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3 years ago

Verizon will sunset 2G and 3G CDMA networks by 2021

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You can toss this one onto your Google calendar -- Verizon will sunset its 2G and 3G CDMA networks nearly a decade from now. After recently announcing at CTIA MobileCON that it will launch its 400th LTE market 2 months ahead schedule, Verizon is talking about when CDMA will finally go the way of the dinosaurs.

The network report from FierceWireless expresses that this decade-early heads up on the CDMA sunset is important mostly for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, and not necessarily for consumers. Verizon has been pushing LTE harder than any other carrier lately -- and already plans to start rolling out VoLTE as soon as possible -- so we'd expect most customers to move to LTE well before 2021.

Source: FierceWireless

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3 years ago

Fighting with S-Voice, Is getting a Galaxy Nexus now a good idea? [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.

We've got nearly 1 million members helping members and nearly 2 million posts in our Android Forums. Are you one of them? Join today!

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3 years ago

Use LinkBuster to parse short URLs (Android app review)

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A couple weeks back I delicately expressed my concern about clicking shortened URLs on our Android phones. If you weren't paying attention, there's a nasty bug in some Samsung phones that can delete all user data if you click a malicious link -- one that's easily hidden behind a URL shortener like bit.ly or goo.gl. I promised to make someone famous if they would create a great solution for all of us on Android.

Quite a few folks sent apps in, and while all of them worked as intended, I have to give the hat tip to JP2014 for the LinkBuster app. It does two things I'm crazy about -- uses Android intents, and incorporates the Web of Trust service.

Using it is really easy. Install it from Google Play using the link above, and any time you click a URL you get the choice to open it in LinkBuster. If it's a link you trust, just choose your browser. But if it's a link that looks sketchy, or is shortened and you have no idea where it will take you, choose LinkBuster from the menu provided. 

One the LinkBuster app is opened, you get the full version of the URL as well as the Web of Trust rating for it. The Web of Trust is crowd sourced data from folks like you and me, and it's usually spot-on about the safety and validity of links. Cory turned me on to it last year, and I think it's a great tool. Having it incorporated this way is perfect -- you use it when you have reason to question a link, and the rest of the time it's out of the way.

The web is a nasty place. Plenty of folks want to make things miserable for others, and we have to be on guard against it. Tools like LinkBuster can help. It's free, so give it a try!

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3 years ago

Need for Speed Most Wanted racing towards Google Play

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EA has announced that Most Wanted, the latest iteration of their Need for Speed franchise, will be arriving on Android this month. Takedowns, vehicle damage, and a whole bunch of recognizable vehicles from Porsche, Dodge, and Maserati are going to be available in this racing game. Firemonkeys are behind Need for Speed Most Wanted, which is great since they already have plenty of experience with these kinds of games after doing Real Racing. 

There's no mention of pricing, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this one placed in the premium $6.99 tier along with other Firemonkeys / EA games like Dead Space, Mass Effect: Infiltrator, and The Sims 3. Still, it looks like it would be worth it, especially if you're a fan of high-end racing games on Android. Gamers, do you prefer moderately realistic racing titles like this, or do you prefer goofier arcade-style racers like Asphalt 7? 

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3 years ago

Sprint holding off on MetroPCS counter offer

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Following the official announcement of a reverse takeover between T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS, Sprint reportedly started setting up a counter offer to buy the company and break up the deal. Reports now indicate that Sprint may have thought better of this, and is considering waiting for more information before making a decision on the deal.

Although the agreement between Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile USA's parent company) and MetroPCS for the takeover is official, it could take up to three months before MetroPCS investors will take a vote (because it is a public company) to approve it. During this time, more information on the bidding process and agreement should be released, giving Sprint a better look at the situation before putting in an offer.

In the meantime, MetroPCS' stock will be trading as a proxy for the new combined carrier, possibly affecting the final pricing of Sprint's eventual offer. Also throwing a wrench into things, if MetroPCS decides to back out of the deal with Deutsche Telekom, they must pay a $150 million "breakup fee". Surely Sprint would have to include that cost in their offer.

It's clear that Sprint sees the importance of this deal, realizing that T-Mobile and MetroPCS combining could be another strike against them getting out of third place and challenging Verizon and AT&T. Sprint vehemently opposed the AT&T / T-mobile merger from a regulatory and competition standpoint, but won't have such luck on this one given the size of MetroPCS compared to AT&T (Metro being about 1/10 the size). Their only chance to stop this takeover will have to come in the form of a very large counter offer.

