4 years ago

Pre-release Android 4.3 firmware for HTC One leaks


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


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!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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4 years ago

Motorola Droid Ultra review


For a phone with so many great parts about it, why do we question its existence?

"Droid". The word that Verizon has spent millions of dollars marketing, built a highly-successful line of phones on and confused general consumers across the country about what an Android phone actually is with. But with the release of the latest lineup of Droid devices from Motorola, "Droid" doesn't mean what it used to. Sure Verizon has managed to sprinkle in its own bits of crazy lightning bolt and robot eye branding and commercialization, but the general theme of Droid devices in late 2013 is a much nicer, consumer-friendly experience.

But on a carrier that offers this exact same device with a substantially larger battery and double the storage for just a $100 more and the Moto X with a more appealing design and ergonomics for the same price, why would someone consider buying the Droid Ultra? We're not entirely sure that that question can be answered, but we've come to a few conclusions about the device nonetheless. Read on for our full review of the middle price point entry for the 2013 Droid lineup, the Motorola Droid Ultra.

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4 years ago

Introducing Version 1.4 of the Android Central App!


Earlier this week we released Version 1.4 of the official Android Central App. OK, technically we're already at v1.4.1 thanks to a quick bugfix. But point is, we're continuing down our roadmap. 

We've added some new features — and most notable is a slightly revamped design — and kept our focus on speed and improving stability. And we're not done yet, of course.

New in v1.4.1 are:

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4 years ago

Moto VP: Moto X dev editions and other carrier models coming 'in days'


Developer editions and models for other carriers coming soon

Want to get your hands on a Moto X, but not feeling the part where it's attached to AT&T? I hear you. The good news is that according to Punit Soni, vice president of product management at Motorola Mobility, we won't have to wait very long.

Step 1 of rollout. Dev editions, other carrier versions rolling out in days.

We've known that developer editions and other carrier versions were coming, but this is the closest thing we've heard to a real date so far. Of course, the Moto Maker coolness is still an AT&T exclusive (for now) but if you're jonesing for a black or white Moto X and not an AT&T customer, your time is coming soon.

Source: +Punit Soni

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4 years ago

Motorola hedges a bit on getting your custom Moto X to you in 4 days


'High demand' may cause shipping times to vary, Moto says

Motorola's a wee bit excited about finally launching the Moto X today, and rightfully so. It's a big deal. And part of that big deal was the ability to design your own phone and have it in your hands within four days.

Now comes the hedging.

In a blog post this morning, Motorola cautions that because of "high demand, initial shipping times may vary." So much for under-promise, over-deliver.

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4 years ago

Android 101: Using copy & paste



A powerful yet completely hidden feature is easy to use once you find it.

Those of us who have been using Android for many months and years may take it for granted, but the ability to copy and paste text on our phones isn't the most discoverable feature in the OS. Android has steadily marched away from "hidden" features behind long-press actions since Ice Cream Sandwich was released, but copy & paste is one of the last big features holding on.

Adding to some of the confusion are different apps and manufacturer software customizations that handle copy & paste differently, which certainly isn't helping new users. Hang tight after the break where we quickly break down using one of the more useful features of your Android phone or tablet.

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4 years ago

Share your Moto X Moto Maker design in the Moto X forums


Not a banana

With the Moto X launching today on AT&T, we imagine more than a handful of folks will be heading to the Moto Maker site to design their own colors. It's a cool perk that's only available for AT&T customers and it adds not a penny to the $199 contract cost (for the 16GB model) of the Moto X.

Phil has shown us how it all works in a short video, but getting in there and playing with the service is fun — even if you have no plans to buy today. You can choose from 18 different colors for the back of the phone, white or black for the front, and from seven different colors of anodized aluminum for the accents around the camera and the buttons. There's also 20 different wallpapers to pick from in addition to the ones included on all Moto X phones, and you can even add a little message to the boot splash animation. 

I've been tinkering with it, designing phones with colors of sports teams, or trying to make the ugliest phone in the world, but I finally settled on the "not a banana" look above. Head to the Moto Maker site, play around with it, and be sure to share your creation with everyone in the forums!

Moto Maker site | Share your Moto Maker designs | Moto X review

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