Motorola today said it will replace a few hundred Nexus 6 handsets sent to some AT&T customers. "We delivered a small number of Nexus 6 smartphones with incorrect software to AT&T customers who pre-ordered," said Motorola in a statement. "The incorrect software prevents the phone from starting up properly. We will provide replacements for consumers whose phones are affected. The problem has been corrected and the phones currently shipping are fine." When asked, Motorola denied that shipments were halted or recalled because of the bug. The issue appears to only affect the AT&T variant of the Nexus 6. "If a consumer sees the 'welcome' after the first time they turn on the phone, then their device isn't affected and they should use it as normal," said Motorola in an email to Phone Scoop. "People can call [Motorola's] customer service if they have questions."
Licenses for AWS-3 spectrum being auctioned off by the FCC are drawing far more interest than the agency hoped. Bids surpassed a total of $31 billion today during the 24th round. The most popular license is a 10x10Mhz slice of J Block spectrum in New York City, which has a current high bid of $1.86 billion. The FCC set a $10.56 billion minimum for the auction, which has generated bidding three times higher than expected. Despite the incredible dollar figures attached to the bids, analysts suggest bids are coming in more slowly, which could signal an end to the auction. At the same time, the FCC said it will vote on the proposed rules for 2016's reverse auction at its next meeting, scheduled for Dec. 11. The reserve auction will see television broadcasters sell their 600MHz spectrum licenses to wireless broadband companies. The rules are fairly complex and have been open for discussion for a lengthy amount of time. The FCC delayed the auction from mid-2015 to early 2016 to give it more time to iron out all the details.
AD more news below...
Square founder Jack Dorsey said the company will add support for Apple Pay at Square-based terminals at some point in 2015. Square makes a dongle that attaches to smartphones and tablets, as well as a tablet-based register device, in order to help small businesses use modern tools to expand their customer base. "We're not building a credit card," said Dorsey to CNN. "We're not building a payment device. We're building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments." Apple Pay is accepted at about 220,000 retail locations around the U.S., and just this week became available at Winn-Dixie and Harveys grocery stores. Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners make tap-and-go payments at compatible terminals.
AT&T today announced the immediate availability of the Sonim XP6. The XP6 is a highly rugged Android smartphone that includes buttons and controls like a feature phone. It is certified to mil-spec 810G for protection against drops, vibration, temperature extremes, and humidity. The IP68 rating means it is protected again water and dust intrusion, as well. The XP6 is compatible with AT&T's enhanced PTT service, and has an extremely loud speaker at 103dB. The phone has a 2.64-inch display with 320 x 424 pixels. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat. Specs include a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage; 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture; an extra large 4,820mAh battery; and Bluetooth, GPS, LTE, and WiFi radios. AT&T is selling the Sonim XP6 through its business sales channels. The Sonim XP6 is available for $0 down at $17.50 per month on AT&T Next 24; $21.88 on AT&T Next 18; $26.25 on AT&T Next 12; $149.99 with a standard two-year contract; or $524.99 with no commitment. Business and government customers can buy the XP6 for $100 with a two-year contract as long as they also sign up for EPTT service.
Motorola has made new versions of its camera and gallery applications available to the Moto X, Moto G, and Droid Turbo handsets. The camera app gains new timer functions and Material Design. It also adds a way to switch between the user-facing camera and main camera with a double flick of the wrist. Motorola's gallery app was updated with Material Design, but no new features. Both apps are free to download from the Play Store.
Microsoft recently updated its Office apps for Android smartphones and added compatibility with Dropbox. The company announced Dropbox integration for its Office products earlier this month. Android users can now access Dropbox from Office apps to get to their files and folders; edit Office files directly from Dropbox and sync them across devices; and share new or edited files from the Office apps using Dropbox sharing tools. Interested users will need both an Office and a Dropbox account in order to access these tools. Microsoft Office and Dropbox are free to download from the Play Store.
Twitter today revealed a new feature that allows people to send individual tweets to others through direct messages. The feature is being added to both the Android and iOS applications, as well as to Twitter.com. Before today, the only way to share tweets privately was via email or other methods outside of Twitter. Twitter hopes the sharing tool will prevent people from leaving Twitter for other apps. Twitter recently made it possible to send URLs through its direct message tool, as well. It had initially turned off this feature to protect against spam. Twitter also opened its archives for anyone to search. All public tweets stretching back to 2006 can now be discovered.
HTC's selfie phone is an attractive, well-built Android handset that's easy to use. Thanks to the powerful 13-megapixel selfie cam, the Desire Eye is all about you. Here is Phone Scoop's full report.
Google disclosed this week that it has settled a lawsuit filed against it by Rockstar regarding mobile device patents. Rockstar is a patent-holding consortium led by Apple. It outbid Google to acquire thousands of old Nortel patents back in 2011 and filed the lawsuit against Google and others in 2013. Terms of the settlement were not revealed.
Corning today announced Gorilla Glass 4 for mobile devices. Corning said its goal with Gorilla Glass 4 was to address consumers' biggest complaint: screens that crack when dropped. The company developed new methods for dropping devices onto rough, hard surfaces and spent thousands of hours analyzing smartphone glass that had broken in the field. Corning claims Gorilla Glass 4 is twice as strong as any other glass on the market. Moreover, Gorilla Glass 4 can survive 80% of drops from one meter onto hard surfaces, such as asphalt or concrete. Despite the increase in strength, Gorilla Glass 4 is thin and clear, making it ideal for devices such as smartphones. Gorilla Glass 4 is already sampling with select device makers. Corning didn't say when it is expected to reach consumer products.
