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2 years ago

Vodafone UK changing pay-as-you-go price structure, will cost you more to talk

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UK carrier to start charging per minute rather than per second for voice calls on PAYG

UK carrier Vodafone is set to change how they charge pay-as-you-go customers. Instead of charging per second as they currently do, they're going to charge per minute. So, even one second over a full minute will cost you for an entire minute extra, of which 59 seconds of it you're not even on the phone. 

Vodafone claims the move is to simplify their charges for their customers, but it has been met with understandable criticism from some of their customers. Rival carriers Orange and T-Mobile already employ such pricing. Simpler or not, from August 1 the new prices will come into effect. Any Vodafone customers out there set to be affected by this? How do you feel about the new structure?

 via BBC News

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2 years ago

Sprint completes its acquisition of Clearwire

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Third-place carrier gobbles up Clearwire for $5 per share

Sprint has completed its acquisition of Clearwire, the U.S. carrier has announced. Sprint, which already held a majority stake in Clearwire, and is itself to be acquired by Japan's SoftBank, said in a press release today that it had purchased the company for $5 per share. As such, SoftBank will walk away with both Sprint and 100 percent of Clearwire when that transaction closes, something which is expected to occur tomorrow.

Today's news follows an aborted attempt by Dish Network to buy both Sprint and Clearwire — Dish abandoned its acquisition plans in mid-June.

Sprint will be looking to take advantage of Clearwire's spectrum holdings to further expand its LTE network.

Source: Sprint

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2 years ago

Google confirms fix for 'master key' vulnerability released to OEMs

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No evidence that exploit has actually been used, Google spokeswoman tells ZDNet

Last week it emerged that a security vulnerability affecting all current versions of Android could allow applications to be maliciously altered without affecting their cryptographic signatures. You might've heard it referred to as the Android "master key" vulnerability.

At the time it was reported that Samsung's Galaxy S4 had already been patched to address the issue, and now we have further information from Google on the company's response to the incident. According to ZDNet, Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said that the company had already released a fix for the bug to OEMs, and that some manufacturers like Samsung were already shipping the fix in devices.

Scigliano reiterated that Google had found no evidence that the vulnerability had actually been exploited in malware on Google Play or other app stores. As AC's Jerry Hildenbrand mentioned in his write-up of the issue last week, the bug, while potentially serious, is easy to avoid by sticking to official app stores and avoiding pirated apps.

More: Making sense of the latest Android 'master key' security scare

Source: ZDNet

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2 years ago

SanDisk releases world's fastest 64GB microSDXC card

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SanDisk's new high-speed, high-capacity microSD cards were designed with the smart phone user in mind

SanDisk has a new product in their popular line of microSD cards, the SanDisk Extreme microSDHC and microSDXC UHS-I cards. Designed for users who need fast storage for their smart phone, tablet or camera, the new microSD cards offer read and write speeds that are perfect for taking multi-shot high resolution pictures, as well as full HD high framerate video.

In SanDisk's testing, the 64GB model reached read speeds of 80MB/second, and write speeds of 50MB/second. Speeds like this allow you to do things like take more shots in a row using your camera's burst mode, or take beautiful high-quality HD video. Of course, file transfer speeds are also greatly increased, letting you copy those images and videos, or music or ROMs from your computer even faster. 

Ultra-fast, high capacity ​microSD cards are a perfect match for Android phones that support removable storage. Stuart Robinson, director of handset component technologies service at Strategy Analytics puts it succinctly:

Most high-end smartphones are now driven by high-speed quad-core processors, which deliver Full HD content and applications to large, high-resolution external displays. Such applications require high memory bandwidth which is ideal for the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC card, the world's fastest microSDXC memory solution.

We know you all like big, fast SD cards, and this one looks like a winner. To be sure, we had SanDisk send us the 64GB SDXC model and I'm going to see if it lives up to the hype. We'll run it through the benchmarks, but also try it in real-world situations like in an Android phone, a computer, and a DSLR. Look for the results soon! In the meantime, the full press release is after the break. Read through it, and discuss.

