4 years ago

It's not just you — Google Wallet seeing issues


You're not alone, folks. Google Wallet appears to be struggling this afternoon. Time to reach for that good ol' standby in your back pocket. Google's status board is still green, but keep an eye on it.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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4 years ago

12 Days of Christmas giveaway day ten: Win a Galaxy Note 3 from AC and Sprint

On the tenth day of Christmas AC and Sprint gave to me ... A Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The good people at Sprint have partnered with us to do something awesome for the holidays, and we're giving away a great Samsung phone or tablet every day for the next 12 days.

We've got a pile of great stuff, including the Galaxy Tab 3, the Note 3, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 mini. Winning one is easy, but you'll need to follow the rules.

  • Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win today's prize. Only one comment. 
  • We'll close the comments after 24 hours and pick a winner at random. 
  • Make sure the contact details you have entered when you signed up at AC are good, because that is how I will get in touch with you. 

Today's prize is a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It's the best big phone you can buy, so winning one would be sweet, right? Don't miss out on this one.

The 12 days of Christmas giveaway is brought to you by Sprint, and their truly unlimited plans.

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4 years ago

Cast ye olde yule log this Christmas


It's just not the Christmas season without streaming a roaring fire on the telly. Or, more specifically, using Chromecast! And the Chrome YouTube channel has put together a sweet playlist of fireplaces, burning wood, and Nerdist lasers. 

Yes, lasers. Enjoy. Cast all the things.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 arrives on China Mobile with a few hardware differences


Build differences, 32GB internal storage and TD-LTE support for Chinese variant

Sony's latest Android flagship, the Xperia Z1, has today landed on China's largest carrier, the state-owned China Mobile. The Chinese Z1 looks much the same as its international cousin — from a distance, at least — and sports a similar spec sheet to its global counterpart. There's a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch Triuminos 1080p display, 3000mAh battery and 20.7-megapixel rear camera. 

But there are some key differences to be found the China Mobile Xperia Z1, which carries the model number L39t. There's 32GB of built-in storage, versus 16GB on the global version. What's more, the frame around the outside of the device is reportedly plastic like the Xperia Z and Z Ultra, not metal as on the global Z1. The position of the headphone jack is more centralized, and the noise-canceling speaker is now found behind a small hole in the glass back. In fact, the Chinese model is a dead ringer for the alleged T-Mobile U.S. version that leaked out a couple of months back.

The new Xperia Z1 variant also supports TD-LTE bands used by China Mobile, as well as TD-SCDMA and GSM.

The Chinese Xperia Z1 is running software based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean; presumably an update to 4.3 will follow at some point given that version's recent arrival on international Z1 devices. In any case, the new and slightly different Sony Xperia Z1 is slated launch on China Mobile for 4,499 yuan ($724) in black and purple flavors around the end of the month.

Source: XperiaBlog, ePrice

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4 years ago

Redbox Instant arrives on the Amazon Appstore for Kindle Fires


App only compatible with Kindle Fire tablets

Coming up on exactly one year after its release on Google Play, Verizon's Redbox Instant streaming app is now available for the Kindle Fire. If you're not quite familiar with Redbox Instant, it falls in line with many other video on-demand offerings, with thousands of movies available for instant streaming and download on your device. Further, the app doubles as a way to reserve movies at Redbox kiosks, which can fill in the gaps left by streaming.

This initial release supports just Kindle Fire devices, including all models except for the very first Fire. Second-generation Kindle Fire, Fire HD and current HDX models are all compatible. You can snag the app for free from the Amazon Appstore at the link below.

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4 years ago

Puzzle Retreat for Android gets new levels before the competition


Puzzle games are a great fit for mobile devices. The levels tend to be nice and short, and touch screen controls can easily keep up with the demands of the genre.

One of the more clever non-physics puzzle games I’ve played is Puzzle Retreat from the Voxel Agents. Last week, the Android version of the game received a new batch of levels before the iOS or Windows Phone versions. The new “Promenade” levels aren’t free, but the game itself is. And if you like a mental challenge, you’ll definitely want to try this one out.

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4 years ago

HTC CFO to take over global sales duties


HTC Chief Financial Officer Chailin Chang will take over as head of global sales in addition to his current responsibilities, reports Bloomberg. Chang takes over global sales duties from HTC America President Jason Mackenzie, who has occupied the role since late 2012, having managed both global sales and marketing before that.

