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3 years ago

Carphone Warehouse offering pre-Christmas deals on Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

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If you're in the market for an inexpensive tablet this Christmas time, be it for yourself or a loved one, Carphone Warehouse in the UK has just made the choice a little wider. Many -- including the Android Central staff -- would automatically recommend the Google Nexus 7. But, it's not for everyone. 

If you're more interested in a 10-inch tablet, the UK retailer has dropped the price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 to just £195 for the 16GB model. Better still, the tablet is still eligible for £50 cashback from Samsung too, making the net price just £145. At that price it's a potentially compelling purchase, and add to that the recent Jelly Bean rollout that started here in the UK, and it could make a great gift. It's by no means perfect, but it's cheaper than even the Nexus 7. It's limited to 2 per customer and it looks like stock is selling fast. It's currently out of stock online but we found a couple of our local stores with stock left. 

The Tab 2 isn't alone in the deals section either, as the 2nd Generation Amazon Kindle Fire has been reduced to just £98. As a content consuming device the Kindle Fire is a good choice, with built in LOVEFiLM streaming as well as Amazon's extensive content ecosystem. No Google Apps might be a deal-breaker for some, but at under £100 the Kindle Fire is a bonafide bargain.

Source: Carphone Warehouse (Tab 2 10.1) (Kindle Fire)

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3 years ago

Best Buy offering Samsung Galaxy S3 for $49 for one day only on Sunday Dec. 16

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If you fancy a little pre-holiday treat for yourself, Best Buy might have something for you. For one day only tomorrow, Sunday Dec. 16, the retailer is dropping the price of the Samsung Galaxy S3 to just $49 on a new 2-year contract. It's not the first time in recent months that the Android Central International and U.S. Best of the Best pick has been reduced. The difference this time round is that the Galaxy S3 will be available for that same price on the four big carriers. If you've been holding off, there might be little better opportunities to pick one up on the carrier of your choosing.

Source: @BBYNews 

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3 years ago

Photo buffs - be sure to give Snapseed a good long look

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Like that old dog who is reluctant to learn new tricks, I may have written off the new Android Snapseed app a bit too soon. In our last podcast, I was quick to dismiss it as yet another hipster filter app, with controls that are too difficult to use on a phone. We all agreed that it's better on a tablet (and it still is -- real estate FTW) but after a bit of practice today -- inspired by Google Android engineer Tor Norbye -- I'm Loving it. With a capital L. 

Gesture based apps aren't really new, but most folks are used to controls and numbers being shown when editing photos. I know I am, but after actually trying it for a while, I've got the hang of it and can use the image adjustment tools that aren't grunge and other lo-fi dramatic effects. It's helpful for phones with less-than-stellar cameras like the Nexus 4, and really does a number when you're using something like the Galaxy S3 or One X.

Take a few and try it on some old pictures. Chances are you'll see what all the fuss is about and end up keeping it. Be sure to show them all off, and enter the photo contest with your result. Install it by clicking the link up top.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Ski & Snow Report, Christmas Countdown, Holo Lamp and more!

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Welcome back to another edition of our Android Central app picks. We've only got a few more of these before the end of 2012, so we're hoping to make the most of 'em. It's the holiday season, so of course we've brought a couple of seasonal apps here -- with a few of our usual great picks thrown in as well. Stick around after the break and see how we did this week.

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3 years ago

Samsung denies claims of underage workers at their parts supplier

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Samsung has responded to and rejected claims from China Labor Watch saying that one of their component part suppliers, HTNS Shenzhen, was hiring underage workers. The investigation by Samsung into the matter concluded yesterday, where the worker in question affirmed that they are over 18 years of age. Two other workers who are no longer with the company were also found to have been over 18 when hired. 

Samsung builds and supplies over 90-percent of their own parts, but like many electronic manufacturers they still have a need for pieces from mainland China. Because of the attention this episode has drawn, Samsung has stated that they will implement new hiring practices, including face to face interviews and the introduction of electronic devices to detect fake IDs.

Even when not true, allegations of child labor can be damning to a company in the eyes of the west. Samsung will be doing everything possible to make sure it doesn't happen, and that nobody thinks it may be happening. They have a big reputation to uphold on the world stage, after all. For the full statement, see the source link.

