3 years ago

'Xperia Sola' trademark hints at another possible Sony handset



In contrast to the letter-based naming scheme that it's using internationally, it seems Sony may be sticking with something a bit more unique for one future device. Following the unveiling of the Xperia Ion at CES, it's emerged today that Sony has filed to trademark the name "Xperia Sola" at the U.S. Trademark and Patents Office, as well as its European counterpart the OHIM.

What such a product might eventually be is anyone's guess. A few possibilities could lie in the recently-leaked international roadmap.

However, the registration of a trademark doesn't guarantee that any product with that name will appear -- we've seen manufacturers snap up trademarks without using them in the past. But we have to admit that the "Xpreia Sola" name would certainly fit in with Sony's established nomenclature.

Any wild guesses about what, if anything, the "Xperia Sola" might turn out to be? Shout out in the comments!

Source: USPTO, OHIM; via: MobileSyrup

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3 years ago

Late night poll: Do you keep your phone for the duration of its contract?


It seems like there's a new Android phone coming out every week.  As with all things electronic, the new stuff looks better than the old stuff.  It's enough to drive anyone, especially an Android blogger, insane.  But it's darn near impossible to justify buying a new phone, off contract and at full price, every couple of months.  And let's face it -- sometimes we just love what we have.  A lot of people stuck with the first Droid, or the Nexus One because nothing else has caught their eye just yet.  There's a lot of variables, and there could be a lot of answers.  So the logical thing is to just ask.  Let us know in tonight's poll.



Do you keep your phone for the duration of its contract?

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3 years ago

The best Australian Android phones - As of Feb. 4, 2012


We're back for another look at the best Android Phones, and this time we're heading down under. We've teamed up with our pals at Ausdroid.net for this one for the best Android smartphones available in Australia. 

So without further ado, let's get to it. And be sure to check out our other Best Phones lists below.

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3 years ago

AC Explains: The Verizon Galaxy Nexus is still supported by Google


Reports across the Internet about the Verizon Galaxy Nexus being dropped from AOSP support -- or even worse, no longer being updated by Google -- apparently were a bit premature.  Dan Morrill has posted the following to the Android Contributors Google Group:

Hello! This is a quick clarification about support for CDMA devices.

For various technical reasons, recent CDMA Android devices implement core telephony functionality in .apk files provided in binary form by the carriers. To function correctly, these .apk files must be signed by the so-called "platform" key. However, when an individual creates a custom build from the AOSP source code, they don't use the same signing key as these CDMA flies were signed with. [...]

He goes on to note that the AOSP documentation was simply updated to reflect this fact, and that they will continue to provide as much of the closed-source material as they can.  

So what does that mean? Signing keys are tricky things. When we build Android from the available AOSP source, we use a specific set of keys to digitally sign all the binaries. When "official" builds are made by Google or manufacturers, they use a different set of keys. When these keys are mismatched, things can get wonky. Google doesn't want your phone (or tablet) to be wonky. The fellow who built that custom ROM you're using doesn't want things to be wonky. If these changes weren't made and brought to everyone's attention, wonkiness would have resulted, and nobody would have known why without a lot of digging around.

Verizon Galaxy Nexus devices are still Nexus devices. They still have unlockable bootloaders. They still have the Android source available. They just have changed the way they redistribute binaries, because of incompatibilities with the signing keys.

Android developers will just have to change the way they build for the Toro (Verizon Galaxy Nexus), the Stingray (the LTE Xoom), and the Crespo 4G (Nexus S 4G). The sky has not fallen, and they'll figure it out.   

Source: Android Contributors

More info: AOSP documentation; Google Support pages (1), (2)

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3 years ago

Best Buy opening Samsung Galaxy Note pre-orders with free Flip Cover Case offer


If you're looking to be the cool kid on the block by being one of the first to get a Samsung Glaxy Note from AT&T in your hands, Best Buy is where you'll want to sign up. They've opened up pre-orders for the device and to sweeten the deal a bit further, they'll be tossing in a free flip cover case. Pre-orders start Feb. 5 -- that's this Sunday -- with the device being available Feb. 19 for $300.

Source: Best Buy

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3 years ago

Secure Android phones to be rolled out to U.S. military and government officials



"Secure" Android smartphones capable of handling classified content are to be given to U.S. officials across various government and military departments later this year, according to reports from CNN. The network's sources indicate that the devices, which run a modified version of Android, will first be given to U.S. soldiers, and then later rolled out to other officials and government contractors.

Current regulations don't allow those with access to classified information view it using a smartphone, and any device that's used to view or send such data is subject to strict security certifications. According to today's report, government developers have completed work on a version of Android that's certified to store -- but not send -- classified messages, and smartphones cleared to transmit classified data are expected "in the next few months."

CNN reports that the government-approved, secured version of Android, phone users will have control of each individual data transmission to the Internet, to ensure that sensitive information isn't included.

This isn't the first time we've seen Android win approval from the U.S. military. In late 2010 it emerged that General Dynamics was to build its GD300 Wearable Rugged Computer on Android software. Android's emergence as the platform of choice for secure government and military smartphones should go some way towards dispelling the myth that it's less secure than competing operating systems.

