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Friday, July 27, 2012

Galaxy Note for T-Mobile now listed as “coming soon”, August 8 still the most likely release date

There have been so many unconfirmed rumors, inaccurate speculations, and false leaks about T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy Note that many of you probably didn’t believe that Twitter official confirmation of the phablet’s existence from last week.

But if you needed additional proof that the gadget is in fact real and it’s getting very close to its release, we have today not one, but two pieces of evidence that leave very little to speculation. Both Samsung and T-Mobile have placed the new Galaxy Note on their official websites and the phone/tablet hybrid is listed as “coming soon”.

Unfortunately, both websites only house the device’s spec sheet, as well as a bunch of manuals, frequently asked questions and how-tos, without providing any insight on the Note’s exact release date and pricing.

However, we have a pretty good idea of when to expect the Note to start selling and for how much, and we’re doubtful Sammy and T-Mo can surprise us anymore. August 8 was the most likely ETA for Magenta’s Note for about three weeks now and we have no reason to think that the phablet won’t be seeing the light of day at or around that date. As far as pricing goes, we don’t think T-Mobile will afford to undercut AT&T, who’s currently selling the Galaxy Note for $249.99 with a two-year contract and $599.99 outright.

The phablet’s tech specs and features on T-Mo were pretty much all known for a while, but the official listing on the carrier’s website sets these in stone, which is why we are going to quickly recap them below:

5.3-inch SuperAMOLED Plus HD capacitive touchscreen with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution, 285 ppi pixel density and Corning Gorilla Glass1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor1 GB of RAM16 GB of on-board memoryMicroSD card slot for expanding the storage space to up to 32 GB8 MP rear-facing camera with LED and autofocus2 MP front-facing camera2,500 mAh battery capable of running for up to 10 hours in talk timeWiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC4G connectivityAndroid 4.0.3 ICS with Premium Suite, preloaded Dropbox, Evernote, LinkedIn, S Note, S MemoS Pen supportT-Mobile TV180 grams weight (6.35 ounces)147 x 83 x 9.65 mm dimensions

As you can see, T-Mo’s Samsung Galaxy Note will definitely not be a sloucher and could well go head-to-head with pretty much any Android smartphone around in terms of tech specs, software or good looks. Then again, we know that Sammy is planning to launch the GNote 2 sometime in September or October, which is why we wonder if there is enough time for Magenta to make the Note a hit. What do you guys think? Does the first-edition Note still pique your interest? Or are you definitely holding out for its successor?

SOURCES Tmo News (1) Tmo News (2)

TAGS SamsungSamsung Galaxy NoteT-Mobile

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Keek: Android app for 36-second video status updates

You might be wondering, what in the world is a “keek”? Is it some sort of strange bird call? Think of tweets and their 140-character limit. Now imagine that short, concise message in a video. That’s what a keek is.

Instead of letting people infer what they want to from your 140-character tweet, a keek allows you to give the world a 36-second update. There’s a lot you can say and show in 36 seconds and you can give your viewers a better idea of what you’re updating about.

Show the world you’re at a concert, for example, and give them an idea of the noise around you. You can also share what being in a brain-numbing hours-long car ride is like. There’s no limit to what you can keek.

Keek originally let users make video updates using their webcams but since people have been breaking away from their computers, it was only natural for Keek to make its way to iOS and to Android.

To start keeking, you’ll need to create an account. Keek gives you the option of linking your account with your Facebook profile so that your friends, family, and anyone else on your Facebook social network can be updated on what you’re up to. You can upload as many keeks as you like, for free! Sky’s the limit for your 36-second long videos.

The main home screen is simple and has everything you need in one place. There’s the Watch button where you can access recently uploaded keeks, the Top 100 users, and your Stream. If you’re looking for something in particular, you can tap the Search button. My Profile is where you can access your profile but you need to be logged in to access it. Saved is where all your saved keeks are, waiting to be uploaded.

Making a keek is easy. On the Keek home screen, tap the green button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll be brought to the recording page but it hasn’t started recording yet. Tap the red button on the bottom and capture your 36-second video.

Once you’re done or once your time limit’s up, you can add a caption, @ mentions, # hashtags, and URLs to your keek. You can either choose to upload it now or save it to upload it later. Let your friends on Twitter and Facebook know what you’re keeking about by tapping the icons on the right.

The Keek app has both front and back camera support so you can take a video of yourself or a video of something you’re looking at with no problem.

If you don’t have any friends on Keek yet, you can tap the Watch button on the home screen and take a look around at what people are keeking about. You don’t need a Keek account to be able to view keeks, but you’ll need one to like and to reply to keeks in either text comments or keekbacks.

Keek does not support watching videos within the app and you’ll need another app to view it like ES Media Player or Streaming Media Player. You can like a keek, add a text comment or Keekback. You can also share it through Facebook, Plurk, Twitter, Google+, or email. Once a video plays, you can pause it at any time, handy for when someone interrupts your viewing.

