Monday, April 29, 2013

Samsung Officially Announces The 7 Inch Galaxy Tab 3

Samsung has finally made things official for the Galaxy Tab 3 today, announcing in a press release on its website that the 7-inch tablet will become available globally starting next month. Samsung didn’t confirm pricing on the new tab, but did reveal specs including a 1.2GHz dual for process, 7 inch WSVGA (1024 x 600, 169 PPI) TFT display, 1GB of RAM, and 8 and 16GB variants expandable to 64GB via microSD.

The new Galaxy Tab 3 will be running Android 4.1 out of the box, but Samsung will only be shipping the Wi-Fi version of the device when it begins selling next month.
Other specs include a 4,000 mAh Li-ion battery, 3-megapixel main camera, 1.3 -megapixel front facing cam, A-GPS + GLONASS, WiFi Direct, and Bluetooth 3.0. Rather underwhelming specs, so we assume pricing will be on the low end of things when Samsung finally decides to fill us in.

As for those waiting out for a WiFi + 3G variant, the company currently plans on beginning sales of that model in June with rollouts happening gradually and availability varying by market.

Google Search Updated With Google Now Support For iOS

Google released Google Now to iOS this morning. This comes as no surprise, nor does it interest us one bit. Good for iOS users. Welcome to the fun that is Google Now! Well, sort of. The Google Now for iOS will never be as powerful as the version on Android because Apple won’t allow it to be.
For now though, you can open up the iOS Google Search app and find some cards for flights or restaurants or routes home from work and even track packages and flight info from Gmail. But from what we can tell, it may not be able to update in the background at full capacity like the Android version does, which means no ongoing notifications for card updates. You’ll have to consciously open up the app to get Now goodies rather than have it dictate your life for you. You also can’t access Google Now through a shortcut like swiping up or long-pressing navigation buttons. You’ll have to open the Search app and then swipe up the Now cards to view them.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

iOS Email Client Mailbox Hints At Android Release

Currently limited to Gmail accounts, Mailbox opened up to massive queues of people waiting to get in. It wants to help you get on top of your mail and stay on top by prioritizing what matters right now. So, why are we interested? 
Besides being a first rate application regardless of platform, the developers have publicly hinted at an Android version being on their roadmap. It's pretty vague, but when questioned on Twitter they did indeed confirm that "other platforms are coming down the road including Android."

Source: TechCrunch

MetroPCS Shareholders Approve T-Mobile Deal

MetroPCS shareholders today have voted in favor of merging with T-Mobile USA, reports Bloomberg. Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile's parent company) improved the terms of the deal for MetroPCS earlier this month, and MetroPCS' board has already approved it. The deal also has full U.S. regulatory approval. Now that the shareholders have voted in favor of the deal, T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS can finalize their merger. Deutsche Telekom said it expects the deal to close by May 1. "This is a major step for Deutsche Telekom," said Rene Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. "The merger with MetroPCS is extremely important, since it enables us to be more aggressive in the USA."

Source: Phone Scoop

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 Isn’t Compatible With Samsung TecTiles

samsung tectiles
When Samsung launched the Galaxy S3 last year, it attempted to show off the possibilities of NFC through a new accessory named TecTiles. TecTiles are little NFC-enabled stickers which you could use to, for example, enable/disable Wi-Fi on your phone at a certain location and they became mildly popular.

However, in the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung chose the BCM2079x NFC controller which is not compatible with Samsung’s TecTiles that utilize MiFare Tags. This new controller follows NFC standards and is found in other phones like the Nexus 4, but won’t read the MiFare Classic 1k tags found in Samsung TecTiles. Brian Klug from AnandTech reached out to Samsung and the company offered a statement:

Samsung is introducing TecTile 2, an update to the original TecTile NFC programmable tags, which will be available in the coming weeks. TecTile 2 will use the current NFC technology on the market, allowing Samsung customers to further incorporate NFC into their daily lives and to use with the latest Samsung Mobile products and services, including the Galaxy S 4. As industry standards continue to evolve, Samsung remains committed to meeting those standards and adapting its technologies if necessary. Samsung customers can also fully utilize TecTiles 2 with existing Samsung Mobile NFC-enabled Android smartphones currently in market.

Update: It seems some of the more recently manufactured TecTiles have been updated to NFC Forum type 4 tags. These tags would be compatible with the Galaxy S4, as well as the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3, so if you've picked up some TecTiles more recently you’re in luck.

