3 years ago

EA bringing The Sims Freeplay to Android this month


If you're one of the millions of Sims fans around the world this next piece of news might interest you. EA is bringing their hit freemium version of the game, The Sims Freeplay to Android. No exact date as yet, but it will be launching in the Android Market sometime in February. 

In Freeplay, you can control the daily shenanigans of upto 16 different Sims, designing and directing their lives as you see fit. In a break from the norm, Freeplay runs in 24-hour cycles meaning that you will need to check in throughout the day and respond to your Sims needs in real time. The game will also employ an in-app purchase model, but everything can be unlocked free of charge if you're willing to put the time in. 

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3 years ago

Samsung Infuse 4G Gingerbread update now available over Kies Mini



Good news, everyone! After a bit of a false start yesterday, the Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread update for the Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T is now available via the Kies Mini. Now the bad news: the Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread update (software version KL2) for the Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T is now available via the Kies Mini. (See what we did there?)

Kies is notoriously one of the most tempermental update system there is, and that stigma hasn't been lessened with this latest update. A good number of you are seeing the same thing we are in the image above -- an unregistered device. That's no fun.

But at least the update is finally out there, and these things have a habit of sorting themselves out. Shame it's such a mess in the meantime.

More: Infuse 4G forums; Samsung

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3 years ago

Sprint HTC EVO Shift 4G gets a software update


Sprint today announced that the HTC EVO Shift 4G is getting a software update. Here's what's new in software version 2.77.651.3:

  • Security Update
  • Updated Peep client ( to align with Twitter)
  • Battery life improvements

The "Security update" presumably removes the Carrier IQ analytics software from the device (remember that Sprint had quit using it anyway). Head into your settings menu to snag the update now, or you can wait for it to push out automatically starting Feb. 7.

Source: Sprint
More: EVO Shift 4G review; EVO Shift 4G forums

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3 years ago

Sprint officially announces the ZTE Optik, available Feb. 5 for $99


We first outed the $99 ZTE Optik Honeycomb tablet a week ago, and today Sprint has made it official. The 7-inch Android 3.2 device will be available Feb. 5. Spec-wise, the Optik is right up there with most other Android tablets. To wit:

  • 7-inch display at 1280x800 resolution
  • Android 3.2 Honeycomb (No mention of an Android 4.0 upgrade)
  • Dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor at 1.2GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • GPS
  • Wifi (802.11 b/g)
  • 4,000 mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Stereo speakers

Do we finally have an Android tablet that beats all others on price while matching many in specs? We'll have to wait until we get it in our hot little hands. But consider our intereset piqued.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

The best Canadian Android Phones - As of Feb. 2, 2012


Welcome to the best Canadian Android Phones as of Feb. 2, 2012. Or you can call them our favorite Android phones. Or the top Android phones. Really, call them whatever you want. Here's what you're getting: Our unabashed, unapologetic and unequivocal list of what we consider to be the best Android smartphones available on the three major Canadian carriers today.

Just like with our American list, you can't have this sort of thing without controversy. But considering that we're talking Canadian phones and Canadian readers, we also expect the discussion to be much more civil. 

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3 years ago

HTC addressing Wifi security loophole in some Android handsets


HTC is updating some of its Android phones to address a security vulnerability which could allow malicious apps to steal Wifi security information. In a post on its official support site, the manufacturer says that many of the affected handsets have already been updated over-the-air, however some may require a manual update.

On an affected device, the bug in question could allow an Android application with the innocuous-sounding "ACCESS_WIFI_STATE" permission to access Wifi passwords for any network the phone's connected to. According to security researchers Chris Hessing and Bret Jordan, who originally discovered the vulnerability, phones affected by the bug include --

TheNextWeb reports that Hessing and Jordan discovered the issue in September 2011, but worked with Google and HTC to track down the root cause and develop a fix before going public. That's why we're just hearing about this for the first time today.

As HTC says, if your device is affected, it's likely already been updated with the fix over-the-air. The manufacturer says to check back next week for more information on a manual patch for certain handsets. In any case, we're not too worried about this latest security scare, and we don't think you should be either. If you were affected, chances are you already have the fix. And after all, stealing a Wifi password is among the less menacing things a malicious app could do.

Source: HTC Support; via: TheNextWeb

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3 years ago

A.I.type releases FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard


Early last month we told you about A.I.type and their need for beta testers for a new "floating" spilt keyboard.  Fast-forward to today, and the beta product is now finished, and FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard is now available in the Android Market.  Based on the original A.I.type keyboard and it's amazing prediction engine, FloatNSplit brings a new and unique user interface for tablet users, with a split keyboard that's not only resizable, but with a movable "window" that A.I.type says will change your tablet typing experience.

