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US Cellular blog including device reviews, apps, and leaked information!

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snodrog742

ZTE Imperial

blog-0441906001370889407.jpgFirst off, thanks to Engadget for the info. Sometimes you just can't be first with the info!

Now, it looks like US Cellular is listening to some point. They are bringing more budget-minded phones. With that though comes the lower specs, as usual. I present to you, the....

ZTE Imperial

Let's look at the specs:

  • 4-inch 480x800 display
  • Android 4.1
  • 1.2 GHz single-core processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4GB of built-in memory
  • 2,5000 mAh battery.
  • 5-megapixel rear-facing camera
  • microSD slot

We all are definitely in agreement that this is no powerhouse device as well as depends on your opinion of ZTE. They are pretty new to the US Cellular scene but this will be the third device they've released in such a short time. No word on pricing yet but it is rumored to be launching this coming week! What do you all think? Maybe a good introductory device for someone? Let us know below!

Source: Engadget

snodrog742

You got it folks, yet another rumor for US Cellular LTE devices has been pointed out to us.

With all the leaked photos and rumored devices is a great time to be a US Cellular subscriber.

Earlier we brought you the HTC Kingdom/Hero S and now we have this ..

schr930.jpg

By the looks of this screenshot, Samsung's SCH-R930 could be the smartphone to help christen U.S. Cellular's LTE network. We don't know much about the phone itself; it received its WiFi certification back in June, and has also been cleared by the Bluetooth SIG. Presumably, we're looking at an Android device, and other Samsung smartphones with similar model numbers reinforce the picture of an Android on a non-major carrier. The R910, for instance, is the Samsung Indulge on MetroPCS LTE, the R915 the Indulge on Cricket, and the R920 is a MetroPCS model we've spotted taking test pics.

We don't have any details on when this specific model might arrive, but presumably plans are still on-track for an end-of-year LTE launch.

uscelllte.jpg

Source: http://pocketnow.com/smartphone-news/first-us-cellular-lte-smartphone-revealed

dBuster

It was broke a while back, or maybe it was just a forum thread that I read here, but it was read about a WI-FI device small enough to carry in your pocket and provide you with your own private portable cloud like storage. This little device is handy but still requires additional cabling for charging the device but it allowed you to possible carry up to 192GB with the base 64GB unit expanded with a micro SD card...

Fast forward to today

Introducing now the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive!

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Yes this is all in one! charges by plugging it into a USB port, no additional cable required. But this model is at this time not expandable. But seriously, 64GB of storage space, isn't that enough? At least for starters. ;) Now if you Google this device and look at the images one would believe it is a micro SD card adapter with Wi-Fi abilities. I have yet to see in person one that opens to expose a micro SD card. Granted the one I did see in person I didn't get a whole lot of hands on time to explore but it very well could have had that slot.

You might be thinking, what do I need this for when there are devices like the Dual USB flash drives out there now. Well lets just say your out and about somewhere, do you really want to plug a USB flash drive into your device risking damaging the port if it is bumped in the wrong way? With this device you connect wireless and you don't even have to pull it out of your pocket or purse. Yes you would have to turn it on but no need to plug it in.

There are limits to this device as there is with any device. Only 4 hours of wireless connectivity per charge on this unit versus 8 hours with the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive. The Flash drives are not expandable like the media drive. But the Overview to me is impressive:

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive instantly adds up to 64 GB of storage space to your iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, and Android™ device. Portable and easy to use, the drive gives you wireless mobile access to your movies, photos, music, and documents. You can wirelessly connect up to 8 devices and stream media to as many as 3 devices simultaneously--without the need for an Internet connection. The drive's battery recharges via USB and offers up to 4 hours of continuous streaming on a single charge

Now it mentions up to 4 hours of continuous streaming but it doesn't answer if that is continuous on time or can the charge be extended by turning the Wi-Fi off when not needed. If I were using one of these I wouldn't leave the Wi-Fi on all the time, especially out and about where I would want to hopefully conserve battery life.

With the ability to share files now with NFC this device also lets you do the same thing with friends and family by sharing via a wireless connection instead of the NFC connection, quite honestly, with the latest Android update 4.4.2 the wife and I can only transfer one file at a time using the NFC. Whereas with this wireless flash drive I could upload multiple files to it as she is then downloading the multiple files.

When connected to your computer using the USB port the speed of the transferring is only at the USB 2.0 rates. Size wise between the two wireless media devices from SanDisk they are both very portable and concealable.

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SanDisk does also provide wonderful support for these devices and even has "How-To" tutorials on how to set it up, secure the wireless connection, stream and a basic getting started videos.

I can see this being in my inventory in the near future! As more and more devices are being made without the removable storage micro SD card this is a wonderful option to expand your storage abilities.

WinPhan7

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It's funny how a blog starts. I was actually writing a post for the forum and realized it would be better addressed in more detail. So here goes! One of the drawbacks of Windows Phone through USCC is the lack of choice in models. My hope is that with encouragement from us as customers, that USCC will fully buy into the WP7 platform. From USCC's perspective I can understand why, with limited choices of OEMs available and a low smartphone US market share, the WP7 may not seem appealing enough to invest efforts towards. Up to this point it didn't matter, as Blackberry had a strong US market share in smartphones and offered desirable devices. There have been a lot of changes to mobile platforms that have happened over the past year in the battle for smartphone supremacy, and a lot more lined up for 2012. This time it appears Blackberry is last to show up to the dinner table. It also feels as though US Cellular has gone stagnant in its efforts to grow if the topic isn't involving Android. USCC is going to have to broaden the view in order to survive the large company mergers.

