Samsung reveals dual-SIM, ICS-powered Galaxy S Duos, with September launch in Europe [Photos]

Samsung just announced the new dual-SIM Galaxy S Duos with Android 4.0.

The 4-inch handset boasts a WVGA 480-by-800 display and a 5-megapixel rear-shooting camera, but users who travel often or juggle multiple phones will mostly love its ability to toggle SIM cards. The dual-SIM functionality essentially lets users connect two phone numbers to a single phone, while the “Always on” feature allows them to receive calls on one SIM number while answering a call from the other line. The Galaxy S Duos further supports various billing plans for each SIM.

A few of the additional specs mentioned in the press release include “rounded edges and smooth ceramic-like finish,” 1GHz processor, 1500mAh battery, and 4GB of on-board storage. The Galaxy S Duos is eyeing a September launch starting in Europe with a rollout scheduled for other territories, and The Verge noted an LTE version, with possibly different internal specs, is coming down the pipeline.

Let’s hope the Galaxy S Duos marks an industry-wide transition to multi-SIM smartphones. It would certainly be interesting to see all the carriers simultaneously fight for usage on a single device.

The full press release is below.

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Leak roundup: Samsung Galaxy Note 2 pictured every which way?

Leaked shots of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 have surfaced online just weeks ahead of its launch event in Germany.

A “tipster” sent KnowYourMobile a blurry image of a device this morning that looks akin to other Samsung products in the Galaxy line. Sources told the publication it is the Galaxy Note 2, and it will boast a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, Samsung’s S-Pen tech, and Android Jelly Bean.

Phandroid posted a clearer press shot of the Galaxy Note 2 that aggregated on Twitter this afternoon. The picture shows the front and back of the device with the camera and speaker positioned similar to the Galaxy S III. It also houses a slot for S-Pen.

Nowhereelse rounded the recent Galaxy Note 2 leaks with a photo of a 5.5-inch front panel. Samsung confirmed it would launch its hotly awaited phablet at IFA on Aug. 29 with a bigger screen than the predecessor.

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Google Play readies self-branded gift cards and wishlist for store [Photos]

Google finally realized that online shopping is synonymous with gift cards and wishlists.

According to AndroidPolice, the Google Play Store is taking a much-needed clue from Apple and Amazon and readying a wishlist tool and physical gift cards for its revamped Android marketplace. The wishlist is where users essentially add content for purchasing later, while the redeemable Play Store cards allow users to pop in a code, earn a Play Store balance, and buy content without the use of a credit card.

AndroidPolice found evidence of these two functions after comparing a new Google Play Store v3.8.15 APK to the previous 3.7.15 version. The 300 KB code revealed new icons, layout and string resources, and an Android manifest that all pointed to a wishlist and gift cards coming down the Google Play pipeline.

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Google+ for Android now lets teens join Hangouts, Hangouts on Air from mobile

Google updated its Google+ for Android app today, and the most notable tweak allows users to join Hangouts on Air from their mobile devices.

That is not all: Teens can now create and join Hangouts from their mobile devices too. Apparently, they could not before, but Google now lets them take advantage of the social network’s premier video-chat feature on an Android-based smartphone or tablet.

Additional updates include:

  • - Floating timestamp in photos view
  • - Shortcuts for post creation
  • - Ability to report abuse in Events

 Screenshots of the updated app are below. 

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Google Maps for Android update adds over 1M public transit schedules, revamped UI [Photos]

Google — Left: Mobile map with all modes of public transit shown; Right: Transit Lines layer in Subway mode

Google Maps now offers schedules for over 1 million public transportation stops in nearly 500 cities worldwide, while its Android counterpart updated today to make the abundance of new transit data more convenient.

Christopher Van Der Westhuizen, a Google Maps software engineer, announced version 6.10 of the Google Maps for Android app on the Official Google Blog:

We’ve made some changes to the Transit Lines layer, so that you can select a specific mode of public transportation (train, bus, tram or subway) to display on the mobile map, hiding the other modes. This is helpful in areas where there is a tight concentration of several types of public transit.

Google offers a list of supported cities at its Transit page.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 lands August 16, starting at $499 for 16GB [Video]

Samsung just revealed pricing and availability for the Galaxy Note 10.1 at its “Meet The New Way” event live in New York City.

The 10-inch tablet goes on sale Aug. 16, with the price tag starting at $499 for the 16GB model and $549 for 32GB. The hefty cost includes the S-Pen stylus, a 1280-by-800 TFT display, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with an expected Jelly Bean upgrade, a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with an LED flash and autofocus, and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera. Oh, and the tablet supports 64GB memory cards, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

A few of the primary features from the Galaxy S III will also ship including video pop-up play and preloaded apps like Netflix and Dropbox.

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Major US retailers team to combat Google Wallet with mobile payments network and new app

The Wall Street Journal just revealed a group of major U.S. retailers, dubbing themselves as the “Merchant Customer Exchange,” look to unveil a mobile payments network and app today that will directly rival Google Wallet and similar services.

