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4 years ago

Google working on experimental 3.8 Linux kernel for Android

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Google has opened a public kernel repository, marked as experimental, for the Linux 3.8 kernel. The kernel repo is built from the standard Linux kernel, with Android modifications added by the folks in Mountain View working on the Android project. 

The reason this is good news? 3.8 includes three important and interesting changes for mobile devices -- support for open source NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung Exynos DRM drivers, support for the Flash-Friendly File-System, and a lower memory footprint -- in some cases much lower. Having native support means less development time by Google or anyone else building the kernel for Android, and everyone loves more memory for apps instead of the system.

It's important to realize that this is by no means official support. Currently, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean ships with the 3.4 kernel on the Nexus 4, but versions 3.0 and 3.3 are supported as well for other Jelly Bean devices. Maybe we'll see 3.8 in the next version of Android.

Source: Phoronix

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4 years ago

Google Play Books updated; Now available in India and 'over 90' issues fixed

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Google tossed out an update to Google Play Books this evening, making it a whole lot better by fixing "over 90" issues, allowing users in India to be able to install and use the app, and finally tossing in some UI improvements. While they don't go into any detail about the 90 issues that were addressed they do tell us that they added a drop-down menu in the library to filter books by type, and now place names are identified on the current page when the controls are up and showing. Of course, support for India and the growing smart phone user base there is huge, and long overdue.

What wasn't addressed is the lack of the ability to import your own DRM-free books. Until that happens this is one I'll hide in my app drawer, no matter how great the app is. Hit Google Play to update or click the Google Play link above.

Thanks, Anshi!

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4 years ago

Huawei Ascend G710 press render leaks out, details still sparse

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Huawei has released plenty of devices between CES and MWC, but there are surely more in the pipeline as press images of a Huawei Ascend G710 leaked out today. Like so many devices nowadays, the G710 is going to have a 5-inch display, but this one will purportedly have just 720x1280 resolution. That's quite a bit lower than the previously-announced Ascend D2 from Huawei, which has a full 1080P panel. The G710 will have capacitive keys at the bottom of the screen though, which leaves physically more space on the screen than the D2.

The only other known spec is a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, which is a Huawei staple lately. No other specs, availability or pricing is coming out on this one just yet, but we would be surprised if it ever hit the U.S. market.

Source: @evleaks; Via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Field Trip adds more sources, lets you 'snooze' notifications

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Google's Field Trip app may not be at the front of everyone's mind, but it's still being developed and improved. The latest update has added several new sources of information and added a new way to dismiss and snooze notifications that appear. You will now see more content from Art Nerd New York, Cultureist, Mad Girl Eats, Weekend Sherpa, Wilderness Press and more when searching for local info. There has also been a pretty big overhaul of the notification system of Field Trip. One of the complaints early on was Field Trip being a little too notification happy -- turning on your screen, talking and vibrating too often -- which made many people turn it off or uninstall it completely.

When you receive a notification on the lockscreen now, you'll have options similar to an alarm: swipe right to unlock, up to "snooze" (and not receive notifications for the rest of the day), and left to dismiss. There are also more configuration options for how you would like to be notified, letting you receive regular status bar notifications and keep Field Trip from waking the screen when they arrive.

There are a lot of major usability improvements in this update, so you may want to give it another try if the early issues pushed you away before. You can grab a download at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 found to have OpenCL drivers

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The researchers and ubergeeks over at Anandtech have discovered undocumented OpenCL drivers on both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. I know a few folks out there just got a little bit excited, but for the rest of us OpenCL needs a little explanation.

The chip in your modern Android smartphone has both a CPU and a GPU (there's other stuff, but we're going to ignore it for now) on board. The CPU handles all the heavy lifting and number crunching, while the GPU sits mostly idle, with all it's high-speed cores doing a whole lot of nothing unless you're running a graphically intensive app. 

OpenCL is a standard that puts all that untapped GPU power to use, allowing it to also crunch numbers and help the CPU along. Of course this is a simplified explanation, but it gets the general point across -- you can use the GPU to help do things faster, and use less battery to do it. It's a form of parallel computing that you find on new processors in modern desktop and laptop chips.

There's a few caveats here (isn't there always?) to keep in mind though. To start with, Renderscript is the parallel computing API officially supported in Android. OpenCL is likely there only because Qualcomm and ARM now officially support the API, not because anyone at Google requested it. Because of this, the drivers aren't likely to stay up to date or improved in any way. In fact, they could disappear in a future firmware update. 

