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HTC to Depart Slightly from Past Flagship Designs

Posted by wicked January - 26 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Screenshot-2015-01-22-at-23.23.56HTC really hit a homerun with its HTC One design in 2013, and followed it up with another winner, the HTC One M8, in 2014. Although the design of both devices is gorgeous, some people are wondering if it might be getting a bit repetitive. These worries were exacerbated by news this week that HTC would be changing very little between its 2014 M8 model and its upcoming 2015 M9 model. This information, however, has proven to be false.

The M9, or Hima, will have some changes to the back of the device, with only one lens peeking out from its unibody, as opposed to two like the M8. However, the real changes will be on the front. The front camera should be larger and placed in the center of the top of the device, along with one of the two BoomSound speakers, the other of which will be on the bottom of the device. The bezels will be shrunk as well, with the glass panel stretching from the left side of the screen to the right.

These are just a few changes to the design, but more are sure to come as we learn more about the HTC One M9. HTC is historically very good at hiding crucial details, so we may have to be patient. What do you think about these changes? Are you looking for something more, or will this satisfy the design critic inside you? Leave a comment below, and share your opinion!

Source: HTC Source

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T-Mobile makes SCORE! program official, lets you pay $5 per month for smartphone discounts

Posted by wicked January - 26 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

t-mobile_logo_magentaT-Mobile has made a new program official for customers to take part in, and they’re calling it SCORE! The program simply lets you pay an extra $5 per month on your bill, and then you’ll get discounts on smartphones after a few months.

After 6 months of paying that extra few bucks, T-Mobile will give you a free entry level smartphone. Today, that would be something along the lines of the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2, which isn’t a bad deal for the equivalent of 30 bucks. However, if you keep paying and don’t cash in, after 12 months you’d be able to pick up a much nicer phone (T-Mobile uses the LG L90 LTE as an example) without paying anything, or you can get a bigger discount on other phones. The discount is supposedly at least $150 off a phone in the same tier as a Galaxy S5, so you’re basically paying $60 for a $150+ discount. Not a bad deal at all. The drawback is that you can’t put those discounted phones on an installment plan, but since you’re saving a bit each month, it should be easier to make those big purchases.

Whether or not you plan on taking advantage of the SCORE! program, it’s nice to have the option to. This kind of deal is pretty strange to the wireless industry, but it’s good to see T-Mobile testing out new ways to sell customers phones.

source: T-Mobile

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Here’s the only flashlight app you will ever need

Posted by wicked January - 24 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

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There are a zillion flashlight apps in Google Play, but I stumbled upon a really good one thanks to Ron Richards introducing it in the App Arena on TWIT TV’s All About Android show. It’s called Power Button Flashlight / Torch, and you’re probably already wondering what makes this better than any other flashlight app? A light is a light right? This one is all about how simple it is to turn on.

Turning on your flashlight is always a chore. You have to find the app, which is usually in the app drawer, and then you have to turn it on. Google has improved things by adding a built-in flashlight in Lollipop, while other manufacturers have offered the same. Still, you have to turn on your device, swipe down the notification panel, and press the flashlight icon. There has to be an even easier way right?

With Power Button Flashlight, all you have to do is tap the power button 3 times, and bingo, the flashlight turns on. What could be simpler? If your display is already turned on, then you tap the power button 4 times. You can even customize how many times you need to press the button. Turning it off is as easy as going to the notification panel, but for a mere $0.99 cents, you will be able to turn it off with the power button. There’s even a shake gesture option. You will also get the ability to modify how long before it automatically times out (default is 10 minutes).

I don’t know about you, but using a flashlight is not something that I use every day, but when you want to use it, you don’t want to fumble around looking for the app. This is simply the easiest and fastest way to fire it up. It’s free, so what do you have to lose? Once you see how easy it is, you won’t be able to drop that $0.99 cents fast enough to enable those extra features.

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Spotify Receives Minor Update

Posted by wicked January - 24 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

Spotify-logoSpotify is everyone’s favorite music streaming service is starting off the year with a few minor updates to keep its fantastic streaming experience up to standard. The updates are going to impact user experience positively, which is definitely important, due to the current massive subscriber growth from the limited-time, 3-month, 99 cent offer to kick off the year.

Some of the updates to the app are a snappier start, taking less time to open up and start running, even with a poor connection. Also, whenever you get a noisy notification while streaming a song, you won’t have to worry about your phone stopping the music, which can be very annoying!

So update your Spotify app if you haven’t already.

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It was reported by Talk Android’s Jeff Causey on the 12th of January (link here) that Google would no longer be providing security updates to WebView on devices running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and earlier. In fact, it is even deeper than that: Google will not be managing the entire WebKit for these versions any longer, from which WebView is derived.

In a post on Google+ today, Android Security’s lead engineer, Adrian Ludwig, provided clarification and guidance to those nearly 1 billion device owners running Jelly Bean or earlier Android versions.

WebKit is a software component for web browsers that creates the layout engine for the browsers to render web pages. WebKit is used for both Google Chrome and Apple Safari, whereas Trident is used for Internet Explorer and Gecko is used for Firefox. WebKit is also found in the browser utilized by the Tizen Operating System.

WebView, a part of WebKit, is what allows apps to display web pages inside of the app itself. This is done to keep the user inside of the app, instead of exiting the app you’re in and redirecting you to the browser app.

WebKit, and thus WebView, is mostly open-source, with companies like Google pitching in and supporting the development of the software. By ending support for WebKit on Jelly Bean and earlier versions (from here forth, I will just say Jelly Bean), Google raised alarms that certain known exploits involving WebView may leave users running Jelly Bean exposed to malicious malware.

