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2 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Water' winners!

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Five winners made a splash with their photo this week

We've constantly been impressed by the number and quality of submissions to our weekly photo contests as of late, and this week was no exception. Following the prompt "water," we saw hundreds of great entries this week, and although we were able to select more than one winner, we couldn't give away prizes to everyone.

Hit the break to see our five winners this week, who will each be receiving a new Android Central t-shirt.

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2 years ago

Hangouts app updated with fixes for SMS and MMS

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Users experiencing messaging bugs hopefully get their fix

Big G has pushed out a small update for the Hangouts app today, and while the change log is short, it looks to be exactly what more than a few have been waiting for.

What's New (2.0.3)

  • More fixes for sending/receiving MMS
  • Fixed a bug that prevented some from sending SMS longer than 160 characters

Behind the scenes fixes may not be glamorous, but if you're a user affected by the bugs that get fixed, they are the best kind. As usual, Google is doing their slow trollout of the app, so you may not see an update right away. Keep checking, or dig into the wilds of the Internet for that sideload.

Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Red Nexus 5 unboxing and hands-on

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You have to be careful where you show off the new "red" Nexus 5. In the right light — or, more specifically, in the right bad, artificial light, there's a better than even chance that you're going to blind somebody. Outdoors, you risk attracting the attention of nearby search parties.

This is a bright red phone. At times, it's almost neon red. It goes from startling to painful to "Oh, my God, what have I done?!?!" depending on your lighting source. Consider yourself warned.

Otherwise? Same great Nexus 5.

Other items of interest here: The Day-Glo extends along the sides and peeks through the front of the phone, as well as in the earpiece speaker grille. The black buttons look nice. But because the sides are red, the SIM card tray isn't hidden as well, and it looks a little sloppy. The FCC information stenciled on the back is all but invisible, though, so there's that.

Another burning (as in "well, what is it?!?!" and not "oh, my eyes!") question was whether the back case would be the matte plastic like the white Nexus 5, or the more stylish soft-touch black. It's the former. No soft-touch to be found here.

If you're dying for more, we've got video and more pictures after the break.

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2 years ago

Google Search update also enables voice controls for UK English

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No more changing of your system language required

Today's Google Search update may have a few more tricks up its sleeve than we know, but we have found that it enables voice actions for those using U.K. English on their device. Folks outside of the U.S. previously had to set the app's language to U.S. English in order to get Google Now to respond to voice commends, but now our friends across the pond can get in on the action.

Better yet, you even have a response voice of a U.K. English speaker, which completes the entire loop. This is one update you'll want to grab if you've been clamoring for voice actions in the U.K. and are tired of changing to U.S. English just to make it happen.

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2 years ago

Nexus 5 launcher becomes 'Google Now Launcher' after Search update

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Here's an intriguing little change — today's Google Search app update, which carries an unassuming changelog of performance improvements and fixes, actually brings new branding for the Nexus 5's home screen launcher. (Parts of the launcher are contained in the search app itself, since that's now Google Search works on the N5.)

After updating to the new Search app, the name of the Nexus 5's launcher in the Settings > Home menu changes to "Google Now Launcher." Some other devices with the Nexus 5 launcher sideloaded are also seeing a new "Google Now Launcher" splash screen when the app is first updated, which we've dutifully captured for you after the break.

Make of that what you will. It's possible this is a precursor to a wider rollout of Google's launcher on the Play Store, as many have predicted. It's also possible they just decided to change the name, so let's not get too excited just yet.

Update: Looks like if you sideload the Google Now Launcher APK onto a device with the stock Android launcher, you now get the option to import app icons across to the new launcher. That's another possible sign that Google's launcher will be spun out onto the Play Store at some point. We've got pics after the break.

Thanks, Jeremy!

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2 years ago

LG G Flex now available from T-Mobile for $672 outright or $28 per month

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A big price for the latest big phone

If you're looking for a big, bendy phone and T-Mobile is your preferred network, you'll be happy to know the LG G Flex is now available for all from the carrier. Right on time, the phone is available online (and presumably in-store as well) for a pretty hefty price tag — $672 outright, or $28 per month if you choose to finance along with your Simple Choice Plan.

