The traditional SIM card is dying. The GSMA, which represents carriers and mobile companies around the world, has announced a new eSIM specification for smartwatches, fitness trackers, and tablets, which allows users to remotely activate a SIM embedded in those devices.
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One month ago, we tried Google's experimental cell phone service in New York. It was a disaster. But I guess the second time's a charm. After spending two weeks with Project Fi in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm just about ready to ditch my old carrier.
As of a few days ago, President Obama has approved and signed the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act," making it once again legal to unlock your phones to use on carriers of your choice. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the main supporter of the bill, confirmed the news via The White House Blog. Of course, you still have to completely own your phone, so month-by-month payment plans and other contract terms will keep your phone on lockdown.
Maybe net neutrality is just something you hear about on the news and see in headlines. Maybe it's something you don't want to bother to understand. Or maybe you know how important it is but don't know how to explain it to your friends why. This simple animation video by CGP Grey does all the explaining you need. It breaks down why net neutrality is important and why defending net neutrality is even more important than you think.
Using your smartphone abroad sucks, or rather, it's just annoying. You wish you had your phone abroad, but it's complicated. Aussie telcos are starting to catch on and fix the situation, but beginning October 31st, US carrier T-Mobile will be offering free text and data in 100 different countries to customers on its Simple Choice plans. Boom.
An Appeals court in the US has ruled that search warrants are not required by law enforcement agencies if they wish to seize mobile phone records. The ruling, from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, claims that collection of such data doesn't violate the Fourth Amendment — and doesn't need to pass the probable cause test.
If there is one complaint we hear from Android users more than any other, it's the speed at which software updates arrive. Or don't arrive. It's especially tough on tech enthusiasts who read about all the advantages of the new update but can't get it on their own devices for six months, if at all. Even brand new devices typically fail to launch with the latest version of Android.