Samsung includes unannounced ‘Galaxy Tab 4’ models in Gear Fit compatibility list

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Gear fit compatibility

Samsung hasn’t made any official announcements regarding a fourth generation of Galaxy Tab products, but if the fine print on one of the company’s own web pages is accurate, there’s a trio of new tablets in the works.

On the official promo page for the Samsung Gear Fit, Samsung says that its new wearable is compatible with 20 different devices, including the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Mega 6.3. At the end of that list is the name “Galaxy Tab4” along with 7.0, 8.0 and 10.1 screen sizes, which just so happen to be the same three sizes that the Galaxy Tab 3 launched with.

There aren’t any details available about these new Galaxy Tab models besides the three screen size options, but hey, at least we’ve got that much. Here’s to hoping that since Samsung slipped up and added the Galaxy Tab 4 to its Gear Fit compatibility list, that means that the new slates are pretty far along in their development and that an announcement will be coming along soon. The 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 officially debuted in late April 2013, so it’s certainly possible that we could be introduced to at least one of these Galaxy Tab 4 models in the near future.

Have you ever owned any of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab devices?

Via Android Central, Samsung

T-Mobile LG G2 Android 4.4.2 update now available for over the air download

T-Mobile LG G2

At the tail end of last week, the T-Mobile LG G2’s update to Android 4.4.2 was discovered on LG’s servers and subsequently made available for installation through LG’s official Mobile Support Tool. There’s some good news today for those of you that didn’t pull the update trigger using that method, though: T-Mobile’s is making the update available for download over the air.

T-Mobile has announced in its official support forums that the KitKat update for its version of the LG G2 is available starting today, March 3. This update is the same one that was available for manual install last week, meaning that the OTA brings the device up to Android 4.4.2, software version D80120a. Along with a bump up to the newest version of KitKat, the update includes auto brightness and some user experience improvements.

Any of you T-Mobile G2 owners that are hungry for a KitKat treat can manually check for this new update by heading into Settings > General > About phone > Update center > System updates > Check now. T-Mo says that the Android 4.4.2 bump will roll out to users from March 6 through March 25, but really, who would willingly wait that long to jump up to the newest version of Android? 

Once your T-Mobile G2 is running Android 4.4.2, be sure to swing by the comments section below and share your first impressions of the update!

Via T-Mobile

Xbox Live on Android and iOS? Yes please

When Windows Phone was Windows Mobile, I used Microsoft’s mobile platform for one reason: Word. There wasn’t much else I liked about the platform as a whole, and I was more than happy to jump off ever using it again when the iPhone came around. And then, by the time Android showed up, I never even gave Windows Mobile another look. So, it was a little strange when Microsoft started to tease Windows Phone, and the leaks started to make the rounds, I was even remotely interested. By the time Microsoft officially unveiled their new mobile venture, with all of those Live Tiles and hardware partners, I was hooked. I wanted to get my hands on it immediately.

It had nothing to do with mobile, though.

Admittedly, I loved what Microsoft was doing with Live Tiles for the mobile market. It was different enough from iOS and Android that it stood out, and I could see why anyone would want that type of interface in their hands. sometimes a glance is great, and Live Tiles make that easy. It’s a strength that Microsoft has clung to since the start, and for good reason. Windows Phone is still one of the most unique mobile platforms available for wide consumption, and that’s a good thing firing on all cylinders.

But my love for Windows Phone, and my desire to start using it, wasn’t built around any kind of need to disrupt the mobile industry, or even the way I used phones. Sure, Live Tiles are great, but eventually I’m just going to go back to the way I use my phone and always be looking at it. It didn’t take me long to realize what was attracting me to Microsoft’s mobile platform, though: Xbox Live. To have that service, which I had been using for so long on my home consoles, right there on my phone? Achievements, Friends Lists, Leaderboards and multiplayer games? How could I pass that up?

I’ve been waiting for Xbox Live to take off on Windows Phone ever since.

Right now, as of the time of this writing, there are just over 160 Xbox-branded games available on your Windows Phone. It’s been available for Windows Phone right out of the gate, with better functionality and features released since, and there are fewer than 200 games available for the gaming platform. To compare: Apple’s Game Center, the iOS specific Xbox Live-like platform was unveiled in 2010, too — and it has *way* more than 200 games available for it. And then Google’s Play Games service, which also has more than 200 games available for it. But that launched in 2013.

So, let’s just be honest: Android and iOS are completely demolishing Windows Phone when it comes to gaming, and that’s *just* talking about the games built for their specific “social” feature. Game Center and Google Play Game Services (this seriously needs a different title, Google) offer the same functionality as Xbox Live, but boast far more titles. This is just one of the reasons why I’ve been critical of Xbox Live on Windows Phone over the years. It’s the biggest reason why I’ve been so disappointed in the gaming platform ever since its debut.

And why I’m excited to hear that Microsoft may be looking to bring Xbox Live to iOS and Android in the future. According to a report published by The Verge, that’s the plan. To bring Xbox Live to iOS and Android, and to give game developers the ability to integrate things like Friends Lists, Achievements and cross-platform gaming. This is huge (for gamers) if this is actually something Microsoft is working on.

Sure, it’s a little backwards, because you’d imagine that Microsoft would be trying harder to make things for developers so that they want to create games on Windows Phone, but maybe it’s just time to realize that, right now (and for the foreseeable future), gaming is going to stay prominent on Android and iOS. So, why not offer your excellent multiplayer gaming platform to them? Get your services on everything so people are using them.

