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Last week, we featured a deal for an unlocked LG G3 that could be snagged on eBay for $500. We picked one up because international versions of phones not only seem to receive updates much quicker than their counterparts here in the States (a topic for another day), but this is the model of the G3 that features wireless charging out of the box, something US carriers (Verizon and AT&T in particular) removed so that they could make extra money off of customers like you and me with accessories that add features like this on.

Once the device arrived, I slapped it on the Qi wireless charger that never leaves my desk, just to test the functionality on a G3. Sure enough, it worked without hassle straight out of the box. I didn’t need to slap a new cover on or attach a case, it just charges as if the feature is built-in, which it is. While this should have brought immediate joy, it also brought on a substantial amount of anger even quicker. Why? Because carriers in the US have robbed us of features like this for years to help them make an extra buck or two. And while I’m fine with companies trying to get richer (I’m sure we all would do the same), the way they go about it frustrates the hell out of me. What I mean is that if you are going to dumb down my smart device, so that you can charge me for accessories to make it smarter, give me some damn choices. 

If you buy an LG G3 today from either Verizon or AT&T, you won’t be able to wirelessly charge it out of the box. Forget the fact that Verizon was one of the few carriers to include wireless charging in last year’s LG G2, they decided against it this year because LG created a $60 circle flip case that has wireless charging. So you are aware, the international G3 I picked up includes a standard back cover with built-in wireless charging. The size of the device is identical to those sold at Verizon and AT&T, yet it has this added functionality. In other words, when Verizon and AT&T told LG to make branded back covers for their G3 variants, they said, “Please take out the added wireless charging capabilities that you use on the international variant because we want to charge customers for this feature.”

lg g3 wireless charging1

And again, I get that they want to make money – they can certainly do that. But as of now, in order to add wireless charging functionality to either variant, you have to buy the $60 QuickCircle case (which is currently sold out at Verizon). You don’t have another option, outside of spending $40+ on a replacement back cover through overseas eBay stores that may or may not work properly with your phone. Neither Verizon nor AT&T sell a replacement back cover with wireless charging – they only sell the QuickCircle case. What if I don’t want a flip case? What if I just want a replacement back cover that adds in this functionality that should have been there from the beginning? I have zero options outside of going to eBay and praying for the best.

The problem is compounded by the fact that AT&T went with a completely different wireless charging standard than everyone else in the world uses. I already wrote about AT&T using PMA over Qi, but the basics are this – if you own an AT&T LG G3, good luck ever finding a wireless charging accessory outside of the $60 PMA-ready QuickCircle case sold through AT&T’s store. I doubt that LG has any plans to make a replacement PMA back cover, and the Qi covers you can find elsewhere won’t work. At least with the other variants, they are Qi-ready and should work with a replacement back, if you can find one.

I’m using the G3 as the example here, but in reality, this has been going on forever. We see it with Samsung phones all of the time. Even though Samsung has an accessory store that they often sell replacement wireless charging backs and cases through, carriers like Verizon pickup some of these accessories, but we see them sell out within seconds before most have even had a chance to buy them. So there we were with an option, yet are then optionless moments later. Clearly, people are interested in features like this. We are willing to spend the money. Why can’t carriers (and manufacturers) make this stuff available?

The point here is that the whole situation sucks for consumers. We have these brilliant smartphones, yet carriers in the US want to dumb them down in order to make an extra buck without really giving us enough solutions to make them smarter (or where the manufacturer intended). Companies like LG build-in features like wireless charging to their flagship phones. These phones are supposed to come with these features out of the box. Instead, US carriers take them away and then don’t provide us with a means to get them back. Do you want to make money or not, carriers?

Dear Carriers, If You are Going to Take Features From Phones to Make Money, Give Us Options to Get Them Back is a post from: Droid Life

Verizon Moto X Android 4.4.4 Update Now Available to All, Here is the Changelog

Posted by Kellex July - 28 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Verizon has gone ahead and approved the Android 4.4.4 update for their variant of the Moto X, making it available this morning to all. The update, which first hit soak testers on Friday, includes improved camera picture quality by improving photos taken in fluorescent lighting and enhancing the dynamic range. It also introduces an option for pausing and resuming videos during recording. Finally, a new dialer with a new graphical layout and colors has been introduced.

The update jumps the device up to build 210.12.41.

To check for the update, head into Settings>About phone>System updates>Check for system updates.  

If you aren’t seeing the update, you can manually update using the file included in the comments.

verizon moto x 444

Via:  Verizon
Cheers Adam and Nathaniel!

