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3 years ago

Nokia's first Android phone to be released this month, according to WSJ report

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Device will naturally feature Nokia and Microsoft apps instead of Google Play

Nokia may finally release its long-rumored Android phone, and the announcement is expected as soon as this month. According to sources of The Wall Street Journal, Nokia engineers have continued to work on the budget-minded Android device as the company prepared to be acquired by Microsoft. As you would expect, Nokia doesn't plan to put Google Play on the device nor highlight any of Google's services, choosing instead to fill the phone with its own apps such as Here maps and services from Microsoft.

The phone is expected to be a low-end replacement for its current "Asha" devices, which are targeted at emerging markets and have used an in-house developed operating system even as all of its higher-end devices moved to Windows Phone. Minimum spec requirements have kept Windows Phone off of these budget phones, and it seems Nokia plans to test the waters with using Android rather than try and shoehorn WP8 onto the handsets. The report claims that Nokia is ready to show off this new Android-powered device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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3 years ago

Huawei reportedly jumping into the smartwatch arena at Mobile World Congress

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Wearable expected alongside new phone and pair of tablets

In case you weren't convinced the smartwatch was the current 'in thing,' Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will reportedly see yet another contender in the space emerge. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese manufacturer will be taking its own wearable creation to Spain.

Little else is known, besides the accompanying information that Huawei will also be unveiling a new flagship smartphone and a pair of tablets. Neither are particularly surprising, since it has been some 6 months since the Ascend P6 and Huawei isn't shy about firing out tablet after tablet after tablet. Whatever Huawei may or may not be taking to Barcelona in a couple of weeks, you can bet we'll be there to get our hot little hands all over it.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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3 years ago

Sen. Franken's fear of Google Glass facial recognition app is premature

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The NameTag app for Google Glass isn't anywhere near ready for prime time, but it still manages to get attention.

Some good news this morning for U.S. Sen. Al Franken, and others who worry that anyone with Google Glass is using the $1,500 wearable to stalk them. The esteemed gentleman from Minnesota last week released a letter he sent to FacialNetwork.com, which makes the NameTag app for Google Glass.

Franken doesn't hide his concern for the app when it comes to privacy.

I am writing to express my deep concern about your company's recently announced NameTag app for Google Glass. According to promotional materials, NameTag lets strangers get a broad range of personal information-including a person's name, photos, and dating website profiles-simply by looking at that person's face with the Glass camera. This is apparently done without that person's knowledge or consent, which crosses a bright line for privacy and personal safety.

Fair enough. But Franken's fear is based off "promotional materials." 

We've spent a few minutes actually using the NameTag app. And even in that short time, it's obvious that Franken has nothing yet to fear.

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod 11 M3 builds now rolling out

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Another milestone for the KitKat-based firmware

Visit the CyanogenMod download page and you'll see CM11 M3 builds are starting to roll off the servers. "M" builds are milestones along the development process as the KitKat-based CyanogenMod 11 approaches release candidate, and eventually stable status. So M-snapshot builds are supposed to be more stable than nightlies, but may still contain a few bugs.

At the time of writing we're seeing M3 builds for a wide range of devices including the Galaxy S4, HTC One and LG G2, along with many Nexus devices and legacy handsets. If you're already set up with a custom recovery on your device, you can hit up the source link to find the full list CM11 M3 builds ready for flashing.

Source: CyanogenMod

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3 years ago

Installing Google Glass onto the prescription frames doesn't look too tough

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If you've got Google Glass but have been hesitant to pull the trigger on the official prescription frames because you were worried about the installation process, Matt Coddington does a great job of showing just how easy it is to swap them out.

A single screw holds the guts of Glass to the titanium band. Loosen that up, put it apart, then reverse the process for the new frames. Really, the toughest part will be getting the lenses put in, we reckon.

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3 years ago

HTC makes modest net profit in Q4 2013, but revenue declines

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Sales down as company looks to mid-level devices

HTC has released its finalized financial results for the fourth quarter of 2013, showing that the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer avoided a second quarter of losses, but with a drop in revenue. Quarterly revenues were NT$42.9 billion, down from NT60 billion in Q4 2012, with net profits of just NT$310 million (around $10.2 million). EPS (earnings per share) was NT$0.38, while gross margin was 17.8 percent and operating margin was -3.7 percent. 

In today's earnings press release, HTC CEO Peter Chou said the company would focus on "building a compelling mid-range portfolio," alongside its high-end offerings. That sentiment was echoed by Chairwoman Cher Wang in an interview with Reuters today. Wang admitted that HTC "didn't do well" in 2013, saying that it had "missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market." In the same interview CFO Chailin Chang said HTC was targeting the $150-300 price range for its upcoming mid-level products. 

