Headlines

3 years ago

Firefox for Android getting an overhaul to use native Java widgets and UI, will bring better performance

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before                                                          after

Mozilla has decided to change the tools used to build the Firefox for Android client front end, and changes are in store.  In it's current iteration, Firefox uses XUL (a cross-platform toolkit used to design widgets and user interface elements), but will be switching to native Android elements written in Java.  This will bring more than just changes to the look and feel -- expect much faster load times and better performance, at the cost of some of the more complicated menus and options that are currently offered.  As you can see in the pictures above (ignore the custom font on the rooted device used by Mozilla for testing -- go root!), this will bring a UI that looks more like we're used to on Android apps, and will fit in much better once Ice Cream Sandwich rolls along.  Of coruse, the performance improvements are the big bonus, as well as (hopefully) a smaller file size.  All in all, it looks like the right way to go here from the user perspective.  Too many options can be a bad thing, and performance improvements are always welcome.  With Flash getting killed off, the Gecko rendering engine will start to look like a great option in the near future.

They will begin open Alpha testing tomorrow, we'll be sure to have a look.

Source: Dknite's blog

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3 years ago

Homerun Battle 3D, root access, and poor communication leads to knee-jerk reactions

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image credit umpire.org

Com2Us are the distributors and developers on a semi-popular game in the Android Market -- Homerun Battle 3D.  Recently, in order to try to kill the rampant cheating that goes on in the multi-player online games, they made a huge mistake.  Com2Us sent out an update that blocked anyone who had rooted their phone from playing.  As you can imagine, the uproar from people who had already spent $5 to buy the game (it's pretty well done, and this issue notwithstanding, probably worth the 5 bucks) and no longer could was instant, and loud.  We started getting reports about the issue, and started poking around to see what was up.

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3 years ago

Verizon LTE coming to Roanoke on Nov. 17; Indiana, Penn., in December

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Verizon LTE will be coming soon to a couple new locations -- Roanoke, Virginia and Indiana Pennsylvania.  On November 17 they flip the switch in Roanoke, which will bring wireless broadband to downtown, Smith Mountain Lake, Christiansburg, Radford City, Buena Vista City, Lexington City and Rockbridge.  While it's a fairly large population center by southern Virginia standards (about 300,000 people), it's a pretty isolated metro area, and blanketing the whole community (as well as nearby Virginia Tech and the town of Blacksburg last September) is quite a trick.  Well done Verizon.

Not far behind their counterparts to the south, Indiana Pennsylvania (another fairly small college town -- do we see a trend?) will get the LTE treatment on December 15, covering Indiana, White Township, the Indiana University of PA campus, Homer City and Blairsville.  Again we see high speed mobile broadband being brought to places we would have never imagined having it two or three years ago.  Remember the next time you're paying that expensive Verizon bill -- they are actively investing that money back into their network, so your shiny Galaxy Nexus stays fast as hell in more places.  Can't fault anyone for that type of business strategy.

More: Verizon; MarketWatch

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note review

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As 2011 draws to a close, we’ve started to see a convergence of Android phones and tablets. Honeycomb-powered tablets are available in more form factors than ever before, and smartphones are growing larger still, with 4.3- to 4.7-inch devices quickly becoming the norm. Combine that with the phone and tablet software lines being reunited in Ice Cream Sandwich, and you start to see a landscape in which there’s very little separating a large Android smartphone from a small Android tablet.

The Galaxy Note is a device which Samsung is positioning between the traditional smartphone and tablet spaces. You can make calls on it, but you’ve also got a beastly dual-core Exynos chip inside, along with Sammy’s bleeding-edge HD SuperAMOLED display tech. The manufacturer’s also included a capacitive, pressure-sensitive stylus, dubbed the “S Pen”, with optimizations for pen input throughout the software. But despite the wealth of high-end tech, is there room in the market (and your pocket) for a 5.3-inch smartphone? Read on to find out what we thought of the Samsung Galaxy Note.


