3 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Hvar streets


Today's Free Android Wallpaper comes to us from member Jan Van Assche, who uploaded this shot of the brick streets in Hvar, Croatia.

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3 years ago

Google responds to Congress about its updated privacy policy


Congress wanted answers regarding Google's updated and consolidated privacy policy that goes into effect March 1, and el Goog has responded with a blog post as well as a 13-page letter to eight U.S. representatives.

The long and the short of it is this:

  • Google's not using the updated privacy policy to collect new information.
  • The new privacy policy doesn't let Google sell your information or anything crazy like that.
  • The new privacy policy consolidates dozens of individual policies, with a few exceptions for legal reasons.
  • There are a number of Google services that you can use -- including Chrome, Search and Youtube, to name but three -- that you don't have to be logged in at all to use.

In regards to Android specifically, the good people in Washington asked for the following:

8. Please explain exactly how a user of an Android Phone will be affected by Google’s new policy. Is there any ability for users to opt-out, other than not purchasing and using an Android phone? How will Google’s new policy affect users who do not use an android phone but automatically stay logged into their Gmail accounts on their phones?

Google explained that the new privacy policy doesn't materially affect Android, nor do you even have to have a Google account (or at least be signed in) to use an Android device. That's technically true, of course, but you'll certainly lose some functionality. On the other hand, you have devices such as the Amazon Kindle Fire that have become successful without deep Google integration.

Here's Google's full response to that question:

Our updated privacy policy, like the prior versions, covers users signed into their Google Accounts on Android phones just as it does users signed into their Google Accounts from a desktop computer. So the change will not have any significant impact on users of Android phones, and we are not collecting any new or additional data about Android users in connection with this change.

Users can choose not to log into an Android phone with a Google Account and still use it to place phone calls, send text messages, browse the web and use certain Google applications that do not require account authentication such as Google Maps. Some Google applications such as Android Market and Gmail require authentication with a Google Account.

Be sure to hit the links below and read Google's complete responses.

Sources: Google Public Policy Blog; response to Congress (pdf) 
More: Google's updated privacy policy

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3 years ago

Steam mobile app beta now open to all users


The Steam beta app for Android which was released on the Android Market last week has now opened its doors to all users of the popular digital distribution network. A new update to the Steam app on the Android Market opens things up to everyone after a brief invite-only period. That means you'll be able to log in, browse the Steam store and use all of the app's community features without waiting for a beta invite.

To find out what to expect from the Steam mobile app for Android, check out our hands-on article. We've got Android Market links for you after the break.

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3 years ago

Sky Go headed to some HTC and Samsung phones in February


UK satellite broadcaster Sky has announced that it'll be bringing its Sky Go service to selected HTC and Samsung smartphones from February. Sky Go, which has been available on iOS for some time, allows subscribers to view live TV and archived content from certain channels on the on mobile devices.

Initially, Sky will be limiting its roll-out to a handful of (fairly) recent HTC and Samsung smartphones "based on sales volumes", though it's promising a wider roll-out "in time". The first wave of supported devices includes the Desire, Desire S, Desire HD, Incredible S, Sensation, Galaxy S and Galaxy S II.

Android users will have access to 22 live TV channels through the Sky Go app right out of the door, with Sky Movies on Demand due to arrive at a later date. You'll find a full breakdown of exactly what Sky customers can expect from this new app over at the source link.

Source: Sky

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3 years ago

ASUS Padfone at Mobile World Congress -- mark it, Dude


The ASUS Padfone will be seen at Mobile World Congress. No more rumors, no conjecture. Done deal, at least as far as ASUS' press invite is concerned.

The Padfone's actually not just a tablet, nor is it just a phone. It's both, actually, and neither is it new. It actually was announced way back in May 2011, and ASUS showed us the concept in a couple of promo videos -- a 4.3-inch smartphone docks with and powers a 10-inch tablet. Here's how ASUS described it at the time:

Innovation is at the heart of ASUS design and the new Padfone reveals exciting new possibilities for mobile computing and communication. This convergent device combines a smartphone and a tablet computer into one symbiotic gadget that allows consumers to choose the screen size that best fits their activities while seamlessly sharing data and 3G internet access.

We'd presume the Padfone we see in a few weeks will be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (at least it better be), and we're intrigued by the prospect of a smartphone powering the tablet, an idea that's been tried (and failed) in years past. Anyone remember the Palm Foleo? But that was a device obviously before its time. There also are the obvious questions about design and implementation (check out the videos after the break for the early look at that) and probably more important -- how it handles battery life. Figure the tablet part of the equation has its own battery. But when connected, does the Padfone drain soley from the tablet, with the smartphone all but shut down? Does it still trickle from the phone? Inquiring minds want to know, folks.

