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4 years ago

Lenovo Thinkpad to receive Ice Cream Sandwich update in Q2

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Lenovo are the latest company to jump on the Ice Cream Sandwich update bandwagon by announcing its plans to update the ThinkPad tablet.

The Thinkpad has been around since last summer, and while we don't have a specific date Lenovo have stated that the update will roll out during Q2. The IdeaPad is also slated to make the jump to Android 4.0 as well. It's easy to forget about these in our tablet filled world, but Lenovo makes some pretty nice hardware and the ThinkPad has a pretty killer keyboard dock as well. An ICS upgrade will be most welcome. 

Source: PC World

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4 years ago

UK Everything Everywhere and BT LTE trial extended until Summer 2012

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While you guys in the United States have a whole range of LTE Android devices to choose from, in the UK we're still a long way from the point of getting LTE at all. An on-going trial being run in Cornwall by BT and Everything Everywhere (Orange UK and T-Mobile) is now set to extend until Summer 2012.

Rival network O2 is currently trialling the technology in London, but this scheme is aimed more towards proving high speed broadband is possible in more remote areas. Currently users involved in the trial are seeing average download speeds of 7 Mbps. While this may not sound overly impressive, it's faster than some fixed broadband connections in these parts of the UK. 

The overall importance lies in the technology though. According to Ofcom, the regulator for communications industries in the UK, we aren't to expect widespread LTE on these shores until 2015 with an initial rollout beginning throughout 2013/14. Whether it arrives at all depends on the required spectrum auction, which has already been postponed until 2013. Looks like we're in for a long wait but at least the networks are still committed to developing the technology before we get to that point. 

Source: CNET UK

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4 years ago

What is a PRL? [Android A to Z]

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What is a PRL?  PRL stands for Preferred Roaming List and is a database used in CDMA (think Sprint and Verizon here) phones.  It's built and provided by your carrier, and used when your phone is connecting to the tower.  It indicates which radio bands, sub-bands, and service provider IDs will be searched for, then allows the phone to connect to the correct tower.  Without a correct and valid PRL, your phone won't be able to roam outside your home network, and may not be able to connect at all inside the network.  The database consists of an Acquisition table, which lists which radio frequencies to search for in which areas, and a System table, which tells the phone which towers it is allowed to connect to, and the preferred order.

Notice we said it connects to the correct tower and not the strongest tower.  If you're in an area with weak but steady signal from your carrier, the PRL will connect you to that signal rather than connect to a stronger signal on a different carrier.  When Palm released the Pre on Sprint (the first CDMA smartphone with "root" access to the system) people quickly learned how to hack the PRL to force a connection on Verizon towers in areas of poor Sprint coverage.  The same thing is done today with certain CDMA Android phones, and usually ends up with the same result -- a letter from your carrier telling you it's been nice having you as a customer, but it's time to part ways.  Not all hacking is good, kids, and when it adversely affects the network, it makes the other, good kind of hacking look bad.   

The PRL is usually sent as an over-the-air update when needed, but often -- especially if you travel a lot -- it's necessary to manually update it.  It's pretty easy to do:

  • Sprint: dial ##873283#
  • Telus: dial *22803 
  • Metro PCS, US Cellular, Verizon (3G phones only): dial *228

Android phones also have an option to update the PRL in most CDMA phones, you'll find that in the settings pages.  If you have a CDMA/LTE phone on Verizon or Metro PCS, your PRL will auto-update as needed, so don't fool with it.  Also it's not a good idea to update your PRL while you're roaming on another carrier.  

Previously on Android A to Z: What is open-source?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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4 years ago

Third-party Steam applications disappearing from the Android Market

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The official Steam for Android application hasn't been with us all that long, but an air of controversy already surrounds its arrival. Almost all of the third-party Steam applications have disappeared from the Android Market. 

If Valve happens to be involved in some way, the odd part is that the Steam API is publicly available for use. Seems a tad suspicious though. 

If you're using a third-party Steam application and you like it, it's probably not a good idea to uninstall it anytime soon. (Or at the very least pull it from your system for a backup.) No word yet on whether or not any of these applications will re-appear elsewhere, so for the time being it looks like the official app is all we got. 

