In an age where mobile device components seem to grow by leaps and bounds every few months, it’s pretty remarkable that a pioneer in the space still manages to find itself among the top chipmakers in the world. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip was the first 1GHz mobile device processor to hit the market when the LG eXpo launched in December 2009, and it kicked off a gigahertz craze that has gained steam ever since. Today, Qualcomm is still a leader in the space and the company on Wednesday revealed the rebranding of its Snapdragon chipsets. Snapdragon chips now fall into one of four series: Snapdragon System 1 (65nm, up to 1.2GHz CPU, Adreno 200 GPU, up to 3G HSPA), Snapdragon System 2 (45nm, up to 1.4GHz CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, HSPA+, 1024 x 768 display, 720p recording, Dolby 5.1, stereoscopic 3D), Snapdragon System 3 (45nm, up to 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, Adreno 220 GPU, HSPA+, 1440 x 900 display, 1080p recording, Dolby 5.1, stereoscopic 3D) and Snapdragon System 4 (28nm, up to 2.5GHz quad-core CPU, up to quad-core Adreno GPU, HSPA+, LTE). System 4 Snapdragon chipsets won’t hit the market until next year, but Systems 1 through 3 can currently be found in 125 commercially available devices. So what might be an appropriate way for Qualcomm to celebrate the new rebranding? Team up with BGR to give away nine different smartphones and tablets, of course! Read on for all the details. More →
Best Buy has announced a special one-day sale that will put any of the three versions of Google’s latest own-branded smartphone in your pocket for free. The T-Mobile Nexus S, Sprint’s Nexus S 4G and the new AT&T version of the Google Nexus S can all be had for zero dollars from now through midnight tonight, Central Time. Of course a two-year contract will need to be signed in order to take advantage of Best Buy’s 100% subsidy, and with new Nexus phones looming on the horizon, that could be a tricky proposition. Those willing to roll the dice for sexy pure Google handset likely won’t be disappointed, however. Google’s Nexus S smartphone features Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 16GB of internal storage, dual cameras, a 4-inch WVGA display and an integrated NFC chip. In the case of Sprint’s version, the sleek handset also features a 4G WiMAX radio. Best Buy’s full press release follows below. More →
Motorola will finally make a 4G LTE upgrade available to owners of its XOOM tablet beginning in September. The tablet ships with an embedded EV-DO modem for 3G connectivity on Verizon Wireless’ network out of the box, but Motorola had promised that an upgrade to 4G LTE would become available this past May. Motorola has not been clear on the cause of the delay, but the company began sending emails to XOOM owners telling them to expect the update in September. Applying the 4G LTE upgrade requires that a new modem replace the old one in the XOOM, and Motorola will need customers to ship their tablets out for up to a week in order to have the upgrade applied. The process will be free of charge for XOOM owners. More →
Amazon has updated its Kindle for iOS application with support for magazine and newspaper subscriptions. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users can now browse, purchase, and read from more than 100 newspapers and magazines, complete with high resolution color photos, and the company confirmed that more content is on its way. Amazon customers with existing subscriptions can find recent issues under the “Archived Items” menu inside the application. The update also removes Amazon’s Kindle Store button from the the app now allows users to share quotes and passages with Facebook and Twitter friends. Kindle for iOS version 2.8 is available in the iTunes App Store for free.
