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4 years ago

Green Throttle hopes to turn your phone into a game console replacement

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While Ouya is trying valiantly to create a new Android-based home gaming console, a new start-up founded by the guys behind Guitar Hero is trying to see if your existing device can do the job. Today Green Throttle released a software developer kit that will enable Android devs to map games to their Bluetooth hardware controllers. Once an Android phone or tablet is plugged into a TV over HDMI, users will be able to play games just as they would on any other traditional console. You'll even be able to play with two separate controllers for the real multiplayer experience. When out of the house, players will be able to continue playing the same game with standard on-screen controls. An on-device app will enable discovery of compatible games and quick access to any existing favorites. 

It sounds promising, and with devices with 1080p displays becoming more prevalent, games that properly take advantage of the high resolution won't look bad at all on the big screen. Of course, optimizing titles for TV isn't something all developers will have the resources to do, nevermind going through the trouble to map in proprietary controls. On the upside, Green Throttle will be making some of their own games within the framework, which should set a solid bar for what to expect from other devs and provide at least a few titles for end-users to enjoy. I'm also worried that not every player is going to have a phone powerful enough to play a wide selection of high-end games optimized for 1080p. For those that do, a real, solid, controller will be more viable than on-screen controls for some game types, like first-person shooters and racing games. 

Developers can get testing with the hardware controllers by pre-ordering two controllers with connectors for $89.95, with shipments heading out December 12. The included HD connectors are compatible with the Galaxy Nexus, One X, Galasy S2, and Galaxy Note. The SDK can be downloaded from the Green Throttle developer page. Any developers interested in giving this a shot? Gamers, are you willing to pitch in for an Ouya system, or would you just as soon see if your phone or tablet could do just as well? How many of you already use separate Bluetooth hardware controllers for your Android games? 

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4 years ago

New at ShopAndroid.com: The Andy Splat T-Shirt

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Made from 100% ring spun, preshrunk cotton the Cruzerlite Andy Splat T-Shirt brings Andy the Android to life on a high quality T-shirt for all to see.

With a variety of sizes to choose from you can express your own allegiance to Android with these T-shirts, or give them to a fellow Android user as a gift! Each T-shirt is printed in the United States using the very latest in direct to garment techniques, ensuring that the design is high quality and long lasting.

Plus, you know, it's Android. So it's automatically awesome. And it's currently on sale for just $19.95 -- that's 20 percent off!

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4 years ago

The Android Central Straw Poll

It's Election Day here in the U.S., which means the long national nightmare that is the democratic election process (still better than any other in the world) is nearly over, thank Zeus, and we can get back to what really matters -- bashing each other over which smartphone is better. 

So let's have a little fun. We're all friends here. We're even going to turn comments off on this  post, because some folks just can't help themselves. Enjoy. Go vote. And when the sun comes up tomorrow, remember that we're all in this together anyway.

It's Election Day - for whom are you voting?

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia V gets price drop and Jelly Bean upgrade, now due January

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Here's some mostly-good news for Sony fans in Europe. It seems the Xperia V, the company's European LTE-powered 4.3-incher, is to be held back until January 2013, but with good reason -- it'll be launching with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, as opposed to the originally-planned 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. It's also due a small price cut to €529. The phone was originally scheduled for release in France and other countries in December for €549.

The news comes from the official Sony Xperia France Twitter account, and although there's no word about delays elsewhere in Europe, we wouldn't be surprised if the same applied to other European territories. A notable exception might be Sony's native Japan, where the Xperia V is due to be released imminently.

Sony has already launched several late 2012 Xperia handsets running ICS, including the Xperia T, Xperia TX and Xperia TL. These phones are due to be updated to Jelly Bean sometime during the first quarter of next year.

 Source: Sony Xperia FR, via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

HTC October 2012 financials make for troubling reading

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HTC has released its unaudited October 2012 financial results, showing a year-on-year fall in revenues of 60 percent. Last month the Taiwanese phone maker brought in NT$17.2 billion ($588 million), down from NT$44.114 billion ($1.5 billion) during the same period in 2011.

For the year to date, HTC reported total unconsolidated revenues of NT$246.2 billion ($8.4 billion).

Today's news follows similarly disappointing third-quarter numbers that saw HTC narrowly hit its revenue target, marking a 48 percent year-on-year fall for that quarter.

HTC will be hoping that new devices like the One X+, Windows Phone 8X and 8S as well as the (unannounced) Droid DNA will help to change its fortunes in the dying days of 2012. But with stronger competition than ever from the likes of Samsung and Apple, it won't be an easy task.

