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3 years ago

CyanogenMod music app Apollo now available in the Play Store

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If you've spent any time using CyanogenMod 9 or CyanogenMod 10, you may have come across the built-in music player called Apollo. Rather than keeping it tied into CyanogenMod though, Apollo is now available for download in the Google Play Store in both free and paid versions. The player itself is quite visually appealing but its feature set is what throws it over the top.

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3 years ago

Firefox expands to support more devices, improve accessibility

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Firefox has been working hard to expand the number of devices it supports, but has always been "limited" to devices running Android 2.2 or higher, with moderately good specs -- an ARMv7 chip or above, to be exact. Today Mozilla is announcing that it is expanding its support down to lower-end devices, ones that are as far down the line as an ARMv6-based 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Mozilla lists a few devices, such as the HTC Status, HTC ChaCha, Samsung Galaxy Ace, Motorola Fire XT and LG Optimus Q, that will benefit from these looser spec restrictions.

As part of its announcement, Mozilla also points out that Firefox is receiving improvements in accessibility features. Firefox now integrates seamlessly with TalkBack and Android's screen reader functionality, making the browser immensely easier to use for those who are visually impaired.

While we like to focus on the latest whiz-bang top of the heap devices, a vast majority of Android devices sold around the world aren't that high-end. And just because someone doesn't have a high-end device doesn't mean they don't deserve to have more choices in browsers. The wide range of prices and specs that Android can offer is a huge selling point for the platform, and we'd like to see it stay that way.

Source: The Mozilla Blog

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3 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Droid DNA or Galaxy Note 2?

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While many a Verizon customer is still torqued that they didn't get a Nexus 4 on Big Red, it's not like there aren't going to be other phones released for the holidays. Case in point -- the heavyweight championship contenders you see above, namely the Droid DNA and the Galaxy Note 2.

They both are big, have great innards, and big shiny screens. We can see why each has it's fans. Even better, both will soon be sitting on a shelf, waiting for you and your wallet to come pay a visit. We're not going to rehash all the pros and cons of each, there's plenty of that being done in the forums if you need a refresher. We're just going to ask -- if you're a Verizon customer, which one tickles your fancy? There's a poll after the break, or you can find it sitting in the sidebar to the right. Answer it. Let the world know!

Before we leave for another week, let's have a look-see at last week's poll results.

Were you able to order a new Nexus?

Looks like the demand is still strong, and we hope Google can get their act together and get them back up for sale. Retail has never been their strong suit.

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note 10.1 with Jelly Bean and VoLTE coming to Korea

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Samsung is rolling out a new model of its questionably successful Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet line, this time in Korea with LTE on board. Not only will that LTE provide users with a data connection, but Samsung has chosen to go all the way and offer VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) on the device also. Now you won't be holding this thing up to your head, but willing participants could surely use a bluetooth or wired headset to make calls if they really wanted to.

New wireless connectivity isn't the only big part of this story though, this device is hitting out of the box with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean as well. The update will further develop the multi-window functionality on the tablet, now allowing a wider range of applications to take advantage of Samsung's window management software. The S Pen also picks up new features like hovering to preview items and others. These upgrades to Note-specific software will look familiar to anyone that has used the latest Galaxy Note 2.

The last line item on the software updates side in this release indicates that other models of the Note 10.1 around the world in both 3G and Wifi configurations will be receiving the update as well, although "throughout the year" is the only timeframe offered in this particular release.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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3 years ago

U.S. Cellular now offers an unlimited 4G LTE data plan

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In an age where two of the four big U.S. carriers are moving away from unlimited data packages, one of the smaller -- dare we say "second tier" -- carriers is coming out with its own unlimited plan. U.S. Cellular has announced today that it will be offering an unlimited LTE data plan for just $40 a month. Customers wishing to tether their devices will also be able to do so, even on this unlimited plan, with an additional $20 per month charge.

The carrier has been rolling out LTE to more markets as of late, and plans to have 58-percent of its customer base covered in LTE by the end of 2012. Although this may or may not be enough to convince some users to leave their current carrier, it's a great option to have if you're currently a U.S. Cellular customer.

The plan is supposedly for a "limited time", and in concurrence with this deal the carrier is offering $100 instant discounts on some popular LTE devices, like the Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3), to boot. U.S. Cellular is really piling on the promotions this holiday season.

