4G Android phone megathread

Seven Costanza

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Apr 11, 2007
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They're going to spend like drunken sailors advertising this phone.  It's going to take a lot to convince folks that this will be A) usable at the end of a contract and B) is better than the same priced S4 or One.  
 
Good luck with that.  Obviously going the "ignore specs and just LOOK AT ME" route that Apple has nailed down.  I can't imagine they're going to make much headway in that market. 
 

Foulkey Reese

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That's a real shame because I love Motorola builds and radios. Nothing I've ever owned has had as good of a signal as my Droid 1.
 
But like Seven said, this phone is going to cost as much or more than the superior HTC1 and S4 and will be obsolete well before they are.
 
Too bad.
 

Caspir

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Jul 16, 2005
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Good God that's an ugly "color" to offer a phone in. Unrelated to that disgusting monstrosity, I finally rooted my S4 so I could have Google Wallet. Everything is completely stock, so I was wondering if I'd still get OTA's and just lose root after the install, or if things would work the same way as a custom ROM where I have to dl from a source or go to XDA? Anybody have experience there? I've always swapped ROMs immediately after rooting, and in this case, I haven't even deleted any bloat because I'm curious about the update situation.
 

deconstruction

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I am an Idiot said:
Since my most recent update on my S3 (non-rooted, stock everything), it isn't able to get a GPS lock at all. Google maps, waze, nothing works.
 
Is this common? Is there a quick fix? I couldn't find anything much on the internet. 
 
Any luck yet? Have you tried GPS test or GPS tools? Do you have standalone GPS services and Google location services checked? 
 
One thing I've come across is to remove the battery cover and tighten the small screws underneath, which has actually helped my GPS speed and accuracy.
 

ilol@u

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Google has failed me. To anybody that has the S4, is there a way to change the camera settings so you don't need to hit the button on the screen to take a picture, but can use one of the side buttons on the phone to take the picture? I find it really inconvenient at times when I only have one hand available to steady the phone and use my thumb to take the picture without dropping it/shaking it.  
 

Fratboy

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I'm seeing word now that the new Droids will *not* have SD card slots in them, and that's hugely disappointing. Are Samsung and LG the only manufacturers that have SD card slots now? This might force my hand toward Samsung.
 
I'm not using the cloud to play music. Eff that.
 

zenter

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Oct 11, 2005
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ilol@u said:
Google has failed me. To anybody that has the S4, is there a way to change the camera settings so you don't need to hit the button on the screen to take a picture, but can use one of the side buttons on the phone to take the picture? I find it really inconvenient at times when I only have one hand available to steady the phone and use my thumb to take the picture without dropping it/shaking it.  
 
In the camera app, hit the gear icon so it expands the quick settings and then hit it again so the settings menu pops up. There should be 3 tabs. Hit the settings (gear) tab and you'll see you have an option call "the volume key". There, you can decide how the volume buttons work in the app, including making them control the shutter.
 

ilol@u

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zenter said:
 
In the camera app, hit the gear icon so it expands the quick settings and then hit it again so the settings menu pops up. There should be 3 tabs. Hit the settings (gear) tab and you'll see you have an option call "the volume key". There, you can decide how the volume buttons work in the app, including making them control the shutter.
You are awesome. Thanks so much. 
 

Tim Naehrings Girl

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I got the phone from Ebay today and of course the ESN was bad even though in the listing it specifically said clean ESN.  I brought it to best buy where I have the insurance and just told them that it wasn't working and I already had Spring activate a different phone for me because it was too much of a headache.  I am crossing my fingers that they don't check the ESN but I don't think they will.  I am going to wait until I have a working phone to make a stink with the seller about it.
 

Cellar-Door

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Fratboy said:
I'm seeing word now that the new Droids will *not* have SD card slots in them, and that's hugely disappointing. Are Samsung and LG the only manufacturers that have SD card slots now? This might force my hand toward Samsung.
 
I'm not using the cloud to play music. Eff that.
Google wants SD cards to die for a variety of reasons, and I wouldn't be surprised for SD card support in Android to go bye bye in another generation or two. None of their own phones or tablets have SD card capability anymore.
 