It's also completely customizable, to adapt to your typing style and needs.  Options include dedicated numeric keys that appear and hide with a finger swipe, a resizing button, and cut/copy/paste/undo/redo functions built into the app itself.  But of course the killer feature is the floating split style.

You can split the tablet version into two semi-transparent halves for easy thumb typing, and they can be dragged separately and positioned anywhere you like on your screen.  A virtual button switches through the three modes (full, split, and floating) to keep the keyboard small and in perfect position for thumb typing with one or both hands.  FloatNSplit currently supports over 30 languages and character layouts, with context-sensitive text prediction and auto-correct available for English, Hebrew, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian, French and Dutch. Support for Greek, Turkish, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Tagalog is said to be coming soon.  

AI FloatNSplit Tablet Keyboard requires Android 2.2 or higher, and sells in the Android Market for $5.99.  Six bucks is a lot to spend on an Android application, but A.I.type is so confident that it's offering its own two-day refund guarantee, so I'm definitely checking it out.  We've got a video, some screenshots, and a download link after the break.

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3 years ago

Late night poll: Have you read Google's new privacy policy?


You might have heard that Google has a new consolidated privacy policy coming in March.  All the cool kids are talking about it, and even Microsoft has had a little to say to help you decide how you feel about it.  On one side, you have folks who aren't concerned or say it's a good thing, and on the other you have those who say Google's new policy is horrible for us, the users.  (We're ignoring the folks who claim it will hasten the zombie apocalypse or cause biblical repercussions of any form).  Tonight, we just want to know how many of you guys have even bothered to read it?

Let us know in the poll, and when you're done, have a read if you haven't already. 

Have you read the new Google consolidated privacy policy?

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3 years ago

The best U.S. Android Phones - As of Feb. 1, 2012


Welcome to the best Android Phones as of Feb. 1, 2012. Or you can call them our favorite Android phones. Or the top Android phones. Really, call them whatever you want. Here's what you're getting: Our unabashed, unapologetic and unequivocal list of what we consider to be the best Android smartphones available on the four major U.S. carriers today.

You can't have this sort of list without controversy. We get that. And discussion is good. And so we're just going to anwer the question as simply as we can here: What do we think is the best phone on any given U.S. carrier as of right now? They're all in this post. No metrics, no scores. Just our pics and a tad of explanation, with the goal of helping you find the best phone on a particular carrier at any given time.

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3 years ago

Full-page ads attack Google's privacy policy; el Goog responds


Google, having already explained to the boys and girls inside the Beltway that they don't need to go all Chicken Little over its upcoming new consolidated privacy policy, today took aim at Redmond, Wash., for (if you can believe it) acting even more childish. More specifically, Google responded to claims from Microsoft (among others) that it's evil, it's only out to sell your information and that if you're not careful, Google will loosen your teeth while you sleep. (We might be confused over that last point.)

For those of you who don't ready words printed on dried pulp, the full-page ads Microsoft has taken out are "Putting people first" and go on to say the following about Google:

Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like "transparency," "simplicity" and "consistency," are really about one thing: making it easier for Google to connect the dots between anything you search, sen, say or stream while using one of their services.

But, the way they're doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash? One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.

To be clear, there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve the quality of an advertising product. But, that effort needs to be balanced with continuing to meet the needs and interests of users. Every business finds its own balance and attracts users who share those priorities. Google's new changes have upset that balance, with users' priorities being de-prioritized. That's why people are concerned and looking for alternatives.

If these changes rub you the wrong way, please consider using our portfolio of award-winning products and services.

This is straight up political theater, folks. Never mind that if Microsoft was in the search/advertising business, it'd be doing (if it was smart) exactly the same thing. But it's not. It's in the software licensing (and/or litigating, depending on who you ask) business. And Google continues to repeat that it's not collecting any new data with this new privacy policy, nor is it selling your data.

We're really not going to tell you what to think here. Read Google's responses from today. Go back and read its responses to Congress. And then read Google's new privacy policy, which is only a month away from taking effect. Then decide just how worried you are.

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3 years ago

AT&T throttle, Galaxy Nexus screen burn in? [From the Forums]


While overall news has been rather slow as head on into Mobile World Congress, there has still been plenty of tidbits popping up here and there to keep things happening. If you missed out on anything from today, get yourself caught up either here on the blogs or in the Android Central forums:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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3 years ago

Samsung releases AT&T Galaxy Note kernel source code


The device itself won't be available for another couple of weeks or so, but Samsung has wasted no time in releasing the Linux kernel source (and other open-source bits and pieces) for the AT&T Galaxy Note. The AT&T Note (aka SGH-I717) sports a slightly different hardware setup to its international counterpart, the GT-N7000, hence the difference in behind-the-scenes code. As per the open source rules, the code is freely available for anyone to grab over at the Samsung Open Source site.

