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3 years ago

Update: Microsoft decides to make good after getting smoked in its own game

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Update: And just as we suspected, Microsoft's decided to do the right thing. Ben Rudolph (aka @BenThePCGuy) just tweeted the following:

Hey @sahaskatta , @Microsoftstore & I want to make things right. So I've got a laptop & phone (& apology) for you. Email me!

Wish it hadn't taken a public shaming, though.

Original: We've always watched Microsoft's "Smoked by Windows Phone" competition with a bit of amusement. On one hand, Microsoft hit a stroke of marketing genius here. (And lord knows it's had enough experiences in the opposite direction.) Put a Windows Phone up against anything else to see which can perform a specific task more quickly, and film it for posterity.

We've used Windows Phone. It absolutely can do some specific tasks pretty darn quickly -- often enough more quickly than other phones, and catching folks getting "Smoked" is YouTube gold. But it's also always been a bit of a techie carnival sideshow, albeit a popular one, as we saw for ourselves at Mobile World Congress. (No, I didn't actually get smoked, because I didn't belly up to that midway game.)

That brings us to today's tale. Skatter Tech's Sahas Katta writes that his Galaxy Nexus, armed with a couple weather widgets on the home screen, indeed was able to beat Windows Phone at its own game -- "bring up the weather of two different cities," Katta says. He had an ace in the hole: An option mod that bypasses the Ice Cream Sandwich lock screen and goes straight to the home screen when he presses the power button. The Windows Phone competition didn't have that, and finished "a split second later."

So Katta and his Galaxy Nexus won, right? Nope. the Santa Clara (Calif.) Microsoft store decided, after some gnashing of teeth, followed by some quick thinking, that it had to be to cities in different states. Oh. Good bye $1,000 custom laptop, hello "Smoked" pic of shame.

We're willing to bet Microsoft makes good here after this PR gaffe, and that some store employees might have seen better days. And let's hope Microsoft does it on camera, and posts it alongside its other "Smoked" videos.

Source: Skatter Tech, via WPCentral; more: Smoked by Windows Phone

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3 years ago

Reminder: Google IO 2012 registration kicks off tomorrow morning

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Heads up -- registration for Google IO 2012 will begin tomorrow, March 27, at 7 a.m. PDT. And if previous years are any indication, it'll probably end well before 8 a.m. Last year's tickets sold out in under an hour, so if you want to take part in Google's big developer conference in San Francisco this June, you'll need punctuality, luck and a few hundred bucks to spare.

A general attendee ticket will set you back $900 -- up from $450 last year --, while academics (students and faculty) will be able to purchase tickets for $300 -- up from $150. Google's got a few rules to follow, too -- only one ticket can be purchased per person, and it's up to Google to approve any ticket transfers. You'll also need access to Google+ and Google Wallet to register.

There's no shortage of rumors surrounding possible hardware that Google and its partners may be showing off (and perhaps giving away), but IO is about more than the swag. It's the place to meet developers and Googlers, and learn about the future direction of Android and other Google products, as well as how they all work under the hood. There's also the big official party, a giant wall of candy and bugdroids around every corner.

The conference runs from on June 27-29 at Moscone West in SOMA. We'll be there, of course, so keep watching our Google IO landing page for more developments as the event approaches.

More: Android Central at Google IO

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3 years ago

Motorola RAZR MAXX XT910 launches in China

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Motorola has announced that the RAZR MAXX XT910 -- that's the international version of the Droid RAZR MAXX -- has gone on sale today across China. As you'll remember from our review, the RAZR MAXX is essentially the same phone as the original RAZR, right down to the software build numbers.

The key difference is it's packing a ginormous 3300mAh battery. And as 4G services haven't yet launched in China, there'll be no LTE radio in this version, meaning battery life should be even better than the Verizon 4G model. (Moto's boasting up to 21 hours of talk time on a single charge.)

