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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Camera review


It's a camera. It's Android. It's an Android camera!​ And it's the best one yet, but not without room for improvement

On a sweltering August afternoon, Samsung ushered a handful of tech journalists into a conference room in Berlin, Germany, to show off two new mobile devices. The first, the Galaxy Note 2, was much as we’d expected it to be. But the second would’ve come as a complete surprise were it not for a last-minute online leak. As we frantically took notes, Samsung reps doled out what seemed to be a Galaxy S3 bolted to the back of a digital camera. This, we were told, was the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

An unusual product, the Galaxy Camera was introduced as a “convergence device,” a smart camera powered by the latest version of Android, but with sufficiently advanced optics to push it beyond the performance of high-end smartphone cameras. All the imaging, sharing, video and photo editing prowess of Android and Samsung’s TouchWiz software were present, put behind a real dedicated camera with a 16-megapixel sensor, 21X optical zoom and optical image stabilization. The popular reaction was split into two camps -- some dismissed it out of hand, others, like ourselves, were cautiously optimistic.

Days later, I wrote that the Galaxy Camera makes perfect sense. I still think it does, but Samsung’s initial implementation is not flawless. And the finished product, though promising, is some way off being a perfect union of smartphone and camera.

Read on to find out why.

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3 years ago

There once was a free Nexus 7 ...


We're now at Day 3 of our weeklong Nexus 7 (and $25 Google Play Gift Card) contest, courtesy of the fine folks at Google. And today we're looking for the best Android-related limerick you can come up with. Why a limerick? We can't stand haiku, that's why. Just one of those things.

So hop on into today's forum thread and get a little silly. And good luck!

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Camera video walkthrough


Our full review of the Galaxy Camera is coming later today. In the meantime, we've got an extensive video walkthrough of Samsung's Android-powered point-and-shoot camera. We'll take a look at hardware, software, image and video quality, and that all-important camera app. If you're after a quick primer on one of the first Android-based smart cameras, it's definitely worth a click.

Check back later to for our full verdict on the Galaxy Camera.

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3 years ago

Sprint recaps network improvements, lists cities soon to get LTE


Sprint today put out a nice little recap of its network progress in 2012, the year we finally saw it start to roll out its LTE network (and start to stick a fork in its old Wimax line).

The big strokes: 49 markets are now live, with a total of 150 "in the coming months." Some 70 markets have seen improved 3G service. You should see better signal strength for phone calls and data, and fewer dropped calls. Voice quality has improved. And data speeds are faster. Of course, you have to be in one of those improved markets, but progress comes one step at a time, we suppose.

But the more important part, we suppose, is that Sprint's teasing upcoming LTE roll-outs. We've got that full list after the break.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 multi-window update now live


Here's your reminder that the promised software update for T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is now available. The 73-megabyte update brings the following improvements:

  • New multi-window feature
  • Resolves Exchange calendar events not appearing on device Calendar
  • Resolves issues with being unable to swipe through Gmail messages

If you've yet to see the multi-window thing, check out our full video of it from a couple months ago. It's definitely worth tapping a couple buttons and updating your phone -- which ... erm, is pretty easy to do anyway. 

More: T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 forums

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3 years ago

Android Central 2012 Gift Guide: Andrew's holiday wish-list


The holidays are the one time a year where you have a chance to bring your family and friends the best in the gadget world, things that you just know they'd never get for themselves. Let's be honest though, it's also a good excuse to get a few things for yourself while the deals are good in December.

So what things do I have on my list to give (and keep) this holiday season? Read on past the break and see.

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3 years ago

UK gets the Motorola RAZR i in white for pay monthly contracts


Been pining for a white Motorola Razr i? Well, UK, your time has come. Phones 4U is getting that little slice of sexy. White Christmas, white phone. Get it? If you need a refresher on the specs (and you really should read our full Razr i review), this is a 4.3-incher with an AMOLED display, a 2000 mAh battery, and it's running Intel's internals. We're still waiting for Jelly Bean on the RAZR i, but Motorola says it's on track for the first quarter of 2013. The phone's free from £20.50 on pay monthly contracts starting Dec. 22.

