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printed February 1, 2015
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HTC Says Lollipop Rollout Going Slower Than Hoped

Friday, 6:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Friday, 6:16 PM

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.


Minor Update Bumps AT&T's HTC One to Android 4.4.4

Jan 19, 2015, 5:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 Offering No-Contract Shared Data Plans

Jan 16, 2015, 10:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 16, 2015, 10:14 AM

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.


Unlocked and Developer Eds. of HTC One M8 Earn Lollipop

Jan 13, 2015, 12:53 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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's RE Camera Can Now Broadcast Direct to YouTube

Jan 8, 2015, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 to Pursue Array of Connected Devices

Jan 7, 2015, 6:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.

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Monster Sues Beats Over Alleged Fraud

Jan 7, 2015, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.


HTC to Support Under Armour's UA Record App

Jan 6, 2015, 12:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 6, 2015, 12:30 PM

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 Signs Up for Android Auto and CarPlay

Jan 5, 2015, 7:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.


Apple's Patent Consortium to Sell 4,000 Patents for $900M

Dec 23, 2014, 10:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 Testing New Gestures for Windows Phone

Dec 15, 2014, 8:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.


HTC One M7 and M8 Google Play Editions Earn Lollipop

Dec 5, 2014, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 Says New Windows Phones On the Way

Dec 4, 2014, 7:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 Adds Support for HTC's Camera APIs

Nov 13, 2014, 5:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 13, 2014, 10:24 PM

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.


HTC's One for Windows Reaches T-Mobile

Nov 10, 2014, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.


HTC's One for Windows Also Hits AT&T Nov. 7

Nov 3, 2014, 10:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.


AT&T to Sell HTC Desire Eye and RE Camera Nov. 7

Nov 3, 2014, 9:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced that it will begin selling the HTC Desire Eye on November 7. HTC announced the Eye earlier this year, which features a 13-megapixel user-facing camera for the best selfies possible. The device will cost $550 at full retail, $150 with a two-year agreement, $27.50 per month with AT&T Next 12, or $22.92 with AT&T Next 18. AT&T also said it will offer the HTC RE camera. Preorders begin November 7 and it will reach all stores November 21. The RE camera costs $150 when purchased with the Desire Eye, or $200 by itself.


Madstar Mobile Latest Sprint MVNO Looking to Disrupt

Oct 31, 2014, 7:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Madstar Mobile today announced itself as "the newest national wireless carrier." The MVNO resells access to Sprint's 3G/4G networks and claims to offer the benefits of postpaid and prepaid services at the same time. It bills for service on a postpaid basis, but it doesn't require credit checks, deposits, or contracts. Madstar says customers can cancel their service at any time with no fear of ETFs. The company offers a range of feature phones, smartphones, and access points. Customers can choose to pay full price for their phones or finance them with monthly payments. For example, the HTC One (M8) is available for $665 or as low as $29 per month on an installment plan. Other handsets in Madstar's roster include the Apple iPhone 5, Google Nexus 5, Kyocera Kona, and the Samsung Galaxy S5. Alternately, customers can bring their own compatible device and port their existing wireless number if they wish. The least expensive service plan costs $22 per month and includes 250 voice minutes, 250 messages, and pay-as-you-go data. Plan pricing jumps by $11 increments, with the most expensive option topping out at $88 per month. It includes unlimited voice minutes, messaging, HD Voice, and 2GB of data "Our goal is to provide subscribers with a cost effective, convenient and reliable wireless service using the device of their choice,” said David Pearsall, Madstar Mobile's founder & CEO. "Wireless devices and service have become a necessity, not a luxury and should be affordable to everyone without the need to prepay now for the right to service later." The company is based in New Milford, Conn.


T-Mobile Pushing Eye Experience to HTC One (M8)

Oct 21, 2014, 7:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today made a system update available to the HTC One (M8) that adds the Eye Experience software. The Eye Experience includes new camera features, such as split camera, crop me in, and improved face tracking. These features are central to the Desire Eye handset, which has an 8-megapixel user-facing camera. The Desire Eye is not yet for sale, but T-mobile's HTC One customers can enjoy the camera tools today after installing the update.


