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4 years ago

LG to expand Optimus G Pro availability worldwide


40 new countries around the world slated to to get LG's latest large handset

While the Optimus G Pro has been available since February in LG's home country of Korea, it has made a slow but steady march out to other countries around the world and is ready to reach a whole lot more in Q3. LG is announcing today that it plans to make the Optimus G Pro available in 40 countries throughout the quarter across Europe, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), Latin America and the Middle East. The expanded launch builds on the apparent success of the handset in its initial launch regions of Asia and North America, where the 5.5-inch 1080p handset has sold well.

While it may seem like old news to many of us who have seen it on store shelves for some time, the device's specs are right on par with all of the highest-end handsets out there today. With a Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, high-quality 1080p display and 13MP camera it will still be entirely relevant when it hits these new countries.

Source: LG

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4 years ago

AT&T announces 'AT&T Next' to offer customers yearly upgrades on payment plans


Upgrades every 12 months require return of your current device; no decrease in service charges for buying off-contract

Following in the footsteps of the competition AT&T has just unveiled what it calls "AT&T Next", a new way of financing and upgrading handsets. With Next, AT&T customers will have the ability to upgrade their handset with no money down every 12 months, assuming that they sign up from the beginning with a payment plan on their current device. The system is loosely similar to T-Mobile's current JUMP! and Equipment Installment Plans, but breaks down differently, and in some ways more simply.

When purchasing a device and signing up for service, you will now have the option to buy a phone via Next on an installment plan. The device will have no down payment, but you will pay the full, unsubsidized price over equal monthly payments for 20 months. After 12 completed payments you will have the option to trade in your (working, undamaged) device and receive a new one — again, with no money down — and have the remaining eight monthly payments on the original phone wiped out.

The monthly installments will run between $15 and $50, depending on the phone, and are a function of evenly dividing the full retail price of the phone by 20 months.

By way of example, AT&T says, a Samsung Galaxy S4 in Next will cost $32 a month on top of your monthly service plan. You'll be able to trade it in and upgrade after 12 payments, or pay it off in full after 20 months. That's based on the full $639 purchase price of a 16GB model.

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4 years ago

Facebook beta updated to remove legacy menu button, changelog remains the same


The button is gone, but the philosophy behind its existence up until now remains

Those of us who have hopped on the Facebook beta testers group have received a visually-important update to today which removes the legacy menu button. This marks the final disappearance of one of the most annoying parts of the Facebook app, which should not only free up visual space on the bottom of many HTC devices without a capacitive menu key but also fall closer to Google's Android design guidelines. Taking place of the legacy menu key are a full set of settings behind the slide-in left panel.

We're happy to see the legacy menu button go away, but this shouldn't be a complete standing ovation. Facebook has made serious improvements to its app in the recent weeks but still flies aimlessly around most of Google's other design guidelines in terms of using drawers, overflow menu buttons and most standardized design elements. Additionally, we're not entirely sure what other changes have been made in this beta to accommodate the lack of the menu button. Facebook has gotten rid of the visual reminder that its app development was based in the Gingerbread days, but we're not completely sure if the underlying code in the rest of the app still is.

Anyone that is currently signed up to be a beta tester can grab the update on their device now, and anyone waiting for the more stable update should see it soon once any potential bugs are squashed.

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4 years ago

From the Forums: How to build a Chrome web app on a Chromebook


Making your own web apps for Chrome can be a fun and useful skill to have

Our very own Jerry Hildenbrand is a big fan of Chrome OS, and as he has spent more time with his Chromebook he has learned a few things. One of those thing is how to make your own Chrome web apps from a Chromebook, where you can then use them... on a Chromebook. Being a good neckbeard as he is, Jerry has posted a fantastic tutorial on the process in our forums for all to see.

This isn't exactly for the faint of heart, but eager users willing to tinker with things in their Chromebook and write a little code can be up and running in no time. Jerry shows the process of making a web app for none other than the Android Central Forums (rightfully so), but the process can be applied to any website of your choice. And best of all, being in the forums means help on your own project is just a reply away.

We'll be showing off even more great in-depth tutorials in the forums in the coming weeks, but for now the willing Chromebook users among us can check out this Chrome web app tutorial below.

[How-To] Build a custom web app (launcher) for Chrome right on your Chromebook

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4 years ago

The new Google Play store design is now on the web, too


The same great design available on Android devices has made its way to the Google Play website.

That fresh, new card interface design that we've grown to love in the Google Play app has now made its way to the website. All the content is still there, they've just made it a bit easier to navigate and made it look a lot more modern and in-step with Android's new design language.