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3 years ago

Samsung to fix Exynos vulnerability in software update 'as quickly as possible'


A Samsung spokesperson has given Android Central an updated statement on its plans to fix the recently-discovered Exynos kernel vulnerability issue. In today's update, the company has indicated that it's aware of the problem and is preparing to move forward with software updates to remedy the situation on affected devices "as quickly as possible." Samsung also confirms what we already knew about the nature of the exploit, specifically that a specially-coded malicious app is required to take advantage of it. (As we mentioned a few days back, if you're not downloading sketchy apps, you probably don't have much to worry about.)

Here's Samsung's statement in full --

Samsung is aware of the potential security issue related to the Exynos processor and plans to provide a software update to address it as quickly as possible.

The issue may arise only when a malicious application is operated on the affected devices; however, this does not affect most devices operating credible and authenticated applications.

Samsung will continue to closely monitor the situation until the software fix has been made available to all affected mobile devices.

The exploit, which was discovered over the weekend, could give a malicious app to free reign over an affected device's RAM, allowing it to take complete control of the device. Over the weekend, popular phones like the Galaxy Note 2 and international Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S2 were found to be vulnerable to the exploit. Given that sales of those devices are measured in the tens of millions, it isn't surprising to see a swift response from the manufacturer.

In the meantime, there are third-party fixes already available for those worried about falling foul of malware based upon this vulnerability.

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3 years ago

Google launches their own Santa Tracker complete with Android application


NORAD might have deserted Google Maps this year in favour of Microsoft to power their Santa Tracker, but Google has gone ahead and come out with their own apps anyway. Santa Tracker is available to download now for both Android devices and for Google Chrome. Perfect for the kids -- and the big kids.

Naturally, at the moment the apps don't do a lot. All we see is a countdown screen as to when Santa will be taking off. The app should start working from 02:00 PST on Christmas Eve, as jolly old St Nick begins his global journey. When the app does kick into gear, we'll be treated to all kinds of Santa based information such as the number of presents delivered, his route plan, and when he'll depart in your part of the world. All this is displayed using Google Maps. 

And, if that's not enough, through the power of Google Voice, you can go and request a personal call from the big guy himself. That does seem limited to North America though -- but then, if Santa's using Google Voice, North America is all he can call. 

More: Google Santa Tracker, Google Chrome Extension

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3 years ago

Australian carrier Telstra pushing out Jelly Bean update to Samsung Galaxy S3


Australian Samsung Galaxy S3 owners on the nations Telstra network have cause for celebration today. The carrier has begun what is a staggered Jelly Bean rollout that will see all devices become 'eligible' over the course of the next 14 days. Over on the Telstra support forums the details of how the update will roll out have been posted.

Just a quick one to let everyone know that the Galaxy S 3 Jelly Bean 4.1.1 update has commenced deployment early (as at 2:30PM EDT today). As with all Samsung updates the FOTA deployment is staggered. The “staggered” deployment means that the FOTA update will be progressively rolled out to customers over a two week period. The deployment schedule is:

Day 1-3 : 10k of devices selected at random to be eligible for update, users are either alerted via FOTA Push Message or by manually checking
Day 4-13: An additional 10% of devices are selected per day
Day 14: All devices are now eligible for update

The FOTA update should be downloaded via Wi-Fi as data usage charges will apply if downloaded via the mobile network. The update will be available to all customers via Kies from 2:30PM EDT Wednesday 19 December.

If you're rocking one of these, be sure to check your updates in the settings menu on your Galaxy S3, or plug into Kies. If you manage to grab the update, drop into the comments below, or our Samsung Galaxy S3 forums and share your thoughts with us. 

via Ausdroid

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3 years ago

Daily news roundup: December 19, 2012




We saw a lot of things go down today, from rumored new Android cameras to another blow up about malware, to spectrum talk from the FCC. That means it's just another day in the exciting world of Android. We know it's hard to keep up with it all, so here's a recap of today's news.

