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3 years ago

Editorial: The EVO 3D shows how updates should be done

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Yes, I said it.  You don't have to be a fan of HTC's products to realize they (and Sprint as well, we suppose) have figured out how to send out updates.  We're not talking the quality of the update here, so simmer down everyone unhappy with their Thunderbolt or EVO 4G after the latest software updates.  Nor are we speaking of the timeliness (or lack thereof) of updates.  Just the methods.  When HTC realized one of their system updates borked the Sense 3.0 lockscreen on the EVO 3D, they simply updated the app themselves, and sent it out to users without getting carriers or anyone else involved.  Same thing they did when they noticed HTC Watch needed a little fixing up.  This is how a manufacturer should handle updates to their own code -- focus on the bug and kill it in-house, then send that sucker out to the users ASAP, over-the-air, with little fanfare or fuss.

Let's compare this to the way other manufacturers are handling updates.  I've yet to see anyone else send out a tiny OTA to fix anything, let alone a bug they introduced from the last OTA.  Hopefully they are all working on it, but all we have to go with is their past actions:

Samsung is one of the biggest offenders here.  They were quick enough with the Honeycomb 3.1 update for those Galaxy Tab 10.1's they gave out at Google I/O, but forcing me to sign up through their app and web store to get it is a giant fail.  It's the same mess I had to go through to get a software update for my television, and I wasn't happy about it then, either.  I get enough junk mail thank you very much.  Don't even get me started on forcing users to use KIES.  If you're lucky enough to have never needed to use it, KIES is a crappy desktop application used to flash software on Samsung phones.  It's difficult for the average user, runs like crap on a Mac, and forces Linux users to run Windows in a VM.  It needs to go die somewhere, and never return.  I wonder how many Vibrant owners just said forget it when it came time for their long awaited Froyo update.  I know I would have, because KIES sucks.

Motorola gets no pass here, either.  There's that whole mess of shipping your Xoom off to get the features posted on the box to work -- whenever that happens.  If something's not ready, you either don't sell it or you don't advertise it as such.  You definitely don't tell users they will have to send it away after they gave you their money.  Fixing the SD card is easy -- easy enough that developers did it in short order for those that root and tinker.  If Toshiba can do it, someone like Motorola who has been building Android gear for a while needs to step it up.  And before you tell me "Google is supposed to fix that" remember this: Google didn't take anyone's money, never integrated SD card support in Honeycomb, and didn't tell you what to put in the spec sheet or on the box.  Send out a new kernel and a little magic to the partitions now, not later.  Take care of your customers first, and deal with Google later.

And the biggest offender?  LG.  They just don't do incremental updates, no matter how badly their products need them.  Battery driver issues on the G2X will get fixed with the Gingerbread update, but in the meantime we're still paying full price on our T-Mobile bill for a phone that doesn't work full time.  Look at the CM7 source tree for a fix if you need to.

Maybe I'm off the mark here, and HTC will go back to forcing users to wait forever for small, but crucial, updates (remember that wake-lock bug on the Hero anyone?), but I'm betting they won't.  With Sense.com and their online services to download and update widgets, and pushing out small application updates outside any official update roadmap, they are winning me back.  Now let's see those unlocked bootloaders we were promised so I can throw money at you until you give me a Sensation.

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3 years ago

Android Quick App: Beautiful Widgets

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If you've watched any of our reviews, seen any of our screenshots, or just been mildly involved in Android since you got your device, you've probably heard about Beautiful Widgets.

Beautiful Widgets, by LevelUp Studio, started off as the first legitimate response to HTC's Sense UI, namely their big, gorgeous clock and weather widget. What Beautiful Widgets has become, however, is a fully customizable, feature-packed app that aims to replace most of the other, non-beautiful widgets on your device.

With Beautiful Widgets, you get an individual toggle switch for most of the basic functions on your phone, like brightness, Wifi, and Bluetooth, but also some more specialized toggles for things like 4G, lock screen pattern, and a timed silence. Pretty cool stuff.

Beautiful Widgets' main attraction, though, is it's series of clock and weather widgets. You can opt for something like the Superclock, which was a newer, higher resolution clock/weather widget for high resolution screens, to a four-day weather forecast, to a single day's forecast, to just showing today's date.

What helps set Beautiful Widgets apart are the variety of skins, all free, user-made skins for the battery, clock, and weather. There are nearly limitless customizations you can do with your homescreens just by changing some skins around.

At ~$2.86, it's definitely not free, but nothing great ever is. If you're into taking full aesthetic control of your device or you just like how some of the skins looks, I wouldn't hesitate to buy Beautiful Widgets. It's one of the staple apps of the Android community and it's updated often, so you'll definitely be getting your money's worth.

Download links and more pictures are after the break.

