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4 years ago

Samsung Captivate review

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AT&T gets serious with Samsung's Galaxy S

Samsung Captivate on AT&T

Finally (finally!), AT&T has a competitive Android smartphone with the launch of the Samsung Captivate. It's as simple as that. Moreover, it's arguably the first smartphone AT&T has carried that could pose a real threat to the iPhone, laying waste to a conspiracy theory that the carrier would forever shun Android in favor of its Apple cash cow.

The Captivate, of course, is AT&T's version of the Samsung Galaxy S, a phone first announced at the CTIA trade show in March 2010 (watch the presentation here). Its shining features: A 1GHz "Hummingbird" processor, 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, and an all-new Touchwiz 3.0 user interface. The other U.S. carriers (as well as others worldwide) also have Galaxy S-class phones coming out, including the T-Moble Vibrant, Samsung Fascinate and Sprint Epic 4G.

Where does the Captivate stand out (and stand apart from its cousins)? And is it really poised to knock the iPhone from its perch as the only smartphone on AT&T really worth considering? Answers to all that (and more!) after the break.

(For more from the Galaxy S class, read our T-Mobile Vibrant review)

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4 years ago

Google to provide copy protection to Android Market applications [updated]

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Android Market copy protection scheme

Google has announced that it will be rolling out a copy protection mechanism for Android Market applications when used with phones running Android 1.5 or higher.  It works kind of like this:

  • Google sets up a special licensing server, which keeps record of application purchases.
  • Developers can use libraries provided by Google that query this server each time the application is started.
  • The server then tells the application if the user has a valid license to use the application.

Relax everyone.  Google already has this info, it's how it (and you) keeps track of apps you've purchased for re-installation or updating.  All Google has done is allow applications to ping the new server to get a "yes" or "no" on whether or not the user has really paid for the app.  This is a good thing for developers and users alike -- at least until someone finds a way around it.  It also means a new SDK is in the works, as this will be out "in the next few months."  Developers can check out the new Licensing Your Applications portion of the Android Developer Guide, and the Android Market Help Center to learn a bit more.  [Android Developers Blog]

Update: There's a new post on the Android Developers Blog with some clarification and highlights.  Hit the link to see them, here's a quick overview:  It's secure, using public/private keys.  Nobody is going to get your details.  User applications don't talk to the licensing server, the Market handles it all on the back end.  Tools are in place to allow developers handle times when a user may be off line.  This should alleviate some fears, and answer some questions.

Update #2: The original blog post has been updated.  These tools are available for use now, and the old way will be phased out over the coming months.  Maybe the guys in the Android Dev Ecosystem read Android Central :)

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4 years ago

Dell Streak $299 after contract; $549 outright; Aero is $99 on contract

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Dell Aero and Streak

Dell has announced the prices for the much anticipated Streak and Aero Android phones.  The 5-inch Streak will be $299.99 with an eligible two-year AT&T agreement, and $549.99 if bought outright.  It's normal-sized little brother, the Aero, will run you $99.99 with contract, and only $299.99 off contract. 

For the Streak, you will need to sign up for the pre-sale opportunity, which gives you a spot in line, free shipping and a $0.99 cent Plantronics Bluetooth headset.  Those who register will receive a special purchase link sometime on July 27, and if you don't use it before July 28, the deal disappears.  No such deal for the Aero, which will be available at the Dell website on Aug. 9.  [Dell]

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4 years ago

Root your Droid X the easy way

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Droid X easy root

Now that you can root your phone without fear of prosecution (not that we were ever really worried about that), you've really got no excuse not to try the latest method on the Droid X. (If you want the "hard" method, click here.) Released by the lads and lassies at All Droid, it's as simple as plugging in your phone, running the app and clicking the appropriate button. Boom. [All Droid via Droid-Life]

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4 years ago

Cincinnati Bell offering Samsung Behold II

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Cincinnati Bell's Samsung Behold II

