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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Are 1080p screens the next big thing?


We've seen a couple phones from HTC with a 1080p screen; namely the Droid DNA and J Butterfly, and have rumors of similar phones coming from Sony and LG. Clearly, someone in charge of the secret cabal of folks who designs smartphones likes the idea of a super high-resolution screen on a smartphone.

I just finished playing with a Droid DNA (knowing a mobile device reseller has its perks), and the screen looks awful damn nice. Because it's smaller in size, I say it looks as good (pixel wise) as the Nexus 10. But -- so does the HTC One X's 720p screen. In all honesty, I can't say the DNA screen is any better than the One X screen. Push the One X to 5-inches and maybe it's different, or maybe my eyes are tired from looking at Android devices for a few years. In either case, looking as good as the One X screen is nothing to be ashamed of.

Of course, the best part of the Android world is choice. So what I think really doesn't matter to anyone but me. 1080p screens are coming. Are the new must have? Tell us in the poll you'll find in the sidebar to the right or after the break.

Before we go, a look at last week's results.

Which has your interest -- the Galaxy Note 2 or the Droid DNA?

It's pretty conclusive that Samsung has things pretty well in hand for Verizon customers. We're not sure if one OEM having that much influence is a good or bad thing, but customer dollars do all the talking.

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4 years ago

Netflix updated to support Android 4.2, improve UI


These are the kinds of updates we like to see. As many of us are getting our hands on devices running Android 4.2, Netflix (and many others) is updating for full support of the new platform version. The last couple of weeks may have felt like years waiting for the update, but it was still released in a pretty reasonable timeframe (now the Starbucks app, on the other hand...). Aside from supporting Android 4.2, there have been a few other notable changes:

  • Large volume button
  • Easy scrubbing with new screen stills
  • Improved stability and playback bug fixes

All-in-all, a very useful update. We'll take improved support and usability features any day of the week. You can grab a download at the Google Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

LG 'Optimus G2' rumored for May launch with 1080p screen


LG's Optimus G isn't even available in some countries yet, but already it seems a successor could be in the works. Reports from Korea's MK Business News suggests that the "Optimus G2" (said to be a provisional name) could be scheduled for launch as early as next May. Key upgrades are said to include a a 5-inch, 1080p display, up from the 4.7-inch 1280x768 panel in the original, and a 2GHz quad-core Qualcomm CPU. LG will reportedly pit the G2 against the successor to Samsung's Galaxy S3.

But here's the kicker -- the article also claims the "Optimus G2" will come with Android "Key Lime Pie" on-board. KLP is the widely-expected codename for the next major iteration of Android, presumably either version 4.3 or 5.0. We'd be very (very) surprised to see a fresh version of Android so quickly after 4.2, especially considering the short interval between the two flavors of Jelly Bean.

Nevertheless, as a Nexus partner, LG would have privileged access to code ahead of time, which might help it get devices running newer versions of Android to market more rapidly than other OEMs. Stranger things have happened, but we're still inclined to take this part of the story with a large pinch of salt.

The 5-inch screen size and 1080p resolution look set to become the new standard for high-end phones in 2013. HTC has already launched the Droid DNA on Verizon in the states, while Sony's next high-end device, "Yuga," is rumored to sport a similar display. Likewise, Samsung is rumored to be hard at work on a 4.99-inch 1080p SuperAMOLED panel for use in future phones.

Whatever form it takes, the Optimus G's successor will find itself among plenty of competition.

Source: MK; via: TechCrunch

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4 years ago

Don't like the Android 4.2 clock widget? Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget can help


One of the visual changes we were 'treated' to in Android 4.2 when it first dropped, was a re-designed digital clock widget. I say 'treated' because its design is a point of contention for many. Personally, I don't mind it, but many others have a vastly differing opinion. The mixture of bold and regular font doesn't cut it for some people, especially when compared to the relative simplicity of the light Roboto font we've all come to know and love. 

