Verizon Wireless recently added the Samsung Galaxy J1 to its lineup of prepaid handsets. The J1 is a compact, entry-level Android smartphone. It includes a 4.3-inch WVGA display, quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage. The phone supports microSD memory cards up to 128 GB. The main camera sensor captures 5-megapixel images and records 720p HD video, while the selfie camera captures 2-megapixel images. The device supports Verizon's LTE 4G network in addition to WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy. It runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with Samsung's user interface elements and applications. Verizon is selling the Galaxy J1 for $99.99.
Avago Technologies is in advanced talks to acquire Broadcom, reports the Wall Street Journal. Terms of the deal are not yet available, and the Journal's sources say the deal may not be signed. Broadcom's market valuation is about $28 billion and Avago's is about $34 billion. Broadcom makes wireless modems and other chips for mobile devices. It has struggled to compete in recent years with Qualcomm, Samsung, and others.
Samsung today unveiled an Iron Man-themed version of the Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone. The special edition handset features a red-and-gold design with Iron Man wallpapers and an etched Iron Man helmet on the back surface. The Iron Man edition ships with a wireless charging pad meant to look like an arc reactor from the Iron Man movies. Otherwise, the phone has all the same features as the standard S6 Edge. Galaxy S6 Edge Iron Man Limited Edition will be sold in Korea, China, and Japan. There's no world on U.S. availability for the handset.
T-Mobile today announced a handful of device and service promotions that will become available over the holiday weekend. To start, T-Mobile is offering a free memory upgrade to buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. From May 23 through May 25, the 64 GB model will cost the same as the 32 GB model. Customers who buy the 32 GB will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Following their appearance on T-Mobile's web site earlier this month, the company shared pricing details for the LG Stylo and Leon. The Stylo will cost $289.92 at full retail or $12.08 per month and the Leon will cost $149.76 at full retail or $6.24 per month. T-Mobile Prepaid customers can score the Leon for free with an online rebate. T-Mobile-owned MetroPCS will also sell the Stylo and Leon for $199 and $49, respectively, after online rebates. Customers who switch to MetroPCS from a competing carrier will receive a free LG Leon or $50 toward the phone of their choice. Last, MetroPCS is recirculating the 4x100 promotion. Customers can get four lines with unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB of data per line for a total of $100.
Samsung and Think Tank today introduced a beta app called Flow, which is meant to help people transition tasks from one Samsung device to another. It is similar in concept to Apple's Continuity feature for iOS and Mac hardware. Flow offers Samsung smartphone owners two distinct use-cases: transfer an activity or defer an activity. With transfer, people can work on a particular activity and then move it to another device and pick up right where they left off. For example, users can listen to clips on Soundcloud on their smartphone and then transfer the activity to their tablet without missing a beat. The deferring feature lets people defer an incoming activity request on one device if, for example, it's not the right device for that particular task. They can then pick up the activity on whichever other device they prefer when they're ready. According to Samsung, Flow supports existing applications through Android's share mechanism. Samsung expects to add more features, including notify, mirror, and divide, to Flow over time. For the moment, Flow is limited to the Galaxy S5, S6, and S6 Edge; Galaxy Alpha; Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge; and the Galaxy Tab S. The beta app is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Verizon Wireless today marked the one-year anniversary of its XLTE service by expanding coverage to six additional markets. XLTE is now available in Marshalltown, Iowa; Madisonville and Owensboro, Ky.; Traverse City, Mich.; Meridian, Miss.; and Martinsville, Va. Verizon's XLTE coverage is available in more than 400 markets. It combines Verizon's 700MHz and AWS spectrum to boost capacity of its LTE 4G network. Verizon says it has more than 40 XLTE-capable devices, including the Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6.
A federal appeals court today reversed part of a verdict won by Apple against foe Samsung regarding its designs and patents. Apple alleged Samsung copied its iPhone designs, or "trade dress," as part of its 2011-2012 lawsuit. Apple also sued over patent infringement. A jury agreed in August 2012 and awarded Apple $382 million for the trade dress violation and $548 million for the patent violations -- totaling some $930 million. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed that Samsung violated Apple's patents, but said the iPhone's trade dress could not be protected. As such, the Federal court is sending the trade dress decision back to lower courts for reconsideration. Apple and Samsung have given up on most of their legal battles, but this particular case continues to wind its way through courts. Neither Apple nor Samsung offered immediate comment on today's decision.
