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4 years ago

Google Currents gets support for audio playback

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Google Currents got itself an interesting update today with support for editions that contain audio. Looks like you'll now be able to play audio from within the application itself, complete with a "media bar" with stop/start/next/previous controls. That media bar also works within the notification pane, so you can quickly pause or skip.

Here's the full changelog:

  • Audio playlist for editions with audio
  • Audio media bar in app for stop, start, next, previous
  • Story scanner audio icons for launching Audio directly
  • Status bar audio controls when Currents audio is playing
  • Syncing post read state between devices
  • Bug fixes

Being able to sync where you are within a given post is pretty good as well.

And as always, be sure to subscribe to Android Central on Google Currents! With the addition of audio controls in this update, we've just added a podcasts section. It's another great way to listen to the Android Central Podcast.

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4 years ago

Comparing the HTC One speakers

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We put the HTC One up against the Galaxy Note 2, Nexus 4 and HTC One X in a basic test

As we've been prone to do with recent phones, we're doing more speaker comparisons. This is unscientific, to be sure. What we hear may be a little different than what you hear. And while it may be cliche, you really do have to hear some of these phones in person to get the full effect.

That's especially true for the HTC One. The "BoomSound" feature is a combination of hardware and software that eventually shoots from the stereo speakers (again, two is better than one here) from the front of the phone. The placement of the speakers makes as much a difference as maybe any of the other tweaks, Beats Audio included. We've seen that in tablets, previously, with speakers on the side as well as the front. (Switching from a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to the Nexus 7, and thus switching to a rear speaker again, took some getting used to.)

The idea of front-facing speakers on a phone isn't exactly a new one, either. HTC went with a slider setup on the Windows Phone-powered HTC Surround. An interesting idea but not nearly the same as what's on the HTC One.

Here's what our own Alex Dobie had to say in our HTC One review:

This combination of larger speakers, more advanced membranes and Beats Audio results in the loudest and bassiest sound experience we’ve heard on any smartphone, without sacrificing clarity. For music and video content, that’s great. But on anything but the lowest volume setting, it’s almost too loud for regular notifications and ringtones. Powering on the HTC One for the first time, you’re assaulted by the full force of BoomSound in HTC jingle form. And the first phone call you receive on the device will be equally terrifying if it strikes you unprepared.

I tend to agree with most of that, especially on the low end, which is better than any smartphone I've ever used. The high-end is a little easier to get away with. As you'll hear in the comparisons below, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 handles that pretty well. Maybe even better. It does decently on volume, too, but the HTC One just has a much fuller sound. It's not quite properly conveyed here, I believe. But you'll get the idea.

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4 years ago

Google Fiber service expanding to Olathe, Kansas

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Google Fiber is a service lots of us would love to have, if we could. Besides the TV service of course, there's the small matter of a Gigabit internet connection too, or even a free, much slower service. The only drawback is that to be able to use it, you have to be a resident of Kansas City. 

But, Google has now announced that Google Fiber will be extended, after the city council in Olathe, Kansas approved an agreement to bring Fiber to their city. It's not going to be an overnight process, and there's still a lot to be done before construction works can even begin. News on time scales will be coming in due course, but for the people of Olathe this is pretty big news. 

So, are you in Olathe, Kansas? Excited for Google Fiber? Jump into the comments below and let us know your thoughts. 

Source: Google Fiber Blog

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4 years ago

Samsung lock screen bypassed entirely with clever, meticulous trickery

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Another Samsung lock screen security issue has come to light today, potentially allowing someone with physical access to a Jelly Bean-based Samsung phone to bypass a pattern or PIN lock. Brought to light by blogger Terrence Eden -- who you may remember from his earlier Note 2 exploits -- this one's particularly impressive because of the clever array of tricks used to achieve the eventual unlock.

The method, demonstrated on a Galaxy Note 2 running Android 4.1.2, relies on the fact that returning from certain screens in the emergency dialer causes the previous app to be visible -- and fully usable -- for a split second. With precise timing and a bit of patience, it's possible to use these windows of usability to load Google Play, use voice search to find a screen unlocker app (yep, those exist), and run it, thus removing the lock screen security.

