3 years ago

HTC working on three wearables including Toq-based model and Google Now watch, report claims


Prototype of HTC watch based on Qualcomm Toq to be shown to carriers at MWC, reports Bloomberg

As HTC continues to face tough times in the smartphone market, the Taiwanese manufacturer has said it's looking to other product categories to boost revenues in 2014, including wearables.

This morning Bloomberg reports that a prototype of one HTC smartwatch will be showed to carrier partners at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, though there are no plans to show the device publicly. The watch will reportedly be based on Qualcomm's Toq design and feature a display using the company's Mirasol technology. Other features are said to include Bluetooth connectivity, naturally, and a music player.

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3 years ago

Samsung teases 'Exynos Infinity' ahead of MWC


New mobile processors on the way?

We're just a few days away from Mobile World Congress, and this year's show is a big one for Samsung, with the Galaxy S5 expected to debut at the "Unpacked 5" event on Monday evening. But there's more to Samsung's MWC plans than just phones, it seems. The Samsung Exynos Twitter account has posted the image above, teasing its "latest innovations" ahead of next week's show.

It's unclear what exactly "Exynos Infinity" is at this stage, but the company already detailed some of its CPU plans for 2014 at last year's analyst day. Slides revealed plans to first launch Samsung-branded 64-bit processors based on ARM core designs (as it does with current Exynos chips), before moving onto processors with custom core designs, similar to the way Qualcomm operates.

We're sure to find out more next week in Spain, so stay tuned!

Source: @SamsungExynos

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3 years ago

LG G2 Mini official, landing globally in March


Bringing the great parts of the LG G2 to a smaller form factor while cutting the specs at the same time

After successfully teasing a smaller version of its flagship LG G2 last week, LG has let the cat out of the bag on the LG G2 Mini. Just like it did with the G Pro 2, LG is getting out ahead of the pre-MWC speculation by simply releasing details and pictures of the upcoming device for all to see before getting a true introduction at the show next week. Borrowing the name and design from its larger sibling, the LG G2 Mini is set to be a smaller, mid-range version of the flagship that has brought a good amount of attention to LG in recent months.

"The G2 mini is all about bringing the best user experience of the G2 to a more compact, mid-tier device, giving millions of customers the opportunity to benefit from the LG premium experience. This device offers the perfect balance of modern design and practical UX in a compact package without compromising performance."

Said Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG Mobile. You'll notice most of the talk is about the "experience" of the LG G2, not the exact speeds and feeds — these aren't the G2's specs squeezed into a smaller frame. While we have a full G2 Mini specs post linked below, here are the quick highlights:

  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Quad-Core MSM8926 (Snapdragon 400) processor
  • 4.7-inch qHD (that's 960 x 540) IPS display
  • 1GB RAM, 8GB storage (SD card expandable)
  • 8MP / 1.3MP cameras (13MP in Latin America)
  • 2440mAh user-removable battery
  • Android 4.4, KitKat

It looks as though there will be at least three variants of the LG G2 Mini at launch — a dual SIM 3G version, a global LTE version and a Latin America LTE version, each arriving in four colors. The Latin America version will have a Tegra 4i processor, a 13MP camera and different radio bands from the rest, it seems. The LG G2 Mini will see a global release in March, hitting the Russian region with a 3G dual-SIM variant first, followed by major markets in the Middle East, Latin america, Europe and Asia thereafter. Interestingly, the release makes no note of North American availability — this is a play for markets that are more price sensitive.

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3 years ago

LG G2 Mini specs


LG ahead of Mobile World Congress has released the LG G2 Mini specs. They are:

  • Chipset: 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Quad-Core MSM8926 (LTE) / MSM8226 (3G); 1.7GHz Nvidia Quad Core Tegra 4i (LATAM LTE version)
  • Display: 4.7-inch qHD IPS (960 x 540)
  • Memory: 8GB eMMC / 1GB RAM / SD Card Slot
  • Camera: Rear 8.0MP / 13.0MP (LATAM LTE version) / Front 1.3MP
  • Battery: 2,440mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Size: 129.6 x 66.0 x 9.8mm
  • Weight: 121g
  • Network: Cat. 4 & VoLTE / Cat. 3(LATAM), HSPA+ 21Mbps (3G)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), A-GPS, NFC (4G LTE version only)
  • Colors: Titan Black, Lunar White, Red, Gold (depending on region)
  • Other: Plug & Pop, Guest Mode, Clip Tray, Quick Window, etc.

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3 years ago

TestFlight beta testing platform killing Android support March 21


At least two popular beta testing platforms still available for all

Not too much to report here, really — app beta testing service TestFlight will shutter Android support on March 21st, 2014. If you're not familiar with TestFlight, it is a free platform for developers and teams to deploy early versions of their apps for testing among users, collect feedback and iterate on apps more fluidly. "No user will be able to upload any Android builds to TestFlight" after that date, but there isn't any indication of how long you'll still receive analytics and feedback from participants of previous builds.

