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Sunday, October 4, 2020
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Tag: Google Assistant

Mobvoi and LifeSmart collaborate to introduce the Cololight

Today, Mobvoi, the manufacturer of the TicWatch and TicPods, announced Cololight, smart LED panels produced in collaboration with LifeSmart.The Cololight are hexagonal panels that boasts audio visualization with ability to adjust according to volume and adjustment via the app, a remote, Google Home, and Mobvoi’s TicWatch.The Cololight can be arranged in any way you wish and can even be put on the included pedestal to make a desk lamp. They only consume 0.3W per light of power on the regular, with max power consumption at 5W per light.The Cololight can be purchased now at Mobvoi’s website, at $49.99 for a set of 3 and $79.99 for a set of 6. The website even includes some arrangements to give you inspiration for your own personal setup.

Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab review: A tablet, and then some

The Android-based tablet offers enough smart features to set it apart from the competition.

How to activate and use Google Assistant on your non-Pixel Chromebook

Way back in 2016, Google announced a new initiative for the company: Google Assistant. This was the evolution of Google Search into the new decade for Google. And it’s spread Assistant to most of the company’s connected portfolio.This includes Chrome OS although this portion of Google Assistant was originally reserved as a Pixelbook exclusive. The in-house Chrome OS laptops even have a dedicated button for launching Assistant.What are we doing?In this tutorial, I’d like to walk you through making sure Google Assistant is turned on and the ways you can navigate this option. Whether it be voice, keyboard, or cursor, we’ll cover all the basics to using Google’s new virtual butler.How to make it workAll of what we are doing will live inside the Settings app on Chrome. This can be opened via the app gallery or by clicking on the notification area, and then selecting the gear icon.Open SettingsClick the Search and Assistant optionMake sure Google Assistant is enabledEnable and review options on the next screen 1 of 5 Now, we have made sure our new laptop has Google Assistant enabled and at our fingerprints. Next, we need to cover how to spring it into action. There’s a couple of ways to get there via the user interface.Click the App Launcher buttonChoose the Assistant button from the pop-upThis pop-up can also be achieved by pressing the Search key on the keyboard 1 of 3 These last few steps should get you to the Assistant input option. You can also jump straight to the Assistant with a handy keyboard shortcut combination. If you press the Search key and the “A” key at the same time you will get Google Assistant directly.AI is the futureYou can now use Assistant to answer your favorite trivia, play a song, or even turn off your home automation. Let us know in the comments about how you commonly use Google Assistant on your Chromebook.

Google Assistant now answers your Coronavirus related questions

Google has added a new function to its Google assistant called ‘Coronavirus tips’ which is a shortcut that could be accessed by either clicking on the shortcut from the Google Assistant app or by using the command ‘Do I have Coronavirus’. Once you use the command, your Google Assistant will show you a symptoms page for the Coronavirus where you could get detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and prevention for the virus.The Google Assistant also responds with a short voice message giving you information about the Coronavirus, the symptoms, and the latest updates. You can also click on other useful links provided on the results page to learn more about the virus and get the latest news. The new Coronavirus tips function in the Google Assistant could also be accessed by clicking on the ‘Coronavirus tips’ shortcut on the home page or the discover page of the Google Assistant.You can also select other relevant shortcuts like tips for working from home, how to wash your hands, and even set a reminder to wash your hands. Google Assistant will also provide you with the latest news updates in the relevant topics once you use the Coronavirus tips shortcut from the home page of the app. The aim of this new shortcut is to spread as much awareness as possible and also help people to get the right information especially with so many misinformation and fake news about the virus out there.Apple also has added a similar function to its digital assistant Siri, which essentially asks you a series of questions about the Coronavirus symptoms to help you to self-diagnose yourself or to just learn more about the virus. While the Google Assistant just redirects you to relevant websites with information about Coronavirus, hopefully, we can see a similar functionality added to it soon by Google.

