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All posts tagged "android"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Instagram Update Adds Better Tablet Support and App2SD

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 09:30 AM

"The latest one to hit today (1.0.3) promises expanded support for tablets and WiFi handsets, app installation on the SD card for storage-limited users and fixing an audio mute bug during capture."

I'm not sure I can think of an App, maybe Angry Birds, that had as much hype as Instagram. Those who use Instagram seem to love it and that number grew a lot last week when it was finally released for Android. With the latest version including better tablet support and support for App2SD I'm sure the number of users will grow even more.

It's great to see a developer not just putting their product out there but responding so quickly to what people want and quickly releasing updates that address the issues.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google Maps Celebrates 50 Billion KM with a New Look

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 10:00 AM

"So far, Navigation on Google Maps for Android has provided 50 billion kilometers of turn-by-turn directions...In today’s release of Google Maps 6.5 for Android we’ve redesigned the Navigation home screen in Android 4.0+ to make it easier to enter a new destination or select from recent and favorite locations by swiping left or right."

The latest version of Google Maps makes some interface changes and can now take advantage of all the qHD (540x960) and HD (720x1280) displays out there on new high end phones. They specifically mention Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II (which should not be in the list since it has a very unimpressive resolution of 480x800), and Droid Razr. I guess the interface changes only apply to devices with Ice Cream Sandwich but the high resolution support works on Gingerbread too. I'm actually surprised they had to do anything special to take advantage of high resolution displays since they switched to using vector based rendering a number of versions ago - at least I thought. Anyway, I'm glad they did the right thing now!

Anyone out there with a Galaxy Nexus have any comment on the interface changes? Did anyone with a qHD or HD device try out the maps with the new version and care to comment on any improvement?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coby Releases a Bunch of ICS Tablets

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:00 AM

"It’s a sad but nonetheless true fact that small and sometimes unconsidered manufacturers can often get their act together faster than larger and well-regarded ones. So it is with American low-end electronics maker Coby, which has just made its latest round of Android tablets available for purchase, according to Liliputing."

Many of these have strange and/or poor displays like 9.7" 1024x768 or 8" 800x600 but the 9" and 10" models with 1280x800 resolution could be just what you're looking for. While only a single core CPU they still have 1GB of RAM, MicroSD slot, HDMI port (I'm guessing it's MicroHDMI), and USB port (I'm guessing MicroUSB here too). Not sure about the GPU but it should be something respectable for an ICS tablet. I'd be more concerned about the GPU then having a dual-core processor as far as it being a useful device. One down side, they don't have access to Google Play Store but it comes with GetJar installed for you to find your favorite apps. The Amazon Appstore is always an option too.

So, would you buy a tablet from Coby? For only $279 to get the best model that's not a bad deal. Of course there are deals out there on dual-core tablets from last year that could come close to this price.

Monday, March 26, 2012

PocketESN Checks To Make Sure Your Used Phone Was Not Stolen

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 10:00 AM

"Buying used Android phones can save you a bunch of money, but there are a few things you should check out before forking over your hard-earned cash."

PocketESN is an app that will let you check to make sure a phone was not stolen or anything like that. For free it will check the status of the phone it's installed on. The paid version, for $5.99, will let you check the status of as many phones as you want. It requires an internet connection to work but it can be over WiFi so you can do this before activating the phone and having the police come after you for buying a stolen one. PocketESN should work with any CDMA Android phone.

I don't usually recommend buying used phones since these days you can usually get a good new phone for free or nearly so under contract. Also, with a new phone you get a new battery and that alone is sometimes worth what you pay over a used phone. Still, there are definitely deals out there if you're willing to buy used.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Dual-Core Samsung Galaxy Player 70 Plus

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 06:00 AM

"The Galaxy Player 70 Plus appears to be a powered-up version of its 5-inch device from last year, side-stepping the design tweaks we saw last week on the Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 -- the other new (similarly long-winded) Android PMP from Samsung."

