T-Mobile Stores Prepare For Samsung Galaxy Note

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Although it still has yet to be officially announced by the powers that be at both Samsung and T-mobile, T-Mobile stores across the country have started displaying these co-op advertising posters which prominently display the 5″ Samsung Galaxy Note.

The Samsung Galaxy Note released earlier this Spring and exclusively on AT&T and their new 4G network.

The Galaxy Note was actually announced last year at the IFA trade show in Berlin Germany last September. Samsung introduced the device as a disruptive new category between phone and tablet which were affectionately called Phoneblets or Phablets by the mobile tech media.

The Samsung Galaxy Note was the last Android device that I personally carried and quickly found it was a breeze to post blog posts from it. In fact we used it exclusively to publish content on our old site and this one from SXSW back in March.

Many Android and mobile sites have showed leaked pics of the T-Mobile branded device, however this picture isn’t even a poster in a tube or a back room. Our source snapped the picture directly from the wall of their Texas based T-Mobile corporate store.

T-Mobile Announces $4 Billion Deal To Bring LTE-Advanced In The Next 2 Years

T-Mobile is now the only major US carrier that isn’t offering any LTE devices right now. They’re also the smallest major US carrier, and they’re the only one that still doesn’t have the beloved iPhone (which turned out to be less of a carrier-gold-mine than expected after all). However, they have great prices, so customers keep their contracts and are happy to use T-Mobile. However, T-Mobile still has room to improve in their service reliability and availability, and one of the ways they can do this is by finally adding LTE into the mix.

Today, the Senior Vice President of Technology for the company announced that T-Mobile is, in fact, working on LTE–and it’s LTE-Advanced at that. Nokia Siemens and Ericson have worked a deal out with T-Mobile that will allow them to fuel their network improvement over the next two years with a 4 billion dollar investment. This investment will help T-Mobile add HSPA+ to 400 more networks, bring 37,000 of them up to date, and push their LTE-Advanced equipment into usage. T-Mobile fans rejoice. There is no word on exactly when LTE will hit T-Mobile, but this 2-year timeframe is a start. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on T-Mobile’s steady improvements and upgrade to LTE.

T-Mobile Starting BOGO Promotion This Weekend Through Memorial Day

We’ve been waiting for one of those big buy one, get one free promotions at T-Mobile. They typically hold this kind of sale for one day only like Valentine’s day or Father’s day. This year the fourth largest carrier in the US is holding their BOGO event starting today (Friday May 18th) through Memorial Day Weekend (May 28th).

The promotion is working the exact same way that it has in the past. If you buy one new smartphone, and sign up for a new 2 year agreement, you get the second smartphone of equal or lesser value free. Of course the second smartphone also has to be signed up for a new two year contract.

This time around T-Mobile is calling the promotion “Magenta Deal Days” and offers a mail in rebate card for up to $329 towards the cost of the second phone.

That includes the new HTC One S and all of T-Mobiles 4G lineup of smartphones.HTC® One™ S 4G, Samsung Galaxy S® II 4G, HTC Radar™ 4G, Sonic® 4G Mobile Hotspot and the Samsung Galaxy S® Blaze™ 4G.

“Our latest ‘Magenta Deal Days’ promotion continues our commitment to giving our customers the ability to enjoy all the 4G experiences of a smartphone on our best plans ever,” said John Clelland, senior vice president of marketing, T-Mobile USA. “What’s better than getting one of the sleekest, fastest 4G devices on the market? That would be getting two for the price of one.”

Source: MobileBurn

 

AT&T Making A Move On Cricket Wireless?

Rumors are hot and heavy that after the failed AT&T T-Mobile merger, AT&T has it’s eyes set on prepaid wireless carrier Cricket.

Cricket, whose parent company is Leap Wireless, is a steadily growing prepaid carrier with stand alone stores in most major US cities. They also have distribution channels set up at most of the Best Buy’s in the continental United States as well as Walmart and other retailers.

