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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Music leaks ahead of early October debut

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The name was revealed on Samsung's official list of Jelly Bean-upgradable devices, and today brings more news of the curious little smartphone known as the Samsung Galaxy Music. Fresh details have emerged today via Austrian site Telecom-Presse, revealing a phone with humble specs and a distinctive front face. 

The device, which seems to be an entry-level smartphone focused on -- you guessed it -- music. Featuring two stereo speakers, a tiny 3-inch QVGA (240x320) display and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It's powered by an 850MHz single-core CPU, so you won't have a whole lot of horsepower to play around with, and as such we'd expect this thing to be priced competitively. Interestingly, there'll also be a dual-SIM version of the phone, branded as Galaxy Music Duos. This suggests Samsung may look to target the developing world with this device.

The Galaxy Music will reportedly make its debut at an event in Frankfurt on Oct 11 -- invites for this gathering recently started trickling out to the German press. We've got one more image after the break. Full specs can be found at the source link.

Source: Telecom-Presse (Translated), via: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Google makes turning on two-step authentication even easier

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You're really starting to run out of reasons to not use Google's two-step authentication. An update today to the Google Authenticator application adds the ability to turn on two-step authentication without having to scan a QR code or re-enter your password on the device. Quickier, easier, and more important than ever, folks.

If you've yet to turn on two-step authentication, you need to do so today. (And you'll also want this app.)

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4 years ago

BlueStacks partners with AMD to bring 500,000 Android apps to millions of Windows PCs

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BlueStacks, the folks who brought Android apps to Windows and Mac computers via their "Layercake" emulation magic has announced that they are partnering with AMD to offer access to Android apps on Windows computers using AMD's storefront. At current count, BlueStacks figures there will be over 500,000 Android apps available to over 100 million Windows computers.

That's a lot of apps on a lot of computers.

As part of the partnership, AMD will be launching and Android-app centric space on the AMD AppZone. Don't let the importance of this one slip away from you. What it means is that users (that's us!) can surf to the AMD AppZone, click on an icon, and a working version of the app will automatically download, configure and install on the computer. I tested it with the Pulse app, and I'm pretty impressed. Making it easy to deliver your content means more people will use your content.

Another benefit of the AMD BlueStacks partnership is the GPU and APU optimization AMD has done for their processor architecture. AMD powers many mid-range consumer computers, and owners now have an easy portal for apps. Lots of apps.We're not sure how this strategy will play out, but we expect that as Windows 8 touch screen enabled devices begin to proliferate, it's a market worth tapping into. Hit the break for a short video and the full press release.

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4 years ago

Rovio's Bad Piggies hits Google Play

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Right on cue, mobile game developer Rovio has released Bad Piggies, the swine-centric Angry Birds spin-off, on Google Play and other platforms. The game is available now as a free download from Google's app store, and comes in regular and HD (tablet-optimized) flavors.

Bad Piggies sees players take on the role of the mischievous green pigs from Angry Birds, building all manner of precarious vehicles in order to reach the end of the level, and steal some eggs along the way. The pig-focused gameplay has a lot in common with an earlier Rovio title, Amazing Alex. Players build contraptions, out of parts in a 2D grid, before taking them for a spin in the game world.

Our early impressions are that it's a fun little game, and with two zones consisting of 45 levels each, in addition to an unlockable sandbox  mode, there should be plenty of content to keep you entertained. We'll have a full review of Bad Piggies up before long, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can grab the game from the Google Play link above.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia T arrives at Three and O2 in the UK

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Sony's Xperia T launched at independent online retailers in the UK earlier this week, and today it's available in store, as well as directly through mobile networks Three and O2. If you're after a Pay As You Go deal, Three offers the T for £399 when purchased with a PAYG top-up, while O2's price is set at £429.99 -- both prices are in line with what we've heard of the unlocked, SIM-free version.

On contract, things get a little more complex. As ever, Three offers the best plan for heavy data users, with its One Plan (£34 per month) and Ultimate Internet Plan (£30 per month). The former gives 2000 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited data, while the latter sticks with unlimited data and 5000 texts, but lowers the minute allowance to 500. In addition, the One Plan comes with bundled tethering, while the Ultimate Internet plan does not. Both plans come with a £29 up-front charge for the phone. Other plans are available with lower limits and monthly fees, and higher up-front charges.

O2 is unique in its offer of unlimited calls and texts, though you'll pay a little more for this privilege. The O2 On and On plan comes with unlimited calls and texts, and either a 1GB allowance for £36 per month, or 2GB for £41 per month. The Xperia T is free on both On and On plans. It is possible to cut down to £31 per month with a reduced allowance of 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB, with a £79 up-front payment for the phone. And if you're not fussed about having a large data allowance, other plans are available (with an up-front charge) as low as £21.50 per month. O2 also has the whole Bond Phone thing going on, if you're interested in exclusive ringtones and other 007-themed crap.

