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Xfinity Mobile Offering $250 Off iPhone 11 series

Yesterday, 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

Yesterday, 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

Friday, 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.


BLU Launches Premium "Bold" Brand With All-Screen N1

Sep 9, 2019, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 9, 2019, 11:00 AM

BLU Products is launching a new brand of phones today called "Bold". The new brand will release just one or two "premium flagship and flagship-like devices" per year. The first model, the N1, is being released today for $250. It has an all-screen, notch-less design thanks to a pop-up selfie camera. The full-HD AMOLED display measures 6.4 inches. It has a curved black glass back and a solid metal frame. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio P70 chipset with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, plus a memory card slot. Its dual rear cameras include a 16-megapixel Sony IMX499 main sensor plus a depth sensor. It has an optical fingerprint reader built into the display. It has a 3,500 mAh battery, wireless charging, and 18W fast wired charging via USB-C. It also has a 3.5mm headset jack. The software is stock Android 9. The phone is being offered unlocked with basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile networks, and potentially Verizon. It supports US LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, and 13. While supplies last, boldphones.com is offering a $50 instant rebate on the N1, for a net price of just $200. The phone is also available from Amazon at the full price.


LG Brings a Tall HD Display to Its New Entry-Level Phone

Sep 8, 2019, 12:33 PM   by Rich Brome

Cricket is now selling the LG Escape Plus, a new phone with basic specs for $120. Its best feature is a 5.5-inch LCD display with and tall 2:1 aspect ratio and HD+ (720 x 1440 pixel) resolution. It also has a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side, 32 GB of storage, an 8-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, 3.5mm headset jack, and a memory card slot. It's powered by a 3,000 mAh battery, Snapdragon 425 processor, and 2 GB of RAM. Regulatory approvals indicate versions of this same phone are planned for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Metro as well. If history is any indication, those versions are likely to be sold under different names.


Google Open-Sourcing its Differential Privacy Tech

Sep 6, 2019, 9:37 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is making its differential privacy code freely available to all developers. Differential Privacy is a special mathematic technique that allows organizations to collect data from individuals in a way that guarantees individual privacy. Collected data cannot be traced back to any one person. For example, Google uses this technique to capture what dishes people order at restaurants. The data is then used to show which dishes are most popular at restaurants in Google Maps results. But by using differential privacy, Google has no way of using that data to go back determine what any specific person ordered. By releasing this code, Google hopes to encourage more app developers to use differential privacy techniques when they collect data from app users.


Samsung to Sell New A-Series Phones Unlocked

Sep 6, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The new Samsung Galaxy A50, A20, and A10e will be available unlocked from samsung.com and other US retail partners starting September 20th. Best Buy and Amazon are now accepting pre-orders for the unlocked A50. Best Buy customers can receive a savings of up to $150 with activation. Amazon customers can receive a free Galaxy Fit fitness tracker band. Samsung.com will accept pre-orders for the A50 "soon after", and Samsung is offering credit up to $300 for a trade-in phone. The unlocked A50 will sell for $350, the A20 for $250, and the A10e for $180.


Snapdragon 7-Series Chips with Integrated 5G Shipping by End of 2019

Sep 6, 2019, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm today revealed an accelerated timeline for bringing integrated 5G to its Snapdragon chips for mid-range phones. An unnamed 7xx-series Snapdragon chip that fully integrates a 5G modem is already sampling to customers such as LG, Motorola, and Nokia / HMD Global (among others), with the chip launching commercially before the end of 2019, and phones using the chip available "soon thereafter". The chip fully supports all mmWave and sub-6 GHz frequency bands for 5G worldwide, as well as both NSA and SA networks, both TDD and FDD modes, and DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, which allows 5G and 4G to share existing frequency bands). The company also plans to bring 5G to its 6xx-series Snapdragon chips, with devices using those those chips expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2020.


