Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Google Pixel: Google Store | Verizon Shop Chromebooks: Asus Flip | Acer 14 | Dell 13

Headlines

4 years ago

Qualcomm updates Vellamo benchmark suite for Android, we had a nice chat with them about it

2

The popular Vellamo benchmark suite got a pretty big update today, bringing new features and a really nice UI to the popular software from Qualcomm. We talked with Sy Choudhury, senior director of product management at Qualcomm about it earlier in the week, and while they haven't convinced me that benchmarks are the perfect way to measure the performance of our Android phones and tablets just yet, they did answer a couple questions I've had and have me looking at the issue again. That's no small feat -- I'm pretty stubborn.

First, let's talk about the app itself. A benchmark tool doesn't have to look ugly, and Vellamo really does things up nicely. The main screen of the app lets you chose between HTML 5 based browser benchmarks, "Metal", as in hardware measuring, benchmarks, or a set of extras like tools to measure touch screen response, the Octane benchmark, and "advanced" video benchmarking tools. 

Benchmarking is easy, just tap one of the circular icons and let it run. When finished, you can compare your scores with others, or look a bit deeper to evaluate each test individually. You can also long press on the main benchmark icon and select individual tests. The settings allow you to run multiple tests to get the best average (recommended), email the comprehensive set of results to you when finished, and turn the tutorial on and off. 

Most importantly, a link to a full description of each test is provided right in the About section. It's no use to run these things if you have no clue what it all means, and Qualcomm does a great job explaining each test in both the HTML 5 and the Metal category, as well as the extras. This is what makes Vellamo my recommendation for folks who are fiddling with software and want to test the result on their phone. Sure, Qualcomm can send me a well written pdf file (they did, and I thank them for it) about each test but putting it out there for everyone using the app to read is pretty damn smart. Excellent move, Qualcomm.

As mentioned, Mr. Choudhury from Qualcomm took a few minutes to talk with us about Vellamo. He walked me through each of the tests and tools, but more importantly they shared a little about why they made the app and how they use it. Vellamo started as an internal testing suite for engineers and developers at Qualcomm. Some of their customers (folks like Samsung and HTC) requested the tools for themselves. Qualcomm obliged, and then decided since they had to build a stand alone app anyway that they would release it to the public. While it's not exactly the same app the fellows designing Qualcomm chips is using, it does provide the same exact tools they use to test performance. Learning about the how and why is always cool, and talking with Mr. Choudhury let me know that they take performance of our mobile devices pretty seriously at Qualcomm -- at least as seriously as we do.

Of course, I asked about any weighting or bias towards Qualcomm-powered devices -- a popular theory around the Internet. The tests used in Vellamo are industry standards, and are unmodified. The reason Qualcomm devices often score better on Vellamo is because, as mentioned, it's the tool they are using in-house to improve their chips. The engineers address issues they may see in Vellamo, and that means that the end product will score well in Vellamo. There are no sneaky software edits to make Snapdragons outperform other chips. 

I'm still not convinced that software based benchmark tools are a good way to compare the way one device runs versus another. There are too many variables, and nobody worries about the raw data given and instead uses the big number at the end as an Internet manhood measuring tool. But if you want to see how flashing different ROMs or making other software edits affects the phone or tablet in your hands, Vellamo is a pretty damn good way to do it. It's free in Google Play, grab it from the link above ad check out the product video after the break.

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Heads up: No AC podcast tonight

2

We're skipping this week folks, Phil is globetrotting, and Rene has his jacket on and is on the lookout for folks from Samsung at the Apple store in Montreal. Next week we'll make sense of it all -- see ya then!

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Verizon CFO: 'Unlimited is just a word, it doesn't really mean anything'

156

At today's Goldman Sachs investor conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo had a bit to say about unlimited data plans, and what he (and presumably Verizon) thought about them. There's a link to the full transcript below, but here's a direct quote.

