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4 years ago

Vodafone UK delays 4G LTE roll-out to September


Carrier will likely wait for compatible iPhone

Vodafone UK will wait until September to launch its 4G LTE services, according to reports. British national newspaper The Guardian reports that Voda will miss the originally-targeted summer launch window for its LTE network, which runs on 800MHz and 2600MHz airwaves purchased as part of the recent 4G spectrum auction.

The Guardian quotes Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao as saying "We want to be able to launch it when it's really ready. End of the summer means when there is going to be a good commercial window for launching it." That likely means the operator is waiting for refreshed iPhone hardware from Apple. The current iPhone 5 model sold in Europe supports LTE on 1800MHz, the frequencies used by rival EE, but not the 800MHz and 2600MHz that Vodafone will be using. (Most 4G Android phones sold in the UK support all three bands.)

As for rival networks, O2 is said to be targeting summer "at the earliest" for its 4G switch-on. Three UK has built its "Ultrafast" brand around DC-HSDPA and its upcoming LTE offering, but says it's in "no rush" to launch the latter, which it's currently targeting for switch-on in Q4.

Source: The Guardian

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4 years ago

HTC loses several high-profile executives [Updated]


Departures include VP of Global Communications, Chief Product Officer, Asia CEO

Update 2: HTC has confirmed the departure of Lennard Hoornik, and says CFO Chialin Chang will take over in the interim. Engadget is also reporting that Head of Global Digital Service Elizabeth Griffin will be leaving HTC later this week. Meanwhile, The Verge's Chris Ziegler tweets that he's "catching wind of a bunch more departures."

Update: CNET reports that HTC Asia CEO Lennard Hoornik has become the latest HTC exec to part ways with the company, following two months of leave.

Original story: HTC's Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera has left the company, The Verge is reporting. Kodera's exit is the latest in a string of top-level departures at the struggling smartphone maker, including VP of Global Communications Jason Gordon, who announced his exit late last week.

In recent months product strategy manager Eric Lin has also called it quits, and The Verge reports that global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland and director of digital marketing John Starkweather have also left. Writing on Twitter this Monday, a vocal Lin advised friends still working at HTC to "leave now," adding, "you'll be so much happier, I swear." Across the Atlantic, HTC EMEA President Florian Seiche recently departed for Nokia.

Sources for The Verge suggest that the U.S.-based marketing departures could be the result of new CMO Benjamin Ho moving key decision-making away from the company's Seattle office and back to the Taipei headquarters. The site also quotes a source singling out the ill-fated HTC First for criticism, describing it as "a disaster." The "Facebook phone" recently had its price cut from $99 to 99 cents on-contract amid disputed reports that carrier partner AT&T may have decided to drop the handset.

On the other hand, sales of the flagship HTC One appear to be picking up. Production capacity is set to double this month to keep pace with "strong demand," according to recent comments from HTC North Asia president Jack Tong. However the One will continue to face fierce competition from Korean giant Samsung, whose Galaxy S4 is expected to hit its 10 millionth unit shipped this week. And HTC's financials remain precarious following early component supply issues with the HTC One.

Only time will tell  how HTC will be able to meet the challenges it's facing, however we can be sure this series of high-profile departures is unlikely to help matters.

via The Verge

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4 years ago

Samsung pens deal to buy 10-percent of Pantech for $47.6 million


The first- and third-largest South Korean handset manufacturers make deal to strengthen partnership

Samsung announced today that it is acquiring a 10-percent stake in rival handset maker Pantech, one that will set the worlds largest handset manufacturer back a mere $47.6 million. While known more for making lower-end and spec devices for carriers here in the states, Pantech is actually quite a large company and the number three seller of handsets in its native South Korea. But this deal is likely less about taking a position in a smaller rival company and more about furthering a partnership for handset components that has already been established.

Like many large companies, Samsung and Pantech alike make many of the components needed for handsets on their own to reduce costs. For everything else, they need to buy from an outside source and in this case, Samsung and Pantech already have a standing partnership in both semiconductors and display technologies that will grow with this new investment. If Samsung plans to continue buying and selling components with Pantech, a small investment like this makes sense for such a large company.

Source: Yonhap News Agency; Via: TNW

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4 years ago

Watch Phil on All About Android episode 110!


Miss it live earlier today? Fear not, the recorded version is now available for everyone to watch

Just in case you missed it, the folks over at All About Android on the TWiT network were nice enough to have our very own Phil Nickinson on for their weekly show tonight. All of the fun and Android talk went down earlier today live, but fear not as the recorded version has just been put up to watch. Phil joined Jason Howell, Ron Richards and Gina Trapani to talk about Google I/O, Google Glass and everything else that has happened in the last week.

Swing on over to the link below to watch or download the full hour and half of Android goodness.

