Headlines

3 years ago

Google: We will continue to invest in Google Wallet

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A giant question mark hanging fairly quietly over the head of Android (and maybe moreso Google) has been Google Wallet. That's the service that lets you pay for things with a credit card account simply by tapping your phone on a payment terminal.

But Google Wallet remains a Sprint (and Citi Mastercard) exclusive, only on the Sprint Nexus S 4G. It's not officially on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It's not officially on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's not to say we don't have it on other devices -- it's just not official. And that's furrowed a lot of brows.

Google gave a brief non-update today in the Q&A portion of its Q4 earnings call. Google senior vice president Susan Wojcicki gave us the following: 

"We want to focus on products that people use every day -- products at our core. And all of us use our wallet every day. And we think it's a big opportunity for us. We are continuing to invest in our wallet business. And we see a lot of opportunity. For example, there might be opportunitites in the future how online and offline are linked together. And better opportunities with the way different parts of our business wind up working.

"So we are very excited about Wallet, and we will continue to invest in it."

Good to hear, but tell that to everybody not on the Sprint Nexus S 4G.

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3 years ago

Google: Quarter-billion Android devices worldwide, 11 billion downloads

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Google today announced its Q4 2011 earnings. Money-wise, Google say $2.71 billion in profit on $8.13 billion in revenue. 

For our purposes, the news is that El Goog announced that some 250 million devices -- that's a quarter-billion devices, or 250,000,000 if you're into numbers -- have been activated, up 50 million from Q3 2011. Or, 555,000 or so activated every day. (Remember that Android is now up to 700,000 activations.) Of those 50 million devices activated for the final three months of the year, 3.7 million came over the holidays, a number Google had already announced.

Google also announced that the Android Market has seen 11 billion downloads. That's 1 billion more than when Google had its 10 billion-download celebration a month ago.

Google's in the middle of its earnings call. We'll update with any new developments.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Archos Smart Home Phone now available -- get Android on your landline

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It was way back in June 2011 that we first saw Archos' Android based Smart Home Phone. Flip forward to January 2012 and the device is finally available to purchase, coming in at £130 over here in the UK.

Archos promises that this is a fully featured Android smartphone, with a wide range of communication applications installed as stock. As with several Archos products, the Smart Home Phone does lack official Android Market access. Applications are taken care of via their Appslib service. 

Aside from apps, the phone is WiFi-enabled, comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 8GB of internal storage and even a front facing camera, possibly a little excessive for a home phone. But, hey, it's running Android. Thats never a bad thing.

Source: Archos
More: Archos 35 Smart Home Phone spec sheet

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3 years ago

New Review Pages are here! We need your help!

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A while back we asked you to give us feedback on the new Phone Compare pages we were working on -- this went so well we’re now putting out a sneak peek of the Review Pages, too.

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3 years ago

Sprint rolling out OTA updates for EVO 4G, Epic 4G, EVO Design 4G

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Sprint has over-the-air updates scheduled to roll out beginning today for the HTC EVO 4G, the Samsung Epic 4G, and the EVO Design 4G.  Using the opportunity presented by removing Carrier IQ, Sprint has bundled up a few other fixes for these handsets and the OTA updates, beginning today, should be 100 percent complete in 10 days.  The update information is as follows:

EVO 4G

  • Update to version 2.12.651.5
  • Security Update
  • Updated Peep client (to align with Twitter)
  • Updated Sprint Zone client
  • Battery life improvements
  • 3LM Enterprise Tool Access (no user interface changes)

Epic 4G

  • Update to version S:D700.0.5S.EL30
  • Security update
  • Speaker feedback fix
  • The QIK and Asphalt 5 applications are no longer preloaded.  When opening the applications using the application icon, you will be redirected to the Android market to download and install the full application.
  • After the QIK install, you will need to login using your original account information or create a new account.  All contacts should remain intact
  • After the Asphalt 5 install, previous game play data (eg. levels) will not be retained.

EVO Design 4G

  • Update to version 4.67.651.3
  • Security Update
  • Updated Peep client ( to align with Twitter)
  • Battery life improvements

While these don't sound like major updates, it's always advisable to keep your phone current.  For more information and discussion, be sure to hit the EVO 4G forums, the Epic 4G forums, or the Design 4G forums!

Source: Sprint (1), (2), (3) ;   via Android Police

Thanks, @Dronak!

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3 years ago

T-Mobile prepping limited-time 5 GB and 10 GB plans

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AT&T's new plans are only really decent choices for moderate data users, but T-Mobile will be offering a few that are geared for more hardcore smartphone owners. A leaked internal memo is detailing two new plans that will be available for a limited time starting January 25. The Unlimited-Premium 5 GB and Unlimited-Ultra 10 GB plans will both toss in mobile hotspot and cloud storage for photos as free additions (normally costing $20/month combined). 