That's one of the more expensive devices in the T-Mobile lineup, but doesn't seem to be out of the usual for this handset across different carriers and countries. You're definitely getting great specs — and a few novel features — for that money, but there's still a tad bit of a premium being paid. Hit the source link below to buy yours now.

Source: T-Mobile

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2 years ago

LG G Flex (AT&T) review

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Get bent! This phone curves and flexes, but after that ...?

LG calls it the world's first bendable flexible display. You can't look at the LG G Flex and not talk about the curve of the body, and once you learn that it actually does flex and give a little bit before breaking, you want to try it. Pushing and bending a phone is fun, because we've never been able to push and bend them before.

Are we ready for phones that bend, but not really bend? You can't fold it in half to slip it in a pocket, but it will likely be OK if you sit on it. It's not designed for be bendable, but designed not to break if it flexes. There's an important distinction that needs made here. Grabbing each end and trying to fold it in half will do little more than crack the glass if you have the strength in your hands. But pushing on the rear of the phone will cause it to flex and flatten out, hopefully saving the screen.

I've had one here for about a week, and it's time to let you know what I think of it and how it held up. I did more than bend and flex it. Read on for more.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S5 coming at Mobile World Congress, NYT says

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Event to be different than the Broadway-esque Galaxy S4 event, report says

In case the giant superscript "5" in this week's Unpacked invitation didn't get the message through, the New York Times today is reporting through its ever-helpful anonymous sources that the Galaxy S5 is to be expected in a couple weeks at Mobile World Congress. And, what's more, the company won't repeat the Broadway-style event it had in New York City for the previous iteration and instead will do something different in Barcelona. 

Really, nothing there we couldn't already surmise. But any sort of confirmation is always good. And we'll be there in Barcelona to bring it all to you. 

Be sure to swing by our Galaxy S5 forums for all the latest discussion!

Source: New York Times

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2 years ago

Missed Phil on TWiT's All About Android? Catch the replay!

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If you missed last nights episode of All About Android over on TWiT, then you won't have seen a special guest appearance from our very own Phil Nickinson. Fret not however, you've got all the time in the world to catch the replay. So pull up a chair, grab a beverage of choice and enjoy episode 147, The Broadway of Barcelona!

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2 years ago

Axl Rose somehow invokes Google Glass in scathing review of Chili Peppers' Super Bowl performance

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Yeah, we don't quite get it, either

News Flash: Axl Rose is still among us! Normally we wouldn't care — we're more than happy to remember Guns 'n' Roses as they once were, and not as a lone gasbag occasionally exchanging what's left of his dignity for occasional column inches — but this one's a head-scratcher.

See, the concerts at the Super Bowl halftime show — SPOILER ALERT — aren't always done 100 percent live. They might look like it, but, well, there's quite often some help. So that curtain was pulled back when the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn't bother plugging in their guitars on Sunday. RCHP bassist Flea explained how things really work. But don't worry, Axl's on the case.

In an op-ed in for Billboard, he wrote:

Maybe they all had microchips installed in their asses and not only pick up the frequencies of their instruments but get Direct TV and the internet too! Like Google Glass... Google Ass! They could be "Scientific Pioneers!" Like Buzz Aldrin and shit! True (pardon the pun)ASS-tro-nots! Or like Superbowl crash test dummies for bands kinda like those cars that drive themselves!

OK, then. We can't make much out of it, either. Guess Axl's not a Glasshole. 

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2 years ago

Grab the Moto G for £100 on Vodafone UK

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Moto's budget wonder still offering amazing value for money

If you've been thinking about picking up a Moto G in the UK but haven't yet, then Vodafone is making a good case for you to take your business to them. Launching with Vodafone's new 'Within Reach' campaign, a shiny new Moto G will set you back just £100 for the 8GB model. 

Vodafone says it comes out of the box with Android 4.3, but UK Moto G's have recently been seeing the update to Android 4.4 KitKat, so hopefully this one won't be too far behind. It already offered phenomenal value for money at the launch price of £135, so getting down to £100 just makes it an even more convincing purchase. The Moto G is still the best budget smartphone you can buy. 

