We go hands on with Sega’s Sonic 4 Episode II THD, Now Available for Tegra 3 Devices [Video]

Today, Sega released the Android version of Sonic 4 Episode II exclusively for Tegra 3 devices so I decided to get up early so I could get my Hedgehog on. After playing Episode 1 and totally getting hooked, I was stoked to see what the new THD episode had in store for Android gaming. As I expected, Sega hit this one out of the park. In combination with the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, Sonic 4 Episode II is a complete blast from the past and well worth the $6.99 it costs in the Google Play Store. It even rivals the original game as it was played on the Sega game console.

If you are anything like me, you played Sonic the Hedgehog in your parents basement for hours on end when you were little and you will take any excuse you can get to relive those days of pure, unadulterated enjoyment. To give you an idea of what you can expect from Sega’s newest Android release, I put together a little demo video of the game in action. Before you go running off to check out the video I also wanted to remind you about our series of NVIDIA contests we are holding. We are giving away 3 separate prize packs over the period of 3 weeks and today is the cut-off for our first giveaway. This week’s prize pack consists of an ASUS Transformer Pad TF300, a matching keyboard dock, a wireless controller from Logitech, and a Jambox speaker. The contest ends tonight at 11:59 EST so be sure to get your entry in soon, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite TegraZone games in the Players Choice Awards. NVIDIA and ASUS are giving away seven of these same Transformer Prize Packs. All you have to do is vote for your favorites TegraZone games for three categorie (Best Gameplay, Best Graphics, and Overall Fun) and you will be automatically entered into the contest.

Okay… now you can go ahead and jump past the break to check out our demo video of the new Sonic game. :-)

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How do you protect your Android phone?

Choice is a wonderful thing, for many of us it’s probably the primary reason we own an Android phone in the first place. Speaking of which, it’s hard to beat that initial feeling when you get a brand new device. You remove it carefully from the box, peel off the plastic screen protector and admire it as it gleams spotlessly in your hands. Keeping your phone in such pristine condition throughout its life isn’t easy; however there are numerous solutions on the market that can help. The question is which solution works best? A quick search on the website of any mainstream tech retailer will bring up hundreds of sleeves, pouches, wallets, skins, cases and films. Would you prefer leather, suede, neoprene, plastic, rubber or even “invisible”? I’ve tried various solutions over the years with mixed results.

I’ve been a mobile phone connoisseur since the mid 90’s when Nokia ruled the roost. My trusty 3330 would be thrown in my pocket alongside my keys, coins and wallet without a care in the world. The one and only time I dropped it, I simply popped into town and bought a new exchangeable cover; job done. It was one of my early ventures into the smartphone world that made me re-evaluate the benefits of phone protectors. Back in 2004 I bought a sim-free iMate Jam (HTC Magician) and paid £500 cold hard cash. The store I purchased it from suggested a leather case for protection, which I decided to go for as I could definitely see the benefits. The case in question was a classic design which anyone who has been using phones or PDA’s for a number of years will definitely be familiar with. A couple of pieces of black leather on the front and back, joined by a few strips of black, elastic material with a leather ‘lid’ that folds over the top and sticks in place by way of some velcro tabs. If my memory serves me right, I think it even had a belt clip on the back (did anyone actually use those?). There was no question that this case would protect the phone. The problem was that the iMate Jam was a hefty old device. It was made of metal, as thick as a yellow pages directory and could probably have been used to anchor a small boat. Putting this phone in such a rugged case made it virtually impossible to pocket. It didn’t take long before I ditched the case and it also didn’t take long for me to regret that decision. On a visit to my parents’ house, the iMate was sitting in my shirt pocket. I bent down to pick something up and out it flew dropping a few feet onto the slate finished kitchen floor. I’d gained a sizable dent on the bottom corner and clearly some kind of loose connection somewhere as the device would perform a master reset every time I pressed the top half of the screen. Lesson learned.  
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Samsung Cares About Top Notch Customer Service By Releasing Samsung Cares App

Samsung just upped the ante for bringing great customer service to users of its devices. In an effort to show customers it is indeed attentive to various questions raised for its various products, they released a mobile app called Samsung Cares which aims to bring Samsung support on the go. The app covers many types of Sammy products and will allow users to do things such as viewing FAQs, How To Guides, tutorial videos and troubleshooting guides. The app even allows you to track your service status if your device or product is in the shop for a routine repair.

