Samsung says it will discontinue its Milk Music service in the U.S. on September 22. "We have made the strategic decision to invest in a partner model focused on seamlessly integrating the best music services available today into our family of Galaxy devices. We believe that working with partners will accelerate innovation, enhance device sales and provide amazing new experiences for our customers," said the company in a statement. Samsung built Milk Music using Slacker's library. The company created a unique, circular user interface for Milk and preloaded the app on its Android smartphones for several years. Samsung had a similar video service called Milk Video, but discontinued that service in November 2015. Samsung did not say what users of its Milk Music service can/should do with the app or their account once it is turned off. There are plenty of alternatives in the market, including Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music.
AT&T and dozens of other companies are escalating the war on robocalls with a new Strike Force aimed at disrupting spammers' ability to call and pester consumers. AT&T CEO Randal Stephenson says carriers, device makers, OS developers, network designers, regulators, and lawmakers will all need to work together to create a play book to tackle the problem. "In parallel with technological solutions, we need our regulatory and law enforcement agencies to go after the bad actors. Shutting down the bad guys is a necessary step, and a powerful example to others. Our goal isn't complicated: Stop unwanted robocalls. Easy to say. Hard to do," said Stephenson in remarks made at the FCC's first meeting of the Robocall Strike Force. Industry player are gathering today to discuss initial plans and are expected to report back with more solid short- and long-term plans on October 19. Some of the companies participating in the Strike Force include AT&T, Apple, Blackberry, Comcast, Ericsson, Google, LG, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.
The Samsung Galaxy Note7 reaches U.S. stores today and with it some interesting accessories and companion products from Samsung. The new Gear VR headset, which is compatible with the Note7 and other recent Galaxy phones, has a new look, new color, and expanded field of view. It's available for $100 at carrier stores, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, and Samsung. The Gear 360 camera (pictured), able to shoot 360-degree photos and video, will only be available online for $350. Samsung's Gear IconX wireless earbuds are available, too. These $200 headphones are fully wireless, have built-in memory, and can track workouts. The less expensive Samsung Level Active headphones are sweat proof and can control music/calls for $100. Last, the Samsung Connect auto provides an AT&T-backed in-car hotspot via the OBD II port. The Connect auto can also send alerts to the driver and improve driving safety/efficiency. AT&T will sell the Samsung Connect auto online and in stores. The Galaxy Note7 is Samsung's flagship phablet for the year. It has a 5.7-inch screen, 12-megapixel main camera, Snapdragon 820 processor, 64 GB of storage, and the S Pen stylus. The Note7 is available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
A planned update to the USB Type-C specification will give it more control over audio functions, paving the way for it to fully supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack on most phones. Speaking at the Intel Developers Forum, engineers Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail explained that the new USB audio standard lowers power usage through USB and defines how buttons on headphones can control music. The standard "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio," said Saunders. The 3.5mm headset jack is universally available on most consumer electronics, but is decades old. Dropping the jack will free up internal space, lowers the potential for interference, and negates the need for a digital-to-analog converter. Moreover, Saunders says the updated spec allows for software-based audio effects and signal processing that can, for example, cancel out nearby noise. Last, the updated USB-C spec improves support for video. Saunders says the new video capabilities will be good for working on a PC or watching a movie, but not necessarily for graphics-intensive gaming. USB-C is slowly gaining traction in smartphones. Samsung's Galaxy Note7 made the switch to USB-C, as did HTC 10, LG G5, and just-announced Huawei Honor 8. The connector is slim and reversible, and Type-C cables can push power in both directions.
