Motorola Atrix HD hands-on and initial review

It’s been a while since I got a chance to review a Motorola phone, and I think the Atrix HD is going to be a great way to reacquaint myself. The moment you put it in your hands, you remember just how well Motorola builds their phones. Everything feels solid, looks good, and this puppy is Fast (with the capital F). 

Blur has been redesigned to go with Ice Cream Sandwich, and my first impression is that they’ve really come a long way with it. This Blur is not something i would hate to use, and I’ve already found something I wish my own phone could do — gestures to open a quick-view panel for things like unread messages, favorite contacts, or your inbox. Swipe up from the home screen icon and you’re presented with a handy pop-up with pertinent information. Well done Motorola.

Of course, it takes more than an hour to determine everything we like, and don’t like about a phone. We like to share our first impressions (were we haven’t been jaded or enamored by anything just yet) and we know a lot of you guys and girls are itching for some info about this one. 

Hit the break to see a short video and a couple pictures, and fill the forums with questions you need answered in our full review!

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NBC bringing the London 2012 Olympics to Android with the release of two new apps

With the London 2012 Olympic stage now all set, millions of people around the world will be tuned in to see who takes home the gold. To ensure a wide range of coverage, NBC and Adobe have teamed up to bring two new apps to Android that will help folks on to go take in what will amount to over 3,500 hours of content covering 32 sports and every one of the 302 medal events. The two apps, NBC Olympics and NBC Olympics Live Extra, are both available for free right now but there are some differences between the two that you’ll need to be aware of.

* NBC Olympics - NBC Olympics app will be the home for everything else Olympics, including short-form highlights, event schedules, TV and online listings, results, athlete profiles, columns and the new Primetime Companion feature.
* NBC Olympics Live Extra - The NBC Olympics Live Extra app will live stream every athletic competition for the first time ever. NBC Olympics Live Extra will also live stream the Olympic content that airs on the four NBCU cable channels — NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo and as such, requires an account from existing cable, satellite and telco providers to gain fill access.

Clearly NBC’s goal here was to provide the most comprehensive coverage for the Olympics as possible and the apps do look pretty awesome. If you’re looking to take in the Olympics on the go, you’ll find the links below along with the press release. If you’re a Samsung Galaxy S III owner in Europe, don’t forget to grab your free Eurosport subscription.

Downloads: NBC Olympics, NBC Olympics Live Extra

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http://dlvr.it/1rVwBJ

Garnet Red AT&T Galaxy S III preorders start July 15, in stores July 29

If you’ve been waiting for the garnet red Samsung Galaxy S III on AT&T, you’ll be able to preorder it starting July 15. It’ll be in stores starting July 29. 

It’ll still run you $199 on contract, just like the white and blue versions. And it’s still only rocking 16GB on on-board storage, but don’t forget it’ll take up to a 64-gigabyte micro SD card, so there’s that.

Source: AT&T

http://dlvr.it/1rRhQr

O2 UK outage - 2G/voice service restores for affected users, 3G due to return later today

The O2 UK service outage that began affecting some users yesterday lunchtime is in the process of being fixed, it seems. Not all O2 subscribers have been affected, but those caught up in the past day’s outage have found themselves unable to use O2’s voice or data networks on their handsets. The issue has also been affecting some on Tesco Mobile and GiffGaff, both of which use O2’s network.

The British carrier has been posting updates on the glitch through its service status website overnight, in addition to communicating via its official Twitter account. The last status update reads —

Following the previous update that our 2G network service has now been restored, our 3G service has been restoring gradually. We expect full service to return this afternoon. In the meantime customers who were affected should still be able to make and receive calls (and may wish to try switching their mobile phones off and on as service returns). We are sorry again for the inconvenience this has caused some customers. We continue to deploy all possible resources, and will do so until full service is restored.

A previous update said that O2 had identified an issue with its network equipment, which was preventing some customers from being able to register on the network. Such an outage is unprecedented for a major network in the UK — usually network outages are localized and quickly resolved. Now O2, which may now be required under UK consumer law to compensate affected customers, will likely be closely examining the root cause of this to prevent any recurrence in the future.

If you’re on O2 UK, be sure to drop by the comments and let us know if you’re among the disconnected.

More: O2 UK status page

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Google Shipping the Galaxy Nexus again

Just a quick heads up here that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is once again shipping from the Google Play store, just as Google said it would this week. It’s listed at 3 to 5 days, which is relatively back to normal, considering it’s been a little about two weeks since it was "banned," denied a stay and then saw the ban delayed anyway by an appellate court. Confused? Just know that it has to do with search patents, and that we’re expecting to see the Google Apps retooled to work around Apple’s little piece of paper. It is worth noting, though, that Samsung’s been pulling local-device search from its Galaxy S III line as well (to wit, Sprint and this evening, AT&T).

