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4 years ago

Nexus 4 back in stock at German Google Play Store

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The UK isn't the only country that's just seen a fresh influx of Nexus 4 stock at its Google Play Store. Today the official +Nexus Google+ page sends word that the coveted handset is now back in stock in Germany. The phone is available in 8GB and 16GB flavors for €299 and €349 respectively, and set to ship in 3 to 5 days.

(Incidentally, the phone's still in stock in the UK and shipping within the same timeframe)

Grab 'em at the links below --

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4 years ago

Eric Schmidt: Chrome and Android to remain separate

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With the recent news that Chrome boss Sundar Pichai will be taking over from Andy Rubin as head of Android, together with Android features like Google Now starting to show up in Chrome OS, there'd been speculation that the two platforms would eventually merge into one.

Not so, says Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who spoke to reporters at the Big Tent conference in India today. According to Reuters, Schmidt said that the two would remain separate, but that there'd be more "commonality" between them. So while we may see more overlapping features, the two operating systems will remain technically independent. And it would seem there are no plans to roll Chrome OS and Android into one super-OS spanning both mobile and desktop.

Schmidt also dismissed speculation that he himself may be leaving the company, saying "Google is my home."

Source: Reuters; via: The Verge

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4 years ago

Popular mobile security app Avast! marking Gmail, Whatsapp, others as malware

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Whoopsies. It appears that the popular "Avast! Mobile Security" -- it's got somewhere between 10 million and 50 million downloads from Google Play -- is marking Android's Gmail as malware. You might get a lot of spam and other unwanted e-mail, but that doesn't quite make gmail itself a malware app. This, folks, is what you call a false positive.

More: Android Malware scanners - should you use one?

Users of Avast are reporting other false positives as well, including WhatsApp, Amazon, ScoreCetner, Redbox, PayPal, Google Currents, YPMobile, HP ePrint, Rdio, Linked In, Foscam Remote and others. 

The good news is you can white list it with the app. Also, Avast apparently is aware of the mix-up and has a new set of virus definitions on the way. Support forum moderator Filip Havlicek writes:

it seems that this false positive detection somehow got through our systems to everyone. I'm sorry for that. Don't worry though, there should be a virus definitions update soon that will remove this detection. I'm going to reroute all topics to this one and lock them so everyone knows what's happening. I'll post here when the update is out so everyone can do a manual update of their definitions to fix this (or you can, of course, wait for the automatic update to happen, but manual will most probably be faster in this case).

So, yeah. False positive. Let's hope Avast didn't miss anything that actually is malware.

Source: Avast support forums
Thanks, @xalasten and @walnuts315!

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4 years ago

Samsung aware of lock screen security issues, working on a fix

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The past few weeks have seen some prominent lock screen security issues come to light on certain Android 4.1-based Samsung phones, including the Galaxy Note 2. Most recently, blogger Terence Eden was able to completely bypass the Note 2's lock screen security by cleverly utilizing a vulnerability in the way Samsung's TouchWiz software exits out of certain emergency dialer menus.

This morning Samsung has confirmed to Android Central that it's aware of the issue and working on a fix. Here's the manufacturer's statement in full --

"Samsung considers user privacy and the security of user data its top priority.

We are aware of this issue and will release a fix at the earliest possibility."

As we mentioned in yesterday's post, using this technique to bypass a phone's security in the real world would be tricky and time-consuming process, so we're not losing any sleep just yet. Nevertheless, it's good to see that a fix is indeed on the way.

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4 years ago

Samsung confirms UK Galaxy S4 will use quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU

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It's quad-core, not octa-core, but that's not something worth worrying about

Following recent speculation across the blogosphere, Samsung has this morning confirmed to us that UK consumers will get the quad-core Snapdragon 600-powered Galaxy S4, rather than the octa-core Exynos 5 variant. That's contrary to the original press release sent out to UK media last week, which suggested the opposite.

