3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S Advance announced in full mid-range glory


Samsung announced the Galaxy S Advance today, due for Russia in February, and heading to just about everywhere but North America after that. The form factor sure looks familiar, and the specs are decidedly mid-range. It's powered by a dual-core 1 GHz processor, enjoys a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED touch display, and sports a 5 megapixel camera on the back plus a secondary front shooter. The Samsung Galaxy S Advance is running Android 2.3, and connects via 14.4 Mbps HSPA, firmly locking it down as a middle-of-the road smartphone. 

It's not terribly exciting, but Mobile World Congress is just around the corner - who knows what else Samsung will have to show us? Full press release after the jump..

Source: Samsung

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Rogers brings 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Note to Canada


We got our first look at AT&T's LTE-powered Samsung Galaxy Note back at CES, and now it looks like a very similar-looking device will be making its way to Canada on Rogers. A blog post on Rogers' official RedBoard site reveals that the network will offer the four-button, 4G LTE version of the Note from February.

For the uninitiated, the Galaxy Note is Samsung's gigantic 5.3-inch phone/hybrid tablet, which carries a massive 1280x800 HD SuperAMOLED display, and offers stylus input through Samsung's WACOM-powered "S Pen". Like the AT&T version, Rogers' Galaxy Note apparently totes a "1.5 GHz dual-core processor" of some description. Though unconfirmed, rumors suggest this is a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip rather than the Samsung Exynos found on the international Note.

For more on the Galaxy Note, check out our review of the international version, or our hands-on coverage of the AT&T version.

Source: RedBoard

Read more and comment

3 years ago

T-Mobile UK launches new price plans, offers unlimited data that's actually unlimited


T-Mobile UK has announced new range of price plans that offer its customers truly unlimited data for the first time. Previously, T-Mo UK has offered a "unlimited" data on many of its plans, but with a "fair use" limit, sometimes as low as 500MB. If customers used more than this fair use limit, they faced throttled speeds and restrictions on visiting certain websites.

The network's new "Full Monty" price plans put an end to this chicanery, offering users unlimited data without any kind of fair use limit buried in the small print. "Fully Monty" price plans start at £36 per month for 24 months, for unlimited T-Mobile calls, unlimited texts, unlimited data and 2000 minutes of calls to other networks. At this price point, T-Mo will also throw in a free Galaxy S II or HTC Sensation XE. Step it up to £41 per month and you'll get unlimited calls to other networks, too. The higher-priced £46 and £61 per month plans offer the same unlimited everything, with a lower up-front cost for your handset of choice. All four price plans include unlimited tethering, and will be available from Feb. 1.

All of the major UK networks moved away from unlimited data plans in 2010, in an attempt to curb heavy data use by smartphone users. We've seen this trend slowly reversing over the past year, though, with O2 offering unlimited data through its "GiffGaff" network, and Three selling "all-you-can-eat" data plans to contracted and pre-paid customers. It'll be interesting to see whether things continue to move in this direction as UK carriers begin to roll out 4G LTE coverage over the next couple of years.

Source: T-Mobile UK

Read more and comment

3 years ago

'Xperia P' branding rumored for Sony LT22i 'Nypon'



Some more evidence has cropped up this morning to suggest that Sony (Ericsson) is moving forwards with a letter-based naming scheme for its 2012 line-up. Just like last week, when we saw suggestions that the entry-level ST25i 'Kumquat' looked set to become the Xperia U, a recent listing by the Indonesian telecom authority has revealed the name 'Xperia P' or Sony's purported mid-range offering, the LT22i 'Nypon'.

Rumored specs for the 'Nypon' include a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 4-inch qHD (960x540) Reality Display and an 8MP EXMOR R camera. According to the recently-leaked roadmap, the device may be due for release as early as April, at a €370 price point.

Whatever the case, we'll be hoping to get our first look at the Xperia P, or whatever it's called, at Mobile World Congress in just a few weeks.

Source: e-POSTEL; via: XperiaBlog

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Motorola RAZR Developer Edition on the way to Europe, unlocked bootloader in tow


More news coming out of Motorola today surrounding the RAZR. Yet another variant is on its way, only this time it's coming with an unlocked bootloader

The Motorola RAZR Developer Edition will be available in Europe first, and is available for pre-order right now through Moto's own online store. They make a point of letting you know that phone will be sold without any warranty and will set you back 499 (about $660.)

In a statement on the official Motorola Blog, the company claims that releasing a developer edition allows them to continue to meet their carrier and regulatory obligations, but also meets the needs being expressed by their developer community. While the idea of an unlocked RAZRs isn't new -- Ausdroid scored the scoop on that way back in October -- at the time it seemed like a half-assed nod to developers and hackers, and that carriers would still have the option to (and undoubtedly would) keep the bootloaders locket up tight.

