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4 years ago

Sharp starts cranking out 5-inch 1080p displays for smartphones

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The most recent rumors of a phone with a 1080p-resolution display have been pretty wishy-washy, but Sharp recently went official with their plans to start churning out 5-inch 1080 x 1920 displays from their factories. That works out to 443 pixels per inch, for those of you counting. Take that in your 326 PPI and smoke it, iPhone 5. 

These displays should do well in creating Android phablets to compete with the looming iPad mini, and set a new bar for what we expect in displays. Of course, there are plenty of other considerations to take into account, such as battery drain, color contrast, brightness, and the depth of blacks, but a high resolution is certainly a good place to start. The HTC Droid Incredible X may also have a 1080p screen, but again, that's squarely in the realm of rumor for the time being. 

I'm a little worried that we'll start seeing diminishing returns at that size, though; will we really be able to appreciate the sharpness and quality in a 5-inch form factor, or do these screens need to be at least 7 inches in order for this high of a resolution to be done justice? Gigantic phones are certainly becoming more popular, so maybe it makes the most sense to capitalize on the larger smartphone form factor before trying to crank up the pixel density in tablets. 

Source: Sharp

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4 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S Blaze 4G Ice Cream Sandwich update available Oct. 3

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T-Mobile has just put up a support page indicating that the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G (seriously, these names are getting to be a bit much) is going to be receiving an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich starting on October 3rd. The latest software -- version T769UVLF4 -- will bring all of the latest ICS features in addition to a Mobile Hotspot and Email fix. Unfortunately, it will only be available via Samsung Kies and not over the air like the previous update. That being said, we've got to be thankful that ICS is coming to the device via official means.

One interesting thing to note here is that T-Mobile specifically points out that the device cannot be rooted and receive the update. Of course most of us know this, but seeing it pointed out specifically in the support documentation is probably a good thing.

Source: TmoNews; T-Mobile Support

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4 years ago

Ready for your next shot at winning a free tablet in our Nexus 7 A Week Giveaway?

So we started up a little thing we like to call the Nexus 7 A Week Giveaway, and though we hit a little road bump and didn't post a new contest for it last week, we're true to our word and giving away one per week. So below you can find the first two winners, as well as the criteria for how to enter this week.

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4 years ago

Portions of MOTODEV Studio for Android open sourced and moved to Android repository

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Motorola has broken off part of their core build system, known as MOTODEV Studio for Android, and merged it into the Android Open Source Project. Previously, the closed-source Motorola tools were an alternative to a standard Eclipse IDE setup, which allowed key features like easy localization, drag and drop of shared code snippets, and browsing and manipulation of SQL databases through Motorola's tool. 

With the new merging of the core plugins to the AOSP, developers can now build and use the tools through Eclipse, which is by far the most popular IDE for Android development. Motorola has full instructions for getting the code via GIT, building it, and integrating the plugins into an Eclipse workspace. See the source links below.

Confused yet? That's OK, this is pretty nerdy stuff. Here's the layman's version. Motorola used to make a stand alone set of tools that developers could use to make apps. A couple people I've talked to said they were pretty nice tools, but the majority of folks felt it wasn't worth losing the integration of Eclipse -- which is the program most folks use to write and build Android apps. 

Today we learn that Motorola has open sourced a good number of these tools, and merged them in with the rest of the open source tools and code of the AOSP. Now developers can use Eclipse, but still download and build the Motorola tools as plugins for Eclipse itself. More and better tools mean more and better apps. We all like more and better apps.

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

Nikon Coolpix S800c hardware

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We're going to do up this Nikon Coolpix S800c -- aka Nikon's Android-based camera -- a little different. Mainly, I'm going to walk through the hardware, Android software, and the camera software separately. That's for a couple reasons, but mainly so that I won't let the wonk overshadow what's good about this little point-and-shoot.

