Friday, 29 March 2013

Windows 8 hardware requirements change: Hint at 7" tablets!

   Microsoft have quietly made some amendments to the hardware requirements for their Windows 8 operating system! The changes allow devices with a resolution of 1024 x 768 to rock Windows, whereas previously the lowest resolution was 1366 x 768.

   There's a few reasons for this change, but the key one is probably that this resolution is suited to 7" tablets. The iPad Mini uses this resolution and along with a lower resolution and a smaller screen comes a lower price. This could be key to Microsoft: we've already seen how well the iPad Mini is selling compared to its larger and pricier brother and we only have to look at how popular Amazon's Kindle Fire's are to realise that consumers don't want to spend a shed load o money on their tablets all the time!

   Unfortunately, the new guidelines so make a difference to one bit of functionality. If you have a device with a screen with that resolution then you will not have the option to snap your open windows to either side of the screen, so you can only really use one app at a time.

   Microsoft added that :
"This doesn't imply we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution. In fact, we see customers embracing the higher resolution screens that make a great Windows experience. We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful."
Via PocketLint and HotHardware.

In Other News: 29/03/2013.

  • LG are supposedly working on a new smartphone powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and the device crushed all of the competition including the iPad 4 in benchmarks! Unfortunately we don't know anything else about it other than that the device was running Android 4.2.2, it could be the Optimus G2, but we'll keep an eye on this story!
    Via GSMArena.
  • Bloomberg is reporting that Florian Seiche, HTC's EMEA President, will be departing the company on June the 15th and heading to Nokia to be the head of European sales over there! Interesting move indeed!
    Bloomberg Via AndroidCentral.
  • iFixit have torn apart the HTC One! You can see the deconstruction here, but they say that the device is built to last and it shouldn't come apart very easily, but by the same token it will be very difficult to replace any faulty parts, so replacing the battery is not an option!
  • HP's budget 7" Android tablet, the Slate 7, was supposed to be launching this month, for whatever reason, we're not sure what that is yet, the device has been pushed back until June. That might be a bad move because we fully expect to see an updated Nexus 7 at Google I/O!
    Via Engadget.
  • There's supposedly a good chance of an iOS 7 jailbreak coming to fruition according to the Evad3rs team! Obviously that is an OS still in the making, but we might have the chance of a jailbreak!
    Via Slashgear
  • Blackberry's QWERTY BB10 smartphone, the Q10, will be landing on O2 in the UK! The 'Coming Soon' page is now live and you can check it out here! When O2 post some contract details we'll be sure to let you know!
    Via UnwiredView.
  • Geometrics' founder has described how programmers 'loathe' developing graphic intensive things for Android! To see why he said this check out the source link below!
    Via AndroidCommunity.
  • Soundhound for Android has been updated with a new, improved tablet UI being on of the key new features!
    Via AndroidPolice.

And finally, have you ever wanted to see a recon Jelly Fish? Well today is your lucky day if you answered yes to that question! The video below demonstrates Cryo from Virginia Tech, a new invention which well mimics a Jelly Fish. There's lots of potential uses for this, but the US Navy wants to go for surveillance because the creation actually looks lifelike! Check out the video below for more details.
Via Engadget.

Facebook welcomes people to see their 'new home on Android'!

   For a long time now Facebook have been rumoured to be working on something a bit more expansive for mobile phones. Initially there were rumours of a Facebook phone, then we saw the HTC Salsa and ChaCha (Or Status on the US side of the pond) and now there will be a 'new home on Android'.   

   According to some rumours the event is set to feature an HTC smartphone with a custom-made Facebook-centric version of Android. This means Facebook don't have the responsibility of creating hardware themselves, but they can manage the software pretty well. According to the rumours Facebook integration will be the key; there will be the Facebook homescreen as the main screen and Facebook's camera and messaging apps will supposedly replace the standard Android options!

   The best thing to compare the supposed plan here is by looking at what Amazon and their Kindle Fires have done with Android, it's conceivable Facebook have something similar up their sleeve!

   What do you think would this interest you? We'll have much more on the 4th of April!
Via Engadget.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Samsung confirms the Exynos 5 Octa inside Galaxy S4's will ship with 20 band LTE support!

   In an interesting turn of events Samsung have confirmed via their Twitter page that the big.LITTLE arrangement in their new Exynos 5 Octa-core processor will support LTE and it will support all 20 bands of LTE used around the world!

   So the obvious question to pose is 'why use the Snapdragon 600 processor at all?' The answer to that is relatively simple according to SamMobile and that is that Samsung simply couldn't make enough of the Exynos 5 Octas for everyone wanting a Galaxy S4 to have one. We're not sure if Samsung will start using the Exynos chipset in a more diverse range of countries when their production levels increase, but it'll be interesting to see which of the two devices will get more support, because at the moment the Snapdragon variant is shaping up to be the one most widely distributed!

   Let us know which version you'd prefer to have and why in the comments below!
Via SamMobiles.

Action Launcher update brings 'Shutters': Widget quick access is a go!

    We're all for good ideas over here at TTF and action launcher is definitely one of those! It basically gives you quick access to all of your apps with a simple swipe in from the left, and you can see what it looks like on the left-hand side!

   That on its own is a great idea, but today the launcher's creator Chris Lacy has taken it one step further and added in a pretty neat feature. 'Shutters', as Chris calls it, allows you to see everything you need to inside an app without actually launching the whole app! This feature loads up the widget to give you full details of whatever it was that you wanted to check, without the loading delays of opening the full app! Some people have likened this to 'Pop-Up Widget', which may well have inspired this, but either way this is excellently executed!

   To see the launcher at work check out the video below, then let us know your thoughts on the update in the comments below and if you want to check the app out you can get it from the Play Store here!
Via AndroidSpin.

OUYA's are up for pre-order at GAME in the UK!

   OUYA has already had a huge $8.5 million Kickstarter campaign and they've announced that the console can be picked up in a tonne of brick and mortar stores around the United States, but today we have the first British company to announce that they'll be offering the device and that is GAME!

