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3 years ago

LG G Pad 8.3 hands-on

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LG re-enters the Android tablet market with a device designed to balance size, specs and weight

Welcome back, LG. It's been a couple years since we saw a tablet from the South Korean company — a hot mess of 3D at that — and it's back in fine form with the G Pad 8.3.

We got our first look at this guy here at the IFA conference in Berlin, and from the get-go — it's fairly impressive. Thin, light and big but not too big, LG's got what should be a nice little option.

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3 years ago

Intel talks Bay Trail and 4G LTE at IFA 2013

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Intel has just thrown a press conference of their own at IFA 2013, and among the talk of Ultrabooks and Windows 8 were a couple of interesting bits for mobile. Most notably the new Bay Trail SoC and their brand new XMM 7160 which promises global LTE compatible with 15 different bands. 

Bay Trail is the codename for Intel's next generation SoC, and is based on the low power and high performance Silvermont micro-architecture. Putting technical jargon to one side, Intel promises Android and Windows 8.1 compatibility for Bay Trail, 2x performance improvements and excellent battery life. 

Intel also talked LTE, an ever important topic in mobile. The new XMM 7160 LTE solution is to be compatible with 15-bands and low power consumption. The XMM 7160 is already shipping to device manufacturers and Intel promised the first devices with it on board would be coming to market in Q1 2014. With that time frame in mind, we'd expect to hear more specifics at CES in January. 

Intel has been steadily improving their offerings for Android devices, and today's press conference shows that there is no intention of that slowing down. Bay Trail sounds promising, but we'll hold final judgment until we get some hands on time with actual devices. 

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3 years ago

Lenovo announces the 7-inch S5000 tablet

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Lenovo has a new 7-inch tablet coming out, and the S5000 promises to be extraordinarily thin and light, and be a stylish yet affordable option. At just 7.9mm thin, and weighing in at just 8.68 ounces, combined with chrome accents and a laser-etched "fabric-feel" surface around back.

Up front you're looking at a 7-inch 1280x800 screen with a 178 degree wide viewing angle. A front-facing 1.6MP camera and 5MP rear camera are on board, as is 3G HSPA+ connectivity on some SKUs. Under the hood you've got a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM, running on Android 4.2. The S5000 will feature 16GB of internal storage.

Other features like a sizeable 3450mAh battery and USB on-the-go round out the S5000. While the spec sheet may not get your blood pumping, hopefully it's priced right for the users on a budget. No word on pricing or availability just yet, but we imagine we'll see this one around the holiday season at the latest. Hit the break for a few pictures.

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3 years ago

Lenovo announces the Vibe X smartphone

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A 5-inch "20/20 Vision" display and high MP cameras are featured in a sleek and thin body 

Lenovo has announced a new addition to their premium line of Android-powered smartphones, the Vibe X. Combining a very attractive and sleek look with high-end internals and what sounds like a great camera setup, it's clear that Lenovo means business when it comes down to getting your business.

The Vibe X features a 5-inch 1080p "20/20 Vision" display. Checking in at 441 ppi, and covered with Gorilla Glass 3 it promises to be awesome to look at. With a quad-core 1.5Ghz MediaTek CPU and 2GB of RAM, it promises to preform just as well, an should be quite the multimedia powerhouse. 

As a bonus, the camera looks to be pretty high-end, too. We're talking a 5MP wide-angle lens on the front of the Vibe X, which should shoot some very nice selfies, and a 13MP rear-facing camera with a BSI sensor for high quality pictures in any lighting conditions. We understand that MegaPixels don't mean everything, but when coupled other great hardware the package can be pretty nice. We're looking forward to seeing some of the images, as well as the highly-touted screen. 

The Vibe X  specs (and likely any LTE availability) will vary by region. And puzzlingly, there are no plans to release this on in Europe. Hit the break for the rest of the specs and a couple of press pictures.

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3 years ago

Heads-on with the Sony Head-Mounted Display for mobile

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Sony brought their own headset to IFA 2013, so we strapped it on and took it for a spin

VR headsets are back in the news of late, primarily because of the Oculus Rift, but what we have here is something that Sony has cooked up. Right now it's known as the rather unimaginative Head Mounted Display, and while it will hook into your home entertainment system, we're more interested by this one, the one that hooks into your smartphone.

Essentially what you have is something that resembles a VR headset with a bunch of adjustable components to make it fit your own head size, and I have to say it was actually pretty comfortable. There's plenty of cushioning where it matters, and the whole get up sits pretty snug on your head.

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3 years ago

Is it better to zoom out, or just fade away? Android Central app gets new transitions!

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: We've uploaded a new version of the official Android Central App (accept no substitutes!) to the wonderful and bizarre bazaar that is Google Play, to be downloaded at your earliest convenience.

In addition to the standard (and unfortunately necessary) bugfixes and performance improvements, in Version 1.4.3 we've also added in an option for screen transitions. If you like nice fade, you can have one. Or if you're more into a zoom sort of thing, you've now got that option, too. Look for it in the settings menu under "Screen transitions."

As always, you can see previous changelogs at http://phon.es/achange. Enjoy!

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3 years ago

'Jelly Bean' version of Android gains a few more percentage points

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'Gingerbread,' 'Ice Cream' Sandwich drop some; 'Cupcake' and 'Donut' no longer reported

Google has dropped the latest platform version statistics on us — a monthly look at how the various versions of Android are doing the larger scheme of things. 

No great surprises here — Jelly Bean has increased to to 45.1 percent of all active devices, up about 5 percentage points from last month. That comes at the expense of Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread, mostly, which are ticking down as more phones receive updates.

