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Verizon Expands Affordable 5G Lineup with Motorola One 5G

Oct 15, 2020, 10:11 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon today launched the Motorola One 5G for $550, matching the price of the Samsung Galaxy A51 5G, Verizon's cheapest 5G phone before today. AT&T sells the One 5G for $445, but Verizon's version adds support for mmWave 5G, which Verizon calls Ultra Wideband.


Verizon Launches Nationwide 5G

Oct 13, 2020, 12:43 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 13, 2020, 2:41 PM

At Apple's iPhone 12 launch event, Verizon announced the launch of its nationwide sub-6 GHz 5G network, offering broad 5G coverage from Verizon for the first time. The network covers over 200 million people spanning 1,800 cities and towns. The company also detailed plans to continue expansion of its mmWave "Ultra Wideband" network, offering even higher speeds in select dense areas. The company is launching mmWave 5G in 19 new cities today, including Baltimore, Hartford, Jersey City, Las Vegas, Louisville, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tucson. That bring Verizon's mmWave city count to 55, a number they expect to reach 60 by the end of the year.


Google Details 5G Pixels

Sep 30, 2020, 2:06 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 30, 2020, 3:03 PM

Google today announced its 5G Pixel phones for 2020: the Pixel 5 and "Pixel 4a (5G)". The confusingly-named Pixel 4a (5G) actually has more in common with the Pixel 5 than with the Pixel 4a. Both have a large OLED display (6–6.2 inches) with HDR, large battery (roughly 4,000 mAh), the exact same high-quality camera arrays, Titan M security chip, and are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip. The key differences are that the Pixel 5 has wireless (and reverse wireless) charging, water resistance, aluminum (vs. polycarbonate) body, and 8 GB RAM instead of 6. However only the Pixel 4a (5G) has a 3.5mm headset jack. The new Pixels include several new camera features. Night Sight in Portrait Mode lets you take portrait shots with blurred backgrounds even in very low light. Portrait Light lets you simulate a studio light and position it anywhere relative to your subject. That feature can also be applied to existing photos in Google Photos. Video mode now lets you choose from three different stabilization modes, including a new Cinematic Pan mode. The main camera is the same 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture that Google has used in Pixel phones for the past year. The two new 5G models also have a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a departure from the Pixel 4 which had a telephoto camera instead. A new Hold for Me feature lets you assign Google Assistant to monitor a call on hold and alert you when a person is on the line. Extreme Battery Saver lets you pick which apps are essential and shuts down everything else to prolong battery life up to two days. Hold for Me and Extreme Battery Saver will come older Pixel phones via software update. Google has also improved its Recorder app, which records audio while transcribing it to text, even offline. Now, you can crop and remove sections of audio by simply editing the text. The Pixel 5 will be available unlocked in mint or black starting October 15th for $699. Pre-orders are open now. It will also come to Verizon with mmWave 5G for the same price, at a later date. The Pixel 4a (5G) will be available unlocked in November for $499, in black or white. Verizon will sell a version with mmWave 5G for $600, and will start taking pre-orders for that version October 29th.


LG Wing Launches October 15th for $1000

Sep 29, 2020, 10:03 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will start taking pre-orders for the LG Wing on Oct. 1 for $1000, with full launch on Oct. 15. AT&T and T-Mobile will offer the Wing at a later date.


Verizon Adds TCL-Branded $80 Phone to Prepaid Lineup

Sep 24, 2020, 11:43 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon today launched the TCL Signa, the first TCL-branded phone to be launched by one of the big three US carriers. Previously, most TCL-made phones offered in the US bore the company's Alcatel brand. Although the Signa is an $80 entry-level phone for Verizon prepaid customers, it marks a major step in TCL's effort to expand the TCL brand in the US mobile market. Verizon lists the phone as the "Alcatel TCL SIGNA" on its web site, but the phone itself bears just the TCL and Verizon logos. The Signa has a 5.5-inch HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 processor, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, 3,000 mAh battery, 8 megapixel main camera, USB-C, Android 10, dedicated Google Assistant button, memory card slot, and headset jack. It's available now for $80.


Samsung Expands Galaxy S20 Series With More-Affordable Fan Edition

Sep 23, 2020, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 24, 2020, 8:55 AM

Samsung has a new, more affordable Galaxy S20 phone that starts at $699 while keeping the S20 specs and features that Samsung says surveyed users cared about most. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (abbreviated "FE") keeps flagship-level specs in many areas. This includes Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset, large (6.5") AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh, 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, LPDDR5 RAM, DeX, memory card slot, IP68 dust and water rating, and a metal frame. It also has triple rear cameras (12 megapixel main, 12 megapixel wide, and 8 megapixel tele), 32 megapixel selfie camera, NFC, in-display optical fingerprint reader, and Samsung's latest advanced camera features such as Single Take and Space Zoom (30x). Most US carriers will offer three color options: Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, and Cloud Lavender. Verizon will also offer a Cloud Red option. The unlocked version from samsung.com will come in those four colors plus Cloud Orange and Cloud White. Most US carriers are expected to offer the Galaxy S20 FE. Most versions will only support sub-6 GHz 5G, but a version that also supports mmWave 5G will be available from Verizon for $750, ($700 after $50 instant discount when choosing a two-year payment plan and either: adding a new line, or upgrading while on a premium Unlimited plan). While the 6.5" screen and 4,500 battery are closer to the $1200 S20+, the S20 FE naturally makes a few compromises compared to the $1000 S20 to achieve its low price: less RAM at 6 GB, a full-HD screen that's perfectly flat, no 8K video capture, and a polycarbonate back instead of glass. Pre-orders start today and include a $70 credit (for accessories, for example) on samsung.com. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition ships on October 2nd.


