Tech News

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Update - 280



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 03:17 PM PDT
Google Wallet
Google Wallet has seen another update, and this time Google has made all sorts of improvements and enhancements to the app. Per the change log in the Google Play store:
  • Prepaid Card top up forms more flexible
  • Citi Mastercard management improvements
  • UI improvements
  • Privacy enhancements
  • Bug fixes
  • Updated Terms of Service
The most interesting, on the surface anyway, would be the UI improvements. They must be very subtle, because we're not really seeing any. It's the same fluid and simple UI that has been there for a while, and while we're not complaining, we just don't see any improvements. We're pretty sure that some of this change log is just leftover from the last update. It's OK, Google. We all slip.
We can certainly get on board with improvements, though. Bug fixes are always welcome, as are privacy enhancements. Anything to keep our money safer is a good thing. You'll also be faced with the new terms when you update, and we suggest you read them carefully. There's nothing there you wouldn't expect, but it's always wise to stay informed. 
All the ballyhoo aside, we expect the biggest thing behind this update are new privacy enhancements and bug fixes, and we're glad to see them. You'll find your update in the market, or you can hit the link after the break.
Thanks, Beezy!



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 02:09 PM PDT
HTC Golf (Wildfire C)
Looks like HTC may be preparing to bolster its entry-level line up with a new member of the Wildfire family. The image above leaked out today on PocketNow, claiming to show the HTC Wildfire C, previously known by its codename "Golf. A list of purported specs appeared alongside the pic, claiming a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, 4GB of internal storage and a 5MP camera. On the software side, the device apparently runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC Sense 4. Again, no surprises there.
If the specs are accurate, it looks like this phone will be positioned below the HTC One V, which includes a slightly larger, higher-quality screen. And if the history of the Wildfire name is any indication, we'd carriers to offer the 'Wildfire C' for free on fairly low-cost contracts.
Source: PocketNow




Posted: 13 Apr 2012 01:25 PM PDT
Lloyd
Oh, that Lloyd. Everybody's favorite Android Central mascot sure does get around.
We've seen him in Kuwait. He sneaked into the iPad 2 launch. He crashed the BlackBerry PlayBook party. Invaded Minecraft. Plays beer pong. So, yeah. Dude gets around. And here he is in Khartoum, Sudan. Not quite sure what he's doing, but damned if he don't look good.



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 01:00 PM PDT
Dolphin Browser HD
For some folks, using the stock Android browser just isn't something they do. One alternative browser out there is Dolphin Browser HD and its had a fair amount of success on the Google Play Store and they've just rolled out the latest update bumping it to version 8.0 that adds some noteworthy enhances.
  • Re-designed Dolphin Sonar and Gesture: New interface, design, and easier access to help menu
  • Menu bar: New design that gives easier access to most commands without having to leave the home screen
  • Add-on Sidebar: New design that displays both Add-on icons and names
  • New context menu and long press menu for more efficient browsing
All of that plus the usual stability and bug fix improvements have been included with this release. The addition of visual aids in the sidebar has been a long time coming and is certainly appreciated. You'll find some screenshots and the download past the break if you want to get a better look.
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Posted: 13 Apr 2012 12:11 PM PDT
HTC EVO Design 4G
If you own a HTC EVO Design 4G, odds are you may have already seen an update hit your device, and if not now would be a good time to check for one. Unfortunately this isn't the Ice Cream Sandwich update that we are all anxiously waiting for. This update is aimed towards some security fixes which is something we have seen HTC do previously. Hopefully this is just one step closer to the ICS update, but for now be sure to grab the update, and as always sing out in the comments if you notice anything else that has changed.
Source: Sprint



