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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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3 years ago

HTC One X+ (AT&T) Review

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HTC’s fourth-quarter refresh of the One X is good, but is it good enough to keep you from waiting for the next tier of hardware?

When first holding an HTC One X+ (or any One device, for that matter) in your hand, it's hard to believe that the company has had such abysmal sales figures the past several quaters. It arguably has one of the best screens on the market, paired with an upgraded Tegra 3 processor and bumped up internal storage of 64GB. On top of all that, the device is downright gorgeous. It really does seem like it checks all the boxes.

The One X+ seems every bit a capable high-end device as its competition, much the same way as the original One X from earlier this year. Should it be considered as your next device? Read on and you may have a better idea if it's the right choice for you.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia E + E Dual get priced in Europe

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When Sony announced the Xperia E in both single and dual-SIM flavors last week, it said the device would be affordable, however so far pricing info has been difficult to track down. Today that changes, as price details for the Xperia E and Xperia E Dual have emerged in a press release from Sony Mobile Germany.

Sony's priced the new entry-level Xperia at €159 (£128) with single SIM support, or €169 (£136) for the dual-SIM variant. Other Xperia E specs include a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, a 1GHz CPU and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the single-SIM version (the Xperia E Dual will ship with ICS and get an upgrade later.)

One of the first Sony phones to ship with Jelly Bean, the Xperia E is due to go on sale during the first quarter of 2013.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

LG says it's sold 10 million L-Series handsets worldwide

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LG is announcing today that since the launch of the "L-Series" group of handsets, it has sold 10 million units worldwide. When LG started rolling out the L-Series as the mid- to low-range set of devices to compliment its "G-Series" high-end phones, they didn't receive as much attention for obvious reasons. The big top-tier devices like the Optimus G hold the most mind share, but it's the quality affordable devices that are still doing huge sales numbers.

Devices like the Optimus L9 have started to make movement into the U.S. market, but most of the L-Series are likely being sold internationally. LG is seeing the need for a whole range of handsets, and reacting accordingly to hit the different price points that people want.

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Note 2 - mini review and what's new

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Since its introduction back in October, Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 has skyrocketed to superstardom, pushing 5 million units and earning the top spot on holiday gift guides across all carriers. It has also been written about ad nauseam, without countless stories popping up across the internet ranging from that display (it’s as huge as they say) to the battery life (it’s as phenomenal as they say). Here at Android Central, we’ve got reviews on file for both the international and T-Mobile models, which both come to the consensus that this might just be the biggest, baddest phone you’ll be able to stuff your stocking with this holiday season.

So how does Verizon’s model differ from what we’ve come to know and love? Aside from the few details below, this behemoth is nearly identical to every other iteration, from the breakneck performance of the quad-core Exynos processor to the TouchWiz-touting Jelly Bean UI. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—the Note 2 is simply one of the best Android devices ever produced.

If you want more mouth watering details on that 5.5-inch 720p SuperAMOLED Plus display, or that whopping 3,300 mAh battery, head on over to Alex's and Phil’s reviews. Hardware-wise, they're the same.

If you want to see what makes Verizon’s model unique, hit the break for the full rundown.

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3 years ago

ASUS PadFone 2 receiving Jelly Bean OTA

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The PadFone 2, ASUS' successor device to that weird interesting phone inside a tablet inside a laptop contraption, is finally grabbing an OTA to Jelly Bean starting today. We were surprised when the phone was announced back in October with just Ice Cream Sandwich on board, but it's good to see ASUS following it up quickly with an update. The device keeps the skinning present in the previous version, but new features like Google Now and enhanced notifications are all included here.

According to FoneArena, the OTA is starting its rollout in Asia -- although that makes sense because the device is primarily being sold there. If you happen to have imported one of these to the states, you'll likely have a shot at receiving the update yourself with this batch.

Source: FoneArena; More: ASUS PadFone Forums

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