Headlines

2 years ago

T-Mobile HSPA+ lights up in 8 new cities

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T-Mobile today announced that it's flipped the switch on its HSPA+ 4G network on eight new cities. They are:

  • Abilene, Texas
  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Odessa, Texas
  • Victoria, Texas
  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Eau Claire, Wis.
  • Joplin, Mo.
  • St. Joseph, Mo.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray in a blog post also says that the company's priority is now on prepping for an LTE rollout in 2013, and that it'll be "well positioned and ready to move to LTE Advanced" beyond that.

More: T-Mobile

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2 years ago

HTC Velocity 4G ICS update now rolling out in Australia

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Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the HTC Velocity 4G (that's the international version of AT&T's Vivid) has started to push out to handsets on the Telstra network in Australia, according to reports. Aussie blog Ausdroid.net reports that in addition to ICS, the update brings the LTE-connected phone up to HTC Sense 3.6. That's the same version of HTC's UX layer that arrived on European Sensations last week, including a few tweaks here and there, but not the complete overhaul offered by the upcoming Sense 4.0.

If you're a Velocity owner in Australia, you can get your hands on the latest version by heading to Settings > About phone > Software updates and tapping "check for updates."

Source: Ausdroid.net

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2 years ago

Xperia Sola gets an early hands-on, shows glove-friendly touchscreen

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The Sony Xperia Sola has been official for just a few hours, but already an early hands-on video has surfaced, showing the (dual-core) mid-range smartphone's unique profile and "floating touch" technology. As we said in our announcement post, this is an extension of touchscreen technology which allows the device to sense when your finger is hovering over the screen. Sony's been keen to show off how this can allow you to use your finger like a "cursor" in the web browser, but the hands-on video shows a different use -- allowing touch input through clothing (i.e. gloves), even using non-capacitive materials.

We've got no idea what kind of black magic Sony is channeling to make this work, but we'll admit to being impressed. And we're hopeful that many more uses of this tech will present themselves as the Xperia Sola approaches its Q2 release window.

We've got the video embedded after the break.

Source: AndroidNext.de

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2 years ago

Next wave of Galaxy S II ICS updates begins March 19

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If you weren't lucky enough to be part of the initial roll-out of Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the Samsung Galaxy S II, then you shouldn't have too long to wait. The long-awaited update started pushing out to Galaxy S II owners in Poland, Hungary, Sweden, and Korea this morning, and more European countries should start to see it from next Monday, March 19.

The news comes from Samsung by way of British tech site Pocket-Lint​, and the good news for anyone in the UK is that it'll apparently be a part of this second wave of countries. Of course, if you're not afraid to tinker with your device, you could always just change your CSC code and update through ODIN. (If you don't know what any of that means, it's probably just best to wait for the OTA.)

Source: Pocket-Lint

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2 years ago

Virgin Mobile officially announces the Venture

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The Virgin Mobile Venture is now official, a day after it went up for preorder. The phone is manufactured by Alcatel and is going for $99. It's got a 2.7-inch touchscreen and full QWERTY keyboard, a 2MP camera and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It's got the Virgin Mobile version of the Sprint ID pack, so you can theme it out in a number of ways.

Source: Sprint

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Do you run a custom ROM?

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OK guys and gals -- I'm doing a little leg work here for a project I have in the works. You might have seen my question on Google+ asking folks with a stock Android phone if they use a custom ROM (if you haven't seen it, and you can answer, please do!). Tonight I'm tapping the collective mind of our AC faithful and asking a similar question:

Do you run a custom ROM on your phone?

The poll is below, and whether you do or don't, or even if you're not the rooting type, let me know. Share the link with your friends who use Android, they can vote as well. I need as much data as possible. If you have anything to add, by all means let me know in the comments!

My answer? Yes. On a stock vanilla device I usually just run stock AOSP, which technically counts as a custom ROM, and on devices that aren't stock I'll pick one of the great Android developers out there who has stripped out the bloat and cleaned up the base and use his or her work. I do it because I can, I'm nerdly like that. Now let me know what you all do.

Do you run a custom ROM?

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2 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich available now for Galaxy S II in Europe and Korea

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It's official -- The Samsung Galaxy S II is getting the Ice Cream Sandwich starting today in parts of Europe and Korea. Folks in Poland, Hungary, Sweden, and Korea should soon see the OTA update they have been waiting for. Samsung also states that the update will roll out in other markets gradually, and to expect ICS for the Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II LTE, and Tab 10.1 and 8.9 versions "soon".

Of course for those who have a carrier branded Galaxy S II, "the availability and scheduling of the software update and specific models upgradable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and wireless carriers’ requirements". In other words, we're at the mercy of folks at Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile here in the U.S. Hopefully we'll soon hear something specific. If we do, you all will be the first to know.

