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Video Tour: Bold N1

Yesterday, 12:38 PM   by Rich Brome

A quick look at the Bold N1, an attempt to offer a flagship experience for just $250. Where else will you find a phone for that price with a true all-screen design, pop-up selfie camera, in-display fingerprint reader, and wireless charging? We examine the ins and outs of this "bold" new phone in this video tour.

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iPhone 11 Case Options Compared

Yesterday, 11:01 AM   by Rich Brome

Getting a new iPhone? The back may be a lovely honed finish this year, but it's still all glass, so consider getting a case. We took a look at a few options from three established companies offering good protection at affordable prices. And since design is a core part of the iPhone's appeal, we also focused on options that show off or complement the Apple aesthetic, including various types of clear cases. These cases are all shipping now, support wireless charging, and cost $40 or less.

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Apple Accelerates iOS 13.1 to Fix Bugs

Yesterday, 8:53 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple will release iOS version 13.1 on Sept. 24th, a week earlier than originally planned, reports Engadget. Many reviewers and users have reported that iOS version 13.0 is unusually buggy.

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Verizon 5G Launching in NYC Next Week

Thursday, 8:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has revealed that it will light up its mmWave 5G service in New York City in one week, on September 26th. As with all mmWave deployments, it will focus on dense, downtown areas and public spaces, rather than broad citywide coverage. The coverage areas include parts of uptown, midtown, and downtown Manhattan, along with select parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. NYC is Verizon's 11th 5G city. The company has promised to launch 5G in 30 US cities by the end of the year. Verizon's lineup of phones with integrated 5G include the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.


New KaiOS Feature Phones for US Offer Google Assistant, App Store

Thursday, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Alcatel today announced the Go Flip 3 and SmartFlip, two variants of essentially the same clamshell-style feature phone. The phone runs KaiOS, and for the first time in the US, supports both Google Assistant voice control and the KaiStore for downloading third-party apps such as WhatsApp. The hardware is otherwise similar to previous KaiOS phones by Alcatel for the US, such as the Go Flip, MyFlip, QuickFlip, and Cingular Flip 2. Like those models, it has 4G LTE, a large screen and keypad, HD Voice, 2-megapixel camera, HD video capture, music player, memory card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a color outer display. The model branded Go Flip 3 is for T-Mobile and Metro, and supports mobile hotspot, band 71, and Sprint bands; it replaces the original Go Flip. The model branded SmartFlip is for AT&T and Cricket; it supports band 14 (FirstNet) and replaces the Cingular Flip 2 and QuickFlip.


Gabb Launches Data-Free Smartphones for Kids

Thursday, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

A new kid-oriented phone service launches today nationwide. Gabb Wireless offers basic voice and messaging service for parents who want their kids to be connected, but "protect children from too much technology too soon". Although both phones offered by the company are Android smartphones, they have no data service, no app store, and no games. Gabb service runs $20/month for unlimited SMS and voice. MMS service runs an extra $3/month. Service is pay-as-you-go and contract-free. Gabb offers an entry-level ZTE phone called the Z1 for $100. The step-up offering is the Samsung S1 for $200, which is similar to the Samsung A10e. Compared to the Z1, the S1 offers a larger screen thanks to its modern, tall screen with a small notch. It also offers better cameras and Bluetooth.


Google Fi Adds Unlimited Data Plan

Wednesday, 9:27 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has added an unlimited-data plan option to its Google Fi cellular service. The pricing is competitive with what most major US carriers are currently offering, starting at $70/line for just one line, down to $45/line for 4-6 lines. The plan also includes unlimited data and texting while abroad in 200 destinations, and free calling from the US to 50 countries and territories. It also includes a Google One membership, which includes 100 GB of cloud storage. Like most competing plans in this price range, Google "may" limit streaming video to SD resolution, and data speeds are reduced after 22 GB is used in a given month. Google still offers its traditional Flexible plans, which start at $20/month plus $10/GB for data. Flexible plans do not include free data while overseas, free international calling, nor Google One membership.


