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2 years ago

Sony announces Wifi-only Xperia Z Ultra for Japan

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Price set at $495 for launch Jan. 24; availability in other regions not yet confirmed

Following a string of rumors, Sony has announced a Wifi-only version of its 6.4-inch behemoth Xperia Z Ultra for Japan. Released as a nearly identical version of a phone which really felt more like a tablet in the first place, the Wifi-only model packs the same internals, screen and build as its mobile data-enabled counterpart. That means a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 1080p display, 32GB of storage and an 8MP camera.

Even down to the color options — you have black, white and purple — this looks to be the same big 'ol slab of Sony that we know from before. It's funny to see a device that was marketed as a purpose-built phone now simply called a "tablet" in marketing materials with no change in screen size, but we're inclined to think the Xperia Z Ultra is better suited as a tablet device.

Sony Japan pegs the price of the Wifi-only model at ¥51800, or about $495 USD, with availability online from the Sony store on January 24th. There's no direct indication of availability in other countries, unfortunately, but we wouldn't be surprised if Sony brings this Wifi-only model to more areas considering it doesn't need to be wrangled by the carriers.

Source: Sony Japan; (2)

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2 years ago

CyanogenMod uses incremental OTAs to fix bugs, but they still take time to prepare

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Going 'official' means complying with official certification processes, too

Using a recent bug on the Oppo N1 as an example, CyanogenMod gave an interesting look into the process of making and pushing out an OTA to devices now that it is a Google-certified software vendor. Although it has a good history of managing updates — including complete nightly software builds — for multiple devices, things change a little bit when you go "official."

Those who have installed CyanogenMod through the official installer or have a CM edition Oppo N1 can benefit from what are called "incremental OTAs," or small patches that can fix just a specific part of the system without touching anything else. In the case of a recent bug involving the O-Click accessory for the N1, the fix was small and could really benefit from the use of an incremental update — but added layers of testing required to push an OTA to devices slows down the process.

In a nice bit of transparency, CM explains that once the engineers believe they have solved a software issue, the update is packaged up and sent off to CM's QA (quality assurance) team. QA is responsible for making sure the new software fixes the problem as intended but also doesn't mess up anything else in the process. The QA team finishes up their testing, and then it's onward to CTS — this is the test suite Google uses to certify that the new software is still compatible with Android devices, features and apps. Each run of CTS takes about eight hours to complete, and must be 100 passed in order to be certified — one single hiccup, and you're back to the start.

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2 years ago

Dropbox update fixes Camera Upload issues

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A short but sweet change log wraps up today's update

Dropbox got updated today, with one very small, but very irritating bug being fixed — the broken camera auto-upload. Previously, users on Android 4.4.2 were forced to open the app and manually upload their pictures, as background uploading was not working as intended. In addition, now you can choose to upload only pictures to your Dropbox, and eave the videos on your phone to take care of later.

While this bug affected very few devices, we're glad to see such a timely fix. Go grab it.

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2 years ago

Moto Migrate app now imports your data from iCloud

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Motorola just made it easier to switch from an iPhone 

Back in October we saw iCloud-to-Google data transfer hit the Moto Maker process, and today Motorola has added it to the stand-alone Moto Migrate app.

Using the app, you can easily transfer data from your old iPhone to your new Moto X, Moto G, Droid Maxx, Droid Ultra or Droid Mini. The process looks pretty straightforward — simply supply the necessary credentials, and the app lets you know how long the heavy lifting will take. While the data transfer from another Android device will include photos, videos, text history, call history and SIM contacts, the transfer from iCloud only includes contacts and calendar events.

We're not sure there are a rush of people switching from an iPhone to a new Motorola model, but for those that do it just got a little easier.

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2 years ago

Moto X wood-finish backs now available on Moto Maker site

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Ebony, teak and walnut join bamboo to round out the 'natural' back choices at Moto Maker

There were some rumors going around this morning that the wood-finish backs for the Moto X — scheduled to make their appearance today — would be delayed. We're happy to say that's not the case and the four wood choices are now available at the Moto Maker site.

The wood will cost you a $25 premium over the normal $424 (16GB) and $475 (32GB) price, but we've gotta say that in this case, it would be $25 well spent. Derek just ordered his (in teak) and delivery is expected on January 24 — this Friday.

For renders, and to just play around if you're not ordering, hit the link below and check things out. If you do pick up one of these beauties, be sure to send us a picture!