The app might not be too comprehensive, but hey at least the app shows Sammy cares. The app is available for all Android 2.1+ devices, so if you own a Sammy product– make sure you grab the app today.


Android Play Store link

Some Customers Will Receive Galaxy S III Pre-Orders a Day Early

It was originally rumored that the Galaxy S III would be available for purchase on May 29th. However after the official announcement was made retailers began announcing the sale of the S III on May 30th. Well the original date of the 29th may be true for some individuals as some UK retailers have made it known that those who pre-ordered Samsung‘s newest device will be getting it a day early.

Samsung UK announced today that customers who pre-ordered the S III at the Samsung store in London’s Westfield Stratford City will get their phone as early as 6pm (local time) May 29th. Worry not non-London dwellers because Samsung is allowing other retailers to hold their own early launch events but no earlier than 7pm that night. So if you’re wanting to snag this device hours before your friends you’ll have to check local listings of your favorite carrier store for information regarding its early release.

While the official unveiling was exciting in itself this announcement should get you just as excited. Getting Samsung’s latest and greatest a day earlier than most is always exciting. Otherwise the device will be available on the major UK networks a day later. Of course you’ll have to be on Vodafone UK’s network to snag the 32GB model. Here’s hoping you have a better first impression than we did!


source: Android Central

AT&T HTC One X And Sprint EVO 4G LTE Imports Delayed By Customs

It looks like we’re about to have a major snafu in regards to the anticipated arrivals of the AT&T HTC One X and Sprint EVO 4G LTE smartphones. HTC recently confirmed the imports of both devices have been delayed at the U.S. border due to a “customs review”. The reason for this hints in the direction of none other than Apple. Apparently, the cause may come from the ITC exclusion order Apple was granted last December over hyperlinks in the messaging app and browser. HTC claims the issues raised by Apple in front of the ITC were more or less silly and would be removed from their various products. Unfortunately, customs must review the shipments coming in after the April 19 deadline set in place by the ITC whether HTC likes it or not. HTC added an official statement regarding the matter:

“The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get these products into their hands as soon as possible”.
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Sega releases Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II for NVIDIA Tegra 3 devices

Sonic lovers can rejoice since Sega just released Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II in the Google Play Store and NVIDIA TegraZone. It’s optimized for Tegra 3 devices and delivers a near console-like experience that you won’t find on any other mobile platform. Thanks to NVIDA’s Tegra 3, it has dramatically higher quality textures, better lighting and glow effects, and objects that are absent from other mobile versions. It’s the most technically advanced mobile version of the game, and you will find it’s a near mirror-image of the PS3 and Xbox versions. Just take a look at the images below to see the difference (click images to enlarge).

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HTC Ville C Specs Leak – It’s a “Cheaper HTC One S”

What’s this? Well, it looks like the folks at BriefMobile got their hands on a leaked feature sheet for a new device from HTC dubbed the HTC Ville C. Their source tells them it’s essentially a cheaper version of the HTC One S, which makes sense since the One S was codenamed “Ville“… I guess the “C” stands for “cheaper”.

