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4 years ago

Photo Stream, Power Control Widget [From the Forums]

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It's has been a somewhat busy week for Android news plus, we managed to get another awesome Android Central podcast up for you all. If you missed out on anything, you'll want to jump back a few pages and get yourself up-to-date. Make sure you stop by the Android Central forums as well:

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

Could Instagram land on Windows Phone before Android?

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We all really love unfounded rumors about things, right? (OK, not all of us.)  Well, Fastcompany seems to believe that Instagram, the ever-popular photo application for iOS devices, could actually land on Windows Phone before Android, eventhough Instagram has already confirmed that they are working on the Android application. Fastcompany is claiming that Microsoft may have worked out a deal with Instagram to bring the application to Windows Phone, but we are left wondering if Instagram would really release their application on a platform with a much smaller marketplace and market share.

For now we must sit back and wait, but we're not getting too worked up over things just yet.

Source: Fastcompany; via: WPCentral

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4 years ago

Android A to Z: What is the JIT?

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What is the JIT?  JIT stands for "Just In Time," and we use it to describe a Dalvik JIT compiler, which was added to Android with the 2.2 release.  It compiles bytecode into native machine code at runtime.  Essentially it takes the code for an app, analyzes it and converts it into something that runs faster.  It does all this while the application is running, and that's where the "just in time" tag comes from.  The JIT compiler designed for Android also can do this with a very short "warm up" time, meaning it doesn't take very long to analyze the code before it starts working.  It stores information in a cache in your phone's RAM, which means it's not an ideal solution for devices with low memory.  It's been optimized to have a small footprint -- about 100K per process -- but even that is enough to impact performance on older models like the G1 or HTC Magic.  This is why most phones that came before the Nexus One never got an official version from Google -- hardware limitations.

You hear terms like "runs faster" or 4 to 5 times performance increase anytime you talk about Android's JIT compiler.  A JIT compiler simply saves CPU cycles -- more work can be done for each clock cycle.  This means applications that were throttled by CPU performance get faster, and apps that are "rate-limited" (run until they are finished without taxing the processor to the maximum) finish faster and use less battery because of it.  Not all applications see a significant speed increase, and most applications written with the NDK or in native code won't see an increase at all, as they don't use the Dalvik virtual machine.  

If all this reads like Greek to you, that's OK.  To the end user (that's you and me) all we should see is better performance in most of our applications.  We certainly saw that when Froyo was released for the Nexus One, and things have just gotten better with every release.  For the more technically inclined, check out the video from Android engineers Ben Cheng and Bill Buzbee during Google I/O 2010 where the JIT compiler was introduced.

Previously on Android A to Z: What's an IPS display?; Find more in the Android Dictionary

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4 years ago

Acer Iconia A200 video hands-on

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So a few quick thoughts on the Acer Iconia A200, now that's it's available in stores: Yeah, it's yet another dual-core 10.1-inch Android tablet. Yeah, there's a little more software lag than we'd like to see. Yeah, we've got wait for it to get Ice Cream Sandwich. Yeah, it's not the thinnest tablet you've ever picked up. Been there, done that, right?

But absolutely do not write off the A200. For $350 for the 16GB model, you could do worse. Now, that statement might well change in the next 6 months, as ASUS has a 7-inch quad-core tablet on the way for $250. (Insanity!) But for today. we're pretty impressed with the A200 after just a few minutes of use. 

Most of what you see is pretty familiar. Honeycomb is Honeycomb. But Acer's tossed in some interesting software improvements, including a lockscreen with quick-launch shortcuts, and a neat little "Ring" launcher that lives on top of the home screens, but only when you call for it to. It's an interesting differentiator, and it's nice to see a little work put into an otherwise interim version of Android.

Hit the break for our quick hands-on. And stick around for the end of the video for a little surprise.

More: Acer A200 specs; Acer A200 forums

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4 years ago

US Cellular offering $100 off smartphones, HTC Merge goes free

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Looking to pick up a new Android device but having trouble deciding which device to get and which carrier to select? US Cellular is trying to make things enticing for customers by offering $100 off smartphones starting today, and the savings is instant. With this discount you can get the infamous HTC Merge for free, the Motorola ELECTRIFY for $149.99, and the  Android-powered Samsung Repp and Huawei Ascend II can be yours for the low price of just a penny.

Right now customers who switch to U.S. Cellular and choose one of its value-packed plans also receive double rewards points that can be used towards faster phone upgrades and free phones, ringtones and accessories. U.S. Cellular offers the only points-based rewards program in wireless along with other unique benefits, like Overage Protection and Battery Swap, which is one of the reasons it has the happiest customers in wireless.

Not bad, USCC. Anyone jumping at this one?

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4 years ago

Acer Iconia A200 now available at Best Buy for $349

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Update: Watch our video hands-on!

As if deciding on an Android tablet wasn't hard enough now yet another one is available to make things harder. The Acer Iconia A200 is now available from Best Buy, both online and in stores, for $349. The A200 is a Honeycomb-based tablet, but all signs point to a mid-Febuary ICS update -- and there's a giant sticker on the box saying that an upgrade is coming. So, will this be your next tablet? Be sure to stay tuned as we review this bad boy!

Source: Best Buy; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

White Samsung Galaxy Note launches in the UK Jan. 23, at John Lewis Oxford Street

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Samsung has announced that the white version of its phone/tablet hybrid device, the Galaxy Note, will be launching in the UK from next Monday, Jan. 23. The catch is that for a limited time it'll only be available at the John Lewis store on Oxford Street, London, as part of an exclusivity deal between Samsung and the upmarket retailer.