US Carriers Launch ZenKey, a Network-Based Login for Apps

Sep 17, 2020, 10:24 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have officially launched ZenKey, a new way quickly log in to apps that leverages the authentication that happens automatically every time your phone connects to the cellular network. Apps must be updated to support ZenKey, and developers have the option of enabling ZenKey as the primary login, or as the second token in two-factor logins, replacing PIN codes sent my text message, for example. Customers must also download the ZenKey app (available for both iOS and Android) to start using ZenKey. Currently, only a handful of apps support ZenKey login, (mostly the carriers' own apps,) but carriers hope more apps will add support.


Verizon Intros Simpler, Cheaper Plans for Watches, Tablets, Hotspots

Sep 17, 2020, 9:03 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has introduced new Unlimited data plans for non-phone devices including smartwatches, tablets, and mobile hotspots. The new $10/month plan intended for smartwatches covers both watches with their own phone number and those using NumberShare to share a phone number between a phone and a watch. It includes 15GB of top-speed 4G LTE data, plus unlimited voice and texting. Previously, Verizon charged up to $15/month for just 1 GB of data. Existing customers will automatically be switched to the new pricing. The $20 plan, intended for tablets and hotspots, also includes 15 GB of top-speed data but adds hotspot functionality. Finally, a new Unlimited Plus plan for $30/month doubles the "premium" 4G data allotment to 30 GB and includes unlimited 5G data. Customers with a higher-end Unlimited phone plan (Do More or Get More) can get a 50% discount on Unlimited Plus, bringing it to just $15/month. The new plans are available starting today.


LG Wing Boasts Swivel Screen

Sep 14, 2020, 9:31 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 15, 2020, 12:03 PM

The first phone in LG's "Explorer Project" series is the LG Wing, a phone with a unique swivel display design. The 6.8-inch full-HD OLED main display swivels up to reveal a 3.9-inch second screen. The hinge features a hydraulic damper for smooth motion, and is rated for 200,000 swivels. The unique design is optimized for viewing videos full-screen while commenting or messaging on the second screen, for example. It can also keep GPS navigation full-screen while offering call controls on the second screen. A Grip Mode ignores accidental touches while recording video with the hinge open. A "Gimbal Motion Camera" mode takes this further with joystick, lock, and follow controls on the second screen. The 64 megapixel main camera is accompanied by two wide-angle cameras: a 12 megapixel "big pixel" camera plus another 13 megapixel wide camera. One wide-angle camera is mounted in standard portrait orientation while the other is rotated 90º to match the shape of the swivel screen when open. The 32 megapixel selfie camera pops up from the top of the phone. The Wing is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip with 8 GB of RAM. It will come with either 128 or 256 GB of storage, plus a memory card slot. The 4,000 mAh battery can be charged via Quick Charge 4.0 or wireless charging. The Wing is rated IP54 for water and dust resistance. Available colors include Aurora Gray and "Illusion Sky". In the US, the LG Wing will launch first with Verizon, followed by T-Mobile, AT&T, and other US carriers. "Specific pricing, availability, specs and color options will vary by network partner."


Verizon Buys TracFone

Sep 14, 2020, 8:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has reached an agreement to buy TracFone, the country's leading prepaid mobile provider and largest reseller of wireless services. TracFone operates a family of value-oriented brands that includes StraightTalk, Net10, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, PagePlus, Walmart Family Mobile, SafeLink, and ClearWay. As an MVNO, TracFone replies on other mobile networks. Out of 21 million total TracFone customers, 13 million already use the Verizon network. "Following the acquisition, Verizon expects to bring its award-winning 4G LTE and 5G networks and other innovative technologies to Tracfone customers". Verizon already offers its own prepaid service and has a prepaid subsidiary called Visible. Verizon expects to keep all 850 TracFone employees. The $6.25 billion deal is expected to close in about a year.


