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3 years ago

South Korea says smartphone bloatware be gone!

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Don't want those apps on your phone? You should be able to delete them!

If you've ever seen a Korean phone up close, you'll know that those things come absolutely stacked to the rafters with pre-installed, bloatware apps. Be they from carriers or OEM's, the result leaves a brand new phone coming out of the box filled with apps. But, while the pre-installing can continue, new guidelines there say that those apps must be user deletable.

"The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players,"

Filling up a phone with non-removable apps just hurts a big portion of the folks who buy it. Less storage space is available for one. A positive move for our Korean friends then, and the new guidelines will come into effect from April. I'm guessing there are more than a few folks out there who'd like to see a similar practice over in Europe and North America? 

via ZDNet

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3 years ago

LG G Flex on AT&T now available to pre-order

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$299.99 on a two-year contract, shipping February 4

More good news this morning for folks in the U.S. interested in the LG G Flex, particularly those of an AT&T persuasion. The carrier has now made LG's 6-inch curved behemoth available to pre-order for $299.99 on a new two-year contract. It won't be in hand for a little while yet, with shipping dates currently stated as February 4. 

You can also pick up the G Flex on AT&T Next from $26.73 a month, or with no annual contract for $694.99. The G Flex is certainly an interesting device, with that huge display and very pronounced curve on the front, and the 'self-healing' back that LG was proudly showing off to the gathered masses at CES just a couple of weeks ago. With a Snapdragon 800 and 2GB of RAM inside, it packs the sort of internals we'd expect from a high-end Android smartphone, and we've been impressed with our earlier hands on time with it. 

Of course, we're more interested in getting hold of a proper, U.S. version and putting it through its paces. If you're considering picking one of these up on AT&T, be sure to check out the latest coverage maps before parting with your money. And for more on the G Flex, check out our hands on video after the break. 

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

This is the 'teak finish' Moto X

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Vertical stripes are slimming, I'm told

When Motorola announced the customizable Moto X on August 1st of last year, they unveiled a series of four wood backs that would be options. Eventually. The phone launched later in August with a full range of color customizations on AT&T, which eventually spread to the other carriers. But what of those elusive backs hewn from natural materials?

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3 years ago

LG tablet with Verizon LTE hits FCC, could be the G Pad 8.3

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LG's G Pad 8.3 tablet could be headed to Verizon in the U.S., based on info from a recent FCC filing. Details of the LG-VK810, described in the official documents as a "portable tablet," show it as a device with LTE support on Bands 4 + 13 — the freqs used by Verizon — and with dimensions matching those of LG's existing G Pads.

These latest details corroborate info posted by Twitter leaker @evleaks last week, stating that the G Pad was indeed Verizon-bound.

If the G Pad 8.3 does show up on Verizon in the near future, customers would be getting a compelling mid-sized tablet with a Snapdragon 600 processor, a 1920x1200-resolution display and a metal-based chassis — though they'd also have to deal with LG's polarizing, brightly-colored Android UI. Check out our review, linked below, for the full picture.

More: LG G Pad 8.3 review

Source: FCC via PhoneArena, @evleaks

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3 years ago

Don't forget to claim a year of PlayStation Plus with your new Sony Xperia Z1s

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Offer applies to phones bought from both Sony and T-Mobile

During the official announcement of the Sony Xperia Z1s at CES, we were told about the pretty fantastic content offering that Sony was throwing in with the handset. What they didn't mention at the time was a special offer involving PlayStation Plus. But if you've bought one, or are planning to buy one soon, you'll get a free 1-year subscription to PlayStation Plus thrown in for good measure. 

Sure, if you're an Xbox owner, this is probably the least interesting thing you'll hear all day. But, if you purchase an Xperia Z1s either from Sony or T-Mobile between January 13 and February 12 then you're eligible to claim the reward. All you need to do is head to the link below to redeem, and send Sony a photo of the IMEI number on the box as well as your purchase receipt for the phone. Do this by March 5 and you'll have it delivered to you by March 21. 

If you've not yet tried PlayStation Plus, then it's well worth cashing in here. Sony regularly offers members content free of charge, including this month the epic Bioshock Infinite for PS3. Just be sure not to lose your receipt! 

