4 years ago

AT&T investigating possible $5 billion sale of cell towers


Nearly 10,000 cell towers could be up for sale; AT&T planning to lease back what it sells

Reports today indicate that AT&T is considering a sale of its cell towers to other companies for upwards of $5 billion in order to fund other initiatives in the company. According to sources of Bloomberg, AT&T is partnering up with financial firms TAP Advisors LLC and JPMorgan Chase to explore the merits of selling off the 10,000 cell towers the carrier owns in the US.

These towers currently generate about $326 million in annual revenue from roaming and leasing agreements for AT&T, but reports indicate that an all-out sale of the towers could net it up to $5 billion. The expected buyers of so many towers are expected to be some of the largest tower operators in the country such as American Tower and Crown Castle.

Now a sale of the towers by AT&T doesn't mean that customers will lose coverage area, however. The structure of such agreements usually involves a sale of the physical tower sites as well as an agreement to lease back the use of the towers for its network. Similar deals from T-Mobile in the past netted the company $2.4 billion in 2012, and a similar move by AT&T could give it extra cash it needs to further its other initiatives.

Source: Bloomberg

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4 years ago

Nexus 7 LTE now available in UK, Canada, Australia and more


Nine new countries now have access to the latest Nexus 7 with mobile data connectivity

Update: Although Google didn't make a note of it, the Nexus 7 LTE has also gone on sale in Italy today.

Original Story: International Android fans rejoice, the Nexus 7 LTE is expanding its availability to several more countries starting today. Adding to the list of available countries just a handful of days after it went on sale in the US, Google Play is now selling the mobile data-enabled Nexus 7 in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, UK, Japan and Korea.

Pricing will naturally vary across the countries, but we see the UK pricing pegged at £299 for the 32GB model with shipping of 1-2 days. We're also seeing O2 in the UK follow up on its previous statements and offering the Nexus 7 LTE directly as well.

Source: +Nexus; O2 UK

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4 years ago

Firefox update brings WebRTC and NFC tab sharing to Android version


Communicate without plugins, bump with your friends, and rest your eyes at night with the latest update for Firefox

The Firefox browser has been updated to version 24 for Android, and there's quite the change log in place. WebRTC (Real Time Communications) support has been added, which will allow users to send and receive both audio and video without the use of any plug-ins on properly built web sites. This is the future, boys and girls.

In addition, users with capable phones can now share any open tab via NFC. Bump your NFC-equipped phone against another NFC-equipped phone, and the magic of electrons will send it right over. 

Add in a few minor, but handy, details like a new Night Mode (light text on a dark background) and this is shaping up to be one heck of an update for fans of Mozilla's open-source mobile browser. To give it a try check the Google Play link above.

Source: Mozilla (1); (2)

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4 years ago

QSAlpha launches Indiegogo campaign for the Quasar IV - uses 'unprecedented' encryption


QSAplha offers a secure ecosystem that promises to keep your data all yours

Protecting your precious personal data has never been more important. Our smartphones can contain not just our address book, but our banking information, credit card accounts and personal information moves in and out of our phones all the time, and it's important to secure it all as best we can.

A company named QSAlpha thinks they can help. They are developing the Quasar IV — and Android-based smartphone that will protect all of your data with what they are calling "unprecedented" encryption. Phone calls, SMS messages, application data, email and everything else moving in and out of your device with public and private keys for each user from 16x16x4 (16 to the power of 16 to the power of 4) three-dimensional matrices. This verifies and protects the user's identity, and makes sure the data going in and out is what it's supposed to be, and going where it's supposed to go.

This is done through a high-security ecosystem known as QuaWorks. QuaWorks consists of three parts — the Qua Store, a secure marketplace for applications; Qua Cloud storage which offers encrypted file storage; and Quatrix, which is the proprietary system used for all the encryption. 

All this will be free of charge for users with the Quasar IV, and they expect to launch in June 2014 (April 2014 for backers). We'll definitely have a good look at the platform when and if it launches, but a lot of that will depend on the success of the Indiegogo campaign. You can follow the source links to learn more, and the full press release is after the break.

