It looks like the biggest leak of the Play Store's soon-to-launch gift cards may be coming from Google itself. A support page showed up in search indices (that has now been pulled) which confirms the cards will be US-only at launch and will come in $10, $15, $25, and $50 increments. Through some Google-fu, we've also learned your Google Play balance will have a $2000 limit and cannot be used on subscriptions or devices.
We don't normally make a fuss over budget phones, and we definitely don't readily recommend that people buy them (even when they're free). For the Pantech Marauder on Verizon Wireless, however, we'll make an exception. Its Snapdragon S4 processor, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and 4G LTE connectivity make this a budget device that stands out from the pack.
For the unfamiliar, the Marauder is a new offering from Verizon, packing some very respectable hardware (for the most part, anyway):
- Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4
- RAM: 1GB
- Storage: 4GB
- Display: 3.8" 480x800
- Battery: 1680mAh
- OS: Android 4.0
- Dimensions: 5.07" (H) x 2.57" (W) x 0.46" (D)
- Camera: 5MP rear, VGA front
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11b/g/n, WiFi Direct
The clear downside of the Marauder is its smaller-ish 3.8" display, but if you loved the OG Droid and no other phone has been able to fill that void since, the Marauder is your best choice.
It was only a couple days ago that we heard the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Motorola Xyboard Wi-Fi models would be rolling out. Now, Verizon has announced that the same update for the LTE version of the tablet is about to rollout to customers via an OTA upgrade. The package will be about 336.4 MB, so hope you're on Wi-Fi.
Here are some of the changes you'll see with the upgrade:
While companies like Motorola and HTC promised to release fewer phones in 2012, Samsung is sticking with its "the more, the better" mantra. Its newest announcement is for the Galaxy S Duos, a dual-SIM handset for those who are tired of carrying around two phones.
At first blush, the Duos looks very similar to the Galaxy S III - it's innards, however, are not even remotely comparable:
- 4" 480x800 display
- 1GHz processor (assume it's single-core)
- 4GB internal storage, microSD card slot
- dual-SIM always on
- 1,500 mAh battery
- Android 4.0 with Touchwiz
The unique feature of the Duos is, of course, its dual-SIM card slots.
When CyanogenMod 9.0 stable was released a couple of weeks ago, the list of supported devices was dominated by Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones. Fortunately, the team has been hard at work since then to bring the popular firmware to as many devices as possible, and HTC EVO 3D owners will be glad to know that they can download a nightly build of CM 9 right now.
The build is currently available only for GSM models of the device, with CDMA remaining unsupported at the moment.
After an exclusive stint in South Korea and Japan, LG's Optimus Vu is about to take various other parts of the world by storm. Select countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America will be seeing the Vu hit store shelves in September, and I imagine it's going to be pretty hard to miss. It's big. That's the joke.
LG's press release says the Vu "blurs the line" between phones and tablets for a "truly unique experience." I'll certainly buy that.
We've been talking about Sprint's upcoming LTE QWERTY, the Motorola Photon Q, for a few weeks now, and it's officially here. As of today, you can walk into a Sprint store and buy this "green machine with the power of Android" for the low, low price of $200 with a two-year agreement.
Need a refresher on specs? No problem.
- 4.3" ColorBoost display
- 1.5GHz dual-core processor (presumably Snapdragon S4)
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB storage, microSD card slot
- 8MP 1080p rear shooter, 720p front-facing camera
- HDMI out
- Full QWERTY slider
- LTE, global ready
- Android 4.0.4
Sure, it's nothing to get overly-excited about, but if you're a fan of QWERTYs, the Photon Q is probably the best that you can buy right now.
Students have small budgets. We get that. Apparently, so does Samsung. So they took one of their most affordable tablets - the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 - and threw it in a box with the Tab keyboard and USB adapter, but kept the price tag the same as the tablet itself: $250.
Essentially, you're buying the tablet and getting the keyboard and USB adapter completely free, and that's a pretty solid deal.
Hot on the heels of ASUS pushing out Jelly Bean to the TF300, Motorola has announced that ICS is now available for the Wi-Fi Xyboard 10.1 and 8.2.
The update should be rolling out OTA-style now, and brings a host of new features:
- Updated Browser with faster rendering, zoom and pan: Users can also now save pages for offline reading and request desktop versions of websites.
- Swipe to dismiss notifications and recent apps: You can now dismiss individual notifications and apps from the Recent Apps list with a simple swipe of a finger.