So you want more than Google Play can deliver, and the Amazon Appstore leaves you cold. Russian Google competitor Yandex is here to help: they've just launched their own branded app store, creatively titled Yandex.Store. The APK is a freely-available download for any Android device, and after a standard account setup process, you've got access to an impressive selection of mainstream apps. Big titles like Angry Birds, ES File Explorer, SoundHound, Twitter and Opera Mobile are all sitting on the front page. Beneath that is a cache of apps 50,000 strong and growing.
The vast majority of apps on display are free, but there are paid options as well, with support for credit card and cell phone bill payments from dozens of countries including the United States.
We may be knee-deep in MWC coverage right now, but if you just can't stop thinking about how much you want a Galaxy Note 10.1, eBay's got a deal for you. For $380 with free shipping (taxes only applicable in NJ – sorry guys!), you can score Sammy's stylus-packing ten-incher, brand new in the box – meaning this one's not a refurb.
The Note 10.1 packs all sorts of nice tweaks on the software side that makes Android better on the whole, like multi-window, as well as numerous added functions thanks to the S-Pen. It's no slouch on the hardware side (aside from a less-than-stellar display resolution), either:
10.1" 1280x800 display
1.4GHz Quad-Core Exynos 4412 Processor
2 GB RAM
16/32/64GB ROM (Partitioned as Unified Storage!) with microSDHC slot
10.1 inch, 1280x800 LCD
7000mAh Non-Removable Battery
5MP Rear Camera, 1.9MP Front Camera
WiFi A/B/G/N (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Dimensions: 262 x 180 x 8.9 mm
Weight: 600g (3G), 597g (WiFi)
Android 4.1 with TouchWiz
Pressure Sensitive Pen and Wacom Digitizer
Other Extras: An IR Blaster (a TV Remote), USB 2.0 Host, MHL
This deal's only good for the rest of today (unless they run out before), so if you're gonna bite, you better do it now.
Say hello to the newest entrant into the bigger-than-a-phone-but-not-quite-a-tablet arena: ZTE's Grand Memo. It's a massive 5.7" device with a resolution of 1280x720, Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB built-in storage, and a 13MP camera, running Android 4.1. While a 1080p display would've been a nice addition, there's no denying that the Grand Memo is quite a powerful device.
It has a few ZTE-specific tweaks going on, as well – like a safe driving experience with car mode (creatively named, no?), ZTE’s Mifavor for a simplified user experience, and ZTE Z-Cloud...
In the future, your car is going to be connected to the internet. This is a matter of when, not if. Volvo and BMW are already working on auto connectivity, and Verizon has partnered with just about everyone. Today, AT&T and GM announced that they're joining the fray by combining their strengths. Starting in 2014, cars from General Motors will have LTE radios .
More specifically, most 2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac models will support wireless connectivity in the U.S. and Canada. AT&T notes that it expects its LTE network to cover 300 million people by the end of 2014.
Pay-as-you-go Sprint subsidiary Boost Mobile would like you to know that they've got LTE service. It's okay if you didn't - it's not as if they had any phones that could take advantage of the speedier standard. But that should be rectified in just a couple of weeks, when the HTC One SV And the ZTE Force (officially the "Boost Force by ZTE," because American carriers like to push around smaller OEMs) become available for purchase. You can pick both of them up on March 7th for $299.99 and $199.99, respectively and without contract. Meanwhile, over at the other prepaid Sprint MVNO, Virgin is repackaging the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE for $299.99.
Archos may not be the biggest dog on the block, but it does do a good job of supporting the hardware it releases. It's currently sending OTA updates to its 80/101 G9 and the 101XD tablets, which mostly just bring some minor bug fixes to the devices.
For the 80/101 G9, build 4.0.28 mostly brings video tweaks, as well as one small touchscreen optimization:
HDMI: avoid interference of CEC detected as DPAD with some games such as Max Payne
Video: fix playback of some MP4 files
Video: fix aspect ratio on some H264 files
Touchscreen panel: ensure on some devices a proper wakeup when powering screen back on
The 101XS is being bumped to v4.1.2, which delivers some application enhancements, HDMI playback improvements, and a fix for the Google backup manager:
Archos applications: add Archos multimedia server back, update Archos Video, Music, File Manager, GamePad Mapping Tool to be in par with GooglePlay versions.
The push for BYOD (bring your own device) policies in workplaces has been on the rise for the last couple of years, but many corporations have frowned upon Android devices due to "security issues" within the OS. Samsung is looking to change that mindset with its newly-announced KNOX solution.
Essentially, KNOX is a security-enhanced version of Android – based on the NSA-approved SE Linux – optimized for Samsung's SAFE (Samsung for Enterprise) program. It's built-in to both the hardware and Android's framework, so it's really a full-coverage solution. At the application layer, it works to separate personal and corporate data by containerizing and encrypting corporate applications and data, which protects against viruses and malware, as well as outside attacks.
We're here at ASUS's press conference in Barcelona, where the company has just unveiled two new Android products: the Padfone Infinity and Fonepad.
The Padfone Infinity is the follow-up to the Padfone 2, released late in 2012, which was the successor to the original Padfone that debuted at MWC last year. The Fonepad is a tablet that also works as a phone. Right (if you actually want to know more about those things, see this post).
The real story for me, though, was the absolutely fantastically ridiculous press conference. Crammed into a small hotel ballroom across from the Fira Gran Via, a couple hundred tired and annoyed tech journalists waited for the show to begin - ASUS was running about 45 minutes late, and was playing what I can only describe as an instrumental rendition of 'Milkshake.'
At an afternoon press conference across the street from MWC 2013's enormous venue, ASUS has just wrapped a (hilarious) press conference that saw the introduction of two new devices (or three?) – the Padfone Infinity and the Fonepad. Before we dive in for hands-on, let's take a quick look at the specs and pricing for the devices.
Jonney Shih with the Padfone Infinity
The Padfone Infinity is the tablet/phone combination we were expecting from ASUS today. It's got decent specs, and boasts ASUS' new AOCC "Ubiquitous Cloud" functionality, but has a rather stunning price, pegged at €999. The device isn't expected to make an appearance States-side.
Sony's latest tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z, isn't exactly new. While it was announced for Japan last month, Sony fans have been waiting with bated breath for news on worldwide availability and pricing. Today, we have some more information on that front: the Tablet Z is slated to be released across the globe starting in Q2. Furthermore, the US version of the device (which is Wi-Fi only), will cost $499 for the 16GB version, and $599 for the 32GB.
So, given that a Nexus 10 is $100 less, has a higher-resolution display, a newer and unmolested version of Android, and very quick software updates in the future, why would one choose the Tablet Z?