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4 years ago

Samsung Music Hub goes live in the U.S., but not for everyone just yet

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Samsung today announced that its new Music Hub service, previously only available in the UK, is now available in the United States. But only on the Galaxy S III, and only on two carriers. That'll change, as the service expands, but for now, it's not all that widespread.

We've been using Music Hub for a couple weeks now. In a nutshell, it's an expanded and improved -- though more complicated -- version of Google Music, combining locally stored songs, songs uploaded to Samsung's MSpot cloud storage and streamed back to the phone, and the 7digital online music catalog.

For now, it's only available on AT&T and US Cellular's Galaxy S3. Music Hub will be announced later for Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

There are a couple versions of Music Hub available. First is the free Music Hub Store, which gives you access to 7digital's library for purchase, along with 30-second previews of songs. Any music you purchase is automatically uploaded to the Music Hub cloud, as well as remaining on your phone locally for offline playback.

Then there's Music Hub Premium. It costs $9.99 a month, but you get a free 30-day trial. With the premium version, you can upload up to 100 gigabytes of music to your Music Hub account. Music Hub scans your directories for any music already in its system. If it finds a match, it'll simply stream the songs, saving upload time and space. Along with  that, you get personalized and customized Internet radio, and music recommendations.

Other features include a EQ, a number of storage and streaming settings, and the ability to change the quality of the audio to better suit your data speeds.

In our testing, Music Hub worked pretty well. Samsung's streaming and uploading services (you install an app on your Mac or PC just like you do Google Music) work as advertised. 

The 100GB of cloud storage is five times greater than what Google currently offers, though Google's giving you that 20GB for free. The question at this point is whether you're ready to invest in yet another music service, both in the time it takes to set up, and with the $120 a year it'll cost. At the very least, though, the 30-day trial is worth a look.

We've got loads more info and screen shots after the break, so let's hit it.

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4 years ago

Final Fantasy 3 announced for Ouya Android gaming console

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Ouya's partnerships aren't stopping at OnLive; today they've announced that Square Enix will have Final Fantasy 3 available on the Android-powered gaming console in time for launch in March. Worried about an obscenely huge pricetag, since FF3 originally launched on Android for $15.99? Ouya promises that a free demo will be available, and make a very interesting point about the launch: "This will be the first time gamers outside of Japan can play FFIII on their televisions through a console." What most of us considered Final Fantasy 3 was actually Japan's Final Fantasy 6, which also explains why it was a big jump to FF7 for many gamers. 

It's great to see Ouya roping console developers as readily as those on the mobile side. Seeing as there's still 8 months to go before launch, I suspect we'll see many more big-name games find their way to Ouya. Which Android games would you like to play on the big screen with an honest-to-goodness controller? 

Source: Kickstarter

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4 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich rolling out again for Sprint Epic 4G Touch

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A couple of weeks ago Sprint began the Ice Cream Sandwich rollout to the Epic 4G Touch. There were reported issues and problems, however, and the update was halted.

It now appears that the OTA has started rolling out again, as some of our lucky Forum members are reporting.

So if you're a Sprint Epic 4G Touch owner and are seeing the ICS OTA, we'd love to hear from you in the Epic 4G Touch Forum.

Source: Android Central ForumsImage Courtesy of Lizardking

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4 years ago

Verizon aims the Pantech Marauder at first-time smartphone buyers

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Verizon this morning announced the Pantech Marauder, a 4G LTE Android smartphone aimed at first-time buyers. It'll launch Aug. 2 for $49 after a $50 rebate.

Specs aren't going to knock anyone out of the water -- it's got a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera. But the Marauder has a trick up its sleeve -- it's a dual-more device. There's Standard Mode, which provides "a general smartphone setting" and the traditional Android experience. Or if that's a bit  much for you, there's Starter Mode, which features a dialer on the home screen.

We've got another pic and the full details on the release after the break.

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4 years ago

Sprint EVO 3D finally getting its Ice Cream Sandwich update

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Top o' the morning, folks! It looks like the Sprint HTC EVO 3D has begun getting its update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's according RockLight from ye olde Android Central forums, and other folks are seeing updates as well. We're not quite being inundated with reports of updates yet, so this could just be the initial trickle, or perhaps folks are just sleeping in, or gave up and went the custom ROM route already. Looks like folks are waking up and seeing this one across the board. The timing's right, as Sprint had said to expect it by early August.

