While the semi-annual parade of new smartphone models at NTT DoCoMo often reveals some unexpected devices, this summer it had a bumper crop: we've already seen the new Sony Xperia A, Sharp's Aquos Phone Zeta and Aquos Pad SH-08E plus a Galaxy S4 in "arctic blue." Seven more phones round out the lineup and NTT DoCoMo is trumpeting 2,100 mAh minimum batteries, LTE, NFC and quad-core processors for the entire gamut. Other standout models include Fujitsu's 5.2-inch, 1080P Arrows NX F-06E, a model with a 16-megapixel camera you'll likely never see stateside, Panasonic's Eluga V P-06D with a 4.7-inch 1080P screen and a whopping 2,600 mAh battery, and Disney Mobile's F-07D, which should be an endurance wonder with a 720P screen and 2,600mAh cell. Naturally, there's a rainbow of new hues for most of the models, which will roll out over the summer in Japan -- click the source link PDF for detailed specs or check the PR after the jump.
Source: NTT DoCoMo (PDF)
For the most part, battery packs have become what CD cases were in the late 90s -- generic and utilitarian. Nokia's new DC-18 portable chargers dare to be different. The sharp, tile-like designs house a modest 1,720 mAh cell, retractable micro-USB cable (that doubles as a a switch,) plus an LED battery level indicator that lights up when you extend the aforementioned appendage. It's available in four colors (red, white, yellow and blue), but only in select regions right now. No word on when and for how much, but color-coordinators can keep pinging the source to find out.
Plans to update the Nokia Lumia 900 with Windows Phone 7.8 have been slow-going, to say the least. Today, however, marks the beginning of a new life for the aging handset, as it welcomes a much-anticipated 7.8 refresh. Naturally, this means the former flagship is getting an injection of new features and improvements -- namely, that revamped Start screen with flexible tiles. Users will also enjoy various enhancements to the lock screen, including the option to use Bing's image of the day as a wallpaper. Rounding out the list are various other under-the-hood tweaks to make the experience smoother and help close the gap with current smartphone powerhouses. The good news is that it's here now, and can be all yours by following the step-by-steps at the More Coverage link below.
Source: NokiaCareUS (Twitter)
With the onset of MiFis, smartphone hotspots and other methods of tethering your computer to the 'net, USB modems aren't exactly the most popular devices on the block anymore. It doesn't mean they're not desirable to business folk, however, so most carriers keep at least one or two in their lineup. AT&T just introduced the Beam, its latest dongle from Sierra Wireless, which offers the usual LTE domestically (700/AWS) along with tri-band HSPA+ (850/1900/2100) and quad-band GSM / EDGE.
The key feature here is its built-in 96x64 black-and-white LCD panel, which displays signal strength, data usage and other stats. Finally, it offers mobile hotspot capability, GPS and microSD card support (up to 32GB), and will work on Win 8 / RT laptops and tablets. Dimension-wise, it weighs 1.91 ounces and measures a stout 1.97 x 2.58 x 0.46 inches (50 x 65.5 x 11.7mm). If that fits your purposes, the Beam can be all yours starting May 10th for $20 and a two-year commitment.
Over six months ago, a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon called Isis launched a trial of its nascent mobile payment service in Austin and Salt Lake City. Not only had its debut already been delayed by a matter of months, we also haven't heard more than a peep from the company since. CEO Michael Abbott, who is the keynote speaker at ETA 2013 in New Orleans, has opened the discourse but still isn't giving many specific details on the future. When we asked him about his company's expansion plans, Abbott simply told us that "when [we're] ready, we'll start putting it out in different places and see where to go from there." In essence, he views progress in the mobile payments field as a constant evolution, which often involves taking smaller steps to accomplish a greater purpose. You can find the full quote below the break.
