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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:09 pm

Google to open an MVNO.
Google has confirmed for the first time that it plans to offer connectivity directly to mobile users in the U.S., but a senior executive downplayed the competition it would be to major U.S. cellular carriers.

Several reports have said the company is preparing a service that would be offered across an existing cellular network under a Google brand -- a so-called "mobile virtual network operator" or MVNO. But the reports hadn't been confirmed until Sundar Pichai, the company's senior vice president, spoke at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.
...
In typical Google fashion, this is being done to spur the carriers to do things they haven't done," said Bill Menezes, a research analyst at Gartner. He said Google's work will likely focus on areas where it considers cellular service to be lacking.

"Everything Google does is designed to drive usage of its core businesses," he said.

One of those areas might be in delivering better connectivity to devices as they switch between cellular and Wi-Fi, or perhaps allowing phones to jump between different cellular networks to maintain a strong signal.

It might also push new cellular price plans, perhaps offering consumers the chance to pay for exactly how much data they use each month rather than buying a bucket of data and seeing the unused allowance go to waste each month.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by EvilHomer3k » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:12 pm

"Everything Google does is designed to drive usage of its core businesses," he said.
Google's core business is selling ads. Ad sponsored calling? Ads on your dialer?
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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:40 pm

Nokia eyes return to cell phone market:
Nokia Technologies, which controls thousands of technology patents, plans to re-enter the mobile phone market in 2016, according to unnamed sources cited by Re/code.
...
It is also hard to see how devices will fit into Nokia's overall business strategy, she said. Milanesi assumed the devices would be built on the Android platform, but that hasn't been confirmed.
...
Under terms of the $7 billion sale to Microsoft, Nokia can't sell any phones under the Nokia brand through 2015 and can't license the brand until the third quarter of 2016.

In some respects, Nokia's plans make business sense, especially if Nokia Technologies only licenses novel technologies -- such as virtual reality -- to fit inside another maker's phones.

So far, it doesn't appear that Nokia would manufacture any phones, but would instead design products and license those designs and the Nokia brand to other companies. The N1 Android tablet from Nokia Technologies was licensed to a Chinese manufacturer under that scheme.

Last week, Nokia announced the purchase of Alcatel-Lucent for about $16.5 billion in what analysts described as an ideal combination of the two companies' networking equipment patents to face global competitors. Nokia also said it may divest itself of its Here navigation business, which would leave it with the networking equipment and Nokia Technologies divisions.

In announcing the deal with Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia said it would keep Nokia Technologies as a "separate entity with a clear focus on licensing and the incubation of new technologies."
...
If Nokia licenses only phone designs to get royalty payments, the risk would be minimal to Nokia, Gold said. "It's incredibly hard to make money" making phones, he added.

If Nokia does license its brand and designs to others, the resulting devices will likely be sold in emerging countries, rather than going head to head with Apple and Samsung, he said.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by PLW » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:15 pm

EvilHomer3k wrote:
"Everything Google does is designed to drive usage of its core businesses," he said.
Google's core business is selling ads. Ad sponsored calling? Ads on your dialer?
Learning even more about you to even better target the ads?

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Kraken » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:21 pm

PLW wrote:
EvilHomer3k wrote:
"Everything Google does is designed to drive usage of its core businesses," he said.
Google's core business is selling ads. Ad sponsored calling? Ads on your dialer?
Learning even more about you to even better target the ads?
In an uncharacteristic instance of naivety, I just learned a couple of weeks ago that that's what gmail is all about. Google mines all your messages, both inbound and out, for keywords. I suppose everybody knew that.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by PLW » Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:22 pm

Kraken wrote: In an uncharacteristic instance of naivety, I just learned a couple of weeks ago that that's what gmail is all about. Google mines all your messages, both inbound and out, for keywords. I suppose everybody knew that.
If you pay nothing, you're the product being sold.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by EvilHomer3k » Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:35 pm

