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26Feb/13Off

LG to make its TV bet with webOS

HP made it clear that webOS was a thing of its past. The mobile operating system was short-lived under the control of HP, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost its value. HP has sold the rights to webOS to LG for an undisclosed amount, according to Reuters. The first question we had was “what does this mean for LG’s smartphone business?” Well, nothing quite yet.

It seems LG is actually looking to use webOS to deliver a unique TV experience. We’re not sure how the fabled operating system will stretch to bigger screens, but LG will have a long road ahead if it wants to resurrect webOS in a meaningful way. It’s unclear what this means for the future of Google TV under LG’s banner. LG has been one of the biggest proponents of the Android-based TV experience, stuffing the experience into a sizable portion of its smart TV line-up.

Some might say this gives us reason to be worried about the future of Google TV. If LG’s desire to use webOS has spawned from its inability to properly market the enhancements Google TV and leverage the technology to sell televisions it makes us wonder how many more major manufacturers feel this way.

Perhaps we’re just looking a bit too deep into this and LG simply wants to make sure its portfolio stays diversified. Whatever the case may be, we just hope LG doesn’t lose faith in Android and begin to go all in with webOS — we’ve started warming up quite nicely to its Optimus line as of late. We’re sure there’s nothing to worry about in that regard, but we have no choice but to keep the possibility of LG dropping out of the Android arms race in the back of our minds from this point forward.

[via Reuters]

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26Feb/13Off

Firefox for Android beta brings per-tab private mode

Firefox for Android beta has gotten an exciting new upgrade in the Google Play Store. One of the biggest features users can look forward to is per-tab private browsing, meaning you can have all your usual tabs open alongside just one or two private tabs if you so wish. That’s not the only thing that’s different, though, so let’s jump into the rest.

Firefox has lowed the system requirements to devices with just 384MB of RAM and QVGA displays, so a whole new crop of devices can get in on the fun. Sure, you’d be hard-pressed to find many Android devices within that spec range these days but it’s nice to know any stragglers still owning such hardware will be supported.

Top Sites in about:home can now be customized, too, so you can have your own favorite sites appear whenever you open a new tab. Firefox is also introducing H.264/AAC/MP3 hardware decoding for those on Gingerbread and Honeycomb, so the outrage over these particular versions of Android not being included in that particular list should soon die down. Finally, “various” audio and video enhancements have been made, and canvas now supports blend modes.

Those on the beta track can get their upgrade straight from the Google Play Store. There’s no telling how long it will take for these features to head to the stable version of the browser but if past updates are any indication then we shouldn’t be waiting long for Firefox to bring a substantial upgrade to that particular app. Give it a shot.

Filed under: Android Comments Off
26Feb/13Off

First look: Gaming on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 mobile processor [VIDEO]

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 mobile processing platform is due to drop later this year, but the company was showing off the new system-on-a-chip at Mobile World Congress. We got to check out a lot of cool features the new CPU will offer, including media and audio, but we also had some time to have a go at gaming with Qualcomm’s latest innovation.

Of course, the main goal here is gaming performance, and Qualcomm achieves a blend of high-quality graphics and responsiveness through the deployment of an Adreno 330 GPU coupled with the Krait-based quad-core processor. The  chip can achieve clock speeds of over 2.0GHz, simply eclipsing anything on the market today.

The chip was being demoed within a reference tablet, which offered the buttery smoothness you could expect from a dedicated gaming machine, if not console quality graphics. Qualcomm had two demos for consumption, a full-on version of Need For Speed: Most Wanted and a demo showcasing a rendered image of a fire-breathing dragon, complete with benchmarks. While the latter offered a glimpse behind the scenes, Need For Speed was obviously the draw here, streamed direct from the tablet to the a TV.

Snapdragon 800 will no doubt be a hit with manufacturers already utilizing the company’s 600 series platform. And that’s basically everyone release a high-end phone within the past six months. Real world use will be the ultimate test of how the 800 fairs, but the future looks promising.

