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3 years ago

Google Play Gift Cards are official, rolling out over the next few weeks

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Google's just made it official. Google Play Gift Cards are rolling out in the next few weeks.

We've known these were coming for about a week now, of course, first with some code in an update to the Google Play Store app, and a short while later when we were the first to get a peek at the official product. Now it looks like Google's really spinning things up.

According to the Google Gift Card page, you'll be able to redeem codes for music, movies and TV shows, books and apps. However, app subscriptions (we're not 100 percent sure what that means), hardware and accessories are excluded. Cards will be available in denominations of $10, $15, $25 and $50. You'll scratch off a part of the card to reveal a code, which you'll then redeem at play.google.com/redeem. A Gift Card's balance will be visible in your Google Wallet account.

Gift cards will be available at Radio Shack, Target and GameStop, according to the page.

More: Google Play Gift Cards | Help Page

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3 years ago

Swiftkey launches Swiftkey Analytics to VIP's, want to analyze how you interact with the app

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SwiftKey is somewhat of a favorite around these parts, and already this week we've been treated to an update filled with new features and themes. Today though, for their VIP Forum's members anyway, comes the opportunity to help the developers in their work by downloading the SwiftKey 3 Analytics app. In essence, this is the same great SwiftKey 3 keyboard but that submits anonymous mathematical data to the developers. 

The data collected will indicate how a user interacts with the keyboard and its predictions and analyze typing habits. SwiftKey isn't any old two-bit developer either, so when they say this is all anonymous and mathematical, and that no text entered is transmitted, we're pretty much inclined to believe them. The service is time limited until Sep 25, and entirely voluntary. 5 lucky VIP's who take part will also win themselves some swag. And we all love swag, don't we? If you want to take part and help SwiftKey shape the future of their app, head on over to the VIP forums and grab it now and read up some more.

More: SwiftKey VIP Forums

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3 years ago

Amzer skin case for the Nexus 7

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Continuing our search for the perfect case for the Nexus 7, we're taking a look at the Amzer skin case. Seven inches of glass and electronics sitting around naked is a nightmare for many folks, and this go around we're looking at pure protection. But protective cases don't have to lack in the looks department, so I grabbed one of these premium silicone cases in hot pink to give a thorough look. Read on to see how it fares.

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3 years ago

Sony applauds 'experiment' to build AOSP for Xperia S

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Manufacturer tells Android Central it 'encourages and supports external innovation'

When Google's Jean-Baptiste Queru announced plans for an "experiment" that would make the Sony Xperia S a "target" for the Android Open Source Project, nerds and neckbeards got all flustered over the prospect of a non-Nexus device seeing some official AOSP love. It would be "a new challenge," Queru wrote in the Android Building group, later noting that "the potential end result that could be visible would be upgrades arriving very slightly earlier for Sony devices." And who wouldn't want that?

The other side of the equation here is Sony. (Or Sony Mobile, to be precise.) How's the manufacturer feel about all this mucking about with its hardware? They're all for it, a company spokesman told Android Central today.  

"Sony Mobile encourages and supports external innovation and the openness that Android brings," Sony told us in an official statement. "Our Developer World team have supported community driven Android projects for a long time

"It is now great to see that representatives from started this project, which aims at putting latest Vanilla Android on Xperia S, thanks to our unlockbootloader service. It is great to see that the project already received support from community of Android developers who can contribute to the project Google opened up. This project is driven outside Sony Mobile, however we will of course follow the progress and see if there are things we can contribute with along the way."

That shouldn't come as a surprise. Queru in an April Google+ post gave kudos to the code that Sony's been providing back to the AOSP in the first place, noting that it's made things easier for the company in the long run. And, indeed, Sony's on a bit of a tear when it comes to updating its devices.

Said Queru: "Since Sony has been contributing a lot to the Android Open Source Project, they have fewer changes that they need to maintain on their own: those changes of theirs are already there when the source code is first released."

And that, ladies and germs, is what this open-source thing is all about.

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3 years ago

Shoot the Zombirds review - get a head start on Hallowe'en

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Shoot the Zombirds is a charming Hallowe’en themed target practice/wave defense game that is doing extremely well in Google Play and has been recently been updated with a few new in-game items. Players have to protect their pumpkin patch from being pecked apart by zombie birds by shooting them down with a crossbow. The overall-clad Pumpkin Boy has only a limited number of arrows, and zombirds only have to get away with a few of the pumpkids before players fail, but luckily there are a bunch of power-ups and upgrades that can be earned over time to aid the cause. 

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3 years ago

Could Samsung's GT-i9260 Nexus 'Superior' be a spec-bumped Galaxy Nexus for 2012? [updated]

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Well here’s an interesting development for Nexus watchers. Samsung fansite SamMobile has uncovered a list of specifications for a new Samsung phone with the model number GT-i9260. (If you’re not up to speed on your model numbers, the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus is GT-i9250.) ​The site alleges this will be an upcoming mid-range Nexus, and provides specs leaked from an internal spreadsheet in support of its claims.

