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4 years ago

LG Optimus Black hits Europe later this month, coming to North America, too

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LG just announced that the Optimus Black -- as seen in our initial review -- will be released in Europe later this month. No specific date was given, but LG does note that 56 carriers in 50 nations worldwide have ordered the Android 2.2 smartphone, including in North America.

Need a refresher on specs? Here 'tis:

  • 4-inch NOVA Display (700 nits brightness)
  • Android 2.2
  • Dimensions:122 x 64 x 9.2mm
  • Weight: 109g
  • 1GHz processor (Texas Instruments OMAP3)
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • 5MP Rear Camera / 2MP Front Facing Camera
  • Gesture UI powered by Gyro-sensor
  • 2GB Internal Memory and Micro SD up to 32GB
  • 1,500 mAh Battery

If you're looking for some single-core awesomeness, you're going to want to check this one out, folks. (Again, see our initial review.) And if black's not your thing, it'll be followed by versions in white and pink. Full presser's after the break.

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4 years ago

How to cheat at benchmarks (and why we should downplay their importance)

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Benchmarks can be useful, whether we're talking mobile or any other computer hardware.  There is a problem though -- you have to depend on everyone being honest.  Let me explain.  Anytime you see a video or a screenshot of a benchmark score, what you're really seeing is a measure of how the software interacts with the hardware.  There are two big problems with that: No two Android phones run the same software, and there's always some joker who wants to cheat.  recently our pal John from Phone Arena noted some Quadrant scores of a new handset that are just too low compared to the other phones listed.  And good on John for pointing it out.

Sure, benchmarks can be fun, like see how little impact LG's UI has on the Optimus 2X compared to Stock Froyo, and they can be useful if you're running them yourself to gauge some changes you're making to your own software.  But we're over it. We're going to base our judgment of performance based on performance, and not numbers.

It's just too damn easy to cheat at all benchmarks, because they are just Android apps.  Look at all the other magic folks do with Android apps, and ask yourself -- are benchmarks so different that they can't be "hacked"?  The answer is no, and we're going to show you how to hack at the easiest (but definitely not the only) one to manipulate, Quadrant. 

Check it out after the jump.

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4 years ago

Dell Venue hands-on and initial review

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The Dell Venue remains unreleased on any U.S. mobile carrier, and is available only in an unlocked version for $499 directly from Dell. It's certainly a solid piece of hardware and it looks like Dell really took some time into crafting a sleek and attractive phone. The phone features a 4.1-inch AMOLED display that looks fantastic, but at 800x400 pixel, it isn't the top of the line, with higher-resolution qHD phones hitting the market. And unfortunately, I have to say the same about almost everything inside the Venue. Now don't get me wrong, the phone is far from a slouch, but on paper, it just doesn't stand up to some of the handsets we've been seeing rumored (and released) lately.

The Venue sports a first-gen 1 GHZ Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512 MB of RAM. The camera is a respectable 8MP with autofocus, digital zoom, and flash. The Venue has 1GB of on-board memory with an included 16GB memory card, and is powered by a 1400 mAh removable battery. With quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and tri-band HSDPA 7.2 (850/1900/2100 Mhz), the Venue is ready to run on EDGE on either AT&T or T-Mobile, and supports high-speed HSUPA uploads (though it lacks full support for either carrier's 4G HSPA+ network.) It lacks the 1700MHz band for T-Mobile's 3G.

That 4.1-inch screen is different than the 4.3-inchers big shots like HTC and Motorola have been shipping with, but with its slightly-curved shape, it comes together to create a unique look. At 4.76 inches tall and 2.52 inches wide, the phone has a completely different feel than most others on the market. It's thin, too, at just slightly over a half inch thick. But don't be fooled by the Venue's svelte figure: it's not light, by any means. With battery in tow it weighs in at 5.8 ounces. It certainly won't weight you down, but you'll certainly know you're holding it.

At first glance it would appear that Dell has maintained a mostly Vanilla-flavored Froyo, though after some digging around it's obvious that the Venue does come (very lighty) skinned with a Dell experience. It isn't as noticeable as, say, HTC's Sense (and certainly not as obtrusive as Motoblur), but we can't call the Venue a true “Google experience.” Dell has equipped the Venue with its “Stage” software, which it says will “Organize your music, photos and more so what’s most important to you is always at the front and center and never more than a touch away.” We'll show you more of that in our full review.

We'll be putting the Venue through its paces in the next few days, so expect a full review shortly. For now, you can take a look at the quick video run-through and some pictures of our shiny new Venue after the break.

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4 years ago

HTC Sense 3.0 lockscreen available for EVO 4G

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Well, folks, if you're itching to get your hands on the Sense 3.0-touting EVO 3D like most of us with EVO 4Gs are, you can now have a taste of Sense 3.0 that you can download and install on your rooted EVO 4G.  You have to be running a Sense 2.1-based Gingerbread ROM, then download and install the .apk file, reboot your phone, and voila!  A beautiful new Sense lockscreen awaits.  It works by dragging (or pulling, in HTC's terms) the semitransparent silver ring up to unlock and it performs quite smoothly at that.

