Aiken Area Progressive

Progressive blog for the Central Savannah River Area.

Category: mobile phablets

Best duopoly phones for displaced Windows users

Two years ago today, Windows 10 Mobile was finally released to the public. It lasted less than 19 months before Microsoft killed it.

As everyone knows, there is officially a duopoly in the smartphone industry, and the usually outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere has been totally quiet about it — and for no good reason.

That is the world we are in now, though.

That said, there are duopoly phones you can get if support for your Windows phone has ended.

Here are our recommended duopoly phones. Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft cuts off alternate ways to upgrade to feature_2 on Windows 10 Mobile

Redmond, Wash. — There are a few days before the Mobile World Congress gets underway.

With Microsoft having been thoroughly defeated by archrivals Apple and Google in the computing industry, on Wednesday, the formerly cool Redmond giant removed any and all upgrade paths on all Windows devices.

What that means is if you are rocking any pre-2015 Lumia or the 2016 alcatel Fierce XL, support for your phone, now stuck on the Anniversary Update that was released on August 2, 2016, will end on October 30, which is the last Tuesday in October.

After October 30, only seven Windows phones used in the US will still be supported.

Support for the Microsoft Lumia 640, Microsoft Lumia 640 XL and the Microsoft Lumia 735 will tentatively end on June 29, 2019 as those phones are now stuck on the Creators Update.

On June 30, 2019, only four Windows phones used in the US will still be supported.

Support for those four phones – the Microsoft Lumia 950, Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, alcatel Idol 4s and the HP Elite x3 – will end when the ball drops on Times Square to ring in 2020. Those phones are on the feature_2, which is the latest OS update from Microsoft.

Support for all three of Acer’s Windows 10 phones – the Liquid Jade Primo, Liquid M320 and Liquid M330 – ended on January 9. Support for the Coship Moly X1 and Coship Moly W5 also ended on January 9.

alcatel Idol 4s Review

The alcatel Idol 4s is the lone high end Windows 10 Phone to have Voice on LTE and Wi-Fi Calling on board. Although I got the phone on December 4th, 2016, I have only now gotten to reviewing it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Now that AT&T has an unlimited plan, let’s compare the Big Five

As of today: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, US Cellular and T-Mobile all have unlimited data on their postpaid plans.

We’ll also dive into a comparison of their prepaid plans in another post.

First, below the fold, here are the unlimited postpaid plans and their prices.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alcatel Idol 4s is coming to T-Mobile on November 10

Bellevue, Wash. — We now know the final details of the Alcatel Idol 4s.

The device will come to T-Mobile on November 10, and it will cost $502.89 (when Aiken County sales taxes are included).

This is being confirmed by Windows Central.

Click here to see the specs.

How to use Bing Maps or OpenStreetMap without internet on your Windows Phone

Editor’s note: Jovan does not want to go to Florida during hurricane season ever again. And quite frankly, we do not blame him.

During a snowstorm, it is important to know where you are going, in case the data goes out.

The same, sadly, cannot be said of hurricanes because people will be stuck for months – or years like Floridians were post-Andrew – due to downed power lines and live wires, and the utter lack of water or other badly needed sanitation necessities.

So, for all the readers out there, snow bunnies or not, here’s how you can use Bing Maps – and OpenStreetMaps – should you have a loss of data (like the poor T-Mobile/MetroPCS folks in Pennsylvania experienced recently) on your Windows Phone.

First, download the Windows Maps app (if you do not have it already) or the Mapfactor GPS Navigation app from the Windows Store. If you do not know how to do that, links are in this post.

Secondly, open the Windows Map app. Then, tap on the ellipses at the far right. Then, tap on Settings.

From there, you will see the offline maps option. Tap on “Choose Maps”.

Once in the Offline Maps option, tap the plus sign in the box to begin downloading maps. You can also choose to change the storage location of the downloaded maps from your hard drive to an SD Card, if your phone has a micro SD Card slot available. (NOTE: the Lumia Icon does not have a micro SD Card slot. The HP Elite x3 has a micro SD Card slot, but if you insert a nano SIM card in that slot (known as slot 2), it will be inactive until you replace the SIM card with a micro SD card in Slot 2.)

