Friday, 30 December 2011

Android Community

Android Community


FCC taking a look a Verizon’s $2 “convenience fee”

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 11:43 AM PST

The FCC, who has been busy dealing with plenty of cellphone carriers business as of late is now apparently looking into another pressing matter. Verizon’s recently announced $2 convenience fee has caught the FCC’s attention and they are now looking into the new plan and hopefully will report back.

According to Reuters the telecommunications regulators at the FCC are looking into a fee for such conveniences and this is what they had to say:

“On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter”

Basically not a lot, but enough to make us report the news and wonder if we’ll see anything become of it. I know many friends and readers alike weren’t happy with the news that Verizon would start charging us for a simple task such as paying your bill online — so we’ll see.

This new fee for Verizon Wireless customers is set to take effect on January 15th 2012 so we’ll have to wait and see if anything comes from this FCC report. We wont be seeing much but hopefully they can change Big Red’s mind. Other carriers have been charging for similar things for years so the chance this gets dropped is doubtful — but it’s really anyone’s guess at this point.

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HTC Thunderbolt gets the HTCDev unlock treatment

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 11:06 AM PST

HTC has been busy adding devices and support for their bootloader unlocking program and just yesterday announced that all devices released after September 2011 are fully unlockable. While this is great news I know there are still thousands of HTC Thunderbolt owners waiting for the real thing too. Today it appears they’ve updated just that as the Thunderbolt and Incredible 2 have now been added to HTCDev.com and are now truly free.

When the entire HTCDev plan was first announced Thunderbolt owners were very optimistic but now that they’ve been one of the last added I’m sure most have resorted to 3rd party hacks and unlock systems like Revolutionary to gain access to their lightning packed device. Today both the HTC Thunderbolt and the Incredible 2 can be unlocked with ease.

We know Verizon can’t be happy about the news that their 4G LTE devices are being unlocked, rooted, and everything else but it seems that HTC has either come to terms with them or are just staying true to their word and are making this option available for all their devices. With new phones like the Rezound and old phones like the Thunderbolt all getting this treatment I think it’s time to focus our attention to Motorola — who mentioned doing something similar in “late 2011″ but we’ve not seen or heard a word from the big M.

Either way head down to HTCDev.com if you’ve not already and see if your device is on the list.

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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GADMEI 8″ glasses-free 3D tablet can be yours for $199

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 10:33 AM PST

First off let me start by saying I’m still not really sold on this mobile 3D technology even though I did enjoy reviewing the HTC EVO 3D. What we have for you today is really interesting though because it has some impressive specs on a full HD 8″ 1280 x 800 resolution display all rocking glasses-free 3D. The downside is only Android 2.3 Gingerbread on board but I’m sure a few XDA developers could change that. Check out the full specs, pictures, and video below.

This tablet is being called the GADMEI T863-3D Tablet and it comes complete with an 8″ 1280 x 800 HD display that features full active 3D — glasses free. Being $199 I was worried about specs but this beast actually rocks a 1.0 GHz Cortex A9 processor and the powerful Mali 400 GPU for graphics and 3D rendering. With 8 GB of internal storage, micro-SD, HDMI-out, USB, WiFi and even a front facing camera for video chat. It also claims to offer a 5,000 mAh battery so that should last plenty long. I was expecting a cheaper device but with great internals, plenty of storage and a capacitive touch 3D display I’m actually a little curious and want one for myself.

Here is a video demonstration showing just how quick and easy it is to toggle regular 2D video viewing into full glasses-free 3D — just the touch of a button. They are showing it off using the impressive AVATAR 3D.

We don’t know much about GADMEI but they’ve made plenty of PMP’s and other tablet devices in the past so while this isn’t Samsung, I’ve heard the name enough to be familiar. On the other hand I’ve never heard of the online retailer but they did snap a few decent photos of the 3D tablet to give us a better idea of what to expect. Full details, specs, pricing and more is available at the source link below.

Who would buy this 3D tablet for only $199?

tablet 3d main tablet 3d tablet 3d more tablet 3d back

[via usb.brando]

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Tankbot lets you control tiny desktop warfare via your Android device

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 09:45 AM PST

You’re never too old to enjoy the simple pleasure of remote control toys. And the tiny, cheap remote cars and helicopters that have sprung up in the last couple of years are no exception – plus, they’re great for driving pets nuts. If you’d like to integrate your remote-controlled fun with your unabashed Android nerdiness, Desk Pets has you covered with their new Tankbot. The tiny plastic robots can operate independently, or be directly controlled via your smartphone.