   If you were unfortunate enough to not have been able to back the device through KickStarter then you can now pre-order it from GAME! The console won't be with you until June, but that's not too much of a wait now! 

   So how much is this going to cost you? Well, the console has been priced up at £99.99 and the extra controllers will set you back £39.99 each and we assume you get one in the box right off the bat!

   GAME isn't down as an official stockist just yet so they might just be making sure that they get their hand in before everyone else starts offering pre-orders on this side of the pond too! Let us know what you think though. For that price would you be tempted to drop £100 on it? As always put your thoughts in the comments below!
Via TheNextWeb.

In Other News: 28/03/2013.

  • We might have thought that Samsung's bendy amoled screens were a great idea for the future, but it seems like Apple will have the patent for them, having filed for them in 2011! It'll be interesting to see if Apple actually has something to show us using this tech soon or if this is just a preventative measure to try to stop their rivals using the tech in the coming years!
    Via AppleInsider.
  • The Angry Birds Star Wars Cloud City update is now live! Go get it guys!
    Via Slashgear.
  • LG and Google's Nexus 4 has had a little bit of a redesign by all accounts. There is a slightly new camera arrangement, and there are new bobbles on the bottom of the device which help to make sure it stays on surfaces instead of sliding off! Check out the full details here!
    Via AndroidCentral.
  • Facebook's free internet VoIP calls are now available as options to UK users too!
    Via TheNextWeb.
  • EE is back with some more places which now have 4G coverage. If you're in Bradford, Bingley, Doncaster, Dudley, Harpenden, Leicester, Lichfield, Loughborough, Luton, Reading, Shipley, St Albans and West Bromwich then you are in luck and can head to your nearest EE store if you must have relatively fast mobile speeds at a high price! EE now reports that there is 50% of the UK population covered by their 4G network!
    Via Engadget.
  • The next update to Windows Phone 8, GDR2 (General Distribution Release 2) will supposedly revive the FM radio functionality which was originally left out of Windows Phone 8! This will mean that the Nokia Lumia 920 and the 820 will have the feature relatively soon!
    Via TheVerge.
  • Tumblr has just hit the big 100 million blog total and those blogs have mustered a whopping 44.6 billion posts between them! Here's to the next 100 million guys!
    Via TheNextWeb.
  • We're not sure if you've ever heard of the Android 'Pie' controls which are implemented in Paranoid Android, but they're now on their way to CyanogenMod! You can find more details about how to get the via CyanogenMod's G+ Page here.
    Via DroidDog.

And finally, Three UK have announced a new budget phone and tablet bundle which will offer you the Alcatel One Touch 903 as well as the Alcatel One Touch Evo 7 for the very reasonable prices which you can see below!

Blackberry has their first earnings call since dropping the RIM name: Here's how things look!

   Blackberry were once the mobile phone of choice for many businessmen, adults and to some extent they still are the go-to phone for teenagers. We've all heard about their recent woes, but Blackberry officially said how it's going today and this is what they said, we'll start with the good news.

   The company is actually still in profit, they made $94 million from $2.7 billion worth of revenue, which is just about inside the analysts estimated, which ranged from between $2.4 and 3.2 billion dollars and this is up from the quarter before in which Blackberry only made $14 million profit, so that's not too bad!

   The slightly worse news is that Blackberry are still losing subscribers. They lost a lot over the last three months actually. They're now down to 76 million across the globe, which doesn't compared very favourably with the 79 million they had in Q3 or the 80 million which were in full use in Q4!

   When it comes to how actual sales are looking, then they're still not great, but they could be a lot worse. From January to March there were six million Blackberry phones sold, a million of which were Blackberry Z10's which is pretty good going actually! What isn't so great is that only somewhere between 'two thirds and three quarters' of those are actually in consumers hands, the rest are still in stores. We don't yet know anything about how American sales will have impacted these numbers, but we'll find out some time in the summer!

   What do you think is this good, bad or middling news for Blackberry? And are the Canadians still relevant in the smartphone wars in your mind? Let us know in the comments below!
Via TheVerge.

Qualcomm to use the HTC One in ads and are these the Desire P and Q?

   HTC and their new flagship, the One, seem to be making the news pretty much every day for a variety of reasons, some of which are good, the others not so good. But, either way you look at it everyone thinks HTC needs to spend money on advertising to make this device a success!

   That's a post over on Digitimes which comes in quite useful here. The post says that HTC's flagship will be featured on Qualcomm's advertising for their Snapdragon range of processors! The post reads:
“Qualcomm is extending its cooperation with HTC from technology, product and carrier relationship development to marketing with the firsts of a series of promotional films being presented at the ongoing Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2013, said Shen Jin, vice president of Qualcomm Greater China.”

It's actually quite interesting if it's fully accurate, because it means that Qualcomm at least wants to see HTC succeed. The only issue is that we don't know how well Qualcomm's other partners will feel about that. Samsung probably doesn't mind at all because they've got a huge budget to push sales of the Galaxy S4 through already, but people like Sony, who also use Qualcomm processors, albeit last generation ones, will probably feel left out!

   To be honest it probably will make very little difference because Qualcomm have very few adverts, but every bit of publicity is good news for HTC!

   Secondly, there are a couple of images floating around the internet, pictured right, which are supposedly press shots for two new smartphones from HTC.

   The first, the Desire P, seems to be a decidedly mid-range device and it has rumoured specifications which include a 4.3-inch WVGA that's 480 x 800p display, a 1GHz dual-core processor, an 8MP rear camera, HTC's standard Beats Audio EQ and a microSD slot, which would be a lovely change for HTC devices!

   The Desire Q, on the other hand, doesn't have quite as many details. There's supposedly a 4-inch display, Beats Audio and three colours to choose from, which are black, white and red.

   Other than that the devices are set to arrive in China for $365 (£240) for the Desire P and the Q is shaping up to cost $235 (£155). Naturally we'll update you if this becomes official news!
Via AndroidBeat and UnwiredView.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

In Other News: 27/03/2013.

