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4 years ago

The LG G2 rear buttons: A few quick thoughts


So we've got the LG G2 here for a little one-on-one time. That's the good news. But we also need to make clear that this is a preproduction unit. The hardware is solid, but the software's not quite final. (As we found out already in a new hands-on video.) Not a huge deal, and it gives us time to play around with some of the more unique features of this phone before we get into review mode. 

So let's flip over to the back of this phone, where the volume rocker and power button live. Crazy, we know. But maybe — just maybe — it's our kind of crazy.

A few quick thoughts:

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4 years ago

Huawei Ascend P6 review


Great design, impressive specs and a solid price ... so where does it fall short?

Huawei is one of the dark-horse Android manufacturers, with a larger market share than you would guess (mostly outside the U.S.) and drastically better design and manufacturing chops than you'd expect from what most would call a "no name" manufacturer. The Chinese company has been making phones of all shapes, sizes and price points for many years now, but has just started moving into the higher-end smart phone game as of late where it sees room for growth.

It's latest entry into the market that is hoping turn a few heads is the Huawei Ascend P6, and on paper and in press images it looks like it has it all. A quad-core processor, a high-quality screen, numerous software features and all packed into a metal chassis that measures up at just 6.18mm thick. Add all of that up and you still come home with a device that has an unlocked price of about $450, which is even more impressive.

But can it ever live up to the marketing materials and spec sheets? Read on for our full review of the Huawei Ascend P6.

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4 years ago

Facebook for Android getting some bugfixes


Facebook this morning dropped word that its official Android app is getting an update. Nothing huge in this latest v3.6 update — a few bugfixes, mainly. Here's the deal:

  • Fixed a crash when deleting a photo from a comment
  • Fixed music controller notifications from disappearing
  • Various other crash and bug fixes 

Presumably it also contains the improvements found in last week's beta update. The update is available for the Facebook beta testers now and will roll out to everyone else in the next few days.

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4 years ago

Blue HTC One tipped for Sept. 10 launch on Sprint


We've seen plenty of the blue HTC One of late, thanks to various pre-release leaks of the unannounced color option. And now it seems U.S. carrier Sprint might be getting first dibs on the new, blue version of the phone, if a leaked internal screenshot is to be believed.

PhoneArena has obtained an image of a recent Sprint handset update advisory showing the HTC One in blue listed alongside a Sept. 10 launch date. If accurate, the blue HTC One would join the "glamor red" version on Sprint -- the carrier already has exclusivity over that model in the U.S.

Source: PhoneArena

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4 years ago

O2 UK to offer Nexus 7 LTE from September 13


Pre-orders go live today for £319.99​, carrier also selling 32GB Wifi-only version

O2 has announced that it'll offer the LTE-capable version of the new Nexus 7 on its newly-launched 4G network, with a release scheduled for Sept. 13. The tablet will cost £319.99, and is available for pre-order now on "Pay As You Go" 4G plans, which come with 2GB of data to get you started. Pre-order customers will also get the official premium case, worth £29.99.

"O2 will be the only place to sell the 4G-Ready Nexus 7 at launch," the carrier says, suggesting some kind of timed exclusivity deal is in place. It's unclear whether this means Brits will be unable to get hold of an unlocked 4G Nexus 7 from the Google Play Store on the same day; at the very least it means rivals Vodafone and EE won't be selling the tablet at launch.

O2 is also selling the Wifi-only Nexus 7 with 32GB of storage, priced at £249.99. Elsewhere, there's still no firm date set for the launch of the 4G Nexus 7 in the U.S. or other territories.

More: O2 announcement; Pre-order details

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4 years ago

Vodafone and O2 launch 4G LTE networks in the UK


O2 in London, Leeds and Bradford; Vodafone in London only

As planned, British carriers O2 and Vodafone have today launched their 4G LTE services, bringing to an end EE's effective monopoly over 4G in the UK. From today, O2 4G is available in London, Leeds and Bradford, while Vodafone LTE launch is limited to the British capital.

O2 offers data in 1GB, 3GB and 5GB bundles, starting at £26 per month on a SIM-only deal, and as part of a 4G launch promotion customers signing up for 3GB and 5GB will be upgraded to 5GB and 8GB respectively until Oct 31.

