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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra Android 4.3 updates rolling out

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Performance tweaks and camera improvements for Z Ultra among changes in latest Sony firmware

Sony had previously promised that the Android 4.3 rollout for certain Xperia phones would begin this month, and now the first two devices on the list are being updated. Android 4.3 for the Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra has started rolling out today, bringing an update from 4.2.2 and some Sony software improvements.

Among the changes are enhanced performance and updates to Sony's suite of built-in apps, such as Messaging, My Xperia, Smart Connect, Small apps, Track ID, Sony Select and the media apps, including Walkman, Album and Movies. As of this release the Xperia Z Ultra also gets access to Sony's "Smart Social Camera" feature from the Z1, which lets the rear camera use Sony's downloadable camera apps. The new firmware also supports downloadable themes through the Xperia Themes system, a feature Sony says it'll expand upon in the future.

Update: Xperiablog also reports that the Z1 camera issues for bootloader-unlocked phones has also been fixed.

The update should be available now for some Z1 and Z Ultra devices, though Sony points out that as with all updates it'll take time to roll out to all regions and carriers. (We're not yet seeing anything on our unlocked UK Z1, for what it's worth.) If you're updating your Xperia Z1 or Z Ultra today, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

Source: Sony Mobile blog

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3 years ago

Google Play edition Z Ultra software bug prevents uninstalling applications

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Critical software flaw restarts UI when trying to remove a user-installed application

Update: These issues are fixed in the Android 4.4.2 update for the GPe Z Ultra, which is rolling out to devices now.

Original story: A second ugly software bug has reared its head in the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition. Applications installed from Google Play can't be uninstalled — the process instead causes the entire phone UI to restart. This is the second serious bug found in the software on the Z Ultra, the first being no way to open the "Security" section of the device settings, as found by JR Raphael at Computerworld

Both bugs are more than mere inconvenience to the user, and present security as well as usability concerns. This latest bug affects all user-installed apps, and is present regardless of network state. We were unable to test side loaded applications, as access to side loading is currently blocked because we can't get into the security settings.

We can't be 100 percent certain we are running the final consumer build of the operating system, though we have questions out to Google and Sony to get the definitive answer. I've been talking with a few other early adopters about the issue and we've found it to be present on all devices so far. The device is currently available from Google Play for purchase.

We're fairly certain Sony will push an update to fix these issues in short order, but if you've already received your Z Ultra, or it's on the way now, it looks like you'll have some issues to deal with. 

More in our Z Ultra Google Play edition forums.

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3 years ago

Motorola starting software soak test for Verizon Droids

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Attention, owners of the Verizon Motorola Droid Ultra, Droid Mini and Droid Maxx: Motorola has just sent out invites for a software "soak test" for the trio of devices. Nothing definite, but that could well mean Android 4.4 KitKat is on its way. (Or it could be a lesser version. We've got our fingers crossed.)

It generally takes a few days for the soak test update to push — and it's entirely possible the update will push to everyone — soak test or not — at the same time. It's happened before.

Stay tuned.

More: Verizon Droid forums; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Black HTC One Max headed to Hong Kong

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With the HTC One and One Mini already available in a slew of different colors, HTC is bringing a little more variety to the latest member of the HTC One family, the One Max. The black HTC One Max has made its debut in Hong Kong, and the manufacturer's Hong Kong site shows the Max in its new murdered-out exterior. The metal front and back, as well as the plastic sides, are now jet black, giving the enormous handset a slightly more businesslike appearance. It also makes the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner — admittedly not our favorite One Max feature — a little less visually jarring.

There's no indication as to when (or even if) HTC might launch the black One Max outside of Hong Kong. But given HTC's track record of slowly rolling out additional color options we wouldn't be surprised to see this model arrive internationally at some point. Elsewhere, a red HTC One Max was recently spotted in an ad for Taiwanese carrier FarEasTone, so it's possible the device may get a splash of color in the near future.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

Sprint's Moto X appears to be getting its KitKat update this morning

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And finally, Sprint's Moto X has begun getting its update to Android 4.4 KitKat, according to our inbox and folks in our Moto X forums. That makes all four major carriers (and US Cellular) to have updated the Moto X to the latest version of the Android operating system, within about six weeks of the code being made available.

The times, they are a-changin'.

