Friday, 16 December 2011

Android Community

Android Community


Android 4.0.3 Update: Better social integration, camera capabilities, and tons of fixes

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 12:35 PM PST

Whoa that sure was fast. Google isn’t wasting any time and have already announced the next incremental update for the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform. We just received 4.0.2 on our Verizon Galaxy Nexus phones yesterday and it looks like 4.0.3 will be here very shortly. That is the wonderful part of owning a Nexus — it gets all the updates right away. All the details are after the break on the new update.

Soon we’ll be saying hello to Android 4.0.3 as it should rollout in the coming weeks. Along with the changes are plenty of API updates and tweaks for developers to take advantage of. Some of those include access to social integration like how Google+ and Gtalk have now and more. Here is the list right from the Android Developer Blog.

— Social stream API in Contacts provider: Applications that use social stream data such as status updates and check-ins can now sync that data with each of the user's contacts, providing items in a stream along with photos for each. This new API lets apps show users what the people they know are doing or saying, in addition to their photos and contact information.

— Calendar provider enhancements. Apps can now add color to events, for easier tracking, and new attendee types and states are now available.

— New camera capabilities. Apps can now check and manage video stabilization and use QVGA resolution profiles where needed.

— Accessibility refinements. Improved content access for screen readers and new status and error reporting for text-to-speech engines.

— Incremental improvements in graphics, database, spell-checking, Bluetooth, and more.

It looks like the API changes will give developers and applications more access to the camera and calendar, improve tons of access for screen readers and text-to-speech engines and more. Then at the end it mentions improvements to graphics and even spell-checking — I’m excited to see what more they bring to that area as it’s already quite excellent.

Bring on the Ice Cream Sandwiches Google, we’ll take them all.

[via Android Developer Blog]

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Verizon Galaxy Nexus extended battery half off in-stores and online

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 12:10 PM PST

So you ran out and snatched up a brand new Samsung Galaxy Nexus last night at your nearest Verizon or Best Buy and love it right? The device comes with a hefty 1,850 mAh battery that should last plenty long but we know there are some that want more. In case you didn’t know, Verizon is having a 50% off sale on all 4G LTE devices extended batteries and the Galaxy Nexus in included.

It might not be a huge increase but I’ll take all the extra power I can get in this 4G LTE, dual-core, huge screen world we live in. The Galaxy Nexus extended battery is 2,100 mAh and comes with a new battery cover like most — only this will add barely any size to your device. I’ve never used extended batteries because they always make the device way too fat but this is different. See for yourself in the accessory hands-on video. It adds a few millimeters at best and actually makes the back more curved and feels quite natural in the hand.

The battery is $49.99 on Verizonwireless.com and in-store but once you add it to your cart the price will drop to $24.99 — they also offer free 2-day shipping and mine actually came overnight. Enjoy our hands-on video of the battery and accessories below.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : GALAXY Nexus 4G [Verizon]
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : December 14, 2011
    Release Date : December 15, 2011
    Also Known As : Nexus Prime
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.65 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x720
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.33 Inch
  • Width : 2.67 Inch
  • Depth : 0.37 Inch
  • Weight : 150 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1850 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 150 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.264 / AVC
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : OMAP 4460
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 32 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 900
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

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HTC Thunderbolt minor software update rolling out soon

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 11:33 AM PST

If you haven’t sold that aging and old HTC Thunderbolt over on Swappa and picked up a shiny new Galaxy Nexus then you’ll be happy to know that Verizon has just cleared another round of over the air updates for your lovely lightning bolt equipped smartphone. All the details and documents are available below.

