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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 to employ 'eye scrolling,' says NYT

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 launches next Thursday, Mar. 14, and the rumor mill is starting to churn. The latest unofficial reports on Samsung's next Android smartphone comes from the New York Times' 'Bits' blog, which claims to have word of a new scrolling technique used by the handset. Apparently the S4 will use eye-tracking technology to automatically scroll through articles --

"The phone will track a user’s eyes to determine where to scroll, said a Samsung employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text."

It wouldn't be the first time Samsung's used this kind of tech on a smartphone. The Galaxy S3 included "SmartStay," a feature which used the front-facing camera to determine whether the user was looking at the screen and lock it accordingly. There are no specific details about how this eye-scrolling feature might work, but the Times notes Samsung has applied for trademarks of "EyeScroll" and "Samsung EyeScroll" in the EU and U.S. respectively for similar-sounding software features.

To us, this sounds like exactly the sort of feature Samsung might bring to a new smartphone -- recall the wacky "Smart Rotation" feature that debuted on the Note 2 to assist with horizontal reading. However pre-release rumors don't always reveal the full picture, so we'll have to reserve final judgment until we see what Samsung's been building next Thursday.

Source: New York Times

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4 years ago

White House, FCC chair agree SIM unlocking should be legal

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Some good news today in the fight for making it legal to SIM-unlock your phone without having to go through an operator. The White House has swiftly responded to the petition that garnered the support of more than 114,000 people, with a pretty crystal clear subject line -- "It's time to legalize cell phone unlocking."

That's a pretty powerful step in the right direction, but it doesn't actually change anything yet. If you want to (legally) SIM unlock your phone, you still have to go through your operator to get it done. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. If your account is in good standing and you've paid off the subsidy on your phone, they should hand over the SIM unlock code with no problem.

There are cases, however, that make things a little more difficult, and that's where this legality issue comes into play.

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4 years ago

LG Spirit 4G review

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Anyone living in one of America's largest urban areas in 2013 has undoubtedly seen the claim: "Everybody's moving to Metro." And the claim isn't that far off; in the past year, contract-free, budget-friendly carriers have boomed both in terms of subscribers and coverage. The industry's growth can be attributed to a lot of things, including incredible rate hikes from the nation's three largest carriers, though the most important factor has been the rapid evolution in smartphone technology.

Case in point: the LG Spirit 4G, a knockout device in terms of both style and functionality. Where the Spirit really shines, though, is its price tag—at $199 with no contract and MetroPCS' unlimited plans starting at just $40, the Spirit is perhaps the most capable of all economy Android devices on the market today.

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4 years ago

Real Racing 3: quality gameplay meets the freemium model

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With a name like EA behind it, the Real Racing series has a high bar set for itself to offer a great mobile gaming experience. Real Racing 3 is the latest in the series, and it surely doesn't disappoint when it comes to the quality of design. But users are still cautious about the title, as instead of charging several dollars for the game up front, EA has chosen to go with a "freemium" model to generate revenue.

Real Racing 3 offers great gameplay, visuals and sound, but does that overcome the annoyance of constant in-app purchases? Read on past the break with us and see.

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4 years ago

Sprint fires up nine new LTE markets

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Sprint this morning announced that it's flipped the switch for 4G LTE data in new new markets. They are:

  • Altoona, Pa.
  • Asheville, N.C.
  • Columbus, Ind.
  • Elkhart/Goshen, Ind.
  • Hammond, La
  • La Crosse, Wis.
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Statesville, N.C.
  • Temple, Texas

You'll need one of Sprint's LTE-capable phones for the new high-speed data, of course, but current 3G-only phones also should see some improvement as part of the Network Vision improvements.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Minor Galaxy Note 2 security loophole could lead to momentary lock screen bypass

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As Samsung security vulnerabilities go, this one's relatively minor. Nevertheless, if you're using lock screen security on the Galaxy Note 2, this latest loophole is something you should be aware of. Blogger Terence Eden has discovered a way to briefly bypass lock screen security on Samsung's 5.5-incher, momentarily allowing access to the home screen.

By hitting "emergency call," then "emergency contacts," then holding the home button, the main home screen becomes visible for around a second -- just enough time to load an app, before reverting back to the lock screen. This dismisses any app that's loaded, but if a direct dial shortcut is placed on the home screen then it's possible to activate this and make a call, bypassing the lock screen security. Using this method it could also be possible to load up email or SMS apps for long enough to get an overview of sensitive messages.

So this certainly isn't anywhere near as serious as the Exynos kernel vulnerability or USSD code hacks that came to light late last year, but it's probably something that should be fixed. Until then, if you're concerned about folks breaking past your lock screen security, you could avoid placing direct dial shortcuts on your main home screen. (Or alternatively keep your phone away from people you don't trust.)

We've got Eden's original video after the break.

Source: Terence Eden; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Dbrand vinyl skins for LG Nexus 4 review

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Glass-backed devices like the Nexus 4 look great. But a glass back, like any design decision, is a compromise. Glass -- even reinforced glass like Corning's Gorilla Glass 2 -- is less durable than metal or plastics. And besides, not everyone is fond of the look and feel of a glass-backed smartphone. Hence the arrival of protective skins like Dbrand's that not only cover up the vulnerable glass, but come in a variety of colors and textures.