Update: Samsung announces Samsung Tectiles 2

Source: AnandTech

Swype VP Confirms Talks With Apple

Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 9.27.19 AM

This is far from confirmation that Swype could wind up in iOS one day, it could be a clue that Apple is at least interested in the technology and looking to make some big improvements to its built-in iOS keyboard.

I guess our million dollar question is, would you use/buy Swype for iOS? Leave us your comments.

Source: 9to5Mac

Friday, April 26, 2013

Google Android 4.3, Jelly Bean Spotted In Server Logs

  1. Specifically, the build I'm seeing floating around our server logs is Android 4.3 JWR23B, which indicates this is still Jelly Bean (the first letter of the build is always the same as the first letter of the Android version name).
    Now, you might say that server logs can be easily faked, and it happens all the time. You'd be absolutely right, which is why I would have never posted this had I not traced the IP range to Google itself. In fact, 2 different IP ranges, both corresponding to Google employees. Employees that have a lot to do with Android. It's the same IP range that had previously clued us in to some of the unreleased versions of Android before they were announced.
  2. The Android 4.3 devices I've seen so far are Nexus 4 and Nexus 7.
  3. Furthermore, and this was the original tip that prompted me to look for more clues, there are several very recent comments in the official Chromium bug tracker that list JWR23B as a build number, giving more credibility to this finding. The person who left the comments is a Chromium developer, which suggests affinity to Google, once again.

So, what does this all mean?
  1. Google doesn't assign version numbers to Android releases until a short time before they're set to be unveiled. We're talking weeks or a couple of months max.
  2. Google does not assign version numbers to internal/test releases. Those are usually called something like Jelly Bean MR1 and then assigned proper versions number when they're close to release.
  3. Android 4.3 started appearing in the logs recently, while Android 5.X is nowhere to be found, and neither are any K***** builds.
  4. Google I/O is in less than a month.
  5. Everyone has been expecting Google to unveil the newest version of Android at the conference, as Google has traditionally done in the past. Most have suggested that it would be Android 5.0, Key Lime Pie, or some other dessert starting with K, meaning a big leap from Jelly Bean, usually requiring app compatibility updates and bringing serious architectural changes. Think Android 3.0 compared to 2.X and Android 4.0 compared to 2.X and 3.X.
  6. Recently, a rumor started floating around that the next major revision is going to be delayed to give OEMs (and developers) some breathing space.
  7. We now know that Google is working on Android 4.3, which is still Jelly Bean. Today's findings suggest (this part is in my opinion, not a fact) that the company is going to unveil 4.3 and not 5.X at Google I/O. I may end up being wrong on this one, but all the clues are lining up pretty well to fit this theory.
  8. The versioning likely points to OS changes that are not too drastic for developers to adapt their apps to and OEMs to upgrade devices to. Think Android 2.0 -> 2.1, 2.1 -> 2.2, 4.0 -> 4.1, and 4.1 -> 4.2 (especially the latter). This is a good thing - as we know, Jelly Bean can be found on only 25% of devices, and that's after Google reworked the algorithm used to report these numbers.

Vine For Android Coming Soon

In an interview with The Verge, it was mentioned that Vine for Android is being actively worked on, and is coming “soon.” For those of who have been intrigued by the app, but not enough to dump Android for it, this is great news.
Large companies who choose Android over iOS has proven to be a relatively smart move. While some would argue the fact that half of Instagram’s users are now on Android means the company missed out in the beginning, some might argue the exact opposite. Launching on iOS only gave the team behind Instagram the option to support a small amount of handsets, and hone their product before expanding overnight to double the user base.
Source: The Verge

Meet The Nexus Smartwatch Concept

So we all know, almost every company out there has a rumored smartwatch. But this one blows them all away. 

Check out a video of the rumored Google Nexus smartwatch concept. Leave us a few comments, let us know what you think?

HP’s Slate 7 Goes On Sale Today For $169

HP has entered back in to the Android tablet game, after a little over 4 year's working on WebOS. Their first effort, the HP Slate 7 goes on sale today for a very reasonable $169.  

On the plus side, HP offers SD Card expansion, built-in printing, and Beats Audio to the package when compared to the $199 Nexus 7. 

Like the Nexus 7, the Slate is almost entirely Stock Android. Unlike the Nexus 7, however, the screen is the same 1024×600 resolution as the two year old base model Kindle which currently sells for $159.