I’ll start by saying no, this isn’t Ice Cream Sandwich. We are still on 2.3 Gingerbread with this update — and even that took forever. Today HTC and Verizon are all set and have initiated the rollout for a small software update and patch for the Thunderbolt and while there is nothing major here at least it’s a timely update right? Here’s what you can expect:

As usual all the update instructions, PDF’s, and documents are available from Verizon Support. The update isn’t anything special but does bring a few fixes and improvement to Twitter, video streaming playback and things of that sort. While not a big update it’s definitely worth downloading for those stock users not running any sort of custom ROM. Again here’s all the details from Verizon. Enjoy!

thunderbolt best thunderbolt-update
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : ThunderBolt
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : January 06, 2011
    Release Date : March 17, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.30 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x800
  • Screen Type : TFT
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.75 Inch
  • Width : 2.44 Inch
  • Depth : 0.56 Inch
  • Weight : 177 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1400 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 330 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • 3GP
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Snapdragon
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 1
    Ram : 768 MB
    Internal Storage : 8.192 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

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Motorola DROID RAZR Maxx appears in Verizon System

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 11:08 AM PST

We’ve heard the name Maxx before and now it appears that the RAZR Maxx is indeed real and coming, we just don’t know when. The RAZR Maxx name was first spotted earlier this month and could be one of the many different variants of the RAZR we’ve seen online. Today it has appeared again giving it even more mystery.

According to some new screenshots from Verizon we now have even more confirmation that the device does exist and Verizon is getting prepped. The image below is the name clearly being added into the Verizon system at some point yesterday. If we see another RAZR before the end of the year I wouldn’t be surprised. If it’s better than the DROID RAZR I have a feeling there will be some angry people with buyers remorse.

For now we mostly just have rumored specs but being MAXX it would need to be better than the original you’d think. We’ve heard a few reports of a larger display with a 1280 x 720p HD display and that huge 13MP camera like China’s model of the RAZR. For now the RAZR Maxx has been bumped up above the “rumor” category but that is as far as we’ll take it until we get further details.

[via Droid-Life]

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Here’s what the Verizon Galaxy Nexus looks like on the inside

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 10:35 AM PST

These days it’s a rite of passage for every new and high-profile gadget: the moment when its tender casing is torn from its frame and all its silicon guts are spilled for the world to see. That time has already come for the HSPA+ version of the Galaxy Nexus, and ZD Net has given Verizon’s LTE version the teardown treatment as well. If you’re wondering what the inside of the very first Ice Cream Sandwich phone looks like, well, here it is.

There are no real surprises in the teardown. The micro SIM card (as opposed to a mini SIM card) is still slightly novel, but hardly unique. Samsung phones are pretty slim, but hardly impossible to crack as smartphones go; the DROID RAZR, with its armored construction and teeny tiny seams, is a lot harder. A couple of non-standard screwdrivers is all it takes to separate pretty much every bit of plastic, metal and circuit board.

While it’s a great opportunity for tech-heads to get a good look at the Galaxy Nexus’ hardware au naturale, I’m more interested in the modding possibilities. Inductive charging still hasn’t made much of a splash in the gadget world, but for those with the right skills and mindset, adding it to existing phones is relatively easy. It would be a fun project while we’re waiting for Samsung to release the Galaxy Nexus docks stateside.

[via SlashGear]

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Trick your Galaxy Nexus into using Ice Cream Sandwich’s tablet user interface

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 10:02 AM PST

I’ll start this off with a massive disclaimer: do not do this. There’s a decent chance that this will break your new Galaxy Nexus phone’s basic functionality, and if you don’t have a method of restoring a backup or flashing a recovery, you’ll be very much out of luck. That said, when Google announced that Ice Cream Sandwich would change its interface depending upon whether it was on a tablet or smartphone, I instantly thought of the smartphone launcher hidden in Honeycomb. Poking around on my rooted Nexus I decided to try the same trick in reverse, setting the LCD density to a much lower value – essentially tricking the phone into thinking it had a ten inch screen. The result? A rudimentary (and very much broken) Ice Cream Sandwich tablet interface on the Galaxy Nexus.

To pull this off you need a rooted phone and a method of modifying the “build.prop” file located in the /system/ folder. Smarter people than I tend to use ADB or an on-device terminal, but I just opened the file in Root Explorer’s text editor. Find the “ro.sf.lcd_density” value and reset it to 160 or lower. Reboot your phone, and bingo: it’s a 4.65-inch tablet. Because of the “larger” screen, Ice Cream Sandwich automatically switches to Honeycomb-style paned interfaces for all system apps, like Settings and the browser, as well as third-party apps that support the relevant APIs.

