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4 years ago

HTC First review

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Is it just reference hardware for Facebook Home, or a true candidate for your next smartphone purchase?

There are few things in the mobile industry that have been constant over the last few years, but one that has is the rumor of a mythical "Facebook Phone." The idea of a phone that could only interact with people and services around Facebook didn't make a whole lot of sense to most people -- and apparently it didn't make much sense to Facebook itself either.  Because rather than a proper Facebook Phone, at a press conference on April 4th we were given this, the HTC First.

In many ways the First itself isn't supposed to be the big story. You wouldn't be alone for thinking it is simply a hardware platform to show off what seems to be Facebook's true end-game -- the Facebook Home software. There are far more users in the world that own one of the recent flagships from HTC or Samsung that will install Home from the Play Store than there are who will buy (or even be aware of) the First. This realization certainly calls into question why Facebook even bothered to have its own phone made in the first place.

So does Facebook actually care about the success of the First, or did it ask HTC to throw together a cheap device from the parts bin to show off Home at the press conference? After spending some time with the device, we think it may be a bit more substantial than that. There are a whole lot of intriguing aspects of the First that may just have you considering it as your next device.

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4 years ago

Qualcomm-based Galaxy S4 models now have a root method

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AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile versions can now be rooted with a simple tool

Well that certainly didn't take long, did it? With only AT&T's variant shipping to pre-order buyers, Sprint's launch mere hours away and T-Mobile's launch pushed back, we now have a root tool available for these Qualcomm-based Galaxy S4's. The tool, created by djrbliss over at XDA, which was originally made for Motorola devices seems to be working for these Galaxy S4 models as well. Many users in that forum thread are reporting that their devices are being successfully rooted with the tool, which simply takes a few steps of setup and running of a program to root the device.

We'd caution against jumping right into rooting at this point if you're unsure of what to do with it on your new device. As the poster points out, with no custom recoveries or stock firmware images available for these devices you may be in for a world of hurt if you make the wrong move with your newly rooted device. As always, proceed with caution here.

Source: XDA; More: Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums

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4 years ago

Contest winners: Nexus 4 headphones!

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up to get your info. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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4 years ago

T-Mobile to keep GoSmart prepaid brand after MetroPCS deal closes

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MetroPCS to continue on as a nationwide prepaid brand

GoSmart Mobile, which is T-Mobile's latest nationwide prepaid brand, is confirmed to be sticking around even as the merger with MetroPCS comes to a close this year. The brand, which is completely owned by T-Mobile but operated as an independent carrier, just launched nationwide in February and caters to a price-sensitive crowd with $45, $35 and $30 tiers that offer unlimited talk, text and either 2G or 3G data service. With the MetroPCS merger now confirmed, T-Mobile plans to keep that brand around as a nationwide prepaid carrier as well -- which would make sense considering the brand equity it has.

Because both MetroPCS and GoSmart will continue operating concurrently, we would expect the carriers to both hit different price points and service levels. Given the pricing structure of GoSmart, we expect the MetroPCS brand to slot in above it with higher prices and more options. This is not unlike the strategy of Sprint, which operates its self-branded postpaid services separate from Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, which are completely owned prepaid subsidiaries.

Source: FierceWireless

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4 years ago

OUYA says it has shipped consoles to 32-percent of early backers

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50-percent of consoles expected to ship by end of next week, no matter your location

In a weekly email update from the OUYA team, we now know that a full 32-percent of early kickstarter backers of the console have had their devices ship out. If you'll recall, the first shipment notifications started heading out at the very end of March, and we're sure OUYA is cranking these things out as quickly as they can. Based on their initial estimates of shipping times, the consoles are actually getting out slightly ahead of schedule.

OUYA says that they expect to hit the 50-percent mark for shipments by the end of next week if all goes according to plan. They also explain that no matter where you live in the world, if you're an early backer those shipments should be picking up next week as well. These are exciting times, and we can't wait to see what these consoles can do once all of the developers have them in their hands.

