3 years ago

Ford talks Focus Electric and its deep integration with Android


Ford's Sync system has been leading the way as far as in-car mobile technology is concerned. With the upcoming launch of the Focus Electric, Ford is leaping into the mobile space with a new app that allows owners to manage their vehicle remotely. While it won't let you drive (sorry James Bond wannabes), the MyFord Mobile app they're showing off at CES 2012 enables Focus Electric owners to manage how and when their cars charge at home, allowing you to set it so the car charges at night off peak hours with lower electric rates or override it to get your car charged up for an impending trip. MyFord Mobile users will also be able to find charging stations out and about and even plan trips around those charging stations (useful, given the 100-mile range of the all-electric vehicle).

The app, which will be available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry smartphones is launching with the Focus Electric, which itself is ramping up production right now.

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3 years ago

Socks-on with Samsung's washing machine Android app


Samsung announced a new smartphone app here at CES 2012 which will help you handle your laundry by communicating wirelessly to a Wi-Fi-enabled washing machine and dryer. I got a closer look, and am still hugely impressed. At first, the idea seemed a little hoaky, but then I looked back on how many times I've forgotten that I had put anything in the wash, and how much a tailored mobile notification system would help out. 

Here's how it works: the washer and dryer each have their own I.P. address, which your phone can tunnel to no matter where you are. Using the app, you can remotely start up any cycle, which then gives you a timer on how long until it's done. You can also remotely pause a cycle if need be, and use a variety of notification types to let you know when it's done. 

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3 years ago

Stuck in Customs 'Photo Voyages of Trey Ratcliff' Android app now compatible with Google TV


Photo Voyages of Trey Ratcliff, the "official" application of the popular travel photography blog Stuck in Customs is now compatible with Google TV.  The app consists of hundreds of Ratcliff's images (and they are spectacular images indeed) as an endless slideshow to view on your screen.  With Google TV support, that big screen in your living room can become a piece of art while you're not watching cartoons the news.  Another interesting aside, a note in the market says an update that allows setting any of the images as your wallpaper is coming "very soon".  The app will cost you $2.99 and requires Android 2.1 or higher.  Hit the break for the download link.

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3 years ago

HTC EVO 3D getting an OTA update today, says Sprint


Sprint has posted that the HTC EVO 3D version 2.17.651.5 update should start rolling out today.  It's a minor maintenance release that addresses the following:

  • Updated Peep client (to align with Twitter)
  • Battery life improvements
  • Security update

The OTA should start rolling out to devices today, but you can manually force the update check by tapping Menu > Settings > System updates > HTC software update > Check now from your homescreen.  If you get this one, be sure to talk about it in the forums so others know what to expect!

Source: SprintThanks, John!

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3 years ago

Android's Samsung Galaxy Nexus versus the Windows Phone HTC Titan II


We've already put the Samsung Galay Nexus up against the new Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 900, and now it's time to take a look at it next to the venerable HTC Titan II, announced Monday at the AT&T Developer Summit here in Las Vegas.

For you HTC fans, there's a lot here that's familiar. The Titan's a mix of soft-touch plastic and metal, with those little design flares that HTC does oh so well. It feels like an HTC phone. The screen is big -- the screen is 4.7-inches of Super LCD glass -- and it looks quite nice. But the Galaxy Nexus beats it with its 720x1280 Super AMOLED HD display. It's less about the screen type than it is the pixels. The 720p screen just trumps it, hands down.

Microsoft has continue to work well with its manufacturing partners in terms of optimizing the devices. The Titan II is 1.5 GHz single-core device, but the UI is fast as fast can be. That doesn't mean you won't run into bottlenecks though. Despite having a 16MP camera on board, you'll have to make do with 720p video recording, and not 1080p like you'll find on most Android devices now. That's not a huge strike -- it's more of a limiting factor when using a single-core processor.

It really is that camera that had us impressed, especially when compared to the lackluster shooter on the Galaxy Nexus. From Day 1 of Windows Phone, Microsoft's done cameras right. You go from a cold start to shutter action quickly than just about anything else out there (the new Xperia S could give it a run for its money), and the quality of pictures and video on the Titan II is quite good.

We've got a few more pictures after the break, and be sure to check out the full hands-on with the Titan II at WPCentral.com.