  • OUYA and MakerBot have teamed up to offer a 3D printing development kit that'll give you the option to make some custom designs and patterns for your shiny new OUYA! That's what having open hardware and software brings us! You can find more details here.
    Via Engadget.
  • It seems that Apple's latest software update, iOS 6.1.3, is causing some users battery draining issues. We hear about this with every update and it only affects a small amount of users each time and naturally there are always some things you can do which can fix it! For more details check the source link below!
    Via PhoneArena.
  • Sony's Xperia Tablet Z has been priced up by retailer Clove in the UK. The tablet will cost you £499 for the version which has mobile radios built in! That's expensive for any tablet over here and given the small battery on the device you might want to consider something cheaper, the iPad perhaps!
    Via Twitter.
  • Temple Run (the original) will be landing on Windows Phone by the end of the week, although there won't be any Xbox Live features built in! There's no sign of Temple Run 2 just yet though.
    Via TheVerge.
  • Blackberry's new BB10 OS has just hit the 100,000 app mark, something which we attributed to an influx of ported Android apps. Apparently that's not the case though! Blackberry's Martyn Mallick said that 20% of the applications are Android based ports so that means that 4 out of 5 apps in BB World are native apps!
    Via AllThingsD.
  • Battlefield 4 is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 this autumn! There's no mention of next-gen console support just yet. Check out the gameplay teaser below!
    Via Engadget.

  • Three UK have said that they are in “no rush to launch LTE... First we’ll see how 4G is positioned by O2 and Vodafone and look at how we position it. [We're] fairly relaxed about it.” Because of that the service will be rolled out in Q4 this year, in the mean time you'll have to deal with that DC-HSPA speed, which is Superfast anyway!
    MobileNews Via Engadget.
  • Motorola have confirmed that their Droid Bionic is set to be updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in Q2 this year.
    Via PhoneDog.
  • Time Warner, NBC Universal, and Viacom are all reportedly talking to Intel about a supposed upcoming internet TV venture from Chipzilla. Much more detail can be found at the source links below!
    Bloomberg Via The Verge.

Rumoured Amazon phone is supposedly delayed, just as they officially roll out an X-Ray update!

   Rumours of an Amazon-branded smartphone just won't go away. The company is already a big player in the tablet arena and it makes sense for them to expand into the mobile phone market too, even if that is considerably more challenging in numerous aspects!

The reports circling the web at the moment are from Digitimes, so as always take them with a huge pinch of salt, but there are reports that Amazon are readying a 4.7-inch smartphone for a Q2 release this year! However, things aren't quite that simple: Amazon was supposedly planning to utilise a 4.3-inch screen but they've since chosen to scrap the idea after they saw the size and the popularity of larger phones last year.

   There is reportedly other issues too especially with production over at Foxconn which mean that the date might be pushed back a little more! There's also supposedly hardware components being upgraded, which if true then we expect that to because of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 announcements lately!

   On a somewhat related note, Amazon are expanding their X-Ray feature which connects to IMDB to pull in character and other information on whatever film you have on. But, this feature will now be expanded to work flawlessly with TV shows too!
Via UnwiredView and TheVerge.

Samsung Galaxy S4 has an interesting pre-order offer in the UK as the system files and apps get dumped online!

   Samsung's Galaxy S4 goes up for pre-order tomorrow here in the UK, that's the 28th of March and we already expect it to be wildly popular much like its predecessor was. But, it seems the Carphone Warehouse have something extra up their sleeve to make the first 2000 devices fly off the shelves.

   Tomorrow morning when the pre-order page goes live the guys will be offering you a free accessory bundle which includes a S4 screen protector, case and a car charger (valued at £64.97) as well as a complementary Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0! The tab isn't top of the line any more, but it does run Android Jelly Bean 4.1 and if you were planning on buying the phone anyway surely it's a good incentive to get something else thrown in! Remember to get in quite early because this is only available for the first 2,000 people. After your order you can expect to receive your devices on the 26th of April!

   If you can't wait to get your hands on the device we can't help too much with that, but what we can do is offer you something to pass the time between now and the end of April. The guys over at SamMobile have somehow managed to get a system dump for the Galaxy S4. That's not too useful on its own, but hidden inside are a couple of gems. For example you can get your hands on the S4's wallpapers, ringtones, S-Voice apk, and some of the integrated demo videos! There's also Samsung's new System Link app for sharing content, which is somewhat buggy when run on a Galaxy Note II apparently, but nonetheless that's here too! If you're interested in the system dump itself, you can download that here too!

Via AndroidCentral and SamMobile.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

In Other News: 26/03/2013.

  • Google is rolling out an update to their Chrome browser. The update improves spell-checking and it updates the dictionaries for all languages as well as adding support for Albanian, Korean and Tamil! The update will roll out to Windows, Linux and Chrome OS!
    Via Engadget.
  • Samsung have updated their Galaxy Chat to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean!
    Via SamMobile.
  • HTC have reportedly received 'several hundred thousand' pre-orders of their new HTC One, something which has supposedly far exceeded HTC's initial targets!
    Via AndroidBeat.
  • Swiftkey have updated their Android keyboard and there is a full changelog available here!
    Via Swiftkey.
  • Texas Instruments have reportedly developed new battery tech which allows for a 50% reduction in charge times and efficiency of above 90%! You can find out more info direct from TI here.
    Via Slashgear.
  • Sweden's Language Council has supposedly dropped the term "ungoogleable" from its considerations after Google pressured them to go with something more flattering.
    Via TheVerge.
  • Kaspersky have lowered the cost of their mobile solutions, the smartphone version is down to   $14.95 for the premium version and $19.95 for the tablet equivalent! You can see what else the update brings here.
    Via AndroidCommunity.
  • Mozilla has announced that they are planning on holding workshops for Firefox OS app development.
    Via Slashgear.
  • Were you wondering who that company was which bought a million Blackberry Z10's? Well it turns out that it was Brightstar, a reseller, who are likely to act as an intermediary to the American carriers.
    Via AllThingsD.
  • The Verge have supposedly confirmed that the HTC 'Tiara' and the Samsung Ativ S (or a slightly remodelled version of the phone) will be landing on Sprint this summer!

