Headlines

3 years ago

OTA Update Center brings over-the-air updates to any ROM developer

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Nothing pleases Android fans more than a notice that they have an update. Millions of words have been spent on countless blogs and forums discussing OTAs (or the lack of them) and we get a little giddy when we see the notice that one is available. The folks at the OTA Update Center have worked out the supporting infrastructure and methods to offer a free OTA service to any ROM developer, so that hackers and modders can enjoy that fuzzy feeling an update brings as well.

It' not really anything new -- hackers and ROM devs have been doing custom ROM OTAs since the days of the HTC Hero, and we see similar services offered from ROM Manager and Goo.im Manager. The OTA Update Center will work in a similar fashion, where an app will be installed into the system that communicates with the servers to pass out OTA updates to anyone using the ROM. For the end-user, it's a simple and impressive way to keep the OS on your phone up-to-date.

The real difference here is to the developers. They no longer need to host files or insert framework for an FOTA system into their ROM, and instead can use the supplied tool with a few edits. This will get everything up and running with  minimum of extra code, and provide a sort of standard that all developers can follow. We like standards. Developers like standards. Users like things that "just work", and standards allow that to happen easier.

If you're an end user, you'll have to wait and see if your ROM development team decides to use the OTA Update Center. If you're a developer, you should check out the source links and think about giving it a try. Be sure to give us a shout if you incorporate this into your ROM, we'd love to give it a look!

Source: OTA Update Center, via XDA-Developers

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3 years ago

Intel to bring wireless charging to smartphones and ultrabooks in 2013

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According to DigiTimes' "upstream supply chain," Intel is readying technology that will wirelessly charge Intel powered smartphones via over-the-air induction. To put it in layman's terms, hardware inside the phone will be able to grab low power electricity from mid-air and charge the battery. It's safe, and already has a standard in the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi method, which we've seen in action with contact induction charging on the Thunderbolt. The real barrier, according to the sources has been cost.

Both Sharp and NTT Docomo have launched devices that charge wirelessly via the Qi standard in Japan, but prohibitive costs have kept it from becoming the norm. Samsung was expected to release a similar product this summer, but the project has been delayed until the end of 2012 or early 2013. 

What's different about Intel's rumored offering is the power "source". Supposedly to debut on ultrabooks, a chip inside the laptop will transmit power through the air to an Intel powered smartphone, like Orange's San Diego model. Intel's resources and software group can likely bring the price point down to more reasonable levels, which other OEMs could integrate into their hardware. 

Hopefully options that consist of a wall socket that works stand-alone with the correct smartphone hardware will follow soon, then we can stop worrying about battery life and just buy a sub-station for home and the office. It's one way to address battery life issues that smartphone users suffer from on every platform, and with Intel behind it, it becomes a real possibility now.

Source: DigiTimes

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3 years ago

LG Optimus Vu review

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Oh Optimus Vu, what an odd little device you are. Developed as a less than subtle knee-jerk reaction to Samsung’s Galaxy Note, the Vu went on sale in Korea earlier this year, and it’ll soon be making its way to Japan on NTT Docomo, too. Stateside, it's known as the Verizon LG Intuition. In any case, this is LG’s 5-inch, stylus-using, 4:3 aspect ratio squarish slab. It ran Android 2.3 at launch, but it’s recently received a substantial update to version 4.0 and the new LG Optimus UI 3.0. Shaped more like a placemat than a telephone, the Optimus Vu is one of the most outlandish-looking devices to have ever passed across our desk.

The Vu’s internal specs closely match the device it emulates, and the recent ICS update has done a lot to unlock the potential of that hardware. But considering the 5+ inch phone space is dominated by Samsung, is there space for a second device in this product class? And with the Galaxy Note 2 expected in a matter of weeks, is there any reason to consider LG’s offering? Find out in our full review of the LG Optimus Vu.

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3 years ago

Raved review - turning Facebook likes into business discovery

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Raved recently launched on Android in an attempt to translate your friends' Facebook likes into a tangible, unified business discovery app. It's a particularly handy, free way to see if there are any places in town that more than one friend personally endorse, even if they weren't explicitly suggesting anything to you. 

