Thursday, 12 April 2012

Android Community

Android Community


LG Optimus 3D Max rears its head in latest Benchmarks

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 10:49 AM PDT

LG’s next round of Android phones have been appearing in the hands of testers over the past few days, so things appear to be on track an upcoming release. First the LG 4X quad-core was spotted earlier this week, and now the lesser of the two in the Optimus 3D Max has also leaked with some benchmark results. They are mediocre to say the least, but for those wanting 3D you’ll want to check them out.

The Optimus 4X has a quad-core so those results were much higher. With the 3D Max we only get a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4 processor under the hood. It is enough for just about everything you’d need, but isn’t the top of the crop either. Whether you like 3D or not, this is about the performance and the image above gives all the details.

With a 4.3″ glasses-free display and a dual-core processor the results are decent considering it’s a last-gen dual-core. It won’t win any speed races or performance crowns but you can bet it will be priced to sell. If you want to know just how much slower that older dual-core is check out the HTC One S. It has Qualcomm’s next-gen dual-core CPU and it more than doubles the 3D Maxx.

Sadly the 3D Max will be old and outdated the minute it is released to the market. They’ll have to ride on the 3D features and low price to support it. Latest reports confirm the LG Optimus 3D Max is headed to AT&T but without 4G LTE.

[via Engadget]


Ematic details the eGlide Prism 7-inch ICS tablet for $157

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 10:08 AM PDT

We have another budget tablet to show everyone today. The folks from Ematic are set to announce the new eGlide Prism 7-inch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet with full 3D support. With the provided glasses you’ll be enjoying 3D movies on the latest Android OS with this budget friendly tablet. Ematic is known for producing budget tablets but what makes this great is the price, 3D, and that you can buy it from NBC.

We’ve seen plenty cheap Chinese knockoff tablets come and go, and until we get our hands on this we can’t really say for sure how it stacks up. The good part about this awesome little tablet is the fact that NBC themselves have it for sale, no shady websites with this one. The eGlide Prism comes in a sleek and powerful package offering a 7-inch display although only 480 x 800, 1 GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage for all those 3D movies as well as micro-SD for even more options — and that takes us to our next point.

The eGlide Prism comes with full 3D video playback support, although you’ll need the included 3D glasses of course. We have WiFi, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, included headphones and even a carry case. From the provided photos the build quality looks decent, and it appears to be quite slim too. The new 7-inch Android 4.0 tablet should retail for around $215 but you can get it today at an introductory price of $157 from the NBC link below. Let us know what you think should you decide to pick one up, and hopefully you don’t mind the low-res screen.

ShopNBC.com

eGlidePrism-with-3D-glasses eGlide-Image-Strip-for-Press-Release-USE-THIS Screen Shot 2012-04-12 at 9.36.09 AM Screen Shot 2012-04-12 at 9.35.41 AM


Dolphin Browser HD 8.0 update redesigns UI

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 09:59 AM PDT

Even with a growing number of browser available on the Google Play Store, Dolphin Browser HD remains a favorite for power users, including those of us here at Android Community. The latest update adds a bevvy of new features, mostly surrounding Dolphin’s evolving user interface. The biggest change is a new menu bar that slims down the old double-row interface and hides a lot of the less immediate menu options behind more stylish icons, allowing users to keep an eye on more of the web window at once. You can download it for free in the Google Play Store.

Dolphin calls the the redesigned menu layout “spring cleaning”. The icons are reduced to the Bookmark bar shortcut, a combined forward/back button, a combined icon for both Gestures and the new voice search feature Dolphin Sonar, the “more” button that expands into the settings menu, and the right-hand menu bar. Refresh has been moved to the top bar and “Exit” is now hidden in the More button. The add-ons themselves get full titles instead of tiny icons, and there’s a new “go to top” button that appears automatically when scrolling up, which avoids backwards scrolling on long pages.

