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4 years ago

Want to learn basic Android programming? The Linux Foundation wants to help

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The fine people at the Linux Foundation have started a little project that deserves some attention -- some tutorials teaching beginning Android programming. So far things are pretty basic, but the beginning is always the best place to start. They have the basics of setting up a development environment covered, and will get you on your way to writing your first Android app.

Android is Linux after all, and it's great to see the traditional desktop users excited about Android and jumping in to make it better. While you won't learn how to build the next Angry Birds game, you will get some pointers and basic information that leads you on the road to building something of your very own. Remember, everyone started at the beginning. If you've got the inclination, hit the source link to get started.

Source: The Linux Foundation

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4 years ago

Iconia B1 looks to be Acer's latest cheap Android tablet, possibly headed to CES

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There have been a few rumblings in recent weeks around the interwebs surrounding a supposed budget tablet heading to market from Acer. According to the folks at NDTV, the Acer Iconia B1 is not only real, but is heading to India potentially before the month end for RS 7,999 ($147.) Further still, there's a chance the first public showing of the new tablet will be at CES next week in Las Vegas. 

The Iconia B1 has also -- briefly -- appeared on the Acer website, before being quickly removed. Thanks to the folks at Unwired View though, we can still view the majority of the page via Google Cache. From it, we learn that the 7 inch tablet will sport a pretty sexy looking blue band around the outside. Spec wise, we're looking at a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 1024x600 display, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of on-board storage with a microSD card slot and Jelly Bean. Not at all high end specs, and certainly doesn't hold a candle to the Nexus 7. But, not everyone can get the Nexus 7, or has to pay a distinct premium to get one in their country. In specific markets and the right price, Acer could be onto a good thing with the B1. 

Source(s): NDTV, Acer via Unwired View

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4 years ago

5.7 inch ZTE P945 leaked and bound for China

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First came the 5 inch Nubia Z5, then the seemingly CES bound Grand S, and it seems ZTE isn't done there. These leaked images have surfaced courtesy of the folks at @evleaks of an even larger device from the Chinese OEM bound for its native China. 

Known so far only by its codename, P945, this 5.7 inch device is approaching the supersized -- and as yet, unofficial -- Huawei Ascend Mate. While the screen is larger than the Nubia Z5 and the Grand S by over half an inch, the other purported specs place this one firmly below the other two. The screen isn't 1080p as you might expect, instead the P945 has 'only' a 720p display. 

Inside is supposed to be a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, an 8MP rear camera and the whole package has a thickness of sub-9mm. Software is said to be "ICS or above" which at this point we'd say is a given. Powering that massive screen will take some battery power, and the device is said to contain a 3000mAh battery. It's supposed to be hitting China Mobile sometime in late Q1 or early Q2, with no hint at any availability beyond this. Seems the screen size wars are well and truly on.

Source: @evleaks (Unwired View)

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4 years ago

Samsung pushing update to fix Exynos security exploit

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Samsung has started pushing out an update for the Exynos security issue for users in the UK. You might remember, there is a critical "bug" in the Exynos 4210 and 4412 powered Samsung phones including the world versions of the Galaxy S3 and other models. This bug allows any application to read the devices RAM, leading to all sorts of potential mischief. 

A third party patch was quickly made available by Supercurio that fixed the issues, and Samsung told us they would be addressing the situation as quickly as possible. For folks in the UK using a Galaxy S3, it appears that means right now. 

The update is 4.1.2 (build JZO54K) and was signed off on December 22. It's available as an over the air update, and is currently rolling out. Remember, you need to be running all stock software to accept and install any OTA updates, this one included.

There's also some speculation that this update will fix the seemingly random issue of hardware failure in the Galaxy S3 main boards, but I think it's a bit too early to suggest this. The fix to the Exynos exploit, however, is included in this update. No word on when to expect updates for other areas where folks are still in need of this critical patch, or other phones that need this update. 

Via: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Corning announces Gorilla Glass 3, will show it off at CES

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Corning has just announced that they have released the latest version of their hardened glass, and Gorilla Glass 3 will be shown off at CES. They haven't told us a lot about the product in their press announcement, but we expect to see scratch-resistance glass that's thinner and more optically clear than the first two iterations of the popular Gorilla Glass line. 

Corning labels Gorilla Glass as "tough, yet sophisticated". Electronic manufacturers seem to agree, as you'll find Gorilla Glass on all manner of products from big screen TVs to the smartphone in your pocket. Their technique makes the surface of the glass clearer and harder to scratch, without adding any bulk or weight. Anything that keeps nasty scratches away from our precious Android phones and tablets. 

Corning will have hourly demos that test the toughness of the new Gorilla Glass 3 at their booth at CES, as well as large format multitouch displays for a more hands on look at the new product. We'll be sure to have a look as we mosey through. A demonstration video and the full press release is after the break.

