Monday, 30 July 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Google brings video chat Hangouts to Gmail

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 10:59 AM PDT

Google has continued to integrate their massive list of offerings together to offer a seamless experience for all. Previously Gmail users were able to use Google Talk video chat for communication but today Google has announced that is all changing for the better. Google has replaced Google Talk video with Google+ hangouts. Letting Gmail users video chat with 1 person, or 10 at the same time.

What this means is the awesome Google+ Hangout options on their social network service that includes 1 or even 10 people at a time, Google Docs sharing, and more is all coming to Gmail. You can still video chat with 1 person at a time, even if they don’t have a G+ account, but can add G+ users to a Hangout of 10 people if you wish. Now you can chat with the entire family, or all of your co-workers easily with Gmail.

The previous system was nice but this will make everything better and smoother. With Google+ Hangouts coming to Gmail it allows users to work with high reliability and "enhanced" quality system over anything Google has used before for video chat. Because this new system is not just peer-to-peer, you'll no longer have to worry about cut-outs and chopped-up video. It’s all managed by Google’s highly reliable network.

This update is all happening on the back end, and is rolling out as we speak. Users with personal Gmail accounts should see this option starting today and over the next week or so. Business and Google Apps users will be getting the same treatment here shortly too. Whether you’re on an Android or iOS device, or in your browser Gmail Hangouts will be easier than ever. Here’s the browser button

If you don’t have a Google+ account you can still participate in one-on-one chat, but will need to sign up using your already active Gmail account for full options. It’s just that easy folks! Give it a try and let us know what you think. If it hasn’t arrived for you yet don’t worry as it should pop up shortly.

[via Google Blog]

T-Mobile Galaxy Note hits August 8th for $249

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 09:47 AM PDT

This morning T-Mobile has finally shared the details on their newest smartphone to grace the lineup. You could call it a smartphone, or a tablet, but most like to say phablet. The Samsung Galaxy Note and its 5.3-inch HD display will finally be available from T-Mo on August 8th. They announced it was coming soon last week, but now we have all the details and a full review.

We’ve already been enjoying T-Mobile’s Galaxy Note and here is our full review! The phone is awesome, and if you can get over that massive screen you’ll surely love all it has to offer. Some of those include the large screen, S-Pen stylus for games, note taking, screenshots, and many other uses. And it even comes running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich already. The AT&T and international Note’s have been available for a long, long time, but this is new for T-Mobile customers. If you’re not using the international model on T-Mobile we’d recommend picking this up. Sadly the price isn’t quite where I wanted it to be, but then again this is an absolute premium device.

T-Mobile and Samsung will be asking $249 after a $50 mail in rebate for their Note. That is only after signing a 2-year contract and means customers will pay $300 up front. A bit much for a year old phone, but it’s brand new for those on the Magenta carrier. Whether you get it or the Galaxy S III will come down to price, screen size, and of course the different processor.

As usual, T-Mobile also offers the payment plan for those on contract free voice plans. With an out-of-pocket down payment of $199.99 and 20 equal monthly payments of $20 per month with T-Mobile's Equipment Installment Plan (EIP) you can also pick it up. Might not be the cheapest route, but for those that want it now — here’s your chance. So will you be getting the Galaxy Note from T-Mobile come August 8th?

Nexus 7 16GB back in stock at the Play Store

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 09:27 AM PDT

Sales of Google’s brand new Nexus 7 tablet have resumed this morning for the 16GB flavor. After launching a few weeks ago and seeing a huge amount of interest, the larger 16GB model priced at $249 quickly sold out. Today however Google’s listed it back as “In Stock” and it will ship in 3-5 days.

This is great news because many have been opting to buy the larger 16GB storage option, as 8GB isn’t enough for many users that don’t live in the cloud. Personally I’ve been fine with my 8GB model, but not everyone has my needs. Meanwhile the 8GB model is listed as in stock just as it has been since launching two weeks ago.

I’m sure you all know plenty already, but if not that $199 gets you the 8GB model complete with a 7-inch 1280 x 800 resolution HD display, and a powerful quad-core processor under the hood. All those budget tablets have some serious soul searching to do now the Nexus 7 is here. Whether Google has sold more 16GB versions, or just didn’t have as much stock remains to be seen, but hopefully they’ll announce some sales numbers here shortly.

