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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Some quick thoughts ahead of MobileCON

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We're headed to sunny San Diego this week -- one of my new favorite cities -- for the fall CTIA event. The past several years it's been called CTIA "Enterprise and Applications," which pretty much was exactly what it sounded like. Put it this way -- it's no CES or MWC, that's for sure.

The fall event has been rebranded "MobileCON," which basically can mean anything the wireless industry organization wants it to. On the other hand, with bullet points like "Enterprise Industry Spotlight" and a keynote address from the BlackBerry CIO and a U.S. Air Force IT type, it's pretty safe to say we're still knee-deep in enterprise here.

Anyhoo, we'll be bringing it all to you this week.

A few other thoughts to get things going:

  • Speaking of CTIA, that means the Samsung Stratosphere turns 1. And it's having growing pains.
  • Nexus rumors sure are exciting, aren't they! Know what really excites me, though? What really tickles my fancy? Facts. I'm funny like that.
  • Even less exciting is seeing rumor reports hedged to within the last inch of their life. Either own the rumor, or don't publish it. Hedging is such sweet bullshit.
  • Is there a dearth of actual devices to cover or something? Did I miss the memo?
  • How much of these next-Android-version rumors are simply rehashed from what Google told us was coming at Google IO developer conference this summer? I've got some videos to watch again.
  • Why do we act like it's so surprising to see a new version of Android starting to peek out? It's not like work suddenly stopped and nobody was told, was it?
  • I'm all about getting a 32- or 64-gigabyte Nexus 7 tablet. (Or any other device for that matter.) That's not to say there's not a place in this world for cloud-storage-centric devices. I think it comes down to personal usage. I'm in airplanes a lot. I need local storage. I need both, actually, but I need the choice.
  • It was nice to actually podcast two weeks in a row. Forgot how much fun that can be. We don't make money on them. Hell, they cost money, and they're time-consuming. But they're also a lot of fun. And we're about to pass 2.5 million downloads, which just floors me.
  • And if you didn't catch the end of this past week's podcast ...
  • Plague Inc. is fun, and I'm surprised the prospect of ending all human life on Earth didn't bother me in the slightest. But it seems to be another one of those games that's trying just a little too hard for the in-app purchases. This sucker's tough.

That's it for today. See ya'll from San Diego.

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3 years ago

Sony recalls Xperia Tablet S after water resistance concerns [updated]

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Update - We've now got official statements published from both Sony U.S. and Sony UK. While the UK announcement is lacking in any serial numbers, the American announcement comes complete with those affected. Both read somewhat differently, but at least offer an official word on the matter from both sides of the Atlantic. 

Remember the Sony Xperia Tablet S? Yea, that one with the interesting wedge shape -- no, not the one with the big wedge shape -- that's the one. A main selling point for the tablet was its water resistance. Unfortunately Sony is being forced to recall tablets in several markets around the world -- starting with Japan -- because the devices aren't living up to their claims. Apparently, a manufacturing defect was leaving gaps between the display and housing of the device, which in turn lets water get where it shouldn't.

So if you've got a Tablet S (and since they've only shipped about 100,000 you'd be one of a select few), be sure to be extra careful when you're having that cup of coffee next to your tablet in the morning, and get ready to possibly send your device back to be replaced or repaired.

Source: Reuters

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia T initial photo and video samples

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We go hands-on with the Xperia T's 13-megapixel camera

Sony's smartphone cameras have always impressed us. Even the Xperia X10, a device with its fair share of issues, managed to ship with an above average camera assembly. So we were excited to try out the company's latest offering, the Xperia T (or Xperia TL, as it's known in the states), which packs a 13-megapixel Exmor R camera. The rear shooter incorporates Sony's proprietary BSI sensor, and boasts an f/2.4 aperture. So it has all its numbers in the right place -- what about image quality?

We've got a detailed breakdown after the jump, along with a couple dozen photo samples and five minutes of video.

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G review

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The Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G hit T-Mobile last month offering solidly mid-range specs and a landscape slide-out keyboard. I’ve been testing it out for the last week or so on Mobilicity in Canada, and I’ve generally been happy with my experience. There are a lot of software customizations loaded up that take a bit of getting used to, but once you learn ‘em, they can be definitely be useful.

