Thursday, September 27, 2012

Google Play 25 Cent Sale, Round Two

Today Google Play kicked off day two of their $0.25 sale with a whole slew of new titles. They are:

Samsung Galaxy Note II To Launch Oct 24

Samsung’s Galaxy Note II is set to launch on every major U.S. wireless carrier, but the company has yet to detail when we’ll finally be able to get our hands on its next phablet. That wait is nearly over. The company sent out invites on Thursday for a press event in New York City on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. stay tuned for all of the details.

Download Sherlock Holmes On Your BlackBerry PlayBook Compliments Of BlackBerry

How about Sherlock Holmes, compliments of BlackBerry? While some people are reporting seeing this pop up in the Featured Apps in BlackBerry App World, others couldn't get the offer to show. In any case, there is a work around so if you don't see the offer, don't fret! Follow the instructions below, depending on your location. Also worth noting, it states it's a limited time offer, so you might want to take advantage of the download sooner rather than later.

1. Go to
2. Enter the code WATSON
3. If you already have a BlackBerry Video Store account, log in. If not, create one.
4. Download the free BlackBerry Video Store app on your PlayBook, if you don't have it already.
5. Log in to the app and go to My Library. You should see Sherlock Holmes under Movies.
6. Click to download.
Let us know if you're seeing the promotion in App World, and if you've been able to download the free movie.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Boost Mobile Announces The LG Venice

Boost Mobile today announced the LG Venice, an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone that boasts a 4.3-inch display, 1GHz processor, and the latest user interface from LG. (U.S. Cellular sells the LG Venice as the Splendor.) Features of the Venice include a 5-megapixel main camera with 720p HD video capture and a VGA user-facing camera; LG's QuickMemo app; Wi-Fi, GPS, and stereo Bluetooth; and Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the display. The LG Venice will be available online and in Boost Mobile stores starting October 10, and other retailers by the end of the month. It will cost $219.99, and does not require a contract.

Check out Boost Mobile for more details.

YouTube Updated For Froyo And Gingerbread

Google today pushed out a new version of its YouTube application for older Android versions. YouTube for Android 2.2 Froyo and 2.3 Gingerbread adds the pre-caching feature that was made available to Android 4.0 devices earlier this year. Videos can be queued for viewing on compatible TV sets, though an internet connection is required to watch subscription content. The app also adds several new channels to the Channel Store and updates the user interface so that it appears more in line with the current Android 4.0 version of YouTube.

 The update is a free download from the Google Play Store.

LG Nexus Smartphone Coming Soon

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2 (model number GT-I9260) keeps popping up in various leaks that seem to confirm earlier reports that suggested that we’re going to see in stores up to five new Nexus handsets and tablets by the end of the year.

Some of those reports have even mentioned some of these upcoming devices by name the Galaxy Nexus 2, the LG Optimus Nexus and the Sony Xperia Nexus not to mention that HTC is also rumored to be working on a 5-inch Nexus phablet of its own.

Today, a report from MovilZona reveals more details about the upcoming LG Nexus device, as received from a “person connected with Vodafone,” if the Google Translate version of the Spanish article is to be believed.

The publication seems to indicate that LG is going to be next in line to produce a Nexus device, despite what current rumors say about this year’s Nexus-branded smartphones.

The LG Nexus handset in question is said to offer a 4.7-inch touchscreen display that will sport the “quality and detail offered by Apple’s Retina Display.”

LG has recently unveiled a new flagship device, the LG Optimus G, a handset that does pack a 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus display with 1280 x 768 resolution. Android and Me wondered a week ago whether the Optimus G will hit U.S. stores as the next Nexus, a question we’re also going to take seriously considering today’s leak.

However, in case these rumors are true, then we’d expect the LG Nexus handset to be a standalone device, even if similar to the Optimus G. That means that the Optimus G and LG (Optimus) Nexus should be two different hendsets in non-U.S. markets as well. After all, Google will probably not let LG sell the same smartphone as the Optimus G in international markets while including it in the Nexus family only in the U.S.

