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4 years ago

ClockworkMod Tether [Android App Review]

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Tethering your phone to a computer can be kind of a tricky thing. First, there's a definite questionable legality to it. (The whole "if it's my data, I'll use it how I want!" argument comes to mind.) Second, you've (usually) got to have some sort of techie knowledge to install the right drivers, get all the appropriate cables plugged in, and then you've still​ got to get the app to work! Add in the issue of usually needing root, and where is a non-rooted, Android-loving simpleton supposed to turn?

The answer would be ClockworkMod Tether (hereafter referred to as Tether) by our friendly neighborhood dev, ClockworkMod. (You might have heard of him. He did ROM Manager, among other things.)

What makes Tether so great? For starters, you don't need root to use it. Next, you can use it with Windows, Macs, and​ Linux. And perhaps most importantly, it's got the most simple, easy to use interface ever created.

Open up Tether and you'll see two buttons: a big power button and a little red button with a question mark in it. To get Tether running, you hit the power button. It'll turn blue and say, "Hey! Tether is running now!" The question mark has a few basic support options.

You can download the desktop client (so you can actually tether), get a link to the drivers for your computer, or get some basic troubleshooting advice in case Tether either doesn't connect or is running slowly. If push comes to shove, the app tells you to directly email Koush.

Installing drivers for your phone is pretty self-explanatory. Double-click the little executable file you download from ClockworkMod's website, get the drivers going, and then install the desktop client. Once Tether is installed on both your phone and​ your computer, you're finally ready to make magic happen.

Once your phone is all nice and plugged into your computer, open up the desktop Tether client, and either tap the digital power button on your phone or start the desktop client. You'll get a huge screen of text on the desktop client, and, if all goes well, it'll say you're connected. You can track your data sent and received on your phone's screen.

In my experience, Tether worked like a charm. My data speeds started off a bit slow (despite the fact I was on LTE), but after three or four speed tests, my speeds were more in line with what I would expect. Even if you're only on 3G, if you don't want to pay for say, an airport's WiFi and don't want to buy a dedicated USB modem, Tether is the way to go.

Unfortunately, Tether (in its free form), is only a 14-day trial. After your two weeks are up, you're limited to a mere 20MB a day. Upgrading to the full version will set you back $4.99, but that's still cheaper than the other no-root tether apps out there, and this also has the added benefit of being backed by a big name developer that everyone knows puts out quality.

We've got a few screenshots of my speed tests, video and download links after the break.

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4 years ago

Android A to Z: Bloatware

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When you think of Android phones, you think of bloatware. We wish it weren't so, and not every phone comes with, but the majority of Android phones out there come from carriers and are chock full of bloatware. We've complained about it, and found ways to remove it, but what exactly is it?

Most folks consider any applications that your carrier (or the folks who built your phone) pre-installed to the system as bloatware. Usually, these applications are a front end to some service or content that you'll have to pay for, and usually it's something you would never download and use on your own. All the carriers, and all the manufacturers, are guilty of including it, and we tend to hate it all equally. When you open the app drawer on your new phone, and see City ID staring back at you, just waiting for you to click it, you can't help but hate it. 

But why is it there? It's one down side of Android's open nature. Google gives Android away to anyone and everyone, but realistically only a very few companies can afford to make cell phones. And they don't make them with you and me in mind as their customer. HTC, or Samsung, or LG (you get the picture) makes Android phones for the carriers. They work out deals to decide hardware and software  they want to include, and part of those deals are these "value-added applications" we lovingly call bloatware. Verizon and HTC love you, but they still want you to click the app and send in the money. Because Google isn't involved and doesn't make any rules about it, they can include any app they like in your new phone. Nobody likes it, but it is the side effect of being open.

Thankfully, Ice Cream Sandwich brings along the ability to disable (most of) these apps without rooting or tinkering with the system files on your Android device, and that provides the best solution we can think of. Certainly there are some people who found a use for City ID or VZ Navigator, and they should have the opportunity to use those apps if they like. And we can disable and hide them, and forget they exist.

Check out the complete Android Dictionary

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4 years ago

ooVoo update brings 12-way video calling, Facebook registration, user upload option

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It's a big day to be an ooVoo fan (and probably an equally big day to become one), as they've announced a pretty massive update to not only their Android app, but also their service as a whole. Starting today, ooVoo users can participate in 12-way video chat from all ooVoo mobile applications, the desktop program, and even Facebook.

