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3 years ago

ASUS PadFone 2 receiving Jelly Bean OTA



The PadFone 2, ASUS' successor device to that weird interesting phone inside a tablet inside a laptop contraption, is finally grabbing an OTA to Jelly Bean starting today. We were surprised when the phone was announced back in October with just Ice Cream Sandwich on board, but it's good to see ASUS following it up quickly with an update. The device keeps the skinning present in the previous version, but new features like Google Now and enhanced notifications are all included here.

According to FoneArena, the OTA is starting its rollout in Asia -- although that makes sense because the device is primarily being sold there. If you happen to have imported one of these to the states, you'll likely have a shot at receiving the update yourself with this batch.

Source: FoneArena; More: ASUS PadFone Forums

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3 years ago

T-Mobile testing new prepaid 'GoSmart' plan in select markets


There's no shortage of big T-Mobile news out there right now, and this one seems to fit in with what we're hearing the last couple of days. After announcing that it will no longer be subsidizing handsets starting in 2013, T-Mobile is also putting a new prepaid option through trials in select markets. FierceWireless has confirmed with T-Mobile directly that the carrier is looking to lanch a new set of plans called "GoSmart" with three different tiers:

  • $30 for unlimited voice and text
  • $35 for unlimited voice, text and 2G data
  • $45 for unlimited voice, text and "high speed" data

The first two tiers probably won't be too appealing to readers of this site, but the last one is quite interesting. T-Mobile's current prepaid offerings are a bit more complex, and you have to pay a minimum of $60 for any meaningful amount of data with unlimited talk and text. What is yet to be determined is what T-Mobile means by "high speed data" with these plans.

With its current plans, that refers to HSPA+ (or "4G" to T-Mo) and the user is then throttled to EDGE (2G) speeds after a certain point. Documentation of this new plan at this point is referring to "3G" as high speed, which leads to some confusion. T-Mobile hasn't operated its UMTS (3G) network independently for years, and has completely moved to just EDGE and HSPA+ for data services. We have to think at this point that this is just early confusion about a new plan.

Trials have begun and we'll surely know more about this plan if it ends up going live nationwide in 2013.

Source: FierceWireless

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3 years ago

Hands on and initial impressions with the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini


The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini may well be out gunned by its big brother the Galaxy S3 but that doesn't matter as they are not in competition with each other. The SGS3 Mini is perfectly suited for consumers that don't need a huge, top of the range smartphone and clearly this will be reflected in the price of the device.

Specs wise, the SGS3 Mini isn't bad at all for a mid range device. Sporting a beautiful Super AMOLED 4 inch display and powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor it is still pretty nippy. I think one of its selling points will actually be its size. Non smartphone geeks that go into a retail store to upgrade are going to be attracted to the SGS3 Mini, not only as it looks good, but it feels great in the hand. The 4 inch display is still the sweet spot for many smartphone users and with the device running Android Jelly Bean straight out of the box there really isn't much to dislike about it.

Available in both 8/16GB models, with MicroSD card support and removable battery these options will attract many consumers. With a 5MP camera and video recording in 720P HD the specs are more than adequate for the majority of Android users and I suspect this latest Galaxy variant could well be a great seller for the South Korean company.

You can catch the full specs below:

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3 years ago

HTC Butterfly trailer confirms color options, still China-only for now


We don't yet have confirmation that the HTC Butterfly will launch anywhere outside of Asia. At the moment, it's only confirmed launch market is China, where it'll be available on the China Unicom carrier.

But what we do know is that it'll be available in three colors, as rumored, and it seems HTC will make a big marketing push for its latest high-end Asian handset. The promotional video released today by HTC China shows off a bunch of the phone's features, including splash resistance, Media Link HD sharing and fast photo capture, as demonstrated by a cast of attractive, stylish Butterfly owners.

Judging by the trailer, the Butterfly will be available in red, white and black. And the back panel on some models seems to have a slightly different, glossier finish, unlike its American cousin the Droid DNA.

We've got the trailer in full embedded after the break, if you'd like to see more of a phone you probably won't be able to buy.

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean updates ahoy for many Motorola phones in Q1 2013


As part of its new OS upgrade strategy, Motorola has published another update on the progress of new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (and ICS) firmware for its fleet of phones and tablets.

It's an extensive list, with a complete breakdown of phones by territory, however, we've picked out a few of the biggest upcoming upgrades for readers in the West --

  • RAZR i Jelly Bean update now scheduled for Q1 2013
  • Verizon Droid RAZR HD/RAZR MAXX HD still due Jelly Bean update before 2013
  • AT&T Atrix HD due Jelly Bean update before 2013
  • 3G/LTE Xoom Jelly Bean update delayed to Q1 2013
  • Canadian Atrix HD + RAZR HD due to get Jelly Bean in Q1 2013
  • Euro RAZR HD Jelly Bean update scheduled for Dec. 2012

No word on Android 4.2 for any Motorola devices just yet, but at least Jelly Bean part one should be on the way for a great many Moto phones early next year.