As a reminder, here's what's new:

  • A refined, evolved user interface that is simple, beautiful and useful
  • Face Unlock: use state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to unlock your phone with a smile
  • Redesigned camera app which introduces Scenes like Panorama, and Effects such as Vignette, Depth of Field, Vintage and Posterize
  • Web browser now lets you sync Google Chrome™ bookmarks, request full desktop versions of sites, see your open tabs in a new layout
  • People: browse friends, family and coworkers, see their photos in high-resolution and check their latest status updates from Google+
  • Improved keyboard with incredibly accurate typing, an inline spell checker and improved copy and paste support
  • Redesigned Gmail™ app that now lets you swipe between conversations to catch up quickly and search for emails even without a data connection
  • Google+ integration that lets you hangout and video chat with up to 10 friends using your front-facing camera

So, be on the lookout for a 300-megabyte or so update, and try not to let your HTC Rezound-toting friends see you gloat too much.

More: EVO 3D forums; Thanks, RockLight!

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4 years ago

Google adds service alerts for NYC subway into Google Maps

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Regular subway commuters in New York City, this one's for you. Google has flipped the switch from this morning, on a new addition to their transit information in the City. When searching for transit directions, or when selecting any one of the 468 subway stations labelled in Google Maps, disruption alerts and any planned service changes for the relevant stations will be displayed. 

The added features are available in Google Maps on the desktop, and within the Google Maps Android application. It's noted that Google is regularly adding new features all over the globe. And, having up to date travel information right within the app most Android users will be using to find their way around, is no bad thing.

Source: Google Lat Long Blog

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4 years ago

ZTE teams up with Professor Green for Facebook video contest

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As part of its continuing promotional deal with British rapper Professor Green, Chinese phone-maker ZTE is launching a new Facebook video contest, where fans have the chance to win £1000 in cash and a new ZTE Grand X handset. The winner will also get a two-day "filming experience" with the good Professor, and close pal and cameraman Rufus Exton.

Fans are challenged with producing a 20-second ad for the Grand X, incorporating a Professor Green track, the phone itself, and its slogan -- "a world of entertainment in your hands." ZTE is partnering with online creative collaboration Talenthouse for the competition, which it recommends to "film-makers, video editors, motion graphic designers and anyone keen to break into TV/ film production."

The deadline for entries is Monday, Sep. 3. Winners and runners-up are due to be announced just over three weeks later on Sep. 25. There's more info in ZTE's presser after the break. Also check out our hands-on preview with the ZTE Grand X from the launch event earlier this month.

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4 years ago

Sony still 'actively investigating' Jelly Bean for all devices

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​Info suggesting no 2011 Xperias would get Jelly Bean was given "in error."

In a statement on its official product blog, Sony has reassured Xperia smartphone owners that it's still in the process of investigating which of its devices will receive updates to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The statement follows earlier reports, originating from one the company's own Facebook pages that 2011 Xperia handsets like the Xperia Arc and Xperia Mini Pro would not be getting updated.

The manufacturer said --

"During a Q&A session last week on our Sony Mobile GB Facebook page, a local spokesperson gave information out in error on our Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software development and rollout for 2011 Xperia smartphones.

"We are actively investigating Android OS upgrades for all devices, but in the meantime, our Ice Cream Sandwich rollout for Xperia S and 2011 Xperia smartphones continues as planned."

So that's that. For what it's worth, only one Android manufacturer, HTC, has so far made a public statement on which of its phones will be getting Android 4.1. So Xperia owners will have to wait it out while the company works out its Jelly Bean plans. In any case, with so many 2012 Xperias still on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, we think the company's immediate priority will be getting those devices onto ICS.

Source: Sony Xperia Product Blog

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4 years ago

Sony 'Xperia Tablet' details leak - Tegra 3, splashproof glass and a keyboard cover

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Since the launch of the Tablet S and Tablet P last year, little has been heard from Sony on the subject of future tablet plans. However, that changes today with the leak of a massive cache of slides detailing the company's next-generation "Xperia tablet." The slides first appeared in an XDA forum post, where the poster said the tablet would come to market in time for the holidays.

The new tablet will be "positioned as part of the Xperia family," which includes Sony's range of Android smartphones. Externally, the leaked slides indicate a thinner, lighter design, while keeping the Tablet S's trademark "wedge" design and 9.4-inch screen size. Tentative specs list the thickness as 8.8mm at the bottom of the wedge, and 11.85 at the top. The device is said to weigh 570 grams, down from 598. And in contrast to the plastic chassis of Sony's earlier tablet, the new model will be constructed of anodized aluminum-magnesium alloy and splashproof glass. Screen resolution looks set to remain at 1280x800 pixels (WXGA).