I want Xbox Live on Android and iOS. I don’t use Game Center, and I don’t use Google Play Game Services. (I mean, I do, but not actively. They exist and the service is working in the background, but I never actively engage with them.) I use Xbox Live every single day, have a lot of gaming friends, and it would be pretty great if we could continue to compete on our mobile devices, too. Without being chained to Windows Phone, where there just aren’t that many games.

Would you play more games on your mobile devices if you could access Xbox Live? Will it benefit Microsoft to launch their gaming platform on other mobile operating systems, or should they keep it on Windows Phone only? Let me know what you think.

Verizon intros prepaid Allset Plans, Bridge Data add-ons

Verizon Wireless CTIA

Less than a month after Verizon unveiled its refreshed More Everything shared data postpaid plans, the big red carrier has gone ahead and overhauled its prepaid plans as well.

Known as Allset Plans, Verizon’s newest prepaid offerings start out at $35 per month for basic phones and $45 for smartphones. Both offerings include unlimited messaging and 500MB of data as well as mobile hotspot support. Minute allotments for the Allset Plans are set at 500 minutes for the $35 offering and unlimited minutes for both $45 plans.

Those users that’d prefer a little more data than what is included with the base Allset Plans will want to sign up for a Bridge Data add-on. This feature allows customers to add more data to their account whenever they’d like, and any data that’s not used in one monthly cycle will roll over to the next. Bridge Data options include 500MB for $5 with a 30-day expiration, 1GB for $10 with a 90-day expiration and 3GB for $20 with a 90-day expiration.

Verizon is also promoting a couple of limited time offers for early Allset adopters. Any new customers on the $45 basic phone or smartphone plan will receive 1,000 minutes per month to be used for international calls made to Canada and Mexico. Additionally, smartphone-toting Allset subscribers that enroll in AutoPay will have their monthly data allotment bumped up to 1GB.

The new Allset Plans are available starting today and can be found on Verizon’s website by clicking right here. While the starting data allotment of these plans may be a bit low for some users, the option to add additional megabytes with Bridge Data is a nice feature, allowing customers to get more data when they’re in a particularly heavy usage cycle and then carry any remaining data into the next monthly cycle. The inclusion of mobile hotspot support is a welcome inclusion as well. 

Are any of you thinking about signing up for one of Verizon’s prepaid Allset Plans?

Via Verizon Wireless (1), (2)

Leaks are a good thing for Microsoft and Windows Phone 8.1

Leaks are a slippery slope. As a consumer that’s interested in the mobile industry, to a level where I go out of my way to find out everything I can about any device, rumored or not, I can’t wait to see a device leaked online long before its official release. Sure, it’s a tease, but I love the build up. But, more than that, it’s an easy way for me to keep a device in my mind as the inevitable launch inches closer. Leaks make sure that a handset is still in the public’s eye, even as the company itself goes into lockdown mode to try to keep the secrets and surprises in-house.

That’s why it’s a tricky thing. It’s one reason why some companies partake in leaking their own stuff, just to gauge consumer interest. It isn’t a secret that some companies will stage their own leaks, but it’s also not something they all do, either. Sometimes things just happen, and a phone, or tablet, or whatever else can find its way online –be it in just images or through videos– way before a company wants it to happen.

This is nothing new for our industry. Leaks and rumors are the oil that keep us going, and I’m not sure anyone would have it any other way. Most of us love seeing a phone before it’s officially released, and companies should love it that we do. It’s ultimately a double-edged sword, though, because for as many people who might get excited for a leaked device, there’s probably the same amount of people who lose interest in said device.

Windows Phone 8.1 is coming, and Microsoft has taken a “shut up and ship” mentality with their mobile platform for quite some time. The development team(s) are hunkered down in front of their machines, and doing their best in bringing Windows Phone to its best possible state to date. The new platform is said to be bringing all sorts of cool new things and features, like a digital personal assistant called Cortana, an Action Center, and alterations to Internet Explorer 11. Basically, things that people requested, and Microsoft is doing what it can to implement it as soon as it can.

Anyone can tell you that Microsoft takes its time. As a whole, software updates are nurtured for a very, very long time. It’s no different with Windows Phone 8.1. It’s been talked about for a long time, which makes sense, because Windows Phone 8 launched a long time ago. There have been smaller updates to the platform since its 2012 debut, but nothing like we’ve seen from Google, or Apple.

That’s why leaks should work so well in Microsoft’s favor.

With such a spread between major software updates, Microsoft should be doing what it can to keep consumer attention on them, and what’s coming down the pipe. I have no doubt that everyone in Microsoft is excited about what Windows Phone 8.1 will bring to the table for their platform, so they should be teasing it to the rest of the world, too. Be it in pictures that only show just enough to whet the appetite, or vague comments about upcoming features, the whole “shut up and ship” thing should only last for so long.

Windows Phone 8.1 is reportedly set to take the stage at this year’s BUILD conference, which is due in April. Considering it’s March, I think it’s time to let Joe Belfiore loose on Twitter and start getting everyone excited. The SDK leaks were great, but I’d much prefer to hear from someone inside Microsoft talking up what’s coming.

That excitement is infectious. Start spreading it!

The most recent leak (as of the time of this writing), the Start screen background images, is pretty great if you ask me, and from what I’ve seen in comments sections across the ‘net, everyone seems to like it. This is the momentum and attention Microsoft wants. Do you think these type of leaks, or any leak for that matter, is good for Microsoft’s mindshare? Do you like seeing leaked info/devices? Let me know!