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3 years ago

Using the HTC First without Facebook Home


Just a few taps in the settings turns the First into an entirely new device

When we reviewed the HTC First, we found the hardware and performance to be decidedly top-notch considering its pricing and placement in AT&T's lineup. For $100 on-contract -- or $449 off -- you could have a phone with a great screen, acceptable specs and a form factor that fits in your hand without contortion. Discussion of the HTC First then took a turn towards intrigue when it was discovered that you could quickly and permanently turn off the Facebook Home software. It continued when we then saw that sitting underneath Home was something that genuinely looked like stock Android 4.1.

Just like any other Android launcher, there are no strings attached here -- turning off Facebook Home disables it until you choose to turn it back on. A small, well-built device that can simply be changed over to run a more vanilla Android experience is something that many have been looking for as average screen sizes have ballooned in the last couple of years. So what's it like to use the HTC First with Facebook Home permanently turned off? Well, it's actually a generally great experience. Stick around after the break and see some of the details.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 comes to Staples


If you're in the market for a new Samsung Galaxy S4 and need to pick up some printer toner, a pack of ballpoint pens, and a new label maker, then you might just want to get yourself to your nearest... Staples. The office supply store is now carrying the Galaxy S4 for all major US carriers (that'd be AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon), with varying availability in stores and online depending on your carrier of choice.

The Galaxy S4 for Sprint from Staples is available online only in 'white frost' or 'black mist' for $199.99 on a two-year contract (or $715.99 off contract). Going for Verizon (again, white or black) will be $179.99 with the standard two-year contract or $715.99 without, though they're currently on preorder and not expected to arrive in stores and ship until May 30. T-Mobile currently only has the white Galaxy S4 available via the Staples website ($249.99 on contract, $715.99 off) and it's supposedly available now in stores. AT&T's the current laggard in Staples availability, with the S4 only to be available in stores, with no publicly projected date of availability.

So go grab yourself a ream of paper, get some business cards printed, and pick up a Samsung Galaxy S4 while you're at it. Especially if you're looking at Verizon - it's $20 cheaper on contract through Staples than the carrier.

Source: Business Wire

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3 years ago

HP Slate 7 Review


Two years after the debacle of webOS, HP's jumping back into tablets with the Android-powered Slate 7. Priced at just $169.99, just how good can it be?

A titan of Silicon Valley, HP has seen more than its fair share of struggles over the past few years. The company long has grappled with the tablet formula, though often at the mercy of whatever Microsoft pushed down from Redmond. They've launched several Windows XP and Windows 7 convertible tablets, and most recently launched a pair of Windows 8-powered tablets.

But they've all been more PC than mobile device. The most spectacular of HP's consumer failings in recent years came in the form of a mobile-derived tablet: the webOS-powered HP TouchPad. Unveiled in February 2011 and launched in July of the same year, the TouchPad was generally well-received by the technology press but failed to catch on with consumers. Of course, one could easily argue that given its cancelation 49 days after launch it didn't have a chance to catch on. But all that is in the past, and after two years of turmoil, HP's dipping its toes back into the tablet waters.

Where the TouchPad ran webOS 3.0, had a 9.7-inch screen, and carried a $499.99 price tag at launch, HP's newest tablet offering tacks in a different direction. It's the HP Slate 7; it runs Android 4.1.1 on a 7-inch screen, and it's priced at an affordable $169.99. Unlike the Google-financed Asus Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, HP doesn't have a software ecosystem to be supported by selling the Slate 7 at or below break-even. Even so, it looks like it should be competitively spec'd for its price bracket - but how does it really measure up?

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3 years ago

Congratulations to the winner of the AT&T HTC One!


The Android Central (and Mobile Nations) community is made up of countless awesome people. Sometimes I think that amid all of the phone talk, carrier discussions, debates regarding bugs and build quality, and general techy banter, people forget that real live actual people are behind those words on the screen. I think that's why I really enjoyed last week's contest for the AT&T HTC One. We decided the requirement for entry was to post a video of you doing your favorite hobby or showing your talent, and the entries were amazing!

Now, we couldn't judge these entries and choose who was the "best". It was never meant to be that kind of contest. So we've put all the eligible entries into our magical contest winner picker machine and you can find out the name of that lucky Android Central member is below!

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3 years ago

How to get to Google Now on the Samsung Galaxy S4


Google's predictive search app is alive and well on the Galaxy S4 -- and there are a few ways to get to it quickly

On many Android phones with on-screen keys, getting to Google Now -- the excellent predictive/voice-controlled search app in Android 4.1 and above -- is simply a matter of swiping up from the bottom of the screen. It's not quite as simple as that on the new Samsung Galaxy S4, but fear not, there are still a few quick and easy ways to get to the new Google Search app.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia S, SL, Acro S Jelly Bean firmware certified ahead of launch


Android 4.1.2 firmware shows up on certification forum, release could be days away

As tends to happen with upcoming Sony firmware, the official Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the Sony Xperia S (LT26i) has appeared on the website of the PTCRB, the North American wireless device certification forum. It's also joined by official Jelly Bean firmware for the Japan-centric Xperia Acro S and the Xperia SL, an upgraded variant of the S with a higher-clocked CPU.

