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4 years ago

Sony looks to accelerate wireless charging in 2014

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Future Sony phones could charge wirelessly in just one hour

Inductive charging can be a useful feature on smartphones and tablets, but it's often much slower than the wire-based alternative. That's an issue Sony's looking to address in its future devices' according to a report from Japan's Nikei. The outlet says Sony, together with electronics supplier Rohm Co., has developed wireless charging technology using between 10 and 15 watts and supplies twice the energy of earlier wireless chargers. The end result, it's said, is double the charging speed, meaning a smartphone can be fully charged, wirelessly, in just one hour.

The new technique is based on specs currently being finalized for inclusion in the Qi wireless charging standard, Nikei reports, and new control chips from Rohm will be used to reduce heat output, preventing the new tech from melting phones as it charges.

Commercialization of  the new tech is expected to begin in the second half of 2014, meaning we could see it in Sony smartphones and other devices before the end of next year.

Source: Nikkei; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch now shipping

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Prices start at $229 with 'special offers,' $244 without

Amazon's next-generation Kindle Fire HDX has launches today, and the 7-inch tablet is available right now from Amazon.com. The new Kindle Fire packs a speedy Snapdragon 800 processor and a 1920x1200-resolution display into a 9mm body weighing 303g, making it highly competitive in terms of specs. And the tablet's pricing is equally so, starting at $229 for 16GB "with special offers" — which means ads on your lock screen. If you want to go ad-free you'll pay $244 for 16GB. Adding $100 to that price gets you either the Verizon or AT&T LTE-capable models; add another $40 for 32GB of storage, or $80 for 64GB.

The tablet is running Amazon's latest Android-based FireOS 3.0 "Mojito" OS, which our own Jerry Hildenbrand found to be fast and responsive in his recent hands-on feature. Obviously this means you'll be tied into Amazon's content ecosystem, as opposed to Google Play — though presumably that's why you're looking at an Amazon tablet to begin with.

For more on the Kindle Fire HDX, check out our hands-on preview. If you're looking to pick one up, you'll find a link down below. Next stop for the 7-inch HDX is the UK on Nov. 13, then Canada on Nov. 26.

Buy: Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch on Amazon.com

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Gear review

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Samsung Galaxy Gear

Is the Galaxy Gear leading a wearable device revolution, or does it need more time to develop?

The concept of wearable technology is nothing new. High-tech GPS watches, clip-on health monitors and connected glasses have been around for niche uses for years, but a recently-renewed discussion of these devices as general consumer products has manufacturers rethinking their mobile strategies. It can be argued whether or not the connected smartwatch is something that consumers truly want, but Samsung is getting into the game anyway with its first entry, the Galaxy Gear.

Launched alongside the Galaxy Note 3, the much-rumored Galaxy Gear made its first public appearance at IFA 2013 as a headline product for the Korean electronics behemoth. With a surprisingly nice design and build quality, initial impressions of the Gear were positive across the board. Anyone who put their hands on the Gear had good things to say about it, but the reality of what the device was going to cost and be capable of quickly tempered those feelings.

A $299 accessory that only does a few things, handles just a subset of those functions well, and requires a constant connection to your phone for any of it to work seems like a tough sell. Is Samsung just jumping the gun in order to be part of the recently-renewed conversation about wearable devices, or is the Galaxy Gear something that a general consumer will actually want? Read along and find out in our all-encompassing review of the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

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4 years ago

Join the Nexus 5 discussion on the Android Central forums

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We're getting closer and closer to the inevitable launch of the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat, and with the device's image recently slipping out on Google Play — along with a $349 price point — there's more buzz than ever around this year's Nexus handset.

The Android Central forums are a great place to chat it up and share your Nexus 5 thought, hopes, fears and expectations as we wait for the device's arrival. Here's a quick rundown of some of the top threads at the moment:

More: Nexus 5 forums

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4 years ago

New HTC communications head departs after four months

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Lorain Wong reportedly resigned for 'personal reasons'

Just over four months ago HTC announced the appointment of former telco exec Lorain Wong as its new head of global PR, replacing Jason Gordon, who was one of many high-profile departures over the summer. Today Bloomberg reports that Wong herself has now left the company, with HTC CMO Benjamin Ho quoted as saying she resigned for "personal reasons." She will reportedly remain at the company in a consulting role for the next three to four months.