Source: Droid Gamers

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4 years ago

Samsung offering personal engraving for Galaxy Note in South Korea

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Samsung's Galaxy Note publicity machine continues to churn, with the manufacturer now hoping to win over consumers in its native South Korea a unique personalization option. According to Samsung's official Flickr stream, personalized laser engraving will be available for Korean buyers until Mar. 31 at "Samsung Digital Plaza" locations across the country.

Apple has long offered engraving when buying certain iPod and iPad models as gifts, but Android device manufacturers have until now shown little interest in this kind of customization. However, it seems Samsung's keen to attract the attention of gift buyers, as it promises "a wide variety of fonts" to "reflect your personality".

The promotion runs in South Korea until Mar. 31. There's no indication just yet of whether Samsung intends to offer this promotion elsewhere, though with the Galaxy Note launching in Canada and the U.S. next month, our fingers are firmly crossed.

Source: Samsung on Flickr; via: OLED-Display

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4 years ago

T-Mobile's Sensation, Amaze 4G, myTouch Q and others reportedly 'nearing end-of-life'

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T-Mobile USA may be preparing to wrap up sales of a handful of its mid to high-end Android devices, if a leaked internal screenshot is to be believed. The leaked photo, obtained by TmoNews, appears to show part of an internal stock system. In it, the following devices are marked as "nearing EOL", meaning "end-of-life" status --

End-of-life status means that a phone will no longer be stocked, meaning it'll likely have been replaced by something newer and shinier. What it doesn't affect, however, is software and hardware support. The Sensation, for example, is still scheduled to receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich, and if true, the news that it may reach EOL in the near future doesn't change that. Nevertheless, it's surprising to see phones like the myTouch Q and Amaze 4G nearing EOL already, given that they've only been on sale since October.

It's also true that even after a phone is EOLed, sales will continue as long as there's stock remaining in outlets. So we're willing to bet you'll still see these devices in T-Mobile stores for a few more months. Right now, the biggest question centers on what T-Mobile will be replacing them with later in the year.

Source: TmoNews

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4 years ago

Android camera showdown: Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Samsung Galaxy S II

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The cameras in our Android phones have certainly gotten better than most would have expected.  The old standard of "it's a cell phone camera, it'll never be as good as a cheap point-and-shoot" is no longer valid.  The hardware is getting better, and the software is improving right alongside it, making the experience of using your phone as a camera enjoyable, and in the right hands, almost professional.  

The big news in Android last year on the camera front was the Samsung Galaxy S II's 8-megapixel rear shooter, and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus' "zero shutter lag" camera.  We decided that these two had to go head to head.  Hit the break to check it out.

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4 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Nexus battery and charger, Cruzer Lite TPU cases, and Poweramp [Contest Winners]

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our blogs and 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 shortly. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to this week's winners!

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4 years ago

Rogers LTE coverage expands around Montreal

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Rogers announced today that their LTE network currently sitting in the core of Montreal has now expanded to the outskirts, including areas like Laval, Terrebonne, Brossard, Longueuil, and Vaudreuil. One of the devices that will be sporting the high-speed data standard is the recently-announced Samsung Galaxy Note, but Rogers also has the LTE Galaxy S II, HTC Raider, and HTC Jetstream

LTE coverage in Canada is still relatively new, having only launched in Montreal at the end of September. Providing solid service to major centres in Quebec is particularly important because the nimble competition, Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, have yet to set up shop in la belle province. There's still Public Mobile, a discount brand which just recently made the leap from feature phones to smartphones, and the extremely well-established Videotron in Quebec.  

Rogers aims to give half the Canadian population access to LTE by the end of the year by expanding to another 25 cities. While a noble goal, the real problem with building out wireless networks in Canada is geographic coverage. If you haven't noticed, there's a lot of land up here, and since most Canadians are huddled together in relatively tiny, concentrated pockets, those in more remote areas tend to be left in the cold when it comes to upgrades such as LTE. Rogers won't completely ignore HSPA+ expansion into those fringes, but I do worry it'll slow down with LTE demanding their attention. 

To keep up to date on the progress of Rogers LTE, keep an eye on their minisite.

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4 years ago

London Bus Checker makes a stop on Android, wants to make London travel a bit easier

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Anyone who lives in or has ever visited London will be well aware of the often nightmarish transportation around the city. A new app to stop by the Android Market, London Bus Checker, aims to take away some of the pain of using a bus in the Capital. 

We'll get the boring bits out of the way first: It is a paid app, setting you back a very reasonable £1.24. There is a "lite" version though which offers up a 30-day free trial before you have to open your wallet. 

