If you're not using S Voice regularly, you could speed up your home button a little with one easy setting change
Samsung's 'S Voice' assistant app has improved considerably on the Galaxy S4. In fact, it's worth revisiting if you dismissed it on earlier devices due to slow performance or hit-and-miss speech recognition. On the other hand, if you're not using S Voice regularly, there's a quick, easy setting change you can perform to make the home key just a little more responsive.
By default, when you double-tap the home key, you'll launch straight into S Voice. That means when you press home, there's a very short pause while the phone waits for a second button press. To avoid this and have the home key immediately send you back to the home screen, you can disable the S Voice shortcut combo. To do this, load S Voice, then press the menu key and hit "Settings." Next, uncheck "Open via the home key." That's it -- with the shortcut combo disabled, the home button should respond immediately as opposed to with a very slight delay.
The same applies to other devices with S Voice loaded out of the box, including the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3.
HTC has announced its unaudited revenue figures for April 2013, revealing that it brought in NT$19.6bn ($660m) last month. This makes April HTC’s best month of 2013 so far, with revenue up from the NT$15.86bn ($540m) it made in March. However it’s still a significant fall from the NT$30bn ($1.2bn) it brought in during the same month last year.
The higher revenues are likely fueled by early sales of the new HTC One, although we should note that much of the world -- including the crucial U.S. market -- had yet to see the handset until late April.
HTC will be relying on sales of the One to push it towards projected Q2 2013 revenue of NT$70 billion ($2.73 billion). The company recently announced its Q1 2013 financial results, showing its worst ever quarterly earnings. It’ll be hoping that today’s numbers are the first signs of a Q2 turnaround.
4.3-inch WVGA screen, dual-core 1.2GHz CPU, 5-megapixel camera
In keeping with its track record of putting out new smartphones at every conversion of screen size, price and specs, Samsung has announced the Galaxy Core, a mid-range handset sporting Galaxy S2-level internals. The Galaxy Core, which looks an awful lot like a shrunken-down Galaxy S3, packs a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU behind a 4.3-inch WVGA screen. Other notable spec points include 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, an 1800mAh battery and 5-megapixel rear shooter. As you'll note from the pic above, the Galaxy Core will come in black and white color options.
On the software side it's running the TouchWiz Nature UI atop Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. That means it includes many of Samsung's latest software tricks, such as Smart Stay, S Voice, and Smart Alerts.
Samsung says the Galaxy Core will arrive in dual-SIM form from May, and that a single-SIM version will follow from July depending on markets. But exactly which markets will get the Core is unclear -- we'll likely have to wait on local announcements from Samsung offices around the world.
HSPA+ Xperia Z available in all three colors; ZL price cut by $130
Sony doesn't have a very long track record for selling unlocked devices to the U.S., but it certainly seems to be giving it a better shot with the release of the Xperia Z and ZL. Starting today, the HSPA+ model (C6602) of the Xperia Z is on sale direct to the U.S. for a cool $629 -- the North American LTE capable device is still missing, however. The Xperia ZL, which has been on sale direct to the U.S. for a little while now has taken a steep price cut as well, to $629 down from a previously ridiculous $759. Unlike the Z, the ZL currently shipping from Sony does support both AT&T and T-Mobile on HSPA+ and LTE, which makes this a good bang for your buck in terms of carrier portability.
XperiaBlog points out that the Z and ZL are both slightly cheaper ($599 and $609, respectively) from other retailers such as Newegg and Amazon, but it's good to see Sony drop its prices to more realistic levels. Some people just like the reassurance of buying directly from the manufacturer as well, and they shouldn't be punished with a severely higher price. If you're interested in one of these, all three colors of the Z and the red version of the ZL are now shipping from the source links below.
We've reached another Sunday. The beginning of a new week, or maybe the end of the last one, depending on how you roll. We've got a ton of phones on our desks, so many words to be written, and a few more trips hitting the itinerary.
So, let's not dilly-dally. A few quick hits for this week's effort:
I’m a huge music fan and I tend to enjoy all genres. If you’re not fond of much of the music today that is too often full of auto-tune and artificial sound, I have a recommendation for you. The Head and the Heart is a band that originated in Seattle and boasts many different styles, specifically folk, rock and Americana. I discovered them a few years back after they released their self titled debut album and I was fascinated by the lyrics and melody put forth by the three lead singers. From their songs and several YouTube videos that I checked out, I was immediately struck by their passion for authentic music and sound. They are a talented band and deserve a lot more attention in the age of auto tune. Their first album can be bought for $9.49 from Google Play.
As with many features of the Galaxy S4, there's more than one way to get a camera shortcut on the lock screen
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is brimming with features, but right out of the box you could be forgiven for thinking there's no way of unlocking the phone straight into the camera app. Like many of the S4's advanced features, this is optional, and disabled by default. Enabling it is easy enough, but as it turns out there are three different kinds of camera shortcuts you can put on the Galaxy S4's lock screen.
It's been a bit week for Samsung, with the European launch of its Galaxy S4 handset getting underway in full force. Meanwhile, the HTC One got its first over-the-air update, fixing bugs and tweaking the phone's "Ultrapixel" camera. And on the subject of cameras, we heard the first news of what might be Sony's mid-year refresh, with new Cyber-shot imaging tech on-board.
Get caught up on the week's international Android news after the break.
New Halo notification system is ready for testing, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 owners can download today
A couple of days ago we talked about the upcoming Paranoid Android ROM and its new Halo feature. Part chat heads, part awesome, and a rewrite of the Android framework make this one of the neatest tricks we've seen in a while from any third-party development team.
Starting today, those of you with a Nexus 4 or a Nexus 7 can give it a try, as the team has made some early testing builds available for download. Be warned, these are by no means finished, and will surely have a fair share of bugs. We know that's hardly going to stop a slew of people from giving this a try.
A build for the Oppo Find 5 is also in the works, and a Galaxy Nexus version is promised when there's time. If you are feeling a little adventurous, and not afraid to try something new, hit the source link for the details and download links. The video of Halo in action is after the break as a refresher.