LG G2 officially unveiled, coming soon to all major US carriers

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As expected, LG execs are on stage today to officially unveil the company’s brand new LG G2 flagship smartphone. It also announced that the device would be coming to all four of the major US carriers, which we assume means it will soon be landing on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.

The company spent a lot of time talking about the design of the device, which includes a unique power/volume rocker that is placed on the back of the device directly under the rear-facing camera. LG’s design team placed the rocker on the back because the majority of people hold their phones with an index finger right on the back of the device where the new button is. The rear button, which happens to be the only hardware Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 11.59.47 AMbutton on the entire phone, will also allow users to launch the quick memo app and snap photos. LG says it thinks the device’s 5.2-inch display is the largest a smartphone can be while still being comfortable to grip with one hand, while noting that touch sensor enhancements provide an ultra thin bezel at just 0.1-inch.

As far as specs go, the device will have a 5.2-inch full-HD display, 13-megapixel rear camera, 2GB of RAM, microSD slot, a 3000mAh battery, on-screen navigation keys, and Android 4.2.2 with LG’s custom skin. Qualcomm’s execs also took the stage briefly, noting that the G2 is the “world’s first worldwide-launching smartphone with the Snapdragon 800 processor.”

Update: It looks like a previously leaked manual showing a removable battery will be for a Korean version of the device.

When it comes to software, a new feature called “Answer Me” will allow users to automatically answer calls by holding the phone up to their head (as opposed to having to press a button.) Another software feature, “Plug and Pop”, will provide quick access to apps when a user plugs in a headset, and a new “Text Link” feature lets users quickly launch calendar or maps form directly in a text message. Lastly, a brand new “Guest Mode” will let you share your device with others while keeping sensitive information from prying eyes with customized access to certain apps and features.

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IDC: Android reaches 80% of smartphone market in Q2 due to low-cost offerings, iOS falls to 13%

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Following a report last week from IDC on smartphone market share by vendor, the research firm is out today with its report covering market share by operating system. Much like Apple’s growth had slowed on the hardware front with its second-lowest year-over-year growth rate for the iPhone in nearly four years, IDC reports that Apple is losing share to Android and Windows Phone when looking at the market by operating system.

During Q2 2013, IDC says that Apple posted a year-over-year decline dropping from 16.6% with 26 million iPhones shipped in Q2 of last year, to 13.2% of the market with 31.2 million iPhones shipped in Q1 of this year. The loss in market share is of course attributed to the lack of new product launches during the three month period, as was the case with IDC’s report on tablet market share earlier this week. But it’s also losing ground to both Android and Windows Phone, both of which increased market share and shipments year-over-year during Q2: Read more

Security flaw in Chrome browser reveals plain-text passwords without authentication

Image: thehayden.org

Image: thehayden.org

The Guardian reports that a security flaw in Chrome allows anyone with access to a computer to view all of the saved logins without requiring any form of authentication.

A serious flaw in the security of Google’s Chrome browser lets anyone with access to a user’s computer see all the passwords stored for email, social media and other sites, directly from the settings panel. No password is needed to view them.

Besides personal accounts, sensitive company login details would be compromised if someone who used Chrome left their computer unattended with the screen active …  Read more

Whatsapp adds easy to use push-to-talk voice messaging

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Popular chat app whatsapp now allows Android users to exchange voice messages with a push-to-talk style function. The feature is also being pushed out simultaneously on the app’s other platforms: iOS, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows Phone.

We spend a lot of time at WhatsApp thinking how we can make keeping in touch easier, and we know there’s no substitute for hearing the sound of a friend or family member’s voice. So today we are introducing a new feature we are truly excited about: Voice Messages

While there are other push-to-talk apps out there, whatsapp has introduced a number of features which it says makes the functionality particularly easy to use …  Read more

LG G2 press image leaks ahead of official unveiling

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After teasing the device in nearly every way possible, LG is finally set to introduce its new G2 flagship in New York City tomorrow. @evleaks has once again, however, taken the anticipation out of the event and leaked a clear press image of the device. The image confirms the large, 5.2-inch display, as well as rear-placed volume and power buttons.

As far as specs go, the device will have a 5.2-inch full-HD display, a Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, a microSD card slot, a removable battery, on-screen navigation keys, and Android 4.2.2 with LG’s custom skin.

We’ll be sure to bring you all the official news out of LG’s event tomorrow, but at this point, the only we don’t know is availability and pricing. Read more

HTC One leaked in blue, potentially slated for release this year

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Notorious leakster @evleaks has just shared an image of the HTC One in a new shade of blue. There’s not much to go off of, but the device will supposedly be released sometime in 2013. There is no carrier branding on the phone, which leads us to believe that it will be sold internationally only, though PhoneArena is reporting that the device has appeared in Verizon’s internal system. Aside from the different color shade, the device is identical to the other HTC One models in every way. The front-facing BoomSound speakers are clearly visible, as is the Beats Audio logo on the back.  Read more

Twitter for Android updated with login verification improvements, new photo gallery

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Just like it did with its iOS app, Twitter has just released an update to its Android app that adds several new features and enhancements. First off, the login verification process has been improved and made a lot simpler. While SMS verification use to be required, the app now supports login verification from directly within the app. Also new is an improved photo gallery for when you search. You now have the ability to view all photos that relate to a specific search, while before you could only swipe through thumbnails and select images to view full screen.

