If you went into a cave three years ago and just came out, you probably would be shocked at the size of some of the displays that smartphones have been sporting. I remember when the DROID X was released and everyone was saying it was huge. Now that same screen size is on the DROID RAZR M (M for micro). Then there was the original Samsung Galaxy Note, which boasted a 5.3-inch display. Of course the follow up, the Galaxy Note II, pushed the envelope a little more at 5.5-inches. What’s next? Is it 6-inch displays? Well it’s not too soon to be talking Galaxy Note III, and the latest rumor is that it will sport a whopping 6.3-inch OLED display. When it comes to 6-inch displays, the Note III won’t be alone as Huawei already confirmed a 6.1-inch offering.
A year and half ago, everyone said the sweet spot was 4-inches. After spending a month or so with the DROID DNA, I now think it’s 5-inches, but as long as people are going to buy them, I see no reason why the manufacturers should slow down. However, at some point doesn’t it have to stop? Are we heading towards the Nexus 7 being a phone?
In November 2012 Android fans were treated to news that Android’s share of the tablet market was growing much faster than previously projected. No doubt there will be many new owners of Android powered tablets once the 2012 holiday season passes. These new owners, or folks who have had a tablet device for a while, may be interested in trying out a new “launcher” for the tablet. For those not familiar with launchers, and I was one of them before I started working on this comparison, the launcher is the basic interface for the device. It controls things like the “grid” where apps are placed, how apps and widgets are accessed, the possibility of creating groups of apps, or automatically rearranging apps on a homescreen.
Readers may have run across references to manufacturers’ interfaces, like Touchwiz or Sense or Motoblur. These are launchers specifically included on devices to replace the stock Android launcher. In my case, I am testing on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, so I already have Samsung’s Touchwiz launcher installed.
For this comparison, I decided to take a look at some of the launchers we have covered here at TalkAndroid during the past year or that may show up at the top of the list when you search the Google Play Store for a launcher.
Believe it or not, that picture is not a Galaxy S III. It’s actually Samsung’s new Galaxy Grand Duos, the follow up to the dual-sim touting Galaxy S Duos. Unfortunately, it’s got no compatible 3G with US markets, so it’s likely to stay an international phone. It sports a 4.5 inch, GSIII-esque screen, a 1.2 GHz processor, and the cameras from its bigger brother. There were also leaks of a Galaxy S II Plus, and while it is compatible with GSM signals in the US, it’s nearly identical to the original Galaxy S II. Hopefully we’ll dig up a little more information on these in the next few weeks.
We recently reviewed the PowerA MOGA gaming controller for Android phones. It simply is the best gaming controller available with over 30 games already compatible with it. At $49.99 it’s a pretty good price, but how about FREE? As you know, Modern Combat 4 was just released, and in celebration of that, they are allowing you to order the MOGA for FREE. All you have to do is pay the shipping, which amounts to about $5.00 depending on where you live. If that’s not enough, since Modern Combat 4 is MOGA compatible, they are also going to provide you with a code to download the full game for FREE.
So lets sum it up, you get the MOGA gaming controller and Modern Combat 4 for approximately $5.00 in shipping fees. Sounds like an incredible deal, and if you’re looking for a last minute gift idea, this could be it. There is a limit of one per customer so you might want to keep it for yourself. To get this deal, all you have to do is enter SecretSanta at checkout. I just did it so I know it works. The deal will run until midnight PST tonight. I am told they are giving away tons of controllers, but supplies could run out, so I would suggest getting your order in sooner rather than later. Hot the source link to get started and happy gaming!!!
Last night Google released its long-awaited Google Maps app for its biggest competitor: IOS. However, just because the Mountain View company is developing apps for the “dark side”, doesn’t mean that everyone is going to get in on the Google-goodness. Recently, Google Apps product management director, Clay Bavor, announced that the Google team has no plans to develop apps for Microsoft’s new Windows 8 platform. According to Bavor, Google is very careful with their resources and time, and right now users “are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8.” This comes as a hard blow to the already fledgling platform. However, Bavor did leave the door open for reconsideration and said they’d keep an eye on Windows 8’s sales and market performance. As our Editor In Chief, Robert Nazarian, posted earlier this morning, Google is willing to develop apps even for its competition if it means increased revenue and ad sales, but right now, it seems Windows 8 isn’t even worth their time.
It’s no surprise that EE is a pioneer in not only bringing 4G LTE devices to the UK, but bringing 4G LTE coverage to various markets and areas as well. Today the wireless carrier has announced it is flipping on the 4G LTE switch to the following markets in the UK: Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. That means those of you living in one of those cities will finally be able to enjoy the true 4G speeds from today. In addition, EE has also announced a major enhancement to its existing 3G HSPA+ by upgrading its 3G pipeline to a dual-channel HSPA+… also known as DC-HSPA+ for short. The DC-HSPA+ upgrade should be ready by the end of this year and should be available to approximately 40% of all EE, Orange & T-Mobile customers with a compatible handset.
Now if we can only do something about those steer 4G LTE prices, customers will really be in business. Full details can be found in the presser once you hit the break.
