4 years ago

Sony 'Anami' drops by the FCC, could be Xperia Z1 S


Miniature Xperia Z1 shown with pentaband HSPA and eight-band LTE

The next big Android device we're expecting to see from Sony is the Xperia Z1 S — a miniature version of its current Xperia Z1 flagship handset. We've seen leaked images of the device in recent months, and a Japanese version, dubbed the Xperia Z1 f, is about ready to go on sale. Now an FCC listing has revealed a little more info about the elusive smartphone, including a possible codename.

The technical drawing submitted to the FCC closely matches earlier leaked renders of the Z1 S, and includes a label with the model marked as "Anami" — notable for its similarity to the Z1's "Honami" moniker. If it's anything like its Japanese counterpart, the Z1 S should sport the same Snapdragon 800 CPU found in the Z1, with 2GB of RAM, an identical 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS camera and a smaller 4.3-inch 720p display.

The FCC listing shows pentaband HSPA support as well as LTE on bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 20 — the same eight bands as the European Xperia Z1, suggesting this is an international version of the device. There's still no firm information regarding when we can expect an official announcement, but given Sony's release patterns in previous years the company's CES 2014 press conference would be a good bet.

Source: FCC; via: Pocket-Lint

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4 years ago

Black HTC One Max headed to Hong Kong


With the HTC One and One Mini already available in a slew of different colors, HTC is bringing a little more variety to the latest member of the HTC One family, the One Max. The black HTC One Max has made its debut in Hong Kong, and the manufacturer's Hong Kong site shows the Max in its new murdered-out exterior. The metal front and back, as well as the plastic sides, are now jet black, giving the enormous handset a slightly more businesslike appearance. It also makes the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner — admittedly not our favorite One Max feature — a little less visually jarring.

There's no indication as to when (or even if) HTC might launch the black One Max outside of Hong Kong. But given HTC's track record of slowly rolling out additional color options we wouldn't be surprised to see this model arrive internationally at some point. Elsewhere, a red HTC One Max was recently spotted in an ad for Taiwanese carrier FarEasTone, so it's possible the device may get a splash of color in the near future.

Source: HTC

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4 years ago

Pebble update v1.14 adds Do Not Disturb, alarm improvements


Manage more functions directly from the watch

There's always something cool about getting a firmware update for your watch. Tonight Pebble unleashed OS version 1.14.1 for its smartwatch, bringing a few subtle but useful improvements. First you'll find a Do Not Disturb mode, which as you would expect turns off notifications for a set period of time, customizable right from the Pebble. Along the same line, you can now choose to have all notifications on, just phone calls, or no notifications at all from the Pebble's settings.

Next are alarm features — you can now set multiple alarms, toggle them on/off without deleting them, edit existing alarms and customize snooze functions for the alarm. There's also a whole big set of bug fixes in the latest update, including Caller ID issues, Bluetooth fixes and others.

You should be notified of the update via the Pebble app on your phone, where you'll be prompted to install it.

Source: Pebble

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: What Android version are you running?


We've seen the Google Play data, let's see how Android Central readers compare

Google does a really nice job reporting what users of Google Play have running on their devices. They even release a general "This is how many devices use each version" post each month for developers to know just what to target with their apps. this is helpful, because as the trend moves to higher versions, they can use newer APIs for application updates. Google understands that without a long list of great apps, a smartphone platform has no chance.

Through the years, the numbers migrate to higher versions but one thing remains the same — the majority of users are one or more full platform versions behind. This matters, though less than most people want to admit, but it's a cross section of devices across the world that includes phones that will never get an update, phones that are discontinued, and people that don't care to ever update as long as things work. That's how the real world operates — some will never be current for one reason or another.

This data is important, but I've a feeling that regular readers of AC won't quite fit into this mold. I'm betting that Jelly Bean will be the most popular version, just like the official numbers, but the percentage of devices running Kit Kat will be much higher than the general population. When I have a question or get an idea that data can prove or disprove, it's poll time.

You'll find a poll in the sidebar to the right, or after the break to make things easy for mobile viewers. Look at the device you use the most. Answer the question and tell us what version it is running. This one should be fun to follow, which you can do by checking the results from time to time. If your Android device is running a version not on the list, give us an "other" and shout out in the comments. 

