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4 years ago

Swiftkey, Google Wallet neck and neck for Webby Awards

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A couple of our favorite Android applications are head to head in the running for a win in the 16th annual Webby Awards. Google Wallet currently has a slight edge over keyboard app SwiftKey X. At the time of this writing, Google Wallet is up 42 percent to 39 percent -- a little interesting since the NFC payment app isn't all that widely adopted yet. Swiftkey, meanwhile, was our 2011 Editor's Choice pick for keyboards, and runner-up for the Reader's Choice.

"We're absolutely delighted to be recognized alongside some giants in the industry for our contribution to innovation in mobile," Joe Braidwood, SwiftKey's chief marketing officer, told Android Central in an e-mail. "It's a great nod to Android that two of their nominees in the innovation category -- SwiftKey and Google Wallet -- are apps designed solely for this platform.

"All we can do now is cross our fingers. We beat Google Wallet to win most innovative app at MWC's awards this year. With enough support from the fantastic Android Central community, maybe we can make it a second victory!"

SwiftKey and Google Wallet are joined in the Mobile & Apps Experimental & Innovation category by The Sound of Football, Moon Jump and Realizer, iPhone apps, all. (And all trailing by at least 20 percentage points.)

Vote: 16th annual Webby Awards (registration required)

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4 years ago

Vodafone UK Galaxy S II ICS update postponed, now expected tomorrow

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Despite earlier reports that it'd be landing sometime today, there's been no sign of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for Vodafone UK-branded Galaxy S II phones. The update, which first hit unbranded phones in Korea in mid-March, is now expected to arrive through Samsung's Kies software tomorrow, and in an OTA next Tuesday, April 17.

Voda pointed the finger at Samsung in a statement released today to explain the latest delays --

Unfortunately Samsung have told us this morning that they are unable to make the update available to you as planned.

The new plan from Samsung is that the update will be available via KIES tomorrow, 13th April, and via Over The Air update on Tuesday 17th April. If this moves at all, we’ll of course let you know.

I know a lot of you, like us, will be disappointed at this last minute change of plan and we continue to challenge Samsung to make this available to you as quickly as possible.

The Ice Cream Sandwich roll-out for Galaxy S II phones in the UK has been anything but smooth. Three and O2 customers got the update pretty swiftly, but other networks have dragged their heals.

Surprisingly, owners of unlocked devices, usually first with updates, have been left to languish on Gingerbread while network-branded phones get the new software through Kies. Once the Vodafone update's out of the way, hopefully Samsung will be able to push out ICS to long-suffering unbranded customers.

Source: Eurodroid

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4 years ago

Leaked internal screen suggests April 20 launch for Rogers HTC One X

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Here's some (potential) good news for Canadian smartphone buyers watching developments in Europe with eager eyes. Rogers may be launching the LTE version of the HTC One X -- that's the one known internationally as the HTC One XL -- as early as next Friday. A leaked internal screen obtained by MobileSyrup ​shows a release date of April 20 for HTC's Snapdragon S4-powered, 4.7-inch LTE-guzzling beast. An imminent release shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as pre-orders are currently being taken, with prices starting at C$169.99 on the standard 3-year Canadian contract.

The quad-core HSPA+ version of the One X is out now in Europe, and the dual-core LTE version is expected to arrive stateside early next month. To get an idea of what to expect, be sure to check out our full review of the European version.

Source: MobileSyrup

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4 years ago

White Motorola Motoluxe launches at Tesco in the UK

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Motorola Mobility sends word that from today, the white version of its "style-focused" Motoluxe handset will be heading to UK supermarket chain Tesco, both online and in bric-and-mortar stores. The Motoluxe, which combines a 4-inch screen, an 800MHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, an 8MP camera and a PhilBlur'd Android 2.3 Gingerbread, launched on UK networks in black last month. As far as we're aware, Tesco is the only carrier currently offering the white Motoluxe at subsidized prices.

Moto says that Tesco Mobile, which runs on O2's network, will offer the 'luxe in white for free on 24-month contracts starting at £20 per month -- that'll get you 250 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB. The £20 price point about matches the prices the major networks are asking for the black version -- T-Mobile UK's contract prices for the Motoluxe start at £21 per month.

