4 years ago

#CESlive Round-up — all you need to know from CES 2014


What a show, #CESlive. The 2014 edition of the International CES was just as wild and crazy as we'd expected, and our coverage was more wild and crazy than we'd ever done before. From curved UHD TVs and OLED displays to smartwatches and smartphones, the millions of square feet that comprised the show floor of CES 2014 was full of the insane, the amazing, and the just plain cool. Up here you'll find our CES wrap-up video, and down below you'll find the very best of all our coverage from #CESlive!

4 years ago

Sprint's LG G Flex available in stores Feb. 7


Sprint's LG G Flex will be available in stores starting Feb. 7. Pre-orders are still aiming to be in customers' hands a week sooner — by Jan. 31, Sprint says.

As you'll recall from our preview of the G Flex, this is a curved — and slightly bendable — 6-inch smartphone. It's big, but the curve helps make it feel just a tad smaller. The display is unremarkable in resolution, just 720p, but, c'mon, it bends!

The G Flex will run $299 with a two-year contract. And anyone who preorders between now and Jan. 31 wil receive a free Quickwindow Folio Case. If you want to buy it outright, it'll cost you $650.

The G Flex also will be coming to AT&T and T-Mobile in the weeks ahead, though neither operator has announced when they'll be available.

More: Pre-order the LG G Flex; Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Designing the Sony QX100 camera for Android


Here's a cool couple minutes from Sony, looking at the QX100 camera lens from the inside out. For the uninitiated, this is the self-contained camera that can clip onto most any (normal-sized) Android smartphone, or take pictures on its own and upload them later. Good deal.

For more, see our review of its little brother, the QX10.

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Is Google's support of iOS a good thing?


Google's popular apps are a favorite in the App Store

Chances are, if you have an iOS device you have one or more applications from Google installed. If you're like me, you have most of them installed. Google's services are extremely popular amongst iOS users, and platforms that don't have them are filled with users that want them. That's Google's strong point — Internet services — and they are damn good at it.

But is this level of support for a competing platform a good idea? When Google updates one of their apps for iOS, there is always a few from the Android camp who aren't happy about it and think Google should let iOS users fend for themselves with other services, like Bing or Yahoo! mail. On the other side of the fence are people who think support for the end-user is paramount, and both Google and Apple should do the right thing and provide services people want to the people who want them, regardless of who built their mobile device. I fall into this camp.

We're trying to find the median here. Not the voice of the haters who would like nothing more than to see Apple go away, nor the voice of the crazy ones who think everyone should get along. You all can help us find it. There's a poll in the sidebar to the right, or after the break if you're mobile. Let us know what you think.

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4 years ago

Coming Friday: Catch the Android Central Podcast live!


We're back and recovered from CES! And that means it's time another round of the Android Central Podcast! This week we take on Google buying Nest for $3.2 billion, the new Moto G Google Play edition — and any and all questions you fine folks can throw at us.

We'll be recording the live show on Friday afternoon like we tend to do — 4 p.m. EST, 1 p.m. on the West Coast. (And that's 9 p.m. in London.)

If you want the full effect, be sure to swing by the Google+ Hangout at show time and join in the live Q&A. See you there!

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4 years ago

Google Now is (unsurprisingly) coming to your desktop


In what should be considered an inevitable (and welcomed) move, Google Now notifications are coming to Chrome for Mac and Windows — and you can try them out today.

The latest version of the Chrome Canary app (that's Chrome's dev version, basically) includes a flag for turning on the notifications, as spotted by the Google Operating System blog. To turn on the notifications, you'll need to enable chrome://flags/#enable-google-now, then relaunch. Make sure you're signed in, and you should start seeing Google Now notifications in either the Windows tray or the Mac system bar. 

It's pretty slick, and we're seeing all the same notifications as on our phone. Give it a whirl if you'd like.

Download: Canary; More: Google OS blog; Thanks, Adam!

