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3 years ago

Xperia T/TX/TL Jelly Bean firmware certified ahead of release

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Sony's first round of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-based firmware has passed through certification at the PCTRB forum, a usual indicator that the update is just a few weeks away from being pushed out to handsets. Firmware for the international Xperia T and TX and the AT&T Xperia TL has passed certification, meaning those handsets should be first in line for the Sony Jelly Bean upgrade. In the case of the Xperia TL, carrier certification may lead to a slight delay, but TL owners can rest assured that the bulk of the work is done.

Late last year Sony promised to release Jelly Bean updates for the Xperia T and TX in "mid-Q1," so it looks like things are going according to schedule. If you own one of those phones, we recommend keeping an eye out for the update in mid-to-late February.

Source: PCTRB; via: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

T-Mobile updates its Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3 phones

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A couple more updates for you on this fine Thursday. T-Mobile is sending out updates for the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3. The GS2 update is said to include security enhancements, a "Qualcomm fix" and "Vlingo S Voice improvements," while the GS3 update has security enhancements and "improved user experience." Both updates are available via KIES or over the air.

  • For Galaxy S3 owners: You'll need to be on Android 4.1.1, software version T99UVDLJA to get the 4MB update.
  • For Galaxy S2 owners: You'll need to be back on Android 2.3.6, software version T989UVLDG for the 6.5MB update.

Galaxy S2 users on Android 4.0.4 looking for an update should have already received their bugfix update last week.

Source: T-Mobile (GS2 update, GS3 update)

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3 years ago

Pandora now using Play Store to manage One monthly subscriptions

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Pandora users wishing to upgrade from a free to paid account via the Android app can now manage their subscription directly in Google Play. Following a link in the settings of the app now takes you to a Play Store in-app purchase page to start the subscription. A Pandora One account will still set you back the same $3.99 (plus tax, at least in my state,) but this way it will be tied to your Google account. The terms right on the Play Store payment page explain that the app will continue to charge you on a monthly basis via Google Wallet.

This is a really nice way to manage subscriptions for many people, as having things tied to your Google account is usually better than individual logins and payment processes for each service. The new functionality is included in the latest version of the Pandora app, available at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Sprint's HTC EVO 4G LTE getting an update today

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Heads up, folks. Looks like the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE is getting itself a bit of an update today. We're not quite sure exactly what's new in the 44-megabyte update (the changelog you see here is the same as last month's Jelly Bean update), bringing things to version 3.16.651.3, but folks in our forums are reporting improvements to the proximity sensor, a properly silenced camera shutter (for when it should be silent), and voicemail seems to be improved. We'll update should we hear anything official.

Update: Sprint's finally posted the changelog. Here's what's new:

  • Proximity sensor improvements while on a call or listening to voicemail
  • Ability to output audio/video to HDTV (and other external displays via MHL cable
  • WiFi Connection improvements
  • Bluetooth compatibility improvements
  • Android process/application shutdown resolved

Source: EVO 4G LTE forums

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3 years ago

Metro PCS gets the LG Spirit 4G

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Metro PCS has announced it'll carry the LG Spirit, a 4.5-inch Android 4.0 smartphone with 4G LTE data. It's powered by a dual core processor running at 1.2GHz, has a 2150 mAh battery and sports a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3MP shooter up front. The Spirit is available online and in stores today for $199 (after a $70 mail-in rebate). Metro PCS' no-contract plans start at $40 a month.

More: Metro PCS

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3 years ago

LG Optimus L7 II Dual pictured ahead of possible MWC launch

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It’s almost a year since we first met the LG L-style series at Mobile World Congress 2012 -- the original line-up consisted of the Optimus L3, L5 and L7. And ahead of this year’s show, there are signs the Korean manufacturer could have at least one follow-up in the pipeline.

According to reports from Russian site Hi-Tech, backed up by what seem to be leaked renders of the phone, the clumsily-named "LG Optimus L7 II Dual" will be heading to Russia in late February, and it’ll pack dual-SIM capabilities. (Note the capacitive SIM-switching button on the images above.)

Other reported specs include a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch IPS display, an 8MP camera and 2460mAh battery -- supposedly enough for two days per charge. On the software side, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is said to be on-board, along with LG customizations including QuickMemo, QuickTranslator and QSlide. In Russia, the phone will reportedly retail for 12,990 rubles ($432).

Assuming this information is legit, we can probably expect to see the Optimus L7 II Dual at this year’s MWC -- and we imagine there’ll probably be a vanilla L7 II on display too, with a standard single SIM slot.

Source: Hi-Tech@Mail.ru; via: PocketNow

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3 years ago

Sony launches 'My Xperia' phone security service

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Many phone manufacturers -- and some third party apps -- offer a way to track down and secure a lost or stolen handset, and today Sony's bringing this kind of service to some of its Xperia smartphones. The company has announced the pilot launch of "My Xperia," which Sony fans might remember from a recent ROM leak and earlier trademark filing.

