Friday, 28 September 2012

Android Community

Android Community


Enjoy Android on your TV with new FAVI SmartStick

Posted: 28 Sep 2012 10:50 AM PDT

Today we’re being introduced to yet another Android TV Stick, the FAVI SmartStick. If you’re looking for a way to get your Android apps on your TV, there are plenty of options already, but the FAVI SmartStick comes with a couple of features that make it stand out from the crowd. For starters, it has a pretty low price tag, with the 4GB model coming it at $49.


If you want a bit more memory, you can pick up an 8GB variant for $79, which certainly isn’t bad. The FAVI SmartStick comes running a modified version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which should be another big draw for consumers faced with a bevy of choices when it comes to Android TV Sticks. It plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and supports both 720p and 1080p output.

There’s a full-sized USB port on this bad boy, allowing you to connect a keyboard or mouse (though you can also connect peripherals wirelessly if you like). It’s worth pointing out, however, that FAVI offers a wireless remote for $39 that functions as both a keyboard and mouse, so some consumers may want to pick that up instead of using the peripherals they have lying around at home. The SmartStick comes with the Google Play Store installed, and our friends at SlashGear say that it should work with any app or game that doesn’t require a specific processor.

Of course, one problem right now is that we aren’t sure what kind of processor comes packed in the SmartStick, which makes it kind of hard to compare it to other Android TV Sticks on the market. In any case, the FAVI SmartStick seems to be a pretty solid offering otherwise, sporting a easy-to-navigate interface, along with WiFi and DLNA functionality. You can pre-order the device right this instant, and orders should begin shipping out sometime next month. Are you going to pick one of these FAVI SmartSticks up?


Poweramp updates with better support for Jelly Bean

Posted: 28 Sep 2012 09:48 AM PDT

Poweramp has been a dominant figure in the Android music player market ever since its initial launch. Even in its beta stages, Poweramp was a great music player that had tons of unique features. It’s continuing that dominance with a new update today that includes a lot of welcome changes and improvements.

For starters, those who are running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will now be able to control music playback straight from the notification pane. The new update takes advantage of Jelly Bean’s improved notifications to allow you to control music right from notifications instead of having to click through the app itself.

Other changes to Poweramp include improved support for various filetypes like .WAV, .WMA, and .FLV. There’s also support for an increased number of nested music folders — up to 10 folders now. The app also includes your usual bugfixes and enhancements that increase overall performance of the app.

While Poweramp doesn’t yet have other big features like cloud-syncing support, it still remains a top choice for a straightforward music listening experience. Poweramp is a free download and the update is available now in the Google Play store.


AT&T announces four new Samsung Galaxy devices

Posted: 28 Sep 2012 09:21 AM PDT

It’s been a little while since AT&T has announced some worthy phones (except the iPhone 5 obviously), but today AT&T just added a slew of new Samsung Galaxy devices to their lineup. The Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Galaxy Express, and Galaxy Rugby Pro are all coming to AT&T and will also support the carrier’s 4G LTE.

The device leading the pack of new AT&T phones and tablets is the Galaxy Note II, which is Samsung’s successor to its Galaxy Note and features a huge 5.5-inch display. The last we heard about the Galaxy Note II was actually yesterday, when Samsung sent us an enticing invitation to join them in New York City for the what looks to be the Galaxy Note II launch event. Take a look at our hands-on for more photos and details.

The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 was announced back in April and would cost $399 for the 8GB version. The 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1280 x 800 with a 1Ghz TI OMAP4 dual-core processor right underneath. The tablet comes in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB flavors, but we’ll see what AT&T does as far as what models it will sell. The Galaxy Tab 2 also has a microSD slot, so grabbing just the 8GB version could be a good idea if you have a microSD card laying around. Check out our review of the tablet for more details.

The other two Samsung Galaxy devices, the Express and Rugby Pro aren’t as eye-catching as the Galaxy Note II or the Galaxy Tab 2, but they actually boast some pretty impressive specs. The Express runs off a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and has a 5MP rear camera. The Rugby Pro is built to military specifications, being both shock resistant and dust proof. It also has a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display and a 5MP rear camera that lets you record 720p HD video.

No specific release date was announced — only that “these devices will be available from AT&T in the coming months.” If AT&T is looking at following the footsteps of US Cellular, the Galaxy Note II may hit AT&T shelves in late October.


MOO launches NFC business cards

Posted: 28 Sep 2012 08:34 AM PDT

Business cards in general might be thought of as a thing of the past now, but printing company MOO doesn’t think so just yet. They have announced a new line of business cards that come with NFC capabilities, meaning that you can transfer information that’s on a business card to an NFC-enabled smartphone like the Galaxy S III.

