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3 years ago

Obama administration petitions FCC to require carriers to unlock phones

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Phone unlocking to be 'expeditious and transparent,' while not affecting service contracts

The Obama administration, by way of the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration), today officially petitioned the FCC to voice its opinion that carriers should be required unlock customer's phones. The petition cuts right to the point, stating that US consumers should be able to request that their phone, tablet or other device be unlocked — and have it done free of charge and with no strings attached.

“Americans should be able to use their mobile devices on whatever networks they choose and have their devices unlocked without hassle."

Said NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling, going further to say that the burden of handling unlocking should be put on the carrier, not the users, and that the process should be "expeditious and transparent." A Library of Congress decision regarding the DMCA took the ability for consumers to legally unlock their phones last year, and this petition hopes to secure these rights outside of that act.

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3 years ago

Verizon responds to inqury about LTE-enabled Nexus 7 activation issues

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Nexus 7 is a device "not yet certified" for Verizon's LTE network

There's a bit of a fuss going on about Verizon and the new LTE Nexus 7. It seems that people are facing some difficulty getting the device activated on the carrier, and the back-and-forth is getting even more confusing. We reached out to Verizon, who just replied with an official response. In all its brevity:

This is not yet a device that is Verizon 4G LTE certified. We’ll let folks know when it's certified.

We're not exactly sure of any further details, but we do know that the Nexus 7 seems to be working just fine for those folks who have robbed another device of its SIM card. 

For now, it appears that there is no Verizon support at all for the tablet. We think that will change, and you can bet we're keeping an eye on this one.

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3 years ago

iHeartRadio adds new navigation panel, favorites and talk radio stations

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Simpler navigation to access your new favorite stations

Popular internet streaming radio app iHeartRadio is picking up an update in the Play Store today that improves the app's navigation and adds both favorite station functionality and new talk radio options. The most noticeable visual change is a new slide-in navigation drawer that is accessed from the left edge and holds different "discover" areas along with the app settings and sleep timer.

Dominating the top of the slide-in panel is the new favorites section, which gives six slots for favorite stations — called "Presets" — to quickly access with one tap. You can add favorites to your Presets with a tap on the plus icon when listening to a feed. Also included in this update is a new selection of talk radio stations, which the app is calling "iHeartRadio Talk."

You can grab a download of the latest version of the app from the Play Store link at the top of this post.

Thanks, Andy!

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3 years ago

HP SlateBook X2 review

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The Slatebook X2 is a solid workhorse, as long as you're prepared to make some compromises

For some of us, the allure of having an ultra-portable computer and a tablet built around the same device is the future. It’s not anything new, as we’ve seen ASUS and others do this very thing for a while now, but when done right, a hybrid device can be the perfect piece of equipment for work and play.

That’s part of the idea behind devices like the HP SlateBook X2. You start with a Tegra 4 Android tablet, and with a quick snap you’re transformed into a laptop sized to fit perfectly with the current generation of ultra-portables we see from everyone who bought a Windows 8 OEM license.

The key is doing it right. See if HP did that, after the break.

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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

Firefox update brings WebRTC and NFC tab sharing to Android version

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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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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

Talk Mobile weekly podcast: Live at noon EDT!

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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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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom video walkthrough

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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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3 years ago

Nexus 7 LTE factory images now available

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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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3 years ago

UK to experiment with mobile emergency alerts

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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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3 years ago

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

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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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