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3 years ago

ASUS announces $149 MeMO Pad

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Price, not performance, ​is the key spec for this Nexus 7 lookalike

ASUS has announced a 7-inch budget Android tablet, dubbed the MeMO Pad. At first glance it looks, physically, a bit like the Nexus 7, but this guy's definitely lacking the hardware department by comparison. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as it's targeted at emerging markets, where price is more important than power. The MeMO Pad seems to fit that bill with a $149 listing for the lowest storage option.

The MeMO Pad is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with a paltry 1024x600 resolution. (Hey, gotta save somewhere, right?) It's powered by a VIA WM8950 processor running at 1 GHz, paired with a Mali-400 GPU. (Ah. Saved some there as well.) It's got 1GB of RAM, and either 8GB or 16GB or on-board storage, with a microSD slot for good measure. Plus you get 5GB of free online storage from ASUS.

Again, this is no Nexus 7 killer, but it's not supposed to be, either, and you can pick one up in white or pink, in addition to the usual black. (OK, the official colors are "Sugar White," "Titanium Gray" and "Cherry Pink.") ASUS didn't announce any specific regions or retailers, so be on the lookout for that, but it did say to expect the tablet this month.

Full presser and a shot of the sweet white and pink versions are after the break.

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3 years ago

Use the Nexus 10 to simulate almost any Android device while testing your app

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We've all heard the stories that say it's impossible to develop for Android because of all the different possible screen sizes and resolutions. The flip side is that the way Android development is done, most of the time that doesn't really matter. I'm able to string together an Android application, but I'm no serious app developer, so I'm guessing the reality lies somewhere in the middle -- having a selection of screen sizes and resolutions to test on can;t be a bad thing.

If you have a Nexus 10, none of this matters. Using a tool first developed in 2011, you can use your Nexus 10 to simulate almost any Android environment. Because the N10 screen is so high resolution and has such a high pixel density you can emulate the different sizes and ppi right on the tablet with a few handy commands -- "adb shell am display-size" and "adb shell am display-density". 

Using those two commands while the screen is off will let the attached device emulate the chosen parameters when the screen is turned back on. You'll want to read all the documentation before you get started, but this looks like a great (and inexpensive) way to test your app layout across many different environments. 

Source: +Adam Powell

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3 years ago

Photo Sphere: Coming to a non-Nexus near you in 2013?

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So much is a given in the smartphone business. Another product cycle begins, and we'll see new hardware. Refined software. Improved user interfaces. It'll happen, just like clockwork. Those are the broad strokes, though. It's tough to nail down individual features.

One of the items we're very much hoping to see adopted this year is Photo Sphere, the 360-degree (more or less) panorama feature that Google added to Android 4.2 on the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus. It's not just a matter of Samsung or HTC or Motorola or LG slapping Android 4.2 onto its devices and calling it a day -- software and licensing usually don't work quite that easily. But if there's one feature from the latest version of Android on the latest "Pure Google" phone we want to see spread to the other hundreds of millions of Android smartphones that'll be sold this year, it's Photo Sphere. Not that we won't see it ported to other devices, though, but we're talking about official support here.

There's another side to this, of course. Viewing of Photo Sphere images is still fairly limited, with Google+ (both on the web and mobile) and Google Maps serving as the primary ways of viewing Photo Spheres. Google released an API in December 2012, but it's still in its infancy and will take a little time for anyone else to implement on the mobile side. At some point we'd expect the ability to embed a Photo Sphere onto a web page like any YouTube video. But for now, that's all Google's baby.

Work on this year's crop of Android smartphones is well under way, and we should start seeing the fruits of manufacturers' labor in the next month or so. Here's to hoping Photo Sphere manages to be a part of it.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Wallbase HD Wallpapers, News 360, Deer Reader Lite and more!

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We just had a crazy, awesome and news-filled week at CES in Las Vegas, but that doesn't mean we're stopping our weekly app picks. Another week, another great (albeit slightly abbreviated) set of apps for you to go check out on your own phones and tablets this weekend.

Stick around after the break and see how we did this week.

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Leaving Las Vegas

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That's it. Same old picture from Building 44 in Mountain View. No cool picture of yours truly on the Las Vegas strip. No shot from the CES floor, or with a stack full of chips. Just the same ol' picture we're all tired of seeing. Being sick at CES sucks, more so than the inevitable plague that follows you home.

