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3 years ago

Sony announces the quad-core, 10-inch Tablet Z

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Sony Mobile has announced the Android 4.1-powered Xperia Tablet Z, right as we expected them to do so. The specs also match last week's rumors, with a few extra surprises thrown in. The Tablet Z comes equipped with a 10.1-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) display complete with the Mobile Bravia Engine 2, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of on device storage, a microSD card slot, NFC, and an 8.1 MP Exmor R camera. Providing the juice for all this is the Qualcomm quad-core APQ8064 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, with an LTE modem on board for the ride. As rumored, the Tablet Z is also extremely thin (6.9 mm) as well as water and dust proof like it's slightly smaller cousin the Xperia Z.

What we don't know is pricing and availability. Hopefully we get word at Mobile World Congress next month if not earlier. We'll keep an eye out and let you know when Sony has anything further to tell us all. We've got a picture of the rear after the break.

Source: Sony Mobile (Japan)

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3 years ago

Samsung rumored to be launching enormous smartphone with ridiculous name in Europe

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Leak season continues, and we're back with Samsung this time around. Sammobile, a usually reliable source of all things Samsung, claims to have received word of a 5.8 inch smartphone from the Korean OEM destined for Europe. The reported name is, ready for this? The Samsung Galaxy Fonblet. 

The device is said to be loosely based around the Samsung Galaxy Player 5.8 PMP that was launched in Korea, only with cellular capabilities. The Galaxy Player 5.8 has a qHD display, and a 3MP rear camera. The bad news is that Sammobile claims the Fonblet is supposed to have the same display. So we're not looking at a high-end, Note 2 beating device. Additionally, it's expected to have dual-sim capabilities -- suggesting emerging European markets might be the target here -- and will come in white. Feels a lot like parts recycling though, if we're honest. 

Source: Sammobile

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3 years ago

The best alarm clock apps for Android

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The days of the standalone bedside alarm clock are numbered, with the simple inclusion of a “clock” app on every smartphone taking over. But there are so many options out there, why settle for the app pre-loaded on your phone? Your alarm doesn't just have to be a bland beeping sound that makes you want to throw your phone across the room. Read on after the break and see the best alarm clock apps available for your device.

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3 years ago

The week in international Android news - Jan. 20, 2013

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We've hit the ground running after CES, with a wealth of Android news from around the world. And although that show gave us plenty of new devices to prepare for, the focus of much of this week's news was rumored devices expected to emerge in the months ahead. (Our money's on most of these being unveiled at Mobile World Congress in late February, by the way.)

Let's start by breaking down some of the rumored devices, then we'll get to some of the other international stories to break this week...

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Fitness month cometh

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I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but January is quickly coming to close. And that means February -- and Mobile Nations Fitness Month -- is nearly upon us. Last year was a dismal failure. OK, maybe not "dismal" -- I'm not sure I failed at it anymore than I've failed at anything else I didn't actually really do. We're going to give it another shot this year, never mind that I'll be on the road at least two weeks of an already short month.

Last year I tried a Fitbit. But that damned little pedometer was just too damned little. I have no idea where it went. So this year I'm going to try a Nike Fuel Band. I haven't warn a watch in years -- sitting in front of a computer all day, with clocks on walls and a smartphone in my pocket made strapping a timepiece on my arm a redundant proposition. So this semi-rigid bracelet has taken some getting used to, and it's extremely annoying when trying to type on a laptop. Maybe that says more about my typing posture. I dunno.

We still don't have a proper Android app for the Fuel Band. But Nike recently released some APIs, so let's hope apps like Endomondo take advantage of them.

Anyhoo. Mobile Nations Fitness Month is right around the corner. Hopefully I'll do a little better with it this year. And hopefully a few of you will come along for the ride.

And now, a few quick thoughts to start the week.

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3 years ago

Press for Android updated with performance fixes

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Popular Google Reader app Press has been updated with new performance improvements, as well as various bug fixes. The second update for the app brings it up to version 1.1.1, and since updating we're noticing that the app does seem a good bit nippier -- especially when syncing large numbers of unread articles.

If you'd previously tried out Press but had been put off by issues with speed and responsiveness, now might be the chance to give it another try. You can find the download link above; as always, it costs $1.99 and is limited those running Android 4.0 and above. Existing users can update by heading to the "My Apps" section in the Google Play Store app.

More: Press: Google Reader done right, or just different?

