Phone Scoop was able to spend a few moments with the recently announced ZTE Warp 4G for Boost Mobile and the ZTE Source for Cricket Wireless. Here are our initial impressions.
Boost Mobile today announced pricing details for the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. It will sell both phones beginning Friday, November 8. Boost is charging $549.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5s, and $649.99 and $749.99 for the 32GB and 64GB models, respectively. Boost is charging $449.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5c and $649.99 for the 32GB model. It is selling the iPhone 4s for $299.99. Boost Mobile provides pre-paid service that runs on Sprint's CDMA/LTE networks. It does not require contracts. The prices it is charging for most of the iPhones mentioned above is $100 off the full retail price charged by Apple.
Boost Mobile today announced that it will sell the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to its prepaid customers beginning November 8. Boost did not immediately offer details on how much it will charge for the iPhones.
Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Warp 4G, an updated version of last year's phone that includes support for Sprint's LTE 4G network. The Warp 4G runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and includes a 4.5-inch HD display with durable glass; an 8-megapixel main camera and 1-megapixel user-facing camera; dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage; and Wi-Fi, GPS, and Stereo Bluetooth 4.0. The Warp has a 2070mAh battery and is preloaded with a number of Boost Mobile apps and services, such as Boost Zone and Mobile ID. The ZTE Warp 4G is available from Boost Mobile's web site for $199.99. Boost Mobile does not require contracts and operates on Sprint's 3G/4G networks.
Sprint today reminded U.S. Cellular customers located in the St. Louis metropolitan area that it will shut down existing U.S. Cellular service on October 31. Sprint acquired some spectrum and assets from U.S. Cellular earlier this year. The shutdown will affect the customers, leaving them without service. Sprint is urging those who've not already switched to Sprint's devices and services to do so as soon as possible. Sprint says U.S. Cellular customers can port their existing number to Sprint, but they have to buy new devices, as their old ones are not compatible with Sprint's network. Sprint began notifying the customers in June, and is offering them incentives to update their device and service to either Sprint or Boost Mobile. Sprint intends to use the former U.S. Cellular spectrum in the St. Louis region to supplement its own network.
Sprint today announced the availability of the Kyocera Kona, an inexpensive flip phone. The Kona includes a 2.4-inch QVGA internal display, a 1.44-inch external display, a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and a standard stereo headphone jack. The Kona includes a large dialpad for placing calls and large fonts for easier viewing. The Kyocera Kona is available online and in Sprint stores today for $0 with a new contract. The Kona is already available from Cricket Wireless and is sold by Boost Mobile as the Coast.
Boost Mobile today announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy Prevail II. The phone is identical to the Galaxy Ring already offered by Boost sister brand Virgin Mobile. Like the Ring, the Prevail II is an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean smartphone that has a 4-inch display, 5-megapixel main camera, 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 1.4GHz processor. The Galaxy Prevail II is available beginning today for $179.99.
Sprint today announced that it and its Boost Mobile prepaid brand will offer the Kyocera Hydro Edge in the coming weeks. The Hydro Edge will reach Sprint stores July 19 and Boost Mobile stores July 23. The Hydro Edge, which was announced earlier this year, is a waterproof Android smartphone. It has a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 4-inch display, 5-megapixel camera, and Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver tissue-conduction speaker technology. It has 1GB of RAM, 4 GB of built-in storage, and a memory card slot. The Hydro Edge will cost $19.99 after $50 mail-in rebate from Sprint, and $149.99 from Boost Mobile. Boost does not require contracts, Sprint does.
Boost Mobile today announced the pending availability of the LG Optimus F7. The F7 includes a 4.7-inch IPS display with 1280 x 720 pixels; 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage; an 8-megapixel main camera and 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera; and a 2,540mAh battery. The Optimus F7 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and comes with an assortment of LG custom software, such as QuickMemo and Q Slide. It can operate on Sprint's 3G and LTE networks. It will go on sale June 27 for $299.99 and can be paired with one of Boost Mobile's $55 unlimited plans. Boost Mobile does not require customers to sign contracts.
Boost Mobile today announced that it will offer the Samsung Galaxy S III with LTE on board beginning June 12. The GSIII costs $399.99 but does not require a contract. It can be paired with Boost's $55 monthly plan with shrinking payments.
