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2 years ago

International Samsung Galaxy Note gets Ice Cream Sandwich

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If you've got an the international HSPA+ version of the Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000), then your months of waiting for Android 4.0 are finally over. The "Premium Suite" for the device, which includes ICS along with a range of other  enhancements, is now pushing out to unlocked German Notes. The update to version XXLPY weighs in at over 300MB, and is currently available through Kies, as well as over-the-air via an automatic update.

As we discovered during our brief hands-on session with the North American ICS update, the Note remains fully TouchWiz'd, even on the latest version of Android. So if you're familiar with the look and feel of the Note's Gingerbread-based firmware, then you'll probably notice only a few minor visual changes. Of course, ICS brings improved performance all-round, which should help Note owners get more out of the device's beefy hardware. And the addition of the Roboto font gives the Note an added touch of class.

As for actual software enhancements, the "Premium Suite" bundles a new S Memo app with support for even richer content, including voice recordings. There's also an enhanced handwriting-to-text feature, and improved sharing capabilities for S Memo content.

If you're rocking an unlocked Note, head to Settings > About phone > Software updates to grab the latest OTA, or plug your phone into Kies to see if it's waiting for you. Remember that only German models are getting the ICS update for the time being, though if you know your way around ODIN, you can directly flash the German ROM regardless. (If you don't know what that means, it's probably best to just wait for your country/carrier's OTA.)

If you're already updated, be sure to drop by the comments and let us know what you think.

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2 years ago

CTIA 2012 recap

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Another event is wound down, and like most electronic and wireless trade shows, it was just about all Android. We didn't see anything huge, HTC and Samsung had already presented their wares, but we did see some interesting stuff.

Interesting things like Ice Cream Sandwich running on an AT&T branded Samsung Galaxy Note. No, they didn't tell us when the update was coming. We also saw MasterCard trying to get into the mobile payment game, with NFC and one-click Internet shopping. We hope they meet with success, but we hope even more that all the various players can get together and give us an NFC wallet solution that works everywhere, on every device.

Probably the biggest news from the show came from Verizon, with the Droid Incredible 4G LTE. It's not part of the HTC One line, but for folks who want a mid-sized Android phone that still is going to run well, this could be it. We'll know more when we spend some more time with it. That wasn't the only hardware worth mentioning. We saw what's coming from Huawei again, LG's Optimus 4X HD and Optimus Vu, and some really interesting edge-to-edge designs from Nyx Mobile.

We also got to sit in on a meeting of the minds behind the big four U.S. carriers, where we learned everything there is to know about the spectrum crunch, and the different ways each plans to tackle it. 

And we can't forget the orange goo.

Now all we have to do is wait to see what becomes of the announcements and new devices over the summer, then get ready to do it all over again next time. It's tiring work, but we wouldn't want it any other way.

 

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2 years ago

Nyx Mobile Lyuba Fun and Lyuba Max hands-on

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Walking around CTIA, it's always fun to find new things at random booths, and after stopping by Nyx Mobile I was met with a pleasant surprise from one of their reps. He starts the conversation with "you want to see something cool?" Of course, the geek in me wanted to scream yes, and I told him that I did. That's when he proceeded to pull out prototypes of their upcoming devices, which feature edge to edge displays. That's right, only the tiniest slither of a bezel separates the screen from the edge of the device.

The first handset that came out, the Lyuba Max, featured a 5-inch display and by doing the edge to edge display and eliminating the frame around it they were able to bring a larger screen in a smaller package. They also had a 4-inch model -- the Lyuba Fun -- and they will be finalizing a build of a 3.5-inch display as well. When the devices do launch, they'll run Ice Cream Sandwich, and feature specs comparable to other high-end devices. Hit the break to check out a couple other pictures, and stay tuned for updates from Nyx Mobile on availability of these devices.

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2 years ago

Are you ready to talk about the HTC EVO 4G LTE?

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Yes, that's exactly what you think it is -- the HTC EVO 4G LTE -- and it's in Phil's hands. 4.7-inches of EVOlisious goodness is in the house and it's time to put this monster through the paces like only we can. We know you all have questions, and we'll have answers. Jump in the discussion and let's talk about it, shall we?

 I've got the EVO - ask me anything!

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2 years ago

PayAnywhere aims to make accepting payments on the go a breeze

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The ability to accept and process payments while on the go is not a new concept, but it is also one that is far from perfected. We have seen tons of options, ranging from things like Square to PayPal's attempt, and all of them seem to fall short in on way or another. PayAnywhere is a mobile payment processing company that has taken the shortcomings of other applications, built upon them, and come in with the lowest processing fees, making the service a rather attractive one.

When looking at other available options, one thing that sticks out immensely is the lack of quality behind the receipts and offerings that they provide, limiting the client base that is likely to want to use their service. Odds are if you are running a larger business, you want a receipt that shows a breakdown of the products, shows your business name, and doesn't look like your child designed it. PayAnywhere offers just that and more.

Within the application you can set up company information to print on the receipt, and set up an inventory of items that can be quickly added during your sale. If the item isn't listed in your inventory, no problem, simply add it at that time and you are good to go. In the options of the application you are able to set up discounts, toggle taxes based on location, and much much more. Beyond all of this, the application that powers the reader is a cross platform application which is available on Android, iOS and BlackBerry, which means nearly any employee you have would be able to pick it up and use it without any issues. The reader is free through PayAnywhere, so if you happen to be in the market for something new to accept your payments, this is definitely a worth while service to give some serious thought to. Hit the break with us to check it out in action, and get a deeper look and feel for it.