This latest executive departure comes at a challenging time for the Taiwanese smartphone maker, which posted its first quarterly loss earlier this month.

Source: Bloomberg

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4 years ago

International Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 rollout begins

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Unlocked German and Russian devices getting new version of Android, as Euro Note 3 receives 'stability' updates

The international LTE and HSPA+ versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-i9505 and GT-i9500) have started receiving their Android 4.3 updates, marking the first major OS upgrade for Samsung's flagship.

Among all the standard under-the-hood changes brought in Android 4.3, the update reportedly includes Samsung KNOX for improved enterprise security, along with Samsung Wallet, some color tweaks for the device's display, and a smoother home screen experience. Other changes include new versions of the Samsung keyboard and browser and a reading mode, which tweaks the display in certain apps for easier reading. The new 4.3 firmware also adds support for Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

According to SamMobile the Galaxy S4 LTE update is pushing out through Kies and over-the-air in Germany, while HSPA+ devices in Russia are also getting the update. As always, the new version will take a while to reach all devices, so hit the comments and let us know if you've gotten it already.

Meanwhile the European Galaxy Note 3 LTE (SM-N9005) has received a string of "stability" updates over the past week, eventually landing it at build XXUBMJ3. We're not seeing any noticeable changes on our device, but an early OTA to deal with any niggling stability issues is certainly welcome.

Source: SamMobile

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4 years ago

Nexus 5 makes a brief appearance on Google Play, listed at $349

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The link is dead(ish) now, but there it is, folks. The Nexus 5, for $349.

The tag line, as you can see, reads:

"Capture the everyday and the epic in fresh new ways. Starting at $349."

That's a pretty good sign that we'll see more than one SKU (aka retail version), meaning we'll (obviously) see more than one storage size. The defunct link took us to a 16-gigabyte version, so that's a pretty good starting point. The URL also points to a "black" version — a pretty good indication we might see other colors as well. Figure white, of course.

Thanks, @BWFfeldy!

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4 years ago

Chromecast now supports 64-character passwords

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4 years ago

Google Shopping results now larger, scrollable on mobile

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Changes to drive even more traffic to retailers before the holiday shopping season

Google is working to improve the shopping experience from search results on mobile, and the most recent improvements are coming to the set of top links after making a search. The group of pictures and associated links under "Shop with Google" are known as Google Shopping results, and they're getting a little more real estate in the search results page now.

Now when you search for products that Google Shopping has results for, instead of just two or three images at the top, you'll get a side-scrolling list of several results that match your request. In addition, the images and titles will now be larger, making it easier to see at a glance.

Google claims that the new format will drive more traffic to the participating retailers, and it's pretty simple math to see why that would be the case. These are big changes to drive even more traffic to retailers before the critical holiday shopping season.

Source: Google Commerce Blog

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4 years ago

Microsoft launches remote desktop Android app to coincide with Windows 8.1 release

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A new free first-party solution for connecting to Windows desktops remotely

Microsoft released Windows 8.1 today, and to coincide with the launch it has released a first-party remote desktop app on Android (and iOS). Just like many other third-party remote desktop offerings, Microsoft Remote Desktop lets you connect to a remote PC from your phone or tablet anywhere you have an internet connection.

The app offers a solid set of features, including multi-touch and gesture support, giving a better way to interact with touch-enabled devices when viewing Windows 8 desktops. Additionally, the app provides a secure connection using Network Layer Authentication. Microsoft claims that video and sound streaming from remote devices are improved by compression as well.

The app itself is pretty basic but follows Google design guidelines, with a simple interface to choose between your remote desktops, remote resources, gateways, certificates and trusted hosts. The app is free in Google Play from the source link above.