Keeking is a fun way to share your experiences with the world. If you’ve been looking for ways to connect with other people but not hide behind just a 140-character tweet, then Keek is the way to go. You can download the official app from the Google Play Store for free.

SOURCES Keek on Google Play Store

TAGS Android AppsSocial AppsSocial MediaSocial NetworkSocial SharingStatus UpdatesVideoVideo AppsVideo Tweets

Android is Dan's last thought before she closes her eyes at night and her first thought upon waking up in the morning. And, between waking up and sleeping, Android is still in her thoughts. That's how hooked she has become to Android ever since she started covering Android news and writing Android app reviews.

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Samsung to sell Olympics Flip Cover for Galaxy S3 in its London pop-up stores


With the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics about to officially kick off tomorrow, what better way to engross yourself in the quadrennial occasion than getting a matching Flip Cover for your Samsung Galaxy S3?

We have to say the specially designed back cover looks pretty smashing, as it’s adorned with neat drawings of London’s many landmarks, such as the Big Ben, the red telephone box, the newly constructed The Shard, and others. The special Olympics Flip Cover for the Galaxy S3 is your best bet to score some local memorabilia and celebrate the fine men and women who are competing for glory.

Your other option is to fly all the way to Taiwan to get the Olympic accessories pack for the Galaxy S3. But unless you’re actually competing in the summer games, you can kiss the special Olympic edition Galaxy S3 goodbye, because Samsung is only handing it out to athletes. It’s a different story if they decide to put it up on Ebay after the game finishes.

Back to the special edition olympic Flip Cover — you can snag this fine memorabilia when you purchase the Galaxy S3 from the Samsung Mobile PIN premium pop-up stores in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Old Spitalfields, Olympic Park, and the Hyde Park.


TAGS OlympicOlympic GamesSamsungSamsung Galaxy S3

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Asphalt 7: Heat now available on Google Play

After a long, long wait, Android gamers can finally rev up their virtual engines in the hottest release of the summer – Asphalt 7: Heat. The latest installment of the hit series developed by GameLoft has been teased for many weeks now and suffered several delays. The game was released on iOS more than a month ago, forcing Android fans to look with envy on the other side.

Asphalt 7: Heat has hit Google Play today and garnered close to 200 reviews already, most of which give it a glowing 5-star review. The app is compatible with Android 2.2 and upwards and goes for an affordable $0.99. My hope is GameLoft will have better success at monetizing the new Asphalt than Madfinger Games had with their Dead Trigger, which they were forced to release as a free title due to the “incredible high piracy rate”. Good developers make any platform tick, and we are all behind supporting and rewarding devs, especially when they produce amazing titles like Asphalt 7: Heat.

Asphalt 7: Heat offers six game modes, including King of the Hill, Elimination, and Paint Job (earn points by smashing your opponents — pure fun!), which ensures a high re-playability. When looking at the graphics in the trailer below, it’s hard to believe that it’s a mobile title, especially one that costs just 99 cents.


The new game will give you the opportunity to try out over 60 cars, ranging from exotics to classics, and of course, an AMC DeLorean of Back to the Future fame. After you select your ride, you will be able to push it to its limit over courses in various locales, including London, Paris, Miami, Rio, and Hawaii.

Will you be trying out the new Asphalt 7?

SOURCES Google Play

TAGS Android GamesAsphalt 7Asphalt 7: HeatGameLoft

I'm here to report on the latest, most breaking developments in mobile technology, all the latest and greatest Android news, and to dig deeper on where Android is headed. I'll tell you one thing - we're in for a wild ride!

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Intel is off to a bad start in the mobile market, and might not get to recover

No matter how hard Intel is trying, things don’t seem to go too well for them in the mobile market. According to sources quoted by Digitimes, the sales of the Intel-based smartphones aren’t going so well, and now two of their main partners, Motorola and Lenovo, are delaying their own Medfield-based tablets (and probably phones as well) at least until November.

At that point, we’ll probably be too impressed by the new Android 5.0 Nexus devices, featuring chips like the S4 Pro, Exynos 5250 and even OMAP 5, to care for Medfield phones running Jelly Bean. So things aren’t looking too bright for Intel in the future, either. But why is Intel, such a big company with a huge war chest, and a leader in the (x86) chip market, having such a hard time entering the mobile market?

Just because a company utterly dominates a certain market, it doesn’t mean that it will be successful in other markets by default. Throwing money at the problem will do nothing, if Intel can’t create a chip that is competitive against ARM’s mobile designs.

There are other things to consider, such as the fact that ARM has a unique business model, where there are a lot of ARM chip makers, all competing with each other and on price. As a result, ARM is very hard to beat, because Intel isn’t fighting just one company like AMD, but a whole bunch of ARM chip makers at once. Plus, why would phone makers give away the flexibility and power they get from the status quo, and risk getting locked by Intel, like PC manufacturers?

So, why would a manufacturer go with an Intel chip, if it doesn’t offer any technical advantages over ARM chips? Should they go with Intel just because of its brand recognition? The Intel name means nothing in the mobile market, and most end users don’t know what chip their phone has, nor do they care.