More: Moto G review

Source: Vodafone

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2 years ago

New Galaxy S4 colors coming to Korea with leather-effect back

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Galaxy S4 LTE-A coming in 'rose gold white,' 'rose gold black' and 'deep black'

Even as we look towards the possibility of a Galaxy S5 unveiling before the end of the month, it's clear Samsung's not done with the Samsung Galaxy S4 just yet. The company has just unveiled three new flavors of GS4 for its home market of South Korea, specifically the LTE-Advanced model with support for super-fast data speeds. The new colors — rose gold white, rose gold black and deep black — all sport Galaxy Note 3-style stitched leather-effect back covers. The look might not appeal to everyone, but in our opinion the matte and soft-touch finish of Samsung's faux-leather backs are a big improvement on the glossy, fingerprinty battery door of old.

If the "gold" models look familiar, it's because this color scheme has already appeared on the Galaxy Note 3 in some countries. Similarly, the "deep black" version is a dead ringer for the "black edition" GS4 that's headed for Russia.

With a successor to the Galaxy S4 near on the horizon, it's unclear whether Samsung will be pushing these new color options out globally. But between these new Galaxy S4 designs and its new "Pro" series tablets, Samsung seems committed to this new visual style for the present.

Source: Newswire Korea, Flickr; via: Engadget

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2 years ago

Samsung and Swarovski team up to bling out the Galaxy Note 3

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If faux leather isn't your thing, how about some crystal

The faux leather effect on the back of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a step up from the glossy plastic of old, but if you're looking for something a bit more, well blingy, then this might be for you. Samsung has teamed up with Swarovski to bling out the back of the Galaxy Note 3 to within an inch of its life with these crystal encrusted creations. 

The limited edition battery doors are available in the three colors seen here; Jet, Crystal Silver and a blend of Crystal Bermuda Blue and Crystal Metallic Light Gold. The partnership has been unveiled at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. 

Before you rush out and buy, there's a couple of details you need to know. First up, the price. This shiny crystal goodness will set you back $299 but is bundled with a matching bracelet. So you and your phone can go out co-ordinated. If that doesn't put you off, you'll need to be around New York City to pick one up, as it's going on sale in the 5th Avenue Swarovski store in Manhattan. Anyone tempted? You'll find the full press release after the break. 

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2 years ago

Xperia Gallery app updated with KitKat support, immersive mode

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Android 4.4-powered Sony phones on the way?

An over-the-air update for Sony's Gallery app is rolling out to Xperia phones today, updating the app to to version 5.4.A.0.12. The update includes performance enhancements and "various" improvements for Sony's PlayMemories service. But more interestingly, the changelog notes that the new version adds "updates for Android 4.4/KitKat." As Sony doesn't currently have any Xperia phones running the latest flavor of Android, this is a sure sign of future devices being prepped with the new OS version. (Indeed, one of the preview images for the app shows a KitKat-style notification bar with a new battery icon and font.)

After loading the updated Xperia Gallery onto a Nexus 5 we've already spotted one such change — the app supports KitKat's immersive mode for fullscreen viewing. Besides that, the app functions much as it did before. Recent leaks have pointed to a Sony phone codenamed "Sirius" appearing in the near future with KitKat onboard, so we'll be watching out for that as Mobile World Congress approaches.

Xperia owners can grab the new Gallery app from Sony's Update Center app on their devices.

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2 years ago

SKIT! comes to Android to turn your photos into crazy little animations

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SKIT! today has officially launched on Android in the Google Play Store – and indeed the Amazon Appstore – to turn your photographs into hilarious short animated video clips. It's a pretty simple yet effective idea, in that the app gives you visual effects like animations, text, graphics and the like to lay onto to your own photos and turn them into moving clips. 

Besides the creative element, SKIT! has a pretty solid social component baked in. It can pull in photos from Facebook to work on, as well as being able to share out your creations to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, or send an animated card to your friends and family through e-mail. All that on top of the actual SKIT! community itself. 

The app is free to download, and is available now from the Google Play link up top, and the Amazon Appstore at the link below. More information can be found in the full press release after the break. 

Download: SKIT! (Amazon Appstore)

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