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4 years ago

AT&T launches 'Digital Life' security and home automation service in 15 markets

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Enhanced security and control over your home from anywhere

AT&T is stepping beyond serving internet, television and phone service today by launching its new home security and automation platform, which it calls "AT&T Digital Life". The service, which is available starting today in 15 U.S. markets, gives users control over many functions of their home from anywhere via mobile devices. Similarly to current security systems, Digital Life provides 24/7 monitoring and support for emergencies at your home. AT&T's new service goes beyond this though, giving you access to cameras in and around your home, locking and unlocking doors, operating the garage door, and more.

This is a bit more involved than just installing an app however, and requires both hardware installation at the home and a monthly service fee. The base cost for Digital Life will be $29.99 per month with an $149.99 installation fee, and includes several sensors and a battery backup system along with the aforementioned 24/7 security monitoring. From there, users can pay higher monthly fees if they would like to monitor and control more functions in the home such as cameras, controllers for appliances, automated door locks, and water control systems.

The services are launching today in 15 markets, which cover many major cities across the U.S.: Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Riverside, Calif., San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and select areas of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. AT&T expects 50 markets in total to be served by Digital Life by the end of 2013. You can take a look at the newly launched Digital Life app at the Play Store link above, and see more information about the service from the source link below.

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

Google: If you distribute your app through Google Play, you'll update it through Google Play

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Facebook had been confusing users with unsolicited 'beta' updates outside the app store

Google recently changed its Google Play Developer Program Policies to prevent applications from using Google's app store and then going off the reservation for updates. 

The change likely is in direct response to Facebook doing that very thing under the guise of a "beta" program. While there might be any malicious intent there, it is a bit specious, and confusing to consumers.

The new policy language reads thusly:

An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism.

That should still leave room for applications that are distributed through Google Play to simultaneously have beta tracks outside of Google's app store, so long as those trains stay on their proper tracks. 

Source: Google Play Developer Content Policy; via The Verge

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4 years ago

Samsung posts Q1 earnings, show $6,400,000,000 profit

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Sales are up, and we haven't even counted the Galaxy S4 yet -- look for Samsung to have another record quarter come July

I'm no financial wizard, but I know big numbers when i see them. And Samsung, as expected, is turning them out. They've just posted their Q1 2013 earnings, and the big news is that they have turned in net profits of 7.15 Trillion Won (that's 6.4 Billion US dollars), with total sales of 52.9 Trillion Won, up from 45.3 Trillion last quarter.

Phones make up a big portion of these numbers. About $358 Billion worth, though it's worth noting that not all the phones sold are Android-powered, or even smart phones. The Mobile unit's operating profit was 6.51 Trillion Won on the back of 68 million units. And they expect things to get even better in Q2, suggesting that Samsung will ship 78 Million handsets out of their mobile division. I have a feeling millions of them will be the Galaxy S4

You Wall Street types will want to check out the links below for the big picture, while the rest of us try to wrap our heads around these numbers. 

Source: Bloomberg. More: Samsung's earning s release (pdf)

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4 years ago

A quick look at the OPPO Find 5

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Amazingly high quality and design that you just don't get in your every day smart phone

Well look what we have here? It's the OPPO Find 5. As we get ready to put it through its paces for a full review, we wanted to give you a quick look at the new device.

Hardware

If the name wasn't any indication, we're looking at a 5-inch 1080P display here, and it is quite a substantial device all around. That display is surrounded by a couple different textures and colors of metal -- one to frame the glass of the screen, another as a complete rim around the device, and a final one as a solid back plate. The surround and back plate are the same material, which feels like a hefty metal with a light soft touch coating over it. Inside we're looking at a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, a 2500mAh battery, 13MP camera and 32GB of storage. To top it all off, the phone is pentaband, and compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile HSPA+.

