Thursday, 19 January 2012

Android Community

Android Community


Sony Ericsson records $318 million loss for Q4

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 11:03 AM PST

Today Sony Ericsson announced their Q4 reports and had some less than stellar news to share. I didn’t want to call this earnings because it appears they’ve actually recorded a $318 million dollar loss for Q4 instead of earnings. This was a pre-tax loss of €247m ($318m) amid "intense competition" along with the poor economic climate. Hopefully their new take on Android will help things out in the coming months.

I say “new take on Android” for a few reasons. One being that Sony Ericsson has just sold their 50% to SONY giving the technology and electronics giant full control. Sony has recently announced that they’ll be going all in with Android in 2012 and plan to have a much better showing. Most devices from Sony Ericsson throughout 2011 were always slightly under the competition in terms of raw performance and hardware — although they do have impressive cameras.

Another factor could be the lack of traction in the US markets although SE phones were popular elsewhere in the world. Many of their devices just as I mentioned above fell short to the competition because they lacked the new specs the others had. Such as dual-core processors, larger displays, and HD screens. We reviewed the Xperia ray and while it was nice — I’d never own one. 2012 however shows a lot of promise for Sony. As they showed off the Xperia S and the ION at CES (links below) and we’ve recently seen a roadmap detailing 11 new smartphones for 2012 from Sony — many of which look to be high end devices such as the Hayabusa and MINT.

Sony Ericsson will announce their full report later this month and most likely it will look just as grim. I have a feeling they are patiently waiting for that $1.47 billion dollar payout and giving the reigns to Sony for good.

[via SlashGear]


Temple Run popular iOS game heading to Android next month

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 10:31 AM PST

For us in the world of Android we might not see or hear about some of the fun games over on that other platform, but occasionally they have some hugely popular games that haven’t quite made their way to Android yet. Take Temple Run for example. It’s been the top iOS game for a few months and has seen over 20 million downloads. I’m happy to report it will be landing on Android next month.

Temple Run is free but still currently the top grossing app on that other platform and has over 7 million players daily that are using in-app purchases or just playing for the sheer fun of it. With Android being the number one smartphone in the world this is a huge market that surely will love this game. It was originally $0.99 cents at launch but the in-app purchases have taken over. Most games like Angry Birds and many others have launched for free on Android and we expect the same to happen here.

With Temple Run you basically play an explorer running through the temples and being constantly chased by things like scary monkeys or other animals. It was designed with smartphones in mind and can be played with just one hand if needed — so this wont feel like a console port while playing and enjoying it. The entire story on how this team of a husband and wife made one of the biggest iOS games as of late, and that it will be landing on Android next month to rule our world is at the source below.

[via TechCrunch]


LG Spectrum 4G LTE hits Verizon today for $199

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 10:06 AM PST

LG is back with another 4G LTE phone for Verizon Wireless with their new LG Spectrum. This phone is basically the follow up to the mildly successful LG Revolution but this time around it boasts some impressive specs that should help the phone make its way into buyers hands. With a bright and crisp 1280 x 720p 4.5″ display and LTE this phone deserves a second look.

The Spectrum is available today online and in stores at Verizon and can be had for only $199. I’m glad to see LG and Verizon offering an impressive 4G LTE smartphone for such a low price because this $249-$299 level we’ve been seeing seems a bit much if you ask me. This is one of the best price/performance phones available at the moment and the specs are by no means mid-range.

The LG Spectrum offers an HD 1280 x 720p 4.50-inch IPS display, a powerful 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, an 8 megapixel camera and Verizon 4G LTE. Pretty stacked smartphone with all the top end specs we’ve come to love. They’ve tossed in an 1,830 mAh battery that should last plenty long too. The phone is available right now at Verizon for $199 with a new 2-year contract. Hit the source link below to get started today.

[via Verizon]


ViBe assigns custom vibrations to incoming callers

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 09:02 AM PST

Android phones have been able to assign customized ringtones to contracts since day one, but if you’re in a meeting or a movie, there’s no way to know who’s calling your silenced phone without whipping it out. Enter ViBe, an app that allows you to assign vibration patterns based on who’s calling. ViBe is a free download in the Android Market. We’re all adults here – keep it clean in the comments section.

