Monthly Archive: May 2017

How to redeem Samsung’s BOGO deal for the Galaxy S8

I did it. I’ve been to hell and back. After spending more time than any one person should with customer support, I finally figured out how to claim/redeem Samsung’s buy-one-get-one free deal they had on the Galaxy S8 and S8+.Samsung hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with the info, you wont find a courtesy email explaining the procedure and there’s virtually no information to be found on Samsung’s website. Now that I’ve spent the past few hours bouncing between Samsung and T-Mobile reps, I finally figured out how it works. Read on.Method 1: Try activating the phone on Samsung.comSamsung says you can “save a trip to the store by easily activating your phone” on their website. Here are the steps:Insert the T-Mobile SIM card that came inside the Galaxy S8/S8+ box into one of the devices
Go to this secret page: http://www.samsung.com/us/support/account/#carrier-activation[1]Log into your Samsung accountTap on Select carrier plan button under the phone you’re going to activateLog into your T-Mobile account (you’ll need your PIN/password, zip code, and phone number) and agree to Carrier Terms & ConditionsNow, I’m not quite sure what happens if all goes well, but I’m guessing Samsung is attempting to verify your T-Mobile account info to ensure you’re living up to your side of the BOGO offer by activating the phone on a T-Mobile line. Unfortunately for me, I never made it past the T-Mobile log-in portion of activation before being greeted with the following error message:Edit: It appears Samsung will activate the new SIM card that came inside the box on your line. Perhaps that’s what was giving me the error (I was using an already active T-Mobile SIM on my device).In the event you see the above error, do not — I repeat, do not — try contacting T-Mobile about activating the error message you’re seeing. They’ll get confused and you’ll simply bounce around customer support for another couple of hours, only for them to tell you they have no knowledge of Samsung promotions (only their own).The only reason you should call T-Mobile is to either activate the SIM card that came inside the Galaxy S8’s box, or sign up for a new account/line of service. If you’re already a T-Mobile customer and have a nano SIM card, move onto Method 2 below.Method 2: WaitThose who already have T-Mobile service, insert your T-Mobile SIM and sign into your Samsung account on one of the new Galaxy S8/S8+ devices you received as part of Samsung’s BOGO offer (Settings > Cloud and accounts > Accounts > Add accounts > Samsung account). From there, wait 7-10 business days for a refund to hit your original form of payment — it’s that simple.If after 10 business days you don’t see a refund for one of the devices (maximum of $750), you’ll need to contact Samsung to see what the heck is going on. Unfortunately, there’s no way to check the status of your rebate on Samsung’s website, whether it’s been approved, pending, or you’re ineligible for some reason (outside of the valid promo dates, for instance).At some point during this time, Samsung will send you an email, with a link to activate your phone on their website (outlined in Method 1) but chances are you’ll run into the same issues I did with activating. According to Samsung support, even if you do nothing during this time, the refund will still hit your credit card regardless, so keep an eye out for that.You can check your eligibility for Samsung’s BOGO deal by calling Samsung at: 1-855-726-8721 (press 2 for orders you’ve already placed). Good luck.

BlackBerry KEYone coming soon to Australia

BlackBerry’s KEYone, hailed as a good, solid, work phone with a keyboard and decent performance – productivity first – is available for pre-order in Australia with delivery in July.  

TCL Communication[1], a leading global smartphone manufacturer and global smartphone licensing partner of BlackBerry Limited, has announced the BlackBerry KEYone will officially be on sale in Australia next month online[2] and at JB Hi-Fi, for A$899 outright.

Sam Skontos, Head of Asia Pacific, BlackBerry, said, “We are thrilled to be able to bring the highly anticipated all-new Android-powered BlackBerry KEYone smartphone to Australian consumers. We have witnessed an incredible response to pre-sale orders across other leading global markets, and have no doubt that the BlackBerry will very rapidly reinstate itself as a firm Aussie favourite, with both BlackBerry aficionados and a new generation of devoted fans.”

“Distinctively different with a focus on productivity and security, the KEYone’s enhanced feature-set and trademark modified keyboard, truly set it apart from any mobile device on the market. BlackBerry has such a rich history here in Australia, and we’re proud to be part of the new evolution of BlackBerry smartphones that re-imagine how we communicate and stay connected”, he added.

It has become the most pre-ordered phone in Canadian history (home of BlackBerry) according to GSMArena and the general opinion is to look beyond the specifications to what it provides – peace of mind, secure communications, and security in the Android world. It is a work phone with a keyboard – not a fashion accessory.

