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3 years ago

Korean press reports Samsung Galaxy S4 to emerge in March with S3-style buttons and design language

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Latest round of pre-release rumors says no S Pen, but "contactless gestures" are likely

As it's prone to do in the weeks ahead of a major Samsung announcement, the Korean press is starting to report details of Samsung's next major smartphone, presumed to go by the name Galaxy S4. Citing "industry insiders," Korean newpaper DDaily is today claiming to have a few interesting bits of info about the upcoming Samsung flagship, for which it says Samsung is starting to ramp up component production.

First up, DDaily reports that the S4 won't stray too far form the design of the Galaxy S3. The "human-centric," "organic" look and feel will return in the new handset, along with the (somewhat controversial) three button-setup. Samsung experimented with a buttonless arrangement, it's alleged, but in the end decided to stick with the familiar home, back and menu layout.

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3 years ago

Three UK to carry Samsung Galaxy Fame - Jelly Bean on budget hardware

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Three UK has announced that it'll offer the Samsung Galaxy Fame for sale in the near future. The Galaxy Fame was one of two devices recently announced by the Korean manufacturer, which expects to start shipping it starting next month.

Like all Samsung's entry-level offerings, the Galaxy Fame looks like a shrunken Galaxy S3, complete with curved chassis and prominent clicky home button. The internals are pretty basic, though -- the Fame is powered by a 1GHz CPU with 512MB of RAM, a 3.5-inch HVGA screen and a 5MP rear camera. There's 4 gigabytes of storage included, along with a microSD slot.

Despite its relatively basic innards, the Galaxy Fame is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, which should be able to eke  as much performance as possible out of the phone's hardware.

There's no word on Three-specific availability or pricing, but we imagine this kind of device will be free on most contracts, and relatively inexpensive to buy outright.

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

HTC 'One' teaser clips offer brief close-ups, gratuitous lens flare

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With less than a week to go until we see what's next from HTC, the company's hype machine has kicked into high gear. Along with a countdown clock over on HTC.com, the manufacturer's displaying brief cuts of footage showing what seems to be the rumored HTC One -- formerly known by its codename "M7."

Fortunately YouTube user guarav2328 has pulled down and spliced together the various clips (we pointed the way on Google+ plus), and we've embedded the resulting footage after the break.

There're presumably plenty of super-close-up shots of the device itself, along with generous helpings of lens flare. Among the parts we can clearly make out are the back panel with HTC's logo, the camera assembly, some kind of metal trim and an unusual curve around the back of the phone. All in all, it's a close (though not quite exact) match to the leaked press render that cropped up on Monday morning.

With its official Twitter and Facebook pages now emblazoned with references to next Tuesday's announcement events in London and New York, we suspect there may be a couple more HTC teasers ahead. That said, the manufacturer's not likely to give too much away before the big day.

We'll be live from both sides of the Atlantic next Tuesday morning to bring you full coverage HTC's new hotness. In the meantime, head past the break to see today's teaser clips.

Source: HTC; YouTube via PhoneArena

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3 years ago

LG makes Korean Optimus G Pro with 5.5-inch display officially official

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Some official information was released just earlier today on the larger Optimus G Pro headed to Korea, and now LG has spilled the beans on the new version of the device. This Optimus G Pro, which from the press images has quite a striking design, will come with the aforementioned 5.5-inch 1080x1920 display on the front and a slightly redesigned back. The back plate is using a similar square pattern from the original Optimus G, but with a curved glass covering that LG says creates a "2.5D" effect.

As for the internals, we're a little low on specifics at this point. LG is saying that device will have a quad-core processor along with the new, larger HD display and doesn't give much more information beyond that. LG is giving a release window of late February for the device in Korea, and until then we can at least drool over these great press images. We'd expect to get a look at the device come MWC in a couple weeks as well.

Source: LG (Translated); Via: Engadget

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3 years ago

What's new in Android 4.2.2

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Android 4.2.2 isn't quite official yet, but it's slow roll out has been bolstered by manual download links and folks are finding a few new things in the latest firmware. Most of it is behind the scenes and will be covered by words like "stability enhancements" and bug fixes, and those are what's really important. A specific that folks are reporting is a fix to the Bluetooth stack to fix audio stuttering, and that's something folks have been waiting for. Equally important is that plenty of people are saying their Nexus devices are no longer randomly rebooting, so if you have an issue there hopefully Android 4.2.2 fixes it. 

There are some other user-facing changes that probably won't apply to anyone without a Nexus device. Once a manufacturer gets their hands into the code, they tend to change these types of "features" to something that fits in with their version of Android a it better. Often times their version works better than stock Android, so we're not going to complain that they get changed. Here's what folks using stock are seeing:

  • When connecting via adb to a computer for the first time, you're prompted to allow the connection. This small security enhancement will help keep your bootloader locked device safe if you lose it. [Android Police]
  • App download notification have been changed. Now you'll see a progress bar that tells you the time remaining in addition to a percentage downloaded. [@ssaig]
  • Quick settings have been enhanced. Users can now long press on the Wifi and Bluetooth icons to toggle the setting. [@NittyMDev]
  • New sounds for wireless charging initiation and low battery alert. Users will now hear a notification sound when the device is placed on a wireless charger. In addition the low battery sound has been changed. [Android Police]
  • Removed option to show all calls in the phone app's call list. 
  • Vibration for notifications is longer in duration
  • New Gallery app animation allows faster loading. [@ssaig]

Really, nothing there anyone would miss if Samsung, HTC or any other manufacturer decided not to implement it. In short, 4.2.2 sounds like the bug fix update everyone has been waiting for. These kinds of updates are the ones we like seeing!

