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Posts by Eli Blumenthal
Well, after being rumored for years BlackBerry today finally made it official. This summer BBM will be coming to Android and the iPhone. The apps will be available for free and run on iOS devices running iOS 6 or later and Android devices running Android 4.0 (aka “Ice Cream Sandwich”) or later. Both apps will offer the full BBM experience including BBM chats, multi-person chats, the ability to share photos and voice notes, and participate in BBM Groups with up to 30 people. Features like BBM Video Chat, screen share and voice chat are promised as updates for later this year.
Now while two years ago when BlackBerrys were still popular this would have been huge news, today we gotta ask if BBM coming to non-BlackBerrys still actually matters to you. Between iMessage, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Kik, Facebook Messenger and the dozens of other free messaging apps out there today, the appeal of BBM just isn’t as strong as it once was. Think about it, how many of your friends still even use BBM? I know most of mine don’t, or if they do they also use some other app like WhatsApp as well.
We’ll have more on BBM once it launches this summer, but in the meantime let us know your thoughts on the news– and if you even care about BBM anymore– in the comments.
It’s pretty crazy to think that it’s been almost five years since Apple launched the iTunes App Store, and it’s even crazier to think that in less than five years they are already rapidly approaching 50 Billion (yes that’s Billion with a “B”) app downloads. In the past Apple has celebrated major iTunes milestones with some pretty insane giveaways. For example, for the billionth app download in 2009 they gave away a 17-inch Macbook Pro, 32 GB iPod Touch, Time Capsule router AND a $10,000 Gift Card for the iTunes Store. So as you’d expect for this massive milestone, Apple’s giving away a few other big prizes.
This year the lucky downloader of that 50 Billionth app will receive a $10,000 iTunes gift card that can be used in the App Store, iTunes Store or iBookstore. Considering that most paid apps, movies and books in the iTunes store are between $0.99 and $15 that’s an insane amount of money to spend in one place (and unfortunately it doesn’t look like you can use the gift card in the regular Apple Store to buy a new Mac, iPad or iPhone).
Now in the past Apple only gave away one grand prize for their iTunes contest but this time they’ve changed it up a bit. If you aren’t that exact 50 Billionth app downloader don’t worry, you can still win something as Apple will also be giving out fifty $500 iTunes gift cards to the people who download the next 50 apps after that 50 billionth app is downloaded. So if you do the math that’s $35,000 in free iTunes money up for grabs!
As of this writing the download counter on Apple’s website says that they have passed 49.85 billion apps, with about 1,000 apps being downloaded every second. That rate is only going to pick up as we get closer to that magic 50 billionth app so if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch go charge it up and get to downloading apps.
For more info and the latest counter either open up the App Store on your iDevice or head on over to Apple’s site here. And as always, good luck!
More info: Apple
For most of 2013 Verizon has been pretty quiet on the new phones they’ve launched. But that all looks to change very soon. If you’re on Verizon and have an upgrade coming up sometime over the next couple of weeks or months these are some of the best phones either already at Verizon or rumored to be coming to Verizon very soon. The last thing you want is to go out and buy something only to really regret it a week later.
While not everything here is confirmed to be coming to Verizon (some are just our best guesses based on rumors we’ve been hearing), here are five phones you should be excited for if you have an upgrade coming up.
We all see phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Z10, HTC One and iPhone 5 and want to upgrade to them. Of course these awesome new phones aren’t always so cheap, and while $200 is the expected price to pay, it still is a lot of money. Earlier this month AT&T began trying to make it a bit easier to get that new phone you want, offering a limited time promotion of either $100 off new phones like the ones mentioned above, or if the phone you want is under $100 (like the HTC First, Galaxy S III and iPhone 4S), getting it for free. So if you have an iPhone 4 and are up for an upgrade and want the iPhone 5, with this deal you can trade-in your 4 and get the 5 for $100 instead of $200.
Now there are a few conditions to this deal. The phone you are trading-in needs to be a smartphone under three years old and be in “good, working condition.” You also will need to go to an AT&T store if you want the instant credit. Once you’re there you can trade-in your old phone and use that $100 credit right away for buying that new one (and if the phone your trading in is worth more than $100 you’ll receive that higher credit instead). If you want to find the value of your old device before you go in you can head to AT&T’s trade-in site here.