Extremely fast smartphone with a beautiful screen, and a thin, light chassis considering the screen size. Pen input works well.


A 5.3-inch device will be too big for most. Note-taking focus could limit it to a niche market.



If you can get over (or even embrace) the Note's size, you'll find it's a powerful device with some unique functionality that you won't find on any other smartphone.

Inside this review

More info

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3 years ago

Key meets Kevlar on Droid RAZR

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Kevlar, as law enforcement and military personnnel have known for quite some time, is a hell of a thing, stopping bullets and saving lives. So what's it doing on the back of a smartphone? In the case of the Motorola Droid RAZR, it's serving as a pretty cool spec, and it looks darn good, too.

No, we're not going to shoot the RAZR. Pretty sure it'll lose that battle. And while it's not completely scratch-proof, it does stand up to a pretty decent amount of pressure.

Check out our complete unscientific video after the break.

Read our complete Droid RAZR review!

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3 years ago

HD Widgets expanded for phones and 7-inch tablets

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The folks behind HD Widgets have expanded their sexy widget collection, and now include support for phones and 7-inch tablets.  On the phone side, support is now available for hdpi phones (like the Samsung Nexus S pictured above) and mdpi phones (like the LG Optimus One, also pictured).  Everything you love about HD Widgets for your Honeycomb tablet  still remains -- tons of customization options, colorful backgrounds, in-depth weather forecasts, and a bevy of widget sizes and configurations -- things have just been scaled for the smaller screen.  Having put them through the ringer on an assortment of devices ranging from the mundane to the exotic, the folks at Cloud.TV have done a great job.  Everything works as expected, looks great, and lets me know if I need to take an umbrella with me -- even on crazy SDK ports of Ice Cream SandwichJosh is hard at work with a worthy review of the new build, in the meantime you can grab it from the Android Market (devices running Android 2.1 and higher) for a measly $1.99 at the link after the break.

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3 years ago

Gingerbread update coming to O2-branded Xperia X10s in the next week

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Owners of SIM-free Sony Ericsson Xperia X10s have been enjoying Android 2.3 Gingerbread for the past few months, but so far the upgrade has been absent from some branded handsets, including those bought through O2 UK.

In a recent blog posting, O2's Head of Device-Customer Experience, Stuart Hibberd, let the network's customers know what's been holding things up. Specifically, it seems there were a few problems with getting the new camera app to function properly on O2 X10s, making it "virtually unusable". Hibberd says the issues have now been taken care of, though, and the update should be available from Sony Ericsson's website within the next week. Eagle eyed readers may notice that the post incorrectly refers to the upgrade from Froyo to Gingerbread -- in fact, the X10 never received Froyo, and the last official update is based on Android 2.1 Eclair.

Like the unbranded X10 Gingerbread patch, the O2 version is an optional (and irreversible) upgrade, and O2 warns that it may make your phone "work slower than you're used to".  For more information on exactly what you'll be getting if you choose to update, check out our original report from back in July.

Source: O2 Blog

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3 years ago

HTC Sensation XE headed to Orange UK

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It looks like Orange UK will soon be offering the HTC Sensation XE for sale on its network, as the device has just appeared on Orange's "coming soon" page. The Sensation XE is refreshed version of the original Sensation, and sports Beats Audio support, along with a faster 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and a larger battery.

Until now O2 has been the only British network directly selling the Sensation XE, so hopefully an Orange launch should offer consumers a bit more choice in pricing and tarrifs. Orange doesn't currently have an estimated launch date for the device, but you can check the source link for more details, or hit up our Sensation XE device page.

Source: Orange UK

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3 years ago

Xperia Arc and Xperia Acro get PlayStation certification in Japan

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Until now, Sony's PlayStation certification has been limited to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and Sony Tablet S, but that may be about to change. According to a recent annoncement by Sony Ericsson Japan, Japanese Xperia Arcs will soon be receiving PlayStation certification through an official software update, as will the Xperia Acro, the Arc's Japan-only sibling.