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3 years ago

Google signs with European music publishers to bring 5.5 million new tracks to Play

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There's been a whole lot of talk about Google Music in the recent weeks, as Google has been furiously rolling out features to new countries and signing big content deals to back them up. Play Music went live in several European countries, it's music "matching" service just came to Europe, gapless playback support hit the app and this latest deal is going to bring another 5.5 million tracks from European music publishers to everyone's Google Play Store.

Google struck a deal with music publishers to bring these tracks to 35 countries in total, with royalty rates in-line with what Amazon and Apple are paying labels, although no exact amount was specified. This is a really big deal when it comes to improving the general public's view of the Google Play Store ecosystem, which is all too important when selling devices these days.

Source: Businessweek

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3 years ago

Qeexo FingerSense screen able to distinguish knuckle, stylus, nail, and finger taps

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Qeexo, a small company borne out of Carnegie Mellon, has been introducing FingerSense, a technology that allows smartphones and tablets to tell the difference between touches with a fingertip, finger pad, nail, knuckle, stylus, or stylus eraser.

They've modified a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a special acoustic sensor, while their  custom software demonstrates wide variety of applications, including contextual menus accessed through knuckle-taps, artistic input, and gaming. Qeexo is quietly getting developers hooked up with their Android SDK, and as a part of their pitch to OEMs, Qeexo boasts FingerSense is low-latency, real-time, and has a small demand on power. 

Personally, I could see this kind of touch behavior becoming very natural, and adding a whole level of navigational depth to Android beyond the standard set of gestures we've become used to. The only problem is that it hinges on smartphone manufacturers being on board, and even then, it can take awhile for them to work it into a final, shipped product. At the same time, Qeexo has to win over developers to support the input with compelling experiences that push manufacturers to adopt FingerSense - a hard sell for busy developers. 

More information on FingerSense, including a finished paper on the project is available here, while developers can learn more about getting involved at Qeexo's site. Developers, any interest? What are the odds that an OEM will pick this up? Could you guys see yourselves using knuckle-taps on a regular basis?

Via: TechNewsDaily

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3 years ago

Should I upgrade to the Nexus 4 now that the Galaxy Nexus has 4.2?

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Now that there are no questions about the Galaxy Nexus and it getting Android 4.2 (there never should have been any), it's time to take a look at the big question again -- should I spend money and upgrade? We've taken a look at how the Nexus 4 stacks up against the Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X, and how the 4.1.2 version of the Galaxy Nexus fares against the Nexus 4. Now that both phones are on the same version of the OS, and I've been able to use them for a few days, hopefully I can help you decide if you should push the button and order when the Nexus 4 becomes available again.

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3 years ago

Amazon kicks off Black Friday week with smartphone accessory deals

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Black Friday's tendrils have crawled upwards to Monday, which means Amazon already has some excellent deals posted. For those of us into all things smartphoney, there are quite a few great accessories and devices that have been significantly marked down. There are also a lot of crazy flash sales going every couple of hours and offer lots of opportunity for those of us that want to get our holiday shopping done early. I just missed out on a 64 GB microSD memory card for $38; they were all sold out in a matter of minutes, so you're going to have to be fast. Let's see what else Amazon is offering...

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3 years ago

From the forums: Cyber Warrior's Nexus 10 hacking video tutorials

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We know plenty of people who grabbed a Nexus 10 last week are aware of how to unlock and root it. But there's also a whole bunch of people, some even new to Android, who might need a starting point. For those folks, there's a real treat in the Nexus 10 forums.

You might know Cyber Warrior from the Galaxy S3 forums, or from his amazing Android wallpapers. Turns out, he's a man of many other hacking related talents as well, and has put together and awesome pair of video tutorials to show you how to unlock the bootloader, and then root the Samsung Nexus 10 tablet. A world of potential is inside there, and this is your first step if you want to try and unlock some more of it.

The videos are clear and well done, but that's not even the best part. Cyber's also always quick to assist from the coaches box anytime you hit a snag. He'll be there to help if you have any questions, and between he and the rest of the hard-working crew in the forums you'll soon be unlocked, rooted, and back running again if there's a problem. Sharing is caring, and the mods and advisers in the forums are the sharing, caring type of Android nerds.