With the firmware for these devices being certified, it's likely a matter of days or weeks until the update starts hitting handsets. It's been some six months since Sony announced that the Xperia S would be getting Jelly Bean, and almost a year since we first laid eyes on Android 4.1. So to say it's about time Xperia S owners got their Jelly Bean update might be something of an understatement. Fingers crossed for a OTA roll-out before the end of the month.

Source: PTCRB, via: ​XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Q1 2013 earnings: Decreasing revenues, positive customer numbers


First branded net customer additions since 2009; 1.9-percent churn lowest since 2008

T-Mobile has just released its Q1 2013 financial results, and there are some seriously positive numbers to reflect on for the previous quarter. While this doesn't include the recently closed MetroPCS merger, it does cover the time leading up to T-Mobile's dramatic "UNcarrier" rebranding. Let's hit some of the high points:

  • Branded postpaid net loss of 199,000 customers, an improvement of 61-percent year-over-year
  • Branded prepaid net gains of 202,000 customers
  • 34 million total customers at the end of the quarter, up 576,000 quarter-over-quarter
  • Branded postpaid churn of 1.9-percent, the lowest since Q2 2008
  • EBITDA (explained below) of $1.2 billion, down 7.5-percent y-o-y but up 12.4-percent q-o-q
  • Capital expenditures of $1.1 billion, primarily due to network enhancements

Q1 marked a few milestones for T-Mobile, with the first net branded customer addition in 4 years, and the lowest customer churn in 5 years. As has been the case for several quarters now, T-Mobile's decrease in postpaid customers and increase in prepaid customers has resulted in a negative slide in revenues. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), which shows how a company is performing on an operations-basis, was down 7.5-percent, as were overall revenues by 7-percent. ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) for postpaid customers was down by 6.3-percent to $54.07, but prepaid ARPU continues to increase every quarter, this time by 11.3-percent to $28.25.

As we have seen for several recent quarters now, T-Mobile continues to post strong prepaid numbers but also prepaid revenues per user, which isn't a terrible situation to be in. The carrier says that 36-percent of its customers have now chosen to move to either Value or Simple Choice plans, up from 30-percent last quarter. As it regularly does, the carrier has also taken its earnings release to reiterate its plans for LTE, which still include the current statistic of 7 full LTE markets and goal of getting LTE coverage to 200 million pops by the end of 2013. Things definitely seem to be looking positive, and we'll be expecting equally interesting results in the next few quarters as well.

Source: T-Mobile 

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3 years ago

Welcome to the all-new Android Central app!


Get the latest news, reviews, forum posts, podcasts, wallpapers and more, all from the Android Central App!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Behold, the all-new Android Central application. Known as an "app" on the streets, this is a long overdue endeavor for us. We've been testing internally for some time now, and it's been floating around our forums for a week or so, and now we've officially gone public, for Android 4.0.3 and up.

So what's in the app? We'll have posts detailing the features over the next few weeks, but here are the broad strokes:

  • All the posts from the blog side of things. News. Reviews. Apps. Accessories. Editorials. It's all there.
  • Plus, you can comment on posts directly from the app.
  • Access to our Android forums. If you've used Tapatalk or our dedicated Android Forums app, you'll be used to things here. (We've still got some bugs to iron out on this one, but a good bit of functionality is there.)
  • Podcasts. We're big fans of the major podcatcher apps out there. But why not bake it into our app as well? You can stream or download all of our episodes right from the app.
  • Wallpapers. Downloading from our Wallpaper Gallery is easier than ever. Browse and install, all from the app.
  • Accessories. We've got direct access to, right in the app. 
  • Videos. You can check out everything that hits our YouTube channel -- often before it hits the blog.

That's quite a few features for a v1.0 release. But we've still got work to do.

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3 years ago

Google Fiber expansion hits Kansas City suburb of Grandview


When Google announced back in mid-2012 that they were bringing a brand new gigabit fiber internet service to Kansas City, Missouri, we had a feeling that local expansion would happen rapidly once the initial infrastructure was built out. Sure enough, Kansas City, Kansas - right across the the Missouri River - got wired up, followed by Kansas-side suburbs Olathe and Shawnee.

Tonight Google announced an expansion back on the Missouri side of the Missouri river, with the Board of Aldermen of Grandview, Missouri, approving a Google Fiber rollout in their municipality of 25,000. As with the rollouts in Shawnee and Olathe, as well as out-of-state Google Fiber projects in Provo, Utah. and Austin, Texas, there's no public announcement for when exactly residents can expect Google to be running fiber optic lines to their house. Either way, exciting news for the residents of Grandview, Missouri.

And if you happen to be living in one of the Kansas City suburbs that hasn't been confirmed for a Google Fiber expansion, we'd start calling your councilmen and aldermen right away and demanding they approve some gigabits for you too. Come to think of it, we don't live anywhere near any of the announced Google Fiber communities, but that's not going to stop us from nudging our municipal governments to make it happen.

