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2 years ago

HTC Sensation XL review

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There’s no doubt that HTC is getting behind Beats Audio in a big way. This summer the manufacturer ponied up $300 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats, and since then it’s been quick to bring to market phones like the Sensation XE and Rezound, which include Beats earphones in the box and a Beats-optimized music player. The latest phone to launch in Europe with Beats support is the Sensation XL. Originally unveiled at a glitzy event in London back in October, the 4.7-inch XL is pitched as the first European phone designed from the ground up around Beats Audio.

The Sensation XL isn’t a replacement for the original Sensation in the traditional sense. Instead, HTC seems to be positioning both devices alongside each other, with the XL geared towards big multimedia consumers rather than spec-obsessed enthusiasts. But with formidable (and technically superior) competition from Apple, Samsung, Motorola and others, does the Sensation XL do enough to stand out from the ever-growing high-end smartphone crowd? Read on to find out.


A well-built device with a bright, vivid screen and responsive, feature-filled software. Beats headphones and software optimizations make this a great phone for music on-the-go. HTC Sense 3.5 is faster and slicker than ever.


Lack of expandable storage. Screen resolution is lower than much of the competition. Disappointing video camera performance. No Beats support for third-party music players.



The Sensation XL might not represent the complete package for smartphone enthusiasts, but it's hard to fault the device as a whole. HTC's Sense UI is better than ever, and the bundled Beats hardware is a huge step up from the bog-standard earphones provided with most phones.
 

Inside this review

More info

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2 years ago

Get your Android Central T-shirt yet?

What do you get the Android nerd who has everything? More Android! And we've got a bevy of T-shirts available with everybody's favorite Android Central mascot, Lloyd.

A few things to note: We're selling this crop of shirts at cost -- we're not taking any commission on these initial designs. Premium designs are in the works. And these shirts are 100 percent Lloyd-approved. Accept no substitutes.

So where do you obtain these fine fashion specimens? Just hit up the link below!

Android Central T-shirts now on sale!

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2 years ago

Plantronics InstantMeeting takes the pain out of dialing into conference calls on the go

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We know you are all very busy people, and love ways to make your life easier in any way shape or form, and Plantronics realizes the same. While on the go trying to dial into a conference call can be quite a pain, dialing the number, then entering the ID for the call, and sometimes even more information than that, but that pain has to be felt no more. Plantronics InstantMeeting holds all your information for your call, reminds you of the call, and has a one click call button to easily dial into your meeting. So, stop fumbling around trying to remember your call ID's and times, and grab InstantMeeting to simplify your life. Download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Letters for Santa aims to bring some holiday joy to your little ones

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Update: Looks like there are some serious issues with this app. We'd hold off on purchasing it.

With the Holidays raplidly approaching, everyone is trying to get into the spirit, and while traditions differ, if you celebrate Christmas one thing nearly everyone can remember is writing letters to Santa. Letters for Santa is a great application available for your Android tablet that allows you to take some time away from work and everything else, write out a letter to Santa with your child, and virtually send it off. In addition to actually writing the letter you are able to read a story with the family, making the time truly special for the kids. This is yet another great kids application for Android, much like many of the others we have reviewed. For only $1.99 this is sure to be a great way to spend extra time with the family, and create a new family tradition for yourself. Hit the break for download links.

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2 years ago

Gingerbread for the Samsung Droid Charge rolling out now

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Last week we got word that the Samsung Droid Charge was set to receive its own official Gingerbread update, and now word in the forum is that the update is rolling out. Bringing a bunch of changes some of which include a new color scheme, a new download manager and added SD encryption. If you haven't already received the update notification be sure to head into your settings and check manually for the update!

More in the Android Central Forums

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2 years ago

Sonos adds Android tablet support, Slacker Radio, new beta service

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Sonos, the maker of the high-end wireless stereo system, today announced that it's updated its Android application (check out our previous review) to include support for Android tablets. And, yes, that includes the Amazon Kindle Fire, which you see here. Also, Slacker Radio is now on board for yet another streaming music solution. In addition, Spotify's gotten an update, there's now support for AAC+ codecs, and Sonos has added a beta path if you like living on the bleeding edge and want to test features before anyone else.

Full presser's after the break.

More: Sonos

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2 years ago

Kindle Fire software Version 6.2 now available; update manually or over Wifi

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Don't blink. If you do, you might miss your Amazon Kindle Fire updating to software Version 6.2. Amazon's not really saying what's new in the update other than "provides improvements to the operation of your Kindle Fire." But know that it does break root, so you'll have to jump through that hoop again (which you should be more than willing to do if you did it once already.)

The update's available over Wifi, or you can download it directly from Amazon, move it to your Kindle Fire yourself (just plug it in and drag the file onto it in your favorite file explorer), and go into the device settings and hit "Update your Kinde." It'll reboot a couple times, then all is well.

Download: Software Version 6.2; More: Amazon

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2 years ago

Editorial: Carrier IQ -- the 'evil' we agree to and hate that we did it

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Seems like every time you turn around you'll see corporations using sneaky tricks to gain a competitive advantage over a different, yet equally sneaky corporation.  That's usually how money is made by the people who are best at making lots of it -- at the expense of others.  The cell phone industry is no different, even though we wish it were.  Yes, I'm talking about Carrier IQ, and it's my turn to bitch.

