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3 years ago

O2 UK requiring new customers to agree to mid-contract price rises

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Despite Ofcom's rulings, O2 requires an agreement in line with inflation

Just yesterday we heard about a new Ofcom ruling that says mobile customers hit with mid-term price hikes should be allowed to leave their contracts. Today, we're hearing that O2 UK will be requiring new customers to agree to such a thing as part of their contract. 

OK, so it's not totally underhanded and greedy, since any increases are to be in line with inflation. But instead of leaving us with the possibility of price increases we could ignore, it now leaves us accepting price increases as part of our contracts. Be it O2 or any of the others, the best thing you can do? Read your contract in full before you sign it. And if you don't like it, walk away. 

Source: O2 via Engadget

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3 years ago

Samsung confirms mid-range Galaxy Note 3 Neo not coming to UK

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Other launch details remain unclear

Rumors of an upcoming mid-range version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have been circulating in recent weeks, with photos and and spec details for the Galaxy Note 3 Neo — aka Note 3 Lite — appearing on Samsung fansite SamMobile. Leaked details point to a 5.5-inch 720p display, 2GB of RAM and a processor with six Cortex A7 cores at 1.3GHz, paired with a Mali-T624 GPU. The device is due to go up for pre-order shortly at one Belgian retailer, according to the reports.

Today Samsung has confirmed the existence of the Note 3 Neo in a short statement, while also revealing that the device won't be heading to British shores. The statement given to Android Central reads simply: “Samsung UK can confirm that the Note 3 Neo will not be coming to the UK market.”

In the absence of any detailed announcement we're left guessing as to when and where the Galaxy Note 3 Neo will actually go on sale. It's possible, however, the device might be targeted at emerging markets in order to deliver a Note-class device at a lower price point.

More coverage: SamMobile (2)

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3 years ago

LG G Pro 2 tipped for MWC debut

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Korean press reports 6-inch display, 3GB of RAM and KitKat for next 'Pro' handset

It's coming up on twelve months since we first saw the LG (Optimus) G Pro at Mobile World Congress 2013, so it's not too surprising to see reports out of Korea suggesting that a successor is on the cards for this year's MWC. Electronic Times reports that the LG G Pro 2 will feature a Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 6-inch Full HD display, along with support for LTE and LTE-Advanced networks, citing "telecommunications industry" sources. The report also claims the G Pro 2 will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, possibly making it the first LG phone to come with the new version of Android.

The purported spec sheet would have the new G Pro closely matching Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, which features a 5.7-inch 1080p display, the same Snapdragon 800  and 3GB of RAM. There's no indication as to what software tricks LG might layer atop Android 4.4, but ET's article suggests a renewed focus on multitasking given the device's vast reserves of memory. However things pan out, we'll be on the ground in Barcelona next month to bring you all the latest from LG and its rivals.

Source: ETNews (Korean)

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3 years ago

Samsung: no link between Note 3 KitKat update and nonfunctional third-party accessories

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Following the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat for the Galaxy Note 3 in some countries, there've been reports from some Note 3 owners that certain third-party accessories no longer work with the new firmware. The info first came to light on the XDA forums, where owners of some third-party S View cases say the accessories doesn't work as they did on Jelly Bean.

At first it seemed to be a simple case of a manufacturer locking down software to gain more control over the accessory ecosystem. However Samsung has today released a statement denying any link between nonfunctional third-party accessories and the recent update. The translated statement, given to German blog AllAboutSamsung, reads — 

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3 years ago

Facebook to expand targeted ad network to third-party apps

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Leveraging social signals to serve more interesting ads in your free apps

Facebook is testing a new ad network model that could leverage its vast customer data to serve ads in third-party mobile apps in the future. In what is simply being called a "test" at this point, Facebook says it is working with a small number of advertisers and app developers to show Facebook-generated advertisements in free apps on mobile.

The social network has dabbled in this sort of thing before, but has always used an outside ad network to make the process run smoothly. Cutting out one of the middlemen means more control (and profit margin) for Facebook, provided it can manage the entire process. Google famously makes amazing profits on its AdSense ad network because of the number of signals it can collect from customers using its products — the same could be true for Facebook on some level.

