3 years ago

Google+ now allowing the use of nicknames and other established identities


A longstanding bone of contention when registering for a Google+ profile was that you were required to use your actual name. Google had gone so far as to delete entire accounts based on psuedonyms. But Google has finally decided to allow for these nicknames and other established identities to be used on Google+, which is definitely a huge plus for folks out there who have built themselves around the alternative identity. While they will still be watching over the nicknames, and have restrictions put in place, this is definitely a huge step in the right direction. 

Source: Google+ Names Policy; via: +Bradley Horowitz

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3 years ago

Android Central weekly photo contest: Transportation


We're back for the second weekly Android Central photo contest, and this week's theme is transportation.  Anything that you use to get from point A to point B is fair game (see our example photo above), and we're looking forward to seeing another round of great pictures from you guys and gals.  Come Sunday, we'll pick the cream of the crop and show them all off (check out last week's finalists, they're amazing) -- and the winner this week get's an extended battery from ShopAndroid.com for his or her phone so they can carry a bit of extra juice and take a few more pictures.  We've also adjusted the rules a little, so read the next bit carefully:

  • Pictures must be taken with an Android device.  Yes, your iPhone or DSLR takes great pictures, but we're all about Android here.
  • Only one picture per person.  If you send in more than one, even if it's the best one, you're disqualified.
  • Entries must be accompanied by the name of the phone (or tablet) used to take them, and the name you want used for photo credit should you make the final cut. In other words, we want to know which phone you used!
  • Photos must be sent as an attachement.  With so many entries, we just don't have time to visit your Picasa or Flickr album.

Pick out your best photo, and send it to pics@androidcentral.com.  Good luck to everyone!

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3 years ago

Huawei Honor Review


With a new Android device announced ever hour, it takes a lot to make a device stand out from the crowd. Some devices are marketed heavily, some bring new features and others just fall to the wayside after announcement, and the Huawei Honor is a handset that falls in the middle of a bunch of these categories. Claims of three-day battery life certainly piqued our interest, but we'll have to get this in the States first before we'll celebrate too much. But that didn't slow us down at all. We got the Honor in our hands, and it's time to put it through its paces.

Could the Huawei Honor bring enough to the table to make some folks want to import the device, or to make it a daily driver for those who are able to purchase and make use of it? Let’s hit the break and take a look at how it rates.

The Huawei Honor offers a solid build quality, large screen, fast processor and a demo ICS ROM already.

The self-proclaimed amazing battery life was anything but, and the 8-megapixel camera disappointed. Currently unavailable in the U.S.

The hardware is very well built and the Honor runs rather smoothly. We can expect to see support for ICS on this device since we already saw the demo ROM available, and with multiple colors available the device is sure to meet your style requirements.

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3 years ago

Android A to Z: What is a kernel?


What is a kernel?  If you spend any time reading Android forums, blogs, how-to posts or online discussion you'll soon hear people talking about the kernel.  A kernel isn't something unique to Android -- iOS and MacOS have one, Windows has one, BlackBerry's QNX has one, in fact all high level operating systems have one.  The one we're interested in is Linux, as it's the one Android uses. Let's try to break down what it is and what it does.

Android devices use the Linux kernel, but it's not the exact same kernel other Linux-based operating systems use.  There's a lot of Android specific code built in, and Google's Android kernel maintainers have their work cut out for them.  OEMs have to contribute as well, because they need to develop hardware drivers for the parts they're using for the kernel version they're using.  This is why it takes a while for independent Android developers and hackers to port new versions to older devices and get everything working.  Drivers written to work with the Gingerbread kernel on a phone won't necessarily work with the Ice Cream Sandwich kernel.  And that's important, because one of the kernel's main functions is to control the hardware.  It's a whole lot of source code, with more options while building it than you can imagine, but in the end it's just the intermediary between the hardware and the software.

When software needs the hardware to do anything, it sends a request to the kernel.  And when we say anything, we mean anything.  From the brightness of the screen, to the volume level, to initiating a call through the radio, even what's drawn on the display is ultimately controlled by the kernel.  For example -- when you tap the search button on your phone, you tell the software to open the search application.  What happens is that you touched a certain point on the digitizer, which tells the software that you've touched the screen at those coordinates.  The software knows that when that particular spot is touched, the search dialog is supposed to open.  The kernel is what tells the digitizer to look (or listen, events are "listened" for) for touches, helps figure out where you touched, and tells the system you touched it.  In turn, when the system receives a touch event at a specific point from the kernel (through the driver) it knows what to draw on your screen.  Both the hardware and the software communicate both ways with the kernel, and that's how your phone knows when to do something.  Input from one side is sent as output to the other, whether it's you playing Angry Birds, or connecting to your car's Bluetooth.  

