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3 years ago

Android 4.1.2 and 'Premium Suite' update hits Korean Galaxy S3

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U.S. Galaxy S3 models may have just received their Android 4.1.1 update, but international versions are already moving ahead with the new "Premium Suite" upgrade, which includes Android 4.1.2 and new features like full-screen multitasking. The update started pushing out in some European countries earlier in the week, and now it's landed in Sammy's home territory, as SamMobile reports that South Korean S3 models have started to receive the new software over the air and through the Kies desktop app.

So if you're running any of the four Korean Galaxy S3s -- SHW-M440S, SHV-E210S, SHV-E210K or SHV-E210L -- then it's time to head to Settings > About device > Software update, or if you're feeling particularly masochistic, plug your phone into Kies.

The "Premium Suite" upgrade introduces a bunch of new features from the Galaxy Note 2, including "multi-window," which allows two full-screen apps to be run on-screen at once, a re-vamped Gallery app and "page buddy," a context-sensitive home screen tile that offers different widgets and shortcuts based on what you're doing with your phone. Check our earlier post for more details on other features of the upgrade.

Source: SamMobile

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3 years ago

Leap Wireless and MetroPCS starting handset financing programs

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Leap Wireless and MetroPCS, both smaller prepaid carriers, are starting to offer handset financing programs for their devices. One of the issues facing carriers that only operate on a prepaid basis is the high up-front cost of handsets. Even though the customers will be saving lots of money in the long-run, the $500 or more required to buy a high-end device may turn some away. 

Leap, which operates the Cricket Wireless brand (which is somewhat confusing,) started offering its financing plans a couple weeks ago and now have them rolled out to all of its stores nationwide. Purchases of $200 or more -- both phones and accessories -- can qualify for financing of up to 90-percent of the purchase price. If the loan is paid off within 90 days, there are no fees or interest charges as well. This means that someone buying a device that is normally $500 will be paying just over $100 out the door for the device and the first month's service paid in full. MetroPCS wouldn't comment specifically on its financing plans, but intends to launch a similar setup of handset financing to its customers very soon.

Even with the financing plans, neither Leap nor MetroPCS will require a contract for its services and will remain completely prepaid. Both operators aren't requiring a credit check for financing either -- just an active bank account -- which is a big deal to many customers. Anything that can help users make the choice on going to prepaid to save money on their cellphone service is a good thing.

Source: FierceWireless

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3 years ago

The YotaPhone and its e-ink display gets shown off on video for the first time

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The YotaPhone from Russian broadband provider, Yota, was only unveiled yesterday with Android 4.2 and a second, e-ink display. It packs some pretty tasty specifications, but the difference maker is the e-ink display on the back -- or the front, whichever way you're looking at it. And, while we had a selection of renders to whet our appetite, what we really want is to see this thing in action. 

The good folks over at The Digital Reader stumbled upon this hands on video, shot with the Head of Software Development at Yota Devices. It shows off both sides of the device, the interesting looking gesture area that replaces the capacitive or on-screen buttons, and how some apps look when mirrored to the e-ink display. He goes through a series of use case scenarios for such a device, but no-one can say it isn't an interesting concept. It's also worth noting that it seems the on board storage and the final name of the device aren't yet decided. 

via The Digital Reader

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy S3 gets Jelly Bean starting Dec. 14

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Friday's the day, folks, when the Verizon Galaxy S3 finally gets its official Android Jelly Bean update. The carrier has been teasing us with the support docs for a couple days now, and finally it's announced that Dec. 14 is the day the update will begin -- albeit in "phases," which is par for the course and means you might not get it first thing. Verizon says we should all be able to pull it manually within a week or so.

Also, Verizon says, the update will make it ISIS ready, which means the phone will work with the NFC-payment solution that's competing against Google Wallet.

Source: Verizon; More: Verizon Galaxy S3 forums

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3 years ago

EVO 4G LTE - Jelly Bean update - NOW!!!

