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

Wednesday, 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.


Kyocera's New Rugged Flip Phone is Washable

Apr 16, 2020, 9:01 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 16, 2020, 10:34 PM

Verizon is launching the Kyocera DuraXV Extreme, an update to the rugged DuraXV LTE flip phone that launched in 2017. The new model is washable (using a mild dish cleaner) and can be disinfected using alcohol (70% solution) or cleaning wipes. It's also certified Non-Incendive Class I Div 2 (provides protection in environments with flammable gases, vapors and mists not normally present in explosive concentration). It's also rated IP68 for dust and water, and Mil-Std 810G for dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity, freeze-thaw and icing/freezing rain. The DuraXV Extreme also has a larger battery and faster processor than its predecessor, and includes positioning technology from Skyhook that provides precise location accuracy even when offline. It has dual front-facing speakers, dual-mic noice cancellation, and HD Voice for a loud (100dB+) speakerphone and clear calls. It also has Wi-Fi, a mobile hotspot function, USB-C, and a 5 megapixel camera. A non-camera version is also available. Its software is based on AOSP (Android Open Source Project) but it isn't designed to run Android apps. But it can be managed with Verizon's MDM platform. The DuraXV Extreme is available from Verizon starting today for $240, or $10/month for two years.


OnePlus 8 Pro Sports 30W Wireless Charging, Dual 48 MP Cameras, 5G

Apr 14, 2020, 10:50 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 14, 2020, 11:47 AM

OnePlus has revealed its new lineup for 2020 — the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro — both of which have 5G. They also manage to pack larger batteries into slightly thinner bodies compared to their predecessors. Both are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset and support sub-6 GHz 5G. A special version of the OnePlus 8 for Verizon will also support mmWave 5G. Otherwise, the OnePlus 8 differs little from the OnePlus 7T, except it's very slightly smaller, and it loses the 12 megapixel telephoto camera, replacing it with a 2 megapixel macro camera. The larger OnePlus 8 Pro combines the best of the OnePlus 8 and last year's 7T Pro, including a larger QHD display and 3x telephoto camera. But it also adds a long list of new features, such as 120 Hz screen refresh, super-fast (30W) wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, IP68 water and dust rating, faster (LPDDR5) RAM, 48-megapixel sensors in both the main camera and the 120º wide-angle camera, a unique "color filter camera", a dedicated flicker sensor for challenging indoor lighting, and video HDR. The 8 Pro also includes MEMC, a form of motion smoothing that upsamples 24fps video content for the phone's 120 Hz display, and HDR Boost, which enhances non-HDR content for the phone's HDR10+ display. The new OnePlus camera app in the 8 and 8 Pro is designed to recognize and automatically focus on dog and cat faces in addition to human faces. Both models use OLED displays with a corner hole-punch design. They also include NFC, Wi-Fi 6, Amazon Alexa, and OnePlus' signature three-position sliding ringer switch. Both models support 5G in bands 2, 5, 41, 66, and 71, for full support of all US sub-6 5G networks in the near future. They also support all current US bands for 4G networks, except band 14 for AT&T's FirstNet. Both models will be available unlocked April 29th from Amazon and direct from OnePlus.com. The OnePlus 8 starts at $699 for the version with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, which only comes in Glacial Green. $799 gets you 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, but that version only comes in "Interstellar Glow" (shown). Both T-Mobile and Verizon will also offer the OnePlus 8 starting April 29th. T-Mobile will offer it in Interstellar Glow and Onyx Black. Verizon's version will also support mmWave 5G. It runs $800 and will come in Polar Silver and Onyx Black. The OnePlus 8 Pro will only be available unlocked for now. It starts at $899 for 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, available in frosted-glass Glacial Green or Onyx Black. The 12/256 GB version runs $999 and comes in Ultramarine Blue (shown), Glacial Green, or Onyx Black.

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Samsung Intros New A-Series Phones, Including 5G Models

Apr 8, 2020, 9:13 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 8, 2020, 10:52 AM

Samsung has a slew of new phones coming to the US in its more-affordable A-series, including one launching tomorrow for $110, and a 5G model launching this summer for $500.