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25Feb/13Off

Motorola begins Jelly Bean soak test for DROID RAZR/RAZR MAXX

We’ve gotten more than enough tips to feel confident about this one: Motorola’s preparing a soak test for Verizon’s DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX. The first editions in the RAZR series will be getting Jelly Bean, though Motorola didn’t go into detail about which exact version. We imagine it won’t be anything higher than Android 4.1.2 as even Motorola’s latest phones haven’t gotten the absolute latest versions of Android yet. Users should still be quite satisfied for the time being, though.

The soak test will help Motorola in the final stretches of testing, and if things go smoothly we could see a rollout within the month. Don’t hold me to that estimation if it doesn’t pan out, though. If you’re signed up for Motorola’s soak test for these particular devices you’ll want to check your inboxes to see how to proceed, as I’m sure a ton of you will want to get your hands on the upgrade.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Hi,

Thanks for joining the Motorola Feedback Network. We are inviting owners of the Droid RAZR or Droid RAZR Maxx on Verizon to participate in an early preview of a new Jelly Bean software release, and provide feedback. If you are not currently using a Droid RAZR or Droid RAZR Maxx on Verizon, please excuse and ignore this email.

Click this link — redacted — to take the enrollment survey if you wish to take part. Note that you must be a member in good standing of the Motorola Owners’ Forums to be included. The registration window could close without notice so please respond as quickly as possible.

This is a confidential test under the terms of the Motorola Feedback Network. Do not post any details or information about this on any public sites.

Thanks — please understand that start times are always fluid. We ask for your patience if you register but don’t hear from us right away.

Motorola Owners’ Forums
Motorola Feedback Network

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25Feb/13Off

MetroPCS will vote on T-Mobile deal March 28th

While the proposed acquisition of MetroPCS by T-Mobile isn’t getting nearly as much attention as that of T-Mobile’s failed acquisition by AT&T, it’s still of interest to us. MetroPCS has revealed that shareholders would get together and vote on the issue March 28th. The two parties still need to pass regulatory hurdles, which include the usual song and dance of anti-regulatory investigations and other boring legal processes. There’s not much reason to believe the government will play a part in blocking the deal, though.

The biggest problem stands to be the very shareholders who will punch their tickets late next month. It’s said that two of Metro’s major investors — hedge funds Paulson & Co. and P. Schoenfeld — are looking to vote against the deal, with doubts about proper valuation on Deutsche Telekom’s part. The two control a combined 11% of MetroPCS, and would certainly look to get more shareholders on board with votes to block the deal.

As it stands, T-Mobile would merge into MetroPCS’ current standing as a publicly traded company, and Deutsche Telekom would then get 74% of the combined companies. The remaining 26% of the company, as well as $1.5 billion, would be given to shareholders. I won’t pretend to know if MetroPCS is worth more or less than that, but if it’s not good enough for the millionaires and billionaires who own the company then who am I to argue? We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one as March quickly approaches.

[via Marketwatch]

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25Feb/13Off

Google I/O registration opens March 13th — get your accounts ready

If you’re gearing up for Google I/O, which takes place in San Francisco from May 15th-17th, you might want to know that registration will be opening up soon. Google hasn’t made it a mystery — the digital lines are opening up March 13th, and it will take place starting at 7am pacific. That said, you should know that these things aren’t the easiest to get into: the initial stock of tickets sold out in less than 30 minutes for last year’s events.

You don’t want to be fiddling around with unnecessary, lengthy extra steps come March 13th so there are a few things you’ll want to do:

  1. Set an alarm to wake up AHEAD of time. Google likes to get a bit jumpy sometimes, so the site may go live a few minutes before 7am.
  2. Make sure your Google+ profile is setup and accurate. Google uses Google+ for registration and you’ll be asked to sign in to continue.
  3. Make sure your Google Wallet account is setup with your preferred payment method. Google will process orders through checkout, so you don’t want to be running around looking for your wallet or typing in numbers while everyone else is passing you by.
  4. Bookmark a replacement keyboard and monitor on Amazon, just in case. These things can be frustrating, and you’ll probably try to smash your monitor using your keyboard by the end of it all if the site crashes.

We’ll remind you once we get closer to registration, but we imagine most of you will have this in your calendar with as many reminders as you can to make sure you don’t miss out. Is anyone looking to head out to San Francisco for the must-attend developer conference of the year?

