Headlines

3 years ago

FIFA 12 Xperia Play teaser trailer

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EA's leading soccer football title FIFA 12 is among the wealth of Xperia Play exclusives (on Android, at least) being offered towards the end of the year, and to whet gamers' appetites, EA and Sony Ericsson have released a new teaser trailer.

Both publisher and manufacturer are keen to show off FIFA's Xperia Play-optimized graphics and controls, so if you want to see both in action, join us after the jump to check out the new trailer. There's no official release date just yet, but we think a holiday launch window is fairly likely.

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3 years ago

Android App Review: SVOX Classic TTS Engine

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

I might not think Siri is all that and a bag of chips, but I've got to hand it to Apple for one thing: it sounds good. Listening to the articulate, smooth-talking Siri, I couldn't help but think how archaic Android's own text-to-speech sounded. Compare Android's voice to Siri and you're left with the inevitable comparison to the Speak and Spell.

During one of my stints in the Android Central podcast chat, a reader suggested I give the SVOX Classic TTS Engine a shot, and boy, am I glad I did. Now the text-to-speech on Android is more than tolerable, and that's saying something.

When you install SVOX, you can't really do much in terms of text-to-speech. What you can do, however, is browse more than 25 languages, and once you've chosen a language, see the available voice packs for that language. Languages are sorted by a country's flag at the top of the screen, and you can move from flag-to-flag by swiping left and right.

Once you've decided on your language, you'll see the available language packs for that language. They're all given a human name, which is helpful to give you an idea of gender, at the very least. US English has five voices to choose from, although three seem to be more "for fun" and less "for actual use."

If you tap on any voice, you can listen to a sample of the voice, go straight to the Market to buy the voice pack, or get a free trial of the voice. The free trial lasts two weeks, so there's plenty of time to get acquainted with a voice before you pull the trigger and buy it.

Once you've purchased a voice, it'll show up in your app drawer as a separate app. Opening this app gives you controls over that particular voice, so you can set things like the device volume, text-to-speech volume, speed, and pitch.

More importantly, though, is the text field where you can listen to the voice say particular phrases. You can save phrases (maybe to show to friends later) and you can also share the voice through a variety of methods as well as force different pronounciations on things.

The last tidbit is probably one of the coolest features in SVOX, and if you spell something out phonetically in one voice, it shows up in all of the other voices, too. So if you've got a difficult-to-pronounce name (like my last name, apparently), you can try and find the best way to phonetically spell out the name or word you're thinking of, and SVOX will default to that pronounciation over it's standard way. Nifty.

Lastly, once you've got SVOX (and a voice pack) installed, you'll want to set it as the default TTS engine. This can be accomplished by venturing into your settings menu, poking around in Voice input and output, hitting Text-to-speech settings, and selecting SVOX Classic TTS from the Default Engine menu. Do that and voila, you've just brought your phone's text-to-speech up to 11.

The only downside of SVOX's voice packs is that they're $2.99 a piece, but once you get used to hearing a voice that more closely resembles that of a human, you won't want to go back to anything else. SVOX itself is free, and hey, at least you can demo any of the voices for a full two weeks!

We've got more screenshots of the app and download links to SVOX, Grace, and Michael after the break.

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3 years ago

Google Offers app now on Android; we go hands on!

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Google has released an official app for Google Offers, their location-based deal service. With the app, you can view, purchase and redeem deals right from your Android device.

When you open the app, you'll be shown the Featured deals of the day that are nearest to you, which is based on your GPS data. You can also slide to the right to access any offers you have purchased in the past. If you want to subscribe to other offers in other cities, simply go into the settings -> subscriptions and then select the area you wish to subscribe to.

There is a shortcut in the top right of the app to a barcode scanner in case you see a QR code that you wish to scan.

The biggest drawback is that while it's expanded to a slew of new cities, it's still fairly limited. To find out if you're city is included, visit the official Google Offers website.

Google Offers is available for free in the Android Market. We've got download links and our video walkthrough after the break.