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OMG, it's finally here. As a reminder, here's the full changelog for Android 4.1, software version 3.15.651.16:

  • Upgrade to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • HTC Sense 4+
  • Improved camera capabilities and gallery
  • HTC Get Started Support - the HTC Get Started website lets customers set up their new smartphone from their home computer
  • Wi-Fi Authentication improvement
  • Personalized ringtone issue fixed
  • Hyperlinks routing to phone app from calendar description issue fixed
  • Calendar improvement

Get your download on, folks! Got to Settings>System updates>HTC Software Update>Check now to pull it.

And you can find more in our EVO 4G LTE forums.

More: Sprint

Thanks to Jonathan for the pic, and everyone else who sent this in!

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3 years ago

ZTE to unveil 5-inch Grand S at CES on January 8

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Show season is right around the corner, and as such we're subject to the usual rumor mill churning overtime. What we're seeing here though isn't one of those rumors, it appears to be cold hard facts. ZTE will announce the Grand S in a press event at CES 2013 in Las Vegas next month. The source -- the CES Press Event schedule page. 

Being unveiled on Jan. 8 in a press event at the main Convention Center in Las Vegas, the ZTE Grand S is the Chinese OEM's latest and greatest. It's a 5-inch device, with an FHD display. More so, it's supposedly the worlds thinnest 5-inch FHD smartphone -- although that market isn't exactly bursting at the seams right now. So, it's thinner than the HTC Droid DNA/Butterfly, and according to the folks at CNET, there'll be a quad-core processor of some variety in there as well. We'd expect Jelly Bean of some variety to be on there too, although there's no information at this time. 

The 5-inch market is expected to come alive during 2013, and it certainly looks like we're going to hit the ground running in January. Of course, Android Central will be on the ground in Las Vegas throughout to bring you everything you'll need to know. 

Source: CES via CNET

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 now available from Three UK

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As promised, Three UK has today launched the LG Nexus 4, following the expiration of O2's month-long exclusivity period. Three's selling the new Nexus online on its £35-per-month, 24-month "One Plan" contract, which includes 2,000 minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes, 5,000 texts and unlimited ("All You Can Eat") data. There's an up-front charge of £29 for the phone when buying with this contract.

The Nexus 4 supports Three's 42Mbps DC-HSDPA network, which it's been promoting over the past month as an alternative to EE's faster but more expensive 4G LTE. Besides a possible SIM lock, Three's Nexus 4 is the same phone we've become familiar with over the past month -- a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro running stock Android 4.2, sandwiched between two layers of Corning Gorilla Glass 2. For anyone wondering, this is the 16GB model -- we've yet to see the cheaper 8GB version outside of the Google Play device store.

Right now Three isn't selling the Nexus 4 on Pay As You Go online, so you may be out of luck if you want to pick up the device without a monthly commitment (especially considering the long wait facing UK Google Play Store customers.) We've reached out to Three to check up on any future PAYG Nexux 4 plans, and we'll update this post with any response.

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

Sprint EVO 4G LTE Jelly Bean update: We're all patiently waiting this morning

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There's nothing quite like the rollout of a major update on Sprint, folks. Never experience one before? Picture Times Square on New Year's Eve. Add a dash of a major chess tournament, a giant bag of Doritos, and a case of Red Bull. That's pretty much what we've got going on now. It's a friggin' party in our EVO 4G LTE forums as we all patiently <cough> await the arrival of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Anyhoo, here's a better shot of the Sprint Playbook page detailing the update that finally made its way out last night, for those who like things crisp and clear. (Lord knows my tired eyes do.)

As you can see, according to the Playbook (which is sort of Sprint's all-but-public internal newsletter), you should be able to start pulling down the update today, and it'll be pushed out starting Jan. 3. (At least that's the current plan, apparently.) Not that folks are drumming their fingers in the forums or anything.

Oh, and Sprint's EVO 4G LTE product page now lists Jelly Bean, for what that's worth. Not that anybody's obsessing over it or anything.

If you wanna get in on the party, hit this link. Things really get going around Pages 42-43, again in the 70s, and it's a  madhouse at Page 82.

