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3 years ago

Google goes after Apple via Motorola patents

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Motorola has filed with the International Trade Commission (that's the same one that blocked the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE for a spell) to sue Apple over seven undisclosed patents. The patents relate to the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod touch, for which Motorola is seeking an import ban.

So far, the only official word from Motorola has been "We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple's unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers' innovations." Also pertinent to the case is the fact that the patents in question aren't standards-based, so Motorola does not have to license them. Based on the history of patent litigation involving Apple (and sometimes Motorola) it sounds like the status quo, right?

Not so fast.

We've seen Motorola go after folks in the courtroom before, with a mixed bag of results. I hated it then, but it was just one company fighting with another company over your money -- in other words, business as usual. But that was all initiated before Google took over the helm. Today's news is something different.

Don't be evil

Google has made "Don't be evil" its company tagline. For the most part, Google has held true to its word. Google finds itself in hot water every now and then, but there's no malicious intent behind its goals. Better mapping and new pictures for Street View are things they care about. Thinking about all the repercussions and people who have no idea how to secure a Wifi network probably wasn't even an afterthought. And the deal with using what they call a standard, while knowing Apple's Safari browser didn't recognize it as such, to place cookies can be written as some folks at Google thought the +1 button was so cool they wanted it to work anywhere. Stupid, yes. Evil? Well, I don't think so. 

Again, this is different. Inside I've always been able to placate myself by thinking that throughout all this patent nonsense, Google has kept their hands clean. They've sued nobody, and fought hard for what they (and I) think is right. That all changed today. Since May, Google is directly responsible for the things Motorola do as a company, and the Motorola name in the middle is just a proxy. Yes, Google says Motorola will be run as a stand-alone venture, but ultimately they have the final word.

While you cheer and say Apple deserves a taste of their own medicine, I'll be here thinking of the people who might be saving to buy an iPad, only to (potentially) have the opportunity taken away  -- by Google. That makes me sad, and seeing Android fans cheer in droves makes me even sadder. We pride ourselves on the choice Android and Google give us, so seeing them try to take away a fair choice is not something I can support. Don't be evil, Google. Even when the other kids on the playground are.

More: WSJ online (paid content)

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3 years ago

Gameloft's new Order & Chaos spin-off will be lane defense

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Gameloft has been teasing a spin-off of their World of Warcraft clone for Android, Order & Chaos, for a few weeks now, and today took off the the wraps. It turns out Heroes of Order & Chaos will be a lane defense game (or MOBA), similar to Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends, and others in that sphere.

For those unfamiliar, you pick one of many flavorful, unique heroes, and use them to defend your headquarters against waves of mindless drones coming to do destroy your towers through three seperate lanes of attack. Not only do players have to defend, but they have to push into the opposing team's area and take out their base in order to win. 6 free heroes will be available on a shifting rotation, though you'll be able to pay through in-app purchases for permanent access. 

I'm just starting to get into Dota 2, and am finding the gameplay really great; it's actually pretty surprising that we haven't seen more games like it on Android yet, and I'm pretty confident Gameloft will do a good job with adapting the experience for mobile. Any LoL or Dota fans out there? Would you be willing to weather a gauntlet of microtransactions to play it on Android? At least you're already used to it from PC, right? We can expect Heroes of Order & Chaos to hit Google Play on October 11. 

Source: IGN

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3 years ago

Sprint's Motorola Photon Q one of the first phones to grace Moto's bootloader unlock page

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Remember the Motorola bootloader unlock site we talked about just an hour or two ago? We've got some great news to share direct from Moto -- the Sprint Photon Q will be one of the first phones eligible to use it. Per Motorola:

As of August 2012, the only Motorola devices which can be unlocked are:

  • Photon Q 4G LTE (Sprint)
  • RAZR Developer Edition (Europe Only)
  • XOOM

This leads to one huge question, which Moto addresses -- what about other phones? Moto says that they have to evaluate that on a phone-by-phone basis, and that they have worked with Sprint to come up with a solution that's favorable to everyone involved. It certainly appears that as far as Moto is concerned, unlocking shiny, new LTE phones is cool with them (using the right tools), but a lot of it will depend on the carrier. I don't want to sound discouraged, but we're all aware how that's going to fly with Verizon and AT&T.