More: All About Android Episode 110 on TWiT

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the HTC One in "Stealth Black"


The darker side of the HTC One reaffirms the device's status as the most attractive smartphone on the market today

If you thought the HTC One was already the most handsome smartphone on the market today, you'll want to do yourself a favor and check it out the"Stealth Black" variant, available on both Sprint and, as of last week, AT&T. HTC is onhand here in Vegas showing off the darker side of the One and we've got to admit we're pretty smitten. Its aluminum finish is sleek, stylish, and dare we say "stealthy", though you'll notice it does appear to show blemishes, and especially fingerprints, more easily than its silver brother. Whichever flavor you prefer, we still stick by our guns and say that you'll have a hard time going wrong with HTC's flagship. Some more glamour shots can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Coolpad Quattro II and a new TDD/FDD LTE device


Coolpad continues to stay under the radar and is hoping to make another splash in the low-end market

Coolpad, a name that may not come to mind as a common phone manufacturer, is showing off a couple of its latest devices here at CTIA 2013 -- the Quattro II 4G and a recently announced TDD/FDD device for China Mobile. If you'll recall back to August of last year, Coolpad introduced the original Quattro for the prepaid market on MetroPCS at the staggering price of $79 without any contract or subsidy. We're hearing about some pretty impressive sales numbers from that handset and Coolpad is hoping to follow that up with this sequel device. We're looking at a full plastic shelled device with a few different textures that feels nice but very light, with some basic specs. You'll be getting a 4.5-inch qHD (540x960) display, CDMA and LTE networking, Android 4.1, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon (MSM8930) processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a 5MP camera.

Coolpad isn't ready to announce any specific pricing or carrier partners at this point, but has said that they are in talks with multiple carriers for deals to offer the handset. We can probably be on the lookout for this one to hit one of the prepaid providers at a super low price once again. Stick around after the break where you can see a full gallery of the Coolpad Quattro II, as well as a few pictures of another (unnamed) device that is the first TDD/FDD LTE handset available, which was just launched in partnership with China Mobile.

More: Android @ CTIA 2013

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4 years ago

Google Now style voice search now live in Chrome stable channel


Google Now voice search goes live in the latest Chrome desktop builds

Ladies and gents, it's time to upgrade your Chrome browser. Google Now style voice search has just went live in the latest Chrome stable version for the desktop (Version 27.0.1453.93). As far as we can tell from playing around testing things, the full contextual search isn't running like we saw in the demo during the Google I/O keynote, but the basic voice search and response is ready to go.

To get the latest update is easy. Open the settings in the Chrome browser, and click the Help line entry. Give it a second or two to start checking, and when it tells you to restart Chrome, just restart your whole browser session. When things come back, head to and click the microphone in the search box. 

You have to give permission (look for the bar across the top of the window) to listen to your voice, then start asking questions. Welcome to the future! We've got a couple screenshots after the break just in case you're not able to update or don't use Chrome.

Thanks, Christian!

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4 years ago

Latest Sony Xperia ZL C6506 update now rolling out OTA


OTA starts rolling for the latest update previously only available with a manual install

Well then, here's a nice surprise. Our unlocked Xperia ZL (that's the C6506 model) has just received a 66.1MB OTA update touting improved battery life, user experience and software performance. The update is to version 10.1.1.A.1.253, which is the build that has been available for a couple of days (according to Sony) but only via its desktop companion software. After quickly downloading, the update will install with just one more tap and indicated that it will take "about 9 minutes" to update (which seems about right). You'll still be on Android 4.1.2 and likely won't see any other cosmetic changes from what we can tell.

We obviously haven't had enough time to evaluate whether or not Sony's claims of improved battery life and software performance are true, but we'll take any improvements they have for us. If you have an unlocked Xperia ZL, be sure to head into your settings menu and check for the update.

More: Sony Xperia ZL Forums; Sony Support

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4 years ago

Watch this Google I/O session on Android design principles because it's awesome


Real world examples and practices from the Android design team make this session from Google I/O 2013 a must-watch -- even if you'll never write your own app.

See how Android apps should look and act, and see what the folks behind Android say about why they should be this way. Whether you're into design, or just into great looking Android apps this one is a treat. Catch it after the break.

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4 years ago

Ingress app gets a major update


Major update delivers new features and support for new animations, notifications, bug fixes 

Ingress, everyone's favorite sci-fi virtual reality simulation game, got a major update this afternoon. Everything you love about the game is still there, with less bugs, but a couple very nice features were added.

  • Portal health and faction control info on Portal Keys in the Inventory carousel.
  • Android Notifications for "Portal under attack," "Portal neutralized," and "@<codename>" messages.
  • Support for Jarvis Virus and ADA Refactor objects.
  • New Recharge visual animation.