Google Shows Off Nexus 6 Smartphone, Nexus 9 Tablet

Oct 15, 2014, 11:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 15, 2014, 11:28 AM

Google today announced Android 5.0 Lollipop and with it the first few devices to run the new operating system, the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9. The Nexus 6 is a large-screened smartphone made by Motorola. It has an aluminum frame and a 6-inch quad HD display with a 13-megapixel main camera. The camera includes optical image stabilization and HDR+ for improved low-light shots. The device has stereo-speakers with high-fidelity sound and comes with a turbo charger for fast charging. Google claims the device can get up to six hours of battery time after plugging it in for just 15 minutes. The Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order in late October and in stores in November. Google will sell an unlocked version through the Play Store, and the Nexus 6 will also be sold by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. The device costs $649 at full retail, which is $200 more than the Nexus 5. The Nexus 9 tablet is made by HTC and features an 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 screen with a brushed aluminum design. It is run by a dual-core Tegra K1 64-bit processor with each core clocked at 2.3GHz. Other features include an 8.0-/1.6-megapixel camera configuration; BoomSound speakers; dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and LTE; and a 6,700mAh battery. The Nexus 9 will be available for pre-order on October 17 and in stores starting November 3. The Wi-Fi model starts at $399.


Hands On with the HTC Desire EYE

Oct 8, 2014, 3:45 PM   by Rich Brome

HTC today announced the Desire EYE. Staring you in the face is a giant 13-megapixel selfie camera, but the phone is interesting for a few other reasons. It's an unusually high-end phone for the Desire series, and also a big push into the U.S. market for the Desire brand. It's also waterproof and sports an evolution of HTC's design language. It's a major phone for the company. We took it for a spin; read on for our first impressions.

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HTC RE is an Action Cam for Everyone

Oct 8, 2014, 3:36 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 8, 2014, 3:45 PM

HTC today announce the RE Camera, a small standalone camera device that connects to any Android or iOS device. Roughly the size and shape of an inhaler, the waterproof body sports an ultra-simple interface with a capture button you press to snap a still, and hold down to record video. It turns on automatically when you touch the body. The 16-megapixel Sony Exmor sensor is paired with an ultra-wide 146-degree lens that captures practically everything in front of it. It also records 1080p HD video, optionally in slow motion via a small second button. It charges via micro-USB and supports USB mass storage for easy file transfer. It also has a microSD slot and comes with an 8 GB memory card. It mounts to any standard camera tripod. It pairs with the smartphone app via Wi-Fi Direct. The app can browse and/or download photos and videos. It's also used to configure various settings, can be used as a remote live viewfinder, and controls a highly configurable time-lapse mode. It also includes one-touch correction for the "fisheye effect" from the wide-angle lens. Available accessories include a bike mount, lanyard, and deep underwater case. A future update will enable live broadcasting via YouTube. Available colors include white, teal, navy, and coral. It will go on sale at Best Buy by the end of October for $199.

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HTC Relaunches Zoe as Social Network

Oct 8, 2014, 3:25 PM   by Rich Brome

HTC today announced that its new Zoe app and service has exited beta and is being launched as a revamped, cross-platform social network. The new Zoe app will be available for both Android and iOS, and combines the Zoe Highlight Video functionality with a social network much like Instagram or Vine. It also lets users remix and add to friends' content. In beta, the app required at least 8 media items (photo or video) in order to make a 30-second auto-edited video clip. The new version 1.0 can make videos as short as seven seconds using as few media as you like, even just one photo. (It still supports using up to 16 media, and outputting videos up to 30 seconds.) It also includes a revamped tool to find Facebook friends who are using Zoe, and can post Zoes to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Like Instagram, Vine, and Twitter, it lets you follow friends and be followed, and the app centers on a scrolling feed of content posted by people you follow. The app automatically mixes content into a creative video montage, with various options to customize music and timing. It's available for Android 4.3 and higher starting today, and iOS 7 and higher starting later this fall.