It sounds complicated, and it is.  But it's also pretty standard computer logic -- there's an action of some sort generated for every event.  Without the kernel to accept and send information, developers would have to write code for every single event for every single piece of hardware in your device.  With the kernel, all they have to do is communicate with it through the Android system API's, and hardware developers only have to make the device hardware communicate with the kernel.  The good thing is that you don't need to know exactly how or why the kernel does what it does, just understanding that it's the go-between from software to hardware gives you a pretty good grasp of what's happening under the glass.  Sort of gives a whole new outlook towards those fellows who stay up all night to work on kernels for your phone, doesn't it?

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


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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus extended battery (GSM) - a photo tour


Taking a look at the GSM Galaxy Nexus extended battery

The international version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus ships with an ample 1750 mAh battery, which provides decent battery life while maintaining the phone's low profile. As we said in our review, most people shouldn't have any trouble getting through a full day of use with the stock battery.

However, sometimes you just need a little more juice, and that's where Samsung's official extended battery for the GSM Galaxy Nexus comes in. It's a larger 2000 mAh battery pack which gives you a few more hours of use in exchange for a little extra bulk. To clarify, this is different to the 2100 mAh extended battery for Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners -- the Verizon and GSM models use different batteries.

Before we begin, a couple of things to note -- firstly, this is an official Samsung extended battery, as you might've guessed by the logos on the back of the battery door. Secondly, the only way to get hold of this battery, for now, is to import it from South Korea. We hope we'll see broader international availability in the future.

The GSM extended battery comes with a larger battery door to accommodate its slightly thicker size, as you'll see in the animation below. This means the phone isn't as ridiculously thin as with the stock battery, but we found that the slightly raised bulge around the back of the phone actually made it easier to hold. That's a matter of personal preference, though, and you certainly won't notice the extra couple of millimeters when it's in your pocket. Also, even with the extra bulk around the back, the phone manage to fit its way into the couple of protective cases we tried, including the Case-Mate Barely There case, and the Qmadix Snap-on Cover with Holster.

View a larger version of this animation

The new battery door is built to the same high standards as the one in the box. Same "hyperskin" texture, same logos. The battery itself contains an NFC antenna, just like the original, and we confirmed that NFC was indeed functional with the extended battery installed.

So how about performance? Well, we've been using the 2000 mAh extended battery for around 36 hours, and in that time we've noticed it gives us around 4 to 5 extra hours with moderate-to-high usage. On a less scientific level, we've noticed that it just seems to hold charge better. We've included a few battery usage screenshots after the jump, and given the performance we've seen out of the extended battery so far, we think we'd be hard pushed to run this thing down in under a day.

As ever, we'll keep you posted with further impressions as we spend more time with the new battery. We've got a couple of screenshots and some more photos after the jump.

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3 years ago

The Wiggles are coming to Android


Attention all parents: The Wiggles are coming to Android. Repeat: The Wiggles are coming to Android. Ruckus Media Group today announced that it's been granted worldwide rights to come up with an iOS and Android storybook apps for smartphones and tablets. The first titles will arrive in iTunes in April, and on Android later in the year.

For those of you without kids, the Wiggles are an Australian children's music group and have sold more than 24 million DVDs, 8 million CDs and 8 million books worldwide. 

The Wiggles Android app will fill yet another niche in Android children's apps. We've seen a plethora of kids apps released over the past year or so, including "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a number of books by popular children's author Sandra Boynton, and "Winnie the Pooh, What's a Bear to Do."

Source: Press release; Also: See more Android kids apps

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3 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Airplane Lloyd


Today's Free Android wallpaper is a familiar character, brought to us by a familiar name. Derek Kesser -- editor of webOS Nation -- has been doing some 3D modelling of everyone's favorite Android mascot, our very own Lloyd. And Lloyd's about to take off, from the looks of it.  

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3 years ago

LG reportedly bringing CX2 (aka the Optimus 3D 2) to Mobile World Congress


It's been approximately 254 days since (give or take) the last 3D-capable Android smartphone was announced. Two hundred fifty-four glorious days of not squinting, not forcing 3D pictures on our friends and family. 

There's a good chance that in a month, we'll see that 3D-less streak come to an end. A new render of a 3D LG device -- possibly to be dubbed the Optimus 3D 2 (awkward) or the LG CX2 (only slightly less awkward) -- has come from Pocketnow. You can see the stereoscopic cameras -- as in two of them -- buried beneath that watermark, and indeed it would surprise us not one bit to see it unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Specs are a tad better than the original Optimus 3D (read our full review), with a 4.3-inch NOVA display powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. DLNA, NFC and other standard smartphone specs are said to be tucked in there as well.

Source: Pocketnow

Should 3D phones die in a fire?