This one is far from over, folks. Be sure to stick with us for our continued coverage of the merger.

Source: Bloomberg

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3 years ago

The Economist app updated to fix battery drain issues

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The Economist app hasn't been the most visually appealing out there, but it was always at least functional. One of the main usability gripes facing the app was a nasty bug (or two, or seven) that caused some serious battery drain if you didn't look out for it and force close or reboot. Now that's no way to code an app, and today its been updated specifically to fix the battery issues. Unfortunately, the app still uses the legacy menu button configuration, which really shouldn't be around in modern apps anymore. Plenty of other developers (big and small) have removed it, and we think The Economist could do the same.

The app is of course most useful if you've committed a bit of money towards a yearly subscription, but there are still some free portions available if you want to get a feel for the content. You can find the app at the Google Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 on sale for £399 from ASDA Mobile

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There seems to be no shortage of U.K. retailers putting Samsung's latest flagship Galaxy SIII (S3) on sale lately, and today you can add ASDA Mobile onto that list. Starting at midnight tonight, the giant supermarket will be selling the Galaxy S3 for just £399 via its mobile portal. Its quite the steal if you're in the market for the latest Samsung superphone, especially considering the best of the high-end devices currently on sale from ASDA is only the Galaxy SII (S2).

It's quickly approaching midnight in the U.K., so if you're interested in picking one of these up, go find that credit card and head to the source link below. The price is certainly right, you don't want to miss out on one of these.

Source: Eurodroid; ASDA Mobile

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3 years ago

Android 4.1.2 JZO54K factory images for the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus now available

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If you've been on the hunt for the factory images of Android 4.1.2 (JZO54K) for the Nexus 7 or Samsung Galaxy Nexus (takju devices only), you can now grab them directly from Google. A lot of folks are still waiting for the OTA's but if you're looking to tinker around in the meantime, this would be a good start. Plus, the files are always good to have on hand just in case you ever need to go back to stock.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Google Play Magazines updated, now available in Australia

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The gradual worldwide spread of Google Play content wrote another chapter today. The Google Play Magazines application has received an update which brings with it availability in Australia. Magazines was one of the additions to the Google Play content portfolio following the launch of the Nexus 7, and while the tablet becomes available in more and more markets, sadly the content is slow in following. 

Additionally, users outside of Australia will benefit from todays update. We're promised a "significant performance improvement for all devices." in particular relating to page turning. Performance improvements are always welcome improvements. 

If you're a reader down under, why not hit up the comments below and let us know how you're finding the new service. 

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3 years ago

LG Nexus 4 to launch Oct. 29, says French newspaper

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French national newspaper Le Figaro is reporting that Google and LG will debut the next Nexus smartphone, dubbed "Nexus 4," later this month. According to the paper, the device will make its global debut on Oct. 29, before coming to France on the Vodafone-owned SFR network in December. If true, the Oct. 29 date could point to an unveiling at Dive Into Mobile conference in New York, as has been previously rumored.

The wording of Le Figaro's article suggests a product launch alongside the announcement on Oct. 29. This would make it the first Nexus smartphone to become available immediately upon announcement since the original Nexus One. It'd also point to the Nexus 4 being released primarily via the Google Play devices store, as that's the only feasible way such a launch could be pulled off. Of course, it's also possible Le Fig just got its wires crossed, and that Oct. 29 is only the announcement date after all.

It's the second time we've heard the "Nexus 4" name today -- this morning the name appeared in a leaked photo from the Carphone Warehouse's inventory system. The name could refer to it being the fourth Nexus smartphone, or its 4.7-inch screen.

So it certainly looks like the next Nexus launch isn't far off. Stick with Android Central for all the details as they emerge.

Source: Le Figaro

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3 years ago

Microsoft Office for Android may be landing in March

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Microsoft Office has been flirting with Android for awhile now, but things may be getting a lot more serious now that MS Product Manager Petr Bobek said that the full productivity suite may be landing in March 2013 on mobile. The full desktop version of Office 2013 should be available for businesses in December 2013 and consumers in late February.

If you're really interested in checking it out, a customer preview was made available over the summer. Which mobile apps do you use to handle presentbations, documents, and spreadsheets? Are they good enough, or does Microsoft need to make something that ties in really tightly with the desktop counterparts? I could certainly see some solid Microsoft Office apps getting some use on tablets with keyboard docks, but do people do a lot of serious editing on smartphones?

