Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Apple “rubber-banding” patent invalid according to USPTO

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 09:32 AM PDT

Apple and Samsung have had their fair share of up and downs in court this past few months, but Samsung recently took a pretty big beating. Today however things are about to take a large change in direction. Apple’s “bounce back” feature also known as rubber-banding has been ruled invalid today by the USPTO. More details below.

The bounce-back scroll effect was one of the most important patents for Apple in this case, and many others they’ve been pursuing. The one where the screen bounces back after reaching to the end of a page while scrolling. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office that patent (#7,469,381) is invalid and will be withdrawn due to "lack of novelty." We are far from the end result, but this could see that particular patent thrown out of court.

While we aren’t sure which party requested the USPTO to re-examine the patent, most likely Samsung was one of many. This patent was one of the biggest deciding factors in the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit earlier this year where all 19 of Samsung’s devices were found to infringe. Surely that was a big chunk of the 1 billion dollar lawsuit settlement ordered by the courts.

Samsung used this feature on multiple phones dating back to the original Galaxy S, but now simply use the more fashionable Android “glow” when reaching the end of scroll. While we can’t be certain how much this will change the ruling, it certainly adds another aspect and will lower those damages awarded to Apple — that is for sure. HTC is under fire for the same patent, and they aren’t alone so this isn’t good news for Apple’s legal team. Apple will appeal this decision so we are still far away from any final verdict.

[via SlashGear]

Samsung and LG may release 1080p smartphones early next year

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 08:35 AM PDT

Samsung and LG may be releasing 1080p smartphones in the early part of 2013, according to Korean newspaper MK News. Samsung and LG are two of the bigger smartphone creators on the market, and an extra-large, 1080p smartphone from them certainly makes sense. Who will bring one to market first? That, of course, remains to be seen.

Both phone designers have already been beat to the punch by HTC, who recently announced the 5-inch, 1080p J Butterfly. The J Butterfly features an impressive 440 ppi, which creates sharpness beyond what human eyes can even detect. It’s about as good as it gets, and we assume Samsung and LG’s devices would feature a similar pixel density.

LG has already shown off a 5-inch 1080p screen, which very well could be used in a smartphone. LG’s screen also features 440 ppi, so it would certainly rival HTC’s display. Sharp has also shown off a 5-inch 1080p display, and there has been rumors that Sony may be working on 1080p device as well. It’s clear that phones are going the way of 1080p, and Samsung and LG want to remain the leaders, they definitely need to push 1080 devices to market soon.

Of course, this is just a rumor for the time being, so we will have to wait and see what comes of it. It seems logical that these two smartphone giants would be working on a 1080p phone, but we will have to wait until we hear something official from the companies. As always, we will keep you posted on this as it develops.

[via MK News

US Cellular launches Alcatel One Touch Shockwave today

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 07:42 AM PDT

ALCATEL ONE TOUCH, a maker of affordable smartphones, today announced that its ONE TOUCH Shockwave would make its way to US Cellular. It’s a smartphone targeted at consumers looking for durable device that can handle the rigors of everyday life. It has a shock resistant casing, a damage-resistant Dragontrail tempered glass screen, and a water-resistant casing.

The phone is available through US Cellular starting today for $49.99 with a smartphone compatible plan. It is available on US Cellular’s website and at retail locations. It comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen and preinstalled apps for productivity, email, texting, and IM.

The phone comes with Android 2.3 installed and features an 800MHz processor. While not the most powerful phone on the market by any stretch, its durability and low price-point could make it an attractive option for some consumers. The phone also features a 3.2-megapixel camera for snapping those precious memories.

The press release does not mention if the device is 4G compatible. US Cellular does have 4G data available to 31% of its customers, and they plan to have 4G data available to 58% by the end of 2012. Either way, this looks like a good phone for someone looking to break into owning a smartphone at a low price.