I don't have much more to say about CES that we haven't already said. I'm real curious to see how NVIDIA's Project Shield handheld gaming console thingy turns out. I'm not what I'd consider a gamer -- I generally pick up a new CoD every couple years, but my kids are now grown enough (yet still so very young) so that I feel I need to not play in front of them -- but there's a familiar feeling when you hold those controls. For good reason -- it's basically an slightly oversized Xbox controller. I got to spend a half-hour or so with it in Las Vegas -- read my initial thoughts here -- but can't help but wonder if it'll be priced to sell in any real numbers while lacking the pocketability of other handheld gaming systems.

Otherwise? It was kind of refreshing to not be buried under waves of phones that won't see release for months. (Though we did have about the same number of phones that likely will never see the light of day in the U.S.) Enough has been said about the relevance (or lack thereof) of CES, but I'll point you to John Biggs' TechCrunch piece about how maybe, just maybe, it's for all those start-ups who bought booth space in hopes of showing off their product or service. I agree completely. CES should be about the companies presenting at the show -- not placating the press, who's there on the company dime.

I've said it before, and I'm saying it here again now: Our team in Vegas did a bad-ass job. From Alex and Andrew and Anndrew, to Simon and all the other Mobile Nations folks on the ground, there's not much I would have done different this week. And that's about all this (usually not-so-humble) editor can ask for. Let's do it all again next year. Or next month, in Barcelona.

A few other thoughts to close out the week ...

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3 years ago

Flipboard updated to support Android 4.2 Daydream feature

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Flipboard for Android was updated today, and along with a fix for "accidental" flipping and some minor bug fixes, there is a major feature added in -- support for Android 4.2's Daydream feature. Flipboard says this "allows you to create a screen saver made out of Flipboard covers," and that's a pretty good description.

You won't find any new settings inside the Flipboard app itself, but if you open the display settings on your Jelly Bean 4.2 device you'll see Flipboard listed under the different Daydream modes. The screen saver itself is well done, with the zooming and gently panning of images you'll find in the Photo Table Daydream provided by Google. It uses the entries in your Cover stories category, so you'll probably want to adjust those a bit.

It's more media centric than the Currents Daydream, and lacks a lot of textual information, but we're really excited to see a major player take advantage of the tools Google provides to make unique and awesome apps. Grab the update or install the app for the first time from the link above.

Thanks, Carlos!

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3 years ago

Smart Camera 2.0 brings together remote shooting and sharing

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A few days before CES 2013 started in earnest, Samsung launched a new app called Smart Camera 2.0. It brings together features from companion apps for their various Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, including remote viewfinder and photo transfer to a mobile device (either automatically or manually).

Only smart cameras made from 2013 onwards will be able to take advantage of the new app, which can be found now in Google Play. Any Samsung smart camera owners out there? How have you found the current handset and tablet companion apps? Are they reliable and useful? If you end up using apps like this a lot, is there any reason to not just get the Samsung Galaxy Camera?

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3 years ago

Dropbox app updated with new photo sharing tools

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The Dropbox for Android app just got a nice little update, and now it's even easier to share a photo or a collection of photos with friends and family. The new tools allow you to create albums from any images inside your Dropbox, and share the created albums through the Android intents system. This means any app that could forward a link somewhere -- Twitter, Google+, Facebook, GMail, etc, -- can now be used to share a folder with your albums or individual pictures inside. 

When the addressee gets your link, they are directed to the Dropbox website to view your photos, or download them to their own Dropbox. While this method is good advertising for Dropbox, it's also a bandwidth-friendly way to share a ton of photos. You can get these features (and the obligatory tweaks and fixes that come with any update) at the link above, or simply check for updates in the Google Play app if you're already using Dropbox.

Source: Dropbox blog

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean still rolling out to Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, 7" model now joins the fun

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The Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.1) update for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 that started back in early December is still rolling out across the globe, and users of the 7-inch model in the Americas are now reporting an OTA as well.

Early in the fall of 2012 we saw an update roadmap from Samsung that included the Tab 2, so we shouldn't be surprised that it's here. We have no idea of the mechanics behind Samsung's update schedule, but  we hope that the rest of the world will see the Jelly Bean update in short order. To check for your own update, look in the settings under "About tablet" or use Samsung Kies' update tool. As 4.1.1 brings much smoother performance and great new features like Google Now, this is one update you won't want to skip.

Via: Android Central forums. Thanks, Salvador!

