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4 years ago

Android 101: Adding your own custom sounds to Android events

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The first thing most people do when getting a new phone is change the ringtone. Depending on which Android device you own, your options for different alarms, notifications, and ringtones will vary. Perhaps you aren’t happy with the sounds that came preinstalled on your phone, or you’ve been using the stock sounds and are ready for a change. You’ve got some ringtones on your computer, and want to use them on your phone. How do you get the files from your computer, to your phone? Do you have to put them in any specific place for them to be selectable in the Android menu, and will they be listed in the same place as the sounds that came with your phone? Does it matter what kind of sound files you use? You can find the answers to these questions, and more, after the break.

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4 years ago

Chrome for Android gets major update as ver. 25 graduates from beta

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The stable version of Chrome for Android has received a major upgrade, from version 18 all the way up to 25 -- the version that was in beta until recently. Major changes include significantly improved scrolling performance, improved JavaScript and HTML5 processing speed and speedier pinch-to-zoom.

The new build is rolling out right now, so hit fire up the Play Store to update your devices. Alternatively, if you've yet to try Chrome for Android, you can pick it up using the Google Play link to the right.

When you're done updating, be sure to hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

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4 years ago

Reminder: Spring into TEGRA Contest Ending Soon!

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Quick reminder for all that the 'Spring into TEGRA' contest is ending real soon (March 1st at 11:59 PM EST). Be sure to check out the contest details below and submit your entry for a chance to win one of TWO HTC One X+ devices!*

To enter, simply follow these three steps:

  1. Take a picture of yourself with your tired and worn out mobile device.
  2. Head over to the official contest thread.
  3. Post the picture, AND tell us why you absolutely NEED a new HTC One X+.

That's all there really is to it! Head over to the official contest thread and get your entry in. You never know… with a little luck and creativity (hint, hint!) you may end up with a brand new device at your front door.

* Contest closes on March 1, 2013, at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be selected shortly thereafter via PM and e-mail. ONE entry per person. Contest open to all Android Central members.

Good luck!

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4 years ago

Adobe Photoshop Touch: No longer just for tablets

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Adobe has taken their excellent Photoshop Touch application for tablets, and shrunk things down to fit on the smaller screen. Available as a separate download -- with it's own $4.99 price tag -- The app offers the same great features the tablet edition does, which are essentially the core features of the desktop version. The app includes the ability to work with layers, filters, and brushes all bundled into an intuitive, gesture-based interface. In addition, the application is integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud, giving users 2GB of free storage to sync projects between the tablet app, the phone app, and the desktop. 

I use the tablet version of Photoshop Touch frequently, transferring images taken with my phone to Dropbox, then importing them into my tablet. The app is really well done, and takes mobile image editing to the next level. I'm not sure how well this will translate to my phone -- I'm currently using the Nexus 4 -- but folks with a Note 2 or even the original Note have another great use for the S Pen. You can find Adobe's press release after the break, and the download link from Google Play above.

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4 years ago

EE rolls out 4G LTE in nine more UK towns and cities

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Sole UK 4G LTE carrier EE (Everything Everywhere) has announced that it's switched on 4G coverage in a further nine towns and cities across the country. From today, EE customers in Barnsley, Chorley, Coventry, Newport, Preston, Rotherham, Telford, Walsall and Watford will be able to pick up LTE reception on supporting devices. Four months after it first rolled out 4G, EE's total market count stands at 37.

The network plans to have 4G coverage in 65 towns and cities by the end of June, by which time it may face competition from the other mobile operators. Following the recent wrap-up of the 4G spectrum auction, Three, O2 and Vodafone will be looking to roll out their own LTE services in late spring and early summer.

Source: EE Newsroom

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4 years ago

Samsung unveils Wallet mobile app to manage tickets

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Samsung has announced a new API for developers to help manage event tickets, boarding passes, memberships, and coupons. Samsung Wallet will be a new application which brings all of these types of content into one place. Time and location-based push notifications will help users get a hold of the ticketing information. 

