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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini headed to the U.S. this November

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AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and U.S. Cellular will carry the Galaxy S 4 Mini

We've recently seen evidence that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is U.S.-bound, and now we have official confirmation of that fact. Samsung Mobile U.S. sends word that the miniaturized S4 will be headed to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and U.S. Cellular starting this November.

The Galaxy S4 Mini sports a familiar design with somewhat cut-down internals compared to the regular GS4. The display is a 4.3-inch SuperAMOLED panel at 960x540 resolution. There's a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 CPU running the show, 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (up from 8GB in the international model), expandable via microSD. There's also an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1,900mAh battery.

The Galaxy S4 Mini runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and Samsung's latest TouchWiz UI, featuring many of the software capabilities of the full-sized Galaxy S4. The S4's camera app has made it across, as has the WatchOn TV app, and device-to-device sharing through S Beam and Group Share. A software update "soon after launch" will enable Galaxy Gear support on U.S. Galaxy S4 Minis.

While we weren't exactly wowed by the international version of the GS4 Mini, the U.S. version could be a compelling mid-ranger if the price is right. Naturally, we'll need to wait for individual carriers to confirm those details in the weeks ahead.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

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4 years ago

Tesla CEO mulls in-car Android emulator, Chrome browser upgrade

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Tesla 'considering adding a pure Android emulator' to vehicles, says Elon Musk

At a recent event in Munich, Germany, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted at the possibility that his company's cars may one day be able to run Android apps. Fielding a question on app development for the Tesla Model S, Musk said the company was "considering adding a pure Android emulator," allowing users to run an Android app in a window on the car's Linux-based front-end.

The Android emulator is one of a few app development avenues being considered for the vehicle, which Musk expects to be opened up to developers "towards the end of next year." Musk also outlined several software additions that had to be made before this could take place, including adding local language and navigation data, and upgrading the cars' built-in browser to Google Chrome.

If these plans come to fruition, the Android emulator could give Tesla's vehicles access to a large library of mobile apps in a relatively short space of time. And it also begs the question: how long until we see an Android-powered car?

Source: 9to5Google; YouTube

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4 years ago

BlackBerry 'aware' of suspect reviews, 'working with Google to resolve this'

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Scores of positive reviews repeat the same wording in broken English

BlackBerry's launch of BBM on Android this week was marred by a rather large number — and extremely suspect — reviews left in Google Play along with its 10 million installations on Android and iOS. Apparent to anyone with a set of peepers, the reviews in question all share the same broken English and likely Indonesian origins, though the number of stars left on each review varies.

The reviews read, "Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth"

It's still unclear whether the scores and scores of copycat reviews are a coordinated (if ridiculously obvious) effort to game the system, who, exactly, was behind it — as we all know, BlackBerry and BBM have a very ... passionate ... user base — and why the hell they didn't think anyone would notice. To leave a review on an app in Google Play, you have to have a Google+ account. So there are at least names and faces to go with the farce.

BlackBerry's Victoria Berry, director of PR for BBM, gave Android Central the following statement:

We have recently been made aware of a number of potentially fake five-star reviews of BBM for Android on Google Play. We do not approve of or condone such activities and are committed to working with Google to resolve this. There are also many genuinely great and useful reviews from our new BBM users on Google Play. We would like to encourage our passionate fans and users to continue to provide true assessments of the BBM experience through the proper channels.

So, yeah. Something's up. We still don't know exactly why, though.

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4 years ago

Latest LG G Flex leaks show back-mounted buttons

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G2-style power and volume keys shown on curvy smartphone

Curvy displays look to be one of the smartphone trends of the next few months. Samsung has already announced its Korea-bound Galaxy Round, and there's every indication that local rival LG has a curved-display handset waiting in the wings too.

Now we're beginning to see more details about the upcoming LG G Flex, which unlike Samsung's offering has a vertical, not horizontal curve. We've seen leaked photos of the G Flex in the past, but a fresh set of images doing the rounds today confirm earlier speculation — the handset uses the same back-mounted button setup as its more conventional cousin, the LG G2. On the front is a 6-inch curved OLED display.

Today's shots come from Argentine tech journalist Federico Ini by way of The Verge, and Ini's publication Telefenoticias also managed to score a hands-on video of the handset. From what we can see it's essentially a larger, curvier version of the G2, much as the Galaxy Round is to the Note 3. Like the Samsung device, the LG G Flex is unlikely to be a mass-market product, but we'll bring you full details on the phone upon its official arrival, expected sometime in November.

Source: The Verge, Telefenoticias, @fechu

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4 years ago

Samsung acquires 7.4 percent share in Gorilla Glass maker Corning

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Corning buys out Samsung's stake in LCD joint venture; ten-year supply deal inked

Samsung has acquired a 7.4 percent share in smartphone Gorilla Glass maker Corning, as part of a "strengthening" in the partnership between the two companies. The deal will also see Corning taking full control of Samsung Corning Precision Materials, an LCD panel joint venture in which Samsung currently holds a 43 percent stake. Samsung will make an additional investment of $400 million in Corning by subscribing to new convertible preferred shares, today's press release states.

