Headlines

2 years ago

Galaxy S III owners get free Eurosport Player for the Olympics

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The Galaxy S III is the official phone of the London Olympics, and Samsung's teamed up with Eurosport to give S III owners a way of watching the summer's games on-the-go. Download the Eurosport Player app for Android on your S III, and you'll qualify for a free month-long subscription that can be activated between July 14 and August 12, letting you watch Eurosport's Olympic coverage live.

European Galaxy S III owners (excluding Italy, for some reason) can download the Eurosport Player app from Google Play or Samsung Apps in preparation, though it won't become active until July 14. Unfortunately it looks like this promotion won't be available on the North American S III when it launches later this month.

Source: Eurosport; via: Recombu

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2 years ago

CyanogenMod freezes code for CM9

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The CyanogenMod team has announced that a code freeze has been put into place for CM9.  That would be the version based on Ice Cream Sandwich source, and it's one of the most downloaded ROM's in Android history.  So what does this mean for us, the end users?  It means that a release candidate (RC) is on its way, and they are in the process of squashing bugs to make it stable.  The team states in its blog post that nightly builds will still happen, but they won't be accepting any code other than bugfixes, device support, and translations into the release branch.

The initial release will cover a small amount of devices initially, but other devices will be added further down the road.  (The process of adding new devices should be helped along by the streamlining of certain code.)  Given the large undertaking of moving to ICS, and the amount of time that has been spent on it, knowing that a release candidate is on its way should make CM fans very happy.  Already running and experimental build of CM9?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the forums.

Source: CyanogenMod

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2 years ago

Samsung reveals its top-secret Galaxy S III design process

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Dummy cases, hand-delivered prototypes and two designs that never saw the light of day.

The secrecy surrounding the Galaxy S III was crucial in building anticipation ahead of the device's launch, and today Samsung has revealed some details of the phone's top-secret development process. Only a privileged few within Samsung were able to see the device, with design and engineering work taking place within a secured area at Samsung's Seoul HQ. Discussion with outsiders was forbidden, and the phones were apparently locked inside secure boxes for transportation, even within buildings.

Most interesting is the revelation that Samsung fully designed and built three versions of the Galaxy S III to further reduce the chance of the actual design leaking out. That'd certainly explain the appearance (and leaking) of a buttonless S III a few weeks ahead of launch. In today's blgo post, Samsung R&D engineer Woo-Sun Yoon confirmed the use of dummy cases like the one above in field testing, to protect the phone's true exterior from prying eyes.

“We had to make three types of the GALAXY SIII to prevent the design from leaking. And on top of that, whenever any of these had to go out for testing, we put them inside ‘dummy boxes’, which are cases that hide the design of the device, to disguise it. Even if people, inside or out of the campus, saw the device, I doubt they would have known what it was.”

And the security didn't stop once the devices were completed. Samsung says units delivered to mobile operators were transported in person and hand-delivered by its employees, and testing was done under strict supervision. All this resulted in the final design remaining a mystery until just a week before launch, when a Samsung service manual outed what we now know to be the Galaxy S III.

For all Samsung's pre-launch secrecy, it's now being incredibly open when talking about that secrecy. You'll find a full run-down of exactly how the S III was kept under wraps over at the source link.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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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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