Headlines

2 years ago

Update: Droidax Powerpack for the Galaxy S3 fixes case design flaw

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Here's a quick update on the Droidax Power Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3 that we reviewed a couple months ago. In our original review, we noted that the case didn't seem to fit properly up top, and so the phone could potentially come loose -- possibly damaging the microUSB plug on the case, or the port on the phone itself. Either way, that was no bueno.

Droidax has sent us a redesigned top half of the case, and the update indeed keeps things a little more snug. The left-hand side of the phone can still pop out ever so slightly, but the right-hand side kept everything as it should be.

And so with that update, we're ready to recommend the Droidax Power Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3, if you're ready to spring $49 for the combination case/2300 mAh external battery. 

Check out our updated hands-on after the break.

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2 years ago

Motorola Droid Bionic Ice Cream Sandwich update now rolling out

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Long-suffering Motorola Droid Bionic owners, your Ice Cream Sandwich update has finally arrived. The Bionic, which has languished on Gingerbread since its release last fall, is today being bumped up to Android 4.0.4 via an over-the-air upgrade.

Reports from the Android Central forums indicate that the Bionic ICS update is now being sent out the masses, following a short soak test.

Unfortunately, it looks like the phone isn't on Motorola's Jelly Bean update roadmap, so Bionic owners will be running 4.0.4 for the foreseeable future. Regardless, ICS is a significant step up from Gingerbread, so Bionic owners will want to grab it right away.

If you're still rocking a bionic, hit the comments let us know how you're getting on with today's update.

Source: Android Central forums

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2 years ago

AT&T's Galaxy Note 2 available Nov. 9 for $299, preorders start Oct. 25

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AT&T this morning announced that its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be available Nov. 9 for $299 on contract. Preorders start Oct. 25.

More: Read our Galaxy Note 2 review

Specs for AT&T's version remain in line with other carriers', as well as the global version, with gorgeous 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display and a quad-core Exynos processor running at 1.6 GHz. It's got Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, and and Samsung's excellent 8-megapixel camera. Plus, it runs on AT&T's 4G LTE network, so long as you're in an area that has it.

Source: AT&T

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2 years ago

US Cellular gets the Alcatel One Touch Shockwave

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US Cellular this morning announced it'll carry the Alcatel One Touch Shockwave, a 3.5-inch Android smartphone. It's running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has a 3.2 megapixel camera and sports a shock-resistant casing, Dragontrail tempered glass and is water resistant.

The Shockwave is available today for $49.99. 

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2 years ago

USPTO invalidates Apple rubber-band scrolling patent used in Samsung trial

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Good news for Samsung this morning, as a preliminary U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ruling has declared Apple's "rubber band" scrolling patents invalid. According to reports from TNW and FOSS Patents, the ruling isn't yet set in stone, but it means that, for the moment, 20 patent violation claims against Samsung relating to patent no. 7,469,381 no longer stand. Crucially, FOSS Patents says, this includes one claim involved in Apple's recent courtroom victory against the Korean manufacturer.

The USPTO is reported to have found evidence of prior art in some cases, and in others the inventions were deemed to have been obvious.

The "rubber band" scrolling feature can be found throughout Apple's range of iOS and OSX devices, as well as older Samsung smartphones. However, Samsung has long since pulled the feature from its Android-based phones.

As with everything relating to the on-going litigation between Samsung and Apple, and the wider patent wars, this is not yet finalized. Nevertheless, if things proceed in this direction, it could be helpful to Samsung's appeal in the high-profile California case.

Source: TNW, FOSS Patents

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2 years ago

'My Xperia' trademark filing points to possible Sony cloud service

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A trademark filing by Sony Mobile suggests the company may look to launch its own mobile-centric cloud service in the future. Sony has applied to trademark the term "MyXperia" at the European OHIM (Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market), and the listing is available online for all to see. 

The trademark application lists a number of mobile-based services for MyXperia, including “upload, storage, retrieval, download, transmission and delivery of digital content and media." That's a fairly vague definition, but it points to a possible proprietary Sony cloud service for exchanging photos, music and other data between Xperia phones and other devices.

Previously, Sony Mobile has relied on a partnership with Box.net to bring cloud storage to Xperia smartphone buyers.

The company also owns MyXperia.com, though currently that hosts nothing more than a nondescript login page.