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All indicators point to there being a rapid and massive shift in the smartphone ecosystem! There are in fact quite a few OEMs producing the WP7 platform now. HTC, Samsung, LG, Dell have produced the WP7 from its start. Nokia, Acer, Fujitsu, Sony and ZTE are now being made too. Nokia is set to arrive in early 2012, rumored to have 4G LTE. Their first full update has gone superb, and they have 2 more in the works codenamed Tango and Apollo. This is a company who is moving forward, and quickly! In order for the WP7 to have any true shot at surviving with USCC, USCC is going to have to offer more than just 1 model at a time to it loyal customers. I know that many of us because of our locations are US Cellular customers, loyal ones at that. I would like to think we matter as customers, but I'm honest with myself. USCC is a company and money makes sense!

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It is not realistic to try and say that either the BlackBerry or the WP7 is going to replace the Android for USCC. It is realistic however to know that you wont survive in this economy without diversity, so a second platform will always be needed to drive the first. RIM(Blackberry) has really come across some hard times and has given up a major foothold on the US market share, falling from 24% last year all the way down to 9% currently. The lack of new devices and the service outage to customers has only worsened their falling stock prices, which has hit a 6 year low at $18.77/share. Their newly touted QNX platform will only be available for their tablets, when it does become available. With all of these reasons, there has been inside rumblings from the top share holders that staff change may be called for. They are headed the wrong way.

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Windows Phone is headed in the right direction. Microsoft is throwing huge amounts of money into advertising the updated 7.5 devices, reintroducing what people didn't know WP7 had done this past year. They are offering much better training and support to companies to better represent their WP7 devices. A couple months back WP7 finally offered up the blueprints to devs to let them start bringing in all the most wanted apps from all platforms. The results have been great with more and more apps. With 40,000 apps WP7 Marketplace already has more apps up to this point than Android did in the same time frame. WP7 has heard the complaints and is reacting every time in the most positive fashion. With USCC saying it isn't going to carry the iPhone, the obvious choice is for USCC to take serious advantage of the Windows Phone movement. Like I said before, US Cellular is a company first, and money makes sense! It's time for them to jump on board and advertise the Windows Phone line. You spend some money, and that makes you some money. That's what they do. Put a picture and some information about the phone on the home page of the website, send a flier to current customers, yell from the hills, whatever just start doing something!!

I think with better marketing and better in store sales support, people will find a natural like for the new WP7, as many aspects of the Android do indeed come from Microsoft. Certain OEM's running the Android platform pay $5 in royalties per phone sold because of many patent infringements. It just hasn't been shown correctly to the customers is my honest belief. And with Blackberry on its way out of the smartphone battle, this leaves WP7! I am hopeful!

smpark3

They just didn't make a big deal about it.

With new phones launching like the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, it would be hard to make a big deal about this low tier phone.

Back in July, an anonymous tipster tipped TUSCC with a list of phones that would be launching in the second half of 2012. One of those phones, to be launched in September, was to run Windows 7.5 (Tango). With two days left in the month, USCC has quietly listed the ZTE Render as now being available via US Cellular’s webpage for $80 (after $100 mail-in-rebate).

For those holding out for Windows 8 (maybe a certain Nokia made one), I suggest heading over to the forums and continuing your windows discussions. The ZTE Render will not be upgradable to full Windows 8, but there is mention of an upgrade to 7.8 that will add core capabilities such as an updated start screen.

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Here are the specs:

  • 4.0” WVGA Capacitive Touchscreen
  • 1Ghz Processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB onboard storage
  • 5.0 MP rear camera
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Office Hub (view, edit and share documents)
  • SkyDrive access with 7gb of storage
  • Weight: 4.82 oz.

For those thinking of entering the world of Windows mobile operating system, this low cost, entry level alternative may be just what you are looking for. Those enthusiasts, that enjoy the latest and greatest, this phone is about as exciting as my Saturday night. Like USCC’s announcement, this article is being slipped in under the cover of darkness on a weekend.

WinPhan7

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Yesterday, Windows Phone users were given more reason to rejoice. In the frenzy to play catch up with Android and iOS, Microsoft has been busy wooing devs to build apps and games. Some signs would be the recent announcement of 27 new EA Games on the way. Microsoft has also been busy preparing to release some of their big hitters on the XBox 360 to the Windows Phone platform. XBox Live’s Major Nelson announced the schedule and prices on the upcoming 2012 Must Have Games Promotion for Windows Phone. Some are currently available on the Android and iPhone and others will be exclusive to the Windows Phone. These first 5 games of many to come will begin showing up in the Windows Phone Marketplace beginning February 1st.

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NEED FOR SPEED HOT PURSUIT(EA Games)

Available: 2/1/12

Cost: $4.99

Feel the rush of the escape and the thrill of the takedown! 20 performance cars, 24 day and night tracks, 48 cop and racer career events, collect bounty, and rise to the top of the ranks.

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BULLET ASYLUM(Microsoft Studios)

Available: 2/8/12

Cost: $2.99

Annihilate invaders in this insane arcade shooter. Classic gameplay with next-generation visuals and mechanics. Vibrant graphics that will blow you away

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CHICKENS CAN’T FLY(Microsoft Game Studios)

Available: 2/15/12

Cost: $2.99

Conduct experiments and answer questions. Fall dawn pits, avoid obstacles, use power ups and downs, and gather corn. Use your skills in Survival Mode and show off your scores on global and XBox leaderboards.

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SPLINTER CELL CONVICTION(Gameloft)

Available: 2/22/12

Cost: $4.99

You’re Sam Fisher, skilled Special Forces operative who now is a renegade spy in a fight to get his daughter back. Follow a trail of intrigue from Iraq all the way to Washington, D.C.

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TOY SOLDIERS: BOOT CAMP(Microsoft Studios)

Available: 2/29/12

Cost: $2.99

Defend your house from houseflies as a pint sized anti-aircraft gunner with a flyswatter. Guide your missile through rotating holes. Earn bragging rights through the integrated mobile learderboard.

Fortunately the games will go on sale after a moment in the Marketplace as other MUST HAVE games in the following weeks are released.