Sprint today announced that its prepaid brands Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will both offer the Samsung Galaxy S III beginning in June. The GSIII will include support for Sprint's LTE 4G network. Pricing and exact availability was not shared.
Boost Mobile today announced a new mobile wallet application for its Android smartphones. Boost Mobile Wallet is a mobile banking service targeted at the underbanked that lets Boost Mobile customers send money to people in 135 countries, pay bills, top-up prepaid wireless accounts, transfer funds between accounts, as well as deposit checks directly from the phone. The app is accompanied by a re-loadable prepaid Visa debit card that can be used for transactions at retailers around the country. The application itself is free to download from the Google Play Store. The wallet app can be used to make payments directly at select retailers in Los Angeles, San Diego, and portions of New Jersey. Boost expects to roll the payment service out nationwide beginning this summer.
Kyocera's water-proof Hydro gains a better-equipped cousin in the Hydro Edge for Sprint and Boost. Packing better tech into a thinner profile, the Edge is a step up on paper, but how does it stack up in person? We take it for a quick spin in our hands-on report.
Kyocera today announced the Hydro Edge and Hydro XTRM, building on the success of the original Hydro. Like the original, the new models are affordable Android phones that are fully water-proof. The new models are slightly higher-end, however, both sporting a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 4-inch glass display, 5-megapixel auto-focus camera, and Android 4.1. Both models also feature the unique Smart Sonic Receiver tissue-conduction speaker technology found in the Torque. Both have 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of built-in storage, and a memory card slot.
- Hydro Edge: Coming to Sprint and Boost this summer, this CDMA model also sports HD Voice and a back-side-illuminated camera sensor. Its processor clocks in at 1 GHz.
- Hydro XTRM: On sale with U.S. Cellular starting today, this model steps up with 4G LTE, a 1.2 Ghz processor, a front camera, shock (drop) resistance to military standards, and a large 2,000 mAh battery.
Boost Mobile today launched the Kyocera Coast, a basic clamshell-style phone with a 2-megapixel camera and external display. The phone sports Bluetooth and voice dialing, but without LTE, video capture, or even a memory card slot, "affordable" is its most important feature. It is available today for $30, no contract required. In Kyocera's lineup, the Coast is most similar to the older Luno offered by Virgin as the S2100. Compared to the Luno, the Coast has a better camera and larger displays.
Sprint today announced the first LTE 4G phones for its prepaid brands, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile. Boost will get the all-new Force, made by ZTE, as well as the HTC One SV, already offered by MetroPCS. Virgin, meanwhile, will get the Samsung Galaxy Victory, already offered under the Sprint brand. Both brands have previously only offered 4G phones that use Sprint's older WiMAX network. Sprint is committed to continuing WiMAX service through 2015, but eventually plans to phase it out in favor of LTE. The Force sports a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, front camera, and 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. Boost will offer the Force on March 7th for $200, and the One SV on the same day for $300. Virgin starts selling the Victory today for $300.
Boost Mobile has announced via its Facebook page that it will begin throttling the mobile broadband speeds of customers who exceed their monthly data limits. The change in policy goes into effect January 20. According to Boost, its Monthly Unlimited plans will offer 2.5GB of full-speed data, but will be throttled down to 256Kbps if/when users exceed that threshold. Customers will be alerted when they reach 85% of their monthly limit. Customers' data speeds will resume to normal at the beginning of the next billing period.
Microsoft today announced that the popular WhatsApp cross-platform messaging client is available for the first time to Windows Phone 8 devices in the Windows Phone Store. It can be used to send instant messages to other WhatsApp users for free. Additionally, the official Facebook app for Windows Phone has been updated. The update mainly fixes bugs, but also boosts performance of the app significantly. Both are free downloads from the Windows Phone Store, though WhatsApp charges 99 cents to use after the first year.
