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4 years ago

Where's the 'Wow!'? – Motorola purchase is a long-term plan, Google's CFO reminds


This is the company that brought us Google Maps, driverless cars and Google Glass — see any of that in these phones?

Patrick Pichette said nothing shocking. Google's Chief Financial officer did not put his foot in his mouth. He didn't slam Motorola Mobility, the company Google acquired in 2012, as being lazy or incapable or inept or unable to make a quality smartphone that people would want to buy.

No, when Pichette spoke today at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference (as relayed by The Verge), he simply reminded us of the truth. In fact, he didn't really say anything new. Motorola has current manufacturing obligations that must be met. (When companies don't do that, bad things happen.) And those current obligations, while serving some sort of purpose in the smartphone world (save for that pink RAZR MAXX HD, perhaps), simply aren't up to what folks in Mountain View would consider a "wow" product.

None of this should surprise anyone in the slightest.

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4 years ago

HTC Zoe Share site goes live to show off new HTC One camera feature


HTC has been pushing the new camera features included in Sense 5, and one of the most interesting ones (pardon the pun) is HTC Zoe. It's honestly not the easiest thing to explain, and is best seen in its full form, which HTC is helping out with by putting up its "HTC Zoe Share" site today for all to see. The basic idea is to take multiple pictures and video clips at the same time, and then let the software stitch them, add filters, transitions and music. The end result is likely to make a more enjoyable piece of footage than what you'd normally get out of a smart phone camera.

Head to the source link below to see one of the headline Zoes from the HTC One launch event, which shows off what this feature is capable of. The entire piece is just 30 seconds (as Zoes will be), but tells a bit of a story in just a short time. We can only imagine what some real artists will be able to do with this once it hits consumer's hands.

Stick with us after the break to see our hands-on with the HTC One as well, where Phil makes his best attempt at explaining how to use the new Zoe feature.

Source: HTC Zoe Share; via HTC Source

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4 years ago

ZEN & TECH 53: Fitness month balance special


Georgia and Rene finish up Mobile Nations Fitness Month by talking about balance. Exercise, nutrition, and sleep are great, but how do you fit them into your hectic work, school, and family life? Find out!


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4 years ago

Real Racing 3 hits the Play Store with new freemium model


The much-awaited release of Real Racing 3 from EA has finally come, and it's sticking with the freemium model that has received much attention leading up to the release. The game certainly looks fantastic from a graphical standpoint, and the gameplay seems to be top notch like previous editions in the series as well. What's keeping people cautious is the new freemium model, which lets anyone play for free but will require in-app purchases to get in-game actions like car repairs finished faster. There's a store to buy in-game currency at different rates, or you can buy "Packs" at a discount that have different unlocks bundled together. It's certainly interesting, but probably won't appeal to those who would prefer to have a single purchase up-front to unlock everything.

The game is just a small download from the Play Store, but you should have some battery and a stable network connection available when you launch it to download all of the additional content. Even with no game saves, the entire package is weighing in at about 1.2GB.

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4 years ago

ASUS MeMo Pad Smart 10 review


ASUS is looking to bring down the cost of owning a full-featured 10-inch tablet, but can it overcome the inherent issues with the form factor?

When it comes to 10-inch Android tablets, there's no doubt that ASUS has been leading the pack when it comes to features, build quality and choice of form factors. From the Google-sanctioned Nexus 7 to the highest end Transformer Pad Infinity, the manufacturer surely knows it's stuff. While other manufacturers seem to make Android tablets as an afterthought, ASUS puts a lot of weight behind its entire tablet lineup.

With this, the MeMo Pad Smart 10 (and smaller brother the 7-inch MeMo Pad), ASUS is hoping to offer the same appealing package of quality specs and build of its high-end devices, but cut back in just a few areas to make it more affordable. The MeMo Pad Smart 10 is retailing at just $299, which certainly sounds like a great deal, so stick around after the break and see how it holds up.

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4 years ago

OUYA ships to Kickstarter backers on March 28


OUYA -- the $99 Android gaming console that started all kinds of fires on Kickstarter, eventually earning some $8.5 million in pledges -- today announced that consoles will begin shipping to backers on March 28. Production is well under way, the company said, with a full launch scheduled for June, when the console also will be available in stores.