Samsung has indicated to its customers and business partners that it plans to close the Samsung Mobile Wallet application on June 30. The app launched with the intent of competing with Apple's Passbook in that it is best used to store membership and loyalty cards for varied businesses. It was never meant to serve as a mobile payment application. Samsung admitted that, since its mid-2013 launch, the service has not seen the uptake it hoped. Samsung said users' and partners' Samsung accounts will be maintained without changes, but the Samsung Wallet app, including its APIs, will no longer function after June 30. Samsung is prepared to launch Samsung Pay later this year. Samsung Pay will be available to the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and will power mobile payments at participating retailers.
Virgin Mobile today announced the Data Done Right promotion, which kicks off May 16 at Walmart stores. The new plans offer 300 minutes, unlimited texting, and 3GB of high-speed data for $30 per month, or unlimited voice, texting, and 3GB for $40. These prices are $5 lower and each option includes 500MB more data. Accounts with more than one line have been improved, too. Two lines will have access to unlimited voice, unlimited messaging, and 6GB of data for $65; three lines get 10GB for $90; and four lines get 14GB for $115. The promotional plans are available to seven different handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S6. Virgin did not say how long the promotion will run.
Home Depot hopes to offer Apple Pay to its customers following an upgrade of its in-store payment terminals. "It's something we'd like to do," said Home Depot spokesperson Steve Holmes to Bloomberg. Some Home Depot stores equipped with compatible terminals accepted Apple Pay for a short time, but the larger chain doesn't yet support Apple's mobile payment service. Home Depot is still negotiating terms with Apple and the deal is not yet final. With the new payment terminals, Home Depot may be able to accept other mobile payment services, such as Google Wallet and Samsung Pay. Home Depot did not say when it might launch support for Apple Pay. Support for Apple Pay has expanded rapidly through financial institutions, but has yet to grow its retail footprint significantly. Some of the country's largest retailers, including Target and Walmart, intend to support a competing mobile payment service still in development by the Merchant Customer Exchange.
TextNow Wireless today announced new pricing for its service plans and added two handsets to its lineup. TextNow Wireless offers all customers unlimited talk and text and up to 500MB of data for $18.99 per month. Similar to Google's recently-announced Project Fi, TextNow runs on Sprint's cellular network but defaults to WiFi connections whenever possible. The service is available to most any device (phone, tablet, PC) for WiFi-based calling and texting, and customers can use their TextNow number no matter which form factor they choose. Customers can upgrade to 1 GB of cellular data for $26.99 per month, 2 GB for $39.99, or 4 GB for $59.99. All plans include taxes and fees. In addition to the reworked plans, TextNow Wireless now sells the Google Nexus 5 ($249) and Motorola Moto X ($149). TextNow Wireless already offers a number of new and refurbished Sprint devices, including the Moto G, LG Optimus F3, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Samsung Galaxy S4.
Samsung has this week made the app store for its Tizen platform available in most places around the world. Tizen is Samsung's homegrown operating system. At the moment the lone Tizen-based smartphone, the Z1, can only be purchased in India and Bangladesh. Samsung's decision to expand the Tizen app store to other countries could signal an intent to push the phone to new markets. A lack of apps forced Samsung to delay the launch of the Tizen smartphone by more than a year. Initially expected to reach Japan in late 2013, the phone didn't reach consumers in India until early 2015. Samsung has not said if or when it might expand the availability of the Z1 or other Tizen handsets, but the app store is now accessible from nearly every country.
Verizon Wireless today said owners of the Samsung Galaxy S4 can expect to see their devices updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop in the next few days. The over-the-air update is free to install.
The International Trade Commission today ruled Microsoft improperly used two InterDigital wireless patents without permission. The ruling judge said "it would not be against the public interest to ban the Microsoft [phones] from import into the United States." Patent-related complaints are often taken to the ITC, which has the power to enact such bans. This initial ruling, made by a single judge within the ITC, must be upheld by the full commission before any sort of penalty is enforced. InterDigital is a patent-holding firm and has filed similar suits against other phone makers, including ZTE and Samsung. Microsoft did not immediately comment on the decision.
