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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.


Samsung Releasing Galaxy Fold on Friday

Sep 23, 2019, 9:53 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 23, 2019, 9:56 AM

Samsung has finally set a US release date for its delayed and tweaked Galaxy Fold: this Friday, Sept. 27th. While T-Mobile had originally planned to offer the Fold, now it will only be available from AT&T and in an unlocked version. Select Best Buy and Samsung Experience Stores will sell both the unlocked version and the AT&T version. The Fold will come with a special support offering called Galaxy Fold Premier Service. This will include a dedicated phone number, video chat service, and in-person support. "Samsung experts" will be available for complimentary "onboarding" as well as ongoing support. The Galaxy Fold is the first smartphone for the US with a flexible pOLED screen that actually folds in half. It also has a full touchscreen interface on the outside. Its specs are similar to the high-end Galaxy S10+, including a top-end Snapdragon 855 processor, 12 GB of RAM, and triple rear cameras (wide, standard, and telephoto.) The Fold was originally slated to launch April 26th of this year, but the launch was delayed after multiple reviewers experienced serious issues soon after receiving the phone. The design has since been improved to address the issues seen on the original design.


Verizon 5G Launching in NYC Next Week

Sep 19, 2019, 8:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has revealed that it will light up its mmWave 5G service in New York City in one week, on September 26th. As with all mmWave deployments, it will focus on dense, downtown areas and public spaces, rather than broad citywide coverage. The coverage areas include parts of uptown, midtown, and downtown Manhattan, along with select parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. NYC is Verizon's 11th 5G city. The company has promised to launch 5G in 30 US cities by the end of the year. Verizon's lineup of phones with integrated 5G include the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.


Gabb Launches Data-Free Smartphones for Kids

Sep 19, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

A new kid-oriented phone service launches today nationwide. Gabb Wireless offers basic voice and messaging service for parents who want their kids to be connected, but "protect children from too much technology too soon". Although both phones offered by the company are Android smartphones, they have no data service, no app store, and no games. Gabb service runs $20/month for unlimited SMS and voice. MMS service runs an extra $3/month. Service is pay-as-you-go and contract-free. Gabb offers an entry-level ZTE phone called the Z1 for $100. The step-up offering is the Samsung S1 for $200, which is similar to the Samsung A10e. Compared to the Z1, the S1 offers a larger screen thanks to its modern, tall screen with a small notch. It also offers better cameras and Bluetooth.


Unlicensed Band 48 Opens for Business

Sep 17, 2019, 8:37 AM   by Rich Brome

The FCC this week granted permission for initial commercial service to commence in the unlicensed part of band 48, also known as CBRS, a radio frequency band spanning the range of 3550 - 3700 MHz. In a new and unique arrangement, consumer phones will be able to cellular technologies like LTE in an unlicensed band that also has incumbent users such as the military and satellite operators. To prevent interference, five companies will operate central databases that coordinate access to the band in real-time. Having proven their systems in certified lab tests, it is these five Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrators that have received permission from the FCC to begin "initial commercial deployment", which is both a real-world test phase and a commercial launch. The five approved Administrators are Google, Sony, Federated Wireless, Amdocs, and CommScope. Verizon has been most vocal among the major US carriers about deploying service in band 48 for its customers. The most recent flagship phones from Samsung, Apple, LG, OnePlus, and Razer already support band 48. In mid-2020, the FCC plans to auction a different part of the CBRS band that will be licensed in a more traditional way for deployment of 5G service.


