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4 years ago

New in at ShopAndroid.com: Verizon Galaxy Nexus spare battery and charger

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Well, look at that. New on the shelves at ShopAndroid.com is the Verizon Galaxy Nexus Spare Battery Charging System. It includes a spare 1850 mAh battery, plus a spare battery charger, so you can make sure you've always got a fresh one ready to go. Ours also comes with a microUSB travel charger, so there are no excuses in keeping your phoen ready.

While we're at it, let's give one away to our U.S. Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners. Just leave a comment on this post and we'll pick a winner later this afternoon. Good luck!

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4 years ago

Verizon ZTE V66 tablet gets pic outed by the Bluetooth SIG

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Behold, the ZTE V66 Android tablet, apparently destined for Verizon at some point. The tablet as already been submitted to the U.S. FCC, and now a thumbnail picture (we've blown it up a tad here) has been listed on the Bluetooth Special Interest Group's site. 

What we're looking at in the V66 is a 7-inch tablet with some pretty rounded corners, Android 3.2 Honeycomb and 4G LTE data, along with the usual CDMA, Bluetooth, Wifi, and all that jazz.

We can also see a custom lock screen here, for what it's worth. And we're trying not to read too much into the "Sunday, February 2X" date -- it could mean anything or nothing, or it could be smack in the middle of Mobile World Congress. You don't typically see U.S. announcements come out of MWC, but then again we don't ZTE devices in the states yet to base that one, and there's no reason why Verizon couldn't be part of a larger launch.

Anyhoo, we'll be at Mobile World Congress if and when the V66 -- and we don't expect that to be the name Verizon ultimately bestows on it -- is announced stay tuned.

Source: Bluetooth SIG, FCC; via Unwired View, The Verge

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4 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Over the Rockies

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Here's a nice one from reader ThreeofNine, who snagged this shot from an airplane while over the Rocky Mountains.

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4 years ago

RIM's new CEO on Android hardware: 'they are all the same'

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To say it's been an interesting year for Research in Motion and BlackBerry would certainly be an understatement. It was about 10 months ago that we first learned that RIM's tablet would be capable of running full-fledged Android applications, and suddenly we had to start caring about what was coming out of Waterloo.

This week RIM has undergone probably its most important change since realizing SurePress wasn't a sure thing -- co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down as co-CEOs, and chief operating officer Thorsten Heins has taken their place in the head office. There have been calls for RIM to adopt Android. There have been calls fro RIM to adopt Windows Phone. Really, everybody seems to know what's best for RIM.

Our pals at CrackBerry got some one-on-one time with Heins this week, and we're learning a little more about his position on Android -- mainly that he's unimpressed with the hardware on which it's running. "They are all the same," he says.

Here's what Heins told CrackBerry's Kevin Michaluk:

Kevin: I keep reading these articles that BlackBerry should build on Android, but I just don't understand them.
Thorsten: Just take a look where the Android OEMs are. I leave this to you. Take a look at their recent announcements and what you will immediately see is there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same.

We've seen a lot of Android devices over the past year. Some good, some not. A lot of black slabs, to be sure. But also a dual-screen phone. Two phones with 3D screens. BlackBerry-esque phones with tiny screens and quint little keyboards. Thinner, lighter, faster, with web browsers that actually work and games you're not ashamed to play in public. Android hardware manufacturers might be guilty of too many models, but you certainly can't say they haven't experimented, even if it led to failure.

Before Heins bemoans the "sameness" of Android hardware, perhaps another look at RIM's own stable is in order.  

Check out Kevin's entire interview with Thorensten Heins at CrackBerry.com!

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4 years ago

Android Central 85: The Droid RAZR MAXX, LG Spectrum, Google privacy changes

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Audio-only stream below

We're back once again with the Greatest Android Podcast in the World! Up this week is the LG Spectrum, Droid RAZR MAXX, Jerry finally gets a Galaxy Nexus, and we talk about Google's privacy policy changes. (Note: There's no video this week. It'll return next week.) 

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4 years ago

Vlingo responds to privacy issues raised about its Android app

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The popular Android app Vlingo has come under a bit of fire the past several days, as it seems the application is sending a bit more data than they explain in their privacy agreement.  The folks over at Android Pit found some things that raised a few eyebrows, so we reached out to Vlingo to see what was what, and if we need to worry.  We spent some time talking to product engineers, and our conclusion is that everything's on the up-and-up, but there were some issues with the way their privacy agreement was written or presented to the user and a software bug or two at work.  

