Phones4U Looks to Make Upgrading Every Two Years Obsolete

So you’re standing there in your local carrier store and you’re hit with a dilemma. You look around the store and think to yourself, “which of these phones is going to last me a full two years?” Thanks to cell carriers and their two year contracts it’s a dilemma we are faced with often. Especially with companies continually pushing a slew of phones. Heck it even caused me to write out this rant a few days back. Well it looks like Independent UK retailer Phones4U is looking to make 24-month contracts a thing of the past with their new JUMP service.

Standing for “Just Upgrade My Phone” this service will allow you to change your device every six months or so. The way that it works is that the JUMP program splits customers’ monthly bills into part phone service and part “JUMP service agreement.” The phone service part will be payable to the carrier and the JUMP part will be payable to Phones4U. After about six months or so, customers can opt to upgrade their handsets while trading in their current device in the process. The remainder of the JUMP balance being paid on is then offset against the price of the trade-in device, then the cost of the new device is added to your JUMP balance. 
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Google To Possibly Open Retail Store At Its European Headquarters In Dublin

 

 

Looks like Google is about to dive in to the retail business, perhaps going toe-to-toe with Apple. According to Bloomberg, Google recently made a filing and will possibly open its first stand-alone retail store at its European headquarters in Dublin. In case you’re unfamiliar, Google’s European headquarters in Dublin is the largest Google location outside of the U.S. The store would be located in Dublin’s Montevetro office block and include about 123 square meters (1,323 square feet) of space with an added mezzanine floor extension. It has already purchased the Montevetro space for 100 million euros (roughly $132 million) and once the renovation is complete, Google will have well over 3,000 employees in the Dublin area. Bloomberg adds “the planning application, prepared by consultants John Spain Associates for Google Ireland Inc., was approved by the Dublin City Council on Jan. 23.” Among the noteworthy features of the planning highlights a staff swimming pool in an area designed for use as a restaurant.

A full-fledged retail store is certainly not too surprising too. For starters, Bloomberg highlights Google already “has a store for its merchandise at its headquarters in California, which isn’t open to the public but also offers its merchandise at www.googlestore.com.” Also, Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility is set to be complete in the near-future, which in part will help compete with Apple Store offerings— setting the stage for many exclusive devices, accessories or just anything Google to be displayed and glorified. Oh and don’t forget– Google has a major role in Androidland in Austrailia, in case you might have forgotten.

source: Bloomberg

Samsung Galaxy S II to get Ice Cream Sandwich on March 1, Galaxy Note and others soon thereafter?

Eldar Murtazin is at it again. He’s the one who gave us that leaked press shot of a new Samsung device recently. Now he’s saying that Ice Cream Sandwich will be available for the Samsung Galaxy S II on March 1. If this is true, I would only expect to see it on the International version as I highly doubt the U.S. carriers will see ICS until at least May or June, but I hope I’m wrong. Eldar also tweeted shortly after that the Note and other models will see ICS in the March to May time frame, which really isn’t news.

If ICS is ready on March 1 for the Galaxy S II, this would really be big since it’s only a couple of weeks away. Of course, when it comes to software updates such as these, nothing is true until it’s actually released and on your device.


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Mysterious HTC Smartphone Appears, Features Ice Cream Sandwich And Sense 4.0

Photo courtesy of PhoneArena

HTC has been fairly mum to start the new year while quietly working in the background working on devices and not drawing any sort of attention. However, we are now seeing some of its work finally come to fruition in the form of an attactive new Ice Cream Sandwich-based smartphone which has emerged from the wild. This mysterious phone comes fully-loaded too featuring the following:

 

  • 1.2GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Sense UI 4.0
  • 8MP Camera with VGA FF camera
  • AMOLED screen
  • 4G LTE connectivity

While the identity of the device is a mystery, we may have a hunch of what it will be. First off the specs seems to match up with a few existing HTC phones out there– namely the Rezound smartphone even though the processor is not clocked as fast. Also, The 4G LTE radio stands out in the featured specs as well. While we’re not certain by any means, this device seems to match up with a certain 4G LTE global phone Verizon does have planned for release at some point this year, especially since the phone has a giant 4G LTE logo as well which almost always is a dead giveaway for Verizon Wireless devices. So this could possibly be the HTC Fireball we’re looking at ladies and gentlemen.

There’s one unusual thing to point out about the phone. While ICS devices will generally use on-screen buttons, we see this mysterious device featuring not only the familiar hardware buttons, but four hardware buttons to be exact instead three. Of course this device is a prototype and will likely be modified and have a few changes once its formally released to the masses later in the year. You’d still think however, that the four buttons are still a bit of a head-scratcher even if it is a prototype.

There are no other additional details of this smartphone, but stay tuned with TA for further details or news.

 

(Photos courtesy of PhoneArena)

source: PhoneArena

White Galaxy Nexus Shipping Now

Negri Electronics is currently shipping the white Galaxy Nexus for $659.50. This is the unlocked, 16GB, white, international version (i9250), which can be used on AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ networks. If you don’t care if it’s white, you can save a few bucks by getting the titanium version at Amazon for only $629.99. Still no word from AT&T or T-Mobile on an official Galaxy Nexus for each respective carrier, though Sprint already announced they would be carrying it this year (I, for one, can’t wait for that since I am on the Now Network).