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3 years ago

On the trail of the elusive HTC EVO 4G LTE update - maybe tomorrow?

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There's a whole lot of people waiting on the Jelly Bean update for the HTC EVO LTE. They are an anxious bunch. There's a good reason for the anxiety, as dates keep coming and passing, with no update being delivered. It's frustrating reading about all the Jelly Bean features, having a phone that's kick-ass enough to run them like nobody's business, and having to wait for it. 

Maybe. just maybe, the end of the waiting is near. A look at the most recent Sprint Playbook shows the 3.15.651.16 update becoming available tomorrow (Dec. 13). Of course, it's not the first date the Playbook has spat out that didn't come to fruition. Nor is it the second. In fact, it's reached the point where we have no idea what to expect or believe. We just know that your EVO LTE will be better, stronger, and faster when it comes.

I sure hope that day is tomorrow. You'll know as soon as it happens if you follow along with the hawks in the EVO LTE forums.

More: Android Police

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3 years ago

Verizon releases Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean support docs, update on the way

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It was just a matter of time before we got something official out of Verizon indicating that its Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) would be receiving a Jelly Bean update. Verizon has just published support documentation regarding that very update, and it says that Jelly Bean is on its way to a handset near you. The update is apparently just 62MB, and will be coming OTA (Over The Air) instead of via Kies -- exactly as it should.

Along with all of the usual Android 4.1 goodies -- like Google Now and expandable notifications -- Verizon indicates that this update brings Isis Mobile Wallet and also unlocks global roaming on the device. There are a whole host of bugfixes included as well, from Email sync to the Wifi connection. Take a look at the source links for Verizon's support docs, and then hit the forums to see what other members are saying about the OTA.

Update: And ... Verizon has reverted the support, say the folks in our forums. Messin' with our emotions!!!

Source: Verizon Support; (2); via Verizon Galaxy S3 Forums

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Note 2 bootloader unlock now available

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Well that certainly didn't take very long. The folks over at XDA, as they like to do, have unlocked the Verizon Galaxy Note 2 bootloader. You'll need to jump through a few hoops and have some patience to get through it all, but if you're willing to do it there's a pretty granular walkthrough at the source link below. Before you do, remember to hack at your own risk -- bad things can happen when you start messing around with this stuff.

Unlocking the bootloader still won't get rid of that big 'ol Verizon logo on the home button, though. You'll need a sticker for that job.

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (EE UK) mini-review

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If you have any business reading this website, chances are you’ve at least heard of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Samsung’s curvaceous, nature-inspired flagship smartphone has sold over 30 million units worldwide, and is our top recommendation for buyers in the U.S. and international markets.

But when the S3 was released internationally this spring, it lacked 4G LTE network connectivity. That wasn’t a huge deal at the time, but in the latter half of 2012, support for burgeoning European LTE networks is increasingly seen as a necessity.

So here we have the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, also known as the GT-i9305. Of all the various Galaxy S3 models we’ve seen this year -- and there’ve been a few -- this one packs the greatest punch. It couples Samsung’s quad-core Exynos chip with 2GB of RAM and European LTE connectivity, and it’s running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.

In the UK, the Galaxy S3 LTE is available on the EE (Everything Everywhere) network alongside its big brother the Galaxy Note 2 LTE. We’ve been testing the S3 LTE out on EE’s 4G network in recent days, and we’ve prepared a few thoughts on the phone and the network.

Check past the break to find out more in our EE Galaxy S3 LTE mini-review.

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 factory images, binaries disappear from Google site

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In slightly puzzling news, Google appears to have pulled the Nexus 4 Android 4.2.x system images from its online repository of factory images. These files allow devices to be restored to their original state, so if something goes wrong when flashing a ROM or otherwise tinkering with your phone, there's an easy way back to stock.

Factory images for other Android 4.2 devices, such as the Nexus 10, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 3G and Galaxy Nexus remain on Google's site, so it'd appear whatever caused them to be withdrawn is specific to the Nexus 4.

