T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have all announced plans that will let customers upgrade phones more quickly. Typically US mobile customers had to wait 18 to 24 months to qualify for a new handset. Some of the new plans let you upgrade as often as every 6 months.
Of course, none of this comes free of charge. If you’re trying to figure out which plan will cost you the least, CNET has run the numbers and put everything you need to know in one place.
Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.
- Which early upgrade phone plan is the most affordable?
Under almost any conceivable circumstances, T-Mobile’s plans are the cheapest. That may be little comfort if you’re in an area that doesn’t get great coverage from T-Mobile. [CNET]
- Chrome app launcher for Windows now available
Now you can pin a Chrome web app launcher to your taskbar, desktop, and start screen or start menu. This makes launching web apps almost as simple as launching desktop apps. [Engadget]
- Early Linux build of XBMC media center released for Freescale i.MX6 devices
Folks have been running Linux on devices with Freescale’s i.MX6 processors almost as long as there have been devices with those chips. Now you can also run the Linux version of XBMC, no Android required. Well, sort of. Development’s still in the early stages. [CNX Software]
- Apple may have bought map/directions company HopStop
Back before Google started offering public transit directions, HopStop was my go-to place for getting tips for moving from point A to point B. Now it looks like HopStop is moving to Apple. [Bloomberg]
- Besta CD-920 Android-powered Cloud Dictionary/translator hits the FCC
It looks like a tiny laptop. It runs Android. And it can translate languages on the go. It probably won’t be cheap. And it might be coming to America. [FCC]
- Mediatek MT6582 low-cost 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 chip coming soon
Chinese chip maker MediaTek won’t rest until it has a processor for every conceivable type of device. [AndroidPC.es]
- Vido to offer iPad mini clone with support for multi-window Android apps
Cube isn’t the only company preparing to offer an Android tablet with support for running apps in movable, resizeable windows. [Mike Cane]