Visible Launches Two ZTE Blades

Verizon-back Visible has launched two new ZTE phones from the company’s affordable Blade series.

  • The ZTE Blade A7 Prime has a 6-inch HD display with a small notch, 16-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel front camera, standalone fingerprint reader, 3,200 mAh battery, and MediaTek Helio A22 processor. It also has USB-C, 32 GB of storage, a memory card slot, and a 3.5mm headset jack. It’s an LTE-only phone designed for Verizon’s network. Visible is offering it for $99.
  • The ZTE Blade 10 Prime has all of the features of the A7, but upgrades to a Helio P60 processor, 64 GB of storage, a larger 6.3-inch display with full-HD resolution, faster Cat. 6 LTE, and a 16-megapixel front camera. It also adds NFC and an extra camera on the back for depth (portrait) effects. Visible is selling it for $179. It’s also available unlocked as the ZTE Blade 10, also for $179.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

T-Mobile Baits State AGs for Merger Approval with Promises of Cheap, Free 5G Service

T-Mobile today announced plans to offer three new programs offering 5G service for free to certain groups, or cheaply for everyone else. The company is promising to launch the programs when and if it is allowed to merge with Sprint. Although the federal government has approved the merger, over a dozen state attorneys general are suing to stop the merger on antitrust grounds, claiming the move would lead to higher prices for consumers. The new programs are:

  • Connecting Heroes Initiative: Free unlimited wireless service — including 5G data, talk, and text — for all first responders in the country. This would include every public and non-profit state and local police, fire and EMS first responder agency in the US. T-Mobile is promising to offer this program for 10 years, spending “up to $7.7 billion” on it.
  • Project 10Million: In an attempt to address “the homework gap”, T-Mobile will offer free mobile hotspots and 100 GB/year of free data to low-income families with children and no home internet access. The company promises to spend $700 million equipping 10 million households with free hardware, and spend $10 billion offering free service for five years.
  • T-Mobile Connect: A $15/month prepaid plan available to everyone that offers 2GB of high-speed data plus unlimited talk and text. A step-up plan would offer 5GB of data for $25/month. T-Mobile also commits to increase the data limit of each plan by 0.5 GB every year for the next five years.

The state AGs suing to stop the merger have a number of other complaints. T-Mobile’s announcement today also includes a number of specific promises that address most aspects of those arguments directly.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Google Play Launches Points Rewards Program in US

Google has added a rewards program called Google Play Points to the Android app store. The program is free to join and members earn points for everything they buy through Google Play, and even for downloading “featured” free apps and games. Points can be redeemed for Google Play purchases, in-app purchases and discounts, as well as donations to charity. The program has four tiers, with higher levels offering weekly prizes. The program is launching this week in the US, but has been available in Korea and Japan for a year.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Microsoft's New Unified Office App Available in Public Preview

Microsoft has released a public preview of its new, completely revamped Office app for Android and iOS. A single Office app replaces the previously separate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps. It also includes the previously-announced features that let users take a photo of a document to create an editable Word document, and use the camera to import table data directly into Excel. It includes dedicated sections for non-Office documents: PDF, Media, and Notes. An Actions panel makes it easy to transfer files between phone and computer, or with nearby phones. It also includes shortcuts to create PDFs and add signatures to them. Anyone can try out the public preview, but it requires extra steps of enrolling in the testing program, a process that requires joining a group for Android, or using TestFlight for iOS.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Mini Review: OnePlus 7T

OnePlus has an unusually confusing array of different “flagship” phones available right now, but the 7T is the newest mainstream model for most people. It’s still quite high-end, but for a reasonable price and without some of the crazier features of the new Pro models, which most people don’t need anyway. How does it stack up? I used the 7T as my main phone for over two weeks. Here’s what you should know about this promising phone.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Google Buys Fitbit

Fitbit has agreed to be purchased by Google for $2.1 billion. Fitbit makes activity-tracking wearables, having sold more than 100 million devices, with 28 million current active users. Google has its own Wear OS smartwatch platform, which integrates with its Google Fit activity- and health-tracking service. Google said it sees “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.” On privacy, Fitbit says “Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.” Fitbit also pledged to continue supporting both iOS and Android.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News