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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Express hands on


AT&T has set up shop high above New York’s Lower East Side tonight with its upcoming holiday lineup, including the just-announced Galaxy Express from Samsung. It’s an entry-level device that still manages to pack a punch, and AT&T says that the Express is an ideal choice for first-time smartphone owners. If the carrier keeps the price point low, it might just be onto a winner.

The Express packs a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED display, larger than what we’re used to seeing on “budget” devices, with a modest 480 x 800 resolution. Its quality is noticeably lower than the rest of Samsung’s portfolio, yet it manages to impress, with the same bold "pop" and high-contrast colors we've come to expect from AMOLED. Sacrifices must be made, and this one isn't as drastic as we feared.

Underneath the hood you’ve got a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor (AT&T hasn’t given specifics, but we’ll venture to guess we’re dealing with a Snapdragon S4 here), 1GB of RAM, and Touchwiz-skinned Ice Cream Sandwich. The Express’s performance is impressive, and not just in terms of budget devices -- everything here is snappy, smooth, and confident, a testament to the processor and a byproduct of the lower-res screen. The 2,000 mAh battery should be able to handle a solid day of usage, based on what we’ve seen from similarly-equipped Galaxy devices.

The Express feels great in the hand and lacks a certain bulk and girth that often accompany lower-end devices. It’s light and trim and retains the refinement and eye-catching style present on the GS3. In fact, calling it a mini-GS3 wouldn’t be too far off. If you simply can’t stomach forking over $200 for a shiny flagship device, the Express could be a viable alternative. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for pricing and release dates—for now, check out some hands-on after the break.

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4 years ago

First look at AT&T's Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro


AT&T and Samsung are in store for a fairly busy holiday season, and Ma Bell is here in New York showing off what the two companies have put together this year. With the Note 2 on the top end and the Galaxy Express bringing up the rear, we’ve got the Galaxy Rugby Pro sitting pretty in between, offering some budget-friendly specs along with ruggedized features aimed at those who use their phone more as a tool than a fashion piece.

The Rugby Pro is the follow up to the Rugby Smart, and bumps up its specs just enough to keep it relevant. We’ve got a 4-inch Super AMOLED display at 480 x 800 that looks considerably better than the larger, less dense Galaxy Express. It’s definitely clear though that Samsung didn’t put its best foot forward with either of these displays, opting for more a more affordable, less gush-worthy experience.

Other than Android 4.0, LTE connectivity, and its 5-megapixel camera, internal specs are few and far between here, with AT&T opting to tout the Rugby Pro’s muscle rather than its brain. The Rugby Pro is waterproof, shock resistant, and dust proof, and can be submersed in one meter of water for up to a half hour. The Pro also supports EAS corporate email and push-to-talk functionality.

Its main competitor is the Motorola Defy Pro, another ruggedized smartphone, and I’ll give the Rugby Pro the one-up in this head-to-head, mostly due to its TouchWiz interface. While it’s not nearly as fluid or smooth as the rest of Samsung’s lineup, familiar aspects are here, and we’ve grown quite fond of Samsung’s UI as of late. The Rugby Pro also has ICS, compared to the Defy Pro’s Gingerbread, and it’s ligther and a bit more stylish that Moto’s offering.

If you’re looking for the hottest and sexiest phone out there, run far far away from the Rugby Pro, as its aesthetic qualities are severely lacking. But if you’re the type to abuse your phone and you’re not in the position to replace $600 phones every couple of months (who is?), this is definitely worth a look. And look away, at the photos and hands-on video after the break.

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4 years ago

SlingPlayer for Android updated, higher video quality for ICS+ phones


Hey SlingBox users, good news! Your SlingPlayer app was recently updated. While the changes aren't breathtaking, they are very welcome, as are most updates.

If you're using SlingPlayer on your phone you'll be greeted with an updated look to the app and a new program guide.  However the biggest update comes if your device is running  ICS or Jelly Bean, as you'll be happy to see higher quality video with this update. Nexus 7 users have received an optimized interface with the new update and a common update for both is the ability to set reminders for upcoming shows.

source: Google Play - SlingPlayer for Phones & Tablets

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4 years ago

Samsung Kies for Windows and Mac receives some polish with latest update


Although it's not our most favorite desktop software to use, Samsung Kies does come in handy at times. It's been a while since Samsung updated the desktop syncing solution but now Samsung has shown some love to both Windows and Mac users as the latest update has now been released.

