Verizon is a bad company doing bad things

[Op-Ed]Rumored new Nexus program full of question marks and probably bad news for Verizon customers

There was some troubling info floating around the internets in the last few days; most notably this report from the ArsTechnica, wherein Verizon has basically admitted to doing “Verizon” things.  While the current FCC chair is very interested in making net neutrality a thing of the past, it is still the law of the land for now.  And under it, Verizon’s blatant throttling of a service like Netflix is in violation of it.

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[News] Verizon brings back unlimited data plans

Yes, you read the headline correctly and yes, you are seeing this logo correctly.  As most readers of our site will know, both Sean P. and I both have a well earned disdain for the largest mobile carrier in the U.S. and aren’t afraid to let it show.  One of our biggest criticisms was their forced migration of customers off of old school unlimited data plans.  As of Monday, things done changed.

One of the reasons I left Verizon (after many years) was because of their borderline harassment of those people including myself who had legacy unlimited data plans – because it was very much in favor of the consumer, and not the giant mega-corporation.  Out of nowhere and to many people’s surprise, Verizon made an announcement over the weekend that “you asked – we listened” and were bringing back the option to have a plan that offers “unlimited” data.  I put unlimited in quotes because there are a few restrictions on the plans – both Droid-Life and Android Police did a pretty good and thorough write up on what to expect if you are looking into one of these newly offered plans.  To get the skinny, look here for the DL review and here for the AP one.

Check those out, and check out the newest episode of the Silicon Theory podcast as well!

[Op-Ed] Why people (including me) love to hate Verizon

For a while now Verizon Wireless has been the only game in town where I live.  Back in the day, I tried T-Mobile and AT&T and their networks weren’t mature enough at the time to compete from a voice and 3G data standpoint.  Then of course came the 4G LTE tech and the data usage explosion, which only widened the gap between Verizon and their competition even further.  By the time both other major companies (no one really uses Sprint anymore, do they?) leveraged enough funds to increase their network infrastructure, I was already happy with my grandfathered unlimited 3G to 4G data plan.  I mean, come on…unlimited is unlimited, right?  And then came the real deciding factor – both AT&T and Verizon decided to stop offering unlimited data packages in favor of tiered data, and my choice was made for me: if I wanted to keep my existing unlimited data plan, I was going to be on Verizon for the foreseeable future.

Those like me who revel in their unlimited data plans are something of a dying breed, and many choose to leave Verizon rather than pay full price for new phones and keep their plans.  Others find ways to make it work, using a variety of tricks to beat the system and get their phones at a subsidized price while holding onto their unlimited data with a death grip.  And while Verizon hasn’t closed down all of these loopholes (yet) they surely don’t make it easy for you or allow you to go back once a change has been made.

This is why it came as such as surprise when on the weekend of 09/27/13, a computer glitch with Verizon’s online system was discovered which allowed users to upgrade their phones and KEEP their unlimited 4G LTE data plan – for another 2 years.  This wasn’t supposed to be possible, but here it was.  At first it was one report, then another, and another, and then floods of people were confirming that it was true via most of the major tech blogs and website.  Loads of folks took advantage; most with the expectation that at some point the error would be discovered and subsequently cancelled – sending things back to the way they were before.  Only they didn’t.  And when on 09/30/13 Verizon released a statement saying they would honor the upgrades and allow the users to keep their unlimited plans, the surprise transformed to jaw dropping shock.

But, as always…when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Some users went to stores and got their phones without trouble, some went and had to escalate to a manager, using internet links as proof, still others got flat out denied.  Most of these latter and many of those who ordered online were being forced onto 2GB data plans, which (of course) defeated the purpose of upgrading and keeping unlimited data to begin with.  Some Note 3 pre-orders arrived with the 2GB changes on the invoice, and Sean was one of these – but after talking to a rep, he got back his unlimited and got a $90 credit as well; not too shabby.  The moral of this story; any company as large as Verizon is going to have a hard time communicating any policy exceptions to everyone. Even if those policy exceptions are a result of their own error.
And herein is the source of the so-called “hate” that many of us, and I put myself on that list, feel towards the nations largest wireless carrier.  We want them to be something more than what they actually are: which is a publicly traded company that is always going to put its profits before its customers.  We want them to understand our needs as consumers, empathize with our desire to want the best phones on the best network, and reward us for our loyalty over the years (for me, its been over 10 years) and give us a little something back.  Instead, time and again, they make baffling business decisions and consistently choose the path that leads towards increased profits and away from consumer interests.  I love my G2, and I love having unlimited data with it.  But when (and not if) the time comes for Verizon to finally take away my unlimited data, I’ll be sure to return them the same loyalty they’ve shown to me all these years – none at all.  

