Headlines

2 years ago

HTC First review

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Is it just reference hardware for Facebook Home, or a true candidate for your next smartphone purchase?

There are few things in the mobile industry that have been constant over the last few years, but one that has is the rumor of a mythical "Facebook Phone." The idea of a phone that could only interact with people and services around Facebook didn't make a whole lot of sense to most people -- and apparently it didn't make much sense to Facebook itself either.  Because rather than a proper Facebook Phone, at a press conference on April 4th we were given this, the HTC First.

In many ways the First itself isn't supposed to be the big story. You wouldn't be alone for thinking it is simply a hardware platform to show off what seems to be Facebook's true end-game -- the Facebook Home software. There are far more users in the world that own one of the recent flagships from HTC or Samsung that will install Home from the Play Store than there are who will buy (or even be aware of) the First. This realization certainly calls into question why Facebook even bothered to have its own phone made in the first place.

So does Facebook actually care about the success of the First, or did it ask HTC to throw together a cheap device from the parts bin to show off Home at the press conference? After spending some time with the device, we think it may be a bit more substantial than that. There are a whole lot of intriguing aspects of the First that may just have you considering it as your next device.

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2 years ago

Qualcomm-based Galaxy S4 models now have a root method

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AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile versions can now be rooted with a simple tool

Well that certainly didn't take long, did it? With only AT&T's variant shipping to pre-order buyers, Sprint's launch mere hours away and T-Mobile's launch pushed back, we now have a root tool available for these Qualcomm-based Galaxy S4's. The tool, created by djrbliss over at XDA, which was originally made for Motorola devices seems to be working for these Galaxy S4 models as well. Many users in that forum thread are reporting that their devices are being successfully rooted with the tool, which simply takes a few steps of setup and running of a program to root the device.

We'd caution against jumping right into rooting at this point if you're unsure of what to do with it on your new device. As the poster points out, with no custom recoveries or stock firmware images available for these devices you may be in for a world of hurt if you make the wrong move with your newly rooted device. As always, proceed with caution here.

Source: XDA; More: Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums

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2 years ago

HTC One in black appears on Sprint site, looks ready to order

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Long-awaited Black HTC One makes an appearance, complete with a button to buy today

If you've been waiting for the HTC One in black, it looks like Sprint just put it up for sale about an hour ago. Of course it's the same One as the silver version, but it's black. A few people are concerned that these aren't shipping right away, but we see nothing to suggest that on Sprint's website -- for all intents and purposes it looks like they are ready to roll out the door.

Now who is going to be the guinea pig and order the first one and see when it ships? Hash it all out in the forums.

Source: Sprint; via: Android Central forums

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2 years ago

Galaxy S4 torn apart, looks easy to fix everything but the front glass

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Samsung Galaxy S4 given a reparability score of 8 out of 10

The fellows over at iFixit got their Samsung Galaxy S4, and that means it's time to tear shit apart. Unlike most folks who try to take good care of their expensive electronic toys, these people live to break them open and see what the innards look like. This go around, they found most things pretty easy to get to and replace, the front glass and panel being the exception. Here's their highlights:

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Reparability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)
  • The battery can be replaced in seconds, without any tools.
  • Very easy to open and access internal components.
  • There are only 11 screws in the entire device, all standard Phillips #0 (no proprietary or security sizes).
  • Most of the smaller components are modular and can be replaced individually, but several of them are adhered in place, increasing replacement difficulty.
  • The glass is fused to both the display and the display frame, increasing repair costs.
  • You'll have to go through the entire phone in order to replace the front panel, since everything is built into the back of it.

The good news is that it looks easy enough to fix things if you ever need to. The bad news is that the part most likely to break, the glass, is the hardest part to replace. The sensible part is that most people will never do anything like this anyway. 

It's still reassuring that someone, somewhere can fix your phone should you do something stupid or just have a string of bad luck. Unlike the HTC One, which was found pretty damn difficult to repair, the Galaxy S4 is one of the easy ones. Be sure to click the link below to see all the steps.

Source: iFixit

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2 years ago

Top Samsung Galaxy S4 forum threads

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As devices start to make their way into more hands, the forums are jumping with discussion

There's been more news about the Samsung Galaxy S4 than you can shake a stick at as of late, and that means two things. Firstly, it's time for them to start trickling in from preorders and more people have them. The second is that people want to talk about it. That's where oru forums come into play. You can talk as much Galaxy S4 as you want with people just like you and me, who can't get enough and are excited. Take a look at a few.

So have look at our review, then head into the forums and see what all the fuss is about!

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2 years ago

WSJ: Rugged Samsung Galaxy S4 Active coming in July

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Water and dust resistant Samsung Galaxy S4 Active could be on store shelves this summer

A couple of days ago we told you that a Samsung executive let it slip that there was a rugged version of the Galaxy S4 in the works, and today the Wall Street Journal says the same. According to their sources, the water and dust resistant version will be called the Galaxy S4 Active, and we should see it this summer in July.

