Samsung Galaxy S III To Get Premium Suite Upgrade, Makes The Jelly Bean Update A Whole Lot Tastier

 

So you own a Galaxy S III, but haven’t gotten that coveted Jelly Bean update yet— but are itching to get an idea of what to look forward to in the imminent update? Well great you’re in luck as Samsung recently posted a video highlighting its Premium Suite upgrade found in a special update. Similar to what is seen on other Samsung devices, Galaxy S III owners who are likely to be due for the update can look forward to items such as Contextual Awareness actions like Page Buddy which allows your Galaxy S III to predict your intentions based off your actions (think of when you plug in your earphones, the device automatically opens the music player) or Enhanced Features like the coveted Multi-Window multitasking feature.

While it is cool to get an idea of what users could potentially look forward to– unfortunately Samsung highlights the Premium Suite “availability and timing will vary depending on the country and mobile carrier”, so it’s uncertain of if most Galaxy S III owners will see the update. However, we’re holding out hope that most (if not all) Galaxy S III users will get to utilize all the cool features. Hit the break to get an idea of what the Premium Suite entails exactly.

T-Mobile to begin selling iPhone and all other phones unsubsidized in 2013

T-Mobile has always been a strong proponent for Android. It teamed up with Google to launch the very first Android phone (the HTC G1) back in 2008 and is currently the only carrier to offer the new Nexus 4 on contract. In its smartphone line-up you could always find a plethora of strong Android based contenders, with one infamous smartphone (the one that shall not be named) interestingly absent. Well, all that is set to change in 2013. In an interview today, T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere informed the press that they will begin selling Apple products in 2013, including Apple’s iPhone 5 and the rest of the gang. What’s more interesting is that T-Mobile will be selling these (and all other) devices completely unsubsidized from now on. This is a dramatic move for a carrier, and the first of its kind for one of the big four. Typically carriers sell phones at significantly reduced costs to buyers and make up the money by charging more for monthly service fees over the two-year contract. T-Mobile is bucking the system and plans to sell phones at the full retail price (phones can be as pricey as $800!) while offering a lower monthly service fee. The strange thing about this plan is that you’ll still need to sign the dotted line and commit to a two-year contract. Personally, if I were planning on buying an unsubsidized phone, I’d go with a no-contract plan like Straight Talk’s $45 unlimited plan (month to month).

Are any of you willing to sign a two year contract if your monthly rates are lower? Or would you just go with Straight Talk and other no-contract service providers?

Source: Gigaom

Apple Inc now ranks sixth in China smartphone market

While this story isn’t totally Android related, we’re always scoping the competition. The world is a funny place, especially when marketing is involved. Take Euro-Disney for example: Who would’ve ever thought Disney would fail anywhere in the world? Similarly, Apple is nearly having the same fate in China. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration. Regardless, things could be better for Apple in China. Research firm IDC has reported that Apple Inc has fallen to sixth place in China’s smartphone market. Turns out that the Chinese are a loyal group and like sticking to their own brands. Not surprisingly, Samsung nailed down the top spot.

source:  Reuters

Small bits of HTC, Apple deal emerge in court filing

Since HTC and Apple reached an agreement to cross-license patents and end their litigation, many have wondered just what kind of deal was made. One party that was particularly interested is Samsung, who argues the agreement shows injunctions are not needed as a value for patent infringements can be determined. Samsung went so far as to request one of the courts hearing one of the many Samsung v. Apple disputes to force Apple and HTC to reveal the details of the agreement. As a result of that request, which the court approved, a heavily redacted version of the agreement has surfaced in the public court filings.

Google Wallet unofficially available on US Galaxy Note II variants

It’s surprising that more Android manufacturers and carriers haven’t jumped on the Google Wallet bandwagon, considering the rate at which the service continues to gain traction in the mobile payment space. While carriers like AT&T may rather opt for an in-house alternative, many anxious subscribers would rather utilize Google’s service. Thankfully, the Galaxy Note II has received an unofficial workaround for installing the mobile wallet software, thanks to recognized XDA developer ogdobber.

