Headlines

2 years ago

Aviary goes big time, releases standalone photo editing app

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Over the past few years Aviary has been making a name for itself by offering its photo editing solutions to the masses through its web applications. They've produced an Android SDK, iOS SDK and even a Windows Phone 7 SDK but now they've gone ahead and released their own self-branded standalone photo editing app. It's quite beautiful and feature packed, as you would expect, and there's an equally impressive feature list --

  • One-tap auto enhance
  • Gorgeous effects
  • Fun stickers
  • Color balance
  • Crop and rotate
  • Adjust brightness, contrast, color temperature, and saturation
  • Sharpen and blur
  • Draw and add text
  • Create your own memes
  • Cosmetic tools: fix redeye, remove blemishes and whiten teeth

In addition to all this, there are add-ons that can be purchased from the Play Store, including extra effects packs. Just a quick look at the app tells you Aviary took their time in making this one, it's a showcase app for them that will not only serve consumers but also show developers what Aviary is capable of. We'll get a deeper look at this app later, but for now we've got download info after the break.

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2 years ago

Motorola Droid Bionic's .905 update now available

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Just a quick heads up that the .905 update for the Motorola Droid Bionic is now pushing out in earnest, according to the fine Bionic-owning fellers in our forums. Here's what you can expect in this update:

  • Recalibrated volume of the call connect and disconnect tones to be more comfortable for Bluetooth users.
  • Improved Visual Voice Mail to ensure delivery of a notification to the Status bar.
  • Reduced data stalls to improve 4G LTE data connectivity.

You should be able to pull it down through the system menu if you haven't already.

The Droid Bionic is still scheduled to receive its Ice Cream Sandwich update in the third quarter of 2012.

More: Verizon Droid Bionic forums

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2 years ago

AT&T getting the Sony Xperia Ion on June 24

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It's been many moons since the announcement of the Sony Xperia Ion -- more than five months since it was announced for AT&T, and more than five months since we went hands-on with it AT&T's developer event at CES, actually. But today, AT&T has announced it'll carry the 4G LTE Android smartphone starting June 24. It'll cost $99 with a two-year contract.

In exchange for that Benjamin, you'll be getting a 4.6-inch device with what Sony's branded an "HD Reality display." It's powered by the Sony Bravia display engine and is pushing a 720x1280 resolution. Sony's also pimping the 12-megapixel camera with a shutter speed of less than a second. It's also got a dedicated camera button that can take the phone from standby to snapping the first shot in a second and a half. 

Other specs of note include a Qualcomm S3 dual-core processor at 1.5GHz, 16 gigabytes of internal storage, plus a microSD card slot. And it's PlayStation Certified, to boot, so you can expect some games on this guy.

But the one spec we (and Sony) have been dancing around is that, yes, it's running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. In June 2012. That's a tough one to swallow. But Sony tells us that, yes, the Ion's in line for an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich just as soon as it can be, and that the customizations on board already make up for a lot of the Android 4.0 functionality. 

So, we've got a week to go before this guy hits the streets. Who's buying?

More: Sony Xperia Ion Forums

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2 years ago

Maybe a matte EVO 4G LTE isn't that bad after all ...

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OK, maybe I was wrong. Me, the guy who from Day 1 stuck up for the EVO 4G LTE, saying that the plastic section above the kickstand -- the glossy, fingerprint-loving, mirror-finish plastic section that nearly caused wars on both coasts before the phone was ever released -- the section that nearly led apple to cancel its complaint with the International Trade Commission ("Let them have it!" Tim Cook reportedly never said) -- the section that ...

You get the point. Some folks hated it. Some didn't. 

Me? I never thought it was that bad. But check out what Android Forums member yocubed did to his EVO with $23, a few minutes of time and some Ghost Armor. Be gone, Glossy finish, and hello, marvelous matte! And it looks pretty damn good, even if it's not a perfect match. Hit the link below for more info on the mod.

More: Ghost Armor Matte Backing on the HTC EVO 4G LTE

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2 years ago

Peter Chou: HTC won't 'destroy brand image' by releasing super-low-end phones

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HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou has reaffirmed the company's commitment to focus on higher-end devices in 2012, saying it wouldn't "destroy" its brand image by releasing "cheap, cheap phones" in order to increase product shipments. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the HTC boss added, "We insist on using better materials to make better products that offer premium experience. Many consumers like that."

In the past six months, HTC has refocused its efforts on "hero" products at every level, including the HTC One series at the high end, and phones like the Droid Incredible 4G LTE in the mid-range market. So it's important to recognize what Peter Chou is referring to when he talks about "cheap, cheap phones." Devices like the recently-launched Desire C and One V may be low-end and inexpensive by Western standards, but there's a whole other ecosystem of super low-end phones coming to market in China and developing countries. In China, HTC offers phones around the 2000 yuan level, while the likes of Motorola are pushing for even cheaper 1000 yuan devices. At this price point, Chou says, "we won't have good products."

Whatever the case, this more or less confirms that HTC doesn't intend to release phones that are any cheaper than current budget offerings like the Desire C, and that design and build quality remain priorities for the manufacturer (though that's long been clear to anyone who's used HTC's phones.) In the fiercely competitive smartphone market of 2012, HTC will be hoping its focus on mid-level and above devices will set it apart from its competition.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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2 years ago

Huawei's Ascend P1 gets priced in Europe

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If you're after a nicely balanced mid-to-high-end smartphone running the latest version of Android, you could do a lot worse than the Huawei Ascend P1. As we noted in our recent review of the device, Huawei's upped its game significantly with its latest phone for international markets. And with a release due in the next couple of months, pre-order prices are starting to appear across European retailers.

