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4 years ago

Mobile Nations fitness month week 3: Sleep and relaxation!

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Leave a comment below telling us your Fitness Month goals and be entered to win a FitBit!

It's February and you know what that means? Mobile Nations Fitness Month! That's when we all get together to get in shape, share tips and tricks and recipes for success, review amazing apps and accessories, give away great prizes, and have a ton of fun! This year we're doing it a little differently, though. We're doing weekly themes, and that means every week you'll have new and exciting challenges, and new chances to win!

Week 2: Sleep and relaxation!

Relaxation, whether its full on mediation or just some simple breathing exercise, is how we keep our bodies and minds centered and balanced. Sleep is our reboot, when we write our daily cache to disk and run our system repairs so we're ready for the next day. As part of fitness month, we'll be reviewing a bunch of great apps and accessories that can help encourage, track, and train us to sleep and relax better and smarter. We'll also be doing THREE cool contests!

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4 years ago

HTC Rezound and Droid Incredible 2 getting a small 'Device Enhancement' update

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Verizon and HTC have announced a small update for the Rezound and the Droid Incredible 2 today. Listed only as a "Device Enhancement", no one is yet sure exactly what is getting updated, only that said updates should be making their way to handsets soon. Keep an eye on the forums to find out more.

Source: Verizon (Rezound), (Incredible 2)

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4 years ago

The Weather Channel app gets a sizeable update with a new look

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The Weather Channel's official Android app has been given a complete makeover in today's big update. In addition to an all new user interface and tablet optimization, they have beefed up the content quite a bit with more detailed forecasts, better and faster maps, and a better selection of videos from around the world. The full change log reads like this:

  • “Expect rain to start at 3:15p”—No more guessing! If your weather is changing within 6 hrs, we let you the exact time it will happen.
  • Faster maps with past & future radar, severe weather bulletins
  • More detailed forecasts
  • A better selection of videos
  • Optimized for Android tablets
  • Set up your favorites places to take full advantage of our weather widgets and notifications.
  • What everyone has been asking for, a Refresh button!
  • It is now easy to share your weather with your friends & family

Of course, the biggest thing users are going to see is the all new UI. My first impressions are that it's quite nice. There's plenty of information, it's well laid out, and most importantly, pleasing to the eye. But according to the Play store entry's comments, many long time users aren't very happy with the changes. They note the new ad placement as a sticking point and feel it's less intuitive. Having not used the app before today's update means I have no reference, but I like it enough to keep it around for a while. This sort of thing is subjective, so the best advice I can give is to install it and try for yourself. It's free -- grab it at the Google Play link above. I've tossed a few screenshots after the break.

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4 years ago

Xperia Z now on sale at Sony Mobile France store

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It looks like Germany isn't the only country getting an early chance to pick up the Sony Xperia Z. The phone has just gone up for sale on the Sony Mobile France online store. Purchased SIM-free, the 5-inch, 1080p-toting handset will set French buyers back €649 -- that's not cheap, but nor is it significantly more expensive than the average high-end smartphone.

The phone is available in black and white -- the purple version isn't being offered unlocked, as it's exclusive to the SFR network in France.

The Xperia Z should start appearing in brick-and-mortar stores before long, starting with the Sony Store in Berlin. Other European territories are expected to follow around the end of the month.

Source: Sony Mobile France; via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Start your week with the Greatest Android Podcast in the World!

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There's a ton of awesome Android news coming up this week. HTC's event on Tuesday. Our trek to Mobile World Congress at the back half of the week. And if you missed Thursday night's live recording, we've got your preview for it all. Plus, we recap what's new with Android 4.2.2, and take a bunch your voicemails. 

The Android Central Podcast is your weekly peek into the world of Android, where we break down the news that really matters, and explain what's just a bunch of hype. Plus, we answer your e-mails and voicemails. You don't want to miss it. Check out the Android Central Podcast.

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4 years ago

LG finally reveals Optimus G Pro specs, price, availability

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Update: LG expects to begin rolling out the new Optimus G Pro in overseas territories including the U.S. during the second quarter.

