TalkAndroid Daily Dose for April 4, 2013

TalkAndroid_Daily_Dose

With hectic schedules, it can be hard to keep track of everything in your news feed. That’s why we created the TalkAndroid Daily Dose. This is where we recap the day’s hottest stories so you can get yourself up to speed in quick fashion. Happy reading!!

Guides

Five top live wallpapers for Android [April 2013]

Accessories

New and official Nexus 4 accessories hit the Google Play Store

Apps

Facebook announces ‘Facebook Home’ replacement launcher for Android [Video]

Colourform (HDW theme pack) for HD Widgets officially out of Beta

iHeartRadio update adds “Perfect For” and alarm clock functions

Google TV Remote app now includes voice search

Carriers

Verizon CEO Reportedly Open To Eliminating Contracts

Verizon CEO Reportedly Open To Eliminating Contracts

Verizon

With T-Mobile generating buzz after announcing its new Simple Choice Plans, it appears other wireless carriers are taking notes. During a company event Wednesday in New York City, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he’s open to the idea of ditching contracts. McAdam has been monitoring what T-Mobile customers have been saying and even said that if Verizon customers started asking for no-contract plans, he’d consider getting rid of them. However, as the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”. While no-contract plans sound great, there is a potential downside. With T-Mobile’s new plans, removing contracts means customers have to pay anywhere from $5 to $20 per month per device over 24 months to make up for the lack of a contract.

Source: PCMag

Watch the Facebook Home announcement

facebook_home_video_screen_cap

Earlier today Facebook announced their new “Facebook Home” launcher app that will be available for most Android devices and the HTC First, a new smartphone that will be loaded with Facebook’s new launcher out of the box. If you were not able to watch the live announcement while it was streaming, it is now available for review. In addition to getting more insight from Zuckerberg on Facebook’s reasoning for pursuing this path, the video includes lots of screencasts of the new features and functions of the launcher. Along with Zuckerberg and other Facebookers, Ralph De La Vega, President of AT&T Mobility, and Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, also make appearances to showcase the new HTC First smartphone. If you want to see how the Coverfeed or Chat Heads will work, hit the break to view the whole 40 minute video of the event.

Facebook announces ‘Facebook Home’ replacement launcher for Android [Video]

 

Facebook_Home

As expected, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the HTC First Facebook phone today, but he also introduced a complete home replacement for many popular Android phones (and eventually tablets). It’s called Facebook Home, and according to Zuckerberg, “It sets the tone for your whole experience.”

Although the new launcher will work with all the apps that are installed on your phone, it changes the focal point to people as opposed to apps. The Coverfeed allows you to scroll through updates with large photos. You will be able to quickly see all the comments and respond inline. You will also find a notification pane that includes SMS messages and other important posts.

The HTC First Is Real, Launches April 12 Running Facebook Home [Video]

HTC First

Facebook held its official event today announcing Facebook Home and revealed the HTC First, the first smartphone to run Facebook’s new UI. As mentioned previously, Facebook Home runs on top of Android and users will still have access to Google Play. You can pre-order the HTC First exclusively on AT&T starting today for $99 under a new two-year contract. It officially launches April 12 and here are the specs:

  • 4.3-inch 720p display at 1280 x 720
  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 5 megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 1.6 megapixel front-facing camera
  • WiFi, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Facebook Home UI on top of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean

Purple Galaxy S III to hit Sprint on April 12th, $99 with mail-in rebate

Sprint_Galaxy_S_III_Purple

If you were excited about that purple Galaxy S III we told you about not too long ago, we’ve got a bit more information for you. We originally reported that the device would be available exclusively on Sprint sometime in April, and the latest leaks are pointing to April 12th. It’ll be available for $99, which is in line with the other Galaxy S III models Sprint offers, but does involve a $50 mail-in rebate. Either way, it’s a bargain for one of the best devices of last year, especially in such an eye-catching color.

Who’s planning on picking one of these up when they’re available?

source: Engadget

WiFi-only Samsung Galaxy Camera on the way to US stores and will arrive “later this month”

Samsung_Galaxy_Camera_Review_Redefining_The_Camera

 

We certainly have a soft spot for the Samsung Galaxy Camera, but there are more than a few of you out there that loathed the fact it was a feature device for only a few wireless carriers. To that extent, Samsung has come out and confirmed it will release a WiFi-only version of the connected camera for those of us out here in the States. In case you’ve forgotten, the Galaxy Camera features a 1.4GHz quad-core chip, 1GB of RAM and most importantly, a decent 12MP camera complete with 21X optical zoom. The difference between the WiFi-only version and the cellular version: the WiFi-only version will run customers about $450, compared to $500 for the AT&T HSPA+ version and $550 for the Verizon variant. Hopefully with the loss of the cellular chip, we’ll see a reduction in the overall weight of the device.

Expect to see the WiFi Galaxy Camera to hit stores “later this month”. In the meantime, hit the break to see Sammy’s full presser.

iHeartRadio update adds “Perfect For” and alarm clock functions

iheartradio_banner

Fans of online music and radio streaming service iHeartRadio may have noticed an update was available this week. Clear Channel Radio added a couple new features to help keep pace with other popular music service apps. The first of these is a “Perfect For” function that lets users pick a mood or activity and get suggestions from a list of curated stations. iHeartRadio will provide four stations to select from based on choices like “A Traffic Jam” or “Drinking Coffee” or “Chilling Out.”

Samsung introduces the Galaxy Trend II and Galaxy Trend II Duos smartphones

Samsung_Galaxy_Trend_Duos_II

 

Samsung has officially taken the wraps off its two newest additions to the Galaxy family today by announcing the Galaxy Trend II and Galaxy Trend II Duos smartphones. Each device are on the fringe of being a low-end device featuring a 1.2GHz dual-core chip, 4-inch WVGA display, 3MP camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, microSD card slot and 1500mAh battery— all in a Jelly Bean package. There’s no word yet on how much the device will cost or when it will arrive in stores, but we suspect Samsung will have all those deets for us sooner than later.

source: Samsung Galaxy Trend II | Samsung Galaxy Trend Duos II

Chinese HTC One smartphone to feature dual-SIM support and microSD slot

china-htc-one-microsd-dualsim-700x370

 

Sure the world is certainly counting down to the awesome HTC One smartphone’s imminent release, but it appears the Chinese variant will be slightly different than the other variants. A new image and accompanying specs have surfaced regarding the 802w variant of the One smartphone that’s headed for Chinese mobile providers. The information highlights this variant of the device will come arrive with dual-SIM support and an expandable microSD-out slot. Additionally, the device will not feature the zero-gap aluminum build that makes the device so appealing– but rather another cheaper quality material instead (aka plastic).

Now while many of you may be upset at this notion that the Chinese variants will be slightly different, there are some potential theories for why this is. While China is by far and away the largest country in the world, many parts of the country are considered to be “emerging markets”—- meaning $600 premium devices are almost certainly inaccessible to folks living out in that market. With that in mind, HTC may be realizing that China is a key market to sell the device in, but must do so at a cost-effective price, so it reduced the on-board storage size and changed the build of the device— thus making it much more affordable and appealing to folks out in China.

As cool as it is seeing this device in its real form, those of us out in the States or Europe shouldn’t expect a similar variant to hit our shores anytime soon.

source: HTC Source

Colourform (HDW theme pack) for HD Widgets officially out of Beta

Colourform_HDW_theme_pack_Splash_Banner

Remember the HDW: Colourform Test Pack  Beta trial that HD Widgets released in early February? Well it’s now an official app in the Play Store, so if you’re an HD Widgets user, go grab it now for 99-cents. This is an add-on theme pack, so you will need the HD Widgets app in order to use Colourform. If you’re new to HD Widgets, you might want to check it out since it’s one of the best looking widgets for showing you the time, date, and weather, along with some cool utility switches.

With the Colourform theme pack you get:

  • 58 more widgets for phones & tablets – 2 – 1×1 / 5 – 2×1/ 36 – 4×1 / 12 – 4×2 / 1 – 6×1 / 2 – 6×2 (tablets)
  • ICS / JB style
  • tons of color settings w/ full color range
  • background opacity, tiles, & textures
  • new Quick Settings & Indicators
  • more Roboto fonts including the 4.2 hipster clock

Check out their demo video below and hit one of the download links to get started.

Samsung Experience Shops coming to 1400 Best Buy Stores

Samsung_Experience_Shops_In_Best_Buy

We already reported that Samsung is planning on opening Experience Shops within Best Buy stores, but what we didn’t know was how many stores. According to a press release, the plan is for 1400 stores. You can expect to see 900 stores by early May with the remainder to follow by early summer. The emphasis will be on mobile products such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, connected cameras, and accessories.

Best Buy is one of the more popular electronics retailers so this makes sense for Samsung. Instead of opening full-fledged stores, this is more cost effective. Samsung is planning on selling 500 million smartphones this year, and Experience Stores like these can only help them achieve their goal. Hit the break for the full press release.

New and official Nexus 4 accessories hit the Google Play Store

Nexus_4_Wired_Headset_With_Microphone

If you’re an accessory fiend and you really want the “official” stuff, Google has you covered. They just released three brand new accessories to go along with your Nexus 4. You can grab a wired headset with microphone for $19.99, a Micro USB cable for $9.99, or a Power Adapter for $15.99. All appear to be in stock and should arrive at your doorstep within 3 to 5 business days. More images and Play Store links after the break.

TalkAndroid Daily Dose for April 3, 2013

TalkAndroid_Daily_Dose

With hectic schedules, it can be hard to keep track of everything in your news feed. That’s why we created the TalkAndroid Daily Dose. This is where we recap the day’s hottest stories so you can get yourself up to speed in quick fashion. Happy reading!!

Guides

What you need to know about the T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan

Apps

Google targeting all business users by making QuickOffice available for free for all Google Apps users

Rovio’s social-based Angry Birds Friends game officially on the way to mobile devices

Twitter Goes Holo in New Update

Flipboard gets minor update to support hover actions

Carriers

AT&T Launches 4G LTE In 14 New Markets

Google

Sources speculate as to why Android’s Rubin is starting new chapter