The gestures and Sonar interface get a facelift too, but that’s mostly cosmetic changes. What this update indicates is that Dolphin isn’t sitting on it’s heels – they’re in it for the long haul. A lot of these little changes bring about a minimal appearance and immediacy of function that I strive for when I customize desktop browser like Chrome and Firefox. The fact that the developers of Dolphin are adding them on their own tells me that this is my kind of browser. The “scroll to top” button alone is worth a try for any serious web user.

2012-04-12 11.46 2012-04-12 11.47 2012-04-12 11.48


Boeing prepares Android phones for G-Men

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 08:21 AM PDT

Boeing is a company usually associated with gigantic flying people-movers and/or awesome weaponry. But they’re also a people company – which is why they’re creating phones with a robot theme. The US government has contracted Boeing to create custom Android smartphones for government and military use. National Defense Magazine reports that “The Boeing Phone” will be based off of open-source Android code and is apparently near the end of its development cycle, with a planned release later this year.

If this seems like a strange place for Boeing to go, it shouldn’t. While corporate and military airplanes are their most visible product, Boeing provides solutions for anyone who needs them – and is willing to pay for some of the best custom engineering in the world. The company has provided military-grade communications equipment before, and there’s plenty of wireless know-how that goes into the communication and sensor arrays for airliners, fighters and bombers.

Naturally Boeing isn’t showing off the phone just yet, but it’s safe to assume that you won’t be able to pick it up at Wal-Mart. Some intense security measures, including encryption, biometric access and physical locks can be expected. Users probably won’t be able to peruse the Google Play Store, either – since Boeing’s been developing it for a while, the hardware is probably using Android 2.3 Gingerbread and I’d be very surprised if it was Google-certified. But some of those three-letter organization guys are pretty smart – they’ll have Draw Something running on it in no time. Of course, they could always go with that ultra-secure Android fork that the NSA has lying around…

[via GeekWire]


Toshiba Excite 10 tablet spotted at the FCC

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 07:38 AM PDT

Toshiba made a splash with a trio of new Ice Cream Sandwich tablets on Monday: the Excite 7.7, Excite 10 and Excite 13, at 7.7, 10 and a massive 13.3 inches, respectively. At the time the company announced that it was launching the (boring) 10-inch version in May, with the 7.7 and 13-inchers to follow in June. It looks like they’re wasting no time in making the deadline, as Liliputing spotted the obligatory FCC ID page for the Excite 10, a necessary step for any piece of wireless consumer electronics in the US.

While the Excite 10 doesn’t have the AMOLED panel of its little brother or the impressive size of its larger brother, it’s still a high-end Tegra 3 tablet launching with Ice Cream Sandwich, and that’s something worth celebrating. The quad-core processor is paired to 1GB of RAM with a 5MP camera on the back and a 1.3MP camera on the front. Plenty of connection options round out the package: MicroUSB, MicroHDMI,  and a full-sized SD card slot. The 10-inch LCD screen gets a standard 1280×800 resolution, and Toshiba claims a ten hour battery life.

Capacity options range from 16GB to 32GB and all the way up to 64GB, at $449.99, $529.99 and $649.99 respectively. Compared to other Android tablets, it’s pretty fair – the 16GB version is slightly less expensive than the ASUS Transformer Prime, but justifies it with a cheaper chassis and no dock option. It’s more expensive than the newly-announced Galaxy Tab 2 10-inch, but for your money you get Tegra 3 and more storage and connectivity options. Bring on the other models, Toshiba – divisive as it is, I can’t wait to try out the Excite 13.


Sony’s Bluetooth Xperia SmartWatch now shipping in the US

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 06:53 AM PDT

It never rains, but it pours. Just a day after the intriguing Pebble smart watch got almost instantly funded on Kickstarter, Sony is back in the game with its latest take on the wearable smartphone augmenter. As promised, the SmartWatch that we saw at CES (and which is completely and totally not the underwhelming LiveView watch from last year) is now shipping to the good old US of A. $149.99 gets you a Bluetooth-paired secondary screen for your Android phone, complete with alerts, alarms and other goodies. And yes, the Sony SmartWatch will pair with any Android device regardless of manufacturer.

