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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G review

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Here's the thing about the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G. When you get over the fact that it's got a rather ridiculous name, and that because of that name it's a little confusing as to where it fits in the scheme of things, and that it's maybe a little overpriced, you've got yourself a pretty capable mid-range smartphone rocking along on T-Mobile's 42-megabits-per-second data network. 

That's a lot of qualification, to be sure. (And we should be used to ridiculously named Samsung phones by now.) So should you consider the SGSB4G for purchase? And what, exactly, will you be getting? 

It's all after the break in our Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G review.


A nice feel in the hand. Decent screen and hardware by 2011 standards. Can access the faster lanes of T-Mobile's data network. Includes NFC, Wifi calling and Wifi Direct.


Yet another phone launching in 2012 without 2012's version of Android. Branding may be a bit confusing, given that the Galaxy S phone has replaced in 2011 by the Galaxy S II.



If you're looking for a mid-range phone on T-Mobile (both in price as well as specs), the Blaze 4G is worth a look, though it's a tad lacking in the hardware department.

Inside this review

More info

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2 years ago

Google Voice updated, brings folders and dialer integration for ICS

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If you're a Google Voice user there's quite the update waiting for you in the Google Play store this afternoon. The newest version (0.4.2.54) features tight integration with the Ice Cream Sandwich dialer, a new voicemail option, and the inclusion of labels (think folders) for your inbox. Here's the not-so-fun part -- unless you have a phone with Ice Cream Sandwich, you won't get to see most of it.

All phones will get the inbox labels, which is one thing many folks, myself included, have been waiting for. If you use your Google Voice inbox as a catch-all storage and never delete anything you can now attempt to keep things organized and access it all from your phone. This is the best change for me, but the others are nice as well.

Voicemails are now able to be played through the native Ice Cream Sandwich dialer, just like carrier voicemail. You can adjust the speed to play them faster or slower (handy when skipping to the good part). You enable this in the Google Voice settings, and it's a great way to manage two numbers if that's how you roll. That is how I roll, and it's really handy. Too bad it's ICS only. Hit the break for a couple screenshots of all this, and the download link if you need it.

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2 years ago

HTC Vivid for AT&T officially getting its Ice Cream Sandwich now

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While some folks have been able to pull down Ice Cream Sandwich updates on the AT&T HTC Vivids for a few days now, AT&T has maintained that the update hasn't actually been made available. That changes today, as HTC and AT&T have both announced that Android 4.0 is officially ready.

In addition to getting the bells and whistles of Ice Cream Sandwich, you'll be updating to Sense 3.6 (not the newer Sense 4 that's on the HTC One line, but that's not a huge shocker). That comes along with a newly tweaked user interface, so don't freak out if things look a little different.

You'll also see the addition of Beats Audio. AT&T and HTC remind us that you'll only get Beats enhancements when you have headphones or speakers connected, so don't be surprised if you update and don't notice a difference in, say, your alert sounds. You'll know Beats is active when you see the icon in your notification bar.

Other improvements include better e-mail and Exchange support, the ability to use a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard, better voice and text input, and, of course, face unlock.

If you need a little help with the update (no shame in that), be sure to hit up our HTC Vivid forums.

More: AT&T

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2 years ago

Sony Xperia S actually powered by tiny robots, new ad reveals

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As part of its new "Made of Imagination" ad campaign, Sony asks kids to imagine how its new Xperia NXT smartphones work, and brings the results to life with acclaimed director Wes Anderson. The first ad, imagined by 8-year-old Jack Ryan, shows us how tiny robots, not chips and circuitry, power the recently-launched Sony Xperia S. They drive around in tiny cars, and can fly through the air to send movies, music and pictures to other devices. Makes more sense to us than any of this nonsense about electrons and radio waves.

Sony's latest series of commercials is a far cry from the creepy Xperia Play ads it produced last year, in which one hapless tourist lost his thumbs to a giant Bugdroid. The new ads form part of a global marketing campaign, which aims to establish the Sony brand in the world of smartphones following last year's Sony Ericsson buy-out.

We've got more tiny robots in the first of Sony's "Made of Imagination" ads after the break. There's also a look behind the scenes in a second video, which shows how these commercials were produced.

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2 years ago

Leaked O2 screens confirm HTC One date, reveal late April launch for Xperia P and Xperia U

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Leaked inventory information from British network O2 appears to confirm the reported April 5 launch date for the HTC One series, while revealing a late April debut for the Sony Xperia P and Xperia U. The leaked images obtained by TechnoBuffalo ​show a busy April for O2 UK, with five major Android handset launches.

According to the site's source, the One X, One S and One V will all be available from April 5. The source also claims prices for HTC's new handsets range from £32 to £37 per month on 24-month contracts. It's unclear what up-front payment, if any, will be required for O2 customers to get their hands on these phones, though. And O2 often allows customers to cut down their monthly bills to around £20 or so per month, if they're willing to pay some of the cost of the phone right away.

