May 24, 2012

HTC releases official Android 4.0 update list with devices and estimated release dates

HTC has already pushed out a few Android 4.0 updates this spring, but HTC seems ready to release a fresh dose of Ice Cream Sandwich updates just in time for summer. HTC has released a comprehensive list of which phones will recevie the latest version of Android along with estimated release dates.
Unfortunately, there are a few devices which are still missing from the list. Handsets like the myTouch 4G, myTouch 4G Slide are more than capable than handling the Android 4.0 update, but HTC seems reluctant to commit. Naturally, you can always take matters into your own handset and find an ICS update on XDA-Developers or any of the other development communities out there.
Is your phone on the official HTC Android 4.0 update list? Will you be waiting for your update or do you plan on buying a new phone within the next month or two?
The majority of devices will receive upgrades in June and July 2012 and we expect to finish upgrades in August 2012 for all announced devices. The target timeline for announced devices is below. Because of partner and network testing, and approval processes for device updates, it can take up to 45 days for all carriers and countries to get the update after a rollout has begun.
Official HTC Android 4.0 Update List
  • DROID Incredible 2 by HTC – To be determined (by the end of August)
  • HTC Amaze 4G – May-June
  • HTC Desire S – June-July
  • HTC Desire HD – July-August
  • HTC EVO 3D – June-July
  • HTC EVO 4G+ – May-June
  • HTC EVO Design 4G – June-July
  • HTC Incredible S – June-July
  • HTC Sensation – March-June
  • HTC Sensation 4G – March-June
  • HTC Sensation XE – March-June
  • HTC Sensation XL – April-Jun
  • HTC Rezound – June-July
  • HTC Rhyme – June-July
  • HTC Thunderbolt – July-August
  • HTC Velocity 4G  – March-June
  • HTC Vivid  – March-June
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May 18, 2012

Galaxy S III preorders approach 10 million

Samsung Galaxy S III Preorders
Samsung said earlier this year that is hoped to sell 10 million units of its smartphone-tablet hybrid, the Galaxy Note, in 2012. End-user sales reached 5 million units in March, putting Samsung well on its way to achieving the lofty goal. If 10 million is a magic number for Samsung, the company is undoubtedly pleased with pre-sales performance of its next-generation flagship smartphone, which may reach 10 million units before the smartphone even hits store shelves. South Korea-based newspaper Korea Economic Daily on Friday cited an unnamed Samsung official in reporting that preorders of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III have already hit 9 million units. Reuters, which relayed the report, notes that Samsung’s South Korean factory is currently building the Galaxy S III at full capacity of 5 million units per month, according to the paper. Samsung’s Galaxy S III will launch in Germany on May 29th before rolling out in other markets around the world. The flagship smartphone is expected to begin launching on carriers in the United States this summer.
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May 15, 2012

SD Maid For Android Wipes Clean Previously Uninstalled Apps’ Data To Free Up Extra Storage

If you want to reclaim some long lost storage space on your Android smartphone and happen to be someone who is installing and removing apps more often than most, then SD Maid may be the app for you. By completely removing traces of uninstalled apps, SD Maid promises to reclaim some of that storage space that you probably never thought you would see again.
Android users tend to be the kind of people that like to chop and change software. They like to try out new apps, new tools and new tweaks, but they don’t want to keep them around on their phone’s limited storage for eternity.
While Android does obviously allow users to uninstall apps at will, assuming they are not part of a carrier ploy to fill your new smartphone full of trash, of course, the built-in app removal system does not always get things 100% right.
If, like us, you tend to keep adding and then removing apps constantly, then SD Maid may well be an app that is worth your tine to check out – especially if you find yourself running out of storage more often than you think you should.
What SD Maid does is take control of cleaning out all the little bits and pieces that apps tend to leave on your smartphone even after they have been uninstalled. Even though Google’s Android system does its best to remove everything, there is usually still something left behind after an app has been uninstalled. SD Maid does its best to remove anything that is left behind, reclaiming valuable storage space in the process.
SD Maid scans the /data/data and /mnt/sdcard/Android/data/ directories that are common to all Android devices, as well as the /dbdata/databases/ directory that is apparently exclusive to those devices made by Samsung. The list of files that the app will scan for, and then remove is fairly extensive, with log files, caches and temporary or incomplete downloads being the most obvious. Any Windows thumbnail files or similar will also be removed, too.
SD Maid is free, and is a must-use app for those of us with limited storage space but a love for trying out anything that is new and cool on Google’s Play Store.
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Download SD Maid for Android [Google Play link]
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HTC Desire C is a budget ICS droid with Beats Audio

After a number of leaks, the HTC Desire C (previously known as Golf and Wildfire C) went official today. It bears some resemblance to the HTC Explorer, but it's actually more of a One series smartphone.

