Most customers are making smartphone purchases online (and on other smartphones)

Think about the last time you purchased a smartphone. Did you go into a brick and mortar store, talk to a sales rep, and walk out with a shiny new gadget, or did you cruise over to your carrier’s website and make the purchase on your old phone? If you’re like the average American, you […]

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Verizon is going to start selling its phones locked

Ever since Verizon Wireless started selling 4G LTE devices, the biggest wireless carrier in the United States has been generous enough to sell those handsets unlocked. But times they are a-changin’.

CNET reports that beginning this spring, Verizon is going to start locking down its smartphones in a fashion similar to the other U.S. wireless carriers. The reason for the change, according to the carrier, is due to theft of smartphones.

Verizon says that the fact its smartphones are sold unlocked, they have become a primary target for thieves. The fact the handsets are able to go to other (supported) wireless networks without any extra steps from Verizon means that scammers can set up a wireless service with a fake name, then turn around and sell the devices and make a profit.

As noted in the original report, other carriers have already been locking their handsets from day one. Each offers the ability to unlock a handset at some point after service has been started, but each carrier also requires the the handset has been active on the network for a certain amount of days and that the device has been completely paid off.

AT&T requires a 60-day activation period and then tacks on another 14 days after the unlocking request has been sent over. T-Mobile has a 40-day waiting period, and Sprint has a 50-day waiting period. In each case, the device needs to be paid off.

Unfortunately, Verizon wasn’t keen on detailing when this specific change will be rolling out, nor was it able to say any specifics on just how long the waiting period will be or if customers will be required to pay off the device like the other carriers require.

This is a big change. What do you think?

Verizon still on top and T-Mobile still struggling, according to RootMetrics

  • RootMetrics posted its results from the last half of 2017.
  • As with previous reports, Verizon tops in nearly all categories, while T-Mobile is mostly last once again.
  • T-Mobile’s CTO had harsh words for the report and RootMetrics’ methodology.

If you’ve ever read a RootMetrics report before, you are used to seeing one company dominate pretty much every category: Verizon. Whether the test is on coverage, speed, or call reliability, Verizon tends to own the other three major U.S. carriers by a longshot.

As such, the latest RootMetrics report for the second half of 2017 is not all that surprising. The overall national score for Verizon’s service was 95, while AT&T came in second at 92.8. Sprint held onto third place with 87.8, and T-Mobile came in last with 86.8.

RootMetrics obtains its data privately by using unmodified Android smartphones on a variety of networks, in a variety of places, at varying times. It samples areas in all 50 states and compiles the data into a national score as well as a per-state score, so wireless consumers can get an unbiased look at how each carrier’s service will work for them.

Editor's Pick

T-Mobile, never happy with its consistent fourth place billing, is often publicly critical of RootMetrics’ methodology. The company claims that the data RootMetrics collects comes from “paid consultants” and that the only true way to establish an unbiased coverage dataset is to use crowdsourcing. OpenSignal, the company T-Mobile offers as an alternative data source, has T-Mobile neck-and-neck with Verizon when it comes to speed and a close race when it comes to 4G LTE availability.

Predictably, it wasn’t long before T-Mobile made a statement about the latest RootMetrics report. Here’s what CTO of T-Mobile Neville Ray had to say:

Big Red is clearly rattled, but buying awards won’t bring back their glory days. T-Mobile has closed the network gap, and the awards that matter – those from real customers on all networks – tell you all you need to know: T-Mobile customers are the most satisfied and are more likely to recommend us. They get an LTE signal more reliably and have the fastest LTE. Those are the reasons why millions of Verizon customers have flocked to T-Mobile.

Click here to read the full RootMetrics report.

HTC 10 update tracker (Update: Oreo hitting Sprint today)

 Update (02/12): HTC started the Android Oreo update to the unlocked HTC 10 last week, and it could be landing on Sprint-branded devices from today. The news arrives via HTC’s VP of product management Mo Versi who made the announcement on Twitter yesterday.

We haven’t yet spotted any social media posts regarding the update in the wild—though it’s still early morning in the US—so we’ll wait for confirmations to come in before updating the tables below. You can check the “software updates” page in your phone’s settings menu to see if you’re ready to receive the new firmware; the update should include all of the usual Oreo features like picture-in-picture mode, notification dots and adaptive icons.

If you’re expecting the update with other carriers, bear in mind the more-than two-month gap between T-Mobile and Verizon updates for Nougat last year: it might still be some ways away.

Welcome to the HTC 10 Android update tracker page. This page covers all major U.S. carriers with a quick reference table for each and a log with links to further details. It will be regularly updated with the latest HTC 10 update information, but it won’t include general security patches.

We recommend you bookmark this page so you can stay up to date with the very latest updates.

Unlocked HTC 10 Android Oreo update

The HTC 10 began to receive Android Nougat back in November, making HTC one of the first manufacturers to roll it out. Though the device isn’t the company priority that it was last year, reports came in on January 11 that the Oreo update was hitting unlocked devices in the US. This would have been good form for HTC, but the update was pulled soon after. Thankfully, HTC didn’t take too long to start this back up, as the update was made available again February 7.

HTC 10 update US

HTC 10 update - USAndroid 6.0.1Android 7.0Android 8.0

 Android 7.0 Nougat first available: August 22, 2016

First carrier to roll it out for the HTC 10: T-Mobile (138 days)

Android 8.0 Oreo first available: August 21, 2017

First carrier to roll it out for the HTC 10: TBC 

T-Mobile HTC 10 update (2PS6500):

  • January 7, 2017, T-Mobile issues the HTC 10 Android Nougat update to its customers.

Sprint HTC 10 update (2PS6500):

  • February 11, 2018, Mo Versi says the Sprint Oreo rollout for the HTC 10 is coming February 12.
  • February 20, 2017, Sprint starts rolling out the final Nougat build to the HTC 10. It includes the latest security patches and network performance improvements.

Verizon HTC 10 update (2PS6500):

  • March 30, 2017, Verizon has begun rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat to HTC 10 devices on its network.
  • March 29, 2017, HTC Vice President of Product Management Mo Versi announces that the Android Nougat OTA for HTC 10 owners on Verizon will begin on March 30.
  • December 29, 2016, Verizon rolls out latest HTC 10 security patches, Nougat still to arrive.

International HTC 10 update (2PS6200):

  • February 23, 2017, Android Nougat confirmed in India on HTC 10.
  • February 7, 2017, update starts again in mainland Europe.
  • January 26, 2017, Nougat rolls out in Russia, Middle East and Turkey, but is delayed in Europe following technical issues.
  • January 24, 2017, Android Nougat hits the UK, the rest of Europe to follow soon after.

If you’ve received an update we’ve missed, hit the comments below or Tip Us!