A change log for this release seems to be absent but a quick look at the updated app reveals that Samsung has put some time in to improve the UI a little and make it more visually appealing. For Mac users, you'll find this latest release also works with Mountain Lion correctly.

Whether you use the app daily or just want to have installed just in case, you'll find the links below.

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Series of Google Apps updated in Google Play, some changelogs M.I.A.


During the last 24 hours Google has pushed out a series of updates to their Android applications. While some are simply for bug fixes, some -- as is becoming a little too frequent -- have no sign of a "whats new" changelog. Frustrating. 

We'll hit the ones we do know about first. Up on the bug fix front we've got updates to Google Play Movies and Google Street View. Google Play Music is also included, this time described as receiving "minor fixes." 

Google Gesture Search also received an update. Its changelog reads a little like this:

  • Now available on Android tablets such as Nexus 7.
  • Faster search performance for large user data set.
  • Support for searching multilingual contents using romanization, including Simplified Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
  • The action for contacts is now customizable, e.g., changing calling to messaging.
  • Contacts without phone numbers now became searchable.
  • More UI improvements.

Also getting updated with a couple of new features is Google's own shopping focused app, Shopper. There's nothing earth shattering on board, but we do get a couple of additions: 

  • Filter weekly sales at featured local stores by category so you can focus on your favorite deals
  • Browse visually similar products when searching for apparel
  • Improved performance and stability

Then, on the less helpful front we have both Google Drive and Google Wallet. Both still seem to reflect previous updates to each app, which probably means there isn't a lot new. But, it would be nice to know all the same. 

If you're seeing anything new in either of these two be sure to hit us up in the comments below and share. 

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4 years ago

HTC One VX hands on


Perhaps the star of tonight’s AT&T Holiday preview here in New York is the One VX, the out-of-left-field entry from HTC that sits somewhere between the One V and T-Mobile’s One S. Like Phil said upon its unveiling a few days ago, this is a device in and of itself, and really brings the best of both worlds to AT&T’s LTE network. 

Spec wise, we’re following the new trend of high-end internals at low entry-level prices. The 4.5-inch Super LCD2 display is the same qHD resolution as the One S but the ever-so-slight bump in size makes a world of difference. It looks great too, and while it isn’t the mind-blowing 720p display on the One X+, it produces vivid color, excellent viewing angles, and admirable brightness. You won’t be disappointed here.

The Snapdragon S4 MSM 8390 is just a few clicks below the One S in terms of clock speed, but based on my short time with it tonight, it gets the job done. The One VX chugs along with nary a hiccup or stutter, and seems to be able to handle just about anything you throw at it. No, this isn’t the biggest and baddest processor/RAM combo you’ll find, but that doesn’t mean the VX doesn’t offer exceptional usability. The same can be said for the camera—its 5 megapixels are lower than the 8 on the One X and One S, but thanks to its ImageSense processor and advanced optics, we’re expecting exceptional photographs.

Physically, the VX really hits a sweet spot in terms of screen size and portability. It’s absolutely stunning, as we’ve come to expect from the One series. Slim and light, the VX looks quite similar to the One S with its rounded corners, super-slim profile, metal trim, and matte silver/white finish. It’s also the perfect balance between big and small- despite the 4.5-inch display, the VX is perfectly pocketable.

I do have some small gripes, like HTC’s decision to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich while the rest of the One line is queued up for its Jelly Bean upgrade. And don’t get me started on the name—HTC ruined a great thing with this choice, and completely screws up its super-clean One branding. Why not the V+? Or even the S-?

I’m on pins and needles to see what kind of pricetag AT&T slaps on the VX, as I think this phone has the potential to be huge at the right price point. Until we get a chance to put it through its paces, sit back, relax, and enjoy some hands-on after the break.

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4 years ago

First look at the HTC One X+ for AT&T


Perhaps the most anticipated arrival on AT&T this holiday season is the follow up to the HTC One X, one of the best Android smartphones on the carrier (and any carrier, for that matter). The HTC One X+ is a modest yet attractive step up, complete with a beefed-up processor, a bigger battery, the next iteration of HTC’s Sense, and the buttery-smooth Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. What we’re seeing tonight here in New York is identical to the international version our resident Brit Alex Dobie got his hands on just two days ago,  save for AT&T LTE radios and branding. 