We're not entirely sure if this is a response to Google Play having proper beta testing support or another reason, but the end result is the same. We now have one fewer beta testing platform — alternatives such as HockeyApp and of course Google Play exist, so we expect those to pick up the slack with ease.

Update: Turns out TestFlight has been bought by Apple.

Source: TestFlight

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3 years ago

Manually install Android 4.3 on your HTC EVO 4G LTE with HTC's blessing


ROM Update Utility public download link now available

While HTC originally said they were going to do a user-trial of the 4.3 update for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, VP Martin Fichter has since let loose the official download link on Twitter so everyone can give it a try.

The link will download a 866MB executable that will get your EVO 4G LTE up to version 4.3, with Sense 5. A few things you will need to know about the process:

  • The program needs run on a Windows computer while your phone is connected via the USB cable
  • All your internal storage will be wiped
  • There is currently no path back to what you're running now
  • This will be the only method to update your EVO 4G LTE to Android 4.3 and Sense 5

Fichter said on Twitter than "hundreds of people" have already done the deed, and apparently they feel it's bug-free enough to send it out into the wild Internet.

If you have any questions about the process or the requirements, the forums are your best place to find answers. Good luck, and enjoy the fresh new Jelly Beans!

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3 years ago

Samsung's Magazine Home is a fresh take on the tablet interface


With the addition of the tablet-centric Magazine Home, TouchWiz takes one step closer to a total revamp

With the introduction of its Galaxy PRO line of tablets , Samsung has quietly taken a small step in overhauling its TouchWiz UI with the addition of Magazine Home, a vibrant and engaging user interface designed to aggregate content onto your homescreen. It's the first time that TouchWiz feels comfortable on a larger display, and it's a first look at the direction in which Samsung is taking its custom UI — away from bulky features and closer toward clean and accessible user-friendly content.

We spent the weekend exploring the strengths and weaknesses of this new interface approach, and while there's still a lot more to dive into, here's a few initial impressions.

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3 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Cooking


Show off the process of making those culinary creations with your Android

We just wrapped up another successful weekly photo contest, Night, with dozens of fantastic entries and its time to do it again. We like to follow a broad prompt with our weekly photo contests so that as many people as possible can participate. This week we're going with "cooking" photos, and considering that it's a pretty important part of life for us all we're sure there will be no shortage of entries this week.

Entries this week will be put in the running to win one item of their choice from our Android Central CafePress store. We'll be picking four winners this week to pick up some AC swag!

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 (February 25) 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

Facebook to acquire WhatsApp for $16 billion


Company to continue to run independently, CEO to take seat on Facebook board of directors

Facebook has announced that it will buy cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp for a total of $16 billion, split between cash and stock. The deal was announced today by Facebook as a definitive agreement, with the messaging service receiving $4 billion in cash and aonther $12 billion in Facebook stock, with the option for another $3 billion in restricted stock units also available to be vested in four years. If for some reason the deal is cancelled due to regulatory issues, Facebook will pay a breakup fee of $2 billion split between cash and stock to Whatsapp.

WhatsApp, which has over 450 million monthly active users, is one of the biggest players in the messaging wars today. Facebook quotes some statistics, stating that WhatsApp is adding one million users to its service every day, with a total message volume on the network approaching that of global SMS traffic.

As was the case with Instagram, WhatsApp will continue to operate as a separate company and keep its branding in tact. Co-founder and CEO Jan Koum will remain at the company, but will also take a seat on the Facebook board of directors. In a post on its company blog, WhatsApp reiterates that nothing will change from a user perspective after the buyout, and the word "partnership" is being regularly thrown around from both companies.

Source: Facebook; WhatsApp

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3 years ago

Google I/O 2014 scheduled for June 25-26


New registration system aims to avoid the usual rush for tickets

Android head Sundar Pichai has just announced the dates for the 2014 Google I/O developers conference. This year, things are a little later than usual and the event will be on June 25 and June 26.

Things are still at Moscone West, and like recent years the events will be lived streamed for everyone to watch. What has been changed is the registration system.

This time around, folks will be able to express their interest and selected participants will be chosen and notified. This should alleviate some of the hassles we've seen in recent years, where tickets sold out moments after they became available.  It should also weed out the folks who go with the sole intent of selling any hardware giveaways on eBay, which happens far too often for our tastes.

We've got the rooms booked, and are ready for this year. Pichai says full details on just how to try your luck at registration will be coming next month.

