Verizon Wireless has activated LTE 4G on its AWS spectrum in dozens of markets, reports GigaOm. Verizon Wireless lit up AWS-based LTE in New York City earlier this year, but has recently expanded the number of markets to include many of the major metro areas east of the Mississippi River, as well as a number along the west coast. In the majority of these new markets on the east coast (Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., et al.), Verizon has tripled capacity, while in several western markets (Los Angeles, San Francisco) it has boosted capacity by 150%. This means more people can connect to the network in the same location and can access data at faster speeds. A handful of Verizon's existing smartphones (Apple iPhone 5s and 5c, Samsung Galaxy S4, Motorola Droid Maxx, Mini, and Ultra) can already access Verizon's AWS-based LTE network, and Verizon said software updates will add this functionality to others. Moving forward, most new Verizon smartphones will be able to reach LTE in both the AWS and 700MHz bands.
Samsung recently updated its ChatOn messaging application for Android devices and gave it the ability to send SMS/MMS messages as well as instant messages. ChatOn is a cross-platform messaging app that uses data networks to send messages back and forth rather than SMS. This new feature allows users to set ChatOn as their text/picture messaging inbox. The app combines IM and SMS/MMS threads so all the messages sent and received from a single contact are in the same place. For the moment, this feature is only available in Germany and Brazil. Samsung has not said if it will expand the feature to more regions or more platforms.
The federal judge overseeing the Samsung-Apple patent case has denied an emergency motion made by Samsung that would have delayed the proceedings. Samsung wanted the trial put on hold because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is exploring the validity of Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent. "This decision by the [patent office] jeopardizes the jury's findings in the damages trial and may render all of the post-trial proceedings a waste of time and resources," argued Samsung. District Judge Lucy Koh disagreed and fired back, "If Samsung is truly concerned about efficiency, the court encourages Samsung to discuss with Apple an agreement to forgo post-trial motions so that the parties can expeditiously appeal this entire case to the Federal Circuit." The emergency motion was made last week before a jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple an additional $290 million in damages for violating its smartphone patents. Apple and Samsung have been battling one another in courtrooms around the globe for more than two years.
Google announced that the Play Edition versions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 should receive the Android 4.4 KitKat system update in the coming days. The Play Edition versions don't have HTC's Sense nor Samsung's TouchWiz user interfaces, respectively. Instead, they run a stock version of Android, like Nexus devices.
Samsung today announced the Grand 2, a large-screened Android smartphone with middle-of-the-market specs. The Grand 2 has a 5.25-inch 720p HD LCD display, a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, and 1.5GB of RAM. Other hardware features include an 8-megapixel camera with flash and a 1.9-megapixel user-facing camera; Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0; a 2,600mAh battery; support for microSD cards up to 64GB; and support for HSPA+ networks. The Grand 2 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface and apps such as ChatOn, Samsung Hub, S Health, Group Play, S Travel, S Translator, Samsung Link, and Story Album. The Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 will be offered in white, and black, and pink in select markets. Samsung did not announce specific plans to bring the Grand 2 to the U.S.
A federal jury today determined that Samsung owes Apple $290 million for violating the iPhone-maker's smartphone patents. Apple believed it was owed $380 million, while Samsung only wanted to pay $52 million. Twenty-six of Samsung's devices were found guilty of infringing on Apple's patents last year. Apple was originally awarded $1.05 billion, but the judge presiding over the case said the jury miscalculated a portion of the reward. This week's trial was to reassess the damages owed to Apple regarding 13 of the original 26 devices. Samsung now owes Apple a total of about $890 million.
Verizon Wireless today added both the Galaxy S III Mini and Galaxy S 4 Mini to its Android smartphone lineup. The S III Mini costs $49.99 with a new contract or $10.56 per month with Verizon Edge. The S 4 Mini costs $99.99 with a new contract or $16.81 per month with Verizon Edge. According to Verizon, both phones are compatible with the just-launched Isis mobile payment service.