Intel today said companies that design and build ARM-based processors will for the first time be able to use Intel's manufacturing facilities to make them. Intel will allow its Intel Custom Foundry customers to use its 10nm FinFET process for ARM cores and Cortex series processors. The move gives Intel a toehold in the mobile processor market after it gave up on its own mobile processors earlier this year. It also gives chipmakers an alternative to existing foundries, such as those operated by Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor. The ARM Artisan platform includes High Performance and High Density Logic Libraries, Memory Compilers, and POP IP for future ARM mobile cores. Intel said LG plans to "produce a world-class mobile platform based on Intel Custom Foundry's 10 nm design platform." LG joins existing Intel Custom Foundry customers Spreadtrum, Achronix, and Altera.
AT&T today shared information about several promotions associated with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone. AT&T is selling the phone for $29.34 per month (for 30 months) with an AT&T Next plan, or for $36.67 per month (for 24 months) with an AT&T Next Every Year plan. Customers who buy a Note7 will be eligible for up to $695 in credit towards the purchase of a second Note7 with a new line of service. The credits will be applied monthly for 30 months. The customer is responsible for the remaining $155 difference, when taking into account the Note7's $849 sale price. Alternately, customers can buy a Note7 and get a free Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch with a two-year agreement, or buy a Note7 and get a Galaxy Tab E for $0.99. AT&T will make the Note7 available for preorder beginning August 3. It will reach AT&T stores August 19.
Samsung's Galaxy Note7 is its most refined and most advanced smartphone yet. This glass-and-aluminum slab adds features such as an iris scanner and water resistance to the fabled phablet series from Samsung. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions.
Verizon Wireless today said customers who preorder the Samsung Galaxy Note7 or S7 Edge can snag a free Gear Fit2 fitness band or 256 GB memory card with their purchase. Verizon plans to sell other Note7-related accessories, such as the Gear VR, Gear 360 camera, and Gear IconX wireless headphones online and in stores beginning August 19. Verizon did not detail pricing information for its variant of the Note7.
Samsung today announced Samsung Pass, an identification tool that combines the iris scanner and fingerprint reader to verify identity. Samsung Pass will be able to replace passwords for select apps. The tool allows Note7 owners to protect folders and web sites, for example, making them inaccessible unless unlocked via the owner's iris scan. Further, Samsung is offering the tool to bank app makers so they can add iris-based security to their own apps. Six banks will support Samsung Pass at launch. Samsung Pass is included with the Galaxy Note7, which goes on sale August 19.
T-Mobile today said customers who buy the Samsung Galaxy Note7 will receive one of three thank you gifts. Customers can select a Gear Fit2, 256 GB microSD memory card, or a free year of Netflix — each of which has a value of about $100. T-Mobile plans to sell all three colors (black, silver, blue) of the Note7. The device costs $849. Customers can pay the full price, or make a down payment of $70 and then monthly payments of $32.50 for 24 months. T-Mobile will begin accepting preorders at 12:01am August 3.
Samsung today introduced a brand new version of its Gear VR headset alongside the Galaxy Note7 handset. The new Gear VR improves the field of view from 96 degrees to 101 degrees and supports USB Type-C. The revised Gear VR will ship with adapters to make it backward compatible with microUSB-equipped handsets. The new headset has thicker padding and longer straps to allow for a more comfortable fit. The touchpad has been refined and placed in a deeper recess, making it easier to find and use. The Gear VR includes a dedicated Oculus Store button, too, to help people find content. The Gear VR will be available with the Samsung Galaxy Note7 later this month.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy Note7, its premier smartphone for the year. The device is narrower than last year's model in order to make it easier to hold, and uses a sturdier aluminum frame with symmetric slabs of Gorilla Glass 5 on either side. The Note7's defining feature is the 5.7-inch Super AMOLED quad HD screen, which is twice as sensitive to pen input when compared to the Note 5. The S Pen stylus has been redesigned and now features a tip that is the same size as a standard ballpoint pen. The Note7's note-taking functions have been bundled together into a single application that opens when the pen is removed. People can use the Note7 to easily create GIFs by dragging the S Pen across (non-DRM) video as it plays. Many of the hardware elements were taken from the Galaxy S7. For example, the Note7 relies on a Snapdragon 820 processor (for the U.S. market) with 4 GB of RAM, and includes the same 12-megapixel main camera and 5-megapixel selfie camera as the S7. The Note7 will ship in one memory configuration: 64 GB with support for memory cards up to 256 GB. The phone includes a 3,500mAh battery and supports rapid charging and rapid wireless charging. It is certified IP68 for protection against water and dust. The Note7 is the first Samsung handset to make the jump to USB Type-C and it will will ship with an adapter (Type-C-to-micro) to help consumers. The phone includes both a fingerprint reader and iris scanner for biometric security. The Note7 ships with Android 6 Marshmallow and no firm commitment from Samsung about Android 7 Nougat. Samsung's new user interface is toned down, but adds the Edge UX found on Samsung's Edge-branded handsets. Samsung revised the camera UI, which now includes swiping gestures to change from mode to mode, or switch between the front/rear cameras. The Galaxy Note7 will be sold in black, silver, and blue in the U.S. Preorders start August 3, with the August 19 the expected ship date. Carriers will announced exact availability and pricing.
