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3 years ago

ZTE to unveil 5-inch Grand S at CES on January 8

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Show season is right around the corner, and as such we're subject to the usual rumor mill churning overtime. What we're seeing here though isn't one of those rumors, it appears to be cold hard facts. ZTE will announce the Grand S in a press event at CES 2013 in Las Vegas next month. The source -- the CES Press Event schedule page. 

Being unveiled on Jan. 8 in a press event at the main Convention Center in Las Vegas, the ZTE Grand S is the Chinese OEM's latest and greatest. It's a 5-inch device, with an FHD display. More so, it's supposedly the worlds thinnest 5-inch FHD smartphone -- although that market isn't exactly bursting at the seams right now. So, it's thinner than the HTC Droid DNA/Butterfly, and according to the folks at CNET, there'll be a quad-core processor of some variety in there as well. We'd expect Jelly Bean of some variety to be on there too, although there's no information at this time. 

The 5-inch market is expected to come alive during 2013, and it certainly looks like we're going to hit the ground running in January. Of course, Android Central will be on the ground in Las Vegas throughout to bring you everything you'll need to know. 

Source: CES via CNET

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 now available from Three UK

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As promised, Three UK has today launched the LG Nexus 4, following the expiration of O2's month-long exclusivity period. Three's selling the new Nexus online on its £35-per-month, 24-month "One Plan" contract, which includes 2,000 minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes, 5,000 texts and unlimited ("All You Can Eat") data. There's an up-front charge of £29 for the phone when buying with this contract.

The Nexus 4 supports Three's 42Mbps DC-HSDPA network, which it's been promoting over the past month as an alternative to EE's faster but more expensive 4G LTE. Besides a possible SIM lock, Three's Nexus 4 is the same phone we've become familiar with over the past month -- a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro running stock Android 4.2, sandwiched between two layers of Corning Gorilla Glass 2. For anyone wondering, this is the 16GB model -- we've yet to see the cheaper 8GB version outside of the Google Play device store.

Right now Three isn't selling the Nexus 4 on Pay As You Go online, so you may be out of luck if you want to pick up the device without a monthly commitment (especially considering the long wait facing UK Google Play Store customers.) We've reached out to Three to check up on any future PAYG Nexux 4 plans, and we'll update this post with any response.

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

Sprint EVO 4G LTE Jelly Bean update: We're all patiently waiting this morning

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There's nothing quite like the rollout of a major update on Sprint, folks. Never experience one before? Picture Times Square on New Year's Eve. Add a dash of a major chess tournament, a giant bag of Doritos, and a case of Red Bull. That's pretty much what we've got going on now. It's a friggin' party in our EVO 4G LTE forums as we all patiently <cough> await the arrival of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Anyhoo, here's a better shot of the Sprint Playbook page detailing the update that finally made its way out last night, for those who like things crisp and clear. (Lord knows my tired eyes do.)

As you can see, according to the Playbook (which is sort of Sprint's all-but-public internal newsletter), you should be able to start pulling down the update today, and it'll be pushed out starting Jan. 3. (At least that's the current plan, apparently.) Not that folks are drumming their fingers in the forums or anything.

Oh, and Sprint's EVO 4G LTE product page now lists Jelly Bean, for what that's worth. Not that anybody's obsessing over it or anything.

If you wanna get in on the party, hit this link. Things really get going around Pages 42-43, again in the 70s, and it's a  madhouse at Page 82.

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3 years ago

On the trail of the elusive HTC EVO 4G LTE update - maybe tomorrow?

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There's a whole lot of people waiting on the Jelly Bean update for the HTC EVO LTE. They are an anxious bunch. There's a good reason for the anxiety, as dates keep coming and passing, with no update being delivered. It's frustrating reading about all the Jelly Bean features, having a phone that's kick-ass enough to run them like nobody's business, and having to wait for it. 

Maybe. just maybe, the end of the waiting is near. A look at the most recent Sprint Playbook shows the 3.15.651.16 update becoming available tomorrow (Dec. 13). Of course, it's not the first date the Playbook has spat out that didn't come to fruition. Nor is it the second. In fact, it's reached the point where we have no idea what to expect or believe. We just know that your EVO LTE will be better, stronger, and faster when it comes.

