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30
Sep

Reviewing Android Kit Kat 4.4.4 for Samsung Galaxy S3 4G (GT-I9305)


Galaxy S3 4G GT-I9305

The Galaxy S3 was arguably the best phone of 2012 – it was the first smartphone to have a quad-core SoC, and the 4G variant bumped up the normal Galaxy S3 from 1GB of RAM to 2GB. Yesterday, Samsung finally started to push out the Kit Kat update for the Galaxy S3 4G, mainly in Nordic countries and Germany. It comes as a welcome surprise, since Samsung announced that they would ship out 4.4.2, but instead, gave users a slightly upgraded flavour of Android, with 4.4.4. The update is a hefty 1.6 GB, and brings changes in Touchwiz, certain stock apps, and brings new Kit Kat features to the Galaxy S3 4G.

Touchwiz

Samsung brings with the new update a few changes withTouchwiz. It isn’t the GalaxyS5 design that many were hoping for, however; it really does not stray too far from the 4.3 firmware for the S3. However, there are noticeable differences for a few functions. The most valuable of this is the new lock screen music controls. Samsung has finally decided to grace users with being able to control music playback from thelockscreen, a feature whichhas been missing since the original 4.0.4 release of the Galaxy S3. Also, gone are the greens, oranges and grays of the previous notification bar, as the new firmware makesall of the icons gray.

notification panel 4.4.4 GT-I9305
about device 4.4.4 GT-I9305

Stock apps

The Kit Kat update brings changes, mainly to the settings app; the new UI reintroduces the gradient on the taskbar of the settings app, similar to 4.1.2 and 4.0.4. A few of the icons have changed, and the menu altered to cater to the new Kit Kat features. Also, Samsung brings a change in the calculator app, going for a rectangular button layout, instead of the circular button layout of 4.3.
Settings 4.4.4 GT-I9305
calculator 4.4.4 GT-I9305

Kit Kat upgrades

Of course, the Galaxy S3 4G enjoys the new and improved features of Android with Android Kit Kat. With this update comes settings such aslocation settings, and the ability to choose the user’s default launcher and messaging app. Unfortunately, there is no option to change the runtime fromDalvik from ART, but thiscan be expected from an official upgrade. Interestingly, there is no ‘Powered by Android’ logo in boot-up. And of course,GT-I9305 users can finally play with the Kit Kat easter egg.

Kit Kat 4.4.4 GT-I9305
default applications 4.4.4 GT-I9305

Thoughts

While using this firmware on the Galaxy S3 4G, I noticed a few markedly different aspects in user experience. Firstly, I felt that the phone was quite speedy, to which the lessening of RAM requirement of Kit Kat probably played a role in. The animations were smooth, and gameplay didn’t feel slow, for less intensive games. However, there was frame dropping on graphic-intensive games such as Riptide GP2, but that’sto be expected with a device this old. Battery life seems to have improved dramatically, since the battery-munching 4.3 update, however, this cannot be confirmed until further usage.

Overview

I must congratulate Samsung for producing an update for a device this old. While it was late, and did not meet hopes, it is still a brilliant update for a brilliant handset, and fixes a lot of the issues from the 4.3 update. This is most probably the last update for the Galaxy S3 GT-I9305, as it has now neared 18 months; Samsung’s product service period. It is an apt ending to a device as controversial and popular both in the Android enthusiast community, and mainstream society.


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The post Reviewing Android Kit Kat 4.4.4 for Samsung Galaxy S3 4G (GT-I9305) appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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30
Sep

Spotify finally makes its way to Canada



The world is full of music streaming services. Some of the big names include Pandora, Google Play Music All Access, iHeartRadio, Phapsody, Slacker and Spotify. Each has its following and each has its own special little thing about it from price tag, to number of available tracks, to locale. Today Spotify has increased its to finally include our neighbors to the north, Canada.

Spotify Canada


The addition of Canada marks the 58th member to join the Spotify family. Users to the north will have the same access to over 20 million tracks on any device on their fully licensed free tier. If you rock out on mobile you get to shuffle through a variety of things where as tablets and desktops allow you to listen to anything you want. Kick it up with Sptify Premium for $10 CAD and gains the ability to download the tunes, gain full on-demand access, ditch the occasional ads and get it all in the highest quality they offer.