InsideTheParker

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Jul 15, 2005
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Fratboy said:
I'm seeing word now that the new Droids will *not* have SD card slots in them, and that's hugely disappointing. Are Samsung and LG the only manufacturers that have SD card slots now? This might force my hand toward Samsung.
 
I'm not using the cloud to play music. Eff that.
I know you guys wouldn't consider anything as lowly as the phone I have, the AT&T Fusion 2 (Huawei), but I love having an SD card. I have tons of music on it and therefore don't have to be without it in the back of beyond where there's no wireless or cell-phone towers. It hooks up easily with the car Bluetooth so when the mountains in VT blocked the satellite signal I still had music. Why on earth would anyone want a phone without an SD card?
 

Marceline

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InsideTheParker said:
I know you guys wouldn't consider anything as lowly as the phone I have, the AT&T Fusion 2 (Huawei), but I love having an SD card. I have tons of music on it and therefore don't have to be without it in the back of beyond where there's no wireless or cell-phone towers. It hooks up easily with the car Bluetooth so when the mountains in VT blocked the satellite signal I still had music. Why on earth would anyone want a phone without an SD card?
 
Google thinks users are stupid.
 
 
 
Google's director of user services on Android, Matias Duarte, said offering consumers expandable memory through SD cards was apparently too confusing.

"Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it's just confusing for users," he said. "If you're saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt every time? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It's just too complicated."
 
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Google-SD-Card-Nexus-Smartphone,18841.html
 

Foulkey Reese

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InsideTheParker said:
I know you guys wouldn't consider anything as lowly as the phone I have, the AT&T Fusion 2 (Huawei), but I love having an SD card. I have tons of music on it and therefore don't have to be without it in the back of beyond where there's no wireless or cell-phone towers. It hooks up easily with the car Bluetooth so when the mountains in VT blocked the satellite signal I still had music. Why on earth would anyone want a phone without an SD card?
If the phone had enough storage it wouldn't bother me, but my S4 only came with 16 gigs, so I'm definitely glad I could stick another 16 gigs in via the SD to house my music and pictures. 
 
I'm with you and Frat with not wanting to stream music. Even when you have a great signal there's always going to be a lag. 
 

Traut

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After 14 years, I'm no longer a Sprint subscriber. Yesterday, I switched to ATT. Holy crap, I knew Sprint's network was terrible. I just had no idea of how terrible it was. I'm loving life with the GS4 on ATT's LTE network. 
 

bosoxsue

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, but here goes: I am a relatively new smartphone convert, within the past year. After looking up the ways to move my iTunes library to the phone (a Galaxy S3), I was going to get Easy Phone Sync from Google Play, but the app permissions were very unsettling. "Edit your text messages and read your text messages," "modify or delete contents of your USB storage," "send email to guests without owners' knowledge, modify your contacts, read calendar events plus confidential information," etc. Really? Is this just the way of the world if you're going to use apps? 
 

rembrat

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Foulkey Reese said:
If the phone had enough storage it wouldn't bother me, but my S4 only came with 16 gigs, so I'm definitely glad I could stick another 16 gigs in via the SD to house my music and pictures. 
 
I'm with you and Frat with not wanting to stream music. Even when you have a great signal there's always going to be a lag. 
 
How much freaking music do you guys have?
 

teddykgb

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Because I was so "vocal" and advocated before, I feel a need to at least post about my 4+ months with T-Mobile.
 
It's devolved to a point where I'm probably going back to ATT or Verizon (most likely ATT).  I jumped from a VZW iPhone to a t-mobile HTC One and found that i surprisingly had better service in my office, plus had the added benefit of wifi calling at home.  However, the wifi calling is a gift and a curse, because it is only available on stock t-mobile android roms, which is where everything goes downhill pretty quickly.  Running stock android is not what I'm getting android for, and there are no ROMs that can add 4.2.2 to this device with wifi calling, nor will there be until t-mo releases the 4.2.2 update, which has no ETA or anything around it right now.  Plus, you're limited to Sense based ROMs that will implement the feature, if it turns out to be implementable, which it was on 4.1.2 but nobody can really know for sure moving forward.  Cyanogen will likely never have it, nor will any AOKP ROMs.
 
