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4 years ago

Samsung to launch TDD/FDD dual-mode LTE GS4, S4 Mini

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Samsung will launch new variants of its Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S4 Mini handsets with dual-mode TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE connectivity, the company has announced. While current LTE networks are primarily based upon FDD-LTE the standard, Samsung's new devices will be able to operate on these networks in addition to TDD-LTE networks expected to launch soon in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Samsung said its new dual-mode LTE Galaxy S4s will be the first handsets to market to support "seamless handover" between the two standards, with "continuous and seamless voice and data communications even as the devices switch between two different types of LTE networks." While Samsung hasn't specified which countries will be getting these new dual-mode handsets, smooth handover between the two standards will be particularly important in markets where both TDD and FDD are deployed.

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4 years ago

Microsoft Office now available on Android phones, for subscribers only

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You can now get Office on your Android phone — assuming you fit into a very specific group of people

Microsoft has today launched Office Mobile for Android phones, a new app for Office 365 subscribers that allows them to view and edit their Word, Excel, Powerpoint and other documents on their Android phones.

But you'll need to be an Office 365 subscriber to get in on the spreadsheet-based action — Microsoft isn't offering a free version of the app right now. Nor is it opening things up internationally — the app is U.S.-only at the moment, though The Verge writes that Microsoft plans to open up to other markets gradually. Finally, it's also a phone-only app at present — sadly there's no Android tablet support in this release.

Regardless, if you're living in (and paying for) the Microsoft Office ecosystem, the new app looks attractive enough, and offers the kind of quick, basic editing experience you'll likely want on a smartphone. Hit the Google Play link up above to grab the app.

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4 years ago

Google Catalogs app to be discontinued from August 15

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Support for the Google Catalogs mobile app for Android and iOS is to be withdrawn from Aug. 15, an in-app message is telling users.

Google Catalog, which launched with festive cheer around the 2011 holiday season, allowed users to browse through virtual catalogs from major brands. However 18 months later the app's installation count sits between the 50-100,000 install level, and it's this lack of user adoption that's likely behind Google's decision to mothball the app. The company has become more aggressive in pruning less-used services in recent months, after all.

Catalogs will continue to be available on the web at google.com/catalogs after the mid-August cut-off, Google says.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Vodafone UK offers unlimited calls and texts on PAYG

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1GB, unlimited calls and texts for £30, 2GB for £40​ on new PAYG plans

Vodafone UK has announced some new additions to its Pay As You Go line-up today. The new "Vodafone Red Freedom Freebee" gives customers unlimited calls and texts — much like the contract-based Vodafone Red service — with the option of 1GB of data for £30, or 2GB for £40. That's a large amount of money to be spending on a pre-paid service plan, but it also gets you access to a greater data allowance than some other carriers are offering, in addition to unmetered calls and texts.

Vodafone has also tweaked its other PAYG offerings, allowing customers to get unlimited texts on a £10 "Freebee" deal, as well as 1GB of data from a £20 bundle.

The operator's PAYG announcements follow the launch of new, competitive pre-paid prices from rival Three.

More: Vodafone

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4 years ago

Moto X may use iPhone 5-style nano-SIM

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At this point, many of the Moto X's hardware and software features have already been the subject of extensive online leaks. It's a little surprising, then, to see Motorola's upcoming handset hiding one more surprise — a nano-SIM tray. The photo on the right was snapped by GSM Insider in Hong Kong, and clearly shows a smaller SIM tray and matching nano-SIM card alongside the unreleased device. (That's as opposed to the slightly larger and more common micro-SIM standard.)

Currently the only mainstream smartphone to use the nano-SIM standard is Apple's iPhone 5. Earlier in the year ASUS' quirky Padfone Infinity became the first Android handset to rock a nano-SIM.

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4 years ago

Developer demos Phone-to-Chromecast video streaming

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Koushik Dutta shows streaming of video through the gallery app, but a public release isn't on the cards just yet

ClockworkMod developer Koushik Dutta has stepped in to plug one significant feature gap in Google's Chromecast dongle. At the moment Chromecast allows content to be streamed directly through the web, or from a mirrored browser window. But there's been no easy way to view locally-stored photos or video directly from an Android phone — until now. Koush's app, demoed above, uses an Android sharing intent to push local content from the phone to Chromecast.

Everything seems to work pretty smoothly in the video — a single push and the video is streamed to the TV, where it's presumably beamed over a local Wifi network. But Chromecast owners will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the app, as the terms of the beta SDK forbid devs from distributing any APKs. Nevertheless, it's a promising sign of what could be ahead in Chromecast development.

Source: +Koushik Dutta

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4 years ago

NVIDIA Shield official accessories

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Keep your NVIDIA Shield safe and give it a new look with these official accessories

To go along with our review of Shield, we're also taking a look at a couple of accessories being released by NVIDIA. Today we're looking at the official custom carrying case as well as the custom lid. The hard case is exactly what you think it would be, along with a nice surprise around back. It's custom molded to fit Shield perfectly, with moldings on the inside for the triggers as well as a small mesh pouch for smaller accessory on the top half. The inside is lined with a soft felt, and we've yet to notice it leaving any marks on Shield. You'll see some nicely done Shield branding on the front, with "NVIDIA green" piping accenting the bottom half of the case. It also has a wrist strap, which is removable if it's not really your thing. I haven't dropped it, but it's built well enough to take a decent impact. I wouldn't go throwing it across the room, though.

The custom lid is something that allows you to personalize Shield more to your liking. Initially they will be available in glossy black and carbon fiber. I don't have the carbon fiber here, but the glossy black is very well done. I've used it almost exclusively, and it's held up well, with no nicks or scratches to be seen anywhere. Whatever NVIDIA used on this particular lid needs to be shared with other manufacturers — it's that durable. They are held on magnetically, and try as I might, I can't make it not line up the way it's supposed to. Initially NVIDIA used a type of clip to hold them on, but switched to magnets based on feedback from industry experts. It works really well, and kudos to them for listening to the feedback and making appropriate changes.

You can pick up the custom carrying case for $39.99 and the lids for $19.99 each from your local Shield retailer. We have a hands-on video and a few pictures after the break.  

Have questions about Shield?  We'll have all the answers you want in our Ask Me Anything thread.

NVIDIA Shield review | NVIDIA Shield forums

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4 years ago

NVIDIA Shield review

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NVIDIA has long been a major player in the PC gaming industry, and that translates nicely to mobile with Shield

The NVIDIA Shield is not the first Android handheld designed for gaming. We’ve seen Archos try its hand at a small-form tablet with gaming controls, MOGA and others have created accessories that will transform your smartphone into a gaming unit, and using USB host with a game controller can make plenty of phones or tablets into a great on-the-go gaming rig. We'll try to forget about the Xperia Play. Sony sure did.

But NVIDIA has done something different. The Shield isn’t an Android device that also plays games pretty well, it’s a gaming machine first and foremost. Every design decision, every hardware part, every component was chosen and used to try and offer the best gaming experience you can get from an Android-powered device. You'll be able to pick up your own NVIDIA Shield starting today (July 31). Preorders are shipping, and units are available for $299 at NVIDIA.com or Newegg.com, or at a SHIELD Experience Center in select GameStop, Microcenter, Canada Computer locations in the U.S. and Canada. Now the real question is -- did NVIDIA succeed at making the Android game system everyone has been waiting for?

Editor’s note: This review was co-authored by both Jerry Hildenbrand and Kevin O’Quinn, Android Central’s resident NVIDIA “champ." Kevin is a known hardware junkie, and provided input about the hardware and specifications from his perspective.

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4 years ago

LG G2 to feature ringtones and sounds performed by the Vienna Boys' Choir

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LG has worked with the Vienna Boys' Choir to include nine ringtones and five notifications and alarms performed by the Vienna Boys' Choir on the upcoming LG G2. These are in addition to four musical "chimes" that are included, with Bach’s Air on the G String given as an example.

The Vienna Boys' Choir has been in existence for almost 500 years, and they currently perform in over 300 venues a year all over the world. Headquartered in Vienna, most of the members are from Austria, but the choir features boys from all over the world aged between 10 and 14.

Whether it’s classical compositions or fresh a cappella music, LG has always viewed beautiful music as a great complement to our beautiful devices. As the pinnacle of international choirs and the most famous, it’s fitting that the heavenly music of the Vienna Boys’ Choir is featured on LG G2. — LG CEO Dr. Jong-seok Park

We'll be able to hear all the beautiful music and more when we have a look at the G2 in New York next month. 

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4 years ago

Google releases new Photosphere tutorial video

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Googler chimes in in our forums with tips to improve your Photo Spheres.

We're slowly seeing more and more emphasis being put on Photo Spheres, and Google is offering a few tips with a new tutorial video. Between software improvements for taking Photo Spheres in Android 4.3 and new ways to upload and share them on Google Maps, you want to be able to take the best 360-degree views possible. The main tips may seem counterintuitive, but Google seems to have worked out a system here:

  • Hold the phone close to your body
  • Keep the phone in portrait orientation
  • Make full rotations holding the phone at each angle until a full 360 is achieved

ThatAdamGuy, a Googler working on Photo Sphere has also chimed in in our forums to offer a few tips, mirroring many of the things pointed out in the video. He says that Google is working to create more documentation for Photo Spheres, which should help users get a better hold on the technique for creating great images. 

If you're interested in working on your Photo Sphere skills or have a question about the topic, hit up the forums below to join in on the discussion.