If you have Data Stash (T-Mobile Simple Choice Prepaid 6 GB or 10 GB plan) or Rollover Data (AT&T Next/AT&T GoPhone), you can download the maps on a metered connection without worry. Just tap the switch from “off” to “on” under the Metered Connections section of the Offline Maps section. Screenshots of the section are below, from the Lumia 640.


How about Mapfactor, then? Well, in order to use the map app, you must download at least one offline map.

Open the app, and then choose Navigator Free. Or if you prefer, you can pay for the TomTom/OpenStreetMap Truck Maps combo by clicking on Navigator Pro. The US map costs $47.67. However, you will be able to get every other paid map for free once you purchase that map.

Unfortunately, though, both maps use up quite a bit of space, so you will need a micro SD card before downloading.

That’s it! Open the map, select the location(s) of your choice, and you can start using it without data.

Surface Phone leaked? For the love of Eros, let’s hope so!


Redmond, Wash. — Before the weekend started, one regional Microsoft account may have leaked some very good news about Microsoft phones.

According to the Twitter account Microsoft Australia (I don’t know why Microsoft is still maintaining regional accounts instead of merging them all to their global account in Redmond), the Surface Phone could be announced at their event in a few weeks.

The Daily Express, a UK publication, noted the image appears to include official Microsoft branding, shows a dark smartphone shape, flanked by Microsoft’s existing Surface Book laptop and Surface Pro 4 tablet device.

The Daily Express continued:

Rumours have been building , which according to reports could feature a 5.7 inch touchscreen with 2K resolution, powered by a Snapdragon 830 processor, and sporting a 20 megapixel rear camera with a Carl Zeiss lens.

The Surface Phone could even be a hybrid device, with leaked images suggesting it will have a keyboard cover that allows users to type, similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro devices.

Additionally, the device is expected to have at least an 8 megapixel front facing camera, 4k video capabilities and VoLTE.

As many other media outlets have posted, Microsoft is ending its Lumia line no later than December 31.  Which means that the production of the Lumia 550, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL will end at that approximately 8 pm Vietnam time on that day.

We at Aiken Area Progressive hope this Surface Phone will come sooner rather than later.

American Telephone & Telegraph Mobility ends overage charges on all plans – prepaid and postpaid


Dallas, Texas — Starting now, American Telephone and Telegraph Mobility will no longer charge customers for overages on any of their plans.

AT&T announced on Tuesday, August 16, that starting at 0:01 EDT today, that they would no longer charge for overages on any of their three plans: GoPhone, Next and Mobile Share Advantage.

Instead, Big Orange will throttle the customer’s data down to 128 kbps, which is 2G/EDGE speeds, once a customer has hit her data limit for the remainder of that billing cycle, which is usually 31 days.

The plans come with other changes — they strip out the cheapest, offering more data for higher prices, while lowering the cost for some higher data plans.

AT&T is likely betting consumers will switch to get rid of annoying charges when they go over the limits.

That leaves Verizon as the only carrier that still charges overages.  However, that’s not going to last long as Verizon announced last month that they were ending overage charges on their prepaid and postpaid plans by no later than September 22.

Thirty-eight months ago, T-Mobile was the first of the carriers to end overage charges.  This was at a time in which they had no LTE at all and only a small slice of 4G.

It would take 24 months before another carrier, this time Sprint, to end overage charges.  Sprint did so 14 months ago, in June 2015.  Later in 2015, US Cellular followed suit and ended overage charges, leapfrogging fellow CDMA carrier Verizon and fellow Band 12 carrier AT&T.

By the time autumn arrives, the era of annoying overage charges will, thankfully, come to a close.

Feel free to use your Lumia 950 XL on AT&T now without worrying about that annoying gimmick.

WLTX News 19

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is here!

Redmond, Wash. — If you are among those with a Windows 10 Phone, today is the big day!

At noon EDT, Microsoft released the Anniversary Update for the phones. This comes two weeks after the targeted date for the update.

