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printed May 31, 2016
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Batman-Themed Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition Swings Into Action

Friday, 7:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has revealed the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition, inspired by Batman and the game of the same name. Samsung says the Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition package includes a customized Galaxy S7 edge with black styling, gold detailing, and the Batman logo stenciled onto the back. The package also includes a Gear VR headset, along with Injustice game credits and Oculus VR content vouchers. The underlying handset is unchanged from the standard version of the Galaxy S7 Edge. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition will be sold in China, Singapore, Korea, Latin America, Russia, and other yet-to-be-named markets. It goes on sale in early June. Pricing was not disclosed.


ZTE Taps BMW to Help Design the Axon 7 Flagship

May 26, 2016, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 26, 2016, 1:37 PM

ZTE today announced the Axon 7, its flagship smartphone for 2016. ZTE designed the phone with the help of BMW Group's Designworks studio. The Axon 7 has a unibody aluminum design and clean lines; it comes in gold and silver finishes. The device features a 5.5-inch quad HD display with 2.5D curved glass. The phone is powered by a 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820 processor with either 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM. The processor and 3,140mAh battery together support Quick Charge 3.0 and can deliver a 50% charge in 30 minutes. The main camera includes a 20-megapixel sensor from Samsung with optical and electronic image stabilization, sapphire lens, and an aperture of f/1.8. The selfie camera has an 8-megapixel camera. The phone can capture video up to 4K. Other standout features include dual AKM HiFi audio chipsets with Dolby Atmos software and stereo speakers, support for Google's Daydream virtual reality platform, support for memory cards, and a quick fingerprint sensor located on the back. The device adopts a USB Type-C connector. The Axon 7 ships with Android 6 Marshmallow and MiFavor 4.0 user interface, portions of which BMW's Designworks helped configure. The phone supports all U.S. LTE bands. It will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile and launch, with Sprint and Verizon compatibility coming later in the year. The Axon 7 is sold with Axon Passport 2.0, ZTE's two-year warranty plan that protects consumers from busted screens and other damage. The Axon 7 goes on sale in China today, but will reach the U.S. soon. The phone is priced under $500 and will be sold directly to consumers via ZTEusa.com, Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, ebay, and Newegg.

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Huawei Sues Samsung Over Patents

May 24, 2016, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei has filed lawsuits against Samsung in the U.S. and China, alleging the smartphone maker is using its patented technology without permission. Specifically, Huawei believes Samsung is infringing on a patent related to LTE wireless technology. "We hope Samsung will stop infringing our patents and get the necessary license from Huawei," said the company in a statement. Samsung did not immediately comment on the matter. This marks the first time a Chinese phone maker has filed a lawsuit against foreign firms; typically, Chinese firms have been the defendants in patent cases. Handset manufacturers often resort to patent lawsuits to force negotiations for royalties.


AT&T Adds More Phones to Extended BOGO Promo

May 20, 2016, 10:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today added a handful of new handsets to a buy one, get one free offer the carrier has had in place since February. The extended BOGO promotion now applies to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Microsoft Lumia 950, the HTC One A9, and the Kyocera DuraForce. The other handsets already included in the offer are the Apple iPhone 6s, 6s Plus; Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, S6 Active, and Note 5; and LG G5 and V10. The offer lets new and existing customers buy one phone at full price and receive a second one for free. The two handsets must come from the same manufacturer. AT&T says both phones must be purchased via its AT&T Next installment plan. The first phone can be a new line or an upgrade, but the second phone must be a new line purchased with an AT&T Next 24 plan (req's 30 payments). Both phones must be added to a qualified plan, such as Mobile Share Value, which starts at $70 for two lines. Customers will need to pay sales tax on the two phones at the time of purchase and may need to make several monthly payments on both before AT&T credits up to $650 for the second phone spread out over the 30 months. The offer is available through June 30.