MetroPCS today announced that the Samsung Galaxy Mega will be available online and in stores beginning November 25. The Galaxy Mega, which features a 6.3-inch display, and will run on T-Mobile's HSPA+/LTE networks. Service plans start as low as $40 per month. The full retail price of the Mega is $499. MetroPCS will offer existing customers a $100 rebate, dropping the final price to $399. New customers will be able to apply an additional $50 rebate to drop the final cost to $349. The rebates will only be available for a limited time. MetroPCS also indicated that its service is available in 15 more markets today, with the total reaching 45.
Sprint recently indicated via its support forums that Samsung Galaxy Note II owners should expect to see their devices updated in the days ahead. The update boosts the system software to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and adds compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The update also adds Knox compatibility and makes improvements to the Note II's HD Voice performance. The update is being rolled out in stages.
U.S wireless network operators are not interested in allowing smartphone makers to install kill switches that would allow owners to deactivate their phones remotely if they become lost or stolen. Lawmakers in New York and San Francisco have been working with handset manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, to put the software kill switches on their smartphones. The idea is to make it easier for consumers to protect themselves by making it easier to deactivate lost/stolen devices. The long range goal is to deter cell phone theft, since deactivated devices will not be attractive to thieves. However, The New York Times says the lawmakers involved in the discussions have seen emails between U.S. network operators and handset makers that shows the operators don't want to hurt the profits they make by selling insurance programs to consumers. "Corporate profits cannot be allowed to guide decisions that have life-or-death consequences," said San Francisco's district attorney, George Gascon. "This solution has the potential to safeguard customers, but these emails suggest the carriers rejected it so they can continue to make money hand over fist on insurance premiums." For their part, carriers say they've helped to curb phone theft through the creation of a nationwide database of stolen cell phone IDs. Devices that appear in the database cannot be activated on any of the major networks, provided the lost/stolen devices are actually added to the list.
A federal court of appeals today reversed the decision of a lower court and cleared the way for Apple to seek a ban on certain Samsung devices. A handful of Samsung devices were found to infringe on certain Apple patents at trial last year. Apple requested that the products be banned from import/sale in the U.S., but was denied that request. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the lower court abused its discretion in denying Apple's request.
The Tizen Association recently announced that 36 companies have joined the organization in support of the Linux-based operating system. Tizen's main supporters are Samsung and Intel, which have been working together on the platform for several years. It is meant to serve as an alternative to Google's Android platform, and can be used in a wide range of hardware and form factors. Some of the new Tizen Association members are Access, eBay, HERE (Nokia), McAfee, Panasonic, Sharp, The Weather Channel, and Tune-In Radio. Earlier this year, Samsung said the first Tizen devices would launch during the third quarter of the year. To-date, no Tizen-based smartphones or tablets have been made available for sale.
AT&T today announced that it has partnered with security app provider Lookout in order to protect AT&T Android devices from app-based threats. Lookout's Mobile Security software is expected to be installed on most AT&T Android phones moving forward, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and will also be offered to older devices via software updates. The application will not need any type of set up, it works automatically in the background whenever the phone is turned on. The software will scan downloaded apps for potential threats. Apps that the Lookout software believes are not secure won't install and the device owner will be notified so appropriate steps can be taken. This software and service is free. Lookout and AT&T are also offering Lookout Premium, which adds the ability to backup photos, as well as remotely lock devices and wipe content, for $2.99 per month. Lookout has similar partnerships with Sprint and T-Mobile.
Samsung, speaking to analysts, laid out its technology roadmap for the next several years and there are some notable milestones on the horizon. The company is already working on smartphone displays with WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution that include 560 pixels per inch. These will arrive as soon as next year. Samsung expects to have Ultra HD, or 4K, resolution displays available for smartphones as soon as 2015. Ultra HD screens include 3840 x 2160 pixels. In addition to the higher resolution displays, Samsung fully expects to bring bendable displays to the market by next year and foldable displays by late 2015 or early 2016. Beyond screens, Samsung is working to create 3D, 64-bit processors; a new, stacked 16-megapixel image sensor; and faster, higher-capacity memory.