China recently overtook the U.S. as the world's largest smartphone market, so the launch of any leading smartphone over there is a big deal. We're still eager to see this model launched in other territories, though. Moto brought the RAZR to the UK and Europe late last year, but it's yet to reveal any European plans for the MAXX.

Chinese buyers can pick up the Motorola RAZR MAXX at "authorized Motorola resellers" from today.

Source: Motorola Media Center

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3 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich for the AT&T Galaxy S II Skyrocket leaks out

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If you're hanging onto a Galaxy S II Skyrocket and wishing it had some Ice Cream Sandwich love on it, you're in luck. A new leak has now appeared and is available for download for those of you out there who are willing to give it a shot. The build date for this one is listed as March 14th, 2012 with the build.pro file confirming some form of officialness to it:

ro.build.description=SGH-I727-user 4.0.3 IML74K 107 release-keys
ro.build.fingerprint=samsung/SGH-I727/SGH-I727:4.0.3/IML74K/107:user/release-keys
ro.build.characteristics=default

Update: False alarm for the T-Mobile SGSII (T989). Look for a working method in short order, but for now fall back.

For the adventurous, it is noted to also work on the T-Mobile Galaxy S II variation as well but like all things, you'll have to use caution when loading this thing up. The potential for things to go wrong is there, so keep that in mind. For the moment, Windows users only can make use of the file but hopefully that'll be sorted for Mac and Linux folks soon. Hit the source link for the download.

Source: RootzWiki

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest winners: Self-portrait

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As usual, you guys floored us with all the submissions for last week's photo contest. It's solid proof that Android lovers also enjoy taking pictures and sharing them with the world, so manufacturers and app developers better step it up and give us even more love. All the pictures were awesome, and we wish we could say every single was was the winner, but that's not how contests work. We picked out the top five, and you'll find them after the break.

Didn't win this week? No worries. A new contest starts tomorrow, so keep an eye out for it. For the winners, a big congrats and keep an eye on your inbox for information about your Android Central t-shirts!

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3 years ago

AT&T's HTC One X test units in the wild, AC forums member weighs in

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We're waiting patiently (mostly because we have no choice) for AT&T to sell us the HTC One X, and now we can drool over and talk to a fellow who's testing one for AT&T in the Android Central forums. Phonegeek (perfect name) has a One X in his hands and has let us in on a little bit of info, and is getting us even more excited for a release.

The AT&T version uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, and has 16GB internal storage. This is different from the international version, but is necessary to include the LTE radio. The S4 is no slouch though. Look in the thread and you'll see it rules the benchmark arena, handily beating out the Galaxy Nexus (and everything else) in both Quadrant and Browser benchmarking tool Vellamo. Benchmarks aside, the new generation of processor from Qualcomm means that this phone will perform like no other. One day, everyone will make chips and radios that work on all networks, but in the meantime HTC (like Samsung) has made sure that as far as performance goes, there is no difference between versions.

It looks as good as it operates, which is just as important. The speaker grill is slightly different, but otherwise it's the same One X we saw in Spain at MWC, and that's a good thing. Phonegeek also compares it to the HTC Inspire 4G, and it checks in a full 1.5 ounces lighter at about the same thickness. We're digging that, as sometimes too thin is just too thin. Also, be sure to check out a great picture taken with the new HTC camera setup and ImageSense software, which looks as good as we expected it to be. It's clear, in 2012 HTC is once again a force to be reckoned with. We wouldn't want it any other way.

Latest word is mid-May for release, and we can't wait. Hit the link below and have a look!

