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4 years ago

Google 'accelerating' development of its own voice assistant, WSJ reports

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There's no denying that iOS's Siri has been a huge success for Apple, usability issues aside.  And it's no real secret that Google's been working on its own voice assistant tech at its top-secret Google X Lab for some time. So today's report that Google is reportedly speeding up work on its own interactive assistant will make for interesting, if unsurprising reading.

Near the end of a The Wall Street Journal article examining the state of the smartphone ecosystem is the news that Google is "accelerating plans to launch its own Siri competitor" for Android devices. The WSJ reports that, naturally, Google's assistant would work on Android devices, citing "people familiar with the matter."

While major mobile platforms borrowing each others' features is to be expected (hey there, S Voice), rumors surrounding Google's "Assistant" project have hinted at more than a mere aping of Siri's functionality. Google's ultimate goal, it's been reported, is more akin to the Star Trek computer than an app for looking up weather forecasts and setting reminders.

As with all developing Google technologies, there's a chance we may see something of Google's Assistant tech at Google IO next week, however we think this one's probably going to be a slower burn, even if the pace of development has quickened. Perhaps something for Android 5.0 or beyond?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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4 years ago

Late-night poll: Did the Microsoft Surface get you interested?

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Microsoft came back to life this evening, at least for a little bit. They showed off their latest idea, namely the Microsoft Surface, and have made a pretty big splash on the Interwebz. It's not quite what we expected from a Windows 8 tablet, but for the most part Microsoft delivered (or will be delivering) what a lot of people were asking for -- some parity between the desktop and mobile. Be sure to read the front page of WPCentral to see all there is to see about the Microsoft Surface.

But is it too little, too late? Let's be honest, Windows Phone 7 looks pretty damn nice. It's still behind the curve in some features, but there's nothing there that we can look at and say, "I understand why it's not selling -- XXX is horrible." People just don't seem to be interested on the same level they are with Android and iOS. Believe it or not, that makes us sad -- a strong third player means the top two have to try harder, and we benefit when they try harder. But today's news was different it seems. People were excited about a Microsoft product again.

So what say you, loyal readers and late-night poll respondents? Did you see anything to get excited about? Tell us in tonight's poll.

Are you interested in Microsoft's new Surface tablet?

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4 years ago

ZTE announce the Grand X LTE (T82) bound for Asia Pacific and Europe

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Since making the decision to sell its own brand smartphone as opposed to unbranded ones for carriers, ZTE has been making huge headway. This latest offering, the Grand X LTE (T82) is the companies first single chip LTE smartphone and could well go down a storm in certain markets.

Specs wise the Grand X LTE is pretty impressive, sporting a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, an 8 megapixel rear camera, capable of shooting and playing back video in full 1080p HD and a front camera with 720p powers. It's 1900 mAp battery is said to be 'large capacity' by ZTE, however I come from the UK and unfortunately we are still lacking LTE technology here so whether this will get you through the day I have no idea.

ZTE smartphones tend to be very reasonably priced here in the UK. I wonder if things will be so keen in Asia and the rest of Europe?

You can see the full press release below:

Source: ZTE

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4 years ago

Microsoft announces the Surface tablet [the competition]

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Steve Ballmer and company announced the Microsoft Surface, a 10.6-inch 1.5 pound Windows 8 tablet, this evening in Los Angeles. Complete with a kickstand, and a Transformer-esque "cover" with a magnetic docking system and a tactile keyboard. We'll have to admit -- it's intriguing. It's also coming at a time when Microsoft is floundering in the mobile space with their smartphone offerings, and needs to hit one out of the park. 

The hardware comes from Microsoft themselves, who made a big to-do about controlling both the hardware and the software of the Surface, and that's going to compete with their long-time partners like Samsung and HP, and more directly ASUS -- who has a knack for building great convergent tablet/laptop devices.. We're pretty certain we'll see similar models from other OEM's in the near future, but tonight was all about Microsoft. 

What's probably most interesting is the fact that you'll be able to use the same full-featured programs you use today on a Windows computer on the Surface. That's a big deal, and gives this one some potential that more mobile-oriented tablets from Apple and Android OEM's simply lack. The Surface is more of a laptop competitor than a tablet competitor, and may force others to up the specs to keep in the running. Give me a tablet I can use to draw diagrams and schematics (or other "heavy" work) and I'm going to look twice. How about you? See anything here that grabs your eye? Hit the source links for more information, and there's a video after the break. Of course you'll find out everything you need to know about Microsoft's new gear at WPCentral

Source: Microsoft

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4 years ago

Bluetooth quality, SGS III shipping [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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4 years ago

Contest: Win 1 of 10 iBolt Car Docks for the EVO 4G LTE and HTC One X this week!

