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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Notes, notes and more notes

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Some quick hits for this fine Sunday morning:

  • Worlds collide: Warning - shameless familial promotion ahead. My wife's Sunday column in this week's Pensacola News Journal is on Capagami, the developer of Android app Out of Milk. The crux is that the company moved to California because it's tough to sell local investors on unfamiliar app development. 
  • Patent trial perpetuity: I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen in the Samsung-Apple patent trial. And, frankly, I don't believe anybody else does either. I'd also caution against reading too much into anything you've read. It's a condensed part of the story, but not the whole story. (Who wants to read a boring recount of days and days of testimony?) That's not to say you shouldn't keep up with the trial recaps, just don't expect to see the full picture.
  • NSFW: I was pleasantly surprised by most of the reaction last week after we launched our NSFW section. Most folks got it -- it's a page where we can park stories we might not want on the front page, but that we still want to explore. It's not a change in direction or anything. We've always done these stories, tucked in (and with far lesser frequency) with the device reviews and app roundups and news and rumors and podcasts and everything else that make us the No. 1 Android community around. If you don't like it, don't click on it. We're OK with that.
  • Pro tip: When you go back to an old single-band (2.4 GHz) router because your fancy ASUS one got zapped by lightning and suddenly your phone won't connect, make sure the phone's not set to only connect on 5 GHz. And check it before you decide to wipe the phone in hopes that a reset will fix things. (Also: Let Jerry finish his sentence before you hit that hard-reset button.)
  • Romney app late to the party: The Atlantic notes what I also saw early Saturday morning regarding Mitt Romney's official application, which promised to be the first place you'd learn about his voice for running mate. An Associated Press bulletin, citing an unnamed Republican party official, hit my inbox at 1:01 a.m. EDT, naming Paul Ryan as the pick. Romney's app caught up some time around breakfast. Score one for old media. And The Atlantic rightly points out that the real purpose of the app is to learn about you more than it is inform you. (Same goes for any politician's app, actually.)
  • The next Angry Birds?: Download Ski Safari. Watch as you lose your job, your dog, your family. It's that addictive. How is it, though, that we haven't seen another Angry Birds? Ski Safari is as casual, addictive and repetitive. It lacks the personality of those damn birds and pigs, and probably the personality and marketing prowess of the developer matters a lot, too. Regardless, give it a go. It plays pretty well on a phone (though it was surprisingly laggy on the AT&T HTC One X), and the Nexus 7 feels like it was built for the game.
  • The Olympics are over: I'm tired of complaining about NBC. It was ridiculous. I'm all about having content on phones and tablets, but it needs not be the only way to watch the Olympics live -- especially for sports that we only see every four years. I'm also hoping maybe we'll see fewer Galaxy S3 commercials now, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. How many millions of dollars do you think Samsung spent on that one?
  • Coming up this week: We'll be live from New York City on Wednesday morning when we expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 to get some more love. (So much for those exclusive anonymous sources saying it'd be the next Galaxy Note.) It is a little odd to see another semi-secretive "launch" given that the Note 10.1 was announced back in February at Mobile World Congress (and that after being outed early on the side of a damn building), but we'll take it. 

That's it for this week. Let's get to work.

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4 years ago

PolitiCards review - the unlikely mix of Android, politics, solitaire, and movie quotes

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PolitiCards recently launched on mobile, bringing the unlikely combination of political cartoons, movies, and solitaire to Android. Both sides of the American spectrum are amply represented, including Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Beck, and pundits like Arianna Huffington and Donald Trump also show up. The twist is that they’re all paired up with movies that roughly fit into their personality. It’s not every day you see Bill Clinton done up as The Big Lebowski.

Illustrations aside, PolitiCards offers nicely polished gameplay with smooth graphics and animations. 

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia TX is reportedly the final name for flagship LT29i phone

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There's been no shortage of leaked information about Sony's upcoming international flagship, the LT29i (also known by its codename 'Hayabusa'), but one aspect that's remained shrouded in mystery has been the name of the device. That mystery may finally be solved today, however. According to "trusted" sources for XperiaBlog​ the phone, which is a dead ringer for the Japanese Xperia GX, will come to market under the name 'Sony Xperia TX.' The TX name fits into Sony's new letter-based naming scheme, and would clearly position the phone as superior to its mid-range equivalent, the Xperia T (LT30p).

According to the abundance of info that's already leaked out, the phone has a 4.6-inch 720p display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 13MP rear camera, along with on-screen buttons and Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Design-wise, it's the spiritual successor to last year's Xperia Arc.

