HTC is pushing out a system update to AT&T's version of the One M9 that improves performance of the camera. In addition to the camera, the update also fixes bugs and resolves some overheating issues. The new build number is 1.32.502.31. HTC warned that the update will reboot the phone several times and may take up to 20 minutes to complete. HTC has already pushed a similar update to the Sprint and T-Mobile versions of the One M9.
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.
Google has begun pushing the Android 5.1 Lollipop update to several Play Edition smartphones, including the HTC One M8 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Android 5.1 makes a number of improvements to the devices' performance, and also adds several new features. Google tweaked the Quick Settings menu, added support for HD voice, improved security by blocking non-authorized device resets, and changed how users adjust notifications and alerts. Play Edition handsets, which are available directly from Google, are unlocked and run a native version of Android. They are entirely devoid of manufacturer and carrier user interface overlays. The Android 5.1 Lollipop update is free to install.
AT&T today made Android 5.0 Lollipop available to its variants of the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Lollipop adds priority mode for managing notifications, battery saving tools, and Smart Lock for protecting devices with nearby Bluetooth accessories, among many other features. Both HTC and Samsung have also revised their Sense and Touchwiz user interface overlays for the One and GS4, respectively. AT&T suggests users download the system updates via WiFi. The updates are free to install.
LG is slowly revealing aspects of its forthcoming flagship smartphone bit by bit. The G4, expected to arrive at an event later this month, will have LG's newest user interface called LG UX 4.0. The UI has a new design based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. According to LG, UX 4.0 "provides more optimized and intuitive convenience to each individual at every user level." One new feature is called Quick Shot, which lets users to take pictures by double-tapping the phone's rear key even while the display is off. The camera itself gains new functions, too, including a manual mode that gives users full control over the camera's settings and behaviors. LG updated its calendar app with a drag-and-drop scheduler and improved its Smart Bulletin tool with the ability to collect data across more apps. The UX also introduces LG's version of Google Now, called Smart Notice. LG says Smart Notice provides personalized notifications for weather, travel, and more by analyzing users' daily routines and habits. LG also posted a teaser video on its YouTube channel regarding the G4's camera. The camera will have an aperture of f/1.8, which means it can let in a little bit more light than most competing smartphone cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S6, for example, has an aperture of f/1.9 and the HTC One M9 has an aperture of f/2.2. Earlier this month LG revealed a new 5.5-inch quad HD display for the G4. Together, these hints provide a decent picture of what the LG G4 will offer. The LG G4 launch event is scheduled for April 28.
HTC today announced the One M8s, a handset that looks like the M8 but dials back the specs to help lower the price. The phone has the same unibody metal design and full HD 5-inch screen, but uses a Snapdragon 615 processor and changes up the camera sensors. The 615 has eight, 64-bit cores with four clocked at 1.7GHz and four clocked at 1.0GHz in a big.LITTLE configuration. The phone includes 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, and supports memory cards up to 128GB. The duo-camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and an aperture of f/2.0, while the user-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. The phone, which is being released in Europe, has limited support for LTE (bands 3, 5, 7, 8, 20), but includes Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, and WiFi. The One M8s features HTC's signature Boomsound stereo speakers, packs a handful of sensors, and includes a 2,840mAh battery. The phone ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop, but the older Sense 6.0 user interface overlay from HTC with BlinkFeed. The phone will be available in select markets in gray, silver or gold. Pricing is set at about $410.
Jonah Becker, HTC's VP of Industrial Design, announced he is departing the company. Becker joined One & Co., a design firm bought by HTC, 17 years ago. He succeeded Scott Croyle, who himself left HTC a year ago. "It's been an amazing journey with One & Co and HTC, but it's time for a new adventure," said Becker through his personal Twitter account. Of his departure HTC said, "We would like to thank Jonah for his work with HTC, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. He has been succeeded by Daniel Hundt, based in our San Francisco design office." Becker's departure comes just a week after HTC announced a change at the executive leadership level. Long-time CEO Peter Chou switched roles to run the company's Future Development Lab. Cher Wang, who helped found HTC, has assumed the role of CEO. HTC is on the cusp of releasing its 2015 flagship smartphone, the One M9, which Becker played a large role in designing.
