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2 years ago

Mobile Nations 12: 2011 mobile gift guide

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Kevin, Phil, Derek, Dan, and Rene discuss the future of phone fashion, how to pick a tablet for the holidays, and what happens when all phones are smart. Plus, our holiday gift guide! This is Mobile Nations!

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2 years ago

Video hands-on with Cluzee: Not quite a Siri competitor

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

There are a few things a voice-recognition app needs to do well to be successful -- and must do extremely well if it wants to call itself a competitor to Apple's Siri.

  1. It needs to be easilly accessible, and launch quickly. Very quickly.
  2. It needs to actually understand what you're saying.
  3. It needs to return results quickly.

As we continue to find out, this is easier said than done. The latest victim candidate is Cluzee, which bills itself as "Your Intelligent Personal Assisant" -- and which despite some initial glowing press doesn't really stand up to simple testing.

Let's start with Point 1: You need to be able to launch a voice app like this quickly. The iPhone 4S has a leg up by allowing you to long-press the home button to launch Siri at any time. Simple, quick. With Cluzee, you need a home screen shortcut, which means having to wake and unlock the phone first. If the app's not yet in memory, it takes several seconds to launch -- an eternity for this sort of thing. It really has to be faster. (And it is, so long as Cluzee remains loaded.)

On to Point 2: Cluzee understood our tests some of the time, but not all of the time. And even in our abbreviated use, it seemed to struggle more than it should. That ties into Point 3: Returning results for local pizza locations took so long we thought the app had hung on us (force closes are not uncommon at this point). And opening applications through Cluzee took too many steps. (Us: "Open Google Maps." Cluzee: "Which application do you want me to open?" Grrrrrr.)

That's not to say Cluzee doesn't have potential -- it most certainly does, and it does a decent job at personifying itself, using the pronouns you'd expect from something like this. But let's not go calling it a Siri competitor just yet. If you want to give it a shot, we've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Motorola Milestone 2 Gingerbread update starts tomorrow

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Back in August, we got word that the Milestone 2 would receive the Gingerbread update sometime in Q4. Motorola has now announced that the update will start tomorrow, November 30th and will roll out in stages. If your phone is not the first to receive it, just be patient and it will come.

This has to make owners of the second iteration of the Milestone, the international version of the Droid, very happy. Motorola Europe made the announcement on their Facebook page and said more info will be coming from there, so if you have any questions, hit the soure link.

Source: Facebook

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2 years ago

3DMark benchmarking app coming to Android

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Finnish developer Futuremark has announced that its 3DMark benchmarking software will be headed to Android phones and tablets in 2012. 3DMark has long been an important benchmarking suite for PC gamers, and as Android devices become more powerful, it should come as no surprise to see benchmark-makers attempting to get a piece of the action.

With development just now starting to ramp up, Futuremark is inviting Android device manufacturers to join its "Benchmark Development Program" in order to ensure their products are fully supported when the app eventually hits next year.

The developer's planning to implement CPU, GPU and physics processing tests in 3DMark for Android, along with online rankings, just like its current Windows offerings. Interestingly, scores generated by the Android app are also said to be "comparable" with those from the next Windows version of 3DMark, presumably giving users a way to directly compare performance between devices across the two platforms.

Clearly it's still early days, but it should be interesting to see what Futuremark comes up with over the next year. If nothing else, 3DMark on Windows has always offered a generous helping of eye candy.

Today's press release can be found in full after the jump.

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2 years ago

Victoria's Secret Android app now available

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Attention women, husbands, boyfriends and anyone who just needs to feel pretty from time to time: The Victoria's Secret app has slinked into the Android Market. The app itself isn't all that well done -- it's more of a mobile portal than something that feels like a true native app, and it requires too many taps before you get to the merchandise -- but it does give you a way to shop from your phone. You also get video previews for such things as the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (that's on TV tonight, by the way), a look at some of the VS supermodels, a store locater and barcode scanner.