Regional and smaller carriers are jumping on the Android train left and right it seems, and Cincinnati Bell is no exception, as it is now offering the venerable Samsung Behold II for $129.99 after rebate and with two-year agreement.  While the fact that the Behold II is possibly outdated and not nearly as desirable as it once was can't be ignored, Cinci Bell offering a selection of Android devices like the Behold II and the Blaze is a good thing indeed. [Cincinnati Bell via Android Central forums]

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4 years ago

Custom ringtones and notifications

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One of the most personal things about your phone is what ringtone (and with Android) what notification sound you have. Using a program called RingDroid, it is possible to create custom ringtones and notification sounds from music you already own directly on your Android phone. Follow these steps and you will be rocking in no time:

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4 years ago

Clicker brings check-ins for couch potatoes to Android

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Clicker for Android

Clicker.com has announced their Android application -- social media all about video, feature films, and television.  The premise is that you can friend people, check out their viewing habits, and share yours with them.  They've set up a huge internet portal at clicker.com, which connects in to your Facebook and/or Twitter account, and their Android app can do the same thing.  An iOS app is in the works (on behalf of Android and our commenters, FIRST!) so it sounds like this social hub should take off.  I'm no big movie buff, but you can find me on Clicker as gbhilden (six-character minimum FTL), holler at me if you decide to try.

Read the long press release after the break!

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4 years ago

Screen wars! AMOLED vs. S-LCD vs. LCD vs. Super AMOLED

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HTC recently announced it was going to start outfitting certain handsets with SLCD screens rather than AMOLED, due to short supply of the latter. The SLCD screens may be easier more plentiful, but do they look as nice? The people over at Howard Forums put them to a test in a video comparison, with a Nexus One sporting an AMOLED screen, an HTC Desire with S-LCD, a Motorola Milestone with regular LCD and a Samsung Wave with Super-AMOLED. 

The conclusions:

All the displays were really good, they all had decent colour and respectable viewing angles. The super AMOLED was noticeably less reflective than the others and was blacker with the best viewing angles. Super LCD had similar detail in the rock face video and had a superior horizontal viewing angle compared to a regular AMOLED display. The AMOLED had slightly better blacks (you can't tell from the video - sorry) and slightly better vertical viewing angles. Both Super LCD and AMOLED were very reflective.

Can't wait to get our hands on some. Check out video of the test after the break. [HowardForums via Slashgear]

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4 years ago

Samsung Captivate vs. iPhone 4

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Samsung Captivate vs iPhone 4

I know everyone and their cousin gets tired of the iPhone vs. Android fanboy slugfest, but that's not what we're about this time.  Allyson, one of our pals over at TiPb, took some time to compare the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate against her iPhone 4.  Frankly, it's a refreshing break from the Mobile OS wars.  She makes plenty of good points, talks about the faults on both sides, and turned out something that was a great read. 

I agree with a lot of her commentary, disagree with some, but can't take serious issue with any of it.  Go have a look before the internet is completely taken over by Cupertino death grip videos.

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4 years ago

Dell Streak won't be certified for T-Mobile, will get Android 2.2 later this year

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Dell Streak (with Android 2.1)

First, the good: Dell has confirmed that its 5-inch Streak mini-tablet will get Android 2.2 later this year through an over-the-air update. It will, however, still launch with Android 1.6. It will be available in black at launch, and in cherry red later.

Now, the not so good: Despite previous reports, it won't support T-Mobile's 3G network. In fact, Dell says the Streak "will not be certified for T-Mobile operation overall." That's not necessarily to say it won't work on EDGE, it's just that nobody will be responsible if you fry a few brain cells in the process.

Also, the presale window is still coming "this week." Accessories will be part of it, as will free next-day shipping and a 99-cent Plantronics Bluetooth headset. As soon as the presale goes live, we'll let you know. Oh, and Dell's made a video showing off the Streak, running Android 2.1, no less. Check it out after the break. [Dell] Thanks, wondercoolguy!