Well, sort of. The changes make the phone’s default UI settings go crazy. While the unlock screen is the same one you’ve seen in Honeycomb, the stock launcher itself doesn’t work with the setting applied. If I hadn’t already had ADWLauncher installed, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. Even so, the Galaxy Nexus’ soft navigation buttons and the notification tray disappear when SystemUI shuts down, so getting around the various apps is a pain – there’s really no way to use the phone in this state. So far.I reversed the change and went back to the standard rooted ICS for the Galaxy Nexus.

But you can see from the screenshots below that the user interface scales to fit a tablet-size device, similar to Honeycomb. We’ve already seen this paneled Ice Cream Sandwich UI on a developer’s PandaBoard build. I’ll be honest, the utility for this sort of tweak is nil at the moment, but I’m sure that more talented modders than I can take the idea and run with it. After all, the Galaxy Nexus’ 720p screen is more than enough to support the change – you just need tiny fingers and amazing eyesight to use it. Video-out possibilities for TVs and presentations spring to mind; is this something like what we’ll be seeing when Asus releases its Padfone combo device?

IMG_1547 IMG_1548 IMG_1550 IMG_1555 Screenshot_2011-12-16-10-28-17 Screenshot_2011-12-16-10-43-41 Screenshot_2011-12-16-10-46-51 Screenshot_2011-12-16-10-50-03 Screenshot_2011-12-16-11-00-38
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : GALAXY Nexus
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : December 15, 2011
    Also Known As : Nexus Prime
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.65 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x720
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.33 Inch
  • Width : 2.67 Inch
  • Depth : 0.35 Inch
  • Weight : 135 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1750 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : OMAP 4460
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 32 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
  • CDMA
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

)


Google’s Android Developers offer free training site for aspiring app makers

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 07:43 AM PST

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m an absolute dunce when it comes to the finer points of software development. I once heard that you could make a pseudo sandwich with Linux, but that just ended up in a mess. Google’s Android Developers team feels my pain, and wants to help me make that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers app I’ve been dreaming about. They’ve made a new section in the Android developer website, titled Android Training, with a wiki-style layout and a wealth of useful – and free – information.

If you follow the Android Developers blog, you know they’re in the habit of sending out helpful instruction to app developers on a regular basis. It appears that their efforts in this area will now be focused on the Android Training portal, wherein you can find such helpful items as “Designing Effective Navigation” and “Managing Audio Playback”. It looks like a great, accessible way for novice developers to get started on Android, and even experts should be able to find something worth knowing. Who better to instruct on the finer points of Google’s operating system than Google’s employees?

Each topic is divided into a series of lessons, further emulating a traditional class. Right now there’s about a dozen different topics, and more should be added in the near future. There’s even sample selections of real code, so students can follow along with the proverbial bouncing ball. There’s also a handy troubleshooting section for nailing down that pesky bug. Get to it, students – there will be questions after.

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Verizon Galaxy Nexus accessories: extended battery and charger hands-on

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 07:06 AM PST

Smartphones still aren’t most the power efficient of gadgets, and LTE radios gobble up battery power even faster. Though the Verizon LTE Galaxy Nexus already features a larger battery than its HSPA+ brother, no doubt a few of you will already have your new phones begging for more juice long before the day’s over. Enter Samsung’s extended battery, which give the Galaxy Nexus a slightly extended 2100mAh of power. That’s an increase of 250mAh – not a gigantic addition, but it’s also not going to give your new phone a tumor on its back.

The extended battery does require a new battery cover, but given the only slightly increased depth, it doesn’t dramatically affect the slim profile of the Galaxy Nexus. The extended cover kind of smooths out the angled edge where the bottom of the cover meets the “Galaxy hump”, giving the extended version a more rounded and smooth appearance. We didn’t have any calipers handy for the video below, but I’d say that it probably increases the thickness of the Galaxy Nexus by less than 2 millimeters. We’ll have some extensive battery testing in our upcoming review.