Lastly for this post, this week’s XBox Live title release for Thursday. Making its way into the Marketplace this week is a game called FRAGGER, a game Android users may be familiar with. Launch grenades to explode all your enemies. It comes with XBox Live achievements to unlock. It will feature in-app purchasing of grenades and other goodies. This is a feature that is finally showing up in the WP Marketplace. While this isn’t a Freemium game, as it costs $2.99 it does offer the ability to purchase goodies for the game. BUG VILLAGE, which made its way to the Marketplace last week, is the first true Freemium game for the Windows Phone. The game is free to download, but you can purchase items to enhance the game experience.

You can download BUG VILLAGE & FRAGGER directly from the Marketplace to your phone following the links below:

BUG VILLAGE:

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRftbmTUJJRTauJ5cFzstir5Ip7MPhYMfWAyXZjVyA0HLI1OUGV

http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=bda167be-7b65-49f0-9f3a-daddfdb0e4b6

FRAGGER

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT2KpCRJooCbD_5sMU4X1RfRZ8X38-Hakj2MGhFODn0ZVzGSNKC

http://windowsphone.com/s?appid=1cfac08c-6827-4e06-8985-84312e297a36

 

snodrog742

blog-0135477001363741769.jpgYes, yes, you read right my furry (errr, awkward) little Windows Phone (WinPhan's?) enthusiasts! I believe I finally have something to wet your palates and settle the ravaging beast inside of you! I'm pretty sure this is actually my first story reporting anything Windows Phone related! On with the news... err, rumor.

This actually comes from a regular chap just like you and I. No employee tip, no insider info, but a pretty good gut feeling that they are correct. You all wanted a Windows Phone 8 device, right? Well, it sounds like you are FINALLY being heard! An employee was spotted sporting a Windows Phone 8 today in a store! Not many details other than the size was comparable to a Samsung Axiom and along the same specs they were told. Running with those specs I did some infamous "Googling" and can only speculate that it is the....

Samsung Odyssey

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  • 4.0" Super AMOLED Display
  • 1.5 GHz dual core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • 2100 mAh battery

All of those are pretty comparable to the Samsung Axiom but still a little better specs. As well as the obvious, Windows OS!

What do you think? Is this Windows Phone 8 enough for you or were you expecting a higher end device? Will you give it a try or stick with Android? Let us know your thoughts below!

Badger48

blog-0652197001345314794.jpgSo news is starting to come out about Nokia's Windows Phone 8 phone, and if it sounds as good as advertised, I pray to the telecom gods that U.S. Cellular gets their hands on it.

Before we get into it, I know US Cellular doesn't have a great track record with Windows phones so far. For Windows Phone 7 there was only 1 option (HTC 7 Pro) and from what I've heard and from my own experiences, the employees and agents weren't pressed too hard to learn about it or sell it. It was a great phone and has had tons of good reviews, it just never gained the traction. Plus they haven't dropped the price in, uh, ever?

To U.S. Cellular: WTH!! If you aren't selling this phone much, drop the price so those who want it will buy it outside of contract upgrades and can help spread the word! Sometimes I wonder if your marketing team should focus less on Facebook and more on research and Marketing 101 classes

Anyways, back on track.... 8)

So with Nokia appearing to be set to announce their new phone on Sept. 5th I am tenatively hoping that U.S. Cellular will give us Windows phone fans some redemption. The Nokia "Lumia 1000" (I'm stealing CNET author Jessica Dolcourt's name for it) sounds like a great phone!

Her guesses / assumptions about the phone are below. She wrote a great article over on the CNET.com Dialed In page that I am getting most of this from. Also check out our poll and let us know what your thoughts are on purchasing this phone if USCC is able to offer it.

And remember, corrections/info are always welcome, and keep the comments friendly :D

(I will update this if more specs become available.)

Design:

- Will most likely match the Nokia Lumia 900 (see photo with the article).

- Might (*should) have an slot for a microSD card).

Specs:

- 4G LTE

- "Qualcomm's dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor" :: This already powers the Samsung Galaxy S III so I see no reason it will not be working for a USCC version of a Nokia phone, although this depends on if they go with a top end or mid-low end phone

Photo: The new Windows Phone start screen on a Nokia Lumia 900.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Read more: http://www.cnet.com/.../#ixzz23vFYyntx

John Vincent

blog-0051501001340986981.pngPC Magazine today reported that US Cellular has told them they will be carrying Windows Phone 8 phones in the fall when the OS releases. Said US Cellular,

"We believe in giving our customers the latest technology and device options and we are excited about the Windows 8 phone. It will be an important part of our device lineup going forward."

The article also mentions that WP8 will support LTE, so that’s important for US Cellular. Personally I think it will be important for US Cellular to pick up an extra platform, especially on the heels of Research In Motion’s announcement yesterday that BlackBerry 10 will be pushed back to Q1 of 2013. It will be important for US Cellular to have a platform for the “business set” who don’t necessarily want to use Android.

Obviously no word on what manufacturers we’ll see here on USCC. I was impressed by HTC’s Titan, and would be interested in seeing a device of that size. Hopefully we’ll get more than one option, like we had with the HTC Pro 7. But what do our readers think? Will this news give anyone pause on upgrading to something like the Galaxy S 3? If I knew exactly what kind of model we'd be seeing, I'd give thought to canceling my preorder. I might have to play with upgrades come December!

Source:

PC Magazine

Hat tip to smpark3

in the forums

ForzaManny

U.S. Cellular has gone on record supporting Windows Phone 8 Devices. If reports about HTC not offering the HTC 8S in the U.S are accurate, then this really does leave us scratching our heads.

We first expected US Cellular to launch the HTC 8S during Q4 of this year after internal documents revealed it as tentatively being released before the years end.

However, If this story posted on Engadget is correct.... Then USC is not launching the 8S - No one is in the US at least.

Having gone on record as supporting windows phone 8, what phone will USC be launching?