If you want to look up a particular phone or territory, you can do so at the source link below.

Source: Motorola Android Software Upgrade News

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3 years ago

HTC One VX available today from AT&T for $49.99


Despite having been announced for sale back in mid-November, and subsequently going M.I.A, the AT&T HTC One VX finally seems to have gone on sale. AT&T told us last week that we should be seeing it on Dec. 7, and true to their word we're seeing it on sale today. 

HTC's latest mid-range offering will cost just $49.99 on a 2-year deal from AT&T. For that you get Android 4.0 (with an update to 4.1 in the future,) a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon S4, a 4.5-inch qHD Super LCD 2 display, 1GB of RAM and 8GB onboard storage, expandable with microSD cards. 

All told it's a pretty nice device at this price point, but if you're still unsure, be sure to check out our hands on with the device back at the launch event in New York.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

Sony jumps above HTC in UK sales, both still a long way behind Samsung


Recent Q3 numbers for smartphone sales in the UK sees a change in the standings. Off the back of a major marketing campaign for its "Bond Phone," Sony has jumped ahead of HTC into second place. At this point second place is almost a win for either company, as both are still a long way behind the kind of numbers Samsung is posting in the UK. 

Sony sold 500,000 units in Q3, to 440,000 sold by HTC. There's not a lot in it, but it's sure to be welcome news for Sony. By contrast, Samsung's numbers sit at 3.2 million units for the same period. While not referring to specific numbers, the UK MD of Sony Mobile, Pierre Perron said to Mobile Magazine: 

All sources are confirming the same trend – that we are jumping into second place in the UK Android segment. This is what all our customers are telling us, that Sony Mobile is considered a top player in the UK Android space.

Sony's recent efforts deserve recognition. The hardware is well designed and well made, although the software does still let them down slightly. Nevertheless, with 2013's big show season right around the corner, we'll be interested to see what the future holds for Sony. 

Source: Mobile Magazine

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3 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich finally hits LG Optimus 2X


It's been a long journey to bring Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich onto the LG Optimus 2X. First the update was rumored to have been canceled, then un-canceled, then delayed, then released, but just in Korea, followed by a source code drop a month or so ago.

But Optimus 2X owners can rejoice this morning, as it seems the ICS update for their phone is now going out to devices outside of Korea, indicating a widespread international launch for the upgrade. According to reports from XDA, the  Android 4.0.4-based v30a firmware is now available to download via LG's PC update utility.

The long-awaited ICS should bring a performance boost to the the world's first dual-core smartphone, which we first saw way back at CES 2011. The ICS upgrade will also allow Optimus 2X owners to run the latest Google apps, including the new versions of Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Chrome. It's also likely the update will include LG's latest Optimus UI 3.0, as previous LG ICS updates have, however we haven't been able to specifically confirm this.

Anyone still rocking an Optimus 2X? Let us know how you get on with the latest firmware update.

Source: XDA; via: PhoneArena

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3 years ago

HTC Butterfly loses the 'J', due to be released in China


First, we had the HTC J-Butterfly. Next, came the Verizon Droid DNA. Now, what we appear to have is the same phone, with a slightly different name heading for other markets. The Butterfly has appeared on HTC's website with little else to indicate on where or when it may be available. 

The good news if you're in China -- it's heading your way. An HTC spokesperson has confirmed to Android Central that at present the Butterfly is slated for release in China, and that there is no information relating to availability in other markets at this time. 

Looking through the spec sheet, there are a couple of differences between the Butterfly and the Droid DNA. For one, there's no LTE. The other difference that stands out is the expandable storage. The Butterfly carries the same 16GB of on board storage as the DNA, but is expandable by way of microSD cards. It still runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Sense 4+ out of the box, and houses the same 2020mAh battery. Oh, and of course, that 5-inch, 1080p display.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

LG Optimus Vu now available in the UAE


LG has officially announced that the Optimus Vu is now for sale in the United Arab Emirates. This makes the 5-inch smartphone available in most major markets in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and now the Middle East. 

The Optimus Vu eschews typical smartphone design, instead opting for a more squarish 4:3 aspect ration. The extra width is used by features such as QSlide and Quick Memo, and is appealing to folks who enjoy reading on their smartphones.

Alex was slightly underwhelmed by the Vu during his time reviewing it, but LG has sold 17 Million of the devices so clearly there is a market. In the end, it's great to see our friends in the UAE have a new choice.

