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3 years ago

Weekly poll: What was your favorite thing to come out of Mobile World Congress?

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We've returned from Barcelona and Mobile World Congress and are still digesting everything we saw this week — it was quite the mouthful.

But right now it's time to hear from you fine folks. What's your favorite thing that came out of MWC this week? Something from Sony? Samsung? LG? Nokia? (Nokia?!?!)

Hit up the poll after the break and let us know. Have a dark horse? Toss it in the comments!

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3 years ago

One Sony Xperia Z2 UK pre-order offers handsome audio bundle

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Sony Bluetooth speaker and new noise-cancelling earbuds bundled to sweeten the deal

Sony's newly announced Xperia Z2 isn't scheduled to go on sale for a little while yet, but one UK retailer is already offering a pretty sweet audio bundle with pre-orders. Clove Technology has put the Xperia Z2 up for pre-order at £550 inclusive of VAT, and for that you also get a Sony Bluetooth speaker and a pair of its new noise cancelling earbuds.

We managed to take a quick look – although no listen – at the earbuds during a Mobile World Congress briefing in Barcelona, and Sony seems pretty happy with them. Regardless, the bundle is worth a reported £120, so if you're looking at picking up an Xperia Z2 then it might be the way to go.

New Sony phones being bundled with another item aren't uncommon. Previous releases have seen the Smartwatch 2 thrown in as well, and as pre-orders open up elsewhere it'll be interesting to see what else we can pick up. Clove has all three colors in stock, and is slating April 7 as the current availability date. This will be subject to change, but gives us something to go on at this point.

Source: Clove

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3 years ago

Motorola's Active Display updated to obey vibration settings

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Motorola's updates continue today, and next on the list is Active Display. One of our favorite features from the Moto X (and new Droid phones) will now honor the vibration settings. You can toggle them on and off in sound section of the settings menu.

Get your download on in Google Play. 

Thanks, Mr. Orange 645!

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3 years ago

Hands-free Google Voice Search hits desktop Chrome beta

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Just say "Ok Google"

Google Voice Search has been slowly rolling out to the Google Chrome browser for some time now, and now the beta version is just listening for your command. The listening search box is present on Google.com and in new blank tabs, and just like with the Google Now Launcher it is always listening for the command "Ok Google". Say that and Google Voice Search springs to life, waiting for you to perform a search, set a timer, or whatever else it is you want to do through Google.

The latest beta version has the option enabled, though according to the Google Chrome Blog the feature "will be rolled out to English (U.S.) users on Windows, Mac and Linux over the next few days, with support for additional languages and Chrome OS coming soon."

All you need is the latest Chrome beta for your hands-free Googling, and you can download that right here

Source: Google Chrome Blog

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3 years ago

Moto Assist gets a couple bugfixes

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If you're rocking a Motorola phone that supports Motorola Assist — that's basically the Moto X, Moto G and the new Droid phones — you've got an update waiting for you today. It's basically bugfixes and improvements, but one you'll want to get.

Here's the deal:

  • If you have audio issues with Drive Mode while connected to a Bluetooth device, you'll get a little troubleshooting help.
  • And if you're in an "available" meeting status, meeting mode won't fire off. (Which makes sense.)
  • Plus, more bug fixes.

Get the update at the link above.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Moov isn’t just a fitness tracker — it's a fitness coach

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Coming in the fall for Android

Fitness trackers have been improving steadily over the past few years, but if the latest gadget lives up to its lofty claims, they may have met their match in Moov. The newly-announced Moov fitness gadget aims to be more than just a fitness tracker, it wants to be your fitness coach. The problem with most fitness trackers is their passive nature. They simply sit on your wrist, collecting data, and leave it up to you to parse what it means.

Moov, on the other hand, takes that data, relays it to your phone for processing, and uses what it knows about you and your goals coach you on exercising better. It wants you to be stronger and it wants you to be safer. Moov worked with real athletes and trainers to design Moov's algorithms and ideal forms. By know how the pros do it, Moov can instruct you on how to run, box, swim, bike, and exercise like them. It can even adjust to your known injuries, coaching you to adjust your stride to avoid aggravating that knee injury from your intramural frisbee days. Moov is about precision, whereas other fitness trackers tend to be about generalization.

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3 years ago

'Toolbox' on the Galaxy S5 is a miniature floating app drawer

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Toggled in quick settings, new feature gives quick access to five favorite apps

In all the commotion over finger scanners, water resistance and 16-megapixel cameras, one neat new multitasking feature on the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been easy to overlook. Nevertheless, the GS5's "Toolbox" feature could be particularly useful if you're hopping between the same few apps on a regular basis. Enabled in the quick settings area, Toolbox is a floating circle with three dots that sits on top of every thing else running on the phone. Tap it and it'll expand to show up to five favorite apps, configurable through Settings > Toolbox.

We've got a quick video walkthrough of Toolbox on the Galaxy S5 up top.

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3 years ago

Is hating on the new Galaxy the new hating on the new iPhone?

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The vicious cycle of rumors, upgrades and lofty expectations.

We have a problem. By we, I mean all of us. The media, the carriers, the manufacturers, and the customers. That problem is expectations, how we pump them up, and how we react when they aren't met.

The rumor cycle leading up to recent device launches has been particularly vicious. I can't tell you how many times I saw "bigger" thrown out there in anticipation of the iPhone 5s launch — and again now that the iPhone 6 is on the horizon — or how insane the rumors were of a 2K display for the Samsung Galaxy S5 (I had a 1500-word editorial in the waiting just for the occasion).

