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2 years ago

ASUS Transformer Prime review

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Take one of the more popular -- if not wonderfully eccentric -- Android tablets of 2011, slim it down, clad it in brushed metal, pump it full of new specs and march it off into 2012 with the likelihood of one of the first upgrades to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Oh, and throw in a nearly full-size keyboard dock with trackpad, full USB and SD ports, turning it all into a solid Android laptop.

This, friends, is the ASUS Transformer Prime. And this is our Transformer Prime review.

Welcome to the era of NVIDIA's Tegra 3 platform. The Transformer Prime is but the first of the quad-core devices. Other tablets are no doubt on their way, and smartphones are coming down the pike as well. But the Transformer Prime is the one leading the way, and it's definitely doing so in style.

So let's dive on into our Transformer Prime review and look at what's new, what's continued from the Transfomer line, and what it means for you.


ASUS has refined the design of the original Transformer, making it slimmer and sexier while boosting the internal storage. NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 processor is nothing short of astounding. The optional keyboard dock has gotten an excellent makeover as well, turning the whole thing into an outstanding Android laptop.


Is shipping with Android 3.2, but has already been promised an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. While you now get more bang for your buck with Tegra 3 and the internal storage upped dto 32/64GB, it's still a pricey package for both the tablet and keyboard dock.



The Transformer Prime ushers in a new breed of Android tablets. Familiar, yet more powerful (and thus with more potential) than anything you've used before. If you can part with a minimum of $650, it makes for a great Android mobile computing/gaming rig.

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2 years ago

How-To: Manually flash the OTA to your Galaxy Nexus

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With the OTA slowly rolling out today for the Galaxy Nexus, it's always nice to have a way to manually apply it.  Things have changed a bit from how it used to be done, but Alex, Phil, and myself have been fooling around and have a method figured out to give yourself the OTA with no waiting.  Fair warning -- this requires an OEM unlocked phone, fastboot drivers, and a few command line commands.

Download the OTA package direct from Google.  Then, download the latest ClockWorkMod recovery here.  Store both these files on your computer desktop.

If you haven't already, OEM unlock your Galaxy Nexus bootloader.  Here's a handy guide for Windows 7.  Note that this erases everything on your phone. (So hopefully you've done this already.)

  • Copy the OTA package above to the /sdcard folder on your Galaxy Nexus
  • Drop the ClockWorkMod file in the same folder you have fastboot in on your computer.  Rename it to cwm.img to make things easy.
  • Reboot your Galaxy Nexus to bootloader mode (hold volume up and volume down, then press power).
  • Plug your phone into your computer, and open a command prompt or terminal.  Navigate to the folder with fastboot and the cwm.img inside it.
  • At the command line, type the following: fastboot-windows.exe boot cwm.img (or just fastboot.exe if that's what you've got)
  • Use the ClockWorkMod recovery menu to flash a zip file from the SD card, and choose the OTA zip file you downloaded earlier.

When finished, reboot as normal and enjoy the OTA.  See why everyone loves fastboot?  This made no permanant change to your recovery, and without it we'd have to wait for the OTA to push to us all.  Alex reports that the volume bug is fixed in his unit when booted up and running, and all went smoothly.  If you feel uncomfortable doing this -- or if you're in the U.S. or other area not affected by 900MHz shenanigans -- just sit tight and wait for the OTA.  And if you have any questions, jump in the forums for help.

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2 years ago

Galaxy Nexus press photos extracted from Verizon website

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Press images of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Verizon branding have been found in the source of the coming soon page on Verizon's website.  Things look very similar to the current GSM Galaxy Nexus, (check out our review) and chances are without them side by side one would never be able to tell if it weren't for the Verizon 4G logo on the back.  Before anyone gets too excited, there's no new rumored released date attached to this post.  The files were embedded in the resources of a Flash animation, and Ytram from AndroidForums dug them out. 

