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1 week ago

AT&T is making it easier to use your phone in Mexico and Canada

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AT&T will begin offering new roaming deals for customers who use their phones in Mexico and Canada. Starting May 20, AT&T Unlimited Plan members will not incur any roaming charges in those two countries.

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1 week ago

Samsung will sell you the Gear VR for less if you buy a Galaxy S7

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Samsung has announced an exclusive Gear VR content package for new European Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge owners. Should you purchase either handset from today, you'll be able to pick up the Gear VR at 50% off with free access to premium games and experiences. This promotion is available for a limited time only at O2, Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone in the UK, but is also in Europe.

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1 week ago

MediaTek plans to power 25 VoLTE-enabled phones in India

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MediaTek has seen a fourfold increase in its LTE-enabled SoC shipments in 2015, and the vendor is now looking to the Indian market to drive growth this year. Citing a burgeoning handset market — which saw a 23% increase in sales in Q1 2016 — MediaTek is expecting India to contribute over 10% of its global shipments for 2016.

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1 week ago

Amazon is offering a year of Prime for just £59

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Amazon has rolled out a promotion to celebrate the naming of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond's new motor show, called The Grand Tour. Available until May 16, this promotion sees the cost of Amazon Prime slashed to just £59 for the year. This is a great price for the amount of benefits included, not to mention if you were a massive Top Gear fan and will be checking out the new show on Amazon.

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1 week ago

More images of the OnePlus 3 leak to show off a USB Type-C port

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The OnePlus 3 continues to be leaked out for everyone to see ahead of an official announcement and now we have new images that show off a USB Type-C port. Said images were leaked by Twitter user The Malignant, who published two of them to showcase how the device looks.

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1 week ago

LG Stylus 2 makes its way to India, but you probably won't care

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LG has launched the Stylus 2 in the Indian market for ₹20,500. The phone offers a 5.7-inch 720p display, Marshmallow out of the box, and a stylus with a nano-coated tip that's designed to be more precise than its predecessor.

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2 weeks ago

Google may face €3 billion fine in EU antitrust case

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It looks like Google will face a record €3 billion fine in the latest EU antitrust case. The regulator said that Google abused its dominant position with Android by bundling its own services like Google Search as default, making it harder for other companies to compete.

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2 weeks ago

Press render of the Moto G4 leaks ahead of official unveil

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The Moto G4 is slated to make its debut tomorrow, May 17, in India. Ahead of the launch, a press render of the phone has leaked courtesy of Evan Blass. Based on numerous leaks, Motorola is said to offer two variants in the G series this year — the G4 and G4 Plus, with today's render offering a look at the possible differences between the two versions. From the image, it looks like the smaller Moto G4 will not feature a fingerprint scanner at the front.

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2 weeks ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Realtor.ca, Google I/O, Musical.ly and more

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It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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2 weeks ago

Best portable Bluetooth Speakers

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Best portable Bluetooth Speakers

Take your music with you with a portable Bluetooth Speaker.

Portable Bluetooth speakers are one of the best ways to take those awesome audio waves with you everywhere. Compatible with virtually any Bluetooth-enabled device, Bluetooth speakers will make sure that, as long as your phone, tablet, or laptop is around, your music is loud!

We've rounded up some of the best portable Bluetooth speakers that you can take with you just about anywhere!

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2 weeks ago

From the Editor's Desk: The dark side of selling an app

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Storm clouds

Use Dark Sky, or don't use Dark Sky. But don't tell me it's somehow not worth $3 a year. The math doesn't lie.

Here we go again. A long-awaited app finally comes to Android — and the developer has the gall to ask for $3 a year to use the really good parts of it. Instead of, ya know, mucking the whole thing up with ads, or charging more money a single time, or ...

Yes, we're going to have this discussion again.

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2 weeks ago

4G in India: Everything you need to know

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4G is finally going mainstream in India.