ARM has revealed the Cortex A72, its next-generation CPU core for high-end processors. The A72 builds on the foundation laid by the Cortex A57 core, ARM's current high-end processor. With the A72, ARM focused on improving speeds and power efficiency, while decreasing the die size. The core can be manufactured using 14 or 16 nanometer processes. ARM says the A72 can deliver a 20-60% increase in instructions-per-block when compared to the A57. Reduced latency in the core means clock speeds can reach 2.7 GHz, and the A72 is between 18-30% more power efficient than the A57. ARM doesn't actually make processors; instead, it licenses its core designs to companies such as Qualcomm. Qualcomm, in turn, put the cores in larger application processors like the octa-core Snapdragon 810. Qualcomm is itself developing a new CPU core design for the forthcoming Snapdragon 820 processor. Qualcomm hopes using its own core will help differentiate the 820 from competing chip designs from the likes of Samsung and Intel. ARM said it doesn't expect to see the A72 reach consumer devices until 2016.
Qualcomm might turn to competitor Samsung to make its next top-of-the-line mobile processor, reports Re/Code. Qualcomm has historically used Taiwan Semiconductor to fabricate its processors, but Samsung's capabilities are more advanced. Taiwan Semiconductor can develop chips with a 20nm process, but Samsung's chip-making foundries are able to produce chips using its 14nm process. This makes chips more efficient, more powerful, and also less expensive. The Snapdragon 820 is expected to begin sampling later this year and won't reach consumer devices until 2016. Qualcomm plans to use an in-house design for the cores, rather than relying on off-the-shelf cores from ARM as it did with the Snapdragon 810. Samsung opted to put its own Exynos processor in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, a move that forced Qualcomm to cuts its financial forecasts for the year. Qualcomm hopes selecting Samsung to make the Snapdragon 820 will help it win back Samsung's business for future flagship smartphones, say Re/Code's unnamed sources. Neither Qualcomm nor Samsung commented on the report. Earlier this month, Re/Code reported that Apple may also jump from Taiwan Semiconductor to Samsung to make the A9 processor for the next iPhone.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless are limiting Microsoft's attempt to bulk up use of its mobile applications. Last month, Samsung agreed to preload Microsoft's OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype applications on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Verizon, however, won't pre-load any of the Microsoft apps on its versions of the S6 and S6 Edge. AT&T will include OneNote and Skype, but not OneDrive. The Sprint and T-Mobile versions of the S6 and S6 Edge are shipping with all three Microsoft apps aboard. Neither AT&T nor Verizon commented on their stance against the Microsoft-made apps. Even though the trio of apps won't be pre-loaded, people who buy the S6 and S6 Edge from AT&T or Verizon are free to download the apps, as well as Microsoft's Outlook email and Office productivity apps, from the Google Play Store for free on their own.
The NFC Forum today approved the Signature Record Type Definition (RTD) 2.0 technical specification, which will help authenticate the data stored on NFC tags. According to the NFC Forum, Signature RTD 2.0 lets developers verify the integrity of data within NFC Data Exchange Format messages, which is the core of how NFC tags and devices communicate with one another. The NFC Forum says the spec can assure companies that the data they're placing in NFC tags is protected from potential hackers. It also lets device owners know they won't be risking anything by reading the tag with their phone. The complete Signature RTD 2.0 specification is available for download from the NFC Forum's web site. NFC has become more critical in recent years with the launch of mobile payment services like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and soon Samsung Pay. The extra layer of security helps protect the ecosystem from abuse.
AT&T today began updating its versions of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy S5 Active to Android 5.0 Lollipop. Both updates are available for over-the-air download and are rolling out over the next few days. Lollipop includes Google's Material Design language, battery-saving features, Smart Lock, and more. The update is free.
Verizon Wireless said its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will begin to receive Android 5.0 Lollipop today. The over-the-air update will roll out to all users gradually. According to Verizon, seven of its handsets now run Lollipop, including the Motorola Moto X (2nd gen); Galaxy Note 4, S5, and Note 3; LG G2 and G3; and the HTC One M8.