[via Android Central]

AT&T announces Samsung Galaxy Note II available November 9, pre-orders October 25

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 07:09 AM PDT

AT&T has just announced that they are bringing the Samsung Galaxy Note II out on November 9 of this year. AT&T also announced that they are accepting pre-orders for the highly anticipated device starting October 25. Interested buyers can place pre-orders for the phone at www.att.com/galaxynoteii.

The Galaxy Note II will be one of the first smartphones on AT&T to offer a quad-core processor. It uses a 1.6 GHz quad-core Exyno processor. Of course, the phablet will feature a 5.5-inch screen, so it will offer some of the functionality of a tablet with the portability of a phone. It comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean installed. The Note II is definitely a beast and for AT&T users, this is some fantastic news.

The phone also has an 8-megapixel camera. It supports Share Shot and S Beam for sharing photos and videos. If you are looking for an ultra-powerful smartphone with all the latest toys and gadgets, the Galaxy Note II should be right up your alley. That is, as long as you are okay with carrying around a giant phone in your pocket all day.

AT&T will sell the Samsung Galaxy Note II for $299.99. Of course, for this price, you will be required to sign up for a two-year agreement, and if you already have AT&T, you must be eligible for an upgrade. AT&T did not release the no-contract price for the phone, so we will have to wait and see what the cost is to grab a device at full-retail.

Nextbook Premium 10SE comes with a 9.7-inch screen and an impressive price

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 06:29 AM PDT

Nextbook has announced its next reasonably priced tablet called the Nextbook Premium 10SE. This new tablet comes equipped with a 9.7-inch screen and a $279.99 MSRP. That’s a pretty solid price-point for a tablet with a screen just under ten inches.

The tablet is available for purchase now. The 9.7-inch screen supports a resolution of 1024 x 768. It comes with a number of pre-installed apps for cloud storage and reading. While it’s specs are not among the highest for Android tablets, it’s certainly solid when you consider the size and price.

The tablet comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich installed. It features a modest 1 GHz processor with 1 GB of RAM. The tablet comes with 8GB of memory and supports a USB port and a microSD card slot for up to 32 GB of additional storage. It supports Wi-Fi and OTA firmware upgrades.

The tablet also features a front-facing 0.3-megapixel camera, 25 pre-loaded digital books, an integrated speaker, and an MP3 player and photo viewer. It comes with everything you need to use it out of the box, even a protective sleeve. Radio Shack and Hastings actually have the tablet available for $249.99, which is $30 below MSRP.

[via SlashGear]

Toys “R” Us launches tabeo kid-friendly tablet in stores and online

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 06:13 AM PDT

Toys “R” Us has made its new tablet specifically designed for kids available on its website and at retail locations around the country. As was the case when it was available for pre-order, it costs $149. That tablet was first revealed back in September, and now it’s ready for primetime.

Toys “R” Us definitely timed the release for this tablet perfectly, with the holiday shopping season right around the corner. While it’s great to see a tablet for kids, this one is certainly not going to blow away any specification benchmark testing. It has a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor with 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage.

The tablet also has a micro SD slot available for expansion. It features seven-inch screen with an 800 X 480 resolution. The tabeo has support for micro-HDMI output, micro USB 2.0 port, and integrated Wi-Fi. It also features a front-facing camera and a microphone.

Toys “R” Us is getting further prepared for the holiday shopping season with all kinds of accessories available for the tablet. The accessories range from $5.99 to $39.99. Some available accessories include HDMI adapter cables, screen protectors, folio case stands, a stylus pack, and more. Will this be the hot new item for holidays? Only time will tell, but putting more Android tabets in more hands is always a good thing, and this tablet gets them started young.

[via SlashGear]

Amazon calls Kindle Fire HD a “best-seller” and announces a new OTA update to celebrate

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 05:27 AM PDT

Amazon has recently described the Kindle Fire HD as the “#1 best-selling product across all of Amazon worldwide.” That’s some pretty serious sales if accurate. Of course, since Amazon almost never releases actual sales figures when they talk about products a little skepticism is needed. Maybe it is the best-selling thing on Amazon ever, or maybe they mean it’s the best-seller this week. Without numbers it’s hard to be sure.

