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3 years ago

Mobile World Congress day three wrap-up

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Things are winding down in Barcelona, the fellows are enjoying some of the local delicacies and getting ready for the trip home. But just because Mobile World Congress is finishing up doesn't mean they didn't work their collective tails off today, making the final sweep of the show to make sure no stone was left unturned, no device left un-handled,  and no hors d'oeuvre was left uneaten.  We're thorough like that.  While Phil and the gang pack up their belongings, hit the break with me and see what they found today.

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3 years ago

Google Wallet updated with core fixes, prepaid cards still borked

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Google Wallet has been updated with a pretty extensive (and detailed) change log. You can now use a PO box in the address and be able to top up your prepaid card, and that address can be longer (good news for those living in Winchester-on-the-Severn, Maryland), reward card syncing has been fixed, "improvements" have been made to support more handsets, and fixes to the core wallet system have been applied.

One thing that hasn't been fixed is the prepaid cards. You can't add a new one, you can't retrieve your data for an existing one, and you'll get an error about system upgrades if you try. I know, because i tried both. I'm getting the feeling my $11.40 is gone forever.

All kidding aside, I'm sure some of you guys did drop a decent amount of cash in the prepaid card, have wiped your phone since, and can't get it back. I understand the need to change and fix a few things on the security side (Google Wallet is still very beta after all), but it would be nice to be able to access my fortune next time I wanna buy a cup of coffee. We can only hope Google gets it all figured out shortly.

There's a link after the break to the Market, but be warned -- it only will work if you've got a Sprint Nexus S 4G or an unlocked Galaxy Nexus with an AT&T SIM card in it. The rest of us will have to resort to hackery to get it installed. I'm sure the apk will be posted somewhere soon enough.

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3 years ago

Skitch for Android - Now includes highlighting of maps, saving to your SD Card

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You ever come across one of those applications where it seems like an obvious feature is missing and you wonder why the heck it isn't there? I felt that way about Skitch until tonight. Previously when using Skitch, you couldn't save files to the SD Card fo your device but now with the latest update you can do that and more:

  • Maps in Skitch  - Skitch is great for eliminating ambiguity: draw attention to a person in a photo or point out where that new sofa should go. And now, you can even take the ambiguity out of giving directions. With the new map feature, drop a pin with an address, then use arrows, shapes and lines to show exactly where you mean.
  • Save to the SD card - This is one of our most requested features. Now, anything you have in Skitch can be saved to your SD card. Do this by tapping on the Save icon. You can also find your saved images by tapping on that same icon.
  • Move your text - We also made it easier to add and move text. When you start typing, your text appears in place over the image. Tap and drag the text to move it to a different location, pinch the text to change its size. You can do all of this without changing to the finger tool. Easy.

Skitch has also included some bug fixes and general improvements with this release. You'll find in the Android Market right now available for download. If you've not used Skitch as of yet, go ahead and jump past the break -- you'll find a download link there waiting for you.

Source: Evernote Blog

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3 years ago

Seidio offering 3800mAh 'Super Extended Battery' for Verizon Nexus, with NFC

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If you were holding off on buying one of Seidio's 3800mAh batteries for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus because they weren't compatible with NFC, here's something you'll be interested in. The company has begun offering the big battery with built in NFC circuitry. It's $75, but Seidio says:

When you can’t get to an outlet, our Innocell Super Extended Life Batteries will keep you moving forward. Our Extended Life Batteries utilize premium Japanese cells to ensure the highest levels of safety and performance. Super Extended Life Batteries can offer up to 100% more battery life than your stock battery.

With Verizon's power hungry LTE network, for many a spare battery is a must. Now that they have the NFC issues sorted, you can have that spare, in the XXL size, and still play with your hacked-on Google Wallet. Hit the link for details.

Source: Seidio. Thanks, Mike!

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3 years ago

Verizon's response to FCC about bootloaders surprises nobody

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There's an old letter being passed around today that provides Verizon's response to the FCC about locked bootloaders.  Starting early this month, these letters began going out to anyone who had formally filed a complaint with the FCC about Verizon locking the bootloaders on phones that utilized the spectrum covered under the block C license, and they don't say anything everybody didn't already know. Verizon wants bootloaders locked, and they say you'll get better customer service if they stay that way.

And they are right.