Motorola One Zoom Has Five Cameras

Sep 5, 2019, 3:32 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 5, 2019, 7:42 PM

Motorola today announced the Motorola One Zoom, a mid-range phone with four rear cameras plus a 25-megapixel selfie camera, 4,000 mAh battery, 6.4" full-HD OLED display with small notch, satin glass back, and a light-up "M" logo that doubles as a notification light. The four rear cameras include a 48-megapixel main camera with 12-megapixel output, OIS, and f/1.7 aperture; 16-megapixel wide (117º) camera, 8-megapixel 3x zoom camera with OIS, and a depth camera for portrait effects. The One Zoom also has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, memory card slot, 18W fast charging, NFC, 3.5mm headset jack, in-display fingerprint reader, ultrasonic gesture sensors, water resistance, and a USB-C connector with USB 3.1. It comes in three unique colors: Electric Grey, Cosmic Purple, and Brushed Bronze. An unlocked version for the US is available starting today for $450, exclusively on motorola.com. Instant discounts may bring the price as low as $380 for some customers. It supports US LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 41, and 66.


Jabra Elite 75t Improves on Popular 65t True Wireless Earbuds

Sep 5, 2019, 2:52 PM   by Rich Brome

Jabra's Elite 65t true wireless Bluetooth earbuds have been very well-received, and now Jabra has a successor coming next month in the Elite 75t earbuds. The 75t buds are 20% smaller and yet have 50% better battery life. The charging case now uses USB-C, and Jabra is working on a wireless charging case. The buds themselves last for 7.5 hours, with the included charging case adding another 20.5 hours. The 75t buds are rated IP55 for dust and water, and have four microphones to cancel background noise from calls. A companion app lets users adjust the amount of ambient sound they hear, and set custom equalizer profiles. The 75t comes in black or Titanium Black. They will be available in October for $199 from Amazon and Best Buy.


iFrogz AirTime Pro True Wireless Earbuds Bring Premium Features for $70

Sep 5, 2019, 2:27 PM   by Rich Brome

iFrogz today launched the AirTime Pro, a premium alternative to its existing AirTime true wireless Bluetooth earbuds. For $70 — just $10 more than the standard AirTime — the AirTime Pro buds offer 20 hours of battery life (5 per use plus 15 from the included charging case), capacitive touch controls, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB-C charging. Like the standard AirTime, the AirTime Pro is rated IPX4 for water- and sweat-resistance, and iFrogz offers free replacement earbud tips for life. The new buds utilize 5mm drivers. The AirTime Pro is available now at ifrogz.com in black, white, and blue.


Sony Xperia 5 is the New Compact

Sep 5, 2019, 10:19 AM   by Rich Brome

Sony today announced the Xperia 5, a new phone that puts the high-end specs of the Xperia 1 into a smaller form factor similar to the Xperia 10, carrying on the tradition of small, high-power phones such as last year's XZ2 Compact. Like Sony's other 2019 phones, it has an unusually tall, narrow display, allowing the phone to fit a 6.1-inch display into a body only 2.6 inches wide. (Many phones today are 3 inches wide.) Although the Xperia 5 is only being announced today for Europe, and Sony recently revealed plans to de-emphasize the US market, the Xperia 5 does support many US LTE bands, including bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 25, 26, 29, 41, 46, and 66. The 5 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and a memory card slot. It has three 12-megapixel cameras on the back: a main camera with f/1.6 aperture and OIS, a telephoto camera with OIS, and a 130º wide-angle camera. The phone can record 4K video in HDR. The selfie camera has f/2.0 aperture and 8 megapixel resolution. It has a 3,140 mAh battery. The USB-C connector supports PD fast charging, video-out up to 4K at 60 fps, and USB 3.1 data. The 6.1-inch OLED display sports full-HD resolution and HDR. The 5 also features Cat. 19 LTE, NFC, a fingerprint reader, water resistance, and stereo speakers. It comes in Black, Blue, Gray, and Red.


