4 years ago

'Waterproof' Kyocera Hydro Elite headed to Verizon Aug. 29


IPX5 and IPX7 certifications make the Hydro Elite a tough customer

A new "waterproof" phone is headed to Big Red this week — the Keyocera Hydro Elite. Closely resembling its counterpart on Sprint, the Hydro Edge, the Hydro Elite will feature "protection from blowing rain and immersion in up to one meter of water (3.28-feet) for as long as 30 minutes"

Let's be clear here. The Hydro Elite's main selling point will be the IPX5 certification for low-pressure water spray and the IPX7 certification for water immersion. This means that the phone will withstand "water spray projected at all angles through a half-inch (6.3 millimeters) nozzle at a flow rate of 3.3 gallons (12.5 liters) per minute at a gage pressure of 30kN/m2 for 3 minutes from 3.28 feet (1 meter)." And this is a big selling point for many, who aren't concerned with having the latest and greatest specs, or playing console-quality games on their smartphone. The rest of the supplied specifications — wireless charging, NFC, 2100mAh battery, 8MP (rear) and 1.3MP (front) cameras and expandable storage — are pretty standard for all phones now.

The Hydro Elite will be available online on August 29, for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. See the source link for the full details.

Source: Verizon

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4 years ago

Why do carriers suck so much? - Talk Mobile


Cellular carriers are strange entities. They offer devices that in the grand scheme aren't that expensive for what they are, but yet have customers conditioned to expect them to be much cheaper and not think about the long-term cost. They built empires around multi-year contracts, but in an age where mobile technology was advancing at a rate that was positively lethargic compared to today.

4 years ago

Galaxy Note 3 display leak shows reduced bezel, 5.68-inch size



Also looks like a Galaxy Note

As we approach Galaxy Note 3 launch day, a new leak has given us our closest look yet at the phone — or at least part of it.

ETradeSupply managed to track down what it says is the display assembly from the upcoming handset, which they say has a 5.68-inch diagonal measurement — in line with earlier rumors. Besides the obvious similarities to both the Galaxy S4 and Note 2, the site spotted slimmed-down horizontal bezels — just 2.2mm, it says — suggesting that the Note 3 might not be much bigger than its predecessor.

The leak also appears to confirms the traditional Samsung three-button layout, along with the use of a brushed metal-like texture on the front of the darker model.

Stick with us in the run up to Samsung Unpacked 2013 Ep. 2, which kicks off next Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Source: ETradeSupply

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4 years ago

Why you might want to wait to buy a Moto X ...


Maybe now's not the best time to buy a Moto X, actually. Oh, don't get us wrong, it's still a damn good phone — good enough to make our list of the best Android phones as of August 2013 out of the gate. But Moto X also introduces a new era of custom-made Android smartphones. And that brings with us a few reasons why you might just want to hold off for a bit.

So here are a good seven nuggets for why one of the best Android phones available today might not be the best Android phone for you right now.  

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4 years ago

Galaxy Note 3 to feature 4K video, high-quality audio, Korean press reports


Advanced audio and video capabilities purportedly heading to new Note device

With just over a week to go until Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 unveiling at its Unpacked 2013 Ep. 2 event in Berlin, we're starting to hear a little more about what might be lurking inside the company's next big-screen, high-end smartphone. Today the Korea Economic Daily, citing "industry insider sources, reports that the Note 3 will feature a 4K (3840x2160) video recording mode, as well as higher-definition 24-bit/192KHz music playback.

The outlet describes Samsung's 4K smartphone camera as a "world's first," however we suspect Sony might have something to say about that — it's expected to show its own 4K cameraphone, the Xperia Z1, at an event hours before Samsung's. Similarly, LG's already announced its G2 smartphone with 24-bit/192KHz playback, a step up from the 16-bit playback supported by current phones.

In any case, it's unlikely average users will see much benefit from 4K footage, as "Ultra HD" TVs remain expensive, and even high-end tablets can't display anywhere near that number of pixels. Regardless, there's no denying it's an impressive technical feat to cram this kind of video camera into device that fits into your pocket.

We'll be live from Berlin next week to bring you full coverage of Samsung's Unpacked event and the Galaxy Note 3 launch — as well as the rest of the IFA 2013 show.