Kraken wrote:
PLW wrote:
EvilHomer3k wrote:
"Everything Google does is designed to drive usage of its core businesses," he said.
Google's core business is selling ads. Ad sponsored calling? Ads on your dialer?
Learning even more about you to even better target the ads?
In an uncharacteristic instance of naivety, I just learned a couple of weeks ago that that's what gmail is all about. Google mines all your messages, both inbound and out, for keywords. I suppose everybody knew that.
It's not just that. It's Google +, logging into ANYTHING with your gmail or facebook account. All of those things help track everything you do online. It allows targeted advertising based not just on your email but virtually every move you make online or any data you have stored online. Logging into something with facebook or gmail allows for even more precise tracking by giving access to your data there, too. Now you're not just an anonymous visitor. You're giving demographic data, family information, marital status, etcetera. Google, facebook, double click, and other companies know more about you than your mom (and that isn't an exaggeration).
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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:36 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:Google to open an MVNO.
Project Fi
The firm will rent voice and data capacity from two existing operators - Sprint and T-Mobile - rather than build the necessary infrastructure from scratch.

Initially, Project Fi will only be offered to Nexus 6 handset owners.
...
The company has now revealed that its subscribers will be automatically switched between 4G signals provided by Sprint and T-Mobile, depending on whichever is stronger at the time.

They will also be able to make calls over wi-fi without having to use a special app, similar in nature to the Wi-fi Calling facility recently introduced by EE in the UK.
...
Customers will only be billed for the amount of data they actually use, rather than having an allowance that resets every month, as is typical on existing services.

The way this will work is that customers will pay a $20 (£13.30) monthly fee for unlimited calls and texts, an extra $10 for mobile data access while in the US and abroad, and then a further $10 for each gigabyte of data they decide to consume.
...
Since changing networks will impact the phone's battery life, the firm said it would only move customers "when absolutely necessary".

At this point Google said it had no plan to extend the scheme to other models.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:19 pm

Google Fi
In 120+ countries, data usage costs the same $10 per GB as it does in the US (data speed is limited to 256kbps/3G).
Country list (click Browse All Countries) if you don't want to use their searcher. You need to click on the country name to actually see the rates, as it lists more than just the sweetheart deals.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:55 am

Isgrimnur wrote:Nokia eyes return to cell phone market:
Or not
On Sunday, Nokia deemed it necessary to put a damper on some of those rumors, saying in a short, official statement that it “currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.”

“Nokia notes recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China,” it added. “These reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive.”

Note that the company hasn’t specifically denied reports that it will continue licensing mobile designs to another manufacturer, as it has already done with its N1 tablet, made by Foxconn. Following the launch of the N1 last year, Nokia had said it wanted to release designs for other consumer products too.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed May 13, 2015 11:36 am

Sprint and Verizon cramming settlements:
Yesterday the FTC and FCC announced, “Verizon Wireless will pay $90 million and Sprint Corporation will pay $68 million to settle investigations that revealed the companies billed customers millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party premium text messaging services.”
...
You have until December 31, 2015 to submit a claim to Verizon and Sprint.

Both companies allow claims to be filed via an online form or via a claim form that is downloaded and snail mailed to them.
...
May 1 was the filing deadline for the AT&T cramming refund program; as part of a $105 million settlement, AT&T was ordered to pay $80 to the FTC to provide refunds, $20 million in penalties to states, and $5 million in penalty fees to the FTC.

T-Mobile customers still have until June 8 to request an account summary and until June 30, 2015 to submit a claim. T-Mobile was ordered to pay $90 million to the FTC for mobile cramming refunds to customers, $18 million in fines to states and $4.5 million in penalties to the FTC.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri May 22, 2015 1:23 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:Google Fi
Surprisingly, demand exceeds supply.
The company said it probably would take until summer to send invitations to everyone who signed up for Project Fi, according to messages sent to users this week.

The Mountain View, California-based company, which announced plans for the low-cost mobile service last month, said on its website that people who want to sign up should get a response in 30 days or less. Google has enrolled some customers and said it would make it easier for people to check their status in the coming weeks.

“We’re sending invites as quickly as we can, while ensuring a high-quality experience,” the Project Fi team said. “Given the number of requests we’ve received, we currently estimate that it will take until mid-summer to get to everyone.”

