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3 years ago

Infobar A02 announced on KDDI in Japan with interesting UI and design

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Japan is well-known for its seriously interesting mobile products, and the Infobar A02 on KDDI doesn't disappoint on design or creativity in the least. The Infobar series has traditionally been a design-leading line, and the A02 follows along with a striking thin unibody design in red, white and blue varieties. The design continues onto the interface, which is built on Android 4.1 -- although you wouldn't know it by looking at the homescreen. Closer to the paradigm of Windows Phone, the Inforbar uses a tiled interface comprised of smaller app tiles and larger widget tiles, in a vertical scrolling list.

This handset is actually manufactured by HTC, and has some top-notch specs on the inside. We're looking at a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 16GB of (expandable) storage, 1GB of RAM, 720x1280 TFT display, 2100mAh battery and of course LTE. Like many high-end Japanese handsets, the Infobar A02 is also waterproof and dustproof, and includes NFC for mobile payments as well as a 1seg TV antenna.

This is quite an interesting handset on all fronts, and worth a look at some of the materials on KDDI's product page for the phone. If you're interested, head to the source link and check out the galleries, especially the pictures showing the lineage of Infobar design for the last 10 years.

Source: KDDI

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Gumtree, Amtrak, OpenSignal and more!

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We're in that slow transitional phase between CES and MWC, going through the motions of weird leaks and random product releases. Fear not, as the Apps of the Week posts will continue on regardless. You come here each Saturday to see what apps the Android Central staff are finding and using, so we do our best to find some great picks.

Hang around after the break and see how we did this week.

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3 years ago

Hidden full screen browsing mode in latest Chrome Beta discovered

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Full screen browsing is top of many an Android fans wish list for Google's mobile version of the Chrome browser. On smartphone screens in particular, display space is important. It seems it might not be all that far away, as a recent discovery has shown off a hidden full screen browsing mode. 

Shared by Reddit user smackel, there is a bit of light work to be done to bring it about. So, while there, our thinking is that this is something to be rolled out properly in future updates. It's also a little buggy, but doesn't take any genius level work to enable. Click on past the break and we'll walk you through it. 

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3 years ago

The week in international Android news - Jan. 26, 2013

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Mobile World Congress is just a month away, and already we’re steeped in news of devices reportedly due to be shown off in Barcelona. Alongside all the crazy rumors and leaks, we’ve also had a steady trickle of device announcements and updates to contend with.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy few days in international Android news. Join us after the break for a rundown of some of the biggest stories of the week.

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3 years ago

Report: Galaxy Tab 3 initially coming in 10.1-inch version, Galaxy Note 8.0 LTE planned

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We've learned much about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 over the past week, and now we're seeing further indications of what plans Samsung might have for its Galaxy Tab line. Samsung fansite SamMobile, which broke some of the Note 8.0 news a few days ago, now says that Samsung plans to launch new Galaxy Tabs this year, but only 10.1-inch versions are on the cards at the moment. The "Tab 3 7.0," it reports, has been mothballed in favor of the stylus-toting Galaxy Note 8.0. Depending on sales of the Note 8.0, SamMobile's source says, an 8.0-inch Tab 3 may be offered at some point in the future.

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3 years ago

Nillkin leather flip cover for Nexus 7

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The Nexus 7 is substantially more portable than larger tablets, and that means you may be more inclined to use a case. I've found the Nillkin leather flip cover for mine, and it's quite an impressive little case for the money. When I got my Nexus 7 I planned on carrying it with me more often, tossing it in the bag whenever I left the house. It's light and portable with great one-handed use, but I wanted to protect the screen when I wasn't using it.

The case is a thin, tough, two-tone unit with black rubber edges accenting a colored leather primary case (red, grey or black colors are available). The leather part has a texture to it that I could only describe as a large hard cover book binding, which is very reassuring when holding the Nexus 7 one handed and provides an ample amount of grip. The case snaps on around the tablet like a normal case would, with no extra flaps, straps or fasteners. The flip cover pulls double duty as a screen protector and a tri-fold stand, and is attached with heavy stitching to the back of the case. The cover has a magnet to wake and sleep the device when opened and closed, which is a nice touch.

