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2 years ago

Iterate 51: Tim van Damme after Instagram

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type="audio/mpeg"> Iterate is our Mobile Nations podcast where we talk to the designers who make the apps, icons, and interfaces we love. In this episode, Tim van Damme talks to Marc and Rene about creating 2-bit icons, his time at Gowalla, making card-based interfaces, designing Instagram, and taking it from iOS to Android.

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2 years ago

Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 review

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A solid tablet for the price range that suffers from a bizarre fatal flaw

First announced in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the IdeaTab A1000 is Lenovo's latest entry into the budget tablet market. While Lenovo has been known for sitting at the sidelines when it comes to the Android smartphone market in the United States, the company is becoming successful in other countries, and does have a presence when it comes to Android tablets in the U.S.

While the IdeaTab A1000 is priced in a range that keeps it relatively safe from comparisons to some of the most recent 7-inch tablets, it has other problems. As the saying goes, "you are your own worst enemy." The amount of internal storage this tablet offers is the Achilles heel of its otherwise solid and sturdy construction. This is where the confusion may set in.

As the specification page for this tablet indicates, it has 16GB of internal memory. This may seem like far too much to be considered the worst feature of a device, especially when other tablets have done fine with half that amount. This is a special situation, one that we haven't seen for a very long time.

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2 years ago

Chromecast-a-day: Win one of our 6 remaining Chromecasts

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Welcome to Day 2 of our inaugural Chromecast-a-day giveaway! If for some reason you've been living under a rock, Google's $35 high-def video/music/browser streamer became a nearly instant best-seller, so we're celebrating by giving away one a day for the rest of the week.

To get in on today's action, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post. And be left-handed. And have at least four toes on your right foot. That's it. And perhaps have lived either in the Eastern or Western hemisphere sometime in the past 12 months. That should just about cover it.

Today's contest will run through midnight tonight, Pacific time. We'll pick a winner tomorrow morning and contact him or her by e-mail. (And we're getting ready to pick yesterday's winner, so stay tuned.)

Good luck!

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom now available on Three UK

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Free from £26 per month or £399.99 up-front on PAYG

UK network operator Three sends word that it's now stocking the Galaxy S4 Zoom in "selected Three stores." The handset, which couples Galaxy S4 Mini-like internals with a 16-megapixel camera and 10X optical zoom, is available from Three on contract and Pay As You Go.

Contract deals start at £26 per month for a free GS4 Zoom and a monthly allowance of 100 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited data. That increases to £32 per month if you're after Three's "One Plan," which includes 2,000 minutes, 5,000 texts, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three texts and unlimited data, as well as tethering.

On the PAYG side, you can pick up the Zoom for £399.99 up-front. Three's recently re-vamped its PAYG offerings, allowing those not using monthly add-ons to pay 3 pence per minute, 2 pence per SMS, 1 pence per MB of data.

For more on the Galaxy S4 Zoom, check out our hands-on feature from the London launch event. 

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2 years ago

Two new high-res tablets from Samsung rumored

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Octa-core 12.2-incher and Snapdragon 800-powered 10-incher rumored, both with 2560x1600 displays

Since the launch of the Nexus 10 last year, Samsung has focused mostly on mid-range products in the Android tablet space — the recently-launched Galaxy Tab 3 line, for instance. But later in the year the company might push ahead with more high-end Android tablets, if new, leaked hardware details from the usually-reliable @evleaks are to be believed.

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2 years ago

Google publishes Nexus 7 sign-up page

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Those outside the U.S. can sign up to learn when the new tablet will become available

The new Nexus 7 is available now in the U.S., but Google has been rather vague with its information about international availability for the tablet. The UK, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Canada, France and Australia are set to get the new Nexus 7 "in the coming weeks," though retailer listings have suggested it could be as late as mid-September before the tablet launches in some of these countries.

