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3 years ago

Google launches their own Santa Tracker complete with Android application


NORAD might have deserted Google Maps this year in favour of Microsoft to power their Santa Tracker, but Google has gone ahead and come out with their own apps anyway. Santa Tracker is available to download now for both Android devices and for Google Chrome. Perfect for the kids -- and the big kids.

Naturally, at the moment the apps don't do a lot. All we see is a countdown screen as to when Santa will be taking off. The app should start working from 02:00 PST on Christmas Eve, as jolly old St Nick begins his global journey. When the app does kick into gear, we'll be treated to all kinds of Santa based information such as the number of presents delivered, his route plan, and when he'll depart in your part of the world. All this is displayed using Google Maps. 

And, if that's not enough, through the power of Google Voice, you can go and request a personal call from the big guy himself. That does seem limited to North America though -- but then, if Santa's using Google Voice, North America is all he can call. 

More: Google Santa Tracker, Google Chrome Extension

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3 years ago

Australian carrier Telstra pushing out Jelly Bean update to Samsung Galaxy S3


Australian Samsung Galaxy S3 owners on the nations Telstra network have cause for celebration today. The carrier has begun what is a staggered Jelly Bean rollout that will see all devices become 'eligible' over the course of the next 14 days. Over on the Telstra support forums the details of how the update will roll out have been posted.

Just a quick one to let everyone know that the Galaxy S 3 Jelly Bean 4.1.1 update has commenced deployment early (as at 2:30PM EDT today). As with all Samsung updates the FOTA deployment is staggered. The “staggered” deployment means that the FOTA update will be progressively rolled out to customers over a two week period. The deployment schedule is:

Day 1-3 : 10k of devices selected at random to be eligible for update, users are either alerted via FOTA Push Message or by manually checking
Day 4-13: An additional 10% of devices are selected per day
Day 14: All devices are now eligible for update

The FOTA update should be downloaded via Wi-Fi as data usage charges will apply if downloaded via the mobile network. The update will be available to all customers via Kies from 2:30PM EDT Wednesday 19 December.

If you're rocking one of these, be sure to check your updates in the settings menu on your Galaxy S3, or plug into Kies. If you manage to grab the update, drop into the comments below, or our Samsung Galaxy S3 forums and share your thoughts with us. 

via Ausdroid

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3 years ago

Daily news roundup: December 19, 2012




We saw a lot of things go down today, from rumored new Android cameras to another blow up about malware, to spectrum talk from the FCC. That means it's just another day in the exciting world of Android. We know it's hard to keep up with it all, so here's a recap of today's news.

Apps and updates

Hardware and industry news

Editorial content and kick ass contests

See everyone tomorrow!

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3 years ago

AT&T acquires spectrum in WCS and AWS bands from four companies


The FCC approved multiple measures today that will in the end see AT&T receiving a diverse grouping of spectrum from several different companies. The different bits of spectrum all fall into the WCS (Wireless Communications Service) and AWS-1 (Advanced Wireless Services) bands, which cover the 2305-2320 / 2345-2360MHz and 1710-1755 / 2110-2155MHz frequency ranges, respectively. The spectrum is being purchased from four different companies -- Nextwave, Horizon, Comcast, and SG&E.

There's a pretty complicated set of small parcels of spectrum being transferred in several different markets, which can be seen at the FCC source link below if you're so inclined. If you don't feel like digging through those (we don't blame you,) the end result is AT&T gaining spectrum in 608 different market areas that cover a total of 82-percent of the U.S. population. AT&T of course plans to use this spectrum to improve its LTE situation in these new markets.

Source: FCC; PhoneScoop

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3 years ago

USAA Mobile adds Jelly Bean fixes and account funding options


USAA continues to make improvements to its mobile banking and account management app today with several UI and bug fixes. An important fix was made to let users on Jelly Bean properly log in and use their PIN with the app, and another bug that kept users on Android 3.1 and higher from doing person-to-person transfers. USAA has also now added the ability to fund an account when you create one from the app -- an interesting feature -- by scanning a blank check from another bank. 

You may not be a USAA customer (yet) but the app is definitely worth a look if you are. You can grab a download at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

China absolutely loves Android


There's a new report out today from informa, and it's about Android adoption rate and market share in China. We all know that Android has the lions share of the Chinese market, but now we have a bunch of numbers to tell us just how many phones we're talking about.