In return, Samsung will get $1.9 billion worth of convertible preferred shares in Corning, equal to a 7.4 percent stake in the company. At the same time a ten-year new supply agreement between the two has been inked, adding around $2 billion to Corning's annual sales.

Corning's Gorilla Glass is used in many high-end mobile devices, including those of Samsung's competitors — and today's news may be of concern to the company's smartphone rivals, many of whom are already reliant on Samsung for other components.

Source: Corning; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy S4 with LTE-A coming to parts of Europe

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Faster LTE speeds and a more advanced CPU for Samsung's upgraded GS4

We managed to track down Samsung's LTE-Advanced-capable, Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy S4 (GT-i9506) last month at IFA 2013, but until now there's been little in the way of official info from Samsung on the device. Today press releases have been issued by Samsung Sweden, and the handset has popped up on the company's German site, dubbed simply "Galaxy S4 with LTE+."

Based on our experienced with the Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy S4 at IFA, the overall user experience is much the same as what we know on the Snapdragon 600 model. The new device is advertised with Samsung KNOX support, however, so it Samsung's latest enterprise software package should be included. Besides that, the faster chip should bring the GS4 in line with the Galaxy Note 3 in terms of raw computational horsepower and 4G LTE data speeds, with download speeds of up to 150Mbps supported on the new model. According to the Swedish press release, the new S4 ships with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

The Galaxy S4 with LTE+ is due to arrive in Sweden this November, priced at 6,000 Krona (around $940). There's no word on availability or pricing for any other countries, however a similar device has been available in Samsung's native South Korea for the past several months.

More: Hands-on with the Snadragon 800-powered Galaxy S4

Source: PhoneArena, Press Release (Swedish), Samsung (German)

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 announced as official phone of Sochi 2014 winter games

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Galaxy Note 3s to be given to all attending athletes 

Just as it did with the London games last summer, Samsung has another major Olympic sponsorship deal in place for next year's Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi. The Galaxy Note 3 has been named as the official phone of the Sochi 2014 games, and Samsung will provide Note 3s to all participating athletes, the first time such a giveaway has been planned.

Samsung will also be providing a "Wireless Olympic Works" (WOW) Android apps as part of its "Samsung Smart Olympic Games" initiative. For Olympic staffers running the games, the app will provide "essential, up-to-date Games time data and connectivity," while the public WOW app will deliver news and other information on the games.

So we can expect to see a lot more of the Galaxy Note 3 in the run up to next February's Winter Olympic, as Samsung seeks to take advantage of the global platform it presents. Today's press release refers to pop-up "Galaxy Studio" stands at the Olympic Park and a "Galaxy Team" of some 80 hopeful athletes from 20 countries. The games run from Feb. 7-23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

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4 years ago

Samsung confirms Galaxy Gear support coming to Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2 and other devices

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Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2, S4 Mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 Zoom getting Gear support

Depending on where you live, you may have already received a software update enabling support for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch for your Galaxy S4. Nevertheless, today brings an official news release from Samsung confirming as much.

The Galaxy S4, S3 and Note 2 will get Galaxy Gear compatibility along with their Android 4.3 updates — an update the S4 is already getting in some countries — while the Galaxy S4 Mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 Zoom will get Gear support in another software update starting at the end of the month.

Samsung notes that the Android 4.3 updates for the Galaxy S4, Note 2 and some Galaxy S3 models will also bring the KNOX enterprise security platform, SmartSwitch for transferring content from other phones, Samsung HomeSync support and the Group Play 2.5 app with video sharing capabilities.

As always, the timing of these updates will vary from country to country, so don't get too excited just yet.

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

BlueStacks teams up with Big Fish to bring Android games to desktop computers

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Making it even easier for mobile developers to bring games to the desktop

Big Fish Games announced today that it is partnering with BlueStacks to bring its Android game offerings and casual gaming network to Windows and Mac PC's. An extremely popular game maker on both the desktop and mobile, Big Fish will utilize BlueStacks' virtualization technology to bring its popular mobile games to desktop computers, increasing the number of games it has on offer.

Beyond just bringing a current stable of great Android games from Big Fish to PC's, this partnership will enable other Android developers to monetize their apps on the desktop with Big Fish's casual gaming network. Going forward, mobile game developers that integrate with Big Fish's network will now have simple tools to also bring their games to the desktop with no complex porting process required.

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4 years ago

HTC Desire 300 coming to Telstra next week for $179AU

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HTC and Telstra hope the price will spur holiday sales on the pre-paid side

Folks in Australia looking for an entry-level device will have a new choice come next Tuesday (Oct 29). HTC and Telstra have announced that the Desire 300 will go up for sale with a price of $179AU.