Xfinity Mobile Offering $250 Off iPhone 11 series

Tuesday, 9:01 AM   by Rich Brome

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile is offering $250 back when new customers switch from another carrier and purchase a new iPhone. Customers must keep their account for 90 days, after which they will receive the $250 as a prepaid card within a month.


Unlicensed Band 48 Opens for Business

Tuesday, 8:37 AM   by Rich Brome

The FCC this week granted permission for initial commercial service to commence in the unlicensed part of band 48, also known as CBRS, a radio frequency band spanning the range of 3550 - 3700 MHz. In a new and unique arrangement, consumer phones will be able to cellular technologies like LTE in an unlicensed band that also has incumbent users such as the military and satellite operators. To prevent interference, five companies will operate central databases that coordinate access to the band in real-time. Having proven their systems in certified lab tests, it is these five Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrators that have received permission from the FCC to begin "initial commercial deployment", which is both a real-world test phase and a commercial launch. The five approved Administrators are Google, Sony, Federated Wireless, Amdocs, and CommScope. Verizon has been most vocal among the major US carriers about deploying service in band 48 for its customers. The most recent flagship phones from Samsung, Apple, LG, OnePlus, and Razer already support band 48. In mid-2020, the FCC plans to auction a different part of the CBRS band that will be licensed in a more traditional way for deployment of 5G service.


Sprint Matches Verizon's Free iPhone 11 Deal

Sep 13, 2019, 9:52 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint is offering a free iPhone 11 to new customers when they trade in an iPhone 7 or newer. The old iPhone can be in any condition but must be unlocked. The deal requires a new line activation and an 18-month "lease" that costs $0 after a monthly credit is applied. Verizon is offering a similar deal of a free iPhone 11 for new customers with trade-in. T-Mobile is offering 50% off the new iPhones with trade-in.


Walmart, Verizon Offering Deals on iPhone 11 Series

Sep 11, 2019, 12:39 PM   by Rich Brome

Walmart and Verizon are both offering substantial discounts and offers for customers buying a new iPhone this year. New and existing customers of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint can pre-order the new iPhone 11 models from walmart.com starting this Friday and receive $50 off the usual phone price when choosing a device payment plan and picking up their phone in a Walmart store (starting Sept. 20). Existing customers of Verizon and AT&T can instead opt to have the phone shipped to them with free two-day shipping, and receive the same $50-off pricing. Separately, Verizon is offering deals on iPhones for customers activating new Unlimited lines, and deals on other Apple devices for all customers. Customers activating a new Unlimited line can get up to $700 toward a new iPhone 11 (making the base model iPhone 11 free) with device trade-in. The trade-in credit of up to $500 is applied over 24 months, with the remaining $200 delivered as a prepaid card. Or customers can get a second iPhone Xr for free when purchasing the first iPhone Xr on a payment plan and activating a new Unlimited line. Verizon customers can also get a $250 discount off any iPad when purchasing any iPhone (with both devices on Verizon payment plan; discount applied over 24 months.) Verizon customers purchasing a new Apple Watch can get a second one for up to 50% off.


New iPhones Include Ultra-Wideband Chip for Directional AirDrop

Sep 11, 2019, 11:03 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple's new iPhone 11 series of phones includes a new U1 chip, which uses ultra-wideband technology to determine the relative location of other devices with U1 chips nearby. Apple promises "amazing new capabilities" thanks to the new chip. The first new feature to utilize the U1 is AirDrop, which now lets you choose who to send a file to by simply pointing your phone at theirs.


Google Chrome Now Supports "Send to Your Devices"

Sep 11, 2019, 10:45 AM   by Rich Brome

The Google Chrome web browser now lets you send the web page you're on at the moment to another one of your devices, so you can finish on your phone an article you started reading at your desk, for example, or vice-versa. The feature debuted in version 77, which just became available for all platforms. To use the feature on a desktop platform, simply right-click the browser tab and choose "Send to Your Devices". The feature is somewhat hidden on mobile: tap the three-dot menu icon at the top right, choose "Share...", scroll down to "Apps list", and there's now an extra Chrome icon that says something like "Send to yo...". After choosing a target device, a notification appears on the target device that you can click to open the sent web page. The feature does not preserve sessions on web sites that require a login. Although The Verge could not get it to work on macOS, Phone Scoop used the feature on macOS. Firefox has had a similar feature since February.


