Headlines

2 years ago

Good news/bad news/podcast news

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Seeing as how I'm sitting in the lovely Delta Sky Club until 10 p.m. or so for a redeye home tonight, we're going to have to push the Android Central Podcast tonight. It happens. The good news is we're going to crank one out on Friday afternoon, to catch up on all this Facebook stuff from this morning.

So hang tight, thanks for your patience, and we'll hopefully get back to normal soonest.

You know, unless someone else decides to do a major launch at the last minute. Or unless a bunch of editors get together for a week to do some super-secret stuff. Just saying.

So, yeah. No show tonight. Be back soon.

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2 years ago

GameStop now accepting even more devices for trade-in

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Trade-ins will​ receive additional bonus in-store credit through April 28th

GameStop has been branching out of just selling games for some time now, and it may not be widely known that they accept smart phone trade-ins when buying new devices from them. Today the retail chain is expanding the number of devices capable of being traded in, as well as giving some extra incentives for those trade-ins. GameStop will now take "popular handsets" from Samsung, Motorola, BlackBerry and other brands and give instant cash or in-store credit.

For those opting for the in-store credit option, you'll receive additional value of $10 to $50 on top of what you'd normally get for the device. PowerUp Rewards Pro members will receive even more in-store credit for trade-ins. If you're interested to see what GameStop will offer you for your device, head to the source link below.

More: GameStop Trade-In

 

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2 years ago

Of course you'll put up with ads in your Facebook Home

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It was a simple, direct question asked more than once today at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park in Silicon Valley. There are ads on Facebook. Will there be ads in Facebook Home, the new Android home screen replacement (along with its snazzy if underwhelming new phone) that'll be available starting next week?

Apparently those of us in the audience needed a little clarification, despite the answer having been delivered just minutes before.

"Yup," said Mark Zuckerberg, this time leaving absolutely no doubt.

At some point, Facebook Home will have ads. Not next week, but somewhere down the road.

And you'll be perfectly OK with that. And if you're not, it won't matter.

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2 years ago

ComScore: Android remains on top in the US, but iOS makes gains

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Google and Apple continue their significant lead over other platforms

After months of increasing growth, Android has hit a small bump in the road. The latest comScore data for the US shows a decrease in Android's market share by 2 points between November 2012 and February 2013, falling to a total of 51.7%. During the same time, iOS climbed 3.9 points to a total of 38.9%. Microsoft also saw a small increase in mobile OS market share, while Blackberry continued to lose footing. Growth was stagnant for Symbian, showing no change whatsoever. When worldwide market share is considered, Android holds a commanding 70-percent of the market.

With Android's significant lead over the number 2 platform (iOS), it's going to take a lot more than a small fluctuation or two to close the lead on between Google and Apple. However, a few more fluctuations in the next comScore reports would not be surprising. We're just over a month away to see what changes to Android Google has up its sleeve, and rumors are already flying about huge changes to iOS this year. 

On the hardware front, Apple continued to move forward as it remained in the top spot, while Samsung finished with a strong second place. With a 3.9 point increase, Apple now has 38.9% market share as an OEM. Samsung totals out at 21.3%, thanks to a 1 point increase. HTC, Motorola, and LG were not so fortunate from November 2012 to February 2013, with each seeing a slight market share decrease.

Things are going to get interesting for top OEMs in the coming months, with the immanent release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple's newest iPhone(s). Will Samsung's 'Experience Shops' and its newest flagship phone be enough to overtake Apple in the near future? I'm sure Samsung is betting on it. How will your dollars be voting? Hit the comments to let us know.

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2 years ago

iHeartRadio brings "Perfect For" and alarm clock features to Android

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Find a radio station that's just right for the time of day or mood you're in

Just a couple of months after new features of iHeartRadio were released, the Android app has been updated to integrate the new features of "Perfectly For" and alarm clock. Perfectly For is an interesting idea that aims to automatically select from a curated list of radio stations depending on the time of day or activity you're involved in. For example in the morning you could listen to "A Traffic Jam" or "Drinking Coffee", or on the weekend select "Relaxing".

The alarm clock feature is pretty self explanatory, but makes a lot of sense on mobile devices as more and more people give up the traditional bedside alarm. The iHeartRadio app now makes it easy to set alarms or reminders to wake up to your favorite music or talk radio stations.