Things get a little muddy, partially because there's more than one Android version.  One is available in the Market for any device to download, and there's a more customized version offered by OEM's like Samsung on the Galaxy Note.  Different versions with different licenses and agreements simply led to the wrong version of the privacy agreement being presented to the user.  The developers and staff at Vlingo recognize that there's an issue, and were completely transparent about the entire thing.

They also came across a bug that allowed the service to run even if the user initially canceled the request, and another that sends location data when none is requested.  Again, Vlingo was up front about the issue and answered any questions we asked.  They even have set up an opt-out process for folks who don't want to use the product with these issues, and they will delete all user data from anyone who requests it.

Yes, it's bad when software bugs force an application to send the wrong data.  It's also bad when users aren't presented with the correct use policies -- even though most would never read them.  But these types of things happen, and the real test is how the company reacts when presented with issues of this sort.  And Vlingo aced it.  They were courteous, and seemed genuinely concerned about the issues, without trying to back pedal or lay the blame at someone else's feet.  This kind of transparency with the community is exactly what we deserve and expect.  Hit the break for the official statement, in its entirety.

More info about the privacy concerns: Android Pit

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4 years ago

Pulse News - Updated with bug fixes for tablets, dark mode

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If you're a user of Pulse News you'll want to the Android Market and grab the latest update. Getting bumped up to v2.7.4, this releases addresses some issues with dark mode and more importantly takes care of a few bugs for tablet users. It's not a huge update but it's an update either way and we like updates -- especially when they improve the end-user experience. Whether you're looking to give Pulse News a try for the first time or just looking to get updated, you'll find the link past the break.

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4 years ago

Late night poll: Do you play games on your Android device?

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Games can be really fun to play on your Android device.  There's all sorts of them available, from ones for dedicated "gaming" hardware like the Xperia Play, to HD games optimized for tablets.  But Android is good for a lot of things besides games.  Some use their device as the web in their hands, others need a portable e-mail solution, some of us are heavy texters.  Tonight, I'm curious and want to find out just how many folks out there like to game on their Androids.  I know since I got an Android tablet, I find myself playing more games than I ever imagined myself playing.  What say you my fellow Android fans?

 

Do you play games on your Android device?

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4 years ago

GTA III updated, now compatible with Transformer Prime

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The launch of Grand Theft Auto III on Android was a pretty big deal, but initially a lot of devices couldn't play it. Todays update among other features adds compatibility for the Asus Transformer Prime. 

Support is also added for the Medion Lifetab, but even better is the added support for the Gamestop Wireless Controller. Controls are also improved for currently supported gamepads, and for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. New video display settings help you to tailor the visuals to your particular tastes. 

And the final piece of the puzzle is that the game can now be installed to an SD card. For some this will be a most welcome update. Download links can be found after the break. 

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4 years ago

Wifi-only Motorola XYBOARDs now shipping

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With pre-orders for both the Wifi-only Motorola XYBOARD 10.1 and 8.2 having started up a while ago, Motorola has no decided its a good a time as any to actually start shipping the device out. An email was sent out, letting folks know the devices are now up for purchase on the Motorola website with free two-day shipping available as well for orders over $75. That's not a problem for those of looking to get a Motorola XYBOARD though considering the prices are as follows:

  • XYBOARD 10.1 32GB: $599.99
  • XYBOARD 10.1 16GB: $499.99
  • XYBOARD 8.2 32GB: $499.99
  • XYBOARD 8.2 16GB: $399.99

We've reviewed both the Motorola XYBOARD 10.1 and the XYBOARD 8.2 already, so if you're considering grab one, make sure you check out the reviews. If you've already decided you're going all in -- then you can hit the source links below to place your orders.

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia S boasts 'dirt-repellent' coating and 'fast charging'

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As launch day approaches, more technical details of Sony's new Xperia S are starting to trickle out. We learned all the key specifications at CES (where we also got some hands-on time with the device), but now two interesting new features of the Sony flagship phone have come to light, according to Swiss tech site PocketPC.ch.

Firstly, the site reports that a Sony Ericsson product manager told them the Xperia S has a "dirt-repellent", "UV-active nano-coating". We're not even going to pretend to know what that means, but if it protects the device from scrapes and daily wear-and-tear, we're all in favor. For what it's worth, the presence of an "anti-stain shell" has already been confirmed on the official Sony Ericsson Facebook page.

The product manager also reportedly spilled a few details on the new battery tech employed by the Xperia S. The phone is said to use improved lithium-polymer technology that's capable of recharging in half the time taken by earlier models, with ten minutes of charging time apparently being enough to power the device for a whole hour.

The Xperia S is due to launch in Europe from the second week of March. Its American counterpart, the AT&T Xperia Ion, will land stateside during the second quarter.

