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3 years ago

Mobile Nations podcasting update: What's new for 2013!

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Hey everyone! It's time for a mighty Mobile Nations podcast network update, and a peak at some really cool stuff we have planned for 2013! First of all, we have all-new album art for the shows. The original concept was created by superstar designer Marc Edwards of Bjango to be crisp, clean, and modern. It's tough to make a whole catalog of shows consistent yet retain all their individual personalities. With Marc's help, I think we've nailed it. And by popular demand, we've even added a small TV logo to the bottom of all the video podcast album art so you can distinguish them from their audio counterparts at a glance. We absolutely love them, and we hope you do too. (And yes, we'll be making all of them available as HiDPI/Retina wallpaper for your phones and tablets later this week!)

If you haven't recently, please make sure you leave a review and rating for your favorite Mobile Nations shows, where ever and when ever you can. It encourages services (like iTunes) to feature us, that helps us get more great listeners and viewers like you, and we appreciate it a lot!

Now on with the shows!

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 hands-on

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It’s day minus-one of Mobile World Congress 2013, and we already have the first major device announcement from Samsung. Variously leaked and rumored over the past couple of months, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is official today, and we’ve had the chance to go hands-on with the mid-sized, stylus-toting tablet in Barcelona.

At first glance, the Note 8.0 is a surreal device to behold, looking a lot like a supersized Galaxy Note 2. The basic Samsung design language holds over from the company's 2012 smartphones, meaning we’re dealing with a curvy, shiny, plasticky device. A first for a Samsung tablet, the Note 8.0 includes physical buttons as opposed to the more common on-screen kind, and from a branding perspective. Samsung clearly wants consumers to identify the Note 8.0 as a companion device to the S3 and Note 2. So you should know what to expect if you’ve handled either of those products -- the Note 8.0 is unashamedly light and shiny, and something of a fingerprint magnet. That said, it’s not at all creaky, nor does it feel fragile.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 specs

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Samsung, on the eve of Mobile World Congress, has announced the Galaxy Note 8.0. It's a mid-size phone/tablet hybrid. The international (read: Non-U.S.) version will be able to make phone calls. (Though Samsung -- and we as well -- recommend doing so with a headset and not by holding it up to your head.)

The Galaxy Note 8.0 specs are nothing to sneeze at. It's powered by a quad-core Exynos processor running at 1.6 GHz, has a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3MP shooter out front.  It's running Samsung's TouchWiz customizations on top of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.

Also: See our Galaxy Note 8.0 hands-on

Most important, however, is the inclusion of (and improvements to) the S Pen stylus, which brings about a world of functionality not found in any other tablets at this point.

Also new is the inclusion of an "IR blaster," which is a sexy name for an infrared port on the side of the Note 8.0 that, thanks to the Peel application, lets you control your TV and other IR-enabled devices from the comfort and safety of your couch.

We've got the full Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 specs after the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 now official

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Samsung has stepped forward and officially announced the Galaxy Note 8.0. We've sen and heard enough leaks and rumors to know that we would be seeing an 8-inch version of the popular Note series, but tonights' news clears up al the speculation and replaces it with information direct from Seoul. 

The Note 8.0 takes everything you love about the Note series, adds some great new features, and packages it all into a solid tablet form factor. The Note 8.0 will still be able to make phone calls in some countries, but the 8-inch screen puts this one squarely into the portable tablet genre. And that's a good thing. Users who didn't want a full-sized 10-inch tablet, but still wanted access to the great S Pen technology now have that option.

We've spent some time with the Note 8.0 on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2013, and have the answers to all your questions covered. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 will be available world wide (Europe, Korea, North America, S.E. Asia, S. W. Africa, the Middle East, China, Taiwan, and Latin America) in Q2. Keep an eye on Android Central for exact dates and pricing. The full press release, press photos, and a Chat-On video featuring the Note 8.0 are after the break.

Galaxy Note 8.0 hands-on | Galaxy Note 8.0 specs | Galaxy Note 8.0 forums

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3 years ago

Another big-time Twitter app hits big wall: Falcon Pro can take no new users

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Twitter's 100,000 user cap strikes again, which should surprise no one

Falcon Pro, one of the most popular third-party Android Twitter clients, has hit the infamous 100,000-user token limit. This means that unless you've already used and authorized Falcon Pro, you're not going to be able to log into Twitter from the app.