The phone feels nice in the hand from a materials standpoint, but at first impression isn't the most ergonomic ever. 5-inches for a phone is pushing the boundaries of one-handed use, and the angular design combined with very smooth materials make this a bit of a slippery phone to hold onto. The Find 5 feels like its built like a tank, and feels both denser and heavier than comparably sized devices

Software

We still have a whole bunch of time to spend with the software, but we're looking at a generously customized version of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The software reminds us a lot of MIUI, with lots of reflections, borders around apps and a bright, friendly color scheme. Our first impression is that a lot of the customizations OPPO have done are very user friendly, and there's an overall consistent design language. Some of the features of the launcher are just a bit too overboard for our tastes though.

Stick around after the break to check out several close-ups of the hardware on the device, and be sure to keep an eye on the site for our upcoming complete review.

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4 years ago

Here's your chance to try out App.net for free; we've got 200 invitations to hand out. Update: here's 200 more!

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200 invitations won't last long, so if you're interested grab one quickly!

The good people at App.net have been trying something new by offering limited, invitation-only free tier accounts. It's a great way to try out the services App.net has to offer, like the Twitter-style social blogging, cloud storage, and messaging services before they decide to spend any money. Everyone likes to try before they buy, and it leads to more satisfied customers who know what to expect. It's a great idea, but invites aren't exactly the easiest thing to get.

We can alleviate that a little bit, as ADN has reached out to us and given us 200 invites to hand out. They know readers of sites like Android Central are the type who want to try out these sort of services, and can provide feedback to make everything as good as it can be. 200 invites won't last long, though, so if you're interested you'll need to jump on it.

Update: The first 200 went quickly, so here's 200 more from the fine folks at App.net!

Join App.net from AndroidCentral

If you use the invitation, you'll be automatically following Android Central, so you'll have some content in your stream while you look for others to follow and talk with. You don't have to keep following us though, there are no strings attached here.

This is a great way to try out the App.net service, so be sure to give it a look. We'll see you there!

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4 years ago

Vine coming to Android 'soon' say creators

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Vine creators to bring their social video app to Android "soon"

Vine is going to come to Google Play "soon", according the the folks who created the popular iOS app. Speaking to The Verge, there was no timeline or any further details given about the Android version, and we're not even going to guess.

If you're not familiar with Vine, think of it as YouTube for folks with very short attention spans. It captures six seconds of video, letting you stop and start as many times as you like, then assembling everything up ready to post to Twitter. There is no secret sauce or other magic at work -- just a six second video clip. Have a look at it here, where Phil breaks it down.

The app itself allows you to follow users and view their Vines, and there's an unofficial website to follow along for those who don't have the app at VinePeek. Warning -- this is exactly what you would expect to see when you give everyone an uncensored arena to post six second clips. If you find wieners and teenagers using foul language offensive, you have been warned.

When Vine does come to Android, we'll give it a good look. I'm calling in sick that day.

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4 years ago

Amazon posts Q1 2013 earnings: $16.07 billion in sales net just $82 million in income

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Net sales and operating cash flow up considerably; net and operating income still taking big hits

Everyone's favorite online retailer turned tablet maker and content aggregator, Amazon, has just posted its Q1 2013 financial report. There's a whole lot of numbers to jump into here, so let's get to the quick breakdown first:

  • Net sales of $16.07 billion, up a full 22-percent year-over-year
  • Operating income of $181 million, down 6-percent y-o-y
  • Net income of just $82 million, down sharply by 37-percent y-o-y
  • Operating cash flow (for the trailing 12 months) of $4.25 billion, up 39-percent y-o-y

This seems to be the trend for Amazon as of late, boasting high quarterly sales year after year, but coming up a bit short at the bottom line. Over $16 billion in sales is a massive number, but among other reasons currency fluctuations are to blame for the decreasing net income. Regardless of what the income numbers look like, Amazon isn't slowing down any time soon. During the release it took time to remind us of its current initiatives.

Amazon is continually boosting its Prime Instant Video catalog, bringing TV shows from A&E, FX, PBS, HGTV and many more. It also debuted pilots for 14 original series, which are coming out of Amazon Studios. Aside from touting increased availability of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" in several new countries, in typical Amazon fashion it didn't break out any sales or earnings for the devices. Rest assured that Amazon is likely selling a boatload of Kindles every quarter.

