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4 years ago

"Have you ever used an iPhone?" "No, I have standards"

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Samsung's voice assistant on the Galaxy S4 burns rival Apple

S Voice is Samsung's take on a voice-based personal assistant. And by that we mean it's heavily inspired by Apple's Siri on the iPhone. So it's no surprise -- if a little amusing -- to see Samsung's app poking fun at its long-time rival. On the international Samsung Galaxy S4 (and some other Samsung phones -- we've had varying results), asking S Voice if it's ever used an iPhone prompts the response "No, I have standards." Ask it "Are you Siri?" and it's a little more coy -- "I like to think I am." But it stops short of any direct attacks -- ask it "Do you like Apple?" and it tells you it has no problems with anyone, but its loyalties lie with Samsung.

It's one of a few Easter eggs we've run into in S Voice. Back when it launched on the Galaxy S3 we put it to the "woodchuck test," which it passed with flying colors. If you've run into any cheeky behavior from S Voice, be sure to hit the comments and share them with the world.

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4 years ago

Spotify update brings filters and sorting to playlists and tracks

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New sorting methods for your tunes and playlists plus bug fixes make today's update a must-have

If you're a Spotify user there is an update available that you'll want to download. While the list of new features is short, as is often the case quality trumps quantity and today's update allows users to filter and sort their playlists and songs, making searching and categorizing much easier. The full list of changes:

  • New: Now you can filter and sort your playlists and tracks.
  • Fixed: When returning to your playlist view, you’ll always go back to the same position.
  • Fixed: No more crashing when faced with special character$ in usernames.
  • Fixed: When you next log in, Spotify will remember what you'd been listening to.
  • Fictitious: This app looks great in trousers.

Besides the new sorting capabilities, correctly remembering where you left off is a welcome fix, and looking good in trousers is always a bonus. If you're a current user, or want to check out Spotify to see if it satisfies your streaming music needs (there's a free 48 hour trial), hit the Google Play link above.

Thanks, David!

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4 years ago

Spring cleaning: Win a Nexus 4 wireless charging orb

Update: And this contest is closed. Thanks, everybody! Stay tuned for Wednesday's giveaway.

Up next in our "Get crap off Phil's Desk" content is the Nexus 4 wireless charger. This is the one that's about the size of a tennis ball, only it's black and charges a smartphone. This one is new and still in the box and completely free of dust and dog hair. (If ya'll want, I'll throw in a second charging orb, only this one might have that dust and dog hair stuff I mentioned.)

To enter, just leave a comment on this post and we'll get this charger to a good home.

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4 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S4 getting first software update too

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21-megabyte update now hitting AT&T-branded handsets, users report smoother performance

Following the T-Mobile update that landed this morning, AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S4 is also getting its first firmware upgrade. The over-the-air package weighs in at just over 21MB, and although there's no changelog provided with the update, GS4 owners over on the Android Central Forums are reporting faster performance and smoother animations on the new software version. If lag fixes are indeed present in this new firmware, then it'd be a welcome change -- in our review of the U.S. Galaxy S4 on Sprint, we noted occasional, frustrating jitteriness in certain animations.

To see if you're ready to update, head to Settings > More > About device > Software update. If you're not seeing anything there, you could try connecting your phone to a PC or Mac and using Samsung's Kies desktop software instead.

AT&T Galaxy S4 owners, be sure to let us know how you're getting on with this latest update down in the comments.

Source: Android Central Forums

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4 years ago

Viber launches desktop client, refreshes mobile app design

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Seamlessly continue conversations, calls and video chats from mobile to desktop

Popular cross-platform messaging and VOIP service Viber is introducing brand new desktop apps along with a complete refresh of its mobile apps today. First up are the desktop apps, which are now available for both Windows and Mac and give users the ability to continue all of their VIber conversations and activities just as they would on the phone. You can text and voice chat, send pictures and stickers, make video calls and even transfer audio calls between devices mid-call.

On the mobile side, Viber v3.0 refreshes the interface, and enables a new set of features to be in sync with what the desktop now offers. The mobile app now lets you send stickers, leave video messages and a couple of back-end improvements such as sound quality and language localization. If you haven't yet tried Viber you can grab the app from the Play Store link above, and the desktop versions from the link below.

More: Viber

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4 years ago

Images of super thin Huawei P6-U06 device leak out

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Just 6.2mm thick but still packing many of the latest specs of any high-end device

Huawei's latest ultra thin high-end device -- known as the P6-U06 for the moment -- may have just leaked out, and this time it is posing for the camera instead of just a few device renders. While it is hard to confirm that this is the exact device Huawei have teased in the past because the back is not shown, all signs point to this being the same 6.2mm thick phone packing a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 4.7-inch 720P display. That's a solid set of specs considering the limited space they have to work with.

