Headlines

2 years ago

Amazon once again rumored to be building their own smartphone

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It has been about six months since we heard rumor of Amazon building their own smartphone, so naturally it's time to hear it again. Making the rounds today on the Internet is news that Amazon has partnered with Foxconn and the new Amazon phone is already being built. Supposedly coming in the middle of 2013, it would bring yet another player to the mobile OS race, one with deep pockets and who likes to win.

If these rumors pan out -- and they could very well be true -- what can Amazon bring to the table that we don't already see from current competitors? Google has already delivered high-end hardware and rock-bottom prices, and Apple has a superb content library and delivery method with iTunes. It makes sense to think that Amazon is trying to do both.

As we see with the Kindle Fire line of tablets, Amazon can marry low prices and a great ecosystem together. It is reasonable to think that they would do the same with a smartphone. We can see a low priced, decently spec'd generic looking smartphone from Amazon, running some variant of Android, that is fully tapped into Amazon's content library.

For a lot of folks, this would be a compelling option. But until we see Mr. Bezos announce something, we only have rumors. This one is just getting interesting, folks.

Source: CENS; via Engdaget

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2 years ago

First Xperia Jelly Bean updates due Feb/Mar 2013, but some 2012 phones will be left behind

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Sony Mobile has provided another update on the progress of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean updates for its 2012 Xperia smartphones.

First up, the company confirmed that its high-end late 2012 devices, Xperia T, TX and V, are on target to receive Jelly Bean in February and March. Once those updates are out the door, Sony will upgrade the Xperia J, Xperia P and Xperia Go in late March. The remaining devices, Xperia S, Xperia SL, Xperia ion and Xperia acro S, will get Jelly Bean in the weeks following.

However, there's bad news for owners of the Xperia U, Xperia miro, Xperia tipo, and Xperia sola, as Sony has confirmed that it will not upgrade these devices beyond Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's particularly disappointing considering all these devices are less than nine months old.

So, as is often the case with Android software updates, it's a mixed bag. Sony has shipped more mid-range phones than ever in 2012, however it's been unable to provide upgrade support for these devices just a few months after release. On the other hand, at least all the more expensive devices are accounted for, although there's no official word on the fate of U.S.-specific phones like the AT&T Xperia Ion and Xperia TL.

On a more positive note, Sony says it's excited about some Xperia-specific functionality in its upcoming Jelly Bean software, so Xperia owners who do get upgraded will likely get some new stuff to play with. Sony is expected to unveil a new high-end smartphone at CES in Las Vegas next month, so it's likely that's where we'll get our first look at the company's new Jelly Bean-based firmware.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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2 years ago

Samsung 'conducting an internal review' on Exynos kernel vulnerability

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There was potentially worrying news for Samsung phone owners this weekend, as a serious kernel security vulnerability was identified in Android devices running Exynos 4210 and 4412 chips. The list of affected devices includes some of the most popular Samsung phones, like the international Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3, and all Galaxy Note 2 models. The exploit in Samsung's kernel could give a malicious app free reign over a device's memory, allowing it to take complete control of it.

We reached out to Samsung for comment, and the company has today informed us that it is "currently in the process of conducting an internal review" into the matter. That's not a whole lot of information, but it at least confirms that Samsung's aware of the issue and is looking into it.

We'll keep you apprised of any further developments. In the meantime, if you're concerned about whether your own phone could be affected by this security vulnerability, check out our full report from yesterday.

More: The Samsung Exynos kernel exploit - what you need to know

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2 years ago

Expansys UK removes HTC Butterfly from listings, won't be flying into Europe after all

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Following the announcement of the 5-inch, 1080p HTC Butterfly for China, a lot of people -- including us -- started getting a little excited when some signs of the device appeared on European retailers websites. HTC confirmed to us at the time that the device was officially only launching in China, leading us to believe that any purchases made in Europe would be of grey imports.

Seems that even this many not be the case anymore. The chaps over at the UK based site Coolsmartphone, actually went and pre-ordered a Butterfly from UK based Expansys. Granted, there was no price, no mention of when they would become available, but a definite intent it seemed that they would be offering the device for sale. Over the weekend they received this email from Expansys, detailing that in fact the device would not be coming to the UK at this time: 

Thank you for your recent interest and preorder of the HTC Butterfly. Unfortunately, we have now been informed by HTC that this device will not be available in European markets, and as such we have had to remove it from our website and cancel your preorder.

We're not all that sure where the Expansys stock may have been sourced from in the first place, but it's pretty clear cut that we won't be getting any. But, then again, Mobile World Congress takes place in just a couple of months, so who knows what the future may hold. 

