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3 years ago

Google reportedly (and unsurprisingly) picks Dennis Woodside to replace Sanjay Jha as Motorola Mobility CEO

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Google has selected Dennis Woodside to be the new CEO of Motorola Mobility, replacing Sanjay Jha, according to three people speaking to Bloomberg. Woodside is a Google executive who led the company's ad business in North America before overseeing the Google/Motorola Mobility merger.

The deal was recently approved by both the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, so it makes sense that these decisions are being made now.

From the beginning of the acquisition, Google has insisted that Motorola Mobility will remain an independent entity. Google and Motorola Mobility have yet to issue an official announcement.

Source: Bloomberg

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3 years ago

Dropbox experimental build updated, improved camera upload function

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Dropbox's last experimental build for Android brought some sweet new features, and free storage for anyone testing it out. Today they've gone and updated the build fixing some issues previously found, adding a couple of handy improvements in the process. 

Overall performance is improved in the camera upload feature. We also get bug fixes for issues where not all your photos and videos would be uploaded. Personally, I would appreciate the bug fixing that gave me 500MB of free storage, then took it away again -- hopefully I'm an isolated case. 

In any case, a useful feature that has been added is camera upload numbering. Photos taken in quick succession now get numbered properly and don't overwrite each other when uploading to your Dropbox account. 

As ever, this is an experimental build folks, so treat it with a degree of caution and shout out in their forums if you find any bugs. You can download a copy for yourself at the source link below. 

Source: Dropbox

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3 years ago

ASUS MWC teasers again hint at Padfone, high-resolution tablet

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ASUS has teased the long-awaited Padfone (not the first time it's done so), as well as the high-resolution TF701 Transformer Prime, in its first two pre-MWC promo videos. The first, entitled "divided we stand, together we rock," clearly hints at the Padfone's "phone within a tablet" functionality, allowing users to plug the smartphone into the tablet dock for a larger-screen experience.

The second tells us that with "twice the detail" comes "twice the fun", and shows a box being filled with lots of small rubber balls which, like smaller pixels, make for a sharper image. The TF701 is expected to build on the original Transformer Prime's specs with a higher resolution 1920x1200 display.

We've got both videos after the break, and we'll be covering ASUS's presser live next Monday from Barcelona.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia ICS beta ROM adds radios, new UI and more

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Sony Ericsson has released an updated beta ROM for a selection of its 2011 Xperia phones, based on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This latest (and unsupported) release builds on the alpha version released back in December with new functionality. This includes elements of the "UXP NXT" user interface powering new phones like the Xperia S -- you'll notice the new app dock and live wallpaper in today's video -- and familiar ICS features like camera shortcuts and music controls on the lockscreen.

Certain radio firmware has also passed certification since Sony released the alpha ROM, meaning mobile data and FM radio support is now enabled, though Wifi and Bluetooth are still unavailable. And needless to say, as it's a pre-release ROM, Google apps (including face unlock) are not included. Nevertheless, we expect it won't take too long for enterprising hackers in the Android community to shoehorn this functionality back into the device.

If you want to get in on the pre-release action, you'll need an Xperia Arc S, Xperia Ray or Xperia Neo V that's fully up-to-date with the latest official software. For download and installation instructions, check the source link -- or if you want to see how the ICS update is shaping up without messing with your device, we've got the official preview video after the break.

Source: Sony Developer World

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3 years ago

Samsung 'GT-N8000' references suggest stylus-toting tablet may be on the way

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The rumor mill has been churning for a while with suggestions that Samsung may be working on a new 7 or 10-inch tablet with stylus functionality. But now, a newly-certified device on the Bluetooth SIG site gives weight to reports that Samsung may be preparing to bring its "S Pen" technology to tablets. The certified device is listed as "Samsung Mobile Tablet GT-N8000", and when you consider that the original Galaxy Note is the GT-N7000, it doesn't take too much imagination to arrive at the possibility of a Galaxy Tab-like device with pen input. The other possibility is that we may be due a Galaxy Note hardware refresh already -- given the speed at which Sammy's churning out tablets these days, we wouldn't be too surprised if this were the case.

Last week, references to a "Galaxy Note 10.1" appeared on a casting website, as well as an official Samsung developer page, before being swiftly pulled. Having used the Wacom-based pen tech on the Galaxy Note, we certainly think it'd make sense on a larger screen. But we'll have to wait and see what, if anything, the manufacturer unveils at MWC.

Source: Bluetooth SIG; via: Sammobile

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3 years ago

Amazon Appstore proving lucrative for developers, according to new report

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The Amazon Appstore is less than a year old, and still isn't officially available internationally. Despite this though, the latest report from app analytics company Distimo states that a good portion of Android developers are making decent money there. 

Of the top 110 apps appearing both in the Amazon Appstore and Android Market, the report claims that 42 of them are making more money from the Appstore. Additionally, 28 percent of the revenue from those top 110 came from the Appstore. 

The Appstore is also proving to be a popular place for paid applications. 62% of the apps are paid apps compared to just 32 percent at present in the Android Market. The Kindle Fire launch last year has played a massive part in the growth of the Amazon Appstore. 