More: Photo Sphere tips from the AC forums

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4 years ago

T-Mobile expects 2x10MHz LTE in 90% of top 25 markets by year's end

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Faster speeds and better bandwidth allocation coming to the nation's largest markets.

With its LTE network deployment in full swing, T-Mobile is hoping to step things up in the most crucial top markets by deploying more spectrum to the new network. According to a statement given to Light Reading, T-Mobile said that "Nationwide, we plan to deploy 10+10 MHz of LTE in 90 percent of the top 25 markets by the end of the year."

Although the network is currently live in 116 markets, T-Mobile is primarily using a 2x5MHz deployment, which offers less bandwidth and potential to handle a large number of customers on each tower. Testing of the new 2x10MHz network is currently ongoing in New York City, where network engineers have been dropping the HSPA+ network from 42 to 21mbps in order to use those resources for LTE.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z Ultra confirmed for Sept. 12 release

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Soon to be available in black and white for £599.98 inc VAT

Update: We spoke to the folks at Negri Electronics about the Xperia Z Ultra, and they have models in purple and white, starting at $799 USD — and they are in stock right now. If you're interested on 6.44-inches of unlocked Sony magic, hit them up right here

Unlocked Mobiles has put up their pre-order page for the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, with launch details very to close to what we already expected. Sony's latest phone, packing a 6.44-inch Triluminos display and a Snapdragon 800 processor with Android 4.2, will be available September 12. Pricing comes in a little lower than previously thought, at £599.98 inc VAT and £499.98 ex VAT.

Following the official announcement of this monstrous phone, the official specifications were released for those interested. To get an up close and personal look at the new addition of the Xperia family, be sure to see our hands-on video.

Source: Unlocked Mobile

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4 years ago

Galaxy S4 MoDaCo Switch Indiegogo campaign quickly reaches its fundraising goal

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Over £1,000 raised on Indiegogo with 17 campaign days still remaining

After initially being announced only for the HTC One, an Indiegogo fundraising campaign was started to bring support for the MoDaCo Switch to the Samsung Galaxy S4. The MoDaCo Switch will enable one set of user data and apps to be shared by two different versions of the Android operating system: the Samsung TouchWiz version of Jelly Bean, and the "Google Edition" version of Android Jelly Bean. This allows one phone to switch back and forth between software versions, making changes to one side (like installing apps) that are also reflected on the other.

A goal of £1,000 was set on Indiegogo to bring the Switch to the Samsung Galaxy S4, which was exceeded with over two weeks still left in the campaign. The following update was given in response to the donators' support:

Thanks to everyone who has pledged so far, you're all awesome and it's fantastic we've hit the target already. I'm not setting stretch goals per se, but all subsequent donations help get us towards the ultimate goal of making Switch available for all ROM developers to use and thereby all devices. Switch is for you - Android fans. :-)

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4 years ago

Watch Lollapalooza 2013 as it streams live on your Chromecast

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Experience all the sights and sounds direct from Grant Park through the magic of YouTube

If you've got your hands on Google's newest gadget, the $35 Chromecast, this weekend you'll have a great way to put it to the test. Lollapalooza 2013 will begin streaming Friday, August 2 and carry through until Sunday August 4 on YouTube. Featured bands include Nine Inch Nails, Mumford and Sons,  Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers, Crystal Castles, Postal Service and more. The show will be streamed live direct from Grant Park in beautiful downtown Chicago. If you can't be there to enjoy the sights and sounds, the live stream is a good substitute. And the food is probably better at home, anyway.

Of course, you can watch the show on any Android device if you've not picked up a Chromecast, but this will be a good way for everyone who did to really put it to the test. You can find all the details at the source link below, as well as a teaser video after the break.

Source: Lollapalooza

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4 years ago

Contribute your Photospheres to Google Maps with new 'Views' page

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New web tool makes it fun to browse and simple to upload your own Photo Spheres.

Google is making both submitting and viewing Photospheres on Google Maps a little more intuitive and beautiful today with the launch "Google Maps Views". As an upgrade over what Google offered previously for Photo Sphere uploads, users can now submit and view them from the web as well as on the phone. The new Google Maps Views interface on the desktop really leans towards exploring and viewing user-submitted Photo Spheres, with a large picture viewer of popular uploads and a map browser with pins to see shots from around the world. 

Submissions on the web are easy as well. Just hit the blue camera icon in the top right of the screen by your Google login, and you can browse through your Google+ auto upload folder to post Photo Spheres you've taken — even if they haven't been shared publicly yet.

Together with the new improvements to Photo Sphere capture in Android 4.3 and new tools for you to upload Photo Spheres even when they're not taken by an Android device, browsing Google Maps is going to get a whole lot more interesting going forward.

Source: Google Lat Long Blog; Google Maps Views

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