We also tested out the standard battery with Samsung’s extra battery charger and a rudimentary screen protector. There’s no surprises here, except perhaps that the extended battery slides into it without any issues. It doesn’t close, but it charges fine. At least some Verizon stores are running a promotion, wherein you can get 20% off of accessories if you buy three at once. We haven’t seen any sort of promotion for this, so it may be limited, though reports out of both Texas and Arizona indicate that you can get the deal there. Both instances were corporate-owned Verizon stores, not second party resellers.

image1 image2 image3 image4 image5 image6
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : GALAXY Nexus
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : December 15, 2011
    Also Known As : Nexus Prime
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.65 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x720
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.33 Inch
  • Width : 2.67 Inch
  • Depth : 0.35 Inch
  • Weight : 135 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1750 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : OMAP 4460
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 32 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
  • CDMA
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

)


New Galaxy Note gets Snapdragon processor, hints at US launch

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 04:03 AM PST

Not too long ago Michael was bummed that the Samsung Galaxy note hybrid tablet/smartphone wasn’t offered in the US. The tablet had crossed the FCC in the past, but as Michael pointed out that doesn’t always mean the tablet is headed to the States. Another new model of the Galaxy note has now been spied. This time it looks like the tablet may actually be bound for the US.

On the Galaxy S II smartphones that are for international use, the phone uses the Enxyos processor. However, when the S II came to the States Samsung changed to the Snapdragon chip. This is apparently because the Snapdragons work better with the HSPA+ networks that AT&T and T-Mobile operate in the US.

The new Galaxy Note with part number SGH-I171 that has been spied is packing that Snapdragon processor so it would seemingly be bound for the US. The tablet also has 4G LTE as well. This is an interesting device with a 5-inch display and 1280 x 800 resolution that skirts the gap between tablets and smartphones. Gottabemobile expects the Note to hit AT&T in early 2012.

[via SlashGear]

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HP TouchPad receives Alpha version of MIUI

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 09:40 PM PST

We’re likely to see Android development progress quicker now that HP decided to disperse WebOS as an open source OS, and recent news suggests developers are getting excited. MIUI, an extremely popular visually modified/skinned version of CyanogenMod, has started to make its way over to the HP TouchPad. This is an extremely stable Alpha version, and would suffice for daily use.


All main components are working: Audio, WiFi, Bluetooth, touchscreen, charging, all sensors, headphone port, gallery, YouTube, and even the many MIUI themes. Bear in mind, none of this would be possible without the countless hours of work put in by the CyanogenMod team. Thus, as CM7 becomes more stable on the HP TouchPad, MIUI will follow.

The above YouTube clip really shows how fluid this MIUI ROM works out on the WebOS native device, and is overall quite impressive. The CyanogenMod team recently released Alpha v3.5, drastically reducing bugs and increasing game performance. They suggest this update increases the overall fluidity and 3D rendering, so it’s safe to say we can expect an update to the MIUI port soon.

[via XDA Developers]

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Target offers Verizon Galaxy Nexus for $189.99 with a new 2-year contract

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 09:01 PM PST

Now that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus has finally launched, the only thing left to do is look for the best deal. LetsTalk had quite a good deal at 12:00AM PST this morning, with it priced at $154.99 after using a special coupon code. Unfortunately, they oversold it leaving some customers on a 2 week waitlist. This is not an ideal situation to be in, so you may want to act fast on this deal at Target while it’s relatively new.


I went over to my local Target earlier today and they didn’t have any in stock, therefore I figured they wouldn’t be carrying it. Needless to say I was wrong. This deal will save you an extra $100, so if it for some reason is out of stock online later tonight, it might benefit you hit up Target as soon as they open. This may turn out to be an online-only deal, but we’ll definitely find that out through the next few days

More deals are bound to come, so stick with us and we’ll feed them to you as they emerge. Surprisingly, over at XDA in the Galaxy Nexus general chat, most users (if not all) are able to score some sort of discount before they complete their purchase. So don’t plan on paying the full $299.99 advertised retail price, there is some obvious markup involved. Not to say the phone isn’t worth it of course – but you may as well save money where you can.