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by hentzau » Fri May 22, 2015 2:57 pm

Flawed Android factory reset leaves crypto and login keys ripe for picking
An estimated 500 million Android phones don't completely wipe data when their factory reset option is run, a weakness that may allow the recovery of login credentials, text messages, e-mails, and contacts, computer scientists said Thursday.

...

As an experiment, the researchers recovered a master token from a reset phone and restored the credential file.

"After the reboot, the phone successfully re-synchronised contacts, emails, and so on," they reported. "We recovered Google tokens in all devices with flawed Factory Reset, and the master token 80% of the time. Tokens for other apps such as Facebook can be recovered similarly. We stress that we have never attempted to use those tokens to access anyone's account."
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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:35 pm

AT&T to be fined over throttling:
The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine AT&T Inc. $100 million for allegedly deceiving consumers about unlimited wireless data plans, the agency said Wednesday.

The FCC alleges that AT&T sold consumers data plans advertised as unlimited, then capped data speeds for those customers after they used a set amount of data within a billing cycle. The FCC says those capped speeds were much slower than the normal network speeds advertised by AT&T, and that they impaired consumers’ ability to access the Internet or use applications for the rest of their billing cycle.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:12 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Isgrimnur wrote:Nokia eyes return to cell phone market:
Or not
Or it will:
Nokia, once the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, plans to start designing and licensing handsets again once an agreement with partner Microsoft allows it to in 2016, its chief executive told Germany's Manager Magazin.

"We will look for suitable partners," Rajeev Suri said in an interview published on Thursday. "Microsoft makes mobile phones. We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license."

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:23 pm

We don't want to pay
AT&T is trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission to backtrack from a $100 million fine issued to punish AT&T for its throttling of customers on unlimited data plans.

“The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” AT&T wrote in a response to the FCC, according to The Hill. “Its 'moderate' forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

AT&T claimed it made all the required disclosures to customers, and also that the statute of limitations on the alleged violations had passed. The company also claimed that the FCC is infringing its First Amendment rights by requiring AT&T to tell customers that it violated an FCC rule.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:48 pm

New Verizon Plans
Verizon Wireless today introduced new plans that include an interesting twist: they ditch device subsidies.

Starting Aug. 13, Verizon will offer four plans with different buckets of data, but they will require customers to get a new phone for which they will have to pay full price.

Verizon users can choose between a small ($30/month for 1GB), medium ($45/month for 3GB), large ($60/month for 6GB), or extra-large ($80/month for 12GB) shared data plan. Each plan includes unlimited talk and text, and extra data costs $15 per GB.

Each device will add an additional fee: $20 more per month per smartphone, while Jetpack hotspots are $10 per month and smartwatches are $5 per month. Each data bucket can be shared with up to 10 devices.

As for the device, buyers can pay in monthly installments or all at once. With the move, Verizon's upgrade options will no longer be known as Edge.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by EvilHomer3k » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:28 pm

That plan sounds like Edge but with increased costs. We pay $80 per month for 10 gb right now. $15 per line. My wife's phone is $25 per month.

This new plan would be $10 more per month than we pay now (with 12 vs 10 gig of data) unless there is a discount for getting the higher gb plans (we get a $10 discount per line due to having 10gb of data).
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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by gilraen » Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:51 pm

Isgrimnur wrote: Each device will add an additional fee: $20 more per month per smartphone, while Jetpack hotspots are $10 per month and smartwatches are $5 per month. Each data bucket can be shared with up to 10 devices.
This whole concept is bizarre, though - you can pay for talk/text/data but if you want to actually USE all that stuff on a phone, you have to pay extra for the privilege?

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:02 pm

Pretty much. The marketplace is regressing from the high ground of unbridled competition that led to unlimited talk, text, and data. They're tired of dealing with contract nonsense, and want more money up front. If that's the case, then they can stop locking people's phones.
Verizon will probably still sell most phones its consumers use. Because of its CDMA radio system, most unlocked phones bought elsewhere do not work on Verizon; the only non-Verizon-branded phones that the network supports are recent iPhones, the Nexus 6, and the new Moto X Style. However, Verizon's own phones are unlocked, so you may be able to bring your Verizon phone over to AT&T or T-Mobile if you decide to take advantage of the lack of a service contract and switch away from Verizon.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:28 am

T-Mobile: hotspot hackers targeted
Although T-Mobile offers unlimited data plans for phones, the carrier does restrict how much data can be used through a handset's hotspot feature called "Smartphone Mobile HotSpot" to 7 GB per month.

