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2 years ago

Sony Xperia S review

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The past year has seen many a transformation at Sony Mobile, formerly known as Sony Ericsson. In addition to the buyout by Sony and subsequent rebranding, the company has refocused on smartphones and brought to market a well-rounded lineup of products in several form factors. So hopes are high as the manufacturer launches its first high-end smartphone under the Sony banner, the Xperia S.

On paper, the Xperia S is a tantalizing piece of kit -- buyers get a 4.3-inch 720p screen, a fast dual-core CPU and a best-in-class camera for less money than many competing devices. And unlike 2012 flagships from Samsung and HTC, the Xperia S actually exists, and you can go out and buy one today.

The catch? It’s running Android 2.3 out of the box, and it could be months before the phone’s updated to the latest version of Google’s OS. So join us after the break as we take a closer look at the Xperia S, and decide whether there’s a place for a high-end device running Gingerbread in Spring 2012.
 


A well-built phone which feels good in the hand. Sharp, bright screen. The Mobile Bravia Engine makes for a stunning video experience. Best smartphone camera available.


Still waiting on Android 4.0 update. Bizarre button setup, keys sometimes unresponsive. Occasional software lag. Soft touch finish is a scratch magnet.



It's tough going back to Gingerbread, and we think Sony's dropped the ball in shipping its first major handset of 2012 with an old version of Android. But the Xperia S makes up for this shortcoming in other areas. Once it gets that sorely-needed ICS update, the Xperia S could be one of the first great handsets of the year. Until then, it's another decent Android phone with a handful of outstanding features.
 

Inside this review

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Phone cases - yea or nay?

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Smart phones are expensive. More-so if you buy them off contract and unlocked, but even subsidized with a new agreement the high-end phones are going to cost you about three-fiddy after taxes and that's a whole lot of money. When you spend that much money, you want to try to take very good care of something lest you break it, and for many of us that means a case of some sort. On the other side, it's awful nice to use a hot new Android phone without a case. The Galaxy S II or  the Bionic are super thin and beg to be felt in the hand. It's a difficult decision.

I use a case sometimes. I have one that I will slap on a phone if I'm headed outdoors doing something that sounds like it would tear up a phone, but most of the time I just slip my phone into my pocket and roll the dice. So far, so good.

What about you folks? Let us know in the poll.

 

Do you use a case on your Android phone?

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2 years ago

Tripit gets significant redesign for Android tablets, phone version tweaked, too

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Tripit easily is our favorite app for frequent travelers, and it's just gotten an pretty significant update for tablets as well as phones.

On the larger screens, there's a new layout that includes interactive maps and multiscreen views. Trips and points accounts all share space on the main screen. There also are larger (and scrollable!) widgets available if you're running Android 3.0 and up.

On the phone side, the points accounts section has been redesigned -- your account details, status and activity all have their own collapsible sections -- and the app refreshes faster while using less data.

All in all, a good update to an indispensable application for frequent travelers. We've got download links after the break if you need 'em.

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2 years ago

L.A. Noire for tablets now available through OnLive

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Rockstar has announced the availability of L.A. Noire: Touch Edition built specifically for tablet play via OnLive Desktop. If you're not familiar, have a look at our hands-on with OnLive, and see how it streams programs installed in a Windows 7 desktop environment to your tablet or smartphone. L.A. Noire is no exception, and what you'll be playing on your tablet is a natively installed Windows game, with controls optimized for the touch interface. 

Rockstar has optimized the award winning game to make controls and menus designed for tablet use, and it appears they have done a very nice job. It's the first time a game of this scope and complexity has been re-built this way, and it a good indicator of things to come. If you already have L.A. Noire, or L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition through OnLive, your game has already been updated with touch support. If you haven't tried it yet, you can rent or buy it through the OnLive Game System for as little as $5.99 /£3.99.

Of course you'll need the Android OnLive client, which is completely free and runs on any Android device with Gingerbread or higher installed. You can find the download link after the break.

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2 years ago

Pre-order the HTC One X from Optus today

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Aussies using Optus can pre-order the HTC One X online today. According to Optus, folks who order early enough will have a One X with it's quad-core Tegra 3 in their hands as soon as April 2. The price varies according to the plan, with a $59 monthly plan having a cost of zero per month and the $19 monthly plan costing an extra $17 monthly for the handset. This puts it on par with the Galaxy Nexus, and looks to be the norm for high-end handsets on contract. 

The One X promises to deliver an all-new experience with it's high-end internals, HTC Sense 4.0, Beats Audio, and a remarkable new camera setup. For a sneak peek at what to expect have a look at our hands-on from Barcelona during Mobile World Congress 2012.