Currently, Samsung, HTC, and Nokia are the companies pushing Windows Phone 8 with American Carriers. We all know ATT has an exclusivity on the 920 from Nokia, Verizon has an exclusivity on the 822 CDMA version.

That leaves us with HTC and Samsung as potential partners. Are we getting the 8X? Has U.S. Cellular actually made a great decision for its customers and went high end with the Windows Phone 8 Signature Phone?

As hopeful as i am, I highly doubt it.

USC seems to be on a Samsung shopping spree lately, adding no less than 8 new Samsung phones to this years line up, more than any other manufactures phones.

Could the Samsung ATIV be on the cards for USC?

Mums the word for now.

We have gotten word straight from the horses mouth that USC WILL launch WP8 in Q1 of 2013.

Let us be hopeful its the 8X or the Galaxy ATIV

TechFan5

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Just like most consumers when shopping for any type of goods or services, I want the best product, the best service and at the best price. That includes cell phone service. For more than four years I was a Sprint customer. We initially started with two lines that eventually climbed to five due to a growing family. I can honestly say that for 3-plus years of that time I was extremely happy with the service. That included the last two years with a ground breaking and all-around amazing phone – the HTC EVO. But, that satisfied customer experience began to dissolve away last fall. We began having reception problems in places we had never had problems before. That included our residence. At the same time I started noticing a painful slowdown in the Sprint network. Download speeds at best would only produce a horrendous 60 to 75kbps. The frustration would continue while trying to resolve the issues with customer service. While on hold for the next CS agent to discuss continued dropped calls, the proverbial light bulb clicked. There it was staring at me from the Sprint homepage. It was the reason for all of the frustration.

It was…the iPhone!

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Looking over my meticulous notes from my calls to CS and outlining the time frame from when the problems began it all coincided with the addition of the Apple phone to the Now network. I made a few calls to a couple of friends who work for Sprint including a high ranking regional manager. They all concurred with my thoughts. The addition of new iPhone customers was putting (and continues to put) a strain on the network. This problem seems to be wide spread across the country. Sprint CS agents are certainly getting hit hard by unhappy customers which is obvious when interacting with them while trying to get help

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Now fast forward a few months…After hours upon hours of research I have switched cell phone providers. We are now U.S. Cellular customers! We are still within our first 30 days of service, but I have to say the service coverage area has been nothing short of amazing. I have been able to carry on conversations in places that I could only dream about with my previous cell phone company. Granted I’m still concerned about giving up unlimited mobile to mobile minutes regardless of which cell phone company you call. Most of our calls are to other mobile phones, but with proper management we should be alright. A couple of calls to USCC customer service have also been amazing. My questions have been answered quickly by very friendly and courteous agents.

The reason I’m writing this review is nothing more than to try to help inform other people who may be on the fence searching for a new cell phone provider. I truly believe Sprint has a good plan for the future with their Sprint Vision, but they are certainly having problems now. In a world that is moving extremely fast, we need the service to work now. So far, USCC has the bases covered especially when it comes to coverage area. To borrow a quote from Casablanca, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

WinPhan7

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So what’s going here? Microsoft is beginning to share some of their more exclusive apps and games with Apple’s iPhone and vice versa. There is even some positive public acknowledgement between the 2 companies, admiring one another indirectly. Both have acknowledged that there is a “bigger fish to fry” at this point, and its name is Google. Apple is mired in lawsuits with the giant Google and Microsoft is making sure to get royalties out of 80% of Androids sold. It seems MS and iOS won't stop until they get Google's money, tag team legal wrestling if you will. When did their futures seem to take on 1 identity? 2 decades of locking horns and now they’re 2 little love birds sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G…sorry had to get out of the way because a pig just flew by and said hell just froze over.

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In my last blog “2012 To Bring A Ton Of Fun For Windows Phone Owners!” I began to touch on the idea of Microsoft playing buddy buddy with Apple in hopes of landing Zynga Games. Microsoft has been busy porting some of the exclusive aspects of the WP to the iPhone. Initially this action on Microsoft’s part drew some anger from the WP community, leading to questions like, “Is Microsoft giving up on WP?” Things are becoming clearer now, pointing to the idea that Microsoft really was trying to attract their rival’s goodies with honey, not lemons. Rumors have began to fly that Instagram, the #1 rated app by Apple currently with 15 million users, will be headed to Windows Phone before Android.

For the few of you unfamiliar with Instagram, it is a free photo sharing app that allows you to take photos, apply a filter, and then share it on Instagram or the other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr, and Posterous. It is one of the best photo editing apps available on any of the platforms and extremely coveted by both Android and Windows Phone owners.

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So why is Instagram important? For Android, it isn’t as significant because the app will get there, maybe not first, but it will get there. For Windows Phone, it’s not life or death, but it’s pretty DARN important! Starting their OS from scratch after Windows Mobile proved to be unsuccessful; Microsoft’s Windows Phone finds itself in a tough position trying to gain app developers and consumer’s attention in a mostly closed market. Every big name app that arrives to the WP Marketplace brings a little more notoriety and safety in consumer’s minds, that WP is not WM as is a safe choice to migrate to. It appears this year Microsoft will spend more time focusing on bringing the big and most commonly used apps to the newer OS and sooner than later.

Microsoft isn’t just sitting and waiting around hoping for the best. The CEO of Instagram stated that he has interest in both platforms for development of their app. The WP dev team has already been in talks with the dev team at Instagram. Instagram devs are very interested. With an untapped customer base Windows Phone Marketplace offers and the lack of photo editing apps, the appeal is great as apps still stand out in a smaller crowd. In addition, the difficulties because of fragmentation in Android as opposed to the streamlined UI that WP possesses, it would be easier to design the app for Windows Phone due its similarity in design as the iPhone. Windows Phone hopes to get more treatment like this as devs find it easier to build for the WP.