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2 years ago

Samsung Electronics acquires cloud content service provider mSpot

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It's not all that often we hear of Samsung acquiring other companies that's exactly what they've done with cloud content service provider mSpot. As noted in the press release, Samsung will be making use of mSpot's cloud services to bring such content as music, video and radio services to Samsung devices:

“mSpot shares our vision to bring a best-in class cloud and streaming entertainment experience to consumers, and they’ve backed it up with great technical solutions from a great engineering team,” said TJ Kang, Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics’ Media Solution Center.

For now it seems as though Samsung bought into the company as a whole meaning, they now own the technology, assets and human resources that mSpot holds. Financial details of the matter have not as of yet been disclosed. You can read the full press release from Samsung Electronics below.
 

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2 years ago

Hands-on with ZTE's line of Android 4.0 tablets

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In addition to its flagship line of smartphones, ZTE had its Ice Cream Sandwich tablets on hand here in New Orleans, some of which were making their American debut. As I said about the smartphones, it certainly appears that ZTE is trying to crack into the top tier of Android devices; if it will succeed remains to be seen.

The ZTE tablet line is driven by the PF100, a beauty we first met back in Barcelona. It’s got a beautiful 10.1-inch WXGA display with TFT technology, along with Tegra 3 and a gig of DDR2 RAM under the hood. The processor is clocked at 1.5 GHz and make no mistake about it- the PF100 offers a buttery smooth, mainly stock Ice Cream Sandwich experience. The PF100 is also packing a 5MP rear camera, a 2MP front shooter, Dolby sound, and HSPA+ radios.

Just underneath the PF100 is the V96, though “beneath” may be a matter of opinion. Screen and most specs go hit-for-hit with the PF100, including the stock ICS experience; the big difference here is the processor and radios. The V96 is packing a 1.7 Ghz dual-core processor instead of Tegra 3 (no word on model), and it ships with LTE-compatible radios. A pretty fair trade off, we’d say.

At the lower end of the spectrum is the K75, which may or may not seem like a big step down compared to its big brothers. If you prefer a 7-inch footprint, the K75 is the flavor for you. It’s wi-fi only, with a lower-res screen of 1024 x 600 pixels. It’s got Ice Cream Sandwich onboard, but this one’s modded quite heavily. Under the hood, ZTE remains tight-lipped on the processor, which is more than likely on the lower end of the spectrum.

All in all, not much news tablet-wise out of CTIA this year, though it’s refreshing to see smaller manufacturers like ZTE are edging their way into the market. Some photos of what ZTE has been up to follow the break.

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2 years ago

HTC One S Otterbox Commuter hands-on

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We just got a look at the Otterbox Commuter case for the HTC One X, but we didn't want you One S owners to feel left out, because sitting right next to it was the commuter series case for the One S. Much like the One X, the One S features those wonderful curves and no one wants to ruin that by adding some ugly or bulky case, even if they are adding protection. In the past Otterbox cases have been kind of bland in design, and very industrial looking, but it appears as though that is gone.

Following the curves of the device the Commuter series case offers great protection for users who wish to keep their device safe and sound, but does it in a very stylish way. The overall style and flow matches that of the device, which is a key factor because many people are enticed by the design and feel of the HTC One Series. Hit the break to check out some more images, and be sure to stay tuned for a full review.

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2 years ago

Google+ app gets updated, it's beautiful - and iOS only for now

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Google is showing off the new sexy with the Google+ app update, but unfortunately only iOS users get to see it for now. Things like full bleed pictures, crisper sharp fonts, larger profile pics and a revamped home screen are on board, and from the looks of the screen shots it's absolutely freaking gorgeous. But again, it's only for iOS right now. 

Before we start writing those on-line petitions, Vic Gundrota, Google senior VP, has already said the Android version is coming soon, with "a few extra surprises". That does little to soften the blow, though. To be fair, the iOS version really sucked and was in dire need of an update. Google loves to make money from folks with an iPhone (and they make mountains of it from them) so it's good business to offer something for the iFolks. I'll patiently wait for the Android version, and wonder what the extra surprises might be. Speculate away in the comments.

Source: Google; via +Vic Gundotra

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2 years ago

Hands-on with ZTE's flagship Android 4.0 smartphones

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Chinese manufacturer ZTE made a nice impression in New Orleans this year, bringing with them a host of high-end smartphones and tablets proving that they’re playing in the Android market for keeps. ZTE introduced these devices in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, but this marks the first American appearances of its high-end PF112, seen above.

And high-end is an understatement indeed. The PF112 is packing a gorgeous 4.5-inch display with 1028 x 720 resolution that adds up to a vivid, colorful experience. We’ve got a nice 8MP camera around back, and HSPA+ radios under the hood. ZTE still won’t dish on what processor it’s using, but based on how fluid Ice Cream Sandwich looked on the device, and the specs of its lower-end Era, we’d be willing to bet it’s a quad-core model.

One step down from the PF112 is the Era, that is second-in-command in ZTE’s flagship line. It’s packing a quad-core AP30 in-house processor, as well as the same 8 MP camera and HSPA+ radios as its older sibling. Where ZTE skimped a bit here is the display: at 4.3-inches, the Era is packing qHD resolution with TFT technology. Like the PF112, the Era is running Ice Cream Sandwich with little if any customization from ZTE.

As you’ll see in the photos and videos after the break, ZTE definitely put some thought into its Android offferings. Spec-for-spec, the flagship devices match some of the best phones on the market today. We don’t know if that’s enough for ZTE to make a splash here in the United States, though, especially considering the lack of LTE on its flagship line. We’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for a release date, and we’ll be sure to pass along the information as it comes in.

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