TCL 10 5G Might be Verizon's First Sub-6-Only 5G Phone

Sep 2, 2020, 3:22 PM   by Rich Brome

The FCC has approved a version of the TCL 10 5G with a combination of frequency bands unique to Verizon's 4G and forthcoming sub-6 GHz 5G networks. Unlike all of Verizon's current 5G phones, it does not seem to support Verizon's existing mmWave 5G network. mmWave offers fast speeds but very limited coverage. mmWave also required special antennas in the phone, which is why Verizon's 5G phones to date have often been $50–100 more expensive than the the versions without mmWave offered by other carriers. No longer requiring mmWave will enable Verizon to offer more affordable 5G phones. Verizon is expected to launch its sub-6 GHz 5G network (with vastly greater coverage) in the coming months. TCL has already announced that the TCL 10 5G would come to a major US carrier by the end of the year, with TCL branding, for under $500.


Verizon, Dish Top Winners in FCC's First 3.5 GHz Auction

Sep 2, 2020, 12:38 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 2, 2020, 12:47 PM

The FCC today published the winners of the recent Auction 105 for part of the 3.5 GHz band. Verizon shelled out $1.9 billion for 557 licenses covering 157 counties, likely covering major cities. Dish Network (bidding as "Wetterhorn Wireless") shelled out $913 million for 5,492 licenses covering 3,128 counties. Several cable companies also participated, but for fewer and/or less-valuable licenses. In this part of the 3.5 GHz band, each license covers 10 MHz of bandwidth in one county. The FCC auctioned off a maximum of seven licenses in any given county, with each company allowed to own a maximum of four licenses per county. Verizon appears to have approached that maximum in the counties it bid for, gaining 40 MHz of spectrum in a slight majority of its 157 counties, and 30 MHz in all or most of the rest. Dish won spectrum covering many more counties, but likely in more rural areas since it paid less for those licenses. Dish appears to have averaged closer to two licenses (20 MHz) per county. Dish currently operates the Boost brand using the T-Mobile network, but is preparing to build its own 5G SA network over the coming years. Auction 105 is the first of three FCC auctions for different parts of the 3.5 GHz band. This auction covers 3550-3650 MHz. The next 3.5 GHz auction starts in December.


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2: Full Details and Photos

Sep 1, 2020, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung has revealed new details of its Galaxy Z Fold2 foldable phone, the successor to last year's pioneering Galaxy Fold. While Samsung has improved or refined most aspects of the design — including the hinge — the much larger outer display stands out, having grown from 4.6 to 6.2 inches, and now protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The flexible inner display is also larger thanks to thinner bezels, and is protected by Samsung's proprietary Ultra Thin Glass material that debuted on the Galaxy Z Flip earlier this year. It also supports adaptive screen refresh up to 120 Hz. Both screens have a single hole punch for a 10-megapixel selfie camera. The three rear cameras (standard, wide, and 2x telephoto) are all 12 megapixel. It has a 4,500 mAh battery. It supports 25W fast charging, 11W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging. Its radios include both sub-6 and mmWave 5G, UWB, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. It's available in one spec configuration — 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage (no memory card slot) — for $1999. Samsung is also expanding the "Galaxy Z Premier Service" included with all of its Z series phones with new VIP amenities such as Founders Card membership. Color options for the Z Fold2 are: Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. Optionally, the hinge color can be customized, which a choice of four metallic hinge colors: silver, gold, red, or blue. Starting September 18th, it will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as unlocked directly from Samsung. Pre-orders start at midnight tonight. Read on for a photo gallery, full specs, and new software feature info.

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Motorola Bringing Affordable 5G to AT&T and Verizon

Aug 31, 2020, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola today announced the Motorola One 5G, a new sub-$500 phone with 5G and six cameras. It will launch with sub-6 GHz 5G "soon" on AT&T, while a version that also supports mmWave 5G will launch on Verizon in early October. Exact pricing and launch dates were not revealed. The One 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip and huge 5,000 mAh battery. It also has a 6.7-inch, full-HD display with HDR10 and 90 Hz refresh, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, memory card slot, headset jack, and NFC. Its four rear cameras include a 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, and a 5 megapixel macro camera with a unique ring flash. Its dual hole-punch selfie cameras include a 16 megapixel standard camera and an 8 megapixel wide camera. Its side-mounted fingerprint reader can be double-tapped to summon a pop-up widget with customizable shortcuts to apps and app actions.


Red Velvet Comes to Verizon This Week for $700

Aug 18, 2020, 10:43 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will start selling the LG Velvet this Friday, August 21st, for $700. Verizon has a US exclusive on the Aurora Red color. AT&T already sells the Velvet in silver and gray, and T-Mobile also plans to sell the Velvet. As with many 5G phones this year, only Verizon's model includes mmWave 5G as well as sub-6 GHz 5G. Verizon currently only offers a mmWave 5G network, with higher speeds but limited coverage. The company will launch its sub-6 5G network (with broad coverage but less impressive speeds) "soon".


