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4 years ago

Open Handset Alliance turns five today

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Today marks the fifth birthday of the organization that made Android possible -- the Open Handset Alliance. On Nov. 5, 2007, Google, T-Mobile, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and others joined forces and announced the development of the Android mobile platform.

The result of Google's 2005 acquisition of Andy Rubin's Android, Inc., the first version of Android wouldn't appear on handsets until a year later, and even then, early versions looked radically different to the Android we know today.

But the main pillars of Android were already in place back in 2007 -- a focus on an open platform that anyone could build on, and variety in hardware and network support through numerous partners. It's this variety that's seen Android thrive in recent years.

At the time of the announcement, the iPhone had just been released, and many of us were carrying either featurephones, or BlackBerry or Windows Mobile devices. Five years on, the landscape has shifted dramatically, with Android claiming as much as 75 percent of the global smartphone market, according to recent figures.

How times have changed. Any guesses as to where the next half-decade might take us?

More: Open Handset Alliance

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4 years ago

UK pre-orders of 64 GB Samsung Galaxy S3 now available

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Clove UK has been teasing a 64 GB variant of the Samsung Galaxy S3 since August, but they're inching ever-closer to a release. Pre-orders are now available for £600.00 (VAT included), but don't get too excited. Clove says that stock is expected to be available in about two months, and even then, they'll only be deciding on ordering a shipment based on how many pre-orders they get. 

We've heard that the 64 GB SGS3 will be headed to italy as well, though other regional availability is still up in the air. Have you been holding back on getting a Samsung Galaxy S3 for the sake of a bit more storage, or are you happy with 32 GB and whatever your microSD card offers? Any readers in the UK preordering one of these? Anyone else wish these models were available in their area?

Source: Clove

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4 years ago

Android 4.1.2 update for Galaxy Note could add Nature UX, multi-window feature

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Samsung has already provided a wealth of software upgrades for the original Galaxy Note, which first shipped just over a year ago on Android 2.3-based firmware. Now signs seem to point towards the OG Note being updated directly to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, as part of an upgrade that'll include two major new features -- the TouchWiz Nature UX, and the multi-window feature from the Galaxy Note 2. Multi-window was a showcase feature for the Note 2, allowing multiple apps to be used on a split screen at any time.

Reports from SamMobile indicate that a new firmware version, N7000XXLS3 is in testing at Samsung, and includes the Nature UX and multi-window support, in addition to limited "air view" floating cursor support using the S Pen. And today a video has surfaced from French YouTuber Jimmy Nodet, which seems to show an even newer ROM -- N7000XXLS7 -- in action. The (admittedly shaky) footage shows the TouchWiz Nature UX running on an original Note, as well as fully-functional multi-window capabilities. The video description claims this is an "official Android 4.1.2 update" for the international Galaxy Note. That doesn't guarantee its legitimacy, but on the other hand the video doesn't match any custom ROM we're familiar with.

Last month rumors suggested Samsung would also bring multi-window to the international Galaxy S3, in an Android 4.1.2 update slated for December. If the original Note was to get the feature, it'd certainly make sense for it to appear on the S3, too.

Of course Samsung hasn't announced anything officially, but there are a lot of original Galaxy Note owners out there who'd be very happy if these reports turned out to be correct. Nevertheless, until the updated software out of Samsung's internal testing circles and available for download, Note owners would be advised not to get too excited.

Source: SamMobile 1, SamMobile 2, YouTube

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4 years ago

Outside of Google Play's reach, Nexus 4 pricing may not be so sweet

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Most people were pretty caught off guard when Google announced some ridiculously low pricing for the Nexus 4. At $299/$349 in the U.S. and Canada, €299/€349 in Europe and £239/£279 in the U.K. with international availability at launch, it seemed like Google had done everything right this time around.

On November 13, the Google Play store page for the Nexus 4 will go live with shipping availability to the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia. For the countries not listed above, the pricing structure is a bit more up in the air. In its press release, Google notes that “offline availability” is coming to Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East starting at the end of November, but gives no pricing or retailer information.

