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In Brief

As Sprint tinkers with its family plans to encourage prepaid customers to go postpaid, T-Mobile is tweaking its entry-level prepaid plan. The barebones $40 Simple Starter plan is a good deal for light data users, but its 500MB cap means it wasn’t an option for many. On Monday, T-Mobile announced a $5 add-on which brings the LTE data cap up to a more reasonable 2GB. After that’s used up, your data gets shut off unless you buy a one-day 500MB bucket for $5 or a seven-day 1GB plan for $10. T-Mobile warns the plan is subject to change, and it will be available starting on September 3.

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In Brief

Vodafone’s share price rose Friday on rumors of a takeover bid by AT&T. We’ve so been here before — AT&T promised back in January that it wouldn’t launch a bid for the subsequent 6 months. China Mobile is also reportedly interested in buying a stake in Vodafone. On top of that, AT&T is also reportedly considering buying Ireland’s Eircom as a way into Europe, and Vodafone itself was rumored to be considering a bid for T-Mobile US, so y’know, it’s probably worth seeing what actually happens before getting too excited. One thing that has happened, though, is that Vodafone just stumped up $96 million to take over Greek fixed-line provider Hellas Online.

In Brief

Moto X+1 eveaks

As a farewell gift on his trip to retirement, noted tipster @evleaks has one more leak left to share: The Moto X+1 for Verizon. The images match up with earlier rumors and whispers of a larger Motorola handset, very likely with a higher resolution screen than the 720p display found on last year’s Moto X. Aside from the overall size bump, the speaker grilles are larger and there appear to be two of them, suggesting the possibility of stereo front-facing speakers. In keeping with what helped make the Moto X a popular phone, the successor model looks to be running a mainly stock, skin-less version of Android.

In Brief

Nook

The largest retail bookseller in the United States is now in the business of selling Samsung tablets. As was announced earlier this summer, Barnes & Noble will discontinue its own line of skinned Android tablets and instead will partner with Samsung to sell a Nook-branded version of the Galaxy Tab 4, which will be called, rather uncreatively, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. This version of the seven-inch tablet will have several Nook book and music marketplaces preinstalled and it will be sold for $180 at Barnes & Noble as well as online. Barnes & Noble locations will also offer customer support for customers struggling with the jump from paper books to a fully-fledged Android tablet.

In Brief

Michael Halbherr has stepped down as CEO of Nokia Here, the Finnish firm’s mapping and location-based services division, after just a few months in the role. He had been with Nokia for eight years and on its leadership team for three, but he only took the Here CEO spot on 1 May this year. The team is now looking for a new chief, under the temporary leadership of Core Map Group SVP Cliff Fox. The division is currently unprofitable, but is betting on success in the connected car market in particular. According to a Wednesday statement, Halbherr quit in order to “focus once again on entrepreneurial activities.”

In Brief

2014-08-19-17.17.49

The Sharp Aquos smartphone with those oh-so-skinny bezels announced earlier this week in Japan is officially coming to the United States, and no surprise, it’s headed exclusively to Sprint and its prepaid subsidiaries, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile. But what is a bit of a surprise is how attractively priced it is: At $240 without a contract, it represents a strong challenge to the Moto G LTE for the mid-range Android crown. It’s even cheaper on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, checking in at $150 when purchased locked from Sprint’s prepaid MVNOs. There isn’t an official release date yet, but it should be available later this fall.

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