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3 years ago

ASUS Padfone 2 review

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The Padfone 2 is the second iteration of ASUS' smartphone/tablet hybrid. It's an unusual concept, but does it work?

The ASUS Padfone 2 was first unveiled back in October 2012 as an update to the original Padfone. Beyond mere spec updates, there are design improvements over its predecessor also. It's an unusual concept for sure, but then ASUS is absolutely no stranger to trying out-of-the-ordinary products. This is, after all, the company that brought us the original Transformer tablet with laptop dock, and one which since has released an enormous Windows 8 desktop/Android tablet hybrid. 

And that's why we love ASUS products. There's usually something that sets them apart from the competition, and for that they should always be commended, even if the results aren't always perfect. The Padfone has always intrigued, but it's suffered from limited global availability since the original launched, not to mention astronomical price tags. But, since Mobile World Congress (which also saw the launch of the Padfone Infinity) Padfone 2 availability increased somewhat, and the device finally saw a UK launch. So here it is, one of the more unusual devices to pass through for review, but also one we've been waiting to get our hands on.

But is it any good? Click on and we'll find out. 

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3 years ago

Heads up: We're podcasting at 4:30 p.m. EDT today!

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Phil. Alex. Andrew. Jerry. Jerry's Beard. The whole gang gets back together at 4:30 p.m. EDT today for Episode 137 of the Android Central Podcast. We're recording live this week, so you get to come along for the ride as we continue to try to figure out these newfangled "Google Edition" phones, some pretty big changes to Gmail, we've got the White Nexus 4, and of course we'll take more of your questions.

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3 years ago

White Nexus 4 now available in the U.S.

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White color variant launches on Google Play and T-Mobile U.S.

After launching in Hong Kong earlier this week, the white LG Nexus 4 has made its Western debut today in the United States. The phone is available right now from the Google Play Store, priced $299 for 8GB and $349 for 16GB, same as the standard black version. The white Google Play version comes with a free white bumper, not currently for sale by itself.

T-Mobile U.S. is also stocking the 16GB white Nexus for $427.99 on its online store, with no monthly installment plan option. That's a good deal more expensive than the Play Store price, so the direct Google route will remain the best option for most folks.

So far we're not seeing any sign of the white Nexus 4 in the UK or Canada -- or anywhere else for that matter -- but we'll keep watching in the hours and days ahead.

U.S. people, here are your links --

More: Hands-on with the white Nexus 4

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3 years ago

Don't hit your cap: A few tweaks to cut down on Google Play Music data usage

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'All Access' doesn't have to mean 'all of your data cap'

Google Play Music is a pretty great service, especially when you have chosen to give up $9.99 per month for the new "All Access" subscription service. Without any thought of what music I own, what device I'm on or what I've loaded on my device, I just opened up Google Play Music and listened to the new "Random Access Memories" album by Daft Punk. Within seconds it started streaming in continuous high quality and I got to enjoy the entire album without a second thought.

But there's one small issue -- streaming that album just cost me over 290MB towards my monthly data cap.

In its attempt to make a seamless streaming experience for users, Google has somewhat obscured and selected the settings that make the user experience in Google Play Music as great as possible by default. This is certainly the right choice on average -- users don't want to spend their time tweaking settings, they just want to listen to their music anywhere and any way. But for those who are going to utilize Play Music daily and for hours at a time, there are settings that can be tweaked to make sure you're not unnecessarily using mobile data.

So what can you do to limit the amount of data usage from Play Music? Stick with us after the break and learn a few tips to keep from using up your monthly data cap with just streaming music.

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3 years ago

World War Z invades Android

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You're either one of us, or you're one of them. It's that simple. And who doesn't like killing a buttload of zombies? To that end, the mobile game for World War Z -- the movie, not the book it was loosely based off of -- has finally been released to Google Play, bringing with it 28 levels of first-person shooter, along with "intense combat, engaging puzzles, upgradable weapons and armor and unlimited challenge mode."

Certainly looks decent enough. You'll have to pony up $4.99 for the pleasure playing. Hit the link above to give it a go.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia SP now available on Three

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Available for free on £26 per month contracts, or £349.99 on PAYG

Data-friendly operator Three UK has launched Sony Mobile's latest mid to high-end handset, the Xperia SP. The phone sports an unorthodox design, with an aluminum trim and glowing "transparent element" under the screen. Spec-wise, you're looking at Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 4.6-inch 720p "HD Reality" display. Around the back there's an 8-megapixel Sony Exmor RS camera.

The Xperia SP also supports Three's "Ultrafast" network with 42Mbps DC-HSDPA at present, and 4G LTE in the future.