The BlackBerry KEYone reimagines how users communicate with a Smart Keyboard that goes beyond typing. Up to 52 customisable shortcuts transform each letter key for quick access to favourite apps and most important contacts. Touch navigation responds to touch gestures like a trackpad, to quickly scroll through web pages or emails. Flick typing offers predictive text, made even faster with the ability to flick words onto your screen as you type. The device includes the world’s first keyboard-embedded fingerprint sensor in the spacebar and provides added device security.

BB K1 frontBB K1 backBB K1 side

Being powered by Android 7.1 users have access to Google Play apps. This includes BlackBerry Hub which consolidates all types of messages and social media in one place. 

World’s most secure Android smartphone

Security comes from a hardened operating system to BlackBerry’s proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust adding security keys to the processor. It has DTEK by BlackBerry that constantly monitors security and protects the operating system and apps including an overall security rating for your device and advice to improve it.

For example, it monitors apps use of the system alerting you if one is accessing your camera to take a picture or video, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, accessing your contacts or location.

Photo quality – big pixels and PADF

The 12MP rear camera uses a Sony IMX378 sensor (same as in the Google Pixel) with large 1.55μm pixels, coupled with a f/2.0 lens and dual-tone flash. On paper, these specifications should produce good day and night shots.

It has an 8MP front camera with fixed focus, f/2.2, 1.12 µm pixel, LCD Flash, and 84° wide angle lens for reasonable selfies and Skype support. It has active noise cancellation with dedicated mics.

Performance

It uses a Qualcomm 625 mobile processor and has 3GB RAM, 32GB storage and microSD slot to 256GB. Obviously, to bring it in at the price this is a compromise over the Snapdragon 835 flagship processor but reports are that it works well.

Specifications

  • Screen: 4.5”, 1620 x 1080, 433 ppi, 3:2 ratio, 55.9% screen to body ratio, IPS LCD, Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625, eight-core 2.0GHz and Adreno 506
  • Storage: 3GB RAM, 32GB storage (unknown type), microSD slot to 2TB, OTG, USB-C 3.1 1.0
  • Camera Rear: 12 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, 1/2.3” sensor size, 1.55µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama, 4X digital zoom, Electronic Image stabilisation (not OIS), 4K record capable
  • Camera Front: 8 MP, f/2.2, 1.12 µm pixel size, EIS, HDR, multi-frame pixel binning, 1080p
  • Sound: Earpiece speaker, ANC mics, 3.5mm combo audio jack
  • Comms: Wi-Fi AC dual band, Wi-Di, Bluetooth 4.2, GOS, NFC, FM radio
  • Other: Fingerprint sensor in spacebar, QWERTY programmable four-row keyboard with contextual correction
  • Battery: 3505mAh battery, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (50% charge in 36 minutes)
  • Dimensions/Weight: 149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4 mm x 180g
  • SIM: single plus second slot for microSD
  • LTE: 450/50Mbps, version for Asia-Pacific (bands unknown)
  • OS: Android 7.1

BlackBerry Applications

BlackBerry Keyboard, BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Calendar, Contacts by BlackBerry, Notes by BlackBerry, Tasks by BlackBerry, BBM, DTEK by BlackBerry, BlackBerry Device Search, BlackBerry Launcher, BlackBerry Hub+ Services, BlackBerry Help, BlackBerry Password Keeper, BlackBerry Content Transfer, BlackBerry Productivity Edge, BlackBerry Power Center, BlackBerry Notable, BlackBerry Workspaces

Android Applications

Gmail, Duo, Google Chrome, Google Drive, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Play, Photos, Messenger (SMS), Clock, News & Weather, Play Music, Play Movies, Google (Search, Voice Search), Downloads, Docs, Sheets Slides 

Conclusion

It looks like a BlackBerry – yeeah! Yes, it is a solid work phone with a smart keyboard. As long as it is marketed as such it should do something to bring old BlackBerry users back into the clan.

The 4.5” screen size and 3:2 screen ratio will mean it has to letterbox 16:9 content. The processor is fine (same as used in the Moto Z Play) but to put it in context the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Qualcomm 835) has 42370 Basemark X and the KEYone has 10445.

Price – $899 is not out of business bounds as they claim GST back and can depreciate/write it off.

