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3 years ago

Swype Beta 1.3 released, brings dictionary backup, 'hotwords' and more

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The latest beta of the Swype keyboard is out, and available to download from the Swype Beta website.

The popular third-party keyboard from Nuance Communications packs a number of new updates.

  • Dictionary backup & sync: Users’ personal dictionaries and word additions can be synced across mobile devices.
  • Three new tablet keyboard layouts: The original, a small and moveable one, and a split keyboard.
  • New themes.
  • Enhancements to the Chinese keyboard, and a new flick keyboard for the Japanese language. Language prediction has been updated for foreign languages, too.

And the last one is my favorite.

According to the official press release, the new keyboard could even update you with all those crazy things the kids are saying these days. Swype users can opt-in to receive new words so they can be up to date with “the newest ‘hotwords’, like ‘Gangnam Style’.”

That’s right, the K-pop revolution is taking over, and your keyboard is next.

Update: According to the Swype forums, the beta is broken on the Galaxy Nexus, with 4.1.2. Several users are complaining that upon selecting the Swype keyboard, it automatically closes and is replaced with the stock Android keyboard. (Thanks Jon!)

Source: Nuance Communications

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3 years ago

Apple loses appeal in UK High Court, must take out ads saying Samsung isn't a copycat

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Apple has lost its appeal against a UK ruling in its long-running suit against Samsung, and will have to wear a little egg on its face for a while — a month, to be specific.

Back in July, the British High Court ruled that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab devices were not infringing Apple’s design patents, in part because Samsung’s devices were not as “cool”.

Thanks to this backhanded compliment of sorts, Apple was ordered to run ads saying Samsung has not infringed its rights, and to place a link for a month on its website to a notice affirming this. Naturally, Apple appealed against the decision, and today appeal judges ruled not to overturn the decision. According to reports from BBC News, the three judges said Apple had to “correct” the copycat label slapped on Samsung. “The acknowledgment must come from the horse’s mouth,” they said.

While Apple can still appeal to the UK's Supreme Court, ultimately it's just one chapter in the global legal conflict against Samsung’s Android devices, which has taken the companies to the US, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Australia. It's also a something of a coup for Samsung in light of its recent $1.05 billion fine for software and design patent infringements regarding the iPhone in the US.

Elsewhere, it’s been much less successful. In June, the Dutch court decided that Apple had to pay Samsung for infringing a patent related to how the iPad and iPhone connects to the Internet.

And last year in Australia, Apple wasn’t granted its wish to prevent Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country.

Source: BBC News

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3 years ago

Verizon brings LTE to a whole bunch of new cities

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Back at CTIA MobileCON, Verizon said it would launch a whole host of LTE locations on October 18th, pushing the total number over 400 nationally. Verizon has just put up a list of all of the locations either going live or getting improvements of coverage today, and it's staggering.

The new markets going live include:

  • Gadsden, AL
  • Chico-Oroville, CA
  • Vincennes, IN
  • Owensboro, KY
  • Augusta-Waterville, ME
  • Marquette, MI
  • Brainerd and Fergus Falls, MN
  • Hattiesburg and Laurel, MS
  • Columbia, MO
  • Grand Island, Norfolk and North Platte, NE
  • Clovis, NM
  • Jamestown, NY
  • Bend and Meford, OR
  • Amarillo and Victoria, TX
  • Aberdeen and Walla Walla, WA
  • Morgantown, WV.

If the first 23 cities weren't impressive enough, Verizon has also listed another 42 existing LTE markets that are receiving enhancements. You can see a full listing of the new and existing Verizon LTE markets at the source link below.

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Hands on and a quick unboxing of the HTC Desire X

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This isn't our first time we have spent with the HTC Desire X, however we do now have in our possession a review unit that HTC kindly sent me today.

Although in comparison to some of the more recent HTC Android devices released the Desire X is pretty low down the line in terms of being near the top of the range - but that is where it is designed to sit. It is a low cost, mid range handset but still packs a pretty mean punch.

Powered by a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 768MB of RAM and a 4-inch WVGA SuperLCD display the Desire X will suit many people down to the ground. With the familiar Sense UI present (now version 4.1), customers upgrading from an older HTC device will still find the Desire X familiar yet refreshing. Running Android Ice Cream Sandwich the Desire X may not be as up to date as some 'top of the range' phones but the general public probably won't know the difference and ICS runs smoothly and seamlessly on the handset.

Combined with a 5MP camera and the ability to capture photos while using the video camera, the Desire X will more than likely be one of those devices where a consumer walks into a phone shop and spots it on the shelf and automatically thinks how nice it both looks and feels.