Source: Samsung; via @SamsungMobile

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2 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Photo filters and effects

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With word that Instagram will soon be heading to Android, we all had better get ready for the invasion of photo filters and effects. It's not really new, we've been able to edit our pictures with hipster filters on Android for quite some time, but Instagram is sure to become hugely popular on Android -- Rene hits it right on the head as to why.

To prepare, this week's photo contest is all about the hipster effect. Grab a picture, grab an app, and get to work applying filters and/or effects -- or both. Some great free apps to do it with are PicsArt and PicSay from Google Play, and there are plenty of others -- I'm partial to LightBox myself -- so everyone can get in on this one. 

This week's prize is something new and cool that I want for myself -- the Smart Phone Sleeper. It's a universal stand that holds your phone just about anywhere, and would be perfect for a little night-time Netflix viewing or Youtube surfing. Winning one is easy:

  • Use an Android device to take a picture of something cool.
  • Use any method you like to apply some filters or effects to it.
  • Send it to pics@androidcentral.com, along with a name we can use and the model of Android you used to take it. Let us know what effects or apps you used, too. We like knowing this kind of stuff.
  • If you send in more than one, or send me a link instead of an attachment, your entry gets filed in the trash folder, so don't do that. I hate it when I have to do that.
  • Get me the pictures before the end of the night on Friday.

We'll pick the best 11 of the entries, then decide on the best of the bunch. We'll show you all of them Sunday afternoon. Now head down to the closest bodega, find something ironic, and take us a picture!

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2 years ago

Why privacy matters

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Privacy is a hot subject across the Internet lately, and we think it's high time to dissect the mountains of information and pick out what's relevant amidst all the FUD and nonsense out there. You'll see a series here this week about privacy issues and policies, and the best way to kick it all off is to discuss why it matters in the first place.

The fact is, if you use and enjoy Google services you have to give up some privacy to get the most out of them. Things like Gmail and Google Voice don't cost money, but in order to make ads that are lucrative Google mines some of your data and can sell ads targeted at things you like. Advertisers love this, as it keeps big nerdy guys in West Virginia from seeing ads about women's shoes that they will just ignore, and instead shows ads about Android, computer parts, and fishing guides. Google has made this a huge business, and to keep it working, Google needs your data. Google does not sell mail or search -- it sells ads. For the most part, this isn't too intrusive. The data about you is kept in some odd string of computer generated numbers and is only used to display things you are likely to want to see. None of it is sold to anyone else, that would disrupt G's business model. That data is their cash cow. 

We trust Google to do the right thing with our personal information, and for the most part they have done so. But Google isn't the only game in town that's collecting data about you. Other ad networks, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and your cell carrier collect a good bit of information as well. We want to trust the big players, and don't think Facebook or Apple will sell your data away to some spammer (or worse), but when we get to the lower tier, where ad networks and smaller companies collect and store your information, things get a little muddy. If these can't be trusted (and we're not saying they can't) why is it important?

Imagine how you would feel if you lost your Android phone and didn't have it password locked. I could find it at Five Guys, open it up and look through everything. Besides the horrible things I could do with your pictures and accounts, I'd also have access to your contacts, your Internet history, your search history, and message archives. Even if you have nothing to hide, you wouldn't want me rifling through all that data. When apps and services have the same access, it's the same thing. I do not want the ad company that is being used in my favorite Android game to look through my Internet history. They would be bored, and find nothing incriminating, but I still don't want it to happen. Nor do I want some rogue app developer to steal that data and send it off to China. It's my data, and I want to know it's being treated properly. When I imagine it happening to my daughter, I get a little angry. Thankfully, those types of scenarios are few and far between. But they do happen

Data collection isn't inherently evil. It's a standard practice in today's digital world, and we've come to terms with it in some ways. It does need to be done correctly and handled securely, though. That's where the real issue lies -- we know the data is being collected, so can we trust those doing the collecting? That's a question each of us has to answer for ourselves -- we just want to spark the conversation. 

Look for plenty more on security and privacy coming up this week.

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2 years ago

Motorola updates 'ICS list' -- RAZR to get ICS in Q2 everywhere but the U.S.

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Motorola has updated their ICS "due date" page, and if you're in the U.S. you probably won't like the news very much. There are a few changes, and we see a few more devices slated to see Ice Cream Sandwich eventually, but what really stands out is the RAZR. In the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Korea, Japan, China and Canada the RAZR is set to see ICS in Q2 of this year. In the U.S., it's still in the "evaluation and planning" stage. 

Granted, CDMA and LTE probably make a huge difference in the code as well as the hardware, but I have to hope that Motorola has enough resources dedicated to the Droid RAZRs to get them updated quickly, and more importantly, free of any show-stopping bugs.

Of course the RAZR isn't the only device on the list, but it is the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. The good news is that most newer model Motos haven't been ruled out of anything just yet, and that Motorola cares enough to even make a chart that's bound to get them some grief. Updating an OS isn't easy folks, no matter what you might think. Hit the source link to see the full details.

Source: Motorola. Thanks, IceDree for the tip!

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