Cricket prides itself on it’s portfolio of both Android smartphones, and smartphones with their proprietary Muve Music service that’s been a hit with their customers. The service allows them unlimited downloads of songs from their cloud based music store to their Cricket Muve Music enabled handsets. The songs can’t be taken off the phone but can be streamed via BlueTooth and of course 3.5mm headset jacks.

The AT&T/T-Mobile merger was all the talk at last years CTIA Mobile Life show in 2011. The announcement about the proposed merger came on Sunday, the eve before CTIA was to kick off. In fact CTIA that year, in Orlando, kicked off with a round table with all four CEOs and moderator Jim Cramer. T-Mobile CEO Phillip Humm backed out of that years appearance because of the merger announcement.

More after the break
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Mini Review: HTC One S for T-Mobile

HTC sent us their latest device for T-Mobile (announcement is coming shortly from NYC) the One S. This device is part of “the new HTC” a return to form by the Taiwanese company after a devastating 4Q 2011. After an onslaught of very similar models across the “high-end” of the Android OS market the brand was becoming diluted. Last year saw (in the US)  the launch of Thunderbolt 4G, Evo Shift 4G, Droid Incredible 2, Merge, Sensation 4G,  Evo 3D, Status, MyTouch 4G Slide, Rhyme, Hero S, Wildfire S, Amaze 4G, Evo  Design 4G, Vivid, and lastly the Rezound. 16 phones, nearly half of which were considered high-end devices.  HTC Chief Financial Officer Winston said “We simply dropped the ball on products in the fourth quarter.” Q1 2012 was a huge disappointment as our sister site TheDroidGuy reported two weeks ago.

So, how about the One is it “the one“?

Hardware

Beginning with the first touch I thought, this feels like their mid to low-end devices – SPECTACULAR.  I mean that in all sincerity.  I loved the quality and construction of both the Status AND the Radar 4G (Windows Phone 7) devices.  They were constructed out of solid pieces of aluminum.  I was baffled why two of the best devices were made of this amazing metal but not the “halo” devices like Sensation 4G, Amaze 4G, or  Evo 3D.  The screen is a 4.3″ SuperAMOLED qHD (960×540) resolution*.   It comes with Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and Sense 4.0 HTC’s custom UI overlay.  The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU, 1GB DDR2, and it operates on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ (42 Mbps) network.  It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-FI 802.11 b/g/n, and HDMI via MHL connector (not included).  The storage is non-expandable 16GB (available space is split into 2.2 GB system and 9.9 GB external partitions). HTC has teamed with Dropbox to provide an additional 25 GB of “free” storage – if you don’t include data usage, that is.

The battery, which you cannot remove, is 1650 mAh.  This is significantly smaller than the Motorola Droid Razr 1780 mAh (another device without a removable battery).  It remains to be seen if this was a mistake or a HUGE mistake on the part of HTC.  I’ve never personally owned a HTC device without owning at least one additional battery for it.

Visual/Audio

One of the top selling points for this reviewer is the new HTC ImageSense which “improves every part of the camera including the lens, the sensor, the software, and integrates a new custom HTC ImageChip.  Inside it has an 8MP lens with f/2.0 aperture capture.  The Rezound shipped with a f/2.2 aperture (smaller is “better”).  The camera can be used to simultaneously shoot both video and still shots which I’ve tested extensively.  It works amazingly well and is flawless during video playback.

 

HTC also focused on the sound output in the One S using Beats By Dre Audio to handle the processing of audio.  Unlike the Rezound the One S did not come with Beats headphones.  The Beats audio has been made available across the range of listening situations that I have used it for.  The Rezound’s Beats output was limited to HTC Music and HTC watch.  I was severely disappointed with that experience on the Rezound and appreciate that HTC addressed that issue.

Software

HTC launched the One series with Android’s latest 4.0.3 ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) and their custom UI Sense 4.0.  I somewhat jokingly and somewhat seriously commented about my feelings regarding (the unofficial) Sense 3.6 leak for the Sensation 4G a few months back in this video (no need to watch, honestly).  I won’t lie – I hated it.  I still have a very strong dislike of Sense 3.6 but I’ve come to love Sense 4.0.

