Verizon launches Advanced Calling, compatible with Galaxy S5 and LG G2
By Dima Aryeh
It’s been in the works for a while now, and it seems Verizon is finally ready to release it. The company has launched Advanced Calling 1.0, or Big Red’s version of VoLTE (Voice over LTE). This allows you to make calls over your data network, providing HD voice quality and allowing for video calls without any third party apps.
To use Advanced Calling 1.0, you’ll need to go through a few steps. First, you’ll need a fully updated Samsung Galaxy S5 or LG G2, as those are the only two devices currently supported. Updates went out for both devices recently to prepare them for this. Then you’ll need to go to the Advanced Calling website and enable the feature on your plan. Next, enable the feature in settings under Networks, and you’re good to go.
With everything done, you should be able to call people that also have a supported device and have it enabled, though we doubt that’ll be many people at first. You’ll have a group in your dialer to show you who can accept HD calls. And when calling, you’ll see two extra buttons for enabling your camera.
For those worried about using up your data, voice calls over LTE will be billed as standard minutes. Video calls will still cost you data, but you won’t have to worry about data overages chatting with friends.
While it’s not a very useful feature at the moment, as support is so limited, it’ll grow and become the standard over time. Voice calling has long needed an upgrade and I’m glad to see it’s finally getting it. How many of you can actually make an HD voice call? Leave a comment!
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has the best display ever used in a smartphone
DisplayMate is know for being hands-down the most comprehensive smartphone and tablet display analysis firm in the business. So when they say something good about a smartphone’s display, you know they mean it. Today, DisplayMate has published their findings on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and it’s nothing but good news for Samsung’s latest flagship.
According to DisplayMate, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 boasts the best display they have ever tested in a smartphone. From the Note 4′s analysis:
Based on our extensive Lab tests and measurements, the Galaxy Note 4 is the Best performing Smartphone display that we have ever tested. It matches or breaks new records in Smartphone display performance for: Highest Absolute Color Accuracy, Highest Screen Resolution, Infinite Contrast Ratio, Highest Peak Brightness, Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light, and the smallest Brightness Variation with Viewing Angle. Its Color Management capability provides multiple Color Gamuts – a major advantage that is not currently provided by any of the other leading Smartphones. The Galaxy Note 4 delivers uniformly consistent all around Top Tier display performance: it is the first Smartphone display to ever get all Green (Very Good to Excellent) Ratings in all test and measurement categories (except one Yellow for a Brightness Variation with Average Picture Level) since we started the Display Technology Shoot-Out article Series in 2006, an impressive achievement for a display. The Galaxy Note 4 has again raised the bar for top display performance up by another notch.Dr Raymond SoneiraDisplayMate
While Samsung is busy bragging about being the first to market with oversized smartphone-tablet hybrids, they should be bragging about this. What better selling point for a device with a 5-plus-inch display is there than “Our device has the best screen on the market”? Apparently, Samsung has killed it in the hardware department. They probably won’t, but let’s just hope they don’t forget to remind everyone.
First pics of Nexus 9 keyboard case leak via China’s NCC
By Andrew Grush
While HTC and Google have yet to officially announce their plans for the Nexus 9, at this point we pretty much know for certain that the device is more than just a rumor. In fact, Nvidia even named the device in its court paperwork for a lawsuit against Qualcomm recently.
While nothing is 100% certain, the Nexus 9 is believed to have a premium design and will be powered by a Tegra K1 with perhaps as much as 4GB of RAM. We also will get the final version of Android L and some pretty cool accessories including a keyboard case that we first heard about earlier this month.
While we’ve yet to see any leaks regarding the HTC Nexus 9’s final design, we now have what appears to be the actual Nexus 9 keyboard case. The images were first spotted in China’s National Communications Commission database and seem to fall in line with what we believe the official case may look like, though the button layout appears to be slightly different.
Of course, we still can’t confirm that this really is a case destined for the Nexus 9, but we would not be surprised if the keyboard pictured above is in fact the real deal. It’s also unclear if this is the final hardware, or just a prototype design.
What do you think of the keyboard accessory, and of the Nexus 9 in general? Let us know in the comments below.
