Sprint is readying for the release of the HTC EVO 4G LTE, and today it moves a step closer to release. Starting today, you can pre-order yourself an EVO 4G LTE for $199.99 (or you can get it for $149.99 from Wirefly) with two-year contract. If you're not eligible for an upgrade, the cost shoots up to $549. Unfortunately, Sprint's LTE network has yet to go live, so the phone will likely be a 3G affair at launch. Disappointing, but, hey, when LTE is lit up on the Now Network, the phone will be ready on day one. Wirefly says the Ice Cream Sandwich device should ship on May 18th.
Now that we're more than halfway through the iPhone 4S year, you can expect the rumors about the next iPhone (iPhone 5? iPhone 6? The New iPhone?) to start coming at us fast and hard in the time leading up to the release of Apple's next flagship smartphone. This morning iLounge reports that a source has clued it in on what the next iPhone will look like, and it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.
Sprint customers have been patiently waiting for the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus since it was announced a few months ago at CES. Well, we're happy to report that the wait is almost over. The Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus is now available for pre-order for $199, and will ship next week on April 22nd. Buyers will also score a total of $50 in Google Wallet credit as well ($10 off the bat, and another $40 three weeks later) which is nice.
Read More | Sprint
Sprint has recently announced that it plans on moving into the LTE market, finally recognizing that WiMAX isn't the place to be long-term. Now, don't get your hopes up of it launching anytime soon...you might want to sit back down and grab a cup of coffee and wait.
Sprint will be carrying a new LTE device powered by Qualcomm’s MSM8960 Snapdragon, however it remains a mystery as to which OEM will be producing the device. Our bet is that it will be Nokia, as Sprint is planning on adding a Windows Phone 8 device to its line up. Now given that info, since Windows 8 is set to release at the end of the year, we don’t except Sprint to roll out its LTE network until that timeframe, in limited markets.
Read More | SprintFeed
2011 will come to an end in just a few short hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but the HTC Thunderbolt gets two of the top spots, as does the Motorola Xoom.
Do you pay your Verizon cell phone bill online or by phone? You might want to look into other options, because starting Jan. 15, those methods of payment will include a $2 fee.
As reported by Droid Life, Verizon will impose a $2 "convenience fee" for one-time online and phone payments, starting next month. The move is intended to "balance the support costs" associated with those payment options, Verizon said in documentation posted by the blog.
Users can avoid the fees by signing up for Auto Pay, which makes automatic monthly payments via a major credit or debit card on the same day every month, or when your account reaches a specific dollar amount. With Verizon, the minimum payment is $15 and the max is $250.
Other ways to avoid the $2 fee include: using an electronic check, which will pull the funds directly from your bank account; paying online via your bank's bill pay site; going to a Verizon Store; using a Verizon gift, rebate, or friends and family referral card; or mailing a paper check.
Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
AT&T will incur a pre-tax "breakup fee" of $4 billion in the fourth quarter and will enter into a roaming agreement with T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom.
AT&T maintained that the deal would have benefited the U.S. wireless industry. But in recent months, it faced challenges from the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, both of which found that the merger would not be in the public's interest. That opposition, however, does "not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry," AT&T said.
"AT&T will continue to be aggressive in leading the mobile Internet revolution," Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "To meet the needs of our customers, we will continue to invest."
Sen. Al Franken this week said he is still "very troubled" by the technology deployed by Carrier IQ despite the fact that the company—as well as AT&T, Sprint, Samsung, and HTC—released details about how they use Carrier IQ software.
"People have a fundamental right to control their private information," Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said in a statement. "After reading the companies' responses, I'm still concerned that this right is not being respected."
Of particular concern was the fact that Carrier IQ was receiving the contents of users' text messages after say it did not, as well as the software's ability to collect online search data.
"There are still many questions to be answered here and things that need to be fixed," Franken said.
"We appreciate Subcommittee Chairman Franken's continued interest in protecting consumer privacy and look forward to our ongoing dialogue with the Senator to answer his additional questions," Carrier IQ said in a statement.
At the Google I/O conference in May, many Android phone vendors and U.S. wireless carriers made a long-awaited promise: From then on, any new Android phone would receive timely OS updates for at least 18 months following launch, as part of the then newly christened Google Update Alliance.
The back story: If you own an Android phone, you may have watched with frustration as a new version of the OS hit the market. It's almost never clear if your phone will ever get that upgrade—unlike with iOS or Windows Phones, which always get all upgrades (providing they meet the right hardware requirements). With Android, it seems to depend on the phone vendor, the specific model, the wireless carrier, the Android version itself, and whether Google sent the carrier an inflatable plastic food product as a token of its appreciation that week. Worse—and much to our chagrin—sometimes vendors make promises to customers before the sale that they don't keep once you own the phone.
Many factors contribute to this. But custom versions of Android are the key culprit, either thanks to vendor-specific enhancements (like HTC Sense, Motorola MotoBlur, and Samsung's TouchWiz, though LG, Pantech, Casio, and other vendors do it too), or carrier-specific enhancements of a more dubious nature (such as unnecessary preloaded bloatware and changes to default apps). These changes require many programming hours not just to make in the first place, but to also support and upgrade down the road—resources the carrier would rather throw at making new phones to sell you.
So the Google Update Alliance was a breath of fresh air. It sounded like everyone would finally come together, streamline their OS update timelines, and stop jerking around their customers. The thing is, while the Google Update Alliance ended up being one of the biggest stories to come out of Google I/O, we've heard almost nothing about it since then. You can bet we weren't just going to forget about it and pretend it never happened—especially after the release of Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), which is a huge leap in UI design and overall performance.
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.
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