Sense 4.0 has followed the lead set by ICS yet still maintains a very familiar feel to the Sense that people have grown accustomed to.  When you first turn on the device and the home screen loads the ubiquitous HTC Sense Clock widget greets you at the top of the screen. It looks, refreshed, almost different but isn’t.  Well, it is ever so slightly different, it is now using the Roboto font (I believe) – if it is not Roboto then it is a different font than it always has been.  The full suite of widgets are pre-loaded from HTC.

So far I’ve truly enjoyed the HTC One S in the short time that I have had it.  I only received it on Monday so I cannot, in good conscience, give a full review.  I will say that this is one of the fastest phones I’ve used to date, both in benchmarks and in real-world use.  There have been very few cases of the phone ever stuttering or seeming to be unresponsive, swiping from home screen to home screen is fast and fluent.  Music playback is great, I have yet to playback any video, web browsing is quick.  It’s impossible to judge battery life in such a short period of time and to do so would be unfair because of the amount of use it gets.  I will say that I have been relatively impressed with battery life so far.  I used it a lot yesterday and I only needed to put it on charge one time towards the end of the day.

Mini Review thoughts:

Strengths:

Gorgeous design

Weight and Thinness are nearly perfect (clearly personal opinion)

Camera is spectacular (incredible in low-light situations)

Weaknesses:

Non-expandable memory

Non-removable battery

Extremely slippery

 

*INTERESTINGLY the resolution shows up as 540×888 in my favorite app for system information Elixir 2 – this application has NEVER been wrong before, so I’ve pinged the developer for some insight. Also it is a PenTile display: The use of a SAMOLED screen means that my biggest gripe with the Galaxy Nexus (though less noticeable here, surprisingly) is the use of the pentile matrix for the pixel layout.  I’ll do a separate post regarding PenTile displays tomorrow.

T-Mobile: We Are Sorry We Got Caught Spamming You, We’ll Stop

 

T-Mobile is coming under pressure today for an update they pushed to Android phones who’s users have downloaded the My Account Application. Not for battery drain, but for getting caught Spamming users. Knowing what they where doing, only to back peddle when it came to light it was them.

During a recent software update, a message to promote T-Mobile’s free VIP Zone was mistakenly sent to certain customers and appeared on the notification bar for some Android devices. After T-Mobile was made aware of this mistake, the company stopped the notifications. T-Mobile apologizes for the inconvenience this may have caused customers.

The company sent as an apology to TmoNews who broke the story. Sadly, this isn’t the first time that T-Mobile has done this, nor will be their last. This time they where trying to push their VIP Zone.

T-Mobile isn’t the first to push Spam via the notification on Android. Numerous reports are other applications have as well. Yet time and again users praise Android not Apple either though one OS has always issues of Spam and malicious Apps while the other doesn’t.

 

Source: The Verge

Walmart & T-Mobile Tapped For Angry Birds Space Promotion

Walmart has signed up to help promote Rovio Mobile’s next big mega hit Angry Birds Space. The game goes live in app markets across the world tomorrow, and if there was a store to line up to buy the app the tent lines would be around buildings by now.

The newest installment of Angry Birds is very well developed and takes on it’s physics nature that the game is grounded on. To come up with physics principals pertaining to space and weightlessness Rovio consulted real astronauts from Russia and NASA.

More after the break
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#CES2012 Intel, Ultrabooks, Isis, and Gemalto: is this the year of NFC?

