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  • The bright and colorful Nokia Lumia 920 line is coming in November, but only to AT&T

     


    It's big, it's bright, it's beautiful, and it's coming in November – but only to AT&T?


    Nokia recently unveiled the Lumia 920 at a press event in New York last month. But as TechCrunch and many others reported today, the company just announced that its flagship Windows Phone 8 device would be coming exclusively to AT&T in November, along with the Lumia 820.


    TechCrunch seems to have anticipated this news, brushing it aside to focus instead on how great they think Nokia's new smartphone is:


    "The Lumia 920 has just about everything you could ask for in a smartphone, with a 4.5-inch 720p display, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, a relatively large 2,000mAh battery, and of course, the heady combination of Windows Phone 8 and Pureview imaging."


    But others, like Gizmodo, are taking issue with the Nokia's recent deal with AT&T, calling the exclusive "dumb" and citing 5 reasons why.


    According to Gizmodo, the deal is going to hurt Windows Phone 8, and that "the premier Windows Phone device of the year [...] should be made available to as many U.S. shoppers as possible."


    Captain Picard facepalms at Nokia's decision to give AT&T an exclusive

     


    Meanwhile, says Gizmodo, carrier exclusives in general almost never work, and that, in particular, the exclusive Nokia gave to AT&T for the Lumia 900 didn't work either. The argument here is that users don't change carriers just for a new smartphone.


    Another reason why Gizmodo is facepalming over the whole deal? They say that the Lumia 920's Qi wireless charging capabilities should be a major selling point, but that it's being downplayed by the fact that their device with Qi won't be widely available.


    What do you think? Is an AT&T exclusive on the Lumia 920 a good idea? Leave your opinion in the comments section.




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  • Samsung has already patched the dirty USSD code that threatened Galaxy S II and Galaxy S III

     


    As far as sheer volume of interest goes, Samsung outdid Apple this week, with more stories flying around about the Galaxy S III than about the iPhone 5.


    Top of the list was security. According to most of the top tech sites, Galaxy S III owners might have had a bit of a scare this week. That is, if Samsung hadn't already dealt with the problem before anyone even knew it existed.


    Apparently, says Mashable, a vulnerability was discovered in Samsung's Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) that "potentially allowed attackers to remotely wipe the contents of Galaxy S II and III devices," essentially restoring them to factory settings.


    This video, of Technical University Berlin researcher Ravi Borgaonkar at a security conference in Argentina, shows how it's done.



    Thankfully, Samsung's already come out with a patch, and the company issued a statement to Engadget urging users to update:


    “We would like to assure our customers that the recent security issue concerning the GALAXY S III has already been resolved through a software update. We recommend all GALAXY S III customers to download the latest software update, which can be done quickly and easily via the Over-The-Air (OTA) service.”


    So, now that your smartphone is safe and sound, how about encrusting it with crystals? If you're nodding your head in agreement, and if you have upwards of £2099 (about $3370 U.S.) to spare, maybe consider upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy S III Swarovski Edition?


    This crystal-encrusted "Swarovski Edition" Galaxy S III may cost you upward of $3370, but at least the case is free

     


    The device, available from Amosu Couture, is set with 500 Swarovski crystals around the bezel, plus an extra 16 around the home button. Sort of pricey and all, but you do get a free calf leather case.


    Now for the really juicy stuff. Hot on the heels of all the rumors surrounding an iPad Mini launch, Samsung's brewing its own big news about something small.


    This leaked German invite to a rumored Samsung Galaxy S III Mini launch reads: "So big can be small. And so small can be big."

     


    According to TechCrunch, which cited "a recently released press invitation," Samsung may be unveiling a smaller scale version of the Galaxy S III (the Mini) at a store in Frankfurt, Germany. The invite, written in German and loosely translated as "So big can be small. And so small can be big," is so far the only proof of such an event.


    But it's already got Samsung fans more than a little excited, if you'll excuse the pun.




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  • Rumors swell about an iPad Mini launch as a mockup video suggesting its design details emerges

     


    As this week opened, the major news at all the top tech sites was, well, mini.


    Amid all the buzz is Apple's much-anticipated, diminutive successor to the iPad.