Verizon Gives Kids Unlimited Data, Grown-Ups Free Disney+ and Hulu

Aug 17, 2020, 10:11 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has tweaked its unlimited plans to include more value at the same prices. The Just Kids plan now includes unlimited 4G data instead of a set 5GB. It's limited to 5 Mbps speed, just enough to stream video. The premium Play More and Get More plans now include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Previously, they only included Apple Music. (Apple Music is still included with Get More, but not Play More.) Previously, all plans included one free year of Disney+; that's been cut to a six-month trial on the cheaper plans. Verizon has also clarified that all of its unlimited plans will include access to the company's forthcoming sub-6 GHz "5G Nationwide" network with broad 5G coverage. Currently, Verizon only offers a mmWave "5G Ultra Wideband" network with higher speeds but very limited coverage. Access to that network will still require a premium plan such as Play More, Do More, or Get More. Those plans also include "Premium Network Access", which means priority access to the network (up to 50 GB), and the option for HD video streaming. Start Unlimited (and premium-plan customers exceeding 50 GB in one month) will experience slower speeds in times of network congestion. Plan prices remain unchanged. Play More — the cheapest plan to include the new streaming services — runs $80/month for a single line, $70/month/line for two lines, $55 with three lines, $45 with four lines, or $40 for five or more lines. Those prices also require Auto Pay and paper-free billing. Taxes and fees not included. The new plans will be available starting August 20th.

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Microsoft's Surface Duo is a new Category of Android Device

Aug 12, 2020, 10:04 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft is finally ready to launch the unique, dual-screen Surface Duo device it first revealed almost a year ago. The Android 10 device has two 5.6-inch OLED displays, joined by a narrow 360º hinge, which can work together as one 8.1-inch display. Microsoft has customized both the Android OS, and its suite of productivity apps for Android, to enable new dual-screen functionality. The Surface Duo will launch September 10th starting at $1399. It has excellent support for the 4G networks of AT&T and Verizon, and decent support for T-Mobile's 4G network, although it does not support band 71. It will be available unlocked as well as from AT&T. Key specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM, 128 or 256 GB of storage, Cat. 18 LTE, 3,577 mAh battery capacity, 18W fast charging, fingerprint reader, and USB-C 3.1 including video output to DisplayPort or HDMI. It has an 11 megapixel camera that supports 1080p video conferencing and 4K video capture. The 360º hinge lets the single camera face inward or outward. When open, the Surface Duo is just 4.8mm thick.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Coming to Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T

Aug 5, 2020, 9:43 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 5, 2020, 5:11 PM

Samsung has revealed the first details of its next premium foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold2. Also, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T have all announced that they will offer the Z Fold2. Both screens have been made larger compared to the original Fold. The outer display is now a full 6.2 inches, covering most of the front surface, a huge improvement over the 4.6-inch display on the original Fold. The inner, flexible display has been enlarged from 7.3 to 7.6 inches. The flexible display is now protected by Samsung's UTG (Ultra Thin Glass) just like the Galaxy Z Flip. The hinge looks similar, but has been re-engineered using over 60 precision parts. The phone also has a small camera hole punch on both displays, and 4,500 mAh battery capacity. The Z Fold2 will come in Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. Samsung is keeping full details under wraps until September 1st, when pre-orders will also go live. Read on for more photos.

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Galaxy Note20 Series Focuses on Video, Note-Taking

Aug 5, 2020, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung today revealed its latest Galaxy Note phones: the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra. On the software side, the new Note phones include an overhauled Samsung Notes app with free cloud sync, PDF annotation, nested folder structure, personalized handwriting neaten-ing, sound recordings time-synced with your own notes, and sync with both OneNote and Outlook. The S Pen supports five new gestures, allowing general Android navigation using only the S Pen as a remote control. The Note20 series also includes advanced video features such as 8K video capture, multi-track audio including remote mics (USB or Bluetooth), manual controls, variable-speed zoom, and the ability to use the extra mics in the new Galaxy Buds Live earbuds to better cancel out background noise. Updated Link to Windows integration now lets you access your mobile apps directly from your Windows 10 PC. The Note20 series also features 120 Hz display refresh, brighter screens, Snapdragon 865+ processor, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, 5G (including mmWave in most versions), and IP68 water resistance. The standard Note20 has a more rounded design, flat 6.7-inch FHD+ display, 4,300 mAh battery, 8 GB RAM, and 128 GB storage. The Note20 Ultra has a more sharp-cornered design, 6.9-inch QHD+ display with curved sides and the new Gorilla Glass Victus, 4,500 mAh battery, 12 GB RAM, 128 or 512 GB storage, and a memory card slot. The Ultra also adds UWB for precise relative positioning, similar to a feature introduced in the iPhone 11. At launch, the Note20 Ultra will support UWB for Point To Share file-sharing and digital key applications, with more uses planned. On the camera side, the two models take different approaches to implementing zoom, much like the S20 series. The standard model has a 12 megapixel standard camera, plus a 64 megapixel camera for 8K video and up to 3x real zoom. The Ultra model has a 108 megapixel main camera for 8K video and 1–4x zoom, plus a 5x optical tele camera (12 megapixel). Samsung's "Space Zoom" adds 10x digital zoom, for total zoom of 30x on the Note20 and 50x on the Ultra. Both models also have a 12 megapixel wide camera and 10 megapixel selfie camera with auto-focus. The standard model will come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green, and Mystic Gray, while the Ultra will come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White. Select colors have a "haze" effect matte finish that resists fingerprints. Pre-orders start August 6th, will full availability on the 21st. The Note20 Ultra will start at $1300, while the standard Note20 will start at $1000. Most US carriers will offer the Note20 series, including Verizon and Xfinity Mobile. The phones will also be available unlocked. All pre-orders include a credit to spend with Samsung on accessories, etc.: $100 for the Note20 and $150 for the Ultra. The credit can be used for an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Bundle, which includes a Bluetooth game controller and 3 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with cloud gaming.


