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4 years ago

AT&T's Pantech Flex gets Jelly Bean update

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AT&T today announced that its Pantech Flex is receiving an over-the-air update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. That means you'll be able to get things like Google Now, the latest Google Voice Search and better accessibility features, too, with options for external Braille input and output, and Bluetooth and gestures for the visually impaired. 

Plus you get those fancy Jelly Bean notifications that the kids are all talking about. AT&T says those with the Flex should receive a text message alerting them to the update.

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

FAA expected to relax ban on gadgets on takeoffs and landings

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Don't expect to make phone calls, though, even if e-readers and tablets approved for takeoff and landing

You might no longer have to worry whether you shut off that gadget as your plane takes to the sky. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration -- in part to get with the times and in part because so many passengers don't actually shut down everything with an on/off switch -- will relax the blanket ban on some personal electronic devices below 10,000 feet.

The policy shift, which hasn't been officially announced yet, isn't expected to address phone usage, so it's unsure yet whether airplane mode would suffice, or whether you'll have to tuck away anything that doesn't look like a small tablet. And that could get interesting given that half of all new Android smartphones essentially are small tablets. It's also not yet known whether you'd have Wifi access during takeoff and landing.

A formal decision isn't expected until the fall.

Source: WSJ (paywall); photo courtesy Jason Rabinowitz 

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the LG Optimus F3

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Sprint was on hand at last night's Pepcom showcase to highlight its next cream-of-the-entry-level-crop, the LG Optimus F3, available now for a mere $30 on contract. It's undoubtedly a starter phone, designed specifically with the blind and visually impaired thanks to its bundled Google TalkBack software. With extensive text-to-speech capabilities, the F3 is the go-to device for those looking for a budget-conscious, entry-level-friendly handset.

The F3 packs a 4-inch WVGA display, a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and Gorilla Glass 2, with a 2,650 mAh battery and Android 4.1 thrown in to spice up the spec sheet -- a bit under whelming for the power user yet totally respectable for the first-time buyer. I've said it once and I'll say it a million times: entry-level devices are becoming more and more capable, and the Optimus F3 is very much a well-made, albeit bottom-rung LG device.

The Optimus F3 ships in both silver and purple and is available now in Sprint stores and on sprint.com for $29 with a two year contract.  Shots of the device can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

PSA: AT&T's new GoPhone prepaid plans now available

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Save a few bucks and get more data for your dollar with AT&T's new plans

AT&T isn't wasting any time flipping the switch on its newly restructured GoPhone prepaid plans, as they've just gone up for all to see and select on its website. The new plans, which replace a pretty anemic set that was previously offered, give smart phone owners looking to save a few (or a few dozen) dollars every month an even better value. There are three plans now available, the top end of which is $5 cheaper than the previous high-end plan:

  • $25 for 250 minutes, unlimited text and no base data plan ($5 per 50MB additional)
  • $40 for 500 minutes, unlimited text and 200MB of data ($5 per 100MB additional)
  • $60 for unlimited minutes, unlimited text and 2GB of data ($10 per 1GB additional)

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4 years ago

Behold, the Samsung Galaxy S4 in red

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Samsung didn't stop with just a handful of new devices today -- the company also gave its flagship best seller, the Galaxy S4, a new paint job. Five of them, actually.

Among the colors introduced is Red Aurora, which reps had in tow at tonight's Pepcom event here in New York. It's a welcome addition to the standard black and white, and along with the purple, pink, and brown versions also introduced today, just about every taste should be satisfied.

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4 years ago

LG headed to New York City on Aug. 7

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LG just dropped a little something in our inbox, giving advance warning of an "international media event" going down Aug. 7 in New York City. We're suckers for international media events, especially if they're in our backyard.

What to expect? There's a pretty good possibility we'll see that "successor" to the Optimus G that both LG and Qualcomm were teasing just yesterday, with its Snapdragon 800 processor in tow. 

We've marked our calendars. Suggest you do the same.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active for AT&T

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We’re here in New York where Samsung introduced its newest addition to the Galaxy S4 lineup, the Galaxy S4 Active, to US consumers. Our friends across the pond got a bit more fanfare today than we did here at Pepcom’s annual summer shindig, but even without the grand stage, the Active still seems to impress.

What Samsung cooked up here is a true-to-form Galaxy S 4 in every sense of the word – same processor, same gorgeous screen, and same Touchwiz/Jelly Bean experience. There’s one major difference, though: this version can withstand just about anything you throw at it. Shock, sand, water, you name it – the S4 Active is just barely short of bulletproof (don’t test that, please).

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4 years ago

Password protect your Google Play app to prevent unwanted purchases

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Money doesn't grow on trees. Take a few steps to password protect your Google Play purchases.

When it comes to things that cost real money, people tend to become a little more cautious. Nobody wants their child or kid brother accidentally buying a bunch of apps or in-app purchases from Google Play while they are supposed to be playing Angry Birds, and it's easy enough to do with just a few taps -- unless you've password protected your Google Play app.

With the password enabled, every time you try to spend money in Google Play, whether it be buying an app or book, renting a movie, or adding coins to your favorite game you'll need to enter your Google credentials to finalize the purchase. It's a great option, and one I suggest everyone enable. Luckily, it's easy to enable. Follow past the break to see how.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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4 years ago

His name is Mr. Jingles ...

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Google+ gets a new notifications mascot, 'mark all read' button

Normally we wouldn't make a big deal about such a small change to Google+, but this one's kind of fun. Stick with us here.