So in order to use this in the real world you'll need a fair bit of time alone with someone's phone, the ability to use voice search inconspicuously and the patience to correctly hit the required sequence of screen taps. Nevertheless, it's a incredibly clever way of circumventing Samsung's lock screen security, and Eden deserves credit for his ingenuity.

We've reached out to Samsung for comment on this issue, and we'll update this post with any official response. In the meantime we're not too worried about the real-world threats posed by this exploit, or any other that requires physical access to the phone for an extended period of time. Nevertheless, this is something that needs to be fixed.

We've got Terrence Eden's original video demonstration after the break.

Source: YouTube; via: SlashGear

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4 years ago

Reminder: Android 4.2.2 pushing now for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus

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Manual update file also is available

Just a quick reminder, folks, that Android 4.2.2 (Build JDQ39) is now available for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. You get all the benefits that other Galaxy Nexus owners have enjoyed for months, including DayDreams, lock screen widgets and the new trace keyboard, among other improvements.

Folks are reporting that the update is pushing out over the air. Or if you hate waiting and want to update manually, you can snag the file straight from Google here. (via XDA) As always, hit up our Verizon Galaxy Nexus forums if you need help or have any questions.

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4 years ago

UK retailer: Galaxy S4 pre-registrations 'four times' that of Galaxy S3

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UK mobile retailer the Carphone Warehouse has announced that it's received more than four times as much interest in the Galaxy S4 compared to last year's Galaxy S3. No specific numbers are revealed, but CPW said that pre-registration figures taken shortly after the Galaxy S4 announcement event were 446 percent of last year's Galaxy S3 pre-registrations.

Given Samsung's rise to Android dominance in the past year, we're not to surprised to see higher demand than ever for its upcoming flagship, and we're sure the company will have a big marketing push planned for next month's UK launch.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is due to go on sale in the UK from Apr. 25/26.

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4 years ago

AT&T brings LTE to several more markets

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There are still major markets in the U.S. that have yet to be touched by AT&T's LTE, but the number is dwindling further as the carrier adds several more markets this week. This group is mostly located in the Southeastern portion of the country:

  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Macon, Georgia
  • Cleveland, Tennessee
  • Dryersburg, Tennessee
  • Ripley, Tennessee
  • Sebring, Florida
  • Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Meriden, Connecticut

AT&T always likes to use these network launches to remind people of how much money it has been spending to keep the rollout going. This time around the carrier points out that it has spent several billion dollars across just this handful of states on its LTE launch. Network infrastructure isn't cheap, folks.

Source: AT&T(2); (3); (4); (5); (6)

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4 years ago

Jawbone UP companion app now available for Android

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Until today the Jawbone UP has been an iOS only affair if you want to take advantage of the mobile aspect, but that has changed with the release of the Android companion app. If you're not familiar with the device, it tracks sleeping and exercise habits, and when mated with your smartphone the companion application allows users to keep track of their diet as well, making it an all around fitness and health system.

The app has just now gone live in the Play Store for users to download, so head to the link at the top of this post to take a look.

Via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Facebook updates app again, this time properly through the Play Store

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Facebook puzzled many users last week when the app began updating on its own outside of the Play Store, and today it seems to be pushing the same update through the proper channels. The changelog is the same on this update as the one that was mysteriously hitting some users devices earlier. The update lets users change their profile pictures from the app, report posts for spam and manage group messaging better. This is also a very similar changelog to the official iOS Facebook app from yesterday.

Being such a small update with just a handful of features, we're still puzzled as to why Facebook tried to do things their own way the first time around. If you haven't been notified of the Play Store update just yet, you can grab it from the link at the top of this post.

