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4 years ago

IFA 2012 Day 1 wrap-up

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Guten tag! We're fresh off the floor for the first official day of IFA 2102 and wanted to take a few minutes to round all the news up in one easy-to-read post in case you missed any of it. IFA is an exciting show for Android fans everywhere, as it shows us all what's in store for the second part of the year. What started as a consumer electronics show for the European market has turned into a global showcase of new technology for all of the world to see. 

As a follow up to their lavish presentation from Wednesday, Sony got a little more intimate and talked at length about their design principles and strategy. We were there, and Alex has a great synopsis of the meeting -- be sure to have a look. Also, don't miss seeing what a GINORMOUS Sony Windows 8 tablet looks like when put next to something a bit more normal-sized. 

We also heard a bit about the British release of Sony's new gear from Three UK and Carphone Warehouse. Don't forget us on this side of the pond, Sir Howard!

Samsung still had a lot to say about the new Galaxy Note 2, with a booth full of accessories and news about an all-new SDK to take advantage of the S-Pen. Moleskine is taking advantage of the SDK's new features and was happy to give us a demo. Looks outstanding! 

Of course, Samsung's Galaxy Camera was again the star of the show. It's new and trendy, and we expect Samsung to want to show it off. Which they did, in a handful of colors. We got to go hands-on with the camera UI, and even have a long, hard look at sample images from the 16MP sensor. Not too shabby.

Samsung wasn't finished though, as they showed off a Galaxy S III (Galaxy S3), in black, with LTE, running Jelly Bean. That should get some excitement going.

Some other companies weren't about to let Sony and Samsung have all the fun though, and we saw an up-close and personal look at the HTC Desire X, got some hands-on time with Huawei's new Emotion UI, and even got to plaster our fingerprints all over a shiny white LG Optimus L9. And this was just day one.

Stay tuned to AC for everything you ever wanted to know about IFA 2102 and all the news from the event as we bring it to you like nobody else can. We'll be back with more tomorrow!

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4 years ago

Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL to launch in Germany in October

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First announced way back at Mobile World Congress in February, the Huawei Ascend D Quad and D Quad XL have both faded into obscurity since. After causing a bit of a stir with what at the time were very impressive specs, many were excited to get their hands on the devices. Fast forward 6 months to IFA 2012 in Berlin, and it seems that we finally have an answer over when the Ascend D1 Quad XL -- it seems to have gained a 1 in the name now --  at least will be coming to market. It's still an impressive device, but as the months have passed since MWC it no longer stands out quite so much as it once may have done.

Announcing the information at IFA, Huawei says the D Quad XL will be launching in Germany from the end of October. It will be available in two colors, matte black and ceramic white for an off-contract price of €499 (£395/$625).

For those not familiar, the 4.5 inch Quad XL stands above the regular D Quad by the inclusion of a pretty hefty 2600mAh battery, which Huawei says is good for 500 hours of standby time. The device is powered by Huawei's own K3V2 1.2GHz quad-core processor, backed up by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage, which is expandable by microSD card. The full press release can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

Google Play kicks off end of summer sale

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Gameloft isn't the only one putting their Android wares on discount for the long weekend; Google Play has an official end of summer sale that has quietly started, with many apps already discounted. Check out this search to see what's currently discounted, and expect that list to grow as the weekend wears on. We've received a few tips about the impending sale, but we're still waiting for a big promotional banner on the front page of Google Play, or some equally obvious place to find all of the discounted apps in one spot. (Update: Ahh, here we go.)

Have you found any particularly great apps with recent discounts? 

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4 years ago

Modern Combat 3, NOVA 3 and Gangstar Rio go on sale for a buck each

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Gameloft has just kicked off a Labor Day sale featuring Modern Combat 3, Gangstar Rio, and NOVA 3. These are some of their biggest titles, and they're available for a buck each in Google Play. Sure, they're "homages" to Call of Duty, Saint's Row, and Halo, respectively, but they're all extremely well polished and the closest you'll see to those franchises finding a home on Android. 

I've personally put a fair bit of time into Modern Combat 3, and found the accelerometer controls to be really precise once you got used to it. I wasn't a huge fan of NOVA 3, though I never got into Halo either. Any Gangstar Rio players out there? What's your top pick out of these three games?

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4 years ago

Evernote updated with new Jelly Bean notification features

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Evernote has been updated with some fresh features for Jelly Bean users. Now notifications show some additional information and buttons for sharing and editing included. Here's the full changelog.