Source:: android authority
Get more bang for your buck with Sprint’s new prepaid plans
Sprint’s prepaid branch, remarkably known as Sprint Prepaid, has revamped its plans to offer you much better deals than its previous offerings. Sprint Prepaid was announced in March as a way for Sprint customers to use a prepaid service rather than switching to an MVNO. The initial plans came in at $45 for unlimited talk and text and $60 for unlimited talk and text as well as 2.5GB data. Both plans clocked in as quite poor deals in the prepaid market.
Sprint Prepaid is now changing its plans to a simple, tiered structure. The new hierarchy consists of three plans, each including unlimited talk and text as well as an allotment of data. For $35 per month, you get 1GB of data. The plans go up to $45 for 3GB of data and $55 for 6GB of data, making these plans a significant jump over their predecessors and on par with many MVNOs. As usual with prepaid plans, the service is contract-free and in Sprint’s case, is only offered on a select number of devices from the carrier.
One point of note is the caveat that Sprint threw in. The new plans mention that “video streaming may be limited to 3G speeds”, meaning that you won’t be able to do everything on Sprint’s 4G LTE network. If you’re not a frequent user of video streaming, this should be a moot point. If you do use video over cellular data, however, you may want to reconsider as Sprint’s 3G network is notoriously slow.
Chinese city creates sidewalk lane specifically for addicted mobile users
By Andrew Grush
We’ve talked before about how nearly all of us are addicted to our smartphones these days, taking them practically everywhere we go including the bathroom, dates, dinner, church and some even use their smartphone during sex.
As the world continues its addiction, we will see the government and businesses further adapting by making changes that are designed to take our mobile-addicted lifestyles into consideration. This includes changes in the law related to driving, changes in what kind of devices you can and can’t use in certain public places and, in the case of the Chinese city of Chongqing, changes to our sidewalk lanes.
That’s right, the city has now divided its sidewalks into two different lanes: one for those that are walking about likely in a hurry, and the left lane is reserved for those of us barely watching where we are going as we stare down at our mobile devices. While it might seem a bit silly to create a lane specifically for those on their phones, it actually makes sense. At least you’ll know that people in these lanes aren’t watching where they are going so you can look out for them, and if you are in a hurry you don’t have to worry about bumping into them either.
Are you a walk-and-text (or walk and browse, for that matter) type of user? If so, what do you think of this idea — would you like to see such lanes in a city near you? Conversely, do you feel such an extreme measure is largely unnecessary?
Source:: android authority
What does Android One give you for $100?
By Rob Triggs
Android One has finally arrived, with Indian manufacturers Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice all putting devices up for sale today. With a wallet friendly $100 price tag (Rs. 6200-6400 in India), the latest pure Android KitKat experience, and a guaranteed update to Android L later this year, the first batch of Android One handsets seem quite appealing.However, are they the best handsets that you can buy on a budget?
Interestingly, the three manufacturers are releasing handsets with identical hardware. Karbonn has the Sparkle V, Micromax has the Canvas A1, and Spice has named its the Dream Uno. Here’s what around $100 will get you in each of the Android One handsets:
- 4.5” 854×480 display, with 217 ppi
- 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex A7 processor (MediaTek MT6582)
- 1 GB RAM
- 4 GB storage (expandable up to 32GB)
- 2x micro SIM
- 2MP front and 5MP rear facing cameras
- Rechargeable lithium-ion, 1700mAh
- Android™ 4.4 KitKat, with update to Android L coming soon
That’s some very reasonable hardware for the price, although with the budget SoC you’re stuck with ARM’s lower power CPU cores, the Cortex A7s. High-end flagships make use of ARM’s high performance Cortex-A15 designs or Qualcomm’s Krait spin-off, and are already moving towards the new 64-bit A53 and A57 designs. However, A7 cores offer excellent battery life, and four of them combined certainly have enough grunt for day to day smartphone tasks.
On the GPU side of things, the Mali-400MP2 found in the MediaTek chip is a slightly more low-end affair, offering performance somewhere in the region of Nvidia’s older Tegra 3 and Qualcomm’s entry level Adreno 305 GPUs, depending on which benchmarks you look at. We’ve seen what the MediaTek SoC can do in our review of the more expensive Zopo ZP320, and it is quite reasonable. The multi-core MediaTek processor and 1GB of RAM should secure a mostly smooth multitasking experience on a clutter free stock Android OS, and the entry level GPU will be fine at the lower display resolution.
