Headlines

2 years ago

ComScore: Android still holds the top spot in the U.S. smartphone market

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The latest ComScore numbers are out, and it looks like the predicted death of Android still hasn't happened.  During October, November, and December 2011, Android still experienced more growth than any other platform in the US.  Keeping the top spot with 47.3 percent market penetration (that's about 45 million and counting), Android grew another 2.5 percent overall.  Apple, on the success of the iPhone 4S and iPad2, also experienced growth during the period, albeit not as much as Android.  Just as interesting, but in a different way, is the fact that the rest of the players in the game lost market share.  Reasearch In Motion, Microsoft, and Symbian, who were once the big three, all lost market share and only hold about 22 percent of the market combined.  WebOS, once again, was a no-show. 

The number of smartphone users in the US also grew, reaching their highest ever point.  ComScore calculates that 97.9 million people now use a smartphone of some sort or another.  We expect that number will also continue to climb, as you can now get an Android or Apple smartphone for free with a new contract.  

On the manufacturer front, things also look much like the last go around.  Samsung still makes the most phones in the United States (25.3 percent of all phones), followed by LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility and Apple.  There's no data about how many smartphones each vendor sells, but we imagine more than a few of Samsung's sales were Galaxy S and Galaxy S II devices.  

We're used to this by now.  Android, with the might of Google and their online services, makes a very compelling argument to choose their products.  We couldn't imagine using any other product.  

Source: ComScore

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2 years ago

AT&T Motorola ATRIX 2 update v55.13.25 now available

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Looks like Motorola's next-gen Atrix currently has an update rolling out to it. Folks in the Android Central forums happened to notice the software update notification and sure enough - v55.13.25 is now available for download. Motorola's got these official changes for the Atrix 2:

  • Camera - Enhancements to deliver better overall picture taking experience so you never miss a moment
  • Google Music  -Addition of Google Music application so you have greater access to the world of music. Shop millions of songs and hundreds of free tracks. Store your purchases on Google Music for free, and listen instantly on your mobile device.
  • My Gallery, My Music, My Files - Re-naming of Motorola Gallery, Music, and Files applications for easy access in the Applications Tray
  • Device Security - Enhancements to deliver greater device security, including addition of Android security patches from Google and Cisco Any Connect VPN enablers.
  • Emergency Alerts - Enhancement to allow you to receive emergency alerts from authorities such as Hurricane warning notifications.
  • Amazon Kindle - Enhancement to include link to app for quick and easy method to access your library of Amazon digital books as well as access to the entire Amazon library.
  • AT&T Messages - Enhancement to include link to app for quick and easy method to give you access to all of your texts, calls and messages which have been stored in the cloud.
  • Keyboard - Improvements to keyboard functionality for better email experience
  • Mobile Hotspot - Improved stability for better overall performance
  • Webtop - Enhancements to improve stability and better overall performance

That's a whole lot of improvements to be pushing in one update. If you've not recieved the notification, go ahead and check for system updates, you should find it waiting. Once you're done, drop by the Android Central forums and let us know how things are working out.

Source: Motorola; Via Android Central Forums

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2 years ago

What is sideloading? [Android A to Z]

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What is sideloading?  It's a term you see a lot thrown around while talking about Android applications, and it's simple to explain.  It means installing applications without using the official Android Market.  What's less simple is how it's done and why you would do it.  That's where this post comes in.  Let's explain it, shall we?

How to do it is easy enough, so let's start there.  In the Application settings on your Android phone, you'll find a check box to "Allow installation of non-Market applications."  When it's checked, you can sideload.  You'll also see a pop-up warning when you check this box letting you know that your phone is now more vulnerable to attacks from applications, and that you accept all the responsibility that comes with doing this.  It makes sense -- you can't hold Google responsible for applications you didn't download through their service using their security methods.  

Sideloading apps is easy to do as well.  You download them to your phone, then use a file manager application to find them and "click" their entry.  You'll invoke the app installer program, and it will install your app just as if it had came from the trusted Android Market.  It won't be associated with your Android Market account, but it shows in your app drawer just like all the rest.  It didn't used to be this easy for everyone.  Under the guise of security, AT&T used to block users from sideloading by removing the Unknown sources field in the device settings.  Whenever you tried to manually install an app, it would be blocked because it wasn't allowed.  This could be circumvented by using adb from the SDK or by using a program like the Sideload Wonder Machine.  Luckily, those days are past us and AT&T has re-evaluated their position, and now allows the installation of non-Market apps.

