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4 years ago

AOKP JB build 3 released; Samsung devices added, Motorola devices dropped


Image courtesy BlueWall

AOKP has released the JB 3 build of their popular Jelly Bean ROM, with a few new features, some bug fixes, and device support news. Support for the Samsung i9100, Samsung i9100g (OMAP version of the Galaxy S 2), and Samsung i9300 has been added to the project, as well as the return of the two Sprint Nexus devices, the Toroplus and Crespo 4G.

Unfortunately, due to lack of a device maintainer, support for both the Wingray and Stingray (Motorola Xoom devices) has been dropped. This puts a damper on the otherwise good news, and we hope someone can step forward and get Motorola's best tablets back into the game.

The four new features are SMS Quickreply, stopwatch and countdown timers in the clock app, "expert" calculator options (graphing. matrices and the like), and adding IME switching and vibration/ringer toggle to the navigation ring targets. Bugs squashed include the ability to add custom ringtones again, as well as other under-the-hood fixes and improvements. 

Downloads for the various Nexus devices are already live, and you can find them here (as well as the G apps you'll need). Keep an eye out for the newly added devices to be released as the maintainers get things up to speed.

Source: AOKP

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4 years ago

Google Play Books updated with new tools, highlighting and notes


Google has updated their Play Books application, bringing a new set of tools such as definitions, maps integration, translation, and text highlighting. The new feature set brings along some great options that we've seen in other popular e-book apps, as well as some that we haven't.

With today's update, users can select a named place and have a card with a Google Maps view displayed, with the option to find out more via a Google search or from Wikipedia. Similarly, when you come across a word or term you're not familiar with you can tap it for a quick definition. 

Taking things a bit further, you can also select a word or phrase and use the button in the action bar to translate it into other languages, presumably using Google's translate engine.

Last but not least, readers can now highlight sections and insert notes, which sync across the cloud to all devices running the app. 

It's great to see Google keeping their applications fresh and filled with new features, but it's even more exciting to see them moving outside the confines of the US into other countries. Google Play Books is available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Korea and Japan. Download it via the link above.

Source: Google 

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4 years ago

Galaxy Note 2 UK on-contract prices emerge, shipping next Tuesday


UK SIM-free pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 emerged some time ago, but if you're still wondering much it'll set you back on-contract, then wonder no more. The answer, it seems, is a lot. Independent UK retailer Phones4U has published its subsidized prices for the Note 2, which it's offering on Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange. But if you want to pick up a Galaxy Note 2 for free, you'll be paying at least £41 per month to one of the UK's leading networks.

On O2, that'll get you a free Galaxy Note 2, and an allowance consisting of unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and 1GB of data. Though for just a pound more per month, Vodafone offers the same call and text package, but with 2GB of data thrown in. Cheaper plans are available, but you'll pay up to £299 for the phone itself.

Phones4U expects to fulfill orders from next Tuesday, Oct. 2, which would fit with rumored release dates that've been doing the rounds in the past few days.

Source: Phones4U

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: What is your browser of choice?


Having access to the Internet's rich content is a good reason why many of us love our smartphones. The days of WAP browsing are over and we have all sorts of options and way to get the Web and services right in our hands. On the Android platform we're especially lucky, because we have an abundance of browser apps available right in Google Play. Whether you need one of the numerous fast-as-heck rendering Webkit browsers, like Chrome or Dolphin, or want the compatibility with desktop web apps that Firefox's Gecko delivers, or even the quick loading pages that come with Opera Mini, Android has you covered.

This is where we share, so I'll tell what I'm using. I actually install two full browsers -- Chrome and Firefox. I need Chrome's device sync and tie-in to my Google account, and use it as my device default browser, but when I'm just playing and surfing the 'net I use Firefox, as it seems to do a better job with the sites I frequent. What about you guys? Hit the poll -- you'll find it in the sidebar to the right or after the break -- and let us know how you do it.

Last week's poll was about NFC, and here are the results.

Do you use NFC often?

  • Yes -- 31-percent
  • No -- 43.98-percent
  • My phone doesn't have NFC. Sad Panda face -- 25.01-percent

With a 30-percent plus adoption rate among Android enthusiasts, NFC looks like a feature the manufacturers need to consider when they make their next device. 