  • Galaxy A01: One of Samsung's most affordable phones at $110. Specs include a 5.7-inch HD display, 13 megapixel main camera, depth camera, 3,000 mAh battery, fast charging, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB storage, and a memory card slot. Verizon will launch the A01 tomorrow, April 9th, and the FCC has also approved versions specifically designed for AT&T and T-Mobile.
  • Galaxy A51 (4G): A mid-range model selling for $400. Specs include a 6.5-inch full-HD Super AMOLED display, quad rear cameras, including a 48 megapixel main camera, 12 megapixel wide camera, plus macro and depth cameras, 32 megapixel selfie camera, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, in-display fingerprint reader, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB storage, and a memory card slot. Launching tomorrow, April 9th. Verizon and Sprint will launch the A51 this week, and the version approved by the FCC for the US has excellent support for all US 4G networks.
  • Galaxy A51 5G: A 5G version of the A51, with similar specs, except a larger battery (4,500 mAh) and more RAM (6 or 8 GB). Will sell for $500.
  • Galaxy A71 5G: Similar to the A51 5G, but with a larger display (6.7-inch), better main camera (64 megapixel) and faster charging (25W instead of 15W). Will sell for $600.
  • Galaxy A21: A $250 phone with a 6.5-inch HD display, 16 megapixel main camera, wide camera, macro camera, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, rear fingerprint reader, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and a memory card slot.
  • Galaxy A11: A $180 phone with a 6.4-inch HD LCD display, 13 megapixel main camera, wide camera, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, rear fingerprint reader, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and a memory card slot.
The phones not launching this week will launch in the US in a "staggered rollout of models across carriers, retailers", until "later this summer".


Verizon Adds 15GB of Data for All Consumers, Small Businesses

Mar 24, 2020, 9:07 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon is adding 15 GB of high-speed data to the plans of all wireless consumer and small business customers. Also, for low-income customers participating in the Lifeline program, the company is fully waiving the next two months of internet and voice service charges. The changes are automatic and require no action in the part of customers. These actions by Verizon are designed to help customers stay connected as they operate from home during the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Verizon, AT&T Further Scale Back Retail Operations

Mar 23, 2020, 11:32 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has announced new hours and policies for its physical locations, while AT&T has announced a new round of temporary store closings. Verizon stores will now be closed on Sundays, and open 11am – 4pm the rest of the week. Verizon is also reducing staff in stores and limiting occupancy so that the number of customers in a store may not exceed the number of employees working at any given time. The company is asking customers to use its web site and app instead of physical stores for any transaction that is not "critical". AT&T announced new closings. The company will only keep open one store within a 20-mile radius in urban and suburban areas, and just over a 30-mile radius in rural areas. AT&T is also limiting the number of customers that can enter a store at the same time.


Verizon, T-Mobile Make Progress on Temporary Extra Spectrum from FCC

Mar 19, 2020, 10:21 AM   by Rich Brome

The FCC has now granted Verizon, US Cellular, and T-Mobile permission to expand their 4G network capacity by temporarily using radio frequencies that are licensed to other companies, but had been sitting unused prior to the current pandemic. The unusual move by the FCC will help support the unprecedented number of people suddenly using wireless broadband to operate from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. T-Mobile was first to receive this special permission, and today announced that it has completed implementation, doubling the capacity of its 4G LTE network in band 71 (600 MHz). Yesterday, the FCC granted Verizon temporary use of idle spectrum in band 66 (also known as AWS-3). On Tuesday, the FCC granted similar permission to US Cellular.


Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite for US Clears FCC

Mar 18, 2020, 2:16 PM   by Rich Brome

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 Lite at the start of the year, there were no indications it would come to the US. But the FCC has just approved a variant of the S10 Lite that appears to be designed specifically for the US market. It supports all major US 4G and 3G frequency bands, including ones that typically only appear on US-specific phones. This includes full support for Sprint's unique CDMA voice network, as well as bands unique to Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. It also has a model number ending in "U", which, for a Samsung phone, indicates a US-specific model. The Galaxy S10 Lite has a 6.7-inch full-HD AMOLED display, 48 megapixel main camera, wide camera, macro camera, and a 4,500 mAh battery. It also has a memory card slot, fast charging, and an in-display fingerprint reader. US launch date and pricing has not been announced.


Across US Telecom: Late Fees Waived, No Disconnects

Mar 17, 2020, 10:42 AM   by Rich Brome

At the request of the FCC Chairman, essentially all US internet and telephone providers have pledged to waive all late fees, and not disconnect any service due to inability to pay bills, for the next 60 days. This includes Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, and Comcast. The Pledge is designed to help people economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone needing additional connectivity as they work and study from home. Companies agreeing to the FCC's pledge are also committed to opening up to everyone their wi-fi networks that were previously reserved for paying customers. On top of the pledge, both T-Mobile and Sprint are temporarily giving unlimited data to all customers on metered data plans, as well as 20 GB of mobile hotspot data.


