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4 years ago

Chrome vs. Safari - Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S

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Check out our Chrome for Android Walkthrough!

The race for the best mobile browser is just about dead even. Android's browser has certainly competed with its Webkit cousin in mobile Safari for several versions now, partially from borrowing bits and pieces of Chrome code. (Anybody remember this demo from Google IO 2010?) But while the browsers might have been fairly level under the hood, Safari's definitely had the edge in what the end users see, with scrolling and zooming that's buttery smooth.

With the introduction of the Chrome browser on Android (currently available in beta form), the mobile browsing playing field has been leveled that much more. Behind the scenes, things are running as fast as ever. And out front, on the display, the Android's browsing experience has taking another evolutionary leap forward.

We've got a quick comparison video and some more benchmarks after the break. We're not looking for the most scientific of results here -- though the benchmarks speak for themselves. Really, it's the feel of the Chrome browser on Android (and, again, remember that it's still a "beta" product, for what that's worth) that we're most interested in.  

Click on through to the other side, and be sure to check out our pals from iMore.com for their thoughts on the Chrome-Safari showdown.

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4 years ago

New SwiftKey X Alpha now available with improved punctuation

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SwiftKey X has a new Alpha now available for download to VIP members. This release looks to address user concerns with punctuation in certain languages with French, Arabic, or Greek be some of the key focal points. As noted on their forums, users should be on the look out for the following changes:

Closing brackets: The space before } ] ) is removed and a space after the closing bracket is added. So if you write SwiftKey) by selecting SwiftKey as a prediction, the space between SwiftKey and ) is deleted and another space is inserted after the closing bracket.

Closing quotes: If you type "I like SwiftKey" by selecting SwiftKey as a prediction the space between SwiftKey and " is deleted and another space is inserted after the closing quote. This behaviour is adjusted for quotation marks used in other languages such as « », „ “, etc.

You can access the various quotation marks by long pressing the " key in the 123 panel of the keyboard.
French: There is now a space both before and after ! and ?

So if you write Bonjour ! by selecting Bonjour as a prediction, the space between Bonjour and ! remains and another space is inserted after the exclamation mark.

Notice that typing another ! gives you Bonjour !! (without a space between the two exclamation marks).

No space is added after : and ; to allow you to write smileys without having to delete this space.

Arabic: Arabic inverted comma, semicolon and question mark now behave like their English counterparts.

Greek: The Greek questionmark now behaves like its English counterpart.

Those changes aren't all that is involved with this release, there are a few others but those are the highlights. As always, if you're joined up for the Alpha testing make sure you offer feedback to the developers. Apps get better with feeback and that's what alpha testing is for.

Source: SwiftKey

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4 years ago

Vonage Mobile for Android available now in the Android Market

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That other VoIP company, Vonage, have launched their new mobile offering with Skype firmly in their crosshairs. The app listing in the Android Market even goes as far as name-dropping the Microsoft owned competitor, while advertising their own service including free worldwide texts and calls.

Vonage Mobile promises high definition audio calls over WiFi, 3G and 4G worldwide, and cheap-rate international calls to people not using the application. You don't have to be a current Vonage customer to take advantage of the service either. Credit can be applied to your account via your Android Market account and it uses your existing phone number and contacts list. Any of your existing contacts using Vonage Mobile will be indicated, leaving it straight forward to take advantage of free communication. 

As a launching offer, all calls to any phone in the US, Canada or Puerto Rico are free from anywhere in the world for a limited time. Terms and conditions naturally apply to this so be sure to check them out first. You'll find a handy promo video after the break, along with download links if this looks like something you want to try for yourselves.  

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4 years ago

HTC says first Ice Cream Sandwich updates coming in March, adds more phones to the list

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Manufacturer HTC today on its Facebook page gave word that its initial round of Ice Cream Sandwich updates will be available by the end of March. First up are the HTC Sensation, Sensation 4G and Sensation XE, with the Sensation XL to follow. (Note to HTC: Got enough versions there?)

That's just for starters, of course. Back in November, HTC told us that the Rezound, EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G also would receive updates as well. And today, HTC has added the Vivid, Incredible S, Desire S and Desire HD to the update list. There's no word on when they'll be updated (other than "later this year"), but it's certainly a good start.

Here's HTC's full statement:

HTC has been working hard to get its Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades ready, and we’re excited to announce that our first round of ICS upgrades will roll out by the end of March for the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation 4G and HTC Sensation XE, followed soon there after by the HTC Sensation XL.