As we discovered during our CES hands-on, the Motoluxe is a decent, if unremarkable entry-level handset, and you could certainly do worse if you're shopping around for a free phone on a £20 per month tariff. We've got Moto's full press release after the break.

More: Tesco Mobile

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4 years ago

LG Viper available for preorder today for $99, officially in stores April 22

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As promised, the Sprint LG Viper 4G LTE is available for preorder today for $99. (That's on a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.) In exchange for that Benjamin you'll get a 4-inch NOVA display, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 5MP camera, NFC radio and Sprint ID, plus eventual 4G LTE data on Sprint's fledgling 4G LTE network. Plus, you'll get 50GB of online storage from Box.

Sprint's website says it'll "do our best to get it to you before Sunday, April 22," which suggests that'll be the official in-store date. So, who's in?

Update: Sprint's just made it official, saying it'll definitely be in stores on Sunday, and that preorders may arrive as early as April 20.

Preorder: Sprint.com; more: Press release

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4 years ago

Open letter to HTC regarding EVO 4G LTE design gets a response

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One of the hottest threads in our EVO 4G LTE forum is Starfleet Captain's open letter to HTC regarding design choices on the E4GLTE. As you'll recall, it went a little something like this:

Dear HTC,

As a customer and consumer, I want to thank you for the excellent phones that you continue to make every year. My very first HTC—made smartphone was the Windows Mobile 6.1 device called, the Touch Diamond on Sprint. Since then, I was in line before Dawn to pick up the HTC Evo 4G on the day it was released, and a year later, the HTC Evo 3D. I want you to know that I have greatly enjoyed these best in class devices over the years.

After reading through the press releases from your company and Sprint for your new upcoming device, the HTC Evo 4G LTE, as well as the many first impression reviews on the web, I can only conclude that you have another blockbuster winning device on your hands. I, for one, as has become a yearly tradition it seems, plan on being in line on the morning of the release of this excellent smartphone. That being said, many consumers in the Android community seem to take issue with a design decision on this device. ...

A dozens pages of replies later, and Starfleet Captain has returned to share a response he got from HTC. Will it assuage the angry masses? Will it cause you to break down in tears of joy? Only one way to find out.

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4 years ago

Galaxy Tab 2 release dates and pricing emerge

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7-inch for $250 on April 22, 10.1-inch for $450 on May 13

As you may remember, we got our first look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 at MWC in late February. The slightly awkwardly-named tablets build on last year's Galaxy Tab designs with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a fresh design, in an attempt to steer clear of any legal shenanigans.

Today the first information on U.S. pricing and availability for both devices has become available. Pre-orders for the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 are due to begin later today, with the device itself going on sale next Sunday, April 22. At $250, the 7-incher's price is competitive, and for your money you'll get Android 4.0 with TouchWiz on a 1024x600 PLS TFT display (that's Samsung's version of IPS). Internally it's powered by a solid but unremarkable 1GHz dual-core CPU, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.

The 10.1-inch Tab 2 will appear three weeks later on May 13, with pre-orders starting May 4. Prices start at $450 for the 16GB version, and internals are the similar to the 7-inch variant, with the only differences being the aforementioned 16GB of storage and a bump in screen resolution, up to 1280x800.

While the Tab 2 10.1 is a relatively run-of-the-mill Android slate, the 7.0 version's low price point marks it as a potential competitor for the rumored Google-branded, ASUS-made tablet. This is said to be on track for a July release, but has yet to be officially confirmed by either company.

Source: Electronista; via: Phone Arena

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4 years ago

HTC on One S MAO chipping issue: 'immediate fix' for those affected

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HTC to implement "small changes" to prevent future problems

HTC has issued an official response to the recent reports that some black One S phones, which feature a micro-arc oxidation coating, have been experiencing issues with the ceramic coating chipping off the chassis. Following on from yesterday's statement acknowledging the problem, HTC today restates its commitment to the MAO coating, which it says is proven to be of similar hardness to ceramic. The manufacturer adds that customers affected by severe chipping can return the phone to the place of purchase, or have the phone fixed under warranty.

