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3 years ago

Samsung reminds us that new things are coming at CES 2013

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Just in case you didn't already know, Samsung is reminding us that we'll see some killer new things at CES 2013. They don't give any hints, but rumors and speculation are already flying -- and that's half the fun.

We'll be at CES with cameras and keyboards at the ready, so keep glued to AC for everything there is to know from Samsung (and everyone else) in early January.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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3 years ago

Google and others petition courts to stop upholding vague patents

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A group consisting of Google, Dell, Facebook, Homeaway, Intuit, Rackspace, Red Hat and Zynga have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals suggesting that courts stop honoring and upholding patents with purposely vague wording. 

The brief covers all the legal angles, but the layman's version is that phrases like "on a mobile device" or "over the Internet" are just too broad and meaningless. These types of patents should not be granted, and existing patents using such broad terms should not be upheld. Direct from the brief:

 Many computer-related patent claims just describe an abstract idea at a high level of generality and say to perform it on a computer or over the Internet. Such barebones claims grant exclusive rights over the abstract idea itself, with no limit on how the idea is implemented. Granting patent protection for such claims would impair, not promote, innovation by conferring exclusive rights on those who have not meaningfully innovated, and thereby penalizing those that do later innovate by blocking or taxing their applications of the abstract idea.

Notably absent from the group putting this forward are Microsoft and Apple, companies that have recently tried to enforce overly-broad patents against Android vendors with mixed success. Both companies have also had their share of run-ins with questionable patents, so their participation is something I would have thought was likely. 

Nobody knows how effective this will be, but it's great to see it happening. If more companies are vocal about the situation, the government will have to respond in some manner. Anything to get rid of the status quo is a move forward in my book.

Source: All Things D

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Android forum life

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With the year winding down and my plate relatively clear of any review work (mad props to Alex and Anndrew and Andrew and Jerry and everyone else for helping make that happen), I've been spending more time in the forums. That's where any one of us here will tell you the real work happens. Questions come in, questions get answered. Tips are proffered. Sweeping how-to threads are created. It's really incredible stuff, all guided by our awesome moderators and advisers.

And it's been extremely interesting to read reaction to the hottest phones of the second half of the year. First and foremost, however, it's important to keep things in perspective. Forums by definition tend to be a bit of an echo chamber. That's not to say that what's being posted isn't important -- it most certainly is. But you tend to start saying "Everyone says this about that phone!" when it's never "everyone," just as it's never "no one." Some people have problems. Some don't. You look for trends. You get feelings about the way things are going. It's not an exact science, and I'm hardly an expert. (The guys and gals at CrackBerry teach me something new about forums every day.)

The pleasant surprises lately? There have been a few.

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3 years ago

LG says it's sold 10 million L-Series handsets worldwide

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LG is announcing today that since the launch of the "L-Series" group of handsets, it has sold 10 million units worldwide. When LG started rolling out the L-Series as the mid- to low-range set of devices to compliment its "G-Series" high-end phones, they didn't receive as much attention for obvious reasons. The big top-tier devices like the Optimus G hold the most mind share, but it's the quality affordable devices that are still doing huge sales numbers.

Devices like the Optimus L9 have started to make movement into the U.S. market, but most of the L-Series are likely being sold internationally. LG is seeing the need for a whole range of handsets, and reacting accordingly to hit the different price points that people want.

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Note 2 - mini review and what's new

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Since its introduction back in October, Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 has skyrocketed to superstardom, pushing 5 million units and earning the top spot on holiday gift guides across all carriers. It has also been written about ad nauseam, without countless stories popping up across the internet ranging from that display (it’s as huge as they say) to the battery life (it’s as phenomenal as they say). Here at Android Central, we’ve got reviews on file for both the international and T-Mobile models, which both come to the consensus that this might just be the biggest, baddest phone you’ll be able to stuff your stocking with this holiday season.

So how does Verizon’s model differ from what we’ve come to know and love? Aside from the few details below, this behemoth is nearly identical to every other iteration, from the breakneck performance of the quad-core Exynos processor to the TouchWiz-touting Jelly Bean UI. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—the Note 2 is simply one of the best Android devices ever produced.

If you want more mouth watering details on that 5.5-inch 720p SuperAMOLED Plus display, or that whopping 3,300 mAh battery, head on over to Alex's and Phil’s reviews. Hardware-wise, they're the same.

If you want to see what makes Verizon’s model unique, hit the break for the full rundown.

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3 years ago

Android Central Stocking Stuffers Week 2 - Subscribe to our YouTube channel

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We've reached Week 2 of our monthlong Stuff Your Stocking contest here at Android Central. We've already given away eight $10 Google Play Gift Cards, and we've got 23 more to go! And don't forget that everyone who wins is automatically entered to win a free Nexus 4!