Verizon Names 12 NFL Stadiums Rigged for 5G

Sep 5, 2019, 9:16 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon 5G service is now live in 13 NFL football stadiums around the US. Additional stadiums will be announced throughout the season. Of the 13, Verizon has named 12, leaving the 13th a mystery. Verizon's mmWave 5G service is potentially well-suited to small, high-density areas like stadiums. Verizon recently announced a partnership with Boingo on deploying 5G in areas like stadiums. The 12 announced stadiums are: Bank of America Stadium, Empower Field at Mile High, CenturyLink Field, Ford Field, Gillette Stadium, Hard Rock Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, NRG Stadium, Soldier Field, and U.S. Bank Stadium.


T-Mobile Gives 40% Discount to Anyone 55 or Older

Sep 5, 2019, 9:04 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile has a new set of "Unlimited 55" plans for customers who are at least 55 years of age. The plans come in three tiers just like its plans for everyone else, and include the same benefits at each tier, they simply cost around 40% less. The plans are available for one or two lines (not more). For accounts with two lines, only the primary account holder must be 55+ and show ID to qualify both lines for the special rate. The cheapest plan is Essentials Unlimited 55, which runs $55 total for two lines ($27.50/line), or $40 for a single line. Like the standard Essentials plan for everyone else (which costs $45/line for two lines), taxes and fees are not included at that price, hotspot is limited to 3G speeds, Mexico and Canada roaming is limited to 2G speeds, and international roaming includes texting but not data. The Magenta Unlimited 55 plan runs $35/line for two lines (normally $60/line), or $50 for a single line (normally $70). All taxes and fees are included at that price. It includes international data, including 4G in Canada and Mexico. It also includes 1 hour of Wi-Fi data on fights. The premium plan is Magenta Plus Unlimited 55, which runs $45/line for two lines (normally $70/line), taxes and fees included. It includes faster international data, HD video streaming, unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi, Netflix, and automatic voicemail-to-text.


TCL Launches First TCL-Branded Phone

Sep 5, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

TCL Communication — the company behind Alcatel, BlackBerry, and Palm phones — is branching out with a new line of phones under its own TCL brand. The first model is called the Plex and is higher-end than most Alcatel-branded phones. TCL will also introduce 5G and folding phones under the TCL brand next year, making it a decidedly higher-end brand for the company. The Plex has a full-HD+ 6.53-inch display on the front and triple rear cameras. The display is a "Dotch" LCD panel made in-house by TCL; it achieves 90% screen-to-body ratio thanks to a hole-punch design for the selfie camera. The display also automatically adjusts to ambient light color. The main camera is a 48-megapixel Sony sensor. It's assisted by a dedicated 2-megapixel (1080p) low-light sensor for video. The third camera is a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera. The unique dual flash design puts a separate LED on each side of the camera lenses. The Plex is powered by a 3,820 mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and comes with 128 GB of storage plus a memory card slot. It also has a fingerprint reader on the back, headphone jack, and USB-C connector supporting Quick Charge 3.0. The version announced today features Cat. 6 LTE supporting European frequency bands. It will launch by the end of this year "starting with select markets" in Europe at a recommended retail price of €329.


Plantronics Gives BackBeats Better Battery Life, More Options

Sep 4, 2019, 10:16 AM   by Rich Brome

Plantronics has updated its lineup of Bluetooth headphones with new true wireless options plus better battery life. The lineup includes a "My Tap" feature, which offers command customization via the companion app. Users can begin their favorite playlist, set a timer, and interval train with a single tap.

All four new models are available starting today.


"Ultimate Edition" ROG Phone II Sports More Storage, Faster LTE

Sep 4, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 4, 2019, 1:48 PM

Asus this week announced the ROG Phone II Ultimate Edition, which has a new Matte Black design, 1 TB of storage instead of 512 GB, and Cat. 20 LTE instead of Cat. 18. Like the standard and Elite editions, the Ultimate Edition comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor, 12 GB of RAM, and 120 Hz screen, and a 6,000 mAh battery.