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3 years ago

Developers can now promote apps with localized badges

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Here's a small but really cool customization for app developers that Google just announced: You can now build the Google Play badges (you see them whenever we write about an app) in 47 languages, from Afrikaans to isiZulu. (That's from the top of the list to the bottom.) So instead of just "Android app on Google Play" or "Get it on Google Play," you'll see "Jetzt bei Google Play" (in German) or "Disponibile su Google Play" (in Italian). 

For those of us who are still working on our conjugations, it's kind of cool to play around with the tool and see the translations in real time, too. If your an app developer, give it a whirl!

Source: Android Developer site, via +Android Developers

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3 years ago

Help improve weather prediction with mPing

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Here's a cool little crowd-sourced project from the National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma. (Boomer Sooner!) The "Precipitation Near the Ground" project (aka W-PING) uses reports from civilians (that's you and me) to match against what radar sees. And as noted in the app description, radar doesn't see too well near the ground at long distances, and those snazzy automated sensors that can tell the difference between snow and rain and some dude spitting in the gutter are found only at airports.

That's where you and I come in. If it starts raining or snowing or whatever it does wherever you are (here in Florida it's either "build an ark" or "welcome to Hell"), fire up the app, let it detect where you are, then choose the closest description to what it is you're seeing, particularly with cold-weather storms.

Think of it as a cool way to give a little back to science, when science has given so much to you.

More: The Ping Project; via @jimcantore

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3 years ago

AT&T picks up the Lenovo IdeaTab A2107

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AT&T today announced that it'll carry the horribly named Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 Android tablet for $199. That's without a contract, by the way, which tells you someone's really trying to move these things.

We took a look at the A2107 back at the IFA conference in the fall of 2012, and note that, well, it's a low-resolution (1024x600) 7-inch tablet that has full access to Google Play.  This one's still running Android 4.0, which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it going up against the Nexus 7, which can be had with double the storage (32GB instead of 16GB), a more powerful processor and the same HSPA connectivity -- all for just $100 more.

If you're really a glutton for punishment, you can pick up the A2107 for $99 on contract, which is how AT&T's presenting it online by default. So careful if you start clicking around. As for us? Our money will be going elsewhere.

More: Lenovo IdeaPad A2107 at AT&T; Press release

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3 years ago

Keeping CES in perspective

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Didn't see what you're looking for in Las Vegas? Don't worry, the year's just starting

This tends to happen every year. We go to Las Vegas, cover the crap out of CES ... and then come the e-mails. "HTC didn't show anything at all!" "I wanted a new Samsung phone!" "Where the hell was Sprint?!?!" "CES was such a letdown, the rest of the year is gonna suck!"

More phones (and maybe even some good tablets) are coming, folks. Just like last year. Just like the year before. We tend to have short attention spans, and seeming shorter memories. Your favorite carrier and manufacturer should have plenty up its sleeves in the coming months. 

Let's take a look ...

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3 years ago

Every Android Central CES video in one convenient post

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As you might have noticed, CES 2013 is just about over for us. It's debatable whether it packed the same punch as in previous years, but to my eyes (and sore feet), there's no doubt that there was more than enough Android content to cover. As we all hop on airplanes and head back home, it's time to start looking back on the mayhem in Vegas. 

Four reporters. Countless stories. (Well, OK. You can count them all at our CES page if you want.) More photos than we know what to do with.

And then, of course, there are the videos, and that's what we're looking back on here. From NVIDIA's Project Glass gaming handheld thingy to an oven running Android (that's Alex filming it above) to a few new smartphones, it's all parked on our YouTube page (be sure to subscribe!) and after the break. If you can't go to CES, we're bringing CES to you!

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3 years ago

CES may be done, but 2013 is shaping up to be an impressive year

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As I sit writing this, the main action at CES is starting to wind down. The Mobile Nations crew are beginning to wrap up a hectic week's coverage, and look to set off on varying length journeys home. I didn't make the trip to Las Vegas. The guys on the frontline need all the support from the homefront we can provide, and if I've helped ease the load in such a hectic week, it's a week well spent. But I sit here reflecting -- I have visited Vegas, so I know reflecting out there must be tough -- on the weeks events. Has it been disappointing? Perhaps, to some, but not to me. After all, cool new stuff being unveiled for us to nerd out on is never disappointing, is it? 

No, CES 2013 has been far from disappointing. Having been in a position to see each and every piece of news, every device, every hands on, as it rolled in throughout the week, a bigger picture started emerging. 2013 is shaping up to be a pretty astounding year for Android. Why? I'm glad you asked.

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