This is achieved by the SmartWatch app found in the Google Play Store, though some functions also require the LiveWare app as well. These apps allow the SmartWatch to shout out alerts for calls, texts, emails and social networks, but also has “micro apps” that are essentially tiny versions of their Android counterparts for Gmail, RSS, Facebook, etc. There’s not much that the 1.3-inch OLED display can do with just 128 pixels square, but for a quick look at your personal data without bringing your phone out of your pocket, it works.

The $150 price tag is a bit north of the $119 we were told at CES. The electronic housing can be removed from the band for charging, and you can get different colored bands (all rubber) for $20 a pop. Sony says that low usage will last the SmartWatch a week, and SlashGear found that it was nigh impossible to wear the thing out in a single day, so no need to worry about your ticker suddenly refusing to tock.

[via Engadget]


HTC offers “immediate fix” for One S chipping issues

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 06:27 AM PDT

Remember that highly-touted Micro Arc Oxidation metal finishing technique that HTC went to such great pains to note when they revealed the One series? A few early owners of the One S in Europe noticed that it apparently needed a little more arc, or oxidation, or possibly micro, because on some models it’s begun to chip around the impact-prone edges. After some complaints from customers who didn’t appreciate their brand new smartphone looked like it had gone three rounds with a pocket full of change and keys, HTC has responded positively, saying that they’ll repair the hardware of any affected customers for free.

HTC was reserved in their official statement, not admitting to any flaw in the MAO finishing process but verifying that it can be damaged. They also didn’t elaborate on exactly what a fix would entail, only that they’re changing up the process to keep it from happening again.  Here’s their response in full:

HTC is committed to delivering a high quality product and great experience for all our customers. There have been a few, isolated reports of this issue. The finish on the One S was laboratory tested as being at a hardness similar to ceramic. While that’s hard, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to damage. Regardless, HTC takes quality very seriously and are providing all customers with an immediate fix and we are implementing some small changes to ensure customers do not experience this issue in the future.

The Verge reports that HTC’s returns will be handled by retail stores in the cases of customers whose phones are within their 30-day full warranty period (which should be everyone at this point) and they’ll handle the repairs or replacements themselves after the fact. With T-Mobile’s launch likely coming in a couple of weeks, it’s probable that these problems will be present on the US version of the One S as well. We can only hope that HTC will put a similar policy in place in the States.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : One S
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : NA
    Announced Date : February 26, 2012
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.3 Inch
  • Resolution : 540x960
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.15 Inch
  • Width : 2.56 Inch
  • Depth : 0.31 Inch
  • Weight : 120 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1650 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Snapdragon S4
    CPU Clock Speed : 1500 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
    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
    CDMA Band:
  • 1700
  • 2100
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 :


Samsung announces Galaxy Tab 2 (10″) for only $399 May 13th

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 11:34 PM PDT

Samsung’s new line of Android tablets have finally been detailed and announced. While we’ve been speculating on the price and have seen a few leaks today everything is official. The new Ice Cream Sandwich powered Galaxy Tab 2 10-inch will only be $399 for the base model. Everyone, welcome Samsung to the competitively priced tablet party.

A leak or two was reported earlier this week that Samsung would indeed be releasing these new tablets at an awesome and affordable price — and that is exactly what they’ve done. The 7-inch model is a bit better priced being only $249 and the new Tab 2 10-inch will be $399. At first glance that is an awesome price but you’ll quickly learn that is for the 8GB version. The 16GB version will still be slightly more expensive and just below the Transformer Prime 32GB – who also rocks a quad-core processor.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 2 line doesn’t change much from their other tablets other than a slight design change to please Apple’s lawyers, that and we get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. Add in some slight changes with their TouchWiz user interface and the new Tab 2 is what you get. I personally love the new speaker design and wanna thank Apple for causing the change. Speakers facing forward on a tablet just makes more sense if you ask me.