Internally, the Xperia tablet will apparently sport an NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU with 16, 32 or 64GB of storage, and the camera specs have been bumped up to 1MP on the front and 8MP around the back. Battery life is estimated at 10 hours of Wifi browsing, on a 6000mAh battery. Interestingly, the OS version is marked as "ICS or later," suggesting the possibility that the Xperia tablet will ship with Jelly Bean at launch.

In addition to Android 4-point-something, you can expect the full Sony Entertainment Network suite, including PlayStation support and access to the Sony Reader store for e-books. A range of third-party apps are mentioned in the slides too, including the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Picasa, Box.net, Skype and Facebook, which may be pre-loaded.

A range of accessories is promised too, including stands, carrying cases, and a Microsoft Surface-style keyboard cover (though there's no indication of whether this works the same as Microsoft's offering). Tentative pricing starts at $449.99 for the 16GB version. 32GB is set for $549.99, and 64GB for $649.99.

With the IFA show just around the corner, and Sony confirmed to be in attendance, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for a possible unveiling in Berlin late next month. For more details, check the slides after the break.

Source: XDA; via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Spotify update brings Spotify Radio to Android at last

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Music streaming service Spotify has pushed an update out to their Android application this morning, which brings with it at last the Spotify Radio functionality. Best of all, it's completely free of charge. The free radio will be ad-supported, so every so often between songs you'll have to listen to ads, but these go away for Premium account holders. Free radio is at present only available to U.S. users, but the premium version is available to everyone. This feature has been around on iOS for about a month now, but we're delighted that it's now coming our way. 

Spotify Radio isn't just any old radio streaming app, in vein of say, TuneIn Radio. Spotify's effort aims to learn from your personal preferences, so when you give a song a thumbs up, this is remembered and used to generate a playlist for you. So, next time that Glee soundtrack song appears, it might not be so easy to explain away!

You also have the ability to create your own radio stations based upon a playlist, album or even a single song. When a song comes up that you like, you can save that too to listen back to at your leisure across any Spotify enabled device. 

The update is live in the Play Store now, and you'll find the full press release after the break. 

Download: Spotify

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4 years ago

Court docs hint at plans for 11.8-inch Samsung Tab with 2560 x 1600 display

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With the Samsung/Apple trial well underway, court documents have been unearthed indicating that Samsung may be hard at work on a new, high-resolution tablet. The Verge​ found references in documents made public in the California trial to a device dubbed the "P10," which would apparently incorporate a 11.8-inch, WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display, in addition to 4G LTE connectivity. If accurate, those numbers would equate to a pixel density of around 256ppi, all but matching the new IPad's 264ppi. The news follows pre-MWC rumors that such a device was being developed by the Korean manufacturer.

The prospect of an Android tablet with such a high-resolution display may be tantalizing, but let's remember that plans often change over time, and there's no telling exactly how this "P10" might have been translated into an actual product. Regardless, with the IFA show in Berlin just a month away, we'll be keeping crossing our fingers and hoping this mysterious Galaxy Tab 11.8 appears sooner rather than later.

Source: The Verge

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4 years ago

Wikipad gaming tablet specs revealed, Tegra 3 and Jelly Bean

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What we see here is the Wikipad, a gaming centered Android tablet that first made an appearance at CES in Las Vegas. In an interview with the guys over at Venturebeat, the hardware specs of the device were revealed in full. And it reads pretty nicely. 

Powering the Wikipad is a 1.4GHz Tegra 3, RAM is set at 1GB and onboard storage sits at 16GB. The storage could still be increased however prior to any actual launch of the device. Which version of Android will we see, Gingerbread? Ice Cream Sandwich? No. At launch the Wikipad will be running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Cameras, they're included too and there is an 8MP shooter on the back, and a 2MP on the front.

The key to the gaming credentials lie within that pretty spectacular looking gamepad dock peripheral. Many might be expecting to have to shell out some of their hard earned green for it, but happily that isn't the case. The gamepad will be included in the box with every Wikipad purchased. It doesn't hide away any of the tablet's ports or speakers either, so it can pretty much live in this state round the clock if desired. 