Why would you want to sideload.  There are several reasons, one being that Google has allowed carriers to block certain applications based on the model and network your device is running on.  We've seen carriers block apps that permit tethering without paying the extra associated fees, and some carriers have exclusives for certain apps and they aren't available for the others.  That's a whole other mess that we'll tackle in another post -- just know that it happens.  There are other reasons to need to sideload apps, too.  Want to use a different appstore like the one from Amazon?  You'll need to enable sideloading.  The same goes for beta testing apps for developers, or even coding your own apps and testing them on your phone.  There are a lot of legitimate reasons for sideloading.  Of course, there's always the piracy aspect.  If you want to steal from hard working developers you'll need to enable sideloading.  You also suck.  Sideload, but don't steal from developers.

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

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2 years ago

Google Wallet now available on Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus on AT&T

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Previously only available to Sprint Nexus S 4G owners, Google's NFC-based payment app, Google Wallet, has just been updated to add support for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S on AT&T. So if you're a Nexus owner on AT&T, you can hit the Android Market and find out what all the fuss is about. We've confirmed that the app can now be loaded onto the unlocked Galaxy Nexus or any Nexus S, provided you have an AT&T SIM loaded. But right now it appears that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is still unable to get Google Wallet officially, though there workarounds, of course. Same goes for the Nexus S on T-Mobile.

This is also good news for anyone considering picking up AT&T's version of the Samsung Galaxy Note in the weeks ahead. The AT&T Note supports NFC, and so barring any silly device-level limitations, Google Wallet should work just fine on that phone, too.

We've got Android Market links for all you AT&T people after the break, as well as some instruction for if it doesn't work right away for you.

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2 years ago

Kies Mini help, Face Unlock won't enable [From the Forums]

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We rocked out a pretty solid Android Central podcast for you all earlier, so be on the look out for that when it goes up if you weren't able to tune into our earlier time. Otherwise, head on into the Android Central forums and get in on the action:

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

Huawei's MediaPad coming to AT&T's 4G LTE network

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Back during CES 2012 Huawei announced their MediaPad series would be making its rounds to carriers, and now they've finally delivered some good news for those you on AT&T. The Huawei MediaPad will be released through the carrier on Feb. 3rd within their business channels and move outward from there. Need a refresher of what the MediaPad offers?

Device Specs and Key Features

  • 7-inch IPS multi-touch display at 1280x800 resolution
  • Android™ 3.2 (Honeycomb) operating system
  • 1.2 Ghz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 5MP rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing camera with 4X zoom and AF
  • 1080p HD video recording and playback
  • Wi-Fi with AT&T Hotspots
  • 7.61 x 4.71 x .41 inches at 14.08oz

The Huawei MediaPad will be joining AT&T's growing 4G LTE line up though, something does seem a little off here. As noted, Huawei was at CES 2012 where they stated the MediaPad would be shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich but the AT&T version is said to be shipping with Android 3.2.

Huawei is readying an ICS update for already existing MediaPad owners for Q1 sometime. Minor detail? Maybe, but it's something to keep in mind. The full press release, lacking price points can be found past the break.

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2 years ago

Yet another Galaxy S II Ice Cream Sandwich build leaks

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We've seen at least a couple of early Ice Cream Sandwich leaks for the international Samsung Galaxy S II (GT-i9100) appear, and today yet another version has leaked out online, showing signs of progress as the update inches towards release.

The latest leak comes from Sammobile, a longtime leaker of pre-release Samsung goodies. Early indications suggest that the new version, which carries the build ID XXLPB, includes new 3D scrolling effects in the launcher, along with improved battery life compared to previous Android 4.0 leaks. For what it's worth, XXLPB is still based on Android 4.0.3, the latest version of ICS we've seen officially released.

If you're have an international Galaxy S II to hand and are feeling adventurous, head on over to the source link to grab the file for yourself. Alternatively, you can check out the quick hands-on video after the jump.

Source: Sammobile

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2 years ago

HTC Flyer available once again at reduced price in the UK

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PC World, Dixons and Currys went a little crazy with their HTC Flyer pricing over the holidays, dropping the 16GB Wifi-only version to £200, and the 32GB 3G version to £250. Now it seems another UK retailer is looking to sell off its remaining Flyer stock at a significantly reduced price.

Right now Expansys has the 16GB Wifi-only Flyer on sale for £234.99, which isn't at all bad for a well-built 7-inch Android tablet with a Honeycomb update ready to go. If you missed out on the Dixons group's Flyer sale a few weeks back, the device still represents great value at the £235 mark. For more info, hit the source link, or check out our full review of the HTC Flyer.

