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3 years ago

Samsung uses paper craft and the Note 2 to wish us happy holidays

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Kirigami is the ancient art of folding and cutting paper to make beautiful shapes or scenes. Most of us know it by the paper snowflakes we used to make as children. Samsung has taken it a step further, and along with the Note 2 have churned out another great commercial.

Using the Note 2 and it's large screen for motion effects, the paper craft work in the commercial really catches the eye. Commercials of this caliber are becoming the norm from Samsung, and we're enjoying each and every one. Have a watch, and if you decide to try any of this yourself (I know we have some very crafty readers) send in a short video or some pictures -- we'd love to have a look.

Souce: Samsung Mobile on Youtube

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3 years ago

From the mail bag: Why use Kies for updates?

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Richard writes: 

Why does Samsung hate OTA updates so much? Using Kies sucks.

We feel you Richard. Having to load software on your computer to perform an update seems like a step backwards, and in the wrong direction. And speaking for the minority as a Linux user who can't install most of these desktop suite programs, they do indeed suck. But in some cases, using Kies to update phones is actually a good idea. Read on.

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3 years ago

U.S. Cellular's Samsung Galaxy S II finally getting an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade

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If you're rocking a U.S. Cellular Samsung Galaxy S II, your long wait for Android 4.0 is finally at an end. The update is available for download, although it doesn't look like it's going out OTA. Hit the source link at the bottom of this post for more, but basically you'll need to download the update and install via your computer. 

While still Touchwiz'd up, the jump from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich is a sizeable one. New ICS features like Face Unlock are baked in, and it opens up a whole new world of applications to take advantage of, like Google Chrome. Also built in to this update are 'additional apps' with Google Play Movies and Slacker being installed as part of the package. Jelly Bean hasn't rolled out to any worldwide models of the Galaxy S II, so this at least brings the U.S. Cellular variant up to date with it's compatriots. If you've snagged the update, be sure to shout out in the comments and let us know how you're finding it. 

Source: U.S. Cellular

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3 years ago

Why Plume is still my Twitter client of choice

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It seems like there's a new wizz-bang fancy Twitter client released every week. Every single time you hear claims that it's the next best thing. Every once and a while those claims actually hold some merit, but it seems like more often than not these new clients just fade off into the ether and everyone goes back to their previous choice. For me, that choice is Plume and I've yet to find a client that can pull me away.

I've been using Plume exclusively since about February of this year, and it's only improved since then. After trying it out for about a week -- coming from the official Twitter app -- I paid $4.99 for the "Premium" version and never looked back. I initially chose Plume because not only did it ditch the legacy menu button, but also followed Android's new "holo" design guidelines extensively. There's something refreshing about apps that fit in nicely with the rest of the OS. Plume doesn't cut any corners in features or functionality to get "holo" either -- you have full customization of refresh, notifications (although not push, unfortunately), backgrounds, colors, display, URL shorteners, picture hosting and multiple accounts.

You also get three extremely functional widgets -- 2x1, 4x1 and 4x2 to 4x4 expandable. The largest is information dense and offers scrolling, tabs for tweets/mentions/messages and dedicated tweet/search keys. I interact with Plume through the widget a majority of the time, and it really is a joy to use. The developers are on top of updates for the widgets as well, offering an Android 4.2 lockscreen widget just days after the code released.

It's hard for me to consider using any other client when there's nothing I find in my use of Plume to drive me away. I'm not using it because it's the least broken out of the clients available -- I'm using it because I think it's the best available.

So what is your Twitter client of choice, and what has kept you from switching away? Let us know in the comments.

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3 years ago

Android-powered Ca-Fi Dashlinq infotainment system coming in January

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We've seen Android put in a lot of devices that aren't phones or tablets -- appliances, robots, light bulbs -- and car infotainment systems seem to be a good fit for the OS. Ca-Fi is set to release a new line of "Dashlinq" car head units running Android, with all of the features you'd want or need jammed in. It's running Android 2.3 -- as you can see by the navigation buttons on the right side -- with an 800x480 6.95-inch multi-touch screen, SDcard slot, optional Wifi and 3G, a USB port, bluetooth and GPS.

