Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Google Maps adds real-time New York Subway alerts

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 11:43 AM PDT

Today Google has added another addition to their Maps service that should make all those New York readers plenty happy. If you’ve ever missed the subway or been late this should help you out. Google Maps has offered transit times and updates for months, but now you’ll get real-time updates and alerts in New York City.

What this means is the Android app will now alert users headed towards the subways of delays, maintenance problems, as well as various other alerts and updates. You can check any of the more than 400 subways stations Google Maps now supports and you’ll have full alerts.

Not only that but Google Maps will then use its navigation features to reroute those walking or seeking to travel by subway to alternate routes that don’t have delays or late subway trains. New York City has one of the biggest subway systems here in the U.S and this was probably a big task, but Google’s always up to a challenge it seems.

I’ve used Google Maps in the past while traveling to NY but I have a feeling this will make things much, much easier in the future. Google Maps has continued to evolve and get better and is one of the best apps from Google, that is for sure. With indoor mall support, travel and subway navigation, 3D maps, offline directions and more it really is impressive. Good luck Apple with your own option.

[via Google Blog]

Samsung launches Music Hub – rivals Google Play Music

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 11:23 AM PDT

We’ve talked about Samsung’s new Music Hub more than a few times already, but today is the official day. Samsung has now launched their Music Hub "3-in-1 mobile music solution" for the U.S. and it’s available for most Galaxy S III phones. It was announced back in May, and has been available in the UK for a while but today we all can enjoy it.

For those interested in seeing more, we’ve already checked it out for you and you can see all you need to know from our Samsung Music Hub hands-on. The service is actually quite nice and brings some treats from Google’s Music option, Spotify, and iTunes all into one offering.

Music Hub is a paid service so it will be taking on free options like Google Play Music, but it’s been successful in Europe so why not try it in the U.S. too. What Samsung is offering is essentially three different options all for one low price of $9.99 a month. You can upload and enjoy your own music, stream from a catalog of 4 major record labels (similar to Spotify) or stream recommended content as well as your own music from the cloud.

For now it looks like international, AT&T, and US Cellular Galaxy S III’s are the only ones that can enjoy this. So you can count out T-Mobile or Verizon. Those who sign up today get a free 30-day trial as well as one full album to instantly upload to your new Samsung Music Hub cloud. Give it a try today and let us know what you think.

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[via SlashGear]

Official Nexus 7 dock and accessories leaked

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 10:31 AM PDT

ASUS and Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet is all the rave right now, and with good reason. Sadly we don’t have any official accessories for the tablet other than the case we took a look at last night. Some new photos revealed by Nordic Hardware shows that we’re about to get some nice accessories to go along with our tablets.

For one, as you can see above, we’ll be getting a nice desk dock or cradle, plus tons of cover options too. The POGO dock shown above and detailed below will use the pins on the side of the device, and looks to be a well made dock. The desktop dock is stated to "perfectly-angle" the Nexus 7 for "better movie and photo viewing, browsing, and email." With no HDMI-out it does feature 3.55mm headphone ports to extend music to your surround sound, as well as micro-USB to charge at the same time.

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The gallery of images above (click to enlarge) has all the details for those interested. The slides point to a $49.99 USD price point for the dock, available come August 24th from ASUS. Most likely these will all be up on the Play Store soon. Then the same case we reported on last night, and have seen teased by ASUS will be coming in multiple colors and are titled as “travel covers.” They were supposed to be available two weeks ago but so far only the dark grey is for sale.

Last the slides show a premium genuine leather option, something I’m sure many would love to purchase. It should be available in four different color options and hit the market at the end of August (31st) for around $39.99 a piece. So far we’ve only seen the one case become available, but hopefully these launch dates end up being accurate. I’d love the dock for my Nexus 7, but the cases I’ll skip.

[via Droid-Life]

Verizon announces the Pantech Marauder 4G LTE QWERTY slider

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 10:05 AM PDT

Verizon has just announced another budget offering today for the folks looking to join the smartphone and 4G LTE crowd. The Pantech Marauder was first leaked last week as the Star Q, but now we have all the correct details. This 4-inch dual-core 4G LTE smartphone is a pretty great offering, and will be available August 2nd for only $49 after a quick $50 mail in rebate.

Original leaks had most the specs correct, but missed a few points. This device is running the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, but tuned down to 1.2 GHz instead of 1.5 like the Galaxy S III. The same chipset in the DROID Incredible 4G LTE. It comes with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 4G LTE, and a 4-inch display.

