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3 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: How long have you had your Android?


Some of us hold on to them, some of us go through them like candy

No, I'm not still using a T-Mobile G1. Even I couldn't go back that far on the Android timeline — I need at least Gingerbread.

This week we're curious about the Android phone you're using. Not what brand and model, or which carrier you're using, but how long you have had it. We almost have to switch our phones every six months around these parts, because we have no business writing about phones that we've not used. One of us will always have the latest handset from the top OEMs in our pocket.

That doesn't mean we feel we need to switch. Phil and I really like the Moto X, which is already six months old. Andrew would be happy with his Nexus 4, I think. Alex told me the HTC One is a phone he could still use as a daily driver. These phones still work well, and do what we ask of them with few issues. Don't think we don't love using the new gear from HTC or Samsung or LG or the rest, because we do. But we could be fine with any of the phones I just talked about.

We know we're not alone, and that some of you are hanging on to a phone you love, while some have fallen in love with the one you just bought. You know the drill. There's a poll in the sidebar to the right, and you can also find it after the break. Answer the question, then jump in the comments to discuss.

Me? I'm partial to my Moto X, but for now I'm using the Sony Z Ultra GPe for a bit, so my answer is less than six months. Tell us yours.

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3 years ago

You should now have Google Play Services 4.2, so cast all the things!


A quick heads up, folks, that you should now (or very, very shortly) have the latest version of Google Play Services on your phone. This is the thing that lets other things do things on your phone — and all without needing a full-on system update, so it's kind of important. 

And as was mentioned earlier this month, this update opens up the Google Cast SDK, which allows apps to easily stream from your device to the TV. There's also an improved Google Drive API, and more. 

You don't have to do anything to get this latest version — just sit back and it'll come to you automatically if it hasn't already. And for those whose patience may have been lacking, the earlier version that pushed out should be overwritten by this one, so all's good.

Source: +Google Developers

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3 years ago

Where to buy a new Samsung Pro tablet in the US


Looking to pick up one of Samsung's new line of tablets? Here's the where and how much

Today sees Samsung's newest Android tablets – or some of them, at least – officially go on sale in the United States. While the Tab Pro 12.2 and LTE Note Pro 12.2 aren't scheduled until March, three other versions of the Pro line are now available to buy. 

There's no doubt a ton of different retailers across the States that will be selling some or all of the new tablets, but we've linked up a few of the bigger ones for you after the break. The Note Pro 12.2 will run you for $649.99, the Tab Pro 10.1 $499.99 and the Tab Pro 8.4 is $399.99. Not cheap, but then Samsung has put some decent hardware inside and we're also getting the brand new Magazine UX. If you've got any other suggestions where to snag one or come across any deals, drop us a line in the comments!

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3 years ago

Dennis Woodside to step down as Motorola CEO


It's official: Former Googler heading to Dropbox as COO

Following reports from The Wall Street Journal yesterday, Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside has announced that he'll be leaving his post at the end of March. As reported by the WSJ last night, Woodside will join cloud storage firm Dropbox as COO. His exit comes after almost two years at the helm of the Google-led Motorola, prior to which he spent more than ten years at Google.

In a post on Motorola's official blog, Woodside says "This was not an easy decision to make, but I leave knowing that Motorola is in great hands - now and in the future." Reflecting on the launch of the Moto X and Moto G, he adds, "Motorolans have built two of the company’s best loved phones ever, introduced customization to the industry, brought unprecedented quality and performance to a value-priced smartphone, and created experiences that changed how people use and interact with their smartphones."

Woodside's departure follows the planned sale of Motorola Mobility to Chinese firm Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Today's blog post reveals that Google's Jonathan Rosenberg will step in as Motorola COO from Apr. 1, while Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora will remain in his post as Executive Chairman, overseeing the Lenovo acquisition.

Source: Motorola blog

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3 years ago

Creepy puzzler The Room 2 now available on Android


Hit iPad game now available from Google Play and the Amazon Appstore

​If puzzle games are your bag, then you need to check out The Room 2 which has just hit Android today. Having debuted on the iPad in late 2013 and being nominated for a BAFTA Games Award here in the UK, we're finally offered the chance to play for ourselves. 

The Room 2 is Fireproof Games' follow up to the first The Room title, and offers more of the same style of creepy puzzle solving action. The developers describe it as a "physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world." It's pretty intense graphically, too, and as such requires a fair amount of hardware to play, so it might not be compatible with some of your devices. 

