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3 years ago

Happy 5th birthday, Android!


Half a decade since the HTC G1 was announced, Android is bigger than anyone could've imagined

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the launch of the first commercially-available Android handset, the HTC G1. With how quickly the pace of Android development moves along, it's hard to think that the operating system is just (in all practical sense) just five years old. Back in those days we were excited that the G1 had HSUPA data and thought that the keyboard was the best thing since sliced bread.

You still had a horribly ugly interface by today's standard, could only use one Gmail account per device and had to use a USB adapter to plug your headphones into the G1 ... but nobody really cared, this was the future. Now over 1 billion Android devices have been activated, and we're not looking back.

Here's to another 5 years and beyond, Android.

Via: +Des Smith

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3 years ago

Android 4.3 sees a new branch and new tags in the AOSP tree


Folks who make it a habit to browse through the AOSP source code have noticed some new numbers

A new branch of the code, jb-mr2.0.0-release, has been created in AOSP, and there are a couple new tags (android-4.3_r2.3 and android-4.3_r3.1) to go along with it. 

This isn't really anything we shouldn't expect. Code as complicated as Jelly Bean is one of those things that is never finished, and the people writing it are always fiddling with new ideas and methods, and are prone to come back with new tweaks. When enough of those tweaks are committed, adding a new tag or branch becomes necessary. That's what tags and branches are for, after all.

You see, the source code for a project as big as Android needs special tools and special people to keep it in order. Tools like SVN or Git help the people working with code — both "officially" and as a hobby — keep track of which builds are current, and which builds are for which devices. That's done with — you guessed it — branches and tags. It's a great way to check out a code library and keep it current.

As for what these new branches and tags mean, well we're not going to speculate too much here. Usually a new branch means a new release at some point, but of course that new branch needs populated with changes worth updating first. In any case, Android software engineer Conley Owens says we'll see "an announcement email sent out about these by the end of this week." We'll keep an eye out for it.

Source: Android Building Google Group

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3 years ago

Moto X update coming to T-Mobile version, improves camera quality


A software update for the Moto X is rolling out to T-Mobile customers today, and mixed into the list of improvements and bug fixes is some news that most everyone is waiting to hear — Improved photos (color accuracy, exposure, focus speed). Also listed, and equally important (though not as high profile) are fixes for Moto Assist, "choppy" audio during voice calls and improved Touchless Control. Those are important, and it's great to see them addressed so quickly.

But the camera is what most users have been grumbling about. It's clearly capable of decent images, as you can see a few here and there. But often, the Moto X seems to struggle when trying to get the right shot. Hopefully, today's update helps.

There's no word on when or if we'll see this update for other carrier models, or the new unlocked developer editions, but we would expect that to happen. We've checked our AT&T units, of course, and will continue to do so.

For a great look at the camera improvements, hit up Droid-Life and see some side-by-side comparisons of old versus new.

Via: Android Central forums

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3 years ago

QSlide on the LG G2: A quick way to access frequently-used tools


Simple access to functions that usually sit in a 'tools' folder on your home screen

LG is using the G2 as a platform for launching many new software features, one of which is QSlide — a new way to use small utility apps quickly without pulling you away from whatever else you're doing. Not to be confused with "Slide Aside" (that's a full-app multitasking feature), QSlide is a collection of apps launched from the notification shade that pop up over your current activity so you can multitask in a different way.

Simply pull down the notification shade and tap one of the handful of available options under the quick settings: Richnote, Videos, Email, Phone, Voice Mate, File Manager, Calendar or Calculator. A small windowed app will pop up without exiting your current app, letting you quickly get a task done and go back to the first. If you need to reference something else while you have a QSlide app open, just use the slider at the top of the window to change the transparency.

Once you've set the app to be transparent, you can interact with anything that is "underneath" it just as if it wasn't there. Go copy text, reference a web page or whatever else and then come back to your Richnote or Calculator entry. The apps can also be expanded to a full screen with just one tap. QSlide is an interesting feature that can save you from having a "tools' folder on your home screen for these common functions. Hang tight after the break for a video walkthrough of using QSlide on the LG G2.

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3 years ago

The mobile home theater, radio DJ, and TV station - Talk Mobile


If there's one industry that didn't expect to be upended by mobile devices, it's the entertainment industry. The music, television, and radio empires are domains of the status quo. They've established dominance and usage behaviors for the public, and they're perfectly happy with how things have been.

Mobile devices and their ever-increasing connectivity options and speeds have upended entertainment. Now able to get more information more quickly than ever wherever they want, users are asking the same questions about their entertainment.

So just where do smartphones and tablets fit into the home theater set-up - are they just for serving content, or can you use them to control all of the home theater stack as well? Can we use our smartphones to broadcast music through the entire house, without wires or hassle? And how has mobile changed how we watch TV and listen to traditional radio?

3 years ago

Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear coming to Sprint on October 4


$349.99 for the phone, $299.99 for the watch

Sprint has just announced that it'll be carrying the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 from Oct. 4, along with its companion device, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The phone will run an eye-watering $349.99 on-contract, and will be available in black and white (no blush pink, we're afraid). The watch will set you back $299.99, same as other carriers are charging.

Sprint will launch the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear a few days after they hit AT&T and T-Mobile — on Oct. 1 and 2 respectively. Verizon's Note 3 will follow around a week later, on Oct. 10.

More: Galaxy Note 3 hands-on preview

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

Oppo N1 announced with 5.9-inch screen, rotating camera and optional CyanogenMod


... And there's a touchpad on the back, too

At an event in Beijing this morning, Oppo announced its new high-end Android phone, the N1. It's a device which scores a number of interesting "firsts" — the first smartphone with a rotatable camera, for high-quality selfies. And it's also the first phone to officially support CyanogenMod, after the project went commercial last week.

The 5.9-inch handset sports a 1080p IPS display, and on the inside it's running a Snapdragon 600 CPU at 1.7GHz, with 2GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of storage. Powering all that is an enormous 3610mAh battery.

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3 years ago

Hudl: Hands-on with Tesco's budget tablet


How much Android tablet does £119 get you?

We've just got done with Tesco's Hudl event in London, where the retail giant announced a 7-inch Android tablet with a quad-core CPU that'll sell for just £119. With such a competitive price, the Hudl is probably among the best tablets around this price point. The 1440x900-resolution display beats most entry-level Android slates, and the back panel is furnished in soft-touch plastic, similar to that of the new Nexus 7. As you'll see in our hands-on video above, we're looking at a relatively barebones Android 4.2 Jelly Bean experience, with some additions from Tesco. These include apps to take advantage of video through the company's BlinkBox and Clubcard TV, as well as apps for groceries and online shopping (natch).

Check past the break for more photos, and share your thoughts down in the comments.

More: Tesco unveils the £199 Hudl tablet

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3 years ago

Tesco unveils the £119 Hudl tablet


Quad-core CPU, 7-inch screen, sold online and in stores from Sept. 30

We're live in London, where UK supermarket chain Tesco is taking the wraps off its new budget tablet running Android, the 7-inch Hudl (pronounced "huddle.") The Hudl will sell for a fraction of the price of Google's Nexus 7, though with somewhat cut-down specs. The tablet features an 1440x900-resolution screen, a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU, dual-band Wifi and 16GB of storage, expandable up to 48GB via microSD. There's also a microHDMI port for TV connectivity.

On the software side, the Hudl is running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with the full suite of Google apps, as well as access to entertainment through Tesco's BlinkBox and Clubcard TV platforms. From what we're seeing, the software appears to be mostly stock Android, save for some customizations to hook it into the retail giant's digital services. The most noticeable addition is a dedicated "T" launcher button alongside back, home and task-switching.

The Hudl will come in black, blue, purple and red color options and sell for £119 through Tesco's online and brick-and-mortar stores starting next Monday, Sept. 30. Tesco Clubcard holders will be able to get the tablet through Tesco's "Clubcard Boost" program, which doubles the value of vouchers — meaning it could cost as little as £60 for holders of the loyalty card.

We've got today's press release, full specs and some official images after the break.

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3 years ago

LG Vu 3 announced for Korea


Latest LG Vu handset drops the 'Optimus' name, adds Snapdragon 800

LG has announced a new device in its quirky 4:3 aspect ratio Vu product line, the Vu 3. Initially headed to the company's native South Korea, the Vu 3 will pack a 5.2-inch, 1280x960-resolution display and run Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 800 chip. There's a built-in stylus this time too, an improvement upon earlier Vu handsets which provided a pen that couldn't be siloed away. The appears to be running LG's software tricks, which we've recently seen on the G2, so it's likely running at least Android 4.2.

