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2 years ago

Spotify finally coming to the United States

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Yes, we know -- you've heard this before and things never really panned out but this time around it might be a little bit different. Streaming music service Spotify, which has had great success in Europe has now updated their website and are asking that users submit their email addresses for an invite to the US version of Spotify. No other info was given but just to be on the safe side if you're interested in free, streaming music anytime, anywhere -- best to get your email added to the list.

Source: Spotify

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2 years ago

Google Maps 5.7 brings public transit navigation, better search, improved Places

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Google Maps just got a sizable update, with a slew of new features that those of you in major metro areas are going to want to check out. First and foremost is the addition of Transit Navigation. It's in beta (of course), but gives you directions via public transit in more than 400 cities worldwide, tying it all into turn-by-turn directions.

And speaking of directions, you're getting easier access to the nav button (anyone who's ever used it will be thankful for this). Also, Google Places are easier to get to, and they're better integrated into the search results. Also, photos are now integrated into Places results.

Here are the bullet points you'll see after updating:

  • Get GPS stop-by-stop public transit directions in Navigation (beta)
  • Receive search suggestions based on previous direction destinations and visited Place pages
  • Get directions in fewer clicks with the updated directions experience
  • Improved battery power management for Navigation (beta)
  • Browser photos of Place pages in a gallery view
  • Use the Download Map Area lap to save map areas for offline viewing

Google's demo video and Market links are after the break. Get to updating, everybody!

Source: Google Maps Blog

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2 years ago

Android Quick App: Earth Live Wallpaper

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As long as I'm on a kick with live wallpapers, I figured I should show you guys one of the biggest and best, Earth Live Wallpaper. And trust me, I know what you're thinking. "Live wallpaper, again?" Trust me, you'll like it.

Earth Live Wallpaper is a pretty stock live wallpaper. You've got our beautiful blue home planet set against a backdrop of stars, and there's even the moon orbiting, to boot. Water is blue, clouds are white, and all is well with the wallpaper.

Then you open up the settings menu and realize this is an incredibly full-featured wallpaper that has absolutely no intention of limiting you to just Earth, and also simultaneously proves the developer has a great sense of humor.

Diving into the settings menu, you're presented with a few sub-menus. You've got things like globe aspect (for changing aspect and position), globe behavior (how you interact with said globe), maps, background, starfield, and foreground. The aspect and behavior menus are fairly straightforward. Want to move the position of the globe? That's the way to do it.

The part of this wallpaper that really won me over was the maps section. I was thinking, "Maps? Of what, highways and things?" Oh no, if you think like me, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Maps aren't different map overlays of our fine planet, but actually different skins for the otherwise generic globe to don and show off. You've got the standards, like a few for Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and the like, but the developer really stepped things up a notch with their incredibly long and otherwise creative list of nonexistent planets and/or heavenly bodies.

In my perusing of the list, there's such greats as the Death Star (both versions), the Earth from Futurama, Krypton, Cybertron, and even their own take on Hades. There's a slew of Star Wars planets to pick from along with some Star Trek ones alongside, so there's something for everyone.

In terms of performance, I didn't notice any hiccups regardless of skin I'd chosen, so if you want to get your geek on live wallpaper-style, I'd seriously suggest this as one way to do it. Earth Live Wallpaper is free, so nothing lost if you change your mind, but it's still fun, even for a little while.

Download links and more pictures are after the break.

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2 years ago

HTC ChaCha review (Three network)

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The persistent rumors of an Android-powered “Facebook phone” culminated in the unveiling of the HTC ChaCha and its larger sibling, the Salsa, at Mobile World Congress back in February. With its full QWERTY keyboard and slightly silly name, the ChaCha drew attention for being the first phone to put the social network at the center of the user experience. Avid Facebookers were promised hardware and software to help them stay in touch with their legions of friends and followers -- a dedicated Facebook button was introduced, along with a specially-customized version of HTC’s Sense UI.

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks getting to grips with the HTC ChaCha on Three UK, which is available on Pay As You Go for £199.99, or for free on contracts starting at £20 per month. Read on to find out if we ‘Like’ the ChaCha, or whether we’d rather unfriend it and go our separate ways.