Speaking of which, the 4.5 inch display is on the larger size for this category, but the FWVGA resolution is clearly a choice aimed at keeping manufacturing costs down. As a result, the pixel density of the display falls somewhat below the average at just 217ppi. It is far from fuzzy, but individual pixels will be noticeable.
Other Android manufacturers aren’t strangers to the budget game either, and big brands like Motorola and Samsung has some compelling staples in this price range too. Let’s take a look at how these three stack up against the current competition.
Back at the start of the year, Asus launched its budget ZenFone range of smartphones. The collection features 3 different display sizes; 4, 5, and 6 inch models; with increasing costs and tweaks to the internal components for each. The closest to our $100 (Rs. 6,000) budget is the 4 inch model, which unfortunately is the most cut down handset of the bunch.
- 4.0” 800×480 display, 233 ppi
- 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 8 GB storage (expandable up to 64GB)
- 2x SIM slots
- 0.3 MP front camera and 5 MP rear camera
- 1600 mAh battery
- Android 4.3, upgradable to Android 4.4
If you can live with a slightly smaller 4 inch display and lack of decent front facing camera, the ZenFone 4 is quite a close competitor to the Android One smartphones, given the price. Don’t be put off by the dual-core processor, the Z2520 is hyper-threading enabled, meaning that it has four threads for heavier multitasking situations. Each core is a bit beefier than the Cortex-A7s and the SoC also comes with a decent PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU. The extra internal memory might also be helpful for those without a microSD card at hand.
If you can stretch your budget a little further, the 5 and 6 inch Asus ZenFones feature crisp 720p displays, slightly faster 2 GHz Intel Atom Z2680 processors, higher resolution cameras, and larger batteries. The ZenFone 5 is priced at around $149 (Rs. 12,999), whilst the 6 inch model costs $199 (Rs. 19,999). However, there’s no mention of future Android L updates for these phones though.
Moto G (second generation)
The Moto G is pretty much considered the go to mid-range / budget handset these days, and Motorola has recently launched the second generation version of this hugely popular handset. Although the Moto G (2014) retails for around double the price of these Android One devices ($179 or Rs. 12,999), you’ll see why a spec comparison is quite warranted.
- 5.0” 1280×720 display, 294 ppi
- 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex A7 process (Snapdragon 400)
- 1 GB RAM
- 8/16 GB storage (with support for 32GB via microSD)
- 2x micro SIM
- 2MP front and 8MP rear cameras
- Non-removable 2070 mAh battery
- Android 4.4, with update to Android L coming soon
Whilst there are a couple of glaring hardware differences, such as the larger display and the better rear camera, the much cheaper Android One devices fare very well by comparison. Looking at the SoC package, the Android One MediaTek chip offers very similar core components as the Moto G’s Snapdragon 400, and so should not struggle when it comes to performance. If you opt for a microSD card, you can also close the storage gap for very little cost. However, the 1st Gen Moto G features roughly similar specs as the 2nd Gen, and can be found at much lower prices (when stock is actually available), making the choice a little tougher.
As far as cost is concerned, the Moto E is Motorola’s closest competitor to the new Android One handsets – costing around £129 (Rs. 6,999). Let’s cut to the hardware.
T-Mobile signs deal with Gogo, Verizon possibly next
Inflight connectivity continues to flounder due to average service, high prices and limited availability. With Gogo holding a near complete monopoly on inflight connectivity, AT&T has even been talking to the FCC about a 4G LTE-based inflight service.
Now, T-Mobile has agreed to an exclusive partnership with Gogo that will allow T-Mobile customers, at no charge, to send and receive text and picture messages as well as visual voicemail using their phone number over Gogo’s inflight system. If T-Mobile customers want to access this service, they will need to have their Wi-Fi Calling-enabled phone in airplane mode and connected to Gogo Wi-Fi.
As RunwayNetworkGirl notes, this is a low-bandwidth service, and therefore will not take up that much space from Gogo’s air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity pipe.
