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New mid-range Sony phones tipped as Xperia SP, Xperia L

New mid-range Sony phones tipped as Xperia SP, Xperia L

Android Central

After unveiling the high-end Xperia Z at CES, Sony Mobile is widely expected to follow up with mid-range and entry-level counterparts at Mobile World Congress next month. We've heard rumored codenames and specs for both phones, but so far we've been left guessing which of the remaining eighteen letters of the alphabet Sony will choose.

That mystery could be over today, as entries on Indonesian certification site Postelbrings news of possible final branding. Records onPostel have a good track record in outing Sony branding -- almost a year ago to the day, it revealed "Nypon" and "Kumquat" as XperiasP and U, a month ahead of the official announcement.

Today listings show the mid-range "HuaShan" (C530X) asXperia SP, and the entry-levelC210X as Xperia L.

According to leaked specs, Xperia SP will feature a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, with a screen resolution of 1280x720, while the Xperia L is tipped to pack a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus chip. Both phones reportedly run Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.

We'll have to wait until Mobile World Congress for the final word on Sony's new mid-range stuff, but fortunately we'll be live from the show this February to bring you full coverage.

Source: Postel; via: Xperia Blog

Via: New mid-range Sony phones tipped as Xperia SP, Xperia L

Google+ app adds new notification tray, links when posting

Google+ app adds new notification tray, links when posting

Google+ Notifications

The Google+ app has just been updated to add a few bits of functionality and a new notification system. With the previous update we received a new post composition screen that let you add a photo or mood to the post, and this update is putting a "link" option between the two. Tapping on it lets you manually add a URL, although we'd bet most people will be copy/pasting URLs in. On the main UI side, notifications have been redesigned as well. Instead of being hidden underneath the navigation controls in the left slide-in panel, you get a separate notification number between the refresh and settings buttons, that when tapped brings in a full notification-specific panel from the right.

The update also allows for more moderation options in Google+ Communities, which were recently released. You can grab a download of the new Google+ at the Play Store link above.

Via: Google+ app adds new notification tray, links when posting

US Cellular wants to pay you $300 to switch carriers

US Cellular wants to pay you $300 to switch carriers

US Cellular

U.S. Cellular is hoping to compel some users to head over to its network by offering $300 to families that bring along two or more lines and activate a smartphone. The incentive comes in the form of a prepaid MasterCard debit card, which is probably better than other ways they could've done it, although we may have preferred to have it put on your bill as a credit for service.

The promotion U.S. Cellular is running right now also includes several other incentives. New and existing customers living in LTEmarkets can take advantage of the carrier's unlimited data plans for $40 per month. The carrier says that 58-percent of its customers currently have LTE coverage, and that number will be almost 90-percent by the end of 2013. There are a few device discounts going on currently as well, with the Huawei Ascend Y for $0.01 and the Samsung Galaxy S III (with LTE) for $149.99.

If you've been thinking about moving to U.S. Cellular, now may be the time. These smaller and regional carriers tend to put together some pretty decent incentive packages to get new customers in.

Source: U.S. Cellular

Via: US Cellular wants to pay you $300 to switch carriers

Motorola RAZR i getting Jelly Bean update, starting in France

Motorola RAZR i getting Jelly Bean update, starting in France

Android Central
Looks like the Intel-powered Motorola RAZR i is finally getting that promised Jelly Bean update. FrenchRAZR i owners over on XDA are reporting that they've received the 300MBover-the-air upgrade, bringing the phone up to Android version 4.1.2. The RAZR i wasn't exactly a sluggish handset when we reviewed it on ICS back in September, but the phone should benefit from improved performance through Google's "Project Butter" enhancements. In addition, RAZR i owners will get the new Google Search app with Google Now, and a redesigned notification area with expandable notifications.
There aren't any reports of users outside of France getting the RAZRi Jelly Bean update just yet, so don't panic if you're not seeing the update on your handset right away. Moto often takes its time getting updates finalized for different countries and carriers, so it could a few more weeks before everyone's gotten this latest OTA.
Source: XDA; via: Frandroid

Via: Motorola RAZR i getting Jelly Bean update, starting in France

Nexus 4 shows up for sale on Best Buy's website, T-Mobile contract in tow

Nexus 4 shows up for sale on Best Buy's website, T-Mobile contract in tow

Nexus 4 at Best Buy

The Nexus 4 has just show up for sale on Best Buy's website, with familiar T-Mobile on-contract pricing of $199.99. In typical Best Buy fashion, the off-contract price of the phone has been inflated, showing $599.99 to buy the device outright. This is something Best Buy(and other retailers) does to both cover its overhead and most importantly compel people to sign 2-year contracts, and is nothing new for the Nexus 4.
This isn't likely to be any special deal between Google and Best Buy to offer the device though, as you can bet that Google would rather secure supply for its own store before branching out to yet another retailer. This is probably just T-Mobile's current deals to resell handsets and service with Best Buy extending to the new handset. New stock heading to a wider range of T-Mobile stores means it is ready to also let resellers sell the device on its behalf.
Although not many people are likely to head to Best Buy to pick it up, the Nexus 4 is certainly getting a little more exposure as these new listings arrive. Let's just hope that Google can get its own supply channels sorted out so it can offer the device through the Play Store once again.
Source: Best Buy