And we love 'em all for it! 

[How-to] Unlock/Re-lock the Google Nexus 10 bootloader

[How To] Root the Google Nexus 10 & Install ClockworkMod Touch Recovery

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3 years ago

'La Fleur' Galaxy S3 tipped for January arrival

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It seems the Galaxy Note 2 might not be the only Samsung handset getting a fresh coat of paint early next year. Leaked press shots from SamMobile show what the site says is a "La Fleur"-branded Galaxy S3 sporting a floral design, along with similarly-decorated Galaxy Ace 2, Galaxy Ace DUOS and Galaxy S Duos handsets.

The site says the floral-printed phones will feature unchanged internal specs, and will go on sale in January, just in time for Valentine's day. Of course, Samsung's no stranger to more... exotic stylings for its smartphones, especially around Valentine's. Last year it released its Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note in questionable "berry pink" shades.

Source: SamMobile

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3 years ago

Ordered a Nexus 4 bumper? You may have to wait a while...

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So, some of us have our shiny new Nexus 4's in hand now. And, we're enjoying them very much. But, what about the accessories? Well -- in the UK Play Store at least -- the Nexus 4 Bumper is the only new Nexus product currently showing as in stock. You can still order one, and we're promised delivery in 3-5 business days. Great stuff. Or, so you might think. 

See, I ordered a Nexus 4 Bumper on launch day last Tuesday. In one of my better judgment calls, I ordered the Bumper separately to the phone. After all, it's no secret that Nexus accessories have lagged way behind device launch dates before, is it? The phones sold out pretty quickly, but the order was processed and delivered within 3 business days as promised. So, where's the Bumper ordered on the same day? Still a pending transaction according to Google Wallet.

A quick call to Google Play customer support came up with nothing, but to their credit, they have been looking into the issue. This morning an email dropped suggesting I may be in for a wait. 

We are working to ship all items in your order as quickly as possible within the 3 week timeframe. You will receive an email confirmation as soon as your order is processed and on it's way.

Looks like the same 3 week timeframe in which Nexus 4 orders will be processed. The difference being that you can still order these right this very second from the Play Store. Not the best turnaround time for an official accessory. (That's to say nothing of the official Nexus 4 charging pod that's still MIA.)

So, the question to ask is -- has anyone actually had a Nexus 4 Bumper delivered? If so, jump into the comments below, or into the Nexus 4 forums and let us know what it's like. 

More: Nexus 4 Forums

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3 years ago

No, your Nexus 4 won't magically grow LTE support (updated Nov. 23)

Ed. Note: This story was updated several times on Nov. 23, 2012, in the wake of the news that the Nexus 4 indeed can receive LTE data on Band 4, otherwise known as AWS. The original updates to this story (and a temporary change to the headline) altered the text more than they should have. While it's still arguable as to the ramifications of this LTE discovery, we should not have re-edited the text. We have since restored this post in its entirety, which you can read below. - Phil

 

It takes more than a chip to enable 4G connectivity

Ever since a recent iFixit teardown revealed the presence of a Qualcomm WTR1605L 4G LTE-capable radio chip in the Nexus 4, there's been a lot of speculation as to what it might mean. Conventional wisdom suggests that LG wouldn't just include extraneous silicon in the device unless it was planning to use it for something.

That's led some to believe that the current Nexus 4, a device advertised with HSPA+ connectivity, might actually be hiding LTE support to be unlocked in a future software update. Or maybe it could be possible to root the Nexus 4 and, you know, use mad hacking skills or something to unlock LTE on the device.

All of those things are wrong.

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3 years ago

Xperia Tablet S gets firmware update with VPN fix

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If you picked up a Sony Xperia Tablet S before it was recalled over water resistance concerns, you'll be pleased to learn that the tablet has just received an over-the-air update. The patch to 'release6a' is still based upon Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich -- no Jelly Bean yet, unfortunately -- but it does fix a few problematic bugs with VPN connectivity on the Sony tablet, which could be useful if you're connecting the tab to a corporate network.

Xperia Tablet S owners can pick up today's update by heading to Settings > About tablet > Software updates. The Sony-made tablet is expected to go back on sale soon, presumably with fixed water-resistant capabilities.

Source: XperiaBlog

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