'Daydream' to Serve as VR Platform for Android

May 18, 2016, 1:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced Daydream, a brand new platform for expanding virtual reality to more devices. The Daydream spec will be defined so hardware makers can make sure they create compatible phones. Android N will be able to tell if phones are Daydream ready based on the sensors, display, and processor within. Android N brings improvements to performance VR thanks to low latency (20ms) and the simplified system user interface. At the same time, Google created a blueprint for Daydream-compatible headsets. It will share the headset / controller blueprints with device makers. Google believes a secondary controller (like a small remote) will help the Daydream VR experience. Google expects Daydream-ready devices, including phones from Samsung, Alcatel, and Asus, to reach the market by fall.

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Samsung Pay Adds Support for Loyalty Cards

May 18, 2016, 10:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today updated its Samsung Pay service in the U.S. to include merchant membership and loyalty cards. Samsung says Pay users can easily add loyalty cards to the app and use them during checkout to redeem rewards or discounts. Stored cards can be called up and scanned at the point of payment. The app can now also store personal identification and insurance cards for safe keeping. Samsung Pay is free to download from Samsung, though it is limited to high-end phones such as the Galaxy S6, S7, and Edge.


CurrentC, an Apple Pay Competitor, Is Delayed

May 17, 2016, 9:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 17, 2016, 2:23 PM

MCX, the consortium of retailers including Walmart and Target, has postponed the national rollout of its mobile payment service, called CurrentC. MCX tested CurrentC in several markets and has decided to step back from the roll out for the time being. "Utilizing unique feedback from the marketplace and our Columbus pilot, MCX has made a decision to concentrate more heavily in the immediate term on other aspects of our business including working with financial institutions, like our partnership with Chase, to enable and scale mobile payment solutions," said CEO Brian Mooney in a statement provided to TechCrunch. The company plans to lay off some staff in the meantime. Walmart, Target, and other retailers have shied away from Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay as they worked to develop CurrentC. It's not clear if any of these retailers will adopt competing mobile payment services to fill the gap.


Republic Wireless Partners with GSM Carrier, Adds GSM Phones

May 11, 2016, 8:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Republic Wireless today said it has partnered with a new GSM-based carrier to help increase its service availability around the U.S. Republic launched as a WiFi-first service in 2011, and partnered with Sprint so customers could make calls, send messages, and surf the web when away from WiFi. Republic's new carrier partner is likely T-Mobile, though Republic Wireless did not say so directly. Republic will work with both Sprint and T-Mobile moving forward. With the new GSM partnership in place, Republic is set to expand its selection of devices to include some newer, top-tier Android phones. Beginning in July, Republic will offer the Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, S6, and J3, the Google Nexus 6P and 5X, and the Motorola Moto X Pure Edition — all of which run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Republic said financing will be available for each handset. Customers will be able to bring their own GSM-based device if they so wish. Last, Republic said it is prepared to roll out new service plans. One such plan costs $20 per month and includes unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB of LTE. Republic will share more details about its new service plans in the weeks ahead.


Samsung Reveals 256 GB MicroSD Memory Card

May 10, 2016, 2:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced the EVO Plus 256 GB microSD card, what it claims is the highest-capacity memory card available for sale. Samsung says the card can hold 33 hours of full HD video, 12 hours of 4K / UHD video, 55,200 pictures, or 23,500 music files. It offers read/write speeds 95Mbps and 90Mbps, respectively. The card is heat, x-ray, magnet, and waterproof. The EVO Plus 256 GB microSD card will go on sale in the U.S. and other countries in June for $250.


T-Mobile Targets Families With Latest Promo

May 10, 2016, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced new pricing for family plans that sees the price drop to $30 per line. The plan includes unlimited talk, text, and 6 GB of LTE data per line, as well as standard T-Mobile features, such as Rollover Data, Music Unlimited, and Binge On. The same plan previously cost $35 per line, so the new promotion drops the price by a total of $20 for a family of four. Additional lines (5 and up) cost $20 each. T-Mobile is giving away a free Samsung smartphone, too. Customers who buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge with at least one new line of service will receive a prepaid card for a free Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime handset. T-Mobile didn't say how long these promotions will be available.


