3 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich build (4.0.4) leaked for the Nexus S 4G, looks to be release quality


An internal testing Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the Samsung Nexus S 4G has been leaked out of Sprint, containing a new software modem, bootloader, and a 4.0.4 build.  Some are reporting this is the final version and we'll soon see an OTA for the NS4G, but that's speculation at this point.  We do know that this seems to run smoothly, with everything working including the Wimax radio.  It's build number IMM26, with a final kernel build and the ROM is signed with release keys which makes it pretty likely.

Of course the OTA for the Nexus S 4G can't come soon enough for many users, who have seen the 3G version of the Nexus S and the Motorola Xoom get their ICS builds pushed to them.  We have to remember that Sprint not only has more network testing involved in their version, but the addition of Google Voice integration and Google Wallet means their release cycle will be longer.  I'll go out on a limb and say Nexus S 4G users will see ICS released long before any other handset gets it, even if it's not imminent.  We've seen extremely stable builds of Android 4.0 for the NS4G for a while now, and you know the developers already have their hands dirty (trust me, they are all over it) using tonight's leaked files to make things even better.  If you're not the type who follows the manufacturers update path, hit your favorite ROM developer in a day or two.

If you're not the waiting type, visit the links below and try it on for size.  Heed the warnings, and if you hit any snags visit the forums and holler!

Source: XDA-Developers; via Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Koobe and Qualcomm announce next-gen e-reader with mirasol display


Koobe, one of the greater China market's biggest maker of e-reader devices, has partnered with Qualcomm today at the Taipei International Book Fair to announce the mirasol display equipped Jin Yong reader.  Named after the modern Chinese-language novelist of the same name, the Jin Yong reader features a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a custom OS built on Android 2.3 base, and a 5.7-inch XGA (1024 x 768) mirasol display with a screen resolution of 223 ppi. According to Simon Hsu, general manager of Koobe, Inc., 

Users of the Jin Yong Reader have come to expect a compelling reading experience in terms of both content and functionality.  By incorporating mirasol displays into this advanced version, we will offer our customers a new and compelling experience by adding color and interactive content without sacrificing outdoor visibility and battery life.

This sounds like quite the combination for an e-reader device.  The Jin Yong reader supposedly has a battery with enough power for "weeks of reading under typical usage", where typical usage means about a half hour of daily reading.  It's hardly likely we'll be seeing this one in the US, but hopefully someone manufacturers an e-reader with Qualcomm's mirasol display stateside.  Hit the break for the full press release.

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3 years ago

Bugdroid gets busy at Gasparilla [AC After Dark]


OK, OK. Maybe first thing in the morning was a wee bit early for that "smartphones in the bathroom" survey. Mea culpa. And we're not sure any time of day makes this one any better. So we're not even going to put the actual picture on the front page here. If you want to see that bugdroid is doing behind our own Lloyd here, you're going to have to click the source link below. But be forwarned: It'll offend a lot of people, and rightfully so, especially if you have daughters.

On the other hand, if you've ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or Fantasy Fest in Key West, or San Francisco's Bay to Breakers or Folsom Street Fair, or New York City in general, you've seen worse.  

This one comes to us from the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, which essentially is a mashup of Mardi Gras and pirates and booze and more pirates, with a little extra booze thrown in. (Tampa also brought us Android at the Redbull Flugtag event, too.) Some parts of Gasparilla are more familiy friendly than others -- you can guess which category this one falls in. Anyhoo, hit the link if you wanna see the bugdroid doing something we bet Google would prefer not see him do.

Souce: WTSP.com Gasparilla Parade Photos; Thanks, Jim!

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3 years ago

Four ways Android is doing exactly what it's supposed to do


You say tomato, I say tomahto. You say potato, I say potahto. And that's where we stand on the state of Android, at least compared to Mark Spoonauer of Laptopmag. Mark, whose opinion we certainly respect, tonight in a "Spoon Fed" blog post titled "Why Android is broken," highlights four reasons why he believes Android is "more vulnerable than ever," despite activating more than 700,000 devices a day. 

So is Android really doomed? At the rate it's been growing, can it be doomed? Let's break down Mark's points.

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3 years ago

Symantec updates its scary (but wrong) Counterclank 'malware' claims


Symantec has "adjusted" its statement to Computer World that as many as 5 million Android users may be affected by the latest bit of malware, coming to the conclusion that the applications in question are simply using an aggressive ad network SDK.  This mirrors the statement issued by Lookout, as well as our own.  (And as well as Computer World's Android Power faction.)

After initially telling users that the "malicious code" found in 13 Android Market applications was malware and capable of data theft and other nefarious activity, Symantec now says the apps in question are more akin to Windows adware and not inherently malicious.  

