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4 years ago

Panasonic announces Android-powered home phone

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Panasonic may have withdrawn from the European smartphone market more than half a year ago, but it's back today with a different kind of Android device — a "smart" home phone using Google's mobile OS. The Panasonic KX-PRX120 incorporates a base station and handset based on the DECT wireless standard. It's running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on a 3.5-inch HVGA (480x320) display, though the spec sheet doesn't specify a processor type or RAM amount.

Besides the ability to make calls (obviously), you're looking at a device with Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS capability, an 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, microSD expandability and a 1450mAh battery. There's also a 40-minute answer machine.

We've seen Android DECT phones before, most notably Archos' abysmal 35 Smart Home Phone, but Panasonic's offering seems a little more fleshed out, not to mention better looking. Google Play certification and the use of a capacitive, not resistive touchscreen give Panasonic the edge over the year-old Archos device.

We're still unsure as to whether the right place for Android is on a landline phone. On the other hand, if the OS can find a home on ovens and cameras, we're willing to give Panasonic the benefit of the doubt. Full spec sheet's after the break.

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4 years ago

VSCO Cam coming to Android, in private beta now

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Some exciting new for fans of mobile photography — VSCO Cam is coming to Android. Currently in private beta, it'll first see release on a few of the current high-end phones and should hit more Android 4.0-and-up devices after release.

What's the big deal about VSCO Cam? It's long been a must-have app for serious mobile photogs on iOS. Here's what our cousins at iMore.com had to say about it:

The thing I love so much about VSCO Cam is that is gracefully balances what we want and need to quickly edit with ease of use. When I'm out and about, I don't necessarily want to spend twenty minutes trying to learn how to use an app or applying filter upon filter before finally exporting to m  camera roll and sharing to whatever social services I'd like from there. I just want to share my memories as quickly as possible and tinker later if I feel the urge.

VSCO Cam lets you edit basic elements such as the temperature, exposure, contrast, cropping, and rotating natively. Along with that, you can apply a selection of gorgeous filters. If the ones that come for free aren't enough, you can also buy packs or individual filters that will be added to your library. Once you're done, you can instantly upload your photo to the social network of your choice including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, and via email.

VSCO Cam also is a favorite of our pal Martin Reisch — aka Safe Solvent — which frankly is about all the endorsement we need. Says Martin:

Primarily what I appreciate most about VSCOcam is the subtlety of it's filter system. The quality of images coming from mobile phones at this point no longer require the heavy handed filters that are built into Instagram and so that's where VSCOcam shines. The ability to slightly tweak a shot without ruining the details or overly crushing the blacks or bumping the saturation means that with a few taps, you've got an image that has mood, without losing the details.

No word on when, exactly, VSCO Cam will come out of beta. It's currently testing on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4, and on the HTC One.

You can apply to be a beta tester at the link below.

More: VSCO Cam

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4 years ago

Sprint flips on 4G LTE in 41 new locations

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Sprint today announced that's it's turned on LTE data in 41 new locations. Some of them we already knew about, a good many we didn't.

The additions give Sprint a total of 151 LTE-capable markets.

Here's what's new:

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4 years ago

ASUS could enter the U.S. smartphone market in 2014

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Chairman Jonney Shih suggests ASUS could push into the U.S phone market next year

Taiwanese manufacturer ASUS is a big player in the Android tablet world, having seen success with the dockable Transformer series as well as Google's Nexus 7 tablets. But despite the launch of gimmicky smartphone devices like the Padfone and Fonepad, ASUS has yet to enter the phone market in a big way, particularly in the United States. But that may be about to change, according to company chairman Jonney Shih.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy NX camera priced in the UK

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Android-powered mirrorless camera to sell for £1299.99 with kit lens

The first UK pricing information for Samsung's Galaxy NX Android-powered mirrorless camera has started to emerge, with British camera retailers Jessops and Wex Photographic both listing the device with a hefty £1299.99 price tag. That money gets you the Galaxy NX body — complete with 20.3MP sensor, 4.8-inch HD display and 4G LTE connectivity — and an 18-55mm OIS kit lens. That's a significant step up from last year's Galaxy Camera, which sold for around £350, but it's not entirely unexpected considering this is a professional-quality camera.