Put away your pitchforks and hear me out. If you're reading this, and got a little hot under the collar when I said Verizon could better serve customers if the bootloader was locked down, you're not the problem. You root and ROM your phone, and when things get squirrelly you don't call customer service and gripe about it. You flash another ROM, like any smart Android geek would. Verizon isn't worried about providing customer care to you, and you don't need them to. But there are people out there who see these tricks online, get someone on Craigslist to root/unlock/flash something to their phones, and a week later when they realize the camera doesn't work as well, or the Wifi is wonky, or they can't rent movies from the Market, they get on the horn with Big Red. Those people cost Verizon money, and end up not very happy with their hacked Android phone. Plain and simple -- Verizon tech's can't help you if you don't have their software installed.

Yes, it gets old. It sucks when we get punished for problems other folks cause, but welcome to society. It's not likely to change, and VzW probably isn't violating the C block agreement by not allowing unauthorized software to run rampant on their network. You've got three choices -- only buy phones that can be unlocked, switch providers, or enjoy the hell out of your phone the way it came out of the box. Verizon has their best interests, and their shareholders best interests, in mind and we shouldn't expect anything different.

Source: Droid-Life

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3 years ago

Google+ updated with several stability improvements and bug fixes

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If you haven't hit the Android Market yet today, then you may not be aware the Google+ team has pushed out the latest release. While no new features have been added, it is noted to contain several stability improvements and bug fixes and that sounds like something everyone should be interested in. Looking for the download? You'll find it past the break.

Source: Virgil Dobjanschi

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3 years ago

Dolphin Browser HD - Search the web and navigate the browser using Dolphin Sonar

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The folks from MoboTap have now released the latest version of Dolphin Browser HD bumping it up to v7.4.0. Aside from the usual bug fixes typically inlcuded with all updates, this release actually introduces a new feature called Dolphin Sonar that allows you to issue voice commands to help navigate the web. Once installed, you can open up Dolphin, give your device a shake then tell it what you want to do.

"Our Gesture-based browsing function was a game-changer in terms of the way people browse on their mobile devices, and Sonar is the logical next step," said Yongzhi Yang, CEO of MoboTap, makers of Dolphin Browser. "Just as sonar is used by dolphins to navigate, Dolphin Sonar interprets sound to get you where you want to be online. We are continuously thinking of new ways to heighten our users' mobile browsing experience with new and innovative features."

Having given it a quick run through, it fairs quite well when issued commands. I'm not so sure I would use it all the time but I suppose that's the good thing about it -- you don't have to but in case you want to, it's there. You can find the full press release and download link past the break.

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3 years ago

Sprint provides free Mobile Accessibility app to users with low vision

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Today at the 27th annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference Sprint announced that they will begin offering a free application to ease the use of Android phones for people who are blind or have low vision. The app, written by developers at Code Factory, is free in the Sprint area of the Android Market for Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile customers.

The application normally sells for $99 US, and is for anyone who has trouble reading the small print on a smartphone. It's simple user interface and voice guided instructions help users make and receive calls, texts and mail messages, as well as access things like their contacts, calendar, and even browse the web.

We're hard on the carriers here sometimes. Sometimes they deserve it. But I want to take a moment and say on behalf of all of us at Android Central that we applaud Sprint for what they're doing here. The people that will find this application useful may not be able to afford a hundred dollar Android app, and offering it for free is a nice way to give back to customers. Nice work Sprint. 

It's available in both English and Spanish, free for Sprint customers with Android phones running 2.1 or higher. Download links are below, and a short video and the press release are after the break.

Download Wireless Accessibility in English

Descargar accesibilidad inalámbrica en español

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S II now available on US Cellular, arrives in stores tomorrow

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As we predicted last week, the Galaxy S II will arrive in US Cellular stores tomorrow, March 1, with online availability beginning today. The award winning smartphone will cost you $229.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and with a two year contract (you'll get another $100 off if you're a new customer), and will surf on the carrier's 3G network rather than its soon-to-launch LTE wavelengths. 

It's the same Galaxy S II you've grown to love, complete with a 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1.2 Ghz dual-core Exynos processor, and 16 GB internal storage. It's shipping with Gingerbread, and US Cellular hasn't made its Android 4.0-update plans clear as of yet, though we're hoping they'll keep on top of it. 

Those of you who've been patiently waiting can grab yours today at the source link, or sit tight and head into a US Cellular retail location tomorrow. 

Source: US Cellular

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3 years ago

Eric Schmidt's Mobile World Congress keynote now online

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One of the highlights yesterday in Barcelona was Eric Schmidt's keynote address. Schmidt always entertains, and as former CEO and current chairman at Google we're usually listening when he speaks. At Mobile World Congress this year, Schmidt was focused on one thing -- the digital divide. We did get to see a nifty demonstration of Chrome for Android Beta from Android Product Director Hugo Barra, but for the most part it's an hour of hearing Schmidt's thoughts on how to bring connectivity to areas of the world that don't have it, and why that matters.