Verizon Moto X Android 4.4.4 Update Now Available to All, Here is the Changelog is a post from: Droid Life

LG G Vista officially confirmed for Verizon, AT&T

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

The LG G Vista – if the leaks were to be believed – was supposed to be a “mini” version of one of LG’s higher tier phones, and that’s what it’s actually turning out to be as the confirmations are streaming in. The new LG phone has now been semi-confirmed for Verizon and AT&T via internal product leaks. Let’s see what it looks like.

Verizon’s leak was in the form of an internal (or at least, unreleased) product description document that highlighted some of the product’s specs without going into much specifics. According to the document, the phone will have a pretty large screen at 5.7 inches, but people will be slightly disappointed with the declared qHD resolution (that is, 960 x 540 pixels). An unnamed 1.2GHz quad-core processor is also declared in the slide, and it will most likely be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with an Adreno 305 GPU.

LG-G-Vista-leak

AT&T has also let out an internal user’s manual of what it calls the G Vista (see the source link). The specs are pretty much the same, but the Verizon version has been rumored to pack 1.5GB of RAM rather than the 1GB rumored for the AT&T version. There is a possibility that the companies could put out different models, but there is very little logic in doing that. Both have also confirmed the 3200mAh battery that the phone will come with, a very strong feature that will see users of the LG G Vista last the whole day without charging.

From the looks of it, Verizon and AT&T users may not have long to wait before this new LG mid-tier smartphone is unleashed upon them, with the sources pointing to a very near date in July 31, 2014 as the date of launch. The phone – while not really packing powerful specs – has LG’s innovative UI approach to bank on, and the G Vista is sure to have that rear-key design that’s found on LG’s premium phones, as well as multi-window capabilities for multitasking.

VIA: Pocket Now, My LG Phones

Verizon set to throttle LTE speeds on unlimited data users

Posted by wicked July - 26 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Even just the sound of it has an “unfair” aura about it, but this is the news coming from Verizon HQ regarding the future of the users of their 4G data network. To ease congestion on cells that have heavy usage, Verizon is set to throttle (adjust or lower) LTE speeds of the top five percent of heaviest data users on unlimited data plans starting October.

Why is Verizon doing this? Well, in 2011, Verizon also did this when they wanted to wean people off its tired 3G network onto the new LTE protocols. At that time, LTE devices were a minority – but this is now 2014, which means that LTE devices account for more than half of the data traffic on Verizon’s data networks. Verizon says that they will start doing this to relieve traffic in cells and areas that are bogged down.

Looking at it from a macro point of view, this will likely mean that the network’s overall data service will most likely improve. Verizon is actually in the midst of a 4G network upgrade which will make new and faster speeds available soon (on XLTE, VoLTE, and eventually 5G networks) – which will decongest the old 4G network anyway.

The question really is that why do the unlimited data subscribers have to suffer for the network’s infrastructure problems? The people who have unlimited data subscriptions pay premium to get just that – at LTE speeds. Once the network begins to get throttled, presumably, they will get less than the bandwith and speed they expect. That really doesn’t sound as something done in good faith for the unlimited data subscribers – however minor their numbers may be.

VIA: SlashGear

Verizon allowing LG G3 owners to uninstall bloatware

Posted by wicked July - 26 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

LG_G3_Lauch_Event_Front_Bottom_LG_Logo_TA

Carriers in the United States are notorious for loading new devices with bloatware. Bloatware, for those unaware, includes the pesky applications that carriers have installed to greet users right out of the box. Unless you root the device, it is almost impossible to ditch any type of bloatware. Verizon, surprisingly, wants to change and is offering a way to remove bloatware.

They are starting with the brand new LG G3. Using Android’s built-in app manager will allow users to easily and quickly clean up the device. Ironically, Verizon’s very own apps can not be uninstalled even with this process. For now, it is unknown if the carrier will extend this capability to present or future devices; however, it is certainly a good sign to see Verizon of all carriers make this kind of decision.

Via: FierceWireless

Come comment on this article: Verizon allowing LG G3 owners to uninstall bloatware

Verizon now offering Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 at a discount

Posted by wicked July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

For those looking for a new tablet for personal or family use, looks like Verizon will be tempting you with a $100 discount on the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1. For a 2 year contract with the carrier, you’ll be able to get the tablet for $359.99, with the option to upgrade after 2 years. You can also opt to pay for the gadget on a 20-month basis under the Verizon EDGE program.

Verizon’s online store is offering a no-contract price for the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 at $459.99. But if you feel like you’d rather have a plan to go with your gadget, not to mention the whooping $100 price off, then the 2-year plan is a much better offer. However, if you want to split your payments into 20 monthly increments, the Verizon EDGE is not a bad deal in itself. You need to shell out $22.99 per month, and you’ll also be able to upgrade if after 30 days, you decide to at least pay 60% of the tablet’s price.