Another interesting piece of information to emerge from this report regards Amazon exclusive applications. Distimo says that around 50 percent of Amazon's apps aren't present in the Android Market. While there isn't a clear definition on how many of these may be Kindle Fire versions of already established apps, it is still a surprisingly high percentage. 

Seems the future is bright over in the Amazon camp. There have been mixed reactions since it's inception over pricing and how Amazon controls it, and indeed how they handle compensating developers involved in the free app of the day. But it seems that there is money to be made by submitting applications to Amazon. And with their tighter control over what makes it into the Appstore, quality apps may find opportunities to shine through. Just imagine what could happen if the whole world could take advantage.

Source: GigaOM

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3 years ago

Asus begins pushing ICS to its EeePad Transformer today in Taiwan

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Asus today announced that it is beginning to push its official Ice Cream Sandwich update to the original EeePad Transformer, just it had promised early last month. The OTA rollout of firmware 9.2.1.11 will start today in Taiwan, with other markets set to receive the update"soon after." Asus has been known to be committed to updating its devices in a timely manner: its Transformer Prime tablet is already running Android 4.0, while the original Transformer saw timely updates to Honeycomb.

Although we will announce several new innovations at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, we take great pride in delivering on-going enhancements and support for products that are well into their life cycle.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for the OTA to hit US shores, and of course we'll bring you up-to-the-minute coverage of Asus' presence at next week's MWC.

Source: Asus on Facebook

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3 years ago

White Motorola RAZR coming to Phones4U in the UK from Mar. 1

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Not wanting to feel left out in the flurry of pre-MWC announcements, Motorola has revealed the availability of the international (GSM) RAZR in white in the UK, starting at Phones4U next Thursday, Mar. 1. As you might've guessed, it's the same Motorola RAZR that's been available in the UK since late November, with a funky white trim.

Phones4U appears to have scored brief timed exclusivity period with the white RAZR, so it's likely you'll need to pony up for a 1-2 year contract if you want one right away. But if you do manage to snag one between launch day and Mar. 25, you'll be entered into a draw to win tickets for the Snowbombing festival this April in Austria.

Phones4U's pre-order page shows the white RAZR as available for free on a number of contracts with O2, Orange and Vodafone. The best deal seems to be a £21.50 per month package with O2, offering 200 minutes, 3000 texts and 500MB, though Orange has triple the minutes and double the data allowance for £28.50 per month.

For more on the RAZR, check out our review of the Verizon version from last year.

More: Phones4U, Motorola

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3 years ago

Privacy policies not exactly a new idea for Android apps

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So Amazon, Apple, Google, HP, Microsoft and RIM have all decided to hold hands and form a circle around the California attorney general and agreed to privacy principles designed to bring the industry in line with a California law" that requires apps to have privacy policies. Follow all that? 

It's privacy principles that the companies have all agreed to, as well as the need to conspicuously display them in the app somewhere. And chances are you'll see them all roll out some guidelines to developers in the coming months, rather than leaving the devs to come up with them on their own. 

Privacy policies aren't exactly a new thing for Android apps. Go all the way back to an Aug. 4, 2010 blog post from Nick Kralevich of the Android Security Team titled "Best Practices for Handing Android User Data." What's the No. 1 tip he had for developers? 

  1. Maintain a privacy policy.

The other nine suggestions really should be mandatory as well, including minimizing the permissions needed, giving users a choice regarding data collection, and using encryption. Common sense stuff. But it's wild world out there, no? Not every app has a conspicuous privacy policy -- that goes from Google to Android Central to, well, far more applications than we'd like to see. (You can find our site policies at the very bottom of this page.)

The proprietors of the major app stores coming together for a common set of privacy policies as well how to best present those policies to the us, the users is a good thing. A very good thing. Now we just need to see better implementation.

More: California Attorney General's Office; more at iMore.com

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3 years ago

Samsung Rugby Smart coming to AT&T on March 4 for $99

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Samsung and AT&T this morning announced the Samsung Rugby Smart, a 3.7-inch Android 2.3 smartphone that should stand up to a beating or a soaking or any sort of other torture you might put it through.

In addition to being dustproof, it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes -- quite a bit longer than you'd last -- and is also hardened against humidity, rain, shock and extreme tempertatures. Specs include:

  • Operating System:  Android 2.3
  • Display:  3.7-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display
  • External Memory: Supports up to 32GB via microSD™
  • Internal Memory: 4GB
  • Dimensions: 122.4mm x 65.9mm x 12.19mm
  • Weight: 4.2 oz
  • Camera: 5MP rear facing with flash and auto focus with HD 720p video capture; 1.3 MP front facing camera;
  • Battery: 1650 mAh LiIon Poly
  • Talk Time: Up to 8 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 16 days

The Rugby Smart will cost $99 with a two-year contract. We've got a couple videos of the Rugby Smart after the break.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

'HTC One X' image leaks out ahead of Mobile World Congress

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The pace of pre-MWC leaks shows now sign of slowing, as a new leaked image claiming to show the "HTC One X" (aka Endeavor) has surfaced over on PocketNow. As you can see, it looks like an HTC phone. And Sense 4.0 looks the same as in that leaked RUU.