Update: Microsoft corporate PR is saying that the information is bogus. Take that as you will. 

Via: The Verge

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus gets gesture area care of Open webOS

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Last week the Samsung Galaxy Nexus became some kind of Frankensteinian abomination when the recently open-sourced webOS was shoehorned inside. Already the beast is looking a little better now that the developers have managed to mock up a gesture area at the bottom of the screen. As you can tell in the video, things are still very much a work in progress.

Of course, since the Galaxy Nexus doesn't have any capacitive buttons, the software had to create a row of pixels along the bottom to detect gestures. Presumably, that same row will be usable for the old forward and back gestures eventually, but one thing at a time.

Google Chrome has already borrowed the idea of virtualized border gestures for switching tabs, while others, like RIM, went hog-wild with gesture areas in the PlayBook. While we're busy giving webOS some credit, Touch to Share between the TouchPad and Pre 3 was a solid precursor to Android Beam. Do we have any webOS expatriates in the house? Are there any particular features of webOS that you'd still like to see emulated in Android, or has Palm's operating system already made any mark on the world that it was fated to make? Anyone with a Galaxy Nexus interested in seeing what it's like to use webOS once the software is in a more usable state?

Via: webOS Nation

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3 years ago

Chaos Rings brings classic JRPG action and hefty pricetag to Google Play

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Chaos Rings, a role-playing game franchise created by the venerable Square Enix about two years ago on iOS, has found its way to Android. If you remember the ports of their classic Final Fantasy titles, you'll know that Square Enix has a habit of charging a fair bit for their mobile games, and Chaos Rings is no different with a $12.99 pricetag. That said, reviews for the iOS version have been unanimously good, so at least you're getting quality for what you pay for.

The game's story revolves around a mysterious tournament where pairs of contestants fight for their lives in the imposing and surreal Ark Arena. There are 8 characters to chose from, spread between 5 pairs, each with their own histories and plotlines to unfold. 

On the one hand, it's easy to laugh openly at just about any app trying to get away with a pricetag of more than $10 in Google Play, but on the other, I admire developers that have the moxy to try to stem the race to the bottom in app pricing. Only really big-name publishers can afford to create high-quality apps for bargain basement prices, and even then, they only work if supplemented by ad and in-app purchase revenue. What do you guys think - is the labor that goes into making an application just as valuable as it used to be (as Nintendo would contend), or is the app market so saturated now that old models simply don't work anymore? Is it worth paying a premium up-front to combat the trend in in-app purchasing?

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini render leaks ahead of announcement

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Samsung confirmed the existence of the Galaxy S3 Mini just a few hours ago, and now it seems we have a leaked press render and purported specs to go with it. According to German blog MobileGeeks, which obtained the render above, the S3 Mini will sport a 1GHz dual-core ST Ericsson U8420 CPU, along with 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a microSD card slot. That's apparently packed behind a 4-inch WVGA SuperAMOLED display, running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Sammy's TouchWiz Nature UX. Other notables include a 5MP rear camera and 1500mAh battery.

So it's not quite a Galaxy S3 packed into a smaller shell, as some had hoped, but the Galaxy S3 Mini could be successful in its own right, assuming the price tag isn't too high. Speaking of which, the site reports that the Mini will go on sale from €399 SIM-free in the eurozone, which isn't terribly expensive.

Would you be up for this kind of miniature, mid-range, Jelly Bean-based handset at this price point? Let us know in the comments.

We'll know more about the Galaxy S3 Mini after tomorrow's announcement.

Source: MobileGeeks, via: Slashgear

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3 years ago

Lookout for Android gets a redesign and dialer threat protection

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As mobile devices become smarter and more prolific, mobile security threats are continuing to diversify. And with more and more of us becoming more security conscious these days, mobile security apps like Lookout are becoming increasingly popular. 

The latest update to the popular security app, now available on Google Play, includes a fresh coat of paint, as well as new features. Most notable is the "safe dialer," which protects against that nasty USSD code exploit on certain Samsung phones.

  • Intuitive user-friendly design.
  • A new Activity Feed – an intelligent dashboard which allows you to see your mobile activity and how Lookout protects you in one glance.
  • Signal Flare – allows you to locate a missing device, even if the battery has died.
  • Safe Dialer – protects against a new mobile threat: dialer-based attacks. It scans every phone number you click to call from your mobile browser, alerting you to potential threats.

You can grab the latest version using the Google Play Store link above. Check past the break for the full presser.

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