Tech News

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Update - 225



Posted: 16 Mar 2012 11:05 AM PDT
You may have noticed our awesome giveaway that starts today: two ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablets, with an extra two chances to win courtesy of our sister site, SlashGear. The promotion is made possible by NVIDIA, and we thank them kindly. NVIDIA’s probably done more than any other single company (with the possible exception of Google itself) to advance gaming on Android. But here’s the thing: awesome hardware isn’t enough. As great as the Tegra 3 and other next-gen platforms are for gaming, the games themselves have to be the focus if Android is going to be a major contender in the mobile gaming space.

I don’t mean to knock Android game developers – they do a great job and have a variety of awesome titles available. But here’s the thing: for the most part, consumers will buy an Android phone or tablet, then seek out games. That’s the opposite of what happens on iOS, where Angry Birds and Infinity Blade sell more phones and tablets than Siri does. Games make up a whopping 25% of app downloads in the Google Play Store, but Apple still has an undeniable advantage. This is an extremely general statement of course, but the gist is that people seek out games on iOS, while people settle for games on Android.
A perfect example is Mass Effect 3. BioWare’s epic conclusion to its trilogy is easily one of the biggest releases of the year, so naturally they prepared a mobile strategy to go along with it. This includes a paid mini-game and a companion app – but only on iOS. On Android, we have to settle for a live wallpaper (NVIDIA’s influence again) despite the almost certain fact that more Mass Effect 3 players are carrying Android-powered phones than iPhones. A lot of this can be attributed to Android users’ lack of enthusiasm for paid apps, but all the same, it’s a definite dis to players who want the full experience but have the “wrong” mobile hardware. Publisher EA has developers for Android – just today they released two new sports games in the Google Play Store. Where’s the love?

"The biggest game of the year, with an Android tei-in? Nah, give 'em a live wallpaper instead." -EA
It’s not just major releases either. I can’t count how many times I’ve written about an exciting new Android game, only to look and see that it’s been available for months (or years!) on iOS. Two perfect examples are Sega’s Super Monkey Ball 2 and Temple Run, the latter of which has some Android users frothing with anticipation. It’s hard to blame developers for focusing on a platform that has more users who’ll pay the paltry price for a mobile game and has an easier way to account for all current hardware, but all the same, it’s a frustrating reality.
So what’s the solution? Simple: Google and Android OEMs and suppliers need to start courting iOS developers directly. It’s not enough to make awesome hardware and chipsets, because as long as the iPad still has exclusives (and quite a lot of them) it’s got the advantage. LG is already doing something like this, in courting Capcom with Street Fighter and Resident Evil exclusives, which have also already appeared on iOS. But re-releases and old games won’t do it. Companies dependant on Android need to stop taking the scraps and start getting exclusives.

Disturbingly, this attitude would be pretty similar to the console gaming world, where Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo fight tooth and nail to woo top developers for established game series. But if Android gaming is to reach the heights of its competitor, this is what needs to happen. This means that companies will be trying to get exclusives not just for Android, but for their phones, tablets and chipsets – NVIDIA’s got an upgraded version of Sonic 4 Episode II just for Tegra 3 (a game that would probably be possible, if not optimal, on Qualcomm chipsets) and Samsung has exclusive levels of Angry Birds Space. It’s an ugly landscape for a dedicated gamer to wade through.
This being the case, Google is pretty much the only company with the pull to unite their efforts. While the big G has certainly encouraged Android gaming with dedicated sections of the Market and heavy (and presumably subsidized) discounts, they’re still taking something of a hands-off approach to the actual development process. So here’s an imperative, Google, NVIDIA et all: start paying for exclusive content. Not just the leftovers from iOS, but games that people will switch for. If by some miracle you could convince Double Fine Studios to release their new mobile adventure game on Android only, that’d be a good start.
Android has no end of hardware for gaming, not the least of which is controls and expansion that gamers crave. But what gamers crave most is the games themselves, and as long as iOS is the first (and all too often the only) stop for developers, Android will continue to be second best.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 10:51 AM PDT
Earlier this week we heard reports that Google might be looking to snatch up a few new employees to help out with their social side of things. The rumors suggested that Digg founder Rose, and the staff of Milk have been hired by Google. Today on Google+ Kevin Rose himself has confirmed the rumors and is excited about what the future holds.


