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4 years ago

High-end Panasonic Android phone rumored for MWC

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Panasonic may have just announced the Eluga, its first smartphone for the European market, but it may preparing to announce something more impressive at MWC next week, if the latest round of rumors are to be believed.

British tech site Pocket-Lint reports, via sources at Panasonic, that the manufacturer will unveil a "premium" Android handset at next week's show, with a bigger screen and meatier specs. Rumored specs include a dual-core CPU, presumably at a faster clock speed than the Eluga's 1GHz, along with a display powered by a new Panasonic technology. A rear camera based on Panasonic's Lumix range is also reported, in addition to a front facing camera. 

We're sure we don't need to tell you by now, but we'll be live at MWC next week to cover all the announcements live.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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4 years ago

LG unveils style-focused Optimus L3, L5 and L7 ahead of MWC

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Following the recent announcents of the Optimus Vu and Optimus LTE Tag, LG has taken the wraps off three more Android smartphones ahead of next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Optimus L3, L5 and L7 make up what the manufacturer calls its "L-style" series -- a series of smartphones for design-conscious consumers.

LG has outlined a new design philosophy to go along with these new products -- put simply, it's hoping you're after a slimmer, squarer handset of metal construction. From today's press release --

"L-Style’s  design philosophy is comprised of five aesthetic elements:  Modern Square Style for a comfortable grip, Floating Mass Technology for a slimmer look, Seamless Layout for a more intuitive arrangement of keys, Harmonized Design Contrast utilizing metallic accents and Sensuous Slim Shape that naturally draws one’s attention."

Eagle-eyed readers may remember the entry-level L3 from its brief appearance on a Swedish retailer's site a few weeks back -- the device was said to run Android 2.3 on a 3.2-inch display. That's been confirmed as part of LG's announcement today, though detailed hardware specs for all three devices are conspicuously absent.

In the absence of a spec list, we'll have to guess that L5 and the L7 are mid to high-end products. Both run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (behind LG's Optimus UI, of course), but the only specs LG is confirming at this stage are the screen sizes -- the L5 is a 4-incher, while the L7 is a little larger at 4.3. LG says the L3 is due in Europe this March, while the L5 and L7 will follow in the first half of the year.

We'll bring you more on all of LG's new handsets, including the L-style series, from the show floor next week.

Source: LG PR, LG on Flickr

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4 years ago

Late-night poll: Social apps -- do you, or don't you?

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For some of us, social apps are a load of fun and we love having the big selection of them on our Androids. Every time we write a post about one, fans seem to come out of the woodwork. But there's also plenty who seem to not care for them, and even think they are a waste of time. We hear ya, and as a matter of fact, they are a waste of time -- that's why they're so engaging! But seriously, everybody is different and no two Android fan's phones will be set up the same. We wouldn't want it any other way.

Myself, I love to play with them. I try them all, even the more obscure ones like Schemer. I usually give up on them after a week or so, but a select few keep me coming back. Holler at me on Google+ if you want.  What about you guys?  Do you find yourself checking in, or updating statuses or tweetering when you're bored? Let us know in the poll.

 

Do you use social apps?

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4 years ago

WeedMaps for Android [AC after Dark #NSFW]

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Think about the times you've been away from home, and needed to find the closest place to get your medicine? For most of us, one thing all those times had in common is that there's an Android phone in our pocket or purse, ready and waiting to guide us on our way. WeedMaps for Android would have helped during those times. For everyone not familiar, WeedMaps is a website dedicated to getting those in need to a place where they can get what they need.

Yes, we're talking about pot. We're not going to rehash (heh) the subject of whether or not it should be legal, nor are we going to debate its medicinal value. People in suits were voted into office by people like you and me, and they get paid to do all that nonsense. It's in the Market, dammit, and so you can use Android to find some cheeba.

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4 years ago

Australian carrier Telstra gets the Motorola Xoom 2

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Australian carrier Telstra will get the Motorola Xoom 2 -- aka the Droid XYBOARD on Verizon here in the States. Nothing has changed, really, from the version we reviewed earlier this year. Same 10.1-inch display, same 1.2GHz processor, with 32GB of storage. Pricing variers depending on the data plan, which starts at $29 a month for 1GB and hits $89 a month for 15GB of data. (Those are Australian dollars, which in addition to sounding cooler than dollars here in the U.S. are also worth slightly more. That's some expensive data.)