So if you’ve got $350 to burn and want some Jelly Bean action, hit the link below.

Buy now: Galaxy Nexus unlocked; _thanks to everyone who sent this in!_

http://dlvr.it/1rJHcr

Motorola confirms Atrix HD shipping with encrypted bootloader ‘to meet requirements’

It became officially official only yesterday, but there’s potential disappointment to be had for prospective buyers of the Motorola Atrix HD. Motorola has confirmed, via their Twitter page, when questioned, that the new AT&T LTE device will be shipping with a locked bootloader in order to “meet requirements.” Cue the surprised gasps. 

On the flip side though, it isn’t all doom and gloom. In a second tweet on the subject, Moto claims that their goal is to still provide a method of unlocking the bootloader at some point in the future. More details on that are promised at a later date.

Source: Twitter (Motorola)

http://dlvr.it/1rGdn1

Sprint Motorola Photon 4G gets a bugfix update

If you’re still rocking a Sprint Motorola Photon 4G (all of, what, a year old now?), be on the lookout for a software update that’s going to squash some bugs for ya. Here’s the full list of what’s ahead:

* More easily import contacts from SD card.
* Improved music playback, both streaming from Amazon Cloud or Internet Radio services and music saved to the phone - minimizes occasional skips or repeats
* Enhancements for WiFi hotspot in GSM/UMTS mode and adding new WiFi connections.
* Now supports 1080p HD video capture, and enhanced video settings for more responsive playback.
* Easier creating and accepting calendar meeting notices on the phone.

The Photon hasn’t seen an update since October, so it’s good Sprint hasn’t forgotten about it just yet. 

Source: Sprint; more: Photon 4G forums

http://dlvr.it/1rDzNv

Google Wallet working again after EVO 4G LTE update

Who’s in the mood to squash a few bugs? The Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE has gotten a bit of an update this morning. The big feature is that Google Wallet working again. Also of note is that local search is still working — you’ll recall that Sprint and Samsung just stripped it out of the Galaxy S III — so there’s that.

Other changes of note, per Sprint itself, include:

* Google security updates
* Wifi disconnect issue
* Time zone issue
* Side loaded video pause issue
* Random power cycling issue
* Pioneer Bluetooth Car Kit connection issue
* Gallery app crash
* Calendar reminder (all day even time) issue

Looks like a healthy changelog. Make sure you’re charged above 35 percent, then hit settings>system updates>HTC software update to get the ball rolling if you haven’t already gotten the notification.

Source: Sprint; more: EVO 4G LTE forums

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T-Mobile USA announces the Huawei-made myTouch and myTouch Q

T-Mobile USA has today announced two new phones in its usability-focused myTouch series — the new myTouch and myTouch Q, both manufactured by Chinese firm Huawei. The myTouch and myTouch Q sport a similar spec list, with the most obvious difference being the Q’s inclusion of a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Other specs for both devices include an unnamed (presumably single-core) 1.4GHz CPU, a 4-inch WVGA screen, 1500mAh battery and 5MP rear amera with LTE flash. On the software side, the new myTouch phones run Android 2.3 Gingerbread (sigh), with a custom UI and a Swype-based virtual keyboard.

Tmo plans to launch the myTouch and myTouch Q from August 8, priced at $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate when purchased with a two-year service agreement. Both phones will be available in both black and white.

We’ve got T-Mobile’s press release after the break.

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LG VS930 photos and service manual leak, looks like an Optimus LTE II for Verizon

It’s been awhile since we’ve spotted a new LG flagship phone headed for the U.S., so those leaked shots you see above, purportedly showing the LG VS930, have arrived right on schedule. The pics, obtained by _Engadget_, show an apparently Verizon-branded version of the Optimus LTE II, and come with a list of alleged specs, too.

It seems the VS930 (a possible Spectrum II, perhaps?) runs a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, with a 4.7-inch 730p IPS display, 16GB storage and global radios, in addition to Big Red’s CDMA and LTE. Also said to be included is NFC support, 1GB of RAM and an 8MP rear camera. On the software side, Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich is running the show, along with LG’s Optimus UI 3.0. Design-wise, the phone is a spitting image of its international cousins, the Optimus LTE II and Optimus 4X HD.

