Headlines

2 years ago

HTC says infringed patent 'a small UI experience,' already has workaround

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The International Trade Commission has found that HTC products violate Apple patents, and the importation of devices will be banned starting in April of next year.  We don't yet know which devices are covered under this order -- HTC isn't yet saying -- only that "Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has found a violation of section 337 in this investigation and has issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting importation of infringing personal data and mobile communications devices and related software".  It's a pretty broad statement, and we're not going to second guess at it until we hear the full details.

HTC gave Android Central the following statement (updated 6:20 EST):

We are gratified that the Commission affirmed the judge’s initial determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.

While fans on one side will cheer, and fans on the other side will call foul, we all will lose.  Justice really is blind, and when it comes to technology and innovation, it also seems pretty damn stupid. 

More: All Things D

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2 years ago

AT&T's bid for T-Mobile is officially dead

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That's it, folks. It's done. Kaput. Finished. First reported by The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press, AT&T has released a statement saying the deal is over.

“The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry. It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately. The AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage. In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.”

AT&T has already set aside $4 billion (with a "b") in break-up fees, which they'll be paying to someone now.  Big business is an expensive playground to play in.

Long live the Big 4.

Update: Sprint, an extremely vocal opponent of the merger, just issued the following statement:

“Earlier today, AT&T terminated its definitive merger agreement with Deutsche Telekom to acquire T-Mobile USA. This is the right decision for consumers, competition and innovation in the wireless industry.

“From the beginning, Sprint has stood with consumers who spoke loudly and clearly that AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile would create an undeniable duopoly that would have resulted in higher prices, less innovation and fewer choices for the American consumer.

“Sprint commends the Department of Justice, the Federal Communications Commission and the bi-partisan group of state attorneys general who gave voice to the concerns of consumers across the country. We look forward to competing fiercely in the robust, competitive market that exists today and continuing to deliver the world class service and products that consumers have come to expect from Sprint.”

Source: AT&T

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2 years ago

Google announces welcome improvements to Google+ are coming before the New Year

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Google has some great new improvements in the works for Google+, and today they let us know we'll be getting them soon -- as in before New Year's Day.  Starting to roll out in the "next few days", we'll be seeing changes to the way notifications look and feel, which posts are shown in your main stream, a new photo lightbox display, and changes to the way Google+ Pages are administered.

Notifications (that red box you see in the new Google bar) are being improved so that you'll have a preview of what's new instead of just a notice that it's there.  A welcome change, especially if you reply to posts from folks who quickly hit the 500 comment limit.

Google is adding a way to fine-tune what type of posts are shown in your main stream, with a slider for each user you've circled.  This should allow better control, and it's a great idea that many have been asking for.  Let's face it -- some users post a lot of content you just don't want to see.  It will be interesting to see how they pull this one off.

The photo lightbox -- the page that's shown when you click a photo from your stream -- has been enhanced, with a new look as well as the way comments and options are presented to users.  Since Google+ is a great way to share photos, making the way they are displayed to you and I is a pretty big deal.  Looking forward to this one myself.

Finally, Google+ Pages, accounts for businesses and websites like +Android Central, have had tweaks that webmasters and managers will welcome.  Up to 50 people will be able to administrate the account, a new notification system will help keep admins more in-the-loop about content, and new tools will be provided to see just who is interacting with your stream. 

These look like great improvements, and several of them should trickle down to the Google+ mobile app -- like filtering your stream.  The Google+ team looks to have had a busy fall, and we're about to see the results.  Be sure to visit the link to check out a couple videos and learn more.

