T-Mobile courting BlackBerry castaways with an upgrade to a new Samsung device and a $200 gift card

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T-Mobile recently dropped BlackBerry devices from its catalog and in an effort to motivate its customers to do the same, the magenta-hued carry is offering gift cards of up to $200 to subscribers who JUMP from the fallen platform to a new Samsung device. Now if Samsung devices aren’t your bag, T-Mobile is also offering a gift card of up to $100 when you make the switch to from BlackBerry to any other smartphone.

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Samsung sells one out of every four smartphones in the US as ownership increases

Following the continued growth of smartphones in the US and increasing competition between Samsung and Apple, the two companies saw combined growth between 2012 and 2013 amounting to 68% of the US smartphone market. That’s according to data provided by The NPD Group which reports overall smartphone growth increased from 52% to 60% in Q4 of 2012 and 2013, respectively. NPD reports Samsung rose from 22% to 26% in Q4 2012 to 2013 among US smartphone users. Read more

BBM beta for Android updated with voice chat and Channels

After teasing the app for what seemed like years, BlackBerry finally released its BBM client to Android last October, to a somewhat surprising number of downloads. Today, the company has released a private beta of the app that includes the promised Channels feature, as well as voice chat support (via Engadget).

Channels is BlackBerry’s stab at a social network. The company describes it as something similar to Tumblr. Voice chat is exactly what it sounds like. It’s essentially Skype, but baked right in to the BBM app. Users can call each other, for free, over WiFi networks. This is something that Android users have been wanting for a while now in Google’s Hangouts app, so it’s surprising to see BlackBerry beat Google to the punch.

The update is available via the BlackBerry Beta Zone now. There’s no word on public availability, or when/if the update will come to iOS.

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Google sues Apple/Microsoft-backed consortium Rockstar, not the makers of Grand Theft Auto

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Google is making moves this week to protect its Android partners as the Apple, Microsoft-backed “Rockstar” patent group seeks to sue numerous Android partners. Google has asked a San Jose court for a declaratory judgement to rule that Google and thereby the Android ecosystem does not violate seven of Rockstar’s patents.

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LG will preload BBM on select Android phones beginning with LG G Pro Lite

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BlackBerry isn’t letting BBM go down without a fight as it strikes a deal to preinstall the application on select LG smartphones. BlackBerry’s once wildly popular Messenger application will come pre-installed on the LG G Pro Lite in “markets around the world.” The deal will allow a bundling agreement with LG involving “both the standard and virtual preloading” as well maintaining that BBM is available as a free download in Google’s Play Store.

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