First, though, a quick reminder on specs. What we've got is a pretty standard-feeling point-and-shoot. It weighs about 6.5 ounces with the battery and an SD card installed. It's got a lens that ranges from 4.5 to 45 mm, f/3.2 to f/5.8. It's a small little guy. It's also got a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen on the back and a 480x854 resolution. There's about 1.6GB of on-board memory, but you'll be sharing that with the operating system, so you'll want to consider an SD card. The phone camera has about 248MB of RAM, according to a quick peek with a system info app.

For all intents and purposes, this thing feels like a point-and-shoot camera. 

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4 years ago

Top Gear Stunt School Revolution now available in the Amazon Appstore

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Top Gear, an iconic UK born motoring TV show that is beloved by so many. In 2012, Top Gear is more of a brand than a mere TV show, and has been exported around the world, including the U.S. A huge part of its appeal is the often chaotic sequence of events that goes into each episode. We're big fans of Top Gear here at Android Central, so imagine our delight today when we learned that an official Top Gear game landed in the Amazon Appstore. 

Yes, that is correct, the Amazon Appstore. An odd choice for the UK born BBC -- especially considering we're three weeks away from the Kindle Fire in Britain -- but a choice nevertheless. Check out our hands-on video above.

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4 years ago

Jelly Bean update leaks for Sprint Galaxy S3

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It's been a little while since we saw the international Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) receiving an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update in Poland, and now it seems that the Galaxy S3 on the Now Network is poised to get its own update. A 4.1.1 build for the device has leaked out and packaged up for users to test their luck flashing over at the XDA forums, bearing the build number JRO03L.L710VPBLIF. Both Odexed and DeOdexed versions of the ROM are available, and as is usually the case with leaks like this, users are reporting mixed results using it as a daily driver.

If you're interested in doing some tinkering and want to try Jelly Bean on your Sprint Galaxy S3, hit the source link below. As always, flash at your own risk and do your self a favor by backing up first!

Source: XDA Forums; Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Are Android smartphone cameras good enough?

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A few weeks back we asked everyone about dedicated cameras that run Android, like the Samsung Galaxy Camera or the Nikon CoolPix S800c. This time, we're going back to basics and talking about the camera included on the phone we carry every day.

When you're out and about, with your Android phone in your pocket, and see something you want to capture forever you pull out the phone and take a quick picture. We all do it, and I don't think any of us expect the same quality of picture we would get from a thousand dollar DSLR or even a $400 point and shoot. The pictures you do get, are they good enough?

Manufacturers have been scrambling to put better optics in our phones, and some of the phones released this year do capture some very nice pictures. Is this something they should be focusing on? Hit the poll in the sidebar or after the break and let us know how your current Android phone is doing in the camera department.

Before we go, let's have a look at last weeks poll:

What's your browser of choice?

  • Chrome -- 51-percent
  • Dolphin -- 17.4-percent
  • Default Android -- 17.31-percent
  • Firefox -- 7.24-percent
  • Opera -- 4.28-percent
  • Other -- 2.78-percent

We can take two things away from this. The first is that over half of the people who voted are running Android 4 or higher, as they're using the Chrome Browser. The second is that as usual, is great that we're offered choices, as every major player is well represented.

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4 years ago

App.net announces pricing changes

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App.net has a short history of trying to be a viable alternative to Google+, Facebook and mostly directly Twitter. If you haven't heard much about it, the idea of App.net is to be a social network without advertisements -- which means developers and users both pay to enter. That's important to know, because today App.net is announcing a new pricing structure for users of the service.

There are two big parts to this announcement. First, App.net now has a monthly service signup (or "Member plan") for $5 per month, whereas previously there were only $50 yearly signups. Second, for those who choose the yearly Member plan, the cost has dropped quite a bit from $50 to $36. The monthly plan is very important for those who want to give App.net a try but don't want to drop a year's worth of subscription costs on it, but it's clear with the pricing structure that App.net would prefer if everyone moved towards signing up for a year at a time. With these pricing changes, current yearly members will be dropped down to the new prices, and additional months of service will be added to their plan.

Have you tried out App.net yet? There are currently three apps in the Google Play Store made for the service that are worth a look.

