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4 years ago

LG makes Korean Optimus G Pro with 5.5-inch display officially official

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Some official information was released just earlier today on the larger Optimus G Pro headed to Korea, and now LG has spilled the beans on the new version of the device. This Optimus G Pro, which from the press images has quite a striking design, will come with the aforementioned 5.5-inch 1080x1920 display on the front and a slightly redesigned back. The back plate is using a similar square pattern from the original Optimus G, but with a curved glass covering that LG says creates a "2.5D" effect.

As for the internals, we're a little low on specifics at this point. LG is saying that device will have a quad-core processor along with the new, larger HD display and doesn't give much more information beyond that. LG is giving a release window of late February for the device in Korea, and until then we can at least drool over these great press images. We'd expect to get a look at the device come MWC in a couple weeks as well.

Source: LG (Translated); Via: Engadget

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4 years ago

What's new in Android 4.2.2

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Android 4.2.2 isn't quite official yet, but it's slow roll out has been bolstered by manual download links and folks are finding a few new things in the latest firmware. Most of it is behind the scenes and will be covered by words like "stability enhancements" and bug fixes, and those are what's really important. A specific that folks are reporting is a fix to the Bluetooth stack to fix audio stuttering, and that's something folks have been waiting for. Equally important is that plenty of people are saying their Nexus devices are no longer randomly rebooting, so if you have an issue there hopefully Android 4.2.2 fixes it. 

There are some other user-facing changes that probably won't apply to anyone without a Nexus device. Once a manufacturer gets their hands into the code, they tend to change these types of "features" to something that fits in with their version of Android a it better. Often times their version works better than stock Android, so we're not going to complain that they get changed. Here's what folks using stock are seeing:

  • When connecting via adb to a computer for the first time, you're prompted to allow the connection. This small security enhancement will help keep your bootloader locked device safe if you lose it. [Android Police]
  • App download notification have been changed. Now you'll see a progress bar that tells you the time remaining in addition to a percentage downloaded. [@ssaig]
  • Quick settings have been enhanced. Users can now long press on the Wifi and Bluetooth icons to toggle the setting. [@NittyMDev]
  • New sounds for wireless charging initiation and low battery alert. Users will now hear a notification sound when the device is placed on a wireless charger. In addition the low battery sound has been changed. [Android Police]
  • Removed option to show all calls in the phone app's call list. 
  • Vibration for notifications is longer in duration
  • New Gallery app animation allows faster loading. [@ssaig]

Really, nothing there anyone would miss if Samsung, HTC or any other manufacturer decided not to implement it. In short, 4.2.2 sounds like the bug fix update everyone has been waiting for. These kinds of updates are the ones we like seeing!

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4 years ago

Foursquare adds features, refreshes interface in latest update

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Everyone's favorite social check in service Foursquare has just pushed out a notable update in the Play Store, bringing a refreshed UI, some new features and a lot of polish. The previous UI wasn't bad or ugly by any stretch, but the Foursquare team has managed to add a bit more functionality and design to this latest update. The main homescreen is now a bit cleaner, with a universal "explore" search bar at the top and options to check in, see your last location and add a photo at the bottom of the screen. A now Android-standard swipe to the right reveals a settings screen to access your profile, lists, settings and friends -- although curiously there's still a very iOS-like menu slide button in the upper left corner.

The Check In screen has received a facelift as well, with some cleaner lines and little more visual flare. The text box asking "What are you up to?" is now more prominently laid over a map of the check in location with an option to add a picture still prominently set to the right of it. There's still a bit more cleaning up and unification of the UI to go, but things are looking better with each update.

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4 years ago

Save 14% at ShopAndroid.com through Valentine's Day!

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Forget lingerie. Chocolate rots your teeth. Flowers die. Smartphone accessories are where it's at this Valentine's Day. And through midnight Pacific time Thursday, ShopAndroid.com is taking 14 percent off everything in the store. That's 14 percent off Android cases. And headsets. And chargers. And cables. And, yes, the highly sought-after Lloyd Gear shirts and cases!

All you have to do is shop. And then check out. And then use the coupon code vday13. Do that, and we'll take 14 percent off your entire order. 

Seriously, folks. She doesn't want a thong. He doesn't want a card. Do yourselves a favor and get something your Valentine can really use -- accessories from ShopAndroid.com.

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4 years ago

Mophie Juice Pack for the Galaxy S3 - an update

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A few weeks ago we reviewed the Mophie Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Mophie PR was a little surprised that we came away not all that impressed, given that we've sung the praises of its iPhone Juice Pack. In fact, Mophie was concerned that because we'd purchased our first two units from resellers on Amazon (separate resellers, actually), we might well have received counterfeit Juice Packs, leading to the sharp edge at the bottom of the case, as well as a couple of the other more minor gripes we'd had.

Stranger things have happened, so we let Mophie send us a review unit, and it arrived about a week later, on Feb. 8. In the meantime, we purchased a third Mophie Juice Pack -- this time directly from Mophie -- and had it overnighted to us, arriving on Jan. 31.

