Nokia’s HERE Maps now available for select Samsung Galaxy devices

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If you abstained from trying the recent leak of Nokia’s HERE Maps for Android, you can now download an official release — as long as you’re using a compatible Samsung device. Available from the Galaxy app store, this Google Maps alternative packs some nifty features like turn-by-turn directions, public transit routes and its standout offline navigation support.

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Samsung paid Microsoft $1B in patent royalties last year, but it now wants to void the contract

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Samsung and Microsoft initially inked an Android patent licensing deal back in 2011, but since then, Samsung’s dominance in the smartphone has grown incredibly fast. The South Korean company, according to court documents that become public on Friday, is now saying that it no longer wants to pay the royalties to Microsoft.

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Nokia’s HERE Maps app for Android leaked, compatible with devices running Ice Cream Sandwich or higher

Nokia HERE

Nokia recently revealed plans to bring an Android-friendly version of its HERE Maps app to licensed partners, starting with Samsung, however a preview version of the software has recently hit the web and it appears to be working with handsets running Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. Reports are claiming that the application is fully functional, with HERE’s hallmark features remaining intact.

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Android flagship phones given bend test, Moto X comes out on top

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Earlier this week it was revealed that if you bend your iPhone 6 Plus, it will bend. This shocking news took the world by storm, but left some people wondering if other phones would also flex under pressure. To answer the question, YouTuber Unbox Therapy attempted to repeat his earlier experiment with iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, HTC One M8, newest Moto X, and Nokia Lumia.

After applying roughly the same force to each of these handsets, he discovered that the iPhone 6 Plus was in fact more flexible than the rest. The Moto X ended up coming out top of the pack, with next to no flexibility at all. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was also found to be much less “bendy” than the larger model, though it did get a very small curve with enough force.

You can check out the video of all five phones being tested below:

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Microsoft appears to be blocking Google as default search option on select Lumia devices

 

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Microsoft is reportedly blocking Google as a search engine option on some of Nokia’s new Lumia handsets. Windows Phone devices ship with Bing as their default search engine without an option to change platforms. Prior to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone making division, the Finnish company provided users with an option to change a Lumia’s search engine via its web browser, but this appears to be gone from some devices.

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Nokia announces the X2, a quasi-Android smartphone with mid-range specs

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Today Nokia announced the X2, the Finnish company’s second attempt at producing a smartphone that plays nice with Android. Not to be confused with Motorola’s flagship circa 2011, Nokia’s new device features a 4.3-inch ClearBlack WVGA display, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage space and a 5-megapixel shooter with an LED flash. Available in a broad range of colors, including green, orange and black, additional hues are scheduled to be launch after its release.

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Google, Android manufacturers agree to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

 

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Google has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Google introduced the Android Device Manager application last year, allowing users to locate or wipe lost or stolen devices. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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The rumors were true: Nokia X phones run Android … but only just

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Rumors of Nokia launching an Android phone seemed unlikely for a company acquired by Microsoft, but the company today announced not just one Android device, but three: the Nokia X, X+ and XL. The company’s flirtation with Android does, however, appear to be a token one – not that Microsoft is pleased.

The three budget phones are effectively hybrid devices. Not only have they been given an overlay designed to make them look like they are running Windows Phone, they aren’t even running a standard version of Android and won’t be able to run apps from the Google Play store …

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Leaked photos claim to show Nokia’s Normandy Android smartphone in the wild

We’ve already seen a few leaked press shots claiming to show Nokia’s much rumored Android smartphone and UI often referred to as the “Normandy” project. Today we get what appears to be the first shots of the device in the wild and better look at the device’s mix of Lumia and Asha design traits. The images above come from a thread on Coolaxap.com where leaked images of Windows devices have popped up before.

While nothing is official, recent reports said the device could debut as early as this month at the Mobile World Congress event that runs through February 27. We’ll be bringing you coverage from MWC next week and updates on Normandy as we find out more.  Read more

Nokia teases ‘X’ phone ahead of expected Android announcement at MWC next week

Ahead of its scheduled announcement at Mobile World Congress on Monday, Nokia is teasing what we expect to be its first venture into Android handsets.

What has been codenamed Normandy, an Android variant with a Windows Phone-like user interface seen on Nokia’s recent smartphones, is being branded as Nokia X according to information shared by evleaks and mirrored by Nokia’s promo (seen above).

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WSJ: Nokia’s Normandy Android phones finally coming this month

normandyNokia could finally show off those Android-based “Normandy” smartphones we’ve been seeing surface lately. The company will debut its rumored fork of Android later this month at Mobile World Congress, according to The Wall Street JournalThe event kicks off in two weeks in Barcelona, Spain, and runs through February 27th.

Nokia, whose devices and services division was acquired by Microsoft last fall, had been working on the Android phones ahead of the acquisition, WSJ says. Nokia has been the primary handset maker for Windows Phone OS-based smartphones since dropping its own OS years ago, and even its Android fork borrows heavily from the signature Windows Phone design as seen in recent leaks. Read more