Source: Sony via Xperia Blog

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3 years ago

New Nexus 5 colors looking more likely following latest leaks

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Red model pictured as fresh information comes to light

It's looking more likely this morning that Google and LG could release the Nexus 5 in additional colors, after a flurry of online activity in the past 24 hours. First came videos and pictures claiming to show the new colors in the Google Play Store, though these showed telltale signs of being little more than Photoshop jobs based on existing renders. But since then the first compelling photographic evidence has emerged, and one reliable individual in the smartphone community is saying there's some truth behind the rumors.

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update reaching more countries

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Following a limited rollout in Russia and Poland, it seems more countries in Europe and Asia are getting the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Galaxy Note 3 today. Reports from SamMobile and the XDA forums point to a rollout for users in the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Hungary, India and Korea. The reports refer to both the LTE-capable SM-N9005 and the 3G-only SM-N900 getting the OTA today.

The update brings Samsung's big-screened handset up to Android 4.4.2, build KOT49H, with new-style notification icons and other minor UI tweaks, in addition to standard KitKat features like immersive mode, transparent notification bars and fullscreen album art. (Updaters should also be aware that some have reported issues getting third-party S View cases to work after the KitKat upgrade, though Samsung has denied any link between the two.)

International Note 3 owners — check for software updates, and hit the comments and let us know if you've got an OTA waiting.

Source: SamMobile, XDA

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3 years ago

ARM and Linaro answer a few quick questions about big.LITTLE processor tech

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10 questions on supporting the power of 8 cores on a mobile platform

Samsung has talked a whole lot about how it will implement ARM's new big.LITTLE architecture in its new Exynos Octa processors, but the technology can be a bit confusing. With so much computing power under the hood and a new way of addressing tasks a few questions come to mind about compatibility, power and how it all works.

In order to try and answer a few of these burning questions, Samsung set up a little Q&A session about big.LITTLE processor technology with Brian Jeff of ARM and David Rusling of Linaro. This is some pretty technical stuff, but the 26-minute long video doesn't get into so much detail that the regular enthusiast can't learn a thing or two. If this is your sort of thing, be sure to catch the video above.

Source: Samsung

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3 years ago

Samsung Q4 2013 earnings are in — revenues up slightly, profits down for the Korean manufacturer

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But don't worry, the company still made $7.73 billion in profit in three months

Samsung has just posted its Q4 2013 earnings, and while the numbers are still large in every category there were some troubling decreases in revenues and profit in most sectors. In a quarter usually dominating the rest of the year because of holiday sales, Samsung's profits rose just 0.3 percent, with operating profit dipping 18 percent. Here are highlights:

  • Total revenues of $55.13 billion, up 0.3 percent quarter-over-quarter
  • Operating profit of $7.73 billion, down 18 percent q-o-q
  • Mobile revenues of $31.52 billion, down 9 percent q-o-q
  • Mobile operating profit of $5.09 billion, down 18 percent q-o-q

The only segments of Samsung's business that didn't drop in the quarter were Consumer Electronics (TVs and appliances) and Semiconductors (processors, RAM, etc.), although those two segments combined are only about two-thirds the size of the Mobile Communications business.

So what happened in mobile? Samsung says that demand increased for both smartphones and tablets in the quarter — as you would expect — but that earnings were down in the segment due to high expenses. Big spending in marketing and one-time expenses cut into the traditionally large profits for the holiday quarter. Shipments of smartphones were also down just slightly due to inventory adjustments. Samsung calls out the Galaxy Tab 3 and Note 10.1 (2014) as driving tablet sales, with North America and Europe receiving most of the shipments.

As for the 2014 outlook, Samsung says it expects price and product competition to increase through the year as more people switch from featurephones to smartphones around the world. The combat the pressure, the company plans to diversify its mid- and high-end products to "address customer needs," as well as push various new tablets through both developed and emerging markets.

Source: Samsung

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3 years ago

HTC Ones on US carriers are one step closer to KitKat updates

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Expect software to be certified for all four major carriers next week

HTC USA has just informed us via its Twitter account that the Android 4.4 KitKat update for U.S. carrier versions of the HTC One has "entered carrier labs for final testing." The tweet claims that we should see the updates certified by the carriers as early as next week.

Referring to HTC's infographic on the progress of updates for its devices, certification is the third of four stages involved in pushing out an OTA to phones. Once it passes this final level of testing — assuming no issues are found — phones should start receiving the update in short order after that point.

