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4 years ago

Vlingo responds to privacy issues raised about its Android app

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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

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4 years ago

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

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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?

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia S boasts 'dirt-repellent' coating and 'fast charging'

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As launch day approaches, more technical details of Sony's new Xperia S are starting to trickle out. We learned all the key specifications at CES (where we also got some hands-on time with the device), but now two interesting new features of the Sony flagship phone have come to light, according to Swiss tech site PocketPC.ch.

Firstly, the site reports that a Sony Ericsson product manager told them the Xperia S has a "dirt-repellent", "UV-active nano-coating". We're not even going to pretend to know what that means, but if it protects the device from scrapes and daily wear-and-tear, we're all in favor. For what it's worth, the presence of an "anti-stain shell" has already been confirmed on the official Sony Ericsson Facebook page.

The product manager also reportedly spilled a few details on the new battery tech employed by the Xperia S. The phone is said to use improved lithium-polymer technology that's capable of recharging in half the time taken by earlier models, with ten minutes of charging time apparently being enough to power the device for a whole hour.

The Xperia S is due to launch in Europe from the second week of March. Its American counterpart, the AT&T Xperia Ion, will land stateside during the second quarter.

Source: PocketPC.ch; via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

New version of Google Music Manager allows easy downloading of purchased tracks

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Here at AC, we love Google Music, and some of us have it cranked high all day long while the lovingly sweet sounds of Led Zepplin or Motorhead coax us through the workday.  But I digress, and maybe that's only me.  We especially love it when changes get made to makes things easier, and today is a good day for easy.  Google has updated the Google Music Manager program to allow for easy downloading of songs you have uploaded or purchased from the Android Market.  Music Manager is the portion of the service you run on your computer to upload and manage your library, and we have to admit when compared to competitors like iTunes or Zune it's a little sparse.  

With today's update, you can download all your legitimately *cough* purchased and uploaded music with just a few button clicks.  Right click on the Music Manager in your system tray, open the options dialog and choose the "Download" tab.  From there you have the option to download your library.  If you've downloaded it before, you'll also have an option to only download newly added songs.  The tracks are saved in the folder you specify as 320 kbps .mp3 files.  Your songs still stay in the cloud, but now you've got a local copy as well.

In addition, server side changes now allow you to share the Youtube video for purchased songs with your Google+ circles.  Click the dropdown next to the song title to share the video with your circles, and they'll see it in their Google+ timeline.  Now if only the rest of the planet could use Google music, it would be perfect.

Source: Android Market support; via +Android

 

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4 years ago

Google's Android developers want you to say goodbye to the menu button

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Goodbye menu button, hello Action Bar overflow!  Today on the Android Developers blog Scott Main, lead technical writer from Google, wrote up a nice piece of prose about how developers should migrate away from the traditional menu-button based way of designing applications.  You see, Ice Cream Sandwich allows for the folks designing phones to do away with all those buttons we've grown accustomed to at the bottom of our screen, and replace them with software based buttons built into the OS and apps.  It's something we first saw in Honeycomb tablets, where the need for menu buttons was removed by the introduction of the ActionBar class.  

Google wants developers, and in turn us users, to learn to love the Action Bar.  Scott gives examples of how the new Action Bar "overflow" (those three dots that replace a menu button in ICS) can replace what we traditionally needed a menu button for, and even how to build applications to use both methods -- developers don't want to forget all the devices that haven't been updated to Ice Cream Sandwich yet.  It's an interesting read for those who keep up with Android application interface guidelines, and a must-read for all you developers out there.  

Most importantly, Scott stresses that the application UI should have all the important  elements right up front for the user to see, and the overflow should be used for things not important enough to be on the screen.  He also gives instruction on how to make the legacy menu button not appear if it's not being used, and how to get rid of the whole Action Bar if an application doesn't need it.  As developers get their apps updated for ICS and beyond, we'll be able to say goodbye to those three dots we chase all over on "buttonless" phones and tablets.  That's a good thing.

Source: Android Developers Blog.  Thanks, Sebastian!

