5 years ago

Google's Eric Schmidt headed to North Korea on 'private, humanitarian mission'


North Korea as seen from the Dora Observatory

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is going to North Korea as part of a "private, humanitarian mission," The Associated Press reported this afternoon. North Korea is all but cut off from the rest of the world when it comes to the Internet (among other things). Will Schmidt's trip the the beginning of any sort of change there? We can only hope.

Source: Associated Press

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5 years ago

What I used in 2012: Richard Devine


And so, with 2012 now behind us, the traditional reflection on the year past begins. Being British, last year was pretty memorable -- the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Summer Olympics in London two standout moments. We've also seen the mobile world continue to grow at an incredible rate, as our smartphones and tablets become an increasingly integral part of every day life. 

AC's editor-in-chief, Phil Nickinson, couldn't have put it better -- "In this job, you can't help but be buried in plastic from time to time." It's true of each member of the team. We talk about devices and apps all day every day, but we don't really talk about what we're using in our own, every day lives. It's been a heck of a year in these parts, so click on past the break to find out what I've been using the most during 2012. 

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5 years ago

Canonical announces its Ubuntu smartphone OS


In its infancy for quite a long time now, software maker Cononical today is taking the wraps off of the smartphone variation of its Linux operating system Ubuntu. The interface will be distinctly in the Ubuntu style, and have many features of other modern smartphone operating systems. There are edge gestures, disappearing controls, global search, voice commands and support for both native and HTML5 web apps.

But Ubuntu for smartphones is more than just a phone OS, as it also provides a full desktop experience when the phone is docked to a mouse, keyboard and monitor. With the current specs of phones, its not unreasonable to expect a single device to be able to handle both a phone and desktop operating system when in each situation. Ubuntu is generally pretty lightweight, so it should run nicely while still remaining feature rich (unlike Motorola Webtop before it.)

Let's not forget that Ubuntu is also open source, giving plenty of options to later customization and tweaking by users as well as quick and free updates in the future. Canonical is holding an informational conference call to provide more details on the launch of its smartphone OS today, which should answer some burning questions. Canonical will also be showing off Ubuntu for smartphones at CES in under a week. In the meantime, take a look at the quick press release after the break.

More: Canonical

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5 years ago

The 2012 Android Central Reader's Choice Awards


Having already presented for your approval (or not) our 2012 Android Central's Editor's Choice Awards, it's now time to turn to something even more important -- the Reader's Choice Awards. These are the best smartphones and tablets and apps for which you voted. Over the past few weeks we saw thousands and thousands of votes pour in. Some went as you might expect. Others threw a little bit of a curveball. 

So let's not waste any more time. After the break are your choices. Your picks. Your favorite smartphones and tablets and apps for the past year or so, with a little commentary from your's truly.

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5 years ago

Hyundai integrating Google Maps with their Blue Link platform


Hyundai has announced a new deal with Google that will bring further integration of Google Maps with their Blue Link telematics platform. Blue Link is an in-car application that aids with mapping and allows phones to connect to it.

The new deal will see more Google Maps APIs being used to enhance the experience in their cars sold in the United States. The new APIs that will be used are:

  • Send to Car
  • Point of Interest
  • Local Search by Voice

Google has been aggressively improving their maps over the last year as increased competition has popped up. More integration with other platforms, such as cars, is good to see. This will (hopefully) make communication between your phone and car more seamless and provide even more data for Google to further improve the maps app.

Source: Hyundai

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5 years ago

Nexus 7 dock to become available in U.S. and Europe this month


After an eternity of waiting and speculation, it seems the elusive ASUS Nexus 7 dock may be about to hit the United States and Europe this month.

In the Netherlands, AndroidWorld.nl has word from ASUS Benelux that the dock will arrive in mid-January. Prices are speculated to be around €29.99. On the U.S. side B&H Photo, which opened preorders of the Nexus 7 dock back in December, is now showing an expected availability date of Jan. 10.

Originally rumored shortly after the tablet's Google I/O debut, the ASUS-made dock connects through the Nexus 7's pogo pins and allows it to connect to other devices through microUSB and headphone jack.