The company is giving anyone who purchases a pack of regular business cards from MOO a free NFC business card. It comprises of a normal business card, but with a tiny microchip and antenna embedded inside. When you tap it against a phone with NFC, it quickly transmits the information to the phone.

However, in order to get your own NFC business card for free, you’ll have to order from MOO fairly soon. The company is only making 150,000 NFC-enabled business cards at this time, which sounds like a lot, but they may end up going fast. Packs of regular MOO business cards start at $19.99 for a pack of 50. That might sound expensive, but if you’ve ever held a MOO business card before, you’ll know that the company makes some high-quality products.

MOO says they’re still experimenting with the new technology and they hope that you’ll be able to do even more with their NFC business cards in the future. They even said that they plan on releasing an Android app that will allow you change the information on the NFC chip, which would be perfect for those that need to change phone numbers or email addresses.

[via MOO Blog]


Apple CEO Tim Cook issues apology for Apple Maps

Posted: 28 Sep 2012 08:06 AM PDT

The recent release of Apple’s iOS 6 saw the company ditch Google Maps in favor of their own mapping solution in order to bring features like turn-by-turn navigation and 3D flyover to its users. The result didn’t turn out so well, and the company has received a lot of backlash from its users. Apple CEO Tim Cook has addressed these issues and apologized today for all the problems.

In an open letter posted on Apple’s website, Cook issued a public apology to those that are experiencing trouble with Apple’s new Maps app. He mentioned that it "fell short" of the company's high standard and he suggests using other third-party solutions instead while Apple works on improving their service.

The full apology letter is below:

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we're improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook

Apple's CEO

It’s surprising that Cook is recommending its users to use something other than its own apps. As much as Apple tries to prevent users from taking advantage of third-party apps, Cook is actually recommending the opposite and says to use other mapping apps like Waze, Bing, and Mapquest. It’s certainly something you don’t hear every day coming out of a CEO’s mouth, but I suppose Apple is being the bigger man in this situation and telling its users to have the best user experience possible no matter what apps are used.

[via SlashGear]


Samsung Galaxy Music smartphone details leak

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 03:05 PM PDT

Who is ready for another Galaxy device from the folks at Samsung? I know they’ve been overloading the market as of late but this time around it’s all about the music. This is certainly no flagship or top-tier smartphone, and will instead be a budget aimed device — probably for teens wanting to have some exceptional audio quality from their smartphone. Lets take a look at the leaked details below.

The specs are certainly nothing special, but thanks to the guys at SamMobile we have the photo slides that leaked for your viewing pleasure. As you can see from the image above this smartphone is all about the music. Just when we thought we couldn’t get any more oddly sized and shaped Samsung Galaxy devices they launch this. Here’s some of the specs:

Clearly you can see it’ll be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but other than a few leaked specs we don’t have the full set of details. What we do know is this phone will rock a average at best 3-inch QVGA (320×240) display, run with a single-core 850 Mhz processor, have 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage to hold a few thousand songs. You’ll also get WiFi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB, GPS, and even a micro-SD slot for extra storage. We can’t forget that 3 megapixel camera either. One of the major selling points will be the physical dual stereo speakers on the front of the device.

Certainly a low end smartphone here. Apparently the Samsung Galaxy Music will be headed to the market soon complete with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and they’ve already got plans for 4.1 Jelly Bean updates too. We can then expect the Samsung Galaxy Music DUOS to arrive in the international markets with dual-SIM support. More details can be found at the additional source link below.

galaxy-music Galaxy-Music-DUOS-2 Galaxy-Music-DUOS-1

[via SammyHub] – Thanks to all who sent this in!


Acer Iconia Tab A700 getting 4.1 Jelly Bean update today

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 01:58 PM PDT

It looks like Transformer tablet users aren’t the only ones that will be getting treated to those tasty tasty Jelly Beans today. The folks from Acer have apparently just started pushing out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to their popular quad-core Tegra 3 powered Iconia Tab A700. The update is available right now.

The folks from XDA are receiving the update as we speak, so apparently it’s available now for all. The update is roughly 332MB in size and shouldn’t take but a few minutes to download and install. Multiple users on XDA in Germany and the US have confirmed the update so it appears to be rolling out globally, but we can’t confirm that.

Earlier today ASUS started updating their Transformer Prime to Jelly Bean, but decided to delay the update for their top-tier Infinity Pad 700 series. The Iconia Tab A700 is their true competition in that regard. Coming with a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, and an awesome 1920 x 1200 True HD high resolution display that was just gorgeous. You can see more in our Iconia Tab A700 Review.

