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4 years ago

Great things, like the Android OS, change with the times

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Suddenly today, the Internet is all a buzz with the prototype version of Android devices from the mid-2000s. Maybe it has something to do the millionaires at Oracle and Google fighting each other in court today over the money in our pockets. Or maybe it's because Android is so awesome that every little thing about it makes for a great headline. Probably a little of both. In any case, we figured we'd have a look ourselves at how things that are great go through changes. Back in '06, Android looked a lot like the ChaCha BlackBerry. Pretty much all good smartphones did. That prototype phone was called the Sooner, and there are still a few of them floating around today. I wish I had one myself. That's a picture of one above, courtesy Mike and Maaike. At the time, that's what smartphone users wanted -- an easy way to see content, and communicate quickly via text. Hence the QWERTY. I've never used one, but I imagine for things like e-mail and texting they were awesome. My old BlackBerry was, and sometimes I miss it. But again, things change. 

Then, in late 2006 LG introduced the LG KE850, also known as the LG Prada. It was a 3-inch capacitive touch screen phone that put multimedia content into a smartphone. After winning multiple awards for design, and selling over a million units (which was an amazing feat back then), things had to change. On the heels of the debut of the KE850, a little company called Apple decided to try their hand at a touchscreen based smartphone. That changed everything, for just about everybody -- including Google. The anticipated 2007 release of the Sooner didn't happen, and instead we had to wait for Google and T-Mobile to have a love fest and deliver us the T-Mobile G1, which incorporated the QWERTY with a touch screen. Other companies didn't rest on their heels either, phones like the HTC Touch Diamond and BlackBerry Storm showed up with varying degrees of success. It was obvious that capacitive touch screens could add multimedia to the user experience, and the modern smartphone was born.

Change is good. As long as it's done right, most of us can get on board. Heck, even old dinosaurs like myself now use touch screen phones with no keyboard, and secretly we enjoy it. It's significant because products that don't change to reflect what users want will slowly wither on the vine, and great engineers and designers keep a finger on the pulse of the users and deliver. Android, and all modern smartphone operating systems owe much to the pioneers of media-centric smartphones, and we hope things never stop changing for the better.

More: The Verge

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4 years ago

Wallpaper Wednesday - Sky, Phil's Podcast Mic, Antique Flowers

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Looking for something sweet to set as you wallpaper? If you haven't already taken notice of our amazing free Android Wallpaper Gallery (shame on you) there is no better time than now! We have tons of great wallpapers to meet the needs of just about anyone out there, whether looking for some great custom designs, some candid shots, or some favorites from around the 'net, they are all here.

If you don't see what you want in the gallery, and happen to find it somewhere else, do us a favor will ya? Spread the love to the rest of the Android Central Community and upload it, it's simple and takes only a minute. Be sure to log in before uploading so we know who they came from, and we can give you the proper credit when we show them off!

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4 years ago

Acer Iconia Tab A500 ICS update now showing as available for some

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Acer not too long ago decided to let folks know their Android 4.0 ICS updates for the 7-inch A100 and the 10.1-inch A500 Tabs were well on their way. That said, Acer noted the A500 wouldn't see the update until April 27th in the US or Canada, yet some folks in the forums have already got their OTA update sent out to them.

If you have a Acer Iconia A500, go ahead and check for updates -- you may find it there waiting for you. If you're looking to find out what all the changes are, head on into the Android Central forums where some folks having been going through the update. While most stuff seems intact, notably missing is the Acer added ring which many appreciated on the device but was an Acer customization.

Discuss in the Android Central Forums

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4 years ago

Google Maps update adds elevation data, graduates scale bar and zoom buttons from Labs

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Although Google most recently pushed out a critical bug fix for Google Maps, they've wasted no time un rolling out the next update. The changes are fairly small in nature, but for some folks it may improve the usage of the app overall and that's always a good thing. As noted in the Google Play Store, the changes this time around are:

  • Elevation data added to "Measure" Lab
  • Scale bar and zoom buttons graduate from Labs into Settings

The update is now live in the Google Play Store, so hit the link below to get updated or just simply fire up the store on your device and head to you're "My Apps" section.

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4 years ago

Galaxy S3 spotted in Samsung Kies software

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The latest appearance -- if you can call it that -- of Samsung's next Galaxy phone seems to give further weight to the possibility that it'll be called the "Samsung Galaxy S3". The name has appeared today in Samsung's Kies PC software, which is used for synchronizing personal media to Samsung smartphones and tablets. The entry is found in a very specific place -- you'll need to go to "Samsung Apps", select "France" as your region and then track it down in the list of phones that appears.

There appear to be two variants of the device -- GT-i9300 (which we're already familiar with) and GT-i9300T. Unfortunately, though, there's no way of telling what separates the two devices at this stage. Also, don't get too excited about the tiny thumbnail image up there, it's just a Galaxy Note (compare it to the Note image directly below).