A very small percentage of customers -- 1/100 of a percent -- have found ways around that, however, and some have burned through 2 TB (that's 2,000 GB) of mobile data in a month.

T-Mobile CEO, John Legere, is putting a stop to that, taking both to Twitter and a releasing an official press note on Monday:

"[T]hese violators are going out of their way with all kinds of workarounds to steal more LTE tethered data. They're downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones, writing code to mask their activity, etc. They are "hacking" the system to swipe high speed tethered data. These aren't naive amateurs; they are clever hackers who are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain."

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:11 pm

AT&T suing over phone unlocking malware:
AT&T has filed a lawsuit against three former employees and a company that sells phone unlocking codes, claiming that they installed malware on AT&T's computer systems in order to illegally unlock hundreds of thousands of mobile phones.
...
AT&T, whose strict unlocking policies have drawn the ire of consumers, filed its complaint last week in US District Court in Seattle, Washington. AT&T claimed that phone locking software "is vital to AT&T's business because it allows AT&T to subsidize the cost of the phone to consumers while protecting AT&T’s investment in the phones through term contracts."

The carrier says a company called Swift Unlocks collaborated with AT&T employees Marc Sapatin, Nguyen Lam, and Kyra Evans while they worked in an AT&T call center in Washington in 2013. Prashant Vira, who operates Swift Unlocks, "paid Evans at least $20,000 for her placement and/or execution of the malware programs on AT&T’s protected computer systems for the purpose of securing the fraudulent unlocks," AT&T alleges. Swift Unlocks paid Sapatin at least $10,500, AT&T further alleged.

No payments to Lam were alleged, but AT&T says he also installed malware on AT&T computers. Lam was fired by AT&T, while Sapatin and Evans both left the company.

The "defendants perpetuated the Unlock Scheme by creating, distributing, and placing on AT&T’s computer systems a 'malware' program designed to fraudulently, and without authorization, transmit unlock requests that unlocked hundreds of thousands of phones from exclusive use on AT&T’s network," AT&T claimed.

The malware allowed commands to be issued from a remote, unauthorized server and used "valid customer service personnel identification numbers" to process automated unlock requests without proper authorization, AT&T wrote.

AT&T says it was able to trace the unlocking requests to specific AT&T employees, triggering its investigation into Sapatin, Lam, and Evans. AT&T also says there are 50 "John Doe Defendants" who developed the software used to perpetrate the alleged unlocking operation. Their names are unknown.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by LawBeefaroni » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:42 pm

AT&T, whose strict unlocking policies have drawn the ire of consumers..
No problem with AT&T crushing them. The employees intentionally installed malware on a corporate network. Hate ATTs locked phones as much as you want but it's part of the deal when you get one, which requires you agreeing to the contract, which says they are locked and will remain locked. I don't like the policy but that's why I don't have a contract phone.

Everyone thinking they found a way to get the latest Galaxy or iPhone for free is just sad.
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MYT

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:53 pm

CNN
If you're still clinging to your Verizon unlimited cell phone plan, your monthly bill is about to jump by $20.

Verizon (VZ, Tech30) is planning to raise the price of unlimited data plans from $29.99 to $49.99 per month. The company confirmed the move to CNNMoney on Thursday morning.
...
Verizon customers will see the increase starting on monthly bills that arrive on Nov. 15 or later.
...
Verizon spokesman Chuck Hamby said the company will take the extra revenue to reinvest in strengthening its cell phone network -- widely regarded as the move reliable in the United States.

He justified the price increase, saying: "You're getting access to the Verizon network, and that's where the real value lies."

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:56 pm

T-Mobile data exemptions
Streaming video from Netflix, HBO and other leading services will no longer count toward data limits under T-Mobile’s higher data plans.