Source: AndroidWorld.nl (Dutch)

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5 years ago

Motorola Electrify M review


It's been one hell of a year for the smartphone industry, and 2012 produced some of the biggest and most unique innovations to date. More important than the increase in pixel density or the additional processing cores, though, is the progress we've seen in the quality of non-flagship devices. Prior to 2012, shopping for a smartphone on a budget meant you were going to have to make some serious sacrifices in terms of both hardware and software, and if you were a customer of a small or regional carrier, you may as well just buy a Tracfone. All that has changed, though, and today we're seeing increasingly impressive internals and designs hitting the entry and mid-level market. 

Motorola deserves a lot of recognition for this, as it single-handedly changed the way I thought of non-flagship devices with its recent Droid RAZR M. The RAZR M blew me away in terms of how well it performed and how stunning it looked for the price-- this was as a mid-level device with specs that could have easily landed it in top-shelf territory on any other carrier. Thankfully, Motorola thought the same, and brought a nearly identical and equally impressive package, the Electrify M, to US Cellular's increasingly impressive lineup. 

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5 years ago

CTIA consolidating events in 2014 for single 'super show'


A quick bit of inside baseball from the trade show front this morning. CTIA-The Wireless Association today announced that its 2014 lineup will be consolidated into a single "super show" in September in Las Vegas. In past years (and continuing in 2013), CTIA has hosted a pair of events, with the spring show having a more of a consumer focus, and the fall show focusing on the enterprise space.

The move isn't all that surprising to those of us who attend these events -- the fall show has been dwindling the past couple years now, but we'll just have to see what the consolidation does in terms of major announcements. The CTIA "Super Mobility Week" -- as it's also being dubbed -- is the same week in 2014 as the IFA conference in Berlin. In 2012 we saw the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Camera there, with the original Galaxy Note appearing there in 2011, and the original Galaxy Tab tablet in 2010.

CTIA's hardly the only mobile game, however, with CES in January in Las Vegas, Mobile World Congress a month or so later in Barcelona, and any number of standalone events throughout the year.

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5 years ago

Vodafone UK launches discounted 'Nearly New' pre-owned handsets


Vodafone UK has announced the launch of 'Nearly New' -- a way for Pay As You Go or contract customers to get hold of a smartphone at a lower cost, provided they're happy with using a handset that's not fresh out of the box.

PAYG customers will be able to pick up a pre-owned handset at a reduced up-front price, while contract customers will pay a lower monthly fee if they take a pre-owned phone.

Vodafone says all 'Nearly New' handsets have been returned in "very good condition" by previous owners, and have been factory reset and boxed up with accessories. Vodafone offers the example of the Galaxy S3, which is free on a £33 per month deal on 'Nearly New,' versus £37 per month brand new. Devices bought on PAYG will come with a 12 month warranty, the network says; for contract customers, it's 24 months.

'Nearly New' launches today for contract customers online and at Vodafone stores today; PAYG phones are available in-store today and online from today.

It's not the first time Vodafone has experimented with unconventional ways of getting phones into customers' hands. Back in November the carrier started offering 12-month handset rentals, allowing subscribers to get a new smartphone every year, provided the old one is returned undamaged.

2013 is set to become an interesting year for UK mobile operators, as Vodafone, O2 and Three prepare to launch LTE services to compete with 4G incumbent EE.

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5 years ago

Android Central's 2012 Editor's Choice awards


Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2012 edition of the Android Central Editor's Choice Awards. Tomorrow is your day, when we list your picks for the year's best smartphone, tablet and apps. But right now, it's our turn. Our choices might be the same as yours. Or they might not. Either way, it's cool. That's part of what makes Android great. Diff'rent strokes and all.

So sit back, relax, and have a gander at what we think some of the best of 2012 entailed. And gear up for a bad-ass 2013.

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5 years ago

LG's latest Smart TVs to include NFC and Miracast compatibility


Not content with waiting until next week to unveil CES bound products, LG has pulled the wraps off some of their latest Smart TV's. We already know that LG is taking some new Google TV hardware to Las Vegas, but these TV sets aren't those. But, despite lacking a direct Android connection, they still give us cause for interest. 