So it's looking increasingly likely that "Galaxy S3" is indeed the name. But however things play out at the May 3 announcement event, we'll be there to bring you full coverage. In the meantime, you can chat it up in the Galaxy S3 forums.

via SamMobile

More: Samsung Galaxy S3 forums

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4 years ago

Big Android BBQ 2012 dates announced!

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Been wondering when the next Big Android BBQ is? Wonder no more. October 19-21, 2012 in the Dallas Fort Worth area of Texas is when and where it will all go down. To help keep track of how many days are left to go, there has also been a Big Android BBQ countdown widget released.

We're sure there will be more information to come in the next little while but for now -- the dates and venue are indeed set. You can grab the countdown widget from the Google Plat Store for which, you'll find a link to below.

Source: BigAndroidBBQ

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4 years ago

Angry Birds Space updated with 10 new levels, could Simpsons tie-in be next?

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Rovio's updated its interstellar swine-smashing simulator Angry Birds Space with 10 new levels. The new challenges can be found within the 'Fry Me To The Moon' chapter, which sees the classic pig-versus-bird battle re-enacted on a series of icy worlds. Fortunately the new levels are available in the free and ad-supported phone versions of the app, as well as the tablet-only HD version, so everyone gets to play. If you've already got Angry Birds Space installed, you can grab the latest version by hitting that update button in the Google Play Store. If not, we've got links after the break.

In an interesting twist, this latest update also adds a teaser zone to the main menu -- an unmistakable pink Simpsons-style donut. Could a Springfieldian crossover be in the future for one of the leading mobile gaming franchises? We'll have to wait and see.

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4 years ago

Sony on track with its Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 rollouts for 2011 Xperia smartphones

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Back in March, Sony highlighted some details surrounding their rollout of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the 2011 line of Xperia smartphones and at the time, their plans looked a little like something like this:

  • Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray, starting mid-April.
  • Xperia Arc, Xperia Play, Xperia Neo, Xperia Mini, Xperia Mini Pro, Xperia Pro, Xperia Active and SE Live with Walkman, getting ICS "the end of May/early June."

Sony has now taken to their blog to let everyone know the updates, especially for the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray are rolling out as planned and they will continue to roll out the updates globally as soon as possible. To further address the matter, Sony has been listing the devices and their carrier related software version numbers so that folks may check to see if their device update has been approved. Although we're sure some folks will still be upset with the wait time, it's nice to see Sony keeping folks in the loop.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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4 years ago

Mobile Nations 15: BlackBerry 10, HTC One, Lumia 900, new iPad

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Kevin, Phil, Derek, Simon, Jay, and Rene talk BlackBerry 10, HTC One, Nokia Lumia 900, the new iPad, something something webOS, and Google Drive. This is Mobile Nations!

Agenda

Hosts

Feedback

Got something to say? Agree or disagree with something we said? Have something you want us to discuss on a future show? Don't just sit there yelling at the screen, dammit, let us know!

Credits

Our music is pROgraM vs. Us3R by by morgantj. Introduction by Joseph Holder.

Thanks to the Mobile Nations network of store for sponsoring this podcast, and to our fantastic live chat members for keeping us honest and making us smart!

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4 years ago

What I'm using: Phil's current favorite smartphone of the week

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Asking me which phone is my favorite is like asking my which one of my children I prefer. Sure, I could probably come up with an answer, but there's no way in hell I'm going to tell you. I joke that my favorite smartphone is the one that's currently charged. And that's not far off, but neither is it a good answer. 

My daily driver really comes and goes with the release cycle. Much of 2011 was spent with an HTC ThunderBolt, before moving on to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Before that it was the Motorola Droid X and the Nexus One and the Samsung Infuse 4G and ...

You get the idea.

For the past few weeks, however, I've been using the HTC One X and the HTC One S. I've been using the One X more, mainly for radio reasons -- T-Mobile's just not that great where I live. But there's no denying that the display on the One X is gorgeous, if not a little big. So, yeah. The One X is my weapon of choice these days.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Sense 4. That's not to say it's perfect -- there are some bugs about and design choices I disagree with -- but it's a nice improvement over stock Ice Cream Sandwich (which I also really like). So there's that. I'm not running a third-party launcher on top of Sense. That's partially out of laziness, and partially because Sense is good enough. (I do miss vertical scrolling in the app drawer. But apparently I don't miss it enough to bother with a third party launcher.)

I'm actually only using two of the seven home screens. Craziness, I know. But folders on the main home screen takes care of most things, as does the customizable dock. Check it all out in the video below.

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4 years ago

Deezer streaming music services launch in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, brings an Android app along with it

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If Slacker Radio, Rdio and the various other streaming music services out there aren't really meeting your needs, Deezer has now expanded their support to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Previously available in over 200 countries, the addition of new regions will help add to the already existing 20 million subscribers Deezer claims to have onboard and their Android app makes it easy to access all your music files from wherever you are. So what does Deezer offer?

