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3 years ago

The HTC Sense 5 app drawer: Making simple complicated

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If there's one feature of HTC's new Sense 5 that's taken us extra time to get used to, it's the new app drawer. HTC's attempt to simplify things has, in fact, made them more complicated. That's partly due to the new home screen scheme, with BlinkFeed anchored to the far left at all times (even if you never use it). It's also partly due to the app drawer itself. 

That's not to say it's without some interesting new features. But they almost seem forced together in a way that makes sense once you're familiar with them. Good luck explaining all this to a first-time Android user, though.

We'll explain.

Join the discussion in the HTC One forums

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3 years ago

HTC Droid DNA gets a taste of Sense 5

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If you've got an HTC Droid DNA, and are feeling a bit left out seeing all this Sense 5 talk about the HTC One, you might want to take a good look at this one. Using a software dump from the HTC One, Sense 5 has been ported over to the DNA, and folks are saying good thing about it.

There are a few bugs (some camera stuff and MMS for Verizon users isn't working) but most of the features (including BlinkFeed) are up and running. In addition, the features you expect from any custom ROM, like proper root and busybox, are included and good to go in the latest version.

Of course you'll need to have a DNA that's rooted (or running a software version that can still be rooted) and unlocked with a custom recovery in place. This may be the only way you'll ever get to experience Sense 5 on the DNA (this is Verizon we're dealing with, after all), so it's definitely worth looking at. Hit the source links below for all the information you need.

Source: XDA-Developers; via: Android Central forums

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3 years ago

HTC responds to reported European HTC One delay

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UK retailer Clove Technology is reporting that the flagship HTC One's European launch has been held back to Mar. 29, two weeks later than Clove's expected date of Mar. 15. Though HTC has not publicly announced a specific release date for the phone in any territory, Clove insists it's been "officially informed by HTC UK."

We've reached out to HTC, which has provided us with this statement on HTC One availability --

"We will start fulfilling pre-orders by end March in certain markets and will roll out to more markets as we approach April."

That's almost exactly what we were told around the launch event in February, so it appears little has changed from the manufacturer's perspective.

So we'll have to wait and see when the HTC One eventually becomes available in Europe, but we imagine that wait shouldn't be a long one. O2 Germany, for example, is already shipping the HTC One on contract, so we wouldn't discount the possibility of devices showing up for sale elsewhere before the month's end.

Specific details on U.S. availability are still unavailable -- we suspect we'll be waiting on announcements from individual carriers.

Source: Clove

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3 years ago

British carrier, retailer remind us they'll sell the Galaxy S4

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In case you were wondering, yes, Three UK and Phones4U will sell the Samsung Galaxy S4 Next Galaxy handset. As was the case last year, carriers and retailers are hopping aboard the Galaxy hype train with pre-launch pages allowing customers to register interest.

EE is playing its cards a little closer to its chest by merely tweeting one of Samsung's promotional posts.

Honestly, though, we'd be amazed if the Galaxy S4 wasn't available across every major UK network and retailer on launch day. That's the way things tend to roll out with any major handset in the UK.

Sit tight. We'll know more about the Galaxy S4 and when it'll be launching around the world after Samsung's NYC event on Thursday evening.

Source: Three, EE, Phones4U

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3 years ago

HTC One retail unboxing

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One downside to being the dude who's dead set against unboxings is that you occasionally find your self taking a phone out of a box and filming it for all the world to see. But seeing as how we're now in possession of an actual retail unit, box and all, of the new HTC One, we thought we'd give you a look-see.

So after the break is a brief HTC One unboxing -- again, an actual retail unit -- for those who are into that sort of thing. Mazel tov.

Join the discussion in the HTC One forums

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3 years ago

AT&T confirms Jelly Bean pushing to the Xperia TL

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AT&T this morning confirmed what we've known for a couple weeks now -- Android 4.1.2 is pushing to the Sony Xperia TL. Noted is the addition of AT&T DriveMode, which at 25 mph can shut down features of your phone that could be distracting while driving and automatically reply to texts, e-mails and calls, saying that you're driving and are more responsible than your friends and won't be picking up the phone while your hands are on the wheel. (At least that's how we envision it.)

There's also a new camera interface, data usage calculator and improved power management.

If you've yet to get the update, head into the settings menu to get the ball rolling.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z review

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Sony bets big on a 5-incher for the European market. But is the Xperia Z the high-end handset it needs?

Don’t count out Sony Mobile. Sure, the Japanese giant’s smartphone arm may be an irrelevance in the U.S. market right now, for reasons we won’t get into here. But it’s made steady progress in Europe and the UK, where it’s now number two in Android market share behind Samsung. Admittedly, much of that has been down to Sony’s numerous entry-level and mid-range devices like the Xperia Tipo and Xperia U, rather than its high-end stuff.

That’s because Sony has lacked a kick-ass flagship smartphone for far too long. Last year neither the Xperia S nor Xperia T thrilled us enough to recommend them over the Samsung and HTC competition. The former arrived running the dated Android 2.3 Gingerbread, while the latter suffered from dismal battery life and ran ICS in a Jelly Bean-aspiring world.

So with a new year comes a new Sony phone, the Xperia Z. If nothing else, the manufacturer’s rapid turnover of high-end handsets has allowed it to finally catch up in the spec war. This new Xperia is fitted with a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, a 1080p display and a 13-megapixel camera with Sony’s fancy new Exmor RS sensor tech. Oh, and it’s also fully water-resistant.

But make no mistake, the Xperia Z is about to be born into a world of ferocious competition, with Samsung keen to hold onto its Android dominance, and HTC pulling no punches with its new HTC One. Once again Sony has the advantage of bringing a product to market first -- so can it deliver? Find out in our full review of the Xperia Z.

