Verizon Wireless subscribers in the United States pay the most per month for their phone bills, according to a study compiled by Cowen and Company. On average, Verizon Wireless subscribers pay $148 per month after taxes and fees, while Sprint is the second most expensive with a $144 average. Meanwhile, AT&T subscribers pay $141 and T-Mobile subscribers tend to pay $120 per month for their phone service.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam previously noted several times that his company isn't interested in trying to compete against AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint in pricing.
The most recent Cowen and Company study follows up reports last year that indicated the same pricing structure for the four major carriers.
This morning Samsung officially announced the existence of its rumored Galaxy Tab 3 Lite after the device's user manual leaked late last night. The Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is aimed at the low-end side of the market and hopes to attract more customers to the small tablet realm in hopes that they will upgrade to a high-end model in the future.
The Galaxy Tab 3 Lite features a 7-inch screen with a 1024x600 resolution screen, while a 1.2GHz dual-core processor handles computational duties. 1GB of RAM should barely keep things running smooth while 8GB of on-board storage is on hand to store all of your files. A micro SD slot allows for more storage while a 2MP rear camera handles imaging duties. Battery life will be questionable with only a 3600mAh battery being featured, but with the slimmed down specifications, this may turn out not to be an issue.
The Wi-Fi version is expected to retail for around $165 while a 3G compatible version will cost consumers about $100 more putting the price tag at $265. With prices like this, Samsung has to face some stiff competition in Google's Nexus 7, Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX, and even offerings from Acer and ASUS.
We know that the NSA has a close and personal relationship with every human being that owns some form of a smart device, but how do you get away from the US spy agency, and it's total surveillance lockdown? The Blackphone, that's how.
The Blackphone will be revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month, with the new smartphone "Powered by a security-oriented Android build named PrivatOS, is a carrier- and vendor-independent smartphone giving individuals and organizations the ability to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, transfer and store files, and video chat without compromising user privacy on the device."
Blackphone will feature both the hardware and software that will be capable of phone calls that can be encrypted. But, I don't think this will get you out of the web that the NSA has built, unfortunately.
Interested users will have to likely wait until 2015 for the first wave of Ubuntu Touch smartphones, according to Canonical. It was only last month when it was promised the first Ubuntu Touch smartphone, manufactured by an unnamed hardware partner, would be released sometime in 2014.
"Longer-term we would love to see the major OEM/carriers shipping Ubuntu handsets, said Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager, in a statement. "This is a long road though with many components, and I would be surprised if we see anything like this before 2015."
The consumer market is extremely competitive with Google Android, Apple iOS, and Microsoft Windows Phone fighting for users - and seeing the popular Ubuntu Linux OS migrate to the mobile space will help shake things up further.
Thanks to a retailer listing a new slate, we should expect the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite to be announced, and released soon. Polish electronics retail site, X-Kom, listed the specs.
We should expect the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite to feature a 7-inch 1024x600-pixel display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal flash storage, a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera, 3600mAh battery, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It's modest specs will come with a modest price of just $165 for the Wi-Fi only model, but if you want some cellular 3G action, that will cost you $263 (or so) total.
Today HP announced that it will be launching two new tablets that feature cellular voice functionality. The new HP Slate6 VoiceTab and Slate7 VoiceTab are the companies first encroachment into the smartphone arena since it dumped the now LG owned webOS, which is now running in LG Smart TVs.
Each of the new VoiceTab models run Android 4.2, and are powered by unspecified quad-core processors which are most likely of Qualcomm origin. 16GB of on-board storage is present as is a microSD slot for expansion. Front and Rear cameras are HD compatible, and feature decent sensors for what should be good image quality. The Slate6 VoiceTab features a 6-inch 720p display while the Slate7 VoiceTab sports a 1280x800 display.
Less than 0.01 percent of consumer mobile apps will make money and be considered a hit by developers by the end of 2018, according to research firm Gartner. Almost 90 percent of paid apps are downloaded less than 500 times every day, earning less than $1,250 per day.
"The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many," said Ken Dulaney, Gartner VP and analyst, in a statement. "However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just fun."
Mobile app use grew 115 percent year-over-year from 2012 to 2013, though 94.5 percent of all mobile apps downloaded by 2016 will be free apps, Gartner predicts.
Mobile users tend to listen to recommendation engines, friends, social networking, and advertising to find new apps available - a significantly faster, more reliable manner to find apps - as there are thousands of different programs available.
It's up to app designers to know when to release an app for free to build a fanbase, or to put it up for sale and try to turn a profit.
TSMC will reportedly start producing fingerprint sensors for the upcoming iPhone 6 from
NSA Apple. Apple's upcoming next-gen iPhone will see TSMC spin up its 65nm process at its 12-inch fab.