That, in a word, sucks. But neither should it surprise anyone.

Before you go and start leaving one-star reviews and whining on Google Play, you need to understand what happened, and who is at fault. Last August, Twitter announced it would be updating its API. Two major changes from that update come into play here. The first is that every call back to Twitter requires authentication, and that the number of tokens used to authenticate would be capped at 100,000 for new applications. If an existing application already has more than 100,000 users, its cap is set at double its existing user base. It sounds complicated, but what it means is that if someone were to build a Twitter client (like let's say, Falcon Pro) only 100,000 users could log into Twitter using it. Twitter can grant an exception, but they haven't yet as far as anyone is aware.

That's the why, now a look at who to blame for it. It's not the application developer's fault. Twitter makes them jump through hoops, and the folks building Twitter apps like Falcon Pro do a good job working inside Twitter's strict parameters. But the 100,000 token (read: user) limit can't be worked around. Twitter puts it there so no one third-party client can become dominant, or more popular than their own lackluster app. The cause of this one all lies at Twitter's feet.

What can we do, you ask? Well the first thing you'll want to do is release any tokens you're not using. This makes them available to someone else, and every little bit helps. After that, there's not much we can do about it. There's a petition going around about Falcon Pro hitting the limit, but Twitter isn't going to change policy over a petition. You've got two choices: find a different Twitter app, or stop using the service and vote with your feet. 

I'm doing the latter.

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3 years ago

Slingshot Racing brings one-touch steampunk bobsledding to Android

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An absolutely fantastic racing game called Slingshot Racing hit Android today, and I couldn't wait until our next Apps of the Week to tell you guys about it. Players are thrust into steampunk-style world where, for some reason or another, bobsled racing is a big thing. Instead of manually steering as one usually does in racing games, players have to instead tap, hold, and release the screen to deploy grappling hooks to the nearest spinning pivot point and slingshot around the bend. Timing is critical, and with competitors muscling for rank, it can get pretty intense. The best part about the control scheme is that it enables four people to play locally on the same device, which is a ton of fun. 

All sorts of game modes are available, including the standard time trial, another where you have to collect cogs, and one where you have to flee for as long as possible from a nasty chomper. The graphics in Slingshot Racing are full of character, and there's no shortage of replayability. Pick this one up for a mere $0.99 - trust me. 

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3 years ago

Republic Wireless offers unlimited everything for $19 a month, but is it too good to be true?

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Republic Wireless has been kicking around in beta form for about a year now, and they have recently allowed me to spend some time with their phone and their service. I'll admit, I went into it all a bit skeptical. I understand the phone choice (the lowly Motorola Defy XT) is far from ideal for an Android power user, but that's not what had me scrutinizing things so closely. It was the whole idea of unlimited calls, texts, and data for just 20 bucks a month using a Wifi connection when available, and how well things would work when one wasn't.

Republic is doing something that I love to see -- shaking up the status quo that the carriers in the United States have worked so hard to build. Delivering something different is important, and if it turns out to be more consumer friendly then we all win. I really wanted this to be a worthwhile service that provides an alternative for the value conscious smart phone buyer. Hit the break and see what I think.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Ski TrailMaps, The Simpsons Tapped Out, Nexus 4 Display Control and more!

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It's a short month so this is going to end up being our last Apps of the Week column for February, but we think we've got a good set of app picks for you to make up for it. Even though we have folks in the air on their way to Barcelona for MWC, we've still got a full set of picks for your enjoyment from the Android Central team.

Read on with us after the break and see how we did with this week's picks.

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4 years ago

ZTE reveals competitive pricing on Grand S LTE in China

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ZTE is looking to launch its flagship Grand S LTE in mainland China at a competitive price, based on statements by executives. With a svelte design concealing a 1080P 5-inch display, Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 13MP camera, you might expect its price to fall in line with other high-end devices. Instead, head of ZTE's mobile division He Shiyou estimates the Grand S will hit mainland China in the range of ¥3,000 to ¥3,500 (or $480 to $560).

