Wireless carriers are currently engaged in a high stakes game of one-upmanship as they each try to add more subscribers by offering increasingly tantalizing offers. Sprint's strategy was literally called "One Up," the name it gave to an early upgrade program it introduced just four months ago. One Up customers could purchase an eligible smartphone with no down payment (depending on the device) and spread out the full retail cost over 24 monthly installment payments. In exchange, One Up customers could upgrade their handset every 12 months and start the process anew. Now the program is no more.
All is fair in love and war, and even though AT&T once tried courting T-Mobile to the tune of $39 billion before regulators shot down the deal, these one-time wireless BFFs are back to being rivals. In case you thought AT&T might go soft on T-Mobile, the former isn't pulling any punches on the latter, having today announced it will pay T-Mobile subscribers up to $450 per line if they switch.
Lenovo had a memorable year in 2013. While the competition struggled to turn a profit selling PCs, Lenovo stayed in the black while simultaneously becoming the world's largest PC maker in terms of shipments. At the same time, Lenovo hasn't been ignoring the mobile handset market, and to kick off 2014, the OEM is announcing four new smartphones, including its first ever LTE-enabled handset, the Vibe Z.
Motorola has a holiday surprise for the mobile crowd. The company announced that its unlocked and affordable Moto G smartphone is now available to purchase in GSM form from Motorola's website with no contract, no SIM lock, and an unlocked bootloader for $179 with 8GB of storage or $199 with 16GB of storage. Those are full retail prices - you own the device outright for less than the subsidized cost of most high-end smartphones.
The No. 1 PC maker is also No. 3 in smartphone sales
Life is good for Lenovo. The OEM figured out the secret formula for thriving in a technological landscape that finds itself in a midst of a transitory phase, and as such, it grew its desktop PC shipments last quarter by 1 percent when the industry averaged a 6 percent decline. Laptop sales went up 8 percent, and as for the mobile handset sector, Lenovo is now the world's third largest smartphone vendor.
Google and Motorola are trying to change the mobile game as you know it. For those who want a higher-end smartphone without committing to a long-term contract, there's the Nexus 5 that Google commissioned LG to build. However, some may find the $349 starting price a bit too rich. To combat that, Motorola today held a big press event unveiling the Moto G, an unlocked smartphone that starts at just $179 with no contract to sign.
AT&T seems to be at the front of the line a lot when it comes to mobile devices. For a period of time, it was the only carrier offering Apple's iPhone, and more recently, if you wanted a customized Moto X device from Motorola, you had to be an AT&T subscriber. Not anymore. Motorola announced that the Moto X is now available for customization on all major U.S. carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, and of course AT&T.
Be prepared to wait up to a month if you order a Nexus 5 today
Google treated Android fans to its first official serving of KitKat (Android 4.4) on October 31, 2013 by releasing its Nexus 5 smartphone. Available in Google Play, users can choose between 16GB ($349) and 32GB ($399) models in either black or white and be one of the first to sample the newest version of Android. Unfortunately, there's a penalty for having taken the weekend to think about things, and that penalty is now having to wait up to 4 weeks.
Today's smartphones are essentially mini PCs that fit in the palm of your hand. The processing power and GPU capabilities of these devices, combined with the internal storage (and cloud storage) are nothing short of impressive when you stop and think about how compact these devices are. What really separates a smartphone from a PC, however, is that they're not upgradeable. Not yet, anyway. Motorola has plans to change that.
Is the era of flat smartphones coming to an end? Probably not, though we do expect an influx of handsets with curved screens. One of those devices is the LG G Flex, supposedly the first device to offer a 6-inch curved display to follow the contour of the face. To complement the curved design, LG said it built a new user experience to take advantage of the form factor's unique features.