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4 years ago

Amazon makes 'Send to Kindle' button available for web developers

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Amazon is rolling out a new feature today that lets web developers integrate a "Send to Kindle" button onto their websites. The button, much like the browser extensions before it, lets users send the page content to their Kindle account for reading later on other devices. Similar to the current Twitter, Facebook and Google+ buttons you see at the bottom of most website articles, Amazon is hoping developers will add in the "Send to Kindle" button as well. Articles saved with this method are then available for reading on any device -- Kindle or otherwise -- that has the Amazon Kindle app installed.

Considering the wide range of devices that Amazon has made its apps available on, these webpage buttons are likely to catch on quickly. For now, The Washington Post, TIME and Boing Boing have already integrated the buttons if you're curious about how they look and work. Be on the lookout for more sites to add them soon.

Source: Amazon; paidContent

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4 years ago

HTC One launch delayed, suppliers no longer see HTC as a 'tier-one' manufacturer

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The uphill battle for HTC continues. The proposed savior for the struggling company, the HTC One, now faces delays due to problems with component suppliers. The problem lies with one of the main selling points of the upcoming flagship phone - the "ultrapixel" camera. With the significant loss of profits and decrease in shipments HTC has had, an unnamed executive tells the WSJ that they are no longer considered a "tier-one" customer. This means they don't have the priority they once did with their parts suppliers, and are currently running short on components for the HTC One's camera and metal case.

It's worth noting that suppliers have not mentioned anything of the sort, and it's possible that frustrations have company executives a little emotional. This certainly seems the case with CEO Peter Chou, who The Verge tells us has stated he would step down if the HTC One "fails to become a hit with consumers". It's also hard to determine what a "hit with consumers" is. Focus Taiwan reports that pre-orders for the HTC One have exceeded the companies target, which sounds fairly successful to us. In short, we're not going to read too much into this one.

While there are still no concrete dates, HTC promises to start fulfilling pre-orders at the end of March in select markets, with a wider rollout scheduled for sometime in April. The HTC One's release is inching ever closer towards a confirmed release date of its strongest competitor, which could take away a much needed edge it would have with an earlier release.

Will fans wait it out through expected delays, or will we see potential buyers jumping ship for something else? Read the review and discuss in the forums.

Source: WSJ

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4 years ago

ZTE "Quantum" headed for Sprint?

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A new ZTE offering, tentatively named the Quantum, may be headed to a Sprint store near you. When compared to the recently released ZTE Force and upcoming ZTE Grand Memo, this looks to be a solid mid-tier phone. Labeled model number N8910, it is shown above sporting a 5" 720p screen with Android 4.1.2 and 4G LTE. Equipped with a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 and 1GB RAM, this phone won't be going up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One, but will certainly be much easier on the wallet. On the front is a 0.9 MP camera, and bringing up the rear is a 13 MP shooter. Wifi 802.11b/g/n dual-band and NFC are also included, as well as a SIM card slot - making this a potential world phone.

According to Android Police, the N8910 recently received Wifi and DLNA certifications, which means we may see the Quantum sooner rather than later. For those Sprint subscribers balling on a budget, keep an eye out for this one.

Source: Android Police

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4 years ago

Swype beta 1.4.9 now available, brings bug fixes, new languages, and more responsive tapping

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There are plenty of great choices when it comes to a keyboard for your Android device, and Swype has long been a crowd favorite. Today's new beta update should please everyone who uses the original swiping keyboard, as the change log is chock full of improvements and fixes:

  • Advanced Language Models added for Hindi and Belgian Dutch
  • Responsiveness for tap input improved for all languages
  • Improved overall Smart Editor behavior and implemented some bug fixes
  • Fixed a Gingerbread crash that occurred when rotating device into landscape mode
  • Fixed miscellaneous crashes reported by the Beta community
  • Fixed an issue where default Android voice input ('mic'/'microphone') icon displayed instead of Dragon logo
  • Changed subtype text in notification drawer to be more accurate
  • Word Choice List behavior improved in Polaris Office
  • And many more bug fixes and improvements!

New language models are always welcome, and small fixes like errant microphone icons are nice, but crashes and bugs getting fixed and a more responsive input method is great news. 