Source: Expansys; via: UnwiredView

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2 years ago

Verizon details the impending Droid RAZR Android 2.3.6 update

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Although it's not Ice Cream Sandwich update we're all waiting for, we've known for a while now the Droid RAZR was due for an update of some sorts -- and Verizon now has the details posted for all.

Applications:

  • Mobile Hotspot will now successfully allow other devices to connect to all Internet websites.
  • Improvements in the Mobile Hotspot security. + VZ Navigator® has been updated with the latest 3D map improvements.

Visual Voice Mail Updates:

  • Visual Voice Mail messages can be marked as read.
  • Visual Voice Mail message playback resumes when audio is switched to speaker.
  • Visual Voice Mail will successfully subscribe or unsubscribe while connected with Wi-Fi.
  • Successfully press back key after playback in Visual Voice Mail without error.

Data Connectivity:

  • Improved stability of data connectivity after Airplane Mode is disabled. + Improved data throughput performance in low-signal 4G environments.

Device Operation:

  • Improved Battery life when using Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) Bluetooth® headsets.
  • Successfully save multimedia ringtones.
  • Favorite Contacts widget has been updated.
  • Improved device stability when moving between home screen panels.
  • Email icon has been updated for improved visibility.
  • When performing an Over the Air (OTA) update, the display will correctly show the remaining download time.
  • CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert Service) feature has been added.

Aside from getting Android 2.3.6, you'll also get some VCast apps now pre-installed plus, MotoCast installation steps have been improved for ease of use.

Source: Verizon; Thanks, Kris!

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2 years ago

Android Market security addressed by Google's new Bouncer

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Today Google unveiled a new tool to fight malware in the Android Market, appropriately named Bouncer.  Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP of Engineering for Android made the announcement on the Google Mobile blog, and it seems to address most concerns users have with the "free and open" style of app market, all done server-side.

Bouncer is a service that runs on the Market's computers, that scans each and every app for known malware, spyware, and trojans.  It also looks in the code to see if the app has the potential to "misbehave", and compares it against other previously analyzed apps to spot any red flags.  New developer accounts are also analyzed to make sure they're not a previous offender with a new name.  Google says they actually run every application in the cloud to simulate how it acts on our Android devices.  

This service has been running for some time already.  Despite the claims across the Internet that malicious applications are on the rise, Google says the amount of bad apps in the Market has decreased 40 percent between the first half of 2011 and the second half.  According to Google, the most important measurement is whether or not malicious apps are being installed, and they know that "rate is declining significantly".  This is in sharp contrast to recent claims by Symantec and others that malicious Android applications are on the rise.

They also take a bit of time to explain how Android was designed from the beginning to make malware less disruptive.  Learning from the way malware can cause havoc in the PC model, Google has incorporated sandboxing, a permission system that's readily available for the end-user to see, and the ability to remotely remove malicious applications.  

No system is perfect.  Even very closed application market models have malware slip in once in a while.  it's nice to see Google is doing what they can to keep us all safer.

Source: Google Mobile blog

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2 years ago

Facebook Android app gets an update for bugfixes, memory management

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Facebook's Android application just got an update that the social network says will bring better memory management, and "all kinds of bug fixes." If history repeats, we should see an update to fix this update any time now.

Source: Facebook

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2 years ago

Yahoo launches own app search engine, wants to make app discovery better for all

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Yahoo -- you know, that other search engine -- have added a search category for Android applications. The main search results page sees a new tab labelled "Apps" giving users the opportunity to find Android applications attached to any of their search queries. We're not short of ways to search for apps across the interwebs, but seeing such a well run solution from major, mainstream a search engine is definitely a good thing.

The service also covers iOS applications, but has a handy filter to ensure that we don't see those when we're searching. Search results can also be filtered for price and category. When you find an app you like, right from the search results you can head straight to the Android Market to download, send a link for the app to your phone or scan a QR code for the application. You can also quite handily view the Android Market reviews for each application you find without having to go to the Market first which is a nice touch. We also get a "trending now" box, and it too has the iPhone/Android filter choices applied. 

I tried it out by typing in "soccer football scores" and the results were pleasantly surprising. Yahoo's own apps featured pretty prominently towards the top of the results, but it brought up results for ESPN Scorecenter, ScoreMobile, and Sky Sports Football Score Centre to name but a few. 

