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3 years ago

A look at Android's 'Test Market' -- complete with a new Music app

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The folks over at Tech from 10 have ran into an interesting scenario -- it seems that somehow they have received a test or pre-release version of the Android Market.  It just appeared, and they even tried to remove it.  Since that wasn't happening, they decided to take a look at it and found some major changes.  They found a few differences in the interface, but the two things that stand out are some apps marked as test or beta, and a new section for content rating.  The content ratings are something we first heard about way back in Nov. '10, so they've been a long time coming, but certainly will be a welcome addition.

Among the test and assorted oddities in this market is a version of the Music app marked version 3.0 (.zip install files).  It looks and acts like the Honeycomb Music app on the Xoom (or the last leaked version), just shrunk for the smaller screen and built with settings for the Google Music cloud.  Other cool finds were test apps from Sony, and a few apps from Google --  Gallery 3D, Camera v12,  and Desk Clock 10.  None of these would launch after installed though. 

We're not exactly sure if this is all a preview of whats to come, or just a test bed, but it's an interesting look at what goes on behind the scenes in Google's proprietary apps.  Hit the source link for more, as well as a slew of pictures.  [Tech from 10] Thanks, Tim!

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3 years ago

Sprint beta testing Google Voice integration

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Sprint and Google have already teased us about Google Voice integration on Android phones, and they were serious.  We're getting numerous reports that the beta program has started, and a little bit of information comes with them.  You'll have two options -- use your existing Sprint number to replace your Google Voice number, or use your Google Voice number to replace your Sprint number.  The first option sounds very much like a carrier-supported version of porting your cell number to Google Voice, while the second option should provide the benefit of using Android's native (or a third party) SMS/MMS client.  Both sound awful useful to me, and I can think of use case scenarios for each. 

The drawback to enrolling in this testing is the lack of customer support.  Instead of calling customer service, you'll be at the mercy of support via a Google Group.  I guess that beats Google's python script help center, though.  And to answer your next question -- no, there's no place to sign up, it looks like Sprint is cherry picking testers from their user base. 

I expect we'll see this open to the public sooner rather than later, but right now I'm more curious about where this one is heading, and Sprint's new relationship with Google.  Things could get very interesting here.  The full text of the email testers are receiving is after the break.  Thanks, Dave and riggsAndroid!

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3 years ago

ESPN text alerts shut out of Sprint network [Update: Or did ESPN shut out Sprint?]

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This isn't, strictly speaking, just an Android issue. But enough of you Android peeps have pinged us over ESPN's text alert service no longer working on Sprint's network that we'll make an exception. It seems you're getting a text message that declares:

Alerts Unavailable
Dear Sprint / Boost / Nextel / Virgin Mobile subscribers,
ESPN Alerts are no longer available from your carrier. We apologize for the
inconvenience, however, our service is available across most other US
Carriers.

And that sucks. Because ESPN's also announcing this on its text alert sign-up page, We're willing to bet it's a money thing (when is it not?) and that it has nothing to do with your using an Android phone. (Which makes you a pretty awesome person.) And unfortunately it means Boost, Virgin and Nextel are caught in the crossfire. Let's hope they get this worked out soonest. But in the meantime, you could give a full-fleged ESPN app a shot. [ESPN] Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

Update: And just like that, we get a tip about what's really going on. Here 'tis:

It's not a "money thing" in the traditional sense. They didn't give us a real clear picture of what's going on, but ESPN offers these messages free of charge to ESPN.com members, and Sprint is going to start charging their customers for each individual text message, regardless of having an unlimited messaging package. ESPN really isn't going to put up with it being "free," yet not free.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App - GoodNews Google Reader

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I'll admit, coming from mostly a BlackBerry background I struggled when hopping onto Android in finding some apps that fit my needs. Not due to lack of apps, but mostly due to the fact there were so many to choose from. RSS readers, for example, was one genre in particular that stuck out as having plenty of options, but none that seemingly fulfilled my needs.

Luckily, I came across GoodNews Google Reader, which fit nicely into what I was looking for. Given that I maintain a lot of RSS feeds, GoodNews handles them and the sharing aspect of RSS feeds quite nicely. The ability to listen to and play podcasts from with the app itself was an added bonus. While in beta the app did have some rough edges but for the most part they are now a thing of the past. Jump on past the break for a full list of features built into the app.