There are also rumors of Verizon and Gogo coming to an agreement once T-Mobile’s exclusive deal expires:
Interestingly, some industry observers believe a sponsorship agreement between Verizon and Gogo would also be compelling. “Verizon could agree to pay $20 million per year to sponsor Gogo for its customers, for instance,” noted satellite industry consultant Tim Farrar in a recent conversation. That might be less sexy to some than a JV or acquisition, but it’s logical. – RunwayGirlNetwork
Source:: android authority
Analysts predict second earnings shock for Samsung
By Andrew Grush
Samsung posted less-than-great results for its Q2 2014 earnings report back in August, an things aren’t looking any better for Q3 either. In the wake of increased competition from Chinese smartphone makers and the announcement of bigger-screened Apple devices, several analysts have adjusted their Q3 forecasts for the Korean giant.
IBK Securities originally forecasted operating profits for July-September to be around 6 trillion won (roughly $5.8 billion), but have now adjusted down to just 5 trillion won. IBK also believes expected sales will fall as low as 49 trillion won. Again, IBK isn’t the only one making changes, as both BS Securities and Samsung Securities both predict sales of 49.8 and 50.5 trillion respectively and operating profits in the 5.7 trillon won range. How does this compare to last year? Q3 2013 saw an operating profit of 10.16 trillon won, basically double what IBK and others are predicting.
Looking at these forecasts, it’s easy to think that Samsung has seen better days, and it has. That said, it’s not all doom and gloom, either. Samsung is still the de facto leader of the Android world. Additionally, the recently announced Note 4 has yet to make its way into the hands of consumers and new devices like the premium Galaxy Alpha family could also win the Korean giant new and/or returning fans in the months and years to come.
It’s true that Samsung has seen an increased level of competition from both old rivals like Apple and newcomers like Xiaomi, but Samsung shouldn’t panic just yet. Slumps happen, the question is whether Sammy can rise above the challenges and come out strong than ever. What do you think, is this the beginning of Samsung’s fall from grace as the king of Android OEMs or just a temporary slump? Additionally, what changes can Samsung make to turn things around?
Source:: android authority
Indie app of the day – Neonize
By Joe Hindy
What is Neonize?
Neonize is a rhythm based shooter game that is a little bit like mixture of Flash Flash Revolution and Asteroid. The way it works is you must tap the screen in a specific manner to a beat, memorize the pattern, and continue level to level. If you mess up, the thing in the center that you’re defending gets destroyed and you lose.
Here’s how it works. There are four buttons on the screen. As a song on the device plays, things will fly toward the center and pass through the buttons. You just need to hit the buttons in time to shoot the object headed for the center. Each level has phases where the music ramps up and gets faster which means the objects floating to the center get faster as well. There are also Google Play Games achievements so you can track your progress if you want to.
It features arcade style graphics, lots of bright colors, and fast paced game play. This is perfect for those who only want to play for a few minutes at a time. It’s also totally free without in app purchases so it’s also great for people looking for a distraction who also are also looking for something inexpensive.
Boom tish boom tish boom tish.
- Quick game play and colorful graphics make this a great time waster for people of all ages.
- Free to play with no in app purchases.
- Difficulty progression makes it easy to start out and learn and difficult to finish.
- Arcade style retro graphics are great for those who like to keep their games simple.
- Google Play Games services adds achievements.
- It doesn’t have a lot of depth. You play the rhythm game and there’s a cursory story line, but that’s about it.
- Since it is rhythm based, you’ll can’t play this game quietly.
- The game is a little short.
There aren’t a lot of rhythm based games on Android and this is a decent one. It is free to play without in app purchases which will make people happy. The graphics are colorful and fun even if they are a bit minimal. If you like rhythm based stuff, check it out!
Source:: android authority
Motorola offering students $50 off the new Moto X
By Sean Riley
If you have an .edu address then you qualify for a $50 discount on the off contract Moto X (Pure Edition) when it goes up for pre-order tomorrow. You do need to have current access to the .edu address, though, as Motorola will be sending a promo code to that address that you can apply during the pre-order.
The Moto X is already one of the better values on the smartphone market at $499, so at $449 I can’t recommend it enough. And getting the carrier-free version is definitely the way to go if you can in order to avoid AT&T and Verizon’s bloatware.
This offer does allow you to customize with Moto Maker, which I had a lot of fun with on my original Moto X. One of the new leather backs would be pretty tempting to me, but the bamboo on my review unit looks and feels fantastic too, so I’m not sure if there are any bad options.
If you’ve got a .edu email address and want to be one of the first with Motorola’s latest, hit up the source link to get your discount code so you are ready to get that pre-order in tomorrow.