Without a doubt there is a market for "weather proof" phones. Motorola has offered a few along the years and while they aren't always pushing the edge with the latest specifications, they are popular with folks wanting equipment that will stand up to less than ideal conditions. Should Samsung release their top-end phone in a version that can take a little extra abuse, it should get some attention.

With July just a few months away, we should know more soon. We'll keep you updated.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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2 years ago

A quick look at the OPPO Find 5

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Amazingly high quality and design that you just don't get in your every day smart phone

Well look what we have here? It's the OPPO Find 5. As we get ready to put it through its paces for a full review, we wanted to give you a quick look at the new device.

Hardware

If the name wasn't any indication, we're looking at a 5-inch 1080P display here, and it is quite a substantial device all around. That display is surrounded by a couple different textures and colors of metal -- one to frame the glass of the screen, another as a complete rim around the device, and a final one as a solid back plate. The surround and back plate are the same material, which feels like a hefty metal with a light soft touch coating over it. Inside we're looking at a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, a 2500mAh battery, 13MP camera and 32GB of storage. To top it all off, the phone is pentaband, and compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile HSPA+.

The phone feels nice in the hand from a materials standpoint, but at first impression isn't the most ergonomic ever. 5-inches for a phone is pushing the boundaries of one-handed use, and the angular design combined with very smooth materials make this a bit of a slippery phone to hold onto. The Find 5 feels like its built like a tank, and feels both denser and heavier than comparably sized devices

Software

We still have a whole bunch of time to spend with the software, but we're looking at a generously customized version of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The software reminds us a lot of MIUI, with lots of reflections, borders around apps and a bright, friendly color scheme. Our first impression is that a lot of the customizations OPPO have done are very user friendly, and there's an overall consistent design language. Some of the features of the launcher are just a bit too overboard for our tastes though.

Stick around after the break to check out several close-ups of the hardware on the device, and be sure to keep an eye on the site for our upcoming complete review.

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2 years ago

LG Optimus G Pro with AT&T branding leaks out

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Familiar styling and minimalist branding essentially confirm the launch of this new device

Frequent and accurate device leaker @evleaks has just dropped this little gem on our hands -- the LG Optimus G Pro for AT&T. Just a few days before we're set to see what LG has to unveil at a press conference on May 1st, we are likely looking at one of the devices set to be unveiled. The hardware looks very similar to what we found in our review of the international version, complete with a home button LED, brushed silver camera pod and plastic back with textured design. The only difference here looks to be in terms of a small AT&T logo on the back, and the usual AT&T, NFC and 4G LTE logos up in the status bar of the phone.

If you need to refresh your memory on the merits of the Optimus G Pro, we've got a whole lot of content for you to take a look at. Be sure to take a look back at our review of the international device, a deeper look at the new "VR Panorama" photosphere feature, and of course check out our hands-on video below. Naturally, we'll be in New York to see for sure what LG has to unveil on May 1st as well.

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2 years ago

Sprint Photon Q Jelly Bean update starts its roll out today

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Jelly Bean and a long list of bug fixes highlight the OTA that begins today

Fans of the Motorola Photon Q have a reason to celebrate today, as Sprint and Motorola have released the Jelly Bean update for the slider. The 9.8.2Q-122_XT897_FFW-5 update brings the Photon Q to platform version Android 4.1, brings the Jelly Bean goodies like Project Butter and Google Now, and has a laundry list of fixes and patches. Here's that list:

  • Google OS upgrade to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Google Now
  • Voice search enhancements
  • Camera includes improved image quality and more intuitive panorama mode
  • Ability to zoom out to filmstrip mode in the Gallery
  • Keyboard includes improved dictionary and text to speech capabilities
  • Notification enhancements
  • Resolved Quick Office closing when reviewing a document
  • Improved GSM roaming connectivity for global use
  • Improved streaming of Sprint TV when location services are turned off
  • Enhanced security and ease of use on the face unlock feature
  • Removed Quick Views, Speed Dial, and MOTOPRINT applications
  • Improved accuracy and response of voice to text for texting, emailing, and web search

Like all OTA updates for Sprint phones, this one is rolling out in stages. It starts today, so be sure to check for the update in your settings if you've been waiting. If you've received the update, or just want to shoot the breeze while you wait, the forums is a great place to be.

Source: Sprint

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2 years ago

Droid DNA clone HTC Deluxe coming to Cellcom

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The HTC Deluxe shows up again, this time in Wisconsin

Cellcom, the regional carrier from Wisconsin, has unveiled their next marquee device -- the HTC Deluxe. It's basically the HTC Droid DNA repackaged for the small network, which means it's a pretty damn good piece of equipment. If you need a refresher, that means it has a quad-core Snapdragon Pro CPU, a 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, and an LTE radio to keep the data flowing.