The company will also bring backend water-level chip scale packaging in-house, versus subcontracting it. With TSMC using in-house packaging, we should see production yields improve, which is something that troubled the iPhone 5S when it first launched, with Apple facing trouble manufacturing the fingerprint scanners in its current flagship smartphone.
TSMC will also reportedly begin work on application processors for the iPhone giant on its 20nm process. We should expect processor production to quickly jump up in Q3, which is when we should expect the new iPhone to be unveiled.
If you were looking for a new smartphone bargain, then you might want to consider the Moto G Google Play Edition smartphone is currently $179, and available through the Google Play Store.
This is the same smartphone as the normal Moto G, but it is a completely unlocked device, that will "quickly receive updates of the latest Android software". The Moto G features a 4.5-inch 720p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and pure Android 4.4 KitKat.
App developers can develop apps for the Google Android platform faster than Apple iOS or Microsoft Windows phone, according to a report from research firm Evans Data. Around 41 percent of app developers creating Android apps complete their project in one month or less, with iOS coming in at 36 percent, and 34 percent for the Windows Phone.
All app developers spend time testing and debugging their apps before launch, but Android developers also send more time improving UI and app performance.
"Targeting multiple screen sizes is definitely the way to go," said Janel Garvin, Evans Data CEO, in a statement. "The benefit of having your app run across the gamut of device types is obvious, and while there are difficulties in synchronization across device types, and in the range of graphics capabilities that are supported by different screens, the benefits still outweigh the effort."
App development is a major business, even though there is a large number of free and paid apps available, making it harder to gain user attention. Android controls 80 percent of the global smartphone market, due to availability on a wide variety of devices from entry-level devices to flagship smartphones.
Analysts believe mobile payments in the United States will increase in 2014, but security incidents like the recent high-profile Target and Neiman Marcus data breaches will limit appeal. Moving forward, using layered security systems, improved authentication, and more vigilance from mobile users can help drive demand.
Mobile payments have become more common place in Asia and Europe, but still have struggled to take off in the United States. Many companies have the ability to accept various forms of mobile payment, but consumers are still uncertain about the potential benefits of mobile wallets.
With services such as PayPal, Google Wallet, Amazon Payments - and services directly from credit card companies and banks - consumers certainly have a wide variety of different products they can choose from.
2013 was the year cellular carriers attempted to change their business model and move away from two year contracts, and it appears that at least one of them will not follow suit into 2014. Today Sprint announced that it has canceled its One UP program that let users upgrade early by paying a monthly fee for their phone.
One Up offered customers a new smartphone every 12 months without a two year commitment, and only required customers pay about $20 per month for the phone of their choice on top of their normal service fee. Apparently the service was either not popular, or was costing the company too much money as it was canceled on January 9th with out any prior announcement or notification.
Since November, the tech world has been buzzing about Nokia releasing an Android-powered smartphone alongside its Lumia line of Windows Phones. @evleaks even posted an image of the top-secret project code named "Normandy," but until today all we have seen is an image of a Lumia-like device with a black screen.
Today, Twitter user, Picturepan2, posted what he says is an engineering prototype of the Nokia Normandy Android-based smartphone. The user interface definitely looks like some form of Android, but the phone appears to only feature a back button and not the typical back and home button combo. Further more, the device is pictured with what appears to be dual SIM cards based on the dual signal meters in the notification bar.
Other reports out today suggest that project Normandy is just part of a refreshed Asha line and will be running a heavily modified version of Android. The Android implementation will be modified to incorporate features from both Windows Phone 8.1 as well as Android, in what could become the Asha line's official OS. Sources say that we can expect to see this mysterious phone debuted just before or during the 2014 Mobile World Congress.
Microsoft wasn't able to keep up with Google Android and Apple in the mobile tablet race throughout 2013, but the company will see significant gains in 2014, according to research firm Gartner. The tablet market is expected to see Windows 8 lead the drive, as enterprise users begin to adopt the Windows-powered devices for use in the workplace. Microsoft is promoting its own Surface tablet, while OEM partners continue to explore 8 and 8.1 devices that make it easier for users to have access to content across all platforms.
Windows has a tremendous advantage as programs such as Outlook and Microsoft Office natively work in the mobile environment, which is why Windows 8 will see an estimated 47 percent growth in the tablet market.
Microsoft clearly understands the importance of building success in the smartphone and tablet markets - but trying to keep up with Android and Apple has proven to be difficult. As users migrate from Windows XP - and Windows 7 pre-installed on devices is phased out - there is great potential for Microsoft to steal users away from the iPad and Android tablets.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has met with China's top smartphone maker, Xiaomi, where he has publicly stated he supports the company. Wozniak thinks Xiaomi could crack the international market with its products, something he told a group of reporters in Xiaomi's Beijing-based offices.
