T-Mobile's latest service seems to fit its 'UnCarrier' agenda perfectly, since it has little connection to wireless and doesn't actually require users to have the company's phone service. Called Mobile Money, the personal finance product combines a smartphone app (iOS or Android) with a branded prepaid Visa card. Without paying a single fee, T-Mobile wireless customers can deposit checks into their Mobile Money account by taking a picture of them with their smartphone, withdraw money from 42,000 in-network ATMs and reload the cards with cash at T-Mobile stores (non-T-Mobile customers would pay additional fees). There are also no maintenance fees, minimum balances or activation fees.
While many already have free checking accounts with their bank or credit union that offer similar features, this is aimed at people who for various reasons can't get a traditional checking account, and rely instead on check-cashing or payday loan services that charge high fees. It's very similar to the service Boost Mobile launched last spring with a similar focus, and T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert sys households currently using check cashers can save up to $1,500 per year in fees. What it isn't however, is a mobile payment service like Isis Mobile Wallet, which it has no connection to. Interested customers can sign up now online or in T-Mobile stores, and next month it will expand to include Safeway locations.
Google acquired Bump -- developer of an NFC-like file sharing app with the same name and a photo sharing service called Flock -- back in September, and both projects will shut down January 31st. CEO and cofounder David Lieb announced the discontinuation of both products on the Bump blog, saying his team is "deeply focused on our new projects within Google." That bodes well for their mission of enhancing sharing on mobile devices, but the bad news for Bump and Flock users is that this shut down means everything must go.
After January ends the apps will no longer function, they'll disappear from the App Store and Google Play and all stored data will be deleted from servers (locally saved files or photos will remain in place). Any of those millions of users can still keep their data though, just open up the app anytime in the next month, and follow the instructions shown (tap the "i" menu on iOS or "More" on Android). Afterwards, Bump will send over an email with a link to let you download all of your stored data.
Source: Bump blog
Waiting to see when BBM will actually launch on other mobile platforms? According to a tweet from BlackBerry Senior Strategic Account Manager Alex Kinsella, the timing may be in Apple's hands. Stating "BBM for iPhone was submitted for review 2 wks ago #waiting", this might shift blame for any perceived delay -- summer ends September 21st in the northern hemisphere -- from Waterloo to Cupertino. It's a reminder of rumors that surfaced before Google launched its standalone Maps app on iOS, but unfortunately doesn't give us a firm date on when to expect the app. Still, with recent accidental leaks and video previews of the Android version, it shouldn't be much longer.
Source: Alex Kinsella (Twitter)
Earlier today, several top designers at HTC were arrested in Taipei under suspicion of fraudulent expense claims, as well as stealing trade secrets ahead of leaving the company to run a new mobile design firm in both Taiwan and mainland China. Five people were interrogated, with the most notable ones being Vice President of Product Design Thomas Chien (pictured above), R&D director Wu Chien Hung and design team senior manager Justin Huang (who also personally sketched out the One's design). Chien and Wu have been taken into custody, whereas the others were released on bail. Their offices were also raided yesterday for the investigation.
Reports say HTC chairwoman Cher Wang personally filed a complaint to Taiwan's Investigation Bureau, which has since learned that Chien, Wu and Huang planned to set up a new design company aimed at the mainland Chinese market, and that they would resign after claiming their mid-year bonuses yesterday. The real beef HTC has here is that it apparently caught Chien secretly downloading files related to the upcoming Sense 6.0 UI design, and then shared them with external contacts via e-mail.
The trio is also accused of making false commission fee claims for the One's aluminum chassis design. While the design was done in-house, the three men used an external design firm to invoice HTC for over US$334,000 worth of commission fee between May and July, and then split the money between themselves.
We reached out to HTC for a statement on this matter, but the spokesperson didn't have much to provide at this moment:
"The matter is under investigation by relevant authorities. We therefore refrain from further comments."