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4 years ago

Motorola: 18.7 million smartphones, 1 million tablets sold in 2011

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Motorola's just announced it's fourth-quarter and year-end earnings, and we're getting a pretty clear picture of what sold -- and what didn't -- in 2011. Here's the breakdown:

  • For all of 2011, Motorola sold 18.7 million smartphones and 1 million tablets (Motorola Xoom, Xyboard/Xoom 2)
  • For the final three months of the year, Motorola sold 5.3 million smartphones and 200,000 tablets.

Quarterly speaking, that's a bit of an increase. For Q3 2011, Motorola sold 4.8 million smartphones and 100,000 tablets. But it still pales in comparison to the more than 40 million iPads Apple sold in 2011, never mind iPhones.

As far as earnings go, Motorola announced a net revenue of $3.4 billion, but a non-GAAP operating loss of $19 million and an earnings loss of 27 cents per share.

Motorola does mention the Google merger in its earnings report, but that's it. No update on progress. And for that reason, Motorola's also not hosting a conference call with the report.

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

Mobilicity launching the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Feb. 6

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Canadian carriers have been rolling out the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for quite a while now but has just added their name to the mix. On their Twitter account they've made it known the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be available from them on February 6th. No pricing details were released for now but it'll no doubt fall in line with the rest of the carrier offers meaning -- it should arrive for around $600, possibly less if Mobilicity wants to be nice.

Source: Twitter

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4 years ago

Amazon offering the Galaxy Nexus for a deeply-discounted $100

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We here at Android Central refuse to ignore a bargain, espcially one as great as this: Amazon is currently selling the Galaxy Nexus for a mere $99.99, a full $200 less than what you'll pay Verizon. The sale price is for new customers only, and you'll need to sign a two-year contract, of course. If you've held out for the current Android king, this is likely the best price you've seen to date, though the device is finally starting to see some respectable discounts (newegg.com, for example, is currently offering the Nexus for $200).

Given Amazon's name-brand and solid reliability, this deal is just too good to ignore for those who have been waiting patiently to take a bite out of Ice Cream Sandwich. Hit the source link for Amazon's product page.

Source: Amazon

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4 years ago

HTC EVO 4G and EVO View 4G reportedly reach end-of-life status

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It was a landmark Android device, and it's been an iconic phone for Sprint, but it seems that this past week finally saw the venerable HTC EVO 4G reach end-of-life (EOL) status. According to an internal memo obtained by Sprintfeed, the EVO View 4G, Sprint's version of the HTC Flyer, will also be put out to pasture from Jan. 29. And there's bad news for our friends at CrackBerry, too, as it seems Sprint also plans to stop offering the BlackBerry Playbook from "late January".

While the EVO View (and the Playbook) haven't exactly been runaway successes, we're sure a few of you will have fond memories of the EVO 4G, which first appeared way back in June 2010. Hopefully we'll see these devices replaced by more compelling Android phones and tablets as the year progresses.

Source: Sprintfeed

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4 years ago

Rift MMO launches Android app with in-game items

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Massively multiplayer game Rift has just launched its first companion app for Android. Not only does it have the usual stuff like chat with in-game friends and event notifications, they've also included mini-games through which you can win proper in-game items. Here's the full feature list.

  • Chat with friends and guildmates - Check if your comrades are online, and communicate instantly from anywhere! Send messages from your phone to in-game, or plan your adventures mobile-to-mobile! Push Notifications help your friends call you back to Telara.
  • Full guild support - Guild and Officer chat run smoothly on your mobile device, so you never miss a big decision.
  • Guild MOTD and Guild Wall - View your Guild Wall and Message of the Day at anytime, anywhere.
  • Zone Event notification - Hear the call when Zone Events erupt on your shard, and pick your battles with flexible alert settings.
  • Earn in-game loot! - Win real loot through the mobile app with Lootables. Artifacts, crafting items, and planar treasure shoot straight to your character’s mailbox!

