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4 years ago

Required reading: CyanogenMod team Q&A

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There's some great stuff coming out of the CyanogenMod camp over the past week, and we're not talking about an alpha version of some phone long forgotten. No, this one comes in the form of a lengthy Q&A session that gives great insight into how the community project works.

You can guess where a lot of the questions lead -- "When will my device be supported?" ... "Why isn't my device supported?" ... "What devices are next?" ... and so on and so forth. But there's once answer that particularly stood out, because it's one we get asked a lot, too. In a nutshell, it's why can the CM team get updates of next-gen Android versions released for phones before carriers and manufacturers.

The answer:

  1. We aren’t trying to ‘beat’ anybody; such an idea leads to a lot of broken ROMs and potentially broken phones. That said, we do have fewer resources, but we also have less to upkeep. CyanogenMod is created as one large OS, a standardized image across all devices we support. The OEMs, for competition purposes, don’t do this – they need features that sell. Quite frankly, in some cases, it isn’t in their interest to update devices either. If they did, who would buy the next generation that comes out in 6-8 months time?
  2. “Continuity” for us is actually easier to maintain, if for nothing else than the points in response #1
  3. The carriers do take long to test, because they have to certify both the hardware and software aspects of the device, and go through a number of legal (FCC, for instance) and partner (operators and Google) certification stages before release. Devices that destroy their network towers or cause issues are no benefit to them. CyanogenMod gets the phones at the end of the chain – they have already proven to be network compliant, and we don’t have to worry about carrier requirements. We code our features to minimally alter the network connectivity as well. As for testing they have a Q&A division, with unknown (though likely not large amounts) of testers. We have nightlies that we utilize as our testing; so in our release cycles, there is actually a lot of time built in for testing.

The answer in and of itself is important, but we're equally happy to see the CM team remind us all that by far the bulk of the code in a CM release is written by someone other than the CyanogenMod team. Or, as they put it, "CyanogenMod gets the phones at the end of the chain – they have already proven to be network compliant, and we don’t have to worry about carrier requirements." There are a lot of hands that go into putting out any Android update. And not having to answer to carrier, manufacturer and governmental testing absolutely speeds the process.

The entire Q&A is a must-read and can be found here. More: +CyanogenMod

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4 years ago

MyFitnessPal [Android App Review]

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One of the hardest pieces to the fitness puzzle is eating healthy, and paying attention to what you are consuming on a daily basis. While many of us think what we are eating isn't all that bad for you, most of the time we are completely wrong unfortunately. Today's society makes it so easy to grab a burger on the go, eat a chocolate bar in place of a lunch, and not only is it easier but it is also cheaper.  Since many of us don't know how many calories are in the average meal or any of the other nutritional facts we look to applications to help keep us informed, and that is where MyFitnessPal comes into play.

Taking control of what you eat is extremely important, and unfortunately if it is something that requires to much time it is something you are not likely to do. After downloading MyFitnessPal an account needs to be created with some basic personal information such as your height, weight, and gender. This information is very important, and you will want to input accurate information in, as this will actually help create your daily goals. After you enter the basic information it will ask how active you are on a daily basis, whether you have a desk job or an active job, and then it will also ask whether you wish to maintain, lose or gain weight.

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4 years ago

Android Central international round-up - March 24, 2012

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As we published our definitive review of the Sony Xperia S, many of the week's main stories focused on two highly-anticipated unreleased devices -- the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III.

Earlier reports of an April 5 launch for HTC's new One series were apparently confirmed by news of a launch party in Paris that evening. And we saw a couple more dubious images claiming to show Samsung's next big thing. And towards the end of the week, we got a first look at the Samsung GT-i9300, a buttonless mystery device running Ice Cream Sandwich and TouchWiz.

In software update news, the roll-out of Android 4.0 for the Samsung Galaxy S II continued, and news arrived of an upcoming "premium suite" for the international Galaxy Note, including new stylus apps, ICS and Angry Birds Space.

