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4 years ago

Sony Xperia SP reported to bring aluminum framed 4.6-inch screen, customizable clear element

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We've already heard plenty about Sony's upcoming mid-ranger, the Xperia SP (codenamed "HuaShan") -- said to be a dual-core mid-ranger packing a 720p screen. And although there's no Sony press conference at this year's Mobile World Congress, we're expecting to see it next week in Barcelona.

Today new reports hint at some interesting build quality details for the SP, including an apparent aluminum-framed chassis (with plastic back) and customizable clear element, similar to the Xperia U. These latest details come from XperiaBlog, which cites a "trusted source" with knowledge of the device, and if accurate it's interesting to see Sony revisiting the transparent element as a design feature.

The screen size is also reported at 4.6-inches, which would put it on par with Sony's late 2012 flagship, the Xperia T. And the rear camera is reportedly a 8MP Exmor RS unit -- a lower megapixel count than the Xperia T, but with a more advanced sensor. Storage is said to clock in at 8GB internal, expandable via microSD. Other stats include measurements of 130.6 x 67.1 x 9.98mm and a fairly hefty weight of 155 grams.

MWC is traditionally where Sony shows off its mid-range devices, so we'll hopefully learn more about the Xperia SP in Barcelona in the days ahead.

Source: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

LG Optimus G finally arrives in Europe, enhanced and improved along the way

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Sometime after the initial launch of the LG Optimus G, Europeans are finally getting a chance to sample it for themselves. We'd previously heard rumors that the Optimus G would be available in European territories before the end of Q1, and low and behold here it is. Better yet, the Optimus G has been 'enhanced and improved' during its long voyage to Europe. 

The big news is of course that the Optimus G now ships with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on board. For whatever reason, LG decided to ship the Optimus G -- essentially the same hardware as the Nexus 4 -- on Ice Cream Sandwich, but that's old news now at least as far as prospective European customers should be concerned. 

With the Jelly Bean upgrade, the Optimus G receives the usual Google flavored treats such as Google Now and Project Butter, but LG has thrown in a couple of goodies too. QSlide, which allows users to use multiple applications at once as transparent layers on top of each other is included, as Safety Care and Privacy Keeper. 

Initially the Optimus G will go on sale in Sweden sometime before the end of the month, soon to be followed by other markets including France, Germany and Italy. Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the Nexus 4, the Optimus G is still one whole heck of a phone. The full press release and a video walkthrough can be found after the break. 

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4 years ago

Motorola offering $50 Google Play credit with phone purchase

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Motorola is hoping to entice a few more users over to its devices by offering a $50 Play Store credit with a device purchase. With a mail-in rebate, users will receive back a $50 Play Store credit code to redeem. If purchasing the device online, they will automatically be submitting the proper information to receive the credit. The promotion is going until March 3rd, and includes the following devices:

  • Droid RAZR M
  • Droid RAZR HD, Droid RAZR MAXX HD
  • Droid RAZR, Droid RAZR MAXX
  • Droid 4
  • Atrix HD, Atrix 2
  • Photon Q LTE, Photon 4G
  • Titanium
  • Admiral
  • Electrify M, Electrify 2, electrify
  • Defy XT

So if you purchase pretty much any Motorola phone between February 18 and March 3 you should be able to claim this credit. It should also be noted also that the promotion is only available to U.S. customers. If you'd like more details on the promo -- like where and how to send in the rebate form -- you can hit up the source link below.

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

Fixmo SafeWatch will keep your personal data safe, and you're invited to try out the free beta

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Fixmo is a name we usually associate with enterprise mobile risk management solutions or government agency IT (they also make some great BlackBerry apps), but that also have a pretty comprehensive Android application in the works. Their upcoming SmartWatch app is designed to help folks like you and me to protect our device, our personal data, and our privacy.

It's more than just an Android malware scanner. If that's all they had to offer, we would just lump them in with the rest and move on. The malware scanner is included, but when coupled with things like call and SMS filtering and remote lock, locate, and wipe, SafeWatch is certainly worth a look. Check out the features.

  • Anti-virus scanning
  • Unsecure Wifi network alerts
  • Backup/restore of your personal contacts and photos
  • SMS/Call filtering
  • Locate, lock or wipe a lost or stolen device
  • Flag certain contacts in your address book as "private", hiding the phone logs and SMS messages to and from them
  • Make a device "scream" through a simple web-based console
  • Trigger device camera to send back a photo of what it can see through a simple web-based console
  • "Anti-loss triggers" that can detect certain behaviors that may suggest your device is lost or stolen, and automatically lock your phone and send you an alert so you can react before something bad happens.

