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2 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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2 years ago

What is NFC? [Android A to Z]

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What is NFC?  NFC stands for Near-Field Communication and is a set of standards (established in 2004) for small, portable devices to establish radio communications with each other. Devices need to be close, usually no more than a few centimeters apart (and often they need to touch), which is why it's a Near-Field way to communicate. The standards cover data exchange formats defined by the NFC Forum (no, not that kind of forum) and are based on the original radio frequency identification (RFID) standards.  The forum also certifies devices like tags, cards, and smartphones.  

The coolest part of all this is that only one of the devices needs to be "smart."  Most of us has a credit card of some sort that we can tap against a payment machine, either at the gas pump or a cash register.  Both the payment machine and the credit card are NFC devices, but the card only has a string of information electronically written to a tiny chip embedded inside it.  And this is useful for other things, like starting and handling more robust communications like Wifi or Bluetooth, but most often it's used with one of these "dumb" chips.  These dumb chips can be written with any information, and the smart device determines what happens when communication is established.  

Of course, what most of us here think of when we hear NFC is Google Wallet.  Google Wallet takes things a step further by using your Android phone as both a smart device and a dumb device.  When you tap your phone at McDonald's to pay for those McNuggets, it's simply sharing your credit card credentials like any card would.  But there's functionality and hardware there to accept payments, track balances, provide security and more.  Right now it's only officially available as a test on the Nexus S 4G, but it's been hacked onto other phones with NFC hardware.  Soon, we'll see it (and other apps for things like ISIS) as a standard on Android phones.  Until then, we'll just have to play with tags and Android Beam.

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

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2 years ago

Rezound update, RAZR MAXX impressions [From the Forums]

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We're blowing through this and tonight -- we'll have another awesome Android Central podcast for you all! While we get our podcast faces on, why don't you all take a stroll through the Android Central forums? Check out some of the threads below:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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2 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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2 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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2 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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2 years ago

Your Logitech Revue is now a collector's item

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The Logitech Revue never quite lived up to its potential as the first set-top box to sport Google TV. That much was made clear by Logitech in late 2011 when it was said to have "cost us dearly." And now the Revue has officially been put out to pasture.

Logitech posted its Q3 2012 (they're on a weird schedule) today and in doing so it repeated that sales figures were negatively impacted by the Revue -- and that it no longer has any units on hand. Here's the official word from Logitech:

A major factor in the 8 percent decline in the Americas sales compared to the prior year was Logitech Revue for GoogleTV. We began shipments of Logitech Revue in Q3 of the prior year and delivered sales of $22M that quarter. Sales of Logitech Revue this year were down by $15M due to the combination of a significant price reduction in Q2 of this fiscal year and our previously announced intention to exit the category. We are now sold out of all new Logitech Revue units.

So that's it, boys and girls. The Logitech Revue is done. Finished. Kaput. It is no more. But that's not entirely true, of course. A good many of us still have Revue units, and they still work relatively well, if a little underpowered, and they're actually running the latest version of the Google TV branch of Android. Treat them well. (Or at least try not to fear them too much.)

And as for Google TV, it's not done yet, either. We're already seeing the likes of Vizio coming out with new products, and we're willing to bet more are on the way. Sit back, relax, and get ready for Android to take over your TV.

Source: Logitech

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2 years ago

Steam community app available, access limited to beta participants for now

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If you're a PC or Mac gamer, chances are you've used Steam, Valve Software's leading digital distribution platform for games. Today sees the launch of the official Steam app for Android, a new application that gives you access to the Steam store and community features like Steam chat on-the-go. If you're big on Steam and the Steam community, this could definitely be worth a look.

It's worth clarifying that this isn't a fully-fledged Steam client for Android, so you won't be playing Portal 2 on your Galaxy Tab any time soon, unfortunately. All it lets you do is buy PC and Mac games and chat to your Steam friends.

While the app itself is freely available on the Android Market (see the link after the jump), you'll need to be part of the Steam Mobile beta group in order to use it, or you'll be rejected at the login screen. This is a little strange given that the app is openly advertised on SteamPowered.com with no mention that a beta invite is required. So keep an eye on this one, folks. All signs point to a possible public launch in the near future. If you are in the beta group, however, you'll find a handy Market link after the break.

Source: SteamPowered.com

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2 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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2 years ago

Willy Wiener and the Tunnel of Doom in no way is a bad metaphor for sex

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