We’re hearing different things from retailers and users around the world, and it looks like the pricing for countries outside of Google Play’s direct shipping reach will be paying a pretty penny. Retailers in Italy, Austria and Denmark have reported that LG’s direct MSRP (suggested pricing) will be much higher -- somewhere in the €549 to €599 range -- than Google’s. We're already seeing that a Spanish retailer Phone House (counterpart of Carphone Warehouse in the U.K.) has even pulled out of offering the Nexus 4 all together because the pricing direct from LG will be so much steeper than expected.

It should be noted that much of this is out of Google's control, as LG is the one selling the devices to these retailers. Google's ability to sell directly to specific countries also requires a whole host of regulatory approval and certification that just may not be possible in certain areas (at this time). It’s understandable that Google’s own offering would be much cheaper when considering that it can go straight to the consumer with no storefront and low overhead, but seeing this high of a premium put on the devices being sold with retail partners is a tough one to swallow.

Prices will inevitably drop once importers are able to get their hands on units in the countries served by Google Play, similar to what we saw with drops in prices of Galaxy Nexuses, but no one knows how long that will take. Hopefully things will clear up and pricing will become more than a rumor in the coming weeks.

Source: AndroidOS.in; The Next Web 

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4 years ago

Latest Sprint commercial says no to a 'Data Coach'

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Carrier wars hardly ever make for good reading -- not unless we, the consumer, are getting something good from it. But, every now and then a slightly entertaining moment pops up. This latest advertisement from Sprint perhaps just about falls into this category. 

In a nutshell, it's nothing more than a commercial for their unlimited data plans. But, at least they've put some thought into getting that message across. The family has hired a 'Data Coach' to help them share out their shared data plan, who basically says "nay" to using cellular data pretty much anywhere. It's a little cheesy, but unlimited data is a pretty big deal, if you can get it.

Source: Sprint (Facebook) via Phone Arena

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4 years ago

Ask AC: Does the Nexus 4 work with the Palm Touchstone charger?

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One Nexus 4 question we're getting above all others (except perhaps how loud the speaker is) has to do with wireless charging. Namely, will it work with the Palm Touchstone? 

Facts is facts -- with the demise of Palm, many a user has migrated to Android, and there are tons of the little hockey puck chargers just laying around. (And if you ever got to use one, you know how awesome it was.) Plus, you can pick one up on Amazon for just a couple bucks.

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4 years ago

Spanish retailer suspends plans to sell LG Nexus 4 on grounds of pricing

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Phone House suspends Nexus 4 plans after learning LG will be selling the device at a much higher price than Google

Sadly, we're not overly surprised by this news, but it still disappoints us nevertheless. Spanish retailer Phone House -- Spain's answer to the UK's Carphone Warehouse -- has announced via its Facebook page that they're suspending all plans to sell the new LG Nexus 4. The reason? LG is reportedly going to be selling the device to retailers at a much higher price than Google will be offering direct from the Play Store. The statement reads like this -- albeit a slightly shaky translated version:

Madrid, November 2, 2012

Phone House, the largest independent chain of telecommunications in Europe and Spain, it will release the new Google Nexus 4 and LG, whose launch was scheduled for November 13 in the catalog of this month

Phone House has decided to suspend the sale of this product after finding that the recommended retail price by LG of 599 € and conditions offered for commercialization are worse than the MSRP published by Google on its website and does not maintain the commitment with customers and offer the lowest price guarantee that characterizes Phone House.

Spain is lucky enough to be one of the few nations worldwide that can purchase devices directly from the Google Play Store, so at least eager Spanish Nexus fans won't be left completely out in the cold. From Google, the Nexus 4 will be sold for €299/€349 for the 8GB and 16GB versions respectively. Phone House claims that LG want to sell the devices to them with a recommended retail price of €599. Yowzas. Without saying which version that price relates to, it equates to a minimum increase of €250 over the Google prices. 

According to The Next Web, the same situation is presenting itself in other European countries such as Italy and Austria. However, unlike Spain, neither of these two nations are supported for device purchases from Google Play at this time. Angry potential customers have been taking to the LG Mobile Facebook page to voice their opinions. But, without a way to purchase at the lower price from Google, it seems at the moment as they are in a tough place if these prices turn out to be correct. 