Samsung to Sell New A-Series Phones Unlocked

Sep 6, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

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


Google Moving Pixel Production from China to Vietnam

Aug 29, 2019, 9:40 AM   by Rich Brome

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


T-Mobile, AT&T Connect on STIR/SHAKEN

Aug 14, 2019, 10:00 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile and AT&T can now securely confirm caller-ID info between the two networks, an important step in fighting number spoofing widely used by robocallers. Both companies have now implemented the STIR/SHAKEN protocol between their networks, allowing caller-ID info to be authenticated, resulting in a "Caller Verified" banner on the phone screen when a call is incoming. T-Mobile and Metro currently offer 12 phones from Samsung and LG that support this banner. The FCC has urged US telecom companies — under threat of new regulation — to implement STIR/SHAKEN as a means of combatting robocalling and fraud. Once adoption is widespread, consumers will be able to block calls that cannot be authenticated. Verizon has announced that it is also working to implement STIR/SHAKEN.


New Samsung Camera Sensor for Phones Takes 108-Megapixel Photos, 6K Video

Aug 12, 2019, 1:03 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung's latest camera module for phones has a world-first 108-megapixel resolution and can record 6K-resolution video at 30 fps. Samsung announced the camera sensor module today, as a collaboration with Xiaomi. As with Samsung's new 64- and 48-megapixel sensors, the new module is designed to use pixel binning by default, where four pixels act as one for better low-light performance and less noise. This makes it effectively a 27-megapixel sensor for most shots, although it can capture a 108-megapixel image in bright light. It has the same 0.8-micrometer pixel size as the company's 64-megapixel sensor, but is physically larger, being the first mobile image sensor to adopt a 1/1.33-inch sensor size. Mass production of the part will begin later this month.


All Four Top US Carriers to Offer 5G Note10, with Varying Band Support

Aug 7, 2019, 3:40 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 8, 2019, 11:31 AM

The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G will be the first phone to support sub-6 GHz FDD 5G for T-Mobile and AT&T. However, the AT&T and T-Mobile versions will not support mmWave 5G that offers faster speeds in central areas of major cities, even though the Verizon version will support only mmWave 5G. T-Mobile and AT&T spokespeople have confirmed to Phone Scoop that their versions will not support mmWave. Sub-6 GHz FDD bands (low-band) are the same bands used for 4G service today, and offer broad coverage that mmWave frequencies cannot. T-Mobile and AT&T have announced plans to launch 5G on sub-6 GHz FDD bands later this year. Verizon will be first to sell the Note10+ 5G on August 23rd. Verizon will have an undisclosed period of exclusivity, after which AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will also offer it. Verizon will charge $1300 for the 256 GB model, available in black, white, or a prismatic "Aura Glow", and $1400 for the 512 GB version, available in black. The 5G and 4G versions of the Note10+ are identical in appearance, size, and features. The only difference is a 2 gram weight difference to account for the 5G components. The Note10 series includes Play Galaxy Link, which lets you stream games from your home PC to your phone, a feature that will benefit greatly from the data speeds and low latency offered by 5G.


Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy Note10

Aug 7, 2019, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 9, 2019, 11:59 AM

The Note10 is a huge update to the Note series. It now comes in two sizes, the design is truly all-screen, and a number of features have been removed to make room for new ones. There are also variants with 5G, different storage options, and a complex array of color options. We break it all down for you in this in-depth hands-on.

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Samsung Note10 Comes in Two Sizes

