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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Shapes and texture

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There's all sorts of interesting things to see around us, and shape or texture can make for a great photo. With the right light, and a steady hand even the most mundane things, like a bag of coins, can be made into a really cool photo. Sometimes, it's the technique and photographer that makes it all work and not the subject.

Let's explore that this week. Poke around your house, office, or wherever and see what you can find that makes for a great photo opportunity. You'd be surprised what great pictures can come from subjects you'd normally scoff at. Yes, we're going to bump it up a notch and judge on the technique and photographic quality. I can't wait to see your entries.

If winning a contest from the best Android blog on the planet isn't enough incentive, this week we're giving away a pair of MOTOROKR S305 Bluetooth headphones so you can crank up the tunes without the wires. They are one of the best rated items at ShopAndroid, with good reason. Just follow the simple rules:

  • Use an Android device to take a picture. Any Android device
  • Submit the picture in the forum thread we have set up for this week, so everyone can see your handiwork. E-mail was swamping us, and not everyone got to see all the entries. This way, we get to see them all. We like seeing it all.
  • Only submit one. We're going to check, and we'll know if you try to game the system.
  • Be sure to tell what device you used, and any effects or filters used on the photo. We can learn from these as well as have fun.
  • Get your picture in by Friday midnight (your local time). We'll pick the winner and the runners-up and throw them on the blog Sunday afternoon.

Good luck!

Enter the weekly photo contest

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3 years ago

AC on the Road: Anker Astro2 8400 mAh external battery

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We talk a lot here about travel because, well, we travel a lot. And in the past few months we've been talking a lot about keeping our phones charged, as more manufacturers are switching to non-removable batteries. And so with meetings on the left coast this week, I've got a new today. That's the Anker Astro2 8400 mAh external battery. It's not small. It's not light. But with that sort of capacity, you wouldn't expect it to be. And, perhaps more important, it's got some output power at 5V 2A or 5V 1A. It ain't subtle, and it won't be trickle charging anything. (And, as you can tell, it'll charge two devices at once.)

Wanna hear the scary part? There's a 10,000 mAh battery available, too. And it's all pretty affordable. I got this one on Amazon for $47. The 10,000 mAh version isn't much more, either. (Mine also has a flashlight -- just in case.)

Got a little video after the break if you're interested, and stick around as we all find out how it performs.

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3 years ago

ShopAndroid Daily contest winners!

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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3 years ago

Google Offers updated with refreshed UI, faster browsing and improved notification control

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Although Google Offers still remains limited to the U.S. a new update to the app has now landed. With this release Google seemingly worked on getting the UI in line with that of its other apps as it now sports a fresh new look, faster browsing plus, they've gone ahead and corrected a bug where disabling notifications wasn't working properly for some folks. In addition to all those improvements, Google now supports 40 cities and has signed up to 30 different partners sites to help give you some great offers. You can grab the download link past the break.

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3 years ago

T-Mobile's Carly is going biker chic - here's a pic of her with a fat blogger instead

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T-Mobile's Carly (aka model and actress Carly Foulkes) is trading in the twirly pink dress for tight black leather, apparently. You can check it out after the break if you want. Or here she is last spring. With Phil. Your call, really.

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3 years ago

Order your ASUS Transformer Prime GPS 'wart' today

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Last night's leak proved to be right on the money, as ASUS has made the Transformer Prime GPS add-on hardware available for registered owners today. In case you've not been following the saga, there's an issue with the GPS on the 10.1-inch Transformer Prime. The issue being that it sucks -- it won't lock on very well, and won't stay locked if and when it finds it's location. Seems that sexy circular-patterned aluminum shell does a great job at blocking the GPS antenna.

To fix this (because everyone needs a Wifi-only, 10.1-inch handheld GPS unit) ASUS is giving away a bit of hardware that docks onto the bottom of the Prime. This exterior "thingy" looks to be a bit bulky and not-so-attractive, but the color matches your Prime and it's free. It's also available today if you're a registered owner of a Transformer Prime. We'll have a closer look when mine gets here, in the meantime hit the link to get your own. 

Now all we need is a 10.1-inch dash mount, and we're in business!

Source: ASUS

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3 years ago

Shiprack Package Tracker [Android App Review]

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If you're used to getting loads of mail and you like to keep track of where it is as it's being delivered, Shiprack is definitely worthy of your consideration and time. Hot on the heels of Phil's review of Slice (okay, not really on the heels of), it's time to see if Shiprack is the less invasive alternative to Slice. (Hint: it is.)