Via: Nexus 4 shows up for sale on Best Buy's website, T-Mobile contract in tow

3D printing and NFC make a great looking Nexus 4 dock

3D printing and NFC make a great looking Nexus 4 dock

Nexus 4 dock

We're all waiting for someone to sell that fancy orb docking station for the Nexus 4. In the meantime, ingenuity never rests and this 3Dprinted dock would make an awesome substitute. It uses a standard USB cable for charging, and an NFC sticker to trigger theNFC Task Launcherapp to drop it into dock mode.
If you have access to a 3D printer, be sure to give this one a good look. And if you make any extra ones, give me a yell so I can throw my money at you.
Source: Thingiverse; via Android Central forums

Via: 3D printing and NFC make a great looking Nexus 4 dock

CyanogenMod 10.1 nightlies for the Verizon and Sprint Galaxy Note 2 now available

CyanogenMod 10.1 nightlies for the Verizon and Sprint Galaxy Note 2 now available

Android Central

The CyanogenModteam has just given Verizon and Sprint Galaxy Note 2 users something to be happy about -- official 10.1 nighly builds for download. Users of these devices have been patiently waiting as development went along on the latest CyanogenModbuilds, and now they have their chance. Of course these nightly builds are far less stable than general releases and may have many bugs, but some users are completely willing to put up with it.
If you're willing to deal with some quirks you can see what CyanogenMod 10.1 has to offer at the source links below. If you're not so sure how or why you should get into these nightly builds, head to our forums and get a few things figured out first. And remember, backing up before flashing is a great idea!
Source: Verizon Note 2 Download; Sprint Note 2 Download
More: Galaxy Note 2 Forums

Via: CyanogenMod 10.1 nightlies for the Verizon and Sprint Galaxy Note 2 now available

Samsung reportedly planning wider device availability for Music Hub

Samsung reportedly planning wider device availability for Music Hub

Android Central

Since Samsung first announced their Music Hub service, the global reach has been somewhat limited. Initially launching only in the UK, the U.S. soon followed, but one thing remained. Device exclusivity to Samsung devices, more specifically the Galaxy S3and then the Galaxy Note 2. Now though, a new report suggests that Samsung is looking towards expanding the reach of its music service, and go toe-to-toe with the likes of Google Play and the Amazon MP3 Store.
TJ Kang, SVP for Samsung Media Services, in speaking with The Next Web said that Samsung plans to expand the availability of Music Hub. Initially taking in the Samsung range of connected devices, to include tablets, smartphones, Smart TV's and even refrigerators, the expansion wouldn't end there. Beyond this, Kang also acknowledged that the service could be seen on Android devices from other OEMs, stating it would be easier for Samsung, since consumers often own devices covering a broad range of manufacturers.
Currently the Samsung Music Hub is available in six countries worldwide, but further global expansion is also reportedly on the cards for 2013. As you might expect this is subject to territory specific deals, but also Samsung's 2013 device release plans. No potential timeline was offered for making the service available beyond the walls of Samsung, but Kang did go on to say that such availability was the company's goal.
So, perhaps the question we should be asking -- is there room for yet another music service fighting for our business? With Google Play and Amazon already established in selling music, and the likes of Spotify and Rdiooffering compelling streaming offerings, is there room for another? Currently Music Hub could be seen as more of a convenience for those who can access it, but surely to break through Samsung would have to offer something compelling. What about you guys -- would you use a Samsung music service in place of whatever you currently use? Hit up the comments below and share your thoughts with us.
Source: The Next Web

Via: Samsung reportedly planning wider device availability for Music Hub

What you need to know about cell phone unlocking

What you need to know about cell phone unlocking


Did you know that as of Jan 26, 2013, it's "illegal" to unlock your phone? Of course you did. You've seen the "Sky is falling!" headlines
It's not quite that simple, but that's what you'll hear around the Internets today. The too-long-didn't-read simple version is that you'll likely not be affected in any way (minus the personal freedom aspect). But afterseeing so many people worried, and some of the poor information they were receiving, we knew it was time to talk about it a bit.
In 1998 Congress passed a law that provides copyright protection to the software (and software means written code, remember) that locks your cell phone to a certain carrier. This has nothing to do with rooting, or bootloader unlocking. It only covers locking your phone to a GSM carrier through software. As a provision of this law, the Librarian of Congress (which I imagined as a totally hot babe with her hair in a bun, and was quickly disappointed when I investigated) is allowed to grant exceptions, and did until his October 2012 decision to allow the DMCA to regulate cell phone locking. Fast forward to today, when the exceptions expired, and now the software used to lock phones is covered under the same copyright laws as most other software.
It sounds scary. But it's really not. Let's have a look.