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4 years ago

Sprint's new 'Easy Pay' lets you upgrade now, pay over 24 months


Sprint this morning — just days after quietly killing off its "One Up" handset financing program — announced "Easy Pay," which lets customers upgrade now and spread out the cost of the phone over two years, after taxes and an as-yet-announced down payment.

There doesn't appear to be any more of a catch than that. No plans to buy into — though Sprint's still heavily pushing the horribly named "Framily" plans — and we imagine any unpaid cost of the phone would be expected should you decide to leave Sprint.

More: Sprint

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is official — 7 inches of Jelly Bean


Just a few scant hours after the user manual surfaced, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is now official. The 7-inch tablet has a rather unimpressive 1024x600 resolution and is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage. It's just shy of 10mm thick, and that svelte nature (if not the price tag, which wasn't announced but likely will be around the $199 we saw for the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3) is this guy's selling point.

It's running Android 4.2 out of the box and presumably would be updated at some point. The Tab 3 Lite has a 2-megapixel camera in the back — the only shooter on this tablet. Battery life likely will be decent with a 3,600 mAh capacity. It's also listing 2G and 3G cellular data — but traditionally that sort of feature is stripped out in U.S. releases.

The Galaxy Tab 3 Lite will be available worldwide in white or black.

More: Samsung

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4 years ago

You can now 'star' contacts through Gmail


From emails to contacts the star makes it easy to find the most important things

For years we have used Google's starring system to keep track of important emails, and now you're able to star your contacts as well. Keeping track of huge contact lists can be a bit of a difficult task — finding the people you want to communicate with may not always be quick and easy, but Google has changed that.

Now you will be able to star contacts so that they will show up in a starred list instead of just the general contacts list. If you'll recall, you've been able to "favorite" (star) contacts through the People app for some time now — this will now sync throughout your account. The process of starring a contact is really quick and easy, and can be done right from your Android device:

  1. Launch the Gmail App.
  2. Open an email from the contact you wish to star.
  3. Tap on their avatar in the top left corner.
  4. A window will pop up with contact information and you will see a star on the right side under the photo.
  5. Tap the star (so that it is filled in) and that is it.

That's all there is to the process -- pretty simple really. Starring a contact will not only easily allow you to find them in a sea of contacts in your list, but will also show them in your dialer and on the web so you can call with ease. Whether you have a large or small contact list, this helpful tip will ensure that your most important contacts are easy to reach.

Source: Google+

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4 years ago

Final Fantasy VI makes its way to the Play Store for $15.99


This 1994 classic will set you back a pretty penny, but you can't put a price on nostalgia

Square Enix has released yet another Final Fantasy title into the Play Store for Android users to enjoy. For $15.99 you can now play through the entire Final Fantasy VI title on your phone or tablet, complete and untouched from its original release nearly two decades ago on the SNES. Hours and hours of gameplay await you on this RPG, which looks to be compatible with just about every device under the sun.

We applaud Square Enix for putting up the Final Fantasy series for download with a high (but fair) price with no changes or in-app purchases mucking up the gameplay experience. Plenty have downloaded previous Final Fantasy versions on the Play Store, and we expect FFVI to draw just as much attention.

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4 years ago

Official user manual appears online for Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite


Low-end 7-inch tablet is all but confirmed at this point

Rumors have already been floating around about a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite, and Samsung has just added more fuel to the fire by posting the user manual online. Posted to Polish support pages, Samsung has confirmed the SM-T110 as the Wifi version of the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite. While there has been no official announcement from Samsung, a local retailer claims to have a bit more information about the device as well.

According to the sources, the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite will feature a 7-inch display with a 1024 x 600 resolution along with a 1.2GHz processor inside. Additionally the device will carry 1GB of RAM along with 8GB of internal memory that is expandable via MicroSD if desired. The rear of the device will have 2MP camera, and it is said to feature a 3600mAh battery — that should easily get you through the day and more on a single charge.

Pricing has not been confirmed, but the device should be coming to market somewhere in the $100 price point for the Wifi version, and likely $150 or more for the one with cellular radios inside. Odds are that Samsung is saving this device for an official announcement at Mobile World Congress, which is just over a month away. 

