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2 years ago

Viber update adds Ice Cream Sandwich compatability

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Viber, the cross-platform VoIP app popular for its free voice calling and text messaging, has received its official upgrade for Ice Cream Sandwich-compatability, available now in the Android Market. Viber arrived on Android last summer and just recently announced that it has reached a 50 million registered users milestone. Viber uses your 3G/4G or WiFi connection to call or text other registered Android or iOS Viber users for free. 

In addition to support for Android 4.0, the most recent update also brings with it "significant enhancements" to the Viber voice engine, promising better voice quality, improved support for lower-end devices, and better handling of poor network quality. Other recent updates have brought location and photo sharing, as well as UI improvements, including the ability to see when another person is typing a text message. 

If you've got a Galaxy Nexus or a shiny new ICS ROM on one of your devices, you'll want to grab the update from the Android Market after the break.

Source: Viber

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2 years ago

US Cellular officially getting the Samsung Galaxy S II

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It's been a couple months now since we broke the news that US Cellular would be getting the Samsung Galaxy S II, and today the carrier manufacturer made it official. Samsung's flagship phone from 2011 will be making its debut on the regional carrier sometime in the future (no date was given) and it'll launch with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Don't everybody go rushing to the store at once.

That's not to say you'll be getting a bad phone -- it'll cost $229.99 after $100 mail-in rebate. It's odd timing considering we'll be seeing new fare from Samsung in the coming weeks and months, most likely. And nor is it slated for USCC's fledgling LTE network. But you do get Samsung's 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos processor, an 8MP rear camera and 16GB of storage tucked into that 4.5-inch form factor, which is nice, we suppose.

More: US Cellular

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Mini 2 headed to Three UK

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Three is the first UK network to announce that it'll be carrying the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Mini 2, which were announced just a few hours ago. These are two entry level devices from Samsung, with screens ranging from 3.2 to 3.8 inches, and respectable (if not mind-blowing) internals.

We first saw the Galaxy Mini 2 a couple of weeks back, in a leaked promotional image, and it looks like Samsung's built on the hardware of the original Galaxy Mini, with some much needed upgrades. The CPU's been bumped up to 800MHz, while display resolution has been upgraded to HVGA (320x480). Internal storage has been expanded too, giving it enough internal flash to be "upgradable to the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich", according to Three product manager Brendan Ardnt.

The 3.8-inch Galaxy Ace 2 offers a little more horsepower, with a dual-core 800MHz chip, 768MB of RAM, a WVGA screen and 5MP camera. Like the Mini 2, the Ace 2 runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, backed up by TouchWiz 4.0.

We'll be watching with interest to see where both devices land in terms of pricing, as both could be tempting for first-time smartphone buyers if priced competitively.

Source: Three UK Blog

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2 years ago

High-end Panasonic Android phone rumored for MWC

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Panasonic may have just announced the Eluga, its first smartphone for the European market, but it may preparing to announce something more impressive at MWC next week, if the latest round of rumors are to be believed.

British tech site Pocket-Lint reports, via sources at Panasonic, that the manufacturer will unveil a "premium" Android handset at next week's show, with a bigger screen and meatier specs. Rumored specs include a dual-core CPU, presumably at a faster clock speed than the Eluga's 1GHz, along with a display powered by a new Panasonic technology. A rear camera based on Panasonic's Lumix range is also reported, in addition to a front facing camera. 

We're sure we don't need to tell you by now, but we'll be live at MWC next week to cover all the announcements live.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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2 years ago

LG unveils style-focused Optimus L3, L5 and L7 ahead of MWC

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Following the recent announcents of the Optimus Vu and Optimus LTE Tag, LG has taken the wraps off three more Android smartphones ahead of next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Optimus L3, L5 and L7 make up what the manufacturer calls its "L-style" series -- a series of smartphones for design-conscious consumers.

LG has outlined a new design philosophy to go along with these new products -- put simply, it's hoping you're after a slimmer, squarer handset of metal construction. From today's press release --

"L-Style’s  design philosophy is comprised of five aesthetic elements:  Modern Square Style for a comfortable grip, Floating Mass Technology for a slimmer look, Seamless Layout for a more intuitive arrangement of keys, Harmonized Design Contrast utilizing metallic accents and Sensuous Slim Shape that naturally draws one’s attention."

Eagle-eyed readers may remember the entry-level L3 from its brief appearance on a Swedish retailer's site a few weeks back -- the device was said to run Android 2.3 on a 3.2-inch display. That's been confirmed as part of LG's announcement today, though detailed hardware specs for all three devices are conspicuously absent.

In the absence of a spec list, we'll have to guess that L5 and the L7 are mid to high-end products. Both run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (behind LG's Optimus UI, of course), but the only specs LG is confirming at this stage are the screen sizes -- the L5 is a 4-incher, while the L7 is a little larger at 4.3. LG says the L3 is due in Europe this March, while the L5 and L7 will follow in the first half of the year.

We'll bring you more on all of LG's new handsets, including the L-style series, from the show floor next week.

Source: LG PR, LG on Flickr

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2 years ago

Late-night poll: Social apps -- do you, or don't you?

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For some of us, social apps are a load of fun and we love having the big selection of them on our Androids. Every time we write a post about one, fans seem to come out of the woodwork. But there's also plenty who seem to not care for them, and even think they are a waste of time. We hear ya, and as a matter of fact, they are a waste of time -- that's why they're so engaging! But seriously, everybody is different and no two Android fan's phones will be set up the same. We wouldn't want it any other way.