The Galaxy Tab 2 10-inch comes with the standard to Android tablets 1280 x 800 resolution display and a 1.0 Ghz dual-core processor under the hood. Again we have the TI OMAP 4 processor here, instead of the Tegra 2 like Samsung’s first 10-inch tablet. It comes in 8, 16, and 32GB flavors and they’ve also added the micro-SD slot to the 10-inch model this time around too — which is a very welcomed addition.

Like HTC and a few others it appears Samsung has also struck a deal with the popular cloud service Dropbox, and they’ll be offering 50 GB of storage absolutely free for new Galaxy Tab 2 owners. A good deal that you wont want to pass on although it’s only free for the first year. The Galaxy Tab 2 (10) will be available nationwide May 13th starting at just $399. Who’s buying?

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[via SlashGear]


Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) only $249 – Reviewed by SlashGear

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 11:16 PM PDT

Samsung’s went back to the drawing board and has prepared two more Android tablets for the market. Calling this round the Galaxy Tab 2 they come in both a 7 and a 10-inch flavor. We’ve seen details on these dual-core Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich tablets for weeks and weeks but they’ll finally be available later this month. Best news here though is the price and Samsung has really outdone themselves.

While we’ve seen Samsung release a Galaxy Tab under almost every size imaginable over the past 8-10 months here in 2012 they appear to be aiming for the regular sizes while offering a better price. Compared to the recently released Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus running Honeycomb for $399, the new Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch comes in at only $249 — finally a great priced Samsung tablet.

That $249 will get you an impressive and portable Android tablet equipped with a 1.0 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. Only this is no Tegra 2 tablet and instead is powered by a TI OMAP processor. The 7-inch display comes in only at 1026 x 600 and isn’t AMOLED like the Tab 7.7 but then again we do have that awesome low price. As usual with Samsung tablets you get a 3 megapixel rear camera and 1.3 front for video chat.

Our friends and sister site SlashGear had a chance to enjoy this new slate from Sammmy and you wont wanna miss their Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch Review. Along with the usual specs we’ve come to expect from Android tablets this little portable device has a few special treats. Not only do you get a micro-SD slot for extra storage but Samsung’s also tossed in an IR port for controlling your Samsung Smart TV and other home audio equipment.

All of this for only $249 sounds like a pretty good idea if you ask me. Samsung’s finally delivered an affordable and impressive Android tablet — hopefully the others follow suite. It can be yours starting April 22nd so you better start saving that spare change.

P1240958 tab P1240961 P1240962 P1240974


Nook Simple Touch update to add front-lighted screen

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 05:38 PM PDT

The Nook Simple Touch doesn’t get enough love – it’s a portable, long-lasting touch sensitive e-reader for a hundred bucks. Oh, and it runs Android, with an active community of ROMs and mods behind it. And according to some leaked material from manufacturer Barnes and Noble, its one weakness may soon be put to rest. The Digital Reader found a pamphlet for a new version of the Nook Simple Touch, with an integrated “Glowlight” – a front-mounted LED that lights up the black and white e-ink screen at night. These styles of screen lights used to be all the rage in the days of black and white phones and Palm Pilots.

The light shouldn’t affect the excellent readability of the e-ink screen, the paper-like qualities of which are the reason that e-readers have remained so popular while tablets continue to drop in price. There’s no word on an official launch or price, but the source says tomorrow. Whether that’s true or not, printed marketing materials means it can’t be too far away. If B&N continues their cost-cutting ways, it’s likely that the upgraded Nook Simple Touch model will have the same $99 price tag.

