Google Posts Sprint (4.2.1) and Verizon (4.2.2) Galaxy Nexus Factory Images

Galaxy Nexus - Jelly Bean
Galaxy Nexus – Jelly Bean

Google posted online factory images for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on the Sprint and Verizon networks today. Verizon users will see Android 4.2.2 JDQ39 available for download, while Sprint users will see Android 4.2.1 GA02. Factory images allow users to restore their devices to the stock experience should they encounter software problems.

Factory Images:
Verizon Galaxy Nexus (4.2.2)
Sprint Galaxy Nexus (4.2.1)

Google and LG Slightly Modify Nexus 4 Design

Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4

Several reports indicate that Google and LG may have modified the hardware design of the Nexus 4 slightly to add small bumps at the bottom of the device. A new version of the Nexus 4 features the bumps presumably in order to protect the device’s glass backside from scratches. The bumps also allow room for the rear speaker to be heard louder while the phone is laid on its back. See below for a close-up view.

Google Nexus 4 Bumps
Google Nexus 4 Bumps

Congratulations to our German friends over at MobiFlip for this most excellent discovery.

Sen. Ron Wyden Pens Wireless Device Independence Act, Attempts to Legalize Unlocking

Sen. Ron Wyden
Sen. Ron Wyden

We wrote on Monday about the Obama Administration’s support for carrier unlocking in cellular devices including smartphones and tablets. He promised to work with Congress to legalize unlocking, and many of us politically-minded folks rolled our eyes. Turns out, we were too pessimistic.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) all proposed working quickly to legalize carrier unlocking. Senator Wyden was first to the floor with a bill called the “Wireless Device Independence Act” that would amend current law to legalize carrier unlocking. The bill hasn’t been formally numbered, although we expect, with Senator Leahy’s support at the committee level, it will move quickly enough to the Senate floor.

On the House side, although there is no bill yet, Rep. Chaffetz claims to be working on one.

It’s up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on these bills, and there’s good reason to get your hopes up if you’re pro-legalization. It appears that there’s significant bipartisan support for unlocking in both chambers of Congress. We’ll be tracking the Wireless Device Independence Act, as well as legislation proposed by Rep. Chaffetz on BriefMobile. Stay tuned for more updates into the next week.

Below is a copy of the Wireless Device Independence Act.

Sources Say “No Current Plans” for a BlackBerry 10 Netflix App

Netflix
Netflix

Netflix currently has “no plans” for an application on the BlackBerry 10 platform, according to sources familiar with the matter. AllThingsD is resporting that the company plans to forgo the platform for the time being. With fewer users than the large iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms, the company has little incentive to offer an application to BlackBerry 10 users.

Alex Kinsella of BlackBerry responded to AllThingsD, saying:

[quote]We’re committed to bringing top titles from around the globe to BlackBerry 10 customers… At this time, it’s in Netflix’s court to join the excitement around BlackBerry 10 — we hope they choose to bring a BlackBerry 10 experience to their customers. We’d love to have them.[/quote]

Obama Administration Supports Carrier Unlocking

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama’s Administration came out today in support of the legalization of carrier unlocking for cellular phones and tablets. The White House believes that the ability of consumers to unlock cellular devices is a key component for healthy competition in the wireless market. According to the Administration, legalization of unlocking is “common sense” and “crucial for protecting consumer choice.” Moving forward, the Obama Administration hopes to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and consumers to “ensure laws keep pace with changing technology.”

View the statement from the White House below.

[press]

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE TOMake Unlocking Cell Phones Legal.

It’s Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking

By R. David Edelman

Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we’re pleased to offer our response.

The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.

This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs — even if it isn’t the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.

The White House’s position detailed in this response builds on some critical thinking done by the President’s chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). For more context and information on the technical aspects of the issue, you can review the NTIA’s letter to the Library of Congress’ Register of Copyrights (.pdf), voicing strong support for maintaining the previous exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone carrier unlocking.

