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4 years ago

Leaked docs show U.S. Galaxy Gear support rollout dates, concern over high return rate

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Best Buy documents leaked to Geek.com show Gear support slated for Galaxy S4, Note 2, S3 and S4 Active by end of year — but return rate could be higher than 30 percent

It's fair to say the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch has had a mixed reception, with early reviews, including our own, complaining of poor support for non-Samsung apps and the fact that the Galaxy Note 3 was the only phone supported at launch. Today newly-leaked documents from a major retailer show that Samsung appears ready to bring Galaxy Gear support to other U.S. handsets before the of the year, while also revealing a potentially troubling return rate for the wearable gadget.

The internal Best Buy documents obtained by Geek.com show that like their international counterparts, U.S. Samsung phones will get Galaxy Gear support with their Android 4.3 updates. They also show tentative launch dates for the Gear-enabling updates on the Galaxy Note 2, S3, S4 and S4 Active across all major carriers. The documents underscore the fact that these dates are subject to change, so don't consider them set in stone just yet. But as it stands, it looks like Samsung wants these devices up-to-date with Android 4.3 and Galaxy Gear support by the year's end, in line with its earlier statements.

Perhaps more intriguing, the leaked material also states:

The Galaxy Gear attachment rate within Best Buy is the highest among all channels; however the overall return rate is trending above 30%

That means Best Buy is selling a lot of Galaxy Gears to Note 3 customers, but almost a third of them are returning the smartwatch. In today's report, Geek.com says Best Buy "have asked that Samsung employees on site help try to figure out why this is." Samsung has yet to release any Galaxy Gear sales figures, but if accurate, a 30 percent return rate at a big-name retailer is far from ideal.

Elsewhere, Samsung began rolling out the international Galaxy S4's Android 4.3 update in the past week, which includes Galaxy Gear connectivity. The international Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2, S4 Mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 Zoom are also set to receive updates with Gear support, with some devices' updates slated for the end of October.

Source: Geek.com

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4 years ago

ZTE Nubia 5 review

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A solid set of specs and features taken to their logical conclusion and sold for a good price - is that enough to make a sale?

With a string of carrier-commissioned and cheap unlocked handsets, ZTE has been struggling to work its way into the U.S. market. The same can actually be said for most areas outside of Asia and its home country of China, as ZTE has tried to expand its mainland success out into the rest of the world. It can likely be said that the unveiling of the Grand S LTE was its best shot back at CES in January of this year, but that launch was generally fumbled and the device really didn't make any waves.

But as the Grand S finally makes its way to the U.S. in an unlocked form sold directly by ZTE, another handset with similar specs but a new design has emerged — the Nubia 5. With a nice display, simple look and an adequate spec sheet, the Nubia 5 actually seems as though it might have a few things going for it. And at $450 unlocked with a full U.S. warranty, it may just be a handset sold in the states that ZTE can be proud of. Read along after the break for our full review of the ZTE Nubia 5.

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4 years ago

Custom Moto X now $99.99 from Moto Maker site

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$100 price cut for customized AT&T Moto X on contract

Motorola has halved the cost of getting hold of a customized 16GB Moto X from its MotoMaker.com site. The customization tools are still exclusive to AT&T's Moto X, which incidentally still costs $199 on-contract from the carrier. If you're after the 32GB model, that'll set you back $149.99, down from $249.99.

So there's really no reason not to pick up a customized model if you're in the market for an AT&T Moto X. Moto's customization site lets you change the back color, accents and texture of your Moto X, before adding accessories and custom greetings, giving you a more personalized device.

There's been no official word on when Moto Maker will be coming to other carriers, but Verizon is rumored to get it Nov. 11.

More: MotoMaker.com; via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Sprint's Samsung Galaxy Note 3 gets update for audio fixes, keyboard improvements

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The Sprint version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is getting a software update this morning. New in version MJ3 (that's according to Sprint's website — but the updates themselves are showing MJ4) are:

  • Call audio improvements
  • Samsung Keyboard Handwriting Mode (which also changes the theme on the keyboard)

And that's that, folks.

More: Sprint; Galaxy Note 3 forums; Thanks, Brandon!

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4 years ago

Calvin Harris sports a wooden Moto X — we wouldn't turn one down, either

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A nice spot from fishman04 — one of the wooden Moto X models in the video for Calvin Harris' "Under Control."

Still no word on when we'll be able to order a wood-backed version — or which kind of wood will be available. Stay tuned.

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4 years ago

Rogers gets the HTC One Mini + Desire 601 on November 4

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Two capable mid-rangers from HTC arriving in Canada soon

Canadian carrier Rogers has announced that it'll soon be picking up two of HTC's mid-range handsets, the HTC One Mini and Desire 601. The One Mini has been out in Europe and the U.S. for some time — it's a miniaturized version of the HTC One with the same camera module and a similar design, running a 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 4.3-inch 720p display.

