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4 years ago

Bluestacks for Mac now in beta


Here's a quick heads up for those of you who just have to run the occasional Android application siloed on your computer -- Bluestacks is now in beta for Macs. If you're new to Bluestacks, the idea is that it works as a sort of an emulator for Android apps -- some 750,000 of them, actually -- giving you full control with a keyboard and mouse. And while your experience may vary a little bit depending on hardware, it's actually a really good implementation, though it's not necessarily the quickest to load. 

There's also the argument that it's a little silly to use apps like Facebook and Instagram as an Android app on a desktop, but whatever. It's still pretty damn cool, especially for games.

So, go get the Mac beta if you want to give it a go, and remember that there's a Windows version available, too.

Download: Bluestacks

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4 years ago

Announcement: Our Selections for The Mobile Nations 2013 CES Experience in Las Vegas!


Alright folks, it's time to announce the 6 lucky people that will be joining NVIDIA and Mobile Nations at CES 2013!

We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the members that submitted an entry. We really appreciate all of the time and effort everyone put in, and the response was quite overwhelming.

So, getting down to business... after much debate and discussion, we have selected 6 stand out entries. These folks will join the Mobile Nations and NVIDIA crews in Las Vegas for CES 2013!

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4 years ago

Google lists its 'Best Apps of 2012' on Play


Google has put its "Best Apps of 2012" list up on Google Play today, with many familiar names. There are "best of" lists in each of the different categories on the Play Store, but the app listings always draw a lot of attention. It's always interesting to see what apps Google employees themselves are using and calling the "best" on the platform. The list is headlined by many apps that you yourself may rattle off as the best apps, such as Pinterest, Zappos and Evernote.

All but one of these apps are free, so why don't you go check out a few of Google's top picks? You can get the full list of all 12 apps at the source link below. 

Source: Google Play

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4 years ago

Samsung updates its ChatON service to version 2.0


Samsung has just updated its universal chat service, ChatON, with a whole host of new features. When first launching the app, users are now greeted with the ability to sign in with their Samsung account, which makes syncing smoother. This means that all of your devices -- up to 5 in total -- with ChatON will receive messages simultaneously, which is a feature you'd expect from this type of service. Version 2.0 has added the ability to send multiple images at once as well as changing the font in the chat room. Samsung has also made improvements to the profile page that lets users have multiple profile images.

The ChatON app is preloaded on all Samsung devices, is available from Samsung Apps and can be downloaded to any device from the Google Play Store at the link above.

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Original Galaxy Note getting Jelly Bean, multi-window and other features in new Premium Suite


Back in the spring the original Samsung Galaxy Note got Android 4.0 and new TouchWiz apps as part of the phone’s first “premium suite” software upgrade. Today, Samsung has confirmed that a second premium suite will bring the OG Note right up to date with newer handsets like the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2.

A new entry on Samsung’s Galaxy Note micro-site confirms that along with an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Note will get multi-window (full-screen multitasking), pop-up video/browser/note apps, photo note/photo frame, easy clip, paper artist, and new S Planner and email apps. That’s in addition to standard Jelly Bean features like Google Now and Project Butter.

Last month we reported on rumors that the original Galaxy Note was in line to receive such an upgrade. In the past month we've even seen leaked builds start to appear, suggesting the new firmware is close to being finalized.

There’s no information on when this new premium suite might arrive. However with Android 4.1.2 updates already rolling out for other devices, and major events like CES and MWC looming, we suspect Samsung won’t waste any time in rolling this update out to global Note models. Owners of the U.S.-specific versions may have to wait a little longer, as usual.

Source: Samsung Mobile; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Galaxy Note 2 on AT&T receiving multi-window update tomorrow


AT&T has confirmed to Engadget that starting tomorrow, Galaxy Note 2 users on its network will be receiving an update that will bring full multi-window functionality to their devices. AT&T is the last of the big carriers in the U.S. to roll out an update with the feature to Note 2 devices, something that many specifically want the device for. The multi-window feature, if you're not familiar, lets users run two apps side-by-side which can definitely offer increased productivity options if you're trying to get a lot done. With the extra screen real estate of the Note 2, it's something that can actually work for some people.