Contrary to the NTIA’s recommendation, the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA. The law gives the Librarian the authority to establish or eliminate exceptions — and we respect that process. But it is also worth noting the statement the Library of Congress released today on the broader public policy concerns of the issue. Clearly the White House and Library of Congress agree that the DMCA exception process is a rigid and imperfect fit for this telecommunications issue, and we want to ensure this particular challenge for mobile competition is solved.

So where do we go from here?

The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.

We also believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its responsibility for promoting mobile competition and innovation, has an important role to play here. FCC Chairman Genachowski today voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking (.pdf), and to complement his efforts, NTIA will be formally engaging with the FCC as it addresses this urgent issue.

Finally, we would encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices.

We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and most importantly you — the everyday consumers who stand to benefit from this greater flexibility — to ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve.

R. David Edelman is Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, & Privacy

[/press]

Sprint’s 4G LTE Coverage Expands, Adding 9 New Markets

Sprint
Sprint

Sprint expanded their 4G LTE coverage to offer service in nine brand new markets across the United States. If you reside in one of the applicable areas and your smartphone can handle 4G LTE speeds, then you should see the 4G LTE icon switch on with your device.

  • Altoona, Pennsylvania
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Columbus, Indiana
  • Elkhart/Goshen, Indiana
  • Hammond, Louisiana
  • La Crosse, Wisconsin
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Statesville, North Carolina
  • Temple, Texas

These new markets bring Sprint’s total LTE coverage to 67 total markets, according to Android Police. Find the press release below.

 

[press]

“With today’s announcement, Sprint is enabling even more customers to sample the power of 4G LTE on their smartphones, tablets and wireless hotspots.”

Bob Azzi, senior vice president-Network, Sprint

 

 

Sprint customers in 67 markets now are experiencing faster speeds for uploading photos, surfing the Web and streaming videos.

 

 

We are launching 4G LTE in nine new areas as part of our efforts to bring a better wireless experience to more customers every day as we build out an all-new 3G and 4G LTE network.

 

 

“The network team continues to build and test the new network across the country, including areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York,” said Bob Azzi, senior vice president-Network, Sprint. “Customers report they are already finding a 4G LTE signal in these places, and we look forward to providing even more reliable access to the data they need with our official launches.”

 

 

Sprint 4G LTE is launching in:

 

 

Altoona, Pa., Asheville, N.C., Columbus, Ind., Elkhart/Goshen, Ind., Hammond, La., La Crosse, Wis., San Juan, Puerto Rico, Statesville, N.C., and Temple, Texas.

 

 

Switch to Sprint

Customers in 4G LTE service areas will be able to use their smartphones – such as Samsung Galaxy S® III, Samsung Galaxy Note® II or LG Optimus G™ – to share a picture of their favorite band performing at a local arena or to check the Web for basketball scores with greater speed.

 

Through April 11, with Switch to Sprint save $100 instantly on the Samsung Galaxy S II or the Galaxy S III[i]

 

Wireless Network News: Network Vision

 

Customers can expect to experience the following improvements once 3G upgrades and 4G LTE service come to their area:

 

•          Faster data speeds to enable instant Web access for news updates, HD viewing and game-playing, quicker video downloads and clearer video chats.

•          Better signal strength when accessing the Web.

•          Fewer dropped calls for peace of mind when talking to friends, family or colleagues.

 

More information:

 

For the most up-to-date details on Sprint’s 4G LTE portfolio and rollout and detailed 4G LTE maps, providing coverage information right down to the address please visit www.sprint.com/coverage. Customers are encouraged to check back often, as the maps will be updated when coverage in these markets is enhanced.

 

[i]  New 2 year agreement required.  Restrictions Apply. Available only in web, telesales, Sprint retail stores and indirect channels (not national retailers).

[/press]

Rumor: T-Mobile “Uncarrier” Project to Eliminate Phone Contracts

T-Mobile

A new rumor floating around the interwebs today suggests that T-Mobile USA will do away with phone contracts as the company phases out its phone subsidy program. According to the rumor, T-Mobile will allow all of its customers to pay a lower month by month rate, shill out the big bucks for a smartphone up-front, and never have to pay an early termination fee. There will also supposedly be a new equipment installment plan (supposedly in the $25-30 range) for twenty monthly installments with an up-front down payment.

According to sources close to TMoNews, the company will start marketing its approach as a plan to “uncarrier” the wireless industry. As early as March 24th, with an announcement just twenty days before, we could see these new no-contract plans arise. Meanwhile, T-Mobile will emphasize its network as a “Dual 4G” network, playing off of its HSPA+ and newly-developed LTE networks.

If and when T-Mobile makes the move, the magenta company will be the first major carrier in the United States to move away from a traditional contract system.

AT&T Rips T-Mobile’s Network in Newspaper Advertisement

AT&T
AT&T

Months after T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere insulted AT&T’s network as “crap” at CES, Ma Bell is striking back in new full-page newspaper advertisements. As seen below, the advertisements allege that T-Mobile’s network offers customers twice the dropped and failed calls with 50% slower download speeds. According to Bloomberg, T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert said:

[quote]Wow. Looks like we struck a chord. AT&T doth protest too much. Glad they’re spending their money to print our name.[/quote]

AT&T’s Mark Siegel was quick to respond:

[quote]T-Mobile’s advertising is a combination of misguided and just plain wrong. (This is) just a friendly reminder of the fact that independent third-party testing says AT&T’s network delivers faster speeds and fewer dropped calls than them.[/quote]

Thanks to The Verge, you can check out a copy of the advertisement below. This feud is even more interesting when you consider the fact that AT&T attempted to purchase T-Mobile just under two years ago in 2011.

AT&T Advertisement
AT&T Advertisement

JetBlue Peers Into the Future With Google’s Glass, Excites Tech Nerds

Google Glass - Airport Example
Google Glass – Airport Example

Google recently invited the world to try their brand new Glass product for a mere $1,500. The chosen “explorers” will be the among the first outside of the Mountain View company to experience the Android-based glasses in real life. Although applications are closed, the popular airline JetBlue released some mockup photos to show off a futuristic airport setting in which Google Glass provides real-time information to travelers. The gallery below includes five shots from the dreamers over at JetBlue.

Of course, the outlet, garage capacity, and baggage claim information would need to come from technology advancements in the airport itself. The taxi fare estimator may be a more realistic idea, depending on the ability of Google to pull average taxi fare information into their Knowledge Graph. While these ideas may not come to fruition in the near future, they’re still exciting to tech nerds like us here at BriefMobile. Thanks JetBlue for sharing your futuristic fantasies with us!

HTC One Announced — 4.7-Inch 1080p, Ultrapixel Camera, 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600, Sense 5.0

HTC One

HTC finally announced their brand new One device in New York City. A true flagship handset, the HTC One boasts some impressive specs. With a 4.7-inch 1080p display (468 PPI), Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz, 32GB of storage (64GB coming soon), and 2GB of DDR2 RAM, this phone will almost certainly be a competitor for 2013’s best.

Software-wise, the HTC One boasts Android Jelly Bean behind HTC’s Sense 5.0 skin. We’re not sure which version of Jelly Bean we’ll be looking at upon release. The Taiwanese manufacturer plans to release the HTC One in the United States on Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T with 4G LTE access. 182 other carriers will sell the HTC One worldwide.

Built into the device is HTC’s new BoomSound technology. With the biggest resonance chambers of any smartphone speaker system, the HTC One should provide a stellar audio playback experience. With front-facing stereo speakers and a dedicated amplifier, the One’s BoomSound setup is a major improvement over past HTC smartphones.

HTC’s included an UltraPixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture lens. The UltraPixel image sensor allows the One to capture three times more light than other 8-megapixel cameras, which translates to superior low-light performance.

All of the HTC One’s snazzy new parts are packed into a zero-gap aluminum unibody enclosure. Available in siver and black, the aluminum unibody boasts a “unique antenna technology” developed by HTC for maximum reception.