I sure hope that day is tomorrow. You'll know as soon as it happens if you follow along with the hawks in the EVO LTE forums.

More: Android Police

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3 years ago

Verizon releases Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean support docs, update on the way

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It was just a matter of time before we got something official out of Verizon indicating that its Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) would be receiving a Jelly Bean update. Verizon has just published support documentation regarding that very update, and it says that Jelly Bean is on its way to a handset near you. The update is apparently just 62MB, and will be coming OTA (Over The Air) instead of via Kies -- exactly as it should.

Along with all of the usual Android 4.1 goodies -- like Google Now and expandable notifications -- Verizon indicates that this update brings Isis Mobile Wallet and also unlocks global roaming on the device. There are a whole host of bugfixes included as well, from Email sync to the Wifi connection. Take a look at the source links for Verizon's support docs, and then hit the forums to see what other members are saying about the OTA.

Update: And ... Verizon has reverted the support, say the folks in our forums. Messin' with our emotions!!!

Source: Verizon Support; (2); via Verizon Galaxy S3 Forums

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Note 2 bootloader unlock now available

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Well that certainly didn't take very long. The folks over at XDA, as they like to do, have unlocked the Verizon Galaxy Note 2 bootloader. You'll need to jump through a few hoops and have some patience to get through it all, but if you're willing to do it there's a pretty granular walkthrough at the source link below. Before you do, remember to hack at your own risk -- bad things can happen when you start messing around with this stuff.

Unlocking the bootloader still won't get rid of that big 'ol Verizon logo on the home button, though. You'll need a sticker for that job.

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (EE UK) mini-review

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If you have any business reading this website, chances are you’ve at least heard of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Samsung’s curvaceous, nature-inspired flagship smartphone has sold over 30 million units worldwide, and is our top recommendation for buyers in the U.S. and international markets.

But when the S3 was released internationally this spring, it lacked 4G LTE network connectivity. That wasn’t a huge deal at the time, but in the latter half of 2012, support for burgeoning European LTE networks is increasingly seen as a necessity.

So here we have the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, also known as the GT-i9305. Of all the various Galaxy S3 models we’ve seen this year -- and there’ve been a few -- this one packs the greatest punch. It couples Samsung’s quad-core Exynos chip with 2GB of RAM and European LTE connectivity, and it’s running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.

In the UK, the Galaxy S3 LTE is available on the EE (Everything Everywhere) network alongside its big brother the Galaxy Note 2 LTE. We’ve been testing the S3 LTE out on EE’s 4G network in recent days, and we’ve prepared a few thoughts on the phone and the network.

Check past the break to find out more in our EE Galaxy S3 LTE mini-review.

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 factory images, binaries disappear from Google site

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In slightly puzzling news, Google appears to have pulled the Nexus 4 Android 4.2.x system images from its online repository of factory images. These files allow devices to be restored to their original state, so if something goes wrong when flashing a ROM or otherwise tinkering with your phone, there's an easy way back to stock.

Factory images for other Android 4.2 devices, such as the Nexus 10, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 3G and Galaxy Nexus remain on Google's site, so it'd appear whatever caused them to be withdrawn is specific to the Nexus 4.

Our best guess is that this might relate to the LTE situation on the Nexus 4. By changing a hidden setting, it's possible to use the N4 on LTE networks running on Band 4 (AWS), though this is not officially documented or approved by regulators. And that last part may be key -- if Google is preparing to patch this hidden LTE option out of the Nexus 4 -- as it'd be required to do to avoid falling foul of bodies like the FCC -- then clearing out earlier factory images might simply be a precaution. It's possible Google's looking to keep regulators happy by making it harder to find the earlier radio code that enabled this unlicensed LTE functionality. That's just speculation on our part, however, there may be a much more innocuous explanation.

In any case, we'll keep you posted on any further developments.

Update: Should have checked this the first time, but binaries are gone as well. They were there before, right?

