Headlines

3 years ago

CyanogenMod 9 makes root access an option, not the default

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Since the earliest days of unofficial Android ROMs, root access and custom firmwares like CyanogenMod have gone hand in hand. However, future versions of CyanogenMod will take a step back from always-on root, disabling root access by default but allowing users to easily enable it through a menu.

In a statement on their official site, the CM team says that having root access enabled by default represents a "major security risk," one which can be remedied by introducing four user-configurable root options. Root access will be disabled by default, while three additional options will let CM users enable it for ADB only, apps only, or both. So there's nothing to panic about -- your root access will still be there if and when you need it, but your device will be more secure by default as a result.

A good analogy is Android's "unknown sources" option, which allows applications to be loaded directly from an APK file rather than the Google Play Store. It's there for those that want it, but disabled by default for security reasons. As CM matures and its audience grows more mainstream, it makes sense that there's a renewed focus on security.

There's more technical info about exactly how this configurable root access works over at the source link.

Source: CyanogenMod

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3 years ago

Google: Delayed app developer payments now going out

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Reports have emerged over the past couple of weeks that a significant number of European Android developers have yet to receive their payment for sales during February 2012. And today, Google has today informed affected developers that payment has been initiated, and that the money should start appearing in their bank accounts within three working days.

A statement for European devs on the Google Play developer console reads --

February 2012 Payout Delays
We're aware of reports from some European developers that they have yet to receive their March 2012 payout for February 2012 sales. Please rest assured that we are aware of this issue and have worked to resolve it. The payout has been initiated on 15 March 2012. However, it may take up to three additional business days to register the payout in your bank account. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and appreciate your understanding.

Google has sent a similar message to affected developers by email, apologizing for the late payment and advising them to allow three working days for their banks to process the payment.

No explanation was offered as to why the payments were so late, but we imagine some kind of technical glitch was to blame, possibly relating to the switch-over from Android Market to the new Google Play Store. Hopefully this marks the end of a frustrating couple of weeks for European Android developers.

Thanks, Tom!

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3 years ago

International Samsung Galaxy Note updated, obscure video editor bugs fixed

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A new firmware update is rolling out over the air to owners of the international Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000). The new version is still based on Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread, but brings a new cellular radio (version XXLB2) and updated Samsung software (XXLC1). The update from the previous version (XXLB1) weighs in at just under 40MB.

The Note seems fast as ever on the new firmware, and we've noticed that a couple of obscure bugs introduced in an earlier update has now been fixed. Previously, when working with clips of different frame rates in the video editor app, the sections recorded at a lower frame rate would stutter and introduce artifacts when rendered. In addition, using the "fade" transition effect with certain video files would result in artifacting. Both bugs are fixed in the new firmware.

The Galaxy Note is still waiting on its update to Ice Cream Sandwich, which was due by the end of March, but may have slipped into Q2 if the latest rumors are to be believed. As with any Android device, the timing of updates will likely depend on your country and carrier. Our Note is an unlocked German model, which is generally among the first to receive new firmware from Samsung.

If you've updated your international Note and noticed anything else that's new in the updated firmware, then hit the comments and let us know.

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3 years ago

Virgin Mobile Australia announce the HTC One X

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Word emerging from down under is that Australians can look forward to getting the HTC One X on the Virgin Mobile network. Rival network Optus are also carrying the device, but the latest addition to the Virgin stable will be a welcome one for Australian Android fans. 

No word yet on release date, only that interested customers should check back early April for updates. Pricing is available though, and it can be had free of charge on a two-year contract at $59 per month. The One X is set to be one of the devices of 2012, so seeing it begin to appear in the global markets is good news. 

via Ausdroid

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3 years ago

OverSkreen [Android App Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

It seems Android folk are always looking for ways to make their tablet experience more desktop-like. Services like OnLive Desktop aim to carve out a large niche for themselves, and desktop streaming services are almost as old as Android itself. OverSkreen might not simulate the entire Windows experience, but it does give you something more akin to a true desktop browsing experience, and that's something I've not seen before.

Simply put, when you open up OverSkreen, you're given a floating browser window on top of whatever you were previously looking at. Much unlike the browser (or any other Android app), OverSkreen exists in tandem with everything else; it doesn't bother to fill up the entire screen. The window is completely resizable, and you can even have multiple windows open at once, all at different sizes.

OverSkreen uses the 'always on top' rule by default, always floating above your desktop at large. Fortunately, aside from resizing the window, you can also minimize it (it'll go down to your notifications area) and come back to it later. Of course, if you're totally done, closing the window is as simple as tapping the red button in the top-right corner of the screen.

How practical OverSkreen can be is yet to be seen, but in my brief time using it, I definitely enjoyed it. Sure, you have to re-train yourself to use your tablet, but I dare say it's for the better. Granted, switching between applications isn't all that difficult in Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich, but if you're looking for a browser that's a bit more customizable and closer to your desktop experience, aside from streaming, OverSkreen is it.

I guess the best way to frame it is like this: Novel but niche idea or the future of how we multitask on our devices? That's definitely yet to be seen, but if MBFG can continue to build on the already stellar app they've produced, I imagine we'll be seeing more of this in the future.