Anyhoo. We'll be at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to bring you the ASUS Padfone -- and anything else the company has up its sleeve.

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3 years ago

Waze 3.0 brings Yelp, Foursquare integration


Youtube link for mobile viewing

Waze this morning has taken the wraps off Version 3.0, which brings Foursquare and Yelp integration to the Android navigation app. It's also bringing a new minimal user interface, and social location stack, meaning more community-currated information than ever.

We've got the full press release and download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Late night poll: What version of Android are you running?


We know what Google tells us about the number of devices on each platform.  We can also read server logs and get a pretty good idea of the versions of Android hitting the site.  But what better way to find out what versions of Android you guys are running than to ask?  We're not interested in the minor version numbers, just the platform version in general.  If you use more than one device, just answer for the one you use most to visit Android Central.  

Honeycomb is my choice.  What's yours?  Answer in the poll.


What version of Android are you running?

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3 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich build (4.0.4) leaked for the Nexus S 4G, looks to be release quality


An internal testing Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the Samsung Nexus S 4G has been leaked out of Sprint, containing a new software modem, bootloader, and a 4.0.4 build.  Some are reporting this is the final version and we'll soon see an OTA for the NS4G, but that's speculation at this point.  We do know that this seems to run smoothly, with everything working including the Wimax radio.  It's build number IMM26, with a final kernel build and the ROM is signed with release keys which makes it pretty likely.

Of course the OTA for the Nexus S 4G can't come soon enough for many users, who have seen the 3G version of the Nexus S and the Motorola Xoom get their ICS builds pushed to them.  We have to remember that Sprint not only has more network testing involved in their version, but the addition of Google Voice integration and Google Wallet means their release cycle will be longer.  I'll go out on a limb and say Nexus S 4G users will see ICS released long before any other handset gets it, even if it's not imminent.  We've seen extremely stable builds of Android 4.0 for the NS4G for a while now, and you know the developers already have their hands dirty (trust me, they are all over it) using tonight's leaked files to make things even better.  If you're not the type who follows the manufacturers update path, hit your favorite ROM developer in a day or two.

If you're not the waiting type, visit the links below and try it on for size.  Heed the warnings, and if you hit any snags visit the forums and holler!

Source: XDA-Developers; via Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Koobe and Qualcomm announce next-gen e-reader with mirasol display


Koobe, one of the greater China market's biggest maker of e-reader devices, has partnered with Qualcomm today at the Taipei International Book Fair to announce the mirasol display equipped Jin Yong reader.  Named after the modern Chinese-language novelist of the same name, the Jin Yong reader features a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a custom OS built on Android 2.3 base, and a 5.7-inch XGA (1024 x 768) mirasol display with a screen resolution of 223 ppi. According to Simon Hsu, general manager of Koobe, Inc., 

Users of the Jin Yong Reader have come to expect a compelling reading experience in terms of both content and functionality.  By incorporating mirasol displays into this advanced version, we will offer our customers a new and compelling experience by adding color and interactive content without sacrificing outdoor visibility and battery life.

This sounds like quite the combination for an e-reader device.  The Jin Yong reader supposedly has a battery with enough power for "weeks of reading under typical usage", where typical usage means about a half hour of daily reading.  It's hardly likely we'll be seeing this one in the US, but hopefully someone manufacturers an e-reader with Qualcomm's mirasol display stateside.  Hit the break for the full press release.

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3 years ago

Bugdroid gets busy at Gasparilla [AC After Dark]


OK, OK. Maybe first thing in the morning was a wee bit early for that "smartphones in the bathroom" survey. Mea culpa. And we're not sure any time of day makes this one any better. So we're not even going to put the actual picture on the front page here. If you want to see that bugdroid is doing behind our own Lloyd here, you're going to have to click the source link below. But be forwarned: It'll offend a lot of people, and rightfully so, especially if you have daughters.

On the other hand, if you've ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or Fantasy Fest in Key West, or San Francisco's Bay to Breakers or Folsom Street Fair, or New York City in general, you've seen worse.  

This one comes to us from the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, which essentially is a mashup of Mardi Gras and pirates and booze and more pirates, with a little extra booze thrown in. (Tampa also brought us Android at the Redbull Flugtag event, too.) Some parts of Gasparilla are more familiy friendly than others -- you can guess which category this one falls in. Anyhoo, hit the link if you wanna see the bugdroid doing something we bet Google would prefer not see him do.

Souce: WTSP.com Gasparilla Parade Photos; Thanks, Jim!

