4 years ago

Nest promises any privacy policy changes will be transparent and opt-in


Following the acquisition from Google last week, Nest has quickly become been the center of attention. Plenty of jokes have circulated about the whole deal, and many had some fears about privacy with the sale. Nest CEO Tony Fadell took some time during an interview at the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany, to discuss this, and assure everyone that at this time there are no changes.

“At this point, there are no changes. The data that we collect is all about our products and improving them. If there were ever any changes whatsoever, we would be sure to be transparent about it, number one, and number two for you to opt-in to it.”

During the interview Fadell also explained that the deal with Google was not something that happened overnight, and some of the communications have been going back and forth about it for years already. During the meetings both parties have learned a ton from each other, and Fadell said that they are basically completing each others sentences because they share a common vision. 

It is clear that privacy is something that the folks of the Nest team take very seriously, so you can rest assured that your temperature settings won't be sold to ad providers to put some extra change in their pocket. This is the start of something much larger, so let's sit back and relax, and see where Google and Nest take this.

Source: The Next Web

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 seeing KitKat update in Eastern Europe


Exynos and Snapdragon-based Note 3s get Android 4.4 in Russia and Poland

While there's been no official announcement from Samsung, the international Galaxy Note 3 has started receiving its Android 4.4 KitKat update, starting in Eastern Europe. SamMobile reports that the Snapdragon 800-based, LTE-capable Note 3 has received KitKat in Poland, while the 3G-only Exynos octa-core variant is getting it in Russia.

The updates bring both models up to Android 4.4.2, build KOT49H, which sees Samsung's UI switching to stock Android-style all white notification icons. There's also a slightly re-tooled lock screen, among other minor UI tweaks. Naturally, all the features you'd expect from KitKat-based firmware — immersive mode, transparent notification bar support and fullscreen album art on the lock screen — should be supported too.

If your Note 3 isn't from either Russia or Poland, and don't fancy forcing the Russian or Polish ROM onto your device, you'll likely have to wait another few weeks as the update trickles out to other regions. Updates are hard, but at least things are slowly improving.

Source: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Korean carrier to launch insanely fast 225Mbps LTE network before 2014 is out


SK Telecom plans to hit hyper-speed with its new LTE-Advanced network

While LTE in the States or Europe is pretty fast, it still pales in comparison to the kind of data speeds Korean mobile users get to experience. The gulf is set to get even wider with SK Telecom, Koreas largest carrier, announcing plans to introduce an astonishingly fast 225Mbps LTE-Advanced network later this year. 

Current LTE-A networks are capable of reaching 150Mbps, but the new technology SK Telecom will be introducing doubles that to download speeds we can only dream of in western markets. By contrast, here in the UK 100Mbps broadband is widely available, but even that doesn't come close. The speed is made possible by aggregating two different bands together. Theoretically, by using three bands a top speed of 300Mbps could be possible in the future. 

To illustrate how quick the new network will be, an 800MB video file will reportedly download in just 28 seconds. This on its own is almost a full minute quicker than regular LTE. As with current LTE-A networks, dedicated smartphones or tablets will be required to take advantage, with the supporting chipsets still in development. Is there any such thing as too fast? 

Source: SK Telecom via TNW

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4 years ago

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to give keynote at Mobile World Congress


We're starting to fill our schedules for Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona. And one must-see keynote address will come from none other than Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was just announced as a speaker this morning.

We're not expecting any new device announcements, especially given the failure of last year's HTC First/Facebook Home experiment, though stranger things have happened. No, instead what we're likely to hear is a sort of "state of mobile" speech that's more common at MWC. Google's Eric Schmidt has done so in past years, and it usually proves to be interesting.

So set your clocks for 4 p.m. Barcelona time on Feb. 24 — that's noon on the east coast of the U.S. And as always, we'll be there live to bring it straight from our eyeballs to yours.

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4 years ago

How to take a screenshot with the Samsung Galaxy S4


Whether you want to share what you see on your phone to a friend, or just need to save something for future reference, a simple screenshot is the quickest way to get that done. All it takes is a basic key press combination:

  1. Open the screen you’d like to capture. 
  2. Press and hold the power button on the right side and the home button at the same time. Wait for the border around the screen to flash white. 

The image will then be saved to your device. You can quickly access it by swiping down from the top of the screen and tapping the image in the notification tray. You can also delete, edit, or share the screenshots thanks to helpful shortcuts there.

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4 years ago

Moto G finally landing in Australia on January 21


Motorola's budget wonder to start at AU$249 for the 8GB model

Motorola's Moto G has caused some serious waves since its introduction in late 2013, and now it seems finally our friends down under in Australia are set to get their hands on it, too. According to the folks at Ausdroid, the Moto G will go on sale on Tuesday January 21, with an RRP of AU$249 for the 8GB model. The Australian model also appears to be the dual-SIM variant. 