The move is one of many HTC executive switches in the past year, which has seen several high-level job changes and departures at the Taiwanese smartphone maker amid falling revenue. HTC recently posted the first quarterly operating loss in its history, and risks a second quarter of losses if it misses its Q4 targets by even a small amount.

This latest change of responsibilities also brings a key role back to the company's Taipei HQ, a theme of some of HTC's earlier restructuring.

Source: Bloomberg

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4 years ago

Glass Hunt brings Duck Hunt-style shooting to Google Glass


"What are you doing," my wife asked me. Not an uncommon question around here, especially if I've got Google Glass on. The answers usually aren't all that common, either, and today's got her good. "I'm shooting footballs. Or potatoes. Or something. Definitely not ducks."

I was playing Glass Hunt, a little Glassware game from Derek Johnson and Jason Malashock. Little veggie burgers (or something) fly through the air, and you turn your head to line 'em up and take 'em out.

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4 years ago

More HTC Android 4.3 updates landing this week


4.3 rolling out now for HTC One Mini; Verizon HTC One OTA due this week; international One Max also getting bugfix update

More Android 4.3 updates are arriving for certain HTC One series handsets this week. First up, the international HTC One Mini is getting an over-the-air update to version 2.12.401.1, based on Android 4.3 and HTC Sense 5.5, which brings it in line with the European HTC One. The update includes all the features we've previously seen Sense 5.5 updates for the One and One Max, including a re-vamped BlinkFeed and additional gallery and video highlight features.

Next is the Verizon HTC One, which had its Android 4.3 update delayed around a month and a half ago. According to a tweet by Mo Versi, HTC's Executive Director of Product Management, Verizon's M7 should be getting its Android 4.3 OTA this week after the update received technical approval from the carrier. It's unclear whether this update will be based on Sense 5.5 or the older Sense 5.0, however.

And finally the international version of the HTC One Max is getting a selection of bug fixes in an update now heading out to European handsets. Version 1.54.401.1 — still based on Android 4.3 — includes fixes for touch responsiveness, SIM card detection, Wifi connectivity and general system stability. In addition, the update resolves issues when posting HTC Shares to Facebook, and improves performance for the battery-toting HTC Power Flip Case.

Next up is Android 4.4 KitKat, which is already rolling out to unlocked and developer edition HTC Ones in the U.S., and due to land internationally by the end of January.

Source: XDA; @moversi; Thanks, Shen!

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4 years ago

Sprint announces 70 new LTE locations


Sprint this morning announced some 70 new LTE locations, bringing its total to some 300 nationwide. 

We've got the full list of additions after the break.

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4 years ago

'World's cheapest tablet' arrives in the UK, priced £30


The race to the bottom of the Android tablet market continues with the launch of the UbiSlate 7Ci in the UK, priced at just £29.99. Originally part of a program run by the Indian government to bring cheap tablets to educational establishments, the UbiSlate is, according to its manufacturer, the "world's cheapest tablet."

So what do you get for your thirty quid? Well, the spec page lists a 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU, 512MB of RAM, a WVGA (800x480) 7-inch display and 4GB internal storage expandable via microSD. On the software side, the company claims its tablet runs Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, though the launcher and UI on its product render appears to be from version 2.3, Gingerbread.

The UbiSlate 7Ci is just one of many super-low-cost tablets to arrive on the UK market in recent months. Tesco launched its Hudl tablet for £119 in September, followed shortly after by even cheaper offerings from Argos, Carphone Warehouse and even discount supermarket Aldi.

With the holidays looming, the temptation to pick up such a cheap Android tablet may be strong. But as we always point out, when you pay such a small amount for a tablet you're likely to get exactly what you pay for.

Source: UbiSlate; via: The Guardian

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Core Advance brings new accessibility features


New features for disabled and visually impaired users in latest Samsung mid-ranger

Samsung has today announced a new mid-range smartphone, the Galaxy Core Advance. With a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch WVGA display, a 2,000mAh battery and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean running the show, the Galaxy Core Advance doesn't stand out much in terms of specs. But Samsung is highlighting a range of new accessibility options on this device, designed to make it easier to use for disabled users and those with visual impairments.

