Headlines

2 years ago

LG Spectrum review - Verizon gets another decent second-gen LTE phone

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Our LG Spectrum review comes at an interesting time for both the smartphone manufacturer as well the carrier on which it resides, Verizon. On one hand you have LG, which has brought us some excellent high-end Android smartphones as well as a surprising low-ender in the Optimus line. And then you have Verizon, whose 4G LTE network is starting to mature at the ripe old age of 1 but at the same time can appear to have a glass jaw.

And now, we have the LG Spectrum. It's the U.S. version of the LG Optimus LTE -- the Korean manufacturer's second foray in to the latest in high-speed mobile data -- and cousin to the LG Nitro HD on AT&T. (The LG Revolution was one of Verizon's fledgling LTE smartphones.)

Join us after the break as we put the phone through its paces and see if it has what it takes to help carry Verizon deep into 2012.


Fast processor, fast data and a lot of customizations to make things easy for new(ish) users. Has a bright, high-resolution display.


The level of tweaks and customizations may turn some off. Battery life isn't stellar, slight UI lag in places.



The Spectrum is a solid phone for Verizon, but the highly skinned user interface is starting to look a bit cartoonish. The display is a strong positive, but yet again we're left waiting for the promised upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Inside this review

More info

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2 years ago

What is open source? [Android A to Z]

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What is open source? Open-source software is software that makes the source code freely available, for anyone to see and use. There are different open-source licenses that have different use conditions, from the GPL (GNU General Public License) -- which allows "free distribution under the condition that further developments and applications are put under the same license" -- to more liberal licenses like the Apache License, which doesn't require modifications to be open and have the source code available.  Android uses both of these licenses, and we'll have a look at them in turn.

The Linux kernel that is used in the OS is covered under the GPL.  This means that any changes made to the source code must be made available when a binary (geek-speak for a compiled, executable piece of software) is released to the public.  This means manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Motorola and the rest must release the kernel source-code for any devices they sell at the same time they begin selling them.  For the most part, hardware manufacturers are pretty good about doing so, but they often miss the time frame and release the source code a little later than we would like.  These are the code releases you see us mention -- the kernel and other open-source "bits" that are covered under the GPL.

The Android OS source code is released mostly under the Apache License.  Anybody is allowed to download the source code and change it however they like, but they are not required to make their changes available in source code form to the public.  This is why we can't change and recompile things like HTC Sense or MotoBlur -- the changes to the base Android source code aren't available to us.  While many folks (myself included) don't like this situation very much, it does make sense from a business standpoint.  If manufacturers had to share all of their secrets, there wouldn't be as much monetary incentive to innovate, so the source was offered with a far more liberal license.  It certainly worked, as we see devices from many major players in the electronics world.

Previously on Android A to Z: What is NFC?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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2 years ago

Shadowgun: The Leftover update live in the Android Market

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We brought you the news back on Tuesday, but today is the day. "The Leftover" update for the brilliant Shadowgun is now live in the Android Market. 

The expansion pack is a direct update to the original app, and brings with it 4 whole new levels among a bunch of other cool new features. We're not going to bore you with details, because we know you'd rather be playing this. Hit the break for download links, and a trailer for "The Leftover." 

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2 years ago

ClockworkMod developer teases touch-based recovery

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ClockworkMod developer Koushik Dutta has shown off some early progress in bringing touchscreen functionality to his popular custom recovery image for Android. In a video posted on his Google+ page, Koush demonstrates the ability to navigate through menus using touch, rather than the regular volume rocker/power button combo required by current ClockworkMod builds.

A custom recovery image is an important tool for anyone wanting to use custom firmware on their Android device, so it's great to see advanced functionality like touch headed to a popular recovery like CWM.

This isn't the first time we've seen early implementations of touch support in custom recoveries, though. Previous efforts have included an unofficial version of ClockworkMod for the Galaxy Nexus, which uses on-screen keys instead of old-fashioned clicky buttons. The important difference with Koush's implementation is that it allows you to touch and scroll anywhere on the screen to select the item you want, just like when you're browsing through menus in Android.

The developer points out that the version shown in the video is still a "rough cut", with plenty of work yet to be done. But based on what we've seen in the video, things are already looking very promising.

Source: +Kouishik Dutta

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2 years ago

New in at ShopAndroid.com: Verizon Galaxy Nexus spare battery and charger

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Well, look at that. New on the shelves at ShopAndroid.com is the Verizon Galaxy Nexus Spare Battery Charging System. It includes a spare 1850 mAh battery, plus a spare battery charger, so you can make sure you've always got a fresh one ready to go. Ours also comes with a microUSB travel charger, so there are no excuses in keeping your phoen ready.