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4 years ago

Netflix details their UI update for the Android application


Following reported sightings, Netflix has gone on record and detailed the UI updates that are being pushed to the Android version of the Netflix application. No download is required, everything has been done on the back end, and users should be seeing it for themselves. 

Other than looks, there's nothing else to be found within. But, looks are important. The Netflix app has always felt like a means to an end rather than an enjoyable application use. These changes looks to go someway to changing that feeling, and follows changes to the iOS offerings. A pretty sweet addition is the ability to double tap on a title and have it beginning right away. If you're a Netflix user, be sure to hit us up in the comments below and let us know your thoughts on the new mobile experience. 

Source: Netflix (YouTube)

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4 years ago

Motorola XPRT update brings Gingerbread and bugfixes


The Motorola XPRT, that BlackBerry-like keyboard phone on Sprint, has finally made its move to Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Along with bumping up to the next platform version, the update brings a decent grouping of bug fixes for the device:

  • Email User Interface fixes.
  • Contact User Interface fixes.
  • UXD fix to color backgrounds (remove red).
  • Fix the ability to use Bluetooth car kits.
  • Improve EAS GAL (Global Address List) Search.
  • Improve EAS First Sync timing.
  • Fix Forward / Reply markers to original email. (this is if you reply or forward an email from your phone, it would not display in your EAS email account.)
  • SMS fix when using () in SMS body.
  • Bluetooth toasts when syncing contacts improved.

The latest software version, 4.5.1-110-kns-46, is available now and your device should prompt you to update. If you haven't been updated yet, a quick trip to Settings > About phone > System updates should remedy that. As far as Ice Cream Sandwich goes, we think this is probably the end of the road for updates on the XPRT.

Source: Sprint Support

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4 years ago

Motorola Droid RAZR M torn down on video, phone parts found inside


Motorola's latest Android offering, the Droid RAZR M, has a complete and thorough teardown video available now thanks to the folks over at DirectFix. This is a pretty quick turnaround considering the RAZR M just hit Verizon stores, and we're glad there are people out there who are willing and capable of tearing these new gadgets apart. If for some reason you need to know how to replace a part in your new device -- or maybe you're just curious what Moto has packed behind that kevlar back plate, we wouldn't blame you -- then this video may be of interest to you.

Source: DirectFix YouTube

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4 years ago

Samsung ChatON app with voice and video chat spotted


Samsung continues to try and push its ChatON instant messaging service, and if the image seen here is to be believed they look set to push into the world of voice and video chat. Spied by on a Samsung Galaxy Camera is the as yet unreleased ChatONV. 

Very little else is known about it at this time, other than the apparent support for voice and video chat. While seen here as a separate application, presumably Samsung could integrate the services into their existing ChatON application rather than offering it separately. 

Source: SamsungMania via Sammyhub

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4 years ago

Pocket Planes sets course for Google Play


Pocket Planes, the adorable pixelated successor to Tiny Tower, found its way to Android over the weekend. Instead of building a massive self-sustaining skyscraper, players build out an airline, complete with a wide variety of aircraft, destinations, goods, and passengers to deliver. There are sets of missions that change regularly, and players that contribute deliveries to them are listed on worldwide leaderboards, as well as smaller ones in flight groups with your friends. 

I've played a fair bit of Pocket Planes on iOS, and it's a ton of fun, especially if you found that Tiny Tower lacked depth or complexity. The game is free, with the support of in-app purchases for accelerated progress on a handful of fronts. The Game maintains the charm of Tiny Tower, and puts a fresh twist on it.

Any Tiny Tower players in the house interested in giving this game a shot? Any other good business simulation games out there? The only other ones that really come to mind are Order Up!! To Go and the endless tide of Kairosoft titles like Game Dev Story.  

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4 years ago

So long, Verizon-exclusive NFL app: SiriusXM now streams NFL games


Had a pleasant surprise during Week 3 of the NFL season. (Never mind that the Steelers blew it by letting the Raiders within a half-mile of the end zone, with ol' Sea Bass on the sidelines.) SiriusXM is now streaming NFL games live online. And that means you also can listen to them on the SiriusXM Android application.

And that means I no longer need the NFL Mobile app, which only officially works on Verizon phones, to listen to games that aren't on TV. (And, yes, that means no cracked versions.)

I've never been a fan of such exclusives. Now, it doesn't matter. You will, however, need an extra app to keep up with the latest news and stats, but that's no big deal. OK, and you'll also need a subscription to SiriusXM. But kudos to to the company for getting this one done. Why didn't anyone tell me before now?

