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3 years ago

Sony Xperia SP review


With impressive internals and a unique design, is Sony's new mid-ranger as good as it appears on paper?

Once an underdog in the Android world, Sony Mobile put out a strong showing earlier in the year with smartphones like the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL. With these devices the Japanese manufacturer seeks to differentiate itself with high-quality materials and outstanding designs. So it’s interesting to see that in its new mid-ranger, the Xperia SP, Sony is looking back to its smartphone design heritage, resurrecting ideas like the transparent element from last year’s NXT series.

On paper it’s packing reasonable specs, too — a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1GB of RAM, a 4.6-inch 720p display and an 8-megapixel camera, not to mention LTE support. Not too long ago that would've been considered flagship territory. So, with a good-looking chassis and powerful internals, does Sony have a mid-range hit on its hands? Check past the break to find out.

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3 years ago

Samsung ships 20 million Galaxy S4s


Two months on, Samsung's shifted 20 million devices worldwide

Samsung has shifted 20 million Galaxy S4 smartphones in the just over two months since the device first went on sale, company co-CEO JK Shin has told the Korean press. To put that in perspective, the first month of availability for the S4 yielded 10 million shipments, while last year's Galaxy S3 took 100 days to reach the 20 million milestone.

Of course, shipping a phone isn't the same as selling it to an end-user. However shipped devices have to go somewhere, and the number shows that Samsung's partners at the very least are keen to snap up the device.

Samsung also reported Galaxy S4 sales of 500,000 in its domestic market of South Korea.

via SamMobile

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3 years ago

C Spire's Galaxy S3 4.1.2 Premium Suite update begins July 3


The Premium Suite features make the 4.1.2 update into something worth waiting for

Starting sometime on July 3, users with a Samsung Galaxy S3 on the C Spire network should start seeing that oh-so-wonderful OTA pop-up we all cherish. The carrier is sending out the Android 4.1.2 update, including the Premium Suite features that we've seen in other Galaxy S3 models.

While an update to Jelly Bean is great in and of its own, the Premium Suite brings a good many new features to the device. Updates for previous models have included things like smart photo tagging, reader mode, S-Beam enhancements, and the crowd favorite multi-window view.

Samsung and C Spire have also made the update available online via Kies, so if you'd prefer not to wait you can use the Samsung utility to download and install this one -- though that often comes with its own unpleasant experience. 

If you're a C Spire customer with a Galaxy S3, start paying attention to your notifications in a few short hours. If and when you receive the update, be sure to sound off in the comment box and let everyone know what you think.

Source: C-Spire. Thanks, Jeff!

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3 years ago

Google Play edition reviews: The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4


For better or worse, you've got official 'stock' Android on two of the hottest phones around 

Forget, for the moment, the “why” of the “Google Play edition” HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. That’s the official moniker given to the two stock(ish) phones available now, as the name suggests, through Google Play, alongside Google’s own Nexus line. While ours certainly is to question their existence, today we hold these phones in our hands and simply attempt to enjoy two of the best smartphones Android manufacturers have to offer, with some of the leanest software -- damn near Nexus-like Android -- that’s available.

But these are not Nexus phones. Pure Google they are not, though they’re damned close, and fact is that the differences probably won’t matter much to those who buy them.

Today you can order the Google Play edition of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. And today, we bring you our take on this new breed of phone.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active rooted by iPhone hacker Geohot


An application package from Geohot's webpage provides the root exploit

Being the owner of a less popular phone variant often means having to wait a little longer when it comes to support from the hacker community. For owners itching to root their Samsung Galaxy S4 Active devices, the wait is over. Infamous hacker Geohot -- most known for being the first person to carrier unlock the original iPhone -- has published a root method for the Galaxy S4 Active.

Some very vocal users on XDA Developers started a bounty, each individually pledging dollar amounts for the ability to root their beloved Galaxy S4 Actives. Not long after an official bounty forum thread was started, hacker Geohot answered the call by rooting his first Android device and making an application package available for download on his own website. Users simply visit the website, download the application directly onto a Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, and run "activeroot." 

