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4 years ago

ZAGGsparq Contest Winners!


If you're a registered member here at Android Central then you know our forums always have a contest happening. And if you're not registered, well -- now is as good a time as any. This week's winners are as posted after the break, and if you were chosen watch your email as we'll be following up during the week. Stay tuned for more upcoming contests folks. Congrats to the winners!

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4 years ago

DC Comics [Android App Review]


If you’re a comic fan and you use an Android device, you’re definitely going to want to check out the DC Comics app. Now of course if you’re a Marvel-only guy/girl, this probably won’t be the app for you. But if you’re a fan of Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, or any of the other characters from DC’s universe, I’d highly recommend this app.

The home screen displays three tabs up top that allow you to navigate through the app. The My Comics tab allows you to view all of the comics that you’ve purchased, see those that have been recently downloaded or viewed, and filtered by series and creator. The Featured tab is much like the featured apps in the Play Store; it displays a variety of titles, both free and paid, from different superheroes. In addition to the featured material, you can see the comics that were just added or narrow them down to free-only. The final tab, Store, allows you purchase any of the comics within the app. You can search for a particular title, browse by series, genre, creator, publisher, most popular or storyline and also browse the free section.

One thing that I like about the app is that when you are ready to purchase a comic, the transaction is handled through the Play Store, so you don’t have to give your credit card to the app. When you purchase a comic, it will download it straight to your device so that you can start reading. If you want to ensure that your space is sufficient, you can go into the settings, where there is an option to manage storage. That is the only place in the app where you can delete a comic from your device. I wish it was easier to delete content, maybe in a future update.

This is a great app if you’re a comic fan and obviously if you are favorable to the DC universe. It allows you to purchase and view comics right from your Android device. With The Dark Knight Rises hitting theaters in about a month, this is a good time to get acquainted with the source materials that Christopher Nolan has drawn from.

DC Comics is a free app from the Google Play Store. We've got download links and screenshots after the break.

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4 years ago

Amazon Kindle app updated for better tablet support


Android's Amazon Kindle app got a nice little update today, bringing a couple of welcome improvements to tablets. Here's the full changelog:

  • Tablet users: customize your reading experience with new margin and line spacing controls.
  • Tablet users: see two pages side-by-side in landscape mode.
  • Fixed a bug that required some users to re-register when returning to the app.
  • Several bug fixes.

It's been a little while since I've used the Amazon App on a tablet that's not the Kindle Fire. We really didn't have proper side-by-side pages, eh? Well, it's fixed now. get your download on.

Download: Amazon Kindle for Android

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4 years ago

Rebtel brings free, high-quality VoIP calling to Android tablets


If you're looking for VoIP services, there is a few options out there and one of those options is Rebtel. Previously having built their Android app only for phones, Rebtel today announced they'll be rolling out v2.0 of their free calling app that will now support tablets in addition to smartphones and as such they've ensured to pack it full of features:

  • Optimized Tablet Experience - Inspired by Rebtel 2.0 for Android smartphones, the new Android tablet app features optimized high-resolution graphics and takes full advantage of the larger tablet screen real estate to give the user an immersive Rebtel experience.
  • Free Rebtel to Rebtel Calls - Rebtel 2.0 for Android tablets incorporates free calling between users running any one of Rebtel’s apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android smartphones, PC, or starting today, Android tablets. Calls are seamlessly connected using Wi-Fi or 3G (applicable to 3G-enabled Android tablets only).
  • Low-Cost Calls to Any Phone - Users of the Rebtel Android tablet app are not limited to our free Rebtel to Rebtel calls. Browse through your native tablet address book, select any contact with a number and get talking at rates up to 98 percent lower than an average carrier, and up to 60 percent lower than current Skype Out rates.
  • Native Address Book Integration - No more syncing issues that mess up your address book. Rebtel for Android tablets seamlessly integrates with the regular native Android address book, providing a clear view of which contacts are available to call for free, and which contacts can be reached at very affordable rates.
  • Low-Cost SMS - Prefer texting over talking? Send low-cost international text messages to friends in more than 196 countries with an average cost savings of up to 60 percent when compared to your regular carrier. If you want to ensure your friend can reply without being charged, tick the Collect Reply box and include a link in your message that lets your friend reply via a mobile web page while you pick up the tab.