LG technically officially announced the Optimus G Pro for the Korean market a few days ago, but now we've got all of the gritty details on the device. As we saw before, the new device will sport a full HD 1080x1920 5.5-inch (that's 400 ppi) display, with seemingly tiny bezels. Under that screen will be a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (SDcard expandable) and a removable 3,140mAh battery with wireless charging support. We're looking at 13MP rear and 2MP front cameras, LTE connectivity and shipping software of Android 4.1.2 with LG's latest UX customizations.

The press release indicates availability of "next week" for the Korean market. Pricing is quoted at 968,000 won, which with a quick currency exchange calculation is just shy of $900 (although that's not always indicative of eventual U.S. pricing). The Optimus G Pro will be on display at MWC in just a week, so you can bet we'll have our hands on one soon.

Source: LG

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4 years ago

Gundotra: 'Committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras'

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'Just you wait and see,' senior VP of engineering replies on Google+

Google's Senior VP of Engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra, took to Google+ this morning in a photography-themed post to reply to comments about the quality of Nexus phone cameras. The Nexus 4 is a pretty notable improvement in camera quality over what we saw on the Galaxy Nexus, but it's no secret that Nexus devices have lacked in the photography department. As you can see below, in response to a comment about just carrying a future Nexus device as his only camera Vic had this to say:

It's clear with Google's improvements to the stock Android camera UI since Ice Cream Sandwich -- and the inclusion of Photo Sphere with Jelly Bean -- that a lot of focus is being put on the camera of Nexus devices, but it takes more than just a good UI to take good pictures. It really takes the combination of a quality camera sensor and great image processing software on the back end to have the end result of great pictures. While many Android manufacturers will pay to license image processing software from camera companies -- or in some cases borrow from the camera divisions of their own companies -- Google has historically kept things open-source in the camera department, which conflicts with paying for closed-source camera software.

Now no one likes to just "wait and see," but it's our only option at this point. It's comments like this from high-ranking Googlers that make us hopeful for the future of Nexus camera capabilities though.

Source: Vic Gundotra (Google+); Thanks, Grant!

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4 years ago

Utter! Voice Command Beta: control your phone by voice

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The recent update to Google Now has just made one of the nicer Jelly Bean features -- offline voice recognition -- available for third party developers to use, and voice command app utter! is the first to take advantage of this feature. Utter! is positioning itself to help accomplish most anything that could normally be done by a default Google Voice Search and go beyond that to then let you control other device functions outside of the scope of Google's own offering.

Hang with us after the break to see what utter! brings to the table in its current beta state.

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4 years ago

Netgear PTV3000 gets a firmware update, now officially supports host of Android devices

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NetGear's PTV300 Miracast adapter has been available for some time now, but it just recently received a firmware update that made it compatible with a number of Android devices. Now at v2.2.9, which is the third official firmware update (Android functionality was added in 2.2.7), supported devices now include:

  • Samsung Galaxy S3  (Android 4.1.1 or above)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II  
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
  • LG Optimus G  (Android 4.0.4 or above)
  • Google Nexus 4 (Android 4.2.1)
  • Sony Xperia (various models with Android 4.0.4 or above) 

Miracast remains a fairly new standard, so some hiccups may still arise. Lakeeast in our Nexus 4 forums says the recent Android 4.2.2 update might have affected things, but we've yet to confirm this. (Still trying to our PTV3000 updated from a the last firmware update.) If you've got one, give it a shot. And if you're still on the fence, keep an eye out to see what's what.

We've got the full v2.2.9 changelog after the break.

Download: PTV3000 v.2.2.9

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4 years ago

International roundup: HTC One and Galaxy S4 rumors, new LG phones and an early Xperia Z launch

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As Phil mentioned in this week's column, the next two weeks in the smartphone world are going to be particularly crazy. We've got events from HTC and Sony next week, and Mobile World Congress starting the following weekend. (And we have a feeling March is going to be even more action-packed.)

So in the run up to these events, there's been plenty of international news to report from all the major manufacturers. Head past the break to find out what's been stirring these past seven days with the rumored HTC "One," Galaxy S4, Optimus G Pro and Sony Xperia Z.

