Headlines

3 years ago

Latest Xperia U (ST25i) leak shows 2012 Xperia family portrait

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The latest images of the already extensively-leaked Sony Xperia U show a comparison with its big brother, the Xperia S. The Xperia U -- also known by its model number, ST25i, or its codename, 'Kumquat' -- is expected to be Sony's principal mid-range smartphone for 2012. Today's images mostly confirm what we already know -- that the Xperia U will share a number of design cues with the Xperia S, most notably the transparent notification bar at the bottom of the device.

Spec-wise, the Xperia U is rumored to pack a 1GHz dual-core CPU, a 3.5-inch qHD or WVGA display and 512MB of RAM, with a 5MP rear camera. Like the Xperia S, it'll run Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the latest Xperia UI, and we'd expect a bump up to Android 4.0 soon after release.

We're expecting to see the Xperia U unveiled at Sony's Mobile World Congress press conference next Sunday in Barcelona. In the meantime, you can find more photos after the jump.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Sky Go now available on selected devices in the UK

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As expected, British satellite broadcaster Sky has launched its Sky Go app for Android, allowing owners of some Android handsets to view a selection of Sky's on-demand TV offerings.

Right now, the list of officially-supported devices limits Sky Go to a handful of phones, namely HTC's Desire, Desire S, Desire HD, Incredible S and Sensation, and Samsung' Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. However, we also noticed that the Android Market showed it as compatible with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, so you may want to double-check the Market even if your phone isn't listed.

It's also worth noting that the app doesn't support Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), so if you're running ICS-based software, even on an officially-supported device, you're out of luck. Equally, if you're rooted, you'll be denied access. And Android tablet support is missing from this initial release, though Sky has made vague noises about considering adding this in the future.

The rooting issue is a contentious one -- Google's own video rental service, for example, continues to be inaccessible from rooted devices -- however, we hope to see broader support for Android 3.x and 4.x from Sky in the future.

We've got Android Market linkage and a QR code for you after the break.

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3 years ago

LG unveils Optimus LTE Tag - mid-range 4G + NFC for Korea

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LG has announced a new handset for South Korea based on its popular Optimus LTE line -- The Optimus LTE Tag, a trimmed-down version of the original with NFC connectivity.

The Optimus LTE Tag is a 4.3-inch, device with a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and a WVGA (480x800) IPS display. As well as the obvious 4G LTE and NFC connectivity, the phone also sports a 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facer. On the software side, you get Android 2.3 Gingerbread with LG's Optimus UI, and the promise of an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich in the future. The specs are a step down from what's inside the original Optimus LTE, though LG has made up for this by packing the LTE Tag's guts into a slimmer chassis.

The manufacturer is keen to point out the potential practical uses for NFC, besides just being a bullet point on the back of the box. It's developed a technology it's calling LG Tag+, which allows customers to use NFC tags to automatically change the phone's behavior when in a certain location. For example, you might want to enter car dock mode, or start up a navigation app when it's in your car. Sure, there are apps on the Android Market that allow you to do things like this on any Android phone with NFC, but it is pretty cool to see this being offered straight out of the box.

Currently the Optimus LTE Tag has been announced for Korea only, however it's likely we'll see the LG Tag+ tech included in future NFC-enabled handsets from the manufacturer in other territories, too.

We've got today's press release, and the full spec list, after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest winner: Animals

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The winner of this weeks Android Central photo contest is Andrew Hammer.  He gives us this lovely picture of a butterfly, taken with his T-Mobile Galaxy S II.  It's a stunner, and fits in perfectly with the animal theme we asked for last week.  It's hard to believe pictures this great can come from our Android phones.  Thanks for entering everyone, and Andrew, check your inbox for details about your prize.

The pictures you guys are sending in are phenomenal.  It's difficult for us to pick a winner each week, but we're loving it.  Look through this weeks runners-up to see what I mean.  We'll be back tomorrow with another contest for the week, as long as you guys promise to keep sending in such great pictures!

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3 years ago

ICS for Sprint Epic 4G Touch leaks again, still not ready for prime time

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We've seen a couple new Ice Cream Sandwich builds leaked out for the Sprint Epic 4G Touch, and that makes us happy.  It means someone is hard at work making this happen, nobody has forgotten about these great phones, and eventually ICS will show up for everyone that has one.  But it's also easy to see why it's not there yet.

