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4 years ago

Android Central 124: The Great Experiment

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Audio-only stream below

Never mind that the Nexus 4 is finally back on sale, or that HTC's scheduled a bi-continental event for Feb. 29, or that, hell, we've go the Internet's only preview of the Carbon Twitter app. No, this week's big news is that we're finally podcasting via Google Hangout.

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4 years ago

Delta updates its Android app with v2.0 makeover [DYKWIA?]

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Airline still lacking a proper tablet app, however

A bit of good news tonight for those of you who a decent amount of time at 35,000 feet. Delta has updated its Android application to Version 2.0, just a couple weeks after it dropped for iOS. With it you'll get a brand-new user interface, as well as a bevy of new options, including the ability to purchase domestic flights from your phone (they're still working on international flights), or add economy comfort seats and other trip extras.

A Delta representative on the Flyer Talk Forums expanded a bit on the update, saying:

Just like we’ve added in the iPhone version of the app, we’ve included the ability to find, compare and book flights. We’ve also updated My Trips to give you a quick and easy way to purchase Economy Comfort and our Trip Extras, including Wi-Fi and Priority Boarding. You’ll also be able to use the Track My Bags and Check Flight Status features to improve your day of travel experience.

At the core of the new functionality, we’ve optimized (and in some cases completely re-written) our backend systems to provide you with faster response times in all areas of the app. Additionally, we have updated the look and feel to help you find the most important features easily.

Missing -- still -- is any sort of tablet application. That's been annoying enough in the past (never mind that the phone application has worked just fine when sideloaded on tablets), but it's especially disappointing given the awesomeness that Delta brought in its iPad app, particularly when it comes to seeing what's on the ground beneath your flight at any given time.

More: Android travel apps

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4 years ago

HTC Thunderbolt finally getting its Ice Cream Sandwich update

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What more can we say? (Don't answer that!) The HTC Thunderbolt has its Ice Cream Sandwich update ready, and will soon start rolling out to devices. It will be Android 4.0.4 with Sense 3.6, and the update package is about 380MB. If you still have a Thunderbolt rattling around in a drawer somewhere, dig it out, dust it off, and plug it in in preparation. This update won't fix the peeling kickstand, but maybe it can help the battery life a bit. Anyhoo, it's nice to know that the Thunderbolt was not forgotten, no matter how hard we all tried to forget it.

Source: Verizon (pdf); Via: everyone

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4 years ago

Finally get your Nexus 4? We'll help get you started

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It looks like Google finally is getting a handle on its Nexus 4 supply/retail issues. Its flagship Jelly Bean phone went back on sale this week and boxes should be hitting doorsteps anytime now. For a good many of you, this will be your first time with the Nexus 4. For others, it'll be the first time with any Nexus.

So where to begin? Even if you've had an Android smartphone in the past, a Nexus is both familiar and new, full of options some other smartphones don't have, while at the same time lacking features other manufacturers pack into their own phones. 

Let's take a look at some of the thing new Nexus 4 owners need to know, need to watch out for -- and need to take advantage of.

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4 years ago

PaperBoy: Quick and casual news reading for Android

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PaperBoy is a quick and easy way to browse through news stories from a useful but concise list of sources. Some of us like to have our Google Reader lists filled with hundreds of RSS feeds at our fingertips, and others (read: most people) just want a casual way to browse through the day's headlines. PaperBoy caters to this market with a simple and smooth UI that presents a curated list of sources and quick snippets of information.

Read along after the break and see what PaperBoy has to offer as a minimalistic news reader.

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4 years ago

Xperia T/TX/TL Jelly Bean firmware certified ahead of release

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Sony's first round of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-based firmware has passed through certification at the PCTRB forum, a usual indicator that the update is just a few weeks away from being pushed out to handsets. Firmware for the international Xperia T and TX and the AT&T Xperia TL has passed certification, meaning those handsets should be first in line for the Sony Jelly Bean upgrade. In the case of the Xperia TL, carrier certification may lead to a slight delay, but TL owners can rest assured that the bulk of the work is done.

Late last year Sony promised to release Jelly Bean updates for the Xperia T and TX in "mid-Q1," so it looks like things are going according to schedule. If you own one of those phones, we recommend keeping an eye out for the update in mid-to-late February.