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HTC Desire EYE is a High-End Selfie Phone

Oct 8, 2014, 3:15 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 8, 2014, 3:45 PM

HTC today announced the Desire EYE, a phone with full 13-megapixel cameras on both the front and back, and also HTC's most high-end Desire phone to date. Both cameras have warm dual-LED flashes. New EYE software features enhance the camera with several new selfie modes, enhancements that HTC will push to existing models as well. The Desire EYE's other high-end specs include a Snapdragon 801 processor and 5.2-inch, full-HD display. The two-tone unibody plastic shell has a smooth matte finish and comes in either white/red and navy/blue. The Desire EYE is waterproof up to 1 meter, for 30 minutes. The headset and micro-USB jacks are open, while the SIM and memory cards fit into trays with rubber gaskets. The body includes a dedicated camera button and HTC BoomSound stereo speakers hidden in slots at the edge of the display. On the software side, the camera software can automatically capture selfies when the user smiles or simply holds still. It also responds to voice commands to snap photos and videos. A dual-camera mode lets users snap using both the front and back camera in one photo, either at the same time or one and then the other, to get better angles. Another mode will automatically cut out the selfie background and insert your face into the scene in front of you. New video conferencing features track and crop up to four faces at once or allow screen-sharing. These work at a low driver level to work with most third-party software. Most of the new imaging features (the "HTC EYE Experience") will be added to most existing One models and plus Desire 816 via software update. The Desire EYE will initially be exclusive to AT&T in the U.S. Exact pricing and timing was not announced.

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HTC Loses Executive to Amazon

Oct 8, 2014, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Mike Woodward, who since last year has served as HTC's president of global emerging devices, has left the company for a position at Amazon.com. Woodward confirmed his departure to Bloomberg, and said he'd left HTC at some point in the past 45 days. Woodward started at HTC in 2012 as the head of the company's North American business. A mid-2013 reorganization redefined his role in the company. Woodward didn't say why he left HTC, and neither Amazon nor HTC offered comment on the change.


Verizon to Sell HTC Desire 612 Beginning Oct. 9

Oct 7, 2014, 12:36 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the pending availability of the HTC Desire 612. The 612 is sold as the 610 by other carriers. The 612 is an affordable Android phone with a 4.7-inch display, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 1.3-megapixel front camera, 4G LTE, and a memory card slot. It sports a clean design inspired by the HTC One, but in high-quality plastic. Like the One, it features BoomSound dual front speakers and Zoe video functions. Verizon is offering the phone for free with a new two-year contract and for low monthly fees via Verizon Edge. The company also noted that customers who upgrade their line to a More Everything Plan will receive an extra 1GB of data per month for 24 months.


Sprint, Boost, and Virgin to Sell the HTC Desire 510

Sep 16, 2014, 9:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 16, 2014, 3:55 PM

Sprint today announced it and its prepaid brands will all soon offer the HTC Desire 510. HTC announced the 510 last month. It is an entry-level handset with LTE 4G on board. It features a 4.7-inch display, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor with 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of built-in storage. The main camera captures 5-megapixel images, and the user-facing camera captures VGA images. Connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and DLNA for sharing media. The 510 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and includes HTC Sense and Blinkfeed. Sprint plans to sell the device with its postpaid service. It will reach Sprint stores on September 19. It will cost $9 per month with Sprint Easy Pay. The full retail price is $216. Sprint didn't spell out the contract price. Boost Mobile will begin selling the Desire 510 on September 22 for $100, and Virgin Mobile will begin selling it on September 23 for $100. Neither Boost nor Virgin Mobile requires contracts. The Desire 510 is also being sold by Cricket Wireless.


Google Releases Trio of Android One Phones in India

Sep 15, 2014, 7:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google and its partners today revealed the first three Android One handsets. Google initially spoke about Android One in June. The idea behind Android One is to bring low-cost handsets to the largest-possible populations around the world. To that end, Google worked with hardware makers, component suppliers, and wireless network operators to develop inexpensive smartphones for India. The first three devices are the Karbonn Sparkle V, the Micromax Canvas A1, and the Spice Dream UNO. The phones include front and rear cameras, large touch screens, MediaTek processors, dual SIM card slots, memory card slots, FM radios, and removable batteries. All three phones are being sold for about $105. According to Google, the devices ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, but will be among the first to receive Android L later this year. Google, rather than the local network operators, will provide all the system updates for these devices. Google said it has signed more manufactures to the Android One project, including Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, Asus, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm. Google plans to expand the Android One program to Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka later this year, with more to follow throughout 2015. The main goal is to connect as many people as possible - more than 5 billion - to the internet.


