Headlines

2 years ago

HTC: Fewer device models in 2012, looking for 'something special'

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Last year HTC released a huge amount of Android devices -- something like 387,000, if our math is right. (We kid.) Looks like that'll change in 2012. HTC UK chief Phil Roberson has told Mobile Magazine that this year the Taiwanese manufacturer plans to focus on a smaller number of device models instead of sheer quantity.

"We (HTC) have to get back to focusing on what made us great - amazing hardware and a great customer experience. We ended 2011 with far more products than we started out with. We tried to do too much. So 2012 is about giving our customers something special. We need to make sure we do not go so far down the line that we segment our products by launching lots of different SKUs."

In addition to slowing down on their device launches, HTC has said that it will not focus on tablets so that they can continue their focus on device quality. HTC has not played a large role in the tablet market so far with only a few released such as the HTC Flyer and the HTC EVO View 4G and the wildly overpriced (though that was AT&T's fault) Jetstream.

The quality over quantity is an approach that we can definitely appreciate, and Motorola's said it's going down this path as well. While we are still unsure as to how many devices HTC plans to announce and release this year -- we'll see more in a few week at Mobile World Congress -- but we like the idea of knowing that the device will not find itself obsolete in just a month or two when an upgraded model is released.

Source: MobileToday; via: The Unwired

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2 years ago

Rift MMO launches Android app with in-game items

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Massively multiplayer game Rift has just launched its first companion app for Android. Not only does it have the usual stuff like chat with in-game friends and event notifications, they've also included mini-games through which you can win proper in-game items. Here's the full feature list.

  • Chat with friends and guildmates - Check if your comrades are online, and communicate instantly from anywhere! Send messages from your phone to in-game, or plan your adventures mobile-to-mobile! Push Notifications help your friends call you back to Telara.
  • Full guild support - Guild and Officer chat run smoothly on your mobile device, so you never miss a big decision.
  • Guild MOTD and Guild Wall - View your Guild Wall and Message of the Day at anytime, anywhere.
  • Zone Event notification - Hear the call when Zone Events erupt on your shard, and pick your battles with flexible alert settings.
  • Earn in-game loot! - Win real loot through the mobile app with Lootables. Artifacts, crafting items, and planar treasure shoot straight to your character’s mailbox!

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2 years ago

Spacetime Studios bringing Dark Legends to Android

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Spacetime Studios, creators of Pocket Legends and Star Legends, are returning to Android with their latest creation; Dark Legends. Release for this taste of the undead is currently slated for Q1 2012. 

The gameplay of Dark Legends is said to draw the player deeper into the experience. Boasting a combat system that features new mechanics such as charge attacks and the ability to drain enemies.

The game will also be more focused on the narrative aspect, and will offer the ability to complete quick action missions with a single tap. Such missions feature cut-scenes that become linked together to create a storybook where the player experiences the life of a vampire up close and personal.

The game is said to open with your character recently 'raised' and being watched over by the vampire that created them. The existance of vampires has been exposed and the humans are uniting to exterminate them all. You must work with your clan to survive. 

The previous games from Spacetime have been downloaded over 7 million times and offer players such a high level of gaming quality. There's no reason to suspect Dark Legends will be any different. It is due to be shown off for the first time at GDC 2012. 

via Marketwatch; More: Spacetime Studios

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2 years ago

New Philips Soundbar uses Android to stream your content

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We're always interested in new ways to use Android in our lives. Recently we've seen washing machines, and home phones bringing Android outside of our smartphones. Philips are taking it a little further and integrating Android into a new Soundbar that uses the OS to stream your content via DLNA. 

The CSS5123 Soundbar is a single speaker, bundled with a companion Subwoofer. The aim is to create a virtual 5.1 surround sound effect with just one speaker. The Android part comes in when the Soundbar uses the programming to connect with any DLNA capable device such as your smartphone, tablet or even your desktop PC using the Philips SimplyShare app. 

The best part is that it doesn't just allow for music streaming to be played direct through the speaker. Via an integrated Smart Media Player, video content can be streamed and played back through your TV. 

Availability is expected in the United States in April, costing $350. 

via Gizmag
More: Philips CSS5123 Soundbar spec sheet

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2 years ago

LG Prada 3.0 comes to Phones4U early, first stock arriving tomorrow

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Independent retailer Phones4U has announced that it'll be the first in the UK to sell the new Prada Phone by LG 3.0 (aka LG Prada 3.0), with stock arriving from tomorrow, Jan. 27. The latest collaboration between the Korean manufacturer and the Italian fashion giant has resulted in a thin, high-end Android smartphone with distinctive hardware and software. As we said in our hands-on preview, though, the device's monochrome UI may not be to everyone's tastes.

A quick glance at Phones4U's site reveals that it'll be selling the LG Prada 3.0 with contracts from O2, Vodafone and Orange. The best value seems come from Voda, which offers the phone for free on a £31 per month, 2-year plan, though O2 isn't far behind with a similar deal for £32 per month. If earlier Phones4U exclusives are anything to go by, they'll likely sell you the device in-store without a contract, though you may end up paying a considerable mark-up.

