Samsung Galaxy S 4 (Verizon / Sprint)
Verizon Wireless today said owners of the Samsung Galaxy S4 can expect to see their devices updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop in the next few days. The over-the-air update is free to install.
Seniors Wireless, a Sprint MVNO, announced a new service that gives subscribers direct phone access to a doctor at all times. TeleMED Assist provides customers with unlimited calls to doctors for emergency, urgent, or non-urgent purposes 24/7. Over-the-phone medical consultations are included in the service, which costs $30 per month for singles or $40 per month for couples. TeleMED Assist is a separate service and does not require a Seniors Wireless telephone account. Seniors Wireless offers a handful of standard service plans ranging from $10 to $30 per month. The company has several handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5 and Note 3, the Sharp Aquos Crystal, the LG Vigor, and the Apple iPhone 4. Seniors Wireless competes with GreatCall, which also offers access to health professionals over the phone. Both target the over 55 set.
A newly-revealed vulnerability in Android allows attackers to bypass the usual app authenticity and integrity checks. Normally, the checks allow Android to verify that an app has not been modified. This new issue allows those with ill intent to modify an app with malicious code, without breaking the security signature. This will cause Android to report that the app is genuine and unmodified, when in fact it is not. The issue does not affect apps downloaded and updated exclusively through Google's Play Store. Apps downloaded or updated through any other sources may be affected. Full protection can only be provided by a patch to Android itself, which is up to phone manufacturers (and carriers) to provide. Samsung has implemented a fix on its Galaxy S 4, but the fix has not been confirmed for any other phones, and Google has not yet patched the issue in the base Android code, nor on its Nexus devices. Google was first notified about the issue in February, and notified its major partners in March. It affects all versions of Android from 1.6 through 4.2.
AT&T would like to strike more Wi-Fi roaming agreements with its international peers. Bill Hague, AT&T's executive vice president of international affairs, said that such agreements would benefit not only consumers, but the network operators, too. "Roaming agreements will increase revenue for everyone, and far more than anyone could do individually," said Hague while speaking at the Wi-Fi Globall Congress this week. "In much the same way as GSMA standardization secured its international success, so we need to do the same with Wi-Fi." Specifically, AT&T is looking at the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and its Passpoint program, which will allow cell phone users roam from cell network to Wi-Fi hotspots seamlessly, even in other countries. Passpoint and the Next Generation Hotspot (Hotspot 2.0) programs require that devices be certifed by the WBA, since a big piece of the puzzle is authentication of the user between the various networks. The standards are still in progress and the industry has yet to settle on one. Apple's recently-announced iOS 7 includes support for Hotspot 2.0, as does the Samsung Galaxy S4. The initiative is expected to go live for consumers early next year.
Sprint today said that it has enough inventory of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 on hand to begin sales via Sprint stores, telesales, and online. Sprint had expected to launch the GS4 earlier this month, but inventory constraints led to a brief delay. Sprint said it expects to receive new shipments of the GS4 daily moving forward.
Verizon Wireless announced via one of its official Twitter accounts that the Samsung Galaxy S 4 will be available for preorder beginning April 25. The GS4 will cost $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year agreement. According to Verizon, the Galaxy S 4 will not reach its retail stores until May 30. Verizon didn't say when it would ship devices ordered through its web site.
Verizon Wireless confirmed via one of its official Twitter accounts that its variant of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 won't arrive until some point in May. It didn't share more specific details than that. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA will all get the GS4 out the door before the end of April.
Sprint today announced its specific launch details of the Samsung Galaxy S 4. The GS4 will be available at Sprint stores beginning April 27 and will cost $249.99 with a new line of service or eligible upgrade. Sprint is offering a $100 discount on the GS4's price to new customers who switch their number from a different carrier, which drops the out-of-pocket cost to $149.99. Preorders for the Galaxy S 4 begin April 18. Sprint's Unlimited Everything plans start at $79.99 per month.
Samsung today announced that the Galaxy S 4 will be available from seven different wireless network operators before the end of April. The four national carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless, as will smaller carriers U.S. Cellular, Cricket, and C Spire, will each have customized variants of the device specific for their 4G LTE and 3G networks. Samsung said that individual carriers will announce exact availability and pricing during the course of the next few weeks. In addition to carrier availability, the GS4 can also be purchased at various electronics stores, including Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile, Costco, Radio Shack, Sam's Club, Staples, Target, and Wal-Mart. The Galaxy S 4 has a 5-inch FHD display, 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 13-megapixel camera, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and tons of Samsung software, including Air View and Air Gesture, Drama Shot and Eraser Shot, and Easy Mode and a customizable notification tray. Last, Samsung revealed a few more details about accessories for the GS4. The S View Flip Cover has a window through which GS4 owners can read text messages, answer or reject calls, and view the battery status. The S View Flip Cover, which is sold separately, retails for $59.99. Availability details of the cover were not shared.
Samsung's new Galaxy smartphone makes minor improvements to the hardware but massive innovations with the software. There's no doubt it will be another winner for Samsung.