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4 years ago

Apple to drop Google Maps with the next iPhone?

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Rumor has it that the next iPhone will eschew Google's Maps backend in favor of Apple's own. Rene over at iMore, who has a good handle on how the minds in Cupertino operate, has a great overview of Apple's supposed current strategy that you really should read to try to make sense out of this one. The short version -- Apple wants to shed Google's services. Not because users have a problem using them, but because they don't want Google to profit. Instead of offering an additional choice with their own version of a maps app, they are just going to replace what users know and love with something that generates less profit for Google. Smart business move, but a pretty foul dump on the users.

They're going to need some real magic to pull this one off. In the current version, Apple builds the UI and Google provides the mapping data. Google is really good at mapping stuff. The rumored version-in-waiting is supposed to add a 3D view, becoming the new killer feature for the next version of iOS. The problem is, users don't care about 3D map view (or anything 3D on their mobile devices) -- they care about features, ease-of-use, and integration. Apple can certainly take care of the integration part, and even give it some of that good old fashioned Apple magic in the UI department. But that still isn't going to cut it. Google has the one big thing™ when it comes to maps and navigation -- search data.

When you tap the button and tell your phone to find 1313 Mockingbird Lane, there's this unfathomably huge pool of data Google has at it's disposal to populate that map. Need to know where the closest Starbucks is? Ask Siri, or just look at the Google Maps app. Apple can't replicate this without years of its own data. Users will be left with an app with a pretty front-end, that's actually a step backwards in functionality. Apple will either have to offer a sub-par maps experience, or use Google anyway. And the first person who says Bing has to stay late and clean the chalkboard. That's two steps backwards.

Google creates the web services people want and use -- even people with iPhones. This is a space where Apple is going to find it's difficult to compete, and fickle users may just look elsewhere. Of course, you'll find just as many bloggers telling tales of how great this is, and that Apple invented Maps. It's going to be interesting to watch this one play out.

Source: iMore

 

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: A slow CTIA, whose app is it anyway, the EVO 4G LTE isn't as bad as you thought, eh?

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Two thirds of these guys busted their butts at CTIA in New Orleans. One of them was not me.

Another CTIA has come and gone. I'm not usually one to gripe about the pace of a show, given that at these things we're essentially on a working vacation in cool city. But this spring's CTIA was pretty meh. The biggest announcement was, what, Verizon's Droid Incredible 4G LTE? Not an unimportant phone, I suppose, and it should sell just fine. But while Sprint and AT&T and T-Mobile are rocking phones from the new-and-improved HTC One line, with much-improved cameras, Verizon's missing out.

Samsung missed a pretty big opportunity in New Orleans, too. Not even a week after it unveiled the Galaxy S III to a worldwide (or at least European) audience in London, Sammy squandered a great chance to get the U.S. even more excited about it, and to get CTIA attendees (mostly of the American variety, we wager) proper looks at the new flagship phone. Strike while the iron is hot, they say.

Of course, the U.S. carriers will put their own spin on the Galaxy S III. And it's pretty likely that we'll see some sort of event to show them off, just like what we had with the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. But it was pretty surprising to see a minimal showing from Samsung here in New Orleans. No both. Just a brief appearance at the Mobile Focus event, where journos and companies cram into a ballroom for food, drink and a slightly more intimate look at products than on the show proper. The Galaxy S III is an important phone that was mostly kept off the floor, and that's a shame. Good thing we went to London to get a proper introduction. (By the way, if you haven't read Alex Dobie's piece -- "Hype, expectation an the Galaxy S III" -- you've missed out.)

The roundtable keynote featuring the CEOs of Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, moderated by CNBC's Jim Cramer, was entertaining if not overly substantive. (It also went a bit long, with each of the four's intro remarks taking more time than many of us would have preferred.) But Sprint CEO Dan Hesse hit home a little bit with a renewed push for mobile privacy, security and safety. Those are three things that will only become more important in the coming years. The Sprint Guardian program, which covers all applicable lines on an account for a relatively small fee, should be an interesting way of going about it.

Otherwise, no real showstopping announcements. No real major releases. Will CTIA in the fall (back in San Diego) make up for it? Or is the usefulness of trade shows starting to run its course for manufacturers?

Oh, by the way. Those two guys in the picture above -- Jared "The Body" DiPane and Anndrew "Yes that's how it's spelled" Vacca kicked some serious ass last week. Cheers, boys.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 review

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the tablet of all tablets, or just another tablet swimming in the sea? Read the review to find out!

While we aim to find the perfect Android handset to accompany our daily lives, the struggle continues far beyond that. With Android tablets ranging from low end to high end with various price points and feature sets, figuring out which tablet is right for you is no simple task. Last year we saw Samsung introduce the original Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, at the time it was a flagship device and people could not get enough. A year later we are introduced to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the new dog in town.

