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Google Goes Black In Protest Of SOPA/PIPA – CyanogenMod Does Their Part Too

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Just like Google and Wikipedia, it seems the CyanogenMod team are taking the SOPA thing to heart by blacking out their own site in protest of SOPA.

If you’ve been under a rock for the past few months (or unplugged from the internet) SOPA is a bill that — if passed — could essentially end the internet as we know it, all in the name of anti-piracy censorship. This quick video will better explain things.

While is still up and running (how crazy would it be if they really shut down the heart of the internet?), their statement is clear: “End Piracy, Not Liberty.” Nuff said.

If you want to make your voice heard — and you really should — hit up the links below to join the good fight and sign the petition. STOP SOPA!

[Google's Take Action Petition]

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Walmart Introduces New Contract Free Family Plan From T-Mobile – Unlimited Talk, Text and Web For $45

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Walmart is proving themselves once again to be the low price leader, this time when it comes to cellphone plans. The retailer is partnering up with T-Mobile to offer one of the country’s lowest unlimited family plans to date. $45 a month will get you unlimited talk, text and web with NO contract and adding lines is only an additional $35 after that (a 1 time fee of $25 per line is also added).

If you’re thinking this plan is too good to be true, you’d be half right. If you remember, T-Mobile’s definition of “unlimited” comes with some fine print attached. Families can only enjoy up to 250MB of shared data with full 3G/4G speeds and once they hit their monthly allotment, it’s all Edge (2G) from there. But wait– those who sign up before March 16th will get a much more reasonable 5GB of data to share with the fam, making this sound like one heck of a deal but after March 31st, it will go down to the normal 250MB. Tease.

What do you guys think? 250MB sounds a bit skimpy for someone who likes to stream their entire music library using Google Music but if you’re mostly on WiFi and occasionally like to update your Facebook status on the go, it might work for some. Anyone thinking of taking advantage of Walmart’s “Family Mobile” plan?

Press release:

According to a recent Harris Interactive study, 65% of smartphone users said they use their smartphone’s picture sharing capability most when connecting with family and friends. That’s just one reason why T-Mobile and Walmart recently made their Walmart Family Mobile plan better than ever - adding Unlimited Web to their already great offer of Unlimited Talk and Text. Rolling onto shelves now, the new Walmart Family Mobile Unlimited Talk, Text and Web plan is only $45 per month for the first line and $35 per month for additional lines and is available at Walmart stores nationwide and on

Additionally, 44% of first-time smartphone buyers in 2012 say the cost of the data plan associated with a smartphone is the most influential reason they have not purchased a smartphone before. For the first time, this monthly postpaid, no-annual contract plan is offering Unlimited Web service, providing full access to Web surfing, data and social media for all lines on the account and is one of the best value options available on any national carrier. Walmart Family Mobile was designed with families in mind, and offers the most affordable way to enjoy high-quality postpaid 3G service. To encourage families to get connected sooner, customers activating the new plan now until March 16th will enjoy the first 5GB per month per line at up to 3G speeds until March 31st. Customers activating after March 16th can enjoy the first 250MB per month per line at up to 3G speeds.

For more information about the Walmart Family Mobile Unlimited Talk, Text and Web plan, please visit or

[Walmart | Via CellPhoneSignal]

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ZTE Plans To Double Smartphone Shipments in US For 2012 – Will Focus On High-End Devices

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If you’re living here in the states and have never heard of Android OEM, ZTE — I wouldn’t hold it against you. Despite being the #4 handset maker in the world, ZTE has largely been absent in the US market but it looks like could soon change. In an interview with Reuters, ZTE’s head of handset strategy said the company plans to double it’s smartphone shipments in 2012 starting with the US and China.

Largely known for their entry level Android smartphones like the Blade and Skate, ZTE mentioned high-end devices will be a key focus in 2012 saying,

“If we say ZTE started out as a contractor, like those building mass housing that are value for money, then we want to be a developer of luxury high-end estates.”

Of course, that’s easier said than done. ZTE has a lot of catching up to do if they want to remain competitive with Samsung and HTC currently dominating the US market. As it stands, many an Android fanboys/girls wont even consider a device unless it comes with an HD display powered by a quad-core processor. But I always say, the more, the merrier. So, with that. Welcome, ZTE. Don’t forget to bring the Ice Cream.

[Via Reuters]

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OG Motorola Droid Receives Android 4.0 (Again) – This Time In A Less Alpha Alpha [Video]

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Still hanging on to that aging Motorola Droid? Feels weird not having a number or surname after the “Droid” title but if you’re still waiting for a price drop on that superphone you’ve been eying, you may want to try out Android 4.0 in the meantime. Apparently, Ice Cream Sandwich has come a long way since we first saw an early port squeezed into the device back in December. Don’t believe me? Just check out the video below and see for yourselves.