In addition, we can confirm Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades will be coming later this year to the HTC Rezound, HTC Vivid, HTC Amaze 4G, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G, HTC Incredible S, HTC Desire S and HTC Desire HD. Stay tuned for more updates on Ice Cream Sandwich releases in the coming weeks.

Not a bad roster, indeed. But notabily absent remains the likes of the HTC ThunderBolt, one of the more popular Verizon smartphones of early 2011. Anyone feeling left out?

Source: HTC Facebook; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Kindle for Android updated to v3.4.0 - Reduced app size, page numbers and bug fixes

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The latest Kindle for Android update is now rolling out to users, giving the app a bump up to version 3.4.0. The latest release has of course some bug fixes included in it but more importantly it addresses the size of the app as it is now a smaller download for all.

In addition to the size adjustment, Amazon has also included page numbers so that users may keep track of reading progress using numbers that match the real book. Why that took so long to implement we may never know but it's there now and that's pretty groovy. Hit the break for the download.

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4 years ago

Expensify updates with greater on-device reporting, sharing features

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Expensify is a must if you have to track and report your expenses, and it just got a pretty major update to Version 3.0. 

New in this version is the ability to view and edit all of your expenses, view scanned receipts and zoom in to see details, organizes expenses into reports, and the ability to create, rename and submit reports -- all from your phone.

If you haven't given Expensify a shot yet (fair warning: It's a free app, but some of the features will cost tad extra), it's absolutely worth a look. We've got download links after the break.

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4 years ago

TELUS kicks off LTE network with Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and LG Optimus LTE

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The third of Canada's big three carriers is finally launching their LTE network. Starting tomorrow, TELUS will be offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and LG Optimus, both with LTE connectivity. Not far behind that is the Samsung Galaxy Note, which is due to drop on February 14 with a $199 pricetag on contract. We had caught a glimpse of the LG Optimus LTE bound for TELUS last week, but now everything is super-duper official.

The TELUS LTE network will cover all of the major centers, and a few of the smaller ones. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa are the biggies,  but Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton, Belleville, Quebec City, Halifax, and even Yellowknife will have coverage as well. By the end of the year, TELUS aims to douse 25 million Canadians with delicious LTE service. Target speeds will be in the average of 12 - 25 Mbps, and capping out at 75 Mbps.  

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4 years ago

Aquarium for Google TV [Google TV app review]

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Most people have at least one TV in their house, and while you're not watching it it's just an ugly, black window.  If you're the proud owner of a Google TV unit of one sort or another, it doesn't have to be this way.  I stumbled across this one in our forums, and I'm glad I did.  It's called Aquarium for Google TV, and it does exactly what you would think it should do -- displays an aquarium scene on your television screen.  It's serene, it's beautiful, and it sure beats an ugly black box hanging on the wall of your living room.

You have the choice of five different scenes, ranging from goldfish and a whimsically bubbly castle, to a computer generated bit of magic that has fish big and small, even sharks.  You can choose to play some soft new-age style background music while the app is running, or just leave it silent.  Unfortunately, and this is the only drawback I can think of, you can't play Google Music in the background while running the app.  I've a feeling that this is a Google TV limitation, because I've not run across any applications that will allow it.  So no pretty fish on the screen while Foghat roars through the speakers for Jerry.  I'll get over it, and I think the wife is sort of happy about that.  

To be clear -- this app is great.  We usually have it running here at château Jeri, and even the dog likes to watch it play.  But I want to take a minute and mention that the developers are just as awesome as the app.  This is the app I was trying to load when my Market account hung.  I fought with Google Wallet, I fought with Logitech, I fought with everyone involved except the developer.  I shot off a quick email with my order number and he sent me a copy to sideload and use until I got everything all straightened out.  Guys like the folks from Arrowhead Technologies make me wish I could give an app more than five stars.  

If you have a Google TV set top box or television, you'll want to give this one a look.  You can find it in the Android Market for just a buck.  We've got video action and a download link after the break.  

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4 years ago

Nokia N9 gets a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich in early screenshot

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The Nokia N9 is a great piece of hardware, some users have been pining for Android on the device instead of the built-in MeeGo OS. As it's a relatively developer-friendly phone, it wasn't long before some enterprising hackers got to work porting Android 2.x, and later 4.0, to the N9.