Republic Wireless today said it has added nine modern smartphones to its lineup of Android devices. The new phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge ($799), S7 ($699), J3 ($179), and S6 ($549); the Nexus 6P ($499) and 5X ($349); and the Motorola Moto X Pure Edition ($349), G4 ($199), and G4 Plus ($299). Republic customers can pay full price for the handsets, or elect to pay via monthly installments that range broadly from $11 to $48, based on the cost of the phone. Consumers who already own one of these unlocked handsets can pick up a Republic Wireless SIM card starting August 11. Republic's service plans start at $15 per month, which includes unlimited calling, texting, and WiFi data. Plans that include cellular data cost $20 per month for 1 GB, $30 for 2 GB, and $45 for 4 GB.
Verizon Wireless says families of four can get 16 GB of mobile data for $150 per month thanks to a new bonus data promotion. Verizon charges $70 per month for its 8 GB (or, L) plan. Families that subscribe to the L, XL, and XXL plans can score an extra 2 GB of data per line. The bonus data is only available when customers activate a new line or upgrade an existing phone. Verizon says the bonus data will be available to each line as long as it remains active on Verizon's network. Bonus data will not carry over month-to-month. The $150 monthly price includes the $70 data charge, plus $80 in line access fees for four smartphones. Taxes and handset payments are not included. Verizon says the bonus data promotion will be available for a limited time. Customers who activate new lines of service will be eligible to receive a Samsung Galaxy J3 V handset for free ($7 bill credit applied on a monthly basis for 24 months). Verizon will allow new customers up to five free J3 Vs per account.
AT&T is sending out the July 1 Android security patch to its variants of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones. Google made the security patch available earlier this month. It plugs a number of holes in the code, including some that could lead to remote code execution. In addition to the security update, the phones gain access to AT&T's WiFi Calling service. The update for the S7 and S7 Edge can be downloaded and installed over the air.
Samsung has sued Huawei in China for patent infringement. The Korean phone maker says several of Huawei's devices, including the Mate8 and Honor line, are violating six of its technology patents. Samsung is seeking $24 million in damages as well as a ban on the manufacture and sale of the devices in question. The lawsuit is a tit-for-tat response to a similar lawsuit filed by Huawei against Samsung earlier this year. Samsung said it attempted to resolve the matter through negotiation, but has been unable to strike a deal with Huawei. "It has regrettably become necessary to take legal action in order to defend our intellectual property," said Samsung. Tech firms often use patent-based lawsuits against rivals as a negotiation tactic.
Consumer Cellular recently added four phones to its roster of inexpensive devices, including the Alcatel Pop 3. The Pop 3 (pictured) has a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen, 1.1 GHz quad-core processor with 8 GB of storage, 5-megapixel camera, and FM radio. The phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and costs $100. Consumer Cellular also added the Samsung Galaxy J3 for $125, the ZTE Avid 828 (Avid Plus) for $70, and the Consumer Cellular 101 flip phone for $30.
