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2 years ago

Late night poll: Your Android phone manufacturer

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There's a lot of Android phones out there, from a slew of manufacturers.  In the US alone there's over 70 different current models to choose from, and world-wide the number swells into the hundreds.  We all have our favorites, and we thought it would be fun to take a quick survey to find out which OEM is the most popular amongst us all.  Take a second, fill out our poll and we'll find out!  If you have more than one phone, pick your favorite.  And if you pick "other", be sure to let everyone know what you're rocking in the comments.  

 

Which brand of Android phone are you using?

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2 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX available today on Verizon for $299 on contract

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Today, Verizon welcomes the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX to its Android smartphone stable. You can pick it up for $299 on contract. (Or a whopping $649 outright.) We're going to be doing a full Droid RAZR MAXX review, of course, but here's the gist: It's a Motorola Droid RAZR with a 3300 mAh battery. Thank you, goodnight, we'll see you in the funny papers.

And you know what? It might well be the best 4G LTE phone on Verizon thus far. Sure, we tend to say that with every release, but Verizon's 4G devices certainly have been trending up since they debuted a year ago.

A reminder on the Droid RAZR MAXX specs:

  • Launches with Android 2.3.5, will be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display
  • qHD resolution (540x960)
  • 8MP rear-facing camera; 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 4G LTE data
  • 3300 mAh battery for up to 21. hours' talk time, 380 hours' standby time
  • Motorola user interface
  • Smart Actions

From our hands-on time with the Droid RAZR MAXX at CES earlier this month, it was easy to see that indeed you're really just looking at a beefed up phone. Bigger battery, with everything else the same. And the slightly increased thickness makes the phone a little nicer to hold -- it was almost too lanky in its earlier form, too thin considering how wide it is. The phone's still 8.99 mm at its thickest, which is more than respectable. And having nearly double the battery life is a must considering that it's not removable -- there's now swapping in a new one.

Anyhoo, stay tuned for our complete Droid RAZR MAXX review, and go out and get yourself one of these guys, if it's your thing.

Source: Verizon; More: Droid RAZR MAXX forums

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2 years ago

LG Spectrum gets software update to fix Netflix playback

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Fire up your brand new LG Spectrum tonight and you'll likely see a wee update waiting for you. The mere 10.09-megabyte update takes you to software version VS920ZV4 and does the following:

  • Netflix playback issue corrected

Awesome. We like Netflix. But the fact that it takes an update on the phone is a bit ridiculous, no? At least it's a small update. And quick. But we digress.

More: LG Spectrum update PDF; LG Spectrum forums

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2 years ago

HTC Rezound update documents live, OTA should follow soon

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The "official" update document for the HTC Rezound is now live on Verizon's website, which usually means an OTA update is nigh.  According to the page, the Rezound should soon be seeing software Version 2.01.605.11 and baseband version 0.95.00.1118r, so unfortunately this is not the Ice Cream Sandwich ROM that was leaked a week or so ago.  If anything, it looks like a maintenance release to get some bugs ironed out, which nobody should be complaining about.  The changelog in handy bullet-point form:

  • Updated signal strength meter to 5 bar Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI).
  • Screen Timeout issues while connected to Wifi have been resolved.
  • Resolved issue with Mobile Hotspot data stalling while multiple users are connected.
  • Improved audio quality during voice call.
  • Reduced forced closures related to the People application.
  • Improved device stability reduces continuous resets.
  • Resolved issue with Task Manager stopping Mail background service.

All very welcome fixes indeed.  The Rezound is a hell of a phone as is, and knowing that HTC and Big Red aren't going to let it wither by the wayside is great news for all of us.  Security patches and bug fixes are just as important as complete OS updates, so we'll take them every time.

Of course, there's no guarantee that this is coming soon, but in the past we have seen the support page for Verizon phones go live a few days before the OTA begins to push out.  There's no reason not to think this will be the same situation, so if I had a Rezound and was interested in accepting a stock update, I'd be preparing for it.  Jump in the Rezound forums and discuss!

Source: Verizon (pdf); via Android Central forums.  Thanks, iLLusive!

 

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2 years ago

Galaxy S III now rumored to be a no-show at MWC

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But would that really a bad thing?

Samsung, it is now rumored, will not be showing the Galaxy S III at Mobile World Congress. That's according to unconfirmed rumors from The Verge and Germany's Best Boyz. Of course, the Galaxy S III has yet to actually be announced or anything, nor has Samsung sent invites for any press event in Barcelona. But, yeah. It's entirely possible we won't see it there. Bummer, to be sure.

