Microsoft reissues ‘Smoked by Windows Phone’ smartphone challenge

By on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 PM.

Microsoft reissues ‘Smoked by Windows Phone’ smartphone challenge

Microsoft on Thursday announced a new round of challenges for its “Smoked By Windows Phone” contest series. If users with non-Windows Phone handsets can perform a variety of tasks faster than a Microsoft Windows Phone, they can win a limited edition Hunger Games PC (HP Folio 13 Special Edition) valued at $1,049.00. Even those who lose the challenge can still win, however, as Microsoft will be handing out unlocked Windows Phones to those willing to trade in their current smartphones. It should be noted, however, that this is a skill-based competition and has nothing to do with benchmarks. “The object of this Contest is for You to come into the Microsoft Store and try to beat the Microsoft Windows Phone in a series of five (5) “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge scenarios selected by Microsoft at its sole discretion including: (1) Pocket-to-Picture-to-Post, (2) Real-Time Information with Live Tiles, (3) Using the People Hub to Stay in Touch with the People You Care About Most, (4) Updating Your Status Across Multiple Social Networks, and (5) Local Scout (“Challenge”).” The contest runs from March 22nd to March 29th in Microsoft’s 14 U.S. retail locations. More →

No Comments

T-Mobile says iPhone offers ‘poor’ experience, points customers to 4G Android phones instead

By on January 24, 2012 at 7:30 PM.

T-Mobile says iPhone offers ‘poor’ experience, points customers to 4G Android phones instead

An internal document allegedly obtained from T-Mobile says the iPhone offers a “poor” customer experience on T-Mobile’s network. While it’s arguable that is a true statement since current iPhone models don’t support T-Mobile’s 1700MHz and 2100MHz 3G/4G bands and can only run on a second-generation EDGE network, there are now well over a million T-Mobile customers currently using unlocked iPhones on its network. The internal document instead asks customer service representatives to suggest customers buy T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ Android devices instead. We certainly understand where T-Mobile is coming from; obviously it wants to be able to control its customers’ experiences on its network. Plus, EDGE is far slower than the carrier’s HSPA+ network. As TMoNews points out, it’s more probable that customers find their data experience “limited” but not “poor,” given that some customers may argue that the iPhone itself offers a better hardware and software experience than several of T-Mobile’s 4G phones. More →

No Comments

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S and Xperia neo V now available unlocked in U.S.

By on November 15, 2011 at 11:05 PM.

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S and Xperia neo V now available unlocked in U.S.

Sony Ericsson announced on Tuesday that its Xperia arc S and Xperia neo V are now available unlocked in the United States from Sony Store locations. The Xperia arc S runs Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and is equipped with a 1.4GHz processor, an 8.1-megapixel camera, a 4.2-inch “Reality” display and support for 3D and 2D sweep panorama photography. The Xperia arc S is available in white, black, blue and silver for $529.99 without a contract. Sony Ericsson’s Xperia neo V also runs Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and has a 3.7-inch display, a 5-megapixel camera and a front-facing camera for video chats. It is available in white, silver and blue for $349.99 unlocked. Both phones will be available from other retailers, such as Newegg, beginning in early December. As a side note, Sony Ericsson also recently announced that its 2011 family of Xperia-branded smartphones will all be updated to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) at a later date, so both the Xperia arc S and Xperia neo V should receive the update at some point. Read on for the full press release from Sony Ericsson. More →

No Comments

Apple begins selling unlocked iPhone 4S starting at $649

By on November 11, 2011 at 7:30 PM.

Apple begins selling unlocked iPhone 4S starting at $649

Apple on Friday began offering a factory-unlocked version of its popular iPhone 4S smartphone that will work on any GSM network in the world. The company now sells the unlocked phone in both black and white starting at $649 for the 16GB model. The 32GB iPhone 4S costs $749 unlocked, and the high-end 64GB model costs $849. No carrier contract is required with the purchase of an unlocked iPhone 4S from Apple’s online store, and the vendor is currently quoting shipping estimates of between 1 and 2 weeks. Apple also notes that while the device will work on a variety of GSM networks around the world, it will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint. More →

No Comments

Sprint, Verizon iPhone 4S handsets to be unlocked [updated]

By on October 12, 2011 at 9:15 AM.

