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3 years ago

Hands on with the new TomTom for Android satellite navigation app

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TomTom for Android has been an awfully long time coming. Having been available on iOS now for a number of years, the global satellite navigation giant has been somewhat tardy in bringing it to Android. But, it's officially official now, we're getting it on Android in October. The biggest question still remains the same though -- why buy this on an OS that comes with a perfectly good satellite navigation system built in for free? We went hands on at IFA 2012 in Berlin to see if maybe we could answer that. 

First things first, TomTom is a really nice looking application. The interface is well designed -- and by that we mean it's designed as if this were a stand alone TomTom device. One of the not so great points about Google Maps Navigation is that the in app menus are still designed like a smartphone app. TomTom has some really large, bold icons that make for simple use in the car. 

All the necessary information is present too, speed, distance to destination, arrival time as you would expect from an app such as this. Also available is HD traffic, which during the demonstration showed just how bad an idea driving in Berlin in the afternoon can be. Speed camera locations are also available in TomTom -- not that anyone at AC speeds anywhere, ever -- and the locations are community built. For example, if you drive past a location not registered and you come across a mobile speed camera, by tapping the relevant icon you can report this information back for inclusion in the database. 

The demo unit also shows the universal TomTom docking system in action. This is perfect for use with an Android smartphone, as it has adjustable arms to suit the differing sizes of devices. It also has a microUSB charging facility so there's still only need to have one device plugged into the cigarette lighter socker. 

We're going to have to wait until October though to really get to grips with TomTom for Android. No matter how good it may look on a show floor, real world performance is what matters here. There are definitely features in TomTom which is going to make it justifiable for regular drivers over something like Google Maps Navigation, but price is going to play a big part in that decision. 

And as yet, we still don't know that price. TomTom informed us that the pricing information will be announced at launch, but that it will be available in Google Play in markets around the world sometime in October. It does feel like a full on TomTom navigation system though, and with an application available for a smartphone, it makes you wonder how long the stand alone systems will continue to sell. You can find our hands on video after the break.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with Sony's latest at IFA [video]

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Let's do this in one fell swoop, shall we? Here's a walkthrough with all of Sony's new kit at IFA in Berlin. Seven minutes in Sony smartphone heaven, if you will. The glitz! The glamour! The glossy fingerprints!

Seriously, though, Here's a quick look at the new Sony Xperia T, Xperia TX, Xperia J, Xperia V, Acro S, the Xperia Tablet S -- and some waterproof demos as well.

Accessories? Oh, we got 'em, too.

Oh, and Ice Cream Sandwich on the Xperia Ion, which hasn't actually been pushed out yet.

So, yeah. A whole lot of kit from Sony at IFA. Enjoy!

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3 years ago

ZTE team up with Intel and announce the ZTE Grand X IN

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It only seems five minutes ago we had the ZTE Grand X released and already it is being superseded by another flagship device. The ZTE Grand X IN is powered by an Intel® Atom™ processor Z2460 with Intel® Hyper-Threading which should make the new handset more efficient in the power department whilst still delivering a fast and powerful experience. The majority of the specs look to be on-par with the original Grand X although the camera has had a boost and we now get an 8MP instead of the 5. The shell looks identical and from handling the Grand X I can say it is a pretty solid device for its price point.

Other features include a 4.3 inch TFT 16 million-color display, a 1650 mAh battery and HSPA+ 21Mbps. The device is planned for release in Europe during September and will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. There is no word on plans to get Jelly Bean on it so I wouldn't hold your breath for that one however when carriers announce pricing for the ZTE Grand X IN I expect them to be very competitive. The Grand X that launched here in the UK just last month is sitting just short of the £200 mark on pay as you go so fingers crossed the final figure for the IN will be in that ball park.

Catch the press release and full specs below:

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3 years ago

Speck PixelSleeve review

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I'm loving the Speck PixelSleeve Plus for my full-size Android tablet. A 10-inch Android tablet is too big to put in a pocket. For a lot of folks, the screen real-estate is more important than portability, so a 10-incher is the choice. Since you can't stuff one into the cargo pocket on your pants, you'll need a way to carry it around once you venture outside. If you're like me, that means a backpack filled with other gear that can (and will) scratch up the screen and do other ugly things to your expensive tablet computer, so you'll need some protection. Click through and have a look.

