Play Store Gift Cards to Launch in the UK….Soon?

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Google is said to be close to launching its Play Store Gift Cards in the UK very soon.  We believe this to be the case since Google updated their Gift cards & Google Play balance help files to now include the UK.  Gift cards will reportedly be available for purchase in £10, £25, and £50 increments.

UK readers may recall a similar tease when “redeem pages” popped up in the  UK’s online and device-based stores in Q4 of 2012.  Again, we can only deduct that a UK launch is imminent, but we have made the same assumptions in the past with negative results.  So what makes this different?  This time around though, it seems as though Play Store Gift Cards could be a reality in the UK…soon.

Source:  Google Play
Via: Android Police

CDMA Version of Samsung Galaxy S IV (SCH-I959) Pops up in Benchmark Test

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It seems like only yesterday Samsung released its flagship handset, the Galaxy S III, to a grateful public.  The specs were impressive at the time, and the price was affordable compared to existing and emerging competitors.

Samsung is not one to let its success go to its head.  Their impressive marketing budget, coupled with their zest for innovation has helped them climb to the top in a predominantly mobile marketplace.  Their latest handset, the Galaxy S IV  won’t be an exception to the rule!

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop on Windows Phone 8: ‘It can be the biggest operating system in the world’

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CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop, was interviewed at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with topics ranging from Nokia’s goal in an emerging market to the reason behind Windows Phone 8 on Nokia flagship devices. When asked about Nokia’s outlook on emerging markets, Elop says that opportunities in an emerging market come from offering innovative technology at low price points especially for first time smartphone users.

Rogers begins taking HTC One preorders

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The HTC One, officially available March 15th on a huge assortment of carriers, is now up for preorder on Rogers in Canada. New and existing customers can reserve the device for launch day for $149.99 on a three-year contract. And anyone that preorders before March 22nd will be entered in a drawing to win a free Sharp HDTV, complete with an HTC Media Link accessory. Unfortunately, that probably means the One won’t be available on Rogers before the 22nd, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

source: Rogers

AT&T slams T-Mobile over network speeds in full page newspaper ad

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It wasn’t too long ago that AT&T attempted to buy out T-Mobile, before backing out after a 9 month pursuit. Alas, business is business, and AT&T isn’t letting would could have been affect their marketing strategies. Their latest, full-page ad ran in three popular newspapers, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and went after T-Mobile without pulling any punches. The ad claims T-Mobile’s network suffers from twice as many dropped calls as AT&T and only offers half the download speeds. That’s some pretty harsh marketing.

T-Mobile’s CMO, Mike Sievert, shrugged it off and commented that he was just “glad they’re spending their money to print our name.” AT&T, intent on having the last word, released a statement saying “T-Mobile’s advertising is a combination of misguided and just plain wrong,” and the ad was “just a friendly reminder of the fact that independent third-party testing says AT&T’s network delivers faster speeds and fewer dropped calls than them.”

While AT&T’s claims are probably statistically accurate, they’re the second largest cellular network in the US, and T-Mobile is still a relatively small-time competitor next to that. Compare apples to oranges, AT&T.

source: The Verge

Roll Your Own Android: Android 4.2.2 Code and Binaries pushing to Android Open Source Project (AOSP)

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Great news for Nexus users, AOSP is pushing Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 binaries for several devices in the Nexus product lineup.  The build, JDQ39 (tag: android-4.2.2_r1), is the same as the one currently being rolled out to Nexus devices.

As listed on the Google Developers site, binaries are available for the following devices:

Samsung strikes blow in big trial with Apple, damages reduced by 43% to $599 million

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In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung, the latest blow from Judge Lucy Koh has landed squarely on Apple this time. Judge Koh released a ruling today that has at least temporarily reduced the original $1.05 billion award to almost $599 million. Judge Koh’s ruling indicates “the Court identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award.” Koh has ordered a new trial relative to determining the correct amount due in place of the amounts she disallowed.

Acer Developing The Liquid S Quad-Core Powered Phablet

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Acer is looking to create its very own phablet dubbed the Liquid S according to some clues left behind in an interview. Mobile World Congress (MWC) took place February 25th through 28th and the Taiwanese manufacturer had a small showing with devices such as the Liquid E1, a 4.5 inch Android smartphone running Jelly Bean.

In an interview for the official MWC paper, the President of Acer’s smartphone business hinted at an upcoming phablet:

“Unlimited exploration: the line between tablet and phone is blurring, a new breed of smartphone, the Phablet, is an irreversible trend to create new lifestyles. With above 4.7″ and quad-core+ processors, those giants offer extremely high resolution for multi-tasking, gaming, browsing and more. Acer will launch its Liquid S series as part of this growing segment.”

HTC One VX quick review: The best features from the One series at a bargain price

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Flagship phones will always be popular, but a recent trend of high quality mid-range phones started late last year. The DROID RAZR M is a perfect example because it gives you a lot for the money. Now HTC is attempting to get in on the bandwagon with the One VX. It’s priced at $49 on AT&T, and although the specs are not what you would find on a high-end phone, they are far from embarrassing. Is it just another cheap device or is it worthy of your money? Hit the break to read the rest and find out.

