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AT&T announces large 4G LTE network expansion that includes Colorado Springs, Spokane and more Jun 5th 2013, 15:05
AT&T Samsung Focus 2AT&T today made an announcement that ought to help many of its customers get over the Wednesday hump. The big blue carrier has revealed that its 4G LTE network is now available in several new markets across the country, with some freshly-expanded service in existing markets mixed in as well. The list of cities that’ve been announced by AT&T so far this morning is as follows:

New markets

  • Batesville, Ark., including parts of Newark, Newport, Pleasant Plains and the surrounding communities.
  • Blytheville, Ark., including parts of Osceola and the surrounding communities.
  • Clewiston, Fla.
  • Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Columbus and Seymour, Ind.
  • Farmington, N.M.
  • Forrest City, Ark., including parts of parts of Brinkley, Helena, West Helena and the surrounding communities.
  • Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Heber City, Utah
  • Idaho Falls, Blackfoot and Rexburg, Idaho
  • Miami, Okla.
  • Muskegon, Mich.
  • Olympia, Wash.
  • Pocatello, Idaho
  • Spokane, Wash.
  • Texarkana, Texas, including parts of Hooks, Nash, New Boston, Wake Village and the surrounding communities.
  • Vineland, N.J.
  • Williamsport, Pa.
  • Wooster, Ohio

Expanded markets

  • Darlington County, S.C., now includes Hartsville.
  • Harrisburg and York, Pa.
  • Jonesboro, Ark., now includes parts of Bono, Paragould and the surrounding communities.

That’s a pretty beefy LTE expansion, no? AT&T has been working hard to flesh out its LTE coverage lately, and with a large growth like the one that’s been announced today, many more AT&T customers will be getting access to speedy wireless data. Sounds to me like a pretty good way for those AT&T folk to spend their Wednesday. Are you located in any of the cities that are gaining new or expanded AT&T LTE service today? If so, how’s the network treating you so far?

Via AT&T

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HTC One mini reportedly appears in leaked images next to its full-size sibling Jun 5th 2013, 14:25
HTC One mini M4 leakLeaks containing renders of unannounced smartphones are always a welcome sight, but I’m guessing that many mobile fanatics would rather have photos of that device in the wild if they were given the choice. There’s some good news this morning for all of the people that fall into that category, as some shots that purportedly show the “HTC One mini” (aka HTC M4) have made their way online.

Posted by Estonian site Forte, the images show a device that looks fairly similar to the HTC One that many of us now have in our pocket, just in a smaller package. The HTC One mini is said to feature a 4.3-inch 720p display, a step down from the One’s 4.7-inch 1080p panel, along with a dual-core processor. There’s also reportedly 16GB of built-in storage, 2GB RAM, a 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera, Android 4.2.2 and Sense 5 included with this miniaturized One.

Most of the specs named in today’s report line up with a leak that surfaced in May. With its combination of a 4.3-inch 720p display, Android 4.2.2 and BoomSound speakers, this One mini features a (rumored) spec list that isn’t quite as high-end as the One, but is still pretty respectable. If the rumors hold true, the One mini could be a nice option for folks interested in a shrunken down version of HTC’s full-size flagship.

Today’s leak claims that the HTC One mini could arrive in August with a price tag of around €400, but we’ve heard before that a launch could happen as soon as the end of the second quarter, which wraps up this month. Here’s to hoping that the latter of those release windows is the accurate one. Until we hear more, you can find a couple more shots of the One mini in the gallery below, with several more available over at Forte.

Via Engadget, Forte

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Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active official, launching this summer with 5-inch display and rugged body Jun 5th 2013, 13:55
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active official Urban GreyLess than a week after taking the wraps off of the Galaxy S 4 mini, Samsung this morning officially introduced another variant of its flagship Galaxy S 4 smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active is now official, offering a ruggedized frame that is dust resistant and able to withstand being submerged in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. The S 4 Active also has a water resistant headphone jack that will allow users to wear headphones “in more adventurous conditions.”