India's mobile market has seen a meteoric rise in the last few years, and it doesn't look like the growth will abate anytime soon. The country has witnessed a 23% increase in phone sales in Q1 2016, and it is estimated that over a billion phones will be sold by 2020. A key part of that vision is 4G connectivity, which has been rolling out in phases since 2012.

In addition to increasing phone sales, an estimated nine crore (90,000,000) subscribers will use 4G services in India by 2018, and as such there's a huge potential for carriers to upgrade their infrastructure to support 4G. With Reliance Jio set to enter the market with its pan-India 4G license, the segment is slated for its largest expansion yet this year.

4G bands and frequencies

When compared to 3G, 4G offers greater bandwidth at a lower latency, with downloads quoted in the vicinity of 45Mbps. However, receiving those speeds is entirely reliant on network connectivity and congestion, which was a major issue during the 3G rollout. Carriers often saw a high amount of congestion on their networks, which meant that most customers never saw the claimed download speeds. This time around, carriers are looking to mitigate the issue of congestion by investing heavily in infrastructure. That said, there's still no guarantee that you'll actually see the claimed download seeds. For instance, although Airtel offers 4G in Hyderabad, the bandwidth is only marginally higher than what you get on 3G.

If you're looking to buy a 4G phone in India, look for Bands 3, 5, and 40.

Indian carriers are leveraging both TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE standards to offer 4G connectivity in the country. The government auctions spectrum to the carriers for a duration of twenty years, with the most recent auction netting over $16 billion in revenue. There is an auction slated for later this year, where the government will make additional spectrum in the 700MHz frequency. The low-frequency band is attracting attention from carriers, as it offers a wider range and is unaffected by buildings, whereas higher frequency bands such as 2300MHz can transfer more bandwidth over a smaller area.

Band 3 (1800MHz) is primarily used for 4G coverage in India, as the spectrum was already in use during the 2G era. Carriers that offer 4G on Band 3 include Aircel, Airtel, Idea, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio, Telenor, Vodafone, and Videocon.

Band 40 (2300MHz) is the second frequency on which carriers offer 4G connectivity. The government had auctioned airwaves in this spectrum to Aircel, Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Tikona in 2010. Reliance's pan-India network will primarily rely on the 2300MHz frequency for cellular coverage.

Band 5 (850MHz) will be used by Reliance Jio and Reliance Communications in ten circles. If you're interested in purchasing a handset to access 4G connectivity, make sure the phone supports Bands 3, 5, and 40.

Carriers and their circles

India's 29 states and seven union territories are broken down into 22 telecom circles, which are largely defined by state boundaries. Moving between circles incurs roaming charges for calls and texts, which is a main reason why phones with two SIM card slots are preferred in the country. Having two SIM slots available makes it that much more convenient for those traveling between two circles to cut down on charges. Here's the breakdown of the telecom circles in India:

  • Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
  • Assam
  • Bihar & Jharkhand
  • Delhi
  • Gujarat and Daman and Diu
  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Karnataka
  • Kerala and Lakshadweep
  • Kolkata
  • Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
  • Maharashtra and Goa
  • Mumbai
  • Odisha
  • Punjab
  • North East (Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura)
  • Rajasthan
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Uttar Pradesh (East)
  • Uttar Pradesh (West) and Uttarakhand
  • West Bengal

Airtel

Airtel was the first to offer 4G services in India all the way back in 2012. Dubbed the "widest 4G network" in India, Airtel is offering 4G in over 350 cities across 15 circles. The carrier operates on the 2300MHz frequency and has access to 20MHz of bandwidth, along with a license to offer data on the 1800MHz frequency in six circles. Being the first to launch 4G has led to Airtel netting a userbase of over 2.5 million subscribers as of the first quarter of 2016. The carrier has extended its 4G network 15 kilometers off the coastline at the behest of the Indian Navy.

