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4 years ago

Woz: HTC Thunderbolt among worst gadgets he bought


Normally I don't care about what other people think, especially when it's not on Android Central. I'm funny like that. But I'm also easily baited by Jerry Hildenbrand. And that brings us to the following: Gizmodo in its "Chatroom" feature today asked "What's the worst gadget you actually paid for?" We've all got one, of course. But one comment in particular stood out, for a couple reasons. It was from Steve Wozniak. Perhaps you've heard of him. And his poor purchase? The HTC ThunderBolt.

That's my HTC ThunderBolt you see up there. OK, maybe not exactly "mine." But until last Friday, it was still active on our company Verizon account -- and sitting on a shelf here in my house. We got it the day it (finally) came out, and for months it served as my Verizon LTE line. That mucked up display was but one problem. I'm a little rough on phones. I get that. But I've never had a display get that bad on me. And I have a few phones going in and out of my pockets. Then there's the kickstand, which for some reason decided to shed its skin on more than few of us. And then there are the legendary battery issues. Don't even think about using a ThunderBolt without one of those ridiculously big extended batteries. A year and a half ago, you'd have been relatively proud to take this thing out of your pocket. Now? You don't dare do so, but you also risk funny looks and "just happy to see me?" jokes.

HTC rebounded, of course. We hemmed and hawed and said "Hey, it's the first generation of LTE phones." And the 'Bolt indeed was one of those first phones. But that doesn't change the fact that what showed promise and power at the beginning turned into a lemon for many of us.

Woz, you're in good company.

More: Gizmodo

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4 years ago

Google: Software patents 'not helpful to the marketplace'


Addressing the attendees of the Technology Policy Institute's conference today in Mountain View, Calif., Google public policy director Pablo Chavez made it plain that as a company, Google is fed up with software patents, patent wars, and the way they affect the consumer. During the question and answer period, Chavez said,

We think that these patent wars are not helpful to consumers. They're not helpful to the marketplace. They're not helpful to innovation.

It's not the first time Google has spoken out against software patents. During the infamous Oracle v. Google trial, Google lawyer Kent Walker said that they are "gumming up the works of innovation," and in a joint petition to the U.S. Supreme court with Metlife, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and others, Google said "The recent surge in patents on abstract ideas such as how to run a business or software that merely implements such methods has not promoted innovation in the financial services or information technology fields -- to the contrary, such patents create a drag on innovation."

It's plain to see that Google believes using patents and courtrooms to halt innovation or ban products as a bad idea. I couldn't agree more. Software patents are bad for business, bad for consumers, and bad for the industry as a whole. The small gains by winners of these suits is outweighed by the harm done, as small folks with big ideas can no longer implement them out of fear of litigation. If a company like Samsung or HTC can't stay out of court every time they move too much product, what chance do independent developers have? 

This is the Google I like seeing. The one who stands up to the silly notion that ideas are property, and instead places value on the methods used to achieve those ideas. The Google who knows that hurting the consumer is never the best choice. Not the Google who joins in the fray, then condemns the behavior three days later. Google is likely to find little sympathy after using Motorola's patents to go after Apple, then publicly saying they think companies doing such is a bad idea. Motorola may be doing business as a separate company, but Google, as the common owner, is ultimately responsible, and Motorola should share the same patent philosophy. 

We wish them the best in their campaign to reform the patent system in the U.S., as well as the abuse of it that some companies see as standard operating procedure.

Via: CNet

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4 years ago

MIUI updated to Jelly Bean codebase for some Nexus devices


If you bought a Nexus device so you could happily flash all manner of custom ROMs, today is a good day. MIUI has updated their codebase to include Jelly Bean for the 2.8.17 release, provided you have a GSM Nexus S, a Galaxy Nexus (in either GSM or Verizon's CDMA/LTE flavor) or a Nexus 7. 

The ROM will have all the goodies you expect from MIUI, with the addition of things like Google Now, and that delicious butter that makes all the difference. On the surface, things will look a lot like the previous versions of MIUI. Like Samsung, or HTC, the folks at MIUI have a look, feel, and feature set they think is worth keeping. A whole lot of users agree.

No word on when to expect any newer versions for other devices, but you can be sure the team is hard at work, and much will depend on manufacturers providing the necessary hardware drivers and kernel bits. In the meantime, MIUI fans with Nexus devices can find all the details and download links at the source link.

Source: MIUI

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4 years ago

Retired Wizard Story review - sheep-nuking at its finest


Retired Wizard Story launched on Android recently, adding a proactive twist on the Plants vs. Zombies wave defense formula. Instead of sitting back and letting minions do all the defending. players don the robe and wizard’s hat to stop accidentally-enchanted sheep from escaping their pen and ruining their quiet, anonymous retirement. This is done by casting spells with taps, swipes, and dragging and dropping scrolls creates mystical circles of power.

