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5 years ago

Isis mobile payment system to launch mid-2012, lists Chase, CapitalOne, and Barclaycard as partners


Isis Mobile Wallet, the service backed by AT&T, T-Mobile US, and Verizon has announced new launch partners and it's long awaited trial launch date. New financial partners Chase, CapitalOne, and Barclaycard join Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express for the  trials in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah which are expected to begin sometime in mid-2012. Isis isn't sharing much past that, as they say the nationwide rollout will follow the trial with no further details.

Isis partners will allow users to program both credit and debit cards into the mobile system, which gives it another leg up on Google Wallet. Add in the fact that Isis has carrier backing and pre-approval, and chances are that this will be the mobile NFC-based payment system we'll see on our devices when and if it catches on, at least in the US. That doesn't mean Google Wallet will disappear, but being available and being relevant are two different animals.

This doesn't mean that Isis is inherently bad, though. It may turn out to be an excellent product, and I'm excited to give it a try. We have to remember that Google Wallet isn't open and lovable, it is a for-profit venture from Google, much like Isis is a for-profit venture for its backers. When it comes to finances, few things are open and best for the consumer. The best product will be defined by the users and that's the one that will win out. 

The full press release follows the break.

via BusinessWire

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5 years ago

Samsung announces Galaxy Note S Pen App Challenge - $205,000 in prize packages to be won


While we all have our own opinions of the Samsung Galaxy Note S Pen, and why exactly Samsung thinks a "stylus" needs to come back, this challenege is one that can easily make you put your thoughts aside. Samsung has announced their new contest, which starts today, that makes it rather enticing for developers to put some time and effort into making a S Pen integrated application. Developers will have until April 2, 2012 to submit their applications, and judgement will take place the following week by the public.

“The Galaxy Note enables new and creative ways to interact with your phone through the advanced S Pen technology,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile. “We are excited to see how developers use the S Pen SDK to come up with new ways to integrate the S Pen into applications."

​The first place winner will take home $100,000 in cash, second place $50,000 and plenty of other prizes as well to be won. Samsung has placed all the information in one easy to manage location, and you can find complete details about the contest here. So, will you be entering? Be sure to let us know, and keep us informed of the progress in the forums!

Source: GalaxyNoteSPenChallenge

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5 years ago

StumbleUpon for Android - Updated with new widget, Google+ sharing and home screen improvements


StumbleUpon has announced the latest update to their popular Android app and with this release, they've gone ahead and done some house cleaning on the app and added in a bunch of new features that are deeply integrated with Google services.

  • Android Beam (NFC): Users of the StumbleUpon app for Android can now share any content they discover on StumbleUpon to other NFC-enabled devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. This will make sharing content discovered through StumbleUpon seamless and fun.
  • Action Bar: The StumbleUpon app will now feature the native Android Action Bar, enabling users to explore the Web via the familiar Android navigation interface.
  • Resizable Widget on device home screen: The StumbleUpon app for Android will now be accessible directly from the device home screen. Users will be able to preview StumbleUpon-recommended content directly from the home screen of their device without having to launch the StumbleUpon app.
  • Sharing to Google+: The StumbleUpon app for Android will now include a sharing button to Google+. In addition to sharing to Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and email, Stumblers can now easily share content they discover through StumbleUpon with their connections on Google+.
  • Sign in with Google: With the new app, users will be able to sign in to StumbleUpon through a Google log-in with any mobile device and on the desktop.

Aside from the new features added, StumbleUpon also updated the homescreen experience for the app, making it easier then ever to get logged in and not only finding but sharing the content you enjoy the most. The updated version is available in the Android Market right now, full press release and download link can be found past the break.

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5 years ago

Google's Mobile World Congress Keynote: Chrome for Android demo, and the worldwide digital divide


Google chairman Eric Schmidt today at Mobile World Congress took the stage for what traditionally has been one of the premiere keynote addresses of the event. 

Schmidt started the keynote praising the Google Chrome browser and its recent leap to the mobile space as an Android application. He quickly turned things over to Android Product Director Hugo Barra, who gave the capacity audience (and many more watching the livestream -- the first time in recent memory that the keynote has been broadcast) a tour of the mobile browser. (Check out Android Central's Chrome walkthrough.)

"Chrome and Android are  two of the most significant investments Google has made in the life of the company," Barra said. "We designed Chrome for android with three goals in mind. We wanted to build, first of all, a mobile browser that was really, really fast, really, really clean, and really, really simple."

Barra announced that Chrome for Android was recently released to 20 additional countries. (You can get Chrome here in the Android Market.)

Schmidt then launched into the state of the web worldwide and reminded us all that for the 2 billion people who are online, there are billions more how are not. "Every revolution begins with a small group of people, kind of like us," Schmidt said.