More: Moto X forums

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3 years ago

Android 4.3 update reportedly hitting international Galaxy S3 LTE

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4G LTE-capable global Galaxy S3 gets its first major update, and it's a big one

Over a year after its launch, the international Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (GT-i9305) has started receiving its first major software update, bringing it up to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. According to reports from SamMobile, the update brings the Galaxy S3 LTE up to firmware version I9305XXUEMKC, and is currently rolling out to unlocked German handsets. The S3 LTE, with an Exynos 4 Quad processor, 2GB of RAM and 4G LTE connectivity, launched in Europe in late 2012 where it was sold alongside the more common HSPA-only GT-i9300 model. Since then it's been running Android 4.1.2.

As with other Samsung Android 4.3 updates, the latest upgrade introduces Galaxy Gear smartwatch support, the ability to move certain apps to the SD card and enhancements to Samsung's TouchWiz UI, bringing it in line with newer phones like the Galaxy S4 . Samsung's KNOX enterprise security suite is reportedly not in this particular update, however.

As always, the update will roll out in stages based on region and carrier, so it'll probably take a few weeks to reach everyone.

Source: SamMobile

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z + ZL Android 4.3 updates leak out

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First signs of newer Jelly Bean release for Xperia phones

Sony had previously promised Android 4.3 updates for some of its 2013 Xperia devices starting this month, and now a firmware package is available for those wanting to flash it onto the Xperia Z and ZL. The leaked updates are marked as "Commercial & Journalists" releases, meaning they're not necessarily intended for retail devices — but adventurous Xperia owners should be able to flash them onto any international LTE Xperia Z (C6603) or Xperia ZL (C6503) using the proper flash tool.

While it's possible this software build — version 10.4.B.0.569 — will be the same one to officially land via over-the-air updates before the end of the year, there's no guarantee this will be the case, and so caution is advised.

Sony's latest update advisory states that it plans to start updating the Xperia T, TX, V, Z, ZL, ZR, Tablet Z, SP, Z Ultra and Z1 from this month, though there's no sign of any Android 4.3-based firmware for other Sony devices just yet.

Source: XDA (Xperia Z), XDA (Xperia ZL); via: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Moto G's U.S. debut delayed by winter weather

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Delayed orders will be upgraded to overnight shipping, Motorola says

Those of us in the U.S. who ordered a Moto G (erm, some of us ordered more than one) on launch day have been awaiting shipping notices this week. Looks like we've got another week to go. 

Motorola this evening sent out e-mails announcing a delay because of the winter storm that struck much of the U.S., including Moto's fulfillment center in Fort Worth, Texas. That's caused a delay in shipping.

The good news? Moto's upgrading everyone to free overnight shipping by Dec. 17, if not sooner. We've seen at least one e-mail that says Dec. 14.

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3 years ago

Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition unboxing and hands-on

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The Sony Z Ultra loses the Xperia tag, but gains the 'Google experience'

A big phone or a small tablet? Neither? Both? It's the same Z Ultra we've seen before, with a little more Google in it. Big, bold, and waterproof, it's one we all were surprised to see when Google announced it

For fans of big phones — or small tablets with a phone on board — there is a lot to like here. As we saw with previous Google Play experience devices, you have Google's version of Android, with a few essential OEM customizations added on top. Additions like the X-Reality display software are great additions, and the combination makes for the best experience.

You've got everything Google as well. The Google applications we're used to seeing — minus the AOSP Gallery app, which has been fully replaced with Photos — including things like Google Earth and Google Currents are on board. The same goes for Google Wallet and the tap and pay function. The back of the Z Ultra says Sony, but you'll know you're holding a Google device in your hands.

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3 years ago

ASUS announces the Padfone Mini convertible phone + tablet

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4.3-inch mid-range phone turns into a 7-inch mid-range tablet

As widely anticipated, ASUS has today announced the latest addition to its Padfone line of convertible Android devices, the Padfone Mini. Like other Padfone products, the Padfone Mini comes in two parts — a 4.3-inch phone and a 7-inch tablet dock — meaning you can slot the former into the latter. This lets you use a single data plan for both tablet and phone mode, and charge the phone while it's docked in the tablet.

Unlike previous Padfones, the Padfone Mini is aimed squarely at the mid-range market. It's got a quad-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU with 1GB of RAM and a qHD (960x540) display on the phone, which expands to 1280x800 on the tablet. There's microSD expandability in addition to the 16GB of built-in storage, as well as a 1500mAh battery in the phone and a 2200mAh bank in the tablet. For your imaging needs there's an 8-megapixel camera with burst mode and ASUS' PixelMaster tech for boosting brightness in dark scenes.

And on the software side, the Padfone Mini runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and ASUS' own software customizations.

