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3 years ago

Why isn't mobile gaming better? - Talk Mobile

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The quantity and quality of mobile games have exploded over the past few years. Game developers have been blessed with rapidly improving hardware and an ever-growing customer base that's becoming more comfortable with the idea of spending money for mobile entertainment. Mobile development studios like Rovio and Glu along with independent, one-man developers like Loren Brichter of Letterpress and Andreas Illiger of Tiny Wings are playing on the same field for the same dollars as long-time game studios like Electronic Arts and Rockstar.

3 years ago

International Samsung Galaxy S4 updated with apps-to-SD support, visual changes

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International LTE Galaxy S4s get first major software update, starting with unlocked German devices

The international LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-i9505) has started receiving its first substantial software upgrade today, with unlocked devices in Germany being among the first to get it. The update to version I9505XXUBMEA incorporates a number of visual changes, including a new, partially-transparent notification bar, new settings icons, and fix for ghosting issues in certain areas of the UI.

But the biggest addition for S4 owners might be reintroduction of apps-to-SD card support. First added in Android 2.2 Froyo and removed in the most recent 4.2 Jelly Bean, the ability to move apps to the SD card was originally a way to work around the anemic internal storage of older Android phones. The S4, of course, has been criticized for the fact that its 16GB version ships with only 9GB or so of available space. So the reintroduction of apps-to-SD might alleviate some of these storage issues, but you'll still be relying on app developers to enable apps-to-SD before you're able to use it.

(Update: We're also noticing significantly improved responsiveness and less animation lag in this new S4 firmware.)

German users with unlocked S4s should be able to pick up the update over-the-air or through Kies, and other regions should follow in the weeks ahead. (Of course, if you're feeling adventurous, you could always flash the German firmware directly.)

Source: SamMobile

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3 years ago

The official Samsung Galaxy S4 wireless charging kit

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Official accessory brings Qi wireless charging to the Galaxy S4, at the cost of a little extra girth

Wireless charging is one of those features that seems like an unimportant luxury until you've used it for yourself. The ability to place your phone down on a magical pad and have it charge through the ether can change the way you use your device. Suddenly, you're free from wires and don't having to worry about constant plugging and unplugging. It's an added convenience if you're sat working at a desk all day, or even if you want to charge your phone on a nightstand without getting tangled in wires.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn't include wireless charging capabilities out of the box, but the official S Charger kit brings Qi-standard inductive charging to the device, in the form of a replacement back cover and charging plate. In exchange for a little extra thickness on the phone, this lets you take advantage of wireless charging on your S4. And it's available now from ShopAndroid.com priced $89.95, 10 percent off the list price.

So let's take a closer look -- we've got video, photos and more words after the break!

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3 years ago

Modern Combat 5 teased ahead of E3, looks spectacular

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Latest installment teased ahead of annual games show, more FPS action with incredible looking graphics

Gameloft is heading to E3 next week with their big guns in tow, and the release of this trailer tells us one game we will be seeing. What we see here is the first teaser for new title Modern Combat 5, and it looks pretty incredible. The trailer shows the action tearing up Venice, Italy, with some pretty awesome looking visuals. There's very little else to go on, though we do know it will be coming to Android. As for when, and how much, maybe we'll find out more next week from E3. Mobile Nations will have a team on the ground in Los Angeles, so stay tuned!

Source: Gameloft (YouTube)

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3 years ago

EE unveils new 4G plans and next wave of LTE expansion

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New plans come as carrier announces 500,000 4G subscribers, double speed rollouts and next phase of LTE expansion

EE, the UK's only 4G carrier, has today announced their next expansion plans for the network, alongside some new sharing plans as well as some pay-as-you-go 4G mobile broadband plans as well. The new sharing plans will allow customers to share their allowances across different devices, or with other people entirely. The mobile broadband plans represent the first time EE has offered 4G mobile data on the prepaid market. Prices and availability for both will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Also announced today are the first 10 cities to receive the 'double-speed' boost. This will take top line speeds up to 80Mbps with the average download speeds increased to 24-30Mbps. Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield will all receive the boost in the weeks to come. 

Not done there, EE has confirmed a bunch of new towns across the UK that will receive their own LTE expansions in 2013. Customers in Aberdeen, Bath, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Ipswich, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Norwich, Poole, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea and York are specifically mentioned as getting 4G data. As well as the expansion to cover towns and cities, the next phase of the LTE rollout will target major commuter routes, shopping centres and Airports such as Gatwick which recently flipped the switch. 

While EE has been criticized for some high pricing for their 4G plans, there's no doubts that they're making the most of their headstart in the market while we await competing networks lighting up. 

