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4 years ago

Samsung to offer hacker-friendly 'developer edition' Galaxy S III on Verizon

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Want a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III without all the huffing and puffing that comes a long with encrypted bootloaders? The manufacture has you covered, as it will offer a "developer edition" Verizon Galaxy S 3 through its developer portal for $599.

The other U.S. versions of the Galaxy S 3 all ship with unlockable bootloaders. But not Verizon. Samsung, apparently, has decided to take matters into its own hands. 

There are all the usual caveats, though. If you bork the phone because of something you've done, with all that rooting and flashing and other things kids are prone to do these days, you're own your own. Warranty isn't going to cover it. But you already knew that.

Samsung's proffered a little Q&A about the developer edition, which we've got after the break.

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4 years ago

Android 4.1.1 pushing to the Nexus 7 tablet, boosts performance, adds Google wallet

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The Google Nexus 7 tablet isn't quite available to the general public yet, but our Google I/O edition's just gotten an update. As you can see from the screen above, the 12.6MB update to Android 4.1.1 -- which just hit the AOSP servers yesterday --  "improves performance and responsiveness system wide." It also goes on to pimp out some of the newer features of Jelly Bean, including Google Now and the new notifications.

If you've already rooted your Nexus 7, this update will flash so long as you have stock recovery. OTA Rootkeeper works as it should, too, so you'll have no issues getting root access back. (Not that we ever though you would -- this is a Nexus after all.)

It also looks like local search is still enabled, which Jerry just finished explaining means we likely will see an update to Google's proprietary apps to get around that pesky Apple patent thing.

Also of note is that if you haven't installed Google Wallet before, it'll be there now. If there ever was a doubt Google was going to stick with its mobile payment solution, put it out of your mind.

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4 years ago

Android 4.1.1 - an early look at a compiled build

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As the resident Android Central code-monkey (a badge I proudly wear) I've been running on fumes and caffeine to test out the AOSP 4.1.1 code since it dropped last night. You knew I had to do it, I knew I had to do it, so there was no use fighting it. For the nerdly inclined out there, building it is easy -- just change the branch to 4.1.1_r1 and go. We'll update the tutorial in the forums as soon as we're sure there are no new nuances we need to address. In the meantime, we were curious about the local search "issue" and if Google had made any changes in the code itself to be Apple-certified™.

Building the unedited, bone-stock Android 4.1.1 and using the Google apps from the Google I/O units and their Jelly Bean update, it looks as if on-device search still exists. Our theory (it's always a guess until Big G says otherwise) is that changes to search will be done with a change to the Google Now and Search applications themselves, which are part of the closed-source Google apps. That's why we see no changes here -- we're still using the old ones. This theory was further bolstered when we learned that Sprint removed local search from the Galaxy S III, but it could be restored by using the old search box app. 

There are two things to take away here -- when we see an OTA update for the Galaxy Nexus, Xoom, and Nexus S, we expect a newer set of G apps that remove the local search options, and that it will be easy enough to restore the functionality if you're willing to root your phone. 

I'll keep building and tinkering with 4.1.1, and if I come across any real changes (it seems a bit faster loading apps, but the placebo affect is strong) you'll be the first to know.

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4 years ago

Ouya aims to bring free Android games to the TV with $99 console

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The Google Nexus Q might be good enough for your garden-variety home media sharing for video, pictures, and music, but gamers will want to keep their eyes on a new Kickstarter project called Ouya. It aims to be an open Android-powered gaming console that retails for $99. One of the main goals is to provide a home platform that's free from the big-money competition and publisher pressures that plagues traditional console gaming and keeps hip indie devs away. Here's a spec rundown on the Ouya.

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one)
  • Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
  • Android 4.0

There's already a bunch of developer interest, including the guy behind Canabalt, the folks at Owlchemy Labs (Snuggle Truck and the upcoming Jack Lumber), Madfinger Games (Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, Samurai II), the devs behind Triple Town, and even Madden NFL 12 showed up on one screen, indicating EA is getting involved.

The one catch? All developers submitting their game has to provide at least some gameplay for free. That's awesome for end-users, even if that means that freemium upgrades, in-app purchases, and banner ads are likely to be found everywhere. Twitch.tv is also on board for streaming live sessions of StarCraft and other games, so we may very well see other non-gaming apps get involved.