The ROM comes courtesy of Kabaldan over on XDA Developers and although this build is still considered an alpha release, it’s nowhere near as alpha as that one port making the rounds a few months ago. If your OG Droid is rooted and you feel like throwing a new ROM for all times sake, just hit up the link below for the thread on XDA.

Thanks, Albert!

[Via XDA]

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LG Officially Announces Optimus Pad LTE – Sexy Tablet With 8.9 Inch Display and Only 9.3mm Thick

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Looks like LG is still giving it the old college try with the newly announced Optimus Pad LTE, the South Korean OEM’s latest forray into the Android tablet space. Dubbed the first LTE tablet (in Korea), the Optimus Pad LTE is a surprisingly sexy tablet boasting an 8.9-inch 1280×768 “True HD” IPS display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 8MP rear/2MP front facing cameras and LTE connectivity. The ideally sized tab looks sharp, measures in at only 9.3mm thick and will ship with Android 3.2 (no mention of an Ice Cream Sandwich update anywhere in the press release). The Optimus Pad LTE will launch first, in its homeland of Korea and will most likely make its way to other regions later this year. Full press release can be found below.


Expanding LTE Leadership into Tablets to
Meet the Needs of Consumers’ Faster Lifestyles

SEOUL, Jan. 18, 2012 - LG Electronics (LG) today unveiled its first LTE-capable tablet, the Optimus Pad LTE. Initially launching in Korea, LG has equipped the tablet with both LTE technology and True HD IPS display, the two features that have helped LG differentiate its latest smartphone, Optimus LTE, from the competition.

“With tablets generating five times more traffic than the average smartphone, it’s not a huge jump to assume that tablet users need and want faster connectivity,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Mobile Communications Company. “The combination of LG’s LTE technology with the tablet form factor is a clear advantage for consumers who use a tablet as their primary consumption device when on the move.”

Boasting the best-in-class in the tablets, LG Optimus Pad LTE provides the ultimate user environment to enjoy HD multimedia with a 1280 x 720 True HD IPS display and 8 megapixel camera for shooting high definition video. The Optimus Pad LTE is also the world’s first tablet to support an SD memory card expandable to 32GB, recognizing the importance multimedia would play for owners of this device.

Along with these features, the Optimus Pad LTE offers easy-to-use controls and functions such as the Smart Movie Editor for editing pictures and videos more easily. Moreover, Web Duet allows for e-mailing, messaging and SNS sharing with search functions, and On-Screen Phone (OSP) ensures compatibility with LG smartphones.

LG Optimus Pad LTE is extremely portable and aesthetically pleasing, weighing in at a svelte 479g and only 9.34mm thin. Equipped with a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor running Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS, LG’s newest tablet guarantees superior performance. It also supports High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).

Key Specifications:
Operating System: Android 3.2 Honeycomb
Memory: User 32GB (Micro SD up to 32GB)
Size: 245 x 151.4 x 9.34 mm
Weight: 497 g
Display: 8.9-inch IPS True HD Display
Resolution: 1280 x 768
Camera: 8MP (Rear) / 2MP (Front)
Processor: Qualcomm 1.5GHz Dual-Core / Dual Channel Processor
Battery: 6,800mAh
Others: HDMI, DLNA

[Via Engadget]

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Imangi Studios Bringing Hit Title “Temple Run” To Android Next Month

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The Android Market is no stranger to gaming apps of the “runner” genre and it looks like you can add one more to that list with Imangi Studios bringing their hit iOS title — Temple Run — soon to Android devices. The developers revealed the news via their Facebook page where they posted images of the game running on Samsung’s Galaxy S II hardware (T-Mobile version) and diehard fans were more than receptive to the news.

As previously mentioned, Temple Run will test your reflexes with its runner style gameplay, putting you in the shoes of various explorers evading obstacles in jungle ruins, while attempting to escape hostile natives. Unlike your typical runner game, character navigation occurs through gestures and a new over-the-shoulder, 3rd person perspective. Survival is the name of the game in Temple Run with no real end to a level. The longer you stay alive. The more points you accumulate. The higher your score.

Originally, Temple Run launched as a 99 cent title but it was only when the developers switched over to the new “freemium” standard that the game really took off gaining over 20 million downloads and 7 million daily active users. It seems Imangi Studios is hoping to cash in once again, this time — in the Android Market. In-app purchases wont be used to progress the game and will only be used to buy new character models and powerups for gaining a higher scores.

Seeing how T-Mobile’s GSII isn’t running any Nvidia Tegra hardware, we can expect a more general wide release of Temple Run when it debuts this February in the Android Market. You can watch a gameplay promotional video of Temple Run below.