T-Mobile already exempts many streaming music services from data limits, but audio doesn’t use as much data as video. Video is among the leading uses of data on phones. A few hours of video can quickly eat up an entire month’s allotment under some plans.

The data exemption, dubbed Binge On, applies to 24 services, including most of the major ones, plus two from T-Mobile’s competitors, Verizon and AT&T. But not YouTube. T-Mobile said YouTube isn’t covered because the company couldn’t reliably tell yet that it’s video. Also not covered is video shown on Facebook feeds, as T-Mobile has no good way of distinguishing video traffic from musings about lunch.

T-Mobile said there are no financial arrangements with video providers to be included, and any service can qualify by meeting technical requirements that the company is posting online.

Unlimited video streaming is restricted to those who have data plans of at least 3 gigabytes, which are a step up from the most basic plans.

But all customers will benefit from T-Mobile’s new video-optimization technology, which the company says means three times as much video for the same amount of data.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Jeff V » Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:09 pm

Because the article is lacking...
T-Mobile website wrote:Crackle
DirecTV
Encore
ESPN
Fox Sports
Fox Sports GO
Go90
HBO GO
HBO NOW
Hulu
Major League Baseball
Movieplex
NBC Sports
Netflix
Showtime
Sling Box
Sling TV
Starz
T-Mobile TV
Univision Deportes
Ustream
Vessel
Vevo
VUDU
Notably missing is the only one I care about -- the one that ate up most of my data plan the first week of the billing cycle: PBS Kids. So no, T-Mobile, I shan't be upgrading my data plan.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by gilraen » Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:41 pm

Sweet! I can use my phone to watch Netflix at work now (they block it on the corporate network).

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:59 am

AT&T raises price on grandfathered unlimited data plans:
AT&T has offered a number of incentives over the years in hopes of gently nudging customers away from their beloved unlimited data plans. With its latest move, however, the carrier is taking a completely different approach that’s sure to rub some the wrong way.

As of February 2016, customers that are grandfathered into unlimited data plans will see their rate plan increase from $30 per month to $35.

AT&T said the rate at which consumers and businesses are consuming mobile data has reached record levels and is expected to continue. We're told the small price increase will help the company provide the best service for all of its customers. AT&T added that the rate hike won’t affect data speeds as throttling will only kick in once a user exceeds 22GB of data in any given billing cycle.
Seeing as I've had it for the same price since 2008, I suppose I can't complain about a $5 increase.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by stessier » Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:18 pm

That is certainly the response they are counting on. :)
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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:22 pm

Frog, boiling water, etc.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Jeff V » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:55 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:Frog, boiling water, etc.
Speaking of boiling water...I just notice my cell phone (Samsung S5) was not in my pocket. It didn't fall in the cushions of the couch. It was not left in the bathroom. I even risked checking under a sleeping baby to find it, to no avail. I started retracing my steps...and hell no, the dishwasher was on, I had put a few last things into it and had a hard time when a plate on the lower level blocked the upper rack from moving. I stopped it and opened the dishwasher, sure enough, my cell phone was squeaky clean in the top rack.

The S5 is a water-resistant phone -- a feature they inexplicably removed from the S6. The phone works just fine.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:03 am

Awesome.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by gilraen » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:47 am

Jeff V wrote:
Isgrimnur wrote:Frog, boiling water, etc.
Speaking of boiling water...I just notice my cell phone (Samsung S5) was not in my pocket. It didn't fall in the cushions of the couch. It was not left in the bathroom. I even risked checking under a sleeping baby to find it, to no avail. I started retracing my steps...and hell no, the dishwasher was on, I had put a few last things into it and had a hard time when a plate on the lower level blocked the upper rack from moving. I stopped it and opened the dishwasher, sure enough, my cell phone was squeaky clean in the top rack.

The S5 is a water-resistant phone -- a feature they inexplicably removed from the S6. The phone works just fine.
I have a much cheaper phone (Galaxy Light), and a little while ago I dropped it into the dog's water bowl. Fished it out, dried it out, it turned on just fine and worked for about 2 weeks. And then last week it wouldn't boot up. At first it would get stuck on a screen saying "Android upgrading...optimizing app 1 of 1" (but never get anywhere else, at one point I waited almost an hour). Then it would just light up with the initial screen that has the name and model # of the phone and nothing else.