What is really going on?

The first thing to realize is that if you bought your phone before today, none of this applies. The conditions and terms you agreed to when you bought your phone will still apply. Anything up until now is grandfathered in. But what about phones you'll buy tomorrow and beyond?
Well, unlocking phones to use on a different carrier without permission is now against the law. That's pretty crappy, but as the CTIA blog points out, this is no different than your car. Until you're finished paying off your loan for it -- and that's really what a smartphone subsidy is -- you're not allowed to transfer title without permission from the lien-holder. When you buy a subsidized phone on contract from your carrier, it is the lien-holder, and it's up to the carrier when and where you get to use it. Read the fine print on your car loan -- I'll bet you never knew the finance company could tell you you're not allowed to park your car in a place they don't like. Of course, that's not enforced. But that's not to say it can't be used against you in court.
Now, AT&T and T-Mobile and any other carrier can do the same thing. Does that suck? Yes, but it's a price you pay for getting the phone subsidized (financed).

OK, what does that mean to me?

The good news is that, as the Librarian of Congress points out, carriers have "liberal, publicly available unlocking policies." AT&T will unlock your phone for you once you meet their criteria. So will Verizon. And that criteria hasn't changed now that the DMCA covers unlocking. Nine times out of ten, they will shoot you an unlock code if your bill is current and you have a legitimate need to use it.
The gray area comes from using third-party unlocking sites. Under the letter of the law, these folks may be committinga crime if they do this sort of business in he U.S. (We've asked a few for their take but have yet to hear back.) You are, too, if you knowingly use their services. It's the same crime millions of Android users commit when they flash G apps -- not honoring the license for software they are using. As a user, you can be subject to civil penalties. That means you can be held liable to pay the affected party (your carrier) the amount of money they have been harmed (the cost of the phone), with additionalassorted court fees. The penalties for folks unlocking phones to make money are more severe, and outside the scope of this blog post -- talk to a lawyer if you have those sort of questions.

Got it. Now how do I unlock my phone?

So, what do we need to do? Pretty much the same thing we always have done. If you need to unlock your phone, call AT&T or T-Mobile and ask them. They'll probably say yes, so long as your account is in good standing. (How new your phone is might affect things, too.) And it won't cost you anything if you give them a legitimate reason. Legit reasons are things like going on a trip and want to use a local SIM, or you need to use the phone in an area where they have poor coverage for work, or anything that sounds reasonable that doesn't make them think you're going to end your contract or sell the phone. I'm not saying you should lie to them, just deliver the truth the same way they do when they say unlimited.
T-Mobile has a simple, easy to read unlocking policy as you can see here. AT&T's policies are not so simple, but Dan over at WP Central managed to do it over the phonefor his Lumia900.
If they still say no, well I can't advise anyone to break the law, but I know what I would do -- head happily into that gray area like the honey badger.

A few more things worth mentioning

  • While the law covers all phones, it only really applies to GSM phones. CDMA phones (Verizon and Sprint) aren't "locked" on the device, and instead use a database that the carrier controls to decide if you can or can not use a particular phone on their network.
  • This does not apply to phones that are purchased unlocked. AT&T can't lock your Nexus 4 or any other unlocked device.
  • Finally, this only applies inside the US. If you're reading from elsewhere, you can feel free to sit back and smugly laugh at our laws.
Hopefully, this answers any questions you might have had about this whole silly mess, and we can go back to arguing about which phones are better.

Via: What you need to know about cell phone unlocking

Apps of the Week: Gumtree, Amtrak, OpenSignal and more!

Apps of the Week: Gumtree, Amtrak, OpenSignal and more!

Apps of the Week

We're in that slow transitional phase between CES and MWC, going through the motions of weird leaks and random product releases. Fear not, as the Apps of the Week posts will continue on regardless. You come here each Saturday to see what apps the Android Central staff are finding and using, so we do our best to find some great picks.

Hang around after the break and see how we did this week.

Richard Devine - Gumtree


No doubts many of our UK readers will be familiar with Gumtree already -- those "get it on Gumtree" ads are impossible to miss -- but they may not be familiar with the official app. The app is so nice to use, I've found myself browsing Gumtree listings more often than eBay of late.

It follows the latest Android design guidelines superbly, but beyond this it's just so smooth and snappy to use. Scrolling is superb, and the way the descriptions slide up and overlap the images is just really nicely done. Gumtree is a great example of how to make a simple, functional, but equally great looking and performing Android app. eBay could do worse than follow the example set here.

Download: Gumtree (UK Only) (Free)

Sean Brunett - Amtrak


Amtraks official app is a nice one to have if you find yourself traveling by train a lot. The app is not limited to only trains, but the bus system as well. This will likely be popular where it is used most, along the east coast in places like New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. The app lets you plan your entire trip from your mobile device. Once you have trips planned, you can track the arrivals and departures of specific stations or trains. You can also use the app to show the officials your ticket. Its a very handy app to have on-the-go, especially if you travel by train frequently.