But here's the thing: We -- and most everybody else out there -- have been largely been assuming we'll see Samsung Next Big Thing™ in Spain. Perfectly reasonable assumption by all, since the Galaxy S II was announced there last year. But it's still an assumption, and it's still ignoring one thing.

Anybody remember when and where the Samsung Galaxy S was launched? That's right, boys and girls. The original Galaxy S was born in March 2010 at CTIA in Las Vegas, not at Mobile World Congress a month sooner. (We got Super AMOLED screens at MWC in 2010.) The Galaxy S still was released outside the United States first, and we got ours at an event in New York City that brought the four major U.S. carriers together. (Note we've not seen an event like that since; though last year's Galaxy S II event did manage appearances by AT&T and Sprint, and a half-assing from T-Mobile.)

Anyhoo. We're still a month out from MWC. Anything can happen. (Hell, we saw a complete redesign of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in a month.) And it's not like there won't be ample opportunities for the GSIII (or whatever's next) to be announced after that. We've got CTIA in May. Google IO in June. CTIA again in October. Countless events in between. And if indeed it's true that the Galaxy S III is being pushed back to eliminate lag time between release, let's all ask ourselves this:

Are we really going to complain about an unofficial phone's unannounced announcement possibly being pushed closer to the date that it'll actually be available for purchase? It's a mad, mad world.

Sources: The Verge; Best Boyz

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2 years ago

Android app developer is looking for answers, take a minute and help

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Android application developers work hard and don't get nearly enough appreciation.  As you see mentioned just about everywhere, it's the application support that makes or breaks a mobile platform, so their job is pretty important.  Luckily, we're in good shape with Android, a look at the huge number of apps in just the official Android Market will confirm.  But there's more than sheer numbers.  We all want applications and games that offer just the right features, at the right level of performance, and at the right price.  Here's a chance for you to help.

Android application developer go6game has a short survey in the Android Central forums, and he'd like a little feedback.  The questions are simple enough to answer, but I can see how the data he collects from this would help create games and apps that are not only more popular (Android app developers deserve to make a good living people), but work better and offer the features we want.  The questions he's asking are easy enough, consisting of things like how you discover and recommend apps to others.  Downloading apps from the Market is something every one of us does daily.  I think it's a great idea, and I know plenty of us will take the time to help out.

Apps don't write themselves, and quality apps certainly take a lot of thought and hard work to bring to market.  When an application developer takes the time to ask us just what we're looking for, the least we can do is tell him.  Hit the link below and do your part -- better apps and games will be the result, and who doesn't want that?

A bit of market research; Android Central forums

 

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2 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich for international Motorola RAZR leaks

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Calm down, Verizon Droid RAZR owners, this one's not for you, unfortunately. Owners of the international (GSM/HSPA) Motorola RAZR XT910, however, are in luck, as an early build of Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich appears to have leaked out for Moto's flagship international phone.

The leaked build, which has surfaced over on fansite DroidRZR.com, shows firmware built just a week ago on Jan. 17, which exhibits characteristics of both Blur and stock ICS. For example, Motorola's icons are used for the dialer and people app, but other apps, like the launcher, are untouched by the manufacturer's UI layer. Naturally, since this is pre-release firmware, there's no guarantee things will stay this way when ICS eventually rolls out officially, and we'd expect the finished article to look a little more like Blur and less like stock Android.

Whatever Ice Cream Sandwich on the RAZR ends up looking like, this early leak is a tantalizing chance for RAZR owners to get an early look at the latest version of Android on their handsets. And jealous Droid RAZR owners, we're sure it won't be long before this leaked ROM is hacked apart and ported across to the Verizon version. If you're feeling adventurous, you can find download links and installation instructions over at the source link.

Source: DroidRZR.com

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2 years ago

AT&T Galaxy Note rumored to launch Feb. 18, along with two unannounced devices

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Looks like AT&T is wasting no time bringing its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note to market. If the latest rumors from BGR are to be believed, the carrier plans to launch Samsung's 5.3-inch phone/tablet hybrid on Feb. 18 for $299.99 on-contract.

The blog also reports that two new, unannounced devices will be making their debut the very same day -- the Samsung Rugby Smart and the AT&T Fusion. The Rugby Smart is reportedly a $99 entry-level HSPA+ phone, while the AT&T Fusion, for which no specs are offered, will apparently sell for $124.99.