Source: EE

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3 years ago

US Cellular announces LG Optimus F7 for $99 on-contract

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A solid mid-range offering to expand U.S. Cellular's LTE device selection

LG is expanding the reach of its latest mid-range device, the Optimus F7, stateside as it becomes available today on U.S. Cellular for $99 on-contract. This Android 4.1 device is packing some pretty solid specs for the price, with a 4.7-inch 720x1280 display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage (with SDcard support), 8MP camera on back and very sizeable 2540mAh battery. Being a recent U.S. Cellular device it naturally has LTE support, alongside standard CDMA 3G radios. On the software side the Optimus F7 has many of LG's latest custom software tweaks such as QSlide multi-windowing, QuickMemo and VuTalk which were previously reserved to its high-end devices.

We came away generally impressed with the style and build quality back when we took a look at an international version of the Optimus F7, and the U.S. Cellular version will likely meet that expectation. Customers picking up the device on a new 2-year contract can expect to pay $99 for it, and those upgrading out of cycle will spend a full $399, barring any changes in regional pricing in your area.

Source: LG; U.S. Cellular

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3 years ago

About that MegaPixel myth: This 46" print from the HTC One camera looks awesome

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A skilled hand and the HTC One's UltraPixel camera turns a lakeside sunset into art anyone would be proud to display

There are three constants you'll hear when anyone is discussing smartphone cameras: more MegaPixels doesn't mean "better", the best camera is the one you're carrying, and there are no bad cameras -- only bad photographers. This 46-inch wide print from a panorama photo taken by the HTC One's 4MP camera tells us all three just might be true.

The folks at SpittingImages let us know just what they did to the 5798 x 1088 sized 5.5MB image taken at Bobcaygeon, Ontario, and the work they describe to get it ready to hang over your fireplace or behind the couch is surprisingly light. Much less than what I have to do to make my pictures from a more expensive camera half as presentable. 

Of course, this is really a testament to the skill of the photographer, but it's still really cool seeing a picture snapped with the HTC One turned into an objet d'art. Be sure to follow the source link below to have a read, then head into the forums and thank k-fos for sharing! There's also one more view of the finished piece after the break.

Source: SpittingImages; via: Android Central Forums 

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3 years ago

From the Forums: What else can you do with the NVIDIA Shield?

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We all knew the controls were great for games, but did you know they're also a really cool way to navigate the UI?

As release day for the NVIDIA Shield gets closer, I know plenty of us are thinking of the games we're going to download and play on the Tegra-powered clamshell. I know I am, and so is Forums Moderator Team Leader Kevin O'Quinn. Hell, half of what we talk about is about the Shield, because both of us can hardly wait. Today, he showed me this video that makes things even more awesome.

I've used a game pad to navigate Android on my Transformer Prime, but this looks like an entirely new -- and better -- experience. The joysticks will scroll and pan, and the 5-inch LCD delivers all the same great content you would get from any other Android device. 

I'm hooked, and knowing that the controls work for more than just games has me even more excited. Have a look at the video, then be sure to head into the forums and join the discussion.

What ELSE can you do with SHIELD?

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3 years ago

Sprint's iDEN network is going to a better place June 30

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100 million pounds of unusable materials will be recycled as part of iDEN shutdown

As previously announced, Sprint is scheduled to shut down its Nextel iDEN network on June 30 -- starting immediately at 12:01am. Voice (including 911), push-to-talk, and data services will cease functioning. The last full day of service for iDEN customers will be June 29. During these final days, Sprint is pushing hard to get all users migrated over to Sprint's Direct Connect service, which they say has 'three times the push-to-talk coverage area compared to iDEN.'

What happens when networks die? In iDEN's case, it is going to the big recycle bin in the sky. Sprint announced today that all the equipment it can't reuse will be recycled, adding up to 100 million pounds of network gear and other materials. This move in the decommissioning plan will save landfills from having to absorb the iDEN network's remnants, which includes cables, batteries, radios, server racks, and air conditioners. Concrete shelters will be recycled into composite for roads and bridges.

The full press release about the decommissioning of the iDEN Nextel National Network and Sprint's 'environmental stewardship' can be found after the break.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S3 LTE shows up online right on schedule, yours for $69 down

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The latest GS3 brings a boost in speed without any increase in price

It turns out that rumors of the LTE-enabled Galaxy S3 for T-Mobile were indeed true, as the device has just gone up for sale on the carrier's website today. With seemingly no change from the original HSPA+ device that has been available for the past year other than the additional radio support, the new model understandably retails for the same $69.99 down and 24 months of $20 payments, or a full retail price of $549.99. For the moment only the "Marble White" version of the device is up for sale with 16GB of internal storage, and it isn't clear if other colors and capacities will become available.

At least for the time being the original Galaxy S3 is still available for sale at the same price, but we wouldn't expect it to be around for long. As T-Mobile works to expand its LTE network it's good to have yet another LTE-capable device up for sale, but we're not so sure how many of these will move considering that the HTC One and Galaxy S4 are just $30 and $80 more, respectively. We of course recommend you spring the extra few bucks for the latest models.