While we're at it, let's give one away to our U.S. Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners. Just leave a comment on this post and we'll pick a winner later this afternoon. Good luck!

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2 years ago

Verizon ZTE V66 tablet gets pic outed by the Bluetooth SIG

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Behold, the ZTE V66 Android tablet, apparently destined for Verizon at some point. The tablet as already been submitted to the U.S. FCC, and now a thumbnail picture (we've blown it up a tad here) has been listed on the Bluetooth Special Interest Group's site. 

What we're looking at in the V66 is a 7-inch tablet with some pretty rounded corners, Android 3.2 Honeycomb and 4G LTE data, along with the usual CDMA, Bluetooth, Wifi, and all that jazz.

We can also see a custom lock screen here, for what it's worth. And we're trying not to read too much into the "Sunday, February 2X" date -- it could mean anything or nothing, or it could be smack in the middle of Mobile World Congress. You don't typically see U.S. announcements come out of MWC, but then again we don't ZTE devices in the states yet to base that one, and there's no reason why Verizon couldn't be part of a larger launch.

Anyhoo, we'll be at Mobile World Congress if and when the V66 -- and we don't expect that to be the name Verizon ultimately bestows on it -- is announced stay tuned.

Source: Bluetooth SIG, FCC; via Unwired View, The Verge

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2 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Over the Rockies

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Here's a nice one from reader ThreeofNine, who snagged this shot from an airplane while over the Rocky Mountains.

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2 years ago

RIM's new CEO on Android hardware: 'they are all the same'

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To say it's been an interesting year for Research in Motion and BlackBerry would certainly be an understatement. It was about 10 months ago that we first learned that RIM's tablet would be capable of running full-fledged Android applications, and suddenly we had to start caring about what was coming out of Waterloo.

This week RIM has undergone probably its most important change since realizing SurePress wasn't a sure thing -- co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down as co-CEOs, and chief operating officer Thorsten Heins has taken their place in the head office. There have been calls for RIM to adopt Android. There have been calls fro RIM to adopt Windows Phone. Really, everybody seems to know what's best for RIM.

Our pals at CrackBerry got some one-on-one time with Heins this week, and we're learning a little more about his position on Android -- mainly that he's unimpressed with the hardware on which it's running. "They are all the same," he says.

Here's what Heins told CrackBerry's Kevin Michaluk:

Kevin: I keep reading these articles that BlackBerry should build on Android, but I just don't understand them.
Thorsten: Just take a look where the Android OEMs are. I leave this to you. Take a look at their recent announcements and what you will immediately see is there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same.

We've seen a lot of Android devices over the past year. Some good, some not. A lot of black slabs, to be sure. But also a dual-screen phone. Two phones with 3D screens. BlackBerry-esque phones with tiny screens and quint little keyboards. Thinner, lighter, faster, with web browsers that actually work and games you're not ashamed to play in public. Android hardware manufacturers might be guilty of too many models, but you certainly can't say they haven't experimented, even if it led to failure.

Before Heins bemoans the "sameness" of Android hardware, perhaps another look at RIM's own stable is in order.  

Check out Kevin's entire interview with Thorensten Heins at CrackBerry.com!

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2 years ago

Android Central 85: The Droid RAZR MAXX, LG Spectrum, Google privacy changes

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Audio-only stream below

We're back once again with the Greatest Android Podcast in the World! Up this week is the LG Spectrum, Droid RAZR MAXX, Jerry finally gets a Galaxy Nexus, and we talk about Google's privacy policy changes. (Note: There's no video this week. It'll return next week.) 

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2 years ago

Vlingo responds to privacy issues raised about its Android app

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The popular Android app Vlingo has come under a bit of fire the past several days, as it seems the application is sending a bit more data than they explain in their privacy agreement.  The folks over at Android Pit found some things that raised a few eyebrows, so we reached out to Vlingo to see what was what, and if we need to worry.  We spent some time talking to product engineers, and our conclusion is that everything's on the up-and-up, but there were some issues with the way their privacy agreement was written or presented to the user and a software bug or two at work.  

Things get a little muddy, partially because there's more than one Android version.  One is available in the Market for any device to download, and there's a more customized version offered by OEM's like Samsung on the Galaxy Note.  Different versions with different licenses and agreements simply led to the wrong version of the privacy agreement being presented to the user.  The developers and staff at Vlingo recognize that there's an issue, and were completely transparent about the entire thing.

