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UK to ban sale of carrier-locked phones from December 2021

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The UK’s communications regulator Ofcom is banning phone carriers from selling locked handsets starting in December 2021 to make it easier for people to switch providers, the watchdog has announced. Although BBC News notes that many carriers like O2, Sky, Three, and Virgin already sell unlocked handsets as standard, others like EE, Vodafone, and Tesco Mobile sell phones that need to be manually unlocked before they can be used with other networks.

Ofcom says the rule is part of a new set of measures designed to make it simpler to switch between cell carriers. According to its research, over a third of people who decided against switching said they were put off by having to unlock their phone first. Unlocking a phone costs around £10 ($13) in the country, the regulator says, and the process can often cause problems like delays or loss of service.

Carriers who currently sell locked handsets have said they’ll follow the rules. Vodafone told BBC News that it is “ready to implement these changes when they come into force,” and BT subsidiary EE said that it will “work with Ofcom to comply with its guidelines.”

The new rules about phone unlocking are just one of the measures Ofcom is announcing today. New rules going into effect in June 2022 require companies to provide a summary of the main terms of a contract before someone signs up, and in December 2021, companies will also have to communicate in accessible formats like Braille when asked. Ofcom says it is also working to make it easier to switch between different broadband networks like Openreach and Virgin Media.

While the UK’s regulator is banning the sale of locked handsets, the practice is still relatively common in the US when buying devices directly from carriers. However, as in the UK, it’s possible to unlock most phones to use them on other networks. Digital Trends has a guide on how the process works for each carrier, which ranges from simple to a little laborious. Meanwhile in Canada, cellphones have had to be sold unlocked since December 2017.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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