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3 years ago

Mobile Nations Community Update, April 2014

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It’s time for another edition of the Mobile Nations Community Update! As usual, things around Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore, Smartwatch Fans and Windows Phone Central have been busy.

The past month has been a mix of new devices, financial analysis, conference coverage, and site planning. The HTC One M8 has been announced, BlackBerry held their Q4 financial results conference call, Rene and iMore hit up (and did a fabulous job) covering Macworld|iWorld 2014, and Windows Phone Central is in the middle of Microsoft Build 2014 conference coverage as we speak.

You may have also noticed the unveiling of the Mobile Nations Newsroom, put together to provide you with a better experience. We’re excited about it, and hope you enjoy the benefits it will provide: in addition to enhanced news coverage, expect to see a lot more original content.

Let’s get down to it. I have some exciting ‘hints’ to share regarding future developments on Smartwatch Fans… keep reading to learn more!

3 years ago

Polar Bowler review: The coolest bowling game on Android

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Last year, WildTangent Studios released its first mobile game: Polar Bowler 1st Frame. A lighthearted bowling simulation, it starred a polar bear named “PB” and his penguin sidekick “J.”

Fast forward to today: WildTangent has just launched the full sequel to 1st Frame, simply titled Polar Bowler. The new game features a vastly expanded array of fantasy-themed arctic bowling courses and special inner tubes for PB to wear as he crashes through pins. It sure beats strapping on rental shoes in a bowling alley! Read on for our detailed review and hands-on video.

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3 years ago

iFixit teardown finds Amazon's Fire TV is packing some heat within

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With any new device comes the seemingly inevitable iFixit teardown. The new Amazon Fire TV is no different, so if you're curious to see what's inside your new box, controller and remote then look no further. The Fire TV is given a repairability score of 6/10 – if for some reason you ever had the need – and generally comes apart pretty easily.

So, anything interesting inside? Well, since Amazon was pretty open about the hardware specs we know what makes it tick. We see the Qualcomm 1.7GHz quad-core CPU and we see the Samsung provided 2GB of RAM. For a streaming box those are some top-of-the-line specs – as Amazon was happy to point out – and make for a pretty great gaming experience.

Also inside the Fire TV is a pretty hefty heatsink – a pretty hefty and well mounted heatsink at that – since the iFixit boys say that it kicks out a fair amount of heat in operation. It's always fun to check out what's inside our favorite gadgets, and thankfully with folks like iFixit on the case, we don't have to do the dirty work ourselves.

Source: iFixit

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3 years ago

Samsung research could put graphene into your future thin, light, even bendy phone

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Have you ever looked at your Samsung smartphone and thought "this could be more bendy!"? Well, this could become reality now the manufacturer has mastered the material graphene in the production process. Partnering up with Sungkyunkwan University, Samsung will reportedly be able to make thinner, lighter and more durable hardware.

If you’re not familiar with the material, graphene has high heat conduction and is more durable than steel, properties that are perfect for wearables and mobile devices. The only issue with the material was previous manufacturing methods reduced the electric benefits, which led the company to really dig deep and attempt to commercialize graphene.

"This is one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history," said the laboratory leaders at SAIT’s Lab. "We expect this discovery to accelerate the commercialization of graphene, which could unlock the next era of consumer electronic technology."

It sounds like a neat idea and we’ll surely look out for more graphene news. Would you like to see a bendy Samsung Galaxy 6?

Source: Samsung, via: Engadget

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 LTE now available to buy from Sony U.S.

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16GB black model available for $619.99

Sony has made the SIM-unlocked LTE version of the Xperia Z1 available in the US. Sold through the Sony web store in black, purple and white, the soon-to-be-outdated Android device (remember, the Z2 is launching this month in some countries) is going for $619.99. Previously, the Japanese manufacturer only had the HSPA+ version available for consumers to purchase.

The black variant of the 16GB LTE Xperia Z1 is currently the only one in stock; the purple and white versions are backordered with an estimated shipping date of April 30th. What’s interesting is the HSPA+ version is also completely out of stock through Sony, so while it’s slightly cheaper you’re now able to quit waiting and pick up an LTE variant.

It’s worth noting that this is listed with Android 4.2, though most Z1 models should be on at least Android 4.3, with 4.4 updates updates rolling out for some models in recent weeks. So, U.S. Sony fans, will you be picking up a Z1 or holding out for an American Z2 launch?

Source: Sony, via: Xperia Blog

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3 years ago

Verizon Galaxy S5 price: $199.99 on contract, $599.99 outright

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Samsung Galaxy S5

Shipping for April 11 global launch

Last but by no means least when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S5, Verizon has put its pre-order page live at last. It will ship by the global launch date of April 11, and to pick one up you'll need to part with $199.99 – via a $50 mail in rebate – on a two-year contract or $599.99 without one. The Verizon Galaxy S5 is also eligible for the current buy one get one free offer the carrier is running, allowing you to pick up a second phone.

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3 years ago

Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit up for preorder on Amazon

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Samsung Gear Fit

'Release' still marked at April 11

If you're looking to be among the first on your block to get the latest Samsung wearables, now might be a good time to swing by Amazon. The Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo — that's the one without the camera — and Gear Fit fitness band are now available for preorder.

The Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit are each listed at $199. The Gear 2 runs $299. Amazon lists all three as being "released" April 11. Which, of course, is the official release date.

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3 years ago

Stock Talk: Relax, Google's stock split isn't a big deal

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Google

A gentle reminder that stock splits basically don’t matter and, no, Google hasn’t robbed you of voting rights.

On Thursday morning Google started trading post-split, as explained in this post from Derek earlier in the day. I’m a Google shareholder, and instead of having shares worth over $1,100 each I have twice as many shares trading at half that price.

I think it’s important for people to have a basic understanding of how the stock market works, because investing in the market for the long term is one of the best ways to ensure you have plenty of money later in life. But too many people get caught up in the day-to-day gyrations of the market instead of focusing on making investments in great companies for the long run.

It isn’t going to change anything in the long run

I happen to think Google is one of those great companies. I’ve been a shareholder for many years, and I plan to be a shareholder for many more years. But as far as the stock split goes? It’s pretty much a non-event to me. I couldn’t care less.

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3 years ago

QuizUp puts your geography skills to the test with Google Maps 'Earth from Above’ topic

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Test your geography skills against players around the world with satellite imagery

So let's say you love geography, and you also love trivia. Well Google has just made your day by introducing Google Maps-powered "Earth From Above" challenge category to the game QuizUp. The topic is pretty self-explanatory — each round is a satellite image of some place on earth, and you'll be given options to choose from of where you think the location is.

Just like other QuizUp topics you can easily challenge your friends or random people to the Earth From Above section, as well as check out current rankings and discussions on the topic. You can grab a download of QuizUp if you haven't yet from the Play Store link at the top of this post.

Source: +Google Maps

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3 years ago

HTC One M8 Google Play edition unboxing and hands-on

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HTC One M8 Google Play edition

Some of HTC's custom software survives in the latest member of the GPe ranks

Behold, the HTC One M8 Google Play edition. Same M8, less HTC. Look, there's not a lot here you haven't already read in our comprehensive HTC One review. Same 5-inch display. Same loud speakers. Same tall but sleek form factor. The difference here is software.

And as has been the case with other GPe devices, things get a little interesting here. While we tend to think of Google Play editions as "pure Google" devices, though that's not quite the case. There's still a little HTC code left over. That's a good thing, actually. The question is whether you want a phone stripped of some of the features that make it unique — and that explain some of the hardware peculiarities inherent to the M8.

Pique your interest yet? Let's break down this new HTC One M8 Google Play edition.

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3 years ago

Google searches on mobile can now link directly to apps worldwide, supports 24 new apps

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Google Search 'Open in app'

Creating a seamless experience for moving between search results and your own apps

Google has been experimenting with new ties between keyword searches on mobile and Android apps, and now that functionality is being expanded pretty dramatically. Back in 2013 Google started partnering with a selective few big names like IMDb, Wikipedia and Open Table to have an "Open in app" button placed in Google search results when performed on your Android phone. This means you can quickly jump from web search results right into an app without leaving the browser to track it down yourself.

Back then the functionality was very limited in terms of apps but was also U.S.-only. Today Google is expanding the contextual app linking to users worldwide who have their devices set to English, and is adding even more app partners. A full 24 apps are being added, with even more to come as Google is making it simple to get in touch and have your own app updated to participate in the program.

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3 years ago

The Project Ara team takes us behind the scenes in new video

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Before the Project Ara team heads into their Google hosted Ara Developers Conference on April 15-16, 2014, they've decided to go ahead and offer a bit of a behind the scenes look at their development processes in a new video.

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3 years ago

Cyanogen Inc. unveils their new logos and branding

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Back in September, the CyanogenMod team went commercial and became CyanogenMod, Inc. Since then, they've been busy working with the likes of Oppo on the their N1 smartphone but it has come time once again to evolve and as such, they've now unveiled their new brand identity, logos and highlighted their core values.

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3 years ago

Nest halts sales of Nest Protect smoke alarm over potential safety issue

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Nest has put a halt to sales of their connected Nest Protect smoke detector over concerns that the alarm could be unintentionally deactivated. Protect smoke alarms have a "Protect Wave" feature which allows users to deactivate the alarm when it's activated under not dangerous conditions (say, smoke from cooking) by waving at the alarm. The Nest Wave feature has been found in Nest's own testing to be possible to be deactivated under "a unique combination of circumstances".

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3 years ago

Amazon Fire TV and Fire Game Controller hands-on and first impressions

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Amazon Fire TV and Fire Game Controller

A compelling experience, and yet another great way for Amazon to have its content in front of as many people as possible.

For the past few weeks rumors have been building that Amazon was ready to make a big step into the living room with some sort of streaming media and gaming device. When the Fire TV was announced, it turned out to be far more than a simple "streaming stick" — this is better described as a latest-generation Kindle Fire, minus the screen and plus a remote and TV-friendly interface. It has a quad-core processor, a full-featured operating system and access to one of the largest media and app libraries in the world.

Thanks to Amazon Prime overnight shipping we have our hands on the Amazon Fire TV and the (optional) Fire Game Controller, and we're already putting it through its paces. Spoiler alert: our first impressions are pretty darn positive. Read along and see what you'll be getting with an Amazon Fire TV on day one — you may find it tough to keep your mouse away from the Amazon 1-Click order button.

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