Oh, and this guy's still running Android 3.2 Honeycomb. Not surprising, but it's about time we see devices shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich, boys and girls.

Source: Telstra; via Ausdroid

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4 years ago

Samsung announces Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy Mini 2

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Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy Ace 2, and Galaxy Mini 2, which will replace their existing counterparts and offer upgraded processors, displays, and cameras.  Both phones will run Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 flavor of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

The Galaxy Ace 2 is powered by a dual-core 800MHz CPU, with a 3.8-inch WVGA screen, an 768MB RAM.  The camera is a 5MP model with LED flash, and the front camera has a VGA resolution. On the software side, Samsung's apps include ChatON, Wifi direct, and Samsung's Social, Media, and Game Hubs. Expect it to become available in the UK this April.

The Galaxy Mini 2 has a single-core 800MHz processor, 3.2-inch HVGA display, 512MB RAM and a 3MP rear camera. It also includes ChatON, and Social and Media Hub software from Samsung. The Galaxy Mini 2 is expected in France this March.  Hit the break for the full press images.

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Macro-photography

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It's Monday, and that means it's time to kick off this week's Android Central photo contest.  This time around, we're looking for your best macro-photography shots.  Grab something small and cool looking, grab your Android phone, and snap a picture!  The prize this week is a blind box Android mini collectable, and we're looking to give five of them away to the best close-up shots.  The blind box factor makes it a cool mystery, and we have no idea which one you'll get.  No matter, they're all really, really cool. As a refresher, here's the rules:

  • One picture per person
  • The picture must be taken with an Android device
  • The picture must be awesome

Send it in to [email protected] by Friday Feb. 24, and include which phone you used and you name so we can give proper credit.  We'll pick the best five and show them off to the world Sunday on the blog.  Good luck!

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4 years ago

Cloud Music Sniper brings your Google Music library to any music player

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There is absolutely no doubt that Google Music is a fantastic service to have, if slightly limiting at times. The music stored in your cloud locker is only ever available to the official Google Music app which is frustrating for some. Oh for a world where Poweramp or Winamp could access all that music. Well that world is now, and Cloud Music Sniper can bring your music to your chosen music app. 

The previous incarnation was known as Google Music Sniper, but was suspended due to its name. The new version requires no root, and works by 'sniping' your offline synced music content and storing it in a new directory. This directory is then available to your alternative music player. The music is actually available to be taken off your device and used on your desktop computer. To the user it is as simple as firing up the app and following some on screen instructions. 

Cloud Music Sniper is still in the early stages, and the developers are known for constantly updating their apps, so there should be plenty more to come. If this sounds like something for you, it'll run you for $1.99/£1.26 in the Android Market. Download links can be found after the break. 

via Rootzwiki

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4 years ago

ZTE Mimosa X with NVIDIA Icera modem now official

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NVIDIA and ZTE have officially unveiled the ZTE Mimosa X, the first phone with a Tegra2 processor and Icera modem. NVIDIA acquired Icera in mid-2011, and we've been expecting an offering from someone with the full set of NVIDIA innards, and today we finally get to see one, or at least a picture. If you refer to an old Tegra roadmap, you'll notice that Tegra and Icera devices weren't scheduled to ship until 2013, but we're awfully glad to see them a bit early, especially when they're running Android. 

We're pretty familiar with the Tegra 2 chip, and the wonders it can do with proper software. On paper it's not the fastest beast out of the gate, but when coupled with applications designed for NVIDIA-specific multimedia and processor extensions, no other smartphone gaming platform can hold a candle to it. Beyond games, the Tegra 2 CPU offers a great high-end experience for both tablets and smartphones alike. I'm certainly a fan.

