Galaxy Nexus

With the OTA slowly rolling out today for the Galaxy Nexus, it's always nice to have a way to manually apply it.  Things have changed a bit from how it used to be done, but Alex, Phil, and myself have been fooling around and have a method figured out to give yourself the OTA with no waiting.  Fair warning — this requires an OEM unlocked phone, fastboot drivers, and a few command line commands.

Download the OTA package direct from Google.  Then, download the latest ClockWorkMod recovery here.  Store both these files on your computer desktop.

If you haven't already, OEM unlock your Galaxy Nexus bootloader.  Here's a handy guide for Windows 7.  Note that this erases everything on your phone. (So hopefully you've done this already.)

  • Copy the OTA package above to the /sdcard folder on your Galaxy Nexus
  • Drop the ClockWorkMod file in the same folder you have fastboot in on your computer.  Rename it to cwm.img to make things easy.
  • Reboot your Galaxy Nexus to bootloader mode (hold volume up and volume down, then press power).
  • Plug your phone into your computer, and open a command prompt or terminal.  Navigate to the folder with fastboot and the cwm.img inside it.
  • At the command line, type the following: fastboot-windows.exe boot cwm.img (or just fastboot.exe if that's what you've got)
  • Use the ClockWorkMod recovery menu to flash a zip file from the SD card, and choose the OTA zip file you downloaded earlier.

When finished, reboot as normal and enjoy the OTA.  See why everyone loves fastboot?  This made no permanant change to your recovery, and without it we'd have to wait for the OTA to push to us all.  Alex reports that the volume bug is fixed in his unit when booted up and running, and all went smoothly.  If you feel uncomfortable doing this — or if you're in the U.S. or other area not affected by 900MHz shenanigans — just sit tight and wait for the OTA.  And if you have any questions, jump in the forums for help.




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Amazon Santa

Believe it or not shopping for kids — even kids at heart — can be sometimes rather difficult. So to help make things easier, letting kids make a list of what they want for the holidays is often much better then guessing your way through it all.

Luckily, Amazon knows this and as such has now made the Amazon Santa app available for the Amazon Kindle Fire. With it, you your kids can create custom wish lists from the more than 500,000 family-friendly toys, games, books, music, video games, movies and TV shows Amazon offers and when all is said and done — you can review and edit your child's custom Wish List and share it via email, even with Santa.

Should you decide to go shopping yourself, each item on the wish list has direct purchase links within the app for easy check out through your Amazon account. The app is available now from Amazon for the Kindle Fire through the source link below.

Source: Amazon




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

HTC Sensation XL review

30 November 2011

Sensation XL

There’s no doubt that HTC is getting behind Beats Audio in a big way. This summer the manufacturer ponied up $300 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats, and since then it’s been quick to bring to market phones like the Sensation XE and Rezound, which include Beats earphones in the box and a Beats-optimized music player. The latest phone to launch in Europe with Beats support is the Sensation XL. Originally unveiled at a glitzy event in London back in October, the 4.7-inch XL is pitched as the first European phone designed from the ground up around Beats Audio.

The Sensation XL isn’t a replacement for the original Sensation in the traditional sense. Instead, HTC seems to be positioning both devices alongside each other, with the XL geared towards big multimedia consumers rather than spec-obsessed enthusiasts. But with formidable (and technically superior) competition from Apple, Samsung, Motorola and others, does the Sensation XL do enough to stand out from the ever-growing high-end smartphone crowd? Read on to find out.

 


The Good

A well-built device with a bright, vivid screen and responsive, feature-filled software. Beats headphones and software optimizations make this a great phone for music on-the-go. HTC Sense 3.5 is faster and slicker than ever.

The Bad

Lack of expandable storage. Screen resolution is lower than much of the competition. Disappointing video camera performance. No Beats support for third-party music players.

Conclusion

The Sensation XL might not represent the complete package for smartphone enthusiasts, but it's hard to fault the device as a whole. HTC's Sense UI is better than ever, and the bundled Beats hardware is a huge step up from the bog-standard earphones provided with most phones.
 

 

Inside this review

More info

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Android Central Shirts

What do you get the Android nerd who has everything? More Android! And we've got a bevy of T-shirts available with everybody's favorite Android Central mascot, Lloyd.

A few things to note: We're selling this crop of shirts at cost — we're not taking any commission on these initial designs. Premium designs are in the works. And these shirts are 100 percent Lloyd-approved. Accept no substitutes.

So where do you obtain these fine fashion specimens? Just hit up the link below!

Android Central T-shirts now on sale!




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

The US International Trade Commission issued its final ruling in the FlashPoint patent dispute case, siding with HTC.  According to the court documents, the trade commission did not find that any of HTC’s Android or Windows Phone 7 handsets infringe on FlashPoint’s 769 patent. FlashPoint filed its initial dispute against HTC with the ITC back [...]





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 | Posted by | Categories: HTC |

For the last few years, many have seen the Apple iPhone series as the benchmark to which other smartphones should be compared. The new iPhone 4S is no different. Competition for the market dominating iPhone series is hotting up though, and several manufacturers are releasing increasingly impressive smartphones.


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HTC Legal

Seems like every time you turn around you'll see corporations using sneaky tricks to gain a competitive advantage over a different, yet equally sneaky corporation.  That's usually how money is made by the people who are best at making lots of it — at the expense of others.  The cell phone industry is no different, even though we wish it were.  Yes, I'm talking about Carrier IQ, and it's my turn to bitch.