After looking over the details both Pantech and Verizon are listing this as a purchase for first-time smartphone buyers. It comes with a great package, a QWERTY keyboard for those new to on-screen typing, and a basic user interface. Pantech’s added what they are calling a dual-interface option. This will enable the standard (and aging) Android 2.3 Gingerbread Android user interface, or the dual option is a simplified option for those brand new to smartphones.

The phone essentially becomes a dumb phone or “feature phone” for those that aren’t ready to dive into a smartphone — although I don’t find them all that hard. Personally I almost feel they are easier to use. I’m still stuck on the name Marauder and have the Mercury Marauder military trucks in my mind — not a smartphone. Moving on. This can all be yours on August 2nd for $49. Who’s interested?

Spotify for Android gets mobile radio

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 04:46 AM PDT

One of the most common things smartphone users do with their mobile phone is listening to music. There are a bunch of different apps and ways that users can listen to music on their Android smartphones, be it directly purchasing tunes from Google Play or using streaming apps. One of the apps that many Android users wanted for a long time was Spotify.

Spotify for Android hit the Google Place store in mid-June. The app offered full support for Android 4.0 and a slide out navigation pane. Another cool feature was a special “extreme” sound quality setting of 320 kbps. Spotify has now announced another new feature for Android users that will make many music fans happy.

As of today, Android users can now enjoy mobile radio on their smartphones. Spotify says, “A stellar radio experience on your Android is now just a click away.” Spotify Radio is free for those in the U.S but others have to be on Spotify Premium to enjoy the streaming radio service. The good news is if you aren’t on the premium service and want to try mobile radio, you can sign up for a free 30-day premium trial.

Using the new mobile radio feature, fans can create stations based on any artist, album, or playlist. Users can also set up unlimited stations in songs and listen to them for as long as you pay for a subscription. If you hear a song you like, you can save the song to your Spotify playlist. Users can also help make their own stations better using the thumbs-up or thumbs down votes to show if you like or dislike a song that’s playing.

Sony Xperia tablet specifications leak

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 04:14 AM PDT

Some images have leaked of what is claimed to be the Sony Xperia Tablet. The tablet would be the follow-up to the Sony Tablet S that has been around for a while now. The leaked images show the specifications of the tablet and appear to be internal Sony slides. If these are real slides, the tablet sounds interesting.

The tablet will use Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and run Android 4.0 or later. I suspect that the tablet will likely land in stores running Jelly Bean. The tablet will be offered with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage. 3G connectivity will also be featured and the tablet will reportedly use a 6000 mAh battery good for 10 hours of web surfing using Wi-Fi.

The tablet is pegged at only 8.8 mm thick at its thinnest point growing to 11.85 mm thick at its thickest point. That makes the new tablet 42% thinner than the Tablet S. It’s also worth noting that the new Xperia tablet has a splash-proof aluminum shell. Another interesting feature spied in the slides is that the new Sony tablet has a keyboard cover that looks a lot like what Microsoft is doing with its Surface tablets.

The Sony cover can flip back and act as a kickstand. One slide reportedly points out suggested prices for the tablet giving the keyboard cover alone an MSRP of $99.99. The price for the 16 GB version of the tablet is $449.99. The 32 GB version is $549.99, and the 64 GB version is $649.99. That puts these tablets at roughly $50 less than the iPad. Do you think that $50 will be enough of a price difference to lure in people considering the iPad?

[via TheVerge]

Official Nexus 7 Case hands-on

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 05:01 PM PDT

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet went up for pre-order minutes after it was announced back in June at Google IO, and along with it was a case that sold out immediately. When it went back up for sale last week we quickly jumped at the opportunity to snag one. Today we have the brand new official Google Nexus 7 case for you to check out in a quick unboxing video.

As expected, the case is pretty standard and nothing special. For $19.99 I was hoping for a bit more but it’s basically as advertised online. It’s a standard TPU case (yup no terrible silicon here) so it will stay sturdy, clean, and probably last you forever. It comes with the exact same texture, feel, and look of the Nexus 7 — which I’m a big fan of for some reason. It doesn’t need much explanation so here’s the video:

Nexus 7 case unboxing and hands-on

That should tell you all you need to know. It fits extremely snug, it’s easy to install, it covers everything that is important and will protect it too. At the same time they’ve left holes for the microphones so you can still use Google Now voice search. And all the ports for charging, speaker grill, and headphones have dedicated cutouts.

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It is extremely well made, just like the Nexus 7 itself and feels like a durable case. TPU cases have been a favorite of mine for a few years so I’m going to like this case. My only complaint as shown in the video would be the screen cover flap. It doesn’t secure or latch on in any way. Meaning if you tip it upside down it easily falls open. It protects the screen enough, but I’d hate for it to accidentally open and get a scratch on my screen. For those wondering — no it does not have a magnet to wake up the device.

