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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 f heading to Japan on December 19

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Miniature Xperia Z1 scheduled for pre-holiday arrival on Docomo

We've known for a while that Sony's dinky Xperia Z1 f was due to arrive on NTT Docomo in Japan this month, but now we have a firm date — Thursday, Dec. 19. An update to the carrier's online store reveals that the pint-sized version of the Xperia Z1 will launch in black, white, lime and pink just in time for the holidays, though there's still no hint of any Western release.

The Xperia Z1 f packs similar internals to its larger counterpart, only with a smaller 4.3-inch display and slightly reduced battery capacity, making it a tempting proposition for those wanting a smaller Android phone that doesn't skimp on hardware muscle. Given Sony's traditional early-year release cycle, there's a good chance we might see an international version of the device — the rumored Z1 S perhaps — at the company's CES press conference in Las Vegas early next month.

Source: Docomo; via: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

From the forums: What's new in Android 4.4.1?

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Besides Nexus 5 camera enhancements, new version of KitKat brings lots of smaller changes

Android 4.4.1 is upon us, and the first maintenance release of KitKat is rolling out now to certain Nexus devices. The big news that everyone's talking about relates to the many camera fixes and enhancements bestowed upon the Nexus 5, but it turns out there are also a lot of smaller changes and improvements in the new OS.

These include fixes for glitches like the Nexus 5 speaker bug and the bug that occasionally made the notification bar partly opaque. What's more, haptic feedback has been tweaked on the Nexus 5, "Photos" is now the default photo-viewing app when you swipe out of the Camera app.

We're digging through all these changes and more in a thread on the Android Central forums, which is where you'll find our working list of what's new in Android 4.4.1. Check it out below — and join the discussion if you've spotted anything new since updating.

More: What's new in Android 4.4.1 - Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Samsung reportedly developing 8 + 10-inch AMOLED screens for future tablets

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New tablets to compete with iPad Air and iPad Mini in 2014, according to Korean press

In the early days of the Galaxy Tab line, Samsung released a couple of Android tablets with AMOLED screens — the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and 8.9 — but since then the company's tablet lineup has been a strictly LCD-only affair. That may be about to change in 2014, however, as reports from the Korean press suggest that Samsung Display is working on 8 and 10-inch AMOLED screens for high-end tablets, due for release in the new year.

Korea's Digital Daily reports that the new screens will be aimed squarely at high-end tablets to compete with Apple's iPad Air and iPad Mini, and will arrive around the same time as its next flagship smartphone. Samsung's budget tablets will continue to use LCD panels, according to the report, an approach which would mirror its smartphone display strategy.

As these reports are far from official, it's worth taking them with a pinch of salt for the moment. But it'll be interesting to see whether these new devices might bring about a return of the Galaxy Tab brand in the high-end tablet market. In 2013 the Tab 3 line consisted of mostly entry-level tablets, with the high end occupied by the stylus-toting Galaxy Note 8 and Note 10.1 2014 Edition.

Source: Naver; via: SamMobile

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3 years ago

Google Play Music All Access launches in Germany

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Free for 30 days, €7.99 promotional deal if you sign up by Jan. 15

Almost four months after it first reached parts of Europe, Google Play Music All Access is now live in one of the continent's largest markets. From today Google's music subscription service is available in Germany where, as with previous launches, it's available to try for free for 30 days. And to tempt early adopters onboard, if you sign up by Jan. 15 you'll pay just €7.99 per month for the life of the subscription, versus the standard price of €9.99.

Signing up to Google Play Music All Access gets you access to Google's massive library of streaming music on the web at play.google.com/music and through the Android and iOS apps. (It's also pretty easy to cancel the subscription at any time if you're not happy.)

If you're signing up today in Germany, join the comments after the break and let us know.

Source: Google Support; via: @arnehess

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3 years ago

New HP Chromebook 11 charger shows up in Google Play

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Still no indication of replacement notices for existing Chromebook 11 owners

While HP Chromebook 11 owners are still being advised to not use their factory chargers following a recall notice, Google has just put up a listing for a new charger in the Play Store. The new charger is still listed as "coming soon" with a price of $19.99, and is very clearly a different design from the one included in the box with the Chromebook 11 originally.

The new charger is also "Chrome" branded, while the original was rather generic looking with no branding. It also packs the same 3A at 5.25V output as the original, meaning that any changes to reduce overheating or fire risk must be done in the new charger's circuitry.