We've already seen this one leaked and detailed -- and reviewed the non-AT&T variant ourselves -- but the carrier's now finally gotten official with its latest high-end smartphone: the LG Optimus G Pro. If this is the first you're seeing of it, though, you're looking at a phone with a 5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS display (which translates to 400ppi), along with a 13-megapixel camera (2.1 megapixel front-facing), LTE connectivity, a 3,140 mAh battery, 32GB of storage and Android 4.1.2 with some of LG's customizations. As we noted in our review, that puts it up squarely against the Samsung Galaxy Note II, although LG's decided to forego the stylus here. Look for this one to be available (exclusively on AT&T, incidentally) starting May 10th for $199.99 on the usual two-year contract.
27/04/2013 - Mobile Miscellany: week of April 22nd, 2013
If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week, a familiar smartphone leaked that's said to join the prepaid ranks at Verizon Wireless, AT&T swung back against the DOJ, and Rogers issued its quarterly earnings. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of April 22nd, 2013.
Wireless access in New York City's subway system has so far been limited, at best: two GSM carriers, one WiFi provider and six stations does not a full network make. Coverage is getting much wider, however, as Transit Wireless just flicked on access in 30 extra stations. While cellular service with this batch is still limited to AT&T and T-Mobile for now, it reaches a much wider swath of Manhattan that includes Times Square, Rockefeller Center and the Museum of Natural History. Those on CDMA carriers also won't be left hanging for long -- both Sprint and Verizon have nearly finished making deals to join the project, with Sprint aiming for service later this year. Although the deployment still leaves big holes in carrier support and geographic reach, it's a big leap for travelers with an urge to stay online while underground.
[Image credit: Retromoderns, Flickr]
Via: The Verge
Source: Governor Cuomo
There's not much surprise left to LG's Optimus G Pro reveal set for next Wednesday in New York. We've already seen the device slip through the FCC and recently had a previewed glimpse of the potential hardware. But thanks to an anonymous tipster, we now have more insight to the the upcoming AT&T variant's specifications. Based on the official doc we had a look at, LG's managed to keep this US model mostly in line with its global sibling, porting over the same 5.5-inch form factor, 3,140mAh battery, 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor paired with 2GB RAM, a healthy 32GB of internal storage (expandable via microSDXC to 64GB), 2.1-megapixel front-facing / 13-megapixel rear cameras, NFC and WiFi a/b/g/n. What has changed is the actual screen technology used, which should find this AT&T G Pro employing a Full HD IPS panel as opposed to the True HD-IPS+ in the original. Additionally, and unsurprisingly, the device's radios have been tweaked, with the AT&T G Pro now supporting the carrier's flavor of LTE (700/1700 MHz), HSPA+21 (850/1900/2100 MHz) and quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz).
Though it would be nice to see LG bump up this Optimus G Pro to a more current version of Android -- namely, 4.2.2 -- the AT&T model will likely ship with the more dated 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. Continuing further down the software track, carrier bloat looks to be at a minimum as only two automobile-specific apps are mentioned in the document: AT&T DriveMode and Navigator. Aside from that, LG's own software suite makes the transition, bringing along QSlide 2.0 (a multiwindow feature), Dual Recording (for the picture-in-picture effect), Tag+ for NFC, VuTalk (a note sharing app), QuickMemo, Notebook and the ability to preset the Home Key's LED. That enough of a preview for you? Stay tuned for the real deal to be unveiled next week.
Want a glimpse of what LG may have in store for the US market come the first of May? Chances are this latest render (pictured above) from @evleaks could very turn out to be AT&T's Optimus G Pro variant. From the looks of things, not much has changed design-wise since we reviewed the 5.5-inch global model, with the removable, high-gloss backplate still sporting that sub-surface pattern first introduced on the Optimus G. Even the arrangement of the rear camera, flash and speaker appear to have remained the same -- the only noticeable difference is the AT&T globe situated none too subtly below. Whether or not LG's reworked its internals remains to be seen, but with the event now less than a week away, we'll have all the answers soon enough.
