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4 years ago

Android revamps in-app purchasing

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The Android developer blog has just unwrapped a nice little present for developers -- Version 3 of in-app purchasing. This is mostly back-end stuff that us civilians might not notice, but that doesn't make them any less important. Here's what's new:

  • Streamlined code. Google says what used to take several hundred lines of code can be done in as few as 50 now. 
  • A more robust architecture.
  • Local caching, so API calls happen faster. That means part of the legwork is being done on your phone, without the need to call into Google Play.
  • And "the ability to consume managed purchases and query for product information."

OK, so that's all good for us, the user, too. Google says Version 3 will work on Android 2.2 and up, which means 90 percent of active devices should be good to go.

Source: Android Developers blog

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4 years ago

HTC One X+ (AT&T) Review

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HTC’s fourth-quarter refresh of the One X is good, but is it good enough to keep you from waiting for the next tier of hardware?

When first holding an HTC One X+ (or any One device, for that matter) in your hand, it's hard to believe that the company has had such abysmal sales figures the past several quaters. It arguably has one of the best screens on the market, paired with an upgraded Tegra 3 processor and bumped up internal storage of 64GB. On top of all that, the device is downright gorgeous. It really does seem like it checks all the boxes.

The One X+ seems every bit a capable high-end device as its competition, much the same way as the original One X from earlier this year. Should it be considered as your next device? Read on and you may have a better idea if it's the right choice for you.

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4 years ago

Gmail is down, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it [Updated]

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Have you ever felt so helpless before in all your life?

Update: GMAIL IS BACK! GMAIL IS BACK. PRAISE LLOYD ALMIGHTY, GMAIL IS BACK.

Update 2: OMG IT MIGHT BE DOWN AGAIN. HOLD ME.

Update 3: Looks like anything connected to Google is failing. Ads. Google Play Store. Basically, it's Judgment Day, people.

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4 years ago

Playing around with clip on lenses: Part 1

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Magnetic clip on lenses aren't new. They've been around for a while, often marketed as an accessory for the iPhone. Our buddies over at Windows Phone Central started playing around with some on the new Nokia Lumia 920, but we couldn't sit back and let them have all the fun, could we? 

A quick trip to eBay later and a pair of clip on lenses were on their way. They're a pretty inexpensive accessory, the 2 that I ordered cost me around £10 ($16) for the pair. As with real camera lenses, there seems to be plenty of choice out there over what to get, but I went with a Fisheye and a Wide Angle. I'm planning a week of goofing around with these and my LG Nexus 4, so part 2 of the post will drop next week. This week, a look at the lenses themselves. Next week, the results. Let's take a look.

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4 years ago

Another week, more LTE locations for AT&T

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AT&T's march toward a network full of 4G LTE data continues, with three four new cities announced (so far) this morning. They are:

  • Wilkes-Barre, Penn.
  • Nashua, N.H.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Auburn-Opelika, Ala.

So, that's three more to go along with the dozens we've seen go live in the last few months. If you're still waiting, hang in there. The ball's a-rollin'. And if you've got an LTE-capable device, keep your eye on that data indicator.

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

Nook Video UK launch announced with UltraViolet support

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Good news for Nook HD and HD+ early adopters in the UK -- Barnes & Noble has announced the launch of its Nook Video service for British Nook owners. The move brings B&N's tablets up to speed with the latest Amazon, Google and Apple tablets, all of which offer their own on-board video services.

The move is made possible through new, expanded UK licensing deals with content owners such as BBC Worldwide, HBO, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Barnes & Noble says. Individual TV shows and movies highlighted by B&N in today's press release include --

Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Game of Thrones®, True Blood®, Ted, The Bourne Legacy, The Amazing Spider-Man™, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Men in Black 3, Spartacus, Party Down, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Happy Feet Two.

Both high and standard-definition video content is available through Nook Video, with streaming and downloading supported on the service. Downloads are linked to the Nook Cloud service, allowing them to be played on other supporting devices.

What's more, Nook Video will also tie into the UltraViolet video system, allowing those who've purchased Blu-ray or DVD versions of titles to view a digital copy of this content on their Nook tablets.

You'll find more details in the presser after the break. If you've picked up a Nook HD or HD+ tablet in the UK recently, let us know how you're getting on in the comments.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia E + E Dual get priced in Europe

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When Sony announced the Xperia E in both single and dual-SIM flavors last week, it said the device would be affordable, however so far pricing info has been difficult to track down. Today that changes, as price details for the Xperia E and Xperia E Dual have emerged in a press release from Sony Mobile Germany.

Sony's priced the new entry-level Xperia at €159 (£128) with single SIM support, or €169 (£136) for the dual-SIM variant. Other Xperia E specs include a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, a 1GHz CPU and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the single-SIM version (the Xperia E Dual will ship with ICS and get an upgrade later.)

One of the first Sony phones to ship with Jelly Bean, the Xperia E is due to go on sale during the first quarter of 2013.

Source: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Samsung demos their Premium Suite upgrade headed to the Samsung Galaxy S3

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Update: Samsung has now shown part 2 of the Premium Suite update, and you can find everything after the break. 

Just as we saw when Android 4.1.2 rolled out to international Samsung Galaxy S3's starting with Poland, the Premium Suite upgrade adds quite a few features and enhancements for Galaxy S3 owners. To show off those goods, Samsung has now posted up part one of a series of demo videos that highlight the changes headed our way. In short, it's a mixture of stuff from the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Here's what you can expect:

 Contextual Awareness

  • Page Buddy: Your phone will smartly predict what you intend to do according to your actions. For example, when you plug in your earphones, the device automatically opens up a page with the music player.
  • Contextual Menu:  When you list up apps, you can now choose to see the most frequently used ones first. Especially convenient when you’re looking through apps  to find files to attach.
  • Contextual Tag:  When you take a picture on the phone, you can tag the weather, date, and place immediately.

Enhanced Features

  • Multi Window: You can open two different apps at the same time into two different windows on the mobile screen.
  • Auto Share Shot Pairing using NFC: By setting the camera to ‘Auto Share Shot’ mode, you can quickly share your photos and videos by simply tapping their GALAXY S III with other NFC and S-Beam enabled devices
  • Reader Mode: You can easily control the size of the text on your browser! Also, you can just click the webpage to share it!
  • Facebook Lock Ticker: The easiest way to see your Facebook News Feeds – set your phone to show it on your lock screen.

It's a pretty awesome pack to have arrive on an already great device but alas, the typical disclaimer applies here. Samsung notes that availability and timing of the Premium Suite upgrade will vary depending on the country and mobile carrier.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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4 years ago

Samsung reminds us that new things are coming at CES 2013

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Just in case you didn't already know, Samsung is reminding us that we'll see some killer new things at CES 2013. They don't give any hints, but rumors and speculation are already flying -- and that's half the fun.

We'll be at CES with cameras and keyboards at the ready, so keep glued to AC for everything there is to know from Samsung (and everyone else) in early January.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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4 years ago

Google and others petition courts to stop upholding vague patents

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A group consisting of Google, Dell, Facebook, Homeaway, Intuit, Rackspace, Red Hat and Zynga have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals suggesting that courts stop honoring and upholding patents with purposely vague wording. 

The brief covers all the legal angles, but the layman's version is that phrases like "on a mobile device" or "over the Internet" are just too broad and meaningless. These types of patents should not be granted, and existing patents using such broad terms should not be upheld. Direct from the brief:

 Many computer-related patent claims just describe an abstract idea at a high level of generality and say to perform it on a computer or over the Internet. Such barebones claims grant exclusive rights over the abstract idea itself, with no limit on how the idea is implemented. Granting patent protection for such claims would impair, not promote, innovation by conferring exclusive rights on those who have not meaningfully innovated, and thereby penalizing those that do later innovate by blocking or taxing their applications of the abstract idea.

Notably absent from the group putting this forward are Microsoft and Apple, companies that have recently tried to enforce overly-broad patents against Android vendors with mixed success. Both companies have also had their share of run-ins with questionable patents, so their participation is something I would have thought was likely. 

Nobody knows how effective this will be, but it's great to see it happening. If more companies are vocal about the situation, the government will have to respond in some manner. Anything to get rid of the status quo is a move forward in my book.

Source: All Things D

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Android forum life

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With the year winding down and my plate relatively clear of any review work (mad props to Alex and Anndrew and Andrew and Jerry and everyone else for helping make that happen), I've been spending more time in the forums. That's where any one of us here will tell you the real work happens. Questions come in, questions get answered. Tips are proffered. Sweeping how-to threads are created. It's really incredible stuff, all guided by our awesome moderators and advisers.

And it's been extremely interesting to read reaction to the hottest phones of the second half of the year. First and foremost, however, it's important to keep things in perspective. Forums by definition tend to be a bit of an echo chamber. That's not to say that what's being posted isn't important -- it most certainly is. But you tend to start saying "Everyone says this about that phone!" when it's never "everyone," just as it's never "no one." Some people have problems. Some don't. You look for trends. You get feelings about the way things are going. It's not an exact science, and I'm hardly an expert. (The guys and gals at CrackBerry teach me something new about forums every day.)

The pleasant surprises lately? There have been a few.

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4 years ago

LG says it's sold 10 million L-Series handsets worldwide

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LG is announcing today that since the launch of the "L-Series" group of handsets, it has sold 10 million units worldwide. When LG started rolling out the L-Series as the mid- to low-range set of devices to compliment its "G-Series" high-end phones, they didn't receive as much attention for obvious reasons. The big top-tier devices like the Optimus G hold the most mind share, but it's the quality affordable devices that are still doing huge sales numbers.

Devices like the Optimus L9 have started to make movement into the U.S. market, but most of the L-Series are likely being sold internationally. LG is seeing the need for a whole range of handsets, and reacting accordingly to hit the different price points that people want.

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4 years ago

Verizon Galaxy Note 2 - mini review and what's new

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Since its introduction back in October, Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 has skyrocketed to superstardom, pushing 5 million units and earning the top spot on holiday gift guides across all carriers. It has also been written about ad nauseam, without countless stories popping up across the internet ranging from that display (it’s as huge as they say) to the battery life (it’s as phenomenal as they say). Here at Android Central, we’ve got reviews on file for both the international and T-Mobile models, which both come to the consensus that this might just be the biggest, baddest phone you’ll be able to stuff your stocking with this holiday season.

So how does Verizon’s model differ from what we’ve come to know and love? Aside from the few details below, this behemoth is nearly identical to every other iteration, from the breakneck performance of the quad-core Exynos processor to the TouchWiz-touting Jelly Bean UI. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—the Note 2 is simply one of the best Android devices ever produced.

If you want more mouth watering details on that 5.5-inch 720p SuperAMOLED Plus display, or that whopping 3,300 mAh battery, head on over to Alex's and Phil’s reviews. Hardware-wise, they're the same.

If you want to see what makes Verizon’s model unique, hit the break for the full rundown.

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4 years ago

Android Central Stocking Stuffers Week 2 - Subscribe to our YouTube channel

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We've reached Week 2 of our monthlong Stuff Your Stocking contest here at Android Central. We've already given away eight $10 Google Play Gift Cards, and we've got 23 more to go! And don't forget that everyone who wins is automatically entered to win a free Nexus 4!

Week 1 went down in our forums. We'll announce the winners on Monday. Week 2 is happening at YouTube. Or, more specifically, at our YouTube channel. To enter this week, all you have to do is subscribe to our channel, and then leave a comment on one of our videos. (Figure while you're there you might as well help class up the joint.) And that's it. You've got all week to get it done, and we'll announce the winners from this round next Monday, Dec. 17.

And we've still got two more weeks of giveaways after that. Plus, Google slipped a little something into our stocking as well (those of you who were at Thursday night's podcast recording know what I'm talking about), so look for that soon, too. Good luck!

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