Source: Coolsmartphone

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2 years ago

Nexus 4 once again sold out in UK, Germany

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After a couple of weeks of being on sale with lengthy waits for delivery, the LG Nexus 4 is officially sold out on the Google Play devices store in the UK and Germany. While the 8GB model sold out within hours of the second batch of stock going on sale, it had been possible to order the 16GB model, albeit with a 6-7 week shipping estimate. Today both flavors of Nexus 4 are marked as "sold out," in Britain and "ausverkauft" in Germany.

The news follows difficulties in getting some orders out to customers. Some who'd received 3-5 day shipping estimates had not received their orders as of Sunday, leading to Google UK & Ireland boss Dan Cobley getting involved. In a Google+ post made over the weekend, Cobley apologized for the delayed orders, and said stock from LG had been "scarce and erratic." Orders with pre-Christmas shipping estimates, he said, should be processed this week.

Did you manage to bag a Nexus 4 while it was available to order? Has yours arrived yet? Let us know about your Nexus 4 ordering experiences in the comments.

Source: Google Play

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2 years ago

Sony Xperia 'Yuga' prototype revealed in leaked images

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It's been a while since we've had reliable leaked details about Sony's upcoming 2013 torch-bearer, codenamed "Yuga". The device had been rumored to sport a 5-inch 1080p display of the kind set to become increasingly common at the high end in the next twelve months. Back in November, the first set of leaked photos showed an unassuming slab-shaped design with Sony branding.

Today a couple of fresh images have emerged, showing what seems to be the exact same device. There's the same unique earpiece design, and the same back cover which, like LG 's Optimus G and Nexus 4, seems to be coated in glass. The source of the leaked shots, Russian site Mobile-Review, says the device will be powered by "the latest chipset from Qualcomm." presumably a Snapdragon S4 Pro. The site dismisses other recent rumors of a Samsung Exynos-powered Sony flagship.

The back design happens to match up closely with an FCC filing for the Japanese variant of this phone, which carries the model number SO-02E. That listing suggested the device would pack a 2330mAh battery.

For the past several years, Sony Mobile has used CES as a launch platform for its new high-end stuff. So, with the pace of leaks increasing, and FCC filings starting to appear, we think it's likely the "Yuga" could be revealed in just a few weeks in Las Vegas. Whatever Sony shows at its CES press conference, we'll be there to cover it live.

Source: Mobile-Review (Russian)

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2 years ago

The Samsung Exynos kernel exploit - what you need to know

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A new kernel exploit has been found (credit to alephzain at XDA) that affects some Samsung Exynos chipsets -- which happen to power many of Samsung's more popular phones. Normally kernel exploits don't make the rounds as news, but this time the word "malware" got attached to it so it has a bit of steam behind it.

Let's start this by reminding everyone that any app or program that roots your Android phone or jailbreaks your iOS device is malware by this definition. People really need to give up on that damn click-bait, and instead worry about educating people to help keep them safer. That's what we're going to try to do, so read on and lets have a look.

Update: A couple new things here. First is that Supercurio has worked up a quick and easy app that'll patch this exploit if you're worried about it. It'll let you know if your device is vulnerable, closes the exploit without requiring root access (so it should work on any phone or tablet), and it "doesn't modify your system, copy files or flash anything." You can turn the fix off and on as you choose, which is good because it breaks camera functionality on some devices (read more after the break on why that happens), and it could mess with HDMI output on some devices, Supercurio says. Also, we're re-emphasizing Chainfire's thread in the link below. Great stuff from the Android community. Let's hope Samsung gets something pushed out on its end as soon as it can.

Source: XDA; More: Chainfire's ExynosAbuse root exploit thread

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2 years ago

Google UK boss offers 'unreserved apology' for delayed Nexus 4 orders

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Dan Cobley says pre-Christmas deliveries on track for this week, offers shipping refund for late orders

As we've reported in great detail over the past month, customers hoping to pick up the Nexus 4 directly from the Google Play Store haven't had the easiest time ordering the device. Even after dealing with a tumultuous ordering process, some in the UK have found that their orders had missed the shipping window they'd been given by Google Play.

As a result, some disgruntled customers decided to go straight to the top to get answers, reaching out to Google UK & Ireland Managing Director Dan Cobley on his Google+ page. Today Cobley has responded with an update on the situation, an apology to those affected, and a shipping refund for those whose orders had missed the quoted 3-5 day window. The bottom line is that orders with pre-Christmas shipping estimates should be processed in the coming week.

In his Google+ message, Cobley also addresses the subject of stock levels, saying supplies from Nexus 4 manufacturer LG have been "scarce and erratic." The first wave of Nexus 4 stock sold out in under an hour, and the second wave was back-ordered by over one month in under a day.