It sounds like something many of us could use, from a company that big business and the government has trusted for years. The app is coming to Google Play soon for a monthly subscription fee, but Fixmo is offering Android Central readers a chance to join an exclusive beta program and try the app themselves today. Folks who get in on the beta also get a year of free service. Hit the link below and sign up to try. They are only accepting 500 users into the beta, so get in quickly if you're interested.

Sign up for the Fixmo SafeWatch beta

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4 years ago

The Chromebook Pixel is official, and available at Google Play for $1300

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The Chromebook Pixel is real, and really expensive. It's been rumored for a few weeks, and just yesterday we heard from the WSJ and one of their people close to the matter about a touchscreen Chromebook, but Google took all doubt away a few minutes ago and put the Pixel up for sale at Google Play.

It starts at a whopping $1300 for the Wifi only model, and in April we will see an LTE enabled model for $1450. This is a far cry from the affordable computer we usually think of when we think about the Chromebooks of old. So, what do you get for your 1300 dollars?

  • 12.85-inch, 400 nit display at 2560 x 1700 resolution (239 PPI)
  • Gorilla Glass multi-touch screen
  • 32 GB storage
  • Backlit Chrome keyboard
  • HD Webcam
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • Mini display port
  • 2-in-1 card reader supporting: SD, MMC
  • Intel Core i5 Processor (Dual Core 1.8GHz)
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 59 Wh battery

Sounds like quite the piece of gear, but are people going to spend $1300 on it? We're not so sure about that. Tell us what you think in the comments. Hit the break for the official product video.

Source: Google Chrome blog

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4 years ago

Ubuntu Touch developer preview: What you need to know

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You can now run Ubuntu Touch on a select few Android devices, but this is far from a finished product

We've been waiting for the first developer preview of Ubuntu Touch for a while now. After a bit of an odd start, today is the day we finally get to try it ourselves. As a long-time Linux user on the desktop (I've even installed Ubuntu 12.10 to prepare) I'm excited, and I know plenty of you folks are, as well. We're going to take a quick look at what Canonical is offering up today, talk a bit about their plans for Ubuntu, and even do a little bit of blogger speculation about it's future.

The most important thing to remember is that this is just a preview, meant for enthusiasts and aspiring developers. We're going to install it to play with (of course) but there's plenty that isn't working yet. The final version is still a ways off, so we can't really draw solid conclusions from what we're seeing today. 

What we can do, is have fun trying it. Hit the break to see the how and why.

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4 years ago

ZEN and TECH 52: Fitness month sleep and relaxation special!

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Georgia and Rene are joined by WPCentral's Daniel Rubino, a former sleep technician, to discuss the importance of rest, relaxation, meditation, and... sleep! We talk about common sleeping problems, and offer tips and advice on getting better, healthier sleep. Join us!

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4 years ago

An awesome X-ray look at the Nexus 4 and its wireless charger

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What's cooler than having a Nexus 4 and its official wireless charging orb to go along with it? How about having access to an X-ray machine and taking a look inside? Joshua Perry on Google+ has done just that, bombarding both phone and charger with radiation and posting the results.

Probably the most striking image is this side view of the wireless charging orb. You get a sense for how much space is left untouched in the half-sphere, with a handful of screws holding it all together. There's another great one showing the Nexus 4 while it's on the charger, and you really get a sense for how it all works, without the charging elements ever actually touching each other.

Check out Perry's complete Google+ gallery here.

Thanks, Joshua & Andrew!

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4 years ago

LeVar Burton just won the 'If I had Glass' competition

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Ladies and gentlemen, LeVar Burton just won the Internet. (We've lost track how many times now.) The "Roots," "Reading Rainbow" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" actor and host -- and basically all-around nerd badass -- just threw his name into the running for the Google Glass Explorer program, which gets the eye-glass mounted wearable computer into the hands of a few (thousand) lucky nerds and developers. This week, Google began offering another shot at scoring units by telling what you'd do if you "had glass."  Burton this morning chimed in with:

And that's all she wrote.

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4 years ago

New York Times app updated, brings new night mode and customizable widget

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A quick heads up for users of the New York Times Android application, that an updated version has pushed out into Google Play. The two headline new features are a night mode -- otherwise known as white text on a black background -- and a pretty nice new customizable widget. Sadly, the widget is only available to users on Android 4.x, but that aside it does a pretty nice job. It's customizable, so will display whichever category you most desire to see updates from. 

The only drawback as far as we can see with it, is that the default size of the widget is 4x1. It's scrollable, but unless you're in a position to be able to resize your widgets, it's pretty small, and doesn't even display one full article. It also won't match the theme choice from within the app, it's permanently set to white-on-black. Grab yourselves a copy from the Google Play link above.

