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4 years ago

From the Android Forums: Unlocking and root

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Justiceanthony asks in the Android Central Forums:

Hi all,
I'm new here. I'm looking to buy a new Note 2 for the third time (yeah, I lost the first one and gave the second to my girlfriend). Someone is selling one to me here in Ghana , and it was previously locked to O2 (UK network), it's now been unlocked and my question is whether it's been automatically rooted since it's unlocked. I wouldn't mind a rooted phone since I would like a little more "freedom" . thnx to you all.

First things first -- welcome to AC justiceanthony!

Now to the question. No, SIM unlocking a Note 2 (or any Android phone) does not automatically root it. SIM unlocking is a built-in tool that uses a key to activate. It's done outside of any modification to the firmware, like rooting. Having said that, sometimes the opposite is true, and a root method that unlocks the bootloader will also SIM unlock the phone.

This begs for an explanation about the different uses of the word unlock and root. Lets do that.

Root: Rooting an Android phone is simply adding a file to the system that allows other apps to elevate their permissions and read, write, and execute anything on your device. In this case, anything means anything -- if it is user editable or actionable, you can do it with root. This is both powerful and dangerous, so be sure to get all the answers and be clear on the subject before you do it.

SIM or Network Unlocking: This allows a phone bought for use on a particular network to be used on another network. If you buy a phone designed to only work on Orange (or AT&T for an American example), to use it on any other network, you will need to unlock the SIM programming. This is what Justiceanthony has done in the example above, as he wants to use an O2 phone on his carrier in Ghana. It's done without rooting or modifying any firmware in your phone or tablet.

Remember, the networks have to be compatible. A phone with radios designed for one carrier may not provide 3G or 4G service on another, and sometimes they won't work at all.

Bootloader Unlocking: All Android devices ship with a locked bootloader. Some are very easy to unlock, like Nexus devices, some need a little hacking to unlock (like most Samsung devices), and some are encrypted and designed to be very difficult to unlock (hello, Moto). Bootloader unlocking allows you to flash (write to your phone's "hard drive") image files that haven't been signed with the official key from the folks who made your phone or tablet. A locked bootloader can flash a new recovery provided in an OTA update because the recovery was signed with the right key. It will fail to flash a custom recovery like ClockWorkMod. An unlocked bootloader will flash anything that fits, as long as you tell it to. Once a custom recovery (or sometimes a "Super" boot image) is flashed, you can install and erase custom built system firmware at will. Again, this means you need to do your homework before you start fiddling with things. Use the forums. Read, ask questions, and read some more.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder, NCAA March Madness Live, WeVideo and more!

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Weekly app picks. You want 'em, we got 'em. We're a little short on app choices this week, but we think the ones that are here are worth mentioning. As a good follow-up to last week's post we have another voice recorder, and March Madness is on so we've got something for the basketball fans as well.

Hang around with us after the break and see how we did with this week's picks.

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4 years ago

International roundup: New Sony phones, our HTC One review and Galaxy S4 chips

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In the week that we reviewed the new HTC One, there was quite the gathering of stories from other major manufacturers. Samsung dropped a Snapdragon 600-shaped bomb on chipset-conscious UK fans. Sony finally took the wraps off its interesting new mid-ranger, the Xperia SP. And the LG Nexus 4 showed its face once again in the UK and Germany.

Check out some of the bigger international Android stories of the week after the break.

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4 years ago

First generation ASUS Padfone gets bumped up to Jelly Bean

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While we may be waiting on the arrival of the new ASUS Padfone Infinity, it could be easy to forget about the first generation Padfone. The one that started it all for ASUS and their phone/tablet hybrid range first properly appeared back at MWC 2012, but ASUS sure hasn't forgotten about it. An update is now available for the device which bumps it up to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. 

Currently, two variations on the update are out in the wild, a worldwide version and a Chinese version. There are a few ASUS specific improvements bundled in, such as improved File Manager, camera functions, scrapbook functions and supporting NTFS and EX FAT format SD cards. But, ultimately the headline is all about Jelly Bean, and the improvements it brings along such as Project Butter and Google Now. 

It's a hefty update, weighing in at 579MB, and download links for both versions can be found at the source link below. 

Source: ASUS

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4 years ago

Samsung rumored to have full-sized octa-core Galaxy Tab 3 Plus with a Super AMOLED HD display in the works

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Raise your hand if you didn't think Samsung had a high-end 10-inch tablet in the works for this year. We all knew it had to be coming, and a source tells SamMobile that it should have the specs that put it at the top of the tablet heap for a while. The rumored Galaxy Tab 3 Plus will have an octa-core Exynos 5 CPU, a Super AMOLED Full HD display of either 10.1-inches or 11.6-inches, and dazzle our eyes with a high-resolution screen. Currently there are two supposed prototypes floating around out there, and the screen size has not been finalized.