So what customers are understanding and through our good sales routine is once you explain to a customer their usage on a monthly basis, unlimited is just a word, it doesn't really mean anything and that people don't really -- I think a lot of consumers think they consume a lot more data than they really do. So that whole unlimited thing I think is going by the wayside and they see the benefit of going to the shared.

Shammo is probably right. Most people don't need unlimited data plans. But for those that do need them, it's not very good news to see that there's little chance of them ever returning. Should Sprint get their LTE network in a more usable state, or T-Mobile expand their high-speed HSPA+ beyond highways and metro areas, there could be a shift among power users away from Big Red. Both carriers now have data-friendly full unlimited plans at reasonable pricing.

I've no dog in this fight. I'm one of the lucky few (very few) with good T-Mobile service, and my ancient Android data plan gives me all I can eat. I'm curious to hear from the rest of you guys. Agree with Mr. Shammo? Hit the break and answer the poll, then fill the comments with blind rage your thoughts.

Source: Verizon (pdf transcript); via CNET

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Roku Mobile app now streams content from Android devices

17

Roku has just updated the remote control app for their TV set-top box so you can also play content from your Android device on the big screen. This includes pictures and videos, as well as the usual access to web-based streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Crackle, and others. You can also launch into channels over voice with this new update, and name multiple Roku boxes whatever you like. A nice little perk of this update is that the app is now available in Canada, the U.K., and Ireland. 

Roku's mobile app first launched on Android in March, but at that point it was pretty much strictly about controlling your Roku over Wi-Fi with simple stuff like volume and playback control, but this update seems to add a fair bit more functionality. 

Any Roku owners in the house? Digging the experience compared to, say, Google TV? 

Source: Roku

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

HTC One X/XL Jelly Bean updates tipped for October release

24

HTC has made no secret of its plans to launch Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for its leading HTC One phones, but so far it's offered nothing in the way of release dates. It looks like the manufacturer's getting closer to having its updates finalized, though, as veteran mobile site MoDaCo is reporting that the updates are due to being rolling out in October.

According to MoDaCo founder Paul O'Brien, the upcoming EE UK HTC One XL will ship with Jelly Bean, as will the rumored One X+ -- a refreshed version of the Tegra 3 version said to sport higher clock speeds. Around the same time, existing One X and One XL devices will get bumped up to Android 4.1, MoDaCo claims.

The site has no info on when the One S will get Jelly Bean, but given that it's already confirmed for an update, we're hopeful it won't be too far behind. As ever, take this with a pinch of salt until we've got updates rolling out to devices. Nevertheless, we'll be crossing our fingers come October.

Source: MoDaCo

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

LG Intuition review

23

LG has forever been known as that "other Android manufacturer", relegated to fourth place behind Samsung, HTC, and Motorola in consumers' minds. With its recent lineup arriving on US shores, though, the Korean manufacturer is hoping the tides will turn. Not only is it lying in wait with its beastly Optimus G to steal the spotlight from competing flagships, LG is also venturing into niche territory, including the increasingly popular "phablet" market. 

The Intuition is both a phone and a tablet, a wild-looking device unlike anything Android has ever run on. But does it succeed at striking a balance between functionality and versatility? In no uncertain terms, creating a device that succeeds on two different levels is a daunting task. And while LG has made a valiant effort, consumers are going to walk away either smitten with the Intuition's originality or disgusted with its impracticality.


The Intuition has a radical design, and LG makes no apologies for stepping outside of the box with this one. The Intuition's display is impressive, and performance is snappy and powerful. Call quality is as good as we've come to expect on Big Red.


Those who hate the Intuition's design will outnumber those who love it. Unfortunately, this hybrid device fails as a tablet as well as phone-- it's too small and boxy for multimedia viewing, and too big and sharp for messaging and phone calls. Forget using this device with one hand, it's absolutely impossible.



The Intuition is a polarizing device, and you're either going to love it or hate it. If you fall somewhere in the middle, you'll realize it has a great display, fast performance, and a visually-pleasing Ice Cream Sandwich experience. You'll also realize it should be kept in the niche category, as its functionality as a tablet is limited by poor software and stylus, and its phone functionality suffers from impossible one-handed operation.

