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3 years ago

Editors' top accessories: Alex's picks for 2013

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Top accessories for the past year

Looking at picking up something to complement your new Android phone over the holidays? The AC editors been using a whole bunch of different smartphone accessories without our devices in the past twelve months, and each of us have selected five of our favorites to round off 2013.

I'm kicking things off with a couple of cases, some replacement back covers, an essential wireless charging add-on and one of our favorite wearables of the moment. Check past the break to get started!

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3 years ago

Pondering the ever-bright future for Chrome OS

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A look at Amazon's holiday winners may mark the beginning of a major shift for Microsoft and Windows

Over the last year I’ve been paying close attention to the growing number of laptop vendors selling Google powered Chromebooks. We’ve got a Samsung Chromebook in my house, which otherwise is a mixture of Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry. 

I think it’s going to take many years to happen, but I firmly believe Microsoft Windows will keep losing ground as more and more of what we do is Internet-based. Families that have been all-Microsoft will experiment using a cheaper Chromebook. Android customers will enjoy the natural integration of Google’s services on these products. In time, this will eat into Microsoft’s operating system share. That’s my working thesis anyway.

On Boxing Day I noticed an interesting press release from online retail king Amazon. While the focus of the press release is how many new customers joined Amazon Prime, there is also a series of bullet points about product sales.

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3 years ago

HTC details the Android OEM update process with a fancy infographic

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Android updates are a series of tubes ...

Android version updates are a pretty big deal for a lot of end-users. Enough that a few have climbed aboard the Nexus train to keep things timely, even though they enjoy the features an OEM might add to Android. We aren't going to question — we like Android updates, too.

What we like even more is transparency from the people who are delivering these updates. That's why we're really digging HTC's new infographic detailing the process from their end. It confirms a lot of what we assumed was going on, without passing the buck along to anyone else when things don't work the way we want them to work. The image itself is after the break — and it's really worth a good long look — but here is the process in a nutshell:

  • Google delivers the PDK (Platform Development Kit) before they announce the update for HTC to evaluate
  • After announcement, Google delivers source code to HTC and the folks making the chipset
  • Chip makers evaluate, and if the board will support the new version, they deliver updated software packages for it to HTC
  • HTC then evaluates if the device can support the new software with HTC Sense
  • If they can, the carriers get involved for carrier branded phones at this stage
  • Software gets built, and GPe devices and unlocked devices get tested by HTC, carrier devices by the carriers
  • Things go back and forth until it seems to be bug free, then it gets tested and certified by carriers, Google and any other regulatory bodies that need to certify it
  • After all this is done and approved, it can then go out over-the-air

There are no real surprises here, but it's nice to see the entire process broken down into a way that's easy to understand. We assume the process is the same for other OHA phone manufacturers, too. A little bit of that inside baseball Android fans love to peek at. Hit the break for the big picture.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

Save 20% on Android accessories during the ShopAndroid.com Year-End Sale!

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Santa not bring you the Android goodies you were hoping for this Christmas? No worries, because from now until Dec. 30 you can buy them for yourself from — and save big while doing it!

You can save 20 percent on all Android cases and accessories at ShopAndroid.com in our Year-End Sale. To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is enter in coupon code END13 during the checkout process. FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic US / Canada), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin!

Be sure to take advantage of the savings while they last. And have a Happy Holiday season!

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3 years ago

Kanye West's 'Yeezus' leads Google's holiday deals

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As is prone to happen this time of year, Google's got a bunch of holiday deals in order on Google Play. The savings spans across just about every category, from Kanye West's "Yeezus" album free for a limited time. The Star Wars: Tiny Death Star game has an exclusive  Google Play bundle available, Asphalt 8 has an exclusive Google Play Cup challenge, Despicable Me is free (in standard definition), and so on.

Hit the link to check 'em all out.

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3 years ago

Editors' top apps: Andrew's picks for 2013

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See the most-used apps on my devices

As you may imagine, the editors here at Android Central see their fair share (and then some) of Android apps. We take an opportunity to show off apps we're using every week in the Apps of the Week column, but when it comes to choosing just a handful to represent my whole year of app usage, it's an exclusive group.

I'm not the biggest app user out there. If I'm going to have an app installed on my phone, it's because I use it regularly and couldn't live and work the way I do without it. That doesn't mean every single app on this list is strictly for productivity — "all work and no play," and all that — but rather that it's just an app that fits perfectly into my daily life.

Hit the break to see a list of apps that kept my devices going through the year of 2013.

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3 years ago

It's the last day to vote for the Android Central Best of 2013 Awards

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Your final chance to tell us your picks for the best of the year

We've been taking survey submissions for the Android Central Best of 2013 Awards, letting you, the readers, help us pick the best of the best in the Android world for 2013. The survey has a whole boatload of responses, but just in case you haven't had a chance to participate, we wanted to remind you that the window is quickly closing.

The Best of 2013 Awards survey will officially close tomorrow, December 27th, so be sure to hit the link below to give your input. We'll be posting the results just next week on Monday, December 30th.