OUYA has already shipped more than 1,200 developer consoles. (That's what you see here -- production units will look a little different.)

The company has also said that it plans to release a new version of the console each year.

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4 years ago

Adaptxt Keyboard: clean and customizable for just 99 cents


One of the best features of Android is that different portions of the interface can be changed to the user's liking, especially the keyboard. Even with drastic improvements in the stock Android keyboard in the last few iterations, one size certainly doesn't fit all. If you're considering trying out replacement keyboards on your phone or tablet, Adaptxt Keyboard should be on the list for your consideration.

Read on past the break to learn a little more about Adaptxt Keyboard and how it could be the next keyboard you choose to use.

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4 years ago

HTC confirms some current devices will get Sense 5, or at least parts of it


Don't get too excited yet, however; details still loom

HTC overnight on its Facebook page publicly confirmed what it first told us some weeks ago (and that we've largely expected anyway) -- that some current phones will receive updates that contain some features of Sense 5, which will make its debut in the coming weeks on the new HTC One.

Devices specifically mentioned were the HTC One X, One X+ and One S -- from the original "HTC One" line of 2012 -- as well as the HTC Butterfly, which was the first 1080p display phone that emerged late in the year.

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4 years ago

T-Mobile says LTE network now complete in Las Vegas, Kansas City


In its Q4 2012 results, T-Mobile had some interesting notes on the deployment of its LTE network -- mainly that the network is now "completed" in both Las Vegas and Kansas City, Missouri. The network rollout has now apparently been accelerated, and T-Mobile is projecting it will reach 100 million people with LTE by mid-2013, with more than 200 million being covered by the end of this year. Las Vegas and Kansas City are great test locations, but with these lofty projections they're going to have to light up LTE in the big population centers quickly as well.

Additionally, T-Mobile took time to tout some numbers about its current HSPA+ footprint. Several new areas are moving to 1900MHz today, including Orlando, FL and Richmond, VA. The carrier states that 225 million people are now covered with its HSPA+ service, with 144 million being covered by the new 1900MHz service. These two rollouts go hand-in-hand, as T-Mobile will need the AWS (1700/2100MHz) spectrum freed up by the HSPA+ move to 1900MHz in order to completely roll out LTE.

It comes as a bit of a surprise that T-Mobile has fully completed two city-wide networks before a single consumer device with LTE has even been announced, but it's good to see that the network is being built out quickly in anticipation of a launch. Current rumor pegs March 27th for the launch of several LTE-enabled devices on the network, and hopefully T-Mobile will have more cities to announce at that time as well.

Source: T-Mobile

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4 years ago

T-Mobile Q4 2012 results: $4.9 billion revenue, data and prepaid ARPU up


T-Mobile has just posted its Q4 2012 operating results, with $4.9 billion in revenue, net customer additions of 61,000 and contract customer churn of 2.5-percent. Overall, it seems to have been a positive quarter for the carrier. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • $4.9 billion in revenue for the quarter, down 5.2-percent year-over-year
  • 61,000 net customer additions for the quarter, up from 512,000 lost in Q4 2011
  • Net income of just $24 million, mostly due to high marketing and capital expenditures
  • Branded contract churn of 2.5-percent, down 50 basis points y-o-y
  • Branded prepaid revenue of $474 million, up 35-percent y-o-y

The results were again a bit of a mixed bag for T-Mobile as the nation's 4th place carrier pushes with its strategy to stop contract subsidies and launch an LTE network. Branded contract ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) fell 4.7-percent y-o-y to $55.47, mostly due to high adoption of Value Plans which have lower service revenues. T-Mobile claims a full 30-percent of its customers are now on subsidy-free Value Plans, up 1.6 million in the quarter.

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4 years ago

Google working on experimental 3.8 Linux kernel for Android


Google has opened a public kernel repository, marked as experimental, for the Linux 3.8 kernel. The kernel repo is built from the standard Linux kernel, with Android modifications added by the folks in Mountain View working on the Android project. 

The reason this is good news? 3.8 includes three important and interesting changes for mobile devices -- support for open source NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung Exynos DRM drivers, support for the Flash-Friendly File-System, and a lower memory footprint -- in some cases much lower. Having native support means less development time by Google or anyone else building the kernel for Android, and everyone loves more memory for apps instead of the system.

