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Verizon still Not Blocking Block on Google Wallet

Looks like Verizon is still at its “were not blocking Google Wallet but you can’t use it because we are blocking it” tricks again. Looks like a letter sent to the FCC about it shows they are still blocking it because they say it uses a “secure element” in the device. This sounds funny because when Google Wallet came out they said it was insecure and they didn’t want it for that reason, now they are saying sorry it’s too secure and you can’t use it.

But what this boils down to, Verizon is building their own mobile payments system and will most likely be using the same “secure element” in the phone and made so you can’t uninstall it unless you root and rip it out. I have Google Wallet on my rooted Galaxy Nexus and it works just fine, of course it says it’s not a supported device being a Verizon phone and rooted. Too bad Google doesn’t just make it available on the Play Store and disregard the block Verizon is putting on it.

Kindle Fire HD – Mini Review

My Field Trip took me on to see the Kindle Fire HD that was setup, and it made me happy I have a Nexus 7 tablet. It did have some store app showing how things worked and I closed that because I don’t need it, and I went in to seeing how things looked.

The first thing I could see was that when swiping through the apps and content it would stutter and wasn’t all the smooth. This should be something that would always be nice since people are going to do that first thing. So I took note of how it was not performing well and went on.

I saw Cut the Rope was installed and having played it on my Nexus 7 though it would be a good comparison. But again the system was very slow to load the game; it took almost 30 seconds to load and also took some time to load the level. The game performed as it should and seems fine but the low-speed had made me not so interested in the device. I also was seeing that the price was just too close to a Nexus 7 where I could get a full Android experience.

With the modified Android OS that Amazon hides you miss out on a lot of things that the content doesn’t always make up for. Mostly missing those Google Apps that just add the full experience you would want such as good email, maps, and even the Google Now search that is way better than anything Siri can give you.

I would not recommend one of these for someone looking for a mid-sized tablet especially when you can get the Nexus for the same price but with more power and a better app selection. You do miss out on the Amazon Prime video and books but you can make up for that by getting the Amazon Kindle App and Netflix.

Google Nexus: Ask Me Anything

A new video from Google shows off the Nexus 10, Nexus 7, and Nexus 4 and how you can use Google Now to search for information. Check it out below or on the YouTube Page.

Google / LG Nexus 4

Google had an announcement canceled by the weather but they still put out the new devices including this Nexus 4 phone, the Nexus 10 and an update to the Nexus 7. While there was some leaks of what this new Nexus 4 phone would be here is the real info. It is a 4.7″, quad-core, wireless charging, and Android 4.2 devices. Wow lots in one sentence but they also updated some apps too such as a new swipe type keyboard called “Gesture Type” so you just run your finger over the letters to spell words, and a new camera app “Photo Sphere” that lets you do panoramas that go up and side to side.

This phone will come in two sizes an 8GB and 16GB but at a great prices unlocked on GSM/HSPA+ networks starting at only $299 and $349 making this easy to get if you are in a contract but want a new devices. There is no LTE but HSPA+ is fast enough right now, and there are so many different LTE bands out right now you would have to put some more expensive chips in and that would drive the price up probably $100+. There is also the added SlimPort HDMI connection that is new. If you’re on a GSM network this looks like a good upgrade and it’s nice to be on the cutting edge of what other phone makers will add to their Android phones next year. There isn’t much information on the wireless charging yet but the make note of it on the Play Store website, most likely this will be an added $40-60 for the charging mat and isn’t included in the box. Will keep an eye out for accessories, but this would still be a good phone to get.

Screen with Gorilla Glass 2 4.7″ 1280×768 resolution
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
Cameras 8MP back, 1.3 front
Network Unlocked GSM/UMTS/HSPA+
Memory 8GB + 16GB / 2GB RAM
Connections Micro USB, SlimPort HDMI, 3.5mm headphone
Wireless Wireless Charging, Wifi, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS
Battery 2,100 mAh Lithium
OS Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Sensors Microphone, Compass, Ambient light

 

Google Nexus 10

Today Google was going to have an announcement in New York City but the weather caused them to cancel the release, but that didn’t stop them from giving us two new devices and an update to one. The first is an update to the Nexus 7, then a new Nexus 4 phone, and finally a Nexus 10 tablet. Plus they all run the updated Android 4.2, and have Google Now functionality for searching.