Aug 7, 2019, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Note10 and Note10+. The company's super-flagship Note series for 2019 comes in two sizes: The Note10 packs a screen similar to the Note9 into a smaller body, while the Note10+ sports a larger display in a body similar in size to the Note9. The Note10+ will also be available in a 5G version. The Note10 has a 6.3-inch full-HD display, 3,500 mAh battery, and 8 GB of RAM, while the Note10+ has a 6.8-inch quad-HD display, 4,300 mAh battery, and 12 GB of RAM. The Note10+ also adds a ToF camera for 3D scanning, and a memory card slot. Both new models are thinner and lighter than the Note9. Samsung accomplished this by removing the headphone jack, iris scanner, and heart rate sensor. Key features from the S10 have been included, including triple rear cameras (dual-aperture plus tele and wide), in-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader, and Wireless Power Share. The included S Pen now has a motion sensor, allowing it to support mid-air gesture shortcuts. The DeX feature that turns the phone into a computer now works via USB connected to a PC or Mac, where the phone's desktop is displayed via a new app, which supports both copy-and-paste, and file drag-and-drop between desktops. A 25W charger is included, and the Note10+ supports an optional 45W charger that can provide a "full day" charge in 30 minutes. All US models are powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor and come with at least 256 GB of internal storage. All four top US carriers will offer all three models — including the Note+ 5G — although Verizon will offer the 5G model first for a short exclusivity period. 256 GB models will be available in white, black, and a prismatic Aura Glow. Models with 512 GB of RAM will only be available in black. Best Buy will also offer the Note10+ in an exclusive Aura Blue color. All three models will go on sale August 23rd, with pre-orders starting tomorrow, August 8th. Pre-orders include a credit of $100-$150 to spend on samsung.com. The Note10 starts at $949, the Note10+ at $1099, and Verizon will sell the Note10+ 5G starting at $1300.


Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Gains LTE, Touch Bezel, New Sizes

Aug 5, 2019, 11:53 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Watch Active2, an update to the Galaxy Watch Active that brings new features and options. The edges of the screen now function as a touch-based "rotating" bezel to navigate menus faster. The AMOLED screen has also been enlarged, from 1.1 inches to 1.2 inches, in the same 40mm body. There's also a new larger version, with a 1.4-inch display in a 44mm case. Both sizes are available in either stainless steel with a leather strap, or aluminum with a fluoroelastomer band. A version is also available with 4G LTE built in, which offers voice calling, social media apps, Spotify, and real-time voice and text translation in over 16 languages. New health sensors on the back take readings faster. The watch has built-in tracking for 39 different workouts, seven of which are detected and activated automatically, including running, walking, cycling, and swimming. The Galaxy Watch Active2 also includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, NFC for payments, heart rate sensor, ECG, and wireless charging. The small size starts at $280, while the large size will start at $300. Pricing was not announced for the LTE version, but all four major US carriers will offer it. All versions will go on sale September 27th. Pre-orders start September 6th, and customers pre-ordering on samsung.com are eligible for a free Wireless Charger Portable Battery.


Samsung Launching Tweaked Galaxy Fold in September

Jul 24, 2019, 9:04 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung today released a statement that it will launch the Galaxy Fold in September, having improved the design to address issues that cropped up in multiple review units right before the original launch date in late April. Samsung has tweaked the design of the folding-display phone in four specific ways:

  • "The top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display has been extended beyond the bezel, making it apparent that it is an integral part of the display structure and not meant to be removed."
  • "The top and bottom of the hinge area have been strengthened with newly added protection caps."
  • "Additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display have been included to reinforce the protection of the display."
  • "The space between the hinge and body of Galaxy Fold has been reduced."
Samsung has also taken advantage of the delay to optimize the user interface of additional apps and services for the unique foldable display. AT&T and T-Mobile had previously committed to carrying the Galaxy Fold. More specific launch details will be shared closer to the new sale date.


Samsung Intros Faster 12 GB RAM for Phones

Jul 18, 2019, 11:02 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung's latest memory chip part for phones offers 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Samsung's previous 12GB RAM offering was LPDDR4x; LPDDR5 is about 30% faster.


Samsung Galaxy A10e Launches on Boost, Coming to AT&T

Jul 16, 2019, 7:44 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 17, 2019, 8:51 PM

Boost has started selling the Samsung Galaxy A10e, Samsung's entry-level phone in its newly expanded A-series. The $140 phone is currently offered for just $100 by Boost, in a two-day introductory sale. The A10e has an all-screen design with small notch in its 5.8-inch, HD LCD display. The phone has a USB-C connector, 3,000 mAh battery, 8-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel front camera, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, a memory card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Samsung's web site also reveals a version for AT&T, which has not yet gone on sale.