AT&T today announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. The Zoom is a camera-first, smartphone-second device that has a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and boasts 10x optical zoom, Xenon flash, and optical image stabilization. The Zoom has camera software called the Zoom Ring, which Samsung says can be used to launch certain camera functions such as sharing a picture while on a phone call. Beyond the camera, the Zoom runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and has a 4.3-inch qHD display, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth, and LTE. AT&T is offering the GS4 Zoom for $199.99 with a new two-year contract, or $25 per month with its AT&T Next upgrade plans. It will be available beginning November 8. AT&T is also offering a free Galaxy Tab tablet to GS4 Zoom buyers (separate data plan required) or a $100 promotional gift card to customers who trade in old smartphones.
Nokia today said that Samsung has agreed to license some of its phone-related patents for another five years. Samsung will begin to make royalty payments to Nokia beginning in 2014. Nokia didn't say which patents are being licensed by Samsung. Patent licensing has become a contentious issue over the last few years as mobile device makers seek to drive profits from their patents and the resulting products. Many companies resort to filing lawsuits to force settlements. Nokia is in the process of selling its handset division to Microsoft, but it will retain ownership of its patents.
Rockstar, a patent consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony, has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Google, Samsung, Huawei, and HTC. Rockstar alleges that the companies are violating its patents. Google, in particular, stands accused of infringing on seven different patents that pertain to internet search terms and advertising. Specific details about Samsung, HTC, and Huawei's infringements weren't immediately specified. Rockstar is seeking damages from Google, which it says is violating the patents willfully. Rockstar is a group of companies that together purchased thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel. The firms spent a total of $4.5 billion on the patents. Google and others attempted to buy the same patents won by Rockstar. "Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe," read a portion of the lawsuit.
Sprint today announced Sprint Spark, its next-generation networking technology that will make use of all three Sprint spectrum bands to boost mobile broadband speeds to 50-60Mbps. "Sprint Spark is a combination of advanced capabilities, like 1x, 2x and 3x carrier aggregation for speed, 8T8R for coverage, MIMO for capacity, TDD for spectral efficiency, together with the most advanced devices offering both tri-band capability and high-definition voice for the best possible customer experience," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Sprint said it will deploy Spark in 100 of the country's largest cities over the course of the next three years, but five markets are launching Spark today: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. Sprint expects 100 million Americans will have Sprint Spark or 2.5GHz coverage by the end of 2014. Sprint Spark gives tri-band devices the ability to actively hand-off data sessions between its three spectrum bands. Sprint says this helps boost both speed and capacity. The devices first to include Sprint Spark are the Samsung Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 mini, and the LG G2. All three handsets will reach stores November 8. The two Samsung phones will receive a system update shortly after they go on sale that will activate their tri-band services, while the G2 will receive the same update in early 2014. The Mega will cost $199.99 with a contract or $19.59 per month with Sprint One Up; the GS4 Mini will cost $99.99 with a new contract or $16.67 per month with Sprint One Up; and the G2 will cost $199.99 with a new contract or $22.92 per month with Sprint One Up. Sprint also said that the HTC One max will be available "soon." It will cost $249.99 with a new contract or $25.00 per month with Sprint One Up.
Samsung today announced that more organizations will support Samsung Wallet, the company's Passbook competitor. The new companies that have voiced support for Samsung Wallet include American Express, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Malaysia Airlines, Amtrak, Valpak, eGifter, Gyft, Yowza, SpotOn, Agoda, HRS, Opodo and Thrillcall. Samsung Wallet lets users store membership cards, boarding passes, tickets, and other content/associations. The app relies on bar codes rather than NFC when it comes time to make a purchase or take advantage of membership benefits. The app is compatible with the Galaxy S3, S4, Note I, Note II, and Note 3, and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. In addition to competing with Apple's Passbook, Samsung Wallet also competes with Google Wallet and Isis.
Samsung today updated five of its software developer kits in a move that it hopes will entice developers to create unique applications and services for its smartphone, tablets, televisions, and other products. The new Mobile SDK includes controllers for Samsung's S Pen, media apps, gestures, and professional audio in a single package. Samsung updated its Knox SDK, which will help businesses take advantage of its enterprise security tools and manage their Samsung mobile devices more effectively. Samsung also offered updates to its Multiscreen, Smart TV, and Multiscreen Gaming SDKs, which should help developers use its cloud-publishing system to make pairing and sharing between mobile devices and television sets even easier. Samsung hopes developers will take advantage of these tools to boost the number of apps available to its Smart TVs and let smartphones/tablets serve as the engine to push games to large television sets. All five of these updated SDKs are available to developers today in beta form.
