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.
Motorola today revealed the 2020 edition of its razr foldable phone, with upgraded specs across the board and a tweaked design. The general design is largely similar to the 2019 original, including the same flexible inner display and folding mechanism. The hinge has been tweaked with slightly more enclosed gears and is rated for 200,000 flips. The design is sleeker thanks to a 3D curved Gorilla Glass 5 front, and a chin made thinner by moving the fingerprint reader to the back. The frame is now made from 7000 series aluminum instead of stainless steel. Spec bumps include the addition of 5G, a larger battery (2,800 mAh), much better cameras (48 megapixel main with laser auto-focus and OIS + 20 megapixel selfie), Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB storage. The new razr has the same 2.7-inch, high-resolution touchscreen on the outside, which can run scaled-down versions of select Android apps. The outer interface includes a new navigation bar at the bottom and a customizable app menu. The revamped camera app includes a customizable mode carousel. 5G support includes bands 2, 5, 25, 41, 66, 71, and 78. The new Motorola razr will be offered by both AT&T and T-Mobile, a change from last year's model that was exclusive to Verizon. It will also be available unlocked for $1,400 from motorola.com, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Amazon. It will be available in Blush Gold, Polished Graphite, and Liquid Mercury (shown). Motorola would only cite "this fall" as the launch timeframe.
CAT today launched the S42, its latest "mid-range" rugged phone, for sale unlocked in the US. Like most CAT phones, it's rugged and waterproof (IP68), but also fully washable with soap and water. It's rated for 6-foot drops onto steel, and also meets US military spec for thermal shock, vibration, humidity, and salt mist. It has a large 4,200 mAh battery and NFC. Its 5.5-inch HD screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and works with both gloves and wet fingers. Other specs include a MediaTek Helio A20 chip, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, memory card slot, LTE Cat. 6, dual-band Wi-Fi, and VoLTE. It ships with Android 10 plus a commitment to an Android 11 update. It also has a programmable side button, headset jack, and micro-USB connector. It has good support for AT&T's 4G network including band 14, and good support for T-Mobile's 4G network including bands 25, 26, 41, 66, and 71. It's available now for $329, from catphones.com and multiple online retailers.
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.
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.
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.
AT&T has set a date for switching off its 3G WCDMA network. Starting February 2022, customers will need a 4G phone with VoLTE technology (a feature AT&T refers to as HD Voice) to connect to AT&T's network. Most smartphones released since 2014 support this technology, as well as most feature phones released in the last two-three years. Phones that will stop working include the Apple iPhone 5s and older, Samsung Galaxy S4 and older, the original Google Pixel, and the OnePlus 6T and older. Shutting down the 3G network will allow AT&T to allocate all of its airwaves to more-efficient 4G and 5G technologies, enabling greater network capacity and data speeds for 4G and 5G customers. AT&T sent an email to some customers earlier this week saying they needed to upgrade their phone without making clear the 2022 deadline. AT&T issued the following statement about the email: "This email was one of many planned to keep customers informed about the shutdown of our 3G network in early 2022. It should have included the date that certain devices would no longer be supported. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and will be more clear in future updates."
AT&T has expanded its sub-6 GHz 5G network to 40 new markets, for total coverage of 395 markets. Major new markets include Houston, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Santa Fe, and Little Rock. The company also tweaked its plans to include 5G access at no extra charge on all unlimited-data plans, for both consumers and businesses. 5G access was previously limited to the company's top-tier plans, but will be included with "Unlimited Starter" plans starting August 7th. Some of AT&T's network remains 4G-only; but with 5G service now covering over 200 million people, it meets the FCC's definition of "nationwide" service. T-Mobile reached this threshold in December 2019.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, a variant of the company's folding-screen, clamshell-style phone that adds sub-6 GHz 5G and a faster processor, but is otherwise similar to the 4G version. In the US, it will be available for $1,450 starting August 7th from AT&T and T-Mobile, and unlocked from Samsung, Amazon, and Best Buy. The processor is Qualcomm's new, top-end Snapdragon 865+, compared to the older Snapdragon 855+ in the 4G version. The Z Flip 5G will support the sub-6 GHz 5G networks of AT&T and T-Mobile in bands 2, 5, 25, 41, 66, and 71, as well as 4G LTE in all US bands. The 5G variant looks identical to the 4G model, except it comes in new colors: Mystic Gray and Mystic Bronze, both with a haze finish that minimizes fingerprints. The Z Flip has a unique bending display featuring "flexible glass". The Z Flip also has a 3,300 mAh battery and 8 GB of RAM.
