Headlines

3 years ago

Samsung announces Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy Mini 2

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Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy Ace 2, and Galaxy Mini 2, which will replace their existing counterparts and offer upgraded processors, displays, and cameras.  Both phones will run Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 flavor of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

The Galaxy Ace 2 is powered by a dual-core 800MHz CPU, with a 3.8-inch WVGA screen, an 768MB RAM.  The camera is a 5MP model with LED flash, and the front camera has a VGA resolution. On the software side, Samsung's apps include ChatON, Wifi direct, and Samsung's Social, Media, and Game Hubs. Expect it to become available in the UK this April.

The Galaxy Mini 2 has a single-core 800MHz processor, 3.2-inch HVGA display, 512MB RAM and a 3MP rear camera. It also includes ChatON, and Social and Media Hub software from Samsung. The Galaxy Mini 2 is expected in France this March.  Hit the break for the full press images.

Source: Samsung

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Macro-photography

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It's Monday, and that means it's time to kick off this week's Android Central photo contest.  This time around, we're looking for your best macro-photography shots.  Grab something small and cool looking, grab your Android phone, and snap a picture!  The prize this week is a blind box Android mini collectable, and we're looking to give five of them away to the best close-up shots.  The blind box factor makes it a cool mystery, and we have no idea which one you'll get.  No matter, they're all really, really cool. As a refresher, here's the rules:

  • One picture per person
  • The picture must be taken with an Android device
  • The picture must be awesome

Send it in to pics@androidcentral.com by Friday Feb. 24, and include which phone you used and you name so we can give proper credit.  We'll pick the best five and show them off to the world Sunday on the blog.  Good luck!

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3 years ago

ZTE Mimosa X with NVIDIA Icera modem now official

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NVIDIA and ZTE have officially unveiled the ZTE Mimosa X, the first phone with a Tegra2 processor and Icera modem. NVIDIA acquired Icera in mid-2011, and we've been expecting an offering from someone with the full set of NVIDIA innards, and today we finally get to see one, or at least a picture. If you refer to an old Tegra roadmap, you'll notice that Tegra and Icera devices weren't scheduled to ship until 2013, but we're awfully glad to see them a bit early, especially when they're running Android. 

We're pretty familiar with the Tegra 2 chip, and the wonders it can do with proper software. On paper it's not the fastest beast out of the gate, but when coupled with applications designed for NVIDIA-specific multimedia and processor extensions, no other smartphone gaming platform can hold a candle to it. Beyond games, the Tegra 2 CPU offers a great high-end experience for both tablets and smartphones alike. I'm certainly a fan.

With the introduction of the Icera 450 soft modem, ZTE can introduce the same high-end performance we've grown accustomed to, and offer it with better power management, and at a more affordable price point.  The Icera 450 in the Mimosa X (best name ever) brings the following to the table:

  • Multiband HSPA+ Cat 18 (28Mbs)
  • HSUPA Cat 6 (5.7Mbs), Cat 7 (11 Mbs) upgradeable
  • Quad-band GPRS/EDGE
  • Custom RIL for the Android OS
  • MIPI high-speed interface to the application processor
  • Major cost savings due to integrated baseband and RF chips
  • IceClear interference-cancelation technology to improve cell performance

The listed specifications for the Mimosa X are as follows:

  • Tegra 2 dual-core CPU with GeForce GPU
  • Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 4.3-inch qHD display (960 x 540)
  • 5MP rear camera, front camera
  • 4 GB storage, expandable to 32GB via SDcard slot
  • A2DP Bluetooth
  • Dolby audio
  • DLNA video
  • Dual microphones
  • Built-in gyroscope

It certainly sounds like another great Android phone, and one we're excited to have a look at during Mobile World Congress.  Expect it to be released during the second quarter of this year.  The full press release is after the break.

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3 years ago

Panasonic announces first smartphone for Europe - the Eluga

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Panasonic has been fairly active in the Japanese phone market, but until today it'd stayed out of the European smartphone fray. That changes with the announcement of the Panasonic Eluga, the company's first smartphone for Europe, with a super-thin chassis and dust and water resistance.