If you’re for some odd reason still on the fence, check out our Nexus 7 and Jelly Bean review. Also late last week Google finally started taking orders for their official Nexus 7 cases. So you’ll want to snag one of those while they’re still available to protect your investment. Enjoy those Nexi!

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Nexus 7
    Manufactuer : Asus
    Carrier : NA
    Announced Date : June 27, 2012
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As : Google Nexus 7, MeMo 370T
  • Screen Size : 7 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x800
  • Screen Type : IPS LCD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 7.81 Inch
  • Width : 4.72 Inch
  • Depth : 0.41 Inch
  • Weight : 340 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 4325 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
    Android OS:
  • 4.1.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • 3GP
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
  • IM
    CPU : Tegra 3
    CPU Clock Speed : 1300 Mhz
    Core : 4
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 8 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : NA
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
Device Connectivity
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • A2DP
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Note Review

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 09:00 AM PDT

The Samsung Galaxy Note “phablet” as some like to call it is finally making its way to T-Mobile. The phone has been available for some time both internationally as well as from AT&T, but August 8th T-Mobile will join the list. What makes this phone special you ask? It has a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED HD display that is just massive, but looks amazing. That isn’t all either. You should know plenty about the Note already, but if not stay tuned for more details.

We’ve reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note here at Android Community more than a few times. To start you’ll want to see our international model review, then the AT&T Galaxy Note review. What we have today is essentially the exact same impressive and unique device, only on the magenta carrier we all know and love as T-Mobile. One major difference is we are running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, as Samsung has recently updated most their phones.

The hardware from the folks at Samsung and T-Mobile is exactly the same as the other Note models. We have a bright and vivid 5.3-inch Super AMOLED HD screen rocking a crisp 1280 x 800 resolution. The phone is so wide we get 5 apps from side to side, rather than 4 like most other Android smartphones. Under the hood isn’t the new Qualcomm S4 processor all the recent Samsung phones have, but it still chugs along great with the 1.5 Ghz dual-core Qualcomm S3 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage as well as micro-sd option for more.

Then it gets that quality 8 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel front for video chat, a huge 2,500 mAh battery, and of course the stylus or “S-Pen” as Samsung likes to call it. Off to the right we have the power/wake button, the left side has the lone volume rocker, with the headphone port up top and the micro-USB charging port sitting at the bottom. Again, this is the exact same Galaxy Note that’s been available for almost a year, so the device shouldn’t be too new for anyone.

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If you’ve never used the Galaxy Note, it’s huge. By far the biggest phone I’ve ever held in my hand, but the extremely thin 9.6 mm design and rounded edges makes it easy to hold, ergonomic given its size, and fairly pocketable. At first it might seem too big, but you’ll quickly get used to it — plus playing games or watching YouTube is awesome. This large of a phone might not be for everyone, but if you like the idea you’ll love the phone from T-Mobile.

For the software like mentioned above we have Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Which was the latest and greatest until Google dropped Jelly Bean last month. Samsung just updated their previous Note phones to ICS this month, so we’ll have to wait for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. However, Ice Cream Sandwich brings some welcomed changes, awesome performance, face unlock security, and Samsung’s premium suite of apps for the S-Pen stylus.

While it’s the AT&T flavor, here’s a quick video showing you the neat new features included with Android 4.0 on the Galaxy Note that will make that stylus really come in handy for business professionals, to Draw Something game fans.

Galaxy Note Premium Suite apps hands-on

With Formula Match you'll be using your S-Pen to write out equations that will instantly be translated into perfectly legible text, first of all, then will be entered into Wolfram Alpha to be either solved or graphed — awesome. In the hands-on video we use a simple x and y equation to show how graphing works with this setup.

Then the fun for kids and adults Shape Match ability makes your circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, and more, one whole heck of a lot more perfect. Draw a wobbly circle and POOF, it's corrected to perfection. Draw several lines in a row, and bang! They're all straight! Even if you have no use for this ability whatsoever, it's still rather fun to watch – it's like magic!

The Handwriting-to-text function has you able to write a word, have it translated to standard text, hit the space bar button, and write another word, and so on and so forth. This ability seems to be more of a proof of concept than it does an extremely helpful ability – and you'll see this ability utilized fabulously with both Knowledge Search and Formula Match.