Qualcomm introduces smaller, more efficient QCA1990 NFC chip in partnership with Atheros

While NFC may not be catching on as quickly as the mobile industry had hoped, Qualcomm isn’t letting that slow their role. The San Diego-based semiconductor manufacturer announced the redesigned QCA1990 NFC chip today in partnership with subsidiary Atheros.

Offering significantly improved battery life and a 50% size reduction, Qualcomm is touting its chip as the most efficient NFC processor yet. Moreover, the chip is compatible with the company’s latest Snapdragon SoCs, meaning we could see it integrated into handsets as early as Q3 2013. For the full run-down, you can read the company’s official PR after the break.

Nexus 4 massive shortage due to ‘huge demand’

Finally, some official news has come out of the Google/LG camp regarding the stock status of the hot Nexus 4, albeit not groundbreaking news. Per LG, the massive shortage of the hottest device this year is due to – huge demand. Wow LG, you don’t say. I assume, however, that how you categorize that ‘demand’ is another story.

As we know, the original batch sold out in under 30 minutes, most likely due to legit demand. However, as soon as the public got wind of this hot device this close to the shopping season, it in turn opened up the market of the re-sellers exacerbating the shortage. Andy Coughlin, the head of mobile at LG UK, added, “We are working closely with Google to ensure that those who wish to purchase a handset are able to do so.” 

So far, from what we know and can deduce, all signs point toward Google missing on their forecast when originally placing their orders directly through LG’s headquarters in Seoul. Hey, it happens. It’s not like Google had any past history to gauge demand using this model and price-point. It’s easy for us to play “Monday Morning quarterback,” but in the business world you’re most likely not going to hit forecasts directly on the head, especially in this case. You’re either going to come in higher than planned or lower. And, frankly, the situation they’re in now is much better than the alternative. The last thing you want is to be stuck with inventory in this economy. Google will learn from this, and should be prepared next go around. So, everyone take a deep breath. It’s going to be alright.

source: CNET

Sony releases Emma, a flash tool for flashing stock ROMs on unlocked Xperia devices

Sony continues to show us how much love they have for hacking and tinkering by releasing Emma, a new flash tool for Xperia devices with unlocked bootloaders. It’s in beta, and it gives users the ability to revert back to Sony stock ROMs. For starters, it’s only available on the Xperia S, Xperia arc, and Xperia arc S, but more handsets will be added soon. You can download the software from their developer site and check out the video to see how easy it is.

ASTRO File Manager adds Facebook photos integration with latest update

Ever since the inception of Android, ASTRO File Manager has been there providing us with a convenient way to organize our pictures, documents, and music on our devices. Today’s update brings even more features that’ll better fit into most users’ lifestyle – most notable Facebook Photo integration. Once you’re on the new version, you can then view and download your Facebook photos directly within ASTRO’s user interface.  Additionally, users on older versions of Android will be able to enjoy the same interface that ASTRO v4 brings. Below is a summary of the updates to this version:

  •  SWIPE SCREEN RIGHT to get to Clouds, Network Locations or Saved Searches fast
  •  SWIPE SCREEN LEFT to get to Tools (App Backup, Task Killer, SD Card Usage), Settings and Help
  •  NEW: Facebook Photo integration
  •  NEW: New Picture Gallery
  •  NEW: Image Viewer enhancements including rotate picture
  •  SkyDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox support
  •  Added Text Editor into v4

QR Code generator

Google Play Store Link

T-Mobile moving entirely to Value Plans in 2013

I guess I can’t really say I didn’t see this one coming. Anyone somewhat in touch with T-Mobile could deduce that they would eventually move to this model, and today it was officially announced at T-Mobile’s Capital Market Days that they would be adopting this model full-time beginning in 2013. 80-percent of their post-paid customers are already on a Value Plan so it’s not a drastic change anyway. This would tell me that their customers prefer that type of plan, so why not adopt it full time to streamline operations?

