Verizon DROID Bionic smartphone finally gets official with Jelly Bean, tastes sweet buttery glory in the process

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It’s certainly long overdue, but Motorola has finally started the initial rollout of the coveted Jelly Bean update to the DROID Bionic smartphone. The update will bring the software build to 98.72.22.XT875 and the Android software to version 4.1.2. Owners of the device will be treated to the usual JB goodies like Project Butter, Google Now and a smoother UI. Additionally, Motorola/Verizon have tossed in Visual Voicemail and an enhanced mobile hotspot capability.

While the initial rollout is official, Verizon will start pushing out the update in phases from Monday, so owners will need to be patient for just a wee bit.

source: Verizon Wireless

Facebook Home Now Live in Google Play

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Facebook Home is live in the Play Store. If you need a refresh on what Facebook Home is: check it out here and here, and come on back. The app only works for a handful of devices at the moment, but I would expect the numbers to grow soon.  The only device I have that can even download it on is the Asus Transformer TF300T. However when I click on the app, I get: “Thanks for installing Facebook Home. Your device is not supported yet. You’ll get a notification when Facebook Home is ready for your device.” There are probably going to be a few more devices that get the same treatment, but at least it shows that work is being done to get the app on more devices.

Enough of the yapping head on past the break for my denial screenshot and the link.
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New Twitter Music app sort of released today

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Jumping into the online music market, Twitter appears to be in the process of releasing a new Twitter Music app today. Reports indicate the app has been released, but only certain people can get it, mostly celebrities, and only those with iOS devices. Apparently the rollout will continue during this weekend’s Coachella music festival and then culminate with widespread availability next week. Read more

Verizon Details Changes to Their Upgrade Plan

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It looks as though Verizon has made some changes to their upgrade service. Even though Verizon customers sign two-year contracts when the purchase a subsidized phone, they were always able to get an upgrade after 20 months. Unfortunately, Verizon is no longer allowing that and customers will have to wait until the full 2 years (24 months) is up in order to upgrade. Here is what Verizon has to say on the matter.

As the wireless business has evolved, Verizon Wireless has continued to expand its device portfolio, providing customers with more options than ever before. It is not uncommon for customers to have multiple devices such as a smartphone, tablet and Jetpack. In that context, Verizon Wireless is making the following changes to its upgrade practices:

  • In alignment with the terms of the contract, customers on a two-year agreement will be eligible for an upgrade at 24 months vs. today’s early upgrade eligibility at 20 months. This change aligns the upgrade date with the contract end date and is consistent with how the majority of customers purchase new phones today. The first customers impacted by this change are customers whose contracts expire in January 2014. As always, customers may purchase a new phone at the full retail price at any time.
  • The New Every Two program ended in January of 2011. Verizon Wireless has continued to allow customers to utilize these expired credits. However, as of April 15, these credits will no longer be available.
  • Customers may continue to share an upgrade with another person on an account if that customer is upgrading to a device within the same equipment category. Customers can utilize a phone upgrade to purchase a new phone; however, the option to transfer upgrades from non-phone devices (such as a Jetpack or tablet) will no longer be available.

Source: Verizon Wireless

Facebook Messenger adds chat heads to Android app

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When Facebook announced their new Facebook Home, one feature that actually received a fairly warm reception was the “chat heads” function. The chat heads were floating message notifications that could be opened independently of whatever else a user may be doing in the background on their smartphone. The chat heads show up as a small circle on your screen filled with a user’s profile pic and a number indicator. The chat heads can be moved around, but they stay docked to an edge of the screen. Tapping on them will open a window where you can reply or open the message in the full Messenger app. When you are ready to get rid of the chat head, just drag it down to the bottom of the screen.

You do not need to install Facebook Home to take advantage of the chat heads. Just install or update Facebook Messenger on Android 2.2 and up using one of the Google Play download links below.

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Google Play Download Link

HTC Teams Up With Funny Or Die To Promote The One

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The HTC One is just a week away from launching in the U.S., and to help promote it, HTC has teamed up with Funny Or Die to create a Bachelorette parody. Titled “The One with James Van Der Beek”, a contestant has to choose between five different phones as her “one true love”. You’ve probably guessed where this is going. The HTC One comes out on top, and the video is full of cheesy lines and people dressed up as outdated phones. HTC has a lot betting on the One. With declining profits, they need their groove back to effectively compete against the likes of Samsung. If you’re into cheesy parodies, you can watch the video below. Read more

NVIDIA Demos Kepler Mobile Chip, Closest Yet To PC-Level Graphics

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NVIDIA has lead the Android gaming space with its line of Tegra processors, and today showed off its next-generation Kepler Mobile chip. Chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the company has been working hard to bring its high-end Kepler desktop graphics chips to mobile. NVIDIA engineers have managed to not only shrink the size of the Kepler chip, but reduce power consumption to just hundreds of milliwatts. In fact, Kepler Mobile is capable of running high-end PC games such as Battlefield 3. From Huang:

“We want to get multiple years ahead of the competition. It was worth the sacrifice.” Read more

NYPD uses Android as a tool of its trade

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It’s always nice to see progress. The New York Police Department has started issuing Android smart phones to their officers. As part of a pilot program that started quietly last summer with 400 officers, the hope is by having a smartphone with instant access to data, it will help the officers in the field. For now, the phones only have a data connection and don’t allow for calls or texts, however– that is not an issue because the officers now have a tremendous amount of access to central data. Cops now have information at their fingertips, which greatly helps improve the job they can do. Just look at this example:

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Featured Android Game Review: Ice Rage [Sports]

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If you like hockey, but don’t want something too complicated, then I have a good one for you. It’s called Ice Rage and it was developed by Mountain Sheep and HeroCraft. It’s been available for iOS for over a year, and it finally made its way to Android. It’s a cross between the 1984 hit game Hat Trick, air hockey, and pong. It’s basically one-on-one with goalies.

You can play either single player or against a friend. For single player, you can choose from quick match, tournament, or deathmatch. In multiplayer, you can play either a quick match or a death match, but gameplay is one device. There isn’t a WiFi option so you will want to make sure you’re using something on the larger side like a Galaxy Note or any tablet. Quick match is pretty self explanatory. It’s one game to see who wins or loses. In tournament mode, you play a series of fast games to see how many you can win. In this mode, you will rack up points that will enable you to upgrade your player as far as speed, power, and technique. For deathmatch, there isn’t a tutorial so I’m not 100% sure how it works. You have to beat three different opponents. Each player has a meter that represents how much strength is left and you win when your opponent’s meter is depleted. You can knock your opponent’s meter down by either scoring or knocking them over (checking). Scoring seems to affect the meter more, but you could essentially defeat a player by scoring less goals. There is no time limit, and you must defeat all three opponents. The problem is that each opponent gets to start with a full strength meter, but yours won’t reset.

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ASUS Qube to finally launch on April 23

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We had a chance to see the ASUS Qube in action back in January at CES, but we have no idea why it wasn’t released yet. We were told that it would be available in February/March for a price of $129. We aren’t sure what the holdup was, but those of you that are waiting for this one will be happy to know that it will be available starting April 23rd for the same price. Unfortunately we don’t know if this is a global release date or if it’s for one region.

The ASUS Qube is a Google TV device that is not only shaped like a cube, but the interface is cube-like. It’s actually a departure from what ASUS has been doing in that they really haven’t change the Android UI all that much as far as their tablets. For whatever reason, they decided to change things up with their first Google TV offering. It also costs a little more than other recent offerings from VIZIO and Hisense. Check out our hands on from CES and let us know if the Qube will be the one that finally gets you onboard with Google TV.

source: gtvsource