HTC Desire 610 On Its Way to Big Red, According to FCC

Sep 12, 2014, 11:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Documents seen on the FCC web site suggest that Verizon Wireless will soon have its own version of the HTC Desire 610. Based on the model number (OP90300), SKU (HTC331ZLVW), and spectrum support, a newly approved phone made by HTC is earmarked for Big Red. The 610 is an affordable Android phone with a 4.7-inch display, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 8-megapixel main camera, front camera, 4G LTE, and a memory card slot. It sports a clean design inspired by the HTC One, but in high-quality plastic. Like the One, it features BoomSound dual front speakers and Zoe video functions. HTC announced the Desire 610 earlier this year, and it is already being sold by AT&T.


T-Mobile Expands Wi-Fi Calling, Partners with GoGo

Sep 10, 2014, 3:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 17, 2014, 7:04 AM

T-Mobile today said it will make Wi-Fi calling available to all its postpaid customers for free. The move, announced at an event in San Francisco, is meant to help provide improved voice coverage in spaces where T-Mobile's network doesn't reach. Wi-Fi calls can be made from any open network. Even so, T-Mobile also debuted the T-Mobile Personal Cell Spot. This Wi-Fi hotspot, made by Asus, requires a $25 deposit and works with existing in-home internet service. It will permit T-Mobile customers to experience high-quality Wi-Fi calls when at home. It prioritizes voice functionality over data functionality. New phones sold by T-Mobile (including the iPhone 6) will have this new functionality built in from the get-go, while older devices will receive an update to gain the new Wi-Fi calling features. The Personal Cell Spot will remain private; only those with the Wi-Fi password will be able to use it for calls and messaging. The Wi-Fi calling feature is free to use for all customers. T-Mobile offered a similar service back in 2007, called Hotspot@Home, but discontinued it in 2010. T-Mobile also announced a partnership with GoGo that will let its customers send and receive SMS/MMS messages from GoGo-equipped airplanes, as well as receive visual voicemail. The in-flight messaging service goes live September 17 and is free to all T-Mobile customers. The service will work with select phones at launch, including Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, HTC One, and LG G3 among others. More will be added over time.

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Hands-On: HTC Desire 510 for Cricket Wireless

Sep 10, 2014, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket today committed to selling the HTC Desire 510 in the U.S. This entry-level smartphone from HTC offers the company's best features in an affordable package. Here are our first thoughts.

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Cricket to Sell HTC Desire 510 for $150

Sep 10, 2014, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said it will offer the HTC Desire 510 to customers beginning September 19. The handset will cost $150 and is compatible with Cricket's array of prepaid service plans. HTC announced the 510 last month. It is an entry-level handset with LTE 4G on board. It features a 4.7-inch display, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor with 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of built-in storage. The main camera captures 5-megapixel images, and the user-facing camera captures VGA images. Connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and DLNA for sharing media. The 510 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and includes HTC Sense and Blinkfeed. The handset will be available from Cricket's web site first, with a phased rollout across the company's 6,000 retail points through October.

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Hands-On: HTC Desire 820

Sep 4, 2014, 2:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC picked a good name for this mid-range hero device. The 820 is a significant improvement over its predecessor and brings some novel features to the fold. Here are Phone Scoop's initial impressions.