Samsung's Galaxy S4 accessories priced and given a release date!

   The guys over at SamMobile have seemingly got their hands on some slides which show off the prices of the plethora of accessories which are due to be arriving for the Samsung Galaxy S4.

   The expect prices, along with when they are set to be released are embedded below:
S Band – $129,99 -
S View Cover – $69,99 – Week 14
Wireless Charging Pad / Cover – $49,99 – Week 17
Flip Cover – $34,99 – Week 14
Pouch – $59,99 – Week 15
Protective Cover+ – $19,99 – Week 14
Headset – $29,99 – Week 15
Extra Battery Kit – $29,99 – Week 15
HRM – $79,99 – Week 15
Body Scale – $129,99 – Week 15
Game Pad – $99,99  - July
   An example of the slides which SamMobile have got hold of is shown below, they're quite interesting, if only to learn some more details about the accessories! Head over to the source link for more information!

Via SamMobiles.

T-Mobile USA's UnCarrier announcement: Everything you need to know!

   Wow, T-Mobile's new CEO, John Legere, is a breath of fresh air isn't he?! We'll have full details of T-Mobile's Un-Carrier event a bit later, but let's start with John's takes on the American carriers and the way things work at the moment!

   Legere said that two-year contracts were, "the biggest crock of shit in my life. Do you have any idea how much you're paying?" before proceeding to explain how carriers are only "really nice to you... once every 23 months." There were other golden tidbits like, "if you come to T-Mobile, you've signed your last contract," it's obviously slightly hyperbolic, but his remark which read, "If we suck this month, drop us. Go somewhere else," should resonate with consumers and this sort of slight arrogance does seem quite appealing!

   So aside from the unique CEO what else does T-Mobile have on offer? Head into the home-made Q&A below for more details!

Where is 4G going to be available?
Initially the service will be live in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, and Washington D.C! Naturally more are on the way!

How do the contracts work?
   Well instead of paying up front for the phone and being locked into a 24 month contract which you can't change until the 730th day. That way T-Mobile are doing it is by charging you a little bit up front for the phone and then you get your 24 month contract which will pay off the cost of the phone by the end of it. But, and this is a big but, you can cancel your contract at any time, with the only condition being you pay off the rest of the cost of the phone. So in reality there's no contract there, you're just buying the phone and the service!

How much does unlimited everything cost?
   The simple answer is $70, but you have to add the monthly cost of your phone onto that as well. Naturally, there's other small internet allowances available too!

What devices will be on offer?
   T-Mobile will have a relatively solid line-up here. There will be the BlackBerry Z10, the normal slew of Android devices which will include the Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II and the HTC One. The S4 will be available in Q2 this year and the HTC One will land later this spring. Obviously the Galaxy Note II is already available and it will soon get an update for existing customers to turn on that LTE!

   There will also be a mobile hotspot called the Sonic 2.0 on offer. It'll cost you $29.99 up front with 24 monthly payments of $5 per month.

   Interestingly you'll have to pay a bit up front for some of the phone, for example a Blackberry Z10 will cost $99.99 upfront, as will the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, this is a sort of down payment. In the case of the Z10 there's $20 extra over the next 24 months to pay for the rest of the phone. The bigger story here though is that you can have any of the iPhone 5, 4S or 4 on T-Mobile from April 12th!

   All of these devices will be locked to T-Mobile until the device is officially yours and you have paid for the phone! Check out the video below for more information!

For much more information head to T-Mobile's website here!
Via PhoneArena, (2), AndroidCentral, Engadget, (2) and AndroidCommunity.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Xperia Z joins the lockscreen bypass club as the Xperia Tablet S gets a software update schedule!

   It seems there's a lot of bedroom research going on at the moment as people find new vulnerabilities and ways to get past lockscreens! There's a complicated route which requires a little bit of luck on Samsung's Galaxy devices, Apple's iPhone has a few and now Sony's Xperia Z is the latest to join the prestigious club! 

   The video below outlines the way to bypass the lockscreen, but all you really need is a little knowledge of the test codes for the Xperia Z and well a screen locked Xperia Z! Sony may well have just fixed the Random death issues on the phone, but we expect there will be a patch for this in no time! If you're interested in seeing the exploit in action check out the video at the bottom of this post.

   On a slightly unrelated note, Sony have finally revealed their plans to update the Xperia Tablet S to Android Jelly Bean! The exact statement is no longer available, but it seems that the Xperia blog managed to grab the wording just before. The statement read:
"We will be releasing Jelly Bean for the Xperia Tablet end of April 2013 / early May 2013 for the Xperia Tablet. This update will resolve a memory management issue that may cause the Xperia Tablet to shut down from time to time.
Currently we do not have a roadmap to release the Jelly Bean update for the 1st Generation Tablet (Sony Tablet S)."
   That's great news for Xperia Tablet S owners, but not so good for owners of the OG Tablet S like us. To be fair to Sony they have been very good with their updates to the OG Tablet S and so we can't have to many issues if it doesn't go beyond Android 4.0.3!
Via GSMArena and XperiaBlog.