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3 years ago

AT&T cutting device return window to 14 days starting Oct. 7

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AT&T seems poised to cut its no-commitment return window on purchases to 14 days, down from 30 days previously. Starting tomorrow, October 7th, new AT&T customers will only have two weeks to decide if their new handset is what they're looking for. After your 14 days are up, you're liable for the full burden of your contract -- that means an ETF (Early Termination Fee). The only people that may not be affected by the change are select AT&T business customers, who will still have the complete 30 day return window.

So what do you think? Does having a larger return window encourage you to go and try a different carrier? Let us know in the comments.

Source: PhoneScoop

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week - Best Deals, Blue Skies Live Wallpaper, Huebrix and more!

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You've gotta love when the Android Central writers bring you a greatly diverse set of app picks for your Saturday afternoon reading. With these picks, we'll save you a few bucks, make your homescreen look nicer, kill some time with a game or find the nearest cell tower. As is normally the case, you just don't want to miss these picks, so read on.

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3 years ago

Android Central International round-up - October 6, 2012

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Another busy week in the Android world device launches and announcements galore. First up was the HTC One X+, which will be coming to Europe and U.S. carrier AT&T in the weeks ahead -- it's a re-vamped One X with snazzy red accents, a faster CPU and a larger battery. It's also packing a new version of HTC's Sense software, Sense 4+, along with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The Galaxy Note 2 also launched in the UK and Europe it the past week, and we published our exhaustive review of Samsung's latest phone/tablet hybrid. Without spoiling too much, we'll say that we've been impressed -- and surprised -- by the quad-core, 5.5-inch device. Buyers in the UK can pick up the 3G/HSPA version now, or the 4G LTE version on EE in a couple of weeks.

And in other UK 4G news, EE reached an agreement with the other carriers, meaning it'll be able to launch its LTE network on Oct. 30, and the 4G spectrum auction that the other networks are relying on will be moved forward. The result should be widespread 4G coverage across multiple UK carriers by spring 2013.

Check out the list below for some of the main international Android stores from the past week. If you've got news, be sure to submit it to the usual address.

Special features:

News: 

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review [Updated]

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The original Samsung Galaxy Note was never the likeliest candidate for a multi-million-selling Android device. Few expected it to succeed, and its inflated size and stylus input made it an easy target for ridicule. We were cautiously optimistic in our November 2011 review, but also skeptical as to its mass market potential. Yet somehow, in the ten months following its debut in late 2011, Samsung managed to turn this quirky technological showcase into something with sufficient mass appeal to shift more than 10 million units. And so here we are one year on with its successor, the Galaxy Note 2.

Samsung likes to talk about having created a new category of mobile device with the Galaxy Note, and the Note certainly stretches the boundaries of what can reasonably be called a smartphone. It’s even inspired a few imitators, including LG’s Optimus Vu and Intuition. But users of the original Note will concede that while the device was groundbreaking, it certainly wasn’t perfect. Samsung’s TouchWiz 4 software was hardly ideal for a phone of that size, and many usability hiccups remained in Android, particularly where the "S Pen" stylus was concerned.

In 2012, the Galaxy Note 2 presents Samsung with the chance to refine the Note formula, and possibly dominate this niche for another year. So have they succeeded? Read on to find out, in our definitive Galaxy Note 2 review.

Update, Oct. 6: This review has been updated in light of multi-window support being added via an over-the-air update.

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3 years ago

Motorola killing webtop, laptop docks

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Motorola has confirmed that it will no longer be pursuing its webtop program in the future. Famously announced to much fanfare with the Motorola Atrix, the laptop dock is going away. Starting with its latest release of devices -- the Photon Q, Droid RAZR HD, etc. -- webtop will no longer be preloaded and laptop dock devices will no longer be for sale. In an official statement, Motorola laid out the news:

"Motorola's Webtop app helps users extend their smartphone experience to larger screens. While consumers around the world have adopted Webtop and the concept spurred a lot of innovation in the industry, the adoption has not been strong enough to justify continued resources being allocated to developing Webtop on future devices. We have also seen development of the Android operating system focus on the inclusion of more desktoplike features. Beginning with Photon Q and Droid Razr M/Droid Razr HD/Droid Razr Maxx HD, we will no longer be including Webtop on our products moving forward."

This probably doesn't come as a surprise to many of us who have either completely forgotten that webtop existed (we wouldn't blame you) or saw with the high prices and anemic sales that the future wasn't bright for the product. Most importantly, this really symbolizes the end of an era for Motorola. Webtop may have been one of the biggest things left that symbolized the Motorola of the past. As if Google and Motorola's statements prior to its latest device launches weren't clear enough, it seems as though we're looking at a "new Motorola" going forward.