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Qualcomm puts their Snapdragon from 2010 against new mobile chip from Intel

18

There's been a lot of talk about Intel's new mobile Atom chip on the Internet, and the people at Qualcomm wanted to remind us about how their offering stacks up against it. Qualcomm innards are found on some of todays most powerful Android phones, like the U.S. versions of the Galaxy S3, or the upcoming LG Optimus G, but that's not what Qualcomm is showing us here.

They're using an Xperia Arc, complete with the 2010 version of the Snapdragon in it and pitting it up against what certainly looks like an Intel-powered Orange San Diego, released this summer.

Yes, I'm sure the scenarios were cherry-picked and there are likely areas where the Atom outperforms the Snapdragon, but it's fun to watch. We'd love to see Intel counter with a video of their own, as the more these companies compete against each other the better the products get and the lower the price -- things we're very much in favor of.

Source: Qualcomm on Youtube

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Facebook Messenger app updated with texting support*

17

You read that correctly - starting today, Facebook Messenger 2.0 will support sending text messages. However, that asterisk in the title denotes that there's a catch. Initially, only the HTC EVO 3D, HTC One X, LG Optimus Black, LG Optimus Hub, Samsung Galaxy Ace, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Samsung Galaxy Y will support texting from the app. Facebook promises that more devices will be supported over the next few weeks.

Besides redesigning your messages inbox look like a SMS app, Facebook Messenger lets you swipe your finger to the left anywhere in the app to see who's available, and from there you can send a message. You can also put the friends you message most to the top through Favorites so they’re easily accessible.

Along with the updates coming to Facebook Messenger, the main Facebook app is getting an update today as well. It will receive the same SMS-style look for your messages and there will be an icon in the upper-right of your News Feed that shows who's available to chat. In addition, Facebook says that the new app has been made more secure and they've ironed out some bugs with push notifications and multi-photo uploads.

Source: Facebook

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Android-powered Cube U9GT5 tablet boasts Retina-quality display

15

A new tablet is launching soon in China that not only claims to match the resolution of the new iPad's Retina display, but it might be able to do it for under 200 euros (though no price or release date was announced). The Cube U9GT5 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is powered by a dual-core 1.6 GHz Cortex A9 processor with 1 GB of RAM. The 9.7-inch display clocks in at 2048 x 1536, or 264 pixels per inch, which is identical to Apple's latest tablet. Of course, there's a lot more than pixel density to take into account, but sure gives this tablet a solid selling point to lean on. 

It's hard to really tell how much better these displays are than what we're used to, but that didn't stop the manufacturer from posting a few comparison videos and images.

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

SoundCloud for Android updated with fresh editing tools

2

The SoundCloud app for Android now includes clipping, recording pause, and fade-in/fade-out editing options. Right now, the app is still more about flipping through the most recently-posted tunes, but these are certainly welcome tools for those looking to do some light editing before posting anything from the field. There are a few features that are coming to the iOS version that aren't included, like Private Listening, which allows users to use the phone earpiece instead of the loudspeaker. 

SoundCloud, as you might know, is a a social network for sharing all sorts of audio, including (but not limited to) music, podcasts, and sound effects. The timeline system uis really cool, in that it allows users to leave comments at specific points throughout a track. 

While smartphones aren't really widely-used for Serious Business when it comes to video production, it's much easier to imagine them finding a home among those recording audio. With the right microphone and apps like SoundCloud, it's pretty easy to get time-sensitive content out into the wild. 

Audiophiles, how do you use SoundCloud? Do you do a lot of editing on your Android devices? Which apps do you use?

Source: SoundCloud

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

LG Venice leaked for Boost Mobile, as ZTE Warp Sequent goes on sale

1

Those crazy tipsters at @evleaks are back once more, and today they bring word of a mid-range LG device heading to Boost Mobile. What we see here is supposedly the LG Venice, aka, a renamed LG Optimus L7. Otherwise -- as ever -- we get nothing but the name and an image. Given recent leaks from these guys though, we'd be surprised if this wasn't in stores in the not to distant future. 

