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21
Jul

Get the summer time Lifeguard and Prankster Shark collectibles while supplies last


ANDROID MINI SUMMER 2015 toy

Summer is in full throttle and there is no better way to remember it then with these awesome and hilarious collectible Android figurines. You get both the Lifeguard with a sunburn and the Prankster dressed as a shark. The Prankster shark even has a removable fin.

If you’d like to purchase these head to deadzebra, but hurry as they are only available while supplies last!

 

Come comment on this article: Get the summer time Lifeguard and Prankster Shark collectibles while supplies last

21
Jul

Verizon reports strong financial results for second quarter


Verizon_glass-

Verizon announced financial results for the second quarter today and things are looking good for the carrier. Verizon experienced double-digit percentage growth in year-over-year earnings and they had strong cash flow results. Earnings per share for the second quarter came up to $1.04 per share, a 14.3 percent increase compared to last year’s 91 cents per share for the same period.

According to Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam,

“Verizon has delivered another quarter of strong financial and operational results, based on consistent network reliability and superior value that continues to attract new customers. In the second quarter, we again balanced quality Verizon Wireless connections growth with low churn and profitability, and we announced and completed our acquisition of AOL. We’re now poised to offer customers exciting new over-the-top (OTT) mobile video services, and we look forward to a very positive second half of 2015.”

For the Verizon Wireless division, the company reported that 73 percent of their postpaid connections are 4G devices and the LTE network is handling about 87 percent of all wireless data traffic. Verizon says this is about double what it was one year ago. In total, Verizon has close to 62 million 4G smartphones in the hands of its customers. Verizon also reported they only experience 0.90 percent churn during the second quarter, which was the carrier’s lowest rate in three years. Low churn is considered a sign of customer loyalty. The company says their network densification plan is on schedule.

For customers on Verizon, strong financial results like this mean the carrier can take a slower approach to implementing some of the changes in the industry being pushed by smaller carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint.

source: Verizon

 

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21
Jul

Grooveshark’s playlists return on a ‘legit’ streaming site


Puff Daddy and Jay-Z

Grooveshark’s dodgy music service might be gone, but that doesn’t mean that your carefully curated playlists have disappeared forever. Newcomer music site StreamSquid claims that it has resurrected about 90 percent of Grooveshark’s playlists using a “legit” business model that plays clips from SoundCloud and YouTube. Unlike other pretenders, this isn’t an attempt to directly profit from Grooveshark’s name — it’s a part-time project, and you don’t even need to register. StreamSquid says its immediate goal is to recover your songs, and commercial success would merely be a nice long-term bonus.

It’s not necessarily as above-board as it sounds, though. Although the emphasis is on official clips, Ars Technica found a mix of both approved clips and bootlegs — not surprising when many songs are only legally available through dedicated music services. As such, there’s a real chance that copyright holders might either file lawsuits or ask the source sites to block StreamSquid’s access. While the site is trying to play by the rules, you shouldn’t count on your playlists sticking around forever.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens]

Filed under: Internet

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Via: Ars Technica

Source: StreamSquid

21
Jul

Audi, BMW and Daimler are poised to buy Nokia’s Here mapping


Navigation in the Audi A4's instrument cluster

What little hope Uber had of buying Nokia’s Here mapping service just went out the window. A Wall Street Journal source claims that Audi, BMW and Daimler have tentatively agreed to buy Here for the equivalent of $2.7 billion. A final agreement could be ready within the “next few days,” the tipster says. The German automakers won’t hoard the navigation technology all to themselves, though. Instead, they’ll reportedly give other vehicle brands a chance to claim their own stake and democratize the platform. While Here already has a presence in about 80 percent of the industry, this would make it a true mainstay for in-car mapping — companies wouldn’t have much incentive to license map data from the likes of Google or TomTom.

Filed under: GPS, Transportation, Internet, Nokia

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Source: Wall Street Journal

21
Jul

Your next phone could have a fingerprint reader on its screen


Apple Introduces Two New iPhone Models At Product Launch

Security technology firm Sonavation recently unveiled a novel means of embedding an ultrasonic fingerprint reader directly into a Gorilla Glass display. With it, mobile devices would no longer need a physical button, like the iPhone’s Home button, to use as a fingerprint reader. Instead, they’d be able to press anywhere on the screen, finger grease smudges allowing. Apple has reportedly been working on a similar idea, although it doesn’t seem likely we’d see a buttonless iPhone for at least another year.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]

Filed under: Cellphones, Displays, Tablets, Mobile, Apple

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Via: Apple Insider

Source: Sonavation

21
Jul

ZTE’s latest smartwatch packs style and gesture control


ZTE Axon Watch

ZTE isn’t just counting on a high-end smartphone to convince you that it means business. The company has taken the wraps off of the Axon Watch, a smartwatch that’s miles above last year’s clunky BlueWatch in both design and features. Besides looking like a conventional watch that you might actually enjoy putting on your wrist, it’s packing a wearable version of Tencent OS (nope, no Android Wear here) with both perks like gesture control as well as basics like phone calls, messaging and fitness tracking.

