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4 years ago

Late night poll: Have you read Google's new privacy policy?

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You might have heard that Google has a new consolidated privacy policy coming in March.  All the cool kids are talking about it, and even Microsoft has had a little to say to help you decide how you feel about it.  On one side, you have folks who aren't concerned or say it's a good thing, and on the other you have those who say Google's new policy is horrible for us, the users.  (We're ignoring the folks who claim it will hasten the zombie apocalypse or cause biblical repercussions of any form).  Tonight, we just want to know how many of you guys have even bothered to read it?

Let us know in the poll, and when you're done, have a read if you haven't already. 

Have you read the new Google consolidated privacy policy?

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4 years ago

The best U.S. Android Phones - As of Feb. 1, 2012

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Welcome to the best Android Phones as of Feb. 1, 2012. Or you can call them our favorite Android phones. Or the top Android phones. Really, call them whatever you want. Here's what you're getting: Our unabashed, unapologetic and unequivocal list of what we consider to be the best Android smartphones available on the four major U.S. carriers today.

You can't have this sort of list without controversy. We get that. And discussion is good. And so we're just going to anwer the question as simply as we can here: What do we think is the best phone on any given U.S. carrier as of right now? They're all in this post. No metrics, no scores. Just our pics and a tad of explanation, with the goal of helping you find the best phone on a particular carrier at any given time.

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4 years ago

Full-page ads attack Google's privacy policy; el Goog responds

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Google, having already explained to the boys and girls inside the Beltway that they don't need to go all Chicken Little over its upcoming new consolidated privacy policy, today took aim at Redmond, Wash., for (if you can believe it) acting even more childish. More specifically, Google responded to claims from Microsoft (among others) that it's evil, it's only out to sell your information and that if you're not careful, Google will loosen your teeth while you sleep. (We might be confused over that last point.)

For those of you who don't ready words printed on dried pulp, the full-page ads Microsoft has taken out are "Putting people first" and go on to say the following about Google:

Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like "transparency," "simplicity" and "consistency," are really about one thing: making it easier for Google to connect the dots between anything you search, sen, say or stream while using one of their services.

But, the way they're doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash? One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.

To be clear, there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve the quality of an advertising product. But, that effort needs to be balanced with continuing to meet the needs and interests of users. Every business finds its own balance and attracts users who share those priorities. Google's new changes have upset that balance, with users' priorities being de-prioritized. That's why people are concerned and looking for alternatives.

If these changes rub you the wrong way, please consider using our portfolio of award-winning products and services.

This is straight up political theater, folks. Never mind that if Microsoft was in the search/advertising business, it'd be doing (if it was smart) exactly the same thing. But it's not. It's in the software licensing (and/or litigating, depending on who you ask) business. And Google continues to repeat that it's not collecting any new data with this new privacy policy, nor is it selling your data.

We're really not going to tell you what to think here. Read Google's responses from today. Go back and read its responses to Congress. And then read Google's new privacy policy, which is only a month away from taking effect. Then decide just how worried you are.

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4 years ago

AT&T throttle, Galaxy Nexus screen burn in? [From the Forums]

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While overall news has been rather slow as head on into Mobile World Congress, there has still been plenty of tidbits popping up here and there to keep things happening. If you missed out on anything from today, get yourself caught up either here on the blogs or in the Android Central forums:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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4 years ago

Samsung releases AT&T Galaxy Note kernel source code

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The device itself won't be available for another couple of weeks or so, but Samsung has wasted no time in releasing the Linux kernel source (and other open-source bits and pieces) for the AT&T Galaxy Note. The AT&T Note (aka SGH-I717) sports a slightly different hardware setup to its international counterpart, the GT-N7000, hence the difference in behind-the-scenes code. As per the open source rules, the code is freely available for anyone to grab over at the Samsung Open Source site.

Though source code isn't a whole lot of use without the device itself, at least this early code release should jump-start the AT&T Galaxy Note ROM scene once the phone launches. Speaking of which, it's due from Feb. 19, for $299 on contract.

More: Samsung Open Source

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4 years ago

Motorola Droid 4 lands on Verizon's Droid Does site

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As the Motorola Droid 4 inches closer to release, the device has taken its place on Verizon's "Droid Does" site, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Droid RAZR and Droid Xyboard. You'll find the usual teaser content, as well as a rundown of specifications for Verizon's first 4G LTE QWERTY slider. As we saw during our hands-on time with the Droid 4 at CES, the phone sports a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and a full gigabyte of RAM, just like the Droid RAZR. The Droid 4 sets itself apart from older Droid models with its laser-cut, edge-lit keys, and differentiates itself from most modern smartphones just by having a QWERTY keyboard. The site itself even acknowledges “the decline of other fixed QWERTY devices”.

