U.S. Cellular recently talked about plans to expand the availability of its LTE 4G network from 94% of customers today to 98% of customers by the end of the year. In order to do that, it will deploy about 600 new cell sites and increase coverage across portions of California, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. The company believes increasing its 4G footprint will help reduce churn. The company operates LTE in the 700MHz band through a partnership with King Street Wireless. U.S. Cellular says about 61% of its customers have LTE-enabled devices, and 78% of its data transits the LTE network. As far as advanced features go, U.S. Cellular is testing VoLTE, but has no timeframe for deploying that or other tools, such as carrier aggregation.
Verizon Wireless has begun allowing subscribers to wipe the supercookie browser-tracking program from their handsets. Verizon has been using the unremovable supercookie for nearly a year, but faced a growing tide of consumer backlash over privacy fears. The company agreed earlier this year to allow customers to opt out and has finally put the mechanism in place. Following the steps on Verizon's support site will remove the supercookie and prevent Verizon from tracking certain handset behaviors/functions. "As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus," said spokesperson Debi Lewis in a statement provided to the New York Times. "We never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs."
Cricket Wireless today announced a new option for consumers, who can now buy a Bring Your Own Device Universal SIM Card Activation Kit from Amazon.com for $9.99. The kit includes a nano SIM card with micro and mini tray adaptors so the card can be used with a wide variety of devices. The kit provides all the information customers will need to self-activate a service plan (via the web or via phone) with Cricket Wireless. Consumers will need to supply their own unlocked GSM handset, but Cricket will waive activation fees. Service plans start at $40 a month, but customers can earn a $5 deduction if they set up auto-pay with their account. Cricket eventually expects to offer its mobile devices via Amazon, too. Cricket is owned and operated by AT&T.
A U.S. judge has given RadioShack permission to sell its 1,740 stores to Standard General, a hedge fund that plans to operate the stores with Sprint. One of RadioShack's creditors, Sulas Capital Partners, had opposed the sale. RadioShack declared bankruptcy in February after spending more than a year attempting to rebuild its business. Under the terms of the agreement, Sprint will own about 30% of each store's real estate, in which it will sell Sprint wireless goods and services. The remaining 70% of the stores' footprints will be used to sell RadioShack's branded electronics. RadioShack hopes to close the deal as soon as April 1.
LG today said consumers who purchase a new LG G3 smartphone will also receive its Google Cardboard-based virtual reality headset for free. LG announced the VR for G3 earlier this year. Users slip their handset into the VR for G3, similar to the Google Cardboard headset. The offer also includes an in-box QR code that unlocks a free download of select VR gaming content. LG said the virtual reality headset will be available for free while supplies last. The G3 is nearing the end of its shelf life. LG has scheduled a press event for April 28, when it is expected to debut the G4 smartphone.
Google today updated its Inbox email service with the ability to set custom snooze times. Google said Inbox should figure out when to snooze for most people based on their daily activity, but it also permits people to manually set their own morning, afternoon, and evening snooze times so they can be interruption free. In addition to the new snoozing feature, Inbox makes it easier for users to reach their contacts. Inbox, which is a substitute for Gmail, is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Yahoo today pushed out an update to its Android application that brings it inline with the iOS app, which it refreshed in January. The Android Yahoo app is now more visually engaging and makes it easier to access articles, polls, and blogs from Yahoo's digital magazines, such as Yahoo Autos, Yahoo Sports, and others. The app also now keeps Yahoo Weather and Yahoo News Digest above all the other digital sections in the news feed. Yahoo for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Alcatel OneTouch today made its smartwatch available for preorder through its web site. The watch, announced earlier this year, runs a proprietary operating system and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The wearable can track workouts and heartrate, notify users to incoming calls/messages, and control music playback. Users can take advantage of a wrist-shaking gesture to launch their smartphone's camera, if they wish. The watch will initially ship with a black band, but other colors will become available later this year. The Alcatel OneTouch Watch costs $149.99. Alcatel didn't specify when the watch will ship.