Cricket Wireless today said it expects to begin selling the Samsung Galaxy S6 online and in stores on April 24. Cricket is charging $649 for the handset, but service plans start at $40 per month and don't require contracts. Customers looking to defray the cost of the handset can choose one of Cricket's new payment plans. One option includes an initial payment of $19.99 followed by equal payments of about $26.25 for 24 months. Another requires an initial payment of $49.99 followed by payment in full within 90 days.
Nokia today said it has agreed to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. The combined companies would be a giant in the telecom equipment space with more than 100,000 employees. The terms of the deal will see Nokia acquire all of Alcatel-Lucent's stock, as traded in both France and the U.S. The companies' boards of directors have approved the deal, though shareholders have yet to vote on the acquisition. The deal will also require regulatory approval. The companies expect the deal to close during the first half of 2016. Once combined, the companies will streamline redundant operations, but believe the 40,000 research and development at its disposal employees will be able to make the company a world leader in the connected IP space. Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent will specifically target the development of 5G wireless networks. The largest competitors remaining are Ericsson and Huawei, though ZTE, Samsung, and others make telecommunications equipment, too. In addition to announcing the Alcatel-Lucent deal, Nokia said it has begun a review of strategic options for its HERE Maps business. Nokia acquired Navteq's mapping business in 2007 and turned it into a competitive global company. Nokia's HERE Maps are available to the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms, as well as online, and provide robust driving, walking, and transit directions. Nokia said its review of HERE Maps may or may not result in a transaction.
Sharp has engineered a 4K (Ultra HD) screen for smartphones. The prototype measures 5.5 inches across the diagonal and includes 3860 x 2160 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch. By way of comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus's 5.5-inch screen has 1920 x 1080 pixels, or 401 pixels per inch. The prototype LCD relies on Sharp's IGZO technology, but the company is not sure if the prototype will ever be used. "Currently there are no driver ICs for small 4K panels, so the panel is not ready for mass production at this point," said Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama in an email to Computerworld. Some of today's flagship devices (LG G4, Motorola Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6) have jumped from full HD to quad HD, or 2560 x 1440 pixels. The majority of high-end phones still use full HD screens, while mid-range phones have moved to 720p screens. Entry-level phones generally offer 800 x 480 or 960 x 540 resolution displays.
Cricket Wireless announced the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime is available to customers today for $179.99. The phone has a 5-inch qHD display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel front camera, and a 2,600mAh battery. The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is compatible with Cricket's LTE 4G network. Service plans start at $35. Cricket Wireless is owned and operated by AT&T.
Cricket Wireless today announced a series of payment plans it says will help customers get the phone they want while breaking down the costs over time. The first option for those with good credit is a straight up 24-month loan. Customers make an initial payment of $19.99 and then 24 monthly payments of equal amount at 0% interest. This option requires a credit check. The second option also asks for an initial payment of $19.99 and requires a credit check, but offers interest-free payments for just six months. Customers who pay off the device balance in six months won't be charged any interest, but customers who don't will have up to 18 months to pay the device off at 29.99% APR. The third option is a 90-days-same-as-cash deal. Customers need to make an initial payment of $49.99 and pay off the balance within 90 days. This option doesn't require a credit check. These financing plans are available for all devices that cost $199.99 and up, and can include accessories and taxes. A maximum of five devices may be financed per account. Cricket believes these options will allow its customers to obtain the handset of their choice, such as the $649 Samsung Galaxy S6, without hitting them with the full price all at once.
AT&T today made Android 5.0 Lollipop available to its variants of the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Lollipop adds priority mode for managing notifications, battery saving tools, and Smart Lock for protecting devices with nearby Bluetooth accessories, among many other features. Both HTC and Samsung have also revised their Sense and Touchwiz user interface overlays for the One and GS4, respectively. AT&T suggests users download the system updates via WiFi. The updates are free to install.