New Google Assistant feature turns the internet into one giant audiobook

The Read It feature is available on browsers and Android smartphones

Opinion: Amazon’s Echo products make Google Assistant look boring

Ever since I got my first Echo Dot, I’ve been hooked on having smart speakers in my home. I started with Alexa, but being a heavy user of Google services, I quickly made the change to Google Assistant with the first Google Home speaker.It took a little time for Assistant to catch up with Alexa, but it did, and I’ve never regretted the switch in digital assistants. At least in terms of AI smarts and capabilities. I can’t say the same for the hardware.While there are plenty of devices to choose from on both sides, I’ve always been a little disappointed with the lack of innovation from Google’s Assistant-enabled hardware.Since the first Echo speaker, we’ve seen Amazon launch product after product featuring Alexa, each experimenting with different designs and ways to get Alexa into our lives. Google, on the other hand, only offers up a handful of hero products for Assistant.A perfect example would be the Echo Show, Amazon’s first smart display launched back in 2017. It would take over a year from the release of the Echo Show for Google and its partners to release a Google Assistant-enabled smart display.Amazon hasn’t stopped there though, since the release of the Echo Show, it has gone onto release several more innovative Alexa products. For example, there is an Echo Sub to add more bass to your Echo speakers, or the Echo Input that allows you to add Alexa capabilities to your existing audio setup.Think of as sort of a Chromecast Audio before Google discontinued it, except there is a mic, and it reacts to Alexa commands. That’s a product I’d love for my current home audio equipment.Then, at Amazon’s annual hardware event in 2019, it unveiled even more innovative ways to use Alexa while on the go. First, there are the Echo Frames, a pair of prescription glasses with Alexa built-in. Next, was the Echo Loop, which is a smart ring with Alexa built-in, it looks somewhat weird when in use, but it’s still pretty ingenious.One could argue, that these are both niche products and neither are essential. And while that is certainly true, it doesn’t change the fact that both are far more innovative than anything Google is doing with its Assistant hardware. I’d love to see more experimentation from Google, finding new fun ways to work Assistant into our lives.Beyond the more out-there concepts, Amazon also showed off some more practical Echo products. Starting with the Echo Flex that will add Alexa to any outlet along with a USB charging port. There are even accessories for the Echo Flex, including a nightlight and motion sensor attachment.Finally, Amazon introduced a new Echo Dot with a clock built-in. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been wanting something exactly like this since the first Echo Dot launched. Sony released something similar with the S50G using Google Assistant previously, but it is quite pricey. There was also one from Insignia, but it has since been discontinued and I never cared for the style of that one.All I want is a cheap, attractive alarm clock replacement with a visible clock. If Google made a similar product with a built-in clock, I’d have it on pre-order as soon as it popped up. In the meantime, I’ve had to make do with a smart display, which works great, but is also a bit overkill for a beside alarm clock.No matter how you look at it, Amazon is straight-up killing it with Echo products. It releases far more options, and many more innovative products feature Alexa than Google’s Assistant.Next to Amazon’s offerings, Google Assistant looks boring. Seeing as how I’m so invested and committed to Assistant products, I just wish we could see some more experimentation on Google’s behalf with its hardware.

Google’s next virtual assistant could chat your ear off on just about any topic

In a new paper, Google detailed Meena, a "human-like" chatbot that can "engage in conversation on any topic."

