Headlines

4 years ago

O2 Speed to Refresh reduces cost of paying off contract if you upgrade

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Carrier offers 25 percent reduction in cost of buying out contract to get subscribers onto 'O2 Refresh' plans

O2 UK has announced a new promotion designed to tempt existing customers onto its O2 Refresh price plans, which decouple the cost of customers' phones from their monthly service payment. Dubbed O2 Speed to Refresh, the new deal gives existing customers 25 percent off the cost of buying out the remainder of their contract if they upgrade to an O2 Refresh plan.

O2 Refresh is part of a growing trend which has seen some operators offering a clear distinction between the price of cellular service and the cost of payments towards the value of handsets. The plans mean customers' monthly bills are reduced after they've finished paying off their phone, and they can pay the full cost of the device up-front in exchange for lower monthly fees.

O2 Speed to Refresh is open to O2 Pay Monthly customers who have been with the carrier for at least three months.

Source: O2; More: O2 FAQs

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4 years ago

Dual-SIM HTC One with microSD slot coming to the UK

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Available now for pre-order, priced £494.99

HTC has announced that it'll bring a dual-SIM version of its flagship HTC One handset to the UK. The dual-SIM HTC One will also feature a removable back panel, like the HTC One Max, and expandable storage via a microSD slot supporting up to 64GB cards. Dual-SIM devices allow users to stay connected through multiple numbers at the same time, and HTC says it's targeting this specific model at "foreign nationals and students studying in the UK and business users who regularly travel abroad." A similar dual-SIM device has been available in China since April.

Aside from the extra SIM slot and microSD support, we're looking at the essentially the same device that's been on sale since the spring, with a Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 4-megapixel "Ultrapixel" camera and a 1080p SuperLCD display. It's worth noting however that the spec sheet makes no mention of LTE, meaning you'll max out at 3G data speeds on this device, with the first SIM slot supporting quad-band HSPA.

The handset is available for pre-order now, priced at £494.99; HTC says it's in talks with retailers and carriers to offer the dual-SIM HTC One to consumers and businesses.

More: HTC

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4 years ago

Pebble Smartwatch now available on Amazon

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Only black and red models being sold by the retailer directly

Pebble's presence keeps expanding, and now arguably the most popular online retailer has them up for order for the same price as the others. Well, sort of — Amazon is taking $1 off the price, so you'll pay $148.99 with free shipping of course, just about what you'd pay anywhere else.

Amazon is listing the Pebble in black, grey, orange, red and white, but only the black and red models are sold directly. You'll be choosing another retailer and likely paying more if you want another color. Still, it's a big deal for Pebble to be available on Amazon right before the big holiday shopping season, and we're sure a few more people will be picking one up because of it. Hit the link below if you're interested.

More: Buy the Pebble Smartwatch on Amazon

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4 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Family

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Get your family in front of the camera this holiday weekend

For those of you in the U.S., Thanksgiving week is the time when you're likely to spend some time with the closest family and friends you have. And for those of you outside of the states, we can venture that you'll be spending some time with family this week as well. For this reason this week's photo contest prompt is "family," and we can't wait to see how you and your family are spending the holidays together this week.

We'll have two winners this week, and they'll each receive an Incipio FIXIE Universal Tablet Stand (it works for phones too!)

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 (December 3) 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

Your AT&T Galaxy S4 is getting an OTA today, even if you already have 4.3

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Two updates are pushing to get everyone on build MK2

AT&T and Samsung have reissued the Android 4.3 update for the Galaxy S4, and according to AT&T it should start pushing out to devices today. The update seems identical to the last round, which was pulled for unknown reasons by Samsung shortly after things got started. We imagine there are important changes under the hood, though. 

Anyhoo, if you're not yet on Android 4.3 your update will be a wifi-only 727MB download, and when all is said and done your device will be current as far as things stand now. If you had previously installed the 4.3 OTA, your update will be a small 28MB update. In either case, you'll be running version I337UCUEMK2.

Got that? Don't fret if you're not up on all these numbers and versions. Just wander into the forums, where you can get all the help you need from people just like yourself. OTA days make the forums especially love-filled, so don't miss all the good feelings and karma.