  • Discovery Mode (Free) - The Discovery Mode on PC/Mac and mobile devices will allow you to listen to radio channels and smart radio (unlimited listening) and to music on demand (access to 15 million tracks) in 30-sec clips
  • Free Trial - If you want to try out, you can get a 15-day free trial. You'll have the ability to unsubscribe during the 15 days, no commitment, no payment due
  • A huge on-demand library - In partnership with 2.000 music labels including Universal, Warner, Sony and EMI, DEEZER offers to music fans the most complete catalogue: 15 million tracks available on-demand and thousands of artists' discographies, biographies and reviews. Users are also invited to upload their own tracks onto DEEZER to create their first playlists.
  • Premium ($4.99 /month) - Unlimited streaming on any PC/Mac
  • Premium+ (9.99/month) - Also available on mobile phones, all smart phones, tablets, IP TVs & IP Sound Systems including Sonos and Logitech Squeezebox, making it more ubiquitous than any other digital music platforms. You can even play your music offline; on a plane, on top of a mountain, anywhere, you won't need 3G, Wi-Fi or the web to access it.

You can sign up today and get yourself a free 15-day trial, though Deezer does somewhat require a Facebook account to get started. There are ways around that though, offered via the website -- just not through the app. You can jump past the break for some more screenshots of the app in action as well as the download link.

Source: PRNewswire

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4 years ago

Fresh rumors on next Samsung Nexus, new HTC Facebook phone offered by Digitimes

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Let's offer a little context right off the bat -- Taiwanese tech rumor site Digitimes has an at-best patchy record when it comes to reports on unannounced devices. So naturally we'd recommend taking these latest Samsung and HTC rumors with a hearty pinch of salt.

First off, it's reported that Samsung has once again been chosen by Google to produce its next Nexus handset -- the follow-up to the Galaxy Nexus that's expected to appear in late 2012. ​Digitimes ​says that Samsung's position as the leading Android smartphone manufacturer means Google will continue to co-operate with it on future Nexus phones, leveraging "its ability to control the supply of key components", according to the site's sources. This is the first rumored (and of course entirely unconfirmed) information we've heard regarding the 2012 Nexus, which would be the third Google flagship phone to come out of Samsung. The phone would presumably be the reference device for the next version of Android, said to be codenamed "Jelly Bean."

In other news, ​Digitimes​ also reports that HTC and Facebook are preparing to team up on another Facebook phone, which will come to market "in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest." The two companies co-operated on the HTC ChaCha (Status) and Salsa last year, though neither device was met with much success. The new phone, which is said to be running Android, "will have a platform exclusive to Facebook to enable and integrate all functions available on the social networking site", according to the site's sources. That's pretty vague, but based on the direction Facebook's taking its official Android app, we wouldn't be surprised to see Facebook integration baked into the native camera and messaging apps, at the very least.

So there you have it -- two rumors, both completely unconfirmed. We'll have to see how things pan out in the months ahead, but we wouldn't be too shocked if either of these turned out to be legit. We've seen some pretty aggressive expansion out of Facebook recently, and we're sure no-one would be surprised to see yet another Samsung Nexus.

Be sure to give us your take on this latest batch of rumors down in the comments.

Source: Digitimes

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4 years ago

HTC One S available today on T-Mobile

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Today's the day, folks! The HTC One S is now available on T-Mobile here in the U.S., making it the first phone from the HTC One line to launch here in the states. (The HTC One X is coming May 6 on AT&T, and the EVO 4G LTE -- essentially Sprint's One X -- is coming eventually, with preorders beginning May 7.)

If you're on the fence, here are the broad strokes: It's ridiculous thin, especially considering that it's a 4.3-inch phone. It's light. It's got a power processor. It's got Sense 4, which we like a lot. And it runs on T-Mobile's 42 Mbps network. Aww, hell, just read our complete T-Mobile HTC One S review. It'll make your day a little brighter.

Buy now: T-Mobile HTC One S
More: HTC One S forums

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4 years ago

Facebook for Android updated with new icons for Camera and Messenger

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The official Facebook app for Android has been updated with a couple of small changes to the "Camera" and "Messenger" applications that come bundled with it. The new app icons, which first appeared in Facebook's 1.9 update late last week, were criticized by some due to there being little to tell them apart from the camera and SMS apps pre-loaded on most Android phones. The fear was that users would be confused or worse, misled by the apps' presence.

It seems Facebook's taken this criticism to heart, and today it's acted to make things a little more clear for users. In the new version, both app icons now display the Facebook logo in the bottom left corner, further differentiating them from pre-loaded camera and messaging apps.

Hit that update button to grab the new version. Alternatively, we've got the usual Google Play Store linkage after the break.

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4 years ago

Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile getting Wimax devices

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Sprint may be killing off its Wimax line in favor of LTE, but that doesn't mean the nation's first widespread 4G network is actually going to die. During this mornings Q1 earnings call, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced that Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile -- two prepaid names it manages -- both will have Wimax devices later this year.

That's particularly interesting for Android fans on the prepaid carriers because it almost certainly means Wimax Android devices.

Hesse promised additional information later this year.

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