Sense 5.5 screenshots leak, show new camera modes, toggle to turn off BlinkFeed

image_1-2One of the biggest changes HTC introduced with its Sense 5.0 software was BlinkFeed, which the company touted as a “personal live stream right on the home screen.” The feature was either loved or hated by many customers and reviewers, and it looks like HTC will be accommodating those who hate it with the upcoming Sense 5.5 update. Android Revolution HD has gotten ahold of several supposed screenshots of HTC’s Sense 5.5 update and if they are to be believed, there will now be a toggle on the homescreen to turn BlinkFeed on or off.

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Also believed to be coming in Sense 5.5 are some new camera features. The leaked screenshots show two new shooting modes: Panorama+ and Dual Capture. It’s not entirely clear what these two modes will offer, but I imagine that Dual Capture will allow you to take pictures with the front and rear facing shooters at the same time, similar to what Samsung already offers.

Aside from those changes, Sense 5.5 doesn’t appear to be all that different from 5.0, with the task switcher showing bigger preview windows and some new emojis being available.

HTC is expected to release the HTC One Max next week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sense 5.5 come along with it.  Read more

T-Mobile unveils global data coverage in 100 countries at no extra charge

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T-Mobile unveiled a new offering that will provide global data coverage allowing users to access their data plan in over 100 countries at no extra charge (via Engadget). CEO John Legere has been hinting at the announcement on his Twitter account in recent days: “Today is the day! The day we change the way the world uses their phones!”

This new plan will allow Simple Choice customers to get unlimited 2G data and texting in supported Simple Global countries. Voice calls on the plan cost $.20 per minute for in-country calls. There are no extra fees for this service, as it is included in all Simple Choice plans automatically.

The “un-carrier” also announced a few other changes to its plans, including a new international talk and text option from the US to all other Simple Global countries. That will cost an additional $10/month and include $.20/minute voice calls and unlimited texting. Adding this option to your plan will also enable unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 Simple Global countries for free.

Finally, T-Mobile announced that its 4G LTE network is available nationwide and reaches over 200 million potential customers.

Samsung announces the Galaxy Round, the first curved smartphone in the world

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Samsung has just officially announced the world’s first curved-display smartphone, dubbed the Galaxy Round. We first saw photos of the Round earlier today from smartphone leaker @evleaks. The phone will only be available in Korea and will only come in one color, “Luxury Brown”—at least for now. If and when the phone will make its way to the United States and other markets is still unknown, though we expect that it will eventually make the transition.

The Round sports an impressive array of hardware features, including a massive 5.7″ Full HD Super Flexible AMOLED display; 3 GB of RAM; 2,800mAh battery; 13 MP camera; all of the latest LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity; and a 2.3 GHz processor.

The full hardware specs can be found below the break, along with additional photos of the device.

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Google releases official Nexus 7 flip case in four colors, run $49.99 each

Two months after the initial launch of the device, Google has just released its official flip cases for the 2013 Nexus 7. The cases are available in four colors: red, white, black, and blue. Google touts that this is the first case “designed by Google specifically for the Nexus 7″ and is made to fit the “exact specifications” of your device.

The flip cases feature a built in stand with positions for typing, as well as watching a video/participating in a Hangout. Finally, on the edge of the case is a tiny Google-colored flag to remind you that the case fits perfectly.

The cases run $49.99, which is certainly steep, but they appear to be rather high quality.  Keep in mind, however, that there are plenty of cases on Amazon for under $10 that may be just as sturdyRead more

Report claims Nexus 5 will land for $299/$399 with larger battery in 32GB model

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There have been tons of rumors and leaks about Google’s upcoming Nexus 5 smartphone in recent weeks, and today we get claims of official details on pricing and new battery size options for the device. According to a report from Phonearena citing a tipster, the next-gen Nexus will come in 16GB and 32GB models for $299 and $399.

That compares to the $299 and $349 that the two models of the Nexus 4 debuted for, but Phonearena also claims that this time around Google will include a larger battery in the 32GB model: Read more

Samsung fails to obtain Presidential veto from Obama for Apple/ITC import ban case

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With a U.S. import ban previously issued by the ITC set to lock out certain Samsung devices at midnight last night, Bloomberg reports that the company has failed to obtain a veto from President Barack Obama:

The Korean company had argued that the ban should be overturned on public policy grounds, especially since a similar order it won against Apple was vetoed by the administration in August. Samsung can now seek a delay in the ban from a U.S. appeals court that will consider the entire case on legal grounds.

“After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow” the import ban to proceed, Obama’s designee, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, said in a statement today.