One caveat I should mention -- the application shortcuts aren't working yet.  In a fully functioning Sense 3.0 lockscreen, you'd be able to drag the ring to an app shortcut (that you have chosen) and the phone would launch straight into that app.

On the brighter side, we do have working music app controls and alarm snooze/dismiss buttons that all work nicely.  Screenshots of these after the jump and download link at the source.

Source: XDA Developers; Thanks to deltatko for the tip!

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4 years ago

Costco teases possible Droid Charge re-launch

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Read our Droid Charge review

File this under "Tease," but it looks like we might soon get a re-launch date for the Samsung Droid Charge, following the postponement due to some LTE network tomfoolery. Costco's expecting expecting to receive word (presumably from Verizon) on Monday. We know the phones are in hand at retailers nationwide, just waiting to be sold. They just need to be given the green light.

Thanks, anon!

Droid Charge SpecsDroid Charge ForumsDroid Charge Accessories

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4 years ago

Sneak peek at the Seesmic Honeycomb Twitter client

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It was less than two weeks ago that we predicted the major Twitter app developers would soon (but not soon enough) be unleashing Honeycomb apps for Android tablets. Here, friends, is one of the first. We've gotten a sneak peek at Seesmic's upcoming Honeycomb Twitter client and present it to you here.

All in all, we're not overly surprised by the GUI. It's using the fragments that make up a big part of the Honeycomb experience -- basically the ability to bring more information to a larger screen. In the example above, Seemic founder and CEO Loic Le Meur tweeted about the Air France Flight 447 crash. The tweet included a link via ping.fm (which Seesmic bought last year) to the boingboing article, and we see the page loaded in a fragment on the right. And presumably other content will at least be previewed that way, too.

We're not going to read too much more into these screen shots (there's one more after the break) just yet, except to say that this is just the beginning of the Honeycomb Twitter apps, folks, and Seesmic has previously said publicly that we'll get a look at its app next week at Google IO.

More: Take our annual Twitter client poll

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4 years ago

Samsung Exhibit 4G leaks, looks like T-Mobile's latest mid-range offering

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T-Mobile is continuing its push of 4G Android phones, and the latest looks to be the Samsung Exhibit 4G.  The specs we're sure of, thanks to a tipster who sent a handful of pictures to T-MoNews, are TouchWiz, a front facing camera, Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), and a model number of SGH-T759.  Additional rumored specs include a 1.4 GHz ARM11 processor, a 5 MP shooter that does 720p recording, and a 3.7-inch AMOLED display. 

Looks like another nice mid-range Android phone from Samsung.  We'll be on the lookout for more about this one, for now hit the source link to see the rest of the photos.

Source: T-MoNews

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4 years ago

HTC EVO 3D shows up in ESPN The Magazine (Update: And in EW!)

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We know the HTC EVO 3D is coming soon to Sprint. We know it's coming this summer. We just don't know exactly when. And this little advertisement in ESPN The Magazine is doing its best to taunt us, and we're not happy about it one bit. Zoom in all you want, we sure don't see any clues as to when it'll be released. But don't forget that you can preorder one now at Best Buy, if you've really got an itch.

Update: And I just found one in this week's EW magazine. Pic's above. For those asking, the date you see on there is definitely 3/24.

Submitted via the Android Central App

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4 years ago

HTC ThunderBolt Review

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A familiar phone gets faster, thanks to Verizon's LTE network

 

It isn't very often that a smartphone has the the staying power to remain a best-seller for an entire year, and it's even more rare to see that smartphone still have a major buzz factor when it hits another carrier some 12 months after it was initially announced. That phone, of course, is the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint. And it's been revamped and revitalized as the HTC ThunderBolt -- the first 4G LTE smartphone on Verizon.

Let's just get this out of the way -- yes, the ThunderBolt is nearly a dead ringer for the Sprint EVO 4G, another HTC device. And that's a good thing. The EVO 4G was the first Wimax device, and the first Android smartphone with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and we'd still have little problem recommending it to someone today. So it was of little surprise that the ThunderBolt caused such a commotion leading up to its announcement at CES in January 2011, and that frustration over the nearly three months it took until release crescendoed to a level never before seen.

But, indeed, the ThunderBolt ushers in a new era -- the LTE era -- and that means a whole new experience. So join us after the break as we break down the ThunderBolt and its place atop of the smartphone mountain.

ThunderBolt SpecsThunderBolt ForumsThunderBolt Accessories

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4 years ago

HTC Sensation hits the FCC again, for real this time

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To add to the confusion, the HTC Sensation has cleared the FCC, and this time it has a name.  A few days back a phone with no name, identified only by a model number cleared the FCC, and we all thought that was the Sensation.  Today we see a different phone, with a different model number, but the name HTC Sensation clearly identified, making it's way through the FCC verification process.  Odds are that this time it really is the HTC Sensation.  The phone has T-Mobile "4G" radios and everything else is still marked confidential.  But it does say HTC Sensation, so it has to be it.  Right?  Right?