One such developer, Alexey Roslyakov of the NITDroid team, appears to have made significant progress bringing ICS over to the Nokia N9's stylish hardware. He tweeted several images, including the one above, which shows the familiar Android 4.0 launcher being beamed from the N9's AMOLED display. The developer also says he's working on the ability to dual-boot between MeeGo and Android, making it easy to go back to the stock software.

As with any port of Android to unsupported hardware, progress is likely to be steady but slow, and judging by the rendering anomalies in the screenshot, there's still a fair bit of work to be done. Proprietary hardware drivers remain a significant issue, as they are on the CyanogenMod 9 port for the HP TouchPad. Unlike the TouchPad, though, there's been no N9 fire-sale, and the device remains around £400-500 mark this side of the pond.

So for the moment, this is one for the enthusiasts. But we have to admit that if it ever turns into a fully-functional port, we may be just a little big jealous of all you N9 owners.

Source: @drunkdebugger; via: Slashgear

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4 years ago

Google responds to Wallet hack, recommends not installing it on rooted devices

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Following the news yesterday that Google Wallet's PIN security has been cracked (for rooted users, on unsecured devices), Google has issued an official statement to clarify a few details, including who's vulnerable, and what users should do to protect themselves.  In a statement given to TheNextWeb, Google confirmed what our own Jerry Hildenbrand said in his write-up yesterday -- only rooted users are potentially vulnerable.

"The zvelo study was conducted on their own phone on which they disabled the security mechanisms that protect Google Wallet by rooting the device. To date, there is no known vulnerability that enables someone to take a consumer phone and gain root access while preserving any Wallet information such as the PIN.

We strongly encourage people to not install Google Wallet on rooted devices and to always set up a screen lock as an additional layer of security for their phone."

So again, only rooted users are at risk, and the recommendation to avoid Google Wallet use on a device with root is a sensible one. For the minority of Wallet users who are rooted, we're sure a fix will come in the days and weeks ahead. And if you're running a nice, clean stock device without any hackery of your own, you've got nothing to worry about.

Of course, news of this vulnerability will likely cause some damage to Google Wallet's reputation, at a time when Google's working hard to increase uptake of its payment method. If and when mainstream news outlets pick up this story, it'll be interesting to see whether they, like Zvelo's original press release, neglect to mention the crucial detail that a pre-rooted device is required.

Source: TheNextWeb

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4 years ago

Google to launch cloud drive service says WSJ

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Google is set to release their own shared cloud storage solution, says the Wall Street Journal.  Their insiders have said that Google will soon launch called "Drive" will rival Dropbox in functionality, being able to "store photos, documents and videos on Google's servers so that they could be accessible from any Web-connected device and allows them to easily share the files with others."  It sounds like it will have some overlap with Picasa, Google Docs, and Youtube, but at this time nobody has all the particulars.  

The new service, expected to launch in the coming weeks or months, will be free for most folks, businesses included.  Google will only charge those who want to "store a large amount of files", so there will be a premium service with more capacity.  If Google does release this one, we would certainly expect it to hit Android devices soon after.  Could this be the big thing at Google I/O this year?

Source: WSJ

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4 years ago

Late-night poll: Do you use lockscreen security?

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Security is important.  We carry a crapload of information in our phones, and with the world of NFC payments slowly becoming a reality, we'll be keeping even more in our pocket and in the cloud.  As we saw earlier today late yesterday, keeping things like PIN codes safe is tough with so many eyes out there trying to find a way around it.  Nobody should have been surprised, nothing is 100 percent secure.  

That's why it's always a good idea to use more than one way to stay safer.  You have secure tokens and password encrypted information on you phone, but keeping people from even getting that far is easy to do with a secure lockscreen.  Android is like Unix, and when someone gets to your homescreen, they're essentially logged in as you.  They can start any application that you can, and start any service.  If you're rooted it's even worse, they can grant super user privileges to anything.

On the other hand, having to unlock your phone every time you get an IM or e-mail gets old fast.  For someone who has never lost a phone, the idea of skipping secure methods seems sensible.  We're not going to argue, your logic is sound (even if others think differently) and it's your device to use the way that makes you happy.  But we're curious.  Answer the poll and let us know!

Thanks, Icebike!

 

Do you use lockscreen security?

