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Dec 19, 2013 - 11:31 AM - by dgstorm
Not too long ago the Google Play Edition of the HTC One received the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update. Now we have new information suggesting the U.S. Carrier versions of the HTC One may get this update as early as next month. A tweet from HTC's Director of Product Management, Mo Versi, suggests the U.S. update will actually be coming in January and will bring the HTC One up to 4.4.2. This will of course include the newly enhanced Sense 5.5 as well.
That's not all we have though. It seems that the European carrier version of the HTC One will likely get the update around the same time or shortly after that. We will keep you posted when the updates start rolling out, so stay tuned next year!
Dec 18, 2013 - 10:56 AM - by dgstorm
Folks in Great Britain have a shiny new Christmas toy to put under the tree. The gold version of the HTC One is now available in the UK. To be clear, this isn't the actual 24-carat gold version from the Boutique dealer. This is simply the gold-colored version straight from HTC, but for HTC fans looking for a little bling in their smartphone, it fits the bill at a reasonable price.
The gold version of the HTC One can be found at the UK retailers Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u. It is available on contract and not SIM-free, so you will need to sign a new contract with a carrier to get it. Sound off if this is something you've been hoping for.
Dec 18, 2013 - 10:44 AM - by dgstorm
Although the merits of having a 2K resolution on a smartphone could easily be argued, that isn't going to stop manufacturers from making them. There's nowhere else that display tech can go but to higher resolution and increased PPI. It may not really enhance the user experience on such small displays, but it definitely will enhance the marketing chops for the OEMs. The first manufacturer to grab a feather in their had by introducing a consumer level smartphone with a 2K (2560 x 1440) resolution smartphone is the Chinese manufacturer Vivo.
Just this morning the company announced the Vivo Xplay 3S, which will be launching in Chinese markets in early 2014. The hi-res display isn't the only thing that makes this superphone standout though. Here's a breakdown of its high-end specs:
- 6-inch 2K (2560 x 1440) resolution 490 PPI display
- Snapdragon 800 (8974AB) 2.3 GHz processor
- Adreno 330 GPU
- 3GB of RAM
- 32GB of internal storage
- 13MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture
- 3,200mAh battery
- DTS sound
- Fingerprint sensor on the back of the device
It is highly unlikely this device will ever come to the United States or even Europe, but we will be one of the first to let you know if that changes. Is this a phone which would intrigue you if it came to your part of the world?
Source: Vivo via DroidForums.net
Dec 17, 2013 - 10:41 AM - by dgstorm
For folks on AT&T who were hoping to use their Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, your wish has been granted. An Android 4.3 OTA update has started rolling out that not only offers the newer features of Jelly Bean, it also includes support for the Galaxy Gear. Here's a quick changelog with the details,
Sound off when you start getting your rollout.
Samsung Galaxy Gear compatibility
Additional Premium Suite Features:
- Group Play 2.5
- Multi-Window (Note 3 Version)
- Camera – Shot & Sound
- Group Messaging
- Samsung Link (Preload)
- New Easy Mode
- Samsung Apps
Dec 16, 2013 - 11:03 AM - by dgstorm
For several months we have heard reports that Google's X Labs division is working on some very high-tech stuff in the robotics field. They have made it clear they plan to push forward with the development of robots designed to help eliminate some of the menial, repetitive and physically dangerous tasks within the industrial world. It now appears they have doubled-down on this agenda. Google has just acquired Boston Dynamics. This is a company famous for its impressive DARPA level robots, like BigDog and Atlas. Google snapped up the company along with all of the geniuses working there.
This renewed focus on robots has a fitting leader at Google as well. The new head of this division is none other than Android's former boss, Andy Rubin himself. Google's acquisition of this juggernaut in the robotics field proves they are serious about making Androids of the future more than just smartphones. Here's a quote with a few more details,
My favorite robot comes at the 8:21 mark. It approximates a humanoid structure in almost unbelievable ways.
Although the videos frequently inspire comments that the robots will evolve into scary killing machines straight out of the “Terminator” movies, Dr. Raibert has said in the past that he does not consider his company to be a military contractor — it is merely trying to advance robotics technology. Google executives said the company would honor existing military contracts, but that it did not plan to move toward becoming a military contractor on its own.
Under a $10.8 million contract, Boston Dynamics is currently supplying Darpa with a set of humanoid robots named Atlas to participate in the Darpa Robotics Challenge, a two-year contest with a $2 million prize. The contest’s goal is creating a class of robots that can operate in natural disasters and catastrophes like the nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima, Japan.