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What is new for Microsoft is the fact that they are turning to iOS to get what they need. Since the death of Steve Jobs, there has been a lot of sharing going on between Microsoft and Apple. Of recent, SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud services was made available to the iPhone. Currently iPhone has an XBox Live app, but it’s basic in function, like a companion app. The XBox Live Gaming app will be available soon for both iPhone and Android, Android owners you can thank Apple for that too. One Note is also offered to the iOS. There are others, but the point is Microsoft is sharing important things with Apple.

In return Microsoft is getting a little help in achieving a Marketplace that will be coveted by potential customers. On a daily, there are apps being ported over from the Apple Store, some significant and others not so much. There is a recognition however by devs who build their apps for iPhone that it is simple to port over to WP and more than that, there is financial success beginning to emerge in the WP Marketplace for devs, as opposed to the blending into the overcrowded Android Market. Here is a small list of games and apps that have made their way from the Apple Store to the WP Marketplace:

• North Face Snow Report

• North Face Trailhead

• DoDonPachi Maximum

• Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

• Lola’s Alphabet Train

• Line Runner

• Curling 3D

• GeoDefense Swarm

• Tamagotchi

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Microsoft has already committed to bringing the top 25 apps of competing smartphone platforms to its own OS. They have promised to invest millions into this particular process. It seems as though they have already begun bringing their commitment to fruition. Microsoft has made many promises for over a year now with the WP7 and they have managed to follow through with them. I believe the addition of the top apps will be no different. The WP Marketplace hit 60,000 apps this week, which is an addition of 10,000 apps in less than a month. There is no reason to believe they will slow down now.

Microsoft stated that they had to look around them when stripping Windows Mobile down to nothing and realized they missed the boat on what consumers truly wanted in a device. At that point it made more sense to start from scratch. Android’s growth was appealing, but the iOS’s unified ecosystem stood out to Microsoft as the best “ENVIRONMENT” to establish success over time. Microsoft felt that more than one device would be necessary to establish themselves, being such a late entry into the smartphone market and this is where WP differed from iPhone. In an attempt to create a specific environment there had to be some control on the hardware minimums, otherwise you end up with too many variables on an individual basis. This is harder to manage in the long run.

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Ask Google how well that is going for them. The lack of control by Google on the specs of OEM’s hardware has led to a multitude of problems exampled by the MANY fragmented devices and the inability to roll out their ICS Update in a timely or efficient manner. The result of the controls set in place by Microsoft has led to some of the highest user ratings and arguably the smoothest UI available of any smartphone on the market.

In addition to mirroring many aspects of the iOS upon WP7’s inception, many trends have begun to follow the same path as well. The Apple Store was the fastest to reach 50,000 apps doing it in just over 12 months. It took Microsoft 14 months to do the same. Conversely, it took Android Market 19 months. While the market share is slow to grow, the formula for success I believe is there, and so does CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. Tuesday when asked about Android and if this is a 2 horse race, this was his response:

“I wouldn’t say it’s a two-horse race. There’s a horse

in Redmond(Microsoft) that always suits up

and always runs, and will keep running.”

fight.jpg

Steve Jobs spent a lot of his time belittling Microsoft and lost sight of the WP, and it has snuck up and captured the attention of many iPhone owners. Tim Cook isn’t going to stand by, he sees the Windows Phone and the wonderful product it has become. If he believes in it, then far be it for me not to. I see 2012 being the year that WP becomes Windows Phone and no longer Windows Mobile in people’s mind, and Microsoft is making sure that is the case with its bold and swift actions!

It seems as though WP was built with both Apple and Google ideas to create something in the middle hoping to grab some of the middle ground potential customers. WP is a streamlined OS with more wiggle room than the iPhone and a growing device selection to cater to multiple levels of potential customers, a bit of Android's strategy. Only time will tell if Microsoft took the right approach in using iOS as a guide by building an unified platform, instead of going the Android route of a free for all. This year is the year Windows 8 brings the Metro UI to the mobile device, the tablet, the XBox, and the PC. Actually, Windows 8 seems a bit like Apple used to be with all their colorful and fun innovation. Here comes WP!

PastorOfMuppetzQ

[caption id=attachment_492" align="alignleft" width="306" caption="SCH-R930 rear housing]Untitled.png[/caption]

Globalpartsdirect.com has a replacement rear housing for the new US Cellular LTE phone, this will give us a basic idea of the shape and size of the phone. It appears to be similar to a  Galaxy S II, so this may be the US Cellular version?

 

 

 

source: http://www.globaldirectparts.com/Samsung-SCH-R930-Rear-Housing-p/smsng6109080.htm

 

John Vincent

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Yesterday I posted that US Cellular was going to be implementing tiered data, although no target dates or price plans were given. This is something we've all know was coming, since it was announced last fall.

Well, after our article was posted, we received some news on the ol' tip line regarding the direction the prices for tiered data are heading.  And it's not good...or pretty...or exciting. Keep reading for the gory details.

Here's the info we were given, from a very reliable source.

  • 300 Mb
  • 2 GB
  • 5 GB
  • 8 GB
  • 10 GB

On the surface, that's not too bad. It's when you throw in the reported pricing: according to our source, the 5GB plan is going to be moving up to $50/month, and the 10GB plan will be topping out at $90/month. No word on what the 2 lower plans will price out at. I'm going to grab another cup of coffee while you let that sink in.

Ok...everyone take a deep breath and calm down. Put the pitchforks back in the shed, take the tar off the stove, and let the chickens keep their feathers for a little while longer. Keep in mind while that this is from a reliable source, it's not official yet from US Cellular. However, that being said, I'd like to slip into editorial mode for a second.

Mary Dillon, Ted Carlson, anybody important, if you're reading this, put yourself in the customers shoes for a second. If these prices are true, they are not even close to being competitive with Verizon. Forget even being close to Sprint with their unlimited data. Recently, US Cellular CEO Mary Dillon made the statement that USCC's goal for 2012 is to recapture customers and stop the churn. If these prices are correct, that goal is not going to be met.