Without wifi calling, everything falls apart in my use cases.  I get 0-1 bars at home, but often no signal.  It can fluctuate wildly in the same spot, from no service to 3 bars, throughout my home.  The more I travel (I was in SF this weekend, VT and NH recently), the more I realize the gaps in the t-mobile service   Even in places where t-mobile has turned on their LTE, like Burlington, I find myself playing the reception game a shocking amount.  I can have full service outside, then no service inside the mall, and in general it feels like t-mobile has more trouble inside buildings than at least my last reference point, Verizon. 
 
I think what is most infuriating to me is that it makes little sense.  There's a tower within 3 miles of my home and if I'm in the center of my town I'll get full LTE reception.  I've tried calling T-Mobile and they can't seem to fix it. 
 
I have a ton of thoughts on the experience of using android and they're a mixed bag, but I'll spare the manifesto.  Suffice it to say, I continue to think that the best and only truly viable way to really get the most out of android is to buy a Nexus or GPe device on Verizon or ATT.  I think skimping on the device or the device carrier still isn't worth the trade off.
 

SumnerH

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rembrat said:
 
How much freaking music do you guys have?
 
Just ripping my CDs to mp3 was enough to blow past 32GB back in the late 90s--even then the empeg and other mp3 players had over 40GB capacity (later I avoided the ipod in favor of the Creative Nomad for years until the ipod finally expanded to reasonable capacities); I have about 50-60GB now (about 450 albums plus some miscellaneous tracks).
 
And if the phone has 16GB, then you're looking at maybe 8GB for music if you want to have some apps installed, subscribe to a few podcasts, etc.
 
 
The bigger issue for me with SD cards is videos; I watch shows and movies all the time on the train.  A single high-def episode of a TV show can be as much as 2GB depending on the codec, and there are individual movies that are over 16GB.  Technically I could reencode them at lower bitrates specifically for the mobile device, but that's a pain and then I'm maintaining a dual library and it's not needed with current phones that support SD cards.
 

Foulkey Reese

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Jeez I only have 6 gigs of music.
 
And 16 gigs on a phone usually means closer to 8-9 when you factor in all of the software and stuff that comes preloaded.
 
Doing away with the SD card slot is fine, but start selling phones with 30 gigs of space then.
 

SoxScout

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I got nervous reading about some of the multitouch issues with the Nexus 7 2013, but I unboxed, updated and everything seems perfect. This thing is F-ing stunning. I'm definitely a gadget geek and I'm pretty speechless how nice this is.
 

Cellar-Door

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Foulkey Reese said:
Jeez I only have 6 gigs of music.
 
And 16 gigs on a phone usually means closer to 8-9 when you factor in all of the software and stuff that comes preloaded.
 
Doing away with the SD card slot is fine, but start selling phones with 30 gigs of space then.
Well the HTC One is 32GB or 64, and the MotoX despite being shitty has a 32GB option, The Nexus 4 is the only one that sucks, but rumor has 32GB and possibly 64GB versions on the 5.
 

jayhoz

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Cellar-Door said:
Well the HTC One is 32GB or 64, and the MotoX despite being shitty has a 32GB option, The Nexus 4 is the only one that sucks, but rumor has 32GB and possibly 64GB versions on the 5.
True, but most people already have a micro SD card and if they don't they can easily buy 32 GB for $20.  Why would I want to spend $50 for an extra 16GB (Moto X) or $100 for an extra 32GB (HTC One)?
 

jayhoz

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Fratboy said:
Because it doesn't come with an SD card slot, but you already knew that.
Embrace the cloud Frat.  The NSA doesn't care about your One Direction remixes.
 

SumnerH

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jayhoz said:
Embrace the cloud Frat.  The NSA doesn't care about your One Direction remixes.
 
The cloud's okay for backing stuff up.  It's not where I want to keep the content I actually want to use regularly--if network connectivity is spotty (e.g. if I'm on the metro, or flying--the two places I'm most prone to be using my phone for media for a prolonged period of time) then it loses, big.
 

jayhoz

Ronald Bartel
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I guess I am blessed with good connectivity.  Outside of planes, I don't recall ever having issues accessing what I wanted on Spotify, Evernote, Dropbox, etc.
 