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3 years ago

Fido kicks off LTE network across Canada

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Fido announced today the availability of LTE coverage in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and St. John's. Expansions later this year are planned for Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Kingston, Quebec City, and lots of other areas. They don't have any LTE phones just yet, but they do have a a mobile hotspot available to kick things off. Speeds average between 12 Mbps and 25 Mbps, and sometimes hitting 40 Mbps. Of course, Fido is really just tapping into the LTE network built by their parent company, Rogers, but at least means a few more high-speed options for those that prefer to go prepaid. Fido's top data add-on is $25 for 2 GB, or you can opt for 500 MB as part of their top-tier $50 plan. 

More LTE is great and all, but I'd really like to see the little guys like WIND and Mobilicity get on the bandwagon. LTE is a big selling point for going with Rogers, Bell, or TELUS, even if the smaller carriers can beat them on plan prices. Fido would need some pretty compelling plans in order to pull away customers from Bell, TELUS, or even its big brother Rogers, but even though they've doubled up the data allocations on the two lower tiers, I'm still not entirely sold. 

In any case,  more info on Fido's LTE roll-out is available here. Anyone on Fido hankering for LTE and not willing to go to the Big Three to get it?

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3 years ago

Amazon says Kindle Fire completely 'sold out'; successor's announcement expected next week

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Amazon today announced that it has completely sold out of the Kindle Fire, which quickly rose to prominence as the 7-inch tablet to have in late 2011 before being overtaken (in prestige, at least) by the $199 7-inch Google Nexus 7 this summer.

Amazon, still without citing any actual sales numbers, said that the Kindle Fire has "captured 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S." It didn't give a source for that percentage either. Regardless, there's no denying that the Kindle Fire has been a hot device, even in the sales figures, opaque at best, remain disputed.

Last week we ran an unscientific poll in our sidebar, asking readers the simple question: Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet or Nexus 7. Out of more than 3,100 responses, the message about where attention currently is directed was clear, at least from our readers:

And so that brings us to the present. Amazon has an event scheduled for Sept. 6 in Los Angeles, presumably to announce a new version of the Kindle Fire, which is all but certain now that it's no longer selling the original. The question now is whether whatever it brings to the table will continue to compete both in specs, features and, most important, price, particularly with the expectation that Apple will release a smaller iPad this fall.

Tune in next week as we find out, folks.

Source: Amazon

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3 years ago

The normal-sized Sony Xperia Tablet S ... and a giagantic Vaio Tap

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Yes. That's not an Android tablet. But it's such a monsterously huge freak of nature, we're not going to ignore it, either. It might look normal, but that's the 20-inch Sony Vaio Tap Windows 8 tablet that was just announced at IFA in Berlin.

Here's the good part: Alex popped this guy up next to the relatively normal-sized (and Android-based) Sony Xperia Tablet S, also announced this week. Check out the hilarity after the break.

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3 years ago

Buying the Granny Smith game is the best buck you'll spend this week

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So imagine you're a sweet little granny, who wears roller skates and can use a cane like some sort of geriatric ninja. Add in a chubby little thief, who seems to have one goal in life -- to steal your apples. No, this isn't some bizarre M. Night Shyamalan film, it's a great new game from Mediocre. The same folks who brought us Sprinkle now have a new title, and I predict it will be an instant hit.

It's simple to play -- tap the right side to jump, and the left side to swing your cane and grab things overhead. You'll twist and turn through 36 levels where you get dirty with pigs, break through windows, and generally show some amazing parkour skills to get your apples before the thief does. It sounds simple to play because it is, and it sounds fun as hell because it is. 

If you're rocking a Tegra 3 device, it's even better. Granny Smith is fully Tegra optimized, with extra "breakables", scenery, and particle physics. That's not to say it doesn't play well on other devices, but you get that little bit of extra oompf from the Tegra. Be honest, that little bit of extra oompf is why we bought Tegra devices to start with.

Anyhoo, the game is live in Google Play and only costs a buck. Stop thinking about it and go buy it. When your battery is dead, you can come back and thank me. Video trailer is after the break.

More info at the TegraZone

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3 years ago

SwiftKey's 2012 survey results are in - here are some highlights

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Remember back in June when SwiftKey had a contest with Mobile Nations that offered three tablets as prizes to survey takers? The results are in, and some of the data looks pretty interesting. 

Granted, the sample size and demographic make these results a bit skewed compared to a survey given at a grocery store, or even a carrier store (you folks are smart and opinionated), but it's nice to peer into the collective mind that is the Mobile Nations Borg reader base. 

What's most interesting is the changes from just a year ago. It's pretty cool to see what you guys think, and how it changes. Hit the jump and have a look.