So the specs aren't earth-shattering, but given the price point of NT$11,990 ($405) that's not entirely surprising. The Padfone Mini is due to go on sale in China, Russia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, according to Engdget, with no word on any Western release plans.

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

Oppo N1 now available in U.S. and Europe

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$599 or €449 for oversized phone with rotating camera and CM support

As expected, the Oppo N1 has today gone on sale in the United States and Europe, where prices for the 16GB model start at $599 and €449 respectively — rising to $649 and €479 for the 32GB version. The latest high-end handset from the Chinese manufacturer, the N1 sports a 5.9-inch 1080p display, a rotating 13-megapixel camera for all your high-res selfie needs, and a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM. Powering the phone is a capacious 3,610mAh battery.

Connectivity-wise, the N1 includes pentaband HSPA+ support up to 42Mbps as well as Bluetooth, NFC and Wifi Direct — though you'll be missing out on LTE support, putting the device at a significant disadvantage for Western buyers.

The Oppo N1 ships with the manufacturer's ColorOS software, based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but buyers will be easily switch to officially-supported CyanogenMod as an alternative OS — that's currently marked as "coming soon" on Oppo's site. (It's not to be confused with the limited run of "CM edition" N1s that run the community firmware out of the box.)

So it's fairly expensive and lacking in connectivity options compared to the competition, but there's no doubt that the N1 is a unique piece of technology. If you're picking one up today, shout out in the comments.

Source: Oppo Style

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3 years ago

Samsung hails 10 million Galaxy Note 3s sold after second month on sale

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Samsung's latest Note inducted into '10 million seller' club

Not long after the company announced it had shipped 5 million Galaxy Note 3s worldwide, Samsung has revealed that the device has now passed the 10 million sold mark. The milestone earns the Galaxy Note 3 in the "10 million club," Samsung says, alongside recent successes like the earlier Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones, and popular clamshell phones from the last decade. 

It's unclear whether this means 10 million Note 3 devices are in the hands of end-users around the world, or whether Samsung has sold this number of handsets to retailers and carrier partners. Either way, that's a lot of Note 3s in a relatively short space of time. By comparison, the Galaxy Note 2 had shifted 5 million units shortly before the end of its second month on sale.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also earned the title of "best oversized phone" in our recent roundup of the best Android phones on the market.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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3 years ago

Motorola holiday sale live for the last time [Update: sold out again!]

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Last chance to get an off-contract Moto X for $150 off the standard price

Update: Once again the Moto X has sold out at the promotional price in just under 10 minutes. Hit the comments and let us know if you were able to pick one up.

Original story: After Wednesday's sale sold out almost as quickly as it started, Motorola's giving customers one last chance to pick up a Moto X off-contract for $150 off the regular price. Hit up motorola.com/holiday2daysale to reserve your spot.

If you're successful you'll receive a code within a couple of hours, and you'll then have seven days to complete your customizations through Moto Maker, meaning you don't have to rush through the process. Good luck!

More: Motorola holiday sale

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3 years ago

T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy Note 2 finally gets Android 4.3

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OK, folks. The long wait for T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to get Android 4.3 has finally come to a close. It'll need a few minutes of your time — and about 614 megabytes of your storage — but it's finally here.

Doesn't look like TMo has updated its documentation just yet (look for it here), but folks in the forums are sussing it all out as we speak, so head on over there to see what's what.

More: T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 forums
Thanks to Andrew for the pic, and everyone else who sent this in!

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3 years ago

LG G Flex preview

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It bends! It flexes! It regains its shape! And it's just the start of things to come for the Korean smartphone manufacturer.

It’s quite possible that we’ve been looking at this all wrong. But can you blame us? For LG, with its new G Flex Android smartphone, has presented us with something that not only is curved — and not just the glass that rests against our face, but the entire body of the phone — but bends and flexes as well.

By now, we’ve all seen the videos, of course. You can press down on the G Flex — and press pretty damn hard, actually, with up to 88 pounds of force. The phone itself is curved. It flattens out, then regains its shape.

What sorcery is this?

Thing is, it’s but one trick the LG G Flex has up its sleeve. And once you get past that novelty, the rest sort of starts to fall into place.

Let’s be clear here — this is not our LG G Flex review. We’ve only had it for a few short days, and this is the proper Korean model — Korean apps and TV antenna included. There’s no way we can get a proper feel for battery life, and we have no idea what the U.S. carriers will do to this thing when and if (ahem) they get it.

But this is quite the interesting phone.

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