We are expecting a Google Nexus press event later this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BlackBerry App World 4.0 Now Available In BlackBerry Beta Zone

BlackBerry App World version 4.0 is now available in the BlackBerry Beta Zone. Here’s what’s new:

  • Integration with BlackBerry Commerce Payment Services for Credit Card and PayPal Purchases
  • NFC Tag Integration
  • Ability to Permanently Delete Apps from My World
  • Ability to Re-Install All Apps From My World
  • Automatic Find in My World
  • SMS Authentication
  • Removal of Gifting and Ringtones

Download BlackBerry App World 4.0 from the Beta Zone.

Facebook Messenger App Now Available For BlackBerry

Facebook Messenger App Now Available for BlackBerry

Facebook has released the official Facebook Messenger application for BlackBerry smartphones. With this app you can chat with your Facebook friends on the go and receive messages instantly. Here are some of the features:

  • Message a friend or start a group conversation
  • Reach friends on mobile or web
  • Get push notifications
  • Know who’s seen your messages
  • Attach photos to messages

You can download the app for free from the Blackberry App World.

Google Confirms That It Is Not Working On A Maps App For iOS 6

Google Maps For iOS 6
Former Google CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday confirmed to Reuters that the Internet giant has made no move to provide Google Maps app for the iPhone 5 or iOS 6. “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?” Schmidt said to a small group of reporters in Tokyo. “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.” Apple dropped Google Maps from its latest operating system in favor of its own in-house program, however the Cupertino-based company has seen a tremendous amount of user backlash. Schmidt revealed that Google and Apple were in constant communication “at all kinds of levels,” although he noted that any decision to allow a Google Maps application in the App Store would have to be made by Apple. “We have not done anything yet,” he said.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

AT&T BlackBerry Bold 9900 FINALLY Getting Some OS 7.1 Love

AT&T has FINALLY officially released OS for the BlackBerry Bold 9900! While this is an official release, remember to use caution when updating your device. If you do install this OS, hit up the forums thread below for findings, fixes and more discussion.

Roku's Streaming Stick Ships In October

We were intrigued by Roku's Streaming Stick dongle when we saw it back at CES, and today the company has announced that the device will be shipping this October for $99.99. The Streaming Stick is essentially a Roku box that fits in the palm of your hand: it connects to the HDMI port of an MHL-compliant television and provides all of Roku's services without the need for an external box or remote. (MHL stands for Mobile High-Definition Link, a proposed industry standard that allows devices to connect to and be powered by high-definition televisions.)
To make things easier on consumers, Roku has partnered with several television brands including Hitachi and Insignia that will be specifying certain models as "Roku Ready" to ensure compatibility with the Streaming Stick. As previously reported, some of the televisions with even be bundled with the Stick for the full Roku experience right out of the box. Those that purchase the device separately, however, will receive a special remote with motion sensitivity for use with games on Roku's platform.
In conjunction with the announcement, Roku is also adding Vudu to its line-up of channels as well as updating both its Android and iOS apps. The updated apps are now able to stream photos and music to compatible Roku devices, expanding upon the remote control functionality they currently provide. If you're a Roku owner and would like to try the new capabilities for yourself, the updated apps are available now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple Starts iOS 6 Roll Out To iPhone, iPad, And iPod Touch

Apple released iOS 6 today and the update is now starting to hit the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Be patient as not everyone is seeing the update, and if you are getting the update, it may take time to download and install.
iOS 6 brings a new Maps app, Facebook integration, shared photo streams, Siri improvements and more. You can download the update over the air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. If you have iTunes and a cable, you can also connect your iOS device to your computer and download the update manually.

HTC Unveils Windows Phone 8X And 8S

HTC unveiled two Windows Phone 8 devices, the flagship HTC 8X and mid-range HTC 8S, both of which will make their way to carriers around the world this November.

The HTC 8X is the flagship phone in HTC”s Windows Phone 8 line. The 8X will be available this November and T-Mobile USA, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless have all announced the intent to carry the device on launch.

The HTC 8X boasts the following specs:
  • 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 Super LCD 2 display with Gorilla Glass 2 coating
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • NFC
  • 1,800 mAh battery
  • LTE
  • Beats Audio
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 lens and ImageChip technology and 1080p video
  • 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera with a 88-degree ultra-wide-angle lens and 1080p video
  • The 8X will come in four distinct color options that could set it apart from the competition. The 8X will come in California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow, though which carriers will carry which color schemes has yet to be announced.