Source: Nexus Factory Images; via: theandroidsoul

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3 years ago

HTC announces three-year partnership with UEFA

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HTC has announced that it'll become the official smartphone partner of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, as part of a three-year deal that'll begin in January and span the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. The deal means fans will be seeing a lot more of HTC's branding and devices, and the company promises "to deliver new and innovative ways for fans around the world to get closer to the action," both in-stadium and remotely via mobile devices. 

As part of the deal, HTC will also become official smartphone partner of the UEFA Super Cup Final in 2013 and 2014, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Scoring a partnership with Europe's leading club football (or soccer, if you insist) competitions is a big deal for HTC, which has witnessed a downturn in its revenues over the past year. A recent executive switch-up brought in a new CMO, with the aim of re-vamping HTC's marketing efforts for its next round of smartphones, expected in early 2013. HTC will surely be hoping that its new UEFA partnership will bring some pizzazz to its brand.

More details and obligatory executive quotes in the presser after the break.

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3 years ago

The best Android smartphones on U.S. carriers [late 2012]

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We've said it a number of times the past few months -- never before have we seen a time when there are so many good Android smartphones on so many U.S. carriers. We've practically been tripping over them all year. 

From T-Mobile to Sprint to AT&T to Verizon, most of the major manufacturers are represented. But when we get down to it, we're going in the same direction as we did in our international picks.

Best of the Best in the U.S.: Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2

Our all-around winner(s) for best smartphone remains the Samsung Galaxy S3, and its larger sibling, the Galaxy Note 2. OK, so that's two phones. We're adding the Note 2 here because it really is in a category all its own.

Back to the Galaxy S3, though. It's got the design. The whole "inspired by nature" thing is Samsung's most personable, fluid design yet. It makes a large, 4.8-inch phone feel good. The specs, while maybe not on the bleeding edge anymore, remain more than good enough for most smartphone owners. The inclusion of microSD storage and a removable battery give flexibility that other phones don't. (Those features have been trending off in the majority of other devices. And while we don't ding them for it as much as we used to, you can't overlook the fact that it's better to have a microSD card and removable battery and not need them, than to not have the option.)

What's more, the Galaxy S3 is the only phone on every major U.S. carrier (and a few of the regionals as well). The experience is largely the same whether you're on T-Mobile or Sprint or AT&T or Verizon, network issues aside. The camera is among the best you can get. The software remains on the newer side of things, with the phone starting to get its upgrades to Android 4.x Jelly Bean. Samsung's TouchWiz user interface isn't our favorite way to get things done, but, again, for most smartphone users, it makes life easier. 

OK. The Galaxy Note 2. It's also available on every major U.S. carrier. Picture the Galaxy S3, only bigger. Some 5.5 inches, to be exact. Take all the features Samsung's put into the Galaxy S3, and add some excellent pen input mechanisms and dual-screen viewing, and you've got another winner, hands-down.

So should you bother to look at anything else?

Absolutely.​ If we have to pick just one phone, the Galaxy S3 takes it. But as we said at the outset, there are a number of excellent options on each major carrier.

These aren't also-rans. We're not picking other phones to make their manufacturers feel good about themselves. The phones we've listed after the break are the phones that our in our pockets. They're the phones that we use day after day. We live with them. We work with them. We travel with them. We rely on them to document our lives. And we recommend any one of them.  

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 bumpers back in stock at U.S. Play Store

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Even if you've been lucky enough to pick up an LG Nexus 4 in the U.S., you may have had difficulty getting hold of the official bumper case to protect your new shiny. The bumper has been unavailable through the U.S. Play Store for a while, but today it's popped back in stock with a 3-5 business day shipping time and a $19.99 price tag.

The official LG-made accessory protects the sides of the Nexus 4 by covering them, and the glass back by raising it slightly, preventing scratches. We've given the bumper a once-over in our recent hands-on feature, so head on over there for more details.

More: Nexus 4 Bumper on Google Play

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3 years ago

International Galaxy Note 2 models get Android 4.1.2 update with new TouchWiz features

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It's not just the Galaxy S3 getting a generous helping of new features in its Android 4.1.2 update. According to reports from SamMobile, the international Galaxy Note 2 (GT-N7100) and Galaxy Note 2 LTE (GT-N7105) are also receiving new Samsung-flavored software along with the new OS upgrade.