Source: CNET

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3 years ago

Ideas for NFC use, What are your top five favorite apps? [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

We've got nearly 1 million members helping members and nearly 2 million posts in our Android Forums. Are you one of them? Join today!

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3 years ago

FCC planning to release 300MHz of spectrum to carriers by 2015

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Speaking yesterday at the University of Pennsylvania, chairman of the FCC Julius Genachowski explained how he plans to release another 300MHz of wireless spectrum to high speed wireless carriers by 2015. A large portion of the spectrum will be auctioned off in the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) band, which isn't exactly what you'd call "prime real estate", but is where AT&T currently operates some LTE and T-Mobile has historically ran its HSPA+ network. New chunks of AWS being available could give a much-needed boost to these networks.

We hear a lot about spectrum nowadays -- who has it? who doesn't? why does it matter? -- but the real takeaway here is that more spectrum being available for carriers to use is a good thing. It essentially means that carriers will have more room to allocate bandwidth to devices, especially in major metropolitan areas where its quite apparent that these networks are oversaturated

Source: FCC (pdf); via Slashdot

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3 years ago

AT&T LTE now live in Jackson, MS.

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AT&T tells us that they have turned on LTE in and around Jackson, Mississippi today, bringing high speed data access to the Jackson metro and parts of Hinds County. AT&T currently has LTE deployed in over 75 markets and continues to roll out more, trying to keep pace with Verizon's year-long head start with the new 4G network.

AT&T offers numerous LTE devices, including some great Android phones like the Xperia Ion, the HTC One X, the Samsung Galaxy S3 (Galaxy S III) and the Motorola Atrix HD

Anyone in the City of Soul seeing outrageous data speeds, like the one pictured above from Chicago? Fire off in the comments and let us all know. 

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

Follow Friday: Android Central on Google+

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Sure, you read all the blog posts. And you listen to the podcasts. And you're active in the forums. But that's just the beginning of all the ways you can let Android Central invade your life. We're all up in Google+, of course, with more than 63,000 satisfied customers.

And in addition to our main page, be sure to follow all of us individually as well. Here's a handy list, in handy bullet points:

And other Mobile Nations folks you should follow include:

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3 years ago

International RAZR HD and RAZR i now part of Motorola bootloader unlock program

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Two of Motorola's latest flagship devices, the international RAZR HD and RAZR i, have been added to the manufacturer's bootloader unlock program today. The program, if you're not aware, gives the more technically inclined users among us an official tool to unlock the bootloader on the device, which gives access to the hardware that would otherwise be extremely difficult to access. That means custom recoveries, ROMs and hacks can be easier applied to the device. Remember though that going through official methods to unlock your bootloader with Motorola's tools will void your warranty -- a risk most of us are willing to take -- and you may be out of luck getting the phone serviced in the future.

A list of the currently supported devices:

Previously, only the Photon Q, Droid RAZR M and Droid RAZR HD developer editions were listed as being supported by the unlock program -- which Motorola pointed out at the launch event -- so it's good to see even more models getting added to the list.

It's important to point out that these are the international models being added to the list today. As far as the US models coming to Verizon go, we're pretty sure those bootloaders will be encrypted like most Verizon devices -- hence the release of separate developer model SKUs. We can understand Verizon's motivations for wanting encrypted bootloaders on the devices they subsidize to run on their network, but we also think that having fully priced (unsubsidized) developer editions is happy middle ground. It's important for those of you who support the idea of unlockable bootloader devices to follow through and purchase the developer editions -- vote with your wallet, folks.

Source: Motorola; via Droid-Life

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3 years ago

Motorola RAZR i now available in Brazil

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Motorola and Intel's latest flagship device, the Motorola RAZR i, is available for purchase in Brazil starting today. The specs are exactly what we've seen previously with the launch of the device in Europe -- 2Ghz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 8MP camera (that actually took some good pictures in our testing) and a 4.3-inch 540x960 (qHD) Super AMOLED screen. Unfortunately -- but not surprisingly -- the RAZR i is shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich, but Motorola pledged to have these devices updated to Jelly Bean as soon as possible.

The RAZR i is available for R$1,299 (about $640 USD, no surprise there) starting today. Have a look at the full press release after the break.

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