ETA - I think removing the micro SD slot is a shitty thing to do.
 

Marceline

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teddykgb said:
 
I have a ton of thoughts on the experience of using android and they're a mixed bag, but I'll spare the manifesto.  Suffice it to say, I continue to think that the best and only truly viable way to really get the most out of android is to buy a Nexus or GPe device on Verizon or ATT.  I think skimping on the device or the device carrier still isn't worth the trade off.
 
No, the best way to get the most out of android (and your wallet) is to go with one of the MVNOs.  I've been with Ting since January and it's been fantastic service.  I'm stunned there are actually people willing to go back to Verizon or ATT after trying other carriers, really.  I've never had a positive experience with either of those companies.
 

milfordsoxfan

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Joe Sixpack said:
 
No, the best way to get the most out of android (and your wallet) is to go with one of the MVNOs.  I've been with Ting since January and it's been fantastic service.  I'm stunned there are actually people willing to go back to Verizon or ATT after trying other carriers, really.  I've never had a positive experience with either of those companies.
 
Out of curiosity, where are you located?  It looks like Ting operates solely off Sprint's network.  That kind of makes it a non-starter for me since their LTE coverage is subpar in my area.  I looked at the other MVNOs on wikipedia, but it doesn't appear that Verizon or ATT allow anyone else to use their LTE networks.  Cursory googling appeared to confirm this.  Anyone know that this is this the case?  
 
I'd love to have some sort of option where I could dump Verizon.  The only alternative I can see is ATT, and what's the point (assuming the coverage is more or less the same, which it would be for me)?  
 
Side note: interestingly, there is a company called Millenicon that seems to offer unlimited Verizon LTE access, but for data only.  If I traveled a lot, it would be good to hook to a tablet, looks like. 
 

Cellar-Door

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The real reason Google would prefer not to have SD cards is the FAT file format which makes them a security hole, slows performance, and is going to be a massive pain in the ass for them with multiple users and file permissions.
 
Also it lets them cut price on the phone.
 
99.99% of all users don't need even the 28 or so GB that are on a 32GB phone, the vast majority don't even use the 12 or so on a 16 GB phone. There are a few rare people who might, though even those likely would be fine just sliding things back and forth to the cloud, but don't want to  (Mostly people like Sumner who are using files that are pointlessly large because they are encoded for viewing on something other than a phone and don't want to be bothered compressing them).
 
From Google's point of view losing those few customers is worth it to improve the stability and ease of use for the vast majority of users (though they really wouldn't lose users if they eliminated SD card support, Apple isn't bringing it in, and I doubt many of those users are going to WIndows or Blackberry just over SD cards, especially since the best windows phones usually don't have SD card support.)
 

wibi

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Is there a simple way to group message between 1 iphone and 2 androids?  I say simple because I would prefer not to have to use a special app to group message
 

Fratboy

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Cellar-Door said:
The real reason Google would prefer not to have SD cards is the FAT file format which makes them a security hole, slows performance, and is going to be a massive pain in the ass for them with multiple users and file permissions.
 
The S4 (sd card) and One (no sd card) show similar performance in their Google Play edition phones. Is there something about an SD card that degrades performance over time?
 

Cellar-Door

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Fratboy said:
 
The S4 (sd card) and One (no sd card) show similar performance in their Google Play edition phones. Is there something about an SD card that degrades performance over time?
From what I have read, the combination of FAT and EXT formats should be slower, it isn't the performance off the phone (so an installed app not using data off the SD card is the same regardless of the phone) that is slower (which I assume is what the tests you are referencing determine) it is the speed of things that need both the SD and internal storage. The transfer rate from the SD card is slower (with the variance depending on the card class) than from the EXT storage. It isn't huge from what I've heard, but can be noticeable, the permissions, possibilities of errors from the block access SD cards have and the security issues are the larger concerns, for Google with nothing invested in SD cards it makes sense to avoid all of the problems.
 