Check some highlights from past week's Android developments in Europe, Asia and beyond in the list below. And 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

Flight Track gets update for ICS, bugfixes

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Flight Track -- an indispensable app for those of us who go places to do things for a living -- just got itself a sizable (if slightly cryptic) update. First, the changelog:

  • Customizable time zones for flight times
  • Added calendar-style date selection (phone)
  • Significant reduction in app size
  • ICS-based enhancements (phone and tablet)
  • Missing string localizations for some languages
  • Minor bug fixes

And now, a little tough love: We're not quite sure what these "ICS-based enhancements" are, but we know one thing: Flight Track is still using the legacy menu design that is supposed to be phased out with Ice Cream Sandwich. But Flight Track's still got the telltale menu button tucked down with the ICS navigation buttons, and that's not good.

Hey, developers. It's time for some spring cleaning. We're picking on Flight Track right now, but this remains true for far too many applications. And it's probably a good thing that they be updated now, before Google decides to bring down the hammer.

End of lesson. We've got download links for Flight Track after the break.

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4 years ago

First look: Tapatalk 2 beta

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Tapatalk is a great way to browse forums from your Android phone, and the bar just got moved a notch or two higher with the beta release of Tapatalk 2. It's the same basic premise --  an app that connects to forums software (through a plug-in installed on the server) so it can deliver an experience optimized for mobile devices. You have controls designed to be easy to use, forum-specific menus and features that you just don't get from a web browser, and a bandwidth-saving U.I. that focuses on delivering content versus themes and other fluff designed to look good on a computer. 

Tapatalk 2 just does all this better. There also are a couple new features, namely an improved UI with multiple theme support, improved moderation tools, a nicer conversation style, and cloud-based account sync. Move past the bullet points and this means all the things you love about Tapatalk work better, look better, are faster and sync back to your phone when you reset the data on your phone. 

We know a lot (as in a lot) of people use Tapatalk to peruse the Android Forums here at Android Central. Tapatalk 2 is going to make all of us happy.  You'll love the new UI and theme options, forum moderators will love the new moderation options, crack-flashers will love the new sync option, and everyone will love how much faster it is. This is how you provide a major update -- everything works just like you're used to it working, and the improvements make the entire experience better without any change in the way you use the app. If you spend any time on forums from your Android phone, you need to give this a try. After the break you'll find a bunch of screenshots and a Google Play store link to the current version of Tapatalk (Android 1.5 and up, $2.99). You can also hit the source link and learn more about the beta from the folks at Quoord Systems Ltd.

More: Tapatalk forums 

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4 years ago

Ghost in the machine, Motorola XOOM WiFi update forthcoming [From the Forums]

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With another week almost over, we're kind of wondering where it went considering it seemed to fly by. With lots of content posted this week, including a new Android Central podcast for you all if you happened to miss out on anything, the weekend is a great time to get caught up both here on the blogs and in the Android Central forums:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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4 years ago

Droid R2-D2 getting a maintenance update, docs live now

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Remember the Droid R2-D2? Verizon does, and will shortly be issuing a maintenance update for the aging, but still capable R2-Droid2. The software version is getting a bump to 4.5.622.A957, on top of Android 2.3.4, and looks like it's chock full of security fixes and enhancements, bug-fixes, and newer versions of Verizon's installed apps. The full change log:

  • Enhanced security with DigiNotar security patch.
  • Increased browser cross-application scripting for enhanced multitasking stability.
  • Device will no longer automatically power on after it has been powered off.
  • Device is enabled with the Wireless Alerting System.
  • Successfully download and save purchased MP3 ringtones.
  • Camera settings will be saved, even after the device is powered off.
  • Increased device stability when keypad is opened and closed repeatedly.
  • Improved 3G data connectivity while using the Mobile Hotspot.
  • App shortcuts remain on the home screen after moving them from internal to external memory.
  • VZ Navigator is now updated to version 7.2.0.452.
  • V CAST Apps is now updated to version 4.4.1.0.
  • Successfully play WAV files.
  • Contact groups will sort correctly.
  • Successfully add application shortcuts or widgets to the home panel without error.
  • Fixed issue where duplicate text and multimedia messages were being received.
  • Improved ability to access and receive Gmail messages when the Mobile Hotspot is turned on.
  • Improved syncing with Yahoo! email.
  • Forwarded emails will no longer remain in the outbox when Smart Forwarding is enabled.