Kevin Rose and his team that founded Digg is also responsible for some apps in the social scene. While their most recent application Oink was shut down recently after just 4 months on the market, that could possibly be because their plans to move forward with Google. Here’s what Rose had to say about joining forces with Google:
I'm beyond excited to announce that the Milk crew (Kevin Rose, Daniel Burka, Chris Hutchins, Joshua Lane) is joining Google!" "It's been a privilege to use Google products over the years (I still remember begging for a Gmail invite) and I can't wait to be a part of the amazing team that is shaping the future of the web."
Hopefully soon Kevin and his team will get their hands dirty over at Google, and start bringing some awesome things to the company. Rose has a long track-record in social, and a strong following from Digg and his Diggnation video podcast days. Most likely Google will be using Kevin Rose and his team from Milk to push their social network, Google+ forward. Milk was also an incubator for mobile apps like Oink and we could also see them working on the Google+ app for Android, and more.
While the details aren’t fully known we are hearing an upwards of 30 million was tossed around in the acquisition of the group, but nothing has been confirmed. Maybe this will be what Google needs for Google+ to start shaping up and become the next big thing while trying to take on Facebook and Twitter.
[via SlashGear]

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 10:17 AM PDT
Huawei recently announced their brand new Ascend D Quad XL with their own in-house custom built quad-core processor. No Qualcomm or NVIDIA Tegra 3 is present in this device. They’ve been touting it as the “worlds fastest” and some recently leaked benchmarks might be showing just that. Check out these impressive results below from Nenamark and a few other tests where the new Huawei quad-core tops the charts.


We had a chance to get a quick hands-on with the new Huawei phone during Mobile World Congress and it sure seemed fast running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but we weren’t able to do much testing like we have here. These benchmark tests show it competing against some of the best and fastest silicon around like the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core, and Samsung’s 1.4 GHz dual-core, and it beats them all according to these tests.

Above is a Nenamark result, a test we are more familiar with in the world of Android and here it has a decently large lead over the competition. Beating out the Tegra 3, and even Qualcomm’s new and still unreleased S4 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. Qualcomm has been saying it will perform better than quad-core chips and is more advanced with two Cortex-A15′s, but the Huawei here holds its own quite well.
We still haven’t seen what Samsung’s newest quad-core will be able to achieve, or their upgraded dual-core either, but I have a feeling it will be impressive. Apple’s new A5X in the new iPad is supposed to be equally impressive and 4x as powerful as the Tegra 3 in gaming, but that hasn’t been proven yet. It looks like things are really starting to heat up in the SoC game with Qualcomm, NVIDIA, TI, Samsung Exynos, and now this Huawei processor. I can’t wait to see more and look forward to seeing these upcoming phones from Huawei as they start to finally make a push for the high end market.
[via Phandroid]

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 09:11 AM PDT
Google TV is still available in the US only, but if you’re an immigrant or expatriate longing for the soothing TV shows of home, you’re in luck. Google just announced via its Google TV blog that a host of international channels are being added to the Google Play Store, specifically designed for viewing on Google TV. All the new apps feature localized content for free… just not local to their respective nations. That’s right, you still have to reside in the United States (or be pretty handy with a proxy) to get to any of it.

Seven new channels have been added: PPTV for greater Asia, IslamBox and Al Jazeera for middle-eastern content, Yupp TV for India, Raaga for South Asia and Crunchyroll for Japan. Euronews covers all of continental Europe in English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian. Some of these apps (like Al Jazeera) were already available. The added channels bring a variety of traditional media and web-based content to Google TV, which could certainly use all the help it can get.
The irony of international apps on a platform that remains US-only is probably not lost on the Google TV team, but they didn’t mention it in their post. Google remains steadfast in their intention to bring Google TV to more countries, but so far concrete plans haven’t been announced. Eric Schmidt said earlier this year that 50% of televisions would have Google TV in 2012, a goal that seems somewhat unlikely as the first quarter draws to a close. Google TV’s showing at CES, where only Sony and Marvell had new hardware to show, was less than promising.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 08:09 AM PDT
The rolling ball of speculation and rumor that is the Nexus Tablet keeps going. This time the perpetrator is Android and Me, who quotes a “supply chain source” reaffirming previous rumors that ASUS is the manufacturer of choice this time around. There’s a twist in the story, though: the source claims that the much-anticipated ASUS MeMO 370T Tegra 3 7-inch tablet showed off at CES is no more, and has been scrapped in favor of the Nexus Tablet or whatever it’s being called this week. The price target is reportedly $150-200, something that just about anybody (except maybe Apple) can get excited about.

