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Review: Anker Soundcore Space NC Bluetooth Headphones

Today, 4:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Soundcore's Space NC over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones offer noise cancellation on a budget. If you're interested in listening to your favorite tunes in relative peace, the Space NC get the job done at a fraction of the cost of leading brands. Find out how these affordable cans compare to high-end headphones in Phone Scoop’s in-depth review.

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Latest Version of Google Maps for iOS Lets You Customize Your Car

Today, 1:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

iPhone owners can now have some fun with Google Maps by selecting a new navigation icon. Maps historically relies on a blue navigation arrow to indicate the user's location and direction of travel. Tapping the arrow will bring up a menu that allows people to select a car, pickup, or SUV to customize the experience. Earlier this year, Google let Android users opt for a Mario-style car for driving directions. Google says the latest version of Google Maps for iOS, with optional car graphics, is free to download from the iTuns App Store.

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T-Mobile Prices the LG G7 ThinQ at $750

Today, 8:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today revealed launch plans for the LG G7 ThinQ. Pre-sales for the phone begin Friday, May 25, with general retail availability starting June 1. T-Mobile said the LG G7 ThinQ will cost $750. It is asking customers for a $30 down payment followed by monthly payments of $30 for 24 months. Notably, the G7 ThinQ supports T-Mobile's 600 MHz spectrum, on which the carrier is deploying LTE across the nation. The phone supports 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM for fast wireless performance. During the pre-sale period, T-Mobile is offering a buy-one, get-one deal on the LG G7 ThinQ. Both phones will need to be financed on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will make the monthly payments for the second device over a two-year period. T-Mobile says it is the only carrier offering the G7 ThinQ in raspberry rose.


HMD Global Raises $100M to Expand Nokia Phone Business

Today, 8:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HMD Global today said it has raised $100 million in funding in order to help the company grow. HMD Global is the sole licensee of the Nokia brand and makes and sells Nokia-branded phones that run Google's Android operating system. The company brought its first phones to market in early 2017 and has seen modest success in overseas markets. The company claims to have sold more than 70 million phones in over 80 countries at some 250,000 retail outlets. This year, HMD Global plans to "aggressively expand its portfolio of Nokia smartphones" while also finding more places in which it can sell those phones. "It is our ambition to deliver great smartphones that delight our fans while staying true to our Finnish roots and the hallmarks that the Nokia brand has always been known for," said Florian Seiche, CEO of HMD Global. "We aim to be among the top smartphone players globally and our success to date gives us the confidence to further continue on a growth path in 2018 and beyond." The company has released 11 phones to date. HMD Global was created by former Nokia employees. Its phones are manufactured in China. The most recent Nokia phone made available to U.S. buyers is the Nokia 6 (2018), which can be purchased from Amazon.


Qualcomm Debuts 5G NR Small Cell for Carriers

Today, 7:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today announced the FSM100xx, a 5G NR product designed for small cells and remote radio heads. Qualcomm says the FSM100xx builds on its existing Qualcomm FSM Platform for 3G and 4G small cells. It supports 5G NR in sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum, allowing network operators to make use of whatever spectrum is available to them in a given location. Qualcomm designed the FSM Platform for flexibility. It is based on 10nm mobile technologies for controlling power consumption while allowing for fast performance. Qualcomm says the FSM100xx can address the propagation characteristics of mmWave spectrum in real time, particularly in indoor spaces where small cells are most often deployed. Further, it supports MIMO and multi-gigabit throughout, as well as power-over-ethernet for broader outdoor deployments. Last, the FSM100xx includes a software-defined modem, which gives carriers the flexibility to control and update their hardware when needed to comply with future 3GPP releases of the 5G NR spec. Qualcomm says it expects the FSM100xx to begin sampling in 2019. Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all claim they will launch 5G in select markets by the end of 2018.


LG Adds High-End Features to the Q Series' New Q7

Today, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the Q7, the 2018 version of its mid-range Q Series Android phones. The Q7 picks up where last year's Q6 left off, with updated specs and features. There are three models, the Q7, the Q7+, and the Q7α. The series carries over the 2.5D curved 5.5-inch FullVision Display with full HD+ resolution. The phones have a metal frame and metal rear panel. Updates to the series includes IP68 protection from water and dust and mil-spec 810G compliance, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, HiFi Quad DAC, DTS:X 3D Surround Sound, face recognition, portrait shooting, and the QLens for image-based visual search. The devices run either a 1.5 GHz or 1.8 GHz octa-core processor.

