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3 years ago

Motorola Droid 4 ICS update pushing out, brings global roaming and remote diagnostics

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A couple weeks back we saw the Motorola Droid 4 in the midst of it's soak test procedure for Ice Cream Sandwich, and today it appears that the update is pushing, at least for a few. Officially, the support page lists the update as "coming soon", but we've gotten a report or two that it's already inbound. We'll go over the changes in a bit, but it's worth mentioning that the build of Blur (or not Blur) has been updated to the same version we saw in the RAZR's Ice Cream Sandwich update. We like it when things get refined, so we're not complaining, but if you get a bit lost with the new look and feel hit the forums for some help. Moving on to the details --

  • Device is enabled for Global Roaming.
  • Integration of new version of  Backup Assistant Plus.
  • Mobile IM has been removed.
  • Color for Facebook application is preloaded.
  • Enhanced Customer Support with Verizon Remote Diagnostics.
  • Improved Stability and connectivity with Email.
  • Successfully download and save ringtones.
  • Mobile Hotspot – Improved connectivity.
  • Reduced device resets and power cycling.
  • Camera quality has been improved for better pictures.
  • Improved My Gallery performance.
  • Voice Mail Notification shows the correct of unread messages.
  • Updated Mobile Hotspots Icon.
  • Visual Voice Mail shortcut on home screen changed to a standard voicemail shortcut.
  • Clear Contact pictures are displayed for phonebook contacts.

The version number is now 6.16.217.XT894.Verizon.en.US, and the update checks in at about in at 360MB. We're not sure how widespread the rollout is just yet, but to check if you have it ready and waiting hit the settings and look in About phone > system update. When you see it, be sure to sound off and let folks know how it went for you. Hit the source link below for the full details as well as detailed update instructions.

Source: Verizon Support. Thanks, TimR!

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3 years ago

Barnes & Noble lowers NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color pricing to its lowest ever

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For all you deal hunters out there who like nice things but aren't really looking to buy in when prices are high, you're holding out for a NOOK Tablet or NOOK Color may have paid off. Barnes & Noble has announced a price drop on both the NOOK Tablet or NOOK Color, just in time for back to school.

  • NOOK Tablet 8GB for $179
  • NOOK Tablet 16GB for $199
  • NOOK Color for $149

The pricing is in effect across all of Barnes & Noble 700 locations. Barnes & Noble hasn't noted if the price drop is permanent or just a sale so, if you're looking to pick one best to go ahead and do so as soon as possible. You'll find the full press release below.

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3 years ago

ZTE Grand X launches on Virgin Media UK

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ZTE sends word that its new mid-range Android handset, the Grand X, is now available from Virgin Media in the UK. The Virgin Media launch follows the Tegra 2-powered device's earlier launch on Phones4U. The Grand X, which sports near-vanilla Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on a 4.3-inch qHD display, is available for £199.99 up-front, or for free on any of the network's 12 and 24-month contracts. The PAYG deal includes £10 of credit and 1GB of mobile data.

The Grand X is part of ZTE's effort to enter the premium handset market in the UK. The phone's powered by a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU and a mostly unskilled Android 4.0 software experience. The phone also rocks a 4.3-inch qHD LCD display, 512MB of RAM, a 5MP rear camera and a microSD card slot.

You'll find more info on the Virgin Media deals at the link below. Also be sure to check out our hands-on preview of the Grand X.

Source: Virgin Media

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3 years ago

Editorial: Custom ROMs are awesome, and sometimes they break stuff

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For many of us, part of the fun of having an Android phone is yanking off the intended software and putting a community-built custom build into the ROM. Sometimes, it's almost necessary to fix a few "broken" things the OEM is dragging their feet on (hello, T-Mobile G2X!), but more often than not it's done either to add features, take away features, or because it's a whole bucket of awesome inside of big box of coolness -- in other words, fun as hell.

Of course, the first thing we all look at when cruising for the next custom ROM we're going to flash is the "not working" list. It often takes time to get all the features of a device working with custom software, and usually the first few releases of a ROM will have at least a couple things not working. It's not necessarily a ding on the devs building the software, OEMs aren't very keen on sharing their secrets and code -- even when required to under the license they agreed to before using it. That's why we see things like camera issues, Bluetooth wonkyness, and various sensors not playing nicely until they are tickled into submission. We all have a cut-off point where we say "I don't need any of that stuff right now, and I wanna try this" and we flash it. Don't deny it, you have that line just like the rest of us do.

But that's not the sort of broken stuff we're talking about. There will always be some weird app issues that the developer didn't see. Maybe he (or she) doesn't use a particular app or just hasn't tried it yet. Those broken things aren't listed in the "what's not working" list. But they're still there, will always be there, and eventually you will run into one of them.