Could Samsung out do what they brought to the table last year, and have a knock out device to put in our hands? Let's hit the break and check out how the Samsung Galaxy 2 10.1 tablet compares in the world of Android tablets, and see if this may just end up being your very next tablet.


While packing a 10.1 inch display, the overall device is very lightweight and extremely thin. The layout allows for easy access to buttons, and it can be charged while still in use without affecting your grip.


Samsung has chosen to lay their TouchWiz over top of a mostly stock ICS, The cameras are far from ideal, and while the speakers are well placed, they could use some improvement as well.



For the price point and features you will receive, the Samsung Tab 2 10.1 brings the best of a middle range pricing to high end specs. The 10.1 inch display is a beauty, and Ice Cream Sandwich performs very well on the device.

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4 years ago

HTC One X camera challenge - can you see the difference between a smartphone and a camera?

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HTC is pretty confident in the new camera they introduced in the One series. I have to be honest, they have good reason to be. The camera in the One S is downright spectacular, and really can replace a typical point-and-shoot digicam. It's a wonderful mix of hardware, software, and magic that truly delivers. In fact, HTC is pretty sure you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between pictures taken with the One X and those taken with a stand-alone camera. Hit the link below, run through and see what all the fuss is about.

Source: HTC

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4 years ago

Android Central Editors' App Picks for May 12, 2012

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Looking for some new applications to install on your Android device? Each week we share some of our favorites with you, and we look forward to you sharing your favorites with us in the comments. Let's hit the break and check out some of this weeks favorites.

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4 years ago

Reminder: Save 15 percent this weekend from ShopAndroid U.S. - and ShopAndroid Canada!

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Attention benevolent people of Canada! This is your friendly Canadian reminder that along with the grand opening of the ShopAndroid Canada store, we're giving you a completely reasonable 15 percent off all accessories this weekend. Just used the code GrandOpening at checkout and we'll be more than happy to discount your Canadian merchandise. It's all part of being your one-stop-shop for the latest Android news, reviews, opinions and (of course) accessories.

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4 years ago

Android Central international round-up - May 12, 2012

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While this past week or so has dominated by CTIA in the U.S, the international focus remained on Samsung's latest bag of tricks, the Galaxy S III. European networks announced pricing and release plans, as we cross off the days until the May 29 launch. We've also seen the first Galaxy S III variant emerge, in the form of a new mid-range device for Korea Telecom.

But it hasn't been all Galaxy S III -- LG announced the Optimus LTE 2, and released the Optimus L7 in the UK. And we also got a release date for the European RAZR MAXX. Meanwhile, Sony announced two sleek new Android 4.0 phones for the Japanese market -- the Xperia GX (Hayabusa) and Xperia SX (Mint). We're eager to see these arrive on international shores, but right now Sony's made no announcements to this effect.

And Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich updates continue to roll out. This week the international version of the Samsung Galaxy Note got its bump up to ICS, bringing performance improvements, some visual tweaks and new S Memo functionality to Sammy's 5.3-incher.

There was also good news for anyone on a European network who likes to travel within Europe -- the EU has voted to impose a price cap on calls and data roaming prices, meaning more reasonable roaming bills if you're travelling within Europe this summer.

Check the list below for a quick run-down of the main international Android developments in the past week or so. If you've got international news, be sure to tip us at the usual address.

Special Features

News

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4 years ago

Optimus 2X ICS update now looking like a Q3 arrival, according to LG Singapore

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According to the LG SIngapore Facebook page, the tradition of long waits for updates is set to continue for owners of the LG Optimus 2X. Gingerbread took what seemed like an eternity, but initially the device was slated to receive Ice Cream Sandwich in Q2 of 2012. That now seems unlikely, with LG Singapore answering a query on Facebook, stating it will be Q3 for the long awaited update.

If indeed this is true, it will be yet another bitter blow to owners of the device, which kicked off the dual-core age of Android smartphones. Q3 after all stretches through to September, by which time we'll have been through Google I/O, and very possibly seen the first mentions of the next version of Android. 

The big redeeming factor with the 2X in particular though, is it's hackability. My own device currently runs a very early build of CM9, and for all intents and purposes, it's pretty darn good. LG make fantastic hardware, it's such a shame to keep hearing stories such as this one. 

Source: LG SIngapore (Facebook) via Mobilesyrup

 

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4 years ago

Harry Potter coming to Kindle Lending Library June 19

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Amazon made many a reader happy last fall when they introduced the Kindle Lending Library, and they're about to do it all over again. Starting June 19, all seven books in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series will be available to borrow from the library. This is on top of the other 145,000 books available, as well as over 100 New York Times bestsellers available through Amazon's program. 

To use the lending library you'll need to have a Kindle device and be an Amazon Prime member, which carries an $80 yearly fee. If this sounds like you, and you're an avid reader, be sure to check them out come June.