Source: HTC

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4 years ago

Samsung releases a bunch of source code for the AT&T Note 2, Galaxy Tab 2 family

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Samsung has released the source code for the 4.1 updates of the Galaxy Tab 2 (both the 10.1 and 7-inch versions) and the AT&T branded Galaxy Note 2. This consists of the parts used that are GPL licensed, and required to be released by the agreement Samsung is bound to by using the free code. 

In short, Samsung did what they always do, and what they needed to do to be compliant. It's time we stop congratulating these companies for doing what they are supposed to do, and instead be on the lookout for the times they don't. 

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Rogers to launch unlimited talk plans November 7

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Rogers stores across Canada are preparing some pretty hefty changes to their plan structure. Basically, Rogers is going all-in with unlimited texting and calling for most of their plans, and differentiating solely on data. Our source says that as part of the changes, Rogers will also be axing their My5 and My10 programs.

In any case, here's a quick tour of what's to come. Overage charges are $15/GB for the first three tiers, $10/GB for the top. 

  • $55 (Occasional plan) - 200 MB, 1,000 weekday minutes
  • $65 (Social plan) - 1 GB, unlimited local calling
  • $75 (Streamer plan) - 3 GB, unlimited local calling
  • $95 (Connected plan) - 5 GB, unlimited Canada-wide calling

There's a handful of other plans for families or simple talk and text, but those are the big changes. Basically, for a hundred bucks a month, you can get everything. It certainly seems more streamlined and less fussy than previous plans, though there are always the extras like caller ID and voicemail. 

We're hearing Rogers will be making these plans public on November 7. Canadians, anyone biting? Is $100/month worth it for all the everything you could need plus a few perks Rogers offers (Anyplace TV, for example), or are you willing to make make a sacrifice on coverage and go with WIND or Mobilicity for half the price? Are Bell and TELUS any more inviting? 

Check out the rest of the retail briefing brochure after the jump. Anything leap out at you as particularly interesting? 

Thanks tipster!

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4 years ago

Cross platform instant messaging, Why isn't there a 3G version of the Nexus 10? [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.

We've got nearly 1 million members helping members and nearly 2 million posts in our Android Forums. Are you one of them? Join today!

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4 years ago

Verizon Apps is shutting down by March 2013

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Since March of 2010, Verizon has been including a Verizon Apps store on its Android and BlackBerry handsets. When it was first created, the app landscape on Android wasn't the same as it is today. Nowadays, we're not sure who actually chooses to get an app from the Verizon store rather than Google Play. Verizon realizes this, and is going to start completely removing its Verizon Apps store from all devices starting January 2013 via software updates. Beginning immediately, customers that have installed apps from Verizon Apps are going to be notified of the changes, and monthly recurring subscriptions will be set to expire in December.

The removal process is expected to be completed by March 2013, but Verizon points out that certain apps -- especially specific business ones -- may still remain on some handsets in special cases. Presumably any additional devices that aren't updated will be phased out as new devices come to the market without Verizon Apps installed in the first place.

Source: Verizon Developer Community

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Are you going prepaid with your Nexus 4?

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We're eight days away from seeing the new Nexus 4 go on sale at Google Play, and there's a lot of buzz about the value aspect of using it with inexpensive prepaid cellular service. We've already talked about how you can save money if it works for you, and there's plenty of talk going on in the forums, so it's time to find out who is considering it.

At this point, we don't blame anybody currently happy with their provider if they sit and wait a bit. Remember, the Galaxy Nexus was GSM/HSPA+ only for the first few months it was available. While Verizon (for example) hasn't stood up and announced their intentions to carry a Nexus 4, that doesn't mean it's not happening. This is one of the few times I'll go on record and recommend you wait and see what the holiday season has to offer before you decide what to buy. Jumping off your carrier, paying any ETF, and possibly losing a cherished unlimited data plan would really hurt if you find out your carrier has plans for the Nexus 4.

Having said that, there's plenty of us here that aren't concerned with the carrier option, and like the idea of a pure GSM phone that can be used anywhere on the planet. We're the ones interested in buying this Nexus 4 direct from Google, and we have a decision to make -- stick with what we're doing now, or jump ship and go prepaid. 

For me, I use both postpaid T-Mobile (I can't abandon the unlimited plan I have), and use Straight Talk's AT&T network. I need coverage from both carriers to do my job here at AC, and AT&T showed me nothing worth signing a new contract. I'll put my T-Mobile SIM card in my Nexus 4 (sweet, sweet HSPA+42) and if the camera is good enough, put my Straight Talk SIM into my Galaxy Nexus. If the Nexus 4 camera doesn't work out for me, I'll stick the Straight Talk SIM back into my HTC One X. I need a good camera in my pocket. 

What about you guys? Tell us in the poll you see to the right in the sidebar, or embedded after the break.

