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2 years ago

HTC One Max render leaks, still looks like a big HTC One

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Another HTC One Max (T6) leak for those keeping score — this time it's a press render of unfinished artwork per habitual leaker @evleaks.

We expect the HTC One Max to look like a great big HTC One, and today's render drives that point home. Subtle differences like the plastic trim ring (ala HTC One Mini) are visible, but we are warned that this is an unfinished piece of work.

Renders and leaked pics are great, but the big questions and solid news about specs, design, and most importantly ​— price and availability — are still lacking. Soon, we hope. Soon.

Source: +@evleaks

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2 years ago

AC on the road: What's in Andrew's gear bag

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Phones, tablets, computers and cameras - see what I'm using right now.

As Jerry has reminded us, it's been a while since we've taken the time to show what devices and gear we're using on a daily basis to keep the content coming to the site and when we have some down time as well. Working for Android Central has the awesome benefit of getting to use some of the latest and greatest devices, but when we find things we love — Android-powered or otherwise — we spend our own hard-earned cash on them and hold them close.

I try to keep my gear as efficient as possible to cut down on clutter and weight (nobody likes back problems), while still having everything I need to get work done and stay connected. So over the months I've whittled down my technology and accessories to just the essentials with very few frills.

This by no means should be taken as an ultimate compendium of the best devices and best way to do things — even I'm constantly questioning my setup — but it surely works for me right now and I'm happy to share how it all fits together. Read along after the break and see what's in my gear bag today.

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2 years ago

The best alarm sound in the world

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This came from one of LG's original Android phones (I forget which one exactly). I've been using it every morning for a couple years, and have realized it is the best alarm in the world.

On a good morning, it's cheerful and makes me smile while I reach over to shut things down. On a bad (and very possibly hungover) morning, it makes me want to kick things and I can't get up fast enough to shut it off. Either way gets me out of bed — and that's what it was designed to do.

What's yours? Share in the forums.

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2 years ago

From the Editor's Wrist: So I finally got a Pebble ...

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So I finally picked up a Pebble smartwatch. Best Buy's finally got them in stock, and it even managed to ship out the same day I ordered, and get here the following day. Take that, Kickstarter.

This should be an interesting experiment. I haven't worn a watch in years. Between phones and sitting in front of computers and always having a clock either in my office or where I am at home — newspapers were always kinda serious about that whole deadline thing, and cable boxes are quick and easy clocks — I just never saw the need to strap something onto my wrist to give me the same information I could get by simply looking up.

Smartwatches do so much more than just tell time, though. But that's another interesting part of this experiment. I'm currently using the Moto X (and, yes, writing our review, finally) which does its part at getting notifications to you quickly and easily. Now I've combined that with notifications on my wrist.  Neither Pebble nor the Moto X Active Display can act on these notifications, though, so it's a one-way street for now. But, still, it's pretty clear that  notifications are where it's at these days. I'm really curious to see Google's take on all that, assuming the rumors of it making a smartwatch are true.

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2 years ago

Android 4.3 update for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition breaks SD card writing, but there is a workaround

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Sometimes the little things can cause a big headache

The Android 4.3 update for your shiny new Galaxy S4 Google Play edition phone has a minor issue that is frustrating more than a few users. Most apps can no longer write anything to the SD card, and instead just give you an error when you try doing it.

It's one of those little things that can cause a lot of headache. The technical reasons are a group ID issue, and applications aren't given permission to access the external storage for writing because they aren't in the right group. It's a Unix thing, and if you don't understand it all you're not alone — just know that it's an easy fix in a number of different ways, and hopefully it gets fixed soon. If you do understand, we'll cover it a little more later in this post.

While we're waiting for a permanent fix, the good news is that you can copy files to the external SD card by hand, as long as you use ES File Explorer to do so. Either through magic, or crafty developing, ES File Explorer is a member of the correct group to both read and write to the SD card. There may be other apps that can do the same, but we'll recommend this one because we've tested it ourselves and know it works. Grab it at from the Google Play download link above. If you're the type who likes to dig into things and break fix them yourself, or just a little nerdy and curious, head past the break.

