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4 years ago

WSJ: LG 'G Flex' with curved 6-inch display coming next month

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Concave handset with curvy OLED screen reportedly coming soon

Samsung has long been rumored to have a curved handset in the pipeline, with recent hints from the Korean electronics giant pointing to a release sometime in October. But it seems that device won't be alone, as The Wall Street Journal reports rival LG will debut its own curvy smartphone not long afterwards.

The newspaper says the phone, dubbed the "LG G Flex," will have a 6-inch concave display with a "plastic OLED screen," giving it the flexibility to curve in this way. Sketches obtained by the WSJ show something very similar in appearance to the LG G2, only much less flat. It's unclear from the images whether the G Flex will have back buttons like the G2, or more traditional side-mounted keys, however.

The LG "G Flex" is due for launch sometime next month, the Journal reports.

Source: WSJ (Paywall)

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4 years ago

Jelly Bean now on almost half of devices, according to latest platform numbers

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Android 4.1 to 4.3 now accounts for 48.6 percent of devices accessing the Google Play Store

Google has released its latest set of monthly Android platform data, showing that Jelly Bean — Android 4.1 to 4.3 — ran on almost half of devices accessing the Google Play Store in the week up to Oct. 2. Some quick points to note from the latest set of platform data compared to last month's

  • Though Jelly Bean as a whole represents some 48.6 percent of devices, most Jelly Bean devices are still running the year-old Android 4.1.
  • That said, Android 4.1's share actually fell slightly compared to last month, going from 36.6 percent of the total to 36.5.
  • Only Android 4.2 and 4.3 grew their market share, the rest remained flat or fell.
  • Froyo (2.2), Gingerbread (2.3), Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) all lost market share, as did Android 4.1, the earliest version of Jelly Bean.
  • Honeycomb (3.x) remained unchanged at just 0.1 percent.

Android 4.3 itself is measured for the first time in this latest set of platform data, debuting at just 1.5 percent. That's not too surprising considering until recently this version was limited to Nexus and Google Play edition devices. With the launch of high-profile 4.3 phones like the Galaxy Note 3, as well as 4.3 updates for devices like the HTC One, we'd expect that number to increase in the month ahead.

You can find the full stats, including details on screen size and OpenGL versions, at the source link below.

Source: Android Platform Versions

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4 years ago

BBM for Android returns to beta with new features, improved interface

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Persistent notification now optional in latest beta build.

It has been a long and shaky road for BBM's released on Android, but there may be a little more hope now as beta testers of the app have just received a new version to try out. Members of the beta testing group report that the updated version of BBM has a new welcome screen explaining functions, as well as an overall refreshed UI that has several improvements.

That nagging persistent notification can now be turned off in the settings as well, which alone is worthy of applause. Naturally the release of a new beta doesn't indicate that an official launch (no, for real this time) is imminent, but it at least indicates that the wheels are turning over at BlackBerry.

Source: CrackBerry

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4 years ago

Google Now adds 'OK, Google' hotwording, reminders for notable people

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Keep up to date with all of that Justin Bieber news, nobody has to know

Google Now is picking up an update today with a few new features to improve your search and predictive information experience. First up is a new "hotword" that can be detected  — "OK, Google" can now be said to initiate a voice search if you're in the US, although the regular old "Google" still seems to work just fine for us.

Once you've performed a search, if it happens to be for information on a "notable person" Google will offer you the ability to have new cards show up in Google Now for updates on that person. There's no indication of what makes a person notable, but we found searching some regular famous musicians and celebrities yielded the desired result.

Google also says that "more beautiful search results" are rolling out gradually, but you can get the two aforementioned features with an update to the latest version of Google Search at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Google acquires gesture technology startup Flutter

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New technology for potential future touchless interfaces

Although it acquires companies at a pretty regular pace, Google acquired a notable startup this week called Flutter. You may not have heard of Flutter before, but it is a startup that focused on gesture recognition technology for use with standard camera interfaces such as webcams. Its only shipping product, a popular Mac and Windows app, will continue to work according to a statement posted on its own blog confirming the purchase.

Even though it may not have a long history of popular products, Google must have seen something in the company that was enticing. Touchless interfaces are one of the future input methods being researched by many companies, and Google is surely one of them. Maybe a few folks who know a thing or two about seeing and recognizing gestures could help with some future products in the pipeline.

Source: Flutter; Via: TechCrunch

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4 years ago

Target unveils 'Brightspot' prepaid service running on the T-Mobile network

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Another basic MVNO player hoping to pick up some market share

Although it isn't the first name you think of when it comes to prepaid GSM phone service, Target has just launched its own MVNO network called "Brightspot." Running on the T-Mobile network — including LTE access — Brightspot offers a variety of inexpensive feature and smart phones for purchase as well as a BYOD SIM kit program. Here's how the plans break down — you can pay $35 per month for unlimited talk and text with no data (for a feature phone) or $50 per month for unlimited talk and text, 1GB of 4G data (throttled thereafter).

Target is also planning to reward loyal customers by giving you a $25 gift card for every 6 months that you refill your service with Brightspot. The gift card can be applied to any purchase at Target, not just future phone service. Folks with a Target REDcard will receive 5 percent off purchases of Brightspot refills as well, just like any other purchase at the store. The service will be available starting October 6th.

