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3 years ago

Angry Birds updated with power-ups and Bad Piggies levels

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The inevitable cross-promotion between Rovio's classic Angry Birds title and their latest creation, Bad Piggies, has kicked off today. The original Angry Birds game has been updated with an extra 15 pig-themed levels, along with a new power-up mechanic, so players can get kitted out with the shiniest of slingshots to help them through tricky levels.

Power-ups include Super Seeds, the Almighty Sling King, the Sling Scope Laser Targeting System, the Birdquake. As you might expect, these are all wonderful new ways in which Rovio can nickel and dime you with in-app purchases. At least it's got a bit more interesting than the Mighty Eagle. 

As for the new levels, there's a full 15 dedicated to Bag Piggies, along with another 15 summer-themed Surf and Turf levels. Little seasonally late on that second one, but I think we can let it slide. It's also good to see the core game is still getting some support, even though Star Wars Angry Birds is right around the corner. What do you think of the new mechanic, Angry Birds fans? Are you tired of Rovio trying to sell you stuff yet? 

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3 years ago

Verizon Wireless CTO: Expect VoLTE "by the end of 2013"

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Verizon Wireless held a briefing today here in San Diego as part of MobileCON's day one festivities, citing the inroads it has made with its extensive LTE network. According to VZW CTO Nicola Palmer, Verizon's LTE footprint currently covers 75-percent Americans, and is scheduled to duplicate the 3G footprint by the end of 2013. At the end of September 2012, 35-percent of all of Verizon's data traffic was over its LTE network.

Speaking on the future of LTE, Palmer said that Verizon will now focus on capacity, using an "entire toolbox of tools", including LTE Advanced and the carrier's recently-acquired AWS spectrum. "We are looking forward to [LTE Advanced] and we will likely pick and choose features when they become available." Palmer said that customers can expect AWS-compatible devices to hit the market sometime in 2013.

Also on the horizon for 2013 is the much-awaited arrival of Voice over LTE (VoLTE), which Palmer said she has tested personally. "Putting voice on our LTE network is something we are pretty excited about. We are testing it, we have deployed all necessary infrastructure." According to Palmer, VoLTE will arrive on Big Red by the end of 2013.

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3 years ago

Google brings trial subscriptions to Google Play

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The Android Developers team has announced new "try-and-buy" in-app subscriptions are coming to Google Play.

Starting today, developers can set up a trial period for subscriptions, where a user is charged a zero fee for the duration and the subscription is marked as paid until canceled or the trial period has finished. Users (that's you and me!) can cancel the subscription at any time during the trial, and when the trial period is over they will be charged through Google Wallet for the cost of the subscription. There are no big changes for developers, as the new methods use existing apk files and are all done server side. 

It's a little used feature for most of us, but hopefully these new tryout periods change that a little and developers have a way to  offer quality content that we're all willing to pay for. I know I would be more apt to consider the subscribed content model if I has a trial period, what about you? Holler in the comments.

Source: Android Developers blog; via  +Android Developers

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3 years ago

Verizon CTO announces 400th LTE market to launch on Oct. 18

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At a CTIA MobileCON press conference in San Diego, Verizon Wireless CTO Nicola Palmer announced that the company plans to launch its 400th LTE market just 9 days from now, two months earlier than previously expected. The 400th. market will be the city of Marquette, Michigan, and will join 20 more LTE markets that are also going live on October 18th. These 21 new markets will push Verizon's nationwide total to a staggering 417.

The full press release can be found after the break, and remember to keep a browser tab pointed at our continuing CTIA MobileCON coverage.

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3 years ago

Live from the MobileCON day one keynote- mobile is changing the world

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It's day one here in San Diego at MobileCON 2012, and on-hand to kick off the festivities were a handful of executives from companies that are being shaped and reshaped by the ever-changing mobile landscape. The theme of the day wasn't about hardware or devices (though T-Mobile and Sprint seem to have thought otherwise), but instead about how smartphones and tablets are merely the delivery system for technologies, challenges, and opportunities that are changing the world we live in.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the Sprint LG Optimus G

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The Sprint Optimus G in a nutshell: It's an LG Optimus G. On Sprint.

That's really about it. Sprint's iteration of LG's newest flagship is pretty much what we saw in the international version. It's got the same 4.7-inch WXGA IPS display (that's a lot of letters for "good"), same Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 pro quad-core processor. Same 13-megapixel camera that sticks out ever so slightly. Same cool "crystal reflection design" under the don't-call-it-glass backing.

And, yes, same non-removable battery, and no microSD card. (You do have 32 GB of on-board storage, with a good chunk of that already used by the operating system.)

Otherwise, no real surprises here. LG's customizations are all intact. Sprint's apps are all tucked away in SprintZone, the way we like them.

Now all we need is some availability and pricing information. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

We've got a few more pics and video after the break. Be sure to stick around and see more from CTIA MobileCON over the next couple of days. 