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4 years ago

NVIDIA's Mobile World Congress press invite points to quad-core phones

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That NVIDIA is bringing quad-core smartphones to Mobile World Congress should surprise exactly no one. We saw the first quad-core tablet prototype a year ago, and in August NVIDIA told us we'd see phones in early 2012. And we're closing in on Mobile World Congress, just a few short weeks away. And there's a smartphone pictured in this invite. So, yeah. They're coming.

We try not to read too much into these press invites, we really do. Who knows what agency made them. But we can't help but notice what looks like an HTC Incredible S (aka the Droid Incredible 2 on Verizon) in dude's hands there. (We've blown it up for posterity; note the plateaued battery cover and usual HTC positioning of the camera and flash.)

Now, what you see in this invite certainly looks different than the HTC Edge -- long rumored to be one of the first quad-core phones, never mind one of the first from HTC to use an NVIDIA system-on-a-chip -- render that leaked in November 2011. But stranger things have happened.

Will we indeed bear witness to the marriage of HTC and NVIDIA in Barcelona, Spain? Stay tuned, folks, and keep your eyes glued to our Mobile World Congress page for all the latest.

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4 years ago

Google-Motorola deal set to be approved by U.S. Justice Department, says WSJ

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Google's aquisition of Motorola Mobility is set to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department as early as next week, according to the Wall Street Journal and people "familiar with the matter." These sort of deals are never a given, as the various governments across the world always have the final say on matters of commerce. This deal would arm Google with very desirable hardware patents for mobile devices, which really is the reason for the entire investigation.

The Justice Department, as well as European Union legislators, are very concerned that Google allows other companies to use these patents under FRAND (fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory) rules, which prohibit things like overcharging for licenses or blocking access to the patents outright.  They should be -- look at all the legal mess smartphone manufacturers are in now, then muddy that picture further by changing license requirements for the things that make a cell phone work. We're not talking lock screens or rounded corners here, Motorola owns IP that all cell phones need and use to operate. Taking away licenses for core technology would benefit nobody, and Google has pledged not to do it. 

Instead, Google has sent letters to to numerous standards organizations, stating that it would offer FRAND licensing for patents in Motorola's portfolio. They didn't promise not to seek damages or injunctions from potential violators, though. Google stated that it "reserves its right to seek any and all appropriate judicial remedies against counterparties that refuse to license its FRAND patents."  Mutual destruction tactics at their finest.

We tend to take things like this from the Wall Street Journal at face value, and this is no exception.  Their track record stands on it's own.  If this is true, and the EU (whose own deadline for a decision is Feb. 13) gives a green light we should know more next week.  We'll keep you posted.

Source (paid content): WSJ

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4 years ago

Google Wallet PIN security cracked - here's what you need to know

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Google Wallet's PIN security has been cracked, but there's a caveat -- this currently only is an issue if your phone is rooted. Not rooted? No worries. And with that said and done, here's the deal:

Your Google Wallet PIN (Personal Identification Number) is stored encrypted on your device, and a brute-force method was found to expose the SHA256 hex-encoded PIN information inside the database. This method, which was irresponsibly released to the public, can find the PIN without any incorrect attempts in the Wallet app itself, negating the five-try rule the application has for PIN entry.  (See it in action after the break.)

Now here's the not so sexy way to describe it all.  You'll need to have a phone with Google Wallet, AND have rooted your device, AND have not set a secure lock screen, AND then lose your phone. The person who finds it THEN can use the app the fellows at zvleo have made and since distributed to brute-force the PIN and THEN can use your phone to make payments, just like they could if they found your credit card, which likely would be quicker and easier than any of this.

Google has been notified and already knows how to fix the issue, but there's a problem. To make it more secure, Google will have to move the PIN information to be controlled and maintained by your bank. This not only will require some changes to the terms of service, but then we're relying on corporate banking institutions to keep our information safe. I'd wager that Citigroup's servers are easier to break into than Google's, and then you have the same issue all over again.

A better way to fix the problem would be to force users to use a better password. PIN information can be cracked so easy because it only uses four numbers. This means that there are only 10,000 possible combinations, and even a portable computer like your Android phone can pull off that sort of brute-force attack. Change the passcode to something like Fgtr5400&d77 -- using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols -- and it's far less likely to be broken, and even less likely to even be used because it's not convenient.  It's a Catch-22 -- a PIN is easy to use and remember, but it's also more easy to crack.

I'm not going to tell you to stop using Google Wallet, nor am I going to tell you to stop rooting your phone. I am going to tell you to pick it up, and put a passcode on the lock screen now, before you lose it.  

Source: zvelo

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