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1 year ago

Great things, like the Android OS, change with the times

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Suddenly today, the Internet is all a buzz with the prototype version of Android devices from the mid-2000s. Maybe it has something to do the millionaires at Oracle and Google fighting each other in court today over the money in our pockets. Or maybe it's because Android is so awesome that every little thing about it makes for a great headline. Probably a little of both. In any case, we figured we'd have a look ourselves at how things that are great go through changes. Back in '06, Android looked a lot like the ChaCha BlackBerry. Pretty much all good smartphones did. That prototype phone was called the Sooner, and there are still a few of them floating around today. I wish I had one myself. That's a picture of one above, courtesy Mike and Maaike. At the time, that's what smartphone users wanted -- an easy way to see content, and communicate quickly via text. Hence the QWERTY. I've never used one, but I imagine for things like e-mail and texting they were awesome. My old BlackBerry was, and sometimes I miss it. But again, things change. 

Then, in late 2006 LG introduced the LG KE850, also known as the LG Prada. It was a 3-inch capacitive touch screen phone that put multimedia content into a smartphone. After winning multiple awards for design, and selling over a million units (which was an amazing feat back then), things had to change. On the heels of the debut of the KE850, a little company called Apple decided to try their hand at a touchscreen based smartphone. That changed everything, for just about everybody -- including Google. The anticipated 2007 release of the Sooner didn't happen, and instead we had to wait for Google and T-Mobile to have a love fest and deliver us the T-Mobile G1, which incorporated the QWERTY with a touch screen. Other companies didn't rest on their heels either, phones like the HTC Touch Diamond and BlackBerry Storm showed up with varying degrees of success. It was obvious that capacitive touch screens could add multimedia to the user experience, and the modern smartphone was born.

Change is good. As long as it's done right, most of us can get on board. Heck, even old dinosaurs like myself now use touch screen phones with no keyboard, and secretly we enjoy it. It's significant because products that don't change to reflect what users want will slowly wither on the vine, and great engineers and designers keep a finger on the pulse of the users and deliver. Android, and all modern smartphone operating systems owe much to the pioneers of media-centric smartphones, and we hope things never stop changing for the better.

More: The Verge

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1 year ago

Galaxy S3 spotted in Samsung Kies software

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The latest appearance -- if you can call it that -- of Samsung's next Galaxy phone seems to give further weight to the possibility that it'll be called the "Samsung Galaxy S3". The name has appeared today in Samsung's Kies PC software, which is used for synchronizing personal media to Samsung smartphones and tablets. The entry is found in a very specific place -- you'll need to go to "Samsung Apps", select "France" as your region and then track it down in the list of phones that appears.

There appear to be two variants of the device -- GT-i9300 (which we're already familiar with) and GT-i9300T. Unfortunately, though, there's no way of telling what separates the two devices at this stage. Also, don't get too excited about the tiny thumbnail image up there, it's just a Galaxy Note (compare it to the Note image directly below).

So it's looking increasingly likely that "Galaxy S3" is indeed the name. But however things play out at the May 3 announcement event, we'll be there to bring you full coverage. In the meantime, you can chat it up in the Galaxy S3 forums.

via SamMobile

More: Samsung Galaxy S3 forums

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1 year ago

Angry Birds Space updated with 10 new levels, could Simpsons tie-in be next?

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Rovio's updated its interstellar swine-smashing simulator Angry Birds Space with 10 new levels. The new challenges can be found within the 'Fry Me To The Moon' chapter, which sees the classic pig-versus-bird battle re-enacted on a series of icy worlds. Fortunately the new levels are available in the free and ad-supported phone versions of the app, as well as the tablet-only HD version, so everyone gets to play. If you've already got Angry Birds Space installed, you can grab the latest version by hitting that update button in the Google Play Store. If not, we've got links after the break.

In an interesting twist, this latest update also adds a teaser zone to the main menu -- an unmistakable pink Simpsons-style donut. Could a Springfieldian crossover be in the future for one of the leading mobile gaming franchises? We'll have to wait and see.

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1 year ago

Sony on track with its Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 rollouts for 2011 Xperia smartphones

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Back in March, Sony highlighted some details surrounding their rollout of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the 2011 line of Xperia smartphones and at the time, their plans looked a little like something like this:

  • Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray, starting mid-April.
  • Xperia Arc, Xperia Play, Xperia Neo, Xperia Mini, Xperia Mini Pro, Xperia Pro, Xperia Active and SE Live with Walkman, getting ICS "the end of May/early June."

Sony has now taken to their blog to let everyone know the updates, especially for the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray are rolling out as planned and they will continue to roll out the updates globally as soon as possible. To further address the matter, Sony has been listing the devices and their carrier related software version numbers so that folks may check to see if their device update has been approved. Although we're sure some folks will still be upset with the wait time, it's nice to see Sony keeping folks in the loop.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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1 year ago

What I'm using: Phil's current favorite smartphone of the week

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Asking me which phone is my favorite is like asking my which one of my children I prefer. Sure, I could probably come up with an answer, but there's no way in hell I'm going to tell you. I joke that my favorite smartphone is the one that's currently charged. And that's not far off, but neither is it a good answer. 

My daily driver really comes and goes with the release cycle. Much of 2011 was spent with an HTC ThunderBolt, before moving on to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Before that it was the Motorola Droid X and the Nexus One and the Samsung Infuse 4G and ...

You get the idea.