Samsung's Most Affordable 5G Phone Hits US This Month

Aug 4, 2020, 2:42 PM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile, Metro, and Verizon will all launch the Samsung Galaxy A51 5G this month, starting with T-Mobile on August 7th. The A51 5G is just $500, making it the most affordable 5G phone offered by US carriers to date. Verizon's model, which adds mmWave 5G, will run $550, according to a Verizon spokesperson. The A51 5G was announced in April. Compared to the 4G A51, the A51 5G adds not only 5G, but also a larger battery and more RAM. AT&T, Verizon, and Xfinity already offer the 4G version. Other specs include a 6.5-inch OLED display, four rear cameras, 32-megapixel front camera, fast charging, NFC, and a memory card slot.


Google Reveals Pixel 4a; 5G Pixels Coming This Fall

Aug 3, 2020, 11:44 AM   by Rich Brome

The newest affordable Pixel phone from Google is the Pixel 4a, which starts at $349, making it the most affordable Pixel phone ever. (The Pixel 3a started at $399 at launch.) A 5G version will also be available this fall starting at $499. The Pixel 4a is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chip paired with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The 4a is a relatively small phone, with a 5.8-inch OLED display that covers the front. A small hole punch in the corner accommodates the 8 megapixel selfie camera. The single rear camera is 12 megapixel with dual-pixel focusing. The phone comes with an 18W USB-PD fast charger for its 3,140 mAh battery. It also has a fingerprint reader on the back, headphone jack up top, stereo speakers, and NFC. It does not have water resistance nor wireless charging. It will be available in black (only) starting August 20th from Google, Best Buy, Amazon, Google Fi, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. Pre-orders from Google and Google Fi start today. Google also revealed that a 5G-enabled Pixel 5 will be announced in the "coming months" and be available this fall, but said little else about it.


LG's Premium "Velvet" Launching in US for $600

Jul 21, 2020, 9:36 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 21, 2020, 2:40 PM

LG today finally revealed the US launch details for its design-centric flagship phone for 2020, the Velvet. The Velvet will be offered by all three major US carriers, starting with AT&T tomorrow. It specs are just shy of competing flagship phones, but still very high-end. Crucially, it's significantly cheaper at just $600. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip, 6 GB of RAM, and a 4,300 mAh battery. The AT&T and T-Mobile versions offer sub-6 GHz 5G. As usual, Verizon will offer a special version that also supports mmWave 5G. Other specs include a 6.8-inch full-HD OLED display with HDR10, 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide-angle camera, 16 megapixel selfie camera, Quick Charge 4+, and IP68 water resistance. It also has 128 GB of storage, memory card slot, headset jack, NFC, stereo speakers, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The Velvet supports its own Dual Display, which adds a second full-size display plus small outer display as part of a hinged case accessory. The Velvet also supports and optional stylus, and can operate in a special desktop mode when connected to a large external monitor or TV. LG has emphasized design in launching the Velvet, touting its "3D Arc Design", "raindrop-inspired rear camera array", "flowing lines, polished surfaces, curved corners and symmetrical front and rear edges". Colors available in the US include Aurora Gray, Aurora Silver, Aurora Red, and Pink White, although specific colors and pricing "will vary by network partner". The Velvet will come to T-Mobile and Verizon "later this summer".


Samsung and LG Launch New Affordable Phones on US Carriers

Jul 13, 2020, 3:24 PM   by Rich Brome

US carriers have launched a flurry of new entry-level phones from LG and Samsung in recent weeks. The phones include three new models from each of the two manufacturers. They range in price from $60 to $260.

