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3 years ago

HTC One allows for 'distortion free recording' with dual membrane microphones

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A little information about the HTC One and BoomSound has been made available today, concerning the quality of audio captured by HTC's latest device. Very few of us know or care about things like the membranes over the microphone in our smart phones, but we all know what it's like to record some audio and hear the dreadful "hiss" when we play it back. It's also a great way to ruin an otherwise awesome video you've recorded. And it happens far too often.

HTC has found a way to correct this by using a twin-membrane microphone. Normally, only one membrane is used on a standard smart phone microphone, which means the sounds you want to hear aren't really separated from the sounds you don't want to hear, and loud, high pressure sounds can cut the mic completely. When the software does its job of leveling and equalizing the audio, we're often left with a background hiss and low levels. HTC says the twin-membrane setup will help make that a thing of the past.

With two microphones, each having a twin-membrane setup, there's more room for the mic to capture the sound you're trying to record via the extra sensitive membrane, while the high pressure membrane can handle the loud sounds that would normally shut a sensitive mic down. 

It sounds like a lot of voodoo that would be interesting to an audio engineer, but if HTC is correct and the outcome is "distortion free" then we all have reason to be excited. The release date is moving closer, and we'll soon be able to see for ourselves how well HTC's BoomSound operates.

Source: HTC blog

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z camera - initial sample images and comparisons

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We take a first look at photo and video on the Xperia Z's Exmor RS-powered camera, and compare it to last year's Xperia T​​

If you've read our initial review of the Sony Xperia Z you'll know it's packing Sony's new Exmor RS camera tech, which incorporates a fancy new 13-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor. But how does this translate into actual photos and videos? Check out our selection of early sample images and video after the break to find out.

For comparison's sake, we've also got a few side-by-side shots with the 13MP Exmor R camera on last year's Xperia T.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z hands-on and initial review

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For Android fans, the Sony Xperia Z was one of the highlights of a fairly quiet CES. A 5-inch, 1080p phone with a bold new design language and fancy new camera technology, the Xperia Z was probably the most compelling phone of the show. And just a couple of months later, it's now available to buy in the UK.

Without a doubt Sony Mobile's new baby is one of the largest, specciest Android phones around, but it's soon to be joined by the formidable HTC One and Galaxy S4. So how does it shape up? Check out our first impressions after the break.

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy S3 seeing its Android 4.1.2 update today

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Verizon's Galaxy S3 is getting its update to Android 4.1.2, with the new build hitting phones right about ... now! Here's the full changelog for VRBMB1:

  • Keyboard Predictive Text feature has been improved
  • User can take pictures while on a call
  • Manual refresh button has been added to lock screen stock ticker
  • Email syncing has been improved
  • Bluetooth® performance has been improved
  • VZ Navigator and Amazon have been added to stub applications

Not huge improvements, we suppose (with Bluetooth being the exception), but we'll never look an update in the mouth.

More: Verizon Galaxy S3 forums; Thanks, Craig!

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3 years ago

Announcing our Winners in the 'Spring into TEGRA' Contest!

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First off, we would like to thank everyone for submitting their entries. The fun and creativity put into your entries was definitely on display. We really appreciate the time and effort put in to each and every entry… so THANK YOU!

Second, a BIG THANKS to our friends @NVIDIA. They've stepped up to partner with us on a few contests now, and for their continued support, we offer much thanks. If you're reading this, show them a little love and give them a follow @NVIDIA and @NVIDIATegra.

Now… it's time to announce the winners. Each winner will walk away with a brand new Tegra-powered HTC One X+… Drumroll please

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3 years ago

Unlocked Sony Xperia ZL headed to the U.S. with LTE and new color option

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Sony's other 5-incher heads stateside with T-Mobile + AT&T LTE bands and new red color

Good news for American Sony fans with a few hundred dollars to blow on an unlocked smartphone. The Xperia ZL -- the more compact cousin of the Xperia Z -- is landing in the U.S., where it'll be available unlocked from the manufacturer's online store. Like its international counterpart, the ZL packs a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, a 13MP Exmor RS rear camera and a 5-inch 1080p HD Reality Display screen. The main differences include the unique notification light down below, as well as the smaller chassis size and lack of waterproofing.