This unit doesn't skimp on the car integration either. It has full steering wheel control support, dual zone support, a 9 band EQ setting, Digital Sound Processor (DSP) and full radio support. It handles both calls and audio streaming over bluetooth as well.

Ca-Fi is setting the Dashlinq pricing at $649, and it will be available in January. There's a few more images of the unit and interface at the source link below.

Source: Ca-Fi

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3 years ago

First images surface of Verizon employee exclusive Droid DNA

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It's kind of teasing posting up photos of a device most people can't buy, but when it looks like this it's definitely worth a mention. What we see here is the first shots of the Verizon employee exclusive Droid DNA, obtained by the guys over at Droid-Life. It's a regular old DNA at heart, but instead of the black back on the regular one, Verizon staff get theirs in a pretty impressive shade of red. And, since Verizon devices aren't short on logos, this DNA is absolutely no exception. In addition to the usual stuff, it also comes stamped as a “Verizon Employee Limited Edition.” It's not likely to hit everyone's tastes, but it sure stands out in a crowd. 

Source: Droid-Life

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3 years ago

Google 'winter cleaning' is coming, Google Sync and Calendar features are going away

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We're nearing the end of 2012, and that means Google is doing some "winter cleaning" around the office and some less-popular services are going away. Google will be shutting down several services related to sync and calendar, all within the next month. First, several Google Calendar features are going away -- reservable times can no longer be created in appointment slots, but currently set slots will remain for one year. Two calendar "labs" features are going away as well: "Smart Rescheduler" and "Add gadget by URL." Google is also removing features that let users check and make appointments via SMS. 

Next, traditional Google Sync is going away -- this was the protocol that let users sync their mail, contacts and calendar to devices via the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. With the introduction of CardDAV and CalDav, Google can now offer much the same service with the IMAP protocol instead. Google Sync will shut down to new users on January 30, 2013, but will remain active for anyone that sets it up prior and all Google Apps users.

It sounds like a doomsday scenario of Google services getting shut down, but most users won't notice. Android syncs natively with Google Apps and therefore won't be affected by the Google Sync shutdown. You may want to take a look if you happen to use any of these Google Calendar tools, though.

Source: Google Official Blog

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3 years ago

Photoshop Express, Snapseed and the best photo editing apps for Android

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Fixing pictures on your phone has become a pretty big deal lately. Big players like Facebook and Twitter are starting to bundle photo filter and adjustment tools into their apps, but there’s still a home for the dedicate photography app. There are a ton of popular ones that continue to thrive and offer armchair photographers the opportunity to share some really slick shots. As a point of comparison, I’ll be using three pictures and sending them through each of the apps to give you an idea of what to expect: one portrait, one close-up, and one landscape shot. Here are the originals.

So, in order of personal preference, my top photograph editing apps are...

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3 years ago

Carphone Warehouse expects Xperia E for Feb. 2013 release

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Sony hasn't given any date other than "Q1 2013" for the launch of the upcoming Xperia E, but U.K. phone retailer Carphone Warehouse says it expects the handset by February 2013. We got some pricing and spec info for the mid-range handset in the last week, but one thing left out was the release time.

This is shaping up to be a nice looking handset for the budget-conscious among us -- at a price of about £130 SIM free -- when it finally becomes available.

Source: Xperia blog

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3 years ago

Google Play Gift Cards get one step closer to UK availability

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Following yesterday's discovery of a redeem page on the Google Play website for Gift Card codes in the UK, we took that to mean that the Gift Cards were on their way to British shores. Today we have further reason to believe that their arrival may well be imminent.

Tucked away in the menu in our UK Play Store apps is a "Redeem" option which brings up the page we see here. Google Play balance is in the correct currency, and besides linking to redeeming your codes, there's also a link to the Gift Card TOS page. We've still not seen any UK currency gift cards in the wild as yet, but with Christmas just around the corner, these would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone who uses an Android device. 

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update now available!

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The Verizon Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update. We've got it. Some of you have got it. We're installing now. 