[heading]Specifications[/heading]

CPU and Memory

  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 clocked at 1.7 GHz
  • 32GB internal storage (64GB in some markets)
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
Ports and Connectivity

  • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • WiFi a/ac/b/g/n
  • DLNA
  • Infrared remote control
  • microUSB 2.0 with MHL
Speakers and Microphones

  • Beats Audio
  • HDR Microphone
  • Sense Voice
  • Dual frontal stereo speakers with amplifiers
Camera

  • BSI sensor
  • HTC ImageChip 2
  • f/2.0 aperture
  • 28 mm lens
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 1080p Full HD video recording
  • HDR video
  • Slow motion video
Battery

  • 2300 mAh Li-polymer

[heading]Pictures[/heading]

[heading]Press Release[/heading]

[press]

INTRODUCING THE NEW HTC ONE®, A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON SMARTPHONES

 

HTC BlinkFeed, HTC Zoe and HTC BoomSound Deliver HTC One’s Unprecedented New Smartphone Experience

 

London and New York City, February 19, 2013 — HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced its new flagship smartphone, the new HTC One.  Crafted with a distinct zero-gap aluminium unibody, the new HTC Oneintroduces HTC BlinkFeed™, HTC Zoe™ and HTC BoomSound™, key new HTC Sense® innovations that reinvent the mobile experience and set a new standard for smartphones.

 

“People today immerse themselves in a constant stream of updates, news and information. Although smartphones are one of the main ways we stay in touch with the people and information we care about, conventional designs have failed to keep pace with how people are actually using them,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “A new, exciting approach to the smartphone is needed and with thenew HTC One, we have re-imagined the mobile experience from the ground up to reflect this new reality.”

 

HTC BlinkFeed: A personal live stream right on the home screen
At the centre of the new HTC One experience is HTC BlinkFeedHTC BlinkFeedis a bold new experience that transforms the home screen into a single live stream of personally relevant information such as social updates, entertainment and lifestyle updates, news and photos with immersive images so that people no longer need to go to separate applications to find out what’s happening.  HTC BlinkFeedaggregates the freshest content from the most relevant and interesting sources, giving it to people at a glance, all in one place, without the need to jump between multiple applications and web sites.

 

To enable this new dynamic approach to the smartphone, HTC will provide both local and global content from more than 1,400 media sources with more than 10,000 articles per day from some of the most innovative media companies, such as the AOL family of media properties, ESPN, MTV, Vice Media, CoolHunting, Reuters and many others. For more information on HTC BlinkFeed’s content partners, visit the HTC Blog.

 

HTC UltraPixel Camera with HTC Zoe

The breakthrough HTC UltraPixel Camera redefines how people capture, relive and share their most precious moments.HTC Zoe gives people the ability to shoot high-res photos that come to life in three-second snippets.  These Zoes, photos and videos are then displayed in a unique way that brings the gallery to life and transforms the traditional photo gallery of still images into a motion gallery of memories.  It also automatically creates integrated highlight films from each event comprised of Zoes, photos and videos set to music with professionally designed cuts, transitions and effects. These highlight videos can be remixed or set to different themes, and can be easily shared on social networks, email and other services.

 

To enable this innovative camera experience, HTC developed a custom camera that includes a best-in-class f/2.0 aperture lens and a breakthrough sensor with UltraPixels that gather 300 percent more light than traditional smartphone camera sensors.  This new approach also delivers astounding low-light performance and a variety of other improvements to photos and videos. In addition, the perfect self-portrait or video is just a tap away with an ultra-wide angle front-facing camera which supports 1080p video capture. Multi-axis optical image stabilisation for the rear camera also helps ensure video footage smoother whether stationary or on the move. HTC UltraPixel camera adds many other features and effects such as enhanced 360′ panorama, time sequencing and object removal.