AT&T is sending out the July 1 Android security patch to its variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone. Google made the security patch available earlier this month. It plugs a number of holes in the code, including some that could lead to remote code execution. The security update for the Note 5 can be downloaded and installed over the air.
AT&T today announced that its GoPhone prepaid customers can buy one eligible phone and receive a second for free. The buy one, get one deal goes into effect July 22 and includes phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Express Prime or LG Phoenix 2. The handsets must each cost at least $59.99 in order to be eligible for the buy one, get one deal. Customers must activate both devices on either the $45 or $60 monthly GoPhone plan. The promotion runs through September 22. GoPhone does not require credit checks or contracts.
Verizon Wireless is sending out the July 1 Android security patch to its variants of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge smartphones. Google made the security patch available earlier this month. The patch plugs a number of holes in the code, including some that could lead to remote code execution. These security updates can be downloaded and installed over the air. Verizon patched its versions of the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ earlier this week.
Android owners will soon be able to use their own mobile banking app — rather than Android Pay or Samsung Pay — to make tap-and-go payments in stores. Mastercard has expanded its Masterpass program to mobile devices so consumers can make contactless payments at various retailers. Mastercard first introduced Masterpass in 2014 to power in-app and online payments. Customer credit card data is stored in the cloud and tokenized for security, allowing people to make purchases with one click. Mastercard is extending Masterpass to its banking customers so those banks can add contactless payment capabilities to their own apps. Some of the first banks to support contactless payments include Bank of America, Capital One, Citi, Fifth Third Bank, KeyBank, People’s United Bank, and Virginia Credit Union. Mastercard says 17 banks in total plan to add mobile payments to their apps in the near future. (One glaring omission at launch is JPMorgan Chase, which has so far shunned Android Pay. Chase is working on its own mobile payment service that has yet to launch.) Contactless, Masterpass payments will be available at more than 5 million retail locations across 77 countries that accept contactless payments via NFC. In the U.S., BJ's Wholesale Club will be among the first to support the bank-based mobile payment tool, with JetBlue, Saks, Lord and Taylor, Subway, and The Cheesecake Factory to follow shortly. It will be up to the individual supporting banks, such as Citi, to add contactless payments to their mobile apps.
The FCC has approved an unannounced handset from Samsung that is most likely the Galaxy Note 7. The device, model name SM-N930U, is banded identically to Samsung's Galaxy S7 smartphone, which marks the N930U as a probable flagship or other high-end phone. The device supports LTE 4G in the various bands used by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, as well as the corresponding carrier bands for WCDMA/CDMA 3G. Other technical features confirmed by the FCC include Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and WiFi radios. The FCC did not post images, user manuals, or any other details regarding the Samsung N930U, nor do the documents refer to the device as the Note 7. Samsung has scheduled an event on August 2 in New York where it is expected to announce the Galaxy Note 7 in full. The timing of the N930U's FCC approval falls in line with a potential August launch.
T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are sending out the July 1 Android security patch to their variants of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ smartphones. Google made the security patch available last week. It plugs a number of holes in the code, including some that could lead to remote code execution. These security updates can be downloaded and installed over the air.
Nokia and Samsung have broadened an existing patent cross-licensing agreement to include more intellectual property. The companies ended patent litigation between the two in February with an initial cross-licensing agreement. Nokia and Samsung have built on that initial agreement to more fully take advantage of each company's offerings. Nokia and Samsung did not say what technologies the patents include, nor how much money is involved. Nokia did say, however, that the deal will push expected revenue from its patent-licensing business to more than $1 billion for the year. Nokia chiefly focuses on wireless networking infrastructure. Samsung operates a networking business, too, in addition to its consumer electronics, display, memory, and other component businesses.