The idea is as simple as the implementation: open up ViBe, select a contact, and choose from 10 baked-in patterns to assign to him or her. If that’s not enough, you can create your own pattern with a simple vibration editor. While most people probably won’t be able to distinguish a vibration setting for hundreds of contacts, this is a good bit of functionality for the handful of people you talk to the most. You can also assign a pattern to a specific SMS contact, though Google Voice support seems to be lacking.

ViBe is free, but for some quick additional patterns you can purchase additional pre-set patterns for $1.00 each. Though the app crashed initially on my Galaxy Nexus (with custom firmware) it soon worked out the kinks and functioned fine. For additional convenience, you can set the ViBe app to on or off with the built-in widget.

[via Lifehacker]


Philips expands support with made for Android headphones

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 08:39 AM PST

With Android kicking bot and taking names as far as market share goes, it was only a matter of time before Android-specific accessories became a commodity. Philips helped kick things off with its Fidelio Android speaker docks (read our review here!) and now they’re taking it a step further with a full line of headphones and headsets made specifically for Android hardware. They’ll come in at between $30 and $100 when they launch in late spring or early summer.

On the low end, you get the SHE7005A, a pair of standard earbuds with an in-line microphone for $29.99. The cheaper models feature an 8.6mm driver and passive noise reduction – i.e., a fit good enough to block out some external sound. The SHE8105A use the same audio hardware with a pair of ear-hooks and a gold-plated plug, for an extra $10. The SHE9005A earbuds will retail for $49.99 with 10mm speakers, a metal housing, foam earpieces and a tangle-free cord.

The best of Philips’ offering is the SHL9705A, a full around-the-ear headset with 40mm speakers, foam ear cushions and a folding design for portability. Having used some of Philips’ folding cans before, I can say that these are nice and durable. The $100 headphones/microphone are made of a fetching aluminum outer shell.

So what makes these headsets Android-specific? Philips is releasing an Android app to help control the audio settings of the range directly, with equalizer settings and device-specific sound profiles. You can also launch the app from the in-line remotes, or use them for the standard play/pause/forward/back functions. Currently Philips says the app works with Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG phones. It’ll be a free download in the Android Market (just like the Fidelio dock app) when the headphones launch later this year.

philips-made-for-android-headphones-8 philips-made-for-android-headphones-10 philips-made-for-android-headphones-9 philips-made-for-android-headphones-7

[via Pocket-Lint]


Deal Alert: Lenovo IdeaPad A1 on sale for $167

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 08:03 AM PST

Ever since the HP TouchPad firesale put the idea of super-cheap tablets into people’s heads, technophiles the world over have been clamoring for deals on big-screen mobile hardware. The success of the relatively inexpensive Kindle Fire and Nook Color/Nook Tablet are testaments to this. If you’re looking for a tablet deal and don’t mind sticking with Gingerbread, Lenovo is selling the IdeaPad A1 for just $167.20 at its online store – a good 25% lower than any competing model from a large manufacturer.

The A1 is a study in compromises: its 7-inch screen is relatively low-res at 1026×600, the processor is a single-core TI 1Ghz model, and at 11.9 millimeters it can’t touch recent models from Samsung or Asus. And the basic model that’s on sale in the Lenovo store has a rather typical 16GB of on-board storage. All that said, the A1 is probably the lowest entry price that you can find for a Gingerbread tablet that also supports the Android Market without any rooting or hacks – a definite advantage over the Kindle Fire and Nook.

To get this discounted price, follow the link above, or just use the “EMPLOYEEPRICE0119″ code at checkout. That code implies that this deal is good for today only, so if you’re tempted, get a move on. While the development community for the A1 isn’t as vibrant as the Kindle Fire or more mainstream tablets, root has already been achieved, and there’s also a version of CyanogenMod 7 (Gingerbread) built for the hardware. No reports of Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs have crossed our desks, but if enough modders get their hands on the cheap tablet, it’s only a matter of time.

[via Reddit]


OPPO announces Find 3 superphone for China

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 06:57 AM PST

While traditionally not a hotspot for the latest and greatest in mobile gear (despite the fact that most of the world’s electronics are made there) options for Chinese smartphone buyers are improving as of late. Chinese manufacturer OPPO is continuing that trend with its brand new flagship, the Find 3. The 4-inch dual-core Android phone should be on sale sometime in the next few months. China’s CNMO broke with the first photos of the device.