But what about you guys in the U.S.? While the Developer Edition is a Europe-only launch, plans are in place to launch an "unlockable developer device" in the State though the MOTODEV network. No time-frame is listed for this as yet though, and Motorola doesn't actually say whether it's the RAZR, or perhaps the newer RAZR MAXX with its larger battery, or maybe a different device altogether. 

The addition of the RAZR Developer Edition gives Motorola two "developer" devices in its stable, the other being the Motorola XOOM tablet, the first to show off Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and now is one of the first to get an update to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Hit the links below for more info and to order in the EU. 

Source: Motorola; Preorder: Motorola Online Store

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest winner: Transportation


The winner of this week's Android Central photo contest is August with his picture of a compact in a quiet street scene, taken with his Samsung Galaxy S II using Retro Camera .  This week's pictures were as amazing as last time around, and picking just one was no easy feat.  It's the kind of work we all enjoy though, so we love doing it.  Keep an eye on your e-mail August, I'll be contacting you about getting your battery shipped out.

With so many great pictures, even picking the 10 runners-up was difficult.  We finally settled on them, hit the break to have a look.  Don't forget, we're starting up a new round tomorrow, so keep an eye out.  

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Sprint Galaxy Nexus official Google sign-up page now live


The official Google sign-up page for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus is now live, waiting for all Sprint subscribers to register for "more information".  We've known it was coming since Sprint verified the rumors on January 9, and I know plenty of folks who are pretty darn excited at the prospect of an LTE powered Samsung Galaxy Nexus on the Now Network.  And who could blame them?  Ice Cream Sandwich on that gorgeous 720p display is a thing of real beauty, and pairing it with the last chance at unlimited data in the USA is a great idea.  

It should be the networks first LTE device, and we know it's coming with 32 GB of storage.  There's also a lot of rumors still going strong about features that may be different in the Sprint version.  Some think there may be a higher CPU speed (don't count on that one) because of an early advertisement that showed it with a 1.5 GHz CPU which may have been a misprint.  Also, because the folks at CES didn't want anyone to capture the back of the device on camera, many think it will have a larger stock battery than either the Verizon version or the GSM world version.  We'll have to wait and see, because at this point nobody has a clue just when we're going to see this one on the shelves.  Sprint's been cryptic, like smart companies always are, saying things like "soon" and "mid-2012".  Anyone who claims to have a date is just guessing for the most part, so we're not going to add to the confusion.

In any case, just about everyone reading this who uses Sprint is ready to get their paws on an LTE Galaxy Nexus, so proceed to try to crush the servers hosting the sign-up page with hope and love.  Then jump into the Sprint Galaxy Nexus forums and share your excitement with everyone in hopes that it makes the waiting seem shorter.

Source: Google; via  Android Central forums.  Thanks, DaEXfactoR!

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Latest Android Malware scare might be premature


The folks at Symantec have tipped everyone off about a new piece of Android Malware, calling Android.Counterclank "a bot-like threat that can receive commands to carry out certain actions, as well as steal information from the device."  They note that starting one of the apps "infected" with the apperhand SDK package will show a second service running, and often places a search icon on the home screen.  They have verified this is in 13 applications on the Android Market and are calling it "the highest distribution of any malware identified so far this year."  Some reports on the internet claim it may have affected 5 million users.  That's 5,000,000 -- a huge and scary number. And it makes for a great headline.

But it looks like Symantec might have jumped the gun a bit.

Lookout, a competitor in the Android security field, says that the applications are not malware, and the apperhand package actually is a legitimate, but aggressive, advertisement component.  It's part of an advertising software development kit that's a modified version of the "ChoopCheec" platform” or “Plankton” SDK that was the focus of some privacy concerns in June 2011.  This newer version is cleaner, but it still has capabilities common to many ad networks. Writes Lookout:

  • It is capable of identifying the user uniquely by their IMEI number, for instance. But unlike some networks, this SDK forward-hashes the IMEI before sending to its server. They’re identifying your device, but they are obfuscating the raw data. (That's a good thing.)
  • The SDK has the capability to deliver “Push Notification” ads to the user. We’re not huge fans of push notifications, but we also don’t consider push notification advertising to be malware.
  • The SDK drops a search icon onto the desktop. Again, we consider bad form, though we don’t consider this a smoking gun for malware provided the content that is delivered is safe.  In this case, it is simply a link to a search engine.
  • The SDK also has the capability to push bookmarks to the browser.  In our opinion, this is crosses a line; although we do not believe this is cause to classify the SDK as malware.

