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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

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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2 years ago

The Kindle Fire shows off some early CyanogenMod7 love

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Let's start off with this -- no it's not ready, and no we don't know when it will be. Now that we got that out of the way, XDA forums member JackpotCalvin has gotten a build of CM7 to boot on the Kindle Fire. While it is still an early build, and the image rotation is off, the developer says he knows how to do some fixes to get it more polished, and we can hope for a build we can play with in the coming weeks. This is definitely a good sign for those hoping to hack up their Kindle Fire!

Source: XDA; Thanks, Ali!

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2 years ago

ASUS Transformer Prime user manual, kernel, drivers now available

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You can't buy it just yet, but ASUS has gone ahead and released the user manual, kernel source, drivers and other software related to its upcoming Transformer Prime Android tablet. You're not going to find much you haven't already read in our Transformer Prime preview -- you're looking at a 10.1-inch tablet running the new quad-core Tegra 3 system on-a-chip. The Transformer Prime is still set to launch sometime in early December, with an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich to follow soon after.

Source: ASUS; thanks, @tomtsp, for the tip!

Transformer Prime Forums | Transformer Prime Specs | More on NVIDIA's Tegra 3

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2 years ago

ARM announces free Community Edition of ARM Development Studio 5 [programming]

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There's more than one way to write Android apps, and if you're working on something intense, you know using the NDK and native code is the way to go.  If you're a part-time developer or anyone not part of a big mobile development house, you also know that some of the native development and debugging tools aren't cheap.  ARM has you covered by releasing the "Community Edition" of their DS-5 tool suite, and the great price of free.  It's distributed as an Eclipse plug-in, and an easy install will give you access to a C, C++, and Assembly graphical debugger, a software performance profiler and system analyzer, and more tools to help your development of native ARM code.

For those of us who aren't programmers, using native ARM code has some serious advantages.  It's up to 400 percent faster than code ran through the Dalvik virtual machine, makes for truly portable code (even between platforms), and because most Android phones and tablets run ARM processors developers can take advantage of platform specific instructions for apps that run better and use less resources (like battery power!).  ARM's new development suite offers app devs tools for native development built right into the same IDE they use for Java based code -- Eclipse.  Not having to learn new software while also debugging insanely complicated source code means the devs can better focus on their work.  All around it's a good thing.

Whether you're a developer with a need, or just a curious bystander who wants to learn more, hit the source links to find out all about it.

Source: BusinessWire; More: ARM

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2 years ago

Motorola prepping another 'project,' this time for the Xoom

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Looks like Motorola has another one of its "projects" in the works (the Droid Bionic is in the middle of one), and this time the Xoom tablet is the intended target. The following e-mail's making the rounds:

Hi,

Thanks for joining the Motorola Feedback Network. We are preparing a project for owners of the Motorola Xoom on Verizon, and would like to invite you to participate. Click this link to take a short enrollment survey for this project. Please note that you must be a member in good standing of the Motorola Owners' Forums to take part.

This is a confidential project under the terms of the Motorola Feedback Network. Do not post any details or information about this project on any public sites.
Thanks -- please understand that project start times are always fluid. We ask for your patience if you register but don't hear from us right away.

- Matt
Motorola Owners' Forums
Motorola Feedback Network

We can only hope that this is Ice Cream Sandwich in the works, and not yet another maintenance update. Stay tuned.

Thanks, anon!

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2 years ago

ASUS Transformer Prime available for pre-order at Best Buy

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As certain as we are that a lot of folks are out there taking advantage of all the sales happening right now on tablets for holidays -- we're also certain some will be keeping their money in their pockets just a little bit longer to hold out for the ASUS Transformer Prime.

The Tegra 3 powered tablet we recently saw running Ice Cream Sandwich has been hanging out on Amazon for pre-order already but Best Buy has joined the party as well. You can pre-order the upcoming tablet on the Best Buy website for $500 coming in either gray or champagne color. No date is listed for shipment but December isn't a stretch by any means plus, there has been plenty of rumors already calling for December 9th as a specific date for release.

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2 years ago

Holiday gift guide: What to get your favorite Android geek

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It's that time of year again. The time of year where you spend all of your spare time and most of your spare money shopping for holiday gifts.  Shopping is never easy, but for that special Android nerd in your life it can be especially difficult trying to find something to occupy their minds and hands so they can tinker and try to blow things up.  That's where I can help -- I'm a total nerd (and proud of it) and I happen to spend a lot of time on the 'net making a wish list for that day I finally hit the Powerball.  Hit the break and see our gift recommendations for an Android geek, from an Android geek.

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