"The future belongs to ultra-connected people -- the early adopters," Schmidt continued, adding that this group is limited by what it finds acceptable, a nod to privacy issues. Then there are connectivity issues themselves. Korea and Japan already have ultra-fast networks, Schmidt said, and it's changing lives there.

"We tend to massively underestimate the more seismic shifts that happen long-term," Schmidt said. "Think about the choices that you're so often forced to make for life." He then gave examples of robots traveling across the globe so that we don't have to. Driverless cars have already driven more than 200,000 miles, he said. And new laws are making it possible for driverless cars to make it to the roads. 

But the progress isn't just with people, Schmidt said. A core trend of computer science, he said, will give a much better look into how society functions. Teaching. Fighting disease. Government operation. And there's a group of passionate people who can make these changes happen, Schmidt said. And because of them, the technology disappears. It becomes transparent.

"It's just there," Schmidt said.

Just below the early adopters, Schmidt said, are the "connected contributors," members of the middle class who serve more as consumers than on the bleeding edge of development. They're the ones who use these new future services that help make life and work better for everyone else. "Apps and services like these are improving the quality of life for the middle class," Schmidt said.

There's a disparity between those who buy and those who build, Schmidt said. Those who buy will be sophisticated consumers. They'll work for businesses an governments and nonprofits.

"I've always believed that the web is more than a network of machines. ... Look at the way people came together last year to help the people of the Japanese earthquake," he said. "It is the web that unites us in sentiment and action."

And then there's the "aspiring majority." Pockets of the world that have no connectivity at all. The number of new data centers will boom. Fiber optics will be widespread and cheaper. Existing cables will carry more data. Everybody won't have the same online experience, however. But there many ways to get people connected.

"We cannot imagine the future by extrapolating the past," Schmidt said. "The smartphone experience will be universal."

Smartphones can be preloaded with your medical information, he said. Even nomadic people will invest in technologies that will change their daily lives. But having a smartphone isn't enough to get you online, he said. Smartphones need a data connection -- but they don't have to be a central data hub, Schmidt said. You don't even have to be connected to the internet. It could be more peer to peer or through mesh networks -- "a stepping stone for getting communities connected," he said.

"In times of war and suffering," he said, "it will be impossible to ignore the cries of help" from people communicating online," noting the change in the Middle East last year.

More ethical and responsible behavior also is a must from the technological elite, Schmidt said. "This, of course, is why I do what I do. I suspect this is why many of you do what you do."

"But we need to act now to avoid this new digital caste system," Schmidt said. "I believe this profoundly. ... Technology is power by its very nature."

"Let's all get to work."

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5 years ago

Chrome for Android Beta now available in 20 new countries


We're live at the Eric Schmidt keynote at Mobile World Congress, and Hugo Barra, Director of Product Management, for Android, has announced that Chrome for Android Beta is now available in 20 new countries, bringing the total to 32. Unfortunately, you'll still need Ice Cream Sandwich to use it, which limits the adoption just a bit. Here's the full list of available countries:

  • Argentina
  • Hong Kong
  • Norway
  • Australia
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Austria
  • India
  • Russia
  • Belgium
  • Ireland
  • Singapore
  • Brazil
  • Italy
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Spain
  • Czech Republic
  • Korea
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Luxembourg
  • Switzerland
  • Finland
  • Mexico
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • United States
  • Germany
  • New Zealand


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5 years ago

Hands-on with the Panasonic Eluga Power


Following on from the Eluga, Panasonic will launch its first high-end smartphone for Western comsumers, the Eluga Power. This device takes the design language of the original Eluga, and builds on it with a 5-inch HD buttonless display, a faster 1.5GHz dual-core CPU and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

We got to play with a very early prototype unit today at Mobile World Congress, and despite some understandable software quirks, we were pretty impressed by what we saw. We've got first impressions after the jump, along with our hands-on video.

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5 years ago

Eric Schmidt's Keynote at Mobile World Congress Liveblog!



We're settled in here at the Mobile World Live keynote with none other than former Google CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt. In past years we've gotten looks at future features of Android, as well as hints as to the next version of the OS.

Will we get some teasers this evening? Will we just be talking tapas? Check back here at 6 p.m. CET, noon EST and 9 a.m. PST as we liveblog this sucker. The fun starts after the break!

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5 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S Wifi 4.2 hands-on


On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S Wifi looks to be a pretty basic PMP with Android and Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. In person, that's exactly what it turns out to be. You've got a 4.2-inch TFT IPS display at HVGA resolution. You've got a 1GHz processor. You've got Android 2.3. And you've got a punch of preloaded games and media options. And that's about it. No glitz, no gimmicks. 

The Galaxy S Wifi 4.2 (in addition to having a pretty awkward name) feels decent enough in the hand, if a little boxy. It's straight-up Samsung plastic, and the white and chrome stand out nicely in bright light.

