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3 years ago

Skala View comes to Android, helps designers make better looking apps

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Skala Preview and Skala View are brilliant pieces of software from the brilliant piece of software makers at Bjango. It's not an app combo for everyone, but for Android app designers and developers who have long been seeking a way to preview pixel- and color-perfect versions of their app designs on Android devices, it's a miracle. Now Fair warning: Marc Edwards, who runs Bjango, is also my co-host on the Iterate podcast so some may think I'm predisposed to give his stuff a defacto recommendation. Far from it. It just means I was fortunate to have known about it in advance.

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3 years ago

HTC unaudited Q1 results see profits slip to just $2.83 million

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Poorest quarter yet for the Taiwanese manufacturer

HTC's financial woes continue, with today's unaudited results for the first quarter of 2013 painting a picture of a barely profitable company. Net income after tax slipped to just NT$85 million ($2.83 million), down from NT$4.464 billion ($150 million) it earned during the first quarter of 2012.

HTC's total revenues for Q1 2013 were NT$42.8 billion ($1.42 billion). Unaudited operating income was NT$43 million ($1.43 million), while net income before tax was NT$103 million ($3.43 million). Unaudited earnings per share (EPS) were NT$0.10 ($0.003).

Today's announcement follows delays in getting the new HTC One handset out onto the market. Camera component shortages led to the UK, German and Taiwanese launches slipping from mid-to-late March, while wider availability -- including the crucial U.S. launch -- was pushed back to mid-April. HTC's pinning its hopes for revival on its new high-end smartphone, with reports suggesting CEO Peter Chou may have told execs he'll resign if the device isn't a success.

We'd argue that even if the HTC One had launched on time, the difference to HTC's balance sheet wouldn't have been fully reflected until later into the second quarter. But with Samsung's Galaxy S4 due in multiple countries by late April, every extra day on store shelves is crucial, and the delays represent more bad news for a company that's been in decline for some time now.

HTC will be hoping that the next round of financials show the turnaround it's been expecting off the back of its new handset. As we said in our HTC One review, the phone itself is certainly up to the task. Now it's up to HTC's marketers to get the message out to smartphone buyers.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

Bootloaders have been unlocked on the Droid RAZR HD, Atrix HD, RAZR M

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The locked and encrypted bootloader on several popular Motorola phones has been exploited, but OMAP powered phones need not apply

If you're using a Droid RAZR HD, RAZR MAXX HD, Atrix HD, or RAZR M here's a potentially good piece of news -- researcher Dan Rosenberg has found a method to unlock the bootloader of your device. He's not yet released the method, but testers have shown results (like the one above) and given Rosenberg's past work with Motorola devices we've no doubt this is legitimate and should be ready for public consumption shortly.

For the bad news -- if your device has an OMAP processor, like the Bionic or the OG RAZR / MAXX, this isn't going to work for you. Those devices use a different security method which has so far remained uncracked.

We do know a little about today's exploit. You have to be rooted of course, and users are advised to not take the 4.1.2 OTA for the RAZR HD if they haven't yet. Expect more when the methods get released, in the meantime head to the forums and discuss.

Source: Droidrzr.com

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: A few answers from (and more questions for) Facebook

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I still don't know what to think about Facebook. I should probably have a better answer than that. After all, we're supposed to go to an event for a couple hours, play with some new stuff -- in this case Facebook Home and the "Facebook phone," aka the HTC First -- and have all the answers, complete with video, slideshow and a couple thousand words telling everyone why what we just saw is the greatest thing since the last greatest thing, or how it'll fail harder than the last time someone went off the reservation.

But that's business as usual. And I don't think what we saw last week at Facebook HQ is business as usual. 

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3 years ago

New Google Play Store app sighted on Google+

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A visual refresh could be coming soon to Google's content portal

The last time the Google Play Store app got a major redesign, it was still called the Android Market. So we're about due a visual refresh, and it looks like a new version could be headed our way sooner rather than later.

YouTube's Eileen Rivera posted the screenshot above on Google+, showing a lighter, more colorful design with more prominence given to the main store areas, and larger app icons below. "Games" also gets its own entry, whereas before it was found under "Apps."

Right now it looks like Google's just "dogfooding" this new version of the Play Store among its employees -- check out the little dog bowl icon on the top left -- but if Googlers are posting pictures of the new app publicly, chances are we won't have too long to wait for the public roll-out.