Myself, I love to play with them. I try them all, even the more obscure ones like Schemer. I usually give up on them after a week or so, but a select few keep me coming back. Holler at me on Google+ if you want.  What about you guys?  Do you find yourself checking in, or updating statuses or tweetering when you're bored? Let us know in the poll.

 

Do you use social apps?

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2 years ago

Samsung announces Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy Mini 2

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Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy Ace 2, and Galaxy Mini 2, which will replace their existing counterparts and offer upgraded processors, displays, and cameras.  Both phones will run Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 flavor of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

The Galaxy Ace 2 is powered by a dual-core 800MHz CPU, with a 3.8-inch WVGA screen, an 768MB RAM.  The camera is a 5MP model with LED flash, and the front camera has a VGA resolution. On the software side, Samsung's apps include ChatON, Wifi direct, and Samsung's Social, Media, and Game Hubs. Expect it to become available in the UK this April.

The Galaxy Mini 2 has a single-core 800MHz processor, 3.2-inch HVGA display, 512MB RAM and a 3MP rear camera. It also includes ChatON, and Social and Media Hub software from Samsung. The Galaxy Mini 2 is expected in France this March.  Hit the break for the full press images.

Source: Samsung

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2 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Macro-photography

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It's Monday, and that means it's time to kick off this week's Android Central photo contest.  This time around, we're looking for your best macro-photography shots.  Grab something small and cool looking, grab your Android phone, and snap a picture!  The prize this week is a blind box Android mini collectable, and we're looking to give five of them away to the best close-up shots.  The blind box factor makes it a cool mystery, and we have no idea which one you'll get.  No matter, they're all really, really cool. As a refresher, here's the rules:

  • One picture per person
  • The picture must be taken with an Android device
  • The picture must be awesome

Send it in to pics@androidcentral.com by Friday Feb. 24, and include which phone you used and you name so we can give proper credit.  We'll pick the best five and show them off to the world Sunday on the blog.  Good luck!

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2 years ago

ZTE Mimosa X with NVIDIA Icera modem now official

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NVIDIA and ZTE have officially unveiled the ZTE Mimosa X, the first phone with a Tegra2 processor and Icera modem. NVIDIA acquired Icera in mid-2011, and we've been expecting an offering from someone with the full set of NVIDIA innards, and today we finally get to see one, or at least a picture. If you refer to an old Tegra roadmap, you'll notice that Tegra and Icera devices weren't scheduled to ship until 2013, but we're awfully glad to see them a bit early, especially when they're running Android. 

We're pretty familiar with the Tegra 2 chip, and the wonders it can do with proper software. On paper it's not the fastest beast out of the gate, but when coupled with applications designed for NVIDIA-specific multimedia and processor extensions, no other smartphone gaming platform can hold a candle to it. Beyond games, the Tegra 2 CPU offers a great high-end experience for both tablets and smartphones alike. I'm certainly a fan.

With the introduction of the Icera 450 soft modem, ZTE can introduce the same high-end performance we've grown accustomed to, and offer it with better power management, and at a more affordable price point.  The Icera 450 in the Mimosa X (best name ever) brings the following to the table:

  • Multiband HSPA+ Cat 18 (28Mbs)
  • HSUPA Cat 6 (5.7Mbs), Cat 7 (11 Mbs) upgradeable
  • Quad-band GPRS/EDGE
  • Custom RIL for the Android OS
  • MIPI high-speed interface to the application processor
  • Major cost savings due to integrated baseband and RF chips
  • IceClear interference-cancelation technology to improve cell performance

The listed specifications for the Mimosa X are as follows:

  • Tegra 2 dual-core CPU with GeForce GPU
  • Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 4.3-inch qHD display (960 x 540)
  • 5MP rear camera, front camera
  • 4 GB storage, expandable to 32GB via SDcard slot
  • A2DP Bluetooth
  • Dolby audio
  • DLNA video
  • Dual microphones
  • Built-in gyroscope

It certainly sounds like another great Android phone, and one we're excited to have a look at during Mobile World Congress.  Expect it to be released during the second quarter of this year.  The full press release is after the break.

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2 years ago

Panasonic announces first smartphone for Europe - the Eluga

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Panasonic has been fairly active in the Japanese phone market, but until today it'd stayed out of the European smartphone fray. That changes with the announcement of the Panasonic Eluga, the company's first smartphone for Europe, with a super-thin chassis and dust and water resistance.

Hardware-wise, it's a standard black slab with a 4.3-inch display at qHD (540x960) resolution. Internally, it's powered by a 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core chip, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal storage. Imaging needs are taken care of by the 8MP rear camera, and there appears to be no front-facing shooter on the Eluga. The device runs a lightly-skinned Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, and is due an upgrade to Android 4.0 from "Spring 2012." NFC is also included, which will allow European buyers to use Google Wallet (when it's launched), smart tags and other services.

So it's running fairly standard mid to high-end gubbins. Panasonic's bringing some interesting hardware features to the table, though. We already metnioned water and dust-proofing, and the device looks like it's going to be surprisingly thin and light too, weighting 103 grams and measureing 7.8mm thick. That's within a hair of the Huawei P1S, the thinnest smartphone around at the moment. We're a little concerned that the battery is a mere 1150 mAh, though time will tell how that pans out.

Given the timing of today's release, we'd expect to see the Panasonic Eluga at Mobile World Congress next week. If it's there, we'll track it down and bring you full coverage.

Source: Panasonic; via: SlashGear

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