They also came across a bug that allowed the service to run even if the user initially canceled the request, and another that sends location data when none is requested.  Again, Vlingo was up front about the issue and answered any questions we asked.  They even have set up an opt-out process for folks who don't want to use the product with these issues, and they will delete all user data from anyone who requests it.

Yes, it's bad when software bugs force an application to send the wrong data.  It's also bad when users aren't presented with the correct use policies -- even though most would never read them.  But these types of things happen, and the real test is how the company reacts when presented with issues of this sort.  And Vlingo aced it.  They were courteous, and seemed genuinely concerned about the issues, without trying to back pedal or lay the blame at someone else's feet.  This kind of transparency with the community is exactly what we deserve and expect.  Hit the break for the official statement, in its entirety.

More info about the privacy concerns: Android Pit

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2 years ago

Pulse News - Updated with bug fixes for tablets, dark mode

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If you're a user of Pulse News you'll want to the Android Market and grab the latest update. Getting bumped up to v2.7.4, this releases addresses some issues with dark mode and more importantly takes care of a few bugs for tablet users. It's not a huge update but it's an update either way and we like updates -- especially when they improve the end-user experience. Whether you're looking to give Pulse News a try for the first time or just looking to get updated, you'll find the link past the break.

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2 years ago

Late night poll: Do you play games on your Android device?

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Games can be really fun to play on your Android device.  There's all sorts of them available, from ones for dedicated "gaming" hardware like the Xperia Play, to HD games optimized for tablets.  But Android is good for a lot of things besides games.  Some use their device as the web in their hands, others need a portable e-mail solution, some of us are heavy texters.  Tonight, I'm curious and want to find out just how many folks out there like to game on their Androids.  I know since I got an Android tablet, I find myself playing more games than I ever imagined myself playing.  What say you my fellow Android fans?

 

Do you play games on your Android device?

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2 years ago

GTA III updated, now compatible with Transformer Prime

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The launch of Grand Theft Auto III on Android was a pretty big deal, but initially a lot of devices couldn't play it. Todays update among other features adds compatibility for the Asus Transformer Prime. 

Support is also added for the Medion Lifetab, but even better is the added support for the Gamestop Wireless Controller. Controls are also improved for currently supported gamepads, and for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. New video display settings help you to tailor the visuals to your particular tastes. 

And the final piece of the puzzle is that the game can now be installed to an SD card. For some this will be a most welcome update. Download links can be found after the break. 

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2 years ago

Wifi-only Motorola XYBOARDs now shipping

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With pre-orders for both the Wifi-only Motorola XYBOARD 10.1 and 8.2 having started up a while ago, Motorola has no decided its a good a time as any to actually start shipping the device out. An email was sent out, letting folks know the devices are now up for purchase on the Motorola website with free two-day shipping available as well for orders over $75. That's not a problem for those of looking to get a Motorola XYBOARD though considering the prices are as follows:

  • XYBOARD 10.1 32GB: $599.99
  • XYBOARD 10.1 16GB: $499.99
  • XYBOARD 8.2 32GB: $499.99
  • XYBOARD 8.2 16GB: $399.99

We've reviewed both the Motorola XYBOARD 10.1 and the XYBOARD 8.2 already, so if you're considering grab one, make sure you check out the reviews. If you've already decided you're going all in -- then you can hit the source links below to place your orders.

Source: Motorola

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2 years ago

Sony Xperia S boasts 'dirt-repellent' coating and 'fast charging'

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As launch day approaches, more technical details of Sony's new Xperia S are starting to trickle out. We learned all the key specifications at CES (where we also got some hands-on time with the device), but now two interesting new features of the Sony flagship phone have come to light, according to Swiss tech site PocketPC.ch.

Firstly, the site reports that a Sony Ericsson product manager told them the Xperia S has a "dirt-repellent", "UV-active nano-coating". We're not even going to pretend to know what that means, but if it protects the device from scrapes and daily wear-and-tear, we're all in favor. For what it's worth, the presence of an "anti-stain shell" has already been confirmed on the official Sony Ericsson Facebook page.

The product manager also reportedly spilled a few details on the new battery tech employed by the Xperia S. The phone is said to use improved lithium-polymer technology that's capable of recharging in half the time taken by earlier models, with ten minutes of charging time apparently being enough to power the device for a whole hour.

The Xperia S is due to launch in Europe from the second week of March. Its American counterpart, the AT&T Xperia Ion, will land stateside during the second quarter.

Source: PocketPC.ch; via: XperiaBlog

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