Setting up Shiprack is an absolute breeze. Once you've got it all nice and installed, you have to set up what e-mail account Shiprack will be looking for emails from. Shiprack operates very similarly to Tripit; whenever you receive an email with a tracking number in it, you forward the email off to Shiprack, and they'll automatically start tracking it for you.

This is great (to me), because you can only track purchases that you want​ tracked. Shiprack doesn't automatically search your entire inbox, so if there's anything that isn't really pressing, you can simply omit it. Shiprack also doesn't tally your total expenses on things, so there's that small element of ignorance that can keep your shopping and package-tracking guilt free!

Once you've got a package tracked, you'll be able to see all kinds of cool information, namely your item's tracking number and when it's estimated to be delivered. Shiprack seems to update in near-real time, so you'll have a detailed log of whenever your package hit a new checkpoint.

If you're interested, you can also see a map (on Google Maps, of course), detailing your item's journey, with colorful lines and goofy looking thumb tacks showing each new leg of its journey.

In the settings menu, you can add email aliases that you'd also like to forward tracking information from, so if you get lots of tracking numbers across lots of accounts, Shiprack has you covered. You can also mess with the typical fare like notification tones and vibration options, but something unique to Shiprack is the ability to set quiet times. It's not life-changing, but it's cool to see it there.

Finally, you can pick and choose what updates you'd like Shiprack to notify you of. I'm pretty crazy when it comes to my goods, so I want to see everything, but you've got full control over knowing if your stuff is ready to ship, in transit, or delayed, to name a few.

In the world of package trackers, I think Shiprack really nailed it. What it lacks in visual polish, it more than makes up for in functionality, plus, you've got the freedom to choose what gets tracked. That might not seem like a big deal to some, but in a world where our information is becoming increasingly public, every little bit I can keep my hands on, I like to do just that.

Shiprack is free and ad-supported, but if you'd like to simultaneously support the developer and​ remove the ads, there's an in-app purchase of 99 cents. We've got download links after the break.

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3 years ago

From the forums: When will we see a white EVO 4G LTE?

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Nkawal in the EVO 4G LTE forums asks:

When will the HTC EVO 4G LTE come in white and how will it look?

Fair question. Sprint's no stranger to breaking out white versions of its phones, and it wouldn't surprise us in the least to see one. (And if history repeats, a white EVO 4G LTE might be a Best Buy or Radio Shack exclusive.)

So, yeah. It's entirely possible. When is anybody's guess -- figure Sprint will want some actual sales under its belt first, and preorders don't start until May 7.

And nkawal in HTC's promo video points out some white backs -- so that might make it even more likely. As for how it might look? We've got a rough idea. 

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3 years ago

Incipio Inscribe Executive Stylus & Pen review

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The stylus is far from dead. For many of us, nothing beats the pinpoint accuracy you can get from using a good capacitive stylus, whether you're just cruising through the home screens on your Android device, drawing, or even typing on an on-screen keyboard. When Draw Something came out, I looked at my poor chewed up stylus and decided I had to get another one. After snooping around ShopAndroid.com I came across the Incipio Executive Stylus & Pen, and figured I'd give it a try. As someone who always carries a pen, I wanted to try and kill two birds with one stone, and this one does it.

 

If you're looking to pick up a stylus for general purpose use with an Android phone or tablet, I'd recommend the Incipio Executive to anyone. It's thick, making it easy to hold an use, has a nice high ball that works at just about any angle, and quality construction means it's not going to leak ink all over your shirt pocket or briefcase. Hit the break to read more.

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3 years ago

Poll: Which Sprint LTE phone tickles your fancy?

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OK, boys and girls. Sprint's unleashing its first two 4G LTE phones on Sunday, April 22 -- the LG Viper and the venerable Samsung Galaxy Nexus. And the HTC EVO 4G LTE goes up for preorder on May 7. Those are just the first three, of course. There will be more. (And we don't actually know exactly when Sprint's lighting up its LTE network, so there's that.)

But for now, let's hear it. Which one of the three has piqued your interest the most? Or are you going to wait on the sidelines for a bit? 

Pick your favorite Sprint 4G LTE device

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3 years ago

Sprint Galaxy Nexus hits April 22; preorder now for $199!

