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4 years ago

Tag Heuer launching eye-wateringly priced Android smartphone

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Are you in the market for a truly exclusive Android smartphone? Money not an issue? Well luxury Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer have just the device for you. Their latest creation is called the Racer, it does run Android, and will cost a staggering €2800 ($3670).

So what does all that money actually buy? No plastic for one. The Racer is constructed from carbon fiber and titanium, protected by a shockproof rubber chassis. With its exposed screws and "avant-garde communication" labeling, the Racer certainly looks expensive. 

Curiously -- and despite having the four buttons on the front -- we're promised the "latest Android software" on the Racer. For the price though you would have to say that a little Ice Cream Sandwich is the least you deserve. Specs are pretty sparse -- read non-existent -- at this stage, but we are promised a "new customizable 3D user interface to fit the individual needs of each owner." 

CrackBerry Kevin's beloved Porsche Design BlackBerry P'9981 has itself some company in the exclusive, ridiculously expensive, designer smartphone market. The Racer is due in July, and to get one you'll be visiting one of Tag Heuer's own boutiques, selected watch and jewelry retailers and luxury mobile boutiques. Definitely no Best Buy on this one. Check out a short promo video after the break. 

Source: Tag Heuer

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4 years ago

Input/Output is Google's solution for killing time until IO 2012

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Google is busy gearing up for its big IO Developer Conference in June (we'll be there!), but what's the point of hard work without a little bit of fun? Today the developers team introduced us to its idea of a good time: Input/Output, a game of strategy, geometry, architecture, and all that stuff that you may or may not consider fun depending on your level of geeky. In order to build the perfect machine, you'll need to arrange (and rearrange, and then rearrange again) pendulums, flippers, elevators, redirectors, tracks, and walls to get your particle from one end of the screen to the next. It's a bit of an acquired taste, but if you're visiting the Google Developers' page in the first place, you probably have at least some interest. And hey, if you're good enough, your machine will be featured front row center during the conference. Fun or not, it's definitely one way to kill the time between now and June 26.

Source: Google IO

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4 years ago

T-Mobile HSPA+ lights up in 8 new cities

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T-Mobile today announced that it's flipped the switch on its HSPA+ 4G network on eight new cities. They are:

  • Abilene, Texas
  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Odessa, Texas
  • Victoria, Texas
  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Eau Claire, Wis.
  • Joplin, Mo.
  • St. Joseph, Mo.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray in a blog post also says that the company's priority is now on prepping for an LTE rollout in 2013, and that it'll be "well positioned and ready to move to LTE Advanced" beyond that.

More: T-Mobile

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4 years ago

Google IO 2012 registration to start March 27

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Registration for this year's Google IO developer conference in San Francisco will begin at 7 a.m. PDT March 27. And you'd better set your alarm -- the 2011 conference sold out in less than an hour. Here's the pricing breakdown:

  • General attendee: $900 -- up significantly from 2011.
  • Academia (student, faculty): $300

Google's got a few rules to follow, too -- only one ticket can be purchased per person, and it's up to Google to approve any ticket transfers. You'll also need access to Google+ and Google Wallet to register.

It's worth a reminder that you'll undoubtedly be hearing about the hardware Google likes to give away at its developer conferences -- last year it was a Samsung Verizon LTE Mifi and a special-edition Galaxy Tab 10.1 -- but graft is the absolutely wrong reason to go to IO. The giant wall of candy and robots and the big official party and the hours and hours of information from the people that make all this happen? Now that's the reason to go.

The 2012 Google IO conference has expanded to three days and runs from June 27-29 at Moscone West in SOMA. And you can bet your bippy we'll be there for the whole thing.

Be sure to check out our complete coverage of Google IO 2011 for a taste of what we might see this year.

More: Google IO registration

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4 years ago

HTC Velocity 4G ICS update now rolling out in Australia

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Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the HTC Velocity 4G (that's the international version of AT&T's Vivid) has started to push out to handsets on the Telstra network in Australia, according to reports. Aussie blog Ausdroid.net reports that in addition to ICS, the update brings the LTE-connected phone up to HTC Sense 3.6. That's the same version of HTC's UX layer that arrived on European Sensations last week, including a few tweaks here and there, but not the complete overhaul offered by the upcoming Sense 4.0.

If you're a Velocity owner in Australia, you can get your hands on the latest version by heading to Settings > About phone > Software updates and tapping "check for updates."

