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3 years ago

HTC Butterfly to have companion 'Mini' handset available in China

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HTC looks poised to launch a companion handset device in the Chinese market to go along with the new HTC Butterfly (aka Droid DNA.) The Mini, which looks similar to many candybar phones of yesteryear, will pair with Bluetooth via NFC to your smartphone and let you make and receive calls, view call logs and calendar information on its monochrome screen. HTC apparently envisions the Mini being used for more than just calls though, acting as a remote for when the Butterfly is plugged into a TV and helping users find their Butterfly when it is lost.

At first glance we're not so sure how adding a second handset device makes anything easier on the consumer, because at some point you just start running out of pocket space, but you could easily see this as an accessory for around the house rather than when you're out and about. Come home, plop your phone on the wireless charger at the door, and just have the Mini with you to make/receive calls. It could easily be used as a home phone replacement. Let's also remember that different markets demand different features from phones, and this really could be appealing to Chinese users.

Because this looks to be a China-specific accessory, we wouldn't be surprised if it never made its way to other countries. It's interesting to see HTC experimenting with different accessories though, and we don't know what development of the Mini may lead to in the future for other markets around the world.

Source: Slashgear

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3 years ago

A first look at Blitz Brigade - an upcoming multi-player shooter from Gameloft

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This one's not for the kids -- Blitz Brigade is set in WWII, and is a team-based multiplayer shooter (it reminds me of Battlefield Heros) with plenty of action, and plenty of graphic imagery. We don't know much more than that, only that it's coming to Android and iOS soon. 

From the trailer, it looks like it will offer plenty of fun and plenty of blood, which should make it a hit. We'll know more when Gameloft shares a little. Until then, check out the video and imagine this one on your Android tablet.

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3 years ago

Use Instagram to win a pair of Motorola S11-Flex wireless headphones

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Motorola is running a little contest on Instagram, and the prize is a kick ass pair of S11-FLEX HD wireless headphones. They're promoting the contest as a little extra motivation while working out to help folks keep their New Years' resolutions (the S11-FLEX headset is sweatproof), but entering to win them is strictly a no-pain affair.

Just fire up Instagram on your phone (all the cool kids will use Android!), post a picture showing how wires get in the way and use the #howiflex tag. The contest ends January 31. It looks like an easy way to get a great Bluetooth headset, so give it a shot. You can grab Instagram from the Google Play link above if you need it, and you can find more information at Motorola's Facebook page.

Source: Motorola

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3 years ago

WindowsAndroid is ICS running on your Windows box, we go mouse-on

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There are a few options available to those wanting to run Android apps on a Windows machine. The first, and oldest, is the official Android emulator; there's also Bluestacks, which has been around for a while. Today another contender emerges -- WindowsAndroid, from Chinese startup SocketeQ. Unlike the emulator, it runs Android natively on your Windows PC, and unlike Bluestacks it brings to life the full Android OS, not just individual apps. Essentially, it's full-blown open-source Android running natively, in a window, on Microsoft's desktop OS.

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3 years ago

SF Launcher Alpha brings a little piece of Google Now to the homescreen

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Back at Google I/O last year, our very own Phil Nickinson posed the question -- might Google Now become an Android home screen? Well, a new custom launcher in the Play Store brings a little taste of that to life. SF Launcher Alpha comes from the same developer who brought us the Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget, and integrates the now familiar Google Now images with a card style layout for apps and widgets. 

The top image is currently limited to that of San Francisco, London or the generic Google Now image, but will change with the time of day from dawn through day into dusk. Below it sits a widget 'card' and while only one widget is on show at any time, it scrolls so you can add as many as you like. Below that sits your favorite apps, the number displayed is customizable and you choose from scratch -- when you first start the launcher this card is empty. 

Scrolling in from the left brings up the settings menu where the theme can be chosen along with numerous different visual setting tweaks, as well as controlling the behavior of tapping on the clock and top image. This can be customized to launch search, the stock clock app, quick settings, among others. 

Scrolling in from the right brings up your full app drawer, all the while maintaining the top image and clock. It's a simple idea, and a simple launcher, but is definitely something different to other launchers we've seen. It's still in the early Alpha stages, but is available to download for free from the Google Play Store now. Click on past the break for a quick walkthrough video.

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3 years ago

Sony releases Jelly Bean alpha for Xperia T

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The official Sony Xperia T Jelly Bean update might still be a few months away, but in order to give developers a sneak peek at what's ahead, Sony has released an early alpha ROM for the device. The Xperia T Jelly Bean alpha can be flashed using Sony's own flash tool, after unlocking the Xperia T via the official bootloader unlock utility.

