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4 years ago

AT&T agrees to buy Leap Wireless for $15 per share

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Offer comes as nearly 100-percent premium over stock valuation; PCS and AWS spectrum in play

AT&T and has just announced that it has entered an agreement to buy regional carrier Leap Wireless  for $15 per share in cash, gaining all of the carrier's assets and customers. Leap, which operates a consumer-facing carrier as Cricket Wireless, has both a CDMA and LTE network with coverage in 35 states and approximately 5 million subscribers.

AT&T makes no indication that it will continue to operate the CDMA network, however, and says that it will keep the Cricket brand running but offer users access to its own GSM and LTE networks instead. It will retain all of Cricket's retail locations, and use the brand as a way for AT&T to further push into the low-cost prepaid market.

The other likely reason for this purchase is for Leap's spectrum holdings, which land in the PCS and AWS bands covering 137 million people. This spectrum matches up well to AT&T's current spectrum holdings, and should be quickly implemented with its current network.

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4 years ago

Today at 4 p.m. EDT: We be podcasting!

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OK, boys and girls. It's been a wet and wild week, and we're going to wrap it up this afternoon with the Greatest Android Podcast in the World. On tap today: the new Google Maps is starting to roll out to Android — will kill off Latitude in a month. The Moto X and Droid Ultra are all but official, Sprint gets a new boss, T-Mobile's new boss thinks everyone else sucks — and maybe a few of your e-mails will make their way in as well.

We're breaking out ye olde Google Hangouts for the podcast again today, folks, so be sure to swing on by AndroidCentral.com/live in a few hours.

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4 years ago

T-Mobile's Optimus L9 gets another update to Jelly Bean

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T-Mobile and LG release another Jelly Bean update for the Optimus L9, hopefully the previous issues have been sorted out

The Optimus L9 may not be the most popular phone in LG's stable, but that didn't keep them from coordinating with T-Mobile and getting another Jelly Bean update ready to go for the device. The update is live and pushing out OTA to folks on the current 4.1.2 official firmware, as well as a package for folks still running the 4.0.4 firmware who skipped the last OTA that was quickly pulled.

This time around you'll be bumped to software version P76920f, which is still Android 4.1.2, but contains additional security enhancements according to T-Mobile. Hopefully, things will go a bit better than the last 4.1.2 update that was pulled because of battery and Wifi calling issues. 

To check for your update, from the home screen press Menu > Settings > About device > System update and follow the prompts.

Source: T-Mobile; Thanks, Andrew!

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4 years ago

HTC One MoDaCo Switch: dual booting GPE and Sense with one data set

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Paul O'Brien demos seamless switching between Google Play Edition and Sense software

With the recent release of the Google Play Edition HTC One, two software versions now exist for the same hardware: Google's 'stock' version of Android (as found on the Google Play edition), and HTC's Sense version of Android (as found on all other models). Those who are willing to unlock the bootloader on their phones and install some custom software gain the ability to switch between these two different versions of Android. Each version has its benefits and drawbacks, making staying on one exclusively a difficult decision.

Thanks to Paul O'Brien's newly developed MoDaCo Switch, users can now have their Android cake and eat it too. Visually an app like any other located in the app drawer, the MoDaCo Switch -- when pressed -- presented the user with two options: Stock (HTC Sense) or Google Play edition (AOSP). If AOSP is selected while on HTC Sense, the phone will quickly shut down and immediately reboot into the Google Play edition side of the phone.

More, and a video, after the break.

Source: MoDaCo

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4 years ago

T-Mobile's new JUMP! upgrade policy is leapfrogging the competition

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The 'UNcarrier' makes an interesting proposition that puts other carriers to shame and helps its bottom line at the same time

At an event in New York City this week, T-Mobile made its self-described “Boldest moves yet”. Along with new device announcements and touting its LTE network expansion, the biggest change the carrier announced Wednesday was a new device insurance and upgrade system it calls “JUMP!”. With this new system, T-Mobile is again taking straight aim at the other major carriers in the U.S. -- this time focusing on lengthy upgrade periods.

As we described when the service was announced, JUMP! (yes, all caps and with an exclamation point) builds on T-Mobile's existing PHP (Premium Handset Protection) insurance to also offer customers device upgrades twice per year. With JUMP!, customers can buy a handset on an installment plan and twice a year return the working device to T-Mobile, have all remaining payments on the device wiped out and buy a new device on an installment plan as if they were a new customer. The new JUMP! service is just $10 per month, only a couple dollars more than what it previously charged for PHP alone.

