Headlines

2 years ago

White Samsung Galaxy Note launches in the UK Jan. 23, at John Lewis Oxford Street

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Samsung has announced that the white version of its phone/tablet hybrid device, the Galaxy Note, will be launching in the UK from next Monday, Jan. 23. The catch is that for a limited time it'll only be available at the John Lewis store on Oxford Street, London, as part of an exclusivity deal between Samsung and the upmarket retailer.

Samsung's already seen considerable interest in the Note, which combines a 5.3-inch HD SuperAMOLED screen with stylus input and a 1.4GHz Exynos CPU. It announced in late December that it'd shipped one million units since the device's November launch.

If you're not in London, Samsung says that "additional channels" will begin offering the white Galaxy Note in February. However, if you do pick up your white Note at John Lewis, you'll be rewarded with £250 worth of "free music, films and e-books", presumably meaning some sort of voucher.

We've got the full press release after the break. For more on the Note, check out our full review.

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2 years ago

BlueStacks app player out of alpha, beta-bound "soon"

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BlueStacks, that nifty little Android app player bound for PCs everywhere, is out of its alpha stage and heading into beta "soon." BlueStacks will sync the apps on your smartphone or tablet and store them in its own cloud, where they will then be accessbile on your Windows Vista or 7-powered PC. BlueStacks is free and works so well that it earned itself CNET's coveted "Best of CES" title at this year's show. Hit the source link to sign up for the beta and be sure to sing out when you become one of the lucky chosen ones. 

Source: BlueStacks

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2 years ago

UK retailers slash HTC EVO 3D prices

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When we reviewed the GSM version of HTC's EVO 3D back in August, our main complaint was the exorbitant price of the phone. On-contract deals were nowhere to be found, and at the time of review SIM-free prices came in at over £500 (~$830), considerably more than the similarly-specced HTC Sensation.

Now, at least two British retailers have decided to significantly cut their asking prices for the device -- Expansys is currently selling the EVO for £284.99 with free shipping, while ASDA Direct has it for £249.99. These prices make the EVO 3D notably cheaper than the Sensation, which currently sells for around £350 SIM-free. The more expensive device also lacks the EVO's 3D display, and packs a smaller amount of RAM (768MB vs. 1GB).

So if you're in the market for a high-end HTC phone, an EVO 3D for around £250 represents great value -- five months ago this thing was selling for double that amount.

More: ASDA Direct, Expansys

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2 years ago

Android 2.3.5 update now available for TELUS Desire HD

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Canadian carrier TELUS is currently rolling out an OTA update for the HTC Desire HD, bringing the device up to Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. They've posted the details up on their site with a list of changes, which are as follows:

The release of Android® Gingerbread 2.3.5 provides the following benefits and enhancements for your smartphone:

  • HTC Sense 3.0 (improved Calendar, Messages, Camera, Gallery, Music, Weather, Lock screen, Reader and more)
  • HTC Watch – Rent or buy the latest movies and or shows
  • Google Video Chat
  • Improved stability

No surprises with the update really but we'll take it. If you've not got the notification to update yet, go ahead and check for system updates through your menu. You may find it there waiting for you but if not -- it should be along shortly.

Source: TELUS; via: Mobile Syrup

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2 years ago

Archos Smart Home Phone now available -- get Android on your landline

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It was way back in June 2011 that we first saw Archos' Android based Smart Home Phone. Flip forward to January 2012 and the device is finally available to purchase, coming in at £130 over here in the UK.

Archos promises that this is a fully featured Android smartphone, with a wide range of communication applications installed as stock. As with several Archos products, the Smart Home Phone does lack official Android Market access. Applications are taken care of via their Appslib service. 

Aside from apps, the phone is WiFi-enabled, comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 8GB of internal storage and even a front facing camera, possibly a little excessive for a home phone. But, hey, it's running Android. Thats never a bad thing.

Source: Archos
More: Archos 35 Smart Home Phone spec sheet

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2 years ago

Sprint rolling out OTA updates for EVO 4G, Epic 4G, EVO Design 4G

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Sprint has over-the-air updates scheduled to roll out beginning today for the HTC EVO 4G, the Samsung Epic 4G, and the EVO Design 4G.  Using the opportunity presented by removing Carrier IQ, Sprint has bundled up a few other fixes for these handsets and the OTA updates, beginning today, should be 100 percent complete in 10 days.  The update information is as follows:

EVO 4G

  • Update to version 2.12.651.5
  • Security Update
  • Updated Peep client (to align with Twitter)
  • Updated Sprint Zone client
  • Battery life improvements
  • 3LM Enterprise Tool Access (no user interface changes)

Epic 4G

  • Update to version S:D700.0.5S.EL30
  • Security update
  • Speaker feedback fix
  • The QIK and Asphalt 5 applications are no longer preloaded.  When opening the applications using the application icon, you will be redirected to the Android market to download and install the full application.
  • After the QIK install, you will need to login using your original account information or create a new account.  All contacts should remain intact
  • After the Asphalt 5 install, previous game play data (eg. levels) will not be retained.

EVO Design 4G

  • Update to version 4.67.651.3
  • Security Update
  • Updated Peep client ( to align with Twitter)
  • Battery life improvements

While these don't sound like major updates, it's always advisable to keep your phone current.  For more information and discussion, be sure to hit the EVO 4G forums, the Epic 4G forums, or the Design 4G forums!

Source: Sprint (1), (2), (3) ;   via Android Police

Thanks, @Dronak!

