Breakthrough in T-Mobile, Sprint deal as companies are close to agreement

According to sources that spoke to Reuters today, “T-Mobile US Inc is close to agreeing (on) tentative terms on a deal to merge with Sprint Corp.” A merger of the two wireless carriers has been an on-again, off-again deal for several years with the two never quite able to get the time and business environment just right to make it happen. Sources now believe that “the U.S. antitrust enforcement environment has become more favorable since the companies abandoned their previous effort to combine in 2014.”

Motorola now taking pre-orders for Moto G5S Plus with discount for early adopters

Earlier this summer Motorola announced an addition to their G series of devices, the Moto G5S Plus. The new device was described as a “special edition” of the Moto G5 Plus, but in reality is an upgrade to the former device. That should make it a smartphone worthy of consideration by mid-tier buyers as we rated the Moto G5 Plus highly, so the Moto G5S Plus should be a more compelling option.

Trade-in program through Google Store going live

When Google launched the Moto X4 Android One device on Project Fi earlier this week, one of their selling points was the potential for Nexus device owners to trade-in their old phone for a credit against their new purchase. The ability to trade-in a phone as part of a device purchase is expanding to now be available through the Google Store for select devices. This new option for consumers comes just in time for the launch of the new Pixel 2 devices in only a couple weeks.

Facebook testing new Explore Feed tab on Android

For many people, Facebook has become a prime point of contact for their time spent online. That is not stopping the company from continuing to explore ways to keep users on the site even more and trying to find ways to entice new users to get on-board. For example, they have launched a dedicated section for videos and the intention appears to be for that to become a source for original content only available through Facebook. Now the company is working on a way to get news junkies to stick around via a new Explore Feed.

Android One comes to U.S. on the Moto X4 through Project Fi

Throughout 2017 we have been monitoring several initiatives the Google has been working on to expand their U.S. smartphone offerings outside of their own Pixel devices. Two of the moves we have been watching involve the addition of non-Google devices to the Project Fi catalog and the launch of Android One in the U.S. Those efforts came together today with the official launch of the Moto X4 Android One device on Project Fi.

Nokia 9 renders and info leaks for latest HMD Global flagship

At one time Nokia was the force to be reckoned with in the cell phone market. After missing the smartphone juggernaut, Nokia has floated along with different owners and tested the smartphone market with both Windows and Android powered devices. Since being purchased by HMD Global though, it seems the company is going full-on with Android and their latest device in development, the Nokia 9, appears to be on track to compete at the flagship level based on some new renders and other leaks.

New image of Huawei Mate 10 shows up

In just under a month from now, on October 16th, the Huawei Mate 10 will be officially announced by the Chinese manufacturer. We still do not know exactly how many variants of the device will be hitting the smartphone market, but we do know that at least one of them will come with the AI-infused Kirin 970 chipset. There have been a few leaks regarding the Mate 10, but the latest one from Evan Blass appears to be the first “in the wild” spotting of the device.

Google app teardown points the way to new Google Assistant features, Pixel squeeze feature

A new beta version of the Google app is rolling out to users and a teardown shows several new features that will either be included in the next version or possibly a subsequent version. The improvements and features cover both the Google Assistant and will presumably be available for all users as well as some features specific to the forthcoming Pixel 2 device.

Motorola changes course, now says Moto G4 Plus to get Android Oreo

After being criticized last week for failing to include the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus amongst their existing devices to receive an upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo, Motorola has reversed course and says the Moto G4 Plus will get the new operating system via an update. This move by Motorola comes on the heels of revelations that prior marketing materials promised an update to Android O. In an email, Motorola pins blame on an oversight.

Motorola fails with Moto G4 Android Oreo update in more ways than one

Late last week Motorola revealed the existing devices in their product lineup that would receive the Android 8.0 Oreo update. As we noted, one group of customers left out in the cold were those who owned Moto G4 devices as they were not included in the list. Upsetting customers is not a good idea in this day and age, especially those who are tech-savvy and can do things like find old marketing materials making product promises. That is exactly what has happened in the case of Android Oreo and the Moto G4 despite apparent attempts to scrub the Internet of that history.

Samsung’s Bixby button can be disabled in latest update

An update to the Samsung Bixby app is rolling out to the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 devices that provides a little bit of help for users who find the Samsung AI platform more of a bother than anything else. A frequent complaint from users is that the Bixby button is essentially in the way for users who have not interest in Bixby, especially when it is accidentally pressed to open Bixby. The update adds a new setting to disable the Bixby button.

Google Tez is new mobile payments platform in works for Indian market

India continues to show signs of becoming a major market for the tech industry despite challenges related to the relative lack of wealth and Google is working hard to capitalize on that growth. The latest move from Google involves a mobile payment platform that is localized for India going by the name Google Tez, which means “fast” in India. Google Tez will be a new platform joining Google Wallet and Android Pay.

Motorola phones getting Android 8.0 Oreo revealed

Motorola has revealed the smartphones that will be receiving an update to the Android 8.0 Oreo operating system upgrade. The list covers 10 different devices in three of the many Motorola series of phones. One group of owners that will not be happy if they were looking forward to Android Oreo will be owners of the Moto G4 smartphones as they did not make the cut. Likewise, older versions of the Moto X series will not get an update either. In the case of the G4 series of devices, Motorola launched them with Android Marshmallow just last year and updated them to Android Nougat earlier this year.

Google announces Material Design Award winners

At their annual conference covering the intersection between design and technology, Google announced this year’s winners of the Material Design Awards during SPAN Pittsburgh. This is the third year for the annual awards and Google decided to change things up a bit by opening nominations to the public. After receiving “hundreds of submissions” Google reviewed them and came up with four winners. The honorees are recognized for “best-in-class achievements in employing the Material Design system.”

Google Pixel XL 2 by LG confirmed via FCC database entry

Earlier we reported that Google has confirmed the big reveal date for the new Pixel 2 smartphones will be October 4th. Thanks to a new entry spotted in the FCC database, we are now able to also confirm that LG is indeed the manufacturer of the larger of the two devices dubbed the Pixel XL 2. This is not really surprising as all signs up to now were pointing to LG being the manufacturer with this latest discovery merely making things official. The smaller Pixel 2 phone was spotted in the FCC database a few weeks ago with HTC as the manufacturer.