When it comes to its regular spec sheet, the Galaxy S 4 Active has quite a bit in common with the regular Galaxy S 4. The Galaxy S 4 active sports a 5-inch 1080p display, though its screen is LCD rather than Super AMOLED like the GS4, as well as a 1.9GHz quad-core processor and 2,600mAh battery. There’s also an 8-megapixel rear camera, a slight step down from the GS4’s 13-megapixel shooter. Rounding out the Galaxy S 4 Active’s feature list is a 2-megapixel front camera, 16GB of built-in storage, microSD slot, 2GB RAM and 4G LTE connectivity.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active will launch with the same Android 4.2.2 and TouchWiz combo as its Galaxy S 4 siblings. That means that it’ll feature the usual package of Samsung-made apps as well, including S Translator, Smart Pause, Air View, AirGesture, ChatON and Samsung Link.

So what about availability, perhaps one of the most important details of any smartphone announcement? Samsung says that it plans to launch the Galaxy S 4 Active this summer. The first countries that’ll get the opportunity to take the device with them on some rugged adventures are the U.S. and Sweden. And just like several of its Galaxy brethren before it, the Galaxy S 4 Active will be offered in multiple colors. Consumers will be able to pick up a unit in Urban Grey, Dive Blue and Orange Flare.

While the ruggedized Android smartphone category isn’t huge, we have seen quite a few toughened devices come to market, pairing Google’s mobile platform with a device that’s meant to take a beating. Unfortunately, those handsets often come to market with mid-range or lower specs. However, the Galaxy S 4 Active’s feature set is pretty high-end, meaning that consumers that want a rugged device can now get one that should offer strong performance. Now that we’ve got the official rundown on the Galaxy S 4 Active and its spec list, would you rather have the regular Galaxy S 4 or this ruggedized version?

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active official Orange Flare, Dive Blue

Via Samsung

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Sprint Vital detailed in new leak, 5-inch display and Jelly Bean included Jun 4th 2013, 15:30
Sprint ZTE Vital leakIt looks as though AT&T isn’t the only carrier with a new ZTE-made Android device in the pipeline. A new report from Engadget has shed some light on the Sprint Vital, a device that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Sprint-bound ZTE Quantum that leaked out earlier this year.

According to today’s leak, the Sprint Vital sports a 5-inch HD display (the Quantum’s resolution was 1280×720), a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage that can be supplemented with a microSD card. The Vital is reportedly powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is said to sport a 2,500mAh battery that’s powering the whole package. Unsurprisingly, the unannounced device is expected to run on Sprint’s 4G LTE network.

We don’t see many higher-end ZTE handsets here in the U.S., but it looks like Sprint will be bucking that trend when it launches the Vital. While it may not be on quite the same level as some other Android flagships that are available right now, the Vital looks like a respectable device that could appeal to consumers looking for something closer to a vanilla Android experience.

There’s no word yet when the Vital might be launching, but the good news is that we’ve got plenty of leaked images and even a promo video to keep us occupied until it does. The clip is available below, as is the Engadget link at which several more renders of the Vital can be found.

Via Engadget

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Weekly Bone: Samsung announces new Galaxy Tab models, Verizon gets the Lumia 928, and more! Jun 4th 2013, 12:00
In this episode, Marco’s talking about the hot mobile news of the week, including Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and 10.1 tablets, Verizon’s Nokia Lumia 928, and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy and ATIV event in London. With the Nokia Lumia 928 on Verizon Wireless, Nokia has a flagship smartphone on the nation’s largest wireless carrier – not to mention the Lumia 920 on AT&T and the Lumia 925, which is coming soon to T-Mobile. With Windows Phone 8 being locked in a third place OS battle with BlackBerry, having as many flagships on as many carriers as possible is an important step for Microsoft.

It’s a jam-packed episode, so sit back and soak it all in, and be sure to tweet us with what you’d like to see in the next episode!

