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3 years ago

From the forums: Top Samsung Galaxy S4 threads

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The dust has settled after last week's Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement event in New York, but there's still lots to discuss ahead of the phone's eventual launch. You'll find much of that discussion over at the Android Central forums. Here's a rundown of some of the top threads in our Galaxy S4 forum right now.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 forum

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3 years ago

HTC gives update on HTC One delays, availability

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North America will get the HTC One by the end of April, company says

HTC has just released a statement regarding availability for the HTC One, which has seen delays because of supply shortages. As you'd expect, the company is spinning things in a positive light, and promises that we'll see some general availability in Europe Next week, and North American and Asia by the end of April.

Here's the full statement:

“HTC has seen unprecedented demand for and interest in the new HTC One, and the care taken to design and build it is evidenced in early reviews. The new HTC One will roll out in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week and across Europe, North America and most of Asia-Pacific before the end of April. We appreciate our customers’ patience, and believe that once they have the phone in their hands they will agree that it has been worth the wait.”

So the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week, North America and Asia-Pacific by the end of April. Our usual MO is to tell you that a few weeks isn't that long to wait. But after getting to use the HTC One for a couple weeks now, we can't say that with a straight face.

Any delay should be particularly distressing for HTC, which has struggled financially for a number of quarters, as competitor Samsung prepares what should be another high-profile (and high-budget) launch with the Galaxy S4. We put the two phones up against each other last week in New York City, and it's going to be a tough call for many folks.

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3 years ago

Garnet red and 'La Fleur' Galaxy S3 Mini now available from Carphone Warehouse

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UK retailer the Carphone Warehouse has announced that it's begun stocking the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini in limited edition "garnet red" and "La Fleur" color options. We've seen both options before on the full-sized S3 -- the red was a prominent color offered by AT&T in the U.S., while the floral design has been spotted in renders, but hasn't seen as widespread a release.

With the UK Galaxy S4 launch just a month away, now might seem like an odd time to hop aboard the Galaxy S3 train -- but if you're looking for something in a smaller form factor, you could certainly do worse than the S3 Mini. Carphone is offering the S3 Mini on contracts starting from £12.50 per month for the first six months, then £25 thereafter. The SIM-free price stands at £269.99

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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3 years ago

First Sony Xperia Z firmware update hitting some devices in Europe

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It seems Sony's Xperia Z is in the midsts of its first official firmware update. Xperia Z owners in Europe are reporting receiving the update to version 10.1.A.1.434 through the Sony PC companion app, however it seems the update isn't rolling out for everyone just yet, and it's not yet available directly on the device as an over-the-air update either. For our part, we haven't received any update on the unlocked UK model we've been using.

There's also no firm information on exactly what's new in this update, though there's speculation it might address the recently discovered "sleep of death" issue causing Sony Xperia Zs to randomly die. According to XDA forum reports, the latest firmware doesn't fix the slow camera start-up times we pointed out in our Xperia Z review, which is unfortunate.

If you've got an Xperia Z in Europe, be sure to hit the comments and let us know if you're seeing this latest firmware update.

More: Sony Xperia Z review

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

Huawei Ascend G700 leaks as an affordable option for the Chinese market

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Shortly after MWC we saw a leak of the Huawei Ascend G710, and now a very similar G700 is making an appearance online. The renders above, tweeted out by leakster @evleaks, show a device that falls in line with current Huawei design. According to some sleuthing on the part of Engadget, the plastic device will be sporting a 5-inch "HD" (assumedly 720p) display, along with 2GB of RAM and a MediaTek quad-core processor. The indication is that the device will eventually sell for around $300 unlocked, which would put it well under the recent flagship Ascend D2 and Ascend Mate.

Interestingly, those specs line up very similarly to those of the previously leaked G710 although the designs seem to be different. With very similar names, we'd expect these devices to slot into price points right next to each other. Don't get your hopes up for a U.S. launch though, these are likely bound for just the Chinese market.

Source: @evleaks; Via: Engadget

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia E officially on sale in the UK, costing £129.99

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Sony's latest entry level offering, the Xperia E, is now officially on sale in the UK. In the past it had been pegged for a February release, but retailer Clove Technology now has the device for sale for the pretty reasonable price of £129.99. 

