Update 2: Samsung has clarified the issue to Android Central, and it turns out it's actually not all that bad. Here's the gist: if you buy a Galaxy Note 3 (or other region-locked Samsung phone), it must be activated with a SIM in its home region. That means you can't import a Note 3 from Taiwan and then activate it in Europe, for example, and if you try to do that, it will lock itself.
Smart IR Remote has been missing from the Play Store for over a month, but now it's back, and it comes with greatly needed changes. For starters, you no longer have to purchase a separate version of the app to use it on both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, a deal that's bigger than you would expect considering that we're talking about two $10 purchases. And since the app is currently available for 50% off, you can get support for both smartphones for just $4.99.
Samsung has announced a new advanced pixel technology for CMOS image sensors called ISOCELL that it promises will get higher color fidelity in poor lighting conditions. This new technology has currently been developed for use in an 8MP camera, and it's scheduled to enter mass production in Q4 2013. We can reasonably expect this advancement to appear in future Galaxy products down the road.
The flower on the right shows more yellows than the one on the left, a detail that makes more of a difference once you pan out to view the entire image (an option we unfortunately don't have with the one picture Samsung provided).
I'm here in Beijing for Oppo's launch event for the new N1 smartphone, and last night I had a chance to spend some time with the up-and-coming Chinese OEM's super-sized flagship, as well as learn a bit more about it from a couple of Oppo's engineers and PR team.
As far as basic impressions, the N1 does feel like quite a premium phone. It has a similar painted plastic outer shell to the Find 5, while the internal structure of the phone is actually supported by an anodized aluminum frame.
Whether you consider Google's partnership with the KitKat brand a delightful cross-promotional play, a brand sell-out (though officially no money changed hands), or something else entirely, there's no denying both sides have enthusiastically pursued the team-up which promises some lucky winners free Nexus 7 tablets, and Android users the still mysterious Android 4.4 KitKat.
Giving us a break (get it?) from the hype surrounding the next Nexus phone, KitKat recently held a promotion in which contestants need only "have a break" to win a new Nexus 7.
Steve Kondik and company announced earlier this week that the CyanogenMod ROM has been incorporated into Cyanogen Inc, with the aim of strengthening the pseudo-platform and reaching more users. Since the first announcement Cyanogen has been teasing one major hardware partner, and it looks like that has been revealed.
Update: We've confirmed the details of the Oppo arrangement: Here's How Cyanogen Inc Wants The CyanogenMod-Enabled N1 And The First Hardware Partnership With Oppo To Work.
I am generally of the view that when it comes to high-end smartphones, most such phones are now squarely in the "pretty good" category. While the internet moans and groans about SD cards, removable batteries, and heavy-handed UI modifications, these things are trivial to most people in the day-to-day operation of a device. But much in the same way some car enthusiasts refuse to relinquish the manual transmission, some smartphone enthusiasts will not let go of the microSD slot until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers.
The second annual Mobile Pwn2Own competition, run by HP TippingPoint's Zero Day Initiative, is fast approaching. This year's event will take place at the PacSec Applied Security Conference in Tokyo from November 13-14, and over $300,000 in cash and prizes is up for grabs. The Pwn2Own contest challenges security researchers to find and exploit vulnerabilities on mobile devices and rewards them by giving them the device they were able to compromise.
LG's latest flagship device is now available on Verizon Wireless, the first carrier to offer the 5.2-inch handset in-stores. Verizon customers can pick up one by handing over $199.99 with a two-year contract or paying $599 to get the phone contract-free.
Update: If you enter the promo code RMN30 at checkout, it will take $30% off the upfront cost, which amounts to $60. This should bring the price down to $139.99 before taxes.
This is the app roundup. The game roundup from last week can be found here.