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2 years ago

Android Resolutions: Resolve to be hands-free in the car

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You're going to be using your smartphone more in 2012 than you did in 2011. And likely more the year after that, and the year after that. It's just the way of the world, folks. That makes this resolution all the more important. And while we're all guilty of breaking it, there's just no excuse.

Resolve to be hands-free in the car

It's that simple. We know, we know. We're all important. We've all got calls coming in. We've got text messages to read. But we've got to be safer in the car. And it's actually pretty easy to do.

  • If you have built-in Bluetooth, use it. Car manufacturers are offering more and more trim packages with built-in Bluetooth connectivity, and it's about the easiest and safest way to use your phone in spurts while keeping your eyes on the road on your hands-on the wheel. My wife bought a car in 2011, and I sold her on a higher trim package than she initially wanted because it had Bluetooth. (Should have gotten a commission on that.) "It's really a safety feature," I told her. And it is pretty simple. Not perfect -- dialing is a pain -- but it's absolutely better than having to reach into a purse or pocket to grab the phone. 
  • If you don't have built-in Bluetooth, get it. Even if you don't have Bluetooth built into your car, there some great aftermarket options. I've been using a speakerphone for years (which also streams audio into my car stereo over FM), and there are a number of great speakerphone choices. Another new one is OnStar FMV. For $300 (available from Best Buy), you get a replacement rear-view mirror that in addition to serving as a Bluetooth speakerphone also ties you into the OnStar service. Or if you have to, suck it up and use a Bluetooth headset.
  • Apps can help. Voice-to-text has been built into Android for some time now, and there are a number of apps that will read incoming text messages aloud, and send them for you as well, so you don't have to be holding your phone or, worse, typing. And if you really have a problem putting the phone down (or know of a new driver who does), there are apps that will effectively shut the phone down while the vehicle's in motion. It's not a perfect system, but it's an option. Safer driving has been a big initiative for Sprint, and the U.S. carrier has compiled a list of apps like Vlingo, ZoomSafer and its own Sprint Drive First app that can get you started.
  • Just put the phone down. This is the best thing you can do. Wait till you're out of the car, then get back to work.

We don't mean to get too preachy about this one. But smartphones aren't going anywhere. We're going to be using them more in our daily lives, not less. And with music streaming and navigation getting better all the time, it only makes sense that we'll be using our phones in our cars more and more. But we all have a duty to keep ourselves, our loved ones -- and each other -- safe on the roads.

Previous: Resolve to leave better comments in the Android Market

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2 years ago

Girls Gone Gadgets 03: Chewing through the restraints [NSFW-L]

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Ashley, Georgia, and special guest Kim talk RIM execs on a plane, Penny Arcade vs. bad marketers, the dangers of sex chat gone public, and games and accessories for iPad. This is Girls Gone Gadgets!

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2 years ago

ASUS Transformer Prime getting a speed boost with latest update

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Ye olde inbox this morning is alerting us to an update headed into the ASUS Tranformer Prime. The quad-core tablet, which is still awaiting its promised Ice Cream Sandwich Update, is now at software version 8.8.3.33-20111223. And in addition to some overall increased snappiness, we're hearing that the camera's launching much faster as well. Seeing any other improvements? Let's hear 'em!

More: Transformer Prime forums; thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Also: Read our Transformer Prime Review

 

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2 years ago

'7-inch ASUS EeePad' image appears, rumored for CES unveiling

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ASUS has seen considerable success with its 10-inch EeePad Transformer line, and now the Taiwanese manufacturer could be set to move into the 7-inch tablet space, if a newly-leaked promotional image is any indication. The shot, obtained by Italian site Notebook Italia, shows what seems to be a smaller Android-powered ASUS tablet with a slightly different design to earlier EeePad models. Most notably, the presence of docking connectors at the bottom suggests the possibility of a portrait-orientation keyboard dock, if such an add-on is offered. No firm information is available about specs for the mysterious device, however the possibility of  the Transformer Prime's beastly Tegra 3 chip powering this thing already has us salivating.