The new LG Cinema 3D range includes this rather handsome looking edge-to-edge display, but there's a couple of standout features included. The new TVs will come with NFC compatibility, and Miracast. The sets will come with an NFC sticker that makes it easy to pair with an NFC capable smartphone, allowing for hassle free pairing and streaming of content from your mobile devices.

And that streaming will include the use of Miracast technology. While still in its infancy, it's still great to see LG including the technology in their new TV sets. After all, they did make the Nexus 4.

via Pocket-Lint 

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5 years ago

Sony Xperia Z shown off again in leaked press image


Ahead of its rumored CES release, we've got a new look at the Sony Xperia Z (aka "Yuga") in a proper press image, shown above. We saw a pretty grainy angled view of the device a few days back, but this one gives us a much better look at the front of the device. We're looking at proper on-screen navigation buttons and Sony's UI customizations here, as you would expect, as well as the power and volume button layout poking out of the right of the device.

The reported specs are the same as we saw in the initial leak as well. We're looking at a 5-inch 1080P display, massive 13MP camera and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the software front. It also looks like we'll see another variant in the form of the Xperia ZL, aka "Odin." (Earlier Sony naming schemes suggest that the ZL might be an LTE-capable version for certain markets, though we're speculating here.)

The devices are supposed to make their debut at CES 2013, which is just a week away, and hopefully Sony will bring more details on this device at that time as well.

Sources: XperiaBlogUnwiredView

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5 years ago

Huawei Ascend Mate and D2 leaked press renders show us more of the same


By this point, we're pretty sure that Huawei's CES cat is well and truly out of the bag. We know they're going to unveil a Windows Phone 8 device, but we also know that they're taking 2 super-sized Android phones to Las Vegas with them too -- the 5 inch Ascend D2 and the 6.1 inch Ascend Mate. We're also pretty sure by this point that we know what each device actually looks like. Having executives showing them off in brand stores kind of helps on that front. 

The serial tipsters @evleaks are back with some leaked press renders of each of the devices along with some spec information. They claim that the Ascend Mate's 6.1 inch screen will be at 720p resolution, with the whole device being powered by a 3800mAh battery.

The D2, that we see pictured here, sits well with the leaked photos we've previously seen. Pushing things along is said to be a quad-core 1.5GHz -- likely in house produced -- processor, a 1080p display and a 13MP camera. This backs up specs we've previously heard mentioned, and given @evleaks record there stands a good chance of it checking out. And, while a render isn't exactly a reliable source of software information, it looks here like we'll be seeing Jelly Bean on the D2. We'd expect nothing less from a device to be shown off at CES, but it's reasurring at least.

CES is right around the corner, and we'll be on the ground in Las Vegas throughout, so keep it locked to Android Central for all the best the show has to offer. 

Source: @evleaks (Unwired View) 

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5 years ago

Nova Launcher updated to version 2.0 with tons of new features


Popular homescreen replacement Nova Launcher has just hit version 2.0 with a whole bunch of notable feature adds and improvements. The free version gets most of the improvements including custom wallpaper cropping, increased maximum desktop grid size and an infinitely scrolling app drawer setting. There's also a fix to force wallpaper scrolling on U.S. Galaxy SII (S2) variants, as well as a setting to force the phone to keep the launcher locked in memory.

As for the paid "Prime" version, users can now set custom icon sizes and use their swipe actions on any homescreen, rather than just on the main one. You can give the new features a try by downloading Nova Launcher at the Google Play Store link above.

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5 years ago

Leaked images show new red and brown Galaxy Note 2 versions


It looks as though the Galaxy Note 2 is going to have some new color options for 2013 -- at least brown and red as seen in a leaked image today. The official color names are "Ruby Wine" and "Amber Brown," but we think just "red" and "brown" will do. Our first reaction is to think that these may be carrier- or region-specific variants that get the new colors, but considering that the original two colors made it around the world at launch, we could see these hit the U.S. carriers as well.

This may remind you of a leaked image from a couple days ago which showed a Note 2 in svelte black casing, but AndroidSlash has updated its original story to say that the image appears to be a fan-made fake. For now, the best bet is that we'll see brown and red along with the current crop of colors. Anything more is a bonus.

Source: UnwiredView; AndroidSlash

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