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Aug 182014

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Amid an industry wide effort to push tablets as smartphones approach the saturation point and subscriber growth stalls, AT&T Inc. is quietly beginning a promotion at its stores Wednesday to give customers a $200 discount on an iPad as long as they sign a two-year contract for the device and buy a new iPhone at full price. Tablets have accounted for a large percentage of the big four U.S. carriers’ subscriber growth in recent quarters, and they have been promoting them aggressively.

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Aug 172014

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What’s the biggest gripe that people have about the iPhone? Conventional wisdom says that many people are put off by the device’s comparatively small display size, which explains why Apple will likely release two larger new iPhone models this fall. However, a new survey of more than 1,000 smartphone users conducted by uSell.com has found that it’s actually stronger battery life that iPhone users crave more than anything else. These results are in line from other recent surveys of prospective buyers that have repeatedly shown battery life is one of the single most important things people look for in a smartphone.

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Aug 172014

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Motorola has sent around an invite for revelations of the new Moto 360, along with indications that it will also have news about Moto X and G smartphones, and possibly accessories including a headset at an event on September 4. The invite uses the classic paper fortune teller children’s game as the means to preview what’s going to be up for discussion. The Moto 360 was announced alongside Android Wear, and was previewed at Google I/O earlier in June, but its ship date was set for later this year. It looks like it’ll arrive in early September if not before, based on the invite. We could also get a look at the Moto X+1, the much-rumored smartphone that is supposedly slated for a September 25 release date. According to the latest rumors, a new variant of the Moto G is also slated to ship on September 10.

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Aug 162014

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Wal-Mart thought shoppers would like the opportunity to use a smartphone app to scan items they want to buy as they walk through store aisles. In theory, they could speed through self-checkout. But customers couldn’t figure out how to work the “Scan & Go” app during tests in 200 stores, so Wal-Mart nixed it. Instead of looking at the app as a failure, though, Wal-Mart took what it learned from “Scan & Go” to create another service: It found that customers like being able to track their spending, an insight that became the impetus for a national program that enables shoppers to store electronic receipts.

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Aug 162014

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Amazon is taking direct aim at mobile payment systems such as Square by introducing the Amazon Local Register, a credit-card processing device and mobile app designed to help small business owners accept payments through their smartphones and tablets. The move places the largest U.S. e-commerce retailer in competition with Square and other established mobile payment processing systems such as PayPal Here and Intuit’s GoPayment. Amazon’s technology includes a card reader that attaches to a smartphone, Kindle or tablet.

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Aug 152014

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Even though Samsung’s smartphone profits have taken a hit this year , the company is still No. 1 in finding clever ways to troll iPhone fans. Samsung has started aggressively expanding its “wall huggers” marketing campaign that bashes the iPhone’s battery life and has now set up posters at airport power outlets letting iPhone fans know that they wouldn’t have to spend so much time huddled up near a power supply if they’d just bought a Galaxy S5 . Over the last year, multiple battery test studies from “PCMag”, “Which?” magazine, and “LaptopMag”, have all foundthat flagship phones from Samsung and HTC get significantly higher overall battery life than the iPhone.

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Aug 152014

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BlackBerry Passport Hands On Video

So how about it, prospective smartphone buyers? Are you still clamoring for the BlackBerry Passport? If so then you’ll definitely want to check out a new video flagged by CrackBerry that was produced by U.K. retailer Carphone Warehouse that gives us a nice little hands-on demonstration of BlackBerry’s upcoming smartphone that will go head-to-head with the iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4 this September.


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Aug 152014

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iPhone 6 Vs. Galaxy S5

It’s something we’ve long suspected but now we finally have the proof we need: Your wireless carrier wants to push you to buy a Samsung smartphone over an iPhone. Kantar Worldpanel has just released a new study (PDF) confirming reports that we’ve long heard about carriers trying to steer their customers away from the iPhone and toward rival devices — most prominently, Samsung’s.

In a survey of smartphone buyers in the United States, Kantar found that “63% of consumers who bought a device in [Q1 2014] were recommended a Samsung device, more than double the rate of recommendation for Apple, and almost 10 times more than Nokia.” Kantar found that this had an enormous impact on Samsung sales as well because “59% of buyers who were recommended a Samsung phone went ahead and bought one while the rest opted for other vendors in the Android ecosystem.” Meanwhile, “only 6% of consumers who were recommended Samsung walked out of the store with an iPhone.”

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Aug 142014

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T-Mobile Device Unlock App

Now that cell phone unlocking is again legal in the U.S., many smartphone users may be interested in unlocking their devices, either for carrier switching purposes, or for selling their old devices that were purchased with a new contract, and thus were locked to a certain operator. Luckily, for T-Mobile subscribers, there’s an app for that which was specifically conceived by the carrier to allow users to easily unlock a handset. However, the app has one huge limitation.

The SIM unlock application, recently detailed in a report by TmoNews, has been discovered by Android Central, which revealed that it only works on a single device for the moment.

Smartphone users who own the Samsung Galaxy Avant can use the app to unlock the handset, but that’s about all users can do.

The app, simply called Device Unlock, is available in the Google Play Store as a free download, and while it can be installed on other Android devices, it won’t let users unlock them just yet.

However, the description of the application seems to indicate that support for other devices may be coming in future updates. “Device Unlock is an application that allows you to request and apply a Mobile Device Unlock directly from the device. The application is compatible only with Samsung Avant devices at this time,” the app’s description reads.

An iOS version of Device Unlock is not available in the App Store.

UPDATE: In order for the Device Unlock app to actually work, certain conditions still have to be met, as explained on T-Mobile’s handset unlocking help page that hasn’t been updated since May 1, long before the new cell phone unlocking bill was signed into law. It’s not clear at this time whether the unlock process would become simpler in the future.


Google Play Store, BGR
Aug 112014

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The good news: T-Mobile is playing with the idea of letting you unlock your phone (so that it can run on other carriers) with a single click. The not-so-good news: they’re only testing it on a kind-of-meh Samsung phone for now — and even there, there are some catches. The biggest catch is a fair one: to unlock your phone permanently, it has to be completely paid off. You also need to have been with T-Mobile for at least 40 days, and your account must be in good standing.

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