It's figured that 33-percent of all Android devices sold in 2012 were bought in China. This number is a bit skewed, and we'll get to that in a bit, but this is much higher that the 11-percent that were sold in the US -- Android's second largest market. I'm curious how the numbers look if dealing with the EU as one entity, but that's neither here nor there.

We saw the 33-percent of all Android devices sold in 2012 we in China, but -- and this is a big but -- only 59-percent of those were using an "authentic" build of Android and use Google's services. That means that a full 41-percent of the zillions of Android phones sold in China aren't getting counted in activation numbers or that monthly OS chart we see from Google. They are phones running customized version, from the likes of Baidu or Alibaba. Let's get out our wizard hats and do a little math. 

  • There are approximately 1.5 million Android devices activated every single day.
  • A full third of that would be 500,000 phones and tablets.
  • 59-percent of that total would be 295,000.

So if 295,000 of the 1.5 million  phones activated daily (rounded up for easy math) are sold in China, that means that 20-percent (19.666-percent) of all the numbers you see getting thrown around come from one country. And that is a whole lot of smartphones.

Interesting aside -- it also means that a full 13-percent of all "android devices" sold in China aren't even counted as Android activations by Google. 

These numbers are likely to grow, says Malik Saadi of informa. 

Looking forward, Android is expected to continue gaining market share globally and, by 2015, one in every two handsets sold worldwide will be powered by it. However, according to Informa Telecoms & Media, the market share of this platform could potentially peak – or even decline – after 2016 owing to a more aggressive penetration of the alternative OSs, most notably Windows Phone

One of every two phones (not smartphones) sold is a pretty lofty goal. If things continue as they are in China, it very well could happen.

Source: informa

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3 years ago

Paypal update brings landscape support and payment preferences


Everyone's favorite universal payment app, Paypal, has just been updated with a few nice features. First off, there's full landscape support in this update -- something we're surprised wasn't there before. You can also now set a payment preference for specific stores, so for example you can have one credit card set as a default when you pay Amazon, and another to pay Starbucks.

The changelog also notes that Paypal has improved the performance of check scanning, and users should see fewer issues. It has also increased security and a few UI bugfixes, stuff we'll never scoff at in an update. You can grab the app or an update at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google Play Books updated with new 'Read Aloud' feature and pinch to zoom


Google Play Books has just had an update pushed out into the Play Store, that brings with it among other features a new 'Read Aloud' function. The new feature allows for the listening of most flowing text books, and while it seems to do a pretty good job, it's not going to replace audiobooks anytime soon. Imagine sitting down to listen to your sat-nav read you a book and you've pretty much got the right idea. Don't take our word for it though, check out the sample after the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung planning new red versions of Galaxy Tab 2 and Galaxy Note 10.1


Samsung is certainly no stranger to refreshing the paint jobs on their product line when it comes to their smartphones. But, as yet their tablet offerings have been somewhat more reserved. That looks set to change as these leaked press renders obtained by the folks at Sammobile show. 

This new color appears to be the same Garnet Red seen on the Galaxy S3, and is bound for the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and 10.1, and the Galaxy Note 10.1. The new colors will reportedly show up for sale next year, potentially before Valentines Day. 

Source: Sammobile

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3 years ago

NVIDIA Tegra 4 details leak


A slide detailing Nvidia's upcoming Tegra 4 SoC has been leaked out, showing the specs everyone wanted and hoped for. A user on the Chinese site Chiphell posted the above slide showing off the features of the new chip, and when combined with the things we already know we have a really good idea of what is to come.

The Tegra 4 will be a 28 nanometer ARM Cortex-A15 quad-core (4+1 as seen in the Tegra 3) system on chip. The A15 architecture is the next generation of silicon, and is already being used in the Exynos 5 as seen in the Nexus 10. The lower power draw and faster processing speed make a remarkable difference when you need it.

The GPU is a whopping 72 core GeForce unit, bringing six times the graphical performance of the Tegra 3. With support for a full 2560x1440 24 bit color display and native hardware decoding for video, it should be able to handle anything you could throw at it in a tablet.

Of course, there is always more and we are only seeing one slide of a full presentation. Hopefully Nvidia shows us more at CES in January. 

Source: Chiphell (Chinese)

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3 years ago

Reminder: Cast Your Votes in the 2012 Android Central Community Awards!