The biggest changes seem to be focused around the top of the screen. The notification shade is now customizable, so if you're not a fan of extraneous toggles and brightness dials, you can turn them off. If you keep your notification shade quick-controls, you'll notice new additions such as the ability to toggle the multi-window feature on and off. The notification bar itself has also changed slightly, going from grey back to black. And the lock screen's been changed up a little, with a new, optional ink effect in the on-screen "pool" when unlocking the device.

Web browser performance improvements are also noted, although we've always found Samsung's stock browser to be pretty fast. And finally, there's also a new Group Cast app for sharing music and photos with other Samsung device owners.

SamMobile says the Note 2 Android 4.1.2 upgrade is going live now in Poland (Note 2) and Sweden (Note 2 LTE). As ever, other countries are likely to vary, particularly when carriers need to get involved and certify the updates.

Are you seeing today's update on your international Galaxy Note 2? Let us know how you're getting on in the comments!

Source: SamMobile (2)

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3 years ago

HTC launches One SV for the UK, coming to EE

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Originally announced in Southeast Asia in September, the HTC One SV is now headed to Europe -- specifically the UK, where it'll launch on EE, the country's first 4G LTE carrier. An unassuming device with widely curved sides, the One SV is HTC's mid-range LTE offering for markets outside the U.S.

Spec-wise, we're looking at a handset that sits somewhere near the One S in HTC's Android line-up It's got a 4.3-inch WVGA (480x800) display, a 5MP ImageSense camera around the back, and is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU with 1GB of RAM. 8GB of storage is included, along with a microSD slot for expansion. Crucially, the One SV also comes with LTE support, allowing it access to EE's fast lane of 4G data.

Unfortunately, however, this is another phone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, with no word of when a Jelly Bean update might arrive, or whether one is even in the works.

In any case, the HTC One SV is due to launch "in the coming weeks," which likely indicates a release date right before the holidays. We've got more photos of the One SV in white and blue after the break, along with today's press release.

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3 years ago

Intel ready to shrink mobile SoC circuitry to 22 nanometers

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Intel is hoping to become more competitive in 2013 with new manufacturing processes that will shrink chip circuitry from 32 to 22 nanometers (nm) in size. The chip maker has been trying its best to make a run at the smartphone market, with a couple of devices like the Motorola RAZR i, but just hasn't seen the market share it was hoping for. One of the original issues with Intel processors for phones and tablets -- marketed under the Atom brand name -- was their power consumption, which seemed to lag behind that of comparable ARM units.

This new process, based on its "TriGate" technology used for its larger PC processors, uses three-dimensional transistor structures that help save space and therefore increase efficiency. Intel claims 22- to 65-percent performance improvements in its 22nm chips compared to current 32nm units. The company does admit that it is about 6 months behind schedule on releasing SoC's, but analysts expect them to become available in the second half of 2013.

Even if the technology checks out, Intel still has an uphill battle ahead of it. The next part of this equation will be convincing smartphone and tablet manufacturers that Atom is a better choice than price-competitive ARM units -- as well as consumers that "Intel Inside" is something they want in more than just their PC.

Source: WSJ

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3 years ago

T-Mobile pushing update to the HTC One S, but you might not need it

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T-Mobile today started to push a 31-megabyte update to the HTC One S. If you don't get it, though, it might not be a big deal. The new version, 2.35.531.10 is only for devices that are on 1.53.531.16 or 1.84.531.4, according to T-Mobile's support site. If you're on 2.235.531.7, as a lot of you are after the update a couple months ago, you're still considered up to date and won't need this version.

If you did get today's update and have found yourself at Android 4.0.4, you can expect fixes for data connection delays and signal fluctuations, Wifi issues, crashes and restarts, e-mail links not opening, screen lag and skipping music.

And if you're still holding out hope for some Jelly Bean action, a little more patience is required.

Source: T-Mobile; More: HTC One S forums;
Thanks, Quincy!

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