Marceline

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milfordsoxfan said:
 
Out of curiosity, where are you located?  It looks like Ting operates solely off Sprint's network.  That kind of makes it a non-starter for me since their LTE coverage is subpar in my area.  I looked at the other MVNOs on wikipedia, but it doesn't appear that Verizon or ATT allow anyone else to use their LTE networks.  Cursory googling appeared to confirm this.  Anyone know that this is this the case?  
 
 
I live in Mansfield, MA and work in Boston.  I am always on wifi at home and I get solid LTE signal in Boston, so I haven't had any issues there.
 
I hadn't noticed this before but it looks like you're right, the MVNOs that are connected to the Verizon or ATT networks do not currently offer LTE.
 

sibpin

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bosoxsue said:
I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, but here goes: I am a relatively new smartphone convert, within the past year. After looking up the ways to move my iTunes library to the phone (a Galaxy S3), I was going to get Easy Phone Sync from Google Play, but the app permissions were very unsettling. "Edit your text messages and read your text messages," "modify or delete contents of your USB storage," "send email to guests without owners' knowledge, modify your contacts, read calendar events plus confidential information," etc. Really? Is this just the way of the world if you're going to use apps? 
I'm not sure why Google chooses to word these permissions so threateningly, but in this app, it's entirely appropriate for those permissions to exist. Easy Phone Sync copies text messages from an iPhone to your Android phone - so it has to have read/write access to text messages. Same with music file copying, contact copying, calendar copying, etc. It doesn't necessarily mean that your data is being sent to a server or that a human will read your texts from last night, it just means that the app has the capability to perform the threatening-sounding task on the phone. It also does not mean that the phone will definitely take advantage of those permissions either; the app likely only uses them if you request them. FWIW, the same people who make Easy Phone Sync also make Easy Phone Tunes which does not have the text message / contact info permissions.
 
That said, you're likely to see the most popular apps (Facebook, Words with Friends, etc.) ask for "unnecessary" permissions that end up being used in the background for data mining. Google is apparently working on allowing you to disable individual permissions in an app (it's allegedly hidden and partially functional in Android 4.3), but until then I suggest doing what you're doing and asking if an app really needs all of the permissions before installing it.
 

I am an Idiot

"Duke"
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Nov 16, 2007
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deconstruction said:
 
Any luck yet? Have you tried GPS test or GPS tools? Do you have standalone GPS services and Google location services checked? 
 
One thing I've come across is to remove the battery cover and tighten the small screws underneath, which has actually helped my GPS speed and accuracy.
 
 
 
All GPS boxes are checked. I did the remove battery, tighten small screws thing. Still nothing. GPS tools and GPS test couldn't find me either. It's really strange, it is only since the last update that this has happened. I doubt Verizon would do anything about it, though. 
 

sibpin

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I am an Idiot said:
All GPS boxes are checked. I did the remove battery, tighten small screws thing. Still nothing. GPS tools and GPS test couldn't find me either. It's really strange, it is only since the last update that this has happened. I doubt Verizon would do anything about it, though.
Try this:

Settings > Accounts > Google > Location Settings, "Let Google apps access your location" needs to be on. Location Access has to be on, but you can toggle it from this screen as well.

This was introduced with the 4.1.2 update. I think if you updated to 4.1.2 with Location Access off, it turned off this toggle as well... so if you were someone who regularly toggled GPS through the settings, you wouldn't know that you now have to toggle a second (one-time) setting in a completely different location. I have no idea why Google quietly introduced this "feature" without any instructions, since it appeared to me that my Location Services just broke for no reason...
 

saintnick912

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Joe Sixpack said:
 
I live in Mansfield, MA and work in Boston.  I am always on wifi at home and I get solid LTE signal in Boston, so I haven't had any issues there.
 
I hadn't noticed this before but it looks like you're right, the MVNOs that are connected to the Verizon or ATT networks do not currently offer LTE.
 