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2 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Will you try out Facebook Home?

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Now that the cat is out of the bag and we know all about Facebook Home, it's time to find out just who will give it a try

A whole lot of people use Facebook. Zuck spent a couple minutes today to make sure we all knew that, and just how much time is spent doing it -- about 25-percent of everything done on a mobile device is Facebook-related. It's natural that Facebook would want to go deep into a device so they can be front and center no matter what you're trying to do.

Enter Facebook Home. Yes, there is going to be a Facebook phone  now a phone that has tighter Facebook Home integration, but most of what we've seen today will come to all modern Android devices eventually. That makes it easy to try, and easy to throw away if you don't like it.

The only way to find out if you like something is to try it. We can talk about it, show you video, rant about the bugs and issues, and praise the good parts -- and that's fine and dandy. But you still need to try it and see just what is up before you write it off or embrace it. Are you going to? There's a poll in the right sidebar (or after the break), waiting for you to tell us.

First, a quick look at last week's results:

Are you going to consider T-Mobile when you buy your next phone?

Plenty of folks are interested in what T-Mobile is peddling it seems. That's good news for the folks in Bellevue, and more options is a good thing.

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2 years ago

Box for Android gets updated with media previews and better shared link options

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The latest update to the Box for Android app gives you better control over shared file access and lets you preview audio and video files as they download

Box updated their Android app today, and a couple really nice features are now available -- finer control over how you share a link to your files, and the ability to see and hear the media you're downloading within the Box app itself.

The new media preview is an extension of the way you've been able to preview more than 75 file types by just tapping them in the Box app. This is a great way to view documents like pdf files or presentations, and it turns out that it's also perfect for rich media files. All users will be able to preview supported audio files and images, but video preview is only for enterprise users. 

The new shared access controls are also a nice new feature. Using the existing collaborator permissions, you can now send a link to any file or folder and limit access When you create a link to any file or folder, you can now also limit access to collaborators only, people at your company only, anyone with the link, or no one at all. This is a quick and easy way to share files with multiple users without dropping a link that anyone can use.

We know plenty of you guys and gals took advantage of that free 50GB Box account offer, and will get plenty of use from these new features. Hit the break for a demo video.

Source: Box

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the 'HTC First'

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A couple quick thoughts on the "HTC First," aka the first Facebook phone.

First off, the hardware most definitely isn't the most important part of this phone. If you're the kind of nerd who lives for specs -- the speeds and feeds crowd -- head elsewhere. In fact, there was very little talk at today's event at Facebook HQ (and same for the ensuing press releases) about the nuts and bolts of the HTC First. And that's because it's Facebook Home that's the star of the show.

We did get an answer to the burning "Why!?!?!" regarding Facebook doing its own hardware. It's pretty simple, in fact, and it's something we should have thought of. While using Facebook Home on an existing device is a pretty damn good experience, there are certain low level things -- particularly regarding notifications -- that you can't do with a launcher. You need deeper hooks into the existing operating system. And, so, we have the HTC First.

The phone itself is unassuming. It's got the usual HTC curves, and a 5MP camera out front your usual "did I really just use that" front-facer out front. It's deceptively light, and and thin to boot. (OK, for the speeds and feeds folks, it's got a dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor and it's running on Android 4.1.)

But it's Facebook Home that's the real star, and for good reason. It looks good. If you don't live in Facebook -- and chances are if you're a regular reader of this blog -- you may well not have a great need for it. But on the other hand, it's still a full-fledged Android smartphone, complete with all the Google apps -- and, more important, access to Google Play -- that you're used to. That was almost certainly a necessity, and it means all of your existing applications should still work, and they're completely accessible through a normal app drawer.

We'll have deeper looks in the coming days and weeks as Facebook's HTC First comes to market. Video hands-on and more hands-on pics are after the break.

More: HTC First forum

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2 years ago

HTC First to cost $450 without a contract

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Going contract-free can be expensive up-front, and the $450 HTC First proves it

By now you've heard that you can snag the HTC First at AT&T in the US for $99, and soon you can do the same in the UK on EE (pricing to be determined), but what if you just want to buy one outright? If that's what you're looking to do, be prepared to shell out $450 for it.

