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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.


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.


Samsung Money is Samsung's Answer to Apple Card, But It's Completely Different

May 27, 2020, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

This summer, Samsung will launch Samsung Money by SoFi, a new financial product integrated with Samsung Pay. Like Apple Card, Samsung Money can be used as a payment method with the wallet app (Samsung Pay), the account is managed within the wallet app, and the product also includes a physical payment card. However, Samsung Money is not a credit card like Apple Card. Instead, it consists of a Mastercard debit card linked to a SoFi cash management account, which functions much like a free (no-fee) online checking account. The account will earn interest at a variable rate that would currently be 0.20% APY. Using Samsung Money earns Samsung Rewards points, which can be redeemed for purchases on samsung.com or with the Shop Samsung app. Or, one time only, points can be redeemed for cash at a rate of 1,000 points = $5 (minimum 1,000 points). (Apple Card offers 2% unlimited cash back on all purchases — and 3% with select retailers — which can be spent on anything.) The debit card can be used to withdraw cash without fees at any of the 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs. As with Apple Card, the physical card will not display the card number, expiration date, or CVV; those can be accessed securely from the Samsung Pay app when needed. Users are not liable for unauthorized transactions. Although Samsung Money presents itself to the user as one checking-like account, behind the scenes, SoFi "sweeps" money daily into accounts at partner banks, which in turn provide FDIC insurance protection once those "sweep" transactions clear. Because SoFi has partnered with six different banks for this service, and can divide your money between them, it can provide up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance coverage, instead of the usual $250,000. The Samsung Pay app will enable Samsung Money users to check their balance, review past statements, search transactions, flag suspicious activity, pause or restart spending, freeze or unfreeze their card, and more. Samsung has just updated its Samsung Pay app with a new "Money" tab where those interested can join a waitlist, or they can head to www.samsung.com/us/money.


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.


T-Mobile Launches Triple-Band "Layer Cake" 5G in NYC

May 5, 2020, 1:53 PM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile has launched enhanced 5G service in New York City that uses three very different frequency bands to provide a unique blend of broad coverage and high speeds, according to a tweet from Neville Ray, the company's President of Technology. The network includes band 71 (600 MHz) for broad 5G coverage, although with speeds only marginally faster than 4G. This is the same band T-Mobile has deployed for "nationwide" 5G coverage. It also includes mmWave 5G, which offers the highest speeds but with coverage limited to the densest areas of the city. Finally, it includes band 41 (2.5 GHz), which offers something in-between. Band 41 is the new addition to the company's 5G network in NYC. Band 41 was owned by Sprint, so the recent merger of the two companies made today's launch possible. Of T-Mobile's current phone lineup, only the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra can access all three bands.


T-Mobile Starts Expanding 5G Using Sprint Assets

Apr 21, 2020, 9:02 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile is beginning to launch 5G network upgrades that utilize assets of the former Sprint network. In Philadelphia, customers can now access 5G using both low-band (band 71) and mid-band (band 41) radio spectrum, offering better mix of coverage, capacity, and speed. T-Mobile will make this upgrade next in New York City, where the company also operates a mmWave 5G network, so customers there will be able to access 5G in all three classes of radio frequencies, offering an even better experience. T-Mobile is also launching low-band 5G in Detroit, St. Louis, and Columbus, Ohio today. Finally, the Sprint-branded Samsung Galaxy S20 will gain access to T-Mobile's "nationwide" low-band 5G network later this month.


Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Comes to US Unlocked

Apr 16, 2020, 9:36 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 22, 2020, 9:18 PM

Samsung is launching the Galaxy S10 Lite in the US as an unlocked phone for $650. Samsung says the phone represents "a new entry point to the flagship tier via a premium device with pro-grade features at an accessible price". The S10 Lite sports a 6.7-inch full-HD Super AMOLED display with a centered 'hole punch" for the 32 megapixel selfie camera. The triple rear cameras include a 48 megapixel main camera, 12 megapixel wide camera, and a macro camera. The Android 10 software includes Samsung's newest flagship camera features such as Single Take, Pro Video, and Night Hyperlapse. It also has a 4,500 mAh battery, at least 6 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. The phone supports most major US LTE bands, including bands 14 (FirstNet), 29, 30, 66, and 71. The Galaxy S10 Lite will be available starting tomorrow, April 17th, from Samsung, Amazon, and Best Buy. Amazon is offering free Galaxy Buds with the S10 Lite. Samsung is offering up to $250 for a trade-in phone, and Best Buy is offering $200 off with a qualified activation on a wireless service plan.