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3 years ago

Chinese 'Samsung Galaxy S4' appears in leaked video footage

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Yesterday we saw screenshots allegedly from a dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy S4 variant destined for the China Unicom carrier. Today we're getting an even closer look at the handset in question, courtesy of a leaked video that's come to light on the same Chinese forum, 52Samsung. The footage gives us a brief hardware tour, confirming the presence of a removable back cover and battery, microSD support and -- on this model at least -- dual SIM capabilities.

Just as we saw in yesterday's leaked images, the device looks a lot like a larger Galaxy S3, and appears to be running a re-vamped version of Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX -- although things don't appear to have changed significantly on the software side.

Check out the leaked footage above, and as always, remember Samsung's history of putting out several versions of upcoming products to keep its true intentions secret. Whatever form the Galaxy S4 eventually takes, we won't have long to wait to see the finished article. We'll be live in New York City this Thursday with full coverage of the announcement event.

Thanks @android_indian!

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3 years ago

Samsung teases phone-shaped phone ahead of Galaxy S4 event

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Samsung's quite the tease lately. It's launched a campaign of bizarre teaser trailers for the upcoming Galaxy S4, but so far these have been devoid of any real information about the device. Today it's stepping things up a notch, publishing the image above on its Twitter and Facebook channels alongside a message promoting the Mar. 14 "Unpacked" event where we're all expecting to meet the Galaxy S4.

It's the outline of a phone. A phone-shaped phone. It looks a bit like the Galaxy S3, as well as a purported Galaxy S4 design that leaked out of China this morning. We're left wondering what's happened to the earpiece on this model, though.

If nothing else, the image might suggest that Samsung's sticking with the curvy "nature-inspired" design language for its 2013 handset. We'll find out for sure on Thursday evening, when Samsung unveils the Galaxy S4 in New York City.

Source: Twitter, Facebook

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3 years ago

BlinkFeed: Inside the HTC One's home screen reader

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It's one of the more controversial moves a smartphone manufacturer has made in recent memory. HTC has pared down the out-of-box home screen experience, instead going with a single traditional Android panel, while opening up a world of news, updates and features, that's just a single swipe away.

This is BlinkFeed.

You could say BlinkFeed looks a lot like Flipboard -- and you'd be right. The slight difference in animations notwithstanding, what you've got is an extremely capable (if a bit limited in scope) feed reader. News, social networking updates, the ability to post your status -- it's all right there.

So why's it controversial? Unlike apps like Pulse or Flipboard or even Google Currents, which are traditional applications, BlinkFeed is baked into the phone itself, as much a part of the home screen as the home screen itself. It's there, whether you plan on using it or not.

 

Join the discussion in the HTC One forums

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia J updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

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Good news for Sony Xperia J owners - the official rollout of Jelly Bean has begun. This will bump the Android OS up to version 4.1, bringing with it new features from Jelly Bean like Quick Settings in the notification area. A new version of Sony Select has also been packaged into the update. Xperia J users should be getting an update notification on their phones automatically in the coming days/weeks. If any users are unable to update over the air, they can check out Sony's official page for a manual install method.

Source: Sony; More: Sony Xperia J Forums

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3 years ago

HTC One versus the iPhone 5

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Just the same, only different: The iPhone 5 and HTC One are worlds apart

"The HTC One looks just like the iPhone 5!" Those were the words out of many a mouth after HTC unveiled its new, all aluminum Android smartphone last month. Metallurgy aside -- and we're willing to bet either Apple or HTC could talk ad nauseam about the chemical makeup of their particular blend of aluminum -- that's where the similarities end. Both phones are made of metal and glass.

Get over it.

Join the discussion in the HTC One forums

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3 years ago

Second Galaxy S4 teaser also tells us nothing about the actual phone

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Samsung Galaxy S4 guardian Jeremy Maxwell returns with his magical glowing box in the second teaser trailer for the upcoming handset. If you were hoping for any hint of actual information on what Samsung's bringing to New York this Thursday, then once again you're going to come away disappointed. Like last week's installment, there's very little going on here beyond hype-building. Though Jeremy does remark that the box's contents are his "favorite color," for whatever that's worth.

Check out the teaser above, and share any theories down in the comments. 

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3 years ago

Alleged Chinese Galaxy S4 variant photos appear online

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 rumor mill has been churning in the run up to Thursday's big announcement event in New York City, but so far we've seen little to indicate what the upcoming handset might look like.

But today Chinese forum 52Samsung has posted what it says are images of a dual-SIM Galaxy S4 variant for China. The device in question carries the model number GT-i9502 and looks an awful lot like a Galaxy S3, with internals indicative of a flagship product. Black and white (or at least light grey) color variants are shown, and it seems the pattern on the back and front of the chassis has changed somewhat -- shots of the white and black versions show what looks like a grid pattern.

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3 years ago

LG Optimus L5II to be available globally, starting with Brazil

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LG announced its LII Series of devices at MWC last month, and now we've got some details on the global availability of the Optimus L5II. As we covered when we had our hands on the devices at MWC, the LII Series is for more of a "mainstream" market and will target lower price points. The L5II has a 1GHz single-core processor, 4-inch 480x800 (WVGA) display, 512MB of RAM and run on Android 4.1.2. LG is announcing that the device will hit Brazil in a dual SIM variant now, with both single and dual SIM options coming globally -- South and Central America, Asia, Russia, Middle East and Africa -- from that point.

With specs like that, it's not surprising that LG has no plans to launch it in the states. We may see some different variation of these devices hit a U.S. prepaid carrier later on down the road (if at all), but they are best suited to more price-conscious markets around the world.

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