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.
In a long-overdue announcement, T-Mo has officially unveiled its full-fledged 4G LTE network. Among the first customers to enjoy the speedy gains are those living in the following metro areas:
- Kansas City
- Las Vegas
- San Jose
Don’t think T-Mobile is stopping there either. Complimenting the newly announced network is the announcement of the Galaxy S 4 and HTC One smartphones having full LTE support, while the Galaxy Note II is also slated to have support as well (but you knew that already). T-Mobile also pledges that it will expand its LTE reach later this year and well into next year… but again, you knew that already too.
As Apple and Samsung continue to bounce the crown for best-selling smartphone between each other, analysts at Nomura say the latest Galaxy device will push Samsung back to the top spot. Nomura was not impressed with the latest device in Samsung’s Galaxy line, the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Nevertheless, the changes that they describe as “evolutionary” as opposed to “revolutionary” should be enough to propel Samsung to the top spot.
During the fourth quarter of 2012 Apple sold around 27.4 million iPhone 5 devices versus 15.4 million Samsung Galaxy S III units to retake the title. Nomura’s analysts think Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II will combine for sales in the range of 35 to 40 million units per quarter during 2013. The analysts also expect a shift to occur during the upcoming sales quarters as both Apple and Samsung will have to start working on stealing users from each other rather than the smaller players in the smartphone market. Besides ratcheting up the acrimony that already exists between the two companies, this will probably result in more price-based competition. Such a situation will be good news for consumers but it will impact margins for Samsung and Apple and it will make life difficult for other manufacturers trying to capitalize on the market.
Owner’s of a Samsung Galaxy Note II on the T-Mobile network may notice an update is available for their device. The update is probably one you will want to grab as it enables a connection to T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE service. T-Mobile indicates the service should be available in Las Vegas and Kansas City by the end of this month. At some point this summer the new service should be lit up in enough areas to reach 100 million people and by the end of the year it should reach 200 million people. For comparison, the Verizon 4G LTE network reaches 275 million people.
In some testing that was conducted using a Galaxy Note II, speeds were found to be in the 59 Mbps down, 25 Mbps up range. Granted, there were probably no other users accessing the signal. As fast as the 4G LTE connection is, T-Mobile customers will also benefit from HSPA+ 4G when they find themselves in an area with no 4G LTE coverage.
Much like an incident that occurred last fall in San Jose for another TalkAndroid writer, Ed Caggiani, I happened to be travelling in a part of Durham I don’t normally visit when I came across some Sprint 4G LTE coverage. After grabbing some grub in a convenience store, I went to check my email while in the parking lot when I noticed the 4G indicator was lit up on my Galaxy Note II. Hit the break to read more about what it was like to have 4G LTE for a few minutes. Read more
SECLISTS.ORG has recently disclosed a potential security flaw on the Samsung Galaxy S III. According to the report, “It is possible to bypass the lock screen on the GSIII allowing an individual full access to the phones features.” We previously reported a similar screen lock bug relating to the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
It appears that when Samsung messes up with security, they go BIG or go home! Similar to the Note II Security flaw, it takes pressing a combination of buttons in the correct sequence to get it to work. Here’s how to do it on the GSIII: Read more
Uh oh— it looks like Samsung’s Galaxy Note II may have security flaw. While operating a G-Note II with Android 4.1.2, Terence Eden, recently discovered that the homescreen can actually be accessed by pressing the “Emergency Call” icon, followed by the ICE button and finally pressing the physical home key for several seconds. Although the homescreen does appear for a short period, it is enough time for any hacker to actually click and open one of the homescreen apps— which is especially bad if one of the homescreen apps performs an action at launch (think of a direct dial widget that can make phone calls for example). All of this can certainly cause major issues for owners that may end up with their devices falling into the wrong hands.
Unfortunately Samsung has yet to comment, but we’ll be sure it will want to patch this
potentially major little snafu as soon as possible.
An over the air software update is available for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note II. The update, which became available February 15, serves as a security patch for the Exynos kernel exploit discovered in December. As with most OTA updates, the carrier recommends downloading via WiFi. Make sure you have plenty of battery power as well. There’s no easier way to brick a phone than by losing power mid software install. It will push the firmware version to I317UCAMA4 but leave Android on 4.1.2.
A few days ago we reported on Nike’s decision to ignore the majority of smartphone users by opting not to bring an app to the Android market to support their fuel band device. In contrast, Fitbit provides Android support for their Fitbit One, Fitbit Zip and upcoming Fitbit Flex wireless activity trackers. They recently updated their Fitbit app for Android to include wireless sync capability using Bluetooth 4.0. The feature will only work with Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II devices. Using Bluetooth 4.0 sync keeps the Fitbit dashboard updated in real-time and the app can provide motivational notifications and social interaction with friends.
In addition to the introduction of Bluetooth 4.0 sync capabilities, Fitbit has added NFC compatibility for their upcoming Fitbit Flex device. A tap on the Flex with an Android phone will automatically launch the Fitbit for Android app. You can read the full press release after the break and grab the app using one of the Google Play Store links. The app is free and only requires Android 2.1 or higher to get the basic functionality. Read more
More news from the folks over at SamMobile indicates Samsung’s Project J actually constitutes three devices. According to previous reports, Project J was the code name for the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S IV. Over the past few months as we have watched for information about Samsung’s successor to the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, we have seen the Galaxy S IV referred to as Project J, Altius and by the model number GT-I9500. The assumption has been that Project J referred to that one device, the Galaxy S IV. Based on upcoming accessories, SamMobile now reports the code name actually refers to three devices. Read more