For the last several month's Google's stock price has been surging, getting increasingly close to the $1,000 mark. And when monstrous revenues like this keep rolling in, it's easy to see why. In Q2 of 2013, the internet giant pulled in $14.11 billion in revenue, an increase of 19 percent year-over-year. Of that massive hall, all most all of it (93 percent) was generated directly by Google properties, most notably massive advertising networks. $12.1 billion of its gross was thanks to advertising. Motorola's efforts equate to less than $1 billion in revenues, but the $998 million it pulled in is not in inconsequential improvement over Q2 2012's $843 million. Even with that modest improvement, however, Moto still posted an operating loss of $342 million. That's notably worse than the $199 million lost during the same quarter last year. While this wasn't a record setting quarter for Google, its certainly not far off from its Q4 2012 mark of $14.46 billion and marks a small increase sequentially.
Net income also remained strong, with the Mountain View team pocketing $3.23 billion. Again, not a record high, but not far off from the $3.55 billion in Q1 and a pretty impressive jump year-over-year from $2.79 billion. While a significant chunk of Google's cash is generated here in the good ol' US of A, the international markets are still treating the company quite well. In fact, a full 55 percent of revenues ($7.2 billion) were earned overseas. While cost-per-click continued to decline for the company, by 6 percent from last year, the number of paid clicks was up more than enough to compensate -- an impressive 23 percent. And, should Google's fortunes suddenly turn, it has a war chest of $54.4 billion stashed away for a rainy day.
We can't say we were really taken aback with shock at the news, but Nokia has officially unveiled its latest imaging flagship, the Lumia 1020. The 41MP Windows Phone, which has been anticipated by many enthusiasts since the 808 PureView was introduced, is looked at Nokia as "the next chapter in smartphone photography." With the phone only offered in yellow, black and white hues, it's not the most colorful device in the Finnish company's repertoire, but Elop's gang is hopeful that it can make up for the lack of color with a stellar imaging experience: in addition to the high megapixel count, the 1020 will feature OIS and six Carl Zeiss lenses.
Stay up to date on the latest news from Nokia with our liveblog of today's event!
With recent moves to add hashtag support, verified Pages, comments with inline photo embeds and more, it appears that Facebook is ready to take on competing social networks. It should come as no surprise to us, then, that it's putting its acquisition of Instagram to good use by introducing a service -- aptly called Video on Instagram --that rivals Vine, a similar service now owned by Twitter.
Instagram's version will be accessed by an icon on the bottom right corner of the app, and you'll be able to record up to 15 seconds of video, using your choice of 13 new filters exclusively for the service. Contrary to its major competitor, this particular service (which will be available on iOS and Android versions from day one, and can be viewed on the web as well) won't loop the video on an endless basis -- rather, you'll see it pop up in your feed and the video will run just once. In addition to filters, Instagram has introduced a stabilization feature called Cinema. Instagram's blog post and video showing the new service can be found after the break, and the iOS version is already live on the App Store. Sadly, there were no news about when we can expect to see the app on Windows Phone, but the team has been "talking with [Microsoft] and learning."
Gallery: Facebook Instagram Video screenshots
14/05/2013 - Nokia announces the Lumia 925: a thinner, lighter aluminum body coming June for 469 euros
Nokia's second announcement for May is arguably a more notable progression from the Lumia 920 than the US-only Lumia 928. This is the Lumia 925. It's another flagship, but this one's setting its sights on the rest of the world. The first thing to note is the change in build materials and profile. While the rest of the Lumia range have stuck to plastics -- typically glossy polycarbonate -- the Lumia 925 is Nokia's first Windows Phone to be packed into an aluminum frame. One of the benefits of this change in design? The handset's weight has plummeted. While the phone has the same dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 1GB RAM and 8.7-megapixel OIS camera of the 920, the Lumia 925 is almost 50 grams (1.8 ounces) lighter than last year's Lumia 920.
Despite a thinner 8.8mm profile, there's an identical 2,000mAh battery. Alas, instead of built-in charging, you'll have to purchase an accessory cover to enable the function on the 925. Said covers will come in red, yellow, black and white, offering a splash of color to the three understated monochrome shades (white, grey and black) of the hardware. The 925 model also sports an 4.5-inch AMOLED screen, so while it matches the resolution of the existing 920 (1,280 x 768), those on-screen blacks -- a regular occurrence with the Windows Phone OS -- should be notably deeper than the LCD competition. It's also coated in Gorilla Glass 2, with ClearBlack tech and a high-brightness mode to improve outdoor visibility and the same super-sensitive touchscreen that means you'll be able to steer the phone with your gloves on. There's more to say about camera improvements -- jump past some Nokia-approved sample shots below to hear more.