Made from 3M vinyl, Dbrand's Nexus 4 skins are precision-cut to match the back of the device, including the stylized "Nexus" lettering under the camera assembly. Dbrand provided us with a selection of skins for review, and each one of them was an exact match for the back of the Nexus 4 -- no rough edges, no overlap -- pretty impressive for a mass-produced skin.

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4 years ago

First Samsung Galaxy S4 teaser trailer emerges

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Light on details and heavy on hype, here's the first official teaser trailer for the Samsung Galaxy S4, due to be announced in New York City on Mar. 14. The trailer introduces the young Jeremy Maxwell, guardian of a magical box of Galaxy S4 secrets.

Check it out above. We'll be live from NYC on the 14th for the main event.

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4 years ago

HTC One SV reduced to £260 by UK retailer for one week only

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We're big fans of the HTC One SV around here, that's no secret. It's a beautifully designed and manufactured smartphone that offers LTE data speeds at an affordable price point. UK retailer Expansys has announced a 'deal of the week' on the HTC One SV that sees the price cut to just £259.99 SIM free and unlocked. We don't get the sexy looking red version, but both the blue and white ones are up for grabs. 

By our reckoning -- for this week at least -- this price point makes the HTC One SV about the cheapest 4G LTE enabled device you can pick up on the British market. Despite the more budget oriented price, the One SV still offers a premium look and feel, and the same Sense experience as some of it's bigger brothers. Picking one up? Jump into the comments or the HTC One SV forums and tell us about it. 

More: HTC One SV review

Source: Expansys

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4 years ago

ClockworkMod Superuser app now available in the Google Play Store

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We first took a look at Koush's ClockworkMod Superuser app about a week ago, and we were impressed with what we saw. A well designed utility app for rooted users, that brought a great feature set along with being free and open-sourced. At the time, the only way to try it out was to flash it manually, either via ROM Manager or via recovery. 

That all changes today as Superuser has been pushed to the Google Play Store to download and install to your device. Also since the beta builds, some 'embarrassing spelling mistakes' have been rectified, as well as a few other fixes. It will remove any current Superuser apps on your device, and if you're having issues installing via the Play Store, links are provided in the description to a direct download to flash manually. 

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4 years ago

ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 first non-Nexus to get Android 4.2; roll out begins today in the US

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ASUS has announced that they will begin pushing the Android 4.2 over-the-air update to the Transformer Pad TF300 for folks in the US today. Other regions will follow during the month of March. This makes ASUS, and the TF300, the first non-Nexus tablets to see the 4.2 update, which includes the long awaited multiple user support. In addition to the version bump to 4.2, ASUS says the update will also bring enhanced performance and stability. To go along with the OTA, ASUS will also offer updates for their App Locker, Virtual Keyboard, Lock Screen and Setup Wizard applications. 

Also mentioned in the press release are the Transformer Pad Infinity, The MeMo Pad Smart 10-inch, and the MeMo pad, which are slated to receive the 4.2 update during the second quarter of 2013. Notably absent is any mention of 4.2 for the Transformer Prime.

The TF300 was a popular -- and very capable -- tablet for ASUS last year. With the new features in Android 4.2 it should offer a great experience for owners throughout 2013. Jump past the break to see the full press release.

Discuss in the TF300 forums

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4 years ago

eTrizzle: find movies from a variety of sources

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Unless you've used the eTrizzle service on the web before, the name won't give you any indication of what this app actually does. Confusing branding aside, the app provides a very useful service. In an age where people are looking to "cut the cord" and have multiple sources of content, it can be either confusing or time consuming to try and find where movies are available.

eTrizzle hopes to solve this problem by aggregating several different sources of digital (and physical) movie content and making it searchable right from an app.

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4 years ago

Socialmatic camera takes and prints Instagram pictures, runs Android

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Socialmatic is hoping to hop on the Instagram popularity bandwagon by releasing its own camera specifically aimed at taking, sharing and printing Instagram pictures. The idea for this camera has been around for some time, but now the company has some specifics for us to see. The Socialmatic camera will have 16GB of storage with an SDcard slot, both Wifi and 3G connectivity and run Android as its base operating system. Running Android will enable it to share using the Instagram app, naturally, but you won't be constrained to just that network.

Tying into the retro theme, the camera will actually be Polaroid branded, and has a mechanism to print pictures directly in the camera. The design is an uncanny resemblance to the Instagram logo as well, which we doubt is going to help usability at all but certainly gets the point across on what this camera is meant for.

Socialmatic is targeting the first quarter of 2014 for commercial availability of the product, but no specifics are given regarding pricing.

Source: Socialmatic

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4 years ago

Android at Mobile World Congress 2013 wrap-up

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A look back over the past week's Android news from Barcelona

Like CES a month ago, this year’s Mobile World Congress was lighter than usual on major Android announcements. HTC did its thing in London and New York a week before; Samsung’s got its big event planned for Mar. 14. And the Android manufacturers who were present skipped a couple of the major devices we had expected to see at the show.

So what we were left with was a scrappier show than usual, though one that still gave us a good deal to talk about.  In place of our usual international roundup this week, we’re going to look back over the past week in Barcelona and highlight some of the major Android developments.

Join us after the break, won’t you?

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