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2 years ago

IM+ Pro review: All your instant messaging in one place

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Shape Services' IM+ Pro client has been around on Android for a few years now. Essentially, the application is an all-in-one instant messaging client which integrates a whole range of services, and in addition to working on Android smartphones, it also has a tablet mode. In this day and age where many of us now rely on using data for communication rather than good old fashioned SMS, the number of instant messaging services out there has grown massively. So if you are going to be running instant messaging apps on your Android smartphone it makes sense to me to combine them into one neat and tidy application.

The services that are supported include Facebook, Skype, MSN/Live Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, RenRen, Jabber, mig33, SINA Weibo, Fetion, Mambu.Ru, VKontakte, Yandex, Odnoklassniki.Ru and Mail.Ru Agent. That's a lot of messaging. IM+ also has their very own IM service called Beep, which is ideal if your friends also use IM+. If not then, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

We've got a complete breakdown of IM+ Pro for Android after the break.

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2 years ago

Galaxy Note 2 reported to use flexible AMOLED panel

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Samsung's flexible AMOLED displays, long demonstrated to slack-jawed journos at trade shows, could be about to find its place in an upcoming smartphone, if reports from South Korea are accurate. In a recent article on the latest AMOLED display innovations, the Korea IT Times reports that the Galaxy Note 2, due to be unveiled in Berlin on Aug. 29, will utilize the bendy display tech. In addition, Samsung's new, thinner Unbreakable Plane (UBP) tech is also said to be used in the Note 2, freeing up space for extra battery capacity. That's interesting given that just a month ago the Korean press was reporting that UBP was off the table for the Note 2.

These rumors, combined with recent reports of RGB AMOLED displays reaching pixel densities of 350ppi, make for encouraging reading, suggesting that Samsung's upcoming stylus-toting smartphone may usher in a host new display technologies. In particular, the reported use of flexible AMOLED might suggest some sort of curved device encompassing a curved screen. Samsung has dabbled with curved glass in its phones before (in the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, to name a couple), so it's possible the Note 2 might develop these ideas further by curving the AMOLED display beneath. (It should go without saying that the actual phone itself won't bend.)

We still know almost nothing about the Galaxy Note 2, but rumored specs suggest it'll sport a 5.5-inch, 16:9 display, up from the 5.3 inches of the original Note. Whatever form it takes, we'll be live from Berlin on the 29th to bring you full coverage of the next Galaxy Note, so keep it locked to AC.

Source: Korea IT Times

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2 years ago

Sony Xperia Miro appears at Carphone Warehouse, due later this month

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Since Sony's social-focused Xperia Miro was announced almost two months ago it's remained pretty elusive. However, today it looks like a UK release may be close at hand, with the emergence of a holding page for the phone over at independent retailer the Carphone Warehouse.

Alongside the usual specs and pre-registration stuff, the page points to a tentative release date later this month -- that'd give the phone some time to gain traction before Sony shows off its new hotness at IFA in a few weeks. There's no pricing or network info just yet, but pre-order pages at other retailers suggest it'll go for between £180 and £210 off-contract.

Announced after a Facebook promotion earlier this year, the Xperia Miro sports Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on a 3.5-inch screen with a 5MP camera and an 800MHz CPU running the show. Design-wise, it's as if someone took a rolling pin to the Xperia Tipo -- the Miro sports the same design in a thinner chassis, spread over a larger surface area.

With phones like the Xperia Tipo and Miro, Sony certainly has all its bases covered at the low end. We'll be hoping for more bleeding-edge high-end stuff at the company's Aug. 29 IFA press conference.

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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2 years ago

Online Backup tool is pretty awesome, as long as you have some time to spare

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The Internet's been talking about a new tool from Ameer1234567890 over at XDA that allows you to run a Nandroid backup without booting into recovery. It's a novel idea, and we've taken a closer look at it to compare it to the current method of just using recovery to generate a set of system images. That's what a Nandroid backup is -- images that can be used to restore your phone or tablet to a specific date and time. It certainly works as intended, but probably isn't for everyone. Read on.

