Headlines

4 years ago

Verizon sees record revenue in Q4 2011, adds 1.5 million subscribers

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If you see a Verizon executive walking around today whistling a happy tune, it's because the company's fourth-quarter 2011 earnings were just announced. Big Red recorded a 7.7 percent increase in revenue compared to Q4 2010, for its wireless (as in mobile) and wired (mainly FiOS) combined.

On the wireless side, Verizon saw $18.3 billion in total revenue, up 13 percent year over year. Data revenue was up 19.2 percent to $6.3 billion, and Verizon saw 1.5 million (net) new subscribers, its largest increase in three years. The vast majority of those new subscribers -- 1.3 million -- are of the traditional postpaid variety. Verizon now has 108.7 million total "connections," the company reported, 6.3 percent higher than Q4 2010.

Smartphones make up 44 percent of Verizon's customer base, compared to 39 percent for for the final three months of 2010. It didn't break down how many are Android, and how many are iPhone.

Source: Verizon (pdf)

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4 years ago

New 'Experiments' Gmail feature discovered in Android 4.0.3

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The Android 4.0.3 update for the Asus Transformer Prime brought with it some improvements to the Google Apps. However small any changes may be, nestled among them the Gmail application has received an interesting new feature menu known as "Experiments."

Experiments at the moment consists of a couple of new features which are probably not quite ready for the prime-time. 

The first of these, enables full text search. Pretty straight forward this one, but still pretty useful. It allows you to index an entire message to search for keywords. 

The second may not be immediately obvious as to its function. The contact chip is bascially the name entered into the To, Cc, and Bcc fields when composing a new message. Enabling this function allows you to long press on one of these contact chips, and simply drag and drop to another box. 

At the moment, the updated Gmail app is rolling out with Android 4.0.3. But, enter the Android community, as the apk has been extracted from the Prime and is working just fine on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It has been tried on Honeycomb, but ran into some nasty force close issues meaning this is purely for Ice Cream Sandwich guys. 

If you're keen to try it out for yourselves, hit the source link where you'll find a handy download.

Sources: Computer WorldAndroid Police

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4 years ago

AC Asks: Are you using Google Currents?

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Google Currents is closing in on being two months old. Initial growth has seemed pretty impressive -- we've got around 178,000 subscribers -- but how much are you folks actually using it? We'll share some numbers here shortly. But for now, let's hear it. Are you using Google Currents? And if so, how often? And if you're looking to give it a shot, hit our subscribe link below.

Subscribe on Google Currents: Android Central; iMore; Mobile Nations

Are you using Google Currents?

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4 years ago

Google Music updated in Android Market, fixes bugs in shuffling songs and multiple accounts

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Google Music has been updated to version 4.1.512, bringing fixes to shuffle mode and fixes for folks using multiple Google accounts.  The update looks to be across the board for all devices running Android 2.2 or higher, so be sure to check and see if your copy is up-to-date.  We love Google Music around here, and on devices without removable storage it's a life saver.  Hit the break for the download link if you haven't given it a try yet.

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4 years ago

Droid RAZR now available in purple from Verizon Wireless

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If you don't fancy the Motorola Droid RAZR in white or black and have been holding out for it to arrive in purple, your wait is now over. The purple Droid RAZR that got announced alongside the Droid RAZR MAXX at CES 2012 is now available from Verizon Wireless. There is no difference in pricing for the device so; you're looking at $200 with a new two-year agreement or $600 with no contract at all. Want one? Hit the source link below.

Source: Verizon; Thanks, @Pilotboy!

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4 years ago

Nexus rant, Kindle Fire worth rooting? [From the Forums]

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Another week has kicked off here at Android Central and we're already rolling with a great start. If you managed to miss out on anything from this weekend, get your self caught up and don't be shy to stop by the Android Central forums and get in on the action in there:

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

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4 years ago

Notion Ink partners with Texas Instruments for its next-generation Adam II Tablets

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The folks from Notion Ink are once again getting their name out there. After having released an Alpha build of ICS for their original Adam series tablet, they teased a new upcoming device briefly but skimped out on the majority of the details at that time. They've now revealed one of their partners via their blog:

Notion Ink has partnered with Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated for its next generation Adam II Tablets. Adam II will be using OMAP44xx processor along with other TI components like Wi-Link 7.0 and Phoenix Audio Power Amplifiers. Adam II will also leverage the power optimizations achieved using mature combination of TI’s integrated power-management IC.

Notion Ink is looking to make use of the Texas Instruments OMAP44xx processor to help keep things nice and fluid in the UI, allow for better multi-tasking and handle power consumption better. It'll be interesting to see what they present this time around, but there has been no mention of when they plan to show off things further. Vaporware all over again?