The tiny RC vehicles charge up via a USB port with a little tail/switch on the back. Flip it down to charge (40 minutes of USB charge for 15 minutes of runtime) then flip it up to start playing. Switch the mode from autonomous to controlled, slide the included 1/8-inch remote adapter into your phone, start the Tankbot app, and you’re ready to go.

And the best part: they’re just $25 a pop. That’s comfortably in the impulse buy range, and you won’t have to worry about crashing three c-notes worth of toy, as with the Parrot AR Drone. Sure, they don’t fly and there’s no remote camera, but what do you want for 25 bones? You and your coworkers friends can use up to four different Tankbots at a time, thanks to the color-coded frequencies. Something tells me there’s going to be a lot of Battletank reenactments around my house in the near future…

Check out SlashGear’s video review below:

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II coming with special Tegra 3 edition

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 08:39 AM PST

Raise your hand if you’ve been busting Robotnik’s chops in the newly re-released Sonic CD, now available in the Android Market for just three bucks. If one of the best classic Sonic games isn’t enough for you, Sega’s got some exciting news: the second installment of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will be spin-dashing its way to Android in 2012. Even more exciting, it will be getting a special edition that takes advantage of Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor, putting the game in the same ballpark as its PC and console counterparts.

If you’re not up on your spiky rodent gaming news, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a return to Sonic’s classic side-scrolling roots, applying the latest 3D graphics to the Genesis-era 2D gameplay you know and love. Episode I was released in 2010 on the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, iOS and Windows Phone 7, giving Android a big snub. That oversight seems to have been corrected the second time around – good on ya, Sega.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Episode II will be available on the Android Market in its standard version, though the requirements for playing it haven’t been detailed. A Tegra 3 version will make its way onto Nvidia’s Tegra Zone with enhanced visuals. There’s no release date beyond a frustratingly vague “2012″, but I for one will be happy to get some new ring-slinging, bot-bashing, super-Sonic action whenever it arrives.

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HTC Jetstream gets permenent root and CWM recovery

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 08:11 AM PST

Make no mistake: the HTC Jetstream is an awesome 10-inch tablet. And it might have a considerable following at this point, if it weren’t for the fact that AT&T’s insane pricing on the thing. Still, its hardware charms have given it more than a few fans, who will no doubt be happy to hear that it’s finally been rooted. ClockworkMod Recovery, the most popular custom recovery for Android at the moment, has been successfully installed. Custom ROMs for the high-end 4G tablet can’t be far behind.

The options aren’t perfect just yet; ClockworkMod’s Nandroid backup system currently doesn’t have access to the boot or recovery partitions, though modder and XDA user DooMLoRD (slayer of a thousand grammar textbooks) says that he’s working on it. Rooting the tablet is easy: just download a .bat file, connect the tablet with USB debugging and activate the file. Bingo bango, root access. To install the custom recovery, you’ll need to enter the bootloader then use the standard Android fastboot application to flash the new files. Pretty standard stuff for experienced Android modders, but newbies should use caution.

There’s been a lot of activity in the HTC modding scene as of late, thanks to the Taiwanese manufacturer delivering on its promise to offer unlockable bootloaders on all new models. Even phones and tablets on traditionally locked-down carriers AT&T and Verizon are supported, though their specific devices may not make it into HTCdev.com’s documentation. Remember, always back up, check your MD5 sums and kiss your warranty goodbye.

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Android.Arspam is the latest malware threat, says Symantec

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 07:29 AM PST

There’s been a lot of news in the last few months about Trojans and other malware aimed at Android devices, and with millions of new phones and tablets being sold every week, that’s not likely to change any time soon. Security software vendor Symantec has identified the latest Trojan to gain a major foothold, called “Android.Arspam”. The Trojan imitates a legitimate app in the Android Market designed to aid Islamic prayers with a compass pointing towards Mecca, and has found its way onto an increasing number of Middle Eastern Android phones.