While it's not Ice Cream Sandwich, and the R2-Droid2 will never officially see ICS, it appears to be a welcome update -- especially if you were affected by one or more of the listed bugs. No word on exactly when this one will start to roll out, but it should be soon as the support documents are already live on Verizon's support sites. Have a look at them via the links below.

Source: Verizon (1), (2). Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia S headed to Canada, will run on Rogers [updated]

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Update: The reference to Rogers on Sony Mobile Canada's Facebook page has been removed, and the network has contacted MobileSyrup​ to clarify its plans for the device. The carrier says that while the Xperia S will run on its HSPA+ network, it won't be offered directly. This most likely means Canadians hoping to pick up an Xperia S will have to buy one outright from Sony.

Original story: Looks like Sony's new Xperia S will be arriving on North American shores in the near future, as Sony Mobile Canada has revealed that its high-end phone for early 2012 will be hitting the Rogers network. No release or pricing info is available just yet -- Sony just says the Rogers Xperia S is "coming soon."

The Xperia S is out now in Europe, and we recently got our hands on the finished article. While we were disappointed to see a flagship smartphone launching in Spring 2012 with Gingerbread, we were impressed with the Xperia S's build quality, HD Reality Display screen and 12MP EXMOR R camera. The phone's due an update to Ice Cream Sandwich during Q2, though, so depending on when Rogers launches it, Canadians may find their version comes pre-loaded with the latest version of Android.

For more on the Xperia S, check out our full review.

Source: Sony Mobile CA; via: MobileSyrup

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4 years ago

Jabra Freeway Bluetooth Speakerphone review

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When it comes to using your smartphone in the car, it's a tricky proposition. Hands-free is a must. And after that, it really becomes a point of actually having to use your phone -- or in this case, the Jabra Freeway speakerphone -- as little as possible. Can you place or answer a call without touching anything? When you do have to touch something, how many motions does it take to perform an action? Are those actions easily memorized? And, at the end of the day, does the darn thing just work?

Jabra is a long-recognized name in Bluetooth accessories. But it's been some years since I've used one of their speakerphones (read our review of the Motorola T505 I've been using for as long as I can remember). Switching to the Freeway is a nice change in design. Clipped to the sun visor, it looks a lot like an old-school oversized garage door opener that curves back around the front. 

Let's not beat around the bush here: The Jabra Freeway has quickly become my speakerphone of choice. Read on to find out why.

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4 years ago

Samsung Mobile's VP of Design responds to accusations of copying Apple

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In a recent interview with news outlet Reuters, Samsung Mobile's vice president of design, Lee Minhyouk, shed some light on the Korean manufacturer's recent rise to the top of the smartphone heap. Tracing the ascent back to the (dark) days of the Omnia, Lee detailed the origins of the company's first major splash in the swimming pool, the OG Galaxy, which he says grew out of the lessons learned from the failed Omnia. 

More interesting than the history of the Galaxy line, however, is Lee's defense against accusations that it blatantly ripped off Apple's design model. Having sold over 44 million Galaxys since its launch, Lee says that the product is steeped in Samsung's "technology, color, and design language."

I've made thousands of sketches and hundreds of prototype products (for the Galaxy). Does that mean I was putting on a mock show for so long, pretending to be designing?

While Lee admits that he isn't at the level of expertise as the big-wigs over in Cupertino, he is confident that Samsung will eventually create a product to "define our time," and he hopes that he's at the helm when it happens.

It's not just effort that makes it possible for a new product to be a massive hit. It also has to be timely, and technology should be ready to make a certain design a reality.

Reuter's full interview, which is definitely worth the read, can be found at the source link.

Source: Reuters

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4 years ago

The King of Fighters Android arrives for a handful of phones

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Classic SNK fighting game The King of Fighters has launched for Android today, and is available to download from the Google Play Store, assuming you own one of the handful of supported devices. The 2D beat-'em-up will set you back £3.79 in the UK, or $4.99 stateside, and includes 20 fighters from previous KoF titles, along with five game modes. If you're into unlockables, you'll also be able to gain access to bonus content including "gallery" mode and trading cards.

Unfortunately, The King of Fighters Android is currently marked as incompatible with a large number of devices, and from what we can tell, only a handful of Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones have access at present. Owners of other phones and tablets may be out of luck until the game's updated to explicitly allow access on other devices. 

