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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 series hits the U.S. on July 7

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7, 8 and 10.1-inch Tab 3 variants heading stateside, pre-orders begin tomorrow

Already announced internationally, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 series will be heading to the United States in a couple of weeks. The 10.1, 8 and 7-inch tablets go up for pre-order tomorrow, and begin shipping on July 7. In its latest line-up of Android-powered tablets, the Korean manufacturer has scaled things back a bit, focusing on affordable, thin, light devices for the mass market.

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4 years ago

AOL Reader beta now live on the web

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New RSS reader hopes to scoop up Google Reader refugees — no mobile apps yet though

As promised last week, starting today you can request an invite to the new AOL Reader, the internet giant's entry into the world of RSS. A week ahead of the planned Google Reader shutdown date, AOL's hoping to scoop up new user accounts by targeting Reader refugees. Using an existing AOL account, or single sign-in through Google, Twitter or Facebook, the AOL Reader beta is open to anyone and everyone — a simple email address verification is the only barrier to entry.

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4 years ago

Garmin Monterra a 4-inch handheld Android GPS

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Garmin today announced the Monterra, a handheld GPS device with a 4-inch display running Android. It's got a proper WIfi connection, and full access to Google Play. 

The device itself is rugged and waterproof, Garmin says. It's loaded with sensors you'd expect in such a device, including a three-axis compass, accelerometer and gyroscope, barometric altimeter and built-in UV sensor. It's running a dual-band GPS and GLONASS as well. It's got an 8-megapixel camera as well that records video in 1080p. Bluetooth 3.0 is on board, as is NFC (useful for ... NFCing in the wilderness) and is ANT+ capable for those fitness trackers.

One of Garmin's standout features on the Montera, however, is 3D MapMerge, which combines multiple kinds of maps, like TOPO, basemap or BirdsEye imagery.

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4 years ago

New Sony smartwatch, 5-inch mid-ranger tipped ahead of Mobile Asia Expo

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Sony 'Xperia C' and updated Android-powered wearable reportedly on the way

It seems Sony Mobile may about to reveal several high-profile devices at its press conference at Shanghai's Mobile Asia Expo tomorrow. We've already heard rumors about the "Togari" or Xperia ZU -- supposedly a Snapdragon 800-powered device with a 6.4-inch display -- and the latest round of leaks brings news of a possible smartwatch and mid-range handset to go with it.

The first report comes from CNET, which claims to have details of a new Android-powered smartwatch from the Japanese manufacturer. Supposedly a successor to the earlier NM2SW smartwatch, the new device will feature a larger display and feature a three-button layout similar to Xperia smartphones, according to the site's source. Like other Sony accessories, the watch is said to support pairing with smartphones via NFC, with further connectivity being handled over Bluetooth. For its part, Sony has been teasing a smartwatch-related announcement on its official Xperia Twitter account in recent days.

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4 years ago

Mid-range Acer Liquid E2 headed to Three UK

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Three UK has announced that it'll be carrying Acer's latest mid-range Android offering, the Liquid E2. The 4.5-incher, which comes with a qHD (960x540) display resolution and a quad-core MediaTek 1.2GHz processor, will be arriving "soon," the network said in a media release today. Three says the Liquid E2 will run on Three's 42Mbps DC-HSDPA network, though it looks like support for the carrier's upcoming LTE network is out of the question.

Other notable specs include an 8-megapixel camera, stereo speakers, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage, expandable via microSD. No release date has been given for the Acer Liquid E2 on Three, though with the device appearing on Three's "Coming Soon" page today, a retail launch probably isn't too far off.

More: Three UK

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4 years ago

Everything you want to know about Android's new Navigation Drawer

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Google's Android developers have delivered a great video all about the new Navigation Drawer

We've talked before about how the Android team is serious about design. They want Android, and the great apps that developers create, to not only work well, but to look good. We noticed this at Google I/O in May, that there was a new (and long-awaited) focus on building applications that look like they belong. Apps with a consistent and elegant user interface, versus the jumble of different design styles and choices of the past. 

It's a big undertaking. You have to account for different screen sizes, devices with or without the recommended button layout, and most of all you need to find a fluid look and feel that works well for the end user. Nobody likes an app that is difficult to use. Google tried to get everyone on-board with the action bar method, and it's a great solution for some things. But sometimes, you need to get dirty and have a list of user choices and options. That's where the new Navigation Drawer concept comes into play.

Grab your phone. Open the YouTube app or Google Play Books app. Swipe your finger to the right on the main screen (view). That's the new Navigation Drawer at work. Google Play Books could probably get away with just an action bar and overflow area (those three dots in the upper right) but the YouTube app has plenty of choices and options that would otherwise be buried three levels deep. The Navigation Drawer seems like a perfect way to present them all to the users -- you and me.

A lot of thought went into this, and luckily the Android developers are willing to share their thoughts about it all. Join Roman Nurik, Jens Nagel and Rich Fulcher after the break for 47 minutes of great information about why, where and when you would want to use the Navigation Drawer. Even if you're never going to design an Android app, it's a great watch and really drives the idea home.

Source: Android Developers YouTube

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Welcome to summer

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Has anyone come up with a way — short of moving to Sweden — that does something about that awful coating of sweat you get when you talk on the phone in the summer? I'm asking for a friend. OK, Bluetooth would be an answer, I guess, but who wants to be that guy?

Somehow, we're nearly through with June, and into July. (Yes, again.) Is it possible this has been one of the busiest years since I started doing this job full-time? Might well be, and we're not even covering things like the Xbox One (which I've preordered and will figure out why later) and the PlayStation 4. Insanity. Awesome insanity.