Appearing alongside the codename “Superior,” the GT-i9260 seems to have a lot in common with the original Galaxy Nexus -- an HD SuperAMOLED display on 4.65-inch display, for instance. Interestingly, though, the “Superior” is reported as having a 1.5GHz dual-core Cortex A9 CPU (up from 1.2GHz in the Gnex), as well as an 8MP rear camera, 1.9MP front camera (up from 5.0 and 1.2 respectively), and a microSD card slot. That last part is worth underscoring -- we’ve reported previously on the Android dev team’s disdain for removable storage, and unless they’ve had a major change of heart since June, we’d be surprised to see any Nexus device with removable storage.

On the other hand, the GT-i9260 model number appears alongside the name "Nexus" in the leaked spreadsheet. This suggests the "Superior" is indeed another Samsung Nexus device, and not just a TouchWiz phone based on Gnex-like specs. The release date of Nov. 2012 would also be right about when we’re expecting new Nexus to drop.

If this is indeed a Nexus phone, what we’re likely looking at is a likely not a super-high-end device -- the specs and model number point to a mid-range product. That indicates that either the next Nexus will offer only a modest spec boost, or that another Nexus model will be present at the high end. Alternatively, maybe the listed GT-i9260 specs are incorrect -- possibly misinformation put out by Samsung to throw us off the trail.

There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to the GT-i9260, but we’ll be watching with interest as November approaches.

Source: SamMobile

More: Why Nexus devices have no SD card

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3 years ago

Yet another Jelly Bean update leaks for international Galaxy S3

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The pace of Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean leaks is showing no signs of slowing down, with a new build leaking today, bringing the total up to three in the past week. The latest build, version XXDLH6 is based on Android 4.1.1 and has appeared online, where it's available as an ODIN-flashable .md5 file. This makes it easier to flash than the last leak (XXDLH4), which was only available as an OTA package. Note that this is for the international Galaxy S3 only (GT-i9300), and won't work on the U.S. models.

At this point, we're pretty sure Jelly Bean for the international Galaxy S3 isn't far off -- rumors suggest a possible IFA 2012 launch, and we wouldn't be surprised if that turned out to be the case. If you know your way around ODIN, and you're feeling brave enough to flash pre-release firmware, you'll find download links over at the source page. If not, be sure to check out our Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean feature overview.

Source: XDA, SamMobiles

More: New features in Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S3

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3 years ago

Krusell Hector Case review - a leather holster to go with your leather belt

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The Krusell Hector Case is a leather Swedish-made belt-mounted holster for just about any phone in the 4.5-inch screen range. It features a suede interior, hidden magnetic clasp, and strong, pronounced stitching. Obviously a leather and suede case isn’t going to be offering much in the way of impact protection, though there isn't much much to worry about as far as scratches go.

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3 years ago

N.O.V.A. 3 added to MLG's Xperia Mobile Gaming Arena, shoot things and win money

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If serious gaming is your thing, then no doubt's you'll be already familiar with Major League Gaming. Gameloft's stellar FPS title, N.O.V.A. 3, has been added to the series' Xperia Mobile Gaming Arena, offering up cash prizes for playing the game. Various challenges are on offer, naturally all of which involve a lot of shooting things.

Running until December 16, bi-weekly prizes of $250, $150, and $50 will be awarded to players who occupy the top three places in the rankings. An additional $50 prize goes to the highest ranked player using a Sony Xperia device. 

To take part, you need to link your Gameloft ID to your Major League Gaming ID, and be over the age of 13 residing within the U.S. or Canada. 

Source: MLG via Pocketgamer

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Tipo hands-on and initial review

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As much as we focus on the higher end of the smartphone food chain here at Android Central, there’s been no shortage of innovation among budget phones over the past year. Hardware which just a couple of years ago would’ve set customers back £300 or more is now coming in at around the £100 price point. With this comes proof that you don’t have to break the bank to to be part of the world of smartphones.

The Xperia Tipo is one such device -- with an 800MHz CPU, 512MB of RAM and a £100-120 price tag, the Tipo is undeniably a budget smartphone. But with the inclusion of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Sony manages to deliver a solid, reliable user experience at a relatively humble asking price.

The Tipo is the definition of cheap and chearful -- a small, light, compact smartphone with a reasonable price point. The 3.2-inch HVGA (320x480) screen may be a turn off to those accustomed to the 4.3-inch-plus panels of more expensive phones, but that kind of device isn’t for everyone. Physically, it’s very similar to last year’s Xperia Active -- it sports a curved, soft touch back panel that contrasts with its glossy front, which houses three capacitive buttons. The design is simple and elegant, and despite its budget leanings, the Tipo doesn’t look or feel cheap.

On the software side, we’ve got Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich in addition to Sony’s UXP NXT software. Sony’s UI skin hasn’t changed much since earlier Gingerbread-based builds, but what’s most striking about its ICS efforts is its performance. It’s speedier than you’d expect from an 800MHz chip, and it puts most of Sony’s Gingerbread phones -- including dual-core models -- to shame when it comes to responsiveness. Despite the bump up to ICS, most Sony’s own apps, such as Calendar, Messages, Music, PlayNow and Music Unlimited remain unchanged.