Windows 10 Gaining Wireless File Transfer for Samsung Phones

Apr 13, 2020, 10:08 AM   by Rich Brome

The next update to Windows 10 will include the ability to easily transfer files to and from newer Samsung phones over Wi-Fi. Microsoft and Samsung have been adding numerous such features in recent years. Just last month, Microsoft added the ability to copy-and-paste between Windows 10 and a Samsung phone. The features are enabled by Microsoft's Your Phone app for Windows 10, and Samsung's Link To Windows software for its Android phones. The apps have long enabled phone notifications and calls in Windows 10.


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".


Samsung Offers Unusual Buyback Program for S20 Series

Apr 2, 2020, 8:50 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung has launched an unusual twist on phone trade-ins for its flagship S20 lineup. With the "guaranteed buy-back program", people who buy an S20 directly from Samsung can opt in to a program that will let them return the phone within two years for 50% of the purchase price. The phone must be in good condition, with a perfectly working display and no breaks or cracks. Customers must opt in to the program when making the initial purchase, and receive a credit with Samsung, not cash, when returning the phone.


Samsung Bringing S20 Camera Features to S10 and Note10

Mar 25, 2020, 9:46 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung has started rolling out a significant software update for last year's Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10 series phone, which adds major new features first introduced on the company's latest S20 phones. In the Camera app, new features include Single Take, improved Night Mode, Night Hyperlapse, Custom Filters, and Pro Video (manual mode for video). In the Gallery app, Clean View uses AI to group similar photos together. The update also brings Quick Share and Music Share to the S10 and Note10. The update will be available "through an upcoming software update starting from March".


Samsung Discounts Galaxy S20 5G, S20 Plus by $200

Mar 23, 2020, 1:41 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung has slashed the price of its flagship Galaxy S20 5G and Galaxy S20+ phones by $200 at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, bringing the base configuration of the unlocked phones down to $800 and $1,000, respectively. The top-end Galaxy S20 Ultra is not currently being discounted. The S20 series of phones were just released on March 6th. The unlocked versions now being discounted are compatible with the 4G and 5G networks of major US carriers. The smaller S20 only supports sub-6 GHz 5G, but the larger S20+ supports both sub-6 5G and faster mmWave 5G networks.

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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.


AT&T Launches mmWave 5G for Consumers, Bringing 5G to Cricket

Mar 6, 2020, 12:02 PM   by Rich Brome

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".


Samsung Galaxy S20 First to Support New Fast-Charging Standard

Feb 28, 2020, 10:04 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung's new Galaxy S20 series of flagship phones are the first phones to be certified by the USB Implementers Forum as compatible with the new Certified USB Fast Charger industry standard. Phones and chargers certified under the program must use USB-C connectors, support USB-PD (Power Delivery) 3.0, as well as the new Programmable Power Supply (PPS) feature of USB-PD 3.0. PPS allows the phone to specify the precise voltage and current required for optimal charging throughout the charge cycle, enabling faster charging speeds than are possible with USB-PD alone. Certified USB Fast Chargers are backwards compatible with older USB-C and USB-PD devices. Many current USB-C phones implement fast charging using older USB-PD standards, various versions of Qualcomm's Quick Charge technology, or proprietary technology specific to that manufacturer. The USB Implementers Forum hopes to standardize wired fast charging with this new certification program.


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.