Many of us current US Cellular customers accept the fact that we get "current" smartphones a year later than everyone else; we accept it because the current pricing plans, especially the Belief Plans, far outweigh what we could get elsewhere. But if you take away that pricing advantage, why should I wait a year or more to get phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note or Nexus-type phones, and pay the same or possibly more than on the Big 4? I can't imagine how many current customers are hanging on to USCC despite their deep longing for an iPhone.

Listen, Belief Points alone aren't going to do the trick. While it's nice to be able to upgrade a phone 10-11 months into a contract, that alone isn't enough to overcome year-old phone selection and pricing that doesn't beat what we can get on carriers with national coverage. At this point, USCC, all you've got going for you is your price point, and coverage in a few limited areas where the Big 3 don't reach.

As much as I'd like to hope that these prices don't prove to be true, at this point, until USCC comes out and states otherwise, I have to believe it's true. Now, don't go running down to the Verizon store tomorrow morning based on this article alone (although their current smartphone plans beat the pants off of these reported prices). But, if you're out of contract and trying to decide what to do, you may want to consider all your options.

John Vincent

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4G LTE. iPhone or no iPhone? Galaxy Nexus? Lately it seems that there are more questions surrounding US Cellular's future than there are answers available. Slowly, things seems to be taking shape and bits and pieces of details appear to be emerging. From 4G LTE and tiered data, it appears that there will be quite a bit of change in 2012. Keep on reading for a rundown of what to look for from USCC in the coming months.

Today, US Cellular had it's earning's report for the fourth quarter of 2011. The good news is that smartphone sales are up from 39.6% to 52.5% of total devices. Postpaid revenue, service revenue, and operating income all increased. The bad news is that USCC suffered a net loss of 13,000 retail customers, from a total loss of 20,000 postpaid customers and a gain of 7,000 prepaid customers. For the 12 month period of 2011, service revenues were $4,053.8 million, compared to $3,913.0 million in 2010.

"In a competitive environment, U.S. Cellular was able to increase revenues and improve operating income," said Mary N. Dillon, U.S. Cellular president and CEO. "However, we fell short on customer growth, so improving our customer performance is our highest priority in 2012." Dillon went on to cite 4G LTE, building awareness, increasing small to medium business customers, and expanding points of distribution as areas where they will try to increase the customer base in 2012.

[url="http://teamuscellular.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/4g.1.png">4g.1.png

Speaking of 4G LTE

According to Dillon, the 4G LTE network is on schedule to launch in March. No specific dates were given, but the tablet, previously announced to be the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, will be the first device to launch. April was given as a the target launch for the first smartphone on USCC's 4G LTE network, the Samsung Galaxy Aviator. Approximately 5-7 more devices (or 6-8, depending on who you listen to) will be released throughout 2012, comprised of a mix of smartphones, tablets, and modems.

There still has been no release of 4G pricing or plans, however US Cellular has said that it will charge the same rates as current 3G plans. It will be interesting to see how that fits in with USCC's previously mentioned tiered data. Which brings us to our next point:

Tiered Data Plans

Back in August 2011, US Cellular announced that it would be moving to tiered data plans within the next 2 or 3 quarters. That time seems to be drawing near. Again, no specifics on pricing or a time frame, but according to Ted Carlson, CEO of USCC's parent company TDS, we should be seeing tiered data in the first half of this year. Which yeah, tells us nothing new. However, Mr. Carlson did hint that there would be tiers between USCC's current 5GB/$30 a month and 100mb/$10 a month.  USCC CEO Mary Dillon has also said that they will try to offer a lower tier price plan as an entry point for new smartphone customers.

Throttling the top 1-3% of data users who exceed 5GB/month was also discussed, but that appears to still be in the discussion stage.

To iPhone, or Not To iPhone

Last November, US Cellular rocked the wireless industry with the announcement that it was not that Apple said no, but rather, US Cellular said no thanks to Apple. From a business standpoint (and with some hindsight for us consumers thrown in), it makes perfect sense. At the time, USCC was still plugging away at their 4G network, and to invest an extremely large amount of money into a device that would only work on their 3G network did not make sense. I know many will argue this point, and point to the customer bleed as a consequence. In fact, US Cellular has said that yes, the iPhone 4S launching on 3 competitor networks hurt them. From a personal standpoint, I would speculate that Sprint probably hurt them the most with their unlimited data plan. Whether that's true or not, I don't know; it's my opinion. That and $2  will get you a cup of coffee.

So why bring up the iPhone? I know there are members of our forums who vehemently oppose all things Apple; you guys know  who you are, I won't call you out by name. Having gone into Verizon and Sprint stores looking for accessories, I've seen the overbearing marketing that they have to give the iPhone. I certainly wouldn't like to see that in the US Cellular stores (although perhaps it would balance out the Android love). But Ted Carlson, previously mentioned CEO of TDS, has said that US Cellular will wait for Apple to release an LTE capable before considering whether to sell it. So apparently the door has not been entirely slammed on the iPhone. As a business with a goal of making money, USCC will reevaluate their plans from time to time. Whether or not Apple will consider US Cellular as a suitor, after being scorned once, remains to be seen. However, they're also in the business of making money. Lots of it.

So there you have it. Lot's of exciting things happening in the world of US Cellular. Keep it tuned here to Team US Cellular as we try to keep you informed of what is going on. As always, if you get a hot tip, definitely drop us a line HERE or US Cellular

Fierce Wireless (Tiered Data)

Fierce Wireless (iPhone churn, 4G, tiered data)

noahthedominator

Recently, a newer of Android was announced, Android Lollipop 5.0. With this users are wondering if their devices if and when they will receive this update.

Obviously the first devices to get the update will be the Nexus Devices. Both 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7 variants, Nexus 10, Nexus 5 and the Nexus 4.

Shortly after that, the Google Play devices will receive the update.

Other devices and when they will receive the update is below.