Source: Notion Ink

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4 years ago

European LG Optimus Black Gingerbread update rolling out now

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It's been a long time coming, but European owners of the LG Optimus Black should finally be starting to see some Gingerbread. Optimus Blackl owners in India also should be seeing this update.

We first heard about the updates for the Optimus range way back in October, and now it's the turn of the Black to be pushed up to Gingerbread. The 2.3.4 update is rolling out as version V20N. 

New features touted include improved power management, support for new media formats, shortcuts, widgets, better auto-focus on the camera and Google+ pre-installed. 

The update is reported to be available currently via LG's software update tool right now. It still hurts a little that updates to Gingerbread are still rolling out, but LG has made no secret of its ICS plans.

Sources: AndroidOS.in; HDBlog.it; thanks to everone who sent this in

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4 years ago

Google+ now allowing the use of nicknames and other established identities

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A longstanding bone of contention when registering for a Google+ profile was that you were required to use your actual name. Google had gone so far as to delete entire accounts based on psuedonyms. But Google has finally decided to allow for these nicknames and other established identities to be used on Google+, which is definitely a huge plus for folks out there who have built themselves around the alternative identity. While they will still be watching over the nicknames, and have restrictions put in place, this is definitely a huge step in the right direction. 

Source: Google+ Names Policy; via: +Bradley Horowitz

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4 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Transportation

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We're back for the second weekly Android Central photo contest, and this week's theme is transportation.  Anything that you use to get from point A to point B is fair game (see our example photo above), and we're looking forward to seeing another round of great pictures from you guys and gals.  Come Sunday, we'll pick the cream of the crop and show them all off (check out last week's finalists, they're amazing) -- and the winner this week get's an extended battery from ShopAndroid.com for his or her phone so they can carry a bit of extra juice and take a few more pictures.  We've also adjusted the rules a little, so read the next bit carefully:

  • Pictures must be taken with an Android device.  Yes, your iPhone or DSLR takes great pictures, but we're all about Android here.
  • Only one picture per person.  If you send in more than one, even if it's the best one, you're disqualified.
  • Entries must be accompanied by the name of the phone (or tablet) used to take them, and the name you want used for photo credit should you make the final cut. In other words, we want to know which phone you used!
  • Photos must be sent as an attachement.  With so many entries, we just don't have time to visit your Picasa or Flickr album.

Pick out your best photo, and send it to pics@androidcentral.com.  Good luck to everyone!

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4 years ago

Huawei Honor Review

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With a new Android device announced ever hour, it takes a lot to make a device stand out from the crowd. Some devices are marketed heavily, some bring new features and others just fall to the wayside after announcement, and the Huawei Honor is a handset that falls in the middle of a bunch of these categories. Claims of three-day battery life certainly piqued our interest, but we'll have to get this in the States first before we'll celebrate too much. But that didn't slow us down at all. We got the Honor in our hands, and it's time to put it through its paces.

Could the Huawei Honor bring enough to the table to make some folks want to import the device, or to make it a daily driver for those who are able to purchase and make use of it? Let’s hit the break and take a look at how it rates.


The Huawei Honor offers a solid build quality, large screen, fast processor and a demo ICS ROM already.


The self-proclaimed amazing battery life was anything but, and the 8-megapixel camera disappointed. Currently unavailable in the U.S.



The hardware is very well built and the Honor runs rather smoothly. We can expect to see support for ICS on this device since we already saw the demo ROM available, and with multiple colors available the device is sure to meet your style requirements.

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4 years ago

Android A to Z: What is a kernel?

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What is a kernel?  If you spend any time reading Android forums, blogs, how-to posts or online discussion you'll soon hear people talking about the kernel.  A kernel isn't something unique to Android -- iOS and MacOS have one, Windows has one, BlackBerry's QNX has one, in fact all high level operating systems have one.  The one we're interested in is Linux, as it's the one Android uses. Let's try to break down what it is and what it does.

Android devices use the Linux kernel, but it's not the exact same kernel other Linux-based operating systems use.  There's a lot of Android specific code built in, and Google's Android kernel maintainers have their work cut out for them.  OEMs have to contribute as well, because they need to develop hardware drivers for the parts they're using for the kernel version they're using.  This is why it takes a while for independent Android developers and hackers to port new versions to older devices and get everything working.  Drivers written to work with the Gingerbread kernel on a phone won't necessarily work with the Ice Cream Sandwich kernel.  And that's important, because one of the kernel's main functions is to control the hardware.  It's a whole lot of source code, with more options while building it than you can imagine, but in the end it's just the intermediary between the hardware and the software.