With the introduction of the Icera 450 soft modem, ZTE can introduce the same high-end performance we've grown accustomed to, and offer it with better power management, and at a more affordable price point.  The Icera 450 in the Mimosa X (best name ever) brings the following to the table:

  • Multiband HSPA+ Cat 18 (28Mbs)
  • HSUPA Cat 6 (5.7Mbs), Cat 7 (11 Mbs) upgradeable
  • Quad-band GPRS/EDGE
  • Custom RIL for the Android OS
  • MIPI high-speed interface to the application processor
  • Major cost savings due to integrated baseband and RF chips
  • IceClear interference-cancelation technology to improve cell performance

The listed specifications for the Mimosa X are as follows:

  • Tegra 2 dual-core CPU with GeForce GPU
  • Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 4.3-inch qHD display (960 x 540)
  • 5MP rear camera, front camera
  • 4 GB storage, expandable to 32GB via SDcard slot
  • A2DP Bluetooth
  • Dolby audio
  • DLNA video
  • Dual microphones
  • Built-in gyroscope

It certainly sounds like another great Android phone, and one we're excited to have a look at during Mobile World Congress.  Expect it to be released during the second quarter of this year.  The full press release is after the break.

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4 years ago

Root guidance, Love the Galaxy Note! [From the Forums]

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We're kicking off the final week before Mobile World Congress and it started off pretty busy thus far. If you happened to miss out on anything from today (there was a lot) make sure you get caught up, and don't be afraid to hop on into the Android Central forums:

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

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on Android

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Ah, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has arrived. It's the time of year when men head to the mailbox and back a little quicker, and young teens sneak peeks before sneaking entire magazines. (You know you've done it.) Only, it's 2012. And as we saw from Sports Illustrated as early as Google IO in May 2010 as part of Google's HTML5 and WebM push, the publisher's expanding far beyond the print product. We got our first taste of that on the mobile side at Google's Honeycomb event in early 2011.

Today, you've got several options for Sports Illustrated, and a little something extra for the Swimsuit issue. For those who subscribe to the print product, you can use the Android smartphone and tablet apps just like you normally would. Fire it up, log in, and download the week's take. SI's also offering the Swimsuit issue a la carte, for $6.99. 

But what we were interested in is the new (and free) SI Swimsuit Viewer app, which works in conjunction with the print product. A smattering of pages have a little video icon on them. Fire up the app (it doesn't work on Ice Cream Sandwich, by the way), and let it focus in on the page. (It might take a try or two, and as you can see it might make you feel a little funny, like when you climb the rope in gym glass.) Once it locks on, you get bonus video of whatever model you just ogled. It's gimmicky, to be sure, and it's overly sponsored by Direct TV. Though we're surprisingly willing to put up with that sort of in-your-face advertising, considering the bodies that those faces are attached to.

On one had, yeah. We're talking about bikini models here. We're not exactly propelling the species foward or anything. But on the other hand, it's nice to see a traditional print product embrace the digital and mobile space. Sports Illustrated has certainly done that, and done it well.

We've got some hands- and eyes-on video after the break.

Download: Sports Illustrated (smartphone, tablet);
Swimsuit Issue standalone appSI Swimsuit viewer

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4 years ago

Panasonic announces first smartphone for Europe - the Eluga

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Panasonic has been fairly active in the Japanese phone market, but until today it'd stayed out of the European smartphone fray. That changes with the announcement of the Panasonic Eluga, the company's first smartphone for Europe, with a super-thin chassis and dust and water resistance.

Hardware-wise, it's a standard black slab with a 4.3-inch display at qHD (540x960) resolution. Internally, it's powered by a 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core chip, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal storage. Imaging needs are taken care of by the 8MP rear camera, and there appears to be no front-facing shooter on the Eluga. The device runs a lightly-skinned Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, and is due an upgrade to Android 4.0 from "Spring 2012." NFC is also included, which will allow European buyers to use Google Wallet (when it's launched), smart tags and other services.

So it's running fairly standard mid to high-end gubbins. Panasonic's bringing some interesting hardware features to the table, though. We already metnioned water and dust-proofing, and the device looks like it's going to be surprisingly thin and light too, weighting 103 grams and measureing 7.8mm thick. That's within a hair of the Huawei P1S, the thinnest smartphone around at the moment. We're a little concerned that the battery is a mere 1150 mAh, though time will tell how that pans out.

Given the timing of today's release, we'd expect to see the Panasonic Eluga at Mobile World Congress next week. If it's there, we'll track it down and bring you full coverage.