I've not used Rebtel in the past but do use Skype a lot so I'm going to give this one a full go to see how it works out in comparison, if you're looking for a solution as well this may be it. If you're looking for more info, you'll find it below for your browsing pleasure along with a download link.

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4 years ago

Entry-level Sony Xperia Tipo announced


Hot on the heels of the Xperia Miro, which emerged on Facebook last night, Sony Mobile has announced the Xperia Tipo, a new entry-level smartphone running Android 4.0 on a 3.2-inch screen. Like the Miro, the Xperia Tipo rocks an 800MHz single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and comes in four colors -- black, white, red and blue. Other notable features listed by Sony include a 3.2MP camera, 1500mAh battery "with more than 24 hours of usage time." In terms of internal storage, you've got 2.5GB media space and 766MB for apps. That's way, way less than we'd like, but at least it's expandable via a microSD card slot.

So it's a decidedly low-end smartphone, though it should be interesting to see at which price point this device emerges. Sony's already done a pretty good job with its slightly-more-expensive budget offering, the Xperia U. If the Tipo can push things closer to the £100 mark, it might be worth a look.

Both Xperia Miro and Xperia Tipo are due for launch in Europe sometime in the third quarter of the year. Full presser's after the break.

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4 years ago

Pre-order the Acer Iconia A700 tablet today - 1080p, Tegra 3, 32GB for $450


Acer has announced that the Iconia Tab A700 will be available for pre-order today online and at "national electronics retailers" across the US. The 10-incher comes in two models, black or silver, both checking in with 32GB of storage. In addition, this is one of the first devices we've seen to officially support 64GB microSD cards (many others will, but don't "officially" support them) for a grand total of 96GB of storage. You'll likely be using that storage for a video or two, as the A700 is sporting a 1080p display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, 800:1 contrast ratio and a 178 degree viewing angle. Underneath, NVIDIA's Tegra 3 and 1GB of RAM should deliver the content very well.

We had a look at the A700 back at Mobile World Congress, and were rather impressed with both the screen and how thin and portable the tablet felt. If you've been waiting for the 1080p tablets to come, you might want to have a look at this one. In the meantime, we've got a slew of images and the press release after the break.

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4 years ago

Swiftkey gets the XKCD treatment


Swiftkey -- the Android Central 2011 Editor's Choice for third-party keyboard -- today has received an honor most of us can only dream of, having been immortalized as an XKCD comic by the genius Randall Munroe. The comic actually centers on the Swiftkey 3 beta, the shining feature of which is the ability to type without worrying about hitting that pesky space bar. The prediction engine takes care of that for you, going as far as completing sentences that you never started in the first place. And, as you can see, hilarity ensues.

Swiftkey's also asking what your default sentence is. Just hit the middle of the three prediction keys and see what you get. You'll need to actually be using Swiftkey, of course. (And if you're just getting started, expect to see "I am a beautiful person." You can share your result here.

Source: XKCD; download the Swiftkey 3 beta

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4 years ago

Samsung TecTiles brings new rewritable NFC tags solution


Looks like it's time for NFC tags to hit the big time. Samsung tonight announced TecTiles, its own rewritable NFC tag solution. 

For those of you new to the game, NFC stands for "Near Field Communication" -- think of it as very short-range wireless data transfers where you literally tap your phone against something to initiate the transfer. NFC tags are little stickers that, when touched by an NFC-enabled device, can then cause an action to happen. 

We got the opportunity to give them a spin last week in New York City and, guess what -- they're rewritable NFC tags. But they're going to be pretty darn handy.

