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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S4 gets first update, visual voicemail and ISIS improvements included

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First update for T-Mobile Galaxy S4 going out over the air and through Kies

The first update for T-Mobile US's Samsung Galaxy S4 is pushing out today over the air and through Samsung's Kies desktop software.

The new software version M919UVUAMDL is a minor update containing "improvements to the visual voicemail app" and "ISIS app improvements," according to T-Mo's support pages. (ISIS being the NFC-based mobile wallet app backed by many U.S. operators.)

There's always a chance some other bug fixes or improvements have been sneaked in behind the scenes, so if you're rocking a T-Mo GS4 then hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on after today's update.

Source: T-Mobile; via: Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia SP up for pre-order in the U.S.

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Sony's latest mid-ranger to sell​ for $489.99 unlocked

Hot on the heels of the Xperia Z, Sony's new mid-range offering, the Xperia SP, has also appeared for pre-order on the company's U.S.-based online store. The Xperia SP packs a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with Adreno 320 GPU, 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage and an 8-megapixel Exmor RS rear camera. On the front is a 720p Sony 'HD Reality Display.' Like its high-end siblings, the SP's internal storage is expandable via microSD card.

The Xperia SP also sports a unique aluminum-frames design and a large, illuminated transparent element under the screen.

Bizarrely, Sony's spec listing for the North American Xperia SP shows support for HSPA+ on 850, 900, 1900 and 2100MHz bands, as well as LTE bands I, II, IV and V. If those specs are accurate, they'd point to an incomplete set of frequencies for both AT&T and T-Mobile. On AT&T you'll get full HSPA+ coverage but no LTE; on T-Mo you're looking at LTE, but no 1700MHz HSPA+ support.

The unlocked U.S. Xperia SP variant (C5306) is due to begin shipping from May 20, priced at a not insubstantial $489.99.

Source: Sony Store; via: XperiaBlog

More: Hands-on with the Xperia SP

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3 years ago

From the forums: How are you getting on with the Galaxy S4?

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Top threads for first impressions of Samsung's new handset

Depending on where you live, you'll have been able to pick up Samsung's latest handset, the Galaxy S4, for up to two weeks now. As such, the Android Central forums are buzzing with discussion about what's sure to be one of the biggest-selling phones of the year. Whether you're just getting started with your S4, or you're looking to pick one up in the future, here's a selection of the top forum threads to check out --

More: Galaxy S4 forums

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3 years ago

Partnership to bring exclusive AOL portal to Verizon smart phone customers

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AOL and Verizon bringing a new Internet portal to Verizon customers' phones and tablets this summer

America OnLine has announced that a new partnership with Verizon Wireless will allow them to bring the complete AOL.com portal to Android, Windows, and BlackBerry smart phones and tablets. They say they will be the "exclusive provider of the VZW Home mobile web portal." We're not exactly sure what that means, but they go on to say:

Beginning this summer, existing and new Verizon Wireless customers will have the AOL portal bookmarked on their smart phones and tablets’ web browsers. The multi-device experience will feature the recently refreshed AOL homepage -- with breaking news, weather and maps -- as well as live streaming events and popular videos. Personalization features will allow users to customize news sources, categories and other tools to their needs.

So it appears that a bookmark will be added to the device's default browser, leading users to an AOL page that provides curated news and events for Verizon subscribers. We're pretty sure you'll just be able to delete the bookmark should you feel the need, so we can't rail on them too hard. Look for your new portal to the Internet this summer.

At least it's not Bing.

Source: Business Wire

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3 years ago

Fitbit Flex with Bluetooth 4.0 support now available for $99.95

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Track your exercise, set goals and monitor your sleep schedule with one device

Fitbit's latest health and fitness product, the Flex, is finally shipping following its debut at CES back in January of this year. The Flex makes an important improvement over previous products by including Bluetooth 4.0, which lets the device stay constantly connected to your smart phone without drastically draining its battery. The Bluetooth 4.0 functionality is compatible with "select" devices -- Fitbit calls out the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 -- but in reality should work with any modern phone that has the standard implemented. The Flex also implements NFC, so you can simply tap your phone to it to launch the Fitbit app and read your stats right away.

