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4 years ago

Facebook Messenger now offers free voice calling for Android, as long as you're in Canada

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The Facebook Messenger app for Android was updated today, bringing feee VoIP calling to users in Canada. This mirrors the way things were done on the iOS app, which saw support for folks in the U.S. about two weeks after it debuted in Canada. While there's no guarantee the Android app will follow the same roll-out schedule, we're going to assume that it will cross the border soon.

In addition to the new VoIP calling, the app allows group conversations to be viewed in the sidebar, and allows them to be searched by name and friends. Hit the Google Play link to update.

Via: Cnet

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4 years ago

Update: 'Leaked' pictures stolen from Expansys mockups

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Update 2: EVLeaks has deleted its tweets sharing the "leaks."

Update: It appears this stuff comes from a speculative product info page published by online retailer Expansys. So we can probably discount these images.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 may be the most anticipated Android device ever, and our old pals at @evleaks may have just outed the specs and overall design of it. While it's still a render, if true we get to see the more rectangular design of Samsung's next, as well as a comparison against the previous models (see the pic after the break). 

On the specifications front, we're told to expect a Super AMOLED HD screen of an unknown size, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP camera, and storage options of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Of course it will be running on Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean).

As we saw with the Galaxy S3, Samsung isn't afraid to toss out a red herring or three. But evleaks has a very solid track record, so that has to be considered. We see nothing here we wouldn't expect from the next Samsung Galaxy S phone, so we're excited. 

We'll know more in about 10 days.

Source: @evleaks (1); (2)

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4 years ago

OpenTable joins Google+ Developers Live to discuss Google+ sign-in and over-the-air installs tomorrow

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We all know that Google has rolled out tools for developers to use Google+ sign-in for the web and for Android apps, but something that isn't getting as much attention as it should is the over-the-air app installation that can happen when a developer sets up his or her web app. On the surface it looks like magic -- use Google+ to sign into a web site (like fitbit.com or opentable.com) and during the process you're presented with a screen that will install the mobile app directly to your phone if you would like. It's a new level of app discovery that will drive users (that's us) to the apps we're likely interested in.

This is important. If you're visiting a website and engaged enough to want or need to sign in, chances are you'll want to take a look at the Android app. It makes it easy for users to find the apps, and makes it easy for developers to let us know they're there. The folks at OpenTable realize how important this can be, so they're joining Gus Class and Chris Cartland from Google in a special Google+ Developers Live session tomorrow (March 5) at 2:30pm PST. 

If you're a developer, or even an interested user, this should answer a lot of questions about the over-the-air app install process, as well as discuss the ways it can benefit developers and users alike. You'll find all the information in the Google+ event page listed below.

Google+ Developers Live: Over-the-Air Installs

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4 years ago

TweetDeck for Android is going the way of the Dodo

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TweetDeck, which has been owned and operated by Twitter itself since mid 2011, is closing down its Android and iPhone apps to focus on future development of its web app. The app itself hasn't seen an update or redesign in the Play Store since the end of 2011, but other developers have built on top of TweetDeck for much longer. In a post on its official blog, TweetDeck says that it will discontinue support for the apps in May by pulling them from their respective stores, and the apps will stop working short after. Some of the "blame" is put on Twitter's upcoming retirement of the v1.0 API, which the apps rely on, but it's a much bigger story than that.

This shutdown should come as no surprise considering the stagnation in development of the app and Twitter's move to cut down on third party Twitter client development. TweetDeck says as much in its post, where it notes that it has made "an increased investment in Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android", and that the combination of a better official Twitter app along with improvements to the TweetDeck web app will improve the experience for users.

Source: TweetDeck

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4 years ago

CM10.1-m2 based on Android 4.2.2 now available

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CyanogenMod has just released its latest "M" build, CM10.1-m2 based on Android 4.2.2, for several different devices. The M builds are meant to be a bigger step up in stability from just another nightly build, but not quite ready for the mainstream as a "stable" release. Its for this reason that the CM team encourages bug reports on these builds, which can go a long way towards that stable release. Starting today the CM10.1-m2 builds will be available for several devices, including the Nexus lineup, HTC One X / Evo 4G LTE, Galaxy S / S2 / S3 / Note and a few other odds and ends.