Source: +Sundar Pichai

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3 years ago

New Google Maps web interface exits preview, now rolling out to everyone


Improved keyword search, better directions for all transit modes and new imagery of more places

After working in a "preview" mode for nearly a year, the newest version of Google Maps on the web is rolling out to all users worldwide. The new interface is just a little simpler and more streamlined, making it easier to simply search by keyword and find what you need to find. You can perform basic searches for locations, food or services and get a detailed map overview along with recommendations based on your profile for what you'd be most likely to want.

Of course the best-in-class directions for driving, walking and public transit are still here as well, now with the power of better algorithms and traffic data behind them. You can find the most efficient route along with the shortest and fastest routes, and with real-time traffic reports you have a better idea of exactly how long it will take you to arrive in the real world.

Street View has also been expanded to stitch together more user-submitted photos, giving you a look at places where Street View cameras may not have made their way yet. When you get into Street View mode, you'll now see a "carousel" of images at the bottom of the screen you can search through — it's extra useful when you want to check out a landmark or a business before you leave on a trip.

The new Maps interface will be rolling out to everyone over the next few weeks.

Source: Google Maps Blog

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3 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Night' winner!


Nighttime doesn't have to be boring or bland, and this week's contest entries show that well

The photo contests keep on coming, and each week we receive dozens of fantastic entries. This week we were looking for "night" photographs, and there was no shortage of interesting pictures and perspectives taken in very low light situations.

This week took an extre-special picture to win as we were tasked with picking just a single photo to win an unlocked BLU Life One X phone. Hit the break and see who won this week and what picture got them the prize.

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3 years ago

Google Currents update kills Google Currents - long live Newsstand!


Today's update wipes Currents from your device and points you at Newsstand

There's an update for Google Currents slowly pushing out, and it has a very simple change. When you install it, it will direct you to install [Newsstand(http://www.androidcentral.com/google-rolls-play-magazines-and-currents-play-newsstand).

All your Currents subscriptions are transferred over, and the Currents app itself is shrunk down to a stub, removed from your application drawer, and has all of it's data erased. The only thing you can do with it is uninstall it, which you probably should do.

Getting started with Newsstand is easy — especially with all your Currents subscruptions migrated over. One that you'll want to be sure to subscribe to is Android Central, which is pretty easy to do right from the Newsstand app via a quick search for us, or click right here if you're reading this on your computer.

Folks that want to keep using Currents should skip this update, of course, but with so much of the app done server-aide, chances are it will stop working eventually. You'll need to figure out what service you want to go with when that happens, and be prepared.

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3 years ago

Lynda.com launches redesigned app for phones and tablets, enables offline viewing


App responds to the size of your device, lets you create playlists and download courses for offline viewing

Lynda.com, an online education company, has just launched a brand new version of its Android app, bringing a fresh look and a bunch of new features. If you're not familiar with Lynda.com, it's a service that gives you amazingly in-depth courses in a wide variety of topics for a single monthly subscription. The most noticeable change today is a redesign to work great on both phones and tablets in a single app, with proper use of design that makes the most of whatever screen size you're viewing courses on.

The new app also makes it easy to switch between devices and save your position in a course, as well as share courses to social networks. If you want to save on data, you can download courses for offline viewing, as well as create and manage playlists right from your phone or tablet.

The newly redesigned app is free in the Google Play Store at the link above or from the Amazon Appstore as well — you'll need a Lynda.com subscription to make the most of the service, but you can still get a good taste for the new app for free before you choose to get in on all of the content.

Via: Lynda.com

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3 years ago

Visa and MasterCard throw support behind NFC payments via Host Card Emulation in KitKat


Simpler NFC payments with a wide variety of apps could be coming in the near future

The potential for NFC payments to grow has been increased with the move to Android 4.4 KitKat, and now both Visa and MasterCard are showing support. Using a new feauture of KitKat called "Host Card Emulation" (HCE), both Visa and MasterCard have announced they will be supporting various NFC payment apps with cloud-backed payment infrastructures. Rather than relying on a phone's "secure element" for storing card data, HCE now allows the payment information to be validated and stored off-site, enabling for more NFC payment options.

Visa plans to quickly expand its "Visa Ready Program" to include any app that wants to interact with its payment network using HCE on a KitKat device. Visa Ready provides tools, standards and services to ensure apps work seamlessly with the Visa payment network. MasterCard will also provide secure cloud-based processing of payments to be paired with custom phone-side software to interact with its network. Details on MasterCard's implementation are expected at some point in the first half of 2014.

While HCE has the initial benefit of opening up Google Wallet to more devices without bothering with a secure element, the interest expressed by Visa and MasterCard show we could be in store for many more NFC payment apps on Android in the near future. Considering KitKat still has relatively low adoption there really isn't any rush, but once more devices push up to Android 4.4 this could turn into an interesting space.

Source: Visa; MasterCard

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