Take the Best of 2013 Awards Survey

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod now available for existing Oppo N1 devices

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Simply install or revert to stock with official tools

Those who purchased the Oppo N1 before the CyanogenMod version was available will be excited to know that the official CyanogenMod ROM for the device is available to all users. As promised the official package is available for installation on any version of the Oppo N1, so if you want to ditch that ColorOS in favor of CM you now can.

CyanogenMod has been customized for the N1 to support all of the different hardware and software features that are found on the device. Some of the unique support they built in were for the rotating camera, the O-Click Bluetooth remote control as well as various features from ColorOS like double tap to wake.

The installation process is extremely easy, and if you want to revert at any time you will be able to load ColorOS back on the device. For full details of the loading process and download links for CM or ColorOS for the Oppo N1, be sure to hit the source link below.

Source: OppoForums

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3 years ago

Holiday Photo Contest: Day 14 collectible winner!

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The final winner in our extra-long photo contest

We've finally reached the end of our Holiday Photo Contest, and that means we're announcing the final winner of an Android mini collectible. Just like the 13 previous winners, this member submitted their photo following the prompt of "holidays."

Stick around after the break to see the final photo winner — we think it's quite impressive.

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3 years ago

Buying an Android device over the holidays? Check out our reviews!

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Read Android Central's reviews of top Android devices

With Christmas a slowly fading memory, we're beginning to enter the post-holiday shopping season. And in the days ahead, many outlets will be offering discounts on some of the top Android devices of the moment. So what's worth buying and what should you leave on the shelf?

We've got links to all the information you could possibly need after the break.

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3 years ago

Editors' top apps: Jerry's picks for 2013

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The apps I used most throughout the year

Google Play now has about a gazillion apps to choose from. A cool part of our job here at Android Central is installing a lot of them and having a look. We then tell you about the great ones, other editors on other Android sites tell you about them as well, and the cream rises to the top. Some are from million dollar development houses, and some are from a guy like you or me who loves what he does, but what matters most is how well an app fits what you want it to do.

I'm not the biggest app user out there, and I find my tastes and choices are fluid. I'm not afraid to change what I use and like. A couple here are mainstream apps you'll find on just about any list of great apps, and some less so. But they are all apps I would recommend to anyone and everyone. 

Jump through, and have a look.

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3 years ago

Tegra Note 7 gets 4.3 update, brings AOHDR and new DirectStylus abilities

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Chimera computational photography architecture support for always on HDR now enabled

Nvidia has a little holiday gift for everyone with a Tegra Note 7 this morning. The Android 4.3 update is pushing out, and it brings along two notable enhancements — and improved stylus experience, and the Tegra 4 specific AOHDR (Always On High Dynamic Range) camera mode.

The DirectStylus enhancements start with the addition of a left-handed mode, which should help reject errant touches for all the southpaws out there. There is also a new help entry for the DirectStylus in the device settings to help answer any general questions, and the overall stylus response has been improved. In addition, there is also a new stylus removal and insertion notification, and screen capture now has the option to include the notification bar.

The new AOHDR feature is a Tegra 4 exclusive that allows the camera to better capture low light and bright light areas. As part of the Chimera computational photography architecture, AOHDR allows the user to take a full dynamic range picture in just one shot, with a real-time on-screen preview. This should reduce the slight blur often introduced with normal HDR photos that need two or more exposures to create the final product.

Other listed changes include video capture stabilization, improved camera performance under certain lighting conditions, and the ability to move application data to the SD card

The OTA should begin pushing now, so if you picked up a Tegra Note be sure to check for updates!

More: Nvidia

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3 years ago

Holiday Photo Contest: Day 13 collectible winner!

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The thirteenth of 14 winners in our extra-long photo contest

It's the second to last winner in our Holiday Photo Contest, and while we're sad to see the contest coming to a close we're glad we've had the chance to give away so many prizes.

Hit the break to see today's winner, and be sure to see our final contest winner tomorrow, along with a roundup of every single photo from the contest.

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3 years ago

Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition review

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It's big and the hardware is oh-so-sexy, but is it for you?

Just when everyone gave up hope on the rumor that Sony was going to be participating in the Google Play edition program, Google and Sony dropped the Z Ultra GPe right on top of us. Because it was a surprise, the Z Ultra GPe wasn't subject to the weeks (or months) of speculation and dissection that most phones go through before the come to market, but we all have a pretty good idea what to expect based on the Xperia branded Z Ultra and previous Google Play edition devices.

Does the Z Ultra fulfill the dreams and wants of everyone looking for a big Nexus phone? Maybe. It's definitely big, it's just about as Googly stock Android as the Nexus 4 or Nexus 7, and it's absolutely free of extra boot loader security so you can own your phone. That's going to tick all the boxes and satisfy some folks, and they have already made up their minds. 

For the rest of us, read on.

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3 years ago

Editors' top apps: Alex's picks for 2013

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Top ten apps for 2013

Got a new Android device this Christmas? Or maybe you're just looking for great applications for an older phone or tablet? Our regular apps of the week features are a great place to find new and interesting apps for your device -- but with 2013 drawing to a close, we've decided to take things a step further and reflect on our personal top ten apps of the year.

So here are my top recommendations — these are all fantastic apps that have either launched in 2013, or have been updated with significantly awesome new stuff. Head past the break and check them out!

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