We're not sure exactly how far is too far, but if the applications are using practices found in "many" other ad networks, we agree with Lookouts points listed here and have to call this one a non-issue when talking about malware.  On the issue of privacy and wanton sharing of user data, we're not loving it, but it's not malware.  

We're not security specialists, and we never claim to be.  We can tear applications apart and see what's hiding in there, but in-depth scanning and analysis is best left to the experts.  That being said, we are experts at catching bullshit, and this one reeks of it.  Nobody likes ads, but we can't just call them malware anytime we like.  They're a part of the ad-supported app model, and we should expect to see more than we like.  When they misbehave, call for someone's head, but not before.  

But that's not sensational.  Headlines like Computerworld's "Massive Android malware op may have infected 5 million users" cause controversy, and everyone loves a controversy.  Explaining that the 5 million mark is from adding the high end of the download counters, which allows for a 4 million-device margin of error, is conveniently forgotten.  And we'd like to think that if as many as 1 million devices on the low end had been infected, Google and the Android Market team would have said something.

The long and the short of it is, we're sleeping just fine tonight. Move along.

More: Symantec; Lookout

Read more and comment

3 years ago

'Optimus 3D MAX' branding rumored for next LG 3D phone


Earlier this week we saw reports that LG is preparing a successor to its Optimus 3D smartphone, to be unveiled at next month's Mobile World Congress. The LG CX2, as it's apparently codenamed, was to ship with a 1.2GHz CPU, 4.3-inch 3D WVGA NOVA display and dual 5MP cameras. Leaked renders also appeared, showing a device much thinner than the veritable brick that was the original Optimus 3D.

Today GSM Israel says it's learned from a "very reliable source" that the CX2's official branding will be "Optimus 3D MAX" (spelled the old-fashioned way, with just one X). If true, the new name would fit a device which appears to be more a refinement of last year's Optimus 3D than anything revolutionary.

It's likely we'll see more of the Optimus 3D MAX, or whatever it's called, in just a few weeks time at Mobile World Congress, so stay tuned.

Source: GSM Israel (translated); via: UnwiredView

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Sony Ericsson buyout approved by the European Commission


The European Commission has given Sony the OK to take full control of Sony Ericsson, three months after Sony paid €1.05 billion for Ericsson's share of the partnership.  Along with the entire company, the hefty sum also earned Sony an IP cross-licensing agreement, as well as ownership of five patent families. If you'll recall, upon announcement of the buyout, Sony said that the acquisition was fueled by the need to integrate SE smartphones into its existing network-connected devices, including TVs and tablets. The European Commission's approval is a major stepping stone in the acquisition process, which will likely be finalized in the coming weeks. 

What does the buyout mean for consumers? As Sony said, it will likely begin focusing on how its smartphones can mingle with its current line of products. Back at CES, Sony showed off its idea of a "connected home", an environment in which its line of smartphones will almost certainly thrive. Who knows, is a smartphone that acts as a Playstation controller too much to ask for? 

Source: Reuters; via Xperia Blog

Read more and comment

3 years ago

LG Spectrum review - Verizon gets another decent second-gen LTE phone


Our LG Spectrum review comes at an interesting time for both the smartphone manufacturer as well the carrier on which it resides, Verizon. On one hand you have LG, which has brought us some excellent high-end Android smartphones as well as a surprising low-ender in the Optimus line. And then you have Verizon, whose 4G LTE network is starting to mature at the ripe old age of 1 but at the same time can appear to have a glass jaw.

And now, we have the LG Spectrum. It's the U.S. version of the LG Optimus LTE -- the Korean manufacturer's second foray in to the latest in high-speed mobile data -- and cousin to the LG Nitro HD on AT&T. (The LG Revolution was one of Verizon's fledgling LTE smartphones.)

Join us after the break as we put the phone through its paces and see if it has what it takes to help carry Verizon deep into 2012.

Fast processor, fast data and a lot of customizations to make things easy for new(ish) users. Has a bright, high-resolution display.

The level of tweaks and customizations may turn some off. Battery life isn't stellar, slight UI lag in places.

The Spectrum is a solid phone for Verizon, but the highly skinned user interface is starting to look a bit cartoonish. The display is a strong positive, but yet again we're left waiting for the promised upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Inside this review

More info

Read more and comment

3 years ago

ClockworkMod developer teases touch-based recovery


ClockworkMod developer Koushik Dutta has shown off some early progress in bringing touchscreen functionality to his popular custom recovery image for Android. In a video posted on his Google+ page, Koush demonstrates the ability to navigate through menus using touch, rather than the regular volume rocker/power button combo required by current ClockworkMod builds.

