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3 years ago

Target unveils 'Brightspot' prepaid service running on the T-Mobile network

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Another basic MVNO player hoping to pick up some market share

Although it isn't the first name you think of when it comes to prepaid GSM phone service, Target has just launched its own MVNO network called "Brightspot." Running on the T-Mobile network — including LTE access — Brightspot offers a variety of inexpensive feature and smart phones for purchase as well as a BYOD SIM kit program. Here's how the plans break down — you can pay $35 per month for unlimited talk and text with no data (for a feature phone) or $50 per month for unlimited talk and text, 1GB of 4G data (throttled thereafter).

Target is also planning to reward loyal customers by giving you a $25 gift card for every 6 months that you refill your service with Brightspot. The gift card can be applied to any purchase at Target, not just future phone service. Folks with a Target REDcard will receive 5 percent off purchases of Brightspot refills as well, just like any other purchase at the store. The service will be available starting October 6th.

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3 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Time

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Take your time with this week's photo contest entries

With the popularity of the Galaxy Gear and Pebble smartwatch, among others, we wanted to have a very topical contest this week. The prompt for your photo entries for the next week will be "time." Take a picture of a clock, watch, sundial or anything else you think expresses the concept of "time" and we'll hopefully pick you as a winner this week.

This week we'll be picking two winners, and this week's prizes (appropriately) will be two Pebble smartwatches — you get your choice of red or black.

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in a forums post at the link below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll pick a winner Tuesday (October 8) night at 11:59 PM ET, and announce them on the blog with next Wednesday's contest.

Enter this week's photo contest

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3 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Do you run benchmarks on your phone?

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Nobody was hurt running this benchmark test

Benchmark results of Android devices — and how they are manipulated — are back in the news again. A lot of folks have fun running them, and a certain subset of people use them as one of the deciding factors of which phone is better. We're cool with that. You get to decide how to spend your own money, and we don't want it any other way. Just because we shy away from them mostly doesn't mean you should.

But recently, a brouhaha got started because Samsung was caught by the folks at Ars Technica cheating at some benchmarks with the Note 3. An old can of worms got reopened, and we now know that most Android manufacturers do the same. Credit where credit is due — Motorola and Nvidia, and of course Google, have abstained. You'll want to read the excellent break down by the folks at AnandTech about it, because this sort of thing is what they do best.

Phil had a little to say on it last night, and now it's your turn. After the break, or in the sidebar to the right, you'll find a poll. Take a second and answer it, then give your reasons in the comments. Play nice and be respectful please, and we can have good discussion.

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3 years ago

Google Play experiencing issues for most everyone

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It's not just you. Users everywhere, including us here at AC, are running into issues downloading and installing apps from Google Play. The problems vary from the crazy 927 error, to the Play Store not responding, to no visual cue but nothing will download.

We expect that Google will have things back up and going shortly. Hang tight guys and gals!

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3 years ago

HTC One Mini on AT&T also getting an update

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289MB file said to deliver performance enhancements

HTC is literally raining down the updates today, with the Sprint HTC One and EVO 4G LTE seeing updates, and now the One Mini on AT&T is having a turn.

It's a fairly sizable update at 289MB, but the listed changes are simply device performance enhancements. Your new build number will be 1.32.502.3, and you're still on platform version 4.2.

Any One Mini users out there seeing this one? Head into the forums and share your experiences and maybe we can find out just what's in this update.

Source: AT&T; via: Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Indoors' winner!

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With so many great photos, it was tough to pick just one this week

Another week, another closed photo contest and dozens of great entries that we had the opportunity to take a look at. The broad topic of "indoors" gave us a wide range of interesting subjects and styles to choose from, and in the end we narrowed down our choice to just one winner.

Continue on after the break to see who was selected as the winner of this week's photo contest and an HTC First as their prize.

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3 years ago

Google Play gift cards now available in Canada

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Google has finally made Google Play gift cards available for people in Canada. Denominations of $15, $25 and $50 (CAD) are available from selected retailers. The short list of where to buy them: 

  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Future Shop
  • Target
  • 7-11
  • Best Buy
  • Mac's
  • Walmart
  • Pharmaprix
  • Circle K
  • Couche-Tard

Google advises that while the cards have officially launched, they still may be on the way to retailers. You should call around to see who has them in stock now.

The cards apply credit to your Google Wallet account for purchases of apps, books and movies from Google Play. To see how to redeem the value, have a look at our primer.

Source: +Google Play

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3 years ago

Here's a great way to show off that HTC One screen and BoomSound

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Your HTC One has one of the best LCDs in the business, and some pretty amazing front-facing stereo speakers. Put it to the test with the new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug that director Peter Jackson is sharing. 

The movie should be epic, but watching the trailer on one of the premiere entertainment devices out there is pretty epic in its own right. Click through to give it a look.

More: +Peter Jackson

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3 years ago

HTC EVO 4G LTE also getting minor update today

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Minor update brings stability improvements and HD voice by default

While it's not the big Android 4.3 update many are wanting, the HTC EVO 4G LTE also has an update pushing out today. The 3.17.651.4 update is a maintenance release, and the listed change log says HD voice will be enabled by default to go along with the requisite bug fixes and stability improvements to Sense.

This is yet another staged release, and not all users will see the update today. To see if you've got a seat on the OTA carousel, pop into the settings and check for a software update.

Source: Sprint. Thanks, @sanders_llc!

