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4 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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4 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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4 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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4 years ago

Gmail for Android – A Complete Walkthrough

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According to our not-so-scientific poll taken this time last year, chances are good that if you’re reading this then you use Android’s Gmail app. The latest update to Gmail bumped it up to version 4.2.2, adding some useful new features like swipe to delete, as well as the long awaited pinch to zoom. You may or may not have already read about these and started to use them. What about all those features that came before the last update?

Perhaps you’re new to Android, and are still exploring a lot of what Gmail has to offer. Maybe you’ve been using Android for a long time, and want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Gmail experience. Whatever your level of expertise, this comprehensive walkthrough of Gmail's controls and settings will help advance, or at least refresh, your Gmail skills.

Hit the break for a review of the basics, as well as a deep dig into Gmail's features (and a couple lesser known tricks).

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4 years ago

Google I/O 2013 registration opens March 13 [Updated]

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Update: It's official -- a tweet from Google Developers confirms that registration opens at  7AM PDT on Mar. 13. Make a note of it, and good luck to everyone hoping to score a ticket!

Original story: Here's an interesting tidbit for anyone hoping to land a ticket to Google I/O this year. The registration date for the three-day dev conference seems to have shown up briefly on the official I/O site, before being swiftly pulled. If the info that showed up is to be believed, registration will open at 7AM PDT on Wednesday, Mar. 13 -- two months ahead of the event itself.

Last year's registration sold out in record time, so if the info above is accurate, would-be attendees will need to be hitting that registration site at 7AM sharp on Mar. 13.

You'll probably want to wait for the official confirmation before penciling the date into your diary, however. We'll keep you updated with any news as it emerges.

Source: +Chris Pick; via 9to5Google

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4 years ago

HTC settles with FTC over insecure implementation of Carrier IQ, HTC Logger

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HTC America has settled with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) over concerns that the company put millions of customer's personal information at risk with insecure implementations of software on its devices. The FTC found that HTC did not take a reasonable amount of care in implementing best coding and security practices when creating software for its devices, having this to say:

"[HTC] failed to provide its engineering staff with adequate security training, failed to review or test the software on its mobile devices for potential security vulnerabilities, failed to follow well-known and commonly accepted secure coding practices, and failed to establish a process for receiving and addressing vulnerability reports from third parties."

Those are some pretty strong words for the company, but where it really hits home is the consumer-facing issues that were caused by this lack of oversight. The FTC explains that HTC's implementation of Carrier IQ and HTC Logger on its devices left customer data vulnerable to attack, alongside errors that would let third parties bypass Android's built-in permissions system.

The second part of the FTC's complaint is that it finds HTC was deceptive in telling consumers about the security risks of its software implementations, stating that the device user manuals and interface of the "Tell HTC" app were misleading. Both of these issues in implementation are said to have undermined the normal consent mechanism of Android that would have kept user's data safe.

So what does this mean for HTC? The FTC is requiring that the company develop and release software patches for its devices that are affected with these vulnerabilities, and HTC has said that it has already released some patches at this point. Furthermore, HTC will have to submit to "independent security assessments" every 2 years for the next 20 years. HTC will also be forbidden from making misleading statements about the security of its devices and user's data going forward.

This is a pretty big finding from the FTC, but isn't necessarily uncommon. Although their may not have been widespread exploits that were taking advantage of these security holes, it's important that HTC is going to be making changes to help security going forward. Though we would have preferred if HTC was implementing best practices in the first place, rather than it coming to an investigation by the FTC.

Source: FTC

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4 years ago

Android at Mobile World Congress 2013 - what to expect from this year's show

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February is drawing to a close, and we’re getting ready to head to Barcelona, Spain, for another Mobile World Congress. Usually one of the highlight events of the year in mobile, MWC takes place between Feb. 25 and 28, although we’ll start to see the first announcements over the weekend. And despite HTC jumping the gun with the HTC One, and Samsung holding back for an expected post-MWC Galaxy S4 launch, there’s still plenty of Android to be found at this year’s show.

I’ll be there, as will Phil, and Daniel Rubino and Jay Bennett from Windows Phone Central will be joining us to cover the Windows Phone side of things.

As always, it’s going to be an interesting week. So let’s break down what the major players are likely to bring to Barcelona ...

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4 years ago

Archos 80 Titanium on sale in the UK starting at £129

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Archos introduced a whole raft of new Android tablets last month at CES, and in the UK the budget oriented 80 Titanium is now on sale. Available from high street retailer, Carphone Warehouse, the cheapest 80 Titanium -- actually made of aluminum -- will set you back a mere £129. 

For that price you get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, an 8-inch 1024x768 IPS display, a dual-core 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of on board storage expandable by way of microSD card. There are cameras too, although the rear shooter is just 2MP, and the front although not specified, is likely of VGA resolution. So, not a high end device by any means, but for £129 a potential bargain to be had. 

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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