4 years ago

Gingerbread for the Droid Charge is officially on its way


Good news for all of you patiently waiting for Gingerbread on your Droid ChargeVerizon says today that the official update is "coming soon", and will bring with it a host of improvements. In addition to Android 2.3, software update i510.EP4 also brings with it security enhancements, a download manager, and a new user interface and color scheme, just to name a few of the changes in store. You know the drill: it'll roll out slowly, so sit back and enjoy your turkey and stuffing while you wait. Hit the source link for instructions and details from Verizon's Droid Charge support page, and sing out below when Gingerbread-flavored goodness reaches your device.

Source: Verizon Wireless; thanks Arnold!

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4 years ago

YouTube and Photos updates come to Google TV


We saw some Google TV action not too long ago that included updates to YouTube but over at the official Google TV blog, they've expanded on what, exactly was included with that release:

  • YouTube: The new Google TV YouTube experience introduces playlists to your living room. You can now easily watch your YouTube subscriptions on your HDTV and quickly access your other playlists like Watch Later and Favorites. If you have your own channel, you can now add videos to it from your Google TV. So whether you’re a newshound wanting a constant stream of world events or you’re a curator in search of an even more endless summer of content, you can sit back on your comfy couch and enjoy YouTube’s thousands of options in the High Definition brilliance of your Google TV.
  • Photos: Your Google TV Photos app already syncs with your online photo albums uploaded to Picasa & Flickr, and now we’ve added a great new feature called Discover to your Google TV Photos app.  Discover creates an animated and constantly changing collage using photos from the albums you have uploaded online and synced with your Google TV. When you click on one of the photos in Discover, you go straight to the album where you can start a slideshow or simply view other photos in the album. With Discover you now have an even more fun way to rediscover your favorite memories caught on camera.

Google is pretty insistent that there is more updates on the way and what we're seeing now, is only a portion of what is to come. Hopefully, they'll keep things rolling because Google TV is an interesting platform that could really be expanded upon if given the time needed.

Source: Google TV Blog

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4 years ago

What to do if an app doesn't work with an Ice Cream Sandwich port


Everywhere you look you see Ice Cream Sandwich being ported to one phone or another.  Anytime there's a version update to AOSP, it's fun to be an Android geek.  And every time it happens, and our great community of developers start porting it over to existing phones we start seeing apps that just aren't working well -- even our favorite apps.  So what to do when faced with a situation where an app you need or want badly is misbehaving?  It's a bit different situation when a build is hacked together versus an official update, like we're seeing now with Ice Cream Sandwich.  Here's what I would recommend:

Don't use the report to developer feature from the force close dialog if you see one.  There's a good chance the app isn't working because of something the developer has no control over, and just an app report is going to confuse the situation.  Take a moment and find the contact information for the developer, and send them an e-mail telling them what is happening, what software you're using, and if you're able, send a logcat of the event.  Also let the ROM developer know there's an issue, but don't expect he or she to be able to do much about it.  In fact, don't expect the application developer to be able to fix the issue either -- things like hacked video drivers or other binary bits we need and don't have can lead to unsolvable problems.

The important thing to remember, and I'll quote our own ICS ROM developer Beezy:

For now, just sit back and relax.  Enjoy what you can do now, and wait for everything we need from Google and the manufacturer.  Try a different app that does the same thing.

I'll also add that you don't have to use ICS just because it's available.  Give it a try when you can, and if it doesn't work out for you flash back.  Remember -- this is supposed to be fun.

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4 years ago

What's really going on with the Galaxy Nexus volume bug


By now if you've been following the European Galaxy Nexus launch, you'll be aware of the infamous volume bug that results in volume levels spiking all over the place when the phone (or something else nearby) is in 2G mode on a 900MHz network. This morning Google and Samsung confirmed that they're aware of the problem and have a software fix ready to go. However that hasn't stopped the cries from across the blogosphere (and beyond) that the root cause is a hardware fault, and that Google is papering over the cracks by fixing it with software. Some have even called for Samsung to issue a recall of all Nexuses sold over the past week.