  • Notifications improvement [Jelly Bean only]
    • Displays thumbnails and text snippets
    • Share and edit the note from the notification
    • Groups similar notifications
  • Improved performance:
    • User interface refinements
    • Notes containing images load faster
    • Faster notebook scrolling
  • Numerous bug fixes

The last big update made Evernote look great on tablets, and this handful of tweaks makes the quintessential cloud notetaking experience even better. Evernote actually just wrapped up their annual developer conference, and there seemed to be a lot of cool apps being shown off there. You can catch up on what happened at the Evernote Trunk Conference over at their latest blog post

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4 years ago

Five great Android time-wasters for this weekend

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Hey, it's Labor Day weekend. And as far as we're concerned, we're going to do everything we can to not lift a finger. In fact, we're not even going to bother writing any more. Without further ado, here are five Android apps that will help you waste away the weekend and not take up too much brain power:

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4 years ago

Hands on with Huawei's Emotion UI

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Huawei recently announced its new interface layer for upcoming Android phones, dubbed the Huawei Emotion UI 1.0. Despite being announced a couple of months back, so far it's only been available in Chinese. But at IFA 2012 today, we tracked down the new UI running on an Ascend P1 at the manufacturer's booth. It's a fairly drastic departure from the way Android normally works, as there's no traditional app drawer, with all app shortcuts being displayed on the device's homescreen instead.

Huawei's also introduced a host of modular, customizable widgets to display personal info, contacts, weather forecasts and other pertinent data. And as far as visuals go, the Emotion UI ships with several skins that completely change the look of the UI, including one inspired by stock Android 4.0.

Check out our video for a quick preview of what to expect in Huawei's new Emotion UI software.

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4 years ago

Kyocera Rise now available on Virgin Mobile

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Virgin Mobile USA has put the Kyocera Rise on sale for $99.99 today. The slider was announced back in May and launched on Sprint last week. Here's a quick overview of the specs.

  • Touch slider with QWERTY Keyboard and a 3.5” HVGA LCD touchscreen
  • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor
  • Google Play for access to over 600,000 apps
  • 3.2MP Camera, LED Flash and Video Capture
  • microSD Card Slot – supports up to 32GB
  • Swype for rapid text entry
  • Eco Mode for better battery management
  • Stereo Bluetooth

Yeah, it's nothing flashy, but a decent, cheap phone with a real keyboard is just what the kids starting off the school year are looking for. You can get shopping over here at Virgin Mobile or check out our hands-on video below for the full tour. 

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4 years ago

LG Optimus L9 hands-on

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Here we have the LG Optimus L9, the fourth and newest phone in the series LG unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February. The specs, as you'll recall:

  • 4.7-inch IPS display
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 4 GB onboard memory
  • 2,150 mAh battery
  • 5MP rear camera
  • 9.1mm thin

The big talking point on this one, though, is the Quick Translator app that uses optical character recognition for some serious translation. 

Hands-on video and photos can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

Carphone Warehouse confirm release dates for the new Sony Xperia T & Xperia J

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We told you yesterday that Carphone Warehouse had opened up a pre-registration page on its website for the new Sony Xperia T which was announced at IFA this week. Some progression has now been made and release dates have now been sent out by the retailer for the Xperia T and Xperia J. If you are looking to pick up either of the new swanky Xperia smartphones you can do so on September 5th. Unfortunately, prices are not yet confirmed but I would imagine that we will be updated very soon. In addition, Sony's new Xperia tablet S has been priced and will set you back £329 for the WiFi version and £429 for the 3G variant. No date has been confirmed for its release.

Nice to see a short turnaround between announcement and availability. This we like.

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Camera - sample pics gallery

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We've been all over the Samsung Galaxy Camera so far at IFA here in Berlin, but we're still not done! Here's a recap so far:

And that's all well and good. But let's get down to the really important stuff. How do the images shot by the Galaxy Camera actually look? We've got a monster gallery after the break showing just that.

One thing to remember, though, is that these are shot with preproduction software. So think of them as preview samples, perhaps. Quick-and-dirty from the show floor. We'll obviously be spending more time with the retail hardware when it's available. [Update: We now have full-resolution images available after the break.]

And with that, on to the gallery!

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the HTC Desire X

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The HTC Desire brand has a history stretching back to the dark depths of early 2010. The original Desire was the flagship of its time, but since then the name has been re-purposed for HTC's entry-level and mid-range smartphones. The latest phone in this range is the Desire X, which the company's showing at IFA 2012 this week.

The Desire X incorporates a classic HTC design, with rounded corners in a polycarbonate chassis. Around the back there's a large, stylized camera lens alongside branding from HTC and Beats Audio. Incidentally, as a Sense 4.1 device, the Desire X comes with Beats pre-loaded, as well as many features from the company's premium HTC One line of phones. It's packing a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 768MB of RAM and a 4-inch WVGA SuperLCD display, which actually stacks up favorably against the higher-end One S's SuperAMOLED. For image capture, there's a 5MP BSI camera on the rear.