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3 years ago

Three more UK retailers for the Barnes & Noble Nook - Argos, Blackwell's and Foyles

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Barnes & Noble today announced three more UK retailers for the Android-based Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. And as the headline suggests, they'll be in Argos, Blackwell's and Foyles.

Argos has some 700 locations from which to assuage your e-reading needs, and you can look for purchases in October. Blackwell's serves 55 universities and is set up on major high streets in the UK. Foyles will sell in its half-dozen London and Bristol shops.

John Lewis previously was announced to carry Nook devices.

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3 years ago

Amazon App Store comes to Europe

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Amazon have today announced they will launch their App Store in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain giving European customers more options to purchase Android apps for their smartphones and tablets. As well as getting fast access to Amazons 'free app of the day' content will be localized and each countries app store will differ slightly.

Amazon will do their own app testing to ensure the quality of the product they are delivering. In addition, customers will be able to view recommendations and reviews before selecting the 1-click payment option. With sales of the Amazon Kindle Fire getting overshadowed by the Nexus 7 this looks likely to help Amazons market presence. Head over to www.amazon.co.uk/get-appstore to get access. You can check out the full press release below.

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3 years ago

The Desire is back - HTC announces the Desire X

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I wasn't sure we would ever see the Desire brand again from HTC but it is back, this time in the form of the Desire X. Over at IFA in Berlin HTC have announced the new handset which is due for release from September. Specs wise it isn't a match for the HTC One X and I think that the Desire X is more your average consumer handset. That said, it still has a lot going for it. Sporting a 4 inch Super LCD WVGA screen it will be the perfect size for many people. Combined with the familiar Sense UI and Android 4.0 the Desire X should be a crowd pleaser.

Once again HTC have focused on a couple of main features. The 5MP camera hits the spotlight with HTC's ImageChip, a f/2.0, 28mm wide-angle lens, BSI sensor, HDR mode and automatic adjustable flash. Like on the One Series devices, capturing pictures and video can be done simultaneously. Music is the other key feature with the Desire X. Beats Audio is once again on board to ensure crisp, rich music playback. Full press release from HTC is below.

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3 years ago

Live in Berlin: Samsung International Press Conference at IFA 2012

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Get ready for even more Samsung from the official IFA press conference

After last night's Galaxy Note 2-themed craziness, we're heading to the Messe Berlin exhibition center this morning for the company's second presser in as many days. This time around we're expecting a more general focus, and possibly a little less Android. Nevertheless, there should be plenty for mobile tech fans to enjoy.

And just like all the other big IFA events, you get to be here with us for the Samsung press conference. Here are the full details --

  • What: Samsung International Press Conference at IFA 2012
  • Where: Messe Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • When: 1100 CEST, 1000 BST, 0500 EDT, 0200 PDT
  • Official stream: You can find the official Samsung live stream over here.
  • Online chat: ​Rather than just telling you what we're seeing (you can work that out from the stream, after all), we'll be hosting a live chat from the event, keeping you up-to-date on everything that's going on, and letting you have your own say.
  • And much more: We're going to get some face time with whatever's announced, so check back early and often.

We'll see you this morning Berlin time. Live coverage can be found after the break!

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3 years ago

Three UK to carry newly announced Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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One of the biggest announcements of all yesterdays IFA 2012 action -- check out our recap if you missed anything -- was the official unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The latest iteration of the Note line is sure to be in high demand, and we know there's a lot of folks out there that want to know where and when they can get one. 

During the Unpacked Keynote presentation in Berlin, Samsung announced that the Note 2 will be available in October. But, nothing more precise than that at this time. One of the first carriers to announce they will be carrying the Note 2 in the UK is Three. There are no details from Three on price or when they expect to offer it themselves at this time however. But, considering that Three UK offers some of the best deals on the market with affordable all-you-can-eat data, it may make a compelling companion to the Note 2. 

We're only just getting started at IFA 2012 in Berlin, so stick with AC for all the best as it happens. 

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

Carphone Warehouse to carry Sony Xperia T, expected September

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The Xperia T is the pick of the Sony smartphones announced yesterday at IFA 2012 in Berlin. The 4.6 inch Ice Cream Sandwich device is likely to turn a few heads, and we're starting to get the first information on where and when the Xperia T will be available. 

High Street UK retailer Carphone Warehouse has thrown up a pre-registration page for the Xperia T, announcing their plans to stock Sony's new flagship. While it may launch with Android 4.0.4, Sony has confirmed that an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be made available following the launch of the device. We haven't any detailed timing on that, but it does make the Xperia T even more attractive. 

No pricing information is provided at this time, but Carphone Warehouse expects the Xperia T to be available some time in September. 

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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