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2 years ago

This is how you unbox a Galaxy Nexus (hint: with Ninjas)

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You've probably noticed, we don't spend much time on traditional unboxing videos around these parts, even when a phone kicks ass at the level of the Galaxy Nexus.  There's only so many times you can look at a USB cable and cheap set of earbuds before things start to go a bit fuzzy, so we leave that to your imagination.  But things would be different if we were ninjas.

How different?  Make sure you have Adobe Flash installed (sorry iPad, U NO CAN PLAY) and hit the link to see.  Just don't plan on doing anything else for at least an hour.

Ninja's Unboxing 3

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2 years ago

Android App Review: SeekDroid

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Keeping your phone safe and sound is a pretty big deal to all of us, I'd say. We cover our thin, svelte devices in cases, slap screen protectors on them, and make sure they're always in a pocket, purse, or holster. In the odd event you've misplaced your phone, or even worse, it was stolen, it feels like the sky is falling.

Important emails, financial information, texts, pictures, all of it is AWOL. You're freaking out, trying to retrace your steps, get your phone, and secure your information. It's no good for anyone. To alleviate some of the stress you feel in situations like this, I'd like to introduce y'all to SeekDroid.

SeekDroid is your one-stop shop for everything related to keeping your phone safe. It's a two-step process (installing the app, then controlling everything from the web), but once you see the total package, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Once you've installed the app, you have to sign up for SeekDroid's website with a username and a password. Make sure you never lose it, because if you forget your password, you need to uninstall the app, reinstall it, and sign up with a new name. There's no password recovery to speak of.

The app itself is pretty Plain Jane, nothing more than a settings menu. From here you can set SeekDroid as a device administrator, change your SeekDroid password, and enable a slew of security settings. This is where all the preliminary decisions get made, so make sure you choose wisely.

You can enable or disable call history retrieval, remote phone wiping, and remote SD card wiping, plus there's also SMS settings to control your phone in case you can't get to a computer.

First you set up your SMS pin, then select what options you're giving SeekDroid power over (similar to the web interface), but here, you'd text your phone your PIN and a keyword, like locate, to enable SMS location. You can also activate an alarm, lock your phone, wipe it, or wipe the SD card, all using SMS.

What else does SeekDroid have to offer? When you're on the web interface, quite a bit. You can locate your phone using GPS and get a pinpoint accurate location, conveniently placed on Google Maps for you. There's also the option to send an alarm to the device (with a custom message), and the alarm still sounds even if the phone is on silent.

You can also actually lock the phone, wipe it, or wipe the SD, barring you set those permissions earlier. The web portal is quite slick, well designed, and easy to use. I tested each of the options (except for wiping), and needless to say, they work like a charm.

If you're looking for peace of mind in the event your phone goes missing, SeekDroid is definitely where it's at. Yes, it costs $4.99, but for a one-time fee and the ability to track any Android device I install it on, I could not be more pleased. It's easy to set up on your phone, even easier to use the web interface, and that nets it a strong recommendation from me.

We've got pictures and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Cincinnati Bell's Nexus S to receive Ice Cream Sandwich this week [updated]

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Update: Cincinatti Bell's given us an official update on the update, saying that we might not see things push this week, but instead through January. Also, as is the case with Nexus phones, expect the update from Google itself. Here's the full statement:

Cincinnati Bell’s Samsung Nexus S is among the handsets that will be receiving the Google Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 update.  The updates will follow Google’s OTA schedule which will be pushed out through January 2012.  Please keep in mind the update requires Android 2.3.6 to work properly and will NOT work if  the device hasn’t been updated from Android 2.3.4 software.  Contact your local Cincinnati Bell Wireless store for information relating to updating your Nexus S to Android 2.3.6.