Also up for grabs from Negri Electronics is the Canadian version of the titanium Galaxy Nexus, for a slightly more palatable $595.50.

Anyone going to pick one of these up?

source: Negri 1, Negri 2
via: Android and Me

Google Wants to be Your Entertainment System

Earlier, we reported about a mystery entertainment device by Google making an appearance at the FCC, and we’re guessing this could be the first Android@Home commercial device. Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is developing and plans to market a wireless, music-streaming home-entertainment system. This would mark the first time Google would be designing and marketing a consumer electronics device under its name.

Apparently, people briefed on Google’s plans say that the company’s entertainment device has been in development for years, and is expected to be unveiled later this year. The device is said to stream music from Google Music’s storage service and serve it wirelessly to Web-connected devices, including a set of Google-made speakers. Streaming video through the device could come in the future as well. The whole system would be controlled by a smartphone or tablet, though it is unclear at this time if the controller devices have to be Android-powered.

With Google TV’s tepid response in the market, it is believed that the plan this time is to offer the entertainment device at a more affordable price point than competing systems, such as the products designed by Sonos, Inc.
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AT&T Claims Data Throttling Policy Isn’t As Bad As You Think

The throttling of AT&T customers that still have unlimited data (via the grandfathering option offered when AT&T put the brakes on their unlimited service) has created a lot of heat from their account holders. John Cozen received a notification that he had used 2.1GB of data and thus will be throttled. Mr. Cozen obviously feels this is unfair, and over the weekend posted an e-mail conversation he had with an AT&T representative. He points out that paying $30 for an unlimited data plan that is inevitably going to be throttled is ludicrous considering the 3GB data plan is not throttled and costs the exact same per month.

However Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesperson, has tried to calm the nerves. Apparently, even if you exceed 2GB of usage per month, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be throttled. He goes on to mention that a few factors come into play, such as your usage in an area where network capacity or spectrum is insufficient. This seems to imply that it isn’t a threshold that determines your data speed, it’s actually a series of individual factors.

Are you an AT&T customer? If so, have you been throttled?

Galaxy Tab 10.1N cleared for sale by German court

I hope the Execs at Samsung and Apple have a nice discount for hotel bookings in Germany as the 2 tech giants are in the docks overseas yet again.

The case for the prosecution on this occasion is Apple’s claim that the reworked Galaxy 10.1N tablet is still not significantly different from the iPad. The original 10.1 tab has been banned from sale in Germany since September 2011 after the courts backed Apple’s campaign to ban the device. In the latest chapter, the state court in Düsseldorf has ruled in Samsung’s favour stating that the redesigned 10.1N should not be banned as there are “clear differences” between the two tablets.

Apple and Samsung are currently locked in courtroom battles in several countries across the world and the recent string of rulings against Apple doesn’t seem to be deterring the Cupertino giants. Are you tired of reading about litigation instead of innovation? Let us hear your thoughts.

Source : Reuters

Pump up the Volume with Netflix 1.7 for Android

Hot on the heels of releasing their app for the UK, Netflix has updated their Android app to version 1.7, which adds a few interesting bits. Here’s the list of updates as posted in the What’s New section of the Netflix Android Market page:

  • Added Facebook sharing for Android phones and tablets in Latin America, Canada, the UK and Ireland
  • Added software volume controls for tablet users
  • Improved audio/video syncing for tablets and phones
  • Resolved split picture and flickering issues on select tablets

This is actually quite an exciting update. Facebook sharing is a nice addition, but I’m most excited about the addition of a volume slider, and the fix for the flickering issues for tablets. I have always found it a bit frustrating to have to manage the volume using the physical buttons on my Xoom. It would usually mean I’d have to pick up my tablet to change the volume. With the new on-screen control, I just tap and slide.
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Google Wallet Hacked… Again, This Time No Root Needed

 

Google Wallet is in the news again and not for the right reasons. We just saw earlier how a hack was revealed for rooted phones using Google Wallet. While Google issued an immediate response on the initial findings, mobile blog TheSmartphoneChamp discovered and posted a second way of hacking into Google Wallet— this time highlighting the newfound hack will work on non-rooted phones and doesn’t even need special hacking skills. Basically all individuals have to do to access a user’s funds is clear the data in the app settings— which forces Google Wallet to prompt them to enter a new PIN. After the new PIN is entered, it’s as simple as adding a Google Prepaid Card tied to the device and then there the ability to access any available funds. It has been tested by several sources and it is indeed true. Google has confirmed the findings and even issued the following statement:

We strongly encourage anyone who loses or wants to sell their phone to call Google Wallet support toll-free at 855-492-5538 to disable the prepaid card. We are currently working on an automated fix as well that will be available soon. We also advise all Wallet users to set up a screen lock as an additional layer of protection for their phone.

As always everyone— take immediate precautions to ensure the safety of your device which includes having a lock screen or even installing some tracking software for your device. You can check out the video below which highlights the vulnerability.

 

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source: Androidandme