References

  1. ^ TCL Communication (www.tctusa.com)
  2. ^ online (www.blackberrymobile.com.au)
Cellnet Review

Reminder: T-Mobile DIGITS Takes Over Your Number Today

t-mobile digits

I probably should have reminded you about this earlier in the day, but since we are on May 31, you should be aware that your T-Mobile DIGITS number is here. Well, you keep the number you had, it has just been upgraded to DIGITS. It’s kind of confusing, I know, but it’s here! [1]

I don’t necessarily want to re-walk through what DIGITS is for the 3rd time, so my apologies for sending you to this write-up[2] that explains it all. At that post, we dive into what DIGITS is, how it works and if it affects you (it does), how much additional DIGITS will cost, and why it’ll come in handy, especially for those of you who carry multiple phones around or have multiple phone numbers to manage.

To get started if you haven’t already, head on over to the DIGITS online access at this link[3]. You can also get started through the DIGITS Android app here[4].

References

  1. ^ T-Mobile DIGITS (www.droid-life.com)
  2. ^ this write-up (www.droid-life.com)
  3. ^ this link (webdigits.t-mobile.com)
  4. ^ here (play.google.com)

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I hope Nokia brings a little bit of Lumia to its next smartphone

Recent mobile headlines may have you pulling a Jumanji and frantically asking “What year is it?” as brands like BlackBerry and Nokia reveal some of their latest creations. The BlackBerry KEYone officially released today in the U.S. and Canada[1], but Nokia also announced via Twitter that their newest smartphones are slated to release “by the end of June”[2].

Nokia, once one of the biggest brands in mobile, fizzled out after opting to go with Windows Phone rather than Android, which ended up being bad news for Nokia, but oddly enough the Nokia brand was probably the only thing keeping Windows Phone afloat for as long as it did. Things went downhill when Microsoft acquired Nokia’s phone assets back in 2013 and streamlined the Nokia Lumia into the Microsoft Lumia. After licensing the handset brand from Microsoft and striking some deals with Google and Foxconn, Nokia reentered the smartphone market once again earlier this year with the Nokia 3, 5, and 6. All three devices range between low-end to mid-range, and Nokia has yet to unveil a true flagship.

Although unconfirmed, the hope is that will change by the end of June.

Nokia is one of the few companies that doesn’t appear to have many solid leaks regarding upcoming devices, and this latest Nokia device doesn’t seem to be any different. Names like Nokia P1, Nokia 8, and Nokia 9 have floated around for some time, but nothing seems concrete (with the exception of the Nokia 3310 reboot). As such, it can be fun to speculate what, exactly, Nokia’s next handset might be like.

Personally, I’m hoping for a touch of Nokia’s direction with Windows Phone. I distinctly remember thinking that its bright colors and plastic build was somewhat tacky, but after owning a couple myself, I absolutely fell in love with the look and feel of their Lumia line. Its bright and bold color scheme in a typical sea of black, white, and silver offerings was refreshing, and its “tanky” polycarbonate build may not have looked premium, but my Lumia devices were one of the select few smartphones I ever felt comfortable using without a case.

Nokia’s Lumias were also well-known for a couple of other traits, such as their excellent cameras with Carl Zeiss lenses and being among the first smartphones to support wireless charging, a feature that I still consider important if, for nothing else, to serve as a backup method of charging.

Aside from its notoriously tanky reputation, most of those revered features in the Nokia Lumia devices have since been adopted by other smartphones: more colors are offered now, although still typically not as bold, and wireless charging appears to be more common than not. Cameras are exceptionally competitive across the board for flagships. Despite those features becoming common, though, I still think there’s room for Nokia to make a name for itself once again in the smartphone space, even among highly competitive flagships, if that happens to be the case.

Honestly, I feel that Nokia has very little work to do to make its name stand out once again. A tanky and bold build is a given expectation, but outside of that, I feel that Nokia could succeed by adding these key features as well: long battery life, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD support, bold colors, wireless charging, waterproofing, 4GB of RAM, and a competitive rear-facing camera. Additionally, I think people would absolutely flip their lid if Nokia brought back removable batteries, but considering the 3, 5, and 6 all feature non-removable batteries, I’m not holding my breath over that one.

Nokia

I think Nokia would do best by making a more modest flagship with some sacrifices made to the processor and price tag, similar to the BlackBerry KEYone. I don’t think competing directly with Samsung and Apple at the moment would work well, but I think the brand’s reputation is still solid enough to make some headway, at least.

Of course, all of this is just speculation. I myself am pretty much sold on the BlackBerry KEYone as my next device if I decide to upgrade, but I would still love to see Nokia make a successful comeback.

Readers, what are your hopes for the next Nokia device? Are you holding out until the end of June to see what they come up with? Let us know in the comments below!