 

HTC BoomSound

The new HTC One offers the best audio experience of any mobile phone available today. HTC BoomSound introduces for the first time on a phone, front-facing stereo speakers with a dedicated amplifier and an amazing full HD display that immerses people in music, videos, games and the YouTube™ clips they love. Beats Audio™  integration is enabled across the entire experience for rich, authentic sound whether you’re listening to your favorite music, watching a YouTube video or playing a game.

 

HDR recording uses advanced dual microphones and audio processing to capture clean, rich sound that is worthy of high-definition video footage.  Phone calls sound great on HTC One thanks to the addition of HTC Sense Voice™, which boosts the call volume and quality in noisy environments so that conversations come through loud and clear.

 

HTC Sense TV™

HTC Sense TV transforms the new HTC One into an interactive program guide and remote control for most TVs, set-top boxes and receivers. Tapping the power of the cloud, Sense TV makes it simple and intuitive to see what’s on and find that favourite show.

 

Metal Unibody Design

Wrapped in a zero-gap aluminium unibody and sporting a brilliant 4.7”, Full HD (1080p) screen, the new HTC One features the latest Android Jelly Bean operating system and LTE network technology to offer blazingly-fast browsing in a package that combines premium design with breakthrough build quality.

 

Available in stunning silver and beautiful black, the sleek and crafted aluminium unibody sits comfortably in the hand and showcases HTC’s unique antenna technology, which helps people achieve a crystal clear signal. The display also resists scratches and reduces glare, whilst offering incredible 468ppi resolution and rich, natural colours.

 

Global Availability
The new HTC One will be available globally through more than 185 mobile operators and major retailers in more than 80 regions and countries beginning in March. For more information and to pre-register for the new HTC One, visitwww.htc.com.

[/press]

Possible Verizon Galaxy S4 Benchmark Surfaces

Verizon Galaxy S4 Benchmark

A supposed benchmark for Samsung’s Galaxy S4 on the Verizon network surfaced online today, showing off a 1.9GHz Snapdragon processor with an Adreno 320 GPU powering a 1080p display. The device scored a 58.70 on the NenaMark2 test. The benchmark was recorded with an Android 4.2 operating system. As seen above, the codename for this device is SCH-I545. The “SCH” indicates that this phone is tied to Verizon.

Other rumored information about the Galaxy S4 (if this is it) include a 4.99-inch 1080p display from Samsung.  Such a display would offer users an unprecedented 440 pixels-per-inch.

BlackBerry Z10 Preview

BlackBerry Z10
BlackBerry Z10

This guest blog was written by Abbi Cox of Phones 4u, who offer a selection of BlackBerry mobiles at incredible prices.

At long last, RIM has unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 operating system and the carrier device on which it’ll run, the BlackBerry Z10. After setbacks in 2012 meant the company’s fortunes had taken a nosedive, could this new offering be RIM’s saving grace?

We had some hands on time with the BlackBerry Z10, read on to get the lowdown on BlackBerry 10…

BlackBerry Flow

RIM has done away with a traditional homescreen for BlackBerry 10, instead opting for several gridded screens and quick access to open applications. Users navigate the OS using swipe gestures, which pull in overlapping screens for each of the features being used. RIM has coined this multitasking functionality ‘BlackBerry Flow’, so-called as they believe you flow in and out of different screens to go about your business.

Time Shift

Time Shift is a really useful camera feature, which allows users to isolate a section of a photograph and rewind a few frames to get the perfect shot. This is ideal if someone in the picture has blinked, you can pick out their face and skip a few frames until their eyes are open again.

BlackBerry Keyboard

Another improvement of BlackBerry 10 is a more intuitive keyboard, which learns how you type and corrects any letters you repeatedly hit off-centre. The predictive text functionality is really great too, suggesting words just above where you are typing. These words can be swiftly ‘flicked’ into the text above using an upward swiping gesture. This makes for a speedy typing experience, so you can write texts, emails and BBMs fast and accurately.

This is just a snippet of the functionality of BlackBerry 10, and the operating system really does have some innovative features that could put RIM back on top. But don’t take our word for it, to check out BlackBerry 10 in action take a look at our BlackBerry Z10 video review.

Video