Samsung today announced version 3.0 of its TecTile application for Android devices. The new application significantly boosts the functionality of the TecTile stickers by allowing Samsung smartphone owners to do more with them. For example, the new TecTile app allows users to program multiple functions for a single tag, customize profiles via tags, store TecTile tag history, create private TectTile tags, and unlock locked TecTiles. TecTiles can also be set to do things such as share electronic business cards, forward a call to a predetermined number, or playback specific music tracks in the media player. TecTile 3.0 is a free download from the Google Play Store. Samsung sells the TecTiles in packs of 5 for $14.99 at AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA stores. TecTiles originally launched on the Galaxy S III, but Samsung said that the TecTiles app is now compatible with a wide array of its handsets, including the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and others.
PrepaYd Wireless today announced that potential customers can bring their own, used Sprint handset to PrepaYd and have it activated with PrepaYd service. PrepaYd is an MVNO that offers prepaid, no-contract cellular service via Sprint's network. PrepaYd calls this new program the "Liberate Your Phone" initiative. It warns that even though the device may have come from Sprint and is running on the Sprint network, not all Sprint-branded apps and services preinstalled on the device will work. Some of the excluded services are Sprint Zone, Family Locator, Sprint Radio, Sprint Music, Sprint TV, Sprint My Account, and Sprint Mobile Wallet. Devices with Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Assurance Wireless branding (which also run on Sprint's network) aren't supported. BlackBerries, iPhones, Palm phones, LTE 4G devices, and iDEN PTT devices also aren't supported. Consumers interested in PrepaYd's no-contract wireless service can take their old Sprint phone to a PrepaYd store to have it activated.
Qualcomm today announced the addition of two more processors to its line of Snapdragon S4 Play chips. Both the MSM8225Q and MSM8625Q are updates to previous processors and now support four cores instead of two. These quad-core processors include LPDDR2 memory, which boosts bus bandwidth for intensive video encode/decode on 720p HD displays. The MSM8625Q supports Qualcomm's multimode UMTS/CDMA modem, and the MSM8225Q supports Qualcomm's UMTS modem. The processors also include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM radios. These processors are meant to help smartphone makers migrate designs based on S1 processors to S4 processors, meaning they are for entry-level, high-volume smartphones. Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930, which supports Chinese operators' LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA networks. All three chipsets will be sampling by the end of the year, and are expected to ship during the first quarter of 2013.
AT&T today made the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich system update available to the Sony Xperia Ion. In addition to the standard ICS features, the update also boosts Wi-Fi and mobile hotspot speeds. The update can be downloaded from Sony's support site.
Boost Mobile today announced the LG Venice, an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone that boasts a 4.3-inch display, 1GHz processor, and the latest user interface from LG. (U.S. Cellular sells the LG Venice as the Splendor.) Features of the Venice include a 5-megapixel main camera with 720p HD video capture and a VGA user-facing camera; LG's QuickMemo app; Wi-Fi, GPS, and stereo Bluetooth; and Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the display. The LG Venice will be available online and in Boost Mobile stores starting October 10, and other retailers by the end of the month. It will cost $219.99, and does not require a contract.
Boost Mobile recently added the ZTE Warp Sequent to its roster of smartphones. The Warp Sequent runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, has a 4.3-inch qHD display, and a 1.4GHz processor under the hood. Features of the Warp Sequent include a 5-megapixel main camera and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera; Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and GPS; and 768MB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage. It relies on Sprint's 3G network for cellular connectivity and data. The Warp Sequent costs $199.99 and does not require a contract.
Samsung introduced a handful of new phones for Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile, including some unique Galaxy-class devices. Here are our first impressions.
Boost Mobile today announced a handful of new devices from Samsung, the most significant of which is the availability of the Galaxy S II 4G, a Boost-branded version of the Galaxy S II, Epic 4G Touch offered by Sprint, including WiMAX. It will be available September 6 for $369.99. Boost also announced the Samsung Galaxy Rush and the Samsung Array. The Galaxy Rush, a mid-level Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone, which has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 3-megapixel rear camera, and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. It will be available in the late September for $149.99. The Samsung Array is a feature phone that has a sideways slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It features a 2.4-inch display and a 2-megapixel camera. It will also be available in late September for $59.99. The Array is also coming to Sprint, and to Virgin as the Montage.
ooVoo today released a new version of its mobile application for the Android platform that boosts the number of live feeds that can be seen at a time to four. The ooVoo app has always allowed users to conduct group video chats with up to 12 people, but chat windows were limited to one video feed at a time. Now, users can see four, live, high-quality video feeds in a single panel. The same four-way video chat feature has also been added to ooVoo's iPad app. In addition to the improved group video chat, the new application also includes group messaging, push notifications, and integration with the native Android address book. ooVoo messaging and video chats work over 3G, LTE 4G, and Wi-Fi.