Intel plans to release a Clover Trail dual-core chip for the end of the year and the Windows 8 launch, but that’s not a “mobile” chip like Medfield. It’s a lot less power efficient, going up to 8-10W TDP. This chip is definitely not meant for Android tablets, but for Windows 8 ones. On Android tablets, it would be painfully obvious how low the battery life is compared to other ARM tablets. But on Windows, Intel can at least say they enable desktop apps, and they need the extra oomph for running Windows.

On Android, I don’t think Intel has any chance to get popular anymore, and if Windows 8 fails in the market, things will go downhill fast for both Microsoft and Intel.


TAGS ARMExynos 5250intelLenovoMedfieldMotorolaOMAP 5S4 ProTegra 3

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Apple wins “adverse inference jury instruction” in U.S. patent case against Samsung

In case you’re not aware of it, Apple and Samsung are embroiled in a complex legal patent-based battle that spans across four continents, in 10 markets. Of the over 50 cases between the two giants, two are of utmost importance right now, an Australian trial that has already started and – even more important for the mobile business – the U.S. trial that’s scheduled to begin on July 30.

So far it’s Apple that has won the most favorable verdicts in its conflict with the Android device maker, including two recent injunctions obtained in the U.S. against Galaxy-branded devices such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Furthermore, Apple is already asking for $2.525 billion in damages and royalties from Samsung, while it’s ready to pay half a cent for each of its own iOS devices that infringe on Samsung FRAND (standard essential) patents.

With all that in mind, we’re moving forward in the American Apple vs Samusng fight with a new favorable verdict for the iPhone maker.

Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal instructed jurors of the Apple vs Samsung case to consider that Samsung has basically destroyed evidence that could have been relevant to Apple’s case in the trial. Foss Patents shows the order that will apparently be sent to jurors by Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding the Apple vs Samsung case:

“Samsung has failed to prevent the destruction of relevant evidence for Apple’s use in this litigation. This is known as the ‘spoliation of evidence.’

I instruct you, as a matter of law, that Samsung failed to preserve evidence after its duty to preserve arose. This failure resulted from its failure to perform its discovery obligations.

You also may presume that Apple has met its burden of proving the following two elements by a preponderance of the evidence: first, that relevant evidence was destroyed after the duty to preserve arose. Evidence is relevant if it would have clarified a fact at issue in the trial and otherwise would naturally have been introduced into evidence; and second, the lost evidence was favorable to Apple.

Whether this finding is important to you in reaching a verdict in this case is for you to decide. You may choose to find it determinative, somewhat determinative, or not at all determinative in reaching your verdict.”

What did Samsung fail to provide Apple? An email exchange between Samsung execs that was automatically deleted by the company’s emailing system. The system deletes emails that are not saved by its employees after two weeks, a measure that’s meant to prevent any unwanted leaks.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the judge found that this wasn’t Samsung’s first wrongdoing. In 2004, in a case tried in New Jersey, Samsung was also unable to provide emails that were automatically destroyed. Therefore the judge believes Samsung has destroyed evidence in this Apple case, as, at the time of the email exchange, Apple was already pursuing legal actions against the Android device maker, which means Samsung should have saved all those emails for future evidence.

On the other hand, Samsung argues that the ITC already ruled on the same alleged wrongdoing and found that “Samsung had not acted wrongly in regards to the destruction of documents in its case with Apple there”.

Even more interestingly for the Apple vs Samsung story is the fact that these email exchanges concern a specific product targeted by Apple, the Galaxy Tab 10.1:

“Joon-Il Choi, a senior manager in Samsung’s R&D Management Group, did not produce any emails. Mr. Choi, however, presided over and wrote notes for a meeting that Gee-Sung Choi, Samsung’s former President and CEO of its digital media division and current Vice Chairman of Corporate Strategy, attended on March 5, 2011, to discuss alterations to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to make it more competitive with the newly released thinner iPad 2.”

Neither Foss Patents not The Journal mention the two initial Galaxy Tab 10.1 versions, but since the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a device that Apple has been targeted in various countries – obtaining several injunctions, even if temporary, in Germany, Australia or the U.S. – we’ll tale a look at what the quote above may mean. We’re specifically referring to the part that mentions the “alterations to the Galaxy Tab 10.1” that Samsung made after initially unveiling it.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1v sounds like a secondary Galaxy Tab 10.1 version, but the fact is that this version was the official tablet the company unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Spain in February 2011. The device was announced a few weeks after Motorola unveiled the Xoom at CES 2011, and it was seen as another iPad 2 potential competitor – at that time, the iPad 2 was not yet public, but various rumors mentioning its specs were featured by various tech-oriented publications.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 was expected to launch in the months following its announcement, but it ended up being rebranded as Galaxy Tab 10.1v and sold by Vodafone only in certain markets of the world.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1v is a version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and it had essentially the same specs and features as the device that we’ve grown to know as the Galaxy Tab 10.1. But it also had a few different specs including a 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 6860 battery. The device also sported a different design, more alongside the lines of the original iPad, which means it had a somewhat curvier back rather than a flat one, and a profile of 10.9mm.