The Galaxy Player 70 Plus is another iPod competitor from Samsung. The hardware looks good for a media player with a 1GHz dual-core (I'm guessing it's an Exynos which is a good thing), 16 or 32 GB of storage, 5MP camera (probably not the front camera though it looks like it has a front camera), 5" display, and a generous 2500mHA battery. That battery should last quite a while since it's not powering any cell radio's. Apparently it's only available in Korea right now.

What do you think? Is a dual-core, 5" media player a device you could in your collection?

Monday, March 5, 2012

End of Life for the HTC Amaze 4G

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

"Obvious news is obvious as the HTC Amaze 4G white has been officially discontinued for the better part of two weeks now as smart money would bet that T-Mobile is already making inventory space for the HTC One S."

No huge surprise but HTC has discontinued the white Amaze 4G. It seems like they're clearing out inventory to make room for the new HTC One series which is due in the next few months. I think the HTC Amaze 4G was one of the first non-Apple smartphones to have a back side illuminated CMOS sensor which helps image quality a lot in poor lighting.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jelly Bean in Q2?

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Android Software" @ 09:00 AM

"A report from Taiwanese news publication DigiTimes claims that Google could launch Android 5, codenamed Jelly Bean, in the second quarter of 2012. The report cites unnamed manufacturers in the supply chain."

The next version of Android, Jelly Bean, is rumored to be emerging as early as Q2. This seems a bit earlier to me than ICS was, however perhaps that means that by Christmas more than just a Nexus device will be sporting the new blend!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Google Talks About Android App Security

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 11:30 AM

"The last year has been a phenomenal one for the Android ecosystem. Device activations grew 250% year-on-year, and the total number of app downloads from Android Market topped 11 billion. As the platform continues to grow, we’re focused on bringing you the best new features and innovations - including in security."

I've never had a problem with a bad app doing serious damage. The worst problem I had was an app that was giving me advertisements as notifications. It wasn't hard to find the app and after I removed it the notifications stopped. This blog post explains some of the safeguards that are in place to protect your Android phone. One thing they highlight is the "Bouncer" service that Google developed to scan the Android Market and look for bad apps. It's good to know that however bad this problem is on Android Google is taking it seriously.

Have you ever had a problem on your Android device caused by a virus or malware?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Install Carrier-Blocked Apps from the Android Market

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Android Articles, Resources & Developer" @ 11:30 AM

"One of our readers discovered yesterday that through a loophole in the Android Market and browser, you could install Google Wallet. After the community got a hold of this method, they quickly realized that this not only works for Wallet, but just about any app that a carrier has blocked from your phone."

If you can't get a certain item in the Market due to a carrier restriction, here's one way around it!

Tags: market, android

Friday, February 3, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7: Great Tablet w/Ice Cream Sandwich

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 AM

"Samsung wants to make an Android tablet for everyone, which is why they have four screen sizes: 7.0", 7.7", 8.9", and 10.1". For many, their 7.0" and 7.7" tablets provide an excellent level of portability while also giving you plenty of screen to warrant a great tablet experience."

A super AMOLED Plus screen with a pixel density of about 196 ppi (iPad 2 is about 131 ppi, for comparison) at 1280x800 makes this tablet a delight to the eyes. Two models are currently shipping: one with wifi and one with wifi and unlocked GSM/UMTS bands. A 4G LTE version is planned for 2012 from Verizon. An unusual (but interesting) feature, the Tab 7.7 has an earpiece, making phone features a possibility, bit it is not yet enabled in the software. Overall, this is a great tablet, but is currently hampered (per the reviewer) by Android 3.2's quirkiness. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is expected sometime in 2012 Q1. Battery life is outstanding, thanks in part to the Super AMOLED Plus screen's efficiencies. There are currently several resellers, and costs start at $572 for the wifi-only version, or $668 for a version that'll work with an AT&T SIM. With Android 4.x onboard, this may be getting close to the perfect tablet: long battery life, beautiful screen, and fast!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Open Files Off-Line With The New Google Docs

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 11:00 AM

"Google has released a pretty useful update for their Android version of Google Docs, providing offline access for your files and a better overall experience for tablet users by providing high-resolution versions of your documents."