Ouya's Kickstarter campaign is already well over half of the way to their $950,000 goal after launching just this morning, but there are still plenty of pre-orders available for backers. Ouya is expected to ship in March 2013, and backers will get their mitts on it before it hits stores.

Gamers, are you interested, or do you think there will be something just as cool (if not cooler) out by springtime next year? Will an open Android box be able to realistically compete with Xbox and PlayStation, or has Google TV already shown us just how well Android does on the big screen?

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4 years ago

Twitter for Android updated to version 3.3 - adds better search and notification options

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Twitter for Android, the official Twitter application for Android devices has been updated today and the update brings along some pretty awesome new features. The folks at Twitter have been hard at work listening to users and refining the way things work, and attempting to deliver the best experience possible. In trying to do so they have released an update for the Android application, and the update brings the following new and enhanced features.

  • Expanded Tweets: when you view Tweet details containing links to partner sites, you can now see content previews, view images, play videos and more. [this feature is rolling out gradually]
  • Push notifications for Tweets: choose to receive notifications from people you follow anytime they tweet or retweet
  • Improvements to search autocomplete for users
  • Tappable avatars that take you directly to user profiles
  • Many other tweaks, polish, and bug and crasher fixes

The update is pushing its way through Google Play currently, so be sure to check for the update shortly, and as always let us know how you like it! [Download from Google Play]

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4 years ago

Smart Tools turns any Android device into a handyman's best friend

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Your Android device has a ton of sensors - why not use 'em with Smart Tools?

Smart Tools has earned one of the top seller spots in Google Play by offering a whole suite of useful measurement tools for Android devices. These run the gamut of distance, angles, and even sound, vibration, and magnetic fields. Sensors like your Android device's accelerometer, magnetometer, camera, and microphone all act in concert to offer rough measurements, if not clean and precise ones. The developer offers a bunch of these tools stand-alone apps in addition to the single paid bundle for $2.50; the only one that isn't included in the bundle is the Speed Gun, which is available for free separately. 

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4 years ago

Sprint's Samsung Epic 4G Touch appears poised for Ice Cream Sandwich this week

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Some good news for those of you patiently waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich on the Sprint Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, which until now has been little more than a "coming soon" line. We just got slipped this screen shot that points to it being released this week, starting Thursday and lasting through July 20.

If you've been rocking any versions of Ice Cream Sandwich to this point, you should be fairly used to the changes. If not, well, they're listed in the pic above. Don't expect too many UI changes, other than settings being rearranged -- after all, it's still running TouchWiz atop it. But the ICS update certainly will be welcome.

We do need to remind folks, however, that Sprint and Samsung don't exactly have the best history when it comes to updates. So until Sprint says it's coming, and until it's actually hitting devices, we'll remain cautiously optimistic.

More: Epic 4G Touch forums; Thanks, anon!

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4 years ago

Sprint's Galaxy S III update removes local search abilities

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Yesterday we heard that the Sprint Galaxy S III was in the midst of getting a small "security" update over-the-air, but with little detail of what exactly was changed. The jury is still out about any security fixes, but one thing that was changed is that you can no longer use the Google search bar to search for local content on the device. This comes on the heels of yet another legal battle between Apple and Samsung, where the unified search ability was enough to get the Galaxy Nexus on a do-not-sell list for about a week.

Luckily, it's pretty easy to fix by using the Google search bar app from a previous version. If you've received the update and miss your universal search, hit the link below for the AC forums thread for details on getting it back.

Samsung, Sprint, we get it. You were forced to make these changes. But calling it a security update and not filling in your users about the full scope of what was being changed on their phones is dirty pool. We expect, and deserve, a little better. 

Source: Sprint Galaxy S III forums

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4 years ago

US Cellular announces availability of Galaxy S III, 16GB version onsale tomorrow

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Just after lucky customers began to receive emails confirming that their preordered Samsung Galaxy S IIis have shipped, US Cellular has officially announced availability of the flagship phone.

The 16GB version will be available to purchase online starting July 11 (that's this Wednesday) and will arrive in retail stores by the end of the week. The 32GB version will be made available 'shortly after that'.

The cost of both will be $199.99 (16GB) and $249.99 (32GB) after a $100 mail-in rebate.