Luckily for us, AT&T is skipping the hassle of using Kies for the update (unlike the latest for the Galaxy S3) and letting this one go out OTA (Over The Air,) just like it should. We're not sure exactly when the update will begin rolling, but you can bet the folks here in our forums will know as soon as it does.

Source: Engadget; More: AT&T Galaxy Note 2 Forums

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4 years ago

TuneIn Radio Pro, Radiant HD and more now free on Amazon Appstore


Amazon is running a promotion that has many popular apps for free through its Appstore today. It has always run a free app of the day promotion, but Amazon is feeling a bit more generous today by dropping several different apps -- from TuneIn Radio Pro to OfficeSuite Pro -- to the nice price of $0.00. Some of these are regularly upwards of $15, so this is a pretty nice post-Christmas deal. This will surely help Amazon grab the eyes of users that are getting their first Android phone or tablet over the holidays.

Use the Appstore and interested in picking up some good apps? Hit the source link below for a search listing of the apps on sale.

Source: Amazon

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4 years ago

From the mail bag: What the heck does deodexed mean?


Clark writes,

What the heck does odex and deodex actually mean? I see the terms mentioned in almost every custom ROM thread and can't find an answer that I can understand. I'm hoping that Android Central can help out.

Awesome question, Clark. And one I think we can answer in terms that most folks will understand. As you've noted, you see the terms odex and deodexed in many forums posts about custom ROMs or assorted hacks for phones and tablets both. It takes a lot of work for developers to create deodexed ROMs from "stock" ROMs, like the ones offered from both OEMs and Google alike.

To begin, we need to know what an odex file is.  It's a part of an application (the .apk file) that has been prebuilt to make the Dalvik Virtual Machine load it faster using less resources. If you look in the /system/app/ folder on your Android phone or tablet, you'll see that just about every application has both an .apk file and an .odex file. These files work together through the Dalvik VM to make the apps run as they should on our devices. Let's break it all down after the break.

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4 years ago

Tapatalk HD hits the Google Play Store in beta


One popular method of hitting up your favorite vBulletin forums -- including of course, the Android Central Forums -- from your Android device, is Tapatalk. While Tapatalk does a great job at hooking you into a pretty wide range of forums, the versions out there on public release don't include a dedicated Tablet app. There was a special version released through Samsung Apps for the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, and we've known of a more general version in the works for a while now. 

It seems as though the finished product is almost ready for the big time, with the release of a beta version of Tapatalk HD into the Google Play Store for all to download and try out. And, with it being a beta product, it will cease to continue working once version 1.0 hits the Play Store, estimated to be sometime in late January. 

There are a few new features along for the ride, such a gallery view on larger forums -- ours included -- and push notifications. The biggest difference to anything we've seen before though, is the UI. As it's been specifically designed for use with tablets, we get a split pane view, adjustable fonts, and viewing posts fits the dimensions of a tablet display much better than Tapatalk 2.0. Grab yourselves a copy at the Play Store link above, and click on past the break for a selection of screenshots.

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4 years ago

Free Gmail calls in Canada and U.S. extended through 2013


Google has been offering Gmail users the ability to call standard phone lines for awhile, and it looks like the service will be continuing through 2013. Americans and Canadians can keep making calls for free, while international users will still have access to reasonable rates. 

It's not a huge surprise that the service is continuing, since Google has extended Gmail calling since launching in the summer of 2010. Right now it's still only for desktop, but it sure would be nice to see the feature folded into Android's Google Talk or Voice (for those that have it) at some point.

How often do you guys use Gmail's phone calling service? How much do you figure services like this peeve carriers? Can Google reasonably expect to compete with Skype (and by association Windows Phone) on the VoIP front?

Source: Gmail

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4 years ago

ZTE announces high-end Nubia Z5 for China


ZTE has unveiled a phablet with a 1080p-resolution display, the Nubia Z5. ZTE had first kicked off their Nubia brand in late October, which included a mention of the Z5. At that point they didn't say much more than it having a 13 megapixel camera, 5-inch display, and quad-core processor, but now we've got a much closer look at the specs.