Talk of a gaming focused device wouldn't be complete with talk of the screen. There isn't anything groundbreaking, but what there is should do the job well enough. The 10.1 inch display is an IPS panel running at 1280x800. For future models, glasses-free 3D may be considered -- although personally, we kind of hope it isn't. 

But what about battery life, a potential stumbling block for a device such as this. Apparently the battery is good enough to power 6 hours of continuous gaming, and 8 hours of video playback. Again, not groundbreaking but adequate for most prospective buyers. 

No specific pricing or release dates were discussed, although the intention is to ship the Wikipad before the end of the year. That leaves plenty of time to get it on to your Christmas lists. 

Source: Venturebeat

 

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4 years ago

Galaxy S Duos is an entry-level dual-SIM phone wrapped in an S3-like chassis

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Popular in developing countries, dual-SIM phones allow users to use multiple pre-paid networks on a single handsets, which can be useful where coverage on each individual network can be spotty or unreliable. Over the past six months, Samsung has released a few of these handsets in Indian and other countries, notably the Galaxy Ace Duos and Galaxy Y Duos. Now it's bringing a brand new design and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the table in its latest dual-SIM phone, the Galaxy S Duos.

Specification lists and official renders for the Galaxy S Duos have emerged from a variety of sources around the web, showing a Galaxy S3-like exterior with ICS and the latest version of the TouchWiz Nature UX. On the inside, things are a little less mind-blowing, with a single-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a 5MP rear camera. Nevertheless, it's sufficient for basic smartphone tasks, and that's what you'd expect form such a device. The big deal here is the premium design and the inclusion of ICS, a rarity in this kind of handset.

Details of pricing and availability have yet to emerge, but we'll keep you posted with any further info, but bear in mind any release outside of India and Central Asia is fairly unlikely.

Source: mobilephone.co.in; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

ICS updates reportedly starting for some Galaxy Tab 10.1 models

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Updated: ICS now pushing out to UK Wifi-only Tab 10.1, as well as Italian 3G version.

Good news for anyone living in a country where the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has yet to be banned from sale. Reports from SamMobile​ indicate that the Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the venerable Tab 10.1 is now complete, and has started to roll out to customers' devices. Updates have begun on the Wifi-only version in the UK, and the 3G version in Italy. In addition to bumping the 10.1-inch tablet up to the most recent version of Android that's not Jelly Bean, you can also expect some visual changes to the TouchWiz UI, bringing the software experience in line with Samsung's Tab 2 range.

If you've got an Italian Galaxy Tab 10.1 with 3G (GT-P7500) or a UK Wifi-only model (GT-P7510), you can update now by heading to Settings > About Tablet > Software Updates, or by plugging your tablet into a PC running Samsung's Kies desktop software. Alternatively, if you're feeling adventurous, you could flash the firmware directly onto any 3G Galaxy Tab 10.1 -- you'll find an ODIN-flashable version version over at the source link.

We'd recommend most Tab owners outside of Italy and the UK sit tight and wait for the official update to roll out, though. It's been eight months already, what's another few days?

Source: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia GX/SX Japan launch dates confirmed as international 'Hayabusa' leaks once again

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After a short delay, carrier NTT Docomo has cofirmed that Sony's new handsets for the Japanese market, the Xperia SX and GX, are due to launch next week. The 4.6-inch Xperia GX, the new Sony flagship, will arrive on Docomo next Thursday, Aug. 9, while its 3.7-inch sibling the Xperia SX is due a day later, on Aug. 10. Pre-orders for both phones will begin later this week -- Aug. 2 for the GX and Aug. 3 for the SX.

Meanwhile, the international version of the Xperia GX, known only by its codename and product number, LT29i "Hayabusa," has leaked out once again in a series of unauthorized shots. We've seen so much of this phone pre-release, and there's really nothing of note to say about this latest set of pics, besides pointing out the obvious design cues it shares with last year's Xperia Arc -- right down to its button placement, in fact. The photos, which first appeared on ePrice, also show the Hayabusa's 4.6-inch 720p "Reality" display comparing favorably against the HTC EVO 4G LTE's SuperLCD2 panel.

Elsewhere, a selection of sample shots from the Hayabusa's 13MP rear shooter have also emerged on Taiwanese site ​ePrice. ​The images demonstrate marked improvements in image clarity, and show significantly less noise than the 12MP sensor found in the Xperia S. We're fully expecting the LT29i Hayabusa to be announced at the IFA show in Berlin in late August.

Source: NTT Docomo, XperiaBlog, ePrice

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