Headlines

2 years ago

Leaked internal screen suggests April 20 launch for Rogers HTC One X

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Here's some (potential) good news for Canadian smartphone buyers watching developments in Europe with eager eyes. Rogers may be launching the LTE version of the HTC One X -- that's the one known internationally as the HTC One XL -- as early as next Friday. A leaked internal screen obtained by MobileSyrup ​shows a release date of April 20 for HTC's Snapdragon S4-powered, 4.7-inch LTE-guzzling beast. An imminent release shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as pre-orders are currently being taken, with prices starting at C$169.99 on the standard 3-year Canadian contract.

The quad-core HSPA+ version of the One X is out now in Europe, and the dual-core LTE version is expected to arrive stateside early next month. To get an idea of what to expect, be sure to check out our full review of the European version.

Source: MobileSyrup

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2 years ago

White Motorola Motoluxe launches at Tesco in the UK

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Motorola Mobility sends word that from today, the white version of its "style-focused" Motoluxe handset will be heading to UK supermarket chain Tesco, both online and in bric-and-mortar stores. The Motoluxe, which combines a 4-inch screen, an 800MHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, an 8MP camera and a PhilBlur'd Android 2.3 Gingerbread, launched on UK networks in black last month. As far as we're aware, Tesco is the only carrier currently offering the white Motoluxe at subsidized prices.

Moto says that Tesco Mobile, which runs on O2's network, will offer the 'luxe in white for free on 24-month contracts starting at £20 per month -- that'll get you 250 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB. The £20 price point about matches the prices the major networks are asking for the black version -- T-Mobile UK's contract prices for the Motoluxe start at £21 per month.

As we discovered during our CES hands-on, the Motoluxe is a decent, if unremarkable entry-level handset, and you could certainly do worse if you're shopping around for a free phone on a £20 per month tariff. We've got Moto's full press release after the break.

More: Tesco Mobile

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2 years ago

LG Viper available for preorder today for $99, officially in stores April 22

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As promised, the Sprint LG Viper 4G LTE is available for preorder today for $99. (That's on a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.) In exchange for that Benjamin you'll get a 4-inch NOVA display, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 5MP camera, NFC radio and Sprint ID, plus eventual 4G LTE data on Sprint's fledgling 4G LTE network. Plus, you'll get 50GB of online storage from Box.

Sprint's website says it'll "do our best to get it to you before Sunday, April 22," which suggests that'll be the official in-store date. So, who's in?

Update: Sprint's just made it official, saying it'll definitely be in stores on Sunday, and that preorders may arrive as early as April 20.

Preorder: Sprint.com; more: Press release

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2 years ago

Open letter to HTC regarding EVO 4G LTE design gets a response

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One of the hottest threads in our EVO 4G LTE forum is Starfleet Captain's open letter to HTC regarding design choices on the E4GLTE. As you'll recall, it went a little something like this:

Dear HTC,

As a customer and consumer, I want to thank you for the excellent phones that you continue to make every year. My very first HTC—made smartphone was the Windows Mobile 6.1 device called, the Touch Diamond on Sprint. Since then, I was in line before Dawn to pick up the HTC Evo 4G on the day it was released, and a year later, the HTC Evo 3D. I want you to know that I have greatly enjoyed these best in class devices over the years.

After reading through the press releases from your company and Sprint for your new upcoming device, the HTC Evo 4G LTE, as well as the many first impression reviews on the web, I can only conclude that you have another blockbuster winning device on your hands. I, for one, as has become a yearly tradition it seems, plan on being in line on the morning of the release of this excellent smartphone. That being said, many consumers in the Android community seem to take issue with a design decision on this device. ...

A dozens pages of replies later, and Starfleet Captain has returned to share a response he got from HTC. Will it assuage the angry masses? Will it cause you to break down in tears of joy? Only one way to find out.

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2 years ago

HTC on One S MAO chipping issue: 'immediate fix' for those affected

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HTC to implement "small changes" to prevent future problems

HTC has issued an official response to the recent reports that some black One S phones, which feature a micro-arc oxidation coating, have been experiencing issues with the ceramic coating chipping off the chassis. Following on from yesterday's statement acknowledging the problem, HTC today restates its commitment to the MAO coating, which it says is proven to be of similar hardness to ceramic. The manufacturer adds that customers affected by severe chipping can return the phone to the place of purchase, or have the phone fixed under warranty.

