Headlines

4 years ago

The best Android phone you can buy, as of August 2013

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See which phones get the nod from Android Central as the best you can get

We've hit a point in the year where most of the major manufacturers have had their biggest devices out in the market for a bit, and even the late-comers have dropped their entry into the 2013 smartphone game. This is about as "mature" as the market is going to get in the year before a new wave of devices gets ready to hit, so it really is a great time to evaluate where each one stands.

Manufacturers have started to focus a bit less on specs in 2013 (or so they'd like you to believe) and have really pushed forward new features and experiences on their devices, giving a variety of interesting outcomes. There are a robust number of great choices in the market, and we're also reaching a point where U.S. consumers have a variety of options regardless of their carrier.

It's been almost three months since our last "best Android phones" roundup, and now it's time to re-evaluate the ranks in late August. In the end there has to be one winner, so read along with us after the break and see which phone comes out on top.

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4 years ago

Feedly Pro now available to everyone, $5 per month or $45 per year

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More functionality, security and support for a modest fee

Following the retirement of Google Reader, Feedly has taken the reins as the go-to choice for RSS news for many of us and is now offering a "Pro" tier of service for a modest amount of money. A limited number of early adopters were allowed in on a $99 lifetime subscription deal when the Pro service was first announced, but now everyone will have the opportunity to get in at either $5 per month or $45 per year.

Feedly Pro offers many features not offered in the free version, such as searching within individual feeds, HTTPS secure browsing and one-click saving to Pocket and Evernote. If you ever have issues using Feedly, Pro offers "premium support" for technical issues as well. Feedly says more Pro features will be introduced "regularly", and that Pro users will get a vote in what features are developed.

The first-party Feedly app is the first to integrate Pro features, naturally, but Feedly says it is working to bring all of the Pro features to the Feedly Cloud API so that any app can offer them if you're a Pro subscriber. 

Source: Feedly

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4 years ago

Sony releases maintenance updates for Xperia S, SL and acro S

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Camera, apps, battery and navigation fixes included

After pushing out updates to Jelly Bean earlier in the year, Sony has released maintenance updates for the Xperia S, SL and acro S to fix issues based on user feedback. On the camera front, Sony has fixed issues with white balance in pictures, improved the "quick launch" button and improved 1080p video recording to reduce lag. In terms of apps and data, EAS (Exchange Active Sync) has been streamlined, 2G network stability is improved and an issue that removed third-party default app preferences after a reboot has been fixed.

Battery life should improve with the latest update due to improvements in power consumption and heat dispersion, and battery level notifications have also been corrected. Working to build a more consistent navigation experience, the home key will now access Google Now when long pressed, and launch recent apps when double pressed.

Sony says that these handful of fixes will be coming to all three handsets, with variations in availability based on market and carrier, naturally. This is a good grouping of fixes and improvements, so keep an eye out on your own handset.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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4 years ago

HTC One X and One X+ getting Android 4.2 update in the UK

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OTA also includes new Sense 5 UI, BlinkFeed, video highlights

The Android 4.2 and Sense 5 updates for the HTC One X and One X+ have been pushing out in parts of Europe and Asia over the past couple of weeks, and today they've landed on British shores. Users are reporting this morning that updates to version 4.18.401.2 on the One X, and version 2.18.401.2 on the One X+ are now hitting unlocked handsets in the UK.

The updates, both of which weigh around 400MB, bring the newer version of Android, and all the various goodies associated with it, along with new HTC features like the BlinkFeed home screen experience, a new Gallery/Camera app with video highlights, and various new lock screen styles.

If you're seeing the new software on your One X or One X+ today, hit the comments and tell us how you're getting on.

Thanks, Shen Ye!

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4 years ago

Purported LG G Pad 8.3 render looks like a big G2

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LG's G Pad 8.3 teaser video didn't reveal much about what the upcoming tablet will actually look like. Fortunately, though, there's a leaked render doing the rounds showing a size comparison between what appears to be the new G Pad and its smartphone counterpart, the LG G2.

As the side-by-side image shows, the G Pad appears to employ a similar design language to the G2, with a curved rectangular chassis, a speaker grille up top and minimal horizontal bezels. On the right edge we can see what appears to be a power button, while the usual assortment of sensors can be found up top.