Google Expands Stadia Support to Gaming Phones, Flagship Samsungs

Feb 18, 2020, 1:42 PM   by Rich Brome

Google is expanding the list of phones supported by its Stadia game-streaming service on February 20th. Initially supported only on its own Pixel phones, Stadia will support Samsung flagship Galaxy S and Note series phones (S8 and newer), as well as gaming phones from Razer and Asus (ROG Phone and ROG Phone II). For a controller, gamers can either connect a Stadia controller via USB, or third-party controllers via Bluetooth. Stadia competes with Microsoft's xCloud and Nvidia's GeForce Now. Like those other game-streaming services, Stadia runs full console-quality games on powerful servers in the cloud, streaming video of the rendered graphics to the user's device. Such services benefit from the higher data rates and lower latency of 5G networks. Forthcoming 5G SA networks will further reduce latency and improve data rates.


Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Feb 11, 2020, 7:49 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 14, 2020, 10:27 AM

Samsung's second foldable phone takes a different approach: instead of folding larger, it folds smaller, much like Motorola's new razr foldable. It's cheap for a foldable, but still quite pricey. Sprint and AT&T will carry it in the US. After the Galaxy Fold debacle, is this one more durable? How does it feel to fold? What about the crease? Will it last? More than with most phones, you need a hands-on report to give you an honest assessment of this unique phone. Here it is.

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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.


Samsung Unveils Galaxy Z Flip, a New Clamshell-Style Foldable

Feb 11, 2020, 2:19 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 14, 2020, 10:27 AM

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".


Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Series

Feb 11, 2020, 2:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 11, 2020, 3:02 PM

Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S phones for 2020 are somewhat predictable in appearance and features, and they've leaked like crazy, but there are a few surprises. There's no smaller, more affordable model like last year's S10e, nor is there a separate 5G model. They're all large and expensive, and they all have 5G. A new top-end option has been introduced beyond the "plus" model: the S20 Ultra. The Ultra seems to be stepping on the toes of Samsung's Note series, offering a huge screen and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feature list for people willing to pay a premium. All three models have an all-new camera system with some new tricks. How well do the few features work? How do the phones feel in person? We have your hands-on report right here.

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Galaxy S20 Series Pushes Samsung Flagships Faster, Larger, Pricier

Feb 11, 2020, 2:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 11, 2020, 3:05 PM

Samsung today announced its new flagship phones for 2020: the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra. In the US, all three models support 5G and are powered by Qualcomm's newest top-end Snapdragon 865 chipset paired with 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. The base model S20 supports sub-6 GHz 5G; the S20+, S20 Ultra, (and a special version of the S20 for Verizon) are the first phones in the US to support both sub-6 and mmWave flavors of 5G in one phone. The S20 series also supports DSS and SA 5G networks, technologies US carriers are moving quickly to deploy. Compared to last year's S10 and S10+, the S20 and S20+ are a bit taller, allowing larger batteries and slightly larger QHD+ displays. The new Ultra model is larger still, sporting Samsung's largest phone display yet at 6.9 inches diagonal. The cheapest S20 model costs $1,000, while the S20 Ultra starts at $1,400. All three have an all-new triple-camera system on the back (with standard, wide, and telephoto cameras), 120 Hz display refresh, and 8K video capture. The phones can capture 33-megapixel stills while recording 8K video and can upload 8K video to YouTube. The camera app also has improved night and Super Steady modes, as well as a new Night Hyperlapse mode, and a new "Single Take" mode that captures a variety of still and video clips at once and uses AI to suggest several best output options. The design of the S20 series is roughly similar to the S10 series, and carries forward most of the same features, such as a curved-edge display, curved glass on both sides, in-display fingerprint reader, Wireless Power Share, wireless and wired fast charging (25W fast charger included), Samsung Pay, and a memory card slot. The new S20 phones do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but wired (USB-C) earbuds are included. A "Space Zoom" feature offers 10x digital zoom using new AI algorithms. Google Duo video calling has been integrated into Samsung's phone app, and — exclusive to 5G Samsung Galaxy phones — supports full-HD resolution.

