The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is a unique Android smartphone thanks to its curved display. Samsung puts the extra pixels to good use, but it could have done a lot more. Here is Phone Scoop's full review.
Yahoo today pushed out updates to its Weather app for both the Android and iOS platforms. According to Yahoo, the revised app brings with it more live weather graphics, such as fog, rain, heat, snow, lightning, and frost, to the Android app. Yahoo says "instead of reading about the stormy conditions, you'll actually see lightning flash across your screen." The iPhone app has been more fully optimized for the screen sizes and resolutions of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Yahoo Weather is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
BlackBerry's Classic smartphone harkens back to the devices of yesteryear. Its defining feature is a physical QWERTY keyboard, something phone makers have left in the past for good reason. Here are our first impressions of the Classic.
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Facebook today said it has updated the Rooms app for iOS devices to version 1.2. The update claims to make it easier for users to discover new Rooms to join. An 'explore' button lets users scan through Rooms and enter those that appeal them. Rooms are confined spaces that are specific to certain subjects or topics. Facebook hasn't said if or when it will expand Rooms to other platforms.
AT&T today said it will support the BlackBerry Classic, though pricing and availability aren't yet available. BlackBerry is already selling the phone directly to consumers for $449.
BlackBerry today officially launched the BlackBerry Classic smartphone. BlackBerry has been talking about the phone for the better part of six months, but fully revealed its feature set during an event in New York. The phone has a 3.5-inch touch screen with a 1:1 aspect ratio and 720 by 720 pixels. BackBerry made this device to appeal to its legacy customers, such as the finance sector, and brought back the physical QWERTY keyboard for composing messages. BlackBerry also resurrected its legacy control buttons, including an optical trackpad, and capacitive send/end and back/menu keys. The phone has an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture and a 2-megaixel user-facing camera. The phone has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage with support for microSD cards up to 128GB. The phone runs BlackBerry OS 10.3.1, which features the BlackBerry Hub. The BlackBerry Classic boasts 22 hours of battery life. Connectivity options include LTE, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio, NFC, as well as geo-location services. Blackberry is selling the Classic directly to consumers through Amazon.com and its web site for $449.
AT&T recently pushed out a system update to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. The primary new feature added to the phone is support for AT&T's VoLTE service. The update must be downloaded and installed via WiFi, but it is free. AT&T expanded the availability of its VoLTE service earlier this week. It is now available in select regions across 18 states.
Google recently updated the Google Drive app for both the Android and iOS platforms. The Android version gains support for Google Now-style voice search to help find files. Both versions gain support for a wider range of imported file formats. The iOS version can now upload files to Drive from more apps across iPhones and iPads. Google Drive is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
The FCC is prepared to hit Sprint with a massive fine over alleged cramming practices, according to the Wall Street Journal. The FCC says Sprint played a "willful" role in charging customers for text message alerts, horoscopes, sports scores, ring tones, and other unwanted services. The FCC said Sprint was hit with 35,000 complaints over cramming charges during a three-month window in the middle of 2013. The FCC hasn't finalized the fine against Sprint, but three of the five commissioners are prepared to vote in favor of the penalty. AT&T settled with the FCC for a similar amount over cramming earlier this year, and the FTC is suing T-Mobile for the same practice.
Instagram today pushed out an update to the Android and iOS versions of its mobile photography application. The app adds five filters, the first new ones to appear in several years. The filters are named Aden, Crema, Ludwig, Perpetua, and Slumber. Beyond the filters themselves, Instagram now allows users to manage the filters. Users can rearrange the order in which the filters appear, as well as hide filters they don't like. Instagram for Android and iOS is free to download from the Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.
Google and Verizon Communications today entered into a multi-year patent cross-licensing agreement. The companies said the agreement covers a "broad range of products and technologies" and will help them "reduce the risk of future patent litigation." Both companies expressed interest in making similar patent-protection agreements with other high-tech businesses. Verizon Communications is the parent company of Verizon Wireless.
