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Cell Phone Reviews and Mobile Phone News
Read about the latest news updates, from apps for the Nokia Lumia 710 to updates on AT&T's Gingerbread system
 
04/21/2017 10:37 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Amp Prime 2 Available from Cricket

Cricket Wireless today added two new Samsung handsets to its list of devices. First, the Galaxy S8 is available for purchase from Cricket stores. Cricket is charging $699.99 for the handset, a $50 savings off list price, when the S8 is activated on a new line. Second, Cricket debuted the Galaxy Amp Prime 2 (pictured), a low-cost Android phone. The Amp Prime 2 features a 5-inch 720p HD screen with a 1.35 GHz quad-core processor and 16 GB of storage. The phone includes 5- and 2-megapixel cameras on the back and front respectively, and a 2,600 mAh battery. Other features include LTE, Bluetooth WiFi, and support for memory cards up to 256 GB. The Samsung Galaxy Amp Prime 2 runs Android 7 Nougat and costs $150.


 
04/21/2017 10:11 AM
Google Play Music to Be Default Music Player on All Samsung Devices

Google and Samsung today said starting with the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, Google Play Music will be the default music player and music service on Samsung phones and tablets globally. Consumers who buy the S8 or S8+ will receive a free three-month trial of Google Play Music, which offers ad-free access to some 40 million tracks. The trial also includes YouTube Red, an ad-free version of YouTube. Moreover, Samsung device owners will receive special features from Google. To start, S8 and S8+ buyers will be able to upload up to 100,000 of their own tracks to Google Play Music for safekeeping (double the standard amount.) Google says more custom features for Samsung phones are on the way. Last, Google Play Music will be compatible with Samsung's Bixby voice assistant when Bixby launchers later this spring. Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners will be able to ask Bixby to play their favorite song and it’ll start playing on Google Play Music instantly. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ go on sale today.


 
04/20/2017 01:42 PM
Apple to Help Make Live Photos More Shareable On the Web

Apple today released a new tool for developers that should make it easier for people to share their Live Photos with others. Specifically, the company made available the LivePhotoKit JS API. Apple says, "This new JavaScript-based API makes it easy to embed Live Photos on your web sites. In addition to enabling Live Photos on iOS and macOS, you can now let users display their Live Photos on the web." Live Photos, which are essentially short moving pictures, can be shared between iOS and macOS devices, but not so easily across platforms. Google solved this problem with its own Motion Stills app for iOS, which lets iPhone owners turn Live Photos into web-compatible GIFs. Apple says it will be up to individual developers and web sites to put the LivePhotoKit JS API to use on their own sites. Until they do, Google's Motion Stills app remains a viable alternative.


 
04/20/2017 01:26 PM
Lenovo Says Bug Preventing Moto G Plus from Making 911 Calls On Verizon

Lenovo issued a notice this week warning that the Moto G5 Plus may not be able to connect 911 calls via VoLTE on Verizon's wireless network. The company has identified the bug and expects to issue a software patch in the next week or so. Until then, Lenovo suggests owners of the Moto G5 Plus disable VoLTE calling. This will enable the G5 Plus to make regular cellular calls to 911, though Lenovo reminds people that this will prevent Verizon customers from using voice and data at the same time.


 
04/20/2017 12:57 PM
Google Home Now Recognizes Individual Voices

Google today made it possible for up to six people to get personalized results from its Google Home product. Using the refreshed Google Home mobile app, Home owners can train the device to recognize individual voices for everyone in your house. Google says it is able to do this through the use of neural networks. Once properly trained, people will be able to ask Google Home for their daily schedule, preferred news, commute details, and personal playlists. The functionality requires the latest Home app from Google on each associated account. This feature will start rolling out today for Google Home users in the U.S., but will expand to the U.K. in the coming months. Google Home is a $129 in-home connected speaker that relies on the same Google Assistant app found on Android handsets.


 
04/20/2017 12:32 PM
Sprint Offering Two-For-One Lease On Samsung Galaxy S8

Sprint today finalized its retail plans for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and there's good news for consumers. The company is offering a two-for-one lease deal on the S8 with a new line activation and one upgrade, or two new line activations. New and existing customers can lease the S8 for $31.25 per month and receive a second leased phone at no additinal cost. The second monthly lease payment will be credited to the account each billing period. The Sprint Galaxy Forever lease program allows people to trade the phone in for the newest Galaxy handset after making 12 lease payments. The S8 and S8+ are both compatible with Sprint's new HPUE technology, which makes them perform much better on the company's 2.5 GHz spectrum. Sprint says this two-for-one lease deal for the Galaxy S8 is good only from April 21 through April 27.


