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2 years ago

Incredible ICS, Google Play accounts [From the Forums]

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Another week is upon us and while things may have been shaky out the gates this morning with DST and all, things seem to be getting back to normal. We managed to gather up quite a bit of news, even for a Monday so if you missed out -- get caught up and don't forget to hit the forums.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 years ago

Why privacy matters

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Privacy is a hot subject across the Internet lately, and we think it's high time to dissect the mountains of information and pick out what's relevant amidst all the FUD and nonsense out there. You'll see a series here this week about privacy issues and policies, and the best way to kick it all off is to discuss why it matters in the first place.

The fact is, if you use and enjoy Google services you have to give up some privacy to get the most out of them. Things like Gmail and Google Voice don't cost money, but in order to make ads that are lucrative Google mines some of your data and can sell ads targeted at things you like. Advertisers love this, as it keeps big nerdy guys in West Virginia from seeing ads about women's shoes that they will just ignore, and instead shows ads about Android, computer parts, and fishing guides. Google has made this a huge business, and to keep it working, Google needs your data. Google does not sell mail or search -- it sells ads. For the most part, this isn't too intrusive. The data about you is kept in some odd string of computer generated numbers and is only used to display things you are likely to want to see. None of it is sold to anyone else, that would disrupt G's business model. That data is their cash cow. 

We trust Google to do the right thing with our personal information, and for the most part they have done so. But Google isn't the only game in town that's collecting data about you. Other ad networks, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and your cell carrier collect a good bit of information as well. We want to trust the big players, and don't think Facebook or Apple will sell your data away to some spammer (or worse), but when we get to the lower tier, where ad networks and smaller companies collect and store your information, things get a little muddy. If these can't be trusted (and we're not saying they can't) why is it important?

Imagine how you would feel if you lost your Android phone and didn't have it password locked. I could find it at Five Guys, open it up and look through everything. Besides the horrible things I could do with your pictures and accounts, I'd also have access to your contacts, your Internet history, your search history, and message archives. Even if you have nothing to hide, you wouldn't want me rifling through all that data. When apps and services have the same access, it's the same thing. I do not want the ad company that is being used in my favorite Android game to look through my Internet history. They would be bored, and find nothing incriminating, but I still don't want it to happen. Nor do I want some rogue app developer to steal that data and send it off to China. It's my data, and I want to know it's being treated properly. When I imagine it happening to my daughter, I get a little angry. Thankfully, those types of scenarios are few and far between. But they do happen

Data collection isn't inherently evil. It's a standard practice in today's digital world, and we've come to terms with it in some ways. It does need to be done correctly and handled securely, though. That's where the real issue lies -- we know the data is being collected, so can we trust those doing the collecting? That's a question each of us has to answer for ourselves -- we just want to spark the conversation. 

Look for plenty more on security and privacy coming up this week.

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2 years ago

Motorola updates 'ICS list' -- RAZR to get ICS in Q2 everywhere but the U.S.

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Motorola has updated their ICS "due date" page, and if you're in the U.S. you probably won't like the news very much. There are a few changes, and we see a few more devices slated to see Ice Cream Sandwich eventually, but what really stands out is the RAZR. In the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Korea, Japan, China and Canada the RAZR is set to see ICS in Q2 of this year. In the U.S., it's still in the "evaluation and planning" stage. 

Granted, CDMA and LTE probably make a huge difference in the code as well as the hardware, but I have to hope that Motorola has enough resources dedicated to the Droid RAZRs to get them updated quickly, and more importantly, free of any show-stopping bugs.

Of course the RAZR isn't the only device on the list, but it is the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. The good news is that most newer model Motos haven't been ruled out of anything just yet, and that Motorola cares enough to even make a chart that's bound to get them some grief. Updating an OS isn't easy folks, no matter what you might think. Hit the source link to see the full details.

Source: Motorola. Thanks, IceDree for the tip!

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2 years ago

Facebook updated, presumably fixes something

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Android's Facebook app got an update today. Presumably something has been fixed in Version 1.8.4. But just like the last update, there's no changelog to be found, and Facebook's Android page just redirects to the Android Market Google Play.

(Aside: Seriously, developers. Enough of that shit. If you update your app, you tell us what's new. And Google, perhaps apps that update without changelogs shouldn't get your "Editor's Choice" badge of honor.)

Anyhoo. We digress. Download links are after the break if you need 'em.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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2 years ago

HTC One X Deluxe Limited Edition announced in Taiwan

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With the One X due to launch internationally in the next month or so, HTC has revealed a limited edtion version of the handset in its home territory of Taiwan. Taiwanese site ePrice reports that the HTC One X Deluxe Limited Edition includes a set of Beats Solo wireless headphones, along with some fancy minimalist packaging.