What does this mean for the e-reader? Not much – it just makes all those book light accessories obsolete, and allows for far more comfortable reader (or, you know, whatever) in the dark. It should be noted that the addition of a light strong enough to successfully illuminate the reader’s screen will drain the battery much, much faster than the device does on its own. With this added functionality and a price likely to remain low, the Nook Simple Touch is looking mighty tempting as an impulse buy modder tablet.

[via The eBook Reader]


LG’s Google TV could come as soon as this week

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 04:39 PM PDT

Remember the big brouhaha that Google made over its handful of new partners for Google TV back in January, including LG? Remember how only Sony, Google’s sole remaining partner from the original Google TV launch, actually showed new hardware at CES a week later? Yeah, that was a bummer. But now the Korea Herald reports that LG may finally be readying its Google TV hardware, and the shiny new TV sets could land in the US (you know, the only country that actually has Google TV service at this point) as soon as this weekend.

According to the source, buyers will have their choice of 47-inch ($1600) and 55-inch ($2100) sets, both of which will come with 3D capabilities in addition to the new ARM-based Google TV module. It’ll be running Google TV 2.0, AKA Android Honeycomb 3.2, with access to the Android Market Google Play Store for the handful of apps that are compatible with the still-struggling platform. According to the Korea Herald, LG is pushing out the Google TV in addition to their own line of home-grown Smart TV’s to compete with the upcoming Apple TV… which still hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Sony’s version of Google TV 2.0, in stand-alone, Blu-ray or complete TV packages and complete with a swanky new remote, isn’t quite ready yet. It should be here by September at the latest, when the company plans to finally expand Google TV to Europe, presumably with Google’s blessing. Whither Vizio and Samsung, the other two manufacturer partners announced in January? We’ve got no idea – but Samsung’s pretty busy pushing their proprietary Smart TV platform.

[via SlashGear]


Mugen Power 3900 mAh Galaxy Nexus extended battery review

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 04:31 PM PDT

Battery life of smartphones is something we all wish was better. Especially ones like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with a huge screen and 4G LTE. Last week I had the pleasure to test the Mugen Power extended battery for the Galaxy Nexus coming in at 3900 mAh — a huge improvement over the stock 1750 mAh battery. I wanted to see if it would last the entire weekend. Read on below for my full results and plenty of pictures.

Thursday and Friday we made sure to charge the new Mugen Power 3900 mAh extended battery multiple times to give it a good cycle and drain before testing. You can see our hands-on here. The goal was to have it last throughout the entire weekend and I’m happy to report that we achieved just that. The standard 1750 mAh battery that comes with the Verizon Galaxy Nexus barely lasts 8-9 hours on a good day (for me) and using the extended battery I charged up Friday night and it died Monday morning — I loved it.

Now I must start by saying yes the extended battery is fat and ugly, but if you don’t want to fumble with multiple batteries throughout the day or week this is an awesome solution. Before I continue on I’ll just go ahead and post up my results for everyone to see. The Mugen Power 3900 Ext Battery made my Galaxy Nexus last for 2 days and 7 hours — the entire weekend!

Sure, the phone might look like a humpback whale (thanks YouTube) but check out those results above. Now I might not be the heaviest user ever but I do browse the web, check 1000′s of tweets daily, have push email enabled and more so I use my phone plenty. At first I was completely thrown back by the price ($98) and the ugly fat look of my phone but if you can get over that, or are used to using extended batteries you won’t have any issues.

After using the phone for the entire weekend I got used to the larger design and almost completely forgot about it. I found myself using that kickstand too — even though it feels extremely cheap. This review is more than just the battery life, it’s also about build quality. That is where things go downhill for me. I love the battery life, and believe it or not I could actually get used to the larger size but the low build quality really threw me off.

The kickstand is super useful and I enjoyed it, but it makes the entire thing feel extremely cheap and really ruins the experience. I’d rather Mugen lose the kickstand in favor of a better more durable battery cover, but that is just me. The rest of the battery door is solid, durable, has a great soft-touch texture for an easy grip and more but that kickstand is a major drag.