Check past the break for Cobley's message in full.

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2 years ago

Best Buy offering Samsung Galaxy S3 for $49 for one day only on Sunday Dec. 16

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If you fancy a little pre-holiday treat for yourself, Best Buy might have something for you. For one day only tomorrow, Sunday Dec. 16, the retailer is dropping the price of the Samsung Galaxy S3 to just $49 on a new 2-year contract. It's not the first time in recent months that the Android Central International and U.S. Best of the Best pick has been reduced. The difference this time round is that the Galaxy S3 will be available for that same price on the four big carriers. If you've been holding off, there might be little better opportunities to pick one up on the carrier of your choosing.

Source: @BBYNews 

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2 years ago

Samsung uses paper craft and the Note 2 to wish us happy holidays

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Kirigami is the ancient art of folding and cutting paper to make beautiful shapes or scenes. Most of us know it by the paper snowflakes we used to make as children. Samsung has taken it a step further, and along with the Note 2 have churned out another great commercial.

Using the Note 2 and it's large screen for motion effects, the paper craft work in the commercial really catches the eye. Commercials of this caliber are becoming the norm from Samsung, and we're enjoying each and every one. Have a watch, and if you decide to try any of this yourself (I know we have some very crafty readers) send in a short video or some pictures -- we'd love to have a look.

Souce: Samsung Mobile on Youtube

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2 years ago

U.S. Cellular's Samsung Galaxy S II finally getting an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade

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If you're rocking a U.S. Cellular Samsung Galaxy S II, your long wait for Android 4.0 is finally at an end. The update is available for download, although it doesn't look like it's going out OTA. Hit the source link at the bottom of this post for more, but basically you'll need to download the update and install via your computer. 

While still Touchwiz'd up, the jump from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich is a sizeable one. New ICS features like Face Unlock are baked in, and it opens up a whole new world of applications to take advantage of, like Google Chrome. Also built in to this update are 'additional apps' with Google Play Movies and Slacker being installed as part of the package. Jelly Bean hasn't rolled out to any worldwide models of the Galaxy S II, so this at least brings the U.S. Cellular variant up to date with it's compatriots. If you've snagged the update, be sure to shout out in the comments and let us know how you're finding it. 

Source: U.S. Cellular

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2 years ago

First images surface of Verizon employee exclusive Droid DNA

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It's kind of teasing posting up photos of a device most people can't buy, but when it looks like this it's definitely worth a mention. What we see here is the first shots of the Verizon employee exclusive Droid DNA, obtained by the guys over at Droid-Life. It's a regular old DNA at heart, but instead of the black back on the regular one, Verizon staff get theirs in a pretty impressive shade of red. And, since Verizon devices aren't short on logos, this DNA is absolutely no exception. In addition to the usual stuff, it also comes stamped as a “Verizon Employee Limited Edition.” It's not likely to hit everyone's tastes, but it sure stands out in a crowd. 

Source: Droid-Life

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2 years ago

Carphone Warehouse expects Xperia E for Feb. 2013 release

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Sony hasn't given any date other than "Q1 2013" for the launch of the upcoming Xperia E, but U.K. phone retailer Carphone Warehouse says it expects the handset by February 2013. We got some pricing and spec info for the mid-range handset in the last week, but one thing left out was the release time.

This is shaping up to be a nice looking handset for the budget-conscious among us -- at a price of about £130 SIM free -- when it finally becomes available.

Source: Xperia blog

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2 years ago

Verizon Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update now available!

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The Verizon Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update. We've got it. Some of you have got it. We're installing now. 

... And we're up and running. The 400MB update takes a few minutes to install. Once you're done, you're at Android 4.1.1, build JRO03L.I535VRBLK3.

As is usually the case with updates, you're not going to see a huge visual change. TouchWiz is still TouchWiz. But you now have features like Google Now, which you access by long-pressing the menu button, and improvements to the notification area. The camera's gotten some improvements as well, including, of course, filters. Plus, the GS3 is now ready for the ISIS mobile payment system, but that only does you any good if you're in Austin, Texas, or Salt Lake City.

Update: And now we've got a quick video after the break.

More: Verizon Galaxy S3 forums

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2 years ago

Motorola Atrix HD gets Jelly Bean

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Mark it, Dude. The AT&T this morning announced that the Motorola Atrix HD is getting an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean starting today. That means you get cool things like Google Now, that Project Butter smoothness, plus all the other bells and whistles AT&T and Motorola have added in. 

You can get the update now by going to Settings>About Phone>Software updates. And we suggest you do.

Source: AT&T; More: Atrix HD forums

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