 
04/20/2017 10:30 AM
Samsung's 2nd-Gen 10nm Process Delivers Performance Boost

Samsung this week said it has finished testing its second-generation 10nm FinFET process and is ready to produce the silicon in volume. The 10LPP (Low Power Plus) technology, used in conjunction with 3D transistors, improves speeds by about 10%, or power efficiency by about 15% when compared to the first-generation 10nm process. Some variants of the Samsung Galaxy S8 rely on the first-gen 10nm process in the Exynos 9 processor, though the U.S. model relies on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835. Samsung expects to begin producing the new 10nm 10LPP circuitry by the fourth quarter. The company didn't say what mobile processors might make use of the new technology.


 
04/20/2017 10:27 AM
Google Chrome may Block Obnoxious Ads

Google is planning to add a limited ad-blocking feature to its Chrome browser for both mobile and desktop platforms, according to the Wall Street Journal. The feature would only block the most obnoxious ads, such as pop-ups, those that auto-play sound, and overlays with a timer before you can view content. These specific ad types have been determined to be "beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability" by the Coalition for Better Ads. Google's plans for the feature are still in flux. Chrome may block only these ad types, or it may block all ads on sites that display some offending ads. The company has not yet announced the feature, and could still decide not to launch it. Google earned $60 billion in revenue last year from online advertising.


 
04/19/2017 01:25 PM
Microsoft Will Help You Ditch Passwords

Microsoft has a new tool for Android and iOS device owners to use when signing into Microsoft accounts. The phone sign-in functionality relies on the Microsoft Authenticator. People can add their Microsoft account to either the Android or iOS version of the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app. Then, when signing into a new Microsoft app, people will only have to put in their username. The Authenticator will pop up a notification on users' phones that, once approved, unlocks access to the new app. "This process is easier than standard two-step verification and significantly more secure than only a password, which can be forgotten, phished, or compromised," said Microsoft in a blog post. Microsoft Authenticator is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.


 
04/19/2017 08:34 AM
ZTE US Mobile Phone Exec Promoted to Global Role

ZTE today said it appointed Cheng Lixin, the executive behind the company's North American mobile phone business, to run its global mobile phone business. The move comes after ZTE settled with the U.S. government over allegations that it violated international trade sanctions against Iran. ZTE paid a $900 million fine to make the allegations go away. Lixin has led ZTE's mobile efforts in the U.S. since 2010. The company has grown its marketshare in the U.S. during that time thanks to low-cost handsets, which it sells through pre-paid carriers such as Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and MetroPCS. Lixin's predecessor has taken a seat on the company's corporate board. The change is effective immediately. ZTE has not yet named a new executive for the U.S. market.


 
04/19/2017 08:26 AM
Instagram for Android Gains Offline Mode

Instagram has made it possible for Android device owners to enjoy the app in a limited way even when offline. Speaking at Facebook's F8 developer conference, Instagram staff explained that many users access the app from areas with poor internet connections. Adding support for offline access will allow these people to enjoy the app when connections aren't available. According to TechCrunch, the app will store previously loaded portions of the user's feed locally on the device, including the Explore tab. People will be able to view, like, comment, and share photos, as well as unfollow users and perform other actions that will take hold once the device reconnects to the network. Instagram targeted Android for this mode given the platform's wide global popularity. It is still "exploring" whether or not it will offer offline functionality to iOS devices.


 
04/18/2017 04:18 PM
Google Earth VR Gains Search Tool

Along with the new Google Earth mobile app for Android devices and Chrome desktop browsers, Google today updated Google Earth VR for Android. Moving forward, people can type addresses or locations in Google Earth VR and they'll be whisked away to any location on the globe. The tool also gains 27 new locations for detailed exploring, such as mountains, glaciers, and castles. Google Earth VR is available to Android handsets for free.


 
04/18/2017 04:13 PM
Snapchat Adds 3D Lenses

Snapchat today introduced a new way to use its Lenses feature in a way that the company says is more interactive. When using the rear camera, Snapchatters can discover new Lenses that can "paint the word around you with new 3D experiences." These new Lenses include sticker-like animations that float and move around people within Snapchat images. The 3D Lenses are available in an update to the Android and iOS mobile Snapchat app. Snapchat is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.