There are a few pre-requisites for using Online Backup, but they are ones most people who want to use this tool will already have in place. You'll need to be rooted, have Busybox installed, ClockWorkMod recovery (or a CWM-based recovery) installed, and either a terminal client or one of the front ends available in Google Play. For our test purposes we used the Online Nandroid Backup client from Thomas Otero as well as testing from a terminal.

The application and the backup binary both were easy enough to use, with the nod going to the app, simply because tapping a button is always easier than typing. When you launch the app, it checks for the latest version of the Online Backup program and will install it if it's not present. This works exactly as advertised.

On the terminal side, one simply has to get root by typing in su, then run the program by entering onandroid. You have a few parameters like a custom folder name (careful to only use "legal" characters) and time settings, but you don't have to do either. Just type and go.

Then you wait. And wait. Sure enough, the program collects all the files and converts them into a handy Nandroid package, which you can use to restore from ClockWorkMod recovery. Like all dinosaur neckbeards, I have a bit of healthy skepticism about backing up a live file system (like the /data partition) but Ameer says it has been tested, and so far there haven't been any issues. The only ding is how long it takes. It took well over a half-hour, during which my Galaxy Nexus was pretty unresponsive. Thinking it may be the front end I was using from Google Play, gave it a go through the terminal. Same result -- at least a half hour of slow, laggy Android reminiscent of the G1. 

Now anyone who hacks their Galaxy Nexus knows that it takes forever and a half to run a Nandroid on it. So we wanted to compare it to the next easiest way, which is to install ROM Manager and just click the button to backup the current ROM. Nine minutes later, I was rebooted and playing games back to work. 

We're not knocking the development work Ameer has done here. In fact, I'll go on record saying it's totally freaking awesome and something that deserves a ton of respect and love. When something is new and novel, you have to appreciate it, ya know? To top it off, he has the full source of how he's pulling this off available for anyone to have a peek at (its simplicity is pure genius) and is constantly working on improving things. In the end, you're left with a full backup that restores as intended, it just takes longer than the current method. We tip our hat to you Ameer, and hope you keep up the good work!

Of course you'll want to have a look at this yourself. Hit the source link for instructions and downloads, and be sure to show some appreciation while you're there.

Source: XDA-Developers

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2 years ago

Capture frames from video for photos, Change permanent programs in Touch-Wiz [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.

We've got nearly 1 million members helping members and nearly 2 million posts in our Android Forums. Are you one of them? Join today!

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2 years ago

ASUS reveals Nexus 7 conceived at CES, ready four months later

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When the ASUS MeMo 370T appeared, and then swiftly disappeared at CES, rumors suggested that the $250 7-incher had been poached by Google as the basis for its Nexus tablet. Fast forward six months, and we got confirmation at the Google I/O developer conference, with the introduction of the Nexus 7 and its official model number, ME370T. However, its journey from budget ASUS tablet to Google flagship has remained a mystery, until now.

Forbes​ recently sat down with ASUS' execs, where they were given a more thorough breakdown of how the Jelly Bean tablet came to life. Specifically, ASUS UK and Nordic head, Benjamin Yeh, said that the idea of the Nexus 7 was first conceived after a meeting of ASUS and Google bosses at CES in January --

"Our top executives met Google’s top executives at CES to talk about opportunities and how they saw the future market. That’s when we came up with the idea of the Google Nexus 7 by Asus. That was in January, and mass production started in May."

Yeh notes that the average timeframe for bringing this kind of product to market is 6-12 months, making the Nexus 7 a remarkably quick turnaround. However, we should note that ASUS  and Google didn't have to go completely back to the drawing board in January -- they already had the MeMo 370T as a template.