Source: Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Droid R2-D2 getting a maintenance update, docs live now

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Remember the Droid R2-D2? Verizon does, and will shortly be issuing a maintenance update for the aging, but still capable R2-Droid2. The software version is getting a bump to 4.5.622.A957, on top of Android 2.3.4, and looks like it's chock full of security fixes and enhancements, bug-fixes, and newer versions of Verizon's installed apps. The full change log:

  • Enhanced security with DigiNotar security patch.
  • Increased browser cross-application scripting for enhanced multitasking stability.
  • Device will no longer automatically power on after it has been powered off.
  • Device is enabled with the Wireless Alerting System.
  • Successfully download and save purchased MP3 ringtones.
  • Camera settings will be saved, even after the device is powered off.
  • Increased device stability when keypad is opened and closed repeatedly.
  • Improved 3G data connectivity while using the Mobile Hotspot.
  • App shortcuts remain on the home screen after moving them from internal to external memory.
  • VZ Navigator is now updated to version 7.2.0.452.
  • V CAST Apps is now updated to version 4.4.1.0.
  • Successfully play WAV files.
  • Contact groups will sort correctly.
  • Successfully add application shortcuts or widgets to the home panel without error.
  • Fixed issue where duplicate text and multimedia messages were being received.
  • Improved ability to access and receive Gmail messages when the Mobile Hotspot is turned on.
  • Improved syncing with Yahoo! email.
  • Forwarded emails will no longer remain in the outbox when Smart Forwarding is enabled.

While it's not Ice Cream Sandwich, and the R2-Droid2 will never officially see ICS, it appears to be a welcome update -- especially if you were affected by one or more of the listed bugs. No word on exactly when this one will start to roll out, but it should be soon as the support documents are already live on Verizon's support sites. Have a look at them via the links below.

Source: Verizon (1), (2). Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia S headed to Canada, will run on Rogers [updated]

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Update: The reference to Rogers on Sony Mobile Canada's Facebook page has been removed, and the network has contacted MobileSyrup​ to clarify its plans for the device. The carrier says that while the Xperia S will run on its HSPA+ network, it won't be offered directly. This most likely means Canadians hoping to pick up an Xperia S will have to buy one outright from Sony.

Original story: Looks like Sony's new Xperia S will be arriving on North American shores in the near future, as Sony Mobile Canada has revealed that its high-end phone for early 2012 will be hitting the Rogers network. No release or pricing info is available just yet -- Sony just says the Rogers Xperia S is "coming soon."

The Xperia S is out now in Europe, and we recently got our hands on the finished article. While we were disappointed to see a flagship smartphone launching in Spring 2012 with Gingerbread, we were impressed with the Xperia S's build quality, HD Reality Display screen and 12MP EXMOR R camera. The phone's due an update to Ice Cream Sandwich during Q2, though, so depending on when Rogers launches it, Canadians may find their version comes pre-loaded with the latest version of Android.

For more on the Xperia S, check out our full review.

Source: Sony Mobile CA; via: MobileSyrup

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the ZTE Fury

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We have seen our fair share of low- to mid-range devices release over the past year, and it takes quite a bit for one of them to stick out now-a-days. While ZTE may not be a huge name in Android world right now, they are certainly not taking a back seat in this battle at all. Recently ZTE announced the ZTE Fury for the Sprint network, and the device is priced and spec'd for a low to mid range device, but is it really worth skimping out on a few dollars at the time of signing that new contract, and getting a device like this?

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3 years ago

Orange UK targeting April for Galaxy S II ICS update

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Earlier this week, Orange UK wasn't too sure when it's be rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for Samsung Galaxy S II phones on its network, but now it appears the carrier has a release window in mind. Crave​ reports that Orange now intends to release the update sometime in April, putting it on par with O2, which is planning a similar timeframe for its own ICS roll-out.

Some unbranded UK Galaxy S II's started being updated from this Monday, March 19. While Three UK customers are currently being updated through Kies, T-Mobile and Vodafone have yet to commit to any timeframe for their own releases.

Source: Crave; via: Eurodroid

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3 years ago

Panasonic Eluga available from March 29 in Japan, Europe in April

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Panasonic showed off its first Android smartphone for the western world, the Eluga, back at MWC in Barcelona. Fast forward a few weeks and release information for the mid-range device is starting to appear. 

The 4.3-inch, dust and water-resistant phone will first be available in Japan on NTT Docomo starting on March 29. A European launch for the Eluga will then follow on in April. 

