Headlines

3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Food

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We're all back home and settled in from Mobile World Congress, and it's time to kick off another weekly photo contest! The subject this week is something near and dear to my heart, and inspired by +Michael Ceriello when we asked what you guys and gals wanted to see. We're talking about food.

Grab your Android phones, head into the kitchen or out to your favorite resturant and show us some delicious eats. The prize this week is a vehicle mount for your phone (or a universal model) from ShopAndroid.com. Perfect for heading out to the grocery store or eatery to feed yourself, and maybe listening to some tunes or trying a new route with Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation on the way.

The rules, as always:

  • You gotta use an Android phone or tablet. 
  • One picture per person.
  • You need to tell us the name of the device used to take the pic, any special photo app used, and your name (or psudeonym) so we can give proper credit.
  • Send the picture (as an attachment) and info to pics@androidcentral.com by Friday evening your local time to qualify.

We'll pick the best and announce the winner Sunday on the blog. Good luck everyone!

 

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3 years ago

ADT 17 and SDK tools r17 now in third beta, bring new tools and bug-fixes to developers

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Anyone doing development for Android (or any software platform) knows that good tools are the most important part of the whole process. We've seen that the Android team has been hard at work to improve development and debugging tools, and they're still at it. The ADT plugin for Eclipse and the SDK tools/platform-tools have a major upgrade underway, and are at the third beta preview. Developers will enjoy the changes, which includes big things like a new version of ProGuard (more info here), as well as minor changes like being able to export a screenshot from the layout editor. We've got the full list of changes after the break, and if you're developing any sort of application for Android with Eclipse, you should give it a look.

But there's one big change that is going to be uber-helpful to the average Android hacker/modder -- detailed network usage of any application. The new DDMS tool will give data for network traffic, both in and out, on any device running Android 4.0.3 or higher. The graph updates in real-time, and in addition to being a great way for app developers to see how their app is utilizing network sockets, it will be able to help debug just what apps on your phone are eating up your data. No more guessing which app is stuck and constantly uploading, just plug your phone in and use the new DDMS tool to find out exactly what is going on. Knowing is half the battle.

If you want to try the new tools, you won't be able to download them via the SDK manager, but manual installation is easy enough, and you'll find full instructions at the source link below.

Source: Android Tools Project

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3 years ago

LG Optimus Vu now available in Korea

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LG's answer to the Galaxy Note, the LG Optimus Vu, is now available in South Korea on the SK Telecom and LG U+ networks. The Optimus Vu combines a 5-inch 1024x768 IPS display with capacitive pen input and a thin chassis design reminiscent of the LG Prada 3.0. It's also got a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm chip inside, along with 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage and an 8MP camera. You also get the usual combination of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and LG's own UI layer, and during our time with the Vu at Mobile World Congress, we found its software to be a little uninspiring compared to Samsung's competing device.

LG is hoping to tempt early adopters with a free case and extra battery for the first 20,000 people to pick up the Optimus Vu on both LG U+ and SK Telecom.

No information is available as to when (or even if) the Optimus Vu will see any kind of broader international release, but Koreans can pick it up now for 999,900 won (~$890). We're going to go ahead and assume that's the unsubsidized price.

If you want to find out more about the Optimus Vu, check out our hands-on report from MWC.

Source: LG Newsroom; via: FoneArena

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3 years ago

Samsung announces Galaxy Player 70 Plus, a 5-inch PMP for Korea

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Adding to its line-up of Galaxy Player personal media players, Samsung has today announced the Galaxy Player 70 Plus for the Korean Market. The Player 70 Plus is a 5-inch device powered by a 1GHz dual-core CPU, running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Samsung's TouchWiz UI. Other specs include a WVGA (800x480) TFT LCD display, microSD card and Wifi support, a 5-megapixel camera and a hefty 2500mAh battery. It also has the ability to receive Korean terrestrial TV transmissions broadcast over T-DMB.

Like just about every PMP released these days, it packs fairly up-to-date smartphone tech without the ability to make calls or use cellular data (and the associated monthly bill). The Galaxy Player 70 Plus will retail for 399,000 won (~$350) with 16GB of storage, or 469,000 won (~$410) with 32GB. Head over to the source link for the full press release (in Korean), along with pictures of people who are cooler than you enjoying the Galaxy Player 70 Plus.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow; via: UnwiredView

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the rest of ZTE's Android phones at MWC, including two quad-core devices

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The last batch of devices we looked at from ZTE at Mobile World Congress included two quad-core devices, and a few lower-end ones. At the top of the heap was the PF112. It has a 4.5-inch 1080 x 720 display, an 8 megapixel camera on the back, and it's running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (just like everything else ZTE announced). Down a notch is the Era, which has a 4.3-inch 960 x 540 screen, but keeps the 8 megapixel camera and quad-core 1.3 GHz processor. The Mimosa X is about on par with a 1.2 GHz processor, a 4.3-inch 960 x 540 display, and again, keeping the 8 megapixel camera. On the wireless side, it supports 7.2 MBps HSPA. 