Vodafone, meanwhile, has 2GB, 4GB and 8GB 4G data bundles, with the option to get a temporary boost to unlimited data for three months through its "data test drive" program. 4G contracts with a device attached will start at £34 per month for 2GB and run as high as £57 for 8GB, depending on the device. Both operators are offering unlimited calls and texts on 4G plans.

Anyone jumping on the O2/Vodafone 4G bandwagon today?

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4 years ago

Three UK schedules 4G switch-on for December


No price premium for LTE services, unlimited data to be offered

As British operators O2 and Vodafone enter the 4G fray, Three UK has confirmed that it'll launch its 4G network this December. The smallest major carrier also reaffirmed its commitment not to charge a premium for LTE connectivity when it launches, and said it'll continue to offer "All You Can Eat" unlimited data packages when it lights up 4G. Unless any of Three's rivals drastically change their 4G pricing structure, this would make Three the lowest-cost option for 4G as well as the only operator with unlimited LTE data plans.

Three's 4G network will launch in London, Manchester and Birmingham in December, before arriving in a further fifty markets by the end of 2014 and aiming to achieve 98 percent UK population coverage by the end of 2015. By comparison, EE yesterday announced it'd reached 105 4G markets and hit 60 percent population coverage some ten months after its 4G launch.

Three says all its customers with a 4G-capable device will be upgraded for free, and that only a software update will be required to turn on 4G on these devices, and customers will not require new SIMs.

UK readers, will you be switching networks to take advantage of 4G? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Three

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4 years ago

Verizon now selling Moto X online, yours for $199 on-contract


Still no official date for in-store availability of the handset

Right on time with what Verizon promised previously, the Moto X has gone on sale from the carrier's online store for $199.99 with a two-year contract agreement. Remember that Moto Maker isn't in play here, so you're going to be choosing between black or white varieties for the moment and will only have the option of 16GB of storage. If you aren't available for an upgrade or interested in signing a contract you'll be paying a full $599.99 out of pocket for the device, as we could've guessed.

Same as before, we're not entirely sure when the latest Motorola device will be making its way to stores other than Verizon's previous statement of "in the coming weeks". Not only are in-store sales a huge part of the overall volume of phones sold, it means a lot for branding and device awareness.

If you've made up your mind on the Moto X for Verizon and buying in-store isn't a requirement, you can scoop one up now at the source link below with free shipping.

More: Moto X review

Source: Verizon

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4 years ago

Android VP of Product Hugo Barra to leave Google for Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi [updated]


Barra ends his run directly working with Android after 5 years at the company

Update: Barra took to his Google+ page this evening to confirm that he is indeed leaving Google to take on a new role as VP of Xiaomi Global. He indicates that he will be helping the company expand its phones beyond China to the rest of the world, and is excited to continue working with Android.

Original Story: Shortly after he appeared in front of press to unveil the latest Nexus 7 tablet for Google, Android VP of Product Hugo Barra has reportedly resigned from his position at the company. AllThingsD reports that Barra, who had been an increasingly familiar face around Google events, is planning a move over to prominent Chinese smart phone maker Xiaomi in an interesting change of direction.

Up-and-coming Xiaomi currently builds phones that run Android with heavy modification as a holistic approach of hardware and software, and has been making waves in the Chinese phone market in the past couple of years. Barra's departure itself seems very sudden and surprising, but the reported move to Xiaomi catches us even more off guard.

Barra is truly one of the biggest influencers in Android today, and his move to a third-party Android manufacturer could change the mobile market notably.

Source: AllThingsD; +Hugo Barra (Google+)

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4 years ago

Google Keyboard update adds long-press numbers on tablets, bug fixes


Tablet users can now quickly type numbers in the same way as the phone

One of the biggest reasons Google has taken apps like its keyboard and moved them into the Play Store is for updates independent of the OS, and we're getting one of those today to add a feature for tablet users. The main user-facing change in this update is the addition of a long-press action for numbers in the top row of the keyboard on tablets, something that was available on the phones but oddly missing on larger-screen devices.

Additionally, the update is improving keyboard layouts for some languages, fixes various bugs and makes stability improvements across both phones and tablets. You can grab a download of the latest version of Google Keyboard from the Play Store link above, no matter what device you're on.

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4 years ago

LG G2: The video hands-on redux


A deeper look at LG's latest device with big features and interesting buttons

This hot little number here? That's the LG G2, and it just flew halfway around the world and into our hot little hands for some one-on-one smartphone love.

