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4 years ago

Poweramp Music Player gets a major widget update

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New album art options and additional languages also make it into the latest update

Poweramp is seeing some pretty significant changes in the widget department for version 2.0.9-b528. Homescreen widgets are now fully customizable: the background, text, icons, and buttons can now be completely configured to the user's liking. For anyone that doesn't want to spend the time tweaking every aspect of a widget, up to 15 premade styles are also available to choose from. Existing widgets don't have to be trashed in favor of a fresh one when something needs to be tweaked; tapping the top right of a widget reopens the configuration screen. Phones can now resize widgets that are 4x4 and 2x2, while tablets running Android 3.1+ can change the size of any widget.

Album art gets a 24-bit RGB option, which means higher color resolution (but uses twice the memory). For older Androids, a Notification Album Art option was also added. A new Disable Route Output Button setting and support for Arabic and Vietnamese round out this update.

Follow the Play Store link up top to view and download the latest version of Poweramp Music Player.

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4 years ago

Google Now hits iOS, still better on Android, though

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Android version is more fluid, and is still the best Google Now experience

There's a little excitement this morning in the iOS camp as the Google Search app has been updated, brining Google Now cards to the fray. You get the same information you get on Android, with the same card design -- but  it's a vastly different experience. 

On Android, you simply open Google Now, and everything's there. Sports scores. Weather. Directions. Birthdays. Whatever. It takes a couple more steps on iOS. They're well-animated steps, but it takes the "Wow!" factor out of the entire operation. You're going to get the information instead of it being right there, almost before you knew you needed it.

So, yeah. Google Now's now on iOS. But it's defnitely still better on Android.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S4 now available online

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$149.99 up-front, then $20 per month on 24-month not-a-contract

Following AT&T and Sprint's launch last week, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now available from T-Mobile USA. Right now the device is only available online -- brick-and-mortar stores won't begin stocking the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 until May 8.

T-Mo's GS4, which comes with 16GB of storage in "white frost" and "black mist" color options, will run you $149.99 up-front, followed by installments of $20 for the next two years. That's a total of $629.99, and under the carrier's new pricing arrangements, you'll need to add a service plan on top of that.

Naturally, the Galaxy S4 also includes support for T-Mo's burgeoning 4G LTE network in addition to its more widespread 42Mbps DC-HSDPA.

For more on the Galaxy S4, be sure to read our full review. And if you're ordering a T-Mobile Galaxy S4 today, shout out and make yourself known in the comments.

Source: T-Mobile

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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4 years ago

Samsung opens up design process in Galaxy S4 'design story' video

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Samsung designers tell how they brought the Galaxy ​S4 to life

In the latest installment of its "design story" series, Samsung cracks open the Galaxy S4 design process for all to see, revealing some of the thinking behind the looks and features of its new high-end smartphone. Narrated in sound bites from Samsung designers, the Galaxy S4 is simultaneously described as "not a radical difference, but more of an evolution" and "like nothing you've ever seen before." Samsung's "life companion" branding gets name-dropped more than a few times, too.

Externally, the Galaxy S4 is described as having "natural elements" at its heart, including the new reflective battery cover, said to resemble "precious stone glittering in the dark, or countless stars sparkling in the night sky." So no shortage of flowery language to describe Samsung's latest lump of plastic, glass and silicon.

Check out the video above, and if you've not yet read it, find out what we thought of the Galaxy S4's design in our full review.

Source: SamsungTomorrow on YouTube; More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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4 years ago

HTC One 1.29 update now live in the UK

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Stability fixes, as well as Zoe, camera, Beats Audio and location service tweaks in first OTA

After a limited roll-out in some European countries this past week, the update to software version 1.29.401.12 is now live for unlocked HTC One users in the UK. The update includes stability improvements and bug fixes, in addition to tweaks to the location service, HTC Zoe, camera "parameter tuning" and Beats Audio.

Upon first inspection we're not noticing any significant differences between this and the previous 1.28 firmware, but we'll take HTC at its word that it's been busy on improvements throughout the firmware. The update weighs in at a substantial 229MB, suggesting an abundance of new stuff has made its way into the code base.

The firmware is still based on Android 4.1.2, so it looks like the HTC One will have to wait some more for its 4.2 update.

To grab the new firmware on your unlocked UK HTC One, simply head to Settings > About > Software updates and hit the button. As always, carrier-branded devices may have to wait a little longer for their update to start rolling out. Be sure to hit the comments if you've spotted any significant changes in the new firmware.

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4 years ago

Samsung announces the Galaxy Tab 3, 7-inches of mid-range tablet

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Styled like the Galaxy Note 8.0, the Galaxy Tab 3 has more than a whiff of the mid-range about it

Samsung has pulled the wraps off their latest addition to the Galaxy Tab range with this, the new Galaxy Tab 3. This particular tablet is the 7-inch version, which will launch in a WiFi only flavor at the beginning of May. A 3G-enabled sibling will then follow in June. 

