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4 years ago

Black Samsung Galaxy S3 now available from Vodafone UK

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Amid the sea of LG Nexus 4 content floating around right now, it would be easy to forget about some of the other hot Android devices out there. Word reaches us today that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is now available on Vodafone UK in black. It's a Samsung Galaxy S3, but it's black. It's that simple -- but in black, it does look fantastic. It can be had completely free of charge on a new 2 year contract, for £41 per month for the 16GB version. A little pricey, but it's still one heck of a phone. 

Source: Vodafone

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4 years ago

New render of Verizon Droid DNA in line with previous leaks

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Well, well, what have we here? The always-reliable @evleaks has come up with what looks to be a marketing shot of the Verizon HTC Droid DNA -- and it looks right in line with the physical model of the Droid DNA (aka the HTC DLX) we first showed you a week or so ago. The pieces are starting to fall into place, and we're now seeing some official branding for the "Droid DNA" name as well. The Droid DNA tag also happens to be the same name we first brought you in the form of a Verizon MAP listing.

Still no word on when we'll see this 5-incher, but the fellows at evleaks are pointing toward early December.

Source: @evleaks

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4 years ago

The Nexus Phone family: Four generations of Android

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From the Nexus One to the Nexus Four — and a couple Galaxies in between

Back in the winter of 2009, the rumors were flying about Google getting into the phone business. Previously they offered what were called Android Developer Phones (we know them as the G1 and the Magic, both made by HTC for Google's reference devices), but this was supposedly something different. Many at Google denied these rumors, but as we all saw the following January, the Nexus One was unveiled.

The Nexus One was a huge leap forward when compared to the current crop of premium smartphones of the time. A fast 1 GHz processor and 512MB of RAM powered the AMOLED screen, and it quickly ushered in an era of what became known as the "superphone."

By today's standards, the Nexus One specs are pretty mediocre, but back then they were unheard of. To go along with these great specs, was a premium build with a unibody design, and a certainty of prompt and early updates to the Android OS. The hardware had it's share of issues, but none of us cared when Froyo came out, because it was fast -- and so was the OS update. The Nexus program was a hit, if not a very successful retail venture, and we knew things were going to get interesting.

The Nexus One set the stage for the Nexus line, and what it would become.

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4 years ago

Android 4.2 brings new security features to scan sideloaded apps

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Talking about malware on a mobile platform is a tough thing to do right. Some of what you hear is real, and needs addressed responsibly, but so much of it is just FUD from folks trying to sell you something or get you to change your choice of device. We try to do the former, without downplaying the serious issues, but we also depend on users to be a little bit savvy and not do the things that lead to getting malware on the phone in the first place.

Thankfully, Google has stepped up and taken the reigns here. As ComputerWorld's JR Rapheal has pointed out, starting with Android 4.2 users now have the option to have every application that is being sideloaded scanned before installation. This uses the same technology as Google Play's Bouncer, and is designed to scan for and find malware -- both known cases and suspicious applications. If an app's fingerprint matches known malware, you'll be blocked from installing the application. If the app shows anything that the canner feels is suspicious, you're warned that it may be harmful and given the choice whether or not to install. The service is entirely opt-in, and your choice can be changed at any time through the device security settings. 

We're big proponents of responsible reactions to and prevention of mobile security issues. In a time where companies release blurbs in the press that exaggerate the amount of malware (Android VP of engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer notes that actual dangerous malware is extremely rare on the Android platform) and push users to use their products, we're glad to see Google taking this sort of action. There is no substitute for common sense, but Android 4.2's new security scanning feature sounds like the right way forward.

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4 years ago

How-To unlock the Nexus 4 bootloader

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A lot of us who are planning to buy the LG Nexus 4 will be doing so because of the developer options, including the easily unlockable bootloader. Unlocking your bootloader is something to think about before you jump in and do it, because a locked bootloader is essential to keeping your device secure. Once you unlock it, a knowledgeable person can take every bit of data off your phone, even if you're unrooted and have adb debugging turned off, and even with a secure lock screen.

Now that's out of the way. (Seriously -- think before you take the plunge, OK?) If you're going to want to unlock your bootloader, you'll want to do it before you have the phone all set up, because unlocking it erases everything from your phone. That's a security feature. If a hacker gets your phone and it is not unlocked, he can't get into your data to steal it as easily. Security is good. So make your decision before you dive into the Google Play store and set things up just so.

With all things considered, if you're going to unlock it, hit the break and see how to do it.

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4 years ago

Nexus 4 unboxing

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Attention citizens of Earth: Here is your Nexus 4 unboxing. Yes. From me. The guy who hates unboxings. But for the Nexus 4? What the hell. We'll unbox it.