Other highlights include a 13-megapixel camera and LTE-A support for super-fast Korean mobile networks, as well as a range of optional "QuickView" covers, just like the G2. The Vu 3 will arrive in Korea from this Friday, Sept. 27; there's currently no indication as to whether a wider international launch is planned.

Source: LG (Korean)

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3 years ago

Slide Aside: LG's app switching feature on the G2


The LG G2 is chock full of features. A lot of folks will call them gimmicks, and that's OK because a world where everyone likes the same things is no world I want to be in. Whether you love them or hate them, the important thing is that they all work without killing the performance of the phone. A lot of that comes from the Qualcomm Snapdragon S800 under the hood, but we like to think that LG was also hard at work to optimize the software.

What Slide Aside does is act as a "container" of sorts for app switching. You enable it in the settings, and with a three finger gesture you can swipe away any active application to dock it on the left side of the screen. You can store up to three applications there, and bring them in and out of focus at will. It's a lot like Samsung's Multi-window, but it works with every app.

This is incredibly handy for apps like a messenger, that you're in and out of all the time. I've been using it while reviewing the AT&T model of the G2, and sticking Hangouts and the Gmail app over there at the side really is useful for the way I use my phone. Does it affect the battery life? Probably. But not enough for me to decide not to use it. 

This is one gimmick I'm enjoying. Check the video after the break.

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Wither BlackBerry ...


We may be impatient users, but it's clear BlackBerry still has some work to do with BBM on Android​

It's hard not to lead off this week without talking about BlackBerry Messenger. BBM was supposed to land on Android on Saturday. Obviously, that didn't happen, and on Saturday night BlackBerry finally publicly explained what was going on.

Servers were crunched under the weight of what the company says was "more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours." Not sure if that included the iPhone version — which did launch as planned on Saturday. But either way, that's doesn't bode well for how things might have gone even if the release had happened on schedule. If we're supposed to take BlackBerry seriously as a services company going forward and not for hardware — the company last week announced a nearly $1 billion loss and layoffs of 4,500 employees — the services will have to be bulletproof to even compete. 

Obviously, they were not.

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3 years ago

Focal camera app finds release on Google Play


The past week saw a bit of drama come out of the launch of Cyanogen Inc., with the Focal camera app seemingly becoming a casualty when it was removed from the CM builds. It has, however, reappeared with a proper release in Google Play.

Labeled as a beta product, it's an improved (but not finished) release of the open-source camera app that sports just about every feature you could want in a smartphone camera. Photos, video, filters, controls, panorama — even its own version of PhotoSpheres. Some features work better than others at this point, but it's good to see work continuing.

You can download for free at the link above.

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3 years ago

Verizon Kyocera Hydro Elite review


A basic phone at the bottom of Verizon's lineup with a few interesting features 

Kyocera is one of those phone manufacturers that has never been known as a maker of high-end devices, but rather a combination of spec phones for carriers and an interesting line of rugged or specialized devices for certain people. Along with Sprint and many prepaid carriers, Verizon is building a relationship with Kyocera for a variety of low-end devices to help anchor its product lines.

Although its "Elite" name may make you think it should be a bit higher-end, the Kyocera Hydro Elite is yet another low-end device that can be sold quick and cheap to just the right consumer, and likely be put on sale for $0.99 when the holidays come around. For the moment the Hydro Elite is anchoring the lower end of Verizon's lineup, and also happens to be one of its few waterproof options.

Read along after the break to see the merits of the Kyocera Hydro Elite on Verizon.

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3 years ago

Global rollout of BBM for Android on hold


Leaked version caused issues, BB working hard to get things back on track

BlackBerry has finally given a statement on the status of the BBM rollout for users on Android and iOS, and it looks like things are on hold for the time being. BlackBerry is saying the leaked versions people were using have caused "issues" and that they are hard at work to get things back on track.

Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already – more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app – is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.

Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it’s ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visit to register for updates on official BBM for Android availability.

As soon as we are able, we will begin a staggered country roll-out of BBM for Android and continue the roll-out of BBM for iPhone. Please follow @BBM on Twitter for the latest updates and go to to sign-up for updates about BBM for Android and iPhone. These issues have not impacted BBM service for BlackBerry.

If you're one of the folks using the leaked version you'll probably want to uninstall it before BlackBerry does whatever they are going to do to disable it. And of course, if you're wanting to get up and running with BBM on Android, follow the directions above and register for updates.

Source: BlackBerry

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