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4 years ago

Jelly Bean now on 10 percent of all Android devices

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Android 4.1 and 4.2 each up 50 percent over last month's tallies

The latest numbers are in, and things are continuing to move in the right direction: The "Jelly Bean" version of Android -- that's Android 4.1 and 4.2 -- is now on 10.2 percent of all active devices, as of the two weeks ending Jan. 3. For the two weeks ending Dec. 3, 2012, Jelly Bean was on 6.7 percent of all active devices. Ice Cream Sandwich numbers were up slightly as well, from 27.5 percent to 29.1 percent. Devices on Android 2.3 Gingerbread are trending down, from 50.8 percent last month to 47.6 percent today.

Breaking down the numbers, you'll see that both Android 4.1 and 4.2 increased about 50 percent over last month. But It's Android 4.2 that's on more phones and tablets -- thanks in no small part to updates to the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X and One S, and Motorola's RAZR line. Android 4.2 means Nexus, of course (and custom ROMs), and remains significantly lower.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

LG teases CES devices, reminds us it's nearly Vegas time

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With CES 2013 just a few days away, LG's taken the opportunity to remind us it'll be at the show, and it's bringing along at least one phone-shaped device. In a new teaser trailer released today, the company shows a few frames of what looks like an Optimus G, with its trademark exposed screws down below and cut-away earpiece design up top. There's also a brief glimpse of what appears to be a smart device docked into some larger contraption.

We'll be live in Las Vegas to bring you full coverage of Android at the show, including LG's press conference at 8am Monday morning Vegas time. In the meantime, if you've got any wild theories about what the manufacturer might be preparing for us, you can shout out in the comments.

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4 years ago

Facebook Messenger update adds quick voice message option

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Facebook's popular Messenger service, which has its own standalone app, is getting a voice message feature in its latest update. The service has relied on the combination of text and picture messages, as is the case with most instant messaging platforms, but is now aiming itself squarely at the likes of Voxer and other voice messaging apps out there with this latest addition.

You can send short messages back and forth quickly, and the UI is very simple. The feature is accessed from the "plus" button on the side of the text box, the same way you add pictures and smilies. Just press and hold the record button to start talking, then release it to let the message send. It wouldn't have been a bad idea to let you cancel a message if you happen to have misspoke, but you can see why Facebook made it auto-send to keep the "walkie talkie" type of feel.

The app is free at the Google Play link above if you're interested, and it's something fun to play around with even for a little while until the novelty wears off.

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4 years ago

Archos announces TV Connect, bringing Android to your existing HDTV

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Will 2013 be the year we see Android truly infiltrate the living room? It's possible, and Archos has come out swinging with their new TV Connect device unveiled today. In simple terms, the TV connect puts an Android based Smart TV experience onto your existing, non-smart, HDTV. Kind of like Google TV, except, it isn't Google TV. Confused yet? 

What this is, is the first "multitouch Android on TV" experience, or so says the press release. Naturally there's a specially designed remote control included, and as you'll no doubt see here, it's not aimed at one handed use. It promises the ability to play games, video chat, browse the web, stream videos, basically turn your HDTV into a gigantic Android tablet. 

The TV Connect will be on show at CES next week in Las Vegas, and will go on general release in February for a pretty reasonable $129.99. Spec wise, the TV Connect is packing Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, has a HD capable video camera on board, and full multitouch gesture capabilities. The onboard storage is 8GB, expandable via microSD card, 1GB of RAM and a 1.5GHz multi-core processor. 

It's an interesting idea, and taking a very different path to Google TV. What about you guys though, is this something you'd be interested in? Sound off in the comments below. 

Source: Archos

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4 years ago

Google agrees to change business practices as FTC closes investigation

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Google has agreed to change a couple of its business practices following an anti-competitive investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over the past several months. There are two main parts to this agreement -- online search and standards-essential patent licensing. For the former, Google has agreed to change its policies to both let advertisers more freely manage advertising campaigns on both Google and other search engines simultaneously, as well as not give its own sites any preferential treatment in results in specific categories such as Travel and Shopping. Beth Wilkinson, outside counsel to the FTC, had this comment on the search findings:

“The evidence the FTC uncovered through this intensive investigation prompted us to require significant changes in Google’s business practices. However, regarding the specific allegations that the company biased its search results to hurt competition, the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission. Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers. However, the FTC’s mission is to protect competition, and not individual competitors. The evidence did not demonstrate that Google’s actions in this area stifled competition in violation of U.S. law.”

As for the patent side, Google has agreed to license its portfolio of standards-essential patents (technologies necessary to make phones work, like a 3G radio for example) in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner -- that's the FRAND acronym we see thrown around. This means that if any company that wishes to use these patented technologies in their devices Google should be forthcoming on letting them do so for a reasonable price and set of associated terms. The FTC argued in its investigation that when Google acquired Motorola Mobility -- and its portfolio of over 24,000 patents and patent applications -- it reneged on its FRAND commitments and instead attempted to pursue injunctions against other companies with the patents. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz had this to say:

“We are especially glad to see that Google will live up to its commitments to license its standard-essential patents, which will ensure that companies willing to license these patents can compete in the market for wireless devices. This decision strengthens the standard-setting process that is at the heart of innovation in today’s technology markets.”