When software needs the hardware to do anything, it sends a request to the kernel.  And when we say anything, we mean anything.  From the brightness of the screen, to the volume level, to initiating a call through the radio, even what's drawn on the display is ultimately controlled by the kernel.  For example -- when you tap the search button on your phone, you tell the software to open the search application.  What happens is that you touched a certain point on the digitizer, which tells the software that you've touched the screen at those coordinates.  The software knows that when that particular spot is touched, the search dialog is supposed to open.  The kernel is what tells the digitizer to look (or listen, events are "listened" for) for touches, helps figure out where you touched, and tells the system you touched it.  In turn, when the system receives a touch event at a specific point from the kernel (through the driver) it knows what to draw on your screen.  Both the hardware and the software communicate both ways with the kernel, and that's how your phone knows when to do something.  Input from one side is sent as output to the other, whether it's you playing Angry Birds, or connecting to your car's Bluetooth.  

It sounds complicated, and it is.  But it's also pretty standard computer logic -- there's an action of some sort generated for every event.  Without the kernel to accept and send information, developers would have to write code for every single event for every single piece of hardware in your device.  With the kernel, all they have to do is communicate with it through the Android system API's, and hardware developers only have to make the device hardware communicate with the kernel.  The good thing is that you don't need to know exactly how or why the kernel does what it does, just understanding that it's the go-between from software to hardware gives you a pretty good grasp of what's happening under the glass.  Sort of gives a whole new outlook towards those fellows who stay up all night to work on kernels for your phone, doesn't it?

Previously on Android A to Z: What is the JIT?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

 

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus extended battery (GSM) - a photo tour

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Taking a look at the GSM Galaxy Nexus extended battery

The international version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus ships with an ample 1750 mAh battery, which provides decent battery life while maintaining the phone's low profile. As we said in our review, most people shouldn't have any trouble getting through a full day of use with the stock battery.

However, sometimes you just need a little more juice, and that's where Samsung's official extended battery for the GSM Galaxy Nexus comes in. It's a larger 2000 mAh battery pack which gives you a few more hours of use in exchange for a little extra bulk. To clarify, this is different to the 2100 mAh extended battery for Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners -- the Verizon and GSM models use different batteries.

Before we begin, a couple of things to note -- firstly, this is an official Samsung extended battery, as you might've guessed by the logos on the back of the battery door. Secondly, the only way to get hold of this battery, for now, is to import it from South Korea. We hope we'll see broader international availability in the future.

The GSM extended battery comes with a larger battery door to accommodate its slightly thicker size, as you'll see in the animation below. This means the phone isn't as ridiculously thin as with the stock battery, but we found that the slightly raised bulge around the back of the phone actually made it easier to hold. That's a matter of personal preference, though, and you certainly won't notice the extra couple of millimeters when it's in your pocket. Also, even with the extra bulk around the back, the phone manage to fit its way into the couple of protective cases we tried, including the Case-Mate Barely There case, and the Qmadix Snap-on Cover with Holster.


View a larger version of this animation

The new battery door is built to the same high standards as the one in the box. Same "hyperskin" texture, same logos. The battery itself contains an NFC antenna, just like the original, and we confirmed that NFC was indeed functional with the extended battery installed.

So how about performance? Well, we've been using the 2000 mAh extended battery for around 36 hours, and in that time we've noticed it gives us around 4 to 5 extra hours with moderate-to-high usage. On a less scientific level, we've noticed that it just seems to hold charge better. We've included a few battery usage screenshots after the jump, and given the performance we've seen out of the extended battery so far, we think we'd be hard pushed to run this thing down in under a day.

As ever, we'll keep you posted with further impressions as we spend more time with the new battery. We've got a couple of screenshots and some more photos after the jump.

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4 years ago

The Wiggles are coming to Android

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Attention all parents: The Wiggles are coming to Android. Repeat: The Wiggles are coming to Android. Ruckus Media Group today announced that it's been granted worldwide rights to come up with an iOS and Android storybook apps for smartphones and tablets. The first titles will arrive in iTunes in April, and on Android later in the year.

For those of you without kids, the Wiggles are an Australian children's music group and have sold more than 24 million DVDs, 8 million CDs and 8 million books worldwide. 

The Wiggles Android app will fill yet another niche in Android children's apps. We've seen a plethora of kids apps released over the past year or so, including "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a number of books by popular children's author Sandra Boynton, and "Winnie the Pooh, What's a Bear to Do."

Source: Press release; Also: See more Android kids apps

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4 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Airplane Lloyd

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Today's Free Android wallpaper is a familiar character, brought to us by a familiar name. Derek Kesser -- editor of webOS Nation -- has been doing some 3D modelling of everyone's favorite Android mascot, our very own Lloyd. And Lloyd's about to take off, from the looks of it.  

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