One area which has suffered, however, is the camera. Sony’s included a 3.2MP fixed focus rear camera on the Tipo, and it’s pretty dismal, even for a budget camera. Video recording is limited to VGA (640x480) resolution too, which is adequate  for playback on the Tipo’s small screen, but little else.

We’ll be testing the Sony Xperia Tipo thoroughly over the next week or so, so check back soon for a full review. In the meantime, we’ve got more photos and hands-on video after the break.

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3 years ago

PopCap Games officially announces sequel to smash hit Plants vs Zombies

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Plants vs Zombies has been around for a while now, and is genuinely a smash hit across multiple platforms. Word now comes from the developers, PopCap Games, that a sequel to the hugely successful title is on the way. Slated for release by late Spring 2013, there is a bit of a wait to be had. Android isn't specifically mentioned, in fact no platform is specifically mentioned, but we're sure we'll see it. Check out the press release after the break. 

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3 years ago

Sony reminds that Android 4.0.4 is coming for Xperia phones, we await word on Jelly Bean

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Sony this morning is reminding folks that it's bringing Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich to a number of its smartphones. That includes the Xperia Arc, Arc S, Neo, Neo V, Mini, Pro, Active and Ray, along with the Mini Pro, Neo L and Live with Walkman. Some of the phones are already on ICS, version 4.0.3 to be exact. So with that we present the following question: What's up with Jelly Bean, Sony?

Source: Sony

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3 years ago

Acer officially announces the Liquid Gallant and Gallant Duo, on show at IFA 2012

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Having made a premature appearance on their website last week, Acer has gone and officially announced their latest entry level Android smartphones -- the Liquid Gallant, and Liquid Gallant Duo. Basically the same phone, the Duo as the name suggests is a dual-SIM device. 

Running what looks like near stock Android 4.0.4 out of the box, and coming with on-screen buttons, the 4.3-inch, qHD Gallant isn't a bad looking old Hector for the entry-level market. Additionally Swype will come pre-installed as a choice of keyboard. Coming in a choice of Gentle Black or Ceramic White, the devices will go on sale in September and will be shown off at Acer's booth at next weeks IFA 2012 show in Berlin. The full press release can be found after the break.

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3 years ago

LG Optimus Black looks set to receive Android 4.0, eventually

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Will they, won't they, Android update stories are one of the more frustrating topics to read about. Particularly, if you happen to be a proud owner of a device which seems to be teetering on the edge of getting an update or not. When it comes to updates, LG owners are all to aware of the pain, and the waiting, and the pain. While making great hardware, it is absolutely no secret that LG is less than positive with software updates. 

The latest LG news comes courtesy of the guys over at Tech Covet. While official information is often scarce, in this case it is the retail packaging that's doing the talking. This new, sealed Optimus Black proudly wears a sticker saying that it will be upgradable to Android 4.0. Huzzah!

Still treat this with a healthy pinch of salt though. Above all, it's just a sticker on a box. We're not saying it's all a marketing ploy to get the device into peoples hands, before a "sorry, you won't get ICS" statement comes out, not at all. But, until we see the software pushing out to devices, and with LG's track record, it's difficult to get overly excited just yet. 

Source: Tech Covet via GSMArena

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia J gets previewed ahead of an official announcement

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Following recent tradition, a forthcoming Sony device has been extensively leaked and previewed. The ST26i, Xperia J, has been shown off by the chaps at ​mobile-review.com, and reveals a distinctly lower -end offering. 

The Xperia J is a 4-inch device, although apparently the screen quality leaves something to be desired. It is noted that it suffers from an element of glare, low viewing angles and poor color reproduction. Then again, the screen is one of the first areas to be sacrificed when a low end device is designed. There are no on-screen buttons either for the Xperia J, these are capacitive unlike the higher-end leaked 'Mint.' 

The battery is said to be a 1700mAh unit, which should provide a decent level of battery life given the reduced screen size and the same entry-level processor as the Xperia Tipo. RAM is set at 512MB. There is also a microSD card slot hiding away under the battery on the Xperia J.

The rear camera is a 5MP shooter with an LED flash, but apparently only shoots video at a pretty dreary 640x480. There is also a front facing camera, but nothing is said of it's specs. Given the rear camera, we're not expecting a lot from it. 

And then the software. As with the other leaked Sony devices, the Xperia J is at least running Android 4.0 out of the box. It is noted though that this is an 'older' version of the Sony ICS software, seen on the current Xperia devices, and not the newer version we've seen leaked on the 'Mint.' 

So, we're just a week out now from Sony's big press conference at IFA 2012 in Berlin, and given the sheer volume of device leaks we've seen, we're pretty much expecting there will be plenty to see. Of course, Android Central will be on the ground in Berlin all week to bring you all the very best. 

Source: Mobile-Review (translated), via Xperiablog

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