With more and more mobile device manufacturers -- including Android giant Samsung -- getting into the cloud storage game, we wouldn't be too surprised to see MyXperia making an appearance on upcoming 2013 Xperia phones. Precisely what form it'll take, though, will remain to be seen.

Source: XperiaBlog

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2 years ago

Give an artist the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and he makes magic with the S Pen

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The artist is Gérémy Arène. His tools are the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with the S Pen, and the Sketchbook Mobile app. The result is amazing. 

I tried to say it before when we first saw the Galaxy Note 10.1. These are more than Android phones or tablets. The S Pen and Wacom digitizer makes them a real appliance. Gérémy says it better in this 10-minute video than I ever could.

Source: PhonAndroid (French); via +Cory Teague

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2 years ago

Official word on the Optimus G bootloader

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A lot of people are excited about the upcoming LG Optimus G launch on AT&T and Sprint, but it seems like the most common question I'm hearing is about the bootloader.

LG has historically been pretty open with their Android phones, and adding in no extra security or encryption on the bootloader. That all changed with the past couple releases, and plenty of folks were surprised when they found the bootloader on the Optimus 4XHD and Optimus VU locked up tight and encrypted. Everyone wants to know if the powerhouse that is the Optimus G will be hacker friendly, so I asked a contact at LG for the answer.

Hi Jerry,

The Optimus G doesn’t support an unlocked bootloader.

So there you have it. Expect things to be pretty locked down, and possibly never be cracked open. I can't say I'm any happier about it than you are, and I'm just glad we got the firm answer before money changed hands on release day.

Will this affect your decision to buy the Optimus G? Hash it all out in the Optimus G forums.

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2 years ago

EE announces UK 4G LTE pricing and data allowances

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Prices range from £36 to £56 per month, but unlimited data is MIA​

The UK's first 4G LTE carrier, EE, has finally revealed exactly how much it'll cost to get on the British LTE bandwagon at launch. The network, which officially launches in Oct. 30, will offer five tiers, each of which will come with unlimited calls and texts, and data allowances of various sizes as part of a 24-month contract. The cheapest package starts at £36 per month for 500MB, moving up to 1GB for £41, 3GB for £46, 5GB for £51 and 8GB for £56. So unlimited data is missing in action, but fortunately there's no limit on how you can use your allowance, so you won't have to purchase a separate tethering add-on.

EE's 4G smartphones, including the Galaxy S3 LTE, Galaxy Note 2 LTE and HTC One XL, will be available at various subsidized rates depending on the price of your monthly bill. A selection of SIM-only deals will be launching from Nov. 9, priced at £15 less per month than the 24-month, smartphone-inclusive tariffs. So that works out at £21 per month for 500MB, £26 for 1GB, £31 for 3GB, £36 for 5GB and £41 for 8GB.

EE customers will be able to increase their data allowances in various increments using "add-ons" -- £3 for 50MB, £6 for 500MB, £15 for 2GB or £20 for 4GB.

EE is also offering added incentives, including one-off £99 upgrade offers for Orange and T-Mobile UK customers who joined the network in the past six months, and one free movie rental per week from the new EE film store. And as part of the Orange and T-Mobile UK re-branding, all 700 of those carrier stores will be rebranded as "EE" before the end of the month, effectively ending those networks' high-street presence.

Tempted EE's 4G offerings now that the pricing has become known? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More: EE

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2 years ago

Sprint LG Optimus G review

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The Optimus G brings LG's 'A' game to Sprint, but is great hardware enough to sign on for two years?

A high-end, premium LG smartphone on a U.S. carrier is like a hen's tooth -- pretty darn rare. While other manufacturers were busy releasing top-tier products on the carriers in this country, it seems like LG was focusing more on the value space, and its products were lackluster to a dyed-in-the-wool Android fanatic.

There's something to be said for bringing the best of the bottom-end, and the various LG Optimus One phones really were a standout for the entry-level market, but as someone who is lucky enough to get to play with the heavy hitters LG has released in Europe and Asia on occasion, I've been waiting for this. The Optimus G is the best LG has ever offered, and it's a taste of quality hardware from LG that everyone needs to look at twice.

But there's a dark side to LG's foray into Android. Ask anyone who was excited and rushed to buy the T-Mobile G2X. I was one of those people (I bought one for myself and one for the wife) who was awfully impressed with the quality of materials and the build of the phone itself, and felt the small niggling software issues would soon be ironed out. Here we are, over a year later, and still waiting for those fixes. To put it frankly, the software on the Optimus G needs to be great out of the box, because there's no guarantee that it will ever get any better. 