If you're looking to get one of the hottest new devices on Optus, have a look and get out your credit cards!

Source: Optus; via Ausdroid

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2 years ago

HTC to include LogMeIn Rescue on future Android devices

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LogMeIn, the popular remote support client, announced today that it has entered a partnership with HTC in which the manufacturer will preinstall the software on its Android devices for remote technical support. Future HTC smartphones and tablets will ship (with the wireless carrier's consent) with LogMeIn Rescue onboard, allowing users to connect to HTC technical service representatives with one click. Once initiated, technicians will be able to run remote diagnostics, tweak settings, and access the device in the event of a problem. The service, as is current HTC technical support, will be free to use. 

Today's announcement comes just days after Verizon announced that with its latest OTA update for the LG Revolution, it has begun adding similar remote diagnostic software to its devices. Like Verizon, LogMeIn's policy states that the information it collects is used strictly to diagnose malfunctions and other technical problems. It is unclear whether Verizon will include LogMeIn Rescue or its own remote diagnostic software on its line of HTC devices.

LogMeIn is currently used on over 150 million devices worldwide including PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets. The company's full announcement can be found after the break.

Source: LogMeIn

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2 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Self-portrait

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Mondays mean more than just hangovers and piles of work in ye olde inbox around here; it means the start of another Android Central photo contest! This week we're going all out and asking you fine folks to snap a picture of the subject you know best -- yourself. Use that front facing camera, or do up a solid MySpace bathroom mirror shot, or get a friend to take your mugshot and share it with the world.

We're looking for creativity. Make us laugh, make us cry, or make us ohh and ahh over the awesome scenery behind you, but give us something a little extra. We're not about to hold a beauty contest here. Don't be shy, grab your Android phone (or tablet) and join in. Here's the rules:

  • Use an Android device to take the picture.
  • Send it to pics@androidcentral.com, along with a name we can use and the model of Android you used to take it. We like knowing this kind of stuff.
  • If you send in more than one, or send me a link instead of an attachment, your entry gets filed in the trash folder, so don't do it. I hate it when I have to do that.
  • Get me the pictures before the end of the night on Friday.

This week we're giving away an Android Central t-shirt to the top five, so the next time you take a self-portrait you'll look good rocking a little bit of Lloyd. Good luck everyone! 

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2 years ago

HTC publishes ICS kernel source for Sensation, Vivid, Sensation XE

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HTC has made the Ice Cream Sandwich kernel sources for the Vivid, the Sensation, and the Sensation XE available for download on their HTC Developer Center website. It's been about a week since HTC began rolling out ICS for the three devices, and per the license, these were to have been published when the software was released. Developers have been getting a little antsy waiting, but now have what they need to build custom kernels and Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs for the newly-updated phones.

As usual, for normal users like you and I the source itself means little. But the magic that developers can make happen with it certainly has some appeal, and we're ready to see what folks can come up with. If you're one of those developers, or if you're just curious what a hundred MB or so of Linux kernel sources looks like, hit the link and have a peek.

Source: HTC dev

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2 years ago

Vlingo reminds us they offer a virtual assistant for anyone and everyone

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Since Apple unveiled Siri, everyone has jumped on the "virtual assistant" bandwagon. Take a solid set of voice actions, give it a cutesy name and claim it has some personality, and you have the next big thing. Vlingo has been at this game a while, since way back when Siri was just a gleam in some programmer's eye. Today, they show us that they can not only make a great cross-platform application, but they have one hell of a sense of humor.

This is how you should market every app -- with Grandma's who cheat at bingo and puppets who want to get "crunk" and forget each others names. Just watch it, you'll be glad you did. The download link is after the break if you haven't tried Vlingo yet.

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2 years ago

Verizon says Remote Diagnostics tool doesn't track personal data in the background

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Verizon over the weekend dropped word that an impending update to the LG Revolution would include a Verizon Remote Diagnostics app — a "new customer care solution to improve device issue diagnosis during customer support calls."

We've gotten some more detail on exactly what that entails, and it's not really anywhere near as scary as you might think. A Verizon spokesman tells us that it's really just a remote desktop type of thing. A VNC service, if you will. And, Verizon tells us, "no personal data like keystrokes or web history, location, etc., is logged or saved."

This sort of thing is a touchy subject because of the hot water carriers found themselves in last year over their use of Carrier IQ, a network analytics tool that was cooked into many smartphones to allow the silent uploading of network and device data. Users weren't explicitly made aware of its use, and a bit of a firestorm erupted. Warranted or not, any sort of "remote diagnostics" app added by a carrier to a smartphone is bound to raise eyebrows. 

We've got a feeling some folks will be putting that to the test, but for now we have absolutely no reason not to take Verizon at its word.

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