I do have to mention that these are fairly new.  Several weeks ago there was only the front face images stored there (we might have checked ourselves).  What that all means about any upcoming release is left for you all to guess, as I'm out of clues and stamina.  All we know is that it's coming.  In the meantime, hit the break to see the rest of the pictures.

Source: AndroidForums, via Android Central forums

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2 years ago

Zen Pinball THD now available in the Market for Tegra devices, and it's free

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If you're using a phone or tablet with a Tegra chip inside it, you'll want to check out Zen Pinball THD, which hit the Android Market today.  It's a great game, using advanced physics for ball movement, has great tables included -- Marvel's Fantastic Four table is really, really, cool -- and includes multiplayer mode.  All for free.  To top it off, it's even OpenFeint-enabled for those who like a bit of competition in their mobile gaming.  We've been fooling with the press demos, and it's a very well done piece of work.  Gameplay is fast, realistic, and beautiful.  Any pinball fan or mobile gamer should enjoy this one, and with the free price tag there's no reason not to try it.  Hit the break for the download link and the gameplay trailer.

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2 years ago

Galaxy Nexus OTA update now rolling out with volume bug fix

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The promised volume bug fix for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is now rolling out over-the-air, with multiple Nexus owners reporting that updated software has arrived on their handsets. The OTA package weighs a little under 1MB, and updates the Nexus from build ITL41D to ITL41F, while the Android version remains at 4.0.1. So far it seems that the update contains only the volume bug fix, and that there are no other goodies hiding inside.

If you've noticed the bug on your device, you'll want to head straight to Settings > About phone > System updates to grab the new software. At the time of writing, not all Nexuses have received the patch, so if you don't get it straight away then be sure to check back in the hours and days ahead. Unlike previous Nexus devices, there's no easy way to directly apply apply the OTA package without unlocking the bootloader and rooting the phone or other such hackery. If you're comfortable messing around with Android's software internals, though, we've figured out a way for you to apply the OTA update manually, without waiting. Check it out.

Head over to the comments and let us know if you've already received your update.

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2 years ago

Gingerbread for Cellcom's Milestone X is now available

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Cellcom customers patiently waiting for Gingerbread on their Motorola Milestone X will be pleased to know that the carrier has released its official update, which is pushing to devices as we speak. In addition to the usual Gingerbread-flavored goodies, update 4.5.604.en.US brings improvements to battery life, download management, the calendar, camera and contacts, as well as overall device security. It's 104.9 MB total and should be arriving on your device any minute now, though if you're not big on waiting, you can always pull it manually through the System Updates function in the settings menu. Hit the source link for Cellcom's official word.

Source: Cellcom; thanks gmonkey88!

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2 years ago

HTC Sensation XL review

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There’s no doubt that HTC is getting behind Beats Audio in a big way. This summer the manufacturer ponied up $300 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats, and since then it’s been quick to bring to market phones like the Sensation XE and Rezound, which include Beats earphones in the box and a Beats-optimized music player. The latest phone to launch in Europe with Beats support is the Sensation XL. Originally unveiled at a glitzy event in London back in October, the 4.7-inch XL is pitched as the first European phone designed from the ground up around Beats Audio.

The Sensation XL isn’t a replacement for the original Sensation in the traditional sense. Instead, HTC seems to be positioning both devices alongside each other, with the XL geared towards big multimedia consumers rather than spec-obsessed enthusiasts. But with formidable (and technically superior) competition from Apple, Samsung, Motorola and others, does the Sensation XL do enough to stand out from the ever-growing high-end smartphone crowd? Read on to find out.


A well-built device with a bright, vivid screen and responsive, feature-filled software. Beats headphones and software optimizations make this a great phone for music on-the-go. HTC Sense 3.5 is faster and slicker than ever.


Lack of expandable storage. Screen resolution is lower than much of the competition. Disappointing video camera performance. No Beats support for third-party music players.



The Sensation XL might not represent the complete package for smartphone enthusiasts, but it's hard to fault the device as a whole. HTC's Sense UI is better than ever, and the bundled Beats hardware is a huge step up from the bog-standard earphones provided with most phones.
 