FCC, FTC Query Carriers and Phone Makers Over Security

May 9, 2016, 12:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC and FTC today asked carriers and phone manufacturers how they handle security updates for their devices. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and other carriers, while the FTC queried Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung. In particular, the agencies want to know: the factors carriers/OEMs consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular phone; data on the specific phones sold in the U.S. since August 2013; the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company patched such vulnerabilities. The government said the line of inquiry is to help it further understand how these companies do or do not protect consumers. "Consumers may be left unprotected, for long periods of time or even indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities once they are discovered," said the FCC. "To date, operating system providers, original equipment manufacturers, and mobile service providers have responded to address vulnerabilities as they arise. There are, however, significant delays in delivering patches to actual devices — and that older devices may never be patched." Google provides monthly security updates to Nexus-branded Android devices, but individual phone makers lag badly. Apple provides occasional updates.


Verizon Prepaid Selling Samsung Galaxy J3 for $110

May 6, 2016, 8:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today made the Samsung Galaxy J3 available to its prepaid customers. The phone, which has been available from Boost Mobile since earlier this year, features a 5-inch HD screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 2,600mAh battery, and 8 GB of storage with support for memory cards up to 128 GB. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. The phone costs $110. Verizon Prepaid doesn't require contracts.


ITC to Investigate 8 Phone Makers Over Patent Claims

May 6, 2016, 7:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate a complaint from Creative Technology / Creative Labs that accuses eight different smartphone makers of infringing on patents. The ITC is prepared to look at phones made by BlackBerry, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, and ZTE. Creative Labs says these companies are violating a patent related to media playback on mobile devices. The ITC did not say when it might make an initial ruling on the matter. Companies often use the ITC as a venue to settle trade disagreements because the ITC has the power to institute import bans.


Update for T-Mobile Galaxy S7, S7 Edge Tweaks Performance

May 3, 2016, 7:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile is pushing a minor update to its variants of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge that improves performance of several features. Specifically, the revised system should offer enhanced voice services on both phones. A bug impacting the volume and power buttons has been eradicated. Last, the update makes unspecified changes to Samsung Pay. The update is available as an over-the-air download. T-Mobile suggests S7 and S7 Edge owners download it via WiFi. The update may take a few days to reach all devices.


Nvidia and Samsung Strike Patent Deal, Drop Lawsuits

May 2, 2016, 11:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nvidia today said it has settled its patent-related litigation with Samsung. The company first sued Samsung in 2014 over smartphone patents and was later sued in turn by Samsung. In October 2015, Samsung was cleared of violating Nvidia's patents. In December 2015, a law judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Nvidia was guilty of violating Samsung's patents. That initial ruling was set to be reviewed today by the full ITC panel. The settlement sees each company licensing a few minor patents from one another, but it does not establish a broad cross-licensing agreement, nor does it establish large royalty payments. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.


Samsung Prepping Expansion for Samsung Pay

Apr 27, 2016, 1:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it plans to make its mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Spain, and the U.K. later this year. The service is already available in the U.S. and Korea. In Korea, Samsung Pay will soon allow Woori Bank cardholders to withdraw cash from ATMs. Samsung said select ATMs will be fitted with the proper technology to sense Samsung Pay on Galaxy phones. Customers won't need to have their debit card to grab some cash. Samsung didn't say if it plans to expand the ATM functionality to other banks or other markets. Samsung Pay uses both NFC and magnetic strip technology to enable payments at most terminals that accept credit cards. Samsung also updated its SoundCamp music creation app, debuted new SDKs and APIs for its ConnectAuto program, announced an IoT platform called Artik Cloud, and expanded what developers can do with its Gear VR. The news was shared during Samsung's developer conference in San Francisco.


Older Sprint Galaxy Phones Get a Taste of Marshmallow

Apr 22, 2016, 8:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint is rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport and Galaxy Note Edge. The update is being pushed in phases, which Sprint expects to complete by May 11 for the S5 Sport and May 2 for the Note Edge. In addition to the operating system update, Sprint says the Galaxy Note Edge is also receiving the latest security patches from Samsung and Google. Sprint did not say if the Note Edge update includes the improved Edge Panel behaviors that have been made available to the S6 Edge and S6 Edge+.


