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3 years ago

Kobo unveils the Kobo Arc powered by Android 4.0, prices starting at £160

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Kobo has today officially unveiled their latest attempt at a 7-inch reading focused tablet, the Kobo Arc, which is the successor to last years Gingerbread powered Vox. The Kobo Arc is a much different proposition to the Vox, and will come running fully Google certified Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Arc will also be reasonably well priced for a device of this nature, starting at just £159.99.

The Arc is more more design focused than the Vox, and packs more impressive hardware. Powering everything from within is a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor, and 1GB of RAM. The 7-inch screen is a 1280x800 IPS panel with a pretty respectable PPI of 215. There's no rear camera on the Arc, but there is a front facing 720p HD 1.3MP camera and a microphone, so video conferencing is a definite possibility. Connectivity is WiFi only, but the Arc is WiFi Direct capable. Rounding out the hardware is a pair of stereo speakers on the front of the device, and in partnership with SRS home entertainment technology volume and sound quality is increased with the function turned on. Battery life is pegged at 10 hours of reading or watching videos with the WiFi off, with standby time of around 2 weeks. 

So, the specs are nice. Not ground-breaking, but a definite mark up from the previous Vox. Hardware only tells half the tale though, it's in the software that Kobo is looking to be a little different to the norm. Kobo has designed their own custom interface that they call Tapestries, which is focused on organizing your content into easy to manage chunks -- or Tapestries. We got a look at the device, and the Tapestries interface back at IFA 2012 in Berlin, and it has some interesting features within. 

The back story first though. Kobo has decided upon their design based around a principle of tablet use -- they're being used to consume content, be that books, videos, music etc. The UI of more traditional Android tablets is somewhat focused more around applications. Kobo wanted to focus on content, and so Tapestries was born. It's all about creating a personal experience on the Arc, and all about the users content. 

As a content focused UI, applications are kept away from being front and center. Instead, the UI gives us a long scrolling wall to fill with content, and the main view shows off all your created Tapestries -- think of them as folders, but folders that open up a whole new home screen. Kobo has included some stock tapestries to organize some basic content such as reading, social media interactions, and entertainment, but the user can create one based around any kind of content they wish. App shortcuts and widgets are still usable as with traditional Android tablets, but it allows for total customization and organization of all your topic specific content.  And it was all developed in house by the Kobo team. 

Kobo hasn't forgotten too their reading roots. Integrated into the web browser is a "distraction and ad free reading experience." By partnering with Readability, the Arc's web browser has a reading mode that will just show you the juicy text on a web page. The fonts used are all customized to look best on the Arc's display, and from within this view online content can be pinned to any Tapestry for reading later. It doesn't have offline capabilities however, so you will still need to be connected to WiFi. 

The final area of the UI worth noting is the discover area occupying the bottom portion of the display. This learns about the content that you consume, and will start to make suggestions for you. It can even make suggestions based on topics contained within the text of a book. No personal information is given to any services, everything is managed in the cloud by Kobo. 

Kobo's social reading features  from the Vox have also made their way on to the Arc. Pre-loaded apps include Facebook, Twitter, Skype, 7Digital and Rdio, along with the full suite of Google apps including the Play Store. It is expected to be available in November at £159.99 ($200) for the 8GB version, and £189.99 ($250) for the 16GB and will be available globally through existing Kobo retail partners. Black and white versions will be available, along with different colored interchangable rear covers. 

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3 years ago

T-Mobile launches Galaxy S Relay 4G

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T-Mobile has announced today that it will be even further expanding its lineup of 42mbps HSPA+ devices with the Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G. Following quickly behind the launch of the Galaxy Note, the Relay 4G is decidedly a much different form factor, with a 480x800 resolution 4-inch Super AMOLED screen and full QWERTY keyboard. For software, the Galaxy S Relay 4G is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung's usual TouchWiz UI. Here are a few of the high points on the device:

  • 1.5Ghz dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor
  • 5MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras
  • 1GB of RAM
  • T-Mobile WiFi Calling support
  • SAFE enterprise-ready features and capabilities

Though we think some may be getting a little burned out on iterations of the "Galaxy S" branding, this is yet another good mid-range device available on T-Mobile. Take a look after the break at the full press release.