The other two phones are on the lower end of the value chain. The Acqua has a 1 GHz processor, and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread (with an ICS update due in June), sports a 4-inch 800 x 480 display, and a 5 megapixel camera. Finally, there's the Kis, which has a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 display, and is powered by an 800 MHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. Unfortunately, the unit I was playing with at the show wasn't booting up, so there wasn't much to say about the software. 

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 is/isn't coming, Part VIII

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Hate to say we told you so, but ... Samsung, in Korean on its official Twitter account, says recent reports that the Galaxy S III -- which, by the way, hasn't been announced and therefore doesn't officially exist --  will be released in April are not true.

We're shocked.

Samsung also tells The Verge that it'll be announced in the first half of the year (note that it calls it the "successor to the Galaxy S II," because the Galaxy S3 or Galaxy S III doesn't actually exist) and that ... WAIT! In the first half of the year but not March or April? That means May or June! Sixty-one more days for wild-ass guessing! Breaksclusive, yo!

Seriously, folks. It'll be announced when it's announced. And we'll all swoon. Promise.

Sources: @Samsung; The Verge

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3 years ago

UK Xperia Arc S price plummets ahead of Xperia S launch

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As Sony prepares to launch the first of its 2012 smartphones in the UK, one retailer has taken the initiative to offer the earlier Sony Ericsson flagship at a significantly reduced price. Right now British online store Dialaphone will sell you an Xperia Arc S for £199.89 off-contract -- a good deal less than the £350+ you'd have paid in late 2011. The offer applies to PAYG Arc S models locked to O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile or Orange, assuming you purchase a £10 top-up with either network at the same time.

As we discussed last year, the phone packs a pretty comprehensive feature set, including an excellent EXMOR R camera, in a slim, stylish chassis. It's also due an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the weeks ahead, which should give it a new lease of life. For more on the Arc S, check out our exhaustive review. Or if you're wondering what's next from Sony, you'll want to take a look over our initial review of the Xperia S.

Source: Dialaphone; via: Eurodroid

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3 years ago

Beats Audio software ported to non-HTC devices

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Audio quality is always something that will be subjective. Opinions on what good sounds like will always differ from person to person. This definitely applies to Beats Audio, and the inclusion of Beats on new HTC devices. HTC have just opened up the API to the Beats software for third-party apps to take advantage, but XDA member RockoDev has gone further than that. He has managed to port the Beats software for use on non-HTC devices into a flashable zip file.

Beats is essentially a branded equalizer. The files have been pulled for flashing to other devices. Expectations shouldn't be set too high though, as again everyone has different tastes in sound quality. Flashed to my LG Optimus 2X, I actually do feel there was a general improvement. 

When comparing it's important not to fall into any placebo effect. Just because it's there doesn't make it better. The test setup was a song that I know very well, and a pair of good quality Bang and Olufsen earphones. In listening to the same song a few times before and after flashing Beats, there was a noticable change. Nothing groundbreaking, but the bass was improved and the overall sound did feel better.

You'll find more at the source links below if you fancy trying it out for yourselves. We know a lot of you don't like Beats, but there's a lot of people that do. Shout out in the comments with your thoughts if you do decide to try it. 

Source: XDA Developers

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3 years ago

Samsung Israel says Galaxy S II ICS update coming Mar. 15

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Rumors of a March launch for the Samsung Galaxy S II's Android 4.0 upgrade have been circulating for a while, but now it seems we may have the first official word on when the update will land. Samsung Mobile Israel has today made a statement on its official Facebook page, saying it expects ICS for the Galaxy S II to roll out on unlocked and carrier-branded handsets in Israel from Mar. 15.

Roughly translated, the post reads --

We promised we were working on it. You waited patiently. And on 15 March it'll arrive: Android version 4, ICS, to tens of thousands of GALAXY S II devices purchased from cellular companies in the country or directly from us. We are very excited for the launch, hope you are too :)

While this is great news for Galaxy S II owners in Israel (as well as those with the unlocked international version upon which it's based), other territories may have a little longer to wait. We'd expect this to be particularly true for the U.S., where hardware differs from carrier to carrier.

So far, the steady trickle of leaked ICS ROMs for the Galaxy S II have shown Samsung making progress towards stable builds over the past couple of months. We'll keep you posted with any further announcements, while we cross our fingers for a Mar. 15 launch.

Source: Samsung Mobile Israel; Thanks, Orenium!

