On Monday, T-Mobile quietly rolled out a software update for its HTC Amaze 4G that, most notably, introduced the ability to make Wi-Fi calls. An official update today also added that feature and more to the carrier's Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone.
Wi-Fi calling sets T-Mobile apart from other carriers, but until now, it was only available on select phones. In fact, it was one of the five best features we discussed when an AT&T/T-Mobile merger seemed imminent. Given T-Mobile’s admittedly limited cellular network, the Wi-Fi calling option makes for a great fall back when signal is hard to come by. T-Mobile customers using phones like the myTouch 4G have already been enjoying this feature, and T-Mobile seems determined to bring it to as many phones as it can.
The added capability comes in the form of a device upgrade to Android 2.3.5, which T-Mobile claims will also improve the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S II. The update addresses a number of issues, including a "Force close" problem that dropped calls when split in a conference call. Also rolled into the update are improvements to Caller ID and battery notifications. T-Mobile notes that customers must have a GBA SIM card to access the added Wi-Fi calling capability, but most phones should already be equipped with the right card.
Our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide tries to hit you with gift recommendations at all different price points, and this one may be the least expensive. Radio Shack is selling a bunch of 4G Android smartphones for free, with two-year contract, this holiday season. You can get devices like the Samsung Stratosphere for Verizon, Samsung Infuse 4G for AT&T, and the HTC EVO Design 4G for Sprint. All of these devices support faster data speeds, and at a price of free, they're a tremendous deal.
HTC has been dealt another blow in its ongoing patent battle with Apple. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled Monday that Apple's products don't infringe on patents held by S3 Graphics, a company in the process of being acquired by Taiwan-based HTC, ending the commission's investigation into the matter.
Last month, an ITC judge issued an initial judgment that Apple did not violate four HTC patents related to functions like power management and phone dialing. The Monday ruling concerned S3 patents for texture compression which relate to applications for things like 3D gaming.
HTC is in the process of closing a $300 million deal for S3 Graphics.
An HTC legal representative told The Wall Street Journal that the company was "disappointed" with the ITC ruling but would weigh its options, including an appeal of the decision.
The Staples Black Friday 2011 sale begins at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving, and they've got a few items that have our attention. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $199 BlackBerry PlayBook, Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones with a $20 gift card at purchase, buy 1 get 1 free paper, and more.
RadioShack's Black Friday 2011 sale looks enticing, and we rarely say that kind of stuff about The Shack. Doors open at 5:30 am the day after Thanksgiving, but you can get the Black Friday prices a day early by shopping on radioshack.com. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $300 15-inch Toshiba laptop, a $99 7-inch Velocity Micro Cruz tablet, 20% off Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones, and more.
Details of Best Buy's Black Friday 2011 sales have just been released, and we've got a list of all the highlights you can expect to see after the break. Doors will open right at midnight on October 25th, and tickets for the doorbusters will be handed out as early as 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Click through for a look at the goods.
The HTC Rezound is a 4G LTE device featuring a 4.3-inch 720p HD display, a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor, 32GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and the latest version of HTC Sense. It also sports an 8-megapixel camera that comes with an F2.2 lens and records video in 1080p.
It will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, though HTC promised to update it to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich "early next year."
Users with the EVO 4G, EVO 3D, EVO Shift 4G, EVO Design 4G, EVO View 4G, and HTC Wildfire S will receive an over-the-air update starting today; users can manually install the update right away.
"Sprint worked closely with HTC after reports emerged of a potential issue that could allow malicious third-party apps to compromise data on Android devices made by HTC," the carrier said in a statement. "We urge all users to install the update promptly."
HTC has announced a strategic investment and partnership with Beats Electronics, with the goal of bringing high-quality sound to HTC phones.
HTC did not disclose the amount of the investment, which AllThingsD pegged at $300 million. HTC had previously announced an "major news announcement" for Friday, scheduled for 8:30 AM in Los Angeles.
In a separate statement, however, HTC said that a "line of HTC devices integrated with Beats sound innovations would be launched this fall". Beats Electronics is most known for its "Beats by Dr. Dre" brand, with a partnership with the iconic rapper and producer.
Are almost 50 percent of the world's smartphones running Google's Android? According to Monday data from Canalys, Android ended the second quarter with 48 percent of the market, with Asia Pacific leading the charge.
Globally, the smartphone market is up 73 percent from last year, with 107.7 million devices shipped in the last quarter. Of the 56 countries tracked by Canalys, Android topped 35 of them, with 51.9 million shipments overall.
Why the boost? Canalys pointed to strong Android support from major handset makers like Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ZTE, and Huawei. Android holds 85 percent of the market in South Korea and 71 percent in Taiwan alone.
Apple came in second place with 20.3 million iPhones sold and 19 percent of the market, which was enough to overtake Nokia's Symbian platform and make Apple the world's top smartphone vendor.
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