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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 hits the U.S. this week for $399

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Retailers get Samsung's latest Android tablet on Thursday

Samsung this morning announced that the Galaxy Note 8.0 -- the latest in the Galaxy Note line that we saw unveiled at Mobile World Congress -- will be available in the United States this week, starting Thursday, April 11.

The Note 8, as it's informally known, very much resembles an oversized Galaxy S3 smartphone, but it's definitely all-tablet. As a refresher, it's got a 8-inch display at 1280x800 resolution, for a not-all-that-impressive 189 pixels per inch. It's running Samsung's TouchWiz user interface atop Android 4.1.2 (at least that's what it was running back in February), powered by a 1.6 GHz quad-core Exynos processor with 2 GB of RAM. This one's only got 16GB of total storage, but you can augment that with up to a 64GB microSD card.

More: See our hands-on with the Galaxy Note 8.0 from Mobile World Congress

The hardware's just half the story, of course. Samsung's loaded up the Note 8 with its excellent suite of tablet-optimzed apps, including Awesome Note, along with other features we've become accustomed to on Samsung smartphones, including AllShare. Plus, it's got the S Pen for proper stylus use. One change from the European version of the Note 8.0 we played with in Spain -- this one can't make phone calls.

The Note 8 runs $399, and Samsung says you'll be able to pick up the Note 8 at Amazon, Best Buy, h.h. gregg, Newegg, P.C. Richard & Son, Staples and TigerDirect.com. Accessories -- including the book cover and the stand pouch -- should be avaliable later this month.

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4 years ago

Competitors launch European antitrust complaint against Google over mobile apps

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Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle and others call Android 'a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps'

A group of Google's competitors have sent an antitrust complaint to the EU, claiming that the search giant's licensing of the Android OS and Google Apps give its mobile apps an unfair advantage. Reports from the New York Times say Fairsearch Europe, which consists of Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, TripAdvisor and others, accuses Google of using Android “as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today.”

According to today's NYT report, Fairsearch's lead lawyer, Thomas Vinje says OEMs wanting to use Google mobile apps (e.g. YouTube, Gmail, Chrome) on their Android devices "face contractual requirements" to use all these apps and give them "prominent placement" on their home screens. The suite of Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps are, of course, licensed separately to the Android OS, the source code of which is available freely.

Fairsearch pulls no punches in a press release this morning, claiming "Google’s predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform." It goes on to say the prominent placement of Google apps on devices running GMS apps "disadvantages other providers."

Following the filing of a complaint, the European Commission must now decide whether to take up the case against Google, the paper reports.

The news comes in the midsts of an existing EU antitrust inquiry into Google's web search practices, in which it's claimed the company abused its position to push its own web-based services. According to the NYT, antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said the EU was already looking into Android separately to the web search complaint.

Source: New York Times; Fairsearch Europe (PDF) via The Verge

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4 years ago

EE promises to 'double' 4G speeds by boosting available bandwidth

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Increase from 2x10 to 2x20MHz of 1800MHz by summer in 10 markets, 'headline' speeds of '80Mbps plus'

EE, the UK's first, and so far only 4G LTE network, has said it's to increase the amount of its 1800MHz spectrum used for LTE, resulting in potentially double data speeds for customers compared to its current offerings. EE says this has produced speeds of up to 130Mbps in laboratory settings, "headline" speeds of 80Mbps in the real world, and average speeds of over 20Mbps for customers.

The new speeds will be rolled out to customers in ten of EE's initial launch markets by the summer. Launch cities for "double speed 4G" include Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

Looking ahead, EE says it aims to trial carrier aggregation, a feature of the super-high-speed LTE-Advanced, before the end of 2013. In doing so, EE claims it'll be able to "deliver more 4G bandwidth than any other operator" in the UK. In today's announcement the carrier also indicated that it plans to invest in Wifi calling and VoLTE services in the future too.