So here's the Nexus 4 box. And here's us pulling the Nexus 4 out of its box. It is no longer in the box. It is unboxed. It is a Nexus 4, without a box. What's in the box? Stuff. 

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4 years ago

Rumored HTC Facebook phone gets codename, reportedly still in the cards

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You could be forgiven for not remembering the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa. HTC's first-gen Facebook phones failed to make much of an impact when they were released in mid-2011. But apparently that hasn't deterred the manufacturer or the social giant, as fresh rumors are emerging today of another Facebook phone in the works, slated for a 2013 launch.

UK tech blog Pocket-Lint reports via sources in HTC's native Taiwan that the phone in question currently goes by the codename "HTC Opera UL." The device is reportedly an OEM phone, meaning one manufactured by HTC specifically for Facebook (in the same way the Nexus One was HTC-manufactured but Google-branded). Recently-posted Nenamark benchmarks for the device suggest it'll run a 1.4GHz dual-core processor of some description, with an Adreno 305 GPU, Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and a 720p display. It's worth noting that earlier leaks have suggested this may be a forked version of Android, rather than a Google-approved build.

Today's reports echo a story from Bloomberg which appeared a few months back. That report suggested that a "modified" version of Android would be used in a HTC-built Facebook phone that'd be released in 2013, after delays prevented a late 2012 launch.

Pocket-Lint's report says that the "Opera UL" has indeed been delayed, though it's not clear whether this refers to the original delay to 2013, or whether additional setbacks have pushed it back even further.

Is a fully-integrated Facebook experience still a major selling point for a mobile device? Let us know what you think down in the comments.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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4 years ago

Jelly Bean build for the Droid RAZR HD leaks out

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When the Droid RAZR HD was announced, Motorola was quick to note the Android 4.0 powered device would indeed be getting an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean by the end of the year. One could conclude from that that Motorola has been doing some testing of the update in an effort to get it ready by that time but alas, owners are still waiting. While we wait though, the more adventurous out there may want to check out a new Jelly Bean leak that has now popped up.

Labeled as "9.1.39Xt926.verizon.en.us" this release is noted to be non-official and carries with it the typical slew of warnings, like the fact that if you load it - you may end up stuck on this build for a while and it's potentially full of bugs.

You won't have to be rooted to load it up but you should be stock, it can be side-loaded as well but if you're looking to keep the root access you currently have you'll need to back up root using OTA Root keeper. Again, not for everyone to take for a spin but if you're interested, you can hit the source link below to learn more and grab the downloads.

Source: DroidRazr

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4 years ago

Jelly Bean for the Verizon Galaxy S3 leaks out

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A resourceful poster over at XDA has gotten his hands on a pre-release version of the Jelly Bean update destined to eventually make its way onto the Verizon Galaxy SIII (S3). The device received an incremental 4.0.4 OTA just a couple of weeks ago, and its brother on Sprint has started officially receiving the 4.1 OTA, so the timeframe on this makes sense. The poster is quick to point out that this build is not finalized, with a build date of October 8th, and that he believes the official OTA will hit in the coming weeks.

Take that with a couple boulders of salt, but at least for now those of you on Verizon with the Galaxy S3 can get a little taste of the pre-release build if you're so inclined. A couple of custom ROMs based on the leaked images have already hit the forums, but as always, flash at your own risk.

Source: XDA

More: Verizon Galaxy S3 Forums

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4 years ago

Panasonic Eluga getting Ice Cream Sandwich update

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Panasonic may have all but pulled out of the European smartphone market, but that hasn't stopped it pushing out Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for its ill-fated Eluga. The Eluga, which saw a limited launch in June with Gingerbread, can now benefit from standard ICS features like improved multitasking, a redesigned lock screen and various UI enhancements.

Panasonic has chosen a somewhat odd upgrade path for the Eluga, however. The upgrade package must be downloaded from the Google Play Store (check the link above), after ensuring that you've got the required 150MB of SD card space and are running the latest Gingerbread ROM, version 07.5315. It's a little convoluted, but we suppose it's better than no upgrade at all.

The Eluga isn't the only Gingerbread phone getting updated to ICS via a long-winded manual upgrade process. Earlier today Vodafone and Huawei posted details of how Ascend G300 owners can upgrade to Android 4.0, using a similarly complex method.

Anyone actually buy a Panasonic Eluga? If you're out there, fess up down in the comments. Full 22-step upgrade instruction procedure is detailed at the source link.

