Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Android Central

Android Central

Verizon on Galaxy Nexus signal strength: It's not us, it's you

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 02:42 PM PST

Update coming that will make signal appear to be better

Verizon Galaxy Nexus signal strength

It's not every day that smartphone users want to be lied to. But in the case of signal strength, we'll apparently make an exception. Verizon has told Computer World that in the case of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, the LTE signal is being received and reported accurately. Too accurately, actually. So accurately, in fact, that if you appear to have a worse signal and more 3G/4G bouncing with the Galaxy Nexus, it's probably because your other LTE phones weren't as accuate as the Galaxy Nexus.

So, as Verizon told Computer World, it will make the Galaxy Nexus report signal strength a little less accurately as to ease our minds and be more in line with its other LTE devices. And so long as the phone at least appears to have a better connection, we're apparently OK with it.

This isn't an unprecedented move -- Apple did pretty much the same thing with the iPhone 4. While we're not disputing that things have appeared to be a bit off -- our own Verizon review unit definitely has appeared to be more wonky than our other 4G devices -- there's probably a little bit of the internet microscope at work here, too. Verizon (and every other carrier) is always working on improving connection, even after a phone is released. It's why we see new radios in updates all the time.

Anybody want to put money on what the next bug of the week is going to be?

Source: ComputerWorld
More: Verizon Galaxy Nexus forums

Don't forget to download App Inventor projects before Dec. 31

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 02:22 PM PST

App Inventor code download

Google's App Inventor is dead, long live MIT's App Inventor!

A final notice everyone -- if you have some projects sitting around in App Inventor, and would like to keep them, either for some crazy time-capsule experiment or in the hopes of migrating them to MIT's App Inventor project, you've only got a handful of days left.  Come December 31, Google will be taking the whole kit and caboodle offline, and projects that haven't been downloaded are lost forever.

Getting them is easy, just log into and hit the "Download All Projects" button as shown above.  Keep them safe, and when MIT gets things back up and running in 2012, you're ready to go.  For more information about MIT's implementation, have a look at their Learning Center.

Last-minute stocking stuffer: ZOMM Wireless Leash

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 01:46 PM PST

ZOMM Wireless Leash

Here's a fun little last-minute gift for an Android-lover who's always leaving their phone laying around. The ZOMM Wireless Leash, as the name suggests, is a slick little way to help make sure your phone stays nearby.

The ZOMM connects to your phone via Bluetooth. You then register it online and connect to the ZOMM desktop software, which lets you update the firmware and adjust settings, like how far away the puck has to get before it triggers an alarm. And that, in a nutshell, is that. If the puck is separated from the phone, it starts with a little buzz. And then a beep, letting you know that you've got the puck, but not the phone. 

The ZOMM also serves as a hands-free Bluetooth speakerphone, and has one-touch emergency dialing to 911 and serves as a panic alarm.

Connecting the ZOMM to our phone was easy enough -- standard (awful) Bluetooth procedure. And it worked as advertised. Walk too far away, and the alarm sounds. The speakerphone, unsurprisingly, isn't all that great. And frankly if we're that close to the phone, we're just going to use the phone's speakerphone. But the easy 911 access is great, especially if you're using the included keychain with the ZOMM. Very handy.

The ZOMM isn't a "find my phone" tool -- it's more of a "hey, don't forget that" tool. It's still up to you to know where your phone is -- or to find it if you don't. But it's pretty darn handy. And while it's not cheap, neither does it break the bank at around $75. Check out ZOMM's promo video after the break.

ZOMM at Amazon (black, white, pink)
More: ZOMM Wireless Leash

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ASUS Transformer Prime games

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 01:15 PM PST

Transformer Prime

The ASUS Transformer Prime is the first of the next generation Android tablets, packing the brand new quad-core Tegra 3 chip and offering a boatload of performance while managing the battery life.  We've sort of fell in love with it because of it's thin and light build and the way it runs Honeycomb.  It would be the tablet to get if you're in the market for one.

Something that you've heard us (well, mostly me) talk about is how well this beast handles games.  All the beef under the hood is great for normal daily use, and it handles multimedia very nicely, but cracking open some games that really tax the system was something we had to show you.  That's where I come in.  As a child at heart, I love to spend some time playing games on my tablet, and have grown to love more than a few of the great ones developed for Android.  The Prime takes everything to a new level -- both games that have been optimized by NVIDIA, as well as standard OpenGL games built for all devices.  While some of it you just can't tell from a video -- things like colors and lighting effects -- some things you sure can.  Hit the break, and check out how smooth and fluid the Prime runs a handful of CPU eating 3D games that I throw at it.

I love my job.

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Firefox 9 hits the Android Market - brings new tablet UI, faster start-up and more

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 11:59 AM PST

Youtube link for mobile viewing

If you are a Firefox user on the computer odds are that you have already tried Firefox for Android, but if not there is no better time to do so then now. Featuring a freshly redesigned tablet interface, some additional features along with a faster start up time they are certainly aiming to bring the best possible experience to mobile. In addition they have opened up camera support so developers can now integrate camera functionality directly into websites, which is a pretty neat feature. So whether you currently use Firefox for Android or not, you will certainly want to hit the break and grab it from the download links!

