Headlines

2 years ago

HTC Rezound available today on Verizon

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The second of Verizon's year-end smarpthone troika -- the HTC Rezound -- is officially available today. It'll run you $299 with a two-year contract. And for all that scratch, you get a 4.3-inch phone with a new 720p display -- as in 720 pixels packed into the short axis -- along with Android 2.3 and Sense 3.5. It's sporting a 1.5GHz processor to push those pixels, and an 8MP camera full of HTC's newfound photographic goodness. It's also got Beats Audio (and comes with a snazzy pair of earbuds), if you're into that sort of thing.

Online: HTC Rezound at Verizon; more: HTC Rezound hands-on

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2 years ago

International readers: Win an Xperia Ray with Android Central and Sony Ericsson

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Sony Ericsson has released some gorgeous devices this year, not least of which is the compact but powerful Xperia Ray, a highly capable device with a super-vibrant Bravia Engine-powered display. It's also got the latest version of Gingerbread, along with Sony's best-in-class 8.1MP Exmor-R camera setup. Like we said in our review, the Ray is the most fully-featured 3.3-inch device available (and it's getting ICS, too!)

We're giving away an Xperia Ray courtesy of Sony Ericsson, and if you want to get your hands on it, all you need to do is head over to the forums and post in the contest thread -- check the end of this post for the link. Before you do, though, bear in mind that the Ray we're giving away is the international model, so we're limiting entries to readers outside of North America. Our Xperia Ray should work on any European or African GSM carrier, and most Asian networks too. If in doubt, find your network on this list and make sure it shows 900, 2100 or both under "Frequency".

So, if you're outside of North America and want to get your hands on our Xperia Ray, head over to the forums and post in the contest thread! The deadline for entries is 1700 GMT this Friday, Nov. 18 (that's noon EST for those of you in North America who can't actually enter.) Good luck!

Enter to win: Android Central forums

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2 years ago

Barnes & Noble reveals Microsoft's patent strategy against its Android powered devices

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The cat's out of the bag, thanks to Barnes & Noble's letters to the ITC about their dispute with Microsoft.  Rather than roll over and pay Microsoft what they demand like some big names in Android have done, B&N is fighting tooth and nail against the Redmond Devil Microsoft.  It's fairly long, and apt to make your eyes bleed if you're not a lawyer, but you can see the full scope of the letter and attachments (which actually name the patents and quickly dismiss their validity) at the source link.  Carry on past the break to read our layman's version.

Source: GroklawThanks, John!

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2 years ago

Motorola Atrix 2 review

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Remember when the Atrix 4G was released just over eight months ago? Do you remember what car you were driving, or how your hair looked? How old were your kids? Sad but true, eight months is the new eight years in the smartphone industry, and that measly old Atrix already has a successor. Whereas the Atrix 4G was a major step for AT&T in terms of both Android and network strength, the Atrix 2 is less of a trailblazer. And this type of incremental update seems like the business model that Motorola is building for itself (see Droid X/X2, Droid line). But for the consumer, how can you tell when an incremental update is enough to fork over more money? And in the Atrix 2's case, is an incremental update enough to compete with some heavy hitters during this holiday season, perhaps the most exciting time for Android since its birth in 2008? Let's see.


Super fast and powerful processor. Beautiful, clear display. AT&T's HSPA 21+ speeds are respectable if you're in good coverage.


Cheap build quality. Specs don't match other recent releases. Webtop software is abysmal.



The Atrix 2 isn't the biggest or best smartphone on the market, but for $99 on contract, the sacrificies Motorola made are justifiable and can be overlooked.

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2 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich source code coming Nov. 17 says Notion Ink CEO

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The CEO of Notion Ink, Rohan Shravan, is at it again with news about the Ice Cream Sandwich source code release, saying it will be released November 17.  While it's tempting to just toss this aside as another rumor in the ICS/Galaxy Nexus craze of late, Mr. Shravan has a track record that shows he's usually right.  Last year, he did the same thing with the Gingerbread release, accurately predicting more than could be a good guess, and just last month he told everyone about the OMAP chipset and Ice Cream Sandwich using them as a reference platform.  When he talks, it's always worth listening, and the Nov. 17 date has already been thrown out there as the European release.  If we see source code on the 17th, the 18th is going to be a very fun day for a lot of us.

