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4 years ago

Sony teases 'Honami' flagship device again, miniature 'Itsuki' rumors gather pace

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Could Sony release a 4.3-inch handset with a Snapdragon 800 CPU and 20-megapixel camera?

Sony's continuing to tweet out crafty close-up pictures of its upcoming "Xperia Z1" (or "Honami") flagship handset, and today's focuses on one of the phone's most-hyped features — its purported 20-megapixel camera with Sony G Lens. Sure enough, that's exactly what we see above — there's even a big "G" printed next to the lens. Previous Twitter teasers have included a look at the phone's metal-framed design and hints that it will be water-resistant.

But while a new flagship with a five-plus-inch screen is all well and good, a more curious Sony rumor has started doing the rounds in recent days. A blurry-cam picture leaked onto XDA a few days back appeared to show a smaller version of the "Honami" next to a BlackBerry Q10, and now Japanese site Blog of Mobile claims to have a spec sheet for the phone, which it says goes by the codename "Itsuki."

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4 years ago

Now you can look at the Moto X Dev. Edition on Moto's website

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Bootloader-unlockable Moto X to have 'a look all its own'

While you can't actually buy it just yet, there's a tantalizing still image of the Moto X Developer Edition on Motorola's U.S. site, showing its unique two-tone design.

Moto promises the 32GB, bootloader-unlockable version of its new flagship will have "a look all its own," and the image shows a chassis with a black front and white weave back, and "Developer Edition" engraved down below.

There's no launch date for the Developer Edition Moto X just yet — and it won't be customizable when it launches — but Moto VP Punit Soni recently said it should be arriving within a matter of days.

Anyone planning on picking one up?

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

HTC Mini+ is a phone for your phone

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HTC launched the HTC Mini companion handset in China last year, and now it appears the next version of the device is heading for a wider launch.

Following a recent update for the European HTC One which added support for the "Mini+," the second-gen "phone for your phone" has been listed on HTC's international site.

The HTC Mini+ (not to be confused with the One Mini, a standalone smartphone) connects to your HTC phone and has a 1.5-inch 4 gray OLED display with 128x128 resolution. (Yep, that's a slight step down from the HTC One's 1080p SuperLCD3 with 468ppi.)

Once paired, the Mini+ can be used to make calls, control your TV (through IR, presumably), view text messages and even take pictures from your phone's camera at a distance. There's also a built-in laser pointer and "slideshow remote control" for controlling PowerPoint presentations. A built-in 320mAh battery provides up to 9 hours of talk time, or 95 hours on standby.

The device is listed as being compatible with the HTC One mini, HTC Butterfly s, HTC Desire 200, HTC Desire 500 — presumably the full-sized HTC One isn't on that list yet because the required software update hasn't reached all the countries in which it's sold.

There's no word on when the Mini+ will be available to buy, nor how much it'll cost — but given that it's already on HTC's site, we're guessing the wait won't be too long.

Source: HTC; via: the::unwired

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4 years ago

What the Chromecast is - and isn't

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Google has plans for the Chromecast, and they may not be the same as yours

There is a bit of an uproar today, centered on the Chromecast and Koush's experimental AllCast application. A little background for those who haven't been following along. 

Developer and noted Android hacker Koushik Dutta hacked a method to play local content, as well as content from Google Drive or Dropbox from your Android on the Chromecast. The supplied APIs from the developer preview of the Google Cast SDK don't offer this functionality, so he had to do some magic and work around it. He did, and it looked pretty interesting to a lot of people who wanted a way to connect their Android to their TV. Today Koush announced that the latest update broke this functionality, and that he suspects Google is blocking this sort of behavior on purpose.

That's a bit of a sticky mess, and no answer is going to satisfy everyone. Maybe Google should just sell a Miracast dongle through Google Play, make it cheap, and be done with it. I don't have an answer, but I do have some food for thought, and there's two very important things that need remembered in any discussion about Chromecast abilities and use cases.

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: What I wielded in 1997

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My mother, as my family has known for some time, is a bit of a pack rat. Quite possibly a borderline hoarder. That fact became even more apparent after my wife and I had our first daughter a little more than seven years ago. That's when toys I played with as a young child started reappearing at their house for the new grandkid. Toys that I had outgrown long before we moved to that new house when I was 11 or 12, and where my parents have lived for the two dozen years since.

So it wasn't that much of a surprise last week when my bother appeared at my house, manila folder in hand. Its contents: The invoice from the computer they had built for me for my freshman year of college at the University of Florida. In 1997. Pack rat, indeed.