iPhone 11 Pro: Three Cameras, Two Sizes

Sep 10, 2019, 1:49 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple today announced the iPhone 11 Pro, which comes in two sizes. The smaller model has a 5.8-inch screen like the iPhone Xs, while the larger iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch screen, just like the iPhone Xs Max. Both iPhone 11 Pro models have three 12-megapixel cameras on the back: one "wide", one ultra-wide, and one telephoto, together providing a total 4x optical zoom. The matte glass back and camera surround is milled from a single sheet of glass, set into a stainless steel frame. The OLED display has been improved with HDR, Dolby Vision, 1200 nits peak brightness, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, P3 color gamut, 458 ppi, and True Tone. Apple calls the new display "Super Retina XDR". Audio has also been improved with Dolby Atmos and spatial audio. Battery life has also been improved, adding 4 hours for the smaller size and 5 hours for the Max, and a 18W fast charger is now included. Like the cheaper iPhone 11 announced today, the iPhone 11 Pro is powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, which is 20% faster than last year's A12 chip while using less power. It also include Face ID, IPX8 waterproofing, and supports slow-motion video with the selfie camera, which Apple calls a "Slowfie". The main camera now supports portrait mode for pets and objects, and has a new automatic night mode. In the fall, a software update will add a new camera feature called Deep Fusion, which combines multiple quick photos with one long-exposure using computational photography to create a higher-quality photo in lower-light situations. The iPhone 11 Pro comes in Midnight Green, Space Gray, silver, and gold. The smaller model starts at $999, while the Max starts at $1099. Pre-orders begin at 8am Eastern on Friday, September 13th, with full retail launch on September 20th.


Apple iPhone 11 Sports Wide-Angle Camera

Sep 10, 2019, 1:23 PM   by Rich Brome

The new iPhone 11 from Apple sports a new dual-camera system with two 12-megapixel cameras, one "wide" and one "ultra-wide". It replaces the iPhone Xr and has the same 6.1-inch display size. It's the most affordable of today's three new iPhones at just $699. It's powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, which is 20% faster than last year's A12 chip while using less power. It also include Face ID, IPX8 waterproofing, 1 hour extra battery life compared to the iPhone Xr, and Wi-Fi 6. The front camera has also been updated with higher resolution, wider field of view, and the ability to shoot both 4K video and slow-motion video, which Apple calls a "Slowfie". The main camera also now supports portrait mode for pets and objects, and has a new automatic night mode. The iPhone 11 has a milled glass back and comes in six colors: cream, yellow, mint, lavender, Product Red, and black.


Apple Watch Series 5 Has Always-On Display

Sep 10, 2019, 1:02 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple today announced Apple Watch Series 5, an update that brings a new always-on display. The new display can stay on in a dim mode all day (18 hours) thanks to LTPO display technology, variable refresh rate, and an ambient light sensor. The new Watch also adds a compass sensor, which works with Maps and third-party apps, and has it own app and complication. The new Watch is otherwise similar to last year's Series 4. Series 5 is available in a variety of materials, including white ceramic, brushed titanium, and black titanium. The base model starts at $399, and the cellular version starts at $499. Pre-orders start today, with retail availability on September 20th. Apple is also keeping the basic Series 3 Watch in its lineup, and dropping the price to $199.


Apple's Game Subscription Service Will Cost $5/Month

Sep 10, 2019, 12:20 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple Arcade, the company's game subscription service, will launch next week, on September 19th. It will cost $4.99 per month. One subscription will cover a whole family, and the company will offer a one month free trial. 100 exclusive games will be available "in the coming weeks", with more added over time. The games run across all major Apple platforms, including iOS, tvOS, and macOS.


Samsung Galaxy Note10 Mini Review

Sep 9, 2019, 11:41 AM   by Rich Brome

A video mini-review of the Samsung Galaxy Note10, the smaller of the two Note models this year. Here are the things that stood out to me after using the Note10 as my main phone for two weeks. It's a good phone, but a few design choices and quirks made it not the phone for me. Find out why in this video.

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