The official Nexus 7 case is very minimalistic, but should work great for those interested. It will run you $19.99 from the Google Play Store.

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HTC exits South Korea market due to poor sales

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 03:29 PM PDT

HTC has been off to a pretty great start here in 2012 with their HTC One line of smartphones. With good international sales, and stateside with the HTC One X, and One S mainly. Despite having a few awesome smartphones their Q2 report wasn’t that great, and now we are hearing poor sales is making them completely pull out of the South Korea market that is dominated by Samsung.

That isn’t all either. We heard a similar report recently that they are also pulling out of Brazil, and don’t even get me started on Beats Audio. Too late. HTC recently announced that they’ve sold back 25% of the 51% they bought of Beats Audio. They are no longer the majority stakeholder and won’t be releasing “Beats Audio” branded phones in the future. They have some great ideas and awesome phones, but not everything works out as intended.

According to the Korean Times HTC noted that this will be "a long term process and not an immediate one as we want to cause the least disturbance for our customers here and continue after-sales services." HTC also used this statement to mention this move will help "streamline operations" in competing markets that have shown great promise. Between Samsung and LG the Korean market has been a tough one, and the iPhone has made a decent dent their too.

Between low sales, tons of patent lawsuits (and product delays) it’s safe to say things aren’t going quite as well as planned for the folks over at HTC. It really is a shame as they have some of the best hardware around and I’m a huge fan of their smartphones. I’ll never forget my HTC Nexus One. Hopefully HTC will continue with the less is more goal and focus on awesome products instead of so many different phone options. We’d hate to see a dominant player and awesome manufacture bow out completely, but that is still far from ever happening.

[via SlashGear]

Wikipad 10-inch gaming tablet gets a list of specs

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 02:54 PM PDT

The idea of a “gaming tablet” is an odd one, but we’ve been seeing a few companies try their hand at producing one anyway. The latest is Wikipad, which is gearing up to release tablet of the same name – the tablet was shown off at CES back in January, but since then, it’s gone through a few changes. Originally intended as a 7-inch tablet, the Wikipad had become a 10.1-inch tablet with an IPS display running at 1,280 x 800 resolution.

The tablet features a NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30 quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, which VentureBeat points out makes it a bit more powerful than the extremely popular Google Nexus 7. However, it won’t be as powerful as the ASUS Transformer Prime Infinity 700 or OUYA (you remember OUYA, right?) as those feature the T33 and are able to support DDR3 RAM, whereas the Wikipad only comes with 1GB of DDR2 RAM. The Wikipad also comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean installed, and will have at least 16GB of internal storage when it launches. “At least” are the key words there, as the company hasn’t decided how much storage to include just yet, but assures that it won’t be anything less than 16GB.

Those are some solid specs to be sure, but one of the stars of this reveal is the unique controller, which you can see attached to the tablet in the pictures. Like most modern controllers, it comes with a pair of triggers and analog sticks, along with four face buttons, two bumpers, start and select buttons, and our longtime friend the directional pad. It connects to the tablet through a proprietary port, and as you can see, wraps around the tablet so you don’t have to let go of the device to pick up the controller. It’s definitely strange looking, but also looks like it could be quite comfortable.

Sadly, we don’t know when this bad boy is going to launch, with Wikipad only saying that it’ll be available later this year. Also unknown is the price point the tablet will sport, but based on the specs the company shared today, we aren’t expecting it to be too terribly expensive. Wikipad tells VentureBeat that it will be sharing more information about its new tablet sometime in the “very near future,” so keep it tuned to Android Community – we’ll have that information for you once Wikipad decides to spill the beans!

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Casio G’zOne Commando smartphone update rolling out

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 01:55 PM PDT

Who remembers the G’zOne? Yes that is actually the name of a smartphone from Casio over on Verizon Wireless. This extremely durable and rugged phone has been available for a while, but is mostly a forgotten device. Today however Verizon is keeping it relevant by posting a decent upgrade fixing all sorts of little bugs.

The Casio G’zOne Commander is one of the most rugged and durable phones available. It can take a beating and won’t even blink an eye. Not only that but it has those push-to-talk features that many people who are outdoorsy, or work in construction environments all like. It might not be a popular phone but it still has a few buyers out there that will probably welcome the changes.

-Speakerphone successfully turns off after a Push to Talk call is completed.
-Improved device stability decreases power cycles during a Push to Talk call.
-Mobile IM application has been removed from the device.
-Desk Cradle application has been updated with the latest bug fixes.
-Android partner security bulletin has been applied to the device.

