Will Sprint’s New Early Upgrade Program Be Worth It?

Will Sprint’s New Early Upgrade Program Be Worth It?

Earlier this summer, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile each launched early upgrade programs in an effort to keep customers locked into their service without the regret of having to hold on to an old phone. Unfortunately, since those programs don’t do much, if anything, to bring down the monthly cost of phone service, we didn’t see the appeal. Sprint is reportedly set to join in the early upgrade fun, but is its program any better? [More]

(Source: Pew)

1-In-5 American Adults Have Neither Smartphones Nor Home Broadband

It may seem like an oddity to see anyone still carrying a phone that is just that — a phone, but a new report shows that 44% of adults in the U.S. are still making calls on phones with no ability to go online. Americans are more accepting of broadband, with 70% of them having the higher-speed Internet access set up in their homes, meaning that some of those people without smartphones are choosing to pay for broadband. This leaves 20% of Americans over the age of 18 without either a smartphone or home broadband. [More]

Competitive Smartphone-Tossing Sounds Like A Great Idea

Competitive Smartphone-Tossing Sounds Like A Great Idea

It would be great to know how your throwing ability and hand-eye coordination stack up against other smartphone users, but we would recommend not getting the novelty app Send Me To Heaven. It measures how high you can toss your phone and produces worldwide rankings, and is only a good idea if you’re looking for an excuse to buy a new phone. [More]

Smartphone Amber Alert Freaks Out Everyone In California

Smartphone Amber Alert Freaks Out Everyone In California

Russ went to bed early, setting “do not disturb” mode on his iPhone so no one could wake him up. His phone did wake him up, though, screeching and lighting up with an Amber Alert message about abducted children in a different part of the state. He asked Consumerist: how can he make these unwanted text messages stop? [More]

(wingy42 Steve Wing)

If you download an animal-sounds smartphone app to attract a fox, there is a chance that the fox might run off with your phone. When a wild animal runs off with your phone, your friends might receive strange texts that say things like “I FRY o a0ab 34348tu åaugjoi zølbmosdji jsøg ijio sjiw.” We’re not sure what the consumer lesson here should be other than “protect your phone from wild animals.”[LiveLeak]

New York State Wants Drivers To Put Their Smartphones Down Already

New York State Wants Drivers To Put Their Smartphones Down Already

The authorities are on to you. Yeah, you. The person who thinks that you can totally get away with texting and driving as long as you keep your phone in your lap. In order to catch you, the Empire State spent a million bucks to launch a shiny new fleet of Chevy Tahoes that let state troopers stare at motorists’ crotches. [More]

(SA_Steve)

Here’s Why Wireless Companies Are Going Gaga About Early Upgrade Programs

In the last year, AT&T did away with early upgrades for customers, then announced AT&T Next, an early upgrade program. Verizon was the first to get rid of early upgrades, but its soon-to-be-announced Edge program is expected to encourage early upgrades. Meanwhile, T-Mobile recently showed off its JUMP early upgrade plan to allow subscribers to get new devices up to twice a year. Why all the sudden, and seemingly contradictory, focus on early upgrades? [More]

Bed, Bath And Beyond Display Bursts Into Flames, Caught On Camera By Customer

Bed, Bath And Beyond Display Bursts Into Flames, Caught On Camera By Customer

Imagine that you’re shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond, and you see a bedding display on fire. Would you whip out your mobile phone and walk toward the flames to take a video, or turn around and run the hell away? We prefer when our readers stay alive, so we recommend the second option. One California shopper chose differently, which is why we have this disturbing video. [More]

Law Enforcement Officials From Around The Country Ask Smartphone Manufacturers To Install Kill Switches

Law Enforcement Officials From Around The Country Ask Smartphone Manufacturers To Install Kill Switches

As we mentioned yesterday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón are meeting this week with execs from Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and Google to discuss ways wireless device manufacturers can help deter theft and eliminate the market for stolen phones. Today, Schneiderman and Gascón — along with attorneys general, district attorneys, chiefs of police, consumer advocates, and educators — have launched a nationwide initiative to bring this issue to the fore. [More]

(dooley)

Verizon Store Still Won’t Sell Me A Smartphone Without A Contract

Greg recently fought a new battle in his ongoing war with Verizon. His war is in defense of a noble goal: over and over, he just wants to buy a phone for the full retail price without signing a new two-year contract. If this seems like it should be pretty straightforward, you don’t work at a Verizon corporate store. [More]

(afagen)

Motorola To Assemble Next Smartphone, Moto X, In United States

Wages are rising in Asia, energy costs are falling in the United States, and two out of three Americans at least say that they would pay higher prices for gadgets assembled in America. That means that it’s an ideal time for Motorola Mobility to try assembling the Moto X, its first phone designed under Google ownership, on shore. [More]

Google’s ‘For Any Reason’ Return Policy Does Not Include ‘Because I Broke It’

Google’s ‘For Any Reason’ Return Policy Does Not Include ‘Because I Broke It’

Amanda bought a Nexus 4 smartphone direct from Google, and put it in a case the next day. Like many other readers we’ve heard from, her phone plunged to its doom, shattering the screen. She had time on her side, though: it was only ten days since she had bought the phone, and Google’s posted return policy says that you can return a device in the first fifteen days “for any reason.” But is “because I broke it” a valid reason? [More]

Newt Gingrich Needs Your Help To Name These Newfangled Internet Phones

Newt Gingrich Needs Your Help To Name These Newfangled Internet Phones

It would appear that we aren’t the only ones who have trouble keeping up with all the new technology these days: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich posted a video on YouTube recently informing consumers that while they might think they’re holding a “cell phone,” they’re wrong. “If it’s taking pictures, it’s not a cell phone,” Gingrich explains. It’s time to find a name for this thing, and Newt says he needs our help. [More]

Nordstrom Decides To Stop Tracking Customers’ Smartphones

Nordstrom Decides To Stop Tracking Customers’ Smartphones

Earlier this week, we told you how Nordstrom has been testing a smartphone tracking service at 17 of its stores around the country. Almost immediately after the public found out about the tracking system, the department store decided to put an end to it, though it insists the timing is just a coincidence. [More]

(Michelle Rick)

San Francisco Backs Off On Law Requiring Retailers To Post Info On Cell Phone Radiation

Back in 2011, the city of San Francisco rustled up an ordinance that would require cell phone companies to post information telling consumers about the potential dangers of radiation in retail stores. The industry fought back, claiming the law violated its free-speech rights, and after a court held up an injunction against the law, the city has decided to throw in the towel. [More]

(Eva_Deht)

Report: Amazon Working On 3-D Smartphone

Amazon has done pretty well with its Kindle line of e-readers and tablets, but it looks like the company is determined to expand beyond the market of “things to read and watch stuff on.” A new report says the e-tailer is working on a pair of devices different from any hardware it has released before. [More]

A sign posted about the wifi tracking system at a Nordstrom in Dallas. (via CBS 11)

Nordstrom Now Using Your Smartphone To Track Your Shopping Behavior

Earlier this year we told you about the many hi-tech ways in which retailers are tracking customers’ movements and purchases. Now high-end department store Nordstrom admits that it’s using a smartphone tracking system to keep an eye on shoppers’ behavior. [More]

(MeneerDijk)

Can you replace a cracked smartphone screen yourself? Yes, and there are plenty of tools, kits, and online tutorials available to help you. Should you do it? Maybe, say our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports, armed with pentalobe screwdrivers and lab coats. [More]