[via Target]

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ClockworkMod Recovery now available for Verizon Galaxy Nexus

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 07:29 PM PST

Alright, so now you’ve got your Verizon branded Samsung Galaxy Nexus – finally. What’s the first thing you’re going to do? Root it and install ClockworkMod recovery of course! A compatible CWM recovery was available for the international unlocked version of the Galaxy Nexus, but until recently the LTE model wasn’t supported. For those of you that don’t know what CWM is – the rest of this post may not be for you.


This morning, the first thing I did was keep refreshing the Galaxy Nexus Android Development forum for updates to the CWM port – yet the development team was still having some issues. Mainly with the Android 4.0.2 update Google recently pushed out; users were reporting that root wouldn’t stick, and neither would CWM. But XDA Developer open1your1eyes0 posted a “Final Version” – ClockworkMod 5.5.0.4 for Galaxy Nexus *CDMA Edition* – and it works great.

You may have been through a similar process with your previous device (and practically identical if you’re coming from a Nexus), but if not here are the general installation instructions. First you’ll need to unlock the bootloader, as most retail versions ship locked down. Next, flash CWM recovery. Reboot – and then boot into fastboot mode by holding both volume buttons down and then pressing power. You should then be able to select Recovery! It has been confirmed to be working by many, but as always flash with caution – and good luck!

[via XDA Developers]

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T-Mobile pits the Amaze 4G against the iPhone 4S, Street Fighter style

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 05:39 PM PST

It’s a common enough argument: my phone is better than your phone. If you’ve got any friends who are particularly attached to their iPhones, you might hear it a lot. T-Mobile’s out to end the debate, and they’re not above using Scott Pilgrim-grade nostalgia to do it. Their latest anti-iPhone commercial pits their current flagship the HTC Amaze 4G against the iPhone 4S in a one-on-one battle to the death to the end of Round 1.

The 90-second ad is mostly about the phones’ respective cameras: both shoot 8 megapixel stills and 1080p video. T-Mobile argues in favor of the Amaze 4G, with arguments about panoramic views, face recognition and sports-friendly burst modes. And 8-bit robot samurai fists. You can probably guess who emerges victorious, but if you’re in suspense, check out the video embedded below:

Even as a rabid Android supporter, it’s hard to deny that the cameras in the iPhone 4 and 4S are impressive. But as our own Amaze 4G review states, the Android competition is fast catching up, and the Amaze 4G meets or beats just about every Android phone we’ve tested as far as camera quality goes. Better than the iPhone? Well.. no. But given the extra features and the lack of iPhone availability on T-Mobile, it’s definitely the best you can get on the carrier.

For even more iPhone-bashing ads, check out Samsung’s awesome Galaxy S II spot and T-Mobile’s previous efforts poking fun at Apple’s ubiquitous format.

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Verizon 4G LTE hits 11 new cities today, available to over 200 million people

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 05:08 PM PST

Who wants some 4G LTE to go along with the Galaxy Nexus? In the same fashion as they’ve done all year Verizon has flipped the switch and gave the green light to 11 new cities to access their 4G LTE spectrum starting today. Verizon’s 4G LTE recently celebrated its 1 year birthday and in that short amount of time they’ve reached almost 200 markets and offer 4G LTE to over 200 million Americans nationwide.

Verizon has continued to unleash their blazing fast speeds on new markets almost every 2-3 weeks for the better part of 6 months and now offer 3G LTE to 190 markets across the US. Not only that, but many markets that already have 4G LTE also got an update today with expanded coverage. Here’s the list provided by Verizon below.

New Markets:

Dover, DE
Lafayette, IN
Fitchburg/Leominster, MA
Duluth, MN
The Rochester Area, MN
St. Cloud, MN
Manchester/Nashua, NH
Poughkeepsie, NY
Findlay/Tiffin, OH
Youngstown/Warren, OH
Indiana, PN

Expanding Markets:

San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington D.C.
Savannah, GA
Chicagoland, ILL
Baltimore, MD
Hagerstown, MD

Speaking of 4G LTE, Verizon’s newest 4G capable phone as you all know is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus — just launched today. We already did a quick hands-on and you can see all the pictures, video and 4G LTE speedtests by clicking here. Verizon has far exceeded their goals for the 2011 LTE rollout and no other carrier at the moment even comes close. I’m sure we’ll have more cities to add to this list within the next few weeks so stay tuned. Below is a Timeline that should give you a “complete picture” of Verizon’s 4G LTE lately.