The full statement, sent to ​The Verge, reads --

HTC is committed to delivering a high quality product and great experience for all our customers. There have been a few, isolated reports of this issue. The finish on the One S was laboratory tested as being at a hardness similar to ceramic. While that's hard, it doesn't mean it's impossible to damage. Regardless, HTC takes quality very seriously and are providing all customers with an immediate fix and we are implementing some small changes to ensure customers do not experience this issue in the future.

So that's that. Anyone suffering with unsightly scratches and chips can get a replacement, and hopefully the changes brought in by HTC will prevent any future occurrences.

Source: The Verge

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Your opinion of Ice Cream Sandwich

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Since a few phones and tablets have been upgraded to (or shipped with) Ice Cream Sandwich, now is a good time to ask those who are using it what they think. We know, most devices don't have it yet (don't worry, you'll get to express your displeasure as well) but it's pinging the website enough to get a fair idea from enough folks to see how El Goog did with the latest version.

I bounce back and forth between devices with ICS and one or two without it. I'm probably in a unique position where I can really tell what's better (to me, anyway) and what's not after close inspection, but first impressions matter as well. Even if your first trip into Androidland has you running ICS, don't be afraid to vote! My vote? I really like it. Other than no persistent menu button (which I'm going to have to deal with on my own terms -- it ain't coming back) I think everything else is either a great improvement, or the beginnings of one. Some of it took some time to get used to, mainly the people app and the phone app, but it's starting to feel like old hat and I'm digging it.

But I know what I think. It's time to find out what you think -- tell us in tonight's poll!

 

What are your impressions of Ice Cream Sandwich?

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2 years ago

We're answering your HTC One S questions in the Android Central forums!

You've read our initial preview and our full review, but maybe you still have some burning questions about the One S, HTC's latest 4.3-incher that's out now in Europe and coming to T-Mobile USA later this month. Fear not -- we're standing by to answer your questions about the device over in the Android Central forums, so whatever you want to know is just a post away.

If you're not already signed up, registration is free, and there's plenty of discussion to be had elsewhere in the forums too.

To get started with your HTC One S questions, hit the forum thread below, and we'll do our best to deliver you the info you crave.

More: HTC One S questions on the Android Central forums

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2 years ago

Security scare of the week: What can an app with no permissions do?

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The latest in the never-ending story of Android security is out, and this time it's talking about what an app can access if it declares no permissions. (To put it another way, what all an application can see if it doesn't request any of the normal functionality apps request.) Some folks make it out to be nothing to worry about, others use it in their quest to damnify the world's most popular mobile phone OS, but we figure the best thing to do with it is explain what's happening. 

A group of security researchers set out to create an app that declares no permissions to find out exactly what sort of information they could get out of from the Android system it was running on. This sort of thing is done every day, and the more popular the target is, the more people are looking at it. We actually want them to do this sort of thing, and from time to time folks find things that are critical and need fixed. Everybody benefits.

This time around, they found that an app with no (as in none, nada, zilch) permissions could do three very interesting things. None are serious, but all are worth looking at a bit. We'll start with the SD card.

Any app can read data on your SD card. It's always been this way, and it will always be this way. (Writing to the SD card is what needs a permission.) Utilities are available to create secure, hidden folders and protect them from other apps, but by default any data written to the SD card is there for any app to see. This is by design, as we want to allow our computer to access all the data on shareable partitions (like SD cards) when we plug them in. Newer versions of Android use a different partitioning method and a different way to share data that moves away from this, but then we all get to bitch about using MTP. (Unless you're Phil, but he's a little nuts at likes MTP.) This is an easy fix -- don't put sensitive data on your SD card. Don't use apps that put sensitive data on your SD card. Then quit worrying about programs being able to see data they are supposed to be able to see.