Here's the updated statement from Samsung --

“Samsung Galaxy S 4 is equipped with a 1.9GHz Quad-core AP or a 1.6GHz Octa-core AP. The selection of AP varies by markets.

In the UK the Galaxy S 4 will be available as a 4G device with a 1.9GHz Quad Core Processor".

And as we know from speaking with Qualcomm last week, that quad-core CPU is the company's latest Snapdragon 600.

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4 years ago

EE to extend LTE services to rural Cumbria

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The EE LTE train continues to roll along, with the latest expansion to the UK's fledgling 4G network heading to a more rural setting. While many of the major cities across the UK are covered by EE's LTE service, the next expansion sees rural Cumbria receiving the high speed mobile data service. 

The Northern Fells is one of the UK's most rural areas, and EE's LTE will now provide high-speed data to around 2000 people across a 100 square mile area. Speed wise EE is committing to a consistent download speed of 8-12Mbps, rising as high as 20Mbps. The launch of the service in this area follows a 4G mobile broadband trial started by EE back in May 2012. The full press release can be found after the break. 

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4 years ago

Chameleon Launcher for phones now available in Google Play

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We first had a look at Chameleon Launcher for the phone-sized screen about a week ago, and plenty of folks were excited and waiting for it to launch publicly. That just happened, and now you don't have to be a Kickstarter backer or Android blogger to get your hands on a copy.

Chameleon Launcher has been available for your Android tablet for a while now, and we've noticed there are two kinds of people: those who love it, and those who hate it. It's a very different experience than the one Google or the folks who made your Android phone give us, and it may take some getting used to. The good news is that it's very feature-rich, and the developers are constantly tweaking things and adding even more new features.

Downloading Chameleon Launcher from Google Play requires a decision -- do you go for the $3.99 version that runs on both the tablet and the phone, or get the $2.91 version that is phone only. You'll need a version of Android that's 3.2 or higher to use either, and they aren't interchangeable -- choose wisely.

You can have a look at our hands-on after the break, and decide for yourself if you think it's for you. 

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4 years ago

Xperia Z devices are randomly dying, but Sony is working on a fix

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Some Sony Xperia Z users are reporting that their device is randomly shutting down, never to turn back on again. XperiaBlog points to several different user groups that are finding their devices shut down without their knowledge, and can't do anything to have them come back to life. Although some report success doing a hard reset (holding power + vol up), this doesn't seem to be universal fix. There also doesn't seem to be a known cause either, which makes the bug even more troublesome to diagnose.

Sony's response to the issue is that it has come up with a fix for the random shutdowns, which will be implemented with the device's next software update. Our own Xperia Z seems to be going along strong and hasn't had such an issue, but then again we may just be lucky.

Source: XperiaBlog; More: Sony Xperia Z Forums

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4 years ago

Visa CEO: 'totally appropriate' to charge PayPal, Google Wallet for mobile payments

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Following previous statements from MasterCard, Visa is potentially planning to charge mobile payment operators extra fees for their transactions. Speaking at the Barclays Emerging Payments Forum, CEO of Visa Charlie Scharf stated that it would be "totally appropriate" to charge mobile payment processor additional fees for using its cards for payments. Payment systems like PayPal and Google Wallet are what's called a "staged wallet", which acts as an intermediary between credit cards and retailers that are accepting the payments. Because of this, when Visa and MasterCard cards are attached to the services they don't receive back as much information about the purchases being made.

Once relegated to just online purchases, the likes of PayPal and Google Wallet have started to put this payment system to work at physical retail locations as well. This not only directly cuts into the fee income of Visa and MasterCard, but cuts them twice when they also don't receive the valuable customer purchasing data. These additional fees, which MasterCard already plans to implement, will hopefully help in both arenas.

