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2 years ago

US Cellular's HTC Flyer available Oct. 7 for as low as $399

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US Celluar has announced that its HTC Flyer, a 7-inch Android tablet, will be available Oct. 7 -- that's tomorrow. You've got a couple choices on pricing. You can get it for $399.99 (after $100 mail-in rebate) if you sign up for a 5GB, $54-a-month data plan. Or you can get it for $599.99 (after the same rebate) if you opt for a 20MB, $14.99 data plan.

Full presser's after the break.

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2 years ago

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet now available for your ordering pleasure

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We have taken a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet in the past, and the forums have been building up in anticipation of its arrival, and that time appears to be now. Lenovo has made the IdeaPad A1, the little brother to the IdeaPad K1, available for order on their site starting at $199 for the 2GB model, and $249 for one with 16GB of storage. Is the $199 price tag enough to make you overlook the fact that it runs Gingerbread, or will you be passing in favor a Honeycomb tablet?

Source: Lenovo; Thanks, Dan!

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2 years ago

Amazon updates Appstore Developer Portal FAQ for Kindle Fire

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Amazon has added their developer FAQ with a section specific for the Kindle Fire, covering requirements and the submission process for those who are getting ready for Novembers big launch.  For the most part, it's a pretty standard read -- an overview of the process, the device specific requirements (they even tell developers how to set up the Android SDK emulator -- 600x1024 px display, 169 LCD density, API 10 and 512MB RAM), and content guidelines.  If you have any plans to develop and submit apps to Amazon for the Fire, you should hit the source link and have a read.

For the rest of us, let's have a look at a couple highlights from the "infamous" Amazon developer agreement's Q&A about the Fire:

Amazon will be reviewing each app in the appstore for compatibility with the Kindle Fire.  This will be done automatically, and if any issues are found during the testing, developers will be contacted with more information.  They say app approval for new apps will "generally take a week", but some apps will take longer.

The have a list of no-nos, which your application can't require (as in, need for correct operation) to run.  This list includes a gyroscope, camera, WAN module, Bluetooth, microphone, GPS, or micro-SD.  In addition, if your app uses Google's mobile services, like cloud to device messaging, they need to be removed "gracefully".  Amazon gives us an example of graceful as "an error message such as "This feature is not currently available on this device".  There's also a notice that Google's in app billing won't be supported, but they're working on their own solution.

There's also two interesting notes about content in addition to their normal guidelines.  No themes or wallpaper apps will be allowed, or any app "that manipulates the user interface of the device", and that the "Kindle Fire does not support apps that require root access".  The former, while a little surprising, makes a lot of sense -- they want Amazon content to be front and center.  The latter is a bit less clear, as there are already apps on the Amazon appstore that require root access.  These may be blocked from the Fire, or it may just be confusing wording.  We'll have to wait and see.

Here's the part where I start bitching about open -- but not this time.  Amazon makes no bones about what they are, which is a for profit business.  They don't claim to be anything else (at least not at the retail level) so I'm good with these decisions.  They can, and should, curate their user's experience any way they see fit, and a lot of people will benefit from it.  Tight control will guarantee a level of consistency that a whole lot of people want.  They should be allowed to have it.

Source: Amazon

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2 years ago

Phillips and Company launch Blue Marble -- transform your roof into a giant QR code

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PR firm Phillips & Company has unveiled Blue Marble, a new service that will allow you to mark your roof with a giant QR code, snapping an aerial picture, then integrating it into Google Maps or Google Earth.

Hot damn.

Space is not just a destination – it is a platform for applications and services. Our use of satellite imagery in day-to-day applications is proof that our ‘big blue marble’ called Earth is one global market accessible through the Internet, mobile phones and GPS devices. By using QR code technology, we are taking dynamic marketing to literally the next level – low-earth orbit. But the benefits are to any company on Earth that wants to optimize their real estate investment and build a marketing program that can take advantage of today’s mobile revolution.

Says Phillips & Company President Rich Phillips.  And he's probably right, because he knows marketing and trends.  All I know is that this is a very cool idea, and can't wait to see how it gets abused used in fun ways by companies (like Google or Apple) that have a sense of humor.  I'd do it myself, if the cost weren't so prohibitive -- it starts at $8,500, with a recurring $200 support fee.  That's providing you can keep to Blue Marble's schedule, as costs for a special event outside of said schedule is an additional $49,500.  Wowza.  Looks like my giant QR code for Jerry's tasty porch-cooked ribs and chicken will have to wait until I hit the lottery.  Hit the break for the full press release.