Feel free to pick up the free app and set up your free account to give it a whirl. Once you do, be sure to check out the O Canada! playlist that they created just for the Canadians.


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The post Spotify finally makes its way to Canada appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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30
Sep

Galaxy Note 4 gap is a necessary manufacturing feature according to Samsung



There is this wonderful thing out there called the internet. It allows everyone all over the world to find something wrong somewhere with something and allows everyone everywhere to compare notes and complain in unison. Regardless if an issue is an isolated instance to a few thousand, something more serious or just a feature that someone doesn’t like, we all get to hear about it. The last few days have been all about the iPhone 6 and the bending issues that Apple is facing. Samsung isn’t in the clear when it comes to controversy either, however not to the degree of Apple. The new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 seems to have a rather annoying gap between the body and the metal frame of the device. The gap is apparently big enough to slide a business card in.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Gap

Where the whole thing gets a bit comical, at least to me, and this is beyond the point that this is even a problem, is that Samsung put the information about the gap in the Note 4 user manuals troubleshooting section.

A small gap appears around the outside of the device case


This gap is a necessary manufacturing feature and some minor rocking or vibration of parts may occur. 

Over time, friction between parts may cause this gap to expand slightly.

So, there is a small gap between the body and the metal frame of the device around the whole thing. Probably a bit worrying is the vibrations of parts and the gap expanding being the biggest potential issues of the whole thing. Samsung doesn’t go into detail any more than that unfortunately. I would wager that the gap serves a purpose like keeping the glass from acquiring too much pressure on the sides causing it to shatter, which does happen in hot and cold temperatures since metal and plastic do expand and contract. None the less, it is something that is noted and that could cause potential issues for end-users in the future.

Since the Note 4 isn’t readily available world-wide, we will have to wait and see just how off-putting it is a bit longer. Hopefully Samsung will push out an explanation before hand though.

Source: ITToday via SamMobile


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The post Galaxy Note 4 gap is a necessary manufacturing feature according to Samsung appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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30
Sep

Five big features that show why the Galaxy Note Edge isn’t a total gimmick



Samsung has the money, the resources and the R&D to try things that break the traditional conventions of what we all perceive as a normal. We can toss out the words gimmick, innovation or just plain stupid all we want when it comes to a device, product or feature. In the end, it still comes down to personal preference, need and desire for something new and different. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is one o those devices that is just …. different. It won’t appeal to everyone, it won’t sell into the billions (I don’t think anyways), but it will offer up something different that is aimed at being useful instead of just gimmick. To help plead their case on this Samsung has put together an infograph that offers up five of the biggest features that the Note Edge brings to the table.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge


This certainly isn’t Samsung’s first rodeo with a second screen on the same device experience. Anyone remember the Samsung Continuum? It brought a second screen at the bottom of your primary screen and offered up quick glances at notifications and other things. It was a cool idea, just poorly executed. Then again, that was back in the Android 2.2 Froyo days. Back then Android and Samsung were still working on a direction.  I am particularly interested int he Note Edge. The approach seems feasible and usable in a variety of situations and real world uses. While many of the features are achievable on any Android device, the placement of them on a curved edged that bends down the edge of the device makes them a bit more practical. I can already see the ruler coming in handy often. I am looking forward to seeing if other apps get adapted for the Edges smaller screen or not.

What are your thoughts? Are you aiming your sights on a Note 4 or giving the Note Edge some serious thought?

Source: Samsung Tomorrow via Phandroid


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The post Five big features that show why the Galaxy Note Edge isn’t a total gimmick appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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30
Sep

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Golden Master Candidate to Developers


Apple today released a candidate golden master version of OS X Yosemite to developers, just over two weeks after releasing the eighth Developer Preview alongside the third public beta of the upcoming Mac operating system.