Now folks are spinning this one every which way. As consumers, this doesn't really have much tangible effect on us. But on the surface this seems like a pretty non-threatening result to Google. The FTC seems pleased with Google's initial commitments and compliance terms, and we'll just have to wait and see in the future how well Google actually follows up on these commitments. These compliance terms are enforceable, which means it's in Google's best interest to follow them closely. If you happen to be a lawyerly type, you can take a look at the full statement from the FTC at the source link below.

Source: FTC

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4 years ago

Google TV YouTube control coming to more devices in 2013

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YouTube rolled out updates to both its Android and Google TV apps to let users control their TV YouTube experience from their phones in just one tap a while back. Users can essentially pair and control their Google TV viewing experience with any number of devices and manage a queue of upcoming videos. Be it your own devices or a friends, as long as they're on the same Wifi network as the Google TV box, the phones or tablets can be a controller for managing a playlist of videos on the big screen. It's a pretty neat feature to help with the social watching of videos in the living room, assuming that you or someone you know actually owns a Google TV.

Google is trying to fix that problem by announcing new partners for Google TV that will include this quick device pairing at CES 2013. Devices from Bang & Olufsen, LG, Panasonic and Sony will be shown off next week, with partnerships announced between Google and Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio and Western Digital as well. These are really neat features provided people actually get to use them, and with a partner list like that we surely hope we see some compelling new devices.

Source: Official YouTube Blog

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4 years ago

Polaroid launches 7-inch kid-focused tablet at $150

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Polaroid (yes, that Polaroid) is launching a durable, kid-friendly 7-inch tablet today at a pretty great price point. The tablet, which doesn't seem to have a proper name, is designed to be rugged enough to be handled and controlled by a young child as you can see with the large buttons and bezels. The device is actually running Ice Cream Sandwich -- though you'd never know it -- and is pre-loaded with 35 "premium apps" out of the box, with more available in a kid-friendly App Shop. It's probably best not to give a little kid Google Play access right from the get-go anyway.

There's 8GB of storage and some moderate specs here, so for $149.99 it may be a compelling option if you're looking to get a young child in your life a "my first tablet" kind of device. The tablet is on sale now from Polaroid directly or in stores later this month.

Source: Polaroid (BusinessWire); Polaroid Store

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4 years ago

Catch the first Android Central Podcast of 2013 this afternoon!

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We're back, boys and girls! It's a new year, and we're ready to kick this podcast into high gear. Coming up this afternoon -- at a special time of 3:30 p.m. Eastern -- we'll be recording Episode 121 of the Greatest Android Podcast in the World! On tap today -- our predictions for the year, a preview of what we expect next week from CES in Las Vegas, and more of your e-mails and voicemails.

Not at a computer? Pick up the free UStream Viewer from Google Play [link] and search for Mobile Nations a little before the show (it won't appear until we go live). We'll see you there!

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4 years ago

Kobo Arc review

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Kobo's latest Android tablet is a marked step up from previous efforts, but does it make for a compelling purchase in an increasingly crowded space?

The small tablet space is becoming increasingly populated of late. The Google Nexus 7 undoubtedly sets the bar pretty high, but recent months have seen respectable releases from Amazon, Acer and on the other side of the fence, Apple. Now, along comes Kobo. A Canadian company better known for e-Readers and their eBook store, they have dipped their toe in the Android tablet space before. 

The Kobo Vox wasn't the greatest tablet on the market by any stretch of the imagination. Quite chunky, a less than impressive touch response and Gingerbread sadly overshadowed a cheap, and -- unlike Amazon's Kindle Fire -- fully Google Certified tablet. Fast forward though, and things are quite different. 

First unveiled to a small group of press in Berlin at the annual IFA conference, the Kobo Arc is the company's latest attempt at an Android based, content focused tablet device. Immediately it was clear that this was something much more interesting than its predecessor. Better software, better hardware, and a competitive price point. But, looks can be deceiving, as we all know. We've had one for a little while now, so click on past the break and we'll take you through it.

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4 years ago

What I used in 2012: Jerry Hildenbrand

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It's the end of one year and the beginning of the next, and that means lots of lists covering all manner of tech stuff. I like reading lists. Everything laid out in an easy-to-read format fits my analytical side, and helps me process more information faster. I don't much like writing lists though, because that leaves less space for me to ramble and drift away from the topic at hand. Sort of like now, huh?

Anyways, back to my list. I used a crapload of mobile stuff this year, most of it some flavor of Android. I'm not even going to run through them all, just what I use everyday while working for AC or as a general technophile. A lot of you will disagree with my choices, and that's a good thing. The world would be pretty much a suck-fest if everyone were like me. Jump through and have a read.

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