Headlines

2 years ago

Virgin Mobile Canada launches signup page for upcoming HTC One S release

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The HTC One S is "coming soon" to Virgin Mobile Canada, and in exchange for your email address, the carrier will notify you as soon as the device launches.  In addition to news as it happens, submitting your email address between now and May 17 will earn you a chance to win one of two S smartphones. As per contest rules, the retail value of the prize is set at Cdn $600, a possible hint at what Virgin will be charging.

Officially speaking, the carrier hasn’t gone official with a release date or pricing, though we’ll keep our ears tuned to the great white north for more information. Virgin Mobile’s signup page can be found at the source link.

Source: Virgin Mobile Canada; via mobilesyrup

 

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2 years ago

Google gets back into the phone sales business, offering Galaxy Nexus for $399

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The rumors were true -- Google once again is selling unlocked smartphones on its own, with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus going for $399 in the Google Play Store.

The phone Google's offering is an unlocked pentaband GSM device, same as what many of us had imported previously. The "pentaband" part means that it'll work on AT&T and T-Mobile 3G/4G networks. And because it's unlocked, you can take it out of the country and pop in another carrier's SIM card without needing an unlock code.

Google's tried selling phones before, starting with the original Nexus One in early 2010. That ended poorly, with customer support issues dogging Google, HTC and T-Mobile (which at launch was the only carrier to officially support the N1). Google finally shut down the phone store in May 2010 and said the Nexus One would come to retail stores. That didn't happen. Later, the remaining Nexus One stock was offered as a developer device.

So what happened? Google's Mario Queiroz told us at Google IO in May 2010 that "The web store as a direct distribution model is really a very small part of the overall Android strategy. With the Nexus One we had the objective of bringing to market a very technologically sophisticated phone, which we did, which really set a new bar for quality. And I think you've seen a lot of the phones in the market today, that have come to market in the past few months, have been influencing, in many ways ... by what the Nexus One was able to do."

Sweetening the deal is that Google Wallet -- which for some time has been official only on the Sprint Nexus S, and now on the Sprint Galaxy Nexus -- is preloaded on this GSM device.

For our part, this is the way Google should sell Nexus devices. Unlocked GSM versions, able to work on networks worldwide. And, of course, it's what some are calling the one "true" Nexus because you're able to build for it directly from the Android Open Source Project, with no pesky CDMA licensing restrictions  keeping that from happening. (We don't quite subscribe to that "True Nexus" theory ourselves, though.)

Devices in Google Play right now is open only in the U.S. But Andy Rubin, in a blog post this morning, says it'll be coming to more countries. The obvious follow-up question is this, though: Google won't be stopping at selling phones at Google Play, will it?

Buy now: Galaxy Nexus at Google Play
More: Google Mobile Blog

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2 years ago

Samsung reveals U.S. Ice Cream Sandwich update list

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For the past several months we've had a general idea of which U.S. Samsung phones and tablets are slated to receive an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. But today the manufacturer has stepped in with a full carrier-by-carrier breakdown of which devices are set to get the latest version of Google's OS.

The big picture is that if you've got a Galaxy Tab or Galaxy S II-class phone, chances are you're in line for an ICS update later in the year. The only real surprise comes from T-Mobile, which doesn't have any confirmed devices, though Samsung promises a list in the "coming months." There's also no mention of the original Galaxy S, but then that stopped being news a few months ago.

Unfortunately there are no specifics offered about exactly when these updates will begin rolling out (except for the Nexus S, of course, which already has its ICS update). Though with ICS for the international Galaxy S II already rolling out to handsets in Europe and Asia, we're hopeful S II owners in the U.S won't have too much longer to wait.