Sprint has really aggressively bought into the MVNO thing, and Verizon has really really not.  AT&T is somewhere in between but yeah they tend to be lower-end prepaid type deals.  There was some concern with NTT buying (a large portion of?) Sprint that they would move away from the MVNO support and strand Ting/Virgin customers.
 

bosoxsue

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sibpin said:
I'm not sure why Google chooses to word these permissions so threateningly, but in this app, it's entirely appropriate for those permissions to exist. Easy Phone Sync copies text messages from an iPhone to your Android phone - so it has to have read/write access to text messages. Same with music file copying, contact copying, calendar copying, etc. It doesn't necessarily mean that your data is being sent to a server or that a human will read your texts from last night, it just means that the app has the capability to perform the threatening-sounding task on the phone. It also does not mean that the phone will definitely take advantage of those permissions either; the app likely only uses them if you request them. FWIW, the same people who make Easy Phone Sync also make Easy Phone Tunes which does not have the text message / contact info permissions.
 
That said, you're likely to see the most popular apps (Facebook, Words with Friends, etc.) ask for "unnecessary" permissions that end up being used in the background for data mining. Google is apparently working on allowing you to disable individual permissions in an app (it's allegedly hidden and partially functional in Android 4.3), but until then I suggest doing what you're doing and asking if an app really needs all of the permissions before installing it.
Thanks for explaining that and for the Easy Phone Tunes link.  I noticed that Facebook wanted me to install an update today, and the last permission mentioned was making it my lock screen. It was thrown in there in an, "oh, by the way" fashion. It's as if they're hoping you don't read it and just hit "update."
 

I am an Idiot

"Duke"
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Nov 16, 2007
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sibpin said:
Try this:

Settings > Accounts > Google > Location Settings, "Let Google apps access your location" needs to be on. Location Access has to be on, but you can toggle it from this screen as well.

This was introduced with the 4.1.2 update. I think if you updated to 4.1.2 with Location Access off, it turned off this toggle as well... so if you were someone who regularly toggled GPS through the settings, you wouldn't know that you now have to toggle a second (one-time) setting in a completely different location. I have no idea why Google quietly introduced this "feature" without any instructions, since it appeared to me that my Location Services just broke for no reason...
 
That was toggled on as well...maybe the phone just decided it didn't want to locate me. Ah well. 
 

OCST

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My name is OCST, and I am a bad buyer of cellphones, and a buyer of bad cellphones.
 
I throw myself on your mercy, SoSH, and ask for your help.
 
My phone broke this weekend.  I was out till 5 am, got completely hammered, came home, woke up the next morning and - shocking - the glass was smashed.  No idea how it happened.
 
My phone was - try not to laugh - or go ahead and laugh, I deserve it - a T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide.
 
Background: I had bought this phone sometime around the moon landing, because 1) my wife and I were together on a T-Mobile combo plan, and 2) I wanted a slide out physical QWERTY keyboard.  I wasn't crazy about some things, like the battery life or the quality of the camera, but I move around a lot for work, I often have to type out long emails on my phone, and I hatehatehate virtual keyboards.  So I was generally happy with it, although I knew it was a relic and the slow 3G speed drove me nuts.  I was eventually hoping to upgrade, but time and money have both been tight lately, and I just hadn't gotten around to it.
 
Upon finding out that my phone had gone tits up on Saturday, I contacted T-Mobile and tried to use the insurance to upgrade.  Boy did I get pissed off.  The insurance is fucking useless.  They would not apply any insurance benefit to an upgrade - I could only get a "replacement" upon payment of the $100 deductible.  Of course, since my old phone was carved from soapstone by Neanderthal craftsmen, it was no longer available, and I had to go with what the insurer deemed an analogous "replacement."  This was all made more difficult by the fact that the insurance is handled by a third-party company, who evidently gave no shits about my threats to leave T-Mobile.  After haggling on the phone with T-Mobile and the insurer for several hours, and nearly strangling a clerk at my local T-Mobile store, I finally gave up.  I paid the $100 deductible and got a T-Mobile MyTouch 4G by Huawei, which is a complete piece of shit, with no physical keyboard to boot.  At least my old phone had a very usable keyboard, and it was made by HTC, so it was well-designed and solid.  This thing is a toy.  I wouldn't donate it to a charity.  It sucks that bad.
 
My wife also has a T-Mobile relic - a Google G2.  She is OK with it.  She is in the very last stages (hopefully) of a job search, so she wants to keep moving parts to a minimum and doesn't want to be without cellphone/mobile email contact for even a minute, so the prospect of switching right now is not appealing.  Plus, like I said, money's tight.
 
