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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z review

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Sony bets big on a 5-incher for the European market. But is the Xperia Z the high-end handset it needs?

Don’t count out Sony Mobile. Sure, the Japanese giant’s smartphone arm may be an irrelevance in the U.S. market right now, for reasons we won’t get into here. But it’s made steady progress in Europe and the UK, where it’s now number two in Android market share behind Samsung. Admittedly, much of that has been down to Sony’s numerous entry-level and mid-range devices like the Xperia Tipo and Xperia U, rather than its high-end stuff.

That’s because Sony has lacked a kick-ass flagship smartphone for far too long. Last year neither the Xperia S nor Xperia T thrilled us enough to recommend them over the Samsung and HTC competition. The former arrived running the dated Android 2.3 Gingerbread, while the latter suffered from dismal battery life and ran ICS in a Jelly Bean-aspiring world.

So with a new year comes a new Sony phone, the Xperia Z. If nothing else, the manufacturer’s rapid turnover of high-end handsets has allowed it to finally catch up in the spec war. This new Xperia is fitted with a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, a 1080p display and a 13-megapixel camera with Sony’s fancy new Exmor RS sensor tech. Oh, and it’s also fully water-resistant.

But make no mistake, the Xperia Z is about to be born into a world of ferocious competition, with Samsung keen to hold onto its Android dominance, and HTC pulling no punches with its new HTC One. Once again Sony has the advantage of bringing a product to market first -- so can it deliver? Find out in our full review of the Xperia Z.

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4 years ago

Chinese 'Samsung Galaxy S4' appears in leaked video footage

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Yesterday we saw screenshots allegedly from a dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy S4 variant destined for the China Unicom carrier. Today we're getting an even closer look at the handset in question, courtesy of a leaked video that's come to light on the same Chinese forum, 52Samsung. The footage gives us a brief hardware tour, confirming the presence of a removable back cover and battery, microSD support and -- on this model at least -- dual SIM capabilities.

Just as we saw in yesterday's leaked images, the device looks a lot like a larger Galaxy S3, and appears to be running a re-vamped version of Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX -- although things don't appear to have changed significantly on the software side.

Check out the leaked footage above, and as always, remember Samsung's history of putting out several versions of upcoming products to keep its true intentions secret. Whatever form the Galaxy S4 eventually takes, we won't have long to wait to see the finished article. We'll be live in New York City this Thursday with full coverage of the announcement event.

Thanks @android_indian!

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4 years ago

Google Glass apps demoed at SXSW

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Today we got a first look at some of the apps for Google's upcoming Glass. Many developers were in attendance, where Timothy Jordan explained the goal of the Glass experience: provide timely content and functionality that integrates into the user's daily life, while being careful not to get in the way with obtrusive features (the thing is attached to your head, after all).

First up was The New York Times app, shown delivering a headline with accompanying image and author's name. If a user wants the full story, it's only a tap away from being read aloud by Glass. The app even has a built-in breaking news system, letting users literally see the news as it happens. Or as it is written, anyway. Of course this wouldn't be a proper Google product without Gmail. Incoming messages appear as an email subject line and picture of the sender. After opening an email, users can use voice dictation to reply to their messages. This seems like a great idea for Twitter-sized emails, but it's still yet to be seen how useful this will be once you get beyond a few paragraphs. Evernote was on board, along with Skitch. These apps were shown handling some quick editing and sharing of pictures that were taken with Glass. Also among the 3rd-party app support was Path, the social network for close friends and family. Functionality was a little limited, which might be a good thing here. Make comments and emoticons, and share cards with other Path users.

It's great to see outside app developers supporting Glass at this stage in the game. One of the things discussed at this demo was app design. Many Android tablet apps have long been criticized for simply using an inefficient smartphone design. With Glass being such a unique platform, this could be a fresh start for a completely new experience - one with apps designed to make the most out of everything Glass has to offer.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Samsung teases phone-shaped phone ahead of Galaxy S4 event

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Samsung's quite the tease lately. It's launched a campaign of bizarre teaser trailers for the upcoming Galaxy S4, but so far these have been devoid of any real information about the device. Today it's stepping things up a notch, publishing the image above on its Twitter and Facebook channels alongside a message promoting the Mar. 14 "Unpacked" event where we're all expecting to meet the Galaxy S4.

It's the outline of a phone. A phone-shaped phone. It looks a bit like the Galaxy S3, as well as a purported Galaxy S4 design that leaked out of China this morning. We're left wondering what's happened to the earpiece on this model, though.

If nothing else, the image might suggest that Samsung's sticking with the curvy "nature-inspired" design language for its 2013 handset. We'll find out for sure on Thursday evening, when Samsung unveils the Galaxy S4 in New York City.

Source: Twitter, Facebook

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4 years ago

BlinkFeed: Inside the HTC One's home screen reader

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It's one of the more controversial moves a smartphone manufacturer has made in recent memory. HTC has pared down the out-of-box home screen experience, instead going with a single traditional Android panel, while opening up a world of news, updates and features, that's just a single swipe away.

This is BlinkFeed.

