it's indeed HTC build version 3.14.605.12 and Sense 3.6). Here are some screenshots of the doc along with the changelog:
After countless leaks, a rumor of questionable origin, and a missed target release timeline of June-July, it looks like Verizon has opened the flood gates, and the HTC Rezound ICS update has started rolling out to the first batch of users, just a few days late.
Update: Verizon just officially confirmed.
The 299MB OTA bears the same version 3.14.605.12 that we heard about a few weeks ago and may take several months to become fully available to 100% of devices.
In a post to Google's Android Building group today, Jean-Baptiste Queru once again acted as the bearer of good tidings for developers and tweakers everywhere, announcing that "a new set of proprietary binaries for Jelly Bean are available."
The new batch of binaries includes those of the Nexus S and Nexus S 4G (Crespo and Crespo4G respectively), the latter of which we just recently saw added into the AOSP fold.
The FCC and Verizon settled out an ongoing dispute about Verizon's removal of tethering apps from the then-Android Market for devices operating on its network, stating that the "Block C" spectrum rules it agreed to when it purchased the frequency bands obligate it to provide its customers open access to software. Those rules, if you haven't seen them before, are essentially:
Verizon just announced a new handset for its 4G LTE network, claiming it's the "perfect crossover for basic phone customers switching to a smartphone." What makes it perfect, you ask? The device features a "dual-interface" setup, allowing users to choose between "starter" and "standard" mode. Basically, while power users try to get their devices to to as much as possible, the Marauder allows users to dumb-down their smartphone. How ironic.
There's probably some appeal there, as the device also packs a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but some rather modest specs for a budget device:
- 3.8" display
- 1.2GHz dual-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 5MP rear shooter
- Android 4.0
For those interested, this simpleton of smartphones will be available beginning on August 2nd for $50 after a $50 mail-in-rebate.
Last month, both Amazon Wireless and Wirefly offered a promotion for a $40 credit with the purchase of a new 4G LTE phone on Verizon Wireless. Now, Amazon Wireless is offering a similar deal for anyone who purchases a phone on Verizon and activates a new Share Everything plan.
Basically, if you purchase select Verizon phones from Amazon Wireless between now and August 2nd, you'll get a $40 credit on your bill (which may "take up to three bill cycles to process").
HTC Rezound owners may have a reason to get excited in the very, very near future. According to a leaked document, the Rezound may be seeing an update to Ice Cream Sandwich starting as soon as tomorrow, July 29th. The document says the OTA update should be about 292MB, so be sure to have your WiFi handy before you download.
Looking to be the successor to the Pantech Breakout, it seems that a little phone called the Pantech Star Q will be headed to Verizon. This sliding, QWERTY-packing device is decidedly a budget phone, expected to ring in at just $99 on contract, but it includes a mixed bag of low-end and surprisingly appealing specs, including Android 4.0.4, a Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz, a front-facing camera (of indeterminate resolution), a 3MP rear shooter, a 4" WVGA display, and of course a sliding QWERTY keyboard.