Source: App.net Company Blog

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4 years ago

Marvel: War of Heroes coming to Android on Oct. 11

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Comic fans, rejoice! Marvel: War of Heroes is coming to Android (and iOS) for free on October 11th, and those who pre-register for the game will receive an extra treat on launch day. Registering for the game prior to October 10th will secure a special limited-edition card featuring Black Widow. In what Marvel is calling an "action-packed card-battle game", this latest title is an all new original story line in which the player takes on the role of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, teaming up with all of your favorite Marvel characters -- like Spider-Man, the Hulk and Iron Man -- to fight evildoers. Marvel also notes that new character cards and events will be added to the game on a regular basis, ensuring a fresh gameplay experience over time.

So, are you excited for another Marvel game? Hit up the source link below, and chime in in the comments on whether you're ready to pre-register.

Source: Marvel

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4 years ago

Sony SmartWatch review

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The Sony SmartWatch is a small clip-on device that connects to your phone over Bluetooth and provides quick access to a variety of notifications, including incoming calls, Facebook messages, upcoming calendar items, and lots more. Some of the more interactive apps include a music handler, a remote phone ringer, and a Google Maps app . Once you’ve installed the Smart Connect app on your device, other Smartwatch compatible apps can be installed and pushed out to the accessory. The selection of quality SmartWatch apps are slim, but there aren’t a lot of alternatives for wearable smartphone accessories out there.

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4 years ago

End of an era: Google is now more valuable than Microsoft

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Google’s market cap has surpassed that of Microsoft. Market gyrations continue, so for all we know it's possible for Microsoft to inch back ahead of Google tomorrow. But the milestone for Google is meaningful nonetheless.
Simply put, it means the PC isn’t as important as the web. The operating system is not nearly as important as content.

Google’s entire business is based around helping searchers find content, while helping publishers monetize their content.  Android is an extension of this, as is YouTube, despite most of the revenue coming from advertising in the form of Adwords (and Adsense). 

It’s hard to consider Microsoft much of a growth business anymore.  The PC is a mature product segment.  Windows OS is well established and represents more of a stable business than one with exciting growth. Same goes for the enterprise components of Microsoft’s business.

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4 years ago

Yes, that's Open webOS on the Transformer Prime

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You're going to start seeing a lot more of this, we think, now that Open webOS has been released. Some fun hackery is ahead.

Source: @stroughtonsmith; via webOS Nation

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia T now available from Vodafone UK

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Following recent announcements from fellow UK carriers, Three and O2, Vodafone has made their own announcement regarding the Sony Xperia T. The latest high-end offering from Sony is now available from the carrier for free, on their Red price plans starting at £37 per month. For that, you'll get unlimited minutes and messaging, 1GB of data and 2GB of BTOpenZone WiFi access. 

At this price, Vodafone is slightly more expensive than competing networks, in particular Three. In any case, if you've been waiting for an Xperia T to hit Vodafone, now's your chance. Let us know in the comments below if you're thinking of picking one up. The full presser can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

X-Plane 9 goes free on Google Play

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If you're into flight simulators and you haven't tried X-Plane 9 now is the time to do so. The popular app is now free in Google Play instead of it's normal $2.99.

I've been a fan of the app since day one, and it gives us pretty much the best flight sim experience possible on Android. You initially get to choose from 10 different types of aircraft to fly but there are in-app purchases available with 43 more planes up for grabs. Whether it's a passenger jet, a small aircraft or a state of the art fighter jet there is a load of fun to be had with X-Plane 9.

With a selection of different viewing options you really can tailor the app to suit your needs. Take my word for it - you need X-Plane 9 on your Android phone or tablet.  Features of the app include:

  • 6 scenery regions included (15 more available for purchase)
  • 10 different aircraft of varying types (43 more available for purchase)
  • Fly Dawn, Day, Dusk, Night
  • Fly in VFR/IFR conditions from clear skies to overcast.
  • You control the weather!
  • Simulated system failures!
  • Bird Strikes!
  • Multiplayer over WiFi!
  • Installs right to your SD card (Froyo/2.2 support required)

If you fancy reading our quick review on X-Plane 9 before downloading you can do so here.

Source: MoDaCo

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