Although specific price points are shared in the memo, the prommo will be available to both new and existing customers. You might have to ply your sales rep to get this offer, though; the memo instructs employees to "not proactively offer the bundled features to customers already on a 5 GB data feature who do not want additional data" in order "to protect T-Mobile revenue". 

I'm curious to see how well these promo plans are priced. Anyone on T-Mobile with a particularly sweet grandfathered plan? 

Source: TmoNews

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3 years ago

Android A to Z: What's an IPS display?

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What is an IPS display? IPS stands for In-Plane Switching. It's commonly found in high-end monitors -- gaining mainstream notoriety in Apple's displays -- and has also found its way into tablets. The iPad uses IPS displays. ASUS has an IPS display in its Transformer Prime tablet. And Samsung has its own flavor of IPS in the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is it calls Super PLS (Plane-Line Switching).

The long and short of it is that you get better color representation -- that is, whites are white, blacks and back, reds are red, etc. -- and better viewing angles. That's perhaps less of an issue with tablets than larger displays, because you're more likely to be using it directly in front of your face. But wider viewing angles are always better than not. (And we've seen some pretty horrid tablet displays in our day.)

There's not a lot of arguing against that, technically speaking, an IPS display is just "better" than a non-IPS display. If you have the option between an IPS or non-IPS display, we'd go with the former.

Previously on Android A to Z: H is for Hacking; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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3 years ago

Calling all Developers: Want to create the next generation of the Android Central App?

Exciting times are ahead, folks. We're starting to work on the next generation of the Android Central App to complement this little website here and our Google Currents Edition, and we're going to open it up to the developer community at large.

If you've got the chops to keep up with the best and fastest growing Android community around and help present our stories, forums, galleries and more to millions of readers a month -- plus more than 123,000 on Twitter, 45,000 on Facebook and 26,000 on Google+ -- now's your chance.

If you're a serious developer and interested in working on the next generation of the Android Central App, drop us a line here, and we'll go into detail on requirements and, of course, compensation. Look forward to hearing from you!

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3 years ago

Sony Ericsson takes a loss in Q4 2011 results

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Sony Ericsson's financials for Q4 2011 were announced today, and they look pretty rough. They lost 207 million Euros in the quarter (roughly $270 million), and 247 million Euros for the full year. They attribute the loss to "intense competition, price erosion and restructuring charges," or in other words, moving everything into Sony's offices as part of the acquisition. Apparently a natural disaster in Thailand also screwed up their manufacturing processes last quarter. On the plus side, SE's shift from feature phones to smartphones has yielded a 65 percent increase in Xperia sales since last year. Of course, since they're only doing smartphones now, they've shipped 20 percent fewer phones overall since last year.

Sony Ericsson had some nice gear to show off at CES, and with Sony controlling everything from here on in, maybe the production process will be a bit more streamlined. The original Xperia X10 was a bit of a bumpy start for Sony Ericsson's Android foray, and since then they've been slightly behind the curve on specs, but I've been a big fan of most of their software customizations, and some of their hardware has some really distinctive style in a sea of samey smartphones. Here's hoping Sony can hold onto that and make the Xperia family properly competitive. 

Source: Sony Ericsson

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3 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Wind Turbines

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Our Jan. 19 Free Android wallpaper of the day comes from member dcreed, who brings us a nice shot of wind turbines near Judith Gap, Mont. He says he used a long exposure (that's where you get the blurry blades from) plus an ND filter.

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3 years ago

Roller Ball for Android lets you bring the skee ball table on the go

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Oh, how I miss the arcade. One of my personal favorite games was always skee ball -- there was just some sort of weird joy about trying to beat the previous high score, and then seeing the tickets spew out at the end was always great. Fortunately those memories can be relived while on the go with Roller Ball, an Android game that puts the skee ball table on your device. 

Gameplay is quite simple, line up the ball, flick your finger and then tilt the device to add spin if you wish, the more points you score the more tickets you will win. With six machine types, and tons of prizes who wouldn't want to sit down for a couple of minutes to rekindle some of their youth. The game play is a bit on the easy side which does allow kids to also take part, so whether looking for something for yourself or a young one to do, be sure to hit the break and pick up this free game.

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3 years ago

Share and receive opinions on the go with Thumb for Android

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Thumbs up, or thumbs down. It's that simple. The folks at Opinionaided, Inc. have developed an application called Thumb, and what Thumb does is allow you to either seek opinions of others, or share your own opion with them about their image.

Once you launch the application you are given the option to either ask for opinions or to share your opinions, in addition you can also see results and view your own profile all from within one page. If you chose to ask for opinions you can upload a picture, select a category and add some text along with it and then submit it to the masses to view their opinions. If you want to just give opinions you can either give a thumbs up or a thumbs down or remain neutral if you aren't really sure on a particular image. 

