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[Review] Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

It's no secret that most of us hate cables. We want wireless sync and charging. Wi-Fi. Bluetooth. NFC. The list goes on and on. Why then, would we settle for earbuds that remain physically tethered to our device? We wouldn't. Unfortunately, Bluetooth earbuds aren't nearly as commonplace as their wired counterparts, and they oftentimes costs thrice as much (or more). Still, if you just can't stand the thought of using a wired set of 'buds, it's really your best (and only) option.

Enter a new offering to the Bluetooth earbud arena (available for pre-order now, should be in stores early next week): the Phiaton PS 210 BTNC (MSRP $160).

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[Update: Newer Firmware] Samsung Galaxy S III Jelly Bean Firmware Leaks With New Notification Bar And Google Now, Available To Download Now

We saw a video yesterday of a Samsung Galaxy S III running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with a revamped notification bar and access to Google Now. Fast forward 24 hours, and you can now get hold of that firmware yourself to try it out on your very own Galaxy S III.

Update: A newer firmware I9300XXBLH4 got leaked over at XDA by Samsung-Updates.com. It's an OTA (meaning incremental update) that applies directly on top of I9300XXBLG8/I9300OXABLG8/I9300XXLH1.

The folks at SamMobile have managed to get hold of the image, which is a slightly different build to the one shown in the video yesterday.

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[Update: It's Live!] Google Maps Is About To Get An Update To v6.10, Adds A Ton Of New Public Transit Info And Features

It's not quite live yet, but Google would like you to know that Google Maps 6.10 is on its way to handsets by the end of the day. "What's new for me, the public transit user?" I hear you ask. Quite a bit, in fact! First off, Google has announced that it now has data on more than one million transit stops worldwide, spread throughout almost 500 cities. In an effort to make that information more usable, the Transit Lines map layer can now me narrowed down to a single method of transportation. Um. Yes please.

googlemapstransit

In addition, station pages will now show departure times, which lines serve the station, and how far to other platforms nearby.

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Dolphin Browser Beta Hits The Play Store, Boasts Major HTML5 Rendering Speed Improvements

At the beginning of the month, the Dolphin team released a new version of their popular browser to the Play Store. It featured the normal UI and performance enhancements, but apparently that just wasn't good enough for the Dolphin crew. Today, they have released a public beta of Dolphin Browser that brings some pretty impressive numbers where HTML5 rendering speed is concerned:

How fast? Dolphin Browser Beta's HTML-5 rendering is:
• 5 - 10X faster than the default Android browser
• 100% faster than Chrome (at times)
• Initially scored over 450 when tested on HTML5test.com. (HTML5test.com is an industry respected tool for testing a browser’s support of HTML5)

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Judging by the few comments already in the Play Store at the time of writing this, it looks like those numbers aren't just smoke and mirrors - the early reports are claiming that it's quite a bit faster than previous versions of Dolphin.

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Now You Can Add Your Discover Card To Google Wallet Straight From Discover's Site

When Google announced that it would support all major credit and debit cards, it was big news. What may have slipped under the radar, however, is that Mountain View also sent an open invitation to card issuers to sign up for tighter integration into the service. Today, Google is announcing that you can add your Discover card to Google Wallet directly from your account on Discover's website. You even get fancy card graphics now, too!

The process is stupid simple to set up:

To save your Discover Card to Google Wallet, just follow these short steps:

  1. Visit discover.com/googlewallet and sign into your Discover account
  2. Click “Add Your Card”
  3. Sign into your Google Account

And that’s it!

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Images Of Google Play Gift Cards Show Up Online In $10 And $25 Increments

Last night, Artem tore down the APK of the new Play Store and found a whole bunch of upcoming goodies, including  support for wishlists and gift cards. The first physical evidence of said gift cards has now landed in the hands of Android Central, showing off what we'll likely see soon in retail stores across the country.

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That, of course, raises another question: which stores will sell these gift cards? Unfortunately, for that, we don't yet have an answer. However, we've already started to hear rumors that Google could be planning to release these cards, presumably along with the new features, around the end of August/first of September.

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Xiaomi Phone 2 Announced, Packs Quad-Core S4 CPU, 4.3" 720p Display, MIUI, And A $310 Price Tag

Chinese company Xiaomi (known for their popular ROM MIUI) has just announced a new phone, and this one looks to be every bit as impressive today as the original was when it was announced a year ago. The specs on the cleverly named Xiaomi Phone 2 stand out even in the world of quad-core superphones, and the company has managed to do so while maintaining a price point of just $310 USD.

  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 CPU (Adreno 320 GPU, 28nm)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB memory
  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • 4.3" 720p IPS display
  • 2,000mAh battery
  • 8MP rear camera, 2MP front
  • 10.2mm thick
  • MIUI ROM
  • $310 USD
  • Launching in China in October

2012-08-16_07h03_00 2012-08-16_07h03_25 2012-08-16_07h03_51

The company claims some ultra-impressive benchmark results (above left), and we're inclined to believe them.

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Google Play Movie Rentals Come To Germany, Hangouts On Air Spread Through Europe

One of the most common complaints against Google's Play Store is the lack of certain content or functionality in countries outside the US. Google has been making progress in expanding access to other corners of the globe, though. You may remember, for example, that Play Books hit France just last month after Play Movies opened for the French in March and for Spain in June.

Today, Google (finally) brought Play Movie rentals to Germany, much to the delight of German users who have been asking for more Play content for quite some time. Strangely, the addition of movie rentals to the German market came without an official announcement, but was confirmed by multiple Twitter users and our own readers.

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Google Is Gearing Up To Finally Introduce Play Store Gift Cards And A Wishlist [APK Teardown]

A new Google Play Store v3.8.15 apk started rolling out to Android devices today, but upon running through its UI, I was unable to uncover anything different from the versions before that. Yet the apk size gained a few pounds kilobytes, and not knowing what the 300KB of code and resources added was killing me. Not to worry, a few minutes later, I decoded both 3.7.15 and 3.8.15 and compared their contents.

Play Store Gift Cards

What I found inarguably points to Google gearing up to finally release redeemable Play Store gift cards - something we've been anxiously waiting for since the Android Market started supporting paid apps.

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Verizon Galaxy SIII Unlocked Thanks To Leaked Unsecure Bootloader

Despite Verizon's best efforts to keep their own variant of the Galaxy SIII locked down, ingenious users haven't been deterred in rooting, flashing custom ROMs, and even bypassing the device's locked bootloader to use custom kernels. The fact remained, however, that VZW's SIII had a locked bootloader which, in general, is a hassle for developers and tweakers hoping to customize the SIII to its fullest potential. It was this fact that made Samsung's promised Developer Edition SIII appealing to many.

Things started to look a little brighter for SIII users on Verizon today though, with the introduction of an unsecure bootloader "leaked by an African-Canadian Sock Monkey," revealed earlier this evening at XDA.

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