Sprint today settled a class-action lawsuit regarding its 2005 acquisition of Nextel for $131 million. Investors claim Sprint executives defrauded shareholders by inflating stock and bond prices after Sprint closed its acquisition of Nextel. The merger was troubled from the start, as Sprint struggled to integrate the two companies and lost hundreds of thousands of Nextel subscribers. At the same time, executives claimed the company was receiving billions of dollars in benefits and improving its subscriber base. Sprint was eventually forced to write down $29.7 billion in lost value. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay out $131 million. The settlement still needs to be approved by the court.
WhatsApp is rolling out voice calling to its Android application today. The feature, which was delayed from last year, has been in the works for some time. Some users have been testing it since February. Now, it is spreading to all Android smartphone users. With the new feature on board, WhatsApp users will be able to chat with and make voice calls to their WhatsApp contacts. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which has already added calling features to Facebook Messenger. WhatsApp voice calling isn't available to Android tablets. The update is rolling out over the next few days.
The U.S. International Trade Commission agreed to examine Ericsson's claims that Apple is violating its wireless patents. The dispute stems from a licensing agreement between the two companies that expired in January. Since then, the companies haven't been able to agree on fees for Apple to re-license the 2G/4G patents from Ericsson. Apple argues the fees are too high and the patents are not essential to LTE. It says Ericsson demanded rates in excess of what's fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory. Ericsson sued because Apple continues to use the patents without a licensing agreement in place. Ericsson wants the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order. The ITC said it will look into the matter.
Google today said it is giving people more options for organizing their photos and videos online. Moving forward, all the photos and videos users have stored in Google+ will be accessible from Google Drive. This change applies to the Android and iOS apps, as well as the web. Google believes adding photos/videos to drive will help people organize them more easily alongside their other files. Even so, Google+ Photos will continue to operate separately, where people can store, edit, and share their pictures. Google said Drive users should see their photos begin to appear automatically over the next few weeks.
Google today updated its Gmail application for Android devices with the ability to see all emails from various accounts in a single, master inbox. Using the new "All Inboxes" option will lump together emails from Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and IMAP/POP accounts into a single view. This way users can respond to emails from all their accounts without having to switch inboxes. Further, Google will automatically thread email conversations from non-Gmail addresses to help users keep their inbox under control. Other new features include improved auto-complete when using the search box, more responsive animations, larger attachment previews, and the ability to save to Drive with a single tap. The new version of Gmail for Android devices is available from the Google Play Store.
Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam pleaded with Congress to "re-take responsibility for policymaking in the Internet ecosystem" in a letter sent Friday to the House and Senate Commerce committees. Lowell pointed to the FCC's recently proposed net neutrality rules and Dish Network's "abuse" of the AWS-3 bidding process as indicators that things have gone off the rails. "For the past few weeks, telecom and technology issues have been prominent in the news," wrote Lowell, "but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons." Lowell believes the 1996 Telecommunications Act is now horribly outdated and needs to be re-thought by Congress. "The existing legal regime and its accompanying regulatory processes are outdated and broken. It is time for Congress to re-take responsibility for policymaking in the Internet ecosystem." Lowell asked Congress first to come up with a short-term solution to curb the FCC's net neutrality rules with bipartisan legislation, and then to follow it up with a fully revised set of policies for governing the internet. "Congress [needs] to assert its longstanding role of setting, in a bipartisan fashion, public policies for the communications sector that both protect consumers and provide incentives for investment and innovation in new products and services." The FCC wants to reclassify broadband providers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934, which would brand them common carriers and allow the FCC to regulate them more stringently.
AT&T plans to begin deploying LTE service in its 2.3GHz WCS spectrum holdings this summer. AT&T acquired some WCS spectrum from NextWave in 2012 and more from Sprint in 2014. AT&T's Tom Keathley, senior vice president of network and product planning, told Fierce Wireless it will use the WCS band to add capacity to its LTE 4G network in markets that need it. "We went out fast to deploy the coverage layer [in 700MHz]. WCS will be a capacity layer. So to the extent that we need capacity in an area, that will be more the indicator of how fast we go." Though deployments will start this summer, Keathley said work will continue into 2016. The company already has handsets on deck that will support the new spectrum band. AT&T expects the deployment will run smoothly. Since most of its cell sites include the necessary antennas, the carrier will need only another remote radio head at each tower. AT&T is already refarming portions of its PCS spectrum to add capacity to its LTE 4G network. AT&T also recently acquired licenses for AWS-3 spectrum from the FCC that it will use to boost downlink performance for its network.
