Jelly Bean update rolling out to ASUS Transformer Pad TF300

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As of today, Asus and Google’s smash hit tablet the Nexus 7 is no longer the only Android tablet boasting Jelly Bean. News started surfacing this morning that some lucky Transformer Pad TF300 owners have received the prompt to download the OTA update. This is yet another huge feather in the cap for ASUS who has easily positioned itself as the top Android manufacturer when it comes to OS updates. With rumours of a Jelly Bean update for the Samsung Galaxy S III arriving before the end of the month, here’s hoping it’s a sign of things to come!

If you own a TF300 you might want to go and check for updates, just be sure to check back in and let us know how that Jelly Bean tastes!

Source: ASUS

YouTube for PS3 adds Android remote control ability

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Watching videos on YouTube has been a social experience for a number of years now. It started with a little crowd of people squeezing in around a 4″ screen which we all know is less than ideal. Thankfully the experience has evolved with YouTube making its way on to the big screen. Applications for Xbox, Tivo and various Blu-ray and media players have become common place in the average lounge.

Ps3 owners are in for a treat this week as their big-screen YouTube experience has just been bumped up a notch. The Ps3 YouTube application has been treated to a completely new UI overhaul which is focused on making it easier to access your preferred content. Search now offers suggestions and instant results whilst you type and if you sign-in to the application you’ll have quick access to all of your subscribed channels. If that isn’t enough, you can now sync your Android device with your PS3 giving you the ability to use your phone as a remote control. All in all it’s a juicy update!

Source:  YouTube blog

ZTE Grand X available now from Virgin Media UK

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Masters of mid-range mobiles ZTE has today bolstered Virgin Media’s catalogue with the launch of the Grand X. Now before you write this new device off it is worth noting that whilst the spec sheets of flagship phones continue to get better and better, so too do the midrange devices. The  ZTE Grand X actually boasts fairly impressive specifications, the highlights of which include :

  • Stock Android 4.0 Ice cream Sandwich
  • 4.3″ QHD touchscreen
  • 512MB RAM
  • Nvidia Tegra 2, 1GHz dual core processor
  • 5MP camera with HD video recording

These specifications were virtually top tier only 12 months ago, so to pick one of these up without a contract for only £200 is quite a bargain. You’ll also find the handset available free of charge on 12 month contracts, buy now and Virgin will even throw a whole year of free data your way!

If the Grand X sounds right up your street, click the link below and get ordering!

 

Source: Virgin Media

NAMCO BANDAI jump on board with OUYA

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A little over a month has passed since the OUYA revealed itself to the world and we’re now into the final countdown in the Kickstarter campaign. During the past month it seems that barely a day went by without another announcement of support for the Android Game Console and today is just another example. World famous Gaming Guru NAMCO BANDAI has partnered up with OUYA in order to bring classic titles such as PAC-MAN, GALAGA, TEKKEN and Ridge Racer. The addition of the NAMCO BANDAI catalogue will be sure to be bolster the growing list of titles available at launch.

The good news just keeps coming too with the announcement that, after listening to feedback from investors, the OUYA will officially support four controllers. Those of you who pledged $90 will still receive a Console with one controller, however if you throw in an extra $90 you’ll get the additional three.

With the steady flow of good news flowing in from OUYA, it’s looking increasingly likely that the plucky upstart might just be a success. Are you planning on picking one up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Kickstarter

Grab Jelly Bean for your 4G LTE Galaxy Nexus

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When is a Nexus not a Nexus? When you buy it from Verizon, evidently. It’s long been a gripe of Verizon Nexus owners that their pride and joy often receives the latest and greatest Android update months after the GSM variant. The good news is that whilst Verizon might be standing in the way of progress, the developer community has got your back (as ever!).

Shortly after landing on the AOSP servers, Android build JRO03L has been worked into a custom ROM prime for flashing to your Verizon Galaxy Nexus or Google Nexus 7. Early reports suggest that the build is seamless, offering the pure Jelly Bean experience just as Google intended. If  spending an evening rooting and flashing floats your boat, you can click the link below to get going.

Source:  XDA Developers

Samsung starts mass production of super fast NAND flash memory for mobile devices

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Your Android phone or tablet is only as fast as its slowest component. It can never hurt to have extra cores, higher clock speeds and copious amounts of RAM but it’s only worth so much if the rest of your device’s specifications aren’t on a par. As ever, Samsung is looking to keep ahead of  the competition by switching on the conveyor belts to begin production of the Pro Class 1500; the world’s fastest high-speed embedded memory (eMMC) flash memory. The Pro Class 1500 is capable of read speeds of 140MB per second and write speeds of 50MB per second, it will also come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB size variations.