In all four Galaxy S3 Mophie Juice Packs, there remains a sharp edge on the chin, and that remains our biggest complaint. It's not going to attack you or anything. But it's noticeable, it's uncomfortable, and it makes us want to take a file to the case -- something you should never have to do. 

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z kernel source code published ahead of phone launch

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The Sony Xperia Z isn't due to be available globally until the end of the month, but being the good, GPL-abiding OEM that it is, Sony Mobile has already published the device's kernel source code. The code, which will only really be of use to custom ROM developers, weighs in at 203MB, and can be found at the Sony open-source archive linked below.

With the phone as yet unavailable for those outside Japan, we doubt there'll be too much development activity going on over the next couple of weeks. But it doesn't hurt to have code ready and waiting for when devices start to make their way out -- especially as so many manufacturers lag behind with their open-source duties.

For more on the Xperia Z, check out our hands-on coverage from CES 2013.

Source: Sony Open-Source Archive; via: XDA

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4 years ago

SwiftKey Flow beta updated with fresh round of bug fixes

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The SwiftKey Flow beta test continues with another release for phones and tablets today. Version 4.0.0.99 includes a new round of bug fixes, including behavior fixes for the Google Chrome Beta, various crash fixes and a new Turkish layout. Here's the full changelog for your perusal --

  • Fixed crash on changing keyboards
  • Fixed force close on clicking update language
  • Fixed other crashes
  • Resolved majority of non-English punctuation problems
  • New look installer to match SwiftKey Flow colors and include an introduction to SwiftKey Flow
  • Added Turkish layout
  • Chrome Beta should now behave like Chrome
  • Snap and tap (correction of words) now compatible with Vietnamese
  • Memory usage of settings app reduced
  • Improved handling of non-zero length selection in Chrome and Samsung mail client
  • Fixed jumping cursor in ExDialler and Samsung calculator
  • Microphone key disabled in fields that don’t support voice input
  • Fix for keyboard disappearing when phone build installed on tablet sized devices
  • Disabled predictions in Kingsoft Office and UC browser to make SK usable in them
  • Double space for period turned off by default to prevent accidental period insertion when flowing
  • Replaced ‘learnt’ with ‘learned’ in personalization page (US English)
  • Turned off slide down from candidate bar to close keyboard when flow is on (to be consistent with the description in the Settings menu)

There's still a handful of known issues in the current beta build, so you might want to take a look over them at the source link before installing for the first time. That's also where you'll find download links for both phone and tablet versions of the keyboard.

SwiftKey Flow remains the keyboard of choice for many of us here at AC, despite its beta status. Hopefully we'll see it graduate to Google Play soon.

Source: SwiftKey

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4 years ago

Real Racing 3 coming Feb. 28, speeding down the freemium route in the process

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Some great news has emerged for those eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest in the Real Racing series, Real Racing 3. The title now has a release date, and a price. The so far stunning looking title will be dropping into Google Play on Feb. 28 and will be a completely free download. 

That's right, Real Racing 3 will be a freemium title. Knowing that would be met with mixed reaction, the developers, Firemonkeys, made a statement regarding the decision:

Today we announced Real Racing 3 will be free. And yes, Real Racing 3 was designed from the ground up to be a free to play experience. We are so excited about this game and wanted it to be accessible to everyone so we didn't want there to be any barriers to entry. This accessibility is also what drives the awesome new Time Shifted Multiplayer feature, in that you can play competitive multiplayer with anyone any time, and they don't need to be online with you at the same time. At launch we have 46 licensed vehicles covering 3 classes, a 22 car grid, real world tracks, 8 varied event types and 900+ events. This means hundreds of hours of gameplay for free making this one of the most expansive games ever on mobile. We plan to continue to add more free and exciting content with every update.

Doesn't sound all that scary, and being free to download will potentially drive higher initial download figures. In any case,  we're looking forward to this one a lot, and thankfully we only have a couple more weeks to wait. 

Source: Firemonkeys via Facebook

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4 years ago

Shapes & Sound: a beautifully designed and Android-exclusive game

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Retro-style arcade games are definitely "in" right now, and the new title Shapes & Sound: The Shape Shooter is a great offering in this quickly expanding genre. Shapes & Sound brings a clearly well thought-out game from end-to-end, with awesome gameplay, soundtrack, graphics and performance that all add up to a great experience.

Oh, and did we mention this is an Android-exclusive title? Read on past the break and see what it's all about.

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4 years ago

Motorola Solutions launches Android-based AME 2000 with secure wireless communications

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Motorola Solutions -- that's the other Motorola that wasn't bought by Google -- has announced the launch of AME 2000, a secure platform including an Android handset, aimed at federal agencies. Using Moto's Assured Mobile Environment tech, AME 2000 combines an off-the-shelf smartphone with additional hardware and software to enable secure voice and messaging services, as well as secure VPN connectivity over mobile data or Wifi.

The AME 2000 includes Security Enhanced Android -- the NSA-approved custom version of the OS designed with high-security use in mind. In addition, it features Motorola's CRYPTR hardware security module for microSD security.

Moto hasn't released an exact spec sheet for the phone itself, but based on the images published, it looks like we're dealing with a RAZR-class device running Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. Regardless, if you want to get down into the details of the security features provided, you'll find that over at the source link.