Carrier IQ sells a stock client for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Android.  There's strong evidence that  they also make client software for other smartphone platforms, and even semi-smartphone OS's like Bada or BREW.  But they're only making it easy to get the same type of data your carrier has been collecting about you since the minute you turned your cell phone on.  If they're collecting it in an insecure manner, which has happened, that's bad on them, and they need to fix it -- pronto. But they're not doing it on their own. They're doing it at the behest of the manufacturer and the carrier, who uses the data to determine how to make changes that get you to spend more money when they offer you the latest shiny.  If 72 percent of the people use a certain feature, you can bet your last dollar that more work goes into making that feature "better" so it's a stronger selling point.  Carrier IQ, as a company, could care less what you do with your smartphone, when you do it, or why.  All they do is make it easier for the people you give your money to each month to see why you like your phone.  I don't work for HTC or AT&T, but I'm sure easy data collection and aggregation makes for a compelling sales pitch.

CIQ isn't doing anything it's not supposed to be doing, unless there's a software bug in play.  The software was purposefully placed there in order to track what you're doing in real time.  Apparently, it works pretty well.  Some may argue that it's a rootkit, or a flaw of some sort, but to the people using the product -- again, the carrier and manufacturer -- it's a feature, one that they pay money to include.  Remember, you are not HTC's (or Samsung, or LG, or RIM, etc.) customer -- companies like Verizon and Sprint are, and all parties find the data that's collected pretty damn useful, so they aren't likely to stop collecting it.

It could be argued that you don't have a choice in the matter. You bought the phone. And while there might be (and usually is -- see the picture above from a CIQ enabled HTC phone) some vague reference to the phone collecting data about how you use it, you likely skipped over that section, and it's not all that up-front about what's being collected or how it's being done. But on the other hand, that's probably true about 90 percent of what your phone's doing at any given time.  It works exactly how it's supposed to work.  Getting mad about it after the fact isn't very productive, and isn't going to solve the problem any time soon.

Vote with your wallet.  You have the option to say no to this sort of data collection software, and that's done by not buying phones that use it.  Every major carrier in the world now carries one of those.

Yes, I think Carrier IQ is a bad thing, done by unscrupulous people so they have more pennies to count.  But all the hate towards the company that writes and sells the software is misguided.  They are only filling a need, and if they stop someone else will step up to replace them.  Enough words have been written about it, yet the solution for Android fans only needs three:

Buy a Nexus.

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2 years ago

More details about the Motorola Xoom's pending update emerge

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If you recall, we told you a few days ago about a new soak-test for the Motorola Xoom, and today new details about what is being updated have come forth.  To start with, it's not Ice Cream Sandwich, and no amount of wishing will likely change that one.  The Verizon LTE model is getting an update that should appear "invisible" to the end user, and it simply provides improved support for pay-as-you-go customers on Verizon.  Users participating in the test have received an e-mail explaining how to go about providing feedback:

Hi again.

Thanks very much for signing up to give feedback about your Motorola Xoom on Verizon. You will be testing final software for your LTE Xoom. Despite the wild rumors about ICS, this is a very limited update providing improved support for pay-as-you-go customers on Verizon. It should be essentially "invisible" in terms of device operation.

Because of this, we will be looking for feedback on two primary questions:

  • Did you update successfully?
  • If yes, did the update alter your device in any unexpected way?


We feel this software is safe and ready, but your input will provide the data we need to make a go/no-go decision. Here are key points to know:

  • I will send out another email with a survey where you can provide your answers to these two questions.
  • It will come within a few hours of when the software begins to be pushed to your phones.
  • That push is expected around mid-day tomorrow.
  • Please do not post comments on public sites about this update; instead provide your input through the survey I will provide.
  • Please do respond to the survey by Friday morning. We expect to make our decision to release this update later that day

Do not send emails to this account or PM me unless I ask you to do so. General questions sent to either place will go unanswered -- put your questions and comments in the survey please.

Thanks again for your confidentiality and participation. Your help with updates like this certainly counts in your favor when other test opportunities arise.

Regards,

- Matt
  Motorola Owners' Forums
  Motorola Feedback Network

If you're using your Xoom 4G on a month to month basis, this one's for you.  For everyone else, it's important to make sure it doesn't break anything.  We still expect ICS on the Xoom in short order, just not this time around.

Thanks, Anon!

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2 years ago

Time Warner Cable app for Honeycomb tablets now available in the Android Market

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Time Warner Cable has announced that its TWC app for Honeycomb tablets is now available in the Android Market.  Compatible with any set-top box or DVR running the Time Warner "Navigator" program guide, the app doesn't allow live streaming of television shows but it has some pretty cool features.  You can see seven days of TV listings, control and program your DVR through the app, search TV listings by title or episode name, and even use your tablet as a remote control for supported cable boxes and DVR's. 

TWC says the app has been "certified" to run as intended on the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but should work just fine with any tablet running Android 3.1 or higher.  It's free in the Market, and you can find the download link after the break.

Source: TW Cable untangled, via BusinessWire

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