No word on when it will arrive, just that it's coming "soon" for $199 with a new contract or $570 if you buy it outright. If you're a Cellcom subscriber, this is definitely worth a second look. See the source link for more details.

Source: Cellcom. Thanks, Aaron!

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2 years ago

HTC Rezound finally gets global roaming, Jelly Bean nowhere to be seen

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Numerous fixes and improvements are also included in build 4.05.605.14 710RD

No luck this time around for HTC Rezound users hoping to receive Jelly Bean, but the update still has a pretty cool feature nonetheless. As promised -- although not exactly timely -- the Rezound is finally getting Global Roaming Support. This enables roaming on networks previously inaccessible to the phone, which covers over 205 countries.

A couple pre-installed apps have gotten updates, while a handful of others have been removed. Mobile Hotspot and Visual Voicemail get bug fixes, and improvements were made to Skype, Backup Assistant, and overall data connectivity. Users that have been experiencing freezes and random reboots should see system stability improve as well.

There is no word yet on when the update rollout will begin. If notifications start popping up, let our other Rezound owners know in the comments. For the complete change log, check out the source link below.

Source: Verizon

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 sees first complete firmware leak

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Firmware version I9500ZCUAMDG comes complete with all Odin files

With every big phone release comes a software leak just ahead of launch day. Today, it's the Samsung Galaxy S4's turn to show us the software. AdamLange of XDA Developers has been kind enough to post the first leaked version of Galaxy S4 firmware, in its complete form.

Samsung users that have installed custom firmware on their devices before are already familiar with Odin, a Windows application that allows firmware to be flashed on Samsung phones via USB. This Galaxy S4 leak comes complete with all the Odin files, namely the CSC, PDA and modem. This particular software is intended for the Chinese market; as time goes on and more leaks are obtained, they will be posted in AdamLange's thread.

Flashing stock firmware via Odin is a sure bet for getting Samsung phones back to factory condition and fixing any problems that may arise from installing custom firmware. Those that like to root and flash ROMs and kernels on their phones should definitely have a stock Odin package ready to go -- just in case. Keep an eye on the forums for the latest how-to guides and lists of flashable goodies, as them become available.

Source: XDA Developers

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2 years ago

T-Mobile's HTC One S finally gets its Jelly Bean update

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For those who were worried the day would never come -- the T-Mobile (U.S.) HTC One S is finally getting Android 4.1.1. As confirmed in our HTC One S forums, the sizable (675-megabyte) update brings Jelly Bean, with all its bells and whistles, along with any number of bugfixes. (As of this writing, we're waiting on T-Mobile to post the full changelog.)

The update's a Wifi-only deal, so fire up the router and get downloading.

More: HTC One S forums

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2 years ago

HTC: Injunction will not affect current One phones, new mic design in progress

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HTC sets the record straight about the court actions in the Netherlands -- there is no injunction against HTC, there will be no recall of smart phones

HTC has released a statement today concerning the recent court hearings between ST Microelectronics and Nokia. In case you didn't catch it, Nokia sought an injunction over part of the microphone assembly used in the HTC One provided by ST Micro. The courts found in Nokia's favor, but agreed that HTC was "blameless" and no action was taken against them. 

In light of several misleading stories regarding a recent injunction obtained by Nokia against STM (a supplier of components to HTC in The Netherlands) HTC looks to clarify the following points:

  • Nokia has NOT obtained an injunction in The Netherlands, or anywhere else, against the HTC One.
  • The Dutch proceedings were brought by Nokia solely against STM.   HTC was not sued by Nokia in the Netherlands.
  • The Dutch injunction prohibits STM from selling certain microphones to any company other than Nokia for a limited period.
  • The judgment against STM states that HTC can continue to use microphones already purchased from STM in its products, because they were purchased in good-faith. Nokia's attempt to obtain a recall of microphones already sold to HTC failed.
  • HTC will transition to improved microphone designs once its inventory of STM microphones is exhausted.

Most interesting is the "improved" microphone design they will be moving to. We'll keep an eye out for that one. 

The reception of the HTC One seems to have been very good, and this is good news for everyone who wants to pick one up.

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2 years ago

Galaxy S4 versus HTC One in New York's Central Park

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New Yorkers weigh in on the big Android question of the year

Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One? It's a question that's bound to be asked over and over in the coming weeks and months, as Samsung and HTC do battle over the crucial U.S. market. As we've now got both phones in-hand, we headed down to New York's Central Park to find out what a handful of real, live human beings thought of this year's leading Android phones.

Check out the video above, and be sure to share your own thoughts down in the comments.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review; HTC One review

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