... And we're up and running. The 400MB update takes a few minutes to install. Once you're done, you're at Android 4.1.1, build JRO03L.I535VRBLK3.

As is usually the case with updates, you're not going to see a huge visual change. TouchWiz is still TouchWiz. But you now have features like Google Now, which you access by long-pressing the menu button, and improvements to the notification area. The camera's gotten some improvements as well, including, of course, filters. Plus, the GS3 is now ready for the ISIS mobile payment system, but that only does you any good if you're in Austin, Texas, or Salt Lake City.

Update: And now we've got a quick video after the break.

More: Verizon Galaxy S3 forums

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3 years ago

Motorola Atrix HD gets Jelly Bean

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Mark it, Dude. The AT&T this morning announced that the Motorola Atrix HD is getting an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean starting today. That means you get cool things like Google Now, that Project Butter smoothness, plus all the other bells and whistles AT&T and Motorola have added in. 

You can get the update now by going to Settings>About Phone>Software updates. And we suggest you do.

Source: AT&T; More: Atrix HD forums

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3 years ago

Major Google+ app update launches, including new photo + event features [updated]

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Update: The new version of the Google+ app is now live on Google Play. Go get it!

Google's been on a roll with software and feature updates this past week or so. And so when Google social boss Vic Gundotra remarked that he "couldn't sleep" last night, we suspected there might be big Google+ news coming today. And it seems that's exactly what we're getting, as Google prepares to roll out version 3.3 of Google+ for Android, along with updates for the web version. Highlights in this release include new photo features, including better Photo sphere support, and integration with the newly-launched G+ Communities feature.

The new Google+ app will land later today, along with new features for the desktop version of Google's social network. Here's what we can expect from the new app --

  • New photo stuff -- Instant upload now offers up to 5GB of  full-sized photo backups. Photo sphere panoramas recorded on Android 4.2 can be viewed on devices running Android 2.2 or higher.
  • Events and communities -- Communities support for the mobile app. And it's now possible to send messages to individual event guests and see who's opened invitations.
  • Hangouts -- Now only 150kb of bandwidth is required to participate in a hangout.
  • General improvements -- The ability to edit your profile on-the-go, new "subtle" notices when new posts arrive, and improvements to the posting menu. 
  • Google Now integration -- Birthday notifications through cards on Google Now, including G+ links to wish the person a happy birthday.
  • Other goodies -- Animated GIF support and a lock screen widget for Android 4.2. Also, new "mood" posts based around a gallery of emoticons.

Several other updates for the web version of Google+ are expected to be rolled out today too, including improvements to solo broadcasts via Hangouts on Air, the ability to easily create duplicate events and easier RSVPing. You'll find more details over at Google's full feature breakdown, linked below.

We'll keep you posted with further details when the app update drops later today.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Android Central 119: Things that are not phones (but still excite us)

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Audio-only stream below

The Samsung Galaxy Camera has Alex excited. The Samsung "S Pebble" Muse MP3 thingy has Phil strangely excited. And Jerry? Hell, he's always excited about something.

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3 years ago

Android 4.1.2 and 'Premium Suite' update hits Korean Galaxy S3

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U.S. Galaxy S3 models may have just received their Android 4.1.1 update, but international versions are already moving ahead with the new "Premium Suite" upgrade, which includes Android 4.1.2 and new features like full-screen multitasking. The update started pushing out in some European countries earlier in the week, and now it's landed in Sammy's home territory, as SamMobile reports that South Korean S3 models have started to receive the new software over the air and through the Kies desktop app.

So if you're running any of the four Korean Galaxy S3s -- SHW-M440S, SHV-E210S, SHV-E210K or SHV-E210L -- then it's time to head to Settings > About device > Software update, or if you're feeling particularly masochistic, plug your phone into Kies.

The "Premium Suite" upgrade introduces a bunch of new features from the Galaxy Note 2, including "multi-window," which allows two full-screen apps to be run on-screen at once, a re-vamped Gallery app and "page buddy," a context-sensitive home screen tile that offers different widgets and shortcuts based on what you're doing with your phone. Check our earlier post for more details on other features of the upgrade.

Source: SamMobile

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