T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint Temporarily Closing Many Retail Locations

Mar 17, 2020, 10:18 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 17, 2020, 10:33 AM

T-Mobile is closing 80% of its stores until at least March 31st, including all indoor mall locations, to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Sprint will close 71% of its stores, including all indoor mall locations. Both closures take effect today. Verizon is also "reducing the number of Verizon stores that remain open", although it was not more specific. T-Mobile will leave at least one store open within a 30-minute drive of most customers in each market. Sprint is leaving open "its most highly critical retail stores". T-Mobile and Sprint are also reducing the hours their remaining stores are open. Most T-Mobile stores will now be open 10am – 6pm. Sprint's new temporary store hours are 11am – 6pm Mon-Sat, and 12pm – 5pm on Sundays.


LG V60 Launches Friday Starting at $800

Mar 17, 2020, 9:50 AM   by Rich Brome

US carriers have revealed launch plans for the new LG V60 ThinQ 5G flagship-class phone. T-Mobile will offer it starting March 20th for $800, or $900 in a bundle with LG's Dual Screen accessory. T-Mobile is also offering a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal where customers with two or more lines can get a second V60 for free, if both phones are purchased on a 24-month payment plan. AT&T will start taking online orders for the V60 on Friday, March 20th. The phone will cost $900, which includes a free Dual Screen accessory from LG. AT&T is also offering a BOGO deal, but it requires a new line of service. Verizon's version will be slightly pricier and ship later, reflecting that its unique variant supports mmWave 5G, which requires extra components and engineering. (Versions for other US carriers only support sub-6 5G, which is generally slower but offers broader coverage.) Verizon brands mmWave 5G as "Ultra Wideband", which is why its unique variant will be called the LG V60 ThinQ 5G UW. Verizon will sell the phone for $950, with pre-orders starting March 26th. Like AT&T, Verizon is offering a BOGO deal for customers adding a new line, and Verizon customers purchasing a V60 are eligible for a free Dual Screen from LG.


Yahoo! Mobile Is Visible + Ad-Free Yahoo! Mail

Mar 11, 2020, 10:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon and Verizon Media have launched Yahoo! Mobile, which re-packages Visible phone service under the Yahoo! brand and includes the ad-free Yahoo! Mail Pro for free (normally $3.49/month). Like Visible, Yahoo! Mobile offers one $40/month unlimited plan with 4G service on the Verizon network, including speed-capped mobile hotspot. Unlimited data works as it does with Visible, where "In times of traffic, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic", meaning Verizon-brand customers have priority over Visible and Yahoo! Mobile customers. Yahoo! Mobile offers a lineup of phones similar to Visible's, and allows customers to bring their own compatible phone.


FCC Fines Carriers for Selling Customers' Location Data

Feb 28, 2020, 2:29 PM   by Rich Brome

The FCC has announced proposed fines totaling over $200 million against the nation's top four wireless carriers for selling customers' location data to third parties for years with little regard for customers' privacy or consent. T-Mobile is being fined $91 million, AT&T: $57 million, Verizon: $48 million, and Sprint; $12 million. "The size of the proposed fines for the four wireless carriers differs based on the length of time each carrier apparently continued to sell access to its customer location information without reasonable safeguards and the number of entities to which each carrier continued to sell such access." The fines will only be finalized after the companies have a chance to respond; the FCC could ultimately settle on lower fine amounts.


LG V60 Includes 5G, Dual-Screen Accessory

Feb 26, 2020, 11:18 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 28, 2020, 8:55 AM

LG today announced the V60 ThinQ 5G with LG Dual Screen. Its specs are flagship-level, but not quite as top-end as past V-series phones. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular will offer the V60 "in the coming weeks". As with the Samsung Galaxy S20, Verizon's version will supports both mmWave and sub-6 5G, while other versions will only support sub-6 5G (which offers better coverage but not the fastest 5G speeds.) The V60 will be packaged with LG's Dual Screen accessory, which adds a second display identical to phone's main display, connected to the phone with a 360-degree hinge, plus a 2.1-inch monochrome outer display. The V60's is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, and features a 6.8-inch full-HD+ OLED display, 5,000 mAh battery, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB storage, memory card slot, and Android 10. It also features two rear cameras plus a ToF depth camera. The main camera is 64 megapixel (f/1.8), while the wide-angle camera is 13 megapixel (f/1.9, 117º). It can capture 8K video, as well as 4K time-lapse or 60 fps video. It has stereo speakers and 4 microphones, plus an ASMR recording mode. The phone also features an in-display fingerprint reader, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Quick Charge 4+, IP68 water rating, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6, and USB-C (3.1). It will be available in blue or white. Specific launch dates and pricing will be announced by US carriers in coming weeks.


