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3 years ago

HondaLink brings your Android smartphone into the cockpit, starting with the 2013 Accord

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Honda's getting serious about connecting your smartphone with your car, and it'll be launching its new HondaLink system this fall in the 2013 Honda Accord. 

HondaLink follows in the footsteps of the Chevy MyLink system we demoed at General Motors' test facilities last summer in that the infotainment system uses the data connection from your phone but is controlled through the traditional in-car systems. Android smartphones will connect over Bluetooth, while iPhones can use Bluetooth or the usual iPhone cable.

Honda has teamed up with Aha by Harman to provide music, podcasts, news, Twitter and Facebook feeds, all of which are to be provided safely hands-free use in mind. Also on board are Pandora and voice-to-text SMS services, which Honda's already unveiled on the 2012 CRV.

The 2013 Accord is just the beginning, Honda said today, and that you can expect to see it on upper trim levels going forward. 

Hit the source links below for the full pressers, or check out the promo video after the break.

Source: Honda, Aha

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3 years ago

Light Flow LED Control updated to v3.0.4, fixes for Jelly Bean included

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After the roll out of Light Flow LED Control v3.0, Google went ahead and introduced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This introduced some changes that needed to be corrected within Light Flow LED Control and now we're seeing v3.0.4 roll out to correct those issues as well as a few others:

  • Jelly bean fix - this hopefully fixes most of the issues
  • Gmail switching off fix
  • Fix for several crashes which playing notification sounds
  • Fix for Motorola ICS calendar
  • Fix initialization settings so notifications are enabled correctly

If you've been having issues with Light Flow on your Jelly Bean device, go ahead and fire up the Google Play Store and grab the update. If you're new to Light Flow you'll find the download link below. Keep in mind, there is a free version available use as well in case you want to test it out before going all in.

Download: Paid, Free Thanks, eljedo!

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3 years ago

ZTE Grand X hands-on

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We're live in London, where ZTE has just announced its new mid to high-end smartphone for Europe, the Grand X. It's a 4.3-inch device with a qHD screen, and a design that will remind Android enthusiasts of the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus phones. What's also familiar from the Nexus series is the software -- the Grand X runs a near-stock version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (no word on any Jelly Bean update just yet, unfortunately.)

Inside there's a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU, coupled with 512MB. Internal storage is limited to 1.6GB, but there's also a microSD card slot around the back to enable expandable storage. ZTE is pitching this device as a multimedia smartphone for price-conscious buyers, and the specs and price point are well-aligned with this demographic. ZTE says it's looking at a £180-190 price point in the UK, when the Grand X launches on Virgin Media and Phones4U, and it's also loaded with TegraZone games to take advantage of the NVIDIA chip under the hood.

The ZTE Grand X is expected to launch in August in the UK, followed by a wider European launch in France and Germany. Check out our full hands-on demonstration of the Grand X above. We've got more photos after the break.

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3 years ago

Books now available from Google Play in France

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The slow, global march of new markets receiving Google Play content continues. This time up, it's the turn of France, where as of today, Books are available to download from Google Play. 

In countries where Google Play content has been available for some time, we often take it for granted. But, if the Nexus 7 is to be a truly, globally loved device, then the content has to be there. For some it still isn't, but in France, today is a step closer. 

If you're in France, head on over to the Google Play Store now either on the web, or on your device, and browse all the reading material on offer. Don't forget too, to download the Google Play Books app, which you'll find a handy download link for below. 

Source: Google, Download: Google Play Books

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3 years ago

ZTE launches the Grand X in London

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We're live in London today, where ZTE has announced the Grand X, a new phone with a new processor but an older chipset.

The Grand X is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which we'd expect from a phone being announced today. (Sorry, but you're going to have to wait a little bit before seeing new phones with Jelly Bean.) It's sporting a 4.3-inch qHD-resolution display (that's 540x960) and is running NVIDIA's dual-core Tegra 2 platform at 1GHz.

It's also got a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of shooting at 720p. The front-facing camera is 0.3MP.

Full specs include:

  • Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 2, Dual-core (AP20 Dual Core 1GHz)
  • Display Size: 4.3” – 16M QHD (960 x 540)
  • Modem: NVIDIA i450 (HSDPA Cat14, 21Mbps)
  • Weight: 110g
  • Dimensions: 127mmx64.6mmx9.9mm
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi, DLNA
  • Camera:  Dual Camera 5MP AF Flash/0.3 MP
  • User Memory: 4GB + up to 32GB Micro SD
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 4GB, expandable to 32GB (Micro SD)
  • OS: Android 4.0 (ICS)
  • Battery: 1650 mAh Li-Ion
  • Others: Dolby Mobile Sound / HD Voice / HD video capture and playback / Facetones / Evernote / Documents to go / Tegra Zone (Gaming Marketplace)

It'll be launching with Virgin Media and Phones4U in early August in France, Germany and the UK.