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4 years ago

Google Q3 2013 earnings: $14.9 billion revenue, $3.44 billion operating income

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Revenues and operating income increase, but Motorola posts operating loss of $248 million

Google has just announced its Q3 2013 earnings, and it's another solid quarter for the search giant. We're listening in on the earnings call as we speak, but here's your breakdown of the financials:

  • $14.89 billion in revenues, up 12 percent year-over-year
  • Operating income of $3.44 billion, 23 percent of revenues, up from 2.74 billion last year
  • Net income  of $2.97 billion, up from 2.18 billion last year
  • Earnings Per Share of $8.75, up from $6.53 last year

Google-owned sites made up $9.39 billion, or 68 percent, of total Google revenues, with Google Network bringing in $3.15 billion and "other" a total of $1.23 billion. 56 percent of Google revenues came from countries other than the U.S., which is just slightly higher than Q3 2012.

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4 years ago

Verizon posts $20.4 billion in revenues, adds 1.1 million customers in Q3 2013

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Revenues, ARPA, operating income and customers all increase notably

Verizon has just posted its earnings for the third quarter of 2013, with strong results for both its wireless and wireline businesses. Naturally we're most interested in the Verizon Wireless side of things, and will be focusing on those results. The quarter was strong overall, with revenues, earnings, revenues per account and subscribers all increasing. Here's the breakdown:

  • Revenues of $20.4 billion, up 7.2 percent year-over-year
  • ARPA (avg. revenue per account) of $155.74 per month, up 7.1 percent y-o-y
  • Operating income up 2 percentage points to 33.8 percent
  • 1.1 million net retail connections added
  • Total customers reached 101.2 million

Strong revenues and earnings are great, but Verizon is seeing improvements in all areas of its business. The carrier says that it now has 35 million postpaid accounts, with an average of 2.7 connections per account. Nearly 42 percent of its postpaid accounts are now using Share Everything plans as well. As of Q3 2013, Verizon claims smart phones account for 67 percent of its customer base, up from 64 percent in Q2. Postpaid churn (how many people leave the carrier quarterly) was just 0.97 percent, but up very slightly from last year.

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4 years ago

UserVoice customer support SDK comes to Android

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Chances are that if you’ve ever used a website to vote on feature requests for a game or app, the voting system was driven by UserVoice. Founded in 2008, UserVoice has long focused on helping businesses retain customers by understanding their wants and needs and dealing with support issues.

iOS has enjoyed a UserVoice SDK since 2012, but Android has gone without. Today, UserVoice officially launched its SDK for Android. Now Android app and game developers can integrate UserVoice directly into their apps, cutting down on support headaches and improving the user experience.

Head past the break for more details and our exclusive interview with the CEO of UserVoice!

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4 years ago

Cricket announces ZTE Source coming Oct. 20 for $219

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Basic features with an affordable price and great plan pricing

Another affordable off-contract phone is headed to Cricket, and this time its the ZTE Source at an MSRP of $219.99. At this price you can't expect too much, but the Source is offering a 4.5-inch 480 x 854 display, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a 5MP camera that can handle 720p video recording.

On the software side we're looking at just Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but for what it's worth the experience seems to be generally Stock, as has been the case on many low-end ZTE devices.  As with other Cricket devices, the Source is eligible for the carrier's $45 unlimited plans with 2.5GB of full-speed data, as well as access to the Muve Music service.

The Source goes on sale both in-store and online this Sunday — you can take a look at a couple more images of the device after the break.

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4 years ago

Verizon Droid Mini, Ultra and Maxx all receive price cuts

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Savings of $50 or $100 both on and off contract at the online store

Coming around on three months since their release, Verizon has just cut the prices of its latest lineup of Droid devices from Motorola. If you head over to the Verizon online store today you'll find that Droid Maxx on sale for $199, Droid Ultra for $99 and Droid Mini for $49 — that's a cut of $100 for the Maxx and Ultra, and $50 for the Mini. It looks as though the off-contract prices have dropped as well, hitting $499, $449 and $399, respectively.

We're not entirely sure what the reasoning is behind a price drop just three months after going on sale, but if you've been holding off on picking up one of the new Droid devices now may be the time. We're seeing the price drops on the web without any special actions, but we can't say whether or not you'll find these deals in retail stores.

More: Motorola Droid Ultra review

Source: Verizon (Maxx); (Ultra); (Mini); Thanks, Saumil!

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