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3 years ago

Gmail is down, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it [Updated]


Have you ever felt so helpless before in all your life?



Update 3: Looks like anything connected to Google is failing. Ads. Google Play Store. Basically, it's Judgment Day, people.

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3 years ago

Playing around with clip on lenses: Part 1


Magnetic clip on lenses aren't new. They've been around for a while, often marketed as an accessory for the iPhone. Our buddies over at Windows Phone Central started playing around with some on the new Nokia Lumia 920, but we couldn't sit back and let them have all the fun, could we? 

A quick trip to eBay later and a pair of clip on lenses were on their way. They're a pretty inexpensive accessory, the 2 that I ordered cost me around £10 ($16) for the pair. As with real camera lenses, there seems to be plenty of choice out there over what to get, but I went with a Fisheye and a Wide Angle. I'm planning a week of goofing around with these and my LG Nexus 4, so part 2 of the post will drop next week. This week, a look at the lenses themselves. Next week, the results. Let's take a look.

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3 years ago

Another week, more LTE locations for AT&T


AT&T's march toward a network full of 4G LTE data continues, with three four new cities announced (so far) this morning. They are:

  • Wilkes-Barre, Penn.
  • Nashua, N.H.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Auburn-Opelika, Ala.

So, that's three more to go along with the dozens we've seen go live in the last few months. If you're still waiting, hang in there. The ball's a-rollin'. And if you've got an LTE-capable device, keep your eye on that data indicator.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

Nook Video UK launch announced with UltraViolet support


Good news for Nook HD and HD+ early adopters in the UK -- Barnes & Noble has announced the launch of its Nook Video service for British Nook owners. The move brings B&N's tablets up to speed with the latest Amazon, Google and Apple tablets, all of which offer their own on-board video services.

The move is made possible through new, expanded UK licensing deals with content owners such as BBC Worldwide, HBO, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Barnes & Noble says. Individual TV shows and movies highlighted by B&N in today's press release include --

Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Game of Thrones®, True Blood®, Ted, The Bourne Legacy, The Amazing Spider-Man™, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Men in Black 3, Spartacus, Party Down, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Happy Feet Two.

Both high and standard-definition video content is available through Nook Video, with streaming and downloading supported on the service. Downloads are linked to the Nook Cloud service, allowing them to be played on other supporting devices.

What's more, Nook Video will also tie into the UltraViolet video system, allowing those who've purchased Blu-ray or DVD versions of titles to view a digital copy of this content on their Nook tablets.

You'll find more details in the presser after the break. If you've picked up a Nook HD or HD+ tablet in the UK recently, let us know how you're getting on in the comments.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia E + E Dual get priced in Europe


When Sony announced the Xperia E in both single and dual-SIM flavors last week, it said the device would be affordable, however so far pricing info has been difficult to track down. Today that changes, as price details for the Xperia E and Xperia E Dual have emerged in a press release from Sony Mobile Germany.

Sony's priced the new entry-level Xperia at €159 (£128) with single SIM support, or €169 (£136) for the dual-SIM variant. Other Xperia E specs include a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, a 1GHz CPU and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the single-SIM version (the Xperia E Dual will ship with ICS and get an upgrade later.)

One of the first Sony phones to ship with Jelly Bean, the Xperia E is due to go on sale during the first quarter of 2013.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Samsung demos their Premium Suite upgrade headed to the Samsung Galaxy S3


Update: Samsung has now shown part 2 of the Premium Suite update, and you can find everything after the break. 

Just as we saw when Android 4.1.2 rolled out to international Samsung Galaxy S3's starting with Poland, the Premium Suite upgrade adds quite a few features and enhancements for Galaxy S3 owners. To show off those goods, Samsung has now posted up part one of a series of demo videos that highlight the changes headed our way. In short, it's a mixture of stuff from the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Here's what you can expect:

 Contextual Awareness

  • Page Buddy: Your phone will smartly predict what you intend to do according to your actions. For example, when you plug in your earphones, the device automatically opens up a page with the music player.
  • Contextual Menu:  When you list up apps, you can now choose to see the most frequently used ones first. Especially convenient when you’re looking through apps  to find files to attach.
  • Contextual Tag:  When you take a picture on the phone, you can tag the weather, date, and place immediately.

Enhanced Features

  • Multi Window: You can open two different apps at the same time into two different windows on the mobile screen.
  • Auto Share Shot Pairing using NFC: By setting the camera to ‘Auto Share Shot’ mode, you can quickly share your photos and videos by simply tapping their GALAXY S III with other NFC and S-Beam enabled devices
  • Reader Mode: You can easily control the size of the text on your browser! Also, you can just click the webpage to share it!
  • Facebook Lock Ticker: The easiest way to see your Facebook News Feeds – set your phone to show it on your lock screen.

It's a pretty awesome pack to have arrive on an already great device but alas, the typical disclaimer applies here. Samsung notes that availability and timing of the Premium Suite upgrade will vary depending on the country and mobile carrier.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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3 years ago

Samsung reminds us that new things are coming at CES 2013


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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