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3 years ago

LG Marquee heading to Boost Mobile Jan. 23, with $280 price tag


Boost Mobile announced that they will be offering the LG Marquee on their $55 Android plan starting January 23.  The phone will cost $279.99 (plus taxes if applicable) at Boost retail locations and online, and that money gets you a slim smartphone with a great display.  This is the same LG Marquee we saw unveiled for Sprint last fall in New York, and is the Americanized version of the LG Optimus Black.  Specs are mid-range in today's world of dual-cores and nuclear-powered handsets, but are actually pretty good for a pre-paid device:

  •     Dimensions: 4.8" (H) x 2.52" (W) x 0.36" (D)
  •     Weight: 3.95oz
  •     NOVA Display: 4-inch color TFT (480 x 800) WVGA
  •     Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  •     1GHz processor
  •     Memory: 512MB RAM, 2GB ROM
  •     1500mAh battery
  •     5.5 hrs Talk Time
  •     MicroSD Slot (2GB included card)
  •     Wifi Enabled-- 802.11 b/g/n (Hotspot capable)
  •     Virtual QWERTY keyboard (with SWYPE)
  •     5-megapixel camera (rear)
  •     2-megapixel camera (front)

With Boost Mobile's interesting shrinkage plans (payments gradually get less the longer you keep making them) this could be a great choice for a lot of folks. 

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3 years ago

Motorola Droid 4, LG Spectrum will soon be able to roam overseas, says Verizon


The newly announced Motorola Droid 4 and LG Spectrum will soon be able to roam overseas on both GSM and CDMA networks, Verizon told Phonescoop. Both devices will be running on Verizon's 4G LTE networkin the US and because of some network issues, previous LTE phones have not been able to roam in non-CDMA markets.

Network enhancements on their way, which would make the Spectrum and Droid 4 the first to take advantage of such capabilities.

Great news for everybody looking to get an LTE phone on Verizon but also would like it to work overseas in GSM markets.

Source: Phonescoop

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations + TCPJ Special: CES 2012 wrap up


Mobile Nations editors Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson, Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Derek Kessler, Simon Sage and Jared DiPane join Mickey and Joey of The Cell Phone Junkie to wrap-up the biggest events of the 2012 CES. Listen in!

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3 years ago

LG the latest Android manufacturer to enter into licensing deal with Microsoft


Microsoft says 70 percent of all Android phones sold in the U.S. are covered by its portfolio

Microsoft today announced that Korean smartphone (and everything else) manufacturer LG has signed a licensing agreement for tablets, phones and other devices that run Android or Chrome. Like the previous agreements Microsoft has signed with the likes of HTC, Samsung and others, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft attorney Horacio Gutierrez, in a statement, lauded the "mutally beneficial agreement" and said that 70 percent of Android smartphones sold in the United States are now licensing Microsoft patents.

“We are pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.”

As for LG's side of the equation, the manufacturer (naturally) put a positive spin on the licensing deal, saying in the end, for both companies, it all comes down to producing products for consumers. LG spokesman Ken Hong told Android Central: 

"We're of course pleased we could come to amicable terms with Microsoft, whom LG has had a great working relationship with for years. This agreement allows both companies to move beyond the legal issues and get on with doing what both companies do best, which is developing products and delivering services that benefit consumers."

Regarding Chrome being part of the licensing agreement, Hong told Android Central "the deal includes Chrome but we don't have a Chromebook in development at this moment." That could be some forward-looking licensing -- ie a Chromebook or some other Chrome-based device could one day be in development -- or it possibly could be for LG's new 3D Google TV.

Our question now is how long the 30 percent of unlicensed devices (hi, Motorola) is going to be able to hold Microsoft off, and what cards they're holding if they do.

Source: Microsoft

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the ZAGGkeys FLEX


With tablets becoming increasingly popular, and the displays on Android devices not getting any smaller sitting down with the devices in an attempt to crank out a long email or type a report may not be ideal. With lots of bluetooth keyboard options on the market it makes it hard to decide which one to go with, and while preference will vary by each person ZAGG has brought a heavy hitter to the market with their ZAGGkeys FLEX Bluetooth keyboard.

This keyboard, unlike many of their others, is a universal Bluetooth keyboard so it doesn't limit the devices it works with, it won't require you to purchase a new keyboard if you get a new tablet, and if you wish to switch between your phone and tablet you are able to do that as well. In addition to the ability to connect with various devices like your new Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 easily it also comes in a nice small and portable package, making it really easy to put it in your bag and carry it around with you. The FLEX is 90 percent of a full sized keyboard, so typing on it should be very comfortable and still feel rather natural to most.