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3 years ago

Shared data plans: Who saves you more money, Verizon or AT&T?

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Unless you're using more than two phones, AT&T's new shared data plans won't really save you money over Verizon's.

AT&T is launching shared data plans in August. Verizon has them now. The premises are similar -- one plan, multiple phones sharing from a bucket of data. (Voice and texts are all unlimited and "free.") You'll have to pay for each phone that's a part of the shared plan, though.

How do they break down? Which one's more likely to save you money? Let's take a look.

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3 years ago

AAA Mobile folds together old discount, roadside, and map apps

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The American Automobile Association has updated their Android offering so that instead of a smattering of different apps, they're all pulled together under one roof. 

  • Road Service Request (app identifies location)
  • AAA member discounts
  • AAA Approved Auto Repair locator
  • Gas station locations and updated gas price information
  • Diamond Ratings for AAA Approved hotels and restaurants
  • Hotel booking capability powered by Travelocity
  • Listings for AAA Approved attractions and campgrounds
  • AAA branch office locations
  • TripTik® travel planning with interactive maps and directions
  • Instant battery replacement quotes
  • Electric vehicle charging station locations
  • Join AAA

I'm a little surprised that AAA hasn't been working with Ford AppLink and the equivalent competing dashboard app platforms for Chevrolet, BMW, and other car manufacturers. AAA obviously has a huge vested interested in being in the automotive app space, and plugging directly into a car's handsfree and dash system is the best way to go about it. 

Some of the features in AAA Mobile are locked down to AAA members, but the app itself is free - go ahead and check it out at the download link below. Which apps do you guys use while on the road? 

Source: AAA

Download: AAA Mobile

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3 years ago

Sony unveils a new Android-based Walkman

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Sony today announced the new Android-based F800 Series Walkman, with "an extreme on-the-go entertainment experience." OK, then.

There are three devices in the range, spanning 8-, 16- and 32-gigabyte models.  The F800's got a 3.5-inch LCD display and, uh, plays music and videos and has access to the Google Play store. Playback time is listed at 20 hours for audio and 4.5 hours for video.

Missing, however, is the all-important pricing. Let's hope it's not too extreme. And it's priced at $269 in the states. Next.

Source: Sony

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3 years ago

OtterBox Defender Series Case for Samsung Galaxy Nexus [accessory review]

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The name OtterBox has become synonymous with unrivaled protection, and its Defender series cases are truly unmatched. I never hesitate to recommend OtterBox products to people looking to keep their phone in great shape for the duration of their two-year contract. Simply put, you’d be hard pressed to damage your investment with an OtterBox on its back.

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3 years ago

AT&T announces shared data plans - not forcing anyone to switch though

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AT&T today has become the second U.S. carrier to announce shared data plans, wherein multiple devices consume a limited amount of data for a single fee. The plans will be available in late August.

AT&T notes that these plans are not mandatory; it's not moving anyone to them unless they want to. If you have unlimited data now, you'll still have it in August, when shared data becomes available. Same goes for AT&T's current tiered plans.

There can be as many as 10 devices attached to a shared plan, and one of those devices must be a smartphone. The shared plans include tethering and unlimited voice calls and texts. There are six tiers of service, starting at $40 for 1 gigabyte of data and ranging to $200 for 20 gigabytes of data. As each data bucket increases, the cost per device drops, but only for the first three buckets. If you go over your data allotment, each addition gigabyte costs $15.

It's a little confusing, yeah, especially compared to Verizon's shared plans. Let's break it down a little more.

Amount of data in plan Cost for data Cost for each device Base total 1GB $40 $45 $85 4GB $70 $40 $110 6GB $90 $35 $125 10GB $120 $30 $150 15GB $160 $30 $190 20GB $200 $30 $230

Basic and "quick messaging" phones each add another $30 to your monthly bill. Laptops and data cards run $20, and tablets add $10 a month.

Verizon in June announced it, too, was adding shared data plans as an option. Data buckets range from $50 for 1 gigabyte of data to 10 gigabytes for $100 a month, with added fees for each smartphone and tablet attached to the plan.

We've got AT&T's complete press release after the break.

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3 years ago

Nexus S Jelly Bean update reportedly set to start rolling out in the next couple of days

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It seems like the good news week is set to continue for Nexus fans, with reports emerging that the hotly anticipated update to Android 4.1 is set to starting rolling out to the Nexus S over the next couple of days.