  • 7.6 mm thin
  • 5-inch 1920 x 1080 with 2.67 mm bezel (443 PPI)
  • 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm 8064 processor with 2 GB RAM
  • 13 megapixel f/2.2 camera
  • 2300 mAh battery
  • Android Jelly Bean 4.1

As you might expect, this handset is due for China first, without any mention of international availability. The real kicker here is that the Nubia Z5 will cost a rather steep 3,456 yen (or $550) when it goes on sale in January. Pretty slick, but odds are we'll see plenty of smartphones with 1080p screens in 2013. You can find more info about the Nubia Z5 over at ZTE's minisite

via Engadget

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4 years ago

How'd your holiday Photospheres turn out?


Google a couple weeks ago made a rather nice commercial out of the Photosphere feature, in which you make a 360-degree (more or less) panoramic photo that all gets stitched together on your phone. The holiday spot has someone taking a Photosphere in a (very) large house, with a bunch of family members in the shot.

Now, we all know Rule No. 1 of taking Photospheres is to not have anything too close to you as you take the picture. Rule No. 2 is the fewer people, the better, as people tend to move.

So I waited until things had died down a little bit. My result? Not horrible, especially since I didn't tell anyone to hold still. Check out the full Photosphere pic here. And if you took any over the holidays, be sure to tag them with #photosphere on Google+ so we can all see!

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4 years ago

Our Google Play Gift Card giveaway continues today!


Oh, my. So ... full. Can't ... hardly ... type. But the giving must go on. We're marching toward the final round of our month-long (ish) Google Play Gift Card giveaway, in which we're giving 31 lucky winners $10 to spend on Android apps, movies, music, magazines or TV shows from Google Play.

Oh, and by the way -- all 31 winners (one for each day in December) will be entered to win a shiny new Nexus 4, still in its box, sitting here on our desk. (In case you had any concern for our ability to snag what remains an unsnaggable device.)

So ... for today's entries: Leave a comment on this post and tell us the top Android-related feature you're hoping for in 2013. One entry per person, yadda yadda yadda.

Good luck!

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4 years ago

The Kindle Fire HD


The Kindle Fire HD delivers a tablet experience many folks will love, but is it the right choice for me? Have a read and see what a total Android nerd thinks of Amazon's latest offering.

Amazon’s new Kindle tablets don’t get the attention that other Android tablets get. Android purists tend to scoff at them, thinking that the operating system being used -- a true custom fork of Android 4.0 -- is entirely too basic, lacking many of the features and customization settings that stock Android or the more traditional OEM builds like Sense or TouchWiz have.

But simple -- and consistent -- software has a place. Amazon’s removal of some of the more advanced parts of the Android OS are also part of the reason not much talk goes on about the Kindle Fire HD -- it tends to just work, and users have few issues they need to sort out. Amazon has perfected the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) philosophy of smart devices.

I’ve had both Kindle Fire HD devices here for a while, and have spent a good bit of time playing with the hardware and Amazon’s operating system as shipped. It’s time I put down a few words about them.

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4 years ago

ZTE Grand X passes through FCC with T-Mobile radio and branding


A revision of the ZTE Grand X (read our review) has just passed through the FCC, undoubtedly destined to land on T-Mobile. Not only does the device have FCC clearance to operate on T-Mobile's 1700/2100MHz AWS frequencies for HSPA+, but also has a nice bit of T-Mobile branding on the back. Other than the new radio and branding, we're likely looking at the same device that was released internationally a few months back -- a 4.3-inch qHD (540x960) screen, Tegra 2 processor, 5MP camera and stock Ice Cream Sandwich.

T-Mobile regularly picks up some of these less than mainstream devices, and usually ends up offering them at pretty compelling price points. The Grand X is no slouch by any means, and should be a solid mid-range offering for many customers.

Source: FCC; Via: PhoneScoop

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