Only the black versions are currently available -- white ones are due sometime in April. For your money, you're getting a solid entry level Android smartphone. Better still, it's a solid entry level smartphone running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Other specs include a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 3.5-inch HVGA display, 4GB of onboard storage, 512MB of RAM a microSD card slot and a respectable for its size, 1500mAh battery. 

This is by no means going to excite those that breathe bleeding edge devices, but the Xperia E also has a little party piece. Sony has released an experimental Firefox OS ROM for the Xperia E, so for those so inclined, it's not an overly expensive way of checking that out either. 

Source: Clove

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3 years ago

Droid RAZR HD and MAXX HD Android 4.1.2 update is live

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Droid RAZR HD and MAXX HD owners have started receiving an update for their devices. This latest OTA will bump both versions of the RAZR HD to Android 4.1.2, and comes with security patches from Google and a fix for data roaming.

Multiple software improvements have also been made. Detection of USB cables has been improved, as has the devices' Wifi connectivity. Wallpaper options have been added when selecting home screen icons, and the camera app has had improvements made to its touch-to-focus, notifications, and low light performance. Headset connectivity is better, as is pixelation in video streaming. Media sync problems should also be gone, now that sync more stable.

If you're rocking a Droid RAZR HD or MAXX HD, be sure to hit the forums and let us know how you're getting on..

Source: Droid Life

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3 years ago

MetroPCS picks up Huawei Premia 4G

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MetroPC this morning announced the availability of the Huawei Premia 4G, a 4-inch Android smartphone. It's running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, has a 5-megapixel camera with Flash and is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. The display is covered with Gorilla Glass.

On the software side, expect MetroPCS to push the "joyn" feature, which adds video and Wifi-calling, instant messaging, and file sharing. You'll have to have a 4G LTE data plan to use it.

The Huawei Premia 4G is available today for $149.

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 back in stock at German Google Play Store

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The UK isn't the only country that's just seen a fresh influx of Nexus 4 stock at its Google Play Store. Today the official +Nexus Google+ page sends word that the coveted handset is now back in stock in Germany. The phone is available in 8GB and 16GB flavors for €299 and €349 respectively, and set to ship in 3 to 5 days.

(Incidentally, the phone's still in stock in the UK and shipping within the same timeframe)

Grab 'em at the links below --

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3 years ago

Samsung aware of lock screen security issues, working on a fix

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The past few weeks have seen some prominent lock screen security issues come to light on certain Android 4.1-based Samsung phones, including the Galaxy Note 2. Most recently, blogger Terence Eden was able to completely bypass the Note 2's lock screen security by cleverly utilizing a vulnerability in the way Samsung's TouchWiz software exits out of certain emergency dialer menus.

This morning Samsung has confirmed to Android Central that it's aware of the issue and working on a fix. Here's the manufacturer's statement in full --

"Samsung considers user privacy and the security of user data its top priority.

We are aware of this issue and will release a fix at the earliest possibility."

As we mentioned in yesterday's post, using this technique to bypass a phone's security in the real world would be tricky and time-consuming process, so we're not losing any sleep just yet. Nevertheless, it's good to see that a fix is indeed on the way.

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3 years ago

Samsung confirms UK Galaxy S4 will use quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU

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It's quad-core, not octa-core, but that's not something worth worrying about

Following recent speculation across the blogosphere, Samsung has this morning confirmed to us that UK consumers will get the quad-core Snapdragon 600-powered Galaxy S4, rather than the octa-core Exynos 5 variant. That's contrary to the original press release sent out to UK media last week, which suggested the opposite.

Here's the updated statement from Samsung --

“Samsung Galaxy S 4 is equipped with a 1.9GHz Quad-core AP or a 1.6GHz Octa-core AP. The selection of AP varies by markets.

In the UK the Galaxy S 4 will be available as a 4G device with a 1.9GHz Quad Core Processor".

And as we know from speaking with Qualcomm last week, that quad-core CPU is the company's latest Snapdragon 600.

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3 years ago

Xperia Z devices are randomly dying, but Sony is working on a fix

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Some Sony Xperia Z users are reporting that their device is randomly shutting down, never to turn back on again. XperiaBlog points to several different user groups that are finding their devices shut down without their knowledge, and can't do anything to have them come back to life. Although some report success doing a hard reset (holding power + vol up), this doesn't seem to be universal fix. There also doesn't seem to be a known cause either, which makes the bug even more troublesome to diagnose.