Gallery: Nokia Lumia 925 sample images
As if it weren't plenty apparent, the people at 6Wunderkinder are pretty good at task management. Less than a week after the company delivered Wunderlist Pro for iOS, Mac and the web, it's followed through on the promise of Android and Windows versions. For $50 per year (or $4.99 per month), Wunderlist Pro delivers advanced collaboration features like task delegation and, soon enough, file sharing. Even if you aren't too keen on paying for the Pro version, though, free users will discover an action bar in the latest update that brings the ability to sort items alphabetically, by assignee or by due date. Also from the action bar, you can email, print or invite people to shared lists. Yep, there's something for everyone, and even if you aren't yet familiar with Wunderlist, this is a prime opportunity to check out the scene.
22/04/2013 - Nokia granted preliminary injunction against HTC in the Netherlands over high-amplitude mics
Don't worry, this time it's not a patent issue. However, it is more bad news for HTC's oft-delayed One. Nokia has been granted an injunction by the Amsterdam district court, concerning the technology used by HTC in its current flagship. You might recall the pair of high-amplitude mics housed within One's aluminum body, but these are apparently the same dual-membrane tech that Nokia's used in its recent Lumia 720, seen above.
The Finnish company recently applied for a preliminary injunction, pointing the finger at ST Microelectronics, which is responsible for manufacturing the mic component for both Nokia and HTC. According to our source, the issue is likely to be a breach of an NDA between Nokia and ST Electronics as the phone maker asserts that the "microphone components [were] invented by and manufactured exclusively for Nokia." We're still hearing the details and will update as we hear more. We've also reached out to HTC for comment. For now, you can read up on Nokia's statement following the court's decision after the break.
Update: HTC has offered up an official statement in response to the injunction: "HTC is disappointed in the decision. We are considering whether it will have any impact on our business and we will explore alternative solutions immediately."
Last quarter, Verizon gained a record high 2.1 million subscribers, but at the cost of a $1.9 billion net loss. Now that the company is releasing its Q1 2013 figures, are we going to see some of those losses trimmed back? The latest jumble of spreadsheets says yes, revealing that Big V turned a profit of $4.8 billion whilst adding 677,000 new subscribers to its wireless service -- giving it a total customer base of 98.9 million users. In the quarter, Verizon activated 7.2 million smartphones, of which 5.9 million were LTE-ready devices. It added that 28 percent of those activations were customers who had defected from other carriers.
The company's wireline business saw 188,000 FiOS Internet and 169,000 FiOS Video customers, pushing that particular sector's revenue up to $2.6 billion -- 69 percent of Verizon's consumer revenue. Customers who are hoping to trade up from DSL should take heart that Big Red has switched over 83,000 homes to fiber this year, and plans to upgrade a further 217,000 dwellings before the end of 2013. CEO Lowell McAdam was his usual upbeat self, painting a rosy picture for the company's future without mentioning that other company that begins with V it's got to deal with.
While plenty of Android users prefer the vanilla OS experience, manufacturer-created skins persist, like HTC's updated Sense 5 UI debuting on the latest One flagship. HTC's Droid DNA will almost certainly receive this new version in the future -- the handset maker has confirmed it's coming to the Butterfly, a DNA variant -- but if you're partial to flashing, you can get your fingers on it right now. XDA Developers member newtoroot clearly isn't lacking the expertise their handle suggests, and has taken to the site's forum to offer a beta build of Sense 5 for the DNA. Bear in mind it's a beta, but everything is said to working bar MMS and the new Zoe camera mode. If you've got the hardware, know your way around a ROM and are up for toying with HTC's latest skin, head to the source link for the file and thread.
Source: XDA Developers
The recent ruling that effectively bans third-party phone unlocking has ruffled more than a few feathers, and the people have spoken with their electronic signatures -- 114,322 of them, to be exact. Now the petition to the White House, which asks that DMCA protection of phone unlockers be reconsidered, has finally received an official response, and it appears that it's for the positive. The author of the letter is R. David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation and Privacy.
"The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties," Edelman writes. All told, the response matches that of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which wrote a letter to the Librarian of Congress in support of extending the exemption last year.
