Sure Facebook Home is going to be one heck of a game-changer for Android devices, but not only do we still need to wait a while for it to come out— Facebook Home is only going to be available for a handful of devices, at least for the initial launch. Fortunately, some enterprising folks went ahead and brought the awesome launcher to the masses. Paul O’Brien of MoDaCo’s details that using any Android device with a maximum resolution of 1,200 x 768, users will have the ability to use a pre-release version of the ROM by installing 3 special files.
Of course using the special build of the app doesn’t come without a few catches. The first is that since this is a pre-release version of Facebook Home, meaning the ROM is not exactly stable, is missing a feature or two and is a little bit on the slower side. The second catch is users will need to ensure that Facebook is completely uninstalled from their device prior to installing the ROM since the leaked files are re-signed and can’t just be installed over the top of an existing installation. This means that those of you with a device that has Facebook pre-installed will probably need to have Root access and remove the Facebook from your phone just to be on the safe side.
Ok— so now that you’ve gotten the disclaimer, we’re sure that you’re itching to try it out for yourself, right? Head on down to the source link to grab the full deets and instructions for yourself.
Last week we found out the Samsung Galaxy Fonblet would actually be called the Galaxy Mega and it would come in both 5.8-inch and 6.3-inch varieties. What about specs? The 5.8-inch version (GT-i9153) will have a modest qHD (960 x 540) LCD display, a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 8MP rear camera, and a 2600mAh battery. It will come in at 9.7mm thick and it will have dual-SIM capability.
Lesser details are known about the 6.3-inch version, but what we can say is that it will also have an LCD panel, a dual-core Exynos processor, an 8MP rear camera, and a 2MP front camera. Unfortunately we don’t have the display resolution or the CPU clock speed, but they will probably be similar to the 5.8-inch version.
It appears Samsung is trying to bring the demand for larger displays to those that are on a tighter budget. This is a good move because everyone should be able to enjoy a phone that barely fits their pocket. Word is that we will see these bad boys this summer along with some Jelly Beans.
With rumors swirling that Google will come out with a new unified messaging service called Google Babel, now we’re hearing that Google might be looking to purchase the very popular messaging app, WhatsApp. This is of course a rumor, but anonymous sources close to the negotiations say that WhatsApp is playing hardball and looking for close to $1 billion. Apparently Google contacted WhatsApp back in December when Facebook was rumored to be the potential buyer.
There’s no question that a WhatsApp acquisition could help with Google’s plans since WhatsApp is the second most popular paid app in the iTunes App Store with 18 billion messages transmitted this past New Year’s Eve. Now one has to wonder if Babel isn’t as close as we thought, and instead something we won’t see till later in the year? Not only does it take time to complete an acquisition like this, but it will also take time for the team to make an impact on Babel. Let see how this one pans out.
We have been hearing rumors of a new Google unified messaging system called Babel for a couple of weeks now. As you know, Google has a lot of different services for communicating, and a new unified service could be just what the doctor ordered. We have seen some fake screenshots and some that look plausible, but no real evidence of its existence.
Well we have two things to show you today, which include a pop-up message as well as a string of code. The above shot is a string of code that contains references to a Babel app that will unsurprisingly include a video player. The below image is a pop-up message that +Patric Dhawaan got when going through his inbox. Now the only question is when will we see this new service? Perhaps at Google I/O or is this a longer term strategy since Google is looking into buying WhatsApp?
Sources are indicating that T-Mobile is in the process of testing the Sony Xperia Z, which could result in Sony returning to the T-Mobile portfolio. TmoNews reports three different sources over the past two weeks have all confirmed Sony is testing the device. The Xperia Z is a 5-inch 1080p display smartphone powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, a 13MP camera with Exmor RS for mobile and HDR video, and is dust and water resistant. Although it may not be garnering all of the attention that the Samsung Galaxy S 4 or the HTC One are grabbing, the Xperia Z is still a top tier device and should be a welcome option for consumers on the T-Mobile network.
Just because T-Mobile is testing a device does not guarantee it will be offered to consumers. This happened last fall with the HTC One X+ which was never picked up by T-Mobile. Still, the fact that the device is getting put through the paces by T-Mobile is a good sign.
We usually don’t get exciting news on Sunday nights, but get ready for this one. A method to unlock the bootloaders on a few popular Motorola phones has been achieved by Dan Rosenberg. If you own a DROID RAZR HD (and MAXX HD), DROID RAZR M, or Atrix HD you are in luck. This method appears to be tied to Snapdragon processors only since it will not work on any devices with OMAP CPUs.
The instructions haven’t been posted yet, but the above image, as well as the one below, is proof enough. Word is the method will be posted tomorrow, and we will let you know as soon it’s posted. Hit the break for another image and a video of the Atrix HD unlocked.
We had another busy week at TalkAndroid so here’s a recap of all the top stories. The week started off with some of the best April Fools jokes Google has ever done. Then later in the week, Facebook and HTC made a splash with the HTC First and the Facebook Home launcher app that will be available for select Android phones. It’s time to get caught up and get ready for another exciting week.