Source: CNN; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Sony Ericsson Xperia NX arriving in Japan from Feb. 24


It looks like Japanese consumers will be the first to get their hands on Sony Ericsson's 2012 smartphones. Japan's largest carrier, NTT Docomo, has announced that it'll start taking pre-orders of the Xperia NX from Feb. 10, with the first units due to go on sale on Feb. 24. Pricing information has yet to be announced.

The Xperia NX is Japan's version of the Xperia S, which was announced alongside its chunkier, waterpoof sibling the Xperia Acro HD last month. Curiously, both Japanese devices are sticking with Sony Ericsson branding, while U.S. and international variants bare the Sony name. The Xperia S, Sony's international flagship smartphone, is due to go on sale in Europe a couple of weeks later, in early March.

Source: NTT Docomo; via: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Sony Ericsson partners with Billabong, announces Xperia Active Billabong Edition


Sony Ericsson has announced that it's entered into a global partenrship with Australian sports clothing brand Billabong, in an effort to extend the appeal of its Xperia phones to extreme sports enthusiasts. As part of the partnership, SE has revealed the Xperia Active Billabong Edition, which in addition to the fancy back cover shown above, also features a couple of unique software features. These include Billabong-branded screensavers and videos, along the Billabong LIVE app for keeping track of pro surfing news, if you're into that sort of thing.

Besides the Xperia Active, Sony says that its Xperia smartphones will be featured at major Billabong events, and that Xperia Play owners will soon be able to download Billabong Suft Trip, an "exclusive surf game".

If you're cooler than us, you can pick up the Xperia Active Billabong Edition from today in "selected markets". Check out our full review to find out more about the original Xperia Active. We've got today's full press release after the break.

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3 years ago

Apple expands patent claims against Samsung in Australia


278 claims covering 22 patents across 10 devices

The latest round of legal wrangling between Apple and Samsung has seen the former significantly expand its patent claims against the latter in Australia. ​The Australian​ newspaper is reporting that Apple has broadened its suit against the Korean manufacturer to include 278 claims covering 22 patents across 10 devices.

The Australian suit, which began with Apple's seeking an injunction against sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, now encompasses a plethora of claims against Samsung smartphones and tabets. According to ​TheNextWeb​, some of the devices included haven't even launched in Australia yet. Samsung was reportedly given "only days" notice of this latest development, and consequently it's indicated that it won't be able to file a defense until "mid-May".

This is just the latest chapter in the ongoing patent war between Apple and Samsung, which has seen both companies attempt to block each others' products from sale in various countries over the past six months.

Source: TheNextWeb; The Australian

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3 years ago

LG Optimus LTE on TELUS outed in Canada


Following the device's launch on Bell Mobility late last year, it seems LG's flagship smartphone, the Optimus LTE, will be making its way to rival network TELUS at some point, too. LG's official Canadian website has outed TELUS as the carrier of the Optimus LTE "P935" model (for those keeping score, Bell's version was the P930). U.S. readers will recognize it as the LG Nitro HD, which came to AT&T in late 2011.

TELUS has yet to issue any official confirmation, so there's no pricing or availability information on offer just yet. Bell currently sells the Optimus LTE for C$99 on contract, so we'd expect a similar price point from TELUS.

The manufacturer recently celebrated the milestone of a million Optimus LTE phones sold worldwide, with particularly strong sales in Asia.

Source: LG Canada; via: MobileSyrup

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3 years ago

Late night poll: Would you use an NFC mobile payment system?


Google Wallet and NFC is a hot topic with a lot of folks.  It seems like a whole lot of people are concerned with the availability of Google Wallet (including yours truly), and we're all curious to learn more about ISIS, but we've no idea how popular either will ultimately be.  Just how many of you guys see yourself using any sort of NFC based mobile payment method?  NFC on phones has been around for a while in many parts of the world, but it never caught on in a big way -- especially in North America.  Of course, it wasn't really very available either, so maybe it never got a fair shake.

So let us know -- if and when NFC ends up on more new Android phones, will you use a mobile payment service?  Let us know in the poll.

Would you use an NFC based mobile payment system?

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3 years ago

ComScore: Android still holds the top spot in the U.S. smartphone market


The latest ComScore numbers are out, and it looks like the predicted death of Android still hasn't happened.  During October, November, and December 2011, Android still experienced more growth than any other platform in the US.  Keeping the top spot with 47.3 percent market penetration (that's about 45 million and counting), Android grew another 2.5 percent overall.  Apple, on the success of the iPhone 4S and iPad2, also experienced growth during the period, albeit not as much as Android.  Just as interesting, but in a different way, is the fact that the rest of the players in the game lost market share.  Reasearch In Motion, Microsoft, and Symbian, who were once the big three, all lost market share and only hold about 22 percent of the market combined.  WebOS, once again, was a no-show. 

The number of smartphone users in the US also grew, reaching their highest ever point.  ComScore calculates that 97.9 million people now use a smartphone of some sort or another.  We expect that number will also continue to climb, as you can now get an Android or Apple smartphone for free with a new contract.  