EE says it aims to bring more than one million users onboard its LTE network by the end of 2013, though it'll face competition from the three other major UK carriers. While Three has indicated it's not going to rush its 4G roll-out, O2 and Vodafone could launch their own LTE networks as early as this spring, having acquired 800 and 2600MHz in the recent spectrum auction. Through being the first network to offer 2x20MHz LTE, EE will be hoping to maintain the lead over its rivals in this competitive space.

However for many, EE's high prices and capped data bundles remain the most significant barrier to entry, and there's no sign of that changing anytime soon.

More: EE

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4 years ago

WhatsApp denies rumors of a Google buyout

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WhatsApp is staying independent according to business development head

In a statement to All Things D this evening, WhatsApp’s business development chief Neeraj Arora said the rumors of Google buying the chat service were unfounded.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular applications on all platforms, providing cross-platform chat and file sharing. The past few days there has been talk of Google buying the company and integrating it into their rumored unified messaging service, aptly named Babel. The application is free for the first year on Android devices, with a $0.99 yearly fee afterwards. If you're interested in giving it a try, hit the Google Play download link above.

Source: All Things D

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4 years ago

Sony bringing native DUALSHOCK 3 controller support to Xperia phones

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Automatic setup and native support makes it easy to use a DUALSHOCK 3 controller for your favorite games

Sony looks to be adding system level support for their popular Playstation DUALSHOCK 3 controllers to Xperia phones. User will be able to wirelessly connect their controllers without root or any cumbersome set up routines, using only a USB OTG cable for the initial pairing. 

As you can see in the video (find it after the break) you plug your controller into the phone's USB port, turn it on, enter the device settings and enable the controller. After some data exchange over the wire, you're told to unplug the controller and can now use it via the device's Bluetooth connection. There's no word when we should expect to see this, or if it will even be ported back to older and current Xperia devices.

Of course, you'll need to use games that support a controller for the best experience, but the controller will also navigate through the UI, much like Logitech controllers currently do with various tablet devices. Add in a TV or monitor via the device's HDMI output, and it sounds like the making of a game console. Hit the break for the video.

Source: Xperia blog

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4 years ago

Twitter updated with 'Me' tab and HTC menu bar fix

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HTC phone owners can get a full-screen experience, and 'Me' tab wonkiness is fixed in latest update

The official Twitter app for Android, given a major visual overhaul last week, has been updated again today with a couple of important bug fixes. First off, the "Me" tab, which would occasionally fail to load, should now be fully functional at all times. And owners of HTC devices will welcome the fix for an issue which left them with a dead menu bar at the bottom of the screen. (That's not listed in the official changelog for the new ver. 4.0.1, but we've confirmed it on our own devices.)

HTC devices without a physical menu key -- including the HTC One -- must use an on-screen menu bar in certain apps, losing a portion of the screen in the process. Since last week's update the official Twitter client no longer used the legacy menu key, however the app still continued to show the (now non-functional) bar on HTC phones, much to the chagrin of users. As you can see in the photo above, that's no longer the case.

The changelog also lists UI improvements for Honeycomb devices, if anyone out there's still rocking an Android 3.x tablet.

To grab these latest fixes, hit the Google Play Store or use the handy link above.

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4 years ago

Tumblr for Android gets a new look, spiffy animations, and pictures that 'pop'

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The new interface and features make tumblr for Android a beautiful and functional application

Tumblr for Android got quite the update today, bringing an overhaul to the entire interface. Gone are the boring, scrolling lists and static squares of old, and the new interface is a bit of Path or Flipboard wrapped up inside a Holo design frame. It's all very well done, if I'm allowed to interject my own opinion here.

In addition to the overall design changes, tumblr has built in some snazzy animations. Pull to refresh or tap a button to post and you'll see things bouncing and popping up, making it a bit more engaging and fun to fiddle with. The way images inside posts are shown has been tweaked as well, and they now really stand out in the stream.