Display-wise, you’ve got a 4-inch qHD (960x540) panel with Gorilla Glass and “splash-resistant nanotechnology”. And on the software side you’ll find Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, along with Motorola’s Motoblur Philblur UI. Moto’s Smart Actions app is also included, which should help with conserving battery life and automating common tasks, and you also get streaming capabilities through MOTOCAST. We’d expect an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to be on the cards for the Droid 4, too.

There’s no official release date for the Droid 4 just yet, though unconfirmed rumors point to a launch later this month. And with Verizon starting to promote the device on DroidDoes.com, it certainly looks like we could be seeing it sooner rather than later.

Hit the source link to check it out for yourself -- if you’re eager to pick one of these up, you can also sign up for updates at the bottom of the page. Be sure to check out our full hands-on with the Droid 4 from CES for more info.

Source: DroidDoes.com

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4 years ago

New Zealand winery uses QR codes and augmented reality app to suggest food pairings

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Brancott Estate, a winery based out of New Zealand, has just launched their first Android and iOS app, and along with it, they've started putting QR codes on all of their wine bottles. When you use the app to scan the code printed on the label with your phone's camera, it offers food pairing suggestions, along with some more elbaorate promotions, like an augmented reality view and a puzzle game. The Brancott Estate app (called "World's Most Curious Bottle") also provides descriptions of  aromas, and some info on the climate in which the grapes were grown for 14 of their wines.

While there are plenty of other apps out there that offer a broader selection of wines to reference, not to mention the ability to search by meal, it's not often you see retail products ship with legitimately helpful QR codes on them. For wine in particular, a few third parties have stepped in to provide rich data for wines, namely Cellar Key, which hangs a little QR code around the bottleneck. 

Considering how little I know about wines, quick, in-store references like this can be hugely helpful when picking something out. Even seasoned wine-drinkers will appreciate the added level of detailed information set-ups like this can provide. It's just unfortunate that even after over a decade of being largely available, QR codes still haven't quite caught on. Maybe pairing up with apps will become more of a necessity if they're going to see any real use. I'm also a little worried that as much hype as there is behind NFC, it will end up in the same boat. 

You can download the Android app at the link below, if you're curious. Do you guys use QR codes regularly? What would it take to get you to use them more often?

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4 years ago

What is Android recovery?

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What is recovery?  In Android, recovery refers to the dedicated, bootable partition that has the recovery console installed.  A combination of key presses (or instructions from a command line) will boot your phone to recovery, where you can find tools to help repair (recover) your installation as well as install official OS updates. Because Android is open and has the recovery source code available, building a customized version with more and different options is relatively easy as well. Let's look at both options.

The stock recovery is pretty limited, but that's by design.  Its main purpose is to delete all or some user data and files, or to perform system updates manually with signed and verified delta update packages. Normally, both these operations are started from the running Android system, but you can do things manually and boot right into recovery yourself.  When you tell your phone to do a factory reset, recovery is what boots up and erases the files and data. Likewise with updates— when we restart to install an official OS update, it's done in recovery. Recovery is also where we go to manually install official OS updates we've downloaded from the Internet. It's very useful, but limited. Different manufacturers use different recovery methods but all perform the same basic functions — provide the tools needed to recovery a working system.

Custom Android recoveries offer much more. They have been coded to allow for backup and restore functions, selective deletion of data so you don't have to wipe everything, and modified to allow update packages that have not been digitally signed by official sources. You also can mount various partitions so that you can copy files to the SD card without having to remove it or reboot into Android. Because of the extra functionality built in, they are a pretty important tool for folks who want to hack their Android phone or tablet. Recoveries aren't as pretty as a custom ROM and don't get the same love from users that custom builds of Android do, but in the end they're even more important. Without them none of this custom ROM stuff would be possible. 

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4 years ago

German court rejects Apple bid to ban sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1N, Galaxy Nexus

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The Munich Regional Court in Germany has rejected Apple's latest attempt to block sales of two Android-powered Samsung devices, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1N and Galaxy Nexus.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1N is a redesigned version of the original Tab 10.1, which Samsung brought to market to work around an earlier ruling preventing them from selling that model in Germany. If successful, Apple's attempts to block Galaxy Nexus sales would've been a major blow for Android, on account of that device's place as the flagship Google Experience smartphone.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, today's case related to touchscreen patents for smartphones and tablets. On rejecting the motion to block sales of the Samsung devices, Presiding Judge Andreas Mueller indicated that the patent in question would likely be revoked --

"Samsung has shown that it is more likely than not that the patent will be revoked because of a technology that was already on the market before the intellectual property had been filed for protection."

This is the latest chapter in the on-going patent war between Apple and Samsung, which began in mid-2011 and shows no sign of abating. The two companies remain locked in battle in courtrooms across the world.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

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4 years ago

App Updates: Chrome to Phone gets new look, bugfixes; Google Docs goes offline

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Google today has updated a couple of its apps -- Chrome to Phone and Google Docs.