In Other News: 25/03/2013

  • According to today's reports the Samsung Galaxy S4 will initially turn up with a Snapdragon 600 processor inside 70% of the devices because Samsung is not confident they can make enough of the Exynos 5 Octa processors fast enough!
    Via UnwiredView.
  • Apple has bought indoor mapping company WifiSLAM for $20 million. The purchase will most likely allow Apple to better Google's mapping solution for iOS, the latter of which doesn't currently offer their indoor maps to people using Apple's platform. As and when Apple catch up with Google we expect Google will flick a switch and the feature will be available on iPhones too!
    WSJ Via PCAdvisor.
  • Microsoft's Windows 8 app store has now hit the 50,000 app milestone!
    Via Slashgear.
  • Microsoft have also announced updates to the Mail, Calendar and People apps for Windows 8 users. There's a load of new features which you can check out here!
    Via Twitter.
  • Barnes and Noble have announced that their devices will soon offer in-app purchases! If you wondered why this is important then check out this post!
    Via Phandroid.
  • The research group iFixit have torn apart Blackberry's Z10 and they think it's excellent. The guys said that the phone is very easy to fix and they gave it a repair-ability score of 8 out of 10. The guys said that, "The BlackBerry Z10 is proof that smartphones can be thin, easily-repairable, and have replaceable batteries." That's what we like to hear, although they did reiterate that you shouldn't drop it from ear height because that'll probably break it!
    Via CNet
  • GameStick's creators have announced that the device will be fully compatible with XMBC and so it'll happily function as a mini media centre just like the OUYA will!
    Via Engadget.
  • Three UK have announced that Android 4.1.2 is rolling out for their Samsung Galaxy S2 users! The wait is finally over!
    Via Three UK Twitter.
  • Evernote has been updated to version 5 with a slew of new features, head to your app store of choice and grab the update!
    Via Phandroid.
  • SamMobiles believe there will be a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini launching this summer with a new Exynos 5 processor called the 5210. Basically the guys don't know what the processor is, but they've speculated it could either be a pair of high and low powered dual-core processors working together or it could be a mere dual-core processor.
    Via SamMobiles.

Steve Kondik announces he's left Samsung whilst offering his thoughts on the Galaxy S4!

   You might not realise it, but you probably already know who Steve Kondik is. He's the man behind the most popular Android custom ROM, CyanogenMod. A couple of years back he was hired by Samsung to help make 'Android more awesome'. Today he's announced that he is no longer at Samsung, but he gave his thoughts on the Galaxy S4.

   In a post over on his Google+ page, the full script of which you can read below, he outlined how he feels about the Samsung Galaxy S4. Kondik feels that on the hardware front he's a huge fan, but when it comes to making 'Android more awesome', he doesn't necessarily feel like he's achieved his goal. Samsung's Touchwiz was described as sending Android back a few years 'to the Froyo days'.

   One bit of good news is that he feels as though there will be CyanogenMod for the Galaxy S4 assuming it's the Snapdragon variety! That is, he said, 'assuming they don't lock the bootloaders or something silly and self-defeating like that'.

   As for why Kondik left, we don't really know. When asked by a commenter why he left he simply said, 'Yeah, [I didn't leave] because of anything in particular. Samsung was great. Just decided to do something new.. Ask me in a couple of months :)'. So seemingly he has a new employer and he left Samsung on good terms!
Google+ Via TheVerge.

"I got to spend some quality time with the S4 (final hardware) before I left Samsung. I'm a huge fan of the S3 and use one everyday, so I was quite pleased with the S4. Yeah, there is no refresh of the industrial design other than a few minor things such as the edging, but the device actually feels quite a bit more solid than the S3. Specwise, this device blows the competition out of the water. There are a number of unique features that have a lot of potential (assuming Samsung is opening up an API for them) such as the touchscreen which can register "hover" events, and an IR blaster. Benchmarks put this device FAR above the competition (40K on Quadrant CPU) and there should be no reason why it won't run your favorite apps flawlessly. GPS seems to work better than any other Samsung device, with a lock being acquired instantly in almost any condition. The camera is excellent as well, both front and back.
TouchWiz has become a bit more consistent with the latest upgrade. There are no more jarring mismatches in different parts of the OS, and it's been lightened up a bit and has a clean "flat" feel. Unfortunately, it feels like it has been sent a few years back in time to the Froyo days. Say goodbye to all of the nice touch-friendly ViewPagers and say hello again to a fully tabbed UI. You'll also enjoy the seemingly endless onslaught of popup windows and modal "Loading..." dialogs. UI performance is average. It's better and worse at the same time, depending on your viewpoint I suppose.
On the features side, it's absolutely loaded with stuff. Some of the new features are very useful like the "hover" preview where you can just point at an email message without touching the screen and it shows a preview of the message. The multi-window feature is present here, and is nice to have around when you need it. The camera app has seen some significant upgrades too, with live previews of the postprocessing effects and a new UI. My least favorite new feature is "Smart Scroll" which is supposed to scroll based on face detection + tilt, but it mostly serves to anger me into disabling it.
The Samsung Hubs are featured front-and-center, and seem to signify independence from the rest of the Android ecosystem. Play is still far more functional, but its a strong effort and I have no doubt that Samsung will keep improving here.
It's a solid device and a clear choice if you are upgrading from the GS2. You'll feel right at home if you have a GS3 currently, but upgrading is probably less urgent (especially if you're on contract).
I'll probably be picking up the T-Mobile variant when they hit the shelves, assuming they don't lock the bootloaders or something silly and self-defeating like that. Since it's powered by Snapdragon, CM should work wonderfully on it :)
Edit: I'll do a comparison vs. the new HTC One as soon as I get my hands on one, it looks pretty solid too."

HTC won't be 'quietly brilliant' any more: Aggressive marketing on the way!

   Back in November of last year HTC knew that they were in a little bit of a rut. Their One series had sold alright, but it was being eclipsed by Samsung's Galaxy S3 sales and things needed a little bit of a shake up. Since then we've come quite a long way: we've not got the HTC One knocking around, yes in limited quantities, but we'll come to that later. HTC couldn't see too much of a problem with their devices and they thought and still think that they are missing out on sales because of Samsung's huge marketing budget. As a direct result of that HTC hired Mr. Benjamin Ho to be their new marketing chief.

   It turns out he's been quite busy behind the scenes since then and he discussed some of what he's been up to with the Wall Street Journal. The first and most significant change is going to be the removal of the 'quietly brilliant' slogan. It's quite an iconic catchphrase similar to, but not quote as potent as, Nokia's old 'connecting people' phrase. The way he justified the change is that, “We have a lot of innovations but we haven’t been loud enough,” so essentially he is hoping that he will last slightly longer than his predecessors with a more up and at 'em approach!

   In fact we've already seen some of his ideas come to life already. Some of you might remember our piece which summed up HTC's take on the Galaxy S4 announcement, where Ho himself called Samsung's new flagship 'more of the same' and HTC took to Times Square to hand out promotional material for the HTC One, amongst other things. HTC were also quite aggressive on their social media pages, especially on Twitter where they deployed the hashtag #TheNextBigFlop!

