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4 years ago

Sony adds voice search and a new model number to their Google TV set top box

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Sony adds voice input to their internet player line of Google TV devices, new model available in July for $199

Sony announced a new Google TV set top box today, the NSZ-GS8. (Samsung Galaxy S 2, Sprint Epic 4G Touch doesn't sound so bad now, does it?) The GS8 is identical to the GS7, which is reviewed here and one I've been using for a while, with the exception of one thing -- voice capabilities via the remote. 

Sony simply calls it voice search, but with the right software -- like the Google TV app PrimeTime, for instance -- voice input is pretty damn handy to have on your remote. It's a great addition to one of the few Google TV units of 2012 that had its act together. In fact, voice input is the reason I recently "upgraded" from my NSZ-GS7 to the new ASUS Cube.

The new GS8 will be available starting in July online and at the usual big box retailers for $199. If you're a Google TV fan, and just aren't feeling the custom UI on the Cube, this would be an excellent buy.  If you already have the GS7, and want to save a few dollars you can pick up the equivalent voice capable remote for the original from Sony for $50 here, and make sure you have the latest version of the software that enables it.

Source: Sony

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4 years ago

Stock Talk: Those analysts, they be finicky folk

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To close out last week's trading week, Samsung shares tanked, and everyone seemed to be talking about it. The short version:  Samsung stock dropped 6 percent, which means $12 billion of market value was wiped out in a single day. In case you were wondering, Samsung has a market value just under $200 billion. By comparison, Apple is worth $410 billion, Google is worth $290 billion and Microsoft is almost $300 billion. All of these market values make BlackBerry seem like a drop in the bucket given its market capitalization of $7 billion.

Why did Samsung drop? A few analysts downgraded the stock. The downgrades apparently were sparked by fears that Samsung is going after more market volume at lower margins. The evidence? A couple of stripped down models of the Galaxy S4 were announced. 

I think Samsung is doing a tremendous job of profiting from the global Android explosion. As much as people think Google must be unhappy with Samsung's dominance, I don’t think that’s the case. Google must love how quickly Samsung has helped to propel Android to dominance. We are in a new world of mobile computing, and Android has become the mobile equivalent of Microsoft Windows in terms of market dominance. To be clear, I’m not comparing the way Microsoft is run versus Google, or the quality of each company’s software. I’m speaking only about dominant market share. 

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Discotheque: Thanks for coming out, y'all!

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Holy crap, that picture is going to get annoying after a couple seconds. But I don't care. It sums up Thursday night's Talk Mobile 2013 Launch Party pretty succinctly. (And it's a great example of the Google+ "Auto Awesome" animated gif feature.)

A good 600 or so of our closest smartphone friends, from all platforms and all walks of life, at a little club off Times Square. An official recap video is in the works, I hear, but some quick thoughts for now:

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4 years ago

How to change archive and delete actions in the new Gmail

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Don't worry, your ability to delete emails hasn't gone away

With the latest update to the new Gmail interface, Google has moved things around a bit -- unfortunately, it didn't give users much indication of how things changed. One of the big headaches that re-surfaced after the latest update was Google's differentiation between archiving and deleting emails, and what options are chosen to be available. We went through this with the last couple large updates to Gmail that introduced swipe-to-delete and actionable notifications, and we wanted to provide a quick refresher on how to manage your archive and delete options in the new Gmail interface.

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4 years ago

HTC One, J Butterfly and DNA now have an S Off method

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With great power comes great responsibility -- S Off is a reality for the HTC One, Droid DNA, and J Butterfly 

If you're the proud owner of an HTC One, J Butterfly or Droid DNA, and like to hack things a little bit, here's some news for you -- S Off has been achieved for the handsets. 

The methods (yes, there are two of them) are pretty straightforward, using either a Linux-only utility or by manually running a few commands via ADB or right from the phone itself. Be warned -- having S Off makes it easier to seriously break your phone, so make sure you have a reason to do it before you get started.

Speaking of a reason to do it, many folks wonder just why you need S Off now that HTC let's us all flash boot images with an unlocked bootloader. There's one big reason -- SuperCID. CID stands for Carrier ID, and it's the determining factor of which RUU you can run to update your phone software. With SuperCID (as seen above -- 11111111) you can flash any RUU to your phone, including the developer edition and upcoming Google edition versions, providing there is support for the radio. This means when the unlocked world version gets updated to 4.2.2 and the RUU is "uncovered", folks with S Off won't have to wait for AT&T or Three to approve the update and push it out. There is also some speculation that this may allow the AWS bands on the developer edition to get unlocked for use on T-Mobile's 3G. Never say never.