    The iPad Mini, of course, isn't even available yet, but techies and Apple fanatics alike nearly blew a gasket this morning when rumors of an upcoming iPad Mini event began to swirl.


    Now, don't get hasty. The rumors aren't even about a supposed date for said event, but rather about a date for the first invitations to get sent out. Citing a major Apple investor as a source, Fortune reported that the press should expect invitations for October 10.


    That date led 9to5 mac to speculate that an iPad Mini launch could be expected for mid-October, followed by shipping in November. Since that would be an apt time for Apple to capitalize on the Christmas shopping frenzy, we tend to lean toward that projection holding true.


    But if tablet and Apple junkies got excited about mere rumors about event invitations, just imagine how they must have felt when a leaked mock-up of the new tablet showed up on Japanese Apple blog Macotakara.



    The video, which shows a non-functioning iPad Mini dummy, seems to confirm all "previous design rumors," says BGR. That includes the conjecture about a 7.85" display, thinner bezel, and a thickness comparable to an iPod – most of which had already been hinted at by the discovery of third party cases for the iPad Mini.


    Among the conjecture is that the iPad Mini will be about as thick as an iPod

     


    The new tablet also appears to have speakers at the bottom rather than at the rear, which is in line with yet more rumors.


    But that's not the last bit of tantalizing gossip to emerge this week. Macotakara also reported that production for the iPad Mini has, in fact, begun in Brazil. though, they say, they "don't have information if it has been produced in [a] Chinese factory, yet."


    Nor do we at Pure Mobile expect this to be last we hear about the next big – or is it little – thing to happen to the iPad.




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  • The terms "Scratchgate" and "Scuffgate" have surfaced as early adopters of the iPhone 5 complain of unsightly marks on the aluminum back

     


    Okay, so it's not exactly a national scandal on the scale of Watergate, but there's a kerfuffle all across the web over the reputed inadequacy of the new iPhone 5's aluminum back.


    The fact that the aluminum is prone to scratching has users and tech sites shouting Scratchgate and Scuffgate, and even led to cries of "oh, the humanity!" Proud new owners of the iPhone 5 have already been complaining of unsightly scratches and scuffs on the black-coated aluminum of their new prized possession.


    And, as 9to5 Mac reported, one such user actually garnered a response from Apple's Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, who told him: “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal.”


    Fair enough. The aluminum backing of the iPhone 5 may be prone to wear, but it is actually less fragile than the glass backing of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. And even in a Gizmodo video where one user is determined to “scratch the hell” out of the new device within store, the iPhone 5 holds up pretty well, though it's never rubbed against sharp metal objects like keys or rings.



    Still, all of this brings us to an important, if awkward, discussion:


    It's fun to have the latest smartphone. You love Apple ever so much, and you and your new iPhone are planning to make a life together – at least until the next model comes out, that is.


    But the fact is, just because you trust your smartphone, there's no reason not to use protection. It's for your iPhone's good as much as your own. So glove the love.


    Yes, we're talking about cases and covers. In the case of the iPhone 4 and 4S, a rugged case is best (we've all seen those tragic shots of shattered glass.) But for the iPhone 5, a simple skin just to protect the black finish may be enough to do the trick.


    The result of unprotected smartphone love: the cracked glass panel of an iPhone 4

     


    Meanwhile, the moral of this story extends beyond Apple's products, to any smartphone you want to keep in good shape. To paraphrase Beyoncé, if you liked it then you should have put a skin on it.




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  • Amazon's app store is catching up
    Posted on September 27, 2012 by kduggan


    Amazon's app store is only a year old and already it’s giving Google Play and the Apple app store some serious competition. Amazon knows how to do ecommerce, and they’re showing it in how they get the attention of the ones who provide the products: mobile app developers.


    Amazonapps overseer is Aaron Rubenson. In a recent interview, Rubenson gave a little hint as to why their app business has grown so fast. “When you think about some of the things that Amazon does that other platforms don’t, we have this huge physical capability to ship stuff around the world,” Rubenson said. “Games will sell plush toys, but you could imagine other scenarios where a recipes app could send cookbooks.”


    Amazon does seem to like change and manages it well.