Hisense TV line for 2020 includes ULED, hands-free voice, and lasers

Chinese manufacturer Hisense typically comes into Las Vegas with a whole array of interesting tech for CES and 2020 proves to be no exception. It hits the new year with a full suite of new TV models, including some with Ultra LED, hands-free voice controls, and a projector/laster TV hybrid.Given we’re mostly focused on mobile tech, we won’t go too deep into the details here. That said, we appreciate Hisense for its continued usage of Android TV for its smarts. Moreover, it also utilizes built-in Google Assistant for a number of models, something we’re really quite fond of to be sure.Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect from Hisense and its TVs as 2020 gets underway.L5 SeriesL5 SeriesThe L5 Series offers specifications which closely align with the L10 short-throw Laser TV but with a more user-friendly Android TV platform. It has a smaller color gamut, but Hisense claims it’s able to reproduce more than 95% of the DCI-P3 color space. In other words, expect excellent HDR performance. The dedicated, ambient light-rejecting screen and 2,600 nit brightness will certainly help block out the real world as you dive deep into a movie.Availability: April 2020100″ ($6,000)H9G Quantum SeriesAs the brand’s premium Quantum Dot ULED TV, this line offers up 1,000 nits of peak brightness. Features include support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, plus microphones located in the bezel. Using far-field voice, users can leverage Google Assistant for finding TV shows and movies or any of the myriad smart home tasks. Oh, and it runs Android TV, too.H9G SeriesA screenless mode lets you treat the H9G as a smart speaker so you can even work with Assistant when it appears otherwise powered off.Availability: April 202055″ ($700)65″ ($1,000)H8G Quantum SeriesMoving down the line of affordability, the H8G Quantum Series gains quantum dot technology. With 700 nits of peak brightness and up to 90 full-array local dimming zones, it also offers Dolby Vision. Also present is Dolby Atmos support for audio.H8G SeriesSimilar to the H9G, it has Android TV with a voice remote, as well as built-in Google Assistant and Chromecast.Availability: March 202050″ ($400)55″ ($500)65″ ($700)H65G SeriesPerhaps our favorite of the bunch, this series deliver a wallet-friendly 4K, Dolby Vision-capable TV with Android TV. Available in a variety of sizes, it’s damn near impossible to beat the feature set at these prices. These TVs include a voice remote as well as a dedicated Game Mode that disables processing for ultra-fast response times. Also present are DTS Virtual: X, Motion Rate Technology, and Bluetooth connectivity.Availability: Q2 202043″ ($270)50″ ($300)55″ ($330)65″ ($480)75″ ($900)85″ ($1,500)Other OptionsThose who don’t care for 4K, or who might be looking for a smaller display may consider the H55G Series, which starts at just $140 (32-inch) and goes up to $230 (43-inch).Hisense also plans to have a range of cheaper Roku TVs later this year. Pricing ranges as low as $115 for a 32-inch H4G Series TV up to $500 for a 65-inch 4K H6 Series. Somewhere in the middle will be an H5 Series but we’re not clear on the details just yet.

Apple, Amazon, Google, and Zigbee Alliance to Develop Open Standard for Smart Home Devices

Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance today announced a new working group that plans to develop and promote the

Google Assistant’s interpreter mode is coming to mobile devices

Google Assistant's interpreter mode, which translates words as you speak them, is coming to iOS and Android phones. The feature was previously exclusive to Google Home and Nest Home devices.

The Pixel 4’s A.I. will soon screen robocallers without disturbing you

Hate robocalls? They won't get past the doorman, thanks to improvements to the Pixel 4's Call Screen feature that are set to arrive in the first Pixel feature drop.

Google Assistant can now book movie tickets for you all by itself

Google has released a new feature to Google Assistant on your phone -- the ability for Assistant to navigate through movie-booking websites and book tickets for you.

Google Assistant provides a smarter way to listen to the news you care about

The "Your News Update" feature from Google Assistant makes it easier than ever to listen to the news. Just ask to hear the news you'll and receive a tailored series of stories based on your interests.

What Blade Runner got right (and wrong) about 2019

1982's Blade Runner is rightly considered a masterpiece. But how accurate were its predictions about the world of November 2019? Here's what it got right and, in one case, very wrong.

Your Alexa speaker can be hacked with malicious audio tracks. And lasers.

Think your smart speaker is secure? Two recent demonstrations will make you think again. From adversarial music to laser attacks, this is how hackers could turn your smart speaker against you.

SiriusXM comes to Nest Home devices to boost your listening and watching options

SiriusXM's many radio channels are coming to Google Nest smart speakers and displays this week, and subscribers will be able to watch exclusive video content too.

Amazon Echo Buds review: Alexa lays a smackdown on the AirPods

With an astounding number of features for the money, Amazon's $130 Echo Buds look great on paper. Do they live up to their promises? We put them to the test.

Google Nest Mini review: A better sounding in-home assistant

Google's second-generation in-home Assistant packs a brand new speaker that makes it a much more musical companion.