The HTC 8S is the phone geared towards the budget-friendly consumers out there, and comes in just as many color choices. The 8S will be available in two-toned Domino, Fiesta Red, Atlantic Blue and High-Rise Gray, though again no carrier color choices have been announced. 

HTC’s 8S comes with the following spec sheet:
  • 4″ Super LCD display with Gorilla Glass
  • 1 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage with expandable microSD slot
  • 1,700 mAh battery
  • 5 megapixel rear camera with 720p video capture

There’s a lot to like about both the HTC 8X and 8S devices, HTC’s answer to Nokia and the Lumia 920 and 820 smartphones. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tungle Shutting Down As Of December 3rd

Tungle was acquired by RIM quite some time ago and since then, have maintained their separate services but now that time has come that they too, will be shutting down. They've now sent out emails to folks letting them know the services will be shut down entirely as of December 3rd, 2012 so that they may continue on their work at RIM and BlackBerry 10:
Tungle began in 2006 to make finding times to meet with colleagues, clients and contacts as quick and easy as possible. In April of 2011, we were acquired by Research in Motion (RIM) with the goal of bringing the Tungle vision to millions of BlackBerry customers. After our acquisition we quickly went to work and built the BlackBerry Playbook Calendar app. Now, our team is creating the native Calendar app for the next generation platform, BlackBerry 10, and together with other key RIM employees, we are driving innovation in Messaging (email), Contacts, Notes and Memos apps.
All of our new responsibilities within RIM are very exciting; however, it hasn’t left much time for innovation on the core Tungle product over the past year, as we’re sure you have noticed. To make the most of our new focus, we have sadly decided it is time to shut down the standalone Tungle service.
As of Monday, December 3rd, 2012 we will shut down the standalone Tungle service. You will continue to be able to use your page until then to schedule meetings and share calendars. We know our dedicated members rely on Tungle every day to manage their calendars and we don’t want to leave you out to dry, so we suggest you check out Doodle to replace Tungle in December.
We appreciate all the support you have given us over the years and hope our efforts on BlackBerry 10 will bring the same dedication and excitement.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Yahoo Moves Away From BlackBerry Smartphones

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is instituting a new company policy called Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun!” according to an internal memo obtained by Business Insider. Under the new policy, full and part time U.S. employees of Yahoo will be receiving their choice of the iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, HTC One X, EVO 4G LTE or Nokia Lumia 920.

In addition to buying the devices, Yahoo will also be covering the monthly plans for data and voice.

The possible casualty in this fight is that this means Yahoo is moving away from the company supplied BlackBerry devices, and they are not offered amongst the choices. As Mayer states in the memo, “we’d like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do.” RIM can’t be too happy about such a statement, but considering the declining market share of the BlackBerry line, it makes sense.

No word as to when the new phones will be arriving in employee hands, but seeing as some of the devices have not yet been released, it would appear it will be a staged rollout.

The thought process behind this initiative is:

We have a very exciting update to share with you today – we are announcing Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun! As of today, Yahoo is moving off of BlackBerries as our corporate phones and on to smartphones in 22 countries. A few weeks ago, we said that we would look into smartphone penetration rates globally and take those rates into account when deciding on corporate phones. Ideally, we’d like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do.

Moving forward, we’ll offer you a choice of devices as well as provide monthly plans for the data and phone.

The smartphone choices that we are including in the program are:
* Apple iPhone 5

* Android:
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- HTC One X

* Windows Phone 8:
- Nokia Lumia 920

We’re getting started right away and taking orders starting now.

Google Senior VP Andy Rubin Fires Back At Aliyun OS

Andy Rubin has added another response to Alibaba's Aliyun OS, after Google's insistence that Acer put the launch of its new smartphone on pause. He focuses on the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), which OEMs agree to when they work with the platform, promising to keep Android a happy (and relatively compatible) platform. Amazon dodges any similar issues with its Kindle Fire tablets, because it didn't sign up to the same alliance. Rubin says that because Aliyun uses Android's framework and tools  as well as housing some suspect Android apps (and pirated Google programs) within its own App Store the mobile OS "takes advantage of all the hard work that's gone into that platform by the OHA." Google's looking to protect how Android behaves as a whole, and the senior VP suggests that if Alibaba's new OS wanted "to benefit from the Android ecosystem" then they could make the move across to full compatibility. We're still waiting to hear what Acer (and Alibaba) plan to do next.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