The app’s distribution method is particularly sinister: once installed, it sends out SMS links to every number in the user’s contact list, directing them to a forum. Surprisingly, it isn’t instructing users to download more copies of itself, instead displaying a tribute to Tunisian protest martyr Mohamed Bouazizi. That makes the Trojan app more like “hacktivism” than true malware, but it’s still performing actions on the user’s phone without his or her permission, and potentially racking up considerable texting charges.

The app must be downloaded from the Internet and installed via Android’s 3rd-party app function, like almost all Android malware to date. The original compass app, which can still be found in the Android Market, is unaffiliated and (as far as we know) safe. While more and more anti-virus and anti-malware products are being made available to Android users, the best way to protect yourself is still to use extreme caution when installing third-party applications. Copied or pirated apps have proven to be some of the most dangerous – don’t copy that floppy, kiddos.

[via ITP.net]

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Casio releases new Bluetooth watches for call and message alerts

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 07:08 AM PST

Does the MOTOACTV leave you feeling exhausted? Turned off by the minimal style of the WIMM One? Can’t stop laughing at the buzzword-laden I’m Watch? If you’re looking for some more conventional wearable tech, you might want to give Casio’s latest digital watches a try. TechCrunch reports that the G-Shock GB 6900 will come equiped with a low-power Bluetooth 4.0 module for connecting to your smartphone. The watch is designed to give you at-a-glance alterts for incoming calls, texts an emails, as well as automatic time syncing with the network clock on a connected smartphone.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen minimal Bluetooth functionality integrated into a conventional watch, but Casio’s G-Shock series is popular enough to make it notable. The addition of the low-power functions of Bluetooth 4.0 might make this one of the first wireless watches that you don’t have to charge on a regular basis – a definite improvement over some older, bulkier alternatives. The watch comes in three initial colors, but only wone market: you wont’ be seeing these outside of Japan any time soon.

It’s hard to be too upset about that, considering that they only work with two NEC phones at the moment. Apparently the expanded functionality requires a little extra client software on the smartphone side, and users will need a little savvy to get things started. But there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to buy these watches in non-Asian markets soon enough. Casio’s watch brand has a global presence after all, and they’re not ones to leave a market untapped.

[via Phandroid]

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Motorola: more Lapdock-style devices coming in 2012

Posted: 30 Dec 2011 06:50 AM PST

While we and just about everybody else was floored at the potential of Motorola’s Lapdock when it was introduced with the Atrix 4G, the reality of its utility has proven somewhat underwhelming. Even when the Atrix 2 brought us a semi-universal model in the Lapdock 100, the laptop/smartphone combination still felt a little cuimbersome, and hard to justify given the extra cost it requires. It appears that Motorola isn’t discouraged, however: in an interview with AllThingsD, executive Christy Wyatt said the company plans more multi-screen intiatives in the coming year.

“I think it was a very bold move for us to introduce this concept of modality…  I do think you are going to see us continue to go down that path. That can take many forms,” said Wyatt. While this isn’t a confirmation of new Lapdock models, it does show that Motorola’s thinking about high-function accessories in a big way. Evidence of their progress can be seen in the MOTOACTV, a fitness watch that runs a full version of Android and communicates with late-model Motorola Android phones for some impressive data collection. The MOTOACTV can even be modified to run a semi-complete version of Android, albeit on a tiny scale.

The Lapdock models haven’t sold particularly well, if some rapid price cuts are any indication. The Lapdock 100 brought a dramatic reduction in starting price, but it came with a considerable hit to aesthetic appeal – to be blunt, it looks more like a plastic brick than a laptop. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Motorola giving the laptop dock concept another go at CES, but I’d be much more interested in an expanded digital smart watch with a modifiable widget engine, a la the WIMM One. We’ll see in a couple of weeks.

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Motorola ATRIX and DROID Bionic fastboot files now available

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 10:26 PM PST

Just yesterday, we saw fastboot files for the Motorola DROID RAZR leak into existence over on XDA Developers and DROIDRZR.com. Now, two other Motorola devices have been graced with another generous leak of fastboot files – the ATRIX, and DROID Bionic. As a recap, I’ll note that fastboot files can be used to let a user flash stock recovery images to their device, thus helping them recover from a ‘soft brick’.


With the amount of development that goes into practically any Android device that currently hits the market, it seems these fastboot files shouldn’t have to be leaked in the first place. Hardware manufacturers would benefit their customers by hosting the files, and then their reputation through less ‘soft bricked’ devices. After all, the process to flash the fastboot files is very straightforward, and only a few steps.