  • Q7+: The premium model in the Q7 range has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It includes a 16-megapixel rear camera with PDAF and either an 8- or 5-megapixel front camera.
  • Q7: The middle model in the Q7 range has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. It includes a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF and either an 8- or 5-megapixel front camera.
  • Q7α: The bottom of the Q7 range has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. It includes a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF and a 5-megapixel front camera.
Other shared specs between the three phones include a 3,000mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, WiFi, and USB Type-C. All three ship with Android 8 Oreo. LG says the Q7 range will go on sale in Europe beginning in June with other key regions, including the Americas, to follow later.


FCC to Investigate Web Site that Exposed Phone Locations

Friday, 1:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC today said it is investigating reports that a web site leaked the location data of millions of U.S. cell phones. A security researcher claims a company called LocationSmart suffered a leak and made it possible track the whereabouts of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless customers without their consent. Accuracy of the location data was as good as a few hundred yards. On her Twitter account today FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, "The @FCC needs to investigate. No ifs, ands, or buts." Senator Ron Wyden agreed, saying, "This leak, only days after the lax security at Securus was exposed, shows how little companies throughout the wireless ecosystem value Americans’ security. Wireless carriers and LocationSmart appear to have allowed nearly any hacker with a basic knowledge of web sites to track the location of any American with a cell phone. A hacker could have used this site to know when you were in your house so they would know when to rob it. A predator could have tracked your child’s cell phone to know when they were alone." Wyden demanded an investigation and the FCC appears to agree. The agency has pushed the matter to its enforcement bureau to investigate.


Google Home Now Lets You Control Play Movies Via Voice

Friday, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

As promised, Google has added voice control support to its own video service, Google Play Movies & TV, to Google Home. People who own Google Home products can now speak voice commands to access movies and television shows purchased or rented through the Google Play Store and have that content play on Chromecast-connected television sets. Google says people won't have to change any settings or reconfigure their device to access this feature, as it has been added automatically on the backend. Google Home has for some time allowed people to use voice commands to access Netflix and other third-party streaming video content. The tool lets people start movies and shows, fast-forward, rewind, pause, and more.


Qualcomm to Add WPA3 to Mobile Devices This Summer

Friday, 8:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm this week laid out its plan to adopt the latest wifi security protocol in future products. The company said it will apply the Wifi Alliance's Wifi Protected Access (WPA3) across its portfolio of mobile and networking products starting this summer. The core feature of WPA3 is stronger protection when users choose weak passwords. WPA3 also simplifies the process of securing access points that don't have a display or interface. The standard provides individualized data encryption to protect data as it moves from computers, tablets, and phones to access points. Further, it includes a 192-bit security suite to help businesses and governments adopt the highest levels of protection. Qualcomm says it has already added WPA3 to its WCN3998 wifi radio and IPQ807x AP platform. The company says phons based on the Snapdragon 845 mobile application processor will be the first to support WPA3. The chip and phones that rely on it will gain WPA3 this summer, with Qualcomm's portfolio of networking devices to follow soon thereafter.


Apple Pushes iOS 11.4 Beta 6 to Developers and Public Testers

Friday, 7:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has released iOS 11.4 Beta 6 to both registered developers and public beta testers. The release comes just several days after Apple pushed iOS 11.4 Beta 5. Apple didn't provide a reason for the quick iteration. iOS 11.4 primarily adds support for ClassKit, Apple's new set of developer tools that target educations. It also re-introduces several features that were meant to be included in iOS 11.3, but didn't make the final release. These include AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud, which allows people to store their iMessage content in the cloud and sync it across devices. Developers and public testers alike should be able to download and install iOS 11.4 Beta 6 over the air.


House Committee Votes to Keep ZTE Ban In Place

Friday, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The House Appropriations Committee this week voted on an amendment that upholds the Commerce Department's sanctions against ZTE. Specifically, the amendment prevents the U.S. Commerce Department from renegotiating its sanctions against ZTE in order to prevent ZTE from gaining access to hardware and software from its U.S. suppliers. The Commerce Department slapped ZTE with the ban last month after it discovered that ZTE misrepresented the actions it took in a 2017 settlement. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump surprisingly tweeted in support of ZTE, suggesting the Commerce Department help ZTE "get back into business, fast." ZTE has largely ceased operations and idled some 75,000 employees in the wake of the ban. The amendment voted on by the house will "prevent a foreign company that is beholden to its government — and that ignores embargoes — from infiltrating the devices and networks that are now indispensable to American life," said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) in a statement. "This amendment, which passed with the unanimous support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, shows that, when the United States enacts sanctions, we stand behind them." The bill was coauthored by Ruppersberger and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.).