Week 1 went down in our forums. We'll announce the winners on Monday. Week 2 is happening at YouTube. Or, more specifically, at our YouTube channel. To enter this week, all you have to do is subscribe to our channel, and then leave a comment on one of our videos. (Figure while you're there you might as well help class up the joint.) And that's it. You've got all week to get it done, and we'll announce the winners from this round next Monday, Dec. 17.

And we've still got two more weeks of giveaways after that. Plus, Google slipped a little something into our stocking as well (those of you who were at Thursday night's podcast recording know what I'm talking about), so look for that soon, too. Good luck!

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3 years ago

The week in international Android news - Dec. 9, 2012

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Between Nexus 4 phone and accessory availability, Jelly Bean upgrades and new device launches, it's been a pretty action-packed week of international Android news. Starting with Nexus news, buyers in the UK and Germany got their second chance to pick up the LG Nexus 4 at its subsidized Google Play Store price. The 8GB version of the phone soon sold out, but the 16GB model is still available to order for delivery in a few weeks. The process also seemed to go a little smoother for customers this time around, with fewer reports of technical issues with the Play Store and Google Wallet.

The first wave of Nexus 4 bumper orders also started shipping in the UK, and we've gone hands-on with the protective case in a feature published this Friday. The short version: Does a decent job of protecting the N4 from minor falls and scrapes, but it's still way overpriced for what it is. Check out our hands-on feature for more details, including pics and video.

This week's other big international feature was our round-up of the best international Android phones available. We won't spoil the surprise, except to say the winner might come as a bit of a surprise. If you've not yet checked it out, be sure to give it a read and find out which device got out recommendation.

We also got plenty of international update news this week. The European LG Optimus 2X finally got its Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update, some 13 months after the code first dropped. Across the pond, Canadian Galaxy S3 owners finally got a taste of Jelly Bean. And we got news of the first "Premium Suite" for the international GS3, which introduces many Galaxy Note 2 features like multi-view and page buddy to the Samsung flagship. The new firmware, which also includes Android 4.1.2, is rolling out now in some European countries.

And finally, some new devices. Sony brought us yet another mid-range Xperia phone, crossing off another letter of the alphabet in the process. The Xperia E will rock a single-core 1GHz CPU, a 3.5-inch screen and come in single and dual-SIM versions. Perhaps more interestingly, HTC finally unveiled the global version of the Droid DNA, which it's calling the HTC Butterfly. Right now the Butterfly is only confirmed to be coming to China, but a Taiwanese launch is also rumored, and we wouldn't be surprised to see European retailers offering imports in the near future.

That's your slice of international Android news for this week. Keep watching next week, as we'll be bringing you more hands-on coverage with the Samsung Galaxy Camera and Galaxy S3 LTE. If you've got news, be sure to tip us at the usual address!

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3 years ago

Google edits Nexus 4 online help manual, removes reference to USB gadget support

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Google has edited the online help manual for the Nexus 4, removing references to USB support for mice and keyboards. Previously mentioning USB and that you might need an adapter to connect these peripherals, now it simply states

You can connect a keyboard, mouse, or even a joystick or other input device to your phone via Bluetooth and use it just as you would with a PC. USB is not supported for connecting such devices

Taken at face value this isn't that big of a deal, but any effect it may have on USB OTG (On The Go) could get a bit more worrisome. Many were counting on support for USB flash drives to supplement the 8 or 16GB of internal storage, and if the Nexus 4 can't properly power USB OTG devices that can't happen.

We're not going to say USB OTG support for the Nexus 4 is dead just yet. It's a complicated affair, needing the correct hardware and software to properly function. If this is just a software issue and is a temporary "adjustment" there is no worries, but if the hardware can't properly support USB gadgets or provide the right voltage, we're likely to be out of luck. We've reached out to Google, and hopefully someone gets back to us Monday. We'll let you know whatever we find out.

Source: Nexus 4 online help

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3 years ago

Nationwide Google Fiber service could cost $140 billion to build out

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If you've been drooling over the thought of having Google Fiber service where you live, you're surely not alone. Since Google official rolled out the service to residents of Kansas City, people have been speculating as to when (or if) Google would ever continue to expand the service to other locations. According to new estimates by Goldman Sachs, it would cost Google a huge amount of money -- about $140 billion -- to roll out the service across the country.

That sounds impossibly expensive simply based on the amount of money Google has to spend, but let's consider something a bit more realistic instead. Even if it had the cash up-front, a company like Google doesn't have unlimited time and resources to roll out a nationwide network at once. If it were to begin offering Google Fiber service in other cities, it would surely be a staggered rollout. While it may not be able to afford a nationwide rollout, offering the service in a few more major metropolitan areas would be a great start.