This was a much needed update! To not have access to files when you have no network is just dumb. Large collections of media or things you don't need often, maybe that can stay in the cloud, but small text files, documentation, or notes, I want available all the time. It sounds like the synchronization is done well also. I played with it a bit and it's easy enough to save a file locally as shown in the screen shot above. Improving the app for tablet owners was a very smart idea as well. Really, I think that should have been done when the first Xoom was released but better late than never.

Monday, January 30, 2012

HTC UK Planning Less New Phones for 2012

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 12:00 PM

"HTC UK chief Phil Roberson (pictured) told Mobile the manufacturer will return to a strategy of launching a limited number of high-spec devices this year, with a focus on second quarter releases."

Releasing less phones sounds like a smart move to me. They also said they're not going to focus on tablets. I'm guessing that HTC US will do the same thing.

I think HTC and Motorola are both guilty of releasing far too many phones. The result is OEMs and carriers can't provide the level of support (bug fixes, OS updates, etc.) they should for any of their phones. Hopefully in 2012 we'll see fewer, but more polished, phones from all manufacturers!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New App Store for Banned Apps on the Way

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

"An Android developer by the name of Koushik Dutta is building an alternative Android app store which will house the apps that have been banned from Google’s official Android Market. These will include the custom ROMs (customized versions of the Android OS), classic gaming emulators pulled due to copyright complaints, unofficial tethering apps removed at the behest of mobile operators, Visual Voicemail apps, one-click rooting apps, and more."

Koushik Dutta, the developer known for creating ClockworkMod, is creating an app store for things like tethering apps, ROMs, emulators, and whatever else doesn't have a home on any other market. There is no launch date right now but if you check the source you'll see a screen shot of a page for a developer to upload, showing progress has been made.

One thing I love about Android is the app store options you have without having to jump through hoops other than check one box in your settings. It took AT&T a while to get a clue but other than that no carrier has had a problem with alternate app stores. It will be interesting to see how carriers respond once this new app store becomes a reality.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ASUS Transformer Prime: Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) Improvements

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 PM

"I've been hanging on to the Asus Transformer Prime for the last month for a reason.

Even though the tablet launched a few weeks ago, the real news was that Asus was going to push out a major update to the new version of Google's Android called Ice Cream Sandwich."

Looks like a very good Android tablet has gotten better with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) - better performance, better multitasking, and the hardware just feels faster. In fact, the author states that swiping between screens is now faster than on the iPad2. Improved browser performance is another advantage, and there is now a control panel "for controlling stuff." Unfortunately, quality tablet apps are still lacking, according to the author, and there appear to be bugs in the ICS update process, and with the tablet's GPS. Despite these improvements, again according to the author, the iPad2 still is ahead in the overall user experience, but this is the best Android tablet to date.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nuance Releases Dragon Go! Voice Command App for Free

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

"Today the company's pressing forward once again by introducing its Dragon Go! app for Google's mobile OS. The app focuses on verbal commands, giving you the ability to ask it to perform internet searches, make dinner reservations, buy movie tickets, play music on services like Pandora and Spotify and the list goes on."

Since Apple released iOS 5 with Siri people are really getting excited about voice commands and dictation. This looks like a very good voice command app to add to the mix of options that are available now for Android. Dragon Dictation has been around for years and I think was considered the best for a long time, it may still be. For that reason alone I'd like to give Dragon Go! a try and see how well it performs. I'm not convinced that voice control is super practical most of the time but it is fast and convenient sometimes. I especially like to use Android dictation for short messages and notes.

Do you use voice control or dictation on your Android device?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ASUS Announces New High-End Tablets

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

"Flustered with the original Transformer Prime you just purchased? We'd advise you to have a seat. ASUS just took the wraps off an all new Transformer Prime (the TF700T) here at CES, which is presumably designed to rival Acer's newly-announced Iconia Tab A700."