The Desire 601 shares the same CPU and RAM, but downscales the display further to a qHD (960x540) resolution panel, while increasing the size to 4.5 inches. The Desire also loses the One's metal exterior, replacing it with soft-touch plastic. Both devices run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and HTC Sense 5.

The One Mini and Desire 601 will arrive on Rogers from Nov. 4; for more on both devices, check out our review and hands-on coverage, linked below.

More: HTC One Mini review, HTC Desire 601 hands-on

Source: @RogersBuzz; via: MobileSyrup

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4 years ago

HTC publishes T-Mobile HTC One 4.3 RUU for tinkerers

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A safe way back to 'stock' firmware for hackers, and an alternative way to update

In a somewhat unusual move, HTC has published the new Android 4.3-based firmware for the T-Mobile HTC One online, in the form of an RUU (ROM update utility). The RUU weighs in at just over one gigabyte, and can be used to directly flash the latest "stock" firmware onto T-Mo's HTC One, regardless of whether it's running older official software or a custom ROM.

In the past HTC has shied away from releasing these kinds of utilities publicly, likely due to the software licensing restrictions, though that hasn't stopped many RUUs from leaking out online over the past several years. If you've got a T-Mo HTC One and want to perform a "manual update" as HTC calls it, you'll need a Windows computer, the correct drivers, and a little patience and technical know-how.

You'll find the download link and instructions below.

Source: T-Mobile HTC One Manual Update; via: AndroidPolice

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4 years ago

HTC One getting Android 4.3 + Sense 5.5 update in some European countries

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Latest version of Android and Sense for HTC's international flagship

Not long after Sense 5.5 made its debut on the HTC One Max, the latest version of HTC's software is rolling out over the air to HTC Ones in parts of Europe. We've confirmed on our own device that the update is pushing out to unlocked Nordic handsets; HTC ROM-maker @LlabTooFeR tells us it's hitting Russia and Eastern Europe too. The update weighs in at a hefty 675MB and updates the HTC One to firmware version 3.62.401.1, based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Sense 5.5.

As always, the update will likely take a few weeks to become available in all parts of Europe. HTC UK recently gave a three-to-five week estimate for bringing the Android 4.3 update to British HTC One handsets, so some users will be in for a longer wait than others.

The OTA upgrades international HTC Ones, previously on Android 4.2, up to the latest version of Jelly Bean, along with HTC's latest smartphone software. Sense 5.5 brings new features to BlinkFeed, including Google+, RSS and search support — and yes, the option to turn it off entirely. There's also a redesigned Gallery app with new video highlight templates and options.

All in all, this latest OTA puts international devices on par with the One Max, and slightly ahead of the U.S. and Canadian models, which have been getting Android 4.3 with Sense 5.0 in recent weeks. Check past the break for the official changelog and a handful of screenshots, and let us know in the comments if you're updating this morning.

Thanks, @LlabTooFeR!

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4 years ago

Using a new Verizon Droid? Your update is coming soon

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Have hope Droid users, you have not been forgotten — you're just on Verizon Standard Time

While a solid date would be better, there's finally some good news for Droid Ultra, Droid Mini and Droid Maxx users waiting on an update to get them in line with the rest of the Moto X family. Vice president of product management at Motorola Mobility Punit Soni says:

Verizon users... You know that SW update is coming soon...

While soon can be a pretty horrible word when you're waiting on something, it's better than no word at all. We're pretty certain Verizon takes a particular interest in Droid updates, and we all know that anything Verizon touches makes it slow down when it comes to software updates. But so far, Soni has been spot on with his update news for Moto X class devices.

Besides, who knows how much longer things take when you have Droid Zap! to deal with. We've got our feelers out, and when this one gets any steam we'll let you know.

Source: +Punit Soni

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini headed to the U.S. this November

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AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and U.S. Cellular will carry the Galaxy S 4 Mini

We've recently seen evidence that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is U.S.-bound, and now we have official confirmation of that fact. Samsung Mobile U.S. sends word that the miniaturized S4 will be headed to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and U.S. Cellular starting this November.

The Galaxy S4 Mini sports a familiar design with somewhat cut-down internals compared to the regular GS4. The display is a 4.3-inch SuperAMOLED panel at 960x540 resolution. There's a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 CPU running the show, 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (up from 8GB in the international model), expandable via microSD. There's also an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1,900mAh battery.

The Galaxy S4 Mini runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and Samsung's latest TouchWiz UI, featuring many of the software capabilities of the full-sized Galaxy S4. The S4's camera app has made it across, as has the WatchOn TV app, and device-to-device sharing through S Beam and Group Share. A software update "soon after launch" will enable Galaxy Gear support on U.S. Galaxy S4 Minis.