That’s an intriguing statement, considering that we previously ruminated that the Nexus Tablet sounded like a cheaper version of the 370T. The source goes on to state that it”s a “done deal”, though the cheaper retail price necessitates going with some cheaper materials, including scrapping the quad-core Tegra 3 altogether. A Snapdragon S4 would seem like a smart alternative, getting bigger volume and a lower price without much of a hit in performance. It would probably mean a cheaper plastic construction as well, and possibly a loss-leader price model to give Ice Cream Sandwich a foothold against the iPad.
As if that wasn’t juicy enough, the source claims that the Nexus Tablet will be introduced at CTIA in May, not Google’s very own IO conference in late June. Both could technically be correct: Google could announce the tablet in May for a June release, then give it away to Google IO attendees as they’re in the habit of doing. A few of our regular readers will certainly be upset if the ASUS MeMO 370T doesn’t come to market; the prospect of a 7-inch, quad-core 720p ICS tablet is mighty tantalizing. But an official Google tablet for $150? That’s the stuff of dreams. We’ll see if they come true.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 08:05 AM PDT
Who wants to win the ultimate tablet experience from Android Community and NVIDIA? If you’ve been eying an Android tablet, and don’t want to wait in those ridiculously long lines for that other iDevice available this week, then Android Community has you covered with our ASUS Transformer Prime Quad-core Bundle Giveaway. Where we have not one, but two of these bundles to giveaway to two lucky readers. This isn’t just the tablet either. We are throwing in the Prime keyboard dock, and an awesome Powerbag Messenger carry case meant for tablets with a built-in battery. Get all the details below.


Like mentioned above, this is more than just a tablet giveaway. This is the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core powered Transformer Prime with the 4-Plus-1 processor for ultimate performance, enhanced gaming, and superior battery life. NVIDIA has been kind enough to partner with us and have included the Transformer Prime Keyboard Dock that also extends battery life an additional 9 hours with its built-in battery, and the PowerBag Tablet Messenger case mentioned above, which features a 6,000 mAh built-in battery giving you another 8-9 hours and will even charge your phone. Once combined you have the ultimate powerhouse tablet that will last for days. With the keyboard you wont have to hunt and peck on-screen either, instead you’ll have that full keyboard for all your productivity needs.
With all the performance from the quad-core processor, and TONS of battery life you’ll be able to enjoy countless hours of NVIDIA Tegra 3 optimized THD games from their own TegraZone.com site that features 20 console quality games for Android Tegra-powered tablets. Enough of that! How can you win your own?
The rules are incredibly simple. Just follow the few guidelines outlined, and check out the full instructions below for the two ways you can win, and you could be the lucky winner of this complete tablet “pack” for the ultimate Android tablet experience. Pretty good deal right? Here’s how to win:
1. "Like" us on Facebook: /AndroidCommunity
- Leave a comment in [this Facebook thread] telling us one or more ways you plan to use the Transformer Prime quad-core tablet, or what Tegra 3 optimized games you can’t wait to play.
2. Circle us on Google+ at: +Android Community
- Leave a comment in [this G+ thread] also telling us one or more ways you plan to use the Transformer Prime and that quad-core Tegra 3 processor. As well as any games you’re dying to play.
- We'll pick a set of our favorites and select two random winners from that group on March 23rd!
It's just that simple guys! You may only submit ONCE at each place, and only ONE comment of yours will be eligible to be our random winner out of the best comments. Then we’ll choose the lucky winners and he/she will be enjoying that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, HD screen, blazing fast graphics and gaming performance with the Tegra 3, and all the battery power you’ll ever need. For two more chances to win check out the the similar giveaway on our sister site SlashGear right here.
Here are the full rules:
Rules
Giveaway begins March 16th, 12:01AM PST, and ends Friday March 23rd, 12:01AM PST barring any complications finding the winners. Both winner will be announced here in the main news feed and at our official Facebook/Google+ pages.
Competition is open to residents of the US only, over the age of 18. One entry per person. Family members of NVIDIA and SlashGear/Android Community are not permitted to enter. Competition entries are only accepted via the specified Android Community Facebook and G+ page; entries left in the comments section of this or any other post will not be recognized.
The winner will be contacted by an AndroidCommunity/SlashGear staff member upon being selected and will be expected to respond to that staff member; they will be expected to respond within 24 hours else their prize may be forfeit and another winner selected. Editors decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Winners agree that their name and details of their entry may be used for promotional purposes by, but not limited to Android Community, SlashGear, and NVIDIA.
Prize consists of a bundle including one ASUS Transformer Prime Amethyst Grey 32GB tablet, one Transformer Prime mobile keyboard dock, and one Powerbag Messenger bag. There is no other alternative for prize winner unless this prize should become unavailable, in which case Android Community reserves the right to substitute another prize of equal or greater value. Any questions can be directed to giveaway[AT]slashgear.com.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Transformer Prime
    Manufactuer : Asus
    Carrier : NA
    Announced Date : November 09, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    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:
  • 3.2.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 :