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3 years ago

Foursquare adds features, refreshes interface in latest update

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Everyone's favorite social check in service Foursquare has just pushed out a notable update in the Play Store, bringing a refreshed UI, some new features and a lot of polish. The previous UI wasn't bad or ugly by any stretch, but the Foursquare team has managed to add a bit more functionality and design to this latest update. The main homescreen is now a bit cleaner, with a universal "explore" search bar at the top and options to check in, see your last location and add a photo at the bottom of the screen. A now Android-standard swipe to the right reveals a settings screen to access your profile, lists, settings and friends -- although curiously there's still a very iOS-like menu slide button in the upper left corner.

The Check In screen has received a facelift as well, with some cleaner lines and little more visual flare. The text box asking "What are you up to?" is now more prominently laid over a map of the check in location with an option to add a picture still prominently set to the right of it. There's still a bit more cleaning up and unification of the UI to go, but things are looking better with each update.

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3 years ago

Save 14% at ShopAndroid.com through Valentine's Day!

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Forget lingerie. Chocolate rots your teeth. Flowers die. Smartphone accessories are where it's at this Valentine's Day. And through midnight Pacific time Thursday, ShopAndroid.com is taking 14 percent off everything in the store. That's 14 percent off Android cases. And headsets. And chargers. And cables. And, yes, the highly sought-after Lloyd Gear shirts and cases!

All you have to do is shop. And then check out. And then use the coupon code vday13. Do that, and we'll take 14 percent off your entire order. 

Seriously, folks. She doesn't want a thong. He doesn't want a card. Do yourselves a favor and get something your Valentine can really use -- accessories from ShopAndroid.com.

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3 years ago

Mophie Juice Pack for the Galaxy S3 - an update

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A few weeks ago we reviewed the Mophie Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Mophie PR was a little surprised that we came away not all that impressed, given that we've sung the praises of its iPhone Juice Pack. In fact, Mophie was concerned that because we'd purchased our first two units from resellers on Amazon (separate resellers, actually), we might well have received counterfeit Juice Packs, leading to the sharp edge at the bottom of the case, as well as a couple of the other more minor gripes we'd had.

Stranger things have happened, so we let Mophie send us a review unit, and it arrived about a week later, on Feb. 8. In the meantime, we purchased a third Mophie Juice Pack -- this time directly from Mophie -- and had it overnighted to us, arriving on Jan. 31.

In all four Galaxy S3 Mophie Juice Packs, there remains a sharp edge on the chin, and that remains our biggest complaint. It's not going to attack you or anything. But it's noticeable, it's uncomfortable, and it makes us want to take a file to the case -- something you should never have to do. 

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z kernel source code published ahead of phone launch

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The Sony Xperia Z isn't due to be available globally until the end of the month, but being the good, GPL-abiding OEM that it is, Sony Mobile has already published the device's kernel source code. The code, which will only really be of use to custom ROM developers, weighs in at 203MB, and can be found at the Sony open-source archive linked below.

With the phone as yet unavailable for those outside Japan, we doubt there'll be too much development activity going on over the next couple of weeks. But it doesn't hurt to have code ready and waiting for when devices start to make their way out -- especially as so many manufacturers lag behind with their open-source duties.

For more on the Xperia Z, check out our hands-on coverage from CES 2013.

Source: Sony Open-Source Archive; via: XDA

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3 years ago

SwiftKey Flow beta updated with fresh round of bug fixes

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The SwiftKey Flow beta test continues with another release for phones and tablets today. Version 4.0.0.99 includes a new round of bug fixes, including behavior fixes for the Google Chrome Beta, various crash fixes and a new Turkish layout. Here's the full changelog for your perusal --

  • Fixed crash on changing keyboards
  • Fixed force close on clicking update language
  • Fixed other crashes
  • Resolved majority of non-English punctuation problems
  • New look installer to match SwiftKey Flow colors and include an introduction to SwiftKey Flow
  • Added Turkish layout
  • Chrome Beta should now behave like Chrome
  • Snap and tap (correction of words) now compatible with Vietnamese
  • Memory usage of settings app reduced
  • Improved handling of non-zero length selection in Chrome and Samsung mail client
  • Fixed jumping cursor in ExDialler and Samsung calculator
  • Microphone key disabled in fields that don’t support voice input
  • Fix for keyboard disappearing when phone build installed on tablet sized devices
  • Disabled predictions in Kingsoft Office and UC browser to make SK usable in them
  • Double space for period turned off by default to prevent accidental period insertion when flowing
  • Replaced ‘learnt’ with ‘learned’ in personalization page (US English)
  • Turned off slide down from candidate bar to close keyboard when flow is on (to be consistent with the description in the Settings menu)

There's still a handful of known issues in the current beta build, so you might want to take a look over them at the source link before installing for the first time. That's also where you'll find download links for both phone and tablet versions of the keyboard.

