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Wireless Companies Agree to Support More Remote Wipe Tools

Friday, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The CTIA today announced that a number of member companies have agreed to take on additional measures to help prevent cellphone thefts. Following recommendations made by the FCC, wireless companies will make anti-theft tools available to all consumers that also respect consumer choice and privacy. All new phones made after July 2016 will "make readily available to the authorized user an option that allows the authorized user to enable or disable the anti-theft solution at any time that the smartphone is connected and is in the authorized user's possession." Beyond this baseline tool, consumers will have the option to use other, third-party solutions to locate, wipe, or reinstate their devices if they so wish. Companies that have agreed to this include Apple, Asurion; AT&T; BlackBerry; Google; HTC; Huawei; LG; Microsoft; Motorola; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; Verizon, and ZTE. In response, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, "CTIA members' ... enhanced voluntary commitment to adopt anti-theft features and educate consumers demonstrates their resolve in combatting it. I am hopeful that this new voluntary commitment will make a meaningful difference for consumer safety. As the enhanced commitment recognizes, these solutions work only if they are adopted widely. The FCC will remain vigilant in this area by pushing for further improvements to the theft-prevention toolbox, and also by monitoring closely whether the efforts of industry and others are producing meaningful results." Apple's iOS and Google's Android already contain features that let device owners find and protect their mobile devices. The FCC hopes allowing people to download and use the protective measure of their choice will help encourage consumers to make broader use of the tool.

Motorola Commits to Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Friday, 10:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola today voiced its support for Android 6.0 Marshmallow in a blog post and outlined some of the changes headed to its devices. First and foremost, Motorola will update the following handsets to Android 6.0 Marshmallow: 2015 Moto X Pure Edition, Style, and Play; 2014 Moto X Pure Edition in US, Latin America, and Europe: Moto G 3rd edition, 2nd edition, and 2nd edition with LTE; Droid Turbo, Moto Maxx, and Moto Turbo; and the Google Nexus 6. Motorola said it is in no hurry to deliver Android 6.0, however, and will do so only when everything is fully prepared. When Marshmallow does arrive, it will drop several Motorola-specific features. For example, the "Do Not Disturb" most in Android 6.0 is similar in functionality to Motorola's Moto Assist app. As such, Motorola will remove Moto Assist from handsets being updated to Marshmallow. Similarly, Android 6.0 adds new backup, reset, and data-transfer functions, so Motorola will pull Motorola Migrate and Moto Connect from its Marshmallow phones. "Both of these products were valuable in their time but the world has moved on and they no longer add enough value to justify taking up space in your device," said Motorola. The company said it will have more news to share in the weeks ahead.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Arrive 'Next Week'

Sep 29, 2015, 11:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 29, 2015, 12:51 PM

Google today said it will begin pushing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus devices during the week of Oct. 5. Existing handsets, such as the LG-made Nexus 5 and the Motorola Nexus 6, will be able to install the brand new operating system from Google. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will ship with Android 6.0 on board. Android 6.0 Marshmallow brings a number of new features to the platform, including Google Now On Tap. Google's improved voice assistant is more aware of context when users make requests, and will automatically offer up certain types of information. Google Now is also accessible via voice command even when the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are locked. Marshmallow adds fast scrolling and faster search, as well as new animations and new notification behaviors. Further, the app drawer will learn which apps people use throughout the day and offer suggestions each time they open the drawer. Android 6.0 introduces a new permission model, and allows people to remove more unwanted apps. Marshmallow was first detailed by Google in May. The company did not say exactly when it will be released.

Best Buy Selling Moto X Pure Edition

Sep 17, 2015, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Best Buy has added the Motorola Moto X Pure Edition to its selection of smartphones. Best Buy is offering the 16GB and 32GB variants in several different colors — including bamboo — for $399 to $475, depending on options. The Moto X Pure Edition is sold unlocked and is compatible with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless.

Hands on with the New Moto 360

Sep 2, 2015, 3:33 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 2, 2015, 3:45 PM

Motorola set the standard for Android Wear watches with the Moto 360. Now they're back with a refresh. It's very similar to the previous model, but with a new strap system that makes it look more like a traditional watch. Following the lead of Apple - and everyone else - it now comes in two sizes. How is it in person? Read on.

