Mobile Miscellany: week of July 8th, 2013

Mobile Miscellany week of July 8th, 2013

If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week, Microsoft detailed its forthcoming Windows Phone 8 update, Masayoshi Son laid out grand visions for Sprint and Verizon announced a new reason for children to resent their parents. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of July 8th, 2013.

Microsoft publishes Windows Phone 8 GDR 2 'Amber' changelog

You may be familiar with the Windows Phone 8 GDR 2 update by its codename, Amber, but it's less likely that you have a full understanding of its purpose. The software has already made an appearance on the Nokia Lumia 925, but has yet to be released as an update for WP8 devices. Now, Microsoft has posted a changelog for GDR2. Alongside publicized additions such as an FM radio tuner and app-level usage tracking within Data Sense, Amber will bring performance improvement to Skype and other VoIP apps, greater HTML5 compatibility within Internet Explorer and the ability to set a favorite lens, which then opens automatically whenever you press the camera button. The changelog mentions other improvements, but fails to detail them... which suggests everything else is fairly incremental. [Windows Phone]

Softbank aims to bring Sprint LTE coverage on par with Verizon

Mobile Miscellany week of July 8th, 2013

Now that Softbank's acquisition of Sprint is official, the Japanese carrier is wasting no time in discussing its plans for the Now Network. According to Softbank president, Masayoshi Son, the company will invest $16 billion in Sprint over the next two years in order to build up the carrier's infrastructure. Accordingly, Son is aiming to bring Sprint's LTE coverage to parity with Verizon Wireless. That said, now that Verizon has kicked off phase two of its LTE rollout, it's a safe bet that Sprint's engineers will have their hands full for the next couple of years. Curiously, this isn't the only way that Sprint's looking to emulate Verizon... it's also announced a research center in Silicon Valley, which will open next year and employ nearly 1,000 engineers. [Dow Jones]

Verizon FamilyBase tracking app now available

Mobile Miscellany week of July 8th, 2013

Hey, worrisome parents: Verizon FamilyBase is now available as a way of keeping track of your little one's activities on their mobile phone. The service costs $5.00 per month, and gives parents a way of seeing who their children are calling and texting, and when they're doing it. The app also lets parents view their kid's contact list, and even lock their phone -- cruel punishment, indeed. [Verizon Wireless]

Other random tidbits

  • T-Mobile has published its full list of markets that'll receive LTE coverage by the end of 2013. [TmoNews]

  • The Nokia Lumia 925 is set to hit all major retailers in Australia on July 17th, where it'll retail for $699 outright. The phone will follow up with Telstra on July 30th, and then at Optus on August 1st. [WPCentral]

  • The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 LTE is now available at Bell, Telus and Rogers, which ranges in price between $499 and $579. [MobileSyrup]

  • Telus is now selling the HTC One in black, which retails for $149 on contract or $650 outright. [MobileSyrup]

  • BlackBerry product manager, Michael Clewey, has announced an option within BlackBerry 10.2 that'll allow users to silence the camera's artificial shutter sound. [CrackBerry]

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[Mobile Miscellany photo credit: Thristian / Flickr]