Source: HP

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

AOSP Stock Android Available Now For Sony Xperia Z

Announced today on their developer blog, Sony is now doing the same thing with their latest flagship smartphone, and has released an AOSP build for the 5-inch 1080p Xperia Z, complete with as many binaries as they can possibly supply. Sony was able to provide the necessary files to get the SD-card, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, LED light, and most sensors working, but cannot provide the binaries for the camera or modem. Although they do have both working well internally.

Because of the broken modem and camera support, along with a handful of bugs, AOSP for the Xperia Z isn’t ready for every day use quite yet, but it could be only a matter of time. A quick look on XDA shows that the Sony released AOSP code for the Xperia S was used to make a successful ROM. There’s little reason to believe the Xperia Z won’t follow suit. All the files needed for getting AOSP up and running on your Xperia Z are located on Sony’s github, ready for contribution from developers committed to making this project daily-driver worthy.

The decision to give developers and consumers the tools needed to customize the firmware on their Xperia S was, as you would imagine, very well received. Sony was celebrated for being open minded and receptive to consumer demands. Doing the same thing with the Xperia Z seals that reputation. What do you think of Sony’s decision to release vanilla Android for their flagship devices?

Google Fiber TV Remote App For iPad Released

iPad Fiber TV App
Google launched its Google Fiber TV for iPad app today allowing Google Fiber customers to transform their iPads into QWERTY keyboard, TV guide yielding TV remotes.

For the past month, our Fiber TV customers have been able to control their TVs with any recent Android device. Using the Fiber TV app from the Google Play Store, they can search for programming, browse listings, and select shows or recordings with just the touch or swipe of a finger. Now, iPad users can enjoy this simple, intuitive experience, too.

This should come as great news to tablet owners in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo.

Google Fiber TV for iPad is available for free in the App Store.

Source: Google, Apple App Store

Google Acquires Wavii For Over $30M

Google has purchased natural language processing engine Wavii for more than $30 million, according to TechCrunch.

The acquisition has several similarities to Yahoo’s recent purchase of Summly, which Yahoo integrated into its iOS app just yesterday, as both start-ups focused on parsing text from content and delivering summarized snippets of information.

Even the price, at $30 million, rings similar to Yahoo’s acquisition of Summly.

Wavii could be useful in improving Google Now, Google’s voice search service, and was reportedly in high demand as a bidding war broke out between Apple and Google.

You can try out Wavii for yourself both on the web and on iOS by following the links below.

LG Optimus G Pro Unvailed At May 1st Event


Last week LG announced it will hold an event in New York City on May 1, and today it confirmed the event will be the launch of the LG Optimus G Pro.

The invitation to LG’s May 1 event now includes an image of the LG Optimus G Pro, the manufacturer’s 5.5-inch smartphone. LG already announced the Optimus G Pro in Japan and South Korea, and the phone will finally launch in the U.S. next week with a release sometime later.

Assuming the U.S. version of the Optimus G Pro is the same as the Japanese and South Korean version, the phone will feature a 5.5-inch 1080p True HD IPS+ display and a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor. The international versions of the phone have a 13MP rear-facing camera and a 2.1MP front-facing camera.

While the size of the Optimus G Pro puts it in the phablet category the phone lacks the stylus that’s usually associated with such large phones. So while the phone competes with the Galaxy Note 2 in terms of size it doesn’t have the same input options as Samsung’s phone. That may make the phone harder to use for some, but it’s hard to say without actually holding it.

The LG Optimus G Pro is the company’s latest phone, and the one which will compete against the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One when it comes to U.S. carriers. It has specs similar to both phones (they all use the Snapdragon 600 processor), but is the largest of the three.

The invite gives no indication as the which carriers will offer the Optimus G Pro in the U.S. AT&T and Sprint currently carry the LG Optimus G, so it seems logical that both would carry the phone’s larger sibling.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Join Me In Welcoming @evleaks To The 9to5Google Team

In a post from 9to5Google, that was released earlier today. 

You’ve probably seen that notorious cell phone leaker @evleaks has been doing a few posts for us. This month we’ve made that more permanent in an agreement that should allow us to break most of his Google Android based stuff along with some interesting context as well. We’re hoping for some big things!

Welcome to @evleaks!

On behalf of us at "The Phone Ninja" welcome @evleaks!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Google And LG Reportedly Prepping 32GB CDMA Nexus 4 With LTE For I/O

When Google takes the stage during its I/O conference next month, we’re expecting great things: Key Lime Pie, unified messaging, a Nexus 7 follow up and more. But what we won’t get, according to SidhTech, citing unnamed sources, is a Nexus 5, or even an X Phone. Apparently the search giant is planning on introducing a Nexus 4 with more storage and LTE support that’s it in the phone department.