Dona Sarkar, the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders chief, wrote this on the Windows Blog:

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update has begun rolling out for Windows 10 Mobile. The Anniversary Update includes additional features and improvements for your Windows 10 phone. To manually check for the update, on Start, swipe over to the All apps list, then select Settings > Update & security > Phone update > Check for updates. Note that availability may vary by manufacturer, model, country or region, mobile operator or service provider, hardware limitations and other factors.

Here are the phones that are eligible to get the update:


Liquid Jade Primo
Liquid M330


Fierce XL




Moly x1
Moly w5


Lumia 430
Lumia 435
Lumia 532
Lumia 535
Lumia 540
Lumia 635 (Sprint variant only)
Lumia 636
Lumia 638
Lumia 640
Lumia 640 XL
Lumia 735
Lumia 830
Lumia Icon (929)
Lumia 950
Lumia 950 XL
Lumia 1520






Phone Biz

Any phone not listed here is ineligible for the Anniversary Update and will remain on Windows Phone 8.x or Windows 10 build 10586.

Check your phones and get ready to download!

Windows 10 Mobile build 10586.318 is live!

wp_ss_20160510_0001[1]Redmond, Wash. — It may be a holiday here (Confederate Memorial Day), but Microsoft released a brand new update for phones and other devices running Windows 10 at 13:00 Windsor time.

This is the May Cumulative Update, also the Patch Tuesday update.  This bumps the build number for the Acer Liquid M330, the Alcatel Fierce XL, the Coship Moly X, the Microsoft Lumia 550, the Microsoft Lumia 650, the Microsoft Lumia 950 and the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL to 10586.318.

UPDATE at 17:18: This update has also gone live to these following devices: The Microsoft Lumia Icon (Insider Build only), Microsoft Lumia 640, Microsoft Lumia 640 XL, Microsoft Lumia 735, Microsoft Lumia 830, and Microsoft Lumia 1520.

Here are the list of improvements, as provided by Microsoft, in this build: Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING NEWS: AT&T will shutter its 2G network by Halloween

Dallas — It’s official: the end is near for 2G, also known as EDGE/GPRS on Big Orange.

John Stevens, the Chief Financial Officer, told Wireless Week AT&T Mobility has moved six million of their subscribers off the 2G network in the past year, with the rest of the users consisting largely of feature phone users.

“There still is a lot of cost that is left just to operate even a piece of the 2G network,” said Mr. Stevens. “So we are anxious to capture that savings and use it to continue a strong EBITDA story for our wireless business.”

Mr. Stevens said AT&T is planning to refarm the spectrum from the decommissioned 2G network to Long Term Evolution help meet ever increasing data demands.

According to Mr. Stevens, the carrier has already repurposed some of the 2G network spectrum in areas where 2G device traffic has dropped off. This incremental approach, he said, means some markets will only have small chunks of spectrum left that need to be repurposed.  It is not immediately known if those chunks will be refarmed to 3G, 4G or LTE.

AT&T isn’t the first US carrier to refarm its 2G spectrum, though.

Twenty-two months ago, archrival T-Mobile USA announced plans to upgrade its 2G/EDGE GSM network and deploy LTE on that PCS spectrum. The project was completed on November 30, 2015.

According to recent report from OpenSignal, the switch has helped T-Mobile make substantial speed gains, and some indoor penetration gains in areas where PCS LTE signal is strong.

Wireless Week

Heads up! FM Radio app is missing from the latest Redstone build

Redmond, Wash. — On Friday, Microsoft released Build 14322 to Fast Ring insiders on Windows 10 Mobile.

Over the weekend, there were several confirmed reports that FM Radio is missing when users download the build.

Here’s the app on my Alcatel Fierce XL, which is on the latest production build, 10586.218.


All I have to say is that if you want to listen to terrestrial radio, there are third party apps in the Windows Store. Or, you can flash your device back to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier builds of Windows 10 and go back on Slow Ring (which is on the equally bug-riddled build 14295), go on Release Ring or go in Production — after using the Windows Device Recovery Tool to flash back, of course.

Windows Central

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