Source: Korea Economic Daily; via: SamMobile, Engadget

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4 years ago

Samsung steps up BBM marketing push in Africa


A few weeks ago Samsung confirmed that it'll be offering BlackBerry Messenger through its Samsung Apps portal, with particular focus being given to the African market. Now our pals over on CrackBerry have unearthed some of the manufacturer's advertising efforts for BBM on Galaxy devices, which also seem to be specific to that region.

CrackBerry forums users report that ads for BBM on Galaxy phones has appeared in football matches on South African TV. And it also seems Samsung Ghana has been promoting the upcoming BBM launch through YouTube and Facebook.

So far we've not seen any similar push in Europe or the U.S., but it's possible we might see more around the time BBM for Android launches. The messaging software is set to go multi-platform before the end of the summer, with both Android and iOS versions in the works.

More coverage: CrackBerry

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4 years ago

Sony shows pretty much all of the Xperia Z1 in new teaser video


"The best of Sony is about to get even better"

It's not like we haven't already had a pretty good look at the Xperia Z1 (or "Honami") thanks to a spate of pre-release leaks, but this morning Sony's taken things a step further with a preview of — well, essentially the entire device.

A new teaser video shows a device similar in design to the original Xperia Z, with a Sony "G"-branded rear camera, a physical camera button and waterproof credentials, before stating "The best of Sony is about to get even better."

In a tweet linking to the video, the official Sony Xperia Twitter account said, "3...2....what comes next?," which suggests that the rumored Z1 name could be right on the money. Purported specs include a Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 20-megapixel rear camera with Sony G Lens and a five-plus-inch screen.

We're almost certain to see the the Xperia Z1 unveiled on Sept. 4 at Sony's pre-IFA press conference, but between this trailer and the various pre-release leaks, there might not be too much we haven't already seen.

Source: @SonyXperia

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4 years ago

Sony's new NEX-5T makes sharing with Android a breeze over NFC


Phones, tablets also can serve as wireless view screens

Sony has just announced a new member of its NEX line that makes it pretty easy to get images off the camera and onto your phone. The NEX-5T will fire images and video over to an Android 4.x+ device — phones or tablets — and then can be shared to any of the usual ways.

If you don't have an NFC-capable phone or tablet, you'll be able images over good ol' fashioned Wifi.

And for its next trick, the NEX-5T will be able to wirelessly use your phone or tablet as a "Smart remote control." You'll get a live preview of the shot, can tweak settings and snap the shutter — all wirelessly.

The NEX-5T will be available in early September for $700 as a kit, or $550 for the body alone. We've got the full presser after the break.

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4 years ago

Materials matter: Why is the Droid Ultra so slimy?


One choice in materials can change the entire experience of a device

When we reviewed the Droid Ultra, we came away extremely impressed with its features and what it means for the direction of Droid devices going forward. But with all of the praise, we kept coming back to the very weird decision Motorola (and likely somewhat Verizon) made on the build materials for the device. While the Droid Ultra is extremely well built, the plastic material layered over the Kevlar construction makes the device slippery, smooth and generally a fantastic fingerprint magnet.

Making the decision even more puzzling is that the Droid MAXX, which is in all respects the same exact device as the Ultra but with a larger battery and 1.3mm thicker casing, has a delightful soft touch casing. Given the nearly identical dimensions and same base Kevlar construction, we're not entirely sure why Verizon and Motorola couldn't have put the same improved casing on both devices.

Sure the Droid Ultra's design is a little more subdued and may look fine when it is clean and sitting on a table unused, but the single poor choice of materials made it even harder to recommend as a device. Going with a slick and fingerprint-capturing plastic case seriously hurt usability of the device, and Motorola proved with the Droid MAXX that it had at least one other material option that would have been a better choice.

Hang around after the break for several comparison shots of the Droid Ultra and Droid MAXX — the difference in material quality is astounding.

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4 years ago

Mophie Juice Pack for Galaxy S4 now available for $99


A quick heads up that the Mophie Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S4 — which we reviewed last week — is now available for $99 (plus shipping).

Our take? It's not inexpensive, and we'd still question the necessity of a battery case for a phone that has a removable battery — you can buy a spare and a nice case for less than you'll pay here. But Mophie has done a fine job with this new Juice Pack.

Check out our full review here, and you can order straight from Mophie.