More: QSAlpha; Indigogo

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4 years ago

Talk Mobile weekly podcast: Live at noon EDT!


It's an off week for Talk Mobile 2013, but we're not resting on our laurels. We've got the gang together for a live hangout podcast thingy at noon EDT. Come join us!

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4 years ago

Updated Google Wallet app coming to all US-based Android phones


Google Wallet app now focusing on more than just NFC payments

There are some big changes in store for Google Wallet. The few phones that are able to actually use the NFC payment option will still have that ability, but Google is expanding the usage of the app, adding some new features, and rolling it out to any Android phone running 2.3 or higher (US only). 

The new options aim to make the app more useful on carriers where it has been blocked or on devices without the needed NFC hardware. The new app will be able to send money for free to anyone in the US with an email address, just like we've seen from Gmail. In addition, for a small fee money can be transferred by debit or credit card. 

Users will also be able to directly scan in loyalty cards and use them while shopping at brick and mortar stores. This extends to all devices that can run the app, and not just those with a secure NFC option as in the past. You'll also be able to join new programs like Alaska Airlines, Belly, and Red Mango within the Google Wallet app, Other companies are listed as "coming soon", such as Avis and Marriot. 

The app is rolling out in the next few weeks, so this is something to be on the lookout for. Of course, for those not afraid to try a dodgy apk file, those will be posted online shortly we imagine.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

EverDock wants to be the one charging dock for every device you own


A simple universal dock with a few neat features seeks crowd funding

Well-made and nice-looking universal docks that work with a variety of devices are hard to come by, and the folks at FUZ Designs are hoping to solve that problem with a Kickstarter campaign to make the EverDock. The goal of EverDock is to provide a single docking solution that can work with any phone or tablet by providing a basic stand that can incorporate with any cord and connector of your choice.

The dock, which is made out of solid aluminum, has a channel underneath that can accommodate any plug, including standard MicroUSB, Apple Lightning or 30-pin and other similar multi-pin proprietary connectors from other manufacturers. The EverDock also takes advantage of micro-suction technology, meaning that the dock will stick to almost any surface and let you easily remove your phones or tablets without the dock moving.

If you choose to back the project on Kickstarter, you'll have a variety of options. The cheapest way to get in will be with an "Early-bird Special" at $39 for a silver EverDock or $59 for a silver EverDock Duo (that holds two devices). Upwards from there, you'll find options for two and three packs of EverDocks and EverDock Duos in a variety of color options as well. As for timing, assuming the project is funded FUZ Designs expects to ship the EverDock by the holidays.

You can find more information and a full description of the item at the source links below.

More: FUZ Designs; Kickstarter

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom video walkthrough


How does Samsung's half-phone, half-camera hybrid stack up?

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is one of the more unusual devices to pass across our desk — smartphone on the front, (a lot of) camera around the back. Essentially, it's the result of a head-on collision between a Galaxy Camera and Galaxy S4 Mini, with a dual-core CPU and qHD display, the latest version of TouchWiz and a 16-megapixel camera sporting 10X optical zoom.

But how does the resulting product shape up? Find out after the break, in our video walkthrough of the Galaxy S4 Zoom. We'll even throw in a quick photo gallery for good measure.

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4 years ago

Nexus 7 LTE factory images now available


If you're one of the lucky few Nexus 7 owners with the new LTE version, you can now safely restore your tablet back to the factory firmware using official images from Google. Images for the Nexus 7 with mobile data — codenamed "razorg" — have been posted on the Google Developers site, giving N7 LTE owners who've tinkered around with their devices an easy route back to stock Android 4.3, build JLS36C.

Hit the link below to grab the images.

Download: Google Developers

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4 years ago

UK to experiment with mobile emergency alerts


British government working with O2, Vodafone and EE to test alerts

The UK could join the U.S. with a nationwide mobile emergency alert system if trials of the technology are successful. BBC News reports that trials are to take place in Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, Leiston, in Suffolk, and Glasgow city centre, with up to 50,000 people receiving emergency notifications. Three of the four major mobile networks — O2, EE and Vodafone — are participating in the pilot, the broadcaster reports.

