Starting October 1, Verizon Will Include Unlimited 4G LTE Customers in “Network Optimization”

Back in September of 2011, Verizon introduced a new initiative called Network Optimization that only affected unlimited data customers. What is Network Optimization? Well, it’s a little bit like throttling in that Verizon can slow down your data connection if you meet a list of factors, because they don’t want you to ruin the data experience for the rest of their customers.

The thing is, up until now, Network Optimization only affected the 3G connection of those with unlimited data plans. Since most of you are all on 4G LTE now, it really didn’t matter much. But according to sources of ours, along with at least one reader who has been notified of the change, LTE will become a part of the “optimization” starting October 1. Like before, this only affects unlimited data customers.

This is what we know.  (more…)

Verizon Tests New Bloatware Process on the G3: Installs Apps on Setup, But They can be Fully Uninstalled

Verizon pinged us this afternoon to point out a new bloatware application installation process they are currently testing with the LG G3. On the G3, users may notice during the activation and setup process that there are apps being installed in the background that will eventually show in the app drawer. These are applications that in the past have come pre-loaded out of the box on Verizon phones, only Verizon doesn’t appear to want to do that anymore.

The downloading of these bloatware apps does not count against your data plan. Verizon also noted that these can be uninstalled just like any other app you would download.  (more…)

Moto X Deal Extended Through July 31, Grab a 16GB for $299

Motorola has extended the deal they ran last weekend for the Moto X, which priced last year’s flagship at $299 (16GB), $325 (32GB), and $375 (64GB). The deal is on starting today and ending July 31, so you have a full week to think about it. Custom designed Moto Xs through MotoMaker are included, as are the Developer Editions.

At this point, though, do you really want a Moto X? The phone is almost a year old and has a replacement on the way that could be here within the next month. That’s not to say that the Moto X isn’t still a capable device, but I can already envision the disappointment should you fork out a few hundred dollars for the 2013 model and then see the 2014 model arrive with all sorts of upgrades.  (more…)

Contest: Win 1 of 5 Chromecasts From DL to Celebrate the Dongle’s Birthday!

Since Google is taking the time to celebrate the 1st birthday of the Chromecast by giving away free 90-day All Access subscriptions, we wanted to join in on the party by giving away additional goodies. Instead of handing out All Access subscriptions – that many of you can’t take advantage of because you have already taken it for a trial run – we are instead giving you free Chromecast devices! We will put up 5 for 5 lucky DL individuals.  (more…)

1 Year in: Google has Sold “Millions” of Chromecasts, Gives Away Free Google Music to Celebrate

Today, Google is celebrating the birthday of Chromecast by announcing a handful of stats to show how popular their HDMI streaming dongle has become. At $35, the Chromecast is still one of the best values in tech, as it allows you to take all sorts of media and “cast” it directly to almost any screen. It is a fantastic tool.

According to Google, they have sold “millions” of Chromecast devices in this first year, have tracked more than 400 million casts, and are selling the device in 20 countries and 30,000 stores across the globe. I don’t know that any of us saw this dongle becoming such a big seller, but like I just mentioned, there is incredible value there. It was sold out for months on Amazon and Google Play when initially launched before Google could catch up to demand. One year in, I would say that Chromecast has been a surprise success.  (more…)

Hangouts is Now an Option for Making Calls on Google Voice

Google Voice and Hangouts will be merged at some point in the future, at least that is what Google keeps telling us. Google announced back at last year’s I/O conference, again in October, and then again in March that Hangouts is the “future” of Voice, only they forgot to give us another update at this year’s I/O conference. So yes, we are more than a year into this supposed merger of Hangouts and Voice, yet the mystery surrounding the timing of that action is thicker than ever.

Thankfully, we know that at least Google’s Alex Wiesen has not stopped working on Google Voice. He told us back in June that Google is working to improve voicemail transcriptions with your help, and has followed that up with the unveiling of Hangouts calls through the web version of Google Voice. Mentioned on his G+ page last night, Weisen noted that when placing a call through the web version of Voice, you now have the option to call through Hangouts instead of through your phone or “Google Talk.” If you aren’t a G+ user, you can still use the Hangouts option as it doesn’t require a G+ account.  (more…)