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 10:12 AM PDT

U.S. Cellular
U.S.Cellular today announced its latest promotion, which features the carrier’s entire line of Galaxy S devices discounted up to $100 off their regular prices. The Galaxy S Aviator, the regional carrier’s flagship 4G device, is now available for $99 after mail-in rebate, though you’ll have to live in an area covered by U.S. Cellular’s LTE network to take advantage of the discount. The Samsung Mesmerize is down to $49.99 after instant savings, while the Galaxy S II, now available in white, is down to $179.99 after mail-in rebate.
The promotion also brings the addition of three heavy hitters to U.S. Cellular’s prepaid lineup. Starting today, the HTC Hero S, the Motorola Electrify, and the Samsung Galaxy S II are all available on prepaid plans; the Hero S will set you back $299.99, while the Electrify and the GSII will cost a cool $399.99.
No word on how long the “limited time promotion” will last, but if you’ve been holding out for your shiny new Samsung smartphone, this weekend might be high time to pull the trigger.



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 09:56 AM PDT
Sony Xperia Arc S
Here we go, boys and girls! Sony's kicked off its initial round of Ice Cream Sandwich updates today. First up are the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray -- but only if you're in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Norway. (Fine places to be even if you're not waiting on Ice Cream Sandwich.) The update will be pushing over the next four to six weeks.
You'll need a Mac or Windows machine to update (boooooo, lack of over-the-air upgrades!), and Sony says it'll have additional information on the next round of updates at a later time. For now, if you've got a Scandinavian Xperia -- here's the complete list of phones for this round of  updates -- hit the links below to get going.



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 09:23 AM PDT
Coachella
We can't all be at Coachella this weekend, which sucks. Hard. But that doesn't mean we're going to miss out on all the incredible music. Youtube again will be streaming more than 60 acts, and that's where Android comes in. Probably the best way to watch is going to be from Google TV on a big screen. But because we're talking Youtube, we'll also be able to watch on our smartphones. Or on our Android tablets. Or, we suppose, on a laptop. 
It all starts this afternoon at 3:50 p.m. PDT (that's 6:50 p.m. on the east cost). Steer yourself over to the Coachella Youtube Channel for all the music. You're not going to want to miss this. Check out the trailer video after the break.
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Posted: 13 Apr 2012 08:56 AM PDT
Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight
Barnes & Noble has now taken the covers off their latest NOOK device headed to store shelves and online just in time for Mother's day, Father's day and graduations. The NOOK Simple Touch introduces the GlowLight screen that looks to solve the many concerns of folks reading in the dark be it the fact you don't want to wake others or just simply that you find reading in the dark strenuous on the eyes.
“To date, readers have had to compromise: either buying black-and-white E Ink reading devices to optimize their outdoor reading or color LCD devices to be able to read at night in bed with the light off. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is like two Readers in one,” said William J. Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble.
The NOOK Simple Touch weighs in at just under 7 ounces, will retail for $139 and will be available in early May. Couple that with the notably long lasting battery life of the NOOK series, WiFi support and enough storage space for up to 1,000 books it makes for an ideal E Ink reader. You can jump past the break for the full press release or just head over to the source link for more information.
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Posted: 13 Apr 2012 07:53 AM PDT
EVO 4G LTE
Michael24j asks this in regards to the upcoming EVO 4G LTE, but it's just as relevant for phones like the LG Viper and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus:
With only five or so markets with LTE this summer, is it worth it?
I currently have the EVO 3D, (and the original EVO 4G) and have for almost two years gotten use to using 4G Wimax. However, I live in an area that probably will not be on a LTE rollout priority list anytime soon. Was wondering if anyone else out there is going to wait to buy this because you will have to return to Sprint's horribly slow 3G network or if you are planning on getting it regardless? I want the new stuff with the phone and really never use the EVO 3D, but I don't think I could live without 4G.
And that's a tough question a lot of folks are going to have to ask themselves. Stick with an older phone and continue to use Wimax (while it's still around, which will be a little while yet)? Or upgrade and wait on your township to get Sprint's new 4G LTE data while making do with 3G.
As a reminder, Sprint has announced Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Baltimore and Kansas City will be its first cities with 4G LTE.
We tackled this one on this week's podcast. And the consensus among us was that it might be worth waiting a little bit. For as stoked as we are about the HTC One line -- and the upcoming EVO 4G LTE -- if you rely on Wimax data (or are just really, really used to having it), you'll likely be happier with what you've got now instead of waiting in the slow lane for LTE. Either way, here's to hoping Sprint expedites its LTE rollout.
Should Michael24j wait? Are we crazy? Let us know in the EVO 4G LTE forums.