Source: Amazon (BusinessWire)

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4 years ago

Chrome Beta updated with better rendering and bug fixes

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Page rendering performance and frequently occurring crashes addressed in today's update

Chrome Beta has been updated in Google Play this afternoon, and along with the usual (and often cryptic) fixes and enhancements, this version was specifically updated with an "Improvement to page rendering performance."  Here's the full list of changes, because we know some of you are into that sort of thing.

  • 179250: Black screen during load on Huawei tablets
  • 224379: Cannot scroll images after zooming in
  • 226193: Blue line displayed below the omnibox
  • Improvement to page rendering performance
  • Fixes for some frequently occurring crashes

We don't post every time a beta version of an app gets updated, but we know more than a few folks are concerned with things like improvements to page rendering performance -- we know we are. You can update, or grab the beta from the Google Play link above.

Source: Google Chrome blog

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4 years ago

T-Mobile quickly gives in to WA Attorney General, agrees 'UNcarrier' is misleading to consumers

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Device financing terms to be clarified going forward; some customers can leave without penalty

T-Mobile has been making some big steps towards what it calls an "UNcarrier" strategy, which clarifies device pricing, ends phone contracts and gives customers more choice in the wireless industry. In trying to reinvent its strategy, however, T-Mobile has apparently ruffled some feathers at the Washington State Attorney General's office. Attorney General Bob Ferguson claims that T-Mobile's new plan structure is deceptive, leaves unfulfilled promises, and has "duped" consumers.

Ferguson specifically takes issue with the way T-Mobile now finances devices -- with a small down payment and monthly installments -- claiming that although the carrier claims there is no commitment to the service, customers will have to stay for 24 months or "face an unanticipated balloon payment for the phone equipment". Specifically, the AG had this to say:

“My office identified that T-Mobile was failing to disclose a critical component of their new plan to consumers, and we acted quickly to stop this practice and protect consumers across the country from harm.”

Ferguson has filed a court order, which has been signed and agreed upon by T-Mobile, that will force the carrier to clarify its terms of service and stop what Ferguson calls "deceptive advertising". Under the terms of the order, T-Mobile has created a document called the "an Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD)", better laying out the terms of the new Simple Choice plans. Inside, the carrier agrees not to:

  • Misrepresent consumers' obligations under its contracts, including those contracts that have not restrictions or limitations;  and
  • Fail to adequately disclose that customers who terminate their T-Mobile wireless service before their device is paid off will have to pay the balance due on the phone at the time of cancelation.

As part of the settlement, anyone who purchased service from T-mobile from March 26 to April 25 will be given an opportunity to leave the service agreement, with no penalty, and receive a full refund for the device and service provided they cite the terms of the new AOD.

Source: TmoNews; WA Attorney General

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4 years ago

iBomber: The popular game comes to Android

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Take a time machine back to 1943 to make bombing runs in the Pacific

A popular iOS game for years (yes, years) has finally made its way over to Android, and is packing many gameplay features that took two full game releases to hit the other platform. iBomber is a top-down plane bombing game set in the WWII era, with quality graphics and gameplay that won't blow you away but will certainly leave you satisfied. The game mechanics itself are simple to pick up, but are deceptively hard to master.

iBomber is a great game to spend some time on, so stick around after the break and learn a little more about the title before you give it a shot for yourself.

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4 years ago

LG Optimus G Pro with AT&T branding leaks out

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Familiar styling and minimalist branding essentially confirm the launch of this new device

Frequent and accurate device leaker @evleaks has just dropped this little gem on our hands -- the LG Optimus G Pro for AT&T. Just a few days before we're set to see what LG has to unveil at a press conference on May 1st, we are likely looking at one of the devices set to be unveiled. The hardware looks very similar to what we found in our review of the international version, complete with a home button LED, brushed silver camera pod and plastic back with textured design. The only difference here looks to be in terms of a small AT&T logo on the back, and the usual AT&T, NFC and 4G LTE logos up in the status bar of the phone.

If you need to refresh your memory on the merits of the Optimus G Pro, we've got a whole lot of content for you to take a look at. Be sure to take a look back at our review of the international device, a deeper look at the new "VR Panorama" photosphere feature, and of course check out our hands-on video below. Naturally, we'll be in New York to see for sure what LG has to unveil on May 1st as well.