It's important to realize that this is by no means official support. Currently, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean ships with the 3.4 kernel on the Nexus 4, but versions 3.0 and 3.3 are supported as well for other Jelly Bean devices. Maybe we'll see 3.8 in the next version of Android.

Source: Phoronix

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4 years ago

Google Play Books updated; Now available in India and 'over 90' issues fixed


Google tossed out an update to Google Play Books this evening, making it a whole lot better by fixing "over 90" issues, allowing users in India to be able to install and use the app, and finally tossing in some UI improvements. While they don't go into any detail about the 90 issues that were addressed they do tell us that they added a drop-down menu in the library to filter books by type, and now place names are identified on the current page when the controls are up and showing. Of course, support for India and the growing smart phone user base there is huge, and long overdue.

What wasn't addressed is the lack of the ability to import your own DRM-free books. Until that happens this is one I'll hide in my app drawer, no matter how great the app is. Hit Google Play to update or click the Google Play link above.

Thanks, Anshi!

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4 years ago

Huawei Ascend G710 press render leaks out, details still sparse


Huawei has released plenty of devices between CES and MWC, but there are surely more in the pipeline as press images of a Huawei Ascend G710 leaked out today. Like so many devices nowadays, the G710 is going to have a 5-inch display, but this one will purportedly have just 720x1280 resolution. That's quite a bit lower than the previously-announced Ascend D2 from Huawei, which has a full 1080P panel. The G710 will have capacitive keys at the bottom of the screen though, which leaves physically more space on the screen than the D2.

The only other known spec is a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, which is a Huawei staple lately. No other specs, availability or pricing is coming out on this one just yet, but we would be surprised if it ever hit the U.S. market.

Source: @evleaks; Via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Field Trip adds more sources, lets you 'snooze' notifications


Google's Field Trip app may not be at the front of everyone's mind, but it's still being developed and improved. The latest update has added several new sources of information and added a new way to dismiss and snooze notifications that appear. You will now see more content from Art Nerd New York, Cultureist, Mad Girl Eats, Weekend Sherpa, Wilderness Press and more when searching for local info. There has also been a pretty big overhaul of the notification system of Field Trip. One of the complaints early on was Field Trip being a little too notification happy -- turning on your screen, talking and vibrating too often -- which made many people turn it off or uninstall it completely.

When you receive a notification on the lockscreen now, you'll have options similar to an alarm: swipe right to unlock, up to "snooze" (and not receive notifications for the rest of the day), and left to dismiss. There are also more configuration options for how you would like to be notified, letting you receive regular status bar notifications and keep Field Trip from waking the screen when they arrive.

There are a lot of major usability improvements in this update, so you may want to give it another try if the early issues pushed you away before. You can grab a download at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 found to have OpenCL drivers


The researchers and ubergeeks over at Anandtech have discovered undocumented OpenCL drivers on both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. I know a few folks out there just got a little bit excited, but for the rest of us OpenCL needs a little explanation.

The chip in your modern Android smartphone has both a CPU and a GPU (there's other stuff, but we're going to ignore it for now) on board. The CPU handles all the heavy lifting and number crunching, while the GPU sits mostly idle, with all it's high-speed cores doing a whole lot of nothing unless you're running a graphically intensive app. 

OpenCL is a standard that puts all that untapped GPU power to use, allowing it to also crunch numbers and help the CPU along. Of course this is a simplified explanation, but it gets the general point across -- you can use the GPU to help do things faster, and use less battery to do it. It's a form of parallel computing that you find on new processors in modern desktop and laptop chips.

There's a few caveats here (isn't there always?) to keep in mind though. To start with, Renderscript is the parallel computing API officially supported in Android. OpenCL is likely there only because Qualcomm and ARM now officially support the API, not because anyone at Google requested it. Because of this, the drivers aren't likely to stay up to date or improved in any way. In fact, they could disappear in a future firmware update. 

Of course, that's not likely to stop tinkerers and hackers from trying to use them. If that sounds like you, you'll want to head to the source link where you can read a little more about exactly what was found, and some source code to check it out yourself.

Source: Anandrech

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