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 07:52 AM PDT
Friday's here, which means we've got one more giveaway for everyone before the weekend.  Today's giveaway items include the Motorola Platform HD Dock, Case-Mate POP! Case for Droid RAZR, Seidio ACTIVE Case for Nexus S 4G, and the Seidio SURFACE Case for Samsung Stratosphere.
To become eligible to win one of these featured items, just leave a comment below stating which accessory you'd like for your Android device.  We'll select one lucky winner at random and announce them next week, along with all the giveaway winners from this week. Good luck!

Motorola Platform HD Dock


The Motorola Platform HD Dock has a unique design that allows for use with most Motorola Tablets and Smartphones so one station meets all your multimedia needs.The sliding connectors and back plate adjust to fit multiple devices with or without a carrying case, extended capacity battery door or wireless charging door. Connect your phone or tablet to your HDTV or monitor to watch the action on the big screen. Works with Droid 4, Droid XYBOARD 8.2, XYBOARD 10.1, Atrix 2, Photon 4G, and Droid Bionic.
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Posted: 13 Apr 2012 07:30 AM PDT
Iron Man Mark VII
The Avengers will assemble on May 4th in theaters and is sure to be a hit given Marvel's past record with some of their box office entries. To celebrate celebrate and offer fans something to hold them over until the movie is released, Marvel has teamed up with Loud Crow comics to offer Iron Man Mark VII in the Google Play Store. It features music from the soundtrack, 15 pages of interactive slides that react to different touches and offers a read to me mode. No doubt, it's a promo app but it's a really cool promo app and worth a look if you're a Marvel Comics fan.
read more



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 07:11 AM PDT
Android Central
First there was Pocket Legends, then came Star Legends. Today sees the latest MMORPG effort from Spacetime Studios, Dark Legends, released into the Google Play Store. It also stakes the claim to be the first game of its kind to launch simultaneously mobile and desktop versions. It is also available in the Google Chrome store, on Mac, PC and Linux. 
The Legends series has become a huge smash hit worldwide, with over 7 million downloads of the first two games. If you've played either Pocket or Star Legends -- and there's a good chance you have -- then you'll feel right at home. New players can sign in with email, or via Facebook, and existing Spacetime account holders can just sign right in and play. 
First impressions are good, with the familiar gameplay taken in a new direction with the undead twist. It'll run you for a grand total of free in the Google Play Store, and you'll find download links along with the full presser after the break.
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Posted: 13 Apr 2012 07:01 AM PDT
Deal of the Day The April 13 ShopAndroid.com Deal of the Day is the Body Glove Icon Slide-On Case for HTC Rezound. The Icon is a hard shell case with a metallic soft touch top and black soft touch bottom. Chrome accents complete the stylish look, and the slim hard shell offers durable protection from bumps and scratches.
The Body Glove Icon Slide-On Case is available for just $12.95 today only, 48% off the regular price.  Get yours while they're in stock!



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 05:45 AM PDT
Android Central
It might only be April, but the Angry Birds are already preparing for summer, with the launch of a new update to the original app for Android. Version 2.1 of Angry Birds introduces an additional 15 tropical-style levels and a new beach theme, if you prefer something a little more down to earth after the birds' interstellar adventures.
As for the gameplay itself, it's probably safe to assume you'll still be smashing pigs and taking eggs. We've got the usual Google Play Store linkage after the break.
read more



