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3 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR, RAZR MAXX update pushing out

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Update: Because so many people are just starting to get the update (thanks for the e-mails, everybody!), we're going to bump this post -- something we try to avoid doing for obvious reasons.

Original from Feb. 6: If you're the proud owner of a Motorola Droid RAZR, or it's brother with a bit bigger gas tank the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, (read the review of the MAXX right here)  there's an OTA update ready and waiting for you.  Version 6.12.173.XT912.Verizon.en.US (there's no way we could make that one up) started slowly rolling out over the weekend and is now pushing hard and heavy, and chances are you can grab it yourself by simply going to Settings>About Phone>System Updates.  

The update itself is about 150MB in size, and updates the software to Android 2.3.6.  I know many were wanting Ice Cream Sandwich, but this update brings some welcome bug fixes and security patches, so we'll gladly take it.  The full change list, line by line:

  • Mobile Hotspot will now successfully allow other devices to connect to all
  • Improvements in the Mobile Hotspot security.
  • VZ Navigator has been updated with the latest 3D map improvements.
  • Visual Voice Mail messages can be marked as read.
  • Visual Voice Mail message playback resumes when audio is switched to speaker.
  • Visual Voice Mail will successfully subscribe or unsubscribe while connected with Wifi.
  • Successfully press back key after playback in Visual Voice Mail without error.
  • V CAST App now comes preloaded.
  • MotoCast installation steps have been improved for easier use.
  • Improved stability of data connectivity after Airplane Mode is disabled.
  • Improved data throughput performance in low-signal 4G environments.
  • Improved Battery life when using Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) Bluetooth headsets.
  • Successfully save multimedia ringtones.
  • Favorite Contacts widget has been updated.
  • Improved device stability when moving between home screen panels.
  • Email icon has been updated for improved visibility.
  • When performing an Over the Air (OTA) update, the display will correctly show the remaining download time.
  • CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert Service) feature has been added.

That's a hell of a list, and seeing improvements with 4G data connectivity is certainly something everyone likes to see.  Things should go smoothly after this one, but if you hit any snags or just want to discuss it all, be sure to hit the forums!

More: Verizon

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3 years ago

Late-night poll: Is your Android phone rooted?

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Since we started doing our polls each weeknight, the most popular requested subject from you guys was about root.  People want to know who is rooting their phones, and why they're doing it.  It's a choice everyone should consider before making, as these little (and not so little) pieces of glass and plastic can get pretty darned expensive to replace.  Futzing around with the software can be a risky move, and when your done your phone is a bit less secure.  

But man, can it be fun.  So let's take a poll and see what the average reader of Android Central has to say.  Do you root your phone?

 

Do you root your phone?

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3 years ago

HTC adds more North American phones to Ice Cream Sandwich update list

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HTC sends word via its official Facebook page that in addition to the handful of phones already announced, Verizon's Rhyme, Droid Incredible 2 and Thunderbolt will be getting the latest version of Android later in the year. And on the Canadian side, the manufacturer has confirmed that the HTC Raider on Rogers and Bell will also see ICS in the months ahead.

We have more good news related to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, and can confirm that upgrades are planned for Verizon Wireless customers with the HTC Rhyme, HTC Thunderbolt, and DROID Incredible 2 by HTC, as well as the already announced HTC Rezound.   In addition, the HTC Raider is on the list to receive ICS for customers of Rogers and Bell in Canada. Stay tuned for more news on Ice Cream Sandwich releases in the coming weeks.

So great news for owners of those phones, especially the long-suffering Thunderbolt, which took long enough to get bumped from Froyo to Gingerbread. HTC expects to begin updating international handsets to ICS in the next month, starting with the Sensation and Sensation XE.

Source: HTC USA Facebook

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3 years ago

Archos 35 Smart Home Phone review

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If there’s one area of communications that remains firmly rooted in the 20th century, it’s the humble home phone. Dumb, unloved and tethered to a wall, these devices have been left behind, as cellphone technology continues to soar further into the stratosphere. With Android expanding its reach to ever more product classes, it was only a matter of time before someone attempted to bring the home phone up to date by introducing it to the leading smartphone operating system. And that’s precisely the idea behind the Archos 35 Smart Home Phone.

