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Apple begins selling SIM-free iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the US

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iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

About a month after launching the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus internationally through various contract and carrier-financing options, Apple has begun selling the SIM-free iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on its US online store.

The SIM-free iPhone works on any carrier in the world, assuming that the iPhone supports the wireless bands of the carrier. You’ll not be tied to any agreement or condition, and can use the device on the carrier of your choice — at full retail price.

Apple on the iPhone 7 network compatibility:

AT&T and T-Mobile

The iPhone for AT&T and T-Mobile does not support CDMA and will not work on Sprint or Verizon Wireless. It will use 3G cellular technology for voice services and either 3G or 4G LTE cellular technology for data services. However, the iPhone for AT&T and T-Mobile can roam internationally on many GSM carriers around the world.

Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and SIM-free

If Sprint or Verizon Wireless is your wireless carrier, your iPhone will work on AT&T and T-Mobile once activated. The SIM-free iPhone will work with any carrier. An iPhone activated on Sprint or Verizon Wireless, and the SIM-free iPhone, also have the ability to roam internationally on GSM networks.

International Roaming

All iPhone models are world phones, so you can use them almost anywhere. Which means you can roam internationally on GSM networks in over 200 countries around the world, whether you are a GSM or CDMA network customer. Availability of LTE data varies in some countries and depends on carrier support for certain LTE radio frequencies.  For details on LTE network support, please see www.apple.com/iphone/LTE.

As far as the availability is concerned, the iPhone 7 ships faster than the Plus, though the Jet Black variant has longer shipping time in either size. The iPhone 7 starts at $649, while the iPhone 7 Plus at $769.

More information available here.

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Blocks modular smartwatch is finally available to purchase

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Blocks SmartWatch

Blocks has begun selling the modular smartwatch, which the company launched on Kickstarter in 2015. True to its name, the Blocks modular smartwatch is a full add-on gear, powered by a proprietary OS, and works with both iOS and Android.

Once upon a time back in 2015, when Apple Watch had just launched, Android Wear was still a good deal to bet on. Meanwhile, Blocks launched on Kickstarter, and also made its trip to CES in Vegas. The company promised to ship the product in May of 2016, however, constant delays made it possible today. The company has begun shipping the watch to Kickstarter backers, and is using CES to tell the world that it is now ready for everyone.

Blocks SmartWatch Module

Blocks’ Core smartwatch has fitness tracking, Amazon Alexa, notification support, alongside some modular add-ons. Of course, the Blocks smartwatch can display time.

Blocks says it will continue developing new modules, including a fingerprint sensor, extra batteries, if things go well with the ecosystem.

The Core comes in either black or silver finish, with black and red straps on offer. The add-on modules cost $35 each on top of $259 for the Core base unit. Even after years of delays, Blocks isn’t confirming an exact date yet, saying that the devices should ship sometime in Q1 of 2018.

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Oculus partners with Xiaomi to launch Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone

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Oculus Go
Image Credit / Facebook

Oculus announced partnerships with Xiaomi and Qualcomm at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. As part of the new partnerships, the company also revealed details about the upcoming Oculus Go along with a new Mi VR Standalone headset.

Oculus Go, which the company announced at last year’s Oculus Connect, will be manufactured by Xiaomi, in partnership with Qualcomm to power the headset. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 Mobile VR Platform is what powers Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone.

Mi VR Standalone and Oculus Go

We’ve worked closely with Qualcomm to deliver the highest possible level of performance to meet the high computing demands of the standalone VR product category.

The Go and Standalone both share the same core hardware technology and features, sporting same design aesthetics (except the logo). While the Oculus Go headset will be available worldwide, the Mi VR Standalone will be available exclusively for the Chinese market. The Oculus Mobile SDK support will allow developers to easily port their content to the platform in China. Plus, the company says Xiaomi is working directly with Oculus developers to localize popular content from the Oculus Store.

No word on the availability of the devices yet!

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Google Pay brings Android Pay and Google Wallet together

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Google Pay
Look for Google Pay at checkout in Google apps, online, and in stores

Google has announced that it is merging Android Pay and Google Wallet into a new brand name, Google Pay. Sounds familiar? Well, it has now been a common naming convention in the industry — especially in the payment space.

After Google launched Wallet in 2011, the service once supported NFC payments for goods and services. However, the company later launched Android Pay in 2015 for online and real-world payments, making Google Wallet a person-to-person payment system. All that now has changed to Google Pay.

Google Pay Logo

For current Android Pay and Google Wallet users, it is just a change of name and logo. Google says it will be easier to use payment information saved to Google Account, speeding up the entire checkout with peace of mind. Plus, the new Google Pay logo will be visible online, in-store, and across Google products in the coming weeks. In fact, Google Pay is already available on Airbnb, Dice, Fandango, HungryHouse, and Instacart. The company is also offering promotional offers to the users.

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