Source: Panasonic

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4 years ago

Images of the Samsung Stratosphere 2 leak out

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The original Samsung Stratosphere on Verizon was released in mid October last year, so given the way Verizon runs its product cycles this makes a whole lot of sense. Consistent leak source @evleaks just put up pictures of what convincingly looks like the Samsung Stratosphere 2 (SCH-I415), complete with Verizon branding. No word on official specs just yet, but we don't expect this one to be a screamer by any means. The original Stratosphere was a decidedly mid-range device, even right at its launch date. Still, it fills a spot as one of the last QWERTY slider devices with LTE available today.

These mid-range devices aren't made for the power users, but still hold an important spot in Verizon's yearly device portfolio.

Source: @evleaks

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4 years ago

LG Mach coming to Sprint November 11 too

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Alongside the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Sprint will also be kicking off the LG Mach on November 11 for $99.99 on contract. Oh, not to mention that preorders for the LG Optimus G went live this morning too

We've spent of a bit of time with both the LG Mach following Sprint's first announcement earlier this month. The specs are pretty middle-of-the-road, but you can judge for yourself.

  • Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4” WVGA touch screen (480 x 800)
  • 8GB eMMC and microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
  • Battery: 1700mAh Li-ion
  • 3G/4G LTE Mobile Hotspot capability supporting up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously
  • Wi-Fi® 802.11 b/g/n
  • Dual Cameras: 5-megapixel rear-facing with flash and video capture and 0.3 megapixel VGA front-facing camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0

A quality slide-out keyboard is hard to find, nevermind one attached to a good smartphone. Any Sprint customers eyeballing the LG Mach, or do you need something a little higher-end? LTE isn't much of a selling point without the coverage, is it? 

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4 years ago

Why you shouldn't worry about Android 4.2 updates

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Using a skinned version of Android? You’re already up-to-date on 4.1.

We’re not huge proponents of using the term “skin” to describe the manufacturer customizations put on most Android-based smartphones. In most cases, the changes are more than skin deep. Look at the latest versions of HTC’s Sense and Samsung’s TouchWiz and you’ll see features and UI changes that go beyond mere visual gimmicks. But it’s a term that most people are familiar with, so let’s stick with it.

So if you’re using a skinned Android phone, chances are you’re accustomed to waiting for software updates. It’s a fact of life for every non-Nexus smartphone. And with the announcement of Android 4.2 earlier this week comes the certainty of more waiting for updates to drop. Few devices are on Jelly Bean, and OEM updates already in the works will be based around 4.1 rather than 4.2. After that, there’s the standard maze of regulator and carrier approval processes to traverse, adding additional weeks to the update roll-out timeframe. And with the holidays looming, and CES and MWC approaching thereafter, we doubt we’ll see Android 4.2 on many current devices before spring 2013. Engineering effort will be spent getting new products ready for launch rather than chasing a minor OS update.

But really, that doesn’t matter. And the reason why goes to the heart of what Android 4.2 actually is. Before release it was referred to internally as Jelly Bean MR1 -- MR standing for “maintenance release.” And a glance down Android 4.2’s feature list further confirms that there’s not a whole lot of game-changing stuff to be found, rather additional polish to the existing Android UI. Hence the decision to stick with the Jelly Bean moniker -- Google is striking a balance between pushing out new features and allowing hardware partners to catch up.

Read on to find out exactly what's going on, and why owners of Sense or TouchWiz devices need not worry about Android 4.2.

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4 years ago

Vodafone Huawei Ascend G300 gets Ice Cream Sandwich update

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Vodafone UK and Huawei have begun pushing out an update to Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich for the budget-friendly Ascend G300. The update is available as an over-the-air download, but Voda advises G300 owners that the update will delete all person data on the device, and so the carrier's offering a step-by-step walkthrough on its forum.

Ascend G300 owners are told to first download an update to the older Gingerbread-based ROM, then use a "quick backup" utility to save all personal data to their SD card. Later, after the ICS update is done installing, this can be restored from an SD card. It's not the most elegant ICS update procedure we've seen, but there are many entry-level phones that aren't getting ICS at all, so we'll concede that a messy ICS update is better than no update at all.

Full instructions can be found over at the source link.

Source: Vodafone eForum

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4 years ago

CM File Manager added to latest CyanogenMod 10 nightlies

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The CyanogenMod team has announced that as of the latest round of nightly builds, CyanogenMod 10 will include a new file manager app. The CM File Manager, developed by Jorge Ruesga, conforms to Android's "holo" design language, and is root-friendly, meaning it'll let you fiddle around with system files if you so desire.

The code was forked into CyanogenMod 10 last night, so if you pick up a CM10 nightly from today onwards, it'll include the new file manager app.

CM folks, be sure to let us know what you think of the app down in the comments!

Source: +CyanogenMod

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