SidhTech’s report claims Google will reveal a 32GB Nexus 4 that will support LTE and CDMA bands for wider availability across the biggest carriers in the U.S. The two biggest gripes you could throw at the Nexus 4 was its storage and lack of LTE, but it appears Google wants to address both issues. But will that be enough to please those in search of a more up-to-date vanilla Android experience?

The Nexus 4 is still one of the best Android options out there, even if it doesn't sport the latest specs. The device certainly wouldn't be a bad candidate to run Key Lime Pie first, and it’ll certainly garner more interest once LTE and higher storage options are available.

TweetDeck’s Mobile Apps To Shut Down On May 7th

May 7th is the end of Tweetdeck on mobile devices

Twitter revealed that it was going to close the TweetDeck app on both the Android and Apple app stores. Well, the app doesn't have long left, as Twitter confirmed that the program will be shut down for good on May 7th.

After May 7th, users won’t be able to access the service on their smartphones and it will also be taken off Google Play and The App Store. Mobile devices aren't the only places to lose out on TweetDeck, as it will no longer be integrated with Facebook severing a major link between the two social networks.

TweetDeck users can still find the program on PC and Mac but also online where new apps for Chrome and other browsers are being developed. The closure is part of a shake-up by Twitter, which has been busy optimizing its various services. After all, it was only a couple of months ago when the company added photo editing to Twitter and refreshed the look and feel of the entire service.

TweetDeck will still be accessible on smartphones for the moment, its increasing blackouts will hinder its use meaning that users will need to turn to Twitter itself or other apps such as Carbon to monitor what’s going on in our social networking circles.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Google To Deactivate "Explorer Edition" Glass If They’re Sold

"Explorer Edition" prototype Google Glass makes you the legal owner: Wired dug into the terms of service to find that Google is effectively treating the limited edition gadget like a piece of software:

You may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty.

We’re assuming this is because the Explorer Edition is specifically aimed at developers and influencers, but that’s still a rather surprising condition to find in a hardware device.

Google+ Comments Can Now Be Integrated Into Blogger

Today, Google has announced that it is integrating Google+ comments into its Blogger blogging service.For example, comments from Google+ users regarding a Blogger post will actually show up in the comments on a Blogger blog post.

Now when you’re browsing your blog’s comment threads, you’ll see activity from direct visitors, and from people talking about your content on Google+. For example, if there’s a public Google+ discussion about one of your blog entries, those comments and replies will also appear on your Blogger blog. This way you can engage with more of your readers, all in one place.

Google X Phone Could Come In Over 20 Colors

Google X Phone rumor says that while it’s highly unlikely for users to customize certain hardware features of the handset including “screen size, amount of RAM or case material,” they may end up choosing from a variety of colors when buying the handset.

To many people, smartphone color is not that important, but then there are plenty of customers that really care for that particular handset characteristic. Phone Arena’s sources seem to think that Motorola and Google plan to offer the X Phone in “over 20 colors.”

Obviously that’s a minor detail about the phone, and an unconfirmed one, so remember to take it with the appropriate amount of salt.

What’s worth mentioning though is that both Google and Motorola are sending clear signals that something interesting is coming down the road. First we have Google’s former CEO and current Chairmen Eric Schmidt saying that upcoming Motorola phones will be “phenomenal,” or “phone plus” devices, although he didn't reveal anything about the new handsets during his D:Dive Into Mobile interview the other day.

Then we have a Motorola’s design chief Jim Wicks saying that upcoming Motorola phones will be available in just the right size (hinting that there will be no phablets from Google), run stock Android, and won’t be just about the specs. And while that’s pretty much all he had to share about the future line of Moto handsets, we’re apparently looking at some sort of joint attack here, with both Google and Motorola building anticipation and praising devices that we’re yet to see.

One of those devices could very well be the X Phone or maybe all of them will be X Phone branded considering that a previous rumor did say that the X Phone will be an entire family of devices rather than just one model but we’ll have to wait a while longer to see it become official.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Google Nexus 7 Poetic SlimLine Case Review

I recently picked up a Google Nexus 7 Poetic SlimLine case, this case retails for $34.95 plus shipping on 

This case has got to be the best case I've seen or used thus far. My review starts with the quality of the case, by far the best bang for your buck.

With a nice feel in your hand, the quality of the materials are top notch  added with the magnetic closure, and magnetic sleep feature to help save battery. 