Also worth noting is that the tablet was supposed to be released with a vanilla Android version on board rather than a TouchWized UI interface on top of Android.

When Apple launched the new iPad 2 in March 2011, some tablet enthusiasts were annoyed to see that while the company equipped the device with both a front-facing and a rear camera, the shooters were not on par with what rumors said they would offer: 960 x 720 back camera with HD video recording and VGA front-facing camera with VGA video recording.

At the same time, the devices sported a new slim design (8.8mm), and a flat back compared to its predecessor, which had a curvy back.

Samsung then surprised the crowds at CTIA 2012 with a new Galaxy Tab 10.1 version, which sported a design more similar to the iPad 2 than the model shown to the world at MWC 2011 – see image above. The former Galaxy Tab 10.1 got the “v” particle after the name and the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 model became the tablet that would ship in various markets across the world.

We will not forget that Samsung execs, namely Lee Don-Joo, the company’s CEO, said after Apple announced its new tablet that the iPad 2’s price and thickness will pose challenges to Samsung, and the company would have to “improve the parts that are inadequate.”

In addition to the slimmer profile (8.6mm), which also reduced the weight of the device, the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 model came with a 3.1-megapixel rear shooter, while keeping in place the 2.0-megapixel front-facing camera found on the first model, and with a bigger 7,000mAh battery. The device would also ship with TouchWiz UI on top of Android OS.

The new tablet was supposed to hit stores in summer 2011, rather than in March/April as initially expected.

Should jurors assume that the emails Apple wanted to use in court detail the changes the Galaxy Tab 10.1v went through to become the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which is still selling in stores today? We’ll have to wait for the actual trial to begin to know more, but we’re definitely going to keep you updated on the matter.

SOURCES Foss Patents The Wall Street Journal

TAGS AppleGalaxy NexusGalaxy Tab 10.1Patent DisputeSamsung

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Bloomberg: Facebook and HTC working together on a new smartphone, to debut in mid-2013

We’ve been hearing rumors about Facebook’s supposed grand mobile plans for quite some time, but until now, they had but a whiff of credibility. The last one in particular, coming from the New York Times, sounded extremely far-fetched, stating that Facebook was considering building a smartphone from scratch, both in terms of hardware and software.

A new report seems to set the record straight about Facebook’s bold, but sane plans of getting in the smartphone business. According to Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s company is currently working on a phone with deep integration of Facebook features, but they have sought help from their old partners at HTC.

FB and HTC have worked on a similar “project” before, but the ChaCha (also known as the Status) hasn’t exactly proven a winner. This time around, however, we hope we’ll be treated with a better endowed gadget.

Unfortunately, Bloomberg’s sources (or “people with knowledge of the matter”, as the news online publication calls them) didn’t let any details slip about the hardware of the upcoming phone. As far as software goes, earlier rumors that Facebook will look to fork Android just like Amazon seem to be getting traction.

What’s interesting is that Facebook might not use HTC’s software expertise to tweak Android, but its own team of engineers recruited from ex-Apple and Palm employees. This worries us a bit, as we don’t know exactly how much experience with Android those programmers have, but at least the future device might forego HTC’ Sense overlay, which is not that popular.

Concept by Michal Bonikowski

The unnamed Facebook-HTC smartphone should have been released by the end of the year, according to initial plans, but will not come earlier than mid-2013 after all. The delay has been requested by HTC to allow them to work on other products of their own and then dedicate their time entirely to this project.

Both Facebook and HTC are currently in search of their financial “groove”, so this kind of bold enterprise might make or break their finances. FB is still the most popular social networking service by miles, but its initial public offering from May 17 has probably caused Mark Zuckerberg some serious financial headaches. The now publicly listed company has seen its shares fall 23 percent in the past two months, and “Zuck” is seeing “the shift to mobile” as Facebooks’s greatest challenge right now. Meanwhile, HTC has gone down the slippery slope of financial losses for about a year now, with its shares dropping 43 percent in 2012.

What are your thoughts? Could the new HTC-Facebook phone bring back financial stability to Taiwan, and make mobile profitable in California? Why? Why not?

SOURCES Bloomberg

TAGS FacebookFuture of AndroidFuture TechHTC

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Could the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 have two different unveilings, one for the US and one for Europe?

Although it hasn’t (yet) managed to raise the same amount of hype as the Galaxy S3, Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 2 is one of the most awaited and debated Android devices on our radar. Rumors have suggested different unveiling and release dates for the second-generation phablet, and while Samsung is still keeping the mystery intact, things seem to be shaping up for a busy August.

You might remember we talked about a mysterious invite Samsung sent our way last week for a “major announcement and unveiling of the newest Galaxy device”. The event was to take place on August 15, but that date didn’t make nice with earlier speculations, which almost guaranteed Sammy will unveil the Note 2 on August 30, right before IFA’s official start.

