4 years ago

UK MVNO Giffgaff now selling phones


Samsung Galaxy S4, Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC One among Android devices on offer

Community-based MVNO Giffgaff has begun selling smartphones for the first time today. The operator, which runs on O2 UK's network, had previously limited itself to SIM-only deals with community-based customer service through its forums. From today Brits can buy Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC One from Giffgaff, paying for the devices in one lump sum upfront, or in monthly installments separate from its service charge. Customers can choose to pay for the phone over six, 12, 18 or 24 months, with initial payments of between £50 and £200.

Service plans work just as they always have, with customers able to purchase monthly "goody bags" with a balance of minutes, calls and texts. A major draw of Giffgaff in the past has been its relatively cheap unlimited data goody bags, which start at £12 for 30 days of unlimited data and texts, and 250 minutes.

Giffgaff is marketing some of its phones as "4G ready," hinting at plans for LTE coverage in the future. While the operator doesn't currently offer LTE services, O2 has previously said it'll extend its 4G network to MVNOs, including Tesco Mobile and Giffgaff, at some point in the future.

Source: Giffgaff, Recombu, Crave

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4 years ago

Newsblur Android app updated with new viewing options


Google Reader may be dead, but RSS is alive and well. And to that end, the Android app for Newsblur received a hefty update this week.

New in version 3.0 are a new story navigation pane and text view, and quick-and-easy forward and back buttons. Plus, you'll get a new logo, hidden comments, the ability to unsave stories, and the requisite bugfixes. 

Definitely worth a look if you're in search of a good RSS reader. 

More: Newsblur blog

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4 years ago

Carphone Warehouse tablet withdrawn from sale following licensing blunder


Google apps on the £49 'Avoca' tablet were not properly licensed, according to reports

Following the arrival of cheap Android tablets from British retailers Argos and Tesco, retail chain Carphone Warehouse made headlines with the launch of its own budget slate, priced at just £49. By all accounts the "Avoca" tablet packed pretty basic hardware — a 1GHz CPU, WVGA display and 512MB of RAM stands out as being decidedly low-end — but at least it included the full suite of Google apps.

Now it seems the those apps may have been loaded onto the device without being properly licensed. The UK-based Mobile Magazine reports via "industry sources" that the Avoca's software was not licensed by Google, and as such manufacturer STB Developments had loaded apps like Google Maps and the Google Play Store onto the tablet without permission. Applications like this form the GMS (Google Mobile Services) package, which is licensed separately to the open-source Android OS.

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4 years ago

Samsung reportedly sells 800,000 Galaxy Gear smartwatches


Despite some functional deficiencies at launch, it seems Samsung has had little trouble selling its Galaxy Gear smartwatch over the past two months. This morning Reuters is reporting that the company has sold 800,000 of the wearable devices since its late September launch — all the more significant as for much of that time it required a Galaxy Note 3 to operate. Initial sales of the device exceeded Samsung's own expectations, according to the report.

Early reviews, including our own, criticized the Gear's compatibility limitations and poor support for non-Samsung apps. Since then Samsung has updated the Galaxy S4, S3 and Note 2 with support for the Gear, and a recent update to the phone-based Gear Manager app allows it to display notifications from any Android app, a feature which was bizarrely absent at launch.

While shifting almost a million units of what remains an accessory for a small number of smartphones is a significant achievement, there've been less enthusiastic signs from buyers at one U.S. store. Best Buy reportedly experienced return rates as high as 30 percent in October, despite a high attachment rate among Note 3 buyers.

Source: Reuters

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4 years ago

International Galaxy Note 2 receiving Android 4.3 update


Updates rolling out for GT-N7100 and GT-N7105 in some countries

There might be a few issues with the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S3, but htat hasn't stopped Samsung pushing ahead with updates for other 2012 handsets. Today the international Galaxy Note 2 — both 3G and 4G variants, GT-N7100 and GT-N7105 — have started receiving their Android 4.3 updates in some regions, according to reports from XDA and SamMobile. As with previous 4.3 updates for Samsung devices, the new firmware brings Galaxy Gear smartwatch support, along with Samsung's KNOX enterprise security layer and all the new OS-level features you'd expect from Android 4.3.