I’m happy to report that I’m actually still using the extended battery from Mugen Power this week and I’ve not charged my phone since Monday evening. If they tossed out that kickstand feature and increased the build quality this would be extremely hard to say no to. Whether it will become my everyday battery is still up in the air as I continue testing the durability of the rear cover and kickstand.

Do I recommend this extended battery? Absolutely! Will you want to use a fatter, heavier phone that looks a little funny is up to you. Get it today from Mugen Power’s online store at the link below.

Verizon Galaxy Nexus 3900 Extended Battery

P1090079 P1090070 P1090069 P1090078 P1090076 P1090074 P1090077 P1090081 P1090080 P1090089 P1090091 Screen Shot 2012-04-11 at 4.05.44 PM
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 :


This Geiger counter app readies you for the nuclear apocalypse

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 03:45 PM PDT

Shelters full of canned goods? Stockpiles of weapons for shooting mutant cockroaches? In a post-nuclear fallout scenario, all these considerations are secondary. What you really need is a reliable Geiger counter, a device which allows you to measure the radiation level of areas and substances. And a team of mad scientists at the  Helmholtz Research Center in Munich have provided one for anybody who’s got an Android phone handy. All you need is a piece of black tape and either $4.49 or $5.00 for the light and pro versions of the Radioactivity Counter app. Yes, this really works.

But how? The app uses the sensor on the front or rear camera of your phone as a radiation detector. It’s not a true Geiger counter (unless your phone has a helium-filled glass tube we don’t know about), but it measures the radioactive interference that can be seen on the sensor when no light enters from the lens. The app measures non-light sources of energy from everything from a tiny and harmless radioactive chip to a full-on blast of gamma rays from a lab machine – the stuff that Stan Lee’s dreams are made of.

Below: lots of Android phones getting lethal doses of radiation. They may turn into gigantic sentient killer robots… but more likely, they’ll just stop working after a while.

The video above shows how the app works and its surprising sensitivity. The developers created the Radioactivity Counter after the Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster last year, as a method of quickly getting “Geiger counters” into the hands of hundreds of thousands of citizens, who can then be informed about areas and resources that need to be avoided without relying on conventional media. The full version allows for viewing and saving of data in more modes. but otherwise operates the same way.

[via HowToGeek]


Sony Xperia sola cracked open at the FCC

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 03:28 PM PDT

Sony’s latest device, the touch-less Xperia sola has just hit the FCC in a full out teardown where we get to see everything under the hood. In case you missed the announcement post this phone has some cool touch-less features and NFC capabilities and more but check it all out below and in the FCC filing provided.

The Xperia sola (no capital S for some odd reason) employs a new touch-less gesture system from Sony where users can open links and click through browser pages using gestures while never actually touching the screen. Obviously only certain aspects can use this feature and you’ll still be getting fingerprints everywhere — but it’s still cool. Today it cleared the FCC and while the photo’s from WirelessGoodness are pretty blurry, we do get a good look.

The specs are pretty mid-range with a 3.7-inch 854×480 LCD screen with Sony's proprietary Reality Display technology. Under the hood isn’t a Qualcomm like usual, but actualy a NovaThor U8500 1.0 GHz dual-core processor and only 512MB of RAM instead of 1GB. The key point here is the new processor and the touch-less display technology and we can’t wait to see more and give it a try.

The Sony Xperia sola should hit Europe in Q2 and possibly other areas will shortly follow so stay tuned.

[via Wireless Goodness]


Five alternatives to Instagram on Android

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 03:00 PM PDT

So Instagram is finally available for Android whether you like it or not. Although its been downloaded well over 5 million times and has tons of fans iPhone users aren’t happy it’s on Android, and now they’ve instantly lost tons of fans for being sellouts to Facebook. Today we’ve gathered five of our favorite Instagram alternatives for Android and they are all free but one. Check it out!