Of course, there are risks involved when making your phone unsecure on purpose. Moto goes over these well, and it's a must read for anyone thinking of taking the plunge. We're just glad to see Motorola doing the right thing here, and now Android hackers and developers might not have to work as hard to own the phone they paid for.

As you can see, we've unlocked the Photon Q. The process only takes a few minutes, and pretty much mirrors what HTC's done with its more recent phones. You reboot into fastboot and get a token (you'll need the Android SDK installed, of course), feed that token back to Motorola, which gives you yet another number to repeat back. Quick, relatively easy -- if you can't follow these instructions, you really shouldn't be mucking about with custom software anyway -- and the way it should be done.

Source: Motorola

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3 years ago

T-Mobile's Galaxy S3 getting an OTA to fix bugs and remove local search

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T-Mobile's Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3) is seeing an OTA update (also available via Kies) today that promises improvements to performance and stability and adds Allshare Cast to the device. Here's the list of changes from T-Mobile support --

  • Android version 4.0.4/Software version T999UVLH2
  • AllShare Cast added to device
  • Resolved the error, ‘Enter MAC address' after entering the correct MAC address in the Mobile HotSpot configuration page if the MAC address entered did not contain the colons (:) or spaces.
  • Resolved issue where the contents of a Home screen folder would be rearranged alphabetically after a reboot.
  • Resolved issue where the name does not populate when trying to add a contact with NameID information, you must manually add.

As we've seen with the other U.S. variants of the Galaxy S3, this update also removes local search ability from the phones -- a tiny piece of information that Samsung and T-Mobile forgot to mention in the change log. We expect that sort of thing by now, but we still don't like it.

Anyways, to get the update either check through your Galaxy S3's settings menu or fire up the latest version of Kies and you'll be set. For more details, and full instructions, hit the source link below.

Source: T-Mobile; via Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Sprint Motorola Photon Q hands-on

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Here she be, folks, the Sprint Motorola Photon Q. It's one of Sprint's newfangled 4G LTE devices, with a five-row keyboard thrown in for good measure. And what's more -- it's a "global-ready" device, too, meaning you can use it outside of the United States on a GSM network. And that combines a couple of key features we know a you road warriors have been craving -- a great keyboard with some world-phone love. 

The long and short of it is this: The Photon's got the same great keyboard we've experienced on the Droid 4 on Verizon. It's a spitting image. The Photon Q has a 4.3-inch qHD display, it's powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and it's running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich (with a Jelly Bean update expected just as soon as possible, we imagine).

You'll also notice that new homescreen. And out of the box, the Photon has just that single homescreen. Crazy, no? Crazy like a fox, we'd argue. Swipe to the right, and you're presented with a screen that lets you add another blank screen, or one from a template. That's a great way of doing things.

Want more? We've got a quickie gallery and a few minutes of hands-on video after the break. Huzzah!

More: Photon Q specs; Photon Q forums

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3 years ago

Motorola's device unlocking page is live, but there are no devices listed yet

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Update: Scratch that, folks! We've just unlocked the Photon Q!

Motorola has finally started their bootloader unlocking program, but it's not yet complete. The process, which Moto promised we'd have in late 2011, looks very similar to the way HTC and ASUS are going about it. You'll register , read through all the warnings telling you not to unlock your bootloader, and use the Android SDK and fastboot to OEM unlock the phone with a key. 

We've no problem with this method. Having people familiar with the tools used to do the deed before letting them do something as important -- and dangerous -- as unlocking the bootloader on their phone is a good thing. Like HTC's tool, we're going to assume that this doesn't give you a full unlock, where radios and other proprietary things can be fooled with. We're OK with that too. Files we're not legally allowed to distribute or hack at are off limits, which makes carriers feel better. Besides, it's pretty simple to work around if you just have to have access.

The one little issue here is that no devices are listed as unlockable just yet. You'll find a link to the supported device list, which asks you to sign up then gives you an error page. We're hoping that this is just a work-in-progress sort of thing and the list will get fuller shortly. Of course, this will all be at the carrier's discretion, so there's a good chance your RAZR MAXX won't ever be listed. Like many of you, we'll be keeping a close eye on this one.