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3 years ago

Galaxy Nexus case review: Case-Mate Barely There case


Case-Mate's "Barely There" series of cases has a reputation for offering a good level of protection against knocks and bumps, without turning your phone into a bulky, unpocketable brick. The latest Barely There case for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus continues this tradition, with a sturdy yet sleek design that covers the most vulnerable areas of the device.


The case has a soft touch finish all over, which means it feels great in the hand, and its sleek lines fit in well with the rounded design of the Galaxy Nexus. As you'd expect from a premium case, you also get cut-outs for all your major ports and buttons, including the rear speakers and noise-cancelling microphones. While it doesn't provide all-over protection, the Barely There case for the Galaxy Nexus strikes a good balance between protection and aesthetics. One particularly useful feature is the raised lip around the left and right edges, which raises the device up slightly when it's laid flat, protecting the screen from scratches.

The Case-Mate Barely There case fits both the Verizon LTE Galaxy Nexus and  international GSM version, so whichever model you have, you'll be good to go.

We've got more photos after the break.

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3 years ago

Sony Ericsson details GLONASS support in Xperia phones


Sony (Ericsson) has taken to its mobile Developer World blog to confirm thats 2011 Xperia smartphones, as well as the recently-announced Xperia S and Xperia Ion, fully support the Russian GLONASS positioning service in addition to GPS. GLONASS is run by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces, and performs similar tasks to GPS, but operates independently of it. By using information from both systems, it's possible to get a more accurate fix of your location in built-up areas where GPS alone may struggle.

Sony says that all its devices equipped with Snadragon S2 and S3 chips fully support both GLONASS and GPS for improved location-tracking accuracy. That means if you have a 2011 Xperia phone, or you're planning on picking up an Xperia S or Ion, you may have an edge over devices which only support GPS. For more technical info, head over to SE's blog post in the source link.

Source: SE Developer World

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Ion unlocked pre-order price emerges


It's been barely a couple of weeks since AT&T and Sony took the wraps off the Xperia Ion at CES, but already the device is starting to show up for pre-order, along with early pricing information. Right now Negri Electronics is listing the (unlocked, SIM-free) Ion with a tentative pre-order price of $569.50. Of course, having an unlocked version of an AT&T phone isn't particularly useful in the US, as you'll be limited to EDGE connectivity if you try to use this thing on T-Mobile.

Negri's spec list also shows that the Ion supports 3G/HSPA on 2100MHz, which means that if you plan on using your Ion in Europe or parts of Asia, you won't be stuck on 2G. For more on the Ion, as well as its international cousin the Xperia S, check out our side-by-side comparison video.

Source: Negri Electronics

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3 years ago

Samsung: one in four Korean phone users has a Galaxy S II


Following the reports last October of global Galaxy S series sales topping 30 million, Samsung says that South Korean sales of its flagship device, the Galaxy S II, have exceeded 5 million units. To put that into perspective, South Korea contains around 48 million human beings, of which some 20 million are mobile phone users. Some basic number crunching will tell you that suggests that a quarter of mobile phone users -- or more than 10% of the country's entire population -- now own a Galaxy S II.

In terms of overall market share across all mobile phones, Sammy now claims to hold 53 percent of the Korean market, seeing off competition from Apple, as well as local rival LG.

Source: Samsung (Korean)

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3 years ago

Pantech Burst, Element now on sale at AT&T


The Pantech Element tablet and Burst smartphone made up a third of the half-dozen LTE devices that AT&T announced at its annual Developer Summit. And, now, they're available for purchase. You can get the Element, an 8-inch water resistant tablet, and the Burst, a 4-inch smartphone, by themselves for $300 and $50 each, respectively, on contract. Or, you can buy them together for $250 total (with a couple lines to pay for, however).

More at AT&T: Pantech Element, Pantech Burst
See our hands on: Pantech Element, Pantech Burst

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3 years ago

Monday Brief: New RIM CEO, iPad textbooks, Iconia A200, new webOS czar, Windows Phone to overtake iPhone?

3 years ago

Android developer Stephen Erickson open-sources his BusyBox installer -- we're all free to learn from it


If you're an Android hacker or developer, you know about BusyBox.  For the lay-people among us, it's a utility that extends the limited commands provided by the Android toolkit in the shell -- copying and renaming files, reading and writing data, that sort of thing.  Here's a chance to learn a little more, as Stephen Erickson has open-sourced his BusyBox installer application.  A look at the source will show you not only how to download and install BusyBox, but how to add all sorts of shell commands and assets to your custom application.  You can then add these commands into custom menus in your ROM, or even write your own Android app with a little more study.  It's things like that make us all love open-source software.  Thanks, Stephen!

Source:Google Code pages; via +Stephen Erickson

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