This morning brought great news for Apple users as they finally have a Maps app that just might work. Google came through and bailed out Apple with the release of the Google Maps app in the Apple app store last night. When this whole fiasco happened, I thought that Google shouldn’t bother developing an app. If Apple wanted to denounce Google, then let them wallow in their own mistakes. Furthermore, since Google wants to promote Android, wouldn’t they just keep it to Android to make it that much more appealing to iOS users?
Unfortunately that really isn’t the correct way of thinking since iOS is a revenue source for Google. Apple and Google might be major competitors, but they are two entirely different companies. You won’t find Apple-made apps in the Google Play Store because Apple has nothing to gain, but since Google derives revenues from ads and clicks, they have everything to gain by making their products available to the competition. In the past we reported that a lot of Google’s mobile revenues actually come from iOS devices, so why should Google shun that? It’s easy for me to say don’t do it, but it just didn’t make business sense for Google to ignore the situation. So iOS users now have a better experience thanks to Google. Maybe they will remember that the next time they buy a new phone. Probably not.
If you happen to be a bus rider in London and own an NFC-based device like the astounding Galaxy S III smartphone, today is a momentous day for you. Transport for London has announced its activation for contactless payments using NFC technology on 8,500 of its buses. When using the NFC payment, customers can pay the same fare as a traditional Oyster card user, which is £1.35 as opposed to the standard £2.30 cash fare. There is a catch to this technology though— customers will need to ensure their NFC-based device has a special logo in order to utilize the contactless payment technology and as of now, we only know of Orange UK’s version of the Galaxy S III having the special logo. On the other hand, there is a slim possibility that other NFC-equipped devices could potentially work, especially since there’s no mention of what exact devices are compatible exactly.
Still, today is a pretty significant breakthrough and it should be only a matter of time before we see other transport companies take advantage of this technology. We’re all looking at you New York City MTA!
We already know that Sprint & Clearwire has quite the relationship, but Sprint fully intends from not just owning some of Clearwire, but it wants to acquire what’s left of the available Clearwire share. Reuters reports that Sprint (by way of Softbank) wants full control of Clearwire’s network and subsequent spectrum by making a full $2.1 billion offer. If the deal is approved (and all indications point to its approval), the entire value of Clearwire would be worth somewhere in the area of $4.2 billion— though we won’t see the deal formally approved until at least sometime in the March or April of the upcoming year.
Talk about Sprint wanting to put a ring on it. Sheesh.We’ll be on the lookout for any further developments on this big news.
It looks like Shazam and SoundHound are going to have a little more competition from Google. Google’s Sound Search widget was recently only (officially) available to devices running stock Jelly Bean, which is a pretty narrow slice of devices in the Android ecosystem. It couldn’t really gain much traction against established apps like SoundHound or Shazam because it simply couldn’t get on enough devices. Google fortunately realized this, and today made the Sound Search app available in the Play Store for any device running 4.0 and above.
The Sound Search has a leg up on its competition because it links you to music directly in the Play Store, since it’s all Google-maintained. It also features search history syncing across devices, so you can identify the song when you’re out and then actually download it at home on your tablet. Not bad, right? Hit the break for the download link if you’re interested.
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’d say most, if not all, of our readers might have used Google to search for something in 2012 once or twice. Just a few times. Or probably thousands of times. Google performed over 1.2 trillion web searches in 146 languages, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Google’s got a finger on the pulse of the internet. And with the information from those 1.2 trillion web searches, Google summed up 2012 in a 2 minute video. And in typical Google fashion, there’s a handful of easter eggs in the video. Hit the break for the video and the link Google’s own page for Zeitgeist 2012.
Republic Wireless announced today that they have begun shipping pre-ordered smartphones for their new wireless service. Republic Wireless is using a “Hybrid Wi-Fi cellular Calling network” to provide service. The network utilizes any available wifi for a primary network and Sprint’s 3G network for the secondary network. According to Republic Wireless CEO David Morken, the service will “invert the status quo” by relying on cheap, plentiful wifi and only reverting to more costly, limited cellular when wifi is not available. This approach helps keep the cost down which enables Republic Wireless to offer a monthly service for only $19 that includes unlimited talk, text, and data. Republic Wireless is currently shipping the Motorola DEFY XT for $249 plus a $10 startup fee. The service is pay-as-you-go, so no long term contract locks customers in to the service.
Hit the break to see a video announcement from Republic Wireless and to read the full press release.
With LG’s Nexus 4, Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Note 2 receiving all of the news lately of their great sales, it’s good to see HTC get some of the spotlight for once. It seems as if their Asia only Android device (Droid DNA in the US) in the Butterfly has been selling quite well and is prompting HTC to increase their shipments of the device.
According to Jack Tong, the president of HTC’s North Asia said “We will ship a large number of devices by the end of this month, due to the success of the HTC Butterfly J in Japan.”
The Butterfly sports a beautiful 5″ 1080p display paired with Quolcomm’s new quad-core S4 pro processor. If you’re curious about HTC’s new successful device, you can check out our review of Verizon’s Droid DNA right here!
Sony has released their Motiongraph application that allows users to create photos that essentially “move.” You shoot a short 2 second video and use various images from the videos you record to create your own gifs. Pretty nifty, don’t you think?
The video below showcases the new app and how you can use it. The app is available in the Google Play Store for $0.99!