Credit to who actually found the root exploit has been questioned, however.

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3 years ago

HTC: No Android 4.2.2 update for HTC One S


Aluminum-clad 4.3-incher 'will remain on the current version of Android and HTC Sense'

Bad news for HTC One S owners this afternoon, as HTC has confirmed to Android Central that the One S — one of its 2012 flagship devices — will not see any official upgrades beyond its current software version. That means as far as official firmware goes, users will remain on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and HTC Sense 4+ for the remainder of their devices' lives.

HTC's statement reads —

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini now available at Three UK


Free on a £26 a month deal, or £349.99 on pay-as-you-go

One of Samsung's newest members of the Galaxy S4 family, the Galaxy S4 Mini, is now available to purchase from Three UK. The S4 Mini can be had for no initial payment on a new, two-year, £26 and above contract, or can be purchased on Three's new pay-as-you-go tariff for an outright payment of £349.99. 

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3 years ago

Motorola 'Droid Ultra' spotted on Motorola site


Thin, Kevlar-clad device mentioned on apparent placeholder site

If you listened to Android Central podcast 139 a couple of weeks back, you might've caught our own Phil Nickinson talking about the Motorola Droid Ultra, Droid Ultra Mini and Droid Ultra Maxx, a new line of Moto-built, Verizon-bound phones. The Ultra, according to our source, was to pack a 5-inch screen and be even thinner than the original Droid RAZR. Check out the clip below.

Today we've got some of the first signs that of the "Ultra" line's existence, in the form of what seems to be a placeholder page on Under the subheading "Think Thin," the Droid Ultra is described thusly —

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3 years ago

HTC One 4.2.2 OTA appears for international users in Taiwan


465MB update delivers Android 4.2.2 and brings the death of the dreaded black bar

A user with an international model HTC One in Taiwan just sent in some good news -- the 4.2.2 OTA has arrived for his phone. Nothing in the way of a change log is available from HTC just yet, but the update screen tells us a little bit. Besides the new API level that comes with 4.2.2, HTC has included:

  • Launcher bar enhancement
  • Widget panel rearrangement
  • New lock screen style and widget
  • Enhanced behavior of the home button
  • The death of the black bar
  • Battery percentage in the status bar
  • Quick settings
  • AE/AF enhancements in the camera

So far the only reports are coming from the Taiwan area, and I've been trying every trick I know to force anything on my developer edition. This follows the same trend we've seen before with the One X, where Taiwan and Singapore were the first to get the goods. 

There's no telling when we'll see carrier versions of the update, but knowing that HTC is finished with it should make everyone breathe a little easier. Hit the break for some screenshots of the new features.

Thanks, Alex!

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3 years ago

Firefox OS launches in Spain while Android reaches 70% market share


Is Firefox OS and their shockingly inexpensive entry point the key to a strong number three mobile OS? 

The ZTE Open officially launches in Spain July 2. It's the first available consumer version of a Firefox OS device, and the Internet is buzzing about its debut. With good reason -- the phone will sell for $90, and include $39 of prepaid airtime. That makes it a $51 dollar smartphone, and will be an easy sell for all those feature phone users out there. We're looking to get one, if only to satisfy my own curiosity.

Meanwhile, Android has reached a 70-percent share of the global smart phone market. Android is especially strong in Europe, right where the ZTE Open is launching. That's a big Goliath to Mozilla's David, and in a world of cheap prepaid Android phones can the fledgling Firefox OS compete? It's all going to come down to one thing -- the apps.

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3 years ago

How to sign out of the new Skype 4.0 for Android


Skype has done fine work with its new Version 4.0 on Android, bringing about some badly needed performance improvements as well as a redesign. But in doing so, it's buried the sign-out button, as well as the settings — two things that absolutely need to be in the top level of the user interface.

Here's how to get to them:

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3 years ago

Using the Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android


After two months with TouchWiz, what's it like to go 'stock' on Samsung's latest smartphone?

