Category Archives for News

RIP: Two-year contracts at Verizon are dead; activation and upgrade fees rise 50% to $30

January 7, 2017
New and existing Verizon customers, bow down your head and say a prayer for the two-year contract which passed away on January 5th. All new customers will now be required to purchase a phone using an Equipment Installment Plan (EIP). While new subscribers at Big Red were no longer allowed to sign a two-year pact starting last August, existing customers still had that option until now.

T-Mobile was the first to offer EIPs and it also was the first to do away with two-year contracts and subsidized phones. Now, all of the four major U.S. carriers offer EIP plans for their customers as an option …

128GB Google Pixel XL ordered in November, will ship in March

January 6, 2017
If you’re a Verizon customer, you might be still waiting for the delivery of your 128GB Google Pixel XL. You might recall that Verizon has had trouble keeping this model of Google’s first smartphone in stock. Today, one of our loyal readers told us about his order for the phone, which was made on November 26th of last year as part of Verizon’s Black Friday sale.

The original ship date for the phone was January 6th, which proves that our loyal reader has great patience to begin with. January 6th was yesterday, and instead of receiving his new Google designed, HTC built handset, he received …

Classic design bridges the path to BlackBerry’s future: hands-on with the BlackBerry Mercury

January 6, 2017

Fortunes rise and fall in the smartphone game, and even for giants of the industry, whose handsets seem to dominate the public’s interest, the future is rarely assured. For every Apple or Samsung there’s a Nokia or Palm, but no company’s struggle to stay aloft in a rapidly evolving market is arguably as interesting as BlackBerry’s. Here from nearly the beginning, the company’s managed to keep on delivering phones even as it’s faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles in recent years, switching software platforms and recognizing shifting user tastes in phone hardware.

But …

Latest commercial for the Apple iPhone 7 Plus focuses on Portrait mode

January 6, 2017

Portrait mode is the focus of the latest television ad for the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. With Portrait mode, you can take advantage of the extra camera on the back of the handset to take photos with a depth-of-field effect. This allows you to blur the background, helping you create professional looking portraits.

The new commercial is titled “Take mine,” which is a perfect name for it as you’ll see when you watch the 60-second spot. In the ad, a young girl returns to visit family in the old country. She starts taking portraits of her relatives with her iPhone 7 Plus. And as word gets …

Samsung Gear S3, Gear S2 and Gear Fit 2 finally gain iPhone compatibility

January 6, 2017

Samsung has been working to make its wearable devices compatible with iOS for quite some time, and now it’s finally completed the task. As of today, January 7, the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier, Gear S3 Classic, Gear S2, and Gear Fit 2 can be used with iPhones (not older than the iPhone 5) running iOS 9.0 or above. 

To pair your iPhone with one of the Samsung wearables mentioned here, you’ll first need to download the official Gear S or Gear Fit app – these are available for free via the Apple App Store. Once the proper app is installed and you run it, you’ll be …

Fitbit to build an app store stuffed with third party apps; is a smartwatch incoming?

January 6, 2017
Is Fitbit about to make its own smartwatch? The company’s CEO, James Park, says that he wants to build an app store ASAP. That would seem to be a big clue that Park has a Fitbit built-smartwatch in mind. If you’re not familiar with the brand, the company builds activity trackers that monitor your workouts, sleep, heart rate and more.

The company already produces a product very similar to a genuine smart watch called the Fitbit Blaze. And while the Blaze has many of the features you’d find on a smartwatch including the ability to change the face, and receive call, text and calendar notifications, …

Alleged photo of Nokia D1(C) packaging leaks images and specs of the Android powered phone

January 6, 2017
The image of what allegedly is the packaging for an upcoming Android powered Nokia branded handset has leaked. Besides displaying a picture of both sides of the phone, the box includes some of the phone’s specs. We would like to point out that the picture of the back and front of the handset does resemble sketches of the Nokia D1(C) that we passed along to you late last year.

Looking at the specs on the box, the aluminum clad handset will have Android 7.0 pre-installed, running the show. The unit is equipped with a 5.5-inch screen carrying a 1080 x 1920 FHD resolution. Under the hood is …

Road trip! Cortana to be part of Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform

January 6, 2017

Microsoft is planning on including Cortana in a cloud-based connected car platform that will allow car manufacturers to offer custom driving experiences. Microsoft’s cloud will take in the necessary information from sensors and spit out information that the auto makers can use to develop tools for drivers.

Among the productivity applications that Microsoft is including in its Connected Vehicle Platform are Cortana, Dynamics, Office 365, Power BI and Skype for Business. Microsoft says that with Cortana on board, a person could use the Cortana app on his iOS, Android or Windows handset …

Alcatel literally bets big on phablets with 6-inch A3 XL: hands-on

January 6, 2017

It’s no secret that smartphones have matured to the point where it’s easily possible to get by using one as your primary device: who needs a separate computer, or even a TV, when you have all this power at your fingertips? And while it’s easy to point to any number of flagship phones and think about using one exclusively, that decision’s a lot harder to make when your budget’s limited, and you have to consider some trade-offs about which features matter most. If screen size tops that list of must-haves, Alcatel may have the phone for you, with the CES 2017 launch of the …

Apple hogs AMOLED screen orders so Chinese smartphone makers form consortium to ensure supply

January 6, 2017
When Apple starts ordering components for building iPhones, this means big, big orders – sometimes big enough to prevent smaller companies from securing orders for their products, due to Cupertino’s overwhelming demand. It has happened with Sony camera sensors a number of times. In 2015, the company was so busy handling orders for the iPhone 6c that it could only meet half the demand from its Chinese clients. Such situations drastically affect product development schedules, forcing manufacturers to downscale their output and incorporate other solutions whilst racing against the clock.

Such …