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3 years ago

Motorola swaps in stock apps in Droid RAZR/MAXX Jelly Bean soak test

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The folks in our Motorola DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX forums are all aflutter this morning, and rightfully so. A new software soak test -- wherein a few brave souls get in some final testing before the real push begins -- is hitting devices, and Motorola's own changelog for the Android 4.1.2 update confirms something surprising: Custom software features are being replaced by stock Google apps -- or are being removed altogether.

Consider:

  • Removed apps: Social Location, MOTOACTV, MOTOPRINT and Verizon Video on Demand are history. Kaput. Alarm and Timer are being replaced by the stock Google Clock app.
  • Removed widgets: Gone are the My Gallery, My MOTOCAST, My Music, Picture Slideshow, Social Location, Sticky Note, Weather and World Clock widgets. Gone. Kaput.
  • MOTOCAST has been decoupled from MyMusic, Files and the Gallery apps and is now standalone on the phone. (It's also been redesigned and is faster, Moto says.)
  • My Gallery and My Music have been replaced with their corresponding Google apps.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, but it's a pretty big deal. You'll also find Google Now, improved voice search, better camera quality, and the Chrome browser has been added.

Hit the link below for the full changelog, and keep an eye out for the full push, which should follow the soak test fairly soon.

Source: Motorola 4.1.2 changelog
More: Droid RAZR MAXX forums; Droid RAZR forums

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3 years ago

LTE-capable Sony Xperia Tablet Z hitting Japan on Mar. 22

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If you're in the market for a 10-inch Android tablet, Sony's Xperia Tablet Z is one of the more compelling non-Nexus offerings out there, as we discovered during our time with the device at Mobile World Congress. There's no fixed Western release date for the tablet just yet, but as ever Japan's getting first dibs on this new Sony device, with carrier NTT Docomo announcing Japanese availability of its 4G LTE version from Mar. 22. Pre-orders are scheduled to begin from this Saturday, Mar. 9.

Like the Wifi-only version we saw in Barcelona, the LTE-equipped Tablet Z is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU at 1.5GHz, with 2GB of RAM, a 1080p display and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean backing up Sony's Xperia UI. It's also sporting an incredibly thin chassis design, and at 6.9mm thick, Sony says its tablet is the world's thinnest.

The Sony Xperia Tablet Z with LTE will set Japanese buyers back a hefty ¥85,470 ($913) at launch. For more on the Xperia Tablet Z, check out our hands-on feature from MWC.

Source: NTT Docomo; via: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

ASUS Transformer AiO Windows 8 all-in-one doubles as an Android tablet

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ASUS is all about crazy devices that double as other devices -- take the Padfone Infinity and Fonepad, announced last week at MWC, for instance. Today the Taiwanese manufacturer has launched an equally outlandish entrant into the all-in-one PC market, the ASUS Transformer AiO.

By day, the AiO is a humble Windows 8 PC; by night (or, you know, whenever), it detaches from its stand to become an Android 4.1 tablet. That's because it's actually two devices in one -- the Windows side is powered by a third-generation Intel Core i5-3350P CPU (8GB of RAM, 1TB of storage), whereas the Android tablet UI runs on an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip (2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage). Both operating systems come to life on the 18-inch 1920x1080 LED display, which makes the AiO the largest commercial Android tablet we can think of.

It's a little perplexing to see Windows 8 and Android side-by-side on this kind of device, not least due to Microsoft's keenness to promote Windows' tablet credentials. But ASUS is also touting the AiO's ability to run Windows 8 in remote desktop mode on the tablet UI, so you'll  have that option open to you while you're in tablet mode.

The ASUS Transformer AiO is due for release during the second quarter, and will be priced at $1299 in North America.

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3 years ago

AT&T bringing LTE to four more cities

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AT&T has kicked out an early morning (or late evening, depending on where you hang your hat) set of press releases about LTE network expansion. The following cities should be lit up and ready to go on AT&T's LTE network:

Anyone living in these areas and finding some AT&T LTE? Shout out in the comments!