Apple has expanded the scope of its Reuse and Recycling Program to include smartphones, tablets, and PCs not made by Apple. Customers can take their old smartphones directly to Apple Stores and receive credit towards new Apple gear for turning them in. Customers who don't have access to Apple Stores can mail in their devices for credit. Apple will recycle just about any old phone, tablet, or computer for free. Apple says not all devices are eligible for credit and suggests customers check eligibility (online) before heading to Apple Stores. According to Apple's web site, it is accepting handsets from Sony, Samsung, Nokia, LG, and BlackBerry. Apple has partnered with Brightstar and DataServ to handle the actual device recycling processes. The expanded Apple Reuse and Recycling Program is available in the U.S., the U.K., and select European countries.
T-Mobile today unveiled a new coverage map that it claims is far more accurate than the maps offered by its competitors. T-Mobile is populating the map with data generated by its own customers. The map shows coverage that's been verified by real customers and shows exactly where LTE, 4G, and 3G coverage is available. T-Mobile is using "Verified Coverage" icons to show where the data has been provided by its customers versus third-party companies. It is using a company called Inrix to verify and backup the customer data. T-Mobile said all coverage map data is updated twice per month, based on on-going customer usage. The map also details speed test data from third-party apps so customers can see what sort of speeds to expect in any given location. The new coverage map is live on T-Mobile's web site. T-Mobile said its LTE network covers 265 million Americans. It expects to cover 300 million Americans by the end of the year.
LG today said its new mid-range handsets, the Magna, Spirit, Leon, and Joy, are going on sale in South America. The phones will be made available across Latin America first, but will soon also reach Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and, eventually, North America. So far, none of the major U.S. network operators has voiced support for these phones. Until they do, the devices will only be sold overseas. The phones range from the 4-inch Joy to the 5-inch Magna.
Sony today followed through on an announcement made in January concerning Sony Music Unlimited and Spotify. Sony Music Unlimited has gone offline in all 19 countries where it was offered. The service, which cost $10 per month, let Xperia device and PlayStation owners stream songs and playlists. Sony partnered with Spotify, which is officially taking Music Unlimited's place across Sony's devices. Spotify gives Sony hardware owners access to 30 million songs and 1.5 billion playlists. PlayStation owners will be able to create and listen to playlists when playing games, as well as listen to music on-demand whenever they wish. Spotify replaces Sony's Music Unlimited service on Xperia smartphones and tablets, too, but it isn't yet available. Sony said it should be ready for mobile devices soon. Spotify is already available to Android and iOS devices from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.
Microsoft said it is preparing to make the technical preview of Windows 10 available to a large batch of phones in the coming weeks. Microsoft delivered an early build of the technical preview to just a few handsets in February. However, due to the way most handsets' partitions were created, the preview couldn't function properly on the vast majority of devices. Microsoft has completed a process called partition stitching, which allows devices to adjust the partition dynamically. Microsoft has since been testing the technical preview on a wide variety of Windows handsets to make sure the build is functional. Microsoft expects to spend about another week engineering the code, and then will likely make the preview available through its Windows Insiders program. Some of the handsets that will be able to test the new operating system include the Lumia 1520, 1320, 1020, 920, 925, 928, Icon, and a smattering of handsets from the Lumia 500, 600, 700, and 800 series. Microsoft will have more details about timing of the release in the days to come.
The FCC is moving forward with plans to free up a portion of the 3.5GHz band for wireless broadband use. The agency has been exploring the idea of sharing the airwaves with the incumbent users, including the military, and wants to make 150MHz of the spectrum available for wireless purposes. Chairman Tom Wheeler today circulated a draft Report and Order proposing to create a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The idea is to use a three-tiered sharing paradigm. In a segment called General Authorized Access, any FCC-certified device would be able to access the spectrum as long as it doesn't cause interference. In the Priority Access tier, users would have to acquire "short-duration licenses" at auction. Any service provided in the Priority Access would have to protect GAA users. Existing government users would stand at the top of the three tiers. They use the spectrum for satellite and radar, and will be protected from the two lower tiers. The tiers will be managed by something called the Spectrum Access System, which uses cloud computing technology to visualize and control what entities are using the spectrum in which locations. "I look forward to my fellow Commissioners' feedback on the draft Report and Order," said Wheeler. "I think it provides a peek of the future, and that future is very exciting indeed."