Source: LG Newsroom (Korea)

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3 years ago

T-Mobile to stop subsidizing handsets in 2013


We're hearing a ton of interesting information about T-Mobile's plans for the future today as part of Deutsche Telekom's analyst conference, and this may be the biggest yet. Starting in 2013, T-Mobile USA will no longer be subsidizing handsets with 2-year contracts, and will instead sell devices at full price or on installments. This means that devices and service will be completely separate going forward.

This is almost a carbon copy of its current "Value Plan" offerings, which give you cheaper monthly service prices (generally $20-$30 less) when you buy a phone full-priced or bring your own -- a model international users will be familiar with. T-Mobile said that 80-percent of its new line activations were on Value Plans in the last quarter, which means that this won't be too big of a shift from the way they're currently operating.

To the end user, the overall cost of smartphone ownership for the 2-year contract period will decrease, even when buying a device with monthly installments. Real savings can be had when holding onto a device for a longer period of time as well. The real roadblock here is going to be one of consumer education on the part of T-Mobile, which needs to explain to customers the benefits of this model. U.S. wireless customers are very comfortable with the idea of a subsidized handset that is bundled together with service.

Source: GigaOM

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3 years ago

T-Mobile finalizes rollout of 1900MHz HSPA+ in 3 new markets


T-Mobile rolled out 10 new markets with 1900MHz HSPA+ service just two weeks ago, and now the nation's fourth-largest carrier is adding another three markets. Users with unlocked handsets that operate on the 1900MHz frequency for HSPA+ (like AT&T handsets) will start seeing much higher data speeds in Seattle, WA; Minneapolis, MN and Atlanta, GA. These new markets bring the nationwide total to 18, with some of the largest markets in the country being represented.

This comes at an interesting time, as we're just hearing of T-Mobile's official plans to sell Apple devices (read: iPhone) on its network. The iPhone has traditionally only worked on 1900MHz and not T-Mobile's usual 1700/2100MHz (AWS) frequencies, so it will be interesting to see if this announcement pushes the rollout even faster.

T-Mobile's rollout of 1900MHz is much bigger than just supporting the iPhone of course, as it frees up spectrum for the carrier's move to LTE and support for a whole host of unlocked devices sold worldwide.

Source: TmoNews

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 bumpers finally shipping in the UK


After a few weeks, it seems the first batch of Nexus 4 bumpers is starting to make its way out to customers in the UK. Two UK Nexus 4 bumper orders placed by AC's British division shipped today, and the Twitters are alight with reports of fellow Brits whose bumpers are also in transit. (Update: we're also hearing reports that one or two bumpers shipped in the UK in the past week, too.)

Official Nexus accessories have been hard to come by in the past, particularly outside the U.S. So it's a small relief to see bumpers finally arriving with customers in Europe, even if it is more than three weeks after the first orders were placed on Google Play.

Unfortunately the UK Play Store still lists the Nexus 4 bumper as sold out, with no indication as to when fresh stock will arrive. So if you've yet to place an order you may have to be patient, or start looking elsewhere.

More: Nexus 4 bumpers on Google Play

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3 years ago

Sony releases flash tool for unlocked Xperia phones


If you've hacked around with a bootloader-unlocked Sony Xperia phone at any point, you may be familiar with the unofficial Xperia Flashtool maintained by the forum denizens at XDA. The app allows Xperia owners to flash firmware packages to their phones in a similar manner to the ODIN utility that works with Samsung phones. Now Sony Mobile has released an official app of its own to allow unlocked Xperia phone owners to perform these kinds of tasks.

An initial beta version of the Xperia Flash Tool is available to download now, and can be used to flash official firmware back onto an unlocked Xperia phone. Right now the number of supported phones is minimal -- three, to be precise -- but if you have an Xperia S, Xperia Arc or Xperia Arc S, you should good to go with the official Flash Tool. Additional devices should receive Flash Tool support in the months ahead.

You'll find a quick overview of what the Flash Tool can do in the video above, and more details over at the source link.

Source: Sony Developer World

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3 years ago

The basics: How to install the Nexus 4 SIM card


This one's super basic, but we've had enough people ask, so here's how to install the SIM card on the Nexus 4.

With the phone's display facing you in your hand, look on the left-and side. (If you see "Nexus", you're looking at the back, and so the SIM card tray will be on the right.) Look just below the volume rocker, and you'll see a little pinhole next to the SIM card tray.

In your Nexus 4 box there's a little metal SIM card tray ejector tool thingy. Kinda looks like a circle with a little pin sticking out of it. Press is straight into that pinhole, and the SIM card tray will pop out.

There's only one right way to insert the SIM card into the tray. Look for the notched corner, and make sure it matches up with the notch in the tray. The slide the tray back into the phone. (The printed side of the card faces the same direction as the front of the phone; the gold contacts face the rear.

You'll need to reboot once you've got the SIM card installed. But after that, you're golden.

Need more Nexus 4 help? Ask a question in our Nexus 4 forums!

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