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3 years ago

Capture the essence of the Ubuntu lockscreen with Ubuntu Live Wallpaper

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I don't use live wallpapers traditionally. I find that too often there's a trade off in device performance and or battery life to make it worthwhile. I've made an exception to try this one out, and I'm pretty happy with it. Ubuntu Live Wallpaper tries to capture some of the feel of that great looking lockscreen on Ubuntu for Phones, in a live wallpaper for your Android device. And, while it isn't an exact replica, it's pretty close, and looks great. Currently still in beta, the developers describe it as their "hobby." But for a beta product, it's very well done. 

One of my biggest annoyances with live wallpapers as I mentioned is performance and battery life issues. Even on high end devices, too often things become jerky and the battery life has just been sucked dry. So far, on the Nexus 4 at least, this hasn't been the case with Ubuntu Live Wallpaper. Battery life doesn't seem to be any less than usual, and scrolling through the homescreens -- in my case with Action Launcher -- is as smooth and speedy as ever. 

There's a couple of features baked in too worth mentioning, and some due to arrive in future updates. A double tap anywhere on the wallpaper brings up the option to display either time, or remaining battery percentage. Coming in the future will be the ability to switch between 12 and 24 hour clocks, repositioning the circle, scaling and color change. 

Remember though that this is still a beta product, and the developers are all to aware of performance issues affecting some devices. But, it's free, and worth a look if you're looking for a little flavor of Ubuntu for Phones without getting too deep. You'll find it in the Play Store at the link above, and click on past the break for some screenshots. 

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3 years ago

Opera bringing the Ice browser to Android and iOS

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Opera is said to be bringing a new WebKit based browser to Android and iOS. Named "Ice", it presents a radical departure from what we're used to seeing with the stock Android Browser, Chrome, or even Safari. Shown off in an internal meeting right before Christmas, the folks at Pocket-lint got their hands on a copy and now we all can have a look.

Besides the UI, which we'll get back to in a moment, it's important to recognize that "Ice" won;t be using the same Presto rendering platform that Opera's current Android apps use. With Ice, Opera has moved to WebKit, the same engine that Chrome and Safari, as well as the stock Android browser and all the custom browsers in Google Play, are using. This should give Ice an edge, as most mobile pages and web apps are designed with WebKit in mind.

The new Opera Ice browser will be based around hiding the technology as much as possible and embracing rich applications. It will ditch all buttons and instead use gestures to control key elements like forwards and backwards. "This is a full touch and tablet-focused browser," said the product manager in the video we've seen. "Most are taking a PC browser and squishing [it] into a tablet, or they are taking a mobile browser and blowing it up to fill the space."

Yes, the UI looks very different. I'm not sure how I feel about "hiding technology" from the end user in favor of gestures and big icons, but I'll have to give the finished product a look before a final judgment.

Ice is not set to replace Opera mini, the small browser that compresses data to save time and bandwidth, but we expect that it may push the standard Opera Mobile for Android browser into retirement. Word is we'll know more at Mobile World Congress, which is coming right around the corner. We'll be there, and keep an eye out.

Source: Pocket-lint

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3 years ago

Celebrate the opening hockey weekend with NHL 2013 Live Wallpaper

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After a lengthy lockout, the NHL season is finally starting this weekend. If you’re a puck head like I am, you’re going to want to check out the NHL 2013 Live Wallpaper app. Whether you want to show support for your team or just give your devices a little hockey makeover, this app is for you.

The initial download is free. But if you want it to do anything more, you’re going to have to pay for add-ons within the app. We're not really keen on this sort of business model ourselves, but it is what it is. Here are the prices:

  • Live wallpaper only: $2.49 (1 team)
  • Score clock only: $1.49
  • Ringtone only: $0.99
  • All Access Pass (unlocks everything): $6.99

The live wallpapers have an optional interactive puck, Winter Classic Mode,  arena ticker, game events and sounds. You can also customize the flag style and what kind of arena you would like to see, whether it be a 2013 version or an older version from last year.

So whether or not you root for the Rangers, Penguins, Capitals or Sabres, the app has content to help you show off your fandom.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: NHL Gamecenter, Aldiko Sync, Candy Crush Saga and more!

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The app picks just keep on coming. Straight from the Android Central writers to you, the best apps we're using for the previous week are listed here. We've got some productivity tools and a few fun games for you to enjoy on your own phone or tablet this weekend.

Stick around after the break and see if our picks are up to par this week.

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3 years ago

Facebook borrows from itself, adds voice messages to main app

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A couple weeks after adding the feature to the Facebook Messenger app, voice messages are now a part of the main Facebook application. These aren't going to replace phone calls anytime soon -- and they're not really supposed to -- but they can be a fun little way to drop someone a note on Facebook, or to send voice messages when cellular calls aren't practical or available.