We were spoiled by the first few generations of the modern smartphone. After years of iterative developments at the hands of Nokia, Palm, and BlackBerry, Apple shocked us all with a great leap forward in the iPhone. Google soon followed with Android and partners like HTC, LG, and Samsung.

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3 years ago

Android 4.4 KitKat being prepped for a few ASUS devices

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ASUS today announced that's it's preparing an Android 4.4 KitKat update for a number of its devices. They include:

  • All PadFone 2 models (by the end of the second quarter)
  • PadFone Infinity (in Asia and Russia by end of Q2).
  • PadFone A80 (in Europe by end of Q2).
  • And new PadFone Infinity models (sometime in Q3).

ASUS also will update the devices to the latest version of its ZenUI.

Source: ASUS; Thanks, James, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Quick comparison: Samsung Gear 2 versus Galaxy Gear

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Tizen OS means it's no longer a Galaxy, but Samsung's Gear 2 offers many improvements over the original

Samsung recently announced the first Tizen-powered wearable device, the Gear 2, moving away from the Android-based Galaxy Gear. But arguably the Gear 2's software is its least noticeable change — the UI is a dead ringer for Samsung's first wearable, and it functions just the same as that device. The larger changes come in the device's physical hardware, as you'll see in our quick comparison video. The Gear 2 is slimmer and lighter, with replaceable watch straps and a built-in heart rate monitor. And the movement of the camera, microphone and speakers onto the body of the watch allows the strap to be less bulky, too.

Check out the video above, and click past the break for a comparison of the Galaxy Gear and Gear 2's internal hardware.

More: Hands-on with Samsung's Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit smartwatches

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S5 camera and gallery walkthrough video

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Selective focus, Shot & More, 4K video and Studio Mode are just some of the GS5's new imaging features

Samsung introduces not only a new 16-megapixel sensor and a revamped flash to the Galaxy S5, but also a wealth of new software features to go with them. The revamped Samsung camera app mostly does away with the big carousel of shooting modes, arranging various features in a grid layout, accessible from the settings icon. Here's where you'll finds options like photo and video resolution — the GS5 shoots at up to 16MP in 16:9, 12MP in 4:3 and video at 4K — as well as the selective focus and HDR modes. The former takes a bunch of exposures, does a little math, and then lets you choose whether you want to focus on the foreground of background. (There's also a "pan focus" option that tries to keep everything sharp.) HDR has been revamped too, giving a live preview of what HDR images will look like. Capture speeds — generally, and in HDR mode in particular — are also noticeably improved.

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3 years ago

We're testing a new beta build of the Android Central App!

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It's been far too long since we last updated our official Android Central App — so let's do something about that, shall we? We've just pushed to our beta group a new build that tackles a number of nagging issues. They include:

  • Removed the (potentially) NSFW wallpaper sections from the app at the behest of many of our readers, as well as a few other app stores we submit to.
  • Fix for wallpaper sizing when set as desktop background.
  • Fix for some images being stretched in article view.
  • Back by popular request: You can now see how many hours or days ago a story was published.
  • Better handling for deeply nested article comments (no squeezed unreadable comments).
  • We now display inline images in article comments.
  • Fixed issue with article comments sometimes being unselectable, keeping folks from replaying.
  • Various updates for recent sever-side updates.
  • Fixed quote handling in forums (from new version of Tapatalk).

A reminder about our beta group: When we last updated (again, way too long ago, we know), we switched from the legacy Google Group to a Google+ Community for managing the beta updates. You can join our beta G+ Community here, and please use that channel for leaving feedback.

Thanks, and we've got more long-awaited features coming. (When? Soon!)

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3 years ago

Hands-on with LG's new mid-range, LTE-capable F70

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LG's latest mid-ranger offers similar features to its higher-end smartphones

Prior to Mobile World Congress kicking off in Barcelona LG had pretty much shown its hand with a bunch of pre-announcements. As the show got underway, another became official with the latest F-Series device, the F70.

Unlike the G-Series devices like the G2 and G2 Pro, the F70 has a more 'traditional' look with the power and volume buttons on the sides. There's also no on-screen buttons, it continues LG's previous method of a physical home button with capacitive keys either side. But, this is still very recognizable as a current LG device.

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3 years ago

Google wants a $50 entry point for Project Ara devices

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Even the price is modular, and it starts small

Project Ara is in the news today because of the big developers conference planned for April, but maybe the best news so far is Google's target price for the entry-level unit — $50.

Dubbed a "grayphone" the unit is pretty barebones. You have the touchscreen, a Wifi module, and the internals to run them both. Nothing more, but how much more can you expect for a measly $50?

Former DARPA director and current head of Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group Regina Dugan and team have bold plans after the sale, as well. They want specialized kiosks where customers can purchase and customize their grayphones, complete with the tooling to add the needed modules.

While the goal of a $50 device may be unobtainable in the long run, Google is focused on making the product a great way to get another five billion people on the Internet instead of making the product profitable. Look for a working prototype soon, and there's talk of the retail version hitting the market in early 2015.

Source: Time

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3 years ago

Boeing reveals the Boeing Black — a super-secure smartphone for those with super security needs

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This phone will self destruct in ten seconds…

In this day and age of malicious apps and intrusive government surveillance, you might be wondering how to keep your data secure. You could turn to a solution like the up-and-coming Geeksphone Blackphone, with a modified version of Android and sets of secure communications services. Or you could do what the government does and turn to Boeing.

Yes, Boeing. The company that makes massive jetliners, fighter jets, satellites, and all sorts of high tech military hardware is getting into the smartphone game. Their Android-powered entry is the ominously-named Boeing Black. Because stealth.

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