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3 years ago

Samsung Unpacked 5 (and Galaxy S5, perhaps) coming to Mobile World Congress

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Mark your calendars for Feb. 24 at 20:00 CET

Any doubts that Samsung would be in Spain for Mobile World Congress are now put to rest, as they have announced the fifth episode of Samsung Unpacked for the evening of the first day of festivities.

We can't be sure what they will want to talk about, but good money says it's not refrigerators. There are some new Galaxy phones in the works, and Samsung loves to build tablets around all price points. 

We'll be there, cameras and live-blog machines at the ready, so mark your calendar and join us.

Source: @SamsungMobile

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3 years ago

Ting permanently drops data prices to celebrate two years in business

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Heavy data users benefit from lower flat rates and per-megabyte charges

Ting, an MVNO on the Sprint network, is celebrating two years in business as a carrier today by dropping its data, message and minute pricing across the board for all customers. The basic idea behind Ting since the beginning has been "pay for what you use" — rather than set structured plans — with your bill each month simply reflecting what you actually used in that 30-day period. Those prices are simply going down today.

As the chart above shows, folks using 101 to 500MB of data in a month will pay $1 less, 501MB to 1GB $5 less and 1GB to 2GB a whopping $13 less every month for that usage. Minute and message allotments have increased at the XL level as well, with $35 now giving you 2100 minutes in a month and $11 offering 4800 messages.

These plan changes are focused on making data more affordable at the higher levels, and a big part of that is killing off the XXL level completely, paired with a reduction in per-megabyte usage costs. Any amount of data over 2GB used in a month will simply be billed at 1.5 cents per MB — or $15 per GB — with no strings attached.

The new plans are instantly available for new customers and current customers alike, and you won't have to do anything to switch over to the new, lower rates. Hit the source link below to use Ting's usage calculator and see how much you'd save on the new plans.

Source: Ting; Ting Rates

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3 years ago

BLU Life One X hands-on and impressions

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Great specs and price, but the performance falls short

BLU is working hard to make a place for itself in the affordable unlocked phone market, and one of its latest offerings is the Life One X. Although it may not be a name that immediately comes to mind when thinking about major Android device manufacturers, Miami-based BLU offers a good range of compelling devices that can appeal to the right person who puts cost high on their list of necessities when buying a phone.

The Life One X (yes, exactly the same as the HTC One X) brings a pretty incredible set of specs to the table along with nearly-stock Android 4.2 and support for dual SIM cards for a mere $279 unlocked. And just like other recent BLU products, it wraps it up in a solid but uninspiring design that'll get the job done but won't win any design awards. But again, the phone is $279. Hit the break to see a bit more of what the BLU Life One X has to offer and what we think of the device overall.

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3 years ago

Sprint adds more devices to list of phones with PTT service

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Sprint's best android phones now can use direct-connect features

Sprint knows that a lot of people are big users of their direct-connect service. They have built it out as a very well-done app for Android, and today they have added a few new phones to the list of devices that can use it. Your list:

In addition, Sprint already has plans to add a few more Android phones to the list soon — the S4 Mini, the Galaxy Mega, and the Galaxy S4 with Spark.

If you're using one of these phones, getting the direct-connect service is easy. Grab the app at the Google Play link above and install it. Then hit your account services webpage, and add Direct Connect and Group Connect under Push-to-Talk add-ons. 

Now go get your chirp on.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

Adobe's John Nack joining Google Photos team

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Ex-Photoshop lead will now help make Google Photos better than ever

John Nack has had quite the career at Adobe, notably helping manage the Photoshop team. Recently, he has changed focus to bring the best in digital creative apps to mobile devices, and today he announced that he is moving to Google.

After nearly 14 terrific years at Adobe, it’s time for me to open a different chapter of my life, and next week I’ll be joining Google’s digital photography team.

While one man is not any guarantee of success, seeing this move is pretty exciting. There is no denying how much impact Photoshop and it's suite of related products has had on the way digital content is created. Photoshop's move to mobile is similarly ground-breaking, bringing techniques and tools to our phones and tablets that nobody really expected to work as well as they do.

Bringing someone with this experience — and success — to Google Photos is good news for both casual and prosumer photographers alike. With the knowledge how to manipulate the pixels, and the ability to squeeze it into a simple set of controls, Nack's addition to the team could bring some really great things. 

Source: Adobe Blogs

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3 years ago

Flap and Die: An ode to Flappy Bird, 10 million mindless downloads and counting

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When it comes to smartphone games, Sisyphus is one popular bastard. The original Damned. Push the rock up the hill. Watch it roll back down. Repeat. Repeat again. Kick the rock. Break toe. Start back up the hill.

We are Sisyphus. And our rock is Flappy Bird

This isn't a particularly good game. Graphics aped right from a 16-bit Super NES. Sound effects consist of one (1) Flappy Bird flapping and the ding of pipes a-passing. There is no goal. There is no boss. Just the promise of frustration. And endless pipes. Eight-hundred and ninety-four kilobytes of pure, ad-supported, time-wasting evil.

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3 years ago

Google Chromecast SDK released to developers, Google Play Services updated as well

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Devs now able to start making 'Google Cast-ready' applications on Android and iOS

Google has announced the availability of the Google Cast SDK for all developers, opening the floodgates to devs wanting to incorporate Chromecast support into their Android and iOS apps, or web content through Chrome. While the Google Cast SDK has been available since last year as a developer preview with certain restrictions attached, today's launch represents the first "finished" version of the SDK. On the device side, Google Cast SDK support is rolling out as part of Google Play Services version 4.2 starting today.

Google's developers guide page for the SDK notes that it's "undergone a thorough overhaul since the developer preview release," advising developers to review its documentation before getting started. 