The source of the leak, Korean blog MovePlayer, says the LG G Pad 8.3 will pack a Full HD (1920x1200) display, and make its public debut at IFA 2013 next week. If accurate, the Berlin-based trade show would welcome the first LG tablet since the Honeycomb-based Optimus Pad, released in 2011.

Source: MovePlayer

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4 years ago

Nexus 7 (2013) official premium cover

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A premium Nexus 7 cover comes with a premium price — but it's worth it

This "official premium cover" for the 2013 ASUS Nexus 7 is not cheap. Of course, it kind of says so right there in the name. "Premium." But, still, this case and cover is $38 and change. That's going to be hard for a lot of us to stomach. But after just a few seconds with it attached to your tablet, you'll find it's quite deserving of that name.

Yes. It's expensive. But, yes. It's good. Very good.

Read on for our look at this expensive piece of kit.

(Note: This accessory is for the newer, 2013 Nexus 7 — not the older, 2012 Nexus 7.)

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4 years ago

Carriers: picking the lesser of all evils - Talk Mobile

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Talk Mobile 2013 has so far touched on the big rocks of devices, operating systems, and services. Now it’s time to touch on the biggest and most expensive rock in the mobile device system: the carriers. Most of us get locked in to two or three year contracts that can add up to thousands of dollars over the life that contract.

4 years ago

LG announces the G Pad 8.3 in YouTube teaser

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LG's already sorta-confirmed that it's working on a new tablet, and now it's gone and outed the device's name on its YouTube channel. A preview video for the LG G Pad 8.3 sees LG asking regular people what'd make a tablet just right for them, with suggestions that LG's new 8.3-incher will sport a Full HD display, a thin design and the ability to connect to Smart TVs.

If an LG tablet launch is on the horizon — and it certainly seems to be — we could see it as early as next week, at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, Germany.

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4 years ago

New Nexus 7 hits Japan Aug. 28, LTE version tipped for September

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27,800 yen for 16GB, 33,800 yen for 32GB

The original Nexus 7 might have taken its time to come to Japan, but the same isn't true of its successor. The new Nexus 7, with a Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and 1920x1200 display, will arrive on Japanese shores from this Wednesday, Aug. 28, reports Engadget.

The Nexus 7 will sell for 27,800 yen ($282) with 16GB of storage, 33,800 yen for 32GB ($344). The outlet also reports that a SIM-unlocked LTE-capable version will arrive from mid-September, supporting all three major Japanese carriers. (We've still yet to hear any firm release dates for the LTE version in other countries.)

Elsewhere, the UK is set to get the new Nexus 7 on the same day, with ASUS having confirmed an Aug. 28 release date a few weeks back.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Blue HTC One casing spied in factory photo

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Here's the first evidence that the elusive blue HTC One exists as more than just a press render. The shot above was taken by a Chinese factory worker and posted on the Sina Weibo social network, showing a slightly more vivid shade of blue than witnessed in recently-leaked promotional images. Besides that, it's an HTC One in blue — same design as the silver, black and red versions.

There's no indication as to when the blue HTC One might make its way out onto the market. But as devices already seem to be rolling off the production line, hopefully buyers seeking a more colorful version of HTC's flagship won't have too long to wait.

Source: Sina Weibo; via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Samsung opens registration for first Developer Conference

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Registration opens for event taking place from Oct. 27-29 in San Francisco

Samsung has announced that registration is now open for the its first annual developer conference, which is to be held in San Francisco from Oct. 27-29. Samsung says the conference will feature more than 40 technical and industry sessions from "leading influencers in the mobile, consumer electronics and digital content industries."

The manufacturer adds that it'll unveil new SDKs and tools to help developers make the most of its devices' features, including its S Pen stylus technology. In addition, the conference will include sessions on platform and services APIs, (ChatON, Group Play and Context Aware), Smart TV apps, B2B developments, including Samsung KNOX, and cross-platform development, including web apps.

Tickets cost $299, which gets you access to two keynotes, developer sessions and an "exclusive developer event" on the evening of Oct. 28. Registration details can be found on the conference's official site, linked below.

More: SamsungDevCon.com

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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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