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".
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.
AT&T this week launched sub-6 GHz 5G in 28 new markets, including Puerto Rico and several major cities. Major new 5G markets include Miami, Orlando, Austin, Dallas, and Salt Lake City. AT&T's 5G network now covers 179 million people across 355 markets. Among the new markets, "parts of some" of them are using DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) technology, which enables 4G and 5G technology to efficiently share the same frequency bands.
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.
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.
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.
AT&T today launched 5G in 90 new cities and counties, nearly doubling the company's number of 5G markets. The launches are in sub-6 GHz bands, the same bands used for 4G, and therefore offering coverage similar to 4G. While sub-6 5G offers good coverage, it is not as fast as the mmWave 5G that AT&T offers as "5G+" in limited densely-populated areas. Today's launch includes Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma, New Orleans, Sacramento, Colorado Springs, Tampa, Pensacola, Sarasota, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Billings, Portsmouth, Lubbock, Waco, Wheeling, and Madison.
AT&T is offering three months of free service for nurses and physicians who are new or existing AT&T customers on a FirstNet Mobile – Responder plan. The company is also offering a $200 activation credit when purchasing a new smartphone on a 30-month installment plan. AT&T FirstNet is a portion of AT&T's network reserved for first responders, offering priority access to a dedicated frequency band (band 14).
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.
AT&T is introducing a new $15 plan, and temporarily adding 10 GB of data to existing plans. The same offering is being made available under both of the company's prepaid brands: AT&T Prepaid and Cricket. The new $15/month comes with 2 GB of data and unlimited talk and text. It will only be available for a limited time. T-Mobile recently launched a similar plan. For existing AT&T Prepaid and Cricket customers with capped data plans, the company is automatically adding an additional 10 GB of data for the next 60 days. These moves are intended to help customers unexpectedly operating from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
AT&T has reached an agreement with Dish that will allow AT&T to use some of Dish's radio frequency licenses for the next 60 days. This will allow AT&T to temporarily, significantly boost the capacity its 4G LTE network. AT&T will be able to deploy the spectrum quickly using its existing network equipment for bands 66 and 29. Phones supporting those bands will be able to access the additional capacity automatically. Dish is providing the spectrum — which it owns but has not been using — at no cost to AT&T. In recent days, the FCC has taken the unusual move of forcing companies such as Dish to temporarily relinquish radio frequencies they own licenses to, but that have been sitting idle. Customers of T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular have been the beneficiaries of those FCC actions this week. All of these temporary actions are designed to meet the sudden surge in demand for all types of broadband access, as people turn to video conferencing to work and learn from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Following T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon in temporarily closing many retail locations, AT&T today announced that it will close 40% of its company-owned stores, as well as AT&T Authorized Retail stores in indoor malls and "high traffic areas". The company is also adjusting its store hours to be closed on Sundays, and 11am – 7pm the rest of the week. These measures are in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where most people in the US are currently advised to stay home, and avoid congregating near others in public when possible.
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.
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.
With the launch today of the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra, AT&T is now offering consumers access to its faster mmWave "5G+" network in parts of 35 cities. Before today, consumers could only access the company's sub-6 GHz 5G network, which offers broader coverage. The faster mmWave "5G+" network was previously restricted to business customers. To access "5G+", consumers will need to be on either the "Unlimited Extra" or "Unlimited Elite" plan. The Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra are the first phones for the US that can access both types of 5G networks. AT&T also announced plans to launch 5G service for customers of its Cricket prepaid brand, starting "soon" with the Samsung Galaxy S20+ on an unspecified "compatible plan".