Of course, that's not likely to stop tinkerers and hackers from trying to use them. If that sounds like you, you'll want to head to the source link where you can read a little more about exactly what was found, and some source code to check it out yourself.

Source: Anandrech

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4 years ago

MLS MatchDay updated for 2013 with new interface, tablet support

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The 2013 MLS season kicks off in just three days, and the MLS MatchDay app has been updated right on time with a new interface and full tablet support. Last year's update was functional but certainly not easy to use or perfectly designed. For 2013, they've pulled out all the stops and gone with a complete redesign that should keep Android users happy for the whole season. The interface has taken on a holo design, shedding the legacy menu button and adding a slide-in panel to improve navigation. There are also now more granular notification settings, so you can see when lineups are available, to get condensed match stats, and breaking news alerts.

The new update also added tablet support, which takes advantage of the larger screen to display news articles in a newspaper-style format rather than a list, and offer more navigation options on individual team and match pages. Over and above the new interface, you can now watch matches directly on your devices with MLS Live, as well as see Goal of the Week videos.

Stick around after the break and see the new phone UI, along with a few comparisons to what the new app does on a 7-inch tablet. Then head to the Play Store link at the top of this post to get the app.

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4 years ago

Super Sync Sports makes Chrome sync between devices fun!

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The latest Chrome Experiment out of Google shows off the power of sync between devices with a fun little game called "Super Sync Sports". Head to chrome.com/supersyncsports on your computer and g.co/super on your phone or tablet (Android 4.0 and above), enter the code to get them synced up and you're off to the races. Literally. You use your phone or tablet as a controller, with the computer display as just a portal to view the game. Select a character, and you can run, swim or bike against the computer or friends that you invite.

It's a fun game to play, especially with more than one device, but it what it really shows off is the power of Chrome to provide real-time syncing between devices using just a browser. When on Wifi, there isn't any perceptible lag between actions on the phone and the response on the screen, which is quite impressive considering that you're just using an HTML5 game in two browsers.

Google loves to do fun little experiments like this, and when they show it off to the public it's even better. Hopefully this means that it is planning to leverage these technologies in user-facing Chrome products in the future. Head to the source links to learn a bit more about how it works and to play the game for yourself.

Source: Google; More: Play Super Sync Sports

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 rumored to use multiple processor types

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We're just a few weeks away from knowing for sure, but news from Taiwan today suggests that Samsung will be using multiple types of processors for the different Galaxy S4 variants worldwide. According to the Taipei Times, investor group JP Morgan said in a note to clients

Similar to its previous Galaxy S3, Samsung is expected to adopt multiple solutions for the application processors and baseband chips in its new Galaxy S4, which will be unveiled in New York on March 14

In addition, the brokerage firm says the US versions of the S4 will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600, while the rest of the world uses Samsung's own octa-core Exynos 5.

If this is the case, we have to wonder if global units will have full LTE support. It stands to reason that Qualcomm's new gear will support LTE as well as their current offerings do, so maybe Samsung wants to provide the best experience possible while they work on LTE support in-house.

Right now, everything is just a rumor. We'll know more on March 14.

Source: Taipei Times

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE now available from U.S. Cellular

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 isn't a new device, but the LTE version continues to find new homes. This time out, the news comes from U.S Cellular who today is making the 16GB version of the device available for purchase for $499.99, when paired with a data plan of 2GB or more. Not a small amount of money by any means, but if you want a 10-inch tablet with pen input, the Note 10.1 is still the way to go. The tablet is available to purchase both online and in retail stores.

Previously U.S. Cellular has offered the WiFi only Note 10.1 for sale, but adding the LTE version now brings the carriers LTE device portfolio up to 11. 

Picking one of these up? Be sure to jump into the comments below or into the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 forums

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Who brought the best devices to show us at MWC 2013?

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While some notable big names in Android were mostly missing, Mobile World Congress 2013 still had a lot of Android to show off -- not counting what was in Phil's shoulder bag. We saw this years upcoming gear from Huawei, ZTE, ASUS, and more. Some of it looks absolutely fabulous, some not so much. But that's just our opinion, and we want to hear yours.

We've set up a poll so you can sound off and tell us what you liked best. Will it be the Fonepad from ASUS? How about the ZTE Grand Memo? Hit the break, or look for the poll in the sidebar to the right and let us know, then discuss it all in the comments.