The latest update for developers, which arrives as Build 14A379a, can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and through Apple’s Mac Dev Center. Apple has also released Xcode 6.1 GM seed and a new version of OS X Server 4.0 developer preview.

yosemite_gm_dev_center
OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, more modern look to OS X, with an emphasis on translucency and redesigned dock, windows, and more. It also includes a multitude of new features, such as improved integration with iOS 8 through Continuity, a new “Today” view in Notification Center that offers integration with third-party apps, a retooled Spotlight search with new data sources, and several new features for apps like Mail, Safari, and Messages.

yosemite_gm_candidate
Over the course of the beta testing period, each Developer Preview has added new features and refined the look and performance of OS X Yosemite, although changes have become less obvious in more recent builds as Apple begins finalizing Yosemite ahead of its public release, which is expected in late October.

The current build may or may not be a final version of OS X Yosemite, depending on the outcome of final testing. As an example, Apple last year seeded its planned golden master build to developers on October 3, although it did release a second golden master version a few weeks later just ahead of the public release on October 22.




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30
Sep

Apple to Announce Q4 2014 Earnings on October 20 [Mac Blog]


Apple today updated its investor relations page to confirm it will announce earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter (third calendar quarter) of 2014 on October 20. The quarterly earnings statement will be released around 1:30 PM Pacific / 4:30 PM Eastern, with a conference call to discuss the report following at 2:00 PM Pacific / 5:00 PM Eastern.

q42014-earnings
This quarterly earnings report covers the period up to September 27 and will include early sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which launched in a number of countries on September 19. With a highly anticipated China launch slated for October 17, iPhone sales in the current quarter are expected to continue to be strong. The company confirmed it sold a record-breaking 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in the first weekend of sales and would have sold significantly more units if supply had not been constrained.

MacRumors will provide coverage of both the earnings release and conference call on October 20.




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30
Sep

Google gives students unlimited cloud storage


Google’s invasion of our classrooms (and its war on paper) continues unabated. Back in August in the search giant released an online education tool for teachers who wanted to digitally manage their classes, and now it’s launched an improved version of Google Drive that’s free for folks toiling away in academia. The company’s new Drive for Education is basically the same thing as its enterprise-based Drive for Work, which means you’re looking at unlimited storage space (albeit with a 5TB file size limit) and access to Google Vault for message archiving.

To put that in perspective, Google’s education users only used to get 30GB of free space — that’s more than enough for most, but dropping storage costs mean Google is trying to replace your paper-laden bookbag with the cloud. Itching for your turn to try the improved Drive? If your school is a current Google Apps for Education user, you’ll see the unlimited space appear over the next few weeks… though you’ll have to wait a bit for some of the other bells and whistles to go live. Vault, for instance, is second on the list of priorities after making sure everyone gets their unlimited storage, and auditing support (yawn) is due to come sometime after that.

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Via: TechCrunch

Source: Google for Education

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30
Sep

FCC unanimously rejects NFL’s blackout rules


Washington Redskins v Houston Texans

Well, that didn’t take long. We reported yesterday that the FCC was taking aim at sports blackout rules this week, and today the Commission voted to nix the “unnecessary and outdated regulations.” For nearly four decades, policies kept pay-TV providers from airing games blacked out on local stations. The rules also prevented that latter group from showing NFL matchups that failed to sell out at least 72 hours ahead of time. Now that the NFL no longer relies on ticket sales to drive revenue, the rules have been repealed to further eliminate blackouts for local viewers. As the press release notes, current over-the-air network contracts run through 2022 (FOX, CBS, and NBC), so the NFL won’t likely make the jump to cable and satellite any time soon. If it so chooses, the league can create a private blackout policy (like MLB, for example), but it will no longer be afforded the protection of the government to do so. “Instead, the NFL must rely on the same avenues available to other entities that wish to protect their distribution rights in the private marketplace,” the PR details.