Under the hood you get a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm dual-core processor, a full gig of RAM and 16GB of storage space. The screen uses a somewhat disappointing 800×480 resolution, but the IPS panel should help mitigate that. OPPO says that the 8-megapixel camera on the back of the phone is made by Sony, and therefore should be as the iPhone 4S – a lofty goal, indeed. The camera gets dual LED flashed and is paired to a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. All this is wrapped in a brushed aluminum/plastic shell, with squared-off styling that’s admittedly pretty fetching. Gingerbread and a custom UI skin will have to do s far as software goes.

There’s still no official price or availability details for the Find 3, but expect it to be in line with competitors from Xiaomi and Meizu. That would put it in the $450 (unlocked) range in local currency. The odds of this one leaving China are pretty low, but other OEMs like ZTE and Huawei are making big pushes in North America and Europe – we can hope to see OPPO’s ware get a wider release in the next couple of years.

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[via SlashGear]


10% of South Koreans own a Samsung Galaxy S II

Posted: 19 Jan 2012 06:36 AM PST

In case you hadn’t noticed, Samsung is big. Really big. And nowhere is that more evident than on its home turf in South Korea, where the company is a source of national pride. Not without reason, either: Samsung says that its 2011 workhorse smartphone the Galaxy S II has sold five million units in the country of 48.9 million people. In case your math’s a little fuzzy, that means that just over ten percent of all men, women and children in South Korea carry a Galaxy S II.

And why not? The GSII is indisputably one of the best Android smartphones to come along in the last year, and combined with the original Galaxy S it’s sold a whopping 30 million units worldwide as of October 2011. Considering that a huge chunk of that must be from South Korea alone, it’s safe to say that the Galaxy flagship line is doing very well indeed. Expanding your outlook to all of Samsung’s mobile sales (including “dumb” phones and non-Android smartphones) Samsung sold an eye-popping 28 million phones between July and September of last year, making them the largest phone manufacturer by volume in the world.

So what’s next for the Galaxy S line? Aside from the various Galaxy S II variants like the HD, X, LTE and others, the Galaxy S III is expected to be announced at Mobile World Congress next month. While no official details have been announced, a faster processor, more RAM, and a 720p Super AMOLED screen (to match the Galaxy Nexus) are pretty safe bets. Samsung has promised an Ice Cream Sandwich update for current Galaxy S II owners, and betas are already starting to leak.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Galaxy S II
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : AT&T
    Announced Date : February 13, 2011
    Release Date : April 28, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.27 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x800
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED Plus
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.93 Inch
  • Width : 2.6 Inch
  • Depth : .33 Inch
  • Weight : 116 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1650 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 710 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Exynos
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
  • 720p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    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 :

[via SammyHub]


Official Wikipedia app now in Android Market

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 09:39 PM PST

Just two days ago, Wikipedia released their official application to the Android Market. It had been available for some time in Apple’s App Store – and will be much welcomed to us Android users. With so many other non-official Wikipedia applications, it doesn’t even show up on the first page, so you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it.


The app was very well put together, however it does seem to have some issues. First, like many others – it keeps the GPS on after exiting the app. Not a good feature if your battery doesn’t last that long to begin with. Also, Google search integration has not been incorporated like other Wikipedia apps quite yet.

I’m sure they’ll take these two points into consideration, as the Android-based Wikipedia followers everywhere would greatly benefit from a couple quick fixes. Other than that, this is certainly the smoothest Wikipedia application yet. It would be nice if they add the ability to edit too – though that’s not a requirement for myself.

Market Link

[via Talk Android]


ASUS Transformer Prime GPS update coming now

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 08:39 PM PST

Tonight we will finally see a fix to the GPS issues ASUS Transformer Prime owners had been facing since day 1. ASUS had claimed their last update to the device would improve GPS, but in actuality this update perfects it. But what if you don’t feel like waiting for the update to push to your device?


DroidHam from XDA Developers has a solution. He went through the following steps to get his device to force the update tonight. First, you’ll need to navigate to www.ASUS.com. Then head over to Support > Downloads > and type in “Transformer Prime”. The file is named “Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 Firmware: V9.4.2.7 Only for US SKU (Android 4.0.3)”. Download the 300MB file, extract the file, and then place it on the root of your SD card.

