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3 years ago

GroupMe v4.0 exits beta with new design and tablet support

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Group messaging service GroupMe has had an invite-only beta program going for its latest update -- v4.0 -- since early November, and has now finally released it to the Play Store. This latest update brings a complete redesign to the app, with new fonts, colors and layout. It's now easier to send direct messages and access your chats from anywhere in the app with a new slide-out drawer on the left.

Version 4.0 also adds proper tablet support with a distinct UI, which should make many users happy, and GroupMe says that the overall app performance for every type of device should be improved with the latest update. If you're interested in checking out the latest version, head to the Play Store link above.

More: GroupMe Blog

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3 years ago

Videotron to launch LG Nexus 4 on Jan. 30

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Videotron will become the first Canadian carrier to offer LG and Google's Nexus 4 when it launches the device next Wednesday, Jan. 30. The Quebec-based operator posted the confirmation, in French, on its Twitter feed this afternoon. The news comes almost exactly a year after Videotron launched the previous Nexus handset, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus.

So far there's no information available on pricing, but based on how things have panned out in other territories, buyers should expect Videotron's price to be in line with that of other high-end handsets, rather than the cheaper Google Play Store price.

Source: Twitter; via: MobileSyrup

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3 years ago

Pink Motorola Droid RAZR M hits Verizon on Jan. 24

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Just in time for Kansas Day or the all-important Groundhog Day, Verizon today announced that the Motorola Droid RAZR M will be available in pink starting tomorrow, Jan. 24. The pink version will be available in stores as well as online.

And be sure to read our complete RAZR M review (and just pretend it's pink).

UPDATE: Ah. Right. Verizon also says it'll be available for Valentine's Day, which in hindsight makes a little more sense.

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Preorder now: Lloyd Flex Case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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Attention, people of Android Central: You are the first to be put on notice that the Lloyd Flex Case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is now available for preorder (and at quite a savings) from ShopAndroid.com. This is a flexible TPU-style case (that stands for thermoplastic polyurethane, by the way) that'll keep your Note 2 protected from accidental dings and drops. It wraps completely around the phone, with cutouts for the camera and ports -- and the all-important S Pen. And most important, it features Lloyd on the back of the case. 

The Lloyd Flex Case is available for preorder for just $14.95 (that's 25 percent off) and is available in black or clear (as seen here), as well as smoke and green. 

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3 years ago

Nexus 4, two months on ...

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It's been a little more than two months since the LG Nexus 4 first made its way onto Google Play's virtual store shelves. And as we all know all too well, it sold out record fashion. (Or, if you prefer, Google failed to ensure supply kept up with demand even worse than with previous devices.) So it's probably safe to say that those of us with nine or 10 weeks of Nexus 4 usage under our belts are firmly in the minority.

With that in mind, we thought we'd revisit the Nexus 4 ownership experience two months on, and examine how the Android flag-bearer has performed as a daily driver. If you've recently picked up a Nexus 4, or you're still waiting to place your order, here's your chance to find out what the future holds.

Check past the break to find out how well the Nexus 4 has weathered 70 days in the hands of an Android Central editor.

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3 years ago

Finger Army 1942: A whack-a-mole game worth your 99 cents

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We're all familiar with the arcade classic "whack-a-mole" type games, but how does that translate into an Android app? Pretty darn well in Finger Army 1942. Sometimes the most simple games are also the most fun, and it's a recipe that works well here. You basically have a whack-a-mole clone set to the theme of a 1942 battle field, but the second twist is that soldiers are... fingers. Right. Trust us though, it works and is extremely fun.

You progress through levels with increasing difficulty, tapping on the finger soldiers to gain points. As the levels get tougher, more variety of military units are deployed, adding to the variety and fun of the game. Hit the soldiers with metal helmets twice to knock them down, but don't touch the medics or white flag wavers! It only takes a few minutes before you're frantically mashing your fingers on the screen. The game doesn't have any settings or menu really to speak of, lending credence to the idea that this is a true casual screen-masher. Finger Army 1942 brings a bit to the table for all ages, with easy gameplay from the start for younger users and harder advanced levels later on for the more serious player. 

The graphics, sound track and gameplay are all high quality, which just add to the overall game experience. You're not distracted by messy animations or slow performance anywhere in the game. You can tell that the developers (Tin Planet) put a good bit of work into every aspect here. Although it is certainly compatible -- and runs just as great -- with phones we find it the most fun on a tablet (it ran great on a Nexus 7) because you have more screen real estate to work with.

Stick around after the break to see an official gameplay trailer of Finger Army 1942, and if you're interested in the game it can be found for $0.99 in the Play Store at the link above.

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3 years ago

iPhone's Siri was originally headed to Verizon Android phones

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From a Huffington Post feature on the origins of Apple's 'Siri' comes the revelation that the famed voice assistant almost became a poster child for Verizon's line of Android phones. In late 2009, Siri's founders reportedly signed a deal with the carrier that was to bring Siri to its Android phones launching in the new year. HuffPo reports that Verizon even went as far as filming commercials highlighting this unique add-on of Android phones on Big Red -- likely featuring early hero devices like the original Droid.

As we all know, the deal was not to be, and following its acquisition by Apple, Siri re-emerged in October 2011 as an exclusive feature of the then-new iPhone 4S. By that stage, Google would've been well on its way towards bringing its own  voice assistant to life through the Jelly Bean Google Search app and Google Now.

In any case, today's news underscores how differently things might've turned out had the Verizon/Siri deal borne fruit.