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4 years ago

Plume adds its own open-sourced DashClock Widget extension

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Another day, another DashClock Widget extension, it seems. The latest is from Twitter app Plume. It's doing things a little bit different. Whereas Falcon Pro baked its DashClock extension directly into the app, Plume's is a separate download. That's an extra step, but Plume developer LevelUp Studio also released its extension code as open-source which in addition to being awesome is also in the spirit of DashClock Widget, which itself is open-sourced.

A reminder that you'll need Android 4.2.x to use DashClock Widget.

Hit the link above to download the extension. And hit the link below for the raw code.

More: Plume for DashClock on Github

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Ready for a wild couple weeks

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Flights are booked, bags are packed and passports are in hand. February inevitably becomes one wild tech ride, and 2013's not disappointing. Consider:

  • Feb. 19: HTC events in New York and London, and something in Sydney as well. The consensus is that we'll see the fabled "M7," possibly called the "HTC One."
  • Feb. 20: Not strictly Android-related, but Sony's got something going on -- most likely the next-generation PlayStation. Kind of a big deal.
  • Feb. 23-27: Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The show doesn't actually open until Feb. 25. But as is the trend these days, we've got meetings and events as early as two days before doors open. We'll have a full MWC preview later this week, but expect news from Sony, ASUS, Huawei, ZTE, Mozilla, Ubuntu and LG, among others.

And that's just the stuff we can tell you about. Things are happening off the books and behind the scenes, as they always do. So you'll forgive me if I keep this kind of short this week. Gotta run, but not before a few other thoughts ...

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4 years ago

DashClock Widget v1.2 adds shortcuts, visual tweaks, new languages

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If you've got an Android phone or tablet that's got Android 4.2.x and you're not using DashClock Widget, you are, quite frankly, doing it wrong. And the app that turns the Jelly Bean lock screen widgets into more than just wishful thinking -- by the way, it's already in the 50,000 to 100,000 download range, and we'd be willing to bet it's on the high end of that -- got an update to version 1.2 today, bringing with it a number of improvements.

First up are some new visual tweaks, allowing for custom opacity, as well as the ability to center the clock. You also can assign application shortcuts to the weather and clock widgets. Nice. Then there's the addition of extensions for missed calls and new text messages. Or perhaps you'd be interested in support for French, German, Spanish and Russian. Use Microsoft Exchange for your calendar? It's now supported. Some of this is tucked into a new "advanced" menu, so dive into the settings to see the new features.

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4 years ago

From the Android Forums: Importing contacts and Nexus updates

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LolUmad asks in the Android Central Forums:

Hello.

I just sold my Nokia 920 and got a Nexus 4. I have two questions for the aware:

  1. All of my contacts had to be imported in from my microsoft.live account. How do I add them all to my Google account (so that next time I get another android phone I can just have them imported in automatically)?
  2. How do software updates work? Automatically or do I have to do something.

Thanks in advance.

Welcome aboard, and we're glad you asked! Your first question is a pretty common one, and luckily it's also a really easy one thanks to the settings built into Gmail. Since you're coming from a Windows Live account, you can have Google import your contacts automatically via the web. Open your Gmail account in a web browser on a computer, and look for the settings icon in the upper right. Open the settings, choose the "Accounts and Import" tab, and in the list choose "Import mail and contacts". This will copy everything over to your Gmail account, which syncs with any Android device you're signed in to. 

For anyone not using a web-based service like Windows Live, importing contacts is still pretty easy. Just export them from your mail client into a .csv file and you can import that file in your Google Contacts page. Either way sure beats typing them all by hand.

For your second question. the answer is both! Updates will come automatically from Google to your Nexus 4, and you'll know you have one because of the notification icon. Google rolls the updates out pretty slowly at first, and many times we don't like to wait. You can sideload an update pretty easily if you're the type who doesn't like waiting in line. It involves a little work at your computer's command line, but it's not really hard. You can find all the information you would every want to know about sideloading updates in the Nexus 4 forums.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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