Source: EVLeaks (Twitter)
Pre-orders of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 have already begun at AT&T, but the operator has been oddly silent about the actual date customers can expect to purchase one in stores and online. Now that T-Mobile and Sprint have both announced specific launch dates (April 24th and 27th, respectively), the largest GSM carrier in the country has followed up by declaring its intent to sell the flagship Samsung device on the 27th of this month. This is four days earlier than the anticipated pre-order shipment date, which means the HTC One has merely a full week to bask in the spotlight by itself. What's more, if you simply couldn't wait and jumped on those pre-orders, you'll get yours a full 48 hours early (read: April 25th). As expected, the GS 4 will be offered for $200 (16GB) and $250 (32GB) in both black and white.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
17/04/2013 - HTC, Huawei, LG and Samsung join Power Matters Alliance, AT&T pledges wireless charging by 2014
The Power Matters Alliance (PMA) just scored another major boost. AT&T has announced that it will integrate wireless charging within select smartphones by 2014. Those TBA handsets may be manufactured by BlackBerry, ZTE, or any of the organization's latest members: HTC, Huawei, LG and Samsung. Notably absent is Apple, so don't expect PMA-compatible devices to make their way out of Cupertino anytime soon, but with chipset makers like Broadcom and Texas Instruments on board, we could very well be seeing quite a few handsets pop up by early next year. Integration may be implemented directly within the chipset, or it could be delivered through an add-on device, such as the Wireless Charging Card (WiCC) in the image above.
A PMA membership doesn't necessarily represent a commitment from manufacturers to release products that support the technology -- joining the alliance requires just "a few thousand dollars" in dues, but Duracell Powermat President Daniel Schreiber seems confident that all of the smartphone makers now on board will have releases of their own in the near future. The next step, of course, would be a widespread rollout of PMA-compatible charging stations, such as those manufactured by Powermat and installed in Boston Starbucks stores and Madison Square Garden in NYC. PowerKiss, which has begun similar trials in Europe, also joined the PMA recently, and may have compatible devices in place in several McDonald's restaurants and train stations throughout the continent by the second half of this year.
If you're currently in the smallest (and most fortunate) of minorities to have an HTC One for AT&T in your hands, then you might want to go about unlocking its bootloader while the getting is good. As it just so happens, a few lucky individuals have already done just that, and to prove it's momentarily possible, they've shared their success within the forums of xda-developers. And if there was ever any doubt, we've confirmed this with our own review unit. Before you get too excited, though, HTC's affirmed to us that AT&T's One will not be supported by the HTCdev unlock service, which will effectively render its bootloader untouchable. As for the current discrepancy, one might speculate that the phone's identifier hasn't yet been blocked on the HTCdev site -- something that'd likely be resolved before the phone becomes officially available through retail channels this Friday. Naturally, if you're hoping to get in on the gravy train, it seems that your best bet will be to work your magic on an AT&T sales rep and then hope the unlocking service is still functional. Absent that, the HTC One Developer Edition seems just as tempting as ever.
Myriam Joire contributed to this report
Via: Droid Life
09/04/2013 - HTC First with Facebook Home review
With a billion users, it'd be an understatement to say Facebook has done a good job conquering the desktop world. Mobile, however, is the social network's next frontier: although it has a significant presence on every major smartphone and tablet platform, the company has a reputation for bringing its key features to the PC environment long before they arrive on mobile -- if at all.
But the April 4th reveal of Facebook Home, a solidly built Android launcher, reflects a change in attitude for Mark Zuckerberg and Co. Instead of simply maintaining a smartphone presence, Facebook is ready to go to battle and is putting mobile on the top of its list of priorities. It's even adding a proper piece of hardware to its arsenal in the form of the HTC First, a 4.3-inch device on AT&T with LTE, reasonable mid-range specs and a gorgeous display. Is it worth $99 with a two-year commitment to purchase a handset dedicated to the social cause? Should you just wait until Home is available as a free download in the Google Play Store? Or is it best to ignore it altogether? Continue reading to find out. Gallery: HTC First review
Gallery: HTC First review
08/04/2013 - HTC One for AT&T and Sprint: what's different?