Spotify has teamed up with Klout, the online social influence measuring website, to offer U.S. invites to its unlimited streaming music service that launched Thursday morning. Simply sign up for a Klout account to get started and, if you have enough influence across various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you could qualify for immediate free access to Spotify. Spotify’s free ad-supported service is currently available by invite only in the U.S., though the paid services are open to all. Klout is also offering one month of Spotify Premium service if you get five of your friends to sign up. We’re loving Spotify so far and if you want to skip the wait without paying, Klout is definitely your best bet. More →
Amazon updates Cloud Drive and Cloud Player with unlimited music space, free storage for Amazon MP3s, iPad web player
Moments ago Amazon announced that it has made a number of enhancements to its Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services. First — for a limited time — anyone who signs up will get unlimited space for music. That includes users who signs up for the minimum $20/year 20GB plan. Second, Amazon has announced that Cloud Drive customers can now store all MP3s purchased from the Amazon MP3 music store for free — that includes those that were bought before Amazon launched the Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services, and your tunes don’t count against the overall storage count. Finally, Amazon announced that its Cloud Player for Web is now available on the iPad, and that it’s been optimized for use with the Safari browser. Simply visit http://www.amazon.com/cloudplayer from your iPad to get started. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Nearly two and a half months after its networks were breached by the hacker group LulzSec, Sony will finish restoring its PlayStation Network later this week when it reactivates the service in Japan. According to Bloomberg, Sony has been working with the FBI to identify the LulzSec hackers who were responsible for the attack on its San Diego data centers, during which the hackers obtained account information for more than 100 million PlayStation Network users. Reportedly, LulzSec rented and used servers from Amazon.com’s cloud service to facilitate the attack. Sony CEO Howard Stringer apologized after the attacks and offered a year of identity theft protection to those affected by the breach, as well as a free month of access to PSN. More →
Apple is set to finally hit the $0 on-contract mark with its entry-level iPhone 3GS once it launches the next-generation iPhone 5 later this year. In a note to investors on Wednesday, RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky claims Apple is expected to finally offer the phone for free in an effort to aggressively attack mid-market smartphone buyers and counter Android’s momentum. Abramsky sees this move more than doubling Apple’s global addressable market to 150 million smartphones, up from 64 million, and it will drastically accelerate Apple’s growth outside North America. In the U.S., this of course begs the question, how will Verizon Wireless stay competitive with AT&T? Apple does not currently offer a CDMA iPhone 3GS, so the carrier would be unable to match AT&T with mid-market customers. Add to that AT&T’s attractive $15 data plan option versus Verizon’s minimum $30 plan, and subscribers looking for an iPhone on a budget will really only have one place to look. Abramsky currently has an Outperform rating on Apple stock with a price target of $450.
Hulu announced on Thursday that its Hulu Plus application is now available on select Android smartphones. The service costs $7.99 per month and allows users to browse and play Hulu Plus content directly on their smartphones. It’s currently only available for the Motorola Atrix, Motorola DROID X, Motorola DROID 2, HTC Inspire 4G, Nexus S, and Nexus One, but Hulu says it will add more devices throughout the year. New users can sign up for a free 1-week trial to give the service a whirl, and the app is available in the Android Market now. In other news, Hulu is also reportedly up for sale. The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with possible deals, and Yahoo is said to have already expressed interest in bidding on the streaming video firm. More →
Angry Birds for Android has been updated with a new Mine and Dine episode. Players can now fling birds at pigs across 45 challenging new levels, bringing the total number of playable levels to 255. In this update, the pigs have buried themselves underground in an effort to hide the bird eggs. You’ll need to take advantage of the landscape to hit every pig while collecting gems and grabbing all of the stolen eggs. The update is available for free in the Android Market now.
Samsung’s newest budget Android phone is now available in the U.S. from T-Mobile. The Samsung Dart is a Froyo phone that sports a 3.14-inch QVGA display, a 3-megapixel camera with video capture support, 512MB of internal memory, microSDHC support up to 32GB and a 1,200 mAh battery. The specs clearly seem a bit dated, but for the low price of free on contract, this is a great budget Android phone for teens and first-time smartphone buyers. More →
Here’s some good news for DROID Charge, LG Revolution, and HTC ThunderBolt owners: BGR has independently confirmed with Verizon Wireless that the carrier is extending its free 4G LTE mobile hotspot offer on those devices from June 15th to July 6th. Verizon Wireless will issue a software update on July 6th that deactivates the free promotion. Users will then need to pay for the service, and Verizon says 4G phone owners do not qualify for the 1GB $20 monthly option. While the carrier hasn’t yet confirmed new hotspot pricing, the next tier data plan is the $35 3GB monthly hotspot data plan, so that may be the new requirement.
New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Thursday that the city will soon offer free Wi-Fi in 20 of its parks. AT&T will power the service, which will be available in popular spots such as Prospect Park, Battery Park, and Central Park, later this summer, but New Yorkers can already surf for free in Battery Bosque Park, the Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx, and Thomas Jefferson Park, among others. The public will have ad-free access to the free networks for at least the next five years. No word on whether you’ll actually be able to use an AT&T phone for voice calling in the parks, however.