  • Galaxy S20: 6.2-inch display, 4,000 mAh battery, 128 GB of storage, 12 megapixel main camera (f/1.8, 79º), 12 megapixel wide camera (f/2.2, 120º), 64 megapixel telephoto and 8K video camera (f/2.0, 76º, 3x zoom via crop). 10 megapixel selfie camera. Available in Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, and Cloud Pink for $1,000. The Verizon version will also support mmWave 5G, but doesn't ship until Q2.
  • Galaxy S20+: 6.7-inch display, 4,500 mAh battery, 128 or 512 GB of storage. The same cameras as the S20, plus a ToF depth camera. Both sub-6 and mmWave 5G. Available in Cosmic Gray, Cloud Blue, and Cosmic Black starting at $1,200.
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra: 6.9-inch display, 5,000 mAh battery, 128 or 512 GB of storage, and the option for up to 16 GB of RAM. The same wide-angle camera as the other models, but upgraded main and tele cameras: The main camera sports 108 megapixels (f/1.8, 79º), using 9-to-1 pixel binning to produce high-quality 12 megapixel images by default. It also handles 8K video. The unique telephoto camera (48 megapixel, 24º, f/3.5) accomplishes a 10x optical zoom using a "folded" design with a prism to arrange most of the necessary lenses sideways. Supports 45W fast charging. Available in Cosmic Gray and Cosmic Black starting at $1,400.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 series will be available from most major US carriers and retailers, as well as unlocked, starting March 6th. Pre-orders start February 21st. Pre-orders include a credit with Samsung: $100 credit toward a Samsung product with a pre-order of the S20, $150 credit with the S20+, or $200 with the S20 Ultra. The $150 credit for pre-ordering an S20+ is enough to cover the cost of the new Galaxy Buds+, new Bluetooth true wireless stereo earbuds that have 11 hours of battery life before needing the included charging case.


Samsung Shows New Foldable in Oscars Ad

Feb 9, 2020, 9:04 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung aired a television commercial during the Oscars award show tonight that showed the company's next, unannounced foldable phone in detail. The ad was rich in visuals but light on details, encouraging viewers to tune in to the company's Unpacked event on Tuesday. Rumors say the phone will be called the Galaxy Z Flip. The flexible-screen form factor is roughly similar to that of the Moto razr. The ad shows a small, full-color outer touch-screen, and a hinge mechanism that can hold in place at multiple angles.


FCC Reveals New Details of Unannounced Folding and 5G Samsung Phones

Jan 24, 2020, 3:08 PM   by Rich Brome

Two interesting new approvals for unannounced Samsung phones appeared on the FCC web site this week. The limited info available in the FCC filings indicate that they are flagship-level phones, which will presumably be announced at next month's Unpacked event in San Francisco. One model appears to be a new foldable, while the other is a 5G model in the flagship Galaxy S series that will replace the current S10 series. The SM-F700 is the foldable, as indicated by the model number as well as text in the approval that says the phone is "capable of operating in folded closed and unfolded open configurations". (The Galaxy Fold had model number SM-F900.) The only variant approved by the FCC so far does not appear to be US-specific, although it does support 4G LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 25, 26, 29, 30, 41, and 66. It does not include any 5G in any US frequency bands. Rumors suggest this model may be called the "Galaxy Z Flip". The other model just approved is the SM-G981U. The model number suggests that this is a US-specific variant of a new Galaxy S-series flagship phone, but not a top-end "plus" model. (The Galaxy S10+ had model number SM-G975.) It supports 5G, but only in sub-6 GHz bands, not mmWave (which is faster but has limited coverage). It supports 5G NR in bands 2, 5, 41, 66, and 71; and 4G LTE in bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 25, 26, 29, 30, 38, 41, 46, 48, 66, and 71. It also includes CDMA for Sprint's network. That translates to excellent support for all 4G and sub-6 GHz 5G networks launched or announced in the US to date. The SM-G981 also supports NFC, MST (Samsung Pay), and two-way wireless charging, according to the FCC docs. Rumors suggest this model may be called the "Galaxy S20 5G".


Sprint Offering Everyone Cheap Samsung Screen Repair for Two Weeks

Jan 24, 2020, 10:05 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint is holding an unusual sale: $49 screen repair for many recent Samsung Galaxy phones, regardless of whether you're a Sprint customer. The offer excludes the most recent S10 series and newer Note models, but includes the Galaxy S7, S8, S8+, S9, S9+ and Note 8. The same repair from Samsung costs well over $200. If the screen is unrepairable, Sprint is offering a trade-in deal of $150 toward a new Sprint phone. The offer is limited to one device per customer and the sale ends February 9th.