OverSkreen is $1.49 in the Google Play Store for a limited time. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Fess up: Who's buying a new iPad?

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We're not looking to name names here, nor will we come to your house and shame you. (Probably.) But let's face it, more than a few of you Android faithful likely will be buying iPads in the coming days. So let's hear it. And if anyone wants to explain themselves, the comments are wide open.

And there's loads more iPad launch coverage at iMore.com.

Are you buying a new iPad?

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3 years ago

Sidekick line will continue after Sidekick 4G, says T-Mobile

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Just under a year after it revived the Sidekick line with the Samsung-manufactured Sidekick 4G, T-Mobile is discontinuing the device to make way for newer, shinier things. However, fans of the Sidekick brand and form factor need not fear, as Tmo plans to continue the Sidekick series in the future. In a statement sent to ​The Verge​, the carrier says, "while the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G is being retired, it doesn’t mean we are discontinuing the T-Mobile Sidekick line."

When we reviewed the Sidekick 4G last year, we found it to be a decent mid-range handset with some useful software features, and a unique UI. There's definitely plenty to build on in a future device.

The mobile phone market is increasingly dominated by large touchscreen slabs, with fewer and fewer QWERTY devices available. T-Mobile has remained supportive of keyboard-based sliders, though, with its G2 and myTouch series, so it's only natural that it'd want to keep the Sidekick brand alive, too.

Anyone out there looking forward to a newer, sleeker Sidekick with higher-end specs? Let us know how you'd like to see the Sidekick series continued in the comments!

Source: The Verge

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3 years ago

Sprint's divorce from LightSquared is final, returns $65 million

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And that, as they say, is that. Sprint this morning announced that its spectrum deal with LightSquared is officially over, and the two companies will go their separate ways. LightSquared's going away with $65 million back in its pockets -- money that Sprint had already accepted as prepayment for costs that were never realized.

Said Sprint in a news release:

“Sprint has been and continues to be supportive of LightSquared’s business plans and appreciates the company’s efforts to find a resolution to the interference issues impacting its ability to offer service on the 1.6 GHz spectrum. However, due to these unresolved issues, and subject to the provisions of the agreement, Sprint has elected to exercise its right to terminate the agreement announced last summer. We remain open to considering future spectrum hosting agreements with LightSquared, should they resolve these interference issues, as well as other interested spectrum holders.

“Late last year, both companies agreed to halt deployment design and implementation of LightSquared’s network to ensure that Sprint’s Network Vision project remained on schedule. While unfortunate, termination of the agreement will have no impact on Sprint’s current customers and is not material to Sprint’s ongoing business operations. Network Vision remains on schedule and on budget, and we look forward to begin launching our 4G LTE network mid-year.

“Per the terms of the agreement, Sprint has returned $65 million in prepayments LightSquared made to cover costs that were not ultimately incurred by Sprint.”

So what does this mean to you? Really, not all that much. Sprint's still planning on rolling out its LTE network by the middle of the year, and that can't come soon enough for those of us waiting on another option for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (which just went through the FCC). It just won't be doing so with LightSquared.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

Nexus S ICS updates reportedly restarting in 'a few weeks'

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Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich was briefly pushed to the Nexus S last December, before being pulled due to battery life issues on some handsets. Now reports suggest that the official resumption of over-the-air updates to ICS may be just a few weeks away, and that the Nexus S 4G will finally see the latest version of Android, too.

Engadget​ reports via "trusted sources" that the Nexus S and Sprint Nexus S 4G will both receive fresh updates to ICS in "the next few weeks." It's been a long wait for Nexus S 4G users in particular, who've yet to see anything official besides a leaked 4.0.4 build.

If you'd rather not wait a few weeks to get Ice Cream Sandwich on your Nexus S, you can check out our guide to manually installing the update. And like we said, there's always that leaked build for the Nexus S 4G -- though you'll have to muddle through with the same radio issues that affected Gingerbread on some devices.

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

Google Flight Search now supports international destinations

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Google's new flight search feature has been updated to include destinations outside of the United States, assuming you're still starting​ your journey from an American airport. In a post on its "Inside Search" blog, Google says it's added support for over 600 international airports as destinations. However if you're planning a journey which begins at one of these airports, you're still out of luck for the moment -- Google Flights only works when U.S. airports are used as a starting point.

Last month Google Flights launched for mobile, meaning all these new features are supported on mobile devices, assuming you're using an Android or iOS device. There's no stand-alone app available on either platform, but if Google Flights picks up steam, we wouldn't be surprised to see one launched at some point in the future.

To take Google Flights for a spin, check the links below.

Source: Google Inside Search; More: Google Flights

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3 years ago

UK retailer slashes Sony Tablet S price

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There's no doubt that today is iPad day, but if you're looking for an Android tablet, you could do worse than Sony's Tablet S, with its quirky "folded magazine" design. Today UK retailers Currys, PC World and Dixons -- all part of the Dixons Stores Group -- have cut the Tablet S's price by £100, knocking it down to £299. The new price puts it in line with competing 2011 tablets like the Motorola Xoom and Galaxy Tab 10.1. In addition, Currys promises a £10 voucher to anyone buying the Tablet S online.