The LT29i, or Xperia TX, is expected to appear alongside the Xperia T and Xperia Tablet at Sony's IFA press conference in Berlin on Aug. 29. We'll be there to bring you live coverage of all the day's Android news.

Source: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week - NFC Task Launcher, Pocket Casts and more!

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We know why you are here, you are in need of your weekly fix, right? Need some new apps to check out, something new to install and play around with instead of doing house work? We understand, so without any further delay let's hit the break and check out some of our favorites from this week!

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4 years ago

Samsung drops ICS source code for Note 10.1, Tab 10.1, and Tab 7 plus

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Samsung is keeping busy this weekend, as they have released the source-code for the GPL portions of the software for the Galaxy Note 10.1, as well as the Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7 plus.  We're happy to see source code on time for the Note 10.1, but having the code for an ICS kernel for the Tab 10.1 and Tab 7 plus is even better news for the hacker inside each of us -- having the right kernel source will help folks to build fully functional AOSP-based ROMs. 

For most of us, this means sitting back and waiting for the inevitable announcement from the developer(s) of the ROM we're running, so we can download it, flash it, and hope it boots. For the developers though, this means a busy weekend of compilation and experimentation. Be sure to show them a little bit of love when they get things ready to share. 

Source: Samsung OpenSource

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4 years ago

Yahoo Beyond Gold - yet another way to follow the Olympics

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With only a few days left in the Olympics, you may still be hunting around for the perfect way to follow the last few events. Yahoo has made an app called Beyond Gold with a stark, mobile friendly UI and lots of information pulled in from across their content network. We’ve got plenty of other apps for getting involved with London 2012, so be sure to check ‘em out while the games last.

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4 years ago

The best damn Android Central T-shirt in the world

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4 years ago

Android Central international round-up - August 11, 2012

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In international Android news, it's been a solid week of update news and IFA leaks. Sony confirmed its release plans for ICS on the Xperia P, as did Motorola with the GSM RAZR and RAZR MAXX. And HTC followed suit with its announcement that ICS would arrive before the end of August on all devices for which the update has been announced (good news Desire S and Thunderbolt owners!) The international HTC One X also got its update to Android 4.0.4, and with it some new menu key options and improved Beats Audio and browser capabilities. Vodafone Australia's Nexus S got Jelly Bean. And spare a thought for Motorola Xoom 3G owners in the UK, who are just now getting their Honeycomb-to-ICS update.

On the IFA front, we saw yet more leaked pictures of Sony's line-up of late 2012 Android products. Press renders of the Xperia Tablet leaked, and we saw even more blurry-cam photos of the LT30p (aka Xperia T). Elsewhere, the Xperia GX and SX went on sale in Japan, leaving international Sony fans wondering about a possible international launch for the GX in Berlin later this month.

And some interesting morsels of Galaxy Note 2 news dropped this week, too, with suggestions from the Korea IT Times that the upcoming 5.5-incher will feature a flexible SuperAMOLED display -- a smartphone first for the Korean manufacturer.

Check the links below for some of the main international Android stories of the past week. If you've got international news, you can tip us at the usual address.

Special features:

News:

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4 years ago

Flipboard for Android updated with improved navigation and in-app hints

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Flipboard for Android has already gone through several iterations since it first appeared on the Samsung Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3) back in May. This morning, Flipboard users are waking up to another update for the popular digital magazine app. The new version 1.9.6 of Flipboard includes improved navigation, in the form of dropdown menus when you tap on the name of the sections you're currently viewing.

In addition, there are some improvements to the way Google Reader feeds are handled, and in-app hints that highlight useful features you may not be aware of (similar to what you get when starting the ICS or Jelly Bean home screen launcher for the first time). The update also includes new shopping cart features for those using Guilt Taste through Flipboard.

And unsurprisingly, the official changelog also notes some "performance improvements and bug fixes," which are always welcome. If you're using Flipboard head to the Google Play Store app to update to version 1.9.6. If you've yet to give it a try, check out the Google Play link earlier in this post.

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4 years ago

LG Eclipse makes an appearance at the FCC, just a stop on the way to Sprint

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The LG Eclipse specifications may still be placed in the rumor category, but the network it's going to be on is now a matter of public record, as the phone has popped up at the FCC's website today. What we now know for certain is that the phone will be CDMA/EVDO/LTE capable, using Sprint's bands; along with the standard stuff like GPS, Bluetooth, and Wifi (dual-band 2.4 and 5GHz style). The LTE radio operating in the 1900MHz band locks this one as a Sprint LTE exclusive, though we wouldn't rule out LG making something very similar for Verizon or AT&T.