Source: PocketPC.ch; via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

What is NFC? [Android A to Z]

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What is NFC?  NFC stands for Near-Field Communication and is a set of standards (established in 2004) for small, portable devices to establish radio communications with each other. Devices need to be close, usually no more than a few centimeters apart (and often they need to touch), which is why it's a Near-Field way to communicate. The standards cover data exchange formats defined by the NFC Forum (no, not that kind of forum) and are based on the original radio frequency identification (RFID) standards.  The forum also certifies devices like tags, cards, and smartphones.  

The coolest part of all this is that only one of the devices needs to be "smart."  Most of us has a credit card of some sort that we can tap against a payment machine, either at the gas pump or a cash register.  Both the payment machine and the credit card are NFC devices, but the card only has a string of information electronically written to a tiny chip embedded inside it.  And this is useful for other things, like starting and handling more robust communications like Wifi or Bluetooth, but most often it's used with one of these "dumb" chips.  These dumb chips can be written with any information, and the smart device determines what happens when communication is established.  

Of course, what most of us here think of when we hear NFC is Google Wallet.  Google Wallet takes things a step further by using your Android phone as both a smart device and a dumb device.  When you tap your phone at McDonald's to pay for those McNuggets, it's simply sharing your credit card credentials like any card would.  But there's functionality and hardware there to accept payments, track balances, provide security and more.  Right now it's only officially available as a test on the Nexus S 4G, but it's been hacked onto other phones with NFC hardware.  Soon, we'll see it (and other apps for things like ISIS) as a standard on Android phones.  Until then, we'll just have to play with tags and Android Beam.

Previously on Android A to Z: What is MWC?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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4 years ago

Rezound update, RAZR MAXX impressions [From the Forums]

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We're blowing through this and tonight -- we'll have another awesome Android Central podcast for you all! While we get our podcast faces on, why don't you all take a stroll through the Android Central forums? Check out some of the threads below:

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

New version of Google Music Manager allows easy downloading of purchased tracks

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Here at AC, we love Google Music, and some of us have it cranked high all day long while the lovingly sweet sounds of Led Zepplin or Motorhead coax us through the workday.  But I digress, and maybe that's only me.  We especially love it when changes get made to makes things easier, and today is a good day for easy.  Google has updated the Google Music Manager program to allow for easy downloading of songs you have uploaded or purchased from the Android Market.  Music Manager is the portion of the service you run on your computer to upload and manage your library, and we have to admit when compared to competitors like iTunes or Zune it's a little sparse.  

With today's update, you can download all your legitimately *cough* purchased and uploaded music with just a few button clicks.  Right click on the Music Manager in your system tray, open the options dialog and choose the "Download" tab.  From there you have the option to download your library.  If you've downloaded it before, you'll also have an option to only download newly added songs.  The tracks are saved in the folder you specify as 320 kbps .mp3 files.  Your songs still stay in the cloud, but now you've got a local copy as well.

In addition, server side changes now allow you to share the Youtube video for purchased songs with your Google+ circles.  Click the dropdown next to the song title to share the video with your circles, and they'll see it in their Google+ timeline.  Now if only the rest of the planet could use Google music, it would be perfect.

Source: Android Market support; via +Android

 

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4 years ago

Google's Android developers want you to say goodbye to the menu button

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Goodbye menu button, hello Action Bar overflow!  Today on the Android Developers blog Scott Main, lead technical writer from Google, wrote up a nice piece of prose about how developers should migrate away from the traditional menu-button based way of designing applications.  You see, Ice Cream Sandwich allows for the folks designing phones to do away with all those buttons we've grown accustomed to at the bottom of our screen, and replace them with software based buttons built into the OS and apps.  It's something we first saw in Honeycomb tablets, where the need for menu buttons was removed by the introduction of the ActionBar class.  

Google wants developers, and in turn us users, to learn to love the Action Bar.  Scott gives examples of how the new Action Bar "overflow" (those three dots that replace a menu button in ICS) can replace what we traditionally needed a menu button for, and even how to build applications to use both methods -- developers don't want to forget all the devices that haven't been updated to Ice Cream Sandwich yet.  It's an interesting read for those who keep up with Android application interface guidelines, and a must-read for all you developers out there.  

Most importantly, Scott stresses that the application UI should have all the important  elements right up front for the user to see, and the overflow should be used for things not important enough to be on the screen.  He also gives instruction on how to make the legacy menu button not appear if it's not being used, and how to get rid of the whole Action Bar if an application doesn't need it.  As developers get their apps updated for ICS and beyond, we'll be able to say goodbye to those three dots we chase all over on "buttonless" phones and tablets.  That's a good thing.

Source: Android Developers Blog.  Thanks, Sebastian!

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