I'm mentioning this because of the recent boom of Jelly Bean ROMs being built for almost every device. Without pointing out anyone in particular, I saw a thread on an Internet forum about Google Now not working on the Galaxy Nexus. The person with the issue asked for help, and quite a few people were working with him, trying things and doing the usual voodoo ritual that often fixes broken stuff. About 20 posts (and a day) later it turns out that the fellow had a custom built 4.1.1 ROM running on his Sprint Galaxy Nexus. Everyone with that particular ROM had a busted Google Now app, and nothing short of editing the ROM was ever going to fix it. Rather than realizing this, the fellow with the issue quickly proclaimed that Android sucks and he hated this f&*@$!ing phone.

Now, to you, Android might suck. To over a million of folks a day buying Android phones, the phones are just fine. In either case, Google and the Android team had little to do with it this time around. We like to flash our phones. We need to realize that we often break things when we do it. Enjoy your phone, hack the living crap out of it, but don't be surprised (or act indignant) when random things are broken.

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3 years ago

Neuroshima Hex review - not your robo-mama's board game

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Neuroshima Hex is a board game with a particularly unique sci-fi setting full of story, cyborgs, and strategy. It’s been on Android for a few months, but just recently enjoyed a much-needed stability update. The far future war game pits the scrappy armies of mankind against several factions, ranging from marauding mutants, well-equipped gangs, and the very mechanical menace that plunged the human race into anarchy hundreds of years ago.

The turn-based gameplay is a simple back-and-forth that’s punctuated by sparse (but dramatic combat), and a wide variety of units with special rules.

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3 years ago

Incipio SILICRYLIC Case for Galaxy S3 review

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Protecting your Galaxy S3 should be a no brainer. Choosing what kind of case in which to put your new, shiny phone can be confusing. 

 

The Incipio SILICRYLIC case gets its name from providing two separate layers of protection for your Samsung Galaxy S III (S3.) The inner layer is made of silicone and the outer layer is a shell made of acrylic.

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3 years ago

Google buying Frommers, should fit nicely with Zagat

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Google's already helping you find out where to go -- now it's going to help you get there. Publisher Wiley & Sons has agreed to sell the travel publication to Google for an undisclosed sum, the Wall Street Journal reported today. It isn't clear what el Goog will do with Frommers -- it could be folded into the Zagat end of things, the WSJ opines, and that's certainly a possibility.

Google has made some pretty big strides in the travel sector, with the Zagat purchase as well buying flight scheduler ITA and integrating it into search results, which has been bolstered even further in Google Now.

Source: WSJ

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3 years ago

Jot review - the simplest note-taking widget ever

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Jot is a simple, lightweight note-taking widget for Android that recently had a user interface overhaul. It is an absolutely pared-down set of widgets that very simply provide fast, clear access to a notepad from the home screen. You aren’t going to find a ton of fancy features here, but you will get fast, easy access to plain text.

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3 years ago

Sprint Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE coming Aug. 19 priced $199.99

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Pre-orders for the new QWERTY slider begin today.

Just as was rumored, Motorola and Sprint's new Photon Q 4G LTE is confirmed to arrive this Sunday, Aug. 19. The phone will cost $199.99 with the usual two-year service agreement, and boasts some of the highest-end specs you'll find on a QWERTY slider. In anticipation of the launch, Sprint will start taking pre-orders today, and pre-order customers will begin receiving their handsets as early as this Friday, Aug. 17.

In addition to a full physical keyboard, a dual-core CPU and support for Sprint's shiny new LTE network, the Photon Q offers Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with on-screen buttons, an 8MP rear camera and a qHD "ColorBoost" display.  In addition, there's NFC and Android Beam support and HDMI mirroring capabilities.

If you're a fan of press releases, we've got Sprint's after the break, along with the full spec list. Hit the link below for the official Motorola Photon Q pre-order page.

More: Motorola Photon Q

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3 years ago

Carphone Warehouse announces Motorola RAZR MAXX launch

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The Motorola RAZR MAXX isn't the newest or fastest Android handset out there, but if you want ridiculous, multi-day battery life out of your phone, it's still a decent option. Today UK retailer the Carphone Warehouse sends word that it's launching the (GSM) RAZR MAXX on British networks O2, Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile. As ever, a wide selection of tarrifs are available, but if you want a free MAXX, you'll be paying at least £20.50 per month.

Like its Verizon cousin, the GSM RAZR MAXX packs a whopping 3300mAh battery, which on 3G/HSPA networks should get you more than a day of use on a single charge. The phone's still running Android 2.3 Gingerbread for the moment, but an ICS update is due within the next couple of weeks.

