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3 years ago

Sony jumps above HTC in UK sales, both still a long way behind Samsung


Recent Q3 numbers for smartphone sales in the UK sees a change in the standings. Off the back of a major marketing campaign for its "Bond Phone," Sony has jumped ahead of HTC into second place. At this point second place is almost a win for either company, as both are still a long way behind the kind of numbers Samsung is posting in the UK. 

Sony sold 500,000 units in Q3, to 440,000 sold by HTC. There's not a lot in it, but it's sure to be welcome news for Sony. By contrast, Samsung's numbers sit at 3.2 million units for the same period. While not referring to specific numbers, the UK MD of Sony Mobile, Pierre Perron said to Mobile Magazine: 

All sources are confirming the same trend – that we are jumping into second place in the UK Android segment. This is what all our customers are telling us, that Sony Mobile is considered a top player in the UK Android space.

Sony's recent efforts deserve recognition. The hardware is well designed and well made, although the software does still let them down slightly. Nevertheless, with 2013's big show season right around the corner, we'll be interested to see what the future holds for Sony. 

Source: Mobile Magazine

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3 years ago

Don't forget: Stuff your stocking with Android Central


We're a week into of our a monthly contest in which we're giving away a $10 Google Play Gift Card every day this month. That's 31 winners in 31 days, with an easy $10 to spend on apps, books, music -- whatever you want!

What's more is that each of the 31 winners will automatically be entered to win a free Nexus 4, which we'll choose and announce the first week of January.

We're going to change things up each week to keep it fresh. Here's the breakdown:

  • Dec. 1-8: Leave a post in the appropriate thread in the Android Central Forums.
  • Dec. 9-15: Subscribe to our YouTube Channel. (You can subscribe now if you want, but only subscriptions during that time frame will count as an entry.)
  • Dec. 16-22: Comment on that day's giveaway blog post. (Look for our hatted friend you see here.)
  • Dec. 23-31: To be announced. It'll be fun one way or another.

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3 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich finally hits LG Optimus 2X


It's been a long journey to bring Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich onto the LG Optimus 2X. First the update was rumored to have been canceled, then un-canceled, then delayed, then released, but just in Korea, followed by a source code drop a month or so ago.

But Optimus 2X owners can rejoice this morning, as it seems the ICS update for their phone is now going out to devices outside of Korea, indicating a widespread international launch for the upgrade. According to reports from XDA, the  Android 4.0.4-based v30a firmware is now available to download via LG's PC update utility.

The long-awaited ICS should bring a performance boost to the the world's first dual-core smartphone, which we first saw way back at CES 2011. The ICS upgrade will also allow Optimus 2X owners to run the latest Google apps, including the new versions of Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Chrome. It's also likely the update will include LG's latest Optimus UI 3.0, as previous LG ICS updates have, however we haven't been able to specifically confirm this.

Anyone still rocking an Optimus 2X? Let us know how you get on with the latest firmware update.

Source: XDA; via: PhoneArena

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3 years ago

Android Central 118: Google's been busy


Audio-only stream below

Can you tell there's a holiday coming up? Google's cranking out update after update after update -- and it's got some big ones this week. Plus we recap where things stand with the Nexus 4 (hint: Better for a lot of people). Also, SwiftKey Flow is out in beta, Windows Phone tried to make a funny (and failed) -- and we've got Ashley Esqueda here to help us sort it all out.

(Note: We lost some of the video this week, but you can hear the whole show with the audio player or links below.)

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3 years ago

Top Gear Stunt School Revolution now available from Google Play


"Some say he never blinks and that he roams local woodland foraging for mouse meat. All we know is, he's called The Stig."

BBC Worldwide released an Android title back in October, known as Top Gear Stunt School Revolution. Back then, the title was exclusively available from the Amazon Appstore. An unusual tactic for launching the game, especially considering that at the time the UK launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire was still three weeks away. That exclusivity period is now at an end, and the title is available to download from the Google Play Store. 

There's two flavors available for download, one free, one paid. The free version doesn't come with all the stunts unlocked, but the paid version does along with 300 free permits -- the paid version is linked at the top of this post. The price for the paid version is £0.69/$0.99, which isn't a lot for what we found was a fun, if basic driving game.