On the manufacturer front, things also look much like the last go around.  Samsung still makes the most phones in the United States (25.3 percent of all phones), followed by LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility and Apple.  There's no data about how many smartphones each vendor sells, but we imagine more than a few of Samsung's sales were Galaxy S and Galaxy S II devices.  

We're used to this by now.  Android, with the might of Google and their online services, makes a very compelling argument to choose their products.  We couldn't imagine using any other product.  

Source: ComScore

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3 years ago

AT&T Motorola ATRIX 2 update v55.13.25 now available


Looks like Motorola's next-gen Atrix currently has an update rolling out to it. Folks in the Android Central forums happened to notice the software update notification and sure enough - v55.13.25 is now available for download. Motorola's got these official changes for the Atrix 2:

  • Camera - Enhancements to deliver better overall picture taking experience so you never miss a moment
  • Google Music  -Addition of Google Music application so you have greater access to the world of music. Shop millions of songs and hundreds of free tracks. Store your purchases on Google Music for free, and listen instantly on your mobile device.
  • My Gallery, My Music, My Files - Re-naming of Motorola Gallery, Music, and Files applications for easy access in the Applications Tray
  • Device Security - Enhancements to deliver greater device security, including addition of Android security patches from Google and Cisco Any Connect VPN enablers.
  • Emergency Alerts - Enhancement to allow you to receive emergency alerts from authorities such as Hurricane warning notifications.
  • Amazon Kindle - Enhancement to include link to app for quick and easy method to access your library of Amazon digital books as well as access to the entire Amazon library.
  • AT&T Messages - Enhancement to include link to app for quick and easy method to give you access to all of your texts, calls and messages which have been stored in the cloud.
  • Keyboard - Improvements to keyboard functionality for better email experience
  • Mobile Hotspot - Improved stability for better overall performance
  • Webtop - Enhancements to improve stability and better overall performance

That's a whole lot of improvements to be pushing in one update. If you've not recieved the notification, go ahead and check for system updates, you should find it waiting. Once you're done, drop by the Android Central forums and let us know how things are working out.

Source: Motorola; Via Android Central Forums

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3 years ago

What is sideloading? [Android A to Z]


What is sideloading?  It's a term you see a lot thrown around while talking about Android applications, and it's simple to explain.  It means installing applications without using the official Android Market.  What's less simple is how it's done and why you would do it.  That's where this post comes in.  Let's explain it, shall we?

How to do it is easy enough, so let's start there.  In the Application settings on your Android phone, you'll find a check box to "Allow installation of non-Market applications."  When it's checked, you can sideload.  You'll also see a pop-up warning when you check this box letting you know that your phone is now more vulnerable to attacks from applications, and that you accept all the responsibility that comes with doing this.  It makes sense -- you can't hold Google responsible for applications you didn't download through their service using their security methods.  

Sideloading apps is easy to do as well.  You download them to your phone, then use a file manager application to find them and "click" their entry.  You'll invoke the app installer program, and it will install your app just as if it had came from the trusted Android Market.  It won't be associated with your Android Market account, but it shows in your app drawer just like all the rest.  It didn't used to be this easy for everyone.  Under the guise of security, AT&T used to block users from sideloading by removing the Unknown sources field in the device settings.  Whenever you tried to manually install an app, it would be blocked because it wasn't allowed.  This could be circumvented by using adb from the SDK or by using a program like the Sideload Wonder Machine.  Luckily, those days are past us and AT&T has re-evaluated their position, and now allows the installation of non-Market apps.

Why would you want to sideload.  There are several reasons, one being that Google has allowed carriers to block certain applications based on the model and network your device is running on.  We've seen carriers block apps that permit tethering without paying the extra associated fees, and some carriers have exclusives for certain apps and they aren't available for the others.  That's a whole other mess that we'll tackle in another post -- just know that it happens.  There are other reasons to need to sideload apps, too.  Want to use a different appstore like the one from Amazon?  You'll need to enable sideloading.  The same goes for beta testing apps for developers, or even coding your own apps and testing them on your phone.  There are a lot of legitimate reasons for sideloading.  Of course, there's always the piracy aspect.  If you want to steal from hard working developers you'll need to enable sideloading.  You also suck.  Sideload, but don't steal from developers.

Previously on Android A to Z: What is recovery?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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3 years ago

Google Wallet now available on Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus on AT&T


Previously only available to Sprint Nexus S 4G owners, Google's NFC-based payment app, Google Wallet, has just been updated to add support for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S on AT&T. So if you're a Nexus owner on AT&T, you can hit the Android Market and find out what all the fuss is about. We've confirmed that the app can now be loaded onto the unlocked Galaxy Nexus or any Nexus S, provided you have an AT&T SIM loaded. But right now it appears that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is still unable to get Google Wallet officially, though there workarounds, of course. Same goes for the Nexus S on T-Mobile.

This is also good news for anyone considering picking up AT&T's version of the Samsung Galaxy Note in the weeks ahead. The AT&T Note supports NFC, and so barring any silly device-level limitations, Google Wallet should work just fine on that phone, too.

We've got Android Market links for all you AT&T people after the break, as well as some instruction for if it doesn't work right away for you.

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