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2 years ago

Gingerbread for the Samsung Droid Charge rolling out now

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Last week we got word that the Samsung Droid Charge was set to receive its own official Gingerbread update, and now word in the forum is that the update is rolling out. Bringing a bunch of changes some of which include a new color scheme, a new download manager and added SD encryption. If you haven't already received the update notification be sure to head into your settings and check manually for the update!

More in the Android Central Forums

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2 years ago

Kindle Fire software Version 6.2 now available; update manually or over Wifi

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Don't blink. If you do, you might miss your Amazon Kindle Fire updating to software Version 6.2. Amazon's not really saying what's new in the update other than "provides improvements to the operation of your Kindle Fire." But know that it does break root, so you'll have to jump through that hoop again (which you should be more than willing to do if you did it once already.)

The update's available over Wifi, or you can download it directly from Amazon, move it to your Kindle Fire yourself (just plug it in and drag the file onto it in your favorite file explorer), and go into the device settings and hit "Update your Kinde." It'll reboot a couple times, then all is well.

Download: Software Version 6.2; More: Amazon

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2 years ago

Editorial: Carrier IQ -- the 'evil' we agree to and hate that we did it

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Seems like every time you turn around you'll see corporations using sneaky tricks to gain a competitive advantage over a different, yet equally sneaky corporation.  That's usually how money is made by the people who are best at making lots of it -- at the expense of others.  The cell phone industry is no different, even though we wish it were.  Yes, I'm talking about Carrier IQ, and it's my turn to bitch.

Carrier IQ sells a stock client for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Android.  There's strong evidence that  they also make client software for other smartphone platforms, and even semi-smartphone OS's like Bada or BREW.  But they're only making it easy to get the same type of data your carrier has been collecting about you since the minute you turned your cell phone on.  If they're collecting it in an insecure manner, which has happened, that's bad on them, and they need to fix it -- pronto. But they're not doing it on their own. They're doing it at the behest of the manufacturer and the carrier, who uses the data to determine how to make changes that get you to spend more money when they offer you the latest shiny.  If 72 percent of the people use a certain feature, you can bet your last dollar that more work goes into making that feature "better" so it's a stronger selling point.  Carrier IQ, as a company, could care less what you do with your smartphone, when you do it, or why.  All they do is make it easier for the people you give your money to each month to see why you like your phone.  I don't work for HTC or AT&T, but I'm sure easy data collection and aggregation makes for a compelling sales pitch.

CIQ isn't doing anything it's not supposed to be doing, unless there's a software bug in play.  The software was purposefully placed there in order to track what you're doing in real time.  Apparently, it works pretty well.  Some may argue that it's a rootkit, or a flaw of some sort, but to the people using the product -- again, the carrier and manufacturer -- it's a feature, one that they pay money to include.  Remember, you are not HTC's (or Samsung, or LG, or RIM, etc.) customer -- companies like Verizon and Sprint are, and all parties find the data that's collected pretty damn useful, so they aren't likely to stop collecting it.

It could be argued that you don't have a choice in the matter. You bought the phone. And while there might be (and usually is -- see the picture above from a CIQ enabled HTC phone) some vague reference to the phone collecting data about how you use it, you likely skipped over that section, and it's not all that up-front about what's being collected or how it's being done. But on the other hand, that's probably true about 90 percent of what your phone's doing at any given time.  It works exactly how it's supposed to work.  Getting mad about it after the fact isn't very productive, and isn't going to solve the problem any time soon.

Vote with your wallet.  You have the option to say no to this sort of data collection software, and that's done by not buying phones that use it.  Every major carrier in the world now carries one of those.

Yes, I think Carrier IQ is a bad thing, done by unscrupulous people so they have more pennies to count.  But all the hate towards the company that writes and sells the software is misguided.  They are only filling a need, and if they stop someone else will step up to replace them.  Enough words have been written about it, yet the solution for Android fans only needs three:

Buy a Nexus.