A few caveats apply here -- radio functionality like Bluetooth, Wifi and mobile data is not included (likely for regulatory reasons), nor are Google apps. In addition, Sony says the UI has not yet been updated to reflect the final look and feel of the Xperia Jelly Bean firmware -- i.e. what's on the new Xperia Z. And crucially, if you unlock your Xperia T and apply this alpha ROM, you won't be able to update to the official Jelly Bean firmware once it's released. So this ROM really is one for advanced users and adventurous devs only.

Hopefully today's release will accelerate the progress of Jelly Bean-based custom ROMs for the Xperia T. If nothing else, we'd expect this to be hacked into something with working radios and Google Apps in a relatively short space of time. If you possess both a Sony Xperia T and a strong sense of adventure, you can find full instructions over at the source link.

Source: Sony Developer World Blog

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3 years ago

Quento turns basic math into a fun time-waster

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Look, I'm not a math guy. Ask anybody. My wife. Any one of my grade-school teachers. My first-grade daughter. My 2-year-old daughter. They know I don't do math worth a damn. So what am I doing playing a game all morning that involves adding and subtracting? Moreover, why am I still playing it now?

Fresh off a successful launch of iOS, Quento has come to Android.

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3 years ago

Temple Run 2 - a notable update to a fantastic game

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Temple Run 2, a sequel to the vastly popular original, sticks with the same format and proven gameplay but makes notable improvements across the game. If you somehow avoided playing the original game, it's a pretty simple concept to get ahold of. You're running away from some scary beasts down a complex level of twists and turns, and you are trying to collect as many coins and perks as you can along the way. Swipe up to jump, down to slide, across to turn and lean the device left or right to stay out of trouble.

Temple Run 2 has the same set of controls as the original, but the levels are spiced up a bit, breaking free of the original combination of straight runs and 90-degree turns. There are rope zip lines to use, and more sweeping turns and curves to navigate through. All of the extra flare helps keep the game interesting, which is important for something that can usually become quite repetitive. The settings menu has a bit of a visual overhaul as well, with easier to use buttons and a better character selector. The store is still here to buy coins (via in-app purchase,) but the game is still free to play and the purchases aren't completely necessary if you want to keep things cheap.

This game is a worthy successor to the original, building on what seems like a classic platform less than a year after its Android release. I've been playing quite a bit on both a phone and tablet with absolutely no hiccups or issues, even at max graphical settings. The animations, sounds and gameplay are all top-notch and set a standard for what every game should feel like when you play it.

Stick around after the break for a video walkthrough and some gameplay of the new version.

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3 years ago

Latest Chrome Beta allows tinkering with experimental features

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The Google Chrome Beta for Android has once again been updated, this time with a singular but interesting change. The new version 25.0.1364.47 enables access to chrome://flags, a hidden menu page that allows all sorts of experimental, work-in-progress features to be switched on (at your own risk).

Among these, as Googler Brandon Jones points out on Google+, is support for WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering accelerated graphics. Many of the features on the list aren't supported on the Android branch yet, but there are quite a few that may be of interest to web developers and the hacking/tweaking crowd.

If you're already running Chrome Beta, you can grab the latest version from the Play Store app. If not, you can find it at the Google Play link above.

Source: Google Chrome Releases

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 headed to Fido in Canada next month

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Hot on the heels of Videotron's announcement yesterday, rival Canadian network Fido has announced that it too will carry the LG Nexus 4. The phone has appeared in Fido's reservation system, with a release scheduled for sometime in February. To secure a Nexus 4, Canadians will need to pay a C$40 up-front reservation fee.

Pricing information is promised in the near future, but if other territories are anything to go by, it's likely the unsubsidized cost will be somewhat higher than the Canadian Google Play Store price.

For an overview of how we've been getting on with the Nexus 4 since its November launch, check out our 'Nexus 4, two months on' feature.

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3 years ago

Fresh Galaxy Note 8.0 photos emerge showing S Pen, software

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Just a day after we got our first look at the Galaxy Note 8.0 in leaked spy shots, a couple more photos of the 8-inch tablet have emerged online. Today's pics come via French Android community Frandroid, showing apparently the Note 8.0 alongside its 5.5-inch sibling, the Galaxy Note 2. As with yesterday's images, we see a tablet with a curved design and a phone-style three-button setup on the bottom bezel instead of traditional on-screen keys. And this time around we get to see the larger "S Pen" stylus, which was docked away in yesterday's images.