The styling follows on very much from the larger, Galaxy Note 8.0, continuing Samsung's new theme of adding their traditional three button setup to their tablet devices. Software wise we're looking at Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with the usual Touchwiz overlay, but on the hardware front things are distinctly mid-range. 

Powering the Galaxy Tab 3 is a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, on top of 8GB or 16GB of on board storage. This being Samsung though, storage is expandable by way of microSD card. The display is somewhat disappointing, with the Tab 3 sporting a resolution of just 1024x600. The cameras too are on the low end of things, with a 3MP rear shooter accompanied by a 1.3MP front facer. 

All this adds up to what should be a keenly priced tablet. Its predecessor has been retailing at Nexus 7 money for some time now. But, without a glaring jump in either hardware or software, it's difficult to think of a compelling reason to take the new Galaxy Tab 3 over the year old Nexus 7. Samsung brand power might come into play a little with this one. No pricing has been announced at this time and for the full press release, be sure to click on past the break. 

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4 years ago

LG Optimus GK brings things back down to a more manageable 5 inches

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Think Optimus G Pro, only smaller, and only in South Korea for now

LG tonight has announced the Optimus GK, basically taking the better parts of the LG Optimus G Pro and scaling things down into a slightly more manageable 5-inch form factor in line with its recently release national cousin, the Samsung Galaxy S4

The Optimus GK is a tad taller and thicker than the Galaxy S4 -- and as of this announcement it's only destined for South Korea. But we've been pleasantly surprised by the larger Optimus G Pro, and chances are its little brother will be equally well-designed. It's got a 5-inch IPS display at 1,080 by 1,920 resolution, a 3,100 mAh battery and is running Android 4.1.2 on a Snapdragon 600 platform. 

Plus, this one's got the same Photosphere feature -- called VR Panorama here -- as the Optimus G Pro (thanks, LG, but license that thing out already!) as well as the dual video recording that was first made available in an update for the Optimus G Pro and is also a feature on on the Galaxy S4. Yes, the back-and-forth feature battle is alive and well in the southern part of the Korean peninsula.

So if you're looking forward to AT&T's upcoming Optimus G Pro this week (we'll be at Wednesday's launch event in New York City, by the way) but don't want that oversized form factor, this might be the phone for you. Just hang tight and hope we get it here in the states.

Hit the link below for the full translation, and keep on keepin' on for the full specs.

LG Korea

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Tablet Z available for preorder, includes free cradle offer

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Preorder a 32GB version in white by May 24 to qualify for a free cradle

Sony has officially started taking preorders for its newest 10.1-inch Jelly Bean tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z. This incredibly thin, IR-sporting device was announced in late January, and shown off during the Mobile World Congress. It comes with a 'Full HD Reality Display' (1920x1200p WUXGA), 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB RAM, a 2MP camera up front, and an 8MP camera in the rear.

To help up-sell those considering the $499.99 16GB black model, Sony is throwing in a free cradle accessory to customers that preorder a $599.99 32GB model in white. The 32GB version comes in black as well, but for whatever reason the free accessory offer only applies to the white version. Preorders must be in by May 24 to be eligible for a free cradle.

Head over to the Sony Tablet preorder page to reserve yours. If you're still on the fence, check out our initial hands-on, as well as the subsequent hands-on of this gorgeous tablet.

Source: Sony

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4 years ago

Fieldrunners 2: Tower defense just doesn't get any better

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A tower defense sequel that is a worthy successor to the original

Tower defense is one of those genres that really translates well to a touch-only device, and one game that has made that extremely apparent is Fieldrunners. For coming up on two years now, it has been a staple in the Tower Defense category on Android and iOS alike. If you've been playing it from the start, there's no doubt you've been waiting for the sequel -- even more so as we saw it launch on iOS first.

The wait is now over, and whether you're an old pro or new to the entire genre, we think you're going to be impressed. Stick around with us after the break and see what Fieldrunners 2 is all about.

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: So many awesome people, so little time

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I'd say this behind-the-scenes picture just about sums up our week in New York City. Take a bunch of characters from Mobile Nations, toss them into a room with John P and Cali Lewis of GeekBeat.TV, and good things will happen. OK, a lot of craziness will happen, too. But also good things. 

While we haven't explicitly said what we were up to at #tm13 -- and don't worry, we'll take care of that fairly soon -- it also shouldn't be all that hard to figure out. It's been a few years since the last Smartphone Experts Round Robin (in fact, that was my first week on the job here in late 2009 after fleeing the newspaper business), and a follow-up was long overdue.

But a lot has changed since I first met the likes of Dieter Bohn, Kevin Michaluk, Rene Ritchie, Casey Chan, Matt Miller and Mickey Papillon and others for a week of smartphone nerdery in Orlando. (Lord, we looked so young.) Some of us have moved on to do other things. (I'm still proud to call each one of them a friend, though.) There's more parity among the platforms. Palm and webOS are no more. Nokia has ceded and switched (nearly exclusively) to Windows Phone. Microsoft's mobile OS has grown from awkward and clunky to attractive and graceful, if still underappreciated. Same could be same for Android, maybe. And BlackBerry is just beginning its second life. 

