Samsung S4 beats HTC One in ‘uncheatable’ benchmark test

gbfps-lead

Following revelations that almost all Android handset and tablet manufacturers cheat in benchmark tests, detecting the benchmark software and ramping up performance for the duration of the test, GameBench thinks it’s come up with an approach which is impossible to cheat.

Engadget reports that the company – whose co-founders both worked for chipmakers – take a different approach, running real games and using a background app to take systems measurements while those games are running …  Read more

Google releases redesigned Google Translate app for Android

Google today announced that it’s releasing an all-new Google Translate app for Android. The app features a new design, adds support for additional languages, and introduces some interesting new features to make translations even faster.

The app now makes it easy to have translated conversation with someone at the tap of a button and also adds gesture support for quickly switching between languages: Read more

Google launches physical prepaid debit card for Google Wallet

Google-Wallet-Card

Following rumors over the past year that Google was planning a physical card for its Google Wallet payment service, the company has just quietly made the project official. While reports earlier this year indicated that Google was scrapping the plans, Google just announced that Wallet users in the U.S. can now order the prepaid debit card. 

The card will be good for Wallet users to access their cash from ATMs and banks and also make payments online and in stores wherever MasterCard Debit cards are accepted. Google ran through some of the benefits of the free Google Wallet card, including no monthly or annual fees: Read more

Nexus 4 owners look alive, Android 4.4 KitKat now rolling out

Thanks to a tipster tweet, the boys at Android Central are reporting Android 4.4 KitKat is now en route to Nexus 4 smartphones. The update weighs in at a manageable 238MB and will of course add all the candy-tasting goodness Android 4.4 brings to the Android world.

Read more

Google launches Android Newsstand, pulls together all of your subscriptions

newsstand-feature3-ALL

Say hello to Google Newsstand, a brand new app for your Android phone or tablet which brings together all of your favorite news sources in one place. Do you subscribe to magazines, newspapers, blogs and news sites? Of course you do and Google is putting all of the full length articles, complete with images, audio and video right inside the app. Articles will be available for offline reading or can be bookmarked to read later.

Read more

HTC’s Twitter accounts discuss upcoming KitKat update details

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 9.31.16 AM

HTC’s trend of Android update transparency continued yesterday with hints that Android 4.4 KitKat will arrive stateside on the HTC One before the end of January. In response to a customer inquiry, HTC’s @htcusa account responded “In North America, we plan to deliver Kit Kat (including Sense 5.5) to HTC One customers by the end of January.”

Read more

Moto X now available for $0.01 on Verizon w/ 2-yr contract

From 9to5toys.com

motorola-motox-black-amazon-sale-01We are seeing one of the best deals yet on Motorola’s Moto X, now that Amazon is offering the device for just a penny with a two year contract.

For a little while there, Verizon was offering the Moto X for just $50 along with the use of its online customization tool, which allows users to choose the color of the device and its accents along with an inscription. Even though today’s deal doesn’t allow for the use of the Moto Maker customization app, with the half off promo now over, Amazon’s offer is not one to be missed for those in the market for a Moto X. It also comes on Verizon, which means customers will be able to upgrade to KitKat right away.
Read more

Smartphone chip race is on as Qualcomm goes 4K and MediaTek announces faster rival

octa

If there is one inescapable fact when buying the latest, greatest tech it’s that whatever you buy today will soon be made obsolete by something launched tomorrow.

Today’s flagship Android devices come with Snapdragon 600 or 800 CPUs. As of today, that’s old hat, as chipmaker Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon 805 Ultra HD replacement. This – together with its on-board Adreno 420 GPU – will play 4K video and run at up to 2.5GHz.

But even that may soon pale against the chip announced by rival chipmaker MediaTek (via Engadget) …  Read more

Samsung offers $50 sweetener to U.S. Galaxy Note 3 buyers

nexusae0_7q2pNzk

Android Police reports that Samsung is offering a $50 Google Play Store credit to owners of its Galaxy Note 3 phablet.

The good news is that, unlike most promotions, this one appears to apply to existing owners – a welcome unexpected bonus. The bad news is that it’s U.S. only. Full details of how to get your credit below the fold …  Read more

In an unusual turn, Google/Motorola launches Android 4.4 on Verizon variant of Moto X first

Moto X KitKat

Fresh from the Motorola Blog, it appears that Motorola will launch its first Android 4.4 KitKat update on Verizon first, with rollouts starting today. The KitKat update brings:

  • An improved phone dialer. Now you can search for contacts directly from the dial-pad and easily see and tap on those you contact frequently.
  • More gallery goodies. KitKat packs in some cool, new gallery effects—such as Posterize, Highlights, and Edges. You can even use the Draw feature to annotate your photos freehand with your finger.
  • New Hangouts app. All of your conversations now in one place—texts, video calls, and other chats all together in one app. Plus, you can now send animated gifs and share your location.
  • Color emojis. For when words aren’t enough, the Google Keyboard now includes colorful characters to send in text messages and other communications.
  • Drag to focus and expose. An updated camera app lets you control both the focus and exposure of your photos. Simply drag your finger to set just the right exposure and focus point.
  • And more… Restyled status and navigation bars, new full-screen mode, and enhancements to Motorola features like Touchless Control.

I say ‘unusual’ because Verizon is usually the last of the four US carriers to roll out Android updates, usually owing the increased wait to Verizon’s lengthier testing process.

Motorola and Verizon have an unusually close bond however with the Google-owned manufacturer now making all of the carrier’s Droid products as well as pioneering the Droid brand. I anticipate that other carrier versions will follow close behind.

Note that I’m still waiting on the 4.4 update to hit the Google Play edition HTC ONE, and even my Nexus 4 and 10!

I guess Google and Motorola are finally tearing down the firewall. Read more

FreedomPop expands free wireless plan to all Sprint smartphones, launches $99 HTC Evo 4G

FreedomPop

FreedomPop, the wireless service provider offering free and cheap no-contract plans on Sprint’s network, today announced it’s now allowing customers to bring their old Sprint phones to activate on its $0/month wireless plans. We’ve confirmed with the company that will also soon include iPhones and Sprint’s full lineup of Android devices.

The company has been around since 2011 with various hotspot products and recently launched its first smartphone direct to customers alongside the world’s first completely free mobile service. A guaranteed 500 MBs of data, 500 text messages, and 200 anytime voice minutes for free each month would sound enticing to anyone, but previously customers would have to pay $99 for an almost two-year old HTC Evo Design to get it. Despite that, FreedomPop says it “immediately sold out” of stock when it launched last month.

That’s about to change today as FreedomPop will now let Sprint customers bring their own device to activate on its free and cheap plans. Although there is no mention of it in the carrier’s press release, we’ve confirmed that includes the iPhone 4 and 4S as well as 20 other Sprint devices initially. Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO, tells us it will be another few weeks before the iPhone is compatible, and eventually all Sprint smartphones will be supported.  Read more

Samsung patent shows what to expect from wraparound screen phone

Image: theverge.com

Image: theverge.com

A patent application spotted by The Verge gives some clues to what Samsung has in mind for the user interface for the wraparound screen Bloomberg reported last week.

There are a few boring ones, like slide-to-unlock and a battery meter at the side, but also some rather interesting ones, like ebook chapter bookmarks.

curve1

More below the fold …  Read more