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4 years ago

Android Open Kang Project's first Jelly Bean build coming today


If you dig flashing ROM's then there is no doubt that you've been waiting on the Android Open Kang Project's (AOKP) first Jelly Bean build. With that said, you're patience will soon be rewarded as the first official build will roll out to a small number of devices. As noted on the Google+ page, there is entirely too much stuff packed in the ROM to make up a list but the noticeable items will include:

  • Notification Toggles
  • Lockscreen tweaks (no custom targets yet)
  • Navigation bar modifications
  • Custom kernel performance options
  • LED colors
  • Notification wallpapers
  • Phone ringer modifications (Flip call to silent, silent/vibrate when headphones are in)

You'll want to head on over to the AOKP site for the full details on how to download and install AOKP Jelly Bean Build 1. Right now, things still appear to be processing as the download is yet to be available but it is indeed coming within the next little while. Keep your eyes on the links below.

Source: Google+, AOKP

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4 years ago

Agent Dash review - a spy has infiltrated Temple Run


Earlier this month Agent Dash landed on Android, offering some familiar endless-running gameplay with a new twist. Instead of running away from angry spirits in a jungle temple, players guide Agent Dash through a series of dangerous areas in an ultimate attempt to foil Bond-esque evil geniuses.

Swipe gestures have Dash sidestep, leap, and slide beneath incoming obstacles while he also tries to collect stray diamonds, which are used to purchase new gadgets and unlock new agents. Of course, as a free title, those gems can be bought through in-app purchases. Despite having a lot in common with Temple Run, Agent Dash has quite a few things that set it apart. 

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4 years ago

Kies for Mac and Mountain Lion not working? Here's a solution [From the Forums]


If you're on a Mac and frequent using Kies for syncing your device, you may have noticed it doesn't really play well with Apple's latest and greatest OS, Mountain Lion. Sure, it'll find your device when attached but when you go to synch your device it'll never work. Samsung has yet to update Kies for Mountain Lion but if you're in desperate need to use it, Android Central Forums member Nashstruck has a work-around that is fairly easy to make use of:

Solution :

  • Download Samsung Kies:
  • Open the DMG
  • Right click on the "kies20mac_s9218.pkg", then open it with "The Unarchiver"
  • You should see a file named "kies20mac_s9218", open it.
  • Right click on the "contents.pkg", and click "Show Package Contents"
  • Double click "Payload", it will create a folder named "Payload 2 2", double click it.
  • Double click "Applications" and then you will see Kies, drag it to the application folder, installation complete!

After that is all done, you'll want to go into the Kies settings under preferences and disable the 'Notify when updates are available', this will prevent Kies from updating and giving you OS errors once again. Restart Kies once that is done and then, enjoy syncing your device. Hopefully, Samsung will get their butts in gear and update Kies to include Mountain Lion support but for now, this will work fine as kind.

Discuss: Android Central Forums

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4 years ago

Rogers opens up, shares Android 4.0 update timeline for numerous devices


While most carriers in Canada have become rather open about their device software update timelines, Rogers has for a long while now declined to offer even a glimpse of their scheduling. Somewhere along the line though, that changed and now they offered some transparency. If you have a device on Rogers, here is what you'll be looking at in terms of release times for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich:

  • HTC Raider - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Now available
  • HTC EVO 3D - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Now available
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Samsung Galaxy Note - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Now available
  • Sony Xperia Arc S (LT18a) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Sony Xperia Arc (LT15a) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Sony Xperia Mini Pro (SK17a) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Motorola Razr (XT910) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Late August

Not bad Rogers, but you're still lagging behind. Sorry, it's true. The first carrier to roll Android out in Canada is often the last to update their Android devices. Aside from that gripe, nice to see them now offering the timelines. Let's just hope the keep it up from here on out.

Source: Rogers Forums; via: Cellular Guru

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4 years ago

Dark Gate review - a retro RPG built right for mobile


A throwback retro RPG by the name of Dark Gate was recently localized for English, and offers all of the classic feel of old-school role-playing games with a bunch of smart optimizations for the mobile interface.

The story starts off that Dark Gates are opening up around your area, unleashing unspeakable monsters into the world. You’ve got to keep the monsters at bay and close the gates to restore peace to the land. There’s a long winding storyline that follows the characters on this mission, but at the end of the day, Dark Gate is like any RPG - kill monsters, level up, get new gear, rinse, repeat.

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4 years ago

Motorola rolls out Android 4.0 to the XYBOARD WiFi 10.1, 8.2 while Verizon prepares XYBOARD 10.1 update


If you're a Motorola XYBOARD WiFi 10.1 or 8.2 owner, you have some reason to get excited today. Motorola have gone ahead and started the rollout of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the XYBOARD WiFi 10.1 and 8.2. The changelog is packed with the typical ICS changes but in case you're wondering in detail, we've outlined them below for you all.

In other related news, Verizon has gone ahead and approved Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the Motorola XYBOARD 10.1. Sadly, it looks as though the 8.2 is still waiting for its update but we imagine it can't be that far off.