In any case, Google now has a registration page in place for those outside the United States, where international buyers can sign-up to learn when the new Nexus will be available "on Google Play or at a retailer near you." If you're interested, you can hit the link below. And naturally, keep it locked to AC over the next month for more news on international Nexus 7 availability.

Source: Nexus 7 sign-up page

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2 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Cast all the things

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Chromecast, that is. I really can't decide whether Chromecast is the bigger story out of last week's "Breakfast with Sundar" in San Francisco, or if it's the new Nexus 7. We'll have our full reviews of both this week — Jerry and Andrew are leading those — and I'll have some thoughts on them as well, in addition to a little gushing here.

On the new Nexus 7: In a word, yes. The resolution. The improved hardware. A slightly higher price, sure, but still well within limits for what I'd consider a must-purchase.

On Chromecast: I couldn't help but blather this on Google+, but this is why I was crowing about the Nexus Q for the last year and change. Yeah, Chromecast's not nearly as sexy a piece of hardware, but the end result is the same, and then some — especially when you take the Chromecast SDK into account.

It's OK that not everybody gets it. Chromecast doesn't have to be all things for all people. No piece of tech does, for that matter. And the ridiculousness of "But the pictures didn't all show it needs USB power" will die off.

A $35 appliance that lets me stream my music and videos — plus YouTube and a full Chrome tab — into my entertainment center and bedroom TV? No-brainer. I bought two myself. And we're giving away one a day for the rest of this week. And we'll have plenty more on Chromecast as it matures.

Let's have a few other thoughts on the past week. It's been a busy one.

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2 years ago

Chromecast rooted, operating system detailed

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The operating system looks to be a special blend of Google Chrome and Android; more work to be done.

If anyone had any doubts, put them to rest because the Chromecast has been rooted. We're not surprised at this -- any device that runs an OS that accepts input will get exploited eventually -- but what the GTV Hacker crew found inside is a bit more intriguing. 

Google says the Chromecast runs ChromeOS, and when you power it up it says Chrome big as life, but the folks at GTV Hacker say that's not really so. After digging into the software a little (rooting gives you access via telnet) they say what's there is closer to Android or Google TV than it is to Chrome. There are no methods to run any apps on the system, but they don't rule out the possibility of a real Android port to the $35 dongle.

If you have a powered USB OTG cable and a flash drive you can erase, you can give this a try yourself. The process seems trivial, though there's nothing you can do with it once you're finished other than look at the system files. For some of us though, that's reason enough. Let's hope content companies aren't scared off of the whole Google Cast concept now.

Source: GTV Hacker

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2 years ago

The new Nexus 7: Wireless charging feature

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The new 2013 Nexus 7 uses the same wireless charging standard as the Nexus 4 -- and the same chargers.

If you were one of the lucky ones who was already able to score a new 2013 Nexus 7, you might not know about a great feature -- Qi wireless charging. It doesn't charge your new tablet fast, and it still requires a cord be plugged into the wall, but it is a great feature for the nightstand or your desk. While the tablet is sitting there not being used to play games, surf the web, or browse your favorite social media network -- all things it does very, very well -- it can be collecting a few charged electrons to keep the battery bumped up. And it makes a great nightstand clock with the Dashclock extension and Daydream feature activated.

We've got a handful of Qi chargers laying around, so I've been fiddling with them all morning. I want to see which ones work the best out of the bunch, and fans of the Nexus brand will be pleased with the result -- the Nexus Charging orb is a perfect match for your new Nexus 7.

They all work. Nokia's charger seems to work fine on my tablet, but offers no compelling reason to choose it over any others. The big Energizer Qi charging mat works fine, too, but it's ugly as sin and life is too short for ugly accessories. The LG puck works really well, and the fact that the charging coil is mounted directly in the center of the back cover of the Nexus 7 makes it easy to place and it stays put. But that blinking light will drive you bonkers at night.