With at least one new Nexus phone expected before the end of the year, here’s hoping we see this high-speed flash memory make a welcome appearance. Check out the full press release after the break.

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Google Maps updated with live NYC subway service updates

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Google has today pushed out an update to Google Maps that is sure to bring a smile to the face of the subway commuters of New York City. Simply look up any one of the 468 stations in the city, or plan a route that passes through one, and you’ll be presented with real time disruption alerts and service updates. The feature is available on desktop and the Android application right now, say goodbye to untimely delays!

Google added the same feature to the London Underground back in April, just in time to look after all those Olympic fans descending upon the city. Perhaps this is just another stepping stone in a much bigger journey. Are you hopeful to see live subway updates for your city? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Google Lat Long Blog

Google Talk to step aside for Hangouts in Gmail

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Ten heads are better than one, or so our friends at Google think as they have today unveiled that Google+ Hangouts will be replacing Google Talk as the embedded video chat service within Gmail. From today the service will be available for all users with a personal Google account, you’ll need to sign up for Google+ to enable the video conferencing feature.

Google Talk has long been Google’s messaging service since it launched on desktops back in summer 2005. It was also a mainstay of Android right from the very beginning, included as a core application in version 1.0 back in 2008. Google later added video calling to the application via the Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 update for the Samsung Nexus S.

Cue the launch of Google+ back in summer 2011. Google+ has had mixed success to date, although still very much a work in progress. All pros and cons considered, it’s fair to say that Hangouts has been one of the stand-out features of the service. As soon as Google+ was launched many Android users questioned the need for both Hangouts and Google Talk. Could this latest move be a nail in the coffin for Google Talk? Check out the video below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

 

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Source: Gmail Blog

HTC won’t be updating the Desire HD to Android 4.0, explains why.

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Fragmentation. The word most commonly used by Android naysayers when they’re looking for some ammunition with which to open fire on the world’s most popular mobile operating system. The problem is that the issue is very real, it’s certainly a large part of the reason why I personally only use Nexus devices these days. Whilst much of the vitriol is aimed at Google, it’s actually the manufacturers and their UI skins that we’re at the mercy of. The latest big player to cause a hullabaloo in the tech world this week is none other than HTC. The Taiwanese giant upset a large group of its customers by announcing that the, barely 18 months old, Desire HD will not be receiving an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The announcement sparked a huge influx of complaints from disappointed Desire HD owners and in turn prompted the following response from HTC:

 

We’ve heard your feedback on our decision not to update the HTC Desire HD to Android 4.0. We completely understand that this is a controversial decision.

For more background, due to how storage on the HTC Desire HD is partitioned – and the larger size of Android 4.0 – it would require re-partitioning device storage and overwriting user data in order to install this update. While technically advanced users might find this solution acceptable, the majority of customers would not. We also considered ways to reduce the overall size of the software package, but this would impact features and functionality that customers are currently using. Even after installing the update, there were other technical limitations which we felt negatively impacted the user experience.

We believe an update should always improve the user experience and carefully evaluate each update based on this criteria. While we are very aware of the disappointment from this decision, we believe the impact to user experience was too great. We recognize this is a change from our previous statement and for that we’re truly sorry.

It’s encouraging that HTC care enough to take the time to explain its actions however I’m fairly sure that the words will do little to soften the blow. Once again it will be down to the developer community to pick up the slack and offer Desire HD owners some Ice Cream Sandwich goodness (Just don’t mention Jelly Bean!)

 

Source: HTC

Is your smartphone ready for ‘the mother of all tests’ ?

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It was during my trip into London for the Galaxy S III unveiling that I noticed an interesting trend amongst the crowd as they pawed Samsung’s new flagship phone for the first time. What do you think was the first thing most people did; check out the browser, fire up the camera, have a play with S Voice? Some people did, however the most common activity the majority of people indulged in was to download and run a benchmarking application. It seems that a lot of Android enthusiasts are interested in how their new baby measures up against the competition when it’s being put through its paces. It’s long been said that benchmarking applications aren’t actually as accurate as they should be, some are optimised better for a certain version of the OS or even a particular processor. Furthermore to get the full range of results you may find yourself using 2 or 3 different applications. Qualcomm reckons it might just have the answer to this problem.

What is the most stress you can put your phone under at any one time? Well according to Qualcomm it’s running an Augmented Reality (AR) application. AR applications utilise close to all of the major components in the phone all at once including CPU, GPU, DSP, ISP, GPS, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, barometer, microphone and camera. An AR benchmark application “would be as close as one could come to a total test of a smartphone”

We’re potentially at the Dawn of a new era for technology with the fabled Project Glass prototype already in the hands of some Android developers. Qualcomm, it seems, are ready to help us check to see if our devices are up to the job.

Source: Engadget