The Room 2 is available now in the Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore for $2.99. 

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3 years ago

Sony begins Android 4.3 rollout for Xperia T, TX, V and SP


Updated Sony apps along with newer version of Jelly Bean

Sony Mobile has announced the rollout of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for four of its legacy 2012-2013 products, Xperia T, Xperia TX, Xperia V and Xperia SP. The update brings these older handsets up to speed with Sony's latest smartphones, with new Sony goodies in addition to the newer version of Jelly Bean.

Sony's app portfolio has been refreshed, including Messaging, Smart Connect, Small apps, Track ID and Sony Select. The update also brings new versions of Sony's media apps, including Walkman, Album and Movies, with Sony service integration, as well as downloadable themes similar to those now available for the Xperia Z series. And there's an updated Power Management hub, featuring new options for saving battery life.

As always, the rollout of Android 4.3 for these phones will be staged depending on region and carrier, so keep watch over the next couple of weeks if you're not seeing the update already.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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3 years ago

Looking back at Samsung Unpacked through the years


As we gear up for what likely is the launch of the Galaxy S5 at Mobile World Congress, we take a trip down memory lane with Samsung's special brand of phone launch

There usually are a few smartphone launches a year that make everyone (read non-phone nerds included) stand up and take note. The yearly iPhone event, and to much of the same extent, Samsung Unpacked. With the latter, we're into a cycle now where we usually see two events per year; one for the Galaxy S and One for the Galaxy Note. While the Galaxy Note events have thus far run like clockwork every year at IFA in Berlin, with the Galaxy S we usually get to venture to some other corners of the globe. 

With Unpacked 5 just around the corner in Barcelona, what better time to take a trip down memory lane. Much was made of 2013's Galaxy S4 event and its somewhat over-the-top Broadway styling, but each Unpacked has its own distinct flavor. And sometimes, nothing weird happens at all. So, from Las Vegas in 2010 through to today, head on past the break for some memories from Samsung Unpacked. 

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3 years ago

Verizon's MORE everything plans official with boosted data allowances


Discounted prices also available for folks on Edge plans

Sure enough after yesterday's report, Verizon has today pulled the wraps off its MORE Everything plans. The promise is of raising data allowances, throwing in unlimited global texting and more, all without raising the prices. So, 500MB now becomes 1GB, 1GB becomes 2GB and 2GB becomes 3GB without having to hand over any extra cash. Existing Share Everything customers will just transition across to the new allowances, no questions asked. 

In addition, anyone taking advantage of the EDGE financing plan for their devices will start seeing a discount. Monthly cuts will be $10 or $20 depending on your particular plan. MORE Everything will also provide 25GB of free cloud storage per device, for up to 10 devices with VZCloud if you should wish to use it. 

So it's kind of like the existing Share Everything plans, but with MORE. And more is good, usually. As ever, if you're considering switching to one of these plans you should spend a little time crunching the numbers to make sure it works out best for your situation. For the full press release, head on past the break.

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3 years ago

Skype says improved chat experience is coming


Skype this morning in a blog post addressed what may be our biggest complaint with the service — the clunky experience that is chat on mobile. Sync is, well, bad, push notifications are intermittent — basically not good all around. But here's the deal:

We know that as users have started using Skype on multiple devices, they’ve had difficulty keeping conversations in sync, or they’ve missed messages and seen “read” messages on one device that are still marked as “unread” on another.  We’ve been working hard to solve these issues while adding other experiences to make an improved Skype chat.

That most certainly would be an improvement, and would go a long way toward getting folks to actually keep Skype open on their phones. (We're speaking from experience here.)

Skype also says we can look for a better overall experience on mobile, including better battery usage, startup time and resume times. And in a future update, you'll be able to only receive notifications on devices that you're actually using. 

We're not actually seeing an update to the Skype app just yet, so stay tuned, we suppose.

More: Skype Blog

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3 years ago

BBM 2.0 dropping today, brings Channels, location sharing, multimedia, DropBox, emoticons, bigger groups and more!


OK, all you BBM users out there. Today's the day that version 2.0 drops in Google Play. It's a pretty major change, indeed.

The big strokes of what's new? How about ...

  • BBM Voice: You can make free calls to your BBM contacts on BlackBerry, Android and IOS, anywhere in the world, over Wifi or your cell connection.
  • BBM Channels: Chat with other BBM users about ... well, whatever you want.
  • Location sharing using Glympse.
  • Attach pictures, voice notes, calendar events or contacts.
  • DropBox integration.
  • New emoticons.
  • Larger BBM groups.

