Motorola’s Cyber Monday deal on the Moto X: $140 off, or buy for 1 cent with Verizon contract

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If you’ve been eyeing up the 2nd-gen Moto X but found it a little pricey, Motorola’s Cyber Monday deal may be just what you’ve been waiting for.

On 1st December, you’ll be able to pick up an off-contract model from just $359, a saving of $140. Upgrade or take out a new contract on Verizon, and you pay just one cent for the 16GB model or $50.01 for the 32GB.

Either way, you also get 30% off any accessory purchased with the phone. But you’ll only have a 6-hour window in which to register for the deal …  Read more

Droid Turbo (Moto Maxx) review: The Moto X plus extras impresses us for days

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When you hear the word Droid, you probably think of two things: Star Wars and Android. While both items are a correct association, the latter comes with a bit of a twist. Armed with a licensing agreement with Lucasfilm, Verizon launched the Motorola Droid in the fall of 2009. To make a long story short; the device went on to become one of the first commercially successful Android smartphones, but with one small carryover. Verizon ran a very aggressive, but highly successful marketing campaign for the Motorola Droid and as a result, casual tech consumers started referring to Android phones and tablets as “Droids.”

Up until now, Verizon has typically released a few Droid-branded phones each year. But here we are at the end of 2014 and its hardware partner Motorola Mobility has been busy working on its own smartphones like the Moto X, which recently launched across multiple wireless carriers, including Verizon. With the exception of a questionable camera and a few small quirks, the former Google company’s flagship handset is truly sublime. So when Big Red and Motorola announced the Droid Turbo, we saw a device that looked to right some of the Moto X’s wrongs, at least on paper. However, is it really enough to lure us away from the phone that made us feel all warm and fuzzy just two short months ago?

Read more

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

HP’s LTE Chromebook 11 to skip on 3G hardware, says chip supplier Altair

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Update: Best Buy is already listing the new model online for $379 (via Liliputing).

Reuters is reporting a claim by Israel’s Altair Semiconductor that HP will be launching a LTE-only Chromebook 11, with connectivity provided by the company’s chips.

“Our solution equips the Chromebook with a dependable and incredibly fast Internet connection,” said Eran Eshed, vice president of marketing and business development at Altair. “By focusing on 100 percent LTE and eliminating costly 3G components, we were able to help our partners lower the cost of this critical LTE connectivity feature” …

Google’s high end Chromebook Pixel is also LTE-only but the move for a more bargain-centric product has some folks scratching their heads…. Read more

WSJ: Sprint could purchase T-Mobile USA next year

(via Flickr)

Almost two years to date since AT&T pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA, rival carrier Sprint is reportedly preparing its own offer to purchase the fourth largest carrier in the US.

That’s according to a The Wall Street Journal report which claims Sprint is currently looking into regulatory concerns that could be voiced if the third largest US carrier acquired the company which runs the fourth largest US carrier.

Sprint hasn’t yet decided whether to move ahead with a bid. Going forward despite regulators’ concerns would be highly risky. Any pursuit of a bid by Sprint could be aimed at testing antitrust officials’ reaction to a deal, and a bad reaction could put an end to the effort.

While Justice Department denied AT&T’s bid for T-Mobile in 2011 after a year long effort, it’s certainly possible a Sprint/T-Mobile merger could prove otherwise considering rival carriers AT&T and Verizon’s position in the market.

As the WSJ report notes, Verizon leads with 95 million postpaid subscribers and AT&T has 72 million subscribers, but such an acquisition would keep Sprint in a distant third place with just 53 million postpaid customers.

Both Sprint and Verizon have proved capable of adding competition in an an industry with so few key players. Sprint has long boasted its unlimited data offer for customers while T-Mobile famously reinvented the 2-year upgrade model with options soon adopted by the competition.

Unlike the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile acquisition bid two years ago, Sprint and T-Mobile operate with different technologies. The former company relies on CDMA technologies while the latter company is built on GSM.