If you’re not familiar with this model; you pay less per month on your bill, and have the option to either pay full price for your device up front or get the phone financed over 20 months. It now also gives those with an unlocked device the option to bring their own device to T-Mobile and take advantage of the Value rates. Additionally, get used to the term “Un-Carrier” as they threw that term out at the event during the announcement. I’m looking forward to how they’re going to market that and spin it. Below is a tweet from T-Mobile regarding the shift in business models:

Seems like a great way to show value for our customers.

There you have it. A dedicated shift in focus within the company summed up in one sentence. If you’re on T-Mobile currently, how do you feel about this? Also, if you’re carrier-shopping, how does this sway your decision?

source:  Twitter

Verizon Jelly Bean update on DROID RAZR HD and MAXX HD being pushed out now

We learned late last week that Jelly Bean would begin rolling out to the DROID RAZR HD and MAXX HD ‘in phases’ during this week. Now, it appears that Verizon has opened up the gates and all versions should be getting the update at this time. Look for that update notification and, as always, take a look in your About Phone options to see if you can grab it manually. The update will of course bring Google Now and the improvements to notifications. Additionally, Verizon has purportedly improved voice and data connectivity as well as made ‘improvements’ to the stock calendar. Anyone with the update that can provide specifics?

Thanks, Tom!

Validation issues force Rockstar to pull Grand Theft Auto: Vice City from Play Store

Rockstar Games announced it would bring the 10th anniversary edition of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to the Play Store on December 6th, and they did. Unfortunately due to some weird errors, they’ve had to pull it right after getting it up. There appears to be some validation issues with the application, and Rockstar is aware of them:

We’re aware that some users have attempted to download Vice City: 10th Anniversary Edition from the Google Play Store and have experienced validation errors.

Just to be clear: the game is not available for Android devices just yet, and if you’re seeing it listed on the Store then this is an error, and you shouldn’t attempt to download it. We’ll keep you up to date and let you know as soon as the game is live and available to purchase.

Not good news, but hopefully the issue gets resolved sooner rather than later.

source: Computer and Video Games

MetroPCS announced upgrade Samsung Admire 4G, available for $169

Today MetroPCS has refreshed their Samsung Galaxy Admire, adding 4G LTE, a better screen, more processor power, and a bigger battery. It features a 3.65-inch TFT display, 1GHz CPU, and a 3MP camera. For $169 without a contract, though, that’s not too shabby. It does come preloaded with Android 2.3, which is likely to be a deal breaker for some. MetroPCS offers a service called joyn that supposedly integrates all of your mobile communications in one place, which is a neat idea. If you’re interested, hit the break for the press release.

ARCHOS GamePad now available in Europe, coming to North America early 2013

ARCHOS announced the 7-inch GamePad in August, but we were still waiting on a release. Looks our friends in Europe can get a taste of it starting today. It’s officially available for a price of €149.99 ($195). They also announced that those of us in North America can expect to see it in early 2013. If you’re not familiar with the GamePad, it’s a 7-inch Android tablet with physical gaming buttons and analog sticks. Usually devices such as these become boring pretty quickly once the user finds out the lack of support that it has, but ARCHOS promises that you will be able to play just about any Android game with the GamePad, thanks to the revolutionary mapping tool. Basically, users can map the buttons and sticks to any game. Not to shabby. The 7-inch display has a resolution of 1024 x 600, and the rest of the specs include a 1.6GHz dual-core CPU, quad-core Mali 400 GPU, 8GB of internal memory, microSD for up to an additional 64GB of space, and a mini-HDMI port. It’s 10mm thick, weighs 330g, and sports Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. I’m interested to get my hands on one to see if it’s everything it promises to be.

Full press release after the break: