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4 years ago

Eyes on the new Hisense Pulse Google TV set-top box


Officially unveiled prior to the annual IFA 2012 show in Berlin, Hisense were on hand at the show in to demonstrate their first Google TV box for the first time. The Pulse as it goes by name, is the latest product of a Google TV partnership, and packs a potentially killer feature. Its price. Like the low priced competitor, Vizio Co-Star, the Pulse is priced to move at just $99. But, even at such a low price point, it still needs to deliver the goods. Whilst on the ground in Berlin, we tracked down the Pulse and took a first look at this latest entrant into the Google TV arena. 

In terms of hardware, the Pulse is a rather un-assuming black box to look at. It's relatively small though, and should fade into a front room set up with very little effort. It won't stand out, but it won't look out of place either. It's all glossy plastic, which doesn't give off the impression of a high quality product, but at $99 we wouldn't really expect that much more. The expected ports are all present, a solitary USB port on one side of the box, with the HDMI, ethernet and power sockets all on the rear. Also to be found on the rear is a connector for an IR blaster.

The Remote too doesn't exactly strike the same impression as that of a high end TV, but importantly it offers full functionality. On one side is a full QWERTY keyboard packed with rubber keys. Typing isn't too difficult, the keys feel just like a regular old TV remote. There seems to be ample space between keys so as to avoid hitting the wrong ones. 

Flipping round to the main side of the remote, we're treated to a bevy of controls and a touch sensitive trackpad. The trackpad is quite small though, and we had some definite troubles using it to zoom in whilst using Google Chrome. This could have been -- and likely was -- an issue with Chrome though, as it seemed relatively responsive when being used to direct the on screen cursor. 

The remainder of the keys are pretty much standard Google TV fare, although the Pulse Remote does have dedicated buttons for YouTube and for Netflix. 

A quick look at the performance of the device highlights similar issues reported from early purchasers of the Vizio Co-Star. It isn't massively smooth in some areas, and when navigating around the menus there was some noticeable lag. In particular, Google Chrome seemed pretty slow to respond. However,  we shouldn't forget that this is a trade show with pre-release hardware and software the norm. 

All in all though the Pulse isn't a bad little box. It will be launching in the U.S. sometime during the fall, but Hisense did confirm to us that they have every intention of bringing the Pulse to Europe in 2013. As Google TV is still in its infancy on European shores, a set-top box in this price category could be what's needed to give it a little kick start. 

Be sure to check out our photo gallery of the Hisense Pulse after the break.

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4 years ago

'Nexus 7 3G' rumored for launch within weeks


Google and ASUS' Nexus 7 tablet has been met with considerable success over the past couple of months, but so far it's only been available with Wifi connectivity, with no cellular data option offered to consumers. But that may be about to change if the latest round of rumors from veteran mobile blog MoDaCo​ are to be believed. 

According to ​MoDaCo's​ Paul O'Brien, a "very well-placed source" is saying that a "Nexus 7 3G" is indeed in the works, with a launch due in around six weeks time. Interestingly, such a launch timeframe could put the device up against Apple's 7-inch iPad (or 'iPad mini'), which is expected to be announced  on Sept. 12 and released in mid-October.

MoDaCo's source says there are "no other hardware changes," besides the addition of a cellular radio, and that territories for launch, as well as the exact release date, have ye to be confirmed. Pricing, too, remains unknown at this time, but Nexus 7 buyers can probably expect to pay a small premium over the Wifi-only version.

Would you be willing to fork out a little more for 3G connectivity on your Nexus 7? Let us know down in the comments!

Source: MoDaCo

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4 years ago

O2 UK blocking ICS updates for Xperia Arc, Ray and Neo


While Sony may have created some excitement in the last seven days with all their IFA announcements, for owners of some of the 2011 Xperia devices on O2 UK there is less cause for celebration. 

The British carrier has decided to block the update to Ice Cream Sandwich for three Xperia devices, the Arc, Ray and Neo. Despite Sony themselves having already released the updates for unlocked versions of all three devices, O2 claims that performance issues have caused them to block the update for their customers. 

They claim that Android 4.0 affected the devices' speed and performance, and since it didn't meet their requirements, O2 customers with one of these devices will remain on Gingerbread. 