It's worth a look. There's no hidden gems about Jellybean or some secret-stealth project the folks at Mountain View might be working on, but it's a look at what drives Schmidt, and in turn Google, to go forward. You can find it embedded after the break.

Source:  Google Youtube channel

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2

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Awwwwww, the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 is a cute little bugger. It's a little bizarre going from a world of 5-inch-plus smartphones down to the diminutive Galaxy Mini 2, but darned if it doesn't feel kinda nice in the hand, kinda like you're holding a little child by the hand, waiting to show it through the big, brave world. No, really. Because in when you're comparing it to the high-resolution, quad-core monsters out there, you sort of want to keep the Galaxy Mini 2 close, where it's safe. Its 3.7-inch HVGA (320x480) display isn't really the sort of thing we'd want to give a seasoned smartphone user, and you're not going to be outputting any video with that 800 MHz processor. But if you remember that this merely is an entry level Android 2.3 smartphone, it could stand to serve you well.

We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S II inexplicably wins smartphone of the year at MWC

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The GSMA -- the group that puts on the fine Mobile World Congress we've been attending all week -- has released 17th annual Global Mobile Awards for this year's show. Of note for you Android fans out there are:

  • Angry Birds Rio (Rovio), best mobile app for consumers
  • WhatsApp (WhatsApp), best overall mobile app
  • SwiftKey (TouchType), best innovative mobile app
  • Google Maps for Android (Google), best consumer mobile service
  • Galaxy S II (Samsung), best smartphone
  • Samsung, device manufacturer of the year

We have absolutely no idea how one of last year's top smartphones -- the Galaxy S II -- won an award this year, especially with the likes of HTC, Sony, LG, Nokia, ZTE and Fujitsu all bringing new products to Barcelona. OK, OK. Yeah. It's last year's phones. We get that. But we're also under an avalanche of this year's phones. We know what we liked. We wanna see what everyone else like from the show, too.

The judges' comment was "A phenomenal success around the world, this has outperformed all its Android rivals and demonstrated the maturity of the ecosystem." We wouldn't argue against that. But that was last year. It's also worth noting that the categories have changed a bit. In 2011, the iPhone 4 won Best Mobile Device (never mind that Apple is nowhere to be seen around here), and HTC was Device Manufacturer of the year.

You can check out the full list for yourself at the link below.

Source: GSMA Global Mobile Awards (2012, 2011)

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3 years ago

HTC One at Mobile World Congress highlights reel now online

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

HTC held one of the biggest events at Mobile World Congress this year when they introduced the One series. It's not hard to understand, they certainly look good, and from what we've seen they blow us away with speed and usability. Even Sense has been trimmed and now looks, and in our opinion runs, much better. I think most Android fans are looking forward to seeing them be released.

What most of us didn't get to see was the presentation and show they put on in Barcelona. We missed them demo the .7 second shutter on the new camera hardware. We missed when Peter Chou told us about the new way they are integrating Beats Audio. And the info about micro-arc oxidation would have been great to sit in on. That's why we're pumped to see that HTC has posted a five-minute video with highlights of their event. 

It's not as fun as being there, but it will have to do. And it makes us want to see these phones on the shelves even more.

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3 years ago

Mobile World Congress day two wrap-up

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Day two of Mobile World Congress is in the bag, and it was another day filled with news from Barcelona about great Android-powered gadgets. I can't be the only one the sees phones and tablets and bugdroids in my sleep, and for an Android fan it's a good problem to have -- I'm certainly not complaining. We've seen something for just about everyone, from the small to the gigantic, and in every sort of style imaginable. It can get a bit overwhelming though, and that's why I'm here to help. I spend my day immersed in what's happening in Ciutat Comtal because you might not have time to.

Hit the jump, and let's walk through it all!

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3 years ago

Win a free Samsung Galaxy Note from Bell Mobility!

The Samsung Galaxy Note has been out for a couple of weeks now, and it seems people either love it or hate it. With a size fitting in somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet, the 5.3-inch device even comes with a stylus, which we thought went out of style years ago. There are advantages to the size of the Note, and one example of that is Bell's Mobile TV app. The ample screen size makes streaming media convenient, while still being a device portable enough to slide in a pocket or purse.

And what could be more convenient than winning a free Samsung Galaxy Note from Bell Mobility?! Nothing, I say, because winning is awesome. So if you'd like to enter to win a free Samsung Galaxy Nexus from Bell, and you live in Canada, drop your comment in the forums telling us why you want to win a Samsung Galaxy Note. Yes, sorry folks, the contest is open to Canadians only this time. Contest ends Sunday at midnight. Good luck!

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