The new notification system will get all the attention, but the new information displayed about your Portal keys in inventory is probably the change people will use the most. The Jarvis Virus is something new started earlier this month, and it will flip an infected Portal to the opposing faction. 

You can get today's update from the Google Play link above, and learn more about Ingress (and try to score an invite) in the Ingress forums.

Via: +Ingress

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4 years ago

HBO Go down for maintenance Wednesday morning


From 5 to 9 a.m. on May 22, you'll have to get your "Girls" fix somewhere else. Don't worry, we're all in this together.

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4 years ago

Zoes now even more fun with Google+ Auto Awesome motion


HTC's Zoe feature is a perfect way to play with Auto Awesome motion on Google+

Google+ got some great new image tools and toys last week and Google I/O, including the "motion" portion of the Auto Awesome tweaks. How it works is, it takes any series of pictures of the same subject that have been shot in quick succession and transforms them into an animated gif image. You can then share it on Google+, or download it to share anywhere. Everyone loves animated gifs!

As it turns out, the Zoe feature on HTC's Sense 5 camera software is perfect for this. A Zoe is a series of high resolution stills that get stitched in series to create an animation on the phone, and since they are individual jpg files, Google+ can work its magic the same way. 

To play with it, you'll have to either turn on auto-upload to Google+ on your HTC One, or find the frames of your Zoe and upload them individually. You'll then find all 20 stills, the small video that your phone exports, and a single gif file of the full animation in your Google+ photos. If you're a nut about housekeeping, you can then delete the 20 stills and the video, leaving your animated masterpiece available for the world to see. 

Now get out your Ones, hit the Zoe button, and drop some links in the comments to show off your stuff! Hit the break to check one out.

Via: Android Central forums;  Phil's humidifier

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the NTT Docomo 'Translator Phone' service


Face-to-face voice and text translation across multiple languages 

We're at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas and while a lot of business and back-end technologies are being talked about here, companies like the Japanese carrier NTT Docomo are showing off at least a couple of consumer-facing products. Its recently announced "Translator Phone" service was on display today and we had a moment to see how it all worked. The app and service, which will be pre-loaded on nearly every one of its devices going forward, gives near real-time voice and text translation between English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and several other languages.

The UI is extremely simple, and all you have to do is select which two languages you'd like to have a translated conversation between. The app then has two buttons -- for example English and Japanese -- that you tap, speak to and receive a translation. Voice is nearly instantly transcribed into text, translated into the text of the other language, then also read aloud in that language. You can then hold the phone to the native speaker of the other language, where they can read the text and give their response for you to read. The translations come through in a threaded conversation view, and any of the translations can be read aloud or re-transcribed at any time.

NTT Docomo is also working with this same technology to provide nearly real-time translation over phone calls, but it is only working in a limited capacity with English, Japanese and Chinese with about a 2 second delay when translating. The hope is to eventually provide seamless translation between languages while on phone calls one day. Be sure to watch the video above of the service in action.

More: Android @ CTIA 2013

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4 years ago

Catch Phil tonight on TWiT's All About Android!


It's my pleasure to announce that I'll be joining Jason Howell, Ron Richards and Gina Trapani tonight on TWiT's "All About Android" show to talk about the new Xbox One. Wait. That's not right. We'll be talking Android. All about Android. But maybe a little bit about the Xbox One. And a lot about last week's Google I/O, and maybe a bit about CTIA this week.

The show should kick off somewhere around 5 p.m. PDT -- that's 8 p.m. on the East Coast -- but things are a little bit in flux due to today's live Xbox One coverage. So check in to and show 'em what the Android Central fan base can do, won'tcha?

See y'all this evening!

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4 years ago

Galaxy S4 'Google Edition' to be U.S.-only at launch


Google edition S4

The Nexus experience device won't be available outside the US at launch, sources tell CNET

It appears that folks around the world are going to have to wait to not order their very own Google Edition Samsung Galaxy S4, as CNET says Google has confirmed the launch to be US-only. The device, which was unveiled during the Google I/O 2013 keynote presentation, is the same Galaxy S4 you all know and love, but without Samsung's Touchwiz software -- or it's features. Instead the device has the same "Nexus user experience" that Google's own Nexus 4 delivers. The version shown at the I/O keynote will be penta-band HSPA+ and LTE, and will be completely compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile in the US.

It was a bold, if strange, move by the two companies, and nobody is quite sure why either side wanted it to happen. Around these parts, we still think you're better served buying the "non-Google" version and doing a little software hackery if you just have to have Google Android instead of Samsung Android, allowing for an easy path back should you want or need all the features the hardware can deliver.

There was no word on when to expect the device to be sold in other countries, but we imagine Samsung and Google both want to make it available and will work out the logistics and details as fast as they can.

Source: CNET UK

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