This case offers a sturdy folding design providing protection to the screen and back of the Google Nexus 7, the interior is lined with microfiber for scratch and dust protection as well as anti-slip protection when folding the cover in multiple positions.

The magnetic cover is a must have for any user on the go putting the device to sleep/wake upon opening and closing the case. 

The Google Nexus 7 Poetic case gives easy access to the needed charging port, buttons, and speakers. 

However, one downfall is that still to date I can not find a case that plays nice with the side charging pins for the Google Nexus 7 charging dock. Make no mistake the Google Nexus 7 Poetic case is no exception to the rules. 

Another nice feature is the material the Google Nexus 7 Poetic case is made of, said to be shock-resistant, which believe me I have not had the pleasure of testing this. 

In closing with a price point of $34.95 direct from Poetic (you can find it cheaper on Amazon $16.14 shipped to be exact) this is a great buy, and the best Google Nexus 7 case by far. 

Facebook Chat Heads Now Available For iOS

Facebook recently introduced “Chat Heads” in its Facebook Home application for Android, and now the feature is about to make its way to iOS devices. Chat Heads work like this: if a friend on Facebook messages you, a small picture of the person will pop up on your screen that you can interact with. If you tap the face, you’ll be able to enter an SMS or Facebook Chat conversation with the contact.
There’s a catch on the iOS version, however: you won’t see the chat heads on your home screen or lock screen as you do on Android, AllThingsD explained. Instead, they’ll only pop up while you’re using the actual Facebook for iOS application. That’s kind of a bummer, but at least it adds a bit more flare to Facebook on iOS.
If you want a fully immersive Facebook experience, we suggest you take a closer look at the HTC First, or install Facebook Home on one of the supported Android handsets. Otherwise the chat heads on iOS will have to tide you over for now.
Update: The new Facebook application for iOS with chat heads is available now, but only some users are getting the full chat head experience that will roll out to everyone over the next few weeks.

Andy Rubin Reveals, Android Was Originally Intended For Cameras

Android has certainly expanded well beyond just the smartphone, finding itself on televisions, set-top boxes, tablets and even cameras. What you might not know is that when Android was first conceived, it wasn't even aimed at smartphones.

Today at the Japan New Economy Summit in Tokyo, Android co-founder Andy Rubin showed off slides from his very first pitch for Android. Back in 2004, Rubin and company had dreams of a world of smart cameras that would easily connect to the PC and then link to an “Android Datacenter”.

In short, it was a camera platform that would also have a cloud system for storing photos online. So what happened? The digital camera market was already slowing down and five months after their original presentation, they returned with a new pitch that declared Android as an “open-source handset solution”.

The next step in Android’s evolution would be the hiring of team members that had experience at carriers like T-Mobile and Orange. The year was 2005, and the goal was to prepare Android to compete against Symbian and Microsoft. At this point, the iPhone had obviously yet to enter into the equation.

Rubin also made it clear that from the beginning Android was aimed at the mass market, with an emphasis on OS growth, not per-unit income.

In the early days of smartphones, hardware vendors had to pay a pretty hefty amount in order to license mobile operating systems, which meant that phone vendors had to jack up the prices in order to make a profit.

As we all know, Android shook up this model quite a bit by introducing an open-source OS that was free to use, with the idea instead being for Android to make its money from selling services and products.

Android’s original projection was to have 9 percent of the North American and European market share by 2010. Considering Android runs on over 70% of all smartphones around the world and averages 1.5 million new activation's each day, we’d say that the stomped all over that goal.

Google has accomplished a lot with Android, and Andy Rubin has been a big part of it all. While Rubin might not be leading Android’s development any longer, he does ensure he will continue to create great products directed at end users. “I can pretty much guarantee you that whatever I do next it’s going to be something that delights consumers.”

Eric Schmidt Teases New Motorola Phone

Eric Schmidt, our favorite Google Executive Chairman, is usually not one for cautious statements. Back in 2011, he predicted Android would be bigger than iOS, a very brash statement at the time. Recently, he has said the entire world will be online in 7 years’ time, which seems inconceivable right now considering conditions in some countries.

This morning, at All Things D: Dive into Mobile, Schmidt made another interesting statement. He said he has seen Motorola’s upcoming devices, and they are “phenomenal”. He went on to say they were “Phone plus” devices. That’s high praise, and further teases the rumored Motorola X phone.