[via Google]

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25Feb/13Off

AT&T and GM team up for LTE, and six new cities get launches

Some AT&T LTE-related news has come through the wire today. For starters, AT&T and General Motors have announced a partnership that will bring AT&T connectivity to the latter’s cars. GM currently uses Verizon’s airwaves, but for whatever reason decided Ma Bell was the better route. Was it cost? Quality of network? Did GM just want a change of pace? We can’t say for sure, but it’s happening. Those with Verizon-equipped models need not worry: service will continue to operate following the switch.

The radios will be inside GM’s 2015 OnStar-equipped models, the first of which will arrive starting in the middle of 2014. AT&T says it is very happy with the deal, economically — this probably just means they’re happy to have yet another stream of cash coming in. Ma Bell is already in bed with the likes of Ford and Nissan, so another major partnership no doubt makes its executives smile.

Speaking of AT&T LTE, six new cities have been announced, including Tunica, MS; Athens, TN; Lafollette, TN; Tallahassee, FL; Salinas and Monterey, CA; and Lawrence, KS. By the time GM starts rolling its AT&T-equipped cars out the network should be fully complete, so by then you (should) be able to get 4G LTE on the road in any area that you currently get a 3G signal in.

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25Feb/13Off

Samsung phones to come pre-installed with Visa payWave software for NFC payments

Samsung and Visa have announced a partnership to bring their payWave partnership to the masses on a global scale. All Samsung smartphones with NFC chips will come pre-installed with Visa payWave. It’s safe to assume the Galaxy S4 will get that treatment, and we can probably expect Samsung to load the software onto the Galaxy Note 8.0 that was just announced, as well.

Samsung could also look to load the software onto existing phones via an over-the-air upgrade, but the Korean company hasn’t announced any details regarding that just yet.

Of course, those who don’t roll with Visa might be left out of the fun, but other options do exist. We have a feeling Visa and Samsung are reaching quite the wide user-base, however, as the former commands the top spot among credit card companies, while the latter is the world’s biggest phone manufacturer. A match made in heaven? Perhaps. We just hope this won’t keep Samsung from eventually doing something with the likes of Mastercard, American Express or Discover in the future. Read on for full press details.

Visa and Samsung Sign Global Alliance Agreement to Accelerate Mobile (NFC) Payments
Financial institutions will be offered a secure service to download payment account information to Samsung’s mobile devices.

FOSTER CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 25, 2013– Visa and Samsung today announced a global alliance that combines Visa’s expertise in payments with Samsung’s leadership in mobile device technology – an alliance that has the potential to significantly accelerate the availability of mobile payments globally.

According to the agreement, financial institutions that are planning to launch mobile payment programs will be able to use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service1 to securely download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices. In addition, Samsung has agreed to load the Visa payWave applet onto its mobile devices featuring NFC technology. Visa payWave is Visa’s mobile payment applet that enables consumers to make “wave and pay” contactless payments using mobile devices.

“Samsung devices enabled with Visa payment functionality will no doubt be a powerful product offering – especially in markets where paying with a mobile device is becoming commonplace,” said Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa Inc. “However, the key to making mobile payments broadly available all over the world is to offer financial institutions a secure way to provision millions of smartphones with payment account information – and that is exactly what Visa and Samsung are ready to deliver.”

“Samsung has been a pioneer in NFC devices and is again leading the way in enabling NFC-based mobile payments. The partnership with Visa represents a step towards a global mobile payment platform,” said Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, President and Head of Media Solution Center, Samsung Electronics. “We believe that we have a strong value proposition for financial institutions that will ultimately allow consumer choice in NFC payments.”

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is the global communication standard that enables mobile devices to securely communicate with a payment terminal. ABI Research forecasts that a total of 1.95 billion NFC-enabled devices will ship in 20172. The Visa Samsung global alliance is a first of its kind between a leading NFC handset manufacturer and payment network that is paving the way for the implementation of large scale mobile payment programs. The initial areas of engagement that the two companies have agreed to include:

