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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Report: Google exploring its own wireless network in Fiber cities

via Google

According to a new report from The Information, Google has been exploring the possibility of providing its own wireless network in cities where Fiber, its ultra high-speed broadband service, exists.

After thrusting itself into competition with U.S. cable operators, Google is inching closer to competing with wireless carriers, too.

Google executives in recent months discussed their hope to offer a full-fledged wireless service in markets where it offers Google Fiber Internet and TV service, according to two people who have discussed the matter with Google. Such an offering would mean Google customers in places like Kansas City, Mo. could get voice and Internet access through their mobile devices wherever they go.

While the report seems to be vague on specifics, it suggests that a potential Google-operated wireless provider could use WiFi access spots built on Google Fiber’s gigabit broadband and rely on another wireless provider in the area to provide service to cover the gaps. Read more

Verizon promo image suggests 1PM ET availability for new HTC One on Tuesday

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HTC is expected to finally unveil its All New HTC One at an event next Tuesday, and it looks like we won’t have to wait long at all for it to go on sale. According to an image obtained by Android Central, the device could go on sale March 25th, at 1PM ET on Verizon, which is the same day as HTC’s event.

The promo image shows an HTC One M8 decked out in the cases leaked last week and invites shoppers to “get ready to hit refresh” on March 25th at 1PM ET. HTC’s event will take place at 11AM ET the same day.

It’s unclear whether the All New HTC One will go on sale from all U.S. carriers on the 25th, or if it is just Verizon. There’s also a possibility that Verizon will only be putting the device up for pre-order that day, and that a release is scheduled for later on.

Nevertheless, it looks like we won’t have to wait long at all to get our hands on the new HTC One next week. We’ll have coverage of the event, as well, so be sure to stay tuned.

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Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 launches on Verizon for $750 on-contract, $850 outright

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The new line-up of Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note Pro tablets went up for sale in the United States last month, but only in WiFi variants. Today, however, the monstrous 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro has been made available from Verizon Wireless here in the states. The device went up on the carrier’s website this afternoon without any prior warning or even press release, but we’ll take what we can get.

As far as price goes, it isn’t cheap. With a two-year service agreement, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 will cost you a whopping $750. Should you want to go the off-contract route, be prepared to spend $850 for the device. For these high price points, you get 32GB of internal storage. For comparisons sake, a 32GB iPad Air on Verizon would run $729 without a contract.

The big selling point of the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is of course its 2560×1600 12.2-inch display. Other specs include 3GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 800 processor. Note that the processor is different from the WiFi-only model do to issues with the Exynos chip and LTE connectivity.

If you’re looking to drop $850 on Samsung’s latest tablet, head over to Verizon’s website now. If you’d rather get the WiFi only model, it’s available on Amazon for $750.

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Moto G for Verizon now available from Best Buy for $99.99 off-contract, Boost Mobile version through HSN

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Hot on the heels of rumors claiming that Verizon would soon be offering the Moto G for $100, Best Buy has announced that it is now selling the device in its retail stores. Speaking to the LA Times, Best Buy spokesman Jonathan Sandler announced that, the device “is currently landing in stores and is available for sale as soon as it arrives.” This means that there is no set release date for the device from Best Buy, so you’ll need to keep in contact with your local store if you are interested in purchasing one.

A version of the phone for Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid service was also released today, this time through HSN. The Moto G is currently on sale for $129.95, but you can get it for $99 after a $30 mail-in rebate (regular price $169.95).

Being priced at just $99.99 sans-contract, the Moto G is easily the best bargain phone on the market. We were big fans of it when we reviewed it, and its recent update to Android 4.4 KitKat only further improved the experience. Of course, it’s also worth noting that the Moto G’s older sibling, the Moto X, received a price drop today as well, and now runs $399.99.

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Moto G leaked in Verizon retail packaging, rumored to cost $100 off-contract

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Update: According to an internal Verizon memo obtained by Droid-Life, the Moto G will be available from the carrier on January 9th.

It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Moto G here at 9to5Google. As of right now, the device is available unlocked from both Motorola and Amazon in 8GB and 16GB varieties for $179 and $199 respectively. According to a leaked image shared on Google+, the device will soon be coming for an even cheaper price.

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