[Photo credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images]

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Source: FCC

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30
Sep

Pebble drops prices by $50 and adds continuous fitness tracking


If you’ve been thinking about getting a smartwatch but haven’t been persuaded to plunk down a lot of cash, Pebble’s trying to make the decision a little easier for you. The watch maker is lowering the price of its full lineup by $50, which means you can now get the sporty original model (above, right) for $100 and the fancier Steel (above, left) for $200. Usually significant price drops like these are a reaction to slowing sales, but CEO Eric Migicovsky says that on the contrary, sales are still as strong as ever and the ecosystem is growing. The company wants to offer the “right price for the product” and properly represent Pebble watches in light of the swelling competition in this category, Migicovsky said. Indeed, with the debut (and proliferation) of Android Wear this year and Apple Watch next year, Pebble wants to add cost to its list of competitive advantages alongside battery life and cross-platform functionality — especially as the holidays approach and smartwatch choices become even tougher.

The news doesn’t stop there. Pebble is also pushing out a software update that makes its watches more appealing to health and fitness fans. One of the biggest frustrations about Pebble’s firmware has been that fitness tracking apps were nearly impossible to use continously throughout the day (and into the night) because the watches couldn’t run in the background — if you wanted to track your steps or the distance you ran, you’d have to keep that app open and running the entire time. Today’s update fixes that problem, so now all of your fitness activity can be tracked continuously, even if it’s tucked away behind your favorite watchface.

Among the developers taking advantage of the new update is Misfit, which is releasing an updated app with 24/7 activity tracking and sleep monitoring; Jawbone, which is launching a watchface for Up users; and Swim.com, which — as the name implies — runs algorithms that let you measure your distance, pace, strokes and time. Pebble says that the functionality will be open to all developers, so we expect to see a lot more fitness-related apps get updated in the near future. Given the emphasis on health and fitness tracking in many of the latest smartwatches on the market, it’s good to see Pebble take steps in that direction and address one of the biggest frustrations experienced by its user base.

As a final note, Pebble is also expanding its retail presence internationally in the UK, Scandinavia and Benelux in October. Up until now, buyers in those regions have been able to order watches through the company’s official site, but this will be the first time they can grab one through other means.

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30
Sep

Microsoft’s next OS is Windows 10, will ship later in 2015


Instead of announcing the next version of its iconic operating system in front of a massive crowd of thousands, Microsoft chose an intimate venue with 50 or so reporters to launch the new Windows, which it’s calling Windows 10. The company looks at the new number (yes, it skipped a number) as an indication of the direction it’s taking with the OS; Microsoft says it’ll be “the most comprehensive platform ever,” featuring a full range of products that’ll be placed under the Windows 10 umbrella as part of “one tailored experience.” Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore showed off an early beta version of the new Windows on stage, which looks very much like the leaked screenshots we saw not too long ago; Belfiore says that they wanted to bring the familiarity of Windows 7 and combine it with the functionality of Windows 8.

The new Windows will look very familiar if you’re used to either of the the last two versions, though Win8 users will notice that the Modern UI is nowhere to be seen at first. Instead, the series of Live Tiles can be found in the Start Menu off to the right side, with the usual Win7-style set of pinned and frequent apps on the left side, along with web and app search underneath. It also comes with a refreshed taskbar that comes with a new “task view,” which essentially lays out all of your running apps. You can also tile up to four apps on the same screen. Additionally, Windows 10 also gets a nice improvement to the command prompt: Now you can use keyboard shortcuts, as well as copy and paste.

The Charms Bar is still there, though it may not look exactly the same when the final build comes out — Microsoft says that the UI is still not final and it expects to change it between now and then — and there are plenty of touch elements and gestures carried over from Windows 8.

With Windows 10, Microsoft also plans to adjust the user interface depending on the mode you’re using it in; for instance, it’ll look different if you’re using it for touch versus if a mouse and keyboard are detected. The Modern UI shows up as a “large Start Menu” in addition to a back button on the taskbar when you’re in touch mode, whereas you’ll get the traditional desktop look and feel if you’re using a keyboard and mouse.

The team only showed a few bits of Windows 10 today, but they’ll continue to add more pieces to the puzzle over the course of the next year as Microsoft prepares for a late 2015 launch. For instance, we’ll see more of the system at the company’s Build conference next Spring. That said, Microsoft will be launching an Insider Program tomorrow, which is designed to give the initial Win10 experience to folks who have a deeper knowledge of the OS. Belfiore insists that the new Windows will give full functionality for everyone from beginners and novices to advanced users once it launches, however.

Developing…

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