The Desire 300 certainly isn't the highest specced Android device to come from HTC, with a 1GHz dual-core S4 processor and 512MB of RAM, but it does ship with HTC Sense 5 and BlinkFeed atop of Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2). It also carries a name people world wide know and trust — the Desire. It's the phone that started HTC's rise, and maybe they think a resurgence can capture a few hearts and wallets.

Telstra Director of Devices Andrew Volard says the device is clearly aimed at prepaid customers

The HTC Desire 300 is a great addition to the HTC family at Telstra and I’m sure it will be a popular choice for customers who are after a high-quality but affordable pre-paid smartphone, particularly coming into the festive season.

Here's hoping things go as planned, as HTC could certainly use a little good news.

Source: Ausdroid

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4 years ago

The Vktech 60x microscope attachment for the Galaxy S4 is a cool way to spend $17

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See what you've been missing with this 60x microscope lens for the Galaxy S4

The best part about having a really popular phone is all the crazy third-party accessories that get built for it. I did a little shopping at Amazon last week, and one of the things I picked up was this Vktech 60x microscope attachment for the Galaxy S4.

It's a simple concept. You have a plastic case back, and over the camera cut-out there's a threaded ring. A tubular lens body and LED light attachment screws into it, giving you 60x optical zoom and illumination so you can take some wild close-up shots of anything that fits under the lens. The lens tube and LED assembly comes with a tiny pleather carrying pouch to keep it from getting grungy in your pocket or bag.

The lens tube is easy to screw on and off, the case is easy to snap on and off, but neither will fly apart during normal use. It's a little tricky to get focused, but I've found a solution that seems to work. Zoom your camera app the whole way in to 4x, and extend the focusing tube the whole way. Place the end of the tube on whatever it is you're taking a picture of, and slowly slide the tube back into the body until you get a clear picture. The area of crisp focus is small, but there's enough detail that you can crop out the center and still have an interesting picture.

Needless to say, I've been having a ball with it taking all sorts of pictures of everything I can get my hands on. Hit the break to see some of the shots. You can pick up your own Vktech 60x microscope kit from Amazon for $16.79.

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4 years ago

Chickens Can't Fly flies the coop to Android

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Save a hapless chicken from harm in this charming game

Given that Android has the largest market share of any smartphone platform, underdog competitor Windows Phone has far fewer exclusive games worth noting. Windows Phone’s precious few exclusive Xbox-branded games often jump ship to other platforms – just look at Wordament and Kinectimals.

Now Chickens Can’t Fly from British developer Amused Sloth – long considered one of the best Windows Phone exclusives – has debuted on Android as well. At $1.99, it’s quite a steal.

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4 years ago

Verizon's Moto X getting the big update today

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Camera improvements and more are rolling out to Verizon Moto X users

It started as a soak test, but it was either very successful in a very short time or Big Red just decided to let her fly, because the "camera" update for the Verizon Moto X is now pushing out.

We have the full change log right here, but the parts everyone seems interested in are the camera improvements. They turned a mediocre and unreliable performing camera into something acceptable, which has pleased most users. It's still not the quality you would see from the LG G2 for example, but it can turn out some good pictures in the right hands now. Other equally important things that come with the update are improvements to Touchless Control and a bug fix for Motorola Assist. 

You will eventually be prompted to update with no action of your own, but if you want to try to hurry things you can manually check in the device settings. Discuss the good and bad of this one in the forums.

Source: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Humble Bundle with Android 7 adds three more games to the list

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Additional DLC also included, all for a simple donation to charity

Building on the seventh iteration of its Humble Bundle with Android, three more games have just been added to the list for those who donate over the average. Adding to the four games offered for any donation — Ticket to Ride, Greed Corp, Incredipede and Anodyne — and two games that were available for an above-average donation — Worms Reloaded and The Bard's Tale — you now have access to three more:

  • Anomaly Korea
  • Broken Sword: Director’s Cut
  • Organ Trail: Director’s Cut

Humble Bundle is also including a Europe DLC for Ticket to Ride as an added bonus. You'll now lock up a total of nine games for your above-average donation to charity, which currently stands at $6.20. Humble Bundle has raised nearly $900,000 so far, and you could be a contributor as well by following the source link below.

Source: Humble Bundle

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4 years ago

'Supervised Users' feature coming to Chrome Beta channel

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Web-based control panel allows administration of site access and browsing history for 'supervised users'

Google has announced a new feature for Chrome, and it's part of the beta channel for users who want to try it this week. The "Supervised Users" option will be folded into ChromeOS, as well as the Chrome browser on Windows Mac and Linux. it does just what it says on the tin — allows user accounts that can be access restricted.

Supervised users will not be required to sign in with a Google account, and the administrator can grant or deny access to any site — or even allow browsing to only white-listed sites. The admin panel is web-based at chrome.com/manage, where rules can be set and browsing history can be peeked at by the authenticated administrator. The new tools and website will be part of the beta channel update later this week.

This is great news for parents of young children, as well as Kiosk applications. We'll be giving this one a look when it pushes out.

Source: Google

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