At the time, we assumed that only one of the two dates would prove to be the official unveiling event of the Galaxy Note 2. What we didn’t consider was the possibility for the new phone/tablet hybrid to be introduced on August 15 and on August 30.

That’s exactly what the guys over at Netzwelt.de speculate, without having any conclusive proof however. They claim that the new Note might be unveiled for the US public on the 15th and for the European tech fans on the 30th, which kind of makes sense.

Then again, if Sammy has in fact decided to hold two separate events to unveil the Galaxy Note 2, there’s a good possibility that we’ll be seeing some differences between the two versions of the device. That wouldn’t be so surprising, as we are already used to seeing high-end gadgets in the US coming with dual-core procs and their European counterparts sporting quad-core CPUs. We did hope that the second-edition Note would be an exception to that rule, and that Sammy will find a way to couple its quad-core Exynos platform with US LTE radio, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here after all.

What prevent us from taking today’s rumor for granted, though, is Samsung’s latest track record with US and European release dates. Basically, every Sammy high-end device that has come out in the last couple of years has enjoyed a European release before it has seen the light of day in the US. But if the Note 2 gets unveiled in America before it’s presented in Berlin, won’t it have to start selling stateside first?

No matter how the Note 2's introduction will go down, we promise to keep our eyes peeled on Samsung over the coming weeks and let you know when anything important will happen. In the meantime, you can check out our rumor roundup from a couple of weeks back to know what to expect from the Note 2. Don’t forget to drop us a comment, too, and let us know if you’re thinking of getting Sammy’s future phablet soon.

SOURCES Netzwelt Sam Mobile

TAGS Galaxy Note 2IFA 2012phabletSamsungSamsung Galaxy Note 2

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Sony LT30p Mint leaked and previewed, to come soon with S4 proc, ICS and 13 MP camera

Less than 24 hours after news broke about the scheduling of a special Sony event in Berlin on August 29, one of the phones expected to be unveiled next month in Germany got its first leaked appearance.

While we didn’t know much about the Sony LT30p Mint until a few hours ago, we now have a very thorough preview on our hands, as well as a bunch of high-quality pics of the Mint’s sexy body.

The guys over at Mobile-Review.com have been lucky enough to get their hands on a pre-release Mint unit. And, while they’ve compiled quite an impressive review, we have to stress the fact that the differences between the prototype tested by the Russians and the commercial version could be very significant.

That said, let’s quickly sum up Mobile-Review’s preview, starting with the Mint’s design. Set to be thinner and lighter than Sony’s Xperia S, this brand new high-end handheld looks pretty original. We think it will be easy to tell it apart of both the Xperia S and the other Sony “flagship” expected soon, the Hayabusa.

While not having the same sexy curves and rounded edges like the LT29i Hayabusa, the LT30p Mint looks elegant and classy. With a more industrial appearance and sharp edges, the Mint might not be a top choice for teens, but it might prove a breath of fresh air for more “serious” folks. The matte plastic rear is another distinctive element for the Mint, and one that I personally like very much.

The Mint might have some original traits regarding its looks, but when it comes to hardware, it’s basically mimicking the Hayabusa. The same 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset will be powering the Mint, while the 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory are other elements shared by the two phones.

The LT30p will also have a 13 MP camera, a 720p front-facing webcam, NFC support, and a microSD card slot. As for the phone’s battery, its capacity is not yet known, but it seems that we will be dealing with a non-removable unit.

The phone’s display could be an element of controversy, according to Mobile-Review’s claims. The Russians are saying that the Mint sports a 4.3-inch screen with 1280 x 720 pixels resolution, but when putting it next to the S3 we can clearly see that the two phones’ displays are not that much different in size.

The S3 comes with a 4.8-inch panel, so it’s very likely that the Mint will be sporting a 4.6-inch screen after all, and that Mobile-Review simply made a typo. As for the display’s performance, this is described as “inferior” to the competition. The viewing angles and color reproduction are pointed out as the screen’s biggest downsides, but it’s possible that Sony will fix these issues (if it hasn’t done so already) before the phone’s launch.

Another part of the Mint preview that you shouldn’t take very seriously is the hardware comparison between the Mint, the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note, and the HTC One S. Mobile-Review put Sony’s new phone through some benchmark tests and compared the results with those of the competition, showing that the LT30p might have a small speed disadvantage, especially compared with the S3. However, there’s no way to know how advanced was the prototype tested by the Russian website and what changes and tweaks will Sony be operating on its hardware.

Finally, in terms of software, the Mint will be running Android 4.0.4 ICS, with a few exclusive tweaks and “enhancements”. One of these will be a function called “Small apps”, allowing users to place widgets on top of existing apps.

As you might imagine, Mint’s preview doesn’t offer any insight on the phone’s future pricing and availability. However, the September release date and the $700 price tag, rumored ever since January, seem to be gaining credibility once more.

There you have it, folks, the Sony LT30p Mint in all its splendor,with its stylish looks and powerful, but “conventional” hardware. Now it’s up to you. Will your next high-end Android phone be the Mint, the Hayabusa, or neither of the two?