You gotta love these specs, though:

  • IBM/Cyrix 200+ 6x86 CPU. That's 200 MHz.
  • 16 megabytes of RAM. Megabytes, folks.
  • ATI 3D Pro Turbo video card with 4MB of RAM.
  • Seagate 2.5 gigabyte hard drive. (Most expensive part on the list, at $259.)
  • 33.6k modem with full freaking duplex and speakerphone.
  • SoundBlaster 16 3D sound card.
  • 15-inch Optiquest monitor. (With VGA resolution, if I recall correctly.)
  • And Windows 95.

Those were good times. How did those computers even work? (Also: Whoa, I am old.)

The price, however, is almost embarrassing, now that I think about it. $1,500, including all the unnecessary bundled software. That was the last time I had someone build me a machine, however, until I bought my first laptop in December 2009 when I started this job.

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4 years ago

Leaked render outs Sony Xperia Z1 in black, white and purple

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Xperia Z, with a side of bezels

Thanks to a wealth of pre-release leaks, there's not much we haven't seen of the Sony Xperia Z1 (or "Honami") at this point. But now there's an official-looking render of the device to confirm what we've been seeing for the past few months -- a phone very similar in design to the older Xperia Z, complete with hefty bezels.

The image from Chinese forum Digi-Wo shows the Z1 in the standard Sony tricolore -- black, white and purple -- the same colors used by the Xperia Z and Xperia Z Ultra. The back of the purple device shows off one of the Z1's most talked-about features, its 20-megapixel rear camera with Sony G Lens. On the inside, the Xperia Z1 is rumored to pack similar hardware to the Z Ultra -- a Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2 GB of RAM and microSD expandability.

We're expecting to see the Xperia Z1 unveiled at Sony's big pre-IFA press conference on Sept. 4, and we'll be live from Berlin to bring you full coverage of the phone.

Source: Digi-Wo; via: GSM Insider

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4 years ago

Pre-release Android 4.3 firmware for HTC One leaks

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Custom music for video highlights among changes

HTC has said it intends to update U.S. versions of the HTC One to Android 4.3 by the end of September, and it looks like the company is well on its way towards doing just that. This morning a pre-release version of Android 4.3 plus HTC Sense 5 has been leaked for the international HTC One. The source of the leak, ROM-maker LlabTooFeR, has released the firmware as a custom ROM -- and says he'll release the original, untouched firmware on Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. GMT.

The "Maximus HD 12" ROM is based on the unreleased firmware version 3.09.401.1, and while we're not seeing many significant changes -- it's not finalized yet, after all -- there are a couple worth mentioning. Firstly, it's now possible to use your own music for video highlight reels, and Sense will sync picture changes to the beat of the track. (This is a feature of the HTC One Mini previously absent from the full-sized version.)

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4 years ago

Asphalt 8: Airborne and the Nvidia Shield is a match made in Android gaming heaven

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The built-in controller of the NVIDIA Shield makes it a perfect match for Asphalt 8: Airborne

Like many of you guys, I've been playing Asphalt 8: Airborne and destroying my battery for the past couple days. It's without a doubt a fun-as-hell game, and one of the best we've seen yet for any mobile platform. But while playing, and drifting my way around the corners, trying to catch the ramp "just right" for the barrel roll, I had to think to myself — what this really needs is a controller.

That's where the NVIDIA Shield comes in. I was delighted to find out the Asphalt 8: Airborne was optimized for the Shield, and you get that level of control you want in a fast, action-packed game that really needs it. A look at the image above tells you everything you need to know. The dual joysticks are perfect for this one, and with just a little more practice I'll be ready to take on all of Google+.

If you picked up a Shield, you really need to spend the buck and check this one out!

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: ASUS AiCloud, Wag.com, A Ride into the Mountains and more!

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Another week, more great app picks from the AC writers

It's been a big week here at Android Central with a hotly anticipated device review to focus on, but we're not going to skip a beat on our Apps of the Week column for anything. We've still built up a post containing an app picked from each of the Android Central writers to put on display and give a few words about why it has found a place on their device.

Today you'll find a handful of tools a couple of really fun games to keep you efficient and entertained through the weekend and into the work week. Stick around after the break and see how they stack up.

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4 years ago

AC on the road: What's in Richard's gear bag

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With IFA just around the corner, see what I'll be packing to get me through the days

Just as Jerry, Andrew and Alex have done before, now it's my turn to open up the zip on my gear bag and show you what I use on a daily basis. IFA is just around the corner, and in just over a week I'll be packing up and heading out to Berlin with Phil Nickinson and Alex Dobie, so here's some of the gear I'll be taking to get me through the days there. 

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4 years ago

Motorola 'Droid 5' appears in leaked images

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Could yet another Motorola phone be headed for Verizon?

As evidenced by the recent LG Enact launch, Verizon clearly thinks there's still a market for smartphones with slide-out keyboards. And now it seems the flagship Droid line might get another QWERTY slider, if leaked images from China are to be believed. The shots above appeared on Chinese social network Weibo, and appear to show a slider with Motorola and Verizon branding.