We will of course have a full review of the HTC Desire X coming soon but in the meantime I hope the above video will keep you going if you are looking to purchase the device.

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3 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR M, RAZR HD, and RAZR MAXX HD now available on Verizon

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Motorola's latest batch of devices launched on Verizon today. Starting at the lower end is the Droid RAZR M, with a 4.3-inch 960 x 540 display and 2,000 mAh battery for $99.99 on a two-year contract. It's followed up by the Droid RAZR HD, which has a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 screen and a 2,530 mAh battery starting at $199.99. If you want to go really big, there's the Droid RAZR MAXX HD which bumps up the battery to 3,300 mAh and adds another 16 GB of local storage, though it will cost you $299.99 plus the commitment. All of them have a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel camera, and 4G LTE connectivity.  

If you're thinking of hitting up the Verizon online store and picking up any of these, be sure to check out our Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR M reviews first. Any takers, or is the lack of Jelly Bean at launch a deal-breaker? 

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3 years ago

A little perspective ...

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Verizon this morning during its Q3 earnings call said it sold some 3.4 million Android smartphones, beating even the iPhone (3.1 million) for the quarter. We'll probably see that number shift a bit in the fourth quarter, given that the iPhone 5 didn't go on sale until Sept. 21 -- leaving only 10 days left in the quarter. So don't read too much into that.

But consider:

It's a two-horse race, still. And it's a good one.

And don't forget that Google's Q3 earnings will be released this afternoon.

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3 years ago

Acer announces the 7-inch A110 tablet, Tegra 3, 8GB, and microSD card slot

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Acer has unveiled their take on the 7-inch Android tablet, and the Iconia Tab A110 will be available October 30 for $229.99. The 7-inch form factor has turned out to be fairly popular, but is there room for one more tablet with an entry-level price? We think there is, and this one has one thing going for it that plenty of you will love -- a microSD card slot.

The full specs are as follows -- Tegra 3, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage and a 1024x600 display, all running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The A110 weighs in at 0.86 pounds and is less than .5 inches thick, and certainly sounds ultra-portable. Add in features like Bluetooth 3.0, HDMI out via the dedicated microHDMI port, and a standard MicroUSB 2.0 port and you might have a recipe for success.

Acer certainly thinks so, and we're excited to have a look at another "real" Android tablet in the 7-inch size. The Iconia A110 goes on sale in the US and Canada on 12 short days. Read the full press release and see a gallery of press pictures after the break.

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3 years ago

Sony confirms HD voice support on Xperia T

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If you've been using a Sony Xperia T in the couple of weeks since its release, you may have already noticed this. Nevertheless, Sony Mobile has today confirmed on its official product blog that its new high-end phone for Europe, the Xperia T, supports the HD Voice standard for higher-quality voice calls over the mobile network. The feature is fully functional on the Xperia T, but it's not currently mentioned anywhere on the official Sony specification page.

To get the most out of HD Voice, both callers will need HD Voice supported handsets and mobile networks. In the UK, Three and EE (Orange + T-Mobile) currently support the standard. But with all the pieces in place, the difference in call quality can be quite striking, as we've noticed during our time with the Sony Xperia T.

As data use increases, there's a general trend away from traditional voice calls on mobile handsets. But if you still find yourself making lots of calls, it may be a feature worth looking for in your next smartphone.

Source: Sony Mobile

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 and Ace Duo get Carbon Trust certification

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Samsung has announced that it's boosted its green credentials by obtaining Carbon Trust "PAS 2050" certification for its Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Ace Duo smartphones in Europe. PAS 2050 is a standard for measures greenhouse gas emissions of devices throughout their lives.

Samsung had previously gained PAS 2050 certification for its Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note devices. However, the manufacturer notes that the S3's carbon footprint is some 14 percent lower than the S2, owing to fewer raw materials being used in its construction and the inclusion of a more efficient charger, as well as lower emissions during the manufacturing process.

Here's your obligatory "inspired by nature" quote --

“At Samsung, our philosophy is to ‘design for humans’ and be ‘inspired by nature’. So by design our products are not just smart and easy to use, they also strive to achieve the highest environmental standards,” said Bill Skeates, Head of Sustainability, Samsung Electronics Europe. “Yes, our customers want to own a great smartphone, but they also want to be responsible consumers, and the GALAXY SIII helps them to do both. Measuring the carbon footprint helps us to understand the environmental impact of our mobile phones and identify where we can continue to improve.  Samsung aims to calculate the carbon footprint for all of its mobile flagship devices.”

We've seen some smartphones boasting their eco-friendly credentials before -- remember last year's Samsung Replenish, for one. But would a more environmentally friendly smartphone sway your purchasing decision? Let us know in the comments.