Quick reminder for everyone today, in case you missed the forums announcement opening up the 2012 Android Central Community Awards for voting!

We're running the awards right now through December 21st at noon EST. If you're a regular in our forums, you'll want to head over there right now and cast your votes.

There are 8 categories to submit your input on. All you need to do is enter the username of the member you think is most deserving, and tell us a little story on WHY the person should win. If you don't have a submission for a question, no worries, you can just skip that question. Easy stuff folks.

Take a minute and cast your votes!

Full details here...

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3 years ago

Day 2 of the Nexus 7-a-day giveaway going strong in the forums


It's day 2 of our week long  Nexus 7-a-day giveaway, where we partner with Google so you can win a 32GB Nexus 7 of your very own, and a $25 Google Play gift card to spend with it.

We love the Nexus 7 here at the Mobile Nations offices. It's the perfect size for carrying with you, which means you'll use it for more than just surfing from the couch. It's bright, high-resolution screen makes it a pleasure to use, and the oompf under the hood from Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor means great multimedia consumption and some of the best mobile games on any platform. 

We think you'll love it, too. And so does Google. That's why we got together on this -- getting more Nexus 7 tablets into the hands of people who want one. If you're one of those people who want one (and I think I can speak for everyone and say we all are) entering is easy. 

Head into the forums, show us a picture of your current phone or tablet. Post the picture in the thread, and we'll pick a winner. I told you it was easy. Now get in there, read all the rules, and enter today's giveaway!

Enter the Nexus 7 day two giveaway in the forums

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3 years ago

The SpamSoldier SMS botnet: What you need to know


A little common sense is all that's needed to avoid the latest piece of scareware making the rounds

Here's how to avoid the latest "ZOMG SCARY ANDROID BOTNET SCARY SCAM!!!" of the week.

  1. Don't click on obviously spammy text messages from people you don't know.
  2. Don't click on obviously spammy text messages from people you do know.
  3. Don't leave leave your phone's built-in security features turned off unless you absolutely need to.

If it seems like we've been here before, well, we have. This week's worry is "SpamSoldier," which uses an infected phone to send a bunch of spammy SMSs to other phones, inviting them to download free apps or games or other free offers that, of course, are trojans that then send hundreds of spammy SMSs to your contacts. It's the evil cycle of life.

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3 years ago

Huawei set to launch 5 inch, 1080p D2 at CES


OK, so the one on the left is a Windows Phone 8 device, more specificially, the much leaked Huawei W1. The device on the right however it the one we're interested in. We've heard talk of Huawei releasing a 5-inch device to the world, and according to an SVP at the company, we're going to see it at CES. 

Taking to Sina Weibo, Richard Yu confirmed that the Chinese OEM will be launching their latest high end effort, the D2, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month. 

According to some specs which have appeared in the TENAA database, the D2 will sport a 1920x1080 display, a 2900mAh battery, a 1.5GHz quad-core chip -- likely produced in house -- 2GB of RAM and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Perhaps more interestingly, Mr Yu has also expressed his concerns that the specifications, and therefore the cost, of the device is too high. Price is still to be mentioned, but we're sure the specs are just fine. Whatever the eventual outcome, Android Central will be on the ground from Las Vegas to bring you everything you'll need to know. 

Sources: Sina Weibo, TENAA via Engadget

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3 years ago

Samsung stops injunction requests in several European countries


Seemingly out of nowhere, Samsung has said today that it will stop pursuing injunction requests against Apple products in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. Coming on the heels of mixed news in the big Samsung v. Apple trial here in the states yesterday, Samsung looks to be slowing down on its lawsuits in Europe now. What this basically means is that in the countries listed above, it will no longer be trying to receive sales bans on Apple devices. The Verge received this quote from Samsung on the matter:

Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court. In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice.

Quite the turn-around from the litigious nature of previous Samsung statements and actions, and everyone is wondering why the company has decided to make the switch. The likely reasoning is that Samsung is trying to put all of its time and effort into pushing the FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Not Discriminatory) licensing of its standards-essential patent portfolio. This makes Samsung look like the good company that's working to keep a competitive marketplace, something that the regulators will like to see.

This surely doesn't take future lawsuits or possible sales bans off the table entirely, but Samsung would likely be happy to just license its extensive set of patents and be done with the matter if it had the chance.

Source: The Next Web; The Verge

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