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4 years ago

LG launching Optimus F5 globally, starting with Europe

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France the first European country to have the device; South and Central America to follow

The LG Optimus F5, which is the first of the new F Series devices to be unveiled, is ready for a global debut following its unveiling at MWC in Barcelona. The device, which is targeted at a mid-range price point but still packing some high-end design and LTE, is set to be available in France starting April 29th with a whole host of countries in Central and South America as well as Asia to follow. The F5 runs a Qualcomm 1.2GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, a 540x960 (qHD) 4.3-inch display, 5MP/1.3MP cameras and runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. LG is also working hard to bring some of the interesting elements of the Optimus G down to these lower devices, with similar hardware design languages and UX improvements like QSlide and QTranslator.

Pricing and availability will of course vary depending on the market, but LG has high hopes for its new device lineups which cover several different price points and feature offerings. Between the G Series, LII Series and F Series, LG is hoping to cover more ground in every different kind of market. That being said, we still wouldn't expect these to hit the U.S. in their current form.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 now available from AT&T and Sprint

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One of the hottest phones of the year comes to two of the big four carriers in the states

We've all heard plenty about the Galaxy S4, and it seems like many of you have already made up your minds that the latest Galaxy device is indeed going to be your next smart phone purchase. Well today's the day if you're an AT&T or Sprint customer (or aspiring customer) to make it yours. Both carriers have the phone available in either "white frost" or "black mist", with 16GB of internal storage regardless of your color preference. Pricing is a touch different for each carrier, however.

If you are to order online, AT&T will be charging $199 on-contract for the S4, or $639 without a commitment. Sprint is looking like $149 on-contract if you're a new customer bringing your own number, or $249 for existing customers. Off-contract at Sprint is pegged at $599. As many are aware, there are often subtle pricing differences depending on the store you visit and the standing of your account, so it may be worth it to walk into a store today and find out. Pulled the trigger on one of these today? Many already have. Be sure to join the discussion in the forums.

More: AT&T; Sprint

Read our Galaxy S4 reviewSamsung Galaxy S4 Forums

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4 years ago

HTC posts factory image for HTC One Developer Edition

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A factory restore image is your way back to stock when you need it the most, so be sure to grab it and keep it handy

HTC has posted the 1.29.1540.3 factory restore images for the unlocked Developer Edition HTC One on the HTCdev site. Available in two flavors -- a zip file and a Windows RUU executable -- these files will allow anyone to restore their phone back to an out-of-the-box condition as long as there is access to the bootloader. That means no matter how bad you've screwed the system firmware up from monkeying around with it, you have an easy path back to stock settings. Then you can do it all over again. 

Posting two different versions is pretty nice, too. The Windows only RUU is simple to use for folks running Windows (just plug in the phone and run the program), but not everyone uses Windows. For those folks who use a Mac or Linux computer, the zip file and fastboot makes it easy to go back without building a VM with Windows to do so. 

Be aware that these images are only for the unlocked Developer Edition, so don't try to just flash them to your carrier model. Your favorite ROM developer will have something for you instead. It's recommended that everyone with one of the Developer Edition models have these files in a safe place "just in case", so grab the 980MB file at the link below.

Source: HTCdev

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: Scam School, Sixaxis Controller, House of the Dead Overkill and more!

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Your weekly look at the apps we're using from day to day

You probably know it by this point, but every week we take just a little time for each of the Android Central writers to show off one of the apps they've been using on their own device in the previous week. They may not be the most popular or well-known, but they work for us, and we think that merits letting the readers know about them as well.

Another great random assortment of apps awaits you after the break, so stick around and see how we did with our picks this week.

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4 years ago

HTC First review

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Is it just reference hardware for Facebook Home, or a true candidate for your next smartphone purchase?

There are few things in the mobile industry that have been constant over the last few years, but one that has is the rumor of a mythical "Facebook Phone." The idea of a phone that could only interact with people and services around Facebook didn't make a whole lot of sense to most people -- and apparently it didn't make much sense to Facebook itself either.  Because rather than a proper Facebook Phone, at a press conference on April 4th we were given this, the HTC First.

In many ways the First itself isn't supposed to be the big story. You wouldn't be alone for thinking it is simply a hardware platform to show off what seems to be Facebook's true end-game -- the Facebook Home software. There are far more users in the world that own one of the recent flagships from HTC or Samsung that will install Home from the Play Store than there are who will buy (or even be aware of) the First. This realization certainly calls into question why Facebook even bothered to have its own phone made in the first place.

So does Facebook actually care about the success of the First, or did it ask HTC to throw together a cheap device from the parts bin to show off Home at the press conference? After spending some time with the device, we think it may be a bit more substantial than that. There are a whole lot of intriguing aspects of the First that may just have you considering it as your next device.

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