We love seeing leaks, and we try them, too.  It's a fun part of Android, and having access to something a wee bit early appeals to the nerd in each of us.  But when Sprint releases the ICS update, it has to work for everyone.  That's why it hasn't been released for the E4GT just yet -- it's simply not ready for prime time.  Some folks are seeing problems with the data connection, others are seeing issues with MTP, issues with overheating are being reported, and some general wonkiness is still going on.  To make matters worse, some folks seem to have no issues at all.  When you take user error out of the equation, you're left with a piece of software that acts a bit different from one device to the next.  That's the sort of headache software developers have to deal with on a daily basis, and that's why it often takes longer than we'd like to see the latest version of shiny and new hit our phones. 

The past couple of builds are great fodder for the ROM builders and hackers.  If that's how you roll, you'll be seeing some new goodies from your favorite developer soon for your flashing enjoyment.  If you're not that type, the news is still good -- Samsung and Sprint are hard at work, and aren't going to release anything to the public until they think it's ready.  That's the way it should be.

More: XDA-Developers.  Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

5-inch devices - a great half-way to tablets, or a phone only a giant could love?

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I'm 6 feet, 8 inches tall. For our metric friends, that's 203 centimeters. I have, on more than one occasion, been called the tallest blogger in the world. (And may well be.) I can palm a basketball without any trouble. I cheer on the giants in Skyrim when they punt my lackey into orbit. Sometimes I imagine them doing cute little drawings on the Samsung Galaxy Note, mapping out the constellations the poor soul will be visiting shortly. The fact is, when someone first sees a 5-inch smartphone, be it the ill-fated Dell Streak or Samsung's latest stylus-toting follow-up, most folks think only an unnaturally gigantic person could use the thing to make a call. Well, they're wrong; even for us Gigantors, it's pretty unwieldy. 

I have to say, my time with the Samsung Galaxy Note has definitely helped me appreciate what you little people are going through with ballooning screen sizes. 4-inch displays are now the norm among Android hardware, and make the 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 4S, sharp as it may be, feel extremely cramped. While 4 inches is perfectly fine for me, cranking it up to 5 makes me realize just how unrealistic it is to use a bigger phone one-handed.  Those larger screens also mean tighter pockets, awkward grips when making a call, and can be a significant drain on the power supply, even if the battery gets an equivalent up-size.

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3 years ago

LG unveils Optimus Vu, complete with 4:3 aspect ratio and stylus

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LG has made the Optimus Vu official, announcing the 5-inch phone on their Korean Newsroom site early this AM.  Running Gingerbread (Android 2.3) and packing a 5.0-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a specialized stylus, the size alone makes this one a force to reckon with.

The full list of specs according to LG:

  • 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm
  • Weight: 168g
  • 5-inch IPS 650 nit display at 1024x768
  • 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front
  • 32GB storage
  • 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 2080 mAh battery
  • HDMI
  • DLNA
  • Wifi Direct

We've already seen the Optimus Vu holding hands with the other member of the ginormus-phone club, the Galaxy Note (which went on sale for AT&T hours before this announcement), but it's nice to see some clearer press shots.  No word on any worldwide release, but we're told to expect it in Korea on SK Telecom in early March.  LG also says to expect more at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona about the Vu, and we'll be right there to hear and see it.  

We've got more pics and the full presser after the break.

More: LG Korea (Korean)

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note available today on AT&T for $299

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The the Samsung Galaxy Note is finally available in the United States, hitting Best Buy and AT&T's websites right this second, and brick-and-mortar stores just as soon as the sun rises. (And, you know, the stores actually open.)

The Galaxy Note is no stranger to these parts. We reviewed the European version some months ago -- it's already shipped more than 1 million units worldwide -- and we've had the AT&T version for a few days now. They're larger the same (large) smartphone. It's got a hulking (but beautiful) 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display -- with a whopping 800x1280 resolution -- powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor running Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread.It's got an 8-megapixel camera in the back, and a 2MP shooter ujp front.

The AT&T version varies slightly by switching to the traditional 4-butoon scheme below the display, whereas the Euro version opts for a larger, centered home button. That's not unusual -- the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II lines did the same. AT&T's Galaxy Note also throws in a 4G LTE radio in addition to the HSPA+ radio. (Take that, Europe!)

It's a smartphone, to be sure. Makes phone calls and everything. But the noted feature of the note -- and really the reason it's so big -- is the included stylus, called the S Pen. It brings a whole 'nother level of functionality to the traditional Android experience. And when not needed (or wanted), it tucks away neatly into the phone itself, out of sight, out of mind.