Download: Amtrak (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Weed Farmer Overgrown

Android Central

A chance to show off your green thumb without getting in trouble with the po-po, Weed Farmer Overgrown is a virtual marijuana growing app that's currently in an open development beta. You fight bugs, fungus, dry conditions and the clock to grow your seedlings into something you can proudly harvest, then turn it all in for game currency. With that same currency you can buy better equipment, opening up more difficult strains of weed to grow.

The game is in an open development beta. While I'm not so sure I like being charged to beta test, I do enjoy keeping track of my virtual plants, keeping them well fed and happy. Because it's in beta, there are some bugs every now and then, but the developers are quick to update and so far I've seen no real show stoppers in the bug department. As an offset to the cost, beta testers are promised a unique beta tester surprise in their box of tools and gear when the game goes live.

If you liked the original Weed Farmer (and who didn't?) you'll love the expansion. It runs on devices with Android 1.6 or higher.

Download: Weed Farmer Overgrown ($5.95)

Andrew Martonik - OpenSignal


If you like to nerd out on signal strength, tower locations and speed tests, OpenSignal has all of the bases covered. This app has been out there for a long time, but I bring it back up because it's recently undergone a full facelift with a new UI and set of features. Beyond just telling where towers are and you signal strength, OpenSignalcan now track your minute, text and data usage. That may not be super relevant to anyone using a later version of android, but the app brings these features back all the way to devices running Gingerbread -- and on that software these are great features to have. The new features are now wrapped up in a holo UI that makes everything clean and easy to use as well.

You also get very useful crowd-sourced coverage maps through OpenSignal for all of the major carriers, which can be nice if you're interested in seeing how the other operators are in your area. It's definitely worth a look again if you haven't seen it since the redesign -- and when it's free there's no reason not to try it out.

Download: OpenSignal (Free)

Phil Nickinson - Quento


OK, so I'm double-dipping here, having just written about this app on Friday. Don't care. I'm enjoying the hell out of this little math game, which i saying something considering I suck at math. It's uses just the right amount of brain power for me to keep me occupied, but not frustrated. You might need to use even less between your ears, and that's cool. More important is that it's something a little different. Look for some cool new features in the months ahead, too, I'm told.

Download: Quento (Free)

Alex Dobie - A Reflective Organism

A Reflective Organism

Another excellent live wallpaper from Christoffer Green, "A Reflective Organism" turns your home screen into a shimmering, reflective mass, and uses the accelerometer to give the illusion of a 3D structure behind your widgets and icons. The basic version is a free download, but it's unlockable via an in-app purchase for $1. The full version allows all manner of attributes to be customized, including the same kind of custom color support found in Green's other live wallpaper, "A Liquid Cloud."

With so few decent 3D live wallpapers out there, this one's definitely worth a shot. It's available on the Google Play Store for devices running Android 2.2 and above.

Download: A Reflective Organism (Free)

Chris Parsons - TV Portal

TV Portal

Looking for something to watch and not having any luck picking something out? TV Portal allows you to watch free TV Shows and free movies on your Android device. There is a huge collection of TV shows and movies to choose from and browsing though them is easy enough. With any claim like free TV shows and movies, there is always the question -- is it legal? Well, the links are aggregated from around the web and far be it from me to tell you what to do on your own device and personal internet. Either way, the app is there and is great for catching up on missed shows, especially if you missed out on a whole season.

Download: TV Portal (Free)

Simon Sage - Gunslugs

Android Central

The creators of Meganoid recently released a new 8-bit-style side-scrolling shooting game called Gunslugs. It's a fast-paced, challenging romp with a positively awesome soundtrack. Players have to blast their way through waves of enemies to demolish bunkers, but to pull it off, they'll need to collect health, ammo, extra lives and weapons scattered across the varying battlefields. Make sure to keep jumping and use cover effectively, since once you're dead, you have to start over from scratch. Luckily, levels are procedurally generated, so every playthrough is a new experience.

Download; Gunslugs($2.64)

Via: Apps of the Week: Gumtree, Amtrak, OpenSignal and more!

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos update brings automatic upload and in-app camera access

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos update brings automatic upload and in-app camera access

Android Central

An update to the Dropboxfor Android application almost a year ago brought with it an extremely useful feature for the snap happy photographers among us -- auto upload of every photograph taken with the camera to your Dropbox account. Now, if Amazon's Cloud Drive is more your thing, you too can experience the same kind of auto uploading goodness with the latest update to the Cloud Drive Photos app.

Another cool new feature for Android 4.x users is the ability to take photos using the camera from within the app. A great little time saver if you're snapping away and trying to organise at the same time. The rest of the changelog isn't quite as exciting, but still pretty useful nonetheless. We now get the ability to select multiple photos to action on, view the upload and download status, along with being able to pause, stop and resume them too. If you're an Amazon Cloud Drive user, grab yourselves a copy from the Google Play Store link above. Equally, if you're yet to try it out, Amazon will give new accounts 5GB of free storage right out of the box.