Sprint, Verizon iPhone 4S handsets to be unlocked [updated]

Sprint and Verizon Wireless will both offer iPhone 4S handsets that will be GSM-unlocked, a new report states. Macworld on Tuesday confirmed that iPhone 4S units sold by Sprint will be GSM-unlocked out of the box, while handsets sold by Verizon Wireless will come locked, but a user can call Verizon asking for an “international unlock” and the carrier will oblige provided the user’s account has been in good standing for 60 days. Customers who plan to roam internationally or use an unlocked iPhone 4S in the U.S. should note that the handset requires a micro-SIM rather than a standard SIM card.

UPDATE: A Sprint spokesperson told Ars Technica that it will not, in fact, be selling GSM-unlocked iPhones. More →

38 Comments

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray now available unlocked in U.S. for $430

By on September 30, 2011 at 9:45 PM.

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray now available unlocked in U.S. for $430

Sony Ericsson announced on Friday that its Xperia ray Android smartphone is now available unlocked in the United States for $429.99. It is equipped with Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread), an 8.1-megapixel camera, a VGA front-facing camera for video chats, a 3.3-inch Reality Display with an 854 x 480-pixel resolution, 512MB of RAM, a 4GB microSD card, an aluminum frame and a 1GHz processor. The Xperia ray can be purchased from Newegg’s website as well as through other online retailers. It is available in gold, black, white and pink. Sony Ericsson’s press announcement follows below. More →

21 Comments

HP Pre3 pre-orders begin in Germany

By on August 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM.

HP Pre3 pre-orders begin in Germany

It has been more than six months since HP officially took the wraps off of the Pre3 and it looks like the company is finally getting ready to bring the phone to market. Pre-orders for an unlocked model of the Pre3 have started on HP’s official German website, but don’t get too excited: the German variant has a QWERTZ keyboard instead of the QWERTY layout we’re accustomed to. Other specs include a 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor, a 3.6-inch 800 x 480-pixel resolution display and a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording HD video. The German Pre3 is priced at €349 ($500) and HP expects the phone to ship within one to two weeks. We expect to hear more about U.S. availability shortly now that the device is launching in other parts of the world. More →

4 Comments

T-Mobile now carries micro-SIM cards for iPhone 4 users

By on July 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM.

T-Mobile now carries micro-SIM cards for iPhone 4 users

T-Mobile now offers micro-SIM cards for subscribers with unlocked iPhone 4 smartphones who want to use its network. The SIMs are listed at $9.99 but are currently available for free online. T-Mobile confirmed last month that its network is now home to more than 1 million iPhone handsets, though the bulk of them are older models that accept full-sized SIM cards. The carrier also said at that time, however, that it would soon offer micro-SIM cards for iPhone 4 users. While subscribers with unlocked iPhone 4 handsets will not be able to utilize T-Mobile’s 3G or 4G HSPA+ networks, GSM and 2G EDGE services will work fine. The move could also partially be preparation for Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5, which some believe will launch from T-Mobile and Sprint this fall in addition to AT&T and Verizon Wireless. More →

13 Comments

HTC: Sensation 4G, EVO 3D will be first to get unlocked bootloader

By on July 12, 2011 at 2:25 AM.

HTC: Sensation 4G, EVO 3D will be first to get unlocked bootloader

HTC has issued a statement naming the first phones that will receive unlocked bootloader updates this coming September. In a statement to BGR via email, the company said that the international version of its Sensation smartphone, T-Mobile’s Sensation 4G, and Sprint’s EVO 3D will be among the first phones to receive a patch that enables bootloader unlocking.”While we wish we could flip a simple switch and unlock all bootloaders across our device portfolio, this is actually a complex challenge that requires a new software build and extensive testing to deliver the best possible customer experience,” HTC said in a statement. “We’re in the testing phase for the unlocking capability now, and we expect it to be fully operational by early September for devices that have received the software updates. We’ll continue rolling out the unlocking capability over time to other devices as part of maintenance releases and new shipments.” HTC noted that it is continuing its commitment to unlocked bootloaders in an effort to support the developer community, and said that it will issue updates on its progress every few weeks. An unlocked bootloader will allow users to customize their devices more easily. Read on for the full statement from HTC. More →

11 Comments

T-Mobile USA now home to over 1 million iPhones

By on June 23, 2011 at 8:00 AM.