AT&T today announced that it will sell the Samsung ATIV S Neo smartphone beginning November 8. The S Neo will cost $21.00 per month with AT&T Next or $99.99 with a two-year contract. The S Neo runs Windows Phone 8 and includes a 4.8-inch display, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera, and LTE. It is also being sold by Sprint.
Samsung today announced that the Galaxy S4 Mini will become available from the top U.S. network operators beginning in November. The GS4 Mini was first announced in May. AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless have all agreed to sell the phone. The Mini swaps out the S4's 5-inch FHD display for a qHD 4.3-inch display; it drops the 13-megapixel camera down to 8 megapixels; and changes out the quad-core processor in favor of a 1.7GHz dual-core processor. The user-facing camera rates 1.9 megapixels and the Mini includes many of the same imaging features found in its larger stablemate. The Mini also carries over the GS4's multitude of apps, such as S Translator, S Health, WatchOn, Samsung Hub, and others. The Galaxy S4 Mini has 8GB of internal memory (5GB accessible by users), 1.5GB of RAM, and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. It includes GPS and GLONASS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, and an IR blaster for the remote control app. Availability and pricing will be carrier dependent.
Samsung today announced that its older smartphones can now interact with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Specifically, the Android 4.3 system update, which is being pushed out to some devices in other countries, enables compatibility between the Gear and the Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II. A separate, non-system level update will be delivered to the Galaxy S4 mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 zoom that enables the Gear. This separate update will be pushed out beginning later this month. Timing for each device will vary by country and carrier.
Corning today announced that it has agreed to purchase Samsung's stake in an LCD joint venture the two companies have operated together since 1995. Samsung owns about 43% of Samsung Corning Precision Materials, which makes LCD panels for televisions, laptops, and mobile phones. Corning will also buy out the stakes owned by other minority holders to take full control of the joint venture. Under the terms of the agreement, Corning has agreed to supply Samsung with its glass LCD panels for a period of 10 years. Corning makes Gorilla Glass for mobile devices, which is resistant to breakage. The companies expect the deal to close during the first quarter of 2014.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site provide details about a previously unannounced handset from Samsung. The SPH-L500 is a slab-style smartphone that runs Google's Android operating system and looks similar to some of Samsung's Galaxy-branded phones. The FCC confirms that it has rear and front cameras, NFC, and a memory card slot. Based on the spectrum support and draft user manual, the Samsung L500 will eventually be sold by Virgin Mobile. Neither Samsung nor Virgin has officially announced this device.
Verizon Wireless has begun delivering a system update to the Samsung Galaxy S4 that adds several new features. Chief among the new features is Samsung's Optical Reader application. Optical Reader uses the camera to take pictures of documents, such as business cards, and convert it into text. The app can also translate text into 40 different languages. In addition to Optical Reader, the update improves Wi-Fi performance; fixes bugs in S Memo, voicemail, and the video recorder; moves several controls in the settings menus; and expands roaming capabilities. The system update can be installed over the air or via Samsung's Kies application.
Samsung has offered to stop filing patent-related lawsuits against its rivals in Europe for a period of five years in order to settle an antitrust investigation. The European Commission believes Samsung has violated its rules regarding standard essential patents. Samsung has filed numerous lawsuits against competitors such as Apple in Europe, the U.S., and other countries. The EU says Samsung is using its standard essential patents against rivals too aggressively. "Samsung has offered to abstain from seeking injunctions for mobile SEPs (standard essential patents) for a period of five years against any company that agrees to a particular licensing framework," said the European Commission. Samsung's competitors have one month to respond to its proposal. The move could help the company avoid an $18.3 billion antitrust fine. Samsung's offer does not extend to its patent-related lawsuits elsewhere.
Sharp is prepared to alter one of its manufacturing facilities so that it can make more IGZO displays for smartphones. Sharp uses its Kameyama plant to manufacture television set screens, but will sacrifice TV production in order to produce more screens for mobile devices. The company believes it can cut down costs by making large IGZO sheets that can be cut into multiple displays. To-date, few devices outside of Sharp's home market of Japan include IGZO displays. IGZO, or indium gallium zinc oxide, display screens are thinner and use dramatically less energy than the OLED displays. Earlier this year, Samsung invested $110 million in Sharp's display business. Samsung primarily uses AMOLED displays in its smartphones. Sharp's increased production of smartphone-sized IGZO screens paves the way for Samsung to adopt the technology.