All unconfirmed at this stage, of course, but we don't think anyone would be surprised to see the AT&T Galaxy Note arriving in mid-to-late February with a hefty price tag. As for the other two devices, we'll just have to wait and see what materializes over the next month.

For more on the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note, take a look over our hands-on coverage from CES, and our full review of the international version.

Source: BGR

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S III rumor-mill going strong, will we see it at MWC?

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The Samsung Galaxy S III (or lack of it) has the Internet ablaze once again, and this time it's based on some information industry insider Eldar Murtazin claims to know, and has hinted at in his Twitter account.  According to Eldar (and nestled in with words like "flagship" and "so much better"), the next-generation Galaxy S device will feature updated hardware with a 1.5GHz or 1.6GHz quad-core processor, a 12MP camera, HD screen (we're assuming it will be part of the AMOLED family), Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung's TouchWiz tweaks, and it gets great battery life -- yes, he says he has used it.

Eldar says we'll get a to see the Galaxy S III in February at Mobile World Congress, which would make sense. (The Galaxy S II was announced in Barcelona last year.)  We'll see manufacturers' new products at a show designed for manufacturers to show us their new products.  The Galaxy S III will most likely be released in the Far East and Europe before the United States, so Barcelona would be the place to see it.  The specifications sound about right for the next generation of hardware, so Eldar's news seems feasable, and a natural progression that we've seen before.  We'll know more soon when we head to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.

What does concern us is once again seeing new and better handsets from Samsung, while their current models sit and wait for updates.  The original Galaxy S line is (and we hate it as much as you do) a write-off by now, but there's more than a few Galaxy S II devices which are more than capable, waiting for an Ice Cream Sandwich update.  Samsung's gorgeus screens and state-of-the art hardware has made many of us give them a second chance with the Galaxy S II, but another year-long saga of waiting for device updates just isn't going to fly.  Hopefully, the right people at Samsung and the carriers realizes this as well.

Source: @eldarmurtazin; More: Samsung Galaxy S III forums

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2 years ago

Sprint Epic 4G Touch EL29 update rolling out now

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Sprint today is rolling out the EL29 update for the Epic 4G Touch (aka the Samsung Galaxy S II). This is the update we first told you about a week ago when the source code dropped. And today, the update has begun to push out to devices. Here's the official changelog:

  • Security update
  • Dismissing multiple calendar alerts
  • Commercial Alert System (CMAS) activated

The Epic 4G Touch update -- officially to software version S:D710.0.5S.EL29, if you're into that sort of thing -- will be released in stages, Sprint says, with all devices scheduled to receive it within the next 10 days or so.

We're also expecting the Carrier IQ software to have been stripped from this update, and that may be included in the "Security update" bullet point. (But why not just come out and say it?) Sprint previously announced that it has quit using Carrier IQ for analytics data after a couple of months of user outrage, and we've already seen Sprint remove the softare from its HTC ROMs.

To get the update for your Epic 4G Touch, just look for the notification in the aptly named notification bar, then send things on their way. Or if you've told it to install later, head to menu>settings>about phone>system updates>update Android to get things going.

Source: Sprint; More: Epic 4G Touch forums

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2 years ago

Samsung cracks open Galaxy Note, reveals tabletphone components within

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Usually we have to wait for some brave individual to take screwdrivers, spudgers and the like to a device before we get to see what's lurking inside. This time, however, Samsung's saved you the trouble of voiding your warranty and being left with a heap of broken circuitry, with an official teardown of the Galaxy Note, its unique phone/tablet hybrid.

If you've never looked inside one of these things before, it's always amazing how so much "stuff" is packed within a (relatively) small device. In the case of the Galaxy Note, the S-Pen stylus integration requires a special digitizer to detect the pen's presence and the amount of pressure, as well as a WACOM chip to process pen input.

Hit the source link for a more detailed breakdown of what's inside the Galaxy Note, or check out our full review for more on the device itself.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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2 years ago

LG boasts 1 million Optimus LTE phones sold worldwide

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LG says it's sold more than one million Optimus LTE smartphones worldwide since the device's launch late last year. The Optimus LTE made its international debut in LG's native South Korea last October, before moving to Japan and North America in December. On AT&T it's the Nitro HD, on Verizon it's the Spectrum, and Canadians will recognize it as the Bell Optimus Eye. The names may be different, but all these devices are built around similar hardware -- a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 720p IPS display and that all-important 4G LTE radio.