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia S hands-on video and initial review

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It's been just days since we wrapped up Mobile World Congress, but we're already seeing the first flagship phone launch of the year. The Sony Xperia S was released unexpectedly at the Sony Store in Barcelona last Sunday, and it'll go on sale across Europe over the next couple of weeks. For 2012, Sony -- formerly Sony Ericsson -- has made a clean break with the appearance of earlier models, adopting a new design language based around the trademark clear bar below the screen. Sony's also introduced some impressive new hardware in its latest high-end device, which includes the new 720p HD Reality Display and a 12-megapixel EXMOR R camera.

We'll have a full review written up in the next week or so, but in the meantime you can click past the break for our hands-on video, along with more photos and some first impressions.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Beam - hands-on with pico projecting goodness

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Phil got his mitts on the Samsung Galaxy Beam at Mobile World Congress 2012, but it's definitely worth seeing the built-in projector in action.

Just to recap, the Samsung Galaxy Beam is running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 768 MB of RAM, 8 GB of local storage, 4-inch WVGA display, and a 2000 mAh battery to keep the projector humming along.

Outside of professionals that need to do a lot of presentations in the field, I could see the Beam being a good choice for those that tend to watch video before going to bed; just plug it in, prop it into a stand, and project some sleepy videos onto the cieling. It's still a pretty specific niche, though; are any of you guys particularly excited about a fresh device with a projector? The last time we saw a smartphone remotely like this was the LG Expo

Video after the jump!

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 is/isn't coming, Part VII

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If you wonder why we scoff at all these rumors regarding phones that haven't been announced, it's because of things like this: A day after ZDNet cited some marketing sources as saying the Galaxy S3 would be released in April after being announced in March, Korean website MT is now quoting Samsung as saying that ain't gonna happen, at least not before the summer.

In other words, nobody knows when the hell it's coming, except maybe Samsung (and quite possibly it hasn't even decided yet).

Source: MT (translated); via Unwired View
More: Rumored devices forum

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3 years ago

Hands-on with ZTE's two Android 4.0 LTE phones - PF200 and N910

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Prior to Mobile World Congress 2012, ZTE had announced two LTE phones running Ice Cream Sandwich, and we got a chance to play with at least one working unit in Barcelona. A rep at the ZTE booth told me that both of these phones are due to drop in North America, but considering the sizable language barrier, they may have been mistaken. 

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3 years ago

HTC releases new APIs for Beats, Sense lockscreen, device management and MediaLink

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HTC has announced that they are opening up a bit more of the OpenSense SDK, and including APIs for Beats Audio, the Sense 4.0 lockscreen, Mobile device management, and the MediaLink HD system. This opens many new features to application developers, and apps can include these calls so that they are differentiated on HTC Sense phones, yet function on all phones with the same software build. 

In layman's terms, this means the people who build apps can now include things like Beats Audio support, lockscreen widgets and shortcuts, remote control through websites like htcsense.com, and leverage the media streaming ability of the MediaLink HD docks. If you have a Sense 4.0 phone, you'll get all these perks, and the apps can be written so users without a Sense 4.0 phone get the same exact app, without the Sense features and functions. That's less work for developers and it means faster and better updates -- something all Android junkies love.

The new OpenSense SDK will be available in the coming weeks, in the meantime we can prepare for things like a video player that uses Beats Audio, with a lockscreen widget or Web app to control it, streamed to your television via MediaLink. I think we're ready.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

NSA builds Android phone for 'Top Secret' communication

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The NSA (National Security Agency) has developed an Android phone that meets "Top Secret" criteria using off-the-shelf components. Dubbed the fishbowl phone, 100 units were built and deployed by IAD (Information Assurance Directorate) and division head Margaret Salter says that anyone can recreate the phones using the specs published at the NSA website.

The plan was to buy commercial components, layer them together and get a secure solution. It uses solely commercial infrastructure to protect classified data.

 -- IAD Department head Margaret Salter

The new phones, which even have their own secure enterprise application store, mean that users no longer have to speak in code when talking about government secrets. Using IPSEC VPNs, and having voice sessions use Datagram Transport Layer Security and the Secure Real-time Transport Protocol means that calls are safe from prying eyes, and this was published because Salter thinks the voice application security specification would be useful to everyone. Voice calls are encrypted twice, and all go through the NSA enterprise servers to maintain control and keep communications safe between only the parties involved. 

It appears that choosing the components was a bit difficult, and Salter urges her colleagues to "demand vendors improve unified communications interoperability". The parts weren't chosen by brand, and instead were chosen for the way they supported the required functionality. This means that a part from one vendor had to work well with a part from another vendor, which proved difficult. None of the compromises that had to be made reduced the security of the phone. In addition, a "police app" was designed to monitor all operations of the device in case any portion was compromised. 

'Droid does top secret.

Source: SC Magazine; via Android Central forums

Thanks, DenverRalphy!

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