Vine today announced new support for higher-resolution video. Since launch, the video-sharing service has uploaded videos with a maximum resolution of 480p. An update to its mobile application will record and upload videos in 720p HD. The update will hit the iOS version of Vine in the coming days, with the Android version to follow at some point down the road. Vine is owned by Twitter and lets people record 6-second videos that are then played back in loops. Earlier this week, Twitter released an app called Periscope, which lets people broadcast live video from their smartphones.
U.S. Cellular has begun accepting preorders on its web site for the Samsung Galaxy S6. U.S. Cellular wants $199.99 for the 32 GB S6 or $299.99 for the S6 Edge, each with a two-year contract. Customers who prefer to pay over time can score the S6 for $34 per month or the S6 Edge for $39.50 per month. The 64GB models of the S6 and S6 Edge cost $299.99 and $399.99 with a two year contract, respectively, or $38.50 and $44 per month. U.S. Cellular is offering the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in black or white, but not the gold color being sold by the big four carriers. U.S. Cellular didn't specify shipping dates.
Jonah Becker, HTC's VP of Industrial Design, announced he is departing the company. Becker joined One & Co., a design firm bought by HTC, 17 years ago. He succeeded Scott Croyle, who himself left HTC a year ago. "It's been an amazing journey with One & Co and HTC, but it's time for a new adventure," said Becker through his personal Twitter account. Of his departure HTC said, "We would like to thank Jonah for his work with HTC, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. He has been succeeded by Daniel Hundt, based in our San Francisco design office." Becker's departure comes just a week after HTC announced a change at the executive leadership level. Long-time CEO Peter Chou switched roles to run the company's Future Development Lab. Cher Wang, who helped found HTC, has assumed the role of CEO. HTC is on the cusp of releasing its 2015 flagship smartphone, the One M9, which Becker played a large role in designing.
Verizon was the last of the major carriers today to announce pricing and availability details for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. The company will begin taking pre-orders for the phones on April 1, but Verizon did not provide a shipping or in-store date. The 32GB Galaxy S6 will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract, $24.99 per month with an Edge plan, or $599 at full retail. The 64GB model will cost $299.99 with a contract, $29.16 per month, or $699. The 128GB model will cost $399.99 with a contract, $33.33 per month, or $799. Verizon is offering the S6 Edge with similar pricing breakdowns. The 32GB model starts at $299.99 with a contract, $29.14 per month, and $699; the 64GB model runs $399.99, $33.33, and $799; and the 128GB model runs $499.99, $37.49, and $899. (All on-contract prices reflect a $50 mail-in rebate.) Both the GS6 and GS6 Edge will include VoLTE and HD Voice, as well as simultaneous voice and data access.
Sprint today said it will begin selling the HTC One M9 both online and in stores on Friday, March 27. Sprint is offering the device for $0 down followed by 24 monthly lease payments of $20. Customers who want to upgrade their device after 12 months can pay $10 more per month. Sprint leases require customers to turn in their device at the end of the leasing period, but they'll be able to lease a new phone with $0 down. For a limited time, customers who buy the One M9 from Sprint will be able to purchase a Harmon Kardon speaker for $99 (savings of $50). Sprint said it is still willing to pay all of potential customers' costs if they switch to Sprint from a competing carrier.