Over in the UK however, Phone House's counterpart, Carphone Warehouse, is still offering pre-orders for the Nexus 4. These are only on contract at this time with a varying price structure, but at this moment the retailer is not offering a SIM free price option for the Nexus 4. If you want to wade in on this, be sure to head on into the LG Nexus 4 Forums and share your thoughts with us. 

Source: The Next Web

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4 years ago

Carphone Warehouse selling Galaxy S3 Mini from £25 monthly

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We've gotten several bits of information on the pricing and availability of that awkwardly mid-range Galaxy S3 Mini before, and now Carphone Warehouse has released its pricing details. Falling in line with previous retailers, Carphone Warehouse will be selling the device SIM-free for "under £300" -- which falls into line with the other retailer's prices of about £298 -- as well as on-contract pricing with tariffs as low as £25 monthly and the device free.

It may have been an appealing low-cost option for folks in Europe, but since the pricing on the Nexus 4 has dropped its hard to see who picks this up over Google's latest superphone offering.

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4 years ago

Samsung has sold 30 million Galaxy S3's worldwide

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We heard just yesterday about the relative success of the Galaxy Note 2, selling 3 million units in just over 30 days. That was quite a feat, but how about this? 30 million Galaxy SII (S3) units sold worldwide since launch. That's a serious number, especially considering that the device hasn't had worldwide availability for that long.

It's surely outpacing anything else out there, including the amazing sales numbers of the Galaxy S2, and we haven't even hit the holiday season yet. We'll likely see tens of millions more Galaxy S3's sold in the coming months.

Source: Samsung Poland (Twitter) Via: The Verge

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4 years ago

Sprint readying refreshed Galaxy S2 in 'Titanium' for $99.99

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This render of a color refreshed Samsung Galaxy SII (S2) hitting Sprint has just landed in our inbox, which you can see above. It's not the highest quality picture ever, but it's worth noting that it falls right into line with a leak we saw earlier today that a refreshed Galaxy S2 was hitting Sprint in the coming weeks. Put these two together and we'll bet you'll see this "Titanium" (we'll call it gray) model in Sprint stores for the holidays. A color refresh is fine and dandy, but we'd be interested to see if that's the only change in this model.

Previous information shows a retail price of $99.99, and smart money says there will be some holiday deals associated with that as well.

Thanks, Anonymous!

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4 years ago

ZTE Flash looks to be coming to Sprint Nov. 11 (updated)

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Update: the folks over at EVLeaks have what look to be the official (or nearly official) renders of the ZTE Flash. It's got quite a pronounced camera hump, as you would expect with a big 12MP sensor on it.

Well, that's a pretty convincing screen we see above. The folks over at Engadget have been tipped as to the availability and pricing of the upcoming ZTE Flash on Sprint. The Flash looks to be slotting into the mid-range category all things considered, with a $129 on-contract price tag. The picture shows Android 4.0 on board, a 4.5-inch display, 12MP camera and 1.5GHz dual-core processor -- nothing to sneeze at, but not top of the line. This lines up with a previous leak of the Flash almost spec-for-spec.

An additional picture from the same leak shows the forward-looking product portfolio for Sprint at this point, including a new color of the Galaxy SII (S2) at $99.99, the LG Mach and a few other devices we've seen. Take a look at the second inventory picture after the break.

Source: Engadget; @evleaks

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4 years ago

Got Nexus 4 questions? Head to the Android Central forums!

The Nexus 4 is finally officially official -- a new LG-built Nexus device sporting a quad-core Snapdragon S4 chip and a unique chassis design. The full review's coming soon, but in the meantime, Phil's got one in-hand, and is answering your questions over on the Android Central forums!

So if you've got any burning questions about the new Nexus, or the new version of Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean, you can head on over to the link below and get the answers you crave. If you're not already registered on the Android Central forums, it's quick and easy to do so!

More: Nexus 4 Q&A on the Android Central forums

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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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