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3 years ago

News Corp. to release education focused 10-inch Amplify tablet

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News Corp. will be announcing a 10-inch Android tablet designed for K12 schools Wednesday at the SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas according to the New York Times. Led by former chancellor of New York City schools Joel Klein, News Corp.'s Amplify division is aiming to make headway with Android into the school system, and their first offering is an ASUS built tablet, an entire curriculum, and the infrastructure to support it all.

The tablet uses what Amplify is calling a “blended learning” model that combines new technology with current teaching methods. When a student starts to drift away from the prepared lesson, they will be warned with a pop-up advising them to put their "eyes on teacher". In addition, students will be able to take their tablet home each night, and use it to play educational games.

A tablet running the special software, training, and customer care options starts at $299, with a two-year subscription for an additional $99 yearly. For students without Internet access at their homes, a premium model will be available with a 4G data plan at $349.

The pricing is reasonable, and it appears that News Corp. is serious about providing support. It's nice to see Android move into a space once dominated by Apple and Microsoft, and we wish everyone involved the best of luck.

Source: NYT

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations Fitness Month final winners announcement!

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Fitness Month is over here at Mobile Nations for another year. Health and fitness should be a year-round commitment, and it's never too late to start so if you missed out during February be sure to check back through the blogs and forums for content you may have missed. Hopefully you found some apps or tips to help you meet your fitness goals, or maybe even found some moral support in the community to help keep you motivated.

All throughout the month each site was giving away prizes for participation. We announced some winners mid-month, and below are the final results from the remaining contests from across Mobile Nations. If you were participating in the forums or on the blog contests, be sure to look below and see if you're a winner!

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3 years ago

LG Optimus LTE III makes its debut on SK Telecom

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LG has just officially taken the wraps off of the Optimus LTE III, which has made some appearances in leaked images recently. As a worthy successor to the Optimus LTE II, the latest version has a 4.7-inch 720x1280 IPS display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 8MP camera and a sizeable 2540mAh battery. The design falls in line nicely with other recent handsets like the mid-range L Series and Optimus G Pro, with a square design, plastic back and physical home button. On the software side we're looking at Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, along with LG's software UX tweaks and apps.

LG is teaming up with SK Telecom to release the Optimus LTE III in both black and white versions, but we'd be surprised if it ever hit the states in its current form. Our only chance at this one is likely a carrier-customized version a few months down the road.

Source: LG

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3 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Do you use NFC?

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NFC has been set to be the "next big thing" for a while now, but has never taken off. Most high-end Android phones ship with an NFC chip now, so the hardware is out there, but there is one big piece of the puzzle missing -- a reason to use it.

Most folks instantly think of Google Wallet whenever NFC is mentioned. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed and unless Google can force a drastic change in the way partners do business, it's a non-starter. Carriers and OEM partners effectively killed Google Wallet by refusing to support it in favor of their own solutions.

But NFC can do much more than mobile payments. Apps like NFC Task Launcher and Tasker allow you to use an NFC tag to do just about anything your phone is capable of, phones can share data by bumping their backs together, and you can even set up a Nexus Q by touching it to your phone. So we wanted to find out, now that NFC has been around a while is anyone really using it? Answer in the poll after the break or in the sidebar to the right.

Before we go, a look at last week's poll.

Who brought the best devices to show us at MWC 2013?

Looks like the HTC One wins this round, but the season is early!

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3 years ago

C Spire Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean OTA rolling out now

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Hot on the heels of the Jelly Bean update for the Verizon model, the Galaxy SIII (S3) on C Spire Wireless is receiving its own OTA starting today. The update will bring users up to Android 4.1.2 -- build L710WWMB3 -- and include numerous features. On top of the usual Jelly Been goodness like Project Butter and Google Now, there are specific fixes and enhancements being made to the software. Several apps -- including Chrome, Paper Artist and Voice Search -- along with a dozen new widgets have been added with the update. Numerous fixes, including an S Voice update, MusicHub 3.0 update and streaming audio/video fix are all included.

The update is pushing out OTA in phases (as is usually the case), but if you're anxious you can also check manually for the update in your phone's settings. If you've really got some time on your hands, you can download the Kies desktop software and install the update manually.