    Amazon recently started letting developers offer in-app purchases of physical goods, which will be a big deal for companies like Angry Birds-maker Rovio, Talking Friends-maker Outfit7, Russia’s Zeptolab and more.


    Amazon’s Game Circle offers social features to gamers like the ability to share achievements and leaderboards. It can save a gamer’s progress in the cloud, so that changing devices doesn’t require restarting a game.


    Last year, Amazon had some controversial pricing that frustrated developers. It had all the power when it came to the amount to charge for apps. Since developers are paid a percentage based on of what their apps sell for a big discount meant lost income for the designer. The company recently changed this so that developers earn 70 percent of what they originally priced their apps at, even if Amazon discounts their work. This is the same arrangement that Google Play and Apple Apps stores give their designers.


    Amazon just opened its store to five international markets, so these changes are based on what’s been going on in the U.S. They have a long way to go before they're a big contender for Apple and Google app business, but the new kid seems to be doing it right.



    This post was posted in Apple, General, Odd And Interesting and was tagged with Amazon apps store, Amazonapps, app stores, Apps

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  • When does a kid need a mobile phone?
    Posted on September 26, 2012 by kduggan


    The age at which we become addicted to our cell phones is getting younger and younger. A recent report found half of teens surveyed say they can’t live longer than a week without their phones, and 36% said they check their phones at least once every 10 minutes.


    Since cell phones have become as important as our right hands, is there an appropriate time for parents to get their child a mobile phone of their own?


    In a recent Harris poll 22% of parents said they thought 10 was the right age to get their child a cell phone. 43% said between 10 to 12 years old was the appropriate time.


    While parents might feel better knowing they can contact their kids anytime, having a mobile phone gives a child access to everything on the internet – both good and bad.


    Ultimately it’s up to the parents to decide. Answering ‘yes’ to all four of these questions might mean the time is right for a child to have a phone:


    1. Are there times when your child might be alone and an emergency could come up?
    2. If you put limits on using the phone can you trust your child to abide by what you ask?
    3. Does your child understand what types of apps are okay to download, how to safely surf the Internet and what they shouldn’t share online?
    4. Have you taught your child about who they shouldn’t communicate with – like strangers?


    Ultimately, whether a kid, tween or teen is ready for a mobile phone of their own is up to the parent’s judgment, but it’s also a big responsibility for both of you.



    This post was posted in General and was tagged with tween cell phone use, teen cell phone use, children and cell phones

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  • A Windows Phone 8 exclusive from Red Bull
    Posted on September 19, 2012 by kduggan


    Consumers haven’t yet weighed in on whether the Nokia Lumia will be some serious competition for Android phones (let alone Apple’s iPhone), but now that a Red Bull app is in the works, it looks like the Nokia/Microsoft partnership might get a nice boost.


    Red Bull just announced that it will release the World of Red Bull app exclusively in a Windows Phone 8 version for the Lumia and Nokia’s Series 40 debuting later this year. The Red Bull app lets you pull your favorite content, Red Bull athletes and stories into a customizable platform. The app, also known as “My Red Bull,” has a nice mapping feature for spontaneous meetups.


    This is a big deal because developers aren’t yet clamoring to create apps for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS. Since the Nokia phones that run on that OS haven’t caught on with consumers, developers are slow to do the app designing.


    Microsoft is trying to help the stalemate by paying developers to give some attention to Windows Phone 8-version apps. But they’ve got a huge mountain to climb. Apple’s App Store inventory totals more than 700,000 apps and Google Play has crossed the 600,000 mark for Android devices. Microsoft is the laggard at 100,000. Still, that’s a pretty good start for a brand new system on a limited number of devices.


    What do you think? Would a Red Bull app (and more like it to come) be enough incentive to consider switching to a Windows Phone 8 device?



    This post was posted in General, News and PR, Nokia and was tagged with Red Bull app, Windows Phone 8, Nokia Lumia

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  • Here’s a pretty great idea – US Cellular is helping its customers save money on their mobile bills. They have a new app that get their customer's mobile devices off the network wherever possible, saving customers data usage as well as reducing traffic on the US Cellular 3G and 4G networks. US Cellular calls the program “Wi-Fi Now”.