He then turned his device on and went to System > About Tablet > and checked for a new update. The update actually reinstalls ICS – but afterwards the OTA update instantly appeared on his Transformer Prime. If you have any other questions, or simply want to report that this didn’t work for you – let us know.


T-Mobile promotional package to include free tethering January 25

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 07:40 PM PST

A bundled mobile hotspot will be included in select T-Mobile data plans January 25. Though only available in the 5GB or 10GB data packages, the mobile hotspot included normally costs an additional $19.98 per month. They will be termed as the Unlimited-Premium 5GB and Unlimited-Ultra 10GB data feature bundles.


This promotion will also include MobileLife Album Plus, an online cloud storage that holds up to 10GB of pictures and/or video. Until now, a free mobile hotspot has not been included in a tiered data plan. It may not entice people as much as Verizon’s previous holiday double data promotion – but should pull over a good few to their network.

They haven’t informed us through the sneakshot, but I would assume the promotion will be available for at least a month. These currently unpriced packages will be available for current T-Mobile customers as well. So those of you that have been eyeing their phone lineup, I suggest waiting until the 25th to at least get free (and legal) WiFi tethering.

[via Phandroid]


Xiaomi MI-One gets an official ICS beta

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 05:13 PM PST

The final version of the ICS update for community-authored ROM MIUI isn’t even out yet, but owners of Xiaomi’s MI-One phone can try a beta release right now. The update was made available on the MIUI forums for one and all, though you’ll need to read Chinese to get the most out of it. There’s still no news on when MIUI’s full Ice Cream Sandwich update will be ready, or  for which phones.

For the uninitiated, MIUI is a family of custom ROMs that update regularly and feature a custom user interface that blends elements of Android, iOS and Web OS. It has the distinction of being the first and only Android ROM to be used for a retail phone, Xiaomi’s custom-built MI-One. In a sense, you can think of the MI-One as a sort of community-sponsored Nexus phone for China. Naturally, the dev team keeps the MI-One phone as a priority in its updates, and the Android 4.0 version is no exception.

Of course there are a few kinks that still need to be worked out. Though the beta is well underway, the ROM still has issues in finding and locking in a network signal. And because the ICS update isn’t yet part of the official MIUI tree, you’ll need to flash the new ROM and all subsequent updates manually, at least until the software goes gold. Remember to always keep a backup, and happy modding.

[via Giz-China]


Casio developing quad-core phone, and new G’Zone for Verizon

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 05:02 PM PST

Okay, so Casio isn’t a name we generally mention in the world of smartphones — let alone high-end ones but some new information has been released detailing just that. In case you don’t remember they released the Casio Commando G’zOne rugged smartphone last year that was able to handle all of the elements, but now they appear to be kicking things up a notch.

Some information has leaked courtesy of Droid-Life regarding a recent focus group of Casio showing off new devices and technology, and to gauge the interest from actual buyers. Like most private things the details have now been revealed and Casio seems to be taking Android, quad-cores, and Verizon very seriously this year — if any of the rumored devices ever get released.

The leaked information talks all about multiple devices from clam-shells with dual screens and more but we are just going to focus on the most important one. And that is the top-tier Galaxy Nexus type device. The unnamed phone was described as having a 4.5″ or bigger Super AMOLED display, quad-core CPU (most likely Tegra 3, and Verizon 4G LTE all coming in around 8mm thin. It also was mentioned to be an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich device. Sounds tasty right? Other specs included an 8 megapixel camera, NFC capabilities, and even a 2,000 mAh battery on board.

The focus group apparently also saw a new Commando G’zOne with a larger screen, possibly 5-inches. It had a similar design and was shock, water, and impact resistant to name a few. We don’t really have any concrete details regarding the information other than this all came from a focus group members memory. Obviously we’ll take all of this with a grain of salt but if Casio wants to release a top-tier device we’ll welcome it with open arms here at Android Community.

[via Droid-Life]


Samsung Galaxy Note headed for Canada in February

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 04:24 PM PST

While we’re still in the dark on exactly when the Samsung Galaxy Note will make to AT&T in the United States, citizens of the Great White North can take some small comfort in the knowledge that the plus-sized phone will arrive sometime in February. Samsung broke the news themselves via a sign-up page to drum up interest for the phone’s forthcoming release on Canadian carrier Telus. The date listed in the clock widget on the Galaxy Note’s screen is February 23rd – take that for what it’s worth.