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Motorola Debuts Range of Moto 360 Watches

Sep 2, 2015, 2:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 2, 2015, 2:07 PM

Motorola today showed off several new versions of the Moto 360 smartwatch, which cater to both active and professional lifestyles. The Moto 360 now comes in two sizes: 42mm (1.37-inch screen) and 46mm (1.56-inch screen). The 360 by 360 pixel circular displays have a slim 3mm bezel and offer a full-round screen. Consumers can choose from several different finishes, including stainless steel, and a variety of quick-release straps. Motorola will allow people to build their own via Moto Maker. The wearables run Android Wear 1.3 and are compatible with both Android phones and the iPhone. They are powered by a Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. The larger size has a 400mAh battery and the smaller size has a 300mAh battery. Both sizes measure 11.6mm thick and include Bluetooth and WiFi. The Moto 360 Sport adds GPS for tracking workouts and a brighter screen for easier outdoor use. The Moto 360 can be preordered beginning today and ships in late September. The Moto 360 Sport will ship later this year. Prices range from $299.99 to $429.99.

Moto X Pure Edition Available for Preorder Wednesday

Sep 1, 2015, 6:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola's official Google+ page said that U.S. consumers will be able to order the Moto X Pure Edition beginning Wednesday, Sept. 2. The phone can be customized via Moto Maker and starts at $399.

Google Brings Android Wear to the iPhone

Aug 31, 2015, 10:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today released an Android Wear application for iOS devices that makes the iPhone compatible with Google-based smartwatches. The Android Wear app works with the iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6, and 6 Plus as long as the phones are running iOS 8.2 and up. Android Wear allows iPhone owners to check their information at a glance, such as calls, messages, and notifications; set and follow fitness goals, such as tracking steps or heart rate; and also receive timely information about flights, traffic, calendar appointments, and more. Android Wear for iOS supports "OK, Google" voice-based queries, as well. Google says the LG Watch Urbane is the first Android Wear smartwatch to support iPhone compatibility, and that all future devices, including those from Huawei (pictured above), Asus, and Motorola, will also support iOS. Many of these manufacturers are expected to debut new smartwatches this week at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

T-Mobile Needs Band 12 Phones to Also Support VoLTE, E911

Aug 28, 2015, 3:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has clarified its stance on Band 12 support in handsets that operate on its network. "We require phones using Band 12 on T-Mobile to support E911 and VoLTE in order to be certified on our network," said T-Mobile in a statement provided to Fierce Wireless. "We do this in the interest of our customers' overall experience and safety." T-Mobile does not, however, force phone makers to support Band 12. "Every OEM has the option to support VoLTE and E911 or not. It's their decision, though obviously, we hope that every OEM will choose to support these features and get certified on our network." The issue at hand is one of safety. Handsets that include Band 12 but don't also support VoLTE and E911 can run into roaming issues that may prevent 911 emergency calls from connecting properly. This would violate FCC regulations and might impact the outcome of emergency situations. The issue came to light when it was discovered the Moto E doesn't support VoLTE, E911, nor Band 12.

Motorola Updates Camera, Gallery Apps

Aug 28, 2015, 3:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola has in recent days updated its camera and gallery applications. The camera app brings QR and barcode scanning to some of Motorola's older handsets, such as the Moto X (2nd Gen.), Moto X Pro, DROID Turbo, and Moto Maxx/Turbo. The gallery app's primary new feature is the ability to move photo albums to microSD memory cards, which the newest Moto X and Moto G smartphones support. Both apps are free to download from the Google Play Store.

Moto G 3rd Gen. Reaches U.S. Cellular

Aug 28, 2015, 7:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular recently made the third-generation Moto G smartphone available from its web site. The carrier is charging $0 for those who sign a contract, $129 for those who prefer prepaid service, or will finance it for $8.99 per month under an installment plan. The Moto G has a 5-inch 720p screen, 13-megapixel camera, and support for LTE 4G. U.S. Cellular is only selling the black version. Consumers who want to customize the colors will need to order the phone through Motorola's Moto Maker web site.