While we weren't exactly wowed by the international version of the GS4 Mini, the U.S. version could be a compelling mid-ranger if the price is right. Naturally, we'll need to wait for individual carriers to confirm those details in the weeks ahead.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

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4 years ago

Latest LG G Flex leaks show back-mounted buttons

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G2-style power and volume keys shown on curvy smartphone

Curvy displays look to be one of the smartphone trends of the next few months. Samsung has already announced its Korea-bound Galaxy Round, and there's every indication that local rival LG has a curved-display handset waiting in the wings too.

Now we're beginning to see more details about the upcoming LG G Flex, which unlike Samsung's offering has a vertical, not horizontal curve. We've seen leaked photos of the G Flex in the past, but a fresh set of images doing the rounds today confirm earlier speculation — the handset uses the same back-mounted button setup as its more conventional cousin, the LG G2. On the front is a 6-inch curved OLED display.

Today's shots come from Argentine tech journalist Federico Ini by way of The Verge, and Ini's publication Telefenoticias also managed to score a hands-on video of the handset. From what we can see it's essentially a larger, curvier version of the G2, much as the Galaxy Round is to the Note 3. Like the Samsung device, the LG G Flex is unlikely to be a mass-market product, but we'll bring you full details on the phone upon its official arrival, expected sometime in November.

Source: The Verge, Telefenoticias, @fechu

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4 years ago

Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy S4 with LTE-A coming to parts of Europe

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Faster LTE speeds and a more advanced CPU for Samsung's upgraded GS4

We managed to track down Samsung's LTE-Advanced-capable, Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy S4 (GT-i9506) last month at IFA 2013, but until now there's been little in the way of official info from Samsung on the device. Today press releases have been issued by Samsung Sweden, and the handset has popped up on the company's German site, dubbed simply "Galaxy S4 with LTE+."

Based on our experienced with the Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy S4 at IFA, the overall user experience is much the same as what we know on the Snapdragon 600 model. The new device is advertised with Samsung KNOX support, however, so it Samsung's latest enterprise software package should be included. Besides that, the faster chip should bring the GS4 in line with the Galaxy Note 3 in terms of raw computational horsepower and 4G LTE data speeds, with download speeds of up to 150Mbps supported on the new model. According to the Swedish press release, the new S4 ships with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

The Galaxy S4 with LTE+ is due to arrive in Sweden this November, priced at 6,000 Krona (around $940). There's no word on availability or pricing for any other countries, however a similar device has been available in Samsung's native South Korea for the past several months.

More: Hands-on with the Snadragon 800-powered Galaxy S4

Source: PhoneArena, Press Release (Swedish), Samsung (German)

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4 years ago

Alcatel One Touch Fierce review

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Arriving on T-Mobile shelves on Oct. 23, the One Touch Fierce is proof that OEMs are only able to go so far with $164. 

In the flurry of recent top-notch Android releases, you might have missed the announcement of T-Mobile's latest budget-friendly devices, the One Touch Fierce and One Touch Evolve. No, they're not blood glucose monitors, but rather the latest installments from Alcatel, a company that has struggled to find its place here in the US.  But with its Evolve and Fierce, Alcatel hopes to make waves in the entry-level market, beckoning T-Mobile customers with dirt-cheap price tags of $100 and $164 respectively.

But if we've learned anything from 2013, it's that the current state of entry-level Android has finally reached a balance of affordability and usability, and the days of settling for cheaply-made Gingerbread-powered devices are behind us. But in the case of the One Touch Fierce, it appears that Alcatel made all the wrong cuts in all the wrong places.

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4 years ago

Here's the changelog for the Verizon Moto X update

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Motorola, as it's done for the other carriers, has released the full changelog for the most recent update to Verizon's Moto X. The camera improvements are the big strokes, of course, but there's a good bit more to the update.

Here's what's new in version 139.15.1:

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Express 2 hits Vodafone UK on October 23

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Updated mid-ranger exclusive to Vodafone at launch, other operators coming later

Samsung UK has announced an updated version of the mid-range Galaxy Express handset it launched earlier in the year, the Galaxy Express 2. The LTE-capable handset features a 4.5-inch qHD LCD display, a 1.7GHz dual core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and a 5-megapixel rear camera. Based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and Samsung's latest TouchWiz UI, the Galaxy Express 2 also features some of the software features from higher-end Samsung phones — Smart Stay, Group Play, Motion UX, S Travel, StoryAlbum and S Translator.

The Galaxy Express 2 will launch tomorrow, Oct. 23, at Vodafone UK, with other carriers to follow at a later date. It'll come in "ceramic white" and "rigel blue" color options, with the latter being exclusive to Vodafone.

We've got specs and the full press release after the break.

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