Given how successful Facebook's advertisement targeting has been in recent months in its own app — ad revenue isn't the highest, but it's doing relatively well — it makes sense that it would want to leverage that experience with third-party apps also. There's no indication at this point which apps are using Facebook's new ad network, but it does say that it is open to new partnerships at this time.

Source: Facebook Developers Blog; Via: Wired

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3 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Metal

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A simple prompt that gives you some creative freedom

It's Wednesday, and that means we're gearing up for another week-long photo contest focused on a prompt of our choosing. We like to keep things broad, usually, and we're going to stick with that theme by using the prompt "metal" this week. That could certainly be represented in a variety of ways, so we're ready to see your creativity come out with this one. As always, there will be a prize involved.

This week we're picking a single winner, and their photo entry will win them an HP Chromebook 11 (customized with an Android Central sticker on the lid, of course)!

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in a forums post at the link below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll pick a winner Tuesday (January 28) night at 11:59 PM ET, and announce them on the blog with next Wednesday's contest.

Enter this week's photo contest

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3 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Lights' winners!

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See who made the best use of 'lights' this week

We've come to the conclusion of yet another successful photo contest, with plenty of entries to take a look at. We fortunately had the opportunity to give away prizes — in this case SOL Republic Jax headphones — three different winners this week, but there were plenty of great entries that followed the prompt "light" that weren't picked to be highlighted here.

Hit the break and see the three winning photos for last week's contest, and get ready to enter a new image for the upcoming week as well.

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3 years ago

Beats Music kills new sign-ups while they sort some bugs

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Current users can carry on as normal, also get an extended trial period

You probably know Beats Music launched yesterday. With an Android app, 7-day trial and special deals for AT&T customers and all. It was a pretty big deal for Dre and his posse. Looking at user feedback around the Internet, it looks like it was a pretty big deal for customers, too.

Maybe that is part of the reason why Beats had to stop taking new customers so they could fix a few things. In a post on their blog, and in a message they sent to subscribers, they say "Due to the extremely high volume of interest in our service some users are experiencing issues." They go on to say that most people aren't affected, but they still want to slow things down a bit while they get out the wrenches and make some adjustments. Hopefully, these fixes will help the Android app, as we're seeing some wonk with fetching lists and streams, as well as some general UI bugs. 

Users who claimed their name already still will have it, and Beats will let you know how to proceed. For the rest of us, they say to install the app and register, and they'll get things sorted ASAP. They are even throwing in another 7-days of free trial for folks who registered this week to make up for the hassle.

Making the next Spotify or Pandora is hard — even if you're Dr. Dre or Trent Reznor. We'll wait and see how things progress.

Source: Beats Music

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3 years ago

Waiting for new Plants vs. Zombies 2 levels? Here's how to make the most of that time!

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You're going to need some help in the new world in PvZ2 — we've got a few tips to get it for you​.

We're not going to name names, but a few of us here are more than a little addicted to Plants vs. Zombies 2. And for good reason — it's one of those mindless time sucks that you can put down as easily as you pick it up. That's a good thing. And PvZ2 took us out of Dave's backyard and into three new worlds — Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas and Wild West — in which to kill zombies. With plants. All in search of a precious taco, or something.

Anyoo. If you're like me — erm, us — you've by now completed those three worlds and are awaiting a fourth. (Is that some sort of Futurama-like city?)

And before you go moving on to some other game of the month, we've got one tip that's going to make that fourth world a whole lot easier once it's available.

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3 years ago

Yes, Chrome may be listening — because you told it to

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Windows with permission to listen to your microphone keep listening until they are closed

There's news today about a new exploit in Chrome, that centers around the recently-introduced listening features. The new feature is not just limited to Google search, and any webmaster can implement it on his or her site with minimal coding. That is exactly the sort of thing that leads to scary-sounding issues, like the one today. 