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4 years ago

Motorola Defy Pro tumbles onto Rogers today


After a bit of a wait, the rugged Motorola Defy Pro is now available at Rogers for free on a two-year contract, or $274.99 if you're going month-to-month. As you might expect, the Defy Pro is just as tough as its predecessor, the Motorola Defy, except it has a QWERTY keyboard. The specs are about in line with the pricetag, which is to say that they're on the lower end. Here's a run-down. 

  • 2.7-inch 320 x 480 HVGA display with Gorilla Glass
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 1 GHz processor
  • 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and front-facing VGA camera
  • 1700 mAh battery, 12 hours continuous use time, 13.5 days standby
  • IP67-certified (totally protected against dust, protected against immersion between 15 cm and 1 m)

The Motorola Defy Pro still isn't showing up in the Rogers online store, but I'm sure it'll pop up soon enough. In the meantime, there's plenty of information at Motorola Canada. Personally, I'm excited to give this a shot. There aren't a whole lot of Android phones with good QWERTY keyboards in a portrait orientation, nevermind ones that have any amount of ruggedization. The last one was the Motorola Admiral, and it never found its way up here to Canada. 

Anyone thinking of picking this up? I'm looking at you, BlackBerry refugees. Is Gingerbread a dealbreaker?

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4 years ago

Images of Nikon's Android powered Coolpix S800c leak out


Going off the previous rumor of Android powered Nikon cameras coming to market, Nikon Rumors now has some images of the device that shall be known as the Nikon Coolpix S800c. Phil already waxed poetic on the reasons for it, Jerry enjoyed the thought on the Android Central podcast. The sole image showing off the interface looks a lot like Android 2.3 Gingerbread which matches up with the expected specs:

  • 25-250 mm lens
  • 3.5-inch OLED screen
  • The camera runs all Google Play apps
  • The camera will probably run Android 2.3
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

Right now, according to Nikon Rumors an official announcement should be coming on August 22nd. In other words, we'll have to wait and see if that actually happens but for now you can jump below to see more of the camera. Assuming it comes to market and is priced well, would you be interested in picking one up?

Source: Nikon Rumors; via: The Verge

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4 years ago

BlackBerry Music Gateway review


Here's a little gem that's been hiding in the back of Ignore, for the moment, that the BlackBerry Music Gateway is, well, from BlackBerry. And that it's got a BlackBerry logo on it. Instead, let's focus on what it does: It's an extremely simple way to wirelessly stream music from your phone to any device that accepts a 3.5mm headphone jack.

That's streaming music in your car. To your entertainment center. To computer speakers. Anything, really. And it does so with a little trick up its sleeve that makes getting started as easy as possible -- and a price that doesn't break the bank.

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4 years ago

Songza review - a playlist for for any occasion


Songza for Android was recently updated for tablet layouts, following up on the release of Concierge. The music streaming service’s big selling points are its mood-based playlists and time-based suggestions. For example, launching the app on a Friday night in December will probably offer a playlist for Christmas-themed party songs, while Monday evenings are more likely to offer something to unwind from work. Of course, you can browse through the catalog of playlists ranging in subject matter from genre, activities, moods, decades, or culture.There’s even a cute record-store clerk category with playlists such as “This Will Piss Off Your Parents” and “Indie Music That’s Not Too Weird”.

Best of all, the app’s free and there aren’t any audio ads. I’ll try not to ask how they manage to swing that, on the off-chance someone catches on and we’ve gotta start paying $10/month.

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4 years ago

Q&A with TheScore - serving up Olympics coverage and diving into the Nexus 7


ScoreMobile for Android was recently updated for Nexus 7 compatibility and seeing as their app is all about keeping track of sports, they had a busy run during the Olympics. Of course, the app still keeps tabs on football, hockey, baseball, and golf too. We caught up with Score Media's VP of Digital Products Dale Fallon to talk about what it's like working with Jelly Bean, how their traffic has bean over the last couple of weeks, and how their sporting coverage is going to progress over the next couple of months. 

Hi, Dale! Thanks for your time. Care to give us a bit of background on ScoreMobile?

No problem, Simon. ScoreMobile actually existed first as a Java-based app back in 2005. It was very basic, offering just the latest scores of games and was only available in Canada. It was in 2007 when it made its debut as an iPhone web app in the US,  and then, a year later, as a native app that things really exploded. Since then we’ve developed native apps for Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, iPad, Kindle Fire and now the Nexus 7. This has helped us grow to 3.5 million active users every month around the world, making ScoreMobile one of the top sports apps on the planet. It’s certainly come a long way – from an app which just gave you the score, to one which provides an in-depth experience, offering scores, stats, free push alerts, news and options to personalize, as well as the ability to track fantasy league rosters. With NFL season just around the corner, I know a lot of fans are researching and planning their fantasy rosters!

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