Sony's response to the issue is that it has come up with a fix for the random shutdowns, which will be implemented with the device's next software update. Our own Xperia Z seems to be going along strong and hasn't had such an issue, but then again we may just be lucky.

Source: XperiaBlog; More: Sony Xperia Z Forums

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3 years ago

Comparing the HTC One speakers

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We put the HTC One up against the Galaxy Note 2, Nexus 4 and HTC One X in a basic test

As we've been prone to do with recent phones, we're doing more speaker comparisons. This is unscientific, to be sure. What we hear may be a little different than what you hear. And while it may be cliche, you really do have to hear some of these phones in person to get the full effect.

That's especially true for the HTC One. The "BoomSound" feature is a combination of hardware and software that eventually shoots from the stereo speakers (again, two is better than one here) from the front of the phone. The placement of the speakers makes as much a difference as maybe any of the other tweaks, Beats Audio included. We've seen that in tablets, previously, with speakers on the side as well as the front. (Switching from a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to the Nexus 7, and thus switching to a rear speaker again, took some getting used to.)

The idea of front-facing speakers on a phone isn't exactly a new one, either. HTC went with a slider setup on the Windows Phone-powered HTC Surround. An interesting idea but not nearly the same as what's on the HTC One.

Here's what our own Alex Dobie had to say in our HTC One review:

This combination of larger speakers, more advanced membranes and Beats Audio results in the loudest and bassiest sound experience we’ve heard on any smartphone, without sacrificing clarity. For music and video content, that’s great. But on anything but the lowest volume setting, it’s almost too loud for regular notifications and ringtones. Powering on the HTC One for the first time, you’re assaulted by the full force of BoomSound in HTC jingle form. And the first phone call you receive on the device will be equally terrifying if it strikes you unprepared.

I tend to agree with most of that, especially on the low end, which is better than any smartphone I've ever used. The high-end is a little easier to get away with. As you'll hear in the comparisons below, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 handles that pretty well. Maybe even better. It does decently on volume, too, but the HTC One just has a much fuller sound. It's not quite properly conveyed here, I believe. But you'll get the idea.

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3 years ago

Samsung lock screen bypassed entirely with clever, meticulous trickery

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Another Samsung lock screen security issue has come to light today, potentially allowing someone with physical access to a Jelly Bean-based Samsung phone to bypass a pattern or PIN lock. Brought to light by blogger Terrence Eden -- who you may remember from his earlier Note 2 exploits -- this one's particularly impressive because of the clever array of tricks used to achieve the eventual unlock.

The method, demonstrated on a Galaxy Note 2 running Android 4.1.2, relies on the fact that returning from certain screens in the emergency dialer causes the previous app to be visible -- and fully usable -- for a split second. With precise timing and a bit of patience, it's possible to use these windows of usability to load Google Play, use voice search to find a screen unlocker app (yep, those exist), and run it, thus removing the lock screen security.

So in order to use this in the real world you'll need a fair bit of time alone with someone's phone, the ability to use voice search inconspicuously and the patience to correctly hit the required sequence of screen taps. Nevertheless, it's a incredibly clever way of circumventing Samsung's lock screen security, and Eden deserves credit for his ingenuity.

We've reached out to Samsung for comment on this issue, and we'll update this post with any official response. In the meantime we're not too worried about the real-world threats posed by this exploit, or any other that requires physical access to the phone for an extended period of time. Nevertheless, this is something that needs to be fixed.

We've got Terrence Eden's original video demonstration after the break.

Source: YouTube; via: SlashGear

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3 years ago

Reminder: Android 4.2.2 pushing now for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus

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Manual update file also is available

Just a quick reminder, folks, that Android 4.2.2 (Build JDQ39) is now available for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. You get all the benefits that other Galaxy Nexus owners have enjoyed for months, including DayDreams, lock screen widgets and the new trace keyboard, among other improvements.

Folks are reporting that the update is pushing out over the air. Or if you hate waiting and want to update manually, you can snag the file straight from Google here. (via XDA) As always, hit up our Verizon Galaxy Nexus forums if you need help or have any questions.

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