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4 years ago

More Google Glass specs revealed: OMAP processor and ICS on board

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A clever trick to hook up Glass with USB debugging reveals more internal specs

As Explorer Edition Google Glass units started to ship out to willing participants, some official tech specs had been published on the product page. It wasn't a complete set of internals, however, and the curious among us still wanted to know more specifics about the processor and RAM in this headgear. Thanks to some clever poking around by an early Glass user, we now know that it is powered by a TI OMAP 4430 processor (you may recall the Galaxy Nexus ran a 4460), at least 682MB of RAM and is running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. The folks who figured this out say they can't confirm the clock speed of that OMAP processor, nor the exact amount of RAM. With a number like 682MB, we're going to go out on a limb and say that's 1GB with some reserved by the system and hardware.

Now those aren't exactly bleeding edge specs, but when you consider that they're fitting essentially Galaxy Nexus-level specs into what is just a slightly oversized pair of glasses it's pretty impressive. As for Glass running Android 4.0, we wouldn't scoff at that much either. You have to figure that bumping up to 4.1 or 4.2 wouldn't give many tangible benefits to something with use-cases so much different from a phone or tablet.

Source: Gizmodo

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4 years ago

Popular iOS mail client Mailbox hints at Android version on their roadmap

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It's vague at best, but by way of their Twitter account an Android version is mentioned

Mailbox is a relatively new, but still pretty impressive iOS Email client -- for the full rundown be sure to check out iMore. Currently limited to Gmail accounts, Mailbox opened up to massive queues of people waiting to get in. It wants to help you get on top of your mail and stay on top by prioritizing what matters right now. So, why are we interested? 

Besides being a first rate application regardless of platform, the developers have publicly hinted at an Android version being on their roadmap. It's pretty vague, but when questioned on Twitter they did indeed confirm that "other platforms are coming down the road - including Android."

We're definitely wanting to hold them to that. Gmail on Android is a pretty decent experience, but we're never going to snub the prospect of getting in on one of the hottest new apps. 

via Techcrunch

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4 years ago

Friday free-for-all - win one of 5 free Lloyd t-shirts

Comment and win a Lloyd t-shirt. It couldn't be easier!

It's been a busy week around here. Galaxy S4 stuff coming down like rain, Phil abandoning us being in New York for #tm13 ninja secret shenanigans, and I'm out of coffee. That means it's time to relax a bit -- and give away t-shirts!

There are comments below. Or there will be. Your job is to talk about whatever you want to talk about (without getting out of line -- you know better). Discuss Android if you want to, or talk about the Red Sox if that's your thing. Just let if flow. 

Tonight at midnight Eastern time, I'll close the comments and pick 5 of them at random. If I pick your comment, I'll shoot you an email asking where I should send a free Lloyd t-shirt. Make sure the email you used to register for the site is legit, and go.

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4 years ago

HTC One in black appears on Sprint site, looks ready to order

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Long-awaited Black HTC One makes an appearance, complete with a button to buy today

If you've been waiting for the HTC One in black, it looks like Sprint just put it up for sale about an hour ago. Of course it's the same One as the silver version, but it's black. A few people are concerned that these aren't shipping right away, but we see nothing to suggest that on Sprint's website -- for all intents and purposes it looks like they are ready to roll out the door.

Now who is going to be the guinea pig and order the first one and see when it ships? Hash it all out in the forums.

Source: Sprint; via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Galaxy S4 torn apart, looks easy to fix everything but the front glass

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Samsung Galaxy S4 given a reparability score of 8 out of 10

The fellows over at iFixit got their Samsung Galaxy S4, and that means it's time to tear shit apart. Unlike most folks who try to take good care of their expensive electronic toys, these people live to break them open and see what the innards look like. This go around, they found most things pretty easy to get to and replace, the front glass and panel being the exception. Here's their highlights:

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Reparability Score: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)
  • The battery can be replaced in seconds, without any tools.
  • Very easy to open and access internal components.
  • There are only 11 screws in the entire device, all standard Phillips #0 (no proprietary or security sizes).
  • Most of the smaller components are modular and can be replaced individually, but several of them are adhered in place, increasing replacement difficulty.
  • The glass is fused to both the display and the display frame, increasing repair costs.
  • You'll have to go through the entire phone in order to replace the front panel, since everything is built into the back of it.