However, questions remain as to whether a smartphone OS belongs on such a device. Smartphones are personal, portable gadgets, neither of which applies to the typical home phone. And we have some concerns about the hardware too, particularly the nasty resistive touchscreen that’s been used.

Read on to find out our full thoughts, as we dive further into the Archos 35 Smart Home Phone.


Good call quality, DECT functionality works well. Offers a decent, if basic Android experience.


Abysmal resistive touchscreen, cheap build quality, awkward button placement and a couple of software bugs. No Android Market support.



We’re still not convinced that a home phone is the right place for a smartphone OS and matching hardware, and if we are to be persuaded, the Archos 35 Smart Home Phone isn’t the device to do it.

Inside this review

More info

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3 years ago

Android app permissions - How Google gets it right ...

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And how we, the users, still need to take responsibility

There's been a lot of news lately about a lapse in either security or judgment -- both, really -- at Apple that allows iOS applications to borrow your contact data and send it off to parts unknown without your consent. Apple has addressed the issue to members of the U.S. Congress, and will take steps to hold tighter control in a future iOS update. That's good news, and we're glad to see it happening.

But what about Android? During all this focus on apps doing things without explicit user permission, you see people referring to the Android permissions model. We're going to break it all down for you.  It's not perfect, but it works pretty well -- and it's certainly better than no permission system at all.

Let's walk you through permissions on Android, and how you need to be sure to do you part.

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3 years ago

Android 5.0 Jellybean in 2012? Better optimized for tablets? You don't say ...

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ZOMG A STORY ABOUT JELLY BEAN! But here's the thing. It's out of our favorite (not really) Taiwanese manufacturer rag, Digitimes. It's also as obvious as it is ridiculous. Here's the gist:

Android 5.0 Jelly Bean (neither the number nor the nickname is official, remember) is said to:

  • Launch in the second quarter. We dunno about "launch," but, yeah. Google IO is June 27-29. June is in the second quarter. And it's more than likely we'll get details on the next version of Android there. But "launch"? Nah.
  • Further optimized for tablets. We certainly hope otherwise, what's the point? Jelly Bean (or whatever it's called) probably will be further optimized for smartphones, too. Maybe even Google TV. Now will the UI undergo some major reconstruction for tablets? That's entirely possible, and it's not a bad idea at all. 
  • Integrating Chrome for "dual-operating system designs": Uh, OK. The idea, apparently, is to offer manufacturers the option of having an Android/Windows 8 system, without having to shut down. Hey, why not. BlackBerry's already doing that with its PlayBook tablet. But somehow we don't think adding a full second operating system and ecosystem is going to make choosing a tablet any simpler for consumers.
  • Google looking to get back into the netbook/notebook market with Jelly Bean: Sure. Why not. Android netbooks aren't new -- you'll recall our look at the HP Compaq Airlife 100 at Mobile World Congress in 2010. And you have the likes of ASUS' excellent Transformer line of tablet/notebook hybrids. Question is, should this have any legs to is, what happens with Chromebooks?

So, yeah. Really not a whole lot of meat there. A little patience, folks. We've got a good feeling that Google's got something up its sleeves for 2012.

Source: Digitimes

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3 years ago

Google Wallet pre-paid card exploit fixed

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Last week Google disabled the provisioning of pre-paid cards in Google Wallet, following the discovery that clearing app data could allow the PIN for these cards to be reset. Now Google says a fix is rolling out, and that pre-paid cards are available once again.

Writing on the official Google Commerce blog, VP of Google Wallet and Payments, Osama Bedier, said that the company was not aware that any pre-paid cards that had been misused as a result of the vulnerability.

Yesterday afternoon, we restored the ability to issue new prepaid cards to the Wallet. In addition, we issued a fix that prevents an existing prepaid card from being re-provisioned to another user. While we’re not aware of any abuse of prepaid cards or the Wallet PIN resulting from these recent reports, we took this step as a precaution to ensure the security of our Wallet customers. If you are unable to access your previous prepaid card balance for any reason, please contact our toll-free support for assistance.

So now we can all sleep a little safer at night, knowing that if someone steals your phone, at least they won't be able to pay for a Big Mac out of your pre-paid allowance.

The issue with obtaining PIN numbers on rooted devices via a brute-force method remains, however, as we discussed in our most recent podcast, a rooted device is by definition insecure. For its part, Google still recommends not installing Google Wallet on rooted devices.

