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printed October 7, 2015
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Lumia 950 Coming To AT&T

Yesterday, 2:31 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Yesterday, 3:12 PM

Microsoft and AT&T have confirmed that the Lumia 950 will be offered by AT&T. The phone will also be available unlocked directly from Microsoft.

FCC Gives AT&T Permission to Offer WiFi Calling

Yesterday, 2:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC today approved a waiver requested by AT&T that will allow it to launch WiFi calling. The waiver gives AT&T permission to deploy Real-Time Text (RTT) as an alternative to TTY technology, which is relied upon by the hard-of-hearing. AT&T requested the waiver earlier this year. TTY is unreliable when used over WiFi and AT&T required a rule change from the FCC before it could move forward with the substitute. AT&T said it was pleased to receive the waiver, though it is puzzled why the FCC isn't taking action against Sprint and T-Mobile, which both launched WiFi calling services without a waiver. "We're grateful the FCC has granted AT&T's waiver request so we can begin providing WiFi calling. At the same time we are left scratching our heads as to why the FCC still seems intent on excusing the behavior of T-Mobile and Sprint, who have been offering these services without a waiver for quite some time. Instead of initiating enforcement action against them, or at least opening an investigation, the agency has effectively invited them to now apply for similar waivers and implied that their prior flaunting of FCC rules will be ignored." AT&T did not say how quickly it will get WiFi calling up and running.

Hands On with the Lumia 550

Yesterday, 1:51 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Yesterday, 2:04 PM

The 550 is Microsoft's new affordable Windows 10 phone. It has a remarkably low price for a device with an HD screen. How "affordable" does it feel in person? Read on to find out.

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Hands on with the Lumia 950 and XL

Yesterday, 12:56 PM   by Rich Brome

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's flagship phone for Windows 10. It continues the Lumia line while showcasing the new, unified Windows 10. Not only can it run the same Universal apps that run on Windows 10 desktops, it can transform into a desktop computer itself with a dock accessory, running the same apps in desktop mode. It has high-end features and classic Lumia design. So how is it in person? Read on to find out.

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Apple Releases iOS 9.1 Beta 4

Yesterday, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 9.1 Beta 4 available to developers. This is not meant for public use and is intended to help app writers test their code. Apple may follow this developer release with a new version of the iOS 9.1 Public Beta, but has not yet made any such announcements.

Android Marshmallow Supports In-App Translating

Yesterday, 11:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today revealed a powerful addition to Android 6.0 Marshmallow: built-in language translation. Google says that people who've installed the Google Translate app on their Marshmallow device will be able to translate between 90 languages directly from within any app that uses the Android selection tool. People can type one language, highlight the text, and then choose the translation tool to convert it to the language of their choice. Some of the apps compatible with this function include Gmail, Messaging, Hangouts, and other Google apps. This is only available to the newest version of Android and Google is offering it to developers so it may be added to more third-party apps.

Verizon Says Support for Samsung Pay On the Way

Yesterday, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon today voiced support for Samsung Pay and said the service will be added to compatible phones through a future software update. Samsung Pay initially launched with support from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, but Verizon only said it was "consiodering" the mobile payment service. Verizon did not say what delayed its commitment to the app, but now it is on board. Samsung Pay will be added to the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Note 5, and S6 Edge+. Verizon didn't say when it plans to deliver the update.

U.S. Cellular Drops Prices of Shared Connect Plans

Yesterday, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular today lowered the price points of its Shared Connect data plans. The company now offers 1GB for $25 per month, 3GB for $45, 6GB for $60, 10GB for $70, 12GB for $80, 15GB for $90, and 20GB for $110. Line access charges per device on plans below 10GB cost $20 per month, while device access charges drop to $15 on plans 10GB and higher. All plans include unlimited talk and text. U.S. Cellular offers device financing over 20 months, and allows customers to upgrade after 12 payments if they wish. The new plans are available starting today.

Microsoft Announces Affordable Lumia 550

Yesterday, 10:04 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Yesterday, 10:46 AM

Microsoft today revealed a new, affordable Windows phone called the Lumia 550. For just $140, it offers a 4.7-inch HD display, 4G LTE, 5-megapixel camera, front camera, and Windows 10. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor. A version for US networks was not immediately announced. It will be available in December for $139.

Lumia 950 is Microsoft's Flagship Windows 10 Phone

Yesterday, 9:52 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Yesterday, 10:48 AM

Microsoft today announced the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, its own flagship phones for its new OS, Windows 10. The phones support Windows Continuum for an optional full Windows Desktop experience when connected to a desktop monitor. The two models are similar, differing mostly in screen size; the 950 has a 5.2-inch screen, while the larger 950 XL has a 5.7-inch screen. Both screen offerings are OLED and Quad-HD resolution, the best available. Leveraging OLED technology, the phones also offer Lumia's low-power Glance notification display. Both phones also sport 20-megapixel cameras with Zeiss optics, triple-LED flash, optical image stabilization, and a dedicated camera button. Both phones also come with 32 GB of internal storage, plus a memory card slot supporting up to 2 TB. The phones are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 or 810 processors, with liquid cooling. The phones also sport USB Type-C connectors with fast data transfer and fast charging. A new Microsoft Display Dock accessory enables Windows Continuum. The Dock connects to the phone via USB-C, and to a desktop monitor via HDMI or DisplayPort. It also has tree USB ports for keyboard and accessories. Connected to the Dock, the phone can be used as a full Windows desktop running desktop versions of Windows Universal apps, including Office and Outlook. When using the Dock, the phone can access files on USB storage. Both phones will be available in November, for $549 and $649, for the 950 and 950 XL, respectively.