The 10.1-inch display is a very attractive proposition, especially if you plan to use it to read books, watch videos or play games on it. We have to warn you though, that the resolution, at 1280×800 and the 1.2 GHz quad-core processor is not something to sing home about. It also has a 16GB internal memory, but can be expanded with its microSD card slot, since you need a lot of space to store your different media and gaming apps of course.

One of the biggest attractions though of the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 is that it is created especially for multiple users. Your family members and loved ones can have separate log-ins for the tablet and each profile can have their own personalised apps, settings, and files which the others will not be able to access (unless they know your password of course). It is also built for multi-tasking as its Multi-Window function lets you view and use two apps at the same time. So if you feel like this tab is for you, take advantage of Verizon’s offer.

SOURCE: Verizon

Verizon Makes It Official: Throttling Comes to Unlimited 4G LTE Customers in October

Posted by Kellex July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Verizon took a minute this morning to confirm our report from yesterday, announcing that they are indeed going to include unlimited data customers with 4G LTE devices in their version of throttling, which they refer to as “Network Optimization.” Starting in October, if you fall into their top 5% of data hogs bracket and have unlimited data, you could see slowed speeds when attached to a cell site that is experiencing high demand. 

Verizon’s “Network Optimization” is different than other carriers’ throttling in that you should only see slowed speeds when on a cell site experiencing that high demand. Once you leave that site and attach to a new cell site without high demand, your speeds return to normal. Other carriers often throttle you no matter what throughout the end of a billing cycle. With that said, Verizon does note in their policy that if you are in the 5% of data users, they could slow your speeds through the current billing cycle and onto the end of the next.

In order to see slowed speeds under Network Optimization, you have to meet the following criteria:

  • Top 5% of data users (you use 4.7GB of data per month or more)
  • Enrolled on an unlimited data plan or feature
  • Have fulfilled their minimum contract term
  • Are attempting to use data on a cell site that is experiencing high demand

MORE Everything and other tiered data plans are not affected.

Verizon’s Network Optimization policy can be found here.

Via:  Verizon

Verizon Makes It Official: Throttling Comes to Unlimited 4G LTE Customers in October is a post from: Droid Life

Moto X Soak Testers on Verizon Receiving Android 4.4.4 Update

Posted by wicked July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

With news of Android 4.4.4 rolling out to the Verizon Moto G, more than a few readers lamented that Motorola wasn’t giving the Moto X preferential treatment. Lucky for those folks, the company has begun a consolatory soak test for those who are a part of the Motorola Feedback Network. 

The changelog for the firmware in testing, KXA21.12-L1.26 is not dissimilar to the Verizon Moto G’s we saw yesterday. Improvements include enhanced camera picture quality, the ability to pause video recordings, and usability improvements to the phone dialer.

Assuming that testing goes well, a source of ours states that a broad rollout will begin July 30.

Don’t lose faith, Verizon Moto X owners!

Cheers testers!

Moto X Soak Testers on Verizon Receiving Android 4.4.4 Update is a post from: Droid Life

Verizon may soon allow Android users to remove majority of its bloatware

Posted by wicked July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Verizon logo

Some of the biggest complaints we often hear regarding Verizon have to do with the company’s desire to make its branding as large as possible when placing it on our mobile devices and Big Red’s love for throwing bloatware on our handsets. To be fair, Verizon has gotten a little better over the years about the size of their branding (a little..), but what about bloatware? It seems that Big Red might be taking a small but positive step forward here is as well.

Earlier this month Verizon started sending out a survey to select customers asking them about bloatware and what bundled apps they use and don’t use. Following this survey, Verizon has now officially begun testing out a new bloatware application installation process for the LG G3 that supposedly will make bloatware a little less of a pain to deal with.

Here’s the full statement from Verizon about the change:

Verizon is trialing a new service on the LG G3. Pre-loaded applications will install in the background during the activation and set up process. Once setup is complete, the applications will appear in the applications folder as though they have been traditionally pre-loaded. However, there IS one key difference; the applications can be completely and entirely uninstalled by the customer via the standard uninstall process. Customers will not incur any data usage or charges for the download and installation of these applications.

Verizon’s statement certainly sounds too good to be true for those that hate pre-installed apps, and that’s probably because it is. According to Droid-Life, they tested out their Verizon G3 unit and found that they weren’t able to install each and every pre-installed app to their heart’s content. So what’s going on here? First, it’s possible this is a limited test that doesn’t apply to all LG G3 hardware. Second, Verizon may allow users to uninstall select 3rd party apps but could plan to prevent “important” (aka worthless) Verizon-branded apps from being removed. We wouldn’t be too surprised if the latter proves correct.