It's a really nice piece of work. If you're a tumblr user, you'll love it. If you're not a tumblr user, it may be enough to make you one. In either case, it's worth having a look if you appreciate great app design. Grab it from the Google Play link above.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia ZL headed to Cincinnati Bell, available May 1

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The Xperia ZL from Sony will be available from Cincinnati Bell online and in stores by May 1 for $249.99 after rebate with a two-year equipment agreement.

Sony has already put the unlocked Xperia ZL for sale in the US via their website, but now we see a contract version with Cincinnati Bell. The 5-inch Mobile Bravia Engine equipped phone will be available by May 1, and cost just $250 (after mail-in rebate) with a two-year agreement.

It's the same Xperia ZL we see on the Sony store (though this version may be SIM locked) with the quad-core Snapdragon S4, 5-inch 1080p display, and 13MP Exmor RS rear camera that has everyone excited. It's also equipped with the same pentaband HSPA (bands 1,2,4,5 and 8) radio as the unlocked version, which means 3G 4G/HSPA+ service will work on just about every GSM carrier in the world. There's no word if LTE bands are still supported (1, 2, 4, 5 and 17) but we would be surprised if they were changed for this model. 

The Xperia ZL looks like a real stunner, and we're happy that Cincinnati Bell customers have this one to choose from. The full press release is after the break.

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4 years ago

Supposed Google Babel for Gmail screenshots leak

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Images show a revamp of Google Chat's interface, complete with emoticons and message bubbles. Could this be Google Babel?

The fine folks over at Techradar got their hands on a set of screen captures, supposedly of the web interface for the new Google unified messaging application "Babel". It appears to be a rewrite of the existing Google Chat for Gmail, with a new interface new sign in options, and new features inside the program. 

The screenshots also suggest photo sharing within the program, with a mandatory Google+ login, a feature to start a Google+ hangout right from chat. The Google+ emojis are also on board in a smaller size, and there are a bunch of new ones we haven't seen in a Google product before. It's clear that if this is legitimate, it's built around Google+ as one would expect.

We're not sure of anything on this. There are so many rumors and fakes going around, and anyone with a little skill could design some of these windows and images themselves -- and have. The imagery looks very similar to some other things we've seen -- both legit and admitted fakes. We eagerly await Google I/O to see just what is real and what isn't, but in the meantime we can all have a little bit of fun speculation about it all. Today's stuff looks pretty convincing. Hit the source link below and check it out.

Source: Techradar

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4 years ago

SuperBeam: Transfer files using Wifi Direct, NFC or QR codes

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A great file transfer tool for power users

As advanced as modern mobile devices are, getting files from one phone or tablet to another can still be problematic. Cloud storage apps like Dropbox can clog up your Internet connection. The BlueTooth-based Android Beam is slow, and can only be used for certain items. And S Beam, though faster, is restricted to Samsung devices.

Enter SuperBeam, an app that aims to take advantage of a range of wireless technologies to juggle files between Android phones. The heavy lifting is done over Wifi or Wifi Direct, with an NFC connection or QR code being used to get things going.

First up, both devices must be running the SuperBeam app. Next, select the file you want to send -- either in the gallery app, or a file manager Astro or OI -- and choose SuperBeam. The app will then ask you if the device you're sending to is on the same network. If so, it'll send your bits over that network; if not, a Wifi Direct connection will eventually be established between the two.

From there you've got a few options. The easiest is NFC -- hold the two devices back-to-back and press the screen on the sending device. Alternatively you can use the "SuperBeam Scanner" app from the app drawer and scan the QR code on the sending device's screen.

Transfer speeds will depend on the Wifi capabilities of the devices (and infrastructure) you're using, but we got solid transfer rates of up to 20Mbps between our Nexus 4 and HTC One on a 5GHz Wifi N network. SuperBeam isn't as simple as S Beam or Android Beam, but its ability to transfer just about anything between just about any device makes it more versatile for power users. It's available for free on the Google Play Store for phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and above.