A new optical scan feature uses the camera to recognize text, and reads it aloud. A new light-sensing feature can detect the direction and brightness of light. And an instant voice recorder app allows users to make quick spoken notes. "Screen curtain" allows the device to be operated with a black screen, "to ensure privacy and save battery life." A voice-guided camera app can also provide audio feedback on the picture being taken, for example giving the number of faces detected in the image.

The Galaxy Core Advance also sports a soft-touch plastic rear, much like the black Galaxy Note 3, in place of the glossy plastic more commonly found on Samsung smartphones. And there's a Galaxy S4 Active-style physical button setup on the front of the device, presumably to allow users to more easily feel each button before pressing.

Samsung says Galaxy Core Advance will be made available in "deep blue" and "pearl white" color options early in 2014.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra Android 4.3 updates rolling out


Performance tweaks and camera improvements for Z Ultra among changes in latest Sony firmware

Sony had previously promised that the Android 4.3 rollout for certain Xperia phones would begin this month, and now the first two devices on the list are being updated. Android 4.3 for the Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra has started rolling out today, bringing an update from 4.2.2 and some Sony software improvements.

Among the changes are enhanced performance and updates to Sony's suite of built-in apps, such as Messaging, My Xperia, Smart Connect, Small apps, Track ID, Sony Select and the media apps, including Walkman, Album and Movies. As of this release the Xperia Z Ultra also gets access to Sony's "Smart Social Camera" feature from the Z1, which lets the rear camera use Sony's downloadable camera apps. The new firmware also supports downloadable themes through the Xperia Themes system, a feature Sony says it'll expand upon in the future.

Update: Xperiablog also reports that the Z1 camera issues for bootloader-unlocked phones has also been fixed.

The update should be available now for some Z1 and Z Ultra devices, though Sony points out that as with all updates it'll take time to roll out to all regions and carriers. (We're not yet seeing anything on our unlocked UK Z1, for what it's worth.) If you're updating your Xperia Z1 or Z Ultra today, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

Source: Sony Mobile blog

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4 years ago

Google Play edition Z Ultra software bug prevents uninstalling applications


Critical software flaw restarts UI when trying to remove a user-installed application

Update: These issues are fixed in the Android 4.4.2 update for the GPe Z Ultra, which is rolling out to devices now.

Original story: A second ugly software bug has reared its head in the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition. Applications installed from Google Play can't be uninstalled — the process instead causes the entire phone UI to restart. This is the second serious bug found in the software on the Z Ultra, the first being no way to open the "Security" section of the device settings, as found by JR Raphael at Computerworld

Both bugs are more than mere inconvenience to the user, and present security as well as usability concerns. This latest bug affects all user-installed apps, and is present regardless of network state. We were unable to test side loaded applications, as access to side loading is currently blocked because we can't get into the security settings.

We can't be 100 percent certain we are running the final consumer build of the operating system, though we have questions out to Google and Sony to get the definitive answer. I've been talking with a few other early adopters about the issue and we've found it to be present on all devices so far. The device is currently available from Google Play for purchase.

We're fairly certain Sony will push an update to fix these issues in short order, but if you've already received your Z Ultra, or it's on the way now, it looks like you'll have some issues to deal with. 

More in our Z Ultra Google Play edition forums.

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4 years ago

LG announces 5.5-inch GX, moves back to hardware navigation buttons


VoLTE and new software features highlight a refreshed Optimus G Pro

LG has just put out information on its latest handset for the Korean market, the LG GX. This phone seems to be more of a lateral move from the LG Optimus G Pro, highlighting some new network and software features inside of a slightly redesigned case. Announced on the LG U+ network, the LG GX supports new LTE bands and technology as well as VoLTE (Voice over LTE), something that's becoming more standard in the Korean market.

Beyond the networking, LG is talking up the new software features available. The first is "Smart Day," which shows more glanceable information on the lock screen than on previous LG devices. Next, you have "Media Time," a quick way to access media directly from the lock screen, as well as launch automatically when plugging in headphones.

Further, you have new automatic car dock mode, including a new navigation interface and voice controls while driving. When you're back at home, the LG GX can link up with your LG TV to show calls, texts and other information on your TV screen, even when the phone isn't with you.

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