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4 years ago

Motorola said to be working on the 'X Phone' to bring the ultimate Android eXperience

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Motorola's handset division is rumored to be hard at work building not just the next big thing for the smartphone market, but Google's "X Phone," according to a post earlier this week in the Android Central forums. That post has grown some legs with a story today from the Wall Street Journal. The "X Phone," undoubtedly a code name (but that'd be a kick-ass retail name) is rumored to encompass everything from a bendable screen for durability to a ceramic unibody (though that might possibly be along the lines of that micro-arc oxidation treatment we've seen on the likes of the HTC One S), it is to be the phone to change the way we interact with our smartphones.

This might not be a Motorola Nexus, but something new and different. Running stock Android at its core, there will be a set of applications and a UI that is modular and runs on top of the OS -- meaning no extra time for updates, according to our tipster. These features are said to be things like new voice commands and gestures, and the "ultimate" camera software plus -- get this -- buttons on the back of the phone -- one for the camera, plus volume buttons.

Google and Motorola can freely play and innovate here, without having to modify the stock Android build underneath. This is huge, as current OEM layers are deeply built into the Android system and are not stand alone. This causes plenty of delay when it comes to software updates. 

From our rumored devices forum:

Apparently this phone is called the "X Phone" or something along those lines and has buttons on the back of the phone. He said that a camera button is in the middle of the phone with volume up and down buttons on both sides of it all on the back face of the phone. He said it is supposed to be more ergonomic while holding the phone.

He also talked a lot about the phone having a ton of new voice command features and swiping gestures to accomplish tasks. He said the idea of this phone is to completely change the way we ergonomically have to interact with our phones. I.e. that it would take less than two seconds from the phone being in the pocket to using the camera. These features would be built on top of android as a stand alone proprietary suite app so that moto can be dedicated to updating to all new google updates in 3 months or less.

The hardware is said to be no slouch either, with "every premium piece of technology that Moto has" being used. We can expect a quad-core processor, 2GB RAM minimum, a huge battery, and Motorola's legendary cellular radios. 

While this is still just a rumor, it makes sense for Google to use Motorola to finally take the reigns of Android and release a consumer oriented device that fills their vision of what that device should be. We see and hear about the benefits of controlling both the hardware and the software from Apple and Microsoft, and we think Google can do it better. If things turn out as rumored, expect a big push in mid-2013, and the device we've all dreamed about to follow soon after. Google I/O might be pretty interesting this year.

Source: Android Central forums. More: WSJ

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4 years ago

T-Mobile puts most phones on sale with Value Plans until Dec. 31

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T-Mobile is rolling a promotion until the end of the year that is dropping prices on most of its phones to $0 on contract. For the next 10 days, you can get your hands on most of T-Mobile's high-end offerings, such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) and HTC One S, as well as everything in the mid- and low-end range. The Galaxy Note 2 and Nexus 4 are the notable omissions from this deal. This promotion also only applies to T-Mobile's "Value Plans," which separate the cost of phones and plans, that will require monthly installments (usually $20/mo for about 20 months) to pay off the rest of the handset. They end up being a better deal over the life of a 2-year contract, and even more so when you can skip the $200-$300 down payment to start the plan.

Considering that T-Mobile is moving completely to Value Plans starting in 2013, this will be a good push to get new customers onboard with the idea at the end of 2012. If you (or a family member) are interested in any of these handsets, it may be a better time than any to go pick one up before 2013. Check out a full list of devices on sale at the source link below.

Source: T-Mobile

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4 years ago

Google not-so-subtly reveals Nexus 10 dock in holiday video

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That "Happy Holidays from Android" video was adorable, wasn't it? Well if you weren't taken back by the Android meeting up with all of his bugdroid friends for a holiday get-together, you may have noticed a Nexus 10 being put in a dock on a desk. Alongside a Nexus 4 and a couple of Nexus 7's, the biggest Nexus was dropped right into this dock you see above to show off a Photo Sphere.