It's also worth mentioning that Google is no longer specifically reporting on Cupcake and Donut, because they can't use the new Google Play Store (from which these numbers are gleaned) but it does mention they total about 1 percent.

Source: Android Developer site

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3 years ago

T-Mobile vs. AT&T vs. Verizon: Which carrier gives you the best upgrade plan?

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T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have all rolled out new payment plans aimed at making high-end smartphones seem more affordable, but do they actually save you any money, or is it just a shell game that buries costs? Let's compare and find out.

3 years ago

Hands on with the Sony Cyber-shot QX series

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We go hands on with the curious new mobile compatible Cyber-shot cameras from Sony

After weeks of leaks, Sony has officially introduced the Cyber-shot QX10 and QX100, or the 'Lens Cameras' as we've come to know them. In every sense, that's exactly what they are; a digital camera housed entirely within what looks like a camera lens. The two different models look essentially the same on the outside with different internals, but they both look and act exactly the same. 

They attach to the back of your phone in one of two ways. If you pick up a new Sony Xperia Z1, and likely going forward other Sony phones, there's a nice little case that clips over the phone and the camera clicks into a dedicated slot. When it's all dressed up like this, from the right angle it looks just like a proper digital camera. The biggest drawback is perhaps the fact that on a phone as slim as the Xperia Z1, there's not much to grip when you're using it. 

The other way to attach is probably the one most people will use. Included with both is a clip on module with an extendable arm and a fixed base clip. By pulling this upwards you can clip it onto all kinds of different sized smartphones, and as the top arm is hinged it will even cling pretty sturdily to even phones with a curved back such as the Moto X. 

Hardware wise we know about the difference in optics and camera specific specs, but there's a couple of similarities between the two. The unit is powered by a removable, and rechargable 630mAh battery with a standard microUSB charging port. Memory card wise you've got two choices, either a Sony M2 or a more standard microSD card. Zoom and shutter functions are on the camera itself, it's got NFC for easy pairing with your Android device and a tripod mount on the bottom. 

We've had a little time to spend going hands on, but we'll be taking a much closer look in the coming days and weeks. Head on down past the break for our first hands on video with the Cyber-shot QX100. 

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3 years ago

Android Central 149: Live from Berlin!

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Audio-only stream below

We're live from Berlin, Germany, and the annual IFA conference, where we've got the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Sony Xperia Z1 and more!

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 hands-on [updated with video]

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Sony offers a worthy successor to the original Xperia Z

We're hot off the heels of Sony's press conference here at IFA 2013 in Berlin where it has just announced its latest flagship phone, the Xperia Z1. Just as the name would lead you to expect the Xperia Z1 is a logical next step from the Xperia Z, which was announced back in January at CES. The Z1 builds on the design language of its predecessor with a similar shape, design elements like a metal circular power button and a glass back.

Inside you'll find much-welcomed spec upgrades with a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 3000mAh battery, 16GB of storage and an SDcard slot. Working to improve on its display technology, Sony has a 5-inch 1080p 'Triluminos" display on the Xperia Z1, which offers a wider palette of colors and better clarity. Naturally the phone is completely water resistant, and can be completely submerged without issue.

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3 years ago

In pictures: The Samsung Galaxy Gear

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The Samsung Galaxy Gear ushers in the next evolution of the smartwatch — begone black-and-white e-ink displays, and welcome a massive shift in functionality. Notifications, integration with existing Android applications, Dick Tracy-style phone calls — and a built-in camera to built — this ain't no Pebble.

And Samsung stepped up design with the Galaxy Gear.

We've already crawled all over the Galaxy Gear, so be sure to check out our hands-on look. For you picture-oriented folks, we've got a massive Galaxy Gear gallery after the break.

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3 years ago

Get ready for the 2013 football season with these essential apps

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Are you ready for some football?

The 2013 football season is upon us. College games started last weekend and the NFL kicks off tomorrow night, so we wanted to provide you with some essential apps for getting you through the season. Whether you're a fantasy junkie or just want to keep up with league scores on-the-go, we've got you covered. Enjoy! Now onto the list, after the break.

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear hitting all four major US carriers

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Specific pricing, colors and availability still under wraps

Just in case you missed it in the flurry of Samsung and Sony news today, all four major US carriers have announced officially that they will be carrying Samsung's latest phone and wearable device. Unfortunately right at the moment none of the carriers are willing to reveal specific dates or pricing information, but information provided in Samsung's announcement of the device indicate that it is slated to start hitting carriers from September 25th.

The most interesting part about this announcement is that each carrier is indicating that it will carry not only the Galaxy Note 3 but also the Galaxy Gear, indicating that the Gear will make its way to carriers as more of a regular accessory.

T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint are all offering some sort of pre-registration page for the most eager potential customers among us, but you can bet we'll be letting you know more information about pricing and availability as it comes.

More: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 hands-onHands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Gear

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3 years ago

Poetic Slimline case for the Nexus 7 (2013) review

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An affordable Nexus 7 folio case that looks as good as it protects

OK, maybe the "Official premium cover" for the new Nexus 7 (and it's premium price tag) isn't your cup of tea. But you still need something to keep things clean and scratch-free while dragging it around in your bag or bug purse. And that something needs to be well built, look good, and from a name you know. 

That's where the Poetic Slimline case comes in. It will protect your Nexus 7 well, has that look and feel you want without the big price that ASUS has listed for the more official accessory. And Poetic is a name plenty of us know.

Hit the break and see if the budget-friendly model will suit your needs.

(Note: This accessory is for the newer, 2013 Nexus 7 — not the older, 2012 Nexus 7.)

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