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3 years ago

Four ways Android is doing exactly what it's supposed to do


You say tomato, I say tomahto. You say potato, I say potahto. And that's where we stand on the state of Android, at least compared to Mark Spoonauer of Laptopmag. Mark, whose opinion we certainly respect, tonight in a "Spoon Fed" blog post titled "Why Android is broken," highlights four reasons why he believes Android is "more vulnerable than ever," despite activating more than 700,000 devices a day. 

So is Android really doomed? At the rate it's been growing, can it be doomed? Let's break down Mark's points.

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3 years ago

Symantec updates its scary (but wrong) Counterclank 'malware' claims


Symantec has "adjusted" its statement to Computer World that as many as 5 million Android users may be affected by the latest bit of malware, coming to the conclusion that the applications in question are simply using an aggressive ad network SDK.  This mirrors the statement issued by Lookout, as well as our own.  (And as well as Computer World's Android Power faction.)

After initially telling users that the "malicious code" found in 13 Android Market applications was malware and capable of data theft and other nefarious activity, Symantec now says the apps in question are more akin to Windows adware and not inherently malicious.  

In other words, it's crapware.  This we can all agree with.  The apps in question use an advertisement SDK that allows things none of us likes -- it can add bookmarks, change your homepage, add shortcuts to the home screen and the like.  We've all installed some free Windows program from the web, and had it install (or try to install) browser toolbars, add shortcuts to the home screen for more spammy programs.  We all hated it then, and we hate it now.  What we hate even more is when a company that claims to be acting in the interest of our security jumps the gun and labels these types of programs the same way it would label a bot or trojan.  

We're mostly informed users here, and quickly realize the difference.  But how many of those who stumbled across websites parroting Symantec's cries of five million infected are as Android savvy as we are?  There's a good chance that it's not that many.  Instead those readers were left confused and concerned that they had been "hacked."

We hope that the rest of the web that followed along will update their stories with today's news. And more important -- we hope that app developers stay far away from this sort of thing. Lord knows we're going to stay away from them if they don't.

Source: Symantec

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3 years ago

LG Optimus L3 emerges in Sweden, appears to be new entry-level offering


LG has been busy selling various flavors of its high-end Optimus LTE over the past few months, but that doesn't mean it's forgotten about its entry-level line-up. A new budget device, dubbed the LG E400 Optimus L3, has appeared over on Swedish retailer CDON, running Android 2.3 (and LG's Optimus UI) on a 3.2-inch screen. Other specs include a 3 megapixel camera, HSDPA and Wifi connectivity and a microSD card slot. There's no information on what CPU you'll find powering this thing, but we wouldn't expect anything beathtakingly fast -- maybe a 1GHz single-core chip, if that. Nevertheless, from the outside the Optimus L3 looks like a stylish little device for anyone on a budget.

But there's some cause for concern regarding that 3.2-inch screen, as according to CDON's spec list, it's a QVGA (320x240) panel. In 2012, that kind of resolution borders on unacceptable, even on a budget device. Last year's Optimus One was fitted with a HVGA (480x320) screen, so we're hoping this is just an error on the part of the retailer.

The Optimus L3 is shown with a pre-order price of 1290 SEK (~£120, $190) off-contract, with stock apparently due to arrive on Feb. 27.

Source: CDON; via: GSMArena

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3 years ago

Slingplayer for Kindle Fire due to land in Amazon Appstore tomorrow for $30


Slingplayer for Android devices has been around for a while now. Sadly for Kindle Fire owners and their lack of the Android Market, they haven't been able to indulge upto now. Jan. 31 is the day though, as Slingplayer for Kindle Fire will be arriving in the Amazon Appstore for $30.

Shown off at CES, the interface is pretty much the same as the handset version, and thankfully matches the same price point as its Android Market brother. Definitely a welcome addition to Amazon's media consuming tablet. Download will be available at the source link below from tomorrow. Until then we'll just have to wait patiently. 

Source: Amazon Appstore

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3 years ago

Lenovo Thinkpad to receive Ice Cream Sandwich update in Q2


Lenovo are the latest company to jump on the Ice Cream Sandwich update bandwagon by announcing its plans to update the ThinkPad tablet.

The Thinkpad has been around since last summer, and while we don't have a specific date Lenovo have stated that the update will roll out during Q2. The IdeaPad is also slated to make the jump to Android 4.0 as well. It's easy to forget about these in our tablet filled world, but Lenovo makes some pretty nice hardware and the ThinkPad has a pretty killer keyboard dock as well. An ICS upgrade will be most welcome. 

Source: PC World

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