There are a lot of reasons why people want contract-free phones. Inexpensive prepaid service, the freedom to switch carriers at will, and not having an upgrade option from your carrier are just a few. They're all good, valid reasons and we're 100-percent behind folks who want to take a bit more control and save a few dollars if they can. And $450 is far from the most expensive contract-free price we've ever seen. But it is also a far cry from $99, so decisions will have to be made.

While it's likely that HTC made a few extra changes to Android for the First, chances are a cheaper, higher spec'd Nexus 4 is a better buy. Eventually Facebook Home will make it's way to other phones, and the Nexus 4 is bound to be on the short list. We won't presume to tell you how to spend your pennies, but it's something to consider. 

Source: AT&T

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2 years ago

HTC First video walkthrough

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We're live at Facebook HQ, where the company's just announced Facebook Home and the aptly-named HTC First -- the first handset to run Facebook's new software suite. Before we dig into our full hands-on preview, there's just time to  take a look at the hardware and software in our video walkthrough of the phone.

As we've come to expect from HTC, the 'First' is a sleek piece of hardware, with a soft-touch plastic back and a minimalist look reminiscent of its Windows Phone 8 stuff. And on the software side, Facebook has radically altered what we've come to expect from Android phones, bringing a home screen experience based upon photos, content and people.

Check out our video walkthrough above. The HTC First ships on Apr. 12 on AT&T, priced $99.99.

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2 years ago

HTC First an EE exclusive in the UK

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Facebook Home-powered phone will be exclusive to the UK's first 4G network

British mobile network EE has announced that it'll exclusively carry the new HTC First in the UK. The first handset to run the new Facebook Home suite out of the box, the HTC First also packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU, a 4.3-inch screen and 4G LTE connectivity.

No UK pricing or release date has been offered yet, but with the phone launching on Apr. 12 in the U.S. we'd imagine it'll be hitting British shores sooner rather than later.

More: HTC First forums

Source: EE on Twitter

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2 years ago

AT&T's HTC One now available for preorder

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Snag one by April 18 and get a free HTC Media Link HD as well

Just a quick heads up in amongst all the Facebook craziness that AT&T's version of the HTC One is now available for preorder. Pony up $199 and you'll get 32 gigabytes of on-board storage. Another $100 gets you the 64GB version. That's all on-contract pricing, of course, but AT&T tells us you should be able to pre-order off-contract as well.

Plus, if you preorder by April 18 (the HTC One is officially available April 19), AT&T's throwing in a free Media Link HD for wireless streaming. (See our full review of the Media Link HD.)

You can preorder the HTC One from AT&T here.

More: Our HTC One review; HTC One forums

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2 years ago

Facebook Home coming to Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean only

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Gingerbread users out of luck in getting Facebook Home on their devices

Facebook Home -- the new app suite announced today by Mark Zuckerberg at the 'Facebook's New Home on Android' event -- has been confirmed in an after-event Q&A session to be compatible only with devices running Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. That means any phones or tablets running an Android version older than 4.x are out of luck when it comes to using the upcoming Facebook software.

Right now the official list of phones that'll support Facebook Home at launch is as follows: HTC One, HTC One X, HTC One X+, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II, and of course the HTC First.

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2 years ago

Facebook Home Program partners - HTC, Samsung, Sony, Huawei and others

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Carriers, manufacturers and a chipmaker partner with Facebook

At today's press conference at its California HQ, Facebook announced that many of the mobile world's big names are already on-board with its Facebook Home Program, aimed to bring the social network's new "Home" suite of apps to phone buyers out of the box.

The list includes manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Alcatel, Lenovo, ZTE, chipmaker Qualcomm and mobile networks AT&T, Orange and EE.

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2 years ago

Facebook Home event replay now available

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The live stream for the Facebook Home event has wrapped up, but the replay is available for those of you that want to really know the ins and outs, but missed the show the first time around. The short version is, Facebook is making a launcher that has a bunch of in-depth customizations for notifications, news feed, and chat. It's not a whole new operating system, but it does promise to be a unique experience - at least for those of us that spend a lot of time on Facebook. 

So, notice anything especially interesting from the live event that hasn't really been highlighted yet?

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