The full statement, sent to ​The Verge, reads --

HTC is committed to delivering a high quality product and great experience for all our customers. There have been a few, isolated reports of this issue. The finish on the One S was laboratory tested as being at a hardness similar to ceramic. While that's hard, it doesn't mean it's impossible to damage. Regardless, HTC takes quality very seriously and are providing all customers with an immediate fix and we are implementing some small changes to ensure customers do not experience this issue in the future.

So that's that. Anyone suffering with unsightly scratches and chips can get a replacement, and hopefully the changes brought in by HTC will prevent any future occurrences.

Source: The Verge

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4 years ago

Late-night poll: Your opinion of Ice Cream Sandwich

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Since a few phones and tablets have been upgraded to (or shipped with) Ice Cream Sandwich, now is a good time to ask those who are using it what they think. We know, most devices don't have it yet (don't worry, you'll get to express your displeasure as well) but it's pinging the website enough to get a fair idea from enough folks to see how El Goog did with the latest version.

I bounce back and forth between devices with ICS and one or two without it. I'm probably in a unique position where I can really tell what's better (to me, anyway) and what's not after close inspection, but first impressions matter as well. Even if your first trip into Androidland has you running ICS, don't be afraid to vote! My vote? I really like it. Other than no persistent menu button (which I'm going to have to deal with on my own terms -- it ain't coming back) I think everything else is either a great improvement, or the beginnings of one. Some of it took some time to get used to, mainly the people app and the phone app, but it's starting to feel like old hat and I'm digging it.

But I know what I think. It's time to find out what you think -- tell us in tonight's poll!

 

What are your impressions of Ice Cream Sandwich?

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4 years ago

Your next device, Adjust keys and font size [From the Forums]

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It's been a busy day for the Android Central forums already and here on the blogs so with that said; if you missed out on anything go ahead and get yourself caught up. You can check out some of the threads below or just skip on back a page or two on the blogs and you'll be all set!

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

LED Football hits the Amazon Appstore, takes you back to 1978

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I can remember a simpler day, when video games had no more than four buttons, as many sounds and just one color. (Yes, I am old.) And that's why I'm a little stocked to see another iteration of the original 1978 Mattel Football game hit Android. 

LED Football is a pretty faithful recreation, available now in the Amazon Appstore. (It's currently listed at $1.99.) And when we say pretty faithful, we're just talking about the buttons. It's also goto simulated button wear (ahhhhhh, remember those days?) and an option to pull the battery (of the football game, not the phone) to reset the game.

Now, excuse us while we spend the rest of the night reminiscing. 

Download: LED Football from Amazon

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4 years ago

What to do when visiting Google?

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BigDinCA writes in our Android Forums,

I'm heading up to the Bay area this weekend and want to stop and check out the center of the Android Universe, but I am clueless. Do they give tours? Is it an open campus that I can just explore? Where can I park, and is it free?

I've searched and couldn't find anything, although I do see some visitor parking outside Building 44 (the Android android!) on Google Maps so I am hoping for the best. If anyone has any tips or insight please feel free to let me know what to do/where to go.

Also, I will do what I can to get some info from Andy, Sergey et al. I'm not opposed to a lighthearted kidnapping, a la Christmas Vacation. Let me know.

Building 44 is a must-see. I'd also recommend having someone take a picture of you taking a picture of yourself taking a picture of the inhabitants of Building 44 who are laughing and taking a picture of someone taking a picture of you taking a picture of yourself. (If you've had any Googlers circled on Google+ from the last year or so, that'll make sense. Otherwise, apologies.)

But do remember that for as open and friendly as the Google campus is, people do work there.

I was last in Mountain View -- my only time, actually -- more than a year ago for the Honeycomb event. I assume it's only gotten more awesome. Anyone else been recently? Drop BigDinCA a line here.

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4 years ago

We're answering your HTC One S questions in the Android Central forums!