Apps and updates

Hardware and industry news

Editorial content and kick ass contests

See everyone tomorrow!

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3 years ago

AT&T acquires spectrum in WCS and AWS bands from four companies


The FCC approved multiple measures today that will in the end see AT&T receiving a diverse grouping of spectrum from several different companies. The different bits of spectrum all fall into the WCS (Wireless Communications Service) and AWS-1 (Advanced Wireless Services) bands, which cover the 2305-2320 / 2345-2360MHz and 1710-1755 / 2110-2155MHz frequency ranges, respectively. The spectrum is being purchased from four different companies -- Nextwave, Horizon, Comcast, and SG&E.

There's a pretty complicated set of small parcels of spectrum being transferred in several different markets, which can be seen at the FCC source link below if you're so inclined. If you don't feel like digging through those (we don't blame you,) the end result is AT&T gaining spectrum in 608 different market areas that cover a total of 82-percent of the U.S. population. AT&T of course plans to use this spectrum to improve its LTE situation in these new markets.

Source: FCC; PhoneScoop

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3 years ago

USAA Mobile adds Jelly Bean fixes and account funding options


USAA continues to make improvements to its mobile banking and account management app today with several UI and bug fixes. An important fix was made to let users on Jelly Bean properly log in and use their PIN with the app, and another bug that kept users on Android 3.1 and higher from doing person-to-person transfers. USAA has also now added the ability to fund an account when you create one from the app -- an interesting feature -- by scanning a blank check from another bank. 

You may not be a USAA customer (yet) but the app is definitely worth a look if you are. You can grab a download at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

China absolutely loves Android


There's a new report out today from informa, and it's about Android adoption rate and market share in China. We all know that Android has the lions share of the Chinese market, but now we have a bunch of numbers to tell us just how many phones we're talking about.

It's figured that 33-percent of all Android devices sold in 2012 were bought in China. This number is a bit skewed, and we'll get to that in a bit, but this is much higher that the 11-percent that were sold in the US -- Android's second largest market. I'm curious how the numbers look if dealing with the EU as one entity, but that's neither here nor there.

We saw the 33-percent of all Android devices sold in 2012 we in China, but -- and this is a big but -- only 59-percent of those were using an "authentic" build of Android and use Google's services. That means that a full 41-percent of the zillions of Android phones sold in China aren't getting counted in activation numbers or that monthly OS chart we see from Google. They are phones running customized version, from the likes of Baidu or Alibaba. Let's get out our wizard hats and do a little math. 

  • There are approximately 1.5 million Android devices activated every single day.
  • A full third of that would be 500,000 phones and tablets.
  • 59-percent of that total would be 295,000.

So if 295,000 of the 1.5 million  phones activated daily (rounded up for easy math) are sold in China, that means that 20-percent (19.666-percent) of all the numbers you see getting thrown around come from one country. And that is a whole lot of smartphones.

Interesting aside -- it also means that a full 13-percent of all "android devices" sold in China aren't even counted as Android activations by Google. 

These numbers are likely to grow, says Malik Saadi of informa. 

Looking forward, Android is expected to continue gaining market share globally and, by 2015, one in every two handsets sold worldwide will be powered by it. However, according to Informa Telecoms & Media, the market share of this platform could potentially peak – or even decline – after 2016 owing to a more aggressive penetration of the alternative OSs, most notably Windows Phone

One of every two phones (not smartphones) sold is a pretty lofty goal. If things continue as they are in China, it very well could happen.

Source: informa

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3 years ago

Paypal update brings landscape support and payment preferences


Everyone's favorite universal payment app, Paypal, has just been updated with a few nice features. First off, there's full landscape support in this update -- something we're surprised wasn't there before. You can also now set a payment preference for specific stores, so for example you can have one credit card set as a default when you pay Amazon, and another to pay Starbucks.

The changelog also notes that Paypal has improved the performance of check scanning, and users should see fewer issues. It has also increased security and a few UI bugfixes, stuff we'll never scoff at in an update. You can grab the app or an update at the Play Store link above.

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