T-Mobile USA now home to over 1 million iPhones

T-Mobile USA has gone on record in stating that its network is now home to more than 1 million unlocked Apple iPhones. While the figure is not incredibly surprising considering the massive popularity of Apple’s smartphone line, it certainly reaffirms the fact that T-Mobile subscribers are itching for an iOS option. Though the overwhelming bulk of iPhones being used on T-Mobile’s network are 3G and 3GS models, unnamed T-Mobile spokespeople also confirmed that the carrier has micro-SIMs in development. For the time being, iPhone 4 owners who want to use their devices on T-Mobile’s network have to perform a bit of surgery on their T-Mobile SIM cards. Of course, we doubt the carrier would adopt micro-SIM cards without actually selling a device that can make use of them, so this little snippet may add a bit more credence to rumors of a T-Mobile-ready iPhone 5 that may launch in August or September. More →

40 Comments

Apple begins selling unlocked iPhone 4 handsets starting at $649

By on June 14, 2011 at 7:35 AM.

Apple begins selling unlocked iPhone 4 handsets starting at $649

Apple on Tuesday began selling unlocked iPhone 4 handsets in the U.S. a day earlier than expected. The smartphone is now available in 16GB for $649 or 32GB for $749, and both models come in black or white. Other manufacturers, most notably Nokia and Sony, have sold unlocked smartphones in the U.S. for quite some time. Neither company has seen much success with unlocked handsets thus far, though Apple’s approach is somewhat different. Apple’s primary sales channels in the U.S. are undoubtedly carriers, and the availability of unlocked smartphones simply addresses the needs of a small secondary market that is willing to pay for phones outright rather than spreading the cost of their devices over two years. As an added benefit, buyers of unlocked iPhones will be able to switch freely between GSM carriers, though some surgery may be involved with carriers that do not offer micro-SIM cards. With just a few months between the start of the summer and the expected launch of Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone, the availability of unlocked devices will allow also users to purchase iPhones now and then make a subsidized purchase in September, or whenever Apple finally does release the iPhone 5. More →

78 Comments

Apple may offer unlocked iPhone 4 handsets starting Wednesday

By on June 13, 2011 at 7:45 AM.

Apple may offer unlocked iPhone 4 handsets starting Wednesday

With rumors of something new being cooked up at U.S. Apple Stores later this week, widespread speculation swept the Web suggesting Apple would finally take the wraps off its updated Sandy Bridge-powered MacBook Air notebooks. According to well-known and well-sourced iOS developer Chronic, that won’t be the case. Instead, for the first time, Apple plans to offer unlocked iPhone 4 models directly to consumers beginning Wednesday. Part numbers break down as follows: MC603 (16GB, Black) MC604 (16GB, White) MC605 (32GB, Black) MC606 (32GB, White). While pricing has not yet been confirmed, expect to pay a pretty penny for the new contract-free iPhones. More →

41 Comments

Motorola willing to unlock future bootloaders… with carrier approval

By on April 27, 2011 at 3:50 PM.

Motorola willing to unlock future bootloaders… with carrier approval

“It is our intention to enable the unlockable/relockable bootloader currently found on Motorola XOOM across our portfolio of devices starting in late 2011, where carriers and operators will allow it.” Those were the words of Motorola in response to a very persistent customer. Irwin Proud, an Australian national, purchased a Motorola Atrix 4G during a recent trip to the United States. Proud acquired the handset hoping that Motorola would follow through on its promise to provide an unlocked-bootloader solution for developers — a promise that has yet to be fulfilled. One letter, a handful of emails, and an online petition later, the company responded to Proud’s request for more developer-friendly boot firmware, and it seems as though some users — pending carrier approval — may be getting their wish later this year. Hit the jump to see Motorola’s full response. More →

25 Comments