Hit the break for the Google Play link, and today's announcement press release from SNK.

Source: Eurodroid

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4 years ago

Light Flow LED Control [Android App Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

I absolutely adore my Galaxy Nexus. It's fast, has a gorgeous screen, and perhaps most of all, has a notification LED that supports more than three colors. While that might sound a tad bit ridiculous, when I caught wind of the fact that I could potentially have a custom LED color for specific types of notifications, I clicked my heels with joy.

Enter Light Flow LED Control. If all you want to do is customize your LED colors, you'll get all that and more out of Light Flow.

Once you've opened up the app, you're presented with a pretty bland menu screen. You've got general settings, a list of additional apps Light Flow supports that you don't have installed, and even a tools menu, but notifications is where the magic really happens.

Hop into the notifications menu and you're greeted with a pre-populated list of notifications your phone can already handle and what color the LED will flash for them. Changing an LED color is as easy as pie. Select the notification you want to change and you'll move into a notification-specific menu.

Within this menu you can turn the notification on and off, designate what clears the notification, and most importantly, select your color. Light Flow boasts an impressive list of colors (18 plus the ability to have a custom color), so in the event you've got more than 18 notifications you want to customize, you're not out in the cold.

You can also set how quickly the LED will flash and how long it will last before automatically turning off, and if you're so inclined, enable sounds and vibration patterns. It's very cool for Light Flow to give you the option, but be aware: the sounds and notifications you set within Light Flow can conflict with the standard notifications, so you'll either have to turn one set off or deal with double of everything.

If you're curious what the various colors look like, Light Flow has an "all enabled LEDs test" within the tools menu. It's cool to look at, fun to show off with, and if you're just getting started, the fastest way to get an idea of what all the colors show up as on your phone, so you can get your notifications set the first time.

If you're as OCD as I am about controlling your phone (or just like the idea of having lots of cool, custom colored LEDs), then Light Flow LED Control is the app for you. It's got a simple, easy-to-use interface, supports more than 200 applications, and essentially works like a charm.

Light Flow LED Control is $1.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the ZTE Fury

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We have seen our fair share of low- to mid-range devices release over the past year, and it takes quite a bit for one of them to stick out now-a-days. While ZTE may not be a huge name in Android world right now, they are certainly not taking a back seat in this battle at all. Recently ZTE announced the ZTE Fury for the Sprint network, and the device is priced and spec'd for a low to mid range device, but is it really worth skimping out on a few dollars at the time of signing that new contract, and getting a device like this?

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4 years ago

Orange UK targeting April for Galaxy S II ICS update

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Earlier this week, Orange UK wasn't too sure when it's be rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for Samsung Galaxy S II phones on its network, but now it appears the carrier has a release window in mind. Crave​ reports that Orange now intends to release the update sometime in April, putting it on par with O2, which is planning a similar timeframe for its own ICS roll-out.

Some unbranded UK Galaxy S II's started being updated from this Monday, March 19. While Three UK customers are currently being updated through Kies, T-Mobile and Vodafone have yet to commit to any timeframe for their own releases.

Source: Crave; via: Eurodroid

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4 years ago

Android Central on the judging panel for the Galaxy Note S Pen App Challenge

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Samsung recently announced their Galaxy Note S Pen App Challenge -- say that 10 times fast -- encouraging development for their 5.3-behemoth and its stylus S Pen. They're still in the submission period for interested developers, but the details on just who will be on the judging panel have emerged. 

We've got a representative from Samsung, someone from Gameloft, BlueRun Ventures and even the AT&T VP of Consumer Marketing. Not bad, but sitting top of that list -- and no, we're sure it isn't because everything is in alphabetical order on who they work for -- is our very own Mr. Phil Nickinson.

That's right, folks, AC is on the panel, and will be involved in making one lucky developer very happy. About $100,000 happy to be precise. There is of course a judging criteria, and apps will be judged upon the quality of the idea, the implementation of the idea and overall user experience. Cash bribes sent to Phil will have absolutely no influence whatsoever. 

Judging begins April 9. with the winners announced on April 20.

Source: Galaxy Note S-Pen Challenge

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