Carrier IQ sells a stock client for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Android.  There's strong evidence that  they also make client software for other smartphone platforms, and even semi-smartphone OS's like Bada or BREW.  But they're only making it easy to get the same type of data your carrier has been collecting about you since the minute you turned your cell phone on.  If they're collecting it in an insecure manner, which has happened, that's bad on them, and they need to fix it — pronto. But they're not doing it on their own. They're doing it at the behest of the manufacturer and the carrier, who uses the data to determine how to make changes that get you to spend more money when they offer you the latest shiny.  If 72 percent of the people use a certain feature, you can bet your last dollar that more work goes into making that feature "better" so it's a stronger selling point.  Carrier IQ, as a company, could care less what you do with your smartphone, when you do it, or why.  All they do is make it easier for the people you give your money to each month to see why you like your phone.  I don't work for HTC or AT&T, but I'm sure easy data collection and aggregation makes for a compelling sales pitch.

CIQ isn't doing anything it's not supposed to be doing, unless there's a software bug in play.  The software was purposefully placed there in order to track what you're doing in real time.  Apparently, it works pretty well.  Some may argue that it's a rootkit, or a flaw of some sort, but to the people using the product — again, the carrier and manufacturer — it's a feature, one that they pay money to include.  Remember, you are not HTC's (or Samsung, or LG, or RIM, etc.) customer — companies like Verizon and Sprint are, and all parties find the data that's collected pretty damn useful, so they aren't likely to stop collecting it.

It could be argued that you don't have a choice in the matter. You bought the phone. And while there might be (and usually is — see the picture above from a CIQ enabled HTC phone) some vague reference to the phone collecting data about how you use it, you likely skipped over that section, and it's not all that up-front about what's being collected or how it's being done. But on the other hand, that's probably true about 90 percent of what your phone's doing at any given time.  It works exactly how it's supposed to work.  Getting mad about it after the fact isn't very productive, and isn't going to solve the problem any time soon.

Vote with your wallet.  You have the option to say no to this sort of data collection software, and that's done by not buying phones that use it.  Every major carrier in the world now carries one of those.

Yes, I think Carrier IQ is a bad thing, done by unscrupulous people so they have more pennies to count.  But all the hate towards the company that writes and sells the software is misguided.  They are only filling a need, and if they stop someone else will step up to replace them.  Enough words have been written about it, yet the solution for Android fans only needs three:

Buy a Nexus.




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Xoom

If you recall, we told you a few days ago about a new soak-test for the Motorola Xoom, and today new details about what is being updated have come forth.  To start with, it's not Ice Cream Sandwich, and no amount of wishing will likely change that one.  The Verizon LTE model is getting an update that should appear "invisible" to the end user, and it simply provides improved support for pay-as-you-go customers on Verizon.  Users participating in the test have received an e-mail explaining how to go about providing feedback:

Hi again.

Thanks very much for signing up to give feedback about your Motorola Xoom on Verizon. You will be testing final software for your LTE Xoom. Despite the wild rumors about ICS, this is a very limited update providing improved support for pay-as-you-go customers on Verizon. It should be essentially "invisible" in terms of device operation.

Because of this, we will be looking for feedback on two primary questions:

  • Did you update successfully?
  • If yes, did the update alter your device in any unexpected way?

We feel this software is safe and ready, but your input will provide the data we need to make a go/no-go decision. Here are key points to know:

 

  • I will send out another email with a survey where you can provide your answers to these two questions.
  • It will come within a few hours of when the software begins to be pushed to your phones.
  • That push is expected around mid-day tomorrow.
  • Please do not post comments on public sites about this update; instead provide your input through the survey I will provide.
  • Please do respond to the survey by Friday morning. We expect to make our decision to release this update later that day

Do not send emails to this account or PM me unless I ask you to do so. General questions sent to either place will go unanswered — put your questions and comments in the survey please.

Thanks again for your confidentiality and participation. Your help with updates like this certainly counts in your favor when other test opportunities arise.

Regards,

– Matt
  Motorola Owners' Forums
  Motorola Feedback Network

If you're using your Xoom 4G on a month to month basis, this one's for you.  For everyone else, it's important to make sure it doesn't break anything.  We still expect ICS on the Xoom in short order, just not this time around.

Thanks, Anon!




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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Kevin, Phil, Derek, Dan, and Rene discuss the future of phone fashion, how to pick a tablet for the holidays, and what happens when all phones are smart. Plus, our holiday gift guide! This is Mobile Nations!

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

There are a few things a voice-recognition app needs to do well to be successful — and must do extremely well if it wants to call itself a competitor to Apple's Siri.

  1. It needs to be easilly accessible, and launch quickly. Very quickly.
  2. It needs to actually understand what you're saying.
  3. It needs to return results quickly.

As we continue to find out, this is easier said than done. The latest victim candidate is Cluzee, which bills itself as "Your Intelligent Personal Assisant" — and which despite some initial glowing press doesn't really stand up to simple testing.

Let's start with Point 1: You need to be able to launch a voice app like this quickly. The iPhone 4S has a leg up by allowing you to long-press the home button to launch Siri at any time. Simple, quick. With Cluzee, you need a home screen shortcut, which means having to wake and unlock the phone first. If the app's not yet in memory, it takes several seconds to launch — an eternity for this sort of thing. It really has to be faster. (And it is, so long as Cluzee remains loaded.)

On to Point 2: Cluzee understood our tests some of the time, but not all of the time. And even in our abbreviated use, it seemed to struggle more than it should. That ties into Point 3: Returning results for local pizza locations took so long we thought the app had hung on us (force closes are not uncommon at this point). And opening applications through Cluzee took too many steps. (Us: "Open Google Maps." Cluzee: "Which application do you want me to open?" Grrrrrr.)

That's not to say Cluzee doesn't have potential — it most certainly does, and it does a decent job at personifying itself, using the pronouns you'd expect from something like this. But let's not go calling it a Siri competitor just yet. If you want to give it a shot, we've got download links after the break.

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