The phone is being given away free on all Three's 24-month contracts, which start at £26 per month for unlimited data, 500 minutes and 5,000 texts. It's also available on Pay As You Go for a pretty reasonable £349.99.

Check past the break for our hands-on video.

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

EE's 4G LTE goes live in twelve more UK towns

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Total markets now stands at 74, as carrier claims more than half UK population coverage

EE, currently the UK's only LTE provider, has announced that its 4G network has been switched on in twelve new markets. The new towns include Ashton-under-Lyne, Chatham, Gillingham, High Wycombe, Merthyr Tydfil, Oldham, Oxford, Rochester, Runcorn, Sale, Stafford and Wigan. This brings the total number of markets to 74, and EE says the new additions mean its 4G services now cover more than 50 percent of the UK population.

The carrier recently launched its first rolling 30-day SIM-only 4G contracts, allowing Brits to try out its LTE network without committing to a hefty year-long plan. Competing LTE offerings from rival networks are expected to arrive later this year, with Vodafone targeting September, O2 hoping for a summer launch and Three aiming for the end of the year.

Meanwhile, EE plans to begin trialing the parts of the faster LTE-Advanced standard before the end of 2013.

Source: EE

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3 years ago

O2 customers losing access to BT Wifi hotspots from July 1

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Operator transitioning to its own nationwide Wifi hotspot network

O2 customers will lose their inclusive access to telco BT's UK-wide network of Wifi hotspots in just over a month, the operator has revealed. A message on the carrier's site says it's transitioning over to its own network of O2 Wifi hotspots from July 1, as the four-year partnership between O2 and BT Openzone comes to an end. O2's Wifi network consists of some 8,000 access points across the country, it says, however UK-based readers will be aware that BT's hotspots are far more widespread at present.

O2 customers still wanting to use BT Wifi hotspots will need to pay for access, or alternatively log in through another partner account, such as EE or BT Broadband. If you're on O2 and have your Android phone set up to automatically connect to BT Wifi hotspots, you'll need to remove the network names from your list of remembered networks (Settings > Wifi) come July 1.

Source: O2

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3 years ago

Sky apps back on Google Play following account hack

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Full complement of Sky Android apps available once again after recent hack by Syrian Electronic Army

A quick heads-up for Sky subscribers in the UK -- the satellite broadcaster's range of Android apps has returned to the Play Store today following its Google Play account being hacked. The hack occurred over the weekend and was attributed to the Syrian Electronic Army, whose banners appeared on the apps' Play Store listings.

In the wake of the attack, Sky's apps were pulled from Google's app store, however the broadcaster has insisted that the apps themselves were not changed. As of this morning the full suite of Sky apps is once again available, including Sky News, Sky Sports, Sky+ and Sky Go. Sky subscribers can click here to view a full list of apps.

Source: Sky Help Team

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3 years ago

Upcoming 10-inch Galaxy Tab reportedly powered by Intel Atom CPU

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Reuters and Korea Times report that Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 will run on Clover Trail+ CPU

Chip giant Intel could be about to enter the Android tablet world in a big way, if reports from Korean newspaper the Korea Times and news agency Reuters are to be believed. The publications suggest that Samsung will opt for the latest x86-based Clover Trail+ chip in its upcoming Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 instead of more common ARM-based designs, including its own Exynos range.

Rumors of an Atom-powered Galaxy Tab have been circulating online for some time, but today's reports offer a little more fine detail. Reuters reports that a Clover Trail+ processor will be used in "at least one version" of the 10-inch Galaxy Tab 3, though it was unable to confirm whether other SoCs would be used in different versions of the device. The Korea Times says that Intel has upped its staff of Korean-based Atom engineers from six last year to around 50 at present in order to facilitate the new partnership with Samsung, which includes this Atom-powered Tab 3. The newspaper's source describes it as a "win-win" deal for both Samsung, which is seeking to diversify the chips used in its devices, and Intel, which needs to gain a mobile foothold in an increasingly post-PC world.

We're anticipating the arrival of several Android and Windows-based gadgets at the company's 'Premiere 2013' event in London on June 20, and Reuters expects Atom-powered Ativ tablets to be among these devices. The news agency couldn't confirm whether the new Tab 3 10.1 would be at that event, however. Whatever's on show, we'll be live from London to bring you full coverage.