If you're interested in moving up to the latest M build and have one of the above devices, head to the source link below and grab your download. If you don't see your device listed just yet, don't worry. They note that CM10.1 nightly builds will continue for other devices until they hit a level deemed acceptable as an M build.

Source: CyanogenMod

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4 years ago

Unlocked Sony Xperia ZL headed to the U.S. with LTE and new color option

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Sony's other 5-incher heads stateside with T-Mobile + AT&T LTE bands and new red color

Good news for American Sony fans with a few hundred dollars to blow on an unlocked smartphone. The Xperia ZL -- the more compact cousin of the Xperia Z -- is landing in the U.S., where it'll be available unlocked from the manufacturer's online store. Like its international counterpart, the ZL packs a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, a 13MP Exmor RS rear camera and a 5-inch 1080p HD Reality Display screen. The main differences include the unique notification light down below, as well as the smaller chassis size and lack of waterproofing.

Of particular interest is the extra color variant that's cropped up -- a red option with a black front -- and the American ZL's support for LTE Bands 1, 2, 4, 5 and 17 alongside the standard pentaband HSPA. If our calculations are correct, that means it should work on both T-Mobile and AT&T's LTE networks -- T-Mo's in the process of lighting up Band 4, while AT&T has LTE deployed on Band 17. In theory that means you'll have an unlocked handset that can run quite happily on either carrier's 4G LTE -- a unique proposition for the U.S. market. However U.S. carriers being as they are, we'll have to wait until devices begin shipping before we can confirm that everything's working in the real world.

There are no details available on pricing just yet, but previous unlocked Sony handsets haven't come cheap. In any case, there's a sign-up page on the Sony Store where customers can register their interest.

Anyone in the U.S. tempted by the prospect of such an unlocked, LTE-capable Sony phone? Shout out in the comments!

More: Hands-on with the Sony Xperia ZL

Source: Sony Store; via: XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 to employ 'eye scrolling,' says NYT

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 launches next Thursday, Mar. 14, and the rumor mill is starting to churn. The latest unofficial reports on Samsung's next Android smartphone comes from the New York Times' 'Bits' blog, which claims to have word of a new scrolling technique used by the handset. Apparently the S4 will use eye-tracking technology to automatically scroll through articles --

"The phone will track a user’s eyes to determine where to scroll, said a Samsung employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text."

It wouldn't be the first time Samsung's used this kind of tech on a smartphone. The Galaxy S3 included "SmartStay," a feature which used the front-facing camera to determine whether the user was looking at the screen and lock it accordingly. There are no specific details about how this eye-scrolling feature might work, but the Times notes Samsung has applied for trademarks of "EyeScroll" and "Samsung EyeScroll" in the EU and U.S. respectively for similar-sounding software features.

To us, this sounds like exactly the sort of feature Samsung might bring to a new smartphone -- recall the wacky "Smart Rotation" feature that debuted on the Note 2 to assist with horizontal reading. However pre-release rumors don't always reveal the full picture, so we'll have to reserve final judgment until we see what Samsung's been building next Thursday.

Source: New York Times

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4 years ago

White House, FCC chair agree SIM unlocking should be legal

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Some good news today in the fight for making it legal to SIM-unlock your phone without having to go through an operator. The White House has swiftly responded to the petition that garnered the support of more than 114,000 people, with a pretty crystal clear subject line -- "It's time to legalize cell phone unlocking."

That's a pretty powerful step in the right direction, but it doesn't actually change anything yet. If you want to (legally) SIM unlock your phone, you still have to go through your operator to get it done. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. If your account is in good standing and you've paid off the subsidy on your phone, they should hand over the SIM unlock code with no problem.

There are cases, however, that make things a little more difficult, and that's where this legality issue comes into play.