Verizon Wireless today released pricing and availability details of its variant of the HTC One M9. Verizon is opening up pre-orders for the device on April 1. The phone will reach Verizon's retail stores on April 10. Verizon is selling the M9 for $199.99 with a two-year contract or for $25 per month for 24 months with a Verizon Edge plan. The One M9 will launch with Verizon's Advanced Calling 1.0 capabilities, which enables HD Voice and Video Calling to other compatible Verizon smartphones over LTE. Activating this feature also lets Verizon customers talk and surf the web at the same time.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure recently suggested the company might participate in the forthcoming auction for 600MHz spectrum if it is allowed to bid jointly with smaller carriers. Claure made the remarks during a roundtable discussion at the Competitive Carrier Association's Global Expo in Atlanta. "Hopefully the rules of the auction will allow us to participate," said Marcelo, noting the incentive auction will be a "great opportunity for us to lobby together to potentially form a coalition to go after this spectrum together." The 600MHz low-band spectrum is valued highly because of its propagation characteristics. Sprint said CCA members operate regional networks in areas it doesn't provide coverage, and vice versa. Allowing them to bid together would be advantageous to all involved and might let them actually win the licenses. The FCC hasn't finalized the rules for the auction yet, but it is scheduled to begin early next year. Surely AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which already own vast sums of low-band spectrum, will oppose any rules that might limit their participation or prevent them from competing for the licenses.
Sprint is hoping to attract customers to its network with a combined promotion that includes the Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Sprint Unlimited Plus service plan for $80 per month. The plan includes the 32GB GS6 for "free" after a $20-per-month credit with a 24-month lease; unlimited talk, text, and data; international value roaming; and annual upgrades. Customers who want the 64GB or 128GB models can get them for $85 and $90 per month, respectively, with the same service plan. Families interested in the Galaxy S6 can score four of them with unlimited talk and text, and 20GB of shared data for a total monthly price of $200 per month. Annual upgrades would cost another $10 per line per month. Customers looking for the Galaxy S6 Edge can snag one for $85 per month ($5 per month after $20-per-month lease credit) with the Sprint Unlimited plan. Customers not interested in contracts or leases can pay full price for the Galaxy S6 ($649.99) and pair it with a Boost Mobile plan. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge go on sale in Sprint stores April 10, with pre-orders beginning March 27.
Amazon today debuted two new cloud storage plans that should appeal to consumers looking to store backups of important files online. The Unlimited Everything Plan offers an unlimited amount of online storage for photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music in Cloud Drive. It costs $59.99 per year. For customers interested in spending less, Amazon is also offering an Unlimited Photos Plan, which lets people store an infinite number of photos in addition to 5GB of additional storage for videos, documents, and other files. The Unlimited Photos Plan costs $11.99 per year. Amazon is offering a free three-month trial of both plans beginning today. Prime members and Fire device owners, who already have access to unlimited photo storage, can choose to sign up for the Unlimited Everything Plan to store videos and files in addition to their pictures.
T-Mobile was the first carrier today to reveal pricing information for its variants of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. T-Mobile listed the full retail prices at $679.92 and $779.76, respectively, for the two handsets. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge share nearly all specs and features, but the S6 Edge has a display that's curved on two sides. Customers can pre-order the phones beginning at 7:00 AM Pacific on March 27. The S6 will go for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $28.33, while the S6 Edge will require 24 monthly payments of $32.49. T-Mobile customers who order before April 12th can also receive a one-year Netflix subscription at no cost.
Samsung today announced the general availability details for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The devices can be pre-ordered beginning Friday, March 27 and should reach most carrier stores on April 10. Samsung said the black, white, and gold models will be sold in the U.S. in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB configurations. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. Cellular all plan to sell the GS6 and GS6 Edge. Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and MetroPCS will only offer the Galaxy S6. In addition to carrier stores, the two phones will be available at Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy, as well as Amazon, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. Some carrier stores will have the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge on display beginning tomorrow, even if sales don't commence until April 10. Samsung said carriers will announce individual pricing details later. The devices include 5.1-inch quad HD screens, 16-megapixel cameras, fingerprint readers, and multi-standard wireless charging.
Google this week pushed out an update to its Keep application for Android devices. The note-taking app adds labels, which users can take advantage of to organize their notes or make them easier to search. The app also adds scheduled reminders (daily, weekly, monthly) for recurring tasks or events. Google Keep is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Twitter today released a new application for the iPhone called Periscope. The app lets people broadcast live video to their Twitter followers. When Periscope users choose to publish live video, their followers are notified and can view the stream, comment on the video, and send feedback in the form of hearts. Periscope saves broadcasts for up to 24 hours for replay, and permits people to share live video privately if they wish. Periscope will suggest who to follow based on the user's Twitter network, as the app allows people to follow/unfollow other Periscope users at will. Users can easily act on or ignore incoming notifications when others in their network begin streaming live video. The feedback mechanism, which uses hearts, tells Periscope streamers how much love their video receives. Periscope is battling a third-party app called Meerkat, which similarly offers live video feeds via Twitter. Periscope is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Twitter didn't indicate if it will release a version for Android devices.