Original: While the Samsung Nexus S shown above on Cincinnati Bell has definitely been running the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich update earlier than this week, that doesn't change the fact that the Ohio-based company should be officially pushing out the update starting today. Our sources tell us that the company has the latest version of Android on their servers right now and ready to roll out to its Nexus S owners over the next week, which means you had better get your fingers on that  "System Updates" button. From our experience, you don't want to waste a single minute extra without it.

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2 years ago

Eric Schmidt doesn't actually say Nexus tablet, everybody starts thinking it anyway

So apparently Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said something about a tablet to an Italian newspaper. Next thing you know, we have a Nexus tablet coming in six months or something. And you know what? That could totally happen. And you know what else? It already has.

Here's what Schmidt actually said (more or less, thanks to Google Translate):

"We in the next six months plan to market a tablet of the highest quality."

Someone want to point out where, in that sentence, the word "Nexus" is used?

Here's what probably happened: Someone asked Schmidt a question. Schmidt gave an answer that you'd totally expect from the company's executive chairman and former CEO. What else should he have said? "Oh, we're going to push some piece of shit that nobody's going to buy." Nobody would say that. Not even RIM. (OK, maybe RIM.)

Oh, but, yes, Schmdit did say "We ... plan to market." Cool. Wouldn't surprise us in the least. Because Google's already done that once. A year ago. It was called the Motorola Xoom. It came with an unlockable bootloader, was devoid of bloatware and was the first tablet to be pushed by el Goog.

No, it wouldn't surprise us in the least to see Google put its weight behind another tablet. And a tablet of the highest quality, to boot. And it'll be welcomed by us with open arms. But let's not go putting words in people's mouths just yet.

Source: Corriere Della Sera (translated); via Notebook Italia (translated)

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2 years ago

Droid RAZR about to get bugfix update, including data and camera

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Some good news for those of you suffering with that little slice of sexy otherwise known as the Motorola Droid RAZR: An update's on the way (and we're told that a soak test has already begun) that's going to squash a few bugs, including that blasted SIM card error, and to improve the camera. Here's the list:

  • SIM error notification has been fixed
  • Improved camera features and quality
  • Improved stability of menu access, browser, phone dialer, video playback and music player to prevent force-close errors and lockups
  • Updated group message notification in e-mail
  • Improvement in 3G/4G data connectivity
  • Maintain network connection upon completion of a voiec call
  • Background color has been adjusted to improve readability in Lapdock connection UI menu items.

Good stuff. Look for the update to drop any time now.

Source: Verizon (pdf); thanks, @yankees368

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2 years ago

Vote now in the 2011 Android Central Awards!

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The year's quickly coming to a close, and it's time to cast your vote in the 2011 Android Central Awards. We want your vote in the following categories:

  • Smartphone of the year
  • Tablet/e-reader of the year
  • Most disappointing smartphone of the year
  • Most disappointing tablet/e-reader of the year
  • And a handful of app categories

This one's entirely up to you, folks. If you don't vote, you can't complain. Just like real life. So hit the link below and make sure your voice is heard. It just takes a couple minutes. (And, yes, you'll be getting Android Central's unabashed choices in the near future, too.) We'll be closing entries on Friday afternoon and announce the winners (and loser) next week! Vote now! 

Vote in the 2011 Android Central Awards

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2 years ago

ASUS Transformer Prime back on Amazon, company expects 'normal inventory levels in January'

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Read our Transformer Prime Review

ASUS this morning gave us an update on the availability of the popular and already hard-to-get Transformer Prime Android tablet. It's once again available on Amazon, which may be your best bet if you're looking to snag one by Christmas. And ASUS says it expects to have "normal inventory levels in January" for North America. In-store availability in the meantime, will likely fluctuate. It is the holidays, after all.

Here's the official line from ASUS:

“ASUS started filling the inventory pipelines this past week for our new Eee Pad Transformer Prime and will continue to do so on an expedited basis for the foreseeable future. We will reach normal inventory levels in January for the North American market based on current orders and forecasts.  Based on forecasted supply schedules to our valued partners we expect pre-order allocation fulfillment to occur shortly and online or in-store availability in the very near future.  We will continue to work closely with our partners to fill customer orders as quickly as possible.”