Blu Launches New Entry-Level Models

Sep 4, 2019, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 4, 2019, 1:45 PM

Blu today launched the Vivo X5 and Vivo XL5. The two unlocked Android phones come in at $100 and $130, respectively, before a limited-time $20-off launch deal. Both have tall HD displays, fingerprint reader on the back, 3.5mm audio jack, 13-megapixel main camera, 3 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, a memory card slot, and dual SIM slots. The smaller X5 has a 5.7-inch HD+ display, 8-megapixel selfie camera with LED flash, and a removable 2,800 mAh battery. The larger XL5 has a 6.3-inch HD+ display with a small notch, 13-megapixel selfie camera, extra depth camera on the back, and a 4,000 mAh non-removable battery. Both have a plastic back with a stitched-leather texture design. They are both powered by a Unisoc SC9863A octa-core processor using an ARM A55 design, and support LTE bands 2, 4, 5, and 12, for basic support with networks like AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, and Metro. With the special launch pricing, the Vivo X5 is just $79, and the XL5 runs $109.


adidas Launching Sport Headphones

Sep 4, 2019, 6:30 AM   by Rich Brome

Today, adidas and Zound Industries announced the launch of the first two headphones in a new adidas Sport lineup. The wireless Bluetooth headphones include one in-ear model and one over-ear model:

Both models launch globally on September 25th. They were designed in partnership between adidas and Zound Industries, which also makes Bluetooth devices under the Urban Ears and Marshall brands.


Final Version of Android 10 Available to Pixel Phones

Sep 3, 2019, 12:40 PM   by Rich Brome

Google released the final version of Android 10 today, after several months of public beta versions. It's available now for all of Google's own Pixel phones, and will be available for other phones in the coming weeks and months. The new OS offers a system-wide dark mode, new gesture navigation, and new privacy controls, among many features and improvements. For the new gesture navigation, a swipe in from the left or right edge of the screen performs the "back" action, while a swipe up from the bottom edge takes users to the home screen. Some apps will need to be updated to avoid triggering the back action accidentally. Users will also be notified when an app requests location data while running in the background, and users can decline those requests. Google recently changed the version naming scheme for Android, switching to simple numbers instead of letters and dessert names.


New Pixel Phones Include 60 GHz Radios

Sep 3, 2019, 9:55 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 3, 2019, 9:59 AM

The FCC today approved four new Google Pixel phones, two of which seem US-bound, both of which include short-range 60 GHz radios, commonly used for the technology known as WiGig, Wireless Display, or 802.11ad. WiGig is fast enough to send 4K video or real-time VR wirelessly. The high frequency and low power of WiGig limit it to very short-range applications, typically within the same room. However 60 GHz radios could also be used for RADAR, and Google has put out its own teaser for the Pixel 4 revealing that the phones will have face unlock and support mid-air hand gestures, both features which could potentially leverage RADAR hardware running at 60 GHz. The phones are presumably the forthcoming Pixel 4 series, although FCC documents made public today reveal little else of note about the "G020I" and "G020J". As with previous Pixel phones, they include support for all frequency bands used by US LTE networks, including newer bands like 14, 30, 66, and 71.


Google Expands Its Bounty Program to Include 3rd-Party App Bugs, Data Privacy Violations

Aug 30, 2019, 8:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has dramatically expanded its bug bounty program to include non-Google Android apps in Google Play with 100 million or more installs, as well as data privacy issues in any app. Google will work with developers' own bug/vulnerability bounty programs, but will pay out bounties in addition to those of developers. Google will also use reports of security vulnerabilities through the new program to improve its automated scanners that look for security issues in all apps uploaded to the Play Store. Google is also starting a new program called Developer Data Protection Reward Program (DDPRP) that will offer similar rewards for people who find proof that an app in the Play Store is violating Google's policies on data privacy. Google will pay up to $50,000 to people who identify situations where user data is being used or sold unexpectedly, or repurposed in an illegitimate way without user consent.


