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3 years ago

'Facebook Home' APK teardown still doesn't answer the important question: Why hardware?

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Does HTC Sense and a new Facebook-centric launcher warrant its own hardware? We'll find out Thursday

With the unveiling of Facebook’s “new home on Android” just a couple of days away, the folks at Android Police have gotten hold of a system dump for the fabled HTC-built Facephone, to which they’ve given the APK teardown treatment. Details included in the ROM seem to confirm earlier rumors of a relatively pedestrian Android smartphone, powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip (MSM8960), 1GB of RAM and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, running on a 4.3-inch 720p screen. (In addition, the “HTC Myst” codename is seemingly confirmed, along with AT&T radio support.)

Also confirmed is the presence of Facebook Home, apparently a home screen launcher replacement based around the user’s own Facebook news feed. That's not a huge surprise -- Phil predicted as much in his Editor's column on Sunday and on Twitter a few days before that.

The new Facebook Home launcher apparently includes the permissions needed to access and import settings from the stock Android, TouchWiz and HTC Sense launchers, indicating it might see a separate release at some point. (Incidentally, although the phone appears to run HTC Sense 4+, the Sense launcher is nowhere to be found in this system dump.)

All of which leaves us with a few nagging questions. First, if Facebook Home won’t be exclusive to the “Myst,” then how is this different from the approach taken a couple of years ago in the ill-fated HTC ChaCha (Status) and Salsa. What’s the incentive to pick up a phone running last year’s hardware and last year’s software, for the sake of a custom launcher that’ll be available elsewhere anyway?

Wrote Phil:

All signs are pointing to some sort of new phone from HTC in conjunction with all this.

Why?

Why does a launcher or software layer or whatever the hell we're going to call it need new hardware? Is Facebook going to sell this hardware? Will it end up in Best Buy alongside the 5,000 other phones? On Amazon? Even if it ends up in carrier stores, that's no guarantee it'll sell enough to make it worth it.

There’s every chance Facebook will have something to pull out of its sleeve this Thursday. But until then we’re left wondering just what Facebook and HTC will be doing to differentiate this new handset.

Source: Android Police

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3 years ago

HTC One tip: Pinch to customize your home screens

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The HTC One does things a little different than many other Android smartphones. For one, it's only got two buttons -- back and home. It also changes the way it home screens work -- making it a little more difficult to add apps and widgets. Not grossly so; just an extra step or so.

Here's a little tip that'll speed things up a bit. One way to get to the home screen customization section is to long-press on an empty 1x1 spot on a home screen. But what if that home screen is full? You could swipe over to another home screen that has a blank spot, but that's annoying. Or you could pull down the notification bar and go to Settings>Personalize>Customize home screen. Also a pain.

There's a better way. All you have to do is pinch your fingers together on a home screen -- full or not -- and it goes straight to the customization section. From there you can add widgets or apps all you want. 

We've got more HTC One tips after the break. Be sure to collect them all!

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3 years ago

HTC One signs sighted in RadioShack, hint at $50 Google Play gift card deal

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$199.99 on-contract, with $50 Google Play credit and a $10 coupon

The exact U.S. launch for the new HTC One might not be know just yet, but it looks like we're starting to see signs of stateside pricing deals for the handset. The photo above, grabbed at Radio Shack and sent to Phandroid, suggests the HTC One on Sprint will sell for $199.99 with a two-year plan (no surprises there) and come with a $50 Google Play gift card and $10 coupon.

A $10 discount is nothing to sniff at, but that $50 Google Play allowance should count towards a lot of apps, movies and other content for new HTC One owners.

We'd like to think that the appearance of signage like this indicates the nearing of a U.S. street date, but the closest thing to an official date we have is "before the end of April" for North America. In the meantime, you can always check out our full review of the HTC One.

Source: Phandroid

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3 years ago

AT&T LG Optimus G getting an Easter update

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A quick heads up for you owners of the AT&T LG Optimus G -- there's a software update rolling out today. As reported in our Optimus G Fourms, you'll still be on Android 4.0.4 (build IMM76L), and you'll now have software version E97011c. Other than that, we can't quite tell you what's changed. 

So the wait continues for some Jelly Bean love for the AT&T Optimus G, but some update is better than no update. 

We've got the updated about screen after the break should you deem it worth a gander.

Thanks, Tim!

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3 years ago

HTC Droid DNA retired?

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Has the HTC Droid DNA been given its gold watch and sent packing? Verizon CS says yes, and it's no longer listed for sale

Update: And ... it's back on Verizon's site. Take that to mean whatever you want.

Original: A reader sent in a pretty interesting screenshot, accompanied by some equally interesting information about the HTC Droid DNA. According to Verizon customer service, the DNA is now officially retired. The screenshot of chat with a CS (you can find it after the break) actually uses the word retired, and subsequent inquiries led to a statement from Verizon saying "HTC halted production in efforts to push out an upcoming project on the horizon".