Sprint today said it will begin selling the HTC One M9 both online and in stores on Friday, March 27. Sprint is offering the device for $0 down followed by 24 monthly lease payments of $20. Customers who want to upgrade their device after 12 months can pay $10 more per month. Sprint leases require customers to turn in their device at the end of the leasing period, but they'll be able to lease a new phone with $0 down. For a limited time, customers who buy the One M9 from Sprint will be able to purchase a Harmon Kardon speaker for $99 (savings of $50). Sprint said it is still willing to pay all of potential customers' costs if they switch to Sprint from a competing carrier.
Verizon Wireless today released pricing and availability details of its variant of the HTC One M9. Verizon is opening up pre-orders for the device on April 1. The phone will reach Verizon's retail stores on April 10. Verizon is selling the M9 for $199.99 with a two-year contract or for $25 per month for 24 months with a Verizon Edge plan. The One M9 will launch with Verizon's Advanced Calling 1.0 capabilities, which enables HD Voice and Video Calling to other compatible Verizon smartphones over LTE. Activating this feature also lets Verizon customers talk and surf the web at the same time.
AT&T and T-Mobile today followed up HTC's announcement concerning One M9 pricing and availability with their own. AT&T will begin accepting pre-orders for the M9 at 12:01 AM tonight and will sell the device in stores April 10. The device will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract or $708.99 at full retail. Customers looking to pay over time can get the One M9 for $23.64 per month with Next 24, $29.55 with Next 18, or $35.45 with Next 12. AT&T is selling the 32GB model in silver or gray. T-Mobile plans to begin accepting pre-orders for the M9 at 6:00 AM Pacific Time on March 27 and will sell it in stores April 10. T-Mobile is offering it for $0 down followed by $27.08 per month for 24 months. T-Mobile will also sell the device at the full retail cost of $649.92. T-Mobile's version of the device will have WiFi calling. Both AT&T and T-Mobile will ship the One M9 as customers place orders, which means they'll likely arrive before the April 10 in-store availability date.
HTC will make the One M9 available for purchase on its web site beginning Friday, March 27 for $649. Carrier and major retailer sales of the device will kick off on or about April 10. HTC will be offering an unlocked version of the One M9, which supports the LTE networks operated by AT&T and T-Mobile, in addition to major carrier models. The company is offering a 12-month, interest-free payment option for customers who'd rather pay for the device over time. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon plan to sell the phone and it will also be available from Amazon, Best Buy / Best Buy Mobile, Costco, and Target. The phone will be sold in gunmetal gray or two-tone gold/silver and in 32GB and 64GB models. The One M9 comes with Uh Oh protection, which will let owners get a free replacement device if theirs suffers a broken screen or water damage. The One M9 goes on sale via HTC's web site at 12:01AM Eastern Time. The phone features a 5-inch full HD screen, 20-megapixel main camera, Snapdragon 810 processor, BoomSound stereo speakers, and an all-aluminum chassis.
HTC today promoted Cher Wang, co-founder and chairman of HTC, to the CEO position. Wang is replacing long-time CEO Peter Chou, who is transitioning to a product development role. Wang has taken on more responsibility over the last two years as Chou focused more on creating devices. The company feels today's change is the next logical step in the progression it set in place several years ago. "We are seeing rapid changes in the industry, with the smartphone as our personal hub connecting us to a growing world of smart devices," said Wang. "We pioneered the smartphone industry; now we are applying that thinking to realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services." The company debuted the RE camera last year, partnered with Under Armour earlier this year, announced a wearable, and showed off a virtual reality headset. "As an entrepreneur at heart, I am excited to see so many new opportunities [and] to help shape the next stage of HTC's development," concluded Wang. HTC said Peter Chou will continue to help the company find new growth opportunities.