Many aren’t happy with the fact that Instagram is getting so much attention while it’s nothing more than a simple filter application and there’s already plenty available. Others are upset because after signing up and joining the bandwagon after landing on Android Instagram sold-out to Facebook for 1 billion dollars. Whether you love it or hate it you’ll want to see these other options.

Pixlr-o-matic
For starters I’m going to mention one of my personal favorites that I’ve used long before Instagram came around, and that is Pixlr-o-matic. Instagram is nothing more than a filter according to some — so that is exactly what you get with Pixlr. It doesn’t offer the social aspects of Instagram but they have tons more filters, not to mention awesome borders, tweaks, glare, glitter and more.

You can get it from the Google Play Store by clicking here, and it’s completely free. Many consider this the best photography app for Android and iOS period, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Flickr
For those that don’t remember Flickr actually released their own Android app last year that is quite awesome. It has everything we already know and love about Flickr, including its huge community, and adds filters, boarders and all the sharing to Facebook options that Instagram has too.

Flickr works worldwide and supports tons of languages, they just updated and added 9 more recently too. Some might not think to mention Flickr but it truly is just as good, or better than those so called “sellouts”. Get it from the Play Store right now.

StreamZoo
For those that want it all we’d have to also recommend Streamzoo for the fact that it has all the filters and everything you’d want, social aspects, and even makes it into a fun little game where you can collect badges and more. If you want all the features imaginable for a photo app — this is the answer.

Streamzoo is actually probably what I use the most and really has some awesome effects unlike anything else. Being able to add blur to certain areas or aspects of an image while leaving the rest in focus and more. It makes us cheaters seem like real photographers. Streamzoo has 14 filters to Instagrams 17 or so but they also have 15 borders and tons of options beyond those two traditional choices.

We’ve heard multiple tips that Streamzoo is one of the best, and couldn’t agree more. Get it right here.

Magic Hour
This is the only paid app that we wanted to mention, and they have a free version for those that would like to test it out first. Magic Hour just like all the others has just about every feature that Instagram has, and them some — Only lacking the social community aspects. Magic Hour will transform your photos into extraordinary ones and has no shortage of filters. What make it unique is you can download literally dozens and dozens, instead of the few available for the other photo apps.

Like we mentioned above Magic Hour comes both free and paid but you’ll need the paid version ($1.99) to do things like use photos from the gallery or download additional filters. The interface could be a little smoother, and creating a finished product takes a little longer than Instagram but it’s well worth it in the end. Get it from the market by clicking here.

Hipster
Last but definetaly not least is an awesome app called Hipster for those that think they are hip and cool. I just learned about this today but it very well could be my new favorite photo app. Hipster actually borrows a lot from Instagram but they do offer a few things to differentiate themselves such as postcard options. Another cool option is Geo-tagging so you can snap a photo of an awesome campsite or monument and tag it so everyone knows exactly where the photo was taken.

Just like Instagram the user interface is very straightforward and opens up instantly to something familiar. It is probably one of the quickest and easiest of the 5 mentioned here today (once you signup) and you’ll be snapping pictures and making postcards in no time. The loading of popular images was a little slow, but that could also be because it is pulling map and location data too. You can follow friends, or see pictures taken around you. Get Hipster right here!

So there you go folks! Five awesome alternatives to the popular and trendy Instagram that seems to be sooo cool as of late. We’ll see how long that lasts now that Facebook is about to take the reigns. I was actually kinda enjoying Instagram until I heard the news that they sold to Facebook, that left a sour taste in my mouth to be honest — then again that was too good a deal to pass up. Seriously? They get 1 billion while Kodak is going bankrupt? Explain that one.

Enjoy the suggestions and let us know what you think. Or just upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and use the “stock” filters provided by Google.


