Samsung Galaxy J3 and Galaxy J7 joining the unlocked Samsung Portfolio

Samsung continues to expand the unlocked devices they make available with the latest additions to their portfolio being the Galaxy J7 and the Galaxy J3. Both of these devices fall into the budget category although Samsung claims they offer “high performance” for their price point. The new unlocked variants will be available starting later this week on July 28th through Samsung.com, major retailers and “enterprise distributors.”

Moto Z2 Force to make it to all four major U.S. carriers

Way back in April word first got out that Motorola was planning to expand the availability of the Moto Z2 Force and some other phones by not making them Verizon exclusive devices. That direction seems to have panned out on the eve of the official announcement of the device according to Evan Blass who tweeted out over the weekend that all four major U.S. carriers will offer the Moto Z2 Force.

Sprint jabs Verizon with opening of Twice the Price store

This almost feels like it should be April Fools Day and maybe that is what Sprint is hoping Verizon customers feel about their wireless plans. In a pointed announcement accompanied by a spoof advertisement video, Sprint is inviting shoppers to visit a pop-up Twice the Price store in Flushing, New York today only from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. What is a Twice the Price store you may be asking? It is a store where all of the prices have been doubled to whatever their normal price is. The spokesman for the store, “Uncle Danny”, does a much better job explaining it in the “commercial” released to YouTube so be sure to hit the break and check it out.

Motion Stills app from Google now available for Android

Although it is getting rarer for these situations to exist, Google announced today that an app they had developed exclusively for the iOS platform is now available for Android devices running Android v5.1 or later. The app is called Motion Stills and it accomplishes a couple different goals. First, it can be used to create short form video clips by compressing longer videos using a feature called Fast Forward. Second, Motion Stills incorporates some advanced algorithms and code to significantly stabilize video clips. The new Motion Stills app is now available in the Play Store.

New Zeiss patent shows the way to new optical zoom with rotating lenses

As smartphone camera sensors get better and camera apps keep adding new features to process images, expect new and unique approaches to surface to set cameras apart from the current market. One area that could definitely be improved upon is optical zoom capabilities. To understand how limited things are now, just think of the market for clip on zoom lenses that exist right now. A new patent filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office reveals a new method Zeiss is working on to get around current limitations through use of a rotating lens system.

Samsung may not release a Bixby ‘smart speaker” after all

Earlier this month word got out that Samsung was working on a project to jump into the market for artificial assistant home speaker devices similar to Amazon Echo hardware or Google Home. This seemed a bit odd considering the trouble Samsung has been having getting the voice activated portion of Bixby to work properly for the U.S., English speaking market. Now sources are saying Samsung may not release such a device after all, although the addition of Bixby technology to other devices is not out of the question.

Coral Blue Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ coming to the U.S. on July 21

If you were looking for something a bit different in the color of your next phone, Samsung is adding the Coral Blue version of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ to their lineup in the U.S. market. We are used to seeing carrier exclusive phones, but in the case of the Coral Blue Galaxy S8 devices, the exclusivity is extended to a retailer – Best Buy – as well as Samsung themselves. The new color will be available for purchase starting this Friday, July 21.

OnePlus 5 units may reboot instead of calling 911

In an all-too-common situation, owners of the just launched OnePlus 5 are discovering a rather disturbing flaw with the device. Although not a universal problem, enough instances are popping up to indicate OnePlus has an issue that needs to be addressed. The problem occurs when users dial their local emergency number, which triggers a phone reboot instead of the call going through to the emergency dispatch center.

Redesigned Adobe Lightroom for Android announced

Adobe announced July updates for their Lightroom app on both the iOS and Android platforms today. For Android users, Adobe says they have redesigned the app “from the ground up.” The improvements include a completely overhauled user interface that appears to be more in alignment with Material Design concepts. Along with the interface changes, Adobe says the new, updated app will run faster and more efficiently.

LG V30 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 likely to work on T-Mobile’s 600MHz network

Normally gains in smartphone technology are realized through improvements in components like the processors or better screens or beefed up cameras. One area poised to see gains in the not too distant future is in connection speed, but it is going to take the work of both smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers to make this happen. T-Mobile is working on it and has made significant investments in 600MHz spectrum which will provide the framework for the eventual deployment of 5G technology and speeds. In anticipation of that, the carrier revealed today that at least a couple devices will be able to tap into the new spectrum this year. The devices appear to be the LG V30 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Essential loses two top executives amidst Phone delay

At the end of May, Andy Rubin of Android fame grabbed headlines with the official announcement of the Essential Phone, a new smartphone from his start-up Essential company. Although the Essential Phone is equipped with flagship level hardware, barely any bezels, and a unique titanium and ceramic body, there were still some questions about how Essential would set themselves apart from competitors. Some skepticism continued to ramp when the company missed their shipping date at the end of June and has not provided any updates since then. The rumors and conjecture should really get heated up now with two recent departures of some senior executives with the company.

Amazon Anytime may be company’s entry into messaging platforms

Amazon continues to work on adding features to their Alexa devices and recently rolled out some messaging and calling features to help compete with platforms like Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Although they are traditionally not seen as a big player in the enterprise market, outside of their cloud storage services, Amazon also launched communication service called Chime earlier this year for enterprise users. Now information has surfaced indicating Amazon may be preparing to launch their own standalone messaging platform called Amazon Anytime to compete in that busy market segment.

Galaxy Note 8 possibly leaked by Samsung, shipping date projected in September

With a little over a month to go until the expected official announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 on August 23rd, the possibility exists that Samsung’s own Exynos processor division may have leaked out an image of the upcoming device. Meanwhile, sources in Korea are projecting the new device will start shipping during September.

WhatsApp updates out of beta, rolling out to users

WhatsApp has been working on some updates to make the communications platform a bit more useful and a little bit easier to use. Several of these new features have been available to beta testers, but the final version started rolling out to regular customers as of a couple days ago. The updates includes improvements to file attachments, how images are displayed, and a tweak to the call screen.