Meanwhile at the high-end, HTC execs reportedly said invites would be sent out in a couple of weeks for the launch event of HTC's next flagship phone. The successor to the HTC One, known by the codename "M8," has appeared in online leaks in recent days.

Looking ahead, HTC predicts revenue between NT$34-36 billion for the first quarter of 2014, with a gross margin between 21.5 and 22 percent.

Source: HTC, Reuters

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3 years ago

Revel game wins the Big Indie Pitch, coming soon Android

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Last week’s Apps World was an event dedicated to mobile games and apps - and the craft of making them. Apps World culminated with the Big Indie Pitch, a contest in which game developers pitched their games to members of the press. I look forward to telling you all about my experience with the Pitch very soon.

In the meantime, let’s look at one of the two games that won the Big Indie Pitch. New York-based developer Odin’s Hammer bought their social interaction/photo game Revel to the show. Revel is a unique scavenger hunt-style game in which players take photos of things in their environment and try to outdo their peers. Read on to learn why we’re so excited that it’s coming to Android!

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3 years ago

Karma Wifi Hotspot review: Feel good about sharing your connection

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High per-gigabyte pricing and weak coverage hurt an otherwise interesting model for mobile data.

Whether it's to get our Wifi-only tablets online, save battery on our phones or simply diversify to have connections from multiple carriers, many turn to a mobile hotspot for their data needs. Most hotspots follow a very similar billing model as a phone — pay every month for a certain amount of data, and at the start of the next month you have the same amount of data refreshed.

The Karma Wifi Hotspot is different, and for a specific set of people it may just be a great go-to device if you just need some extra data here and there. At the simplest level, Karma is a pay-as-you-go mobile hotspot. You purchase the device itself for $99 and refill data onto it at the rate of $14 per 1GB (or less if you buy in bulk). The data doesn't expire at the end of the month, though, it actually never expires.

But that isn't Karma's only trick. Your hotspot is open for any other Karma user to take advantage of — and if someone else logs into your hotspot, you'll both be rewarded with free data that gets added right onto your data balance. Read along and learn how Karma is hoping to be your next choice for pay-as-you-go data.

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3 years ago

What I'm playing this week: TA: Little Red Riding Hood

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A twist on the classic tale, with beautiful graphics and excellent game mechanics

I can't stop playing this one. TA: Little Red Riding Hood (the TA stands for Twisted Adventures) is a great mix of platformer and runner style games, one where you hop from rotating sphere to rotating sphere, hitting the good things and avoiding the bad things.

There are no complicated commands or rules to memorize. You tap the screen to jump. As you jump from sphere to sphere, you'll want to collect the flowers and apples you see along the way. When you see a caged rabbit on a sphere's surface, touch it to free it. Shadow monsters, like wolves, hornets and birds, will kill you and send you back to the beginning of the level if you touch them. The levels get progressively harder, and some are maddeningly difficult to get a perfect score on — just the way we like them to be.

While the game physics and mechanics are really good — there's even a different gravity factor based on how fast or slow a sphere is turning — it's the graphics that send TA: Little Red Riding Hood over the top. Done up in the popular art-style you see from titles like Don't Starve or Badland, the graphics are beautiful, and gameplay is fluid. 

It's not the perfect game — there's no Google Play games integration, and the lone soundtrack is a little repetitive — but it's definitely one worth downloading if you're into casual games on your phone or tablet. It's also on sale for 99-cents for a limited time, so you've got even more incentive to give it a spin. 

The Google Play link is above, and you can watch the official gameplay trailer after the break.

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: The Flappy Bird paradox

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Flappy Bird haters aren't wrong — but we're also in the minority.​

Maybe I just don't get it. I'm all for mindless, time-wasting games. I think being able to shut down most of your brain for a few minutes and push some pixels around — then stop and pick right back up where you left off — is a good thing. I just didn't think Flappy Bird was a particularly good game. To each his own, I suppose. (I veg out with Jetpack Joyride and Plants vs. Zombies 2 all the time.)

And I wasn't alone. In every Flappy Bird story we ran, commenters were on my side. (At least that's how I saw it. This was personal.) Flappy Bird — insofar as mindless, free games go — was not good.