Source: Samsung 

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3 years ago

Android Central 2012 Gift Guide: Richard's holiday wish-list

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Nights are drawing in, the temperature is heading below zero, and my wallet is empty. It's the festive season alright, which means giving killer gifts to the nearest and dearest. Me, as long as I get Back to the Future on the TV and the annual Boxing Day soccer football match, I'm happy. 

But, you want to give those you a love a great gift, right? Makes sense, so click on for some suggestions from across the pond. Pre-warning -- none are as good as Jerry's Glazed Ham.

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Sandy Hook

I don't much feel like writing about phones this weekend. Instead, I'll paraphrase a Facebook post from an old friend of mine from high school who leads a congregation in Nebraska:

It's so easy to say, "My heart/prayers goes out." How about this: Here's the address for Sandy Hook Elementary School: 12 Dickenson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.

Take five minutes. Sit down with your kid. Write a letter. Draw a picture. Make a card. Send it to them. Tell them you're praying for them. Tell them you're so sorry they're hurting. Tell them you love them. Don't just say you love them on Facebook. LOVE them for real. ... Make your love tangible.

Wise words. Hug your kids, remember the victims. And don't ever stop trying to make this world a little better.

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3 years ago

Samsung uses paper craft and the Note 2 to wish us happy holidays

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Kirigami is the ancient art of folding and cutting paper to make beautiful shapes or scenes. Most of us know it by the paper snowflakes we used to make as children. Samsung has taken it a step further, and along with the Note 2 have churned out another great commercial.

Using the Note 2 and it's large screen for motion effects, the paper craft work in the commercial really catches the eye. Commercials of this caliber are becoming the norm from Samsung, and we're enjoying each and every one. Have a watch, and if you decide to try any of this yourself (I know we have some very crafty readers) send in a short video or some pictures -- we'd love to have a look.

Souce: Samsung Mobile on Youtube

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3 years ago

From the mail bag: Why use Kies for updates?

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Richard writes: 

Why does Samsung hate OTA updates so much? Using Kies sucks.

We feel you Richard. Having to load software on your computer to perform an update seems like a step backwards, and in the wrong direction. And speaking for the minority as a Linux user who can't install most of these desktop suite programs, they do indeed suck. But in some cases, using Kies to update phones is actually a good idea. Read on.

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3 years ago

U.S. Cellular's Samsung Galaxy S II finally getting an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade

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If you're rocking a U.S. Cellular Samsung Galaxy S II, your long wait for Android 4.0 is finally at an end. The update is available for download, although it doesn't look like it's going out OTA. Hit the source link at the bottom of this post for more, but basically you'll need to download the update and install via your computer. 

While still Touchwiz'd up, the jump from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich is a sizeable one. New ICS features like Face Unlock are baked in, and it opens up a whole new world of applications to take advantage of, like Google Chrome. Also built in to this update are 'additional apps' with Google Play Movies and Slacker being installed as part of the package. Jelly Bean hasn't rolled out to any worldwide models of the Galaxy S II, so this at least brings the U.S. Cellular variant up to date with it's compatriots. If you've snagged the update, be sure to shout out in the comments and let us know how you're finding it. 

Source: U.S. Cellular

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3 years ago

Why Plume is still my Twitter client of choice

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It seems like there's a new wizz-bang fancy Twitter client released every week. Every single time you hear claims that it's the next best thing. Every once and a while those claims actually hold some merit, but it seems like more often than not these new clients just fade off into the ether and everyone goes back to their previous choice. For me, that choice is Plume and I've yet to find a client that can pull me away.

I've been using Plume exclusively since about February of this year, and it's only improved since then. After trying it out for about a week -- coming from the official Twitter app -- I paid $4.99 for the "Premium" version and never looked back. I initially chose Plume because not only did it ditch the legacy menu button, but also followed Android's new "holo" design guidelines extensively. There's something refreshing about apps that fit in nicely with the rest of the OS. Plume doesn't cut any corners in features or functionality to get "holo" either -- you have full customization of refresh, notifications (although not push, unfortunately), backgrounds, colors, display, URL shorteners, picture hosting and multiple accounts.