AT&T today launched sub-6 GHz 5G in 22 new markets, bringing the company's total sub-6 5G coverage to 80 markets in the US. Sub-6 5G uses lower frequency bands than mmWave 5G, allowing sub-6 5G to offer broader coverage. This is the type of 5G that AT&T is currently offering to consumers. New markets launching today include Columbus, Denver, and Cincinnati, as well as: Albany, Ga.; Albany, N.Y.; Athens, Ga.; Beaverhead County, Mont.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Hamilton, Ohio; Lancaster, Pa.; Lincoln County, Mont.; Madera County, Calif.; Madison County, Va.; Mono County, Calif.; Provo, Utah; Raleigh County, W. Va; Ross County, Ohio; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Springfield, Ohio; State College, Pa.; Sussex County, N.J.; and Worcester, Mass. The company launched 5G in 37 new markets last month, including Atlantic City, Bakersfield, Boston, Dayton, Hartford, Kansas City, New Bedford, New Haven, Portland, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Spokane, St. Louis, Wichita, and Wilmington. AT&T also offers mmWave 5G, which has only been available to business customers so far, but will launch for consumers on Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans starting March 6th. mmWave 5G offers higher speeds but limited coverage. AT&T calls this "5G+" and currently offers it in parts of 35 cities.
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 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.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy Z Flip, its newest foldable phone. The phone forms a tall slab of a smartphone when open, but closes to a small square with a small outer touch-screen. It uses a new, ultra-thin flexible glass material to cover the flexible 6.7-inch screen that bends in the middle, The glass is designed to fold up to 200,000 times. "Flex Mode" enables a special split-screen interface in select apps when the phone is opened to an angle less than fully open. This can be used to set the phone down on a flat surface to take a long-exposure photo without a tripod. Purchase of the phone includes YouTube Premium. The phone will sell for $1,380 starting February 14th. It will be available in three color-shifting hues: Mirror Purple, Mirror Black, and Mirror Gold. In the US, Sprint and AT&T will offer it starting this Friday in Mirror Purple and Mirror Black, in "limited quantities".
AT&T is launching sub-6 GHz 5G service for consumers in 13 new markets this week. In California, the new markets are Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, and Modesto. In Massachusetts, Boston and Bedford are getting 5G this week. The remaining markets are Liberty, GA; Wichita, KS; Frederick, MD; St. Louis, MO; Atlantic City, NJ; and Dayton, OH. With these new launches, AT&T's 5G network for consumers will cover 50 million people across 32 markets. AT&T says it remains on track to offer the service nationwide by the middle of 2020. Separately, AT&T's "5G+" service for businesses is now available in parts of 35 cities across the US. AT&T's "5G+" service uses new mmWave frequencies, which offer high speeds but limited coverage. AT&T's "5G" service for consumers uses more traditional cellular frequencies below 6 GHz (specifically, band 5 at 850 MHz), offering better coverage than mmWave, and speeds that are faster than 4G but not as fast as mmWave 5G. The only phone currently offered by AT&T that supports its consumer 5G network is the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.
CAT's latest rugged phone for the US market is the S32. It's a bit more affordable than past models at $349. It's rated IP68 for water and dust. It can withstand being submerged under 1.5 meters of water for up to 35 minutes. It also has a military rating for drop and shock. It has a 5.5-inch HD display covered in DragonTrail Pro glass that works with gloves and wet fingers. It has a 4,200 mAh battery. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio A20 processor with 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, and Android 10. Features include NFC, 13 megapixel main camera, memory card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and a user-assignable shortcut key on the side. The US variant will have full support for Verizon and T-Mobile 4G LTE bands, and decent support for AT&T, including band 14 for FirstNet.
