Review: LG’s Flex – There is no reason to curve this otherwise OK phablet

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Android phone makers are running out of ways to differentiate their devices from the crowd.  It’s all coming down to a rectangular screen, as little chrome around the edges as possible and a curved round back.  Pretty much every smartphone looks the same at this point with slight varying dimensions.

So that’s why LG’s curved Flex is an interesting newcomer. The LG Flex actually makes a somewhat flexible 6-inch display that defaults to a slight curve.  What are the supposed benefits of that?

  • It contours to your leg, sort of, in your pocket.
  • It reduces glare, sort of, outside
  • The curved phone is supposed to make calling feel more natural
  • Reading is a bit easier, not really
  • It is a cool party trick, good for 20-30 seconds of amusement

I’m a huge fan of the Nexus 5 and G2 and even AT&T’s 4G LTE network of late so I was genuinely looking forward to see what this could do… Read more

Red Nexus 5 images, spy shots leak ahead of reported Feb. 4 launch for your Valentine’s Day shopping

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A series of leaks point to Google releasing a red variant of its popular Nexus 5 smartphone in the coming days. The launch would be perfectly timed ahead of this month’s Valentine’s Day “Hallmark holiday.”

Today, leaker @evleaks published a clear shot of the red LG Nexus 5 (shown above). Earlier this week, Android Police received some spy shots and word from a Sprint internal notice that the device is launching on February 4th:

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Dell announces new $130 HDMI dongle that brings Android to any display

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After witnessing the success of dongles like the Chomecast, Dell has just unveiled its latest accessory, the Wyse Cloud Connect dongle. This accessory will run $130 and be able to connect to any display that offers an HDMI or MHL port. Once the Cloud Connect is connected to the display, users can connect keyboards and mice to it via BlueTooth or mini USB. There’s also a microSD card slot with support for up to 32GB of local storage. The big selling point, however, is that its powered by Android, Jelly Bean to be exact, and offers the full experience on the connected display. Users will have access to the Play Store and all compatible apps within it.

Dell is also touting that the Cloud Connect dongle can remotely access Mac OS X and Windows PCs via Citrix, Microsoft or VMWare virtualization technologies. This option will offer the same experience that we’ve expected with remote access services, but on a larger display and only a small, flash-drive sized dongle. Both the Android and OS X/Windows interfaces will be presented in 1080p quality.

Although, it’s important to note that Dell is main market with the Cloud Connect is businesses and schools. The Cloud Connect management dashboard allows IT administrators to set permissions and easily control what the end user can and cannot access. So this means that things like the Play Store could be heavily restricted for users.

The Wyse Cloud Connect is available on Dell’s website for $130.

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Google Play for Education gets new 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab & Chromebooks from Lenovo & Toshiba

Google today announced some updates to its Google Play for Education program that launched back in November. The program gets Android and Chromebook devices into classrooms and offers a special curated version of Google Play as well as tools for teachers to distribute apps and manage devices. It originally launched with support for just three tablets, but Google announced today that its partners will soon be launching new devices for students. The devices include a new Galaxy Tab just announced by Samsung and a couple of new Chromebooks from Lenovo and ToshibaRead more

Google releases tool to let devs bring Chrome apps to iOS & Android

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After letting us know last month that it was getting ready to release a toolkit to let developers easily bring their Chrome web apps to iOS and Android, today Google released a developer preview of the tool. In its blog post, Google explains the tool is based on open-source framework Apache Cordova, which allows devs to build native apps for iOS and Android using CSS, HTML, and Javascript. It’s also making a lot of its own core Chrome APIs available to developers through the preview. It essentially means devs will be able to bring their Chrome web apps to the App Store and Google Play, but it will also let them build new cross platform apps in CSS, HTML, and Javascript. Google explained how it works: Read more