Source: Ausdroid.net

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4 years ago

Xperia Sola gets an early hands-on, shows glove-friendly touchscreen

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The Sony Xperia Sola has been official for just a few hours, but already an early hands-on video has surfaced, showing the (dual-core) mid-range smartphone's unique profile and "floating touch" technology. As we said in our announcement post, this is an extension of touchscreen technology which allows the device to sense when your finger is hovering over the screen. Sony's been keen to show off how this can allow you to use your finger like a "cursor" in the web browser, but the hands-on video shows a different use -- allowing touch input through clothing (i.e. gloves), even using non-capacitive materials.

We've got no idea what kind of black magic Sony is channeling to make this work, but we'll admit to being impressed. And we're hopeful that many more uses of this tech will present themselves as the Xperia Sola approaches its Q2 release window.

We've got the video embedded after the break.

Source: AndroidNext.de

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4 years ago

Next wave of Galaxy S II ICS updates begins March 19

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If you weren't lucky enough to be part of the initial roll-out of Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the Samsung Galaxy S II, then you shouldn't have too long to wait. The long-awaited update started pushing out to Galaxy S II owners in Poland, Hungary, Sweden, and Korea this morning, and more European countries should start to see it from next Monday, March 19.

The news comes from Samsung by way of British tech site Pocket-Lint​, and the good news for anyone in the UK is that it'll apparently be a part of this second wave of countries. Of course, if you're not afraid to tinker with your device, you could always just change your CSC code and update through ODIN. (If you don't know what any of that means, it's probably just best to wait for the OTA.)

Source: Pocket-Lint

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4 years ago

Nova Launcher Prime [Android App Review]

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

The first time we took a look at Nova Launcher, I could only pine away for the day I'd actually have a phone that could run it. Finally that time has come, so after consulting the Google+ populace to make sure I was making the right choice, I installed Nova Launcher and upgraded to the full, Prime-laden version. Let me tell ya, it was so worth it.

If Nova Launcher by itself is a completely superior launcher to the stock Ice Cream Sandwich launcher (and it is), Nova Launcher Prime takes it up to 11. When you upgrade to Prime you unlock swiping gestures for your phone, app hiding in your app drawer, dock swiping, and a whole host of cool scrolling effects.

Nova Launcher by itself is unbelievably awesome because it's so darn fast. Scrolling is fast, menus are fast, screen previews are fast. It's like the Speedy Gonzales of Ice Cream Sandwich launchers. And on my Galaxy Nexus, Nova Launcher Prime absolutely screams.

Nova Launcher Prime is also incredibly customizable. You can change how many homescreens you have, change the amount of icons on the dock, change the screen transitions, the folder background shape, how many docks you have, well, the list goes on and on. If you're a bit OCD about how your launcher operates (or just about what size your grid is), Nova Launcher will help you keep everything in check.

Last but not least, there's also a backup and restore function included, so in the event you lose everything (or get a new phone or do a ROM wipe or something), you can easily restore all of your settings that you so painstakingly put together once and save yourself both the heartache and time. It might seem like a small thing, but once you restore a launcher once, you'll wonder why you ever bothered to manually set one up again.

My final verdict? Nova Launcher Prime is the real deal. It's easily the best launcher for Ice Cream Sandwich that's out right now, and if you're rocking a phone with Android 4.0, at the very least, Nova Launcher (free) should be installed. It's that good. TeslaCoil Software knows how to produce great Android apps, and with Nova Launcher, they've kept their streak going.

Nova Launcher Prime is $4 in the Android Market Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.

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4 years ago

Virgin Mobile officially announces the Venture

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The Virgin Mobile Venture is now official, a day after it went up for preorder. The phone is manufactured by Alcatel and is going for $99. It's got a 2.7-inch touchscreen and full QWERTY keyboard, a 2MP camera and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It's got the Virgin Mobile version of the Sprint ID pack, so you can theme it out in a number of ways.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Verizon data struggling this morning? Sound off here!

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Been getting e-mails from a bunch of you folks this morning saying that Verizon's data network is again struggling. Doesn't look like it's a nationwide outage, which is good, but we've heard from enough of you, suggesting that this may be a thing. So who's having issues, and where are you?

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4 years ago

Sony unveils Xperia Sola with 'floating touch' technology

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Sony has today revealed the Xperia Sola, a new 3.7-inch Android smartphone similar to the Xperia P and Xperia U, which were unveiled a couple of months ago. If you've been following the rumors over the past few months, you'll recognize this as the MT27i "Pepper".