T-Mobile is kicking off a new promotion that will let family plan subscribers score a free Samsung smartphone. The free phones are tied to specific service plans. Families who subscribe to T-Mobile's 6 GB Simple Choice plan pay $30 per month per line for service and can receive a free Samsung Galaxy On5 smartphone ($140 value). The $30 cost is applied to the first four members of the family, with additional lines costing $20 each per month. Similarly, families who subscribe to T-Mobile's 10 GB Simple Choice plan pay $40 per month per line for service and can receive a free Samsung Galaxy J7 smartphone ($240 value). The $40 cost is applied to the first four members of the family, with additional lines costing $30 each per month. In both cases, families can get up to 12 free phones. The price of the free phone is covered via monthly service credits over a period of two years. Once the two-year period is over, the customer owns the phone outright. Customers who cancel service before the two-year period is over will be responsible for the balance of the phone's cost. T-Mobile's back-to-school promotion begins July 13.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy S7 edge Olympic Games Limited Edition smartphone. The hardware is identical to the consumer version of the S7 edge, but the Olympic variant packs lots of content specific to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Samsung says the colors of the Olympic Rings will be featured widely throughout the user interface, such as the home/lock screens and notification bar. The device will also include Olympics-themed wallpapers. Samsung plans to give 12,500 of the devices to athletes along with the Gear IconX Bluetooth headphones. A limited number (only 2,016) of the Olympic-themed Galaxy S7 edge will be made available to consumers in Brazil, the United States, China, Germany, and Korea. Samsung said the Galaxy S7 edge Olympic Games Limited Edition will be available beginning July 18th, but it did not disclose pricing. The standard model costs $770.
Samsung today announced a range of Universal Flash Storage memory cards meant for today's intense video applications. The UFS spec has been used for embedded memory modules since 2015, but this is the first time UFS has appeared in removable memory cards. UFS is a generational leap faster than the eMMC standard still used by the majority of devices today. Samsung's new UFS cards have a read speed of 530Mbps, which is five times faster than that of microSD cards. Samsung says this is fast enough to read an entire HD movie in about 10 seconds. Write speeds reach 170Mbps, which is about twice the speed of today's top microSD cards. Samsung says the fast read/write speeds will be ideal for dSLR cameras, drones, 3D/VR cameras, and action cameras. In order for the cards to achieve this performance two sets of connectors are needed, which allow for simultaneous reading and writing thanks to separate, dedicated paths for each action. The cards are similar is size to microSD cards, but have a different shape. The shape and double connector requirements make the UFS cards incompatible with the today's microSD slots. Samsung hasn't said if or when the company might introduce UFS cards to its smartphones or tablets. Moreover, the industry at large has not publicly agreed to transition from microSD to UFS. Samsung's UFS cards will be available in 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB capacities. Pricing and availability were not disclosed.
Walmart today said Walmart Pay, its mobile payment service, is now available at all of its stores across the country — more than 4,600 locations. The service, first announced last year, competes with Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. It works with both Android and iOS smartphones. Rather than rely on NFC or MST for tap-and-go transactions, Walmart Pay involves the Walmart mobile app. Customers can add most any credit or debit card to the Walmart app for purchases. At checkout, users need to open the app and launch the camera. Using the camera, customers scan a code displayed at the register. This activates the transaction. The associate scans and bags the items and the final amount due is taken from the credit/debit card associated with the app. Customers will receive an electronic receipt that is saved in the app. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay all allow users to tap their phones on retail payment terminals to make purchases. Walmart has resisted supporting these competitive mobile payment services in favor of its own. The company says customers rate the experience highly and are using it increasingly.