Jessops lists the Galaxy NX as available today for home delivery, while Wex's listing is pre-order only. There's still no word on U.S. pricing at this point, but if you want to take a closer look at the Galaxy NX, you can do so in our hands-on feature from the camera's London launch event.

Source: Jessops, Wex Photographic; via: Pocket-Lint

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4 years ago

HTC may post first operating loss in Q3, company warns

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‘Higher cost structure, lack of economy of scale’ could lead to first loss in HTC's history

HTC has today released finalized second-quarter financial results, and with it a warning that it may slip into an operating loss during the third quarter. Q2 revenue was reported at NT$70.7 billion ($2.37 billion), with gross margin of 23.2% and operating margin of 1.5%. Net profit was NT$1.25 billion ($40 million), while EPS was NT$1.50 ($0.05). The numbers show little change from HTC’s unaudited figures, released earlier in the month. The company met its own revenue targets, but profits fell by 83 percent year-on-year, and the monthly breakdown showed that revenues fell almost 24 percent from May to June.

Worse still, the company’s Q3 outlook predicts an operating margin of between 0 and -8 percent, suggesting HTC could make first ever loss in the next quarter. HTC blames “relatively higher cost structure, lack of economy of scale and certain provisions needed to facilitate the clearance of aging products in the channel” for its reduced margins. However it pointed out that the HTC One has so far performed strongly, “better than that of our hero products for the same period last year,” adding that its new flagship has helped improve its brand awareness.

HTC also says it plans to release more competitive products in the mid-range space — a likely reference to new devices including the recently-launched HTC One Mini — saying it hopes “to regain momentum and market share in these segments in Q4.”

And that sentiment is echoed in reference to the company’s financial performance. “Actions have been taken,” today’s news release states, “and we expect to see improvement in Q4.”

Source: HTC

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4 years ago

Sprint Q2 2013 results: $1.6 billion loss, record high ARPU

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Final iDEN shutdown and Network Vision investments continue to hurt the bottom line

Sprint has posted its Q2 2013 earnings, and amidst a whole bunch of changes for the nation's third-largest carrier it has a big of a mixed bag in terms of earnings. Here are the highlights for Sprint this quarter:

  • $8.87 billion operating revenues, up slightly year-over-year
  • $1.6 billion net loss and $874 operating loss for the quarter
  • $7.2 billion in wireless service revenue, up 8-percent y-o-y
  • Record high postpaid ARPU of $64.20
  • Net postpaid subscriber additions for the 13th consecutive quarter

In terms of income, it's just more of the same for Sprint -- big losses and basically stable revenues quarter-over-quarter. Much of the losses can be attributed to extra costs with its Network Vision projects and shutdown of the iDEN network, but in the end Sprint just isn't pulling in enough revenue to be profitable and it's far from that break-even point.

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4 years ago

Nexus devices updated to Android 4.3 will now have TRIM support

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Owners of original Nexus 7's with sluggish performance should see a speed boost after the update

It seems that the curious case of the sluggish Nexus 7 has been solved with the inclusion of TRIM support in Android 4.3. TRIM is essentially a way for the device's software to communicate with the on-board storage to let it know when blocks are sitting unused and ready for garbage collection. This is a necessary process, because when a user "deletes" files on a device, the file isn't actually removed from storage but simply marked as being available space to be cleared later when it is needed by the system. Unless TRIM is working to actually clear up those unused blocks, they will still be considered full by the storage itself.

For previous versions of Android TRIM wasn't enabled, which led to slower and slower I/O performance over time -- something that hit the Nexus 7 particularly hard. Luckily thanks to some investigation and testing by AnandTech, it is confirmed that the Android 4.3 update is bringing TRIM support to not only the Nexus 7 but every Nexus device.

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4 years ago

LG gives another sneak peek at the G2 — and its 'QuickWindow' case

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Never mind that we've got a little more than a week to go before the LG G2 is unveiled in New York City — the Korea manufacturer is letting loose let another teaser.