Pay your money, take your choice. If you're tempted to pick up an Xperia T this week, or you've already taken the plunge, be sure to shout out in the comments.

Source: Three, O2

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4 years ago

ASUS Transformer TF201 and TF700 Jelly Bean updates coming tomorrow

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ASUS has been dancing around a bit on the final release date of its big updates for the Transformer TF201 (Prime) and TF700 (Infinity), but now we've got a complete changelog for the updates. Users will be happy to see their devices updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, meaning Project Butter and all of the small visual tweaks are coming. Additionally, there are a few other bugfixes and usability improvements:

  • Default enable System Bar Lock
  • Add Multiple Photo Selection feature
  • Support Connect Dock (Accessory)
  • Remove Adobe Flash support
  • Remove Wi-Fi Direct function support
  • Remove Press Reader

ASUS says that the OTAs will start rolling out tomorrow for the TF201, and Friday for the TF700. Be sure to let us know in the comments if your device has received the OTA.

Source: ASUSThanks to everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Huawei announces Ascend P1 LTE availability

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Although Huawei has already launched the Ascend P1, and unveiled the Ascend P1 LTE at length several months ago, we're learning more now about the upcoming availability of the LTE model. The Ascend P1 LTE will be coming exclusively to the UK on the EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) network, with announcements on other carriers to follow. Given the crazy number of LTE frequencies in use around the world, we won't be surprised if it took a while for Huawei to get those deals straightened out. As far as specs go, here's a quick refresher of what the Ascend P1 LTE has under the hood:

  • 2000mAh battery
  • 1.5Ghz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8MP camera
  • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD (540x960) display
  • Corning Gorilla Glass2

You can check out the full press release after the break.

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4 years ago

Qualcomm to release two new budget quad-core S4 chips

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Qualcomm has announced that two new Snapdragon S4s are on the way, with both touting quad-core CPUs with a budget-friendly price. The MSM8225Q and MSM8625Q both build on the S4 design, complete with support for LPDDR2 memory, Wifi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM connectivity using the Qualcomm Atheros AR6005 and WCN2243 chips.

The major difference between the two chips is that the Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8625Q features Qualcomm's integrated multimode UMTS/CDMA modem, and the MSM8225Q has an integrated UMTS modem. In layman's speak -- the MSM8625Q will work on Verizon and Sprint. The real difference, and likely where the cost cutting comes into play, is in the GPU. Snapdragon "Pro" models feature a stronger graphics processor, though the exact model in tonight's new chips hasn't been disclosed. 

If you're a hardware nerd, the long version is in the press release after the break. If you're not, just know that Qualcomm is making a slightly cheaper, yet still high-end quad-core CPU to power the next generation of mid-level handsets. It's good news all around.

More: Android hardware forums (get your nerd on!)

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4 years ago

LG releases official Optimus Vu: II specs, confirms VoLTE

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LG has finally spilled the beans on the official specs of their weird interesting 5-inch 4:3 smartphone, the Optimus Vu: II. This is the latest model of the Vu available in the domestic market -- which for LG is Korea -- and some of the specs are bumped up a bit from what we know as the original Optimus Vu and LG Intuition here in the states, such as the battery, RAM and processor:

  • 2150mAh removable battery, up from 2080mAh
  • 2GB RAM, up from 1GB
  • External SDcard slot added
  • Snapdragon S4 Plus 1.5Ghz dual-core processor, up from Snapdragon S3
  • 5-inch 768x1024 IPS display
  • LTE connectivity, including VoLTE
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Rubberdium Pen 2.0

As is the case on the first Vu, LG is including a stylus dubbed "Rubberdium Pen 2.0" that offers a finer point for more precise input -- and from our translation of the Korean press release, it seems as though the pen can be stored inside the device like the Samsung Galaxy Note. LG is also touting the ability of the Optimus Vu: II to use VoLTE (Voice Over LTE). Although here in the states we're probably going to be waiting for a while for VoLTE, LG is getting it ready for their local market. VoLTE provides higher voice quality potential, and supports simultaneous voice and data.

Source: LG Newsroom Korea

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4 years ago

Weekly photo contest: Black and white

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Announcing the triumphant return of the Android Central weekly photo contest! Everyone here in the office is home for at least a week, and as far as we know nobody is leaving to cover any events until CTIA in San Diego. That means we have time to sit back and enjoy the pictures you guys take with your Android phones and tablets.

Kicking it back off in style this week, we're going to focus on black and white pictures. They can be pictures of anything almost anything, so long as they are in black and white and taken from an Android device.

Now I'm sure someone is asking, how the heck do I get black and white pictures from my color camera?!? Easy as pie. Look in the settings of your camera app first, a lot of devices have a B&W mode built in. If there's nothing there, long press a picture in the gallery and look for an edit option. Finally, you can use any of the great free photo editing apps from Google Play -- I'm digging PicsArt's new update -- or do it on your computer.