Sprint Grows Direct 2 You Footprint By Six Cities

Aug 24, 2015, 10:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today expanded its Direct 2 You service to the metropolitan areas of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Seattle. The service is live in these cities and the surrounding areas. With Direct 2 You, a Sprint technician brings the store experience directly to the homes of customers who purchase a new phone. Customers still receive the same benefits as buying in stores, such as setting up a phone, transferring content, and device tutorials. Sprint's Direct 2 You service is offered free of charge. Sprint said more cities will be added throughout the year. It is already offered in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington, D.C. Sprint is also offering special promotions to Direct 2 You customers. Beginning today, people who complete a Direct 2 You appointment will receive a free gift, such as Motorola Bluetooth headphones or Harmon Kardon Bluetooth speaker. The promotion also includes a chance to win a cruise for two, or a paid-for trip to the Super Bowl next year. Every Direct 2 You customer will be entered to win a $250,000 cash prize if they post a picture of themselves with their Direct 2 You tech to Twitter or Instagram.

Motorola's Chicago Office to Lose 500 Jobs

Aug 14, 2015, 7:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola has revealed the depth of job cuts being made at its Chicago headquarters and they run quite deep. The firm will eliminate 500 positions, or about 25% of its staff, as its parent firm, Lenovo, restructures amidst weak sales. Motorola said the job cuts are "across all functions, affecting all departments." A spokesperson said, however, that Motorola "will maintain a substantial employee base there, as well as our labs and design facilities." Motorola said other job sites will see headcount reductions as well, but it did not provide specific details. Lenovo announced plans to trim its workforce by 3,500, or about 10%. Lenovo is focusing cuts on white collar jobs, and not those of its manufacturing facilities. Lenovo saw PC shipments drop about 9% in its most recent quarter, while smartphone shipments from Motorola dropped 31%. Lenovo said it will continue to rely on Motorola "to design, develop and manufacture smartphone products."

Lenovo to Slash 3,200 Jobs After Motorola Sales Slide

Aug 13, 2015, 6:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Lenovo today said it plans to reduce its headcount by as many as 3,200, or about 10%, as it looks to reduce expenses. The company reported earnings and said sales across its various business units dropped by 9% during the quarter. Lenovo's Motorola unit saw a significant drop in shipments, which plunged 31% to 5.9 million phones during the quarter. The company blamed the poor performance on competition in emerging markets. Even though Motorola's sales sank, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing expressed confidence in the division "I still believe mobile is a new business we must win. I still believe this acquisition was the right decision. Except Apple and Samsung, there is no third strong player. I believe that will be Lenovo." Motorola recently released the Moto G in the U.S., and plans to release the Moto X next month. Lenovo acquired Motorola from Google last year for about $2.9 billion.

Motorola Tweets Moto X to Arrive September 3

Aug 12, 2015, 12:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola took to its Twitter account today to tease the arrival of the Moto X Pure Edition. The company said the phone should land in the U.S. on Sept. 3. Pricing stats at $399.

TextNow Scores More Smartphones and Payment Locations

Aug 11, 2015, 2:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

TextNow today announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG Volt, two new additions to its roster of handsets. TextNow is selling the Galaxy S5 for $399 new or $299 refurbished. The LG Volt is just $13.99. Both handsets are more than a year old. The company said its phones, starting with the Moto G, are now available at all Fry's Electronics location. Moreover, TextNow will soon accept cash payments at more than 10,000 varied retail locations around the country, including Gates Petroleum, Sunoco, NMart, and Circle K stores, among others. TextNow Wireless offers all customers unlimited talk and text and up to 500MB of 4G data for $18.99 per month. TextNow runs on Sprint's cellular network but defaults to WiFi whenever possible. TextNow Wireless already offers a number of new and refurbished Sprint devices, including the LG Optimus F3, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Motorola to Issue Stagefright Fix to Most Phones

Aug 9, 2015, 1:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola has said it, too, will push a security patch to resolve the Stagefright vulnerability found on its Android smartphones. Motorola's newest phones, the Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and Moto G (3rd Gen) will have the patches installed in the factory. Motorola is actively building patches for the Moto X, G, and E (1st Gen, 2nd Gen); Moto X Pro; Moto Maxx/Turbo; and Droid Turbo and Droid Ultra/Mini/Maxx. Motorola will begin handing the patch to its carrier partners on August 10, but it will be up to carriers to deliver the final version of the patch to end users via over-the-air software updates. Google, Samsung, Alcatel OneTouch, and LG have all said they plan to issue Stagefright security patches in the near future.