Google Wallet Logo

The mobile payments arena is clouded with regulators, competitors, tech, and now a network that each aim to profit on the looming cash cow—even though it has yet to take root due to all the interference. Just last week, for instance, Electronic Transactions Association CEO Jason Oxman announced the newly formed Mobile Payments Committee that boasts representation from the four leading U.S. carriers.

The Merchant Customer Exchange, however, specifically wants to add a universal app to the ever-growing pile that will give Google Wallet, as well as carrier-led ISIS and mobile payments companies like PayPal and Square, a run for its money.

The Wall Street Journal first detailed the group’s origin in March. The specifics were brief—over a dozen retailers teaming to get a piece of the pie— but more information is now available. Walmart, Target, 7-11, Sunoco, Best Buy, CVS, Lowe’s, Sears, Royal Dutch Shell, Publix, etc., are just a few of the retailers, which eye combined sales of roughly $1 trillion annually, that want to pipe “deals” to their customers while investing in the mobile payments landscape.

It is worth mentioning that retailers can crop consumer data through the MCX app and network, which in turn could help them to better hone and target ads, but the app will also enable devices to “tap and pay” for purchases via a reader in stores.

“As merchants, no one understands our customers’ shopping and payment experience better than we do, and we’re confident that together we can develop a technology solution that makes that experience more engaging, convenient and efficient,” said Best Buy President of Financial Services Mark Williams in a statement.

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RealPlayer launches on Android as single hub for all of your media

Today, RealNetworks has launched a new RealPlayer app for Android that it considers a single hub for all of an Android user’s media.

The RealPlayer app for Android offers an easier way to enjoy music, videos and photos on the go. It simplifies the experience by letting you get all your entertainment with just one click – eliminating the need for multiple players and apps to browse your music; play your videos; get your photos; and connect and share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

RealNetworks says that the beta version of the app already reached 11.2 million users.

The company provides a list of some of the key features:

  • Easily Organize & Play Music – Use an intuitive interface, metadata discovery, widgets and voice-controlled search.
  • Listen to Music Your Way – You are the DJ with an equalizer, playlist editor, cross fade and personalized radio.
  • Share Your Media – Show off your media on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Picasa.

The free RealPlayer app is available for free via the Google Play store.

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YouTube and Sony team up for custom PS3 YouTube app, rolls out in North America today

YouTube has announced that it and Sony have partnered for a great, custom YouTube experience on the Playstation 3 game console. YouTube was previously available on PS3 through the product’s web browser, but this is a custom app that provides an entirely new way to browse YouTube’s content library.

The interface, optimized for television monitors, is controlled by the PlayStation 3’s gaming remote. You can also utilitize your smartphone as a remote. Through the smartphone pairing, there is even Apple/iOS-AirPlay like functionality for sending a YouTube video from the smartphone to your PS3 and the big screen.

An optimal search interface and video viewing by subscriptions are also present features in the app.

YouTube for PS3 is available for free under “My Channels” in the PlayStation store. It begins rolling out today in North America. YouTube does not provide a time table for other regions.

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Teens flock to YouTube for music consumption over iTunes and other mediums

The majority of American teens prefer YouTube to iTunes, radio, online radio, and CDs when it comes to finding and listening to music.

Approximately two-thirds of 18-and-younger U.S. teenagers, according to a “Music 360″ survey from research firm Nielsen (via The Wall Street Journal), claimed they sidestepped other music-listening mediums for Google’s video-sharing platform.

YouTube snagged 64 percent of 13-to-17 year olds, while radio came in second at 56 percent. iTunes held 54 percent, with CDs and Pandora rounding the top five at 50- and- 35 percent respectively.

The Wall Street Journal noted young folks regard YouTube as a “de facto free music service,” but adults do not take full advantage of the site’s complimentary content. The survey showed 67 percent of them actually preferred radio for music consumption, but another 61 percent still gave CDs a whirl. Meanwhile, YouTube stole 44 percent, Pandora landed the No. 4 spot at 32 percent, and iTunes sat at fifth with 29 percent.

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Going against Android, RIM says it will license upcoming BlackBerry 10 to manufactures

Image from CrackBerry

In the current smartphone race, which basically comes down to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, the key differentiator is that one OS is licensed to several manufactures (Android), and the other runs solely on the OS creator’s optimized handsets (iOS). With RIM publicly struggling as a company, with a clear need for a new direction, the company says it will take the Google OS route and license its upcoming BlackBerry 10 software to other handset makers.

Bloomberg has the quote from recently appointed RIM CEO Thorsten Heins:

QNX is already licensed across the automotive sector — we could do that with BB10 if we chose to,” Heins, who has begun to carry a BB10 phone for his own use, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. “The platform can be licensed.

RIM’s current smartphone lineup (and in the past) has closely mirrored Apple’s approach. RIM has built and optimized its own software and hardware to work in tandem. RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 mobile device operating system is a major departure from the company’s current mobile operating system. It is completely re-written and redesigned for touch and new features like advanced multitasking.

BlackBerry 10 will begin making its way onto smartphones in 2013.

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