Source: Google Fiber Blog


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3 years ago

"Have you ever used an iPhone?" "No, I have standards"


Samsung's voice assistant on the Galaxy S4 burns rival Apple

S Voice is Samsung's take on a voice-based personal assistant. And by that we mean it's heavily inspired by Apple's Siri on the iPhone. So it's no surprise -- if a little amusing -- to see Samsung's app poking fun at its long-time rival. On the international Samsung Galaxy S4 (and some other Samsung phones -- we've had varying results), asking S Voice if it's ever used an iPhone prompts the response "No, I have standards." Ask it "Are you Siri?" and it's a little more coy -- "I like to think I am." But it stops short of any direct attacks -- ask it "Do you like Apple?" and it tells you it has no problems with anyone, but its loyalties lie with Samsung.

It's one of a few Easter eggs we've run into in S Voice. Back when it launched on the Galaxy S3 we put it to the "woodchuck test," which it passed with flying colors. If you've run into any cheeky behavior from S Voice, be sure to hit the comments and share them with the world.

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3 years ago

Spotify update brings filters and sorting to playlists and tracks


New sorting methods for your tunes and playlists plus bug fixes make today's update a must-have

If you're a Spotify user there is an update available that you'll want to download. While the list of new features is short, as is often the case quality trumps quantity and today's update allows users to filter and sort their playlists and songs, making searching and categorizing much easier. The full list of changes:

  • New: Now you can filter and sort your playlists and tracks.
  • Fixed: When returning to your playlist view, you’ll always go back to the same position.
  • Fixed: No more crashing when faced with special character$ in usernames.
  • Fixed: When you next log in, Spotify will remember what you'd been listening to.
  • Fictitious: This app looks great in trousers.

Besides the new sorting capabilities, correctly remembering where you left off is a welcome fix, and looking good in trousers is always a bonus. If you're a current user, or want to check out Spotify to see if it satisfies your streaming music needs (there's a free 48 hour trial), hit the Google Play link above.

Thanks, David!

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3 years ago

Spring cleaning: Win a Nexus 4 wireless charging orb

Update: And this contest is closed. Thanks, everybody! Stay tuned for Wednesday's giveaway.

Up next in our "Get crap off Phil's Desk" content is the Nexus 4 wireless charger. This is the one that's about the size of a tennis ball, only it's black and charges a smartphone. This one is new and still in the box and completely free of dust and dog hair. (If ya'll want, I'll throw in a second charging orb, only this one might have that dust and dog hair stuff I mentioned.)

To enter, just leave a comment on this post and we'll get this charger to a good home.

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3 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S4 getting first software update too


21-megabyte update now hitting AT&T-branded handsets, users report smoother performance

Following the T-Mobile update that landed this morning, AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S4 is also getting its first firmware upgrade. The over-the-air package weighs in at just over 21MB, and although there's no changelog provided with the update, GS4 owners over on the Android Central Forums are reporting faster performance and smoother animations on the new software version. If lag fixes are indeed present in this new firmware, then it'd be a welcome change -- in our review of the U.S. Galaxy S4 on Sprint, we noted occasional, frustrating jitteriness in certain animations.

To see if you're ready to update, head to Settings > More > About device > Software update. If you're not seeing anything there, you could try connecting your phone to a PC or Mac and using Samsung's Kies desktop software instead.

AT&T Galaxy S4 owners, be sure to let us know how you're getting on with this latest update down in the comments.

Source: Android Central Forums

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3 years ago

Viber launches desktop client, refreshes mobile app design


Seamlessly continue conversations, calls and video chats from mobile to desktop

Popular cross-platform messaging and VOIP service Viber is introducing brand new desktop apps along with a complete refresh of its mobile apps today. First up are the desktop apps, which are now available for both Windows and Mac and give users the ability to continue all of their VIber conversations and activities just as they would on the phone. You can text and voice chat, send pictures and stickers, make video calls and even transfer audio calls between devices mid-call.

On the mobile side, Viber v3.0 refreshes the interface, and enables a new set of features to be in sync with what the desktop now offers. The mobile app now lets you send stickers, leave video messages and a couple of back-end improvements such as sound quality and language localization. If you haven't yet tried Viber you can grab the app from the Play Store link above, and the desktop versions from the link below.

More: Viber

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3 years ago

Images of super thin Huawei P6-U06 device leak out


Just 6.2mm thick but still packing many of the latest specs of any high-end device

Huawei's latest ultra thin high-end device -- known as the P6-U06 for the moment -- may have just leaked out, and this time it is posing for the camera instead of just a few device renders. While it is hard to confirm that this is the exact device Huawei have teased in the past because the back is not shown, all signs point to this being the same 6.2mm thick phone packing a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 4.7-inch 720P display. That's a solid set of specs considering the limited space they have to work with.

The design feature of having a metal band around the perimeter also adds a little bit of evidence to this being a new P series device from Huawei, as it has used the same technique on other recent phones such as  the Ascend D2. It also seems to pull some design from the Ascend P2. The radio specs suggest a Chinese-only launch for this device, and we wouldn't be surprised if it never launched beyond that market either. Hit the break for a couple more pictures.

Source: Engadget

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