We're still waiting to hear anything official on the resuming of sales of the Chromebook 11 as well as any word on official recall or replacement programs for those chargers, but the existence of a newly redesigned model is a good sign that the wheels are turning.

Thanks, 1ll1TERAT3!

More: HP Chromebook 11 review

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3 years ago

Verizon dramatically increases LTE network capacity in major cities

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Network expands to 40MHz, double the largest available previously

Following up on the admission that its network isn't up to par in major cities, Verizon has just quietly flipped the switch on massive LTE network enhancements across the country. Just one month ago Verizon CFO Fran Shammo confirmed many people's suspicions that the carrier's network performance has dipped in recent months, but that money was being spent to have the issues resolved by the end of the year. It seemed like a lofty statement at the time, but Verizon has just made those improvements live today.

According to statements given to Gigaom, Verizon has just tripled its network capacity in some of the biggest markets in the U.S. — New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C. In other markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles, the network improvements are in the 150 percent range.

Verizon is accomplishing these amazing network improvements by tapping its holdings of AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) spectrum, which has bolstered its network to operating on a full 40MHz of spectrum, up from a maximum of 20MHz in any given market previously. The carrier claims 5,000 cell cites will be updated to support AWS by the end of the year, with another 5,000 in process of coming online thereafter.

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3 years ago

Latest Google Search app will return spoken results in Japanese, German and French

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Commencez à parler à votre téléphone

Although the feature has been available for some time for English speakers, Google Search (aka Google Now) will now respond to queries in Japanese, German and French. You'll need the latest Google Search app installed, but once that's done you'll be able to ask questions in the three new languages and receive spoken results in the same language.

Naturally Google can't guarantee that you'll receive spoken results for every voice query, but that's already the case for English as well. You can expect the app to speak back to you when receiving results from the "knowledge graph" that returns a card at the top of the results.

While this is a big deal for those living in Japan, Germany and France, it could certainly be of use when traveling to those countries as a non-native speaker as well. Pair this up with Google Translate and you may have an easier way finding things in a new place.

Source: Google Search Blog

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod 11 M1 lands for Nexus devices, CM 11 nightlies for others

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M1 or nightly builds for many devices are ready for flashing

Falling right in schedule with the halting of development on CM 10.2, CM 11 M1 has just been released for Nexus devices. The latest release of a new version of CM is usually marked by the start of nightlies, but things are a bit different this time around. Because there are likely to be few bugs with the latest version on Nexus devices (excluding the Galaxy Nexus this time around), CM 11 for these devices will be open to bug reports and tweaks to benefit upcoming CM 11 releases for other devices.

Those other devices will start to receive standard nightly builds of CM 11, and because they're early on in development and are likely to have major bugs, you won't be able to immediately submit bug reports — that will come later as the changes settle down. Once usage picks up on nightly builds, we'll see proper M1 and M2 releases for non-Nexus devices.

You can head to the CM download page to see if your device has a CM 11 build ready to go at the second source link below.

Source: CyanogenMod; CM Downloads

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3 years ago

Epson now supporting Kindle Fire HD and HDX devices for internet printing

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Over 60 Epson models will work with no additional setup

Amazon's latest Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets support a new wireless printing standard called "Kindle Fire Printing," and Epson is now on-board with the standard. Now if you have one of the new Amazon tablets (with OS 3.11) and an Epson Connect-enabled printer, you can seamlessly send documents, emails and photos between your tablet and that printer with no additional setup.

Epson says that over 60 printers are Epson Connect-enabled, so there's a pretty good chance if you have a late model printer from the manufacturer and a new Kindle you'll have a good chance of this working out of the box. It may not be as robust and supported as Google Cloud Print at the moment, but we can bet that more than a few Kindle Fire HDX owners will be happy about the increased support. 

More: Epson Connect Blog

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3 years ago

HTC now offering $0 down 0% interest financing for unlocked One handsets

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Making the upfront cost of an unlocked handset a bit more attainable

Following tightly in the footsteps of Motorola, HTC will now offer $0 down 0% financing on the unlocked HTC One. The deal works out much the same as other financing offers — you agree to make 24 monthly payments for the handset, and if you complete the full $600 price of the phone at or before the two year mark, you pay no interest. If you fall behind on payments or don't pay off the $600 price within the financing period, you'll be charged at a whopping 29.99% interest (there's the catch).