   Ho also discussed how HTC would bump up their digital marketing budget by 250% over last year's effort and traditional media marketing will increase by 100% so we should start seeing HTC One ads popping up left, right and centre. Don't forget as well that HTC have signed that Champions League sponsorship deal, so you football fans out there you will be seeing that for the next few seasons!

   As a passing note Ho confirmed that the shipping delays of the HTC One are because of problems getting the cameras built for the device, saying, “There is some shortage, because the phone’s camera was designed specifically for us, and production cannot be ramped up so quickly.”
WSJ Via Slashgear.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Wildlife Mobile: Donate to charity through your phone usage!

   We're not sure whether or not you guys have ever heard of Wildlife mobile or not, but we're all for good causes and when we stumbled across this one we thought we would show you that there's an option there if you wanted it!

   Wildlife Mobile is essentially the WWF's attempt to raise extra money without demanding a direct contribution. It's basically a good middle ground between direct donations and getting something in return for your donation. In this scenario the amount of money which goes to the WWF is 10 per cent of their net revenue from whichever package you choose to take out!

   That's all well and good, but we know that we live in a time where not everyone has huge amounts of money to throw at services. So here's a couple of questions which we've considered for you!

Will I get any signal? 
Yes, you don't need to worry too much about whether or not you'll be getting signal because this is an MNVO riding on the back of Vodafone's network, so there's a good coverage already!

Is this pay as you go or a contract service?
Wildlife mobile offers both, they're not necessarily the cheapest, but that's not necessarily the point of the network!

The 'bundles' are prepay, so there's no contract, you essentially 'top-up' however much each month and you received the allowance you see in the chart below.

For those of you after a Pay-as-you-go solution then below are the standard rates for Wildlife mobile compared to the rates which they say are the costs for other networks! Another interesting thing with this option is that Wildlife mobile do what Tesco do and whatever amount you top up your allowance is automatically doubled, so £10 and you get £10 'free', £20 and £20 free and so on!

   The service is relatively new, having only launched in January, but when it did the WWF's communications and fundraising director, Tobin Aldrich said:
“Innovation in mobile fundraising is key. Not only does WWF Wildlife Mobile give us an unrestricted revenue stream, it also provides us with a compelling new channel through which to communicate with both existing and potentially new supporters.”

Windows RT will get better with time according to Exec!

   Windows RT hasn't quite been a runaway success since it was launched in the latter past of 2012! There's the Surface RT tablets which have done alright, possibly? (We tend to judge success on how many we see around and we haven't seen any!). But there's been a fair few issues too; one such is example is Samsung basically pulling the ATIV tab for sale because there simply wasn't enough demand!

   So in a recent interview with CNet Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of the Windows Planning, Hardware & PC Ecosystem team, Michael Angiulo, outlined what exactly it was which made Windows RT importance to the future of Microsoft! He started off by explaining how Microsoft wouldn't have invested so heavily if they didn't think their work was worthwhile and that this is a strategy which will get stronger over time. The strength is supposedly going to be seen through power performance, standby time and fanless form factors! There were other key points picked up in CNet's interview and you can see some of them below! Don't forget to check out the source link for much more!

On the viability of ARM chips versus Intel?
"If you look forward a year or two and you look at the performance output of ARM chips, those are some really capable chips. I think it has a very bright future."

When discussing Windows RT's future it was said:
"People are talking about legacy desktop software not running, but they don't think about the customer benefit of only running modern apps. The only apps that you install from the Windows store are the kind, that as a customer, you can manage your rights to.
Let's say you drop that PC in a pool. Well, you get a new one and then you just redownload [the apps]. That's the kind of model people are used to with a phone or tablet today. I can maintain all the apps in the [Microsoft] store and reset with a single switch.
So, on Windows RT, the user experience stays consistent over time. That's a big benefit. And as the number of apps grow in the store, that value promise only gets stronger."
Windows RT will also be useful for 3G/4G tablets.
"And on the ARM side, there is a propensity for a much higher percentage of PCs that are going to ship with mobile broadband [3G/4G], precisely because ARM PCs have even longer battery life [than Intel PCs] on connected standby [when a device is in standby mode but still connected to e-mail, social networking sites, and the Internet in general]."
Via CNet.

Friday, 22 March 2013

In Other News: 22/03/2013.

  • For UK residents the Carphone Warehouse are offering a pretty cool deal where if you buy a Nokia Lumia 620 for £129.95 get a free Windows 8 Professional! You'll have to get the phone in either black or white and pay the £10 top-up charge. You can get the deal here.
    Via MoDaCo.
  • Samsung is looking to sell Dutch subsidiary Liquavista to Amazon, as the latter looks to bolster their e-Ink screen production for cheaper Kindle's.
    Bloomberg Via Engadget.
  • Angry Birds Star Wars is set to get another new world soon with Rovio teasing 'Cloud City's' arrival!
    Via Slashgear.
  • The Financial Times is reporting that Google is working on a smartwatch, just like everyone else at the moment.
    Via TheVerge.
  • Sony Xperia Z owners in Europe are getting their first software update to version 10.1.A.1.434 through the Sony PC companion. We think the update fixes app bugs and it's too early to say whether this fixes Sleep of Death issues.
    Via AndroidCentral.
  • Samsung chief product officer Kevin Packingham said that Google's And Rubin was very difficult to "get... to deviate from that position." Instead his recent comments are much more positive saying that Android's new head Sundar is "a super-nice person... [who is] very collaborative" and he reaffirmed that the Samsung -"Google relationship is super-important".
    Via SFGate.
  • SamMobile have supposedly got hold of a Galaxy S4 mini. The guys have pegged the device for a summer launch, so that's June or July. The device is supposedly set to launch with a qHD, that's 960 x 540p, Super AMOLED display and a 1.6GHz Dual-Core CPU.
    Via SamMobile.
  • Gemini have shown off a new JoyTab which goes by the name of the JoyTab Duo 9.7 and the key features include; a dual-core processor, a 9.7"1024x768p screen, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 16GB of internal storage which is MicroSD expandable and this tablet will come in your choice of Silver, Chic Pink and Blue! Check it out here
And finally, have you ever wondered what a water and dust-proof tablet looks like when it's disassembled? Well if you have then you're in luck today! The video below shows a Sony Xperia Tablet Z being carefully taken apart by a Sony-certified engineer(?). Anyways check out the video below to see how it's done!