Now normally, we would place little to no faith in the words of an online chat with customer care from any provider. We're not judging, they have a difficult job and get way more harassment than anyone deserves. But after hearing about this, we went looking on Verizon's website, and found that the DNA is nowhere to be seen. You can't buy one from Big Red. Verizon loves to take our money, so there must be a reason they don't want to sell us a Droid DNA.

Now consider the on and off rumors about the HTC One coming to Verizon. We're pretty sure that you'll never be able to buy an "HTC One" for use on Verizon. But ask us if you'll be able to buy a premium HTC device with Sense 5, the new camera, Boomsound, a kick-ass display, and all the other goodies that come with the HTC One and our answer would be different. Don't let semantics like official names fool you. We're pretty confident that something very close to the HTC One is "on the horizon" for Verizon Wireless.

We never pretend that we know what goes on inside the minds of carrier corporate executives. We certainly question many of their decisions, but we're not at the meetings and don't have access to the data they use when they decide things like which phones to sell, and when to stop selling them. And of course, all this could be wrong and the DNA is simply out of stock for a while. We're just going to keep watching this, and when it all works out, we'll let you know.

Thanks, Robert!

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3 years ago

AT&T apparently has an 'exclusive' on 64GB HTC One

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Still no word on pricing for AT&T's HTC One, though

Oh, how we loathe the word "exclusive." For those of us on the editorial side, it's become a bit of a joke. But when a U.S. carrier uses it, it means someone else is probably getting the short end of the stick. In this case, it's anyone not AT&T, which is boasting in a promo video that it's got the "exclusive" on a 64-gigabyte version of the HTC One. (For what it's worth: The storage sizes aren't what's new here -- AT&T announced all that back in February. It's the "exclusive" part that's new.)

That means if you were hoping for the larger storage options on T-Mobile or Sprint, you might not get it, at least not at first. That said, the vast majority of "normal users" (chances are if you're reading this that isn't you) will never come close to hitting that 32GB limit. So, there's that. If you're holding out for a Verizon variant of the HTC One, we'd be willing to bet that 64GB might still be on the table, though. That's up to Big Red, though.

Meanwhile, we still don't have pricing or availability. So in the meantime, be sure to check out our full HTC One review, and swing by the ever-exciting HTC One forums!

And check out AT&T's promo video after the break if that's your thing.

Source: Youtube; via Droid-Life

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean now available via 'Simple Upgrade Tool' for the Alltel Galaxy S II

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Alltel hasn't forgotten the Samsung Galaxy S II, and Jelly Bean is available for download right now

Customers on Alltel using a Galaxy S II will want to check their messaging app this evening, as Jelly Ban has been made available. Users are receiving a text telling them the update is ready to download to their computer:

FREEALLTELMSG: Get the latest update for your Samsung Galaxy SII. Download OS Jelly Bean version 4.1.2 from your computer. Visit http://bit.ly/XHB4dp

Upon visiting the link, you're then warned that this is only able to be done via a computer (Windows only) using the Simple Upgrade Tool from Samsung. What you'll be downloading is the official SCH-R760 4.1.2 build, and the included package will walk you through getting it installed on your phone.

While we prefer OTA updates whenever possible, the jump from Gingerbread to Jelly Bean requires more than just an update to the system files. Manually flashing it from a computer is probably the best way to go here, though we wish it was a more generic process versus a Windows only executable file.

If you have no access to a compatible Windows computer (Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, or XP) you should visit the closest Alltel dealer and ask for assistance. For everyone else, get to downloading!

More: Alltel. Thanks, Terry!

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3 years ago

Galaxy S4 preorders start at US Cellular on April 16

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Looks like April 16 is starting to be the day for Samsung Galaxy S4 presales. AT&T's opening up that day, and now US Cellular is throwing its hat into the ring, too. 

No word yet on what the phone will cost -- we're told it'll be announced on April 16 -- nor do we know what storage options USCC will offer.

More: US Cellular
Also: Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums | Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy

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3 years ago

HTC European boss Florian Seiche leaving for Nokia [Updated]

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HTC EMEA President to join Nokia as head of European sales from June, HTC UK head Phil Blair to take over

Update: HTC has confirmed Seiche's exit, and says former VP of Product and Operations Phil Blair has taken over as its new EMEA head in addition to overseeing HTC's UK arm. We've got the company's official statement after the break.

Original story: Bloomberg is reporting that Florian Seiche, EMEA President at HTC, will be joining Nokia as head of European sales from June 15. Seiche, a familiar sight at European HTC press conferences, has been with the company since 2005, prior to which he served as Director of Devices at Orange. According to Bloomberg, Nokia's own EMEA head Shiv Shivakumar is leaving the company, to be replaced by its VP of smart devices for the Americas, Arto Nummela.