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4 years ago

Three UK launch new EU data roaming deal


Following on from fellow UK carriers O2 and Vodafone, Three UK has pulled the wraps off their own EU data roaming deal, known as the Euro Internet Pass. Todays announcement is huge news for Three customers, and is made possible by the recent EU legislations on mobile roaming

So, what exactly is on offer? Your data, only in Europe, put simply. There is no tethering included, so even if you're on the almighty One Plan, you will not be able to take advantage of your tethering capabilities when abroad. Other than this, you have unlimited access to data for just £5 per day. There are some exceptions to valid countries, for example Norway and Switzerland aren't included. In contrast, in countries that aren't supported or if you haven't activated your pass, data is charged at £1.28 per MB. If however, you're heading to one of the countries below, you're in luck:

  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (incl. Azores & Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Balearic & Canary Islands), Sweden, Vatican City, Monaco.

Not supported is:

  • Aland Islands, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), Croatia, Cyprus (North), Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Georgia, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Isle of Man, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Martinique, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Reunion, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Turkey, Netherlands Antilles and the Rest of the World.

Activating your pass is incredibly simple too, with nothing to do back in the UK before you leave. Upon activating your phone in one of the supported countries, Three will send you a text message containing a link within. Clicking the link takes you to purchasing information, and from there you're all set until Midnight UK time that day. It can also be obtained by visiting on your phone.

Source: Three UK

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S III will launch on time, Apple's push for early injunction hearing denied


Apple won't be able to hold back the Galaxy S III tide in the US, as their request for an early injunction hearing against Samsung's latest has been denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose. Because her calendar was so full she had no time to hear the case before the June 21 Galaxy S III launch, effectively dashing Apple's hopes to keep it out of your hands. This does not affect the trial itself, which will go on as planned -- just not when Apple wants it to.

This is a big deal to both sides. The Galaxy S III is expected to sell well, and many users will be under a new two-year agreement when Apple releases their next model sometime later this year. According to analyst Dan Levine (read the source link), postponing the launch of the Galaxy S III was a major part of Apple's strategy in the battle for smartphone dominance, and we have to agree. Once users get the new Galaxy S III in their hands, they may not want to look at any other phone for a while. 

Source: Reuters

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4 years ago

Sony announces the Xperia Miro


Sony's countdown timer has reached zero (a good week or so ahead of the original date), and the manufacturer has announced its new mid-range, social-focused smartphone, and the Xperia Miro.

Unveiled initially on Sony Mobile's Facebook page, the Xperia Miro takes some design cues from the Xperia Sola. It's a sleek-looking 3.5-inch device with a 5MP camera, and that's about all Sony's saying on hardware for the time being. On the software side you've got Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, backed up by Sony's UXP NXT software. Based on the promo video that Sony's just published, there's been some expansion of the company's "Facebook Inside Xperia" initiative, bringing even closer integration between the phone and the social network (and it also explains the Facebook-centric promo campaign, we guess).

The Xperia Miro looks to be a Europe-only device for now, and there's no word on US availability just yet. As you'll see from our image above, the Miro is a colorful beast, coming in silver, black, pink and gold. If you want to see more, we've got a few extra pictures after the break, along with Sony's announcement video.

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4 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich wins Gold Prize for best platform experience at Parsons' 2012 UX Awards


Matias Duarte and team have reason to be proud this evening, as Ice Cream Sandwich has won the Gold Prize for best platform experience at Parson's School of Design's annual user experience awards show. We all demand a beautiful and functional interface on our smartphones, and Android really stepped up with Ice Cream Sandwich. As Durate's first real work with Google, it implements all the good from previous versions along with good looks and effects that make it stand out. 

The video you see above was the clip reel shown to the audience, which really does embody the eye for design and simplicity that went into Ice Cream Sandwich. Congrats, Matias and team on an award well deserved!

Source: +Matias Duarte. More: Android developers on Youtube

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4 years ago

Are you ready to Party Your Apps Off?