I’ve got to echo Alex’s sentiments—the screen is absolutely phenomenal, even if it isn’t any improvement over the already stunning HTC One X. Performance does indeed seem a bit snappier and more fluid with the over-clocked processor and new iteration of Android, and the camera is as impressive as ever. And physically, just like the original One X, the One X+ is one of the most striking, svelte, attractive devices available today.

I see where HTC is coming from with this release—with LG’s Optimus G and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 on the horizon, it needs to stay relevant enough to compete. I do wonder why HTC didn’t opt for 2 GB of RAM as its competitors have recently adopted. Despite the choice, the One X + is a nice stopgap between the original and HTC’s follow up, which will more than likely arrive early next year.

Some hands-on shots can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

20 new levels coming to "Where's My Perry?"


Disney's follow up game to the very popular "Where's My Water?" app on Android (and iOS), "Where's My Perry?", is picking up 20 new levels today. Similar to its predecessor, "Where's My Perry?" directs players to use different gadgets -- in this case lasers -- to break through different obstacles and get to the spy at the end of the level. With this update, players now have 20 more levels to get through.

Coming from Disney, the animation and story line are top notch, and now you have 20 new reasons to give it a look. It's available for free at the Google Play Store link above, and you can buy the full version for $0.99.

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4 years ago

Sprint may be considering counter offer for MetroPCS


Following yesterday's news that T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS would be officially commencing a reverse takeover (where the smaller company takes over the larger), we're hearing today that the deal may be getting even more interesting. Sprint, which had plans to buy MetroPCS previously, may be considering offering a higher amount for the company than what is currently agreed upon between T-Mobile and MetroPCS.

If you'll recall back to Sprint's first attempt to buy out MetroPCS for $8 billion, CEO Dan Hesse was reportedly hours away from closing the deal when it was overturned by the board of directors. Now that the threat of a combined T-Mobile / MetroPCS is all too real, Sprint may be more motivated to keep these two apart this time around.

Source: BusinessWeek

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4 years ago

AT&T to carry the Samsung Galaxy Camera, give it HSPA+ love


Ever think to yourself "Boy, I sure wish this Android-powered camera had access to AT&T's network?" Well, your prayers have been answered, as AT&T will carry the Samsung Galaxy Camera, and will give it access to its HSPA+ "4G" network.

The Galaxy Camera, as you'll recall from our coverage of it last month at the IFA conference in Berlin (see our hands-on), is Samsung's first entry into the Android-powered camera market. It's got a 16-megapixel sensor with backside illumination, a 21x optical zoom lens (f/2.8 and 23mm) -- all powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and a 1 GHz quad-core processor.

The AT&T connectivity isn't that much of a surprise here -- the frequencies have been been in the Galaxy Camera specs since its announcement.

Price and availability for the camera were not announced. (Shocking, we know.) Neither was data pricing announced, though we'd expect it to fall within AT&T's shared data plans. We have, however, confirmed that the camera's Wifi remains intact, so there's that.

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

Acer outlines Jelly Bean upgrade plans, older tablets being left out in the cold


If you're an owner of one of Acer's range of Android tablets, you'll no doubts be wondering if and when you'll ever see some Jelly Bean action. Well, Acer has come forth with the details, so wonder no longer. While it's good news for some, inevitably it will herald bad news for others. Here's the long and short of it though. 

The latest tablets are all in the 'yes' column. The new, 7-inch, A110 actually launches with Jelly Bean, but the larger A210 and A510 will both see an update to Android 4.1. They weren't offering any timeline for said updates, but still good news. The A700 Jelly Bean rollout reportedly started rolling out this past week. 

Then, to the bad news. The older generation of Acer tablets won't be seeing a Jelly Bean update. So, that's the A100, A200 and A500 reaching the end of their Android upgrading lives. There's always the community to turn to though, and we're sure there will be unofficial methods of getting Jelly Bean onto those devices. 