AT&T recently added an option to its selection of prepaid plans. Splitting the difference between the existing $40 and $60 plans is a new $45 plan. It includes unlimited calling in the U.S. and unlimited messaging. As for data, the plan offers 1GB of high-speed data. Customers who exceed the monthly limit will be throttled down to 128Kbps for the remainder of the billing period. Alternately, customers can purchase another 1GB of data for $10. The $40 plan includes only 500MB of data, while the $60 plan includes 2.5GB. The new $45 GoPhone plan is already available.
Motorola today announced the Keylink, a Bluetooth device meant to help the absent minded find their missing keys or phone. The Keylink can be attached to a key ring and is paired with devices via Motorola's Connect application. Once set up, your keys and phone will be able to find one another should either go missing. For lost phones, Keylink owners need only press a button to make their phone ring. Similarly, for lost keys Keylink owners need only open the Connect app to make the Keylink ring. According to Motorola, the Keylink has a range of about 100 feet, and the replaceable battery lasts about a year. The Motorola Connect app is free to both Android and iOS devices. The Keylink is available from Motorola and T-Mobile beginning today for $25.
T-Mobile today made it less expensive for customers to make calls from the U.S. to select countries abroad. T-Mobile's Stateside International Talk plan allows Simple Choice subscribers to make unlimited calls to landlines in 70 countries for $5 per account (not per line). Alternately, $10 per month buys unlimited calling to mobile phones in more than 30 countries and 1,000 minutes to mobile phones in Mexico, which is in addition to the unlimited landline calling. The promotional pricing is available starting today and runs through the end of the year.
Samsung today announced Milk Video, a video content discovery service for Galaxy-branded smartphones. Like Samsung's Milk Music, Milk Video has a refined user interface that makes browsing the best way to find new and interesting videos. According to Samsung, Milk Video will learn and refine its content recommendations every time people use it to create a more personal experience. Some of the content partners include Condé Nast, Funny Or Die, Red Bull, Vevo, and VICE. Samsung says it is working to score more content down the road. Milk Video is compatible with the Galaxy Note II, 3, 4, and Edge; Galaxy Mega; and Galaxy SIII, S4, S4 Mini, and S5 smartphones. It is free for owners of these devices to download from the Play Store.
Starbucks has begun to deploy wireless charging stations at select coffee shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company said 200 stores now offer wireless charging spots on tables and coffee bars. Customers with compatible handsets can place their devices on the spots to receive a power boost while sipping a latte. Starbucks is working with Powermat, which uses the inductive charging standard developed by the Power Matters Alliance. Some phones in the market use the PMA standard for wireless charging, but many do not. Powermat makes a wide array of sleeves and other accessories for devices that don't support wireless charging on their own. Starbucks will allow customers to buy or borrow a special Powermat Ring, which is PMA compliant and plugs into phones via USB. The Powermat Ring costs $10, or can be used for free when purchasing food or beverages. Earlier this year, Starbucks said it will add about a dozen wireless charging stations to each of its 7,500 locations in the U.S., though many of the deployments won't take place until 2015. There are still competing standards in the wireless charging space. Qi, the standard created by the Wireless Power Consortium, still has strong support in some quarters and is supported by a number of phones. Starbucks' wireless charging project is being supported by AT&T, which is a member of the PMA.
Qualcomm today announced a new LTE modem and accompanying envelope tracker for mobile devices that has the potential to deliver blistering download and upload speeds. The Gobi 9x45 modem supports Category 10 LTE and global carrier aggregation for download speeds of up to 450Mbps and upload speeds of up to 100Mbps. Qualcomm says it is up to 1.5 times faster than Category 6 LTE. The modem uses 20nm technology and supports all major cellular standards (GSM, DC-HSPA, CDMA, EVDO) and radio frequency bands. It also supports most major geolocation systems, including GPS, Glonass, and Galileo, as well as LTE Broadcast, VoLTE, and dual SIM LTE. The QEF3100 envelope tracker uses 30% less board area, creates less heat, and is more power efficient. Qualcomm says it will allow device makers to create even thinner designs that perform better. The Gobi 9x45 and QEF3100 are currently sampling with customers and are anticipated to be commercially available in 2015.
Apple was found guilty of violating four patents held by Mobile Telecommunications Technologies. The Texas-based company's heydey was during the 90s, when it operated SkyTel 2-Way pagers. The company sued Apple last year over five patents covering the two-way exchange of data, such as messages and calendar invites. Apple was exonerated of violating a patent pertaining to emoji. Mobile Telecommunications Technologies initially sought $237.2 million. Apple was ordered to pay $23.6 million in damages. Apple didn't immediately comment on the verdict.
Samsung has lost its bid to delay a trial with Microsoft, which is seeking interest payments of $6.9 million on patent licenses. Samsung and Microsoft forged an agreement in 2011 in which Samsung agreed to pay royalties for patents Microsoft holds that are used in the Android operating system. Samsung delayed making its royalty payments after Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Nokia's handset business. According to Samsung, Microsoft's move made it a direct competitor, which it feared could lead to collusion charges. Samsung asked an international court in Hong Kong to hold arbitration hearings, which it wanted to complete before dealing with Microsoft in the U.S. A U.S. District Court Judge disagreed, however, and said Microsoft's case can move forward during the arbitration process.