However, I think it might be time to upgrade and switch carriers.  Yet I have read through the last half of this thread, and I am bewildered.  I haven't the foggiest clue of which way to go.  I throw myself on your collective mercy.
 
Here's my wish-list:
 
Must-haves:
 
-I have grudgingly accepted that there is not a decent 4G smartphone available anymore with a physical keyboard (get out of here, Huawei T-Mobile myTouch Q, I will not consider you), but a very good virtual keyboard experience is important - I cannot stand trying to type on an iPhone screen
-A good two-fer contract/package deal for me and my wife
-Phones themselves cannot be terribly expensive
-Good camera is a must
-Decent Internet speed - doesn't have to be blazing fast, but can't be poky
-Good battery life - I would rather give up some bells and whistles in favor of good battery life
-Good screen resolution/visibility, especially outside/in sunlight
-Support for Outlook/Exchange email
 
Nice-to-haves:
 
-A carrier that is not T-Mobile, since I hate them with the intensity of a thousand suns and don't want to give them any more money (NB: I live in NYC, and have had no problems with T-Mobile reception; the only issues I have had were at my in-laws in rural York County, PA, but I would imagine that most carriers are poor there - maybe I am wrong)
-Customer service that does not suck ass (see above)
-Up-to-date Android OS - our phones were so old that they couldn't handle some new apps, it would be nice not to have that problem
-Size - would prefer smaller, but it's not a dealbreaker if the phone is on the big side
-Decent storage/ability to use SD card
 
Could not give a shit about:

-Video - just don't use my phone for this
-Music - ditto
-GPS - of course I want some sort of GPS/map capability, but I don't use it that much and don't need a good one and don't want to pay a premium for it; my wife doesn't use it at all
 
Help?
 
thanks.
 

Marceline

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2002
6,474
Canton, MA
OilCanShotTupac said:
Here's my wish-list:
 
Must-haves:
 
-I have grudgingly accepted that there is not a decent 4G smartphone available anymore with a physical keyboard (get out of here, Huawei T-Mobile myTouch Q, I will not consider you), but a very good virtual keyboard experience is important - I cannot stand trying to type on an iPhone screen
-A good two-fer contract/package deal for me and my wife
-Phones themselves cannot be terribly expensive
-Good camera is a must
-Decent Internet speed - doesn't have to be blazing fast, but can't be poky
-Good battery life - I would rather give up some bells and whistles in favor of good battery life
-Good screen resolution/visibility, especially outside/in sunlight
-Support for Outlook/Exchange email
 
Nice-to-haves:
 
-A carrier that is not T-Mobile, since I hate them with the intensity of a thousand suns and don't want to give them any more money (NB: I live in NYC, and have had no problems with T-Mobile reception; the only issues I have had were at my in-laws in rural York County, PA, but I would imagine that most carriers are poor there - maybe I am wrong)
-Customer service that does not suck ass (see above)
-Up-to-date Android OS - our phones were so old that they couldn't handle some new apps, it would be nice not to have that problem
-Size - would prefer smaller, but it's not a dealbreaker if the phone is on the big side
-Decent storage/ability to use SD card
 
 
I mentioned this a few posts back but I'll throw it out there again because it seems ideal for your requirements:
 
https://ting.com/
 
-- You will save a ton of money on your monthly bill
-- They have a wide range of android phones available at all price points - it'd be very easy to find something that fits your requirements above
-- Their customer service is great.  When you call, a real person picks up the phone directly.  
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
35,518
So to OCST....
The best Qwerty phone out is the Motorola Photon Q, it is mediocre at best and only available on Sprint.
 
Cost for two lines on Contrct should be around $150 give or take $10 depending on features on any of the other three carriers.
 
If you are going to use it almost exclusively in the city I'd recommend going to a no-contract, both Virgin and Boost will have 4G LTE both in NYC and in York PA.
 