A couple days ago the little notification identifier switched from a number (which Facebook appears to have adopted for unread posts, by the way) to a bell with a rather cute smiley face. We'll call him Mr. Jingles, because that's what Google's calling him. Blaze through all of your notifications and click on Jingles, and he does a fun little dance. Yes, we're easily amused. 

Jingles has just hit the Android app for Google+ as well. And along with it comes a new button to mark all of your notifications as read. It looks like a little bar graph, and it's now on the web version of Google+, too. Tap it or click it, and your notifications shall bother you no more. Or, in my case, for the next three seconds. Jingles then appears, applauding your notification-marking ability, and does his little dance.

And, yes, Mr. Jingles is on Google+.

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4 years ago

First look at the Samsung ATIV Q

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An unholy marriage between Windows and Android takes place in this high-resolution, convertible tablet​

It's Windows. It's Android. It's Windows. It's Android. It's Windows. It's Android.

It's the Samsung ATIV Q, just announced today in London. And it takes a convertible 13-inch tablet -- that is, it's got a keyboard that you can abuse in a couple different positions -- puts Android on one side, Windows 8 on the other, and leaves you and your brain to deal with the aftermath.

Look, we're not going ot get the full feel for this thing in a few short minutes, but this much stood out: There are something like three buttons that will take you to Android -- and one of them is the Windows logo. Somewhere, even Christopher Nolan is scratching his head.

Enjoy this first-look video.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom hands-on

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A Galaxy S4 in name only, the Zoom is perhaps better related to the Galaxy Camera

The launch of the original Samsung Galaxy Camera brought to the table a different class of product. An all-in-one device for people who wanted to take decent photographs yet have all the benefits of a smartphone at their disposal. The Galaxy S4 Zoom is very much in this same vein; a point-and-shoot camera with smartphone capabilities. Only this time around, you can actually use it to call people. 

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

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Does Samsung's miniaturized Galaxy S4 live up to its name?

Each new generation of smartphones seems to bring with it ever larger screens. Just a couple of years ago a 4.3-inch screen was considered large -- unwieldy, even -- in the grand scheme of things. But as screens for flagship phones reach five inches and beyond, manufacturers seem to be realizing that big screens aren't for everyone. And the result of that realization is phones like the Galaxy S4 Mini.

Featuring a familiar chassis design and a "smaller" 4.3-inch display, the Galaxy S4 Mini seems to promise a high-end experience in a smaller body. And in part, it delivers -- the S4 Mini boasts much of the feature set of its full-size namesake. You'll get everything from S Health -- the food and weight tracking app -- to WatchON -- the IR blaster-based TV remote app.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy NX video walkthrough

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Our first impressions of Samsung's Android-powered professional camera

The Samsung Galaxy NX is a first for Android and digital imaging -- the first professional camera with high-end smartphone internals, the latest version of Android and 4G LTE connectivity. If Samsung manages to make all this hardware work well together and bring it to market first, the Galaxy NX has the potential to be a game-changing product. But it's still early days, and we'll need to examine the Galaxy NX in more detail before we come to any conclusions.

The broad strokes are this: A mirrorless body with interchangeable lenses. A 20.3 (effective) megapixel sensor. A 4.8-inch display on the back. Full LTE and Wifi capability. Powered by a quad-core processor at 1.6 GHz. Running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. On paper, it's a beast. (Check out the full specs here.)

In the meantime, we've had the chance to get our hands on the Galaxy NX at the launch event today in London. Check our the video after the break for our first impressions. We'll bring you a detailed hands-on post later in the day.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active hands-on

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A first look at Samsung's ruggedized, water-resistant Galaxy S4 Active

Traditionally, if you wanted a toughened, water-resistant, life-proof smartphone, there were compromises you just had to live with. Usually you'd pay over the odds, and be left with a bulky, ugly-looking device running old software, with sub-par internals. But that's starting to change, and we've already seen devices like the Sony Xperia Z that promise top-end hardware alongside the ability to survive a dunk in the bath.

Now Samsung's entering the rugged smartphone market in a big way with the Galaxy S4 Active -- a device that stays true to its Galaxy S4 branding with high-end internals matched against a rugged chassis. It's IP67-rated for water and dust resistance, meaning its internals are protected from harmful particulate matter, and it'll survive in up to 1 meter of water for at least 30 minutes.

On the inside you're dealing with much the same high-end parts you'll find in the regular S4 -- a 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, expandable via micro SD and a 1080p display. A few changes have been made though -- the Active's screen is an LCD, not SuperAMOLED, which may lead to improved daylight visibility (it's difficult to tell inside the darkened demo area). The camera's also taken a slight hit, going from 13 megapixels on the S4 to 8 on the active. Again, it was difficult to judge the camera's performance in the demo area at Earls Court today, but it seemed to work well enough. What's more, the camera app now boasts a dedicated underwater shooting mode.

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4 years ago

Eyes on with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom flip case and lens cover

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We're live in London at the Samsung Premiere 2013 event where we've had a first look at the new Galaxy S4 Zoom. Part smartphone, part point-and-shoot camera, the S4 Zoom is unlike any smartphone we've come across to date. As is usually the norm with new Samsung devices, a range of accessories come to market with them, and the Zoom is no exception. There's actually a pretty decent looking flip case for the device, that covers the screen on one side, and acts as a sort of bumper around the exterior edges. It also comes with a matching lens cap so you can pocket your new Galaxy S4 Zoom without worrying (too much) about that honkin' great zoom lens on the back. More pictures can be found after the break. 

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