Of particular interest is the extra color variant that's cropped up -- a red option with a black front -- and the American ZL's support for LTE Bands 1, 2, 4, 5 and 17 alongside the standard pentaband HSPA. If our calculations are correct, that means it should work on both T-Mobile and AT&T's LTE networks -- T-Mo's in the process of lighting up Band 4, while AT&T has LTE deployed on Band 17. In theory that means you'll have an unlocked handset that can run quite happily on either carrier's 4G LTE -- a unique proposition for the U.S. market. However U.S. carriers being as they are, we'll have to wait until devices begin shipping before we can confirm that everything's working in the real world.

There are no details available on pricing just yet, but previous unlocked Sony handsets haven't come cheap. In any case, there's a sign-up page on the Sony Store where customers can register their interest.

Anyone in the U.S. tempted by the prospect of such an unlocked, LTE-capable Sony phone? Shout out in the comments!

More: Hands-on with the Sony Xperia ZL

Source: Sony Store; via: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 to employ 'eye scrolling,' says NYT

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 launches next Thursday, Mar. 14, and the rumor mill is starting to churn. The latest unofficial reports on Samsung's next Android smartphone comes from the New York Times' 'Bits' blog, which claims to have word of a new scrolling technique used by the handset. Apparently the S4 will use eye-tracking technology to automatically scroll through articles --

"The phone will track a user’s eyes to determine where to scroll, said a Samsung employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text."

It wouldn't be the first time Samsung's used this kind of tech on a smartphone. The Galaxy S3 included "SmartStay," a feature which used the front-facing camera to determine whether the user was looking at the screen and lock it accordingly. There are no specific details about how this eye-scrolling feature might work, but the Times notes Samsung has applied for trademarks of "EyeScroll" and "Samsung EyeScroll" in the EU and U.S. respectively for similar-sounding software features.

To us, this sounds like exactly the sort of feature Samsung might bring to a new smartphone -- recall the wacky "Smart Rotation" feature that debuted on the Note 2 to assist with horizontal reading. However pre-release rumors don't always reveal the full picture, so we'll have to reserve final judgment until we see what Samsung's been building next Thursday.

Source: New York Times

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3 years ago

LG Spirit 4G review

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Anyone living in one of America’s largest urban areas in 2013 has undoubtedly seen the claim: “Everybody’s moving to Metro.” And the claim isn’t that far off; in the past year, contract-free, budget-friendly carriers have boomed both in terms of subscribers and coverage. The industry’s growth can be attributed to a lot of things, including incredible rate hikes from the nation’s three largest carriers, though the most important factor has been the rapid evolution in smartphone technology.

Case in point: the LG Spirit 4G, a knockout device in terms of both style and functionality. Where the Spirit really shines, though, is its price tag—at $199 with no contract and MetroPCS’ unlimited plans starting at just $40, the Spirit is perhaps the most capable of all economy Android devices on the market today.

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3 years ago

Minor Galaxy Note 2 security loophole could lead to momentary lock screen bypass

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As Samsung security vulnerabilities go, this one's relatively minor. Nevertheless, if you're using lock screen security on the Galaxy Note 2, this latest loophole is something you should be aware of. Blogger Terence Eden has discovered a way to briefly bypass lock screen security on Samsung's 5.5-incher, momentarily allowing access to the home screen.

By hitting "emergency call," then "emergency contacts," then holding the home button, the main home screen becomes visible for around a second -- just enough time to load an app, before reverting back to the lock screen. This dismisses any app that's loaded, but if a direct dial shortcut is placed on the home screen then it's possible to activate this and make a call, bypassing the lock screen security. Using this method it could also be possible to load up email or SMS apps for long enough to get an overview of sensitive messages.

So this certainly isn't anywhere near as serious as the Exynos kernel vulnerability or USSD code hacks that came to light late last year, but it's probably something that should be fixed. Until then, if you're concerned about folks breaking past your lock screen security, you could avoid placing direct dial shortcuts on your main home screen. (Or alternatively keep your phone away from people you don't trust.)

We've got Eden's original video after the break.

Source: Terence Eden; via: Engadget

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3 years ago

First Samsung Galaxy S4 teaser trailer emerges

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Light on details and heavy on hype, here's the first official teaser trailer for the Samsung Galaxy S4, due to be announced in New York City on Mar. 14. The trailer introduces the young Jeremy Maxwell, guardian of a magical box of Galaxy S4 secrets.