A custom recovery image is an important tool for anyone wanting to use custom firmware on their Android device, so it's great to see advanced functionality like touch headed to a popular recovery like CWM.

This isn't the first time we've seen early implementations of touch support in custom recoveries, though. Previous efforts have included an unofficial version of ClockworkMod for the Galaxy Nexus, which uses on-screen keys instead of old-fashioned clicky buttons. The important difference with Koush's implementation is that it allows you to touch and scroll anywhere on the screen to select the item you want, just like when you're browsing through menus in Android.

The developer points out that the version shown in the video is still a "rough cut", with plenty of work yet to be done. But based on what we've seen in the video, things are already looking very promising.

Source: +Kouishik Dutta

Read more and comment

3 years ago

RIM's new CEO on Android hardware: 'they are all the same'


To say it's been an interesting year for Research in Motion and BlackBerry would certainly be an understatement. It was about 10 months ago that we first learned that RIM's tablet would be capable of running full-fledged Android applications, and suddenly we had to start caring about what was coming out of Waterloo.

This week RIM has undergone probably its most important change since realizing SurePress wasn't a sure thing -- co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down as co-CEOs, and chief operating officer Thorsten Heins has taken their place in the head office. There have been calls for RIM to adopt Android. There have been calls fro RIM to adopt Windows Phone. Really, everybody seems to know what's best for RIM.

Our pals at CrackBerry got some one-on-one time with Heins this week, and we're learning a little more about his position on Android -- mainly that he's unimpressed with the hardware on which it's running. "They are all the same," he says.

Here's what Heins told CrackBerry's Kevin Michaluk:

Kevin: I keep reading these articles that BlackBerry should build on Android, but I just don't understand them.
Thorsten: Just take a look where the Android OEMs are. I leave this to you. Take a look at their recent announcements and what you will immediately see is there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same.

We've seen a lot of Android devices over the past year. Some good, some not. A lot of black slabs, to be sure. But also a dual-screen phone. Two phones with 3D screens. BlackBerry-esque phones with tiny screens and quint little keyboards. Thinner, lighter, faster, with web browsers that actually work and games you're not ashamed to play in public. Android hardware manufacturers might be guilty of too many models, but you certainly can't say they haven't experimented, even if it led to failure.

Before Heins bemoans the "sameness" of Android hardware, perhaps another look at RIM's own stable is in order.  

Check out Kevin's entire interview with Thorensten Heins at CrackBerry.com!

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Vlingo responds to privacy issues raised about its Android app


The popular Android app Vlingo has come under a bit of fire the past several days, as it seems the application is sending a bit more data than they explain in their privacy agreement.  The folks over at Android Pit found some things that raised a few eyebrows, so we reached out to Vlingo to see what was what, and if we need to worry.  We spent some time talking to product engineers, and our conclusion is that everything's on the up-and-up, but there were some issues with the way their privacy agreement was written or presented to the user and a software bug or two at work.  

Things get a little muddy, partially because there's more than one Android version.  One is available in the Market for any device to download, and there's a more customized version offered by OEM's like Samsung on the Galaxy Note.  Different versions with different licenses and agreements simply led to the wrong version of the privacy agreement being presented to the user.  The developers and staff at Vlingo recognize that there's an issue, and were completely transparent about the entire thing.

They also came across a bug that allowed the service to run even if the user initially canceled the request, and another that sends location data when none is requested.  Again, Vlingo was up front about the issue and answered any questions we asked.  They even have set up an opt-out process for folks who don't want to use the product with these issues, and they will delete all user data from anyone who requests it.

Yes, it's bad when software bugs force an application to send the wrong data.  It's also bad when users aren't presented with the correct use policies -- even though most would never read them.  But these types of things happen, and the real test is how the company reacts when presented with issues of this sort.  And Vlingo aced it.  They were courteous, and seemed genuinely concerned about the issues, without trying to back pedal or lay the blame at someone else's feet.  This kind of transparency with the community is exactly what we deserve and expect.  Hit the break for the official statement, in its entirety.

More info about the privacy concerns: Android Pit

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Late night poll: Do you play games on your Android device?


Games can be really fun to play on your Android device.  There's all sorts of them available, from ones for dedicated "gaming" hardware like the Xperia Play, to HD games optimized for tablets.  But Android is good for a lot of things besides games.  Some use their device as the web in their hands, others need a portable e-mail solution, some of us are heavy texters.  Tonight, I'm curious and want to find out just how many folks out there like to game on their Androids.  I know since I got an Android tablet, I find myself playing more games than I ever imagined myself playing.  What say you my fellow Android fans?


Do you play games on your Android device?

Read more and comment

Show More Headlines