Posted: 16 Mar 2012 07:37 AM PDT
Were you smitten with the low/mid-range Galaxy Ace Plus the moment Samsung showed it off, with a complete lack of pricing or availability? Then prepare to be thrilled, assuming you live in the United Kingdom: the phone will be available at retail starting tomorrow, March 17th. Though Samsung said that the Galaxy Ace Plus would be available at various locations including Vodafone, they were carefully silent on the matter of pricing. Given the price of the former Ace model, something in the  £300-350 range seems likely.

The Ace Plus is a little smaller and weaker in the specs department than the original Galaxy S, but not quite as diminutive as the Galaxy Mini or Mini 2. In Samsung’s continuing quest to saturate absolutely every screen size imaginable, they’ve equipped the Galaxy Ace Plus with a 3.65-inch LCD screen with a 480×320 resolution. A 1Ghz single-core processor is paired to 512MB of RAM and 3GB of on-board  storage, plus however much you add via the MicroSD card slot. The rear camera is a respectable 5 megapixels, while the front camera is indeterminate, but definitely there.
The familiar combination of Gingerbread topped with TouchWiz is present, and no, you probably shouldn’t hold out for an Ice Cream Sandwich update. There’s nothing here that stands out in the very crowded field of Android smartphones, but then someone’s got to fill out the niches in the market. Samsung seems hell-bent on finding every single one (at least oversees) and who are we to stop them? The Galaxy Ace Plus will work on all UK networks, and supports HSPA+ speeds.

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 07:09 AM PDT
We’re still trying to get used to the new Google Play  moniker for the former Android Market, but Google itself is full steam ahead and has already released its forst notable update to the service. The 3.5.15 update to the familiar Vending APK doesn’t change things as drastically as the last one, but there’s still a few useful features you’ll want to check out, the first of which is the new My Apps section with tabs accessible by swiping right from the front page. The software should be rolling out to just about everybody in the next couple of days, but if you can’t wait, the guys at XDA have already put up an APK for one and all.

In addition to the aforementioned My Apps tab, reviews in the updated version offer a little more perspective. Users who have phone or tablet models recognizable to Google Play will show what model they’re using on an app review, giving some valuable feedback both to potential users and app developers. It isn’t perfect: custom ROMs sometimes gum up the works a bit, and reviews left via the web interface (where this feature has been active for some time) may not display a model either.
To install the new Market early, just download the APK from the source link above, copy it to your phone (unless you do a direct download) and install it via the standard non-Market method. Is that now “non-Google Play Store method”? Anyway, you don’t need root permissions or any particular version of Android to enjoy the new features. Those who don’t have forty seconds to spare should see the update come in automatically soon enough.
[via DroidLife]

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 06:33 AM PDT
We got quite a response when we noted that owners of the Samsung Nexus S were more than a little upset that the official Ice Cream Sandwich update was months overdue. Now Engadget claims an anonymous source saying that Google intends to sestart the long overdue OTA software process in “the next few weeks”. Take it for what it’s worth (and without a confirmed cource, it isn’t worth much) but it’s at lest a ray of hope that those who paid for Nexus hardware and timely software will finally get their money’s worth.

As noted above, owners of the Nexus S and Nexus S 4G have been frustrated with Google and Samsung’s glacier-paced response to their complaints. The official Ice Cream Sandwich update began in December for GSM models, but was halted almost immediately for more bug fixing. Three months later, the vast majority of Nexus S owners (and all Nexus S 4G owners) are without an official upgrade path to the latest version of Ice Cream Sandwich, a feature promised to them when they bought the phone, unlike other models that are already seeing updates.
There’s always the option of rooting the phone and installing a custom ROM, and indeed, many do just that to take advantage of the Nexus’ large developer community. But they shouldn’t have to: as a developer phone, any device with the Nexus label is supposed to get updates “as fast as humanly possible”. Between this slow response for the Nexus S and a seemingly lowered level of support for CDMA devices like Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus and XOOM, previously high levels of excitement for the Nexus program are steadily dwindling among Android enthusiasts.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Nexus S
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : T-Mobile
    Announced Date : December 07, 2010
    Release Date : December 16, 2010
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.00 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x800
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.88 Inch
  • Width : 2.48 Inch
  • Depth : 0.43 Inch
  • Weight : 129 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1500 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 713 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MP3
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Cortex A8 Hummingbird
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 1
    Ram : 512 MB
    Internal Storage : 16.384 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :


Posted: 15 Mar 2012 09:00 PM PDT
Around Android circles Asus is known for its Transformer series of tablets. But in the computer world, one of their most notable accomplishments of recent years is the Eee PC line, which basically invented the netbook segment and (formerly) lent its name to everything from all-in-one computers to tablets. Appropriately, the PC machines are now capable of running Android 4.0, or at least the Eee PC X101 is. The capability comes from the Android x86 project, which allows the open-source OS to run on hardware designed for desktop operating systems. The X101 is designed to run Intel and Nokia’s Meego operating system, but is capable of  running pretty much any x86-based OS.

This build is a long way from official – it’s not endorsed by Google or Asus, though the latter has extensive experience in making Android behave for a laptop form factor. Based on the video posted by Asus Campus Life, it’s also a little sluggish. Touching and dragging are emulated by the standard mouse buttons and touchpad on the laptop, with a few user interface tweaks added to the home screen for easier manipulation. The 10-inch screen is, interestingly, far less dense than most tablets (including both current Transformers) at 1024×600. WiFi and the input devices seem to be working well enough, including the volume buttons and the Escape key subbing for Android’s Back button.


There’s very little utility in running Android on a laptop that already has Windows, but it’s got a definite edge over MeeGo in the apps department. It’s possible that the more powerful hardware may be able to last longer on a battery charge running Android, but it’s a lot of trouble to go to for that. Still, if you’re hankering for a free OS, beggars can’t be choosers. Android 4.0 x86 is only demonstrated on the Asus Eee PC X101, but similar models (most of which share chipsets or graphics) should be able to use the same ISO image. Happy flashing!
[via SlashGear]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 06:47 PM PDT
HTC promised, and for at least a handful of AT&T customers, they delivered. Earlier today a few lucky HTC Vivid owners found an official Ice Cream Sandwich update making its way to their phones. Apparently it’s either a pre-release build that was sent out accidentally or AT&T’s scheduling is just mixed up, because they pulled the update almost immediately and said it would be ready “soon”. But of course, Android modders can’t really be stopped once a ROM is loose, and thanks to some of the fine folks at the XDA forums, we’ve managed to get ICS up and running on our HTC Vivid review unit.