Motorola has been noticeably absent from Australia for some time now, so it's a welcome move to see the brand return there. While the Moto G isn't quite the star the Moto X has proved to be, on sheer value-for-money alone the Moto G is virtually untouchable. Ausdroid is advising that the Australian Moto G will be launching with Android 4.3, but with the update to Android 4.4 KitKat having already hit U.S. and European devices, we don't expect it to be too long before it makes it to Australian devices either. 

If you're still undecided, be sure to check out our full Moto G review to help make your decision. 

Source: Ausdroid

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4 years ago

Sony's Smart Tennis Sensor to help Japanese serve-and-volley games from May


Limited release sees a range of partner tennis rackets at launch

Announced during CES 2014 in Las Vegas, Sony's Smart Tennis Sensor has already been given an official launch date. As of late May, Japanese tennis fans will be able to purchase the device, which comes with a companion app for Android and iOS, and will cost the equivalent of $175. At launch, support will be limited to six Yonex tennis rackets, where the sensor will plug into the base of the handle. 

The key thing to the design of the Smart Tennis Sensor is that it shouldn't add any additional bulk to the racket, and if it works as well as Sony seems to think it will, budding Wimbledon champions could have a real tool in their pocket. The sensor will track such areas of your game as your swing, the speed of the ball, where abouts on the racket you're making contact with the ball, which strokes you're playing and more. The data is then interpreted by the app on your phone. 

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4 years ago

Further Sony Xperia Z2 'Sirius' details emerge


More hardware and software nuggets from upcoming Sony flagship refresh

So much for Sony's effort to curb the flow of leaks of its future products. Following what might be our first look at the Sony D6503 — codenamed "Sirius" — over the weekend, we're today seeing more information on the device we might eventually come to know as the Xperia Z2. Today's leakage comes from XperiaBlog and the XDA forums and cover both hardware and software details.

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4 years ago

Fresh leak claims to show more of future Samsung phone UI


A glimpse of what Samsung's next home screen might look like

We're rapidly approaching the time of year when a couple of the largest Android manufacturers are preparing to launch new flagship phones. One of those is ever-dominant Samsung, and in an unusual turn of events prolific leaker @evleaks has come up with an image said to contain visual elements of the company's next home screen design. The shot shows a list of Google Now-like cards for workout info, flights, concert details and delivery tracking.

Today's leak follows the emergence of a similar shot a couple of weeks ago, showing a new-style home screen arrangement with the same font — alongside redesigned, flattened, more abstract icons. That image seemed to show an HTC BlinkFeed-style vertical scrolling list of widgets like those in today's leak.

If accurate, it's a significant leak from a company which usually goes to great lengths to keep its secrets safe in the run up to major launches. It could also represent a significant departure from Samsung's old TouchWiz UI as we've come to know it on the Galaxy S3 and later devices. And while at best these images are likely work-in-progress mock-ups, the possible shift to a more contextual, content-based home screen is also interesting in light of Samsung's move to a magazine-style UI for its new "Pro" series tablets.

Source: @evleaks (2)

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Google Glass is distracting us from bigger dangers in the car


We could talk for days and days about Google Glass and whether it's distracting while driving. And we will continue to talk about it. It doesn't matter that Glass still costs $1,500 and that so few people have it — we're Exploring, remember? Pardon the pun, but we're supposed to be experiencing these speed bumps along the way.

That said, I think it was pretty evident last week how traffic court perhaps isn't the best arena for these discussions. It's too easy for one's passion for Glass to overwhelm the story. It's too easy to misinterpret the technicalities of courtroom procedure. We saw that in the broad spectrum of headlines. "GLASS IS LEGAL!" (Actually, the traffic commissioner, said, it's not.) "Ticket for Google Glass driving dismissed." Yeah, but that's not really what was important. Driving with Glass — or other similar wearables — will sort itself out in the coming months and years. Of that I have no doubt.

There are still too many of us with one hand on the wheel — and the other on a phone.

Driving home this afternoon, though, I was reminded that Glass really has been a distraction — from the larger story. There still are far too many of us in the driver's seat with phones in our hands. Never mind space-age contraptions on our faces. The real danger comes from the phone that should be in our pocket. 

It doesn't matter what operating system it runs. It doesn't matter whether it has the latest updates. Screen size, RAM, processor speed, the number of cores — none of that means a thing when it comes to taking your eyes off the road.

I'm still not perfect at this. I strap my young daughters into child seats in the back but too often put them in danger from three feet in front. This has to stop. I have to do better. We all have to better. 

We're going to continue to talk about this in 2014. I'm convinced that it's still one of the most important conversations to be had in the mobile space.