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For those of you waiting on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to finally hit Sprint, it looks like you'll just have a week to go. The first Android 4.0 device (but hardly the only one anymore) is now available for preorder for $199 on contract. And on the preorder page, Sprint clearly says the following (and has followed it up with an official announcement):

We'll charge your card for your phone today. Shipping: We'll do our best to get it to you before Sunday, April 22.

That lumps it in with the release of the LG Viper, which also will be released on April 22. The upcoming HTC EVO 4G LTE goes up for preorder on May 7. A release date has not been announced.

Preorder: Sprint Galaxy Nexus; complete Sprint Galaxy Nexus specs
Thanks, rocket321!

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3 years ago

Geotagging, SD cards and the latest Android privacy/security issue

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There's been a new twist uncovered by the folks at The Verge about apps with no permissions accessing the SD card, and to keep the sky from falling we're going to break down what is going on. 

If you haven't read it yet, the stock Android gallery (in versions prior to Android 3.0) decodes Geotags automatically when you sync with your online Picasa gallery, and it stores the information in a cache file on the SD card. This is done so the gallery can be sorted by location. What wasn't  mentioned is that this data is already present if you Geotag your images, it's just in a different form. Take this lovely photo:

Open it on any computer and look at the EXIF data (and yes, an app could be written to easily do this on your Android device itself):

Those are pretty exact latitude and longitude coordinates. Plug them into the Google Maps website and you'll get this in seconds:

That's within feet of where Alex was standing when he took this picture. All without this security "hole" being involved, and it took less that 60 seconds to do. 

Is this a good thing? Why, hell, no it's not, at least from a security/privacy standpoint. If you're taking pictures at home and geotagging is turned on, anyone who finds your phone (or a malicious app) would be able to find out exactly where you live. Or work. Or sleep. Or pick up your kids. Or cheat on your spouse.

But -- and this is important -- it is something you said was OK to do when you decided to mark your pictures with a location. And geotagging is hardly a new phenomenon. That's why we mentioned that you may want to turn Geotagging off in your camera

And before anyone starts saying Google should encrypt or force permissions on the pictures folder, understand that means you'll need a bloated, OEM-approved program for your computer that can decrypt and have permission to access the pictures you take. Nobody wants to have to use aTunes to see their photos. Nobody.

Removable storage was designed to be read from any other device. That means the data on it is wide open for the world to see. This isn't going to magically change as long as removable storage is included on devices. We have to take responsibility for our actions, and if we said it was OK to share location data for the pictures we take, that means it's OK to share location data for the pictures we take. It's a side-effect of having removable storage that other devices can read, and the only way to keep things in check is to understand the implications of what you're doing. You may not like it, but unless you design a better method, this is the way it's going to be.

Never store any data you feel is sensitive on removable storage, no matter what mobile device you're using. If an app is storing data on your removable storage you feel is too sensitive, then stop using that app. 

Hopefully, this helps you understand what's happening a bit better. Now go shut off the location in your camera app if you need to. 

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3 years ago

Samsung to unveil Galaxy S III in London on May 3

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You can forget all those fake renders and dubious press invites -- this is where the real Galaxy S III story begins. Samsung Mobile has just sent out the invite above to UK press, along with details of a "Samsung Unpacked" event in London on May 3. The message asks members of the press to "come and meet the next Galaxy." That'll be the Galaxy S III, then. Samsung says it plans on live streaming the event, which kicks off at 7pm local time (2pm EDT, 11am PDT), via its official Facebook page.

We'll be there, of course, bringing you live coverage of the Galaxy S III -- sorry, the "next Galaxy" -- as it's unveiled. Keep it locked to AC in the weeks ahead for all the latest developments, as we await one of the biggest Android announcements of the year.

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3 years ago

Transformer Prime's GPS fix turns out to be less of a dongle, more of a growth

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It's time to ask yourself a question: How badly do you need an official solution to the ASUS Transformer Prime's GPS woes? Landofdroid has snagged some pics of what they say will be the official fix -- a GPS add-on that connects to the Android tablet's data port and sure as hell shouldn't be considered a "dongle" by any definition. That, friends, is a wart. A growth. A malformation of epic proportions. On the other hand, if it actually fixes GPS, then it's a good thing. (At the very least it's increased the Prime's radar reflectivity by an order of magnitude.)

If upsetting the otherwise sleek lines of the Transformer Prime is just too much to ask, there's always that unofficial software tweak that also seems to be getting the job done.

Source: Land of Droid

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