Source: Reuters, Korea Times, via: Engadget

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3 years ago

Dish makes unsolicited all-cash offer to buy Clearwire for $4.40 per share

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All-cash offer beats Sprint's current offer by 29-percent; minority shareholders urged to accept

Dish announced today that it has put in a cash tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of Clearwire for the price of $4.40 per share, adding yet another twist into the relations between Dish, Clearwire, Sprint and Softbank. The deal stands proudly as a 29-percent premium over what Sprint is currently offering for the other 49.2-percent of Clearwire it doesn't currently own at $3.40 per share, and sweetens the deal further by offering to buy out the entire company all at once. In its offer, Dish explains that it will agree to purchase a smaller amount of Clearwire if only a portion of the minority shareholders agree to the deal, as long as it is greater than a 25-percent stake in the company. As another condition, Dish is also requiring that it receives at least 3 board member positions for that 25-percent stake, and more if a larger portion of the company is acquired.

Naturally, Dish is urging any and all shareholders to agree to accept its offering, as it will be a great competitive play in the complex mess of offers and mergers currently happening between the companies. If Clearwire agrees to let Dish acquire it, Softbank's offer to buy a 70-percent stake in Sprint -- a deal which had Sprint acquiring Clearwire as a condition -- could be compromised. In light of this new offer from Dish, Clearwire is postponing its scheduled May 31st shareholder meeting until June 13th in order to give enough time to review it. The offer will be available to Clearwire until June 28th, and Dish has expressed that it is ready and willing to finalize the deal as quickly as possible.

Source: Clearwire; Dish (2) (3)

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3 years ago

After Earth game now available to coincide with movie release

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A movie-themed endless runner with a few interesting gameplay elements

In a partnership with Sony Pictures, Reliance Games is releasing a new game for mobile devices based on the upcoming feature film from Will Smith, After Earth. The game, which ties in directly to the cast, plot and setting of the movie, fits well into the "infinite runner" genre made popular by games like Temple Run. Throughout the game, you're running, driving, jumping and flying along with a third-person view through levels to collect coins for as long as possible without dying. There's a complete 20-level story mode available that walks you through a complete plot and lets you unlock new levels along the way, as well as an "Infinite Mode" for additional gameplay options. The game also includes different achievements and high score tracking, as you would expect, to give the game some replay value.

The game has just gone live in the Play Store a day ahead of the movie's release here in the U.S., and can be downloaded for a mere $0.99. The graphics and gameplay look quite good, and it may just be a nice break from the other endless runner games you've been playing for a while now. You can see a quick gameplay trailer above, and can grab a download of After Earth at the Play Store link there as well.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z coming to a U.S. carrier soon, according to CEO Kaz Hirai

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Precisely which U.S. carrier, however, isn't being specified at this time

Speaking at the All Things D conference, CEO of Sony Kaz Hirai made a not-so-subtle statement that the manufacturer's flagship Xperia Z handset will be landing in the U.S. with carrier support very soon. While Hirai wasn't willing to go more into depth or hint at which carrier it was, we can probably narrow down the options a little bit. Traditionally, Sprint and Verizon haven't had very strong ties with Sony for handset releases, and given that the current Xperia Z models being sold internationally (and directly to the U.S.) are GSM, we'd assume this handset would be very similar. AT&T has partnered with Sony for some recent device releases, but the biggest hint we have right now are some leaked pictures of the Xperia Z with clear T-Mobile branding.

Neither Sony nor T-Mobile are giving any hint as to when the expected launch would take place, but we would hope soon considering that the Xperia Z has been available internationally for a few months now. It's good to see that Sony is still willing to put in the effort to sell devices to the U.S. market, especially after some serious price drops in its Xperia ZL handset being sold unlocked here. We all know that carrier deals are a necessity in the current market, though.

Source: AllThingsD

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations podcast 21: Announcing Talk Mobile 2013!

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Kevin Michaluk of CrackBerry, Phil Nickinson of Android Central, Daniel Rubino of Windows Phone Central, and Rene Ritchie of iMore come together to talk about… Talk Mobile 2013! What is it, how will it work, and just how awesome will it be? Find out!

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3 years ago

Gameloft releases UNO & Friends online multiplayer card game

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Cross-platform and customizable gameplay breathe fresh air into a classic card game

In partnership with Mattel, Gameloft is releasing a new version of its extremely popular UNO game that expands the gameplay to online multiplayer. UNO & Friends builds on the classic card game to provide users with simple and customizable cross-platform multiplayer games -- and best of all its free to play. The game plays just like any other UNO game, but you get the bonus of customizable backgrounds, decks and special effects along with different perks and power-ups. Of course with a free to play model you can bet there are in-app purchases, but these don't seem to be required and are merely for extra features.

In order to get linked up with friends for multiplayer you'll have to use Facebook Connect, but the bonus of that is Gameloft says a web version of the game through Facebook is coming very soon. It also means that you can play games concurrently with both Android and iOS users, which is a big plus. You can grab a download of UNO & Friends at the Play Store link above.

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