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4 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Time

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Take your time with this week's photo contest entries

With the popularity of the Galaxy Gear and Pebble smartwatch, among others, we wanted to have a very topical contest this week. The prompt for your photo entries for the next week will be "time." Take a picture of a clock, watch, sundial or anything else you think expresses the concept of "time" and we'll hopefully pick you as a winner this week.

This week we'll be picking two winners, and this week's prizes (appropriately) will be two Pebble smartwatches — you get your choice of red or black.

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 (October 8) 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

This week's sidebar poll: Do you run benchmarks on your phone?

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Nobody was hurt running this benchmark test

Benchmark results of Android devices — and how they are manipulated — are back in the news again. A lot of folks have fun running them, and a certain subset of people use them as one of the deciding factors of which phone is better. We're cool with that. You get to decide how to spend your own money, and we don't want it any other way. Just because we shy away from them mostly doesn't mean you should.

But recently, a brouhaha got started because Samsung was caught by the folks at Ars Technica cheating at some benchmarks with the Note 3. An old can of worms got reopened, and we now know that most Android manufacturers do the same. Credit where credit is due — Motorola and Nvidia, and of course Google, have abstained. You'll want to read the excellent break down by the folks at AnandTech about it, because this sort of thing is what they do best.

Phil had a little to say on it last night, and now it's your turn. After the break, or in the sidebar to the right, you'll find a poll. Take a second and answer it, then give your reasons in the comments. Play nice and be respectful please, and we can have good discussion.

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4 years ago

Google Play experiencing issues for most everyone

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It's not just you. Users everywhere, including us here at AC, are running into issues downloading and installing apps from Google Play. The problems vary from the crazy 927 error, to the Play Store not responding, to no visual cue but nothing will download.

We expect that Google will have things back up and going shortly. Hang tight guys and gals!

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4 years ago

HTC One Mini on AT&T also getting an update

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289MB file said to deliver performance enhancements

HTC is literally raining down the updates today, with the Sprint HTC One and EVO 4G LTE seeing updates, and now the One Mini on AT&T is having a turn.

It's a fairly sizable update at 289MB, but the listed changes are simply device performance enhancements. Your new build number will be 1.32.502.3, and you're still on platform version 4.2.

Any One Mini users out there seeing this one? Head into the forums and share your experiences and maybe we can find out just what's in this update.

Source: AT&T; via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Indoors' winner!

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With so many great photos, it was tough to pick just one this week

Another week, another closed photo contest and dozens of great entries that we had the opportunity to take a look at. The broad topic of "indoors" gave us a wide range of interesting subjects and styles to choose from, and in the end we narrowed down our choice to just one winner.

Continue on after the break to see who was selected as the winner of this week's photo contest and an HTC First as their prize.

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4 years ago

Google Play gift cards now available in Canada

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Google has finally made Google Play gift cards available for people in Canada. Denominations of $15, $25 and $50 (CAD) are available from selected retailers. The short list of where to buy them: 

  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Future Shop
  • Target
  • 7-11
  • Best Buy
  • Mac's
  • Walmart
  • Pharmaprix
  • Circle K
  • Couche-Tard

Google advises that while the cards have officially launched, they still may be on the way to retailers. You should call around to see who has them in stock now.

The cards apply credit to your Google Wallet account for purchases of apps, books and movies from Google Play. To see how to redeem the value, have a look at our primer.

Source: +Google Play

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4 years ago

Here's a great way to show off that HTC One screen and BoomSound

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Your HTC One has one of the best LCDs in the business, and some pretty amazing front-facing stereo speakers. Put it to the test with the new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug that director Peter Jackson is sharing. 

The movie should be epic, but watching the trailer on one of the premiere entertainment devices out there is pretty epic in its own right. Click through to give it a look.

More: +Peter Jackson

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4 years ago

HTC EVO 4G LTE also getting minor update today

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Minor update brings stability improvements and HD voice by default

While it's not the big Android 4.3 update many are wanting, the HTC EVO 4G LTE also has an update pushing out today. The 3.17.651.4 update is a maintenance release, and the listed change log says HD voice will be enabled by default to go along with the requisite bug fixes and stability improvements to Sense.

This is yet another staged release, and not all users will see the update today. To see if you've got a seat on the OTA carousel, pop into the settings and check for a software update.

Source: Sprint. Thanks, @sanders_llc!

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4 years ago

Sprint HTC One getting Android 4.3 update

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First U.S. carrier-branded HTC One to get the OTA

Following rollouts for the U.S. developer edition and Canadian HTC Ones, the Sprint device has become the first U.S. carrier-branded version to get its Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. HTC America president Jason Mackenzie took to Twitter to confirm that the update is now pushing out, and AC reader Tony tells us he's already got it on his Sprint-branded device in New Orleans.

In addition to the latest version of Android, the update brings new Sense features including Instagram support in BlinkFeed and new video highlight templates. If you're rocking an HTC One on Sprint, jump in the comments and let us know if you've gotten the update.

More: Sprint HTC One forum

Source: @JasonMacHTC; Thanks, Tony!

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