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Tipo mini-review


Sony has released more smartphones than ever before 2012, hoping that strength in numbers will help it overcome Android competition from the likes of Samsung and HTC. One important, but often overlooked area of any manufacturer’s line-up is the entry level -- it’s these devices which attract first-time smartphone users, giving them their first taste of the Android platform. We’re taking a look at one such device today.

The Sony Xperia Tipo is the manufacturer’s cheapest 2012 smartphone -- a budget phone with a basic feature set. When you’re selling a device like the Tipo unsubsidized around the £100 mark, compromises inevitably must be made. But does enough smartphone muscle remain to deliver a compelling user experience? Join us after the break to find out, in our bite-size mini-review of the tiny Xpeira Tipo.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 confirmed across across Canada, still no dates or prices


TELUS, WIND Mobile, and Mobilicity have confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 would be arriving across their respective Canadians networks this fall. It wouldn't be surprising to see Rogers and Bell to soon follow suit soon with equally vague announcements. No dates or prices have been revealed, but a few have put up landing pages in their online store. The UK is going to be getting the Galaxy Note 2 in mid-October for £546, while the American version won't be around until mid-November. That should give us an idea of what to expect in Canada. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the amped-up successor to the original phablet. The specs are pretty sweet, as you can see.

  • Network: 3G: HSPA+ 21Mbps (HSDPA 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps); 4G LTE: 100Mbps/ 50Mbps
  • Processor: 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
  • Display: 5.5” HD Super AMOLED (1,280 x 720)
  • OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Camera: Main(Rear): 8 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash, BSI; Sub(Front): 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera, BSI; Best Photo, Best Faces, Low light shot
  • GPS: A-GPS; Glonass
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth® v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support) LE; USB 2.0 Host; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi HT40; Wi-Fi Direct; mHL; NFC
  • Memory: 16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM); microSD (up to 64GB)
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-ion 3,100mAh

You can get a closer look at the device in our hands-on video over here. Canadians, any of you interested in picking up the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, or is it still way too big? 

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4 years ago

Gameloft teases Modern Combat 4 at Tokyo Game Show


Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour was teased at the Tokyo Game Show by Gameloft the other day. While we might not all be particularly happy with the "I <3 iPhone" sessions where this video was aired, and the quality of the graphics and gameplay are hard to make out from this ground-floor video, it will be exciting to see how much has improved since Modern Combat 3. 

While the storyline isn't anything particularly riveting or original, games like this tend to push the outer limits of what's graphically possible on current smartphones, and I can only imagine Modern Combat 4 will continue to push the envelope.

Gameloft themselves haven't made an official unveiling through any of their channels, but we can likely expect them to make a bigger splash with their next title soon enough. Any gamers put a lot of time into Modern Combat 3? What would you like to see in the sequel?


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4 years ago

Chameleon launcher review


Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Chameleon released its widget-heavy launcher for Android tablets last week. The unified look and feel of the widgets make for a great show, and the context-based triggers for home screen launches are cool, but how easy is it to get along with most of your apps tucked away in a dock?

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4 years ago

LG Optimus G 13-megapixel sample pictures


One of the more important features of the LG Optimus G -- of any current smartphone, really -- is the camera. The Optimus G actually will come in a couple flavors. We took the 13-megapixel smartphone for a test-drive last week in Seoul, South Korea. Other regions will see an 8-megapixel shooter, with the added bonus that it gives the phone a slightly slimmer profile.

So how'd the camera perform? Pretty well. We do have to keep in mind that we were using a preproduction unit, but we were told the camera should be pretty darn close to the experience we'll have in a retail unit.  But the camera app was decent enough and had all the usual bells and whistles in the usual places.

Our one main concern was that a number of our pics seemed to be a little hazy. We tracked that down to our greasy fingerprints on the lens, and we found ourselves having to constantly wipe it down before taking a clear picture. That's not something we have to do with every device. (Or maybe we should be more worried about it?) It'll be interesting to see if that's just us holding it wrong, or if others of you will muck it up just as much.

Anyhoo. We've got a bevy of sample pics after the break. Some are in HDR, but we're not going to tell you which ones. The HDR mode actually seems to be kind of weak, so we're curious if you can spot it in action. 

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