Enter systems engineer, app developer and all-round voice of reason Lee Johnston (known here on AC as britishturbo). He posted the following explanation in our comments section, and again on his Google+ page. For us mere mortals, it does a great job of explaining what's really going on, why it's a common issue with complex electronic devices like cellphones, and why we don't need to worry.

I'm a Systems Engineer and also a Developer. I deal with things like this every day. What we have here is indeed a hardware issue, in that the radio interference is coming in through the radio hardware. However things like this can be fix fairly easily in software. It's called debounce.

When you monitor an electronic input like the buttons on a phone there is always noise and flutter even when you just press the button. If testing by Google has shown that they just need to turn up the debounce time (the time which an input must exceed for it to be determined to be a genuine press) then it will more than likely just work and no one will ever see it again.

Like I said I deal with this kind of thing every day, it's not a big deal as long as your debounce time is not excessive. But noise happens down on the order of 1 to 40 ms, real inputs when you press a button last from 100 or 200ms if you tap the button, up to seconds if you hold it down.

This is nothing like Apple and the iPhone 4 antennae problems that could not be fixed in software. I'm sure everyone will see in due time, the problem will be fixed, and the dust will blow over.

And people will be saying "wow, I was wrong, Google rocks!"

Over on Google+, Google engineer Dan Morrill reshared the post, saying Lee's post was "completely accurate" description of a "very common phenomenon", with the increase in debounce time being the "classic fix". So that's that.

Our own Jerry Hildenbrand had similar things to say when this first cropped up a few days ago -- it's impossible to completely protect a complex device like a smartphone from all RF interference, and some of it has to be managed with code. As such, something like the Nexus volume bug can absolutely be remedied with a software update, just as Lee Johnston explains above.

Source: AC Comments, Google+

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4 years ago

Peter Alfonso brings some Android 2.3.7 love to the OG Droid


Still rocking an original Motorola Droid and looking for something new to mess around with? Peter Alfonso has had quite a running record of amazing Droid ROM's to date, and he came back again with an Android 2.3.7 based ROM. Released last month this ROM brings the Motorola Droid right into the game with the most current version of Gingerbread for your downloading pleasure. If your still on the OG Droid, hit the source link for some download love, and let us know how it works out for you!

Source: Peter Alfonso

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4 years ago

Catch Phil on the Engadget Mobile podcast today at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST


Just a quick heads up that our fearless leader is a guest on the Engadget Mobile Podcast this afternoon at 2 p.m. Eastern, 11 a.m. Pacific, and all points worldwide. Phil joins Engadget's Myriam Joire, Brad Molen and Joseph Volpe to talk turkey, stuffing and perhaps the latest in Mobile.

Listen to the Engadget Mobile Podcast Live!

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4 years ago

12 of the top movies in Android Market now 99 cents for the next two weeks


If you're looking to sit down and watch a movie over the next couple of weeks, Google may have just what you are looking for. They've now announced that over the next two weeks, 12 of the top movies in Android Market are available as rentals for only 99 cents. That's pretty awesome really, though it does appear to only be available in the US. Anyone going to be grabbing some movies?

Source: Android Market; via @Android

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4 years ago

Madden NFL '12 now optimized for the Xperia PLAY


If a game of touch football isn't your normal tradition for after the Thanksgiving meal, here's an idea: popular EA title Madden NFL '12 is now optimized for the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, and can be downloaded from the Android Market for $4.99. If you've played Madden on a touchscreen, you're probably aware that physical controls, while not completely necessary, are certainly the better option. The Xperia PLAY is now available on both AT&T and Verizon for $49.99 on contract. Hit the break for the download link.

Source: Android Market

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4 years ago

Kyobo introduces color e-reader using Qualcomm’s mirasol display in Korea


Fora while now Qualcomm has been working on its mirasol display technology and despite rumors of a delay, they've now announced in partnership with Kyobo in South Korea to bring to market the world’s first e-reader using the technology.

Featuring a 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display with 223 ppi, the Kyobo e-reader will be powered by a Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon S2 class processor using Android 2.3 with a custom UI in place.