In an unusual turn, Google/Motorola launches Android 4.4 on Verizon variant of Moto X first

Moto X KitKat

Fresh from the Motorola Blog, it appears that Motorola will launch its first Android 4.4 KitKat update on Verizon first, with rollouts starting today. The KitKat update brings:

  • An improved phone dialer. Now you can search for contacts directly from the dial-pad and easily see and tap on those you contact frequently.
  • More gallery goodies. KitKat packs in some cool, new gallery effects—such as Posterize, Highlights, and Edges. You can even use the Draw feature to annotate your photos freehand with your finger.
  • New Hangouts app. All of your conversations now in one place—texts, video calls, and other chats all together in one app. Plus, you can now send animated gifs and share your location.
  • Color emojis. For when words aren’t enough, the Google Keyboard now includes colorful characters to send in text messages and other communications.
  • Drag to focus and expose. An updated camera app lets you control both the focus and exposure of your photos. Simply drag your finger to set just the right exposure and focus point.
  • And more… Restyled status and navigation bars, new full-screen mode, and enhancements to Motorola features like Touchless Control.

I say ‘unusual’ because Verizon is usually the last of the four US carriers to roll out Android updates, usually owing the increased wait to Verizon’s lengthier testing process.

Motorola and Verizon have an unusually close bond however with the Google-owned manufacturer now making all of the carrier’s Droid products as well as pioneering the Droid brand. I anticipate that other carrier versions will follow close behind.

Note that I’m still waiting on the 4.4 update to hit the Google Play edition HTC ONE, and even my Nexus 4 and 10!

I guess Google and Motorola are finally tearing down the firewall. Read more

Verizon no longer the gold standard for mobile data?

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:

There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …  Read more

Nexus 7 won’t be allowed on Verizon LTE until KitKat rolls, “systems issue” blamed

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If you have a Nexus 7 you’re waiting to activate on Verizon’s LTE network, there’s good news and bad news …

The good news is Verizon has acknowledged the issue that has been preventing the device registering on its network, and says that a solution is in hand. The bad new is that solution is to wait for KitKat to be installed on the tablet, and there’s as yet no word on when this may be. Google has said only that it will be “in the coming weeks” and that is for the Wifi versions …  Read more

AT&T’s Moto X now available to purchase directly through MotoMaker, $579 off-contract, ships in 8 days

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Five days after arriving on AT&T, Motorola announced today that its new Moto X flagship smartphone is now available to purchase directly through its Moto Maker website. Previously customers were forced to purchase the device through AT&T and enter a code on the Moto Maker site to start the customization process. Starting today, Motorola will allow AT&T customers to purchase the device directly through the Moto Maker site for $199 (16GB) or $299 (32GB) on contract, and it’s also making the device available without a contract for $579 (16GB) or $629 (32GB). While Motorola originally planned to ship devices ordered through Moto Maker in 4 days, the site is currently quoting a shipping time of 8 days.

The Moto Maker tool is the standout feature of the Moto X, allowing users to choose from over 2000 customization options for back, front and accent colors, unique wallpapers, and engraving. Unfortunately, we found out earlier this month that engraving won’t be available initially due to some manufacturing issues.

Verizon announced that Moto X would arrive in black and white on August 29, but the Moto Maker customization tool remains and exclusive to AT&T. Other major US carriers are expected to start carrying the Moto X by early September.  Read more

What we know about the Motorola X Fon (ghost): 25+ color options, all US carriers, early July ship, more

Update: We’ve been asked to remove the picture.

We’ve been sitting on some good Motorola X Fon information for awhile but weren’t able to confirm it until the most recent leaks which seem to corroborate what we have.  It turns out that the leaked images by Tinhte and @Evleaks appear to be legitimate Motorola X prototypes according to our source.  The phone above is a drawing the X FON which now appears to be the same phone pictured below:

The information we’ve heard from our source who has seen it a LTE version was that it will be released on all 4 US carriers and come in over 25 different color options.  The bottom bezel is remarkably small as you can see from the drawing above and the Tinhte.vn images. Like the other ones pictured, this one was 32GB storage, 2GB of RAM, and no SDCard.  Like the others, it was still running Android 4.2 recently and was codenamed ‘ghost’.

Both volume and power buttons are on the right side. Headphones jack is on top center, charging port was on bottom center.

The display was estimated to be 4.7 inches but with the very slim bezel on the bottom it felt very small. Perhaps as small as a 4.3-inch phone.

What we’re thinking at this point is that this phone looks like the successor to the Droid RAZR or RAZR M – small bezels, 4.3-4.7-ish display, extremely long battery life. But what about all of those colors and protection we’ve heard so much about?

Here’s what we’re thinking: Motorola is going to offer protective plates/skins in 25 colors from the point of ordering. 80-90% of people buy protection for the phones so perhaps Motorola is owning this aspect of the device from the order and can provide almost an almost indestructible, perhaps water-resistant customization.

Well, that’s our current thinking. We’ll likely hear what’s on offer at Google I/O in a few weeks.