Software-wise, you get Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC Sense 4.1. This means the Desire X benefits from all the performance enhancements introduced in the latest version of HTC's software layer, as well as features like menu button remapping and quick settings in the notification bar.

On the whole, it's a pretty compelling device for mid-range buyers, and a much more attractive proposition than the lower-end One V. Look for the HTC Desire X on European store shelves within the next month.

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4 years ago

Hands on with Moleskine for Android on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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One o​f the announcements at the Samsung Unpacked event on Tuesday night in Berlin, was of an updated SDK for the Note devices with a view to better third party integration of the S-Pen. One of the apps that will be getting on board with the Galaxy Note 2 is Moleskine, you know, those nice -- and somewhat expensive -- paper notebooks that so many seem to adore. 

Moleskine has recently announced an integration between their paper notebooks and Evernote with the 'Smart Notebook', but this is something entirely different. This is a native note taking application, that will be exclusively available on the Galaxy Note devices for six months after launch. 

So it's a note taking app. Samsung includes a perfectly good note taking app themselves on the Galaxy Note devices already. While Moleskine here at IFA may only be a demo version, there's certainly a lot to like about it. It's really nicely done, and makes full use of the S-Pen and the pressure sensitive technology within the Note 2. 

The main home screen displays all of your various journals on a book shelf, and the actual journals themselves can be customized with different colored paper, lines, grids, you get the picture. There will be a selection of pre-created templates, which in this demo version was for recording information about your dog. At launch there will be many more though. 

As we already mentioned, this version is only a demo, and there will be more features available when it comes to launch such as the pocket that can be found on paper Moleskine notebooks. It's really well done though, and the future success of the Note line will depend on developers bringing quality apps to market that take advantage of the technology within the devices. The emphasis seems to be on creating the same experience of writing in a paper Moleskine notebook though, just in digital form. 

Moleskine will be available through Samsung Apps at launch, but the developers did confirm to us that after the exclusivity period with Samsung has expired, Moleskine will be available through Google Play. 

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Camera - camera app hands-on

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You could argue that the real star of the show at Samsung's recent Unpacked event in Berlin was the Galaxy Camera -- an Android 4.1-powered point-and-shoot with one of the largest screens around, backed up by powerful editing and sharing features from Samsung. We gave a general overview of the device in our first hands-on preview, and today we're bringing you a full walkthrough of the features you'll find in the most important application on the device -- the camera app.

The camera app is what you're presented with when you first start up the Samsung Galaxy Camera. From there, you can get to taking pictures, or hit the home button to jump back to the standard TouchWiz launcher. As a dedicated imaging device, the Galaxy Camera offers a wide range of features that go above and beyond the standard smartphone camera. From the main menu, you can choose between Auto, Casual, Smart Pro and Expert. Auto is, as you might expect, a mode that attempts to automatically adjust to whatever you're shooting based on lighting conditions and other factors. Hop into casual mode, and you'll be able to apply a number of nifty real-time effects to the images you're shooting -- and this menu is also where you'll find Panorama mode and similar options.

Next up is the much-touted Smart Pro, which lets you shoot "professional" quality images using a number of "pro" modes. For example, you'll find a dedicated macro mode, blue sky mode, fireworks more and more under this menu, allowing you to quickly switch to a shooting mode that matches what you want to capture. Finally, for those who want to mess about with ISO, exposure levels and apertures, there's expert mode.

Check out our hands-on video after the break. We've also got a handful of images showing off the camera interface in all its glory.

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4 years ago

Eyes on with the new Samsung Galaxy Camera accessories

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With every camera comes camera accessories, and Samsung's new Galaxy Camera is no different. On show at the Samsung booth at IFA 2012 in Berlin is a selection of cases and other interesting items for future Galaxy Camera owners. 

Camera cases are to be expected, and there are the usual array of generic looking carrying cases as well as carry cases that look a little more tailored to the device. Additionally, there are a pretty decent choice of protective shells shaped to the Galaxy Camera that look to be available in a whole variety of colors, some more daring than others. 

There is also some pretty interesting stuff on the horizon for the Galaxy Camera, including wireless charging. We're told this isn't something that will be ready at launch, and that what we see on show today is more of a design concept of something they're planning in the future. The other concept accessories shows off some professional looking add-ons, so it goes to show that Samsung is very serious about this device.

As ever, we've got photos. Check them out after the break. 

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