The next thing they found is really interesting if you're a geek -- an can read the /data/system/packages.list file with no explicit permission. This poses no threat on its own, but knowing what applications a user has installed is a great way to know what exploits may be useful to compromise their phone or tablet. Think of vulnerabilities in other apps -- the example the researchers used was Skype. Knowing that an exploit exists it's there means an attacker could try to target it. It's worth mentioning that targeting a known insecure app would probably require some permissions to do so, though. (And it's also worth reminding folks that Skype quickly acknowledged and fixed its permissions issue.)

Finally, they discovered that the /proc directory gives a bit of data when queried. Their example shows that they can read things like the Android ID, kernel version, and ROM version. There's a lot more that can be found in the /proc directory, but we need to remember that /proc isn't a real file system. Look at yours with root explorer -- it's full of 0-byte files that are created at runtime, and is designed for apps and software to communicate with the running kernel. There is no real sensitive data stored there, and it's all erased and rewritten when the phone is power cycled. If you are worried that someone might be able to find your kernel version or 16 digit Android ID, you still have the hurdle of getting that information sent anywhere without explicit Internet permissions. 

We're glad that people are digging in deep to find these sort of issues, and while these aren't critical by any serious definition, it's good to make Google aware of them. Researchers doing this sort of work can only make things safer and better for all of us. And we need to stress the point that the fellows at Leviathan aren't talking doom and gloom, they are just presenting facts in a useful way -- the doom and gloom is coming from outside sources.

Source: Leviathan Security Group

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2 years ago

HTC looking into reports of chipped ceramic coating on some One S phones

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As you'll know if you've been following our coverage of the device, the HTC One S comes in two flavors -- anodized aluminum (grey) and ceramic (black). The black version is treated using a process called micro-arc oxidation, which involves taking the aluminum unibody and pumping it full of electricity until, through the power of science, the surface takes on a ceramic-like texture.

However, some One S owners have reported that after just a few days, the fancy matte coating is already starting to erode. There's even the customary XDA thread with photos of unsightly scratches along the top edge of some devices, apparently through normal use rather than being dropped or knocked around. We haven't noticed anything that drastic with our MAO-coated review unit, but it has picked up a few smudges here and there. Then again, a phone picking up scuffs over time is hardly news in itself.

In a statement sent to The Verge, HTC says it's aware of the repots and is investigating the issue. That's the way these things work, and we're hopeful HTC will make things right for those with genuine defects.

But it's also worth mentioning that just because a phone's been fried in plasma, doesn't make it immune to the laws of physics. Scratches will still happen, even on a surface that's purportedly four times harder than the standard anodized aluminum. A good analogy here is Corning's Gorilla Glass. This is stronger than regular glass, but although it's bendable and shatter resistant, it remains susceptible to hairline scratches. The point of a reinforced surface is to avoid structural, not cosmetic damage. It's also true that manufacturing defects happen, particularly in the early days, and these aren't necessarily indicative of a flawed design.

However this pans out, we'll be watching with interest, and we'll keep you posted of further developments. Be sure to share your own experiences with the One S down in the comments.

Source: The Verge

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2 years ago

From the Android Forums: Can my Rezound get official ICS if I don't have Verizon service?

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af250xxl asks in the Android Central forums,

Can my Rezound get the official ICS update if I don't have Verizon service? I removed the Rezound from my account the day after I activated it because I don't want to pay the $30 data fee. Will HTC or Verizon have a website for people to download the ICS update to a PC or directly to the Rezound?

Great question. The short version is no, but that doesn't paint the whole picture. Some Android phones don't require the user to have an active service plan to get an OTA update, but some do -- the HTC Rezound, like most phones on Verizon, is one that does require it. We're not sure of the full reasoning behind this practice, only that it helps control the OS versions from a customer service and tech support standpoint. My tinfoil hat side says it's done to convince users to keep their service active, but that's just paranoia talking.

But all is not lost. There will be a file released by HTC and sent to Verizon service technicians called an RUU (ROM Update Utility), and it is a manual way to update the phone via the USB connection. Carriers have Android geeks working for them, and these sort of things tend to get leaked out to the community rather quickly. Using the RUU and a Windows computer, you would be able to wipe and re-flash your Rezound to the latest version. Talking to the folks in the HTC Rezound forum is a good place to start, and they will know the minute any new RUU leaks out. Keep an eye out for it and you'll likely be able to do exactly what you're hoping to do.

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

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