Those of you interested in accessing these files can navigate here for the DROID Bionic, and here for the Motorola ATRIX. The directions on how to flash the files is located in the links as well. And as always, make sure you read them carefully. Who knows, maybe this trend will continue, and this secret fastboot leaker will help a few more Motorola devices.

[via Android Police] — Thanks Open1Your1Eyes0

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SiriusXM’s latest portable radio player runs Android

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 09:38 PM PST

SiriusXM is great to have when you’re in the mood to listening to some music but sick of the same playlists you’ve got lined up in your library. But why not do it in style with their new portable media player, the Lynx? It runs Android OS, and is bound to have some exclusive applications included that are absent in their previous devices. It can stream music as a normal in-car satellite radio, or connect wirelessly to stream through a Bluetooth connection – though, beware of a lack in audio quality. And it’s also nice to see SiriusXM included a 3.5mm headphone input; for such a tiny, portable device, it can be used practically anywhere at any time.


A really cool feature of the Lynx is its ability to store up to 200 hours of XM audio straight to the device. Once downloaded, users can stream whenever they want – even without a satellite connection. The Lynx may also connect to the internet through WiFi, so storing the music you want will be quick and painless.

I’m not much of a satellite radio fan myself, but the Lynx could very well change my perspective. However, in the future it’s hard to tell whether or not gadgets like these will do well. Most automobiles manufactured in recent years have satellite radio as a built in feature, so devices like the Lynx may be less appealing. But if you absolutely hate constructing your own playlist or hearing the same thing twice – this could be your dream machine.

siriusxm-lynx-3 siriusxm-lynx-4 sirius2 sirius3 sirius4

[via Android Central]

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Verizon had three mass network outages this December, and here’s why

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 08:17 PM PST

It’s no surprise Verizon has the fastest and most developed 4G LTE network in the US, but consistently terming them most reliable would be an overstatement for the month of December. And frankly, three mass network outages can cause some serious communication issues for both work and leisure. Heck, many families are now doing away with a central home phone, and just subscribing the entire family to a plan of cellphones.


Well, Verizon has issued an official statement for the causes of these network outages; and all three network failures had isolated causes. The first during December 7th was apparently caused by a failure in the back-up communication database. The second one was from an IMS element not responding properly, and the one just yesterday (which lasted quite long on the East coast) was due to two IMS elements not communicating properly.

Concerning the matter, Verizon said “Our 3G and 1X networks continue to reliably process calls, texts, and data for customers with 3G devices, and when necessary, 4G LTE devices”. And the protocol they actively take when 4G LTE services are down is to move those with 4G LTE devices onto their 3G network so they retain service. I for one, can vouch that Columbia, SC was without 4G or even 3G for over 5 hours yesterday – so hopefully they now have all the kinks worked out. It would be a shame to start off the new year with another outage.

It is however comforting to know that they “will not rest until our 4GLTE network performs at the very highest levels that our customers have come to expect from us”.

[via Business Insider]

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Motorola DROID XYBOARD tablets get a $50 price cut

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 07:16 PM PST

When I reviewed the Motorola DROID XYBOARD a couple of weeks ago, I was impressed with just about everything – except the ridiculous on-contract price. Verizon seems to have gotten the message (possibly after some less than stellar sales) and have lowered the contract price for both the 10.1-inch and 8.2-inch models by $50 each. Unfortunately, it looks like the name is staying put.

The price drop means that the DROID XYBOARD 10.1 comes in at $479, $579 and $679 for the 16, 32 and 64 GB versions, respectively, and $379 and $479 for the 16 and 32GB versions of the 8.2 inch model. That’s at least comparable to other Android tablets on competing carriers, but the initial price isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. These prices still require a two-year data contract starting at $30 a month, something that the iPad doesn’t require. 4G speeds may help ease the sticker shock, but not enough for yours truly to re-up for yet another recurring payment.