Yes, this is the phone with the buttons on the back. The volume buttons and power button have been moved there in deference to the size of the smartphone itself. That's the sort of thing that's going to take some getting used to, but the logic is sound — and it makes the sides of this phone just feel slick, without any unsightly bumps and bulges.

The front end is as nice as we recall from the launch event in New York City as well — that 5.2-inch IPS display at 1080p resolution. And this is one of the first Snapdragon 800 devices to be released, so it'll be fun putting that system on a chip through its paces as well.

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4 years ago

Motorola posts Moto X kernel source


Source code required to be released hits the internet for everyone to have a look

Following right on the heels of the official device release, Motorola has just published the kernel source code for the Moto X as is required under its licensing. Taking to SourceForge as its preferred method of publishing the kernel source, Motorola has now given some components that the most enterprising tinkerers among us will find interesting. The sources are grouped by device model — XT1053, XT1056 and XT1058.

As we like to remind folks when kernel source is released, these aren't the complete set of proprietary binaries required to build a working ROM or anything of the sort, simply the low-level kernel code that isn't of much use unless you're tinkering with modified kernels for the device.

Regardless, we have to make note of when manufacturers quickly follow through on their obligation and publish the necessary sources. If you have a need for them, they can be downloaded at the source link below.

Source: Motorola (SourceForge)

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4 years ago

Google moves Hangouts to VP8 to offer 720p HD video


Better video quality with less bandwidth and no third-party code

Some of us may have noticed an increase in Google+ Hangouts quality in recent weeks, but the bump to 720p HD video is more than a simple settings change — it's the move to a brand new video codec called VP8. Prior to this transition, Google was using the more widely-known H.264 to handle video in Hangouts but has run into issues handling multiple video streams at high quality with the codec.

VP8 is a royalty-free and open codec that brings several improvements for the end user, including higher video quality — which is rolling out to everyone now — and group video calling in the browser without any additional plugins. The overall reduced bandwidth required for VP8 video also means that Google can now serve up higher quality streams with even less data.

The other part of this move to higher-quality and lower-bandwidth video is WebRTC, which is a new video standard that Google has been a big proponent of and has integrated in both desktop and Android versions of Chrome. Google has planned to move completely to WebRTC for Hangouts but a few issues have prevented it from happening. Those issues are being solved and we could see it in the coming months.

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4 years ago

Twitter improves conversation view, ups performance on low-end devices


Easily follow and respond to conversations from the timeline view

Twitter is pushing out updates today across its apps and website to make it easier for you to track the flow of conversations in your timeline. Now when browsing through tweets, conversations will be indicated by a blue line that links up between two or more users' profile pictures. The conversation will show at most three replies in the timeline itself, in chronological order, and if there are more replies you'll be able to hit a button to expand the complete conversation outside of the timeline. You can then reply to the conversation directly from this new view.

It's an interesting change that we think is necessary to help users wrap their heads around the way conversations work in Twitter, and it will just make things easier to follow overall. It is interesting that your timeline will now not be completely chronological, as the replies listed underneath the original tweet will be time stamped differently.

Other than the new conversation feature, the latest update on Android brings the ability to report individual tweets for abuse or spam. Users with lower-end handsets should also see speed improvements and a 50 percent reduction in overall app size. You can grab the latest version from the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

HTC One Max leaks again, this time in dual-SIM Chinese variant


Removable back, fingerprint reader and wireless charging pins also make an appearance

Leaks of the upcoming HTC One Max are coming fast and loose, and the latest comes courtesy of ePrice, who has snagged pictures of a purported dual-SIM Chinese variant of the device. Just as we've seen before the device looks like a giant HTC One, with a  5.9-inch screen and similar design and proportions to its two smaller siblings.

What's interesting about these most recent pictures is that this particular variant of the device has a removable back cover to access the two SIM slots underneath — falling in line with the dual-SIM versions of previous HTC handsets in the country. Another interesting point seen in the casing is a large square cutout underneath the camera, which is purportedly to be filled with a fingerprint reader but has the part missing at the moment.

Also notable on the back casing are three wireless charging pins, which look very similar to docking pins we've seen on previous HTC handsets. There's no indication of how many of these features are going to make it out of the Chinese market, which traditionally gets its own device variants, but it is very interesting to see another version of the One Max making the rounds.

Hit the break for a couple more pictures showing the back cover removed and a quick settings toggle for the fingerprint reader.

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