Headlines

4 years ago

Sprint Wifi Calling poised to debut on two Samsung phones

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Calling requires software update but no monthly fee; only supported in the U.S.

T-Mobile may soon no longer be the only major carrier offering first-party Wifi calling, as Sprint apparently is preparing to launch a system of its own. According to Sprint training materials we've received, Sprint Wifi Calling would be enabled on at least two of its current Android handsets through maintenance updates and on new devices running Android 4.2 and above.

We've reached out to Sprint for any sort of confirmation and will update if and when we hear back. 

In the meantime, let's look at more details of Sprint's anticipated Wifi Calling system.

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4 years ago

Stock Talk: Google's purchase of Nest is a long-term play, never mind the short-term jokes

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This wasn't a $3.2 billion impulse purchase, by any means

Now that all the silly jokes about watching ads on your thermostat are over (they weren’t really funny to begin with), let’s have another conversation about Google’s acquisition of Nest Labs. (For another, see Phil's "Let Nest be Nest" piece from earlier this week.") 

As a quick reminder, for a cool $3.2 billion Google has bought a company that makes a smart thermostat and combo smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The CEO of Nest is non other than legendary Apple designer Tony Fadell.

I’ve been spending some time thinking about what it could mean to Google. It’s definitely intriguing, but it’s also not totally obvious to me whether this will become a brand new line of business disconnected from the Google advertising machine, or if there is some way to tie things together.

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4 years ago

Record iTunes Radio tracks with doubleTwist's new tool

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A clever use of AirPlay gives you offline access to streamed music

With the existence of Rdio, Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora, there's really no need for iTunes radio on your Android device. But what if you could download tracks directly from iTunes Radio to play back later? Well-known music app makers doubleTwist have just released an app in the Play Store, iTunes Radio Recorder, that does just that.

The process is pretty simple — launch iTunes on your PC or Mac, start playing iTunes Radio and launch the new iTunes Radio Recorder app on your phone. Your phone will then show up as an AirPlay device, and once you select it from iTunes on your computer it will begin to download every track that is played in real time.

After each track is finished streaming, you'll have a music file that is ready for offline listening from any music app of your choice — though we bet doubleTwist wishes you'd use their own. By default you get a 32 Kbps track that frankly sounds bad, but you can unlock high-quality AAC recording with a $4.99 in-app purchase.

We're not sure of the issues doubleTwist may run into with Apple going forward, but for what it does the tool seems to work just fine and can be an option for those who listen to iTunes Radio on the desktop and want to save those tracks for later. Hit the Play Store link above to grab a download.

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4 years ago

Sony confirms Android 4.3 updates for Xperia T, TX, V and SP starting late Jan.

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Three mid-range devices released Aug. 2012 make the jump from Android 4.1

Building on a rough launch window detailed in November last year, Sony has confirmed that the Xperia T, TX, V and SP will be getting Android 4.3 updates starting this month. That's a pretty big step for these mid-range or lower devices, which will all make the jump directly from Android 4.1 to 4.3. The Xperia T, TX and V were released back in August of 2012, and while the SP was released later it's still good to see each device move beyond the first iteration of Jelly Bean.

Sony says it is making final preparations on the updates, and will start pushing them out by the end of January to be completed by early February. Anyone out there holding onto one of these mid-range Sony phones? Keep an eye out for those update notifications.

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4 years ago

Smartwatch Fans rates the best smartwatch you can buy today

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We've had our hands on more than few smartwatches here at Android Central, but our pals at Smartwatch Fans are giving things a deeper look. (Don't worry, we'll still continue to give our take on the major ones.)

And today, Adam's rolled out his list of the best smartwatches you can buy today. Each has a place, we think, but it's good to see them all in one post. Head on over and take a look. Or use the all-new Smartwatch Fans Android app!

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4 years ago

#CESlive Round-up — all you need to know from CES 2014

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What a show, #CESlive. The 2014 edition of the International CES was just as wild and crazy as we'd expected, and our coverage was more wild and crazy than we'd ever done before. From curved UHD TVs and OLED displays to smartwatches and smartphones, the millions of square feet that comprised the show floor of CES 2014 was full of the insane, the amazing, and the just plain cool. Up here you'll find our CES wrap-up video, and down below you'll find the very best of all our coverage from #CESlive!

4 years ago

Sprint's LG G Flex available in stores Feb. 7

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Sprint's LG G Flex will be available in stores starting Feb. 7. Pre-orders are still aiming to be in customers' hands a week sooner — by Jan. 31, Sprint says.

As you'll recall from our preview of the G Flex, this is a curved — and slightly bendable — 6-inch smartphone. It's big, but the curve helps make it feel just a tad smaller. The display is unremarkable in resolution, just 720p, but, c'mon, it bends!

The G Flex will run $299 with a two-year contract. And anyone who preorders between now and Jan. 31 wil receive a free Quickwindow Folio Case. If you want to buy it outright, it'll cost you $650.

The G Flex also will be coming to AT&T and T-Mobile in the weeks ahead, though neither operator has announced when they'll be available.

More: Pre-order the LG G Flex; Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Designing the Sony QX100 camera for Android

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Here's a cool couple minutes from Sony, looking at the QX100 camera lens from the inside out. For the uninitiated, this is the self-contained camera that can clip onto most any (normal-sized) Android smartphone, or take pictures on its own and upload them later. Good deal.

For more, see our review of its little brother, the QX10.