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4 years ago

Twitter for Android updated, is 'faster,' gets basic functionality

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Twitter for Android

Twitter for Android -- the "official" Android Twitter client -- just got another update (we're at version 1.0.2 for those playing at home), and changes include the following:

  • Is faster than the previous version
  • Auto refresh is now added
  • People search is fixed

It's good, it's simple, but it's still not as good as other Twitter clients out there (pick your poison). Glad to hear it now has auto refresh. [Twitter for Android]

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4 years ago

Augen 7-inch Android 2.1 tablet to sell at Kmart for $149.99

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Augen 7 inch Android tablet

Kmart and Android are names you probably never though would be uttered in the same breath, but in their weekly circular the discount retailer has a 7-inch tablet, running Android 2.1 on sale for $149.99.  Before you say "meh" and click away, this one has a bit better specs than what we've seen for ultra-cheap Android tablets so far:

  • 800x480 TFT display
  • 800 Mhz CPU
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 2 GB internal memory
  • On board WiFi, and a SD/MMC card slot

The weekly Kmart ad shows the tablet on sale through July 31.  I've been on the phone with every Kmart in a 200 mile radius, and it seems none has received any stock as of yet, but several stores claim they should have them on the shelves by Thursday July 29.  With a little bit of hacking, and a little bit of Froyo, this might be the first Android tablet worth buying.  If we can get our hands on one we'll be sure to let you know.  [Augen US via Engadget and Kmart] Thanks Charles!

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4 years ago

Android phone sales in the UK are up 300% this year

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A report by the Guardian states that Android smartphone sales in the UK have tripled since the beginning of the year. Now one in 10 handsets sold in the United Kingdom is running Android, and contract market share has grown by 10.2 percentage points since the first quarter.

The HTC Desire and HTC Legend remain the most popular handsets in the UK, but Samsung has recently released the Galaxy S, which will present another attractive option for customers.  HTC's Wildfire also presents an attractive smartphone at a lower price, which will bring consumers into the market who can't afford the high-end phones. 

These are pretty staggering numbers, but most impressive is the Android name gaining traction: 

"The figures suggest an increasing number of consumers are now asking for Android handsets by name," said GfK analyst Megan Baldock. "Operating systems are no longer simply a by-product but a key selling point in their own right."

Apple has done an amazing job marketing the iPhone to be synonymous with a smartphone. However, Android has done a remarkable job in a short time of branding itself and it will only continue to grow. [The Guardian]

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4 years ago

Logitech needs the 'Host with the Most' to show off Google TV -- is it you?

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Logitech Revue with Google TV

If you have what it takes, Logitech needs you to be the "Host with the Most" to help roll out the Logitech Revue, the first Google TV set-top box.  What does it take you ask?  Besides having a knack for hosting awesome parties and a love of technology, they're looking for someone with:

  • Some social media experience and networks established (including but not limited to a personal blog and accounts on Twitter, Facebook and/or YouTube)
  • Must be authorized to work in the United States
  • Must reside in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York City, or be willing to relocate/commute to one of those cities for the duration of the campaign (approximately September 15 – November 15).
  • Relocation costs not covered by Logitech.
  • A Bachelors Degree (preferred)

This is a paid gig that would have you working for Logitech, in one of their uber-cool Logitech lofts -- swanky penthouse style condos fit for royalty, or Elvis.  Head over to the source link to sign up!.  And if you win, don't forget your pals here at Android Central :) [Logitech]

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4 years ago

Google Maps makes finding 'places' even easier

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Google MapsGoogle Maps

Google Maps just served notice to every other location-based business app out there with the introduction of "Places." A tie-in with Google Maps, it makes it super easy to find any kind of, well, place. It's location-based, so it knows where you are, it's fast, and pretty soon it's going to know what you want before you do. Here's Places in Google's own words:

Search for several convenient types of places with the default categories or add your own for your most frequent searches. You can also use the search bar at the top to type or speak any query. I tend to use the “coffee” search a lot, but I’ve also looked for “gas stations” on the road, “ice cream shops” in my neighborhood, and even specific places like “Chelsea Market” on a recent trip to New York.

Also added are more details of the individual businesses, such as parking, prices and menu items. And it's only a matter of time before Google adds some sort of check-in service, right? [Google Mobile Blog]

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