And that's that. The update is now live, so hit the link above to get your update on!

More: BlackBerry

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3 years ago

LG G Pro 2 hitting Korea first, US and Europe to follow later


Executive states Korean availability this month, other Asian markets throughout March and western markets after that

LG made the G Pro 2 official at a press event over in its native Korea, but one thing missing from the official release was any talk of release markets and dates. The folks at ZDNet Korea were in attendance at the Seoul event, and were told by LG's Head of Sales for Korea that availability there would happen this month, with other Asian markets to follow in March. 

But what of the U.S. and Europe? The same executive simply said that the G Pro 2 will be released in those markets after Asia. Roughly speaking, that would mean we shouldn't expect to see it before April. Of course, these things are always subject to change, and we'll be keeping an ear open for anything more concrete at Mobile World Congress which is fast approaching. 

Source: ZDNet Korea

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3 years ago

Angry Birds Stella revealed by Rovio, all about the BFFs


Five new birds will join Stella in this lady-bird focused title

Rovio teased its next Angry Birds title just yesterday, but today we have a title and an apparent theme. Angry Birds Stella will be the next release, and will feature five new birds alongside the pink, Stella bird seen before in the Angry Birds franchise. 

Stella and her BFFs will no doubt be getting into some kind of mischief as part of the game, but since there isn't any gameplay information to go with this we'll have to wait on that one. It almost looks like Rovio slipped into a Disney movie from this image. In any case, we're sure to hear more as we get closer to release, currently slated for fall. 

Source: Rovio (1), (2)

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3 years ago

Google tackles Windows in enterprise with virtual apps on Chromebooks


VMware partnership to bring Windows desktop apps to Chrome OS through the cloud

Virtualization company VMware is to help bring Windows desktop applications to Chrome OS in partnership with Google. VMWare's Horizon DaaS (Desktop as a Service) will allow Chromebook users in enterprise to bring connect to a virtual "Windows experience" in the cloud, where they can run Windows desktop apps through Google's browser-centric OS. The move is a challenge to Microsoft in the enterprise space as Google looks to pick away at Redmond's market share among businesses.

Google will be hoping an easier transition from Windows to Chrome OS will allow it to wean enterprise customers off the Microsoft ecosystem, while making Chromebooks more appealing to those still reliant on full-blown Windows apps. In its blog post today Google points to the impending end-of-life date for Windows XP — Apr. 8, 2014 — as well as the need to migrate "legacy" applications to more up-to-date hardware, and the security advantages of running older software in a virtualized environment.

The new DaaS service is available now through VMware's Horizon View 5.3 software as an "on-premise" service, with plans to deploy the software to the Chrome Web Store at a future date.

Source: Google Enterprise

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3 years ago

Dropdot lets kids connect the dots on Android


At Apps World last week, we met both veteran and inexperienced game developers alike. Some creators were preparing to publish their first games. That counts fort Summer Wu, whose first title Dropdot has just gone live exclusively on Android.

Dropdot is a connect-the-dots game for young children. It packs a simple user interface, a wide array of puzzles, and even some stealthy educational benefits. The game will be free for the first few months of release, so parents with toddlers and preschoolers are definitely going to want to grab it. Learn more and get a sneak peak at the game’s puzzle creation feature after the break.

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3 years ago

Sony D6503 'Sirius' UI previewed ahead of MWC


Changes to Xperia home and lock screen shown ahead of expected Barcelona debut

We've already seen a fair bit of Sony's next high-end Android phone, the D6503 "Sirius," courtesy of a prototype unit making it out into the wild. And now there's some early video of the device showing some software changes in Sony's Android 4.4-based firmware. The video published on YouTube by one Rimas Flyil shows a slightly revamped Xperia UI with new notification bar icons, a new transparency style in the launcher, new live wallpapers and tweaked lock screen controls for the Walkman music app. The leaker notes that this isn't yet the final software for the device, saying it's still in testing.

We don't see much of the device's physical frame, but the horizontal borders do seem somewhat reduced, as we've seen from earlier leaks. And from those images it would appear that the "Sirius" will closely match the design language of the Xperia Z1.

We've got Mobile World Congress coming up in under two weeks, and given Sony's track record we wouldn't be surprised to see the "Sirius" make its public debut, perhaps under the "Xperia Z2" moniker.

Source: YouTube; via: XperiaBlog

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