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ZTE Mustang leaks out, appears to be headed for AT&T Jun 4th 2013, 11:35
AT&T ZTE Mustang leakHot on the heels of AT&T’s BlackBerry Q10 pre-order announcement, it looks like Android fans on the carrier have been given a peek at a new phone of their own. According to a tweet from @evleaks, the device you see above is the “ZTE Mustang.” With its globe logo, the appearance of “AT&T” in its status bar and the presence of AT&T apps on its home screen, it seems pretty clear whose blue shelves the Mustang is bound for.

No spec details or other information on the ZTE Mustang accompanied this image, so right now it’s not clear exactly what kind of features the device will sport once it arrives on AT&T. The unit appears to be running a skinned version of Android 4.x in this render, though, and it’s got a set of capacitive navigation keys as well as what looks like a front-facing camera next to its earpiece.

Considering how little information we’ve got about the ZTE Mustang right now, it’s difficult to say much about the hardware. However, it’s always good to see new smartphones arriving and giving consumers more choices, because choice is a good thing, don’t ya know? Stay tuned and I’ll update you once more details on the Mustang surface. Until then, I’ll be here, ogling the lone leaked image of the device and attempting to glean some more information from it.

Via @evleaks

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Samsung gets U.S. ITC import ban on older AT&T iPhone and iPad models [UPDATED] Jun 4th 2013, 10:25
iPhone 4 rearIt feels like it’s been a while since we’ve heard any big news in the ongoing legal war between Apple and Samsung, but that ends today. The U.S. International Trade Commission announced today (PDF link) that it has issued an import ban on the AT&T versions of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G following limited exclusion and cease and desist orders.

The five devices were deemed to have infringed upon claims 75-76 and 82-84 of the Samsung-owned U.S. Patent No. 7,706,348, which is described as an “apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system.” Today’s decision by the ITC is a final determination, which The Next Web notes can only be overturned by the White House or Federal Circuit Courts.

While the five Apple products that are subject to today’s import ban aren’t exactly the freshest iOS devices around, this is still a win for Samsung that covers several different products. Apple and Samsung have been trading legal blows since early 2011, but this is one of the larger Samsung victories that we’ve seen to date. Now that Samsung has emerged victorious in this part of the battle, the order is subject to a 60-day Presidential Review period. Apple also has the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Federal Circuit Courts. Neither Apple nor Samsung have issued a statement on today’s ruling, but I’ll update you if they have anything to say.

UPDATE: In a statement given to CNBC, Apple said that it’s “disappointed” with the ITC’s decision and that it plans to appeal. The Cupertino firm added that the ruling “has no impact on availability of Apple products in U.S.”

Via The Next Web, @ReutersTech, FOSS Patents, U.S. ITC (PDF), @CNBC

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The Top Smartphones, Week 65: The battle between the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 continues! Jun 4th 2013, 09:55
Aaron’s back to round up the best smartphones as voted on by YOU in PhoneDog’s Official Smartphone Rankings!

In week 65, the HTC One remained strong in its battle against the Samsung Galaxy S 4, keeping the first place spot with a total of 479 votes! On the People’s Choice chart, the Galaxy S 4 held onto the second place spot with 144 votes, while the Galaxy Note II remained in third place with 57 votes. In fourth, the Google (LG) Nexus 4 with 48 votes, and rounding out the list in fifth, the Nokia Lumia 920 with 40 votes. On the Expert’s Choice chart, the HTC One remained in the first place spot while the Apple iPhone 5 remained comfortably in third place. The Galaxy S 4 held onto second place for another week. Which smartphone will win next week? Be sure to submit your vote for week 66 at http://www.phonedog.com/rankings and be a part of the conversation!

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How do you keep yourself from getting bored with your phone? Jun 4th 2013, 09:40
You walk into a wireless retail location. It could either be a third party site or a corporate store, whatever works for you. You take some time to look over the selection, you listen to what the sales representative has to say, and after a little while you finally decide on your next phone. Or maybe it’s your first. Whatever the case, you’re all smiles as you watch the rep take the phone out, go through the activation process, and then you’re playing with the phone.

