Headlines

4 years ago

ZTE offering $79 deductible protection plan for Nubia 5 and Grand S

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First-party insurance with no monthly recurring fees

Following the announcement that ZTE is bringing its latest high-end devices, the Nubia 5 and Grand S, to the U.S. market, the manufacturer has also unveiled a first-party insurance program for them. Unlike your average protection plan that requires a monthly fee or down payment, ZTE's extended protection plan will be a one-time deductible payment of $79.99.

The extended protection plan covers anything not normally covered by the standard limited manufacturer's warranty, and spans a full 18 months after purchase of your device. This is especially useful because the Nubia 5 and Grand S are sold unlocked in the U.S., meaning you likely won't qualify for standard carrier-offered insurance plans.

This offer doesn't replace the manufacturer's warranty either, meaning that if you have an issue with your device due to a manufacturing defect you can still receive free warranty service. But if you do happen to drop your device or expose it to water, you'll pay no more than $79.99 for a replacement. Full details of the insurance can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

T-Mobile HTC One to get Android 4.3 next Monday

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HTC America president says update 'pushed a few days unexpectedly'

The T-Mobile HTC One was originally due to receive its Android 4.3 update around the middle of this week. But with no updates rolling out just yet, HTC America president Jason Mackenzie has been fielding questions from T-Mo HTC One owners on Twitter. Mackenzie says the update should now be pushing out next Monday, after it was unexpectedly pushed back a few days. So never fear, T-Mobile One owners, your update shouldn't be far away.

The unlocked versions, as well as Sprint and AT&T models have already received Android 4.3, so now we're just waiting on T-Mobile and Verizon. The latter is scheduled to get the OTA before the end of the month.

Source: @JasonMacHTC

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4 years ago

PSA: We're up and running with Pulse once more

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Just a quick heads up for those of you who rock Android Central on the Pulse News app. We had a little hiccup with our feed earlier this week. But we've got new hamsters in the wheels, and everything's feeding smoothly now. We apologize for the disruption in service and any inconvenience this might have caused you. 

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4 years ago

SoftBank to take 57 percent stake in phone distributor Brightstar for $1.26 billion

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Stake in company to grow to 70 percent over next five years

After purchasing a majority stake in Sprint earlier this year, Japanese carrier SoftBank is eyeing an investment in U.S. phone distributor Brightstar. The deal will see SoftBank take a 57 percent stake in the company for $1.26 billion in cash, and has already been approved by SoftBank's board. Brightstar is a name you may not have heard of before, but is one of the biggest phone distributors (acting between manufacturers and retailers) with a presence in over 50 countries worldwide.

The deal will make Brightstar the exclusive distributor of handsets to some SoftBank affiliates, presumably including Sprint here in the U.S. Along with its investment in Sprint, SoftBank's stake in Brightstar could give it a better foothold on securing the latest devices for its carriers. The deal is still in need of regulatory approval, but is expected to close by the end of 2013, the companies said.

Source: Reuters

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4 years ago

Dell Venue 7 and 8 tablets now available online, starting at $150

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Powered by Clover Trail+ processors, these are very interesting budget tablets

Traditional PC maker Dell has released two new Android tablets, and starting today at their web shopping portal you can pick up the Dell Venue 7 for $150, or the Dell Venue 8 for $180.

Other than the screen size, the tablets are identical. Under the hood you have an Intel ATOM Z2580 processor, which is the high-end Clover Trail+ version that features Hyperthreading and VTx technology. This is paired with 2GB of RAM, and Intel HD graphics adapter, support for 802.11 b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 4.0. The screen resolution is a mild 1200 x 800 on both the 7-inch Venue 7 and 8-inch Venue 8, and both tablets will ship with Android 4.2.2.

On paper, they appear to be solid consumer-grade offerings, which should have excellent battery life thanks to the Intel CPU. We've ordered one, and we'll have a look ourselves. At $150, it's certainly worth a good long look as the holiday shopping season approaches.

For more details and ordering information, see the source links.

Source: Dell. Thanks, Heath!

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4 years ago

Lenovo A10 announced - Android on a laptop

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Android 4.2 paired with notebook-style software 

Laptop maker Lenovo has announced its first Android-powered notebook, the Lenovo A10. With a 10-inch, 1366x768-resolution screen, a Rockchip 1.6GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Battery life, the manufacturer says, clocks in at nine hours of continuous video playback.