Let's also remember that Google Fiber is actually a profitable business unit for the company. Unlike many products that Google "sells," new Fiber markets would be directly profitable as they launched. Income from new subscribers could be put right back into bringing the service to new areas. Now no one knows what Google's intentions are with its Google Fiber service, but we'd be surprised if the success of the Kansas City launch didn't compel it to look at more cities.

Source: BGR; Business Insider

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Add Watermark, Calvin and Hobbes Search Engine, PhotoVault and more!

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We've got the usual great set of app picks for your enjoyment this week, covering all genres. You can add a watermark to a picture, keep those pictures safe from unwanted eyes, check out some classic comic strips and more.

Read on and see how we did this week. And if you see an app you like, spend a couple bucks on it -- hard working developers deserve to be paid when they make something great.

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3 years ago

Google Now appears aimed for the Chrome browser

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Google just keeps on closing the gaps between its products, as today we're seeing that the Chrome team is getting ready to put Google Now into the Chrome browser. An eagle-eyed user spotted code being merged into the Chromium project that is "creating a skeleton for Google Now for Chrome implementation." We'd expect to see more being put in as the feature gets closer to a true launch.

We're not so sure how the concept of Google Now fits into the browser, but it will be interesting to see how it ends up being implemented. Surely as devices like Chromebooks become more widely accepted -- many of which have 3G data access -- something like Google Now makes sense on more than just phones and tablets.

Source: François Beaufort (Google+); Via: CNET

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3 years ago

ASUS PadFone 2 receiving Jelly Bean OTA

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The PadFone 2, ASUS' successor device to that weird interesting phone inside a tablet inside a laptop contraption, is finally grabbing an OTA to Jelly Bean starting today. We were surprised when the phone was announced back in October with just Ice Cream Sandwich on board, but it's good to see ASUS following it up quickly with an update. The device keeps the skinning present in the previous version, but new features like Google Now and enhanced notifications are all included here.

According to FoneArena, the OTA is starting its rollout in Asia -- although that makes sense because the device is primarily being sold there. If you happen to have imported one of these to the states, you'll likely have a shot at receiving the update yourself with this batch.

Source: FoneArena; More: ASUS PadFone Forums

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3 years ago

What's hot in the Android Central Forums ...

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3 years ago

Week 1 of our Stuff Your Stocking contest wraps up today

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We're wrapping up our first week of our Stuff Your Stocking contest -- which is running all month long --  in which we're giving away a $10 Google Play Gift Card every day in December. That's 31 winners in 31 days, with an easy $10 to spend on apps, books, music -- whatever you want!

What's more is that each of the 31 winners will automatically be entered to win a free Nexus 4, which we'll choose and announce the first week of January.

We're going to change things up each week to keep it fresh. Here's the breakdown:

  • Dec. 1-8: Leave a post in the appropriate thread in the Android Central Forums.
  • Dec. 9-15: Subscribe to our YouTube Channel. (You can subscribe now if you want, but only subscriptions during that time frame will count as an entry.)
  • Dec. 16-22: Comment on that day's giveaway blog post. (Look for our hatted friend you see here.)
  • Dec. 23-31: To be announced. It'll be fun one way or another.

Week 2 kicks off on Sunday. And that's just the beginning, folks. Stay tuned for an even bigger giveaway announcement early next week!

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3 years ago

Delta updates app with a privacy policy; California is safe again

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Delta Airlines has updated its Android app, bringing $2,500,000,000 worth of new features. All in the form of a privacy policy. 

It's still the same app as before, letting you check in to your flights, grab a mobile boarding pass, or even check your SkyMiles balance. If you are a frequent flier on Delta, it's probably a very useful download.

So what is this upgrade all about, and what does it have to do with billions of dollars? Good question, with an easy answer. Seems that the state of California slapped Delta with a lawsuit because the app had no clear privacy policy attached. Delta had 30 days to comply, or be faced with fines that could total up to $2.5 billion (with a b). Rather than make a large donation to California's economy, Delta updated their app today. Quick work, and the addition of the privacy policy is easy to get to -- simply tap Traveling with Us, then tap Privacy Policy. 

It's good to see a privacy policy for any app, especially one that collects your credit card info by design. It's also good on some level that the state of California looks out for their citizens, keeping them safe from those who would steal and abuse their private data.

But I can't shake the feeling that threatening a $2.5 billion fine ($2,500 per download)is the best way to go about it. Anyhoo, if you're using the Delta app go grab the update, and if you're not using it but think you should be, download it from Google Play.

More: InformationWeek

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