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2 years ago

DroidDoodle - Samsunged!

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That's gotta sting at least a little, right? OK, maybe not.

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2 years ago

Android A to Z: What is a launcher?

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What is an Android launcher? Probably the most powerful feature of Android is its ability to be customized. And that starts with what's typically called the "launcher." The launcher usually is considered to be the homescreens and app drawer, and they come in all sorts of flavors and designs.

When you hear people talk about "stock" Android, this usually is what they're referring to -- homescreens and app drawer unchanged from what Google includes in the open-sourced code. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. From there, you can download any number of third-party "launchers," which will change the look and functionality of the homescreens and the app drawer. Home screens can have different animations. Or different docks at the bottom. Or a specific number of home screens. App drawers can have more scrolling or sorting options. The possibilities might not be endless, but they're certainly numerous.

Google has included a lot of improvements in the Ice Cream Sandwich launcher, but third-party apps absolutely are not yet obsolete.) Some of the more popular third-party launchers include:

There is no shortage of third-party launchers. But they're not the only ones. Smartphone manufacturers all have their own launchers, too. HTC has its Sense UI, its own homescreen and its own app drawer, all nicknamed "Rosie." Motorola has long has its "Blur" user interface. Samsung has "TouchWiz." Don't like any of them? You can install a third-party launcher on top of the default user interface. And with as powerful as today's phones are, you can do so without any real degradation in performance.

Previously on Android A to Z: What is a kernel?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

 

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2 years ago

Review: Klipsch S4A earbuds and companion Android app

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Klipsch S4As sound great, don't break the bank and have an Android app for tweaking settings

One of the first things you should do -- nay, the first thing you should do -- when buying just about any new smartphone is to ditch the cheap earbuds that come with it. We've been testing the Klipsch S4A earbuds for a couple weeks now -- as well as the Android companion app that serves along side them.

Let's not beat around the bush here: These are some excellent $99 earbuds. For me, that's the sweet spot for pricing. Any more than that, and I'm going to be worried about losing them. Any less, and I won't think I've spent enough for quality. (That can be a red herring, I know. But that's what my brain thinks, and so I'm going with it.)

The earbuds fit my ears easily enough, snug, but not too snug thank to the oval rubber tips, and they're pretty comfortable over long periods. They're also surprisingly good at passive noise isolation. I really didn't expect them do be able to drown out the new Lamb of God blaring from my desk speakers, but the S4As managed it, and with a surprising amount of bass, too.  The tips are replaceable, too (for a mere $13.99 each) and come in four sizes. 

The S4As also serve as a microphone for hands-free(ish) calls. The mic is about six inches down the left-ear cable, and that's also where you'll find the push button, which really is what the S4As are all about. While they work fine out of the box, there's also a companion Android application that adds a great deal of funcationality for that button. You've got the usual single-press options -- play/pause, mute/answer, that sort of thing. Double clicking by default takes you to the next track. Triple click takes you back. A long press controls the volume. And most of these actions are customizable. 

The app itself is a no-brainer to use. Klipsch did a really nice job of designing it so that it's as simple as can be. Just plug in, check your settings, and go. One thing we will recommend you do before purchasing, though, is to check the app listing the Android Market, as there are a few smartphones that have had compatibility issues. But Klipsch says it's working on this.

We've got more pictures and screen shots after the break.

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2 years ago

Verizon announces 4x4 Galaxy Nexus contest - Win yourself a Galaxy Nexus

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Verizon has announced their new 4x4 Galaxy Nexus contest and you'll want to make sure you get in on the action if you haven't already. The contest will be running for the next four days and in order to win, you'll have to meet Verizons expectations for entry. The short version:

  • Follow @VerizonWireless on Twitter
  • Every day for the next 4 days, an entry timeframe will be announced that runs from 10AM ET through 11:59PM ET.
  • Each day you'll be given a different task for your Tweets. All of which must include, #GalaxyNexus4x4.
  • You can have up to 10 entries, provided you complete the tasks.

Winners will be chosen on by January 31 and contacted via Twitter DM. Your odds of winning will depend on the amount of entries of course but if you don't play -- you won't win that's for sure. You can hit the source link for the full contest details and rules.

Source: Verizon

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2 years ago

Samsung defends against Apple design infringement claim in Netherlands

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Samsung is having a rough go against Apple in Germany, but that’s apparently not setting a precedent for the rest of Europe. The Court of the Hague, in the Netherlands, has denied an appeal from Apple to place an injunction on Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales on grounds of design patent infringement. The Dutch ruling took into account two out of six potential pieces of prior art, though they may take more into consideration later on. Apple has already been shot down once for this case in the Dutch lower courts, and having the appeal denied as well means this case is pretty cut and dry.