HTC and Nokia are in the midst of difficult times, as both are squeezed by fierce competition from Samsung and Apple. HTC in particular has seen dwindling sales and market share as a result to the meteoric rise of Samsung in the Android space. By comparison, Nokia recently returned to profitability, but its long-term fate is tied to that of Microsoft's Windows Phone OS.

Source: Bloomberg

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3 years ago

Factory images posted for 4.2.2 Verizon Galaxy Nexus and 4.2.1 Sprint Galaxy Nexus

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Like a trail of breadcrumbs, Nexus factory images are your safe way back

Google has posted a pair of new factory images on the Google Developers site today, allowing folks using a Verizon Galaxy Nexus to have access to the 4.2.2 software, and folks with the Sprint version to grab a copy of the 4.2.1 files. These images are a must have if you like to do any sort of tinkering to your Nexus, as they allow you to restore everything to the stock state with a simple fastboot flash.

It's also a testament to just how hard Google works with partners to get licensing issues sorted so they can post the bits that aren't open source. We take this sort of thing for granted, but I'm sure we shouldn't.

If you have either of these Nexus phones, follow the link below and download your safe way back. Here's hoping you never need them, but thank goodness they're there.

Source: Google Developers

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3 years ago

iFixit tears down the HTC One, finds HTC One parts inside that sexy aluminum shell

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Professional on closed course, do not attempt this at home

The machined aluminum unibody and zero gap construction makes the HTC One a very attractive phone. It also makes it extremely difficult to take apart. Scoring a 1 out of 10 for reparability, iFixit warns that it is nearly impossible to open the phone without damaging the back case. Dead batteries and shattered screens are going to be problematic, since iFixit found them nearly impossible to replace. Make sure to keep that warranty number and accidental insurance handy, because like a fine European car this phone is not cheap to repair. On the plus side, the solid construction makes for great durability.

Bottom line: make a case the first accessory you buy for the One.

Source: iFixit

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean update now available for the Sprint Epic 4G Touch

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Update only available over KIES

The Epic 4G Touch is getting its Jelly Bean today, courtesy of Sprint. Don't bother looking in system settings for a notification, as this one is only available through Kies due to its large size. Sprint is not listing any specific changes on its update page, but this update to build GB27 should bring with it the usual Jelly Bean goodies like Google Now and Project Butter

Hit the forums for more discussion about what's new and improved, or for help updating using the Kies method.

Source: Sprint; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Confirmed: Nexus 4 shipping with updated design

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Small nubs now lift the back of the phone up off a table; camera lens gets a slight redesign

Android Central has confirmed that the Nexus 4 has undergone a little bit of a design tweak. As first reported by German site MobiFlip. there are now a couple of small nubs on the rear of the phone, where the glass meets the foot, positioned just above the two screw holes. 

We've confirmed the change on a pair of Nexus 4s we ordered on Monday this week and received on Wednesday. In the image above, our original Nexus 4, now some four months old, is on top, with a new retail unit (still in its protective plastic) at the bottom. Note the little nub between the screw holes of the two phones.

This small design change has a couple of effects. It lifts phone up ever so slightly, allowing sound to escape the flush speaker. We can confirm that sounds are a little fuller and louder. Not a great deal, but we can tell. The change also should help keep the glass back from getting the little hairline scratches it's been prone to pick up.

And perhaps more important, it should keep the ultra-slick phone from sliding off any similarly slick surfaces.

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3 years ago

HTC One now available on Three UK

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Free HTC One plus unlimited data starting at £34 per month

Right on schedule, we're starting to see broader UK availability for the HTC One, and today Three UK has officially launched the silver version of the handset.

Three's 24-month plans start at £34 per month for its "Ultimate Internet 500" deal, which bags you a free HTC One, unlimited data, 500 minutes and 5,000 texts. For £36 per month you'll get Three's "One Plan," which gets you unlimited data (with tethering included), 2,000 minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes and 5,000 texts. The phone is also being offered on Pay As You Go for £479.99.

The black HTC One is available for pre-order on the same price plans. More details at the source link.

More: HTC One review

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S4 preorders start April 16 for $249 on contract

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Storage options still not known for AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S4

AT&T this morning announced that it's Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available for $249 on contract. Preorders start April 16.

Said the operator in a brief statement:

Continuing our legacy as the first carrier to launch Samsung’s Galaxy series, we are excited to announce AT&T customers will be able to begin pre-ordering the Galaxy S4 beginning April 16 for $249.99 with a two-year commitment. We are proud to offer this iconic device and continue to offer our customers the best smartphone line-up, with a variety of devices for every lifestyle and budget. For more information and to pre-order, please visit http://www.att.com/galaxys4.

We still don't have an exact launch date for the Galaxy S4 on AT&T, but figure a week or two of preorders (at least) before it's available. Nor do we have storage options for AT&T's Galaxy S4. 

T-Mobile has announced that its Galaxy S4 will be available May 1.

Source: AT&T
More: Our Galaxy S4 hands-on preview; Samsung Galaxy S4 forums

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