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3 years ago

22 percent of Android devices now running 4.0 and above

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The latest Android platform numbers have just been released on the Android Developers site, showing devices running Android 4.0 and above now making up a 22.1 percent share of the Android market. As expected, Android 2.3 Gingerbread devices still make up a majority of the market at 57.5 percent. All other versions under 2.3 now total up to a small but still noticeable 18.3 percent.

Most manufacturers have at least started pushing 4.0 updates to their handsets that launched on 2.3, and nearly all devices are coming to market with 4.0 or 4.1 on board now, which is a good sign. Seeing such a large majority of devices still on Android 2.3 and below really hurts when you know how great the experience on Android 4.0 and 4.1 is, and we can only hope that the share of devices running 4.0 and above can increase faster in the future.

You can see the full granular report of the latest Android numbers - including time series of the market, screen sizes and more - at the source link below.

Source: Android Developers

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3 years ago

Back to stock on the Sprint Galaxy Nexus, $100 rebate from Motorola [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

We've got nearly 1 million members helping members and nearly 2 million posts in our Android Forums. Are you one of them? Join today!

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3 years ago

Amzer Shellster ShellCase and Holster review

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The Shellster ShellCase by Amzer is an inexpensive but solid snap-on case and holster for the HTC One X, HTC One S, HTC EVO LTE, and Samsung Galaxy S 3. Both the case and the holster have steep, pronounced horizontal ridges that add a ton of grip, though the edge of the case is simple and smooth. The holster’s clip doubles as a kickstand and works great in both landscape and portrait orientation. Best of all, the combo is really affordable at $14.95. 

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3 years ago

Logitech out of refurbished Revue units, now offering refunds for warranty issues

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The Logitech Revue never had much of a lifespan to it really. Some folks who own one love it while others wish they never spent the money on it. There is some information though that folks need to be aware of. If you have a Logitech Revue and it breaks down, your chances of getting another from Logitech are slim to none.

Recently, an Android Central reader who was looking to get a replacement due to some display issues was told by Logitech customer care that Logitech has no more and cannot replace it. Instead, they offered a full refund for it provided he could provide the proof of purchase for the device. Given they still had it, Logitech is now sending a refund in 4-6 weeks.

Do you have a busted Logitech Revue that could be exchanged for warranty? If so, you might want to give Logitech a ring and see what they have to say. If you still have the receipt and it's a valid claim, you could potentially get a refund. Just remember, it has to be a valid claim -- don't go busting up your Revue on your own.

Thanks, Anon!

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3 years ago

Tomorrow's rumored Jelly Bean roll out for Sprint Nexus devices gets more confirmation

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A couple of hours ago we mentioned that some Sprint memos mention Jelly Bean for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus S 4G are coming, and we just got this tasty nugget to confirm. It's from internal Sprint system pages and tells us just the news we want to hear -- that Jelly Bean will begin rolling out Sep. 6 -- yes, that's tomorrow.

For the Galaxy Nexus the build will be FH05, and for the Nexus S 4G we're talking JRO03R. Both are versions of Android 4.1, untainted by overlays or OEM changes. If you haven't already hacked the living crap out of your Sprint Nexus device, get ready for your upgrade -- you're going to love it.

If you need some help or advice about getting ready (or rolling back to stock) be sure to head into the forums and get on the right path!

Sprint Galaxy Nexus forums | Sprint Nexus S 4G forums

Thanks, anon!