All in all it's a pretty well designed feature, and while Yahoo may not be the most popular search engine, it does a good job of what it set out to do. Perhaps a bigger point to mention is that it offers a more comprehensive application search solution that Google themselves. Choice is always a good thing, so try it out for yourselves by hitting the source link below. 

Source: Yahoo

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2 years ago

White HTC Sensation with coming to Europe from Mar. 1 [Updated]

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Android 4.0 OTA update for Sensation coming "early this year"

Update: HTC has sent out a clarificaiton that this verison of the Sensation will ship with Gingerbread by will get an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich "early this year."

Original: According to a press release from HTC's Dutch wing, the manufacturer is preparing to launch an "ice white" version of its Sensation smartphone from Mar. 1, with the latest version of Android in tow. The Dutch presser indicates that the new Sensation revision will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and that the ICS update will be rolling out over-the-air to other Sensation models "soon".

Besides that, it's an HTC Sensation in a slightly different color -- same specs, and most likely a similar price point. We're not complaining though, as the Sensation was one of our favorite phones of 2011, and it's looking better than ever with its new lick of paint.

What's a little baffling, however, is the timing of the release -- we're expecting to see a bunch of new HTC phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, just a few days before this thing's due to launch. In any case, we're sure Sensation owners will welcome the news that their long-awaited ICS update is just around the corner.

Source: WhizPR (Dutch); via: Eurodroid

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2 years ago

RIM tells Android developers to get apps ready, offers PlayBooks to sweeten the deal

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Keen to get as many Android applications as possible on board before PlayBook OS 2.0 hits, Research In Motion has put the call out to Android developers everywhere. Get them ready for launch now! 

The world has known for some time now that RIM were planning to include compatibility for Android apps on the Playbook (and forthcoming BlackBerry 10 devices). The current OS 2.0 developer beta has given us a glimpse of what's to come, opening up to sideloading prepared apps onto the tablet. Key to making the whole thing work out is getting Android developers to repackage their apps and submit them to Blackberry App World. For them to be included at launch, the deadline to have apps submitted by is Monday February 6. 

The process of repackaging and signing Android apk files is surprisingly straight forward, so straight forward that even I've been able to repackage a couple. There are 3 different methods, one of which can be done through your internet browser. Not surprisingly RIM are asking that all references to Android and the Android Market are removed from the application and application description before you submit. While it's an Android app you'll be submitting, the process of downloading and installing onto a BlackBerry device is to be as if it were a natively developed application. 

To try and entice developers a little more, RIM's Alec Saunders has gone out on Twitter today promising a free Playbook to all Android developers. All you need to do is submit your Android app to BlackBerry App World before Feb.13 to take advantage of the offer. 

 

If you're an Android Developer and this sounds like an opportunity for you, hit the source links below for all the information you'll need. 

Source: BlackBerry Developer Blog
More: BlackBerry Runtime for Android apps, Crackberry

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2 years ago

Purported leaked Samsung render shows mix of new, old and nonexistent

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We might not get the Samsung Galaxy S III at Mobile World Congress, but that doesn't mean there might not be something new to play with Mobile rumormonger Eldar Murtazin today teased the Twitters with the image you see above and the following five words: "Barcelona. Samsung. Press Photo Leaked." We can't speak at all about the validity of the image, so we'll just talk about what we see. 

So, yeah. That looks to be some sort of Ice Cream Sandwich with some sort of TouchWiz-esque mash-up. It's different than what we saw in that leaked video from the Galaxy S II in December. It wouldn't greatly surprise us to learn a new phone would have a new version of TouchWiz, nor would it surprise us to learn that the earlier leak was just that -- an early leak and is off the table.

The icons in the dock look like they've been refined a little bit, which you'd expect, right? They've got the ICS app drawer icon on the middle. Glad to see it.

Now the capacitive buttons at the bottom. ... They're done in the style of the on-screen ICS buttons, only they're obviously not on the screen here. The icons are different than what you find on Samsung phones today -- They're the ICS buttons.

Unlike the three-buttoned LG Spectrum, which has menu-home-back, this render goes back-home-multitasking.

And that's that. If you want to get really nit-picky, that calendar entry is for a date that doesn't exist. And that's the old icon for the Android Market, not what you'll see on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Could just be poor rendering, or it could be a sign. And note that this render looks like it borrows heavily from the T-Mobile UK Galaxy S II.

Anyhoo. Maybe it's legit. Maybe it's not. One way to find out: Let's go to Barcelona.

Source: @EldarMurtazin

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