eBay Redesigns Its Logo

The colors are still more or less the same, but eBay's iconic logo has undergone a significant overhaul today. Gone is the disorderly letter arrangement, an artifact of late 90s exuberance about the web (which you might still observe in Yahoo!'s brand identity), replaced by a much more staight-laced and rigid arrangement. Though no longer overlapping, the letters are still touching, which is intended as a subtle representation of eBay's "connected and diverse" community.
Company President Devin Wenig has written an introduction to eBay's new logo, extolling the evolutionary changes the company has undergone in the decade and a half since its previous brand identity had been introduced, and presenting the new design as striking the balance between eBay's proud history and aspirations for a "cleaner, more contemporary and consistent experience." The new logo will be rolled out across eBay's web properties from October.

Apple Unveils The iPhone 5

The iPhone emerges into the light. This year is no exception. The iPhone 5 has arrived and we’ve decided to put together a quick, easy to read list of all the new features, design aspects, and other details.

 iPhone 5 Design

  • Made entirely of aluminum and glass
  • 7.6mm thin
  • Weighs 112 grams
  • 4″ 1136×360 resolution retina display. – Width is the same, just taller so different aspect ratio. Looks like they essentially added a row of app icons beneath the existing four.
  • LTE and HSPA+ Support
  • A6 chipset
  • Better Battery Life – 8 hours talk or LTE browsing and 10 hours on Wifi instead
  • 8MP Camera (same as iPhone 4S resolution)
  • 1080P video (same as iPhone 4S resolution)
  • 720P front facing camera resolution
  • Three microphones for better noise cancellation
  • 3G Facetime Enabled
  • “Lightning” Connector, claiming better data transmission etc. but really we all know its so they can charge third parties a new licensing fee to make chargers and accessories…
  • Will come in White front or Black front, back will always be the metallic color.

iOS 6 Features

  • First part apps optimized for larger display on iPhone 5
  • Third party apps will run letter boxed until their developers update them (so a black bar on either side).
  • Panorama picture taking
  • New maps application with a built in search engine
  • Yelp integrated into the maps
  • Turn by turn integrated into the maps
  • 3D buildings
  • Passbook for keeping track of rewards cards, booking tickets.
  • Siri knows movies, sports scores, and restaurants. She can post your updates to Facebook and Twitter.

 Pricing and Availability

  • Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon here in the US.
  • All carriers in the US will support LTE.
  • $199 for 16GB. $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB.
  • Pre-orders start on Friday the 14th of September, shipping begins the 21st of September.

iPhone 5 Preorders Begin At 12:01AM Tomorrow

iPhone 5 Preorder Details
Apple on Thursday confirmed that it will begin taking preorders for the next-generation iPhone 5 just after midnight PDT tonight. The company announced during its press conference on Wednesday that preorder availability would begin on September 14th, however it did not elaborate on exact timing. Apple has now confirmed to Wired that it will offer iPhone 5 preorders on its website beginning at 3:01 a.m. EDT, 12:01 a.m. PDT on September 14th. Verizon and Sprint each announced that preorders on their respective websites will also begin just after midnight PDT, and AT&T has not yet announced preorder timing.

Chrome For Android Updated To V.18.0.1025308

Google Chrome for Android has been updated over Google Play, the first such update since Google's mobile browser exited beta at Google I/O back in June. There are no major feature additions in the new version 18.0.1025308, but there is a selection of fixes for "medium"-rated security issues, as well as stability fixes.
The new Chrome also seems a tad speedier on image-heavy sites like Android Central -- let us know in the comments if you're noticing the same effect.
If you're already running Chrome, head to the "My Apps" menu in the Google Play Store to grab the new update. If you're not, you can use the Google Play link above to jump straight to the latest version. Note that you still need to be on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or 4.1 Jelly Bean to install Chrome.

