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3 years ago

Updated Google Search on iOS on par with Android

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Google today let loose a new version of its Search app for iOS devices. Is it as good as the voice search you find in Android and Google Now? When it comes to results, yes. That is to say, when we took Google's test questions for a spin, using Google Now to launch the search (just because we felt like it) we got the same results -- in just about the same response time -- on a Galaxy Nexus as we did on iOS 6.

Why'd we use the same questions Google highlighted on its blog post announcing the update? For one simple reason: Siri, for want of an better term, sucks. And anyone who's ever tried to do the same searches Apple showcased in its advertisements is quite possibly still waiting for an answer. So we wanted to put Google's examples to the test. And we threw in one wild card at the end.

How'd they stack up? Pretty evenly matched, I think. You'd expect the results to be the same, of course. Response time is what I was really curious about. Have a gander at the video after the break and see for yourself.

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3 years ago

Ask AC: When will my current Nexus get Android 4.2?

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Android 4.2 is official! So is the LG Nexus 4! But what about all those current Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7s out there? They're going to get an update to Android 4.2, right? Most certainly. And we're willing to bet the Nexus S goes along for the ride as well.

One thing we don't quite know is when, but we can take a pretty good stab at it. The LG Nexus 4 goes on sale Nov. 13. Don't expect an over-the-air update to push before then, and chances are it'll be at least a few days after that, too. We'll also probably see the Android 4.2 code drop into the Android Open Source Project repositories before any OTA update takes place.

In other words, get your finger off that update button, folks. More than likely you've got a couple weeks of waiting ahead of you. (Though if Google wants to push the button early, you won't hear us complaining.)

More: Google Nexus forums

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3 years ago

How to try out a Nexus 4 (and GSM) with no commitment

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The Nexus 4 has a whole lot of features to be excited about -- that is, unless you're on Verizon or Sprint here in the states. For reasons you can probably figure out on your own, Google has decided to only launch an unlocked GSM model of the Nexus 4, and offer it around the world. This means no LTE -- fear not, it has DC-HSPA+ 42mbps -- but it also keeps the price insanely low. At $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) without a contract, it's an extremely tempting proposition.

But as we noted earlier, what if you're on a CDMA carrier? Well there are actually some compelling options if you'd like to "test drive" a Nexus 4 -- and GSM -- before you commit to making it your primary device.

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3 years ago

Google's Matias Duarte answers burning Nexus questions

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Android interface design guru and shirt connoisseur Matias Duarte has taken to Google+ to answer fans' questions about the upcoming Nexus devices and Android 4.2.

One of the first subjects tackled in the G+ post was the new system button placement on Android 4.2 tablets like the Nexus 10. The new Samsung Nexus tablet, unlike predecessors like the Motorola Xoom, ditches a split system bar and notification area, instead opting for a Nexus 7-like status bar up top. Duarte says this is about keeping the Android experience consistent and simple across multiple categories of device --

This new configuration is based on usability research we did on all of the different form factors and screen sizes that Android runs on. What mattered most of all was muscle memory - keeping the buttons where you expect them, no matter how you hold the device.

Duarte says that in Jelly Bean, the system buttons automatically gravitate towards the bottom of the device, unless doing so would reduce the available vertical space too much.

In addition, Duarte addressed the question of SD cards, which are absent from Google's Nexus devices --

Everybody likes the idea of having an SD card, but in reality it's just confusing for users. If you’re saving photos, videos or music, where does it go? Is it on your phone? Or on your card? Should there be a setting? Prompt everytime? What happens to the experience when you swap out the card? It’s just too complicated.

That's the user experience side of the argument, but if you want to get a bit more technical, you should check out Jerry Hildenbrand's take on why Google's Nexus devices lack removable storage.

More: Why Nexus devices have no SD card

Source: +Matias Duarte

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3 years ago

Open webOS on the Galaxy Nexus is starting to look good

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Work continues on Open webOS for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (and likely will for some time), and today the webOS Ports team has brought a video of UI scaling. As you can see, it's looking more and more like a working smartphone user interface (and animation is getting pretty smooth, too), though we wouldn't recommend getting anywhere near this as a daily driver yet.