[Rumor] Is this benchmark for the Verizon Galaxy S4?

A recent benchmark showed up for a smartphone with the device ID “SCH-I545” – this just may be the latest flagship from Samsung, the Galaxy S4.  The Galaxy S3 for Verizon bore a device ID of “SCH-I535” and several other Samsung smartphones have similar code names on Verizon as well.

As you can see from the bench mark, we’d expect this phone to sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a full 1080p display, and the Adreno 320 GPU.  The Samsung event is scheduled for 03/14/13, and no doubt it will be one of the most hyped events of the year for tech enthusiasts.

*Source:  Droid-Life

[News] Verizon Galaxy Note 2’s bootloader unlocked

Now this news will probably not mean much to a lot of folks, but for those precious few Android enthusiasts who enjoy “modding” their phones…this is a great day.  The good folks over at XDA Developers have found an exploit that allows the bootloader of the Verizon Galaxy Note 2 to be unlocked.  This allows for a variety of custom options to be flashed onto the device, including a custom recovery, kernels, and ROMs.  If you’re like me and have a desire to always tinker with your device, the Galaxy Note 2 (already a great smartphone) just got a little better.

This link to the chaps over at Droid-Life includes some more info, along with the video on how its done.  You might want to make a “Note” of it if you are thinking about picking up this phone and messing around with it.

*Source:  Droid-Life

[News] Verizon Galaxy Note 2 to go on sale tomorrow

The day many have longed for has come…the Galaxy Note 2 will be available for purchase through Verizon Wireless starting tomorrow, November 29th.  If you’re jonesing for the largest, most powerful smartphone/tablet/phablet on the market with LTE on board, wait no more.

Pricing will likely depend on whether or not you on on or off contract, but with a new 2 year agreement you can pick this one up at Big Red’s stores for $299.  As Mr. Plunkett has already made his purchase, expect an in-depth review of this magical device coming soon from the Two Tech Geeks!

*Source:  BGR

[News] HTC Droid DNA launches on Verizon, pre-orders begin today

Well folks…its officially official.  The HTC Droid DNA will launch on Verizon on November 21, 2012, with pre-orders via the Verizon website beginning today.  The device will be a nifty $199 with a new 2 year agreement.  Cutting edge specs and a 1080p screen make this thing a beast…the only thing that remains to be seen is how well the 2020mAh battery holds up powering the quad core processor and the 5 inch screen.  HTC claims 10 hours of moderate use – I’m looking to see more info from folks who’ve had a chance to review the phone in depth.  If you are on Verizon, and looking for the best of the best in an Android device, check it out in your local Verizon store.  Or go to Verizon

The full press release is copied below.

DROID DNA by HTC Introduced as The Ultimate Smartphone — Available Exclusively From Verizon Wireless

The first full HD 1080p display with the highest pixel density of any smartphone also features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor, Verizon Wireless 4G LTE and HTC Sense 4+ with Android Jelly Bean