Google Assistant 2.0 is now rolling out, starting with Pixel phones

At Google's annual hardware event, the company also announced some impressive improvements to Google Assistant. Notably, Assistant will now largely live on-device.

Latest Reviews

Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020 review: Stay the same

For better and for worse, the 2020 Matebook X Pro is very similar to its predecessors. Here is our full

Razer Kishi Controller review: Xbox Edition

As a longtime console gamer, mobile games have never appealed to me much. I’ve always preferred the types of games released on console and playing on a larger screen. However, with the recent introduction of cloud gaming, one of those topics has resurfaced, but in a new way.While cloud gaming doesn’t have me prepared to ditch the console anytime soon, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to at least check it out. In order to make the most of the experience, you’re going to need a good controller. That’s where the Razer Kishi (~$100 USD) comes into play.There are plenty of other controllers out there to choose from, but the vast majority of them require you to mount your phone. If you’ve ever tried one of these before, you already know how awkward it can be to wield this top-heavy monstrosity.Fortunately, the Kishi mounts your phone right in the center, much like the Nintendo Switch. This layout makes it easier to view all of your buttons and feels much more natural to use while gaming in a variety of positions.DesignIf you’ve ever used a gamepad before, then you won’t be surprised by the design of the Razer Kishi. It features all the basic buttons, including a joystick on the left with a D-pad, and a joystick on the right with four main buttons. There are also two trigger buttons on both the left and the right side. Besides the main buttons, you’ll also find an Xbox button along with a share and menu button.What truly makes the Kishi standout from the crowd is its expandable design and hardwired connection. Thanks to some clever engineering, Razer has managed to make a compact controller for on the go, capable of expanding to hold even some of the widest phones around.I had no issue fitting my 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S9+ or a ZTE Axon 10 Pro which measures in at 6.5-inches. A word of warning though, the Kishi does not support the massive Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.User ExperienceI absolutely loved gaming while using the Razer Kishi, in my opinion, nothing beats this layout. It’s one that has already been a huge hit with the Nintendo Switch, and it works just as well as my Switch, with the added benefit of being more lightweight.Even though this is the Xbox edition of the Kishi, it still works with any game or service with controller support. I personally tried it out with several different games, including Asphalt 9, Dead Cells, PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile, and various emulators. It worked great on all of them, except for PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile, both of which restrict the controllers that can be used.I also spent some time testing it with Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Cloud gaming is what the Kishi was truly built for, and it excels with both of these platforms. So much so, that I can’t imagine using any other controller with these services, nothing beats this layout with the phone comfortably placed in the center. It feels so balanced and works great at every angle.The buttons all worked perfectly, and I was more than satisfied with the travel and lack of latency thanks to the hardwired connection. I did find the left and right trigger buttons to be a little springy and mushy compared to other console controllers though.However, not everything is perfect on the Kishi. For starters, I had some minor issues when trying to close it back up into its compact form. It seemed to work best when I turned it over and looked at the back side, otherwise, I had issues trying to get everything lined up properly.Next, I found on several occasions that it had completely drained the battery while staying connected to my idle phone. This happened a handful of times when I left my fully charged phone with the Kishi connected, only to find it completely dead when I returned 16-24 hours later ready to play some games.For comparison, without the Kishi connected, my phone will only have lost 12-16% of its charge in the same time period. I quickly learned not to leave the Kishi attached and to only connect it when I was ready to play.I was also disappointed that the Kishi lacked Bluetooth support. I would have loved to use the Kishi in its closed up form as a regular Bluetooth controller with my tablet or other devices. Specifically, I would have enjoyed using it with my Chromebook or laptop while using cloud gaming services. It would really make the Kishi a much better investment and more versatile if it could be used with other devices besides your phone.Finally, the USB-C port on the Kishi only works for charging. It is not possible to connect a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter or to even use a pair of USB-C headphones. That’s a pity, because having low latency for your audio is often just as important as having that same trait in your controller.Although I can understand the challenges here, USB-C audio has been a mess on phones since its introduction, but Bluetooth audio latency is still a huge issue for mobile gamers.Fortunately, there are some low latency Bluetooth headphones out there such as the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Earbuds that help address this problem.Speaking of audio, the Kishi sports a couple of vents on the right side to help channel audio from bottom-firing speakers. That way your games won’t sound muffled while being covered up with the gamepad.Final ThoughtsAs much as I love this controller and want to recommend it to everyone, $100 is a lot to ask. For $60 you can get a PS4 or Xbox controller that works with Android 10 phones, not to mention the numerous other cheaper alternatives. Unfortunately, the form factor alone cannot justify such a high price tag.That makes the Razer Kishi more of a luxury product, nice to have, but too expensive for most people. If they were to add Bluetooth and cut the price in half, then it would be a must-have for any mobile gamer. Still, if you can afford it, and don’t mind the minor drawbacks, I highly recommend it. And if you’re looking to save a little money the regular edition of the Razer Kishi can be purchased for $80, and it is literally the same controller without the Xbox branding.Razer Kishi Xbox EditionBuy from Amazon Buy from RazerRazer KishiBuy from Amazon Buy from Razer