MetroPCS today unrolled a handful of promotions that may appeal to customers with multiple lines. For example, people who port in their number to MetroPCS will receive $60 to spend on any smartphone that MetroPCS sells. The company says this means nine of its handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy On5, will effectively be free to switchers. New lines added to existing family plans can receive 5 GB of LTE data for $25 per month as long as one of the other lines has equal or more data. MetroPCS claims its new plan offerings can save Sprint, Boost, and Virgin Mobile customers up to $180 per year if they switch. The promotions go into effect on July 7.
H2O Wireless, an MVNO that operates on AT&T's network, has increased the data available on its prepaid service plans. The company offers plans that range from $30 to $60, all of which include unlimited talk and text in the US and unlimited text to more than 50 international destinations. The $30 plan includes 500 MB of 3G data and the $35 plan includes 500 MB of LTE data per month. The data improvements impact H2O's more costly plans. The $40 plan jumps from 1 GB to 3 GB, the $50 plan jumps from 2 GB to 4 GB, and the $60 plan jumps from 3 GB to 4.5 GB. The company offers a 10% discount on monthly plans when customers sign up for auto-pay, so the $60 plan, for example, would cost $54. H2O sells a variety of older Android handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, the original Moto X, and others. Customers may bring their own unlocked, compatible GSM device if they wish.
Verizon Wireless today said customers can trade in an old flagship smartphone for up to $300 off a new flagship smartphone. The promotion is limited to certain handsets. For example, only the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6, and S6 edge/edge+; HTC M9; Apple iPhone 6; and LG G4 and V10 are eligible to trade-in for $300. The phones must be in good working order and good cosmetic condition. Other phones traded in will receive a lesser amount to be determined by Verizon. The program also requires customers to activate a new line, upgrade, or switch to Verizon and then purchase a new device on a monthly payment plan. Customers can use the $300 toward the Apple iPhone 6S or 6S Plus; HTC 10; LG G5; Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge, and Note 5; and the Moto Droid Turbo 2 or Maxx 2 .(Customers interested in the Turbo 2 or Maxx 2 are allowed to trade-in phones with broken screens.) Verizon suggests customers perform the trade-in at Verizon's stores, where credit for the value of the trade will be applied immediately, but the company is also offering the promotion through its web site. New customers will receive the $300 via a gift card, while existing customers will be given an account credit. Verizon's didn't say how long the trade-in program will run.
NBC today said that it will provide virtual reality coverage of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, but only to the Samsung Gear VR headset. NBC plans to capture about 85 hours of virtual reality programming, including the opening and closing ceremonies, and select competitions. Some of the sports include men's basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing. NBC plans to create highlight packages of these sports, as well. NBC said the VR content will not be offered in real time, and will instead be delayed by about a day. The content will be made available through then NBC Sports app. Compatible smartphones include the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, Note 5, S7, and S7 Edge. A Gear VR headset is required, and interested consumers will need to authenticate their pay TV cable account before accessing the Olympics VR coverage.
Samsung today said U.S. consumers can buy unlocked variants of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The devices are identical to those sold by carriers, but are unlocked and can be used on any GSM/CDMA network in the U.S. and abroad. The unlocked S7 and S7 Edge support LTE in Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, and 41, making them highly compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Moreover, the devices ship without carrier apps and instead come with a clean build of Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Samsung's TouchWiz. The unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are available from Samsung.com, Amazon, Best Buy, Ebay, Sam's Club, and Target.com. The S7 costs $670 and the S7 Edge costs $770.
Verizon Wireless today announced the 4G LTE Network Extender for homes and small businesses. The small box provides LTE coverage in buildings up to about 7,500 square feet, including services such as HD Voice and high-speed data. Verizon says the 4G LTE Network Extender supports up to seven devices at a time, with an eighth channel reserved for emergency calls. The device, made by Samsung's networking business, is self-optimizing and can learn its surroundings to provide better coverage. Verizon says the box needs a wired broadband connection to function. Further, it requires broadband service with minimum speeds of 10Mbps down and 5Mbps up, and Verizon recommends broadband service with 20Mbps down and 10Mbps up for optimum performance. The device does not rebroadcast or boost local signal; instead, it uses the broadband connection as backhaul and creates its own LTE cell for connectivity. Users will be able to transition seamlessly between in-home LTE and Verizon's macro LTE network when stepping outside. The 4G LTE Network Extended goes on sale June 30 for $250.