The good news is that it looks easy enough to fix things if you ever need to. The bad news is that the part most likely to break, the glass, is the hardest part to replace. The sensible part is that most people will never do anything like this anyway. 

It's still reassuring that someone, somewhere can fix your phone should you do something stupid or just have a string of bad luck. Unlike the HTC One, which was found pretty damn difficult to repair, the Galaxy S4 is one of the easy ones. Be sure to click the link below to see all the steps.

Source: iFixit

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4 years ago

HP Slate 7 now available online for $170

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You could spend $170 on a HP Slate 7, but you shouldn't

You can officially not buy the HP Slate 7 today, as the tablet nobody would ever want is now available at HP's website. Your $170 does get you a nice design and quality materials (and Beats audio!), but the lackluster internals and low resolution 1024 x 600 display means you should give this one a pass. For $30 more you can get a Nexus 7 from Google or your local brick and mortar retailer.

But, if you insist, click the link below to order. 

Source: HP; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Top Samsung Galaxy S4 forum threads

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As devices start to make their way into more hands, the forums are jumping with discussion

There's been more news about the Samsung Galaxy S4 than you can shake a stick at as of late, and that means two things. Firstly, it's time for them to start trickling in from preorders and more people have them. The second is that people want to talk about it. That's where oru forums come into play. You can talk as much Galaxy S4 as you want with people just like you and me, who can't get enough and are excited. Take a look at a few.

So have look at our review, then head into the forums and see what all the fuss is about!

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4 years ago

The new Android Central App: What do you want to see?

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We're not just in New York City working on the (more or less) super secret #tm13 -- we're also still hard at work at the all-new Android Central application.

We're edging closer to a public beta. But before we put this guy out in the wild, I want to hear what you folks want to see in it. We like to think we've thought of everything that we want to have in a v1 release, but it's still possible we've missed something completely obvious.

So what are you looking for in the all-new Android Central application? Let us know in the comments. And I'll maybe even drop a few hints of what's ready to go, what's in the works and what's a great idea for a future feature.

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4 years ago

WSJ: Rugged Samsung Galaxy S4 Active coming in July

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Water and dust resistant Samsung Galaxy S4 Active could be on store shelves this summer

A couple of days ago we told you that a Samsung executive let it slip that there was a rugged version of the Galaxy S4 in the works, and today the Wall Street Journal says the same. According to their sources, the water and dust resistant version will be called the Galaxy S4 Active, and we should see it this summer in July.

Without a doubt there is a market for "weather proof" phones. Motorola has offered a few along the years and while they aren't always pushing the edge with the latest specifications, they are popular with folks wanting equipment that will stand up to less than ideal conditions. Should Samsung release their top-end phone in a version that can take a little extra abuse, it should get some attention.

With July just a few months away, we should know more soon. We'll keep you updated.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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4 years ago

AT&T launches 'Digital Life' security and home automation service in 15 markets

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Enhanced security and control over your home from anywhere

AT&T is stepping beyond serving internet, television and phone service today by launching its new home security and automation platform, which it calls "AT&T Digital Life". The service, which is available starting today in 15 U.S. markets, gives users control over many functions of their home from anywhere via mobile devices. Similarly to current security systems, Digital Life provides 24/7 monitoring and support for emergencies at your home. AT&T's new service goes beyond this though, giving you access to cameras in and around your home, locking and unlocking doors, operating the garage door, and more.

This is a bit more involved than just installing an app however, and requires both hardware installation at the home and a monthly service fee. The base cost for Digital Life will be $29.99 per month with an $149.99 installation fee, and includes several sensors and a battery backup system along with the aforementioned 24/7 security monitoring. From there, users can pay higher monthly fees if they would like to monitor and control more functions in the home such as cameras, controllers for appliances, automated door locks, and water control systems.

The services are launching today in 15 markets, which cover many major cities across the U.S.: Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Riverside, Calif., San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and select areas of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. AT&T expects 50 markets in total to be served by Digital Life by the end of 2013. You can take a look at the newly launched Digital Life app at the Play Store link above, and see more information about the service from the source link below.

Source: AT&T

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