In August, the US International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple and issued a sales ban on certain infringing Samsung devices in a long-running case that stemmed from a countersuit originally filed by Apple back in 2011. The news came shortly after the Obama administration’s decision to veto an ITC import ban on certain iPhone and iPad models that Samsung won in a separate case. Like Apple, Samsung was going to attempt to get a veto on the decision by the US President, the only person with the power to overturn ITC import bans.  Read more

KitKat to drop Messaging app, integrate SMS and MMS into Hangouts?

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Android Police has screenshots suggesting that both SMS and MMS messaging are being integrated into Google Hangouts, with the standalone Messaging app likely to be dropped from KitKat (Android 4.4) – first on Nexus devices and later on others.

The screenshots claim to be from Hangouts 1.3. It’s just speculation that this will ship with KitKat – it’s possible that it may be released before or after. We have recently seen claimed screenshots of KitKat that include the Messaging app, but that isn’t inconsistent with the idea that it would be dropped from the Nexus first …  Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google Chairman says Android is more secure than the iPhone

During a Q&A session at the Gartner Symposium, Eric Schmidt was asked for his response to people who say that Android’s security is lacking compared to competitors such as Apple’s iPhone. Schmidt’s answer was straightforward:

“Not secure? It’s more secure than the iPhone.”

This response understandably elicited laughter from the audience.

Sure, Google has created software to ensure that Android is more secure than it used to be, but that hasn’t stopped malware creators from exploiting holes in the operating system’s Play Store or creating fake apps for the purpose of phishing user information. Yes, Apple has had their share of security issues as well, but Schmidt’s assertion that Android is more secure than the iPhone seems just a bit on the ridiculous side.

Skype for Android updated to version 4.4 with a new tablet interface

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Hot on the heels of an iOS update this morning, Skype has just updated its Android app to version 4.4. Most notably, the update brings an all new interface to tablet users that “puts conversations first” by prominently displaying your most recent calls and chats. Tablet users should also see significant quality and performance enhancements, as well.

Skype is also touting that the video call quality has greatly improved in version 4.4 of the app. In “good network conditions”, you should experience up to four times the resolution of previous versions with improved clarity and frame rates. The update is also available to Kindle Fire HD and HDX users, who will be able to enjoy hardware accelerated video.

Other enhancements include: Read more

Google adds public Transit directions to Glass for Android users

Google announced today that its latest update to Glass (XE10) includes a few new features with the most notable being the addition of Transit directions. Now, Google Glass users paired to Android device will be able to see public transit directions in addition to other related information, like when to change trains for example, on their Glass display:

We have loads of great updates every month, but there’s one we’re particularly jazz hands about — Transit. Explorers who have paired Glass to their Android phones will now have the option to see public transit directions when navigating on Glass. When you get directions and select transit, you’ll be able to see all sorts of helpful info, like where to change trains, how far you have to walk to the bus stop and how long it should take to reach your final destination.

Google has also added the “ability to tap to select links in notifications.” Read more

Boeing prepares to move its 40,000+ smartphone users to Android if/when BlackBerry shutters

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It’s no secret that BlackBerry is currently amidst a downward spiral that will either land the company in bankruptcy, or more likely, to be acquired or end up as a privately-owned-firm. Unsurprisingly, the uncertain fate of the once Canada-based technology superstar is causing concern from companies and employees of firms that have relied on BlackBerry’s secure devices, enterprise software, and emailing/messaging functionality for many years.

We’ve learned that the concern over BlackBerry’s fate is definitely causing talk internally at one major firm: Boeing, the global aviation and space-based technologies company. According to a source, Boeing currently has just under 41,000 employees using BlackBerry smartphones, and Boeing is not sitting still on the possibility of service interruptions due to BlackBerry’s uncertain fate. We’re told that Boeing has conducted meetings in recent weeks with BlackBerry about this topic. A summary of the meeting was sent via email to Boeing employees:

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Samsung tries to establish itself as company that brought the fabled smartwatch to life with new ads

Despite the device’s universally-abysmal reviews, Samsung is continuing to market its Galaxy Gear smartwatch as the wave of the future—and the past—with two new TV ads. The first, titled “A Long Time Coming,” Samsung uses clips from some of the most popular TV shows of decades past to set the Galaxy Gear up as the long-awaited wrist-mounted computer from Dick TraceyThe Jetsons, Knight Rider, and more.

The ad has a similar feel to Apple’s “Hello” TV spot, which it launched with the iPhone 5c last month, but rather than featuring customers using the advertised product, Samsung’s ad shows fictional characters using Hollywood’s various conceptions of the smartwatch.

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