In any case, if you're aware of the risks, understand what you can do afterwards and know what you shouldn't do at all, hit the links below to get started.

Source: XDA; revone for the HTC One method, revone for the J Butterfly / DNA,  Moonshine method

Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: You Don't Know Jack, Dashlane Password Manager, reClock and more!

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Games, tools and widgets -- we've got them all here

Welcome back to yet another edition of our Apps of the Week post, where we highlight apps from the Android Central writers. Now these aren't always the newest or most popular apps, but they're the ones that have worked well enough for us to stay installed for the last week -- and that's saying something.

From games and casual apps to tools and widgets, we cover all the bases. Stick around with us after the break and see how this week stacks up.

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4 years ago

How to manage labels and folders in the new Gmail

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The buttons changed places, but the core functionality has remained the same

The latest update to a new version of Gmail has reminded many of us of the frustration related to managing folders and labels in the app, but we're here to help clear up some of the confusion. Google has made the executive decision to put the folder switching icon in the top action bar, but nest the label switching button behind the overflow menu key. This decision had to be made because of the elimination of the bottom action bar, but it still hasn't made it any easier to explain the difference between switching folders and switching labels on an email (or set of emails). Let's break it down really quick.

From the single email view (for sake of simplicity), tapping the top action bar button that looks like an open manila folder will pop up a familiar interface for switching that given email to a new folder. Those who have created new specialized folders (aka labels) will see a list of options where they can then send that email. Tapping any of these folders will completely remove the email from your inbox (or any other folder it was previously in) and place it in that new folder, effectively archiving it.

 

This differs from simply adding labels to an email, which is now handled with a tap on the menu button and another tap on "Change labels". A similar interface will pop up, giving you a list of available labels with checkboxes next to each. Adding labels by checking the appropriate boxes does not remove the email from your inbox, but rather just labels it in addition to the inbox label. It's a subtle but important distinction that will keep you from losing emails to random folders you've created.

This can be a tough one to wrap your head around, even without the new Gmail update changing the button placement. Stick around with us after the break for a quick video walkthrough of how to manage your labels and folders in the new Gmail interface.

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4 years ago

Live action Galaxy S4 Zoom images seem to confirm leaked renders

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'Zoom' looks even more like a Galaxy Camera in the flesh

The Samsung Galaxy S4 'Zoom' variant is looking yet more likely with the emergence of fresh, live action shots of the device this morning. The images come from German-based blog TechTastic and show a device almost identical to yesterday's leaked render. That is to say we're looking at a cross between a Galaxy S4 and a Galaxy Camera -- right down to what looks like a tripod mount on the base of the device.

Today's images also highlight the device's thickness. The S4 Zoom isn't going to be anywhere near as pocketable as the average smartphone -- after all, the moving components for that 10X optical zoom have to go somewhere -- though it is significantly more compact than the Galaxy Camera. There's been no confirmation of internal specs just yet, but rumors indicate hardware similar to that of the Galaxy S4 Mini -- a dual-core 1.6GHz CPU, qHD SuperAMOLED display and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Behind that 10X optical zoom lens is said to sit a 16-megapixel sensor.

It's likely we'll see the S4 Zoom in the flesh for the first time at Samsung's "Premiere 2013" event in London on June 20.

More: Galaxy S4 Zoom rumors point to a curious new kind of cameraphone

Source: TechTastic; via: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Talk Mobile Gaming Week Recap: The best things you said

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Capping off the first week of Talk Mobile 2013, we gathered up the Mobile Nations Editors-in-Chief and hosts Cali Lewis and John P. of GeekBeat.TV to discuss how the week went down. Read on for our hand-picked comments from the week and thoughts on each from our editors.

4 years ago

CyanogenMod 10.1 RC5 builds now available for many devices

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Release candidates are coming out quickly; stable build can't be far off

CyanogenMod has been rolling out new versions of CM10.1 as quick as people can flash them, and we've now crossed into RC5 (Release Candidate 5) territory. RC's are the final step before a stable release of the software, and after five iterations we have to think that final build isn't far off. As it stands RC5 is the latest available though, and builds have been showing up throughout the day for most popular devices. Most variants of the Galaxy SIII (S3) are here, as well as popular Sony devices like the Xperia Z, ZL and Tablet Z. Naturally, every Nexus device -- from the Nexus S to the Nexus Q -- is represented.

Hit the source link below to check and see if your device has an RC5 build available. If it does, don't forget to make a full backup before you flash to the latest version. It's unlikely that there are serious bugs this late in development, but you can never be too careful.