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Is Google's support of iOS a good thing?

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Google's popular apps are a favorite in the App Store

Chances are, if you have an iOS device you have one or more applications from Google installed. If you're like me, you have most of them installed. Google's services are extremely popular amongst iOS users, and platforms that don't have them are filled with users that want them. That's Google's strong point — Internet services — and they are damn good at it.

But is this level of support for a competing platform a good idea? When Google updates one of their apps for iOS, there is always a few from the Android camp who aren't happy about it and think Google should let iOS users fend for themselves with other services, like Bing or Yahoo! mail. On the other side of the fence are people who think support for the end-user is paramount, and both Google and Apple should do the right thing and provide services people want to the people who want them, regardless of who built their mobile device. I fall into this camp.

We're trying to find the median here. Not the voice of the haters who would like nothing more than to see Apple go away, nor the voice of the crazy ones who think everyone should get along. You all can help us find it. There's a poll in the sidebar to the right, or after the break if you're mobile. Let us know what you think.

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4 years ago

Coming Friday: Catch the Android Central Podcast live!

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We're back and recovered from CES! And that means it's time another round of the Android Central Podcast! This week we take on Google buying Nest for $3.2 billion, the new Moto G Google Play edition — and any and all questions you fine folks can throw at us.

We'll be recording the live show on Friday afternoon like we tend to do — 4 p.m. EST, 1 p.m. on the West Coast. (And that's 9 p.m. in London.)

If you want the full effect, be sure to swing by the Google+ Hangout at show time and join in the live Q&A. See you there!

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4 years ago

Google Now is (unsurprisingly) coming to your desktop

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In what should be considered an inevitable (and welcomed) move, Google Now notifications are coming to Chrome for Mac and Windows — and you can try them out today.

The latest version of the Chrome Canary app (that's Chrome's dev version, basically) includes a flag for turning on the notifications, as spotted by the Google Operating System blog. To turn on the notifications, you'll need to enable chrome://flags/#enable-google-now, then relaunch. Make sure you're signed in, and you should start seeing Google Now notifications in either the Windows tray or the Mac system bar. 

It's pretty slick, and we're seeing all the same notifications as on our phone. Give it a whirl if you'd like.

Download: Canary; More: Google OS blog; Thanks, Adam!

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4 years ago

Sprint's new 'Easy Pay' lets you upgrade now, pay over 24 months

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Sprint this morning — just days after quietly killing off its "One Up" handset financing program — announced "Easy Pay," which lets customers upgrade now and spread out the cost of the phone over two years, after taxes and an as-yet-announced down payment.

There doesn't appear to be any more of a catch than that. No plans to buy into — though Sprint's still heavily pushing the horribly named "Framily" plans — and we imagine any unpaid cost of the phone would be expected should you decide to leave Sprint.

More: Sprint

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is official — 7 inches of Jelly Bean

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Just a few scant hours after the user manual surfaced, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is now official. The 7-inch tablet has a rather unimpressive 1024x600 resolution and is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage. It's just shy of 10mm thick, and that svelte nature (if not the price tag, which wasn't announced but likely will be around the $199 we saw for the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3) is this guy's selling point.

It's running Android 4.2 out of the box and presumably would be updated at some point. The Tab 3 Lite has a 2-megapixel camera in the back — the only shooter on this tablet. Battery life likely will be decent with a 3,600 mAh capacity. It's also listing 2G and 3G cellular data — but traditionally that sort of feature is stripped out in U.S. releases.

The Galaxy Tab 3 Lite will be available worldwide in white or black.

More: Samsung

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4 years ago

You can now 'star' contacts through Gmail

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From emails to contacts the star makes it easy to find the most important things

For years we have used Google's starring system to keep track of important emails, and now you're able to star your contacts as well. Keeping track of huge contact lists can be a bit of a difficult task — finding the people you want to communicate with may not always be quick and easy, but Google has changed that.

Now you will be able to star contacts so that they will show up in a starred list instead of just the general contacts list. If you'll recall, you've been able to "favorite" (star) contacts through the People app for some time now — this will now sync throughout your account. The process of starring a contact is really quick and easy, and can be done right from your Android device:

  1. Launch the Gmail App.
  2. Open an email from the contact you wish to star.
  3. Tap on their avatar in the top left corner.
  4. A window will pop up with contact information and you will see a star on the right side under the photo.
  5. Tap the star (so that it is filled in) and that is it.

That's all there is to the process -- pretty simple really. Starring a contact will not only easily allow you to find them in a sea of contacts in your list, but will also show them in your dialer and on the web so you can call with ease. Whether you have a large or small contact list, this helpful tip will ensure that your most important contacts are easy to reach.

Source: Google+

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4 years ago

Final Fantasy VI makes its way to the Play Store for $15.99

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This 1994 classic will set you back a pretty penny, but you can't put a price on nostalgia

Square Enix has released yet another Final Fantasy title into the Play Store for Android users to enjoy. For $15.99 you can now play through the entire Final Fantasy VI title on your phone or tablet, complete and untouched from its original release nearly two decades ago on the SNES. Hours and hours of gameplay await you on this RPG, which looks to be compatible with just about every device under the sun.

We applaud Square Enix for putting up the Final Fantasy series for download with a high (but fair) price with no changes or in-app purchases mucking up the gameplay experience. Plenty have downloaded previous Final Fantasy versions on the Play Store, and we expect FFVI to draw just as much attention.

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