T-Mobile today announced the Samsung Galaxy Light, an inexpensive Android smartphone that will be available in the weeks to come. The Light features a 4-inch WVGA display protected by Gorilla Glass, and it is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor with 1GB of RAM. The Light includes a 5-megapixel main camera with autofocus and LED flash, and a VGA user-facing camera. Other hardware features include NFC, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and Wi-Fi; 8GB of built-in storage and support for microSD cards up to 64GB; and support for T-Mobile's LTE network with HD Voice and Wi-Fi calling. T-Mobile didn't specify pricing nor exact availability of the Samsung Galaxy Light. T-Mobile also announced the Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro. This new hotspot is available starting today for $49.99 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $5.
Sprint today announced Messaging Plus, a cloud-based messaging service that connects Android and iOS devices across carriers. The application, which is powered by Jibe Mobile, lets smartphone owners send text, instant, and group messages; share photos and videos; and conduct live, two-way video chats. Sprint says the service lets Sprint customers connect with any mobile device in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Once Sprint customers have installed it, they will be able to invite their friends and family to download it -- even those who are using service from other network operators. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. It is compatible with the HTC EVO 4G LTE and One; the Apple iPhone 4, 4S, and 5; and the Samsung Galaxy S III, S4, Victory, and Note 2. Sprint said that it will be included with most Android smartphones moving forward.
HTC today announced the One Max, an over-sized Android smartphone that looks to compete with Samsung's Galaxy Note 3. The One Max, as the name implies, is a larger version of HTC's flagship smartphone, but offers a unique fingerprint scanner on the back. The scanner can be used to unlock the device as well as launch specific apps. The Max has a 5.9-inch 1080p HD display with HTC's signature aluminum design and dual BoomSound speakers. The phone is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, with each core clocked at 1.7GHz. The phone offers 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory with additional storage supported via microSD cards. Like the One and One Mini, the One Max includes an UltraPixel camera with back-side illumination, HTC's ImageChip, and HTC's Zoe shooting mode. The user-facing camera is 2.1-megapixels and has a wide shooting angle. The One Max has a bevy of sensors, such as gyro, accelerometer, proximity, and ambient light; as well as myriad connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI via MHL. The One Max supports a wide range of cellular data networks, including LTE 4G networks of Sprint and Verizon in the U.S. The HTC One Max runs Android 4.3 and ships with Sense 5.5, which is HTC's user interface software. Unlike the One and One Mini, the Max has a removable back cover that provides access to the memory card slot and SIM card, but not the battery. The device hits select markets later this month. U.S. network operators have not yet announced plans to carry the One Max.
LG today announced the G Pro Lite, a low-cost, big-screen Android smartphone that competes with the Samsung Galaxy Mega. The G Pro Lite features a 5.5-inch qHD display and a dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. The G Pro Lite comes with a stylus that is embedded in the phone and a large 3,140mAh battery. It has an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. Wireless networking speeds are limited to HSPA, and it also comes with Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, and GPS. According to LG, the G Pro Lite includes many of the user interface features seen on the G2, such as KnockOn for waking the screen, QuickMemo, and QTranslator. The LG G Pro Lite is headed to Latin American markets first, followed by others in Asia, Russia, China, India, and the Middle East. LG did not announce plans to bring the G Pro Lite to the U.S.
Samsung today revealed the Galaxy Round, an Android smartphone that features a curved display. The Galaxy Round has a 5.7-inch full HD screen that has a slight curve from side-to-side, which makes the device somewhat easier to hold compared to traditional flat smartphones. The Galaxy Round has software features, called Roll Effect and Ground Effect, that take advantage of the curved shape to display information such as missed calls, battery life, and the time/date when the device is tilted on a flat surface. The Galaxy Round's screen may share dimensions with the Note 3, but the device itself is lighter than the Note 3 at 5.43 ounces. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Samsung's customized software, including S Voice, S Health, Story Album, and other apps. The Galaxy Round is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 3GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of built-in storage and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. The main camera rates 13 megapixels and the user-facing camera rates 2 megapixels. Both can capture 1080p HD video. Connectivity options includes GSM/HSPA+/LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, USB 3.0, GPS/GLONASS, and NFC. The Round is 7.9mm thick and packs a 2,800mAh battery. Korea's SK Telecom will be the first operator to offer the Galaxy Round, which goes on sale tomorrow for about $1,000. Samsung did not immediately announce plans to sell the device in the U.S.
