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2 years ago

HTC Media Link HD review

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HTC makes sending high-definition content from your phone to the TV easier than ever

The prospect of magically sending content from your phone to your TV isn't new. The DLNA (or Digital Living Network Alliance) protocol has been around for some time now, though there's a decent chance you've never used it.  Of newer interest to us is Wifi Direct, in which two Wifi-enabled devices talk to each other directly, no router or access point necessary.

Then there's the HTC Media Link HD, which can connect as a peer-to-peer device or go through your home network. This is the second iteration of HTC's stream-to-the-TV solution. And as the name implies, it's bumped things up to high definition in a package about one-third of the size of one of its smartphones.

What kind of sorcery do we have here? Is it worth the $90 or so you'll have to shell out for it? Read on for our full HTC Media Link HD review.

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2 years ago

Kobo Vox gains Google certification - a viable budget tablet option now?

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You might not be too familiar with the Kobo Vox, and you would be forgiven for it. With it, Kobo tried to go down the Nook Color / Kindle Fire road -- producing essentially an e-reader that had a full color capacitive display with Android on board. Where Barnes and Noble and Amazon may have succeeded, for Kobo, the Vox has been less impressive. One of the biggest issues with the Vox, is the difficulty in getting apps onto the device with no Google Play Store. In the UK for example, the Amazon Appstore isn't available either leaving Vox owners with a tedious time ahead should they want to do more than just read on it, especially since the on board third party store is pretty slim pickings. And, lets face it, Google Play is the best place to get apps, right?

However, the Vox is about to set itself apart from the respective B&N and Amazon offerings. Kobo has announced today that the Vox will be receiving Google Certification. That means, in particular, that owners will be able to access the official Google Play Store and download all the fabulous -- fart apps aside -- applications within. With Google applications on board, does this now mean the Vox becomes a viable budget tablet? 

Maybe, maybe not. It isn't particularly slim, and it doesn't have a particularly great screen. It isn't that powerful either, with an 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, and only 512MB of RAM, but it does have a microSD card slot to expand the onboard 8GB storage. It's cheap too, in the UK retailing at £150 from high-street chain WHSmiths, and $179.99 in the US at Best Buy online. And, should you be so inclined, the Vox also comes in a rather fetching shade of pink.

New Vox's will be sold ready to go, but existing owners will be able to update their devices OTA.   

via Pocket-Lint; More: Kobo

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2 years ago

Flipboard for Android beta updated with memory and battery improvements

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If you're using Flipboard on a Galaxy S III, where it's pre-loaded, or on another device through the beta program, you'll want to fire it up and grab the latest update for the popular digital magazine app. The new version 1.8.4 beta 3 weighs just a couple of megs, and includes some minor visual changes for dialog boxes, along with some behind-the-scenes improvements. According to the official change log, the new version of Flipboard has a reduced impact on battery life and a lower memory footprint, which will be good news to anyone using it on older devices with less RAM.

Flipboard isn't on the Google Play Store yet, so you'll need to start up the app itself to initiate the update. If you've been using the Flipboard beta over the past few weeks, be sure to drop by the comments section and let us know how you're getting on.

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2 years ago

Google Authenticator updated with internal clock sync

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If you're using two-step authentication for your Google account, you'll want to pick up the latest version of the Authenticator app, which brings a new time syncing feature to ensure correct codes are generated. Previously, if the app's internal clock went too out of sync with Google's, the Authenticator would generate incorrect codes. The new syncing feature remedies this by allowing users to sync the clocks through a new settings page.

With an app as crucial as the Google Authenticator, you'll want to make sure you're always up to date. This one's a manual update, so head to the "My apps" menu in the Google Play Store to grab the new version.

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2 years ago

Galaxy S III owners get free Eurosport Player for the Olympics

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The Galaxy S III is the official phone of the London Olympics, and Samsung's teamed up with Eurosport to give S III owners a way of watching the summer's games on-the-go. Download the Eurosport Player app for Android on your S III, and you'll qualify for a free month-long subscription that can be activated between July 14 and August 12, letting you watch Eurosport's Olympic coverage live.

European Galaxy S III owners (excluding Italy, for some reason) can download the Eurosport Player app from Google Play or Samsung Apps in preparation, though it won't become active until July 14. Unfortunately it looks like this promotion won't be available on the North American S III when it launches later this month.

Source: Eurosport; via: Recombu

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2 years ago

Amazon Mobile updated to v1.6, now includes cart shortcut and better sorting options

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The Amazon Mobile app has received a sizeable update, which focuses on enhancing the shopping experience within the app. Amazon has added a drop down menu which features oft-visited destinations including Home, Today's Deals, Your Account, Your Wish List, Your Recommendations and Sign Out.