So to recap:

  • The PG58130 is the HTC Sensation according to the FCC label.
  • The PG59100 is the HTC Doubleshot according to information from the system dump.
  • The PG58100 is something with T-Mobile radios and FCC approval.  Now to find out what.

Source: FCC via UnwiredView. Nice sleuthing, Florin!

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4 years ago

ColorSnap makes painting your house a whole lot simpler

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Sherwin-Williams has released its ColorSnap app for Android, and suddenly I can’t remember how I lived life without it. For someone who’s colorblind like me, the app is a downright miracle and for normal sighted folk, it’s still pretty darn useful. The concept is simple and works like a charm: snap a picture of just about anything, or use photos already in your gallery, and ColorSnap will analyze the selected portion of the pic and match it to one of their millions of paint colors. Have a portrait you want to match your walls to? Snap it and the app will get you to Sherwin-Williams’ closest matching color. Admitted, I’ll never know exactly what the heck “Quixotic Plum” is, but at least now I know it’s what I used in my 2nd grade art project. Now if only I had ColorSnap that time I accidentally painted my walls "Barney purple"… Hit the break to grab Colorsnap for free from the Android Market.

Source: Sherwin-Williams

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4 years ago

US Cellular to provide 4G LTE service to 25% of customers by the holiday season

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US Cellular announced today that it will begin its LTE rollout and will be able to provide the 4G service to 25 percent of its customers by the holiday season. The initial coverage areas will include parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma. Some of the cities that will seeing the faster speeds first include Milwaukee, Madison, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Greenville, NC and Portland, Maine.

To compliment the new LTE service, US Cellular will also introduce a range of 4G enabled devices, which will continue to be released alongside deployment throughout 2012. More 4G LTE is a good thing and it looks like US Cellular customers will not have to wait long. Full press release after the break.

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4 years ago

Droid Charge case review: Mobi Products Skin Case

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Here's the Mobi Products skin case for the Samsung Droid Charge, one of the first cases for the new 4G LTE phone on Verizon. And it's a simple case, providing basic protection.

What you've got is a simple but durable skin that wraps around your phone. Or you slide the phone inside it. Your call. Regardless of how you get it in there, the case protects the shell of your phone from scratches or dings and helps improve your grip, which is good, seeing how the Droid Charge is a large device. It slips on and off fairly easily, but not so easy that it should come off without warning.

The skin case also sports an anti-dust coating, which is good for these rubberized types of skins. It has cutouts for the camera, microUSB port, lanyard holder, microphone and HDMI port. The volume rocker and power button are covered, but you can use them easily through the case.

The Mobi Products Skin Case, available in black, clear (seen here), purple or pink, is available for $9.99 from the Android Central Store. We've got more pics after the break.

Samsung Droid ChargeMore Droid Charge CasesAll Droid Charge Accessories

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4 years ago

How to remove the Infuse 4G microSD card

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(Yes, you'll need instructions)

You really shouldn't need an instruction manual to remove the microSD card from a phone. But things get a little tricky with the Samsung Infuse 4G.

Open up the battery cover and there's no card to be found. OK, there's a picture of one on the FCC label, but where the heck is the card? Samsung tucked it up under the SIM card. It's spring-loaded and pops out straight down toward the bottom of the phone.

But that's not the only trick -- it's mounted face down. You'll need to make sure the printed side is down, and the gold contacts are facing up.

As for actually getting your fat fingers around and under the card to remove it? You're on your own. Check out our trials and tribulations after the break.

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4 years ago

Sony Ericsson officially reveals Xperia Acro

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Apparently Cinco de Mayo isn't just a day for celebration and drinking, phone manufacturers like to join in on the fun, too.  Sony Ericsson announced a new addition to its Xperia line of phones, the Xperia Acro, the Japanese cousin to the SE Xperia Arc.

In a press release, Sony Ericsson told us its new phone would have Android 2.3 on board, huzzah!  It's always a good sign to see manufacturers preloading Gingerbread on their new phones.  It'll handle the processing with the help of a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and Adreno 205 GPU.  The camera will snap photos at 8.1MP and record video at 720p.  With the included Exmor R for mobile technology, low light stills and videos will turn out surprisingly well, often negating the use for the camera flash.  SE brags the Acro has "best-in-class imaging and display technology features," something we can certainly attest to given the excellence of the Xperia Arc's camera.  This allows it to take full advantage of the mobile TV functionality it's capable of.  All this goodness will be displayed on a 4.2-inch extra-wide screen powered by the Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine.  You'll be able to pick up an Acro this summer in black or white.

We have SE's full press release after the break.

Source: Sony Ericsson

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