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4 years ago

Chromecast now works with Google Play Music, Movies & TV from the web


Google Cast Chrome extension still required

Building on its recent expansion of supported apps, Chromecast will now interact with Google Play on the web for Music, Movies and TV shows. Similar to what we've seen happen in the new Youtube player, you'll now find a "Cast" button in the web interface for these two Google Play properties, making it simple to send content from your computer to the Chromecast.

In order for this functionality to work, you'll need to have the "Google Cast" Chrome extension installed to your browser, and then look for the Cast button in Play Music or Play Movies & TV. The option showed up for us after a refresh of the Google Play Music page, and worked right away. Note that the Chromecast won't respond to your computer's system volume, but rather the volume slider in the web page, found next to the Cast button.

It's one more step in making both the Chromecast and the Play Store on the web more powerful, and we love having multiple choices when it comes to pushing content from one screen to another.

Source: +Google Play

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4 years ago

Cover lock screen replacement launches in the Play Store, still carries 'beta' tag


Currently available for Android 4.1+ in U.S., Canada and Europe

Cover, a lock screen replacement that launched in private beta to much interest back in October, has available today in the Play Store. The app, which is currently available for free, hopes to offer a more feature-rich lock screen on your device that adapts to your habits and uses to offer you information and apps you want to see, when you want to see them. The goal is similar to that of Aviate, but for your lock screen rather than your home screen. As you can see in the launch video above, the idea is quite interesting.

From the private beta to going public, Cover says that many improvements to battery life, car detection and device compatibility have been made. New tutorials, customization options and the ability to share your Cover setup to social media have also been added.

The app is currently available for users running Android 4.1 and above in the U.S., Canada and Europe, with availability expanding down to Android 2.3 and numerous other countries soon. If you've had your eye on Cover and didn't have a chance to get in on the private beta, you can find it now at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

CTIA, FCC come to agreement on cellphone unlocking terms


Customers to be notified proactively of unlocked status, get devices unlocked for free

The CTIA has announced today it has come to an agreement with the FCC regarding cellphone unlocking. The five largest carriers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular — have signed-on with a deal that increases the transparency and improves the process of unlocking phones in the country.

The full list of six steps towards more consumer-friendly unlocking, which is quite extensive and can be found after the break, will be adopted by each of the five largest carriers and begin to be implemented within three months. The basic idea behind the guidelines follows right in line with what the FCC proposed the CTIA consider just one month ago, including clear policies posted on the carrier's unlocking process, responding to unlock requests within two days and unlocking devices without a fee.

The big sticking point between the wireless group and governing body was the proactive notification of customers that their devices are ready to be unlocked at the end of their contracts, which seems to now be included in the guidelines.

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4 years ago

Motorola updates its camera app in Google Play


When Motorola started updating device to Android 4.4 KitKat, it also slipped in an updated camera app that gave better control over focus and exposure with that little reticle that turns green when you're in focus. (Jerry wrote about it in detail here back in November.) Today, Motorola updated the app in Google Play to keep everything on the same track.

The official changelog reads thusly:

  • Manual control of focus and exposure
  • Locked exposure during Panorama capture
  • Enabled additional language support
  • Bug fixes 

So the focus stuff we already knew about — and that's really the main thing you'll notice if you've not already been on the newer camera app. Regardless, Motorola's doing the right thing here, offloading system apps and keeping them updated in Google Play.

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4 years ago

12 Days of Christmas giveaway day six: Win a Galaxy Note 3 from AC and Sprint

On the sixth day of Christmas AC and Sprint gave to me ... A Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The good people at Sprint have partnered with us to do something awesome for the holidays, and we're giving away a great Samsung phone or tablet every day for the next 12 days.

We've got a pile of great stuff, including the Galaxy Tab 3, the Note 3, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 mini. Winning one is easy, but you'll need to follow the rules.

  • Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win today's prize. Only one comment. 
  • We'll close the comments after 24 hours and pick a winner at random. 
  • Make sure the contact details you have entered when you signed up at AC are good, because that is how I will get in touch with you. 

Today's prize is a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It's the best big phone you can buy, so winning one would be sweet, right? Don't miss out on this one.

The 12 days of Christmas giveaway is brought to you by Sprint, and their truly unlimited plans.

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4 years ago

Want snow on your Google+ photos? Just shake your phone


Add a little on-demand holiday cheer to any photo you take

The latest update to the Google+ app (and therefore the Photos app) lets you add on-demand animated snowfall to any picture you take. If you've been using Google+ to share photos lately and have "Auto Awesome" effects turned on you may notice many of your holiday-themed pictures adding snowfall and twinkling highlights automatically, but you can now do that under your own direction with the latest update.