The Nexus 7 dock has come up for pre-order through 3rd party retailers in the last couple days. Your guess is as good as ours when the Nexus 10 dock could make an official retail appearance.

Grab another look at the video after the break. The Nexus 10 fun starts around 1:00 in, and you can see it again at 1:14.

Thanks, rfmike!

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4 years ago

First look: Pitfall for Android

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Now that we've got our initial excitement out of the way, let's take a slightly deeper look at Pitfall for Android. What we've got is a rebooted version of the classic 1980s video game, one of the original side-scrollers we grew up with on the Atari 2600. Things have changed a little.

The game starts out with a cool look at the original, which then zooms out to Pitfall Harry viewing the classic on a tablet of his own. Only, it's time to run. Damned volcanoes.

The game itself is simple -- very simple. If you've played Temple Run, you've got the gist of Pitfall. Jump over things. Slide under them. Turn left and right, whip enemies, collect silver treasure. Try to run as far as you can. (Hint: Get to a checkpoint as soon as you can.) It's a nice little time-waster, but that's about all.

It's a free game, so that means in-app purchases, which can help speed you on your way. Or you can take your time, play the game, and eventually buy new power-ups and outfits. (Yes. New outfits.)

We've got a little hands-on video after the break. Enjoy!

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4 years ago

Google's annual Android video Christmas card

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Awwww, little Bugdroid just wants to go outside.

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4 years ago

Pitfall! Now! On! Android!

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Too many exclamation points?

We're downloading now!

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4 years ago

The checkered, slow history of stories about Android updates

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Android was not designed to be updated like iOS, but good luck getting everyone on board with that idea 

Here we go again. Another year, another "Let's see how long it takes Android updates to roll out" story. The latest comes from Ars Technica, titled "The checkered, slow history of Android handset updates." It takes a look at how long it takes manufacturers to push out major releases to their handsets. Lots of charts. Lots of months. All done with the misconception that phones must be upgraded to the next, major release of Android, or something's wrong.

Only, here's the last graf of Casey Johnston's piece:.

Updates certainly aren't the most important aspect of picking a new phone—if an OS version works well, then you may be content simply to stick with that. But for those who like the latest and greatest, it’s clear that the need for update improvements plagues the entire Android ecosystem.

Hang on. There are, like, 30 paragraphs detailing things that, in the end, Ars says "aren't the most important aspect of picking a new phone." So what did we just finish reading? Circumstantial evidence that shows ... what? Android is not iOS?

Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon.

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4 years ago

Sony C660X 'Yuga' rumored to emerge as Xperia Z

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Sony's extensively-leaked C660X 'Yuga' smartphone is to come to market as the Sony Xperia Z, according to reports from XperiaBlog. The blog, which before the last major Sony release cycle correctly called the 'Hayabusa' as the Xperia TX, also claims to have a few new details about the device's hardware.

The 'Xperia Z' will apparently have water and dust resistance ratings of IP55 and IP57, same as some earlier high-end offerings from the Japanese manufacturer. And the phone's 1080p screen is said to include 'OptiConrast' tech, of the sort usually found in Sony TVs. Amongst other benefits, OptiContrast reduces on-screen reflections through its use of a special resin coating on top of the display.

We'd also imagine the Sony (Mobile) Bravia Engine, another holdover from Sony's TV tech, will be included, just as it has been on previous Sony phones.

Based on the large amount of information that's leaked over the past month, the Yuga, or Xperia Z, looks set to include a 5-inch, 1080p display, with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean running the show on a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU. Sony traditionally announces its first wave of new smartphones at CES, so it's likely we'll get our first proper look at the device in Las Vegas in just a few weeks time.

Source: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

AT&T lights up more LTE cities ahead of the holidays

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The holidays may be looming, but AT&T continues to add more cities to its growing 4G LTE network. Following a handful of other cities earlier this week, today sees six more additions to the network, for those with LTE-compatible phones  --

  • Lancaster, Pa.
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Hartford, Conn.
  • Bowling Green, Ky.
  • Lexington, Ky.
  • Boise, Idaho

Seeing AT&T LTE reception for the first time this morning? Feel free to gloat in the comments.