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3 years ago

ASUS Padfone 2 heading to the UK in early 2013

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The original Padfone from ASUS didn't really take off as they may have hoped, and in the UK it never received an official release. As such, we might expect the successor, the imaginatively named Padfone 2, to also skip by British shores. Apparently, not so. 

According to the folks at Techradar, an ASUS spokesman confirmed to them that the UK in fact would see an official release of the Padfone 2 early next year. There wasn't a whole lot said besides that, just that we would hopefully be seeing some further details before this year is out. 

On paper, the Padfone 2 is an enticing prospect. A quad-core Snapdragon S4, 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE support, a HD Super IPS+ display and a 13MP rear camera is enough to open anybody's eyes. We're still not convinced by the whole phone-tablet hybrid though. The price is high -- as you would expect for both a phone and a tablet -- but what we'd really like to see, is just the phone released on its own. Yes, that would contradict the whole Padfone concept, but we can dream. 

And, as an added bonus, if you're intrigued by the Padfone 2, ASUS has posted the entire press conference from Milan, Italy, for you to watch through at your leisure. You'll find it just a few clicks down, after the break. 

Source: Techradar

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3 years ago

Verizon Wireless reports third quarter revenues

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Verizon Wireless as reported its service and retail revenues for the third quarter of the year, showing a strong performance across the board. The U.S.'s largest wireless carrier attained a 7.5 percent year-on-year growth in service revenues -- the money made through the cellular services it provides -- while retail revenues increased 7.9 percent year-on-year. Today's results follow a similarly strong performance in Q2.

The carrier says smartphone users contributed heavily to its earnings, noting that some 53 percent of its post-paid (contract) customers now used smart devices. Verizon continues to boast the country's largest 4G LTE network, which it says is now available to some 250 million people across the U.S.

"In the third quarter, Verizon continued to deliver double-digit earnings growth and strong cash generation, and we remain solidly on track to meet our financial objectives for the year," said Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO. "With our 4G LTE network advantage, well-received Share Everything Plans and unmatched product portfolio, Verizon Wireless continues to do an outstanding job of balancing growth and profitability. Wireless achieved record profitability in a quarter in which we reported the highest number of retail postpaid gross and net adds in four years."

Verizon will hold its quarterly earnings call later this morning.

Source: Verizon Wireless

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3 years ago

AT&T LTE spectrum plan approved by FCC

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The FCC here in the U.S. has just approved a plan by AT&T that would let it use spectrum holdings it previously acquired. For several years now, AT&T has held 30MHz of WCS spectrum, but was unable to use it because of potential conflicts with adjacent spectrum owned by satellite radio provider Sirius XM. The plan -- which was approved unanimously by the FCC -- will allow AT&T to utilize 20MHz of the 30MHz it owns, leaving the last 10MHz as a buffer zone between its operation and Sirius XM's.

The end result of this plan being approved is that AT&T can move forward in applying this new 20MHz of spectrum to their expanding LTE network. AT&T has been buying additional WCS spectrum licenses as of late in preparation for the approval of this plan. Now that it has the legal ability to operate in that space, that will all pay off.

Source: WSJ

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3 years ago

ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T receiving minor update

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Folks with an ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700) are reporting a minor OTA update today, It's not Android 4.1.2 (even ASUS isn't that quick with the updates), but brings users to V10.4.4.18 and stays on Android 4.1.1.

According to ASUS, this update addresses "a few random WiFi, Keyboard and Camera issues reported in the first release."  It's great to see ASUS step up and fix bugs this quickly, and we think that's a big part of why they are successful among Android enthusiasts.

You can check for the update in the device settings menu, and discuss it all in the forums.

Thanks, Jay and Cory!

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3 years ago

Netflix now welcoming mobile viewers from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland

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If you just so happen to live in Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Finland, Netflix would like you to know they've not forgotten about you. In fact, the latest update available in the Google Play Store opens up the Android app to those regions along with improved subtitle support for Android 4.0 and above.

Plus, while it's not noted, the app does seem to respond a little bit better over previous versions. By that we mean, it no longer takes 2 minutes to scroll through items causing you to forget what you were intending on watching in the first place. That's a good thing.

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3 years ago

NPR News updated with refreshed UI, improved browsing

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These holo app updates just keep coming. The NPR News app has received a very nice facelift and integrated new Android design guidelines to fit in with other popular apps on the platform. You get properly laid out search, refresh and menu buttons and an overall simple UI. The changelog also notes that its a bit easier to browse and play sound clips or whole shows right from the main screen. Above all, the app isn't over-designed, and you have to commend it on that.

As always, if you've yet to download the NPR News app, grab it at the Google Play Store link above.

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