So now that the Google Cast SDK is out in the open, what apps would you like to see get Chromecast support? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Google Developers

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3 years ago

Pebble appstore launches for iOS, promises to hit Android 'very, very soon'

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This is where you'll get all your Pebble apps, watchfaces and other downloads. But for now, we wait.

More: Pebble Blog; Smartwatch Fans

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3 years ago

Samsung teams up with Phones4u to launch 15 stores in the UK

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New P4u-operated Samsung stores to focus on 'smartphones, tablets and wearable technology'

UK high street retailer Phones 4u has announced a partnership with Samsung that'll see 15 P4u-operated Samsung stores opening across the country. These outlets will focus on "smartphones, tablets and wearable technology," and will be managed by Phones 4u and staffed by the company's employees. Phones4u has previously partnered with the electronics giant with Samsung-branded "stores within stores" in some locations; the new partnership will take things a step further by opening standalone Samsung stores managed by the smartphone retailer.

Today's news follows a wider deal between Samsung and P4u rival Carphone Warehouse to open more than 60 Samsung stores across seven European countries, as part of what CPW described as a "preferred partner" deal. As evidenced by today's announcement, however, Samsung's retail ambitions clearly extend beyond just one partner chain. And it's possible Samsung stores could soon become a common sight in many British towns and cities.

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3 years ago

Google Now for desktop progresses to Chrome beta

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Auto-enabled for beta track users from this week

We've already taken a first look at Google Now for the desktop, when Google added it to the bleeding edge Canary builds of Chrome. Today, Google drops word that starting this week, folks a bit further up the chain on the beta track on Mac, Windows or Chrome OS will get access to the same card based notification system we're all familiar with from our Android devices. 

Unlike with the Canary build, you don't need to mess around with enabling flags here. Look for the bell icon on Mac or Windows or the numbered box on your Chromebook to open up your notifications. We've been impressed with it so far from our early look, so if you want to give it a whirl load up the beta build and let us know what you think. 

Download: Chrome beta, More: Google Chrome Blog

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3 years ago

The Sims are old but still kicking in the latest Sims FreePlay update

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There are lots and lots of free to play games on Android. Some get the payment model right, some get it wrong. One thing the best free to play games have in common is a steady stream of updates and new content. That’s just what has kept us playing The Sims FreePlay since it launched two years ago.

The newest Sims FreePlay update is called “All Grown Up.” It brings two huge new quests: Adulthood and Seniors. By completing these quests, players can advance their teenage Sims to adulthood and even grow regular Sims into crotchety old elderly Sims. Get the full run-down on the new quests and features after the break.

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3 years ago

Leaked S Health app showcases new, flatter Samsung UI

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Health app UI hints at software design changes for the Galaxy S5

Samsung's next smartphone UI may be flatter, with a focus on lighter fonts and brighter colors, if leaked screenshots of the next version of its fitness app prove accurate. SamMobile, the outlet that released leaked shots of the "Life Times" app last week, has today released a couple dozen images of what it says is the next version of the S Health app.

Like the existing version, the new S Health seems to be able to track your calorie intake, step count and heart rate. And the screenshots show a section for connected accessories too, including scales, treadmills and exercise bikes. There's also a new screen for running, allowing you to view location and workout data alongside whatever music is currently playing. The "audio guide" option suggests some kind of automatic verbal feedback, too.

But perhaps more interesting are the visual changes in the app. The new S Health uses a white-on-green color palette with larger, lighter fonts, flatter icons and attention to Android's design guidelines. Specifically, today's shots show use of slide-out "hamburger" menu bars and overflow action menus at the top of the screen. All in all, it appears closer to Google's vision of Android than the TouchWiz of old.

The new look for S Health ties in with what we've already seen from a couple of previous leaks, so it's looking more and more likely that an overhaul of Samsung's UI is coming with the company's next flagship phone. We'd take any and all leaks with a pinch of salt, however, until we have the finished device in our hands.

Source: SamMobile

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3 years ago

Vector 28: Making media truly mobile

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Vector is our cross-site, cross-platform technology and analysis show where we talk about the biggest stories and issues in mobile with the smartest people in the business. In this week's epiode, Chris Harris of Glide joins Rene to talk about the future of digital publishing, whether old media companies can adapt, if music, video, and text will become one and the same, and meeting the needs of mobile.

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3 years ago

Android Central will judge the Big Indie Pitch at Apps World this week

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For many of us, the best part of smartphones and tablets is gaming on the go. And almost as fun as playing games is seeing them in action before they come out. That’s why Android Central and the Mobile Nations team heads to gaming events like E3 and GDC. So we can tell you guys about upcoming games and apps.

This week we’ll be attending a new mobile industry event for the first time: Apps World. This one takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California on February 5th and 6th.  Android Central won’t just be covering Apps World, though. I’ll be representing us as a judge at a contest for developers called the Big Indie Pitch during the event. Read on to learn more about what to expect from our coverage of the Big Indie Pitch and Apps World!

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3 years ago

Three and EE to share 4G LTE infrastructure and costs

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Carriers will reportedly build next stage of their LTE networks together

UK mobile operators Three and EE are set to work together on the next part of their 4G LTE networks, according to a report from the Financial Times. The FT reports that the largest and smallest major UK carriers will share masts and backhaul transmission costs as part of a deal that'll see £1 billion ($1.63 billion) being jointly invested.

The agreement covers cost and infrastructure sharing, however there's "greater flexibility" for both EE and Three to control the speeds and coverage of their networks, according to the report. That means the entire 4G network isn't being shared between the two — "the antennas, spectrum and the core network will also be different for the two groups." The deal is also said to revise the conditions of Three's existing network-sharing agreement with EE.

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