The application is free, the feedback is priceless, so what are you waiting for? Hit the break and download it now!

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3 years ago

LightSquared claims government testing 'rigged' by GPS industry insiders

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This is getting interesting.  After the recent news that federal testing determined LightSquared's LTE network plans would never work without interfering with GPS (and a cease to any further testing) LightSquared has come back with guns blazing.  In a statement, the company has accused the GPS industry of rigging the results by using antiquated equipment, shrouding the entire process in secrecy, and using unrealistic parameters for failure.  Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared’s Executive Vice President of regulatory affairs and public policy, Geoff Stearn, LightSquared’s Vice President for spectrum development, and Edmond Thomas, former chief engineer at the FCC held a press conference and had the following to say:

Testing was shrouded in secrecy, no transparency. The GPS manufacturers cherry-picked the devices in secret without any independent oversight authority in place or input from LightSquared. The GPS manufacturers and the government end users put non-disclosure agreements in place for the PNT EXCOM’s tests, preventing any input by an independent authority or from LightSquared before the tests began. This secrecy made it impossible for independent experts to properly oversee or challenge the process and results, thereby leaving taxpayers who paid for the testing no option but to take the PNT EXCOM’s word for it.
The testing protocol deliberately focused on obsolete and niche market devices that were least able to withstand potential interference. When LightSquared finally obtained a list of the devices tested, after all testing in this first phase of tests had been completed, it was able to determine that the testing included many discontinued or niche market devices with poor filters or no filters. The units tested represent less than one percent of the contemporary universe of GPS devices. In fact, the only mass market device alleged to “fail” during this round of testing performed flawlessly during the Technical Working Group testing, which used best practice protocols agreed to by all parties, thus raising doubts about the integrity of PNT EXCOM’s process.
The testing standard does not reflect reality. To guarantee favorable results, the PNT EXCOM selected an extremely conservative definition of failure – one dB of interference. Independent experts agree that a one dB threshold can only be detected in laboratory settings and has no impact on GPS positional accuracy or user experience. In fact, GPS devices are designed with the ability to withstand eight dB or more of loss of sensitivity due to man-caused and natural interference. By setting the definition of interference at one dB, the testing was rigged to ensure that most receivers would fail. It should be noted that PNT EXCOM and others have justified the one dB threshold by citing an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard. However, that standard explicitly states that it does not apply to general purpose GPS receivers.

They go on to say other great quotables like asking reporters to enquire if it's "fair that taxpayers funded a testing regime they cannot review?" and speaking of violating "conflict of interest" laws.  They are serious, and should be.  Earlier this month, LightSquared was given just 30 days to get regulatory approval by Sprint, who is a heavy investor and has (had?) plans to use LightSquared's service for their nationwide LTE roll-out.  Losing funding from Sprint would be a major financial blow to LightSquared.  We're pretty certain Sprint will still be able to roll out their LTE network as planned, but they see an advantage in using LightSquared and would like to see everything resolved as well.

Were the testing procedures rigged? Will LightSquared get another shot with different testing procedures? Will Sprint continue to invest in the company?  Join us next week for another episode of the Guiding LightSquared.  See the press release after the break.

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3 years ago

Verizon LG Spectrum available today for $199 on contract

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Verizon this morning announced that as expected, the LG Spectrum is now available in stores and online for $199. The Spectrum, as you'll recall from our recent hands-on, is a 4.5-inch Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread device (it'll be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich later) powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm processor. It's also got an 8MP rear-facing camera, front-facing 1.3MP camera, and can share its 4G LTE data with up to 10 Wifi-connected devices. 

Buy: Verizon; Source: Verizon; More: LG Spectrum forums

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3 years ago

Amazon Kindle Fire Version 6.2.2 update brings manual e-mail setup fixes, full-screen browsing

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Amazon is pushing out Software Version 6.2.2 for the Kindle Fire over the air, and it's also available for manual installation. Here's what's new:

  • Enhances fluidity and performance.
  • Improves support for manually setting up e-mail providers in the e-mail app
  • Adds full-screen browsing 

The upate is currently pushing out over the air. But if you just can't wait, you can also install it manually. Here's how:

  1. Make sure you have at least 40 percent battery charge.
  2. Download the update-kindle-6.2.2_D01E_3205220 file from Amazon here.
  3. Plug in your Kindle Fire and open a file explorer. Move the update-kindle-6.2.2_D01E_3205220 file to the kindleupdates folder.
  4. Disconnect your Kindle Fire.
  5. Go to the quick settings at the top of the screen. Choose More>Update your Kindle.
  6. Sit back and relax. It'll restart a couple times.

And that's it!

Source: Amazon; More: Kindle Fire Forums

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