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2 years ago

LG the latest Android manufacturer to enter into licensing deal with Microsoft

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Microsoft says 70 percent of all Android phones sold in the U.S. are covered by its portfolio

Microsoft today announced that Korean smartphone (and everything else) manufacturer LG has signed a licensing agreement for tablets, phones and other devices that run Android or Chrome. Like the previous agreements Microsoft has signed with the likes of HTC, Samsung and others, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft attorney Horacio Gutierrez, in a statement, lauded the "mutally beneficial agreement" and said that 70 percent of Android smartphones sold in the United States are now licensing Microsoft patents.

“We are pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.”

As for LG's side of the equation, the manufacturer (naturally) put a positive spin on the licensing deal, saying in the end, for both companies, it all comes down to producing products for consumers. LG spokesman Ken Hong told Android Central: 

"We're of course pleased we could come to amicable terms with Microsoft, whom LG has had a great working relationship with for years. This agreement allows both companies to move beyond the legal issues and get on with doing what both companies do best, which is developing products and delivering services that benefit consumers."

Regarding Chrome being part of the licensing agreement, Hong told Android Central "the deal includes Chrome but we don't have a Chromebook in development at this moment." That could be some forward-looking licensing -- ie a Chromebook or some other Chrome-based device could one day be in development -- or it possibly could be for LG's new 3D Google TV.

Our question now is how long the 30 percent of unlicensed devices (hi, Motorola) is going to be able to hold Microsoft off, and what cards they're holding if they do.

Source: Microsoft

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the ZAGGkeys FLEX

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With tablets becoming increasingly popular, and the displays on Android devices not getting any smaller sitting down with the devices in an attempt to crank out a long email or type a report may not be ideal. With lots of bluetooth keyboard options on the market it makes it hard to decide which one to go with, and while preference will vary by each person ZAGG has brought a heavy hitter to the market with their ZAGGkeys FLEX Bluetooth keyboard.

This keyboard, unlike many of their others, is a universal Bluetooth keyboard so it doesn't limit the devices it works with, it won't require you to purchase a new keyboard if you get a new tablet, and if you wish to switch between your phone and tablet you are able to do that as well. In addition to the ability to connect with various devices like your new Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 easily it also comes in a nice small and portable package, making it really easy to put it in your bag and carry it around with you. The FLEX is 90 percent of a full sized keyboard, so typing on it should be very comfortable and still feel rather natural to most.

One extremely notable feature about the keyboard, besides the size, is the fact that the battery on it only needs to be charged once about every four months. That is some amazing battery life, and you may be wondering how they can do it, and what you will need to do in order to achieve it. Well quiet simply -- nothing. The FLEX will automatically go into a standby mode after a few minutes in which it has not been used, and before you fret, all you have to do in order to use it again is hit a key, wait a second and then start typing again. If you are looking for a portable Bluetooth keyboard that does not limit you to use with only one device, you will definitely want to check out the ZAGGkeys FLEX Bluetooth keyboard. Hit the break for a few more images.

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2 years ago

Android 4.0.2 for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus rolling out again

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Mmmm. Can you taste that (almost) fresh new version of Ice Cream Sandwich? It appears as though Android 4.0.2 is rolling out to the GSM versions of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus again via an OTA update, so if you were one of the unlucky ones who have yet to receive it now may be your time. Weighing in at only 8.8MB it is pretty obvious that this is just a few bug fixes, but hey who doesn't enjoy a nice update for their device. If you haven't been notified of the update be sure to head into your settings and check manually for the update. Be sure to hop in the forums and let us know how it works out for you, and what you changes you notice. 

A big thanks from Phil goes out to Seth Weintraub!

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2 years ago

HzO shows us how you really waterproof a device

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Let's just start this off by saying yes it is real, and no you can't just add it to any device. Now that we got that out of the way let's talk about the amazingness that HzO brought to us here at CES 2012. Walking around the tech floor I saw a display of some devices sitting underneath falling water like it was nothing, people were playing with the units, they were playing music and it was like everything was normal, wet but normal. Instantly I was intrigued and walked over and that is when it happened. Off came the battery door, SIM card and battery exposed and boom, there went his beloved Android device in the water like it was nothing, and thanks to HzO it is like nothing happened to the device, it remains fully functional with zero damage to any of the electronics.