The design feature of having a metal band around the perimeter also adds a little bit of evidence to this being a new P series device from Huawei, as it has used the same technique on other recent phones such as  the Ascend D2. It also seems to pull some design from the Ascend P2. The radio specs suggest a Chinese-only launch for this device, and we wouldn't be surprised if it never launched beyond that market either. Hit the break for a couple more pictures.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 review

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 brings features a-plenty and the beauty that is the S Pen to the small tablet form factor. But is the $399 price too much to justify?

The Galaxy Note 8 is Samsung's latest small form-factor tablet, and it checks in with a $399 price point. That's important, and we'll be referring back to the price several times during this review. Why? Because there are two great tablets at this size that the Note 8 is directly competing against -- the $200 Nexus 7 and the $330 iPad Mini.

Price aside, the Note 8 is one of the best tablets Samsung has offered. It's full of the same great features that we're used to seeing in the Galaxy Note line, and it's hardware is plenty fast enough to make the experience pretty good overall. And of course, there's the S Pen to consider. Stop thinking of it as a stylus, because it's deeply integrated into the software and brings things to the table a regular stylus never could.

Is that enough to justify the $399 price? To answer that, hit the break and see what we think of the Galaxy Note 8.

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4 years ago

As Google stock hits new highs, we ponder the ceiling

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Android, even indirectly, is but one tool in Google's money-making arsenal

On Monday Google stock (GOOG) closed above $861, marking a new all time high for the Mountain View search giant.  This news, of course, sparked a bunch of headlines talking about it. Most of the “stories” behind the headlines are lacking any substance whatsoever. “Google hit a new all time high.  It rallied by x% to close at $y, and the stock is now up over z% year to date.” That’s typical. Useless. Garbage. Fill-in-the-blank process stories.

So let’s talk a bit about Google. Google went public in the summer of 2004. I remember it well because, as an analyst in the financial community, the online auction style of IPO they forced upon Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse was very much unconventional. And that pretty much sums up how Google operates. It runs the show, and it’s not your average show. 

Google went public at $85 per share and had a massive run leading up to 2008, when the whole market collapsed as a result of bad mortgage portfolios (the whole collateralized debt obligation market, asset backed commercial paper, etc). So after peaking out around $700, the stock tanked, dropping briefly below $300. As the market recovered from the housing market problems, Google recovered, too. But not to where it once was. It had been bouncing between $500 and $600 for a couple of years. 

Wall Street had moved onto other exciting stories. Google was still growing, but not by super high double digits, or triple digits like before. Yet grow, it did. And collect cash it did.  And launch important new businesses like Android, it did.

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4 years ago

HTC One 'Ultrapixel' camera pitted against iPhone 5

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iMore compares HTC's Ultrapixel camera to the iPhone's 8MP rear shooter

Outside of the Android world, one of the HTC One's biggest competitors is Apple's iPhone 5, a device which has earned praise for its 8-megapixel camera and advanced optics. As such, our sister site iMore.com decided to put both cameras through their paces in a side-by-side comparison.

As you'll know if you've been following the phone's launch, the HTC One sports a 4-megapixel 'Ultrapixel' camera, with larger (2 micron) pixels on the sensor itself and f/2.0 aperture, not to mention optical image stabilization. On the iPhone 5, Apple takes a more traditional approach, with a large-ish 8-megapixel sensor, supported by a fancy sapphire crystal lens and f/2.4 aperture. So the iPhone wins on megapixels alone, but the HTC One would seem better equipped for low-light photography.

Here's what iMore's Ally Kazmucha had to say after putting both phones' cameras to the test in a variety of conditions --

Both cameras produced stellar images, yet excelled in different areas. The iPhone 5 does much better when it comes to handling color depth, tone, and saturation. The HTC One leaves the iPhone in the (noisy, noisy) dust when it comes to capturing low light, relatively stationary images.

Apple has been focusing on the iPhone camera for years now, and it's really paid off when it comes to everyday photography. Competitors like HTC, however, are really nailing areas like low light. Hopefully Apple follows their lead, and the lead of Nokia, and starts adding features like optical image stabilization (OIS) and f/2.0 apertures or wider.

For the full article, complete with a few dozen comparison shots, check out the full article over on iMore.

More: iPhone 5 versus HTC One: Camera shootout

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4 years ago

RunKeeper for Android updated with Pebble smartwatch support

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Latest app update allows workout tracking on Pebble

Good news for RunKeeper users also lucky enough to be in possession of a Pebble smartwatch -- the former has just been updated to take advantage of the latter. In its latest update, RunKeeper for Android has gained the ability to connect to Pebble, allowing users to track their workouts in real time.