Source: O2 Blog

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4 years ago

Here are the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE full training materials and specs



We've been looking at bits and pieces of info about the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE over the weekend, and now thanks to an insider we've got the full set of training materials available -- including the full technical specs. The Victory looks to be one very solid phone, and should appeal to folks who want or need something a little smaller than the Galaxy S3 (Galaxy S III) but still expect decent performance. Here's the obligatory bullet point list:

  • CDMA, LTE, 850/900/1800/1900mHz, UMTS dual-band, 1700/2100 mHz
  • 1.2 GHz Dual Core Qualcomm/MSM8960 Lite
  • Dimensions 4.8 x 2.5 x 0.5 (inches)
  • 4.0” WVGA TFT screen at 800 x 480
  • 4GB ROM
  • Up to 1 GB external MicroSD (we assume this is a typo and the phone will support 32GB cards)
  • MicroUSB
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • 3.8v, lithium ion, 2100mAh battery (up to 7 hours talk time; 9 days standby time)
  • Android 4.0.4  Ice Cream Sandwich with TouchWiz
  • Audio codecs: AAC, AMR, AWB, M4A, MID, MP3 OGG, QCP, WAV, WMA
  • Video codecs: DivX, H.263, H.264, MPEG4, RV, WMV
  • 5.0MP camera with 4x zoom and video recording
  • 1.3MP front facing camera
  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • Media Hub
  • Social Hub
  • Accelerometer
  • Spanish language support
  • Hearing aid compatible M4

The materials show this one headed for Sprint as rumored, but also show quad-band GSM support so we expect to see something similar on other networks Of course all the TouchWiz and Ice Cream Sandwich features are on board, like Media Hub and Android Beam. It's safe to say that a scant six months ago these specs would have been at the top of the Android heap, so the Victory should be a great little performer.

Still no exact word on when we'll see this one on Sprint's shelves, but as we saw yesterday reps are training for a September release. Hit the break for the full set of 26 training slides.

Thanks, anon!

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4 years ago

US Cellular getting the LG Splendor (US730), as outed by product page


Behold, the LG Splendor for US Cellular. This unannounced phone has been outed by a now--pulled LG product page and still-alive product brochure, as spotted by an eagle-eyed SmartPhenom. It looks to be a decent device, with a 4.3-inch display at 800x480 resolution, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a 5-megapixel rear camera. It's all powered by a Qualcomm MSM8655 processor running at 1 GHz. Battery's listed at 1700 mAh. There's 2 GB of on-board storage, and the Splendor will take a microSD card as well. Top of the line? Nah. But it should be a decent addition to USCC's lineup if and when it's announced.

Source: LG Splendor brochure (pdf); via SmartPhenom

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE gets a few more details


We've received a few more specs for the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE, an upcoming (but as yet unannounced) Sprint Android smartphone whose existence we revealed on Saturday.

Until now, all we had was the name, the suffix of which obviously (and obtusely) points out that it'll run on Sprint's fledgling 4G LTE network. Thanks to a tipster, we can now nail down a few more details:

  • The Galaxy Victory will have a 4-inch display. That's decidedly smaller than the Galaxy S3 with its 4.8-inch display. No word yet on the technology behind the display. 
  • It'll be running Android 4.0, with TouchWiz atop it. No surprise there, and we'd expect it to be announced (and eventually launch) with one of the updated versions of Ice Cream Sandwich. As for a possible upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean before launch? We wouldn't bet the farm on it. But then again it's not like we have any dates for the phone in the first place.
  • The Galaxy Victory will have NFC on board. the Android Beam feature inherent to Ice Cream Sandwich will be there as well, as will Samsung's own S Beam, which uses NFC to initiate a Wifi-direct connection to another S Beam-enabled device, like the Galaxy S3. (Figure this will be a standard feature in new Samsung phones at this point.)
  • Judging from the renders on the pages sent to us, it'll be lacking a physical home button, and it appears to have four capacitive buttons below the display. 
  • It'll have Google Wallet at its disposal.

That's still pretty thin. So we've got a 4-inch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone with NFC, Google Wallet and TouchWiz, and it looks like it'll only have capacitive buttons. All in all, a mid-range 2012 Samsung smartphone, we gather. But let's hold off any sort of real judgment until this thing's official and in our hot little hands, we suppose.

We've got more screenies after the break for your perusal. 

Thanks, anon!

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4 years ago

Hands-on with Lenovo's new Ideatab Android tablets at IFA 2012


Lenovo has unveiled three new Android tablets at IFA 2012, in Berlin, and we've had the chance to try them out for ourselves. All three tablets run Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, along with some additional UI customizations from the manufacturer.

First up is the 10-inch Ideatab S2110, a keyboard-and-tabet dock set similar to the ASUS Transformer series. Inside the S2110 is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU running at 1.5GHz, backed up by 1GB of RAM. That's billed as a "premium entertainment tablet," and as such packs HDMI output capable of pumping out images at up to 1080p resolution.

Next come the Ideatab A2107 and A2109 -- mid-range offerings aimed at a lower price point. The A2109 is based around NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 chipset, while Lenovo wasn't disclosing the CPU inside the A2107. Both devices sport a more curved chassis with smoother edges, though the software is consistent with the Lenovo's larger tablet. We noticed a few performance and stability issues with these two tablets on the show floor, but we'll put that down to the presence of pre-release hardware and software, and we imagine both will be polished up before the eventual release.

We've got hands-on video up top and more photos of all three products after the break.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL


When we first got wind of the Huawei Ascend D Quad XL, it was an afterthought at the company's Mobile World Congress press conference. Aside the D Quad, which shipped with a 1800 mAh battery, the Ascend D Quad XL would offer a more substantial 2600mAh. At that show, however, only the D Quad was present -- the D Quad XL was nowhere to be seen.

But at IFA 2012 this week, the newly-renamed (we'll leave it up to you to work out why) Ascend D1 Quad XL was proudly displayed at the Huawei booth for all to see. The software it was running closely resembled what we'd seen on the original D Quad back in February -- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, backed up by a proprietary Huawei UI layer (though not the Emotion UI we've seen emerge in recent weeks). On the inside, you'll find the same hardware powering the show -- Huawei's own quad-core 1.4GHz CPU, which has still yet to see the light of day in a released product.

All in all, it's a thicker, bulkier version of the D1 Quad, and one which should see you through a few more hours of regular use. We've got hands-on video after the break, along with a few more photos.

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4 years ago

Leaked materials show Samsung Victory 4G LTE coming to Sprint this month


According to this Sprint internal employee promotion, the Samsung Victory 4G LTE should be on the shelves at your local Sprint store sometime in September. News that Samsung will be pushing out a bunch of mid-range Android phones has been kicking around for a week or so, but here's the first official looking word from a carrier about one of them. The supposed specs are a Qualcomm S4 with a 480x800 display and NFC, so it should be more than capable.

What we know for sure is that Sprint reps will get an extra $3 for selling you one in September, and they can't do that unless they are in stock. We'll be waiting for an official announcement.

Thanks, Anon!

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week - Eternity Warriors 2, Chicken Bandit, ESPN Fantasy Football and more!


We've got another great lineup of apps for your enjoyment this week. It's the first day of September and these apps will help you start it off right. In this batch there are a few great games, an app to manage your fantasy football team and one to keep your phone secure when you're out of the house. Give these picks a try and while you're on an app downloading spree, go ahead and check out the "End of Summer Sale" in the Google Play Store.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Intel-powered ZTE Grand X IN


We first saw the ZTE Grand X in July in London, where the Tegra 2-powered smartphone was billed as a mid-range gaming-focused handset. Fast forward a couple of months, and we've come across a new variant at the Intel booth at IFA 2012 in Berlin. The ZTE Grand X IN closely resembles its Tegra 2-powered brother, except lurking inside this model is an Intel Atom Z2460 CPU, making it one of the few Intel-powered Android 4.x handsets out there.

The only cosmetic difference is the "Intel Inside" badge on the device's rear -- aside from that, it's identical to the version we saw in England in July. On the software side, it's still running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, with only a few custom additions from ZTE. The software remains mostly stock on the Intel-powered version, though obviously some of the Tegra-powered extras are absent on this model.

Check out our hands-on video above. The ZTE Grand X IN should ve hitting store shelves sometime in Q3.

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4 years ago

Weekend project: Build Mozilla's Boot to Gecko for your Android smartphone


I'm not a coder. I barely know Git from Got, and I can't recall how many times I've wondered why adb won't work, only to discover I forgot to turn on USB debugging -- again. I've got Linux on a box here, but I only ever use it when I'm in the mood to throw a half-dozen questions at Jerry in the span of five minutes.

Also, I don't have a neckbeard.

So what in the wide, wide world of sports am I doing downloading Xcode on my MacBook Air (never mind that until this spring I'd been a Windows guy all my life), syncing from Git repos, compiling code and flashing an operating system I've consciously ignored up until now -- especially given that I've spent 24 hours dealing with a sick child, worrying about an ailing friend, and preparing for a probable hurricane, largely ignoring my actual job?

I, apparently, have a problem with flashing. And so that's how I recently found myself putting Mozilla's fledgling operating system, also known as "Gecko," on the Samsung Nexus S. 

Welcome to the Boot to Gecko project.

Like I said, I'm not a coder. But I do like to mess with things. And I managed to do this, as my young daughters like to say, all ... by ... my ... self. And you can, too.

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4 years ago

Lloyd goes to Berlin via China


We all know that Lloyd is a well-traveled individual, but we were nevertheless surprised to see him stalking the halls of IFA 2012 in Berlin, Germany, moonlighting for a Chinese tablet manufacturer. We've seen our trusty mascot adorn unauthorized ads and shop signs before, but never on such a scale. Electronics firm Hopeful enlisted the help of a five-foot-tall Lloyd at its IFA 2012 booth, where it was showing a handful of Android tablets.

We'll be having a few words with Lloyd when he gets back from Berlin. In the meantime, if you want real, AC-approved Lloyd swag, we've got plenty of that over in the store.

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4 years ago

Hands on with the Huawei MediaPad 7 Lite


Over at the Huawei booth at IFA 2012 in Berlin, one of the new devices on show is the new MediaPad 7 Lite. We first heard about the tablet back in July, when Huawei themselves announced the device. Specs were a mystery back then, but with the device now pretty much ready for launch, we went hands on to get a feel for this new, mid-range tablet. 

Up front the MediaPad 7 Lite sports a 7 inch 1024x600 IPS display, while powering everything from beneath is an ARM Cortex A8 1.2GHz processor. The tablet comes running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and reminds us of the old HTC Flyer with it's two-tone silver and white, metal meets plastic rear. Perhaps more curiously though, the MediaPad 7 Lite has a 3G cellular voice function. Data, SMS and MMS are all possible from the tablet. Rounding out the specs are a pair of cameras, 3.2MP on the rear, 0.3MP on the front. 

Overall the MediaPad 7 Lite isn't going to set the world on fire, but it isn't meant to either. It isn't the slowest experience in the world, although we did experience a few moments during our brief hands on time. Android purists will be happy also, as it seems that it's pretty much stock ICS on this thing. 

The Huawei MediaPad 7 Lite will begin shipping from now across selected markets, continuing through September. Aside from Russia, there is no word on European availability at this time, nor for the U.S. 

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4 years ago

Huawei MediaPad 10 FHD to begin shipping in September


Having been first announced back at Mobile World Congress, the Huawei MediaPad 10 FHD -- much like the Ascend D1 Quad XL -- has faded into almost total obscurity. Fast forward six months to IFA 2012 in Berlin, and the tablet is back, and is ready for release. 

Powered by Huawei's own K3v2 Cortex-A9 1.4GHz quad-core processor, the MediaPad 10 FHD packs a gorgeous full HD 1920x1200 IPS display with a 16:10 screen ratio, and Dolby audio technology. Huawei also promises a keyboard dock add-on for the tablet much in the same vein as Asus' Transformer Pad series.

The MediaPad 10 FHD is available now in China, and will begin shipping in selected European and Middle-Eastern markets in September. No word as yet on any UK or U.S. availability. The full press release can be found after the break.

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