Source: Moto Maker

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2 years ago

Nexus cases are 25% off from Google Play for a limited time

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Grab some protection for your tablet or phone at a discount

Google Play is running a promotion to offer 25 percent off select Nexus 5 and 7 accessories for a limited time. While you won't see the full range of accessories like chargers and headphones, you can get your hands on the three latest Nexus 7 cases — Sleeve, Folio and Case — as well as the Nexus 5 Bumper Case and QuickCover case for a reduced price.

The promotion is automatically applied and is reflected in the price shown on the product pages. You can grab the promotion from the link below, and if you need help making up your mind on any of these accessories, be sure to check out our reviews:

25% Off the Right Accessories for Your Device on Google Play

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2 years ago

What we're playing: Our favorite Nexus 7 games

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See what your AC editors are playing on their Nexus 7 tablets when they should be working

I'm not going to lie. A job that involves playing great games on an equally great tablet like the Nexus 7 is amazeballs. We look through and evaluate hundreds of new apps each month, and plenty of them are games. Then we get choosy, and make sure you know about the best ones. It's a responsibility we take seriously, but it's also pretty fun. 

Of course, it also means we each have our favorites. You'll see games here that we may have already talked about a little, but they are the ones we love to play and keep going back to. We wanted to share the list with you guys and gals. Jump through the break and have a look, then tell us your top games in the comments!

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2 years ago

Kyocera Hydro Plus headed to Cricket today for $139 off-contract

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Low internal specs, but at least you can drop it in the sink and not worry

If there's one thing Kyocera is known for, it's releasing inexpensive waterproof devices for carriers. Building on its relatively successful "Hydro" line, the Kyocera Hydro Plus is headed to Cricket today for just $139 — and that's without a contract. This 3.5-inch (320 x 480) device is rated for 30 minutes of exposure in three feet of water, but given the price you can't expect much on the internal spec sheet.

We're looking at a 1GHz processor, a 3.2MP camera, 2GB of storage (with a 4GB SDcard in the box), 512MB of RAM and a 1500mAh battery. Thats all running Android 4.0 with little customization from Kyocera or Cricket aside from the Muve Music service and a few pre-installed apps. You'll also be sticking to just 3G on this handset — this price point just doesn't support the inclusion of an LTE radio.

If you know someone on Cricket looking for an extremely cheap device that'll get the job done for basic tasks and is also waterproof, this may be one of the few choices.

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the Moto G Grip Shell

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It's a Moto G replacement shell — with more grip — in an array of bright colors.​

Motorola's Moto G (be sure to read our full review) brings a (relatively) low-cost phone while keeping the ability to customize. And one of those ways is with the Grip Shell. It's in the same vein as the $14.99 replacement shells and ads in a bumper-like edging around the phone. 

It's a simple enough proposition, and easy to swap on and off. (Just be sure to remove the stock shell before trying to put this one on.) Slide the top end of the phone into the shell, work your way around the rubber edging, and you're good to go. It might take a little prying, but nothing unexpected. As you'd expect with a name like Grip Shell, you get a fair amount of grip added to the phone — not a bad thing in the case of the Moto G, whose matte shells could get a bit slick. There are cutouts for the microphone holes, 3.5mm headphone jack, camera and speakers. The power and volume buttons are covered by the rubber bumper but work flawlessly.

And the Grip shells are nicely two-toned. You know, for kids. They're available in the four colors seen here — chalk, royal blue, lemon lime and cherry — or in the always classic all black.

We've got some more pics after the break. You can buy the Moto G Grip Shell directly from Motorola for $14.99.

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2 years ago

Manual install method has Samsung Galaxy Gear working with Nexus 5

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A little hackery gets most Gear functions working with Google's latest smartphone

One of the major barriers to Galaxy Gear ownership is the watch's lack of support for non-Samsung smartphones. But now it seems it's possible to get most of the Gear's functions working in conjunction with the Nexus 5, possibly opening the door to it working — unofficially, of course — with additional third-party Android devices.

Smartwatch Fans has details of a manual install method first discovered on the XDA forums that gets the Gear Manager app and a slew of other APKs loaded onto the Nexus 5. It's a long-winded process involving pulling files out of the Gear Manager APK and installing them manually — but it eventually gets the Gear up and running with the N5, with everything except S Voice and Weather working properly.