Meanwhile, Sony's new mid-range handsets, the Xperia P and Xperia U, are said to be launching on April 23, and TechnoBuffalo's​ source says the U will set you back a minimum of £10 per month, while the P will be offered on a £37 per month deal. Again, we probably could've guessed those numbers, and without the up-front price for those deals, that information isn't particularly useful.

The April 5 date for HTC's stuff has already been confirmed by the unveiling of a launch event in Paris on that date, however the Sony launch date remains unconfirmed, so take that with a pinch of salt for the moment.

We got to play with the One X, One S, One V, Xperia P and Xperia U at last month's MWC, so hit the links to find out more about each model. And you can bet we'll bring you all the latest over the next month, as these phones approach release.

Source: TechnoBuffalo

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2 years ago

Gingerbread finally hits the AT&T LG Thrill 4G

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Four months to the day after the international LG Optimus 3D got bumped up to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, owners of the AT&T version, the LG Thrill 4G, are finally getting their update. The software upgrade, which brings the Thrill up to version 20P, also adds in a couple of features from the Optimus 3D's Gingerbread update, including the 2D and 3D video editor, faster gallery performance and improved video quality. That's on top of all the usual goodies you get in Gingerbread, such as UI tweaks and browser improvements.

The update is currently available through LG's PC software update utility, which can be a little unstable at times, so you'll want to make sure you have all the right drivers installed before you begin.

In the future, Optimus 3D owners can look forward to a further update to Android 4.0, though there's been no specific commitment to bring the Thrill up to ICS at the same time. But given the virtually identical hardware, we'd be surprised if the phone remained on Gingerbread forever.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Angry Birds Space now available for Android

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If you've been patiently waiting for the next series in Rovio's blockbuster hit Angry Birds, then you'll be pleased to know that Angry Birds Space has now lifted off. Rovio has been teasing the new series for quite some time now with it being a whole new twist on the original series. For now, it's available in the Amazon App Store for $1 so if you have access to that, you can hit the link below to grab it. If you can't access the Amazon App Store or just would rather wait until it appears in the Google Play Store, you can grab the ad-based version past the break to hold you over. Now, excuse me -- I have to go defy some gravity.

Source: Amazon

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Buying a smartphone off-contract

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The way many of us buy our phones is like nothing else bought or sold. Carriers world-wide will subsidize about half the cost of the phone itself as long as you sign a multi-year contract to use their service. Imagine if Comcast or Time Warner sold televisions the same way -- it sounds crazy. It's a model that's been going on a while, and for the most part doesn't look like it's going away any time soon.

But what if it did? What if a company like, let's say Google, offered a phone not connected to any carrier, like the Nexus One was? Two years ago that model didn't work, and Google abandoned it completely, but a lot can change in two years. The mobile landscape has changed, and so has the way we use our devices. Has the way we would buy them changed as well?

If the next "Nexus" phone was only sold off contract and carrier-free, would you buy it? Let us know in the poll.

 

Would you buy the next "Nexus" phone off-contract?

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2 years ago

Samsung announces ICS for the Galaxy Note will come in Q2, bring 'premium suite' apps

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Samsung mobile has issued a press release all about the Galaxy Note and it's upcoming "Premium Suite" software upgrade. Sometime in Q2 of this year, Samsung expects to update the 5.3-inch Note to their version of Ice Cream Sandwich and bring better application support for the S pen as well as unnamed extra multimedia features. 

The three applications mentioned specifically are S Note, a tool that combines notes or drawings with other digital content as well as using "Shape Match and Formula Match applications that help correct and digitize geometric shapes and even solve numeric formulas hand-drawn with S Pen"; My Story, which appears to be an application that helps you design e-cards and notes with multimedia content; and of course Angry Birds Space -- the newest iteration of the Angry Birds franchise from Rovio. In addition, Angry Birds Space will be available (sans the extra-special Galaxy Note level) for all Galaxy Series devices. 

Of course the biggest draw for most of us will be the update to Android 4.0, which Samsung teased Note users about on Facebook earlier today. The version for the Note is said to include the features we've come to expect from ICS, including Android Beam and Face Unlock, as well as an "entirely new look and feel" to the Android operating system. The Q2 timeframe is coming up shortly, and International Galaxy note users are ready and waiting. Hopefully, the AT&T version follows quickly. Hit the break for the full press release.

More: Samsung's Angry Birds site

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2 years ago

SDK tools and ADT up to version 17, now available via the SDK manager

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We first looked at the new SDK tools and various resources coming with version 17 at the beginning of the month, and today they have become available for installation through the SDK manager program. The new download is chock full of goodies for developers, with things like more Lint rules, support for custom views and custom attributes in libraries, and much needed improvements to the emulator. And of course, hackers and coders alike will love the new DDMS views, including the detailed network traffic meter.

It's also worth mentioning that there's an x86 image you can download for the emulator, but for now it's stuck at Android version 2.3.3. We expect that to change soon enough, as Intel has shown they're serious about Android.

Getting the update is easy enough -- just fire up the SDK manager and install. Now get to work making some killer apps, and be sure to let us know about them so we can share them with the world.

Source: Android Developers

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