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2 years ago

Android A to Z: What's an IPS display?

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What is an IPS display? IPS stands for In-Plane Switching. It's commonly found in high-end monitors -- gaining mainstream notoriety in Apple's displays -- and has also found its way into tablets. The iPad uses IPS displays. ASUS has an IPS display in its Transformer Prime tablet. And Samsung has its own flavor of IPS in the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is it calls Super PLS (Plane-Line Switching).

The long and short of it is that you get better color representation -- that is, whites are white, blacks and back, reds are red, etc. -- and better viewing angles. That's perhaps less of an issue with tablets than larger displays, because you're more likely to be using it directly in front of your face. But wider viewing angles are always better than not. (And we've seen some pretty horrid tablet displays in our day.)

There's not a lot of arguing against that, technically speaking, an IPS display is just "better" than a non-IPS display. If you have the option between an IPS or non-IPS display, we'd go with the former.

Previously on Android A to Z: H is for Hacking; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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2 years ago

Calling all Developers: Want to create the next generation of the Android Central App?

Exciting times are ahead, folks. We're starting to work on the next generation of the Android Central App to complement this little website here and our Google Currents Edition, and we're going to open it up to the developer community at large.

If you've got the chops to keep up with the best and fastest growing Android community around and help present our stories, forums, galleries and more to millions of readers a month -- plus more than 123,000 on Twitter, 45,000 on Facebook and 26,000 on Google+ -- now's your chance.

If you're a serious developer and interested in working on the next generation of the Android Central App, drop us a line here, and we'll go into detail on requirements and, of course, compensation. Look forward to hearing from you!

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2 years ago

Sony Ericsson takes a loss in Q4 2011 results

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Sony Ericsson's financials for Q4 2011 were announced today, and they look pretty rough. They lost 207 million Euros in the quarter (roughly $270 million), and 247 million Euros for the full year. They attribute the loss to "intense competition, price erosion and restructuring charges," or in other words, moving everything into Sony's offices as part of the acquisition. Apparently a natural disaster in Thailand also screwed up their manufacturing processes last quarter. On the plus side, SE's shift from feature phones to smartphones has yielded a 65 percent increase in Xperia sales since last year. Of course, since they're only doing smartphones now, they've shipped 20 percent fewer phones overall since last year.

Sony Ericsson had some nice gear to show off at CES, and with Sony controlling everything from here on in, maybe the production process will be a bit more streamlined. The original Xperia X10 was a bit of a bumpy start for Sony Ericsson's Android foray, and since then they've been slightly behind the curve on specs, but I've been a big fan of most of their software customizations, and some of their hardware has some really distinctive style in a sea of samey smartphones. Here's hoping Sony can hold onto that and make the Xperia family properly competitive. 

Source: Sony Ericsson

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2 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Wind Turbines

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Our Jan. 19 Free Android wallpaper of the day comes from member dcreed, who brings us a nice shot of wind turbines near Judith Gap, Mont. He says he used a long exposure (that's where you get the blurry blades from) plus an ND filter.

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2 years ago

Roller Ball for Android lets you bring the skee ball table on the go

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Oh, how I miss the arcade. One of my personal favorite games was always skee ball -- there was just some sort of weird joy about trying to beat the previous high score, and then seeing the tickets spew out at the end was always great. Fortunately those memories can be relived while on the go with Roller Ball, an Android game that puts the skee ball table on your device. 

Gameplay is quite simple, line up the ball, flick your finger and then tilt the device to add spin if you wish, the more points you score the more tickets you will win. With six machine types, and tons of prizes who wouldn't want to sit down for a couple of minutes to rekindle some of their youth. The game play is a bit on the easy side which does allow kids to also take part, so whether looking for something for yourself or a young one to do, be sure to hit the break and pick up this free game.

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2 years ago

Share and receive opinions on the go with Thumb for Android

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Thumbs up, or thumbs down. It's that simple. The folks at Opinionaided, Inc. have developed an application called Thumb, and what Thumb does is allow you to either seek opinions of others, or share your own opion with them about their image.

Once you launch the application you are given the option to either ask for opinions or to share your opinions, in addition you can also see results and view your own profile all from within one page. If you chose to ask for opinions you can upload a picture, select a category and add some text along with it and then submit it to the masses to view their opinions. If you want to just give opinions you can either give a thumbs up or a thumbs down or remain neutral if you aren't really sure on a particular image. 

The application is free, the feedback is priceless, so what are you waiting for? Hit the break and download it now!