Review: Invisible Shield Glass Curve Elite for Samsung Galaxy S9+

Friday, 6:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Today's all-glass phones demand protection. The InvisibleShield Glass Curve Elite for the Samsung Galaxy S9+ provides impact and scratch protection. If you want to keep the curved glass of the S9+ safe from damage, this is one option.

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Instagram Now Lets You Share Feed Posts to Stories

Thursday, 11:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made it possible to share feed posts directly to stories. The latest version of the app includes tools that make it easy to share a post published in your feed to your own story as a sticker where your friends and followers can see and interact with it. Posts shared to stories will display the original poster's username and a link so viewers can see the original post and learn more about the original poster. Instagram says users can only share posts from public accounts, and users who don't want their posts shared in others' stories can opt out. The new Instagram is available for Android devices today and will reach iOS devices in the coming days.


Essential Updates Its Camera App with a New Look

Thursday, 11:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Essential today said it has published a new version of the camera app for its PH-1 phone. Most significantly, the app has been given a fresh coat of paint with new icons that should make it easier to see and switch between photos, videos, and other modes. The app renames the Monochrome shooting mode as Black & White, which Essential says is "a bit more familiar" to end users. Last, the app gains stability and performance tweaks. The Essential camera application is free for owners of the PH-1 to download from the Google Play Store.


Sprint Offering Lower Cost Service to Those Over 55

Thursday, 9:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today refreshed its offering for customers age 55 and up. Starting Friday, May 18, new customers who are over 55 can get two lines of unlimited talk, text, and data for $70 per month. Sprint says the first line costs $50 and the second line costs $20. Autopay is required to score this price. The offer includes Sprint Global Roaming, which provides basic text and data at no additional charge in more than 185 countries. The Unlimited 55+ plan provides unlimited mobile hotspot at 3G speeds, but limits video streaming to standard definition (480p), limits music streaming to 500 Kbps, and limits game streaming to 2 Mbps. Sprint says this offer for those aged 55 and up will be available for a limited time.


AT&T and Verizon Say They'll Sell the Red Hydrogen One Phone

Thursday, 9:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and Verizon Wireless today voiced support for the Red Hydrogen One phone, which they'll sell later this summer. The Hydrogen One was first announced in summer of 2017. It is a pricey Android phone with a 5.7-inch "holographic" display touting glasses-free 3D. While the display supports traditional stereo 3D, it also supports a new 3D-like "holographic" technology created by Red called Hydrogen 4-View (H4V). The phone body sports Red's industrial design and comes in either aluminum or titanium. The Hydrogen One will support snap-on modules for shooting both high-resolution video and H4V content. It will also integrate with other Red products, serving as a touchscreen controller and monitor for Red cameras. The phone also has USB-C and a microSD memory card slot. When first announced, Red listed the Hydrogen One's price as $1,195. Neither AT&T nor Verizon said what they'll charge for the phone. The Hydrogen One was expected to go on sale in early 2018, but it has been delayed several times. An exact for-sale date was not provided.


Netflix Brings HDR Support to 3 More Phones

Thursday, 8:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Netflix has granted three newer phones the ability to stream HDR video. The latest devices include the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the Huawei P20 Pro, and the Sony Xperia XZ2. HDR content has more contrast than standard content, creating deeper blacks and brighter brights for a richer viewing experience. Other devices already able to access HDR playback on Netflix include the LG G6 and V30, Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ Premium, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 8, and the Razor Phone.


LG Kicks Off Sales of G7 ThinQ Phone, But US Pricing Remains Elusive

Thursday, 8:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said it has commenced sales of its flagship G7 ThinQ phone in its home market of South Korea. The G7 ThinQ, announced earlier this month, is a premium metal-and-glass phone with a super bright 6.1-inch screen, Snapdragon 845 processor, AI-assisted dual rear cameras, BoomBox speaker, and Android 8 Oreo. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have committed to selling the LG G7 ThinQ beginning later this month. So far, however, U.S. pricing for the phone has been kept a secret. LG says carriers will announce pricing closer to the actual for-sale date. Pre-orders for the G7 ThinQ in the U.S. are expected to begin on or around May 24, with a ship date of June 1.

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