Smartphone Stories November 20, 2015

Apple got in to the high-end phablet game for the first time last year. And just a couple of months back, it released its follow up to the 6 Plus just as Motorola turned its Moto X into a giant. Can the X Pure compete with what many consider to be the best phablet around?

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Smartphone Stories October 14, 2015

T-Mobile brings back its 4 for $120, 10GB-per-line deal

T-Mobile is bringing back one of its most popular promotions by — once again — offering four 10GB data lines for $120 total. The offer is available for a limited time from today, and is ideal for data-hungry families needing multiple lines. With no overages, you know exactly what your bill’s going to be every month too.

If you don’t need four lines, you can get two 10GB lines at $50 each:

With #10Gigs4All, two people can get up to 10 GB of 4G LTE each – no sharing required – for just $100 a month. Then, each additional line is just $20 more per person – also with 10 GB of T-Mobile’s blazing-fast 4G LTE. Now, with this promotion, that 4th line is free, bringing the total cost to just $120 per month for a family of four.

As with every Simple Choice plan, customers signing up get access to a host of awesome offers including rollover data for up to 12 months, Wi-Fi calling, unlimited music streaming and unlimited in-flight texting with GoGo. Customers also get unlimited calls to and from Mexico and Canada, as well as the ability to use 4G LTE data from their plan allowances in those countries, unlimited data and texts in 140 countries abroad and unlimited international texts from the US. Compared to the other three carrier options, it looks a fantastic deal:

This news comes just weeks after the carrier announced some killer iPhone deals, where customers were offered the new iPhones for $5 per month if they trade in their old ones.

Smartphone Stories October 6, 2015

From 9to5Google:

Synaptics has today announced the ClearPad 3700 force-sensing touchscreen controller, which the company hopes will be packed inside many a 2016 flagship Android smartphone. This comes just about a month after Apple’s September 9th event, at which the Cupertino company announced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, both packing “3D Touch” as a headline feature… expand full story

Smartphone Stories August 31, 2015

T-Mobile to clamp down on network abusers, booting them down to lowest Simple Choice plan

T-Mobile has announced that it’s going to seriously clamp down on any users using unauthorized methods to get around its tethering cap. Those caught using more data than they should be on the highest tier, unlimited Simple Choice plan will be warned to stop, before being moved down to the entry-level plan. This move is aimed specifically at smartphone users who deliberately break T-Mo’s terms and conditions using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage.

The magenta carrier published an updated FAQ page on its support site stating that some customers have been blowing way past the 7GB tethering limit on the highest Simple Choice plan, some using as much as 2TB (2000GB) of data on their mobile plan. Its biggest concern is the experience created for others. With people using the network so heavily, it can ruin the network performance for everyone else. The carrier has developed software to detect those using workarounds and will initially warn users. If they carry on abusing the network, then they get moved on to a plan with just 1GB data (including tethering).

We’re first warning these customers that they’re illegally using more data than they bought. We hope folks will stop on their own so they can keep their current plan. These customers are on an unlimited 4G LTE smartphone plan that includes a set amount of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot data, but they’re using workarounds to make their tethering look like smartphone usage which helps them use significantly more 4G LTE tethering than their plan includes.

Once they’re on a plan with a set amount of 4G LTE data, it won’t matter what method they use for Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. Once they use their 4G LTE data bucket, they’ll continue to be able to use data at reduced speeds and still never worry about overages.

T-Mobile will start communicating these changes with its customers from today and notes that only a very small percentage of its customers have been discovered to be concealing their tethering. Despite it being a very small fraction of the customer base, it has a “disproportionately negative impact” on the experience for everyone else.

Smartphone Stories August 27, 2015

82% think it’s rude to use a smartphone at a social gathering, but 89% do it anyway

A Pew study on mobile etiquette found that 82% of Americans think it hurts the conversation when people use smartphones at social gatherings, but 89% did so anyway at the most recent one they attended.

When asked for their views on how mobile phone use impacts group interactions, 82% of adults say that when people use their phones in these settings it frequently or occasionally hurts the conversation […]

In spite of this […], 89% said that they themselves used their phone during their most recent time with others.

Many do at least have the excuse that some of the smartphone use is related to the gathering, 45% posting a photo or video taken there, 41% sharing something that happened there and 38% getting information they thought would be interesting the group.

The majority thought it was fine to use a smartphone while walking down the street, on public transport and while waiting in line – but not at a restaurant, at a family dinner or during a meeting. The worst places to use a smartphone were said to be a movie theater and a church.

Photo: Samsung

Smartphone Stories August 20, 2015

New data from Gartner suggests that iPhone sales grew 36% year-on-year, while Samsung’s sales fell 5.3% in the same period. Apple’s market share climbed from 12.2% in Q2 2014 to 14.6% in the same quarter this year. Other winners were Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi.

Gartner said that while overall smartphone growth was sluggish, Apple continued to dominate the premium end of the market, with other vendors struggling to compete.

Apple’s double-digit growth in the high-end segment continued to negatively impact its rivals’ premium phone sales and profit margins. Many vendors had to realign their portfolios to remain competitive in the midrange and low-end smartphone segments. This realignment resulted in price wars and discounting to clear up inventory for new devices planned for the second half of 2015 … 

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