The Nexus 10 is a 10.055″ display at a 2560×1600 resolution, 9 hours of battery while playing video, front and back cameras, and multi user mode. It also comes in a 16 and 32 GB model, 2GB RAM, Dual-Core A15, Dual MiMO WiFi, and Micro HDMI. Looks like good specs but the images of the device make it look more rounded than a Nexus 7 so check out the gallery.

Screen with Gorilla Glass 2 10.055″ 2560×1600 Resolution
CPU / GPU Dual-Core A15 / Mali T604
Cameras 5MP back, 1.9MP front
Wireless Wifi (MIMO+HT40), Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
Storage 16GB + 32GB
RAM 2GB
Battery 9000 mAh Lithium polymer
OS Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Connections Micro USB, Micro HDMI, Magnetic Pogo pin Plug, 3.5mm headphone
Sensors Microphone, Compass, Ambient light
Price 16GB – $399 / 32GB – $499

Google Nexus 7 OTA 4.1.2

Lots of users over at XDA-Developers Forum have started to get an update for their Google Nexus 7 tablets, this updates brings Android 4.1.2 Jellybean to the device. This isn’t a big update from what people have seen, it seems to increase performance and stability of the tablet along with bug fixes. The only real visible change is the ability to rotate the home screen in landscape mode. Below is a post on the Android Building Group.

We’re releasing Android 4.1.2 to AOSP today, which is a minor update on top of 4.1.1.

As a note to maintainers of community builds running on Nexus 7: please update to 4.1.2 at the first opportunity. Future variants of the grouper hardware will have a minor change in one of the components (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1.

The build number is JZO54K, and the tag is android-4.1.2_r1.

Enjoy,
Conley and JBQ


Jean-Baptiste M. “JBQ” Queru
Technical Lead, Android Open Source Project, Google.

I have been setting my Nexus 7 to look for an update but none yet for me, but thanks to user PTzero of XDA you can download the update from Google’s servers and flash the update yourself if you want. If you are like me you may just do this, and is reported to keep ROOT on your tablet if you have done that like I have. Otherwise wait a day or so and it should update your device.

Images from: EE Times

T-Mobile Releases Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data

Starting September 5th 2012 T-Mobile will be offering unlimited 4G data with no data caps, speed caps and no unknown bills. Both new and existing customers can upgrade to the new plan, new customers can also get a 4G device that T-Mobile sells. The plan also works on the normal phone plans and the “Value” plans or monthly plans they have.

It costs $20 when added to a Value plan, and $30 when added to Classic plans. And will be available though T-Mobile stores, on their website, and select dealers.

For example, a single line Value plan with unlimited talk and text combined with unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $69.99 or a single line Classic plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $89.99.

This sounds good, but there was no info on if you don’t have a 4G device or in an area that they say is 4G and are on 3G if it is still unlimited, I would guess it’s all unlimited. May have to look over this and see if I can get a low cost value plan and add the data to my old Nexus One and make it a hotspot and backup phone for when I’m out working. I’ll keep an eye on this.

Verizon 4G LTE now covers 75% of US Population

With a new group of cities added to Verizon’s 4G LET data network in 337 cities, they claim to have 75% of the US population covered.

With more 4G LTE coverage than all other networks combined, you can experience the speed and power of Verizon in more places. Verizon 4G LTE is available in 337 cities, covering nearly 75% of the U.S. population.

New cities include:

  • El Dorado / Magnolia Arkansas
  • Russellville Arkansas
  • New London County Connecticut
  • Fort Pierce Florida
  • Melbourne / Titusville Florida
  • Columbus Georgia
  • Rome Georgia
  • Burley Idaho
  • Mattoon Illinois
  • Anderson Indiana
  • Muncie Indiana
  • Manhattan / Junction City Kansas
  • McPherson Kansas
  • Lafayette / New Iberia Louisiana
  • St. Joseph Missouri
  • Bozeman / Livingston Montana
  • Kalispell Montana
  • Missoula Montana
  • Goldsboro / Kinston North Carolina
  • Roanoke Rapids North Carolina
  • Rocky Mount / Wilson North Carolina
  • Zanesville Ohio
  • Meadville Pennsylvania
  • Punxsutawney / Dubois / Clearfield Pennsylvania
  • Orangeburg South Carolina
  • Sherman / Denison Texas
  • Cedar City Utah
  • Logan Utah
  • Rutland / Bennington Vermont
  • Lynchburg Virginia
  • Winchester Virginia
  • Bellingham Washington
  • Beckley West Virginia

If you are looking to see if you can get Verizon 4G LTE in your area check out there up-to-date map and city finder.