Source: Google Commerce Blog

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Animals

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It's time for another weekly photo contest, and this week the theme is animals.  It's a broad category, and we can't wait to see how some of you guys and gals dazzle us with your great pictures.  Whether it's a picture of your pet, something from the park or zoo, or something exotic, we wanna see those pics.  This week the winner gets a headset of his or her choice from ShopAndroid.com to keep the noise down while shooting those elusive wildlife shots.  

Rules are easy -- you'll need to use an Android device to take the picture, and be sure to let us know which one in case your photo is selected as a finalist.  Also tell us who you are so we can give proper credit.  Only submit one picture per person, and e-mail your entry to pics@androidcentral.com by Friday Feb 17.  We'll pick the best of the bunch, and announce the winners on the blog Sunday, Feb 19.  Good luck all, and we can't wait to see this weeks pictures!

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3 years ago

White Galaxy Nexus begins shipping in the UK today

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As we learned last week, the white version of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus is due to go on sale today across multiple retailers. The white Nexus, which first emerged around a month ago, retains the black bezel around the screen, instead opting to change the color of the side trim and back cover.

Besides that, it's still a Galaxy Nexus -- same 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and gorgeous 720p HD SuperAMOLED display. You'll also get to be one of the cool kids with the current Google Experience phone, giving you Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich along with timely updates straight from Mountain View. And if you're buying in the UK, you can expect the same £500 SIM-free price point. As far as we're aware, no British or European carriers are offering the white Nexus at subsidized prices right out of the door.

And we still haven't heard anything about a US launch for the white Galaxy Nexus, though you should be able to import the GSM version form the usual places, just like the original "titanium silver" version. We're hoping Sprint may surprise us with a white Galaxy Nexus model when it launches its LTE version later in the year.

More: Samsung Galaxy Nexus review

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest winners: Lloyd was here

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It's Sunday, which means it's time to announce the weekly photo contest winners!  This time around we asked you guys to take Lloyd along with you and snap a picture showing what kind of good times you all had together, and as usual the response was overwhelming.  We dug through all the entries, and picked the five best.  Winners will receive an Android Central t-shirt, and all the prestige that comes along with.  Winners, check your Inbox for more info.

You can find all five winning photos after the break (in no particular order), and stay tuned for the next contest coming Monday!

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3 years ago

HTC Endeavor RUU has treasure trove of Sense 4.0 screen shots

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Gotta love a good RUU -- otherwise known as a ROM Update Utility -- because they're chock full of fun stuff. And the one that surfaced over the weekend for the HTC Endeavor has found itself available for download. We've been picking it apart and have packaged up a nice little Sense 4.0 preview.

And that' sbeen the big question since Google announced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich -- what will HTC (and the other manufacturers) do with their custom user interfaces. ICS easily is the sexiest "stock" UI Google's come up with (by far). How will HTC and Motorola and Samsung and everyone else customize it? We've gotten a glimpse of what HTC likely has in store for us in that leaked video of the HTC Ville, and now we're getting an even better look thanks to the RUU. Packaged within it are nearly two dozen screen shots that show a Sense that looks familiar, yet refined.

Looks like we've got a bunch of different lock screen options, with the ring and quick links that we've come to know and love so much, and the Sense dock has more of the traditional Android look and feel that we've come to know. How that all works together, we're not quire sure. It's almost some sort of hybrid, with HTC's widgets throughout. Or perhaps what we're seeing is just a massive serires of themes. 

(Update: Now that I think about it some more, maybe toss out that whole "hybrid" thing. What you see after the break may well just be example images of what you see in Sense 4.0.)

You get a good look at the Sense phone book, favorite contacts, photo gallery, lock screen reminders and stocks backgrounds -- in both portrait and landscape. And it also looks like Beats and NFC are a go, too, from what we've seen in the ROM.

We've got a plethora of screen shots after the break. Peep 'em.

We've got some wallpapers from the leaked RUU available in the Android Central forums, too!

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3 years ago

Apple at it again, calling for injunction against the Galaxy Nexus

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Apple has once again called Samsung into court. This time it's about the Galaxy Nexus and four patents that Apple says it infringes. The patents in question are:

Apple is requesting that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus be blocked from sale in the United States because it violates these patents.  Should the court find in favor of Apple, a ban against the Galaxy Nexus would be put in effect until the final court decision.  

