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By Abhay V
T-Mobile to reportedly drop support for non-VoLTE phones on its network from January
by Abhay Venkatesh
Just a day after AT&T sent emails alarming customers that they need to buy new phones to risk losing service, a report from Android Police suggests that T-Mobile will be cutting off support for 3G networks sooner than AT&T. While AT&T is giving users time till January 2022, a leaked document accessed by the publication suggests that the T-Mobile will be axing 2G and 3G networks in January 2021.
Additionally, the document states that starting August 4, the company will no longer activate new devices that do not support VoLTE (Voice over LTE) and that those customers that have phones that do not support the technology have until January of next year to upgrade the devices. The firm says that Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS) will also follow this schedule, adding that all the devices in their “current lineup” include VoLTE support. The change is being made because carriers are repurposing frequencies leveraged by these older networks for LTE and 5G.
Image credit: Android Police Customers with devices that do not support the technology will lose the ability to make calls, or text after January next year. While the carrier does not have a dedicated list of supported devices like T-Mobile, it might cut support for phones that were either imported or bought in an unlocked form and are being used on its network. Additionally, it is not clear if the change affects other MVNOs using T-Mobile’s network, including the likes of Google Fi, Consumer Cellular, and others.
The Un-carrier is yet to send out communication regarding the change to customers, but it is no surprise that a lot of customers that are impacted by the change will be alarmed at the less than six-month timeline to upgrade their phones. It will be interesting to see what the customer feedback will be when the communication does go out and if T-Mobile will extend the timelines for retiring the old networks.
By Abhay V
LG will not sell an unlocked variant of the Velvet in the U.S.
by Abhay Venkatesh
LG Launched the Velvet smartphone in South Korea back in May and announced that the device will be made available to global markets in June. The device is the company’s successor to the G- and V-series offerings. The firm redesigned the phone from the ground up to offer “meaningful” new devices instead of spec upgrades.
While the phone starts being sold in the United States for a starting price of $599 from today, it is currently available only through AT&T, with more carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon expected to offer the device for purchase later this summer. However, if you were hoping to get an unlocked variant of the phone without being tied to a carrier, you are out of luck. The firm confirmed to 9to5Google that it will not be selling its new premium offering through unlocked channels.
With flagship phones from the likes of Samsung and Apple costing upwards of $1,000, the Velvet packs high-end specs – if not flagship specs – such as a 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G chipset, a 6.8-inch OLED display, IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certification for water and dust resistance, and more, for close to $600 from carriers. Assuming an unlocked version could have been sold for about $700, it still would have been a viable option for those on other carriers or for those who prefer to purchase devices without a carrier contract.
Those interested in the AT&T variant can get the device for as low as $10/month if they are getting the device with a new line, or for $299 for a two-year contract. When the device does arrive on Verizon, it will come with support for both mmWave and sub6, in comparison to other carriers that only support sub6.
By Abhay V
T-Mobile OnePlus 8 update adds support for two more 5G bands, brings Live Caption
by Abhay Venkatesh
T-Mobile is pushing a new update to the OnePlus 8 5G variant today that brings a few new features including support for two additional 5G bands. The device is currently sold by the carrier with support for only sub6 5G, since the model with support for both, mmWave and sub6 is sold by Verizon.
Source: TmoNews The OxygenOS update version 10.5.8.IN55CB is beginning to roll out to users that brings support for 5G bands 2 and 66. This is in addition to the bands 71, 41, and 5 that the T-Mobile version of the device already supported. The support for the two new bands does not bring any immediate benefits since the carrier’s nationwide 5G network runs on the 600Mhz low-band n71. However, as the carrier expands to offering more bands delivering higher speeds, the phone will be ready to leverage the benefits of the expansion.
The update also brings with it support for Google Live Caption. The feature helps transcribe the audio in media playing on the phone in real-time and is a nifty addition for those that are hard of hearing. The feature was made available to the unlocked versions of the OnePlus 8 in international markets (via XDADevelopers).
The update to the device is a minor one as per the changelog and comes in at around 306MB. It is beginning to roll out gradually to users, which means that it might be a few days till all users receive the update.