Samsung:

Samsung hasn't said much regarding the upcoming Android 5.0 update. However it is safe to say that the most recent Samsung devices are going to receive the update. (Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Alpha, and the Galaxy Note 3.) Other Samsung devices like the S4, are likely to receive the update but it will be pushed out later than the newer devices. Sadly the S3 is not expected to get the update.

LG:

The G3, G3 and possibly the G2 mini are expected to receive the update.

Motorola:

Both 1st and 2nd gen Moto X's will receive the update. Also the the Moto G, the Moto G 4Gand the Moto E

Other Motorola devices that will get Android Lollipop are the Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx and Droid Mini.

Sony:

Sony stated that it will be "bringing Android 5.0 Lollipop to the entire Xperia Z Series."

It's even put out a full list of handsets which are in line for Android Lollipop. Here they are.

Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1S, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet, Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3v, Xperia Z3 Compact and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

Other various devices getting Android 5.0 are...

HTC One M8 and M7

Oppo One plus One

Happy to see your device(s) on this list? Or sad your device isn't? Let us know!

John Vincent

blog-0575997001347245374.jpgWell this weekend turned out nice; the Bears won handily, the weather took a turn for the cooler, someone in the area is burning leaves, and things are about to get crazy in the world of smartphones.

If you haven't been living under a rock, you know that every headline that isn't still talking about the Samsung/Apple lawsuits and verdict has been talking about Apple and their big shin-dig in...some place in California this coming Wednesday, when at which time Apple will supposedly announce the new iPhone. Now around the Team US Cellular forums, iPhone and Apple seem to be dirty words; in fact, it often seems that a person has to prove his level of Android nerdliness by how much he hates Apple and the iPhone.

Of course, it is well documented that US Cellular turned down Apple's offer of the iPhone 4S, and for good reasons. However, there is much scuttlebut and rumors that US Cellular will be getting the iPhone 5. In a way, this makes sense, as the new iPhone is reportedly going to have 4G LTE. This article seems to indicate that a USCC iPhone 5 is already a done deal, and will come once the Big 3 carriers have been taken care of.

So what's the point, you ask? After all, we don't like the iPhone here, right? Well, keep in mind that what works for you doesn't always work for everyone else. And what works for everyone else, might not work for you. But after tossing around this subject with a few people, I think USCC needs the iPhone 5 if it is going to stop the customer bleed. Not everyone wants an Android device. Not everyone trusts Google. And if USCC wants to start climbing back up the "number of customers" list instead of continuing to drop down, they'll need to offer some top of the line devices running different OS's. And yes, in my opinion, this includes Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10.

Moving on, before the readers take me out and stone me, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has been making some headlines as of late, and this weekend is no exception. A couple of articles HERE and HERE are indicating that US Cellular will once again be part of a national launch with the Big Guys, as we were for the Galaxy S 3.

Take a minute and vote in our poll: Is the 5.5 inch screen of the Note 2, too big for you? Or does it do away with your need for a tablet to go alongside your phone? Those of you sporting the Galaxy S 3 - Is 4.8 inches the sweet spot? Or are you looking for more screen real estate? I'm giving it some serious thought for the S-Pen and it's note-taking-on-the-go abilities; but where would you store it?!

Well that'll do it for this first edition of Weekend Notes. Look for a couple app reviews this week from our talented team of writers, as well as a wrap-up of coverage from Apple's announcement on Wednesday.

iR1O

blog-0262101001343782803.jpgVerizon Wireless has agreed to pay $1.25 million to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to resolve a complaint that it blocked third-party tethering applications on Android phones, the FCC said Tuesday.

Verizon denies blocking any third party apps in a statement released the same day.

The FCC’s decision relies on the fact that Verizon purchased 700MHz spectrum from the U.S. government in 2008. As part of the deal, Verizon had to guarantee that it would not restrict the types of devices or applications used on that spectrum.

Because the FCC’s ruling is based solely on this “C-Block” spectrum deal, the same rules do not apply to AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile, all of which charge users a fee for using wireless tethering apps.

"Verizon Wireless has always allowed its customers to use the lawful applications of their choice on its networks, and it did not block its customers from using third-party tethering applications," the company said in the statement. "This consent decree puts behind us concerns related to an employee's communication with an app store operator about tethering applications, and allows us to focus on serving our customers."

The consent decree shows that compliance with FCC rules is "not optional," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "The open device and application obligations were core conditions when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum. The steps taken today will not only protect consumer choice, but defend certainty for innovators to continue to deliver new services and apps without fear of being blocked."

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau launched an investigation after news reports suggested that Verizon Wireless had successfully requested that Google block Verizon's customers from accessing tethering applications from its online market, the FCC said. At that time, Verizon Wireless' terms of service required all customers who wanted to use their phones for tethering to subscribe to the company's Mobile Broadband Connect service, at an additional charge. Verizon Wireless said the additional fee was because customers who tether laptops or other devices have the capability to use more data capacity than others. But Verizon Wireless, at the time, required all customers, including those who paid incrementally for data use, to pay the fee, the FCC said.

As part of the agreement, Verizon will notify app stores that it no longer objects to third-party tethering apps, according to the FCC.

Free Press praised the FCC action. "Today's action makes it clear that Verizon was flaunting its obligations as a spectrum-license holder and engaging in anti-competitive behavior that harmed consumers and innovation," Free Press policy director Matt Wood said in a statement. "The FCC sent a strong signal to the market that companies cannot ignore their pro-consumer obligations."

What do you all think about this? Do you think it should only apply to C-Block spectrum? Will we see this on more carriers or even more lawsuits? Let's hear your thoughts below!

-note-

Tethering, for those of you wondering what the heck this is all about, allows users to access the Internet from other devices, like laptops, via their smartphone or tablet’s wireless signal.

iR1O

Phone prices are dropping tomorrow, we just received notice a few hours ago.

Here's the complete list, yes these are a lot of older or EOL devices but the feature phone prices have been ticking a lot of people off lately.