Source: Notion Ink via AndroidOS.in

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2 years ago

Android 'fragmentation' -- why it really matters to you and me

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It's fun to say Android is fragmented on the Internet.  All the cool kids and blogs do it, they even make fancy misleading charts about it.  While there's more than one side to the argument -- choice versus fragmentation -- only the most rabid fanboy would say that it doesn't exist.  I tend to think the whole issue is living with the choice you make.  If you want the "Android" experience, buy a Nexus phone.  If you prefer the experience an OEM offers, buy one of their phones.  Both are the right choice.  But there's an underlying issue that gets forgotten when we talk about updates and versions -- security patches.

The diversity of Android gives us a chance to have this user experience regardless of the platform version it's built from.  That doesn't make the want for the new software any less, but it a fair trade for most people.  Ice Cream Sandwich looks a whole helluva lot like TouchWiz 4.  Security issues are another matter entirely.  HTC had a recent issue about user privacy, have a read if you aren't familiar (be sure to read HTC's response as well).  They caused it.  They quickly pushed out a patch to at least one carrier to address it.  All security issues need to be addressed this way.  If HTC, or, Samsung, or LG, or Motorola -- whomever -- builds the OS and sells it to the carrier, they need to follow up with security patches in a timely manner -- either by updating their base to the latest Android version and building their OS with it, or patching the issue themselves with the current code base.  Users deserve the benefit that patches to the bootloader, or browser, or whatever, much faster than companies and carriers get them rolled out.  Yes, that responsibility is shared by the carrier as well.  While they aren't the people responsible for updating the code and building the operating system, they are the people that accept your money for the device.  Carriers and OEMs need to work together to keep the phone secure for the life of the product, even if they don't work to keep the software version current.

On the enterprise side of things (something that OEMs are starting to take more seriously), this becomes critical.  Companies simply can't sit back and ignore the fact they aren't getting security patches, because their money is on the line.  Documents, contacts, and communications need to be secure as possible, and when cracks in the armor are found, the patches need to come quickly.  They don't, and this is a problem. 

I know that making sure your phone isn't susceptible to the latest bootloader hack isn't near as glamorous as getting Ice Cream Sandwich, or even Gingerbread.  These few words can't make that happen.  But I think we need to be pointing out the right issues -- not having a phone that is secure for the life of its contract is one of them.

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2 years ago

Samsung Skyrocket hands-on and initial review

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More in the Samsung Skyrocket forums

The Samsung Skyrocket is the AT&T LTE version of the Galaxy S II.  Built with slightly different hardware, and at a bit bigger size, and (the best part for many) the addition of an AT&T LTE radio for their blossoming LTE 4G network.  When a package from Dallas arrived, I know it could only be one thing, and we've got one of these beauties to put through the wringer and see what we think of it.

Jump past the break for a quick hands-on look, some first impressions, a smattering of pictures and some specs of one of AT&T's first LTE smartphones.

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2 years ago

LG Nitro HD looks to be heading to AT&T, LTE bands intact

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With LG having announced the Optimus LTE for the Korean market not long ago, and then having a variation the device arrive on Bell Mobility in Canada the question of whteher or not it would see any US carrier launches arose. While we won't take a simple image as fact -- clearly the idea of the Android 2.3 powered device making its way to AT&T has been bounced around and if and it arrives it will comes as the LG Nitro HD.

If it does land there, you'll be looking at a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 1830 mAh battery as well as an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 1.3MP shooter up front. A full 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a 16GB microSD card. And let's not forget that "True HD IPS" display and of course support for AT&T's LTE as well as their 21Mbs HSDPA network.

Source: Pocketnow

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2 years ago

Best Buy's Black Friday sale has Samsung Stratosphere in white (and others), free with contract

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Black Friday looks to be full of free Android phones at Best Buy, including the Samsung Stratosphere in white.  While a store offering "free" phones after you sign a two-year contract is nothing new, this years selection at Best Buy looks like some great hardware if you're not the kind who has to have the latest new and shiny Android phone.  Sprint customers can get a EVO Shift 4G free with their contract, Verizon customers can choose from a Droid Incredible 2 or a Samsung Stratosphere (both in white or black), and AT&T subscribers can choose from a Thrill 4G, an Atrix 2, or (if your a masochist) the BlackBerry Torch 9810.

Of course free is never really free, and if you're signing up for a new two year agreement you're certainly spending quite the chunk of cash.  But phones like these might prove to be a better choice that some of the entry-level Android handsets, and that white Stratosphere looks hawt.