Comcast Xfinity Mobile Now Supports Android BYOD

Jul 16, 2019, 9:10 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 1, 2019, 10:29 AM

Comcast's mobile service — Xfinity Mobile — will now let customers bring their own Android phone instead of requiring a new phone purchase. Recent high-end Samsungs are supported now, with additional Android device support coming later this year.


Sprint Launches 5G in Chicago

Jul 11, 2019, 12:33 PM   by Rich Brome

Sprint is launching its 5G network in Chicago this week. Utilizing the company's 2.6 GHz (band 41) spectrum, the network offers better coverage and building penetration than the mmWave 5G networks launched by other companies in Chicago to date. The coverage area reaches from the historic IL-64 in the north to Stevenson Expressway in the south, and as far as California Avenue in the west. It covers 700,000 people. Chicago joins Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Kansas City among Sprint's 5G cities, and the company promises to launch 5G in Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC "in the coming weeks". Sprint customers in Chicago will be able to buy a 5G device starting Friday, July 12th. Sprint currently offers the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.


Samsung Launches Third-Party Add-Ons for Bixby

Jul 1, 2019, 10:19 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung just launched Bixby Marketplace, which lets users add third-party "capsules" to their Bixby Assistant. The Marketplace includes a variety of convenience-enhancing capsules such as Google Maps, Spotify, iHeartRadio, NPR, and Yelp, across categories such as Productivity, Communication, Travel and transportation, Food and drink, Local, Music and audio, Shopping, and Business and finance. Installed capsules can be summoned by name to perform specific actions. Users can also customize Bixby with a "preferred capsule" for certain actions, so that "Get me a ride to San Francisco airport" will use the Lyft capsule, for example. The Marketplace lets users search for capsules by category, keyword, or developer, and includes a curated section of staff picks.


Visible Removes Speed Limit

Jun 26, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Mobile service provider Visible is removing the 5 Mbps data speed cap that it launched with. Visible offers unlimited service on Verizon's network for $40/month. New and existing customers will get the un-capped, faster data speeds for as long as they remain customers; the company may re-impose speed limits at a later date for customers signing up after that date. Visible is also offering $20 referral bonuses, and $20 off the first month of service for new customers. The company has no physical locations, offering activation, support, and all customer interactions via its app. Visible is compatible with most iPhones as well as the Samsung Galaxy S9(+), Google Pixel 3 (XL), and the Visible R2. The company is adding support soon for the Pixel 3a (XL) and Moto g7 Power.


T-Mobile Launches mmWave 5G With Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Jun 25, 2019, 9:11 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 25, 2019, 10:38 AM

In a surprise move, T-Mobile is launching its first 5G phone and a limited 5G network ahead of schedule. The 5G network is currently only using mmWave spectrum (both 28 GHz and 39 GHz), which offers high speeds but limited coverage. It's available in parts of six downtown areas: Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York. T-Mobile has published coverage maps showing where customers can expect mmWave 5G service outdoors. The company's first 5G phone will be the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, available this Friday, June 28. The S10 5G only supports T-Mobile's mmWave 5G launching this week, not the sub-6-GHz 5G that will form the bulk of T-Mobile's 5G coverage later this year. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will be available in select stores in the six cities with 5G service for $1,300. Well-qualified customers can finance it with no interest for $550 down plus $31.25/month for 24 months. T-Mobile does not charge extra for 5G service.


Verizon Launching LG V50 Nationwide June 20th

Jun 18, 2019, 11:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will launch its second phone with integrated 5G — the LG V50 ThinQ 5G — for all customers on June 20th. As with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Verizon isn't restricting sales to areas where 5G service is available, as Sprint has done. Verizon is selling the phone for $1,000, or $41.66/month for 24 months. For a limited time, Verizon is waiving the $10/month 5G access fee. Verizon's 5G network uses mmWave frequencies and is currently available in part of Chicago and Minneapolis, with another 28+ cities coming by the end of the year.