SOURCES Xperia Blog Mobile-Review

TAGS SonySony LT30pSony Mint

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Google Talk is down for “a majority of users” Are you affected by the outage?


Google’s popular messaging service Google Talk is having a really bad day. According to the official App Status page from Google, the app is currently malfunctioning for “a majority of users”. Google (and web companies in general) tend to downplay the extent of service disruptions, so when someone admits that most users are affected, you can bet that the problem is serious.

The app loads and connects to Google’s servers just fine, but when users try to use it they encounter various message errors and other abnormal behavior. I personally can see just one contact that appears to be online, my colleague Ankit, but when I try to chat with him, Google Talk graciously informs me that he’s actually offline.

google talk outage

The problem seems to have appeared at least three hours ago, as the first disruption notice appeared on Google’s App Status page at 6:40AM PST. Google initially promised a quick resolution of the issue, but has only offered some “we’re investigating” updates so far.

We’ll monitor the situation and update this post as soon as we notice anything new. How about you? Are you affected by the Google Talk outage?

TAGS GoogleGoogle TalkOutage

I'm here to report on the latest, most breaking developments in mobile technology, all the latest and greatest Android news, and to dig deeper on where Android is headed. I'll tell you one thing - we're in for a wild ride!

View the original article here

Both Motorola and Apple appeal last month’s dismissal ruling by Judge Posner

Judge Richard A. Posner is one of America’s leading legal minds, a prodigious author, and a foremost authority in the jurisprudence of economics. He is also an outspoken critic of the current patent system, which he thinks it’s in dire need of a reform. If you are interested in reading Posner’s sharp analysis of the patent system in America, I suggest his great article in The Atlantic.

When last month Judge Posner dismissed a complicated legal case between Apple and Motorola (a Google subsidiary) with prejudice (meaning that the lawsuit cannot be resubmitted), not many legal experts were surprised. However, many predicted that at least one of two parties would appeal the case and bring it in front of the Federal Circuit.

As it turns out, both parties have filled appeals, requesting the federal court to re-examine all the decisions that they perceive as unfavorable.

Patent expert Florian Mueller from FOSS Patents thinks that, given the Federal Circuit’s penchant to favor patent-holders, it’s likely that at least some of Posner’s rulings would be overturned. Furthermore, he thinks that Motorola has a more solid case, calling it “extremely well-reasoned”.

What I find striking here is that both Apple and Motorola/Google seem committed to go all the way when it comes to enforcing their patents against competitors. As Mueller notes, they left “no stone unturned”, which, to me, highlights the bitterness of the legal disputes that have been going one over the last years.

Sadly, the only ones winning here are patent lawyers.

SOURCES Foss Patents

TAGS Appleapple vs androidGoogleLegalMotorolaPatent DisputePatents

I'm here to report on the latest, most breaking developments in mobile technology, all the latest and greatest Android news, and to dig deeper on where Android is headed. I'll tell you one thing - we're in for a wild ride!

View the original article here

Best Android apps for brain training and exercise

We are in the age where technology allows us to do so many things that in the past we could never do or never do well unaided. Because of technology, ironically, many people are no longer exercising their mental skills and, instead, are making their gadgets do things like computations and analyses for them. In turn, their mental capabilities become rusty. After all, “Use it, or lose it.”

If you refuse to let your brain turn to mush, we’ve put together a list of apps that can help you exercise, train, and sharpen your brain. They are mostly free to download from the Google Play Store. Read on to learn about the best Android apps for brain training and brain exercise. Flex those mental muscles, yeah?

Do you think you are smart? Or, are you a moron? One way to find out if you are either of the two is by trying the puzzle-filled game called The Moron Test. As the name of the game suggests, it tests your mind through different obstacles and challenges which are seemingly easy yet tricky. Every time you solve a problem or finish a challenge, you’re closer to being a genius. You need to finish all the obstacles for you to be hailed as a genius.

The game has a fun and animated interface, featuring different animated characters adding to the fun factor of the game. It’s great to play with your friends or the whole family. The Moron Test lets you exercise your brain through various challenges while being user friendly. Take the test to know whether or not you are a moron.

What do you think the age of your brain is? If you are curious, we suggest that you try and play Brain Age Test Free. It’s an easy and simple game that analyzes your brain age by testing your short-term memory.

When you play the game, you will see bubbles with numbers inside them. The numbers will eventually disappear and you have to tap the bubbles in the numbers’ descending order. You have up to 3 chances before the app will start to analyze your brain age.

Play the game 10 minutes a day and it will help exercise your brain, particularly your short-term memory, making you more alert and most importantly, making your brain younger. You can also track your progress through the progress screen. The game is very user friendly, perfect for everyone no matter what age or brain age.

We have already mentioned one brain-age determining app and another app of this sort is Brain Age Game. Playing this game lets you determine what your brain age is, but what makes the Brain Age Game unique from The Brain Age Test is that it also measures your memory age and arithmetic abilities.

It has different kinds of brain tests that will help you workout your brain reflexes and concentration. At the end of each test, the app will show your scores, which you can opt to post on the global scoreboard.