Source: C Spire; Thanks, Jeff!

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3 years ago

SO.HO 'the social homescreen' launcher hits the Play Store in beta

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SO.HO (which stands for "the social homescreen") is a new launcher that puts your Facebook and Twitter feeds directly at the center of your device. Just released in beta, SO.HO takes the place of whatever launcher you have currently and makes the primary homescreen of your device a scrolling list of either your Facebook or Twitter feed. Swiping left or right gives you a "normal" homescreen where you can place widgets, apps and folders as usual. You sill get a dock on the main page too, which is nice.

You can tap the top status bar to quickly switch between Facebook and Twitter, and use the compose button in the top right to quickly make a post. There's a smooth pull to refresh option in both, and the views are actually in many ways nicer than the official Facebook and Twitter apps. If you're interested in SO.HO as a homescreen launcher replacement, check out the beta at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google Shopper improves search results, location detection

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Google Shopper received a few new features in an update today, including an improved search result page and location data collection. Search results will now come back with the most popular products first that can be narrowed down and browsed through from there. When browsing products, users can also now use a "slideshow view" to see larger images as they go through. The update has also improved the app's location detection, which can help users search for products in their local area without having to manually enter a location.

While we're speaking of Google app updates, Google Play Music has also received an update today. It's just bugfixes, but an update to grab nonetheless. You can get your updated Play Music right there, and the Google Shopper update can of course be updated from the Play Store link at the top of this post.

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3 years ago

Nexus 7 dock finally in the Google Play Store

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If you're looking to get your hands on the elusive official dock for the Nexus 7, it's now finally listed in Google Play for $29.99. Google has thus far set a limit of two per person.

The dock, which charges the tablet via the pogo pins as well as serves as an audio output via a 3.5mm jack, runs $29.99. You can read our complete review of it here.

Google's currently listing it with a 1- to 2-week shipping time, which generally means there's a better than average chance you'll actually get it sooner than that. (We're currently seeing an anticipated shipping date of March 17, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, being a Sunday and all.)

Thanks, Bill!

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3 years ago

Official Twitter app updated with new 'top tweets' feature, smoother animations

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It might be all doom and gloom for popular third-party Twitter clients, but at least the official app is getting some love. Twitter's own Android app has been updated to version 3.8 today, with a trio of new features alongside the usual big fixes. First up there's a new "top tweets" feature, which is supposed to make significant tweets from the past pop up when searching for specific topics. (We tried searching for "Election 2012" and "Olympics" to no avail, but Twitter had plenty of tweets to highlight when searching for "grumpy cat," including news of the disgruntled feline's upcoming appearance at SXSW.)

Other additions include the ability to see all replies to tweets in details view, and smoother animations for pull-to-refresh in the "Discover" tab.

Has the recent drama over user tokens for third-party apps got you back on the official Twitter client? Let us know what you think of this update down in the comments! If you're giving it a try for the first time, check the handy Google Play link above.

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3 years ago

Endomondo adds a couple premium features

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Fitness app Endomondo got itself an update today that brings a pair of new premium features, as well as a couple nuggets for the cheap seats.

New for those who shelled out for the full version are "Heart Rate Zones" and weather information in the workout summary area. 

For everyone, there's also altitude data in the summary, and you can now see and join challenges from within the app itself. There also are the requisite bugfixes.

The the link above to get your update on.

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3 years ago

Google+ (on the web) rolls out huge cover pics, new local reviews tab

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Google+ today rolled out some interesting improvements to its web version. The biggest, obviously, is the gianormous new cover photos. What was once long and skinny is now long and not-so-skinny. (We know how it feels.) When fully expanded, the new cover photos have a 16x9 aspect ration and can be as large as 2,120px by 1,192px. That's big. So make sure your image doesn't suck.

Next is a new tab for your local reviews. If you've reviewed something in your hamlet, it'll show up here. You can use it to showcase specific reviews, or you can hide it altogether. Your call.

Editing your info also is easier now, with better separation of content in the About tab, with cards acting as category separators.

Source: +SaraMcKinley

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