Could it happen? Certainly. But if it does, it won't go into effect any time soon, it would only affect stores inside the U.S. selling these products, and no jack-booted thugs from Cupertino will come pry your Nexus from your hands. We can't be sure how the courts will act, but all of these are pretty shaky patents, and once again Apple is not going after Google directly -- even though the Galaxy Nexus has a pure vanilla version of Android.  The only certainty here is that the patent system is broken and only serves the company willing to spend the most in the courts.

It's time for Google to step in and put a stop to this bullshit. The first patent in question is the same one that was upheld against HTC in a move that shocked the tech community at large, essentially giving Apple the rights to the hyperlink -- something invented over 20 years ago by numerous companies that aren't Apple.

The other three are just as laughable, or would be if not for the fact that Apple was allowed to secure the patents at all. Every single one of them has existed as prior art long before Apple became relevant, yet a patent was granted each and every time. This is the core of the problem. You can't blame Apple for trying, it's cheaper to litigate away your competition than it is to out-innovate them.  And make no mistake -- that's exactly what's going on here.  Apple wants Android to go away, and a look at any chart that shows market share will tell you why.  It's a shitty way to get ahead, but it's too easy not to try. It's going to take a tech giant to change the way this all works, and we know nobody can count on Apple or Microsoft to do it, because this is their system, created the way they like it, and making them rich. If Apple is afraid to go after Google, Google needs to go after Apple instead of sitting on their laurels waiting to ride in and save the day at the last minute.

Now blast away in the comments, telling me how subsection F of title code XXIVI (or some other ridiculous lawyer speak) makes my points invalid. In reality, they make it even more valid -- spending money on lawyers, and twisting common sense into something that kills your competition works with the current patent system. That makes us sad.

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3 years ago

Droid 4 root method now available

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We only got the Motorola Droid 4 officially a day ago, but today we see the release of a root exploit for the device, courtesy of security researcher Dan Rosenberg. 

That's good news for you guys out there that have thought about picking up a Droid 4 and have to have root access. And as our image here shows, all works, and works well. 

The method is Windows-only for now, but it's simple enough. Download a .zip file, put your Droid 4 into USB debugging mode, and run the exploit file. Takes just a couple minutes and a couple reboots.

Download: Vulnfactory.org
More: Droid 4 forums

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3 years ago

'HTC Endeavor' quad-core phone reportedly on the way

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HTC may be about to make smartphone history with the world's first quad-core handset, if the latest reports from veteran phone blog MoDaCo are to be believed.   According to MoDaCo's source, the manufacturer will soon unveil the HTC Endeavor, and it'll be powered by a beastly quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. Other reported specs include 1GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch, 720p display, an 8MP main camera and 1.3MP front-facer.  Connectivity-wise, Wifi a/b/g/n support is reported, along with Bluetooth 4.0. A quad-band (not penta-band) HSPA+ radio is apparently in the bag too, which suggests this device may be AT&T-bound in the US.   On the software side, the phone is said to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC Sense 4.0, just like the couple of leaked devices we’ve already seen.   The Endeavor, which seems to have started life with the codename “Edge”, has been the subject of numerous leaks since late last year. Recent reports have suggested that “Endeavor” is actually a codename, and that the device will be branded as the HTC Supreme. Given the differences in the spelling of “Endeavor” (or Endeavour, if you prefer) around the world, our money would be on “Supreme” being the final name.   It’s likely we’ll see more of HTC’s quad-core monster in a couple of weeks at MWC. We’ll be there, of course, to bring you all the announcements as they happen!

Source: MoDaCo

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3 years ago

Late-night poll: How big is too big?

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4-inches, 4.65-inches, 5.3-inches, when will it all end?  When we decide they are too big and stop buying them, that's when.  When the HTC EVO 4G came out at 4.3-inches, people wanted more.  The Galaxy Nexus checked in at 4.65, people are wanting more.  Now we have the Galaxy Note at 5.3, and the rumored LG Optimus Vu at 5-inches but with a 4:3 aspect ratio.  Those are big phones.  Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the size of their phone, but there is a market sweet spot that will eventually be found.  We figured we could do some market research of our own and predict a little bit of the future, so let us know in the poll about how big your ideal phone would be.

 

I want a phone that's:

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