If only the hardware were more exciting. While the 1.4-inch sapphire-coated display and Bluetooth 4.1 are noteworthy, you’re otherwise looking at a very pedestrian 512MB of RAM, 4GB of built-in storage and a 300mAh battery. Don’t expect epic battery life or performance, then. As it stands, you may have to go out of your way to get one. The Axon Watch is launching in China, and there’s no indications that it’s heading elsewhere any time soon.

Filed under: Wearables

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21
Jul

ZTE explains why it didn’t want to put its name on the Axon


ZTE AXON Phone Hands On-27

If you haven’t heard of Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE, you’re probably not alone. Although it’s currently the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the United States by shipments, the company is still struggling to increase its brand awareness because it’s solely focused on budget-friendly handsets for some time. But with the recent launch of the high-end Axon smartphone, ZTE set out to try to fix that problem.

ZTE Axon hands-on

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The Axon, which was just recently unveiled at an event in New York City, ticks just about every box on the specification sheet that it possibly can. It has an aluminum chassis, a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM, a dual rear-facing camera, and some impressive Hi-Fi audio features. With the launch of the Axon, one of the most high-end smartphones the company has ever produced, one would think ZTE would want to display its name all over the device. However, we learned some time ago that this isn’t the case.

If customers know it is a Chinese brand, they might assume it’s a cheap phone.

Before the phone was announced, the Axon was a mysterious beast. The device’s website made some bold claims, though initially, we weren’t sure which manufacturer was behind the handset. Lo and behold the OEM behind this smartphone turned out to be ZTE, but why wouldn’t the company want to market it as a ZTE product? According to ZTE’s CEO of Mobile Devices Adam Zeng, it’s because ZTE was trying to change the United States’ perception of Chinese smartphone makers. “We didn’t connect it with ZTE at first,” Zeng said. “If customers know it is a Chinese brand, they might assume it’s a cheap phone.”

Mr. Zeng went on to say that ZTE will double its marketing spending each year for the next three years as it tries to reach the top-three handset vendor spot in the United States by 2018. The company’s marketing budget as a whole (not just for mobile) for 2015 is more than one billion yuan ($161 million). Zeng also says the company will still refrain from purchasing traditional advertising, but will continue to sponsor NBA teams like it has in the past.

Have you ever wanted to stay away from a smartphone because of its Chinese OEM origins? If so, do you think ZTE went about this product launch in the right way? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

21
Jul

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: one year later


samsung-galaxy-tab-s-8.4-review-4-of-27

While Android has dominated the smartphone industry, Apple’s iPad has still retained its predominant position in a shrinking tablet industry with most Android tablets suffering from a poorly optimised experience and a lack of tablet-specific applications.

Last year, Samsung tried to right this and change the status quo by introducing the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and Galaxy Tab S 10.5, which were arguably the best Android tablets ever made. Yesterday, just over a year later, the Korean manufacturer has introduced the follow up and made the new Galaxy Tab S2 range more similar to the iPad, including a changed aspect ratio.

Android tablets in video:

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With its successor on the market, let’s take a look at how the smaller Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has fared for me one year later. After twelve months with the first generation, will I be upgrading to the new Tab S2 and what would I do to improve Samsung’s first generation tablets?

Design & hardware

The design of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is still appealing a whole year later and the 8.4-inch display is simply perfect for my use. One of the biggest problems I’ve found with most Android tablets is the resolution used and as the human eye can discern individual pixels when a density of 350 pixels per inch or less is used, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is one of the few to actually hit the mark.