But, this is Android, so there's usually a way to change these things. This ones called Fixed 4.2 Clock Widget, and is available for free in the Google Play Store. And, it does exactly what it says on the tin. You can alter the font to your liking, and you can go all bold if that's your thing. But, it gives us a simple way to bring back the clock widget of old, and it's also compatible with the Android 4.2 lockscreen. Tapping on the clock widget also takes you into the stock clock app as you would hope. 

And, aside from mentioning that it also displays your alarm times -- as the stock widget also does -- that's about it. If you like it enough, there's a donate version also available, but all the features are available in the free version. 

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4 years ago

We find the lack of Angry Birds Star Wars on the Droid DNA ... disturbing


What's a guy got to do to fling some birds in high-definition on the Verizon Droid DNA? As has been the case since its release on Nov. 16, Angry Birds Star Wars HD (see our review) continues to crash and burn on the DNA. No option to report an error, no asking if we'd like to wait or force close the app. Just tap the first level, and the whole game disappears quicker than you can say "Hey, wasn't Alderaan around here somewhere?" 

User reviews are echoing what we've seen. Crashes on the first level on the Droid DNA. We've reached out to the developer through its support channels and will update if we ever hear back.

Help us, Rovio. You're our only hope.

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4 years ago

DocScanner S now available on Android


DocScanner, an app that has over 1.5 million downloads on the iOS platform, has just launched onto Android. The basic idea behind these types of apps is simple -- scan pretty much any type of document, business card or receipt and you now have a digital copy of it. Nowadays we don't want to deal with paper more than we have to, and if there's a simple way to manage it electronically we'll take it.

DocScanner S is now available for free in the Google Play Store at the link above. There's also a paid version for $3 if you are so inclined.

Source: DocScanner

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4 years ago

Plume update removes direct messages from lockscreen widget


There have been a lot of concerns about security since Google implemented lockscreen widgets in Android 4.2. Some may have concerns over how much information is actually accessible from these lockscreen widgets, and with no guidelines on what is and isn't okay, some developers are taking it upon themselves to implement some of their own security measures. Plume has decided to remove the DM (Direct Message) tab from its lockscreen widget, and now you can only see how many unread messages there are. The widget is otherwise the exact same as the one available on the homescreen.

Of course the best security policy is to not put any widgets on the lockscreen -- and use a PIN, pattern or password lock on the device -- but its good to see developers taking these things into consideration.

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4 years ago

Samsung shows off device stress testing in promo video


Its no secret that Samsung likes to use shiny, extremely flexible plastic materials for its devices. It can unfortunately lead to a device that feels somewhat "cheap" in the hand, but the tradeoff is some serious longevity when it comes to surviving every-day use. Some of us don't treat our phones very gently, and a device's ability to make it through a few bumps without breaking can be a feature for many.

Samsung has just released a video showing off various methods they use to stress test their devices, including mashing on a Galaxy Note 2 home button over 200,000 times, putting a device under simulated rain and even simulating sitting on devices repeatedly. Yes. It's a butt. Get over it. The video is narrated in Korean, but you'll enjoy the visuals nonetheless. You can skip along to about the 0:50 mark to get to where the good parts start. Take a gander after the break.

Source: BGR

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4 years ago

Galaxy S Relay 4G receiving small update via Kies


The Galaxy S Relay 4G from T-Mobile has only been available for a couple of months now, but it is already receiving a maintenance update. The update will bring the device up to firmware version T699UVALJ1 and is listed to fix two issues on the device. The first is fixing an issue with Media Hub playback, and the second is backend improvements to pinch-and-zoom throughout the software.

The update is unfortunately only available via Samsung Kies desktop software, and not OTA (Over The Air). For such a small update, we really wish they would just push it out without users having to go through the desktop process.

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Tackling 'fragmentation': Developers sound off on supporting multiple screens


What does it take to support multiple devices? A few top developers weigh in

Android runs on a variety of devices, which means it also runs on a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. Lots of folks call this "fragmentation." Never mind the fact that they've been using products designed and developed the same way for years on their desktop. Apparently if everything isn't exactly the same it gets the "fragmentation" label. 

