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3 years ago

Increased download speeds, No Flash woes [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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3 years ago

Oscura review - spooky, simple, and challenging

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Earlier this month, an abstract Android title by MTV called Oscura slashed its price in half, and continues to rank highly among the top paid games in Google Play. Oscura has a minimal, silhouetted style that bears a striking similarity to an indie PC game Limbo, not that that's a bad thing - it suits mobile wonderfully.  

The premise is a little on the fairy tale side, yet doesn't stop the game from being tense or downright scary at times. There's a lighthouse that keeps dark creatures at bay. One day it explodes and the impish keeper, Oscura, has to run out, collect the scattered light shards and restore protection to the lands. Of course, with the lighthouse out of commission, it leaves the doors wide open for red-eyed monsters to roam freely, making Oscura's repair mission a fair bit more challenging. 

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3 years ago

Nexus 7 bootloader unlocking and rooting -- the definitive video tutorial

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We're big fans of folks learning just what they are doing when it comes to hacking at their devices. One click root applications are fine and dandy, but when (not if) something goes wrong one day and you're forced to manually connect and attempt to fix your phone or tablet you would be glad you installed the right tools and learned a little bit beforehand. This all goes double for a Nexus device -- they are built for unlocking and hacking.

AC Super Moderator ragnarokx, who is also one of those folks who isn't afraid to dive in and see how things work, feels the same way. He's put together what we think is the ultimate manual unlocking and rooting tutorial for the Nexus 7 you'll find on the Internet. He gives you every file you need (without forcing you to download a bunch you don't), and walks through each and every step with an excellent video. 

It looks like a lot of folks will be getting their Nexus 7 tomorrow, so it's awesome that Casey has things ready for ya. You can check out the video after the break, and visit the Nexus 7 forums to read through. Be sure to thank ragnarokx while you're there!

Unlock, Root, & Clockwork for the Nexus 7 Tablet

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3 years ago

IM+ updated for Android with a host of new features

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The popular cross platform instant messaging app IM+ from Shape Services has received a nice update today bringing some welcomed new features. I'm a big fan of the app, having used it on iOS, BlackBerry and Android over the last couple of years. With a host of integrated services, such as Skype, Gtalk and Facebook just to name a few, SMS may well be a thing of the past. IM+ also includes Beep, a free mobile to mobile in-app messenger. If you want to manage all your instant messaging clients in once place then IM+ gets my vote.

If you haven't tried IM+ before now may be a good time to do so.

New to version 6.3 are the following features:

  • Significantly improved battery life.
  • Message Queue: Outgoing messages are queued is network not available and will be sent upon reconnection.
  • New IM services: mig33, SINA Wiebo, Mamba.Ru and Fetion.
  • Option to set master password: App can not be launched without password being entered.
  • Contact list can now be grouped by accounts
  • Preview to links for images and video in chat window.
  • Option to expand/collapse chat groups in charts tab.
  • Option to import accounts and settings from IM+ to IM+ Pro.
  • Option to disable system notifications for AOL and AIM IM service.

Download: IM+

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3 years ago

Weekly photo contest winners: Markers

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Another photo contest is in the can, and we get a handful of really cool artwork to show off from it. Last week's contest is proof that Android fans can draw just as well (maybe even better) than they can photograph, and that the Markers app kicks as much butt as I always thought it did. Ask anyone who entered, and I bet they'll tell you it's an addictive little application.

We picked five winners this go around, and each will be getting a stylus from ShopAndroid so they can make even more and even better drawings on their phones and tablets. If you see your drawing below, be sure to check the e-mail you used to register with AC for instructions on how to claim your prize. Click through the break to see the winners, and keep an eye out for the next contest from AC!

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3 years ago

ZTE shares fall 17% following bleak profit warnings

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Following a warning that their half year profits could drop by up to 80%, shares in Chinese manufacturer, ZTE, dropped by 17% to a 3-year low. 

The news continues a run of bad press for ZTE in recent weeks, with reports emerging that allege an FBI investigation also hangs over them amid investigations around the sale of banned equipment to Iran. 

ZTE, like fellow Chinese OEM Huawei, is trying to break into the western market with their latest range of Android devices. Indeed, this week we're promised the unveiling of an 'advanced gaming smartphone' at an event being held in London. Given the bleak financial outlook, an game-centric device may not be the way to turn things around, but on that front we'll just have to wait and see. 

Source: BBC News

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3 years ago

Take control of your Galaxy Nexus' destiny by flashing it to the takju build

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Google selling unlocked Galaxy Nexus phones through Google Play is pretty cool, especially at the price they're asking. But not too long ago, that wasn't an option if you wanted a GSM Galaxy Nexus here in the states. Because of some cryptic exclusitivity deal between Google, Beelzebub, and Verizon you had to import an unlocked handset from Europe, the far east, or Canada. It was a bit more expensive, and there were some warranty concerns, but a lot of people still did it -- and most of them are still sitting on an old version of Android while Jelly Bean is available.