Source: Samsung PolandX-Kom

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4 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Lights


Flashing or twinkling, bright or dim, show us photos of lights

Between our extensive Holiday Photo Contest and the business around CES, it's been a while since we've had a regular photo contest. We're ready to get back on schedule, and are kicking things off again with a regular week-long photo contest. Considering that we just returned from a week in Las Vegas, we thought it was fitting to have the prompt this week be "lights." There's a whole lot you can do with such a broad topic, and we're looking forward to the entries that come out of it.

This week we're picking three winners, each of which will receive a pair of SOL Republic Jax headphones in your choice of color.

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in a forums post at the link below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll pick a winner Tuesday (January 21) night at 11:59 PM ET, and announce them on the blog with next Wednesday's contest.

Enter this week's photo contest

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4 years ago

Google's Niantic Labs to bring 'ENDGAME' book series to an AR game


Game is expected to launch on Android and iOS devices in late 2014

The folks over at Niantic Labs, the Google company behind the widely popular Ingress game, have just announced a new partnership with James Frey to make his newest series ENDGAME into a location based augmented reality game. Building off of the books Niantic Labs will create an experience that builds upon their successes with Ingress and provides players the ability to bring a video game even further into the real world.

ENDGAME is a multimedia experience unlike any that have been seen before, combining fifteen original e-book novellas, YouTube videos, mapping coordinates, social media and so much more. Each book in the trilogy will have an interactive puzzle that needs to be solved using clues and riddles that are found right within the text of the books. For the final book, ENDGAME: THE CALLING a huge prize has been announced.

Placing a quantity of gold on display in a public environment -- behind bullet-proof glass of course -- they will live broadcast an event on YouTube which will allow those who are able to solve the puzzle to cash in and win some gold.  The game is set to launch on Android devices later in 2014, so be sure to keep your eyes out for the arrival of the game, and be sure to figure it out quickly so you can try to get in on some of the prizes.

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4 years ago

Desire 300: This is how HTC attacks the low-end market


Just enough internal hardware to get by, with much nicer external hardware than you expect for the price

HTC announced the Desire 300 alongside the Desire 601 for specific markets back in September 2013. While it isn't a device that many of us will ever see or strive to own — we're more drawn to new colors of the HTC One and One Mini — it's an important phone for HTC to have on offer in places where disposable income for a phone isn't at the $650 level.

The internal specs aren't going to blow you away. We're looking at a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, just 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage (with an SDcard slot). The display, while only 480 x 800, is 4.3-inches and looks great, just as we've come to expect from HTC devices. The internals are enough to push around Android 4.1 with Sense 5 (including BlinkFeed) and a scaled-back set of visual features. It still feels like a full-blown set of HTC software, but you can tell where cuts were made to save performance.

Although it may not have widescale availability it can be picked up with little hassle, thanks to Amazon, for $249 (just don't count on getting 3G here) in the U.S. The Desire 300 is targeting even lower price points where it's being sold directly, however — we saw it go on sale in Australia for just $179 AUD (about $159 USD) at the end of last year. At those prices, people stop being so critical on the internal specs and simply pay attention to how it feels and whether or not it offers a minimum level of performance.

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4 years ago

You won't believe what happens in this #CESlive wrap-up video!


OK, maybe you will believe it. Maybe you stuck with us through all four days of #CESlive coverage last week from Las Vegas (to say nothing of the work we put in before the show even started). Maybe you hung on every word John P and Cali Lewis had to say from the each of the 80 or so interviews we did from the Mobile Nations/GeekBeat booth in South Hall. Maybe you even stuck around until as long as we did, long after the CEA's Gary Shapiro helped us pop the cork on the Prosecco and toast to a successful week.

So maybe you'll believe all that.

Anyhoo. It was a great reminder of a great week that was, of all the great people we met, of all the great interviews we ... interviewed — and of how much more awesome we're going to make it next year.

As always, thanks for coming along for the ride with us. See y'all at CES 2015.

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