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2 years ago

Sony to buy out Ericsson in their mobile division, says WSJ

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According to the Wall Street Journal and sources "familiar with the matter", Sony Corp is near finalizing a deal that will buy out Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson's holdings in the mobile division.  This would make Sony the sole owner of Sony Ericsson, the world's sixth-largest cell phone manufacturer, and set them up for a future in the mobile industry.

"Sony aims to integrate its smartphone operation with its businesses in tablets, hand-held game machines, and personal computers to save on costs and better synchronize development of mobile devices" says the WSJ's source, and that sounds like a very solid strategy.  The new Sony tablets have been well received by the media, and Sony is a name everyone recognizes.  We can only hope their penchant for DRM and control doesn't nullify the strides Sony Ericsson has taken in respect to open-hardware and community developer support should the buyout happen as planned.

Source: Wall Street Journal (paid content)

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2 years ago

A $99 HTC Flyer at Best Buy? Maybe not

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Update: Here's the official word from Best Buy.

"It was a momentary pricing error. The correct price is $299.99."

We've got word into Best Buy corporate to help clear things up, but we're willing to bet this is what happened. AC reader @boomstickah points us to this shot snapped by @nutzareus of a correction notice at his Best Buy store, saying the Best Buy website incorrectly listed the HTC Flyer at $99. That makes a little more sense, no?

Source: @nutzareus via @boomstickah

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2 years ago

Amazon working on in-app purchasing for the Kindle Fire

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Amazon's had quite the learning curve over the past 10 months, first with the Amazon Appstore (remember when AT&T phones couldn't use it?), and now it's taking another giant leap forward with the Kindle Fire tablet. We already know it won't have the Android Market on board. That makes sense. But what about in-app purchases? That's one of the more important features Google rolled out this year.

Never fear, as Amazon's working on it and indeed is planning on allowing in-app purchases. With the "Amazon Appstore for Android In-App Purchasing Beta Request Form," developers can sign up for the in-app purchasing beta SDK. It's invite-only, for now, and you have to answer a few questions, including:

  • Name and e-mail (natch), plus a company name.
  • Whether you're a current member of the Amazon Appstore Developer Program. And if so, how many apps you've submitted.
  • Whether you've used Google Checkout, PayPal, iOS or some other form of in-app billing.
  • The current number of apps you have that include in-app billing.
  • The kinds of in-app content you currently offer.
  • What kinds of apps you develop.
  • What kinds of devices you offer. (Interestingly, there are three choices -- handsets, tablets and Kindle Fire. That shows how Amazon's treating its product, no?)

Point is this: We're pretty sure Amazon has Google's attention now with the Kindle Fire. (Not that it didn't before, but still.) And it really presents an interesting conundrum. On one had, Amazon's doing exactly what Google wants to be done with Android -- using it as an embedded OS. On the other hand, it's quite the end run around the established Android ecosystem. And maybe that's just the -- ahem -- fire Google needs to have lit under it.

Source: Amazon; More: Kindle Fire Forums

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2 years ago

Best Buy slashes the HTC Flyer pricing again, now just $99

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Update: Yeah, not so much.

Earlier this week we saw the price of the HTC Flyer (read our review) get dropped from $499 down to $299 at Best Buy -- a pretty sweet deal. But they have one upped themselves, dropping the price yet again, after only 5 days, to just $99. No, you are not dreaming, I just said $99. Insanity. So, if you have been looking for a great Android tablet that didn't break your bank, act quick. Odds are this deal will sell these puppies out pretty quickly.

Source: Best Buy

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2 years ago

Android 101: How to set your e-mail signature

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2 years ago

Google Docs updated for Android tablets

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Google Docs just got itself a nice little update. The big one for us is that it's now optimized for tablets -- and that makes a big difference for how much time we're willing to spend looking at a spreadsheet on a smaller screen. Here's the full changelog:

  • Optimized experience for tablet users, Honeycomb (Android 3.0+)
  • New 3-panel interface for improved browsing
  • Details panel showing a thumbnail and sharing information
  • Improved sharing experience with autocomplete system
  • Landscape or portrait mode
  • Improved video playback

Snag it in the market, or with the links after the break.

Source: Google Docs blog; Thanks, @RickBosch, for the tip!

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