HTC today said the One M9 will begin shipping April 10. U.S. carriers haven't said when their individual variants will go on sale, but they should offer the phone soon after the April 10 launch.
HTC today announced Uh Oh Protection for the One M9, a program that will provide owners with a free replacement device if the M9 is damaged. Uh Oh Protection comes with the M9 automatically; customers won't need to sign up for it, but it is limited to the U.S. Under the terms of the program, HTC will provide a free replacement phone if the M9 suffers a broken screen, water damage, or if the customer chooses to change wireless network operators. The one-time replacement is available during the first 12 months of ownership. M9 owners who do not take advantage of Uh Oh Protection at the end of 12 months will receive a $100 credit towards the purchase of a future HTC One handset. Uh Oh Protection is an offshoot of the HTC Advantage program, in which HTC offered free screen replacements for the One M8, One mini, and One max. The HTC One M9 is expected to go on sale in the U.S. soon.
Verizon Wireless is now pushing Android 5.0 Lollipop to the HTC One M8. In addition to the new operating system, the update enables Band 4 roaming and improves the three-way calling feature. Owners can download and install the update over the air.
The Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and the HTC One M9 support the MirrorLink standard for connecting to cars. MirrorLink is a platform-agnostic tool that allows smartphones to push apps and content to in-dash consoles. It competes with Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay. With MirrorLink on board, the GS6, GS6 Edge, and One M9 will be able to connect to the infotainment systems of supported cars.
HTC’s flagship One phones are iconic and well-regarded. The already refined design has been refined further for 2015, representing a relatively modest update. While it looks very similar to last year’s M8 version, the new One M9 upgrades nearly everything. It packs in a kitchen sink worth of features, earning its flagship status easily. We take a look at what’s new in this hands-on preview.
HTC today announced the Grip fitness band in conjunction with Under Armour. The Grip is part of HTC's growing Re series of connected devices. The Grip is a rubber band with a curved white OLED display and GPS for tracking outdoor fitness activity. It links to Under Armour's UA Record app to log and analyze detailed workout data. The Grip also connects to phones to display notifications and control music. It includes a canned text message reply function, configurable from the phone app. The Grip works with both Android and iOS. It is available in three sizes and is rated IP57 for water resistance. It will be available in the U.S. this spring. HTC also announced the Vive, a high-end VR headset. As it must be tethered to a PC, it's HTC's first truly non-mobile product. HTC has partnered with Valve for content for the Vive.
HTC today announced the One M9, its latest flagship phone. It retains the 5-inch full-HD screen of last year's One, but upgrades most other features, including a 20-megapixel main camera with a sapphire lens and the ability to shoot 4K video. Downloadable camera plug-ins will include a RAW mode option. The front camera now uses an UltraPixel sensor, and the processor is an octa-core Snapdragon 810. Other specs include 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, a memory card slot, an IR port, and BoomSound dual front speakers. The battery is slightly larger. The design is similar to last year's One M8, including unibody metal construction with a curved back and fine brushed finish. The design has been tweaked with sharper rear corners, a smoother front, and a unique two-tone anodized finish in the silver/gold color option. It will also be available in a dark gunmetal grey, all gold, and pink. The One M9 starts shipping in Taiwan in mid-March, and will come to all four major U.S. carriers soon after.
We're live-blogging HTC's press conference in Barcelona at MWC 2015. Rumors abound of a new flagship One phone. Tune in to find out!
Apple was found guilty of infringing on three patents held by a company called Smartflash and must pay the firm $532.9 million. A federal jury in Texas reached the verdict Tuesday and said Apple violated the patents willfully. According to Smartflash, Apple's iTunes software uses its patented technology for storing and retrieving music, movies, and games. Apple was disappointed with the verdict and railed against Smartflash, which is a patent holding firm. "We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system," said Apple in a statement provided to Reuters. Smartflash has filed similar lawsuits against Google, HTC, and Samsung.