The upgrade will be a significant jump for Note 2 owners, who have been running Android 4.1 since the phone's release more than 12 months ago. SamMobile reports that the 3G Note 2 should be getting its update in India first, while Nordic countries will be first to get the update for the 4G version. Meanwhile in the U.S., a leaked update timetable that's proved mostly accurate in recent weeks points to a rollout for the Sprint and AT&T Note 2 possibly commencing as soon as tomorrow.

Source: SamMobile, XDA

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4 years ago

Asus Transformer 701 updating to Android 4.3 today


275MB update specifically addresses stability of the system while docked

Asus' Transformer Pad 701 has a 4.3 Jelly Bean update pushing right about now. The 275MB update boosts the version up a number, and specifically addresses stability and performance of the keyboard dock. You'll need to restart a couple times to get all the dock updates according to reports we've received. 

You also might want to hold off for a little while on this one. Everyone wants Android updates, but as we've seen before, they don't always make things better. We've seen several reports of tablets being locked awake draining the battery both while docked and while free-standing. While these may be random issues, dismissing the update notification for a day to find out may be the smart thing to do. If there is a problem, we'll be sure to let you know.

In either case, the forums is the place to discuss this one.

Via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

This is why your HTC One Google Play edition may not get the best data coverage on T-Mobile


'Compatibility' isn't always a guarantee of the best experience

pasadenabill posted in the forums with a question:

I bought the HTC One Google Play Edition because I wanted an unlocked phone for when I travel overseas. I am a longtime T-Mobile subscriber and after getting the GPE I immediately noticed that it would not connect to the 4G network very reliably. Thinking this was a possible local network issue, T-Mobile loaned me a T-Mobile version of the HTC One to use side by side. In most cases, the T-Mobile version had good or full 4G connectivity, but the GPE version did not. When it does not, it gets very slow 2G service.

I am able to get 4G about 1/3rd of the time but I can be sitting right next to someone with T-Mobile HTC One or a Galaxy or iPhone and they have full 4G service.

T-Mobile says that the unlocked phones are missing some code that only their phones have. I don't know if that is a line of BS or not, but I am hoping someone on the forums can tell me what is up before I start complaining more to the CEO of T-Mobile.

We can absolutely see how this can get confusing and frustrating, and the information provided by T-Mobile, Google and HTC on the matter doesn't always make things clear either. In the end it basically comes down to the incompatibility of what radio bands the HTC One Google Play edition supports and the radio bands that T-Mobile is operating its network on. Read along after the break for a complete explanation.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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4 years ago

Motorola now selling the Chromecast


Motorola's online store offering Chromecast devices, so when do we see the Moto X at Google Play?

Motorola wants you to believe that they have no plans to become Google. Acting as a separate company, releasing their own devices with their own take on what Android means to them, they are seemingly a distinct entity of their very own.

Then they put the Chromecast up for sale on their website.

There's noting wrong with this, but it's not like the Chromecast is hard to find any longer You can buy one from retailers like Best Buy, or online from Amazon, and of course at Google Play. And now you can also send $35 to Motorola to get one.

It's worth the $35, and when the SDK finally goes public (we're waiting) we know some great stuff can be done. If you don't have one or more yet, tell someone to buy you one for the coming holidays. You'll probably find it's a neat little gadget.

We're just surprised to see it pop up at Motorola's store.

Source: Motorola (A Google Company). Thanks, Derek!

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4 years ago

Looking for a new Android Device? Our Forum Ambassadors want to help!


Read our Ambassadors’ Holiday Device Guide for some great insight into your next device purchase

With the holidays fast approaching, our Ambassador Team here at Android Central thought it would be appropriate to put together a quick holiday device guide. The guide gives you a quick look into what Android devices they’re using, and why.

The Holidays are upon us once again. In a few short weeks, most people will be bustling about trying to find that perfect gift for that one person. Cell phones and tablets are becoming popular gift ideas. Christmas time is also a time when carriers are cutting prices just to get people in the door. 

Android Central Ambassadors VDub2174, and Eclipse2K originally thought of this idea, and as Ambassadors, we collectively agreed that a list of our personal devices giving pros and cons of what we have used, and how we even set up our devices. In this manner, anyone cruising through the forums can get a breakdown of several popular devices among almost all the carriers.

If you’re trying to find a new Android device for yourself or that special someone, give this guide a read. It’s super helpful, and was put together with YOU in mind.

The guide is thorough to say the least… so if you’d like some insight from the most helpful forum members at Android Central … check it out!