Simply grab the new version of Google+, rolling out gradually today, and view one of your pictures in the app (or the Phtoos app, same thing). Give your phone a little shake while viewing the photo full-screen, and you'll see the same falling snow animation that was applied by Auto Awesome. Shake your phone again, and you'll save that new version of the photo and can share it out to your circles.

It's a fun little holiday-themed update to the app, and we're sure more than a few people will take advantage of the new feature.

Source: +Paul Sowden

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4 years ago

'Instagram Direct' private messaging is now official


Direct messages from strangers require extra step before receiving

Following a general rumble of expectation for weeks, Instagram has just launched its own private messaging service. With the latest update to version 5 of the app, you can now send images and videos directly to individuals and groups rather than your entire follower base.

You'll be able to select where your image goes — to "Followers" or "Direct" — after you've taken and edited your picture or video, and if you select Direct you'll have a choice of sending to just one or several people you choose. Once sent, you'll see an indication underneath the picture of who has seen and liked the photo, along with a standard Instagram comment thread underneath. It's the same Instagram experience you know, but with a smaller audience.

You can go straight into the Direct portion of the app with a new inbox button in the top left of the home screen, where you'll see both read and unread messages, along with "Direct Requests" from people that you don't follow. The latest update is already live in the Play Store, so have at it.

Source: Instagram

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4 years ago

Google unveils its inaugural 'Players' Choice' app awards


Lists are inescapable this time of year, and Google today announced the winners of its "Players' Choice: Top Google Play Apps and Games" poll.

The categories included "most addictive game," "best Google app" and "best franchise game," among others,  Some of the winners you likely know. Some might be your introduction to something new and special. Check out the list after the break, and be sure to swing by the collection on Google Play. And while you're at it, there's still time to nominate your favorite hardware and software in our year-end awards, too.

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4 years ago

Gmail will automatically show images in e-mails


Google today announced that it is (for better or worse) finally going to get rid of that annoying "show images" button in Gmail

The gist is that embedded images will be routed through Google's severs and then transcoded, ensuring you won't get hit with any malware. If you're worried about bandwidth — or just don't want to fix something that's not broken for you in the first place — you'll be able to keep the status quo in the settings.

The web version of Gmail is up first, and the mobile apps will see this feature early next year.

Source: Gmail Blog

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4 years ago

UK Court of Appeal grants HTC stay on injunction


Manufacturer may resume shipping HTC One Mini into the UK

HTC UK has released a statement saying it's been granted a stay on the injunction preventing shipments of the HTC One Mini into the UK. This follows a High Court ruling earlier this month which found that a component in the device infringed upon patents owned by Nokia, resulting in an injunction against the handset. At the time any action against the HTC One, which was also found to infringe upon the Finnish manufacturer's patents, was delayed by the judge to give HTC an opportunity to appeal. With today's developments the HTC One Mini now finds itself in a similar situation.

HTC says it'll "continue to aggressively appeal" against the decision on the Nokia patent, while working with suppliers to source alternative parts.

We've got the company's statement in full after the break.

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4 years ago

O2 revamps 'Simplicity' and 'Refresh' plans - 4G now starts at £17 per month


More data for existing customers, and some 3G contract subscribers can transition to 4G at no extra cost

With competition in the UK 4G LTE marketplace heating up, network operator O2 has refreshed a couple of its contract price plans to tempt festive buyers. The main effect of the change is that O2's 4G LTE network just got a bit less expensive. 4G price plans now start at £17 per month on O2 Refresh, rising to £22 or £27 per month for 5GB or 8GB respectively — though as this is a "Refresh" tariff you'll pay a monthly fee of between £5 and £15 for your handset on top of this.

For customers wanting a 12-month SIM-only plan on O2 Simplicity, 4G prices start at £21 per month for 1GB, £26 for 5GB and £31 for 8GB. All O2's 4G plans come with unlimited texts and data, and the carrier also offers 3G-only Simplicity deals with unlimited texts — between 100 and 750MB for £8-16.

In addition, existing O2 4G customers will see an increase in their data limits, and existing 3G contract customers on at least a 1GB plan can transition over to 4G provided they have a compatible handset. Folks upgrading to 4G can also save 25 percent on outstanding line rental when they upgrade to a LTE-capable smartphone.

Source: Engadget; More: O2 4G

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