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3 years ago

Amber Alert GPS review - if you can't hide yo' kids, at least track 'em

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With back to school season around the corner, some parents may be getting antsy about having their young ‘uns out in the big wide world. Luckily, thanks to phones and stand-alone GPS units, mindful moms and dads can track the little buggers every moment of every day. Amber Alerts, the long-standing organization built with the express purpose of preventing child abduction, has launched their own companion Android apps. 

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3 years ago

Google brings Google Earth 3D maps to Seattle and Denver

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Back in June Google announced they would be improving Google Earth substantially by adding 3D mapping to the mix and we even managed to get a good look at it during Google I/O. Now, only a few short months later Google has managed to add Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington as destinations that you can view on Google Earth in 3D. All the work is done using advanced image processing and 45-degree aerial imagery as noted on the Google Lat Long blog. The data is live and viewable right now, if you want to take a fly-over Seattle or Denver. Just make sure you're on the latest version of Google Earth and you're all set to go.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Gameloft teases Unreal-powered Wild Blood

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Gameloft has been having a bit of fun with video game fans using their next action adventure game as bait. As revealed, the game is called Wild Blood and makes use of the Unreal Engine. The freshly revealed trailer shows off some pretty interesting footage but Gameloft isn't ready to give up all the goods just yet. Hints given out tell us the IP based on a well-known character from history and that's about it. In order to unlock the next hint, you have to hit up their Facebook page. If you're not all into that and just want to check out the trailer, you'll find it embedded below.

More Info : Gameloft on Facebook

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3 years ago

Asus Transformer Pad TF300 LTE headed to Germany and Austria

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Coming a little out of the blue, it seems that an LTE version of Asus' Transformer Pad TF300 is 100% real and is to be released in Europe this month. A German press release issued today indicates that Germany and Austria will be seeing the TF300 LTE in the middle of August. That's pretty close to now. 

Available in red and blue in both countries, a white version can be had only on O2 and without the docking keyboard. Prices without the keyboard are set to be €529 ($651), and with the keyboard €629 (about $774). It's a little pricey, especially given the other Asus tablets available. But, it's got LTE and for some that's enough to warrant parting with their hard earned. There is no mention of prospective availability outside of these two countries at the moment.

Prospective German and Austrian buyers should be sure to check out our full review of the WiFi only TF300.

Source: Techfokus via The Verge

 

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3 years ago

UK Sony Tablet S receiving maintenance update

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The world may be forgetting about the Sony Tablet S, but Sony isn't. And that's a good thing. UK based Tablet S owners should be seeing an update pushing out to them right about now. 

The update doesn't bump the Android version any further than the current 4.0.3, and at only 9MB isn't bringing anything massive to the tablet. But, the fellas over at Coolsmartphone are reporting that they're seeing a considerable improvement in performance. Overall they're seeing a distinct change in navigating through the tablets UI and menus, although app performance hasn't changed. 

In any case, bug fixes and optimizations are as good a reason as any to update a device, so if you've got a Tablet S let us know in the comments below if you're seeing any changes. 

Source: Coolsmartphone

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3 years ago

T-Mobile UK removing tethering for new Full Monty plans, backtracks on 'truly unlimited' data

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Truly unlimited mobile data is something of a rarity in the UK, so imagine our delight when the Full Monty plan first appeared from T-Mobile. No fair usage limits, and perhaps best of all, all variants of the Full Monty included free and unlimited tethering. Now though, it seems T-Mo UK is quickly backtracking on their "truly unlimited" moniker and taking away tethering from the package.

Speaking to Techradar, a T-Mobile spokesperson had the following to say: 

"From 8th August, tethering is not permitted for new customers under the terms and conditions of the Full Monty.

"We have a range of smartphone and mobile broadband plans that include tethering for customers who want to stay connected on other devices."

So as of yesterday tethering is no more. The spokesperson also declined to comment further on why the U-turn had come about. As it stands now, Three UK once again looks like the best deal to be had, with their One plan still offering unlimited data and inclusive tethering. With Everything Everywhere -- the T-Mobile/Orange UK partnership -- looking to try and offer LTE before the year end, removing tethering from their flagship plan is sure to be a bitter blow to those who may have been holding out. 