The L7 itself packs a respectable spec list for a mid-range smartphone. Part of LG's style series, it brings with it a 4.3 inch display and Ice Cream Sandwich overlayed with LG's Optimus UI. 

In other Boost Mobile news today, the ZTE Warp Sequent is now available from the carrier. Costing just $199.99 off contract, the Warp Sequent looks a lot like the ZTE Grand X while packing different specs. Differences include the processor -- 1.4GHz processor, type not known, in place of the Grand X's Tegra 2 -- and just three capacitive buttons unlike its European counterpart. The same 4.3 inch display remains, as does the 5MP rear camera and stock Android 4.0. 

Sources: @evleaks, Boost Mobile

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Archos 101XS now available across Europe

2

Archos' latest tablet offering, the 101XS, is now available to buy from the company's European websites. In UK money, the 10 inch, Ice Cream Sandwich toting tablet will set you back a penny under £300, but the price does include the keyboard dock. 

The 16GB 101XS is a marked improvement on previous Archos tablet offerings, and while launching with Ice Cream Sandwich, a Jelly Bean update has been promised before the end of the year. Considering the stock nature of the software on-board the device, there's no reason to doubt this. If you're tempted by a new 101XS, be sure to check out our review

Source: Archos

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

Padfone 2 set for announcement on October 16

20

ASUS just mailed out invites to events in Milan, Italy, and Taipei Taiwan for a Padfone 2 announcement on October 16. We don't know much about the Padfone 2, but some sketchy benchmarks have been floating around suggesting that we'll see a quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor in there.

The original Padfone was a bizarre Voltron of mobile gadgets, with the phonebeing devoured whole by the tablet, which was in turn docked with a keyboard, and was accompanied by a stylus that doubled as a Bluetooth headset. Sheer madness, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria, etc. etc. Check out our hands-on from Mobile World Congress for a closer look. We can only assume that the next generation will follow a similar form factor with a few refinements (thinner, faster), but who knows what else they'll add on top of that; maybe dual-booting to Windows when docked with the keyboard. Crazier things have happened. 

Do you guys dig the form factor? How weird could ASUS get with the next Padfone while still being in the realm of feasibility?

Source: Notebook Italia

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

ZTE Anthem 4G brings a mid-range option to MetroPCS

2

MetroPCS announced a new addition to their lineup this morning with the ZTE Anthem 4G. The Anthem 4G represents a solid mid-range device that can access MetroPCS's higher speeds on its LTE network.

The ZTE Anthem 4G sports:

  • 4.3-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen
  • 1.2GHZ dual-core processor
  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Yeah, we're disappointed that another phone is released with Gingerbread, but the customers targeted by this device probably don't care.

The Anthem 4G can be had 'in the coming weeks' for $219 (plus tax after mail-in rebate) and 4G plans range from $40 - $70/month, including a $55 unlimited data plan.

So if you're in the market for a budget phone on MetroPCS that can handle 4G speeds, you may want to consider the Anthem 4G.

Source: PR Newswire

Read more and comment

 
4 years ago

The Bard's Tale brings medieval debauchery to Android

26

The Bard's Tale has found its way to Android today, and is available in Google Play and soon in the NVIDIA Tegra Zone for  $5.99. 

The action RPG provides 20 to 30 hours of gameplay, which drags a nameless rogue to unwillingly defend mankind against nefarious evils. He has a hard time getting there, but thanks to the occasional incentives of coin and cleavage, plus back-up from creatures summoned through song, he seems to get by. 

If you're sitting on the fence about this one, we're working on a review which will be up real soon. From what I've played so far, the dialog is hilarious and sells the game pretty much on its own. Anybody play the original game on PC or console? How about the old Interplay version from 1985 (which, by the way, is bundled with the game)? 

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages