Monday, 30 April 2012

Android Community

Android Community

N.O.V.A. 3 Gameplay trailer released – like Crysis for mobile

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 10:57 AM PDT

Gameloft is back with another epic first person shooter game for mobile devices. If you were a fan of the first or second N.O.V.A. games you’ll surely be excited for the 3rd installment. Revealed last week with a teaser trailer today Gameloft has released their first actual gameplay video of N.O.V.A. 3 and I must admit — it looks pretty epic.

This is as close as we’ll be getting to Crysis or Call of Duty on Android for a while to come if you ask me. The graphics look stunning and gameplay does too. The “Nano suit” does remind me a bit of Crysis 2, and that isn’t a bad thing. From the limited view we’ve seen so far this looks to be Gameloft’s best yet. Check out the video:

It looks like the new N.O.V.A. will be bringing us to the streets of NYC along with better graphics, faster gameplay, and some intense battles. I’m hoping for some slightly improved controls although this one is worth getting a wireless Logitech gamepad controller to play with. According to the video it will be available this month and we are hearing Gameloft will be showing it off next week in San Francisco. Stay tuned as this will probably be available within the next 2 weeks.

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LG launching all-in-one cloud storage and streaming

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 10:30 AM PDT

More cloud storage options anyone? Between Google, Microsoft, Apple, DropBox and many others the choices for cloud storage are quite broad, but today we have learned of another. LG is set to announce their new all-in-one cloud storage and streaming services soon. Just like many others you’ll get 5 GB of free storage but we have all the details below.

With the LG Cloud users will be able to squeeze content between PCs, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. And it’s even fully compatible with 2D and 3D content. With LG’s cloud you can enjoy 2D or 3D video that streams in HD (like .MKV files) all "almost instantaneously." LG’s Real-time Streaming Transcoding technology will tailor to whatever device you’re streaming on whether it’s a PC or your Android smartphone.

The LG Cloud will launch as a limited beta tomorrow, May 1st for many parts of the world, although it’s already available in South Korea on the Google Play Store. LG is set to hit the ground running and will release the app for Android, LG Smart TV’s, and desktop users — so the offering should be quite complete although Windows Phone 7 users might be out of luck.

Just like most of the competition both free and paid versions will be offered. Initially, LG is offering 5GB of free space for users in Korea – matching Google Drive – with 50GB of extra space free for six months for those buying LG phones or smart TVs.

[via SlashGear]

SiriusXM update adds 5 hour music buffer

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 10:00 AM PDT

I was a subscriber to the original XM Radio back in the day, and while it was certainly worlds away from terrestrial radio service, I was still bugged by gaps in playback when going under bridges or in parking garages and by the lack of a CD-style rewind button. 4G connections have taken care of the former issue, and a new app update seems to have addressed the latter. The latest update to the SiriusXM Internet Radio app adds an incredible 5-hour music or talk buffer for most of the channels that the service offers.

This means that unlike “digital DJ” services like Slacker or Pandora, you’ll be able to rewind to pretty much any point that you’ve heard in the recent past. Other updated features include automatically skipping to the beginning of a song when you change the station, pausing live programming, forward and rewind functions on “many channels”, and customized alerts to let you know when radio shows are beginning. There are also the standard bugfixes and improvements to album art and artist bios.

SiriusXM is still a little less accessible than free services since it’s dependent upon a subscription fee, starting at around $15. But it’s well-placed to take on Spotify, which also requires a subscription. It’s great to see so many solid updates to music services, which seems to finally be realizing that a good mobile app is a must-have for modern customers. How about you, Pandora – that Android app is looking really long in the tooth.

Samsung posts ICS updates for tons of Canadian devices

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 09:32 AM PDT

Listen up, hosers: If you’re in the great white north and clutching a Samsung Android device, this message is for you. Today Samsung announced Ice Cream Sandwich updates for pretty much all of its high-end Galaxy devices across all Canadian networks, including smartphones and tablets. The press release says that the updates will vary in availability by region and carrier, but if you’ve got a Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note or Galaxy Tab, it would be prudent to check for a software update right now.

The full list of updated smartphones includes the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II LTE, Galaxy S II LTE HD, Galaxy S II X and the Galaxy Note. Tablets being upgraded include the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1. If your tablet is a WiFi model (and you haven’t rooted it already) go to your Settings menu and check for an update now. Smartphone owners may have to wait a bit longer – quote Samsung: “For carrier specific details, please visit your nearest carrier retailer.”

If only Samsung could be so transparent when it comes to updates in the United States. So far only the unlocked Galaxy S II has an official update, with the AT&T Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy Note, and the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch seeing early leaks. Samsung or the carriers have committed to updating all four Galaxy S II models and the latter versions of the Galaxy Tab. T-Mobile customers may be ahead of the game, since their upcoming Galaxy Note seems to be running Ice Cream Sandwich already.

[via EE Times]

Verizon’s Droid Does TV campaign returns

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 08:58 AM PDT

American Android aficionados will remember Verizon’s Droid Does campaign fondly: it kicked off with Motorola’s original DROID and was instrumental in giving Android a leg up on iOS in the United States in 2009. While the Droid Does campaign continued with the likes of the HTC DROID Incredible and others, it seemed to disappear from the airwaves once Verizon got its hands on the iPhone 4. Now it’s back, showing off the DROID 4, DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX from Motorola.

But something’s a little different in the new 30-second spot. Verizon’s voice over guy seems far less combative – there’s no mention of a “racehorse duct-taped to a SCUD missile” here. It’s just a very gentle, very positive explanation of various features, like the DROID RAZR MAXX’s amazing battery life. There’s barely a hint of the industrial steampunk robots and holograms that typified the previous campaign.

See for yourself below:

So why the new approach, which seems more like an ad for Pepperidge Farm than a paradigm shift? The obvious answer is that Verizon isn’t keen to compare the new DROIDs with the iPhones sitting next to them in the carrier lineup. It seems like the days of combative us-versus-them advertising is over, from Verizon at least. T-Mobile is still eager to make Android and iOS duke it out, literally.

[via Droid-Life]

Microsoft pays $300m for a stake in Barnes & Noble’s ebooks

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 08:31 AM PDT

Business makes some strange bedfellows, and somewhere in the patent suit that Microsoft lobbed at Barnes & Noble a corporate romance bloomed. Now the Redmond software giant has invested a whopping $300 million into the bookseller’s newly formed digital and college division, which will almost certainly take over the growing Nook e-reader business. Microsoft will own 17.6% of the unnamed subsidiary, with Barnes & Noble owning the other 82.4% (virtual value: $1.4 billion).

The partnership comes after the patent suit brought by Microsoft was settled on undisclosed terms, with Microsoft licensing the patents in question for the Nook tablets and e-readers. Barnes & Noble claims that the deal will “significantly expand the [e-reader] business,” though exactly how wasn’t mentioned. Microsoft could be throwing in its licensing deals from the Zune and Xbox Live services to help expand music and video offerings on the Nook Tablet and Nook Color, though nothing’s confirmed at this point. It’s possible that B&N could switch to Windows Phone for future tablets, but given the software’s closed source nature that’s very unlikely.

Barnes & Noble has said that it intends to develop a Nook application for Windows 8, likely taking advantage of the new ARM-based version to allow for Windows tablets to have easy access to Nook ebooks. This probably won’t affect the Android versions of the Nook app – like its competitors, B&N is interested in getting its content on as many screens as possible. Currently Nook apps are offered on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac, but not Windows Phone 7.

[via SlashGear]

KegDroid dispenses beer via NFC tags

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 07:53 AM PDT

Why would you combine an Android tablet, an Arduino board, a keg of beer and a tap? If you asked Google employee Paul Cariff, he’d probably retort with, “Why not?” His latest masterpiece, the KegDroid, uses a Motorola XOOM connected with a tiny electronic controller to both secure and properly dispense what made Milwaukee famous. Naturally, it’s all encased in a display that shows off everyone’s favorite little green robot.

The XOOM set into the case is more than just window dressing: it actually protects the beer, dispensing it only to those who have the appropriate NFC badge. The badge is scanned into a plate on the lower portion of the case, which is authenticated by an Arduino board. Yup, the KegDroid literally cards you. Once the correct user has been given access, he or she can then select one of two beers from a custom Android application, all of which are rated and detailed. You can get one, twelve or sixteen ounces of refreshment, all kept at an ideal 39 degrees Farenheit as displayed on the XOOM.

Cariff’s invention isn’t perfect – a straight-down pour creates too much head on most beers, as his video demonstrates. But it’s a pretty ingenious combination nonetheless, and could help avoid that most frustrating of bar annoyances: the large crowd trying to vie for the bartender’s attention. Patrons of legal age could be given an NFC badge at the door and serve themselves from dozens of KegDroid taps – though of course there’s still the issue of handing a tag off to underage drinkers. Perhaps the facial recognition software in ICS would be a better solution?

[via Ubergizmo]

Android Open Kang Project reaches Milestone 5

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 07:45 AM PDT

If you’re a prolific ROM flasher and you’ve got a Galaxy Nexus or another recent Android device, odds are pretty good that you’ve at least tried Android Open Kang Project (AOKP), one of the fastest-growing family of custom ROMs out there. The project has released over 30 builds since its inception late last year, and is now on Milestone 5. This doesn’t mean much beyond the fact that they’ve reached a point where enough new features have been added to justify upgrading for those who don’t flash nightlies as a habit. You can see the release notes and downloads for dozens of devices here.

Android Open Kang Project already has a great selection of custom features integrated from various mods and open source Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs like CyanogenMod 9. Some of the notable additions include kernel upgrades for the Galaxy Nexus, various camera fixes and a whole lot of squashed bugs. You can now add single-square widgets and various settings like the LED flashlight to the navigation bar as well.

All of the AOKP devices haven’t been updated just yet, but heavy hitters like the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola XOOM, Asus Transformer TF101 and HTC Incredible all have Milestone 5 builds ready. If you’ve got a phone or tablet that isn’t supported just yet, just wait a week or so and the nightly team should have it ready. Coming from an AOKP build later than 30 shouldn’t require a full flash, but anyone trying AOKP out from another ROM will need to wipe their device first. Keep those Nandroid backups handy.

LG gives Windows Phone the boot and goes all Android

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 06:56 AM PDT

Did you know that LG makes Windows Phone 7 devices? Yeah, we didn’t either. LG has been a respectable runner in the Android world for the last couple of years, but apparently their performance on Windows Phone 7 – or perhaps just the platform’s performance as a whole – hasn’t been very inspiring. Today the company announced that it’s giving up Microsoft’s platform in favor of Android for all its forthcoming smartphones. Now if only Nokia could follow suit.

WPCentral reported LG’s initial press release, quoting a spokesperson saying that “the total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure.” That statement holds up: in the latest ComScore market share numbers, combined numbers for Windows Phone 7 and the older Windows Mobile together accounted for only 3.9% of US sales, compared with just over 50% for Android. LG’s seen a fair bit of success with the open source platform: their flagship Optimus LTE has sold over a million units worldwide in its various incarnations, including the AT&T LG Nitro HD and the Verizon LG Spectrum here in the US.

LG should be concerned about at least one thing with this decision: Microsoft. The Windows developer has seen fit to sue Android manufacturers like Samsung and HTC, resulting in undisclosed settlements in both cases. These are speculated to contain clauses that encourage the manufacturers to focus more on their Windows Phone 7 devices. We’ll see what litigious developments unfold, but if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of Redmond-area lawyers packing their briefcases.