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4 years ago

YotaPhone hands-on - gestures, e-ink and vanilla Android

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The YotaPhone is an example of one of the things we like the most about Android -- crazy hardware implemented in new and interesting ways. Dual-screen smartphones are nothing new -- recall the ill-fated Kyocera Echo of old. But Yota Devices' YotaPhone is the first we can recall that packs both a traditional LCD front and e-ink back, and today we went hands-on with the phone at Mobile World Congress. Both sides are coated in Corning Gorilla Glass 2, though the back has more of a matte texture to it. This gives the YotaPhone a unique appearance, which is accentuated by its slightly curved back.

Powering the YotaPhone is a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU at 1.5GHz. Around the back is a 12MP camera, and the power button cleverly doubles as a SIM tray. On the software side, it's near-vanilla Jelly Bean running the show -- Yota's left the Android UI mostly intact. Both screens are 4.3 inches diagonally, and the LCD clocks in at 1280x720 pixels. As you'd expect from the vanilla Android UI running on an S4 chip, the UI is smooth and lag-free.

The phone's also lacking traditional Android buttons -- instead, button commands are activated based on gesture controls on a panel under the LCD. Swipe halfway from right to left to go back, all the way to go home, and long press the middle for the task-switcher. Similarly, you can copy images from the front screen to the rear by swiping from top to bottom with two fingers.

Certain apps, such as Calendar and Weather, can also run natively on the rear display, and there's an in-app button for transferring things to the rear screen. This means you're able to view content without burning through quite so much juice -- and it could also be useful for viewing certain types of information in bright sunlight.

The YotaPhone probably won't be a mass-market seller in the West, but it is an incredibly cool device nonetheless, playing to the strengths of both LCD and e-ink. We've got hands-on photos and a quick video demo after the break.

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4 years ago

ZTE Grand Memo hands-on

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ZTE, like local rival Huawei, is desperately trying to establish itself as one of the bigger international smartphone players, focusing more and more on high-end "hero" devices. To that end, at a very businesslike (and rather awkward) Mobile World Congress press conference this week, the company revealed the Grand Memo. A 5.7-inch Galaxy Note-class device, the Memo incorporates high-end internals and a massive 5.7-inch 720p display.

As per ZTE's presser, the Grand Memo runs Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, though ZTE says the chipsets used will vary depending on country. (Update: ZTE staffers on the show floor tell us that the demo units on display are running Snapdragon S4 Pro (8064) chips, and that several different versions of the Memo will be available, including the Snapdragon 800-powered model announced earlier this week.)

For what it's worth, the company also had an NVIDIA Tegra 3-based Grand Memo on show at its MWC booth, however that device was unstable and extremely hot to the touch.

Other hardware notables include 2GB of RAM (1GB on the S4 version), 16GB of storage, 4G LTE support and a 13MP rear camera. The physical hardware of the Memo is standard smartphone fare -- a black slab with a plastic back and three buttons down below. On the back, a plastic battery cover. We saw several different back covers on the Grand Memo demo units at the show -- glossy, textures and matte versions in white and various shades of blue. Overall, the hardware is perfectly serviceable, if not outstanding.

Head past the break for more first impressions, along with more photos and video.

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4 years ago

Samsung HomeSync - hands-on with the Android-powered TV box

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As a global electronics giant, Samsung has presence in every room in the home, most notably the living room -- the company recently claimed to be selling three TVs every second. And as we all know, Samsung currently dominates the Android smartphone landscape. So it was only a matter of time before the Samsung TV and Android worlds collided.

At Mobile World Congress this week we got our first look at Samsung's HomeSync, a 1-terabyte TV box with a Google Play-certified Android front-end. HomeSync delivers a full Android experience, with a TouchWiz-based UI that actually scales up really well to the big screen. The main view is a grid of running windows, and you've also got a standard app drawer view, along with on-screen keys you can hit using your pointer.