HTC Desire C is an ICS phone on a budget
The Desire C runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Sense 4.0 on top out of the box. It also features Beats Audio technology (no headphones though) and packs a 3.5" LCD of HVGA resolution (the Explorer had a 3.2" screen).
The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 chipset with a CPU clocked at 600MHz. The actual chipset model number wasn't announced, but it's probably the MSM7225A with a Cortex-A5 CPU and 512MB RAM (the one that powers the Explorer).
The HTC Desire C brings some more upgrades compared to its predecessors. The camera is a 5MP unit with F/2.8 aperture and 34mm focal length (in 35mm equivalent). You also get 4GB of built-in storage (plus 25GB cloud space from Dropbox for 2 years), a microSD card slot, 3G with 7.2Mbps HSDPA, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and USB 2.0. The battery has 1230mAh capacity and it's user-accessible.

The HTC Desire C will be available in Polar White, Stealth Black and Flamenco Red in select European countries (we've seen Romania for €200, the Netherlands for €220 and Portugal who jumped the gun a couple of days ago) later this month.
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May 12, 2012

University of California, Riverside runs entire building floor off of 1.1-megawatt green battery

University of California, Riverside runs entire building floor off of 1.1-megawatt green battery
We're used to batteries powering a lot of devices, but the University of California, Riverside is upping that a notch by charging up a whole floor's worth. The school's Winston Chung Global Energy Center is walking the eco-friendly walk and has started using a huge bank of rare earth, lithium-ion batteries from Balqon to produce 1.1 megawatts, enough to keep Winston Chung Hall's entire first floor humming along while tapping renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. The batteries bank their energy overnight, keeping the throngs of students happy without having to recharge as much or use the regular power grid as a fallback. While it's considered a testbed, the university's giant battery is considered a blueprint for cellular towers and the green power sources themselves -- the combination of which could keep your smartphone up and running with a lot less of an environmental hit.

[Thanks, Justin B]
sourceUCR Today
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says mobile apps the top focus, we say it's about time

Mister Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook has been making a lot of promises during a tour to drum up interest in its ever-nearing IPO, but the one gadget-heads have been wanting to hear the most, a commitment to its mobile apps, has been elusive -- until now. Everyone's favorite hooded CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is telling investors in his home 'burg of the San Francisco Bay that mobile is front and center in his company's plans. We're hoping that means new app features, although Zuck is likely referring to money-making as well: shareholders are jittery knowing that Facebook makes most of its money on web ads that it's not running on smartphones and tablets. Paid titles in App Center will go a long way towards scratching that itch, mind you. As for us, we'll just be happy if Facebook takes less than a year and a half to produce a major tablet app.
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May 11, 2012

Apple to ditch Google Maps in iOS 6, use in-house mapping solution

Apple Ditching Google Maps In IOS 6
Apple has been using Google Maps since it launched the iPhone in 2007. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt even joined Steve Jobs on the stage during the handset’s announcement. The two companies’ relationship has dwindled, however, with the success of Google’s own Android mobile operating system that competes directly with the iPhone. A new report from 9To5Mac suggests that the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, will feature an in-house maps application, ending the Cupertino-based company’s reliance on Google Maps. According to the website’s anonymous sources, the application is said to be similar to iOS’s current Google Maps program, however it was described as both cleaner and faster, and will deliver a more reliable experience and an enhanced 3D mode. Apple’s in-house service will reportedly be based on mapping technology it acquired from purchasing Placebase, C3 Technologies and Poly9.
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LG LS970 superphone rumored: Krait quad-core, 2GB RAM, LTE and 13MP camera

LG LS970 superphone rumored: Krait quad-core, 2GB RAM, LTE and 13MP camera
Not to be outdone by its Korean rival, LG's reportedly preparing a potent new phone with some of Qualcomm's latest SoC hardware. According to BriefMobile's leak, it'll pack an LTE-friendly MDM9615 alongside the Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM -- something LG has already announced for its Optimus LTE2. A 2,1000 mAh battery will apparently power the 4.67-inch 1280 x 768 LCD display, while a Sony-matching 13-megapixel camera will face out the back. The leak -- which includes the decidedly abstract photo above -- reckons the LTE slab will arrive on Sprint, which tallies with the LS970 model number. We're cautiously holding out for something more official soon -- perhaps once the Now Network's flipped that 4G switch.
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Smartphone users in China: iPhone vs Android [Infographic]