Just like previous Fitbits, the Flex tracks your activity throughout the day, including your steps, distance traveled, calories burned and now "active minutes" of moderate-intensity cardio as well. Because of its improved battery life, Fitbit notes it is also a great companion for tracking your sleep. The Flex is available directly from Fitbit for $99.95 in either black or "slate" (which is actually more of a turqoise color) at the second source link below.

Source: Fitbit (BusinessWire); (2)

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3 years ago

Incipio Frequency Galaxy S4 case

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It's time to start looking at Galaxy S4 cases, and we're kicking things off with the Incipio Frequency case, courtesy of the fine folks at ShopAndroid.com. The Frequency is billed as a "textured impact-resistant case," and indeed that's what you get. 

Actually, that's only part of what you get. The Frequency is a three part system.

First you've got the case, which you see here. It's a matte TPU, with the lower half of the back done up in a sort of textured graph design. It's a opaque, which gives things yet another dimension. It's functional as well, giving you a little more grip down at the bottom. The case wraps around the front of the phone, keeping the display from touching when left face-down. It's easy enough to get on, but not so tough to get off that you'll hate yourself doing so later.

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3 years ago

Jon Rubinstein joins Qualcomm board of directors

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One of the biggest names in processors and radios adds a legend in the mobile industry to the board

After a relatively quiet period following his departure from HP in early 2012, Jon Rubinstein is back in the news as he joins the board of directors at mobile chip maker Qualcomm. Rubinstein is well regarded as one of the few people that drove the creation of modern mobile devices, likely being most famous for his years at Palm as an executive chairman and later chief executive. He also saw Palm make the difficult turn downwards and eventual sale to HP, which he ended up staying at for a short amount of time as lead of the "Personal Systems" division. Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, had this to say:

"His experience in creating revolutionary consumer electronics and mobile products will provide added insight to Qualcomm's board as we continue to expand the scope and impact of wireless products and technology, improving and enhancing people's lives around the world."

Any company in this industry would be ecstatic to have a mind like Rubinstein at the table, and it will be interesting to see how he can possibly give insight into Qualcomm's business going forward. While Rubinstein may not be known for development of processors and radios, it's hard to overstate the amount of knowledge he has of mobile as a whole.

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3 years ago

BlueStacks now has over 10 million users

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4.2 million of those devices added in Q1 2013 alone

BlueStacks, which makes software that lets users run Android apps on their desktops, laptops and Windows tablets, has reached the 10 million user mark in just over a year. Possibly even more impressive is that 4.2 million of those users started using the software in just Q1 of this year. CEO of BlueStacks Rosen Sharma also notes that active usage has increased exponentially, which in many ways is a more important metric to determining success of a product. BlueStacks is now being used in over 100 countries, due in part to the fact that it is now pre-installed on many manufacturer's devices.

Sharma went on to give much of the credit for the recent increase in users to the explosion in mobile gaming development, which is one of the most popular area of downloads. Many of the popular mobile titles transfer well to larger screens, and BlueStacks is hoping to capitalize on the increased demand for cross-platform app support.

Source: BlueStacks (PRWeb)

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3 years ago

Spring cleaning: Win one of four Nexus 4 bumpers

I have, on occasion, been accused of being somewhat of a pack rat. Seeing as how it's springtime, perhaps a little cleaning is in order. So each day this week we're going to give away something that I've got laying around. Today, we'll start with four Nexus 4 bumpers

To win, just drop a comment here on this post. We'll shut it down at midnight Eastern tonight and announce the winners later this week. Good luck!

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3 years ago

ASUS MeMO Pad mini review - you can get so much more for an extra $50

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There's a fine line between a quality, low-cost tablet and an underpowered, low-resolution tablet that happens to run Android and also doesn't cost all that much money. And that line, we've discovered, is about $50.

It's not often that we pick up a new device -- and quickly want to put it down again. A phone or tablet might not be the cream of the crop, but we try to find some good in it. Some reason to buy. But with the top-of-the-line hardware hitting a bit of a plateau over the last year or so, and with prices continuing to drop, we've raised our minimums. There's less room for low end these days, plain and simple.

That brings us to the 7-inch ASUS MeMO Pad Android tablet.