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2 years ago

ASUS Fonepad review

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Take a 7-inch ASUS Android tablet, add an earpiece and a dialer, and what comes out is the Fonepad. 

The ASUS Fonepad — mainly tablet, but also part phone. And ASUS is definitely marketing this as something you would use to make phone calls — just check out their official marketing videos for proof. But it's also a 7-inch Android tablet, with Intel internals and a competitive price point. It's a device with a pretty specific use case, but for the kind of person who might put the Fonepad to good use, it could be invaluable. But is it any good as a phone, or a tablet, or either? Let's take a look. 

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2 years ago

Using the 7-inch ASUS Fonepad: A tale of convenience and looking ridiculous

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I used the ASUS Fonepad with my main SIM card — the one people call me on. So how did it go?

For the past few weeks I've had in my possession an ASUS Fonepad. A 7-inch Jelly Bean tablet with Intel internals and, oh yes, an earpiece. For this is more than just a tablet — it has full phone capabilities. ASUS is even marketing the Fonepad as a phone, too. The manufacturer's first promotional videos clearly showed what they envisaged users doing with this device — holding it up to their head.

So I put my main SIM card into it — the one my family calls me on — and tried it out. Is it really so ridiculous to use a 7-inch "phone" in this way? Read on to find out.

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2 years ago

Grab a hot deal on a refurbished Nexus 7 via eBay UK

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Deal of the day features 16GB Nexus 7 from Tesco for £119 while stocks last

It may be a year old, but pound-for-pound the Nexus 7 is still arguably the best Android tablet money can buy. If you've still to pick one up, or you just want another one, and you're in the UK, then head on over to eBay for a great deal on a refurbished unit. Being sold by Tesco Outlet, a 16GB Nexus 7 can be yours for just £119, £40 below the usual retail price. Better yet, despite being a refurb, it still comes with a 12-month warranty from Tesco. They won't stick around for long at this price, so if you want one, hit up the source link below. 

Source: eBay UK

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2 years ago

Google Play edition phones now shipping

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A quick heads up that, as promised, the Google Play edition Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One have begun shipping directly from Google. 

In case you've been living under a rock the past couple weeks, these are the (mostly) "stock Android" versions of the phones. Same hardware, with the software as God and Google (HOLOYOLO) intended, for better or for worse. They're SIM-unlocked, with full LTE support here in the U.S., and with just a superficial control over the bootloader, so they're developer-friendly.

Be sure to check out our full review if you haven't already.

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2 years ago

How to get rid of the on-screen menu bar on the HTC One with Android 4.2

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On the newest firmware, a simple setting change will banish one of this phone's major annoyances

The HTC One's unsightly on-screen menu bar was never the most elegant way to handle apps that still use Android's legacy "menu" key. We said as much in our review of the phone back in March. Thankfully with the new Android 4.2 update that's now rolling out in some countries, it's now possible to get rid of it entirely, and use a long-press of the home key to access menu functionality instead.

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2 years ago

Sony Smartwatch 2 not coming to the UK July 15

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Clove has updated information suggesting watch won't be available until September

Announced on June 25 along with the Xperia Z Ultra, the new Sony Smartwatch 2 features NFC pairing support, as well as the ability to remote-control certain apps on supporting Android smartphones. UK retailer Clove had originally stated they would be selling the Smartwatch 2 from July 15, and has been accepting pre-orders based on this information. Now though, an updated release schedule suggests that it will not be available until September 9. 

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active now available SIM-free in the UK

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Water-resistant, rugged S4 priced at £494.98

U.S. carrier AT&T was first to get hold of Samsung's ruggedized, waterproof Galaxy S4 Active late last month, but now the device is starting to appear in international markets. Independent retailer Unlocked-Mobiles which is stocking the Active in the U.K. today, priced at £494.98 — a little less than the average asking price for the regular GS4.

Our own Phil Nickinson reviewed the U.S. Galaxy S4 Active yesterday, calling it "a fun, robust Android smartphone that is a serious contender for anyone looking for a high-end phone on AT&T." For more on the Active, be sure to check out the full review.