Check it out above. We'll be live from NYC on the 14th for the main event.

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3 years ago

HTC One SV reduced to £260 by UK retailer for one week only

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We're big fans of the HTC One SV around here, that's no secret. It's a beautifully designed and manufactured smartphone that offers LTE data speeds at an affordable price point. UK retailer Expansys has announced a 'deal of the week' on the HTC One SV that sees the price cut to just £259.99 SIM free and unlocked. We don't get the sexy looking red version, but both the blue and white ones are up for grabs. 

By our reckoning -- for this week at least -- this price point makes the HTC One SV about the cheapest 4G LTE enabled device you can pick up on the British market. Despite the more budget oriented price, the One SV still offers a premium look and feel, and the same Sense experience as some of it's bigger brothers. Picking one up? Jump into the comments or the HTC One SV forums and tell us about it. 

More: HTC One SV review

Source: Expansys

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3 years ago

Software update inbound for Verizon's LG Intuition

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Anyone out there pick up an LG Intuition on Verizon? Well, if you did, looks like you have a software update heading your way sometime soon. And no, it isn't looking like Jelly Bean, especially since the international variant the Optimus Vu hasn't had that yet. 

But, updates usually have some goodies in for us, right? There's the usual bug fixes built in, along with enhancements to the speakerphone. Device wise, email split view is being added, a nice feature for a large screen device. Some apps are removed, Color and V Cast, yet at the same time the Amazon Appstore is added in. We've known since the Droid DNA though that Verizon is starting to put Amazon software onto their devices.

For the full rundown on the update, hit the source link below. It's a pretty meaty one, weighing in at 204MB, so you'll perhaps want to accept it at home when it finally drops. At present it's still listed as coming soon, but when it arrives for you be sure to jump into the LG Intuition forums and let us know what you find. 

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Is Verizon testing 4.2.2 firmware for the Galaxy Nexus?

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News today points towards a testing build of JDQ39 (Android 4.2.2) for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. There's even a screenshot floating around XDA (that's it above) that shows the about screen of the phone that's running it. You've got new radios there, which is great news, but the kernel version, and the reported bootloader (PRIMELC03) are old, which is not such great news.

I'm not sure what to think here. Normally I'd shy away from something like this, as a new radio, a new system version, an old kernel, and an unchanged bootloader just doesn't feel right. We all know how easy it is to fake this sort of thing, and even if real, running on one tester's phone doesn't mean a whole lot to everyone else. 

I think Verizon is trying to put out a recent version of the firmware for the Galaxy Nexus, I really do. They are close enough partners with Google, that a testing build using an old kernel and bootloader is entirely possible. And new baseband information on the about screen can't be faked with just a build.prop edit. We're going to accept this news at face value, and advise anyone with a Verizon Nexus who is worrying about an update to follow along and see how it unfolds. 

I want to believe.

Source: XDA; via: Droid-Life

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3 years ago

HTC One now up for pre-order on Rogers

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Like so many carriers before it, Rogers in Canada has announced that it is now accepting pre-orders and reservations for the upcoming HTC One. New customers can get their pre-order in online to guarantee they'll have one when the device launches, and existing customers can "reserve" one for the same system -- although there doesn't seem to be any indication of whether or not existing customers are prioritized over new ones. The pricing will be the same regardless -- Rogers is charging $149.99 with a 3 year contract, which is a standard term in Canada. If you pre-order through Rogers before March 22, you're also entered into a contest to win a new Sharp HDTV with an HTC Media Link accessory.

Rogers is also reminding customers that HTC is offering $100 off the purchase of an HTC One if you trade in your old HTC device. If you're interested in picking one of these up as soon as they're available, hit up the source links below.

Source: Rogers; HTC

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3 years ago

Sprint aims for the low end with the Sprint Force

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Four-inch Android smartphone shouldn't wow anybody, but at least it's cheap

Sprint this morning announced the Sprint Force, a 4-inch low-end smartphone of dubious origin. The Force is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is powered by a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor. The display is a mere 480x800 is resolution. It's got a 5-megapixel camera on the back with flash, and a 1MP shooter out front. It'll serve as an LTE hotspot for up to eight devices and features Sprint ID.

The Sprint Force is available for $49.99 on a two-year contract, after $50 rebate.

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