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4 years ago

FCC releases speed test app to perform both active and passive mobile data tests

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In-depth mobile data metrics to empower wireless consumers

The FCC has released its own open-source speed test app in the Play Store, giving any Android user access to mobile data speed information on their device. The main goal of the app, the FCC claims, is to empower wireless customers in the U.S. to know how well their smartphone's mobile network is performing. Just as you would expect, you can perform active data speed tests, which return download, upload, latency and packet loss information. You'll also get extra info such as signal strength, SIM operator code and network operator name.

Further, by default the FCC Speed Test app will also conduct passive tests and return anonymous speed test data to the agency for analysis. The app collects absolutely no personally identifiable information, is completely anonymous and has a privacy policy that discloses everything the app is capable of.

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4 years ago

Android 4.4 factory images for all Nexus 7s now available, too

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Return to stock or update to the latest version on your Nexus 7

Along with the Nexus 4, all versions of the Nexus 7 have also received Android 4.4 factory images. Even though the OTA update to KitKat hasn't come to the Nexus 7 variants that have mobile data, all four variants of the smaller Nexus tablet have factory images available.

If you're willing to put a little time into it you can use these to update your own tablet, or just download and have them at the ready should you ever need to return to stock.

More: Nexus 7 2013 Forums | Nexus 7 2012 Forums

Source: Google Developers

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4 years ago

Google posts Android 4.4 factory image for Nexus 4

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In what should be a pretty clear sign that an over-the-air update is coming soon, Google has posted the factory image for Android 4.4 KitKat for the Nexus 4.

Factory images are  especially helpful if you bork your device playing hax0r — or if you just want an easy way to start from scratch. In the case of the Nexus 4 — which has yet to see an over-the air update — it'll allow you to update without waiting — or wiping.

Also: Don't be surprised when you flash this if you don't have what's been dubbed the "Google Experience" launcher. There's no Google Now on the far left — you'll have to slide up from the home button just like always. Also: No new wallpapers, and no transparency. Weird, but not totally unexpected.

More: Nexus 4 forums; Thanks, Cliff!

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4 years ago

ISIS Mobile Wallet now available for Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile customers

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Service requires compatible phone, enhanced SIM, ISIS app and participating store

ISIS Mobile Wallet, a competing service to Google Wallet backed by three major carriers, has finally made its official launch in the U.S. Customers with compatible phones and specific SIM cards on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile can now download the ISIS Mobile Wallet app and get started with mobile payments.

At a time when Google Wallet is pushing away from needing any specific carrier or even a secure element in the phone, ISIS requires quite a few hoops to get started. First up you'll need to be on one of the three aforementioned carriers, and that's it. Next, you'll need a compatible phone, which in every case is a subset of carrier-branded phones currently offered. You'll also need a so-called "enhanced SIM," which carries a secure element required for the transacation. Lastly, you'll need the specific ISIS Mobile Wallet app for your carrier — although they look identical, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile each have their own app in Google Play:

ISIS has also partnered with a specific set of banks (now sans Capital One) that give the best experience with the payment processor, but luckily you can also add any back account manually if you'd prefer. And once you're set up and ready to pay, you'll have to go to a retailer that has signed on with ISIS to have the proper terminal ready as well. ISIS provides a map to look up retailers, and in our area it looks like its basically limited to carrier stores (of course), some drug stores and random merchants we've never heard of.

If you're interested in giving ISIS a try, hit the break for a full list of compatible devices on each carrier.

Source: AT&T (PRNewswire); ISIS

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4 years ago

Moto X now available from Republic Wireless

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Republic Wireless is doing some pretty radical things when it comes to service plans, and now it's got another top-notch phone to go along with them. The Moto X — read our full review — is now available on the low-cost operator for $299 outright.