Chrono 2 $20- Down from $70

Pantech Verse $20- Down from $100

Freeform 4 $20- Down from $50

One V $30- Down from $100

ZTE Render free- down from $50 w/$50 MIR

Electrify 2 $50- down from $100 w/$50 MIR

So what do you fine fellows here at tuscc think?

Bout' time.

DClark

U.S. Cellular is offering a VIP sweepstakes to their customers in the states of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. It started June 3rd and will end at 11:59:59 PM CT August 2nd. There are 7 different sponsored events, with a winner for each event.

The sponsored events consist of:

· Milwaukee Summerfest - Summerfest is an annual music festival held at the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park along the lakefront in Milwaukee Wisconsin, USA

· Iowa State Fair - The Iowa State Fair is an annual state fair held in Des Moines, Iowa and is one of the largest state fairs in the country.

· Wisconsin State Fair - The Wisconsin State Fair is an annual event held at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee

· River Roots Music Festival - The two-day festival, begun in 2005, brings national and regional bands on multiple stages.

· 80/35 Music Festival - 80/35 is a multi-day music festival in Des Moines, Iowa celebrating music and the people who support music.

· U.S. Cellular® 250® Race at the Iowa Speedway

· Milwaukee Brewers Game - August 31st

Most of these are VIP experiences and also have second place prizes.

To sign up all you have to do is get on Facebook and go through a few steps. Go to https://www.facebook.com/USCellular/app_453133944778070 and click on “Get Started” and follow the directions for a chance to win! You may return to the page and enter DAILY.

John Vincent

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Just a quick note to let our Torch users know that US Cellular has released software version 7.1 for the Torch 9850.

If you haven't upgraded already, plug your Torch into Desktop Manager and go ahead and start the upgrade.

This is an official USCC release so you shouldn't have any issues upgrading.

If you'd rather download the software and install through App Loader, the software download can be found HERE.

Enjoy!

(Posted from my PlayBook)

snodrog742

Well, not only did we just hear them announced but we can now officially start with prices! Thanks to our anonymous sources, here we go!

blogentry-1876-0-30816800-1376248584_thu

Here it is! And by my quick comparisons, EXACTLY like Verizon. However, it looked like Verizon only let me add 5 devices to a shared plan.

Also, there are new Reward Points over on Verizon. As the screenshot says - ALL plans include Unlimited Voice and Texts now too.

:)

Here's the MRC's (monthly recurring charge) I talked about:

blogentry-1876-0-08116800-1376249542_thu

You MUST add at least one device to have a Shared Plan. I reported wrong earlier thinking this meant you needed to add an extra device. Instead, this was the most redundant line I have EVER seen in a US Cellular document. Of course you have to add a device to have a plan. Thanks for the reminder USCC!

And finally....

blogentry-1876-0-29212000-1376359472_thu

Shared Data Only! You can take advantage of these prices on your hot spots, tablets, and modems with no need for a voice plan. This actually looks very tempting for an internet option if you only use it once and awhile or on the go. I like it but who am I to say.

What do you think? It seems like sources were correct with it looking exactly like Verizon. However, I still enjoy that we can add 10 devices now. Also, the reward points. I know many are losing faith in that but I think US Cellular is working to find rewards that will ACTUALLY be used - including the option to now use points as partial credits. Anyways, will you switch to any of these? Let's hear it!

snodrog742

blog-0926650001375551005.pngWell, US Cellular is finally catching up to the rest of the world but could it be too late? After TOPS conversion fiasco that still plagues many and support or in store lines that are taking hours to be helped - things are not looking bright in many aspects for US Cellular. Regardless, they are still pushing forward and officially announced Shared Data on their earnings call. Here's what a tip has told us:

Launch Date

Roughly the third week in September. This coincides with the iPhone launch time as well

Availability

Current customers will still have the option to keep grandfathered plan or choose to switch as usual. New customers MUST choose a shared data plan unless it is adding a line to a grandfathered plan.

There will also be a feature phone only plan with a limited amount of minutes but the rest appear to be shared data plans.

Features/Benefits

  • Unlimited talk and messaging
  • Tethering included
  • Will earn Belief Points (yay! -_-)
  • Can connect up to 10 devices per plan

Price

Exactly like Verizon is what we're being told. I don't have specific comparisons but personally, I've checked Verizon prices and would easily pay $75 more right now.

Who's going to choose US Cellular over Verizon if prices are exact same but can get larger phone selection and faster data speeds?

That's all we've got for now. Ready for the debate below but things just aren't making sense with US Cellular right now. Will you be staying or will you even still be recommending US Cellular? I definitely need more info on these prices to answer those questions!

usccbuzz

 

[caption id=attachment_519" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="voice mail to text][url="http://teamuscellular.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/voicemail-to-text-icon-big.jpg">voicemail-to-text-icon-big-300x188.jpg

US Cellular has decided to postpone it's voicemail to text launch date because of issues that are beyond their control. US Cellular users will be  notified in the when the service will be launched. USCC is still excited about this feature. So, lets see what happen.

John Vincent

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Just saw on US Cellular's official Twitter feed that they are proud to be one of the carriers that will be carrying the HTC One V here in the US. We had seen US Cellular's name pop up when the One V was announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

As a refresher, specs on the One V are:

3.7 Inch screen, 800x480 resolution

Android 4.0 ICS

Single-core 1ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor

Obviously not meant to compete at the higher levels, but definitely a replacement for the Hero S and a good phone to pull people into smartphones and data plans.

Something that will be of interest is the non-removeable battery, and how USCC will deal with that.

No word on pricing or date of availability, or whether it will be 3G or 4G LTE, but if USCC is officially saying they will be a carrier, then it stands to reason it has already passed testing.

Granted, this isn't the cutting edge, top of the line device most people on this blog are holding out for, but it's definitely a start. If USCC can get this out the door this quickly, it will boost hopes for some bigger and better devices.