What you need to know about the T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan
Five top live wallpapers for Android [April 2013]
DivX Stash [Media & Video]
Strategy & Tactics: World War II [Arcade & Action]
Fynch for Twitter [Social]
Todoist: To Do List, Task List [Productivity]
The FCC has just cleared a Samsung device, the SPH-L500, and it looks like the device is heading to Sprint. It’s packing radios for Sprint’s 3G network, as well as Band 25 LTE and SVLTE (simultaneous voice and data) capabilities. Oddly enough, the device’s measurements are just a bit smaller than the Galaxy S 4, coming in at about 5.2 inches tall and 2.6 inches wide.
There’s not many details in the filing, aside from the standard WiFi and Bluetooth radios and NFC, so we don’t know specs, screen size, or if this will even be an Android device. Whatever the case may be, we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we hear anything else.
Apple and Samsung are still going at it! On the road to innovation and market domination, Samsung has managed to infringe on a piece of an Apple patent. While they skirted the line on an infringement dealing with auto-detection of microphones or other devices plugged into its handset’s microphone jacks, an International Trade Commission (ITC) judge has found Samsung guilty of crossing that line with one of their other “innovations”.
The decision, issued back on March 26, was released Thursday and revealed that Samsung’s “text-select” feature on its smartphones and tablets is in fact an infringement on a key portion of Apple’s patent. Although the decision is not final, the full commission is expected to make a final decision sometime in August.
OUYA has done a great job of listening to early adopters of their developer consoles, and has worked rigorously to address issues and concerns that have been reported. According to OUYA, they have fixed identified issues for their upcoming June roll out. Their promise to consumers, to “continue to obsess over quality and performance“.
Some of the overall improvements to the final product include both hardware and software improvements. Here is a list OUYA has for each:
Problem: Battery Covers on front of unit fell off easily during shipping.
Fix: Add additional magnets to cover plats to improve security.
Problem: Current software iteration has a few key components issues, such as lack of storage, complicated installation processes, and a lack of controller support for video players.
Fix: Added numerous software fixes, to include options not necessarily addressed by developers, such as:
- External storage for games
- Simpler game install process
- More metrics for developers
- Controller support for video players
- More payment options
ES File Explorer has been on my phone for a long time. I love using it to manipulate and move files to and from various folders and the like. My only complaint was that the UI seemed a bit outdated and didn’t fit with the Holo style that the later versions of Android brought to the table. The devs must have read my mind though because they posted a test build of the newest version of the file manager sporting a new Holo-style theme. While it is marked for testing purposes, the app appears to be pretty solid. I have yet to see a hiccup in the short time that I’ve used it.
For those that are interested in tinkering with the app, you can download it or read up on it from the source link below. I’ve included a gallery past the break so that you can see the new UI in action. It should hit the Play Store sometime soon barring any major bugs. As far as I can tell though, it’s pretty close to a final product.
If you’re a Sprint customer and have been salivating over HTC’s newest flagship phone, the HTC One, then you’re in for some good news. The folks over at Wirefly are offering the HTC One for $150 pre-order. Heck even if you’re thinking about switching over to the Now Network this is a good deal. For $50 less than what you’d be paying at Sprint you’ll be able to choose between Stealth Black or Glacial Silver. According to Wirefly it should ship April 19th and be at your door shortly there after. If you’re holding out for a better deal, I’m not sure you’ll find one. Hit the source links below to order yours and you better hurry. There’s no telling on how long this deal will go on.
sources: HTC One Glacial Silver, HTC One Stealth Black
One of the more popular features of Android 4.2 is the Photo Sphere function in the camera app. While many users continue to wait for Android 4.2 to roll out to their device, they can only look on with envy as their friends with Nexus devices post Photo Spheres to Google+ or they stumble upon one on Google Maps. Meanwhile, Nexus owners are only able to share their Photo Spheres with those in their Google+ Circles, which may make it a challenge to compare work with others. Developer Jakub Kinst hopes to address these limitations with a new app, SphereShare.net, which is now available in the Google Play Store.
Now that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has been announced and since released, at least in the UK, it would only be a matter of time before we saw official accessories come out. Items like cases, screen protectors and even extra S-Pens should be apart of the mix and all we would have to do is sit and wait for that fateful day to come. It looks like that fateful day is today as GearZap, part of Mobile Fun Limited, is the first to offer these official accessories. Right now they’re only available for pre-order but they should be released quite soon. We see the standard assortment of accessories as well as a few unique ones. Besides the book covers and S-pens we see a car dock and a pouch stand. The pouch keeps your device protected when not in use, while giving you the ability to prop up the tablet for hands free use. Hit the break to check them out.
One of the big challenges for any consumer buying cellular service is trying to figure out whether the service really is better than what they currently have. Invariably it seems that no matter what network one is on, there is always that friend or family member that seems to have better coverage with their carrier, but researching the matter usually yields conflicting information. Wireless carrier U.S. Cellular hopes to address this problem with a new program that lets potential customers test their coverage for a week with no strings attached.