Hardware-wise, it's a standard black slab with a 4.3-inch display at qHD (540x960) resolution. Internally, it's powered by a 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core chip, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal storage. Imaging needs are taken care of by the 8MP rear camera, and there appears to be no front-facing shooter on the Eluga. The device runs a lightly-skinned Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, and is due an upgrade to Android 4.0 from "Spring 2012." NFC is also included, which will allow European buyers to use Google Wallet (when it's launched), smart tags and other services.

So it's running fairly standard mid to high-end gubbins. Panasonic's bringing some interesting hardware features to the table, though. We already metnioned water and dust-proofing, and the device looks like it's going to be surprisingly thin and light too, weighting 103 grams and measureing 7.8mm thick. That's within a hair of the Huawei P1S, the thinnest smartphone around at the moment. We're a little concerned that the battery is a mere 1150 mAh, though time will tell how that pans out.

Given the timing of today's release, we'd expect to see the Panasonic Eluga at Mobile World Congress next week. If it's there, we'll track it down and bring you full coverage.

Source: Panasonic; via: SlashGear

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3 years ago

Is Google developing a Voice Action remote for Google TV?

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Google may be developing a voice activated remote for Google TV devices, if we're to believe the rumors around the Internet today. Last year Google filed for a patent with the USPTO for a new remote and/or Android application that uses Google's cloud assisted voice recognition technology to navigate through the menus on your Google TV. Of course, everyone is comparing it to Siri, but Google has been working on this technology since they were first to market with Voice Actions in August of 2010.  

According to the filings, users will be able to speak into their Android smartphone or dedicated Google TV remote, transmit their speech to Google's servers to be analyzed, then the correct intent will be sent back through the network to the GTV unit.  There's also indications here to allow the process to work up to a quarter-mile away, so we can tell our television to be on and have Wheel of Fortune playing when we walk in the door. From the patent filing:

the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within 1/4 mile of the home), and the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query

Add in additional uses like music controls and application commands, and you'll have a full featured voice remote.

Using your Android phone as a remote for Google TV is something we expect from the people in Mountain View. Tying the two together is natural, and we've already seen an Android app remote that uses voice input, and it works well. Having Google take this further can only mean good things for anyone who's interested in talking back to their television. Hopefully, we see something more about this in the near future -- I'm ready for it.

Source: Patently Apple

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia S gets unboxed in Malaysia, release expected in March

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The time draws ever nearer to the launch of the first Sony branded phone, the Xperia S. In Europe we expect to see it both on and off contract for sale by mid-March. But what about the rest of the world? Well, the guys over at SoyaCincau in Malaysia have got their hands on a review unit of the white version of the Xperia S. Like Europe, Malaysia are expecting the release of the device in March, albeit without any indication of when in March as yet. 

They've put together an unboxing video for everyone to see. OK, so unboxings aren't the most interesting things to watch. But the SoyaCincau guys have put together a two-part, detailed look at the retail version of the device. All that remains now is to actually get the Xperia S into hands. It is a feast of specs, it has the looks, and that screen. Well, that screen looks amazing.

Check out both videos -- complete with demo fail -- after the break. 

Source: SoyaCincau thanks Hadip!

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3 years ago

Leaked promo videos reveal more of Sony's new 'UXP NXT'

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As we approach the launch of the Sony Xperia S, we're starting to see more details of how Sony has refined its software experience for its new flagship product. Two videos leaked today over on XperiaBlog show that much of the user interface -- dubbed UXP NXT -- has been given a lick of paint. The gallery, music player and TimeScape features in particular being dramatically changed, with plenty of animations and 3D effects throughout. Underneath all the visual finery, though, the Xperia S still runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, although an ICS update is expected shortly after launch.

The Xperia S is due to launch in Europe from early March. In the U.S., AT&T will carry the Xperia Ion, a device closely based on the Xperia S, but with a larger 4.7-inch display.

We're expecting to see more of the Xperia S, along with rumored devices including the Xperia P and Xperia U, at Sony's Mobile World Congress press conference in just under a week.