Too bad my city isn’t on the list I did talk with some of the techs that were installing the antennas that I can see from my house but they just haven’t finished it for my area. When I was in Denver I tried my Galaxy Nexus and it was fast but nothing will take the place of Cable or DSL Internet.

Nook Color & Nook Tablet Price Cut

Barns & Noble just posted new lower prices for their Nook Color and Nook Tablet. These 7-inch tablets are built using Android OS and have a good amount of power for reading books, watching streaming video and playing music. This lower price is most likely a response to slowing sales of the now lower powered tablet and the introduction of new tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. This also follows reports of Amazon Kindle Fire sales dropping off.

If you’re looking for a cheaper reading tablet the prices are now $159 for the Nook Color, $199 for the 16GB and $179 for the 8GB version of the Nook Color. But I would say you may just want to spend the extra or the same amount on a Nexus 7 and get more power and the full and new Android 4.1.

Google Nexus 7 Hands On

Got my Nexus 7 a few hours ago and after spending some time with it I am very impressed with the performance and how nice of a device it is. First thinking after getting it out of the box, and no I didn’t have the hard time that every unboxing video seemed to show about how the box was a hard thing to open, I turned it on and it was saying I had only 6% battery. That is kind of a bummer because you will spend a long time waiting for it to charge up, after about 2 hours charging on my old Nexus One charger I am only at 32%, and it will charge my Galaxy Nexus in about 1 ½ hours. It may be faster now that I’m using the supplied charger.

As for the software you will have to update a lot of the stock apps right away, and there is an Android 4.1.1 update that you will need to do, but will have to wait until you get your device to above 25% battery. If you are an Android user already you will probably have a set of apps to install this takes time because you end up scrolling through a list of every app you have installed on any device using the Play Store to get the ones you want. I got a lot of news and reading apps loaded along with some video apps such as Netflix and Hulu along with my music apps like DI.FM and SKY.FM.

Because I got it from the Play Store I got a $25 credit that showed up in my email after I logged into the Nexus 7. It also came with Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a free movie to show how it works, and it streamed easy and fast over my Cable Internet connection. It also came with some magazines that you can look at. The Popular Science that they give you was nice, you can go to a page and then zoom in on a piece of text and it makes it look good, or you can just read the text in a different layout without the images though.

I did open the Kindle book app and look it over, it was nice on the bigger screen I have used it on a phone but didn’t seem to want to read much because it was a lot of page scrolling and not much reading, and on my big ASUS EP121 Windows Tablet it was nice but too big and heavy, but I did like it on the Nexus 7. As for Google Books I loaded the manual but it was spending a lot of time loading the next page trying to scroll though the book, that problem went away after letting it finish downloading the book.

Using apps like Flipboard and Currents was nice to read news and articles. Also using Chrome as a web browser was nice because it displayed content like a desktop but easily zoomed in when the text was too small to read easy. Google+ is also optimized for a tablet experience but Facebook was just an expanded mobile version.
The sound from the speaker was ok for watching YouTube and having some music playing but wasn’t that good that you wouldn’t want to have some headphones for longer listening sessions. The microphone was able to pick up my speech to text input easy enough using the Google Now cards and search. As for the camera you don’t get a full Camera app, but you can install other camera apps or use one called “Camera Launcher for Nexus 7” that will add an icon to use the Jelly Bean camera. Also some camera apps such as Camera ZOOM FX won’t install. The quality of the camera was ok and only good enough for video chat and things like that any ways.

As an update to the battery charging make sure you use the supplied charger it took me 45 minutes to work through this article and I went from 32% to 51% in the time I started to getting to this point, so the charge time isn’t that bad with the right charger.

Overall I like the Nexus 7 and expect to have lots of fun with it, I think I’ll get a case for it, Amazon.com had a few that have the magnets to make it wakeup and sleep depending on if the cover is open or closed like the iPad “not so” magic cover that only cost $20. So if you were thinking of getting a Nexus 7 go ahead and get it, the price is right at $199 and the hardware is good!

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