Amazon also said that it holds the title of most popular 7-inch tablet on the market. Again, no numbers were given, and we aren’t sure if Amazon has sales data on all of the competition. Still, it would not be too surprising, as the Kindle Fire line has always seemed to be quite popular, and we could easily see it being the most popular tablet, especially with the marketing power of Amazon behind it.

To celebrate Amazon’s good news, they have announced continued support for the Fire HD line, starting with an OTA update soon. Users will receive a notification when the update is ready for download. This new update will roll out one of the new features Amazon talked about when the announced the Kindle Fire HD called FreeTime.

FreeTime allows parents to take control over how their children use their Kindle Fire HD tablets. It allows parents to control what media their kids can watch and for how long they can watch it. It also lets them restrict use of games and anything else they want to limit. It could make the Fire HD a great holiday gift and help it keep its “best-selling” status.

[via SlashGear]

Sony 5-inch 1080p flagship ‘Odin’ smartphone leaked

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 04:32 PM PDT

If you’re excited about the idea of 5-inch 1920 x 1080p full HD smartphones we have another one to show you today. Now that HTC’s announced their J Butterfly (and HTC DLX for Verizon) with a 5-inch 1080p HD display, Sony is looking to join the fun. Today some images have surfaced of what could be Sony’s next flagship smartphone.

A few weeks back we reported on some recent findings of Sony’s next big smartphone codenamed “Odin” that was appearing in some user agent profiles complete with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Today however the folks from Android Police have what appears to be the first image of Sony’s new “phablet” along with some awesome sounding specs to go with it.

According to their sources the image you see above is the new Sony Xperia C650X that many have heard of simply as Odin. Their stating this 5-inch smartphone will rock an impressive 1920 x 1080p full HD resolution (441 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and more. Basically Sony’s version of the J Butterfly from HTC.

Looking at the image the device appears to maybe have a “dummy case” protecting the true shape, and in the hand it also looks a bit smaller than 5-inches if you ask us — although you never know with that angle. Android Police states the EXIF data on the image had some heavy traffic in PhotoShop, although the photo looks quite real and unaltered. We’re not sure we buy the 5-inch 1080p nature of this image but will have to wait until more details surface. As usual with any random leak, take this picture with a grain of salt. However, I’m sure some Xperia fans are pretty excited right about now if this ends up to be the real deal.

LG Optimus G Review

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 02:45 PM PDT

The folks from LG are reaching towards the high end with their latest smartphone. That being their new flagship LG Optimus G powerhouse. When you think of top-tier specs or a dream smartphone, the LG has almost everything you’d like. With an HD screen, quad-core processor, 4G LTE (sort of) and awesome hardware can this smartphone do it all and earn your hard earned cash. Read on to find out what we thought of the Optimus G.

With the LG Optimus G, the OEM is aiming for and hitting the top-end of the smartphone battle. They’ve tossed all of their lately technology, and others, into one and made one of the most powerful devices on the planet. LG’s really stepped up their game and hopefully they do the same with the software and update side of things. Can LG’s new flagship compete with the Galaxy S III and others? Only time will tell. Out of the gate we’ll be completely honest. This is an awesome all around device that is hindered by a terribly slow 3G network. AT&T’s model however has 4G LTE all across the country. More on that below.

This hardware needs no introduction, but we’ll run down the impressive list just to be sure. The LG Optimus G powerhouse rocks LG's new ZeroGap technology 4.7-inch TrueHD IPS+ display with a beautiful 1280×768 HD resolution. ZeroGap enables the display to be closer to the front glass for a crisper image, brighter colors, vivid text, and a better more accurate and responsive experience.