READ: T-Mobile announces 'JUMP!' upgrade plan

Together with its new Equipment Installment Program (EIP) and no-contract plans, JUMP! just let T-Mobile leapfrog the other major carriers in a big way. The magenta carrier is changing the way it takes on equipment upgrades, and it's another push in the right direction that this industry needs.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini video walkthrough

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Miniaturized marvel or just another mid-ranger? We guide you through Samsung's Galaxy S4 Mini

It wasn't long ago that a smartphone with a 4.3-inch display was considered unusually large — unwieldy, even. But as high-end screens surpass the five-inch mark, we're increasingly seeing 4 to 4.5-inch models dominating the mid-range space, aimed at those who want a premium handset in a smaller form factor.

The Galaxy S4 Mini is one such device, sharing its name, design and much of its software with Samsung's current flagship. It's missing a few of the flashier, heavily-advertised features of the full-sized S4, but the core experience is there all the same, and it's just as speedy as its big brother.

This year Samsung is among the first to market with its Galaxy S4 Mini, but there's every indication that it'll soon be joined by rival "minis" from HTC and Motorola. So is the GS4 Mini worthy of its name, or do niggling issues with the screen and internal storage get in the way?

Check out our video walkthrough after the break.

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4 years ago

Eric Schmidt with a Moto X

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Commence freak-out, everyone! Here's Google Chairman Eric Schmidt holding the unannounced-but-hardly-a-secret Moto X at the Sun Valley Conference "Camp for billionaires." You can see that's Schmidt on the right, holding the phone. And that's the phone on the left, held up to Schmidt's right ear.

Also note the perfect posture Schmidt is employing. Also known as the Graves Method, this provides the perfect amount of control while holding a smartphone. Thumb positioned properly along one edge of the device, with index finger at the recommended 3 degrees off vertical. This gives quick access to what has quickly become the most overhyped phone since the last overhyped phone.

Source: Reuters; More in our Moto X forums

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4 years ago

What to do before giving away or selling your Android phone or tablet

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Before parting with any Android device, review this hardware and software checklist

With the ever-growing Android market, more and more people are buying and selling Android phones and tablets every day. Some people — like myself — depend on the value of their used devices to purchase the latest and greatest. But before shipping that phone or tablet off to its new owner, it is vital to make sure everything important has been removed.

The top concern for many folks in this position is that of privacy protection. Personal information like phone numbers, emails, and compromising pictures are things nobody wants falling into the wrong hands. It's also a good idea not to send any "extras" along with the device, like any one of the cards (microSD, SIM, etc.) that could be hiding in various nooks and crannies of any Android phone or tablet.

Of course, before removing any hardware or erasing any data, you'll want to backup the important things to keep or transfer to another device. Whether it be applications, music, or family photos, it needs to be correctly copied over to removable storage on the device itself or to a personal computer.

Let's get started.

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4 years ago

Audible receives major interface overhaul in latest update

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Not a single piece of the app left untouched, bringing the it up to modern design standards

Users of the Audible for Android app are in for a treat tonight with a complete interface design overhaul update pushing out through the Play Store. Previously a very functional but also clearly dated app, Audible has completely moved into the modern design era with a new interface that relies on tabs, proper use of the action bar and smooth interface movement all around. The app keeps a familiar grey, black and orange color scheme, but improves every bit of functionality, adds in a few new features and improves stability.

It seems as though not a single piece of the app was left untouched, and we have to hand it to Audible for making the necessary improvements to bring the app up to par with modern standards. You can grab a download or update of the latest version from the Play Store link at the top of this post.

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4 years ago

Vine adds new channels, capture tools and revining

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Improved capture and sharing experience follow in the footsteps of Instagram

The initial popularity of Vine on Android may be hit-or-miss, but updates with new functionality just keep coming -- this time with improved capture tools and new ways to manage sharing. First up are new improvements to creating Vines, which in addition to front-facing camera support now includes the option to show a viewfinder grid, manage auto-focus and add a "ghost" effect to your video. The main overflow menu for the app also now includes a global "mute" switch (thank you!).

On the content side, users can now browse and submit posts to 15 new channels in the app, and can easily "revine" (share) posts to your own stream. The update also includes a "fast capture" widget, which lets you jump straight into the capture mode of Vine to catch those short-notice moments.

You can grab the Vine update from the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Boost Mobile's HTC One SV gets its Jelly Bean update

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome another phone into the Jelly Bean club. Boost Mobile's HTC One SV is currently getting its update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with Sense 4+ thrown in for good measure. 