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3 years ago

Motorola RAZR M reportedly coming to the UK with Intel inside

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All of Moto's new Verizon-bound DROID phones ship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip inside -- an SoC that's increasingly seen as the standard for high-end smartphones in 2012. However, when the RAZR M lands in the UK, it'll sport a different CPU -- an Intel Atom chip. UK tech blog Pocket-Lint is reporting that the British variant will indeed run an Intel chip, suggesting that the decision to plant an S4 in the U.S. versions may have been made for connectivity reasons. Qualcomm's S4 includes built-in LTE, whereas many competing chips do not. This also fits with the recent news that Intel would be represented at the UK announcement event later this month

The site reports that no changes will be made to the physical design of the phone, meaning the international HSPA+ RAZR M will look just like the Verizon LTE model. That means Brits will get the same ultra-thin bezel that we've seen on the Droid RAZR M.

We've seen a couple of Intel-powered Android phones already, but these have mostly been niche devices, rather than phones from top-tier manufacturers like Motorola, so the appearance of Intel's chips in a leading Motorola smartphone is certainly a big deal. We've reached out to Motorola for confirmation of this, as well as any possible changes to the internatonal RAZR HD and RAZR HD MAXX, and we'll keep you updated with any info they provide.

We'll be live in London for Motorola's international event on Sept. 18, where we're expecting to see the RAZR M, and perhaps some other devices, announced for the UK market. In the meantime, be sure to check out our hands-on coverage of the U.S. Droid RAZR M.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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3 years ago

Spotify update brings NFC sharing and bugfixes

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Popular music streaming service Spotify has released an update to its Android app in the Google Play Store today, bringing music sharing over NFC for Android 4.x devices. In addition, the latest update - version 0.5.3.56 - brings a better offline mode bar so you can understand why you're offline, new audio effects for Android 4.x devices and of course general improvements to fix crashes and bugs.

The update is now available in the Google Play Store at the link above.

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3 years ago

µTorrent Beta arrives on the Google Play Store, those with limited data plans need not apply

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Following up on their previous offering of µTorrent Remote which allowed for you to have direct access to torrents being downloaded on your computer and control them remotely, the folks from BitTorrent have now finally delivered a beta version of their long await full fledged torrent client for Android. Considering that it is a beta, there is still some kinks to be worked out but overall the features they've included are pretty nice:

  • Find, download and seed torrent files directly from your device.
  • Add RSS feed subscriptions from BitTorrent or elsewhere around the web.
  • No speed or size caps on downloads (mobile data limits still apply)

That last feature is the one you'll mostly need to be aware of. If you download a torrent file, you're going to be downloading the size of that file plus, whatever it contains. In addition to that, you'll end up 'seeding' that file as well, which means you'll be uploading it for others all through your carrier offered data plan. If you don't have an unlimited data, that certainly could spell trouble for a few folks if you're not mindful. µTorrent Beta is live in the Google Play Store right now, for those interested in giving it a go.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia T on target for late September release

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While some retailers had previously announced the Sony Xperia T for release in the UK today, the device failed to materialize on store shelves, leaving confusion as to when Sony's new international flagship would become available. We put the question to Sony at the company's summer showcase event in London today, where we were told that a late September release was on the cards. Specifically, Sept. 28 is being put forward as a likely, though not fully confirmed, release date.

It the Xperia T arrives around that time, it'll likely face stiff competition in the form of Apple's next iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy Note 2, as well as new devices from HTC, Motorola and Nokia. Nevertheless, Sony will be hoping its unique design, re-vamped software and strong camera credentials will help it win over smartphone buyers later this month.

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3 years ago

Watch the Motorola On Display event replay video

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If you happened to miss out on the full video from Motorola's On Display event, no worries. Motorola has the video posted to YouTube and is awaiting your click of the play button. You'll also find it below for your viewing pleasure. If you're looking for hands-on with the devices, stay tuned we got lots coming up in addition to what has already been posted.