We've got both videos after the break.

Source: XperiaBlog

More: Hands-on with the Sony Xperia S

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3 years ago

Prada phone by LG 3.0 launches on T-Mobile UK

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It's been available off-contract for a while, but now T-Mobile UK has launched the awkwardly-named Prada phone by LG 3.0 at subsidized prices. The Prada phone, which we first saw at its launch party in late December, features mid to high-end LG internals and a Prada-designed chassis and user interface.

Tmo UK is offering the phone for free on its 24-month, £36-per-month "Full Monty" contract, which includes unlimited texts, unlimited data and 2000 minutes. If you want to spend a little less, it's also available on a number of £31-per-month deals with unlimited texts, data allowances between 100 and 1500MB, and 300-900 minutes.

Source: T-Mobile UK

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3 years ago

Motorola Motoluxe now available in the UK, £234 off contract

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True to their word, the Motorola Motoluxe has arrived on schedule and is available to purchase today in the UK. Retailer Clove Technology has received their first stocks of the device a day earlier than expected, and are offering up a new Motoluxe for £234 ($371).

The mid-range Motoluxe brings along Android 2.3.7 for the ride, with a 4-inch screen, a modest 800MHz processor, and the new version of Philblur Motoblur known as the Motorola MotoSwitch UI (in Europe at least.) It's a solid enough device, as we found out back at CES in January -- it won't blow you away, but could be a winner in some European and emerging markets.

Souce: Clove Technology

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3 years ago

Latest Xperia U (ST25i) leak shows 2012 Xperia family portrait

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The latest images of the already extensively-leaked Sony Xperia U show a comparison with its big brother, the Xperia S. The Xperia U -- also known by its model number, ST25i, or its codename, 'Kumquat' -- is expected to be Sony's principal mid-range smartphone for 2012. Today's images mostly confirm what we already know -- that the Xperia U will share a number of design cues with the Xperia S, most notably the transparent notification bar at the bottom of the device.

Spec-wise, the Xperia U is rumored to pack a 1GHz dual-core CPU, a 3.5-inch qHD or WVGA display and 512MB of RAM, with a 5MP rear camera. Like the Xperia S, it'll run Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the latest Xperia UI, and we'd expect a bump up to Android 4.0 soon after release.

We're expecting to see the Xperia U unveiled at Sony's Mobile World Congress press conference next Sunday in Barcelona. In the meantime, you can find more photos after the jump.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Sky Go now available on selected devices in the UK

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As expected, British satellite broadcaster Sky has launched its Sky Go app for Android, allowing owners of some Android handsets to view a selection of Sky's on-demand TV offerings.

Right now, the list of officially-supported devices limits Sky Go to a handful of phones, namely HTC's Desire, Desire S, Desire HD, Incredible S and Sensation, and Samsung' Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. However, we also noticed that the Android Market showed it as compatible with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, so you may want to double-check the Market even if your phone isn't listed.

It's also worth noting that the app doesn't support Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), so if you're running ICS-based software, even on an officially-supported device, you're out of luck. Equally, if you're rooted, you'll be denied access. And Android tablet support is missing from this initial release, though Sky has made vague noises about considering adding this in the future.

The rooting issue is a contentious one -- Google's own video rental service, for example, continues to be inaccessible from rooted devices -- however, we hope to see broader support for Android 3.x and 4.x from Sky in the future.

We've got Android Market linkage and a QR code for you after the break.

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3 years ago

LG unveils Optimus LTE Tag - mid-range 4G + NFC for Korea

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LG has announced a new handset for South Korea based on its popular Optimus LTE line -- The Optimus LTE Tag, a trimmed-down version of the original with NFC connectivity.

The Optimus LTE Tag is a 4.3-inch, device with a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and a WVGA (480x800) IPS display. As well as the obvious 4G LTE and NFC connectivity, the phone also sports a 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facer. On the software side, you get Android 2.3 Gingerbread with LG's Optimus UI, and the promise of an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich in the future. The specs are a step down from what's inside the original Optimus LTE, though LG has made up for this by packing the LTE Tag's guts into a slimmer chassis.