Got a shiny new HTC EVO 4G LTE or HTC One X and looking for a car dock to make travel more fun and efficient this summer? Look no further than the iBOLT Car Dock. (Like the one above with the HTC One X.) When driving, the Car Dock keeps your phone charged and in a secure and easy to view position. Signal for both cell phone reception and GPS are optimized when phone is placed inside the windshield area. Use with your preferred Bluetooth hands-free solution for a complete hands-free driving experience. The phone will will automatically switch to the Car Panel view when inserted, allowing quick access to Contacts, GPS Navigation, stored Music or any App. The Dock is designed to be compatible with most cases, simply remove the top insert. With an open back video can be recorded while driving.

Features include:

  • Charges HTC EVO 4G LTE or One X while docked
  • Adapter plates to fit a case or extended battery
  • Camera view open while mounted
  • Sturdy vehicle mount
  • Specifically for HTC EVO 4G LTE or One X
  • Vibration free
  • Micro-USB charging port
  • Charging cable NOT included

The iBOLT Car Dock is available from ShopAndroid for $39.95, but this week we have a special treat. Ten lucky Android Central readers will get to speed away with a free car dock from iBOLT and ShopAndroid! All you have to do to enter is head over to the contest thread at the link below and leave a comment. We're going to pick 2 winners from each day's entries so you can enter up to 5 times (once per week day this week). Please don't enter more than once per day. We'll announce the winners next Monday with the rest of the week's contest winners. Good luck!

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4 years ago

LG Optimus 4X HD hands-on and initial review

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When I first opened the box for the LG Optimus 4X HD, the words "wow" came out of my mouth. It's 4.7-inches of sexy, iconic LG style, in white, and that's a good way to get me hooked. We had an earlier look at the 4X HD at CES in 'Nawlins, and walked away impressed with what LG was showing us with both the new hardware and software. The 4X HD is a beauty, and built like a tank. 

The specs are at the top of the heap, with it's 4.7-inch IPS HD display at 720p (and it's stunning), a Tegra 3 and 1GB of RAM under the hood, NFC, Gorilla Glass, removable 2150 mAh battery, and micro SD card slot. It rivals the HTC One X in the screen quality department, and at this early stage I'm not sure which is better -- they are both that good. The software's no slouch either, with Android 4.0.3 and LG's newest iteration of the Optimus UI, which is a vast improvement from what we've seen with older models.

What really got me excited was in the settings. We see many really cool phones from players like LG, that are destined never to come to the United States. While we can't say for sure that we'll see this one on our side of the pond, we can say LG has built US English into the firmware. That means it is ready to go with a dictionary, display language, date, time, currency, everything is set up for use inside the US. That's something we don't usually see in phones solely for Europe or Asia, and I think it's a good sign.

I'm going to give the 4X HD a run for a bit and let you know what I think after it's all said and done. In the meantime, hit the break for some video and pictures.

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4 years ago

Spotify receives mystery update, landscape view still not on the horizon

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The newly revamped Spotify app got itself a mystery update today, but one thing that isn't included, is the missing landscape view. When changelogs don't get updated, we can usually take it as being a bug and or security fix update, both of which are welcomed. 

One thing we know that a lot of you don't like about the vastly improved application though, is the strange lack of a landscape view. The old version had it, and while alarm bells rang when the preview version dropped, as that was only a preview we had to give Spotify the benefit of the doubt. 

Knowing that it's a big deal for a lot of folks -- tablet users especially -- we approached Spotify to see if we could get anything from them on the matter. And, we did. It probably isn't going to please those of you who are already frustrated with it though; 

"We have had a lot of interest in landscape mode for the new Android version however, I am not able to say if or when landscape mode might be available on Android again."

So, that doesn't absolutely rule it out, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be much of an issue to them. Why it is missing in the first place, remains a mystery. 

To grab the latest version of the app, head on over to the Google Play Store now. 

Download: Spotify for Android

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4 years ago

Official version of VLC for Android almost ready for launch?