You also get three extremely functional widgets -- 2x1, 4x1 and 4x2 to 4x4 expandable. The largest is information dense and offers scrolling, tabs for tweets/mentions/messages and dedicated tweet/search keys. I interact with Plume through the widget a majority of the time, and it really is a joy to use. The developers are on top of updates for the widgets as well, offering an Android 4.2 lockscreen widget just days after the code released.

It's hard for me to consider using any other client when there's nothing I find in my use of Plume to drive me away. I'm not using it because it's the least broken out of the clients available -- I'm using it because I think it's the best available.

So what is your Twitter client of choice, and what has kept you from switching away? Let us know in the comments.

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3 years ago

Android-powered Ca-Fi Dashlinq infotainment system coming in January

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We've seen Android put in a lot of devices that aren't phones or tablets -- appliances, robots, light bulbs -- and car infotainment systems seem to be a good fit for the OS. Ca-Fi is set to release a new line of "Dashlinq" car head units running Android, with all of the features you'd want or need jammed in. It's running Android 2.3 -- as you can see by the navigation buttons on the right side -- with an 800x480 6.95-inch multi-touch screen, SDcard slot, optional Wifi and 3G, a USB port, bluetooth and GPS.

This unit doesn't skimp on the car integration either. It has full steering wheel control support, dual zone support, a 9 band EQ setting, Digital Sound Processor (DSP) and full radio support. It handles both calls and audio streaming over bluetooth as well.

Ca-Fi is setting the Dashlinq pricing at $649, and it will be available in January. There's a few more images of the unit and interface at the source link below.

Source: Ca-Fi

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3 years ago

First images surface of Verizon employee exclusive Droid DNA

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It's kind of teasing posting up photos of a device most people can't buy, but when it looks like this it's definitely worth a mention. What we see here is the first shots of the Verizon employee exclusive Droid DNA, obtained by the guys over at Droid-Life. It's a regular old DNA at heart, but instead of the black back on the regular one, Verizon staff get theirs in a pretty impressive shade of red. And, since Verizon devices aren't short on logos, this DNA is absolutely no exception. In addition to the usual stuff, it also comes stamped as a “Verizon Employee Limited Edition.” It's not likely to hit everyone's tastes, but it sure stands out in a crowd. 

Source: Droid-Life

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3 years ago

Google 'winter cleaning' is coming, Google Sync and Calendar features are going away

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We're nearing the end of 2012, and that means Google is doing some "winter cleaning" around the office and some less-popular services are going away. Google will be shutting down several services related to sync and calendar, all within the next month. First, several Google Calendar features are going away -- reservable times can no longer be created in appointment slots, but currently set slots will remain for one year. Two calendar "labs" features are going away as well: "Smart Rescheduler" and "Add gadget by URL." Google is also removing features that let users check and make appointments via SMS. 

Next, traditional Google Sync is going away -- this was the protocol that let users sync their mail, contacts and calendar to devices via the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. With the introduction of CardDAV and CalDav, Google can now offer much the same service with the IMAP protocol instead. Google Sync will shut down to new users on January 30, 2013, but will remain active for anyone that sets it up prior and all Google Apps users.

It sounds like a doomsday scenario of Google services getting shut down, but most users won't notice. Android syncs natively with Google Apps and therefore won't be affected by the Google Sync shutdown. You may want to take a look if you happen to use any of these Google Calendar tools, though.

Source: Google Official Blog

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3 years ago

Photoshop Express, Snapseed and the best photo editing apps for Android

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Fixing pictures on your phone has become a pretty big deal lately. Big players like Facebook and Twitter are starting to bundle photo filter and adjustment tools into their apps, but there’s still a home for the dedicate photography app. There are a ton of popular ones that continue to thrive and offer armchair photographers the opportunity to share some really slick shots. As a point of comparison, I’ll be using three pictures and sending them through each of the apps to give you an idea of what to expect: one portrait, one close-up, and one landscape shot. Here are the originals.

So, in order of personal preference, my top photograph editing apps are...

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