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4 years ago

Five apps to take advantage of Daydream in Android 4.2

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Daydream was pretty quickly glanced over by most people when it was announced as part of the Android 4.2 release, but luckily some developers have started to make apps using the new feature. The latest revision of Jelly Bean just isn't available to that many people and the number and quality of daydream apps reflects that, but luckily there are some gems to be found if you go searching for them.

Read on past the break and see the top apps available right now to take advantage of the daydream functionality in Android 4.2.

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4 years ago

Verizon modifying prepaid plans Feb 1 with new $60 500MB tier

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Verizon doesn't put much focus on its prepaid plans, but according to a leaked document obtained by PhoneArena it will be dropping prices on prepaid offerings starting February 1st. Verizon's current offering is at $80 for smartphones, with unlimited talk/text and 2GB of data during its double data promotion. When the new plans take effect next week, the $80 plan is going away, making room for two new tiers at $60 and $70. The lower tier will offer 500MB of data, the higher 2GB, both with unlimited talk and text.

The document specifically says $80 plan users will be grandfathered in, but considering the new price structure there's no reason to stay on it. Users wanting more than 2GB of data will be paying $20 per 1GB overage, which is $5 more than adding an extra 1GB to a postpaid plan. Also remember that Verizon's prepaid plans are 3G only for the time being. This is still a good option for a select set of people though, so we're glad to see Verizon drop its prices a bit. Stick around after the break to see the document and details of the new plans.

Source: PhoneArena

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4 years ago

What you need to know about cell phone unlocking

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Did you know that as of Jan 26, 2013, it's "illegal" to unlock your phone? Of course you did. You've seen the "Sky is falling!" headlines

It's not quite that simple, but that's what you'll hear around the Internets today. The too-long-didn't-read simple version is that you'll likely not be affected in any way (minus the personal freedom aspect). But after seeing so many people worried, and some of the poor information they were receiving, we knew it was time to talk about it a bit. 

In 1998 Congress passed a law that provides copyright protection to the software (and software means written code, remember) that locks your cell phone to a certain carrier. This has nothing to do with rooting, or bootloader unlocking. It only covers locking your phone to a GSM carrier through software. As a provision of this law, the Librarian of Congress (which I imagined as a totally hot babe with her hair in a bun, and was quickly disappointed when I investigated) is allowed to grant exceptions, and did until his October 2012 decision to allow the DMCA to regulate cell phone locking. Fast forward to today, when the exceptions expired, and now the software used to lock phones is covered under the same copyright laws as most other software.

It sounds scary. But it's really not. Let's have a look.

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4 years ago

Infobar A02 announced on KDDI in Japan with interesting UI and design

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Japan is well-known for its seriously interesting mobile products, and the Infobar A02 on KDDI doesn't disappoint on design or creativity in the least. The Infobar series has traditionally been a design-leading line, and the A02 follows along with a striking thin unibody design in red, white and blue varieties. The design continues onto the interface, which is built on Android 4.1 -- although you wouldn't know it by looking at the homescreen. Closer to the paradigm of Windows Phone, the Inforbar uses a tiled interface comprised of smaller app tiles and larger widget tiles, in a vertical scrolling list.

This handset is actually manufactured by HTC, and has some top-notch specs on the inside. We're looking at a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 16GB of (expandable) storage, 1GB of RAM, 720x1280 TFT display, 2100mAh battery and of course LTE. Like many high-end Japanese handsets, the Infobar A02 is also waterproof and dustproof, and includes NFC for mobile payments as well as a 1seg TV antenna.

This is quite an interesting handset on all fronts, and worth a look at some of the materials on KDDI's product page for the phone. If you're interested, head to the source link and check out the galleries, especially the pictures showing the lineage of Infobar design for the last 10 years.

Source: KDDI

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: Gumtree, Amtrak, OpenSignal and more!

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We're in that slow transitional phase between CES and MWC, going through the motions of weird leaks and random product releases. Fear not, as the Apps of the Week posts will continue on regardless. You come here each Saturday to see what apps the Android Central staff are finding and using, so we do our best to find some great picks.

Hang around after the break and see how we did this week.