Chrome to Phone, which was rolled out alongside Android 2.2 Froyo in 2010, is a slick little service that lets you send links from your computer directly to your phone. No e-mailing, no ... whatever -- just click "Chrome to Phone," and it zips from big screen to small. Today's update brings an "updated look and feel," fixes crashes when copying text and adds support for landscape.

Google Docs also got a sizeable update today. New is the ability to make any file available for offline access, and your'e also able to manage content while offline, including seeing files that are out of date. Such offline content will be synced while over Wifi, and you can star and rename files without a connection as well. And nearly as important is a further improvement to how GDocs looks on an Android tablet -- not the first time it's gotten a makeover.

Snag the updates in the Android Market, or at the links below.

Download: Chrome to Phone, Google Docs

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4 years ago

Sony Ericsson Bridge for Mac updates to version 2.0, adds OS update support

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Sony Ericsson is updating its "Bridge" application for Mac users, adding the ability to apply OS updates to Xperia smartphones over USB. This functionality has been available in SE's PC Companion tool for Windows for some time, but until now Mac users have had to wait for updates to roll out over the air.

If you're rocking the Xperia/Mac combo, you can grab the current version 1.2 of the SE Bridge app from the source link, and you'll be notified when the new version is available.

Source: Sony Ericsson Product Blog

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4 years ago

T-Mobile's Sensation 4G and myTouch not quite ready for EOL

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A few days back a leaked T-Mobile USA inventory screen seemed to suggest several of the carrier's mid to high-end Android phones would soon be reaching end-of-life (EOL) status. Today, however, an updated inventory screen has emerged over at TmoNews, indicating that the HTC Sensation 4G, myTouch Q and myTouch 4G Slide still have a few months of shelf life left in them. The devices are marked as "sell through", meaning that they haven't yet reached EOL, but that production will soon be coming to a end.

There's no such luck for the HTC Amaze 4G or LG DoublePlay, though, as today's leaked screenshot reveals that those devices have now reached EOL. But as we said earlier this week, EOL status doesn't affect software updates or warranties, and really isn't worth worrying about in our opinion. Your phone doesn't suddenly become any less awesome because of three letters in a spreadsheet, and we'd still expect devices like the Amaze to get ICS in due course.

Source: TmoNews

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S Advance available in the UK from Feb. 6, priced at £350

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We heard last week that the Galaxy S Advance would be coming to Russia later this month, and now it's been confirmed that Samsung's latest mid-range smartphone will be hitting the UK around the same time. Independent retailer MobileFun has the device up for pre-order, with stock expected next Monday, Feb. 6. What's more, the Galaxy S Advance comes in at a relatively wallet-friendly £349.99 off-contract.

For your money, you'll get a 4-inch phone running Adnroid 2.3 Gingerbread and Samsung's TouchWiz 4 UI. There's also a 1GHz dual-core chip inside, and WVGA (480x800) Super AMOLED display on the front -- so not quite bleeding edge, but a powerful device nonetheless.

If you're after one of these on contract, then Three UK is your best bet -- the network announced yesterday that it'll be carrying the Galaxy S Advance in the future. For more info on the Advance, check our original announcement post.

Source: MobileFun; via: Eurodroid

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4 years ago

US Cellular taps Samsung for first LTE devices, will hit in March

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US Cellular this morning announced that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Samsung Galaxy S Aviator  will be the first tablet and smartphone, respectively, on its new LTE network.

As previously announced, the regional carrier's 4G network will be available in select citites:

  • Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Madison and Racine.
  • Iowa: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
  • Maine: Portland and Bangor.
  • North Carolina: Greenville.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is, well, it's the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with Honeycomb, which we've enjoyed for the better part of a year now, and it'll be available on USCC in March. The 4.3-inch Samsung Galaxy S Aviator should be familiar as well, along with its preloaded Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. The Aviator will arrive in April.

US Cellular says more LTE markets will be announed later this month. We've got the full press release after the break.

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4 years ago

Galaxy Nexus set to blow in on WIND Mobile on Feb. 3

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WIND Mobile, one of Canada's youngest wireless carriers, will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus this Friday, February 3,  for $599 without a contract. The flagship device, the first to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will cost customers with a WINDtab+ a reduced price of $249.

WIND Mobile launched in 2009 as an alternative to Canada's big two, Bell Mobility and Rogers. WIND has earned a name for itself for its no-contract options and low monthly rates, including a new  unlimited voice, text, and data package for $40. WIND's WINDtab+ system subsidizes the cost of a phone by allowing customers to pay for the device over a three-year period using an allocation from the existing monthly payments.

The Galaxy Nexus is just the latest high-end Android device to make it to the low-cost carrier; it joins a respectable line up that includes the Nexus S, the HTC Amaze 4G, and the LG Optimus 2X. WIND's full presser can be found after the jump.

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