LG is slowly revealing aspects of its forthcoming flagship smartphone bit by bit. The G4, expected to arrive at an event later this month, will have LG's newest user interface called LG UX 4.0. The UI has a new design based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. According to LG, UX 4.0 "provides more optimized and intuitive convenience to each individual at every user level." One new feature is called Quick Shot, which lets users to take pictures by double-tapping the phone's rear key even while the display is off. The camera itself gains new functions, too, including a manual mode that gives users full control over the camera's settings and behaviors. LG updated its calendar app with a drag-and-drop scheduler and improved its Smart Bulletin tool with the ability to collect data across more apps. The UX also introduces LG's version of Google Now, called Smart Notice. LG says Smart Notice provides personalized notifications for weather, travel, and more by analyzing users' daily routines and habits. LG also posted a teaser video on its YouTube channel regarding the G4's camera. The camera will have an aperture of f/1.8, which means it can let in a little bit more light than most competing smartphone cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S6, for example, has an aperture of f/1.9 and the HTC One M9 has an aperture of f/2.2. Earlier this month LG revealed a new 5.5-inch quad HD display for the G4. Together, these hints provide a decent picture of what the LG G4 will offer. The LG G4 launch event is scheduled for April 28.
Google recently updated its Google Wallet application and added several new features that make it easier to find past purchases. A new search tool lets users find transactions within the app itself, and updated receipts provide more details about the merchant, such as the location of each transaction. Google Wallet is free to download from the Play Store. The app competes with Apple Pay on the iPhone and the forthcoming Samsung Pay service for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
Apple has expanded the scope of its Reuse and Recycling Program to include smartphones, tablets, and PCs not made by Apple. Customers can take their old smartphones directly to Apple Stores and receive credit towards new Apple gear for turning them in. Customers who don't have access to Apple Stores can mail in their devices for credit. Apple will recycle just about any old phone, tablet, or computer for free. Apple says not all devices are eligible for credit and suggests customers check eligibility (online) before heading to Apple Stores. According to Apple's web site, it is accepting handsets from Sony, Samsung, Nokia, LG, and BlackBerry. Apple has partnered with Brightstar and DataServ to handle the actual device recycling processes. The expanded Apple Reuse and Recycling Program is available in the U.S., the U.K., and select European countries.
U.S. Cellular has begun accepting preorders on its web site for the Samsung Galaxy S6. U.S. Cellular wants $199.99 for the 32 GB S6 or $299.99 for the S6 Edge, each with a two-year contract. Customers who prefer to pay over time can score the S6 for $34 per month or the S6 Edge for $39.50 per month. The 64GB models of the S6 and S6 Edge cost $299.99 and $399.99 with a two year contract, respectively, or $38.50 and $44 per month. U.S. Cellular is offering the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in black or white, but not the gold color being sold by the big four carriers. U.S. Cellular didn't specify shipping dates.
Verizon was the last of the major carriers today to announce pricing and availability details for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. The company will begin taking pre-orders for the phones on April 1, but Verizon did not provide a shipping or in-store date. The 32GB Galaxy S6 will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract, $24.99 per month with an Edge plan, or $599 at full retail. The 64GB model will cost $299.99 with a contract, $29.16 per month, or $699. The 128GB model will cost $399.99 with a contract, $33.33 per month, or $799. Verizon is offering the S6 Edge with similar pricing breakdowns. The 32GB model starts at $299.99 with a contract, $29.14 per month, and $699; the 64GB model runs $399.99, $33.33, and $799; and the 128GB model runs $499.99, $37.49, and $899. (All on-contract prices reflect a $50 mail-in rebate.) Both the GS6 and GS6 Edge will include VoLTE and HD Voice, as well as simultaneous voice and data access.
Sprint is hoping to attract customers to its network with a combined promotion that includes the Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Sprint Unlimited Plus service plan for $80 per month. The plan includes the 32GB GS6 for "free" after a $20-per-month credit with a 24-month lease; unlimited talk, text, and data; international value roaming; and annual upgrades. Customers who want the 64GB or 128GB models can get them for $85 and $90 per month, respectively, with the same service plan. Families interested in the Galaxy S6 can score four of them with unlimited talk and text, and 20GB of shared data for a total monthly price of $200 per month. Annual upgrades would cost another $10 per line per month. Customers looking for the Galaxy S6 Edge can snag one for $85 per month ($5 per month after $20-per-month lease credit) with the Sprint Unlimited plan. Customers not interested in contracts or leases can pay full price for the Galaxy S6 ($649.99) and pair it with a Boost Mobile plan. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge go on sale in Sprint stores April 10, with pre-orders beginning March 27.