So what makes it more than just a tablet with a keyboard? Well, Lenovo has loaded it with two software modes — in "laptop mode" it uses a custom Lenovo UI with a task bar for easy multitasking, and a file manager for managing documents and media. Flipped around in "stand mode," the A10 becomes a tablet-like entertainment device.

There's no information on pricing or availability for the A10 just yet; Lenovo says it'll vary by region.

Source: Lenovo

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4 years ago

Ndemic previews Plague Inc. Mutation 1.7 — real-life diseases and alternate universes

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The folks behind disaster game Plague Inc. — your job is to infect and kill everyone on Earth — today have let loose a preview of what we can expect in the upcoming Mutation 1.7 in a couple months.

First is the addition of "real-life" diseases. You'll be working with the Black Death, Swine flu, HIV or the Bieberic Plague. (OK, we might have made up that last one.) Then there's the new "alternative universes," where such real-life scenarios as the U.S. defaulting on its debts, or xenophobia or an ice age will affect gameplay.

There also will be new achievements, and the requisite bugfixes. You'll get 15 scenarios initially, two of which are free. The rest cost 99 cents each, or you can snag them all for $2.99.

Look for Mutation 1.7 in late November or early December, Ndemic says.

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4 years ago

White Nexus 5 spied on alleged retail packaging

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Someone in Korea has a Nexus 5 box

Last night the Google Play Store gave us a pretty good look at the Nexus 5 in black, and today a leak from Korean site UNDERkg (since pulled) purports to show us the device's retail packaging — along with a tantalizing hint at a possible white version. The couple of images showing the outside of the box reveal Google and LG branding, along with the Nexus 5 name. What's more, the device is pictured with a white back panel, as you can clearly see in the second image.

The box certainly fits with earlier Nexus branding, and though the leaked images are small, it looks legit to us. That said, there's no guarantee of any white model being available at launch, and we'll wait on the official word from Google before reaching for our wallets.

Also see: Nexus 5 render leak

Source: iTechTriad; via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

HTC One down to £375 SIM-free on Amazon UK

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Silver HTC One now £375, black model £389

Update: Since we published this article the price for the silver model has been reduced even further to £375.

Despite the deluge of great new phones we've experienced in recent months, the HTC One is still one of the best out there, and picking one up off-contract in the UK just got a bit cheaper. Amazon UK has the 32GB silver HTC One for £375 inc. VAT, while the black model is just a little more, at £389. Either price is a considerable saving on the £440-450 you'd usually pay for an unlocked European HTC One with LTE support.

Check out our review (and two-month redux) for more on the HTC One, or hit the link below to pick one up for yourself.

Buy: HTC One on Amazon UK

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4 years ago

Sony looks to accelerate wireless charging in 2014

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Future Sony phones could charge wirelessly in just one hour

Inductive charging can be a useful feature on smartphones and tablets, but it's often much slower than the wire-based alternative. That's an issue Sony's looking to address in its future devices' according to a report from Japan's Nikei. The outlet says Sony, together with electronics supplier Rohm Co., has developed wireless charging technology using between 10 and 15 watts and supplies twice the energy of earlier wireless chargers. The end result, it's said, is double the charging speed, meaning a smartphone can be fully charged, wirelessly, in just one hour.

The new technique is based on specs currently being finalized for inclusion in the Qi wireless charging standard, Nikei reports, and new control chips from Rohm will be used to reduce heat output, preventing the new tech from melting phones as it charges.

Commercialization of  the new tech is expected to begin in the second half of 2014, meaning we could see it in Sony smartphones and other devices before the end of next year.

Source: Nikkei; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch now shipping

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Prices start at $229 with 'special offers,' $244 without

Amazon's next-generation Kindle Fire HDX has launches today, and the 7-inch tablet is available right now from Amazon.com. The new Kindle Fire packs a speedy Snapdragon 800 processor and a 1920x1200-resolution display into a 9mm body weighing 303g, making it highly competitive in terms of specs. And the tablet's pricing is equally so, starting at $229 for 16GB "with special offers" — which means ads on your lock screen. If you want to go ad-free you'll pay $244 for 16GB. Adding $100 to that price gets you either the Verizon or AT&T LTE-capable models; add another $40 for 32GB of storage, or $80 for 64GB.

