Google, Android manufacturers agree to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

 

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Google has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Google introduced the Android Device Manager application last year, allowing users to locate or wipe lost or stolen devices. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Samsung Galaxy S5 pricing & availability confirmed as Verizon opens pre-orders

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Verizon has started accepting pre-orders for the Galaxy S5, confirming pricing at $199.99 on a two-year contract (after $50 mail-in rebate), or $599.99 full retail without contract, with shipping from 11th April. These are similar deals to those already announced by AT&TT-Mobile and Sprint.

Verizon has also extended its HTC One and Samsung ATIV buy-one, get-one-free deal to the S5 – though only if you sign a two-year contract for each …  Read more

T-Mobile’s HTC One (M8) arrives April 11, $0 down/$26.50 per month

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We already got launch details from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, and now the last of the major US carriers, T-Mobile, has confirmed pricing and availability for HTC’s new One (M8) smartphone.

Unlike the three other carriers which are all already selling the HTC One M8 for $199 on contract, T-Mobile’s version of the device arrives on April 11 through online and brick and mortar locations. It will sell for $0 down and $26.50 per month on instalment plans (a similar financing plan is also offered by AT&T’s and Verizon), which brings the total cost of the device up to $636, slightly less than the unlocked $700 asking price for the Google Play Edition selling through Google.

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T-Mobile to begin Galaxy S5 pre-orders on March 24 with special introductory pricing

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T-Mobile announced today that it will begin offering pre-orders of Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy smartphone on Monday, March 24th. The phone will hit stores on April 11th, and those who pre-order will be guaranteed a phone on that day.

The company is also offering a special introductory price on the S5. For those who pre-order before March 31st, the phone will only cost 24 payments of $27.50. T-Mobile has also dropped the price of the Galaxy Tab 3 by $120 until March 31st as part of the pre-launch savings event.

The complete T-Mobile press release can be found below. Pre-orders for the Galaxy S5 will be available on the carrier’s website next week. Read more

LG Flex pre-orders start January 24th for AT&T customers, hitting 20 European countries next month

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We’ve previously reported AT&T picking up the LG Flex, a massive phone with a curved display and tough reviews, and today the carrier officially announced plans for pre-order sales.

Starting Friday, January 24th, AT&T customers will be able to pre-order the LG Flex with its 6″ curved display for $299 with a two-year contract.

“We’re proud to offer the LG G Flex, our first smartphone with a curved screen, in the U.S. and add the device to the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president – Devices, AT&T. “We offer smartphones and devices to fit every lifestyle. There’s nothing quite like the LG G Flex to enhance viewing video and images. The unique design is great when using your thumbs to type a message and at the same time, delivers a great experience for video enthusiasts. Combined with AT&T’s premium network, the nation’s most reliable wireless service, you have an unbeatable combination of features and value.”

AT&T also says customers can purchase the device using its EDGE program: “Customers also have the option of paying $26.74 per month with AT&T Next 18 or  $34.75 per month with AT&T Next 12.” The hardware is quite different from other handset offerings with a power/volume toggle on the backside just under the camera in addition to the ability to “tap” the display on and off.

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Un-invited: T-Mobile CEO John Legere crashes AT&T’s CES party

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T-Mobile’s John Legere somehow managed to sneak into a party thrown by arch-rival AT&T for its developers at CES tonight. Though he told Re/code that he was only there to see a performance by Macklemore (riiight), the “un-carrier” CEO—clad in his trademark magenta “T”-shirt (sorry)—was soon escorted from the facility by un-amused security.

Legere has made himself out as AT&T’s biggest fear in recent weeks, mocking his nemesis on Twitter without reservation. AT&T certainly isn’t helping their own case with new attempts to lure away T-Mobile subscribers by offering up to $450 in credit. Legere seems to have another trick up his sleeve, though, and has teased that the fourth phase of his “un-carrier” initiative will be revealed at CES this week.

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