The Kyobo e-reader will be available at bookstore locations across South Korea, including Kyobo’s flagship Gwanghwamun-jum location in Seoul, for a retail price of KRW349,000 (US$310).

We're guessing we won't ever see the device in the North America but it sure would be nice to see some manufacturers pick up the display for use on devices we can get our hands on. Hit up the source link below to catch a video of the display in action. Plus, the press release is just after the break.

Source: Qualcomm

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4 years ago

Sony Google TV update now arriving, new YouTube app included


If you have a Sony Internet TV you'll want to be on the look out for system updates as a new one has now started to arrive for some folks. The update indictates that it addresses some issues with router connectivity but it also contains an unmentioned, updated YouTube app with increased functionality. We don't have a full change log as of yet so if you spot anything else, be a good sport and let us know in the comments.

Thanks, Patrick!

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4 years ago

Samsung and Google to update Galaxy Nexus with fix for volume bug


There's been quite the hoopla over the past few days around the Galaxy Nexus volume bug -- that's the nasty little issue which results in the phone's volume levels going crazy when it's on a 900MHz 2G/EDGE network, or when it's exposed to RF interference from another phone that is.

We reached out to Samsung for comment on the glitch, and they've responded today with the confirmation that a fix is indeed in the works.

We are aware of the volume issue and have developed a fix. We will update devices as soon as possible.

So hopefully that'll be the end of that. It's worth remembering that this shouldn't be an issue in the U.S., because neither of the GSM carriers in the States operate on 900 MHz. That and the fact that the U.S. has neither the phone nor a firm release date yet. D'oh.

And don't fret if it looks like the update's coming from Samsung even though this is a Nexus phone. Google has issued the exact same statement this morning, and we'd expect updates to roll out the same way as with other Nexus phones -- from Google directly.

For more Galaxy Nexus goodness, be sure to check out our full review of the GSM version.

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4 years ago

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet gets version with Gobi 3000 for worldwide 3G connectivity


Lenovo this morning announced a pretty cool option for its Android-based ThinkPad Tablet, adding the Qualcomm Gobi 3000 chipset so you can get online on any network in the world, be it GSM or CDMA. The data will still have to be provisioned by the carrier, of course, but the ThinkPad Tablet will have the radios built in to do so. This is geared toward the corporate environment, but it still stands to make life a lot easier for those worldwide road warriors.

Source: Press release; More: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet hands-on; Qualcomm Gobi

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4 years ago

Security advocate, EFF go toe to toe with data collection company CarrierIQ


The push and pull between security (and privacy) advocates and a company that supplies several Android manufacturers with application metrics has reached a new level -- and lawyers are now involved. This stems from the CarrierIQ "app" that resides in a number of HTC Android smartphones that gained notoriety in early October when a flaw was discovered in the way it was collecting data. Depending on who you ask, CarrierIQ (recently named a "Company under $100 million to watch") either is a tool that provides OEMs a look at what you're using your device for under the auspices of giving you a better user experience in the long term, or it's an evil agent spying on your every move.

On Nov. 14, Trevor Eckhart -- aka TrevE -- sent us (and presumably other sites) a link to a post he'd written explaining in great technical detail what CarrierIQ does, how it does it, and why he believes it's a bad thing. (We declined to report on Eckhart's post.) Included in the post and mirrored off site are training documents Eckhart copied from the CarrierIQ website, and Eckhart explained how he believed he evaded no security in copying the documents.

CarrierIQ, however, believes Eckhart violated copyright laws by doing so, and has sent a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter demanding cease any infringement or face thousands of dollars in fines, as well as retracting "allegations on your website ... that are without substance, untrue, and that we regard as damaging to our reputation and the reputation of our customers." CarrierIQ also demands that Eckhart contact anyone directly or indirectly sent copies of the training material, send written retractions, issue a press release on the AP (Associated Press) wire admitting "inaccuracies" and to "apologize to Carrier IQ, Inc. for misrepresenting the capabilities of their products and for distributing copyrighted content without permission."

