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2 years ago

Android App Review: Smartr Contacts Beta

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Sometimes your contact list just gets large. It happened to me and I'm still not quite sure how. You get an email here, exchange some business cards, and boom, before you know it, your contact list is overflowing with people. If you're struggling to keep track of all your contacts and are interested in how you stay in touch with them, Xobni's new Smartr Contacts is the app for you.

Upon opening Smartr Contacts, you're asked to either log in or sign up. Once you've done that, you can move to the account linking process. Essentially, Smartr Contacts pulls contact and calendar information from your Google account, sorts everyone, adds a picture to their profile, and tries to make sense of why you've contacted them in the first place.

You can also log in to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see more detailed information about your contacts. Otherwise, you're limited to three of the four tabs available whenever you choose a contact.

The details tab will show you all of the different contact methods you have with a particular contact. If you only have their email, that's all you see. If you've got their email and a few phone numbersthat's what you'll see. Details is basically the standard contact information.

History is perhaps the most interesting of the four, showing you how many times you contacted this person, when your initial contact was, and what the subject was. Additionally, a list of emails, calls, and text messages details your timeline with this person, starting with most recent.

The common tab shows you what people you've got in common. If you email a colleague often and this colleague works with other people you know, they'll show up here. Otherwise, it'll either be empty or have you (if you keep yourself in your address book).

If you slide the screen once to the right you'll see your Google Calendar events. Smartr Contacts will put a profile picture (of your contact) on any event you're going to that another one of your contacts is going to. It's kind of cool, if you don't mind going into this app to see your calendar.

Smartr Contacts can also show you who your top contacts are, in case you didn't already have some idea. You can see top 10, 40, 100, or 200+ and email, call, or text anyone straight from this menu.

Smartr Contacts Beta is free in the Android Market, so if you're itching to know more about your contacts than you ever wish you had, we've got download links and more pictures after the break.

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2 years ago

Editorial: Android is the new Linux -- and that's a great thing

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Recently, a popular website ran an editorial about how Android was turning into the new Linux, and just how awful a thing that was.  The author was half right -- Android is turning out to be the new Linux.  If he had stopped there, he and I would see eye-to-eye, and this rebuttal would have never happened.  He also would have gotten far fewer pageviews.  He goes on to discuss patents and other issues that don't really explain his position before he comes to the meat of his issue -- fragmentation.  You know, that buzzword that's ever so popular in any hit-piece about Android.  I'm here to tell you what I think about fragmentation, Linux, Android, and how it all fits together after the break.

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2 years ago

Samsung's Media Hub Beta program will trade AT&T Galaxy S II owners $25 in content for feedback

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If you're a new AT&T Galaxy S II owner, Samsung is willing to trade you $25 worth of free Media Hub content for some of your feedback. The Media Hub Beta program, which launches today, adds integration between your Galaxy S II (AT&T's model only, at the moment) and your 2011 Samsung Smart TV: purchase a movie or TV show from your phone, and watch it on your TV's built in Media Hub app. If you're willing to sign up for the beta and test it out, Samsung will give you a $25 Media Hub credit. Not all who sign up will be chosen, but if you're the proud owner of both Samsung devices, it's worth your time to throw your hat in the ring. Hit the source link to sign up.

 Souce: Samsung

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2 years ago

Cincinnati Bell now offering the HTC Sensation

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It's never any fun to see all these new shiny devices get announced when they aren't coming to your carrier, is it? Today Cincinnati Bell has announced it will be offering the HTC Sensation. For those unfamiliar, this 4.3-inch device is powered by a 1.2GHz processor and runs Gingerbread. The device will be priced at $249 after a $50 mail in rebate, pricing it pretty fairly for a device with such great specs. Picking one up? Be sure to hop in the forums and see what others think of it, and to learn a thing or two about it as well!

Source: Cincinnati Bell

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2 years ago

Android App Review: BIG Launcher

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We have seen tons of replacement launchers surface, many of them bringing plenty of cool features, and added customization, but BIG Launcher is unlike any we have seen. BIG Launcher is geared toward users who may have a bit of trouble seeing the screen, finding the icon they are looking for, or accurately tapping the right places.

The launcher offers you a home screen which contains six large icons in addition to the time and date. From the home screen you can easily access the phone, messages, camera, gallery, SOS, or the app drawer.

The application drawer is in list form with large text, and decent sized icons, making it easy to find what you are looking for. Every aspect of the launcher is created to cater to those who have difficulty seeing, and you can tell this by the large font and the colorful icons making it easy to tell exactly what it is.

No longer do you have to struggle searching for things, and squinting your eyes to try to read what you are doing, instead simply download this launcher and make things easier for yourself! For only $1.35 in the market you can take your new confusing Android device, and simplify the experience for yourself. Hit the break for more images and download links.

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2 years ago

BBQ texting contest sees unofficial new record using Swiftkey X

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Speed texting has a new champion, and it all went down at the Big Android BBQ in Austin, TX this past weekend. 

The keyboard app used in the contest was Swiftkey X and with it the winner, Rachael Loncar, smashed the current world record of 35.54 second with her time of 10.7 seconds! 

The contestants were chosen by typing the phrase "The little green Android jumped over the lazy Apple" on day one.