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3 years ago

Sprint HTC One getting Android 4.3 update

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First U.S. carrier-branded HTC One to get the OTA

Following rollouts for the U.S. developer edition and Canadian HTC Ones, the Sprint device has become the first U.S. carrier-branded version to get its Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. HTC America president Jason Mackenzie took to Twitter to confirm that the update is now pushing out, and AC reader Tony tells us he's already got it on his Sprint-branded device in New Orleans.

In addition to the latest version of Android, the update brings new Sense features including Instagram support in BlinkFeed and new video highlight templates. If you're rocking an HTC One on Sprint, jump in the comments and let us know if you've gotten the update.

More: Sprint HTC One forum

Source: @JasonMacHTC; Thanks, Tony!

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note 3 and others available with no money down on T-Mobile

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T-Mobile hopes paying nothing today will get you even more interested in a Note 3

T-Mobile is running another promotion on new phone financing, with zero up front costs for some pretty popular phones. Starting today, you can pick up the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (preorder), the LG G2, the Galaxy S4, or one of a number of other phones without spending a penny today. There's even free shipping. 

There are some noticeable omissions, namely the HTC One, the Nexus 4 and the iPhone 5S. These all still require a down payment in addition to the monthly fee. It's also important to realize just what you're doing here when you sign a contract for T-Mobile to finance your phone.

Using the Note 3 as an example, you can have it shipped to your door without making the first payment or paying for shipping — though you may have to pay some taxes and activation fees — but you'll be liable for 24-months worth of payments at $29.50 per month. That adds up to the full retail cost of the Note 3, which is $708. While this is a separate contract aside from any service for the device, the payments are both due at the same time and any cancelations of service make the total balance of the phone's cost immediately due.

It can be a good way to wean yourself out of the subsidy trap, if (and that's a big if) you have good T-Mobile service where you need it. For all the details, visit the source link.

Source: T-Mobile

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear now available

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Samsung's latest Galaxy devices arrive in the U.S.

T-Mobile subscribers are the first in the U.S. to be able to get their hands on Samsung's latest Android products, the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear. The Note 3 can be had for $29.50 per month with no down payment for qualifying customers, or $21 per month with a down payment of $199.99. If you want to buy T-Mo's Note 3 outright, the full retail price is $708. The carrier is offering the Note 3 in "jet black" and "classic white" colors.

Meanwhile, the smartwatch accessory sells for $299.99 and is available in "wild orange," "jet black" and "oatmeal beige". (Curiously, T-Mobile's site also lists the Gear as being compatible with its Galaxy S4, which as far as we're aware isn't the case yet.)

The next stops for the Note 3 and Gear are AT&T and Sprint this Friday, Oct. 4. Verizon follows next week, with pre-orders due to ship by Oct. 10.

For more on the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear, check out our reviews, linked below. If you're picking up a Galaxy Note 3 (or Gear) today, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

More: Galaxy Note 3 review, Galaxy Gear initial review

Source: T-Mobile (Note 3), T-Mobile (Gear)

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3 years ago

How to shrink the Galaxy Note 3's display into a tiny window

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Can't reach across the Galaxy Note 3's enormous screen? Samsung's got a software trick to help you out

We may live in a world of 6.3 to 6.4-inch smartphones, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's 5.7-incher is still pretty big. And getting around it using only your thumb can be a challenge. Samsung has always offered "one-handed mode" software tricks on the Note series — for example, letting you shrink and rearrange the keyboard, dialer, and other areas for easier thumbing.

On the Galaxy Note 3, though, it's taken this to an all-new level. The new "Use for all screens" option, found under "Settings > Controls > One-handed operation," lets you shrink the entire display in to a moveable, resizable window a fraction of the screen's true size. Crazy!

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3 years ago

Vertu launches $6600 leather-backed Android phone

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Second Android device from the luxury manufacturer

If the Galaxy Note 3's faux-leather back just isn't leathery enough for you, the Vertu's got you covered with its second high-priced Android phone, the Constellation. The luxury electronics company has today unveiled the device, which packs a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, Android 4.2 and a calf leather and titanium body. The leather extends around the body of the handset, and unlike the $10,000 Vertu Ti, the $6,630 Constellation is more traditionally smartphone-shaped.

On the front is an unremarkable 4.3-inch 720p display behind strengthened sapphire glass, which Vertu says can withstand the impact of a 200-gram steel ball being dropped from one meter. The Constellation also gains a higher-specced camera than Vertu's earlier offering, with a 13-megapixel unit being included. 32 and 64GB storage options are available, but according to Engadget there's still no LTE support. To compensate, Vertu plans offer each customer unlimited global Wifi through a partnership with iPass.

The Vertu Constellation will be available from selected Vertu boutiques from next month. If you want to arrange a private viewing (yes, that's actually a thing) you can do so through the manufacturer's website.

Source: Vertu, Engadget

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3 years ago

Hulu Plus gets Chromecast support

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Google's Chromecast streaming dongle now supports Hulu Plus, the company has announced on its official blog. The TV streaming service's mobile apps will be updated on Google Play and the iOS App Store today with a new "Cast" button, similar to other Chromecast-supported apps.

Until now Chromecast owners have been able to stream Hulu content through Chrome's tab cast feature, however official Android and iOS app support should make things a lot easier from now on. Hit the Google Play button on the left to grab the latest version of the app.

Source: Google Blog

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