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2 years ago

LightSquared claims government testing 'rigged' by GPS industry insiders

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This is getting interesting.  After the recent news that federal testing determined LightSquared's LTE network plans would never work without interfering with GPS (and a cease to any further testing) LightSquared has come back with guns blazing.  In a statement, the company has accused the GPS industry of rigging the results by using antiquated equipment, shrouding the entire process in secrecy, and using unrealistic parameters for failure.  Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared’s Executive Vice President of regulatory affairs and public policy, Geoff Stearn, LightSquared’s Vice President for spectrum development, and Edmond Thomas, former chief engineer at the FCC held a press conference and had the following to say:

Testing was shrouded in secrecy, no transparency. The GPS manufacturers cherry-picked the devices in secret without any independent oversight authority in place or input from LightSquared. The GPS manufacturers and the government end users put non-disclosure agreements in place for the PNT EXCOM’s tests, preventing any input by an independent authority or from LightSquared before the tests began. This secrecy made it impossible for independent experts to properly oversee or challenge the process and results, thereby leaving taxpayers who paid for the testing no option but to take the PNT EXCOM’s word for it.
The testing protocol deliberately focused on obsolete and niche market devices that were least able to withstand potential interference. When LightSquared finally obtained a list of the devices tested, after all testing in this first phase of tests had been completed, it was able to determine that the testing included many discontinued or niche market devices with poor filters or no filters. The units tested represent less than one percent of the contemporary universe of GPS devices. In fact, the only mass market device alleged to “fail” during this round of testing performed flawlessly during the Technical Working Group testing, which used best practice protocols agreed to by all parties, thus raising doubts about the integrity of PNT EXCOM’s process.
The testing standard does not reflect reality. To guarantee favorable results, the PNT EXCOM selected an extremely conservative definition of failure – one dB of interference. Independent experts agree that a one dB threshold can only be detected in laboratory settings and has no impact on GPS positional accuracy or user experience. In fact, GPS devices are designed with the ability to withstand eight dB or more of loss of sensitivity due to man-caused and natural interference. By setting the definition of interference at one dB, the testing was rigged to ensure that most receivers would fail. It should be noted that PNT EXCOM and others have justified the one dB threshold by citing an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard. However, that standard explicitly states that it does not apply to general purpose GPS receivers.

They go on to say other great quotables like asking reporters to enquire if it's "fair that taxpayers funded a testing regime they cannot review?" and speaking of violating "conflict of interest" laws.  They are serious, and should be.  Earlier this month, LightSquared was given just 30 days to get regulatory approval by Sprint, who is a heavy investor and has (had?) plans to use LightSquared's service for their nationwide LTE roll-out.  Losing funding from Sprint would be a major financial blow to LightSquared.  We're pretty certain Sprint will still be able to roll out their LTE network as planned, but they see an advantage in using LightSquared and would like to see everything resolved as well.

Were the testing procedures rigged? Will LightSquared get another shot with different testing procedures? Will Sprint continue to invest in the company?  Join us next week for another episode of the Guiding LightSquared.  See the press release after the break.

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2 years ago

Verizon LG Spectrum available today for $199 on contract

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Verizon this morning announced that as expected, the LG Spectrum is now available in stores and online for $199. The Spectrum, as you'll recall from our recent hands-on, is a 4.5-inch Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread device (it'll be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich later) powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm processor. It's also got an 8MP rear-facing camera, front-facing 1.3MP camera, and can share its 4G LTE data with up to 10 Wifi-connected devices. 

Buy: Verizon; Source: Verizon; More: LG Spectrum forums

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2 years ago

Epic 4G and Epic 4G Touch have new kernel source available, look for OTAs soon

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Both the Samsung Epic 4G and the Samsung Epic 4G Touch have new kernel source up at Samsung's open source portal.  The Original Epic 4G has the kernel and other open-source bits for update version EL30 ready to download, and the Epic 4G Touch has the same for version EL29.  

Usually when we see source code up for grabs at Samsung, it's soon followed by an OTA update.  We've heard rumors of both the Epic brothers getting one in the near future, but this seals the deal.  An OTA for both phones should be coming, now it's just a matter of when.  And developers -- your goodies are available at the link below.

And here's a wrinkle: Sprint's already said that it's stopped using Carrier IQ software on the server side, and it followed up by having HTC strip it from the HTC EVO 3D (and future device updates)  this week.  Might Sprint have had it stripped from Samsung ROMs, too? If it's that easy for one, might it be for more? Stay tuned.

Source: Samsung Open Source; via Epic 4G Touch forums

Thanks, dtm_stretch!

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2 years ago

AT&T bringing new data plans for phones and tablets on Jan 22

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AT&T has announced some changes to their data plan pricing.  Starting January 22, new plans that offer more data, albeit at a slightly higher cost, go into effect for both smartphones and tablets.  The new plans are as follows:

Smartphone plans

  • AT&T Data Plus 300MB: $20 for 300MB
  • AT&T Data Pro 3GB: $30 for 3GB
  • AT&T Data Pro 5GB: $50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

Tablet plans

  • AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $30 for 3GB
  • AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $50 for 5GB

Smartphone customers needing additional data can pay $10 per additional gigabyte on the AT&T Data Pro 3GB and Data Pro 5GB plans; AT&T Data Plus users will receive an extra 300MB for $20.

Currently, customers pay $5 less per plan for 200MB, 2GB, and 4GB plus tethering.  Users will have the option to keep any existing plan, or to change to the new rates when they become available.  For more info, the press release is after the break. 

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