As far as the software goes, this release is running Android 4.0.3 and HTC Sense 3.6, not the Sense 4.0 that’s on the One series from Mobile World Congress. The software is just as fast and responsive as Gingerbread, perhaps a tiny bit more so. The Quadrant results say the ICS software has massive 800+-point lead over the Vivid when we tested it back in November. I myself didn’t notice any dramatic gains, but you should certainly see better gaming and video performance.
The user interface on HTC Sense 3.6 is extremely similar to the former version, with just a few tweaks here and there courtesy of ICS. HTC’s launcher incorporates the automatic folders and color scheme of ICS, if only subtly. The bottom bar now has dedicated and customizable shortcuts/folders instead of a static “Phone” bar. But the real changes can’t be spotted until you get into the Settings menu, where a new Beats audio function is grayed out. Beats automatically kicks in when you connect headphones.

One of the most exciting things from Google’s presentation of Ice Cream Sandwich was the ability to disable “locked” applications even on unrooted software, and I’m happy to say that this remains on the Vivid update. Any app, be it from HTC, Google or AT&T, can be disabled and effectively cut off from your phone’s resources. That should be a major boon to anyone who likes to keep their software clean. Other little touches  remain as well, like the power+volume down screenshot shortcut, the more flexible app switcher (long-press the home button) and the ability to dismiss updates with a side-swipe.
Other than that, it’s very much the same phone, though I have noticed a tendency to drop down to EDGE data faster in my low-signal home. If you’re comfortable with Sense and HTC hardware in general it’s a very familiar experience, with extra ICS goodies for those who want them. The visuals aren’t quite as polished as Sense 4.0, but at this point Vivid owners should be ecstatic at the prospect of receiving a proper and relatively timely update in any case.
Check out our video hands-on below:


The nationwide ICS rollout for the Vivid should begin within a few weeks. If you’re the adventurous type (and you haven’t already unlocked and rooted your phone) you can install it via the instructions on the XDA link above. Keep in mind that it’ll be a while before root is returned to this updated software.
Screenshot_2012-03-15-19-45-21 Screenshot_2012-03-15-19-45-32 Screenshot_2012-03-15-20-03-43 Screenshot_2012-03-15-20-06-47 Screenshot_2012-03-15-20-07-06 Screenshot_2012-03-15-20-14-36 htc vivid ics
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Vivid
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : AT&T
    Announced Date : October 31, 2011
    Release Date : November 06, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.5 Inch
  • Resolution : 540x960
  • Screen Type : S-LCD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.07 Inch
  • Width : 2.64 Inch
  • Depth : 0.44 Inch
  • Weight : NA
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1620 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WAV
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : APQ8060
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    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 :


Posted: 15 Mar 2012 03:13 PM PDT
If you’re between the ages of 13 and 25, female, American, and at least mildly interested in romance topped with fantasy and science fiction, odds are pretty good that you’re a regular viewer of at least one show on The CW. While Hulu’s rather antiquated views on mobile content mean you’ve got to pay to watch The Vampire Diaries or Gossip Girl on Hulu Plus, there’s now an alternative: the official CW app. This brand-spankin’ new video service brings all of the CW’s original content to Android, and you won’t even have to dip into your lunch money to watch it.
Current show offerings include 90210, America’s Next Top Model, Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, Nikita, One Tree Hill, Ringer, Supernatural, The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, and more. Unfortunately the shows get a Hulu-style limitation to the last five aired episodes, and you can bet that none of them will play outside the United States. In addition to the videos, there are short clips, photo galleries, Facebook and Twitter integration, and a full schedule, the better to set your DVR by remote.
Surprisingly, the app has a pretty awesome interface on both Android phones and tablets. Borrowing a little inspiration from Netflix, the paneled tablet UI on the CW app is downright easy to navigate with big, friendly buttons. I wish more Android apps were handled with such grace. Unfortunately that’s still pretty rare, and The CW’s lineup doesn’t do much for those outside of its rather targeted demographic. Hey FX, can you take some notes here? I’d like to watch my Justified episodes on the go.