So, fresh off taking a break from this column for a week, some things I think I think. (With apologies to Peter King.)

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4 years ago

A Windows Phone fan reviews the LG Optimus G Pro

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It's always good to try new things, and that includes your smart phone choices

Our own Anndrew Vacca was fairly smitten with the Optimus G Pro. He puts it plainly, that the OGP "has the features, style, and wow-factor to steal eyeballs (and customers) away from the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4", and that's a bold statement from someone who has been able to use all three. But sometimes, you want the point of view a more "normal" user has when you're interested in a new smart phone. We get it, and we understand.

WPCentral forums ambassador mase123987 recently spent some time with the 5.5-inch Optimus G Pro, and took the time to write quite the review over in the WPCentral forums. We're not going to spoil the ending, but it's a great read if you're a smart phone fan on any level. Go give it a read, and be sure to thank mase for his insight -- this is valuable stuff coming from someone without any preconceived Android prejudices. 

Review of the Optimus G Pro (and Android) by a WP Lover

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4 years ago

A look into Google's visual design guidelines

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A treasure trove of cohesive design principles for developers and designers everywhere

As Google's Android matures, we all can see the shift in focus to great design. Google has long been at the forefront of the technology, offering services and features that most of us use every day, but it's clear that Mountain View now cares as much how their products look as they do how they work.

Getting a glimpse into Google's design language for Android usually means looking at the apps while you're using them, or opening up the files and studying the assets themselves. While Google offers some rudimentary suggestions at the Android developer site, that's only part of the picture. Developers and designers need to know how it all fits together. Apps, the web, and all the services under Google's umbrella.

Source: Behance (part 1), (part 2). Thanks, Melvin!

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: Ghostbusters Fans, Tasker, GetGlue and more!

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News, tools and fun - we cover all the bases this week

Welcome back to yet another edition of our Apps of the Week, where we show off the apps that the Android Central writers have been using over the past week. We have another full and diverse list for your enjoyment, and that means we're likely to show off at least one app that grabs your attention. What matters to us is being able to show off apps that we've personally enjoyed, because app discovery can be tough sometimes.

Hang with us after the break and see how this week's picks stack up with the rest. If you find one that you like, be sure to let us know how it works for you.

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4 years ago

Eyes on with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini cases

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Samsung's Galaxy S4 Mini shares a similar range of cases to its bigger brother

Not particularly glamorous, but essential to some. Alongside our first hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini at the Premiere 2013 event in London, the range of official cases was also on display. Like the Galaxy S4, the Mini has plenty of choice in color and style, and even has its own version of the 'S View' flip case. Click on past the break for a few more snaps. 

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4 years ago

AOL launching their own Google Reader replacement, request an invite on June 24

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Another suitor enters the arena for the post-Google Reader world, Android app and third-party API included

AOL -- remember them? -- has quietly emerged as yet another potential Google Reader replacement, with the launching of AOL Reader. Launch is a pretty soft word to use at the moment as it's pretty much impossible to get in, though the folks at Engadget -- another AOL company -- say that invite requests will be accepted from June 24. Of particular interest is the news that AOL Reader will come at some point with an Android application, and that the API will be made available for third-party apps to hook into. 

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4 years ago

Instagram sees 5 million video uploads in first day of feature availability

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Users submitted 40 hours of video per minute at its peak

Everyone was quick to say that Instagram was playing catch-up with Vine when it released its new video option yesterday, but apparently it was doing something right. According to a statement given to CNET, Instagram users submitted 5 million unique videos in the first 24 hours of the app update hitting. That's a monumental number, likely made even bigger by the update hitting both Android and iOS at the exact same time -- Instagram on Android shows over 100 million downloads on the Play Store currently.

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4 years ago

Talk Mobile Apps Week Recap: The best things you said

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While the first week of Talk Mobile 2013 was all about mobile gaming, in the second topic we tackled broader issues with apps, developers, and app stores. As with last week, we're working to move past the debates over features and specs and spark a discussion on what really matters: how these advanced devices have actually impacted our lives.

We're going to continue to tweak the Talk Mobile formula as we go, and your feedback is always welcome as we work to make Talk Mobile the best that it can possibly be. So feel free to sound off in the comments about what you think of Talk Mobile so far.

As with our first week's recap, we want to focus on the discussion that was generated, because that's really what we're after here. We've seen a lot of great comments spurring even better conversations about what's great and not so great about apps today, and we'd like to take a few minutes to highlight the best.

4 years ago

Vine for Android updated, brings performance updates, Facebook sharing and ability to clear cache

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The six second video app Vine gets a major update

Vine has been updated to version 1.1 in Google Play today, bringing along some much needed boosts in the performance category, Facebook sharing and the ability to clear out your local cache in the app settings. A quick look through the reviews of the original version in the Play store shows that plenty of folks weren't having a great experience with the app, and hopefully today's update alleviates most of their issues.

The change log has been posted, here's the sweet sweet bullet point version:

  • Search for users and hashtags
  • Share to Facebook
  • Improvements to capture speed, quality, and audio/video synchronization
  • Clear cache option available in Settings
  • Other bug fixes and UI improvements

Interesting that Facebook sharing came so quickly after the release of Instagram with video, but on Android that should have been an easy enough fix. What we're happiest seeing is a setting to wipe the local cache. What it does is erase any unposted Vines from your devices storage, freeing valuable space for other things. It's a step in the right direction, but it still doesn't address the real issue -- dumping possibly unwanted Vines there in the first place. We'd much rather see something asking you if you'd like to save your unposted Vine before just leaving it there. Every little bit counts -- especially with video files.

To update or try Vine for the first time, click the Google Play link above.

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