SwiftKey Flow remains the keyboard of choice for many of us here at AC, despite its beta status. Hopefully we'll see it graduate to Google Play soon.

Source: SwiftKey

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3 years ago

Real Racing 3 coming Feb. 28, speeding down the freemium route in the process

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Some great news has emerged for those eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest in the Real Racing series, Real Racing 3. The title now has a release date, and a price. The so far stunning looking title will be dropping into Google Play on Feb. 28 and will be a completely free download. 

That's right, Real Racing 3 will be a freemium title. Knowing that would be met with mixed reaction, the developers, Firemonkeys, made a statement regarding the decision:

Today we announced Real Racing 3 will be free. And yes, Real Racing 3 was designed from the ground up to be a free to play experience. We are so excited about this game and wanted it to be accessible to everyone so we didn't want there to be any barriers to entry. This accessibility is also what drives the awesome new Time Shifted Multiplayer feature, in that you can play competitive multiplayer with anyone any time, and they don't need to be online with you at the same time. At launch we have 46 licensed vehicles covering 3 classes, a 22 car grid, real world tracks, 8 varied event types and 900+ events. This means hundreds of hours of gameplay for free making this one of the most expansive games ever on mobile. We plan to continue to add more free and exciting content with every update.

Doesn't sound all that scary, and being free to download will potentially drive higher initial download figures. In any case,  we're looking forward to this one a lot, and thankfully we only have a couple more weeks to wait. 

Source: Firemonkeys via Facebook

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3 years ago

Shapes & Sound: a beautifully designed and Android-exclusive game

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Retro-style arcade games are definitely "in" right now, and the new title Shapes & Sound: The Shape Shooter is a great offering in this quickly expanding genre. Shapes & Sound brings a clearly well thought-out game from end-to-end, with awesome gameplay, soundtrack, graphics and performance that all add up to a great experience.

Oh, and did we mention this is an Android-exclusive title? Read on past the break and see what it's all about.

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3 years ago

Motorola Solutions launches Android-based AME 2000 with secure wireless communications

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Motorola Solutions -- that's the other Motorola that wasn't bought by Google -- has announced the launch of AME 2000, a secure platform including an Android handset, aimed at federal agencies. Using Moto's Assured Mobile Environment tech, AME 2000 combines an off-the-shelf smartphone with additional hardware and software to enable secure voice and messaging services, as well as secure VPN connectivity over mobile data or Wifi.

The AME 2000 includes Security Enhanced Android -- the NSA-approved custom version of the OS designed with high-security use in mind. In addition, it features Motorola's CRYPTR hardware security module for microSD security.

Moto hasn't released an exact spec sheet for the phone itself, but based on the images published, it looks like we're dealing with a RAZR-class device running Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. Regardless, if you want to get down into the details of the security features provided, you'll find that over at the source link.

It's by no means the first time we've seen Android used in high-security devices. Just over a year ago it emerged that U.S. government and military officials were to be outfitted with secure Android-based phones, and in 2010 General Dynamics was said to be looking at Android for use in "next-gen wearable" computers.

Source: Press Release

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3 years ago

DashClock Widget for Android 4.2

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I've made no secret about my outright displeasure for the new lock screen widgets in Android 4.2. Clunky, for one, often lacking style for another. 

DashClock Widget is quickly changing my mind. It's the work of Roman Nurik, a Googler and Android design guy and was released this morning to Google Play and as open-source code.

The widget itself is devilishly simple. Add it to the Android 4.2 lock screen like you would any other widget. From there you add "extensions." At launch you've got extensions for weather, missed calls and texts, your next calendar appointment, unread e-mails and your next scheduled alarm. Chances are we should see additional extensions pretty quickly. (Here's hoping for some world clock love, which is the only thing I'm missing from the stock Android lock screen clock.) Want to get rid of an extension? Just swipe it away. Nice.

This one's free, it's open-source, and it's definitely worth a look. Hit the link above, and ease on past the break for a little hands-on action if you need more convincing.

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3 years ago

BlueStacks brings Android apps to Microsoft Surface Pro

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BlueStacks, which is a product that lets users run Android apps on Windows computers, is releasing a new version today that brings the functionality to Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface Pro. Until today, BlueStacks has only been available for Windows 7 and Mac OSX. The latest version of BlueStacks fully supports Windows 8 -- including new features like charms bar support and rotation support -- but is also optimized for the recently released Surface Pro.

BlueStacks has partnerships with several OEMs already, and users have made over 5 million downloads of the software directly from its website alone. The software is also free, which is fantastic for Windows 8 users looking to try out the experience of running Android apps on their PC's with full touch capabilities. You can get more information and grab a download at the source link below.

Source: BlueStacks

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