 
04/18/2017 02:35 PM
Facebook Seeks to Improve Bots for People, Brands, and Developers

Facebook today announced major changes to its Messenger platform that should make bots easier to find and use. To start, Messenger now includes a Discover tab where people can recall recently used bots, as well as use a free-form search field to seek out new bots. Messenger bakes in new support for QR code scanning via mobile device cameras. The idea, says Facebook, is to make it simpler for people to find and interact with bots, particularly when they encounter QR codes when out in the real world. For brands and developers, Messenger gains new chat extensions. These will let everyone in a single group converse with the same bot at the same time. Facebook says this will make it easier to share bots and bot conversations with others. Some early partners in this endeavor include Spotify, TheScore, OpenTable, Food Network, NBA, Wall Street Journal, and Kayak. M, Facebook Messenger's artificial intelligence, receives a boost in capabilities, too. For example, M now makes suggestions within conversations, such as to say "thank you" or set reminders. Last, the new Messenger platform renews its focus on social gameplay. Messenger gains game bots that can play turn-by-turn games with single players, as well as help challenge others to games via Messenger. These features are rolling out to Messenger users in the U.S. first, with other regions to follow.


 
04/18/2017 02:12 PM
Huawei Watch 2 Hits Stores Today

Huawei today made its new smartwatch, the Watch 2, available from various online retailers for $300. The device runs Android Wear 2.0 from Google and includes GPS, a heart rate monitor, NFC, 420 mAh battery, and a 1.2-inch AMOLED display. The Watch 2 is rated IP68 for water resistance. Huawei says the standard model can be purchased from Best Buy, Target, Jet, Walmart, B&H, and others. The company expects to bring the Watch 2 Classic to the U.S. later this year for $369. Huawei has no plans to bring the LTE variant of the Watch 2 to the U.S. right now.


 
04/18/2017 02:01 PM
Google Maps Timeline Feature Travels to iOS Devices

Google today made the Timeline tool of Google Maps available to iOS devices. Timeline tracks users' movements based on their location, providing a clear picture of where they've been, for how long, and how they got there. Timelines can be useful for recalling information about unfamiliar places you may have visited, as well as keeping tabs on your favorite locations. Users are in control of what appears in their Timeline. The feature gives people full control over deleting specific locations, routes, days, and even the entire travel history. People can customize their typical mode of transportation, as well as view place cards of locations or businesses they’ve previously visited. Last, Timeline will provide monthly recaps to iOS users via email with summaries of the cities, countries, and places they’ve visited over the previous month. Timeline is optional and can be disabled. Google Maps is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Timeline has been available to Android devices for some time.


 
04/18/2017 01:42 PM
Sprint's Roaming Plan Now Includes Free 2G Data

Sprint today improved its international roaming plan, making it cheaper and more appealing to customers. Sprint customers can now enjoy free 2G data, free text messaging, and $0.20-per-minute voice calls in some 165 countries. Customers who want or need faster mobile data can pay for it on a daily basis directly from their phone. In Canada and Mexico, for example, LTE roaming costs $2 per day or $10 per week, while in most other countries LTE roaming cost $5 per day or $25 per week. Sprint says customers that subscribe to its Unlimited Freedom plan will receive free LTE high-speed data roaming, voice calling, and text messaging while traveling in Canada and Mexico. Sprint customers don't need to do anything ahead of time to take advantage of the free roaming services when traveling.


 
04/18/2017 01:31 PM
Android Pay and PayPal Now Play Nice

Google's Android Pay service is now compatible with PayPal. The companies today announced that Android Pay users can opt to use their PayPal account as a source of funds when making tap-and-go payments at retail stores or on the web. PayPal via Android Pay will stand in for a debit or credit card. People will be able to link their accounts from either app. Android Pay and PayPal will gain this functionality through an update to their respective mobile apps in the coming weeks. Google recently added in-app Android Pay compatibility with several mobile banking apps. The moves are meant to help coax more people to use Google's mobile payment service.


 
04/18/2017 12:00 PM
Review: Samsung Galaxy S8+

The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is a heavy-hitter that trounces much of the competition. This Android flagship from the world leader in smartphones struts its stuff with pride, despite several pain points that hold it back. The Galaxy S8+ is the bigger brother to Samsung's Galaxy S8 and impresses in nearly every way. Here is Phone Scoop's in-depth review of the Galaxy S8+.


 
04/18/2017 11:00 AM
Review: Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung's Galaxy S8 flagship raises the bar for smartphones thanks to its eye-popping display, attractive design, and blistering performance. This Android handset impresses in nearly every way. It may be a pricey piece of hardware, but there's no denying just how good a job Samsung has done with this phone. Here is Phone Scoop's in-depth review.


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