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6 years ago

Carphone Warehouse to ship certain Android phones with Spark XL launcher


UK-based retailer the Carphone Warehouse will be shipping certain Android phones with the SparkXL custom launcher as standard, according to a press release from developer HipLogic. The ad-supported homescreen replacement includes feeds from social networks and news sites, along with weather information and an optional "deals" feed.

Some Android devices (Carphone has yet to announce specific models) will ship with SparkXL set as the default launcher. On other devices, the retailer will offer SparkXL to customers via its "Walk Out Working" in-store setup program. The full press release can be found after the jump.

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6 years ago

Android Quick App: Giant Fighting Robots


Youtube link for mobile viewing

From Laminar Research, the developer that brought us X-Plane, we now present Giant Fighting Robots! We said, GIANT. FIGHTING. ROBOTS!

The premise is simple:

Aliens have invaded our outer colonies with no warning, and we are madly trying to raise a defense as our outposts fail, scrounging up anything we can do defend ourselves with.

You will command an All Terrain Attack Walker, or ATAW ... They are calling them Giant Fighting Robots' in the press now.

The controls ... well, if you've played X-Plane, you'll be used to things here. You have a throttle for going forward and backward, and tilt the phone to steer. Arm your weapons and fire away.

As you'll see in our video, the graphics aren't 100 percent, the sounds are simple and the gameplay is a bit rudimentary. But with a name like GIANT FIGHTING ROBOTS (OK, the all-caps are our doing), we just couldn't pass it up. The game's $1.99 in the Android Market, and we've got download links after the break.

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6 years ago

HTC's ChaCha and Salsa now available for pre-order via Amazon



Facebook, of course, is slowly be taking over the world, and if you feel the need to have a dedicated Facebook button on your device like on the HTC ChaCha or Salsa, the time has come. Amazon UK has offered a pre-order for these devices and they are also showing a release date of June 26, which is still over a month away. The HTC ChaCha is set to launch at £249.99, while the HTC Salsa carries a price tag of £319.99. Will you be placing a pre-order for either of these devices? If so, be sure to discuss it in theChaCha or Salsa forums!

Source: Amazon UK; Via Engadget

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6 years ago

Zipcar for Android now in the Android Market


Early last month word slipped about Zipcar and their Android application that was in the works and now the application has finally hit the market. If you're unfamiliar, Zipcar it is a popular metro-based loaner car company that allows people to rent and use cars in a rather non traditional manner. The application does have a disclaimer in the market that it still is a beta version, but don't let that deter you from giving it a shot, and if you notice any bugs be sure to provide feedback! Download links available after the break.

Thanks, tati!

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6 years ago

What do you want to see at Google IO?


Jerry and I are winging our way west today, ahead of the Google IO developer conference Tuesday and Wednesday. Last year we got a look at Foyo and Google TV, plus a sneak peak at Android's music service (which has yet to materialize), among other things.

What's everybody hoping to see this year? Sound off in the comments. And if you're at Google IO, or just see us in the bars streets of SF, be sure to say hi.

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6 years ago

Sony Ericsson teaches how to build and flash a custom kernel


Sony Ericsson just proved to us all that they get it.  First, they offer up a real bootloader unlocking solution, and now they have published a How-To on their official developer blog with instructions to build, flash and boot a custom Linux kernel for the Xperia Arc, the Xperia Play, and the Xperia Neo.  They even provide links to the needed tools, and give some tips for editing the kernel source and config.

To all the Android kernel developers out there this is like solid gold.  No more fighting the manufacturer and their protection schemes, instead they provide a How-To and offer support at XDA-Developers.  If only other manufacturers would follow their lead. 

Source: Sony Ericsson Developer Blog

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6 years ago

Editorial: It's time to stop the 4G smoke in our eyes



You would think maybe AT&T might have learned something through osmosis, through the months and months and millions and millions of dollars of highly successful advertisements Apple has run promoting the iPhone. They've pulled at our heartstrings. They've played off our emotions. And they've been very, very good at it.

But that's Apple.

AT&T, meanwhile, has found itself on the wrong end of the 4G argument, and it's doing its damnedest to lose it.

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6 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for May 8, 2011


With summer just around the corner everyone is trying to get their summer muscles back in action, and be beach ready. Well, OK, not everyone. But if you are interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, hit the break with us as we look at some great workout applications this week.

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6 years ago

Sprint's Nexus S 4G available today for $199 on contract


OK, all you boys and girls on Sprint -- the Nexus S 4G has finally arrived! You get the latest version of Android (that'd be Android 2.3.4, with the new Google Talk video chat), the promise of the latest updates, the "Pure Google" experience, all in a sleek, lightweight Samsung shell.

Oh, and Sprint's 4G Wimax data.

It's available today for $199 if you sign a two-year contract, or $549 if you want to skip such formalities. And remember that it's subject to Sprint's $10-a-month "premium data add-on" tax. But that's that price you've gotta pay. So, who's in?

Source: Sprint

Update: Best Buy's got it on sale for $150 on contract.

Nexus S reviewNexus S 4G forumsNexus S 4G accessories

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6 years ago

LG Optimus Black hits Europe later this month, coming to North America, too


LG just announced that the Optimus Black -- as seen in our initial review -- will be released in Europe later this month. No specific date was given, but LG does note that 56 carriers in 50 nations worldwide have ordered the Android 2.2 smartphone, including in North America.