Discuss this in the Galaxy S4 Google Play edition forums

Thanks, Michael!

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2 years ago

Apps of the Week: Klyph, Hungry Shark Evolution, ActiveNotifications and more!

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A great selection of apps from the Android Central crew.

Welcome back to our second edition of the Apps of the Week column for the month of August, where we give the Android Central writers a chance to show off apps that they're using. This post is a place for the writers to sound off about an app or service they've been using in the last week and just have to tell everyone about.

Hang along with us after the break where we have a Facebook alternative, a couple of games and a few tools to round out the group. 

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2 years ago

Photosphere compass mode viewer backwards compatible to Froyo

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Viewing Photospheres is now as much fun as taking them with the new compass mode

Photospheres are a real killer feature of the Android camera. Getting a full 360-degree panorama makes you feel like you're in the scene, and the folks at Google have been hard at work making them better and better with each version. Google has shared a few tips for taking better photosphere pictures, but this is all about viewing them.

The latest version of Google Play Services brought more than the new Android Device Manager. Included in the update was also a new photosphere viewer called compass mode. When you're looking at a photosphere on your Android, whether it be one of your own in your gallery, or one someone has shared on Google+ or via Gmail, you can tap the icon in the lower left corner of the image and activate it. You then move your Android to "navigate" the photosphere. Move your Android up to see higher, down to see lower, and left and right to pan. Of course the old way still works, just don't tap the new icon. The icon itself disappears so it doesn't clutter your view, but comes back with a tap on the screen.

The best news is that this doesn't only apply for new Android devices. According to Sascha Haeberling, one of the Google engineers working on the photosphere project, devices running Froyo or higher can use the new viewer. We imagine that your Android will need a compass or gyroscope to activate it, but there are no software limitations here.

We've been tinkering with the improvements to photosphere, both taking them and viewing them, and have come away impressed. Hit the break for an example of how well they stitch with Android 4.3, and a link to try the new viewer on your phone.

Source: +Sascha Haeberling; More: Photo Sphere tips from the AC forums

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2 years ago

Samsung SideSync instructions out oversized phone we know is coming anyway

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Galaxy Note 3 mentioned several times in support docs

There's little doubt that we'll see the Galaxy Note 3 in little less than a month at IFA in Berlin, and it looks like Samsung's already getting its ducks in a row for some of the features that will be on board.

Eagle-eyed AC reader Casey spotted a few mentions of the Note 3 (or the Note III, if you're into Roman numerals) in the documentation for SideSync, which connects your phone to a computer and uses it as a second screen. Looks like it'll come preloaded on the next version of the oversized smartphone, and everyone else will be left to downloading it on their own. 

Source: Samsung; Thanks, Casey!

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2 years ago

Chromecast balks at super-long Wifi passwords

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Here's an interesting one from yubeie in our Chromecast forums:

The Chromecast was successfully purchased and installed, but it wouldn't connect to the Wifi network. The culprit, it seems, was yubeie's 128-freakin'-character password. (A bit of which you can see here.) "Could not communicate with your Chromecast" was all the error message read.

That's ... quite the password. (Especially since WPA2 maxes out at 63 characters, but the point still stands here.) The good news is that changing it to something slightly less ridiculously robust seemed to do the trick.

So let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Chromecast doesn't like long-ass passwords.

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2 years ago

AT&T drops 'Next' pricing on some devices for a limited time

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Getting on Next right now could save you over $100, but it still isn't a good deal.

In an attempt to gently nudge customers towards giving its new "Next" payment plans a try, AT&T is offering newly lowered monthly payments on some of its hottest devices. AT&T Next, if you'll recall, is a payment system that spreads the full off-contract price of the device over 20 months and offers upgrades every 12 months if you return the device.

Popular devices like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One were previously going for their full $32.50 or $30 per month, respectively, but have dipped down today to just $27 per month each. That means that if you plan on paying off the full device over 20 months you'll pay a just $540 for the devices, saving you $110 or $60 off normal retail. Other devices like the LG Optimus G and Optimus G Pro are just $17 and $20 per month as well.