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3 years ago

Body Glove Snap-On Case for the HTC Thunderbolt review

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If you need a sturdy hard-shell case for your HTC Thunderbolt, the Body Glove Snap-On Case might be just the ticket.  It's a two-piece case, with a rubberized outer shell over a hard plastic protective case, that wraps around all four corners.  You have the option of using the included belt clip, or switching out the removable knob for the flush insert for pocketability.  The belt clip also doubles as a sturdy, adjustable vertical kickstand.

The case itself goes on easily, and once it is on you'll need a flat screwdriver or a coin to remove the interlocking pieces.  Just place either in the slot on the lower right, and twist.  This one's not coming apart on its own.  Make no mistake -- this case adds in a bit of bulk, but it's providing a lot of protection, too.  The case lip keeps the screen off the surface if it's laying face down, and is plenty thick enough to protect the camera lens cover when placed on its back.  The cut-outs for the ports and controls are well placed, and they are all easy to use while the case is on, and ample space is provided for all the noise cancelling microphones.  Of course, the kickstand is cut-out, too.

If you're looking for a sturdy case that gives the maximum protection from bumps and dings, and want or need a non-slip texture, you can grab the Body Glove Snap-On Case for the Thunderbolt for $27.95 from the Android Central store.  Hit the break for more pics.

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3 years ago

Verizon-branded Samsung Gem pictures surface

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We first saw pics of a Verizon-branded Samsung Gem (OK, of a dummy unit) back in February, but today new pictures, including what looks like retail packaging, have surfaced.  Alltel, U.S. Cellular, and Bluegrass Cellular already offer the Gem, which is a mid-range device sporting a 3.2-inch WQVGA display, an 800 MHz CPU and Android 2.2, so this one isn't an exclusive.  The good news is that we're pretty sure it won't be Binged, and for those interested it should be available soon from Big Red.  When and if Verizon has anything official to say, we'll let you know.  [Chris Ziegler]

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3 years ago

Anticipation for the EVO 3D, Thunderbolt apps that are safe to remove once rooted [from the forums]

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Back from the weekend, hope you all had a good one. This week is already shaping up to be a busy one from looking at the posts from today. People suing each other, new devices hitting carriers and so much more. In any event, we're here to bring it all to you so if you feel like chatting it up a little bit more than the comments can provide, hop on into the forums.

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

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3 years ago

HTC Incredible S now available at Virgin Mobile Canada

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We've been waiting to see when, exactly this would go live on their site and now it has finally. Yes, the HTC Incredible S is now available from Virgin Mobile Canada on-line and in most of their retail outlets. The Android 2.2 rocking HTC Incredible S will set you back $499 with no contract attached to it and if you're looking to get on your Virgin Super Tab it'll ring in at $99.99. Not bad for a new device destined to be upgraded to Android 2.3 in the near future as long as you're not in a specs race. Check out our previous hands-on with the device to get a better look at it. [Virgin Mobile]

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3 years ago

WWE 'Tough Enough' returns tonight, brings Android, iOS apps to the ring

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The WWE's "Tough Enough" wrestling reality show returns to the USA Network tonight at 11:05 p.m. EST -- right after Wrestlemania XXVII and "Raw" -- and along with it comes a brand new Android application. It's designed to be used while you watch the show, with check-in features that allow you to compete against your friends, plus hidden features that will be unlocked during the show. You'll also earn points that can be redeemed through USA's Tough Club program, chat with your friends and other "Tough Enough" fans during the program.

Android and the WWE. Nice. Look for the app to go live this evening. We've got more screenshots after the break. [Tough Enough]

Update: And the app is now available.

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3 years ago

Android now the UK's favorite smartphone OS

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Android is already confirmed as the leading smartphone OS in Europe as a whole, and now it's stolen iOS's crown in the UK, according to a study carried out for Intelligent Environments, a British banking software provider.

The numbers show that Android's 28% of the British smartphone market now surpasses that of iOS, which has a 26% share. BlackBerry OS is left in the dust with just 14% of the market. Windows Phone 7's share wasn't even mentioned. Among Brits aged 25-34, Android's dominance was even greater, with a 36% share of smartphone users in this age group.

This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. In addition to Android's European success, the Carphone Warehouse, a major retail player in the UK, has reported Android sales increases of over 2,000% in the past year. Android remains strong across the pond too, with a recent ComScore survey suggesting that it's just dethroned RIM as the market leader in the US. [Press Association]

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