In other words, it's crapware.  This we can all agree with.  The apps in question use an advertisement SDK that allows things none of us likes -- it can add bookmarks, change your homepage, add shortcuts to the home screen and the like.  We've all installed some free Windows program from the web, and had it install (or try to install) browser toolbars, add shortcuts to the home screen for more spammy programs.  We all hated it then, and we hate it now.  What we hate even more is when a company that claims to be acting in the interest of our security jumps the gun and labels these types of programs the same way it would label a bot or trojan.  

We're mostly informed users here, and quickly realize the difference.  But how many of those who stumbled across websites parroting Symantec's cries of five million infected are as Android savvy as we are?  There's a good chance that it's not that many.  Instead those readers were left confused and concerned that they had been "hacked."

We hope that the rest of the web that followed along will update their stories with today's news. And more important -- we hope that app developers stay far away from this sort of thing. Lord knows we're going to stay away from them if they don't.

Source: Symantec

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3 years ago

LG Optimus L3 emerges in Sweden, appears to be new entry-level offering


LG has been busy selling various flavors of its high-end Optimus LTE over the past few months, but that doesn't mean it's forgotten about its entry-level line-up. A new budget device, dubbed the LG E400 Optimus L3, has appeared over on Swedish retailer CDON, running Android 2.3 (and LG's Optimus UI) on a 3.2-inch screen. Other specs include a 3 megapixel camera, HSDPA and Wifi connectivity and a microSD card slot. There's no information on what CPU you'll find powering this thing, but we wouldn't expect anything beathtakingly fast -- maybe a 1GHz single-core chip, if that. Nevertheless, from the outside the Optimus L3 looks like a stylish little device for anyone on a budget.

But there's some cause for concern regarding that 3.2-inch screen, as according to CDON's spec list, it's a QVGA (320x240) panel. In 2012, that kind of resolution borders on unacceptable, even on a budget device. Last year's Optimus One was fitted with a HVGA (480x320) screen, so we're hoping this is just an error on the part of the retailer.

The Optimus L3 is shown with a pre-order price of 1290 SEK (~£120, $190) off-contract, with stock apparently due to arrive on Feb. 27.

Source: CDON; via: GSMArena

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3 years ago

Slingplayer for Kindle Fire due to land in Amazon Appstore tomorrow for $30


Slingplayer for Android devices has been around for a while now. Sadly for Kindle Fire owners and their lack of the Android Market, they haven't been able to indulge upto now. Jan. 31 is the day though, as Slingplayer for Kindle Fire will be arriving in the Amazon Appstore for $30.

Shown off at CES, the interface is pretty much the same as the handset version, and thankfully matches the same price point as its Android Market brother. Definitely a welcome addition to Amazon's media consuming tablet. Download will be available at the source link below from tomorrow. Until then we'll just have to wait patiently. 

Source: Amazon Appstore

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3 years ago

Lenovo Thinkpad to receive Ice Cream Sandwich update in Q2


Lenovo are the latest company to jump on the Ice Cream Sandwich update bandwagon by announcing its plans to update the ThinkPad tablet.

The Thinkpad has been around since last summer, and while we don't have a specific date Lenovo have stated that the update will roll out during Q2. The IdeaPad is also slated to make the jump to Android 4.0 as well. It's easy to forget about these in our tablet filled world, but Lenovo makes some pretty nice hardware and the ThinkPad has a pretty killer keyboard dock as well. An ICS upgrade will be most welcome. 

Source: PC World

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3 years ago

UK Everything Everywhere and BT LTE trial extended until Summer 2012



While you guys in the United States have a whole range of LTE Android devices to choose from, in the UK we're still a long way from the point of getting LTE at all. An on-going trial being run in Cornwall by BT and Everything Everywhere (Orange UK and T-Mobile) is now set to extend until Summer 2012.

Rival network O2 is currently trialling the technology in London, but this scheme is aimed more towards proving high speed broadband is possible in more remote areas. Currently users involved in the trial are seeing average download speeds of 7 Mbps. While this may not sound overly impressive, it's faster than some fixed broadband connections in these parts of the UK. 

The overall importance lies in the technology though. According to Ofcom, the regulator for communications industries in the UK, we aren't to expect widespread LTE on these shores until 2015 with an initial rollout beginning throughout 2013/14. Whether it arrives at all depends on the required spectrum auction, which has already been postponed until 2013. Looks like we're in for a long wait but at least the networks are still committed to developing the technology before we get to that point. 

Source: CNET UK

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3 years ago

What is a PRL? [Android A to Z]


What is a PRL?  PRL stands for Preferred Roaming List and is a database used in CDMA (think Sprint and Verizon here) phones.  It's built and provided by your carrier, and used when your phone is connecting to the tower.  It indicates which radio bands, sub-bands, and service provider IDs will be searched for, then allows the phone to connect to the correct tower.  Without a correct and valid PRL, your phone won't be able to roam outside your home network, and may not be able to connect at all inside the network.  The database consists of an Acquisition table, which lists which radio frequencies to search for in which areas, and a System table, which tells the phone which towers it is allowed to connect to, and the preferred order.