The deal only applies to the unlocked (compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile) 32GB model HTC One for the moment, but you've gotta start somewhere.

Although it has been pretty easy to pick up an HTC One with financing from third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, it's always good to see the manufacturer offering it directly. If you've been holding out to buy an unlocked HTC One and want to drop the pennies over the course of 24 months, head to the source link below to get started.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

Android 4.4.1 update for Nexus 5 now live

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Camera improvements are the focus this time around

Shortly after Google officially announced that an update to Android 4.4.1 was making its way out to Nexus 5 devices, folks have started to see it on their own devices. The update supposedly fixes many of the issues with the Nexus 5's camera, including poor autofocus and slow capture speeds, although we can't know for sure what else is included in this update until we take a deeper look.

For now, if you've instantly lost your patience waiting for the update to hit your device, you can grab a download of the official file from Google at the link below. If you need help understanding the basic process of flashing this file to your own Nexus 5, head to our guide for Nexus tablets — the process is the same.

Update: Android 4.4.1 is also rolling out to other Nexus devices.

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3 years ago

We're answering your Qualcomm Toq questions in the forums!

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As our unboxing post might have alluded to, we've got the Qualcomm Toq strapped to our wrist. That means it's time to answer some questions.

You can fire away in our Qualcomm Toq forum.

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3 years ago

Android over 52% of the U.S. market as of October, Samsung still leads OEMs

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U.S. still dominated by Samsung and Apple handsets

Mobile analytics company comScore has just released its monthly report on U.S. smartphone market share, and as expected Android is still on top. Keeping in mind that these numbers represent market share as of October, 2013, let's jump into the analysis.

As you would expect, Android is on top of the U.S. market with 52.2 percent of devices, up 0.4 percent from three months previous. Apple makes up much of the rest with 40.6 percent, also up slightly in the period. BlackBerry and Microsoft naturally round out the other meaningful OS market shares in the states.

In terms of manufacturers, it's the Samsung and Apple show yet again. Since no other manufacturers make phones with Apple's iOS, of course it has the largest single manufacturer market share at the same 40.6 percent of the market. Following up a somewhat-close second place is Samsung, with 25.4 percent of the market, up 1.3 percent. Motorola picked up a miniscule gain to 7 percent market share, and both HTC and LG lost share to dip under Motorola.

At this point it seems it'll take something monumental to get a single manufacturer to move any considerable amount in a three-month period — maybe things will mix up a bit more around the holidays.

Source: comScore

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3 years ago

Qualcomm Toq unboxing

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Thought $299 was too expensive for a smartwatch? Well, it's time to dig even deeper into the old wallet with the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch. This guy's $350 but is the first to feature Qualcomm's Mirasol display, which we've seen in products in fits and starts over the past couple years. But it's never quite caught on.

Perhaps Toq will change that. We'll see.

Regardless, a quick unboxing is in order, as there's a lot going on here. For its first smartwatch, Qualcomm's done quite a nice job with the packaging. And while we knew what to expect with the wireless charger, it's still a pretty interesting device. It opens up like a little jewelry box, with a couple hidey-holes for loose change (which you might or might not have laying around after you pony up for this thing) or for the Toq Headsets that are coming eventually.

We'd recommend looking through all the quick-start material as well, as there are a few steps you'll need to take before the watch is ready for your wrist.

We'll have more on the Qualcomm Toq as we get to know this guy.

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3 years ago

Google Play Music updated with SD card cache support

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Cached music can now be handled on external storage

There's a new update for Google Play Music rolling out from today, and it brings a pretty big feature addition for anyone using Google's music app on a device with an SD card. The new Google Play Music version 5.3 introduces the ability to store cached or pinned music on external storage — i.e. a microSD card — as an alternative to internal storage. The app has always been able to play music from external storage, but until now cached music from online libraries was limited to internal storage.

It's a pretty big deal for the many users of Android phones with an SD card slot but limited built-in storage, for instance most Samsung phones and lower-end devices from other manufacturers. Cached music can quickly chew through precious internal storage, and so offloading it to an SD card wherever possible makes a lot of sense. It's a curious decision, however, given Google's stance on SD cards, and the lack of external storage on current Nexus devices.

As usual, the new version of Google Play Music is being pushed out to devices gradually as part of a staged rollout, so watch out for it in the days ahead. The new option to change your cache location can be found under Music settings > Download > Storage location.

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