Source: PCTRB; via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

T-Mobile updates its Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3 phones

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A couple more updates for you on this fine Thursday. T-Mobile is sending out updates for the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3. The GS2 update is said to include security enhancements, a "Qualcomm fix" and "Vlingo S Voice improvements," while the GS3 update has security enhancements and "improved user experience." Both updates are available via KIES or over the air.

  • For Galaxy S3 owners: You'll need to be on Android 4.1.1, software version T99UVDLJA to get the 4MB update.
  • For Galaxy S2 owners: You'll need to be back on Android 2.3.6, software version T989UVLDG for the 6.5MB update.

Galaxy S2 users on Android 4.0.4 looking for an update should have already received their bugfix update last week.

Source: T-Mobile (GS2 update, GS3 update)

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4 years ago

Pandora now using Play Store to manage One monthly subscriptions

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Pandora users wishing to upgrade from a free to paid account via the Android app can now manage their subscription directly in Google Play. Following a link in the settings of the app now takes you to a Play Store in-app purchase page to start the subscription. A Pandora One account will still set you back the same $3.99 (plus tax, at least in my state,) but this way it will be tied to your Google account. The terms right on the Play Store payment page explain that the app will continue to charge you on a monthly basis via Google Wallet.

This is a really nice way to manage subscriptions for many people, as having things tied to your Google account is usually better than individual logins and payment processes for each service. The new functionality is included in the latest version of the Pandora app, available at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Sprint's HTC EVO 4G LTE getting an update today

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Heads up, folks. Looks like the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE is getting itself a bit of an update today. We're not quite sure exactly what's new in the 44-megabyte update (the changelog you see here is the same as last month's Jelly Bean update), bringing things to version 3.16.651.3, but folks in our forums are reporting improvements to the proximity sensor, a properly silenced camera shutter (for when it should be silent), and voicemail seems to be improved. We'll update should we hear anything official.

Update: Sprint's finally posted the changelog. Here's what's new:

  • Proximity sensor improvements while on a call or listening to voicemail
  • Ability to output audio/video to HDTV (and other external displays via MHL cable
  • WiFi Connection improvements
  • Bluetooth compatibility improvements
  • Android process/application shutdown resolved

Source: EVO 4G LTE forums

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4 years ago

Metro PCS gets the LG Spirit 4G

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Metro PCS has announced it'll carry the LG Spirit, a 4.5-inch Android 4.0 smartphone with 4G LTE data. It's powered by a dual core processor running at 1.2GHz, has a 2150 mAh battery and sports a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3MP shooter up front. The Spirit is available online and in stores today for $199 (after a $70 mail-in rebate). Metro PCS' no-contract plans start at $40 a month.

More: Metro PCS

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4 years ago

LG Optimus L7 II Dual pictured ahead of possible MWC launch

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It’s almost a year since we first met the LG L-style series at Mobile World Congress 2012 -- the original line-up consisted of the Optimus L3, L5 and L7. And ahead of this year’s show, there are signs the Korean manufacturer could have at least one follow-up in the pipeline.

According to reports from Russian site Hi-Tech, backed up by what seem to be leaked renders of the phone, the clumsily-named "LG Optimus L7 II Dual" will be heading to Russia in late February, and it’ll pack dual-SIM capabilities. (Note the capacitive SIM-switching button on the images above.)

Other reported specs include a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch IPS display, an 8MP camera and 2460mAh battery -- supposedly enough for two days per charge. On the software side, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is said to be on-board, along with LG customizations including QuickMemo, QuickTranslator and QSlide. In Russia, the phone will reportedly retail for 12,990 rubles ($432).

Assuming this information is legit, we can probably expect to see the Optimus L7 II Dual at this year’s MWC -- and we imagine there’ll probably be a vanilla L7 II on display too, with a standard single SIM slot.

Source: Hi-Tech@Mail.ru; via: PocketNow

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4 years ago

Sony launches 'My Xperia' phone security service

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Many phone manufacturers -- and some third party apps -- offer a way to track down and secure a lost or stolen handset, and today Sony's bringing this kind of service to some of its Xperia smartphones. The company has announced the pilot launch of "My Xperia," which Sony fans might remember from a recent ROM leak and earlier trademark filing.