You can still rent and purchase videos, buy books and devices, subscribe to magazines, and even install Android apps right to your phone or tablet from the site. Now it's easier to discover content and navigate with big blocks that hold all the information you need. Differences include much bigger screenshots for Android apps and other content, and it's all done up in Google's webP format for speedy loading. There's even a menu sidebar on the left like we've seen in the new style of Google apps. It's a big change, but we're liking what we see. Check it out and see if you feel the same.

Source: Google Play; via +Google Play

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4 years ago

Uber update lets groups split fares simply


In its latest update, black car and taxi service Uber has made it dead simple for customers sharing a ride together to split up the fare evenly through their apps. Building on a previous update that brought the Google Wallet payment system to the service making it that much easier to pay your fare, the latest update makes it just as simple to split a ride between each person in the car. Now, once you've requested a ride, simply hit the "Fare Split" button next to your driver's name, and then invite friends that are riding with you to join in on the payment.

Other riders can be added through your contacts list or by their phone number, and when they confirm the math will all be handled by Uber at the end of the ride. Furthering the simplicity of paying for rides with the app, Uber will evenly split the fare between the confirmed riders and bill them individually. Grab a download of the latest version of the Uber app at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Verizon plans to unveil 'VZ Edge' upgrade plan as a new way to buy devices


Still no break in monthly service charges for buying a device off-contract

Newly leaked Verizon training documents indicate that the carrier is planning to release a new device purchasing plan called "VZ Edge". Building on the previously announced "Verizon Wireless Device Payment Plan" that lets customers buy a device off-contract with a year of monthly payments, VZ Edge will give customers an option to buy yet another device after paying off half of their current payments on a device. Presumably to fall in line with T-Mobile's new JUMP! upgrade plan, VZ Edge would offer customers "upgrades" every 6 months.

The waters are still murky on this one, however.

The current Device Payment Plan splits up the full off-contract price of a phone to 12 equal payments, with an additional $2.50 per month in financing charges. What isn't revealed by this current leak is how the devices will be handled when moving on to a new device mid-way through a payment plan on VZ Edge. Will the device be returned to Verizon for a credit? Will future payments be forgiven or tacked on-top of new payments from the next device?

Whatever way Verizon plans on laying out the payments of new devices, there is still no indication that the carrier will cut your monthly bill for not accepting a subsidy on your device. It's great to see more options emerging for buying devices off-contract, but Verizon's really double dipping (into your wallet) charging full price for a device and again for a subsidy that you're not taking advantage of.

Hit the break to see the promotional materials, which indicate that VZ Edge is ready for launch at the end of Q3.

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4 years ago

HTC reminds us that little things can pack quite a punch in this infographic


Sometimes, it's the little things that count.

HTC has posted this clever (and disturbing) infographic about little things that deliver more than you would think they can. While learning about Mantis Shrimp and Tyrion Lannister is always fun, we all know what they're getting at.

We've seen enough to know the HTC One Mini is real, and that it's coming. All that's left is for HTC to make it official. See the full (as in: GIANT) infographic after the break.

Source: HTC

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4 years ago

Investors show confidence in Google, but can Q2 earnings live up to it?


This week's earnings report will have a hard time living up to the all-time high stock price

Google's stock price is at an all-time high of $927 today, and with its Q2 2013 earnings hitting this week it makes us wonder if the earnings can ever live up to the supposed confidence in the search giant. Following a generally solid -- but far from stellar -- Q1 earnings report back in April, Google's stock dipped notably down to $765 only to shoot back up the next couple of days as things leveled off.

Since those Q1 2013 earnings Google's stock price has continued to rise by over 20-percent to sit where it is today, awaiting upcoming Q2 results this Thursday. Whether it is the old system of "buy on the rumor, sell on the news" or flushing out the amount of true confidence in the upcoming financial results, there's a good chance that we will see another small stock dip repeat.

What we need to keep in mind is that a stock dip on earnings doesn't mean that the company performed poorly or that things are bound to head downhill -- there's much more at play in the stock price than the simple earnings numbers. How earnings match predictions, their long-term implications and overall confidence in future company actions all have a huge impact on the final stock price.

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4 years ago

ZTE Geek announced again, this time with Tegra 4 and 1080p display


ZTE makes good on promise of first Tegra 4 device with new internals for previously announced phone

Rather than watch its flagships be leaked over and over again, ZTE has jumped out in front of speculation and announced the ZTE Geek, the world's first Tegra 4 phone. The name "Geek" may ring a bell, and that's because ZTE had previously announced this device back in April as an Intel CloverTrail+ processor device. Following leaks of a "ZTE U988S" device that looked very similar, ZTE spilled the beans today that the ZTE Geek will indeed be a Tegra 4 device, with a few other subtle changes from the original announcement.