T-Mobile was the first carrier today to reveal pricing information for its variants of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. T-Mobile listed the full retail prices at $679.92 and $779.76, respectively, for the two handsets. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge share nearly all specs and features, but the S6 Edge has a display that's curved on two sides. Customers can pre-order the phones beginning at 7:00 AM Pacific on March 27. The S6 will go for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $28.33, while the S6 Edge will require 24 monthly payments of $32.49. T-Mobile customers who order before April 12th can also receive a one-year Netflix subscription at no cost.
Samsung today announced the general availability details for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The devices can be pre-ordered beginning Friday, March 27 and should reach most carrier stores on April 10. Samsung said the black, white, and gold models will be sold in the U.S. in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB configurations. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. Cellular all plan to sell the GS6 and GS6 Edge. Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and MetroPCS will only offer the Galaxy S6. In addition to carrier stores, the two phones will be available at Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy, as well as Amazon, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. Some carrier stores will have the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge on display beginning tomorrow, even if sales don't commence until April 10. Samsung said carriers will announce individual pricing details later. The devices include 5.1-inch quad HD screens, 16-megapixel cameras, fingerprint readers, and multi-standard wireless charging.
T-Mobile today revealed via Twitter that customers who buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge will receive a year-long subscription to on-demand video service Netflix. T-Mobile didn't provide any other details about the promotion, nor has the company said when the latest smartphones from Samsung will go on sale.
Seniors Wireless, a Sprint MVNO, announced a new service that gives subscribers direct phone access to a doctor at all times. TeleMED Assist provides customers with unlimited calls to doctors for emergency, urgent, or non-urgent purposes 24/7. Over-the-phone medical consultations are included in the service, which costs $30 per month for singles or $40 per month for couples. TeleMED Assist is a separate service and does not require a Seniors Wireless telephone account. Seniors Wireless offers a handful of standard service plans ranging from $10 to $30 per month. The company has several handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5 and Note 3, the Sharp Aquos Crystal, the LG Vigor, and the Apple iPhone 4. Seniors Wireless competes with GreatCall, which also offers access to health professionals over the phone. Both target the over 55 set.
Samsung plans to preinstall a wide range of Microsoft's productivity apps on its Android devices moving through the first half of the year. Samsung already announced the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will have Microsoft's OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype apps on board. Today, Samsung said will will put Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype on some of its Android tablets. The GS6 and GS6 Edge will also have access to 100GB of OneDrive storage for a period of two years. Microsoft and Samsung believe the expanded partnership will provide potential business customers with improved productivity options via Office 365, and better security through Samsung's KNOX program. The companies did not specify if Microsoft's productivity apps will be preinstalled on more smartphones, but Microsoft Office apps are already free for most Android devices to download from the Google Play Store.
Total Wireless, an MVNO, recently launched exclusively in Walmart stores. The prepaid service provider offers a handful of low-cost, no-contract plans in addition to a limited lineup of smartphones. The entry-level plan, for example, costs $25 per month and offers unlimited calling and messaging, but no data. Adding $10 buys access to 2.5GB of data. The company also offers shared data plans for two, three, or four lines for $60, $85, and $110, respectively. These plans include 5GB, 9GB, and 12GB of shared data, respectively. The company also offers a data rollover add-on for an extra $10 per month. Total Wireless' handsets include entry-level devices from Alcatel OneTouch, Motorola, Samsung, and ZTE. Total Wireless has not named its carrier partner, but based on the coverage map it is likely Verizon Wireless.
Sprint today announced a smartphone/tablet bundle that combines the Samsung Galaxy S5 or S5 Sport and the Galaxy Tab 4, plus service, in one monthly payment. The offer costs $100 per month, which includes a Sprint Easy Pay lease on the smartphone and the tablet. The service includes unlimited talk, text, and data on the smartphone line, and up to 2GB of data on the tablet line. Sprint says the deal saves customers as much as $300 over a two-year period.
AT&T today said customers can scoop up the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini beginning March 20. The phone costs $429 at full retail, but is available for $14.30, $17.88, or $21.48 per month via AT&T's Next 24, Next 18, or Next 12 plans, respectively.