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3 years ago

Xperia S Jelly Bean firmware to bring display mirroring, phone finder and new lock screen

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We got our first look at Sony's new Jelly Bean-based Android firmware last week on the Xperia Z. While visually similar to earlier Sony software, there were new features waiting to be discovered beneath the surface. These included new power management options, a re-vamped lock screen and a new phone locator feature.

Fortunately for owners of earlier Xperias, it seems Sony is hard at work porting many of these new features back to its high-end 2012 phones. A leaked Jelly Bean ROM for the Xperia S that's emerged over on XDA shows features display mirroring, "Find My Xperia," the new "shutter"-based lock screen and "extended standby mode" for enhanced power saving. (For the technically-minded, the Linux kernel version has also been bumped from 3.08 up to 3.4.)

The "Find My Xperia" feature references MyXperia.com, a site which currently appears to be in private beta. It's likely this is a "Find My iPhone" style service designed to track lost and stolen devices.

This means that when the Jelly Bean update arrives for Xperia S owners, they'll be able to enjoy many of the new features of the newer Xperia Z. The same should also apply to the Xperia T, which being a more recent handset is scheduled to get Jelly Bean before the Xperia S.

The Xperia S is due to get its Jelly Bean update around April, following the Xperia T in late Q1.

Source: XDA; via: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Note 2 getting an update

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A quick heads up for those of you who own the Verizon Galaxy Home Button, erm, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 -- a software update is currently coming down the pike. We don't know exactly what's in version LL4 (Verizon's usually excellent upgrade info pages are currently failing us), but it's looking like the Exynos exploit is targeted, and that'd make sense, seeing as how other Samsung devices have been updated for the same thing this week.

Update: OK. The changelog is as follows:

  • Android Security Patch added for additional security.

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3 years ago

Pantech Discover review

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With an attractive price and build quality, the Discover is an interesting proposition. But will its notable shortcomings have you looking elsewhere?

Pantech, much like other smartphone manufacturers, is trying to make the tricky transition from carrier-branded spec devices to its own flagships. But making a name for yourself when few know your brand -- or worse, know it only alongside low-end phones -- is a tough proposition. Pantech is hoping to step up its game for the start of 2013 with this device, the mid-range Discover on AT&T, currently available for $50 on contract.

Cheap on-contract phones in the U.S. have always been in an awkward position. Their only chance at being purchased is one of confusion, to be honest. When comparing to higher end devices that are also on contract, the difference in up-front pricing is miniscule compared to the cost of service for the 2-year contract period. Saving $50 or $100 over the life of a $2,500 contract is nothing, yet eager-to-buy and less-informed consumers make the choice every day. This being said, does the Pantech Discover have what it takes to make you choose it when there are formidable competitors at about the same price? Read on and find out.

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3 years ago

Leaks suggest LG 'Optimus G Pro' coming with faster CPU, bigger battery, 1080p screen

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The Optimus G might be just a few months old, but LG may already have a successor in the works, if the latest round of leaked information is to be believed. The image above was sent to Engadget by an anonymous tipster, and it appears to show an "Optimus G Pro"  device headed to Japanese carrier NTT Docomo. Adding weight to those reports is a list of specs on Japanese site Blog of Mobile, one that matches the details shown in this image.

If all of this is accurate, we're looking at a slightly upgraded Optimus G with a 5-inch, 1920x1080 (full HD) screen, a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU (up from 1.5GHz), 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a massive 3000mAh battery. And with measurements of 139.0x70.0x10.0mm and a weight of 160 grams, we're looking at a lot of smartphone here. On the software side, an Android 4.1-based OS is rumored.

Big-screen, high resolution devices look set to become commonplace at the high end of the Android smartphone spectrum in 2013. We've already seen Verizon's Droid DNA, Sony's Xperia Z and Huawei's Ascend D2, and HTC and Samsung are rumored to have new designs based on "full HD" panels in the works.

The Optimus G Pro is reportedly fitted with a 13MP rear camera and 2.4MP front-facer, and it appears the position of the camera assembly's been changed a bit too. One small shot of the phone's rear shows it placed centrally, as opposed to in the top left corner. Also significant is the change back to a physical home button, similar to the Optimus L series (and the Samsung Galaxy S2 before that.) You'll recall the original Optimus G featured all-capacitive keys.

If LG does have a refreshed "Optimus G Pro" in the works, Mobile World Congress would be the likely announcement venue. The company announced more than half a dozen phones there last year, What's more, its French wing has already confirmed a European Optimus G launch for March, so it's possible we might see the G Pro launching alongside the original in these new territories. Whatever happens, we'll be on the ground in Barcelona in just over five weeks to bring you full coverage of the show.