Source: T-Mobile

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3 years ago

Google Keyboard now available directly from Google Play

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The stock 'Nexus' keyboard app, complete with gesture typing, is now available to all Android users through the Google Play Store

Google continues the movement of its core Android apps onto the Google Play app marketplace with today's standalone launch of Google Keyboard. That's the new name for the vanilla Android keyboard app included on Google experience (stock Android) devices such as Nexus phones and tablets. The Google Keyboard app includes the full range of typing features found on current Android 4.2 Nexus phones, only now you can install it on any Android device through Google Play -- assuming you're running OS version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.

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3 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Which screen do you play your Android games on?

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Android's flexibility gives us plenty of device form factor choice, which do you choose for gaming?

We're talking mobile gaming this week around these parts, and if Talk Mobile is telling us anything, it's that we all love to play games on our mobile devices. Android is in a special place here, because of the sheer number of different sizes and shapes it comes in. They all mean you have a pretty big choice of just how you want to play any of the great games from Google Play, and we want to find out just how you do it.

I have to tell you, playing a game on the big screen in my living room with an HDMI cable or the HTC Media Link HD is pretty fun, but it's something I rarely do. When I want to get my game on, I reach for my Nexus 7. Other tablets may have a little more power, but the 7-inch form factor and Tegra 3 chip in my Nexus 7 make it my "go to" device. Tell us yours in the poll, which you'll find in the sidebar to the right or after the break.

As always, a look at last week's poll:

Are you waiting for Motorola before you buy a new phone this year?

Looks like I'm not the only one waiting, wallet in hand, to see what Motorola has to show us in 2013. Hurry, Moto!

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3 years ago

AMD to support Android and Chrome OS says senior VP

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Another traditional PC hardware icon finds the lure of mobile and market share irresistible, as AMD says they want to support Android and Chrome OS

Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD, in an interview at the Computex trade show in Taiwan has said that AMD will be looking support Android tablets and Chrome OS devices. This comes as a bit of a surprise, as just last January she told the world that AMD was committed to Windows 8, and had no interest in Android devices. 900,000,000 devices can change minds, we guess.

The Intel / AMD rivalry on the desktop pushed innovation, pricing, and adoption in very good ways for consumers. We can only hope the same spirit of competition will exist with X86 for Android, and can't wait to see AMD and Intel try to one-up each other with short release cycles and efficient, inexpensive hardware. AMD won't be marketing any devices directly, but will look to hardware partners to build Android and Chrome OS devices around their chips.

There's no time frame mentioned, but I wouldn't expect to see any devices using AMD until this holiday season at the earliest. We'll be waiting right along with you.

Source: PC World

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3 years ago

Foursquare updates mapping interface, adds filters to 'Explore' search

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Improved landscape map browsing on large devices and pre-filtered searches highlighted in this release

Foursquare has just pushed out an update to its app in the Play Store with a set of improvements primarily focused on mapping and searching. First up is an improved map experience, which builds on previous updates to the mapping UI, that offers a neat two-paned view while viewing in landscape on large phones and tablets. You can now properly browse and select places on a map on one side of the screen while browsing your friends' recent check-ins on the other. On the search side, Foursquare has added filters that you can apply before entering any search terms in the "Explore" box. Tapping the "Filter" button to the right of the search box gives options to sort by best match or distance, choose whether to show places you've checked into before, sort by price and many more. You can then continue on with a keyword or category search within those filters.

They're subtle tweaks, but we're never going to turn down improvements to a popular app. You can grab a download or update to the latest Foursquare app at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google opens access to CalDAV API once again, adds CardDAV to the list

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Developers of all sizes now have open access to both calendar and contact data syncing across the web

Google announced today that it will be reopening access to its CalDAV API, and going one step further by adding open access to CardDAV as well. This is a bit of a technical subject, but CalDAV and CardDAV are open standards managed by Google that let developers keep both calendar (CalDAV) and contacts (CardDAV) synced across the web. For example, CalDAV and CardDAV are used by Apple for syncing data on iOS; Microsoft has also pledged to support the APIs since Google's announcement that it is shutting down EAS.

Back in March, Google decided to make CalDAV a partner-only API because it felt that there were only a few select large companies taking advantage of it. Following lots of feedback and information about how smaller developers were looking to make user of the APIs, Google decided that it was better left as an open option for anyone to use. It was only fitting then that CardDAV was opened up as well, and here we are.

This doesn't immediately mean a whole lot for end users, although it does prevent future headaches for developers and companies having to switch and use a different system at some point. Google generally understands the usefulness (and even necessity) of keeping open standards... well, open. Developers will now have unfettered access to both APIs for syncing data between products, and we hope it will stay this way going forward.

Source: Google Developers Blog

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