  • LG's new most affordable phone goes by many names and ranges in price from $60 to $160. It's offered by just about every carrier except Verizon. T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro offer it as the Aristo 5. Boost offers it as the Tribute Monarch. U.S. Cellular offers it as the K8x. All of those versions come with 32 GB of storage. Only AT&T's version comes with just 16 GB of storage, which they offer from AT&T Prepaid as the Phoenix 5, or from Cricket as the Fortune 3. Oddly, Cricket also offers this phone as the Risio 4. The Risio 4 and K8x have a front camera that's downgraded from 5 to 3 megapixel. Key specs in common include a 5.7-inch HD display with notch, MediaTek Helio P22 processor, 2 GB RAM, and a 3,000 mAh Battery. It also has a 13-megapixel main camera, dedicated wide-angle camera, and a rear fingerprint reader.
  • LG Harmony 4: Currently available only from Cricket (for $140), this step-up model has a larger display (6.1-inch), larger battery (3,500 mAh), and more RAM (3 GB). It also has USB-C and a better front camera. Regulatory filings indicate it may also come to Verizon prepaid and TracFone using the Sprint network.
  • LG K51: Already available from T-Mobile, Metro, and Boost, this model is now available from Verizon for $168. Compared to the Harmony 4, it offers an even larger display and battery. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 processor.
  • Samsung A01: First launched on Verizon in April, Samsung's most affordable phone is now available from AT&T, Cricket, and Metro, for $115, $60, and $160, respectively. It has USB-C and fast charging, but no fingerprint reader.
  • Samsung A11: A big step up from A01, this $180 phone is now available from AT&T and Verizon. It will launch with Boost on July 21st at a limited-time price of $130. It has a 6.4-inch HD display with a hole-punch design, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, fingerprint reader, and a dedicated wide-angle camera.
  • Samsung A21: Now available from Verizon, T-Mobile, Metro, Sprint, and Boost. While the standard price is $250, Metro is charging $260 while Boost is currently offering it for $200. It has a similar display and battery compared to the A11, but has upgraded cameras, MediaTek Helio P35 processor, 3 GB RAM, and NFC.


Verizon Sets Price, Date for Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Jul 7, 2020, 10:39 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will offer Samsung's Galaxy A71 5G starting July 16th (pre-orders July 9th) for $650, making it Verizon's cheapest 5G phone to date. That's still $50 more than the A71 5G offered by other carriers, but Verizon's version adds supports for faster mmWave 5G.


Verizon Lowers Prepaid Rates, Adds Loyalty Discounts

Jun 24, 2020, 11:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has improved the value of its prepaid plans across the board, and added additional discounts the longer you keep your account. Customers will now receive a $5/month discount after three months, and an additional $5/month discount after nine months. As before, a further $5/month discount is available when using Auto Pay. The Unlimited prepaid plan is now $65/month instead of $70. That's before any discounts, so after nine months and with Auto Pay, that brings the Unlimited plan to $50/month. The $50/month (before discounts) plan now includes 15 GB of data instead of 8 GB, and the $40/month plan now includes 5 GB instead of 3 GB. With the new discounts, that makes the cheapest plan as low as $25/month. All plans include unlimited talk and text, including texting to/from Canada and Mexico. The 15 GB and Unlimited plans also include unlimited calling to/from Canada and Mexico. Mobile Hotspot is included with the 5 GB and 15 GB plans, and can be added to the Unlimited plan for $5/month.


Verizon Successfully Tests DSS

Jun 22, 2020, 10:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has successfully tested Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology in a "live network environment" in both Texas and Minnesota. DSS is a key element of Verizon's unique 5G deployment strategy. So far, Verizon's 5G network has been limited to mmWave frequency bands, which offer high speeds but very limited coverage (typically only the densest parts of downtown areas in major cities, and venues such as arenas and stadiums.) While other major US carriers have already deployed 5G in existing, lower frequency bands for broad 5G coverage, Verizon is waiting until DSS technology is ready. DSS allows carriers to deploy 5G in existing frequency bands much more efficiently, ensuring 4G network capacity is not reduced unnecessarily. DSS allocates radio frequencies between 4G and 5G in real time, based on demand at each moment. Earlier this month, AT&T announced it has started deploying DSS.


Samsung Galaxy A71 5G Coming to All Major US Carriers

Jun 15, 2020, 11:45 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 15, 2020, 12:12 PM

Samsung's new mid-range 5G phone, the Galaxy A71 5G, will be available from T-Mobile and Sprint this Friday for $600. Samsung has also made it official that both Verizon and AT&T will offer the phone "later this summer", and that it will also be available unlocked. We broke the news about the Verizon version of the A71 5G a month ago. T-Mobile and Sprint will offer the Galaxy A71 5G in a "Prism Cube Black" finish. The A71 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip, has a 6.7-inch full-HD Super AMOLED display, 4,500 mAh battery, 25W fast charging, quad rear cameras including a 64 megapixel main camera, and 6 GB of RAM. T-Mobile also announced today that it will carry many of the other models in Samsung's latest A-series of phones. The slightly cheaper Galaxy A51 5G will come to the T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro brands this summer. The company will also offer the entry-level A01, A11, and A21, at prices ranging from $160 to $250.


Verizon Launches New Discount for College Students

Jun 12, 2020, 10:15 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon is launching a new discount July 2nd exclusively for college students. Any enrolled student at an eligible US institution of higher learning with a single-line Mix & Match Unlimited account can receive a $10/month discount. Students with a two-line account can get $25/month off. Accounts with more than two lines aren't eligible. It's available to any enrolled undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate student, but for a maximum of four years. Also included is a free one-year trial of Disney+.