The best phones available at T-Mobile (October 2020)

With nearly 100 million subscribers, and highly-rated customer service, T-Mobile is the second largest wireless network provider in the US. As such, it has a wide selection of devices to complement the service, including phones, tablets, watches, and more.Here, we gather up a handful of the best phones you can purchase at T-Mobile today. Do note that this isn’t a list of the best overall which often focus on performance. Rather, our list aims to speak to specific users and demographics.Motorola Phone Buyer’s GuideSamsung Phone Buyer’s GuideCheap rate plans that use T-Mobile’s networkSamsung Galaxy Note 20 UltraThe Most Well-RoundedIf you’re looking for the biggest and most powerful all-around device from T-Mobile, this is it. With a screen size (6.9-inches) that rivals early tablets, it packs an upgraded S Pen stylus and cutting-edge hardware. Oh, and then there’s a first-of-its-kind 108-megapixel camera, too.Powered by Android 10 with Samsung’s custom UI, the handset has generous battery, tons of (expandable) storage, and downright sleek design. Choose from Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black.Shop Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra at T-MobileSamsung Galaxy S20 Fan EditionThe Flagship for You and IIf you’re on the hunt for a phone that you plan to own for a few years, you don’t want to cut corners. You want a flagship phone. The problem is that too many of them cost way more than we’re willing to spend.The Fan Edition of the flagship S20 is what happens when you keep the most important stuff and toss aside the frills (and extra cost).Here, you get a large screen with high refresh rate, a large battery, three rear cameras, and a modern Android and user interface. Offered in three colors, it’s the S20 you deserve.Shop Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition at T-MobileOnePlus 8Mid-range Money, Top-Tier PerformanceWe’ve fallen head over heels in love with OnePlus these last few years. Rather than releasing an expensive, annual flagship, it refreshes its portfolio as needed. And it doesn’t charge nearly as much for the experience.The OnePlus 8 comes in about $200-$300 cheaper than what you’d see from other bigger brands, yet it doesn’t skimp on the features. A giant 6.55-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate and 48-megapixel triple-camera array lead the way, but it’s just as appealing internally, too.Running Android 10, there’s a bleeding edge Snapdragon 865 processor, 128GB UFS 3.0 storage, and 8GB RAM. Add in a generous 4,300mAh battery with lighting fast charging and you see why we’re so fond.Shop OnePlus 8 5G at T-MobileMotorola Moto EFirst-time BuyerBuying your first smartphone doesn’t mean you start at the bottom and tip-toe about. The Motorola Moto E is the perfect way to learn what your needs are without breaking the bank. Moreover, there’s enough under the hood to keep you from looking to replace it anytime soon.For your money you get a large display, impressive battery, and dual camera system on the rear. Over on the software front you get a clean Android 10 install with helpful custom touches from Motorola. Flashier than it needs to be, the Midnight Blue is easy on the eyes.Shop Motorola Moto E at T-MobileSamsung Galaxy Z FlipYou’ll Flip for ItThe Galaxy Z Flip 5G brings back the familiar clamshell design that your parents had at the turn of the decade but with a much smarter operating system… and a heftier price tag.Fully opened, you’ve got a 6.7-inch screen that rivals other phones in size and quality. Under the hood are a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 5G support, and more than enough storage. Grab it in Mystic Gray or Mystic Bronze.Shop Samsung Galaxy Z Flip at T-Mobile