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4 years ago

LG Spirit 4G review

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Anyone living in one of America's largest urban areas in 2013 has undoubtedly seen the claim: "Everybody's moving to Metro." And the claim isn't that far off; in the past year, contract-free, budget-friendly carriers have boomed both in terms of subscribers and coverage. The industry's growth can be attributed to a lot of things, including incredible rate hikes from the nation's three largest carriers, though the most important factor has been the rapid evolution in smartphone technology.

Case in point: the LG Spirit 4G, a knockout device in terms of both style and functionality. Where the Spirit really shines, though, is its price tag—at $199 with no contract and MetroPCS' unlimited plans starting at just $40, the Spirit is perhaps the most capable of all economy Android devices on the market today.

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4 years ago

Real Racing 3: quality gameplay meets the freemium model

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With a name like EA behind it, the Real Racing series has a high bar set for itself to offer a great mobile gaming experience. Real Racing 3 is the latest in the series, and it surely doesn't disappoint when it comes to the quality of design. But users are still cautious about the title, as instead of charging several dollars for the game up front, EA has chosen to go with a "freemium" model to generate revenue.

Real Racing 3 offers great gameplay, visuals and sound, but does that overcome the annoyance of constant in-app purchases? Read on past the break with us and see.

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4 years ago

Sprint fires up nine new LTE markets

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Sprint this morning announced that it's flipped the switch for 4G LTE data in new new markets. They are:

  • Altoona, Pa.
  • Asheville, N.C.
  • Columbus, Ind.
  • Elkhart/Goshen, Ind.
  • Hammond, La
  • La Crosse, Wis.
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Statesville, N.C.
  • Temple, Texas

You'll need one of Sprint's LTE-capable phones for the new high-speed data, of course, but current 3G-only phones also should see some improvement as part of the Network Vision improvements.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Minor Galaxy Note 2 security loophole could lead to momentary lock screen bypass

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As Samsung security vulnerabilities go, this one's relatively minor. Nevertheless, if you're using lock screen security on the Galaxy Note 2, this latest loophole is something you should be aware of. Blogger Terence Eden has discovered a way to briefly bypass lock screen security on Samsung's 5.5-incher, momentarily allowing access to the home screen.

By hitting "emergency call," then "emergency contacts," then holding the home button, the main home screen becomes visible for around a second -- just enough time to load an app, before reverting back to the lock screen. This dismisses any app that's loaded, but if a direct dial shortcut is placed on the home screen then it's possible to activate this and make a call, bypassing the lock screen security. Using this method it could also be possible to load up email or SMS apps for long enough to get an overview of sensitive messages.

So this certainly isn't anywhere near as serious as the Exynos kernel vulnerability or USSD code hacks that came to light late last year, but it's probably something that should be fixed. Until then, if you're concerned about folks breaking past your lock screen security, you could avoid placing direct dial shortcuts on your main home screen. (Or alternatively keep your phone away from people you don't trust.)

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

Source: Terence Eden; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Dbrand vinyl skins for LG Nexus 4 review

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Glass-backed devices like the Nexus 4 look great. But a glass back, like any design decision, is a compromise. Glass -- even reinforced glass like Corning's Gorilla Glass 2 -- is less durable than metal or plastics. And besides, not everyone is fond of the look and feel of a glass-backed smartphone. Hence the arrival of protective skins like Dbrand's that not only cover up the vulnerable glass, but come in a variety of colors and textures.

Made from 3M vinyl, Dbrand's Nexus 4 skins are precision-cut to match the back of the device, including the stylized "Nexus" lettering under the camera assembly. Dbrand provided us with a selection of skins for review, and each one of them was an exact match for the back of the Nexus 4 -- no rough edges, no overlap -- pretty impressive for a mass-produced skin.

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4 years ago

First Samsung Galaxy S4 teaser trailer emerges

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Light on details and heavy on hype, here's the first official teaser trailer for the Samsung Galaxy S4, due to be announced in New York City on Mar. 14. The trailer introduces the young Jeremy Maxwell, guardian of a magical box of Galaxy S4 secrets.

Check it out above. We'll be live from NYC on the 14th for the main event.

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