If you’re interested in the XYBOARD hardware without the superfluous monthly contract, you might want to wait a few months. Motorola is likely to release WiFi-only models using the XOOM 2 branding. The non-contract tablets are already being sold in Europe, and the original WiFi XOOM came out a few months after Verizon’s exclusive launch in 2011. Then again, with CES right around the corner you’ll probably want to wait anyway: there’s a lot of exciting developments from Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung in the pipeline.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : DROID XYBOARD 10.1
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : November 03, 2011
    Release Date : December 09, 2011
    Also Known As : XOOM 2
Display
  • Screen Size : 10.1 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x720
  • Screen Type : LCD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 10 Inch
  • Width : 6.83 Inch
  • Depth : 0.35 Inch
  • Weight : 599 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 3.2.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
Hardware
    CPU :
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : DROID XYBOARD 8.2
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : November 03, 2011
    Release Date : December 09, 2011
    Also Known As : XOOM 2 ME
Display
  • Screen Size : 8.2 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x720
  • Screen Type : NA
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 8.5 Inch
  • Width : 5.47 Inch
  • Depth : 0.35 Inch
  • Weight : 386 Grams
Battery & Power
  • Battery Capacity : mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 3.2.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MP3
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
Hardware
    CPU :
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via TechCrunch]

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Acer Iconia Tab A700 sends photos from Russia with love

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 06:31 PM PST

Just yesterday Acer chief Stan Shih teased us with talk of some premium hardware for 2012, and one of the best examples is the rumored Iconia Tab A700. The flagship device has only been spotted in a couple of documents so far, but the rumored specs are enough to make us want a look at it something bad. Russian tech site NoMobile.ru beat us to the punch and managed to grab a few photos of the new tablet, which you’ll definitely want to check out below.

The A700 offers a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the same model you can find inside the Asus Eee Pad transformer Prime. What you won’t find in Asus’ tablet is a monster 1920×1200 resolution, cramming a full 1080p screen down to just ten inches. Other bright spots include a SIM card slot (which may or may not make it to an American version), MicroUSB and MicroHDMI ports and a dedicated orientation switch.

We won’t have to wait to long to get our hands on the A700, since it’s headed for CES in mid-January. Android community will be there in force to cover all the new toys, which will probably include at least one potential rival: Lenovo’s IdeaPad K2. That tablet is also rumored to have a Tegra 3 processor and a full 1080p resolution. One thing’s for sure: 2012 is going to be exciting for power-hungry Android tablet users.

acer_iconia_tab_A700_645_1 acer_iconia_tab_A700_645_2 acer_iconia_tab_A700_645_3

[via Engadget]

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Star Wars: The Old Republic comes to Android… as a security key

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 05:09 PM PST

Jedis! Sith! Droids! And not a Gungan in sight! The wildly anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic, a massively multiplayer entry into BioWare’s amazing Knights of the Old Republic series, is making records and headlines all over the gaming world this holiday season. And now you can get a piece of that awesome experience on your Android phone! Except that you can’t. Because it’s a lousy confirmation app.

In all fairness, it would be nigh impossible to replicate a game as complex as The Old Republic on Android, even with the recent advancements in hardware. And there’s a real need for security in online games, where dedicated players spend hundreds of hours and a not inconsiderable amount of real cash on their role playing characters. The Star Wars: The Old Republic Mobile Security Key helps keep that investment safe, in an online environment where gaming identity theft is all too common. Blizzard, maker of World of Warcraft, uses a similar authentication app for its Battle.net service.

The app is basically just a second level of authentication for The Old Republic, allowing security-conscious players to require a login on both their computer and Android device. Once it’s properly set up, you’ve got a two-stage verification system that would be tough to crack without a would-be hacker physically taking your phone or tablet. It’s a useful addition to a game that’s likely to sell millions of copies and hook players for months, if not years. Still, I would have liked to have seen a lightsaber training app, or an inventory manager or something… please, BioWare?

[via DroidGamers]

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Huawei Ascend II available now from US Cellular for Free

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 04:40 PM PST

Earlier this week we mentioned the Huawei Ascend II was headed to US Cellular and that it was being listed up on their site as coming soon. Today the regional carrier hasn’t announced it officially as being available yet but they’ve given the mid-range phone the green light. The Ascend II can now be yours completely free over on US Cellular.

We heard it would be available sometime this week but exact details were not disclosed but it appears to be ready to go. You can head to USCellular.com now and snatch up this quality mid-range device and give it a try. The Ascend II is the successor to the popular original Ascend but offers much better build quality and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. With a 3.5″ display, 5 megapixel camera and a decent 600 MHz processor (enough for Angry Birds) it isn’t the best phone around but for the low low price of free — who’s complaining?