We're not ones to advise people to wantonly hack at their phones for no reason. That's irresponsible, and we get that most Android users love things just the way they are and don't obsess over every little thing like the more hardcore crowd does. But this is a special case. If you're in Canada or Europe, or have a phone from either place, there's a good chance you're not running the "takju" version of the OS. There's nothing wrong with what you're running, but you'll be waiting for Samsung to get around to pushing out any updates to you. Takju is the designation Google has given the build that ships on the Play Store Nexus phones, and is the one they update themselves (and first). Other variants, like yakjuxw, are more dependent on Samsung fulfilling the OTA. We want everyone with an unlocked GNex to enjoy Jelly Bean.

The simplified instructions look pretty, well, simple. Unlock your bootloader, flash the takju factory image from Google, then force the OTA to Jelly Bean. In reality, they aren't much harder. You'll need the USB cable that came with the phone, a few files, and some knowledge that you can find in the Galaxy Nexus forums about bootloader unlocking and manually flashing images. Since you're using a Nexus, it's pretty hard to break things -- but you're still going to have to follow directions. When it's all said and done, and you're running Jelly Bean on your Galaxy Nexus, you'll be glad you did it. We're sure of it. You can even relock your bootloader when you're finished, and still enjoy OTA updates straight from Google on your stock Nexus. This is something worth taking the time to do if you're an Android fan.

Visit the Galaxy Nexus forums

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3 years ago

Sprint HTC EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G to get ICS by 'early August'

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Good news, Sprint HTC EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G owners, your long-awaited Android 4.0 update will soon be arriving. The carrier posted an update on its community site today, announcing that Ice Cream Sandwich will be on both phones by "early August."

In the meantime, Sprint has published a changelog detailing some of the improvements EVO owners can look forward to with the upgrade to Android 4.0. It's mostly the standard ICS stuff we're already familiar with on other devices --

  • A refined, evolved user interface that is simple, beautiful and useful
  • Face Unlock: use state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to unlock your phone with a smile
  • Redesigned camera app which introduces Scenes like Panorama, and Effects such as Vignette, Depth of Field, Vintage and Posterize
  • Web browser now lets you sync Google Chrome™ bookmarks, request full desktop versions of sites, see your open tabs in a new layout
  • People: browse friends, family and coworkers, see their photos in high-resolution and check their latest status updates from Google+
  • Improved keyboard with incredibly accurate typing, an inline spell checker and improved copy and paste support
  • Redesigned Gmail™ app that now lets you swipe between conversations to catch up quickly and search for emails even without a data connection
  • Google+ integration that lets you hangout and video chat with up to 10 friends using your front-facing camera

Though not explicitly stated, we'd expect this update to bump the EVOs up to HTC Sense 3.6 at the same time, since that's what's happened with similar devices like the Sensation.

The announcement follows the availability of ICS for the EVO 3D and HTC Raider, the Canadian equivalent of the EVO Design, a couple of weeks ago on Rogers. Sprint says to stay tuned for full dates, and we'll have more details on these updates just as soon as they're announced.

Source: Sprint Community

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3 years ago

Ask AC: What is 'unlocked'?

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Is your Android phone's bootloader unlocked? Is it SIM unlocked? What's the difference?

There's been a bit of confusion in the blogs the past few days over unlocking phones. Maybe you're wondering about an unlocked bootloader. Or maybe you need something that's SIM unlocked. Or maybe you want to unlock your phone's bootloader, but you can't, because it's encrypted.

It's confusing, we know. Even bloggers have a hard time keeping it all straight. But you've come to the right place. We don't have that problem here. 

So let's have a little refresher course on what we mean when we talk about unlocking things, shall we?

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3 years ago

Instagram updated with Nexus 7 support, Flickr sharing

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If you're among the lucky few to already be in possession of a Google Nexus 7, then you'll be pleased to see hear that the Instagram app for Android has been updated to support your new tablet. The latest version 1.1.7 of Instagram for Android is now fully functional on the Jelly Bean tablet, whereas before N7 owners were turned away with a compatibility message. Though the focus of Instagram on a tablet is on viewing, not creating content, you can also use the Nexus 7's 1.2MP front-facing camera to take your own mugshots and filter them to your heart's content.

In addition, the latest update includes the ability to share Instagram'd photos directly to Flickr as part of the sharing menu once you've saved your image. (Unfortunately there's still no native Google+ support right now, though our fingers remain crossed.)

Check the link below to download Instagram for Android from Google Play.