As for those service plans, remember that Republic does this thing where you pay as little as $5 a month for Wifi-only, but with that you'll still be able to talk and text. Here's the full breakdown:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data, on WiFi only - $5/month
  • Unlimited talk and text on WiFi and cellular, and unlimited data on WiFi - $10/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and data on WiFi, plus 3G cellular - $25/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and data on WiFi, plus 4G LTE cellular - $40/month

More: Republic Wireless

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4 years ago

European flights get the green light for electronic device use

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EASA follows the FAA in allowing gate-to-gate use of personal electronic devices

Following the recent FAA rulings in the U.S. the European equivalent, the EASA, has also now approved the use of personal electronic devices for all stages of flight. Providing everything is turned into airplane mode during travel, you'll be able to use devices such as your Android smartphones and tablets gate-to-gate once airlines have adopted it. 

Bulkier items such as laptops will need to be stowed during taxiing, takeoff and landing, but smaller devices can remain in your hand and in use. The guidelines are expected to be published by the end of November, and here's hoping the European airlines adopt them with speed afterwards. 

Source: EASA via The Verge

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4 years ago

T-Mobile now selling the Nexus 5 for $449

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A quick heads up that T-Mobile is now officially selling the Nexus 5 online. You can pay $449 outright — that's an extra $50 over (OK, OK, $100 over the comparable 16GB version) what you'll pay at Google Play, mind you — or $17 a month over two years with $41 down.

Otherwise, same ol' Nexus 5 we've been enjoying for weeks now.

Source: T-Mobile

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Do you sideload OTA updates?

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Good things come to those who wait, but it comes to those who sideload faster

It's the time of year that we all start thinking of Android version updates (or the lack of them) and that means we are getting impatient. New hardware, like the Nexus 5, on the scene running the new version doesn't help much, because it's naturally going to dominate the news for a while. Those of us that aren't buying the new shiny for one reason or another sit and patiently wait for our turn.

Then when we finally get an announcement that an update is coming, we're ready. Of course we still have to wait, because Google, manufacturers and carriers like to have what I call a #trollout — where they take their time and gradually pass out the goodies slowly, hitting just a few at a time and never you. It can be infuriating.

All that can go away once someone a bit handy gets the OTA. They can download and mirror it, it even get the URL so we all can download it ourselves and apply it with a little bit of work and a few tools. These vary by device type, but you can always fins someone in the forums that knows how where and why to get it done. 

So do you wait for your turn, or do you pounce as soon as you have the means? I won't lie — the second I have a URL I'm all over it. I won't speak for anyone else here (but we all totally jump on those links, we're Android fans) or for you guys, because we have a poll where you can speak up on your own. You'll find it in the sidebar to the right or after the break (depending on how you're reading this). Let us know how you do what you do, then hit the comments for discussion about why. 

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4 years ago

Hands on with the new Moto G accessories

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Flip cases, replaceable rear shells, bumpers, headphones and battery packs accompany Moto's new affordable wonder

Launching alongside the new Moto G is a pretty decent stack of official accessories. During the launch event presentation, Motorola spoke of how important they feel customization is, and while we won't be seeing a Moto Maker for the Moto G, there is a bunch of different colored cases, shells and bumpers to make your new phone your own. 

Beyond customization, Motorola was also showing off new battery packs and color matched headphones, while also talking about forthcoming wireless speakers produced in partnership with JBL. 

Here in the UK, the Flip Shell will cost a respectable £18.99, while the Grip Shell aka the bumper is even more wallet friendly at £9.99. The wired earphones will run you for £34.99, and the battery packs we were told would vary in price depending on region. 

We didn't see all of the accessories in all of the colors, but we did manage to grab plenty of snapshots of what we could get our hands on, so jump on past the break for the full gallery. For more on the Moto G, be sure to check out our first hands-on, and jump into the Moto G forums where we're hosting a Q&A. 

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4 years ago

Moto Maker customized Moto X for Verizon just $49 on-contract until Nov. 18

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Save an additional $50 on your custom Moto X this week

It may be just a few days since Moto Maker went live for Verizon, but the carrier is putting out another discount on the handset. Following up on a $100 on-contract price drop that put the handset at just $99, you can now pick up a customized Moto X on Big Red for $49.99.

There's no special coupon or promotion at play here either — just head to the Moto Maker site (directly or via Verizon) and go through the process, the $50 deduction will happen at checkout.

Source: Verizon; Motorola; Thanks, Ben!