The phone purportedly includes a shock, water and dust-resistant design, NFC support and a 4.3 to 4.5-inch display. An image of the (partially disassembled) back panel also seems to show wireless charging hardware. Curiously it's got on-screen keys, as opposed to the latest Droid phones, which use capacitive buttons — and a screenshot of the camera app also shows the old-style Motorola camera layout, suggesting this device is a prototype running older software.

If the images are accurate, the "Droid 5" release could come some 18 months after the Droid 4, which launched in February 2012. On the other hand, there's the possibility that this is merely a prototype of a phone that'll never see the light of day. Hit the comments and let us know which you think it is.

Source: NewCellphonesBlog; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

The dark side of prepaid

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Prepaid service is great, but it might not be the best choice for everyone right now

There has been a slow but steady drumbeat of people starting to talk about the merits of prepaid, and contemplating a switch for themselves. A small group of dedicated individuals who haven't had a phone contract in years push the idea even more often. Not having a contract for well over 2 years I'm closer to the latter group, and although I've been quick to sing the praises of prepaid phone service I also find it a necessity to explain that the grass isn't always greener -- there are some brown patches and weeds over here.

The idea to pull this together came from a recent experience switching carriers. Although I had been happy with my choice to use Straight Talk (an AT&T SIM, if you were wondering) for the past 5 months, a move to an area with excellent T-Mobile coverage had me willing to switch to something new. After all, one of the best parts about prepaid service is your ability to switch monthly to a new carrier. T-Mobile recently launched a new off-branded prepaid carrier called GoSmart Mobile, which offered a comparable $45 plan to Straight Talk's, so I decided to give it a try.

But, as I said, the grass isn't always greener ...

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4 years ago

Google Now update hitting devices, bringing new and improved cards

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Sports and travel cards get the focus in this update

That latest Google Now update that the official Android Google+ account teased us with a couple of days ago is now rolling out to devices, and it even brings a few more features than expected. If you need a quick refresher, the update is bringing brand new cards for car rentals, concert tickets, sharing your commute and for NCAA football scores.

The update is also improving a few other cards. Public transit cards show dramatically more information, you can now set reminders based on your searches and more information will be displayed based on what you're watching on TV. Not announced in the original post but revealed in the actual update are two other quick features — related websites for your location, and improvements to sports cards to show real-time data instead of on a 15 minute refresh interval.

This is a big update, with lots of useful improvements. Head to the Play Store at the link above to grab your update.

Thanks, mooniefresh13!

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4 years ago

Moto X torn down, a few clever tricks found inside

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Handset receives a 7 out of 10 for overall repairability

The Moto X has finally made its way out to store shelves (at least on AT&T), and right on time iFixIt has torn the device completely apart to see what's inside. First and foremost is the actual ease of taking the Moto X apart — iFixIt says that there's no major steps to be taken to get everything apart aside from loosening some glue and undoing clips and screws. But when the teardown is all said and done, they had a few things to say about how Motorola put the device together.

That "woven" back plate that is available in the white and black colors is actually a woven material, which you can even see through when held up to the light after being removed. Motorola has also pulled off a few interesting engineering tricks. Aside from the stepped battery design to boost capacity, the camera flash is completely separate from the camera and glued to the back plate, the headphone assembly is removable in one piece and the vibration motor is soldered onto the motherboard.

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4 years ago

Hyetis is building a smart watch for watch geeks

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Pricey, but built with materials watch geeks will love

Ever since I talked a little bit about smart watches earlier in the week, folks have been linking me to all these great projects companies have in the works and in various stages of availability. I appreciate it — don't stop! But when a reader sent me to the Hyetis site, I knew it was something I had to share.

I'm not in love with the style, as it has that "hipster" look where i would prefer a more classic design. But the specs and build materials have my Visa card all twitchy.

The case is a polished, blasted and brushed block of grade-5 titanium. The crown has a rubber grip and the sensors are protected behind a ceramic and composite cover. The watch movement itself is a 25-jewel Swiss-made automatic built for Hyetis, with a 48-hour power reserve. The electronic specs look great, too:

  • High definition camera with optimized selection of pixels variable definition
  • Lens with optical zoom
  • Accelerometer
  • HD Microphone
  • Altimeter / thermometer / hygrometer / light meter
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth / Wifi / NFC
  • Tactile sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
  • High definition LCD Dial Twin battery pack biometric sensor devices
  • Pairing with Smartphones running iOS / Android / Windows 8

The drawback is the price. The "Earlybirds Special Edition" checks in at $1,200, and it ships in December 2013.

I still don't know if I'm ready for a smart watch, or if so which one I'll be buying. But for the watch geeks out there — and they exist — the Hyetis is worth having a look at.

Source: Hyetis. Thanks, TeeJay!

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