Sadly both versions will be launching on Gingerbread. Like other OEM's, though, Panasonic has already detailed an Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Eluga. We're expecting to see it in the summer, though which part of it is still unknown at this time.  

via The Verge

More: Hands on with the Panasonic Eluga

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3 years ago

Verizon teams up with IndyCar to offer exclusive access to IndyCar Mobile

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Verizon has now teamed up with IndyCar to offer exclusive access to the Official IZOD IndyCar Series Mobile application. The app is being made available to all Verizon customers for their smartphones and tablets. If you're an IndyCar fan, this is the app to have:

  • Live In-Car Cameras: Watch the race from the driver's seat and see the intensity first hand.
  • Live Driver-Pit Crew Chatter: Hear the live radio communication between drivers and pit crews during the race.
  • Mosaic: Four live features on a split screen - Streaming Race Control, Real-Time Track Mapping and two in-car camera views.
  • Real-Time Track Map: See the real-time position of every car across the track during every race.
  • Streaming Race Control: Get behind-the-scenes video and audio of the officials that run the race.
  • Real-Time Leaderboard: Keep up to date with the current running order of each race.
  • Driver Profiles: More information about your favorite 2012 drivers.
  • Live Radio Broadcast: Listen to the full radio commentary of each race.
  • Exclusive Video Content: Get app-only content including behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.
  • Historical Race Footage: Watch video clips from historical races and famous IndyCar moments.
  • IndyCar 101: Get the basics on the IndyCar Series.

That's a pretty compelling list of features for an app and will surely satisfy any IndyCar fans needs. If you're on Verizon, you can grab the app from the Google Play Store using the link below. Keep in mind, it may not be supported by all devices but it's leaps and bounds over last years version.

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3 years ago

Verizon LG Lucid 4G spec sheet confirms earlier report

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Having already shown its colors to the world, Verizon's LG Lucid 4G now has a more official looking spec sheet to go along with it. As we mentioned when it appeared, there isn't a whole lot to get excited about and the specs line up for the most with what we previously reported:

  • 4-inch IPS display with Gorilla Glass (800X480)
  • 8GB of storage
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • Android 2.3 (Really?!)
  • 4G LTE

Left off the spec sheet though is the camera, which could be 5MP with 1080p capability and also missing is the RAM but that has previously been pegged at 1GB. Pricing, while not official shouldn't put this one past $200 with a possible arrival date of March 29.

Source: Droid-Life; More: Rumored devices forum

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3 years ago

Kindle for Android updated with Send-to-Kindle functionality, access to children's books, comic books, and graphic novels

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If you frequent using the Kindle app for Android, you may be happy to know that Amazon has added some new functions and access to the app. The latest update, available now introduces the "Send to Kindle" function plus, opens up the doors for users to purchase illustrated children’s books, comic books, and graphic novels. Kindle for Android is available for free from the Amazon Appstore for Android and Google Play, download link can be found past the break.

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note ICS update and 'premium suite' teased in official video

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As you may have heard, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is coming to the international Samsung Galaxy Note. But that's not all -- ICS will arrive as part of a "premium suite" for the Note, which includes a host of new S Pen enhancements. Today Sammy's released an official promo video showing off what's new in this upcoming software update.

As we see in the video, this pack includes a re-vamped S Note application, capable of including rich content like video and multiple font styles and sizes. There's also a new shape match and formula match feature, which matches shapes and symbols you draw, allowing more complex types of notes to be taken. Similar enhancements have been made to the S Memo and mail apps.

We should also mention that the version of ICS shown off in the video is skinned with Samsung's TouchWiz UI, rather than the bizarre half-stock, half-TouchWiz launcher that emerged a day or so ago. No surprises there, as far as we're concerned.

Finally, international Note owners will get Angry Birds Space pre-loaded, along with 30 special Galaxy Note themed levels. The ICS update and premium suite for the international Note are due to land sometime during the second quarter of the year. Roll-out plans for the AT&T Galaxy Note have yet to be revealed.

Join us after the break for Samsung's preview video.

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