Boost Mobile today announced that it will sell the Kyocera Hydro starting August 3 for $129.99. The Hydro, which was announced earlier this year, is a water-proof Android 4.0 smartphone that includes a 3.5-inch display, 3.2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, and 1GHz processor. The Hydro will be available from Boost Mobile's web site and company-owned stores at first, but will reach select other retailers later in August.
Sprint today detailed changes headed to the Motorola Photon 4G by way of a maintenance update for its system software. The update makes it easier to import contacts from an SD card, improves music playback via streaming music services, boosts the performance of the mobile hotspot feature, and makes it easier to create and accept calendar meeting requests on the phone. In addition to the bug fixes and performance tweaks, the new system software also adds new features. Primarily, the Photon now supports 1080p HD video capture, and includes new video settings that make playback more responsive. The update does not include Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. According to Sprint, it will be pushed out over the air during the course of the next few days.
Motorola revealed the Atrix HD on its web site, a follow-up to its Atrix line of devices that joins the RAZR family in overall design and appearance. The Atrix HD runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and features a Kevlar back cover for added strength and a water resistant interior. The Atrix HD has a 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 HD display, with what Motorola calls 'ColorBoost" technology and Gorilla Glass. The device is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, which is accompanied by 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and expandable storage up to 32GB via microSD cards. Other features of the Atrix HD include an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, and 1080p HD video capture; 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 LE+EDR, USB 2.0 and microHDMI; and LTE Band 04/17, HDSPA 21.1Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps, and 850/1700/1900/2100 WCDMA. The Atrix HD is powered by a 1780mAh embedded battery and measures 8.4mm thick. Motorola's web site did not indicate when the device might go on sale, nor which carriers might sell the device. However, the device supports AT&T's 3G network, and the image of the Atrix HD on Motorola's web site includes AT&T's globe icon and branding.
Boost Mobile today announced that it will offer the Blackberry Curve 9310 starting July 10 for $99.99. The 9310 is being paired with a plan that includes unlimited talk, text, and BlackBerry Messenger for $45 per month. The cost of the plan can shrink to as little as $30 per month under Boost's "Shrinkage" policy, which rewards customers with lower monthly bills for every six months of on-time payments. The BlackBerry Curve 9310 will be sold at Boost-owned retail stores and other select dealers, including Best Buy.
Mobile phones that work on Sprint's iDEN-based Nextel network are no longer available from Sprint's web site. iDEN phones are also no longer available from Boost Mobile's web site. Boost Mobile is a prepaid provider that sold iDEN devices that ran on Sprint's iDEN network. Phone Scoop called several local Sprint stores and was told by each that iDEN-based phones are no longer available. When asked if Sprint still offers push-to-talk services, Sprint representatives told Phone Scoop that PTT now works on a selection of devices that use new technology. Last month, Sprint announced that it would eventually cease selling iDEN devices ahead of a June 30, 2013, planned shut down of the entire iDEN network. Sprint's DirectConnect service uses CDMA-based technology to permit walkie-talkie calls.
Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shammo said that the company plans to move all 3G customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans to its new shared data plans when they become available. Verizon will introduce its shared data plans later this summer, though pricing has yet to be discussed. Shammo said that as 3G customers with $30 monthly unlimited plans upgrade to 4G plans, they will have to sign up for the shared data plans. Verizon hopes this will help boost the adoption of multiple devices. "If I can add as many devices as I want, that is more efficient from a family perspective and a small business perspective," said Shammo. AT&T is also preparing to launch shared data plans later this year.
Sprint's pre-paid businesses Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA today announced new 4G plans and 4G devices. Both companies are using Sprint's WiMax network to provide 4G services, which are available in 71 markets, in addition to Sprint's existing CDMA 3G footprint. Both devices have been updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 3.6. Each has its own, carrier-skinned appearance, but otherwise the hardware is completely unmodified when compared to the Sprint versions that have been available since 2011.