We've got screenshots (you're welcome) and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Motorola's MOTOACTV available Dec. 1 in the UK

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Motorola this morning announced that its MOTOACTV exercise/music accessory (read our full review) will be available in the UK starting Dec. 1. Available for £249.99 (suggested retail), you get the SF200 sports wired headset, wrist strap, clip and USB charging and sync cable. Another £39.99 gets you an arm band, bike mount and wall charger. You'll be able to get the MOTOACTV at Sweatshop stores (apparently that means something different than here in the U.S.) and at sweatshop.co.uk.

Source: Motorola

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2 years ago

Galaxy Nexus volume bug gets unofficial fix

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While we wait for Google's promised Galaxy Nexus volume bug patch to arrive over-the-air, Paul O'Brien from MoDaCo already has an unofficial (or at least semi-official) fix ready to download today. The MoDaCo volume bug fix takes the form of a new boot image file (apparently sourced from a test version of the official fix) which you can flash across, assuming you've unlocked your bootloader. If you don't know what any of that means, you're probably better off waiting for the official update to arrive over-the-air -- it shouldn't be too much longer now.

But if you're a reasonably technical individual who's also been frustrated by the infamous glitch, then head over to the source link and enjoy your newfound ability to use data and calls over 2G without any nasty side effects.

Source: MoDaCo

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2 years ago

The Sprint Epic 4G Touch possibly has a fix on the way soon for loss of signal and other bugs

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The Sprint Epic 4G Touch has been plagued by a known issue for quite a while now.  Not everyone experiences it, but enough do to make it a serious concern for many people, including the folks at Samsung.  We're talking about the "LoS" (Loss of Signal) bug -- it mostly happens in areas with spotty coverage and affects both 3G and 4G networks.  It's fairly simple to recover, just reboot your phone, but that's clearly not the correct way to go about resolving it.  Thankfully, it looks like Samsung and Sprint have a fix in testing to address this, as well as some other minor annoyances that come with every new smartphone.

Epic 4G Touch user kingsway8605 says he currently has the testing patch from Samsung, and he received it after a conversation with a developer who responded to his cries for support.  Supposedly the explanation for the bug itself is as follows:

It is isolated to areas with spotty coverage, which is why some don't experience it at all. If you are in 4G and leave 4G coverage, or in 3G coverage and leave 3G coverage, and in the process of sending packets, there is apparently a bug where the phone does not detect this and would just give up after it could no longer talk to the old tower.

This makes sense from an engineering perspective, and if the fellows at Samsung are right this patch should address it.  The new OTA is Android 2.3.6, with a baseband of SPD710.10.S.EK02, and a build number of GINGERBREAD.EK02.  According to kingsway8605, if this passes initial testing we should see it in December.  Developers are already exploring ways to help retrieve the OTA files from the cache partition, so maybe we won't have to wait.

Source: XDA-Developers; via Android Central forumsThanks, Anthony!

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2 years ago

Multiple app markets crossing streams, causing problems for some

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Now this is interesting. Seems that some of you who have purchased apps from the Amazon Appstore are starting to see conflicts with the Android Market. A couple scenarios appear to be playing out. In some instances, the Android Market sees an app that was purchased from the Amazon Appstore, knows an updated version is available, but then fails on updating because the app wasn't actually purchased from the Android Market.  While we're not exactly sure what's going on, it may be an issue where some developers use the same signing key for applications in both the Android Market and other app stores.  This could cause your phone or tablet to see the applications as identical.  That's just a hunch, and chances are Google has a better grasp of the situation than we do.

Reversing things, as TWiT's Jason Howell points out, the Amazon Appstore can see that you have an app installed and offer to unassociate it from that other market so that you can get updates and such through its services instead. How handy. But it also smells of someone standing next to your car in a parking lot, pointing out a dent you know wasn't there when you left your car, and then recommending a friend who can fix it on the cheap. There's just something offputting about it.

This could end up being an interesting push and pull, but we've got a feeling Google's got the upper hand here, being able to more easily and quickly tweak code to keep things in line. And as violent23 points out in our forums, Google's already aware of this and is on the case. Should be interesting to see how it all works out.

Source: Android Forums; More: +Jason Howell

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2 years ago

Chances are you won't be this cool with your Galaxy Nexus

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Still. Google+ Hangouts with up to nine other people on a Galaxy Nexus are pretty damn sweet. But you still can't (yet) start a hangout from a phone, right?

Source: +Android

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