The 8.4-inch display offers 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution and this offers a market-leading experience, compared to other tablets on the market. The table below shows how the Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 compares in resolution, size and density to the Tab S2 and other tablets:

Tablet: Screen size: Screen resolution: Pixel Density:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 8.4 inches 1600 x 2560 pixels 359 ppi
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 10.5 inches 2560 x 1600 pixels 288 ppi
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 8.0 inches 2048 x 1536 pixels 320 ppi
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 9.7 inches 2048 x 1536 pixels 264 ppi
HTC Nexus 9: 8.9 inches 1536 x 2048 pixels 281 ppi
Apple iPad Mini 3: 7.9 inches 1536 x 2048 pixels 324 ppi
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet: 10.1 inches 2560 x 1600 pixels 299 ppi

The display is definitely one of the highlights but also is the aspect ratio; while it’s not perfect for things like reading an e-book, the 16:10 aspect ratio results in a comfortable experience whether used in portrait or landscape mode. Coupled with SwiftKey’s swipe-enabled keyboard, the display is the right size and shape to be comfortable and while it can’t be used one-handed, it can be held easily in one hand.

With a weight of 298 grams, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is definitely not the lightest on the market (and the Tab S2 8.0 addresses this as it’s lighter at 265 grams) but given the 6.6mm thickness, the additional weight makes it reassuring to hold in the hand.

The main reason the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 continues to appeal to me is that it is the first tablet since the original Galaxy Tab 7 that I can comfortable carry in the back pocket of my jeans when I’m not using it. The thickness and weight definitely play a part in making this easy and play a crucial part in the way I use my tablet.

samsung-galaxy-tab-s-8.4-review-9-of-27

The back of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has a textured dotted grid pattern that is interesting to touch and definitely better than the smooth finishes found on other devices but this has been changed with the Galaxy Tab S2, which reverts to a smoother finish. Given the back cover is plastic, the texture finish makes the Tab S 8.4 seem a little more premium than it might have done with a smooth plastic rear cover.

Overall the design of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is still appealing and unique despite the tablet being a year old. The size and aspect ratio are pleasant and the Super AMOLED display has the rich colours and deep blacks that you’d expect from a premium tablet. Some things may not be perfect but the unique design, slim body and flagship specs definitely deliver a premium experience.

Software & Performance

For me, the design of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has never been the issue; it was the software and performance that were the biggest issues with Samsung’s tablet. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 takes after the latest Galaxy S flagship at the time – which was the Galaxy S5 – and while it was certainly a good idea to model the hardware, Samsung shouldn’t have used the Galaxy S5 as the software model.

While Samsung’s software had been getting more feature-rich up until the Galaxy S5, Samsung’s flagship at the time took the strategy too far, with an experience that was full of bloatware, bugs and sluggish performance. Sadly, this translated to the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and like past Samsung devices, updates haven’t been so forthcoming.

As an example, my tablet launched on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and I’ve had maybe two or three relatively large updates over the past year but despite this, the tablet hasn’t been updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop. Now, I am using carrier-branded software which has resulted in updates being slow and rare, but Samsung themselves have only released the Lollipop update for a handful of markets around the world.

The lack of meaningful updates means the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 still can’t change the runtime to Android Runtime (as opposed to Dalvik). One of the strangest software decisions Samsung made was to disable the ‘Change Runtime’ option in Developer Options and this means the tablet uses the slower Dalvik runtime (versus ART, which is the only runtime available from Lollipop onwards).

Apps that have been updated for the Android Lollipop architecture fail to run as smoothly as they did when they were developed for KitKat and it is this fragmentation that makes the Android tablet experience a lot poorer than rival experiences on the iPad and Windows tablets. That being said, I have briefly used Lollipop running on a Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and while I can’t compare it directly to my KitKat experience – mainly because the data, apps and usage of the tablet was different – it did seem a lot snappier and smoother.

The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 was also one of the first Android tablets to feature a fingerprint sensor but having modelled the rest of the hardware on the Galaxy S5, it made sense that Samsung would use the same fingerprint sensor, which required a swipe gesture. In the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy Tab S2, this has been replaced by a Touch ID-like tap sensor and for good reason as the fingerprint scanner on the Tab S 8.4 is near impossible to use accurately.

Overall, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 might have impressive specs that include a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor (or octa-core Exynos CPU depending on which model you have) and 3GB RAM but good specs don’t always mean good performance and the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is an example of this. Luckily, the Lollipop update should bring more optimisations, which will help to negate some of the original performance issues.

Battery Life

The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 comes with an in-built non-removable 4900 mAh battery that Samsung claim offers up to 29 hours’ usage (on my LTE model). In actual usage however, I’ve found that the battery fails to deliver, just like the battery failed on the Galaxy S5, in my opinion.

On average, standby time is, at best, a couple of days of low usage but any heavy usage or media consumption can see the battery last just hours instead of a full day. As you load the tablet with data and applications, the battery life and performance both take a hit, and bloatware in particular, is a key reason the battery life is poorer than you would expect from a tablet of this calibre.