Source: Huffington Post; via: The Verge

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3 years ago

UK 4G spectrum auction gets underway today

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After years of delays, the UK's 4G spectrum auction finally gets underway today, with seven organizations -- including the country's four major carriers -- bidding for 28 lots of spectrum across 800MHz and 2600MHz bands. UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom says bidding will continue over several rounds, and that the bidding process may take "several weeks" to complete. The process is designed "[to put] the spectrum in the hands of the bidders who value it most highly, while also ensuring they pay a competitive price," Ofcom says. 

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3 years ago

International Galaxy S2 gets Jelly Bean update and new Nature UX

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The official Jelly Bean update for the international Samsung Galaxy S2 (GT-i9100) has started to roll out, starting with unlocked handsets in Spain. The update is based on Android 4.1.2, and features all the benefits you'd expect from that version of the OS, including "Project Butter" performance enhancements and the new Google Search with Google Now.

What's also new is the "TouchWiz Nature UX" from Samsung's 2012 line-up, which has been back-ported to the Galaxy S2 along with Jelly Bean. This means S2 owners will be in for some pretty sweeping visual changes when they apply this latest firmware update. (The ICS update for 2011 Samsung phones was of course based upon the older TouchWiz 4 UI.) Galaxy S2 owners are also set to inherit a bunch of Galaxy S3 features in their Jelly Bean update, including Direct Call, Smart Stay and Pop-up Play (picture-in-picture video).

Right now the update is only available for Spanish Galaxy S2 phones, so other territories may have to wait a few days or weeks for localized firmware to be released. In particular, we wouldn't hold our breath for an immediate release on any of the U.S. Galaxy S2 models. Regardless, it's great to see the latest updates rolling out for an almost two-year-old handset.

Source: SamMobile, via XDA

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 back in stock on T-Mobile website

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We heard last week that the Nexus 4 would be back up for sale from T-Mobile directly starting January 23rd, and it has shown up right on time. Provided you're willing to sign up for 2 years on a Classic Plan at T-Mobile the 16GB Nexus 4 can be yours for $199.99, or if you decide to keep it off-contract (seriously consider this route) you can have it for $499.99 after mail-in rebate.

We're not sure how many are available, but hopefully it's enough to at least let some people have their chance at the latest Nexus. As for proper availability in the Play Store at $299 and $349... who knows. Here's hoping that this new wave of stock to T-Mobile means there's more on the way to Google as well.

Source: T-Mobile; Thanks, Frank!

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3 years ago

New LagFix application promises to fix mystery lag on some devices

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LagFix is an app (rooted phones only) with an unimaginative name that uses a standard Linux tool to help fix "lag" on Android devices. Lag is a term that gets thrown around pretty liberally, without any real definition attached to it. In this case, I'm familiar with the tool being used so I know what this app attempts to address -- times when your system is stopped, waiting on the memory controller to be told which storage blocks are free and which are in use, so it knows where it can write data to the device storage. While this is happening, the system is halted until the memory controller gets the answer it needs. This is a standard process in every operating system, and in reality is a lot more complicated than I've explained here. For our purposes today, this covers the important things to know.

This can be done on the fly (and this is how stock Android does things) or it can be done using a Linux utility called Fstrim. When a stock Android system does it on the fly while data is being written, sometimes some folks (this is important, and we'll talk more about it later) see their device slow down while the memory controller is waiting to know which storage blocks are in use, and which are free. People call this a form of lag, and lag is universally hated. 

A solution, one often used on Linux desktops, is to use the Fstrim utility. It goes through the storage and tells the memory controller which blocks are really free, and which are in use. The memory controller doesn't have to ask, because it has just been told. Eventually, this all changes and the memory controller needs told again. On the desktop, people set up Fstrim to run at a specific interval to keep things in sync. 

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3 years ago

AT&T buys Alltel for $780 million, gains spectrum and 585,000 customers

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AT&T has announced today that it will completely acquire the Alltel brand and assets from Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. for $780 million in cash. This purchase encompasses all of the Alltel assets, from spectrum, network licenses and wireless properties to retail store locations and about 585,000 subscribers. That's a good number of customers that will come under the AT&T umbrella, but what's likely more valuable is the spectrum holdings that AT&T will gain.

Alltel currently operates mostly in rural areas of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina -- covering about 4.6 million people. Spectrum gains in these areas are in the 700, 850 and 1900MHz bands, which compliments AT&T's network deployment nicely. It's a cheap, all cash acquisition that will help AT&T continue its LTE rollout into the future.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

Google reiterates Motorola still in transitional phase, with 12- to 18-month product roadmap

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As part of its Q4 2012 earnings call, Google execs expanded on the current status of Motorola, the division's financials and future integration between the companies. Responding to a question about the current state of Motorola's financials, Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette reiterated that when Google purchased Motorola it inherited a 12- to 18-month product pipeline that isn't easily changeable. Google bought Motorola, which already had products promised to customers. That's business.

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3 years ago

Google CEO: Fixing supply woes 'a priority for our team'

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Larry Page, from this afternoon's Q4 2012 earnings call:

Clearly, there’s work to be done managing our supply better, as well as building a great customer experience.  And that is a priority for the teams.

Certainly nothing there we didn't know -- the Nexus 4 is still unavailable on Google Play, and the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tend to come and go as well.

But it is nice to hear the boss acknowledge it.

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3 years ago

Google's Q4 2012: Revenue at $14.42 billion, not counting Motorola

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Google has just posted its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012. The big strokes:

  • Some $14.42 billion in revenue, up 36 percent compared to Q4 of 2011. 
  • Motorola, which Google continues to operate as a separate company, saw revenue of $1.51 billion, but an operating loss of $353 million. 
  • Google has about $48 billion cash on hand
  • Google's head count remained relatively even to Q3, with some 37,544 at Google proper, 11,113 at Motorola Mobility and 5,204 at Motorola Home.

Google's earnings call is coming up in a few minutes. We'll kibitz for any Android-specific news.

Source: Google

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