Download: Instagram for Android

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3 years ago

Chromemote offers another solution for controlling your Google TV

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Although there is quite a few options for controlling your Google TV out there already, such as the included remote or any one of the numerous apps in the Google Play Store not all of them work they way some folks want or how they wish to use their Google TV. For me personally, I like to have my Google TV fired up and on when I'm writing up posts as I sit in front of my laptop. The included remote isn't all that great for this and an app would mean picking up my smartphone every now and then and messing around with it. Granted, I'm likely doing that anyhow but that's kind of the point. I have other things on my phone to be doing than controlling my Google TV with it.

Luckily, a new project is under way by a fellow named Robert Smith. His project is called Chromemote and the premise behind is that it allows you to control your Google TV right from within as you may have guessed already, Google Chrome. Chromemote is an extension available for Google Chrome in the Chrome Web Store and in Robert's own words, he is what you can expect from Chromemote:

This will enable any device running a Google Chrome browser or the Google Chrome OS to have complete control over any Google TV device. With Chromemote you will be able to use your notebook's keyboard and touchpad to control your Google TV. Chromemote is designed to have the look and feel of the original Google TV Remote app for Android, but has been expanded to allow a multitude of new features. Chromemote will allow you to rearrange buttons and create custom buttons tailored for your home entertainment system.

Sure enough, after installing the extension from the Chrome Web Store and entering my secure PIN, I was up and running with Chromemote and able to control my aging Logitech Revue all from my MacBook Pro with ease. Other functions such as turning my TV off and on also worked rather flawlessly as well, so I'm starting to think I may have found a pretty decent solution to my remote control problem. If you have a Google TV and are looking for a better way to control it, then I'd say Chromemote is certainly worth a look.

Source: Chromemote, via: GigaOm

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3 years ago

Metal Slug 3 review - classic cartoon carnage

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Metal Slug 3 blasted into Google Play last week, complete with a tankload of nostalgia and old-school graphics. Don't let the pixel art style fool you, though - Metal Slug's animation is buttery smooth, explosive, and full of character. 

In a nutshell, Metal Slug 3 is Contra with a goofy cartoon twist. The side-scrolling shoot-em-up action is pretty much exactly the same - use the joystick to aim a weapon and move, and buttons to jump, shoot, and use special abilities. Enemies can kill your character in one shot, which quickly turns the game into a test of survival; three lives and three continues will only get you so far. Everyday bad guys drop quickly to a hail of bullets, but prolonged boss fights can be particularly harrowing. Power-ups pepper levels and provide access to limited-use bombs and bigger guns to clear a path to the end. 

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3 years ago

T-Mobile, on Twitter, apparently confirms Samsung Galaxy Note coming, offers no other details

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For a while now, details about the Samsung Galaxy Note coming to T-Mobile have been floating around. Support documentation, contests showing off the device and countless other small pieces of information have been unveiled over time but T-Mobile themselves have never really come out and said they'll have the device definitively. That is, until earlier Monday morning when they were pressed a little bit for information on Twitter by @EpicRivas:

@epicrivas We are excited to confirm the Samsung Galaxy Note will be coming to T-Mobile! More info to come. ^JM

That's it. That's all the info you get for now. It's coming and T-Mobile will tell us later some more details but for now, you'll have to live with what you got. For T-Mobile's sake though, I hope they plan on rolling it out with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich onboard considering many other carriers have already released the update. Maybe that's what they're waiting on? At this point though, with rumors of the Galaxy Note 2 aplenty is anyone waiting to pick this up on T-Mobile?

Source: Twitter, via: Engadget

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3 years ago

Battle of the shell cases: Mobi Products Hard Shell vs. the Seidio Surface for the Galaxy Nexus [accessory review]

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Hard-shell cases have become arguably the most popular solutions for protecting your smartphone. They offer decent protection from dents, dings and scratches while adding negligible heft and girth to your device. As the go-to choice, the market has become flooded with offerings from countless manufacturers, ranging from colorful and fashion-centric to the conservative and refined. Two great options for the Galaxy Nexus are from Mobi Products and Seidio. Both have great reputations for building quality products, but which of their basic hard-shell cases is the best solution to protect your Nexus?

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3 years ago

London Drugs now selling the Nexus 7 in Canada

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It's certainly full steam ahead now, as aside from Google various other retailers across North America are starting to dish out the Nexus 7. The latest addition to the list in Canada, is London Drugs. They're selling the 16GB version at the same price as the Google Play Store, although stocks seem to be limited, at least to start with. 

It's fantastic news that so many different retailers are to offer up the Nexus 7, and it definitely isn't going to hurt those sales figures. Now all we need is for the European retailers -- and Google -- to start officially shipping theirs. 

via MobileSyrup

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