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4 years ago

Sprint Photon Q Jelly Bean update starts its roll out today

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Jelly Bean and a long list of bug fixes highlight the OTA that begins today

Fans of the Motorola Photon Q have a reason to celebrate today, as Sprint and Motorola have released the Jelly Bean update for the slider. The 9.8.2Q-122_XT897_FFW-5 update brings the Photon Q to platform version Android 4.1, brings the Jelly Bean goodies like Project Butter and Google Now, and has a laundry list of fixes and patches. Here's that list:

  • Google OS upgrade to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Google Now
  • Voice search enhancements
  • Camera includes improved image quality and more intuitive panorama mode
  • Ability to zoom out to filmstrip mode in the Gallery
  • Keyboard includes improved dictionary and text to speech capabilities
  • Notification enhancements
  • Resolved Quick Office closing when reviewing a document
  • Improved GSM roaming connectivity for global use
  • Improved streaming of Sprint TV when location services are turned off
  • Enhanced security and ease of use on the face unlock feature
  • Removed Quick Views, Speed Dial, and MOTOPRINT applications
  • Improved accuracy and response of voice to text for texting, emailing, and web search

Like all OTA updates for Sprint phones, this one is rolling out in stages. It starts today, so be sure to check for the update in your settings if you've been waiting. If you've received the update, or just want to shoot the breeze while you wait, the forums is a great place to be.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Droid DNA clone HTC Deluxe coming to Cellcom

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The HTC Deluxe shows up again, this time in Wisconsin

Cellcom, the regional carrier from Wisconsin, has unveiled their next marquee device -- the HTC Deluxe. It's basically the HTC Droid DNA repackaged for the small network, which means it's a pretty damn good piece of equipment. If you need a refresher, that means it has a quad-core Snapdragon Pro CPU, a 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, and an LTE radio to keep the data flowing.

No word on when it will arrive, just that it's coming "soon" for $199 with a new contract or $570 if you buy it outright. If you're a Cellcom subscriber, this is definitely worth a second look. See the source link for more details.

Source: Cellcom. Thanks, Aaron!

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4 years ago

HTC Rezound finally gets global roaming, Jelly Bean nowhere to be seen

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Numerous fixes and improvements are also included in build 4.05.605.14 710RD

No luck this time around for HTC Rezound users hoping to receive Jelly Bean, but the update still has a pretty cool feature nonetheless. As promised -- although not exactly timely -- the Rezound is finally getting Global Roaming Support. This enables roaming on networks previously inaccessible to the phone, which covers over 205 countries.

A couple pre-installed apps have gotten updates, while a handful of others have been removed. Mobile Hotspot and Visual Voicemail get bug fixes, and improvements were made to Skype, Backup Assistant, and overall data connectivity. Users that have been experiencing freezes and random reboots should see system stability improve as well.

There is no word yet on when the update rollout will begin. If notifications start popping up, let our other Rezound owners know in the comments. For the complete change log, check out the source link below.

Source: Verizon

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4 years ago

Google adds tablet optimization tips to Google Play Developer Console

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Google proactively scanning apps uploaded to Google Play for tablet compatibility, provides feedback to developers in real-time

Google has added a new tablet optimization tips page to the developer console in order to provide feedback about apps and how they fare against the Tablet App Quality Checklist. When developers upload their apps, the Developer Console now runs a "series of checks to verify basic criteria" against the list, and displays the results in a new page. Android was built with application scalability in mind, meaning there is no need to build multiple apps designed for different device types, and instead use tools and assets designed for each under the umbrella of one app. It sounds great on paper, and works great when developers take the time to build out apps with this in mind.

Taking time is the key part. It's not easy to build mobile apps, especially ones that look good and take advantage of each device screen size and dimensions. Starting today, Google can help a little more by analyzing an app when it's uploaded, then placing some tips how it can be done "better" for tablets in the new optimization tips page.  

While this is one of those things most of us will never see, having it in place means better apps -- something we can all get behind.

Source: Google

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