A few weeks ago, Gear Live threw down and kicked off the holiday season with the 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash, and now we've got the pictures to prove it. At the event, I presented my picks for the best holiday gadgets, along with help from my friends Jess Estrada (of FreshJess), GeekWire, Drew Morrison, and New Tech Seattle. We had Seattle's VellVett perform, as well as "Kid Sensation" Xola Malik. Blitz, the mascot for the current Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, made an appearance as well. It was a great night full of food, music, and gadgets giveaways.
We've got to give a warm shout-out to the sponsors who helped make the 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash possible, and sending the attendees home with awesome gifts: Monster, AT&T Seattle, and Rhapsody.
Click on over to check out the full 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash photo gallery.
We've received a few emails over the last few days from readers asking about switching to AT&T Next so that they can get the new iPhone 6 on Friday for no money down. AT&T has been notifying some customers who are mid-contract that they can switch to a Next plan at no charge, doing away with contracts going forward. Of course, there are those who are still under AT&T's grandfathered "unlimited" data plan, but others simply want to know if programs like AT&T Next and Verizon Edge are worth it, or if they're rip-offs. The thing is, early upgrade plans like Next and Edge basically allow you to divorce the act of owning and paying for a phone, from paying for cellular service. If you play your cards right, you'll actually come out ahead financially, and you'll be able to upgrade to a new device whenever you want. Let's walk through a scenario of buying a phone with AT&T Next.
All currently available mainstream plans feature two components: a data charge, and a line charge. We will ignore the data charge aspect from here on out, because it's the same regardless of what plan you choose.
AT&T Next offers you a lower monthly line charge ($15 less for data plans under 10GB, $25 less for 10GB and over) in exchange for them not giving you a large subsidy when you buy your phone. Next plans never involve a contract, and you can get out of them at any time, penalty free, by paying off the balance you owe on your phone.
Apple announced two new iPhones today--the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus--but that wasn't all the iPhone news coming out of the We Wish We Could Say More event. Aside from cutting the price of the iPhone 5s in half, Apple has also dropped the price of the iPhone 5c. You'll now be able to pick up the unapologetically plastic smartphone absolutely free with a two-year contract.
Read More | iPhone 5c
The folks behind the Isis Wallet recently announced that the company would rebrand and change its name due to the rise of the ISIS Middle Eastern terrorist group in the public eye. A great decision to be sure, the company announced today that the Isis Wallet will shortly be known as Softcard. An app update will be pushed to the various app stores where Isis Wallet is available within a few weeks, and Softcard will take its place. No word on any new features at this time, as the company is looking to swiftly get the name change in place to distance itself from the militant group of a similar moniker.
Read More | Softcard
We are giving away a bunch of cool gadgets that are geared to amp up your summer, thanks to AT&T! As always, if you're a Gear Live Patron, you get 25 bonus entries. Here's a look at what we are giving away in this contest:
Jawbone mini Jambox: Okay, for real, who doesn't wanna have music with them when by the pool or at the beach? A lot of us have a seemingly unlimited amount of music accessible by our smartphones and tablets, and the mini Jambox allows you to stream it over Bluetooth. At the next family BBQ, you'll be the star of the show.
Jawbone UP24: Fitness wearables are all the rage these days, and if you like tracking your stats or are looking for a motivational tool, then it's easy to see why. With the UP24, you can monitor your fitness throughout the day, and even track your calories and water intake. At night, it'll even keep track of how well you are sleeping, which is probably not well if you're out camping in a tent. The device connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth LE, so the battery lasts a full week, and there's no plugging anything in to sync.
Bodyguardz Screenguardz Pure: I always thought it was kind of silly for people to protect their smartphone screens with a thin plastic film. The Screenguardz Pure is a super-thin piece of tempered glass that can actually take a real beating, and exceeds the hardness of steel. That's protection.
Amazon unveiled the new Fire Phone this morning in Seattle, and we've since discovered that the new smartphone will sell for $199 with two-year contract as an AT&T exclusive for the 32GB model. If you'd rather get the 64GB version, that'll run you $299 on contract for the device that tracks you with its array of front-facing cameras. No word on how long the AT&T exclusive will last, but hopefully folks on Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint will be able to get in on the action soon enough.
The Fire Phone will be released on July 25th, and pre-orders start today. For a limited time, buyers will also get 12 months of Amazon Prime with purchase, which itself is a $99 value.
Read More | Amazon Fire Phone
So, these days just about everyone owns a smartphone. I own one. You own one. Even my grandmother owns one. If you are part of a smaller group of people, you might also own a tablet of some sort. I own an iPad for instance. And they really fulfill the same role- wasting precious moments of my life on the internet when I really could be doing something productive. Sure, one has a big screen and can't make calls, but I have often wondered why I really need both.
Apparently, so has ASUS. Back in 2012 they came out with the PadFone, a smartphone dock that was also a tablet screen, so you could view your phone in larger than life (ok, larger than phone anyway) detail. But unless you wanted to hop a plane to Taiwan and buy it there, chances are you would not get your hands on one.
Now you can. ASUS announced that starting July 6th, the PadFone will be available on the US market under the name PadFone X through AT&T. It is projected to cost $200. It only works with ASUS smartphones though, so US companies will have to get in the game.
I give you a look at the new HTC One (M8) smartphone in this episode of Unboxing Live. The M8 is the follow-up to my favorite Android phone of last year, the HTC One (see our original HTC One video review.) I open it up and give you a tour of the smartphone, which boasts impressive specs and some of the nicest hardware out there on a smartphone.
Want your own? Get the HTC One M8 from these carriers:
- 5-inch 1080p display
- Quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor
- 16GB capacity
- HTC UltraPixel camera
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- 5-megapixel wide angle front camera
- Android Jelly Bean with HTC Sense
- HTC BoomSound dual front stereo speakers
- 2600mAh battery
This morning, HTC officially announced the HTC One (M8) during a New York City press conference. It's the new flagship device from the company, replacing last year's original HTC One smartphone, which we thought was the best Android phone of the year (you can see our original HTC One review here.) HTC did what it could to make the device better in every way, including a unique camera system. With that said, there's a lot to go over, so let's get to it.
We open up the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in this episode of Unboxing Live! The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features a new, thinner design with a stitched faux-leather rear backing. The display is a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, and the device is available in either Marble White or black with the new S Pen. As far as cameras, you get a 13-megapixel version on the rear, with a 2-megapixel shooter on the front. You get 32GB storage on the inside, and 3GB RAM rounds it out.
You can get yourself a Galaxy Note 3 now:
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