Our best guess is that this might relate to the LTE situation on the Nexus 4. By changing a hidden setting, it's possible to use the N4 on LTE networks running on Band 4 (AWS), though this is not officially documented or approved by regulators. And that last part may be key -- if Google is preparing to patch this hidden LTE option out of the Nexus 4 -- as it'd be required to do to avoid falling foul of bodies like the FCC -- then clearing out earlier factory images might simply be a precaution. It's possible Google's looking to keep regulators happy by making it harder to find the earlier radio code that enabled this unlicensed LTE functionality. That's just speculation on our part, however, there may be a much more innocuous explanation.

In any case, we'll keep you posted on any further developments.

Update: Should have checked this the first time, but binaries are gone as well. They were there before, right?

Source: Nexus Factory Images; via: theandroidsoul

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3 years ago

HTC announces three-year partnership with UEFA

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HTC has announced that it'll become the official smartphone partner of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, as part of a three-year deal that'll begin in January and span the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. The deal means fans will be seeing a lot more of HTC's branding and devices, and the company promises "to deliver new and innovative ways for fans around the world to get closer to the action," both in-stadium and remotely via mobile devices. 

As part of the deal, HTC will also become official smartphone partner of the UEFA Super Cup Final in 2013 and 2014, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Scoring a partnership with Europe's leading club football (or soccer, if you insist) competitions is a big deal for HTC, which has witnessed a downturn in its revenues over the past year. A recent executive switch-up brought in a new CMO, with the aim of re-vamping HTC's marketing efforts for its next round of smartphones, expected in early 2013. HTC will surely be hoping that its new UEFA partnership will bring some pizzazz to its brand.

More details and obligatory executive quotes in the presser after the break.

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3 years ago

The best Android smartphones on U.S. carriers [late 2012]

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We've said it a number of times the past few months -- never before have we seen a time when there are so many good Android smartphones on so many U.S. carriers. We've practically been tripping over them all year. 

From T-Mobile to Sprint to AT&T to Verizon, most of the major manufacturers are represented. But when we get down to it, we're going in the same direction as we did in our international picks.

Best of the Best in the U.S.: Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2

Our all-around winner(s) for best smartphone remains the Samsung Galaxy S3, and its larger sibling, the Galaxy Note 2. OK, so that's two phones. We're adding the Note 2 here because it really is in a category all its own.

Back to the Galaxy S3, though. It's got the design. The whole "inspired by nature" thing is Samsung's most personable, fluid design yet. It makes a large, 4.8-inch phone feel good. The specs, while maybe not on the bleeding edge anymore, remain more than good enough for most smartphone owners. The inclusion of microSD storage and a removable battery give flexibility that other phones don't. (Those features have been trending off in the majority of other devices. And while we don't ding them for it as much as we used to, you can't overlook the fact that it's better to have a microSD card and removable battery and not need them, than to not have the option.)

What's more, the Galaxy S3 is the only phone on every major U.S. carrier (and a few of the regionals as well). The experience is largely the same whether you're on T-Mobile or Sprint or AT&T or Verizon, network issues aside. The camera is among the best you can get. The software remains on the newer side of things, with the phone starting to get its upgrades to Android 4.x Jelly Bean. Samsung's TouchWiz user interface isn't our favorite way to get things done, but, again, for most smartphone users, it makes life easier. 

OK. The Galaxy Note 2. It's also available on every major U.S. carrier. Picture the Galaxy S3, only bigger. Some 5.5 inches, to be exact. Take all the features Samsung's put into the Galaxy S3, and add some excellent pen input mechanisms and dual-screen viewing, and you've got another winner, hands-down.

So should you bother to look at anything else?

Absolutely.​ If we have to pick just one phone, the Galaxy S3 takes it. But as we said at the outset, there are a number of excellent options on each major carrier.

These aren't also-rans. We're not picking other phones to make their manufacturers feel good about themselves. The phones we've listed after the break are the phones that our in our pockets. They're the phones that we use day after day. We live with them. We work with them. We travel with them. We rely on them to document our lives. And we recommend any one of them.  

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