Source: Motorola; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

SongPop review - the Draw Something of music trivia

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SongPop is quickly becoming one of the more popular social games available on Android by seriously testing musical knowledge. Players take turns trying to identify five tracks within a specific genre from a multiple-choice list. Points are awarded based on how quickly correct answers are supplied, and once both players have had a go, their results are compared and a winner declared. Things can be made a little bit easier by buying power-ups with coins earned through gameplay or in-app purchases. Those power-ups can knock out two of the options in a list. Coins can also unlock new playlists, expanding your horizon of challenges.

The asynchronous set-up is and in-app purchase model is similar to Draw Something, but after one round, you’ll see that SongPop is a very different beast.

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3 years ago

Verizon and Motorola doing it up Sept. 5 in NYC

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Here we go again, folks. Motorola and Verizon just sent us a save-the-date invite for an event Sept. 5 in New York City. Whatever could it be? The Droid RAZR HD? A new tablet? Something completely different? Only one way to find out. Set your calendars, cause we'll be there with bells on.

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3 years ago

Android for Kids: Kindle Fire, or a Nexus 7?

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BrianKeith513 asks in our forums a pretty important question when it comes to purchasing a tablet for kids.

I'm asked a lot about mobile devices from friends and families, because I've worked in the mobile industry for many years now, in various capacities. However, I'm stumped over one thing; The Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire for kids.

Now I know that the Nexus 7 is a better value, in that it is superior in just about every way than the Fire. The thing is, is the Kindle Fire easier to use for an elementary school-aged child? She uses my iPad 2, and loves it, but her mom wants her to have her own tablet, no more than $200. What do you think?

An excellent question. I've already weighed in on the Nexus 7 versus the Kindle Fire, and there's a clear winner. But that's for me. A (relatively) grown adult. I've got kids, and my kids use tablets. A lot, actually.

But here's the thing: My 6-year-old doesn't particularly care which tablet she uses. Hell, I'm not even sure she knows the difference. For her, it's all about the apps. Which does the tablet have Where's my Perry on it? Can she play Ski Safari? (Yes, I got her hooked on that, too.) How about PBS Kids or Netflix? So long as it has the apps that she uses -- and that she knows she's allowed to use -- hardware doesn't really matter to her. "I like them both the same, Daddy," she just said to me. Of course, she's 6, but a girl's allowed to have an opinion, amiright? And we're talking about bouncing between the Nexus 7, iPad 2 (and 3) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. (She rocks a Chromebook, too, if you must know.)

Back to me, though, since I'm the one buying these things. If I had to choose between the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire for my budding little techie, I'd go with the Nexus 7, hands down. A few reasons for that:

  • Better screen resolution: Hands down, that's a major factor.
  • Ecosystem and flexibility: While I'm still amazed at how well the Amazon Appstore has done, there's nothing like the depth and flexibility of Google Play. Now, you have to balance the fact that Google has more apps with the fact that Amazon has better video. But Netflix takes care of a lot of that, and hopefully Google will one day catch up.

Now, make no mistake, my kids don't actually know all the minutiae when it comes to comparing the Kindle Fire to the Nexus 7. They know where the power button is. They know how to unlock the tablet. They know how to find their apps -- and there's a big difference, actually, since the Nexus 7 has proper homescreens with app icons -- and they know how to return to the homescreen. But, c'mon, they're 6 and 2. Tablets, at this point, are the same to them. At this point, the purchase needs to be about you, the parent. 

For me, those two reasons are enough to push me toward the Nexus 7 when it comes to my children. That might change when we see an updated Kindle Fire, so we'll have to revisit that. 

More: The Android Central Kids Section

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3 years ago

New features in Samsung Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update

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New Android 4.1 and TouchWiz features arrive in Jelly Bean update for Samsung's Galaxy S3

Samsung has a track record of including new features of its own along with major OS updates for its phones. Earlier this year Galaxy Note owners got their Android 4.0 update, which included “Premium Suite,” a selection of new Samsung software enhancements. And it looks like the manufacturer’s set to continue this trend when its 2012 flagship, the Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3), gets updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Yesterday we took a quick look at an early, leaked build of Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S3. But since then an newer version has come to light, revealing not only stock Jelly Bean features like Google Now and the redesigned notification shade, but a host of extra TouchWiz goodies too. Of course, remember that we're dealing with an unofficial pre-release build here, so certain functionality may be added or removed between now and whenever the OTA hits.