Why anyone would want this to hit their carrier is explained by the rumored specs. Supposedly the Eclipse will be sporting a quad-core Qualcomm S4 Krait, and 2GB of RAM. These specs (and again, there's nothing concrete about them just yet) would make it the winner of the coveted Android monster-spec'ed phone crown. In short, Imagine a Galaxy S 3 (Galaxy S III) with two times the CPU power.

Of course, software matters. If this one ships with anything short of Jelly Bean (it's rumored for a Q4 appearance) hardware geeks across the Internet will go completely ballistic -- and we will, too. Ball's in your court LG and Sprint. We want you to hit us with a ton of WOW factor here in both the hardware and the software side. 

Source: FCC. Thanks for the tip, Jules!

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4 years ago

Sports scores not showing up in Google Now, Customized S3 [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

Defender 2 review - wave defense with magic and a big honkin' crossbow

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Defender 2 is a popular wave defense game that seems to have struck a chord with Android gamers looking for a free, customizable, multiplayer experience.

Defender 2 puts players on top of a castle wall with a ballista, with which they must fend off an incoming attack from a variety of monsters. Early on, it’s fairly easy keeping up with mindless drones flinging themselves against the castle walls, but eventually you face down more powerful demons with ranged attacks and challenging new tactics. Luckily, players gather a broad array of new powers and weapons to defend their wall.

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4 years ago

Boost Mobile HTC EVO Design 4G review

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Contract-free and prepaid carriers are gaining in popularity. But when prepaid Android devices starting hitting those markets, they tended to be lower-tier phones. But recently we have seen plenty of great devices hitting various prepaid carriers, one of them being the HTC EVO Design 4G, which recently hit Boost Mobile.

Looking to get a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich in your hands, without breaking the bank monthly, and locking yourself into a new two year agreement? With lower monthly costs and the same high quality, could the HTC EVO 4G Design be your next Android device?

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4 years ago

Samsung Exynos 5 dual details released, fast chip is fast

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Samsung has announced and published the whitepaper for their upcoming Exynos 5250 SoC (System on a Chip), and it looks like the stuff a hardware geek's dreams are made of. Sporting a dual-core 1.7GHz CPU, paired with a quad-core Mali GPU. The full feature list reads like the side of a desktop computer box.

  • A15 CPU dual-core 1.7GHz CPU
  • Mali T604 quad-core GPU
  • 800 Mhz LPDDR3 RAM support
  • USB 3.0 support
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 support; OpenCL 1.1 full profile support; DirectX 11 support
  • Support for WXQGA (2560x1600) resolution
  • Wifi display support
  • 1080p 60 FPS video performance and VP8 codec decoder

We see a couple things nobody expects to see in an ARM chip for mobile devices, namely USB 3 and DirectX support. With Microsoft announcing a slew of upcoming Windows 8 tablets, we should get used to seeing it. And chances are that's where we'll see this chip first -- in Samsung built Windows 8 tablet/clamshell hybrid. 

Of course, it will also be a total screamer in the benchmark arena on the Android side, so that's what we're looking forward to seeing. No word on when that may happen, but while we all wait there's a great breakdown and discussion starter in the forums, where everyone can talk about the Exynos 5 until it gets in our Android devices. Check it out, along with links to Samsung's whitepaper and announcement below.

Samsung Exynos 5 details released | Exynos 5 whitepaper

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Black Galaxy S3 appears in Carphone Warehouse inventory, backs up Samsung Facebook pics

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Those disappointed with Samsung's initial choice of colors for the Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3) may be in luck, as information has emerged suggesting a black version of the popular handset may be on the way. The shot above is part of a set that's been doing the rounds for a few days now. It first appeared on Samsung's Facebook page alongside some promotional blurb for the Olympics, and it certainly looks​ like a black Galaxy S3. However, it's difficult to tell for sure -- if you've seen the pebble blue S3 in person, you'll know that it looks much darker up close than in earlier promo images.

Today, though, further evidence of the phone's existence has cropped up in a leaked inventory system photo from UK retailer the Carphone Warehouse. The shot, obtained by ​Android Police​ lists the black S3 alongside the marble white and pebble blue variants. There's no indication as to when the rumored black version might arrive, however.

With the garnet red AT&T Galaxy S3 in the states (and monstrosities like this pink Galaxy Note), Samsung has proven it's not afraid of throwing out different colored versions of popular phones. And we're sure there are plenty of people out there who'd snap up a black Galaxy S3, given the opportunity. In any case, we've reached out to Samsung for the official word on this, and we'll update this post with any info they provide.

Source: Samsung Facebook, Android Police

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