All in all, unless you have someone you want to give your old phone to this seems like a pretty great deal. The new phone you want is much cheaper while your old phone gets recycled properly instead of just sitting in a drawer somewhere. AT&T has said that this is a limited time offer (though they haven’t said when it would end), so if you have your eye on a new Galaxy S4 or HTC One you may want to take advantage of this soon.
More info: AT&T
We know a lot of you are waiting for the Verizon Galaxy S4, especially since AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are all releasing the phone within the next few days. While Verizon won’t be releasing their version of the Galaxy S4 until sometime in May, they have put it up for pre-order so you can make sure you’ll be one of the first to get it when Verizon finally releases it. As of now the pre-order page promises shipping by May 30th, though hopefully it will be much sooner than that. Pricing for the 16GB Verizon S4 is $199.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate and a new two-year contract and you can pre-order it here.
For those who don’t know, the Galaxy S4 is Samsung’s new “next big thing” and it is an absolute beast. It’s got an amazing 5 inch 1080p HD screen, powerful quad-core processor with 2 GB of RAM (for making sure everything you do on your phone runs well), 13 megapixel back camera with 2 megapixel front camera for HD video chat, IR blaster (for using this as a TV remote), and of course, 4G LTE support. The S4 also has a lot of really cool and interesting software features like Dual Camera (for taking a picture with the front and back camera at the same time), Group Play (for combining the speaker of your S4 with your friends’ S4s to make for an impromptu sound system), S Translator and Air Gesture (for controlling your phone just by waving your hand. Think of this as a type of Kinect for your phone). For everything new on the S4 see our earlier post here.
So Verizon users, are you going to go for this over something like the iPhone 5 or are you still hoping for Verizon to get the HTC One?
The wait is almost over fellow Xbox fans. Get ready because in under a month Microsoft is expected to finally unveil the next Xbox, sending out invites today to an event at their Redmond, Washington headquarters on May 21st. The invite sent out today teased a “special unveiling” that will “mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV, and entertainment.” According to Xbox’s Major Nelson (also known as Larry Hryb, the director for Xbox Live programming), the next Xbox announcement is really a two-part show. The unveiling of the next Xbox and sharing of some of Microsoft’s plans for the console will come on the 21st, while the full lineup of launch games will be announced 19 days later at E3 on June 10th.
In February Sony unveiled their next generation system, the PS4, but they didn’t actually give important details like what the system would look like or how much it will cost. Based on some of the responses to that announcement from Major Nelson and others on the Xbox team, it’s a pretty safe bet we won’t see the same thing happen here (at least when it comes to what the new Xbox will look like).
As for what we can expect, not much is known today but according to some of the more recent rumors expect a much more powerful system that is similar to the PS4 in graphics and specs, as well as updated versions of Kinect and the ability to use your Xbox to control your cable box. As for the name of the next Xbox, it’s still just as up in the air (online it’s been called everything from Xbox 3, to Xbox 720 to its codename ”Durango”).
Like with recent Xbox events Microsoft will be streaming it live for all to watch on Xbox.com and Xbox Live as well as broadcasting it on Spike TV, and we’ll of course have what you need to know covered back here. So stay tuned– the next Xbox is almost here.
If you’re looking for a new Android phone or have an upgrade coming up odds are you’ve narrowed your choices down to either the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One. Both are very impressive phones with amazing 1080p HD screens, super fast quad-core processors, powerful cameras and interesting software features like the ability to become a remote for your TV. And best of all– both phones either are, or will be, available very soon.
We know that there’s a lot of interest in both of these beasts, so here’s a quick roundup on when they will be available at your carrier and how much it will cost you to get one.
T-Mobile users, you can now buy the iPhone 5. As we wrote yesterday, the iPhone today has finally come to T-Mobile and it is available to buy now at T-Mobile stores or online at T-Mobile’s site. Pricing for the iPhone 5 starts at $99 down (with $20 monthly payments for two years) for the 16GB version, with the 32GB and 64 GB versions costing $199 and $299, respectively (also with $20 monthly payments for two years). If you want to buy full price– remember, T-Mobile doesn’t do two-year contracts anymore– you can for either $580, $680 or $780 depending on if you get the 16GB, 32GB or 64GB iPhone 5.