AT&T and T-Mobile today followed up HTC's announcement concerning One M9 pricing and availability with their own. AT&T will begin accepting pre-orders for the M9 at 12:01 AM tonight and will sell the device in stores April 10. The device will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract or $708.99 at full retail. Customers looking to pay over time can get the One M9 for $23.64 per month with Next 24, $29.55 with Next 18, or $35.45 with Next 12. AT&T is selling the 32GB model in silver or gray. T-Mobile plans to begin accepting pre-orders for the M9 at 6:00 AM Pacific Time on March 27 and will sell it in stores April 10. T-Mobile is offering it for $0 down followed by $27.08 per month for 24 months. T-Mobile will also sell the device at the full retail cost of $649.92. T-Mobile's version of the device will have WiFi calling. Both AT&T and T-Mobile will ship the One M9 as customers place orders, which means they'll likely arrive before the April 10 in-store availability date.
HTC will make the One M9 available for purchase on its web site beginning Friday, March 27 for $649. Carrier and major retailer sales of the device will kick off on or about April 10. HTC will be offering an unlocked version of the One M9, which supports the LTE networks operated by AT&T and T-Mobile, in addition to major carrier models. The company is offering a 12-month, interest-free payment option for customers who'd rather pay for the device over time. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon plan to sell the phone and it will also be available from Amazon, Best Buy / Best Buy Mobile, Costco, and Target. The phone will be sold in gunmetal gray or two-tone gold/silver and in 32GB and 64GB models. The One M9 comes with Uh Oh protection, which will let owners get a free replacement device if theirs suffers a broken screen or water damage. The One M9 goes on sale via HTC's web site at 12:01AM Eastern Time. The phone features a 5-inch full HD screen, 20-megapixel main camera, Snapdragon 810 processor, BoomSound stereo speakers, and an all-aluminum chassis.
A Delaware jury today said Motorola violated a patent held by Intellectual Ventures. The patent pertains to how multimedia messages function on mobile devices. The jury cleared Motorola of violating a second patent related to wireless bandwidth. Damages will be decided later. The two companies faced off in court last year over these same patents, but the trial resulted in a hung jury. Today's decision comes after the case was tried again. Intellectual Ventures is taking Motorola to trial over yet another patent later this week. Intellectual Ventures is a patent-holding firm with some 17,000 patents in its portfolio.
T-Mobile recently added the Microsoft Lumia 640 to its web site and described the device as "coming soon." Microsoft revealed the Lumia 640 at Mobile World Congress earlier this month. The phone has a 5-inch HD screen, 8-megapixel camera, LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and Microsoft's productivity apps. The Lumia 640 will ship with Windows 8.1, but can be upgraded to the full version of Windows 10 later this year. T-Mobile didn't disclose exact availability or pricing, but Microsoft said the phone will reach stores in April for about $180. AT&T and MetroPCS also plan to sell the Lumia 640.
Facebook today announced Messenger Platform, an expansion of its messaging application that will let developers tap into key features. Facebook envisions Messenger Platform as new place for people to express themselves and share content. Allowing developers to hook into Messenger means users will eventually be able to do much more with their conversations, such as create animated GIFs. People will soon be able to browse for Messenger apps directly from Messenger. Facebook said 40 apps will be available at launch. Facebook also announced Messenger for Business. The idea here is to allow people to communicate with businesses via Messenger rather than via phone or other means. Facebook views it as a more convenient approach to communications between customers and companies. In an example provided on stage during its F8 developer conference, Facebook demonstrated how Messenger -- rather than email -- can be used by businesses to provide purchasing and shipping details when shopping online. Facebook said apps for Messenger and Messenger for Business will go live in a few weeks.
T-Mobile today revealed via Twitter that customers who buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge will receive a year-long subscription to on-demand video service Netflix. T-Mobile didn't provide any other details about the promotion, nor has the company said when the latest smartphones from Samsung will go on sale.
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