With T-Mobile? AT&T will give you $450 to switch … kind of

Photo: Fox
Photo: Fox

AT&T has announced incentives worth up to $450 for T-Mobile customers who switch to their service. The move is being made in response to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier offers, after AT&T recently said that it too expected to move toward separating device and service charges.

Proving the old adage that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, the deal of course comes with strings. First, $250 of that is the maximum you’ll receive in return for trading in your existing T-Mobile handset. To get the full $250, you’ll need a recent handset in good condition – in which case you’d almost certainly get more selling it privately …  Read more

Google promotes Speak2Tweet for Syrians without internet access

EgyptTwitter_avatarv2

Google made an announcement on its official Europe Blog today to confirm it is reactivating the Speak2Tweet service following Internet access being completely shut off in Syria yesterday. It originally launched the service two years ago to allow Egyptians without Internet access to send tweets using only a voice connection. Google noted in the post that since yesterday its “transparency Report has shown that Internet access is completely cut off in Syria.”

For those interested in using the service… Google explained:

Unfortunately we are hearing reports that mobile phones and landlines aren’t working properly either. But those who might be lucky enough to have a voice connection can still use Speak2Tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+90 212 339 1447 or +30 21 1 198 2716 or +39 06 62207294 or +1 650 419 4196), and the service will tweet the message… No Internet connection is required, and people can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.

Android 4.1.2 update released starting with Nexus 7, which also looks to get storage upgrade

Today Google announced on its Android Building group that Android version 4.1.2 is being released to the Android Open Source Project, the same build spotted running on an LG Nexus prototype yesterday. While the update is listed as minor by Google, improving performance and fixing bugs, it also enables the ability to enter landscape orientation for the Home screen on the Nexus 7. According to reports from Android Police and others, Nexus 7 users are already seeing the 31.3MB update arriving over the air. We have yet to see the update ourselves, but the images above and below come from EETimes.

In other Nexus 7 news, Phandroid pointed us to a retailer’s inventory listing showing the 16GB model as “end of line” and indicating the model would be replaced with a 32GB variant. It’s unclear exactly what this would mean for pricing of the 8GB and 32GB models, but it looks like Google might be planning to drop the 16GB and lower pricing on the remaining models.  Read more

Netflix update makes Android app UI more tablet-like for smartphones [Video]

Netflix just announced a new user-interface experience for Android smartphones.

“Compared to the previous version, the new Netflix experience on Android phones is much more immersive,” explained Netflix on its official blog. “It is much closer to the Netflix experience on tablets, which got a major upgrade late last year.”

The updated app now shows more titles and galleries, bringing it up to par with the tablet version, and it features a new browse row at the top of the screen that lets users continue watching content previously started. Just tap the browse menu to access genre lists.

The Instant Queue, which is available in select regions, is now on the Home screen under the Top 10 list, and a new experience area further below displays several rows filled with personalized recommendations. Tap on any title to view more information or double-tap to start instant playback.

Read more

Samsung plans a big non-phone Galaxy announcement for August 15

We just received an invite from Samsung Electronics America to “Save the Date” for a major Galaxy announcement. This business division is not to be confused with Samsung Telecommunications America that handles mobile phones.

What could it be?

We are hoping the Samsung Galaxy Camera lands, but it will likely be a tablet or TV.

SAVE THE DATE

August 15, 2012

10:00AM EST

Please join Samsung Electronics America for a major announcement and unveiling of the newest GALAXY device. An exclusive press conference will take place where full details will be disclosed.

An invitation with details will follow soon.

Thank you.

More as it comes in. Read more

Google launches Gmail SMS service in Africa

In a blog post on the official Google Africa blog today, the company announced it created Gmail SMS. It is a new service that will allow users to send and receive Gmail messages via SMS. Rolling out first in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, Google explained the feature would hopefully make Gmail even more accessible to users who often find themselves without an Internet connection:

You can now send and receive emails as SMS messages using your mobile phone, regardless of whether or not your phone has an internet connection, like Wifi or 3G. Gmail SMS works on any phone, even the most basic ones which only support voice and SMS. 

Gmail SMS automatically forwards your emails as SMS text messages to your phone and you can respond by replying directly to the SMS. You can control the emails received by replying with commands such as MORE, PAUSE and RESUME. Additionally, compose a new email as an SMS and send to any email address recipient – who will find your message in the right email conversation thread!

Receiving Gmail messages via SMS will be free, but your standard SMS rates will apply for replying to messages and everything else. Google has instructions for how to sign up for the new service on its blog.
Read more

2007’s pre-M3 version of Android; the Google Sooner

This is a special guest post written by Steven Troughton-Smith. Follow him on Twitter or his blog.