US Cellular offers some dual-core powerhouse smartphones like the Motorola ELECTRIFY but for the budget-conscious shopper the Ascend II should be exactly what you were looking for. While we mention the phone is completely free there is a small catch in the form of a mail in rebate. The device will cost $100 but will be offered with a mail in rebate bringing the total down to that magic number — $0.00

For more details, specs, pictures and all the information head down to the source link below and get yours today.

[via US Cellular]

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Logitech Z515 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 04:33 PM PST

One of the most consistent complaints against phones of all types, including Android superphones favored by most of our readers, is that they have to make due with tiny, weak speakers. That’s not anyone’s fault, really – devices that fit in your pocket with enough technology to make Ray Kurzweil drool have to make some sacrifices. But  to rectify this situation, especially when you’re traveling or trying to share music with lots of people, an external speaker of some kind is almost a necessity. Enter Logitech’s Z515, a portable battery-powered Bluetooth speaker that intends to bring big sound in a small and easy-to-move package.

If you’re familiar with Logitech’s desktop speakers, or any of their more expensive products, the Z515 will seem familiar. A metal grate is surrounded by solid-feeling plastic and a hinged kickstand, with minimal controls on the back. For status indicators you get only a power and connection light. A USB receiver and software is also included, if you’d like to connect it to a computer without Bluetooth. The only other way to get sound into the speakers is via a standard 1/8th-inch next to the power jack, though unfortunately, the necessary cable is not included in the box. A simple cloth carrying case rounds out the package.

Upon first opening the Z515, I seriously wondered if Bluetooth connectivity was included at all. There’s no indication of Bluetooth compatibility anywhere on the box or the device itself – not even the trademark “B” rune near the FCC information, where you’d expect it to be. The packaging pronounces that it’s designed for “iPhone and iPad”, and it includes the obvious USB connector that tucks into a slot beneath the kickstand. Feeling somewhat ashamed, I actually broke out the instructions, where Bluetooth pairing was explained: power the device on, then hold the volume up and down buttons. After that, it became simple enough.

The speaker system itself is about the size of a rolled up newspaper, though nowhere near as heavy. It slips into its carrying case easily enough, though you probably won’t need it with the solid build. Throw it in your bag or a jacket pocket and you’re good to go. The sturdy kickstand and metal front leave me with no complaints, and at a full blast I’ve managed to get between  4 and 5 hours of performance. That should be plenty of time for a short roadtrip, and to find an AC outlet at a party.

There’s only three button controls: power, volume up and volume down. That’s well and good, but for a Bluetooth speaker system I would have liked to have seen some playback controls on the unit itself – it’s easy enough to implement via the A2DP protocol. I suppose the idea is that you’ll be carrying your phone or tablet with you for control, and on that count, the extremely reliable connection shines. I was able to walk with my phone to the back door of my home, about 40 feet away from the z515 through three different walls, without the music ever skipping or dropping. That’s easily one of the best A2DP connections I’ve ever seen.

The unit is loud, if not thunderously so. It’ll be more than enough to entertain a full room at a party or get together, but you’d be hard pressed to shake the neighbors’ windows. It managed to fill my living room well enough, which is as well as something this size could be expected to do.

The only real downside to the Z515 is Bluetooth sound quality. It’s good enough for MP3 playback, but audiophiles will be turned off by some shaky highs and fuzzy lows. That’s not really Logitech’s fault: Bluetooth A2DP just doesn’t have enough bandwidth for true hi-fi performance, and you won’t find anything better on other Bluetooth speakers, even something like the much more expensive Philips Fidelio AS851. I’d say it’s about as good as a solid satellite radio signal – it should be fine for Pandora or some medium bitrate MP3s, but anything better simply wouldn’t sound good enough on the Z515. Sure, you could use an audio cable, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a portable, wireless speaker.

As far as value goes, it depends on what you’re looking for. The $99 list price is more than I’d spend on the Z515 myself, but it’s comparable to other portable speaker systems of this quality.  However, look around online and you can find the Logitech Z515 in the $75 range, a much more tempting proposition. If you often find yourself traveling and straining to hear music over your phone’s tiny speaker (and don’t want to fiddle with headphones), I’d say it’s a pretty solid investment. It’s certainly the best option among its competitors, with very reliable build quality and performance.