The app still does all the heavy lifting, with the watch acting as a secondary display, so you'll still need to keep your smartphone on you during your workout. However, the ability to track your stats without reaching (possibly with sweaty hands) for your phone.

Unsurprisingly, with wearable devices set to become more widespread over the next year, RunKeeper says Pebble integration is "one of many integrations with hardware and fitness tracking devices in the coming months." 

To grab the latest version of RunKeeper, hit the Google Play link above.

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4 years ago

Using 'Multi-window' on the Samsung Galaxy S4

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Samsung's full-screen multi-tasking feature returns on the Galaxy S4. Here's where to find it and how to use.

A favorite feature of the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung's 'Multi-window' multitasking capability is included out of the box on the Galaxy S4. It's probably one of the coolest software tricks Samsung has come up with to date, but it's easily overlooked if you don't know it's there.

To use Multi-window, you'll first need to enable it in the quick settings area. Drag the notification bar down, hit the block icon in the top right corner and make sure "Multi-window" is lit up. From there, you can toggle the Multi-window bar on or off by long-pressing the back key. It's possible to move the bar around by long-pressing the rounded tab while it's open. (To move the tab up or down, simply long-press and drag up or down when the bar doesn't have focus.)

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4 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S4 gets first update, visual voicemail and ISIS improvements included

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First update for T-Mobile Galaxy S4 going out over the air and through Kies

The first update for T-Mobile US's Samsung Galaxy S4 is pushing out today over the air and through Samsung's Kies desktop software.

The new software version M919UVUAMDL is a minor update containing "improvements to the visual voicemail app" and "ISIS app improvements," according to T-Mo's support pages. (ISIS being the NFC-based mobile wallet app backed by many U.S. operators.)

There's always a chance some other bug fixes or improvements have been sneaked in behind the scenes, so if you're rocking a T-Mo GS4 then hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on after today's update.

Source: T-Mobile; via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia SP up for pre-order in the U.S.

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Sony's latest mid-ranger to sell​ for $489.99 unlocked

Hot on the heels of the Xperia Z, Sony's new mid-range offering, the Xperia SP, has also appeared for pre-order on the company's U.S.-based online store. The Xperia SP packs a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with Adreno 320 GPU, 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage and an 8-megapixel Exmor RS rear camera. On the front is a 720p Sony 'HD Reality Display.' Like its high-end siblings, the SP's internal storage is expandable via microSD card.

The Xperia SP also sports a unique aluminum-frames design and a large, illuminated transparent element under the screen.

Bizarrely, Sony's spec listing for the North American Xperia SP shows support for HSPA+ on 850, 900, 1900 and 2100MHz bands, as well as LTE bands I, II, IV and V. If those specs are accurate, they'd point to an incomplete set of frequencies for both AT&T and T-Mobile. On AT&T you'll get full HSPA+ coverage but no LTE; on T-Mo you're looking at LTE, but no 1700MHz HSPA+ support.

The unlocked U.S. Xperia SP variant (C5306) is due to begin shipping from May 20, priced at a not insubstantial $489.99.

Source: Sony Store; via: XperiaBlog

More: Hands-on with the Xperia SP

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4 years ago

From the forums: How are you getting on with the Galaxy S4?

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Top threads for first impressions of Samsung's new handset

Depending on where you live, you'll have been able to pick up Samsung's latest handset, the Galaxy S4, for up to two weeks now. As such, the Android Central forums are buzzing with discussion about what's sure to be one of the biggest-selling phones of the year. Whether you're just getting started with your S4, or you're looking to pick one up in the future, here's a selection of the top forum threads to check out --

More: Galaxy S4 forums

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4 years ago

Partnership to bring exclusive AOL portal to Verizon smart phone customers

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AOL and Verizon bringing a new Internet portal to Verizon customers' phones and tablets this summer

America OnLine has announced that a new partnership with Verizon Wireless will allow them to bring the complete AOL.com portal to Android, Windows, and BlackBerry smart phones and tablets. They say they will be the "exclusive provider of the VZW Home mobile web portal." We're not exactly sure what that means, but they go on to say:

Beginning this summer, existing and new Verizon Wireless customers will have the AOL portal bookmarked on their smart phones and tablets’ web browsers. The multi-device experience will feature the recently refreshed AOL homepage -- with breaking news, weather and maps -- as well as live streaming events and popular videos. Personalization features will allow users to customize news sources, categories and other tools to their needs.

So it appears that a bookmark will be added to the device's default browser, leading users to an AOL page that provides curated news and events for Verizon subscribers. We're pretty sure you'll just be able to delete the bookmark should you feel the need, so we can't rail on them too hard. Look for your new portal to the Internet this summer.

At least it's not Bing.

Source: Business Wire

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