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Verizon to stop honoring FCC restriction on not SIM-locking phones because nothing matters anymore

According to CNET, Verizon Wireless will begin SIM-locking its smartphones out of the box at some point this Spring. Essentially no details are provided about how this will be implemented, but it really doesn't matter, because Verizon rather explicitly agreed not to do this ten years ago.

Per the restrictions imposed by the 700MHz Upper Block C spectrum auction it won in 2008, Verizon is expressly barred from locking down handsets on its network that utilize this spectrum. The plain text from the restrictions makes this absolutely clear.

(e)Handset locking prohibited. No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee's standards pursuant to paragraph (b)of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers' networks. (Emphasis added)

So, Verizon's announcement today is complete and utter bullshit.

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Google reaches agreement with Getty Images to display its content in Search

Getty Images and Google are announcing an agreement for a multi-year licensing partnership, allowing Google to use Getty's images in Search and across its other products. The agreement requires that Google make some changes to Image Search, including making copyright disclaimers more prominent and removing direct links to certain images.

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Google is being sued for the 2016 Pixel's microphone problems

Hot on the heels of the Project Fi news, it appears that Google is being sued for another problem. Last year we reported that many original Pixel and Pixel XLs were having microphone-related issues caused by a physical defect in the device. Now the same group of attorneys that put together the LG bootloop lawsuit is seeking a class action against Google for the OG Pixel's microphone defect. 

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Lawsuit alleges Google Project Fi charged a subscriber for Wi-Fi data

One of the big advantages of Google Fi is its flexibility. You just pay for the data you use at a rate of $10 a gig, up to a recently-set maximum of $80 a month. But, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this week, Google may have charged at least one Project Fi subscriber for data that was used while the customer was on a Wi-Fi connection. 

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UK-based Wileyfox enters administration to restructure its debt

United Kingdom-based phone manufacturer Wileyfox entered the Android smartphone scene in 2015, when it released the Storm and Switft phones. The low-end Spark was released later, in mid-2016. They were budget phones running the short-lived Cyanogen OS, and when Cyanogen collapsed, the company started developing its own ROM.

A community manager at Wileyfox has revealed on Reddit that Wileyfox is undergoing administration. For those of you not familiar with it, administration is a process in the UK where a company gives full control of itself to a person (or small group of people), in order to pay off debts to creditors.

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LG settles bootloop lawsuit: Members get $425 in cash or a $700 LG phone rebate [Update: Only for plaintiffs of the initial case]

According to a settlement website set up by the law firm Girard Gibbs, members of a lawsuit against LG for G4, V10, V20, Nexus 5X, and G5 bootloop problems have received a settlement offer. The suit went to arbitration last summer.

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Qualcomm fined €997 million for anticompetitive practices (again) by the EU

The European Commission has fined chipmaker Qualcomm €997 million ($1.24 billion) for abusing its market dominance in LTE baseband chipsets. The decision comes as the result of an investigation covering the period from 2011 to 2016, during which Qualcomm paid Apple to exclusively use its LTE chips in iPhones and iPads.

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[Update: Released] Xiaomi still hasn't released the kernel sources for the Mi A1

Xiaomi's mixed record for releasing kernel sources continues, as the company has still not posted sources for the Mi A1. While Xiaomi has previously stated their internal goal for releasing kernels is "within three months," according to XDA-Developers, the Mi A1 is well past this mark, as it was released last September. With the apparent end of the Nexus device program, the Mi A1 would be a prime candidate for custom ROM development, in place of the 2+ year old Nexus 5X.

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The FCC has killed net neutrality protections in the US, and that's bad

Net neutrality was codified under the FCC's Title II regulatory authority nearly three years ago, regulations that covered both wired and wireless internet providers. The providers were none too happy about this - Verizon's morse code sass being the most memorable response.

Today, the FCC voted to end its authority over ISPs under Title II, putting an end to those net neutrality protections. Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, is largely credited with making this happen. This is all, to put it succinctly, very bad.

Today, you'll probably hear a lot about how your favorite websites will slow down, be blocked, or only be available as part of special paid packages.

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BlackBerry to pay Nokia $137 million after losing dispute over payments owed under patent license contract

As far as patent disputes go, BlackBerry vs. Nokia is a sad undercard between two fallen heavyweights whose combined market share remains part of the dismal "Other" category in most reports. Nevertheless, Round 1 of this match is going to Nokia, thanks to an arbitration court ruling that has awarded the Finnish company $137 million to resolve a contract dispute related to payments it said BlackBerry owed under a patent license contract signed in 2012.

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