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Enter to win a free Galaxy Nexus and $100 in Rebtel credits!

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 11:45 AM PST

Rebtel Galaxy Nexus giveaway

Who wants to win a new phone for Christmas? Rebtel is sponsoring another giveaway to celebrate the release of Rebtel 2.0 for Android. This time the grand prize is a Verizon Galaxy Nexus plus $100 in calling credits, and nine runners up will receive $50 in calling credits!

The new Android app facilitates an immediate and seamless transition to Rebtel's high-quality VoIP service when a caller punches in an international number, making the call free when connected to another Rebtel user. Unlike similar applications, Rebtel 2.0 for Android will also intercept international calls to non-Rebtel users, providing the caller with service that is up to 90% cheaper than the international calling rates charged by an average carrier, and up to 85% cheaper than Skype.

To get yourself entered in this contest, leave a comment in the forums at the link below and tell us who you would call with your new Galaxy Nexus and Rebtel credits if you are chosen as the winner. Only enter once, as multiple entries won't count. Please be aware that Rebtel is providing the phone and calling credits, it's up to you to get service. We'll choose winners Sunday night and notify them by email. Good luck!

Enter the Rebtel giveaway to win a Galaxy Nexus and Rebtel credits

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How to watch the Android Central Podcast on your Google TV

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 11:00 AM PST

Android Central Podcast

Google TV might not have taken off like some folks expected it to, but those of us who use it (especially with the Honeycomb/Google TV 2.0 update) know that it can be a great way to get the web into your living room.  A cool thing I've been fooling with is watching my podcasts on the 42-incher while kicked back in my recliner, so I'm sharing my guide for watching the Android Central Podcast on your Google TV with everyone.  Wait until you see our pretty faces in high-def on the big screen!  Hit the break and follow along.

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MOTOACTV update brings longer battery life, other goodies

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 10:56 AM PST

The MOTOACTV update announced by Motorola earlier this month is now pushing to all 8GB models, with 16GB models set to receieve it "within the next week." Software version 4.55.76 and 4.56.76 (for the smaller and larger models respectively) bring a big boost in battery life-- up to 8 hours of continuous outdoor activity. Also included are screen optimizations, bug fixes, and Multi Sport, which adds the ability to include multiple activites into your total workout. Full list of improvements are at the Motorola Forum link below, and be sure to share when you receive the update.

Source: Motorola; Motorola Owners' Forum

Happy Holidays from Building 44

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 10:11 AM PST

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Awesome. Nicely done, Googlers!

Swype beta adds Dragon Dictation, more languages, also likes mosh pits

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 09:40 AM PST

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Swype has announced another update to its beta app, bringing some pretty neat features and adding some additional languages support. This update brings Dragon Dictation to the keyboard, adds more than 50 languages for input, and they are continuing to expand the list through 2012. The update is rolling out, and it could take up to 72 hours to appear on your device, but you can manually check for the update as well. Swype advises they may bounce some downloads so if you are seeing errors, please just try again at a later time.

Source: Swype

Verizon says service 'returning to normal'

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 09:06 AM PST

Verizon outage

Just got word back from Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney about the overnight/early morning 4G LTE outage. Here 'tis:

"Verizon Wireless 4G LTE service is returning to normal this morning after company engineers worked to resolve an issue with the 4G network during the early morning hours today.   Throughout this time, 4G LTE customers were able to make voice calls and send and receive text messages. The 3G data network operated normally."

Hopefully things should be back to normal and we can all go back to worrying about signal strength and battery life.

Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the HTC Sensation leaks out

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 08:44 AM PST

HTC Sensation ICS

Are you an HTC Sensation owner looking to get a taste of some Ice Cream Sandwich? RCTeam over at XDA Developers released a Sense based ICS ROM, giving us a glimpse of what we can expect from Sense ICS builds. Featuring some UI changes, it appears as though the Sense dock some of us have grown to love is no longer there, it has been replaced with a more standard looking dock. The lockscreen now features the ability to launch into folders instead of just single applications, as well as face unlock and more. 

Looking for something new to play around with on your Sensation? Be sure to hit the source link and let us know how it works out for you!

Source: XDA

Conan takes on the Amazon Kindle Fire

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 07:51 AM PST

Catch the Conan show last night? Team Coco took on the Amazon Kindle Fire, which appears to be popular enough to merrit lambasting on the late-night show. It's quick, it's pointed, and, yeah, it's got a bit of truth to it. Check it out.

Source: Team Coco; thanks, Susannah!

DroidDoodle - Remember us?

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 07:22 AM PST

DroidDoodle - Remember us?
Three months old, three years old, what's the difference these days? 