Source: TmoNews via AndroidPolice
By Rich Woods
The Windows Phone Store shuts down today
by Rich Woods
It's been nearly a year and a half since support ended for Windows Phone 8.1, not that it had even received an update for a couple of years before that. Of course, when support ends, the device still works, although services begin to get shut down. One of those services is the Windows Store. As Microsoft announced in October, the Store for Windows Phone 8.1 is shutting down today, and you can no longer download apps.
The apps you have will continue to work, but if you do a factory reset on your phone, you won't be able to get them back. The only way to continue getting apps on your phone is to upgrade it to Windows 10 Mobile.
That's another issue though, because you actually need an app to get the update, at least the over-the-air update. When Microsoft launched Windows 10 Mobile, it did it for a small subset of devices, mainly those that launched with Windows Phone 8.1 rather than those that upgraded from Windows Phone 8. And it never notified users that there was an upgrade available. You had to know about it, and seek it out yourself by downloading the Upgrade Advisor app.
Luckily, there's a way to still get Windows 10 Mobile, assuming that your phone is supported for the upgrade. You can use the Over-the-Cable Updater tool that Microsoft provides.
Windows 10 Mobile, of course, isn't supported either, but at least you'll have more working services. Most phones that are upgradeable will be able to get up to the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update (version 1607), with the exception of the Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL, which will land on the Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update (version 1703).
Microsoft was supposed to end support for all versions of the OS this month, but it inexplicably extended support for a month at the last minute. This doesn't apply to devices that shipped with Windows Phone 8.1 though, as none of them were eligible for Windows 10 Mobile version 1709.
By Rich Woods
It's finally dead: Windows 10 Mobile is no longer supported after today
by Rich Woods
Windows phone is dead. This time, it's not figuratively dead, as the narrative has often been. As of today, Windows 10 Mobile version 1709, the final version of the OS, is no longer supported. The last update arrives today as part of this month's batch of Patch Tuesday updates.
Windows Phone began its life in 2010, or at least in the modern form. Windows Phone 7 was, of course, preceded by Windows Mobile, Zune, Pocket PC, and Windows CE. The company celebrated by famously throwing a mock funeral for the iPhone.
In April 2012, Nokia released the flagship Lumia 900, proudly exclaiming that the smartphone beta test is over. By September of that same year, Microsoft released Windows Phone 8, Nokia released the Lumia 920, and the Lumia 900 never got the update, just like the rest of the Windows Phone 7 lineup.
The Lumia 920 seemed to have a hot start, being called Engadget's 2012 Smartphone of the Year. It introduced a PureView camera to the Windows Phone ecosystem, with optical image stabilization. Of course, Windows Phone 8 was probably in its prime when Nokia released the Lumia 1020 in July 2013, which had a 41-megapixel PureView camera, introducing the idea of oversampling. It took the 41MP image and oversampled it down to 5MP, and it kept that big image as a backup, in case you ever wanted to crop it without losing quality.
Later that year was when the Lumia 1520 was announced, and it was the first smartphone with a quad-core processor. Up until that point, Windows Phone has only supported dual-core processors, namely the Snapdragon S4; meanwhile, Android handsets had been using the quad-core Snapdragon 800 for months. That launch event was also where Microsoft announced games like Temple Run 2 and Asphalt 8 were coming to the platform, games that were seemingly past their prime even then. And it also announced social media apps like Instagram and Vine; however, Instagram would never come out of beta until much later, when Windows 10 Mobile launched and it produced a UWP app.
The new quad-core minimum specs on Windows Phone were a precursor to Windows Phone 8.1, which launched in April 2014. The supported chipsets were the Snapdragon 200, 400, and 800. It was just months after Satya Nadella took over as CEO from Steve Ballmer, and the same month that Microsoft finalized its acquisition of Nokia's device's and services division.
Windows Phone 8.1 saw another wide array of devices, most of which were made by Nokia (now Microsoft, although the phones were still branded Nokia for a while). There was also the HTC One M8 for Windows, which was in itself a somewhat exciting handset, since it was the first to have identical hardware to an Android counterpart. For the first time, consumers could walk into a store, choose a device, and pick the OS they wanted.
It was that September when Microsoft announced Windows 10, except it didn't announce a version for phones. This might have been the first writing on the wall that the platform was doomed, that Microsoft would forever prioritize the desktop over mobile, in a world where Apple and Google were willing to do the exact opposite.