Taiwanese retailers will start taking pre-orders for the limited edition One X starting next Tuesday, March 20. At this stage it's unknown whether HTC plans to launch this limited package elsewhere, but we saw a similar bundle with the Sensation XL in the UK last year, so our fingers are crossed.

In case you've just emerged from a month-long hibernation, the One X is HTC's flagship smartphone for 2012, with a quad-core CPU, a 720p screen and HTC's new ImageSense camera tech. We got hands-on with the device at MWC and last week's Three UK showcase event.

Source: ePrice; via: Unwired View

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2 years ago

Official Roku app arrives for Android

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An official Roku Android app has been in the works for some time and was finally released at the beginning of March. There have been many unofficial apps available but it's nice to have the one developed by Roku itself. The app is a remote for the Roku box that allows you to directly control it with your Android device, so if you ever lose the tiny remote, don't worry! In order to connect your device with the Roku box, both will need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. It doesn't matter which Roku box you own, this app is compatible with all of them.

The Roku app boasts a large set of features, including:

  • Launch or rate any Roku channel with a tap of your finger.
  • Use a touch remote control. Includes instant replay, back and options buttons as well as a keyboard for text entry.
  • Easily browse hundreds of channels and games in the Roku Channel Store.
  • Quickly add and remove channels to/from your Roku player.
  • Control and switch between multiple Roku players.

The app is available for free from Google Play. Please find links and more pictures after the break.

Source: Roku

 

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2 years ago

Droid X2 prepping for another update

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Word on the street is that the Motorola Droid X2 is about to get another one of those update "soak tests" from Motorola, wherein a few volunteers agree to play guinnea pig. No idea what's in the update, but the mssage from Motorola is the usual.

Hi,
Thanks for joining the Motorola Feedback Network. We are inviting owners of
the Motorola Droid X2 on Verizon to participate in an early preview of a new
software release, and provide feedback. If you are not currently using a
Droid X2, please excuse and ignore this email.
Click this link to take a short enrollment survey if you wish to take part.
Note that you must be a member in good standing of the Motorola Owners'
Forums to be included. If you have not logged into the new site
(forums.motorola.com) please do not wait until the soak starts to do so, as
we will have little capacity then to help with any log-in issues
This is a confidential test under the terms of the Motorola Feedback Network.
Do not post any details or information about this on any public sites.

 

Thanks -- please understand that start times are always fluid. We urge you to
respond as quickly as possible but also ask for your patience if you register
but don't hear from us right away.
Matt
Motorola Owners’ Forums
Motorola Feedback Network

Don't worry, Motorola. We'll keep this just between us.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Alcatel Venture now available for preorder on Virgin Mobile for $99, ships March 15

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Update: As Phonescoop points out, it looks like this one's actually from Alcatel, a different manufactuer than we previously reported, though one that's pretty much as unknown here in the states as ZTE (though that'll be changing here shortly).

Looking for a physical keyboard on Virgin Mobile? The ZTE Alcatel Venture might just fill that void, and it's available for preorder now for just $99, and it's expected to ship on March 15. The Venture's got a 2.8-inch touchscreen in addition to the physical keyboard and physical buttons. We're not expecting much out of the 2-megpixel camera, but because of the screen size, the 600 MHz processor should move things along nicely. Other specs of note: It's got Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 512MB of RAM. Internal storage isn't listed, but it's got a microSD card slot (the phone comes with a 2GB card), which you'll no doubt need to use. It's also got Virgin's Mobile ID packs -- basically its version of Sprint ID.

More: Virgin Mobile; thanks, Brad!

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2 years ago

NCAA Tournament Android apps - Basketball apps at their best

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The greatest sports playoff system -- college basketball's NCAA Tournament -- is upon us. The games have always been played at odd times, particulalrly those in the first couple of rounds. And since so many of us will be stuck at work, it's a must to have great mobile apps to keep you up-to-date on how your bracket is stacking up or how your favorite team is performing.

We've put together a collection of some of the best Android apps to help you out during March Madness. There are a lot out there, especially scoreboard apps, but these are the few that we feel rise above the rest. Enjoy! By the way, if you don't notice from the screenshots, I'm a Syracuse fan, so go Orange! Feel free to sing out in the comments which team you're rooting for.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G available March 28 for $149

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For those of you waiting on pins and needles for the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, we've finally got availability details. Starting March 28, you'll be able to pick it up for $149.99 along with a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year contract. (It'll hit "select" stores a week earlier, for what that's worth.)

We got a pretty good look at the Blaze 4G at Mobile World Congress. And while the 3.97-inch Super AMOLED display and 1.5GHz dual-core processor are nothing to sneeze at, it's still running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, you'll be left waiting for an Ice Cream Sandwich update. Perhaps T-Mobile's 42 Mbps data speeds will assuage that?

Edit: Fixed screen size.

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