As for Amazon, you can get the 64GB Tranformer Prime in champagne or amethyst gray for $599, and the 32GB version in those colors for $499 at the links below.

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2 years ago

HTC Congressional rumored for AT&T spring 2012

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A few things we can promise you in 2012:

  • HTC will release Android smartphones.
  • They will be on U.S. carriers.
  • They will have Beats Audio.
  • They will be big, and fast.
  • They will have Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

And with all of those completely unsurprising realizations out of the day, BGR says it has word of one Android smartphone coming next year, possibly dubbed the AT&T Congressional, and possibly coming in April. ICS and Beats are a given. As are fast processors, good (or at least better) cameras, and so on and so forth. Hardware is hardware.

No, what we're really interested in for 2012 is what HTC does with Ice Cream Sandwich. Will we see the same old Sense (or, more likely, a new version of Sense) laid atop the Android framework? Will they combine UI features? That's the big question for 2012, folks. Hardware comes and goes. Very quickly.

Source: BGR

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2 years ago

Glu gets its own set of Sprint ID packs, throws in Guitar Hero and Deer Hunter

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If you're a fan of Glu's stable of games on Android and are rocking a Sprint phone and are into the Sprint ID thing (that's a lot of qualifies, we know), Glu's now got its own Sprint ID pack. With it you get:

  • Guitar Hero & More: Download this ID pack and prepare to rock out to Guitar Hero 5 and Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock. As an intermission, check out the 10 additional Glu games available in this ID pack.
  • Deer Hunter & More: This ID pack is a bulls-eye for shooting fanatics with Deer Hunter Challenge,Deer Hunter 3D and Deer Hunter African Safari. Waiting to reload? This ID pack includes a dozen more Glu games to test your skills.
  • Free Glu Games: Thirteen Glu games at your fingertips for the best price: FREE! This ID pack features top franchises like Guitar Hero and Deer Hunter. 

You can snag them on your phone, or hit the link below for more.

More: Sprint

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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Stardash

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

For anyone who grew up with a big, chunky original Game Boy or played old NES and SNES games, Stardash was made for you. Designed in 8-bit of the highest quality, Stardash aims to tug at your nostalgic heartstrings while giving everyone the same challenges and satisfaction found in the oldest of oldies.

Gameplay is about as straightforward as it gets. You've got left and right arrows and a jump button, nothing more. This game checks the frills at the door and gives you one task: dash. So dash you do, traversing increasingly difficult terrain and jumping over chasms while also making sure to jump on any enemies you see. (Historical records dictate this is the most efficient way to kill them.)

Throughout your adventures you'll also come across coins to pick up, although this is par the course for sidescrolling adventures of this sort. If you're lucky (or smart), you'll also find the optimal "high road" to get across the level, thus enabling you to reach the coveted 100-point balloon at the end of the level.

Aesthetically, you're getting just what you'd expect from a game carrying on the legacy Mario and friends. It's monochromatic, pixelated, and has upbeat, friendly sounding 8-bit music to accompany the visual. The buttons are large and cartoonish, but look like the buttons from the controllers of years past. If you weren't playing this on a high-powered phone, you could almost imagine you're back in the 80s.

There are tons of levels and secrets to enjoy (40 levels and four unlockable temples) as well as achievements out the wazoo thanks to OpenFeint support. It's as social as old-school gaming gets, and gives a nice nod to things like the whistles, what with the keys for temples and all.

Other than that, there isn't much to say. Stardash is awesome. You want it. You need it. Take a walk down memory lane and enjoy the trip or see what you young whippersnappers have been missing these days, with those super photorealistic things you've been playing on those HD moving picture boxes.

Stardash is $1.99 in the Android Market. We've got download links after the break.

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