Samsung faces a ban that will prevent it from importing a handful of its smartphones after the Obama Administration decided not to veto a ruling issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC ruled in August that Samsung infringed on two design-based patents held by Apple. The patents in question cover detecting headphones and scrolling behavior. Samsung appealed the decision and hoped the President would overturn the ITC's ruling. "After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow" the import ban to proceed, said Michael Froman, Obama's U.S. Trade Representative. Samsung held that the ban should be overturned because the Obama administration overturned a ban won by Samsung against Apple products earlier this year. In that case, however, the patents pertained to standard essential technology, which must be licensed at reasonable rates. It's not immediately clear which Samsung devices are affected by the ban, which goes into effect today.
Kevin Packingham, who ran Samsung's mobile device business in the U.S., has left the company. The news, reported by The New York Times, was confirmed by Samsung. "Kevin Packingham has departed Samsung Mobile. We thank Kevin for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors," said a company spokesperson. Packingham was with Samsung U.S. for two years, during which time he oversaw numerous important product introductions, including the Galaxy S4 and Note II. Prior to that, he worked at Sprint. No reason was given for his departure.
Verizon Wireless is now selling the Samsung Galaxy Legend through its prepaid service. The device is also known as the Stellar. The Legend is an entry-level Android smartphone. It has a 4-inch WVGA screen, 3.2-megapixel main camera, 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera, 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of built-in storage. The Galaxy Legend includes Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, GPS, and Wi-Fi, but does not offer LTE 4G. It is limited to Verizon's EVDO 3G network. It runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and includes Samsung's TouchWiz user interface and associated apps/services. The full retail price of the Legend is $249.99, but Verizon is selling it for $129.99.
Samsung today announced the HomeSync, a media center for consumers that runs Android and serves as a companion to the company's mobile devices. The HomeSync includes 1TB of internal storage and connects to HDTVs via HDMI. The user interface looks and acts similar to Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets, which can be used to control the HomeSync. HomeSync supports up to eight separate accounts and can be used to store music, videos, and photos, as well as play that content on an HDTV. The HomeSync also allows Samsung device owners to access their stored content when they are away from home. HomeSync is compatible with any device that uses Samsung Link, including the Galaxy S4 and S III, Note 3 and II, the Galaxy Note 8.0 and 10.1, and the Galaxy Camera. It costs $299 and will be available from Amazon.com, Samsung.com, and Best Buy stores beginning October 6. Customers who register their new HomeSync will receive $50 in credit for content purchases in the Samsung Hub.
T-Mobile today announced a promotion that will allow customers to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for $0 down. T-Mobile typically asks for about $100 down on most flagship devices. The Note 3 carries a retail price of about $700. With no downpayment, however, T-Mobile customers who buy the Note 3 will need to make 24 monthly payments of $29.50, which totals $708 over the course of two years. T-Mobile is offering the same $0 option for the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II. The monthly costs for these phones are $25, $25, and $24, respectively. T-Mobile didn't say how long the promotion would run.
PayPal today announced that it is now being accepted as a payment option in the Samsung App Store and Samsung Hub. Consumers can use their PayPal account to pay for apps, movies, and music, rather than use a credit card. Samsung is permitting PayPal payments in nine countries, including Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, and U.K. U.S. availability is "coming soon."
AT&T today announced that it will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 online and in stores on October 4. The device will cost $299.99 with a new two-year contract, or $35 per month with AT&T Next. AT&T will also offer the Galaxy Gear smartwatch on October 4. It costs $299 and does not require a separate contract. The Gear is compatible only with the Note 3 at launch, but will eventually be compatible with other Galaxy-branded smartphones from Samsung.