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4 years ago

Hidden full screen browsing mode in latest Chrome Beta discovered

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Full screen browsing is top of many an Android fans wish list for Google's mobile version of the Chrome browser. On smartphone screens in particular, display space is important. It seems it might not be all that far away, as a recent discovery has shown off a hidden full screen browsing mode. 

Shared by Reddit user smackel, there is a bit of light work to be done to bring it about. So, while there, our thinking is that this is something to be rolled out properly in future updates. It's also a little buggy, but doesn't take any genius level work to enable. Click on past the break and we'll walk you through it. 

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4 years ago

The week in international Android news - Jan. 26, 2013

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Mobile World Congress is just a month away, and already we’re steeped in news of devices reportedly due to be shown off in Barcelona. Alongside all the crazy rumors and leaks, we’ve also had a steady trickle of device announcements and updates to contend with.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy few days in international Android news. Join us after the break for a rundown of some of the biggest stories of the week.

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4 years ago

Report: Galaxy Tab 3 initially coming in 10.1-inch version, Galaxy Note 8.0 LTE planned

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We've learned much about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 over the past week, and now we're seeing further indications of what plans Samsung might have for its Galaxy Tab line. Samsung fansite SamMobile, which broke some of the Note 8.0 news a few days ago, now says that Samsung plans to launch new Galaxy Tabs this year, but only 10.1-inch versions are on the cards at the moment. The "Tab 3 7.0," it reports, has been mothballed in favor of the stylus-toting Galaxy Note 8.0. Depending on sales of the Note 8.0, SamMobile's source says, an 8.0-inch Tab 3 may be offered at some point in the future.

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4 years ago

Nillkin leather flip cover for Nexus 7

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The Nexus 7 is substantially more portable than larger tablets, and that means you may be more inclined to use a case. I've found the Nillkin leather flip cover for mine, and it's quite an impressive little case for the money. When I got my Nexus 7 I planned on carrying it with me more often, tossing it in the bag whenever I left the house. It's light and portable with great one-handed use, but I wanted to protect the screen when I wasn't using it.

The case is a thin, tough, two-tone unit with black rubber edges accenting a colored leather primary case (red, grey or black colors are available). The leather part has a texture to it that I could only describe as a large hard cover book binding, which is very reassuring when holding the Nexus 7 one handed and provides an ample amount of grip. The case snaps on around the tablet like a normal case would, with no extra flaps, straps or fasteners. The flip cover pulls double duty as a screen protector and a tri-fold stand, and is attached with heavy stitching to the back of the case. The cover has a magnet to wake and sleep the device when opened and closed, which is a nice touch.

The inside of the flip portion is a light brown microfiber material, which should protect the screen nicely and help soak up some smudges when it's resting on the screen. When you're ready to use the tablet, it flips back out of the way but has no magnet or fastener to keep it pinned back. Luckily the cover is very thin and folds over nicely to be held in a very natural position, so it doesn't add a whole lot of bulk when it's on the back. If you would prefer to use the cover as a stand, it props up the tablet low for activities like typing, or stands it up near a 45-degree angle for things like watching video.

At somewhere between $20 and $25 (depending on the day) through many ebay sellers, the Nillkin leather flip cover is worth a look to protect and add a good bit of functionality to your Nexus 7. It is well-made and keeps a clean and functional design throughout, something not found in accessories as often as we'd hope. Check out our hands-on video and several pictures after the break.

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4 years ago

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos update brings automatic upload and in-app camera access

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An update to the Dropbox for Android application almost a year ago brought with it an extremely useful feature for the snap happy photographers among us -- auto upload of every photograph taken with the camera to your Dropbox account. Now, if Amazon's Cloud Drive is more your thing, you too can experience the same kind of auto uploading goodness with the latest update to the Cloud Drive Photos app. 

Another cool new feature for Android 4.x users is the ability to take photos using the camera from within the app. A great little time saver if you're snapping away and trying to organise at the same time. The rest of the changelog isn't quite as exciting, but still pretty useful nonetheless. We now get the ability to select multiple photos to action on, view the upload and download status, along with being able to pause, stop and resume them too. If you're an Amazon Cloud Drive user, grab yourselves a copy from the Google Play Store link above. Equally, if you're yet to try it out, Amazon will give new accounts 5GB of free storage right out of the box.