Sprint, Verizon, AT&T Offer New GPS Tracking Devices

Jun 17, 2019, 11:01 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint and Verizon both recently started offering standalone GPS tracker devices that can report their exact position using cellular networks. AT&T already offers such a device. The devices use the new LTE Cat-M1 technology designed specifically for small, low-power devices that only need to transmit small amounts of data. Unlike Bluetooth-based tracking tiles, they do not need to be near the phone viewing the location, although the tracker device does need to be within the coverage area of the cellular network it's associated with. All of the tracker devices are roughly the size of a matchbook, are water-resistant, include Wi-Fi for enhanced location accuracy and efficiency, and have multi-day battery life. They are designed for tracking kids, pets, vehicles, and luggage, for example. Sprint's Tracker is made by Coolpad and features a light sensor and speaker. Its battery lasts 3-10 days and it's rated IP67 for dust and water. Sprint is charging $60 for the tracker and $5/month for service. The Verizon Smart Locator has battery life up to five days and an IP67 rating. Verizon charges $100 for the tracker with one year of free service, after which service is $3/month. AT&T offers the Samsung SmartThings Tracker, which has battery life up to one week and an IP68 rating. AT&T charges $100 for the tracker which includes one year of service. After the first year, service on the AT&T network is offered through Samsung, and runs $5/month or $50/year.


New Police Tool Can Access Any Locked Phone

Jun 17, 2019, 9:32 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 17, 2019, 9:32 AM

An Israeli company that supplies law enforcement agencies worldwide announced that the newest version of its tool to access locked phones can access almost any smartphone, including Apple devices running iOS 7-12.3 and most Android phones. The company, Cellebrite, promises that its new UFED Premium device offers nearly complete access to Apple devices and "flagship Samsung devices", as well as support for accessing the file system on "popular device models from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi." The company boasts that its device lets law enforcement "Bypass or determine locks and perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device, or a physical extraction or full file system (File-Based Encryption) extraction on many high-end Android devices.... gain access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more". Apple has added features to iOS in recent years to thwart this kind of access, and is rolling out iOS 13 this summer and fall.


Samsung Galaxy S10 5G Launches on Sprint June 21

Jun 14, 2019, 8:21 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint will offer its second 5G phone — the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G — on June 21 for $1,300. Sprint is offering a $250 discount for customers who pre-order, which is available starting today. Customers choosing a Sprint Flex Lease will pay $40.28 per month after the $13.89/month credit from the $250 discount. The phone is available only in markets where Sprint has launched its 5G network, which currently includes Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City. 5G markets launching "in the coming weeks" are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC. The S10 5G joins the LG V50 in Sprint's 5G phone lineup. Sprint also launched the new, mid-range Samsung Galaxy A50 today.


AT&T Launching 5G Phone & Service Next Week for Business Customers

Jun 12, 2019, 4:03 PM   by Rich Brome

AT&T is launching its first 5G phone on June 17th, but only for business customers and a select group of developers. The company will offer the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G to customers on the new AT&T Business Unlimited Preferred plan, which includes 5G service. For a limited time, businesses can order the Galaxy S10 5G with 256 GB of storage through their AT&T account representatives for the discounted price of $1,000. The phone can access AT&T's mmWave 5G network, which is available today in "very limited parts" of 19 cities, with plans to reach parts of at least 30 cities. The phone cannot access 5G service at lower (sub-6 GHz) frequencies that AT&T has promised to launch by the end of the year. The company is also offering a group of developers a Galaxy S10 5G with free service through the end of the year.