Ascend P1 prices at Amazon Germany and Unieuro Italy are set around the €450 mark (~£365, ~$565), placing it alongside HTC's One S in terms of unsubsidized prices (though these are, as always, subject to change in the run up to release). That makes sense considering the Ascend P1 comes close to that phone in terms of raw hardware specs, and it's clear the P1 is going to mark the start of Huawei's big play for the higher-end smartphone market. We'll be interested to see which European carriers the manufacturer's able to recruit to its cause this summer.

For more on the Huawei Ascend P1, check out our full review.

Source: Amazon Germany; via: UnwiredView

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2 years ago

Updated HTC OpenSense SDK available with new APIs

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HTC has released a brand new version of its OpenSense SDK (software development kit), featuring the new APIs that were announced at Mobile World Congress a few months back.  These new programming hooks allow third-party apps to better integrate with Sense 4.0 features like the lock screen and Beats Audio sound enhancements. (Update: the MediaLink HD API is still yet to come, HTC tells us.)

HTC says its intention is to allow app developers to add Sense-specific features with a minimal amount of time and effort. And to that end, it's included some sample code showing how devs can simply implement a check to see what the sound enhancer is doing, and act accordingly. The manufacturer's also added more code in its HTCDev.com Developer Center, so app makers shouldn't have to look far to get to grips with other APIs.

Devs can find the updated SDK and sample code over at the source link. We look forward to seeing what they can cook up using HTC's new development tools.

Source: HTC Blog

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2 years ago

Entry-level Sony Xperia Tipo announced

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Hot on the heels of the Xperia Miro, which emerged on Facebook last night, Sony Mobile has announced the Xperia Tipo, a new entry-level smartphone running Android 4.0 on a 3.2-inch screen. Like the Miro, the Xperia Tipo rocks an 800MHz single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and comes in four colors -- black, white, red and blue. Other notable features listed by Sony include a 3.2MP camera, 1500mAh battery "with more than 24 hours of usage time." In terms of internal storage, you've got 2.5GB media space and 766MB for apps. That's way, way less than we'd like, but at least it's expandable via a microSD card slot.

So it's a decidedly low-end smartphone, though it should be interesting to see at which price point this device emerges. Sony's already done a pretty good job with its slightly-more-expensive budget offering, the Xperia U. If the Tipo can push things closer to the £100 mark, it might be worth a look.

Both Xperia Miro and Xperia Tipo are due for launch in Europe sometime in the third quarter of the year. Full presser's after the break.

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2 years ago

Sony announces the Xperia Miro

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Sony's countdown timer has reached zero (a good week or so ahead of the original date), and the manufacturer has announced its new mid-range, social-focused smartphone, and the Xperia Miro.

Unveiled initially on Sony Mobile's Facebook page, the Xperia Miro takes some design cues from the Xperia Sola. It's a sleek-looking 3.5-inch device with a 5MP camera, and that's about all Sony's saying on hardware for the time being. On the software side you've got Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, backed up by Sony's UXP NXT software. Based on the promo video that Sony's just published, there's been some expansion of the company's "Facebook Inside Xperia" initiative, bringing even closer integration between the phone and the social network (and it also explains the Facebook-centric promo campaign, we guess).

The Xperia Miro looks to be a Europe-only device for now, and there's no word on US availability just yet. As you'll see from our image above, the Miro is a colorful beast, coming in silver, black, pink and gold. If you want to see more, we've got a few extra pictures after the break, along with Sony's announcement video.

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2 years ago

Contest: Take Lloyd on an adventure and win 1 of 4 Samsung Galaxy S IIIs!

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*UPDATE* The contest is closed, and we're sorting through the approximately 200 entries now. We'll have a blog post up in the next couple of days with the announcement of who won!

Lloyd likes to travel, and with summer upon us he is itching to break out and see the world. Last year he jumped in your suitcases and pockets and traveled to all sorts of fun places, our favorite being the Googleplex in California, his birthplace if you will. So we think it's time to help curb Lloyd's craving for adventure in far off places, and at the same time give you guys a chance to win the brand spanking new Samsung Galaxy S III. But wait… we're not giving away just one of these, we're giving away FOUR of them! That's right, four Samsung Galaxy S IIIs are on the line one for each of the major carriers releasing the phone in the coming weeks. (That'd be Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile).

So how do you enter? It's easy. Maybe too easy.

  • Download Lloyd from this link, then print him out and put him on a stick or something. Do not just Photoshop him into a picture.
  • Take a picture with yourself and Lloyd. No, not just Lloyd. We want to see you, too. If you're not in the picture, you're not in the running.
  • If you submit a picture of yourself in a Lloyd T-shirt, we'll accept that, too. Buying a shirt's not a requirement for this contest, though.
  • E-mail your shots in. Use the subject line "SGS3 Contest".
  • You may email us more than one picture, but this is a contest, so make sure you send in the best of the best.
  • We'll accept entries through June 27. That gives you a little over two weeks to get your shots in.
  • We'll pick our favorites, or we'll put it up to the group for a vote if we get a lot of great entries, which I'm betting we will.
  • Remember, we're giving you a phone -- you're on your own for service.
  • The winners will get to choose which SGSIII they want and we'll ship it out after the contest ends. The contest is open internationally, however please note the carrier choices. It's on you to pick which model will work in your country and take care of any unlocking that may be required. We are also not responsible for any customs duties/fees that may arise.

So that's it. Grab Lloyd and head out into the wild. Show him a good time. Then win a Samsung Galaxy S III. Epic. 

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