New leaked docs show NSA collects personal data from smartphone apps

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by The New York TimesThe Guardian and ProPublica detail how the NSA and its British counterpart can collect users’ personal data through smartphone apps. The reports specifically mention popular apps like Angry Birds, Twitter, Google Maps and Facebook and claim the NSA is capable of intercepting information ranging from location, age, and sex of users to address books, buddy lists, phone logs, geographic data and more: Read more

Reminder: Moto X is $100 off for one hour today only from 3pm-4pm ET

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As announced previously, Motorola will be offering a special $100 off the off-contract Moto X today only for orders placed between 3PM ET to 4PM ET or while supplies last. That brings the cost of the 16GB Moto X down to $299 and the 32GB down to $349. If the deal works anything like Motorola’s Cyber Monday deal you’ll receive a promo code via email shortly after signing up for the discount. Keep an eye on Motorola’s discount page as we get closer to the sale.  Read more

T-Mobile’s LG G Flex arrives Feb. 5 for $0 down, preorder today

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Following preorders of the device going live at AT&T last week, T-Mobile just announced that the new 6-inch curved LG G Flex smartphone will arrive on its network starting February 5. While AT&T is offering the Flex for $299 on its usual two-year contract, T-Mobile will offer it for $0 down with monthly installment plans of $28 for 24 months. The carrier is listing the full retail price of the device at $672 and T-Mobile notes that LG is offering customers 6 months of free Netflix access with the deal. Preorders kick off today through T-Mobile’s websiteRead more

Smartphone-controlled hotel door locks will allow guests to bypass check-in

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Guests at two boutique hotels in Manhattan and Cupertino will soon be able to skip the check-in desk and go directly to their room, using an Android app to unlock the door. The WSJ reports that the Aloft Hotel will launch the new service this quarter.

Guests at these properties will receive a message on a Starwood app containing a virtual key, which will unlock the door with a tap or twist of their phone through the use of Bluetooth technology. The company says the iPhone 4s or newer models and the Android phones running 4.3 or newer will be compatible …  Read more

Samsung feeling the pressure as Android market share approaches 70 percent

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Increasing competition in the Android market is placing Samsung under increased pressure, says Kantar, reporting sales figures for the final quarter of 2013.

After years of accelerated growth, Samsung is now coming under real pressure in most regions, with European share down by 2.2 percentage points to 40.3% and in China its share ended the year flat at 23.7% …  Read more

Google and Samsung agree to mutually license technology patents for ten years

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Samsung announced in a press release today that the South Korean company has signed an agreement with Google to mutually license one another’s existing patents as well as all patents filed over the next decade.

The agreement follows countless patent lawsuits between Samsung and Apple regarding hardware implementations of various cellular technologies as well as mobile software design and features.

“This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry,” said Dr. Seungho Ahn, the Head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center. “Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes.”

Since Google and Samsung don’t typically engage in patent battles with each other, the contract doesn’t seem poised to actually prevent many lawsuits. The move will likely prove to be more symbolic of the companies’ commitment to collaboration than an attempt to quell disputes.

KGI predicts Samsung Galaxy S5 specs, including 16 MP camera, 3D gesture support, and 5.2-inch/565 PPI AMOLED panel

WwroynuD3FeDw00XNh5IcEVT4ugB4HJPLWqCKbZQkiIKGI Research has issued its predictions for Samsung’s next flagship Galaxy device. The document suggests that the phone will be available in two different configurations. The standard version will come equipped with 2 GB of RAM, a quad-core Qualcomm MS M 8974AC or 8-core Samsung Exynos 5422 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 2 MP front-facing camera, a 16 MP rear camera, and a massive 5.2-inch full HD AMOLED display.

A second, “prime” configuration will feature an upgraded 8-core Samsung Exynos 5430 processor, a quad-HD AMOLED panel, and 3 GB of memory. The other components will be the same between devices.

The big story here, however, is the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner no doubt designed to rival the Touch ID sensor found in Apple’s iPhone 5s.  The document also indicates that the phone will have “3D gesture support,” which we suspect may point to an expansion of the existing air-gesture system.