The interface for the Android application has been updated and also feature a simple, one-click Facebook registration option (for those who are new to ooVoo). Similarly neat is the ability to send an oovoo Call Link, so friends who don't have ooVoo can still be connected to you.

ooVoo also listened to user feedback and has added call record and upload functions right into your chat, giving you access to uploading to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

What do y'all think of the update? Impressed? Let down? Neither? Be sure to sound off and let us know, and if you haven't yet, be sure to take the new ooVoo for a spin.

We've got the full presser and download links to the updated app after the break.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia S update to ICS actually further off than first thought

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Literally, less than a week from hearing that Sony Xperia S owners would be tasting some Ice Cream Sandwich by 'early June,' do we hear new information refuting that information completely. 

The story lies in the Sony Xperia S support forums. The initial post was in response to a customer query, but left everyone -- quite rightly -- reason to get excited. Now though, it seems the gentleman in question -- going by the name of Marcus -- has "mixed things up" with the dates for the rest of the Xperia line.

Before we're too hard on Marcus though, he still says that the Xperia S will be updated during Q2. The latter part of Q2 to be more precise. By our maths, that basically says it'll be late June rather than early June. It's still coming, and it's still coming in Q2. It's just going to be an extra couple of weeks potentially before it lands. We're all human, and Marcus has had the decency to own up to an honest mistake, and to apologize for it. Can't say fairer than that. 

via Xperia Blog

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4 years ago

HTC adds some timelines to its ICS device update list

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HTC in the past, hasn't made any bones about telling us all which of their devices will be getting Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the future. Granted, they've made some changes here and there to the list as testing has gone on but overall, they've been doing good at keeping folks in the loop for better or worse, depending on which device you may own. Now, they've gone ahead and take it all one step further by adding some official timelines to the newly minted Android 4.0 Update FAQ page:

  • DROID Incredible 2 by HTC - To be determined (by the end of August)
  • HTC Amaze 4G - May-June
  • HTC Desire S - June-July
  • HTC Desire HD - July-August
  • HTC EVO 3D - June-July
  • HTC EVO 4G+ - May-June
  • HTC EVO Design 4G - June-July
  • HTC Incredible S - June-July
  • HTC Sensation - March-June
  • HTC Sensation 4G - March-June
  • HTC Sensation XE - March-June
  • HTC Sensation XL - April-Jun
  • HTC Rezound - June-July
  • HTC Rhyme - June-July
  • HTC Thunderbolt - July-August
  • HTC Velocity 4G  - March-June
  • HTC Vivid  - March-June

Looking at the list, you can easily spot the devices that have already had ICS rolled out to them over the past little while. Nothing overly surprising, and HTC does note things are always subject to change but it's nice to see some official timelines placed beside all those devices.

Source: HTC

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4 years ago

Extreme Skater to hit Android on May 24

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Good news, boarders and grinders out there. If you've been looking for a skateboarding game to satiate your desire while you can't be gallivanting around town, Miniclip just might have your fix. In just a short two days, their game Extreme Skater, will be debuting in the Google Play Store.

You won't just be skating for guts and glory, though. Extreme Skater has you on a mission collecting meteor fragments so you can "harness the full power of the meteor." What does a meteor have to do with skateboarding? Y'all probably know better than me, but if there's one thing I'd call extreme, it's collecting meteor fragments.

At any rate, this game is set to unleash sooner rather than later, so if you're looking forward to digitally saving the world (What else would you do with meteor power? And don't bring up Final Fantasy VII.), you won't have to wait too long.

Full presser is after the break.

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4 years ago

Gameloft to bring UNO to the entire Kindle family

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For those of you rocking any non-Fire versions of the Kindle (that would be the Kindle Keyboard, Kindle, Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G), you'll be happy to know that Gameloft, purveyor of fine games on Android, is releasing UNO for all of the aforementioned devices.

Not only will the Kindle-customized versions of UNO feature all of the standard gameplay UNO fanatics have come to know and love, this specialized version will also include an interface tailored for e-ink and​ achievements. Yes, you can get achievements on your Kindle now.

If you're ready to get your UNO on, full presser is after the break.

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4 years ago

Avadon: The Black Fortress [Android Game Review]

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Sometimes a game is made on such an impressive scale, it dwarfs the games around it by its sheer magnitude and detail. Avadon: The Black Fortress is one such game, and while its graphics and sound effects might initially leave you in the lurch, the excellent story and massive amount of content more than make up for it.

When you first open up Avadon, you're shown the all too familiar options screen. Chances are you'll want to start a new game, and when you do so, you're able to create your character. There's four classes to choose from: blademaster, shadowwalker, shaman, and sorceress.

