Headlines

2 years ago

Vizio's $99 Co-Star Google TV box goes up for pre-order

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Announced almost one full month ago, the $99 Vizio Co-Star Google TV box is now up for pre-order over on the manufacturers website. With the added bonus of OnLive gaming thrown into the bargain, the Co-Star is potentially the steal of the summer at that price.

Supporting full HD video, and the full Google TV experience, with a watered down price isn't coming a watered down device. While it isn't as handsome as a Google Nexus Q, it's small and discreet enough to sit nicely in your living room setup. 

What we still don't know though, is just what is inside the Co-Star. The specs page is decidedly thin and very based on how it's going to fit in with your TV and Video viewing. In any case, to pre-order one for yourselves, hit the source link below. Estimated shipping dates are showing up as August 14. 

Source: Vizio

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2 years ago

Don't mention the Olympics, but SwiftKey has language pack updates for the Olympics

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The Olympic Games kicks off in London in just a few days, and popular keyboard replacement SwiftKey is getting in the mood by launching updated language packs for the Olympics, while making sure not to directly refer to the games so as not to anger the London 2012 brand police. Y'see, organizations not officially sponsoring the games are forbidden from using a number of words in their promotional materials, including Olympics, London, 2012, Olympic Games, or simply 'the games.'

So understand that it's merely our own interpretation of SwiftKey's latest announcement that leads us to believe it's launching language pack updates with a variety of new words associated with the London 2012 Olympic Games. Really, the statement below could apply to any major athletic event occurring in London the nation's capital in the summer of 2012 the present calendar year.

Over the next several weeks this summer, we’re pretty sure many of you will mention One Thing in particular. To give you a clue, we’re based in the UK’s capital, where that One Thing is hard to ignore because it’s taking place here.

So, we’ve created a special and entirely coincidental update for our two most-used language packs, UK English and US English. It contains a whole host of important names and terms that may be useful when you’re sitting on your sofa shouting at the TV, wanting to mention something to do with that One Thing in a text or tweet.

SwiftKey users can update to the latest version of the language pack by finding "SwiftKey" in the app drawer, and heading to "Languages and layouts," where updates for UK and US English should be available. If you're a SwiftKey user, be sure to let us know how you're getting on with this latest update, using the only the IOC-approved remainder of the English language, down in the comments.

Source: SwiftKey

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2 years ago

UK regulator confirms 4G spectrum auction plans, bidding expected in early 2013

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British telecommunications regulator Ofcom has confirmed its plans for the auction of 800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum for deployment of 4G LTE services in the UK. In a statement published today, Ofcom said it expected the auction process to begin before the end of this year, with the bidding process getting underway by early 2013. It added that it anticipated that the first 4G services on these newly-auctioned bands should start being rolled out before the end of next year. 4G services on these frequencies should see some 98 percent of the UK population being covered by LTE in the next five years, as winning bidders will be legally required to meet certain minimum coverage levels by 2017.

Ofcom has also decided that consumers interests are best served by having four strong players in the 4G world, and as such it's set aside a minimum amount of spectrum for a fourth player in addition to O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere (Orange + T-Mobile). This spot is widely expected to be filled by the smallest major network provider, Three (Hutchison 3G UK), but Ofcom isn't ruling out the possibility of a new entrant taking this spot.

For its part, Everything Everywhere still plans to attempt 4G roll-out on its existing 1800MHz spectrum before the year's out. If successful, it'd give Orange and T-Mobile UK up to a year's head-start on other networks, which would have to wait for the early 2013 auction process to complete before deploying 4G on 800MHz and 2600MHz.

The perennially delayed 4G auction process, originally intended to begin in 2009, has seen the UK fall by the wayside as countries like the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. already have fully functional 4G LTE networks. At this stage we'll just cross our fingers and hope that the auction process isn't subject to any further delays, which might push 4G network roll-out further into 2014.

Source: Ofcom

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2 years ago

Three UK sees average monthly data usage more than double in 12 months

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Here's a fun fact for a Tuesday morning, Three UK has shared their customers average monthly data usage. How much would you say -- 500MB? 750MB? Not even close. In just a year Three has seen average data usage more than double, and it now sits at 1.1GB of data per month. Further still, 95% of Three's smartphone customers use data on a daily basis.

12 months ago, the average was just 450MB. But, Three carries some of the best contract deals in the UK, offering truly unlimited data for the same as, or less than their competitors tiered data plans. The network has always been marketed as being "built for the internet," and it seems to be ringing true. 

An interesting point to think about though, is how this could translate across the rest of the UK carriers. Many current contract deals on other networks, see data capped at 1GB. Three customers with an unlimited deal will naturally be less concerned about using data -- myself, I use about 7GB a month -- but it goes to reinforce what we pretty well know already. Data usage is on the up, and voice calls and text message allowances are less important than they used to be. And, all this without LTE in the UK just yet. 

Source: Three Blog

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2 years ago

Google helping out newcomers with Nexus 7 getting started video

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For many, the Nexus 7 could be a first foray into the world of Android. Google hasn't forgotten about those people, so they've gone and posted a quick getting started video to help guide through the process of setting up the tablet. While not providing compelling viewing for the more experienced -- many of the Android Central readers -- we should remember that we were all new once. It's a nice touch to see Google ensuring that all types of user are catered for. We'll take a guess that we haven't seen the last of these educational type videos either.