The smile may falter at the next part, though. You’ve reached the point where you’ve got to sign on the proverbial, or maybe even literal, dotted line. This is a contract situation, after all. You picked your phone and got it at an up-front discount because you agreed to the contract. For two years (here in the U.S.).

But then you sign and you’re out the door. The box is in the bag, the bag is in your hand, and you’ve got your phone in the other. You’re already busy sending text messages, or connecting to your social networks. You’re spreading the word like a crazy person. *No one can contain your excitement*. This phone is the best thing since sliced bread.

You walk out of the store completely enamored. And by the time you get home, the “honeymoon” hasn’t worn off yet. You’re finding out new things, exploring the software, taking pictures of your food with that awesome camera, and just ogling the hardware. This is what you’ve been waiting for.

A day turns into a week. A week into a month. A month into several more.

You’ve used the device every day more times than you could ever hope to count in that timeframe. By now, barring any software updates that may have introduced new features to your device, you’ve learned everything about it. You’ve made it do everything it can do, over and over again. Maybe one day while you’re passing that same store where you bought the phone, you decide to walk in and see what new handsets have launched. Anything even better than what you bought all that time ago?

Sure there is. Maybe you bought an HTC-branded device and they’ve already launched something newer and cooler. Or maybe Samsung’s launched something else entirely, or maybe even Apple. The sales representative (a different one than the first one) is eager to tell you about all the cool new features in these phones, and he or she is more than willing to check when your upgrade date is.

Oh, shucks. It’s not for a few more months still. Well, you’ll just have to hold out. Right?

Well, not necessarily. There are options. But, let’s say that those options just aren’t something you want to do, so you *are* going to hold out. You’ve got no choice but to wait until you’re eligible to upgrade, so you’ll just have to make the best of it.

Of course, this scenario doesn’t have to extend that far into the future. For some people, they get bored with their phone a week after they buy it. Depending on how often they use it, I think that’s perfectly understandable. For those of us out there who use only one phone at any given time on purpose, it can get pretty repetitive to see the same interface day-in and day-out.

So I want to know how you stop yourself from getting bored with your phone. No matter how long you’ve had your phone, I am genuinely curious to know how you prevent boredom. I think, and I may be wrong here, that this may be one reason why some people out there love to root or jailbreak their devices so much, so changing the look and feel of the phone is possible. And that makes sense to me.

But what if you don’t want to root or jailbreak your phone? What other options are there to make sure that you don’t get bored with your phone?

For me, it’s all about the applications. I am more than willing to tell you that iOS can literally bore me to tears (it’s happened, maybe) these days, and that’s why I will dig through the App Store to find a new game, or new app in general, to rejuvenate my attention for the handset. It doesn’t usually last long, though, so my hunt for a new game is usually never-ending.

I know someone who has more cases for their iPhone 5 than what’s probably necessary, but she’d tell you it’s a way for her to make her phone stand out, and stay interesting.

So how do you do it? What do you do to make sure that you stay entertained, even enthralled, with your phone? How do you keep away the Boredom Dragon? Let me know!

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AT&T’s BlackBerry Q10 pre-order kicking off on June 5, pricing set at $199.99 Jun 4th 2013, 08:55
AT&T BlackBerry Q10 officialGood news today for AT&T customers that can’t kick their physical button habit, as AT&T has officially announced its pre-order plans for the BlackBerry Q10. The carrier will kick off its pre-sale for the QWERTY-fied Q10 on June 5, aka tomorrow, with pricing set at $199.99 with a two-year commitment.

Much like the international flavor of the BlackBerry Q10, AT&T’s model will feature a 3.1-inch 720×720 Super AMOLED touchscreen and 2-megapixel camera on its face, as well as that all-important physical QWERTY keyboard. Around back there’s an 8-megapixel shooter, and buried inside the Q10 is a dual-core processor, 16GB storage, microSD card slot and 2GB RAM. Finally, this version will pack support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network as well, just like we’d expect from a high-end smartphone in the U.S.

