The guys over at Mobile Tech Videos have a service that will grant you S-OFF status for the HTC Droid DNA. S-OFF is required to write to certain partitions on the device and achieve true-root privileges. The S-OFF granting service is similar to the process, called JTAG, they use to unbrick phones. It’s $45 bucks plus shipping and you’ll have to do without your phone for a few days. Check out the video below of the not-so-simple process.
Who said Android manufacturers didn’t deliver on their word? OK, maybe not always on software updates but HTC is living up to its promise of crappy sales. Earlier this week the Taiwanese giant announced it expected this quarter’s sales numbers to be down as much as 17% over the first quarter of 2012. It turned out January wasn’t quite so bad. HTC reported sales revenue of T$15.54 billion ($527 million US) for the first month of 2013. That figure is 5.9% less than the T$16.52 billion for January 2012. So yes, the M7 is big for HTC.
It was almost a year ago when we thought Carbon For Twitter, not to be confused with Carbon App Sync & Backup, looked very promising. Normally I tend to think if you want to get into the least exciting Android apps then let’s talk about Twitter clients. Carbon surprised me. It doesn’t reinvent Twitter, it just delivers it in a sharp package with smooth animations. Scrolling is nice and quick and it even incorporates two-fingered scrolling to jump to the top or bottom of your feed. It has an easy and clean method for accessing lists, filtering for people and hash tags. The only thing I didn’t see was a widget (for the lock screen or home screen). I’ve been pretty happy with Tweetdeck but it might be time to jump ship.
RIM Blackberry, formerly known as Research In Motion, has said its two new Blackberry 10 devices, the Z10 and QWERTY-equipped Q10, will launch with 70,000 to 100,000 apps. BlackBerry vice president Martyn Mallick said 40% of those would actually be ported Android apps. Developers will be able to use the BlackBerry 10 SDK to “wrap” Android code into something the new BB10 OS can use. The SDK also transforms menu and back buttons into Blackberry-specific gestures.
Ported apps can also use a menu overlay as in the example below. By all reports these apps are working smoothly and the interface tweaks are doing the job, although often with clunky results. Blackberry is surely hoping the Android apps act as a crutch until its app store, Blackberry World, can get up to speed with plenty of solid native apps. Blackberry has a bounty program to help spur app development. The program, for which these ported apps are not eligible, promises $10,000 in revenue for native apps for the first year.
The Blackberry Z10, equipped with the new Blackberry 10 OS, is black, sleek and in a form factor that’s not too dissimilar from the Nexus 4. Operating system aside, many of us have been wondering how the Z10 measures up some of our favorite Android devices.
For starters, its 4.2-inch screen, which would have been among the largest smartphone displays a couple years ago, feels small when compared to the Nexus 4’s 4.7-inch screen and downright tiny next to the Galaxy Note II‘s 5.5-inch screen. It might be unfair to compare its 1.5 GHz dual-core processor to the quad-core engines under the hoods of the two previously mentioned Android devices. The demands of the Blackberry 10 OS are not necessarily the same as those of Jelly Bean. The iPhone 5 has received few performance complaints and its A6 dual-core processor is barely pushing over 1GHz. When it comes to RAM, the Z10 is on pretty even footing with 2GB of RAM. Battery life also seems to be on par with the Nexus 4 and this is despite only having an 1800 mAh (removable) battery vs the 2100 mAh battery on the Nexus.
I don’t know too many people who are planning to jump from Android to Blackberry (and by too many people, I mean none) but spec-wise the Z10 looks more like a standard smartphone rather than a superphone and possible savior. For those stuck on Blackberry enterprise accounts, the Z10 looks like a better choice than what you had, but will anyone else give it a try?
US Cellular, the nation’s eighth largest wireless provider, is offering anyone bringing 2+ lines a fat $300 payoff. The carrier will issue payment in the form of a MasterCard debit card. The phone selection isn’t too bad either, the Galaxy S III is available for a subsidized rate of $149 while the Galaxy Note II is $349. US Cellular only has a handful of LTE cities, none in California, but they tend to makeup for their lack of 4G coverage with lower rates. As a CDMA carrier it is unable to support GSM phones like the Nexus 4 which made its long awaited return to the Play Store yesterday.
There’s a $30 activation fee and the promotion does not apply in all markets so interested parties should hit the source to investigate further.
Ingress, Google’s augmented reality capture-the-flag meets X-Files game, has begun its evolution. The app, updated to version 1.20, has improved rendering, fixed a few bugs and FINALLY allows players to enable/disable email notifications. It’s still in closed beta with a scarce number of access keys, but active players saw portals pop up at Zipcar and Jamba Juice locations this Tuesday.
Portals were originally located at museums, libraries, historic landmarks and other points of interest in Google’s massive database. Players have since been able to submit portal site submissions to NianticLabs@Google. Tuesday’s round of portal creation, however, marks the first time Google has attempted any form of monetizing the game.