Cherry-picking some impressive sales figures, LG says that Korean sales of the Optimus LTE hit 600,000 units in the first three months of availability, while Japanese buyers snapped up 8,500 units on launch day alone. There are no U.S.-specific numbers included in today's announcement, but that shouldn't surprise anyone given that the Spectrum has just launched on Verizon, and the Nitro has been available for a little over a month. Unsurprisingly, the Optimus LTE has yet to land Europe on account of the lack of widespread LTE coverage on European networks.

We've got the full press release after the break.

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2 years ago

Sony ST25i 'Kumquat' looks set to launch as 'Xperia U'

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We got our first glimpse of the Sony ST25i "Kumquat" last week, and now it seems we may have the official name for the device, too. According to a new entry on the website of the Indonesian telecoms authority, the phone will launch as the Sony Xperia U. This continuing the lettered naming scheme used by the Xperia S, as well as last year's Tablet S and Tablet P.

The ST25i "Xperia U" is rumored to sport a 3.5-inch qHD (960x540) screen, a 1GHz dual-core CPU and 5MP camera, making for an attractive mid-range proposition. An unofficial, leaked roadmap lists the Xperia U around the €260 price point.

As Sony expands its 2012 line-up, we're looking forward to seeing more of the Xperia U, hopefully starting with an official introduction at Mobile World Congress next month.

Source: Postel.go.id; via: GSMArena

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2 years ago

O2 UK network security blunder exposes customers' phone numbers to websites

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Update: O2 says that as of 1400 GMT today it has fixed, the problem, and that "technical changes" as part of "routine maintenance" were to blame for the issue, which affected customers from Jan. 10 until today. The network's full statement is available on its official blog.

Original story: If you're browsing the web on your phone or tablet on O2 UK, then the network could be exposing your phone number to every website you visit. O2 customer Lewis Peckover recently discovered that when you're browsing over 3G on O2, your handset's phone number is often included in the HTTP headers sent to each website you visit, in plain text.

HTTP headers are information exchanged between your browser and the web server before a page is loaded. In theory, the way O2 includes your phone number -- alongside more mundane information like your IP address, browser and OS -- means that any website you visit could easily find out your number. It's worth pointing out that the header used by O2 to send phone numbers -- "x-up-calling-line-id" -- isn't one that's routinely logged by web servers. However, just a couple of lines of code would allow a malicious server to find your phone number just by having you visit a website over 3G.

Lewis Peckover has set up a site to allow O2 customers to see whether they're affected. We've tried this with an O2 SIM in our Galaxy Nexus, and sure enough, there our phone number was in the list of "headers received". If you're on O2, make sure you've got Wifi disabled on your device, then click here and see if you spot your phone number among the HTTP headers. For what it's worth, early reports indicate that not all O2 customers are affected, though a large proportion apparently are.

This isn't an Android-specific problem, however due to the fact that it's a network-level issue, it'll affect Android phones just the same as any other device that's browsing over O2's data network. For this reason, just about anything that connects via HTTP over O2's network could potentially access this information. For its part, O2 says it's "investigating" the issue, and while this is a big deal for O2 customers, the fact that this is a network-level problem should mean that a fix will be relatively quick and easy to deploy.

More: Lew.io; via: ThinkBroadband

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2 years ago

Google is streamlining privacy policies, changes effective Mar. 1

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Google has announced that it is in the process of streamlining its privacy policy, combining more than 60 current documents for various products into one easy to read version, with less of the "legal gloop" and complicated language.  Starting March 1, users will no longer have a different privacy statement for the various Google offerings.  This makes sense to us, especially if the promises of a document that's easy to read and understand hold true.  It likely makes sense for regulators as well, as Google has been under the microscope about it's practices and privacy concerns.

Google's also saying this will lead to a simpler and more immersive user experience, where information from the suite of Google services can be combined to provide more relevant information while using Google branded products.  In the video above, they give the example of how it can improve search results.  Of course, it will also help target the right advertisements to each of us at the same time.

Google also wants to make it clear that they are not changing the basic elements of their privacy policies.  They still won't sell your personal information, and they don't share it without your express permission "except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order."   On the other hand, data about you can now be used across all services where it wasn't (couldn't?) before.  This isn't neccessarily "evil," but it opens things up for a bit deeper discussion and review.  In the end, Google is still going to be Google, and it sounds like the company's really only trying to simplify things for end users like us -- and at the same time making it easier for its own products to use what access you've already granted them. 

Source: Google

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