Source: Computerworld

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4 years ago

Source code posted for Open webOS port to the Galaxy Nexus


We're not quite up to a flashable build just yet -- and we're still along way from using this as a daily driver -- but the source code has been posted to github to for an Open webOS port to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, just a few days after we got a taste of it running on said device.

As you'll recall, Open webOS is the open source version of webOS that HP release after killing off the Palm brand, and its hardware. It's great to see that it's got a little life left in it, and we've already seen teases of it running on Android tablets as well. Things are still very much alpha. Hardware acceleration is rough, at best. Or, as the webOS-Ports team puts it, it's "like a baby bird ... it crashes a bit after takeoff."

Stick around, folks. There's more to come.

Source: webOS-Ports; via webOS Nation

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4 years ago

Amazon Cloud Drive adds picture sharing and iPhoto exporting


Amazon's remote storage service, Cloud Drive, has recently been updated to allow users to quickly share photos with friends and family through the web interface. This update also allows those that manage their albums through iPhoto to get their photos uploaded in two clicks through the desktop app. Beyond features, the update also opens up Amazon Cloud Drive to Spain and Italy, following closely on its debut in the UK, Germany, and France. This is also hot on the heels of the launch of Amazon services in Japan. Obviously Amazon is getting ready to go big for the launch of the new Kindle devices. 

Though tightly related, Amazon Cloud Drive is a little different from the Cloud Music Player. Cloud Drive lets you upload all sorts of files to the cloud, while the MP3 player is more geared towards selling you and storing your songs. You can get the full tour in our combined review from awhile back.

Any European readers preorder one of the new Kindle Fire devices? How quickly will you fill up that free 5 GB of storage? Are you tempted at all to upgrade to one of the bigger tiers? Are there other cloud storage services you guys prefer to Amazon?

Source: Amazon

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4 years ago

Google says Motorola downsizing may be more expensive than anticipated


Motorola has been undergoing significant "restructuring" for awhile, and Google recently said that even more than expected. Google increased the estimated cost of severance-related charges from $275 million to $300 million for the third quarter, and that another $40 million in facilities costs were possible. Google addressed these changes in a statements.

"Motorola has continued to refine its planned restructuring actions and now expects to broaden those actions to include additional geographic regions outside of the U.S. ... Motorola continues to evaluate its plans and further restructuring actions may occur, which may cause Google to incur additional restructuring charges, some of which may be significant."

Between the uphill battle of making Motorola profitable and the patent disputes that it has exposed Google to (nevermind defended them from), it's getting harder to see the $12.5 billion acquisition as a good idea. On the other hand, Motorola wasn't in particularly good shape when Google acquired it; one can only imagine how much longer Moto would have lasted on their own. 

What do you guys think: has Motorola still not had a chance to prove itself as a worthwhile investment to the Android ecosystem, or is it becoming too expensive for Google to reasonably keep around? Was the acquisition worth it for the patents alone, or are we likely to see some really excellent devices come out of Motorola with Google behind them? 

Via: Reuters

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4 years ago

Motorola acquires facial recognition company Viewdle


Motorola recently confirmed that they've acquired Ukranian facial and gesture recognition developer Viewdle for an undisclosed amount (though rumor has it that the deal went down for between $30 and $45 million, and that Google and Motorola have been considering snatching Viewdle for the last couple of years). None of Viewdle's apps, including their augmented reality game or their social camera app, are showing up in Google Play or on any of their product pages. A Motorola rep issued a statement on the acquisition:

"Motorola Mobility today announced that it has acquired Viewdle, a leading imaging & gesture recognition company. Motorola and Viewdle have an existing commercial agreement and have been collaborating for some time. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.”

So far, the only real facial recognition technology we're seeing in Android is for unlocking the device, but Viewdle has clearly explored the space in a number of directions that Google and Motorola could take. Tagging photos from the camera, touchless gesture recognition, and augmented reality are just some of the areas Viewdle has been working in. Best of all, some of their technology can work locally on the device, so you don't even have to rely on a data connection to get these things working. We saw the technology in action last year, and it seemed to be working pretty smoothly. 

So, how would you guys like to see Motorola and Google implement these features in Android? Are they simply additions to the native camera app, or should they be folded into something like Google Goggles? There was a lot of concern over privacy awhile back when Google first started about facial recognition; are you worried about Google and advertisers knowing what you look like? 

Via: TechCrunch

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