It's great to see Samsung is successfully defending their products against what is now amounting to a legal pissing match. Even Australia, which had initially placed a ban on Galaxy Tab 10.1, eventually relented. Can we really expect any injunction against any device to stick just because it kinda-sorta looks like a competitor in its class? Unless they're coming close to copying the name too, I don't see any consumer confusion arising from physical similarities. 

You can find the full Dutch court ruling, ripe for Google Translating, over here

Source: FOSS Patents via iMore

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2 years ago

Lookout launches Mobile Threat Tracker, visually represents malware around the globe

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Lookout has released a neat new application this morning -- Mobile Threat Tracker.  What it does is tell you where and when users running Lookout have came across malware in their mobile devices. How it does it is the cool part -- the results are updated hourly, and when you start the app you get an animated timeline where individual malware "hits" are represented as tiny shafts of light zooming to the reported location on a globe.  If you've ever played a global thermo-nuclear war simulation on an old PC, it looks pretty much like that -- which means it's cool as heck.

Interesting visuals aside, the app answers some questions many of us have about Lookout and mobile security in general.  At a glance you can see how many mobile threats there really are and where they are concentrated.  The information button shows you the top three current threats, and tapping on their entries tells you a bit about what they are doing and why Lookout marks them as malware.  

If you're a security researcher, or anyone who has to keep track of mobile security issues, or just curious, head past the break where we've got some screenshots and a download link.

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2 years ago

Galaxy Nexus case review: Qmadix Snap-On Cover with Holster

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You don't always want to have to choose between an easy snap-on cover and all-over protection for your phone. Sometimes it's more convenient to have the option to switch things up as and when you need, and that's one of the main strengths of Qmadix's snap-on cover with holster for the Galaxy Nexus.

 

Firstly, you've got a basic snap-on cover that's finished in soft-touch plastic, with a grooved pattern on the back for easy gripping. This can then slide into the holster component, which is equipped with a rotatable clip for attaching the entire package to clothes, pockets or bags. The inside of the holster faces the screen, and is so it's lined with a soft material to avoid scratches. And the cover, holster and phone all lock together securely, meaning you shouldn't need to worry about working its way free or falling out of the case while you're out and about.

The case's best feature by far is its ability to clip onto clothing, and offer multiple levels of protection based on what you're doing. If your phone is in your pocket, simply use the snap-on cover alone. If you need to clip it onto a belt or throw it in a bag without risking screen damage, just attach the holster and you're good to go.

The Qmadix Snap-on Cover with Holster is designed for both the international GSM Galaxy Nexus, as well as the Verizon LTE version, so whichever model you have, the case will fit snugly.

We've got more pictures for you after the jump.

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2 years ago

Verizon confirms Droid RAZR MAXX launch date and price

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$299.99 on-contract, coming this Thursday, Jan. 26

The word out of CES was that the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX would be hitting store shelves on Jan. 26 for $299.99, and today we have the official confirmation of this from Verizon. As usual, that $299.99 price tag comes with a two-year service agreement, and puts the RAZR MAXX in line with Verizon's Galaxy Nexus, as well as the 32GB original RAZR.

Check out our hands-on coverage from CES for more on the Droid RAZR MAXX, which packs a massive 3300 mAh battery. And be sure to let us know in the comments if you'll be picking one of these up on Thursday.

Source: Verizon Wireless

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2 years ago

MIT and Google open-source App Inventor code, public release of MIT's version on track for April

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You guys probably know this by now, but I was a fan of App Inventor.  Watching my wife use it to create her own application just sucked me in, and I loved the whole idea of a way for anyone to make an Android app.  When we heard that Google was shutting it down, I was sad, but the news that MIT was going to pick up the pieces and run with it lifted my spirits again.  Recent news makes me even happier -- MIT and Google have released the full source-code for the service, and folks at MIT's Center for Mobile Learning have said that the public release of the re-vamped service is on track for an April release:

So far (knock on wood) our development effort is on track for releasing the MIT Public App Inventor Service in the first quarter of this year. While unexpected issues can always arise, we're guardedly optimistic that people who plan to run App Inventor courses or workshops can anticipate being able to use the MIT service by mid-April.

With the release of the source and the JAR files you have the choice of running your own local copy, or jumping in and using MIT's version once it goes live.  See the links below for more information, and remember us if you give it a try and come up with your own app -- we'd love to check it out!

Source: MIT's App Inventor Developer's blog

App Inventor source code

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 making an appearance on the London Eye

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The London Eye has been given a little taste of Android. Each capsule on the giant big-wheel that towers over the city has been given a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

In partnership with the current sponsors of the tourist attraction, each Tab has been pre-installed with a custom app giving you an interactive guide of the scenery. We'd love to be able to show you this in all its glory, but there's not many images floating around at this point.

Maybe it's time to head down to London again. Wonder if you can play Angry Birds while you're up there?

via Eurodroid

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