Elsewhere in the feature, ASUS UK marketing manager John Swatton goes into further detail about the display technologies and battery efficiency of the Nexus 7. ASUS reduced the tablet's weight and thickness, and improved screen quality by incorporating the touch sensor and protective top layer in to the same pane of glass, and also introduced a "full lamination" or "zero-air-gap" method for bonding the LCD to that glass. Sony has employed this method before in phones like the Xperia Arc, and Apple is rumored to be using something similar in the iPhone 5.

On battery efficiency, Swatton says ASUS spent a month testing each point on the PCB to check for heat generation, a telltale sign of battery-draining electrical leakage. And on a similar note, NVIDIA's Tegra 3, with its low-powered "ninja core" for background tasks, also helped out here.

It's always fascinating to get this kind of insight into the creation of a major product like the Nexus 7, and all the minute details that must be considered along the way. Judging by our own review, as well as initial sales of the tablet, it looks like ASUS and Google's hard work has paid dividends.

More: Forbes

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2 years ago

Voice over LTE reportedly launching in South Korea tomorrow on Samsung Galaxy S3

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South Korean carrier SK Telecom will reportedly tomorrow become one of the first in the world to offer a voice over LTE service. While bigger U.S. networks like Verizon are testing the technology, SK Telecom will introduce the "HD voice" service tomorrow and begin selling Samsung Galaxy S3 phones with the feature built in. 

An update for existing S3 owners on the network is said to be arriving "within the month," and will apparently be featured on most forthcoming LTE phones the carrier will offer. While some may not necessarily see the benefits -- we don't seem to use the phone to call as much as we used to -- it's inevitable that such technology will eventually roll out across LTE markets around the world.

Source: Korea IT Times via The Verge 

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2 years ago

MetroPCS turns on voice over LTE ahead of the big players

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MetroPCS has become the first operator to enable voice over LTE (VoLTE) service, with the LG Connect 4G in and around Dallas, Texas being the first handset to support it. MetroPCS was also the first carrier in the U.S. to offer LTE data services, ahead of the big names like Verizon and AT&T.

Granted, the footprint is tiny and the user base is small, but it's still no easy feat to present a new(ish) technology to an established network. Right now, the LG Connect 4G is the only capable device, but Metro says that will change in "the coming weeks" along with more locations.

What should users expect? According to Metro, you'll notice clearer calls when in an LTE service area. Since these toys we have are phones, clearer calls is always a good thing. Nice work MetroPCS.

Via: Engadget

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2 years ago

Another day, and another leak of the Sony LT30p Xperia T

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The forthcoming Sony LT30p continues to pose for the camera ahead of its expected launch at IFA 2012, in Berlin, later this month. This time around, the folks at Nixanbal have got their hands on one and proceeded to take some pretty good looking shots of the device. By now we're starting to get a pretty good picture of at least what the final units will look like. 

Just in case you've missed any of the leaked info thus far, the LT30p 'Mint' is expected to be known as the Xperia T come launch. Leaked specs include a 720p display, Snapdragon S4 CPU, 13MP rear camera and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with on screen buttons. It bears a passing resemblance to 2011's Xperia Arc with its curved rear panel too.

We know Sony will be showing off their new wares in Berlin, starting with their press conference on Aug 29. Android Central will be on the ground in Germany right through, so keep it locked to the site for all the best from Berlin.

Source: Nixanbal via Xperiablog

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2 years ago

Google adds real time traffic data in maps to 130 new U.S. cities, expands global coverage, too

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Real time traffic information is a real day saver, and todays news from Google brings the service to a further 130 U.S. cities within Google Maps

These smaller cities such as Kalamazoo, Michigan and Portland, Maine, will now benefit from traffic information and estimated travel times around the arterial routes within the cities. Hit the source link below for more information on which cities have been added.

The United States isn't the only place to see expanded coverage either. Panama City, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Bogota all join in for the first time too. Additionally, the coverage is being expanded throughout parts of Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Good work, Google.

Source: Google Lat Long Blog

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