The manufacturer is keen to point out the potential practical uses for NFC, besides just being a bullet point on the back of the box. It's developed a technology it's calling LG Tag+, which allows customers to use NFC tags to automatically change the phone's behavior when in a certain location. For example, you might want to enter car dock mode, or start up a navigation app when it's in your car. Sure, there are apps on the Android Market that allow you to do things like this on any Android phone with NFC, but it is pretty cool to see this being offered straight out of the box.

Currently the Optimus LTE Tag has been announced for Korea only, however it's likely we'll see the LG Tag+ tech included in future NFC-enabled handsets from the manufacturer in other territories, too.

We've got today's press release, and the full spec list, after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest winner: Animals

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The winner of this weeks Android Central photo contest is Andrew Hammer.  He gives us this lovely picture of a butterfly, taken with his T-Mobile Galaxy S II.  It's a stunner, and fits in perfectly with the animal theme we asked for last week.  It's hard to believe pictures this great can come from our Android phones.  Thanks for entering everyone, and Andrew, check your inbox for details about your prize.

The pictures you guys are sending in are phenomenal.  It's difficult for us to pick a winner each week, but we're loving it.  Look through this weeks runners-up to see what I mean.  We'll be back tomorrow with another contest for the week, as long as you guys promise to keep sending in such great pictures!

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3 years ago

ICS for Sprint Epic 4G Touch leaks again, still not ready for prime time

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We've seen a couple new Ice Cream Sandwich builds leaked out for the Sprint Epic 4G Touch, and that makes us happy.  It means someone is hard at work making this happen, nobody has forgotten about these great phones, and eventually ICS will show up for everyone that has one.  But it's also easy to see why it's not there yet.

We love seeing leaks, and we try them, too.  It's a fun part of Android, and having access to something a wee bit early appeals to the nerd in each of us.  But when Sprint releases the ICS update, it has to work for everyone.  That's why it hasn't been released for the E4GT just yet -- it's simply not ready for prime time.  Some folks are seeing problems with the data connection, others are seeing issues with MTP, issues with overheating are being reported, and some general wonkiness is still going on.  To make matters worse, some folks seem to have no issues at all.  When you take user error out of the equation, you're left with a piece of software that acts a bit different from one device to the next.  That's the sort of headache software developers have to deal with on a daily basis, and that's why it often takes longer than we'd like to see the latest version of shiny and new hit our phones. 

The past couple of builds are great fodder for the ROM builders and hackers.  If that's how you roll, you'll be seeing some new goodies from your favorite developer soon for your flashing enjoyment.  If you're not that type, the news is still good -- Samsung and Sprint are hard at work, and aren't going to release anything to the public until they think it's ready.  That's the way it should be.

More: XDA-Developers.  Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

5-inch devices - a great half-way to tablets, or a phone only a giant could love?

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I'm 6 feet, 8 inches tall. For our metric friends, that's 203 centimeters. I have, on more than one occasion, been called the tallest blogger in the world. (And may well be.) I can palm a basketball without any trouble. I cheer on the giants in Skyrim when they punt my lackey into orbit. Sometimes I imagine them doing cute little drawings on the Samsung Galaxy Note, mapping out the constellations the poor soul will be visiting shortly. The fact is, when someone first sees a 5-inch smartphone, be it the ill-fated Dell Streak or Samsung's latest stylus-toting follow-up, most folks think only an unnaturally gigantic person could use the thing to make a call. Well, they're wrong; even for us Gigantors, it's pretty unwieldy. 

I have to say, my time with the Samsung Galaxy Note has definitely helped me appreciate what you little people are going through with ballooning screen sizes. 4-inch displays are now the norm among Android hardware, and make the 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 4S, sharp as it may be, feel extremely cramped. While 4 inches is perfectly fine for me, cranking it up to 5 makes me realize just how unrealistic it is to use a bigger phone one-handed.  Those larger screens also mean tighter pockets, awkward grips when making a call, and can be a significant drain on the power supply, even if the battery gets an equivalent up-size.

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