Check out our video hands-on for a better look at the Logitech Z515′s features:

IMG_1675 IMG_1684 IMG_1687 IMG_1691 IMG_1693 IMG_1699 IMG_1701 IMG_1702 IMG_1704

 

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3D New Year and Christmas Live Wallpapers — Bring in 2012 with style

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 03:35 PM PST

It’s almost that time of year and we just have a few short days to go before we bring in the new year, swear off snacks or junk food, attempt to quick smoking/drinking, and all those other new year resolutions no one keeps after about January 20th. While I have a few applications for that coming shortly today I’m focusing on an awesome 3D live wallpaper for bringing in the new year. It’s called 3D New Year Live Wallpaper and it’s totally cool and has some awesome graphics. Check the pictures and video out below.

Sadly I didn’t find this awesome application until yesterday or I’d have shared it with everyone as it works great for Christmas countdowns too. With snow falling, glistening graphics and even a pretty x-mas tree that will swirl down your 4.65″ display and shine bright on that Galaxy Nexus or any of those other Android devices around. With different options, colors, lockscreen options and more this is a very thorough and fun little application.

3D New Year Live Wallpaper video

The video above shows just how nice and polished the live wallpaper really is. As usual I try to find LWP’s with tons of options and choices and we have plenty here from the color, lockscreen and more like mentioned above. Personally going under the christmas tree was really cool and the 3D graphics are quite stunning if I don’t say so myself.

3D New Year Live Wallpaper does cost $0.99 cents in the Android Market but just read the comments as everyone seems to really enjoy it. I must admit it has some of the best graphics and details I’ve seen in a while and looks stunning on the Galaxy Nexus. There is a free version with less options for those wanting to take that route.

Market Link
Market Link Free

new year 2 new year 3 new year )


Words With Friends update now available — $2.99 makes it ad-free

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 02:11 PM PST

Yes! Words with Friends can now be enjoyed on Android without those extremely intrusive and irritating ads that popup every single time a user does basically anything in the awesome scrabble game. I can hear just about every member of my family rejoicing right about now with this news. I’ve been waiting for an ad-free version of WWF for far too long so I’m glad to see this finally available.

Today Zynga has updated the highly popular scrabble game in the Android Market bringing tons of new features to their store including the option to purchase an ad-free version for 23 Zynga tokens. After checking it out it appears for a mere $2.99 users can enjoy the game completely ad-free. There has been various hacks and tweaks available for Words with Friends but now we have a solution right from the developers themselves. iOS has enjoyed this for a long time so I’m glad to finally see the option come to Android.

The update is available right now in the market and along with the ad-free option we also have a few other updates and improvements. The all new Word with Friends store allows in game purchases to remove the ads, and even a Word-O-Meter that will tell you how strong your chosen word is compared to what you could use with your rack. They also have a tile pile option that will tell you how many of each letters are remaining. Some might consider these cheats but if you want to spend the cash they can all be yours today.

Words With Friends Market Link

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Sony offering free Movies and 90 days of Music Unlimited for new Xperia owners

Posted: 29 Dec 2011 01:45 PM PST

If you’ve recently picked up a new Sony Ericsson Xperia smartphone lately or were lucky enough to receive one for Christmas then we have some good new for you. Sony has kindly started offering a new little package for Xperia owners that will allow users 5 free blockbuster movie downloads and access to their Music Unlimited service for free for 90 days. It’s nothing huge like the 50GB of Box.net service but free stuff is always good right?

This is actually a pretty great added bonus for Xperia owners and I can imagine a few people are happy to hear the news. Sadly there is a small catch and this isn’t available for everyone. This deal or freebie actually only applies to France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK and Australia. We could see more added later but for now that is all we get. Hopefully Sony will open this up for all their users.

The image above shows the dates and more information but basically if you purchase or own an Xperia device from November 1st to January 31st 2012 you are eligible for this deal. We aren’t sure if this has been available since the first of November or if Sony is just offering this to a wider audience of buyers. Sony’s Music Unlimited is a great service and getting 90 days free will give many a first hand look at what their missing — although things like Spotify are a great alternative too. Head down to Sony Ericsson to get started if this applies to you and your Xperia.

[via Phandroid]

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