Before we go, let's see last week's poll results:

Are you buying a new Nexus device?

  • Yes, a Nexus 4 -- 40.47-percent
  • Yes, a Nexus 10 -- 17.68-percent
  • Yes, a Nexus 7 -- 15.64-percent
  • No, but I wish I was -- 14.36-percent
  • No, they just don't measure up -- 11.85-percent

Based on our unscientific poll, it looks like Google had better have plenty of stock on hand. Hurry, Nov 13!

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4 years ago

Check out 24 of the best Photo Sphere shots so far

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With the Nexus 4 in the hands of Googlers and press alike, and a leaked version of the app doing the rounds on other phones, Google+ is starting to play host to a wealth of high-quality Photo Sphere images. Taken using the Android 4.2 camera app, Photo Shere pics stitch multiple images together in up to 360 degrees, allowing you to create a Google Street View-like globe of shots.

We've collected some of the best Photo Sphere from Google+, and we've got 'em linked for your enjoyment after the break. There's 24 in total, from a variety of countries around the world.

If you've got any Photo Sphere images of your own that you're particularly proud of, be sure to drop us a link down in the comments!

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4 years ago

Verizon HTC DLX (Droid DNA) makes appearance at FCC

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Lately we've been seeing an awful lot of this 5-inch beaut called the HTC DLX (or Droid DNA), and a recent FCC filing is making it look a lot more official. Consistent with the Verizon branding we've seen over the weekend, the FCC filing for the HTC6435LVW lists support for Verizon CDMA and LTE bands, along with a few extra kicked in for world roaming. 

We've had a source getting up-close and personal with this particular device, and combined with some rumored specs from other sources, we're starting to get a pretty clear idea of what to expect. The HTC DLX will be running Android 4.1.1 with Sense 4+ running on top, have a 5-inch 1080p display, and run a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor with 2 GB of RAM. There should be an 8 megapixel camera on the back, but it might go up to 12. That said, the Droid DNA is shaping up to be one sweet device; the only thing we're waiting for now is a proper announcement in time for the holidays (or better yet, Black Friday). 

In any case, you can take a look at the FCC filing over here if you want to get into the technical stuff. Anyone interested in picking this one up? If the specs pan out, how well do you guys think HTC is going to do over the holidays?

Via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Open Handset Alliance turns five today

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Today marks the fifth birthday of the organization that made Android possible -- the Open Handset Alliance. On Nov. 5, 2007, Google, T-Mobile, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and others joined forces and announced the development of the Android mobile platform.

The result of Google's 2005 acquisition of Andy Rubin's Android, Inc., the first version of Android wouldn't appear on handsets until a year later, and even then, early versions looked radically different to the Android we know today.

But the main pillars of Android were already in place back in 2007 -- a focus on an open platform that anyone could build on, and variety in hardware and network support through numerous partners. It's this variety that's seen Android thrive in recent years.

At the time of the announcement, the iPhone had just been released, and many of us were carrying either featurephones, or BlackBerry or Windows Mobile devices. Five years on, the landscape has shifted dramatically, with Android claiming as much as 75 percent of the global smartphone market, according to recent figures.

How times have changed. Any guesses as to where the next half-decade might take us?

More: Open Handset Alliance

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4 years ago

Instagram profiles coming to the web

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After holing up on mobile since its inception, Instagram has announced that their iconic photo sharing app will be hitting the web with full profiles over the next couple of days. Previously, you could only really view individual pictures on the web, but these new profile pages allow users to follow fellow Instagrammers, leave comments and likes on pictures, or edit their profiles. 

Instagram was recently snatched up by Facebook, so it's not surprising to see them opening up a little bit. Once Instagram on the web is fully matured, it will be interesting to see how the two social networks drift into one another. Will they eventually merge userbases, or will they still coexist as separate entities? The update doesn't allow web uploads of images, instead continuing to favor mobile, which should give us an idea of Instagram's future direction.

Any heavy-duty Instagram users out there? Serious photographers, what's your take on the service? Is it legitimate enough for Time magazine to use it to cover Sandy, or is Instagram overhyped and tacky?

Source: Instagram

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4 years ago

Judge throws out Apple lawsuit against Motorola (and Google)

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The patent battle between Apple and Google (by way of Motorola) just keeps on going. Apple and Google were set to square off in the courtroom today in Wisconsin over allegations that Motorola's patent licensing practices were unfair. Fortunately -- for our collective sanity, if nothing else -- the case has been thrown out by the federal judge assigned to the suit. A spokeswoman for Google had this to say about Google's patent licensing practices:

"Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards." 

The suit was thrown out with prejudice, which means that it is overturned at the trial court level, but you can bet we'll see Apple appeal this decision as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is likely far from over.

Source: Reuters

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