“Competitions like the Darpa Robotics Challenge stretch participants to try to solve problems that matter and we hope to learn from the teams’ insights around disaster relief,” Mr. Rubin said in a statement released by Google.
Boston Dynamics has also designed robots that can climb walls and trees as well as other two- and four-legged walking robots, a neat match to Mr. Rubin’s notion that “computers are starting to sprout legs and move around in the environment.”
Dec 13, 2013 - 10:08 AM - by dgstorm
CES is coming, and it appears that Asus will use the event to spring some new technology on us. They will be hosting their own press event on January 6th, entitled, "In Search of Incredible." While that is rather vague, it does draw interest. Currently there are very few theories as to what they will be announcing. If we had to guess, it's a safe bet it will be a new Transformer and/or MeMoPad product.
tuned on that day when we pass on their big reveal to you guys!
In case you missed the big "rumor" framed in brackets, we are chalking this up as -- yes -- rumor, but a good one it is. According to blogger Eldar Murtazin, who has a pretty good hit to miss ratio, Microsoft might be trying to woo Samsung into getting serious with its Windows Phone product portfolio. How serious? Pretty darn serious. The Redmond company has allegedly put as much as $1 billion, yes billion, on the table in the hopes that Samsung will bite and expand its Windows Phone product portfolio.
Microsoft has plenty of cash laying around, and what better way to spend it than get the Android handset manufacturing giant on board and helping to push the Windows Phone platform. We've all seen how Sammy loves to throw marketing dollars at their product(s), and with MSFT's financial support this could prove to be a pretty potent alliance.
Samsung certainly doesn't need the money, but with $1bn dollars on the table and no licensing fee's (another rumor), it sure looks like a very tempting proposition. A billion dollars can go a long way when you already have a couple of toes in the Windows Phone space. Readers? Should they take the bait or fuggetaboutit?
Dec 12, 2013 - 10:48 AM - by dgstorm
At first, Motorola announced that the launch of the Moto G across the United States was ahead of schedule and might ship around the 4th of December. Unfortunately some delays occurred after that which caused Moto to backtrack. In fact, a more recent delay was caused by the recent Winter storm across the U.S. and will now push the shipments of the device deeper into December. According to the latest launch forecast from Motorola, the Moto G will likely be delayed until December 17th or even later.
There is a silver lining to this story. Apparently, not all of the orders were delayed and some folks have already received or will be receiving their Moto G pretty soon. The Moto G should sell pretty well considering its amazing off contract price of just $179.99. Of course, the lack of LTE could be off-putting to some. Sound off if you are thinking of picking this up for yourself or a family member.
Dec 12, 2013 - 10:24 AM - by dgstorm
Despite the fact that the SGS4 is the predominant Samsung flagship currently, and we are already hearing rumors of the SGS5, there are still millions of users out there still sporting their trusty Samsung Galaxy SIII. For owners of the LTE (GT-l9305) version of that device, you will be pleased to know that the Android 4.3 Jelly bean update has started rolling out to that device. Even the the rollout has started, it will go out in batches so your particular device might not get it for a few days.
Also, keep in mind that if you are locked to a carrier, it will likely take even longer to get the carrier vetted update. Here's a quote with a makeshift changelog below,
CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS IN ANDROID 4.3 UPDATE
- GALAXY GEAR Support
- TRIM Support (Makes the device much faster)
- Core UI elements updated to the ones on the Galaxy S4 (Galaxy S4′s theme all over)
- New Samsung Keyboard
- GPU drivers have been updated (Higher GPU benchmark scores)
- New Lockscreen: Multiple Widgets, improved ripple effect than Android 4.1.2, ability to change clock size and set a personal message
- New Screen modes (From S4): Adapt Display and Professional Photo
- Driving mode
- Actionable notifications
- Move-to-SD-card feature
- New Camera mode : Sound and Shot
- New Additions in Notification Centre
- Completely revamped Settings UI (Tabbed interface – Exactly like the Galaxy S4)
- Implementation of Voice controls (Let’s you control various parts of the phone using voice commands – Galaxy S4 feature)
- New Samsung Apps: Calculator, Clock, Contacts, Gallery, Music
- Full screen Samsung apps
- New S-Voice (from Galaxy S4)
Sound off if you have your update yet.