One word of caution. The Play Store version seems to have to 'set up' before playing. This seems to be a potentially lengthy process for some, so something to bear in mind. Before downloading though, be sure to head back and check out our hands on video.

More: Hands on with Top Gear Stunt School Revolution

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3 years ago

HTC Butterfly loses the 'J', due to be released in China


First, we had the HTC J-Butterfly. Next, came the Verizon Droid DNA. Now, what we appear to have is the same phone, with a slightly different name heading for other markets. The Butterfly has appeared on HTC's website with little else to indicate on where or when it may be available. 

The good news if you're in China -- it's heading your way. An HTC spokesperson has confirmed to Android Central that at present the Butterfly is slated for release in China, and that there is no information relating to availability in other markets at this time. 

Looking through the spec sheet, there are a couple of differences between the Butterfly and the Droid DNA. For one, there's no LTE. The other difference that stands out is the expandable storage. The Butterfly carries the same 16GB of on board storage as the DNA, but is expandable by way of microSD cards. It still runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Sense 4+ out of the box, and houses the same 2020mAh battery. Oh, and of course, that 5-inch, 1080p display.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

LG Optimus Vu now available in the UAE


LG has officially announced that the Optimus Vu is now for sale in the United Arab Emirates. This makes the 5-inch smartphone available in most major markets in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and now the Middle East. 

The Optimus Vu eschews typical smartphone design, instead opting for a more squarish 4:3 aspect ration. The extra width is used by features such as QSlide and Quick Memo, and is appealing to folks who enjoy reading on their smartphones.

Alex was slightly underwhelmed by the Vu during his time reviewing it, but LG has sold 17 Million of the devices so clearly there is a market. In the end, it's great to see our friends in the UAE have a new choice.

Source: LG Newsroom (Korea)

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3 years ago

New accessibility features coming to Kindle Fire and Fire HD 7-inch


We take time to applaud companies whenever they bring new accessibility features to their devices. Amazon has just announced today that it will be bringing two new features for visually-impaired users, "Voice Guide" and "Explore by Touch", to both the original Kindle Fire and the new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD.

Voice Guide lets the user tap on any part of the screen and receive an audible description of that item, which is supposed to be more in-depth than regular text-to-speech. Explore by Touch lets the user swipe across the screen to receive menu names, allowing a second touch to actually do the intended action, hopefully reducing accidental launching of apps or opening of menus.

These two features were already available on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch, but its great to see them come to the whole line. Amazon expects them to head out to devices in early 2013.

Source: Amazon; Via: Engadget

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3 years ago

T-Mobile to stop subsidizing handsets in 2013


We're hearing a ton of interesting information about T-Mobile's plans for the future today as part of Deutsche Telekom's analyst conference, and this may be the biggest yet. Starting in 2013, T-Mobile USA will no longer be subsidizing handsets with 2-year contracts, and will instead sell devices at full price or on installments. This means that devices and service will be completely separate going forward.

This is almost a carbon copy of its current "Value Plan" offerings, which give you cheaper monthly service prices (generally $20-$30 less) when you buy a phone full-priced or bring your own -- a model international users will be familiar with. T-Mobile said that 80-percent of its new line activations were on Value Plans in the last quarter, which means that this won't be too big of a shift from the way they're currently operating.

To the end user, the overall cost of smartphone ownership for the 2-year contract period will decrease, even when buying a device with monthly installments. Real savings can be had when holding onto a device for a longer period of time as well. The real roadblock here is going to be one of consumer education on the part of T-Mobile, which needs to explain to customers the benefits of this model. U.S. wireless customers are very comfortable with the idea of a subsidized handset that is bundled together with service.

Source: GigaOM

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3 years ago

Broad strokes of Apple/HTC deal revealed in redacted documents


The confidential cross-licensing agreement between HTC and Apple that ended hostilities between the companies became a little less confidential today. A redacted version of the agreement has been made part of the public record by Samsung ahead of today's patent trial hearing in California. As you may remember, Samsung got a look at details of the HTC settlement as part of its separate courtroom battle against Apple.