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4 years ago

Petition asking Obama to take on SIM unlocking hits signature threshold

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Some good news for the fight against tyrannical cell phone regulation. The official White House petition calling for the Librarian of Congress to rescind the decision to allow a DMCA exemption allowing entities other than the operators to SIM unlock phones ... take a deep breath -- that was a mouthful ... has eclipsed 100,000 signatures, meaning we'll likely see some sort of response from the Obama administration at some point. 

That doesn't guarantee action. That doesn't mean it no longer will be illegal to SIM-unlock your phone on your own, without operator approval. And it still doesn't change the fact that it's not like there were goon squads going around, scooping up hordes of unruly unlockers. This is mainly a tool to be used in extreme cases of litigation. Chances are if you've finished paying off your subsidized handset, and your account is in good standing, your operator will give you the SIM unlock code.

But that doesn't mean that any of this is a good use of DMCA legislation. Thus, the petition. "If a petition gets enough support," the petitions.whitehouse.gov site reads, "White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response."

So maybe we'll see something change, and maybe we won't. But for sure, the position that operators shouldn't be the sole decider on SIM-unlocking phones will be heard.

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4 years ago

The 'Spring into TEGRA' Contest: Win a Tegra-powered HTC One X+!

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It's contest time again! With the seasons changing -- soon, we hope, as it's been a cold winter -- and spring fast approaching, we're teaming up with NVIDIA to award two Tegra-powered HTC One X+ devices (International edition) to a couple of lucky Android Central members.*

To enter, simply follow these three steps:

  1. Take a picture of yourself with your tired and worn out mobile device.
  2. Head over to the official contest thread.
  3. Post the picture, AND tell us why you absolutely NEED a new HTC One X+.

That's all there really is to it! Head over to the official contest thread and get your entry in. You never know… with a little luck and creativity (hint, hint!) you may end up with a brand new device at your front door.

* Contest closes on March 1, 2013, at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be selected shortly thereafter via PM and e-mail. ONE entry per person. Contest open to all Android Central members.

Good luck!

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4 years ago

Sony promises Android 'second screen' app for PlayStation 4

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Sony (sorta) unveiled the PlayStation 4 last night in New York, and along with hardware, software and development details, the electronics giant talked about how the new console would tie into mobile devices. For Android and iOS, Sony said it'd bring "second screen" experiences to these devices.

Like Microsoft's "SmartGlass," the PS4 smartphone apps will allow gamers to bring relevant information to their mobile device whether they're in front of their console or not. In-game, the apps will be able to offer extra content like maps in an adventure game, Sony says. And when you're away from home, the app will tie into the PlayStation Network, allowing you to purchase games or peek in on your friends' games in real time. There's no mention of any PS Vita-style "remote play" option for smartphones just yet -- if something like this is to be offered on phones, it's likely it might be tied into Sony's existing PlayStation Mobile certification program.

The PlayStation 4 is due to appear in time for the holidays, and though we got a quick peek at its smartphone and tablet apps on-stage last night, the box itself was conspicuously absent.

Source: Sony Computer Entertainment International (PDF)

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4 years ago

Pre-orders for Sony Xperia Z now being taken by Sony Australia

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The Sony Xperia Z is one of the hottest new devices launching in Q1 of 2013, and as we begin to see the first nations actually able to buy one, our friends down under are starting to join the party. Sony has only in the last few days held their official launch event for the Xperia Z in Australia, but now the 5-inch smartphone is available to pre-order directly from Sony Australia. 

The price is AUS $749 ($766/£504) which pretty much matches SIM-free pricing for the Xperia Z in other territories. An exact release schedule isn't provided at this time, although it's expected that the Xperia Z will become available in Australia sometime in March. 

More: Video Walkthrough of the Sony Xperia Z

via Ausdroid

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4 years ago

Financial Times gets onboard with BlinkFeed on HTC One

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The meat of HTC's new home screen experience in Sense 5 is the BlinkFeed -- a vertical-scrolling feed of news, social updates and other relevant info. This includes content from leading news organizations, and today the Financial Times has confirmed that it's onboard with BlinkFeed support on the recently-announced HTC One. As is the case when reading on the web, selected FT content will be available for free, but access to everything will require a subscription.

At Tuesday's press conference HTC boasted that it had more than 1,400 outlets supported within BlinkFeed, as part of the curated experience it's offering through the HTC One home screen. The presence of FT content is a plus for BlinkFeed, but that pesky paywall still stands in the way of full access to FT content.

For more on the Sense 5 home screen, BlinkFeed and the rest of the HTC One, check out our hands-on preview.

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