Under that beautiful HD screen is Qualcomm's (also brand new) Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz. You'll get 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage — which is not removable and swappable like the AT&T model — 4G LTE speeds in select cities, a 2,100 mAh battery and a massive 13 megapixel rear camera. AT&T chose to dumb down the camera, while the Now Network used the 13 megapixel BSI sensor for awesome images. Then you'll get a 1.3 front shooter as well. You should probably start with our hands-on and unboxing, then enjoy our detailed hands-on video below.

The hardware here from LG is excellent. It truly is. From the display, the simplistic yet unique design, their glass-like rear panel covering that 13 megapixel camera and more. LG’s hardware has always been fairly nice, it’s the software that worries most. Other than the Gorilla Glass 2 protected front, and rear panel, the rest is a hard plastic and feels extremely durable in all aspects. This is by far LG’s best smartphone to date. There’s no doubt!

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In the gallery above you’ll get another look at that stellar hardware. The power button is alone on the right edge and easy to locate, the bottom houses the micro-USB for charging and a few screws to keep the back and battery non-accessible without some work, then the microphone. The left edge gets the volume up/down, and when pushed at the same time enables their QuickMemo app to write on the screen. Then up top you’ll enjoy the 3.5mm headphone jack and that awesome 13 megapixel camera on the rear with LED flash.

LG’s crystal reflection design on the rear is rather unique. You get a lot of reflection from lighting that always makes the back look textured, but it’s smooth and very glass-like in feel. Although LG isn’t calling it glass, it certainly can be cracked so use caution. In the end the hardware gets a massive thumbs up from us. Only negatives is the 13 megapixel camera causes a large hump on the back, and the non removable battery or storage is something we’re against. We’ll end on a good note. The LG Optimus G has absolutely no carrier branding! So that’s a plus.


As you saw from our video above, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is extremely quick and stable, but LG’s skinned it to the teeth with customizations. While we actually loved all the options available, we almost feel as if they’re trying too much. Keep things sleek, simple, smooth, and stable and we’ll all be happy. Their home launcher is extremely customizable like many 3rd party options, as is their animation effects, battery meter on the notification bar and more. It’s a fine blend between a stock device, and a custom ROM. Very interesting approach. Menu’s have been completely redesigned, the launcher is very custom, Wise Screen keeps the display on as long as the front camera notices a face is present and more. They’ve done a lot of good things here, but plenty of bad too.

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I can’t help but feel as if they are slowly copying Samsung. Right down to the UI changes and sounds. Screen lock and unlock presents a nice water drop sound, exactly like the Galaxy S III that launched months ago. We also have a very similar S-Pen like function to draw on screen, save documents, or screenshot and take notes on images and emails. LG’s QuickMemo feature works great, and can be toggled with a widget in the notification bar, or holding volume up/down at the same time. For a better idea of all the changes mentioned above, and the hardware/software as a whole take a peek at our video review below.

Aside from the obviously changes shown above Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is exactly as we expected it to be. We’re impatiently awaiting Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to arrive, and even more impatient for 4G LTE. The Now Network certainly has been slow in that regard, and this device is completely cut off at the knees because of that. Without 4G LTE Sprint’s 3G network is painfully slow. To the fact that updating more than a single app in the Google Play Store takes forever unless you’re on WiFi. At least that’s the case here across the greater Las Vegas valley. Other than a few carrier specific apps there’s essentially no software bloatware or preinstalled apps, so that is a plus. Hopefully LG can get updates out fast and efficient, as that is another KEY aspect of staying in the top-tier along with Samsung and HTC.

Performance and Gaming
Enough talk about hardware and updates, how is performance? This thing is an absolute beast in all aspects. From browsing the web, enjoying some videos, playing HD games on that 4.7-inch display and more. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor is easily the most powerful chip on the market. Blowing past 7000 in Quadrant with ease. Seriously nothing stock comes close. This isn’t just impressive on paper — it’s impressive in general. Check out these benchmark results, as well as some hands-on videos with multiple games. The quad-core keeps everything running exceptionally smooth no matter the task!