Source: Amazon

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4 years ago

LG Eclipse, coming at the end of 2012, will have specs relevant for the end of 2012

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The folks at BriefMobile got hold of some info about an upcoming LG LS970 for Sprint, and it has some impressive specs -- namely the quad-core Krait S4 and 2GB of RAM. All the info they have certainly looks legit, and it's very likely we'll see this one sometime in Q4. But while everyone is in awe of those impressive innards (including most of us here at AC) we have to remember that these are exactly the components we expect to see at the end of this year. We're ready for the next generation of hardware, but unfortunately we'll have to wait a while longer for it.

Source: BriefMobile

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4 years ago

Rogers preparing for launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III

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Remember a few days ago when an ad for Rogers popped up, seemingly to proclaim their version of the Samsung Galaxy S III would come with the Exynos processor and LTE? Well, we still don't have a definitive answer on whether or not the ad was accurate but we do know now that we're at least one step closer to finding out.

A news bulletin has been sent out to Rogers employee's letting them all know the obvious and confirmed -- the Samsung Galaxy S III is coming to Rogers very soon. Needless to say, we'll keep digging for clarification which shouldn't take too much longer now that Rogers is relaying information internally.

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4 years ago

Motorola Droid X2 updated with security patch, wireless alerts, and bug fixes

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Just because it's not the latest hotness on the Android scene isn't a reason to let the Motorola Droid X2 wither and die on the vine, and Verizon has begun pushing out an update to Big Red's first dual-core phone. It's not a big version bump by any means, but there are a few important changes:

  • Verizon Video and VZ Navigator® 3D City are now preloaded.
  • A Google Security Patch has been added to improve the security level.
  • Purchased ringtones are now able to be saved and set.
  • Device is enabled with the Wireless Alerting System.
  • Shortcut names can be updated and saved.
  • The keyboard Input Auto Error Correction setting defaults to off.

Granted, few of us really missed not having the 3D version of VZ Navigator, but the security patch is good to have, and the wireless alerting system is an important update -- one that could end up saving your bacon. Of course, bug fixes are always welcome. If you haven't received the update notification yet, check for it via your Droid X settings. 

Source: Verizon. Thanks, Dave!

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4 years ago

Turntable.fm now available for Android

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A couple weeks back we heard the founder of turntable.fm tell us the Android app was "coming soon", and it looks like today is the day. If you haven't played with turntable on the Internet yet, the premise is pretty simple and pretty cool. You're the virtual DJ, where you can choose your own music or from the thousands of tracks available on-site and play the music for your listeners. The listeners can in turn vote you up or down, making you the star or booing you right off the stage.

It's a neat concept, and it's always fun listening to music with friends. We're going to give it the complete run-through shortly, but we wanted to let you guys and gals know that it's available ASAP so you can check it out. You'll need a device running Android 2.2 or higher, and an ear for great music. You'll also need to be in the U.S., as the service hasn't rolled out internationally yet. The link is after the break.

Once you get it installed, we've started up the AndroidCentral room -- come join us!

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4 years ago

HTC ThunderBolt software update v2.11.605.19 710RD now available OTA

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HTC Thunderbolt owners have had a bit of a rough ride thus far when it comes to software updates. Now though, Verizon is pushing out the latest non Ice Cream Sandwich update to address some issues that have long been bothering folks. The update shows as v2.11.605.19 710RD and here's what Verizon states is corrected:

  • Device is enabled with the Wireless Alerting System.
  • Device now supports Cisco Any for better VPN functionality.
  • Improved data connectivity.
  • Improved device stability will decrease device resets.
  • Improvements to default mail application allows Yahoo! Mail accounts to receive messages properly.
  • Resolved issues with Mobile Hotspot connectivity. + Incoming calls now display the correct state, when applicable.

This particular update appeared in RUU format back in April so you may already have it if you were adventurous and loaded it up. If not, go ahead and check for system updates. It'll either be there waiting or it will be along shortly for you. Need to know more? Folks in the Android Central forums have already gone through it so head on into the forums below to discuss it some more.

Discuss the v2.11.605.19 710RD update in the Android Central Forums, Thanks, Steve!

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4 years ago

UK based TVCatchup for Android released in beta

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TVCatchup has been a growing favourite in the UK in the past few years. Initially made popular by offering a web app for the iPhone, natural progression would dictate that the service would also be made compatible with Android devices. The problem -- the web app doesn't always work that well. And, native apps are always better to have. Now, that's what we've got, albeit currently in beta form. 

It's a very simple app, but it doesn't need to be complicated. After all, it's for watching TV. All the channels available on the web are present, and as I write this, I'm watching some of The Big Bang Theory using it. The verdict, it's good. The stream quality is excellent, and it's so easy to use it's unreal. 

The downside for anyone outside of the UK is that it's not available for you guys. When you open up the app, it checks your service provider and verifies whether or not you're able to make use of it. (Of course, you'll also need a TV License and all that to watch stuff as it's broadcast.)

But, fellow Brits, you can download it here and try it out for yourselves. 

via Coolsmartphone

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