Source: Samsung Support; via: Samsung Mobile USA

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2 years ago

O2 confirms it'll stock 'next Galaxy', references to 'Galaxy S3' in official app keep us guessing

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Following yesterday's 'next Galaxy' revelations from Vodafone, O2 UK has confirmed that it'll also be carrying Samsung's upcoming (and as yet unnamed) flagship smartphone for 2012. Again, we're not too surprised, as in the UK it's the norm that major handsets like the 'next Galaxy' appear on all major networks.

In related news, references to a "Galaxy S3" have been spotted within the listing for the Samsung Mobile Unpacked app that was released last night. The name is tucked away in a list of keywords at the bottom of the description in the Google Play Store. This is far from confirmation of the official name, but it's yet another piece of the puzzle, and it wouldn't be the first time an "Unpacked" app has provided hints about future Samsung products. In any case, we can bet Samsung will keep us guessing over the next week, as the May 3 announcement approaches.

Source: Google Play, @O2

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2 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR/MAXX update rolling out now

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For you night owls with the Motorola Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX, know this: A decent little update, which we first told you about a few days ago, is now available. No, it's not Ice Cream Sandwich (not yet, anyway). But here's what you can expect in software version 6.12.181:

Device Features:

  • Improved device stability.
  • Optimized device performance to extend battery life.
  • Added easy access to preloaded VZW bookmarks through quick key access.
  • Corrected loud call end and connect tones over Bluetooth.®
  • Enhanced device security preventing unauthorized access of telephony database by third parties.
  • Device is now updated with IPv6. - As new Internet addresses are introduced, you will be able to continue to browse and view web pages with this latest Internet enhancement.

Network Connectivity:

  • 4G coverage indicator accurately displays data connectivity.
  • Improved Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity when utilizing WPS security.

Email, Messaging & Data:

  • Improved text message delivery.

Applications & Widgets:

  • Improved Visual Voice Mail performance with data disabled and visual voicemail notification delivery.
  • Enhanced security in Verizon Apps.

MotoCast Updates:

  • Included a new MotoCast widget to enable easier access and discoverability of MotoCast services.
  • Modified the storage settings screen to make it easier to understand total storage versus available storage.
  • Implemented a number of MotoCast performance improvements.

That's quite the changelog, actually. To download the update, you can either wait for it to push, or go to Menu>Settings>About Phone>System updates to get your download on. And if you need a little extra help, hit the forums links below.

Source: Verizon; More: Droid RAZR forums; RAZR MAXX forums
Thanks. @Fusedgutz24, for the tip!

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2 years ago

LG Optimus Vu does its 5-inch, 4:3 thing in white next week

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Tired of big black slabs? How's about a nice big white slab? The LG Optimus Vu is bringing its 5-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio in white starting next week, the Korean manufacturer announced today. As you'll recall from our last encounter with this massive beast at Mobile World Congress, the Optimus Vu is a stylus-happy phone/tablet hybrid that pretty much was a direct response to the Samsung Galaxy Note. It's not all bad, but boy howdy is it ever big.

We've still got no idea if it'll ever hit the States, nor do we really know if that'd be a bad thing. 

Source: LG

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2 years ago

From the Android Forums: Would an HTC One XL ROM work on the AT&T One X?

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Sddfdds asks in the Android Central forums,

Just thinking out loud ... would this be possible? Take the XL ROM from HTC (do they provide stock (stock Sense that is) images for their phones in the same way you can get them from Google for the Nexii?) and slap it onto the AT&T One X to get rid of whatever crap they put onto it, and even do the occasional free tether in a pinch? (Do the HTC ROMs have the stock android tether app?)

It might work. I know that's not much of an answer, but every One XL and the AT&T One X may not be identical. Different LTE frequencies may need different equipment, and there's a chance that we'll see several different versions of HTC One XL hardware, with the AT&T version matching some of it (Rogers in Canada comes to mind), or not matching any of it. Hopefully, this isn't the case, but until the "right" people get in there and dig around, the safe bet is to consider the possibility of two (or more) separate animals. Yeah, it can get confusing. The good news is that even of they are different, developers will be able to use bits and pieces of both. This is all hypothetical, as HTC really has no incentive to sell an unbranded, unlocked LTE phone. 