Eckhart has retained the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which responded to CarrierIQ's general counsel that Eckhart's copying and republishing of the training materials falls under fair use, and that CarrierIQ must specify the statements it believes are false. (CarrierIQ was most certainly purposely vague in its initial C&D letter. That's how it works.)

This isn't about fears over data collection anymore, folks. Now that lawyers are involved, it's about whether laws were broken. The short version is CarrierIQ thinks Eckhart copied and used the training materials illegally (remember that just because something's not behind a locked door doesn't necessarily give you permission to distribute it), and the EFF is arguing that CarrierIQ is using strong-arm tactics and threats of thousands of dollars in fines to silence Eckhart and force retractions. (If you're really into the legal stuff, it's also interesting that the EFF claims CarrierIQ is a public figure and that New York Times Co. v. Sullivan and Hustler Magainze v. Falwell apply here.)

It also should be noted that on Nov. 16, CarrierIQ posted a "media alert" titled "Measuring Mobile User Experience Does Matter!" that seeks "to clarify some recent press on how our product is used and the information that is gathered from smartphones and mobile devices." Eckhart's piece isn't explictly mentioned, but it's pretty clear what it's in response to.

The debate over CarrierIQ will continue as well (and as it well should). But it is worth mentioning that there we all gloss over a bunch of legalese every time we boot a smartphone for the first time that should (in small type) tell you your phone is collecting data about what it's doing. And it also needs reminding that when a potential security hole was found in the way CarrierIQ was collecting data, a fix was pushed out pretty quickly (for some phones, at least). And it's also worth mentioning that CarrierIQ's not acting unilaterally here. The manufacturer -- not you -- is CarrierIQ's customer. We'll all have to watch how this one plays out.

Additional links: "What is CarrierIQ?" | "Measuring Mobile User Experience Does Matter!" (pdf) | EFF post | EFF response (pdf) cease and desist letter (pdf)

Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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4 years ago

FCC chairman asks for judicial review of AT&T T-Mobile merger, AT&T responds


image courtesy ctrlZstudio

The FCC chariman today recommended the $39 billion merger of AT&T and T-Mobile be sent for an official review by an administrative law judge.  Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski suggested this course of action to fellow commissioners, citing that the FCC found the deal "would significantly diminish competition and lead to massive job losses."  Genachowski's order still requires the approval of a majority of the commissioners, and if approved would extend the review of the merger beyond AT&T's hopes to have things all wrapped-up at the FCC early in 2012.  Of course, AT&T is none too happy, stating:

"The FCC’s action today is disappointing. It is yet another example of a government agency acting to prevent billions in new investment and the creation of many thousands of new jobs at a time when the US economy desperately needs both."

If you'll allow a bit of editorial comment, I'm a happy T-Mobile customer.  I don't want to change anything about my service from T-Mobile, and am concerned that I will lose the legendary customer support T-Mobile offers, as well as gaining an additional $100 or so attached to my monthly bill.  I'm also concerned that Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company no longer wants to retain control of the small U.S. carrier because of the huge financial drain that comes with.  I worry what will happen either way -- having AT&T as my carrier is my rock, and having DT let T-Mobile die is my hard place, and I'm smack dab in the middle.  Either case has me getting cell service from AT&T, unless the government has a contingency plan for T-Mobile should the merger fail to pass.  Hopefully, the fellows in Washington have a plan to serve the consumer's best interests, but I'm skeptical.  Unless another company like Google or Apple steps in and buys T-Mobile, our future looks shaky either way.  For now, I, and 33 million others, just have to wait and see.

More: Reuters; BusinessWire

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4 years ago

And the winner of the Amazon Kindle Fire giveaway is ...


You might recall that last week we gave away an Amazon Kindle Fire, and it's time to announce the winner.  Out of about 3,000 entries, AC member psheppard001 was the lucky winner.  We've contacted him, and sent out his Kindle Fire, so now all that's left is for us to congratulate him.  On behalf of everyone here at Android Central, congrats!  Use the daylights out of that sucker, and be sure to tell us all how it works out for you in the Kindle Fire forums.

If you entered and didn't win, don't worry -- we'll have another killer contest or giveaway soon. 

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