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 02:33 PM PDT
We’ve been hearing rumblings about a true Siri competitor from Google for months, and it seems to have been given the rather pedestrian label of Google Assistant (a big downgrade from Star Trek shout-out “Majel”). A new report from the Wall Street Journal indicates that Google is investing heavily in semantic search, leveraging the power of its unrivaled data collection to power both its desktop and Android search engines. Google search executive Amit Singhal confirmed that semantic are a big part of their latest initiatives.
For the uninitiated, semantic search tools attempt to search for content in a more natural way, allowing users to give search commands in a familiar tone rather than a set of technical commands. For example, the best way to find a Thai restaurant in your current city might be to manually input, “Thai food, Colorado Springs, Colorado”. But a more natural method, especially when speaking into a phone, would be “show me the three nearest Thai restaurants”. It must be said that while Android’s Voice Input and Voice actions are generally better at its defined commands and straight-up dictation, Apple’s much-lauded Siri does better with natural speaking.
Currently Google’s Search overhaul is expected late this year. With all that time, it ought to bring something good – if rumor can be believed, they’ve already been working on it for at least six months, and by the Apple will have spread Siri to most or all of its mobile line-up. We might see some early signs of the project at Google IO in June (hopefully alongside a Google Tablet) but we’re currently too far out to make any solid predictions.

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 02:31 PM PDT
The extremely popular game Words with Friends has finally received some competition, even if it’s from the same company. Zynga, the company behind Words with Friends, Zynga Poker and more has just released their latest hit and word sensation Scramble with Friends to the Google Play Store here in the US. Get it now and enjoy your new addiction.


This is Zynga’s next big game. Instead of seeing people play WWF everywhere you’ll see Scramble players instead. I gave it a quick try and at first glance is extremely awesome, although I’m getting my butt kicked. Scramble is similar to Words with Friends although you have a two minute time limit to find as many words as possible from a wall of random tiles. You can challenge friends on Android or iOS in 3, two-minute rounds of Scramble and use coins for additional help or to shuffle the board if you get stumped.
Each game requires coins and you only get so many, then have to wait 20 minutes for more. I’d rather just pay $0.99 for the game than wait 20 minutes to enjoy more gameplay. Hopefully they change this system as I see the coin system as the only thing that will hold this excellent and addicting game back.

The rule are simple. Slide your finger on letters to make as many words as possible — in 2 minutes. The only rule is each letter must touch the one before it, no skipping obviously. The coins can give you power-ups and special advantages to help your game, just don’t spend them all in one place.
Get ready to enjoy the latest crave in the world of word games, now available in the US and other areas for Android. Hit the link below and enjoy!
Scramble with Friends Link
scramble scramble2 scramble1 scramble3

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 01:31 PM PDT
EA Sports has just released two of their latest and greatest games for Android into the Google Play Store. Available today for around $5 is the new FIFA Soccor 2012 (football for the rest of the world) and NBA JAM. I personally have been waiting for NBA JAM but sadly like many of our readers, wont be able to enjoy it because they barely support any devices. Check out the impressive screenshots and details below.


I’m going to start off with a little rant. Looking at FIFA ’12 EA supports a wide array of Android devices. Including the new Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Multiple tablet sizes are supported including the Transformer Prime, and most decent phones released as of late. Then you have NBA JAMS, the game I actually wanted to buy. JAM supports the AT&T Galaxy S II, the DROID 4, and then a bunch of older devices with 4-inch or smaller screens. Nothing from the past 6 months is supported, and not a single tablet. What the crap is going on EA?
How they can release two games on the same day, yet support completely different devices is pretty poor. Obviously this was from different development teams and what not, but this just seems pretty pathetic if you ask me. I know the entire Android fragmentation issue can come into discussion here, but how can these two games be sooo different in terms of support.
Hopefully EA comes to their senses and updates these games, specifically NBA JAM with support for more devices, otherwise they wont be selling too many games. I am however, extremely happy to see these games are finally available for Android and can’t wait to give them a try. FIFA ’12 has 22 officially licensed teams and over 15,000 players, not to mention improved controls and instant replay.
NBA JAMS has the same awesome gameplay we’ve seen from the same game in the past. Huge bobbleheads and impressive slam dunks will make it amusing, and fun. You can also play against others over WiFi and Bluetooth. Good luck finding that many DROID 4 owners to actually play with though. Get both of these new awesome games from the links below and let us know what you think about these new releases in our comment box below.
FIFA 2012 Link
NBA JAMS Link
nba-jam nba1 nba2 nba3 fifa2012 fifa1 fifa2 fifa3

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 12:49 PM PDT
It looks like users of the HTC Vivid 4G LTE smartphone over on AT&T may have a tasty frozen treat waiting for them today. Yes this is the official Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update with the new HTC Sense UI 3.6 experience. Sadly AT&T has announced that the update is not, i repeat NOT rolling out, although multiple users have received it and a little trick will get you the update today. No hacking or root required.


