The Wireless Association (CTIA), formerly the Cellular Telephone Industry Association, announced that beginning 2014, it will compress its two yearly trade shows into one “super show” in the fall. Looking back on CTIA 2012, there were plenty of announcements but no device that really stood out. The combined show, being called Super Mobility Week, will allow CTIA a chance to compete for the limelight with shows like the Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Congress which are also in the fall.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the best phones of 2012… OK, done. Now we’re free to drool over look at what’s coming in 2013. The latest Samsung Galaxy S IV rumor says it will be released in April equipped with Galaxy Note II-like S Pen functionality. This may explain why early leaks have suggested the phone will be bigger (up from 4.8-inch to a 5-inch display) and slightly thicker (from 8.6mm to 9.2mm). It doesn’t, however, explain why we always use imperial measurements for screen size and metric for thickness. From what we’ve seen so far the S IV is shaping up to to be a worthy successor to the S III. The rumored 2GHz quad-core processor will pack quite a punch, especially if it incorporates the big.LITTLE architecture Samsung has been working on.
Korean electronics giant LG, announced it will bring a new line of big screen TVs with Google TV 3.0 in the first half of 2013. The smart TVs, ranging in size from 42-inch up to 60-inch, will include a voice search functionality LG is saying will go beyond simple voice input to near magic-remote control levels. Users will be able to perform broad voice queries like “Will Smith new action movie coming out” and the TV will respond with a list of likely results. Quick Guide and Prime Time features will allow users to search for content and continue watching at the same time.
The new line also gets a new remote which will have a microphone, QWERTY keyboard and will be capable of gesture input. For those of you/us who didn’t jump on the Ouya Android gaming consoles, the new remote will work with OnLive on Google TV to help get you your gaming fix. We’ll get our first look at the new sets next month at CES (Consumer Electronic Show).
A Vietnamese video shows the Sony Xperia TL, currently on Ice Cream Sandwich, running Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2. The video also shows a new lock screen, updated launcher, ClearAudio+ mode and an Xperia V-like Superior Auto mode on the 13MP camera. There may still be updates before the final street version but this should give Xperia TL owners a good idea of what’s to come.
The Redbox/Verizon streaming partnership is one step closer to Netflix competition. Redbox Instant is now available for download from the Google Play Store. Unfortunately, the app won’t do much on its own as it is in private beta. Fortunately, invite requests are being accepted! It will cost $8 a month for unlimited streaming plus 4 physical DVDs from the kioks. Just make sure you guys steer clear of this 7-11 when you’re out hunting for a Redbox for your DVD. No sign of the $6 unlimited streaming plan we heard about last month but we may eventually see them go to tiered pricing as Netflix has. The service will offer a free one-month trial to new subscribers when the beta is over.
Keep in mind, despite the name Verizon, you don’t have to be a Verizon Wireless subscriber to participate. You do, however, have to be running an unrooted phone. Or try this workaround anytime you feel like watching a movie on your rooted device: With SuperSU, by developer Chainfire, as your superuser app, you can deselect “Enable Superuser” in the settings.
You might be thinking, doesn’t Google Play Music already stream my own music back to me? Yes it does but now it does it in a way that has a few hidden bonuses. Not only does matching the music in your collection with music in Google’s library mean all of your music will be played back at 320 kbps, it also eliminates the need for the long upload process. As a guy who still has tracks ripped at 128 kbps, this makes me very happy.
Your meme, fanfiction and #Caturday needs can now be met on a tablet with the official Tumblr app. Almost a year and a half after hitting Android, the app was finally updated to include tablet support. Besides tablets, the rest of the update is relatively minor: a new Following screen and subtle design updates. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to support horizontal viewing, which might be a drawback on 10-inch tabs. I’m sure you guys were wondering so I went ahead and tested it for you. Yes, Ja’mie King GIFs work great on the only Nexus device currently not sold out on the Google Play Store, the Nexus 7.
You don’t have to be Xzibit to appreciate what Nova Launcher has done with its latest beta. No, the beta launcher won’t help you install an x-box to the trunk of your Toyota Celica but it does go a long way in helping you pimp your home screen. Nova is one of several capable third-party launchers but with the addition of a handful ton of customization options it’s doubling down on a more user-defined look and feel to Android.
Like with the version available on the Play Store, ver. 1.3.4, Nova Launcher 2.0 beta requires Android 4.0.1 or higher. And while both versions offer an increased level of control over its stock counterpart, 2.0 takes it to a different level. We’re talking transparency settings, resizing folders, gestures galore and some nice wallpaper tweaks. The 2.0beta3 release addresses some early beta bugs, with fixes to expanded notifications on Android 4.2, dock as overlay, dock infinite scroll, disabled wallpaper scrolling and force close issues.