A leaked service manual has also emerged, showing in-depth technical info, along with screenshots from the device and photos of internal components. As for when the device will eventually appear on Verizon, the service manual suggests a shipping date of this Friday, July 13. Given that we don’t know how old this document is, and the fact that it’s pretty close to Verizon’s expected Galaxy S III launch date, we’d be surprised to see this device arriving so soon. Nevertheless, it looks like the VS930 is ready to go, so it’s certainly possible we’ll see it sooner rather than later.

Source: Engadget

http://dlvr.it/1r7ZMT

Jelly Bean begins rolling out to HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus

Google has announced that the new version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean, is now rolling out to GSM/HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus phones — that’s the international model, and the one sold through the Google Play Store in the U.S. We haven’t yet received the update on any of our retail or Google I/O edition Galaxy Nexuses, but Google assures us that the update will begin rolling out today, and continue “over the next several days.” As the Nexus 7 just got its update to Android 4.1.1  (build JRO03C), the same version that recently graced AOSP, it’s likely this will be the version rolled out to the Gnex, too.

If you’re curious about what’s new in Jelly Bean, check out our landing page, and our Jelly Bean feature articles. Writing on the official Nexus Google+ page, Google says that other Galaxy Nexus phones (presumably the CDMA/LTE versions), as well as the Nexus S and Motorola Xoom are due to receive Jelly Bean next. No time frame is provided for this, however.

If you’ve already got the OTA notification on your device, be sure to hit the comments and let us know how you’re getting on with the new version of Android!

Source: +Nexus

http://dlvr.it/1r13fQ

Samsung to offer hacker-friendly ‘developer edition’ Galaxy S III on Verizon

Want a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III without all the huffing and puffing that comes a long with encrypted bootloaders? The manufacture has you covered, as it will offer a “developer edition” Galaxy S 3 through its developer portal for $599.

Samsung’s proffered a little Q&A about the developer edition, which we’ve got after the break.

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http://dlvr.it/1r0r5R

Android 4.1.1 - an early look at a compiled build

As the resident Android Central code-monkey (a badge I proudly wear) I’ve been running on fumes and caffeine to test out the AOSP 4.1.1 code since it dropped last night. You knew I had to do it, I knew I had to do it, so there was no use fighting it. For the nerdly inclined out there, building it is easy — just change the branch to 4.1.1_r1 and go. We’ll update the tutorial in the forums as soon as we’re sure there are no new nuances we need to address. In the meantime, we were curious about the local search “issue” and if Google had made any changes in the code itself to be Apple-certified™.

Building the unedited, bone-stock Android 4.1.1 and using the Google apps from the Google I/O units and their Jelly Bean update, it looks as if on-device search still exists. Our theory (it’s always a guess until Big G says otherwise) is that changes to search will be done with a change to the Google Now and Search applications themselves, which are part of the closed-source Google apps. That’s why we see no changes here — we’re still using the old ones. This theory was further bolstered when we learned that Sprint removed local search from the Galaxy S III, but it could be restored by using the old search box app. 

There are two things to take away here — when we see an OTA update for the Galaxy Nexus, Xoom, and Nexus S, we expect a newer set of G apps that remove the local search options, and that it will be easy enough to restore the functionality if you’re willing to root your phone. 

I’ll keep building and tinkering with 4.1.1, and if I come across any real changes (it seems a bit faster loading apps, but the placebo affect is strong) you’ll be the first to know.

http://dlvr.it/1r01mJ

The best Android phone you can buy, as of July 2012

We’ve heard your cries over the past month or so — the latest next-gen devices from Samsung and HTC are now on the market, so what’s the best Android phone you can buy? With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean arriving imminently on the Galaxy Nexus, is that phone once again worth considering, despite its ageing hardware? And what of the other contenders from manufacturers like Motorola, LG and Sony?

You’ll find answers to all these questions and more as we seek out the best Android smartphone, as of July 2012.

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http://dlvr.it/1qwzqb

Samsung hails ‘record’ first day Galaxy S III sales in Korea

Samsung has revealed that its flagship Galaxy S III sold 50,000 units in its first day on sale in South Korea. The phone, which in Korea ships with a quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and 4G LTE connectivity, more than doubled the day one sales of its predecessor, the Galaxy S II. The original Galaxy S sold 10,000 on its first day in Korea, while the Galaxy S II hit 24,000. The S III launched on SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ yesterday, and the manufacturer said it hit a new record for sales of a Samsung product in a single day.

That 50,000 will go some way towards helping Samsung hit its goal of selling 10 million S III phones worldwide by the end of July. Last year the company sold more than 20 million Galaxy S IIs, some 5 million of which came from its home country.

Source: Samsung (Flickr)

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