HTC probably won't provide images for the One X or XL the way we see Google provide them. They aren't required to, and with so much proprietary software at play we don't see them bucking the trend any time soon. Chances are someone will be able to leak out RUUs, they seem to get them for every HTC phone, so there will be a "stock" image out there, albeit not necessarily factory authorized.

My best advice, without knowing how everything will play out, is to prepare to root and install custom software if you plan on changing things. You'll be voiding any warranty by swapping out to an XL image anyway, and this way you'll find exactly the options you're looking for. The AT&T version of the One X is bound to be a popular device, and hacking at it will follow shortly after release. 

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch, or hop into the forums!

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2 years ago

Samsung announces Galaxy Note S Pen App Challenge winners!

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The Samsung Galaxy Note S Pen App Challenge of which our very own Phil Nickinson was a judge, has now concluded, and the winners have been announced. The grand prize winner has scored $100,000 with second place pulling in $50,00 and third taking home $20,000. The goal was to create apps that make use of the Samsung Galaxy Note's S Pen in unique ways and according to Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile the results exceeded expectations both in terms of quantity and quality. So who won? Check out the list below:

  • Best Overall App – Grand Prize - $100,000 “Monkey Write * Learn Chinese” by Chiu-ki Chan (Square Island LLC): Learn to write Chinese with Monkey Write – a game that makes it fun to learn. Chinese characters are written in a specific order to give them structure. Follow the stroke numbers to learn to write each character.
  • Best Overall App – Second Prize - $50,000 “Maze Racer” by Roger Peters (SmartyPantsGaming) and David McCanless: Maze Racer is a simple maze inspired game where you draw a line from start to finish. In Maze Racer, you get rewarded stars based on how quickly you reach the finish. Maze Racer is optimized for precision from the S-Pen over traditional finger input.
  • Best Overall App – Third Prize - $25,000 “Drawing Pad” by Christopher Lott and Daren Murtha (Murtha Design): Drawing Pad is a mobile art studio with a beautiful user interface that puts the fun into creating art. Drawing Pad provides amazing realistic textured brushes with the pressure sensitivity data of the S Pen.
  • Popular Choice - $2,000 and a Galaxy Note - “SignDoc Mobile” by Softpro North America: Professionally capture user handwritten signature using pressure sensitivity of the S Pen

In addition to the top three winners and the popular choice award, Samsung also opened up a segment for honorable mentions where the winners took home $2,000 and a brand new Samsung Galaxy Note. Congrats to winners! You can check out the full press release beyond the break.

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2 years ago

Verizon drops the price of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus by $100, pick one up now for only $199

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Just in case you're on Verizon and haven't picked up a Verizon Galaxy Nexus as of yet, Verizon is making it harder to resist. What originally started off as a $299 buy in cost has now been dropped by $100 making the grand total of picking one up only $199 with a new two-year contract. We're gonna go out on a limb and say Sprint might have had something to do with the price drop but however you want to look at it, a savings of $100 is something to be happy about. If for whatever reason you avoided the Galaxy Nexus thus far, have a look at our full review and then hit the link below if you're going to be picking one up.

Source: Verizon; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest winner: Shapes and texture

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Join me in congratulating the winner of last weeks photo contest, jumboadam. This picture of an old railing, taken with the Motorola Droid X, really captures the ideas of shape and texture, is nice and clear, and visually appealing. Those are the kinds of pics we're looking for each week. Nice work jumboadam, watch the email inbox you used to register for the site for info about your prize.

The entries this week were absolutely amazing, as many a comment in the contest thread agrees with. We'll have a new one set up soon, so keep practicing and playing with the different settings and effects on your Android camera. We like it when you guys "wow" us! Hit the break to see the rest of the top 10, in no particular order.

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