When Google first showed off Android, the company showed it running on a device very similar to Blackberries or Nokia E-class devices of the time. This device was the Google Sooner—an OMAP850 device built by HTC with no touchscreen or Wi-Fi. This was the Android reference device…and the device Google originally built the OS on.

Recently, I got access to a Google Sooner running a very early version of Android. With all the recent information coming out of the Oracle vs. Google trial, I thought it would be interesting to take you on a brief tour of the OS. The build of Android this is running was built on May 15, 2007, which is four months after the iPhone announced. The first M3 version of Android announced in November 2007, and Android 1.0 did not come until a year later….

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IDC: Samsung takes top smartphone marketshare position in Q1, overtakes Nokia for mobile phones

Today, research firm IDC published its Q1 2012 report of top mobile phone and smartphone shipments worldwide. While Apple was able to post impressive growth with a high of 8.8-percent of the total mobile phone market (up from 4.6-percent a year ago) and 24.2-percent of the global smartphone market (up from 18.3-percent), Samsung was able overtake Apple for the top spot with a year-over-year change of 267 percent and 29.1-percent of the total smartphone market. Samsung also took the top spot of global mobile phone marketshare from Nokia for the first time since 2004.

Meanwhile, the worldwide smartphone market grew 42.5% year over year in 1Q12, as Samsung overtook Apple for the smartphone leadership position. Vendors shipped 144.9 million smartphones in 1Q12 compared to 101.7 million units in 1Q11. The 42.5% year-over-year growth was 1% higher than IDC’s forecast of 41.5% for the quarter, and lower than the 57.4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2011

In terms of shipments among smartphone vendors, Apple took the second spot behind Samsung up from 18.6 million units in Q1 2011 to 35.1 million in Q1 2012. Apple was only behind Samsung with 42.2 million units shipped, up from just 11.5 million a year ago.

The company does not publicly release shipments from Samsung, and IDC’s number of 42.2 million smartphones shipped during Q1 is significantly more than the 32 million estimated by IHS iSuppli just days ago. If IHS’s estimate were correct, it would put Samsung much closer to the 35.1 million devices Apple confirmed it shipped sold during the quarter.

 
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AmazonWireless exits beta with best price guarantee, free premium apps, and free two-day shipping

Amazon finally nixed AmazonWireless.com‘s beta mode by officially launching the website with two new advantages for the online retailer’s customers.

AmazonWireless first launch in July 2009 as a beta to ease the process of buying cell phones while allotting the best value for top devices. A new benefit for the website is “AmazonWireless Best Price Guarantee.” As the name indicates, Amazon now promises the best cell phones prices with service from the main carriers.

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T-Mobile CMO: 90 percent of T-Mobile smartphones sold this year run Android

From the Mobilize conference:

T-Mobile’s network is 75% smartphones and 90% of those are Android. That means more than 2/3rds of the devices sold by T-Mobile are Android. That is a big number.  Remember T-Mobile has a million iPhones on its network but those weren’t sold by T-Mobile.

Is it game over for everyone else? Read more

Google extends Gmail phone calls to 38 new languages, lowers rates

Today Google started rolling out the calling feature that previously only allowed North American Gmail users to make phone calls to landlines and mobile phones to 38 new languages.

Last year, we made it possible for those of you in the U.S. to call any mobile phone or landline directly from Gmail and starting today, we are making this available to many more of you who use Gmail outside the U.S. by offering calling in 38 new languages.

Purchasing calling credit has also been made more accessible and can now be acquired in four currencies including U.S. dollars, Euros, Canadian dollars, and British Pounds. Also starting today, the feature will no longer include connection fees so you “only pay for the time you talk”.

In addition to the announcement, Google also confirmed they will be lowering rates in over 150 locations. You can check out a full list of rates on the Google calling rates page here.

The Gmail calling feature will start to roll out to in the new languages over the next few days. Keep an eye out for a small green phone icon in your chat list within your inbox.
Read more

How bad could this thing be?

I see these things from time to time on 9to5Toys and wonder how the heck they can make any type of tablet with a 7-inch screen $90.

The one review it does get on Amazon sums it up pretty well:

While the unit does work. It’s slow, and sometimes the touchscreen is unresponsive to touch commands. I basically have to press really hard on the screen for it to take commands.

It does a poor job streaming video from youtube.
My Samsung Captivate, cell phone is faster than this unit.

Overall:

Pros: Works, great for web surfing low media content sites, great to use as a picture frame,

Cons: Slow, Touch screen not accurate/responsive.

So, it would appear that you are pretty much buying a photoframe with a battery and a resistive touch screen (enclosed stylus).  Still, for $90…