AT&T launched the BlackBerry Z10 back in early March, and now the operator is following that up with the keyboard-clad Q10. There’s no word yet on exactly when AT&T’s Q10 will actually be launching, but taking part in the pre-order is a good way to guarantee you and your thumbs a unit once the devices finally start hitting store shelves. Once you’ve done that, you can check out Aaron’s Snapshot Review of the Q10 below to give yourself a primer on the device and its BlackBerry 10.1 OS. So, are any of you AT&T customers planning on opening your wallet for the BlackBerry Q10?

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Via AT&T

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PhoneDog PhoneFacts, Episode 3: All the Way Inside My Soul Jun 4th 2013, 08:35
Aaron Baker PhoneDog PhoneFactsAaron’s back with episode three of PhoneDog PhoneFacts, and today he’s mixing together some cellphone history with dating advice to create a sort of chocolate peanut butter cup of phone goodness. Things start out educational, with some information about the first cellphone call. Then Aaron fast-forwards to the present day to offer up some tips on how to use your smartphone knowledge to get a date. That includes pick-up lines, must-have accessories and the one thing that you’ve got to do in order to seal the deal when picking someone up.

Episode three of PhoneDog PhoneFacts is available below for your viewing pleasure, and if you’ve missed the previous two episodes, you can find them here and here. So, have you ever used your smartphone or your knowledge about these little pocket computers to impress someone?

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Featured user review Samsung Galaxy S 4 (6-4-13) Jun 4th 2013, 07:45
Maintaining it’s second place position, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is still one of top Android smartphones available on the market right now. It was not only voted #2 by the people, it also took second with the experts on the Official Smartphone Rankings. Do you agree with it’s position on the charts? Be sure to place your vote for your favorite smartphone each week.“awesome device ” By MICHAEL SIRE RAMSEY on May 29, 2013

My wife was cooking and was trying to find a towel so she could answer the phone and she decided to use the wave feature and she was amazed that it worked very well. she also like the FACT that she can stroll up and down pages with her eyes and I love the remote feature. I asked her to trade me for my note 2 and $100 and she said no. We really like this phone.

Display 5/5
Battery Life 4/5
Apps & Media Support 5/5
Reception & Call Quality 5/5
Design/Form Factor 5/5

Overall 4.6

Official Smartphone Rankings™, vote now then leave a review.

Did you pick up the Samsung Galaxy S 4? Tell us about it here.

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Gmail for iOS update now rolling out with new inbox and notification options Jun 4th 2013, 06:25
New Gmail inbox for iOS updateLooks like iOS users won’t have to stay jealous of their Android counterparts and their new Gmail inbox for long. A new Gmail for iOS update is now available in the App Store, bringing the app up to version 2.3.14159 and packing in the new Gmail inbox that was announced by Google last month. The new inbox automatically sorts a user’s email into one of several categories, such as Social and Promotions, making it easier to keep the inbox organized. This Gmail for iOS update also includes the ability to change notification options on a per account basis. Here’s the official changelog from Google:

What’s New in Version 2.3.14159

  • New notifications options: Get notified for all messages, only important messages, or none at all, on a per account basis. Customize these settings from the in-app settings page.
  • Meet the new inbox: If you’ve enabled the new inbox, your mail is now grouped into categories so that you can see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when. Primary mail is shown firt and it’s easy to access and keep track of email in other categories by opening the menu. Configure this feature by going to Gmail.com on your computer.

While the new Gmail inbox may not be a perfect fit for everyone, it’s good to see the iOS flavor of Gmail getting access to the feature just a day after the Android update began rolling out to users. If you’re rocking an iOS device and want to try out the new Gmail inbox for yourself, you can hit up the Updates section of the App Store or just click the link below. Once the dust has settled and you’re on version 2.3.14159, be sure to tell us what you think of the new Gmail inbox in the comments below!

Via Gmail (App Store)

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