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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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3 years ago

Sony releases flash tool for unlocked Xperia phones


If you've hacked around with a bootloader-unlocked Sony Xperia phone at any point, you may be familiar with the unofficial Xperia Flashtool maintained by the forum denizens at XDA. The app allows Xperia owners to flash firmware packages to their phones in a similar manner to the ODIN utility that works with Samsung phones. Now Sony Mobile has released an official app of its own to allow unlocked Xperia phone owners to perform these kinds of tasks.

An initial beta version of the Xperia Flash Tool is available to download now, and can be used to flash official firmware back onto an unlocked Xperia phone. Right now the number of supported phones is minimal -- three, to be precise -- but if you have an Xperia S, Xperia Arc or Xperia Arc S, you should good to go with the official Flash Tool. Additional devices should receive Flash Tool support in the months ahead.

You'll find a quick overview of what the Flash Tool can do in the video above, and more details over at the source link.

Source: Sony Developer World

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3 years ago

Spotify adding new music discovery features, and entire Metallica catalog


Today is a big day for music streaming service Spotify and its users. They're introducing a whole bunch of new music discovery features, some of which will eventually go 'cross-platform.'  But, they're also introducing the entire back catalog of one of the most well-known rock bands in history. Spotify users, say hello to Metallica. 

We'll start there, because this is huge news. There have been noticeable holes in Spotify's library since day one, some of which have been filled, but the Metallica shaped hole ever remained. The drought ends today with the addition of 30 years worth of music from the legendary rockers. Every single album, every single song. This one's going to keep us going all through the weekend. 

With that out of the way, the new discovery features being rolled out are pretty interesting. Initially we're looking at desktop only features rolling out in the coming weeks, with a full 'cross-platform' upgrade in 2013. There are two main portions to it, so we'll take you through them one at a time. 

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3 years ago

Amazon sees 500 percent growth in Appstore downloads in one year


There's no doubt that Amazon is trying to become a strong competitor in the Android tablet game, and a big part of that is the success of its own Appstore. There's always been an issue with properly quantifying the success of Amazon's products though, as the company is intentionally vague about sales and usage numbers. As part of a press release about A/B testing in its Appstore today, however, it announced quite a few interesting statistics.

Amazon has seen a 500 percent increase in app downloads from its store in the past year, which is a huge number. Additionally, apps making use of its GameCircle (centralized gaming platform) have more than doubled. Developers making use of in-app purchases doubled in the third quarter of 2012 as well, and 23 of the top 25 grossing apps are now using them.

Those are impressive numbers indeed, and we hope Amazon continues to give some information as to how well its Appstore and Kindle Fire platforms are performing in the future. (Like maybe some actual numbers of how many it's sold.) The company will surely continue to push its version of Android for the foreseeable future.

Source: Amazon

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3 years ago

Elements Battle RPG released on Google Play today


There seems to be no shortage of RPG (Role Playing Game) titles on Google Play, but some really are better than the rest. Popular game developer Game Insight is throwing its proverbial hat into the ring today with Elements Battle. The game is set up as a mix of puzzle gameplay and standard PRG gameplay, with over 100 quests available at launch. Elements Battle spans 5 expansive worlds to explore as well, and is surely a title that's capable of being built upon for many updates to come.

Elements Battle is available now in the Play Store, and its free to boot. Check it out at the Google Play link at the top of this post if you're interested in a download.

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3 years ago

Archos releases Android-powered GamePad for €149.99


Archos announced back at the end of August an interesting product it called the GamePad. The idea was the make an Android tablet that was very gaming-focused, with a full host of physical gaming controls flanking the screen (much like a PSP or PS Vita). When it was announced, it seemed to be written off as a concept device that wouldn't make it to market. Well, here we are just three months later and the GamePad is going on sale in Europe for just €149.99.

The device has a 7-inch 1024x600 display between those controls, and is powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core processor with a Mali 400 MP GPU. The device has 8GB of internal storage (expandable by SDcard) and is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The press images are flattering for sure, but the device really is quite thin at just 10mm.

The device is on sale now in Europe and is expected to hit the U.S. in Q1 2013 according to Archos. More info can be found at the source link and in the press release below.

Source: Archos

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3 years ago

WordTag: It's like Draw Something, only with words


Want to play a game where someone has to describe a word somehow, and you have to guess it? Not new, we know. But WordTag takes the the style of the old "Password" game with the new hotness of Draw Something, only minus all that pesky artistic necessity.

Here's how it works: You've got 120 characters in which to describe a word. And there are six "locked" words. Don't use 'em, unless you wanna "pay" for it. Your opponent has to guess the word, as quickly as possible. You know how it goes. Play friends, play strangers, earn badges as you go. You can sign up with your e-mail address, or through Facebook, if that's your thing. And WordTag is a cross-platform game, which is good. There's a free version (which we're linking to here), or a premium version for $1.99.

We've got demo video, the presser and some screen shots after the break.

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