Now if you look at T-Mobile’s site you will notice that the iPhone 4 and 4S are listed, but depending on where you live you might not be able to actually buy either one. The reason for this is that the 4 and 4S don’t have the right chips inside to fully support T-Mobile’s 4G network. Ever since the first iPhone launched in 2007, all unlocked iPhones could be used on T-Mobile’s network. While they all could work, those phones only could use T-Mobile’s 2G network and not it’s fast 4G one. This had to do with fact that the iPhone didn’t support the right radio band needed to use T-Mobile’s faster networks (known as the 1700 MHz band).
Last year T-Mobile began switching their 4G HSPA+ network from that 1700 MHz band to the 1900 MHz band their 2G network used so that the iPhone 4 and 4S could get 4G. Unlike the 1700 MHz band, this 1900 MHz band is supported by the iPhone since AT&T uses it for some of their own 4G HSPA+ network. Apparently this changeover hasn’t yet happened everywhere, and in those places where the iPhone 4 and 4S won’t get 4G HSPA+ T-Mobile won’t sell the iPhone 4 and 4S. The iPhone 5 has been updated to support T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network on both the 1700 MHz and 1900 MHz bands and can work wherever T-Mobile has 4G HSPA+ which is why it can be bought from anywhere. The T-Mobile iPhone 5 also supports T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE network, so you have an added benefit of that as well.
T-Mobile users the wait is over. Tomorrow the iPhone 5 will finally be available to buy in T-Mobile stores and online. And while it is pretty much the same iPhone 5 that the other carriers have sold, as you’d expect the T-Mobile iPhone 5 will work with T-Mobile’s new and upcoming 4G LTE network and their current, fast 4G HSPA+ network. This means you can expect 4G like speeds on your iPhone even if where you live hasn’t gotten T-Mobile 4G LTE yet (and it likely hasn’t. T-Mobile’s 4G LTE has only launched in seven cities, though much more are expected by the end of the year). If you already have an unlocked iPhone 5 and are on T-Mobile you should also see a software update in the Settings app that will bring these 4G improvement to your iPhone as well.
T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 will be available in both white and black and in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, though when it comes to pricing things get a little more complicated.
Back in February Sony officially announced the PlayStation 4 and showed off its new controller, graphics and social features. And while Sony didn’t show what the PS4 actually looks like or say how much it would cost, it did promise that their new console would be available in time for the holidays of this year. The PS4 and the Nintendo Wii U make two of the three next-gen consoles, and over the last year the anticipation has been building over when Microsoft would announce their next Xbox (also known as the Xbox 3, Xbox 720, and Durango). While it was long believed that Microsoft would wait until E3 in June to announce the new Xbox, according to some of the latest rumors our long wait for the next Xbox may end even sooner.
According to a recent reports by The Verge and Paul Thurrott (someone who follows Microsoft and would know about some of their plans), Microsoft may be planning an event to officially announce the next Xbox as soon as May 21st. E3 starts only a few weeks later on June 11th, and The Verge expects Microsoft to announce the next Xbox in May and then use E3 in June to fully show it off.
As for what can expect in terms of the specs for the new Xbox, think of something that will rival the PS4. The next Xbox is rumored to pack an 8-core AMD processor, 8GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and a Blu-ray drive for playing games (games can also be downloaded from Xbox Live). By comparison, the Xbox 360– which still is a pretty great system with some impressive graphics– has a three core processor and 512 MB of RAM. If these rumored specs are true then expect the graphics on the next Xbox to pretty much blow your mind.
As with the 360, gaming is just one part of what the Xbox can do and the next Xbox is also expected to come with an updated version of Kinect that will allow for better use in smaller rooms, improved tie-ins with Windows 8 and Windows Phone, and the ability to control your TV and cable box. The next Xbox is expected to be available later this year and pricing is rumored to be in the $300-$500 range (or what the 360 was when it came out eight years ago).
All in all, between this and the PS4 it looks like the next video game console wars are finally almost upon us. As always, stay tuned.