Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Qualcomm unleashes Snapdragon SDK for Android

Posted: 26 Jun 2012 10:46 AM PDT

Today at Qualcomm‘s annual developer event they’ve just announced a brand new addition to the world of Android developers. Just like Qualcomm’s exclusive Snapdragon GamesCommand app store, or NVIDIA’s for that matter, they’ve today released the Snapdragon SDK to help developers dive further into the S4 platform and beyond.

While this might not effect the average user daily, you can expect to see further app development and tighter integration with the Snapdragon platform. The Snapdragon SDK for Android allows developers to tap into various features available on the hardware platform that were previously unavailable thanks to new APIs. This will bring better performance to many of their apps and more.

The first release is only available for the current flagship Snapdragon S4 8960 processor, but Qualcomm say more will be added over time. Some of these API’s include facial recognition, zero shutter lag burst mode, better audio with surround sound recording and more can all be added to additional devices or apps. We’ve seen some of these features on the HTC One X and the Galaxy S III, but this is just one more way Qualcomm is bringing more features to the devices they power.

If you’d like to learn more Qualcomm is directing developers to their SDK and more at their Developer Network, and you can follow progress at the @Qualcomm_Dev Twitter account.

Instagram update adds deeper Facebook integration and search options

Posted: 26 Jun 2012 10:05 AM PDT

Well we all pretty much knew this was coming, it was only a matter of time. After the folks (Mark) from Facebook bought Instagram we knew some deeper integration with the social site was coming soon. It’s been a few months since the buyout and last night Instagram received its first small Facebook contribution, as well as a few bug fixes.

The update was released last night and now users are able to completely share any photo they find on Instagram to their Facebook friends and family. If you “like” a photo you can then quickly and easily share it all in-app. Thankfully this appears to be an optional feature you can disable in settings should you not want that option.

What I don’t like is the fact that people can share any picture I take to Facebook. I post them on Instagram and not Facebook for a reason, but I guess that’s out of our control now. That isn’t all though, there’s good news. The update also brought a few much needed search features. Now you can search for usernames or even tags in the explore part of the app to find friends or common interests. Instagram also solved the “loading more comments” issue that the app has been plagued with since launching.

Get the new Instagram right now for Android on the Google Play Store.

Acer Iconia Tab A700 Review

Posted: 25 Jun 2012 05:03 PM PDT

Acer’s Iconia Tab A700 is the newest slate to hit the streets, and it comes complete with some top tier specs to keep everyone happy. This here is their new flagship tablet with NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor and a 1920 x 1200 resolution 1080p HD IPS screen and more. Is the low price of $449 for this powerful tablet enough to put it over the edge and into the limelight? Find out below!

First off you’ll want to start with our hands-on and unboxing with Acer’s latest tablet, as that will give you an idea of what to expect moving forward. Then check out the second video below and all of our screenshots and benchmark results too.

Now hardware might not be one of Acer’s strong points with some of their previous attempts at the tablet market like the A500, but with the A700 they’ve really stepped it up. The build quality has improved, the design saw some small but needed changes, and the hardware specs were improved too.

The A700 is their new flagship tablet and has all the top specs we’ve seen lately crammed into one sleek and budget friendly package. Speeding things along is the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage and a micro-SD slot. As mentioned above the 10.1-inch display has a huge 1920 x 1200 full HD resolution and looks amazing — but more on that below, and the cameras are 5 megapixel on the rear and 1 MP on the front. The overall design is very similar to their other tablets with rounded edges and silver bezels, but the improved soft-touch rubbery matte finish around back is a welcomed addition if you ask me.

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Brushed aluminum finishes are nice but I’m always afraid of it slipping from my hands. Then having a thin tablet is essential, but keeping the edges rounded adds comfort and makes longer usage easier. Acer hit the nail on the head with both of those aspects and I find this tablet actually very comfortable to use, even though the HD screen and huge 9,800 mAh battery adds a little extra weight.

The charging port shown above is micro-USB with a small edition, and it can only be charged using Acer’s proprietary connector. It does however sync and mount USB storage using a standard micro-USB cable, which was neatly provided. Acer also threw a micro-USB to regular USB 2.0 adapter in the box for those in need. The ports and buttons are all well placed, and Acer added little rubber nubs to the volume rocker to make it easier to access and know when your finger is placed correctly. Oddly there are two nubs for volume down, and one for up — I thought it would be the other way around. The micro-HDMI and stereo speakers are both a nice touch. Sound quality is great and using hdmi-out to play the pre-installed real racing 2 was a blast.

