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Verizon RCS Universal Profile support arriving in early 2019

Verizon is looking to launch RCS text messaging in early 2019, according to the company's SVP of consumer products Apart Khurjekar. Khurjekar took the stage at a New Jersey GSMA event to make the announcement, along with a wealth of less interesting tidbits about business messaging. This appears to be the catalyst behind Verizon's sudden interest in bringing RCS to fruition, but I think we can all be thankful that something has spurred the carrier to improve the current state of messaging.

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Verizon releases LG V40 ThinQ update with new camera features, Android security updates

Verizon's latest update for the LG V40 ThinQ is all about making users look good, by way of creating digital avatars and fine-tuning their selfies to transport them to another place.

The patch includes a handful of new camera-centric features, including the introduction of "My Avatar" and Augmented Selfie capabilities, both of which look like they're meant for a lot of time-wasting (read: fun) applications.

Using My Avatar, you can create a cartoon avatar to be used in Messaging and other apps that feature an on-screen keyboard. The avatar is created from several photos of your own face, and can then be customized with different clothing and accessories.

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T-Mobile OnePlus 6T gets its first update, includes security fixes and improved Nightscape

One of the downsides to buying Android phones from carriers is that all system updates have to be carrier-approved. Thankfully, it looks like T-Mobile's OnePlus 6T won't lag far behind the unlocked variant. The T-Mobile 6T just received its first system update, which includes security fixes, adjustments to Nightscape mode, and more.

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Verizon 'My Numbers' lets you have multiple phone numbers on a single device for $15 each

There are (apparently) people who want to use the same number on multiple phones. In that case, you could (but should not) get the Verizon Palm Phone. For those who want it the other way around, the new My Numbers service from Verizon lets you add more numbers to a single phone, but it'll cost you more money.

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Buy one Pixel 3 or 3 XL, get another free-ish (via $799 service credit) on Project Fi

The latest Pixel phones are a little too spendy for some, but Google's Project Fi service has a deal that might make them more palatable. If you purchase two 2018 Pixels on a group plan, you can get a $799 service credit. That's sort of a "buy one, get one" deal as the base model Pixel 3 costs $799. You do still have to buy the phones, though.

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[Update: APK Download] Project Fi is about to make switching from Wi-Fi to mobile data painless, adding always-on VPN

Google's long-term plans for its MVNO carrier, Project Fi, remain uncertain. But for the time being, the carrier is continuing to roll out new software features. No, Fi isn't getting RCS support — but it is starting to test an always-on VPN service and improved network switching.

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Kyocera's new Verizon-exclusive phone sports a rugged design and a sapphire screen

Rugged phones aren't generally very exciting. They're all big, boxy things, with plastic shells meant to absorb force from drops. Kyocera's new Verizon-exclusive rugged phone, though, is... well, it's a big, boxy thing with a plastic shell. But it also has a sapphire screen and an action camera.

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Verizon's Total Mobile Protection program is offering open enrollment until Nov. 25

Insurance might not be something you'd typically associate with smartphones, but as prices for premium flagships continue to rise, the option to protect yourself from a lost investment increasingly makes sense. Enter companies like Asurion, which work with carriers to provide smartphone insurance. In the case of Asurion and Verizon, the partners generally only offer their $13 per month Total Mobile Protection service within 30 days of a new device's purchase. Occasionally, though, Verizon and Asurion initiate an open enrollment period for people with devices under two years of age. That's the case right now, with the latest enrollment period expiring November 25th.

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The Razer Phone 2 comes to AT&T on November 16th

You can run out right now and order the Razer Phone 2 unlocked and use it on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. However, then you're on the hook for the full $800 purchase price up front. Starting this Friday, you can get your hands on the AT&T variant and pay a comparatively low monthly price. AT&T will apparently be the only official carrier partner for the new Razer Phone, too.

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T-Mobile set-top box surfaces on FCC, 'Un-carrier' TV service can't be far behind

Late last year, T-Mobile announced its intentions to "uncarrier" television service, with its purchase of Layer3, an online TV provider. The first fruits of that acquisition have just reared their head at the FCC in the form of a new T-Mobile-branded set-top box.

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