Other British retailers are expected to begin stocking the LG Prada 3.0 from the second week of February, with SIM-free prices of around £430 (~$670). We've got Phones4U's press release after the break.

More: Phones4U

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2 years ago

Google Authenticator / CyanogenMod incompatibility fixed

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Last night's update to the Google Authenticator app caused headaches for a few CyanogenMod users by force-closing at startup on their devices. However, CM users will be pleased to hear that a fix has been swiftly rolled out by Google just hours after the incompatibility came to light. To grab the fix, simply head on over to the Android Market and hit that "update" button.

Kudos to Google for making a fix available so quickly, especially given the critical nature of the Authenticator app for its users, and the fact that the glitch only affected unofficial custom firmware.

Continue past the break for the usual Android Market linkage.

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2 years ago

AT&T breaks its own Android sales record, but iPhone still rules the roost

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AT&T released its Q4 2011 earnings this morning, saying it set sales records for Android devices in the three months ending Dec. 31. (It doubled Android sales in Q3 2011, you'll recall.) While it declined to give specific Android numbers, AT&T did say that it sold 9.4 million Android and iOS smartphones, 82 percent its postpaid sales were smartphones, and it activated 7.6 million iPhones. Do the math there, more or less, and you've got a boatload of iPhones, and some Android phones. But we're not one to look broken records in the mouth, and neither is AT&T, we reckon. The company also said it sold twice as many Android devices as it did in Q4 2010. 

Source: AT&T

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2 years ago

Official Met Office weather application available now

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One thing we aren't short of on Android is weather applications. In the UK, the Met Office are probably the best source of weather forecasts. These now come to Android with the launch of the official Met Office application. 

What you get is some pretty detailed weather maps, with a range of forecasts between three hours and a full five-day forecast. The maps are also interactive, and display national severe weather warnings. It also touts UV forecast maps, for those rare days in the UK when the sun shines. 

There are some known issues already with the application involving the pressure map layer. The developers have pledged that this will be resolved in a future update. In the meantime you'll find download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Late night poll: Your Android phone manufacturer

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There's a lot of Android phones out there, from a slew of manufacturers.  In the US alone there's over 70 different current models to choose from, and world-wide the number swells into the hundreds.  We all have our favorites, and we thought it would be fun to take a quick survey to find out which OEM is the most popular amongst us all.  Take a second, fill out our poll and we'll find out!  If you have more than one phone, pick your favorite.  And if you pick "other", be sure to let everyone know what you're rocking in the comments.  

 

Which brand of Android phone are you using?

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2 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX available today on Verizon for $299 on contract

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Today, Verizon welcomes the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX to its Android smartphone stable. You can pick it up for $299 on contract. (Or a whopping $649 outright.) We're going to be doing a full Droid RAZR MAXX review, of course, but here's the gist: It's a Motorola Droid RAZR with a 3300 mAh battery. Thank you, goodnight, we'll see you in the funny papers.

And you know what? It might well be the best 4G LTE phone on Verizon thus far. Sure, we tend to say that with every release, but Verizon's 4G devices certainly have been trending up since they debuted a year ago.

A reminder on the Droid RAZR MAXX specs:

  • Launches with Android 2.3.5, will be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display
  • qHD resolution (540x960)
  • 8MP rear-facing camera; 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 4G LTE data
  • 3300 mAh battery for up to 21. hours' talk time, 380 hours' standby time
  • Motorola user interface
  • Smart Actions

From our hands-on time with the Droid RAZR MAXX at CES earlier this month, it was easy to see that indeed you're really just looking at a beefed up phone. Bigger battery, with everything else the same. And the slightly increased thickness makes the phone a little nicer to hold -- it was almost too lanky in its earlier form, too thin considering how wide it is. The phone's still 8.99 mm at its thickest, which is more than respectable. And having nearly double the battery life is a must considering that it's not removable -- there's now swapping in a new one.

Anyhoo, stay tuned for our complete Droid RAZR MAXX review, and go out and get yourself one of these guys, if it's your thing.

Source: Verizon; More: Droid RAZR MAXX forums

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2 years ago

LG Spectrum gets software update to fix Netflix playback

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Fire up your brand new LG Spectrum tonight and you'll likely see a wee update waiting for you. The mere 10.09-megabyte update takes you to software version VS920ZV4 and does the following:

  • Netflix playback issue corrected

Awesome. We like Netflix. But the fact that it takes an update on the phone is a bit ridiculous, no? At least it's a small update. And quick. But we digress.

More: LG Spectrum update PDF; LG Spectrum forums

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2 years ago

webOS Instapaper app makes leap to Android

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Now that HP has open sourced webOS and announced their Enyo 2.0 framework plenty of webOS developers have been digging through the code. Given the nature of how Enyo works and it's compatibility with WebKit, we're quite certain plenty of webOS developers will be making their apps available in the Android Market as soon as possible.