Samsung and The Weather Channel Team Up for Galaxy App

Apr 19, 2016, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung and The Weather Channel have created an exclusive weather app only for owners of Galaxy-branded smartphones. The Weather Channel App for Samsung offers features the regular Weather Channel app does not include. For example, a tool called Smart Weather Wakeup will trigger users' alarm clocks a bit earlier than normal when bad weather may impact their routine. Another tool called Floating Shortcuts provides direct access to information such as current conditions or daily forecasts. The app includes new, dynamic weather backgrounds for Samsung phones, and targets Galaxy Edge models with customized alerts for the edge panel. The Weather Channel App for Samsung is available from the Galaxy Apps Store for the S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, Note 5, S7, and S7 Edge. Samsung said it plans to eventually expand the app's availability to other platforms, including the Gear S2 smartwatch and select Samsung Smart TVs.

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T-Mobile's Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+ Receiving Marshmallow

Apr 18, 2016, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has begun delivering the Marshmallow system update to the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+. The update brings the devices from Android 5.1.1 to Android 6.0.1. Marshmallow includes a handful of new features, such as Google Now On Tap, Doze, and advanced app permissions. The S6 Edge+, in particular, is also receiving the improved Edge Panel behaviors from Samsung, which offer more content and a broader set of tools for personalizing the panels. The update clocks in at about 1 GB and must be downloaded over WiFi. T-Mobile recently provided the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge with the same update.


Boost and Virgin Mobile Score Kyocera Hydro Reach

Apr 13, 2016, 11:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 15, 2016, 9:16 AM

Sprint's prepaid brands, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, plan to sell three low-cost smartphones in the weeks ahead, including the Kyocera Hydro Reach. The Reach (pictured) is an update to the Hydro Edge. It is water and dust proof, and the 5-inch qHD display supports wet finger tracking. The Hydro Reach is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and comes with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and the user-facing camera has a 2-megapixel sensor. The device has a 2,160mAh battery and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. The Hydro Reach will go on sale April 15 from Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA. It will cost $99. Boost and Virgin also plan to add the LG Stylo 2 and Samsung Galaxy J7, both announced earlier this year, to their rosters. The Stylo 2 will reach Boost stores April 15 and Virgin stores May 9. It will cost $179.99. The Galaxy J7 hits Boost stores on April 15 for $229.99, and Virgin on April 19.


Samsung Reveals the Galaxy E5 for Tracfone

Apr 13, 2016, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has published details about the Galaxy E5, a low-cost Android handset intended for Tracfone. The E5 has a 5-inch, Super AMOLED 720p HD screen and is powered by a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor with 1.5 GB of RAM. The phone includes an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and full HD video capture, and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies. The phone ships with 16 GB of storage and supports memory cards up to 64 GB. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, and LTE. It runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. Tracfone has not yet listed the Samsung Galaxy E5 for sale, so pricing and availability are unknown.


Milk VR App Offers 360-Degree Content without a Headset

Apr 12, 2016, 9:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has released an app for its Galaxy handsets, called Milk VR, that allows people to experience its library of 360-degree content without a virtual reality headset. The app lets Galaxy owners search for, download, and play 360-degree video content directly on their handset. Users play the downloaded videos and can then pan around the landscape. The videos are compatible with the Gear VR and can be played with or without the headset. The Milk VR app is available to the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5. It is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ Earn Updates from Verizon

Apr 11, 2016, 11:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has made system updates available for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+. The update for the Note 5 resolves several issues that were introduced when the device was updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Specifically, it smoothes out trouble connecting to the internet, frequent data disconnection, and problems while loading files or web pages. The update for the S6 Edge+ installs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the latest Edge Panel features from Samsung. It also adds WiFi calling and improves the behavior of Live Broadcast. Verizon suggests owners of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ download the updates over a WiFi connection. The updates are free.