"Help" may not be the best descriptor though, because a new set of fees for staged wallet providers will only reduce the number of choices you have to pay with. Visa and MasterCard have a huge interest in cutting down any competing payment systems that sidestep their current ways of doing things. As many know, they have even gone so far as to launch their own mobile payment systems -- to little adoption.

We know that consumers want these types of single-wallet systems to simplify the way they pay for things every day, let's just hope that Visa and MasterCard don't have their way with this one.

Source: Reuters; The Verge

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4 years ago

New version of the Google Play app leaks, with an all new interface style

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A new version of the Google Play app has leaked, and it shows a new Holo-esque (and colorful) user interface. Droid-Life got their hands on an apk file labeled 4.0.16, and while it's clearly not ready for prime-time, it does show off a look we haven't seen before from Google.

Everything is clean, the font is all new, the icons are bigger, and the colors match the categories as displayed on the Google Play website. There are also a few changes in the settings, namely in the auto-update section which separates out Wifi from your data connection to auto-update apps.

The app is pretty broken, and they aren't making it available for folks to try themselves. That will probably change shortly, nothing stays secret on the Internet for long. And while everyone is speculating that this is the change for the next version of Android, we all need to remember that apps like Google Play can be easily updated without a system-wide change.

For now, you can head over to Droid-Life and have a look at what may be coming to everyone soon.

Source: Droid-Life

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4 years ago

Perfectly Clear app updated and now better, stronger, faster

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Perfectly Clear for Android just got a hefty update, making one of my favorite apps even better. Perfectly Clear is an intelligent photo editor, that can take a good picture and make it great. It adjusts all the color and exposure settings based on some sort of magic algorithm, and truly does make a big difference in the clarity, color, and quality of the pictures you take with your phone. With today's update, it now does it all better.

One of the major changes is a healthy speed increase, as the app has been re-written and now is twice as fast at displaying changes to your photo. Move a slider and you see the results almost instantly, especially with quad-core processors. Another is saving Exif and GPS data, especially if you use software on the computer or your Android that sorts using Exif and GPS.

But those aren't the only changes, have a look.

  • Faster! It’s now twice as fast opening and correcting images. Fine-tuning with the slider bars is near-real-time when using the latest quad core devices, such as those powered by NVIDIA Tegra 4 and 4imobile processors.
  • New, powerful memory mapped buffer. You can now save huge images (up to 40 MP).
  • A new look! We have re-designed the entire GUI.
  • Zoom. Now you can zoom into your photo to view the details as you correct.
  • One simple price. The beautify preset, is included in the app price so you only have to purchase once.
  • Bug Fix: licensing. Now you can use Perfectly Clear “offline”.
  • Now you can copy the app to your SD card.
  • Exif support. The app now retains your Exif and GPS data.
  • Quick Correct. Tap your hardware menu button and selected images will be automatically corrected and saved without going to our edit screen.

Some really nice changes to a great app. Grab it from Google Play for $2.99 if you haven't yet, or hit the Google Play app on your device to update if you have.

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4 years ago

Note taking app Google Keep now available in Google Play and on the web

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Google's own note taking app, Google Keep, has just gone live and official. The service allows users to do more than just jot down ideas and thoughts, there is annotations, the ability to add pictures, voice notes, and color coding and lists to keep things organized. The included home screen widget even lets us create and view notes from our home screen without opening the app.

To make things even better, everything it integrated into your Google Drive account. This means anywhere you have access to the web you have access to your notes. You can have a look at that here.

The app is pretty simple, but the integration with Drive is a pretty "killer feature". Grab it from the Google Play link above, and hit the break for a short video.

More: Google

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4 years ago

Fore! Super Stickman Golf 2 is here

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Super Stickman Golf 2 combines a fun golf theme with challenging aspects of side-scrolling puzzle games, and the end result is a great game that's hard to put down. As a worthy follow-up to the original game, not only do you get a chance to play through dozens of great courses, but there are also many ways to customize your gameplay and character.

Hang around after the break and see what Super Stickman Golf 2 is all about.

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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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