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LG Spectrum leaks again, press image and full specs included

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 04:54 PM PST

The LG Spectrum might be better known as the Revolution 2 or the device that will replace the original Revolution. We’ve seen it a few times in the past and earlier this week actual images of the device were leaked online. Obviously being the bigger brother to the Revolution we have Verizon 4G LTE and more on board but this latest leak confirms all the specs.

Those hoping for Ice Cream Sandwich will have to wait a few months as this device will be launching with Android 2.3 Gingerbread — although I’m sure an update will come shortly. LG hasn’t been the fastest in the past with updates so that is a thing to consider. Looking very similar to the Optimus LTE, also known as the LG Nitro HD the Spectrum is exactly what we’d hoped for. A huge 4.5″ 720p HD display and a powerful dual-core processor. Here are the official specs:

- Dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor
- Android Gingerbread 2.3
- Verizon 4G LTE
- 10.6 millimeters thick
- 4.5-inch, 1280×720 IPS LCD
- 1GB RAM, 4GB storage plus 16GB microSD
- 8 megapixel, 1080p rear camera; 1.3 megapixel front-facing
- 1830mAh battery

To get a better idea of what to expect just check out our LG Nitro HD review. They look strikingly similar and both have 4G LTE only this bad boy will be powered by Verizon’s ever expanding network instead of AT&T’s. The widget from this official press image shows February 14th next to the weather (day after my Birthday). This could be a hint for a Mobile World Congress appearance but just like our source, we think it’ll be here sooner than that and possibly launch right after CES.

[via Pocket Now]

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CyanogenMod for the HP TouchPad reaches Alpha 3.5, delivers better gaming performance

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 04:52 PM PST

Most of the excitement in the custom ROM world is circling around Ice Cream Sandwich at the moment, but we haven’t forgotten about the best tablet deal of the year. In the latest incremental update to the HP TouchPad version of popular custom ROM CyanogenMod 7.2, the team has focused on UI and gaming improvements, allowing the TouchPad to be at least as capable at 3D gaming as a modern mid-range Android smartphone. Alpha version 3.5 is available for download at RootzWiki now.

The 3.5 update includes improved video for local and streaming, speed and fluidity improvements in 3D rendering, better compatibility for high-end games and a small tweak to the WiFi settings. It’s not much, but if you’re using your Android TouchPad as a media consumption device it’s definitely worth an upgrade. According to the developers in charge of the project a final version is still a long way off, though more stable beta versions may be closer.

There’s two developments in the technology world that should be of interest to TouchPad owners: the release of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code, and HP’s decision to make WebOS (you know, that thing that the TouchPad ran before Android) open source. The former means that Ice Cream Sandwich should be available for the TouchPad when the CyanogenMod team releases CM9 next year. The latter means that WebOS will soon see all sorts of Android-style custom ROMs, and may even begin appearing on other hardware. WebOS-specific hardware may be dead, but thanks mostly in part to HP’s TouchPad fire sale, interest in the OS has never been higher.

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Google Translate updates with handwriting recognition

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 04:05 PM PST

Google’s translation engine has impressed me ever since the first time I used it on the web, and its continual evolution only impresses me more. The latest in a string of updates to Google’s Translate app for Android adds handwriting recognition, allowing users to write out phrases instead of typing them. At the moment, only seven languages use this feature: English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

While most westerners can probably type out words and phrases a lot faster than they can write them (on a phone screen, anyway) the complex characters of Chinese and Japanese don’t cooperate well with keyboards formatted for languages based on Arabic characters. Obviously Android phones sold in Asia don’t have this problem, but if you’re traveling and using your phone for some technology assisted dialogue, it’s a great way to make it easier for the other party to respond. If the Google Translate team follows its regular patterns of behavior, more languages should follow in the next few months.