Wozniak said: "Xiaomi has excellent products; they're good enough to crack the American market. This company has a good, strong vision. The products the company has built so far are very key elements to that future." Xiaomi's co-founder and CEO, Lei Jun, has the same admiration for the co-founder of Apple, with Jun saying he admired Wozniak and his work in creating Apple's first products.
Jun said: "We invited Wozniak to Xiaomi to inspire our engineers to build competitive products that are almost like art. This is the approach we've taken with our most recent products." As we move deeper into 2014, the Chinese company will expand beyond the borders of China and Taiwan, and begin selling its products in Singapore and Malaysia, two very large markets with large Chinese speaking populations.
Tactus Technology has shown off some impressive technology, a morphing touchscreen which creates physical buttons from your buttonless touchscreen. Tactus' technology works by providing "application-controlled, completely transparent physical buttons that rise up from the touch-screen surface on demand."
When the buttons are enabled, they pop up onto the screen, when disabled they recede back into the screen, leaving your once smooth and flat touchscreen back in its original state. Tactus enables the Tactile Layer, which is called microfluidics. These microfluidics are small channels that are routed throughout the Tactile Layer, allowing fluid to expand the top polymer layer, which creates physical buttons.
It sounds impressive, but it'll be more impressive once we see Tactus' technology built into the devices we know and love, and use.
CES 2014 - During our visit with Lenovo at CES, we got a chance to take a brief look at their new Vibe Z, Android-based smartphone. Lenovo announced the Vibe Z at CES and says that the device is their first 4G LTE smartphone and features a full 1920x1080 display.
The phone features an 13-megapixel rear camera while the front facing camera packs in a full 5-megapixels which makes for the best selfie capturing smartphone on the market. The Vibe Z also features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, and 2GB of RAM. Lenovo says the new smartphone will retail for $549 and will hit US carriers soon!
Wireless carrier AT&T has partnered with Beats Music to offer a subscription song streaming and download service for $14.99 per month on five accounts and 10 devices. Current AT&T Family customers will receive a 90-day free trial to the service, with individual users receiving a free 30-day trial. Subscribers can stream music in addition to downloading tracks for playback later when no phone or Internet connection is available.
"Our collaboration with Beats Music is solving two major industry challenges," said David Christopher, AT&T Mobility Chief Marketing Officer, in a statement. "Beats Music is focused on delivering a different music service with personalized curation from real industry experts and AT&T focused on breaking the affordability barrier that currently exists for families in subscription and download music."
The Beats Music service for AT&T will publicly launch on Tuesday, January 21. Users will be able to download both a Web app and mobile app on Google Android, Apple iOS, and Windows-powered mobile devices.
GeekWire spotted something quite strange during their visit to CES this year, they spotted a "Kindle Kiosk" in the McCarran airport in Las Vegas. According to staff at the airport, the machine had been installed just as CES was kicking off.
The machine was installed at the airport as Amazon wants to try and get tech-savvy visitors leaving the city to grab a Kindle on their way out. The vending machine had the Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Paperwhite and the normal Kindle e-Reader on offer. It also sold covers and power adapters, so that you could trick up your Kindle before you took off.
What do you think about buying a tablet from a vending machine? I think Amazon is really thinking outside of the box here, not only are they using drones to deliver goods to consumers, but now tablets from vending machines?
The New Year is here, CES 2014 is over, and now it's time to get back into business with an update to the Galaxy S4. It looks like there's an unofficial test firmware for Samsung's flagship smartphone, with Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the Galaxy S4 (GT-i9505 model).
SamMobile is on the ball, getting their hands on the test firmware, but Samsung will officially roll out the deliciously named update for the Galaxy S4 sometime in February or March. Until then, you can try out the firmware if you want - but be warned - this isn't for everyone. This is in no way an official firmware from Samsung, so I would advise waiting for an official release from the company before flashing your $600+ smartphone.
CES 2014 - During our visit with Lenovo, we got the chance to check out one of the coolest pieces of PC tech on display at CES. The Lenovo Horizon 2 is a 27-inch monster-sized tablet that when paired up with an optional stand, becomes what Lenovo is calling a Table PC.
As you can see in the video, the Horizon features a screen with either a 1920 x 1080 resolution, or a 2560 x 1440 resolution depending on the customer's budget, but unfortunately the stand will have to be purchased separately. The tablet / table PC runs on an Intel Core i7, NVIDIA graphics, and a battery large enough to keep the device running for 4 hours of continuous use. As you can see in the video, things like image manipulation, gaming, and everything else is quite fun on the device! Lenovo says that the Horizon 2 retails for $1499 and will hit shelves in June.