It's by no means the first time we've seen Android used in high-security devices. Just over a year ago it emerged that U.S. government and military officials were to be outfitted with secure Android-based phones, and in 2010 General Dynamics was said to be looking at Android for use in "next-gen wearable" computers.

Source: Press Release

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4 years ago

DashClock Widget for Android 4.2

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I've made no secret about my outright displeasure for the new lock screen widgets in Android 4.2. Clunky, for one, often lacking style for another. 

DashClock Widget is quickly changing my mind. It's the work of Roman Nurik, a Googler and Android design guy and was released this morning to Google Play and as open-source code.

The widget itself is devilishly simple. Add it to the Android 4.2 lock screen like you would any other widget. From there you add "extensions." At launch you've got extensions for weather, missed calls and texts, your next calendar appointment, unread e-mails and your next scheduled alarm. Chances are we should see additional extensions pretty quickly. (Here's hoping for some world clock love, which is the only thing I'm missing from the stock Android lock screen clock.) Want to get rid of an extension? Just swipe it away. Nice.

This one's free, it's open-source, and it's definitely worth a look. Hit the link above, and ease on past the break for a little hands-on action if you need more convincing.

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4 years ago

BlueStacks brings Android apps to Microsoft Surface Pro

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BlueStacks, which is a product that lets users run Android apps on Windows computers, is releasing a new version today that brings the functionality to Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface Pro. Until today, BlueStacks has only been available for Windows 7 and Mac OSX. The latest version of BlueStacks fully supports Windows 8 -- including new features like charms bar support and rotation support -- but is also optimized for the recently released Surface Pro.

BlueStacks has partnerships with several OEMs already, and users have made over 5 million downloads of the software directly from its website alone. The software is also free, which is fantastic for Windows 8 users looking to try out the experience of running Android apps on their PC's with full touch capabilities. You can get more information and grab a download at the source link below.

Source: BlueStacks

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4 years ago

LG confirms 5.5-inch 1080p display for Korean Optimus G Pro

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As has been rumored recently, the LG Optimus G Pro is indeed heading to South Korea, with a 5.5-inch display in tow. The device, which first appeared in Japan with a 5.0-inch screen, was reported to be heading to LG's home market with a refreshed spec sheet in the past week -- and we'd even seen some leaked photos to back up these claims.

LG's promotional site for the G Pro doesn't reveal much beyond the screen size and resolution, so we'll have to wait on confirmation of other changes like the larger battery and microSD support. However, the device in the image above certainly looks a lot like what we saw in last week's spy shots.

As for whether the Optimus G Pro will eventually extend its reach outside of Asia, that's something we'll likely find out at Mobile World Congress in a couple of weeks.

Source: LG; via: UnwiredView

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4 years ago

Three UK's 'Ultrafast' Galaxy S3 now available - DC-HSDPA now, LTE later

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As promised, Three UK has just launched its "Ultrafast" Galaxy S3 variant online and in stores. Coming in the familiar marble white and pebble blue color options, the new model is essentially a Galaxy S3 LTE (check out our review). That means its hardware supports DC-HSDPA (the fastest flavor of 3G) as well as 4G LTE. Three's putting both technologies under its "Ultrafast" banner, hence the naming of this device, and the carrier tells us an over-the-air update will switch on LTE by default when it launches its 4G network.

The Ultrafast Galaxy S3 sells for £449.99 on Pay As You Go, and it's also available on two-year £34-36 per month contracts, which include "All You Can Eat" data. If you're buying on contract, you'll need to stump up a £29 up-front fee.

Source: Ultrafast Galaxy S3 on Three

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4 years ago

Vertu announces $10,000 Android phone - titanium and sapphire on the outside, Ice Cream Sandwich within

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Vertu, perhaps best known as a purveyor of ridiculously expensive Symbian phones, has turned its attention to the Android smartphone market with a new device, dubbed the Vertu Ti. In keeping with what you'd expect from this kind of brand, the Ti is pegged as a luxury device, as is reflected by its €7,900 ($10,000) price tag.

On the inside, the Vertu Ti isn't all that remarkable -- there's an unnamed 1.7GHz dual-core processor running the show, an 8MP rear camera with 1080p video recording, as well as a 1.3MP front-facer, a 3.7-inch WVGA screen, 64GB of storage and pentaband DC-HSDPA connectivity. Even less remarkable is the year-old skinned Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich powering the software side of things.

But Vertu's banking on its build quality and unique materials to set it apart -- the chassis is constructed out of titanium, and the screen is fashioned from sapphire crystal -- apparently designed to be more durable than the average plastic phone. What's more, customers get access to Vertu's "concierge" call service to help out with things like "local advice and restaurant booking." (Think of it as a little like Google Now, except with humans.)

We'll be honest here, we doubt anyone reading this will actually stump up the $10,000 to purchase a Vertu Ti, but the fact that this kind of manufacturer is embracing Android goes to show the wide appeal of the OS. If you've got ten grand to burn, the Vertu Ti is available for sale now at the manufacturer's website.

Source: Vertu; via: BBC

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