One extremely notable feature about the keyboard, besides the size, is the fact that the battery on it only needs to be charged once about every four months. That is some amazing battery life, and you may be wondering how they can do it, and what you will need to do in order to achieve it. Well quiet simply -- nothing. The FLEX will automatically go into a standby mode after a few minutes in which it has not been used, and before you fret, all you have to do in order to use it again is hit a key, wait a second and then start typing again. If you are looking for a portable Bluetooth keyboard that does not limit you to use with only one device, you will definitely want to check out the ZAGGkeys FLEX Bluetooth keyboard. Hit the break for a few more images.

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3 years ago

Android 4.0.2 for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus rolling out again



Mmmm. Can you taste that (almost) fresh new version of Ice Cream Sandwich? It appears as though Android 4.0.2 is rolling out to the GSM versions of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus again via an OTA update, so if you were one of the unlucky ones who have yet to receive it now may be your time. Weighing in at only 8.8MB it is pretty obvious that this is just a few bug fixes, but hey who doesn't enjoy a nice update for their device. If you haven't been notified of the update be sure to head into your settings and check manually for the update. Be sure to hop in the forums and let us know how it works out for you, and what you changes you notice. 

A big thanks from Phil goes out to Seth Weintraub!

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3 years ago

HzO shows us how you really waterproof a device


Let's just start this off by saying yes it is real, and no you can't just add it to any device. Now that we got that out of the way let's talk about the amazingness that HzO brought to us here at CES 2012. Walking around the tech floor I saw a display of some devices sitting underneath falling water like it was nothing, people were playing with the units, they were playing music and it was like everything was normal, wet but normal. Instantly I was intrigued and walked over and that is when it happened. Off came the battery door, SIM card and battery exposed and boom, there went his beloved Android device in the water like it was nothing, and thanks to HzO it is like nothing happened to the device, it remains fully functional with zero damage to any of the electronics.

So you are wondering how it works, right? Well unfortunately it isn't something that we (the consumer) can purchase to add on to an existing device, instead this coating has to be applied at the factory during production. The thin coating which they have named WaterBlock that is applied prevents water from coming in contact with the electronics and important parts inside the device, thus making it water resistant and giving you the ability to dunk it and not have to be worried. Unfortunately it doesn't appear as though there are many (if any) devices that are currently available with this product, but we can sure hope that the exposure from CES 2012 gets this installed on devices. Hit the break to check it all out in some video action.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the Octa WhaleTail & Vacuum Dock


Walking through the various halls here at CES 2012 you sure stumble across a whole bunch of different stuff, some things get a bit repetitive but sometimes there are things that just jump right out at you. While cruising through one of the halls I noticed a bunch of tablets all propped up without anyone holding them and I was immediately intrigued, then I met Octa WhaleTail and Vacuum Dock. While it is not specifically an Android only accessory it certainly works well on Android tablets, and for those of you who like to watch movies, play games, type long messages or anything else that you don't want your tablet laying down for you will want to check this out.

The concept is quite simple, they wanted to make holding a tablet a more enjoyable experience for everyone so they designed a holder that suctions to the back that contours the hand very nicely. To get the back to stick on the device all you have to do is put it on there, give it a few pumps and it's on there, and rather firmly. Releasing the piece is pretty simple (once you get the hang of it), pull up slightly on the two tabs and then push them in, and off it comes. Also included is the WhaleTail which hooks onto the back of the Vacuum Dock which allows the tablet to be propped up and it also doubles as a security measure for when you are carrying your tablet around so it doesn't just fall right out of your hands. Hit the break with us for a few more images as well as a video walkthrough of the product in action!

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the LG Spectrum


Read our LG Spectrum Review

Verizon announced the LG Spectrum here at CES, and we took some time to try it out. It's got a nice 4.5-inch 720p display, a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, and it's running Android 2.3. It feels a lot like Nitro HD, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not particularly new. The only real difference aside from running on Verizon instead of AT&T is that the Spectrum bumps up the RAM to 1 GB from 768 MB. 

LG was heavily pushing Verizon's streaming sports service, so you could catch live games on the go. They also emphasized their particular IPS display technology, which aims to cram in more pixels than the standard pentile layout, reduce battery drain, and ultimately improve sharpness and reduce eye strain. They've also added some mild software updates to the LG Spectrum's Android experience, namely being able to to drag and drop categories of apps from the full app screen to the home screen as a folder. Besides that, you'll recognize most of the other customizations - go ahead and take a look for yourself.

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