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4 years ago

Imo messenger adds 'People Near Me' feature

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Popular messaging service Imo added a new feature today that helps friends meet up. The feature is called "People Near Me," and while the idea may not be new to the group messaging space its an important addition to a popular app. When you open the People Near Me page, you'll see other users with the app open to that page in a specific (although unknown) radius based on your GPS location.

The feature will show profiles of nearby friends, but also of nearby users that are not in your contacts list. Imo is positioning this more towards befriending people who you've met in person and just want to swap contact info, say at a concert or social event, but you could theoretically add friends and start chatting with complete strangers, if you both wish to do so. It's an interesting way to swap contact data considering the other options like using NFC, Bluetooth or something like Bump, but the end result should be about the same.

You can grab an update to Imo at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update now rolling out

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Galaxy Gear support, new features land in 719MB update

Right on the heels of its cousin on U.S. Cellular, the Galaxy S4 on AT&T is receiving its Android 4.3 update. Coming in at a whopping 719MB with build number JSS15J.1337UCUEMJ9, the update brings support for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, a new KNOX enterprise security suite and of course the latest features from the new version of Android. It is also landing on the very day that leaked documents showed it would, be that a coincidence or not.

Several members in our forums are starting to pull down the update, so it seems to be heading out in at least some capacity. Seeing it on your own Galaxy S4 yet? Head to the forums and let others know how it's going.

More: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums

Thanks, Casey!

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4 years ago

Google Search update brings new features and new cards to Google Now

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OK Google — show me the Google Search update

Make no mistake, Google Now is the future of Android. What we see in the Nexus 5 and Google Glass updates tells us as much, and what we're hearing around the rumor mill fits right in. Google is going all-in with Google Now and their slightly creepy but informative and useful contextual style of pre-search, or whatever you want to call it.

As predicted, an update to the Google Search app today makes it even better. A new Website update card will bring you the latest blog post from a site like Android Central (yes, we really dig that one), the improved News topic card will keep you informed on the news you care about, as determined by the news you search for on the mighty Goog, and the What to watch card will give you recommendations of things you'll not want to miss on the boob tube.

Of course, you'll need to update your Google Search app to see any of this, and as usual it's a gradual rollout ( I like to call it a #trollout) and chances are you won't see it right away. And no, this doesn't cure baldness or erectile dysfunction. But it will help you keep track of the things you're interested in on the web and on the telly. Try your update luck at the Google Play link above.

Via: +Android

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4 years ago

Newly redesigned Facebook Messenger now available for all

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The all-new design and features can now be used by everyone

The latest update to Facebook Messenger, which was first announced about two weeks ago, is now rolling out to all users. Previously only available to a limited number (presumably to catch bugs), the new version with an all-new design and features will be available for everyone to download.

Along with a new white and light blue design (that frankly looks iOS 7-inspired) and faster performance, along with new chat features like the ability to message someone with just their phone number, the latest update is worth a look. It now stands in pretty high contrast to the stand-alone Facebook app, which can be kind of jarring, but the Messenger experience is now much improved.

Grab an update to the latest version at the Play Store link above.

Via: Facebook

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4 years ago

Phones 4U carrying the Moto G in the UK, available to order now

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In-store availability begins November 15, white back exclusive to the retailer in the UK

Following today's Moto G launch event, specific availability is starting to emerge and here in the UK Phones 4U is straight out of the gate offering the new device. Both 8GB and 16GB versions of the Moto G can now be ordered online for delivery showing as November 22, but it will hit brick-and-mortar stores this coming Friday, November 15. If that's not enough, Phones 4U is also claiming exclusivity to the white colored back. 

The 8GB Moto G will cost just £119.95 plus a £10 top-up voucher on pay-as-you-go, and the 16GB will run for £149.95 plus the same £10 top-up voucher. At this time there's doesn't appear to be a SIM free option available to purchase, though Phones 4U has confirmed it will cost £134.95 for the 8GB model, in line with todays pricing information from Motorola. 

There's also a range of contracts to pick up the Moto G on, but honestly, at this price the best option all round is to try and pick one up off contract. For more on the Moto G be sure to check out our first hands on, or jump into the Android Central forums where we're hosting a Q&A on the Moto G

Source: Phones4U

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