So you are wondering how it works, right? Well unfortunately it isn't something that we (the consumer) can purchase to add on to an existing device, instead this coating has to be applied at the factory during production. The thin coating which they have named WaterBlock that is applied prevents water from coming in contact with the electronics and important parts inside the device, thus making it water resistant and giving you the ability to dunk it and not have to be worried. Unfortunately it doesn't appear as though there are many (if any) devices that are currently available with this product, but we can sure hope that the exposure from CES 2012 gets this installed on devices. Hit the break to check it all out in some video action.

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the Octa WhaleTail & Vacuum Dock

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Walking through the various halls here at CES 2012 you sure stumble across a whole bunch of different stuff, some things get a bit repetitive but sometimes there are things that just jump right out at you. While cruising through one of the halls I noticed a bunch of tablets all propped up without anyone holding them and I was immediately intrigued, then I met Octa WhaleTail and Vacuum Dock. While it is not specifically an Android only accessory it certainly works well on Android tablets, and for those of you who like to watch movies, play games, type long messages or anything else that you don't want your tablet laying down for you will want to check this out.

The concept is quite simple, they wanted to make holding a tablet a more enjoyable experience for everyone so they designed a holder that suctions to the back that contours the hand very nicely. To get the back to stick on the device all you have to do is put it on there, give it a few pumps and it's on there, and rather firmly. Releasing the piece is pretty simple (once you get the hang of it), pull up slightly on the two tabs and then push them in, and off it comes. Also included is the WhaleTail which hooks onto the back of the Vacuum Dock which allows the tablet to be propped up and it also doubles as a security measure for when you are carrying your tablet around so it doesn't just fall right out of your hands. Hit the break with us for a few more images as well as a video walkthrough of the product in action!

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the LG Spectrum

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Read our LG Spectrum Review

Verizon announced the LG Spectrum here at CES, and we took some time to try it out. It's got a nice 4.5-inch 720p display, a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, and it's running Android 2.3. It feels a lot like Nitro HD, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not particularly new. The only real difference aside from running on Verizon instead of AT&T is that the Spectrum bumps up the RAM to 1 GB from 768 MB. 

LG was heavily pushing Verizon's streaming sports service, so you could catch live games on the go. They also emphasized their particular IPS display technology, which aims to cram in more pixels than the standard pentile layout, reduce battery drain, and ultimately improve sharpness and reduce eye strain. They've also added some mild software updates to the LG Spectrum's Android experience, namely being able to to drag and drop categories of apps from the full app screen to the home screen as a folder. Besides that, you'll recognize most of the other customizations - go ahead and take a look for yourself.

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the SmartDock for the Xperia ion

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I wasn't kidding when I said that this year's CES is all about connecting your entire home. Here, we have Sony's solution for its forthcoming Xperia ion. The SmartDock is a souped-up HDMI dock that will connect your ion to your TV, charge it, or turn it into a mini-computer when a keyboard and mouse are attached. Oh, what will they think of next?

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the NFC-powered Xperia SmartTags

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Connecting the entire home has been an ongoing trend here at CES, and Sony has introduced an interesting concept to acheive that goal. Xperia SmartTags are NFC chips that you can stick throughout your home and program with different actions and settings. When you enter the room and tap your phone to the SmartTags, your phone will automatically adjust to the profile you created. Pretty cool concept. They'll be released in Q2 for about $25-$40 for four tags and will be compatible with all NFC-capable Xperia devices -- take a gander below the break to see what Sony has to say about them.

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2 years ago

A quick look at TripIt for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

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A few days ago TripIt announced that they would be launching their very popular travel application on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and we got lucky enough to get a hands-on demo of the application from them. Last night while at the ShowStoppers event here at CES 2012 the folks at TripIt took some time to walk us through the application, and as you can see they have done a really nice job with the application and design.

If you are unfamiliar with the service it is a travel planner, you forward your itinerary to them and they do the rest for you. Once the email is forwarded your itinerary will then show in the application, showing your flight information, hotel information, rental car and more. Having quick and easy access to this information on the go is priceless, and if you have yet to try it or would like to install it on your Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 be sure to hit the break for the market link.

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