As you can see from the videos above, gaming performance is absolutely stellar. Between that 4.7-inch HD screen and a quad-core processor this is the ultimate gaming experience for those who love mobile gaming. So, with the LG Optimus G you can be a gamer, multi-task with ease, blow through the benchmarks, and be a business professional with QuickMemo and more — all on a single device.

Phone and 4G LTE
As an actual phone the Optimus G is pretty great too. If you’re not all about gaming you’ll be happy to know the call quality is great, texting is easy with the massive display, and the external speaker gets fairly loud. The problem with the LG Optimus G here isn’t the hardware, software, or anything else. It’s the carrier! The Now Network is dead slow compared to the competition. Even T-Mobile’s aging 3G network and 4G HSPA+ blazes past the 3G of this device. I never once saw over 1 Mbps download speeds, not once. They are slowly rolling out 4G LTE but at the end of 2012 approaching Verizon reaches over 400 markets with their LTE, AT&T is in close second, and these guys will be lucky to have 30. Unless this device has 4G LTE the experience severely lacks without a capable WiFi signal to keep you company.

Rather than continuing to say why you should or shouldn’t get the Optimus G, we’ll just put it simple. 4G LTE completes this stunningly beautiful and fast device, and the device isn’t complete (or competent) without it.

Camera and Video
Just like the international version we’re working with a 13 megapixel camera here — and it is awesome. From daily photos, indoors, and low-light situations it performs great. You’ll compromise on the sleek design for a slight hump on the back but if you enjoy taking photos with a smartphone, this phone is a great choice. Here’s just a few of many we snapped along with a 1080p video demo.

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Battery is something we can’t accurately judge given that we aren’t using a 4G LTE network. But at the same time most users that opt to purchase this device won’t have 4G LTE yet for a few more months either — so it goes either way. Being equipped with a 2,100 mAh battery you’re likely to get through an entire day ok. The main factor hear is that 4.7-inch display. LG’s touted it to be more efficient than anything else, but so far it seems about the same as most. As long as you don’t have 6 hours of continuous screen-on use, you’ll make it through an entire day on a single charge. We’ve managed well over 24 hours with moderate usage. Here’s a quick screenshot.

Obviously once the battery hungry 4G LTE radios get churning under the hood these results will likely take a small dive. Until we can further test their 4G LTE network it isn’t known how much of an effect however. Qualcomm’s 4G LTE radios seem quite capable so this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

This device is clearly LG’s best device yet. They have added some of the most cutting edge mobile options all into one package. With an HD display, quad-core power, 4G LTE (sorta), a stunning 13 megapixel camera and more all while keeping it extremely sleek and user friendly. While the 4G LTE data speeds are extremely important to most, if you aren’t too worried about that front this is certainly the device to get from the carrier.

4G LTE and carrier problems aside, this is one stellar smartphone. LG and Qualcomm came together to produce a stunningly nice and powerful smartphone that will rival some old netbooks. In terms of the hardware this is by far one of if not the best smartphones available today. Hopefully now that LG is also making the LG Nexus 4 they’ll be quick to software updates. The only downsides I see to this otherwise excellent device is software updates, and the lack of a good data connection. You might need to head into your nearest Now Network retail store soon and get hands-on to truly feel the power yourself. Enjoy the rest of the pictures and camera samples below. Who’s buying?

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Google teasing new version of Google Wallet

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 02:09 PM PDT

Earlier today, we told you that Isis Mobile Wallet had launched in Salt Lake City and Austin with 9 supported devices on 3 different carriers. That’s big news, but not one to be outdone, Google has started teasing an announcement of its own. It seems that Google Wallet is about to get an all new version, and with it, Google is looking to tackle all sorts of other markets.