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New Microsoft Band has Curved Screen

Yesterday, 9:35 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft today announced a new version of its Band wearable wrist device. The fitness-centric Band sports a curved color OLED display with Gorilla Glass, and a rubber strap. Like its predecessor, it tracks GPS coordinates, UV exposure, and heart rate. New in this version is a barometer for measuring altitude, and better integration with the Cortana assistant. Features include guided workouts, sleep tracking, calorie counting, and smart phone notifications. The Band integrates with the Microsoft Health app, which provides details fitness tracking and stats. The Band also has extensive golf functions, tracking swing information and more. It also supports apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Starbucks, RunKeeper, and more. The new Microsoft Band can be pre-ordered today and ships October 30. It will sell for $249.

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Facebook Commits to Windows 10

Yesterday, 9:13 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft today announced that Facebook is building Windows Universal apps for Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. The new apps will run natively on Windows 10 for Mobile phones.

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Facebook Optimizes Newsfeed for Slow Connections

Yesterday, 8:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today said it has made improvements to how the Newsfeed will behave under poor network conditions. For example, Newsfeed will first load only the story being read by the user, rather than a handful of stories at once. After the first is fully loaded, Newsfeed will then go and begin loading subsequent stories. Facebook said it is using a progressive jpeg format to load low-res renders of photos quickly so at least something is visible while the full file loads. Facebook will now cache previously loaded stories for later reading, too. This way, some stories will be readable even when new stories won't load at all. Facebook said the speed optimizations are being made automatically in the background for most mobile devices.

Twitter 'Moments' Bundle Tweets and Media to Tell Stories

Yesterday, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today rolled out a new feature called Moments. The idea behind Moments its to assemble a series of Tweets about the same subject or event into a single package that's visible to all users and tells a complete story. Moments, which are cultivated automatically by Twitter and its media partners, are located in a separate tab both online an in the mobile app. Users can subscribe to Moments, which will then be inserted directly into the timeline. Moments will be loaded with multimedia, such as photos or videos, to make them more engaging. Moreover, Moments will be displayed in chronological order, with discernible beginning, middle, and end segments. When people stop Tweeting about the subject/event, the Moment will conclude and the Tweets will stop being pushed actively to the Moments tab. Moments will be visible on Twitter.com even to non-users who aren't logged in. Twitter hopes Moments will entice more people to signup for the service and remain engaged. Moments will be distributed later today to mobile apps and Twitter.com in the U.S. Twitter did not say when Moments will be made available to other regions.

Synaptics Debuts Pressure-Sensitive Touchscreen Controllers

Yesterday, 7:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Synaptics today announced the ClearPad 3600, 3700, and 7800, new touch panel controllers that are sensitive to pressure similar to the iPhone's 3D Touch display. The controllers are able to differentiate between micro-changes in pressure on the screen in order to power new features from device makers and app writers. The ClearPad series will let other handset designers mimic 3D Touch on their own hardware. The 3700 series is meant for flagship smartphones and includes a feature called SideTouch for edge gesturing, such as scrolling. The 3600 is meant for mass volume handsets and adds the ClearPad technology without drastically increasing the price of the controller. The 3600 also supports gloved fingers, wet-finger tracking, and gesture recognition. The 7800 series is intended for tablets and/or PCs with screens measuring up to 17.3 inches. The 3700 and 7800 series are already in mass production, and Synaptics expects the 3600 to reach production during the fourth quarter.

Google Refreshes Youtube for iOS

Yesterday, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google has pushed out an update to the iOS version of its YouTube application. The app now uses more elements from Google's Material Design, which Google says makes certain features easier to find and use. For example, recommended videos, favorite channels, and subscriptions can now be reached by tapping the icons or by swiping the screen from side-to-side. The app also adds several editing tools, which let people tweak and customize their videos before sharing online. Youtube for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.

Apple Picks Up Perceptio, Another Artificial Intelligence Firm

Yesterday, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple confirmed that it has acquired a small startup called Perceptio that develops artificial intelligence software. Specifically, Perceptio lets businesses push advanced AI on smartphones without forcing end users to share too much of their data. The tools use deep learning to power advanced image-recognition software without drawing from external data repositories. Just last week, Apple acknowledged that it acquired a separate AI firm called VocalIQ, though that company's forte rests with natural language recognition.

Sony Mobile Talks Marshmallow and Xperia

Yesterday, 7:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony Mobile today named the first batch of devices it plans to update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The list includes the Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium; the Xperia Z4 Tablet; the Xperia Z3+, Z3, Z3 Compact, and Z3 Tablet Compact; the Xperia Z2 and Z2 Tablet; and the Xperia M5, M4, C5, and C4. Sony said it hopes to distribute the system upgrade to these devices as quickly as possible, but had no specific details to share just yet.

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