Look for a full review of ICS on the international RAZR MAXX on AC in the weeks ahead.  In the meantime, we've got Carphone's press release after the jump.

More: Carphone Warehouse

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3 years ago

Samsung: Galaxy Note 10.1 coming to UK on Aug. 16

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Flagship Samsung store in Stratford, London will be first to get the tablet

Looks like Samsung wasn't kidding when it said the Galaxy Note 10.1 would be getting a global release later this month. The stylus-toting tablet is expected to be officially unveiled at an event in the U.S. this Wednesday, but already Sammy's taken to Twitter to confirm its international launch plans.

Samsung Mobile UK tweeted -- 'Be one of the first to buy the New Note 10.1, only at at the Westfield Brand Store in Stratford from Thursday 16 August. “Note the New way.”'

The "Westfield brand store" refers to the flagship Samsung store at the Westfield Shopping Center in Stratford, East London. That's the same store where the Galaxy S III (S3) made its international debut on the evening of May 29, so it's a fitting venue for a product like the Note 10.1.

Pricing information has yet to be confirmed, but pre-order listings at other retailers indicate the 3G/HSPA version may sell for around £435 inc. VAT in the UK, closely matching the price of Apple's third-generation iPad.

Anyone in the UK eager to pick up a Note 10.1? Let us know if you'll be heading down to Stratford on Aug. 16.

Source: Samsung Mobile UK Twitter

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3 years ago

Monday Brief: Ouya Kickstarter, PlayBook 4G LTE, Smaller iOS Dock Connector, and more!

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3 years ago

Android 4.0 coming to Optimus 2X after all - at least in Korea

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If you picked up an LG Optimus 2X last year, you'll already be acquainted with the frustrating experience of waiting for much-needed OS updates. The world's first dual-core smartphone shipped with Android 2.2 Froyo in early 2011, and it's been behind the curve ever since.

Optimus 2X owners had been waiting patiently for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to arrive, only to be told (after months of delays) that the update had been canned, leaving the phone stuck on Gingerbread.

However, it now seems that statement may have been made prematurely, as LG Mobile Korean today took to its official Twitter feed to inform one 2X owner that the update had merely been held up in testing, rather than canceled. Of course, this statement only applies to Korean phones, and the fate of ICS on the Optimus 2X elsewhere remains unknown. Nevertheless, the fact at least one version of the phone is getting ICS surely bodes well for 2X owners elsewhere. That said, owners of the U.S. variant, the T-Mobile G2X, probably shouldn't hold their breath.

Source: LG Mobile Twitter, via: GSMArena

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3 years ago

UK retailer confirms black Galaxy S3, new color due 'in 4-6 weeks'

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Following rumors of the handset's existence, we now have confirmation that the international Samsung Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3) will be arriving soon in black. UK retailer ​MobileFun​ confirms on its blog that it'll be stocking the black S3, alongside the existing blue and white versions.

The retailer is taking pre-orders now, and expects the phones to ship in 4-6 weeks. Pricing for the 16GB model is in line with other Galaxy S3 phones, at £500 inc. VAT.

Rumors of a black Galaxy S3 started to emerge late last week, when Samsung published images of what seemed to be the new color option on its official Facebook page. This was later backed up by a leaked inventory shot from the Carphone Warehouse, showing the black S3 alongside the white and blue variants.

So if that pebble blue S3 isn't doing it for you, you should only have a few more weeks to wait before the black version arrives. Of course, it's worth remembering we're talking about the international model here -- any U.S. availability has yet to be confirmed.

Source: MobileFun blog

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3 years ago

Motorola to lay off employees, close offices and focus on fewer handsets

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The Google-owned Motorola Mobility will undergo a major restructuring in the months ahead, according to reports from ​The New York Times​. The paper reports that the Motorola mobile device business, acquired by Google in May, will lay off some 20 percent of its workforce -- including 40 percent of its vice presidents -- and close up shop at one third of its offices. The loss-making manufacturer will also refocus its efforts n creating fewer handsets in general, and fewer low-end devices specifically. As such, Moto told the paper it planned to buy half as many components as a result.

The NYT​ reports that around one third of the 4,000 of the job losses will be in the U.S., while the company will leave unspecified "unprofitable" markets. Similarly, Moto will cut back its presence in India and Asia, and base its research and development efforts in Chicago, IL, Sunnyvale, CA and Beijing, China.

Compared to 2011, the past eight months have been relatively quiet at Motorola, as the company transitions to being a fully-owned Google subsidiary. We certainly welcome the idea of more hero devices and less low-end stuff. However, the mobile device business remains fiercely competitive, and the strategy won't guarantee to lift Moto out of its current slump. Taiwanese phone maker HTC has embarked upon a similar plan this year, with limited success thus far.

Source: The New York Times

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