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4 years ago

Eight minutes on Google buying Nest Labs


One of the more polarizing stories of last week (though not necessarily for any sort of educated reason) was Google's $3.2 billion purchase of Nest Labs. That's not to say we shouldn't have a discussions about the implications of such an acquisition, but there certainly were the usual knee-jerk reactions. (Perhaps on more than one front, to be fair.) Whatever. A purchase of this size wasn't done in week. We're not going to have it all figured out in that same time span. 

But we do have to start somewhere. So we (well, me, actually) finally bought a Nest this week and started giving it the what-for. And we gave it a decent amount of time on the podcast this week. 

Have a listen to the excerpt below (after the break for you front-page browsers). One way or another, this is going to be an interesting, long-term topic. And have a listen to the full podcast here.

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: Textra SMS, Archangel, AllCast and more!


Another great set of apps ready to make their way onto your device

It's Saturday, and that means we've got another great list of apps for you to check out in our Apps of the Week column. Each weekend the writers here at Android Central show off a single app that has been installed on their phone or tablet in the last week. Some are new, some are old but in any case they're still installed and that means they work for us.

Read along with us after the break to see how this week's list breaks down. You may just find an app or two that will work for you on your own phone or tablet.

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4 years ago

Deezer's expansion plans may include a deal with Samsung


Samsung may also take a stake in the French music streaming service

Deezer isn't yet available in the U.S, but the French music streaming company has big plans for expansion which now may include entering in to a deal with Samsung. According to a report in France courtesy of Reuters, the two companies are exploring a "commercial and industrial agreement" that could also see Samsung claim a stake in Deezer. 

Deezer offers a service similiar to that of Spotify and Rdio, with both a free ad-supported and paid subscription model available. The plan has been to expand to the U.S. later this year for some time, but a deal with Samsung could potentially help accelerate this, and build upon the 12 million subscribers Deezer already boasts. 

Presumably any possible deal would see Deezer come pre-installed on Samsung devices, possibly even with some included premium subscription time. We'll have to wait and see how it all pans out. 

Source: Reuters

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4 years ago

Solving the impossible problem of Android updates


Android updates remain a messy, unpredictable business — and although Google and manufacturers have made progress in the past year, there's still much work to be done ...


The speed at which new platform updates arrive remains one of the major pain points of owning an Android device. Whereas Apple rolls out iOS updates instantaneously across much of its product line — the platform absolutely was designed with that in mind — Google’s lack of direct control over the firmware running on most of the world's billion or so Android devices means it’s impossible for it to do the same.

In an article published in late 2012 we discussed exactly why this is the case. The “open” nature of Android, the vast differences in hardware across the entire ecosystem, not to mention the large number of moving parts required to get most updates pushed to users, all contribute to the lengthy delays we’ve come to know and hate. As we said almost 18 months ago, it’s a weakness that’s built into Android’s DNA, and not something that can be easily overcome.

Google and the manufacturers are tackling Android updates on multiple fronts.

Yet over the past year we’ve seen new endeavors by Google and some leading Android manufacturers to tackle this seemingly impossible problem. There have been efforts on multiple fronts: Firstly, the introduction of new features and APIs through Google Play Services, and the spinning of major Google apps out into the Play Store, allowing them to be updated independently from the OS. Google has put future Android code into the hands of OEMs earlier than before, through the “Google Play edition” program. There’s also evidence that manufacturers are seeing the competitive value in being first (or at least quick) with new OS versions. And OEMs, particularly HTC and Motorola, are getting better at communicating details of these updates to end-users.

To be sure, it’s no magic solution to the gargantuan task of moving the entire Android ecosystem forward. And the update situation for non-flagship devices remains something of a crapshoot. But it’s a start, and a big step in the right direction. And as we move from Jelly Bean into the KitKat era, it’s enough to give us some hope for the future of Android updates.

Read on to find out why.

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4 years ago

Belkin Miracast Video Adapter review


It's likely the best Miracast adapter to date, but the value proposition still isn't there.

Google's $35 streaming stick, the Chromecast, may be at the top of minds nowadays, but long before this affordable entertainment accessory there was another video standard — Miracast. With a few caveats, you can find Miracast support on many of the most popular devices: Nexus 4, 5 and 7 (2013); Galaxy S3, S4, Note 2, 3, 8.0, 10.1; Optimus G; HTC One. So with all of this support, why hasn't Miracast taken off?

Netgear tried its hand at releasing one of the first Miracast accessories, the PTV3000, that really just didn't work well — even after multiple updates. Even for successful adapters, performance varied across devices and software versions. Be it an unfinished standard, poor implementation, bad accessories or maybe a combination of all three, Miracast really hasn't taken off. Samsung now does AllShare Cast, HTC pushes Media Link HD, Intel has Wi-Di and Google naturally likes Chromecast.

Despite the pile of adversity, Belkin decided to release the $79 Miracast Video Adapter.

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