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We've known that a version of VLC has been in active development for some time -- read a long time -- now. There are plenty of unofficial alpha builds out and about, but until now word on the official version is that it is "in development." A post today on the developers Twitter account however, might suggest that said development time is almost over. 

Posting in the small hours on the official VideoLAN twitter account, it simply reads "Android, here we come!" Nothing more, but it would suggest that an official build of the hugely popular, play anything, media player might finally be not be too far away. 

via Ausdroid

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4 years ago

Vais Technology bringing major Android integration to car Toyota, Lexus stereos

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Vais Technology is a name synonymous with OEM car stereo integration. And coming this fall, it'll be bringing some major Android integration to the factory nav screen for Toyota and Lexus vehicles. As you see in the video above, you get a relatively traditional Android experience on what looks to be a pretty crisp display. 

Vais' unit is about 5 by 4 by 1 inches and connects to the back of the radio of Lexus models from 2006-12, and 2006-09 Toyotas. (Those year models are the ones with the compatible with the high-res screens, Vias tells us.) The whole deal will run about $600.

Any takers out there for what looks to be a pretty sweet Android ride?

More: Vais Technology; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Griffin stylus review

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The Grifin stylus  is a no-nonsense approach to a capacitive stylus.

The Griffin stylus is a no-nonsense, sort of bare bones stylus.  It does nothing in a spectacular fashion, yet is does everything “good enough” for most users. It feels like a short ballpoint pen, it has a nice pen clip and a spongy silicon tip.

Apps like Sketchbook Mobile, Note Everything and Handwrite will be used to judge the overall qualities of the stylus.

Read on for our full Griffin stylus review!

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4 years ago

CrackBerry Kevin World Tour: What's the best Twitter app?

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The Mobile Nations World Tour is in full force and my crash course month on Android continues. One thing I've quickly come to realize is that Android = Options. In some cases, too many options. There's just not enough time in the day to try *everything* out.

I have put a lot of time in to using every Android keyboard I can get a hold of to figure out which one is best for a traditional two-thumb BlackBerry typist like myself (more on that later), but when it comes to Twitter apps, I'm going to take the shortcut and ask for Android Central's advice. The other week I posed the question what accessories I should buy for my Android phone? and I got an awesome response from the community. I'm sure the same will be true in regards to apps for the twitter.

I've installed a couple of Android twitter clients so far -- I've noticed each has some pros and cons -- but there are a ton of options in the Google Play Store. So I want to know... what's your favorite twitter app? Post your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to say why it's your favorite. You'll be helping not only me here, but other Android users too. Sound off!

Oh, and if you want to see which twitter app I end up going with, be sure to follow me on twitter at @crackberrykevin. Hmm.. maybe for this month I should change my handle to @candroidkevin. That sort of has a nice ring to it.

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4 years ago

HTC: Wifi glitch so far only seen in Tegra 3 One X

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We've just gotten some more information regarding the Wifi issues some HTC One X owners have been experiencing, and which the manufacturer acknowledged this morning.

An HTC spokesman tells us that so far only the quad-core Tegra 3 version of the One X appears to be affected; there have been no reports of the issue in the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. That means if you have the AT&T One X (or any other LTE version), you're likely safe and sound. But it's also worth noting that not we've got a couple Tegra 3 versions that are working just fine. So, again, it's still not known exactly how many phones are affected. 

We've also got a little more in the way of instructions for those of you who are experiencing issues.

HTC tells us that if you're seeing this hardware glitch (or even think you are), you should call HTC customer support (you can find your regional phone number here), and they'll help walk you through things to confirm the issue and move on from there. It's also possible you might be able to exchange the phone at the point of purchase, but that can change by country, so we'd start with the customer service call.

More: HTC One X forums

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4 years ago

Seidio Active case for HTC EVO 4G LTE review

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The HTC EVO 4G LTE just set you back anywhere from $199 to $549; spending a fraction of that to protect it is a must.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is a beautiful device to hold in your hand. While it certainly seems sturdier than say that “other” device from Cupertino, I would not be very happy if I dropped this – either on the face of the device or on the back with the protruding camera lens.

A good case makes me feel better about the investment in the phone and it is good insurance against the unforeseen.

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4 years ago

Contest Winners: ShopAndroid Daily giveaways, Lookout party tickets, BlackBerry Premium Charger!

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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