Here are the specs:

  • 4.3-inch qHD AMOLED display
  • 16GB of internal memory
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm dual-core MSM8260 S3 processor (the sheet says 1.7GHz but the source says it’s a typo)
  • Ultra slim profile (exact measurements not yet known)
  • Sense 4.5 (nice to know HTC is already working on an update)
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 8MP camera with same imaging chip as the One series (1080p video recording)
  • VGA front facing camera
  • 1,650 mAh battery

No news yet on release dates or carriers.

source: briefmobile



Study Finds Tablets Generate 3X More Data Traffic Than Smartphones

Mobile carriers in the U.S. are very concerned about the amount of traffic on their data networks. Too much and the whole thing gets clogged and slows down. A study by video optimization firm Bytemobile has found that it’s not the smartphones carriers need to worry about… it’s the tablets.

According to this study, tablets drive three times more mobile data than smartphones. Sure, there are more smartphones being used than tablets right now, but Forrester Research estimates that by 2016, one-third of all adults in the U.S. will own a tablet of some kind. At three times the traffic, this can quickly become an issue. Granted, not all of those tablets will have connectivity to a mobile carrier, but it’s still something to keep an eye on.

The higher use of data is due in part by higher web browsing (160% more from iPads than iPhones in this study) and the increased use of streaming video services on tablets.

Of course, since Bytemobile is a video optimization company, the report also found that slower networks streamed lower quality video (240p resolution), and they obviously suggest that this indicates the need for carriers to consider video optimization and caching technologies… something they might know a little something about.

Full press release after the break.

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10-inch Yzi Ice Cream Sandwich Tablet Only $203

Ever wonder just what kind of tablet you could get for around $200? How does this sound?

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 1.2GHz single-core Cortex A* processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • Mali 400 GPU
  • 4GB internal storage
  • MicroSD slot
  • 0.3MP front facing camera (no rear-facing camera)
  • 10-inch 1024 x 768 display
  • Full-size USB port
  • HDMI port
  • Wi-Fi
  • Accelerometer
  • 15 hour battery

These are the specs for the French-made Yzi tablet. Not too shabby. Some models may even come with 3G connectivity. The tablet will be available in Europe for a very reasonable  €159. No word on whether it will come to the U.S.

Check out more pictures after the break.

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Google plans to present several Nexus devices from multiple manufacturers by Q4 of 2012

Word on the street is that Google is shifting gears when it comes to its Nexus line of Android smartphones. Ever since the release of the HTC Nexus One, Google has always partnered with one single manufacturer in the development of their Nexus handsets. They attempted to sell the Nexus One through their website only, but the carrier subsidies proved too financially significant for many consumers to justify buying a phone at full retail price, at least here in the States. So with the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus, the big “G” decided to go with specific carrier releases, while at the same time, giving up quite a bit of control on what content would be pre-loaded and if and when updates would ever make it to the phones. Along with those issues, Google’s decision to work solely with one manufacturer for their Nexus phone created a bit of tension in the mobile arena with other manufacturers feeling less favored. All in all, Google certainly felt that their master plan for Android was not playing out exactly the way they had hoped.

Now Google has a new plan that should bring about some pretty big changes. For one, no more favoritism will be displayed when it comes to the next Nexus phone. Google is expected to collaborate with up to 5 different manufactures that will be given access to the latest Android OS version, Jelly Bean. They will construct their own personal Nexus device that is to be distributed once again through Google’s website and possibly through various carriers as well with an expected release date around Thanksgiving. It’s reported that the phones will be GSM technology, making it easier for most consumers to have more choice so not be stuck with a contract or the limiting phone selection of their respective carrier.

To be able to have more stock android options and more avenues of purchasing them is a really big improvement if Google can pull it off. The company recently dropped the price of the Galaxy Nexus to $400 on their website a few weeks ago and the results have been very pleasing. If Google can find the right price for these devices, they should be able to turn some heads and make consumers reconsider signing another 2 year contract for a discount. Greater support and adoption of this business model only means that the Android customer experience will be greatly improved with Google now in complete control of updates.

So is this gonna work? Who would buy a Nexus now given this new information? What about CDMA carriers like Sprint and Verizon? Let your thoughts be heard in the comments below.

source: WSJ