According to Ludwig, maintaining the legacy code for Jelly Bean in WebKit’s open-source environment was actually creating more security issues than abandoning support for it. Ludwig stated, “Until recently we have also provided backports for the version of WebKit that is used by WebView on Android 4.3 and earlier. But WebKit alone is over 5 million lines of code and hundreds of developers are adding thousands of new commits every month, so in some instances applying vulnerability patches to a 2+ year old branch of WebKit required changes to significant portions of the code and was no longer practical to do safely.”

Ludwig went on to say that the best practices that a user of Jelly Bean devices can do is to open web materials inside of the Chrome or Firefox browser, which is updated with the latest security patches regardless of what Android version they are running. This negates the ability for any exploits made possible by WebView, which again, is something that is used inside of third-party apps not wanting to redirect to the browser. “Using a browser that is updated through Google Play and using applications that follow security best practices by only loading content from trusted sources into WebView will help protect users.”

For developers of apps maintaining support on Jelly Bean devices, Ludwig encourages redirecting to the browser or making sure WebView only accesses content from local sources or over HTTPS. Additionally, he suggests that app developers abandon WebView altogether and instead incorporate a webpage renderer of their own design so they can maintain security patch updates on their own.

Adrian Ludwig came to Google after serving in technical leadership positions held at Adobe, Macromedia, and Joyent. He also worked for the National Security Agency. Since his arrival on the Android Security team, he’s been very vocal about Android’s minuscule vulnerability to malicious attacks.

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During a speech to the Virus Bulletin conference in Berlin back in 2013, Ludwig claimed that Google and its data-driven methodology made it extremely difficult for it to be attacked by malcontents. He also pointed out the many layers of security that are in place to prevent malware from finding its way onto your Android device.

Source: Adrian Ludwig via Google+

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Survey finds 50% of phones activated last quarter came from Apple, 26% from Samsung

Posted by wicked January - 24 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

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Apple trumped all other smartphone manufacturers last quarter based on consumers activating a device. The usual Android foes were all far behind Apple with Samsung leading the way. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) conducted a survey with five hundred subjects in the United States and aimed to find which phone brands were most popular among activations. The devices, both old and new, were activated between October and December of last year.

Samsung trailed Apple by 24% and that was the closest any company came to catching the clan in Cupertino. After that, the numbers dropped off significantly. The third place company was LG with 11% and Motorola finished fourth at 4%. Rounding out the bottom was HTC (2%), Nokia (2%), Amazon (1%), and “other” with 4%. BlackBerry, who may or may not be facing an acquisition in the near future, had no activations from the survey.

Josh Lowitz, the co-founder of CIRP, explained that the loyalty of Apple customers is far greater than that of Samsung and LG’s. He said:

“iPhones drew from loyal Apple customers, with 86% of buyers upgrading from an older iPhone. Samsung and LG saw far lower loyalty rates, with 25% of Samsung owners and 18% of LG owners who activated a phone in the quarter switching to an iPhone.”

Source: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (PDF)
Via: Phone Arena

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LG takes to Twitter to tease Lollipop for G3

Posted by wicked January - 24 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

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LG wants you G3 owners to know that soon, you too will have the latest flavor of Android in your pocket or purse. Or wherever you store it, I don’t judge…

This afternoon, LG posted the above image on its Twitter account, with the message: “Introducing Lollipop: a sweet treat for your #LGG3.”

Source: LG via Twitter

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Game of Thrones Episode 2 for Android launching next month

Posted by wicked January - 23 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

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Telltale Games launched Game of Thrones Episode 1 on Android and iOS devices not too long ago. And now, the developer is ready with Episode 2 of the game, building enough interest among fans.

For those curiously waiting for the follow up of the first episode, you will be pleased to know that the game is expected to arrive on Android by February. It will pick up where the first episode ended, so users will be able to progress further with the game.

To further fuel your excitement, Telltale Games even has a teaser video showing off what plot lines will be discovered in this episode. Considering that the first game costs $4.99 on the Play Store, we can expect similar pricing for the latest iteration as well. The gameplay should mostly remain the same as it’s only the plot that changes.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Source: Telltale Games

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Dead Zebra shows off new ‘Hello World’ Android mini collectible

Posted by wicked January - 23 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Hello World - Dead Zebra

Earlier this week, we saw Dead Zebra announcing two new Android mini figurines under its series 5 models. Today, a new Android mini collectible has been shown off by Dead Zebra, known simply as Hello World.

The description says the following about this new mini figurine - Hello, World! This little Android has been activated for the first time and is happy to be here, but not quite sure what to make of it all. Hello World is wired for love… but programmed for disappointment.

This collectible was designed by Andrew Bell who has been involved with these projects before. These collectibles should be available in the markets sometime soon, perhaps with a $10 price tag like we’ve seen in the past.

What do you think of Hello World? Does it strike your fancy?

Source: Dead Zebra

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Motorola offering two back panels for free with the purchase of the Moto E in the U.S.

Posted by wicked January - 23 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

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American customers who are looking for a budget device might want to turn their attention towards the Moto E today.

As part of a new promotion, Motorola is now offering two free back panels or shells for free along with the smartphone. The pricing has been at $119.99 for the unlocked and contract free version of the handset which comes with 4GB of native storage.

The listing on Motorola’s site mentions that the smartphone has received a discount of $29.98, down from the original pricing of $149.97. So there are multiple reasons to check out the Moto E.

To run you through the hardware of this budget device, it comes with a 4.3 inch 960 x 540 resolution display, a 5-megapixel camera on the back, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, a 1,980 mAh battery and Android 4.4.4 KitKat with an update to Android 5.0 believed to be on the horizon.

Source: Motorola
Via: Phone Arena

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