There are tons of new devices being announced at CES right now! How about a new ASUS Transformer Prime TF700T. It's a 10.1" quad-core tablet but with a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 CPU/GPU and a 1920x1200 Super IPS+ display!!! It also just weighs over a pound and will come with Ice Cream Sandwich! It will be compatible with the current tPrime keyboard/battery dock and is due to hit North America next quarter.

If you've been eyeing up the Kindle Fire you may want to consider the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO (ME171). It has a 7" 1280x800 IPS display and a 1.2GHz Qualcomm CPU/GPU along with 1GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of built in storage. The Eee Pad MeMO will also ship with Ice Cream Sandwich.

Make sure you check the article for all the details on both of these tablets. Does either of these look like what you've been waiting for?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ASUS Announces Bootloader Unlocking Tool and ICS for Transformer Prime

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 02:00 PM

"ASUS has announced that due to the response they’ve had on the subject, they’ll be releasing a bootloader unlock tool for the device as well! Developers and hackers alike will be able to work with their NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core toting Transformer Prime on an intimate level, and will be able to do it with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as well, starting on January 12th, 2012!"

In case you missed it there was a public outcry due to the locked bootloader on the Transformer Prime over the weekend. Because of that ASUS said it will release a bootloader unlocking tool on January 12 and also start pushing out Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) to the Transformer Prime at the same time!!! This should make everyone happy! I'm impressed that they'll have ICS ready for the Transformer Prime so soon. Hopefully this will push other manufactures to get on the ball and release ICS for their devices sooner rather than later.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Engadget Reviews the New Toshiba Thrive 7"

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 06:00 AM

"Indeed, the Thrive 7" looks near-identical, and even packs the same Tegra 2 chip, 16GB of storage and vanilla take on Honeycomb. Still, it brings an LED flash, keeps its big brother's 1280 x 800 display and costs less than the original did when it first came out."

There were a few things I liked about the 10" version of the Thrive. For one thing it had a full size SD slot, as well as full size USB and HDMI ports! It also had a mini-USB (oddly not micro-USB) and a Toshiba developed "Resolution+" technology for scaling phone apps and making them look decent on a tablet. The Thrive 7" drops the full size ports as you may expect but it does keep the Resolution+ and the 1280x800 screen - which gives it a high dpi for a tablet of 216. Unfortunately it sounds like performance isn't very good, the screen isn't great, and battery life is poor for a current tablet. Still, depending on your needs this could be the right tablet for you. Check out the full review for the details.

Friday, December 23, 2011

SmartPhoneGurus Review the HTC Sensation XL

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"The XL builds on the prior Sensation incarnations, the original machine and the Beats audio enhanced XE. With this new variant HTC have changed both the internals and externals of the machines design and in effect it is a new machine in its own right and not a part of the original Sensation family."

This is a very detailed review that covers the hardware as well as many details about the software. For me, I think making a phone these days with a 4.7" diagonal and only 480x800 resolution (only 198dpi) should be a crime. Not only is the resolution low for the size but the aspect ratio is not as good as 16:9 for holding in your hand. In other words, the Galaxy Nexus has about the same size screen but it will not be so wide in your hand due to the aspect ratio difference. Of course the Galaxy Nexus has a 720x1280 resolution too. Anyway, the Sensation XL does have a fast single core 1.5GHz processor and 768MB of RAM as well as 16GB of built in storage. Take a look at the review for more details and lots of pictures.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Google Announces Scribbles for Gmail on Mobile Devices

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 06:00 AM

"Now you can quickly convey that eureka moment to a colleague, or simply brighten a loved one's day with a personal scribble in Gmail for the mobile web browser and the Gmail app for iOS. In the compose view, click on the scribble button to open up the drawing window."

This is for phones and tablets. It works from in your mobile browser. What a great idea! Sometimes it's just easier to draw a quick doodle for someone rather than explain it with words. Now you can do that right from within Gmail! Give it a try and let us know what you think!

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