Source: Panasonic; via: SlashGear

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4 years ago

Is Google developing a Voice Action remote for Google TV?

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Google may be developing a voice activated remote for Google TV devices, if we're to believe the rumors around the Internet today. Last year Google filed for a patent with the USPTO for a new remote and/or Android application that uses Google's cloud assisted voice recognition technology to navigate through the menus on your Google TV. Of course, everyone is comparing it to Siri, but Google has been working on this technology since they were first to market with Voice Actions in August of 2010.  

According to the filings, users will be able to speak into their Android smartphone or dedicated Google TV remote, transmit their speech to Google's servers to be analyzed, then the correct intent will be sent back through the network to the GTV unit.  There's also indications here to allow the process to work up to a quarter-mile away, so we can tell our television to be on and have Wheel of Fortune playing when we walk in the door. From the patent filing:

the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within 1/4 mile of the home), and the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query

Add in additional uses like music controls and application commands, and you'll have a full featured voice remote.

Using your Android phone as a remote for Google TV is something we expect from the people in Mountain View. Tying the two together is natural, and we've already seen an Android app remote that uses voice input, and it works well. Having Google take this further can only mean good things for anyone who's interested in talking back to their television. Hopefully, we see something more about this in the near future -- I'm ready for it.

Source: Patently Apple

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4 years ago

Chrome boss suggests full-screen browsing and desktop view coming to Chrome on Android

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Google released the first beta version of Chrome for Android a couple of weeks ago, giving Android 4.0 phone and tablet owners the chance to try out the new mobile version of its web browser. Today Google's senior vice president of Chrome, Sundar Pichai, gave the first hints about which features to expect in upcoming releases, in an interview with CNET.

Answering a question on consumer reaction to Chrome for Android, Pichai said that two features in particular had been frequently requested -- full-screen browsing and a "request desktop page" option. Both features are present in the stock ICS browser, but neither is available in the current Chrome beta, but Pichai seems to indicate that may change in the future -- "both fully make sense", he says, but "we just want to do them correctly and well."

Of course, there've also been a few complaints about the lack of Flash support in Chrome for Android. On that subject, the king of Chrome says that the fate of Flash has already been decided by Adobe -- "following their road map, [Adobe] clearly said they'll not support Flash for mobile in the future."

Elsewhere in the interview, Pichai restates Google's commitments to Chrome OS and Chromebooks, despite continuing suggestions that Google's second OS should instead be rolled into a future Android release. He says, "we got a lot of positive feedback, and we are really looking forward to the next generation of Chromebooks."

Source: CNET

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4 years ago

Sony Google TV rooted to allow unsigned kernels, no soldering required

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The folks over at GTV Hacker have released a root exploit for Sony Google TVs.  The NSZ-GT1 Eagle (that's the Blu-ray player) and the Asura stand alone TVs can use this method, requiring only some software modifications and a little wizardry with the remote -- no soldering or other hardware modification is needed. Devices running the latest 3.2 Honeycomb firmware are required, and the detailed instructions will have you running a custom kernel that brings a number of new features:

  • Modified flash plugin with random per box flash string for Content Provider Bypass.
  • Crippled update feature to prevent box from receiving automatic updates.
  • Completely RW system, cache, and rootfs partitions
  • Full ADB Root
  • Removed signature checks on kernel / init scripts / init binary
  • A few other surprises.
  • BETA: Enable NTFS Support for Sony Google TV devices

In layman's terms, this means that your GTV is rooted with full write permissions to the file system, won't auto-update and break things, uses a desktop identity for site that use flash to play streaming video (like Hulu), and has some sort of surprises for us. We like surprises.

As mentioned, the process doesn't require any hardware modification. That doesn't mean it's easy, and the instructions look like this is something you'll want to carefully read. You'll be downgrading the software and exploiting it via some image files you burn to four individual USB thumb drives. Once complete, you'll be able to boot your GTV normally and the thumb drives are no longer required. Of course, any warranty is gone the minute you start doing these sorts of shenanigans, so keep that in mind. If you're the curious type, head to the source link and have a look. 

Source: GTV Hacker

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