The premise is pretty simple and familiar -- link your Xperia phone up to MyXperia.com. Then, if the phone's lost or stolen, there'll be a few options available, as Sony Experience Planner Marcin Zielinski explains on the company's official blog --

  • Locate your smartphone on a map
  • Sound an alert to get someone’s attention – it’ll also override silent mode and wake the display
  • Lock the phone to keep info private, and ping a message with contact details or…
  • Erase both internal and external SD card info / data if required

Sony's planning a "phased launch" for the service, starting on the Xperia Acro S in Nordic countries, and moving to other Android 4.0-based 2012 Xperia phones  in the weeks ahead. Eligible users will receive an update through the Update Center app, Zielinski says.

Based on the presence of "My Xperia" in leaked Jelly Bean firmware for the Xperia S, it's probably a safe to say that that phone will be added to the pilot when the update is finalized. We'd also expect to see it on the new Xperia Z, as well as whatever Sony shows off at Mobile World Congress, all of which should be running the company's latest Android-based software.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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3 years ago

Cubes vs. Spheres makes physics fun again

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Great gameplay and superb graphics make Cubes vs. Spheres a must-buy game

Are you looking for a great new game that isn't hard to learn, is a ton of fun, and will make you smile while you burn through your battery? I think we've found one with Cubes vs. Spheres. The premise is super simple -- you are inside a circle in a uncomfortably white room, and cubes are rolling (as well as a 6-sided cube can roll, anyway) toward you. Your job is to keep them away by flicking balls at them. When the balls hit them, they explode in a satisfying shower of particles. If more than three cubes cross inside your circle, the game is over and you've lost.

Just because it's simple doesn't mean it's not fun as hell, though. The gameplay gets pretty frantic. There are assorted blocks that vary in how easy or hard they are to destroy (the invisible ones are rough), and you use points earned by playing to buy power-ups (exploding spheres, anyone?) to handle them all. The game physics are great. The faster you flick the balls the faster and further they fly, and the bouncing balls and blocks interact with the scenery just like you think they should. 

Most importantly, to me anyway, are the game controls. I hate games that have too many buttons and thing-a-ma-bobs to press and swipe just to play. Cubes vs. Spheres has none of that. It's simply swiping and tapping, you play it with one finger. This makes it perfect for a wide variety of devices, from a small 4-inch screen up to a full sized 10-inch tablet. Cubes vs. Spheres is just as fun on my Nexus 4 as it is on my Nexus 7, and that's something not every game can pull off. 

If you've been looking for a new time waster, check Cubes vs. Spheres out. It costs a buck, but once you pay you're done -- no in-app purchasing required. It runs on Froyo or higher, and you can grab it using the Google Play link above. There's a short video to explain it all after the break.

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3 years ago

Bad-ass chrome Bugdroid peers from Google's Building 45

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When it comes to oversized Android statues on Google's Mountain View campus, generally Building 44 is where the action is. There's one for each major version outside the home of the Android team, from Cupcake through to Jelly Bean.

But now it seems there's some competition from just across the street. According to Googler Paul Wilcox, who posted the shot above on Google+, this looming, chromed-out Bugdroid statue now peers out from the neighboring Building 45.

We wouldn't read too much into a chrome Android arriving on the Google campus -- after all, we've had Chrome for Android for almost a year. But it's certainly cool to see Google's crazy statue budget isn't going unspent while we wait for a new arrival outside Building 44.

Source: +Paul Wilcox

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 to launch in UK by March

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Following last week's global Galaxy Xcover 2 launch, Samsung UK has revealed that the phone will be headed to British shores, with a UK launch for the ruggedized handset scheduled to occur "by March."

The Galaxy Xcover 2 is Samsung's most latest hardened, IP67-certified water and dust-resistant smartphone, powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, and running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. Other highlights include a 5MP camera, 4GB of internal storage and a microSD slot.

We don't typically expect bleeding-edge internals in this kind of smartphone, but the Galaxy Xcover 2 certainly packs more of a punch than previous ruggedized phones. For more details on this device, head on over to our original announcement post, or check the presser after the break.

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3 years ago

EE lights up nine more UK towns with 4G, claims 45 percent population coverage

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Britain's sole 4G LTE carrier, EE (Everything Everywhere) sends word that it's switched on 4G coverage in nine new UK towns. From today, EE's LTE network will be available in Amersham, Bolton, Chelmsford, Hemel Hempstead, Southend-on-Sea, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton, bringing the total number of towns and cities covered up to 27.

The carrier claims its 4G roll-out is now ahead of schedule, and says it now covers 45 percent of the UK population, 90 days after its service first launched. EE plans to bring its total number of markets up to 35 by the end of March.