For the past few weeks, however, I've been using the HTC One X and the HTC One S. I've been using the One X more, mainly for radio reasons -- T-Mobile's just not that great where I live. But there's no denying that the display on the One X is gorgeous, if not a little big. So, yeah. The One X is my weapon of choice these days.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Sense 4. That's not to say it's perfect -- there are some bugs about and design choices I disagree with -- but it's a nice improvement over stock Ice Cream Sandwich (which I also really like). So there's that. I'm not running a third-party launcher on top of Sense. That's partially out of laziness, and partially because Sense is good enough. (I do miss vertical scrolling in the app drawer. But apparently I don't miss it enough to bother with a third party launcher.)

I'm actually only using two of the seven home screens. Craziness, I know. But folders on the main home screen takes care of most things, as does the customizable dock. Check it all out in the video below.

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1 year ago

Fresh rumors on next Samsung Nexus, new HTC Facebook phone offered by Digitimes

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Let's offer a little context right off the bat -- Taiwanese tech rumor site Digitimes has an at-best patchy record when it comes to reports on unannounced devices. So naturally we'd recommend taking these latest Samsung and HTC rumors with a hearty pinch of salt.

First off, it's reported that Samsung has once again been chosen by Google to produce its next Nexus handset -- the follow-up to the Galaxy Nexus that's expected to appear in late 2012. ​Digitimes ​says that Samsung's position as the leading Android smartphone manufacturer means Google will continue to co-operate with it on future Nexus phones, leveraging "its ability to control the supply of key components", according to the site's sources. This is the first rumored (and of course entirely unconfirmed) information we've heard regarding the 2012 Nexus, which would be the third Google flagship phone to come out of Samsung. The phone would presumably be the reference device for the next version of Android, said to be codenamed "Jelly Bean."

In other news, ​Digitimes​ also reports that HTC and Facebook are preparing to team up on another Facebook phone, which will come to market "in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest." The two companies co-operated on the HTC ChaCha (Status) and Salsa last year, though neither device was met with much success. The new phone, which is said to be running Android, "will have a platform exclusive to Facebook to enable and integrate all functions available on the social networking site", according to the site's sources. That's pretty vague, but based on the direction Facebook's taking its official Android app, we wouldn't be surprised to see Facebook integration baked into the native camera and messaging apps, at the very least.

So there you have it -- two rumors, both completely unconfirmed. We'll have to see how things pan out in the months ahead, but we wouldn't be too shocked if either of these turned out to be legit. We've seen some pretty aggressive expansion out of Facebook recently, and we're sure no-one would be surprised to see yet another Samsung Nexus.

Be sure to give us your take on this latest batch of rumors down in the comments.

Source: Digitimes

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1 year ago

HTC One S available today on T-Mobile

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Today's the day, folks! The HTC One S is now available on T-Mobile here in the U.S., making it the first phone from the HTC One line to launch here in the states. (The HTC One X is coming May 6 on AT&T, and the EVO 4G LTE -- essentially Sprint's One X -- is coming eventually, with preorders beginning May 7.)

If you're on the fence, here are the broad strokes: It's ridiculous thin, especially considering that it's a 4.3-inch phone. It's light. It's got a power processor. It's got Sense 4, which we like a lot. And it runs on T-Mobile's 42 Mbps network. Aww, hell, just read our complete T-Mobile HTC One S review. It'll make your day a little brighter.

Buy now: T-Mobile HTC One S
More: HTC One S forums

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1 year ago

Carphone Warehouse outs 'Samsung Galaxy S3' with tiny teaser pic

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Last week we saw the the first retailer listing for the Samsung Galaxy S3 over on Amazon Germany, and today the plot thickens with a new stub appearing on Carphone Warehouse's "coming soon" page. The independent retailer lists the device, currently acknowledged by Samsung as the "next Galaxy", alongside a diminutive preview shot that's so tiny and generic it's impossible to tell whether it's an official render or not. If nothing else, it has its buttons in the right place for a Samsung phone -- you can clearly see a power button on the right and volume rocker on the left.

What's also intriguing is the slow gravitation we're seeing towards the "Galaxy S3" name rather than anything else. Over the past few days we've seen references to that name exactly -- Galaxy S3, not S 3 or S III -- leak out on Amazon, the official "Unpacked" app in the Google Play Store, and now CPW. Despite rumors that Samsung may attempt to ape Apple's naming scheme with a "new Galaxy S", we think the S3 name makes more sense in terms of branding. A "new Galaxy S" is too confusing for consumers upgrading from the S II, considering how schizophrenic Samsung's Galaxy branding already is across its phone and Tab lines. And a "Galaxy S III" with three as roman numerals isn't as instantly recognizable -- your brain takes a few more seconds to process those pesky three lines and differentiate "III" from "II".

Whatever the case, we're still in rumor territory with regards to much of what we "know" about this device. And we're not expecting that to change until the Galaxy S3, or whatever it's called, is unveiled in London on May 3.

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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1 year ago

Late-night poll: Did you set up your Google Drive?

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All the rumors and murmuring came to an end today, as Google unleashed Google Drive on the world. Some of the rumors were right, some not, but in the end anytime someone wants to give us more, we'll take it. I hope in the end Google gets things a bit more unified, but that's another story. I'll use it, so I set mine up.

Did you? Let us know in the poll!

 

Did you set up your Google Drive today?

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1 year ago

Coachella, through the eyes of the Samsung Epic 4G touch

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By all accounts folks that went to Coachella had a blast. Music, food, beverages, X, you name it -- it was there. So was AC member ramonm2 and his trusty Epic 4G Touch, and he has an entertaining tale about the funs times, and more importantly, how his Android phone helped him out and held up to a day in the desert. Check it out!

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