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2 years ago

The best Canadian Android Phones - As of Feb. 2, 2012

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Welcome to the best Canadian Android Phones as of Feb. 2, 2012. Or you can call them our favorite Android phones. Or the top Android phones. Really, call them whatever you want. Here's what you're getting: Our unabashed, unapologetic and unequivocal list of what we consider to be the best Android smartphones available on the three major Canadian carriers today.

Just like with our American list, you can't have this sort of thing without controversy. But considering that we're talking Canadian phones and Canadian readers, we also expect the discussion to be much more civil. 

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2 years ago

HTC addressing Wifi security loophole in some Android handsets

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HTC is updating some of its Android phones to address a security vulnerability which could allow malicious apps to steal Wifi security information. In a post on its official support site, the manufacturer says that many of the affected handsets have already been updated over-the-air, however some may require a manual update.

On an affected device, the bug in question could allow an Android application with the innocuous-sounding "ACCESS_WIFI_STATE" permission to access Wifi passwords for any network the phone's connected to. According to security researchers Chris Hessing and Bret Jordan, who originally discovered the vulnerability, phones affected by the bug include --

TheNextWeb reports that Hessing and Jordan discovered the issue in September 2011, but worked with Google and HTC to track down the root cause and develop a fix before going public. That's why we're just hearing about this for the first time today.

As HTC says, if your device is affected, it's likely already been updated with the fix over-the-air. The manufacturer says to check back next week for more information on a manual patch for certain handsets. In any case, we're not too worried about this latest security scare, and we don't think you should be either. If you were affected, chances are you already have the fix. And after all, stealing a Wifi password is among the less menacing things a malicious app could do.

Source: HTC Support; via: TheNextWeb

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2 years ago

A.I.type releases FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard

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Early last month we told you about A.I.type and their need for beta testers for a new "floating" spilt keyboard.  Fast-forward to today, and the beta product is now finished, and FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard is now available in the Android Market.  Based on the original A.I.type keyboard and it's amazing prediction engine, FloatNSplit brings a new and unique user interface for tablet users, with a split keyboard that's not only resizable, but with a movable "window" that A.I.type says will change your tablet typing experience.

It's also completely customizable, to adapt to your typing style and needs.  Options include dedicated numeric keys that appear and hide with a finger swipe, a resizing button, and cut/copy/paste/undo/redo functions built into the app itself.  But of course the killer feature is the floating split style.

You can split the tablet version into two semi-transparent halves for easy thumb typing, and they can be dragged separately and positioned anywhere you like on your screen.  A virtual button switches through the three modes (full, split, and floating) to keep the keyboard small and in perfect position for thumb typing with one or both hands.  FloatNSplit currently supports over 30 languages and character layouts, with context-sensitive text prediction and auto-correct available for English, Hebrew, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian, French and Dutch. Support for Greek, Turkish, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Tagalog is said to be coming soon.  

AI FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard requires Android 2.2 or higher, and sells in the Android Market for $5.99.  Six bucks is a lot to spend on an Android application, but A.I.type is so confident that it's offering its own two-day refund guarantee, so I'm definitely checking it out.  We've got a video, some screenshots, and a download link after the break.

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2 years ago

Late night poll: Have you read Google's new privacy policy?

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You might have heard that Google has a new consolidated privacy policy coming in March.  All the cool kids are talking about it, and even Microsoft has had a little to say to help you decide how you feel about it.  On one side, you have folks who aren't concerned or say it's a good thing, and on the other you have those who say Google's new policy is horrible for us, the users.  (We're ignoring the folks who claim it will hasten the zombie apocalypse or cause biblical repercussions of any form).  Tonight, we just want to know how many of you guys have even bothered to read it?

Let us know in the poll, and when you're done, have a read if you haven't already. 

Have you read the new Google consolidated privacy policy?

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2 years ago

The best U.S. Android Phones - As of Feb. 1, 2012

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Welcome to the best Android Phones as of Feb. 1, 2012. Or you can call them our favorite Android phones. Or the top Android phones. Really, call them whatever you want. Here's what you're getting: Our unabashed, unapologetic and unequivocal list of what we consider to be the best Android smartphones available on the four major U.S. carriers today.

You can't have this sort of list without controversy. We get that. And discussion is good. And so we're just going to anwer the question as simply as we can here: What do we think is the best phone on any given U.S. carrier as of right now? They're all in this post. No metrics, no scores. Just our pics and a tad of explanation, with the goal of helping you find the best phone on a particular carrier at any given time.

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2 years ago

Samsung releases AT&T Galaxy Note kernel source code

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The device itself won't be available for another couple of weeks or so, but Samsung has wasted no time in releasing the Linux kernel source (and other open-source bits and pieces) for the AT&T Galaxy Note. The AT&T Note (aka SGH-I717) sports a slightly different hardware setup to its international counterpart, the GT-N7000, hence the difference in behind-the-scenes code. As per the open source rules, the code is freely available for anyone to grab over at the Samsung Open Source site.