T-Mobile today offered some details about its LTE network. To start, it has expanded its LTE service footprint to cover 260 million POPs -- an increase of 10 million POPs over the last two months. T-Mobile also said it has begun deploying LTE on its 700MHz spectrum holdings. T-Mobile customers in several markets, including Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C., can access LTE on 700MHz with properly equipped devices. The 700MHz coverage joins T-Mobile's AWS coverage, and provides better in-building coverage and capacity. T-Mobile says its 700MHz spectrum covers 190 million POPs around the country. T-Mobile didn't say how long it will take to light up LTE covering those 190 million POPs. Further, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said it will replace all its GSM/EDGE coverage with LTE across its AWS and PCS spectrum where it remains. T-Mobile aims to complete replacing GSM/EDGE with LTE by next year.
T-Mobile today announced Data Stash, a way for customers to retain unused data from month-to-month. Rather than allow unused data to expire, T-Mobile will let customers keep access to that data for up to a year. For example, customers who have a plan with 5GB of data access per month, but only use 3GB, will see the unused 2GB added to their monthly allotment for the following month for a total of 7GB. Further, to kickstart the whole service, T-Mobile is putting 10GB of data in each customer's "data bank." T-Mobile is requiring a minimum level of service in order to qualify for Data Stash. Data Stash will be available for free to T-Mobile customers with a postpaid Simple Choice plan who have purchased at least 3GB of phone data or 1GB of tablet data per month. T-Mobile said there's no limit to how much data users can collect and store in Data Stash. The company said "you won’t lose data you don't use."
Sprint today said fans of Windows Phone will soon have the option to buy the Lumia 635 through several different Sprint brands. Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will begin selling the Lumia 635 online on Dec. 23 and in stores Jan. 9 for $99. Sprint postpaid customers will have a shot at the Lumia 635 starting on Jan. 16, though pricing for the postpaid version has yet to be determined. Sprint says the Lumia 635 is the first Windows Phone 8.1 handset to grace its retail shelves. Moreover, it's the first Lumia Windows Phone to be sold by Sprint's prepaid brands. Microsoft first announced the Lumia 635 in April. It features a ClearBlack 4.5-inch LCD screen, interchangeable back panels, dual-camera with 5-megapixel main shooter, and Nokia apps. It is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and includes 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and support microSD cards up to 128GB.
Apple Pay has garnered more support from banks and retailers around the country, according to the New York Times. SunTrust, Barclaycard, and USAA have already agreed to support Apple Pay with their cards, and 10 more banks, including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank, are adding support for Apple Pay beginning today. With the new financial institutions on board, a significantly larger percentage of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners can use Apple Pay to make mobile payments at participating retailers. More retailers are interested in Apple Pay, too. Staples will begin accepting Apple Pay at its 1,400 stores beginning today, and Amway Center, where the Orlando Magic basketball team plays, will begin accepting Apple Pay at concessions stands during games. Apple Pay uses an NFC radio embedded in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to power tap-and-go payments at more than 220,000 retail outlets around the U.S. iPhone owners use their fingerprint to approve purchases, which are secured thanks to unique codes assigned to each transaction. Apple Pay launched Oct. 20. Competing services, such as Softcard, are available to select Android and Windows Phones sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
Google recently made some significant improvements to its Google Wallet app for the iPhone. To start, the app adds a bill-splitting feature. According to Google, users can add the people with whom they want to split a bill, choose how to divide it, and send each person a request for their share of the total. Wallet for iOS also adds support for Touch ID, which will allow users to open the app and make purchases using their fingerprints. The app now supports the native screen resolutions for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and lets users see their loyalty cards even when offline. Google Wallet for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Opera today announced Coast 4.0, a new version of its browser for the iPhone and iPad. According to Opera, the idea behind the new browser is to make it easier for iOS device owners to find content. For example, it introduces the Discover feature, which helps users find stories and news from all over the internet. It uses Opera Turbo Compression to reduce the size of web pages as they transit networks and deliver them to devices faster. A new sharing button makes it simple to push content in the browser to social networks. Last, the app adds compatibility with iOS 8's continuity tool, which allows Coast users to browse on one device and pick up right where they left off on another device thanks to web session syncing. Opera's Coast 4.0 for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
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.