T-Mobile drops international chargesThe carrier takes the pain out of using a phone in another country, Google's Android 4.4 update may launch soon, and Fitbit's new Force wristband tells time.
T-Mobile is getting aggressive with international plans. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. T-Mobile is eliminating international roaming fees for data and text messages. And it has simplified international calling rates, charging a fixed price of 20 cents per minute when abroad. This pricing change will take effect for current customers at the end of the month on October 31st. Here is the breakdown. If you are a T-Mobile customer with the simple choice plan and you travel outside the U.S., calls are 20 cents a minute, texting is unlimited, data also unlimited but it's slower at 2G speeds and you can't tether. If you need faster speed, well, T-Mobile is happy to sell it to you as a speed pack that starts at $15 for one day of high-speed up to 100 megabytes. Now, for customers that are in the U.S. and call out to other countries, there's a new $10 monthly talk and text plan. Texting is unlimited, calls to landline phones are also unlimited for certain countries, but if you call another mobile phone, that's 20 cents a minute or less depending on the country. With other carriers, if you don't have an international plan and you use your phone in another country, it's easy to rock up a bill in one day that's over $1,000. With T-Mobile, there's no extra plan needed. Talking for a half hour cost you $6. T-Mobile also made aggressive moves this year by eliminating contracts in exchange for cheaper service plans and it added an early phone upgrade program. Other carriers followed by offering different flavors of these concepts, so it's possible AT&T, Verizon and Sprint may follow T-Mobile but also changing international plans. There's always a rumor too floating around in the tech world and the latest is that the new Android 4.4 and Nexus 5 could launch next week on Tuesday, the 15th. The date comes from whispers at a Google Launchpad event for startups. And also on Tuesday, at an event in Asia, HTC is expected to unveil the One Max. It's the extra-large version of the One smartphone. Leaked specs indicate it will support a 5.9-inch screen and there are reports that it could have a fingerprint sensor. And there's a new Fitbit health tracker wristband, the Fitbit Force. This new model has a screen that shows readouts of your physical activity progress and it's also a watch. You have to hit a side button to turn on the screen and scroll to the time and the data like your steps, how well you're sleeping, how many calories you're burning. It's $130 and you can read the full review now on CNET and you can find the link along with other details on these stories at cnet.com/update. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.