Verizon Now Selling the Samsung Convoy 4

Apr 8, 2016, 3:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless recently added the Samsung Convoy 4 to its roster of simple flip phones. The Convoy 4 makes improvements over the previous generation device by adding GSM roaming capabilities and resistance to water. Core features include a 5-megapixel camera, support for push-to-talk services, and a mil-spec 810G rating for protection against shock, vibration, temperature extremes, and dirt. The Convoy 4 includes two screens, GPS, and support for microSD cards. It does not include LTE. The Convoy 4 costs $192 at full retail or $8 per month on an installment plan.


T-Mobile Rolls Out $80 12 GB Plan for Two Lines

Apr 7, 2016, 8:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile kicked off a new promotion that offers 12 GB of data for two lines for $80 per month. Each line gets 6 GB of data in addition to unlimited talk and text. The deal also includes the standard list of T-Mobile features, such as Binge On, Music Freedom, and Data Stash. T-Mobile is also offering the LG K7 and Samsung Galaxy Core Prime to customers with no downpayment. The two-line plan will be available starting April 8. T-Mobile didn't say how long it will be available.


T-Mobile Debuts Enhanced Voice Services

Apr 6, 2016, 11:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced the launch of Enhanced Voice Services, new technology that the company says delivers improved call quality. T-Mobile claims EVS improves call reliability in weak coverage areas, which means fewer dropped calls. It also improves clarity beyond what is produced by HD Voice thanks to an expanded audio range. EVS functions on LTE and WiFi, and doesn't require both the caller and recipient to have high-quality connections. Moreover, T-Mobile customers can enjoy EVS even when calling nonT-Mobile lines. EVS was installed on the LG G5 out of the box. The service is being added to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge through a software update. T-Mobile says the service will reach seven more phones by the end of the year.


Cricket Partners with Aaron's to Attract Lease-to-Own Shoppers

Apr 4, 2016, 8:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced a new retail partnership with Aaron's that will make Cricket's SIM card starter kit available at about 2,000 Aaron's locations around the country. Aaron's offers goods on a lease-to-own basis. Consumers who lease a smartphone from Aaron's can now activate that phone on Cricket's network right at the Aaron's retail store. Aaron's online lineup of devices includes the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, LG G3, and Motorola Moto G. Lease prices are expensive. For example, Aaron's lists the Galaxy S5 retail price at $840. (The Galaxy S5 is available new from retailers such as Amazon.com for $360, unlocked.) Monthly lease costs from Aaron's run $90 per month for 18 months, which totals about $1,620. Finance charges are about $780 in this example. These prices don't include Cricket's service fees, which start at $40 per month.


Verizon Giving Galaxy S6, S6 Edge Taste of Marshmallow

Apr 1, 2016, 10:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has made Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow available to the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. The update adds Now on Tap, Doze, security patches, revamped home screen search tools, and updates to Live Broadcast. The S6 Edge, in particular, is being given the same Edge Panel features found on the new S7 Edge, which means a thicker panel, and more actionable content. Verizon recommends S6 and S6 Edge owners download and install the update over the air.


Walmart Slashes Price of iPhone By $100, Galaxy By $150

Apr 1, 2016, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Walmart today said customers can save big bucks on Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy phones for the next three months. Walmart has cut the price of all iPhones by $100 (including the new iPhone SE) and all Galaxy phones (including the Galaxy S7) by $150. The rollback begins today and lasts through the end of June. The reduced prices will be available only in Walmart stores, and only to customers of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile is not participating in the rollback program.

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AT&T, DirecTV to Reward Galaxy S7 Buyers with Free TV

Mar 31, 2016, 9:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and DirecTV customers who buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 may become eligible for a free Samsung 48-inch TV. Consumers who buy a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, and sign up for AT&T and DirecTV are eligible for the free TV, as are existing AT&T customers who join DirectTV, and existing DirecTV customers who join AT&T. Consumers who already subscribe to AT&T and DirecTV are not eligible. The S7 or S7 Edge must be purchased on an AT&T Next plan, and people must have both AT&T and DirecTV to qualify — at least one of which must be new. The free TV offer will be available through April 30.