One such app that has already made the leap is Paper Mache built by Ryan Watkins. The app allows for access to Instapaper provided you have an Instapaper paid account and it does so rather beautifully. With included features such as offline access, syncing across devices and configurable font, text size, spacing and margins, Paper Mache is a pretty no-brainer choice if you're looking for a great Instapaper app.

Designed to work on Android 2.2 and higher, Paper Mache is available now in the Android Market for free; you can jump past the break for the download link and let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: webOSNation

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2 years ago

HTC Rezound update documents live, OTA should follow soon

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The "official" update document for the HTC Rezound is now live on Verizon's website, which usually means an OTA update is nigh.  According to the page, the Rezound should soon be seeing software Version 2.01.605.11 and baseband version 0.95.00.1118r, so unfortunately this is not the Ice Cream Sandwich ROM that was leaked a week or so ago.  If anything, it looks like a maintenance release to get some bugs ironed out, which nobody should be complaining about.  The changelog in handy bullet-point form:

  • Updated signal strength meter to 5 bar Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI).
  • Screen Timeout issues while connected to Wifi have been resolved.
  • Resolved issue with Mobile Hotspot data stalling while multiple users are connected.
  • Improved audio quality during voice call.
  • Reduced forced closures related to the People application.
  • Improved device stability reduces continuous resets.
  • Resolved issue with Task Manager stopping Mail background service.

All very welcome fixes indeed.  The Rezound is a hell of a phone as is, and knowing that HTC and Big Red aren't going to let it wither by the wayside is great news for all of us.  Security patches and bug fixes are just as important as complete OS updates, so we'll take them every time.

Of course, there's no guarantee that this is coming soon, but in the past we have seen the support page for Verizon phones go live a few days before the OTA begins to push out.  There's no reason not to think this will be the same situation, so if I had a Rezound and was interested in accepting a stock update, I'd be preparing for it.  Jump in the Rezound forums and discuss!

Source: Verizon (pdf); via Android Central forums.  Thanks, iLLusive!

 

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2 years ago

ZTE Optik Honeycomb tablet coming to Sprint with a $99 price tag

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The ZTE Optik just made an appearance in the latest issue of the Sprint Playbook, and it's coming in at the right price.  Because Sprint is dropping their Wimax support and building out their new LTE network, this one is going to be a 3G-only device, and at $99 with a new agreement, of course, it's bound to turn a few heads.  (Or not, we suppose. We'll see.) Its specs fall in line with any current generation 7-inch tablet:

  • 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU
  • 16 GB internal memory
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 7-inch display
  • microSD card support
  • 4000 mAh battery
  • Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)

Of course, with the new generation of tablets already showing up, this one isn't going to sit atop the heap.  But for 99 bucks, it really doesn't have to.  The Optik looks like a solid performer and a decent mid-range buy on first impression.  ZTE has had some success with Android in Europe, where the Blade is a pretty popular budget handset, and we're glad to see them bringing their wares to this side of the pond.

You'll be able to grab the ZTE Optik online on February 5, and expect to see it in stores on March 11.  We'll be sure to get our hands on one ourselves and take it for a test-drive.  See the full page from the Playbook after the break.

Thanks, Anon!

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2 years ago

Galaxy S III now rumored to be a no-show at MWC

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But would that really a bad thing?

Samsung, it is now rumored, will not be showing the Galaxy S III at Mobile World Congress. That's according to unconfirmed rumors from The Verge and Germany's Best Boyz. Of course, the Galaxy S III has yet to actually be announced or anything, nor has Samsung sent invites for any press event in Barcelona. But, yeah. It's entirely possible we won't see it there. Bummer, to be sure.

But here's the thing: We -- and most everybody else out there -- have been largely been assuming we'll see Samsung Next Big Thing™ in Spain. Perfectly reasonable assumption by all, since the Galaxy S II was announced there last year. But it's still an assumption, and it's still ignoring one thing.

Anybody remember when and where the Samsung Galaxy S was launched? That's right, boys and girls. The original Galaxy S was born in March 2010 at CTIA in Las Vegas, not at Mobile World Congress a month sooner. (We got Super AMOLED screens at MWC in 2010.) The Galaxy S still was released outside the United States first, and we got ours at an event in New York City that brought the four major U.S. carriers together. (Note we've not seen an event like that since; though last year's Galaxy S II event did manage appearances by AT&T and Sprint, and a half-assing from T-Mobile.)

Anyhoo. We're still a month out from MWC. Anything can happen. (Hell, we saw a complete redesign of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in a month.) And it's not like there won't be ample opportunities for the GSIII (or whatever's next) to be announced after that. We've got CTIA in May. Google IO in June. CTIA again in October. Countless events in between. And if indeed it's true that the Galaxy S III is being pushed back to eliminate lag time between release, let's all ask ourselves this:

Are we really going to complain about an unofficial phone's unannounced announcement possibly being pushed closer to the date that it'll actually be available for purchase? It's a mad, mad world.

Sources: The Verge; Best Boyz

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