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 04:56 AM PDT
Vodafone Galaxy S II
Good news, long-suffering Samsung Galaxy S II owners on Vodafone UK! Your Ice Cream Sandwich update has finally arrived! Following one last delay yesterday, the Android 4.0.3 update for Voda-branded Galaxy S II's begins rolling out today through Samsung's Kies software today.
ICS updates for the Samsung Galaxy S II first began pushing out in Korea and parts of Europe in mid-March. Vodafone says that its update has undergone "careful testing to ensure the highest level of quality for our customers."
The network adds that today's update will begin pushing out to handsets automatically from next Tuesday, April 17, so if Kies isn't your cup of tea, then you'll soon have the option to install over-the-air.
Source: Vodafone



Posted: 13 Apr 2012 04:29 AM PDT
Posted: 12 Apr 2012 10:46 PM PDT
Kindle Fire
We're about six-months in with the Amazon Kindle Fire, and we're wondering. We know that Amazon sold a good many Fires, and there's even a nice little support community for the 7-inch tablet. We get it -- it's very solid hardware, had the backing of Amazon, and hit the sweet spot in pricing. That's a lot of checks in the plus column, and we can see why it was a popular seller.
But as mentioned, we're curious about how many of you good folks picked one up, and are still using it. Let us know in tonight's poll!




Posted: 12 Apr 2012 07:34 PM PDT
From the Forums
It's been a busy Thursday for Android news. If you happened to miss out on any of it, you can take some time to get yourself caught up here on the blogs. Plus, if you're looking for more Android discussion the Android Central forums are always open for business, hop on in.
If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.



Posted: 12 Apr 2012 06:15 PM PDT
Stock Talk
Today Google announced its latest set of financial results.  Not too shabby, either. Google's also splitting its stock by way of introducing a new class of shares. It sounds all complicated and stuff, but it’s really no big deal.  I’ll do my best to explain it in plain English for everyone.
First let’s look at Google’s results:
Google generated $10.65 billion in revenue for the first three months of 2012. That’s a mighty healthy 24 percent growth from the year-ago period. Operating income was up 32 percent.  Earnings per share (EPS) was $10.08, compared to $8.08 last year. In case you see headlines highlighting different earnings per share, keep in mind Wall Street usually cares about the “non GAAP” earnings, which is what we're talking about here.
The financials tell us that Google is growing at a good clip, and earnings are keeping pace with revenue growth. All of that is good news. Considering how dominant Google is in search and content advertising, it’s not like we were expecting profit margins to shrink.
The stock market likes the numbers so far. The $10.08 in EPS compares to Wall Street expectations of $9.64. Google stock was trading up about 3 percent in after-hours trading.
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Posted: 12 Apr 2012 05:52 PM PDT
Android Central Podcast
It's Android Central! It's a podcast! It's the Android Central Podcast! And it's happening live, right this very second!

Watch the Android Central Podcast!




Posted: 12 Apr 2012 05:22 PM PDT
SPAM!
jair asks in the Android Central forums:
Hello guys,
Today, April 12th around 1 p.m. CDT, I started getting this strange plus green symbol on my EVO 4G notifications bar (I will be attaching two pictures here) Has anyone perhaps mention anything about this? Notice the green + sign in the notification bar.
Here is when I open it: there is a spam about dating and girls site or something. Please help what should I do to get rid of this and protect from happening again, also this will help others to prevent get the same spam.
Thank you!
Ugh. It looks you ran into what's commonly called an "airpush" ad. They come from certain advertisement SDKs that put that notification bar spam there, hanging all out and trying to get you to click it. They are inherently evil, like Reagan in the Exorcist kind of evil. Good thing finding which app is doing it is fairly easy.
Grab Lookout Ad Network Detector from the Google Play store. It's free, and will scan all your apps to see what they can, and can't do. One of the apps that gets listed as able to place ads in the notification bar is the culprit. Uninstall it, and never look back.
It's worth noting that just because an app can put ads in the notification bar doesn't mean they are doing it. Different capabilities come from different ad SDKs, and some folks may have the ability and aren't using it. We call them the good guys.
Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!


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