But here's the thing, and it's something we recognized fairly early (even if I took my sweet-ass time giving in to it): Flappy Bird was (and still is) a treasure trove of traffic. Make no mistake about it — folks were searching the web for ways to beat Flappy Bird. How to "win" at Flappy Bird. And, yes, how to cheat at Flappy Bird. It was downloaded tens of millions of times on iOS and Android. We'd be stupid to not write about it. (But that doesn't mean I had to like it.)

So it's not like nobody was playing Flappy Bird. Make no mistake, we haters are in the minority. We pass on bullshit stories all the time. Flappy Bird, for better or worse, became too big to ignore. But I won't be sorry to see it go.

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3 years ago

First look at Gubble Vacation Rush from Apps World

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Back during the era of the original Playstation, an arcade-style game called Gubble migrated from PC and Mac to Playstation. It starred a little purple alien who hopped around in a pogo stick-like vehicle and solved puzzles with simple tools like hammer and screwdriver. Several years later, developer Actual Entertainment released the first Gubble on iOS (Android hadn’t caught on so strongly at that point).

At Apps World in San Francisco last week we met with Actual president Franz Lanzinger  to learn about Gubble’s upcoming trip to Android. The hammer-loving alien will soon star in Gubble Vacation Rush, a 3D endless running game. What has Gubble been up to all this time, and what will he bring to the (work)table in Vacation Rush? Find out in our hands-on video!

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Plane Finder, Boxed Wholesale, The Great Martian War and more!

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Check out the apps we've been using on our devices this week

It's been another big week of news, so now it's time to sit down and talk about some apps. Each Saturday we take up a spot on the site to highlight an app that each of the writers here at Android Central have been using lately. Whether it's a popular (or not so popular) game, new utility or just something random that's been on our phones and tablets, we'll talk about it here.

Read along with us after the breaks and see another solid collection of apps from the team — you may just find a few apps to install for yourself.

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3 years ago

T-Mobile wins court case over Aio Wireless regarding use of magenta-like colors

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Texas court rules AT&T has to choose a new color scheme for its budget prepaid brand

Following an extensive suit culminating in a three-day hearing, T-Mobile has won a court case finding that AT&T's prepaid brand Aio Wireless was using colors too similar to T-Mobile's in its branding. The lawsuit, which sparked up quickly after Aio Wireless launched, claimed that AT&T specifically used a color it calls "plum" that was very close to T-Mobile's trademark magenta color specifically to confuse customers.

A federal court in Texas has now ordered AT&T to stop using its current "plum" color scheme, specifically "magenta or similar colors," for the prepaid brand in marketing, advertising, stores, web sites and social media. It's not clear at this time what color scheme AT&T will choose to switch to, or if it will appeal the decision — the wording of the ruling doesn't ban complete use of the colors, but only specific shades in "large blocks."

T-Mobile states that "Wireless customers identify T-Mobile with magenta," and that this ruling reaffirms that position. This isn't the first time T-Mobile has had to defend its specific color use against other entities, but this can be a big speed bump and cost assessed to AT&T which is likely trying to run Aio Wireless on generally tight margins.

Source: T-Mobile

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3 years ago

Flappy Bird developer 'cannot take this anymore' and is taking down insanely popular game

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Developer Dong Nguyen will keep making games, but Flappy Bird will be no more by the end of the weekend. 

The somewhat reclusive developer of inexplicable runaway hit Flappy Bird has announced that he "cannot take this anymore" and will be removing the game from app stores in 22 hours, as of 2:02 PM EST today. Dong Nguyen explained on his Twitter account that the takedown isn't due to any legal reasons, and that he won't be selling the rights to the game. 

Flappy Bird apparently is making $50k every day in ad revenue, which makes the take-down seem bizarre, but one can imagine that an indie developer that never sought the spotlight may be under a little too much pressure. He said earlier that the game has ruined his simple life, so he hates the game. Nguyen says he'll keep making games though, and with any luck, they'll experience at least a little bit of the success of Flappy Bird. 

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3 years ago

Apps World: Hands-on with the new and improved Zeebox TV app

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Updated features expected to hit within the next few days

We travelled to this week’s App World event in San Francisco to learn about new and interesting apps coming to Android. One section of the show – TV Hackfest - specifically showcased apps relating to television and video viewing.

Inside of the TV Hackfest area, we met with Anthony Rose, Co-founder and CTO of Zeebox. Zeebox is a second-screen TV app that offers a customizable TV guide, news feeds for users’ favorite shows, discussion rooms for those shows, and more. The Android version of Zeebox is due for an update with exclusive features within the next few days. Check out our hands-on video to see how Zeebox can make watching the shows you like better and easier.

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