Yes, there's also an earpiece up top for making calls, as we saw in yesterday's shots. But that's nothing new -- 7-inch Samsung tablets have been doing that since the original 2010 Galaxy Tab.

Today's pics reveal a little more about the device's software. Unsurprisingly, the Note 8.0 is running Samsung's TouchWiz UI, but it also seems to be using a "phone-style" launcher, similar to the direction taken with the stock tablet launcher in Android 4.2 -- which this device is rumored to be running. The presence of floating windows suggests that Samsung's included its multi-window tech in the Note 8.0, too. In addition, we can also clearly see a notification bar up top in both shots.

Samsung's expected to make the Note 8.0 all officially official at Mobile World Congress at the end of February. Leaked spec sheets suggest we can expect similar internals to the Galaxy Note 2 -- a 1.6GHz Exynos 4 Quad CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16 and 32GB storage options, expandable via microSD slot. Stick with Android Central for full coverage of the Note 8.0 and other Samsung devices at MWC, and be sure to check out our latest podcast for more discussion on this device.

Source: Frandroid

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3 years ago

Samsung announces Galaxy Xcover 2, new ruggedized mid-range phone

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Following some brief leakage earlier this week, Samsung has announced the Galaxy Xcover 2, a new ruggedized mid-range phone running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. As the name suggests, it’s a follow-up to last year’s Galaxy Xcover, and it comes packing IP67-rated water and dust resistance.

Hardware-wise, we’re looking at a dual-core 1GHz CPU running the show, with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD slot. The screen’s a 4-inch WVGA (800x480), and there’s an 5MP rear camera and a VGA front-facer. (A dedicated camera key is also included.)

As ruggedized smartphones go, the Xcover 2 brings some interesting hardware and design chops, and the fact that it’s running an up-to-date version of Android should result in a pretty good user experience, too. Today’s announcement doesn’t specify any release date, but earlier leaks have suggested it could be out as soon as next month. 

We've got more images after the break.

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3 years ago

Android Central 123: Giant fake phones?

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Audio-only stream below

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is coming, Samsung says, but are recent leaked pictures real? Plus, HTC leaks, the state of the Nexus, and your e-mails and voicemails.

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3 years ago

HTC announces Desire U, 4-inch mid-range device for Taiwan

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HTC has just quietly rolled out a spec page for a new device, the mid-range Desire U, targeted at the Taiwan market. Falling in line design-wise with the rest of the recent "One" and "Desire" devices, the Desire U has a smooth plastic body and rounded edges with a classy looking circle design that accents the back plate. On the inside, this device is clearly lower end, with a 1GHz processor, 4GB of (expandable) storage, 512MB of RAM and a 480x800 (WVGA) display. The U has a 1650mAh battery, which should give a good bit of life for a device with these specs.

The device is a Taiwanese listing, so the frequencies on this device are set up for that market -- 900 and 2100MHz HSPA along with 900, 1800 and 1900MHz GPRS/EDGE. No one is likely to import this, but with a striking design and acceptable specs, this low-ranger may do well in specific markets. We're finding unlocked pricing of about $275, which is quite competitive.

Source: HTC (translated)

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3 years ago

Samsung's Q4 2012 financial earnings: "We made lots of money"

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Samsung has announced their financial results for the last quarter in 2012, and they beat all estimates -- even their own. The electronics group posted an operating profit of 8.84 trillion Won ( that's about 8.27 billion US dollars), on 56.06 trillion Won (about 52.45 billion US dollars) in revenue. That's a 10-percent increase in profit over the Q3 2012 earnings, and almost a 90-percent jump year-over-year. Total profits for 2012 came in at 29.05 trillion Won (about 27.2 billion US dollars), on a total revenue of 201.10 trillion Won (approximately 188.15 billion US dollars). In addition, Samsung spent 2.96 trillion Won (about 2.76 billion US dollars) on research and development over the quarter.

That's a whole lot of cash.

Of course, much of this profit comes from smartphone sales, and with Samsung that means Android. By getting product into the hands of people who want it, Samsung has made more money from Android in one quarter than Google did with all their products and services. We don't see this slowing down anytime soon, and imagine a new crop of Samsung mobile products will set the stage for similar numbers next year. Hit the link for the full financial results.

Source: Samsung (pdf)

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