Canadians have been waiting for the Galaxy Note just as long as their neighbors have, and both have shot envious glances across the Atlantic where Europeans have been enjoying their Phablets for months. Feel free to skip the next few sentences if you’ve heard this one before: the Note has an enormous 5.3-inch, 1280×720 Super AMOLED screen, a 1.4Ghz dual-core processor, a full gig of RAM, 8MP camera, 2500mAh battery and an S-Pen stylus that slides into the phone’s body. The version on Samsung’s sign-up page uses the four navigation buttons shown off in AT&T’s presentation, though you’ll notice that the reflection uses the international configuration. Tsk, tsk, Samsung – though we’ll forgive the Photoshop blunder since they’re showing our own photo in the news widget.

Once the phone launches on Telus, expect it to reach rivals Rogers and Bell soon thereafter – Canada doesn’t have a lot of exclusive phones floating around. AT&T still doesn’t have any word on an official release date, though given their previous announcement cycles, we’d guess that anything before summer is fair game. C’mon, Ma Bell, don’t keep us waiting – Verizon’s “Galaxy Journal” version can’t be far behind.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Galaxy Note
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier :
    Announced Date : September 01, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 5.30 Inch
  • Resolution : 800x1280
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.78 Inch
  • Width : 3.27 Inch
  • Depth : 0.38 Inch
  • Weight : 178 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 2500 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 390 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AMR
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU :
    CPU Clock Speed : 1400 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 32.768 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via MobileSyrup]


Google+ update brings “what’s hot” section and more +1 features

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 03:20 PM PST

The Google+ team has just announced another update that is coming soon. It’s rather minor but something that should be a great addition to their already awesome social network. This isn’t in the app itself but the web version of Google+. If Google continues to update as fast as they have I see nothing but good things ahead for Google+.

Both of the new features will be available in the app soon but for now are only available on the mobile web. They’ve introduced a new “what’s hot” section just by flipping to the side of your stream. This will show you anything and everything that seems to be popular in the world of Google+ — a good way to keep track of what is trending. Next they’ve also added a simple and easy way to see who all has +1′d a post.

- With What’s Hot, you can now see some of the most interesting content being shared on Google+ with a flick of your thumb. To use it, just swipe to the right of your Circles stream.

- To see who +1′d a post in the stream, just click on the +1 count underneath the post. It’s a small improvement that makes it easier to engage with others around content.

The +1 count is a small improvement and nothing major but is another way to keep communication and engagement floating. These changes appear to only be in the web version and have not hit the Android app but should be soon. Head to the market link below to get Google+ and enjoy it — because it’s getting better by the day.

Market Link

[via Google+]


AT&T tweaks data plans, gives us more for our dollar

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 02:44 PM PST

AT&T has apparently started a restructure of their mobile data plans and have done a bit of tweaking. My title is a bit misleading and so our the prices. While we’ll be getting more for our dollar, we will also be paying slightly more even if we don’t need it — and there’s nothing you can do about it. AT&T is nudging the price of all their plans up a notch but are giving us a little extra data in return.

Currently AT&T offers 200MB for $15, 2GB for $25, and 4GB with tethering for $45 per month. All of these options will be seeing a small but noticeable $5 price hike. Along with the increase all of those will also be boosted up to offer more data. In a way you could call this a win-win for both AT&T and their subscribers — but at the same time it’s just a way for them to make more money with almost the same amount of data consumption. Sneaky Sneaky!

The changes will go as followed: 300MB for $20, 3GB for $30, and 5GB with tethering for $50 per month. What this means is new subscribers that still aren’t likely to go above the 2GB limit that AT&T has used for a long, long time — will now have to pay more than everyone else yet probably wont use that extra 1GB they earned. This seems a bit sneaky to me but I guess just like everything else (like gas prices) things must go up.

In a way this could be a good thing as once everyone starts using AT&T’s new 4G LTE speeds they’ll be consuming far more data then they are used to and will reach their limits faster. So some could say AT&T is actually looking out for you — sort of. We are getting more data for our dollar, but it’s whether or not we need it. What do you guys think of the changes? Not too bad or is it time to get out the pitchforks?

[via SlashGear]


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