The update weighs in at a little more than 400 megabytes, so you'll probably not want to do this without Wifi. In addition to the OS update, you'll get Google Wallet and Google Shopper, and a "Connection Optimizer."

Boost tells us the udpate will be available through July 17, so get to it.

Thanks to BB_BMore in our One SV forums!

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4 years ago

Chrome OS stable updated to version 28 with improvements to Files, notifications and Office Viewer

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New notifications for several apps, full-screen 'Immersive Mode' and 

Google has just released a large update to the stable channel of Chrome OS to version 28.0.1500.68, which includes lots of nifty features and purported performance improvements. First up are the user-facing features, which include a newly designed Files app that now gives access to Shared and Recent files from Google drive, as well as new notification pop-ups for Hangouts, Gmail, screenshots and others. Google has also updated the Chrome Office Viewer to make handling of Microsoft Office documents just a little easier. If you decide to dive into chrome://flags, the latest version also offers an "Immersive Mode" which hides more of the browser chrome and gives a full-screen experience.

Under the hood, version 28 brings the new "Blink" rendering engine, which supposedly speeds up browser performance but offered no distinguishable performance change on our Chromebook Pixel. Speaking of the Pixel, you will now see a visual indicator of touch screen input when clicking on a link, which can be useful for non-touch-optimized sites.

Overall this update brings a tightening of the screws around several different areas of Chrome OS, with lots of little tweaks that make living in the browser just a little easier and better performing. Hang around after the break for several screenshots of the new features in action.

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4 years ago

Google Play highlights photography with free eBook, notable apps

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Free eBook and eight great apps to get new 'shutter bugs' started with photography

As it regularly does, Google Play is highlighting a specific subject with a content promotion and this time the focus is on photography. This week's focus is kicking off with a free eBook from the Play Store -- "Android Photography" by Colby Brown is a 104 page book focusing (pun, I know) on the basics of controlling your phone's camera, which settings to use and how to shoot in different situations.

The book also gives tips on which third-party apps to use to help your photography skills, and Google Play is helping out by offering a full list of popular apps for "shutter bugs". Popular apps like 500px and Camera Zoom FX make it into this list of 8 apps focused on viewing and taking photos.

When you go to "purchase" the book from the Play Store at the link above, don't be alarmed if you're asked to enter your Google Wallet information or get GW set up, it's a necessary process for having the book linked to your account. Happy shooting!

More: 'App Focus: Photography' | 'Android Photography' by Colby Brown

Android Central Photography Forums

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4 years ago

Verizon roadmap shows potential launch dates for HTC One, Moto X

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August to see several device launches; new 'Droid' devices nowhere to be seen

Right on the heels of the latest Moto X device leaks, a new roadmap from Verizon may have just revealed the launch dates for both it and the HTC One on Big Red. According to a purported "Go To Market" roadmap obtained by PhoneArena, the carrier will finally see the previously-confirmed HTC One on August first, with the upcoming flagship Moto X hitting a few weeks later on August 23rd.

While it's a fashionably late appearance for the One on Verizon when compared to the other carriers, an August 23rd launch of the Moto X could put it right in line with the other three if current launch date rumors hold true. As for the expected launch of multiple new "Droid" devices, this roadmap doesn't give us any indication of their release windows.

It looks like Verizon may be in for an important month of August.

Source: PhoneArena

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4 years ago

Sprint announces new unlimited plans, 'Unlimited Guarantee'

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'Unlimited, My Way' and 'My All-In' plans available starting tomorrow

As a possible reaction to the sweeping changes Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have been making to their plan structure over the last year, Sprint is introducing two new kinds of plans and what it calls an "Unlimited Guarantee". First up is a new plan structure called "Unlimited, My Way", which similarly to other family and "shared" plans lets you build out a plan for multiple people, saving on additional lines all the way up to 10 per account. While the base price per line isn't yet detailed, the plans will offer unlimited data for $30 per month per line, or a cheaper $20 per month option for just 1GB of data. Unlimited, My Way plans can add mobile hotspot in 1GB increments for $10 per month as well.

On the individual side, a new "My All-In" plan gives a single line of service with unlimited talk (to any phone), unlimited text and unlimited data with 5GB of mobile hotspot for $110 per month. This plan matches its current highest-end unlimited plan, but now throws in the mobile hotspot data at no additional charge. Both My All-In and Unlimited, My Way plans include unlimited calling to any phone or number -- wireline or wireless -- which is an improvement from previous plans that would only offer unlimited calls to mobile numbers.

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