Verizon’s HTC Incredible 4G render leaks

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 02:58 PM PDT

Verizon’s been the odd man out of HTC’s One family showing here in the US. While AT&T, The Now Network and T-Mobile have thier fun with the One X and One S respectively, Verizon is left to cradle its exclusive Gingerbread powered Rezound, now in severely reduced circumstances. But that may not be the case for long: we’ve heard tell of the HTC Fireball, now thought to be a codename for the (DROID?) Incredible 4G, an update to the DROID Incredible 2. Pocketnow got a look at a leaked render of the device and… well, it looks a lot like the HTC One S.

Stare at its blank beauty! Note the Verizon Red accents on the speaker grille! Marvel at three Ice Cream Sandwich-style capacitive navigation buttons! Hooray! Previously we saw the Incredible 4G/Fireball with a white plastic back. The render shows a decidedly black phone (though there’s no way to tell what materials are in play), so either there’s a major redesign at hand or the phone will be available in multiple colors. The previous leak did show some styling that echoes the non-symmetrical back of the Incredible family.

Leaked specs include a a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor (probably a Snapdragon S3, a step down from the One series’ S4) and a QHD display of unknown size and panel type, but I’m going to guess either 4.0 or 4.3 inches. When compared to the One S and modified to fit the same screen, the buttons line up at the same size ,but further down the body, implying considerably larger phone if the screens are the same. Naturally the phone will have a 4G LTE radio (which might account for a larger size), and given HTC’s latest offerings and the design of the phone, Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4.0 seem like no brainers. There’s no official price or launch date, naturally, but since it’s going on six months since the Rezound was released, “soon” would seem like an obvious choice.

Update: Android Police found some blurry shots of what looks like final hardware. IN context, the phone looks a lot like a blending of the Rezound and the Incredible 2. Also: the DROID branding seems to have been nixed.


BlingBoard: The ultimate all-in-one social widget [Hands-on]

Posted: 11 Apr 2012 01:08 PM PDT

One of my favorite parts of Android has always been the widgets. Developers come up with all types of awesome widgets for our phones but today I’ve ran across one that just might be my new favorite. It’s called BlingBoard: Social Widget and it is exactly that. The ultimate social widget for Android bringing everything from Gmail, Twitter, missed calls and more into one easy to use and beautiful widget. Enjoy more details and hands-on video below.

BlingBoard is fairly new and has recently launched on the Google Play Store and if you love widgets, or want all your notifications in one easy centralized place and simple to use widget with multiple refresh intervals, reply options and more you’ll want to check this out. With BlingBoard you get missed calls, messages, Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter all in one client. You can reply, call back, retweet or more with the touch of a button, and scroll through all your notifications with ease.

All of your social contacts and content in an all-in-one widget on a single home screen. You can set refresh times as well as manual refresh, and once you clear all the notifications for a particular item you’re greeted with a nice clock widget too. Everything works from contact and Twitter avatar pictures, links open into the browser and more. This is actually a very powerful and simple tool that I’d highly suggest you try out.

BlingBoard: Social Widget hands-on

It does have a few faults that hopefully will be addressed soon. As you saw from the video my Twitter only had 20 unread tweets, that list is more like 350. BlingBoard is currently limited to only the last 20 of each item – be it Facebook, Twitter, or Gmails. While this isn’t a huge deal and most probably wont want to scroll through 20 emails on the small widget, it does pose a limit on functionality. Also it appears to not support all apps. Handcent 3rd party SMS works fine with the widgets instant reply, but GoSMS doesn’t. TweetDeck doesn’t work with the instant tweet option either, only the stock Twitter client for Android.

So far I’m loving the simplicity, ease of use, and performance of the widget and if they could iron out a few things and support more 3rd party applications this will be awesome. Give it a try today and sound off in the comments if you like this social widget.

BlingBoard Widget Play Store Link – Thanks kofiko

bling3 bling2 bling


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