At a January 2015 event, Microsoft went more into detail on Windows 10, finally announcing Windows 10 Mobile. Moreover, it promised that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for anyone running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1. Naturally, many were excited to hear about the upgrade path that they were denied from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8.
Except it didn't happen like that. Windows 10 for PCs launched on July 29, 2015, but every other Windows 10 platform, such as Xbox and phone, was promised for November. Windows 10 version 1511 was going to be the true Windows 10 release. That October, Microsoft held a big hardware event in New York City, where it announced the Microsoft Band 2, the Surface Pro 4, the first Surface Book, the Lumia 550, the Lumia 950, and the Lumia 950 XL.
Those three handsets were the first three Windows 10 Mobile devices, and they launched that November. At that point, the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 devices seemed imminent, but it wasn't. Windows 10 Mobile upgrades didn't actually begin shipping until March 17, 2016.
What made matters worse is that it was for a small subset of the devices that Terry Myerson had promised onstage. Essentially, any device that still had a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor wasn't supported by the new OS. Microsoft hadn't warned anyone that it would break its promise of an upgrade for all Windows Phone 8.1 devices. It simply published a list that very day.
Unfortunately, this update didn't just roll out either. You had to download an app to your Windows Phone 8.1 device and opt into the upgrade. No one ever got a notification that Windows 10 Mobile was available to them. You had to find out about it on your own, and then seek it out on your own.
The next update was the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update, which shipped in August 2016. For those devices that came from Windows Phone 8.1, this was the final feature update, with the exception of the Lumia 640 and 640 XL, two devices that were championed as being "built for Windows 10", despite having a Snapdragon 400 chipset and 1GB RAM like the Lumia 635, 735, and 830.
At this time though, Microsoft was still announcing new features. While the Lumia 650 that launched earlier in the year was the last Lumia, it was going to be incumbent on third-party OEMs to make devices, rather than Microsoft drowning its own ecosystem with first-party handsets.
HP had taken the wraps off of its Elite x3 earlier that year at Mobile World Congress, and it shipped that fall. Heralded as a "superphone", it was meant to be a three-in-one PC, that could be your phone, a laptop, and a desktop, using Microsoft's Continuum feature and a range of accessories that HP sold. It was also the first Windows phone with the Snapdragon 820 chipset.
On November 1, Alcatel announced the IDOL 4S with Windows 10, and that ended up being the last one. The Snapdragon 820-powered handset actually came with a virtual reality headset, along with a glass back and a metal frame.
Up until early 2017 though, fans still believed that Windows 10 Mobile was still happening. A company called WhartonBrooks tried to crowdfund a Windows phone, the Cerulean Moment, but the plan ultimately failed in a big way.
Then came the Windows 10 Creators Update, or version 1703. It was actually the last full feature update for Windows 10 Mobile. After that, Insider Preview builds started coming from a new 'feature2' branch. Many expected that after a time, it would be merged with the Redstone 3 branch like its PC counterpart, or that Windows 10 Mobile was simply skipping an update, thinking that Microsoft had something bigger and better planned for Redstone 4.
That wasn't the case though. Windows 10 feature2 ended up being version 1709, and it was the final feature update for Windows 10 Mobile. In fact, it wasn't until around that time that Microsoft actually said that it wasn't focusing on phones anymore. But it never came through an official channel, only a tweet from Joe Belfiore. This news came just two months after Belfiore also tweeted about how much Microsoft loves Windows phones.
That final version of the OS is getting its final update today, and if you're still using it, it's time to move on. Microsoft is still going to be making phones; after all, it just announced one. However, the dual-screen Surface Duo runs Android, and it's coming in the holiday season of next year.
Moving forward, your device will still work, and in fact, it will actually be as secure as it would normally be until next month's Patch Tuesday. You can even still upgrade your Windows Phone 8.1 device to Windows 10 Mobile, at least for the next few days. As noted above, you do need an app to do it, and the Windows Phone 8.1 Store will be shut down on Monday, December 16. While the Windows 10 Mobile Store will continue to work, it's only a matter of time until apps' minimum requirements are higher than the build number of Windows 10 Mobile version 1709.
Microsoft also recently announced the end of life dates for its Office UWP apps, which will continue to be available until January 12, 2021. Obviously, Office for iOS and Android will continue to work, since those are really the platforms that you should be using at this point.