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4 years ago

Marvel Comics app offering 700 free first issues: the sequel

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About a month ago, Marvel offered 700 free first issues through its Marvel Comics Play Store app. Not even the sum of Marvel's top superheroes could defend the comic giant's servers against the incredible beating that fans dispensed that day, during the struggle to grab as many free comics as possible. The result was an unusable app for most, with problems lasting beyond the free-download deadline.

Marvel issued an in-app message saying they were working on making things right, and have since come up with a new strategy to get those free comics to their fans. To minimize server strain, downloads will be offered to groups of users in waves. Head over to the registration page to sign up for the promotion. Starting April 11, Marvel will be sending emails to those that registered to let them start downloading any of the 700 free first issues being offered.

Sign ups end on April 9 at 11:59 p.m. EDT (as in midnight tomorrow night), so don't waste any time -- this offer might not be a trilogy.

comiXology sign up; Thanks Steve!

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4 years ago

T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy S2 getting Jelly Bean update

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Android 4.1.2 update available through Kies application today

Good news for owners of the Samsung Galaxy S2 on T-Mobile USA -- your update to Jelly Bean is due to start rolling out today. The update weighs a hefty 756MB and is available through Samsung's Kies software utility, bringing the phone up to Android 4.1.2.

In addition to new TouchWiz bits, T-Mo S2 owners can look forward to smoother performance thanks to the "Project Butter" performance enhancements, Google Now predictive search capabilities and support for offline voice recognition. To see if your update is ready, fire up Kies on a PC or Mac, and connect your Galaxy S2.

Be sure to hit the comments and let us know if you've got the new firmware.

Source: T-Mobile; via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Leaked Galaxy Mega 5.8 specs seem to confirm mid-range leanings

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5.8-inch qHD display, dual-core Exynos CPU

It's around a week since we first heard of the Samsung Galaxy Mega series -- supposedly two big-screened devices due to launch later this year. Now oft-reliable Samsung rumormonger SamMobile says it has more details on exactly what kind of hardware will be found within the 5.8-inch variant (GT-i9152), and unfortunately for those hoping for a Galaxy Note 2 successor, it's a rather mid-range affair.

The Galaxy Mega 5.8 is said to pack a dual-core Exynos CPU, a qHD (960x540) resolution LCD display, 1.5GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel rear camera. Other vital stats include a 2600mAh battery and dimensions of 164x83.8x9.7mm; on the software side it's TouchWiz'd Jelly Bean running the show.

With the exception of the screen, that's pretty close to the internals of the original Galaxy Note, which is nothing to sniff at. But we're unconvinced by the prospect of qHD on a screen of that size. As reported last week, the Mega 5.8 will supposedly come in single and dual-SIM variants.

No word yet on how the rumored Galaxy Mega 6.3 will compare, but our money is on similarly middling specs.

Source: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Facebook Home cobbled together from leaked ROM

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'Chat heads' feature missing from this developer build; full official app available for free on Friday

MoDaCo's Paul O'Brien has thrown together a trio of files with which you can get a half-working version of Facebook Home onto your phone -- five days before it'll be available to everyone as a free download.

We've played with it for a few minutes now, and it'll basically give you the look and feel of Facebook Home. But it doesn't quite match the performance (at least on our Nexus 4) that we saw on the HTC First, nor on the Galaxy Note 2 we used it on at Facebook's launch event lasts week. It's also lacking the "chat heads" messaging -- that's a huge part of Facebook Home. There's also no Google Search bar in the app drawer. That's consistent with the installed version of Facebook Home we used on a Galaxy Note 2 at Facebook HQ, but it's different than what you'll find on the HTC First. (Edit: Ah. There's a toggle for that in the settings, it seems.)

So, again, this is a dev version off a leaked ROM -- not the official release. If you're just dying to see what all the fuss is about (and, again, Facebook Home looks really nice), Paul's got full instructions at the link below.

Update: Looks like Facebook might have killed things on its end, as our Coverfeed has gone blank.

Source: MoDaCo

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