Source: CyanogenMod

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4 years ago

Get the Galaxy S4 in any color you want from ColorWare

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This treatment from ColorWare takes customization to the ultimate level, but it's not cheap

If you're not content with the two current colors of the Samsung Galaxy S4, and none of the four new "coming soon" colors tickle your fancy, ColorWare can help you get the Galaxy S4 you've always wanted -- provided you're willing to pay for it.

Checking in at $1,000, the GSM unlocked Galaxy S4 is the same model available to everyone, but ColorWare has torn it asunder and replaced the external plastic parts with pieces that have been meticulously painted, making the phone available in thousands of color combinations. Be it Formula 1 red, or Cotton Candy pink, or even something subdued like the aptly named sand, there is bound to be something here for everyone.

Yes, $1000 is a lot of money to spend on anything, let alone a phone. But if you just have to have it your way, now you can. Visit the link below to check it out, and the press release is after the break.

More: ColorWare

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4 years ago

SoftBank could attempt to buy T-Mobile US if its bid for Sprint is turned down

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One man's trash is another man's treasure: Deutsche Telekom could finally exit the U.S. market

With its attempted purchase of Sprint potentially in jeopardy, SoftBank is actively considering buying T-Mobile US as a fall-back plan. Sprint and SoftBank seem confident that its current deal will go through, however a few billion extra dollars from Dish may be enough to force Sprint's hands into taking the more profitable deal -- and SoftBank is reportedly ready to move right on down the line to the next U.S. carrier it can buy, T-Mobile. After its merger with MetroPCS, T-Mobile (now T-Mobile US) is a publicly traded company, making its former parent company Deutsche Telekom now just a majority shareholder. According to three sources to Reuters, the Japanese carrier is returning to talks previously held between it and Deutsche Telekom pertaining to buying its stake in the U.S. carrier.

Just as Deutsche Telekom wanted, this structure makes it a much simpler proposition to sell off its 74-percent stake in T-Mobile US to another company, such as SoftBank, if it wants a final exit from the U.S. At its current valuation T-Mobile US is worth about $15 billion, or $5 billion less than SoftBank currently has on the table to buy Sprint. The numbers work out, and it's no secret that DT has had one foot out the door for some time now -- SoftBank could just be the final piece to make everyone happy.

Source: Reuters

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4 years ago

First alleged Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom render appears

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Galaxy S4 variant infused with Galaxy Camera DNA

We've seen the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy S4 Active, and next up could be the Galaxy S4 Zoom. The device has been rumored for the past several weeks, and supposedly combined Galaxy S4 Mini-level internals with a 16-megapixel rear shooter and 10X optical zoom capabilities. If it exists, it's an interesting twist on the "cameraphone" concept, as we discussed in a recent editorial.

Today brings us our first possible look at the actual hardware of the S4 Zoom. The Samsung rumormongers at SamMobile have published the shot above, which looks like a Galaxy S4 infused with some Galaxy Camera DNA. There's an S4-like front, complete with speaker grille, a zoom lens around the back and dedicated camera key (without a zoom rocker, oddly.)

We'll have to wait and see whether this will be the device to complete Samsung's "Premiere 2013" line-up. We'll be on the ground in London on June 20 to find out -- in the meantime, share any theories down in the comments.

Source: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Action Launcher 1.8 lets you choose widgets, improves support for Ice Cream Sandwich

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Action Launcher today has dropped Version 1.8 on us in Google Play, bringing with it a few welcomed improvements. You're now able to choose which widget you want associated with a Shutter action (that's the one where you swipe an app icon to open its widget), which gives you far better control over what's being shown. It also lets you associate any widget with any icon, whether or not it actually is supposed to have a widget. Neat trick.

And because of the way that works, you're now able to use Shutters with Ice Cream Sandwich devices. More backward compatibility is always a good thing.

Look for the Action Launcher update in Google Play any time now (hit the link above, or just go to Google Play, where it should be listed as a Featured App soon), and be sure to check to the changelog and demo video after the break.

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4 years ago

Google on the NSA 'PRISM' to-do: 'What the ...?'

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Larry Page, chief legal officer Drummond pen post in response to recent reports of government snooping

Google's chief executive this afternoon weighed in on the reports from The Guardian and The Washington Post that have created a bit of a firestorm over personal liberty versus anti-terrorism efforts. Parsing Larry Page's post, which is co-authored with Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, you get the following:

  • First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers
  • Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process.
  • Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—there needs to be a more transparent approach.

Read Page and Drummond's full explanation on Google's official blog.

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