Global Strategic Alliance
Visa and Samsung have agreed to work together to enable the next generation of Samsung mobile devices with Visa payment technology, and to partner with financial institutions to accelerate the availability of mobile payment solutions globally.
Samsung to Connect to Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service
In order to enable financial institutions to launch large scale mobile (NFC) payment programs, Samsung will offer banks the ability to load payment account information over-the-air to a secure chip embedded in Samsung devices, using Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service3 which is linked to Samsung KMS (Key Management System) – a service that creates secure data storage domains for issuers.
Samsung Awarded Global Visa payWave License
The Visa payWave mobile applet will be preloaded onto selected next-generation Samsung mobile devices featuring NFC technology and an embedded secure element. Off the shelf, these devices are ready to be personalized with Visa payment account information – a simple step that consumers will be able to initiate using a mobile payment application provided by their financial institution.
At Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, February 25-28, Visa will demonstrate Visa payWave for mobile and its Mobile Provisioning Service that can be used by financial institutions to securely load payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung mobile devices. For more information, visit Visa at Mobile World Congress, Hall 6, Stand 6E40.

About Visa Inc.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 24,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit corporate.visa.com.

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 36 countries across Europe. Visa Europe works at the forefront of technology to create the services and infrastructure which enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers – cardholders and retailers – and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments. For more information, please visit www.visaeurope.com

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in technology, opening new possibilities for people everywhere. Through relentless innovation and discovery, we are transforming the worlds of televisions, smartphones, personal computers, printers, cameras, home appliances, LTE systems, medical devices, semiconductors and LED solutions. We employ 236,000 people across 79 countries with annual sales exceeding KRW 201 trillion. To discover more, please visit www.samsung.com.

1 Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Services are not available in all territories

2 Source: ABI Research, November 21, 2012 http://www.abiresearch.com/press/nfc-will-come-out-of-the-trial-phase-in-2013-as-28

3 Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Services are not available in all territories

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25Feb/13Off

Intel officially introduces dual-core Atom chipset (Clover-Trail+), and partners are already lined up

Intel has been making steady progress in its mobile ambitions, and the company has taken another step today. Intel announced the launch of its Clover-Trail+ platform, a dual-core 32nm atom chipset that comes in 2.0GHz, 1.6GHz, and 1.2GHz flavors. All models will feature Hyperthreading, and a GMA GPU clocked at 533MHz should prove to be quite decent for gaming, HD video playback, and more.

The chipset will support camera sensors up to 16 megapixels, and burst mode implementations will provide 15 frames-per-second (though the sensor will be limited to 8 megapixels for that mode). You can also expect support for resolutions up to 1900×1200, so these fancy ultra HD tablets we’ve been seeing lately will be accommodated quite nicely.

Intel looks to skip the 28nm train as its next step will be 22nm SoCs, and that particular innovation will be here later this year. With that, Intel’s also announcing that ASUS, Lenovo, and ZTE will be among the first partners to adopt Clover-Trail+. Intel has also debuted its multi-purpose LTE modem, the XMM 7160, that will enable smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks with 4G LTE and 3G connectivity. This should help Intel greatly as it looks to break into major LTE markets like the United States and other parts of the world.

Intel’s chipsets have never been that powerful on the mobile side of things, and the latest is not being touted on the same level as NVIDIA’s Tegra 4, Samsung’s Exynos Octacore, or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S800, but it should bring a very affordable and power efficient option for smartphone vendors looking to keep costs down. It’ll be interesting to see how this performs in real-world usage, but we’ll have to wait just a tad longer to get a taste of that for ourselves. Head to the source link for full press details.

[Businesswire]

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25Feb/13Off

First Android 4.2.2 build of AOKP released

AOKP has moved quickly on the release of its first Android 4.2.2. This release brings us to JB-MR1 Build 4, and alongside the usual suspects there are a few new supported devices. Those with the AT&T HTC One XL, Motorola DROID 4, Motorola DROID 3, Motorola DROID RAZR, Motorola DROID Bionic, the Sprint Galaxy Nexus and the GSM Motorola RAZR have been added to the pot of fun.

As with all builds, wiping is optional but highly recommend if coming from an existing 4.2 base. If you’re coming from a 4.0 or 4.1 base you’ll need a full wipe. Get your backups in order and that battery charged to 30-50% before proceeding, and remember that your device is your own responsibility — no one is going to send you $600 to replace it if it happens to disappear into a black hole.

[via AOKP]

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