Samsung's already seen considerable interest in the Note, which combines a 5.3-inch HD SuperAMOLED screen with stylus input and a 1.4GHz Exynos CPU. It announced in late December that it'd shipped one million units since the device's November launch.

If you're not in London, Samsung says that "additional channels" will begin offering the white Galaxy Note in February. However, if you do pick up your white Note at John Lewis, you'll be rewarded with £250 worth of "free music, films and e-books", presumably meaning some sort of voucher.

We've got the full press release after the break. For more on the Note, check out our full review.

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4 years ago

BlueStacks app player out of alpha, beta-bound "soon"

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BlueStacks, that nifty little Android app player bound for PCs everywhere, is out of its alpha stage and heading into beta "soon." BlueStacks will sync the apps on your smartphone or tablet and store them in its own cloud, where they will then be accessbile on your Windows Vista or 7-powered PC. BlueStacks is free and works so well that it earned itself CNET's coveted "Best of CES" title at this year's show. Hit the source link to sign up for the beta and be sure to sing out when you become one of the lucky chosen ones. 

Source: BlueStacks

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4 years ago

UK retailers slash HTC EVO 3D prices

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When we reviewed the GSM version of HTC's EVO 3D back in August, our main complaint was the exorbitant price of the phone. On-contract deals were nowhere to be found, and at the time of review SIM-free prices came in at over £500 (~$830), considerably more than the similarly-specced HTC Sensation.

Now, at least two British retailers have decided to significantly cut their asking prices for the device -- Expansys is currently selling the EVO for £284.99 with free shipping, while ASDA Direct has it for £249.99. These prices make the EVO 3D notably cheaper than the Sensation, which currently sells for around £350 SIM-free. The more expensive device also lacks the EVO's 3D display, and packs a smaller amount of RAM (768MB vs. 1GB).

So if you're in the market for a high-end HTC phone, an EVO 3D for around £250 represents great value -- five months ago this thing was selling for double that amount.

More: ASDA Direct, Expansys

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4 years ago

Free Android Wallpaper of the day - Pillars and mirrors at CES

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Today's free Android wallpaper comes from our own Phil Nickinson. This was shot just last week at CES. He can't remember which booth it was, but these mirrored rectangular stalactites definitely caught his eye. The pic was taken with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus camera, with all default settings. (And check out the wallpaper born from the Audi booth at CES while you're at it.)

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4 years ago

Carbon for Android Twitter client gets a sneak peek, on Twitter, natch

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We've been kind of down on Android Twitter clients of late. Sure, the "official" Twitter app has gotten a lot better, but other favorites seem to be dying off. Tweetdeck was purchased by Twitter, so it's no great surprise to see it languish as a standalone app. Our old favorite Seesmic hasn't been updated in months (though they do say an update is on the way), and there's still a dearth of really good tablet-designed Twitter apps.

That's why we're pretty excited to see webOS-favorite Carbon getting into the Android game. As we first told you last year, developer dots & lines is bringing the popular Carbon app to Android (and Windows Phone). And last night, UX director Saleh Esmaeili gave us a sneak peek at how things are going. Of course, still (black-and-white) images only show you so much, the clean lines are very much piquing our interest here. 

Stay tuned for updates, folks.

Source: @dot1ne; more: @CarbonAndroid

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4 years ago

Call of Duty: ELITE arrives on the Android Market from Activision

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Activision has unleashed a new companion app for you all you Call of Duty fans out there. The new mobile app -- Call of Duty: Elite ties into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and pulls information from all your recent matches and more:

  • Check your Career Summary for deep details on your multiplayer activity. Analyze your progress over time to see which areas you need to improve in and which areas you excel in.
  • Review Recent Matches to track your performance on a match-by-match basis.
  • View and edit your Custom Classes on the go. Push your changes into the game so you’re ready to play the moment you load up multiplayer.
  • Track your Challenge progress to help you work toward the highest XP gains.

If you're looking to get more interactive with your Call of Duty gaming then this is the app for you. It's available for devices Android 2.2 and up, though it doesn't appear to fully support tablets so keep that in mind. A few shots of the app can be found past the break, as well as the download.

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4 years ago

Android Central 84: CES wrap-up, in-car Android, the trouble with Lightsquared

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Audio-only stream below

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Android Central Podcast, where we finally put CES 2012 behind us and look ahead to Mobile World Congress, talk some in-car Android wishes, figure out what's wrong with Lightsquared -- and answer a few of your e-mails and voicemails. Join us!

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4 years ago

Google Maps updates to version 6.1.1, fixes 'bugs on tablets and phones'

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If you're a Google Maps user, you'll find a new app update waiting for you in the Android Market this morning. The new version 6.1.1 fixes "bugs on tablets and phones" according to the latest change log. We're not aware of any serious problems with earlier versions of Maps, but if you've been experiencing any issues in the past, hopefully this latest revision will have you fixed up.

You should see an automatic update notification if you've already got Maps installed. Otherwise, head past the break for the Market link and QR code.

Update: According to feedback down in the comments, this update fixes a bug involving starting the Navigation app directly on certain Honeycomb devices, as well as an issue with phone numbers on the search result page.

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4 years ago

Angry Birds Seasons: Year of the Dragon now available

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Following on from last week's announcement, Rovio has released the latest instalment of Angry Birds Seasons. In celebration of the year of the dragon, this latest batch of levels have a Chinese New Year theme, and the mighty eagle has even transformed into the mighty dragon for the occasion. Rovio's also made the mighty dragon free to use throughout this latest chapter, meaning you'll be able to unleash the wrath of the dragon to destroy levels without paying a penny.

If you don't already have Angry Birds Seasons installed, you'll find Android Market links after the jump.

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