HTC One X+ Shows Up At FCC

Android Central
The FCC has passed certification for what appears to be the One X+. The documents show full support for AT&T's LTE network, so that at least gives us a direction to look in. 
Here are the rumored specs we've heard so far. 
  • Size: 134.36 x 69.9 x 9.3mm
  • Weight: 129g
  • NVIDIA AP37 1.6GHZ quad core, 1.7GHZ single core
  • ROM: 32GB
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Battery: 1800 mAh
  • Android 4.1 Sense 4.5

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kindle Fires Can Be Ad-Free For $15

Amazon Kindle Fire HD
The Internet has been in a tizzy since we heard that Amazon would not be allowing the removal of the "special offers" package from the new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD units. If you weren't aware how all this works, previous Kindle readers were available at a little bit lower price, but included ads to help support them. For a small fee, you could have these removed.
We first heard that Amazon would be including this on all the new Kindle Fire devices, and apparently that they would not be offering an ad-free experience. Ars Technica has received word from Amazon that they will be allowing users to go ad-free for a one-time payment of $15.00 This hasn't yet been updated on the Amazon special offers website, but we're inclined to believe the fine folks at Ars Technica. 
Short version -- if you were worried about having non-removable ads on your new Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD, there's nothing to fear. They can be removed if you pay Amazon a $15 fee. 

HTC Considering Licensing BlackBerry 10

While RIM is working hard to execute a major transition to a new QNX-based platform for its mobile devices, rumors  of potential BlackBerry 10 licensing deals with other manufacturers have sprung up.  When asked about a deal with RIM, director of product management for EMEA at HTC, Graham Wheeler, stated:
“I don’t have any knowledge but that is not to say we are not looking at it. But from my point of view we are not saying we are closed to a new operating system. We will review each one to make sure it’s the best for our customers.”
While this is far from a concrete statement and is most likely just a diplomatic answer, the chance that HTC licenses BlackBerry 10 isn't zero.  While most manufacturers faced with the question would likely reiterate their commitment to the Android platform, HTC has clearly expressed their openness to other platforms if they are in the company’s and their customers’ best interests.  If HTC does indeed license BlackBerry 10, the chance of success for the new platform should increase.
HTC and RIM are both known for their build quality, however HTC uses the free Android operating system provided by Google.  HTC has also released Windows 7-powered devices in an effort to reduce their dependency on Android amid decreasing sales.
Would you use an HTC BlackBerry 10 smartphone?  What if it relied on RIM leaving the hardware game?  What if it was the only way for the platform to survive?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Amazon Debuts 4G LTE Kindle Fire HD To Lineup

Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE Release Date Specs
Amazon announced its first tablet with 4G LTE connectivity, the Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE. The 8.9-inch tablet will be offered for $499 and includes 250MB of data per month, 20GB of cloud storage and a $10 Amazon credit for just $49.99 a year. Amazon’s latest tablet will operate on AT&T’s 4G LTE network and includes an upgraded 32GB of internal storage. The Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE will be available for preorder today and begin shipping on November 20th. Amazon also announced a new front-lit Kindle Paperwhite eReader and three other Kindle Fire tablets during its press conference on Thursday.

HootSuite Acquires Seesmic

HootSuite, the company behind the business-oriented social media management service, just announced that it has acquired Seesmic, the company perhaps better known for its colorful French founder, Loïc Le Meur, than for its often-changing stable of social media tools.
Financial terms aren’t being disclosed, but the deal appears to be more about Seesmic’s user base than its products. In a blog post HootSuite says it will continue to support Seesmic, while transitioning its business users to HootSuite’s services. HootSuite has three tiers of service, including an industrial-strength enterprise tier. It has about five million users around the world, who send about 1.5 million messages a day to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, among others. Its customers include McDonald’s, PepsiCo and Sony Music.
Seesmic, if I remember correctly, started out as sort of a video-blogging service back in 2007. In 2009, it shifted away from video and toward Twitter. It created a social media dashboard that’s very much like Twitter’s Tweetdeck, and then expanded into a series of social media apps for mobile devices. In early 2010, it acquired, and turned that service into Seesmic Ping, a mobile app for posting and scheduling messages to a myriad of social media networks.
Le Meur has always been a bit of a colorful character on Twitter and all the other social networks. “I have always had a lot of respect for Seesmic’s CEO, Loïc Le Meur and the role Seesmic has played in advancing social business,” HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes said in a statement.
However, Seesmic had showed signs of stagnating recently. In March, it laid off about half its staff. At the time, Seesmic had been aiming to build some enterprise-grade social media tools, and had gotten a $4 million funding boost from and SoftBank to do just that. TechCrunch reported yesterday that the companies were close to announcing a deal.