Though source code isn't a whole lot of use without the device itself, at least this early code release should jump-start the AT&T Galaxy Note ROM scene once the phone launches. Speaking of which, it's due from Feb. 19, for $299 on contract.

More: Samsung Open Source

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3 years ago

Motorola Droid 4 lands on Verizon's Droid Does site


As the Motorola Droid 4 inches closer to release, the device has taken its place on Verizon's "Droid Does" site, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Droid RAZR and Droid Xyboard. You'll find the usual teaser content, as well as a rundown of specifications for Verizon's first 4G LTE QWERTY slider. As we saw during our hands-on time with the Droid 4 at CES, the phone sports a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and a full gigabyte of RAM, just like the Droid RAZR. The Droid 4 sets itself apart from older Droid models with its laser-cut, edge-lit keys, and differentiates itself from most modern smartphones just by having a QWERTY keyboard. The site itself even acknowledges “the decline of other fixed QWERTY devices”.

Display-wise, you’ve got a 4-inch qHD (960x540) panel with Gorilla Glass and “splash-resistant nanotechnology”. And on the software side you’ll find Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, along with Motorola’s Motoblur Philblur UI. Moto’s Smart Actions app is also included, which should help with conserving battery life and automating common tasks, and you also get streaming capabilities through MOTOCAST. We’d expect an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to be on the cards for the Droid 4, too.

There’s no official release date for the Droid 4 just yet, though unconfirmed rumors point to a launch later this month. And with Verizon starting to promote the device on DroidDoes.com, it certainly looks like we could be seeing it sooner rather than later.

Hit the source link to check it out for yourself -- if you’re eager to pick one of these up, you can also sign up for updates at the bottom of the page. Be sure to check out our full hands-on with the Droid 4 from CES for more info.

Source: DroidDoes.com

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3 years ago

New Zealand winery uses QR codes and augmented reality app to suggest food pairings


Brancott Estate, a winery based out of New Zealand, has just launched their first Android and iOS app, and along with it, they've started putting QR codes on all of their wine bottles. When you use the app to scan the code printed on the label with your phone's camera, it offers food pairing suggestions, along with some more elbaorate promotions, like an augmented reality view and a puzzle game. The Brancott Estate app (called "World's Most Curious Bottle") also provides descriptions of  aromas, and some info on the climate in which the grapes were grown for 14 of their wines.

While there are plenty of other apps out there that offer a broader selection of wines to reference, not to mention the ability to search by meal, it's not often you see retail products ship with legitimately helpful QR codes on them. For wine in particular, a few third parties have stepped in to provide rich data for wines, namely Cellar Key, which hangs a little QR code around the bottleneck. 

Considering how little I know about wines, quick, in-store references like this can be hugely helpful when picking something out. Even seasoned wine-drinkers will appreciate the added level of detailed information set-ups like this can provide. It's just unfortunate that even after over a decade of being largely available, QR codes still haven't quite caught on. Maybe pairing up with apps will become more of a necessity if they're going to see any real use. I'm also a little worried that as much hype as there is behind NFC, it will end up in the same boat. 

You can download the Android app at the link below, if you're curious. Do you guys use QR codes regularly? What would it take to get you to use them more often?

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3 years ago

What is recovery? [Android A to Z]


What is recovery?  In Android, recovery refers to the dedicated, bootable partition that has the recovery console installed.  A combination of key presses (or instructions from a command line) will boot your phone to recovery, where you can find tools to help repair (recover) your installation as well as install official OS updates.  Because Android is open and has the recovery source code available, building a customized version with more and different options is relatively easy as well.  Let's look at both options.

The stock recovery is pretty limited, but that's by design.  Its main purpose is to delete all user data and files, or to perform system updates.  Normally, both these operations are started from the running Android system, or you can do things manually and boot right into recovery yourself.  When you tell your phone to do a factory reset, recovery is what boots up and erases the files and data.  Likewise with updates -- when we restart to install an official OS update, it's done in recovery.  Recovery is also where we go to manually install official OS updates we've downloaded from the Internet.  It's very useful, but limited.

Custom Android recoveries offer much more.  They have been coded to allow for backup and restore functions, selective deletion of data so you don't have to wipe everything, and modified to allow update packages that have not been digitally signed by official sources.  You also can mount various partitions so that you can copy files to the SD card without having to remove it or reboot into Android. Anytime you see someone mentioning Clockwork or Amon Ra, they're talking about custom recoveries.  Because of the extra functionality built in, they are a pretty important tool for folks who want to hack their Android phone or tablet.  Recoveries aren't as pretty as a custom ROM and don't get the same love from users and bloggers that custom builds of Android do, but in the end they're even more important. Without them none of this custom ROM stuff would be possible.  

Previously on Android A to Z: What is a QR Code?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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