The running joke whenever we discuss the Google Play edition Galaxy S4 is that you can sum things up in just one sentence — it’s the Galaxy S4, with stock Android. Really, if you understand the vanilla “Nexus” UI, as it exists on the Nexus 4, and you understand the Galaxy S4’s hardware, as it exists on the Samsung version, then you already know everything you need to about this product. There are no real surprises lurking. What you see is what you get. It’s the Galaxy S4, with stock Android.

I’ve been using the GS4 in some form or another since I reviewed the Sprint version in New York City in April. Back then the device had some serious software issues, not least of which was the persistent, maddening lag that plagued the Samsung UI. Since picking up the European version I’ve watched things improve with successive software updates, and Samsung’s flavor of Android is now as speedy as I’d expect it to be — almost as fast as stock, in fact. So how does that compare to the vanilla, unblemished Google experience? Read on to find out.

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3 years ago

Verizon HTC One pictured


4G​ LTE branding gives away Big Red's HTC One

Prolific Twitter leaker @evleaks has just posted an image of Verizon Wireless' HTC One — and unsurprisingly it looks like an HTC One, on Verizon. In fact, the only thing to give away this HTC One as belonging to Big Red is its 4G LTE logo in the status bar. Besides that, there's no front-facing indicator that this is a Verizon phone — the space between the phone's two buttons is still occupied by HTC's own branding. We're willing to bet there'll be some Verizon signage around the back, though.

Unfortunately here's still no indication as to when we can expect the Verizon HTC One's arrival.  The carrier has announced that it'll offer the One for sale starting "later this summer," but that's as specific as anyone's getting. Fingers crossed that Verizon customers will be able to pick up the phone before the early September date in today's leaked render.

Source: @evleaks

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3 years ago

Qi wireless charger showdown


We take a look at three popular Qi wireless charging solutions and put them head to head in Jerry's bedroom

Qi (pronounced Chee, and is totally a word no matter what Words with Friends says) is a wireless standard developed in 2009 by the Wireless Power Consortium. The standard itself covers inductive power transfer over short distances -- up to four centimeters -- and uses a electromagnet embedded in a transmission pad to induce current in a coil on the back of the thing you're charging. In our case, that means a Nexus 4 smartphone.

With big-name device makers like Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola and Nokia (as well as others) using the standard, it is slowly emerging as the winner in the obscure wireless charging war that goes on in cubicles all over the world. Long live Qi! On a serious note, it's an open standard with over 100 companies in Asia, Europe and North America cooperating to set a good standard that everyone can implement. That's good for business, and good for consumers in the long run. Of course, there will always be companies that buck the trend and take another path, but for now if you're going to spend your hard-earned money on a wireless charger that you should be able to use for the life of multiple devices, Qi charging is the way to go.

Because it's a standard, there are quite a few different companies making the base stations (a fancy term for the charging pad). I took a look at the three most popular and put them head to head to see which one I'd recommend. While I used a Nexus 4 for my tests, these chargers should work for any Qi-compatible phone with a flat back. Jump past the break and see who wins the Qi charger showdown.

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3 years ago

Fresh Sony Xperia i1 'Honami' leak shows more hardware details


A couple of days back we got our first look at what could be Sony's upcoming 20-megapixel "cameraphone," the Xperia i1, or "Honami." In addition to a beastly rear camera, alleged specs for the future Sony flagship include a Snapdragon 800 CPU and a 5-plus-inch display.

Today we're seeing fresh images of the device cropping up on Just Another Mobile Blog. The site shows a device matching the earlier "Honami" leaks, while revealing new hardware details, such as a microSD slot, an Xperia Z Ultra-like magnetic charging port and a dedicated camera key (natch). The report also claims the final version device will ship with a Xenon flash rather than the LED flash pictured.

Aside from the specs, Sony's clearly still utilizing its "Omnibalance" design language in its latest product, and the device pictured would look right at home alongside the manufacturer's current line-up. We've heard through our own sources that a Q3 launch is likely for the product, so hopefully we won't have to wait too long to find out more.

Source: Just Another Mobile Blog; via: GSMArena

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