We’ll take a look at each major feature, one by one, after the break. We’ve also got pictures, if you’d prefer to skip to the end.

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3 years ago

DODOcase Hardcover for the Nexus 7

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Behold! The DODOcase Hardcover for the Google Nexus 7 Android tablet. We're in search of the perfect case for the Nexus 7, a task that's as daunting as it is fun. This latest offering brings us a folio-style hardcover case that has some simple but appreciated flair.

But will style trump substance here? And will our Nexus 7 remain in the Dodo, or will it travel on in search of a new protected life? Only one way to find out. Read on for our complete thoughts on the DODOcase Hardcover for the Nexus 7.

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3 years ago

This is not the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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The blurry-cam photo above is doing the rounds today, claiming to show Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note successor. The image comes from Know Your Mobile, which was given the image anonymously. It supplies the shot along with a familiar spec sheet -- a 5.5-inch screen, quad-core CPU, etc., etc.

As much as we hate to burst anyone's bubble, there's a problem with that photo. The problem is we’ve seen it before -- Samsung fan artist Daniel UY published an almost identical looking creation yesterday on Twitter, with the same front panel configuration and silver trim. Daniel’s image wasn’t leaked from Samsung, but instead an original creation of his own. It's this which a third party has manipulated into the image above, and sent out to the blogs.

For his part, original artist Daniel UY has today released the full-sized original version of his "Note 2" mock-up. Check 'em out below.

They're mighty impressive, but they're just fan-made images rather than the real deal. Repeat: This is not the Galaxy Note 2. So hold your horses, Internet -- we’ll see the real Galaxy Note 2 in a couple of weeks in Berlin, Germany.

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3 years ago

The Respawnables promises cartoony third-person shooting action

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​The Respawnables has recently been announced by Digital Legends, which will add a goofy twist to the usual class-based shooting game. The art is very similar to the cartoony style you'd see in Battlefield Heroes, and it looks like there's going to be just as many unlockables and customizability. While details are skimpy, it's a safe bet that this is going to be free-to-play with microtransactions available to buy virtual items, 

Three classes are highlighted in the teaser video below: a light scout, a balanced soldier, and a slow heavy weapons guy. There are a ton of weapons on display too, including dual pistols, sniper rifles, and miniguns. You probably won't be left hurting for selection. 

No word on a release date just yet, but I'm digging the style, and they get bonus points for poking fun at The Expendables. Anyone else willing to give this a shot?

Source: PocketGamer

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3 years ago

Are you ready for some football? Essential apps for the upcoming season

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The football season is upon us. Whether or not you’re a college fan, a pro fan or both, the excitement has been building and the first games are not that far away. The NFL has started preseason, but those games are pretty meaningless. To get you prepared for the upcoming seasons, we’ve compiled some of our favorite football apps, both for fantasy and not. There are many other apps, including some very good team-specific ones, but it would take quite a while to show off every team-focused app.

Nevertheless, onto the list:

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3 years ago

WWE launches first app, includes live second-screen experience for Monday Night Raw

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Wrestling fans, WWE has launched their first official app on Android today and is available in Google Play for free. For something about spandex-clad dudes pretending to beat the snot out of one another, there's actually a lot to the app.

There's a breaking news section for the latest updates in the ridiculous world of pro wrestling. There's also a ton of recent and archived wrestling videos available to stream. Wrestlers, divas, and legends all have their own bios, complete with biographies, milestones, photos, and links to their Twitter and Facebook pages. There's a full event schedule too if you want to buy tickets for the next time WWE comes to town, as well as a store to get kitted out with wrestling swag. For those that are really gung-ho about WWE, there's a bunch of community tools so you can talk shop in the forums from the app. 

The biggest thing the WWE app is offering is something called RAWactive, which allows fans to participate in live polls and get additional contextual information while Monday Night Raw is on. 

Any wrestling fans out there itching to catch up what's happening in WWE? I've got to admit to being a little inerested in checking out some of the classic videos. Yokozuna vs. Undertaker casket match really stands out for some reason, but what's your favorite wrestling moment of all time?

Via: TechCrunch

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