Each class fits one of the established archetypes we've grown accustomed to seeing (for example, the blademaster is a tanky, devastating warrior, capable of taking damage, while the sorceress is mostly ranged, casting spells, wearing cloth, and equipped with the occasional heal), so all should be familiar on that front.

After you've settled on your name, Avadon tells you the game's story through a series of still images and text. All of the drawings are very well done, and it's clear a lot of effort went into the detailed storyline. (Long story short, you're now a warrior working at the Black Fortress, defending your land, fighting off baddies, and trying not to infuriate the all-powerful and crazy ruler of the place).

Once you're actually in-game, the camera takes a 2½-D, top-down view of your environment. You simply tap where you want to move and your character will walk there, and if you happen to tap on another NPC, you also use touch to advance through all of the dialogue.

There's a multitude of button that run alongside the bottom of the screen, and these help you access your inventory, player stats, and abilities, to name a few. On the right side of your combat status icon (the middle icon that shows a peace sign when you're not fighting) are quick access slots for your preferred spells and items. You can hold four of each, so as you continue to get better gear and more abilities, you can switch these out as necessary.

Combat is fairly fluid, using a turn-based system that should be familiar to anyone who has played a tactics game before. A grid appears underneath all involved parties feet, you're limited to how many squares you can move (as are they), and you tap the enemy you want to attack. When you have skills, this would be the time to use them. (You aim and control them using the same touch method.)

While the battle style isn't clunky, I'd definitely appreciate an auto-attack function so I don't have to keep tapping the enemy I'm on. Sure, you might want to switch to someone else mid-fight, but in the battles I played, it was all pretty straightforward (we steamrolled them), so being able to check out for a few seconds would help keep the monotony down.

Still, Avadon: The Black Fortress is truly a game of epic proportions. It's detailed, very engrossing, and just plain long. The fact that Spiderweb Software promises it to be the first in a trilogy of games excites me (and gives me hope they'll improve the graphics), and if you ever played the older games of a bygone era, this might just tickle that nostalgia bone of yours.

Avadon: The Black Fortress is $9.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got video and download links after the break.

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4 years ago

Everything Everywhere launches smart signal sharing, still confident of 4G this year

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Everything Everywhere -- the oddly named combination of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK -- has launched smart signal sharing, which completes the final stage of the pairings 'big switch on.' 

Customers of either network have been able to share signal for quite some time now. The idea being, that if you should lose signal on your primary network, if signal is available in your area on your secondary network your phone will automatically switch to it. 

The smart signal sharing is designed to make this process seamless, and will prioritise signal from the other network should your current signal begin to fade. The theory being that customers will have better signal more of the time, without the interruptions of having to search for signal on the other network. 

Looking ahead, Everything Everywhere are still confident of providing 4G technology before the year is out. Speaking to tracyandmatt.co.ukthe company has indicated they are moving in the right direction to roll out the upgrade this year. The only potential sticking point, is the final go ahead from industry watchdog, Ofcom. Ofcom have already preliminarily approved Everything Everywhere's plans for a 4G network though, so there shouldn't be anything to worry about. If the OK isn't given, the necessary hardware and software will still be installed as planned, so as to go live as soon as possible. 

Source: Tracy and Matt

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4 years ago

Customs delay a short-term nuisance, not a killing blow for HTC

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Last week the AT&T HTC One X and Sprint EVO 4G LTE were delayed at U.S. customs following an International Trade Commission exclusion order and subsequent review that Apple won against the Taiwanese company, banning them due to infringement on a specific aspect of an Apple patent wherein linked phone numbers would open an options menu. HTC in December said it already had a workaround, and sure enough it's present in the One X and EVO 4G LTE.

But this customs delay caused HTC to miss its launch date for the EVO 4G LTE at Sprint, and has caused AT&T to show an out-of-stock message on the One X. HTC stock was smacked by nearly 6 percent by the end of last week. And now that U.S. Customs has cleared the EVO 4G LTE, the market obviously feels comfortable with the idea that HTC has skirted this particular patent issue. The stock already has recovered from last week’s punishment. [HTC Corp at Google Finance]

But we really should be taking a long-term view of this situation. Similar to our friends from Waterloo who sell BlackBerry, HTC has been struggling in the U.S. market lately. Samsung quickly has become the top selling phone vendor on the planet.  And according to Gartner’s latest numbers, Samsung sells more than four times  the number of Android phones versus its closest competitor. 