Since Swype isn't in Google Play you'll need to manually install it from the link below to give it a try. If you're already using Swype, you should see an OTA in the next 72 hours if you don't want to manually update the app.

Source: Swype

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4 years ago

HTC One review

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HTC returns with a sleek aluminum design, re-imagined software and a bold new camera experience

SanDisk

We’re all out of poetic ways to describe HTC’s current situation. A frustrating 2012 saw some of the year’s best mobile hardware being met with declining sales and market presence for the Taiwanese manufacturer. Once the leader of the Android pack,  HTC is increasingly seen as an also-ran.

That, in part, was down to the confused marketing strategy around last year’s HTC One series. The One X and One S were soon joined by Ones V, VX, XL, XT, XC, SU, SV, SC, and X+, further diluting the value of an already watery brand.

In 2013, however, there is only one One. The new HTC One is, as the name suggests, the singular focus of HTC’s high-end efforts. The company’s best build quality, software, screen and optics are to be brought to bear in a “kitchen sink” product that aims to leave no holds barred.

It’s also a device that seeks to achieve differentiation at every point on the spec sheet. As other smartphones are increasingly faceless, monolithic black slabs, HTC sandwiches its screen between two bassy front-facing speakers. BoomSound. As competitors crank out 13-megapixel shooters, HTC bucks the trend with a much lower megapixel count, but larger pixels and improved optics. UltraPixels. Add to that a new way to shoot and share images and video. Zoe Share. Plus, a new home screen experience that brings the world to you. BlinkFeed.

And let’s not forget how rare it is to come across a decent aluminum smartphone these days.

If HTC is to recover, it’ll be through a combination of intelligent marketing and great products. We can’t review the former, but you can bet we’re going to get stuck into the latter. In fact, we’ll do it right after the break, in our definitive review of the new HTC One.

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4 years ago

NVIDIA reveals future Tegra roadmap and 'GPU computing'

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Speaking at today's GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, NVIDIA co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the wraps off the future of the Tegra platform. That future looks pretty bright, as NVIDIA says they want mobile devices to be able to "do everything a modern computer should do." Enter the next-generation "Logan" and "Parker" Tegra processors.

The Logan (that's a code name for what will likely be the Tegra 5) will offer a Kepler GPU, with support for CUDA and OpenGL 4.3. The Kepler GPU is a big boost from previous GeForce models, and offers two pretty exciting (for developers, anyway) features -- Dynamic Parallel computing, where the GPU can spawn it's own threads without going back to the CPU, and Hyper-Q threading which allows more than one CPU core to simultaneously utilize the GPU. Nerdy stuff to be sure, but it means even better gaming and 3D performance for the apps and games we all love.

CUDA is GPU computing. While your mobile CPU works hard to crunch the numbers, normally the GPU sits idle unless it's supposed to be drawing something. With CUDA implemented, that array of high clock speed GPU cores is doing a lot of work right along with the CPU cores. Modern desktops use GPU computing, as do many "supercomputers" we read about at research facilities and laboratories. Expect CUDA support to make a significant impact on applications specially designed for it. Expect to see Logan chips in production early next year.

Things wont stop there. Jen-Hsun also talked a little about the "Parker" (Tegra 6?). Parker will sport the all-new 64-bit Denver CPU and Maxwell GPU cores, The big news here is the use of FinFET transistors. Hardware geeks and EE's everywhere are pretty excited about FinFET transistors, and the way they are going to radically change the way ARM chips are designed and built. They cut "leaked" (read: wasted) power by up to 90-percent, and are about 40 to 50-percent faster while using half the power of the current transistor model. This means they can process information twice as fast as chips we have now, without using any extra power. Of course, that also means chips can be designed to process data as fast as they do today, while using half the power. 

NVIDIA is excited about what they have in store for mobile computing, and so are we. As this sort of technology works its way onto ARM devices, we'll have phones and tablets that are as powerful as the current best-in-class laptops -- with games and apps designed to take advantage of it all.

More: NVIDIA (1), (2)

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