Tracking your performance and improvement is also supported via the Progress button on the homescreen, as well as sharing your results to Facebook every time you play.

The Brain Age Game is a great and fun way to exercise your brain. You can encourage your Facebook friends to workout their brains, too.

There’s no doubt that the human brain is capable of more than what you are using it for, and the only way to squeeze some extra performance from your brain is by training it. Memory Trainer does just that for you, exercising your brain to improve spatial and working memory, as well as helping in improving your concentration through regular workout sessions.

The app is very handy; you can use it during your short breaks or while waiting for something. It explains to you more about memory training, allowing you to have an in-depth understanding of how it can improve your brain.

The app allows you to track your progress and continuing your last session is also supported. If you think you’re getting the hang of it faster than you thought, you can also tweak the difficulty settings of each session to make it more challenging.

Solving mathematical problems does improve your brain skills, since it requires concentration, observation, memorization, and computation. You need to have imaginative thinking to be good at math and you can get a daily dose of that with Math Genius Brain Trainer.

This app provides you math puzzles to solve. They can be addictive, certainly useful if you want to make your brain perform better. The app puts your brain to the test with infinite levels, and playing it regularly improves your skill in doing quick and accurate calculations. If you love puzzle games, then for sure you’re going like this game, too.

It’s user friendly and it includes instructions to give you hints on how to the play the game. You can also tweak some of the app’s settings via the Preference button found on the homescreen. You can also continue your unfinished games anytime you want via the Continue button.

Brain Genius Deluxe is another app that is filled with brain training exercises, dedicated to help your brain think better. In this app, you have to prove that there is a genius within you by passing all of its 23 brain training games. You may think that those may not be much, but these games are challenging since they are timed. Playing it also allows the app to analyze your brain skills such as observation, memory, calculation, and reasoning.

You can also track your performance when you use this app. Brain Genius Deluxe is also available for iPhone/iPod Touch users, allowing you to compare your scores with your non-Android friends. And, if ever you need a break from the challenges, you can check out the bonus games included.

Interface-wise, the app is very easy to use and each challenge is easy to understand. It has a fun and nice-looking interface, too.

Learning never stops, even when you step out of the four corners of your school. There are always new things to learn about, and our very own planet Earth simply doesn’t run out of interesting wonders. Learning about these wonders is fun and enjoyable with GeoQuiz. It simply provides you with trivia about different things on our planet.

You can easily learn new things in a specific field that you prefer since the app allows you to choose from various categories. Everything is presented well in the app’s brilliant-looking interface which features different landscapes and views. GeoQuiz is easy to use and it has loads of knowledge waiting for you to discover.

Do you have sharp eyes? Can you pay attention to small details? To be able to do so, your eye-and-brain coordination should be high. Find Differences is a fun and easy to use app that will help you improve your attention skills and exercise your brain, too.

All you need to do is to spot the tiny differences for every pair of high quality images that the app presents to you. They could be tricky, but the app can give you a hand, giving you 5 free hints and for every 200 points that you earn by playing the game, you get another free hint.

It’s great to play when you have nothing to do, letting you kill time while working out your brain.

Another app that gives you a daily dose of mental math exercises is Math Workout. It has brain training exercises and math drills designed to keep your mind sharp and alert. The app lets you choose among different kinds of categories and challenges. If you have done all of the challenges or you are not up for them, you can choose to challenge other players of the app via the Online World Challenge.

Tracking your mental math progress is also supported by the app, letting you know how fast you are learning or improving your arithmetic skills. The app is also easy to use and you can use it no matter what your age is, guaranteed to make your mental skills sharper.

One of the classic mind games that really requires critical thinking is chess and Chess Free simply lets you enjoy this game on your smartphone. It’s one of the best free chess games that you can get on Android and it’s really a quality chess app if you consider its nice and classy interface and the game features.

The game has 10 levels that you can play, from novice level up to expert. It’s also great since it uses the Treebeard chess engine which plays chess in a very human-like manner, allowing you to learn from the great moves that it will make. It also has a CPU thinking option where the moves that the CPU is considering to make are shown.

It also has other features like stats, timers, hints, and handicaps which can help you evaluate how you are improving in each level that you play, not to mention a Review game mode to let you see every move that you and your opponent made during the game. Ches Free is definitely a great game to play with your friends.

Playing word games is also a great and fun way to exercise your brain and to enrich your vocabulary. One great app that helps you with flexing your skill with words is the PowerVocab: Vocab Word Game. It has features like Learn words, Challenge quiz, and Search words that help challenge and exercise your mental skills. You can also choose to challenge other live users.

The app itself is not just something that you can play during your past time because it also functions like a real dictionary. Each word is presented with complete definition, examples, and phonetic pronunciation, which is very handy if you encounter words that you do not understand. It is a good way of exercising your mental muscles while at the same time enriching your vocabulary.

Have you heard of the Classic Simon game? If you haven’t then we suggest that you should try it out. It’s a very easy 2-player game yet it’s really a great brain teaser to help you give your brain cells some exercise. Its simplicity allows users of all ages to play it.