So HTC really needs a comeback in the U.S. market. And that’s why a delay by International Trade Commission hurt as much as it did. Having just come home from a Canadian long weekend up in cottage country, these short term delays at U.S. customs remind me more of mosquito bites rather than bullet wounds. They’re irritating, but not deadly. They heal quickly and we forget about them.

But there’s no denying that Apple is putting some serious pressure on Android. Giving credit where credit is due, Apple single-handedly reinvented the user experience on a mobile phone. Android, BlackBerry, and others have copied Apple. 

Steve Jobs made no secrets about how he felt about this. I’m not saying that Apple never copied anyone either ... obviously it has.  But, unfortunately, that doesn’t matter. Patent law doesn’t care whether the plaintiff has infringed other IP in the past. 

The way I see it, Android vendors are exposed to future IP litigation by Apple. These first customs problems are the mosquito bites. But are the bullets still coming? And what are HTC, Samsung, and even the mighty Google doing to sidestep these bullets through future software redesign? 

HTC’s problems also go way beyond patent litigation. The company’s stock price has fallen from about 2,500 Taiwan dollars last April down to nearly 400 Taiwan dollars today. That kind of collapse is on the order of what happened to RIM.  But in the case of HTC, it's fighting purely on hardware. It doesn't own a platform like Apple or RIM. It doesn't have the supply chain strength to compete against Samsung. And to me, these are bigger issues than patent litigation.

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4 years ago

Spotify now live in Australia and New Zealand

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It's been a long time coming, but finally our friends in Australia and New Zealand can enjoy the Spotify service as it has launched down under. By now, Spotify needs no introduction, but its arrival in another new market is welcomed. As a 'celebration' of the launch, a special Australian themed playlist has been put together by Spotify to get everyone started.

The service you'll be interested in as a reader of this site, is the Spotify Premium, which includes the ability to listen to music on your Android device. In Australia, you're looking at $11.99 a month for this, and $12.99 in New Zealand. 

We've included download links to the Spotify app below to get you started. But, there's a newer -- and much better -- preview version available directly from Spotify themselves. We did a little hands on back in April when it first emerged, so don't forget to head over and give it a read. 

Source: Spotify

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4 years ago

ShopAndroid Daily contest winners!

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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4 years ago

Jha steps down, Woodside steps in as Google-Motorola deal closes

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Google CEO Larry Page this morning penned a blog post announcing the close of his company's acquisition of Motorola Mobility (thanks to China's recent approval) -- and the departure of Sanjay Jha as Moto CEO. Taking over is Google's Dennis Woodside, whom Page notes increased revenue in the Americas region by some $6.7 billion in three years.

The big question, of course, is exactly what Google plans on doing with Motorola, Page's post was long on cheerleading and short on strategic answers. No surprise there, but Page does stress the importance of the mobile space, saying:

"It’s a well known fact that people tend to overestimate the impact technology will have in the short term, but underestimate its significance in the longer term. Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound--as will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone. That’s why it’s a great time to be in the mobile business, and why I’m confident Dennis and the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come."

Woodside, for his part, wrote in a release that "“Our aim is simple: to focus Motorola Mobility’s remarkable talent on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world.”

Motorola's news release notes that Woodside has brought on board execs from DARPA, Nokia, Google and NVIDIA (among others) and has retained a number of Motorola executives in their current roles, including product development, mass market products, software and enterprise and consumer experience design.

Read Page's full post and Motorola's release at the source links below.

Source: Google; Motorola

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4 years ago

David Beckham and the Galaxy Note get official

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In case you missed the leaked version last week.

(And I could totally do that.)

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4 years ago

Carphone Warehouse to offer early collection for Galaxy S III pre-orders

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When Samsung announced the early launch for the Galaxy S III at its own store in London, it also said it'd allow other retailers to open an hour later. Today we have confirmation that at least one major UK retail chain plans to do just that -- Carphone Warehouse sends word that it'll offer collection for pre-order customers in "select stores," at 7pm next Tuesday, May 29. No word on which stores will be running the promotion, so you'll probably want to call in and ask to avoid disappointment.

Carphone also hailed the Galaxy S III as the "fastest-selling pre-order of 2012," which if nothing else shows that it's outpacing HTC's One series in the pre-order stakes. The retailer adds that over 800 of its stores will stock the S III from its UK official launch date of May 30.

Are you picking up a launch day Galaxy S III? Planning on collecting yours the day before everyone else? Let us know in the comments! (Also check out our exhaustive launch day coverage)

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