[PocketGamer via DroidGamers]

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The Coolest Thing I Saw At CES 2012: Samsung’s Transparent Smart Window [Video]

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Alright, so CES 2012 has come and gone but there was one thing I never got a chance to show you guys. Besides the boat load of Android rockin’ handsets and tablets I did manage to get my grubby little hands on one more “device” and that came in the form of Samsung’s Smart Window.

Easily the coolest tech I got to play with at CES this year, Samsung’s Smart Window could be considered the future. Well, that — or completely useless, depending on how you look at it. And even though it wasn’t directly Android related, it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see how a simple swap of the OS could bring Android out of the world of boring old opaque screens and into the wonderful new frontier of transparent displays.

Check out my hands-on video below. Oh, and don’t mind the “no touch” sign below the display. Apparently it was more of a loose suggestion…

So, what did you guys think? Do transparent displays fall into the same gimmicky category as 3D displays? Or could a transparent Android tablet/smartphone prove itself truly useful in the distant future? You know — while skating around on your hoverboard.

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Samsung Feigns Interest In RIM – Reportedly Not Interested In BlackBerries

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Following rumors from BGR citing unnamed sources, Samsung is flat out denying these “reports” that they were the lead manufacturer in talks to save the sinking ship that is RIM. A Samsung rep said,

“We haven’t considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in [buying RIM],”

And why would Samsung be interested in buying RIM? Aside from their BlackBerry trademark becoming an almost household name in the business world, that was ages ago and the smartphone landscape has changed drastically since then. Samsung is currently top dog and aside from patents, I don’t see how a RIM takeover would offer any benefits to Samsung. Just my two cents.

[Via Reuters]

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Skinit moves on to customizable cases, covers, and screen protectors

There’s quite a few skin and case-making groups out there these days, folks, the mobile world doing more than a favor for the people behind these groups making what amounts to a fabulous accessory for already amazing devices. What Skinit does that essentially noone else is doing at the moment is offering up not just customizable skins for your smartphones, tablets, laptops and more, they’re bringing their high quality name to a full accessory line of covers, cases, and tough screen protectors as well. Customize yourself a case and be the talk of the town!

You’ll be able to work with’s Customizer tool to quite easily bring you in on the action with your device of choice and the image you want to apply to it. Not only laptops, mobile phones, and tablets are included, mind you. You can also customize the look if your gaming system and medical device as well – strange and awesome! There’s also, of course, a big selection of pre-made skins with licensed images including everything from Harry Potter to the NBA back down to DC Comics – you can find their full line of pre-made cases on their site in the “Painted Cases” section.

In addition, Skinit has just started offering etched metal cases for the iPhone 4S specifically – there’s essentially no classier way to defend the integrity of your most precious piece of mobile equipment than a fabulously cut piece of metal, complete with pin-stripes, stars and circles, or of course, the Great Wave. These cases will run you a mere $24.00, also, so pick them up instantly in the Metal Plates section of the site – looks hot!

Skinit moves on to customizable cases, covers, and screen protectors is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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The Senator, fifth oldest tree on earth, burns naturally

Like the passing of a very, very old uncle after he’d been telling you he didn’t have one whole heck of a lot of time left on this earth for so very, very long, the fifth oldest tree on the planet burned from the inside this week, falling not to any sort of arson on the part of a human body, but mother nature herself, deciding it was just time for The Senator to go. This titanically gigantic piece of forest was known as “The Big Tree” or, again, The Senator, and is survived by his wife, “Lady Liberty,” a 2,000-year old tree in the same Longwood, Florida park. Though we rarely report on non-gadget news here at SlashGear, there comes a time when we must appreciate how the whole world can connect and respect one of the world’s oldest natural living things, all together because of the web we’ve created. What a lovely thing.

The Senator was more than 3,500 years old when he passed. The bald cypress’ death and collapse happened after its hollowed-out center was affected by a “curious confluence of natural events.” These events may very well, they said, have been started several weeks ago when a lightening strike hit, it then smoldering until combustion occurred only this week. Another idea is that friction caused by buffeting winds made a tiny spark which then erupted into the flames that swallowed our old friend.

This tree was older than Egypt’s Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV,) pre-dated the Trojan War, and popped up right at about the time the Bible says Moses was speaking to the burning bush. Now Longwood’s number 1 attraction is no more. All things must pass, and this market that pre-American residents used as a compass, Calvin Coolidge dedicated a bronze plaque to, and Senator Moses Oscar Overstreet donated 11 surrounding acres to the state as parkland for in 1927, is now collapsed. We hope everyone who got the chance to see this 18-foot wide beast remembers him well!

[via The Daily, image from Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT]

The Senator, fifth oldest tree on earth, burns naturally is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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