You could say BlinkFeed looks a lot like Flipboard -- and you'd be right. The slight difference in animations notwithstanding, what you've got is an extremely capable (if a bit limited in scope) feed reader. News, social networking updates, the ability to post your status -- it's all right there.

So why's it controversial? Unlike apps like Pulse or Flipboard or even Google Currents, which are traditional applications, BlinkFeed is baked into the phone itself, as much a part of the home screen as the home screen itself. It's there, whether you plan on using it or not.

 

Join the discussion in the HTC One forums

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4 years ago

Reviewing Humble Bundle 5: Beat Hazard Ultra

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Although a few of the games in Humble Bundle 5 are making their Android debut, Beat Hazard Ultra has been out on the Play Store for some time now. That doesn't mean that it isn't a worthwhile title though, as it still brings together the arcade shooter and music genres in an interesting way. The game will be different for every user too, because the gameplay changes based on your own local music collection.

Hang with us after the break to see a little bit more about Beat Hazard Ultra, one of the games in the Humble Bundle 5.

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4 years ago

Marvel Comics app now offering 700 free first issues

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Marvel has announced an awesome limited-time promo as a part of their SXSW presence. Anyone using the official Marvel Comics app for Android can download over 700 first issues for free. These #1 titles range from the classics to the more contemporary stuff. The frenzy over these issues is pretty amped, so your download speeds might not be so great right now. You'll still want to get in on this, because it wraps up at 11 PM Tuesday night. David Gabriel, one of the dudes from Marvel, commented on why they kicked off this promotion. 

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia J updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

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Good news for Sony Xperia J owners - the official rollout of Jelly Bean has begun. This will bump the Android OS up to version 4.1, bringing with it new features from Jelly Bean like Quick Settings in the notification area. A new version of Sony Select has also been packaged into the update. Xperia J users should be getting an update notification on their phones automatically in the coming days/weeks. If any users are unable to update over the air, they can check out Sony's official page for a manual install method.

Source: Sony; More: Sony Xperia J Forums

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4 years ago

OUYA throwing a little launch party March 28 in San Francisco

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What's this in our inbox? Why, it's an invitation to OUYA's launch party March 28 in San Francisco. The $99 Android gaming console is one of the more anticipated releases this year, and it's as intriguing for what it's not as much as for what it is. A sub-$100 console? Consider our interest piqued. And it's not sporting the most high-tech specs you've ever seen. But, again, that price tag. 

Anyhoo. On March 28, OUYA's unwrapping this thing, and we'll be in SF to bring the whole thing to you.

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4 years ago

The Chromebook Pixel review

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The Pixel takes cloud computing to the next level — but the price should make you think twice before buying

Meet the Pixel. It's beautiful, powerful, filled with the tools the next-generation of the web will need, but it "just" runs Chrome OS. That's the general consensus of everyone with a platform to speak their mind about Google's newest Chromebook, and for the most part it rings true.

It's a beautiful machine. Quite frankly, it's surprising to see Google deliver something this well built and designed, because we're used to more budget-friendly gear from our Mountain View friends. But you need to understand -- this isn't your typical laptop. It's something completely different for most of us. For some, it's going to be the perfect portable computer, but for others it's going to leave you wanting more than Chrome OS can deliver.

It also checks in at $1,300 ($1,450 for the LTE version), so it's something you're not likely to buy on an impulse. That's what tech-reviews are for.

Read on and see the good, the bad, and the ugly that goes with owning a Chromebook Pixel.

Join the discussion in the Chromebook Pixel Forums

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4 years ago

Sprint Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Jelly Bean update has begun rolling out

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Sprint has begun the rollout of Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) to its version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Enhancements will include:

  • Google Now
  • Smooth transitions enable effortless movement
  • Expandable, actionable notifications
  • Widgets that resize automatically

The update is being pushed wirelessly and has just begun to rollout. If you have a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 from Sprint and haven't seen it yet, sit tight, it's coming. Great news for everyone who has been waiting patiently for the benefits of Jelly Bean on their larger screen.

If you've received the update yet or just want to see what others are saying about it, hit up out Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Forum!

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4 years ago

The winners of the Nexus 4 charging orbs are ...

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If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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4 years ago

HTC One versus the iPhone 5

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Just the same, only different: The iPhone 5 and HTC One are worlds apart

"The HTC One looks just like the iPhone 5!" Those were the words out of many a mouth after HTC unveiled its new, all aluminum Android smartphone last month. Metallurgy aside -- and we're willing to bet either Apple or HTC could talk ad nauseam about the chemical makeup of their particular blend of aluminum -- that's where the similarities end. Both phones are made of metal and glass.

Get over it.

Join the discussion in the HTC One forums

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4 years ago

Second Galaxy S4 teaser also tells us nothing about the actual phone

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Samsung Galaxy S4 guardian Jeremy Maxwell returns with his magical glowing box in the second teaser trailer for the upcoming handset. If you were hoping for any hint of actual information on what Samsung's bringing to New York this Thursday, then once again you're going to come away disappointed. Like last week's installment, there's very little going on here beyond hype-building. Though Jeremy does remark that the box's contents are his "favorite color," for whatever that's worth.

Check out the teaser above, and share any theories down in the comments. 

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