Samsung killed it with the ultra-high res PLS display on the Nexus 10, but plenty of folks out there prefer the deep, wet blacks and saturated colors of AMOLED. If this rumor turns out to be true, those folks (myself included) might be buying a new tablet this summer. 

We'll keep our ears open, and if anything develops from this we'll let you know.

Source: SamMobile

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4 years ago

ASUS teasing something square and shiny

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Update: Detta123 has pointed out in the comments that this is likely just an optical drive. Hopes dashed.

And we have no idea what it might be. Could it be the ASUS Qube?  Or a high-end Chromebook? Or something less exciting for Google fans, like a router?

ASUS is giving no hints. We'll know tomorrow, but fill the comments with your best guesses.

Source: +ASUS

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4 years ago

Nook HD+ buyers will receive free Simple Touch reader with purchase starting March 24

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Barnes & Noble is set to start including a free Nook Simple Touch e-reader with the purchase of its higher-end 9-inch Nook HD+ tablet starting March 24th. Reports in February indicated that B&N may be looking to scale down its Nook hardware efforts, and deals like this often coincide with a dumping of inventory. Since launching in 2011, the Simple Touch e-readers haven't taken off in the way B&N would have hoped to compete with Amazon's Kindle e-readers. Similarly, its multimedia-focused tablets haven't been a huge hit either.

The deal will run for just one week, but should give a few buyers that were on the fence about a nook tablet to hop over and make the purchase. At the same time, it could help B&N get through some unwanted inventory. The Nook HD+ currently sells for $269 for 16GB of storage and $299 for 32GB, and the Simple Touch regularly retails for $79.

Source: Reuters

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4 years ago

Netgear PTV3000 Miracast adapter firmware update fixes handful of bugs

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Using Netgear's PTV3000 Miracast adapter has been a pretty hit-or-miss affair, and is hoping to improve with its latest firmware update. Firmware v2.2.12 has a changelog that is mainly similar to the previous one, but fixes a handful of nasty bugs.

  • Dongle Tries to connect automatically even after a Manual Disconnect.
  • Win8 PIN pairing times out too soon.
  • WFD session exited abnormally (and inaccessible for some time).
  • Dongle locks up completely and is inaccessible when halting the WFD association process. Also, fixed the rare subsequent kernel panic in that condition.
  • Win8/Widi 3.5.41.0, N6235,WiFi 15.5.7 TV screen error message or no screen projection (Acer H233H monitor).
  • Sometimes unable to connect with Samsung Series 5 Win8 Laptops.
  • Win8 WiDi mouse cursor position is off.

Fixing unnecessary complete lockups of the dongle is a great thing, but as @spaceman78204 pointed out to us on Twitter, it also seems to support his Nexus 4 running Android 4.2.2 just fine. This adapter still seems to be having its fair share of issues, but at least Netgear is giving a shot at fixing them.

Source: Netgear; Thanks, @spaceman78204!

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4 years ago

T-Mobile reportedly testing LTE network in 9 cities across the US

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T-Mobile may be testing its LTE network in several additional cities above the two that it has already announced are complete. According to data collected by OpenSignal, which makes diagnostic software that many engineers use to test networks, there is some LTE network activity on T-Mobile in at least 9 different cities in the U.S. On top of the previously announced Las Vegas and Kansas City, the network is available in some capacity in New York, New Orleans, Denver, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco and naturally Bellevue, WA where the company is headquartered.

OpenSignal has posted some preliminary speeds that they're seeing, which fall in line with what we've seen before. It's hard to take those as any indication of the speeds when the network officially launches, however. T-Mobile is set to unveil something at an event in New York City on March 26th, so we may be hearing a whole lot more about their LTE plans next week.

Source: OpenSignal

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4 years ago

Samsung 'Galaxy S4 Mini' sighted, looks like a miniature Galaxy S4

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The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hasn't exactly set the world alight, but Samsung looks set to continue the "Mini" line of devices with a new entrant later this year. The Samsung GT-i9190 -- rumored to go by the name of Galaxy S4 Mini -- has appeared online via the Twitter account a fellow named Ermek Kubanychbekov. Ermek, it seems, is also lucky enough to be in possession of a Galaxy S4. The shots posted on Twitter show the "S4 Mini" from various angles, along with some comparison pictures next to the Galaxy S3 and S4.

Physically, it's the spitting image of the Galaxy S4, right down to the patterned back cover and flattened sides.