What you see here is what appears to be a flip case with a transparent window — yes, just like what Samsung's got on a couple of its models — that'll add a bit of functionality to the G2. In fact, it's got a good half-dozen features packed in there. Through the window you'll be able to see a clock, the current weather, an alarm clock, music player, incoming call details and text messages.

And, as you see, it'll be available seven colors.

LG is set to launch the G2 on Aug. 7 — if it can wait that long.

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4 years ago

Chromecast review

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Did this $35 dongle just make Google a player in your living room? We think so

Chromecast came out of nowhere and got a lot of people excited about what it had to offer. Everyone had been expecting Google to do something with the idea that was born in the Nexus Q, but the media and the public were both pleasantly surprised when Sundar Pichai showed us the little dongle that held so much power.

Chromecast is not quite Google TV, and it's not quite a Roku. It fills a happy medium between the two, and is a great way to get your content on to your television. With platform support from Android and iOS, as well as the Chrome browser and OS, it's useful for most people. With an open set of APIs for developers to use we can imagine big things from this little stick. If you're tied into the Google ecosystem, it's a no-brainer. Even if you're not, it's a cheap solution to get content from the web to the television without any wires or hassle. Let's have a look at what it is, what it does, and how you can use it.

More discussion in the Chromecast forums

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4 years ago

New Android 4.3 features: Third-party SMS apps for quick replies and 'Notification Listener'

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Two new features that came with the latest update that fix frustrating issues

Google dropped Android 4.3 on us along with a whole bunch of other news last week, and while there were a few headline features of the release, nothing in particular caught our eye. Well we've had time to dig through a few of the new features that came along with Android 4.3 that weren't talked about in its introductory presentation and came up with some interesting finds.

Both improvements to the "Quick response" call rejecting feature and a new service called "Notification Listener" jumped out at us, and we'd like to tell you what's new in each.

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4 years ago

How the Android Central editors rock their home screens

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We Android users love to set up our devices just right, with everything we want or need within easy reach right from our home screens. We also like to share and compare with each other, and enjoy looking at some of the more exotic setups some folks have going on.

Someone asked the other day, wondering what the AC staff's home screens looked like. I sent a shout out to the forum mods and blog writers to send me a quick snap, without doing any tidying up. So here you go, and feel free to give us a few pointers while you're in there.

The AC staff home screen thread

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 series review

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The Galaxy Tab 3 line shares much in common with the Galaxy S4, but non-Samsung fanatics can find better Android tablets elsewhere

For me, the Samsung has consistently been the go-to choice for a quality Android tablet experience. I was an early adopter of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Galaxy Note 10.1 was the first device to make me feel like tablets were more than just oversized phones. As a Galaxy S 4 owner, I was eager to take the brand new Galaxy Tab 3 line for a spin and see how Samsung has incorporated the brand new version of TouchWiz into its flagship tablet line. 

I recently got to spend a few days with both the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, and while I can't say I had a completely negative experience, it's clear the Galaxy Tab line no longer represents the cutting edge of Android tablets.

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4 years ago

'How to use Chromecast' video has a pretty awesome easter egg

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4 years ago

Zagat gets a new look on both the web and your smartphone

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Get the very best restaurants and nightspots right at your fingertips with the all new Zagat

It's been a while since Google did anything with the Zagat franchise they purchased back in 2011, but if you're a fan of the crowd-sourced restaurant rating application genre, you'll likely love what they've done with it. First off, everything is now 100-percent free, and a whole lot of people love free. Mostly though, it's the new modern look and feel they've created in their Android and iOS apps and the website. 

Bright, cheery and card-based, it still ties in to services like Google+ and Google Maps to keep you informed about the best places to get your grub on. With curated lists like Restaurants with the Best Food in Washington, D.C. (Obelisk in DuPont Circle has the best Italian west of Roma -- no lie) you'll have access to trusted opinions and ratings.

Zagat still only serves a handful of cities (Austin, Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, Philly, San Francisco and DC) but if you're a local or plan on traveling, you should give this one a spin. Your stomach will thank you.

Source: Zagat

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