In a nutshell, a website can ask for permission to use your microphone. Once granted, it can open another window from the same domain, and listen to the sounds coming in from your mic. Even if you surf away from the original window that asked permission. This becomes a problem when users lose track of what windows they may have open, and leave a sneakily placed pop up window running all day long to listen to everything it can hear.

But is this the expected behavior? Read on.

More: Talater.com

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3 years ago

Do you use the Infrared transmitter on your Android?

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IR remotes on your phone — who is using them?

2013 was not officially the year of Infrared. We think that happened sometime back in the late 1970s. But it was the year we started seeing phone manufacturers add IR transmitting abilities to their high-end phones. Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG all jumped on board and now anyone and everyone can buy an Android phone or tablet with an IR transmitter built right in, and there are built-in applications to use them to control the stuff in your entertainment center.

Since its inception, better alternatives to IR have come along. Things like IP-based controllers (using Wifi or even cellular data) work better and have almost unlimited range, and cloud-based controls are the new big thing. But IR isn't going anywhere anytime soon, because it's cheap, and limitations like line-of-site and distance aside, it works really well.

We like all this, in theory. Now we want to know if anyone is really using it. Look past the break and see the poll, and let us know.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1s now available on T-Mobile

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$0 down and $22 per month for the phone, or $528 outright

Right on schedule, the Sony Xperia Z1s launches today on T-Mobile in the U.S. Sony's latest handset costs $528 outright, which is split into 24 payments of $22 per month. As usual with T-Mo it's $0 down, and you pay for your service on top of the monthly device fee, so you're looking at total bills starting at $72 per month for 500MB, rising to $92 per month for unlimited data.

The Xperia Z1s is essentially an Xperia Z1 tweaked for T-Mobile, with a lighter plastic frame, some minor external differences and 32 gigabytes of storage versus the Z1's 16. It's powered by the same Snapdragon 800 processor as its international cousin, with 2 gigabytes of RAM, a 1080p "Triluminos" display and a 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS camera.

Our own Anndrew Vacca came away impressed following his time with the Z1s. From his review:

The Z1s’ design is striking and unique, and its UI is empowering without being overbearing. I love the display, despite its quirks, and the Z1s’ battery life is some of the best I’ve ever encountered. And though the camera stumbles in low light, it’s fun to use and capable of producing some really great results.

Picking up a Z1s today on T-Mo? Shout out in the comments!

More: Sony Xperia Z1s review

Source: T-Mobile

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3 years ago

AT&T lights up new LTE markets

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AT&T has announced that it's lit up 4G LTE service in "several" new markets today, including 20 highlighted in today's news release. Check out the full list after the break.

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3 years ago

UK mobile customers hit by mid-contract price hikes must be allowed to leave

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Providers have to give you a month's notice, but you can still leave under new guidelines

Score one for UK consumers, as Ofcom the UK communications industry regulator has stepped in and declared that anyone hit by a mid-contract price hike should be allowed to leave. The new guidelines come into effect tomorrow, January 23. 

From tomorrow, consumers and small businesses taking out new landline, broadband or mobile contracts should be allowed to exit them without penalty if their provider increases the monthly subscription price agreed at the point of sale. This follows an Ofcom review into the fairness of contract price terms. This found that many consumers, in particular, were caught unawares by price rises in what they believed to be fixed price contracts.

A few of the UK carriers have implemented price increases in recent times, and while the monthly increases were small, we weren't given a choice over whether or not we were happy to pay. Sadly, it only applies to contracts taken out from tomorrow, so for those of us still signed in to one, we're stuck for the time being. But at least things are starting to swing back in our favor a little. 

To read the new guidelines in full, hit up the source link below. 

Source: Ofcom

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3 years ago

Tanktastic wins new maps, tanks, and MOGA controller support

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Android gamers who want a World of Tanks-like experience on their phones and tablets can’t do much better than Tanktastic from G.H.O.R. Corporation. Tankastic features online multiplayer, multiple game types, and tons of tanks – all in an easy-to-swallow free to play game.

Just because they’re at the top doesn’t mean the Tanktastic team is resting on their laurels, though. The game recently received a massive update, and we’ve got exclusive details on the new features it brings – plus news of a contest to win MOGA controllers!

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