Thanks, Shawheim!

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2 years ago

Notre Dame Sprint ID pack now available

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The Univerisity of Notre Dame Sprint ID pack is now available for download on a handful of the carrier's Android devices. Sprint ID packs are customized themes for your smartphone that feature widgets and customized social media links and can be downloaded through the Sprint ID link on your enabled device. The Notre Dame ID pack comes preloaded with university web cams, dining hall menus, a lab locator, news, calendars, and of course sports updates. Hit the source link for Sprint's presser.

Source: Sprint

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2 years ago

Droid RAZR rooted, but do so with care

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If you've picked up a shiny new Motorola Droid RAZR today -- be sure to read our full review -- and can't wait to get it rooted, well, you don't have to wait to get it rooted. Wicked over at Droidforums has dropped in a handy tool to do the deed. It's Windows-only for now, and we've yet to see a custom recovery or SBF file. So if you bork things up, there's no way back just yet.

Source: DroidForums; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

iFixit cracks open the Droid RAZR, finds Droid RAZR parts inside

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And here we have the Motorola Droid RAZR splayed across a table for all to see, courtesy of those crazy cracker-openers, iFixit. No real surprises inside -- it's got smartphone parts. But you get a great look at the uber-thin non-removable battery -- complete with a "remove battery" tab. Go figure.

Source: iFixit

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2 years ago

Firefox for Android getting an overhaul to use native Java widgets and UI, will bring better performance

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before                                                          after

Mozilla has decided to change the tools used to build the Firefox for Android client front end, and changes are in store.  In it's current iteration, Firefox uses XUL (a cross-platform toolkit used to design widgets and user interface elements), but will be switching to native Android elements written in Java.  This will bring more than just changes to the look and feel -- expect much faster load times and better performance, at the cost of some of the more complicated menus and options that are currently offered.  As you can see in the pictures above (ignore the custom font on the rooted device used by Mozilla for testing -- go root!), this will bring a UI that looks more like we're used to on Android apps, and will fit in much better once Ice Cream Sandwich rolls along.  Of coruse, the performance improvements are the big bonus, as well as (hopefully) a smaller file size.  All in all, it looks like the right way to go here from the user perspective.  Too many options can be a bad thing, and performance improvements are always welcome.  With Flash getting killed off, the Gecko rendering engine will start to look like a great option in the near future.

They will begin open Alpha testing tomorrow, we'll be sure to have a look.

Source: Dknite's blog

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2 years ago

Homerun Battle 3D, root access, and poor communication leads to knee-jerk reactions

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image credit umpire.org

Com2Us are the distributors and developers on a semi-popular game in the Android Market -- Homerun Battle 3D.  Recently, in order to try to kill the rampant cheating that goes on in the multi-player online games, they made a huge mistake.  Com2Us sent out an update that blocked anyone who had rooted their phone from playing.  As you can imagine, the uproar from people who had already spent $5 to buy the game (it's pretty well done, and this issue notwithstanding, probably worth the 5 bucks) and no longer could was instant, and loud.  We started getting reports about the issue, and started poking around to see what was up.

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2 years ago

Verizon LTE coming to Roanoke on Nov. 17; Indiana, Penn., in December

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Verizon LTE will be coming soon to a couple new locations -- Roanoke, Virginia and Indiana Pennsylvania.  On November 17 they flip the switch in Roanoke, which will bring wireless broadband to downtown, Smith Mountain Lake, Christiansburg, Radford City, Buena Vista City, Lexington City and Rockbridge.  While it's a fairly large population center by southern Virginia standards (about 300,000 people), it's a pretty isolated metro area, and blanketing the whole community (as well as nearby Virginia Tech and the town of Blacksburg last September) is quite a trick.  Well done Verizon.

Not far behind their counterparts to the south, Indiana Pennsylvania (another fairly small college town -- do we see a trend?) will get the LTE treatment on December 15, covering Indiana, White Township, the Indiana University of PA campus, Homer City and Blairsville.  Again we see high speed mobile broadband being brought to places we would have never imagined having it two or three years ago.  Remember the next time you're paying that expensive Verizon bill -- they are actively investing that money back into their network, so your shiny Galaxy Nexus stays fast as hell in more places.  Can't fault anyone for that type of business strategy.

More: Verizon; MarketWatch

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