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4 years ago

Moto X coming to Verizon online Aug. 29, in-store 'in the coming weeks'


Available in black and white for $199.99 on-contract, as expected

Verizon has just announced on its official @VZWnews Twitter account that you'll be able to get your hands on a Moto X for Big Red starting August 29th, provided you're okay ordering online. Just as we expected, on-contract pricing will hit $199.99 just like the other carriers, although remember that Verizon won't have access to Moto Maker just yet so you're going to be stuck (with the admittedly still nice) white or black versions.

For those of you wanting to buy the device in-store, Verizon isn't giving any timeframe other than "in the coming weeks". So you'll want to grab yours online if you want it as soon as possible. We have a feeling Thursday can't come soon enough for many Verizon customers out there.

Source: @VZWnews

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4 years ago

The best Android phone you can buy, as of August 2013


See which phones get the nod from Android Central as the best you can get

We've hit a point in the year where most of the major manufacturers have had their biggest devices out in the market for a bit, and even the late-comers have dropped their entry into the 2013 smartphone game. This is about as "mature" as the market is going to get in the year before a new wave of devices gets ready to hit, so it really is a great time to evaluate where each one stands.

Manufacturers have started to focus a bit less on specs in 2013 (or so they'd like you to believe) and have really pushed forward new features and experiences on their devices, giving a variety of interesting outcomes. There are a robust number of great choices in the market, and we're also reaching a point where U.S. consumers have a variety of options regardless of their carrier.

It's been almost three months since our last "best Android phones" roundup, and now it's time to re-evaluate the ranks in late August. In the end there has to be one winner, so read along with us after the break and see which phone comes out on top.

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4 years ago

Feedly Pro now available to everyone, $5 per month or $45 per year


More functionality, security and support for a modest fee

Following the retirement of Google Reader, Feedly has taken the reins as the go-to choice for RSS news for many of us and is now offering a "Pro" tier of service for a modest amount of money. A limited number of early adopters were allowed in on a $99 lifetime subscription deal when the Pro service was first announced, but now everyone will have the opportunity to get in at either $5 per month or $45 per year.

Feedly Pro offers many features not offered in the free version, such as searching within individual feeds, HTTPS secure browsing and one-click saving to Pocket and Evernote. If you ever have issues using Feedly, Pro offers "premium support" for technical issues as well. Feedly says more Pro features will be introduced "regularly", and that Pro users will get a vote in what features are developed.

The first-party Feedly app is the first to integrate Pro features, naturally, but Feedly says it is working to bring all of the Pro features to the Feedly Cloud API so that any app can offer them if you're a Pro subscriber. 

Source: Feedly

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4 years ago

Sony releases maintenance updates for Xperia S, SL and acro S


Camera, apps, battery and navigation fixes included

After pushing out updates to Jelly Bean earlier in the year, Sony has released maintenance updates for the Xperia S, SL and acro S to fix issues based on user feedback. On the camera front, Sony has fixed issues with white balance in pictures, improved the "quick launch" button and improved 1080p video recording to reduce lag. In terms of apps and data, EAS (Exchange Active Sync) has been streamlined, 2G network stability is improved and an issue that removed third-party default app preferences after a reboot has been fixed.

Battery life should improve with the latest update due to improvements in power consumption and heat dispersion, and battery level notifications have also been corrected. Working to build a more consistent navigation experience, the home key will now access Google Now when long pressed, and launch recent apps when double pressed.

Sony says that these handful of fixes will be coming to all three handsets, with variations in availability based on market and carrier, naturally. This is a good grouping of fixes and improvements, so keep an eye out on your own handset.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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4 years ago

HTC One X and One X+ getting Android 4.2 update in the UK


OTA also includes new Sense 5 UI, BlinkFeed, video highlights

The Android 4.2 and Sense 5 updates for the HTC One X and One X+ have been pushing out in parts of Europe and Asia over the past couple of weeks, and today they've landed on British shores. Users are reporting this morning that updates to version 4.18.401.2 on the One X, and version 2.18.401.2 on the One X+ are now hitting unlocked handsets in the UK.

The updates, both of which weigh around 400MB, bring the newer version of Android, and all the various goodies associated with it, along with new HTC features like the BlinkFeed home screen experience, a new Gallery/Camera app with video highlights, and various new lock screen styles.

If you're seeing the new software on your One X or One X+ today, hit the comments and tell us how you're getting on.

Thanks, Shen Ye!

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