On the 2300MHz frequency, Airtel has a license in eight out of 22 circles in India (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, Kerala, and Punjab) and has recently acquired access to Aircel's spectrum in eight additional circles: Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, North East, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. The move puts Airtel in a much better position to face the imminent arrival of Reliance Jio.

As an introductory offer, Airtel is offering 4G connectivity at 3G tariffs. If you're using the carrier's 3G data plans, you can make the switch to a 4G SIM and continue using your existing plan. To know more about getting your 4G SIM, head to Airtel's microsite.

Airtel also offers its own suite of music, movie, and game streaming apps on Android and iOS, dubbed Wynk. You can choose to subscribe to Wynk separately for ₹99 a month, or buy a bundled plan that offers these services for free. For instance, 1GB of 4G data combined with a 28-day subscription to Wynk Music (including unlimited song downloads) currently costs ₹279, whereas a standalone data plan costs ₹259. In essence, you're getting Wynk Music for just ₹20.

If you're looking to make the switch to Airtel's 4G network, head down to the link below to see the coverage and tariff for your locale.

See at Airtel

Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio has the most amount of liberalized spectrum among Indian carriers, with a nationwide license on the 2300MHz frequency, along with airwaves in the 1800MHz band and 10MHz spectrum in the 850MHz frequency that's purchased from RCOM in ten circles: Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, North East, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh (East). The carrier is looking to create an integrated 4G network that leverages all three frequencies to provide seamless connectivity.

The carrier was slated to launch its 4G network last year, but was met with constant delays. In December 2015, Reliance Jio commenced a soft launch where it made the service accessible to its 100,000 employees. The carrier will is now testing its network capabilities in an invite-only trial, with a full launch planned for December 2016. During the trial, Jio is offering three months of unlimited data, but the caveat is that you have to purchase one of the phones in the vendor's Lyf series to be eligible to use its 4G network.

One of the key differentiators with Jio's network is VoLTE, which allows for high-definition voice calls to be placed over the data network. Reliance is also looking to the upcoming 700MHz auction to bolster its voice-based offerings. Using a lower frequency band for VoLTE has significant cost benefits as it reduces the need to install a lot of base towers. Coverage on the 700MHz band is twice that of the 1800MHz band, and four times as much as what you get on the 2300MHz frequency.

Reliance Jio is also investing in its app ecosystem, and is slated to offer digital content services that include streaming music, video-on-demand, and a digital payments solution. Jio has a multi-service operator license, which allows it to introduce live TV as well as television-on-demand services on its network.

Idea

Idea may turn out to be the underdog in this segment, as the carrier is now offering 4G in over 575 cities and towns in 10 circles, installing up to 14,000 4G base stations in the process. In terms of userbase, Idea is the third largest carrier in the country, coming behind Airtel and Reliance. As of Q1 2016, the carrier has 680,000 users actively using its 4G services, with over 2.7 million subscribers owning a 4G-compatible handset. The carrier is aggressively increasing its coverage, and plans to have 4G available in 750 towns across the country by June 2016.

Idea uses the 1800MHz for 4G coverage, holding spectrum in ten key circles which culminate to over 60% of the carrier's revenues: Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Goa, North East, Odisha, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu and Chennai.

The carrier's coverage indicator offers a city-wise breakdown of where the 4G service is available. If you're an existing subscriber, you can check out if your location has 4G services by heading to the link below.

See at Idea

Vodafone, Reliance Communications, and BSNL

Vodafone has its 4G services available on the 1800MHz frequency in Kerala, Karnataka, Mumbai, Delhi & NCR, and Kolkata. The carrier is content with playing the waiting game and seeing the demand for 4G before investing in the remaining 17 circles. International roaming is available for Vodafone's 4G customers when they travel abroad to the U.K., Romania, Spain, and the Netherlands. The carrier has mentioned that more countries will be added to the list shortly.

Reliance Communications — a different entity from Reliance Jio — has signed an agreement with Jio to let the latter use its 850MHz frequency in ten circles: Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, North East, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh (East). The carrier will switch its CDMA customers to 4G once the network goes live.