Motorola Owes Microsoft $14.5 Million Over Patent Spat

Jul 31, 2015, 7:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

An appeals court has sided with Microsoft and upheld a 2013 verdict that says Motorola has to pay Microsoft for refusing to license standard-essential patents at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates. This particular case began in 2010, when Microsoft sued Motorola for failing to pay it patent-licensing fees for technology found in Motorola's Android smartphones. Motorola filed its own lawsuit in return, in which it sought some $4 billion to cover royalties for technology in Microsoft's Xbox and Windows devices. Even though Microsoft sued Motorola, Motorola was still required to license its own patents to Microsoft at fair rates. Two separate courts determined in 2012 and later 2013 that Motorola's $4 billion demand far exceeded what's considered fair and reasonable. Therefore, Motorola violated its agreement with Microsoft and Microsoft was thus awarded $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract. This week's decision, reached by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, verifies that Motorola must pay the damages.

Moto G to Come In CDMA and GSM Variants

Jul 28, 2015, 2:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola has revealed there will be at least two variants of the Moto G handset for the U.S. market. The first model, XT1540, is the GSM model that includes EDGE, HSPA+, and LTE. This model is compatible with the networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile. The second model, XT1548, is the CDMA model, though it also supports GSM, EDGE, HSPA+, and LTE for world roaming. Motorola specifically said the Moto G will be offered by Sprint Prepaid, U.S. Cellular, and Virgin Mobile. None of these carriers has yet voiced support publicly for the Moto G. The Moto G, now in its third generation, has a 5-inch 720p screen, Snapdragon 410 processor, 13-megapixel camera, and support for memory cards. It costs $179 and is available directly from

Hands On with the Moto G

Jul 28, 2015, 10:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 28, 2015, 1:42 PM

Motorola's mid-range wonder boasts a significant number of upgrades over last year's handset, making it a compelling option. Here are our first impression of this welterweight device.

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Hands On with the Moto X

Jul 28, 2015, 10:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola showed off three new handsets today, including the Moto X Style - or "Pure Edition" - for the U.S. market. This handset runs stock Android and offers some solid updates to last year's model in terms of design and features. Here are our initial thought about Motorola's latest.

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Moto G Is Waterproof and Can Be Customized Via Moto Maker

Jul 28, 2015, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 28, 2015, 2:25 PM

Motorola today announced the Moto G, its mid-range powerhouse. The phone has a 5-inch HD screen, 13-megapixel main camera, and 5-megapixel user-facing camera. The Moto G is water resistant and can sit in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The handset features a quad-core Qualcomm 410 processor and comes in several memory/storage configurations. Importantly, the Moto G has been upgraded with support for LTE 4G. The Moto G comes in black or white with a metallic frame. A variety of Motorola shells are available online, but it can also be customized via Moto Maker to be completely personalized. The 2015 Moto G goes on sale in select markets, including the US, beginning today. It costs $179 for the 8 GB model.

Moto X Play Boasts Better Battery Life

Jul 28, 2015, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 28, 2015, 8:34 AM

Motorola today showed off a variant of the Moto X called the Moto X Play, which indulges a 3,630mAh battery with Quick Charge technology. Motorola says the handset can last two days on a charge, and can gather 8 hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charging. The Moto X Plat has a 5.5-inch full HD screen, 21-megapixel camera, Qualcomm 610 processor, and 5-megapixel user-facing camera. It will be available in August. Pricing was not yet disclosed, but Motorola said it is not announcing U.S. availability at this time.

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Motorola Reveals the Moto X Style

Jul 28, 2015, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 28, 2015, 2:17 PM

Motorola today announced the Moto X Style, its flagship handset for 2015. The phone carries forward the same design from the last few years with a metallic frame and customizable rear panels, including silicon, wood, and leather. The Moto X Style has a 5.7-inch quad HD screen, 21-megapixel camera, and Quick Charging technology that Motorola claims is faster than competing devices. Other specs include 3 GB of RAM; support for memory cards; Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and WiFi; and water resistant innards. The Moto X Style will be sold in the U.S. as a "pure edition" handset, unlocked with support for worldwide LTE networks. It will ship with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. The Moto X Style will reach the U.S. in September. Pricing starts at $399 for the 16 GB model.