Source: Google

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2 years ago

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation from Gameloft now available in the Android Market

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

The next chapter in one of Gameloft's largest game franchises has finally been released to the Android Market. Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation brings back the intense gameplay Modern Combat fans expect but adds a few new features to the mix as well:

  • Solo Campaign - A 13 mission operation taking players from Los Angeles to Pakistan that features AAA scenario-scripting and multiple types of gameplay ranging from escort and destroy to helicopter, 4x4 chases, and more!
  • Upgraded Effects - Enjoy next-gen GFX allowing for unprecedented rendering of environments and improved SFX and voice acting, in addition to a new spring and slide feature.
  • Multiplayer - Enter battles with up to 12 players at a time in 6 exclusive maps and 7 different modes. Players can also use customized weapons to move up the leaderboard with more than just ranks.

If you dig war games, you can grab Modern Combat 3: Fall Nation in the Android Market right now. Looking at the reviews though, it seems there may be some issues with the Galaxy Nexus running the game so your milage may vary. It's available for $6.99 and you'll find the download link past the break.

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2 years ago

This is how you unbox a Galaxy Nexus (hint: with Ninjas)

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You've probably noticed, we don't spend much time on traditional unboxing videos around these parts, even when a phone kicks ass at the level of the Galaxy Nexus.  There's only so many times you can look at a USB cable and cheap set of earbuds before things start to go a bit fuzzy, so we leave that to your imagination.  But things would be different if we were ninjas.

How different?  Make sure you have Adobe Flash installed (sorry iPad, U NO CAN PLAY) and hit the link to see.  Just don't plan on doing anything else for at least an hour.

Ninja's Unboxing 3

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2 years ago

Android App Review: SeekDroid

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Keeping your phone safe and sound is a pretty big deal to all of us, I'd say. We cover our thin, svelte devices in cases, slap screen protectors on them, and make sure they're always in a pocket, purse, or holster. In the odd event you've misplaced your phone, or even worse, it was stolen, it feels like the sky is falling.

Important emails, financial information, texts, pictures, all of it is AWOL. You're freaking out, trying to retrace your steps, get your phone, and secure your information. It's no good for anyone. To alleviate some of the stress you feel in situations like this, I'd like to introduce y'all to SeekDroid.

SeekDroid is your one-stop shop for everything related to keeping your phone safe. It's a two-step process (installing the app, then controlling everything from the web), but once you see the total package, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Once you've installed the app, you have to sign up for SeekDroid's website with a username and a password. Make sure you never lose it, because if you forget your password, you need to uninstall the app, reinstall it, and sign up with a new name. There's no password recovery to speak of.

The app itself is pretty Plain Jane, nothing more than a settings menu. From here you can set SeekDroid as a device administrator, change your SeekDroid password, and enable a slew of security settings. This is where all the preliminary decisions get made, so make sure you choose wisely.

You can enable or disable call history retrieval, remote phone wiping, and remote SD card wiping, plus there's also SMS settings to control your phone in case you can't get to a computer.

First you set up your SMS pin, then select what options you're giving SeekDroid power over (similar to the web interface), but here, you'd text your phone your PIN and a keyword, like locate, to enable SMS location. You can also activate an alarm, lock your phone, wipe it, or wipe the SD card, all using SMS.

What else does SeekDroid have to offer? When you're on the web interface, quite a bit. You can locate your phone using GPS and get a pinpoint accurate location, conveniently placed on Google Maps for you. There's also the option to send an alarm to the device (with a custom message), and the alarm still sounds even if the phone is on silent.

You can also actually lock the phone, wipe it, or wipe the SD, barring you set those permissions earlier. The web portal is quite slick, well designed, and easy to use. I tested each of the options (except for wiping), and needless to say, they work like a charm.

If you're looking for peace of mind in the event your phone goes missing, SeekDroid is definitely where it's at. Yes, it costs $4.99, but for a one-time fee and the ability to track any Android device I install it on, I could not be more pleased. It's easy to set up on your phone, even easier to use the web interface, and that nets it a strong recommendation from me.