[via SlashGear]

Samsung patents dual-screen tablet design

Posted: 30 Apr 2012 06:33 AM PDT

One screen good, two screens better. That seems to be the thinking behind one of Samsung’s latest awarded patent filings, spotted in the USPTO by Forbes. The patent shows a clamshell design not dissimilar to the Sony Tablet P, but using a larger, flatter form factor that’s more like a traditional laptop in shape. Also of note is a removable controller/pointer that slides into a slot along the hinge.

The last detail points to a device aimed squarely at the business class, something that Samsung has yet to do with its tablets. The dual 7-inch screens work separately or in tandem. Thoughts of a dedicated screen for a projector view and one for presentation management seem like a natural extension with the pointer, though it could be something a little more boring, like having a dedicated screen used mostly for displaying the keyboard.

This is hardly the first time we’ve seen a dual-screen design for Android. Among less commercial examples there’s the Kyocera Echo, which didn’t turn out so well. It must be said that there’s no guarantee that the patent points towards an Android device – dual-screen Windows laptops aren’t unheard of either. In any case, we’ve seen no indication that a “Galaxy Tab Dual” is coming down the pipe any time soon, but a guy can dream.

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Android Community Weekly: April 29th, 2012

Posted: 29 Apr 2012 04:00 PM PDT

Another week, another barrel full of Samsung Galaxy S III news – I mean Android coverage. Believe us, we’re as tired of the torrent of leaks, teases and misinformation as you are – which is why we’re much more excited to talk about the long-awaited reveal of Google Drive. We’ve got hands-on impressions and a comparison of competitors for you to enjoy. Also notable this week was Google’s return to retail with the $399 GSM Galaxy Nexus on the Google Play Store, and another look at Project Glass courtesy of Charlie Rose.

Hardware news of the non-galactic variety was dominated by the HTC Incredible 4G. We spotted it on Droid Does, it showed off its NFC capabilities, and it flaunted an extended battery. Most exciting of all, it might be headed for release as soon as May 10th. We saw leaked images from Sony of its monster-spec “Hayabusa” LT29i and the mid-range (and chunky) Tapioca ST21i. T-Mobile’s version of the HTC One S is now on sale. Motorola’s DROID RAZR HD is getting some more exposure, as is the rumored and now all but confirmed Galaxy Note for T-Mobile. Samsung is rumored to be making yet another Nexus phone for Google, and an unsubstantiated report shows Verizon getting an HTC Galaxy Note competitor and the Galaxy S III.

Speaking of the Galaxy S III (you knew it was coming): among many, many other stories, we got official confirmation from Samsung that it’ll be running a new quad-core Exynos processor. Unfortunately the US version may have to stick with dual-core for LTE connectivity, something that seems to be verified by an AnTutu benchmark with an existing dual-core Exynos processor. Samsung has started their official marketing campaign with a teaser website and sheepish video. We also saw a leaked product manual that looks pretty legitimate, and no less than three “leaked” photos that don’t.

On the software side of things, we’ve got official Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the Acer Iconia Tab A500 and A100 and the Sony Tablet S, leaked ICS updates for the HTC Amaze 4GMotorola DROID RAZR and Samsung GSII Epic 4G Touch, and schedules for ICS updates on T-Mobile and Verizon. The Sony Xperia S and HTC One X both received ports of popular custom ROM CyanogenMod 9. Verizon Motorola LTE phones can now be ported to AT&T and T-Mobile, albeit only with 2G data speeds. Notably, a Google Android developer shed some depressing light on the length of Android update delays.

Here at Android Community we’ve got an exciting giveaway for you: a brand new ASUS Transformer Prime, messenger bag and a free copy of the new game Dark Meadow: The Pact THD. Just add us to your Circles on Google+ to enter; see the giveaway page for full details. For more information in the game, read our Dark Meadow review. On that note we’ve got a detailed breakdown of the processor differences between the Transformer Prime and the new Transformer Pad 300. We’ve also got reviews of the XCOM Global service and Huawei 3G USB modem, the new Scalado Album and Enhanced Email, a great alternative to the standard Exchange email client on Android. That’s all for this week folks – stay in school, don’t do drugs and always make a Nandroid backup.