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HTC Brings 64-Bit Power to Desire 820

Sep 4, 2014, 1:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 4, 2014, 1:42 AM

HTC today announced the Desire 820, a follow-up to the 816 from earlier this year. HTC took care in its design, creating new process - Double Shot - to combine the different colored plastics that give the phone its unique look. The 820 is notable because it uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with two banks of four cores, one at 1.5GHz and one at 1.0GHz. It has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. The 615 integrates Category 4 LTE, as well as smartphone standards such as dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS. The phone features a 5.5-inch 720p LCD screen surrounded by HTC's signature BoomSound stereo speakers. The Desire 820 includes a 13-megapixel main camera and an 8-megapixel selfie camera with BSI sensor and 1080p HD video capture. The main imager has a 28mm lens at f/2.2. The phone has a new app called Photo Booth, which can be used to create photo collages. It also has a software tool to instantly "add makeup" to faces to improve their appearance. Another novel photo feature allows users to mashup two portraits into one, creating a single face from the two source photos. The HTC Desire 820 runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Sense 6.0 and will come in a variety of colors. It will ship to various markets beginning at the end of September. HTC didn't say if the phone will be made available in the U.S.

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Sprint Selling the HTC One (E8)

Aug 29, 2014, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 29, 2014, 11:59 AM

Sprint today added the HTC One (E8) to its roster of Android smartphones. The E8, which was announced earlier this year, is a plastic version of the M8. It carries over many of the same features, such as the 5-inch full HD screen, BoomSound speakers, 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, and 2,600mAh battery with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and HTC Sense 6.0. The device trades the M8's 4-ultrapixel camera for a standard 13-megapixel sensor. The Sprint E8 includes Sprint Spark, Wi-Fi calling, and HD Voice. It is being sold in gray or white online and via telesales. With Sprint Easy Pay, the HTC One E8 can be purchased for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $20.84. Alternately, it costs $99 with a new two-year contract or $499 at full retail.


T-Mobile to Sell HTC One for Windows this Fall

Aug 28, 2014, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today voiced support for the HTC One for Windows on its web site. The company will sell the device in the weeks ahead. It is already sold by Verizon Wireless, and will also soon be sold by AT&T. The One for Windows runs Windows Phone rather than Android.


Sprint Adds Avatars to Visual Voicemail

Aug 28, 2014, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced a new service that will allow customers to add animations and avatars to their voicemail messages. The service is available to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile USA customers with select Android handsets. The base service includes 12 free avatars and 12 free backgrounds that can be paired together in any combination along with voice effects in order to create unique animations. The avatars are lip-synced with the caller's voicemail (up to 20 seconds for free, up to two minutes with premium subscription). According to Sprint, the content library will be updated often, with new free and paid avatars and backgrounds appearing each week. Sprint customers can use their own voice, or an optional voice effect with variable pitch to make the message more fun. The avatar messages can be shared via voicemail, email, SMS, and even posted to Facebook. Further, messages can be sent to any user on any network, and can also be viewed on the web from desktops or tablets. Devices compatible with the service will receive an update to the visual voicemail application beginning this month. The initial list of compatible devices includes the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, and Note 2; the HTC EVO 4G LTE and HTC One. Sprint said more devices will be made compatible with the service over time.


AT&T One (M8) Receiving Android 4.4.3

Aug 27, 2014, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC said via Twitter that owners of the AT&T variant of the One (M8) can download Android 4.4.3 beginning today. The minor system update, which fixes bugs and improves performance (esp. GPS), can be installed over the air.


HTC Intros Desire 510, A Low-Cost LTE Phone

Aug 27, 2014, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC today announced the Desire 510, an entry-level device that includes LTE 4G for many regions around the world. The 510 is made from polycarbonate and HTC created a DotView case for the device, which allows owners to answer calls even when the case is closed. The phone has a 4.7-inch FWVGA display and is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor. It has 1GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, and supports microSD cards up to 128GB. The main camera captures 5-megapixel images, and the user-facing camera captures VGA images. Connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and DLNA for sharing media. The 510 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and includes HTC Sense and Blinkfeed. HTC said the Desire 510 will be sold in most countries around the world in the months ahead. None of the U.S. network operators have announced plans to sell the 510, and pricing wasn't immediately disclosed.


AT&T's HTC One mini to Gain Sense 6 Update

Aug 26, 2014, 9:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC took to Twitter today to tout the pending arrival of Sense 6.0 for the AT&T variant of the One mini. The update makes changes to the camera app, Blinkfeed, and various other functions. More specifics weren't provided.


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