On the software side the GT-i9190 is running what looks to be TouchWid'z Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, just like the full-sized S4. Specs, however seem to fall a little further down the food chain. The device is rumored to pack a 1.6GHz dual-core CPU with a 4.3-inch qHD (960x540) SuperAMOLED display.

Samsung has a track record of shipping many, many devices in the mid-range space, but it's interesting to see it once again breaking out its top-shelf branding for what might be a relatively humdrum phone. That said, we'll wait for more official info before passing judgment.

Source: Ermek Kubanychbekov; via: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia SP and Xperia L priced in the UK

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Earlier this week Sony announced the Xperia SP and Xperia L -- new mid-range and entry-level phones for the European market. Today we're starting to see the first UK pricing information for these two devices from some prominent online retailers.

First up, the Xperia SP, Sony's latest mid-ranger is up for pre-order for a little over £300 -- the cheapest price at present is from Handtec, which offers the SP for £314.40 inc. VAT. That gets you a dual-core, 720p-screened device with an aluminum trim and customizable light bar, backed up by Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and Sony's UI. There's also an 8MP Exmor RS rear camera, as well as LTE connectivity.

If it's the Xperia L you're after, the lowest price can be had from Clove, at £234 inc. VAT. The Xperia L bears a close resemblance to Sony's Xperia Arc series, and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core CPU with 1GB of RAM and a FWVGA screen. It's also packing the same Exmor RS camera tech as its big brother.

So far none of the major UK networks have announced plans to range either new Xperia handsets, but we'll keep you posted with any future developments. Both devices are due to appear in Q2, with a late April timeframe being specified by Clove.

Source: Handtec, Clove; via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Archos GamePad, 97 and 80 Titanium tablets now available in the US

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Archos is finally letting U.S. consumers get their hands on two of its latest tablets and the much-awaited GamePad gaming device. Starting with the GamePad, we're looking at the same device that has been around for several months, last spotted by us at CES in January. It is essentially a 7-inch Android tablet that has a full set of appropriate gaming controls around the screen. On the spec sheet, we're looking at a 1024x600 display, 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, all running with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The 97 Titanium and 80 Titanium are going on sale as well, which are solid, well-priced pair devices. The 97 Titanium sports a 2048x1536 9.7-inch display, 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual cameras and also running Android 4.1. The 80 Titanium is the lower-end play, at 8-inches with 1024x768 resolution, but the same processor, storage and software as its big brother. Both devices are certified for Google Play as well.

Archos has made all three devices available from several retailers in the U.S. -- Amazon, B&H Photo, J&R, Brandsmart, Hastings, Beach Camera and Adorama -- at pretty attractive prices. The GamePad will set you back $179, 97 Titanium $249 and 80 Titanium $169. You can learn a little more about the devices at the source link below.

Source: Arcohs (Titanium); Archos (GamePad)

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4 years ago

From the forums: Top Samsung Galaxy S4 threads

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The dust has settled after last week's Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement event in New York, but there's still lots to discuss ahead of the phone's eventual launch. You'll find much of that discussion over at the Android Central forums. Here's a rundown of some of the top threads in our Galaxy S4 forum right now.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 forum

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4 years ago

HTC gives update on HTC One delays, availability

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North America will get the HTC One by the end of April, company says

HTC has just released a statement regarding availability for the HTC One, which has seen delays because of supply shortages. As you'd expect, the company is spinning things in a positive light, and promises that we'll see some general availability in Europe Next week, and North American and Asia by the end of April.

Here's the full statement:

“HTC has seen unprecedented demand for and interest in the new HTC One, and the care taken to design and build it is evidenced in early reviews. The new HTC One will roll out in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week and across Europe, North America and most of Asia-Pacific before the end of April. We appreciate our customers’ patience, and believe that once they have the phone in their hands they will agree that it has been worth the wait.”

So the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week, North America and Asia-Pacific by the end of April. Our usual MO is to tell you that a few weeks isn't that long to wait. But after getting to use the HTC One for a couple weeks now, we can't say that with a straight face.

Any delay should be particularly distressing for HTC, which has struggled financially for a number of quarters, as competitor Samsung prepares what should be another high-profile (and high-budget) launch with the Galaxy S4. We put the two phones up against each other last week in New York City, and it's going to be a tough call for many folks.

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4 years ago

Onkyo updates app for 2013 receivers

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Using your phone to control your home entertainment center has garnered the attention of just about every smartphone manufacturer this year. But it's not a new concept -- component manufacturers have had their own apps for some time now. I've got an Onkyo receiver at home, and the official Onkyo app was updated this week to work with the 2013 line of receivers.

Check out our full look at the Onkyo app to see all the fun you can have ("Daddy, why did the piercing scream of my cartoon suddenly go on mute?"), and hit up the app if you've got a compatible reciever. 

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