Rovio releases teaser video for The Croods

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Fans of Rovio’s Angry Birds franchise may be interested in a new movie tie-in the company has in the works. Later this month Dreamworks is releasing The Croods, an animated look at pre-historic humans. Rovio has partnered with Dreamworks Animation to release a new, free game based on the motion picture. Not much information is provided regarding game play for the new title, but Rovio’s teaser text indicates the Croods will “Hunt & Gather their way through spectacular new landscapes as they tame fantastic and never-seen-before creatures.” Rovio lists the game as being available for phone and tablet devices running both Android and iOS on March 14th. You can check out the teaser video after the break.

Do these Tweets mean the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is about to get an update? Probably not

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Owners of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus got excited when a Tweet from a Verizon Support rep (LH) sent yesterday stated that Samsung was going to push an update out, but didn’t have any other information. Speculation is that it will be Android 4.2.2 or at least 4.2.1. Tweets from Verizon support should always be taken with skepticism as there are countless examples of mistakes and miss information.

Let’s take a look at this tweet. They said that Samsung is going to push it. If an update does occur, we already know it will be Google, but that could be an honest mistake, so I will give him or her the benefit of the doubt. A little later another rep (EO) tweeted..

PhotoSphere Installer available in Google Play Store for rooted devices

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One of the features from Android 4.2 Jelly Bean that consistently scores interest from consumers is the camera app and specifically, the PhotoSphere function.  Although Google has made some pieces of Android 4.2 available as standalone apps that can be installed on 4.1 devices, the camera has not been one of them. This means users that really want the new camera, including PhotoSphere, have to root their device and go through some manual steps to get the camera running on their 4.1 Jelly Bean powered devices. Developer Matthias Bosc has developed an app to make installation of the Android 4.2 camera app much easier and it is now available in the Google Play Store.

Sergey Brin says smartphones are ’emasculating’ and a ‘nervous habit’ while Google Glass is a ‘little freaky at first, but you get used to it’

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Google Glass is the next generation of wearable, internet-connected devices, and Sergey Brin believes smartphones are “emasculating” compared to Glass. Sergey recently spoke at the Technology, Education and Design (TED) conference in Los Angeles.

He made a few points about how people interact with phones and the outside world:

“Is this the way you’re meant to interact with other people? It’s kind of emasculating. Is this what you’re meant to do with your body? I have a nervous tic. The cell phone is a nervous habit — If I smoked, I’d probably smoke instead, It’d look cooler. But I whip this out and look as if I have something important to do. It really opened my eyes to how much of my life I spent secluding myself away in email.”

Which Tablets Are The Least Repairable? iFixit Releases New List

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iFixit, who is known for taking apart products and seeing what’s inside, has released a new tablet repairability list. The new list examined 18 different tablets from the Nexus 10 to the first generation iPad. Scoring was based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best.

  • Dell XPS 10 – 9
  • Amazon Kindle Fire – 8
  • Dell Streak – 8
  • Motorola Xoom – 8
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 – 8
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD – 7
  • Nook Simple Touch – 7
  • Nexus 7 – 7
  • iPad 1 – 6
  • Nook Tablet – 6
  • Google Nexus 10 – 6
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ – 5
  • Microsoft Surface RT – 4
  • iPad 2 – 2
  • iPad 3 – 2
  • iPad 4 – 2
  • iPad Mini – 2
  • Microsoft Surface Pro – 1

Pandora institutes a 40-hour free listening limit for users

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Pandora is no doubt a staple on our Android devices— thanks to the ability to listen to what is seemingly endless hours of music every month. Unfortunately, it appears that users may need to adjust how often they listen to Pandora’s music service on any given month as it has imposed a limit to free listening to 40 hours per month. Using the Pandora blog, founder Tim Westergren offers some reasoning for why the company had to make the important change. He highlights that Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and worse– the royalty rates are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. Essentially, the company had to reluctantly institute a 40-hour monthly listening limit in order to help manage the ever-growing costs without interrupting the general service too much for listeners.

Fortunately, the limit will generally not affect most users. According to Westergren, the limit will only affect less than 4% of Pandora’s total active monthly users. Moreover, the average listener will spend roughly 20 hours on average listening to music across all devices on any given month. So in essence, this new policy is not too noticeable for most of you out there. However, for the 4% of you who may be expressing some concern, will have some pretty nifty alternatives available: listen to unlimited music on your desktop or laptop computers instead, pay 99¢ for unlimited listening for the remainder of that month or just break down and subscribe to Pandora One for unlimited listening and no advertising.

So yeah— aside from a new monthly limit which won’t affect most users anyways— everything else with the Pandora app is pretty much status quo. It may be a good thing anyways since you know— most of us have to deal with those pesky data caps on our wireless service anyways.

source: Pandora blog
via: Phandroid