We were a bit let down by Google CFO Patrick Pichette’s statement some time ago that the next Motorola devices wouldn’t “blow us away”, as he intimated they inherited some devices that were already in the works. We’ve consistently heard rumblings about the Motorola X phone, even seeing a working prototype. Is Eric Schmidt hinting at the X phone, or something we’re not even aware of?

He may not be talking about any particular device, really. Google seems to have a pretty heavy hand in Motorola’s mobile sector, as that old prototype of the X phone shows. They’re famously very involved with Nexus devices, and having their own hardware manufacturer can only drive their innovations further. While Eric’s statements could have just been kind words by a company man, it’s doubtful. Eric is a straight shooter, and if he’s impressed by what Motorola is doing… we may just be blown away.

Google Glass Specs Finally Revealed

Google Glass is here, After sending out notifications to participants of the Glass Explorer program and then releasing a developer API, Google also pushed out a support page for Glass which included FAQ and official tech specs. From the beginning, we were curious as to what was packed inside this new wearable tech. The mystery is finally over with. 

The device itself has a “durable frame” that “fits any face” and includes adjustable nose pads  The display is considered “high resolution” that is the equivalent to a 25″ HD TV being viewed at eight feet away. The camera features a 5MP sensor that can record 720p video. Audio is taken care of by a Bone Conduction Transducer. There is 16GB of internal storage, though only about 12GB is usable. A typical battery charge should get you through an entire day as long as you aren’t spending extra time video recording or participating in Hangouts.

Google Glass should work on any Android device running 4.0.3 or higher and that has Bluetooth.

With Glass unit in hand, the new MyGlass companion app is how you set it up. (Google Play Link)

Here is the full list:

  • Fit:  Adjustable nosepads and durable frame fits any face; Extra nosepads in two sizes.
  • Display:  High resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.
  • Camera:  Photos – 5 MP; Videos – 720p
  • Audio:  Bone Conduction Transducer
  • Connectivity:  Wifi – 802.11b/g; Bluetooth
  • Storage:  12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage. 16 GB Flash total.
  • Battery:  One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive.
  • Charger:  Included Micro USB cable and charger. While there are thousands of Micro USB chargers out there, Glass is designed and tested with the included charger in mind. Use it and preserve long and prosperous Glass use.
  • Compatibility:  Any Bluetooth-capable phone; The MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Google Keep Update Enables Google Drive Sync

There is an update available for Google Keep that brings about several new features for users of Google’s fledgling note taking service. Some of the most notable additions to the app include the ability to sync Keep with Google Drive, as well as the ability to jot down quick notes directly from homescreen and lockscreen widgets. Here is the full list of changes:

  • Create notes, lists, and audio notes
  • Add photos to any note
  • Hide and show checkboxes to turn notes into checkable lists
  • View and create notes from homescreen and lockscreen widgets (lockscreen widgets require Android 4.2+)
  • Selectable color for notes
  • Safely sync notes to Google Drive and other devices
  • Notes can also be used from
  • As you can see, Keep is still very much a work in progress, but it’s growing to a contender in a field dominated by Evernote and others. It still doesn’t match that service blow-for-blow, but for those tied into the Google ecosystem it’s getting easier to consider the switch.

Dish Network Rumored To Be Interested In A Deal With T-Mobile

Dish Network Chairman Charles Ergen apparently met with Deutsche Telekom about a deal that would allow the satellite television content provider to buy T-Mobile and bundle its wireless service with Dish Network to give Dish customers a chance to purchase wireless service from the carrier. Ergen was said to have made his approach to the German telco prior to April 10th when the parent of T-Mobile raised its bid for MetroPCS. Now that the surviving company will have less debt after the merger, major MetroPCS shareholders are now supporting the deal which will be voted on by stockholders on April 24th.

With Deutsche Telekom committed to completing the merger with MetroPCS, sources say that the German telecommunications company might consider a deal with Dish Network after the MetroPCS deal closes and after the company sees if a merger with Sprint is possible under the current regulatory environment. If Dish has to wait for the MetroPCS deal with T-Mobile closes to buy the latter operator, it will be looking to purchase a public company with 42.3 million customers. The T-Mobile-MetroPCS deal is structured as a reverse merger in which the smaller MetroPCS will end up as the surviving company which will probably get a name change to T-Mobile.

Ergen has built up a treasure chest of $10 billion, some of which was the result of selling debt. The FCC has already hinted that they would like to see Dish use some of its spectrum used for satellite transmissions to start a new wireless company.The rest is up to Ergen who has been quite methodical about this whole process. Regulators would much rather have Dish acquire T-Mobile than Sprint because this way a major U.S. carrier doesn't disappear. 

Dish is also involved in Sprint's deal to buy the remaining shares of network provider Clearwire that it doesn't own. Japanese telecom Softbank's $20 billion deal to buy 70% of Sprint has given the nation's third largest carrier the money necessary to bid $2.97 a share for the slightly less than 50% of the shares owned by Sprint. Dish is bidding a higher $3.30, but with Clearwire already more than 50% owned by Sprint, Dish has a very tough task ahead of it. The reason for going after Clearwire is once again, networks, pipelines and spectrum. Clearwire has been drawing down chunks of financing from Sprint that is convertible into more Clearwire shares, pretty much ending Ergen's chances of buying Clearwire.

Source: Bloomberg

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Twitter To Launch New Music App In the Coming Week

Your social network isn’t worth any salt these days unless you can share what music you are listening to with all your friends. Rumor has it that Twitter is looking to right this wrong by releasing a new music application that will work side-by-side with your timeline. There have been plenty of rumors surrounding this app, but don’t worry, Ryan Seacrest can verify its existence for us. 
All Things D is reporting that we should be seeing this new application as soon as this weekend. According to their sources, the service “suggests artists and tracks to users based on a number of personalized signals.” Users will even be able to listen to music inside the app through third party services and watch videos from Vevo.
Coachella, the huge music festival in California, kicks is this weekend, so it would make sense for them to be on the edge of the music news with their new app. Earlier this week, Twitter announced that they have acquired the music recommendation service We Are Hunted which seems to add to this weekend’s timing.
We don’t know much about this new application, but Ryan Seacrest sure does. Seacrest’s twitter says that the app is all about finding trending artists and being able to play their music from within the app. Expect to find music videos and other features when it launches sometime soon.
Update:  Twitter Music is live at, but it’s showing as “invitation only.”

Source: AllThingsD

Verizon Unveils Device Payment Plan

Verizon announced a few notable changes this week, possibly in response to T-Mobile’s new ‘Uncarrier’ pricing structure.

The first change enforces 24-month contracts and restricts subsidized upgrades during that period. Customers will no longer enjoy ‘early upgrades’ after 20-months, as was previously the policy.

While the change may disappoint customers who enjoyed upgrading their devices more frequently,Verizon told The Verge that a new “Device Payment Plan” will be accompany the policy changes.

The new payment plan allows customers to upgrade their smartphone annually by paying the upgrade fee at the register and dividing the rest of the full-retail price over 12 months. This payment plan will include a $2/month finance charge through the duration of the year.

For people like us who update annually, this option is a more pragmatic approach, especially when vendors like Gazelle (as well as others) typically pay more than the subsidized cost of a new smartphone for last year’s smartphone.

Source: 9to5Mac

Friday, April 12, 2013

Facebook Updates Messenger For Android With Facebook ‘Chat Heads’ Feature

When Facebook unveiled its new Facebook Home Android experience set to roll out on number of devices today via Google Play, one of the most talked about features was “Chat heads”. The feature allows users to quickly access Facebook messages and SMS through circular profile pictures that users can access from anywhere in the OS and organize freely on the screen.  Today, seemingly as part of its official roll out of Home, Facebook has updated its Messenger app for Android bringing a small piece of Home functionality to all Android users.

The updated version of Facebook Messenger implements the new Chat Heads feature, allowing you to see a small round icon with the face of the person you’re talking to hovering on the display even when you exit the app. When engaged in a conversation in Messenger, exiting the app will automatically create a chat head floating on top no matter where you navigate, allowing you to quickly jump back into the conversation. The chat heads can be arranged freely and dismissed at any time by dragging them off the bottom of the screen.

On top of rolling out the first device to come with Facebook Home stock– the HTC First– Facebook Home will also initially be supporting the HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, and eventually the HTC One and the Galaxy S4.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Motopocalypse Bootloader Unlock Tool Now Available For Motorola Devices

Yesterday, we were shocked to learn that Dan Rosenberg, a developer and security researcher, has found an exploit that would allow users to unlock the bootloaders of several Motorola phones. The phones confirmed to be supported were the Motorola Atrix HD, Motorola DROID RAZR HD and MAXX HD, and the Motorola DROID RAZR M. That list hasn’t changed overnight, unfortunately. Users are urged not to try this method if they own any other phone as doing so could damage their phone irreparably.