EU looking into possible anticompetitive case against Apple's iPhone dealings?

   The European Union regulators are currently considering contracts which Apple has with European mobile networks about possible antitrust violations after a set of these networks suggested to the commission that these contracts throttle competition.

   An 'unidentified' source speaking to the New York Times outlined how certain French carriers had issues with Apple’s contracts, but there might be wider implications here too. When asked from comment the European Commission there was a confirmation that there is an examination of Apple's deals, but at the moment there's no formal investigation and there's no reason for a formal investigation to start until there's a formal anticompetitive complaint lodged. Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for Joaquín Almunia, added:
“We have been contacted by industry participants and we are monitoring the situation, but no antitrust case has been opened.” 
Naturally Apple issued a statement too, which read:
“Our contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the E.U.”
   The New York Times seemingly did some investigation and they said that, "it appears that Apple’s contracts with some smaller European carriers were stricter than those with larger companies." Obviously this would make it hard for some people, but apparently these problems are worse in Europe than in the United States where one exec said that the "terms of its contract with Apple were aggressive but not unreasonable."

   One thing to point out here is that at no point does Apple force carriers to offer its devices. This is always a free choice and carriers choose to stick with the devices, but to say that might miss the point here somewhat.

   So what do Apple's contracts typically involve which networks could be unhappy with? Well according to the New York Times every contract is different, but typically Apple sets a quote for the amount of iPhones which carriers need to sell over a set period of time. If these quotas are missed then networks are asked to pay for unsold devices and if networks refuse the quotas then the device is simply not offered to them at all.

Apple’s contract differs with every carrier that sells the iPhone. Such sales accounted for 56 percent of Apple’s $55 billion in revenue last quarter. In most cases, Apple sets a quota for how many iPhones the carrier needs to sell over a set period of time, usually three years. If it does not agree to the quotas, it does not receive the iPhone. That makes this interesting because this in effect secures the iPhones dominant position and it's actually very clever of Apple to think of doing it that way.

   At the moment noone's really sure whether this will go any further, but expect there to be a lot going on behind the scenes before we hear anything else publicly!
New York Times Via CNet.

HTC updates us on the HTC One delays: Here's where it's landing and when!

   HTC have issued an update on the availability of their flagship smartphone, the HTC One. The guys from Taiwan have said that a mixture of huge demand and the care they have taken to build each one, has meant that there are some delays.

   Obviously that's the sort of 'breeze' which companies put out when they've had some supply chain problems so we're pretty sure that's the real issue here, which we've heard about so many times lately.

   On the plus side it is still set to compete head to head with the Galaxy S4! Which one do you want? Let us know in the comments below and check out HTC's full statement below!

“HTC has seen unprecedented demand for and interest in the new HTC One, and the care taken to design and build it is evidenced in early reviews. The new HTC One will roll out in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week and across Europe, North America and most of Asia-Pacific before the end of April. We appreciate our customers’ patience, and believe that once they have the phone in their hands they will agree that it has been worth the wait.”

We would just say that you should be quite careful with your HTC One because it seems that they damage quite easily. Check this out!

Via AndroidCentral.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

In Other News: 21/03/2013.

  • Blackberry confirm that in the seven weeks since BB10 launched there is now 100,000 apps for the platform! Not bad going at all and in the coming weeks that number is set to be bolstered by the arrival of CNN, The Daily Show Headlines, eBay, eMusic, Maxim, MLB at Bat, MTV News, Pageonce, PGA, Rdio, Skype, Soundhound and Viber!
    Via Omio.
  • SamMobile believe that Samsung are busy working on Super Amoled displays for tablets! The guys think that we will see a tablet, possibly the Galaxy Tab 3 Plus, launch at IFA in Berlin along with the Galaxy Note III! We'd love to see some Amoled tablets, they're our screens of choice, but is this something you'd be interested in? Let us know in the comments below!
    Via SamMobile.
  • @EVLeaks believe that this is the new Huawei G700. If the guys are on the mark then this is set to have a quad-core Mediatek processor, a 5" HD display and is set to run Android 4.2!
  • The UK retailer Clove has today priced up the Sony Xperia E and the Blackberry Q10! The Xperia E is set to cost £129.99 including VAT, but Blackberry's all-qwerty offering is going to cost a whopping £534.99. To give some perspective on that, that's £5 more than the cheapest iPhone and it'll be in the same ballpark as the Samsung Galaxy S4 when that is released!
    Via Clove (1) and (2).
  • According to Digitimes, HTC is set to open up “330 experimental shops” and “53 large-scale exclusive stores” in Taiwan through this year in a bid to promote their new One flagship! If that's true the implication is that for every 60,000 people in Taiwan there will be a HTC store! If we compare that to Apple in America, there are 250 Apple stores in the USA and with 314 million people then you have 1,256,000 people per store. Perhaps HTC could spend their money slightly more economically?
    Via AndroidBeat.
  • Today Avast's Android app had some difficulties as it started marking GMail, WhatsApp, PayPal, Google Currents and many other apps as malware. This is a 'false positive' error and hopefully by the time this news heads out Avast should have fixed the problem! IF you're having issues then you should manually update your virus definitions or alternatively you can wait for the automatic update!
    Via AndroidCentral.
  • Droid-Life seem to have got their hands on an upcoming version of Google Play! It's strange to see this app leak, but there's pictures and a video on their website here!
  • There's another lock screen bypass for the iPhone today. It's doesn't give you full access to the phone, but it lets you view and edit contacts, look at pictures and it could be a pain in the proverbial bottom if someone gets hold of your phone! Check it out at the sourcelink below!
    Via Phonedog.
And finally, Twitter turned seven years old today! To celebrate the guys showed just how far they'd come in that time and highlighted some of the things which were trending and when. Check out the video below, it's pretty cool!