Read: A Glimpse into the Ambassador devices

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4 years ago

Google pays states $17 million to settle Safari cookies flap


Reports Reuters:

Google Inc will pay $17 million to settle allegations by 37 states and the District of Colombia that it secretly tracked Web users by placing special digital files on the Web browsers of their smartphones.

The deal, announced Monday morning, ends a nearly two-year probe by the states into allegations that Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc's Safari Web browser by placing "cookies" into the browser.

Google will have made back that $17 million by the end of the afternoon Monday.

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4 years ago

Moto G video walkthrough


Cheap and cheerful

In the smartphone world, the word "cheap" often goes hand-in-hand with "nasty" when describing entry-level products. But that's a trend Motorola's attempting to break with its latest budget offering, the Moto G. Announced last week in Brazil and already on sale in some countries, the Moto G combines a 720p display and a quad-core Cortex A7 CPU with a basic, near-stock Android 4.3 Jelly Bean software experience. And the build quality's nothing to sniff at either.

We'll have a full review published for you very soon; in the meantime Richard Devine has taken the phone for a spin to bring you the hands-on video above.

More Moto G coverage

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4 years ago

Android 4.4 KitKat soak test for Verizon Moto X now live


Test software available today, brings ​everything from KitKat, NFC card emulation and better camera software

The soak test for Verizon's Moto X that we told you about last week is now live, and participants can confirm that it is indeed Android 4.4 we're dealing with. Of course, this brings a slew of new changes, and it so happens that a partial list is available for people who might want to know what to expect when installing this update. 

The Motorola team told us all from Brazil to expect KitKat soon on our Moto X phones, and it looks like even Verizon wants it to be soon. We expect this test to be a little longer than the few hours the last one was, so don't fret if you don't see KitKat on a grand roll-out right away. There's also no word on when we'll see testing or an update for any other Moto X, though little birds say it will be very, very soon. 

Hit the break to see the supposed changes, including NFC Host Card emulation for Google Wallet.

Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Sprint and Best Buy offering 12 months free service for students


Carrier focusing on getting teens to use phones safely and responsibly

In a season when many students may be looking to save a little money and get a new phone, Sprint and Best Buy are teaming up to offer one year of free service on the Now Network. The so-called "Best Buy Unlimited, My Way Student Promotion" (yes, really) offers eligible students who purchase a Sprint phone at a student activated price and start a new line of service a full year of free unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data per month.

If the student wants more data, they can bump up to unlimited monthly data during that year of promotional pricing for just $10 per month, which is a pretty darn good deal. The offer is exclusive to Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores across the country, but if you're a student looking to pinch pennies and save on service for a year it may be worth a look.

Continuing on its push to address the younger market, Sprint is also reminding parents of its "4NetSafety" and "Focus on Driving" campaigns, which work to teach teenagers about responsible and safe use of phones. The big one here is Focus on Driving, which Sprint created in 2005 but couldn't be any more relevant than now as distracted driving laws and incidents are at the top of everyone's minds.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Samsung suspends Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 rollout to investigate 'issues'


It's been just a couple weeks since Samsung started rolling out Android 4.3 for the international Galaxy S3, bringing an updated version of Android to S3 owners along with Galaxy Gear support. But it seems the update may need a little more time in the oven, as some users are reporting stability problems with the latest firmware. SamMobile has today received a statement from Samsung Mobile UK today confirming that the 4.3 update has been "temporarily suspended" while the company looks into these issues.

“As we are currently investigating the reported issues with Galaxy S3 4.3 Jelly Bean update, the upgrading service has been temporarily suspended. We are committed to providing customers with the best possible mobile experience, and will ensure to resume the upgrading service at the earliest possibility.” 

The halt to the update process leaves GS3 owners on the year-old Android 4.1.2, with no immediate indication as to when the 4.3 rollout will resume.

Source: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Winners of the Samsung Pen.UP contest


Some great digital art from some great people, and great prizes will soon be on their way

Last week we told you about a Pen.UP, Samsung's new social network for people who like to create and share digital art, and got with Samsung to hold a contest where people could show off their best stuff. Last night, things closed down and we had to sort through and pick three winners, who are about to get some great prizes from Samsung. 

Everyone has been contacted and we can share what we thought were the three best entries. Hit the break and see them.

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