To play this game, all you have to do is just to repeat the colors and sounds in the correct order. The app has a very simple interface with the classic 4 color mode but you can also choose advanced modes such as Super color mode with 9 colors, Magic Memory mode or the Chaos mode. Tease your brain with this vintage app.

If you like playing memory games and puzzles, you may have already stumbled across MatchUp : Exercise your Memory and similar games. Its definitely one of the best classic simple games that can also help you exercise your mind every once in a while. Not familiar with this game? To play this game, you just have to flip the cards and match them all with the least moves possible.

The faster you match all those cards, the better is your memory. If you want more of a challenge, just need add more cards. You can choose among 2×2, 4×4, 5×6, 6×6, 8×8, and 10×10 card grids. The harder the level becomes, the more complicated the images are, so the game will really test your memory, as well as your attention to detail. Playing it often will help train your memory to be sharper.

Need a brain workout to improve several brain skills? If that’s the case, then you might want to try Brain Workout. Unlike other brain exercise or training apps, it trains your brain to improve in different areas such as memory, focus, reaction, and accuracy through different brain exercises.

It has 4 different brain training games for the brain skills that were mentioned and it also analyzes your performance in each area to help you know where you should improve. The app allows you to keep track of your progress from the first time you use the app. You can also share and compare your results with your friends.

When it comes to exercising your mind, one of the best classic puzzles to play is Sudoku and Sudoku Free is the app of choice if you want a quality Sudoku game. It has a very neat and intuitive interface, letting you reach all the buttons of the app easily, such as the numbers and some other options.

It has 4 levels: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Extreme. It also has several handy features such as automatic saving, Undo and Redo, and intelligent hints. You can also play with other players in real time if you are looking for challenging opponents. You can then post your scores and track your progress online.

(Can’t live without Sudoku? See our post about the best Sudoku apps for Android.)

Another mind-boggling game that would really squeeze your brain is Unblock Me FREE. You have to get the red block out of the board by sliding the other blocks out of the way. It’s seemingly easy, yet it’s a tricky game that would help you improve your problem-solving skills. The game has 4 levels of difficulty from Beginner to Expert.

You don’t have to worry of about running out of puzzles to solve since the game has 4,200 puzzles for you. There are two game modes, namely, Relax Mode and Challenge Mode, the latter you can play if you just want to kill time while the other if you are really serious about playing the game.

Unblock Me FREE also has a ranking system to motivate you to play better, a hint system to give you a bit of help, and an Undo system to cancel moves.

Training and exercising your brain will be very addictive and fun when you try Brain Test HD. It includes various games and brain exercises that you can play to improve your memory, speed, flexibility, accuracy, and reaction. It’s also a great app that you can use to turn your waiting moments to fun a brain training session.

Like other brain training apps, it also has the feature to allow you to track your performance using a progress graph. It also features brain classification based on your IQ and how well you play the game. You can brag about your high scores to your friends by sharing your results via Facebook.

If you are looking for a mind-enriching game that you can play with your siblings or your parents, then try Move the Block. It’s a great game for all ages and it’s very challenging, not to mention very brain-stimulating.

To play this game, you have to move the columns and rows up and down to achieve a target figure. The app has 100 exciting levels that you can play, so it will be long before you run out of puzzles to solve. Tracking your scores every time you play is also supported in the app, allowing you to see how much you have improved. Your scores could also be shared on Facebook so that you can let your friends know that you are exercising your brain.

Reversi Free is another game that can give you a mind-boggling exercise. It’s one of those games which are seemingly easy to play yet very tricky. You have to be very clever and careful in flipping those chips, or else a game that you thought you were going to win will turn into a shocking loss.

The app has a very user friendly and intuitive interface. It has 10 levels of difficulty including some hints that can guide you in playing the game. It also shows your game statistics such as how many losses, wins, and draws you had. It’s a great game to give your brain a bit of exercise everyday.

Pump some math problems into your brain to help it exercise with Brain Exerciser. The app tests your arithmetic skills by giving you math questions such as basic subtraction or addition. It may seem easy but if you haven’t been practicing with computations lately, you’ll surely struggle at the beginning.

The app has three different games that you can play: Add Like Mad, Number Breaker, and Balloon Solver, all of which are designed to help your mind become alert and sharp. It won’t help you solve complicated math problems, but it’s great to refresh your math skills once in a while.

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Having a sharp mind is not only a gift of genetics but also a result of frequent practice. Exercising your brain cells can make a difference. Even if you are old, your brain can still grow new neurons, so it’s just a matter of putting them to use for you to stay sharp. Try the best Android apps for brain training and brain exercise on this list so your brain will always stay alert and sharp.

TAGS Android AppsBrain ExerciseBrain GamesBrain TrainingLogicMemoryMemory GamesMind GamesObservationReasoning

Ken is an expert on management and is currently engrossed with his newly started adventure in logistics management. But, that's only his second love. His first love, of course, and without being mushy when this is said, is Android.

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