Inside Knowledge Search you'll find Wolfram Alpha put to the test as you write out questions word by word and have that engine solve your quandary. Make sure you ask it severely difficult questions like "where am I" and "what does an Android look like?" This isn’t quite Google Now or S-Voice, but it’s a nice additional feature.

Out of the box with Android 4.0 ICS the performance is just as we expected. The unlock screen has options for slide-to-unlock, pattern, the new face unlock, and a few others — but sadly they don’t have unlock shortcuts for the camera or text message apps. As far as pre-installed apps though, this thing is bloated. So many in fact that the 16GB of internal storage only has about 9GB usable. Between all the awesome S-Pen apps mentioned, to the multiple “useful” things from T-Mobile.

For Android 4.0 and above’s awesome multitasking feature you simply push and hold the home button, but for some reason performance here was a bit choppy. The fluid swipes to clear apps and tasks on most phones stutters a bit here, but still works without fail. Otherwise performance is excellent from browsing the web, playing games, or watching videos in HD on that massive 5.3-inch and bright display.

As usual we ran a few quick benchmarks, but this being the older last-gen Qualcomm dual-core processors we knew what to expect. The phone doesn’t perform like the HTC One X or the Galaxy S III, but it still holds it own quite well. Getting around 3600 in Quadrant and AnTuTu had it right in line with previous offerings. You won’t win any benchmark wars, but don’t really need to either. This phone is all about that screen baby!

Camera and Battery
The 8 megapixel does quite well for itself, but that’s never been a weak point for Samsung. I’d say it’s on par with their recent phones, but doesn’t offer the burst shutter mode the Galaxy S III features. Photos inside or out were decently good, and the shutter speed is fast for a quick shot. Below is a quick sample with a few more in the gallery below.

Battery life can vary greatly however with this device. Having that 5.3-inch screen is awesome, but can drain the battery. Luckily Samsung tossed in a 2,500 mAh battery (although could easily fit more) and it lasts all day for me. Barely using the phone I’ll last over 2 days, but having the second biggest battery of any Android smartphone keeps it chugging all day long even for business users and more. Battery life shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re gaming or watching tons of YouTube, then it’s expected.

T-Mobile network
T-Mobile doesn’t offer 4G LTE options, but their HSPA+ is usually pretty great. Here in Vegas I’ll get varied results but my speedtests weren’t that great here. I averaged around 7 Mbps downloads and 1 up, but around town 20-30 isn’t uncommon. It isn’t quite LTE, but then LTE is more of a battery drain too.

Call quality was top-notch. Many reviews skip this feature of a “phone” since we all text these days, but it’s equally important. T-Mobile’s network has always had some of the best voice quality if you ask me, and it delivers here as usual. The speaker is loud, clear, crisp, and speakerphone gets loud enough for a conference call if needed too.

Now to wrap things up we do have a few concerns here. Samsung has released the Galaxy S III flagship — and it’s available on T-Mobile. With a 4.8-inch screen and better performance it’s a tough choice. If you love the larger screen then this will be a no brainer. Sadly we are also expecting a newer, larger, thinner Galaxy Note 2 with a 5.5-inch screen to be announced in the month of August — so that could send some buyers packing. Most likely T-Mobile will not be getting that right away, if at all, so if you’d like the big screen that shouldn’t concern potential buyers. I know that might be an argument, but I doubt T-Mobile will get it anytime soon, making this current Galaxy Note a great choice.

My only concern other than the Note 2 is price. T-Mobile opted to ask $249 for the Galaxy Note but only after a $50 mail in rebate. Which means buyers will be tossing out $300 originally and waiting for a $50 check. Releasing a year old phone, right before a sequel, but still asking top dollar is a bad move. Then again this phone does have a huge screen and trumps anything else from T-Mobile in this size range.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5.3-inch phablet smartphone has won over more than you’d think. Samsung had massive sales of this phone and an overall awesome response from buyers. If you’ve been eying a bigger screen and are on T-Mobile this is hard to pass up. I’d go for it or the Galaxy S III personally. Get the all new T-Mobile powered Galaxy Note starting August 8th for $249.

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