- Boost Mobile: Boost is offering unlimited (voice, messages, data) pre-paid 4G service starting at $55 per month. The Android Monthly Unlimited plan for 4G devices is compatible with Boost Mobile's Shrinkage policy, which drops the monthly fee by $5 for every six months of on-time payments. Starting May 31, Boost customers can purchase the HTC EVO Design 4G for $299.99.
- Virgin Mobile: Virgin's 4G service plans start at $35 per month, which includes unlimited data and messaging, but not unlimited voice. Voice can be added separately. Virgin is offering the HTC EVO V 4G, which also goes on sale May 31 for $299.99, for this Beyond Talk plan. Additionally, Virgin is adding the Overdrive Pro 3G/4G mobile hotspot and U600 3G/4G USB Stick to its Broadband2Go service. These devices costs $149.99 and $99.99, respectively.
T-Mobile USA recently announced a new expansion of its HSPA+ 42Mbps network. The new markets gaining faster network speeds include Little Rock, Ark.; Springfield Mo.; Hattiesburg, Miss., and Madison, Wis. Together with its existing base, T-Mobile's 42Mbps HSPA+ now covers 220 million people in 229 markets. In addition to its network expansion, T-Mobile also announced that it has selected Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks to supply it with wireless networking gear as it builds out its 4G networks. The two networking companies will provide and install 37,000 3GPP2 Release 10-compatible cell sites around the country. T-Mobile noted that it expects to be able to offer 3G services on it 1900MHJz spectrum before the end of the year. It is in the process of refarming its spectrum and will move 3G services from 1700MHz to 1900Mhz in order to open the 1700MHz spectrum up for its planned LTE network. It expects to launch LTE in 2013.
Sprint's prepaid services both Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile today announced an open enrollment period for those wishing to insure their devices. Normally, insurance must be purchased during the first 15 days of device ownership, but Virgin and Boost will insure the devices of most subscribers who sign up for the service during the month of May. The cost is $5 per month and applies to nearly all devices offered by Virgin and Boost. Customers wishing to insure their device can do so at a retail store are through Virgin and Boost's customer service channels.
Sprint said today during a call with reporters that it intends to offer its WiMax 4G network to its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA pre-paid businesses. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the service would launch for Boost and Virgin later this year, though he didn't provide specific details regarding timing nor the handsets involved. Sprint has a number of WiMax handsets still in service while it transitions to LTE 4G. Sprint has already made several LTE-capable handsets for sale, though its LTE network isn't expected to launch until mid-year. Sprint mentioned earlier this year that it will no longer sell WiMax handsets to its own customers.
ZTE is hoping to have a big 2012, according to comments the company made to reporters in Hong Kong. One way the company hopes to boost smartphone sales is to bring a "phablet" to market. "We want to come up with the next generation of a Galaxy Note-type product - a combo product of handsets and tablets," said Lv Qianhao, head of handset strategy at ZTE. The company believes it can deliver such a device to market by the end of the year, though it didn't specify in which countries such a device would be sold. Other than this phablet-style device, ZTE indicated it plans to improve its Blade and Skate Android smartphones this year, rather than bring brand new handsets to market. The company sold 15 million phones in 2011, and is targeting 50 million for 2012.
MetroPCS recently began selling the LG Optimus M+ through its web site and retail stores. The M+ is similar to the Optimus Elite, which is being sold by Sprint and Boost Mobile, though the M+ looses NFC and Google Wallet. The handset runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and has a 3.5-inch display with 480 x 320 pixels. The Optimus M+ has an 800MHz processor, 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and video capture, Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot capability, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Optimus M+ costs $129.
Boost Mobile today announced a promotional plan that offers unlimited talk and text for $45 per month. For customers who pay their bill on time, the cost of the plan will eventually shrink to $30 per month over the course of 18 months through Boost Mobile's Shrinkage program. The plan doesn't include data and works only with the LG Rumor Reflex, Motorola Theory, and Sanyo Innuendo. The discounted plan will be available from March 29 until May 31.