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3 years ago

Samsung 'hears' Exynos community documentation concerns

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There's been a little hubbub in the Android developer community surrounding the lack of proper documentation and source code for some of Samsung's Exynos 4 chips. The absence of documentation has lead to some high-profile CyanogenMod developers giving up on porting to some Samsung devices, including the international Galaxy S3. To cut a long story short, smartphone chips are incredibly complex, and trying to port open-source Android to them without the right code samples and documentation is extremely difficult. 

Today, following a short social media campaign, Samsung acknowledged the dev community's desire for full Exynos documentation, saying on its official Twitter account -- 

We hear your concerns about documentation & source code for Exynos-based devices. We're discussing it with our team and will update you soon.

Samsung has proven itself to be relatively developer-friendly in the past, allowing unlocked bootloaders on devices, and even putting out a special developer edition of the locked-down Verizon Galaxy S3. Hopefully Samsung's internal discussions will result in a positive outcome for devs. If so, it'll mean better custom ROMs for owners of Exynos devices.

Source: @SamsungExynos, XDA, Thanks @android_indian

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the Sprint LG Mach

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Sliders have always held a special place in many a heart -- and that includes Sprint, which today unveiled the surprisingly slim LG Mach at the CTIA MobileCON event in San Diego.

The Mach's got a 4-inch, WVGA display. And it proves that such a "low" resolution by today's standards can still work on a mass-market device, provided the screen's no bigger than that. It's easy to forget in this age of 5-inch, HiDPI devices.

Android 4.0.4 is on board, and we'd expect a Jelly Bean update at some point, though nobody's saying much of anything at this point. LG's new UI -- is there, so you get a whiff of what's on the higher-end Optimus G, without all the muss and fuss of ridiculously awesome hardware (and the cost that goes with it). Sprint's also living up to its promise to not muck up the phone with too many preloaded apps, smartly tucking them away in the SprintZone app. Sprint ID's on board as well;  you can choose to use it, or not.

But the keyboard's the real star here, right? LG's crammed a decent enough slider into a surprisingly thin form factor, with the whole kit and kaboodle measuring in at just less than a half-inch. The keys are decent enough, with a little bit of click to them and some nice backlighting to guide your way.

Also of note is that the Mach's got a removable 1700 mAh battery, so you can swap out a dead one on the go. It's also got a microSD card slot, which helps explains the rather anemic 8 GB of on-board storage. (And about 3 GB of that is taken up by the OS.)

No word on pricing or availability. But this'll be on the lower end of things.

We've got more hands-on photos and video after the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has SwiftKey prediction built-in

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One of the Galaxy Note 2's best features may be one of its most hidden

A funny thing about SwiftKey. We've questioned, in the past, its strategy of forgoing deals with manufacturers to be preloaded onto devices (like Swype chose to do) and instead relying on Google Play downloads. It seems it's survived that strategy just fine, consistently remaining in the top 5 paid Android applications as well as spending its share of time in the top spot. 

But we've also seen it branch out a little bit. SwiftKey's prediction engine has appeared on BlackBerry, of all places. And now, we've learned, it's on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. And that phone should sell a few more units than BlackBerry, no?

Samsung didn't respond to a request for comment. SwiftKey had no comment. (That's in line with the BlackBerry implementation of SwiftKey. Neither the keyboard company nor the struggling RIM would 'fess up, either.)

More: Read our Galaxy Note 2 review

Sure enough, in the keyboard settings on the Note 2, you can find options for "Predictive text." There's an overall on/off switch for personalization. And under that you see the familiar "Learn from ..." options. Sign in to Facebook, Gmail and Twitter, and SwiftKey (erm, the Galaxy Note 2) can learn from what you type. 

There's also a conspicuous link to the privacy policy -- which is really good to see, given that this is snooping on your messages. But we've also been using SwiftKey with its personalization for more than a year, and we've really got no worry here.

The short version is that this is a good thing for Samsung. And it's a good thing for SwiftKey. And, untimately, it's a good thing for you.

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3 years ago

LG's Nexus 4 - here's what we know so far [Updated]

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First came the HTC-built Nexus One in early 2010. Then it was Samsung's turn with the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus in the years that followed. And in recent days it's become pretty clear that Google’s 2012 Nexus partner is LG, with the upcoming fourth-generation Nexus phone being based on the Korean manufacturer’s Optimus G.

Photos have leaked showing a curved design with a glass back, and reported specs include a beastly 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, a 4.7-inch IPS display and, as ever, a "pure Google" vanilla Android experience. And there's been plenty of discussion and speculation over on the Android Central forums. But there are a lot of rumors circulating as to the exact nature of LG and Google's upcoming high-end smartphone, and it's not always easy to separate out the facts.

So just what do we know about the upcoming 2012 Nexus phone? We’ve collected all the most reliable leaked information into one handy report, which you can check out after the break.