HTC has pushed out an update to its Zoe photo sharing application with several new features on board. The app has a new engine for editing photos with themes, effects, and transitions. It allows users to download and save their Zoes to their camera roll. The Discovery Feed has been revamped and now highlights popular local content. Last, the app adds support for Android 5.0 Lollipop, and the Nexus 6 phone and Nexus 9 tablet in particular. HTC Zoe is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Sprint today began delivering the Android 5.0 Lollipop system update to the HTC One (M7) and Samsung Galaxy S5. The One gained new lock screen tools, a larger view of recent apps, and a search function within the settings menu. In addition to Lollipop, the GS5 was given a new user interface for the VoWiFi application. Sprint also removed the Lumen Toolbar application. The Android operating system update is free to download over WiFi.
Under Armour today announced that it has purchased both Endomondo and MyFitnessPal for $475 million. MyFitnessPal had just finished acquiring Endomondo for $85 million last month. All three companies provide fitness and health tracking tools through smartphone apps, online communities, and wearables. Under Armour said the acquisition increases its footprint to 120 million users around the world and "advances [its] mission to create the ultimate digital fitness community." Last month, Under Armour released an API for hooking its fitness community into wearables and smartphones. HTC said it would bring Under Armour-compatible gear to market later this year. Endomondo will continue to operate out of Copenhagen, Denmark, and MyFitnessPal will continue to operate out of San Francisco. Under Armour, based in Baltimore, expects the deal to close during the first quarter.
HTC today warned owners of its handsets that it likely won't meet its self-imposed 90-day deadline to deliver Lollipop to existing handsets. Several years ago, HTC promised customers it would update its handsets to the latest version of Android within 90 days of that vesion's general release. According to HTC, however, things aren't going so smoothly with Android 5.0 Lollipop. "We've been working hard in the labs with Google and our carrier partners ever since the code release and are making great progress so far, but if you've been following the progress of this rollout you will know that Google has had to address several issues with this release," said HTC in a blog post. "We've been diligently working to fix some of them on our end and incorporating Google's fixes as quickly as possible, but despite everyone's best efforts some carrier versions of the HTC One (M8) and HTC One (M7) will not meet our 90 day goal, which is February 1st." HTC concluded by saying it would prefer to deliver the update correctly rather than quickly. It said it will continue to provide updates as more information about Lollipop rollouts become available.
AT&T today released a minor system update for the HTC One (M8). The software, which can be downloaded and installed over the air, updates the phone to Android 4.4.4 KitKat and makes a handful of improvements. For example, the software enables HD Voice, adds copy-and-paste the camera, and adds AT&T's usage manager application. The update improves security, Bluetooth, and battery performance, and updates the AT&T Ready2Go and Visual Voicemail services. The software update is free. AT&T recommends users download the update via WiFi.
Virgin Mobile today announced a new plan available exclusively to Walmart customers that includes sharable data without contracts. The plans are available to four specific phones for between two an four lines per account. The two-line plan costs $65 per month and includes unlimited talk and text, and 4GB of shareable data. The three-line plan costs $90 per month and boosts shared data to 8GB. The four-line plan costs $115 per month and includes 12GB of shared data. Users can manage their shared data with Virgin Mobile's account application. Top-ups costs $10 per 1GB. The plan includes parental controls and low-cost international options. Virgin is also offering an add-on that provides unlimited monthly access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pandora for $5 per month per line. Using these apps/services won't impact subscribers' monthly data allotments as long as they subscribe to the add-on plan. The four handsets capable of accessing the shared data service are the HTC Desire 510, LG Tribute, LG Volt, and Samsung Galaxy Core Prime. More devices will be compatible with the plan by the end of February. Virgin's new no-contract shared data plans will be available beginning Jan. 17. Last, Virgin announced two revised single-line plans. For $35 per month, Virgin customers get 300 voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and up to 2.5GB of high-speed of data. For $40 per month, users get unlimited voice and messaging, and up to 2.5GB of high-speed data.