Source: Engadget, Blog of Mobile

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3 years ago

Second Carbon backup beta brings Dropbox support

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Let us turn now to the other Carbon app for Android (no, not that one -- this one), which today has seen its second beta release. This Carbon serves as a way to back up your app and, perhaps more important your app data, and move both between devices. 

This second beta brings Dropbox support, gives more control over what you can back up (more apps at once, or all apps), and you can choose to backup everything at once, if you want. This one's still a root-only thing, but Koush says that should change with the third and final beta release.

Source: @Koushik Dutta

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3 years ago

Samsung gives details on Note 10.1, Galaxy Tab 2 updates

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The Jelly Bean update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 2 actually started pushing a few days ago, but today Samsung's giving us the full details on the updates. They're lengthy, and chances are you've discovered many of the changes already.

Hit the break for the full list.

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3 years ago

Android Central 122: The CES hangover, ridiculous Nexus rumors

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Audio-only stream below

Phil and Alex are back from CES in Las Vegas and get grilled incessantly by by Jerry about Sony, NVIDIA and bodies buried in the desert. Plus, Carbon for Android may be back, and we get catch up on some excellent voicemails. Welcome to the Android Central Podcast!

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3 years ago

LG Optimus G sells 1 million units, reportedly heading to Europe and China in Q1

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Reports out of Korea today cite a milestone figure for LG Optimus G sales, and information on the device's arrival finally in Europe. Since the launch of the Optimus G in the latter part of 2012, LG says they have sold more than 1 million of the phones. While this pales in comparison to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3, not to mention the iPhone, considering the limited availability of the Optimus G it's not all that bad. 

Currently available in Korea, Japan, Canada and the United States, an LG spokesperson has hinted that the company  reportedly plans to continue their push on the Optimus G throughout the first quarter of this year. Before Q1 is out, the intention is to ship the Optimus G in several European markets and in China. 

LG is on the increase in terms of smartphone sales, in Q3 they bested their previous best figures for smartphone sales, and that was before the Nexus 4. LG's next set of earnings are due to be released on Jan. 30 for Q4 2012, and it will be interesting to see what comes out of that. 

Source: Yonhap News Agency via The Next Web

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3 years ago

Samsung reportedly launching Galaxy XCover 2 at Mobile World Congress

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What we see here is reported to be the latest, rough and tough, rugged smartphone from Samsung. The follow up to the original Galaxy Xcover, the aptly named Xcover 2 has leaked out to the guys over at Sammobile and is reportedly set to launch at Mobile World Congress in February. 

It's been a couple of years since the original Xcover was announced, and like its predecessor, the Xcover 2 isn't looking like much of a specs powerhouse. But then, that's not necessarily why someone would buy one anyway. It's running Samsung's latest Nature UX on top of some version of Jelly Bean, although Sammobile couldn't offer an answer to which at this stage. 

It feels a little like a ruggedized version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini in truth, but with a little more juice in the battery. Leaked specs include a 1700mAh battery, a 4 inch 480x800 display, 5MP rear camera, 0.3MP front facing camera and 4GB of on board storage, expandable via microSD card support. 

The original Xcover was IP67 dirt, dust and water resistant, and we'd expect nothing less for the follow up. Needless to say these sort of phones aren't for everyone, but for some people they are essential. 

Of course, we'll be at Mobile World Congress next month, so anything we do see, we'll be bringing to you all as it happens. 

Source: Sammobile

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3 years ago

Google moving UK operations into new, £1 billion HQ in London in 2015

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According to a joint statement issued, Google has purchased a 2.4 acre plot of land in London on which to construct a brand new base for their UK operations. Construction on the new, 1 million square foot headquarters in London is scheduled to begin by the end of 2013 subject to approval, with staff moving in sometime in 2015. 

The move represents a huge investment from Google, not just financially, but in reviving part of London. The new site, located next to Kings Cross railway station, is being revived as part of a plan to create 67 acres of land filled with homes, offices and retail space. 

The deal is reportedly worth £1 billion, and will see Google amalgamate their two current London offices in Victoria and on St Giles High Street into one. The other Google offices in Manchester will reportedly remain. 

In the statement issued, Matt Brittin, VP of Google for Northern and Central Europe said:

“This is a big investment by Google. We’re committing further to the U.K. -- where computing and the web were invented. It’s good news for Google, for London and for the UK"

At a time when so many UK based businesses are facing difficult times, the investment from Google is extremely important. Equally important will be Google's increased presence in the UK. 