Of course, you’ll need some decent penmanship for Translate to be able to understand you. That can be a tall order on capacitive screens, where touch strokes have more in common with finger painting than calligraphy. This is the sort of thing that the Samsung Galaxy Note was made for, with its huge screen, S-Pen stylus and Wacom digitizer. You can download the latest version of Google Translate in the Android Market, whatever your screen size.

[via Android Police]

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Huawei MediaPad clears the FCC en route to AT&T

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 04:02 PM PST

The Huawei MediaPad isn’t anything new. It was spotted back in June on video and was quickly announced as a 7″ Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablet rocking a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor and some 3G/4G radios inside. We’ve seen it at the FCC a few times in the recent past on its way to T-Mobile but today’s sighting showed the slate rocking AT&T US bands.

More information and a full set of teardown pictures are available from the FCC filing. If the tablet looks familiar it’s because the Huawei MediaPad is actually available now in the US as the T-Mobile Springboard. We reviewed it here, and it was a fairly decent device for a 7″ Honeycomb tablet.

According to the FCC filing and our friends from Wireless Goodness the MediaPad has just been cleared with AT&T bands, giving it the green light to possibly land on shelves this holiday season. Do note these are HSPA+ speeds and not AT&T’s new 4G LTE. The hardware looks identical for the most part and rocks a 7″ 1280 x 800 display, Android 3.2 Honeycomb, a dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

The tablet has front and rear facing cameras and all the usual specs like micro-USB, and even a micro-SD slot for extra storage. This could be an awesome budget Honeycomb tablet to go along nicely with the hefty price of the HTC Jetstream from AT&T. We’ll report back when we hear more but for now expect to see this land on AT&T here soon.

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Adobe Flash Player updates just in time for the Galaxy Nexus

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 03:16 PM PST

When review units of the HSPA+ “international” version of the Galaxy Nexus came out, we were surprised to find that Adobe’s Flash Player was nowhere to be seen on the Android Market. Of course, that didn’t mean much to most US users, since Verizon’s combined exclusivity and “delays” meant they couldn’t get a hold of an Ice Cream Sandwich phone anyway. Well, Adobe’s software developers have delivered just in time, and you can now download Flash for your shiny new Galaxy Nexus, no matter where you are.

The update is a little confusing, since it appears to be the same APK file that was sent out on December 12th. That was thought to be a minor stability fix, but now it appears that it’s the full-fledged Ice Cream Sandwich compatible Flash Player. I’m guessing that Adobe still had some last minute testing to go through, and updated Flash’s compatibility list in the Android Market today.

Of course, there’s a big red elephant in the room. Adobe isn’t releasing any more major revisions to the mobile version of Flash, on any platform. 11.1 will be the final revision, except for maintenance updates. They’ve essentially given up the fight to HTML5, and will focus on their set of development tools for the web standard. Android 4.0 is the last version that will see official Flash support.

Still, best to make hay while the sun shines. Scoot on over to the Android Market on your Galaxy Nexus (or your ICS ROM) and get your Flash on.

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Dolphin Browser and Box.net team up for cloud sharing

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 02:49 PM PST

As previously indicated, Dolphin Browser HD is awesome. And with extended storage deals for LG, Sony and HP devices, cloud storage provider Box.net is making quite a name for itself among mobile users. Today the two meet in Box for Dolphin, an easy way to share links between your Android phone or tablet and other devices using your Box.net account.

The browser extension doesn’t actually sync files – there’s no reason to, since the regular Box Android application handles that fine. Instead, it shares web links from your phone or tablet to your Box account. The example given is this: say you see a cool new video while out and about on your phone, but want to save it for viewing later? Activate the Box extension, and the link automatically gets saved in your Box account, and you can retrieve it at your leisure on something with a more comfortable screen. If the link you send is a file, like an MP3 or PDF, it downloads directly to Box.

This isn’t the first time a system like this has been implemented – the idea is the bread and butter of services like Read It Later. But there is a major convenience factor for Dolphin users, in that you don’t have to leave the browser to keep a running tally of points of interest on the web. Naturally you’ll need to install Dolphin Browser HD to take advantage of the feature, and you can add the Box for Dolphin extension from this Android Market link.

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