Apple Expands Third-Party iPhone Repair Program

Aug 29, 2019, 9:52 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple is opening up its official iPhone repair program to allow independent repair shops of all sizes access to genuine Apple parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics. Apple had previously restricted these resources to Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs), which now includes all Best Buy locations. But now any repair shop with an Apple-certified technician on staff can offer Apple-sanctioned service for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Employee certification is free of charge. The new program is called the Independent Repair Provider Program. Participating businesses will receive Apple-genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics at the same cost as AASPs. Interested businesses can apply starting today.


Google Moving Pixel Production from China to Vietnam

Aug 29, 2019, 9:40 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has started work to shift its own hardware manufacturing — including Pixel phones — from China to Vietnam, as it seeks to avoid tariffs in Trump's trade war with China as well as rising labor costs in China. An old Nokia factory in Vietnam is being rehabbed to make Pixel phones. Some Pixel 3a phones could be shipping from the new factory in Vietnam before the end of this year. According to sources speaking to Nikkei, Google intends to eventually move production of most of its American-bound hardware outside of China. Samsung also has phone factories in the same Vietnamese province.


T-Mobile Free Trial Offer Includes Free Hotspot, Free Month of Data

Aug 28, 2019, 10:16 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile is inviting customers of other carriers to test its network free for 30 days, using their existing phone and before deciding to switch. To do this, it's giving away free Coolpad Surf mobile hotspots with 30 days or 30 GB of free data (whichever comes first). Users connect their existing phone to the hotspot via W-Fi, which in turn connects to the T-Mobile network. This allows users to test T-Mobile's network without switching phones or leaving their current carrier. T-Mobile is eager to show off its improved coverage. T-Mobile has spent $30 billion in recent years to add LTE in band 71 nationwide. Band 71 is a swath of radio frequencies near 600 MHz, which is lower than other mobile phone bands. The lower frequency provides farther-reaching coverage and better service indoors.


ZTE Axon 10 Pro Brings Its Flagship Specs to the US for $549

Aug 28, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

ZTE today launched a US version of its Axon 10 Pro flagship phone for $549. It comes with more RAM (8-12 GB) and storage (256 GB) than the global version. It also has better support for US 4G LTE networks than most unlocked phones, supporting Cat. 12 LTE across bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 25, 26, 30, 41, 66, and 71, (plus overseas bands). The 10 Pro sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 4,000 mAh battery, and a 6.5-inch, full-HD AMOELD display with curved sides. Its triple rear cameras include a 48-megapixel main camera (f/1.7), 20-megapixel wide-angle (125º), and 3x telephoto (8 megapixel). The selfie camera clocks in at 20 megapixel. It also has Quick Charge 4.0 fast charging, wireless charging, NFC, memory card slot, water resistance, and an optical in-display fingerprint reader. The design features a deep blue color, matte-finish aluminum frame and 3D curved glass front and back. It comes with Android 9 and a clean Google interface design. It does not have a 3.5mm audio jack, but an adapter is included in the box, along with a fast charger and TPU case. The standard model with 8 GB RAM is available today, unlocked, for $549 from ZTE, B&H Photo, and Newegg. The 12 GB RAM version runs $599.


Hands On with the ZTE Axon 10 Pro

May 9, 2019, 11:48 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 28, 2019, 8:15 AM

ZTE has been relatively quiet in the US recently for political reasons, but they're working on their comeback. They have a new flagship phone, and it will come to the US. It has just about everything you'd want in a flagship phone, and yet ZTE is promising a price closer to that of mid-range phones. We checked it out in person. NEW: Added video.

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Google Maps Mixes in Biking, Rideshare with Transit Directions

Aug 27, 2019, 12:41 PM   by Rich Brome

In the coming weeks, Google Maps transit directions will be enhanced to include biking and ride-share as options for each end of the trip, when appropriate. The feature includes cost estimates and estimated wait times, and lets you hire a ride-share car right within the directions. You can also choose your favorite ride-share provider and other available ride options like pool or economy. The new options are factored into your total travel time and ETA.