Meanwhile, the long-delayed UK 4G spectrum auction recently got underway, the first step in allowing other carriers to launch competing 4G services on 800MHz and 2600MHz bands. EE's competitors are expected to be able to launch their 4G networks by late spring or early summer.

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3 years ago

New mid-range Sony phones tipped as Xperia SP, Xperia L

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After unveiling the high-end Xperia Z at CES, Sony Mobile is widely expected to follow up with mid-range and entry-level  counterparts at Mobile World Congress next month. We've heard rumored codenames and specs for both phones, but so far we've been left guessing which of the remaining eighteen letters of the alphabet Sony will choose.

That mystery could be over today, as entries on Indonesian certification site Postel brings news of possible final branding. Records on Postel have a good track record in outing Sony branding -- almost a year ago to the day, it revealed "Nypon" and "Kumquat" as Xperias P and U, a month ahead of the official announcement.

Today listings show the mid-range "HuaShan" (C530X) as Xperia SP, and the entry-level C210X as Xperia L.

According to leaked specs, Xperia SP will feature a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, with a screen resolution of 1280x720, while the Xperia L is tipped to pack a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus chip. Both phones reportedly run Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.

We'll have to wait until Mobile World Congress for the final word on Sony's new mid-range stuff, but fortunately we'll be live from the show this February to bring you full coverage.

Source: Postel; via: Xperia Blog

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3 years ago

Acer Iconia B1 budget tablet appears at UK supermarkets for £99

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Unveiled to the world at CES, the Acer Iconia B1 is Acer's play at hitting the budget tablet space. While not offering bleeding edge specs, the B1 does offer a stock Jelly Bean experience on a 7 inch tablet, which, in the UK, goes for just £99. At CES we were told to expect launch in stores at the end of January, and true to their word that seems to be the case. 

The Iconia B1 has been spotted already for sale by British supermarkets, ASDA and Sainsbury's, both at that magic £99 price point. Appealing to the casual consumer at a price point that is bordering on impulse buy could prove successful for Acer, especially over the traditional 'no-name' cheap tablets we've seen for so long at this kind of price. The Kindle Fire is a big supermarket tablet line in the UK, so it will be interesting to see how the Iconia B1 fares. It under cuts the cheapest Kindle Fire by £30 while offering a more traditional tablet experience. 

Our hands on at CES showed a little lag, and a distinctly plasticky design, but also expandable memory and that Jelly Bean experience. But it all comes down to the price, and the Iconia B1 is the first tablet from a recognizable brand to hit that magic sub-£100 price point that makes it a compelling purchase for first time tablet buyers. If you've picked one up, or thinking of doing so, be sure to jump into the comments below and share your experience. 

via Eurodroid

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 charging orb listed online for $60, but it's out of stock

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We're not sure if this is a placeholder or if the information is accurate, but retailer Pure Mobile has the Nexus 4 charging orb in their online catalog. Currently listed as "out of stock", the OEM built charger is listed for $59.99, with free shipping. If you follow the link below and go to the source, you'll find you can hover over the thumbnail for an expanded view, and it certainly looks to be the real deal -- Nexus logo and all.

We're not sure if this is a sign that we'll soon be seeing the charging orb for sale as we saw with the Nexus 7 dock, and it's a little more pricey than we had hoped (although far less than the last time we saw the charger listed online), but we're certainly keen on getting one. I've reached out to Pure Mobile and will update everyone when they reply.

Source: Pure Mobile

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3 years ago

NVIDIA explains how Project Shield was built

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NVIDIA has posted a great blog post explaining just what it took to get Project Shield ready for CES. We all pretty much fell in love with the idea from the minute we first saw it (see Phil's time with the device), a gamer's device that does more than play games, but we tend to forget that the 20 minutes worth of Project Shield we saw was just a short part of the entire process of getting Project Shield from the minds of engineers to the keynote stage.

According to NVIDIA, Project Shield started in early 2012, as a game controller fastened to an Android smartphone via a block of wood. Spending the rest of the year designing and testing things, the first two real prototypes were delivered on December 18, just a few weeks before it was to be shown to the world in Las Vegas. 

During the final weeks of hustle to prepare for CES, engineers spent long days assembling the units that would be demonstrated at CES in a contract partners facility somewhere in Silicon Valley. The work these fellows did -- putting batteries in place and carefully fitting together the device's shell -- will be used to assemble the units as they roll off the line. It's important, tedious, and surely frustrating work under a tight schedule.

Of course they pulled it off, as we witnessed the day before CES officially kicked off. Project Shield looks awesome, and we can't wait until there are units out there for all of us to play with. The story is a great read, be sure to visit the link below to have a look.

Source: NVIDIA

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