Via: Amazon Cloud Drive Photos update brings automatic upload and in-app camera access

Use Instagram to win a pair of Motorola S11-Flex wireless headphones

Use Instagram to win a pair of Motorola S11-Flex wireless headphones

Motorola contest

Motorola is running a little contest on Instagram, and the prize is a kick ass pair of S11-FLEXHD wireless headphones. They're promoting the contest as a little extra motivationwhile working out to help folks keep their New Years' resolutions (the S11-FLEX headset is sweatproof), but entering to win them is strictly a no-pain affair.

Just fire up Instagram on your phone (all the cool kids will use Android!), post a picture showing how wires get in the way and use thehowiflex tag. The contest ends January 31. It looks like an easy way to get a great Bluetooth headset, so give it a shot. You can grab Instagram from the Google Play link above if you need it, and you can find more information at Motorola's Facebook page.

Source: Motorola

Via: Use Instagram to win a pair of Motorola S11-Flex wireless headphones

HTC announces Desire U, 4-inch mid-range device for Taiwan

HTC announces Desire U, 4-inch mid-range device for Taiwan

HTC Desire U

HTC has just quietly rolled out a spec page for a new device, the mid-range Desire U, targeted at the Taiwan market. Falling in line design-wise with the rest of the recent "One" and "Desire" devices, the Desire U has a smooth plastic body and rounded edges with a classy looking circle design that accents the back plate. On the inside, this device is clearly lower end, with a 1GHzprocessor, 4GB of (expandable) storage, 512MB of RAM and a 480x800 (WVGA) display. The U has a 1650mAh battery, which should give a good bit of life for a device with these specs.

The device is a Taiwanese listing, so the frequencies on this device are set up for that market --900 and 2100MHz HSPAalong with900, 1800 and 1900MHz GPRS/EDGE. No one is likely to import this, but with a striking design and acceptable specs, this low-ranger may do well in specific markets. We're finding unlocked pricing of about $275, which is quite competitive.

Source: HTC (translated)

Via: HTC announces Desire U, 4-inch mid-range device for Taiwan

iPhone continues to dominate AT&T; the rest is Android?

iPhone continues to dominate AT&T; the rest is Android?

AT&T Logo

AT&T has just posted its Q4 2012 earnings, showing strong growth in both wireless and wireline businesses. We'll be focusing here on the wireless business, naturally, so let's get right into the notable points:

Some 10.2 million smartphones were activated in the final three months of the year, the carrier said. Of that, 8.6 million were iPhones. AT&T didn't break down how much of the remaining 16 percent of sales were Android phones, but it did mention that our fare platform had its best-ever quarter.

More of the financial stuff is after the break.

  • Total wireless revenues of $17.6 billionfor the quarter, up 5.7-percent year-over-year
  • $6.8 billion of that revenue came from data charges, up 14.7-percent year-over-year
  • Operating expenses were up 6.9-percent, to $15.1 billion
  • Increased expenses ledto a 1.2-percent decrease in operating income, to $2.8 billion in Q4
  • 780,000postpaid subscribers and 246,000 device additionsput the carrier's net subscriber additions for Q4 at 1.1 million
  • Prepaid subscribers were at a net loss of 166,000
  • Postpaid ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) increased 1.9-percent to $64.98, the 16th consecutive quarter of ARPU increasing

The carrier puts the blame of increased operating expenses on the cost of acquiring so many new customers, and is happy with the growth in revenue and customer base. Of the 10.2 million smartphones in the quarter, AT&T said 89 percent of postpaid phone sales are now smartphones. Currently, 69.6-percent of all phones operating on the network are smartphones. Of those 10.2 million smartphones sold in the quarter, AT&T claims it "activated" 8.6 million iPhones (the differentiation between "sold" and "activated" is puzzling.) That leaves the Android sales numbers at somewhere less than 1.6 million for the quarter (it likely sold a few Windows Phones and BlackBerrys as well,) which shouldn't be at all surprising if you've followed AT&T's numbers previously.

AT&T says that 31.7 million customers -- or two-thirds of all smartphone owners -- have moved to some type of tiered data or Mobile Share plan. 6.6 million customers are now on Mobile Share plans, and more than a quarter of those plans share 10GB of data or more per month. If you're interested in some of the more gritty details of the earnings report, it can be found at the source link below.

Source: AT&T

Via: iPhone continues to dominate AT&T; the rest is Android?

Temple Run 2 for Android now available in Google Play

Temple Run 2

Temple Run 2, the highly anticipated sequel to one of the biggest games ever, is now available in Google Play. It has all the twists and turns (and monkeys) of the original, but it's been completely redone with great new graphics, new environments, and even bigger monkeys! It's free to download (of course you can spend money via in-app purchases if that's your thing) and you can grab it at the link to the left.