Update, Oct. 15: This article has been updated with the latest information on the LG Nexus that's come to light in recent days.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 gets official for T-Mobile

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Sprint had their turn this morning, now T-Mobile has an announcement of their own for MobileCON. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be landing on T-Mo, as expected, though they're just as vague with pricing and release dates. Both white and grey options will be available, in any case. Last night T-Mobile also announced the LG Optimus L9, and who knows what else they'll unveil before the end of the show. The Galaxy Note 2 is shaping up to be a hugely popular device, and based on our experience, it's worth all of the hype. Here's a quick overview.

  • Processor: 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
  • Display: 5.5” HD Super AMOLED (1,280 x 720)
  • OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Camera: Main(Rear): 8 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash, BSI; Sub(Front): 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera, BSI; Best Photo, Best Faces, Low light shot
  • GPS: A-GPS; Glonass
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support) LE; USB 2.0 Host; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi HT40; Wi-Fi Direct; mHL; NFC
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, RGB Light, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer
  • Memory: 16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM); microSD (up to 64GB)
  • Dimensions: 80.5 x 151.1 x 9.4 mm, 180 g
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-ion 3,100mAh

Keep an eye out for the Galaxy Note 2 on T-Mobile shelves "in the coming weeks". T-Mobile customers, are you pumped?

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3 years ago

Nexus 7 getting Android 4.1.2 update, adds landscape mode

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Hot on the heels of the Android 4.1.2 AOSP announcement, an over-the-air update to the freshly-minted version of Android is slowly starting to roll out to Nexus 7 tablets. Reports from EE Times and the Android Central forums say that the update (finally) adds a landscape mode to the tablet's home screen launcher, in among the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements. We're sure that launcher change will please more than a few Nexus 7 owners sick of being stuck in portrait mode all the time.

The update package weighs just over 31MB, and is slowly starting to push out to Nexus 7 owners. We're not seeing it on any of our devices yet, but if you want to try your luck, head to to Settings > About device > Software updates and start mashing that button.

If you're one of the lucky few to have already received the update, be sure to shout out in the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

Source: EE Times, Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Android 4.1.2 pushing out to AOSP today

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Google's Jean-Baptiste Queru has announced today on the Android Building group mailing list that a small revision to Jelly Bean -- Android 4.1.2, build JZO54K -- is pushing out to AOSP (Android Open Source Project) right now. While the Android world is still spinning following a the leaking of a whole bunch of LG Nexus pictures showing 4.1.2 on-board, JBQ's only comments in terms of this 4.1.2 release are in reference to the Nexus 7. His warning to community builders of software for the Nexus 7 is that future variants of the device are coming with a different power management chip, one that is completely incompatible with the current 4.1.1 builds of the software.

Details are sparse at  the moment, but we'll keep you posted as we do some digging and find out what this means as far as changes and updates go. If there are changes or fixes relating to other Nexus devices, you can bet we'll see OTAs start to roll out in due course.

Source: Android Building

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3 years ago

LG announces Optimus G and Mach for Sprint

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The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 isn't the only thing announced for Sprint today. LG has announced the Optimus G and the Mach as the latest LTE-enabled additions to Sprint's line-up. Sprint also snuck in a tri-mode USB modem into the announcement, if you're into that kind of thing. We're already been pretty up-close-andpersonal with the Optimus G, but what's this Mach device? Surely not the Optimus Mach from awhile back, right? Nope, though it's still in the mid-range and pales in comparison to the Motorola Photon Q as far as sliders on Sprint go. Here are the broad strokes.

  • Full QWERTY slide out keyboard
  • Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • 4” WVGA touch screen
  • Super thin design - only .48”
  • 3G/4G LTE Mobile Hotspot capability supporting up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously
  • Dual Cameras: 5-megapixel rear-facing with flash and video capture and 0.3 megapixel VGA front-facing camera

As you might expect, pricing and launch dates are still hazy for either one of these, but it's probably safe to assume that we'll be getting them before the holidays. Any takers?

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3 years ago

Isis Mobile Wallet launch tipped for Oct. 22 in Austin and Salt Lake City

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Google Wallet competitor Isis could go live in trial markets in a matter of weeks, according to a leaked internal document obtained by Android Central. The doc, sent our way by an anonymous tipster, says that beginning Oct. 22, customers in Salt Lake City, UT and Austin, TX will be able to use the Isis Mobile Wallet service on "Isis Ready devices" -- though no complete list of devices was provided.

The document goes on to state that payments through Isis "supporting banks'" credit cards will be supported, and that Isis users will get a complementary $10 balance on their pre-paid Isis Cash Card just for signing up and activating their wallet. That'll sound awfully familiar to anyone who's used a Google pre-paid card through Google Wallet.

Isis has some big names backing it, and whenever the eventual widespread launch comes, you can bet we'll be hearing much more about it.

Thanks, Anon!

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