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4 years ago

HTC Butterfly to have companion 'Mini' handset available in China

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HTC looks poised to launch a companion handset device in the Chinese market to go along with the new HTC Butterfly (aka Droid DNA.) The Mini, which looks similar to many candybar phones of yesteryear, will pair with Bluetooth via NFC to your smartphone and let you make and receive calls, view call logs and calendar information on its monochrome screen. HTC apparently envisions the Mini being used for more than just calls though, acting as a remote for when the Butterfly is plugged into a TV and helping users find their Butterfly when it is lost.

At first glance we're not so sure how adding a second handset device makes anything easier on the consumer, because at some point you just start running out of pocket space, but you could easily see this as an accessory for around the house rather than when you're out and about. Come home, plop your phone on the wireless charger at the door, and just have the Mini with you to make/receive calls. It could easily be used as a home phone replacement. Let's also remember that different markets demand different features from phones, and this really could be appealing to Chinese users.

Because this looks to be a China-specific accessory, we wouldn't be surprised if it never made its way to other countries. It's interesting to see HTC experimenting with different accessories though, and we don't know what development of the Mini may lead to in the future for other markets around the world.

Source: Slashgear

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4 years ago

A first look at Blitz Brigade - an upcoming multi-player shooter from Gameloft

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This one's not for the kids -- Blitz Brigade is set in WWII, and is a team-based multiplayer shooter (it reminds me of Battlefield Heros) with plenty of action, and plenty of graphic imagery. We don't know much more than that, only that it's coming to Android and iOS soon. 

From the trailer, it looks like it will offer plenty of fun and plenty of blood, which should make it a hit. We'll know more when Gameloft shares a little. Until then, check out the video and imagine this one on your Android tablet.

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4 years ago

Use Instagram to win a pair of Motorola S11-Flex wireless headphones

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Motorola is running a little contest on Instagram, and the prize is a kick ass pair of S11-FLEX HD wireless headphones. They're promoting the contest as a little extra motivation while working out to help folks keep their New Years' resolutions (the S11-FLEX headset is sweatproof), but entering to win them is strictly a no-pain affair.

Just fire up Instagram on your phone (all the cool kids will use Android!), post a picture showing how wires get in the way and use the #howiflex tag. The contest ends January 31. It looks like an easy way to get a great Bluetooth headset, so give it a shot. You can grab Instagram from the Google Play link above if you need it, and you can find more information at Motorola's Facebook page.

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

WindowsAndroid is ICS running on your Windows box, we go mouse-on

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There are a few options available to those wanting to run Android apps on a Windows machine. The first, and oldest, is the official Android emulator; there's also Bluestacks, which has been around for a while. Today another contender emerges -- WindowsAndroid, from Chinese startup SocketeQ. Unlike the emulator, it runs Android natively on your Windows PC, and unlike Bluestacks it brings to life the full Android OS, not just individual apps. Essentially, it's full-blown open-source Android running natively, in a window, on Microsoft's desktop OS.

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4 years ago

SF Launcher Alpha brings a little piece of Google Now to the homescreen

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Back at Google I/O last year, our very own Phil Nickinson posed the question -- might Google Now become an Android home screen? Well, a new custom launcher in the Play Store brings a little taste of that to life. SF Launcher Alpha comes from the same developer who brought us the Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget, and integrates the now familiar Google Now images with a card style layout for apps and widgets. 

The top image is currently limited to that of San Francisco, London or the generic Google Now image, but will change with the time of day from dawn through day into dusk. Below it sits a widget 'card' and while only one widget is on show at any time, it scrolls so you can add as many as you like. Below that sits your favorite apps, the number displayed is customizable and you choose from scratch -- when you first start the launcher this card is empty. 

Scrolling in from the left brings up the settings menu where the theme can be chosen along with numerous different visual setting tweaks, as well as controlling the behavior of tapping on the clock and top image. This can be customized to launch search, the stock clock app, quick settings, among others. 

Scrolling in from the right brings up your full app drawer, all the while maintaining the top image and clock. It's a simple idea, and a simple launcher, but is definitely something different to other launchers we've seen. It's still in the early Alpha stages, but is available to download for free from the Google Play Store now. Click on past the break for a quick walkthrough video.

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