The fastest 10 went on to attempt the official Guinness World Record phrase of; “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

The previous record was set using Swype, but the Swiftkey X prediction feature proved to be king, and with it won Rachael her very own Galaxy Tab 10.1.

If you haven't tried Swiftkey X yet, check out the download link below to the free trial version which gives you a month's free use.

via Swiftkey

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2 years ago

Announcing the winners of the 500,000th member giveaways

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We had a blast last week giving away prizes in honor of our 500,000th member here at Android Central.  It's you guys who make this such a great place to read a bit of news (and for us to write it) and hang out in the forums, and we love every chance we have to give a little bit back.  After five days of contests, it's finally time to announce the winners -- here they are!

Monday: Win a free case for the smartphone of your choice

  • tdosthp

Tuesday: Win a free Bluetooth headset of your choice

  • saltysteve

Wednesday: Win a spare battery for the smartphone of your choice

  • captmeach7
  • dcreed
  • Jaysus

Thursday: Win one of five Android Central T-shirts

  • droidify
  • IceDree
  • Photon4glover
  • Saneless
  • Suntan

Friday: Win an IOU for the next Nexus phone

  • digitalslacker

Congrats to one and all!  Be sure to check your email and get back with us to collect your prize.  Everyone keep your eyes peeled for the next big giveaway -- you never know when they're gonna show up.

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2 years ago

HTC collecting data in U.S. phones with HTC Sense, storing it in a very sloppy way

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(And it doesn't mean the sky is falling)

Update (Oct. 4): HTC says a fix is on the way. Original follows.

Another week, another bit of scary news that nobody is taking the time to properly explain.  This time it's more HTC data logging, and the way HTC is handling the data it collects.  Exposed in technical detail by Android Police, you'll see this spread all over the Internet for the next few days, so let's try to break down what is happening in simple terms we all can understand.

What's going on

When you first log in and set up your HTC Sense phone (so far this is only showing up on newer U.S. phones with HTC Sense), you're asked if HTC can collect and send data back home about your usage.  If you say "yes," it collects data about apps you're using, where and how your using them, and for how long -- then sends it back to the HTC mothership.  HTC has some use for this -- we figure it's to help see how to improve the next versions of HTC Sense.  That's not a bad thing.  If you opt-out, none of the data is sent back to HTC -- but that doesn't mean it's not still collected. 

Here's where it gets sticky.  HTC is collecting and logging data that lots of other apps also can collect, and we like it when they collect it.  Apps like alogcat (useful when everyone is looking for that OTA update link) or Sensorly collect device and network data.  But when you install those apps, you're told up front they are collecting potentially sensitive data.  HTC doesn't need to declare permissions to do this, because it's your operating system that's doing it, and not "just an app."  This data is then stored on your phone in a manner that other apps can get to it instead of being properly sandboxed.  We're not going to say where it's stored, or how to collect it (we don't promote that type of thing here) but the information is out there, ready for anyone else to use, and it's easy enough to get at. You just need to know where to look.  Some disruptive individual could write an app that mines this data, and sends back information to another server.  And after todays news, someone probably will.

What's being collected, and why the sky isn't falling for everyone

The next question you'll ask is "What kind of data is HTC collecting?"  It's not collecting passwords.  It's not collecting the text of any SMS message or IM you're sending.  What it is collecting is data that is unique to your phone (IMEI and device ID), your account names, geo-location, and phone numbers from your call logs.  If you're technically inclined, run a logcat locally to get an idea of the type of data that's available -- this is the kind of information HTC is storing.  How sensitive you consider this type of data can to be is something for each of us to decide.  Nobody can steal your bank password here, but they can know where you were the last time you used your GPS, and identify the device that did it.

So how to fix it?  Well, you can't if you're not rooted.  This is all part of your phone's operating system, but it is part that can easily be removed if you have the right permissions to remove it.  Head into the forums and look for the threads that are already there about it, or start a new one if you don't see one.  The advisers and senior members will be happy to guide you along if you want to take matters into your own hands.  If you're not feeling the whole root thing, just be careful what apps you install until HTC fixes the issue.  We hope that's soon.

The short, short version

HTC is collecting usage and system logs locally, as in on your phone.  It's stored in a way so that other apps can possibly access it and no longer have to collect it from the system in the normal way, properly declaring that it's doing so in the process.

Is this the end of the world?  Probably not.  And we're willing to bet this isn't a malicious act on HTC's part. But it certainly does raise a few eyebrows.

And it's something HTC needs to fix, and soon.

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2 years ago

Samsung Stratosphere specs surface, check out how it compares to the competition

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We have seen the Samsung Stratosphere appear in a couple different places yet we have still not seen full specs to gain an understanding of where the device falls in Verizon's lineup. DroidLife has got their hands on some spec sheets which detail the specs of the device as well as compare it to other Android devices available on Verizon currently. In addition to comparing to Verizon devices the documents show comparisons to other slider devices across various other carriers, giving you a pretty good understanding of where the device falls. Verizon lists the "bottom line" as:

Appeals to anyone looking for a mid-tier option at an affordable price with fast web browsing and messaging capabilities.

Knowing it is a mid-tier device, we could anticipate the pricing to be in the $149 price range on contract, ultimately giving you a pretty good bang for the buck. Is the Samsung Stratosphere in your vision for a potential next device, or will you be passing in favor of something else? Be sure to let us know in the forums! One more comparison after the break.

Source: DroidLife

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