You've read our initial preview and our full review, but maybe you still have some burning questions about the One S, HTC's latest 4.3-incher that's out now in Europe and coming to T-Mobile USA later this month. Fear not -- we're standing by to answer your questions about the device over in the Android Central forums, so whatever you want to know is just a post away.

If you're not already signed up, registration is free, and there's plenty of discussion to be had elsewhere in the forums too.

To get started with your HTC One S questions, hit the forum thread below, and we'll do our best to deliver you the info you crave.

More: HTC One S questions on the Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Google Goggles updated with continuous mode improvements

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The Google Goggles app for Android has been updated to version 1.8, with a couple of improvements for continuous mode -- that's the mode where Goggles continues to scan on-the-fly without requiring you to take a snapshot. Firstly, the speed barcode recognition in continuous mode has been increased twofold. And selected, recognized objects in continuous mode are now saved to your search history, assuming you've got that enabled in the settings page.

Goggles, if you're unfamiliar with it, uses Google's databases to recognize logos, products, works of art and other images through your Android device's camera. If you've yet to give it a whirl, you can find the Google Play Store link after the break.

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4 years ago

Security scare of the week: What can an app with no permissions do?

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The latest in the never-ending story of Android security is out, and this time it's talking about what an app can access if it declares no permissions. (To put it another way, what all an application can see if it doesn't request any of the normal functionality apps request.) Some folks make it out to be nothing to worry about, others use it in their quest to damnify the world's most popular mobile phone OS, but we figure the best thing to do with it is explain what's happening. 

A group of security researchers set out to create an app that declares no permissions to find out exactly what sort of information they could get out of from the Android system it was running on. This sort of thing is done every day, and the more popular the target is, the more people are looking at it. We actually want them to do this sort of thing, and from time to time folks find things that are critical and need fixed. Everybody benefits.

This time around, they found that an app with no (as in none, nada, zilch) permissions could do three very interesting things. None are serious, but all are worth looking at a bit. We'll start with the SD card.

Any app can read data on your SD card. It's always been this way, and it will always be this way. (Writing to the SD card is what needs a permission.) Utilities are available to create secure, hidden folders and protect them from other apps, but by default any data written to the SD card is there for any app to see. This is by design, as we want to allow our computer to access all the data on shareable partitions (like SD cards) when we plug them in. Newer versions of Android use a different partitioning method and a different way to share data that moves away from this, but then we all get to bitch about using MTP. (Unless you're Phil, but he's a little nuts at likes MTP.) This is an easy fix -- don't put sensitive data on your SD card. Don't use apps that put sensitive data on your SD card. Then quit worrying about programs being able to see data they are supposed to be able to see.

The next thing they found is really interesting if you're a geek -- an can read the /data/system/packages.list file with no explicit permission. This poses no threat on its own, but knowing what applications a user has installed is a great way to know what exploits may be useful to compromise their phone or tablet. Think of vulnerabilities in other apps -- the example the researchers used was Skype. Knowing that an exploit exists it's there means an attacker could try to target it. It's worth mentioning that targeting a known insecure app would probably require some permissions to do so, though. (And it's also worth reminding folks that Skype quickly acknowledged and fixed its permissions issue.)

Finally, they discovered that the /proc directory gives a bit of data when queried. Their example shows that they can read things like the Android ID, kernel version, and ROM version. There's a lot more that can be found in the /proc directory, but we need to remember that /proc isn't a real file system. Look at yours with root explorer -- it's full of 0-byte files that are created at runtime, and is designed for apps and software to communicate with the running kernel. There is no real sensitive data stored there, and it's all erased and rewritten when the phone is power cycled. If you are worried that someone might be able to find your kernel version or 16 digit Android ID, you still have the hurdle of getting that information sent anywhere without explicit Internet permissions. 

We're glad that people are digging in deep to find these sort of issues, and while these aren't critical by any serious definition, it's good to make Google aware of them. Researchers doing this sort of work can only make things safer and better for all of us. And we need to stress the point that the fellows at Leviathan aren't talking doom and gloom, they are just presenting facts in a useful way -- the doom and gloom is coming from outside sources.

Source: Leviathan Security Group

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