We've got pictures and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Cincinnati Bell's Nexus S to receive Ice Cream Sandwich this week [updated]

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Update: Cincinatti Bell's given us an official update on the update, saying that we might not see things push this week, but instead through January. Also, as is the case with Nexus phones, expect the update from Google itself. Here's the full statement:

Cincinnati Bell’s Samsung Nexus S is among the handsets that will be receiving the Google Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 update.  The updates will follow Google’s OTA schedule which will be pushed out through January 2012.  Please keep in mind the update requires Android 2.3.6 to work properly and will NOT work if  the device hasn’t been updated from Android 2.3.4 software.  Contact your local Cincinnati Bell Wireless store for information relating to updating your Nexus S to Android 2.3.6.

Original: While the Samsung Nexus S shown above on Cincinnati Bell has definitely been running the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich update earlier than this week, that doesn't change the fact that the Ohio-based company should be officially pushing out the update starting today. Our sources tell us that the company has the latest version of Android on their servers right now and ready to roll out to its Nexus S owners over the next week, which means you had better get your fingers on that  "System Updates" button. From our experience, you don't want to waste a single minute extra without it.

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2 years ago

Eric Schmidt doesn't actually say Nexus tablet, everybody starts thinking it anyway

So apparently Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said something about a tablet to an Italian newspaper. Next thing you know, we have a Nexus tablet coming in six months or something. And you know what? That could totally happen. And you know what else? It already has.

Here's what Schmidt actually said (more or less, thanks to Google Translate):

"We in the next six months plan to market a tablet of the highest quality."

Someone want to point out where, in that sentence, the word "Nexus" is used?

Here's what probably happened: Someone asked Schmidt a question. Schmidt gave an answer that you'd totally expect from the company's executive chairman and former CEO. What else should he have said? "Oh, we're going to push some piece of shit that nobody's going to buy." Nobody would say that. Not even RIM. (OK, maybe RIM.)

Oh, but, yes, Schmdit did say "We ... plan to market." Cool. Wouldn't surprise us in the least. Because Google's already done that once. A year ago. It was called the Motorola Xoom. It came with an unlockable bootloader, was devoid of bloatware and was the first tablet to be pushed by el Goog.

No, it wouldn't surprise us in the least to see Google put its weight behind another tablet. And a tablet of the highest quality, to boot. And it'll be welcomed by us with open arms. But let's not go putting words in people's mouths just yet.

Source: Corriere Della Sera (translated); via Notebook Italia (translated)

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2 years ago

Droid RAZR about to get bugfix update, including data and camera

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Some good news for those of you suffering with that little slice of sexy otherwise known as the Motorola Droid RAZR: An update's on the way (and we're told that a soak test has already begun) that's going to squash a few bugs, including that blasted SIM card error, and to improve the camera. Here's the list:

  • SIM error notification has been fixed
  • Improved camera features and quality
  • Improved stability of menu access, browser, phone dialer, video playback and music player to prevent force-close errors and lockups
  • Updated group message notification in e-mail
  • Improvement in 3G/4G data connectivity
  • Maintain network connection upon completion of a voiec call
  • Background color has been adjusted to improve readability in Lapdock connection UI menu items.

Good stuff. Look for the update to drop any time now.

Source: Verizon (pdf); thanks, @yankees368

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2 years ago

Vote now in the 2011 Android Central Awards!

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The year's quickly coming to a close, and it's time to cast your vote in the 2011 Android Central Awards. We want your vote in the following categories:

  • Smartphone of the year
  • Tablet/e-reader of the year
  • Most disappointing smartphone of the year
  • Most disappointing tablet/e-reader of the year
  • And a handful of app categories

This one's entirely up to you, folks. If you don't vote, you can't complain. Just like real life. So hit the link below and make sure your voice is heard. It just takes a couple minutes. (And, yes, you'll be getting Android Central's unabashed choices in the near future, too.) We'll be closing entries on Friday afternoon and announce the winners (and loser) next week! Vote now! 

Vote in the 2011 Android Central Awards

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