Notice we said it connects to the correct tower and not the strongest tower.  If you're in an area with weak but steady signal from your carrier, the PRL will connect you to that signal rather than connect to a stronger signal on a different carrier.  When Palm released the Pre on Sprint (the first CDMA smartphone with "root" access to the system) people quickly learned how to hack the PRL to force a connection on Verizon towers in areas of poor Sprint coverage.  The same thing is done today with certain CDMA Android phones, and usually ends up with the same result -- a letter from your carrier telling you it's been nice having you as a customer, but it's time to part ways.  Not all hacking is good, kids, and when it adversely affects the network, it makes the other, good kind of hacking look bad.   

The PRL is usually sent as an over-the-air update when needed, but often -- especially if you travel a lot -- it's necessary to manually update it.  It's pretty easy to do:

  • Sprint: dial ##873283#
  • Telus: dial *22803 
  • Metro PCS, US Cellular, Verizon (3G phones only): dial *228

Android phones also have an option to update the PRL in most CDMA phones, you'll find that in the settings pages.  If you have a CDMA/LTE phone on Verizon or Metro PCS, your PRL will auto-update as needed, so don't fool with it.  Also it's not a good idea to update your PRL while you're roaming on another carrier.  

Previously on Android A to Z: What is open-source?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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3 years ago

Third-party Steam applications disappearing from the Android Market


The official Steam for Android application hasn't been with us all that long, but an air of controversy already surrounds its arrival. Almost all of the third-party Steam applications have disappeared from the Android Market. 

If Valve happens to be involved in some way, the odd part is that the Steam API is publicly available for use. Seems a tad suspicious though. 

If you're using a third-party Steam application and you like it, it's probably not a good idea to uninstall it anytime soon. (Or at the very least pull it from your system for a backup.) No word yet on whether or not any of these applications will re-appear elsewhere, so for the time being it looks like the official app is all we got. 

Source: Droid Gamers

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3 years ago

Samsung offering personal engraving for Galaxy Note in South Korea


Samsung's Galaxy Note publicity machine continues to churn, with the manufacturer now hoping to win over consumers in its native South Korea a unique personalization option. According to Samsung's official Flickr stream, personalized laser engraving will be available for Korean buyers until Mar. 31 at "Samsung Digital Plaza" locations across the country.

Apple has long offered engraving when buying certain iPod and iPad models as gifts, but Android device manufacturers have until now shown little interest in this kind of customization. However, it seems Samsung's keen to attract the attention of gift buyers, as it promises "a wide variety of fonts" to "reflect your personality".

The promotion runs in South Korea until Mar. 31. There's no indication just yet of whether Samsung intends to offer this promotion elsewhere, though with the Galaxy Note launching in Canada and the U.S. next month, our fingers are firmly crossed.

Source: Samsung on Flickr; via: OLED-Display

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3 years ago

T-Mobile's Sensation, Amaze 4G, myTouch Q and others reportedly 'nearing end-of-life'


T-Mobile USA may be preparing to wrap up sales of a handful of its mid to high-end Android devices, if a leaked internal screenshot is to be believed. The leaked photo, obtained by TmoNews, appears to show part of an internal stock system. In it, the following devices are marked as "nearing EOL", meaning "end-of-life" status --

End-of-life status means that a phone will no longer be stocked, meaning it'll likely have been replaced by something newer and shinier. What it doesn't affect, however, is software and hardware support. The Sensation, for example, is still scheduled to receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich, and if true, the news that it may reach EOL in the near future doesn't change that. Nevertheless, it's surprising to see phones like the myTouch Q and Amaze 4G nearing EOL already, given that they've only been on sale since October.

It's also true that even after a phone is EOLed, sales will continue as long as there's stock remaining in outlets. So we're willing to bet you'll still see these devices in T-Mobile stores for a few more months. Right now, the biggest question centers on what T-Mobile will be replacing them with later in the year.

Source: TmoNews

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3 years ago

Android camera showdown: Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Samsung Galaxy S II


The cameras in our Android phones have certainly gotten better than most would have expected.  The old standard of "it's a cell phone camera, it'll never be as good as a cheap point-and-shoot" is no longer valid.  The hardware is getting better, and the software is improving right alongside it, making the experience of using your phone as a camera enjoyable, and in the right hands, almost professional.  

The big news in Android last year on the camera front was the Samsung Galaxy S II's 8-megapixel rear shooter, and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus' "zero shutter lag" camera.  We decided that these two had to go head to head.  Hit the break to check it out.

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Nexus battery and charger, Cruzer Lite TPU cases, and Poweramp [Contest Winners]


If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our blogs and forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up shortly. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to this week's winners!

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