Source: +Eileen Rivera

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3 years ago

Kyocera Torque review

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Some people need a phone they don't have to worry about breaking, and the Kyocera Torque was made just for them

Sprint has a long history of offering capable Direct Connect and Push-To-Talk devices to a specific set of customers. The Kyocera Torque is the logical progression of these phones into 2013 with a capable set of internal components, wrapped in gratuitous amounts of hard plastic and rubber to make it water, dust, shock and vibration proof -- all running a lightly skinned version of Android. 

There are certainly sacrifices made in terms of usability when it comes to making a phone next to indestructible, but those of you looking for these features probably know that going into it. Read along with us after the break and see how the Torque can make you consider that tradeoff for a rugged phone.

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3 years ago

Facebook shows us what life can be like with Facebook Home front and center

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You'll never be lonely when all your friends are just a tap away, but Facebook thinks you'll have more fun when they are right up front

A long plane ride is a pretty boring thing. Sure, you could get out your laptop and work, or keep handing over your plastic for those tiny bottles of entertainment, but Facebook has another idea -- with Facebook Home and the HTC First you can bring along all your friends. And cats.

While we imagine the average Facebook user's feed will be slightly different (and a lot less safe for work), this is a good ad that gets the idea across. I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more like it.

Source: YouTube

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: AppSales, Goodreads, Epoch and more!

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It's "Apps of the Week" time, and the first weekly post of April is looking to be a good one

If you haven't been keeping up on things, each of the Android Central writers take the opportunity every week to tell you about an app that they've been using regularly on their device. We package 'em up nicely and post them on Saturdays -- Apps of the Week. This week we have a good way to get slick deals on apps (how meta), a way to keep up on your reading, a great new game and a few odds-and-ends.

Hang tight, as you'll be able to see every one of our picks this week after the break. Let's see how they stack up.

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3 years ago

What the fork is a 'fork'?

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Forking code isn't a bad thing. It isn't a good thing. It's just a thing.

The past couple of days you've probably heard the word "fork" more times than you can count. Facebook forked this (even though it didn't), Amazon forks that, the Chrome team forked the whole web, and so on and so on. While everyone is talking about who's forking who, nobody is bothering to explain exactly what forking is, and why so many people have an issue with it.

Forking, or shattering, got a bit of a bad rep back 20 years or so ago, as it tended to split up developers into separate factions who weren't sharing the code with each other. In the days of things like the Gnu-Emacs/XEmacs split, this was important because there weren't nearly as many people capable of working on these big, open-source projects, and having two branches or forks meant it takes longer to add features and address issues for both sides. In some cases this still happens, I'm sure, but for the most part there are plenty of developers who can fill the void left by those that have a separate vision and will fork off code to follow it. But some folks never forget, and the stigma attached to forking forkers gets passed down. Having said all this, we can't pretend bad forks don't happen. We just need to look past the act itself before we make our decisions.

I know a few of you out there know what all this means, and are just trying to ignore all the noise, but for many it's confusing. Let's try to fix that.

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3 years ago

Facebook addresses privacy concerns over Facebook Home

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Facebook answers important user privacy questions. Read them before you install or buy anything.

A lot of folks have serious privacy concerns about Facebook's new Home application. Questions about location gathering, message reading, and the general "safeness" of Facebook tracking what you do on your Android phone. We have our own here as well, and have had plenty of internal discussion.

Facebook doesn't want folks to worry, so they released a privacy FAQ about the new product. It's a short read that everyone who might install the app needs to look at, but here are some highlights:

  • You can use Facebook without using Facebook Home
  • Facebook Home is just another app you install from Google Play. You can uninstall it at any time.
  • Facebook Home collects your Facebook activity, location, Facebook messages, and the apps in your Home app launcher. This data is user-identifiable for 90 days.
  • Facebook can not collect any data outside of the Home app, unless you use the HTC First  -- then it can track what apps generate notifications, but not the content of the notification.

We're not going to judge any of these policies -- that's for you to do. We are going to tell you about them and direct you to the full statement so you can read it and discuss. And you should.