Hit the break for a complete list of Nova Launcher 2.0 features and the all important download link.
Google began its Play Store Surprise Calendar Countdown today with a free $35 hotel credit for the Hotel Tonight app. If the hotel credit is not your cup of tea, check back tomorrow. Google promises a daily giveaway or discount on its Android flavored advent calendar. This appears to be similar to an Android-centric version of Google Offers but then again, Google Offers doesn’t include “giveaways” so we’ll have to wait and see how it differentiates itself. Either way, we’ll be sure to let you know if there are any can’t miss deals. Load up your Play Store app or hit the source link below to see the deals. The promotion lasts until January 1, 2013.
It’s getting easier and easier to move everything into the cloud. If you’re not satisfied with some of the cloud storage options like DropBox, Box or Google Drive, or you’re just looking for more space, Vantec might have you covered. Their soon-to-be released NexStar WiFi hard drive dock will let you take an existing SATA 2.5 or 3.5-inch internal drive and create a wireless network drive. Best of all the free Android (and iOS) app will make accessing data from your mobile device a relatively easy task. It will also stream media to UPnP compatible devices. Price and official release date are not yet available but we expect those details to emerge in the next couple weeks.
Full Press Release and app download link after the break
A user over at Android Central posted a picture he is alleging is the magnetic pogo charger for the Nexus 10. The user, known as jstevenkim, went on to say the charger will be available on Amazon and eBay within the next 10 days for around $19.95 to $24.99 USD. There’s no way of telling if this is legit (other than waiting 10 days to see what happens) but, like Mulder, I want to believe. I want to believe the Nexus 10 pogo-pin connector will get more use than the similar port on the Galaxy Nexus.
Sadly, this is closer than the Nexus 7 has come to getting a pogo charger. Although, we did see a dock which uses the pogo pins for charging, and possibly audio output, pop up on ASUS Japan but it’s yet to be made available for sale. I’m not sure if the pogo charger will really charge a device that much faster than micro USB, but it seems cool. Why should Apple be the only one with a magnetic attachment for their (Mac) chargers anyway?
We already knew ZTE was planning to release a whole series of new phones but we’d yet to hear much about the ZTE Grand S. CNET discovered the device, which will be unveiled next month at CES, will feature a quad-core processor and 5-inch FHD display. The design could be quite interesting as the housing will be purportedly made of ceramic and will be in a “traditional Chinese style.”
ZTE may not have a long history of exciting high-end devices but neither did LG and the Nexus 4 seems to be doing just fine. ZTE’s Grand S announcement is scheduled for 1:30PM Pacific time on Tuesday January 8, 2013.
The virtual tour guide known as Field Trip has been updated to allow users to save location cards as the app helps discover what Google calls “the cool, hidden, and unique.” The update includes a few bug fixes and battery consumption tweaks but it’s the card save feature that represents the biggest improvement. Users can save a card to read at a more convenient time, add it to the list of favorite locations or flag bad information. Hey, I think I know another near-magical Google product that uses cards. Might we some day see Field Trip rolled into Google Now? Update now or hit the download link below if you’ve yet to give Field Trip a go!
I guess if you’re Santa no one is going to check to see if you’ve been naughty or nice. But Mrs. Claus might give you a hand toward the naughty. At least that’s what we’re led to believe by the new Samsung commercial which, once again, reminds us of what S Beam is capable of. We’ve seen videos showcasing the Note II but this time Sami promotes S Beam, a feature available on both the Galaxy Note II and Galaxy SIII (Android Beam is also on Jelly Bean devices with NFC).
Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple employee who played a key role in marketing the Macintosh in the mid-eighties, has had some very interesting things to say about Android of late. He aggressively promoted Macs during a crucial time in Apple’s history and helped create the Apple fanaticism we know today. But like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Kawasaki has expressed his admiration for the Android OS. Kawasaki has actually taken it a step further and has stopped using iOS devices altogether.
“I fell in love with Android on the smartphone, and then I got a Nexus 7 and started using Android on the tablet as well. To me the great irony is that Apple’s slogan was `Think Different,’ but today if you think different you’re looking at Android,” said Kawasaki. He said he originally made the switch for LTE but now that Apple supports LTE he’s not going back. He said, “I won’t switch now, because I think Android is better.”