Virgin plans are as follows(each line):
$35- 300 minutes, unlimited text and Data
$45- 1200 minutes unlimited text and Data
$55- Unlimited everything
*- unlimited data throttles your speed after 2.5GB
 
Boost plans are as follows:
$55 - unlimited everything
*- unlimited data throttles your speed after 2.5GB
Boost also has something called shrink, it means if you stay on boost your plan will drop $5 every 6 months until it hits $40 a month, once there it will stay thre as long as you keep the plan.
 
With these, usually your best bet is to buy them at a 3rd party like Best Buy who will have sales on the phone with a new activation:
Boost phones include:
Galaxy S3- $400
HTC One SV- $250
LG OPtimus F7- $260
 
Virgin Phones include:
Galaxy S3- $400
LG Optimus F3-$180
Samsung galazy victory-$250
 
The other option is on contract.
Sprint would be $150 a month for 2 lines unlimited:
Best phone deal I have seen is through their website buy one get one on Galaxy S4, (so $250, plus tax on both phones, then a $50 mail in rebate), best cheap phone is probably an S3 ($50 at best Buy) r LG Optimus G or free.
 
Verizon is based on Data:
unlimited Talk and Text plus 2GB of data (which is not much for 2 people) is $140, then it goes up $10 per 2GB added:
S3 is $50, Razr M (small phone) is free, Droid DNA is $50 (no SD card support).Lumia 928 (windows phone) is $100, S4 will be $200-$250
 
ATT
4 GB data unlimited talk and text share is $150
S4 is $200, HTC One (no SD card but 32GB internal) is $149, S3 is $100, Lumia 920 (windows phone) is $50, Best free phone is probably the Motorola Atrix HD (meh),
 
Ting was mentioned above, and is useful if you use very little data, the phones will be a bit more than virgin and Boost (which run on the smae network). If you need less than 3 GB between you it becomes a decent choice, though even at 2GB I'd probably do Virgin $35 plans since it's only 2 dollars more and you don't need to worry about data overages.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,736
The 718
Thanks to both of you, that's great stuff.  I'm looking seriously at Ting - we come in at a little under 2G/month for data, so I think it might work - and Virgin.
 

saintnick912

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Oct 30, 2004
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Somerville, MA
I know a few people on Ting who have switched from different places and are universally happy with it vs their previous carrier.  If you're a super heavy data user (you said <2G so you should be ok) you may not like it, but in general it will save you money.  I think they voice-roam on Verizon, despite being Spring network primarily.
 
Blacken will tell you you're a fool for not having a GSM (T-Mobile/AT&T) network, which is true to some extent in that you can't get the Nexus phones but it sounds like you're less hardware specific.  They have a slider, it looks lower end but may work for you.
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
32,239
Asheville, NC
Cellar-Door said:
The real reason Google would prefer not to have SD cards is the FAT file format which makes them a security hole, slows performance, and is going to be a massive pain in the ass for them with multiple users and file permissions.
There's no inherent reason to use FAT on sd cards. Android supports ext3 and ext4-formatted SD cards just fine, that's what I use.

Windows users can't directly mount those cards on their computers if they have an SD card slot, but they can still use them as expanded storage for the phone and mount it as a USB device.
 
99.99% of all users don't need even the 28 or so GB that are on a 32GB phone, the vast majority don't even use the 12 or so on a 16 GB phone. There are a few rare people who might, though even those likely would be fine just sliding things back and forth to the cloud, but don't want to  (Mostly people like Sumner who are using files that are pointlessly large because they are encoded for viewing on something other than a phone and don't want to be bothered compressing them).
The times I'm most likely to use lots of media are exactly the times when I'm least likely to have reasonable network access--my biggest media consumption is watching movies on the plane and listening to music on the subway. The cloud's a non-starter for primary storage (it's fine for backup), independent of file size.
 
From Google's point of view losing those few customers is worth it to improve the stability and ease of use for the vast majority of users (though they really wouldn't lose users if they eliminated SD card support, Apple isn't bringing it in, and I doubt many of those users are going to WIndows or Blackberry just over SD cards, especially since the best windows phones usually don't have SD card support.)
They won't lose Android users, but they'll potentially lose sales of Google-branded Android phones to Samsung and others who do support SD cards. I suspect they'll go up somewhat in internal storage though; at 64GB internal, I'd grumble but it wouldn't be a huge deal.