Once you have the picture, head into the Android contest forums and share it with the world. We'll look through all the entries, and pic out the best five. Those winners will get an Android Central t-shirt, which instantly makes you the coolest person in any room. Read the forums post for any particulars, and get off the couch and take some pics!

Enter this weeks photo contest

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4 years ago

Chrome for Android now fully compatible with x86 devices

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Google's Chrome for Android browser, much loved by those with an Android 4.0 and above device, has finally been updated to be fully compatible with x86 devices. This is a big deal, as one of the snags when it came to Android devices running Intel chips (OK, there aren't that many yet) was incompatibility of apps -- even popular ones like Chrome. What this shows us is that Google is devoted to updating its own apps to work on the Intel platform, and hopefully now other app developers will follow suit with their own updates.

We've had a look at a few Intel devices at this point, most recently the Motorola RAZR i, and hopefully with application support like this we'll see more in the future.

Source: Google Chrome Releases

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4 years ago

Foursquare brings back Nearby Friends feature

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The Foursquare app for Android has been updated to bring back an old feature called Nearby Friends. As you might expect, it showcases which of your friends have checked in nearby recently, and what they think about the locations you've been checking into. All you have to do is scroll all the way to the top of your news stream, and use that tab selection bar that pops up at the bottom. 

Though it's only really the one feature (in addition to the usual performance tweaks), it's a pretty significant one, and those that are active on the network will be happy to see Nearby Friends again.

How often do you check in to locations using Foursquare? Do you have a lot of friends on there from out of town? Has Facebook proven to be more far-reaching, or do you see all location check-ins as excessive and useless information to share? 

Source: Foursquare

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4 years ago

Transformer Infinity and Prime Jelly Bean updates for the US and Canada expected 'in 72 hours'

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Yesterday we heard that ASUS was rolling out the Jelly Bean update for the Transformer Prime in Sweden, and today we have confirmation from ASUS' Gary Key that users in the U.S. and Canada will be seeing Android 4.1 for their Prime and the Transformer Infinity in the next 72 hours.

The version number will be 10.4.4.14.1, which is Android 4.1. We have no further details other than what ASUS has already mentioned, namely that the update no longer officially supports Adobe Flash, and that on the Prime Wifi direct has been removed. 

Key has been a reliable liaison between ASUS and the Android community, and as an ASUS employee he doesn't have to rely on second-hand information. Get your tablets ready, because it certainly looks to be coming soon.

Source: XDA-Developers; Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

YouTube for Android updated with new UI for Froyo and Gingerbread, fresh Watch experience

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Thanks to a YouTube app update that just rolled out today, anyone with a Froyo or Gingerbread device can now enjoy refreshed UI and preloading mechanism. Google has also made a few tweaks to the Watch screen, though there's nothing particularly dramatic. This update added the ability to move videos to your personal YouTube TV queue - a great touch for those of us that want to watch videos in their full glory on the big screen. Finally, a few more channels have been added to the Channel Store. The skippable YouTube ads we've been waiting for are also live in this update.  

Combined with an updated in March which enabled HD video playback on Gingerbread and Froyo devices, it's great to see Google's not leaving the older phones behind. Additional YouTube TV support is a nice touch, and something of a necessity for those of us with Google TV set-top boxes.

Are you guys finding anything particularly nice about this update? Maybe a small tweak that didn't make it to the changelog?

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4 years ago

Google Play services bringing new OAuth tools to Android

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Google is rolling out Google Play services starting today, bringing another of the great developer tools they showcased at Google I/O to the public.

For those of us that aren't developers, it's pretty easy to wrap your head around. If your device runs Froyo or higher and has access to the Google Play store, you'll have a new Google component to download. It's a set of libraries and tools that developers can use to authenticate with your Google account. When an app needs to access your private data from a Google application, they can use the new tool to get that access securely without requiring you to enter the (hopefully) long and secure password you use for your Google account. Version one of the service includes Google+ sign-in and +1 APIs as well as new OAuth 2.0 functionality.

OAuth 2.0 is a pretty big deal. It scales better than previous versions, is more secure, and as Googler Tim Bray notes "especially, because typing your password into a mobile device sucks". Bray has also posted an excellent overview, complete with code samples, using the new OAuth components at the Android Developers blog

Best of all, this will all be transparent to the end user. Once the required code is installed on your Android phone or tablet, the rest is up to developers. No more typing in your password on a mobile webpage, or getting a one-time password from Google two-step verification, we'll simply be able to choose the account we would like to use and go. We see that now with many of Google's apps, but the new method will bring it all together for a consistent -- and safe -- user experience using open standards. 

The developer portion of the service is available now, and you can find all the info you need to start using it at the links below. The client side (what we'll need on out phones) should be rolled out completely in the coming weeks, and we'll start seeing apps use the service once Google announces the rollout is complete. 

Source: +Android Developers; More:  Android Developers blog, Google DevelopersTim Bray

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