Regardless of how it all plays out, at least Verizon is taking baby steps in the right direction. Better than nothing, we suppose. What do you think, should carriers have the right to force us to keep their self-branded bloatware or should every app on our phones and tablets be uninstallable? For that matter, should all Google apps and services also be removable? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Via: Droid-Life;

Back in September of 2011, Verizon introduced a new initiative called Network Optimization that only affected unlimited data customers. What is Network Optimization? Well, it’s a little bit like throttling in that Verizon can slow down your data connection if you meet a list of factors, because they don’t want you to ruin the data experience for the rest of their customers.

The thing is, up until now, Network Optimization only affected the 3G connection of those with unlimited data plans. Since most of you are all on 4G LTE now, it really didn’t matter much. But according to sources of ours, along with at least one reader who has been notified of the change, LTE will become a part of the “optimization” starting October 1. Like before, this only affects unlimited data customers.

This is what we know. 

On October 1, Verizon will expand its existing Network Optimization policy to include unlimited data customers who use 4G LTE devices and “have fulfilled their minimum contract term.” That “optimization” occurs when an unlimited data customer meets specific criteria and hops onto a cell site that is experiencing high demand. This is only a temporary reduction, not a billing cycle throttle. Once that customer leaves the cell site under stress, their connection should return to normal.

Update:  The policy is changing somewhat on how long you could be throttled. From information we have received from sources (and now reflected on Verizon’s own policy), the throttling could last through a current billing cycle and on to the end of the next, should a user be on a cell site experiencing high demand. This is the exact wording for the potential throttling – “The customer may continue to be impacted for the rest of the current billing cycle and through the next billing cycle, but only while on a cell site that is experiencing high demand.”

In order to see reduced speeds, you have to be a customer that meets all of the criteria below (again, ALL of the criteria):

  • Top 5% of data users (you use 4.7GB of data per month or more)
  • Enrolled on an unlimited data plan or feature
  • Have fulfilled their minimum contract term
  • Are attempting to use data on a cell site that is experiencing high demand

According to Verizon’s Network Optimization page, as of March 2014, you qualify as being in the top 5% if you use 4.7GB of data or more per month. That could fluctuate over time, though we aren’t sure how often Verizon updates this number.

If you are worried that you may be impacted by Network Optimization, Verizon has options for you, though you you may not love them:

  • Migrate to a MORE Everything plan or usage based data feature
  • Use your device’s Wi-Fi options
  • Use VZW tools to track and manage data usage:
  • View real-time data use information on My Verizon and My Verizon Mobile
  • Predict data needs by using Verizon’s Data Calculator
  • Install the Data Usage Widget (available on most smartphones)
  • Dial #DATA from the device to receive a text with data use information

Beginning August 1, Verizon will notify its customers of this change with the following message:

Wireless strives to provide its customers with the best wireless experience when using our network. In 2011, Verizon Wireless launched Network Optimization, which slows the data speeds of its unlimited data subscribers with 3G devices who are in the top 5% of data users when they connect to a cell site experiencing high demand. Effective October 1, Verizon Wireless will expand its existing Network Optimization policy to include its unlimited data subscribers using 4G LTE devices who have fulfilled their minimum contract term. Based on your plan and recent data usage, one or more lines on your account may experience a reduction in data speeds when connected to a cell site experiencing high demand. Customers on MORE Everything or other usage-based data plans are not subject to Network Optimization. For more information about our Network Optimization, please refer to www.verizonwireless.com/networkoptimization.

The changes on Verizon’s site to reflect this move are already taking place. Take a look at the screenshots below of Verizon’s Network Optimization page today compared to what it looked like back on July 20. There used to be references all over it to Network Optimization only affecting those with 3G connections, and that if you wanted to avoid being throttled you should buy an LTE device. But now, those references have all been removed. The new page is setup perfectly to cover all unlimited data users, including those with 4G LTE connections.

verizon network optimization

Again, this only affects 5% of their unlimited data customers, which are those who use more than 4.7GB of data per month (as of March 2014). In order to experience the “optimization” or slowness, you also have to meet other criteria. This is not a full billing cycle throttle, it is only temporary until you leave a cell site that is under high stress. Edit: It could actually be for more than one billing cycle, if on a cell site under high demand.

Just wanted you to be aware.

Update 2:  Verizon has made the news official.

Starting October 1, Verizon Will Include Unlimited 4G LTE Customers in “Network Optimization” is a post from: Droid Life