HTC One X gets an early CyanogenMod 9 port

Posted: 29 Apr 2012 02:15 PM PDT

The HTC One X is rightly sitting on top of the Android world for the moment, and of course that means just one thing: the modders are coming out to play. Users of the international One X (with the Tegra 3 processor) can now get a taste of the ubiquitous CyanogenMod custom ROM. The unofficial port or “kang” comes from the TripNDroid Mobile Engineering  developer team, who’ve posted their work over on the Modaco forums. Brave One X owners can flash a custom recovery and try out the ROM now.

As in the majority of custom ROMs and the CyanogenMod family in particular, the initial purpose of the port is to remove HTC’s Sense UI and other non-standard software. Of course, there’s plenty of changes to the stock Android code that CyangenMod adds in as well. Most of these have to do with interface tweaks, but there’s enough truly useful stuff in there for it to be worthy of consideration by any advanced Android user.

This version of CyanogenMod 9 Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t official, because it’s compiled from the public source code by an outside team. They’ve got most of the features working with the notable exception of both cameras and the WiFi hotspot (which you might be able to work around with a third-party option). For those of you wondering about ICS and HTC’s physical buttons on the One X, it’ll work much like HTC’s stock ROM with a menu key that appears when needed. The official CM9 team should get their own version out eventually. Remember to make a Nandroid backup, and happy flashing!

[via Ausdroid]

Apple and Samsung to meet for mediation in May

Posted: 29 Apr 2012 01:53 PM PDT

The patent wars could be losing a major front in less than a month. According to the FOSS Patents blog, CEOs from Apple and Samsung are set to meet in a San Francisco court starting on May 21st, for federally mandated mediation and (hopefully) some settlement talks. If the two technology giants could hammer it out, it would be the end of a litigious dispute that’s been raging for the better part of a year.

While there’s no guarantee that this will happen, a licensing and/or settlement between Apple and Samsung could end various patent, trademark and other civil suits between the two companies around the world. So far the only sales injunction that’s “stuck” is the original sales ban against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, which was evaded with the modified Galaxy Tab 10.1N. The design changes in the V model can be seen in the updated Galaxy Tab 10.1 2 and the Galaxy Note 10.1, which adopt the wider body and front-facing speakers.

What are the odds of Samsung and Apple finally burying the corporate hatchet? Who can say. The mediation is the only thing that’s mandated; they don’t necessarily have to reach an agreement. But Apple’s latest CEO Tim Cook seems more amenable to settlements and licensing than the late Steve Jobs, who famously declared “thermonuclear war” upon Android manufacturers. Here’s hoping they can come to terms, so you won’t have as many boring litigious stories on Android Community.

[via Droid Dog]

Acer releases app to manually update A500 tablets to ICS

Posted: 29 Apr 2012 12:39 PM PDT

Now here’s what we like to see: a manufacturer that’s proactive in getting their customers upgraded to the latest software. Acer might have been somewhat behind the curve when it came to granting Android 4.0 to their Iconia Tab A500 model, but now that it’s out, they want to make sure those who want it right away can get it as quickly as possible. Their new ICONIA TAB update Enhancement app will help users to do just that.

The free app is basically a more official way of doing ye olde manual update. Whereas advanced users usually load up a secondhand ZIP file into their stock or custom recovery, the Acer app sends a message to the company’s servers to send you the latest software quick, fast and in a hurry. While it’s clearly been implemented to get out this weeks Ice Cream Sandwich update, it should work for future security and feature patches as well.

At the moment only the Iconia Tab A500 is supported – more’s the pity for owners of the 7-inch A100. But odds are pretty good that Acer will release a similar app for the smaller tablet before too long. I wish more manufacturers would take Acer’s lead on this – it sure would save a lot of rebooting and awkward button combinations.

[via Droid-Life]

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