While the process seems to work with the Nexus 5 on Android 4.4.2, we didn't have any luck repeating it on the Moto X or Sony Xperia Z1, so your mileage may vary. And of course there's no guarantee this loophole won't be closed in a future Gear update.

If you're still interested in fooling around with the Galaxy Gear on unsupported devices, hit up the source link to get started.

More: Smartwatch Fans

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2 years ago

Fill your whole house with Beats Music on Sonos

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A quick heads up for any Sonos owners that might have taken an interest in the brand new Beats Music service; you'll be able to fill your whole house with as much of it as you can handle. Sonos already offers support for most of the leading music services out there, so we didn't for one minute expect Beats Music to be left out. Beats Music should be showing up in your Sonos Controller app – link up top if you need it – if not now, then very soon alongside the other supported services. 

That's about all there is to it. If you're in the U.S,  a Sonos owner and also curious about the new Beats Music service, sign up, turn it up to 11 and have at it. 

Source: Sonos

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2 years ago

Carphone Warehouse matching Google pricing on 16GB Nexus 5

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Grab a High Street bought Nexus 5 for just £298

A quick heads up for anyone in the UK thinking about picking up a Nexus 5 any time soon; Carphone Warehouse is currently matching Google pricing. OK, so it's only on the 16GB version, but for £298 – actually a whole £1 less than Google! – you'll be able to get one with free shipping or to collect in your local store. 

There's bound to be some killer new devices headed our way in the next couple of months, but the Nexus 5 not only represents the best way to stay on the bleeding edge of Android software, but also one of the best value-for-money smartphones you can get your hands on right now. If this is the one for you, drop by the source link below for more. 

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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2 years ago

Watch how this firefighter is doing awesome work with Google Glass

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Google's latest addition to its Explorer Story's is this, the tale of firefighter Patrick Jackson from North Carolina. Patrick is also a Google Glass Explorer, and he's taken to developing for it, with an eye to helping out his fellow firefighters out in the field. 

Check it out. It's a long way from becoming a widespread reality, but as far as uses for Glass goes, this has to rank as one of the most awesome. 

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2 years ago

Huawei introduces the MediaPad 7 Youth2, another average looking Android tablet

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Pretty average it may be, but it does come in gold

Huawei has introduced its latest Android tablet, the awkwardly named MediaPad 7 Youth2. And, while it does come in everyone's new favorite color, gold, it's a distinctly average looking tablet.

Despite the name, there isn't anything obviously youth-oriented about the tablet. It packs a mediocre sounding 1024x600 resolution display over a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM. Internal storage is a lowly 4GB, though it does have microSD card expansion. Software is handled by Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Huawei's own Emotion UI. It has two cameras, but they're nothing to shout about, with 3MP round the back and a 0.3MP shooter on the front. 

The party piece of this latest 7-inch Android tablet though is that it's also a phone. Unlike ASUS' Fonepad line, the MediaPad 7 doesn't look to have an actual earpiece, but it is a fully functional phone, with HSPA data connectivity. There isn't any pricing or availability right now, but you'd have to hope that it'll be priced in the budget price range. Even then, it'd be a tough sell. 

Source: Huawei

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2 years ago

Verizon posts Q4 2013 earnings, wireless revenues reach $21.1 billion

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1.7 million new customers, significant year-over-year increases in service and retail revenues

Verizon has today posted its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2013, showing strong results for its wireless and wireline businesses. Focusing on the wireless side of the equation, Verizon enjoyed another strong quarter, continuing to add customers while increasing retail and service revenues. Here's a breakdown of some of the highlights —

  • Total wireless revenues of $21.1 billion
  • Retail postpaid ARPA (average revenue per account) up 7.1 percent year-over-year to $157.21 per month
  • Wireless operating income was 29.5 percent, up 5.5 percentage points year-over-year
  • 1.7 million retail net additions, of which 1.6 million were postpaid

For the year as a whole, Verizon brought in operating revenues of $120.6 billion, up 4.1 percent from 2012. EPS (earnings per share) was $4, up from $0.31 in the previous year. The operator says its 4G LTE network now covers "nearly 305 million" across 500 markets, having now "substantially completed deployment" of LTE — Verizon's 4G now covers 99 percent of its 3G footprint, it says. And the trend towards smartphones continued, with 70 percent of retail postpaid customers using smartphones, up from 67 percent last quarter.

More details, including a breakdown of Verizon's wireline numbers, can be found at the source link.

Source: Verizon

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