There are also better sorting features while you search. For example, if you type in Android phone and hit 'search', you'll be able to narrow the results down by department in a simple manner. In addition, there's a very welcomed cart shortcut in the top right that will let you get to your cart from any page. Other enhancements include improving the barcode scanning and bug fixes.

Here is the full changelog:

  • Brand new ways to sort and filter your search results.
  • Faster, easier navigation with a Cart shortcut and drop-down menu of the most popular pages.
  • Launch barcode scanning directly from the home screen.
  • Add items to any of your existing wish lists.
  • Additional country support – shop Amazon across 8 countries, including Spain and Italy.
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements.

For the update or if you don't have the app yet, hit the links after the break. As ever, it's available for free from the Play Store.

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2 years ago

US Open app shows how sports should be done on smartphones

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We're not going to bog this one down with a bunch of preamble. If you like golf, have an Android smartphone and want to watch the U.S. open on the go, snag the Android app this second. The app is simple and could use a little design polish, but the live video is the perfect example of how sports -- particularly major sporting events -- should be presented on smartphones and tablets. 

Oh, and get it for the first- and second-round pairing of Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson-Bubba Watson. This is gonna be good.

Download: US Open for Android

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2 years ago

CyanogenMod freezes code for CM9

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The CyanogenMod team has announced that a code freeze has been put into place for CM9.  That would be the version based on Ice Cream Sandwich source, and it's one of the most downloaded ROM's in Android history.  So what does this mean for us, the end users?  It means that a release candidate (RC) is on its way, and they are in the process of squashing bugs to make it stable.  The team states in its blog post that nightly builds will still happen, but they won't be accepting any code other than bugfixes, device support, and translations into the release branch.

The initial release will cover a small amount of devices initially, but other devices will be added further down the road.  (The process of adding new devices should be helped along by the streamlining of certain code.)  Given the large undertaking of moving to ICS, and the amount of time that has been spent on it, knowing that a release candidate is on its way should make CM fans very happy.  Already running and experimental build of CM9?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the forums.

Source: CyanogenMod

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2 years ago

Samsung reveals its top-secret Galaxy S III design process

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Dummy cases, hand-delivered prototypes and two designs that never saw the light of day.

The secrecy surrounding the Galaxy S III was crucial in building anticipation ahead of the device's launch, and today Samsung has revealed some details of the phone's top-secret development process. Only a privileged few within Samsung were able to see the device, with design and engineering work taking place within a secured area at Samsung's Seoul HQ. Discussion with outsiders was forbidden, and the phones were apparently locked inside secure boxes for transportation, even within buildings.

Most interesting is the revelation that Samsung fully designed and built three versions of the Galaxy S III to further reduce the chance of the actual design leaking out. That'd certainly explain the appearance (and leaking) of a buttonless S III a few weeks ahead of launch. In today's blgo post, Samsung R&D engineer Woo-Sun Yoon confirmed the use of dummy cases like the one above in field testing, to protect the phone's true exterior from prying eyes.

“We had to make three types of the GALAXY SIII to prevent the design from leaking. And on top of that, whenever any of these had to go out for testing, we put them inside ‘dummy boxes’, which are cases that hide the design of the device, to disguise it. Even if people, inside or out of the campus, saw the device, I doubt they would have known what it was.”

And the security didn't stop once the devices were completed. Samsung says units delivered to mobile operators were transported in person and hand-delivered by its employees, and testing was done under strict supervision. All this resulted in the final design remaining a mystery until just a week before launch, when a Samsung service manual outed what we now know to be the Galaxy S III.

For all Samsung's pre-launch secrecy, it's now being incredibly open when talking about that secrecy. You'll find a full run-down of exactly how the S III was kept under wraps over at the source link.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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2 years ago

Aviary goes big time, releases standalone photo editing app

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Over the past few years Aviary has been making a name for itself by offering its photo editing solutions to the masses through its web applications. They've produced an Android SDK, iOS SDK and even a Windows Phone 7 SDK but now they've gone ahead and released their own self-branded standalone photo editing app. It's quite beautiful and feature packed, as you would expect, and there's an equally impressive feature list --

  • One-tap auto enhance
  • Gorgeous effects
  • Fun stickers
  • Color balance
  • Crop and rotate
  • Adjust brightness, contrast, color temperature, and saturation
  • Sharpen and blur
  • Draw and add text
  • Create your own memes
  • Cosmetic tools: fix redeye, remove blemishes and whiten teeth

In addition to all this, there are add-ons that can be purchased from the Play Store, including extra effects packs. Just a quick look at the app tells you Aviary took their time in making this one, it's a showcase app for them that will not only serve consumers but also show developers what Aviary is capable of. We'll get a deeper look at this app later, but for now we've got download info after the break.

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