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3 years ago

Motorola announces Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition, coming to UK and Ireland 'mid-November'

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We've seen the leaks and rumors, and now the Motorola Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition are both officially official. The 10.1-inch Xoom 2 and its 8.2-inch media-focused sibling will go on sale in the UK and Ireland from mid-November, at retailers including the Carphone Warehouse, PC World and Dixons.

As far as specs go, it's pretty much what we expected -- both tablets feature some variety of 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, alongside 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Both flavors also ship with "HD" displays, which we're guessing will be your standard, Honeycomb-friendly 1280x800 panels. Speaking of Honeycomb, you've got Android 3.2 on-board, along with what looks like some minor UI tweaks from Motorola. So no Ice Cream Sandwich just yet, but then that's to be expected.

The tablets also sport the unique curved style edges that we'd seen in leaked photos, as well as phones like the Photon, and we're interested to see how this design choice works on a larger device. Weight-wise, the Xoom 2 sits at 599g, just four grams heavier than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, and two grams lighter than the iPad 2. The Media Edition, however, is significantly lighter, at 386 grams.

Moto's yet to mention any pricing information for the Xoom 2 series, nor when (or even if) it plans to release its two new tablets in the US. We'll keep you posted if we hear anything. In the meantime, hit the jump for today's announcement video, or use one of the links below to take a closer look at both Xoom 2 models.

Motorola Xoom 2 specs | Motorola Xoom 2 gallery | Motorola Xoom 2 forums

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3 years ago

Motorola Xoom 2 specs

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Motorola's official specs for the Motorola Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition.

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3 years ago

Motorola Xoom 2 image gallery

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3 years ago

Swype-style gesture input arriving in latest Xperia software update

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Sony Ericsson has a little surprise waiting inside the latest software update for its 2011 Xperia series -- a Swype-style "gesture input" system baked into the Xperia keyboard. After enabling the new option it in the keyboard settings, you'll be able to type words by tracing a path through their letters, just like Swype or HTC's Trace keyboard.

All this goodness comes pre-loaded on the Xperia Arc S, which ships with SE's latest software, based on Android 2.3.4. But if you have an Xperia smartphone belonging to the manufacturer's 2011 line-up, you'll be able to get your hands on the new software through an over-the-air update, or manually via the PC Companion suite.

Join us after the jump for SE's gesture input video demo.

Source: Sony Ericsson Product Blog

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3 years ago

Apple loses design lawsuit against NT-K (Spain) and is being countersued for damages

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image credit schmidling.com

The Spanish courts have decided against Apple, Inc. in its design patent dispute with NT-K, a small tablet manufacturer in Spain.  Using the same arguments that have been partially upheld in Germany, and dismissed in the Netherlands, Apple brought an import ban and subsequent lawsuit against the small OEM, had their company placed in a European list of "pirated electronics" and even went as far as pursuing criminal charges -- all over rounded corners and a similar look and feel.  NT-K decided they weren't going to take this sitting down, and aggressively fought back, -- finding victory in the courtroom.

While we consider the arrogance of filing criminal charges and mumble under our breath, we can also feel a tiny bit of justice ourselves -- NT-K has filed a suit for monetary damages, lost profits, and "moral damages," and is in the process of filing anti-trust proceedings against Apple alleging abusive anti competitive behavior.  I loathe lawsuits between tech companies, because in the end the consumers are the biggest losers.  In this case however, I hope NT-K wins their suit, only to teach Apple an expensive lesson (that they hopefully wont pass the costs of to their customers).  And if the Spanish courts find that Apple does violate antitrust laws, I hope other countries take a close look. 

There's nothing wrong with an iPad.  A good friend of mine just got himself one, and he agrees that other than the drag of iTunes, they make a great product.  There's a good reason why so many people buy an iPad.  But the way to keep their 100 percent market saturation was to innovate, not stifle competition.  I hope this hits home and they reconsider, but I'm doubtful. 

Source: NT-K (Spanish); via FOSS patents

Thanks, BBPandy!