There's your teaser. We've got lots more coming in our full AT&T Galaxy Note review. If you're the early adopting type, head into a store today, or hit the links below.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy note: AT&T, Best Buy
More: Galaxy Note forums

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3 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR, RAZR MAXX update pushing out

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Update: Because so many people are just starting to get the update (thanks for the e-mails, everybody!), we're going to bump this post -- something we try to avoid doing for obvious reasons.

Original from Feb. 6: If you're the proud owner of a Motorola Droid RAZR, or it's brother with a bit bigger gas tank the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, (read the review of the MAXX right here)  there's an OTA update ready and waiting for you.  Version 6.12.173.XT912.Verizon.en.US (there's no way we could make that one up) started slowly rolling out over the weekend and is now pushing hard and heavy, and chances are you can grab it yourself by simply going to Settings>About Phone>System Updates.  

The update itself is about 150MB in size, and updates the software to Android 2.3.6.  I know many were wanting Ice Cream Sandwich, but this update brings some welcome bug fixes and security patches, so we'll gladly take it.  The full change list, line by line:

  • Mobile Hotspot will now successfully allow other devices to connect to all
  • Improvements in the Mobile Hotspot security.
  • VZ Navigator has been updated with the latest 3D map improvements.
  • Visual Voice Mail messages can be marked as read.
  • Visual Voice Mail message playback resumes when audio is switched to speaker.
  • Visual Voice Mail will successfully subscribe or unsubscribe while connected with Wifi.
  • Successfully press back key after playback in Visual Voice Mail without error.
  • V CAST App now comes preloaded.
  • MotoCast installation steps have been improved for easier use.
  • Improved stability of data connectivity after Airplane Mode is disabled.
  • Improved data throughput performance in low-signal 4G environments.
  • Improved Battery life when using Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) Bluetooth headsets.
  • Successfully save multimedia ringtones.
  • Favorite Contacts widget has been updated.
  • Improved device stability when moving between home screen panels.
  • Email icon has been updated for improved visibility.
  • When performing an Over the Air (OTA) update, the display will correctly show the remaining download time.
  • CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert Service) feature has been added.

That's a hell of a list, and seeing improvements with 4G data connectivity is certainly something everyone likes to see.  Things should go smoothly after this one, but if you hit any snags or just want to discuss it all, be sure to hit the forums!

More: Verizon

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3 years ago

HTC adds more North American phones to Ice Cream Sandwich update list

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HTC sends word via its official Facebook page that in addition to the handful of phones already announced, Verizon's Rhyme, Droid Incredible 2 and Thunderbolt will be getting the latest version of Android later in the year. And on the Canadian side, the manufacturer has confirmed that the HTC Raider on Rogers and Bell will also see ICS in the months ahead.

We have more good news related to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, and can confirm that upgrades are planned for Verizon Wireless customers with the HTC Rhyme, HTC Thunderbolt, and DROID Incredible 2 by HTC, as well as the already announced HTC Rezound.   In addition, the HTC Raider is on the list to receive ICS for customers of Rogers and Bell in Canada. Stay tuned for more news on Ice Cream Sandwich releases in the coming weeks.

So great news for owners of those phones, especially the long-suffering Thunderbolt, which took long enough to get bumped from Froyo to Gingerbread. HTC expects to begin updating international handsets to ICS in the next month, starting with the Sensation and Sensation XE.

Source: HTC USA Facebook

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3 years ago

Archos 35 Smart Home Phone review

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If there’s one area of communications that remains firmly rooted in the 20th century, it’s the humble home phone. Dumb, unloved and tethered to a wall, these devices have been left behind, as cellphone technology continues to soar further into the stratosphere. With Android expanding its reach to ever more product classes, it was only a matter of time before someone attempted to bring the home phone up to date by introducing it to the leading smartphone operating system. And that’s precisely the idea behind the Archos 35 Smart Home Phone.

However, questions remain as to whether a smartphone OS belongs on such a device. Smartphones are personal, portable gadgets, neither of which applies to the typical home phone. And we have some concerns about the hardware too, particularly the nasty resistive touchscreen that’s been used.

Read on to find out our full thoughts, as we dive further into the Archos 35 Smart Home Phone.


Good call quality, DECT functionality works well. Offers a decent, if basic Android experience.


Abysmal resistive touchscreen, cheap build quality, awkward button placement and a couple of software bugs. No Android Market support.