Down under, in Australia, Vodafone Australia has posted to their blog the following in relation to to the Jelly Bean update: 

Approved by Vodafone, roll out by Google scheduled for 1:00pm AEST, 19th July 2012. Keep an eye on our blog for further information.

Don't forget, that July 19 in Australia is actually July 18 in the U.S -- albeit only just given the time. That time translates to around 04:00 BST 23:00 Eastern, and 20:00 Pacific.

Elsewhere, SFR in France, also has something to say on the update, which pretty much ties in with Vodafone Australia:

However, the deployment is slightly delayed on the Nexus S! Jelly Bean should be deployed July 18, 2012!

So, the signs are looking good. We'll be keeping a close eye on this one, but remember, it's pretty likely that this will only apply to the GSM versions as with the Galaxy Nexus -- sorry Sprint users. Until we see it though, as ever, let's treat it with a slight pinch of salt. Carriers have been known to give out incorrect information in the past let's not forget. 

We'll be keeping a close eye out for this one, but if any of you guys happen to see an update notification, hit us up in the Android Central forums or in the comments below. 

Source: SFR, Vodafone Australia

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3 years ago

Samsung: 64GB Galaxy S III not cancelled, still due before year's end

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With some retailers reportedly cancelling orders of the 64GB Samsung Galaxy S III in parts of Europe, rumors have been circulating that Samsung had canceled that version of its 2012 flagship. However, it seems that’s not quite the case, as we reached out to Samsung to double-check these details, and the manufacturer got back to us saying a release is still planned.

A Samsung spokesperson told Android Central --

"The 64GB model of the GALAXY S III will be available during the second half of this year.

The market availability and timing may vary and will be determined at the time of release."

So it looks like we’ll still get a 64GB-flavored S III, and with it the prospect of pairing it with a 64GB microSD card for a whopping 128GB of storage. Samsung’s language, though, suggests that not all S III launch territories will necessarily see the 64GB version, which could be why some retailers are hedging their bets and cancelling orders.

As Samsung said during its Galaxy S III announcement event in London, the plan always was to release the 64GB model a bit later than the 16 and 32GB versions. Of course we’re already in the second half of the year, so we could feasibly see this version appear at any point from now on. In the meantime, we’ll be watching for any further news on the 64GB S III, so keep it locked to AC.

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3 years ago

Pocket gets ready for the Nexus 7 and Jelly Bean

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Pocket, previously known as Read it Later, has recently upgraded their bookmarking app for Android for Nexus 7 and Jelly Bean optimization. Here's the full feature list for Pocket 4.1.3. 

  • White flash/flicker when opening an article in the Dark Theme
  • Tile View not adjusting to rotation properly on tablets
  • Text selection issues in Jelly Bean
  • Long pressing a list item in Jelly Bean opened the article instead of showing actions
  • A crash when cancelling sharing
  • PNG image files were not downloading for offline use
  • Tag button no longer has jagged edges on some devices
  • Other minor issues and crashes

Between the desktop browser plug-in, story submission by e-mail, and polished mobile app, I'm a huge fan of Pocket. Of course it invariably turns into a giant pile of interesting stuff that you can never get around to reading, but at least you'll never be wanting for something to read when on the move. If you haven't had a chance to try it out, get downloading at the link below.  

Source: Pocket

Download: Pocket

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3 years ago

Best features of the Galaxy S III, Manual flashing [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

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

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3 years ago

Hasbro and DeNA Team to roll out Transformers games worldwide

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If you happened to pick a Nexus 7 tablet and are enjoying your copy of Transformers: Dark of the moon we have more Transformers news to share with you all. Hasbro and DeNA Team have joined forces to bring multiple Transformers games to mobile devices worldwide.

“Our global platform has continued to thrive and grow, and we’re now investing in major entertainment IP,” said Neil Young, Director of DeNA and CEO of DeNA’s U.S. subsidiary ngmoco, LLC.  “TRANSFORMERS is a highly beloved brand, with dynamic characters that are universally cherished by fans. We are excited to bring the TRANSFORMERS world to life for mobile gamers.”
 
“DeNA is a proven global leader in mobile social games,” said Mark Blecher, GM and SVP, Hasbro Digital Media and Marketing. “We’re delighted to team-up with DeNA to offer a compelling TRANSFORMERS experience on the leading mobile platforms. DeNA’s innovative approach to mobile gaming is a great fit with the TRANSFORMERS brand.

Yeah, the press release announcing the deal is kind of boring given the fact they've yet to unleash any of those games but It will be a three year agreement between Hasbro and DeNA Team that is sure to please a lot of Transformers fans out there, myself included. The press release is below for you all the peruse though, oddly though Japan seems to of have been left off the availability list.

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