BELLEVUE, Wash., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — HTC Corporation, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, and Verizon Wireless today announced the exclusive DROID DNA by HTC, the ultimate smartphone and the first with a full HD 1080p display. The DROID DNA by HTC will be available exclusively through Verizon Wireless through pre-order starting today and at retail stores nationwide Wednesday, November 21st.
“It’s no secret that people depend on their smartphones more and more every day which rightfully raises expectations for performance, speed, and design. The DROID DNA by HTC embodies a smartphone that pushes the envelope in all of these areas with the first true 1080p HD display, latest quad-core processor, and Verizon’s 4G LTE network, all wrapped in a beautifully crafted design,” said Jason Mackenzie, president, HTC Corporation. “The DROID DNA by HTC is sure to top wish lists this holiday season.”
The Ultimate Smartphone
With technology rivaling the latest HD TV’s, the DROID DNA by HTC is the first smartphone to feature a true 1080p HD super LCD 3 display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2 protection. It boasts an extraordinary 440 pixels per inch (PPI) on a 5-inch screen for unprecedented in-hand HD experiences that delivers the maximum pixel clarity available on a smartphone.
Designed to accentuate the incredible display, the deep black, soft-touch back is understated, with the exception of a metallic red camera bezel, while the red microgrill pattern of the sidewalls hint at the phone’s DROID heritage and the power inside. The beautifully crafted smartphone feels thinner than other devices of a similar size as the edges of the curved back taper to a mere 4mm for a comfortable feel in the hand or pocket.
The Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ S4 Pro processor, featuring a quad-core 1.5 GHz CPU and high-performance GPU, paired with America’s largest 4G LTE network from Verizon Wireless and a full 2G of RAM enable the seamless use of multiple apps simultaneously. With HTC Sense® 4+ and Android™ 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean), you get great software experiences including Google Now. HTC Sense 4+ offers a wealth of easy-to-use and customizable features bringing highly sought after personalization to your phone and placing the most important content front and center. A series of intelligent features powered by HTC Sense 4+ also provides a number of improvements to the camera.
Amazing Camera
The DROID DNA by HTC has a world-class camera that delivers fast image capture, great images even in low-light and an easy interface to capture stills and video. With an 8-megapixel f/2.0 28mm wide-angle lens, 5-level automatic flash, backside illuminated sensor (BSI), and superfast autofocus, you’ll capture amazing moments without the worry of missing a single one. Instead of choosing between photos and video, HTC VideoPic™ allows you to capture video and still images at the same time. And by simply holding the shutter button, Continuous Shooting takes multiple photos at up to four frames per second to catch all the action.
It also includes a new best-in-class 2.1-megapixel, f/2.0, 88-degree, ultra-wide angle, front-facing camera that allows more to be captured in self-portraits, and up to four people for group shots. Auto Portrait makes it easier to take photos of yourself and your friends with automatic face detection and a countdown timer so you can focus on your pose and not the shutter button. Capable of capturing 1080p HD video, the front-facing camera also provides a sharper picture during video chat.
Authentic Sound
The DROID DNA by HTC has a unique, 2.55-volt, built-in headset amplifier and dedicated amp for the external rear-speaker to help boost the audio signal to deliver crystal clear sound with less distortion, even at maximum volume. The combination of amplified hardware and the rich, authentic, studio-quality sound of Beats Audio™ allows music to be heard the way the artist intended, and enhances the sound quality while playing games or watching video.
Additional Features
The DROID DNA by HTC is equipped with a 2,020 mAh battery and power saving software that enables long-lasting endurance. In addition, the embedded wireless charging makes it easy and convenient to top off power throughout the day or fully charge overnight, simply by setting the phone down. Finally, with near field communication (NFC), you can use the DROID DNA by HTC to share music and videos, add someone to your social networks, or download apps by tapping other NFC-enabled devices.
The DROID DNA by HTC will be available exclusively from Verizon Wireless through a pre-order starting today at, and in-stores nationwide beginning Wednesday, November 21st for $199.99 with a two-year customer agreement.

[News] Joint Verizon and HTC event announced for November 13th

New York city has been hard hit recently, but that apparently isn’t going to stop Verizon and HTC from announcing a joint venture at 11:00am on November 13th (Tuesday, a week from today) there.  The best guess so far is the “official” outing of the HTC “DLX” which apparently will debut on Big Red as the HTC Droid DNA (perhaps the single most cheesy name for a mobile phone, ever).

What’s not cheesy is the specs on this monster – not the least of which is that 5 inch 1080p resolution display.  For more details on the rumored HTC superphone that we loved calling the Deluxe, go here.

More pics below – but I guess we’ll all be waiting for next Tuesday’s official unveiling.

[News] Two new color options for Galaxy S3 on Verizon

Photo courtesy of

For those who have read the 2012 Holiday Smartphone Guide (and if you haven’t, check it out here) you know that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the best Android phones out on the market today.  If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, and shopping for a new smartphone, you now have 2 new color options of this powerful phone to choose from – black and what can only be loving described as wood grain brown.

Both of these color variants come with 16GB of internal storage, not the 32GB options that the white and pebble blue options come in.  But if that doesn’t concern you, give them a look.

You can get over to Verizon Wireless via the link here, which will take you to the black version.  If you’d prefer the brown instead, simply click the button below the image (caution – the button looks red to me, but will actually select the “Amber Brown” color.)

*Source:  Droid-Life

[News] Verizon releases Jelly Bean update to its Galaxy Nexus owners

As of this morning, there are reports that some users of the LTE Galaxy Nexus are receiving an OTA update of their phones from Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) to Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.1), labeled as version JRO03O.  If you are one of the (likely) very few non-rooted, non-custom ROM users, this may be significant news to you.  With the addition of Google NOW, and a host of speed and smoothness enhancements, Jelly Bean is the best version of Android yet.

So if you’re stock, keep checking that “system update” button.  If you aren’t stock, and want to see what all the fuss is about….well, you’ll have to flash back to stock ICS, and then wait for the update from there to get the goods.  If you’re like me (rooted and custom ROM) you’ll probably just yawn and move along.  So there you go!