The inside of the flip portion is a light brown microfiber material, which should protect the screen nicely and help soak up some smudges when it's resting on the screen. When you're ready to use the tablet, it flips back out of the way but has no magnet or fastener to keep it pinned back. Luckily the cover is very thin and folds over nicely to be held in a very natural position, so it doesn't add a whole lot of bulk when it's on the back. If you would prefer to use the cover as a stand, it props up the tablet low for activities like typing, or stands it up near a 45-degree angle for things like watching video.

At somewhere between $20 and $25 (depending on the day) through many ebay sellers, the Nillkin leather flip cover is worth a look to protect and add a good bit of functionality to your Nexus 7. It is well-made and keeps a clean and functional design throughout, something not found in accessories as often as we'd hope. Check out our hands-on video and several pictures after the break.

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3 years ago

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos update brings automatic upload and in-app camera access

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An update to the Dropbox for Android application almost a year ago brought with it an extremely useful feature for the snap happy photographers among us -- auto upload of every photograph taken with the camera to your Dropbox account. Now, if Amazon's Cloud Drive is more your thing, you too can experience the same kind of auto uploading goodness with the latest update to the Cloud Drive Photos app. 

Another cool new feature for Android 4.x users is the ability to take photos using the camera from within the app. A great little time saver if you're snapping away and trying to organise at the same time. The rest of the changelog isn't quite as exciting, but still pretty useful nonetheless. We now get the ability to select multiple photos to action on, view the upload and download status, along with being able to pause, stop and resume them too. If you're an Amazon Cloud Drive user, grab yourselves a copy from the Google Play Store link above. Equally, if you're yet to try it out, Amazon will give new accounts 5GB of free storage right out of the box.

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3 years ago

HTC Butterfly to have companion 'Mini' handset available in China

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HTC looks poised to launch a companion handset device in the Chinese market to go along with the new HTC Butterfly (aka Droid DNA.) The Mini, which looks similar to many candybar phones of yesteryear, will pair with Bluetooth via NFC to your smartphone and let you make and receive calls, view call logs and calendar information on its monochrome screen. HTC apparently envisions the Mini being used for more than just calls though, acting as a remote for when the Butterfly is plugged into a TV and helping users find their Butterfly when it is lost.

At first glance we're not so sure how adding a second handset device makes anything easier on the consumer, because at some point you just start running out of pocket space, but you could easily see this as an accessory for around the house rather than when you're out and about. Come home, plop your phone on the wireless charger at the door, and just have the Mini with you to make/receive calls. It could easily be used as a home phone replacement. Let's also remember that different markets demand different features from phones, and this really could be appealing to Chinese users.

Because this looks to be a China-specific accessory, we wouldn't be surprised if it never made its way to other countries. It's interesting to see HTC experimenting with different accessories though, and we don't know what development of the Mini may lead to in the future for other markets around the world.

Source: Slashgear

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3 years ago

A first look at Blitz Brigade - an upcoming multi-player shooter from Gameloft

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This one's not for the kids -- Blitz Brigade is set in WWII, and is a team-based multiplayer shooter (it reminds me of Battlefield Heros) with plenty of action, and plenty of graphic imagery. We don't know much more than that, only that it's coming to Android and iOS soon. 

From the trailer, it looks like it will offer plenty of fun and plenty of blood, which should make it a hit. We'll know more when Gameloft shares a little. Until then, check out the video and imagine this one on your Android tablet.

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3 years ago

Use Instagram to win a pair of Motorola S11-Flex wireless headphones

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Motorola is running a little contest on Instagram, and the prize is a kick ass pair of S11-FLEX HD wireless headphones. They're promoting the contest as a little extra motivation while working out to help folks keep their New Years' resolutions (the S11-FLEX headset is sweatproof), but entering to win them is strictly a no-pain affair.

Just fire up Instagram on your phone (all the cool kids will use Android!), post a picture showing how wires get in the way and use the #howiflex tag. The contest ends January 31. It looks like an easy way to get a great Bluetooth headset, so give it a shot. You can grab Instagram from the Google Play link above if you need it, and you can find more information at Motorola's Facebook page.

Source: Motorola

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3 years ago

WindowsAndroid is ICS running on your Windows box, we go mouse-on

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There are a few options available to those wanting to run Android apps on a Windows machine. The first, and oldest, is the official Android emulator; there's also Bluestacks, which has been around for a while. Today another contender emerges -- WindowsAndroid, from Chinese startup SocketeQ. Unlike the emulator, it runs Android natively on your Windows PC, and unlike Bluestacks it brings to life the full Android OS, not just individual apps. Essentially, it's full-blown open-source Android running natively, in a window, on Microsoft's desktop OS.