The idea behind it is very simple, to provide anyone planning to use a bus in London with as much real time information as possible across the 20,000 bus-stops in the city. The implementation is what sets it apart though, as the information is pulled live from the Transport for London services which provides accurate, up to the minute data. 

The app will locate you via GPS, and then by selecting the relevant stop you can see live arrival/departure information, full route maps, and real time diversion and cancelation information. There's even a homescreen widget that you can set for your local stop and receive the same real-time information right there. 

Applications like this and Hailo (for taxis), are brilliant reasons why smartphones are fast becoming an everyday necessity. Hit the break for download links to the free 30-day lite version and a short promo video from the developers. 

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4 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Green River at Crystal Geyser

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Today's free Android Wallpaper of the Day comes to us from member RETG, who uploaded this pic of the Green River at Cystal Geyeser in Utah. Nice.

Also, the wallpaper gallery just eclipsed 1,000 uploads, all thanks to you folks out there. Keep it up, and be sure to share your favorite wallpapers! Just hit the link below.

 

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4 years ago

Japanese carrier 'blames Android app' for recent downtime

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Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has reportedly identified "Android app traffic" as the cause of a recent network outage which affected some 2.5 million of its customers. According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei, DoCoMo did not identify the app, aside from saying that it offered "free voice services."

The application apparently caused DoCoMo's network to buckle by sending out "control signals" rather than VOIP data. These are small amounts of data which are periodically exchanged between a smartphone app and a remote server, in order to check that the app is still running, and/or communicate any status changes.

DoCoMo intends to ask Google to limit the frequency at which Android sends these control signals, in order to reduce the strain on its network. However, the solution may not be quite so simple. The nature of Android means that an OS-level "fix" for DoCoMo's complaint would take months to roll out, if it were even possible. And if the app in question is a third-party offering from the Android Market, there's nothing Google can do to fiddle with its internal workings besides blocking DoCoMo customers' access to the app.

However, Google has shown a willingness to selectively block Android Market access to apps with which carriers have issue, notably tethering apps in the U.S. And then there was last year's strikingly similar case of YouMail and T-Mobile, which saw the app unceremoniously pulled from the Market at the request of the U.S. carrier. Whatever happens, we'll be watching with interest to see how Google deals with DoCoMo's complaint.

Source: Mobile World Live, Reuters

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4 years ago

ClockworkMod touch recovery released as beta

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Just weeks after we saw our first "unofficial" release of a touch version of the popular ClockworkMod custom recovery, developer Koush has put forth a beta version of his own, available for download now. 

For you new folks, a custom recovery is an indispensable way to back up your device as well as install new custom ROMs and updates, among other little hacky things. Until recently, it's been controlled by using the volume up/down buttons to scroll through the menus, and (usually) the power button to select. 

This touch recovery still has volume select, but now the touchscreen works, and works well. We've got some hands-on video after the break, and you can snag it from the download links below.

Download CWM Touch beta: Galaxy Nexus (GSM and CDMA), Nexus S (GSM)
More: +ClockworkMod

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4 years ago

AT&T Galaxy Note available Feb. 19 for $299, preorders start Feb. 5

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The AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note will be available Feb. 19 for $299 on contract, Samsung announced this morning. It'll be available in carbon blue and ceramic white, and preorders will begin Feb. 5 and will be delivered by Feb. 17.

Along with the phablet itself -- remember that this bad boy is 5.3 inches -- there are a number of accessories available, including a desktop dock, spare battery charger, flip cover case and pen holder kit.

Be sure to check out our hands-on video with the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note from CES earlier this month. We've got the full release after the break.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S Advance announced in full mid-range glory

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Samsung announced the Galaxy S Advance today, due for Russia in February, and heading to just about everywhere but North America after that. The form factor sure looks familiar, and the specs are decidedly mid-range. It's powered by a dual-core 1 GHz processor, enjoys a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED touch display, and sports a 5 megapixel camera on the back plus a secondary front shooter. The Samsung Galaxy S Advance is running Android 2.3, and connects via 14.4 Mbps HSPA, firmly locking it down as a middle-of-the road smartphone. 

It's not terribly exciting, but Mobile World Congress is just around the corner - who knows what else Samsung will have to show us? Full press release after the jump..

Source: Samsung

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