Source: Unlocked-Mobiles

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2 years ago

HTC Butterfly being upgraded to Android 4.2 and Sense 5

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Taiwanese devices have an update to the latest software waiting

Big news for HTC Butterfly owners this morning, as Engadget sends word that the Taiwanese version of the device is receiving an update to Android 4.2.2 and HTC Sense 5. That brings the Butterfly in line with the HTC One, which shipped with Sense 5 and started to see its own Android 4.2 update in recent days. It's a significant update for the Butterfly, which has been on the older Sense 4+ since it launched late last year. While Engadget reports that not all of the HTC One's user experience has made it across, the core software — including the BlinkFeed home screen reader — is in place.

Butterfly owners in Taiwan can expect an small, initial update to prep the phone, followed by a larger OTA containing the new firmware. No word yet on when the latest update will be hitting the U.S. version of the Butterfly, Verizon's Droid DNA — fingers crossed for a speedy turnaround on that one.

Source: Engadget

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2 years ago

ZTE U988S images appear, could be world's first Tegra 4 phone

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Familiar ZTE styling with the latest internals from NVIDIA make good on previous promise

If rumors and leaked images (shown above) are to be believed, ZTE is set to launch the U988S as the world's first Tegra 4-powered handset. While ZTE and NVIDIA announced a partnership to make the Chinese manufacturer the first to bring Tegra 4 phones to market this year, it was unclear up until this point what the phone would look like or what its final specs would be. We've got our hands on a bit more info now, with both leaked images and purported specs. The outside is clad in a solid plastic shell somewhat reminiscent of other 2013 ZTE devices, with capacitive buttons on the front and coming in at about 9mm thick.

On the inside, we are expecting a 1.8GHz Tegra 4 processor accompanied by 2GB of RAM, a 1080P display, 13MP camera and SDcard support. Rumor has it that the device is running Android 4.2, which we would expect for a phone launching in mid-2013. We don't yet have any specifics on the final naming or availability of the device, but we don't have high hopes for it to hit U.S. shores any time soon, if ever.

Source: PhoneArena

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2 years ago

William Lynch resigns as Barnes & Noble CEO

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General failure of Android-powered Nook tablet line accelerated executive's exit

Following a slow and steady drumbeat of bad news associated with its Nook hardware division, William Lynch has resigned as CEO of Barnes & Noble, effective immediately. Lynch had been CEO of Barnes & Noble since March 2010, continuing a career of employment at various companies in the technology space prior to being chief executive of B&N. In the three years since taking the helm, B&N has seen the slight rise and sharp fall of its Nook hardware division, which failed to make much of a splash in the tablet market for a variety of reasons.

As the company sees continual drops in sales from many parts of its business, B&N has indicated for some time now that it is done making its own hardware and would prefer another company buy out that division completely. The prices on remaining stock of its latest Nook HD and HD+ tablets continue to drop, and aside from the last-ditch addition of the Google Play Store on the tablets there is no indication of any further software development either.

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2 years ago

Facebook app gets an update, features from beta brought to build 3.4

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If you decided to not join the beta track for Facebook's Android app, you have an update ready and waiting

Folks using the release build of Facebook for Android have an update this evening, bringing all the features from the last beta to the current stable version (that'd be 3.4). The biggest forward-facing feature is for users of Facebook Home, and that would be folders. Just like you're able to do with most other home applications, dragging one app on top of another app will create a folder containing both applications. Unfortunately, Facebook Home is still only available for a few select phones: the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the HTC One X and the HTC One X+.

In addition to the new home screen features, here is the rest of the changes:

  • Share News Feed stories in a private message
  • Swipe left and right to open chat and bookmarks
  • Based on feedback, you can now store the app on your phone's SD card (Android 2.3.7 and lower)
  • Fix for a bug with data transfer on app start

Now if only they would bother to fix the dreaded black bar.

Grab your update from the Google Play link above.

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