Enter the Nexus charging orb. You new tablet grips the funky rubber surface of the orb just fine and won't slip, and the angle it keeps your Nexus 7 resting at makes that big, beautiful screen easily viewable while it's charging. Combined with some of the great Daydreams available in Google Play, it's the perfect solution. And it's powered by holo. Ok, not really, but it does say NEXUS on the face of it.

If you've got a Qi charger laying around, by all means use that one with your Nexus 7. If you have to buy one, because come on, you have to, grab the Nexus Orb from Google Play. You can use the link above. There are a couple pics after the break, and plenty of room for all your comments.

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2 years ago

Chromecast-a-day: We're giving away 7 of Google's hottest product

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There are seven days in a week. No so coincidentally, we've got seven brand-new Chromecasts just sitting here, waiting for good homes. And we also have the Netflix three-month-free discount codes that go with them.

So, yeah. Let's give 'em away. One a day, actually, starting now. This one's open to anyone and everyone. Just leave a comment on this post through midnight Pacific time tonight. We'll pick a winner first thing Monday morning and contact 'em by e-mail.

And while you're at it, be sure to swing by our Chromecast forums, and be on the lookout for our full take on Chromecast in the next couple days.

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2 years ago

Apps of the Week: SuperSU, Magic 2014, Pony Creator and more!

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What are the AC editors and writers using on their Androids? 

It's that time of the week again, where everyone here at AC takes a look back and see what apps they were loving the most on their phones and tablets and Google TVs and Game Consoles and -- whew there's a lot of choice out there! We install and try a lot of apps, and always love to share the ones that catch our eye. The big favorites always end up on our list, but a lot of stuff you'd probably never find on your own does, too. Funny how a search company has such a difficult time sorting out apps, isn't it?

But I digress. We've got apps after the break, and you'll want to take a look at them.

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2 years ago

New Nexus 7 receives two updates at launch

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An initial update to build JWR66N and subsequent update to build JSS15J are available

Early adopters of Google's new Nexus 7 are being greeted with software updates right out of the box. The first update will automatically begin as soon as the tablet connects to WiFi for the first time, usually during the initial setup process. The tablet will shut down, boot into recovery, apply an update to bring the build number up to JWR66N, and bring the user back to the setup screen to continuing signing into a Google account.

The second update comes in a more traditional fashion: it is downloaded in the background, and then triggers a system update notification in the notification tray. Once the user accepts the update and it is applied, the build number becomes JSS15J. Both seem to be minor updates, most likely containing some system fine-tuning and bug fixes.

Now if Google would just post the factory images for this model.

More: Nexus 7 Q&A in the forums, Nexus 7 first impressions and video

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2 years ago

Chromecast tip: Broadcast Youtube videos straight from the browser

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It's worth a quick reminder that Chromecast doesn't just mirror a browser tab onto your TV. You also can beam individual YouTube videos on over, same as you do from your phone or tablet. By now you've got the "Google Cast" extension installed, right? Once you've got it, just head on over to Youtube and fire up a video. Then look for the Chromecast icon in the lower right. Click it and choose where you want to send the video to. Done. 

Get more tips and tricks in our Chromecast forum!

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2 years ago

Need help updating your Nexus 4 to Android 4.3?

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It's important to remember that not everyone's a whiz when it comes to the command-line aspect of Android. And to that end, the fine folks in our forums — 1.6 million strong and growing — have you covered. 

The over-the-air update that brings the Nexus 4 to Android 4.3 is pushing out now. But if for some reason you haven't gotten it yet and you don't want to wait any longer, Phalgun Gujjar in our forums has a nice little tutorial for sideloading the update. No, it doesn't root your phone, and it's really no different than just waiting for the update to push out. It's quick and it's easy and it's a great way to learn one of the basics of working with your Android phone with the command line.

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2 years ago

Chromekey ...

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In case you had any doubt about its prerelease name. More in our Chromecast forums.

Thanks, Explicit!

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