Liveblog of Motorola 2015 Event

Jul 28, 2015, 7:42 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 28, 2015, 1:42 PM

We're live from Motorola's big phone event today in NYC. We're expecting at least one new phone, if not two or three. A new Moto X and/or Moto G seems likely. Tune in for live updates as the happen on stage!

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Google Brings Spotlight Stories to iOS Devices

Jul 23, 2015, 12:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today offered its Spotlight Stories app to the iPhone and iPad. Google Spotlight Stories began life on the Motorola Moto X as a 360-degree animated story. The app includes 2D/3D animations that take advantage of the iPhone's sensors to allow users to interact with them. At the moment, the stories are view-only; people can't create their own. Google Spotlight Stories only contains a few stories at the moment, but the selection is expected to grow over time. It is free to download from the iTunes App Store. The app has been available to Android devices since May.

CTIA Says Smartphones Better Protected Against Theft

Jul 1, 2015, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Beginning today, most smartphones sold in the U.S. will include anti-theft security tools. July 1 marks the day by which phone makers and network operators agreed to implement free theft deterrents on smartphones. According to the CTIA, most of the industry has responded by placing remote lock/wipe capabilities on consumer devices. The addition of an activation lock on the Apple iPhone, for example, has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in major cities. The activation lock prevents a stolen device from being activated by another person, thus making it useless to thieves. Remote wipe features allow people to erase the personal data from their handset if lost/stolen to protect their identity. The major participants in today's action include Apple, AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and ZTE. "Today's fulfillment of the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is another example of the wireless industry proactively working together with policymakers and law enforcement to help protect consumers' smartphones in the event they are ever lost or stolen. We will continue to work with all interested parties to continue to deploy new technologies and tools to improve device theft-deterrence tools. We remind consumers to take a few minutes to use PINs, passwords, apps and other device features to protect their mobile devices and personal information." The industry was coerced into acting "voluntarily" when the FCC threatened to make such protective measures mandatory.

Verizon Says Droid Turbo Lollipop 5.1 Update Pushing Wednesday

Jun 30, 2015, 2:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said the Motorola Droid Turbo will be updated to Android 5.1 Lollipop beginning the afternoon of Wednesday, July 1. The update will be delivered in phases over a few weeks. Customers will be able to manually update their phones over the air if they wish. The update is free.

More GM Vehicles to Add Android Auto and CarPlay

Jun 23, 2015, 11:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

General Motors today committed to adding Android Auto and CarPlay to even more of its cars and trucks. The company is already bringing the smartphone tech to its Chevy, Corvette, and Cadillac brands. General Motors' Buick-branded vehicles will also have Android Auto and CarPlay beginning with select 2016 models. The technology connects a smartphone through Buick's IntelliLink system so drivers can access navigation, text messaging, contact lists, and entertainment apps via the car's in-dash system. The first cars to support Android Auto and CarPlay will be the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.

Motorola to Let People Test Customized Moto X Risk-Free

Jun 15, 2015, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola hopes a 30-day, risk-free trial will tempt people to check out the Moto X. The company is letting people customize their own Moto X via Moto Maker and test the phone for a month with no commitment. If they like the phone, they can keep it for $299 (after $50 rebate). The trial is for an unlocked device that would be used with a no-contract plan. People who dislike their custom-ordered phone will even be given a one-time do-over to design something different. Customers who test the Moto X and don't like it may ship it back free of charge. Motorola says there are no hidden fees. Motorola didn't say how long it will offer the trial.

Cadillac to Adopt CarPlay and Android Auto in 2016

Jun 9, 2015, 10:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cadillac today said it will add support for Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto in select 2016 model-year vehicles. Cadillac will adopt CarPlay in cars and trucks featuring its 8-inch in-dash unit first, with Android Auto to follow later in the year. Cadillac's announcement follows that of Chevrolet's, both of which are properties of General Motors. CarPlay and Android Auto bring a select number of features from smartphones to the in-dash control panel for easier and safer use by drivers.