Both traditional SMS messages and cell broadcast messages will be tested as part of the trial, which is expected to begin later this month and run through until November. A report in 2014 will then determine whether the system should be implemented nationwide, and if so what form it should take.

Countries already using mobile emergency alerts include the U.S., Australia and the Netherlands, and other areas prone to natural disasters are in the process of implementing similar systems. Stateside, emergency alerts have been used to inform the public of events like prison escapes, disappearances and severe weather since late 2011.

Source: BBC News

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Gear up for pre-order from AT&T, priced $299


Black and white color options only at present

AT&T is now listing Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch for pre-order with a $299 price tag. At launch, the watch will only support the upcoming Galaxy Note 3, with other Samsung phones getting support through future software updates. Currently the Gear is available in black and white colors from ATT.com, and will ship on Oct. 1 along with the supporting phone.

The Galaxy Gear is being promoted as a companion device for the Note 3, allowing owners to make calls, view messages and even take photos (using the built-in 1.9-megapixel camera) without removing the phone from their pockets. It's the first serious Android smartwatch to emerge, however its relatively high price tag and Samsung handset requirement will its appeal at launch. If you're planning on picking one up on launch day, leave a comment and let us know.

Pre-order: AT&T

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 now in stock at UK retailers


Right on schedule, the first Sony Xperia Z1 stock has started to arrive at independent UK retailers, with Clove Technology and Digital Phone Co both listing the device for sale. SIM-free prices are in the £550-560 range, so you'll certainly pay a premium for the Z1's high-end internals, which include a Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU and 20.7-megapixel camera with Sony G lens.

If you're planning on picking up an Xperia Z1 in the UK, hit the comments and let us know. If you're still on the fence, you can check out our hands-on feature from IFA for a closer look at the phone.

Source: Clove, Digital Phone Co; via: Xperia Blog

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4 years ago

ASUS unveils new Padfone Infinity with updated internals and design


Snapdragon 800 CPU and new camera tricks among features of the 'new' ASUS Padfone Infinity

Following on from its recent product line refresh at IFA, Taiwanese manufacturer ASUS has taken the wraps off a revamped dockable handset, in the form of the "new" Padfone Infinity. A refreshed version of the handset we first saw at Mobile World Congress, the new Padfone packs a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, microSD expandability and a tweaked industrial design, featuring a "diamond-cut" aluminum back.

The tablet-dockable phone features the same 13-megapixel, f/2.0 camera as the original, but ASUS is introducing a new ability it's calling PixelMaster, which uses a pixel binning-like feature to produce a clearer 3-megapixel image from the 13-megapixel sensor.

On the software side, the new Padfone Infinity runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and ASUS's latest UI, which we saw on its latest products in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. It's still pretty close to vanilla Android, but tweaks to the menus, notification shade and icons give it its own unique appearance without straying too far from Google's vision of Android.

Engadget reports that the new Padfone Infinity will sell for the equivalent of $640 for the handset alone, while the tablet will run around $240. Got an old Padfone Infinity tablet dock? Fear not, you'll be able to use your old dock with the new phone.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Vector 11: Benedict Evans on the value of cheap phones


Strategy analyst Benedict Evans joins Rene to talk about Apple's iPhone 5c pricing, how it compares to low-cost Android and Windows Phone devices, and the relative value of platforms.

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4 years ago

Galaxy Tab 3 may be getting multi-user support in a future update


Test firmware shows Samsung's take on multi-user support

Though the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 models — both the 8.0-inch version and the 10.1-incher — launched with Android 4.2.2, they did not have the multi-user account support that Google has added to tablets. If the test firmware that SamMobile has seen a peek of ends up getting released to the tablets, that looks like it's going to change.

There's no word on what other changes may be in any future update, or if it will involve any Android version bump.

Folks are pretty confident that we'll see this update in the near future. Multi-user support is a great feature to have on a tablet, and we hope Samsung has figured out a way to do it that fits their take on Android.

Source: SamMobile. Thanks, B!

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