The Tablet S, which launched late last year, was Sony's first foray into the world of Android tablets. It's powered by the standard NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU, with 1GB of RAM and a lightly-skinned Android 3.2 Honeycomb on the software side, with an update to Ice Cream Sandwich promised in the near future. Sony's software suite includes all the proprietary stuff you'd expect -- Music and Video Unlimited, along with PlayStation certification for gamers. The main thing setting it apart from other tablets, though, is that wedge-shaped chassis, which is designed to make it easier to hold in one hand.

Elsewhere on the web, Sony Tablet S prices still hover around £350-375 (~$550-590). Given that today's iPad 3 new iPad launch pushes the iPad 2 down to £320 in most stores, we'd expect to see last year's Android tablets priced further below this mark in the months ahead.

Source: Currys; via: Eurodroid

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note now available on Three UK

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It has been a bit of a wait, but as of today the Samsung Galaxy Note is available to Three UK customers. 

The international version of the Galaxy Note has been available since November, and Three's customers have had to be patient. Initially, the white version is on sale, and can be had both on contract and on pay as you go. 

On contract, the Galaxy Note is available from free and for no more than £38 a month. Three's top tier plans include all-you-can-eat data on their HSPA+ network, which is a tantalizing prospect when coupled with a device like this. On Pay As You Go, the Galaxy Note will run you for £499.

The Note is available now online and in all Three retail stores. If you're still undecided, don't forget to check out our full review of the International version.

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

Google Play Store updated, new tabbed My Apps UI and app review features

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An update is beginning to push out to the Android Market Google Play Store bumping it to build number 3.5.15. With it comes a change in the UI to the "My Apps" area, and some handy new features built into application reviews that bring it more into line with the desktop version. For us outside North America we also seem to have been renamed from "Play Shop" to the much better sounding "Play Store." 

The change to the "My Apps" area is the most obvious change brought with this latest update. Gone is the single -- and incredibly long in some cases -- list of old, and in comes a new tabbed interface in the same vein as the main store.  The installed tab is now split into two parts, the updates still showing at the top but the remainder are now labelled as "up to date" below. 

Swipe left and we now get the "All" tab. Handily this contains all the applications you've ever installed. Gone are the days of scrolling all the way to the bottom of your installed apps list to find your not installed paid apps selection. This also contains all the free applications you installed before but don't have currently. Everything is here. This tab also has a handy dropdown box at the top listing all your Google accounts, providing a much smoother and easier way of switching without having to go into the menus. 

Heading out into the main store, further changes can be found in the app reviews. Now the device on which the app on the device which the reviewer was using. Reviews can also be filtered by "most helpful first" or by "newest first," and also for the latest version of the app and for your type of device only. This last one could be particularly handy for anyone running Ice Cream Sandwich, since we still seem to have compatibility issues with some applications. 

One final thing to note. When I first started trying to download apps after the update, everything kept flashing up with "Error 941." Force stopping the app, clearing cache and starting again seemed to do the trick. Not great, but seemed to fix the issue at least. 

For a few screenshots hit the break. If you find any other features worth noting, shout out in the comments below.

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3 years ago

World of Goo [Android Game Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

The fleeting feeling of nostalgia, a quick virtual swipe of the credit card, and everything is new again. Well, that's not quite true. World of Goo has still been out since November on Android (and even longer on desktops, iDevices, and the Wii), but that doesn't mean I can't have some fun with those delicious little goo balls and their crazy, physics-based antics.

If you've ever played X Construction (or any other physics-based building game), you'll immediately see the inspiration that was (probably) drawn from World of Goo. Instead of using steel beams, you're stretching out sentient goo-beings, trying to create a structurally sound contraption that the other goo-beings can move along to a suction tube. (Yeah, you read that right.)

World of Goo is pretty forgiving on the whole building front; lines appear when you're placing a new goo, showing you how it'll connect to the rest of the structure. Thicker lines mean the connection will be a strong one; thinner lines mean you're going on a date with destiny. Still, that's no reason to shy away from the tough moves. If you're fast enough, you can piece together something before the entire tower comes crashing down.

The whole point of all the building and the goo-beings and the suction tube? To get the goo-beings sucked up, of course. Each level has a minimum number of goos that need to be sucked up, so you can't be wasteful with your placement. As a reward for being stingy (or can we say efficient?), you're awarded bonus points for every goo that gets sucked up over the required minimum.

Combine genre-defining gameplay with gorgeous graphics, excellent controls, and the online leaderboard to build the biggest tower in the history of the Goo World, and you've got a recipe for success. But we already knew that, seeing as how World of Goo has been wildly successful on just about every platform it has been unveiled on. Point is, you should play it.

World of Goo is $4.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note on T-Mobile, E-Mail Polling woes [From the Forums]

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While those silly folks from iMore will all be standing in a line somewhere tonight, we'll all be enjoying some fresh air and getting some work done. If you're looking to get caught up on all the latest Android news, go ahead and jump back a few pages or -- drop into the Android Central Forums for much more discussion:

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

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