Samsung XCover Pro Targets Businesses

Jan 13, 2020, 4:25 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung this week revealed the Galaxy XCover Pro, a new Android 10 phone "optimized for a variety of industries including retail, healthcare, logistics and manufacturing". It's just slightly larger than the Galaxy S10+, but with a rugged body military-rated for drops up to 1.5 meters, and rated IP68 for dust and water. Its flat screen measures 6.2-inches, sports full-HD+ resolution, and works with gloves and wet fingers. It has a 4,050 mAh removable battery that support 15W fast charging and charging docks with pogo pins. It also has a 25 megapixel main camera, 13 megapixel front camera, NFC, fingerprint reader on the side, and two programmable shortcut buttons. One of the buttons has be used for the PTT (walkie-talkie) feature of Microsoft Teams. It's powered by a Samsung Exynos chip paired with 4 GB of RAM. It has 64 GB of storage built-in and supports memory cards up to 512 GB. It will work on Verizon's network in the US and be available in the first half of 2020 for $500.


Galaxy S10 Lite and Note10 Lite Carve Out New Space in Samsung's Lineup

Jan 3, 2020, 12:14 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung today announced two new phones: the Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note10 Lite. In spite of the naming scheme, the two new models are quite similar to each other. Both have a 6.7-inch, full-HD Super AMOLED display, 4,500 mAh battery, fast charging, in-display fingerprint reader, 6 or 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, memory card slot, and a 32-megapixel front camera in a centered hole-punch in the display. The phones differ in processor (not specified), rear camera specs, and of course the Note10 Lite has a stylus. The S10 Lite has standard, wide, and macro cameras on the back (48, 12, and 5 megapixel, respectively.) The Note10 Lite has standard, wide, and telephoto cameras (all 12 megapixel.) Pricing, regions, and launch date were not announced. The FCC has approved a version of the Galaxy Note10 Lite that could be offered by Verizon, but no other versions compatible with US carriers have been approved to date.


Samsung Updates 2019 Flagships to Android 10

Dec 19, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

An update that includes Android version 10 is now rolling out to Samsung Galaxy S10 phones in the US. The Note10 series will receive the update "starting at the end of the month."


AT&T Launches 5G for Consumers Today in 10 Cities

Dec 13, 2019, 12:51 PM   by Rich Brome

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.


Metro by T-Mobile Launching Nationwide 5G Dec. 6th

Dec 2, 2019, 1:36 PM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile will launch the first 5G service for US prepaid customers on its Metro brand this Friday, Dec. 6th, the same day the company's nationwide 5G service becomes available to T-Mobile customers. T-Mobile "launched" its nationwide 5G network today, but compatible 5G phones won't be available with either T-Mobile or Metro until Dec. 6th. Metro will offer the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. T-Mobile will offer that phone as well as the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren. T-Mobile's new "nationwide" 5G network covers 5,000 cities and towns across the country, 200 million people, and more than 1 million square miles. It uses low frequency bands that have the same coverage as 4G service, unlike mmWave 5G that can only cover small areas.


AT&T Launching Low-Band 5G for Consumers in Coming Weeks

Nov 22, 2019, 11:33 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Nov 23, 2019, 6:13 PM

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".


Samsung Brings the Dark Side to Galaxy Note10+

Nov 19, 2019, 2:34 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung will sell a Star Wars Special Edition of the Galaxy Note10+ this December, with Star Wars-inspired design elements and digital content. The phone will be bundled with a specially designed case, a metal badge as a collector's item, a red S Pen, and Galaxy Buds. The design features a First Order logo on the back. The phone comes loaded with exclusive Star Wars-themed content including wallpapers, shutdown animations, icons, and sounds. Engadget reports that the (unlocked) phone will go on sale in the US on Dec. 13th for $1300. This special edition coincides with the release of The Rise of Skywalker film on December 20th.