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4 years ago

LG Prada 3.0 comes to Phones4U early, first stock arriving tomorrow

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Independent retailer Phones4U has announced that it'll be the first in the UK to sell the new Prada Phone by LG 3.0 (aka LG Prada 3.0), with stock arriving from tomorrow, Jan. 27. The latest collaboration between the Korean manufacturer and the Italian fashion giant has resulted in a thin, high-end Android smartphone with distinctive hardware and software. As we said in our hands-on preview, though, the device's monochrome UI may not be to everyone's tastes.

A quick glance at Phones4U's site reveals that it'll be selling the LG Prada 3.0 with contracts from O2, Vodafone and Orange. The best value seems come from Voda, which offers the phone for free on a £31 per month, 2-year plan, though O2 isn't far behind with a similar deal for £32 per month. If earlier Phones4U exclusives are anything to go by, they'll likely sell you the device in-store without a contract, though you may end up paying a considerable mark-up.

Other British retailers are expected to begin stocking the LG Prada 3.0 from the second week of February, with SIM-free prices of around £430 (~$670). We've got Phones4U's press release after the break.

More: Phones4U

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4 years ago

AT&T breaks its own Android sales record, but iPhone still rules the roost

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AT&T released its Q4 2011 earnings this morning, saying it set sales records for Android devices in the three months ending Dec. 31. (It doubled Android sales in Q3 2011, you'll recall.) While it declined to give specific Android numbers, AT&T did say that it sold 9.4 million Android and iOS smartphones, 82 percent its postpaid sales were smartphones, and it activated 7.6 million iPhones. Do the math there, more or less, and you've got a boatload of iPhones, and some Android phones. But we're not one to look broken records in the mouth, and neither is AT&T, we reckon. The company also said it sold twice as many Android devices as it did in Q4 2010. 

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

Late night poll: Your Android phone manufacturer

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There's a lot of Android phones out there, from a slew of manufacturers.  In the US alone there's over 70 different current models to choose from, and world-wide the number swells into the hundreds.  We all have our favorites, and we thought it would be fun to take a quick survey to find out which OEM is the most popular amongst us all.  Take a second, fill out our poll and we'll find out!  If you have more than one phone, pick your favorite.  And if you pick "other", be sure to let everyone know what you're rocking in the comments.  

 

Which brand of Android phone are you using?

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4 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX available today on Verizon for $299 on contract

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Today, Verizon welcomes the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX to its Android smartphone stable. You can pick it up for $299 on contract. (Or a whopping $649 outright.) We're going to be doing a full Droid RAZR MAXX review, of course, but here's the gist: It's a Motorola Droid RAZR with a 3300 mAh battery. Thank you, goodnight, we'll see you in the funny papers.

And you know what? It might well be the best 4G LTE phone on Verizon thus far. Sure, we tend to say that with every release, but Verizon's 4G devices certainly have been trending up since they debuted a year ago.

A reminder on the Droid RAZR MAXX specs:

  • Launches with Android 2.3.5, will be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display
  • qHD resolution (540x960)
  • 8MP rear-facing camera; 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 4G LTE data
  • 3300 mAh battery for up to 21. hours' talk time, 380 hours' standby time
  • Motorola user interface
  • Smart Actions

From our hands-on time with the Droid RAZR MAXX at CES earlier this month, it was easy to see that indeed you're really just looking at a beefed up phone. Bigger battery, with everything else the same. And the slightly increased thickness makes the phone a little nicer to hold -- it was almost too lanky in its earlier form, too thin considering how wide it is. The phone's still 8.99 mm at its thickest, which is more than respectable. And having nearly double the battery life is a must considering that it's not removable -- there's now swapping in a new one.

Anyhoo, stay tuned for our complete Droid RAZR MAXX review, and go out and get yourself one of these guys, if it's your thing.

Source: Verizon; More: Droid RAZR MAXX forums

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4 years ago

LG Spectrum gets software update to fix Netflix playback

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Fire up your brand new LG Spectrum tonight and you'll likely see a wee update waiting for you. The mere 10.09-megabyte update takes you to software version VS920ZV4 and does the following:

  • Netflix playback issue corrected

Awesome. We like Netflix. But the fact that it takes an update on the phone is a bit ridiculous, no? At least it's a small update. And quick. But we digress.

More: LG Spectrum update PDF; LG Spectrum forums

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