More: webOS-Ports; webOS Nation

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3 years ago

No Tricks, Just Treats Halloween Sale - Save 15% on ALL Accessories at ShopAndroid.com!

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Boooo!!! Scared yet? No? Good. We're looking to help you make it a HAPPY HALLOWEEN this year by celebrating with savings across our Mobile Nations stores. Until Thursday, Nov. 1, at Midnight PST, you can save 15% on ALL Android Accessories at ShopAndroid.com using coupon code treat2012 at checkout. And if you have non-Android devices in the house (and we know some of you do), you can use the same coupon code at our ShopCrackBerryiMore and Windows Phone stores.

Don't forget, we have free shipping on US and Canada orders over $50, and great low cost international shipping options available as well. Don't be scared out of these savings ... click the link below to get started!

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3 years ago

ZTE take 4th place in the smartphone manufacturing wars - but for how long?

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ZTE has today announced that it is ranked as the 4th biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world as of Q3 2012, superseding HTC. Shipping 7.5 million handsets in a quarter is not to be sniffed at, but we suspect they're still a long way off the top spot.

It'll interesting to see how things change over the next couple of quarters. In Q3 this year ZTE were only 0.1% in front of RIM who are still holding on, but with BlackBerry 10 on the horizon they too could move up the rankings next year.

In addition, we have just seen Windows Phone 8 officially launch. If sales are good for the updated OS, this will not do ZTE any favors in the short term as they don't have a WP8 device ready as yet.

It's always a tough race with smartphone figures, but catching up Apple and Samsung will be a super tough challenge. Only time will tell.

You can catch the full press release below the fold.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 starts shipping in Canada

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Samsung is now shipping out the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 across Canadian retailers and will be available to buy at most stores in the next two weeks. Last we heard, TELUS, WIND, and Mobilicity would be offering the phone, and since then Bell and Rogers have confirmed that they'll have it. In fact, Rogers and Bell are already taking orders online for $199 on a three-year contract. (Update: TELUS just dropped us a line to let us know that they're facing delays and won't have the device until later this week at the earliest.) To celebrate the launch, Samsung has Psy of Gangnam Style fame performing in Toronto tonight.

You can get a deep-dive with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in our hands-on video, but here's a quick run-down.

  • Network: 3G: HSPA+ 21Mbps (HSDPA 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps); 4G LTE: 100Mbps/ 50Mbps
  • Processor: 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
  • Display: 5.5” HD Super AMOLED (1,280 x 720)
  • OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Camera: Main(Rear): 8 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash, BSI; Sub(Front): 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera, BSI; Best Photo, Best Faces, Low light shot
  • GPS: A-GPS; Glonass
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth® v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support) LE; USB 2.0 Host; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi HT40; Wi-Fi Direct; mHL; NFC
  • Memory: 16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM); microSD (up to 64GB)
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-ion 3,100mAh

It's a monster of a device, and no doubt many Canadians are itching to get one of these. Who's buying? What are you digging most about the GNote 2? 

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3 years ago

LG Spectrum 2 available on Verizon for $99 on contract

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Verizon this morning announced the LG Spectrum 2, a 4.7-inch, Android 4.0 smartphone available online today for $99 on contract (after a $50 rebate). It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera, rocks 4G LTE data and has NFC. (This is the same on Best Buy outed last week.)

For those of you hoping for an Optimus G on Big Red, this might be as close as you get. (It's actually an offshoot of the LG Optimus LTE 2, but who's counting?) Let's take a close look at the specs. The display is the same IPS True HD panel as LG's premiere phone. Processor? Same quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro at 1.5 GHz. Verizon doesn't list RAM here, but we're willing to bet it's at  as well. It's also got the same software tweaks as LG's version, plus some Verizon thrown in.

All in all, for $99, you probably could do worse. We've got the full presser after the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Rugby LTE launched on TELUS

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The extra-tough Samsung Galaxy Rugby LTE was launched in Canada through TELUS today for $49 on a three-year contract. It's fairly entry-level, but if you're primarily concerned about having a phone that can take a beating, specs won't really matter. 

