New Switch app lets you seamlessly change between Sense 5 and Google Experience Android on your HTC One

Now that there are two variants of the HTC One floating around, one with Sense 5 and one with near-stock Android, customers have a decision to make. Do you want the unsubsidized, $650 Google Play Edition model or the subsidized model variant with Sense 5? A new app from the longtime Android developer Paul O’Brien aims to get rid of that problem by making it easy to switch between the two software builds on either variant.

The video above demonstrates the Switch app that does just that – lets you switch between Sense 5 and stock Android. It’s incredibly simple. All you have to do is launch the Switch app and choose which experience to boot into. Because the apps and data are stored in a central environment, all your data is accessible in both ROMs. Read more

AT&T agrees to acquire Leap Wireless (Cricket) at $15/share to expand spectrum

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AT&T has announced that it has come to agreement to acquire U.S. carrier Leap Wireless (which operates the Cricket brand) for $15 per share. The acquisition will cover all of Leap Wireless’s assets, expanding AT&T’s coverage to Leap’s 5 million subscribers. This move enhances AT&T’s spectrum, retail store count, employee number, and more, so it is likely a positive move for its wireless customers. It’s possible that this announcement is related to the upcoming press event that AT&T has scheduled for July 16th.

Press release below:

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2013: The year of the personalized, colorful, mid-tier smartphone

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Mockup: Slashgear

Choosing a phone is pretty simple if you’re the kind of person who wants the latest & greatest handset and has the budget to pay for it. Even if you’re not sure what platform you want, you’re essentially choosing between a handful of flagship products and are currently likely to walk away with an iPhone 5, Samsung S4 or HTC One.

There isn’t too much head-scratching at the bottom end of the market either: buyers there don’t care about the handset, and take whatever freebie their carrier pushes at them.

But the mid-market is where life gets complicated. You care enough about your handset to want something decent, both in specs and design, but you don’t want to take out a mortgage to buy it. It’s this market that is going to get incredibly colorful this fall …  Read more

Google making friends at Sun Valley conference: Apple, Hollywood

Photo: salon.com

Photo: salon.com

The sometimes stormy relationship between Google and Apple appears to be growing friendlier, with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt telling Reuters at the annual Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley that the two companies were having “lots and lots” of meetings.

Schmidt did not provide details about the nature of the meetings during comments to reporters at the annual Allen and Co media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Thursday. He noted that Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora, who joined him at the press briefing, was leading many of the discussions.

The two companies are in “constant business discussions on a long list of issues,” Schmidt said.

The two companies started out close. Schmidt joined Apple’s board in 2006, and the iPhone launched with both Google Maps and YouTube on board. That was to change after Google’s Android platform began growing in popularity, with Steve Jobs threatening “thermonuclear war” on Google over what he felt was a copycat product …  Read more

Sprint debuts new unlimited plans with lifetime guarantee, ‘My Way’ feature

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Following T-Mobile’s new “Jump” plan announcement, and preceding AT&T’s forthcoming network-related announcement, U.S. carrier Sprint has announced new versions of its unlimited plans. The new service goes into effect tomorrow.

The first element of the new offering is a lifetime guarantee (for the life of your service line) to receive unlimited calling, texting, and data. Sprint has also introduced a new My Way plan, that starts at as little as $80 for unlimited usage, that allows flexibility and additional savings when it comes to multiple lines begin attached to the plan:

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Moto X would be most heavily-promoted smartphone ever, if Google’s planned $500M spend is true

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The WSJ is reporting (via Techmeme) that Google is planning to allow Motorola to spend up to half a billion dollars to promote its forthcoming flagship smartphone, the Moto X. This would mean Motorola would spend more on promoting one handset than either Samsung or Apple spent in total last year across all their mobile devices.

Google is expected to allow its Motorola hardware unit to spend several hundred million dollars—and possibly upward of $500 million—to market the highly-anticipated device in the U.S. and some overseas markets, including in Europe, said people familiar with the matter.

All four major U.S. wireless carriers—AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp., and T-Mobile—are expected to make the device available to their customers this fall, in part because of Motorola’s marketing plans …  Read more