It looks like the update is ready, but for some reason isn’t being officially pushed out to all users yet. A simple code you type in your phones dialer instead of a phone number is all you need. Multiple users over on XDA gave it a try and now have the official update and Android 4.0.3 ICS. similar to #646# to check minutes — just enter *#*#682#*#* and the update will pull right to your device. We aren’t sure if this will work for everyone, but seems pretty legit according to XDA.

As usual you can’t accept an official over the air update if your bootloader is unlocked. So either use the official HTCDev.com/bootloader relock tool, or check out this thread for more details. However, if you are completely stock just give the code above a try and enjoy the latest and greatest OS from Google and HTC on your very own HTC Vivid.
Let us know if things worked for you, and enjoy that improved Beats Audio.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Vivid
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : AT&T
    Announced Date : October 31, 2011
    Release Date : November 06, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.5 Inch
  • Resolution : 540x960
  • Screen Type : S-LCD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.07 Inch
  • Width : 2.64 Inch
  • Depth : 0.44 Inch
  • Weight : NA
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1620 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WAV
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : APQ8060
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    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 :

[via Android Police]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 12:15 PM PDT
The folks over at the huge pay site PayPal have taken the wraps off of their new mobile payment system. Aiming to take on the popular Square Mobile Payments they are calling this new platform PayPal Here. With a triangle mobile card reader that clicks right into your smartphone, users of Ice Cream Trucks across the nation can be excited.


The device pictured above plugs simply into the 3.5mm headphone jack and from there becomes a full on mobile payment solution. With the new PayPal Here app it makes everything dead simple, and extremely convenient. Obviously merchants can accept cash and such but what is the fun in that when you have this little gadget.
The PayPal Here application is more than just a card reader too. If you happen to forget the dongle you can use the app to scan the customers credit card and they’ll just need to input their zip code for billing, and the CVV code. The app will allow small business owners to work with inventory, send invoices, accept payments, and charge money to clients.


Then PayPal has assured us both the app and the dongle have a tight encryption and will stay safe should you lose or misplace them. The entire PayPal Here platform will be going live next week and the app and dongle both will be completely free, but there’s a catch. PayPal will send you the goods for free, but will be charging a flat rate of 2.7% for each transaction — just a hair less than the competition who charges 2.75%.
As an added bonus, if you use your PayPal issued credit card you’ll get 1 percent cashback making that 2.7% transaction fee actually be 1.7% instead. Every penny counts especially if you are busy doing lots of business. Currently this is only available for iOS and the iPhone but PayPal urges everyone in the Android world to get one too as they’ll be releasing the Android PayPal Here application very soon.
PayPal Here Link


[via SlashGear]

Posted: 15 Mar 2012 11:49 AM PDT
The popular Aakash Tablet has been discussed plenty. The $35 Android tablet designed for India’s student population, and we have good news today regarding the Aakash 2 next-gen tablet. It isn’t really next-gen in terms of tablets as a whole but in terms of what you get, and for the low price of $40, or possible free, it will be epic. New details have confirmed it will hit the streets of India in April for just $40.


The Aakash 2 tablet formerly known as the Ubislate 7+ has some better components and should be a much better overall tablet, and the performance should be much improved. According to Shanzia it will be available next month for students across India. Obviously it is still a ridiculously cheap tablet, but round two has some great specs considering the price.
The new Aakash 2 will have a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display (not resistive this time), a 700 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 3 hours of battery life. It might not sound like much but the previous model only lasted 2 hours if you were lucky, and the performance was quite poor. The new version should be around twice as fast, and we are hearing reports that it will also come equipped with the Android Market, now called the Google Play Store. Sadly we still only have Android 2.2 FroYo but oh well.
It looks like that plan to offer this free to students and teachers wont be happening after all. For $40 you can’t really complain though, because nothing else comes close to being that cheap, especially with a capacitive touch display. Stay tuned for more details and hopefully we’ll get our hands on one this time around.
[via liliputing]

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