Boost Mobile Scores Live Sports App

Jun 2, 2015, 11:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile today announced the launch of BoostTV. BoostTV is a video service that offers limited content for free. The video is streamed over Boost's network. Boost is also offering a premium $10 add-on called BoostTV Live Sports. The sports package provides access to a handful of extra channels, including AyM Sports, Azteca America, BeIN Sports, BeIN Sports en EspaƱol, Fightbox, Latin American Sports, and TyC. The package also provides access to live soccer matches, such as the upcoming Copa America. BoostTV is available to the HTC Desire, LG Tribute, Motorola E, and the Samsung Galaxy Prevail LTE, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy S6. Boost Mobile said more handsets will be supported over time. The BoostTV app itself is free to download from the Google Play Store. Sprint is offering the same Live Sports TV service to its regular, postpaid customers, too. It is available to most Android and iOS smartphones sold by Sprint.

Consumer Cellular Offering the Moto E for $100

May 27, 2015, 10:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Consumer Cellular today said it has added the Motorola Moto E with LTE to its lineup of Android smartphones. The Moto E features a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and a VGA front camera. The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon with 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, and includes support for memory cards up to 32 GB. The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. Consumer Cellular is selling the Moto E with LTE for $100. Consumer Cellular does not require contracts.

Motorola Says Original Moto X to See Lollipop 'In A Few Weeks'

May 11, 2015, 6:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 11, 2015, 6:54 PM

Motorola's Senior Director of Software Product Management, David Schuster, today said owners of the original Moto X should see Lollipop hit their devices in the next few weeks. Schuster said Motorola has faced challenges with its partners in getting the OS builds approved, but the company expects to start deploying in the U.S. and Latin America soon. Motorola earlier indicated the Moto X would jump from Android 4.4.4 KitKat directly to Android 5.1 Lollipop. Motorola will provide details about the exact timing closer to availability.

Motorola Told to Pay Fujifilm $10.2M for Patent Infringement

May 5, 2015, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola must pay Fujifilm $10.2 million for violating one of its imaging patents. Fujifilm sued Motorola in 2012 alleging the handset maker was violating four of its patents. The jury invalidated three of the patents, but agreed that Motorola used the fourth without permission. The patent pertains to converting color images to monochrome images. Fujifilm had sought as much as $40 million in damages and did not comment on the outcome of the trial. "We are pleased with the verdict related to three out of the four patents," said Motorola, "and are evaluating our options on the one patent on which we did not prevail." Lenovo purchased Motorola from Google last year.

TextNow Offering Unlimited Talk and Text, Plus 500MB for $19

Apr 30, 2015, 1:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.

Defense Mobile Sheds Beta Label, Mission Is Go

Apr 22, 2015, 3:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Defense Mobile, an MVNO that targets military personnel, is coming out of beta status today with more coverage and more devices in its arsenal. During its beta trial, Defense Mobile resold access to AT&T and Sprint's networks. Now, it offers Verizon, too, and is in talks with T-Mobile. The company's service is meant exclusively for members of the U.S. armed forces, their families, and veterans. Defense Mobile is supported by a 100% veteran-staffed Member Care organization and offers perks to active members of the military. Individual plans start at $30 per month and have names such as Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. Family plans start at $95 per month with names such a squad, platoon, and battalion. The handset selection varies from entry level phones such as the Motorola Moto G up to today's premium handsets such as the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. The company offers bonus services for military members, such as a banking application associated with a pre-paid MasterCard, an app that helps military members and their families find veteran benefits, and a free email service that's associated with their branch of the armed forces. The company sells devices and services directly from its web site, but hopes to reach 25,000 retail distribution points around the country by the end of the year.

Verizon's Note 3 Earns Lollipop Update Today

Apr 15, 2015, 9:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.

Sharp Develops 4K Smartphone Display Prototype

Apr 14, 2015, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.

Google Makes LTE Patents Available Through Via Licensing

Apr 9, 2015, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Via Licensing today said that Google has added its LTE patents to its broader pool of LTE patents. Via Licensing collects wireless patents from a broad range of companies with the intent of licensing them at fair and reasonable rates. Google is the latest to add its intellectual property to the pool, which already has patents from AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, ZTE, and others. Google gained ownership of some 17,000 patents when it acquired Motorola in 2012. Via Licensing says any patent holder is welcome to contribute patents to its growing collection.

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