Dec 12, 2013 - 10:08 AM - by dgstorm
Users will soon have some new Google Play Edition devices to choose from. Both Sony and LG announced Google Play Edition versions of devices. Sony announced the Z Ultra Google Play Edition and LG announced the LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition. Both of these devices will supposedly come from the factory with Android 4.4 KitKat onboard, and both are already available on the Google Play Store in the United States. The G Pad 8.3 GPE costs $349 and the Z Ultra GPE is $649. There's no word yet on when/if these models will come to other markets.
An interesting sidenote is that the LG V510 tablet which has been rumored for sometime was not a Nexus tablet as some had speculated. It turned out to simply be this Google Play Edition LG G Pad 8.3. Here are some links below to check out these offers.
Source: Google Play Store - LG G Pad 8.3 GPE & Sony Z Ultra GPE
Dec 12, 2013 - 9:55 AM - by dgstorm
Owners of the Sprint version of the Moto X might want to check for a tasty chocolate update on their device starting today. We have several reports that the Sprint Moto X has started receiving its Android 4.4 KitKat update. The changes are the same we have seen on other carriers, but here's a detailed list:
Motorola has done an outstanding job in rolling out updates to their Moto X. Of course, since they are owned by Google, we really can't expect anything less can we? Sound off if you started getting your Sprint Moto X update.
- Android 4.4, KitKat, is the latest release of the Android platform. KitKat includes enhancements such as restyled status and navigation bars, a new full-screen mode, color emoji support, improved closed captioning support, stronger security, smarter power use, and more tools and capabilities for better app development.
- Improved Phone Dialer app with the ability to look up contacts directly from the dial pad, see and tap frequent contacts, and search your corporate directory easily.
- Incorporated a new version of Google Hangouts that supports integrated SMS/MMS messaging. Hangouts can be set as the default SMS app under Settings>Wireless>Default SMS app.
- NFC Host Card Emulation support to improve experiences such as contactless payments, loyalty plans, transit passes, card access and more.
- Camera – Focus and exposure: Enhanced the “touch to focus” option with a new circular, on screen control that can be dragged by your finger around the viewfinder to adjust a photo’s focus and exposure.
- Gallery – Photo editing: Added new photo editing options to the Gallery app including new filter effects, draw on your photos, advanced cropping, and adjustments to color, exposure, contrast and more.
- Touchless Control – “Find my phone”: Added a new “Find my phone” command to Touchless Control. Just say “OK, Google Now-find my phone” and your Moto X will ring loudly to let you know where it’s hiding when you’ve misplaced it nearby.
Dec 11, 2013 - 12:11 PM - by dgstorm
Sprint's rush to upgrade their WiMAX network to 4G LTE has not been without some hiccups. They recently took some hits to their previously stellar customer service reputation due to network issues caused by their expansion. Despite these setbacks, Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse is confident that 2014 will be a breakout banner year for the carrier. He made it clear that their network enhancements, including the newly launched Tri-Band LTE Sprint Spark in Chicago will put them ahead of their competitors. Hesse compared the Sprint network rollout to the three little pigs, suggesting that Sprint is building a house of bricks while everyone else is building houses of sticks and straw.
Hesse also shared that Sprint is taking a long view approach to their growth, trading initial short-term difficulties for long-term gains. He said,
He also shared,
"We will see churn get worse as we build Network Vision. And then it starts to improve and will improve to a level that is much better than where we started when it's over. So we have to go through the short term pain to reach the long term gain."
He indicated that while the subscriber losses during this difficult phase were inevitable, they are also predictable and will turn around quickly in the future. Hesse added, “We believe that what we are building is something that is worth waiting for.”
“This is personally painful for me. We have worked so hard to improve customer satisfaction. ”What’s been frustrating is when we come out with something like ‘unlimited data for life,’ and then we have network issues. Unfortunately, we have to go through this hard period of time, so we face a headwind that our competitors don’t have.”
It's easy to admire his confidence and optimism. What do you guys think? Can Sprint really turn things around next year? Their "Unlimited for Life" plans are actually the least expensive option of any of the carriers, including T-Mobile's "Uncarrier" initiative. It also happens to be the only truly unlimited option available. Additionally, with the help of their new parent company, Softbank, Sprint now has a great deal more "chips on the table" to bet with. This could give them the leverage they need to make good on these plans. Share your perspective on Sprint's strategy.
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