The premise is pretty simple and familiar -- link your Xperia phone up to MyXperia.com. Then, if the phone's lost or stolen, there'll be a few options available, as Sony Experience Planner Marcin Zielinski explains on the company's official blog --

  • Locate your smartphone on a map
  • Sound an alert to get someone’s attention – it’ll also override silent mode and wake the display
  • Lock the phone to keep info private, and ping a message with contact details or…
  • Erase both internal and external SD card info / data if required

Sony's planning a "phased launch" for the service, starting on the Xperia Acro S in Nordic countries, and moving to other Android 4.0-based 2012 Xperia phones  in the weeks ahead. Eligible users will receive an update through the Update Center app, Zielinski says.

Based on the presence of "My Xperia" in leaked Jelly Bean firmware for the Xperia S, it's probably a safe to say that that phone will be added to the pilot when the update is finalized. We'd also expect to see it on the new Xperia Z, as well as whatever Sony shows off at Mobile World Congress, all of which should be running the company's latest Android-based software.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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4 years ago

Cubes vs. Spheres makes physics fun again

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Great gameplay and superb graphics make Cubes vs. Spheres a must-buy game

Are you looking for a great new game that isn't hard to learn, is a ton of fun, and will make you smile while you burn through your battery? I think we've found one with Cubes vs. Spheres. The premise is super simple -- you are inside a circle in a uncomfortably white room, and cubes are rolling (as well as a 6-sided cube can roll, anyway) toward you. Your job is to keep them away by flicking balls at them. When the balls hit them, they explode in a satisfying shower of particles. If more than three cubes cross inside your circle, the game is over and you've lost.

Just because it's simple doesn't mean it's not fun as hell, though. The gameplay gets pretty frantic. There are assorted blocks that vary in how easy or hard they are to destroy (the invisible ones are rough), and you use points earned by playing to buy power-ups (exploding spheres, anyone?) to handle them all. The game physics are great. The faster you flick the balls the faster and further they fly, and the bouncing balls and blocks interact with the scenery just like you think they should. 

Most importantly, to me anyway, are the game controls. I hate games that have too many buttons and thing-a-ma-bobs to press and swipe just to play. Cubes vs. Spheres has none of that. It's simply swiping and tapping, you play it with one finger. This makes it perfect for a wide variety of devices, from a small 4-inch screen up to a full sized 10-inch tablet. Cubes vs. Spheres is just as fun on my Nexus 4 as it is on my Nexus 7, and that's something not every game can pull off. 

If you've been looking for a new time waster, check Cubes vs. Spheres out. It costs a buck, but once you pay you're done -- no in-app purchasing required. It runs on Froyo or higher, and you can grab it using the Google Play link above. There's a short video to explain it all after the break.

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4 years ago

Bad-ass chrome Bugdroid peers from Google's Building 45

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When it comes to oversized Android statues on Google's Mountain View campus, generally Building 44 is where the action is. There's one for each major version outside the home of the Android team, from Cupcake through to Jelly Bean.

But now it seems there's some competition from just across the street. According to Googler Paul Wilcox, who posted the shot above on Google+, this looming, chromed-out Bugdroid statue now peers out from the neighboring Building 45.

We wouldn't read too much into a chrome Android arriving on the Google campus -- after all, we've had Chrome for Android for almost a year. But it's certainly cool to see Google's crazy statue budget isn't going unspent while we wait for a new arrival outside Building 44.

Source: +Paul Wilcox

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 to launch in UK by March

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Following last week's global Galaxy Xcover 2 launch, Samsung UK has revealed that the phone will be headed to British shores, with a UK launch for the ruggedized handset scheduled to occur "by March."

The Galaxy Xcover 2 is Samsung's most latest hardened, IP67-certified water and dust-resistant smartphone, powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, and running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. Other highlights include a 5MP camera, 4GB of internal storage and a microSD slot.

We don't typically expect bleeding-edge internals in this kind of smartphone, but the Galaxy Xcover 2 certainly packs more of a punch than previous ruggedized phones. For more details on this device, head on over to our original announcement post, or check the presser after the break.

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