One2Touch has a new keyboard case for Android phones called SlimType that uses NFC technology in a unique way to connect to a phone. Most keyboard cases have a battery or physical connector that adds bulk. The SlimType, however, draws power from the phone using NFC, and also uses NFC to communicate with the phone, eliminating the need for a Bluetooth radio. The standard SlimType model is no thicker than a typical leather flip case. The current model is optimized for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7, but can work with some other Android phones with NFC. A larger model adds a rigid kickstand. An even larger non-case model provides a full-size keyboard. The standard model is available now from Amazon for $40. Read on for our hands-on impressions and more about the clever technology behind it.
AT&T today began distributing the Android 6.0 Marshmallow system update to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5. The update includes the standard list of Marshmallow features, such as Now On Tap, Doze, and improved permissions. It also adds support for AT&T Video Calling. The update resolves bugs and security issues and smoothes out performance, as well. AT&T says the update is being pushed out over the air and should be downloaded via WiFi. It may take a few days to reach all users.
Verizon Wireless has begun distributing a security update to its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The phone is receiving the June security patch from Google, which resolves a number of vulnerabilities. Google published details of the June security patch earlier this month. It plugs 21 holes, of which a handful could have led to remote code execution. Verizon says the update also optimizes device performance and takes care of a few other bugs. The update will appear automatically, but may also be initiated manually from the phone. The update can be downloaded via WiFi or LTE. Verizon recently pushed the same update to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Verizon Wireless has added the Samsung Galaxy J3 to its lineup of inexpensive smartphones. The J3, which has been for sale from Boost Mobile and other carriers since early this year, has a 5-inch 720p screen, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 16 GB (postpaid) or 8 GB (prepaid) of storage, 5-megapixel main camera with flash, 2-megapixel front camera, and 2,600mAh battery. Notably, Verizon's version of the phone ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Earlier versions of the phone shipped with Lollipop. The phone costs $168 at full retail, which breaks down to $7 per month for 24 months. Verizon is also offering the phone for $40 with a two-year contract, or for $110 when purchased from Verizon's prepaid service. The Samsung Galaxy J3 is available online starting today. It will reach Verizon's stores on June 23.
Walmart today launched its mobile payment service, Walmart Pay, at 120 of its retail stores in Alabama. The service, announced late last year, works with Android and iOS smartphones. Rather than rely on NFC or MST for tap-and-go transactions, Walmart Pay involves the Walmart mobile app. Customers can add most any credit or debit card to the Walmart app for purchases. At checkout, users need to open the app and launch the camera. Using the camera, customers scan a code displayed at the register. This activates the transaction. The associate scans and bags the items and the final amount due is taken from the credit/debit card associated with the app. Customers will receive an electronic receipt that is saved in the app. Walmart initially expected to deploy the technology around the country by mid-year, but Alabama is the first statewide deployment so far. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay all allow users to tap their phones on retail payment terminals to make purchases. Walmart has resisted supporting these competitive mobile payment services in favor of its own. CurrentC, another mobile payment app developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange, was recently cancelled. Apple and Google have both outlined plans to expand their mobile payment services to the web in the months ahead.
Samsung today said it has agreed to acquire Joyent, a U.S.-based cloud services provider. Samsung will use Joyent's assets to support various products, including mobile devices, internet of things, and its own cloud-based software. Samsung's competitors, such as Apple and Microsoft, offer cloud services like iCloud and OneDrive to help tie together their respective ecosystems. Joyent will help Samsung fill that gap in its online services. Joyent will continue to operate as a standalone company and will retain its current client base. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.