We’re still not convinced that a home phone is the right place for a smartphone OS and matching hardware, and if we are to be persuaded, the Archos 35 Smart Home Phone isn’t the device to do it.

Inside this review

More info

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3 years ago

Android app permissions - How Google gets it right ...

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And how we, the users, still need to take responsibility

There's been a lot of news lately about a lapse in either security or judgment -- both, really -- at Apple that allows iOS applications to borrow your contact data and send it off to parts unknown without your consent. Apple has addressed the issue to members of the U.S. Congress, and will take steps to hold tighter control in a future iOS update. That's good news, and we're glad to see it happening.

But what about Android? During all this focus on apps doing things without explicit user permission, you see people referring to the Android permissions model. We're going to break it all down for you.  It's not perfect, but it works pretty well -- and it's certainly better than no permission system at all.

Let's walk you through permissions on Android, and how you need to be sure to do you part.

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3 years ago

Android 5.0 Jellybean in 2012? Better optimized for tablets? You don't say ...

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ZOMG A STORY ABOUT JELLY BEAN! But here's the thing. It's out of our favorite (not really) Taiwanese manufacturer rag, Digitimes. It's also as obvious as it is ridiculous. Here's the gist:

Android 5.0 Jelly Bean (neither the number nor the nickname is official, remember) is said to:

  • Launch in the second quarter. We dunno about "launch," but, yeah. Google IO is June 27-29. June is in the second quarter. And it's more than likely we'll get details on the next version of Android there. But "launch"? Nah.
  • Further optimized for tablets. We certainly hope otherwise, what's the point? Jelly Bean (or whatever it's called) probably will be further optimized for smartphones, too. Maybe even Google TV. Now will the UI undergo some major reconstruction for tablets? That's entirely possible, and it's not a bad idea at all. 
  • Integrating Chrome for "dual-operating system designs": Uh, OK. The idea, apparently, is to offer manufacturers the option of having an Android/Windows 8 system, without having to shut down. Hey, why not. BlackBerry's already doing that with its PlayBook tablet. But somehow we don't think adding a full second operating system and ecosystem is going to make choosing a tablet any simpler for consumers.
  • Google looking to get back into the netbook/notebook market with Jelly Bean: Sure. Why not. Android netbooks aren't new -- you'll recall our look at the HP Compaq Airlife 100 at Mobile World Congress in 2010. And you have the likes of ASUS' excellent Transformer line of tablet/notebook hybrids. Question is, should this have any legs to is, what happens with Chromebooks?

So, yeah. Really not a whole lot of meat there. A little patience, folks. We've got a good feeling that Google's got something up its sleeves for 2012.

Source: Digitimes

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Animals

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It's time for another weekly photo contest, and this week the theme is animals.  It's a broad category, and we can't wait to see how some of you guys and gals dazzle us with your great pictures.  Whether it's a picture of your pet, something from the park or zoo, or something exotic, we wanna see those pics.  This week the winner gets a headset of his or her choice from ShopAndroid.com to keep the noise down while shooting those elusive wildlife shots.  

Rules are easy -- you'll need to use an Android device to take the picture, and be sure to let us know which one in case your photo is selected as a finalist.  Also tell us who you are so we can give proper credit.  Only submit one picture per person, and e-mail your entry to pics@androidcentral.com by Friday Feb 17.  We'll pick the best of the bunch, and announce the winners on the blog Sunday, Feb 19.  Good luck all, and we can't wait to see this weeks pictures!

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3 years ago

White Galaxy Nexus begins shipping in the UK today

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As we learned last week, the white version of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus is due to go on sale today across multiple retailers. The white Nexus, which first emerged around a month ago, retains the black bezel around the screen, instead opting to change the color of the side trim and back cover.

Besides that, it's still a Galaxy Nexus -- same 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and gorgeous 720p HD SuperAMOLED display. You'll also get to be one of the cool kids with the current Google Experience phone, giving you Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich along with timely updates straight from Mountain View. And if you're buying in the UK, you can expect the same £500 SIM-free price point. As far as we're aware, no British or European carriers are offering the white Nexus at subsidized prices right out of the door.

And we still haven't heard anything about a US launch for the white Galaxy Nexus, though you should be able to import the GSM version form the usual places, just like the original "titanium silver" version. We're hoping Sprint may surprise us with a white Galaxy Nexus model when it launches its LTE version later in the year.

More: Samsung Galaxy Nexus review

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