The folks from Android Police spotted the update, and it should be rolling out to Commando owners in the next 24-48 hours. As usual the full changelog details and update instructions have been provided by Verizon’s support page.

It was updated to Android 2.3 Gingerbread late last year, but will probably never see Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. For those few that are rocking the Casio G’zOne Commando get ready for a software update in the coming days.

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Bonus video: Casio G’zOne Commando going surfing!

Archos 9.7 Carbon Android 4.0 tablet available now for $229

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 01:16 PM PDT

Archos is finally ready to start shipping their latest budget Android tablet offering. Recently announced as the 97 Carbon, this 9.7-inch single-core Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet is finally available today. It might not be the best around, but it’s a decent little budget offering.

When Google released their Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, quad-core powered beast of a tablet in the Nexus 7 all the budget tablets instantly got sidelined. Sadly for Archos that is basically their specialty, or was. The Archos 97 Carbon is a decent tablet, but now that the specs are so much lower than competing tablets, while costing a similar price I don’t see it ending well.

The Archos 9.7 Carbon comes with Android 4.0 ICS, a 9.7-inch low res 1024 x 768 display, a single-core 1.0 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a few cameras. They give you 2 megapixel on the rear and VGA front. The tablet also has micro-USB, micro-SD, HDMI out and a few other connectivity options too. For $229 this would be a great tablet 6 months ago — but not today.

If you’re a fan of Archos, or want the larger screen for the price the 97 Carbon is available right now. It’s $249 but for a limited time the coupon code: MAC45Z will save you $20. What do you guys think. Does Archos and other budget tablets still have a place in this market? Or will their hardware need to seriously improve if they’d like to continue at this price point?

Clickfree Mobile Backup now available for Android

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 12:08 PM PDT

Our smartphones are getting more and more complex. With hundreds and sometimes thousands of pictures, tons of video, bookmarks, contacts and even full documents. While the Android developer community has multiple backup tools, what about regular users? For those looking for a a dead simple way to automatically backup everything on your phone, we have the app for you.

The award winning PC backup company Clickfree is now on mobile. Clickfree recently released their mobile backup option for Android and it makes backing up your entire device automatic. It’s essentially a single click. In a very simple and easy to use and understand manor users can backup everything on their phones or tablets — then save it to multiple locations. All of this is done without root, and works great for stock device users. With Clickfree the backup can be stored locally on the device, or uploaded to multiple options such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.net and other cloud storage options.

- Backup to your SD card or multiple Cloud Accounts, including Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, Google Drive and SugarSync
- One Touch Backup: Tap" Backup Now" button, your backup launches automatically
- Auto-Backup: Automatically searches for and backs up your precious content
- Multi-Category Backup: Backs up Photos, Music, Videos, Documents, Applications, Bookmarks,
Contacts and Calendar
- Multi-Device Backup: Use the same SD card to back up multiple devices
- Category Viewer: View a summary of all backed up items
- Built in Photo Viewer: Easily view your backed up photos just like on your device
- Space Management: Automatic calculation of space required for backup/restore
- Easy Restore: Restore all backed up content to the original location with just two easy taps
- Easy Transfer: Your backed up multimedia content can be easily transferred to a new device

As you can see from the feature set above they have a pretty great list of options — especially all for free. The user interface might not be the prettiest on the block, but it is meant to be about ease of use more than looks. The selections are large, easy to see, and easy to understand for beginners or experts. I backed up about 600 pictures, some bookmarks, and all my contacts in under 2 minutes. They were instantly saved to both my SD card on my device, as well as uploaded to Dropbox for good measure. Restoring is even easier and is a simple single tap.

Clickfree even has an auto-backup option where the app will search for and find new precious content such as pictures to backup. Then they’ll be placed where the others are for on device, or cloud storage restore. They have a category viewer, a photo viewer, and everything is easy to understand.

However, there are a few areas that I wish Clickfree Mobile Backup was better. One would be to add sync options so when I delete an app or image on my device, it recognizes this action and does the same for my backup. Currently after a restore you’ll have things you’ve since deleted. Next I’d love to see message backup for those wanting to backup their entire text message list. That should be easy enough. Then lastly some sort of option to add a password to your backups would make sense, and I can’t imagine why they haven’t included this yet.

Overall Clickfree Backup is extremely easy, quick, and simple. This will work great for advanced users, or beginners that are not as knowledgeable as others. The best part about Clickfree is in the name — it’s completely free! I’ve also been told a more advanced “for root users only” option will be available later this year, so stay tuned for more Clickfree news! To give it a try today head to the link below.

Clickfree Mobile Backup

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