Dish Network still isn't giving up on its wireless aspirations. Though the company missed out on opportunities to purchase Sprint and Clearwire, it's still amassing wireless licenses for the eventual launch of a wireless provider or sale of its comparatively small but valuable spectrum holdings. Dish won the entire set of licenses in the 1900 MHz frequencies recently auctioned off by the FCC. Dish offered an unchallenged bid of $1.564 billion for 176 licenses and walked away the winner of the auction. Now that Dish has added to its spectrum treasure chest, the hard part becomes figuring out how these new airwaves can help launch the wireless network CEO Charlie Ergen seems determined to start.
The latest statistics from Google show that Android 4.4 KitKat is still a very small portion of active devices. KitKat notches only only 2.5 percent, up from the 1.8 percent reported last month and likely to increase next month with the release of new KitKat updates and phones from HTC and Samsung. In the meantime, the leading platform versions remain Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (35.3 percent), Android 4.2 JB (17.1), Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (15.2), Android 4.3 JB (9.6), and Android 2.2 Froyo (1.2).
BlackBerry Messenger will complete its cross-platform hat trick and arrive on Windows Phone at an undisclosed date later this year. Having already made the jump to Android and iOS last year, BBM will support the Windows Phone platform in the summer. That's a very long time to wait, especially considering the continued growth of WhatsApp and the impending launch of Facebook Messenger. BBM will face even stiffer competition when it launches later this year, but the app's spread to Android and iOS has lead to millions of new users.
While Google Maps is the more known provider of public transit directions in the US, Nokia's HERE Transit solution has gained a wide reach in several markets spread across the globe. Nokia today share some progress statistics about Here Transit, including the revelation that it supports subway, tram, and bus directions in 800 cities in 53 countries. Service has been expanded in parts of the United States, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico City, Israel, Sweden, and Brazil. It has also added schedules in several countries, as well as confirmed plans to complete coverage in several other countries. Details about the expansion can be found here. HERE Transit is available for download in the Windows Phone Store.
BlackBerry has made good on its promise to bring its messaging service to older model Android devices. BBM originally worked only on Android 4.x devices, but it has since been updated to work on the millions of phones still running the outdated Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Adding support to older devices offers BBM access to significantly more people because Gingerbread accounts for 1 in 5 active Android devices. Gingerbread is especially active in many of the emerging markets that BlackBerry is still a strong player, so getting more people under its service umbrella should be a positive for the company.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear temporarily costs half as much as it normally does. BestBuy.com has a 50 percent off sale for the Android-powered smart watch that lowers the price to $149.99 with free shipping included. This does not appear to be in connection with recent reports of a permanent price drop for the Gear. A price drop to make the Gear more appealing is rumored to be on the way; however, Best Buy has it listed as part of its Daily Deals, so if this interests you, make the purchase now rather than later.
The Google Nexus 7 debuted in July 2013. Quick math should tell you six months have passed since then, but Verizon Wireless has not made the Android tablet available until this week. The anticipated arrival will finally come February 13 when Verizon begins selling the Nexus 7 (32GB) for $349.99 when purchased off contract or $249.99 with a two-year agreement. The 4G LTE-compatible tablet can be added to a Share Everything plan for $10 per month when purchased online or in Verizon stores starting this Thursday.
US Cellular has managed to take the already low-cost Moto G and make it even more affordable with the launch on its network. The Moto G is sold for $189.99 but includes a $90 discount when paired with a No Contract Price. Customers who plan to use the device with US Cellular can save money by buying directly from the carrier rather than getting the Motorola model. They'll still have a smartphone with Android 4.4 KitKat, a 4.5-inch 720p display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, and a 3G-only data connection. Full Moto G review available here.
Sprint-owned MVNO Boost Mobile has temporarily lowed the cost of its 4G LTE plans. Boost will charge customers $35 per month for its unlimited talk, text, and data plans. The discounted rate will last only for the first six months that service is active. Customers will then go to the standard $50 rate and be able to low their bill down to $40 if they make 12 on-time monthly payments. Any 4G LTE-compatible Boost phone is eligible for this deal, which runs from now until March 31, 2014.
The Google Nexus 5, previously sold only in black or white color options, is now available in red - bright red. LG and Google today announced that the new color option is available for purchase in 16 GB or 32 GB variations. It will not be sold everywhere, but LG says customers in the UK can purchase the red Nexus 5 from Carphone Warehouse starting February 5. People in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, and other places in Europe can order from Google Play at varying dates this month.