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3 years ago

AT&T's 32GB Galaxy S4 lands May 10 for $249

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AT&T has announced that will sell the 32-gigabyte version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 starting May 10. It'll run $249 on contract, compared to the $199 currently charged for the 16GB model.

On-board storage has been a hot-button issue for the Galaxy S4, which until now has only been available in a 16GB configuration -- with only about 9 gigabytes of storage actually available to the user. The 32GB model should ease GS4 buyers' storage concerns, and of course it's also expandable via microSD card, just like the 16GB version.

AT&T is the first outlet we're aware of to launch a 32GB Galaxy S4. No other U.S. carriers are offering the more capacious variant, and right now the only international models available ship with 16GB of storage. Have you been waiting on the 32GB Galaxy S4, or have you already dropped some cash on a 16GB model? Shout out in the comments and let us know.

More: Galaxy S4 review, Galaxy S4 forums

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3 years ago

Community Spotlight: Should I Get the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One?

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Should I Get the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One?

There has been no shortage of discussion on this very subject.  If you’ve been to the forums in the past month (if you haven’t, shame on you) then you’ve surely come across at least one thread with the question “Should I get the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One?”  It’s a question that doesn’t have a right answer, or at least not one that anyone can provide for you.  Hearing other people’s opinions can definitely help, though, especially if those people already own the devices you’re trying to decide between.

Mello_Asian asks this very question of our forum members:

“Hey, everyone! My contract is close to its expiration, and I was wondering what phone I should get to replace my LG Optimus S. Both the HTC One and GS4 are great phones, and I'd be very complacent to get either one of them since they are a HUGH upgrade from the Optimus S.

However, as a high school student, I was wondering which of them would be much better/more helpful/more convenient for me in the next two years under a new contract. I'll be using my phone more for the camera, music player, more accessible games to pass time, and to help me with certain tasks with the browser or certain apps (searching up things, sparknotes, AP notes, etc.)”

Coming from an Optimus S one thing is certain, either device will definitely be a huge upgrade.  It seems that entertainment is a core use, as well as some specific features to help with school.  So what are other members saying?

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia ZL review

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These are certainly the best specs Sony has ever put in a phone, but does that translate into a device you actually want to buy?

When we first laid eyes on the Xperia ZL at CES 2013, it may not have gotten the attention that it deserved. As the svelte, glass-backed and waterproof Xperia Z was stealing all of the camera time at the Sony booth, tables full of Xperia ZL devices sat unused. While the plastic exterior may not be as striking as the Z at first glance, the ZL is nearly identical in every other way -- a far cry from the "mid-range device" some purported it to be. Sure you don't get waterproofing or a glass back panel, but you do get the same specs, camera and a much easier to hold curved plastic shell in it's place. It's hardly a compromised device.

In a way, the Xperia ZL (and Z) are the first examples of a refocused and reinvigorated Sony, one that wants to release devices with a modern OS, this year's specs, and compete with other manufacturers on the highest level. On paper, there isn't a whole lot to complain about here. But in a time where we're seeing some seriously high-end devices just make their way onto the market, can Sony's effort from January of this year still stand up against the rest? Let's find out in our full Xperia ZL review.

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3 years ago

Galaxy S4 quick tip: Disable S Voice shortcut for faster home button response

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If you're not using S Voice regularly, you could speed up your home button a little with one easy setting change

Samsung's 'S Voice' assistant app has improved considerably on the Galaxy S4. In fact, it's worth revisiting if you dismissed it on earlier devices due to slow performance or hit-and-miss speech recognition. On the other hand, if you're not using S Voice regularly, there's a quick, easy setting change you can perform to make the home key just a little more responsive.

By default, when you double-tap the home key, you'll launch straight into S Voice. That means when you press home, there's a very short pause while the phone waits for a second button press. To avoid this and have the home key immediately send you back to the home screen, you can disable the S Voice shortcut combo. To do this, load S Voice, then press the menu key and hit "Settings." Next, uncheck "Open via the home key." That's it -- with the shortcut combo disabled, the home button should respond immediately as opposed to with a very slight delay.

The same applies to other devices with S Voice loaded out of the box, including the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3.

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