Cricket Launches Two Galaxy Amp Handsets from Samsung

Mar 30, 2016, 11:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 4, 2016, 6:38 PM

Cricket Wireless today announced the Galaxy Amp Prime and Galaxy Amp 2 (pictured), two low-cost Android smartphones from Samsung. Both devices ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Samsung's software customizations, such as Quick Launch for the camera. The Amp Prime and Amp 2 both support micro SD memory cards up to 128 GB.

  • Amp Prime: This phone features a 5-inch screen screen and a 5-megapixel camera. The phone has Samsung's Easy Mode home screen experience, as well as Ultra Power Savings Mode to extend battery life. The Galaxy Amp Prime will available online and in stores on April 8th, for $149.99.
  • Amp 2:This smaller phone has a 4.5-inch 800 x 480 screen, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 5-megapixel main camera, and 2-megapixel front camera. The phone has a 2,050mAh battery. It will be available starting April 15 for $99.99.


Samsung Looks to Redefine Corporate Culture

Mar 24, 2016, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung hopes changing its rigid corporate culture will help it perform better as a business. The company believes emulating the behavior of startups can make it a more nimble firm, able to respond swiftly to opportunities. "We aim to reform our internal culture, execute as quickly as a startup company and push towards open communication and continuously innovate," said the company in a statement. Samsung relies on a top-down management style with multiple layers of executives. The firm intends to cut down on the number of internal meetings, flatten the management hierarchies, reduce weekend work requirements, and foster more open communication between ground-level employees and higher-up managers. The company has some 300,000 employees. Samsung is also transitioning control of the company from Lee Kun-hee to his son, Jay Y. Lee. Samsung has come under pressure to find new avenues towards profitability as its smartphone business has declined.


Supreme Court to Hear Apple v. Samsung Patent Case

Mar 21, 2016, 8:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Samsung's petition regarding its patent-based litigation with Apple. Samsung made the request in December and hopes the Supreme Court will reverse lower courts' decisions regarding the damages owed to Apple over the latter's design patents. Apple is seeking reimbursement for profits earned by Samsung for allegedly copying its smartphone designs. The case has been winding its way through various courts for five years now. Granting Samsung's request to hear the case doesn't mean Samsung has won anything; however, the Supreme Court can set precedent in how the victors in patent cases are awarded damages. It's not clear when the Supreme Court will review the Samsung/Apple case, nor when a decision might be made.


Sprint Last of Major Carriers to Launch Galaxy S7 BOGO

Mar 18, 2016, 12:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today followed AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless by rolling out a buy-one, get-one offer for the Samsung Galaxy S7. Customers can lease or purchase the Galaxy S7 at full retail price and receive a second for free. Sprint's Galaxy Forever lease program costs $25.99 per month for 24 months and allows users to upgrade to a new phone after 12 payments. Sprint will credit the cost of the handset payment each month for the second/free S7. Customers who choose installment pricing for the S7 will pay $27.09 per month for 24 months to own the handset, with the second S7 available at $0 per month after a service credit. In either case, one of the handsets must be activated on a new line of service. Sprint says customers can mix and match between leasing and installment plans if so desired. Sprint is still offering new customers 50% off competitor rate plans, and will cover up to $650 in switching fees. Both new and existing customers who've already purchased the S7 are eligible for the BOGO offer. Sprint also rolled out a half-price lease deal for the 16 GB iPhone 6s, which costs $13.17 per month with a trade-in.


Sprint Claims to Reach 300Mbps Downloads with Galaxy S7

Mar 15, 2016, 12:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said it was able to achieve peak LTE speeds reaching 300Mbps on the downlink with the Samsung Galaxy S7. The phone, says Sprint, is among the first to support three-channel carrier aggregation, a feature in LTE-Advanced. In its lab, Sprint put together three 20 MHz channels in the 2.5 GHz band to push peak speeds in the S7 to 300Mbps. Sprint says the same setup can deliver 200Mbps in real-world situations. The carrier has already deployed two-channel carrier aggregation in its 2.5 GHz spectrum, delivering peak speeds of 100Mbps in more than 150 markets around the U.S. Sprint says it holds 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in a large number of top U.S. markets, which should allow it to offer three-channel carrier aggregation as part of its LTE Plus Network upgrade. Sprint is working to trim costs across the board. It recently cut its headcount and is hoping to reduce the costs associated with leasing tower space. Sprint didn't say how it will deploy its LTE Plus upgrade while also saving costs.