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3 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR M hands-on

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The runt of the brand new RAZR litter is the much-rumored RAZR M, a device that's easy on the budget without skimping on many specs. You've got the same super-fast S4 processor as the rest of the RAZRs here, along with ICS (Jelly Bean's coming by the end of Q4, Moto says), 1 GB of RAM, an 8 MP camera and a 2,000 mAh battery. Performance-wise, the M is on par with the rest of the line-- Motorola has made a concerted effort here to offer the same high-end internals as its flagship devices. The main difference here is size: the M's footprint is considerably smaller than the RAZR HD and Maxx HD, engaging consumers who want a smaller phone without sacrificing screen size. And Motorola has succeeded-- Interestingly enough, despite the smaller footprint, the screen is only shrunk by a few tenths of an inch, down from the 4.7 inches on the RAZR HD and MAXX to 4.3 inches. With that comes a lower qHD resolution, though don't let that get you down. This display looks really great, and a welcome sacrifice for the $99 pricetag.

The RAZR M is a refreshing entry by Motorola, and sets a new standard for mid-level devices. Motorola has proven that you can have your cake and eat it too, and an affordable pricetag is no excuse for junky hardware. The M is up for presale today at 5 p.m. Eastern in both black and white, and we're walking home with one, so sit tight for a full review in the coming week. Until then, enjoy some hands-on shots below.

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3 years ago

Droid RAZR HD hands-on

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After weeks of speculation, Motorola finally introduced its latest flagship device today, the Droid RAZR HD, a worthy successor to the phone that has kept the company competitive in the increasingly dense Android market. The RAZR HD is a worthy step-up from its predecessor, boasting a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution that gives just about every phone on the market a run for its money. It's big, it's beautiful, and it will simply blow you away if you're stepping up from a regular ole RAZR. It's just about as good as it gets.

The new RAZR line is incredibly powerful, with a Snapdragon S4 underneath the hood pushing along Ice Cream Sandwich and just the slightest hint of Motorola tweaking. About that ICS-- Motorola had a mixture of demo units today with both ICS and Jelly Bean, and told reporters that Jelly Bean will be available for the entire line by the end of the year. Something tells me that they're rushing to get it onboard before the RAZR HD and RAZR HD Maxx launch, but don't hold your breath. Regardless, even with ICS, this thing flies, and earns its spot in the upper-tier of premium Android superphones.

Compared to the original RAZR, there are certainly noticeable differences but there are also many similarities. You've got Kevlar back for another round, though this time it wraps around the device, instead of being limited to the back panel only. It's got a 2,530 mAH battery that doesn't match the MAXX's 3,300 mAH but will almost surely match Samsung, LG and HTC's competitors. The new RAZR also has a metallic perimeter, ala the iPhone 4S, that adds a certain sense of luxury to the device. It also adds a solid feel, something that's sorely missing from its major competitor, the plastic GS3. Motorola has always focused on quality hardware, but this iteration of the RAZR takes the company to a whole new level. The RAZR line just may be the most premium-feeling smartphones on the market today.

Motorola was tight-lipped on release date and pricing, though we can expect the RAZR HD sometime before holidays in both a black model and an all-white model as seen below in comparisons with the M. Until then, some hands-on photos of the RAZR HD-- along with comparisons with the Maxx and M-- are below.

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3 years ago

Rogers bringing the Motorola RAZR HD LTE to Canada

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Something not mentioned during the Motorola and Verizon event understandably, was the fact Motorola also has a GSM version of the Droid RAZR HD that will be available soon. While U.S. carriers may not see it, Rogers in Canada has now confirmed they'll be carrying the Motorola RAZR HD LTE exclusively:

“Our customers want fast devices and we are thrilled to exclusively offer them the new Motorola RAZR HD LTE,” says John Boynton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Rogers Communications. “The Motorola RAZR HD LTE further extends our leadership as the carrier with the largest LTE superphone selection in Canada.”

Much like the Verizon announcement, no pricing or exact launch dates have been announced but Rogers set the expectation of 'this fall'. You can check out the full press release below if you need the finer details.

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