HTC today confirmed it has made Android 5.0 Lollipop available to both the unlocked and developer editions of the One (M8) handset. In addition to all the new features added by Lollipop, the update makes changes to HTC's Sense 6 user interface. For example, the privacy features of the lock screen and notifications have been updated, the recent apps panel now supports multiple pages, and the search tool adds new functions. HTC said the system update should begin to roll out tonight.
HTC today announced the addition of live YouTube streaming to its RE camera. The new feature, available through a software update, will permit users to capture live video and broadcast it directly to YouTube. Users can share the live video link with others via SMS so they can watch the feed remotely. HTC envisions this feature being useful for families who want to share specific events with far-flung members. YouTube will automatically save the streamed video online once the live feed is completed. The video is fed from the RE camera to the smartphone via WiFi Direct, and then to YouTube via the smartphone's data connection. HTC said the updated Android RE camera app will go live in the Play Store on Jan. 9, but won't be available to iOS until later in the first quarter.
HTC plans to broaden the scope of its business during the course of 2015 to include more connected devices across its portfolio. HTC pointed to the recent release of the RE camera and its partnership with Under Armour as examples spearheading its new efforts. The Connected Products Business Unit will operate separately from -- but in parallel with -- HTC's existing smartphone business. The idea isn't to build accessories to help HTC sell more phones, or jump into existing markets with me-too hardware; instead, HTC wants to meaningfully create new products that solve consumer pain points. The Connected Products business has four main pillars: Connected Life, Connected Self, Connected Entertainment, and Connected Home. The Life category will include imaging products such as the RE. The Self category will include health and fitness products. The Entertainment product will include a variety of items. The Connected Home category will include items such as appliances and home security. HTC said it won't pursue items such as connected thermostats or media hubs. HTC is committed to bringing to market at least one product from each of these four categories by the end of the year. HTC is confident it can relaunch itself as a consumer electronics company and not just exist as a smartphone company. "Want people to think 'HTC makes great stuff, not just great smartphones,'" said the company. HTC said it will have more details to share regarding its Connected Products business later this year.
Monster claims it was duped by Beats Electronics into giving away millions of dollars worth of intellectual property. Monster filed a lawsuit against Beats, its co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, and HTC for conducting a sham transaction. Monster claims it created the Beats by Dr. Dre line of headphones and used Iovine and Dre only for promotional purposes. Iovine and Dre did not front any money in developing the headphones, which became very popular under the Beats brand after their 2008 debut. Monster's CEO personally helped design the headphones. Later, Beats forged a deal with HTC, which paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company. This triggered a clause in the contract between Monster and Beats that forced Monster to hand over its intellectual property regarding the headphones. The financial relationship between HTC and Beats was eventually dissolved. Monster's CEO, who was promised there was no "liquidity event" in Beats' immediate future, sold off most of his shares of Beats. Several months later Beats turned around and sold itself to Apple for $3.2 billion. Monster's CEO alleges his shares would have netted him $100 million personally as part of the sale. The cost to Monster was much greater, though it didn't place a dollar value on its losses. None of the parties involved provided comment on the lawsuit.
Under Armour today announced UA Record, a health and fitness app for Android and iOS devices that allows users to monitor and share their fitness data and goals. Smartphone owners can track motion and GPS activity, view analysis from individual workouts (steps, sleep, weight), as well as see a snapshot of overall progress towards specific goals. UA Record lets people invite up to 20 friends to health and fitness challenges, and even allows people to share videos, photos, workout stories, and nutrition guides. As part of the announcement, Under Armour mentioned that third-party hardware makers can support UA Record through the Under Armour Connected Fitness API/SDK platform. HTC is among the first smartphone vendors to voice support for the platform and it said it has a series of UA Record-compatible products in the pipeline, which will debut later this year. Samsung has worked with Under Armour in the past (notably with the Galaxy S5 Sport), but it has yet to say it will adopt UA's Connected Fitness platform. The Android and iOS apps are free to download from the Play Store and App Store, respectively, beginning today.