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3 years ago

Cloud music: Google Music Beta vs. Amazon Cloud Player vs. iTunes in the cloud vs. Microsoft Zune Pass vs. Best Buy Music Cloud

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Apple’s WWDC keynote was earlier this month, and it was largely focused on their new cloud initiative, fittingly named iCloud. One of the big features of iCloud, naturally, is its iTunes integration, giving us another cloud-based music solution to choose from. This comes on the heels of Google and Amazon’s announcements of Music Beta and Cloud Player, respectively. Microsoft's Zune Pass and Best Buy's newly announced Music Cloud service offer additional choices, so consumers have a lot to consider. They are all similar in intent, which is to provide users with an easy way to manage music without having to sync or worry about which device has what music on it. Despite their similarities, they all have glaring differences that users should know about before signing up for any of them. So let’s get right down to it. There are admittedly other viable options, such as personal hosting, but we're going to focus on these five.

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3 years ago

Toshiba Thrive receives an OTA update prior to its release

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Look at what we have here, an update already for the yet to be released Toshiba Thrive, that a few lucky folks have been able to land their hands on. While there is no detailed break down of the update available currently, it does lead us to believe that Toshiba is still hard at work making sure that the device is perfect for the official release. If you have been able to land a Thrive early, have you updated yet, and if so have you noticed any changes? Be sure to let us know all your thoughts and findings in the forums!

Thanks, Ken!

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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for July 9, 2011

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It's that time of the week again, the time everyone looks forward to, where we give you all the good apps to download on your device. Hit the break with us and take a look at some of our picks from this past week, and hopefully some of them will become your favorites as well.

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3 years ago

ThunderBolt update brings a slightly easier way to turn off LTE

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Here's an unexpected little treat that's come out of the latest update to the HTC ThunderBolt. Somebody (not sure if it was Verizon or HTC) finally decided it'd be a good idea to give us a way to turn off LTE if we so feel like it. All you have to do is go to Settings>Wireless and Networks>Mobile networks>Network mode, you'll get the option to set your preferred network to LTE/CDMA (ie 3G/4G, which is on by default), or CDMA (1xRTT/3G) only.

OK, so that's not quite as simple as a toggle widget like Sprint's put on its Wimax-capable devices. But it's easier and safer than diving into your modem settings (even if we do have those market shortcuts), and we'll take what we can get.

So if you find yourself in a spotty LTE area, or just want to save on battery, give this one a shot.

More: HTC ThunderBolt forums

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3 years ago

Grab the ThunderBolt update yet?

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Just a quick reminder that you can now snag the latest update for the HTC ThunderBolt that addresses the reboots, as well as:

  • Improved data connectivity.
  • Enhanced Call History view.
  • Reduced number of device power cycles and resets.
  • Improved Bluetooth Discovery Mode pop-up window.
  • View App Menu in tabbed layout.
  • People search function enabled.
  • Backup Assistant has been added to the All Apps menu.
  • Preloaded My Verizon, V CAST Music and V CAST Videos.
  • Desktop cradle App is now available, showing clock in landscape m
  • NY Times site has been added into the browser bookmarks.

If it hasn't pushed out, go to Setting>About phone and have it check for updates. And be sure to hit for the forums to see how the update's affecting everybody else.

More: ThunderBolt forums; Thanks, Nick, for the pic!

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3 years ago

Samsung speaks, Thunderbolt update [From the Forums]

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Bam! The weekend is finally here and we're going to live it up while we can. If you missed out on the live show last night, we now have the Android Central and Mobile Nations podcasts up and ready for your listening pleasure. You can kick back, relax and listen to them while checking out these threads from the forums:

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

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3 years ago

Managing downloaded application content

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So you just bought this great game from the Android Market, and notice it says you have to download another 600 jiggawatts of files to run it.  Don't be alarmed or surprised, if you haven't seen this yet, you will.  But what is all that stuff, where does it go, and how do you get rid of it?  I'm glad you asked!

What it is -- most times it's media files needed by the application itself.  In our example (Dungeon Defenders First Wave), in addition to the 8MB app you download from the Android Market, you have to download another 645MB of things like movies, sounds, and in-game textures.  Doing it this way solves two problems -- it keeps 658MB apps out of the Market, and keeps 658MB apps out of your app storage.

If all that data isn't installed with the app, where does it go then?  It goes to your SD card or internal storage.  It's up to the application developers exactly where on your SD card it goes, but a quick peek from your computer will easily find it.  In our example, all that DLC (downloaded content) goes into a folder named DunDef.  It sits there, just waiting for the time when the app needs any of it, not taking up valuable space for your installed apps. 

This brings up two very important points -- you can't play the game without the SD card inserted and mounted, and when you uninstall the app there's a lot of stuff left behind.  Both are easy to take care of.  Don't try to play Dungeon Defenders without the right SD card in place or while you have the SD card mounted to your computer, and remember to delete the folder if you uninstall the game and have no intentions of ever reinstalling it.  Deleting it is easy -- use a file manager or hook your phone up to your computer, find the right folder, and delete it.  Just make sure you pick the right folder! 

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3 years ago

Android Central reader unboxes the Toshiba Thrive before we do

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Can't wait to get your hands on the Toshiba Thrive? You're not alone. Android Central Forums member illwood has his already and has given it a proper tablet-on-carpet unboxing. It's one of the strong, silent unboxings, but it does the job, properly slitting the tape before raising the Honeycomb tablet aloft before the masses as a rainbow magically appears in the background.

OK, some of that stuff happens. Check it out above.

Source: Android Central Forums

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