T-Mobile Launching 5G Nationwide on December 6

Nov 7, 2019, 11:47 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile has announced December 6th as the launch date for its low-band 5G network, which will use band 71 (600 MHz). The nationwide network will cover more than 200 million Americans and more than 5,000 cities and towns across the country. Unlike mmWave 5G networks that have limited coverage and building penetration, T-Mobile's low-band 5G network uses a frequency band already used for 4G, and will thus offer the same coverage and properties as the 4G network. Sprint is pursuing a similar strategy with its 5G network, and AT&T plans to add low-band to its 5G network in the coming months. T-Mobile has also launched mmWave 5G in parts of Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York. T-Mobile will offer three 5G phones. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G only supports the mmWave networks. The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G and OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren only support the new low-band network launching Dec. 6.


Razer Intros Gaming Accessories for 3rd-Party Phones

Oct 30, 2019, 11:38 AM   by Rich Brome

Razer this week launched two new phone accessories focused on the gamer market: Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds and the Junglecat, a dual-sided gaming controller. Both are designed to work with the company's own Razer Phone 2, as well as other phones. The Junglecat includes cases to fit the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Samsung Galaxy S10+, as well as the Razer Phone 2. The Junglecat can be used attached to one of those three phones, or attached to a dedicated controller grip and used with any Android phone or Windows PC. It uses Bluetooth LE and charges via USB-C. The Hammerhead earbuds use a customized Bluetooth 5.0 connection for ultra-low latency of just 60ms. The earbuds offer 3 hours of battery life by themselves, and 15 hours with the included charging case, which charges via USB-C. The buds also sport touch controls, voice assistant compatibility, and IPx4 water-resistance rating. They're compatible with both Android and iOS devices, with an app available for both platforms. Both the Junglecat and Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds are available now for $100 each.


Samsung Teases New Foldable Form Factor

Oct 29, 2019, 1:46 PM   by Rich Brome

At its annual developer conference today, Samsung teased a new folding-screen form factor that it's working on. The device resembles a tall standard smart phone that folds in half like an old clamshell phone, to form something small and square when closed. The example design shown has a single centered "hole punch" in the top of the display for a selfie camera. No other details were announced. Samsung offered a similar tease months before announcing its Galaxy Fold model.


Samsung Brings Note10 Features to S10

Oct 29, 2019, 11:21 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung has begun rolling out a software update for its S10 series phones that adds some of the advanced features first introduced on the Note10 series, including Live Focus video, AR Doodle, and Samsung DeX for PC.


T-Mobile's 5G Phones Can Support Sprint 5G

Oct 24, 2019, 4:00 PM   by Rich Brome

When T-Mobile launches low-band 5G later this year, the two phones that support it will also be capable of supporting Sprint's already-launched mid-band 5G network, should the two companies be allowed to merge. The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren and Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ will both support 5G in bands 71 (T-Mobile's 600 MHz) and 41 (Sprint's 2,500 MHz). Those two phones do not, however, support 5G in the mmWave bands, which T-Mobile has launched in several cities. T-Mobile does sell the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G which supports its mmWave 5G network but not the upcoming low-band network. When T-Mobile launches low-band 5G this year, it will cover 200 million people, far more than any other US 5G network to date.


T-Mobile and Verizon Won't Support RCS on Pixel 4

Oct 18, 2019, 3:47 PM   by Rich Brome

At launch, Verizon and T-Mobile won't support RCS on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. RCS is an industry-standard messaging protocol designed to replace SMS and MMS, offering many of the features of Apple's iMessage. Verizon supported RCS on the Pixel 3. T-Mobile has been a vocal proponent of RCS, but only supports it on Samsung phones.


Cricket Offering Free Phones To New Customers

Sep 25, 2019, 9:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Cricket is offering a choice of eight different phones for free to new customers through the end of the month, and two models after that. Until October 1st, the free choices include several mid-range models such as the Moto g7 Supra, LG Stylo 5, and Nokia 3.1 Plus. Also free are the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pure, LG Harmony 2, LG Fortune 2, Moto e5 Cruise, and Nokia 3.1 C. After Oct. 1st, the Moto e5 Cruise will continue to be free until Nov. 21. The Samsung J2 Pure will be free again Oct. 11 - Nov. 21.


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