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2 years ago

Gingerbread for Optimus 2X reaches the UK at last

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We'll chalk this up as a case of better late than never, but the European Optimus Gingerbread upgrade has made it to UK Optimus 2X devices. 

Making the announcement via their Facebook page, the update goes live today. As ever, bear in mind that carrier bonded devices may be subject to delays but if you have an unlocked Optimus 2X there's a good chance you'll be seeing it right about now.

They even went so far as to offer an apology for the delay. It's not ICS, but it's a start. Hit us up in the comments if you've seen the update. 

Source: LG

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2 years ago

Galaxy Nexus cracked open -- silicon, tiny screws and magic found inside

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As is customary with any big, new phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus recently received the teardown treatment from the fearless spudgers over at iFixit. There's nothing too surprising lurking inside the chassis -- after all, we've been over and over the specs for this thing in the lead up to its release. Nevertheless, if you're big on electronics and want to see what the Nexus looks like on the inside without cracking yours open, then it may be of interest. Note that this is a teardown of the GSM version -- the guts of the elusive Verizon LTE model will likely look a little different.

Head to the source link for the full teardown, or check out our GSM Galaxy Nexus review if you want to see more of what this phone looks like on the outside.

Source: iFixit

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2 years ago

Adobe Flash Player 11.1 coming to the Galaxy Nexus by end of year

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Adobe's been saying this for a week or so now, and today it made it officially official in an official blog post: Flash Player 11.1 will come to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Huzzah. Look for the update in December (makes since, because November's 24 hours from being in our rear-view mirrors).

Glad to see another one last update for Flash Player (and AIR as well, which we're already seeing in the Android Market) for the Galaxy Nexus. Now if only we could get the phone in North America.

Source: Adobe; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Galaxy Nexus volume bug gets unofficial fix

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While we wait for Google's promised Galaxy Nexus volume bug patch to arrive over-the-air, Paul O'Brien from MoDaCo already has an unofficial (or at least semi-official) fix ready to download today. The MoDaCo volume bug fix takes the form of a new boot image file (apparently sourced from a test version of the official fix) which you can flash across, assuming you've unlocked your bootloader. If you don't know what any of that means, you're probably better off waiting for the official update to arrive over-the-air -- it shouldn't be too much longer now.

But if you're a reasonably technical individual who's also been frustrated by the infamous glitch, then head over to the source link and enjoy your newfound ability to use data and calls over 2G without any nasty side effects.

Source: MoDaCo

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2 years ago

The Sprint Epic 4G Touch possibly has a fix on the way soon for loss of signal and other bugs

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The Sprint Epic 4G Touch has been plagued by a known issue for quite a while now.  Not everyone experiences it, but enough do to make it a serious concern for many people, including the folks at Samsung.  We're talking about the "LoS" (Loss of Signal) bug -- it mostly happens in areas with spotty coverage and affects both 3G and 4G networks.  It's fairly simple to recover, just reboot your phone, but that's clearly not the correct way to go about resolving it.  Thankfully, it looks like Samsung and Sprint have a fix in testing to address this, as well as some other minor annoyances that come with every new smartphone.

Epic 4G Touch user kingsway8605 says he currently has the testing patch from Samsung, and he received it after a conversation with a developer who responded to his cries for support.  Supposedly the explanation for the bug itself is as follows:

It is isolated to areas with spotty coverage, which is why some don't experience it at all. If you are in 4G and leave 4G coverage, or in 3G coverage and leave 3G coverage, and in the process of sending packets, there is apparently a bug where the phone does not detect this and would just give up after it could no longer talk to the old tower.

This makes sense from an engineering perspective, and if the fellows at Samsung are right this patch should address it.  The new OTA is Android 2.3.6, with a baseband of SPD710.10.S.EK02, and a build number of GINGERBREAD.EK02.  According to kingsway8605, if this passes initial testing we should see it in December.  Developers are already exploring ways to help retrieve the OTA files from the cache partition, so maybe we won't have to wait.

Source: XDA-Developers; via Android Central forumsThanks, Anthony!

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