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2 years ago

Microsoft reportedly demanding $15 per Android phone from Samsung

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Microsoft and Samsung reportedly are in discussions over licensing fees concerning the latter's Android smartphones. Reuters, citing "local media," reported that Microsoft was "demanding" $15 per smartphone. Samsung reportedly countered with $10 per phone in exchange for "a deeper alliance with Microsoft for the U.S. company's Windows platform."

And thus the world continues to work as it's intended to. It's important to note that just as when HTC started forking over licensing fees to Microsoft, we're talking Microsoft and Samsung here, not Microsoft and Google, or Microsoft and Android. OK, maybe indirectly. But there are countless lines of proprietary code in Android, and any number of ways that code -- or, yes, possibly code from the Android Open Source Project itself -- could infringe on another company's patents. Problem right now is that nobody's saying which toes are getting stepped on, just that there's pressure on the foot.

Source: Reuters

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2 years ago

Sam's Club looking to get Samsung Conquer by July 24

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And, finally, we round out the Launch Date Leakapolooza with Sprint, and the Samsung Conquer. That's the mid-level Android smartphone that a brief appearance on Sammy's website last week before being yanked. Specs, as you'll recall, include:

  • 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen
  • 1 GHz CPU
  • 3.2MP rear camera, 1.3MP front facing camera
  • Android 2.3 (without TouchWiz and with Sprint ID)
  • Tri-Band CDMA (including the 800MHz frequencies)

So, we may well see the Samsung Conquer by July 24. Also note that the Motorola Photon appears to be slated for July, which narrows things down a little more than just "coming soon."

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2 years ago

European HTC Sensation gets first over-the-air update

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HTC is now pushing out its first over-the-air update for unbranded European Sensations, according to reports from users in several European countries. The update package reportedly weighs just under 27MB, and brings the Sensation up to software version 1.35.401.1 -- the exact same version which leaked last week in the form of an RUU (ROM update utility).

The general consensus seems to be that this is a small, incremental update consisting mostly of bug fixes and the like. The new software is still based on Android 2.3.3, and there's no sign that the bootloader has been unlocked in accordance with HTC's new bootloader policy. However, there are unconfirmed reports that the new software remedies some of the lag that users have been experiencing in the Sensation's homescreen launcher which, if true, would be very welcome indeed.

If you've got an unbranded European HTC Sensation, head over to 'Settings' -> 'About phone' -> 'Check for updates' to grab the new firmware, and report back to us in the comments if you notice any changes.

Source: XDA

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2 years ago

The Kyocera Echo flexes its muscles, shows off just how durable it really is

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One thing some Android devices aren't is durable. We have heard complaints of just how easily the screen of the HTC Thunderbolt scratches (just ask Phil), and we have seen plenty of devices put in their grave after just one fall. But not the Kyocera Echo. Kyocera has taken to its YouTube page to show off just how durable the Echo really is, and give us the low down on what goes into the creation of the device. Be sure to hit the break and check out some interesting lab tests taking place, and see for yourself just how strong this device really is.

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2 years ago

Qualcomm roadmap leaks, expect dual-core Krait soon, quad-core in 2013

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The Qualcomm roadmap for the next few years has leaked out, putting a time frame on the chips they announced last February.  According to the leak, we should expect dual-core LTE, HSPA, and HSPA+ chips clocked anywhere from 1.5 GHz to 1.7 GHz to be in the hands of manufacturers late in Q3 of this year, with the Adreno 225 GPU on board.  Come Q3 of next year, we should see the budget version start to make it's way into phones and other connected devices, with a Adreno 305 GPU and a bit lower (1.0-1.2GHz) clock speeds.

The "big deal," and what many are waiting for, are the quad-core Krait systems, complete with an Adreno 320 to push out 1080p video at 60 fps, and clock speeds in the 2 GHz and up range.  We won't get to see those until early 2013 though.  Of course, this is all subject to change -- if there's anything we all have learned from leaks, it's that they often don't hold true.  They will arrive when they arrive, and I think we will love them.

Source: MobileTechWorld; via Engadget

Update: Image and links removed at Qualcomm's request

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2 years ago

Words with Friends back on Honeycomb, looking better than ever

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Admittedly, it's been a few weeks since I last let my wife beat me had my butt kicked at Words with Friends. And in that time, it's disappeared from the Android Market for Honeycomb devices, and reappeared, more stable (hopefully) and better looking than ever.

One thing the update won't do: Keep your younger brother from cheating, or your spouse from beating you the old fashioned way. Regardless, download links are after the break.

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