I've not sat down and really played it yet, so holler if there's something we shouldtake a look at. Of course, we'll spend some quality time sliding and jumping, then give this one a proper look. Hit the break for the official trailer.

Via: Temple Run 2 for Android now available in Google Play

This week's sidebar poll: Are you ready to upgrade your phone?

This week's sidebar poll: Are you ready to upgrade your phone?


It's the time of year when smartphone manufacturers trot out pretty shiny new things, in the hopes that we will trade our money for them. It's pretty successful, because they always have something to wow us. Sony, Huawei and plenty of other players have already teased us with things we want at CES. Mobile World Congress is coming up soon, and we expect to see some more, and after that the fun begins for us here in the states as carriers and OEMs trickle out news about which incredible things we've seen are coming, and that they will be coming soon. Even chip makers are in on the game, telling us how great these new devices are going to be. They seem to know exactly how to make us want the new gear, and we get hyped up for it all.

But when reality sets in, most people just can't skip from phone to phone on a whim. These things that are so pretty are also pretty expensive. A new Android smartphone costs more than I spent for my first car! Subsidies from carriers help offset the price, but then you're locked in for years. In the words of the great English poet Mick Jagger, "You can't always get what you want."

So to put things into perspective, we wanna know who is ready to plunk down the cash for a new phone when this year's hotness becomes available. There's a poll in the sidebar to the right, or you'll find it after the break. Answer it, and we'll all have a better idea of how many of us are ready.

Before we go, last week's poll results:

Which chip maker impressed you most at CES 2013?

Android Central

Pretty tight race here, and that's a good thing. I have a feeling that any of these would be a great choice!

Via: This week's sidebar poll: Are you ready to upgrade your phone?

Nexus 4 back in stock on T-Mobile website

Nexus 4 back in stock on T-Mobile website

Android Central

We heard last week that the Nexus 4 would be back up for sale from T-Mobile directly starting January 23rd, and it has shown up right on time. Provided you're willing to sign up for 2 years on a Classic Plan at T-Mobile the 16GB Nexus 4 can be yours for $199.99, or if you decide to keep it off-contract (seriously consider this route) you can have it for $499.99 after mail-in rebate.

We're not sure how many are available, but hopefully it's enough to at least let some people have their chance at the latest Nexus. As for proper availability in the Play Store at $299 and $349... who knows. Here's hoping that this new wave of stock to T-Mobile means there's more on the way to Google as well.

Source: T-Mobile; Thanks, Frank!

Via: Nexus 4 back in stock on T-Mobile website

Google CEO: Fixing supply woes 'a priority for our team'

Google CEO: Fixing supply woes 'a priority for our team'

Nexus 4

Larry Page, from this afternoon's Q4 2012 earnings call:

"Clearly there's working to be done managing our supply better, and that is a priority for our team."

Certainly nothing there we didn't know -- the Nexus 4 is still unavailable on Google Play, and the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tend to come and go as well.

But it is nice to hear the boss acknowledge it.

Via: Google CEO: Fixing supply woes 'a priority for our team'

More Sense 5 screenshots

More Sense 5 screenshots

Android CentralAndroid Central

Following today's leak of an unreleased version of Sense 5 running on the Droid DNA, we're now seeing more screenshots from users claiming to have their hands on the software as well. Member mdeejay at XDAhas just put up several screenshots of what is said to be a stable build of Android 4.1.2 with Sense 5 running on the Verizon phone, as ported from -- wait for it -- a Sprint version of the rumored M7.

We're not sure if that answers more questions than it creates, but it certainly gives us a lot to think about. This probably isn't the last leak (or purported leak) we'll see in the coming weeks, as HTC is likely set to show off a number of new devices at MWC in February. You can take a gander at several more screenshots at the source link below.

Source: XDA

Via: More Sense 5 screenshots

LG Optimus G begins its worldwide availability rollout with Jelly Bean on board

LG Optimus G begins its worldwide availability rollout with Jelly Bean on board

Android Central

LG has just announced plans to roll out its latest flagship, the Optimus G, globally to 50 new countries. The Optimus G may seem like "old news" to some of us -- the phone has been available in the United States, Canada, Korea and Japan for some time now -- but it hasn't rolled out globally until now. Coming first to Singapore at the end of January and to dozens of other countries afterwards, this model of the Optimus G will have LTEconnectivity onboard in any country that supports it. LG is really pushing the idea that their LTE technology and knowledge is top-notch, hoping to make an impact launching the same device with the fastest network capabilities in multiple countries.

Interestingly enough, the press release stipulates that the Optimus G heading out globally will also be running "the latest Jelly Bean OS and improved software," a huge upgrade from the original devices that ran Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. That said, Android 4.2 isn't specifically mentioned, so it wouldn't surprise us in the least if we see Android 4.1 instead.

The full presser's after the break.

Optimus G to be Available in Over 50 Markets, Expanding LGs LTE Leadership

SEOUL, Jan. 22, 2013 The Optimus G, LGs most premium and powerful 4G LTE smartphone, will begin its global roll-out into over 50 countries this month. The Optimus G has already been launched in the United States, Canada, Korea and Japan to very favorable reviews and LG is aiming to build on the excitement already generated to launch the device in other LTE markets.