The update should allow Arc and Acro to owners enjoy the same catalog of PlayStation games that are currently available on the Xperia Play, which includes titles like Crash Bandicoot, WipEout and Syphon Filter. There's no word on when this update will be rolling out to Arcs in Europe and the US, but given Sony's renewed effort to build momentum behind its PS certified platform, we'd expect it to hit sooner rather than later.

Source: SE Japan; via: Engadget

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3 years ago

Samsung Illusion device page surfaces on Verizon Infocenter

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It's been a while since we talked about the Samsung Illusion, but a friendly ninja just dropped off a screencap of the Verizon Infocenter page for the entry-level handset in our inbox.  Imagine a smaller version of the Nexus S, minus the vanilla Gingerbread build and plus an SD card slot, and you'll have a pretty good picture of what to expect.  The 1GHz Hummingbird and 512MB of RAM should make for a pretty damn speedy experience with the smaller resolution, though the tiny 3MP camera and TFT display clearly mark this one with the budget or entry-level tag.  With a 3.5-inch display and a curved design, it should be a pleasure to carry and use for talking, but the HVGA (480x320) resolution isn't going to win many points for you gamers out there. 

All in all, it looks like one of the best beginner phones we've ever seen, with decent specs that hopefully will mean a low price point.  We've no idea about price or release, other than rumors that say "this month".  The page in the Infocenter went live today, so Verizon is getting prepped.  When we know more, we'll tell you.

Thanks, ninja!

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3 years ago

Express from Sprint set to ship Nov. 18?

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Not quite sure exactly what we're looking at here, but according to the latest version of the internal Sprint Playbook, it's the Express, it's running Android 2.3, and it's coming Nov. 18 via direct shipping. In addition to the obvious BlackBerry-esque keyboard, it's got a 2.6-inch touchscreen, a 600 MHz processor, Sprint ID, a 3.2MP camera and 1500 mAh battery. It'll go for just $19.99 after two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate.

Update: Pocketnow notes it looks to be the Huawei Boulder.

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3 years ago

The Droid RAZR unboxing gods are not pleased

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

We've warned you that unboxings are lame. This is what happens when you don't listen. Take the phone out of the box, then show the box. Anything else is a blatant unboxing violation.

Thanks, Scott!

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3 years ago

HTC Rezound arrives at lucky owner's doorstep early, gets unboxed just as early

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Anxiously awaiting Nov. 14 to arrive so you can get your hands on the brand new HTC Rezound? Well, it seems as though a lucky customer received their order from Verizon Wireless a bit early, and they broke out the video camera to show us what they got. So, check out the video above for a quick unbox and hardware tour, and then be sure to check out our hands-on video again!

Source: YouTube; Thanks, Jesse!

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3 years ago

Behind the scenes with the LG DoublePlay at the U.S. National Texting Championships

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the LG U.S. National Texting Championship? Our pal Stephanie -- aka the LG Girl -- gives you a backstage look at the tech that keeps the thumbs tapping on the LG DoublePlay.

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3 years ago

Costco selling Droid RAZR with free bonus pack -- HD Dock, HDMI cable, and chargers

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There's two important things to know about the Droid RAZR in this Costco internal memo an anonymous friend sent us -- the first is that yes, Costco will be carrying them, and the second is that Costco members will get an exclusive "Accessory Bonus Pack" with an HD dock, HDMI cable, portable charger, and a second wall charger.  The flip side of the coin is that it looks like at least some locations will be waiting a few extra days past the 11/11/11 11:11 launch date before they will have the phones in stock, with Nov. 14 being the target date for inventory to start showing up. 

Will Costco's liberal return policy, customer service, and of course that sweet HD dock (check out the review) be enough to keep you waiting a few days to get your RAZR?  Shout out in the comments, and of course you can always discuss further in the forums, which are already bumping with excitement over this one. 

Thanks, Anon!

Droid RAZR review | Droid RAZR forums | Droid RAZR specs

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