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4 years ago

Android Central 120: Scary, cute and cuddly

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Audio-only stream below

Instagram, Exynos exploits, Mayans and other things we're not all that worried about, in the scheme of things. It's our final show for 2012, so let's make it a good one!

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4 years ago

Google adds localized graphics support to the Play Store

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Google has released today on its Android Developers blog information about localizing graphics for Play Store listings. It's no secret that Google Play is quickly expanding its reach to many new countries. Part of making the expansion to new markets successful is targeting promotional materials to specific countries. Along with offering localized translations of apps and descriptions, developers can now use different graphics and promotional materials depending on the country the user is accessing the Play Store from as well. Developers could now, for example, offer a different splash page for a country or region's holiday during a certain period, or offer language-specific graphics in each region which the app supports the language.

Google notes in its blog post that a full 2/3 of app revenue in Google Play now comes from outside of the United States, making it clear to developers that this is something important to pay attention to.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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4 years ago

The Nexus 7 contest picks back up Friday

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Our Nexus 7-a-day contest didn't end prematurely, it just got pushed back a day. You may have noticed some technical issues here at the site. We're doing some work with the servers and a few folks haven't been able to get to Android Central. We didn't think it was fair to have a contest for something as awesome as a Nexus 7 when folks couldn't get in to enter. Growing pains -- they happen when a website gets bigger then anyone imagined as fast as we have. It's all fixed up and should be sorting itself out as we speak. Erm, type.

The contest will pick back up tomorrow (bar any new and unforeseen circumstances), finish on Saturday, and we'll announce all the winners on Sunday. Keep an eye out for it.

Also, while I have your attention, Don't forget to enter the Mobile Nations CES Experience contest that's been running all week. It ends Friday at 11:59PM eastern time, and a trip to Vegas for CES is on the line. That's one you don't want to miss. And starting next week our Stocking Stuffer gift card giveaways fire back up, and a new photo contest is coming. 

Just wanted to drop everyone a line and let you all know what's up.

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4 years ago

Pudding Monsters game released by makers of Cut the Rope

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Popular game development group ZeptoLab, probably best known for its hugely successful Cut the Rope franchise, has just released a new game today. This latest offering is called "Pudding Monsters" and seems to follow much of the same great design and mechanics as previous games, with an all-new set of gameplay. The objective here is to slide together the little blob-shaped characters to complete levels, dealing with obstacles along the way. There's 75 levels -- and more to come -- to keep you busy here, which is a great start.

Anyone who has spent time with Cut the Rope will surely feel at home with the controls and menu structure, but still get a great new experience with a new game. The game is free to boot, which can't hurt your chances of trying it. You can grab a download at the Play Store link above, or you can buy the "HD" version for $0.99.

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4 years ago

The best holiday-themed Android game updates

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With only a few more sunsets to go before the holidays hit their peak, game devs have been pushing their holiday updates live all across Google Play. We’re going to find some of the cheeriest, jingliest, and jolliest among them, just in case you needed some help getting into the holiday spirit.

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4 years ago

Archos releases video player on Google Play

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Archos has entered the Android app game, launching its own media player on Google Play, for a price. The Archos Video Player, which in the past has been bundled with the manufacturer's Android tablets, is available to download from today. The app costs $4.99 in the U.S. and £3.99 in the U.K., and boasts a fairly lengthy feature list.

As well as hardware-accelerated playback for a wide range of file types, the Archos player supports streaming content over SMB (Windows file shares), UPnP media servers, in addition to USB storage. There's also a software decoding option, which can be used in the event that your device's hardware doesn't support certain file types. And the app sticks pretty closely to Android's "Holo" design language, with a large main view for content, and additional menus stuck to the left or right side.

Some of these features are offered out of the box on higher-end devices, but SMB support in particular may make this a desirable app for those with large, network-shared media collections.

Interested parties can hit the Google Play link above to try out the app, which requires Android 4.0.3 or later.

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