There are different ways to tackle the problems that arise when you use screens with different sizes and densities. Apple has separate listings for apps designed for the iPhone versus the iPad. Microsoft creates a new eco-system for its big screen devices. Android provides a way for developers to make the same app work differently for different screens. There's good and bad about each method, but we're going to focus on Android here.

In Android, applications can adjust the layout for different size screens as well as resolution. This is all built in, but there are a few things developers need to declare in their code to make the app look good. The thing to keep in mind is how screen size and density will change the look of the app. The Droid DNA has a higher-res screen than the Motorola XOOM tablet, but we don't want to see a tablet layout for apps on the phone-sized screen.

A developer needs to provide assets (images) that are high enough quality to look sharp at high resolution (never mind insanely high resolution), and be sure to use density independent pixel units when designing their layout. This is what keeps things like buttons and other controls from being really big on low density screens like the Galaxy S2, or from being really tiny on high density screens like the DNA.

It sounds complicated, but most of this stuff is done for you when coding an app. All the developer needs to do is make the right declarations, and provide the right assets to support any size (both physical and resolution) or layout. Even multiple layout apps like the Google+ app use the same code to cover every conceivable screen.

We're not trying to judge developers here. Writing apps is tough. The Android developers have been preaching all this since the release of Gingerbread, but how practical is it? We asked a few developers about it, see what they had to say after the break.

More: Google's Android developer site

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4 years ago

HTC tries the store-within-a-store approach in Germany


HTC has opened its first store-within-a-store in Germany. The Taiwanese retailer is attempting to rebound after lackluster financial results by having a more profound retail presence. Rather than open up separate stores, these are dedicated areas within existing retailers, this one being a Saturn store in Germany.

Samsung has tried this approach in the UK and other European countries, and while it's unknown how much of a direct effect it has had, Samsung has enjoyed record sales of its phones over the past year.

As you'd expect, store staff will be trained by HT, and will have more in-depth knowledge of their products. HTC has also promised to expand this strategy to more cities and stores. We'll likely have to wait quite a while before we see if this helps HTC's financial position, but it seems like a good start.

Source: UnwiredView

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4 years ago

AnTuTu Benchmark 3 now available


Good news for benchmark junkies, as one of the leading Android apps of this kind has today received a major update. AnTuTu Benchmark 3 brings a host of new features to the popular benchmark app, including a new dedicated 2D benchmark, and a 3D benchmark based upon OpenGL ES 2.0. Other changes include improved SD card detection and security features to prevent tampering with the app.

This version also improves support for a number of high-end devices, including the HTC Droid DNA and LG Nexus 4, both of which use Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip. Our Nexus 4 scores averaged around 17,500, a considerable increase over the 10,000 or so widely reported on the earlier AnTuTu 2.94. And our Droid DNA scored even higher, clocking in at just over 19,000.

The full changelog for the current version 3.0.1 can be found after the break. The free download can be grabbed from Google Play at the link above.

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4 years ago

Sprint lights up 11 new LTE cities, now at 43 total


Sprint this morning announced 11 new locales for its 4G LTE data service. They are:

  • Anderson, Ind.
  • Clarke County, Va./Jefferson County, W.Va.
  • Harrisburg/Carlisle/Hershey, Pa.
  • Hagerstown, Md./Martinsburg, W.Va.
  • Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Muncie, Ind.
  • Peabody, Mass.
  • Salina, Kan.
  • Shenandoah County, Va.
  • South Bend/Mishawaka, Ind.
  • Winchester, Va.

That brings Sprint's LTE coverage to some 43 markets. We've got the full list after the break.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

White Sony Xperia T available SIM-free next week


The Sony Xperia T (or the Bond phone, as it's sometimes known) has been with us for a short while now, but in order to get the white version in the UK, you'd have to go through O2.

If you've been waiting to get the white variant SIM free, then your wait is over, as Clove Technology will have this new silky white version in stock next week. The device will set you back £378 including VAT, which for what you're getting is pretty good value in our opinion.

Clove is taking pre-orders right now, and if you missed our full review of Sony's new flagship Android device you can catch that here.

You can also catch a quick reminder of the Xperia T specs below.

Source: Clove Technology

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