So what does this mean for us? Edelman states: "The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation." We're not going to see immediate change, but it appears that a chain of events is now in motion in which the FCC and Congress potentially play a huge role. We're not out of the woods yet, but it's relieving to see such a positive response -- along with a call to action -- from the government.
Read the response in its entirety below.
Source: White House
We've heard (and seen) a fair bit about LG's L-series sequels, but nothing beats seeing them in the flesh, right? Both the 4.3-inch L7II and the smaller (4-inch) L5II were on show here at LG's media event, and while we might have been more easily distracted by more powerful relatives, it looks like LG's middleweight smartphone series has its fans.
As is to be expected from the company's Style line, there's been some design changes, alongside a power increase to dual-core processors on the bigger L7II -- the L5II arrives with a single-core 1GHz processor. Cosmetic changes include a textured backing and, well, you'll have to skip after the break to hear about the other improvements, but be reassured that they're backed up by Android 4.1 and dual-SIM iterations -- although those don't look quite as good. After the gallery, we've got more first impressions and you can expect a hands-on video very soon. Gallery: LG L7II and L5II hands-on
Gallery: LG L7II and L5II hands-on
Yes, it's already possible to snag a "Lego" iPhone case, but only if you throw some cash Smallworks' way. If you've been waiting for one that bears Olé Kirk Christiansen's official branding, then you don't have much longer to wait. Belkin has signed a licensing deal with the toymaker that will allow it to produce a range of Lego-themed iOS device cases, offering a "buildable" experience -- whatever that means. Wake us up when they release a Mindstorms version, please.
[Image credit: Scott Stein / CNET]
Looks like retailers might be jumping the gun a bit on the about-to-be-announced BlackBerry Z10 smartphone ahead of the upcoming event. Twitter user @bandozer spotted one at a UK Phones4U retailer and managed to snap a pic (after the break), saying that "it looks and feels good," while our own tipster forwarded us the above image that came from another store. Looks like the only thing that'll stop the numerous leaks is when RIM finally announces the darned thing -- sometime in the next hour or two.
Gallery: BlackBerry Z10 retailer leak
Via: The Verge
Source: @Bandozer (Twitter)
Sprint has just announced that it has entered into a "definitive agreement" with Clearwire to buy the 50-percent stake in the company it doesn't already own in a transaction worth around $2.2 billion. Thanks to the increased value of Clearwire's stock when the rumors of the deal broke, House Hesse has had to pay an extra $100 million on its first formal offer.
While the deal is contingent upon the legal nuts-and-bolts of Sprint's deal with Softbank working out, the Japanese carrier has given its blessing to the deal. Big Yellow has also garnered the requisite support from Clearwire's big-ticket minority stakeholders, including Comcast, Intel and BrightHouse networks -- which will all vote in favor of the transaction.
T-Mobile's not skimping on the big announcements in today's investor conference: it's now declared that it plans to move entirely to its Value Plans in 2013. The carrier's current rate offering nets you a lower monthly tariff in exchange for an omitted device subsidy -- in other words, bring your own phone, and you'll pay less for service. The new strategy would make the company's voice and data lineup more competitive, particularly for subscribers who don't mind paying full sticker price for their handsets, or bringing over an unlocked device from another carrier. During this afternoon's presentation, the company used the term "Un-carrier" to describe its new direction -- considering that Deutsche Telekom's Capital Market Days programming runs through tomorrow in Bonn, this move could turn out to be but one piece of the T-Mobile's overall marketing plan for 2013.
Filed under: Mobile
The downfall of Microsoft's Kin smartphones is a fairly well-known story at this point, and something that Microsoft would no doubt prefer to forget, but details have a tendency to keep trickling out. The latest comes courtesy of Wired's Gadget Lab, which has obtained some previously unseen internal testing videos that paint a bleak picture of the problems Microsoft was facing. While the devices in question are pre-production models, they're said to be "changed very little from the shipping product" and, as you can see in the videos, they didn't exactly make a good impression on the product testers. Words like "lag" and "frustrating" are the common theme, with one tester adding: "I can imagine my daughter would give this back very quickly." Of course, these are just a small sample of what were undoubtedly many testing sessions, but the complaints are remarkably similar to those we'd see when the phones were ultimately released. You can find one video after the break and the rest at the link below.