Our good friend Sylvie Barak was quoted on the Gemalto blog 
Intel demos NFC on an ultrabook: tap your credit card on your laptop touchpad to pay. #AWESOME #CES #eet_CES
Personally I don’t see making payments with a laptop being an option that many people would adopt. Bringing the ability for retailers, small businesses, or the average consumer to accept payments via built-in NFC hardware is an entirely different matter. We have already begun to witness the downfall of the traditional payment options and watched as first PayPal then Square knocked down the payment barriers.
With Google Wallet and Isis using NFC payments and PayPal by phone at Home Depot stores (without NFC) and NFC payments in Sweden  it is clear we have almost arrived at a new paradigm in the ability to accept payments. When your smartphone can act as a terminal for both positive and negative cash flow, without any additional hardware, the benefits will market themselves.
Last year I heard over and over “2011 is the year of NFC (in the U.S.)” beginning at CES. I was not clear on why people were making that statement at the time. If I remember correctly, there were no high-profile devices announced in Las Vegas last year.  The Nexus S had been announced in November the previous year, sure, but that was it. There was extremely limited NFC functionality for the end-user at the time.

T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster

As of September 7, 2011 T-Mobile has finally made available their “Cel-Fi Signal Booster”. I had heard from different sources over the last few years that T-Mobile has been extensively been testing a “Signal Booster” to improve their loyal subscribers service experience. Although I knew they were working on something, I didn’t know what it was called, now we all know.

As most of you know, cell reception has a tendency to lose signal strength indoors or in basements etc. The T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster can help improve the signal loss and help maintain a steady/solid connection with the tower to provide much better download speeds and call experience over the T-Mobile 3G/4G signal. Currently the Cel-Fi Signal Booster doesn’t support 2G/GPRS and no word has been stated to give any hope that it will ever support these older connections either, so if you only have a 2G (EDGE/GPRS) connection at home, this is not an option for you and you’d be much better off using T-mobile’s WiFi Calling or UMA calling available on select T-Mobile handsets. Let’s get down to the details. This is a true Plug-n-Play system.

The T-mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster consists of two parts, a window unit and a coverage unit. Both require an AC outlet available for each unit. T-Mobile has a pretty strict approval process they make their CSR go through with you before deciding if you can be approved. Once approved you’re told that shipping may take up anywhere from 7 to 10 days. I personally received mine in 5 days. Once it arrived, I was surprised to see how easy it was to set up. I walked around the house with my phone  to measure the signal strength and found an optimal location that was out-of-the-way and got at least one bar of service, plugged in the window unit. The second step was a little more difficult at first, but after seeing an setup example from T-Mobile’s website, I found a great spot on the other side of the house that worked great and allowed the coverage unit to have the greatest coverage area. So far everyone I’ve talked to has been able to hear me and my calls no longer drop while I move from one room to the next like they did before I received the Cel-Fi Signal Booster.In my house since I am only able to get one bar of 4G, that’s all the Cel-Fi is extending the range with, so I’m not seeing extremely faster 4G speeds or having clearer sound quality either. I’m just able to keep a connection in my house and that’s what is most important to me and my family  at this point.

I bet you’re wondering how you can get your own T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster for your house, right? Well here’s the skinny.

You must have A or B Class credit.

You must be on a post-paid contract (not an even more plus plan).

Your account cannot be delinquent.

Your plan must cost you more than $65 a month.

You’ll have to agree to a new two-year term from the date that you sign up to receive and use the T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster.

You must live in a single-family home (attached structures like apartments, condos and offices can be effected other T-Mobile users location-based services that could cause issues when calling 9-1-1).

You must have at least one bar of 3G or 4G service confirmed in your house.

You must own at least one 3G or 4G device being used with your T-Mobile service contract.

Even though you can receive the Cel-Fi signal Booster at no cost to you, you’ll still have to agree to paying $500 if the Cel-Fi Signal Booster is returned damaged or is not returned at the end of your termination of service with T-Mobile. They make it very clear that the Cel-Fi Signal Booster is T-Mobiles property and that it’s not for sale.

T-Mobile has instructed their employees that the Cel-Fi Signal Booster is not to be used as a closing option, but only to be used in extreme cases where it is needed. I guess that’s why there is so much red tape to go through to get one. I took the liberty of snapping a few pictures for your readers to gaze your eyes on. As you can see, it’s two units and they are about the same size as a common WiFi router that you’d have in your home.

 

Source:  T-mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster T-Mobile USA