Qualcomm, Apple Threatened by GlobalFoundries Complaint Against TMSC

Aug 27, 2019, 12:31 PM   by Rich Brome

GlobalFoundries is going on the attack against TMSC over 16 patents that cover crucial aspects of cutting-edge chips used in a wide range of products, including most phones. Both companies manufacture such chips. TMSC's customers include Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Marvell, and Broadcom. GlobalFoundries is filing lawsuits this week in both the US and Germany — including with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) — seeking orders that will prevent the import of chips produced with the infringing technology, and products containing those chips. If successful, it would essentially block the import of all modern phones to the US.


Sprint Launches 5G in NYC, LA, DC, Phoenix

Aug 27, 2019, 9:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint today launched 5G service in four new cities, and launched one new 5G phone: The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, available starting today. In New York City, 5G covers 1.7 million people, and parts of Manhattan from Central Park to the southern tip. It also covers La Guardia and JFK Airports, parts of Flushing and Rockaway Beach in Queens, Red Hook in Brooklyn and Concourse in the Bronx. In New Jersey, Sprint will cover areas of Hudson County including Union City and North Bergen. In Los Angeles, 5G now covers covers approximately 1.2 million people with service available from Marina del Rey to Downtown L.A., and West Hollywood to Culver City. In addition, Sprint 5G is also available in parts of Orange County, Pasadena and Cerritos. In Washington, DC, 5G covers approximately 520,000 people with service available in popular parts of the District, as well as areas of Montgomery County, Arlington, and Fairfax County. In Phoenix, 5G covers approximately 740,000 people with service available across the greater Phoenix metro area with service in parts of Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and Glendale. The company also announced expanded 5G coverage in existing 5G cities of Kansas City, Dallas-Ft Worth, Atlanta, and Houston. Sprint also announced that its Unlimited Premium plan now includes a free three-month trial of the Hatch game-streaming service. The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is very similar to the OnePlus 7 Pro, simply with 5G.

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Blu G9 Pro Includes Wireless Charging

Aug 27, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 27, 2019, 9:30 AM

BLU today announced the G9 Pro, the company's latest higher-end phone in its lineup of affordable unlocked Android phones. Unusual features for its price class include wireless charging and triple rear cameras. The front sports an all-screen design with a 6.3-inch, full-HD display with a small notch. The glass rear has a shimmering blue/purple design. The main camera is 16 megapixel, assisted by a 5-megapixel depth camera for portrait mode. The third camera is a 20-megapixel module dedicated to night mode. The selfie camera clocks in as 24 megapixels. The G9 Pro is powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 processor paired with 4 GB of RAM. It comes with 128 GB of internal storage and supports an additional 128 GB via its memory card slot. It also has a large 4,000 mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging via USB-C. The phone also has a fingerprint reader on the back, 3.5mm audio jack, and FM radio. Included in the box are a clear case, fast charger, and 3.5mm earbuds. The phone is normally $250, but "lucky customers who are first in line will be able to purchase the G9 Pro ... for $199.99 while supplies last." The phone is available now from Amazon.


Hands On with the Blu G9 Pro

Aug 27, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 28, 2019, 7:58 AM

Blu's latest "flagship" phone is really more mid-range, but it's unique as a $250 phone with wireless charging and triple rear cameras. It doesn't have everything, but the specs are decent, and if your priorities are screen and battery, it might be worth a look. We check it out in this hands-on.

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Verizon Taps Boingo for Indoor 5G

Aug 26, 2019, 10:01 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will work with Boingo Wireless, a specialist in building indoor wireless networks, to expand its 5G network to places like airports, stadiums and arenas, office buildings, and hotels. Boingo has been building dense indoor Wi-Fi networks for 15 years. Verizon's mmWave 5G has short-range coverage similar to Wi-Fi.


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