As you might expect, the 140 pages of redacted documents blank out the juicier details. But according to analysis of the docs by AllThingsD's Ina Fried, Apple and HTC both get non-exclusive licenses to some of each others' patents, as was indicated in the original joint press release. Notably excluded, apparently, are Apple's design patents, although the company has insisted on many occasions that it would not license these. Also excluded are nine redacted HTC patents.

Apple has also agreed not to sue HTC over certain products, it is reported, but the names of these are redacted in today's documents.

The agreement also does not cover any HTC product deemed to be a "clone" of an Apple device (that is to say anything that looks like an iPhone). An arbitration process is detailed in the documents, in the event that such a scenario emerges.

So there's nothing too surprising at first glance -- the agreement seems to be stacked in Apple's favor, but we don't think there was really any doubt as to who was wearing the pants in this particular legal settlement.

If you're in the mood to get stuck into a stack of legalese and black ink, you can find the partially-blanked-out settlement over at the source link. 

Source: AllThingsD

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3 years ago

T-Mobile finalizes rollout of 1900MHz HSPA+ in 3 new markets


T-Mobile rolled out 10 new markets with 1900MHz HSPA+ service just two weeks ago, and now the nation's fourth-largest carrier is adding another three markets. Users with unlocked handsets that operate on the 1900MHz frequency for HSPA+ (like AT&T handsets) will start seeing much higher data speeds in Seattle, WA; Minneapolis, MN and Atlanta, GA. These new markets bring the nationwide total to 18, with some of the largest markets in the country being represented.

This comes at an interesting time, as we're just hearing of T-Mobile's official plans to sell Apple devices (read: iPhone) on its network. The iPhone has traditionally only worked on 1900MHz and not T-Mobile's usual 1700/2100MHz (AWS) frequencies, so it will be interesting to see if this announcement pushes the rollout even faster.

T-Mobile's rollout of 1900MHz is much bigger than just supporting the iPhone of course, as it frees up spectrum for the carrier's move to LTE and support for a whole host of unlocked devices sold worldwide.

Source: TmoNews

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3 years ago

T-Mobile investing over $4 billion in 2013 for LTE rollout


As part of an investment meeting, Deutsche Telekom announced today that it plans to make some major investments in the network infrastructure of its subsidiary, T-Mobile USA. First and foremost is a $4.7 billion investment in the rollout of LTE for the carrier, all taking place within 2013. As the last major carrier to start an LTE rollout, it will need all the investment it can get to catch up. For 2014-15, T-Mobile plans another $3 billion per year in general network enhancements as well.

In total, $10.7 billion in investment will be made over the next 3 years, which is drastically higher than the average of $2.7 billion per year for the prior 3. Its clear now that with the merger with MetroPCS and this continued investment, Deutsche Telekom is far from done operating in the U.S. market. Hopefully these investments will turn T-Mobile into a formidable opponent to Verizon and AT&T going forward.

Source: Deutsche Telekom

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3 years ago

Gameloft's Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour hitting Android 'very soon'


Gameloft is quickly expanding on its popular "Modern Combat" game franchise with the latest revision: "Zero Hour." The game has just launched on the iOS platform, but Gameloft assures us that the developers are putting the final touches on an Android version and "expect it to launch very soon." Games this big can never come too soon, so we hope to see it go live in Google Play very shortly.

You can get a taste for the gameplay in the latest version in the trailer above. (Spoiler alert: you shoot guys in the face.)

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3 years ago

Nexus 4 bumpers finally shipping in the UK


After a few weeks, it seems the first batch of Nexus 4 bumpers is starting to make its way out to customers in the UK. Two UK Nexus 4 bumper orders placed by AC's British division shipped today, and the Twitters are alight with reports of fellow Brits whose bumpers are also in transit. (Update: we're also hearing reports that one or two bumpers shipped in the UK in the past week, too.)

Official Nexus accessories have been hard to come by in the past, particularly outside the U.S. So it's a small relief to see bumpers finally arriving with customers in Europe, even if it is more than three weeks after the first orders were placed on Google Play.

Unfortunately the UK Play Store still lists the Nexus 4 bumper as sold out, with no indication as to when fresh stock will arrive. So if you've yet to place an order you may have to be patient, or start looking elsewhere.

More: Nexus 4 bumpers on Google Play

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