You'd think after publishing a 6,000-word review, two hands-on posts and a camera explainer, we would have said all there is to say about the HTC One. Not quite. Though the phone has been available in Germany for about a month now, it's only just arriving in other markets. The US version in particular will see simultaneous launches on AT&T and Sprint, and T-Mobile soon to follow. The AT&T and Sprint variants will be available on April 19th, though you can pre-order either for $200 with a two-year contract. By the by, while all three US carriers will offer a 32GB version, AT&T is also selling a $300 model with 64 gigs of built-in storage -- a useful spec, given that the phone has no microSD slot.
We've just finished taking the AT&T / Sprint models for a spin and, as you'd expect, we like them just as much as the global model. If you're seriously considering getting one, we'd still refer you to our original review for an in-depth take on the design, camera performance and Sense 5 skin. When you're done, though, you might want also to meet us after the break: we've got benchmark scores, network speeds, battery life results and bloatware alerts that apply specifically to those US versions. Gallery: HTC One for AT&T review Gallery: HTC One for Sprint review
Gallery: HTC One for AT&T review
Gallery: HTC One for Sprint review
04/04/2013 - Visualized: AT&T's network-boosting Small Cell
WiFi used to be the only somewhat reliable way for a carrier to plug up holes in its network coverage. It's a tactic AT&T's used to great effect in many metropolitan areas where it offers wireless service. But short of acquiring more spectrum -- a costly and time-consuming process littered with legal roadblocks -- the operator's been exploring an alternative solution: small cells. Testing for these stopgap signal boosters (pictured above) has already been underway since late 2012, with a trial case study in Crystal Lake Park, MO that proved outdoor reception could improve by almost 100-percent. And that test site is just the start of a greater small cell rollout that should place over 40,000 of these units throughout AT&T's nationwide footprint by 2015. So if you're tethered to the operator's network and sick of spotty coverage, help is most definitely on the way.
Shortly after Facebook's big reveal this morning, we caught up with HTC President of Global Sales Jason McKenzie and spent a few minutes with him discussing the First. As expected, he was pretty excited about this collaboration between his company, Facebook and AT&T. Jason revealed to us that HTC's strategy involves ultimately catering the First to hardcore (or at least frequent) users of the social network, whereas a device like the One will be more appealing to those who aren't interested in staying constantly connected. Interestingly, HTC seems to have put Facebook in the driver's seat here, as the First will not only come pre-loaded with Facebook Home (and its firmware optimizations), but no sign of Sense anywhere. It's certainly a departure from HTC's usual branding efforts, so it'll be intriguing to see exactly how well the device sells on AT&T. We have our full interview with Jason below, so take a few minutes to get the First scoop.
Interesting timing, AT&T: just a day after the HTC One pricing was announced, the carrier has clarified its launch plans for the Samsung Galaxy S 4. We already knew the phone would be available on pre-order for $250 on April 16th, but AT&T has now specified that this will be for the 32GB model; the 16GB flavor will actually be $200, both with two-year commitments. This certainly doesn't help HTC's hopes of conquering the world, though the $200 One will at least hold twice as much internal storage as the GS 4 (although Samsung's flagship at least offers expandable memory, whereas the One does not). AT&T still hasn't announced an official release date, so that's the last remaining piece of the puzzle yet to be revealed.
Earlier we reported that AT&T's version of the HTC One would be going on pre-sale sometime this week, and the GSM carrier has finally revealed its official plans: the flagship HTC device will be ready for pre-order online starting April 4th. Both the 32GB and 64GB models, which will be $200 and $300 respectively, will hit retail store shelves on April 19th. The carrier will also offer a free Media Link HD to sweeten the deal, though it appears that it's only a part of the pre-sale and won't be available to customers who wait until the 19th to grab it. AT&T's keeping all of the standard features found on the global One, but it's also adding its own carrier-branded services -- we expect the full suite of bloatware, but the only ones specifically mentioned are the network's Ready2Go service and DriveMode to prevent texting and driving. Skip down to the press release for more details.