As 4G LTE availability expands on a global scale, we will leverage our strong LTE technology and expertise to offer consumers the best 4G experience through our devices, said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. With the latest Jelly Bean OS and improved software, Optimus G will make a strong case for the title of ultimate premium 4G LTE smartphone.

Since the launch of Optimus G last September, the smartphone has been enthusiastically received by audiences as one of the most advanced 4G LTE devices currently available. Optimus G has been receiving accolades from consumers and industry thought leaders alike for its powerful performance and thoughtful user experience. Optimus Gs unrivaled power originates from its innovative hardware design which includes Qualcomms advanced Snapdragon S4 Pro Quad-Core processor. The device also delivers blazing fast data transfer speeds using todays 4G LTE telecommunication network.

LGs long history of LTE know-how is evident in the DNA of the Optimus G, said Dr. Park. As such, we hope consumers will take a deep, hard look at Optimus G when deciding which smartphone will give them the best 4G experience.

The Optimus G will be available starting at the end of January in Singapore followed by other markets worldwide offering 4G LTE service.

Via: LG Optimus G begins its worldwide availability rollout with Jelly Bean on board

Fresh HTC 'M7' images emerge showing new version of Sense

Fresh HTC 'M7' images emerge showing new version of Sense

Android CentralAndroid Central

Weve seen a few renders claiming to show HTCs next flagship Android phone of late -- first an image based on an on-device animation, then another mock-up render did the rounds on Twitter and elsewhere over the weekend. These latest images, however, could be the most accurate yet.

Todays shots come from Android Police, which received them via an anonymous tipster claiming to have access to HTCs next big thing, a phone currently known only by the codename M7. Based on the images, the device looks to share many design cues with the Windows Phone 8X and Droid DNA -- a primarily squarish design, with rounded corners and a rounded back. Interestingly, it seems HTC has swapped the location of the home and task switching button on this device -- home is now on the far right, and task-switching now lives in the middle.

Alongside these photos, screenshots from the device show whats said to be HTC Sense 5.0, the next version of HTCs Android UI. If this is an accurate representation of whats next from HTC, 2013s version of Sense certainly looks more minimalist than earlier iterations -- the bright colors and faux 3D effects thatve previously characterized Sense are nowhere to be seen here. There are new icons, new widgets, and what seems to be predetermined widget areas for social media updates, news and tutorials. The UI is also watermarked with HTC Confidential and a unique code, and Sense and Android versions marked as protected. Both are hallmarks of pre-release HTC software.

On the whole, these images look pretty promising. But we still have no way of knowing where in the prototyping process this device lies, and how close it is to the finished product. Certain anomalies, like the excessive bezel, derivative design and lack of regulatory info on the back suggest that the finished product might look a little different. Nevertheless, its our best indication yet as to what might be next from HTC. Well likely find out more at Mobile World Congress 2013, where the company is expected to officially announce the M7.

Source: Android Police

Via: Fresh HTC 'M7' images emerge showing new version of Sense

The best alarm clock apps for Android

The best alarm clock apps for Android

Android Central

The days of the standalone bedside alarm clock are numbered, with the simple inclusion of a clock app on every smartphone taking over. But there are so many options out there, why settle for the app pre-loaded on your phone? Your alarm doesn't just have to be a bland beeping sound that makes you want to throw your phone across the room. Read on after the break and see the best alarm clock apps available for your device.

Wave Alarm

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Wave Alarm makes use of the front-facing camera on your phone or tablet to snooze or dismiss alarms by letting you wave over the device. You can set it to either snooze or completely disable your alarm when you swipe, or even turn off the feature if you happen to just like the clock face. Other than the waving gesture support, the alarm has a cool non-standard looking bedside clock with date, time and local weather. The app is free, with a $2.99 unlock key to remove ads and give you more color and alarm options.

Download: Wave Alarm (Free, $2.99 unlock key)

DoubleTwist Alarm Clock

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DoubleTwistmay be better known for its music apps, but the developers have also created a fantastic alarm clock as well. The app overall is quite beautiful, with a grey/black/blue color scheme that takes Android holo design and smooths things ou a bit. You can set alarms manually, based on sleep cycles, based on sunrise (yikes!), or just short naps. There's an analog and digital clock face available, and several tweaks for alarm fade-in, volume and snooze time. There's a trial version with limited capabilities and a full version for just $1.99.

Download: DoubleTwist Alarm Clock ($1.99); Trial (Free)

Alarm Clock Extreme

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Alarm Clock Extreme may be a good choice for those of you that need a little help getting out of bed in the morning. Beyond complete customizability of sounds, volumes and app behaviors, this app gives you some challenging ways to snooze and dismiss alarms. If you choose, your phone will not stop ringing and vibrating until you either shake the device, solve math problems (of varying difficulty,) or fill out a "captcha" form. It's an interesting way to get your mind working and wake you up if you're a particularly heavy sleeper that wastes too much time in the morning hitting "snooze."