Read Facebook's FAQ on Home and privacy

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3 years ago

Android Central 130: That forking Facebook phone

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Audio-only stream below

We're freshly back from the Facebook Home event in California, so naturally we start things off talking about the HTC One. Oh, sure, there's plenty of talk about Facebook Home and the HTC First and forking and stock this and that, but really you're here to hear us drone on about the same phone we've been talking about for weeks, right? No? Fine. Lots and lots of Facebook phone discussion, too. Join us! 

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3 years ago

US Cellular letting users 'test-drive' service for one week before buying

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No commitment service coming to a limited number of markets at launch

One of the so-called "second tier" carriers, U.S. Cellular, is hoping to wrangle in more customers by launching a "test-drive" promotion to let users try out the service for one week before buying it. Initially launching in just a few markets, users can sign up at a participating store to try out the carrier's network without a commitment. In almost every case a handset purchase will be required to use the network, which can be a tough sell if you've never used (or even know someone who has used) the network.

It doesn't cost a whole lot for U.S. Cellular to run this promotion, and it may net them a few more customers going forward. If you're interested in trying the promotion, hit the source link below to see if you live near one of the very few test markets.

Source: U.S. Cellular; Via: FierceWireless

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3 years ago

Magic Fluids: Fun with water and smoke animations

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There isn't exactly any functional purpose to it, but that doesn't mean it's not incredibly fun

Magic Fluids is an animation app that simulates the effects of liquid and smoke with a bit of artful flair. With a pretty robust number of settings to tweak and play with, you can spend hours getting lost in this app. When you're done actively using it, Magic Fluids can be turned into a live wallpaper as well.

While it doesn't have any value other than being extremely cool to look at, Magic Fluids is still worth playing around with. Hang with us after the break and see what it's all about.

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3 years ago

U.S. Cellular's Galaxy Axiom gets Jelly Bean

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Galaxy S3's little brother gets over-the-air update to Android 4.1.2

U.S. Cellular has announced that the Galaxy Axiom -- its version of the Galaxy S3 Mini -- is today getting its update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The Axiom first launched back in November, with a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, a 4-inch WVGA display and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The upgrade to Jelly Bean should bring a performance boost to the handset thanks to Google's "Project Butter" enhancements, while also unlocking the ability to use the new Google Search app with predictive "Google Now" capabilities.

To grab the update, Galaxy Axiom owners will need to be connected to Wifi. Then it's just a case of heading to Settings > About Device > Software update.

Any Axiom owners out there? Hit the comments and let us know how you're liking the newer version of Android.

Source: U.S. Cellular

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3 years ago

HTC launches 'HTC One Live Experience Tour' in the U.S.

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Manufacturer will tour major U.S. cities as new flagship launches

HTC has announced new marketing efforts in the U.S. ahead of the HTC One's North American launch. Like the HTC One City tour in Europe (pictured above), the U.S. tour will see HTC bringing its new handset to 11 "major U.S. markets" in the run up to its launch. It'll also be bringing a new strapline along for the ride, as it seeks to convince buyers the HTC One is "Everything Your Phone Isn't."

The tour will consist of the three main parts. First up, and launching today in Columbus Circle in New York, Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco, Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles, Wrigleyville in Chicago, Franklin Square in Philadelphia, and Perimeter Mall in Atlanta, HTC BoomSound Lounges will give members of the public the chance to demo the HTC One's prominent front-facing speakers for themselves. The BoomSound Lounges will also serve as a connection for three Live Nation-produced concerts for HTC Fans, including performances by Pharrell in New York, Grouplove in Chicago and Manchester Orchestra in Los Angeles. Tickets are available to buy now at HTCOneConcerts.com.

Next up, HTC One showrooms will start appearing in eight cities -- Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. -- from next Thursday, Apr. 11, where they'll be deployed for a minimum of three months. As was the case on the HTC One's European tour, these showrooms will be used to demo the handset's major features, such as the new BlinkFeed home screen reader, UltraPixel camera, HTC Zoe and Sense TV. 

The HTC One will also be making an appearance in movie theaters across the U.S. as part of the "HTC Live Cinema Experience," which aims to showcase the phone's entertainment chops.

So it's an extensive and concerted marketing effort for HTC, quite unlike anything seen for any of its previous U.S. handset. But the HTC One will face strong competition from Samsung over the coming weeks as it prepares for this important launch. If you're near any of the venues, hit the comments and let us know if you plan on attending.

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