Source: Techradar

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3 years ago

FlightTrack offers free version with new design; paying customers have to wait

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Some news out of the Mobiata camp today. FlightTrack -- which long has been one of our go-to travel apps -- now has a free version, with a beautifully revamped design. If you've previously purchased FlightTrack, however, you'll not see the redesign just yet. Included in the free version of the app, though, are the redesigned UI, including flight details and a rough tracking map (other apps give a more detailed flight path), real-time departure and arrival info, gate numbers and baggage claim details. Plus, there's viewing on Google Maps, and the whole shebang covers more than 16,000 airports and 1,400 airports.

So is the free version of FlightTrack the way to go? Probably not if you're a road warrior. It's lacking the all-important Tripit integration, you can only track a single flight at a time, you're missing weather info, plus other features.

But if you travel only once in a blue moon, it's definitely worth checking out. Let's just hope those of us who have paid for the app see an update shortly.

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3 years ago

Ouya pre-orders now open to everyone

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If for whatever reason you didn't back Ouya's efforts on Kickstarter when it was live, no matter. Starting right now, you can head on over to the Ouya website and place your pre-order for an Ouya console and controller. Ouya has set up several options for ordering, so if you need more than one controller you can order it directly with your package. The price list looks like this --

U.S. Orders

  • 1 Console = 1 Controller = $109.99
  • 1 Console = 2 Controllers = $139.99
  • 1 Console = 4 Controllers = $199.99

International Orders

  • 1 Console = 1 Controller = $119.99
  • 1 Console = 2 Controllers = $149.99
  • 1 Console = 4 Controllers = $209.99

The pricing includes $10 for shipping in the U.S., and $20 for international shipments. The expected time of delivery is listed as being April 2013. That's still quite a wait, but if the funding was any sort of indication, you might want to get your pre-order in while you still can. Full disclosure -- Android Central is one of Ouya's Kickstarter backers.

Source: Ouya

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3 years ago

Amazon Cloud Player now available on Sonos

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Amazon has been busy making improvements to its Cloud Player. The company recently announced the ability to scan and match music and now it has made the service available on Sonos. So now if you store your music through Amazon, you can register and start playing your collection anywhere in the house, directly from your Sonos system.

To get started, you'll need a five-digit code from your Sonos controller, which will allow you to register through Amazon.com. Once it's registered, to find your collection on your controller, just select 'music' and then 'Amazon Cloud Player'.

There is a Sonos app available for the Kindle Fire and for other Android devices from the Google Play Store. Full press release after the break.

More: Amazon AppstoreAmazon

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S Blaze Q press shot appears, Aug. 15 release rumored

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A press render for the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Blaze Q (gasp) has emerged, seemingly confirming rumors of an Aug. 15 release for the upcoming QWERTY slider. The device, which we'll mercifully call the Blaze Q from now on, is rumored to rock a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 720p screen and Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Essentially, a Galaxy S3 with a full physical keyboard, which is exactly what it looks like in the shot above.

Today's render, obtained by TmoNews​, hints at a possible release next Wednesday, Aug. 15. The date is mentioned in the clock and weather widget on the phone, and last month a leaked internal screen claimed that's when the Blaze Q would launch. As you may have noticed, certain manufacturers like to include launch and announcement dates in promotional photos -- for example, the Galaxy S3 press renders all showed May 3, the date of that phone's unveiling in London. It's far from conclusive, but the evidence is certainly stacking up in favor of a Blaze Q launch in just under a week.

Tmo customers, anything here catch your eye? Let us know in the comments.

Source: TmoNews

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Tablet leaks once again, aluminum shell shown up close

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Following the huge leak just over a week ago that revealed its existence, the Sony Xperia Tablet has emerged once again today, in the form of leaked press renders. The renders obtained by ​XperiaBlog show the Tegra 3-powered, Xperia-branded tablet up-close, allowing a more detailed view of the new aluminum back and folded magazine style chassis. The trademark wedge, while not as pronounced as in last year's Tablet S, is plain to see.

Sony's Tablet S was one of the more unique Honeycomb tablets to emerge late last year, and the Xperia Tablet is shaping up to be a worthy successor, with Android 4.x, a quad-core CPU and software aesthetics influenced by Sony's smartphone range.

Sony's new tablet is expected to make an appearance at the company's IFA press conference later this month, with a launch rumored in time for the holidays. Tentative pricing is purported to start at $449.99 for the 16GB version. 32GB is set for $549.99, and 64GB for $649.99.

We've got a couple more leaked renders after the break.

Source: XperiaBlog

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