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Acer equipped the A700 with an impressive IPS display featuring a full 1080p HD resolution of 1920 x 1200. This results in a device with a 55% higher pixel density than what you have on your typical 10-incher. Just like the Transformer Pad Infinity, only the Acer is available today — not next month. The viewing angles are better than many I’ve used recently, colors are vivid, bright, and vibrant — and text is extremely crisp given the resolution. Everything looks clearer and is much easier on the eyes. I’m hoping more manufacturers take this route when building their tablets.

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Running on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich the A700 has the latest and greatest from team Google — although we expect Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to debut this week at Google I/O. Ice Cream Sandwich runs extremely smooth and fluid on the Acer. From the quad-core and the latest OS we had zero complaints about overall performance. The one area we did have an issue with was the lockscreen. Acer’s added lockscreen shortcuts just like HTC did with Sense 3.6 and 4.0, and just like Samsung has done with the Galaxy S III. The only problem is it seems to not be very cooperative with us. Sometimes it would work, and other times it would completely glitch out which was frustrating — as shown below.

Acer A700 hands-on and Transformer Prime comparison

Acer made a few small changes to the OS with the notification center being slightly redesigned and they changed up the notification power widgets. I love the options being right there at your fingertips for easy access. Then along with lockscreen shortcuts we have the homescreen shortcuts like other Acer tablets, all highly customizable as shown in the video above. These little changes helps differentiate them from the competition and are a nice touch.

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As far as pre-installed apps we have a average amount of bloatware installed. Netflix, Monopoly (awesome) and Real Racing 2 are among a few I enjoyed. Then Acer added a file manager, video player and music player which all I feel aren’t needed – especially with ICS video player and Google Music. Nicely however we have Polaris Office, Acer Print (cloud printing) Solitaire, Evernote, Google+, and McAfee virus scanner all out of the box. NVIDIA’s Tegra Zone round outs the pre-installed apps as that will let you take advantage of the quad-core under the hood with NVIDIA’s optimized Tegra Zone games.

Benchmarks for the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core “4-PLUS-1″ processor were about as expected. Coming in just slightly lower than the Transformer Prime tablet in most tests, but then it also has a much lower resolution being the once standard 1280 x 800. We ran a quick Quadrant and AnTuTu to see the overall performance and they match our actual usage. Fast, stable, smooth, and easy to operate without a hitch or hiccup.

The Iconia Tab A700 has only a 5 megapixel camera on the rear, and it didn’t impress that is for sure. They didn’t include a flash, but then I don’t really see the need for a rear camera on a tablet anyways so I can’t dock em. If you’re the type that wants a great camera on a tablet get the Transformer Prime. Video was capable of 720p but wasn’t anything to write home about, and the actual 5 megapixel pictures were average at best too. Obviously this was one area they didn’t focus too much on to keep cost down — and I’m not complaining.

A700 5-megapixel camera samples

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Battery Life
So far I’ve been highly impressed with the A700′s battery life. For pushing a powerful quad-core, and all those pixels it seems to be keeping up just great. Many Samsung tablets come with 7,500 mAh battery’s but Acer tossed a massive 9,800 mAh battery under the hood for excellent battery life. I played about 5 hours of Monopoly (a few of which were output using HDMI-out to my HDTV.) I had about 7 hours of screen-on time and still had 27% battery life remaining. Stand-by also seems great using the Tegra 3′s power management and brief usage over the weekend it easily lasted two days.

We’ve reviewed a lot of tablets and there isn’t too much difference you can talk about. However the Acer A700 is a pretty solid and impressive device. It has the best display of any Android tablet thus far — except for the Transformer Pad Infinity that is coming next month. The Tegra 3 is one of the best on the block and nothing can compete with its performance in the world of Android.

If you are a gamer this is probably your best bet having a quad-core, 1080p HD screen, and HDMI-out for all your gaming needs. Coming in cheaper than the Infinity with Acer offering the 32GB model for just $449 this is a great buy. The Transformer TF300 offers very similar specs but a lower resolution price at a slightly lower $399 price point for their 32GB model. It really is a toss up with both tablets, but I’m preferring the HD screen and rounded edges of this A700. Acer has hit a perfect middle ground with specs and price with the Iconia A700 and makes the choice harder than I thought it would be with ASUS having a strong lead as of late.

