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LG G2 Review: A Pretty Good Phone Held Back By Some Pretty Not Good Software

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. And that's fair enough, even if they are unquestionably a very small minority of the smartphone-buying public.

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A Year Late And A Dollar Short: AT&T Will Release The Samsung Galaxy S III Mini On September 27th For $.99

Those of you looking for a cheap, small phone running Android will have one more option on AT&T starting later this month. The company issued a press release this morning finally announcing the release date for the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini. That's Samsung's cheaper, smaller version of the GSIII which actually has very little in common with the GSIII in terms of hardware. It will launch on AT&T on September 27th for $.99 on a two-year contract.

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If you've forgotten about the S III Mini, we couldn't blame you: the original international phone was announced almost a year ago, and has been superseded by the Galaxy S4 Mini.

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[Deal Alert] Amazon And Best Buy Offering Verizon HTC One For $49.99 With New Accounts And Upgrades

Verizon may have just gotten the HTC One, but it's hard to call it a "new" phone. Other carriers have been selling the aluminum slab for a few months now. It's getting to the point where that on-contract price is downright reasonable. For example, right now the Verizon HTC One is $49.99 on both Amazon and Best Buy.

2013-09-17 08_49_56-HTC One 4G Mobile Phone PN07310 - Best Buy

You can get this deal whether you're a new customer or you're upgrading an existing line. This is the same HTC One you're familiar with, although the Verizon version comes with Android 4.2. The other carriers are still waiting to get off 4.1.

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US Cellular's Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Goes On Sale Tomorrow Online, September 19th In Stores For $149.99

Are you the kind of hulking man-monster than accidentally crushes tiny conventional smartphones in your Bunyan-like grasp? Alternately, do you always carry a purse (you too, ladies) and prefer a phone with as big a screen as possible? And are you a current or prospective US Cellular customer? Well then, prepare to have your day made. The leviathan Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 goes on sale for US Cellular tomorrow for $149.99 on-contract after an instant rebate.

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The carrier will be selling the Nova Black version of the phone online starting tomorrow, September 17th. Retail stores will get the phone at the same price on Thursday, September 19th.

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WidgetLocker Gets A Play Store Beta Program Via Google+ Community

More and more developers are taking advantage of the nifty new ability to start a semi-closed beta on the Google Play Store via Google+. The latest is TeslaCoil Software, makers of the customization tool WidgetLocker (among other things). If you want to try out the latest and possibly greatest version of WidgetLocker, just head for this Google+ Community and join in.

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Joining the beta is quite simple. Once you join the community, click the Play Store link that's displayed on the page, go through the standard warnings and whatnot, and you'll be directed to a seemingly normal Play Store entry for the app.

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[What's Really New/APK Teardown] Google Maps Update 7.2 Rolling Out: Google Now-Style Navigation Card, Hotel Rates, HTC Contacts Bug Fix, And More [APK Download]

Earlier today, Google started slowly rolling out an update to Maps with version 7.2. This is a point release, up from 7.1, so I expected more than just minor changes. While not as big as the quiet Drive update yesterday, Maps 7.2 brings a few notable changes to the table that Google has not yet (or won't ever) itemized in the changelog. Upon getting my hands on the APK, which you can find at the bottom of this post, I hopped onto the teardown couch and dug in.

What's new?

Route preview and one-tap Start navigation button

One of the most notable changes is the Google Now-style route preview for the first of three possible navigation route cards.

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T-Mobile Starts Selling The LG G2 Online Ahead Of Schedule, Still Slated To Debut The Phone In Stores September 25th

No one likes to be last. The LG G2 was originally slated to become available online from T-Mobile on September 18th, nearly a week after competitors Verizon Wireless and AT&T were to start offering the handset. AT&T already jumped the gun when they started offering sales online a week ago, and now T-Mobile is offering the G2 at the same time as everyone else, at least online.

T-MobileG2

Unlike AT&T and Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile offers the G2 for $99.99 upfront. Of course, this comes with a commitment to pay $21 a month for two years to pay off the remainder of the device.

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[Deal Alert] Amazon Has The AT&T Galaxy S4 And Galaxy S4 Active For Just $108 For New Customers Or $118 For Upgrades

It doesn't take very long for new phones to go on sale these days, especially if you're savvy enough to check Amazon. For example, the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now just $108 for new customers, or $118 for those who are eligible for an upgrade. (You can also add a new line and get the phone for $108.) Want something a little tougher? Amazon is offering the ruggedized Galaxy S4 Active at the same prices.

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AT&T's Galaxy S4 is being offered in white, black, and red colors, while the S4 Active comes in grey and a fetching grey-on-teal combo.

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HP SlateBook x2 Review: A Potentially Good Device With One Unfixable Flaw

When it comes to Android tablets with detachable keyboards, one name comes to mind: Transformer. There's no denying that ASUS has carved out a pretty specific niche in the Android tablet/laptop convertible category. HP is looking to change that with the SlateBook x2, a 10.2-inch Android tablet with a keyboard dock that essentially converts it to an Android-powered laptop. It's small enough to fall into the "netbook" category, but that's a dirty word I try to stay away from.

Here's the thing though - this feels nothing like ASUS' offerings. When I heard about the SlateBook x2, I just assumed it would be an ASUS knockoff - a copycat of an already-successful product.

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Alleged 7-Inch Kindle Fire HD 2 Photos And Details Leaked, Reveal New Design And An Enhanced Display

The Kindle Fire isn't the type of Android tablet that sends enthusiasts running to the store in droves, but that shouldn't diminish all that the tablet gets right. It remains one of the best-selling Android tablets out there, and if you aren't turned off by ads - excuse me, special offers - it's one of the best new tablets you can find at such a low price. Amazon will offer a refreshed version of their popular tablet anytime now, but new leaked photos may just spoil the surprise of what the company's upcoming tablet will look like. That's okay, these things always happen.

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