In our time with the device at CES 2013 we came away impressed with the step up in quality from what ZTE has offered in the past. The price may still have to come down a bit more to entice users away from other handsets though, especially considering the price sensitivity of the Chinese market. As for the U.S. market, we don't have any notable information on pricing or availability.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Pwn Pad is a Nexus 7-based network hacking machine

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Security tools company Pwnie Express is making a network hacking-focused device, based on the Nexus 7, called the Pwn Pad. This certainly isn't a tablet meant for the mainstream, but instead is a purpose-built hacking device for users that are interested in tinkering with networks. Unfortunately a completely custom build of software doesn't overcome some limitations of the hardware, and users will have to take advantage of the included OTG cable and wireless adapter on it to support packet injection. The upside is a 10-fold increase in possible Wifi range on the Pwn Pad.

The Pwn Pad is set to debut at the RSA security conference in San Francisco next week, and the price is set at a smooth $795. That's a pretty penny, but this is a full-on custom job with additional hardware attached to it. For those of you without an extra $800 to spend, Pwnie Express is releasing source code for the devices for others to work with on their own.

Source: Wired

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4 years ago

Google looking to launch subscription music service later this year

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According to sources of the Financial Times, and corroborated by The Verge's own sources, Google has been talking to music labels about licensing deals for a subscription music service to launch in the third quarter. Play Music (then Google Music) has only been around since May of 2011, and only received notoriety when several major music labels finally signed on to sell music in the Play Store. If these new deals pan out, Google could be looking to offer a montlhy paid subscription music service for users that would prefer not to purchase individual tracks, with a free tier that offered unlimited play but with advertising.

If Google was able to extend its existing licenses to a subscription streaming model, it could take the likes of Spotify and Rdio head-on, furthering the amount of compelling content available in the Play Store. Details on the deals are sparse at this point, with the launch window still up in the air. The best indication right now is the third quarter of this year, but things could certainly change.

Source: Financial Times; Via: The Verge

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4 years ago

The Chromebook Pixel might be the new Linux ultrabook you're waiting for

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After the announcement of the Chromebook Pixel yesterday, a lot of people were in love with the hardware, but thought the price tag was a bit high for a machine running Chrome OS. I'm in that camp as well. I think the hardware is mostly worth the price tag (a 256GB SSD would affirm that in a big way), but can't justify the price for a machine running Chrome OS the way things are now. 

We're pretty sure the Pixel is a portent of big things to come for Chrome OS, but just in case, here's a full blown version of Linux Mint running on the sexy thing. Bill Richardson, Chrome OS software engineer at Google, shows it off and gives fairly easy to understand instructions to do it yourself in his Google+ feed.

With devices shipping out today, things might get pretty interesting next week if you've been looking for a high-end Linux ultrabook. 

Source: +Bill Richardson

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4 years ago

Motorola publishes new software update support page

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Motorola has just put up a new page that helps users easily find the software update status of any phone or tablet it sells. The new page is extremely user friendly, and walks users through finding their device and more information about it. You start with selecting your carrier, then a model and at that point you'll be presented with the update information and support links. Most recent devices will get a "This device will be upgraded to Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)" notice, while the older devices are told they'll be kept on Gingerbread.

For those who are stuck on older versions, they'll often be notified that their devices qualify for Motorola's trade-in program, which gives a credit towards a new Motorola device. This is a great move by Motorola to help users understand -- in no uncertain terms -- which devices will get the updates going forward.

Source: Motorola Support

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4 years ago

Material (Beta): yet another social news reader

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Material is an interesting app that's hoping to take a slice of the pie in the social news reader space, and is doing so with a beta version of its app that initially impresses in both design and functionality. Where Material may fall a bit short is in the category of differentiation. The implementation and execution of its solid design goals doesn't necessarily set it far enough apart from other apps that are in the same category.

Hang with us after the break and see what makes Material compelling, even in its current beta state.

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4 years ago

Android 4.2.1 update for international Galaxy S3 leaks

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Frequent firmware leaker SamMobile has just released what it believes is a build of the Android 4.2.1 update for the international (i9300) Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3). What we're looking at here is someone testing the new firmware -- Android 4.2.1 JOP40D -- that has chosen to give a system dump for others to try. It looks like many of the new features such as lockscreen widgets and Daydream are included, but this is certainly not final firmware.

SamMobile has re-packaged this firmware into an ODIN Flashable file that other users with the device can try out if they wish. There are of course risks involved, above and beyond the binary counter being increased and the device reporting as "modified" when running the firmware. If you're interested, you can give it a look at the source link below.

Source: SamMobile

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