AT&T Starts Rolling Out DSS

Jun 8, 2020, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome

AT&T has begun deploying Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), starting in north Texas. DSS is an optional feature of the 5G NR standard that allows 5G and 4G technology to share the same frequency band, allowing greater and more efficient deployment of 5G in existing frequency bands. DSS can dynamically re-assign radio spectrum in real time based on demand. So as more 5G-capable devices are active in a given area, more frequencies are automatically re-assigned from 4G to 5G. Without DSS, only relatively large chunks of radio spectrum are re-assigned from 4G to 5G, and not in real-time, based on demand. AT&T was among the first to present and champion this technology, eventually driving it into 5G standards. Verizon also plans to deploy DSS.


New Moto e is a Big Upgrade Over Last Year's Model

Jun 5, 2020, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola is refreshing its entry-level lineup with a new Moto e for 2020 and a new model at the low end of its (mid-range) g series. The Moto e (2020) and Moto g fast will both be available unlocked and with Boost, and the Moto e will be available with several other US carriers as well.

  • Moto e (2020): This year's Moto e delivers several major upgrades over last year's e6. It has a larger display (6.2-inch vs. 5.5-inch) thanks to a modern notch design. It also has a larger battery: 3,550 mAh vs. 3,000 mAh, and it steps up to a 600-series Snapdragon processor (the 632) compared to last year's 400-series chip. It also offers 32 GB of storage — double last year's amount — and adds both a depth camera and a fingerprint reader. Keeping things affordable, its front camera is 5 megapixel, it has 2 GB of RAM, and it uses a micro-USB charging connector. It does, however, have water-repellent coating, 3.5mm headset jack, and a memory card slot. It will be available unlocked for $150, and later sold by Verizon Prepaid, T-Mobile, Metro, US Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile. There are two variants with different network support: The version for Verizon supports fewer LTE bands, but, oddly, full support for AT&T's LTE network is only found on Verizon's version.
  • Moto g fast: The $200 Moto g fast is a more-affordable cousin to the recently-announced Moto g power (2020) and Moto g stylus. Like those models, it has a 6.4-inch display with a corner hole punch design, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, water resistance, a fingerprint reader, and triple rear cameras (including wide and macro). Making it more affordable is the HD+ display resolution, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and an 8 megapixel selfie camera. It has the same 4,000 mAh battery as the Moto g stylus and the same 16 megapixel main camera as the Moto g power. Other features include USB-C, fast charging, 3.5mm audio jack, and a memory card slot. So far, Boost is the only US carrier that has announced plans to carry the Moto g fast.
Both phones will be available unlocked starting June 12th from Best Buy, B&H Photo, Walmart, Amazon.com, and Motorola.com. Pre-orders start today.


Motorola edge+ on Sale for $200 Off from Verizon

May 21, 2020, 2:05 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon is offering a $200 discount on the brand-new Motorola edge+ flagship phone through June 3rd. Customers must purchase he phone online and will receive the discount in monthly credits over 24 months, but there are no other conditions.


Verizon Turns on 5G Uploads, Lights up 5G in San Diego

May 20, 2020, 11:25 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has enabled data uplink functionality on its entire 5G network, enabling faster uploads for 5G devices in areas of Verizon mmWave 5G coverage. The company also announced that it will soon launch 5G in San Diego. Previously, Verizon's 5G network only supported downlink (download) connections, relying on 4G for uplink (upload). Now that an entire two-way data connection can occur over 5G, the network can provide better quality video calling/conferencing, faster upload and sharing of video files, faster cloud sync and backup, and better multi-player gaming. Verizon claims that 5G uploads should about 30% faster compared to 4G. On May 28th, Verizon will light up mmWave 5G service in parts of San Diego, bringing Verizon's total number of "5G cities" to 35. The service will be "concentrated in parts of Mission Valley near Westfield Mission Valley and SDCCU Stadium, Linda Vista along Linda Vista Road, Kensington near El Cajon Blvd, and in Banker’s Hill on 1st Avenue."


Samsung Galaxy A71 5G Coming to Verizon

May 19, 2020, 11:01 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung is developing a version of its Galaxy A71 5G phone for Verizon, according to information made public today in the Bluetooth SIG's database of devices that have passed the Bluetooth qualification process. The new listing describes the device as "Galaxy-A71-5g US VERIZON". Samsung announced the A71 5G last month, saying it would launch in the US and cost $600. The phone has a 6.7-inch full-HD display, 64-megapixel camera, 4,500 mAh battery, and 25W fast charging. 5G phones must be specifically designed for Verizon to work with the company's 5G unique network, since Verizon is currently one of the few carriers worldwide to rely exclusively on mmWave 5G. So while it cannot be confirmed that Verizon will definitely sell the Galaxy A71 5G, it would be very unusual for Samsung to expend the (considerable) effort to develop such a phone and then cancel it.