So if you weren't able to get your pre-order in or you're just waiting to play with one, you'll be able to pick one up tomorrow and at the end of the week directly from the store. If you do pick one up, share your experience in the Samsung Galaxy S III Forum!

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4 years ago

LG QuickMemo coming to the U.S. for the LG Viper 4G LTE on July 16th

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LG QuickMemo, which is a feature that allows you to draw on your phone without a stylus, will be arriving in the United States on July 16th, first appearing on the LG Viper 4G LTE from Sprint. QuickMemo essentially allows you to leave messages or reminders for yourself on web pages, photos, emails, etc. Screenshots of these 'memos' will then be available to share easily for future use. If you already own a LG Viper 4G LTE, you will receive a free update, which will give you the feature. If you don't have a Viper 4G LTE, QuickMemo will be coming to other U.S. LG devices 'later this year'.

Once you receive the update, sing out in the LG Viper 4G LTE Forum, we'd love to hear what you think!

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Songza updated with suggested playlists

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Songza, a free music service that somehow manages to get away not serving up audio ads, has updated their Android app with a feature called Concierge. Concierge has been available on iOS for awhile, and now Android users can get suggested music based on the time of day. For example, this Tuesday afternoon, the app offers expert-curated playlists for the summertime, needing an energy boost, or work/study music without lyrics. After picking your current situation, you can provide additional criteria to further tailor a playlist to your mood.  

There are a bunch of different ways to explore playlists, including by mood, activity, genre, decade, or tailored based on your listening habits. Songza has all of the other standard features you'd expect from a streaming music app, like marking songs as favorites, and sharing tracks over Facebook and e-mail.

Songza for Android for is optimized for ICS and available for download at the link below. Just keep in mind that though the web streaming service might be available in your area, the mobile app might not be - that's the case here in Canada, anyway. 

Source: Songza Download: Songza

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4 years ago

US Cellular now shipping pre-ordered Galaxy S IIIs

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US Cellular has begun shipping their version of the Samsung Galaxy S III to customers who have pre-ordered the device. The tip comes from a lucky Forums member who received an email with the tracking number that listed today as the ship date!

For all you anxious US Cellular customers who have been waiting to get your hands on the newest and coolest Android device (see our review), and you won't have to wait much longer.

If you have received a similar email or even have your phone already, please shout to the Samsung Galaxy S III Forum!

Source: Android Central ForumsThanks Kingtony63!

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4 years ago

The best Android phone you can buy, as of July 2012

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We’ve heard your cries over the past month or so -- the latest next-gen devices from Samsung and HTC are now on the market, so what’s the best Android phone you can buy? With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean arriving imminently on the Galaxy Nexus, is that phone once again worth considering, despite its ageing hardware? And what of the other contenders from manufacturers like Motorola, LG and Sony?

You’ll find answers to all these questions and more as we seek out the best Android smartphone, as of July 2012.

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4 years ago

Sky News app for Android gets updated with better image support for tablets

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This may not be the biggest app update of the year but due to the popularity of the Sky News app I thought it was news worthy.

Todays update brings only one new feature and that is high resolution images for large screen devices. We all know that Android smartphones seem to be getting bigger and with better screen technology. So it makes sense that apps take full advantage of this.

In addition, the update will be perfect for Tablets. With the Google Nexus 7 recently announced and due to hit the shelves this month I suspect that app developers are under the same opinion as me; that the tablet is going to be a hugely popular piece of hardware. Once again, a perfect reason for devs to update their apps to make them look as fantastic as possible on a larger screen.

More information/Download Sky News for Android

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4 years ago

Wacom Bamboo stylus review

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The Wacom Bamboo Stylus  is one of your best options for handwriting and drawing on your Android phone or tablet. It also is a great alternative to your greasy fingers for day to day navigation around the device.

We have all found, at one time or another, that touching the screen leaves fingerprints and grime on the screen. We have also found that our fingers are fat and clumsy when it comes to painting, making that masterpiece in Draw Something and writing.

So, we need something with a capacitive end or nib to touch the screen in a far more precise way to really take advantage of some of the newer apps.

Apps like Sketchbook Mobile, Note Everything and Handwrite will be used to judge the overall qualities of the stylus.

Read on for our full Wacom Bamboo stylus review!

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