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3 years ago

Optimus 3D Gingerbread update set to bring faster HSPA+, video enhancements

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LG Optimus 3D owners are on track for few extra treats along with their Gingerbread update later this month, if an early leaked firmware build is any indication. The leaked build, which recently cropped up on XDA, is based on Android 2.3.5, and comes with enhancements like 2D and 3D video editing, 3D to 2D conversion and higher bit-rates for 3D videos. There's also the promise of faster HSPA+ cellular data on supporting units, with speeds of up to 21Mbps.

Don't get too excited about trying this on your Optimus 3D just yet though, as the firmware is pretty severely broken in its present form. Once you've channeled the black magic necessary to get it installed, you'll still likely run into issues getting cellular data and Wifi to work.

So it's a little unstable, as you'd expect from an unofficial, pre-release build. We were impressed with the software's general responsiveness though, which seemed markedly improved from earlier Froyo-based efforts. Hopefully we'll see all this good stuff carried over into the official build.

Hit the jump for a few more screenshots. The official Optimus 3D Gingerbread update is due to arrive from Nov. 21.

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3 years ago

Rockin' them beats, Galaxy Note in the US [From the Forums]

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With Google rolling out a bunch of new app updates and HTC getting ready for their latest event, things were busy today. If you need to catch up on the news make sure you skip a page back or head on into the forums for more Android talk.

If you're not already a member of the Android Central Forums, you can register your account today.

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3 years ago

HTC Sensation and Galaxy S II for T-Mobile get special deals at Costco

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Costco has some nice deals coming if you are you are looking to get into a T-Mobile plan. $69.99 will get you unlimited data, talk and text with a bunch free additional features added to that list as well such as T-Mobile TV, games and magazines. The image shows available for select devices but we're told it is for the HTC Sensation and the Samsung Galaxy S II. As always, a new two-year agreement will be required but you're saving some coin in the long run.

Thanks, Anon!

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3 years ago

Google Reader and Docs updated with ICS makeover

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Google has been making a lot of changes as of late and while we knew an update to Google Reader for Android was coming we didn't know when, exactly. The update has now landed though and with it also came an update to Google Docs.

For the most part -- Google Reader doesn't appear to of have changed all that much. Nothing like it's online counterpart that has seen some radical changes over the past few days love it or hate it. In this release you'll find left/right navigation and just visual changes for Ice Cream Sandwich and now rather then Google Buzz you have Google+ sharing options.

Google Docs however, has quite a few changes. You do get the visual changes that put it more inline with the look of Ice Cream Sandwich but you also get more optimizations for Honeycomb tablets, improved video playback as well as portrait and landscape modes. Information about your documents is now more easily found and sharing options have auto complete added as well. Both updates are available in the Android Market right now.

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3 years ago

Yahoo! Weather app storms its way into the Android market

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No one wants to leave their house in the morning dressed in their finest only to get hit ten minutes later by a nasty rain storm, do they? Sure there are tons of weather applications already available in the market, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for one more and the next one to enter is from Yahoo! Unlike any other application out there Yahoo! Weather gives you beautiful hi-resolution images of the city you are viewing the weather for, in addition to all the standard features like a five day forcast, the ability to share your current conditions on your favorite social media channel, and much more. Download links after the break.

Source: Businesswire

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3 years ago

Android 101: How to enable / disable screen rotation

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Ever lay in bed trying to send a text message only to have your screen fight your for which orientation it wants to be in? Yeah, well it gets old quick trying to do something in portrait mode while your display is switching to landscape mode, doesn't it? Luckily with just a few simple clicks you can take care of this issue and lock your screen into portrait mode.

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3 years ago

Costco to carry AT&T's upcoming HTC Vivid

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The HTC Vivid, one of AT&T's first LTE phones set to launch on November 6, will be carried by mega retailer Costco, according to the internal doc pictured above. While the announcement doesn't mention anything about price or availability, we don't see the Vivid going for much less than the $199 that AT&T has already announced. The November 6 launch date is only a few days away so we'll keep our eyes peeled for more details as they become available. One more document listing all of the Vivid's goodies can be found after the break.

Thanks anonymous!

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