Hold tight, folks, just a few more days until HTC takes the lid off its MWC line-up.

Source: PocketNow

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3 years ago

T-Mobile USA to launch LTE in 2013 using spectrum from AT&T

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Alongside its fourth quarter operating results, T-Mobile USA has announced plans to significantly expand its network over the next two years, including the launch of its own 4G LTE network. Dubbed the "reinvigorated challenger strategy", the plan outlines the carrier's plans to remain competitive as rival networks grow their LTE coverage in the coming months and years.

In short, Tmo says it'll invest $4 billion in its network, which will go towards "network modernization", including the expansion of existing voice and ("4G" HSPA+) data coverage, as well as the new LTE network. The carrier says it plans to build this new network using spectrum obtained after the collapse of AT&T's buyout bid, as well as freeing up space for LTE in its existing AWS and PCS spectrum . In arriving a little late to the LTE party, Tmo CTO Neville Ray says it'll benefit from a "more mature device ecosystem", likely meaning improved radio efficiency, and in turn better battery life.

T-Mobile may have big plans for 2013, but things weren't exactly rosy during the last quarter of 2011. The network lost over 800,000 subscribers during the last three months of the year, which it attributed to "iPhone 4S launches by three nationwide competitors."

We've got T-Mobile's full press release after the break.

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3 years ago

Galaxy S II sales top 20 million worldwide, says Samsung

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Sales of Samsung's leading smartphone for 2011, the Galaxy S II, have reportedly reached 20 million, ten months on from release. This figure, reported by Korean news agency Yonhap​, sees Samsung doubling the 10 million it sold in the first six months of the handset's availability, and reportedly brings total Galaxy S series sales to over 40 million worldwide.

Late last year, Samsung overtook Apple to become the world's leading smartphone manufacturer, and reported some 300 million total handsets sold in 2011. However, the two companies remain locked in a international legal skirmishes which have seen both try to block each other's products from sale.

Samsung has announced that it won't be showing the successor to the Galaxy S II at next week's Mobile World Congress, but that it'll be unveiled at a separate event sometime in the first half of the year.

Source: Yonhap

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3 years ago

Everything Everywhere maybe possibly hoping for UK 4G network this year

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Everything Everywhere, the company which resulted from the merger of T-Mobile UK and Orange UK a couple of years back, has announced that it plans to roll out its 4G LTE network this year, assuming all goes to plan on the regulatory side. EE, which oversees both carriers, says it's held successful trials of LTE on 800MHz in rural Cornwall, and that a new 1800MHz trial is due in April.

Of course, it's far from certain that either Tmo or Orange will actually be able to roll out LTE this year. The UK 4G LTE spectrum auction, which will see the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands divided up between the UK's four main operators, has been fraught with delays, and legal challenges from O2 and Vodafone.

However, the fact that Everything Everywhere is testing LTE on its existing 1800MHz 2G spectrum is interesting, and potentially puts it at an advantage compared to competing networks, which own far less 1800MHz spectrum. Vodafone, O2 and Three will have to wait on the 800MHz bands currently used for analog TV signals -- as well as the new 2600MHz bands being auctioned -- to be freed up before they can roll out 4G on these frequencies. As EE already owns great chunks of 1800MHz, in theory it just needs approval from Ofcom to use this for LTE, just as O2 did when it repurposed some of its 900MHz spectrum for 3G. It'll still take time, but it's less reliant on third parties.

And LTE on 1800MHz may present an ideal middle ground between 800MHz, expected to be used in rural areas due to its wider range, and 2600MHz, due to be used in cities with greater concentrations of signals.

Of course, it should be noted that even if the spectrum auction does go off without a hitch, these things still take time to roll out. Cell towers need to be upgraded, and devices need to work their way out to consumers. So while we're hopeful (and excited) about the prospect of real, actual 4G in the UK by the year's end, it's by no means set in stone. EE is certain to receive a some publicity for being the first network to announce its LTE plans, but equally, Ofcom and the spectrum auctions are an easy scapegoat if it ends up having to push things back to 2013.

In the meantime, the company says it's continuing its roll-out of 21Mbps HSPA+ across its 3G network, with trials of 42Mbps due to begin soon.

Source: Everything Everywhere

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3 years ago

Late-night poll: What desktop OS do you use?

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There's been a lot of talk about Ubuntu since they let it out that they're working on some goodies for Android devices, and it got us to thinking. In the real world (you know, that one that exists outside the Internet we hear so much about) Linux holds a tiny sliver of consumer market share, forecasted at less that two percent for 2012 according to Gartner by way of Wikipedia. Compare that to the five percent of the market that Apple holds, and the whopping 93 percent that is the Microsoft juggernaut. But based on the chatter the past couple of days, I'm thinking that people who read Android Central don't really fit those numbers. That means I gotta ask, or I'll never know. Cue our late-night poll for the evening:

 

What OS do you use on your desktop?

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