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2 years ago

LightSquared claims government testing 'rigged' by GPS industry insiders

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This is getting interesting.  After the recent news that federal testing determined LightSquared's LTE network plans would never work without interfering with GPS (and a cease to any further testing) LightSquared has come back with guns blazing.  In a statement, the company has accused the GPS industry of rigging the results by using antiquated equipment, shrouding the entire process in secrecy, and using unrealistic parameters for failure.  Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared’s Executive Vice President of regulatory affairs and public policy, Geoff Stearn, LightSquared’s Vice President for spectrum development, and Edmond Thomas, former chief engineer at the FCC held a press conference and had the following to say:

Testing was shrouded in secrecy, no transparency. The GPS manufacturers cherry-picked the devices in secret without any independent oversight authority in place or input from LightSquared. The GPS manufacturers and the government end users put non-disclosure agreements in place for the PNT EXCOM’s tests, preventing any input by an independent authority or from LightSquared before the tests began. This secrecy made it impossible for independent experts to properly oversee or challenge the process and results, thereby leaving taxpayers who paid for the testing no option but to take the PNT EXCOM’s word for it.
The testing protocol deliberately focused on obsolete and niche market devices that were least able to withstand potential interference. When LightSquared finally obtained a list of the devices tested, after all testing in this first phase of tests had been completed, it was able to determine that the testing included many discontinued or niche market devices with poor filters or no filters. The units tested represent less than one percent of the contemporary universe of GPS devices. In fact, the only mass market device alleged to “fail” during this round of testing performed flawlessly during the Technical Working Group testing, which used best practice protocols agreed to by all parties, thus raising doubts about the integrity of PNT EXCOM’s process.
The testing standard does not reflect reality. To guarantee favorable results, the PNT EXCOM selected an extremely conservative definition of failure – one dB of interference. Independent experts agree that a one dB threshold can only be detected in laboratory settings and has no impact on GPS positional accuracy or user experience. In fact, GPS devices are designed with the ability to withstand eight dB or more of loss of sensitivity due to man-caused and natural interference. By setting the definition of interference at one dB, the testing was rigged to ensure that most receivers would fail. It should be noted that PNT EXCOM and others have justified the one dB threshold by citing an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard. However, that standard explicitly states that it does not apply to general purpose GPS receivers.

They go on to say other great quotables like asking reporters to enquire if it's "fair that taxpayers funded a testing regime they cannot review?" and speaking of violating "conflict of interest" laws.  They are serious, and should be.  Earlier this month, LightSquared was given just 30 days to get regulatory approval by Sprint, who is a heavy investor and has (had?) plans to use LightSquared's service for their nationwide LTE roll-out.  Losing funding from Sprint would be a major financial blow to LightSquared.  We're pretty certain Sprint will still be able to roll out their LTE network as planned, but they see an advantage in using LightSquared and would like to see everything resolved as well.

Were the testing procedures rigged? Will LightSquared get another shot with different testing procedures? Will Sprint continue to invest in the company?  Join us next week for another episode of the Guiding LightSquared.  See the press release after the break.

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2 years ago

Verizon LG Spectrum available today for $199 on contract

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Verizon this morning announced that as expected, the LG Spectrum is now available in stores and online for $199. The Spectrum, as you'll recall from our recent hands-on, is a 4.5-inch Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread device (it'll be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich later) powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm processor. It's also got an 8MP rear-facing camera, front-facing 1.3MP camera, and can share its 4G LTE data with up to 10 Wifi-connected devices. 

Buy: Verizon; Source: Verizon; More: LG Spectrum forums

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2 years ago

Amazon Kindle Fire Version 6.2.2 update brings manual e-mail setup fixes, full-screen browsing

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Amazon is pushing out Software Version 6.2.2 for the Kindle Fire over the air, and it's also available for manual installation. Here's what's new:

  • Enhances fluidity and performance.
  • Improves support for manually setting up e-mail providers in the e-mail app
  • Adds full-screen browsing 

The upate is currently pushing out over the air. But if you just can't wait, you can also install it manually. Here's how:

  1. Make sure you have at least 40 percent battery charge.
  2. Download the update-kindle-6.2.2_D01E_3205220 file from Amazon here.
  3. Plug in your Kindle Fire and open a file explorer. Move the update-kindle-6.2.2_D01E_3205220 file to the kindleupdates folder.
  4. Disconnect your Kindle Fire.
  5. Go to the quick settings at the top of the screen. Choose More>Update your Kindle.
  6. Sit back and relax. It'll restart a couple times.

And that's it!

Source: Amazon; More: Kindle Fire Forums

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2 years ago

Motorola Xoom UK price slashed again, now £249.99

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If you've been following recent Motorola Xoom developments, you'll know that the first "Google Experience" tablet has just been updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Alongside the update, Carphone Warehouse, one of the main sellers of Xooms in the UK, has cut the price of the Wifi-only model to £249.99. This is a £50 drop from the earlier RRP of £299.99, and the latest in a long line of Xoom price drops which has seen the tablet gradually fall from the July price of £399.

It might not be as sleek as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, or as fast as the ASUS Transformer Prime, but £250 for a 10-inch, dual-core ICS tablet isn't a bad deal at all if you ask us. UK readers, would you be tempted to drop £250 on a Xoom at this point? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

Source: Carphone Warehouse; via: Eurodroid

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