Volkswagen today took the diplomatic route with respect to enabling smartphone connectivity in its cars. Beginning with select models later this year, Volkswagen's second generation modular infotainment platform will support Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay platforms, in addition to the platform-agnostic MirrorLink spec. The company said Android Auto will support devices from the likes of Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony, while CarPlay will support Apple's iPhone. The services will allow smartphone owners to access their device content, apps, and services through the infotainment console of their Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Golf will be the first model to support these connectivity platforms.
Rockstar Consortium, a patent-holding company headed by Apple, has agreed to sell more than 4,000 mobile patents for about $900 million. Apple and partners Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony paid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents from Nortel four years ago in order to help protect against litigation. The companies are selling two-thirds of the patents to RPX Corp., which is another patent-focused company that protects companies from lawsuits. RPX plans to license the patent portfolio to a syndicate of 30 technology companies, including Google and Cisco, according to the Wall Street Journal. The syndicate members contributed the bulk of the $900 million in order to purchase the patents. In addition to the patent sale, Rockstar will settle patent-related lawsuits it has filed against Android device makers, including Samsung, Huawei, HTC, and LG. Terms of those settlements were not disclosed. Rockstar Consortium will hold onto about 2,000 of the old Nortel patents, which the Journal described as the "most valuable" of the bunch.
Microsoft recently made a beta app available that permits Windows Phone users to control their devices without touching them. The new Lumia Gestures Beta app lets users: answer a call by picking up their phone and putting it to their ear; mute their mic during a call by placing the phone on a flat surface with the display facing down; put the call on speaker by placing the phone on a flat surface with the display facing up; and silence incoming calls by flipping the phone display down. Some of these gestures have been available to devices from other OEMs, such as HTC, for more than a year. Microsoft didn't say if or when they will be added to Windows Phone handsets on a permanent basis.
Google today began pushing Android 5.0.1 Lollipop to the HTC One M7 and M8 Google Play Editions. The update may take up to two weeks to reach most handsets over the air, but users may also download and manually install the updates if they wish. Manually installing the updates requires some coding know-how and is not recommended for casual users. Google is already pushing Lollipop to the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition. Android 5.0 offers a brand new design, revamped notifications, and many other new features. Google Play Edition handsets are sold directly by Google and use stock Android rather than the phone maker's user interface skin.
Sprint reaffirmed its commitment to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform today after the HTC 8XT vanished from its web site. The 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo are the only Windows Phones Sprint has sold this year. Sprint said the phones are still available at a limited number of retail stores, but are no longer listed online. Sprint has not been Windows Phones' strongest supporter, but the carrier isn't ready to give up on Microsoft's mobile platform. "We do expect to bring new Windows Phone devices to our customers in the near future, and Sprint is committed to offering a variety of operating systems to our customers," said Sprint in an email to Phone Scoop. Sprint didn't say which Windows devices it will sell, nor when they might reach stores.
VSCO Cam, a popular third-party camera application for Android and iOS devices, updated both of its mobile apps today. The camera gains a number of new features through the update, such as the ability to sync images across devices, side-by-side filter comparisons, and a web uploader tool. The app also gains a new user interface and claims to take better pictures. The Android version of VSCO Cam is notable in that it makes use of APIs from HTC so it can support separate focus and exposure points. VSCO Cam is available in the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
T-Mobile has begun selling the HTC One (M8) for Windows smartphone on its web site. T-Mobile is offering the device for $0 down with monthly payments of $24.40, or for $585.60 at full retail. The phone recently reached AT&T and it is already sold by Verizon.
AT&T today revealed availability and pricing details for the HTC One (M8) for Windows. The device, which is already being sold by Verizon Wireless, replaces the Android operating system with Windows Phone 8.1 but is otherwise identical. It has a 4-Ultrapixel camera, quad-core processor, 1080p HD display, and all-aluminum design. The device will be available online and in stores beginning November 7. AT&T is asking for $670 at full retail, $200 with a two-year contract, $33.60 per month with AT&T Next 12, or $27.92 per month with AT&T Next 18.