Sprint Details 5G Coverage, Launching Tomorrow

May 30, 2019, 10:29 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint's 5G network launches tomorrow in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Kansas City, as previously announced. In the coming weeks, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC will also gain 5G service. At that point, Sprint's 5G network will cover a total of 2,180 square miles and 11.5 million people, the largest 5G coverage area in the US by far. Sprint is using the 2.5 GHz frequency band (band 41) for its initial 5G network, which offers much better coverage and building penetration than the mmWave frequencies that Verizon and AT&T have launched 5G with so far. Sprint also uses band 41 for LTE, and its new Massive MIMO antennas are delivering 4G LTE and 5G NR simultaneously in band 41, with similar coverage for each technology. Sprint's 5G network in Dallas-Fort Worth covers approximately 575 square miles and 1.6 million people. In Houston, Sprint 5G covers approximately 165 square miles and 800,000 people. In Kansas City: 225 square miles and 625,000 people. In Atlanta: 150 square miles and 565,000 people. Sprint's first 5G phone is the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, which goes on sale tomorrow in cities with Sprint 5G service. Sprint will offer the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G later this summer.


Samsung Reaches 64 Megapixels With New Camera Sensor for Phones

May 9, 2019, 9:37 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung has two new ultra-high-resolution image sensors for phone cameras, offering up to 64 megapixel resolution. The ISOCELL Bright GW1 operates in two modes: In bright light, it can produce a full 64-megapixel image. It can also utilize Tetracell pixel-merging (pixel binning) to combine four pixels into one, acting as 16-megapixel sensor with better low-light performance. The sensor also offers extended HDR and slow motion video up to full HD at 480 fps. A second offering, the ISOCELL Bright GM2, offers most of the same features in a 48-megapixel sensor (12 megapixel with pixel binning). The two sensor chips are currently sampling and are expected to be in mass production in the second half of this year.


Samsung Galaxy S10 5G Available for Pre-Order on Verizon

Apr 25, 2019, 9:16 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has started accepting pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, its first phone with integrated 5G. The phone will hit stores on May 16th. Verizon will offer the S10 5G in the Samsung-announced configuration with 256 GB of storage for $1,300, plus a new option with 512 GB of storage for $1,400. (The S10 5G does not have a memory card slot to add storage.) Verizon has a limited-time exclusive on the S10 5G in the US, and will retain an exclusive on the Majestic Black color. Verizon will also offer the phone in Crown Silver. The company is offering several promo deals to those who pre-order the phone, including free 5G service (normally $10/month), free Samsung Galaxy Buds, and a Samsung Wireless Charging Battery Pack. In addition, customers can trade in an old phone for up to $450 in savings, and new customers switching to Verizon get a $200 prepaid MasterCard. The S10 5G is similar with the S10+, but with a larger screen, larger battery, and advanced depth cameras on the front and back. Verizon plans to offer 5G service in the downtown areas of over 30 major US cities by the end of the year. Chicago and Minneapolis have already launched, and Verizon announced the next 20 cities today. Because Verizon's initial 5G network uses the 28 GHz band in the mmWave range, it can offer very high speeds, but the range of each cell is limited to a few hundred feet and does not reach indoors well.


Verizon Names Next 20 5G Cities

Apr 25, 2019, 8:58 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has announced a new list of 20 cities where it will offer 5G coverage in 2019. They are Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC. The company has already launched mobile 5G service in Chicago and Minneapolis. The company continues to promise 5G in "more than 30" US cities by the end of the year, leaving at least nine cities yet to be announced. Verizon offers 5G phone service with a Moto z3 + 5G Moto Mod. Its first phone with integrated 5G will be the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which became available for pre-order today, and hits stores on May 16th.


Samsung Testing 5nm Chips for 2020 Phones

Apr 23, 2019, 2:45 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 24, 2019, 8:46 AM

Samsung has successfully manufactured and is testing chips for future phones that use a cutting-edge 5nm process. These chips have smaller transistors, resulting in chips that are more power-efficient and/or faster than today's chips based on 7nm and larger processes. Samsung makes processor chips for itself, and has made processor chips for Qualcomm and Apple in the past. Samsung's memory chips are popular in high-end phones. Samsung expects the new 5nm chips to reach phones in 2020. Rival TMSC, which currently manufactures processor chips for Qualcomm and Apple, also started testing 5nm chips recently.


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