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4 years ago

LG Optimus LTE III spotted in the wild in South Korea

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At first glance you'd be forgiven for mistaking what we see here for an LG Optimus L7, but it is in fact reportedly the latest in the Optimus LTE line -- the imaginatively titled Optimus LTE III. Spied in South Korea, the LTE III is supposedly launching sometime later this year on the country's SK Telecom network. 

Like the L-Series devices, the LTE III is reported to carry some decent mid-range specs, such as a 1280x720 display, and dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 processor. Software is said to be Android 4.1.2, which is hardly a surprise given what we've seen in Barcelona this week. It also supposedly packs a decent sized 2540 mAh battery to keep things ticking along.

Will LG release this outside of its native South Korea? Possibly not, but it's a nice looking device all the same -- though the physical home button still draws its critics. It also seems to have a sweet looking flip case available for it too, similar in style to that which we saw for the Optimus G Pro at Mobile World Congress. 

via Unwired View

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4 years ago

Sony releases experimental Firefox OS ROM for Xperia E

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Firefox OS has been on the horizon for a while now, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona saw the first device partnerships announced for the fledgling mobile operating system. Though not showing any hardware in Barcelona, a press release was issued detailing Sony's plans to release a Firefox OS powered smartphone in 2014 in partnership with Telefonica. 

What we have here isn't quite a Sony Firefox phone, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, what it is, is a working experimental build of Firefox OS for the Xperia E. In line with their plans to develop devices carrying the software, Sony hopes that interested developers and early adopters will take a look and garner valuable feedback. 

The key thing to remember is that Sony has released this as an experimental developer ROM. It isn't meant to be a daily driver, although from the promo video we see here it looks reasonably functional, with even the camera app working properly. 

We know some of you kids like playing around with new stuff -- our own editor-in-chief Phil Nickinson played with an early, early build of Firefox OS -- so if you happen to have access to an Xperia E and try this out, be sure to share your experiences with us. 

Source: Sony Developer World

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4 years ago

Robo5: simple, fun and free puzzle game

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Robo5 takes cool steampunk style and draws it in fun, cartoon artwork to provide hours of both casual and intense gameplay. The concept of the game is simple, but you can tell that's exactly what the developers were aiming to accomplish. It's hard to argue with the combination here, especially when it's free to play for a large set of levels and just $1.99 to unlock it all.

Hang with us after the break and see a little more about what makes Robo5 a fun game.

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4 years ago

Falcon Pro releasing new version of app to sidestep token limit

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Twitter client Falcon Pro is attempting to step around Twitter's 100,000 token authorization limit by releasing a new version of the app with a separate application ID. Just a few days ago, the client had to stop authorizing new users because it hit the Twitter-imposed limitation, which users feared would stop development. Taking to its official Twitter account (naturally), the developer explained the situation, and how he intends to fix it -- at least for the time being.

The plan right now is to release a new version of Falcon Pro -- just the small step to 1.6.7 -- that has a new application ID, which would technically identify it to Twitter as a new client, with a fresh new set of 100,000 user tokens to assign. In order to do this, old user tokens have to all be revoked, and anyone opening a previously installed version will have to re-login. By wiping out old tokens and "starting over", Falcon Pro is hoping to stay active for a while longer.

The price has also been raised -- to $1.95 (€1.49) from $0.99 previously -- to hopefully slow down how long it takes to hit the limit again. The last version hit the 100,000 token limit with less than 50,000 official paid Google Play downloads though, which is disconcerting. We know that a "token" is not a user, and those with multiple devices and accounts occupy multiple tokens, but the average tokens per user is likely well under 2.

For now, Falcon Pro v1.6.6 is still a comical $132.12 in the Play Store, with a reminder in the description not to buy it because there are no tokens left. The developer plans to release the 1.6.7 update to the Play Store tonight, and we'll have to see how long it takes to hit the limit again.

Source: @Falcon_Pro (Twitter); Via: AusDroid

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4 years ago

Android 101: Adding your own custom sounds to Android events

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The first thing most people do when getting a new phone is change the ringtone. Depending on which Android device you own, your options for different alarms, notifications, and ringtones will vary. Perhaps you aren’t happy with the sounds that came preinstalled on your phone, or you’ve been using the stock sounds and are ready for a change. You’ve got some ringtones on your computer, and want to use them on your phone. How do you get the files from your computer, to your phone? Do you have to put them in any specific place for them to be selectable in the Android menu, and will they be listed in the same place as the sounds that came with your phone? Does it matter what kind of sound files you use? You can find the answers to these questions, and more, after the break.

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