Though source code isn't a whole lot of use without the device itself, at least this early code release should jump-start the AT&T Galaxy Note ROM scene once the phone launches. Speaking of which, it's due from Feb. 19, for $299 on contract.

More: Samsung Open Source

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2 years ago

Motorola Droid 4 lands on Verizon's Droid Does site

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As the Motorola Droid 4 inches closer to release, the device has taken its place on Verizon's "Droid Does" site, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Droid RAZR and Droid Xyboard. You'll find the usual teaser content, as well as a rundown of specifications for Verizon's first 4G LTE QWERTY slider. As we saw during our hands-on time with the Droid 4 at CES, the phone sports a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and a full gigabyte of RAM, just like the Droid RAZR. The Droid 4 sets itself apart from older Droid models with its laser-cut, edge-lit keys, and differentiates itself from most modern smartphones just by having a QWERTY keyboard. The site itself even acknowledges “the decline of other fixed QWERTY devices”.

Display-wise, you’ve got a 4-inch qHD (960x540) panel with Gorilla Glass and “splash-resistant nanotechnology”. And on the software side you’ll find Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, along with Motorola’s Motoblur Philblur UI. Moto’s Smart Actions app is also included, which should help with conserving battery life and automating common tasks, and you also get streaming capabilities through MOTOCAST. We’d expect an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to be on the cards for the Droid 4, too.

There’s no official release date for the Droid 4 just yet, though unconfirmed rumors point to a launch later this month. And with Verizon starting to promote the device on DroidDoes.com, it certainly looks like we could be seeing it sooner rather than later.

Hit the source link to check it out for yourself -- if you’re eager to pick one of these up, you can also sign up for updates at the bottom of the page. Be sure to check out our full hands-on with the Droid 4 from CES for more info.

Source: DroidDoes.com

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2 years ago

New Zealand winery uses QR codes and augmented reality app to suggest food pairings

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Brancott Estate, a winery based out of New Zealand, has just launched their first Android and iOS app, and along with it, they've started putting QR codes on all of their wine bottles. When you use the app to scan the code printed on the label with your phone's camera, it offers food pairing suggestions, along with some more elbaorate promotions, like an augmented reality view and a puzzle game. The Brancott Estate app (called "World's Most Curious Bottle") also provides descriptions of  aromas, and some info on the climate in which the grapes were grown for 14 of their wines.

While there are plenty of other apps out there that offer a broader selection of wines to reference, not to mention the ability to search by meal, it's not often you see retail products ship with legitimately helpful QR codes on them. For wine in particular, a few third parties have stepped in to provide rich data for wines, namely Cellar Key, which hangs a little QR code around the bottleneck. 

Considering how little I know about wines, quick, in-store references like this can be hugely helpful when picking something out. Even seasoned wine-drinkers will appreciate the added level of detailed information set-ups like this can provide. It's just unfortunate that even after over a decade of being largely available, QR codes still haven't quite caught on. Maybe pairing up with apps will become more of a necessity if they're going to see any real use. I'm also a little worried that as much hype as there is behind NFC, it will end up in the same boat. 

You can download the Android app at the link below, if you're curious. Do you guys use QR codes regularly? What would it take to get you to use them more often?

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2 years ago

German court rejects Apple bid to ban sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1N, Galaxy Nexus

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The Munich Regional Court in Germany has rejected Apple's latest attempt to block sales of two Android-powered Samsung devices, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1N and Galaxy Nexus.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1N is a redesigned version of the original Tab 10.1, which Samsung brought to market to work around an earlier ruling preventing them from selling that model in Germany. If successful, Apple's attempts to block Galaxy Nexus sales would've been a major blow for Android, on account of that device's place as the flagship Google Experience smartphone.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, today's case related to touchscreen patents for smartphones and tablets. On rejecting the motion to block sales of the Samsung devices, Presiding Judge Andreas Mueller indicated that the patent in question would likely be revoked --

"Samsung has shown that it is more likely than not that the patent will be revoked because of a technology that was already on the market before the intellectual property had been filed for protection."

This is the latest chapter in the on-going patent war between Apple and Samsung, which began in mid-2011 and shows no sign of abating. The two companies remain locked in battle in courtrooms across the world.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

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2 years ago

Sony Ericsson Bridge for Mac updates to version 2.0, adds OS update support

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Sony Ericsson is updating its "Bridge" application for Mac users, adding the ability to apply OS updates to Xperia smartphones over USB. This functionality has been available in SE's PC Companion tool for Windows for some time, but until now Mac users have had to wait for updates to roll out over the air.

If you're rocking the Xperia/Mac combo, you can grab the current version 1.2 of the SE Bridge app from the source link, and you'll be notified when the new version is available.

Source: Sony Ericsson Product Blog

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