This updated ZTE Geek, which is headed only to China Mobile for the moment, bumps up the 5-inch display's resolution to 1080p from 720p, the camera to 13MP from 8MP and will be the first phone to run a 1.8GHz quad-core Tegra 4 processor along with 2GB of RAM. Because this red Tegra 4-powered version will be exclusive to China Mobile for the time being, we're not sure about the fate of its original Intel-powered predecessor or the international availability of either handset.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Android app developers: If you're not watching the Making Apps Beautiful series videos, you should be


Google's DevBytes series is a great way to refine your development process and build better apps

Google's Android Developers have a great series they publish to YouTube, called DevBytes. The episodes are always full of great info for the people developing Android apps, but the latest -- the Making Apps Beautiful trilogy -- is a must watch.

You'll learn all there is to know about making your apps look modern in episode one, nailing typography and spacing in episode two, and episode three tackles what it takes to make your apps look good on a tablet while using the same code as the phone.

You want your apps to look good. We want your apps to look good. Most importantly, your customers want your apps to look good. Take a few minutes and watch the DevBytes shows and learn how to write better apps. Be sure to let us know what you're working on, too.

You can visit the link below to see all of the Android Developers videos, and the Making Apps Beautiful series videos are embedded after the break.

Android Developers on YouTube

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4 years ago

Sprint to utilize Clearwire 2.5GHz spectrum for LTE starting this week


New higher frequency to support current 800 and 1900MHz network

Sprint has finally completed its acquisition of Clearwire, and the carrier has announced today that it is quickly integrating the new spectrum to its expanding LTE offerings. Adding to its primarily 1900MHz-based network, Sprint has recently added 800MHz spectrum from its iDEN network shutdown and is now adding in new 2.5GHz spectrum from Clearwire to help out further. The high frequency spectrum isn't super useful for building penetration, but Sprint plans to use it in densely populated cities to support the use of 800MHz, which excels at building penetration.

As is usually the case when adding new frequencies to a network, the first devices to take advantage of the network are MiFi's and data sticks. Sprint is announcing that the Netgear Zing Mobile Hotspot, Netgear 341U USB Stick and MiFi 500 LTE will be available starting July 19th and will support all three frequencies.

Edit: While the devices that can utilize this new spectrum are available soon, the new spectrum itself isn't -- and won't be ready for a while. Apologies for any confusion.

Now that Sprint has nailed down a generally long-term frequency plan, we should start seeing other devices hitting the carrier with support for the additional bands in short order. The end result should be more consistent LTE service in more places for Sprint customers.

Source: Sprint; Via: FierceWireless

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4 years ago

Angry Birds Star Wars II coming September 19, along with a full line of merchandise


May the Pork be with you

Rovio continues to milk the Angry Birds franchise for every thing it's worth, and coming this September the latest -- Angry Birds Star Wars II -- will be launching on app stores worldwide. This time though, there's a new piece of merchandising that fans of the series, as well as Star Wars fans, are going to be excited about.

They're called TELEPODS, and they bring more to the table than your typical plushie or keychain figurine. As you can see in the video after the break, they are action figures of your favorite Angry Birds Star Wars characters, that can be imported right into the game. Place the base of the figure on your phone or tablets camera and they're instantly available as a playable character.

Also new is the ability to choose your faction, and you can play as part of the good or evil side -- or "Pork Side" as Rovio puts it. All in all, this latest looks to breathe new life into the most popular mobile gaming series of all time. We'll give it a good long look this coming September.

Source: Rovio

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4 years ago

What's in a name: The Droid RAZR Ultra


A Droid RAZR Ultra, by any other name, would still smell as sweet -- and sell like hotcakes

We don't particularly put a lot of faith into leaked CelleBrite screen shots, but this is one we had to pass along. Why? Because the Droid RAZR Ultra makes perfect sense.

The Droid RAZR line was a huge hit for Verizon and Motorola, and it would be a great way to use that success to push the next big thing from the two. We've all seen how branding can help a phone go from a success to a smash hit, and Verizon loves them some branding and labeling.

We won't be surprised if this is just one of those things and the RAZR name isn't attached to the Droid Ultra, but we also wouldn't be surprised if it were. If the leaks are to be believed, we'll know more soon.

Discuss in the Droid Ultra forums

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4 years ago

Gigahertz, megapixels, and millimeters - do specs matter at all? - Talk Mobile


There are three major elements to the smartphone experience. The hardware, the software, and the services. Software comprises the virtual; it is the operating system and the apps. Services is a bit broader, but it includes cloud connections like backup and app stores as well as the cellular connection provided by the carrier.

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