JLabs Brings True Wireless Bluetooth Down to $29

JLab Audio today announced the Go Air fully wireless Bluetooth earbuds, which will sell for just $29. The small earbuds last for up to 5 hours in a single session. The included charging case adds 15 hours of battery life, plus it has an integrated USB charging cable. Integrated touch controls on the earbuds allow the user to choose from three different sound profiles without using an app. The buds use Bluetooth 5 and are rated IPx4 for water resistance. They come with a 2 year warranty. They will be available in March.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Verizon Fulfills Promise of 30+ 5G Cites in 2019

Verizon flipped the switch on 5G service in three new cities today: Cleveland, Columbus, and Hampton Roads, VA. This brings to 31 the number of cities where Verizon has launched its mmWave 5G service. Since early 2019, Verizon has promised to launch 5G in at least 30 cities by the end of the year. In Columbus, the launch includes the city’s airport, Verizon’s first airport deployment of 5G. In Cleveland, Verizon is launching 5G at both Progressive Field and FirstEnergy Stadium, the 15th NFL stadium to see Verizon 5G. Verizon launched 5G in Los Angeles and Miami earlier this month. Verizon’s current 5G service uses mmWave frequency bands, which offer fast speeds but limited coverage. Verizon’s lineup of phones with integrated 5G consists of the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Verizon Expands 5G Network to 28 Cities

Verizon today launched 5G in six new cities: Charlotte, Greensboro, Grand Rapids, Miami, Salt Lake City, and Spokane. Earlier this week, Verizon launched 5G in LA, Des Moines, Hoboken, and Memphis. This brings the company’s 5G city count to 28. As with all of Verizon’s 5G deployments to date, the new service uses high-frequency mmWave bands, which offer high speeds but limited coverage. In each city, 5G service is only available in the highest-density parts of town. For example, in Miami, 5G is available in “parts of Downtown Miami along Biscayne Blvd and near landmarks, such as: The Frost Museum, American Airlines Arena, Hard Rock Stadium, the surrounding area of Miami Gardens, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.” Verizon remains on track to offer 5G in at least 30 cities by the end of 2019.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Congress Passes Anti-Robocall Bill

The Senate this week passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, a bill aimed at fighting the scourge of unsolicited robocalls. The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this month, and the President is expected to sign the bill into law within days. TRACED includes two key components: First, the FCC will now be empowered to fine robocallers up to $10,000 for each call. Second, US wireless companies will be required by law to implement “call authentication technologies” such as STIR/SHAKEN, a new protocol that fights caller-ID spoofing by securely confirming call metadata (caller ID). Major carriers have already started to deploy STIR/SHAKEN, at the urging of the FCC.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

InvisibleShield Offers Camera Lens Protection

InvisibleShield, a leading brand for transparent phone screen protectors, has expanded its offerings to include clear lens protectors for the three cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. GlassFusion Hybrid Glass Camera Lens Protection is made from a “hybrid” glass material that absorbs shock, disperses impact, and protects the lenses from scuffs and scratches. An oleophobic coating means smudges and fingerprints wipe away easily. The product consists of three separate protectors, one for each camera lens. GlassFusion Hybrid Glass Camera Lens Protection is available from zagg.com for $15.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Emergency Alerts Upgraded to be More Specific, Relevant

New FCC rules for Wireless Emergency Alerts take effect this month. The new rules are designed to make emergency alerts more specific, more relevant, and less annoying. Local officials can now conduct alert system tests at any time, but consumers are now opted out of such tests by default. Carriers are now required to deliver alerts with greater geographic accuracy (to within 1/10th of a mile of the target area). Emergency messages delivered to 4G and 5G phones can now be up to 360 characters — instead of the previous limit of 90 characters for 3G and older phones — and phones are required to keep recent alerts available to view for 24 hours. Officials also now have the option to send alerts in Spanish, which will automatically be delivered to phones set to the Spanish language in settings. There is also a new category of alert called Public Safety Messages, which is designed to provide actionable additional information related to a previous alert. For example, if an Imminent Threat alert was issued for a hurricane, a follow-up Public Safety Message might provide the locations of nearby shelters, or an advisement to boil tap water before drinking. Like most other alert types, users can opt out of Public Safety Messages. Another recent rule change allows emergency officials to add actionable links to alerts, which can be phone numbers or web addresses.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Smart Home Industry Aims for Better Compatibility with New Protocol

Amazon, Apple, and Google have joined forces on a new working group within the ZigBee Alliance to create a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products. The new group, called Project Connected Home over IP, will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of the new protocol, including a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification. By basing the new standard on IP (internet protocol) technology, the need for proprietary smart home “hubs” should be reduced or eliminated, and proven security technologies can be used. The first version of the standard will be designed to work over three different radio types: Wi-Fi (up to and including Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth LE 4.1-5.0, and 802.15.4 (using Google’s Thread at 2.4 GHz). The first compatible devices may implement the new protocol over any one (or more than one) of the three radio types, in addition to existing smart home protocols. Rather than starting from scratch, the group intends to accelerate development by leveraging existing, market-tested technology contributed by the founding companies. Google will contribute its Weave and Thread technologies, both of which are used in its Nest products. Apple will contribute HomeKit, Amazon will contribute its Alexa Smart Home technology, and the Zigbee Alliance will contribute its Dotdot data models. Other participating companies include Samsung SmartThings, IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Somfy, Resideo, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, and Wulian. The Working Group has a goal to release a draft specification and a preliminary reference open source implementation in late 2020.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Sprint Launches Basic Spam-Call Protection for Free

Sprint has joined T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T in offering a free service with basic protection against fraud and spam callers. Like the free services already offered by other carriers, Sprint’s new Call Screener Basic can block the highest-risk fraud calls, and identify other likely spam calls as they ring. Sprint’s new free service also include caller-ID for businesses. A premium version, called Call Screener Plus, runs $3/month and includes advanced caller-ID for personal lines, plus options to automatically block lower-risk spam calls. Users of Sprint Call Screener will receive a free 15-day trial of Sprint Call Screener Plus. Android phones sold by Sprint should already have the app. iPhone users can download the app from the App Store.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Verizon Launches 5G in LA

Verizon has launched mmWave 5G in Los Angeles, its 19th city to get the service. Coverage includes “parts of” Downtown, Chinatown, Del Rey, and Venice. Verizon recently started publishing 5G coverage maps; the 5G map for LA will be published on Dec. 20th. Like other mmWave deployments, data speeds are quick, but coverage is limited to select high-density areas of each city. Verizon has indicated it will also offer 5G in lower frequency bands for greater 5G coverage, but has yet to announce specific plans on that front. Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile have already launched 5G with broader coverage using lower frequency bands. Verizon’s mmWave 5G service is already available in New York City, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Dallas, Indianapolis, Denver, Washington DC, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Omaha, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Boise, Sioux Falls, Providence, and Panama City.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News