Check out our initial Ingress announcement for a brief recap of the game. Those interested in joining the resistance can still request an invite from Ingress.com. Those leaning toward joining the enlightened should really reconsider.
Slow your roll, Sprint! The Department of Justice has stepped in and filed a request for the FCC to defer approval of the Sprint/Softbank Merger. The DOJ said it was “currently reviewing this matter for any national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues.” The deferral request should be seen as a plea for more time rather than condemnation of the proposal. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are also taking part in the review.
An FCC hold will likely push the completion of the deal past the mid-2013 goal Sprint and Softbank stated back in October. It will also delay Sprint’s snail-paced, but growing, LTE rollout. Remember Softbank, Japan’s largest wireless provider, is bringing the green in this acquisition: $20.1 billion ($12.1 billion in cash consideration & $8 billion in capital).
The trailer for Alien Vs. Predator Evolution by Angry Mob Games, developer of the popular Muffin Knight game, shows off plenty of 3D action and gore. The trailer reveals a few facts about gameplay such as: players can play as Alien and Predator. As you can guess by the word “evolution” in the title, players evolve from “facehugger to alien warrior” or “young blood to master hunter.” No release date but last we heard, it was slated for Q1 of 2013. Check out the trailer below!
Google has been granted a patent for multiple flashes on a mobile device. A series of LED flashes is bound to be more powerful than the single LED most smartphones have these days and it opens a host of photographic possibilities. For small or close-up photography a ring flash will go a long way toward smooth, consistent and shadow free lighting. A multiple flash layout also opens the door for second curtain or slow sync flash, which allows for much better nighttime shots.
The patent also addresses different positions and configurations for the flash units. One such configuration would make it more like a pop-up flash as seen on many point and shoot cameras. Moving the flash farther from the lens would also have the added benefit of reducing the number of red-eye shots. This new patent creates a lot of possibilities, including the end of mediocrity when it comes to cameras on Google’s Nexus handsets. This could, of course, find its way to Motorola. Anyone count the flashes on that mythical X Phone yet?
Using the hash tags #ComingSoon and #EscapeFromHoth, Rovio tweeted an image (above) of a sling-shot equipped millennium falcon. Putting two and two together, it looks like Rovio is planning an update to Angry Birds Star Wars. No details as of yet, but at the very least Android gamers can expect more time-wasting pig-slaughtering levels. Perhaps, as the image suggests, the rebellion will shift to an underground environment, but that’s just speculation. All we know for sure is Rovio is planning something.
We might have our first view of the white Nexus 4 on the same day the standard black model returned to the Play Store. We heard there might be a white version in the works last year but this is the first time we see any “evidence” of the existence of such a device. Speaking of evidence, there’s not much. Phone Arena reported the image above was submitted by an anonymous source. Examining the EXIF data shows the image was taken by an LG-E975, better known as the Optimus G. While that little piece of information adds an element of intrigue to the story, it does little to validate the authenticity. Put your debunking hats on and hit the source for the full size image. I’ll keep my fingers crossed they release a version with more storage, not more white.
It looks like today is get your Nexus 4 day. Earlier today we reported it was available at Best Buy and now we see it’s back on the Play Store. Both 8GB and 16GB versions are available. Ship time of 1-2 weeks is less than ideal but hey, at least Google will take your money. There’s no telling how long it will last so… GO GET IT!
Yes, it is now illegal for users to unlock mobile phones to use on another network and most of us are not too happy about it. The good thing is the change in legal status, a direct result of the Library Of Congress ruling we told you about in October, will probably not affect too many of us. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) still protects our right to unlock the bootloader but it stripped away our ability to lawfully unlock a cell phone purchased from a carrier even after we’ve fulfilled our contractual obligation.
For example, a phone purchased from AT&T cannot legally be unlocked by the user (or third party) to be used on T-Mobile. The carrier, on the other hand, faces no new restrictions and in many cases will unlock devices of customers in good standing. Phones on Verizon & Sprint are unaffected since they are CDMA networks with handsets that aren’t really locked the same way GSM phones are locked. Purchase an unlocked phone, like the Nexus 4, and this becomes a non-issue.
The MeCam nanocopter, being developed by Always Innovating, looks to be your personal hovering paparazzi. The voice-controlled hovering video camera can even be set to “follow” mode while it runs video and streams to your Android device (or iOS). The captured video or panorama shots can be shared through Google+, YouTube, Facebook or other social media sites.
The MeCam is technically still in development so we’re still missing a few key details such as battery life and information about the image quality. The estimated retail price will be a very reasonable $49. It will have a Cortex A9 processor (1 to 1.5GHZ), 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth connectivity and it will have an SD card slot for storage. Always Innovating has set 1st quarter of 2014 as a possible launch date but the design company has yet to come to an agreement with a manufacturer.
Check out the video after the break and start planning your party-drone strikes!