Read on to see what I think of this one, and how my week with the best-spec'd phone ever made (so far) has turned out.

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2 years ago

The HTC DLX, batteries and you

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We'd never turn down more juice, but is 2500 mAh on a 5-inch device really that low?

Yesterday we brought you the first photos of HTC and Verizon's 5-inch, 1080p Android smartphone, codenamed "DLX," along with a full list of specifications. By any standard, the DLX is a super-high-end phone, packing a quad-core Snapdragon S4 CPU -- generally considered to be the fastest SoC around -- and the highest-resolution phone display available, in the form of a 1080p SuperLCD3 panel. Throw in Verizon's 4G LTE network, and you've got an awful lot of telephone.

One area that's easy for some to find fault with, however, is the battery. Read on to find out why.

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2 years ago

LG India confirms its worst-kept secret, Nexus 4 to be announced Oct. 29

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The LG Nexus 4 has been extensively leaked over the past few weeks. We've seen the front, back, sides and even taken a sneaky peek at the phone's internals. Nevertheless, the phone is still officially unannounced, pending a Google event in New York City on Oct. 29.

Today LG's broken its silence on the device, according to reports from Indian news site IBNLive. The site reports that Amit Gujral, Head of Mobile Product Planning for LG India confirmed the device's existence in an interview at an Optimus Vu launch event. "Google will unveil the LG Nexus on October 29 and the phone will be available in the Indian markets by the end of November," Gurjal is reported as saying. He also apparently spilled the beans on the device's hardware, confirming reports of a 4.7-inch display, a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU (presumably a Snapdragon S4) and Android 4.2.

The "LG Nexus," as Gurjal calls it, will be available in India by the end of November, following an unveiling by Google on Oct. 29. That means other territories will likely get the device even earlier in the month. We're not sure this official confirmation was supposed to slip through the net, but in any case, it's one more piece of the 2012 Nexus puzzle. We'll be live from New York City next Tuesday to bring you all the Nexus announcements as they happen!

Source: IBNLive

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2 years ago

Sprint Optimus G has root before the phone hits the shelves

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The first thing I do with a review phone after I'm finished writing the review is to try to root it. Tonight was that night with the Sprint Optimus G, and it went rather well.

After a bit of Google Translate, I found the root method for the Korean Optimus G and had to try. It's based (either in whole or in part -- I don't read Vietnamese) on the Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean adb restore exploit discovered by Bin4ry and does the job easily.

The November 11 release can't come soon enough. Hit the forums for the details, and stay tuned for that review while it gets its final editing!

How to root the Sprint G Optimus G (Windows only)

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2 years ago

This is the Verizon HTC Droid DNA

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Verizon appears poised to bring HTC's first 5-inch Android smartphone to the U.S.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the HTC DLX for Verizon, since officially named the Droid DNA. A few rumored details recently emerged about this upcoming (and as yet unannounced Android smartphone, and tonight we're able to bring you the first pictures.

The codenamed HTC DLX (pronounced like "deluxe," we're told) is notable for several reasons. For one, it will (assuming it comes to market; that's not always a given) be Verizon's first HTC One smartphone since the line was announced at Mobile World Congress way back in February in Barcelona. That the United States' largest carrier didn't pick up any of the three devices announced then has been a sore spot for months. 

Then there's the size. Along with the Japan-exclusive HTC J Butterfly, the Droid DNA marks the manufacturer's first foray into the 5-inch display category, known to some as "ridiculously large." But consider our curiosity piqued, our appetite whetted. We -- and you folks as well, we know - have been waiting on Verizon to sport new HTC kit for the better part of a year now.

Enough preamble. We've got more pictures, specs and a few thoughts after the break.

More: HTC DLX forums

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2 years ago

LG Spectrum Ice Cream Sandwich update imminent

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One of Verizon's many mid-range LTE phones from early this year, the LG Spectrum (remember that one?), is poised to receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich soon. The update to software version VS920ZV7 will bring the device up to Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, and include many of the features and design that we've seen on other recent LG devices. The support page notes that a couple Verizon "enhancements" will be coming with the update as well -- Verizon Remote Diagnostics and a Viewdini app.

The Verizon support PDF doesn't indicate a specific date for when the update will be rolling out, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the users in the forums will be talking about it the moment it starts.

Source: Android Central Forums; Verizon (PDF)

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