Image: Current Google UK HQ, courtesy of The Telegraph

via Bloomberg, The Guardian

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3 years ago

Chrome Beta update fixes issues, has a new icon

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Since a proper Chrome Beta channel app came into the Play Store, we knew we'd be in for some frequent updates. Alongside a new icon that has a black/white "BETA" tag on it, rather than the angled grey/white one before, this update brings many small fixes:

  • 165783 - Enable compositing scrollable frames on Android
  • 168368 - Chrome progress bar should be displayed as soon as the user clicks a link
  • 165244 - Text handler jumps or disappears when moving
  • 162486 - iframe scrolling broken

There are still some glaring bugs, as is the case with Beta releases, such as yahoo.com page links not working and some intense graphical glitches on certain devices. This is all part of the fun though, and we know what we're getting into when moving to the Beta channel of a browser.

You can't find Chrome Beta by searching the Play Store, so if you're interested in staying on the bleeding edge of browser updates you can install it directly from the link at the top of this post.

Source: Chrome Release Changelog

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3 years ago

A non-official XBMC build released, promises a new level of user friendliness

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XBMC, the well known open-source program that brings a set-top style media player experience to almost any device, has a new custom build tonight from the folks at XBMC for Android. This version is still filled with all the goodies you expect from XBMC -- things like the awesome meta data scraping XBMC is famous for -- and has a few twists that should make it easy to set up and use.

The biggest difference with this particular build is the way a third party media player can be integrated. As of now, XBMC built stock for Android does not support hardware rendering in the player. To fix this, the folk at XBMC for Android have integrated support for MX Player to handle all the heavy lifting, while still using XBMC's interface and options.

Take a look at the source link and give it a go if you've been waiting to try XBMC on your Android device. 

Source: XBMC for Android

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3 years ago

HTC Butterfly reportedly set to launch in India by end of January

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HTC's global 5-incher, the (J)Butterfly, so far hasn't made any kind of official appearances outside of a select few Asian markets, notably China and Japan. Hopes were raised, then dashed, of some kind of European availability, as we were informed the Butterfly -- without the 'J' -- would initially only be launching in China.

Since then, at least one global retailer has managed to snag some to sell on, but the next market to receive the device in an official capacity may well be India. According to well placed sources of Indian Android blog, AndroidOS.in, the Butterfly will be available by the end of January at a cost of INR 44,000. The launch is reportedly set to take place sometime in the next fortnight, with availability likely beginning the same day. 

India is a rapidly growing smartphone market, in particular in terms of Android smartphones. The reported price of the Butterfly will make it the most expensive smartphone on sale in the country, but with a 5 inch 1080p display, Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2GB of RAM inside, the specs at least back up a more premium asking price. 

Source: AndroidOS.in

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3 years ago

Ingress update brings UI improvements and performance fixes

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Everyone's favorite "walk around town and look awkward" game, Ingress, was just updated to version 1.18.1 today. It's a pretty mundane update overall, but with several improvements that should make users eager to update and get back out there. On the user-facing front, we're seeing UI improvements in various places, as well as enhancements in animations (Google specifically notes "XMP explosion animations.) On the back end there are many bug fixes included, along with improved memory usage and faster app resume times for any device with an Adreno GPU. Anyone who has played a lot of Ingress knows it can be a bit sluggish when resuming.

The changelog notes that there's still one big known bug, that portal shields are nearly invisible when viewing them from the map view. Hopefully that one gets squashed in the next update as well.

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3 years ago

Press app updated with background sync, quick-navigation and more

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The folks at TwentyFive Squares have updated the Press app, bringing the most requested features to the popular Google Reader application. Ignoring the important  "performance enhancements and bug fixes" that accompany every application update, the new feature list looks impressive.

  • Quick article navigation to go to next/previous articles -- Use the volume keys to move backwards and forwards inside your article list. Enable this in settings.
  • Background/automatic syncing -- enable frequency of background syncing in the app settings.
  • Sync on app launch -- Your Reader feeds will sync when the Press app is opened.
  • Background syncing notifications -- Get notifications when background syncing finds new content.
  • New text-alignment options -- Left, Right, and Center justification supported.
  • Show image title and URL in the image viewer -- No more guessing at image URLs.
  • Date and time formats now match device settings
  • Article title is now included when sharing to social networks

We're fans of the Press app here, and it looks like this is an awesome update. Check Google Play for your update notification, or if you're looking to try Press for the first time ($1.99; Android 4 or higher) you can click the Google Play link above.

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