Xfinity Mobile Launches 5G Service

May 18, 2020, 11:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile has launched "new" service plans that include mmWave 5G data at no extra cost. The new plans are mostly identical to the company's old plans, except the cheapest plan — offering just 1 GB of shared cellular data — is now $15/month instead of $12/month. Other plans remain unchanged, including 3 GB of shared data for $30/month, 10 GB for $60/month, or unlimited data for $45/month/line. Xfinity Mobile currently offers two 5G phones: the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra. New customers will automatically receive the new plans. Existing customers must opt in to a new plan to access 5G. Xfinity Mobile is available to existing Xfinity Internet customers. Xfinity Mobile uses the Verizon network, now including mmWave 5G in parts of 34 major US cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Spokane, St. Paul, and Washington, D.C.


Verizon Launches LG Q70

May 7, 2020, 11:32 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has launched a new mid-range phone, the LG Q70, for $350. Notable features include an IP68 water resistance rating, NFC, 3.5mm headset jack, 4,000 mAh battery, and a 32-megapixel camera that can capture 4K video. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chip with 4 GB of RAM. It has a 6.4-inch full-HD display with a "hole punch" in the corner for the 16-megapixel selfie camera. It also has 64 GB of storage, a memory card slot, depth camera for portrait effects, rear fingerprint reader, and USB-C with fast charging (USB PD 2.0 and Quick Charge 3.0). The phone is available from Verizon starting today.


Verizon Certifies Unlocked OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro

May 4, 2020, 11:51 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has added the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro to the list of unlocked devices it has tested and certified to run on its network. This enables activation of these unlocked phones on Verizon, including all network features.


Carriers Team Up to Donate Phone Chargers to Hospitals

Apr 29, 2020, 12:01 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T are working with iHeartMedia to donate 200,000 cell phone chargers to hospitals in major cities hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. "Many patients seeking treatment for Covid-19 either forget to bring their phone charger to the hospital or don’t have one easily accessible. Losing the ability to communicate with friends and family during a pandemic can be terrifying and healthcare workers are struggling to keep up with the demand for chargers." Cities receiving the donations include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Philadelphia.


Motorola Gets Back Into Flagship Game with edge+

Apr 22, 2020, 11:00 AM   by Rich Brome

The Motorola edge+ is the company's first truly top-end phone in several years. It will be exclusive to Verizon in the US and go on sale May 14th. It's being introduced alongside the slightly more affordable — but still very high-end — "edge" model, which will be available in the US unlocked this summer. Both phones have the same 6.7-inch OLED "Endless Edge" display that curves a full 90º around the sides. An Edge Gaming feature adds virtual shoulder buttons to the curved display edge for games. The full-HD display also supports 90 Hz refresh and HDR10+. Both phones also have 5G, a water-repellent design, 3.5mm headset jack, NFC, and stereo speakers with Waze tuning that Motorola claims are the loudest of any smartphone.

  • The edge+ for Verizon supports both mmWave and sub-6 GHz 5G, is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, has 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and a 5,000 mAh battery. It also has 256 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, 18W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging. It has a 108 megapixel main camera, a 16 megapixel combo wide and macro camera, an 8 megapixel 3x telephoto camera, and a 25 megapixel front camera. It can record 6K video, slow-motion (120 fps) video at full-HD resolution, and has a portrait mode in video . It will be available from Verizon in Smoky Sangria and Thunder Gray, starting May 14th, for $999.
  • The edge is powered by a Snapdragon 765 chip with integrated support for all US sub-6 GHz 5G networks. It has 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, a memory card slot, 4,500 mAh battery, and 18W fast charging. It has a 64 megapixel main camera, a 16 megapixel combo wide and macro camera, an 8 megapixel 2x telephoto camera, and a 25 megapixel front camera. It can record in 4K using either the main or wide-angle camera. It will be available unlocked this summer in Midnight Magenta and Solar Black. Pricing to be announced.


Verizon Offering Discount to Nurses, Teachers

Apr 17, 2020, 11:19 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will soon offer a discount on wireless service plans to nurses and teachers. This is the same discount program the company already offers to first responders and military. For most unlimited plans, the discount is $10/month for a single line, $15/month for accounts with 2–3 phones, and $20/month for 4+ phones. For other plans, the discount is 15%. Eligible customers also receive a 25% discount on accessories ordered online. Teachers and nurses will be able to sign up for the discount starting April 23rd.


Verizon Launches Connected Watch for Seniors

Apr 16, 2020, 12:44 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon is offering a new wrist-worn connected device for seniors called the Care Smart Watch. The watch includes voice calling and texting features, and can read text messages aloud. The wearer can make calls and send simple text messages, including calling for help in an emergency. It also includes timed reminders, for things like medication, and a step tracker for fitness. A companion app lets trusted family members monitor the wearer's location and set reminders for appointments, etc. The watch can be configured to only communicate with a "trusted circle" of up to 10 contacts, eliminating robocalls. The watch is waterproof and has 2.5 day battery life. It's available for pre-order starting today for $150, with either a black or lavender strap. Cellular service for the watch costs $10/month. Verizon is offering a $50 discount when customers pre-order along with a new smartphone. Quanta manufactures the device.


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