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Deal of the Day: Case-Mate Tough Case for HTC Vivid

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 07:22 AM PST

Case-Mate Tough Case for HTC Vivid

The Dec. 21 Deal of the Day is the Case-Mate Tough Case for HTC Vivid. Built to withstand sudden drops and accidental falls, the Tough Case is the epitome of protection. A snug, form fitting silicone wrap provides shock resistance, while the hard shell protects against impact. And the lightweight, clim case gives even extra support. And best of all, it's available today only in two colors (black on black, or black and pink) for just $17.95 -- that's 49 percent off! Get yours while supplies last.

Sony Ericsson says Ice Cream Sandwich updates start in late March/early April

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 06:30 AM PST

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Sony Ericsson already told us which of its phones will be the first to get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Today it's giving us a time frame.

Toward the end of March or early April, the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray will be the first to get Ice Cream Sandwich. The Xperia Arc, Xperia Play, Xperia Neo, Xperia Mini and Mini Pro, Xperia Active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman will start getting updates in late April/early May.

That's still some months away, of course, but kudos to Sony Ericsson for being so transparent about the process.

Source: Sony Ericsson

Huawei promises 'smartest, fastest, most high-performing smartphone yet' in February

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 05:20 AM PST


Chinese smartphone and tablet manufacturer just hit us up to tease some new kit in 2012, promising we'll see "our smartest, fastest and most high-performing smartphone yet, taking a leap into the future of mobile communications." The announcement will come on the eve of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. 

Huawei has yet to really break into the U.S. market, though it does manufacture the uninspiring T-Mobile Springboard tablet. And while MWC isn't a U.S.-centric show, it is a high-profile show. And with Android Central in attendance yet again, you can bet we'll have plenty of American eyes pointed that way.

Verizon in the midst of yet another major data outage

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 04:33 AM PST

Verizon outage

Update: Looks like data's starting to come back for some of us. Still no word from Verizon yet.

Well, that's no good. Verizon Wireless is dead in the water this morning for what appears to be, well, most everybody this morning. 3G data ... dead. 4G data ... dead. Pick a 3G/4G LTE phone. It's dead. Phone calls can still be made, which means we're not overly worried about public safety. But it's yet another outage for Verizon, which already is the subject of much signal scrutiny these days.

More on the Next Great Data Outage of 2011 as we get it.

Google Currents update hitting the Market, improving data sync performance

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 04:33 AM PST

Android Central

Google Currents has received its first update, with no new features to report but a couple of important fixes. 

In the changelog we get stability improvements, and performance improvements in data sync. The second of these in particular will be welcome, with sync initially proving to be quite slow in some cases. 

Download link below, although remember folks officially the app is still only available in the US. And if you haven't already, why not subscribe to the Android Central Edition on Google Currents while you're at it. 

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T-Mobile Galaxy S II does battle with the iPhone 4S

Posted: 21 Dec 2011 04:32 AM PST

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Bigger screen. Faster dual-core processor. And, of course, the speed of T-Mobile's 4G network. Those are but a few of the weapons available to the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II on T-Mobile's 4G network. That means faster, well, everything. And with T-Mobile's two lines for $49.99 each, faster doesn't break the bank, either. Take that, iPhone 4S.

Sponsored by T-MobileAdvertisement

Kindle Fire Version 6.2.1 brings performance boosts, more options

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 08:37 PM PST

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon has just posted release notes for the Amazon Kindle Fire Version 6.2.1 software update (Version 6.2 dropped just a few weeks ago), which has promised to address a number of nagging issues. Included in the update are:

  • Enhancement for fluidity and performance
  • Improved touch navigation response
  • Adds the option to choose which items display on carousel
  • Adds ability to add password lock on Wifi access

In a few quick minutes of testing, the touchscreen definitely is more responsive, and the UI does seem to be more fluid. 

You can sit back and wait on the update to push out to your Kindle Fire if you want. Or you can update manually. We've got instructions for that after the break.

Source: Amazon

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Andy Rubin says there are now over 700,000 Android devices activated every day

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 08:11 PM PST

Andy Rubin

Andy Rubin just let loose a new number on Google+, stating "There are now over 700,000 Android devices activated every day".  That's a whole lot of Android phones and tablets.  In fact, that's 4,900,000 per week, 19,600,000 per month, and a whopping 235,200,000!  With Android currently having over 200 million active devices, that means we'll be close to 500 million Android phones and tablets having been sold and activated by next December if things don't slow down. 

And we'll love them all.

Source: +Andy Rubin

More than 700,000 Android devices activated daily

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 08:10 PM PST

Android Central

Google's Andy Rubin tonight on Google+ announced that more than 700,000 Android devices are being activated every day. That's 29,166 devices (more or less) activated every hour. Or 486 devices every minute, or by the time you finish reading this post. 

Rubin also explained what counts as an "activation," saying:

"We count each device only once (ie, we don't count re-sold devices), and "activations" means you go into a store, buy a device, put it on the network by subscribing to a wireless service."

That's up just a skosh from the 500,000 devices Rubin announced in June. Dang.

Source: Google+

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