Unlocked and Developer Edition HTC Ones have had KitKat available in the U.S. since the end of November, but as we all know there's additional testing required when we're dealing with carrier-customized handsets. With its increased transparency as of late we expect to hear more on the progress next week.

More: HTC

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3 years ago

Carmageddon for Android goes free for limited time

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Get your taste of this great game before it goes back to $1.99

A quick heads up for anyone that hasn't yet picked up classic pedestrian-mashing title, Carmageddon, that it's now free on Android for a limited time. It comes in celebration of a Carmageddon Steam Early Access release, and it won't be around for very long. 

To get around the Google Play restrictions on going free then back to paid, this is a special Promo version of Carmageddon. Once the deal is done with, it'll disappear again. It regularly retails at $1.99, so not the most expensive game you'll ever buy, but a couple of bucks is a couple of bucks. Hit up the Play Store link above, and go crazy. 

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3 years ago

Qualcomm picks up 2,400 patents from HP and the defunct Palm

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Purchase price and specific patent numbers not known

Qualcomm this afternoon announced that it has acquired some 2,400 patents and patent applications from HP and what's left of Palm Inc., which HP picked up in 2010. Qualcomm says 1,400 of those were in the U.S., with the additional thousand coming from other countries.

The newly acquired portfolio, Qualcomm says, "covers technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques." In addition to patents from Palm, the portfolio also includes IPAQ (one of the earliest precursors to the modern-day smartphone), and Bitfone, an over-the-air update service HP purchased in 2006.

Palm has long had a respected patent portfolio, even after its smartphone business went belly-up. As one of the founding companies of the smartphone revolution, it holds many foundational patents, including gems like "Integrated Handheld Computing and Telephony System and Services," i.e. smartphone. Along with Motorola, Nokia, BlackBerry, Palm's patents comprise the basis of what modern smartphones are build off of.

Qualcomm is a major manufacturer of smartphone processing platforms — especially in the Android space — alongside the likes of Intel and NVIDIA. Terms of the purchase were not released.

Qualcomm's full statement is after the break.

Source: Qualcomm

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3 years ago

Help us help you and take the Android Central 2014 Reader Survey! (Oh, and you can win free stuff, too!)

2014 is here and we plan to make it another amazing year for Android Central. With more than 13 million visitors and 30 million page views per month, we're already the biggest and best Android-dedicated community and resource out there.

And we can still do better.

As I mentioned Sunday, we're going to do more to help all users — the veterans as well as the noobs — get the most out of their Android-powered phones, tablets, smartwatches, ovens — anything and everything.

Before we get too far into 2014, we wanted to do a quick check in with you to get your feedback on how we're doing and what you want to see more (or less) of in 2014. It'll take you a few minutes, and we'll love your for it.

Also, at the end of the survey, you'll be able to enter for your chance to win one of three Chromecasts that we have up for grabs. Thanks for taking the survey, we appreciate it!

Take the Android Central 2014 Reader Survey

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3 years ago

Google Calendar bug could bring uninvited guests to your events

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Put an email addresses in an event title? They'll be automatically invited

A minor bug potentially embarrassing bug in Google Calendar could lead to private events being revealed to third parties. Researcher Terence Eden discovered discovered that placing a Gmail address in an event title leads to that person being automatically invited to the event, regardless of the context. It's not hard to imagine how this might lead to a few red faces through supposedly private info being released to third parties. Eden uses his wife as an example —

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3 years ago

Motorola puts its Gallery app in the Play Store, updates with a new look

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A new light theme and slight design tweak from the original app

Motorola's take on the Gallery app is now joining a long list of apps moving out to the Play Store for easy updating. At the same time, Moto is giving the Gallery app a facelift with a new light color palette and slide-in drawer on the left edge. Motorola says that the image thumbnails are larger and navigation is simpler. At the heart of it this still looks like the same 'ol Gallery app and editing features, just with a little bit of tweaking to make it look and feel different.

The biggest story here is Motorola's ability now to update the Gallery app in the Play Store without updating all of its phones independently. The Moto X, Moto G and latest Droid devices on Verizon — provided they're running KitKat — are all compatible with this new Motorola Gallery and will receive updates through the Play Store from here on out.

If you have one of Moto's new devices, hit the Play Store link above to grab your new Gallery.

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