And enjoy your update and your turkey.

Source: AT&T. Thanks, Michael!

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4 years ago

CyanogenMod intstaller voluntarily removed from Google Play

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The official CyanogenMod blog this afternoon gave word that the CM Installer — an Android app that aids in the process of getting the custom ROM onto a device — was voluntarily pulled from Google Play. Here's the rub:

Today, we were contacted by the Google Play Support team to say that our CyanogenMod Installer application is in violation of Google Play’s developer terms.

They advised us to voluntarily remove the application, or they would be forced to remove it administratively. We have complied with their wishes while we wait for a more favorable resolution.

To those unfamiliar with the application, it has a single function – to guide users to enable “ADB”, a built in development and debugging tool, and then navigates the user to the desktop installer. The desktop application then performs the installation of the CyanogenMod on their Android device.

After reaching out to the Play team, their feedback was that though application itself is harmless, and not actually in violation of their Terms of Service, since it ‘encourages users to void their warranty’, it would not be allowed to remain in the store.

CM says it'll submit the app to the Amazon and Samsung stores, and of course you can always sideload it.

Update: the CM team has updated their original blog post, and it's prudent to post it here as well since we're quoting them:

Update: Removed reference to Google stating the app was not in violation of TOS – this was a mischaracterization of Google’s statement.

Update 2: The source code for the app has been made available.

More: CyanogenMod blog

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4 years ago

Image Comics now available in Google Play

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Read award winning titles in Google Play Books on your HD Android tablet or phone

Publisher Image Comics has brought their library single edition and series comics to Google Play Books. Titles you know and love, like Saga and The Walking Dead (yes, it started as a comic) are now found right in Google Play and available to read today from your Android phone or tablet.

Over 500 titles, including numerous Eisner Award winners and New York Times best sellers are available for purchase, and to kick things off with a bang Image is making the first issues of The Walking Dead, Saga, Chew, Invincible and Super Dinosaur series for free to Google Play customers.

The comics are still available through other venues, such as Comixology and the Amazon Kindle. Publisher Eric Stephenson says:

It’s exciting to bring digital versions of Image Comics titles to the Google Play Store. Our philosophy toward digital content is expanding as the market evolves and grows, and this is just one of many steps we're taking as we continue to move into the future.

Check out the full list of titles from your browser or your Android at Google Play.

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4 years ago

Beware the super-cheap Android tablets on Black Friday

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Sometimes holiday deals are best ignored — we've got your guide to get the most bang for your buck

It's that time of year. Everywhere you look, you'll see incredible deals on "official" tablets that run "Google Android," often times starting at well under $100. Huge retail discount sales — whether real or imagined — during the holiday season are part of American culture. But we're here to help you not get burned by falling into the trap of buying a craplet.

Android is free. People can debate about that issue all they like, but the fact that we see Android installed on pieces of hardware from companies we've never heard of for sale at the local gas station pretty much proves the point that anyone can use Android in any way they like. Free software is a wonderful thing, and we're glad that anyone can build it and use it.

That doesn't mean we think you should buy just any cheap tablet, though. Money doesn't grow on trees, right?

We've got your guide to the best low-cost tablets we'd be willing to spend our own hard-earned cash on.

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4 years ago

Slowly but surely, Chromebooks are finding their niche

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The Chromebook is turning into the success that some thought Netbooks would achieve

Remember a few years ago when tablets hadn’t yet come onto the scene, and all the tech pundits were talking about massive growth in the Netbook market? These mostly Windows-powered computers were more portable and less expensive than traditional laptops, so there were lots of predictions for huge growth in the sector.

I was never a big believer in the idea, but that’s just because I couldn’t see the benefit of small, underpowered hardware running an OS that I felt was bloated and inefficient. My view had nothing to do with tablets, because they weren’t on the scene yet. 

We all know what happened next. Apple introduced the iPad, Android started to optimize its OS for tablets, and now we have a pretty good variety of light, cheap, efficient and net-connected mobile computers. Tablets win. Netbooks lose.

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4 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Sunset' winner!