A teaser page has gone live at wallet.google.com asking users what kind of device they use. The options are Android, iOS, and “Other,” which seems to indicate that not only will this new version be coming to iOS, but also possibility to others like BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8. Once you click your device of choice, you’re taken to a page that states you’ll be getting an invite to the new Google Wallet sent to your Gmail inbox once the service is ready.

Other than that, we’ve got nothing. The details are painfully slim, but it’s obvious that Google is planning something pretty big. It looks like the Isis launch was just what Google needed to roll out a brand new version of Google Wallet, which is intriguing to say the least.

Indeed, the fact that Google waited until today to have this teaser page go live shows that the big G has no problem snatching away Isis’ thunder. The competition between these two is just what NFC mobile payments need in order to catch on with mainstream consumers, if you ask us. We look forward to seeing not only what Isis brings to the table, but what Google has planned as a response. Stay tuned, because things just got interesting.

[via Android Police]

Amazon cloud outage brings Reddit, Pinterest, Netflix down

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 01:41 PM PDT

Amazon‘s cloud services seem to be struggling a bit today, as our friends at SlashGear are reporting that a failure has brought down a number of huge sites like Netflix, Reddit, Pinterest, and Foursquare. The outage, according to Amazon’s own Web Service Dashboard, looks to be the fault of Amazon’s EC2 services, but we’re pleased to say that things are getting better. Whereas before, EC2′s status alerted that “new launches for EBS backed instances are failing,” at the moment, the status is “Degraded EBS performance in a single Availability Zone.”

So, things are getting better on Amazon’s end, and indeed, Reddit and Pinterest have returned from the ether, ready to help you waste all sorts of time yet again. We’re not sure exactly what’s going wrong over at Amazon, but this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Before, similar outages were blamed on overheating and automatic shutdowns, so perhaps the same thing is happening again today.

In any case, we’re not out of the woods yet, and we won’t be until Amazon’s status for EC2 reads that the “service is operating normally.” Outage Analyzer says that 71 different domains are potentially affected by this outage, and as we can see from the list of victims, some of the Internet’s most popular websites and services are included in that group. Outage Analyzer also says that there’s 100% chance the outage is due to a “Fault with Host,” so there seems to be no question that this was caused by problems on Amazon’s end.

At least things seem to be getting resolved quickly. If your favorite site is one of the big ones that have been claimed by this outage and it still isn’t up, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be long before service is returned, but then again, you never really know with things like these. Keep an ear to Android Community, as we’ll update you if Amazon make a statement on this particularly nasty outage.

Samsung Galaxy Premier GLBenchmark surfaces

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 01:02 PM PDT

A couple of weeks back, an image of the Samsung GT-i9260, otherwise known as the Samsung Galaxy Premier, surfaced. Today, the Galaxy Premier is showing up once more, but this time it isn’t in any leaked press shots. Instead, the GT-i9260 has popped up in GLBenchmark, and we’re learning from the listing that it may not be called the Galaxy Premier at all.

The GLBenchmark listins makes multiple references to the name “Superio,r” which suggests that will be the name of the GT-i9260 once Samsung officially announces it. Perhaps we’re looking at the results for the Samsung Galaxy Superior? That could very well be the case, and it’s worth pointing out that this handset was called the “Superior” back when it was rumored to be the next Nexus device.

Aside from the name, the GLBenchmark results also give us some additional information, showing that the GT-i9260 uses a PowerVR SGX 544 GPU. When that press shot released two weeks ago, it was accompanied by all sorts of specifications, telling us that the GT-i9260 will use a 1.5GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and 1GB of RAM. This GLBenchmark test also confirms that the display will be running at 1280×720 resolution and will be packing Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.

The Galaxy Superior (or whatever it will be called) sounds like a pretty decent phone, so now all we need is an announcement and we’ll be set. There’s no telling when Samsung will drop official word of the GT-i9260 either, so we’ll just have to keep an ear to the ground and hope to hear more soon. Keep it tuned here to Android Community for more information, as we’ll update you if new details surface!

[via Talk Android]

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