The big question for a device like this, of course, is the price. Anything under $299 (remember that there won't be a montly bill involved with this guy) should be doable. Get at at $199 and below, and it could sell nicely.

We've got more pics and video after the break.

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5 years ago

Hands-on with the Panasonic Eluga


A long-standing player in the Japanese smartphone world, Panasonic has recently announced its first smartphone for Western markets, dubbed the "Eluga". With a thin and light frame, a qHD OLED display and dual-core 1GHz CPU, the Eluga looks like a solid contender in the mid-range Android space. Panasonic's also brought over a couple of features which are common to Japanese phones, but rare in their international counterparts -- dust and water-resistence.

Join us after the break for our first look at the Panasonic Eluga from Mobile World Congress, including a quick video tour of the device.

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5 years ago

Panasonic unveils the Eluga Power at Mobile World Congress


We knew Panasonic was coming to Mobile World Congress to unveil something special but the details were rather slim. Their first break for the European market came way of the Panasonic Eluga and now they've unveiled the Panasonic Eluga Power.

Features include:

  • A 1280x720 HD, 5.0 inch LCD screen with a 9.6mm thin frame.
  • Slim form factor – 136x70x9.6mm.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.0.
  • International standard IP57 water and dustproofing.
  • NFC – allowing for contactless payment and data transfer.
  • Main camera with 8MP autofocus and 1080p Full HD video recording, including auto scene recognition and 8x digital zoom, as well as a front-facing camera.
  • Superfast charging – 50% charge takes just 30 minutes, and 80% takes 57 minutes (provided it starts charging from a 10% charged status).
  • 8GB of internal memory, with Micro SD Card Slot supporting a further 32GB.

Hard to say how well Panasonic will do with either device, the Eluga and the Eluga Power but we're guessing this won't be the last we hear of them if they're looking to keep things moving. Full press release can be found past the break.

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5 years ago

Video hands-on with the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity


The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity sees ASUS building on the Transformer Prime with a higher-resolution screen and a slightly redesigned chassis. Transformer Prime owners will already be familiar with much of what the device has to offer, but the bump up to a whopping 1920x1200 gives this device a clear lead in terms of image quality. We spent a little time getting to know the Transformer Pad Infinity over at the ASUS booth at MWC, and we've got a quick video tour waiting after the jump.

The Transformer Pad Infinity will be available in Wifi-only and LTE flavors, with the LTE version being powered by a Snapdragon S4 chip instead. Our video shows the Wifi-only Tegra 3 version.

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5 years ago

Panasonic Eluga Gallery

5 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Ace II hands-on


The Samsung Galaxy Ace line has proven to be a solid piece of mid-level fare outside the United States, and the follow-up -- the aptly named Samsung Galaxy Ace II looks to conitnue in that vein. There's no mistaking that you're not handling a phone from Samsung's top shelf. Whereare the Galaxy S II and Google's Samsung Galaxy Nexus scream sex appeal, the Galaxy Ace II is decidedly middle class. And that's not a bad thing.

The 3.7-inch WVGA display is competent enough, and the 800 MHz processor pushes the Android 2.3 build along quite smoothly. The UI is sparse. Actually, it's boring. But, again, we're talking bread and butter, not steak tartar. It's loaded with Samsung's suite of apps, and it's got GLONASS for GPS, if you're into that sort of thing. 

We've got a full hands-on after the break.

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5 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 arrives on Verizon Wireless Mar. 1st


With Verizon and Samsung having already announced the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, all that remained left to be said was a release date and pricing. Wonder no more though, as Verizon has just announced availablity for 4G LTE enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 come Mar. 1st. Need a specs reminder?

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be packing a Super AMOLED Plus display with 1280x800 resolution, a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor along with a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera featuring LED flash and capable of 720p playback (1080p playback through HDMI dock or adapter).  A 2-megapixel front facing camera for video chat, 16GB of storage and of course as mentioned -- Verizon's 4G LTE for connectivity all powered by Android 3.2 Honeycomb.

If you're looking to pick one up, you'll be handing over $499 to Verizon on a two-year contract and don't forget to add in the required $30/mnth data package that allows for 2GB of data. The full press release can be found past the break for you all.

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5 years ago

Grab the official Android MWC app from the Android Market


Not at Mobile World Congress but still want to follow along? Google has now released their official Mobile World Congress app in the Android Market. Of course, it is meant for attendees to use but it's still an awesome app to download and check out. Some of the features:

  • Event information
  • Booth & partner maps
  • Information on partners featured at the booth
  • Google Mobile apps featured at MWC
  • Android Pin checklist
  • Photo Notes

You can jump on past the break for the download link and stay tuned for more Mobile World Congress coverage right here on Android Central. Thanks, Gordon!

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