I tried booting it into recovery mode...it appeared to NOT have a recovery mode (or at least not one that it could access). It could still access Odin mode, so I proceeded to spend the next 7 or so hours attempting to flash it with a custom recovery mod, or any kind of working ROM (at one point I had to install Cygwin on my computer to split an .md5 ROM file into 4 components). Since it couldn't even find a working partition, I finally gave up and ordered a new phone (same model...I just needed something quick and cheap).

I think my next phone will be an S5, though...I really like them.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Jeff V » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:59 pm

gilraen wrote: I think my next phone will be an S5, though...I really like them.
Recently my phone updated to the latest Android OS and now it runs like crap. I think I might finally go to the effort of installing a 3rd party ROM. Until the recent update, the phone worked great. I wish Samsung would stop taking notes from Apple on how to abuse customers. :x

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by tjg_marantz » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:40 am

My Galaxy S3 has not had a working up volume button for quite a while. Not a big issue until Xmas hit. Got a set of Bluetooth speakers but it won't connect to them. Cyanogenmod has issue like that sometimes. So I tried to downgrade to another version and I'm stuck in a bootloop. Of course you need the volume up button to get into recovery.

Huawei Nexus 6P is my next phone. No more cyanogenmod, but at least no more stock bloatware.
Home of the Akimbo AWPs

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:27 pm

Something something core competency.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:04 pm

AT&T kills 2-year subsidized contract:
In an internal document obtained by Engadget, AT&T revealed that as of Jan. 8, it will only offer smartphone purchases through its AT&T Next installment plans, or no-commitment full retail pricing. The carrier has dubbed the changes a "pricing simplification effort."
...
The change has been in the works for some time. As of last June, Apple's own online store ceased offering sales of AT&T iPhones with two-year service contracts.

Two-year iPhone contracts have typically required carriers to pay high subsidies, sometimes to the point of losing money on the hardware in the hope of recouping the cost through service fees. That's why carriers like AT&T have pushed consumers to upgrade programs that spread out the cost of a new device over a two-year period.

While customers who agree to a new two-year subsidized contract can obtain an iPhone 6s starting at $199, the full price of the handset is actually $649.
Looking at the Next options, they all come out to within a quarter of $650.

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Canuck
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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Canuck » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:34 am

So how did it work before? You only paid $199? Why wouldn't everyone just buy unlocked phones now?

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:53 am

Yup, which is still an option right now. You pay $199 and sign the 2-year contract.

Effectively now, you get the phone up front for free with a variable selection term in monthly payments.

The plans are numbered by trade-in months (12/18/24), but have terms of payments longer than that (20/24/30). A lot of people aren't going to be able or willing to front several hundred for a new device.

So it's not like they're killing contracts, they're actually just changing the game in their favor.

If I bought a 2-year subbed price, I paied them $200 and walked away. They were expecting to get the difference between that and their expected retail price from my monthly charges over those 24 months. They haven't dropped rates at all, so now, they have customers on the hook for the full retail price over the Next term, and the profit on the monthly services charges has become pure profit rather than leveraged against that initial $450 discount, as consumers no longer get it. But charging them $16-33/month is a slow, parasitic draw that most consumers will prefer to one massive hit.

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Re: Cell Phone News

Post by Jeff V » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:56 am

It's mostly been working that way for a while. T-Mobile used to have two different rate schedules, one for people taking the low-cost/cheap option, another for those who pay full price. You could take the latter option and spread the cost over 24 months, which amounted to the same thing BUT after 24 months, you had a lower payment. If you took the "subsidized" price, you paid the premium indefinitely, so after 24 months, T-Mobile was now making monthly profit on your old-ass phone.

They don't do that anymore. They advertize a lesser "walk out the door price" but your monthly payments include a payment toward the full price of the phone. I think I pay $20 per month for my S5 until June of this year, at which point, the payment falls off the bill if I don't rush to replace it (and I likely won't because the S6 took away all of the useful features of the S5).

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