We can't imagine that AT&T is interested in offering these deals forever, and this seems to be the case as AT&T has confirmed to Engadget that the pricing is promotional. 

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2 years ago

New Nexus 7 factory images posted

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Use the restore images to return your new Nexus 7 to a factory state

The factory restore images of Android 4.3 for the new 2013 Nexus 7 have been posted up at Google, allowing folks a path of safe return if they decide to modify the firmware on their device. The images contain a complete backup of the "stock" Android system, and are easily flashed using a computer.

Some hullabaloo has been made, with folks saying we might not ever see these, or starting petitions against parts vendors. It would seem a little patience would have been a wiser choice. 

In any event, if you have a new Nexus 7 and like to tinker, grab them at the link below.

Source: Google. Thanks, Kyle!

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2 years ago

Samsung Wallet now available for select Galaxy devices

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Samsung delivers Passbook functionality for select Android devices

If you've been wanting an iOS Passbook clone, complete with zero NFC functionality, Samsung Wallet has you covered — provided you own a Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note or Galaxy Note II. The official Samsung application has been released through Google Play, and provides a way to manage and store things like tickets, membership cards, coupons and similar items.

The application syncs and stores your data through your Samsung apps account, making things easy for folks with multiple supported devices, and supports push messages via the Samsung push services app. Connected to other "Wallet-compliant partners apps", your details are all bundled up into one easy to find and easy to use place. Samsung isn't saying which other apps are Wallet-compliant, but at the original announcement back in February, they mentioned Expedia.com, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Walgreens, MLB and Lufthansa as US partners.

What it doesn't do is any sort of financial transactions, despite having the name Wallet. 

If you've a need for this sort of thing, and have one of the few supported devices, grab it from the Google Play link above.

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2 years ago

PAC-MAN + Tournaments updated with new features, swaps out ghosts for Androids

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Classic Pac-Man with a few new twists and turns.

Namco Bandai has just pushed out an update to its free-to-play Pac-Man + Tournaments game, which adds new gameplay features and a small Android Easter egg in tournament mode. New in this update is a feature called "My Mazes", which lets you add specific levels to your own collection to play whenever you want. Also added this update are bonus levels, a handful of stability fixes and the option to install the game on your SDcard.

The current tournament running in the game also has a nice little Android-only feature — instead of navigating around mazes to avoid the classic ghosts, you'll now be chased by multi-colored Androids. While it may not change the dynamics of the game, it's nice to see Namco Bandai give a little nod to the Android gamers out there.

Rightfully so, Google Play has even featured the game in the Play Store this week. You can grab your own download from the link at the top of this post.

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2 years ago

LG announces Optimus L1 II: this is what a $95 unlocked Android phone looks like

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Extremely budget offering hitting emerging markets soon.

Building on its expanding entry-level device lineup, LG has announced the Optimus L1 II as an extremely budget device for emerging markets. LG's naming conventions for these devices has gotten a little bit confusing, but the Optimus L1 II is the follow-up to the original L1, which also has higher-end siblings named the Optimus L2 and L3.

Naming aside, the Optimus L1 II is clearly a very budget device, with a 3-inch 240x320 display, 1GHz Snapdragon MSM7225A processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a 1540mAh battery. The device does pack HSPA 7.2mbps, as well as Bluetooth and a 2MP camera. We're also looking at Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on the software front.

Ready for the kicker? The Optimus L1 II will retail for about $95 unlocked in countries like Vietnam and Russia. That's a crazy low price and one that needs to be reached in order for manufacturers to get into some markets. Hit the break to see a picture of the black version.

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2 years ago

Android Central 146: The LG G2, more Moto X

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Audio-only stream below

Phil and Jerry are joined by special guest Russell Holly of Geek.com to talk up this week's LG G2 event from New York City, more on the Moto X now that we've got a solid week's worth of use out of it, the latest Nexus 7 drama — and more of your e-mails. Join us!

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