AT&T has finally launched 5G service for consumers as of today, using far-reaching low-band radio frequencies (band 5 / 850 MHz). As the company promised last month, the launch cities include Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, RI, Rochester, NY, and San Diego. However, AT&T managed to accelerate its schedule and launch five additional cities today: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, CA, Milwaukee, and Birmingham, AL. The company has released 5G coverage maps for all consumer launch cities. The only phone AT&T currently offers that supports the service is the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which runs $1,300. This particular 5G service is distinct from the company's "5G+" service, which uses higher mmWave frequencies and is only available to business customers. mmWave frequencies offer higher data speeds but much more limited coverage. AT&T's phone lineup does not yet include any phones that can access 5G on both low-band and mmWave frequencies. Neither 5G service should be confused with "5Ge", which is merely AT&T's branding for the fastest type of 4G LTE. AT&T has also confirmed that its next 5G launch cities will include Boston, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Las Vegas, Louisville, KY, and New York City. The company promises "nationwide" 5G coverage by the middle of 2020.
MediaTek has revealed that its first SoC with integrated 5G modem and high-end processor will be called the Dimensity 1000. The company revealed the first set of details on the chip in May. Now that it has a name, MediaTek has revealed additional details of the SoC. It's fabricated using the latest 7nm process and is designed for "premium and flagship" phones. The 5G modem component supports SA (stand-alone) and NSA (non-stand-alone) 5G networks, as well as DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) that allows 4G and 5G to efficiently share the same frequency band. It also supports 5G carrier aggregation, which enables downlink speeds up to 4.7 Gbps and seamless handovers as users move around. It also supports dual 5G SIMs, which MediaTek claims is a first. The processor part of the chip includes a five-core image signal processor (ISP) to power cameras up to 80 megapixel at 24fps. Its AI processor assists with camera functions, offering features like multi-frame video HDR, which MediaTek claims is another first. The chip also supports Full HD+ displays with refresh rates up to 120Hz, and 2K+ up to 90Hz. The Dimensity 1000 only supports 5G in sub-6 GHz frequency bands, not mmWave. By the end of this year, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will all offer sub-6 GHz 5G networks with broad coverage. The first devices powered by the Dimensity 1000 will ship in the US by the end of this year, which is earlier than previously announced. The new Dimensity brand will include a whole line of chips with integrated 5G.
AT&T is launching 5G for consumers in the coming weeks, and has detailed its launch plans for both sub-6 GHz (low-band) and mmWave launches in the coming year. The company promises "nationwide" 5G in the first half of 2020. AT&T is branding low-band 5G (which offers coverage similar to 4G) as "5G", and this is the service it is launching for consumers. Its mmWave service (with faster speeds but more limited coverage) will be branded "5G+", and remains limited to business customers. Neither designation should be confused with "5Ge", AT&T's misleading designation for 4G. AT&T is launching its low-band 5G in band 5 (850 MHz), which is one of the lower-frequency bands in AT&T's spectrum portfolio, offering the good long-range and in-building coverage. The launch cities for low-band 5G will be Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, RI, Rochester, NY, and San Diego. Those cities will be followed by Boston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, New York City, San Francisco, Birmingham, AL, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Louisville, KY, and San Jose, CA. AT&T has published coverage maps for all of the listed launch cities. AT&T's first phone to support low-band 5G will be the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which will only support low-band 5G and not mmWave "5G+". It will be available for pre-order on Nov. 25th. 5G service is included in AT&T's Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans. AT&T's mmWave "5G+" service for business customers is currently offered in parts of 21 cities, expanding to 30 in "early 2020".
AT&T has raised the price of its Mobile Share Value plans by $10, forcing existing customers to pay the new rate even if they make no changes to their plan. The rate hike comes with an additional 15 GB of "bonus" data.
AT&T is introducing new unlimited plans that drop the live and on-demand TV package included with the existing Unlimited &More plans. Accounting for that and other minor changes, pricing stays about the same, with unlimited plan choices (and price points) increasing from two to three.