Perhaps even more surprising is that Facebook actually updated its changelog on the app with this latest version. Along with voice messaging, you should be able to open and view images a little faster, and share your friends stories to timelines, pages and groups. 

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3 years ago

Sky TV to offer local downloads of TV content through Sky Go

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I'm not a Sky TV subscriber, but this morning's news really make me wish that I was. According to a report from British broadsheet, The Telegraph, BSkyB is set to turn on local downloads of their content to mobile devices via the Sky Go app starting this week. It's been a somewhat turbulent relationship between Sky and Android users, with their apps not only late to the party, but notoriously incompatible with many popular devices at launch. Those sort of issues have been vastly improved upon in recent months, but now it seems that Sky is ready to take their service to the next level. 

As you might expect, this kind of service doesn't come for free. The ability to download content to your mobile devices will require a "Sky Go Extra" subscription, which costs £5 per month. For many this will be £5 well spent, as the majority of British carriers impose pretty tight data caps, including the new LTE network from EE, so local downloads is an extremely enticing prospect. Downloads will be active for a month, but there is said to be no limit to how much customers can download -- that limitation lies with your device, not with Sky. Up to 4 users can download content per subscription, and it seems to cover Sky's entire collection, including their Sky Movies 007 channel which offers every one of the James Bond movies. 

This move by Sky is sure to be a welcome one, and really takes the fight on the mobile front to the likes of Netflix, Google Play Movies, and Amazon's LOVEFiLM available on the Kindle Fire. Google may offer local storage of movies, but each incurs a rental price, whereas Sky Go will allow access to Sky Movies vast catalog plus the option to save it to your device. Netflix and LOVEFiLM while offering a pretty hefty selection of content, both still require a constant data connection to use. Competitors should take note, this is a huge move forwards from Sky TV. 

Source: The Telegraph

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3 years ago

Super Hexagon is ridiculously hard, ridiculously addicting

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We usually like to do our own demo videos of apps whenever possible. It's our job, for one, and it's always fun to see "the pros" occasionally suck at games on camera. But in the case of Super Hexagon, we're going to keep our shame bottle up deep inside, where it belongs. This game is that hard.

The idea is that you have to guide the triangle through the spaces of the incoming designs as they collapse in on the central hexagram. Cool 1980s-esque video game music helps keep up the pace (at least for those of us old enough to remember the sounds of an actual arcade). It's fun. It's addicting. And it's hard as hell. Literally. The three unlocked levels are "hard," "harder" and "hardest." Frankly, we're a little afraid to explore the other difficulties. Our pride has taken a beating here. But, still, we can't put it down. Another dollar well spent.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Camera update to bring new shooting modes, more responsive camera app

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The first major software update for Samsung's Galaxy Camera will add some new "smart" shooting modes, while addressing one of our main gripes with performance in the device's camera app. The update to Android 4.1.2 is available now as a ROM that can be flashed manually (and at your own risk) through the ODIN utility, though we're not yet aware of anyone having received it over-the-air through the usual channels.

Let's take a look at what's new...

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3 years ago

PIC adresses Inaugural 2013 app's privacy policy concerns

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A couple days ago we told you about Inaugural 2013 -- a very nicely done app from the Presidential Inaugural Committee that had a pretty peculiar privacy policy, and on the surface looked like a nonpartisan app about the Inauguration. The folks at PIC (The Presidential Inaugural Committee) have clarified their privacy policy a bit with the Washington Post, and want to let everyone know you don't have to share anything with anyone.

Contrary to some concerns, the app only collects one sort of user data: cellphone numbers that users voluntarily share and can opt out of sharing, for use in sending texts to users – such as late-breaking changes and emergency updates. The app has no way to collect e-mails, names or other personal information from users.

The original privacy policy (since replaced in Google Play with a generic page from AT&T) still allows the sharing of any information, but PIC is saying they won't collect any unless you opt-in to use all the services the application offers. If you don't want or need to use any of the location or alert portions of the app, and instead only use the news and video portions, nothing can be collected and shared with third parties.

What's not readily apparent, but certainly notable, is that there are numerous links to the PIC website that encourages users to submit information that will be shared under the original PIC privacy policy.

It's a better situation than we originally thought, as the Inaugural news and video portions of the application could be useful. We're still not ready to recommend this one, but we did want to advise everyone of the Presidential Inaugural Committee's response to privacy concerns and criticism.

Source: Washington Post

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