Here’s what’s new: Read more

Google rolling out new section for in-depth articles in search results

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Google announced today on the official search blog that it is rolling out a new feature in search results that will help users to easier find in-depth articles on a varying number of topics. While Google has been working over the last year to include more quick answers and information directly in search results, it estimates that around 10% of its users are instead looking for in-depth information for queries. Starting over the next few days, users will now see a selection of in-depth articles in a new section for certain search topics (as pictured above):

If you care about censorship, you’ll find a thought-provoking article by Salman Rushdie in The New Yorker, a piece by our very own Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in the Guardian, and another greatarticle about Iran. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, search for [lego], you’ll find great in-depth articles about many different facets of the topic from gender to engineering to art. For some more examples, check out new search results for population growth, capital punishment and e-waste.

Google says that the new section will include articles from well-known publishers, lesser-known publications and blogs.

The company has a help page here for publications interested in optimizing their site for the new feature, and also outlines restricted content including some subscription-based access websites that don’t offer “first click free” access to new readers.

Leaked Verizon doc shows August 23 release date for Moto X

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AndroidCentral is reporting that the image above has leaked from Verizon’s inventory system showing an August 23rd release date for the recently announced Moto X. Motorola never mentioned specific availability beyond “late August/early September”, but today’s leak lines up with a previously leaked roadmap for the carrier that also pegged the Moto X for an August 23rd street date. No word on availability for other carriers yet, but we know the $199, 4.7-inch device will be landing on the majority of major US carriers, as well as in Canada and Latin America, by early next month.

AT&T starts replacement program for defective Galaxy S4 Actives with water damage

Update: Samsung confirmed our original report about the replacement program in a statement.

Following reports of complaints from AT&T customers that their new Samsung Galaxy S4 Active was experiencing water damage, a tipster claims the carrier will soon start a replacement program for the device.

When Samsung first introduced its Galaxy S4 Active back in June, we were quite impressed with its ability to protect against water damage for up to 30 minutes submerged at a depth of up to one meter. The IP67 certified water and dustproof device eventually made its way to AT&T, and recent reports claimed customers were having some issues replacing Galaxy S4 Active units experiencing water damage. Samsung’s standard hardware warranty doesn’t cover “exposure to liquid, moisture” or dampness, which is clearly a big omission for a device that comes with an Aqua Mode for underwater photography.

The one time exchange program will be in addition to the device’s standard warranty and users will only be able to exchange for a new Galaxy S4 Active. AT&T employees are being told to replace the device “even if the Liquid Damage Indicator (LDI) is tripped within the first year of ownership.” AT&T is listing the problem as a “defective equipment” issue and will only be honoring the offer for Galaxy S4 Actives purchased through its own retail channels. That means devices purchased through BestBuy, RadioShack or other retailers will not be eligible for the replacement program.

The information was available to AT&T employees as of yesterday, but it’s not clear if the carrier has already started offering the replacements to customers. Following earlier reports that warranties might not cover the water damage, it’s nice to know AT&T plans on replacing defective units.  Read more

Schools to be offered low-cost, low-spec ‘Education Tablets’ by Intel

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Intel is hoping to help schools make the transition to electronic learning with the announcement of two low-spec Android tablets intended to be cheap enough for bulk purchase, reports PhoneArena.

The smaller and presumably cheaper of the two comes with an Atom Z2420 chip running at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, and a 7-inch, 1024 by 600 pixel display. There are also 8GB of storage, a built-in speaker and mike, basic front and rear cameras, and a sealed battery that should last through 8 hours of usage. That the tablet is resistant to some water and shock damage, bearing IP41 certification, is worth noting.

The larger of the two Intel Education Tablets is powered by a 1.6GHz Atom Z2460 processor backed by 1GB of RAM and its 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. It offers twice the built-in storage, 16 gigs … Read more

Smartphone fingerprint sensors are the new black as Pantech beats the big boys

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While it was rumored that LG would be the first to launch a current-generation smartphone with a fingerprint sensor, with the forthcoming iPhone 5S widely expected to be second in line, it appears Korean company Pantech has beaten both of them to it with the new Vega LTE-A.

As the name suggests, the handset also supports the new faster-than-4G LTE-Advanced standard, the second one to do so after Samsung’s S4 LTE-A …

There had been rumors that the LG G2, due for launch tomorrow, would have a fingerprint sensor based on photos of the rear shell …  Read more