Something to note too -- the Nexus 7 in the video has clearly had its bootloader unlocked. Then again, it is a Nexus, after all. 

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Have you ever pirated an Android app?

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Madfinger Games has caused quite a stir in the Android community today, when they blamed "unbelievably high" piracy rates for changing the cost of Dead Trigger from $0.99 to free. They give no solid figures, other than "soooo giant" and many are questioning their reasoning. We're not going to discuss that here tonight, but Phil has a few thoughtful questions about the lack of numbers if you want to go down that rabbit hole and join the discussion. We want to talk about piracy and Android.

I've said before, a big part of the reason people steal apps is because they have no choice. When you see all the reviews about great apps on Android, and they aren't available in your country, you have no other option many times. Of course, some folks just steal apps because they don't want to pay for them. Piracy happens, it's just not a good thing for developers. 

So, here we are, 100-percent anonymous. Have you ever pirated an Android app? The poll's below -- you know what to do.

Have you ever pirated an Android app?

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2 years ago

Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean confirmed for the Motorola Xoom WiFi

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Just in case you needed any other sort of confirmation that the soak test happening for the Motorola Xoom WiFi in the U.S. was indeed Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, we managed to score the full and complete change log for you all:

Android 4.1.1, Jelly Bean Software Update for the Motorola XOOM™ WIFI in the U.S.

Introduction - We are pleased to announce a new software update for the Motorola XOOM™ WIFI in the US. This Android 4.1.1 (JRO03H) software update includes numerous enhancements. Upgrade today for peak performance.

Who Can Use This Release - ALL Motorola XOOM U.S. WIFI users.

After downloading and installing the software release, you will notice:

  • Improved User Interface and Response - Android 4.1.1, Jelly Bean, is the fastest and smoothest version of Android yet. Moving between home screens and switching between apps is effortless, like turning pages in a book. Jelly Bean makes your Android device even more responsive by boosting your device’s CPU instantly when you touch the screen, and turns it down when you don’t need it to improve battery life.
  • Expandable, Actionable Notifications - Now you can take action directly from the notifications shade. And because the notifications are expandable, you can get an even deeper look into the things that matter most, like multiple emails or photos on Google+.
  • Widgets work like magic - With Jelly Bean it’s now even easier to personalize your home screen. As you place widgets on the screen, everything else automatically moves to make room. When they’re too big, widgets resize on their own. Interacting with your favorite apps and customizing your home screen has never been easier. Seamlessly view and share photos - Just swipe over from camera to filmstrip view to instantly view the photos you just took, and quickly swipe away the ones you don’t like. Now sharing--and bragging--are a breeze.
  • A Smarter Keyboard - Android’s dictionaries are now more accurate, more relevant. The language model in Jelly Bean adapts over time, and the keyboard even guesses what the next word will be before you’ve started typing it.
  • Improved Text-to-Speech Capability - With improved text-to-speech capabilities, voice typing on Android is even better; it works even when you don’t have a data connection.
  • Accessibility - With Jelly Bean, blind users can use 'Gesture Mode' to reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output. Jelly Bean also adds support for accessibility plugins to enable external Braille input and output devices via USB and Bluetooth.
  • Voice Search - Android lets you search the web with your voice, and it’s convenient for getting quick answers on the fly. It speaks back to you and is powered by the Knowledge Graph, bringing you a precise answer if it knows it, and precisely ranked search results, so you can always find out more.
  • A new look for Search - Android has search at its core. With Jelly Bean, a redesigned experience uses the power of the Knowledge Graph to show you search results in a richer way. It’s easier to quickly get answers and explore and browse search results.

Nothing in there is unexpected really, but it sure is nice to see it all laid out. Now we'll go back to waiting for it to fully appear on some devices considering this release is just for those involved in the soak test, if you happen to see it land on your Xoom, we wouldn't mind you dropping by the forums and saying so.
 

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2 years ago

Droid RAZR HD appears at the FCC, awaiting approval

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Motorola has been hard at work as of late putting together several devices but one that has yet to show up on carrier shelves, despite appearing all over the internet, is the Motorola XT926 or otherwise known as the Motorola RAZR HD. After numerous leaks though the device has now turned up in the hands of the FCC awaiting approval.

Of course, the letter of confidentiality covers up most of the information but the currently visible model number matches up accurately. Meaning, as long as testing goes well we'll soon see the device pass on through and eventually land into the hands of Verizon customers -- or so Motorola is hoping.

Source: FCC,Thanks, Paul!

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2 years ago

Loading your own media onto Nexus 7, Using NFC tags [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 years ago

Motorola Xoom WiFi soak test set to arrive today for those who signed up

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If you're a Motorola Xoom WiFi owner who's been waiting for Motorola to roll out their previously mentioned software update, you'll want to check your emails. Emails being sent out to registered users of the Motorola feedback network confirm the update will be arriving today at some point:

Hello,

Thanks for signing up for the Motorola U.S. Wi-Fi Xoom software test. We had a very enthusiastic response to our call for participation, so we expect a good turnout. The software should be pushed to your phone later today. Thanks so much for your participation! We really appreciate your time and insights. We’ll start the push soon so please start your visit to the private community here. You’ll find additional important information in the Welcome message as soon as you sign in.

At this point, there isn't any confirmation of it being Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but all signs point towards that, especially now that Google has begun the push of Jelly Bean to the Nexus S variants out there. For those of you not on the Motorola feedback network, you'll have to hold out a bit longer to see this update.

Thanks, Anon!

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