State-run BSNL is also getting into the action, and has announced that it will offer 4G in 14 circles. The network holds 20MHz liberalized broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in the 2500MHz band.

VoLTE is coming too

As we've already mentioned, VoLTE is a key component of Reliance Jio's 4G service. The carrier partnered with Nokia last year to roll out VoLTE across the country on its network in a deal worth over $100 million, and has mentioned that over 35 phones currently available in the Indian market are eligible to use its VoLTE service.

With voice call quality becoming a significant issue in recent months, carriers will be looking to switch to VoLTE to ensure better service. While there's no official confirmation, it is being rumored that Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea are also in talks with Nokia over VoLTE.

Airtel will leverage its 4G network for VoLTE, offering the service in areas where it has 4G coverage. The carrier will fall back on 3G and 3G voice-based services in locations where it does not yet offer 4G.

What about phones?

The momentum is not limited to carriers, but has also made its way to the handset ecosystem. Most phones sold in India now offer LTE as standard, even in the budget segment. There are a slew of phones available for as low as ₹4,500 that allow you to connect to 4G networks. The budget segment will be the key for 4G proliferation, as that is where a majority of sales occur.

The aggressive expansion by Airtel and Idea means that 4G services are no longer limited to a few cities in the country. And with Jio set to enter the segment with its pan-India coverage, 2016 is the year when 4G becomes mainstream.

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2 weeks ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Looking, planning, and debugging ahead

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Google I/O 2015

This week is brought to you by the future.

The whole Android world is looking ahead for Google I/O 2016. Google's already unveiled and released a preview of Android N, so it's anybody's guess what exactly they'll have on tap. VR? Smart speakers? Self-driving dirigibles? Tune in next week to find out!

As for Apple, there was a brouhaha over a supposed Apple Music bug that was deleting locally-stored music, but Apple says that is an iTunes bug, but they're not even sure that it's actually a bug. But, to discuss things like that and everything else in Apple's business, iMore has a brand new podcast: Apple Talk. Joining hosts Michael Gartenberg, Serenity Caldwell, and Rene Ritchie for the first episode: none other than John Gruber of Daring Fireball.

Microsoft has released yet another update to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update Developer Preview, this time building out support for Ink and pulling a few lesser-used features at the same time. Also, be sure to check out Windows Central's reviews of Superhot for Xbox and Hitman Episode 2

After losing two senior executives, Tesla's made a big hire: bringing on the Audi exec in charge of the A4, A5, and Q5 as the new Tesla VP of Vehicle Production — he has a huge challenge in ramping up for the Model 3. And despite what you might have read on Facebook, lithium extraction is much cleaner than oil sands.

All of that and much much more inside this edition of Mobile Nations Weekly!

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2 weeks ago

What we're hoping to see at Google I/O 2016

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Google I/O

It's good to set expectations before a show, but it's also okay to dream a little bit.

Google I/O is nearly here. Just days away. And while it's important to remember that I/O is, first and foremost, a developer event, those of us who don't code for a living have a few thoughts on what we'd like to see come out of this year's conference.

There's a lot to cover in three days. Android. Chrome. Chrome on Android. And, of course, virtual reality, maybe some stuff on connected homes, automotive, wearables — and who knows, maybe Google will surprise us with something nobody thought of.

There's going to be a world of stuff to absorb over three days in in Mountain View. We've already heard about what you want to see. Now it's our turn. This is just a smattering of what we're hoping to find at Google I/O, as told by the Mobile Nations folks who will be there this year.

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2 weeks ago

Best accessories for the Galaxy Note 5

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Bump up the functionality and the awesomeness of your Note 5 with some sweet accessories!

Beautiful, functional, and fun to use, Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 has a lot going for it. But there are a lot of ways you can bump up that functionality and fun-factor to astronomical levels.

We've done some looking, and we've put together this roundup of amazing accessories for your Galaxy Note 5.

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