  • 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display (480 x 800)
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core processor
  • Android 4.0 (ICS)
  • 4G LTE smartphone
  • 1850 mAh battery
  • Built to military specifications (810g)
  • Waterproof, shock resistant and dust proof
  • Submersible in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes
  • 5-megapixel rear-facing camera
  • Bluetooth v4.0

We got our hands on the version coming to AT&T, if you want a closer look. Any rough-and-tumble Canadians can pick up the Samsung Galaxy Rugby LTE from the TELUS online store over here. Any takers?

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3 years ago

AMD getting into the ARM processor game

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ARM-based processors seem to be the future of computing, especially in applications that require power (and heat) efficiency, like tablets and smartphones. Trying to skate to where the puck is going, AMD is starting to research creating ARM processors. Their hope is to supplement their current lineup of desktop, laptop and server processors -- based on an x86 architecture -- with these higher efficiency options.

AMD is quick to point out that their foray into ARM processors is focused on reducing costs and improving efficiency of data centers. That being said, it's hard to believe that it would pump this R&D into making ARM processors without contemplating offering a cheap processor option for phone and tablet manufacturers. It says that the first AMD ARM processors will be coming by 2014.

Source: WSJ

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3 years ago

O2 reportedly secures Nexus 4 exclusivity in the UK

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O2 UK will be the only British network to offer the recently announced LG Nexus 4, according to reports. UK tech blog Pocket-Lint says O2 has secured a one-month exclusivity period, meaning customers wanting to use one on another network will have to pick it up online via the Google Play Store, or wait until mid-December when other networks will be given a crack at it.

O2 and LG are said to have partnered to give away free LG TVs to the first hundred Nexus 4 buyers in the UK. And as with its iPhone 5 launch, O2 will reportedly be erecting a pop-up store on top of the O2 Arena in London, where customers will be able to buy the phone on launch day (assuming paying Google to deliver one on the 13th is just too convenient for you).

O2 will be hoping to generate some positive buzz from its exclusive Nexus launch, as it's recently suffered a couple of major network outages. If nothing else, O2's exclusivity bid proves that the Nexus name still holds weight with some carriers around the world.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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3 years ago

Diner Dash now available on Amazon's Kindle Fire

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Mobile game Diner Dash has made its Android debut on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Bad news for fans without an Amazon tablet though, because the game appears to be exclusive to the Kindle Fire for now. Searching for it on the Amazon Appstore on a different Android device returns no results (although the results return plenty of similar games to be downloaded).

The game may seem a little dated, but its publisher, PlayFirst, reminded us that it’s enjoyed over 650 million downloads worldwide.

Diner Dash was developed by GameLab before PlayFirst acquired the rights to own it. If you haven’t had enough, the game has spawned four sequels since its initial runaway success.

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3 years ago

Soti Pocket Controller coming to Android

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Soti is preparing to release its Pocket Controller Pro software for Android, in beta.

The product allows you to view and control your device from your PC, as well as display your mobile device on your desktop so you can use it in presentation settings, for example.

You can also sync files between PCs and mobiles, with a file explorer tool.

The company has a longer list of features on its site.

Soti has a Pocket Controller Pro version for BlackBerry devices, and has made a Windows Mobile version before (the older Windows CE-based OS, not to be confused with Windows Phone).

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3 years ago

EE 4G LTE arrives in the UK - 11 cities to start with, but plenty more to follow

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We have tested out EE's new 4G LTE service a couple of times already in recent months and have certainly been impressed with the speeds. So, great news today for those of you that live in one of the 11 cities that the service has today gone live in -- namely Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton.

EE’s Fibre Broadband service will also today be available to 11 million homes and business premises with download speeds of up to 76Mbps. A few pointers from EE --

  • 4G mobile services available for British consumers and businesses for the first time ever today
  • Superfast service launches in 11 major cities across the UK
  • 4G network rollout to increase to 2,000 sq miles every month
  • Fibre Broadband from EE available to 11 million premises, with superfast speed typically ten times faster than standard broadband
  • New research reveals around three quarters of businesses (74%) are planning to adopt 4G within 12 months

Anyone lighting up a 4G phone for the first time today? Let us know how you're getting on!

You can catch the full press release below the fold.

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