Sony Xperia Pro Uses US 5G for Live Video Broadcast

Feb 24, 2020, 5:50 AM   by Rich Brome

Sony has created a new lineup of phones designed specifically for professionals rather than consumers. The new Xperia Pro imagines a specific use case for 5G: broadcasting live video in the field. To that end, it has both mmWave 5G and an HDMI input for connecting to professional video cameras. Even though Sony Mobile has "de-emphasized" the US market in its general strategy, the Xperia Pro's specs list 5G frequency band support specific to US 5G networks: bands 2, 5, 66, 260, and 261. Sony has previously worked to have its flagship phones certified by Verizon, and the Xperia Pro fully supports Verizon's 5G and 4G network bands. The Xperia Pro has 5G mmWave antennas on all four sides for maximum mmWave connectivity. The Pro also has high-end video capture built in, including 4K HDR video at up to 60 fps, Optical SteadyShot, and SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stabilization). Otherwise, the Xperia Pro has specs that are nearly identical to the Xperia 1 II that was also announced today, except for more storage (512 GB) and no wireless charging. Release date and pricing are yet to be announced.


Verizon Will Offer a Special Galaxy S20 with Both mmWave and sub-6 5G

Feb 11, 2020, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will offer a special version of the smaller Samsung Galaxy S20 5G that supports both mmWave and sub-6 GHz flavors of 5G in the second quarter. The larger S20+ and S20 Ultra support both types of 5G, and Verizon will sell those models starting March 6th. But the standard S20 for the US only supports sub-6 5G, which Verizon won't launch until later this year. Verizon's special version will support its current (mmWave) 5G network as well its upcoming sub-6 5G network. Although the special version will launch later and include extra components to support mmWave, it will be the same price as the standard version: $1,000.


New Moto g Series Lets You Choose: Stylus or Jumbo Battery

Feb 7, 2020, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola has unveiled two new g-series phones for 2020: the Moto g Stylus and Moto g Power. The two phones are very similar, except the g Stylus has a built-in stylus pen and higher-end main camera, while the g Power has a larger battery. Both phones have a 6.4-inch full-HD+ display with a "hole punch" in the corner for the 16-megapixel selfie camera. Both are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chip paired with 4 GB of RAM and running Android 10. Both have a water-repellent design, stereo speakers, dual-band Wi-Fi, fingerprint reader, memory card slot, USB-C, 10W fast charging, 3.5mm headphone jack, and FM radio. Both have excellent support for all US 4G networks — including bands 13, 14, 25, 26, 29, 30, 41, 66, and 71 — with LTE Cat. 13 speeds. Motorola also has a new feature that limits interruptions while gaming. The few differences between the phones are:

  • Moto g Stylus: Has a built-in stylus pen designed to help you edit photos, jot down notes, sketch artwork, copy and paste text, and mark up screenshots. Removing the stylus while the phone is idle will automatically start the new Moto Note app, which lets you take quick notes without unlocking the phone. It has a 4,000 mAh battery and 128 GB of storage. The main camera has a 48-megapixel sensor and f/1.7 aperture, with laser auto-focus. It also has a 2-megapixel macro camera and 16-megapixel "action" camera that takes ultra-wide video in landscape orientation while holding the phone vertically. The Moto g Stylus will be available unlocked "this spring" for $300, and subsequently at Verizon, Metro, and Republic.
  • Moto g Power: Has an extra-large 5,000 mAh battery that Motorola claims can power the phone for three days. It also has three rear cameras, but the main camera is 16 megapixel (f/1.7) and the wide-angle camera is 8-megapixel with standard orientation. Like the g Stylus, it has a 2-megapixel macro camera that can focus on objects just 2cm from the lens. It has 64 GB of storage. The Moto g Power will be available unlocked "this spring" for $250, and subsequently at Verizon, Xfinity Mobile, US Cellular, Consumer Cellular, and Republic.


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