Pick up the brand new Acer Iconia Tab A700 right now at a variety of outlets for $449 or from Acer’s online shop.

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Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : ICONIA Tab A700
    Manufactuer : Acer
    Carrier : NA
    Announced Date : January 25, 2012
    Release Date : June 13, 2012
    Also Known As :
  • Screen Size : 10.1 Inch
  • Resolution : 1920x1200
  • Screen Type : IPS
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : NA
  • Width : NA
  • Depth : NA
  • Weight : 650 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Polymer
  • Battery Capacity : 9800 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WAV
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • SMS
    CPU : Tegra 3
    CPU Clock Speed : 1300 Mhz
    Core : 4
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 32 GB GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 5 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

Verizon and T-Mobile agree to swap 4G spectrum

Posted: 25 Jun 2012 02:30 PM PDT

Earlier today T-Mobile and Verizon agreed to a large swap and transfer of AWS spectrum for their 4G networks, and now just await an FCC approval. Both parties will be using the exchange to broaden their networks, improve connection, and reach more customers. This is a big step for T-Mobile since announcing their 4G LTE plans after being denied a buyout by AT&T.

Verizon will use and re-purpose the new spectrum to improve their 4G rollout that has been moving along quite well, and T-Mobile will use the sale to boost their current HSPA+ 4G network — as well as help them along with their LTE plans for early 2013. The deal has been inked although we don’t have too many specifics. The spectrum covers roughly 218 US markets – covering 60m people — and for now just waits approval.

If approved, the deal will improve T-Mobile’s spectrum stance in 15 of the top 25 markets today in the US. Sadly the deal is far from being done because a slice of Verizon’s pie isn’t even owned by them yet. They are still waiting FCC approval for spectrum from Cox, SpectrumCo, and Leap Wireless. Once those get approved (if they do) then they’ll be able to move forward with the T-Mobile deal.

This looks to be a pretty good move and deal for both companies, hopefully it gets approved and on its way so T-Mobile and Verizon customers can benefit from the changes.

[via SlashGear]

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Note press image leaks – hitting stores July 11

Posted: 25 Jun 2012 12:32 PM PDT

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5.3-inch phablet has been quite popular given its rather large size. While only AT&T has offered the device stateside its been rumored to be headed to T-Mobile and Verizon. While that last one is doubtful it appears to be confirmed for T-Mobile next month, and should launch nationwide for T-Mobile July 11th.

Recently some official press shots were leaked thanks to Cellphonesignal and the July 11th date shown on the device matches previous rumors, as well as tips we’ve received from our own sources too. While nothing has been confirmed by T-Mobile or Samsung, most likely the Galaxy Note will arrive come July just as expected.

The Samsung Galaxy Note rocks that beautiful 1280 x 800 720p HD 5.3-inch screen, an 8 megapixel camera on the back, and will run on T-Mobiles HSPA+ 4G (not LTE) network. It will be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, and might give that Galaxy S III a run for its money. Below you can see our reviews of both devices, as well as previous rumors and details on T-Mobile’s Galaxy Note.

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Pinterest for Android coming this week at Google I/O

Posted: 25 Jun 2012 11:45 AM PDT

It looks like Pinterest will finally be coming to Android soon, possibly even this week at Google I/O. The hugely popular social site has continued to rise in popularity (mainly for women) and after AusDroid went digging through the Google I/O app they found them to be one of the exhibitors.

Pinterest is a pinboard-style social network and sharing site where you’ll find all sorts of things from food, meals, dresses, women’s clothing, and anything else you can think of. All you ladies of the DROID can start sharing everything with your Pinfriends soon. Here’s the screenshot that was found of the app:

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It’s listed as “Now available for Android” hinting toward the fact that we very well could see it on the Google I/O exhibit floor along side an actual release to the Play Store. At the same time many of the developers that show up to I/O are working on projects that aren’t quite ready yet. Either way it appears that Pinterest will be arriving for Android soon. Hopefully iOS users don’t treat this the same way they treated all the Instagram users back when it launched for Android. Stay tuned for more details on Pinterest and Google I/O while we are live on-site.

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