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
As we reported a few days ago, T-Mobile has introduced Test Drive, which allows both current T-Mobile customers and those in other carriers (or who have no cell provider at all) to borrow an iPhone 5s from the company for 7 days. That includes unlimited talk, text, and data with the only current T-Mobile device that supports all the wireless band's used by the company. It's an effort to show, not just tell, the US population that it's greatly improved its wireless network and tuned it for massive data use.
After the T-Mobile Uncarrier 5.0 event we were able to get our hands on one of the iPhone 5s Test Drive units, and we've included some images here. Inside the box is what we assume is a refurbished black iPhone 5s, along with a sealed Lightning cable, Earpods, and AC adapter. It's definitely not the Apple unboxing experience, but that isn't the point. As far as storage capacity, our iPhone 5s is a 32GB model, so there is room to try downloading apps, videos, and images.
At yesterday's T-Mobile Uncarrier 5.0 event, the company surprised everyone by also announced Uncarrier 6.0: absolutely free unlimited streaming music. Dubbed "Music Freedom," T-Mobile CEO John Legere revealed that any T-Mobile customer can stream music from Pandora, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Spotify, Slacker, Rhapsody, Milk, and Beatport without having to worry about data caps. To make it clear, Legere stated "Every single note of music will come free, not against your bucket. Even when you exhaust your data bucket, you can still stream unlimited music at high speed." The services mentioned account for 85% of music streamed on T-Mobile, but the company isn't stopping there. For example, services like Rdio and Google Play All Access Music will be part of an online voting area that T-Mobile is providing to allow customers to choose which other music services they'd like to see added. The goal is to add a few new services each month.
If you already have an unlimited T-Mobile account, you aren't left in the cold. The company also announced a partnership with Rhapsody unRadio, an app that is available to anyone on any carrier, and T-Mobile unlimited customers get free access, while limited T-Mobile customers get a 20% off discount and pay $4 per month. If you aren't on T-Mobile, you pay $5 for unRadio.
Uncarrier 5.0 was the T-Mobile Test Drive, which sees the company giving anyone in the US an iPhone 5s for free for a week to try out the T-Mobile network.
During last nights T-Mobile Uncarrier 5.0 event here in Seattle, the company announced its Uncarrier 5.0 T-Mobile Test Drive, the next phase in its battle to separate itself from the typical pack of mobile wireless carriers. The Test Drive starts on June 23rd, and will see T-Mobile lending anyone in the US an iPhone 5s at no cost for a full seven days. What's the point? Well, T-Mobile CEO John Legere says that the company has been rapidly building its network coverage, and wants to prove it to anyone who wants to give it a try by providing the "latest and greatest" iPhone and unlimited voice, text, and data for the duration of the Test Drive.
The other item that the Test Drive aims to accomplish is increasing awareness that T-Mobile offers the iPhone as an option on its network. Apparently, since it took them so long to get the iPhone originally, the mind share just isn't there. This could change that. Apparently, Apple is on board with the strategy, as its the one that is providing the iPhone 5s units to T-Mobile for the Test Drive program, free of charge as part of a "growing partnership" between the two. Of course, it would stand to reason that Apple would want consumers to be aware that its devices are available on the nation's fastest growing network.
After your Test Drive, if you want to join T-Mobile, you won't be able to keep the same iPhone that you used during the trial, as that device will be wiped and returned to the pool of Test Drive devices. If you decide to keep it, T-Mobile will charge you $700 for the iPhone, and if you significantly damage it, the price will be $100 to repair it.
What do you think? Will you give the T-Mobile Test Drive a chance?
At the event, T-Mobile also announced unlimited, free music streaming on its network.
Read More | T-Mobile Test Drive
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:
When talking about eye-catching smartphones at CES 2014, the LG G Flex is definitely the one getting lots of attention. I got my hands on it last night at Digital Experience and asked LG about what the true benefits are of a curved display outside of gimmickry, and that video will be coming soon on Bleeding Edge TV (so keep an eye on Gear Live's YouTube channel!) The device sports the obvious gorgeous, curved OLED 720p display, which is actually flexible to 180 degrees and also features self-healing material on the rear casing. For real. Other specs include the inclusion of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 mobile processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel rear camera. It's been available in a few countries in the Asia Pacific market, and will be making its way to the USA in the first quarter of this year. Expect to find the device on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile sometimes in the first quarter of this year.