Internal Microsoft Kin testing videos offer a new look at what went wrong originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 17:03:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Wired Gadget Lab | Email this | Comments
Sprint has cemented a deal with US Cellular to pick up its PCS spectrum and around 585,000 customers across the Midwest. The deal will land the newly-owned company 30MHz within the 1900 MHz band across Illinois, Indian, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio, with the carrier stating that it'll be putting the extra spectrum to use augmenting its coverage while it continues to roll out 4G.
US Cellular will apparently continue business elsewhere, once the deal passes regulatory approval some time year, stating that it aims to "increase focus on markets where it has strong positions" and "streamline operations" -- probably involving its own 4G expansion plans.
Sprint pays US Cellular $480 million for Midwest spectrum and customers originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 07 Nov 2012 07:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Business Wire, PR Newswire | Email this | Comments
In a joint press conference, Softbank has officially announced that it is buying a 70 percent stake in US mobile carrier Sprint. The Japanese company is paying $12.1 billion to buy existing shares, and a further $8 billion for new shares that the network is issuing. CNBC reported previously that it would net Sprint around $3 billion in cash, which it could use to regain control of Clearwire and bolster its LTE rollout.
Softbank confirms 70 percent Sprint acquisition for $20.1 billion originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 15 Oct 2012 04:12:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
11/10/2012 - Court reverses Galaxy Nexus sales ban in the US
A US appeals court has overturned the injunction banning the sale of the Galaxy Nexus, saying that the California district court had "abused its discretion" in granting the injunction.
Developing...Permalink The Verge | Reuters | Email this | Comments
Apparently the "significant issues" that stood in the way of a prospective T-Mobile and MetroPCS deal couldn't have been too onerous. Just a day after acknowledging that talks were underway both boards have approved the deal according to the Wall Street Journal. Details of the deal haven't been officially announced yet, but Financial Times Deutschland are reporting that the two carriers will be combined into a single unit in which Deutsche Telekom will hold 74 percent of shares. MetroPCS will have a 26 percent stake in the company and receive a $1.5 billion check for its troubles. Expectations are that this will put the kibosh on a recent deal T-Mobile struck with Crown Castle to lease its mobile towers for $2.4 billion.
Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS agree on $1.5 billion T-Mobile merger originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 03 Oct 2012 08:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Reuters | Wall Street Journal (Twitter), Financial Times Deutschland | Email this | Comments
05/09/2012 - Nokia announces Lumia 820, a 4.3-inch, LTE-running, budget-friendly Windows Phone 8 handset
No matter your budget, Nokia's got a Windows Phone 8 handset for you. While the Lumia 920 dominated today's press conference, the company's more modest Lumia 820 is planning to sneak in and capture the mid-range. The handset is packing the same 1.5Ghz dual-core Snapdragon S4 internals you'll find in the 920, along with 1GB RAM and a 4.3-inch display.
While the handset isn't unattractive, the design language of the 800 (and N9) that captured our hearts has been dumped in favor of something more symmetrical. The glass of its 800 x 480 ClearBlack OLED screen is flat rather than curved (poached by the 920) and the body's finish is a little more shinier than the previous generation of Nokia's polycarbonate.
Photography fans looking to get their hands on that PureView goodness will be disappointed to see that it's also been reserved for the flagship. Instead, this unit comes with the more familiar 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss optics we've seen before, but at least there's a front-facing VGA lens for video conferencing.
While the unit only has 8GB of on-board storage, it's packing microSD support (our guess would be up to 32GB, as per usual) and you'll also get an additional 7GB of storage on Microsoft's cloud service, Skydrive. The company's including a series of protective cases in a variety of colors, including a set that add bundle QI-compatible wireless charging to the handset -- at the cost of adding an extra 1mm to the handset's overall thickness.
It'll arrive in Red, Yellow, Grey, Cyan, Purple, White and Black, with separate LTE and HSPA+ variants shipping "later in the year," but Elop and co declined to give a specific announcement on availability or price today.
Gallery: Nokia Lumia 820
Nokia announces Lumia 820, a 4.3-inch, LTE-running, budget-friendly Windows Phone 8 handset originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 05 Sep 2012 11:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
29/08/2012 - Sony annouces Xperia T,V, and J models at IFA
Kaz Hirai is live on stage at Sony's press even at IFA, and has just announced three new Xperia phones, the T, V, and J. The T being the new flagship.
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