    Tapping into the system requires downloading the Wi-Fi Now app available for free in the Google Play Store.


    Basically, the app runs in the background watching for "partner" Wi-Fi hotspots. Once it locates one it automatically connects your device and stops your data usage - saving you money on your bill. There’s no additional action required on your part to make the connection and no sign-in required. This applies to your home network as well as hotspots on the road.


    US Cellular says that not just any network will qualify for the bounce. They have designed the app with at least some security in mind. Here’s how it’s described in the Google Play Store listing: "Wi-Fi hotspots are tested for functionality and quality service."


    This app is only available only to US Cellular customers.




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  • The drama between Apple and Samsung continues outside the courtroom in latest Galaxy S3 ad

     


    What? Did Apple really expect Samsung to sit quietly?


    It's been a good week for Apple, what with its big reveal and overwhelming enthusiasm for the iPhone 5.


    But, despite all the recent glory, Apple's got an enemy. And the thing about enemies is that, as much as they like to kick you when you're down, they're just dying to kick you when you're up too.


    Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that the courtroom battle between Apple and Samsung has been raging for the better part of a year now.


    Most recently, the dispute over intellectual property saw Apple win a ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission.


    But that last ruling is unlikely to put an end to the drama between the two smartphone makers, even if it means taking the fight out of the courtroom and into the streets. In fact, Samsung has done just that.


    Just days after Apple's iPhone 5 unveiling, Samsung's latest ad for the Galaxy S3 takes direct aim at the newest iPhone incarnation.


    The ad, which compares the two smartphones' capabilities, and calls out the iPhone 5 by name, bears the statement: “It doesn't take a genius.” Presumably, the “it” in question is figuring out the Galaxy S3 is "better."


    Samsung's latest Galaxy S3 ad calls out the iPhone 5 by name

     


    The timeliness of the ad, which must have been prepared based on specs obtained before Apple's September 12 unveiling, led 9to5Mac to quip: “you can say a lot of things about Samsung, but one thing you can’t say is that they are slow.”


    Indeed, Samsung pumped that one out pretty quickly. But that's no surprise considering this isn't the first anti-Apple ad the company's run. Back when they were promoting the Galaxy S2, they slammed the iPhone with an ad making fun of Apple fanatics, claiming “the next big thing is already here.”


    This time, however, Samsung's Apple-bashing is more delicately directed at the company, not its users, and that may just work. At the very least, the ad should make people feel smart for choosing a Galaxy, rather than stupid for standing in line at the Apple Store.



    What do you think of Samsung's new ad? Is it tasteful? Accurate? Do you think it'll work? Leave your opinion in the comments section.




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  • LifeProof's new Nüüd iPad case promises "barely there" waterproof protection

     


    Humankind's fascination with gadgets can only be rivalled by our longstanding fascination with water.


    So, even though we quake with fear at the thought of submerging our iPads, iPhones and other devices, it shouldn't really surprise us that, when people go swimming or surfing, they want to take their tablet or smartphone along.


    We've already seen something of the waterproofing trend from LifeProof – the San Diego-based company boasts what's been called the slimmest waterproof case for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.


     


    But now, the New York Times' Gadgetwise blog is reporting on the company's latest in elemental shielding for Apple devices.


    This time, LifeProof has taken its efforts to tablets, with the waterproof Nüüd iPad case. The product gets its name from the fact that there's actually no screen covering – your iPad's naked glass screen is already waterproof, and adding an extra film on top only reduces clarity.


    Instead, the Nüüd case seals around the glass and provides a waterproof backing for the rest of the iPad. There's also access at the bottom for charging and syncing, so you don't have to constantly take the case off and put it back on again.


    As Gadgetwise points out, you still may not want to do any serious snorkeling with your iPad, since it wasn't really designed for that. But the new iPad case is great for poolside, a day at the beach, or any other routine encounter with water.


    You may swear to have never texted on the toilet, but show me the techie who says they've never brought their phone or tablet into the bathroom, and I'll show you a liar. In any case, waterproofing just makes solid sense.


    Any survival expert will tell you that where there's life, there's water. But as we at Pure Mobile know, where there's life, there's also tech.





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