With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean you can expect a much improved experience on the Iconia A700. Google’s project butter makes Jelly Bean smoother, faster, more fluid, and overall very seamless. The user interface has received a few minor changes to the lockscreen, notifications are improved and much more detailed, and you’ll now have Google Now — the voice assistant we all know and love. Get it over the air or as always you can check for updates manually by going to settings > about tablet > check for updates. Let us know if you’ve received Jelly Bean, and how you’re liking it so far with a quick comment below.

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 :
Display
  • 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
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WAV
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
Hardware
    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
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 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 :


Google Field Trip app launches on the Play Store

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 01:37 PM PDT

Anyone in need of a virtual tour guide to take you on adventurous field trips? Google has you covered. Today Google has released a new app in partner with NianticLabs that is called “Field Trip” to be your virtual tour guide. The folks from Google simply explain it as, "your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you." Lets check out their video below.

This location-based and aware app will tell you about all the things around you as you encounter them. This goes for monuments, tourist attractions, reviews, restaurants, and even trivia. In a way you can think of Field Trips as an extension to Google Now, using location to deliver all the details you’d ever need.

Here’s what John Hanke, one of the product VPs at Google had to say:

The idea behind the app was to build something that would help people connect with the real, physical world around them… It's always running in the background, so it knows where you are and is always looking to see if something interesting is in your immediate physical environment."

Just like Google Now “cards” you don’t have to open the app to use it. With Field Trips it will notice you’re walking through a state park, or doing some touristy things and won’t wait for you to ask — it will deliver details right to you and you can decide to view them, or discard. They even have an awesome history option. You can always go back to find the name of that one awesome peak you encountered on that trip to the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole. I could have really used this app over the past summer!

Google and NianticLabs new app Field Trip is available right now in the Google Play Store. Go ahead and give this free app a try today and be a little adventurous. Oh, and if the notifications are of any concern you’ll be able to disable or enable as many or as few as you’d like. Get out and enjoy the fresh air folks!

[via SlashGear]


Samsung postpones production of flexible AMOLED screens

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 12:58 PM PDT

Flexible AMOLED touch screens might be the next big thing in smartphone technology, but sadly, it looks like we’ll be waiting a bit longer for their arrival. Samsung is reportedly delaying the production of its flexible AMOLED screens due to issues with yields. Since Samsung has been aggressively pursuing these new screens, it stands to reason that we won’t see these flexible screens featured in smartphones until Samsung can sort out its production issues.


We’re not sure when that will be either. Someone identified as an industry official told Korea’s DDaily that Samsung could potentially have smartphones using a flexible AMOLED screen on offer sometime in the first half of next year, but that prediction is contingent on Samsung figuring out its production issues before the end of 2012. That may not happen, so smartphones equipped with these special screens might not see the light of day for a while yet.

Why is everyone going nuts over these flexible screens? There are a couple reasons for the interest. While these screens may not mean a flexible smartphone, they are more durable that the screens we currently use. Since they bend, they could also lead to thinner smartphones, as manufacturers could use them to free up space for other components within the device.

It’s certainly an exciting idea, but at the moment, its realization is being held back by Samsung’s production woes. Samsung has already produced a number of these screens, but those were only “pilot” displays, meaning that they were for testing purposes only. The screens aren’t ready for mass production yet, but once they are, you can bet that they’ll be popping in smartphones all over the place. Stay tuned.

[via Unwired View]


Google Play Store Promo Day 2 deals available now

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 12:39 PM PDT

In celebration of Google’s Play Store passing the 25 billion apps downloaded milestone earlier this week, they’re offering tons of the most popular apps and games all for just a quarter. Yesterday we showed you a list of plenty of popular apps, although the offers weren’t that great. Today however they’re all looking much better.

The $0.25 deals will be changing each and every single day for the rest of the weekend so you’ll want to make sure and check daily for awesome deals so you don’t miss out. Yesterday’s steal was Gameloft’s Asphalt 7: Heat racing game for just 25 cents. Today you have another awesome selection as you can clearly see above.

Today Google’s offering popular games like World of Goo, Cut the Rope: Experiments, the awesome and amazing app Paper Camera, FIFA 12 by EA SPORTS, and even Mini Motor Racing — which is quite fun if you’ve never played it. They also have some popular and useful apps such as Sketchbook Mobile and Color & Draw for kids HD.

The list of deals for today has finally gone live and you check them all out by clicking here. All those awesome apps and games can be had for just 25 cents. The deal will also be including tons of music and movies at great deals, but don’t expect to find The Avengers for a quarter — although that would be amazing. Have fun and get ready to hit the ashtray tomorrow for even more quarters.


Transformer Prime Jelly Bean rolling out now, delayed for Infinity

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 12:17 PM PDT

We have both good and bad news for ASUS Transformer tablet owners this afternoon. Just as we mentioned yesterday, ASUS has started rolling out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to the Transformer Prime earlier than their “within 72 hours” prediction. It’s hitting tablets as we speak and brings that awesome Google Now voice search and more to the tablet. Sadly the Infinity TF700 isn’t so lucky.