Apple dominates J D Power's smartphone satisfaction chart for the 9th time on the bounce!

   J D Power & Associates have this little bi-annual report which shows how well smartphone manufacturers are doing when it comes to pleasing their customers and there's one company which has topped the charts for the last nine reports and there's no sign of that dominance changing any time soon!

   That company is Apple, who apparently are extraordinarily good in the customer satisfaction department! Basically how J D Power do it is to take a 1,000 point scale and to award points for performance, design, features, and ease of use! Based on that criteria Apple is a whopping 60 points ahead of their closest rival who, this research suggests, is Nokia! Apple scored highly on design and ease of use, just as they have traditionally. If you check out the graph below, you'll see that Apple is the only manufacturer to score above 800 points and they were the only guys to get the score of 5 out of 5 on the 'Power Circle Ratings'.

    Again as you can see there's five points which separate Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and HTC in the points tally and then LG and Blackberry are left bringing up the rear! We're not sure if we necessarily agree with that, it seems slightly harsh on LG, but if it's what the guys found then there must be something in it? It's interesting that Sony weren't included in the scoring and we're not quite sure why them and the Chinese manufacturers weren't.

   This is only consideration of the smartphone aspect of the scores, there's also a feature phone chart which can be found at the source link below!
J D Power Via Slashgear.

Andy Rubin dispels the Android and Chrome merger rumours for the time being!

   Reuters is reporting that Google's Andy Rubin has confirmed that Android and Chrome OS will not be merged any time soon! The report said that: 
"Google last week said Andy Rubin, the architect of Android - the world's top-selling mobile operating system - was moving to a still-undefined role while Sundar Pichai, in charge of its Chrome web browser and applications like Google Drive and Gmail, was taking on Rubin's responsibilities."
   So there we have it, no merger yet. In the longer term we still see the two becoming one, but for the moment Google is keen to keep them separate!

   Reuters also touched on Rubin's recent trips to India and Myanmar. India was a good point of call to clarify the law on who's responsibility it is as to what people post on the internet, as well as looking at the huge untapped market in the country. Myanmar similarly is considered as one of the few countries left in Asia which is untouched by big business! You can check out full details at the source link below!
Via Reuters.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

In Other News: 20/03/2013.

  • There's reportedly the possibility that we will see a $99 Kindle Fire at some point this year! TechCrunch believe that this 7" device is currently in production and will ship this year! It's supposedly got a 1280×800p screen and a TI processor!
    via TechCrunch.
  • Oppo are supposedly making a black version of their stunning Find 5 smartphone! Other than looks this device is the same as the white variant! Check out full details over on the UnwiredView here!
  • Terence Eden has found a very long winded way of bypassing the lockscreen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2! Now while this is a vulnerability, we do have to say that we doubt most crooks will go to this length to get into your phone! Check out the video below and let us know if you think this is a big security flaw?
    Via Phandroid.
  • ZTE is teaming-up with NCC's Intrepidus to make their new phones and tablets more secure!
    Via IntoMobile.
  • If you're not sick to death of talent shows on weekend evenings then you're in for a treat with Simon Cowell's latest venture! The You Generation marks Cowell's first foray into the world of internet talent! Basically what you do is submit a video of you doing your stuff and then every couple of weeks there will be heats and after 26 rounds there will be a big final!
    Via TheVerge.
  • Rumours of a Motorola X Phone still won't go away and today we've heard that Motorola's new Media Guru, Guy Kawasaki, had asked people on Google+ whether it's be cool to  custom-order a smartphone the way Porsche allows customise their “Exclusive” series! You can check out or join the discussion here!
    via Slashgear.
  • Pebble Owners you can update your super-watch to version 1.9! The update delivers a new, clean UI, new watchfaces and even Snake! You can get the update by navigating to your Pebble smartphone app and hitting the 'update' button!
    Via Engadget.
  • Geek are reporting that Google will combine all their messaging platforms into one single option called 'Babble'. This is supposedly set to manage Google Talk, Google Hangout, Google Voice, Google Chat, Gmail Chat, and Google+ all in one!
    Via Geek.
And finally, is this the Xiaomi 3? The device supposedly has a the aluminium design as below along with a 5-inch 1920x1080p HD display, a Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.3 GHz, 2GB of RAM, a 13 megapixel camera and 2 megapixel shooter on the front, all of which is supposedly driven by Android 5.0 and a beefy 3,000 mAh battery!

Rumour: HTC and TSMC to buy Panasonic's mobile division?

   Today we have for you a wild rumour, it includes, the world's biggest dedicated semiconductor producer, an ailing Taiwanese phone maker and a Japanese company who makes tonnes of tech, but wants to leave phones well alone. So what is it that links TSMC, HTC and Panasonic in this tale? Well there is a Japanese newspaper has hinted at the possibility that HTC and TSMC could team up to buy Panasonics smartphone arm!

   The link to HTC seems obvious, they are a smartphone company and they are having a few of their own troubles, but there's nothing out of place on that front. TSMC (or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is the biggest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry and you'll probably know them for making chips for Apple, Qualcomm and a heck of a lot more people too!

   The question we were asking ourselves was 'what would those two want with Panasonic?' and to tell the truth we're not sure, but that's the joy of rumours sometimes crazy things come true! Slashgear have suggested that Panasonic's mobile arm, aside from making phones, also produce base-station and infrastructure equipment, so this could possibly be a destination for some of TSMC's SoCs. For HTC though we can only think that Panasonic have a good knowledge of the Japanese smartphone market, where HTC recently launched the J Butterfly, but we don't think there's much room for growth there.

   All we have to go on is this Japanese report which currently says discussions are ongoing and there's supposedly stumbling points over price and worker retention at the moment. Don't be too surprised if we never hear of this again, but just in case there is something in this we will be sure to let you know as and when we hear!

   What are your thoughts on this? Could HTC spend their money better elsewhere? Does Panasonic have any use to these Taiwanese companies? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
SankeiBiz Via Slashgear and UnwiredView.


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