So there's a little event coming up in a couple of weeks in San Francisco. It's called Google IO, and if you somehow haven't heard of it, it's Google's yearly app developer conference. Lookout Mobile Security is hosting their annual "Party Your Apps Off" event at a top secret location in downtown San Francisco on the night before Google IO begins, June 26. Last year's party was amazing with free food, unlimited drinks, tons of Android giveaways, and of course awesome people to mingle with. This year is going to be even better, because on top of the free food, drinks, and incredible giveaways, the Lookout team will have some passes to the exclusive Ninja Party at DefCon in July to hand out, as well as a photobooth, one of the city's best Food Trucks, and more! You never know, you might even run into Phil or one of the other Android Central guys at the party!

Lookout has provided us with 20 passes to the Party Your Apps Off event to pass on to you guys. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling us why you should be chosen, we'll pick winners Sunday night and announce them on Monday. The lucky winners will receive two passes to the party (so you can take a friend, yay!) but that's it. This is not a pass to the conference, and it doesn't come with a hotel room or transportation. If chosen you are responsible for all of those things so keep that in mind. You don't have to be attending Google I/O to attend the party, but you do have to be in San Francisco on June 26th. Also, the party is 21 and older only, so take that into consideration.

That's it. Let us know in the comments why we should pick you! 

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4 years ago

Pentile, Kernels, ROM's and Verizon's new data plans [From the Forums]


Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums, there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, 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

Android A to Z: Multitasking


Multitasking is a word you'll hear a lot around here and at other places on the Internet that talk about smartphones or other tech. It doesn't mean what it used to, back when dinosaurs with long beards first dreamed up computers, but it still makes a very big difference for some folks and can be the deciding factor when picking a smartphone operating system. Let's have a look and see what the fuss is all about, and how it relates to Android.

A long time ago, in a laboratory far, far away, some Jedi masters decided that computers should do more than one thing at a time. They really already were doing plenty of things behind the scenes, but to the user it was a case of entering a command, and waiting for it to finish. Using threads and schedulers, and probably a little magic and a lot of luck, engineers were able to work up an operating system that could run more than one user command at a time, and multitasking was born. When you switch to a new VT (virtual terminal) on a Unix box with no GUI, you're multitasking. When you have more than one window open on your Windows or Mac or other computer that does have a GUI, you're multitasking. You're doing more than one thing at a time, and the computer is running more than one user task at a time. You can now read Android Central while your completely legal torrents are downloading in the background.

On a smartphone, multitasking is a bit different. We don't have the luxury of a 20-inch monitor, so showing more than one "thing" running at a time isn't a big deal. Samsung is testing the waters and trying it with the Galaxy S III with the Pop-Up Play feature, but for the most part whatever we're doing takes the whole screen to do it. We also don't have tons of RAM and video memory available and have to watch the power usage. This means smartphone multitasking has to be a bit, well, smarter. 

Smartphones have been multitasking for a long time. All the mobile operating systems do it a bit differently -- some suspending all other apps in the background, some saving the state and closing the app itself, and others just letting everything run. The way Android does it is to let threads and processes run depending on their priority. If you're using Google Play Music, the processes that make the sound come out of the speaker have a high enough priority to stay running when you switch away from the app. Not all of it is running in the background, but enough of it is to keep the tunes playing. Other apps can be killed if they aren't being used, and some apps get "frozen" (for lack of a better word) and restore themselves when brought back to the foreground. What's important, and prioritized, is decided when the application is written and compiled so the end user doesn't have to worry about it. It's not perfect, but it follows the very strong multitasking model from Linux and tweaks it for Android. It's all open-source, so manufacturers and ROM builders can (and have) tweaked things to allocate memory the way they want it allocated. Sometimes the tweaks are great, sometimes not so much

In the end, remember the next time you open an app and start up where you left off that you're seeing multitasking at work. 

Check out the complete Android Dictionary

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