This .zip file is what you’re looking for, and here’s what you’ll need to do with it:
  1. Extract the entire contents of the zip file.
  2. If you are using Windows, ensure you have installed the latest Motorola USB drivers available for your phone.
  3. Ensure your device has been rooted and you have a working installation of “su”.
  4. Ensure USB Debugging mode is enabled on your device.
  5. If you are using Windows, navigate to the extracted directory and execute “run.bat”. If you are using Linux or OS X, navigate to the extracted directory in a terminal and execute “./”.
Dan Rosenberg also posted full insight into his research and the process which allowed him to discover the exploit over at Azimuth Security. It’s a long technical read, but if you’re up for it and interested in seeing how the tightest bootloader in the game was overtaken by the brains of this developer be sure to head over there.

Remember that anything you do to your device as a result of this modification or any other modification is your own responsibility. No one’s going to be obligated to buy you a new device if you happen to find it transformed into a decepticon. If you understand that warning and the possible repercussions of the operation then be sure to give it a try and see if you can finally free the chains your device has been shackled to for so long.

Source: Vulnfactory

Google Fiber Coming To Austin, Texas

Good news for residents of Austin, Texas your city is next on the list for Google Fiber roll out. The gigabit cable service, which first launched in Kansas City last year, is set to become available to homes in Austin by mid-2014. Austinites will have the same choice of services open to Google Fiber subscribers elsewhere gigabit internet access, gigabit internet plus Google Fiber TV, or free internet access. Pricing, Google says, will be "similar" to that of Kansas City, which offers the internet-only package for $70 per month, or internet-plus-TV for $120. (There's also a free internet deal for $300 up-front or $25 per month for 12 months.)

Announcing the news alongside Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Google called the city "a mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism."
The company says it's focusing its efforts on the Austin city limits for now, and will announce specific neighborhoods and boundaries at a later date.

ASUS MeMo Pad Now Available For $150

ASUS’ latest entry into the sub $200 tablet market is now available for purchase. Not quite as powerful as the ASUS-made Nexus 7, the MeMo Pad comes in $50 cheaper. For $150 you get a 7 inch tablet with a single-core 1GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, and 1MP front-facing camera. The price also scores 16GB of internal storage.

An Android 4.1 device, the MeMo Pad is like a budget version of the budget tablet is borrows heavily from in terms of design. It isn’t quite a Nexus 7, but has plenty going for it considering the price.

Source: ASUS

Mini MicroSD Reader For Android Smartphones & Tablets

This has got to be the greatest Kickstarter I've ever seen. Lets all get together and back this. Those of you who are disturbed by the trend among Android manufacturers to forgo microSD card slots in newer phones and tablets might be interested in a Kickstarter project that aims to solve this problem once and for all. A device that plugs into your device’s microUSB port, this little accessory can handle microSD cards up to 64GB, and you can use it to copy files between your microSD card and your phone or tablet.

So far, support is separated into three classes: class 1 is supported out of the box, with no rooting required; class 2 might need a third-party app in order to function properly; and class 3 needs a custom ROM to function properly, like CyanogenMod. Support classes have been confirmed on these device models:
  • Class 1: Samsung Galaxy S II, Galaxy SIII, Note, Note 2, Motorola RAZR M, RAZR HD, RAZR MAXX HD, HTC One X+, EVO 4G LTE, DROID DNA, all tablets using RockChip and AllWinner chips, Sonicview N710
  • Class 2: Galaxy Nexus, ASUS Nexus 7, Nexus 10
  • Class 3: Nook Color, Kindle Fire (non-HD)

Source: Kickstarter

FoxFi Working On Multiple Motorola Phones Running Jelly Bean

FoxFi (WiFi Tether w/o Root)
With devices getting updated left and right, some apps are finding themselves no longer compatible with certain devices. 
But have no fear, those app developers are always working hard to make sure their apps are functioning properly. This week, the developer of FoxFi (the app that turns your phone into a free WiFi tethering machine) has added support for a good list of Motorola device running Jelly Bean, which were previously unsupported. 
If you are the owner of a DROID RAZR, RAZR MAXX, RAZR HD, RAZR MAXX HD, DROID Bionic, or DROID 4 that is currently running Jelly Bean, you can now use the tethering feature. To start tethering, simply pick up the app on Google Play and get to doing business.

Google Play Store 4.0.25 Download Link

Here you go. After searching high and low I have found the .apk file for the new Google Play version 4.0. 
The .apk should install right over top of your current Play store.

Google Play Store v.4.0 Download Link