Verizon Trots Out Galaxy S7 Upgrade Plan

Mar 14, 2016, 12:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the Verizon Annual Upgrade Program beginning with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The upgrade program allows customers who finance the S7 or S7 Edge to trade in their phone and upgrade to a new phone every year. Verizon says customers can upgrade to new hardware after just 30 days, as long as 50% of the phone's price has been paid. Customers who preordered the S7 or S7 Edge will be enrolled in the annual upgrade program automatically as long as they choose a device payment plan to finance the phone. Customers don't have to upgrade if they don't want to: Verizon says customers can continue to pay off their phones over 24 months, which they'll own at the end of two years just as before. Verizon says customers who switch (port in) from another carrier and activate an S7 or S7 Edge can receive a $100 bill credit, in addition to reimbursement for ETFs and other fees. Existing Verizon customers can receive up to $300 (varies by device) if they trade in an existing handset for an S7 or S7 Edge. The S7 costs $670 and the S7 Edge costs $780.


Verizon Rolls Out Promos Alongside Galaxy S7 Launch

Mar 11, 2016, 9:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today detailed several new promotions that are available to customers looking to save some green. To start, Verizon customers who by a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge on a device payment plan will be able to buy a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime for an additional $1 per month. The Core Prime is an entry-level Android phone ideal for younger users. Customers who trade in an old Fitbit and buy a new Fitbit priced $99 or higher can receive a $20 Visa gift card. Last, Verizon will waive its $20 activation fee for customers who bring their own phone and activate in on Verizon. These promotions will be available for a limited time.


Cricket to Snag Galaxy S7 March 18

Mar 9, 2016, 11:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless said it will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy S7 starting March 18. It is charging $649.99 for the phone and will provide a free Gear VR headset to those who buy before April 1. Cricket's service plans start at $35 per month.


T-Mobile Rolls Out Galaxy S7 BOGO In Challenge to AT&T

Mar 9, 2016, 9:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today countered AT&T's buy one, get one promotion for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge with one of its own. T-Mobile's deal requires customers to buy one S7 or S7 Edge at full price on an equipment installment plan. When adding a second line, T-Mobile will provide a debit card for the full value of the second phone through an online rebate for the second phone. (AT&T's program offers a monthly credit for the price of the second phone.) Families can get up to two GS7s from T-Mobile for free when buying two at full price. T-Mobile is offering several other benefits. Customers who buy the GS7 or GS7 Edge before March 18 will receive a Gear VR headset for free with a 6-game bundle, as well as a full year of Netflix. T-Mobile says the BOGO deal can be combined with several existing offers, such as covering the costs of switching from other carriers, and unlimited data for four lines for $150 per month. The Galaxy S7 costs $670 and the Galaxy S7 Edge costs $780. The GS7 is available for $0 down and $28 per month for 24 months, while the GS7 Edge requires a $60 down payment followed by $30 per month for 24 months.


AT&T Extends BOGO Offer to Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Mar 8, 2016, 3:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, which reach stores March 11, will be eligible for a buy one, get one promotion the carrier has been running since last month. Both phones must be purchased via an AT&T Next installment plan. The first phone can be a new line or an upgrade, but the second phone must be a new line purchased with an AT&T Next 24 plan (req's 30 payments). Both phones must be added to a qualified plan, such as Mobile Share Value, which starts at $70 for two lines. Customers will need to pay sales tax on the two phones at the time of purchase and may need to make several monthly payments on both before AT&T credits up to $650 for the second phone spread out over the 30 month AT&T Next 24 plan. Subscribers who leave AT&T before they've made the 30 payments will need to pay for the remaining balance of the phone. AT&T didn't say how long the BOGO offer will be available.


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