The Xperia Sola is packing a brand new technology called "floating touch", which allows the screen to sense when there's a finger hovering over it. The main use case highlighted by the manufacturer is web browsing -- on the Xperia Sola, users will be able hold their finger over a web page like a cursor, before touching the screen to select. It's an interesting concept, but we'll have to spend some time with the device before we're completely sold on it.

The Xperia Sola also sports a different profile to most of Sony's other 2012 smartphones. There's no clear element near the bottom of the device, and the screen protrudes from the base, likely due to whatever extra tech Sony's crammed in behind it to facilitate that "floating touch" feature.

Internally, the Xperia Sola closely matches the Xperia P -- there's a 1GHz dual-core ST-Ericsson chip inside, a 3.7-inch "Reality Display", and all of Sony's usual software stuff on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread (an update to ICS is promised for "Summer 2012"). You also get NFC support, which lets you use Sony's "SmartTags" to automate certain tasks when they're in range.

The Xperia Solai will launch globally in black, white and red during the second quarter of the year. We've got today's full press release, alongside some introductory videos, after the jump.

More: Xperia Sola gallery

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4 years ago

A number of European developers left waiting for Google Play payouts

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Admittedly we're not all that versed on the ins and outs of how Google pays developers for apps purchased from the Android Market Google Play. But one thing we do know is an angry mob (editors are particularly good at spotting them), and one appears to be growing in the Google Checkout Merchant forums. In a nearly week-old thread with more that 100 posts, it seems a growing number of European devs have yet to receive payment for February. Almost worse is that they apparently aren't getting much in the way of explanation.

Developers are the lifeblood of any platform. (Perhaps you've heard.) Let's hope this gets straightened out soonest.

Source: Google Product Forums

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4 years ago

Late-night poll: Do you run a custom ROM?

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OK guys and gals -- I'm doing a little leg work here for a project I have in the works. You might have seen my question on Google+ asking folks with a stock Android phone if they use a custom ROM (if you haven't seen it, and you can answer, please do!). Tonight I'm tapping the collective mind of our AC faithful and asking a similar question:

Do you run a custom ROM on your phone?

The poll is below, and whether you do or don't, or even if you're not the rooting type, let me know. Share the link with your friends who use Android, they can vote as well. I need as much data as possible. If you have anything to add, by all means let me know in the comments!

My answer? Yes. On a stock vanilla device I usually just run stock AOSP, which technically counts as a custom ROM, and on devices that aren't stock I'll pick one of the great Android developers out there who has stripped out the bloat and cleaned up the base and use his or her work. I do it because I can, I'm nerdly like that. Now let me know what you all do.

Do you run a custom ROM?

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4 years ago

Vizio Tablet Honeycomb update rolling out

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The Honeycomb update for the Vizio VTAB1008 looks like it's rolling out a bit broader, bringing the VTab to version V.I.A. Plus 2.0 and Android version 3.2.1. We first heard it was slowly pushing out earlier this afternoon, and have been checking our own VTab here every hour or so, but by now we've heard it enough times to know it's not a fluke. Reports say that you will lose the capacitive buttons around the bezel in favor of on-screen soft buttons, but to balance that out custom launchers like ADW (seen above) now work and you can make your VTab feel more like stock Android. 

It's too early to know any serious bugs, or what sort of impact this will have on battery life, but anytime a "legacy" tablet sees an update to Honeycomb we're happy. If you're using a VTab, be sure to check for updates (menu>settings>about device>Vizio update service) before you hit the pillow. There's a couple other pics after the break.

Thanks everyone who sent this in, and thanks Dale for the pics!

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4 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich available now for Galaxy S II in Europe and Korea

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It's official -- The Samsung Galaxy S II is getting the Ice Cream Sandwich starting today in parts of Europe and Korea. Folks in Poland, Hungary, Sweden, and Korea should soon see the OTA update they have been waiting for. Samsung also states that the update will roll out in other markets gradually, and to expect ICS for the Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II LTE, and Tab 10.1 and 8.9 versions "soon".

Of course for those who have a carrier branded Galaxy S II, "the availability and scheduling of the software update and specific models upgradable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and wireless carriers’ requirements". In other words, we're at the mercy of folks at Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile here in the U.S. Hopefully we'll soon hear something specific. If we do, you all will be the first to know.

Source: Samsung; via @SamsungMobile

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