The update is a rather large one, and is rolling out for the ASUS Transformer Prime as we speak bringing it up to the absolute latest version of Android. As you can see below Google Now is included and working great — although it keeps giving me the score to the Packers vs Seahawks game which I’d rather not see given the events. Either way the update is available now. Enjoy it!

The Prime is now running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Google’s project butter UI changes. Everything should be faster, smoother, and more responsive. So far initial impressions are favorable, but the Prime was blazing fast to begin with. Now let’s talk about the Transformer Pad Infinity. Yesterday they announced it would be updated too, but ASUS’ own Gary Key posted an update at XDA stating it won’t arrive until next week. The wait is almost over.

So for all those Prime owners, you’ll want to head to settings > about tablet > and check for firmware updates. It should arrive as a green arrow in your notification tray and you’ll be good to go. Make sure to have at least 50% battery life remaining, and expect the update to take a good 10 minutes to fully complete. Infinity Pad owners, we’ll update once we know more on you guys.

Screenshot_2012-09-27-09-29-17 Screenshot_2012-09-27-09-29-11 Screenshot_2012-09-27-09-28-40
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Transformer Prime
    Manufactuer : Asus
    Carrier : NA
    Announced Date : November 09, 2011
    Release Date : December 19, 2011
    Also Known As : Transformer 2
Display
  • Screen Size : 10.10 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x800
  • Screen Type : IPS+
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 10.35 Inch
  • Width : 7.12 Inch
  • Depth : .33 Inch
  • Weight : 586 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Polymer
  • Battery Capacity : 6579 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
Hardware
    CPU : Tegra 3
    CPU Clock Speed : 1400 Mhz
    Core : 4
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 64 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :


Rovio’s Bad Piggies now available on Google Play Store

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 12:08 PM PDT

Just as the prophecies foretold, Bad Piggies is now available on the Google Play Store. The latest game from Rovio gives a new spin on the mind-numbingly popular Angry Birds series, letting players take on the role of the bad guys this time around. Instead of playing as the birds and taking back your stolen eggs from some very stupid pigs, you’ll be playing as the pigs, stealing as many eggs as you can while you make your way through 60 different levels.

Of course, those pigs don’t have any feet or legs, so you’ll need to create special vehicles to use as transportation. You’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to building those vehicles too, as Bad Piggies features more than 30 different objects you can use in vehicle creation. To make things even better, there are 30 additional levels that will unlock as you earn three star ratings on the first 60, so there’s a lot of game to be found in this tiny little package.

We have to hand it to Rovio, because this game actually seems like a great idea. A lot of people thought that Rovio was going to be a one hit wonder with Angry Birds, and even though Rovio is still milking that franchise like there’s no tomorrow, at least the company is throwing a little bit of variety in there. Who says Rovio is a one-trick pony?

The game comes in a couple different flavors. There’s the standard edition, which is naturally supported by advertisements, while there’s also an HD version to take advantage of the larger screens on tablets and HD smartphones. The game is available for download now on the Google Play Store [download link], so hop on over there and check it out – those eggs aren’t going steal themselves, after all.

Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-47-32 Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-47-51 Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-48-12 Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-50-19 Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-49-16 Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-50-12 Screenshot_2012-09-27-12-00-12 Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-59-51 Screenshot_2012-09-27-11-58-55


Eric Schmidt jumps on the Gangnam Style bandwagon

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 11:26 AM PDT

This is probably the strangest story we’ll write about all day here on Android Community, but here goes: old white men trying to keep up with the latest trends is nothing new, and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt just reminded us of that. He was recently spotted performing the dance that has taken the world by storm, Gangnam Style. No, we’re not kidding.


Schmidt’s dance session happened on a recent business trip to South Korea, where he got to dance alongside PSY himself. The video below gives us a brief glimpse at the dance, with Schmidt riding the invisible horse and giving into the craze that has captured so many different people around the world. Have a look at the video to see for yourself.

The video is only a few seconds long, but to be honest, it looks like Schmidt didn’t do too bad. Naturally he isn’t as good as PSY, considering that his chosen career path has led him to become a business executive and not a South Korean rapper, but we have to say that we’re impressed nonetheless. Perhaps we can hope for a encore at the next Google Shareholders meeting? Send Schmidt your emails ladies and gentlemen – let’s make this happen.

Despite the fact that we’re giving Schmidt a hard time for giving into the Gangnam Style craze, we can’t help but smile. It’s good to see Schmidt relax a little bit and have fun, and it’s even better that Gangnam Style is a part of that. There is one problem though: now we’ll be listening to this song all day. Thanks Schmidt.

[via Phandroid]


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