We have to be skeptical when new devices arrive at the FCC without photos or a blinking sign that says "I Am AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S 4." But even doubters can connect the dots in this case and declare that a certain Samsung SGH-i337 that the FCC just waved through is likely that very model. Why? First off, it's carrying a certain LTE band 17 used exclusively by AT&T in the US. Secondly, the dimensions line up perfectly with what we recently got our hands on at Samsung's recent Galaxy S 4 phone-a-palooza. Finally, we already saw a device packing the same model number on UAProf, a normally reliable source that revealed a 1,080 x 1920 screen and "ARM11" Exynos processor. Since it's unlikely the carrier has another unannounced 1080p model coming from Samsung, those coveting an AT&T GS 4 can probably start warming up their wallets.
True to form, carriers won't stop being so coy about the HTC One. We still haven't received any official information regarding the flagship's pricing or specific availability, but thanks to one of our eagle-eyed tipsters, we at least have a solid idea of AT&T's particular plans for the device. The operator is set to begin pre-orders of the One this week, with the 32GB flavor being offered in both silver and black hues for $249.99. The exclusive 64GB model likely won't be ready in time for early adopters, but it'll go for $299.99 once it does show up on store shelves. Our tipster tells us pre-sales will begin in the retail channel on April 5th, while pending marketing materials indicate the One can be pre-ordered online the day before. If this is the case, we expect it won't be long before AT&T delivers the official news, and hopefully T-Mobile and Sprint will do the same; we'll keep you posted as soon as it happens.
Just two days ago, T-Mobile's potty-mouthed CEO John Legere gave us a tentative May 1st launch date for Samsung's Galaxy S 4 on that network. And now, AT&T's making its S 4 plans public, opening up pre-orders for the device on April 16th. Subscribers that sign-up for a two-year plan will be able to snag the 5-inch 1080p GS 4 for $250. As to when it'll actually ship, well, that bit's still up in the air and we expect AT&T to elaborate in the weeks to come. But you can bet it won't be long before Samsung rushes to get its next big Galaxy thing into eager hands.
Source: AT&T Consumer Blog
25/03/2013 - Sony Xperia ZL goes on pre-order for US customers, off-contract: $720 for HSPA, $760 for LTE
Remember the Xperia ZL? While it lingered in the shadow of the waterproof Xperia Z back at CES, the phone does still exist and has now gone on preorder at Sony's own webstore. Withc the same 5-inch 1080p display, 13-megapixel camera and Snapdragon S4 Pro of the omnibalanced Z model, the Xperia ZL packs it into a smaller footprint and adds the courtesy of a physical camera button. Sony's NFC skills remain onboard and that lead camera is capable of HDR video capture, alongside recent improvements to the Xperia range's automatic shooting mode. While its own retail site is currently down (and there's no concrete date for when you'll get your hands on the phone), Sony says that it will be available from other online stores soon, pricing the Xperia ZL, contract- and carrier-less, at a hefty $720 on HSPA, or $760 for the 4G variant. That pricier option includes LTE Bands 2, 4 5, and 17, which means it should connect with AT&T's 4G network -- with or without any carrier branding.
Source: Sony Store
HTC's next "Facebook Phone" has been in the rumor mill for much too long, but this morning's approval by the FCC may speed along its journey to a launch date. The PM33100, which has been long associated with the Myst (or Opera, going even further back in time), just received the go-ahead by the Feds -- and it's carrying the same four LTE frequencies that we normally see accompanying AT&T smartphones. Naturally, HTC is keeping as much to itself as it possibly can, as we were able to glean few other details from the documents, but we know it has dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. However, if the leaked specs provided by @evleaks are correct, we should also expect to see it come with a 4.3-inch 720p display, a 1.5GHz dual-core MSM8960, a 5MP rear camera and Android 4.1.2.