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3 years ago

SF Launcher Alpha brings a little piece of Google Now to the homescreen

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Back at Google I/O last year, our very own Phil Nickinson posed the question -- might Google Now become an Android home screen? Well, a new custom launcher in the Play Store brings a little taste of that to life. SF Launcher Alpha comes from the same developer who brought us the Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget, and integrates the now familiar Google Now images with a card style layout for apps and widgets. 

The top image is currently limited to that of San Francisco, London or the generic Google Now image, but will change with the time of day from dawn through day into dusk. Below it sits a widget 'card' and while only one widget is on show at any time, it scrolls so you can add as many as you like. Below that sits your favorite apps, the number displayed is customizable and you choose from scratch -- when you first start the launcher this card is empty. 

Scrolling in from the left brings up the settings menu where the theme can be chosen along with numerous different visual setting tweaks, as well as controlling the behavior of tapping on the clock and top image. This can be customized to launch search, the stock clock app, quick settings, among others. 

Scrolling in from the right brings up your full app drawer, all the while maintaining the top image and clock. It's a simple idea, and a simple launcher, but is definitely something different to other launchers we've seen. It's still in the early Alpha stages, but is available to download for free from the Google Play Store now. Click on past the break for a quick walkthrough video.

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3 years ago

Sony releases Jelly Bean alpha for Xperia T

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The official Sony Xperia T Jelly Bean update might still be a few months away, but in order to give developers a sneak peek at what's ahead, Sony has released an early alpha ROM for the device. The Xperia T Jelly Bean alpha can be flashed using Sony's own flash tool, after unlocking the Xperia T via the official bootloader unlock utility.

A few caveats apply here -- radio functionality like Bluetooth, Wifi and mobile data is not included (likely for regulatory reasons), nor are Google apps. In addition, Sony says the UI has not yet been updated to reflect the final look and feel of the Xperia Jelly Bean firmware -- i.e. what's on the new Xperia Z. And crucially, if you unlock your Xperia T and apply this alpha ROM, you won't be able to update to the official Jelly Bean firmware once it's released. So this ROM really is one for advanced users and adventurous devs only.

Hopefully today's release will accelerate the progress of Jelly Bean-based custom ROMs for the Xperia T. If nothing else, we'd expect this to be hacked into something with working radios and Google Apps in a relatively short space of time. If you possess both a Sony Xperia T and a strong sense of adventure, you can find full instructions over at the source link.

Source: Sony Developer World Blog

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3 years ago

Quento turns basic math into a fun time-waster

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Look, I'm not a math guy. Ask anybody. My wife. Any one of my grade-school teachers. My first-grade daughter. My 2-year-old daughter. They know I don't do math worth a damn. So what am I doing playing a game all morning that involves adding and subtracting? Moreover, why am I still playing it now?

Fresh off a successful launch of iOS, Quento has come to Android.

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3 years ago

Temple Run 2 - a notable update to a fantastic game

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Temple Run 2, a sequel to the vastly popular original, sticks with the same format and proven gameplay but makes notable improvements across the game. If you somehow avoided playing the original game, it's a pretty simple concept to get ahold of. You're running away from some scary beasts down a complex level of twists and turns, and you are trying to collect as many coins and perks as you can along the way. Swipe up to jump, down to slide, across to turn and lean the device left or right to stay out of trouble.

Temple Run 2 has the same set of controls as the original, but the levels are spiced up a bit, breaking free of the original combination of straight runs and 90-degree turns. There are rope zip lines to use, and more sweeping turns and curves to navigate through. All of the extra flare helps keep the game interesting, which is important for something that can usually become quite repetitive. The settings menu has a bit of a visual overhaul as well, with easier to use buttons and a better character selector. The store is still here to buy coins (via in-app purchase,) but the game is still free to play and the purchases aren't completely necessary if you want to keep things cheap.

This game is a worthy successor to the original, building on what seems like a classic platform less than a year after its Android release. I've been playing quite a bit on both a phone and tablet with absolutely no hiccups or issues, even at max graphical settings. The animations, sounds and gameplay are all top-notch and set a standard for what every game should feel like when you play it.

Stick around after the break for a video walkthrough and some gameplay of the new version.

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