Download: Alarm Clock Extreme ($1.99); With ads (Free)


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WakeVoice doesn't do anything fancy to silence your alarm, but it does provide a lot of userful information right after you stop it. Once you snooze or stop an alarm, the app begins to read aloud your choice of weather, news, horoscope and upcoming calendar events for the day. You can choose to receive weather for a specific city, and news can come from a default list of sources or a specific RSS feed if you choose. The default voice is a little rough (reminds me of early Google Maps voices,) but there are other options available for download. WakeVoice is free as a trial, with a full version setting you back just $2.99.

Download: WakeVoice ($2.99); Lite version (Free)

Caynax Alarm Clock

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Caynax Alarm Clock gets my pick for being extremely well designed with a crazy amount of tweaking potential. It follows holo design guidelines -- with a nice blue/grey theme -- and also has a proper tablet UI. As far as settings go, you get options to add several kinds of alarms -- quick, every day, work days, cyclic, timer, any -- to help you manage more than just waking up in the morning. The developer positions this app as having the function of both an alarm clock and a to-do list if you want it, and I could see that being the case with the granular controls available. The free version is full of features, but the paid version is only $0.99 and offers resizable widgets, removes ads and several other features.

Download: Caynax Alarm Clock ($1.99); Free version (Free)

Via: The best alarm clock apps for Android

Opera bringing the Ice browser to Android and iOS

Opera is said to be bringing a new WebKit based browser to Android and iOS. Named "Ice", it presents a radical departure from what we're used to seeing with the stock Android Browser, Chrome, or even Safari. Shown off in an internal meeting right before Christmas, the folks at Pocket-lint got their hands on a copy and now we all can have a look.

Besides the UI, which we'll get back to in a moment, it's important to recognize that "Ice" won;t be using the same Presto rendering platform that Opera's current Android apps use. With Ice, Opera has moved to WebKit, the same engine that Chrome and Safari, as well as the stock Android browser and all the custom browsers in Google Play, are using. This should give Ice an edge, as most mobile pages and web apps are designed with WebKit in mind.

The new Opera Ice browser will be based around hiding the technology as much as possible and embracing rich applications. It will ditch all buttons and instead use gestures to control key elements like forwards and backwards. "This is a full touch and tablet-focused browser," said the product manager in the video we've seen. "Most are taking a PC browser and squishing [it] into a tablet, or they are taking a mobile browser and blowing it up to fill the space."

Yes, the UI looks very different. I'm not sure how I feel about "hiding technology" from the end user in favor of gestures and big icons, but I'll have to give the finished product a look before a final judgment.

Ice is not set to replace Opera mini, the small browser that compresses data to save time and bandwidth, but we expect that it may push the standard Opera Mobile for Android browser into retirement. Word is we'll know more at Mobile World Congress, which is coming right around the corner. We'll be there, and keep an eye out.

Source: Pocket-lint

Via: Opera bringing the Ice browser to Android and iOS

Super Hexagon is ridiculously hard, ridiculously addicting

Android Central

We usually like to do our own demo videos of apps whenever possible. It's our job, for one, and it's always fun to see "the pros" occasionally suck at games on camera. But in the case of Super Hexagon, we're going to keep our shame bottle up deep inside, where it belongs. This game is that hard.

The idea is that you have to guide the triangle through the spaces of the incoming designs as they collapse in on the central hexagram. Cool 1980s-esque video game music helps keep up the pace (at least for those of us old enough to remember the sounds of an actual arcade). It's fun. It's addicting. And it's hard as hell. Literally. The three unlocked levels are "hard," "harder" and "hardest." Frankly, we're a little afraid to explore the other difficulties. Our pride has taken a beating here. But, still, we can't put it down. Another dollar well spent.

Via: Super Hexagon is ridiculously hard, ridiculously addicting

HTC device passes through FCC with Sprint frequencies, could it be the One SV?

HTC device passes through FCC with Sprint frequencies, could it be the One SV?


The HTC One SV (read our review) was released on Cricket only a few days ago, but a nearly identical model of the device has just passed through the FCC sporting Sprint radio frequencies. Although there are no images of the device to completely verify, the model number of this device --PL80110 -- is eerily close to Cricket's PL80120. The specs that are decipherable from the filing lead to a little bit of confusion, however, as the physical dimensions seem slightly different from the current SV. There's also a few documents that list the device as a "Windows Phone," while the rest simply list "Smartphone." Bit of a head scratcher there, but typos do happen.

The radio frequencies being tested on this unnamed device seem to line up with what Sprint uses for its network, and no other carriers, so we can be pretty sure that whatever this device is it's heading to Sprint. We of course won't know for sure until we hear something official from HTCor Sprint.

Source: PhoneScoop

Via: HTC device passes through FCC with Sprint frequencies, could it be the One SV?