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4 years ago

Google+ Photos app coming to Chrome, developer gives us a peek

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A new Chrome app is in the works, and developer François Beaufort  has let the cat out of the bag and shown the world a quick peek at Google+ Photos.

Nicknamed "Pulsar" the app is powered by Native Client technology and is gives you the ability to upload and share photos from Google Chrome. For now, Beaufort warns the app is broken (we can't get it to open on our Chromebook Pixel running the latest Chrome stable build, but it does install), but he's shared a few pictures showing a good bit of the UI.

Two of the features are mentioned specifically are automatic selection of the best shots and automatic import when inserting a memory card or plugging in a camera. It's a great example of what a full Chrome app might look like, and lets us know Google still has plans for ChromeOS.

If you're interested in checking out the source, you'll find it at the link below. Be sure to jump through the break to see the screenshots.

Source:+François Beaufort

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4 years ago

Skype update brings back 'classic' UI option for tablets

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Skype has just been updated to give users the option of selecting a "classic" UI instead of the new and improved tablet interface. The previous update to Skype added many new features and a more tablet-optimized interface overall, including a portrait UI for calling -- the curious part was the rest of the app was still locked in landscape mode. Skype is now backpedaling, sort of, by letting tablet users go back to a phone-style UI in the settings if they prefer. The new option is probably a better choice if you're on a smaller screen like the Nexus 7 that is often used in portrait.

10-inch tablet users are still better off with the new "tablet" UI because the larger devices are quite comical in portrait mode. Until Skype figures out how to do a responsive tablet UI that changes appropriately for landscape and portrait use, it's good to have this option. You can grab the update from the Play Store link at the top of this post.

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4 years ago

Nokia's new Windows Phone NFC writer app gives props to Google+

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How do you know you've started to make it as a social network? When Nokia, that misfit manufacturer that's keeping Windows Phone alive one Lumia at a time, adds Google+ to its new NFC tag application.

Our pals at WPCentral have the scoop on this one, but the gist is that you can create a tag to a Google+ link. Say, to the highly popular +Android Central page. That's a good sign for ye olde G+.

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4 years ago

Mobile Nations at MWC 2013: Day two podcast

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We're winding down here in Barcelona, as the major announcements draw to a close and we finish up our hands-on coverage of the new devices at Mobile World Congress. In our final MWC podcast, we discuss TouchWiz on a TV, the difference between a Fonepad and a Padfone, and whether a Photosphere is really a Photosphere if no-one's around to see it fall.

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Windows Phone --

Android --

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4 years ago

About that Google Settings app that appeared on your device today

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As part of its new Google+ sign-in initiative that went live today, Google pushed a silent update to the Google Play Services app to support the new feature, which also brought along a new app called Google Settings. Google Play Services updates in the background routinely, much like the Play Store itself, in order to have phones up to date and syncing properly. The updates don't usually install new apps, but there's nothing to worry about here, the Google Settings app is indeed supposed to be there.

That being said, it doesn't seem all that useful, as it just provides shortcuts to the settings menus of other apps on the phone -- like Google+, Maps and Location. These settings could all be accessed previously, but in order to have everything working out of the box and have a settings area set up for the new Google+ sign-in, Google had to push something out there. We may have preferred if there was some kind of notice of what was going on though.

Going forward it's likely that Google will use this app to house more than just a few settings shortcuts -- and the functionality could easily just be baked into the general OS settings as well. For now, just let it be -- at least the icon isn't too ugly.

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4 years ago

Pocket Casts 4: more than just a fresh coat of paint

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Pocket Casts has been around for some time, and is always part of the conversation when talking about podcast apps on Android. But like many other apps, it was long overdue for a redesign. This latest update, Pocket Casts version 4, has thrown the app back into the forefront of quality Android design. But the update is more than just skin deep -- underneath that design is a whole bucket of new features that are just as appealing as the visuals.

Hang around with us after the break, and take a look at the completely redesigned Pocket Casts 4.

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