Boost Mobile Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Just about everyone knows the names of the “Big Four” top-tier wireless service providers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. But, for every one of these major network operators there are a number of others with their own rates, customer service, and phone selection.These prepaid Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) license towers from the big names in the space.Let’s take a closer look at Boost Mobile and learn about it the brand, its rates, and features.About Boost MobileFollowing the Sprint and T-Mobile merger, DISH has acquired Boost Mobile. Boost Mobile operates in the United States with a nationwide CDMA/LTE network for coverage. It offers pre-paid rate plans which means no long term contracts or obligations.Taxes and fees are included and include unlimited talk, text, and data. Additionally, the come with mobile hotspot capabilities and unlimited music streaming.What deals does Boost offer? Boost Mobile offers a four-line rate plan for $100 when switching from another carrier. Each line gets unlimited data, talk, and text and provides for up to 1GB of hotspot.Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?What are Boost’s rate plans?Boost does not charge for going over your allotted data and taxes are included in the cost. Each plan comes with unlimited data, but only a set amount of it is high speed.$35/month: Unlimited talk, text and 3GB of high-speed data$35/month: Unlimited talk, text and 6GB of high-speed data (Walmart Exclusive)$50/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 35GB high-speed data w/ 12GB hotspot$60/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 35GB high-speed data w/ 30GB hotspotAlthough Boost offers multiple plans with “unlimited” data there are differences between each. Consumers can choose the option that works best for video and music, international calling, and customer service needs. For instance, some may not care whether video is streamed at 1080p or if audio is at 1.5Mbps.5 Plans Under $50Boost recently revised its plans to create five options which cost less than $50 per month. Each comes with its own amount of data and some of them are for new, in-store customers.$10/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 1GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot (New in-store customers only)$15/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 2GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot (New in-store customers only)$25/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 5GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot (New customers only)$35/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 10GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot$45/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 15GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspotThe $HRINK-IT! plan rewards subscribers for making on-time payments. The price drops five bucks after three payments; it drops another five after six payments. In short, you start out at $45/month and get to $35/month after paying your bill on time for half of a year.SEE: How to unlock your Sprint phoneCan I do multiple line accounts at Boost Mobile?Customers interested in family plans or multiple lines can do so with discounted pricing. As of today Boost Mobile offers a $20 discount when adding a line to one of the unlimited plans.There are currently two rate plans which offer Boost subscribers unlimited data, one for three-line accounts and one for four lines.Other Boost features and offeringsBoost Mobile provides a handful of extras (Boost Extras) to its customers, most of which can pair with the various rate plans. Details include international calling, extra data, HD video streaming, and phone insurance.Boost Mobile offers a $25 referral credit for anyone you have sign up for its service. Both get an account credit once your friend activates, pays for an eligible monthly plan and registers their new number.A Boost Perks mobile app lets customers save money with partner brands such as AMC, Papa John’s Sams’s Club, Costco, and others.What phones does Boost offer?Take a peek at the current lineup of Android phones offered through Boost and you’ll find familiar names from brands like LG, Samsung, and Motorola. There are also devices from the likes of Coolpad, ZTE, and Wiko, too.As we often see with a lot of prepaid providers, phone selection is a mixed bag, leaning more more toward affordability as opposed to performance. With that said, we do recognize there are some incredibly robust and current models, including the Samsung Galaxy S20.For those looking to save money there are also a handful devices which are certified pre-owned, meaning that although they were once used by someone else, they come with a guarantee/warranty.Can I use my own phone with Boost Mobile?You can often use your current CDMA phone, especially if it was previously paired with Sprint. Head to Boost’s website to check whether your specific model is supported. Also, we’re seeing a growing trend of unlocked phones with support for Sprint/Boost bands.