The source also suggests that ASUS' rumored 7-incher will make its debut at CES 2012 in Las Vegas, which should come as little surprise considering it's barely a week away at this point.

Source: Notebook Italia (Italian)

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2 years ago

CyanogenMod 7 nightly builds now available for SE Xperia Active, Xperia Pro and LG Thrill

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Following a slew of other phones late last week, the CyanogenMod team has just added nightly build support for three new devices -- Sony Ericsson's Xperia Pro and Xperia Active, as well the LG Thrill 4G -- AT&T's version of the Optimus 3D. Nightly builds of the popular custom ROM are built every day by the team's army of robots, giving advanced users the change to try out the very latest untested versions, bugs and all. They're also an important milestone towards a device being fully supported by CM.

Also worth noting is the fact that these nightlies are based on the current CyanogenMod 7 release, rather than the upcoming CyanogenMod 9, so if you're after ICS on these devices, then you'll have to wait a little while longer. We've got individual device links after the jump, or alternatively you can hit the source link to see all CM7 nightly builds.

Source: CM Mirror Network; via: XperiaBlog, +Ricardo Cerquiera

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2 years ago

Contest Winners: Android Tablets Made Simple book

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up shortly. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to this week's winners!

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2 years ago

Monday Brief: January 2, 2012 - Behind the sordid scenes

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Youtube video link for mobile viewing

2012 is here! And to help get things kicked off on the right foot we present to you -- Mobile Nations: Behind the sordid scenes.

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2 years ago

This is a picture of a Samsung Galaxy Note with an AT&T logo

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Forgive us for not being too terribly excited about a render of the Samsung Galaxy Note with an AT&T logo on it. But the Galaxy Note, despite its huge-ass 5.3-inch screen size, has garnered a surprising amount of interest here in the States, and this one you see before you here has UCLA featured on Google Maps. Interesting. (Check out our full review if you've yet to get your hands on one.)

But what we're really interested in is official pricing and a release date. If we had to guess, we'd put even money on seeing it in a week at AT&T's developer conference in Las Vegas (we'll be there, of course) on the eve of CES.

Anyhoo, here's a render of a Samsung Galaxy Note with an AT&T logo and a mention of UCLA. Don't think you'll be able to squint much more out of it, but feel free to try.

Source: SamMobile

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S II (I-9100) gets a couple new leaked ICS builds

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For you folks who enjoy poking your heads where they don't quite yet belong, a couple new Ice Cream Sandwich builds have leaked out for the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S II. And, yes, TouchWiz is there. And still looks like TouchWiz.  Of the two alpha versions, KP4 and KP8, the latter is said to be the "better" of the two. (These follow the KP1 build we saw a couple weeks ago.) And both are built on Android 4.0.3, the new official "base" of Ice Cream Sandwich.

That said, while these might be "official" builds, we've got absolutely no idea how finished they might be, so we're really not going to read too much into anything just yet. But TouchWiz has gotten better with ever iteration, and marrying it with ICS is something we're absolutely looking forward to trying.

You can snag ODIN-flashable downloads at the source link below, and check out the quick hands-on videos after the break.

Source: SamMobile

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2 years ago

CrackBerry tells how to install Android Market, apps to the PlayBook tablet

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We really do have a hard time without using the word "BlackBerry" in a sentence without also using the words "dying," "obsolete" or "time to switch." But we're also intrigued by how hard both RIM and enterprising hackers have been in running full-fledged Android apps -- including the Android Market -- on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

Our cousins at CrackBerry.com have done up a great walkthrough of how to install the Android Market an other Android apps onto the PlayBook, including entering into developer mode, resigning keys and other crazy stuff that has us asking this question:

Why the hell don't you just buy an Android tablet instead?

Anyhoo, check it out at the link below. Then find your nearest BB-using friend and give them a hug. They likely need it.

More: How to install the Android Market
and other applications to your BlackBerry PlayBook

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