- The new entry-level plan is called Unlimited Starter and costs $65/month for a single line, down from $70/month for the old Unlimited &More plan. Multi-line discounts can bring that down to $35/month/line for an account with four lines. As with the plan it replaces, data, voice, and texting are unlimited across the US, Canada, and Mexico, and texts from the US to over 120 countries are free, but video is limited to SD quality and mobile hotspot is not allowed.
- The new step-up plan is called Unlimited Extra, replacing Unlimited &More Premium. The new plan is cheaper, but does not include a premium streaming service of choice, nor HD video streaming. It does include everything in the Starter plan plus 15 GB of mobile hotspot data. Unlimited Extra will run $75/month for a single line, (down from $80/month for the old Unlimited &More Premium plan.) Multi-line discounts can bring that down to $40/month/line for an account with four lines. Both Unlimited Starter and Unlimited Extra will launch on November 3rd.
- Unlimited Elite is AT&T's new top-end plan, and AT&T's only unlimited plan to allow HD video streaming. It also includes 30 GB of mobile hotspot data. Instead of a choice of premium streaming service, HBO is included. AT&T owns HBO. Unlimited Elite will cost $85/month for a single line. Multi-line discounts apply, such as $50/month/line for four lines. This plan will be available "in the coming weeks".
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have formed a new joint venture to accelerate the adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS) and ensure it works seamlessly across US and global networks. The venture is called the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) and "is working to develop and deploy the standards-based, interoperable messaging service starting with Android and expected in 2020." RCS is an existing open industry standard for advanced messaging, designed to replace SMS and MMS. It supports high-quality media, read receipts, typing indicator, and more. Google has been pushing RCS heavily in the past two years, but US adoption has been slow due to delayed carrier deployments.
LG is bringing its dual-screen concept to the US along with a new variant of the G8: the G8X ThinQ. The G8X drops the 3D depth camera and quad-HD display resolution in favor of a 32-megapixel selfie camera, full-HD display, stereo speakers, and a larger 4,000 mAh battery. It also has an in-display fingerprint reader instead of the standalone sensor on the G8. Other features of the G8X are similar to the G8, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, standard and wide-angle rear cameras, high-end audio chip, extra-loud speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack, IP68 water resistance, NFC, wireless charging, fast charging, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, and a memory card slot. The snap-on Dual Screen sports a full-HD OLED screen identical to that on the G8X, including the small notch. It also has an extra "cover" display on the outside that shows notifications, date, time, and battery life. The hinge folds a full 360º, and locks in place at 120º, 140º, 180º (flat), and 270º (tent). The phone + Dual Screen together will sell for $700 unlocked. Both AT&T and Sprint will offer the LG G8X ThinQ. AT&T is including the Dual Screen for free for a limited time. Sprint will offer an online rebate form for a Dual Screen, which will ship from LG. Sprint will have "more details to share next week" on its launch offer. Pre-orders start Friday, will full availability on November 1st.
The Nubia Red Magic 3S gaming phone will launch next week — October 16th — starting at $479. It has a faster processor (Snapdragon 855+) and storage (UFS 3.0) than original Red Magic 3, but the specs and design are otherwise almost identical. It has a 6.7-inch, full-HD OLED display with 90 Hz refresh rate, 240 Hz touch sampling rate, 5,000 mAh battery, shoulder buttons, liquid+air cooling with integrated fan, and a customizable light-up strip on the back. It also has a 48-megapixel Sony main camera, 3.5mm headset jack, fingerprint reader, and 27W fast charging. It does not have NFC, wireless charging, nor a memory card slot. It supports LTE 2/4/5/12/25/26/30/41/66 for US networks, giving it better support for AT&T's network than many other unlocked phones. The base version has 8 GB of RAM / 128 GB of storage, and is available in black or silver for $479 direct from the Red Magic web site. An upgraded "Cyber Shade" version has 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage and a red/purple gradient design for $599.