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An abundance of beautiful horizons this week

We saw another great turnout this week for our photo contest. The prompt was "sunset," and over 300 members turned in their submissions of sunset and sunrise pictures with their Android devices. As we've come to expect, we saw dozens upon dozens of fantastic shots, each with their own bit of creative flair.

Although we wanted to pick far more winners, unfortunately we had to pick just one this week to win a BRAVEN 570 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. Hit the break and see the winning photo submission.

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4 years ago

The official Android Central app is now available in BlackBerry World!

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You'll need to be running OS 10.2, which you'd prefer to be running anyway

Ask and ye shall receive. We have brought the official Android Central App to BlackBerry World

For all intents and purposes, this is the same application we're running on Android — with all the stories, videos and podcasts you've come to expect — but optimized and improved for the Android runtime on BlackBerry. So we recommend that anyone who has sideloaded the actual Android apk use this one for a better experience.

A quick caveat, though. The app is for OS 10.2 and higher. And much like in the Android space, updates don't always come as soon as we'd like. We'd suggest taking this opportunity to remind your operator that you need to be able to run the official Android Central app on your BlackBerry, and perhaps they should consider updating post haste.

Otherwise, enjoy!

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4 years ago

The best Android phone you can buy is $150 off on Monday

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A quick heads up, folks, that the Moto X — which is currently the best Android phone you can buy — gets even better on Cyber Monday. Motorola will take $150 off any off-contract Moto X — including the developer edition, as well as one you customize yourself with Moto Maker.

That means the 32GB Moto X can be had for $400, and the 16GB version drops to $350. (That's the same price as the Nexus 5, by the way.)

Motorola says supplies will be limited, and to stay tuned for more info.

Source: +Motorola

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4 years ago

Dell Venue 8 review

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Dell is back in the Android business, and its Venue tablets are low-cost alternatives to the competition this holiday season

How do you make an Android tablet stand out? If you’re Samsung, you equip it with 101 features and throw in an S-Pen for good measure. If you’re LG, you craft a well-made tablet around remarkable specs and your increasingly popular UI. And if you’re Google, you create a premium and pure Android software experience and let someone else worry about the hardware.

With a market cornered by a handful of big names, how does Dell, a company with an unlucky history in the Android world, compete? Well, one way is competitive pricing. And Dell will be hoping that the Venue 8's $180 price point, coupled with its brand name recognition, will be enough to lure first-time tablet buyers away from the competition this holiday season.

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4 years ago

SwiftKey keyboard 25 percent off in Thanksgiving sale

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SwiftKey celebrates two years as top paid app on Google Play

Popular keyboard app SwiftKey is now on sale at a reduced price in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. From today it's available for 25 percent off the usual price, knocking it down to $2.99 in the U.S.

SwiftKey says its most recent sale is to celebrate its place as a top paid app on Google Play for two years running. The developer says its app has been top in a total of 58 countries during that time, and top in "major territories" including the U.S. and UK for longer than any other app.

The SwiftKey team recently launched version 4.3 of the keyboard, bringing new layouts designed to make it easier to type on larger phones and tablets. If you've yet to pick up the paid version of SwiftKey, you can grab it from the Google Play link above.

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4 years ago

Carphone Warehouse reveals orange, pink and purple Galaxy S4 Minis

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Pink and purple available now, orange due December 6

UK retailer Carphone Warehouse has announced that it'll sell the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini in three exclusive colors — orange, pink and purple. The brightly-colored Minis can be had for £379.95 SIM-free, as well as being available for free on 24-month contracts starting at £21 per month from Talkmobile or Vodafone. Carphone Warehouse is also selling the S4 Mini on-contract with EE, O2, T-Mobile and Orange.

Besides the fresh coat of paint, this is the same Galaxy S4 Mini we reviewed over the summer, powered by a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, with a 4.3-inch qHD display, an 8-megapixel rear camera and 4G LTE connectivity. It's not the most capable "mini" phone out there, but it's a decent all-rounder all the same.

The Galaxy S4 Mini is available from Carphone Warehouse now in purple and pink, in addition to the standard white and black; orange is expected to follow by Dec. 6.

More: Carphone Warehouse

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