The tablet is running Amazon's latest Android-based FireOS 3.0 "Mojito" OS, which our own Jerry Hildenbrand found to be fast and responsive in his recent hands-on feature. Obviously this means you'll be tied into Amazon's content ecosystem, as opposed to Google Play — though presumably that's why you're looking at an Amazon tablet to begin with.

For more on the Kindle Fire HDX, check out our hands-on preview. If you're looking to pick one up, you'll find a link down below. Next stop for the 7-inch HDX is the UK on Nov. 13, then Canada on Nov. 26.

Buy: Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch on Amazon.com

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Gear review

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Samsung Galaxy Gear

Is the Galaxy Gear leading a wearable device revolution, or does it need more time to develop?

The concept of wearable technology is nothing new. High-tech GPS watches, clip-on health monitors and connected glasses have been around for niche uses for years, but a recently-renewed discussion of these devices as general consumer products has manufacturers rethinking their mobile strategies. It can be argued whether or not the connected smartwatch is something that consumers truly want, but Samsung is getting into the game anyway with its first entry, the Galaxy Gear.

Launched alongside the Galaxy Note 3, the much-rumored Galaxy Gear made its first public appearance at IFA 2013 as a headline product for the Korean electronics behemoth. With a surprisingly nice design and build quality, initial impressions of the Gear were positive across the board. Anyone who put their hands on the Gear had good things to say about it, but the reality of what the device was going to cost and be capable of quickly tempered those feelings.

A $299 accessory that only does a few things, handles just a subset of those functions well, and requires a constant connection to your phone for any of it to work seems like a tough sell. Is Samsung just jumping the gun in order to be part of the recently-renewed conversation about wearable devices, or is the Galaxy Gear something that a general consumer will actually want? Read along and find out in our all-encompassing review of the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

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4 years ago

Join the Nexus 5 discussion on the Android Central forums

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We're getting closer and closer to the inevitable launch of the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat, and with the device's image recently slipping out on Google Play — along with a $349 price point — there's more buzz than ever around this year's Nexus handset.

The Android Central forums are a great place to chat it up and share your Nexus 5 thought, hopes, fears and expectations as we wait for the device's arrival. Here's a quick rundown of some of the top threads at the moment:

More: Nexus 5 forums

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4 years ago

New HTC communications head departs after four months

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Lorain Wong reportedly resigned for 'personal reasons'

Just over four months ago HTC announced the appointment of former telco exec Lorain Wong as its new head of global PR, replacing Jason Gordon, who was one of many high-profile departures over the summer. Today Bloomberg reports that Wong herself has now left the company, with HTC CMO Benjamin Ho quoted as saying she resigned for "personal reasons." She will reportedly remain at the company in a consulting role for the next three to four months.

This latest executive departure comes at a challenging time for the Taiwanese smartphone maker, which posted its first quarterly loss earlier this month.

Source: Bloomberg

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4 years ago

International Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 rollout begins

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Unlocked German and Russian devices getting new version of Android, as Euro Note 3 receives 'stability' updates

The international LTE and HSPA+ versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-i9505 and GT-i9500) have started receiving their Android 4.3 updates, marking the first major OS upgrade for Samsung's flagship.

Among all the standard under-the-hood changes brought in Android 4.3, the update reportedly includes Samsung KNOX for improved enterprise security, along with Samsung Wallet, some color tweaks for the device's display, and a smoother home screen experience. Other changes include new versions of the Samsung keyboard and browser and a reading mode, which tweaks the display in certain apps for easier reading. The new 4.3 firmware also adds support for Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

According to SamMobile the Galaxy S4 LTE update is pushing out through Kies and over-the-air in Germany, while HSPA+ devices in Russia are also getting the update. As always, the new version will take a while to reach all devices, so hit the comments and let us know if you've gotten it already.

Meanwhile the European Galaxy Note 3 LTE (SM-N9005) has received a string of "stability" updates over the past week, eventually landing it at build XXUBMJ3. We're not seeing any noticeable changes on our device, but an early OTA to deal with any niggling stability issues is certainly welcome.

Source: SamMobile

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