That being said, I have heard reports that Lollipop again brings plenty of improvements in the battery life department with a couple of people I personally know reporting that the update adds several hours to the average battery life. The lack of removable battery coupled with lack of fast charging means that when the battery does die, it takes several hours to charge to full and if you don’t use the charger included in the box, it will take several hours on top to fully charge.

Will I be upgrading my Tab S 8.4?

My personal opinion on Android tablets tends to fluctuate between necessity and useless and the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has driven me to both ends of the scale. On the one hand, watching media and using it for tasks while in my home is a pleasurable experience but using it heavily for extended periods of time usually drives me to despair as performance issues become apparent.

Original Tab S in video:

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 When Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 last year, the tablet certainly had me excited and a year later, some of this initial appeal definitely remains. The display is still one of the most impressive I’ve used on an Android tablet to-date while the performance issues and software quirks have certainly become familiar to say the least (although I’m still firmly of the opinion that Samsung need to drastically improve the software and performance).

I’ve got the 16GB LTE version here and without doubt, a SIM card slot is useful but it does present another problem; when used with a SIM card, it has a marked effect on battery life, especially if connected to a network with intermittent coverage. Even with that in mind, the battery should be good for an average working day (which equates to around four to five hours’ screen-on-time).

The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has already had a couple of price drops in the UK, meaning you can pick the LTE version up for £329.00 (versus a starting price of £399.00). It’s unknown exactly how much the Galaxy Tab S2 will cost – although rumours suggest a starting price of €469, which is likely to equate to similar pricing as the original Tab S – but whatever the price, the new tablets are likely to result in the original model becoming even cheaper. At its current price, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 offers relative value for money but if it were to drop by another 20 percent, it would become a necessary purchase. Remember, these are the LTE prices and if you’re after the Wi-Fi only version, this is already available for £240, making it a fantastic purchase that’s well worth every penny.

What do you think of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 or even the larger 10.5-inch model? Have you owned one? What about Android tablets? Let us know your views in the comments guys!

21
Jul

AT&T pauses Android 5.1 Lollipop update for the Moto X (1st Gen.)


moto-x-vs-nexus-4-aa-moto-x-standing

Not more than two weeks ago AT&T began rolling out the update to Android 5.1 Lollipop to the 2013 Motorola Moto X. If you have yet to receive that update, it unfortunately looks like you’ll have to wait even longer to get a taste of Lollipop. According to the Moto X support page on AT&T’s website, effective July 20th, the update to Android 5.1 for this device has been suspended.

The carrier didn’t offer up any reasoning behind this delay, but it does say that it apologizes for any inconvenience and it is working to resolve the issue as quickly as it can.

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We’re not exactly sure if Moto X owners have been experiencing too many bugs after updating or if AT&T is having problems rolling it out to users. This is a significant software update (from 4.4.4 KitKat to 5.1 Lollipop), so it’s not all too surprising that there could be some bugs in the update. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if we hear anything from the carrier.

If you’ve updated your AT&T Moto X to Android 5.1, have you experienced any problems? If so, let us know in the comments!

21
Jul

Ubik takes to Kickstarter for 5.5-inch Uno smartphone


Early backers can score the unlocked smartphone for as low as $280

ubik_uno

Ubik Mobile today announced its flagship smartphone, the 5.5-inch Uno, is now available on Kickstarter. Powered by a stock version of Android 5.1 Lollipop, the phone features some rather impressive hardware – especially for the money.

Specifications include a 2.2GHz octa-core MediaTek processor with 3GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, and a Sony Exmor 20-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus, f/2.2 aperture, and 4K video capture. Around front you’ll find an equally impressive 8-megapixel camera.

ubik_uno_4
ubik_uno_3
ubik_uno_2

Looking closer at the display, the resolution is listed at 1920 x 1080 which does come around half that of the top flagships of 2015. But, given the price tag, and the fact that a lot of people don’t see the differences, it’s a fair trade off. It’s also worth pointing out that the Ubik Uno features a nearly bezel-free display which means less wasted space and easier to hold.

Sold unlocked, the handset will work with AT&T, T-Mobile, and their respective brands. The retail cost is pegged at $345 however early supporters can get their hands on the phone for as low as $280. Shipping is expected to commence in early Q4.

As of today there are 44 days left in the Kickstarter campaign; more than $16,000 has been raised in the first few hours of availability.

Ubik Kickstarter

The post Ubik takes to Kickstarter for 5.5-inch Uno smartphone appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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