Need a refresher on specs? Here 'tis:

  • 4-inch NOVA Display (700 nits brightness)
  • Android 2.2
  • Dimensions:122 x 64 x 9.2mm
  • Weight: 109g
  • 1GHz processor (Texas Instruments OMAP3)
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • 5MP Rear Camera / 2MP Front Facing Camera
  • Gesture UI powered by Gyro-sensor
  • 2GB Internal Memory and Micro SD up to 32GB
  • 1,500 mAh Battery

If you're looking for some single-core awesomeness, you're going to want to check this one out, folks. (Again, see our initial review.) And if black's not your thing, it'll be followed by versions in white and pink. Full presser's after the break.

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6 years ago

How to cheat at benchmarks (and why we should downplay their importance)


Benchmarks can be useful, whether we're talking mobile or any other computer hardware.  There is a problem though -- you have to depend on everyone being honest.  Let me explain.  Anytime you see a video or a screenshot of a benchmark score, what you're really seeing is a measure of how the software interacts with the hardware.  There are two big problems with that: No two Android phones run the same software, and there's always some joker who wants to cheat.  recently our pal John from Phone Arena noted some Quadrant scores of a new handset that are just too low compared to the other phones listed.  And good on John for pointing it out.

Sure, benchmarks can be fun, like see how little impact LG's UI has on the Optimus 2X compared to Stock Froyo, and they can be useful if you're running them yourself to gauge some changes you're making to your own software.  But we're over it. We're going to base our judgment of performance based on performance, and not numbers.

It's just too damn easy to cheat at all benchmarks, because they are just Android apps.  Look at all the other magic folks do with Android apps, and ask yourself -- are benchmarks so different that they can't be "hacked"?  The answer is no, and we're going to show you how to hack at the easiest (but definitely not the only) one to manipulate, Quadrant. 

Check it out after the jump.

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6 years ago

Dell Venue hands-on and initial review


The Dell Venue remains unreleased on any U.S. mobile carrier, and is available only in an unlocked version for $499 directly from Dell. It's certainly a solid piece of hardware and it looks like Dell really took some time into crafting a sleek and attractive phone. The phone features a 4.1-inch AMOLED display that looks fantastic, but at 800x400 pixel, it isn't the top of the line, with higher-resolution qHD phones hitting the market. And unfortunately, I have to say the same about almost everything inside the Venue. Now don't get me wrong, the phone is far from a slouch, but on paper, it just doesn't stand up to some of the handsets we've been seeing rumored (and released) lately.

The Venue sports a first-gen 1 GHZ Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512 MB of RAM. The camera is a respectable 8MP with autofocus, digital zoom, and flash. The Venue has 1GB of on-board memory with an included 16GB memory card, and is powered by a 1400 mAh removable battery. With quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and tri-band HSDPA 7.2 (850/1900/2100 Mhz), the Venue is ready to run on EDGE on either AT&T or T-Mobile, and supports high-speed HSUPA uploads (though it lacks full support for either carrier's 4G HSPA+ network.) It lacks the 1700MHz band for T-Mobile's 3G.

That 4.1-inch screen is different than the 4.3-inchers big shots like HTC and Motorola have been shipping with, but with its slightly-curved shape, it comes together to create a unique look. At 4.76 inches tall and 2.52 inches wide, the phone has a completely different feel than most others on the market. It's thin, too, at just slightly over a half inch thick. But don't be fooled by the Venue's svelte figure: it's not light, by any means. With battery in tow it weighs in at 5.8 ounces. It certainly won't weight you down, but you'll certainly know you're holding it.

At first glance it would appear that Dell has maintained a mostly Vanilla-flavored Froyo, though after some digging around it's obvious that the Venue does come (very lighty) skinned with a Dell experience. It isn't as noticeable as, say, HTC's Sense (and certainly not as obtrusive as Motoblur), but we can't call the Venue a true “Google experience.” Dell has equipped the Venue with its “Stage” software, which it says will “Organize your music, photos and more so what’s most important to you is always at the front and center and never more than a touch away.” We'll show you more of that in our full review.

We'll be putting the Venue through its paces in the next few days, so expect a full review shortly. For now, you can take a look at the quick video run-through and some pictures of our shiny new Venue after the break.

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6 years ago

HTC Sense 3.0 lockscreen available for EVO 4G


Well, folks, if you're itching to get your hands on the Sense 3.0-touting EVO 3D like most of us with EVO 4Gs are, you can now have a taste of Sense 3.0 that you can download and install on your rooted EVO 4G.  You have to be running a Sense 2.1-based Gingerbread ROM, then download and install the .apk file, reboot your phone, and voila!  A beautiful new Sense lockscreen awaits.  It works by dragging (or pulling, in HTC's terms) the semitransparent silver ring up to unlock and it performs quite smoothly at that.

One caveat I should mention -- the application shortcuts aren't working yet.  In a fully functioning Sense 3.0 lockscreen, you'd be able to drag the ring to an app shortcut (that you have chosen) and the phone would launch straight into that app.

On the brighter side, we do have working music app controls and alarm snooze/dismiss buttons that all work nicely.  Screenshots of these after the jump and download link at the source.

Source: XDA Developers; Thanks to deltatko for the tip!

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