Click here to find out more!
A new survey conducted by Guohe among mobile users in China reveals who is buying mobile apps, user preferences for iOS or Android, and user tolerance for ads appearing in their apps. Here are the highlights:
  • 54% of users interviewed had Android phones, and 39% had jailbroken iPhones.
  • Users were most accepting of ads within news apps and least tolerant of them in apps such as photography, graphics, or even location and map apps.
  • Gaming as a category is a hit with both iOS and Android users, and it works well for advertisers.
  • iPhones tend to be more expensive than their Android counterparts in China, with iOS users gravitating toward game, utility and shopping apps. On the other hand, Android users are more into reading apps.
  • Only 23% of the study’s Android users ever purchased any apps, while about 25% of iPhone users surveyed prefer paid apps that are ad-free.
  • Only 13% of Android users would rather buy an app that is ad-free rather than get a free app monetized by inserted ads.
And you can see how all this comes together from the following infographic…
Smartphone users in China: iPhone vs Android
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Download: Latest Google Play Store v3.5.19

A new version of the Android Play Store (formerly Android Market) with version 3.5.19 is now rolling out, replacing 3.5.16. We haven't seen a new Play Store for over a month, but what changes it contains compared to its predecessor is not clear at the moment. I've examined all the menus I could think of and didn't find anything new, so improvements are either under-the-hood or so subtle it'll take a whole AP community to find them.
If you haven't gotten 3.5.19 pushed to your device yet, we have some download mirrors below. The apk has been verified as official and signed by Google, so it's safe to proceed.
SC20120511-015542 SC20120511-015553 SC20120511-015604


Download (change the extension to .apk if your browser downloads it as something else for some reason, like a .zip or .bin) and install as you would do it with any other apk - it will replace the existing Market or Play Store with the latest version 3.5.19.
Via @neillund
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Is this Hover Car the next people's car?

The VW Hover Car concept.
The VW Hover Car concept.
(Credit: Volkswagen)
When you think of a basic, affordable vehicle that everyone can buy, a hover car doesn't immediately come to mind. But that's what emerged from the People's Car Project launched by Volkswagen in China last year.
Volkswagen, which translates to "people's car" in English, challenged China residents to submit their ideas of what the car of the future should look like. The company sifted through more than 119,000 ideas submitted to the project Web site and compiled three concepts, including the Hover Car.

The Hover Car is a two-seater zero-emissions vehicle that hovers above the ground and travels along electromagnetic road networks. It can detect other vehicles on the road while navigating China's congested traffic centers, and its small footprint makes it easy to park.
Electromagnetic highways where vehicles can be operated autonomously and continuously powered have been floated by other automotive designers. Stanford researchers are working on electric highway technology that will solve the wireless-charging part of the equation, and it's only a matter of time until we're all relaxing behind the wheel of a self-driving car. So maybe the Hover Car isn't so far-fetched after all. Whether or not it could be affordable enough for the masses is the real question.

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Google developing an iOS-like Game Center for Android

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As popular as Android has become, there’s no denying Google hasn’t been shy to mimic certain features of iOS over the years. Now an unnamed source is telling Business Insider Google’s latest venture is building a social gaming network for Android to model Game Center on iOS.
Since iOS 4.1 in 2010, Game Center has been a way for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users to keep track of game scores and compete with friends in certain multiplayer games. There’s never been a native solution for doing this on Android. Thus far, developers have had to rely on third-party gaming networks like OpenFeint, but it’s not enough to be a driving force in gaming growth on Android and Google is aware.
“They are starting to really understand all of the needs and wants to make a game really successful,” the source said. “As recently as even a year ago, that really wasn’t part of their institutional DNA, but I think they’re getting there.”
One advantage Google has over Apple in creating a game center for Android is its own social network: Google+. There would be little to no effort necessary on the user’s end to start playing optimized games other than logging into the game network with their Google ID. Then Google could pull information — which may including gaming interests — directly from Google+ to create basic profiles. It’s also allegedly planning to include an award system for players with the highest achievements.
Naturally, a spokesperson for Google had nothing to say on the matter. If it’s made significant progress so far, maybe we’ll hear the official word at Google I/O in June.
[via Business Insider]
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May 10, 2012

HTC Wildfire C live pictures are here, to be called Desire C

We first heard about HTC Golf back in March, thanks to a leaked camera sample. Then we saw a believable enough official render and we heard the phone would be called Wildfire C.
What we got today is the first live pictures of the device. It looks just like in those rendered images, but packs a different paintjob. Also, the image source claims, the smartphone will be called Desire C instead of Wildfire C though it certainly looks more like previous Wildfires than Desires.

HTC Desire C
The Desire/Wildfire C is rumored to feature a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, a single-core 800MHz or 1GHz processor, a 5 megapixel snapper, a front-facing video-call camera, 512MB RAM, 4 gigs of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and a microSD slot.
The Desire C should be the HTC’s most affordable droid running on Ice Cream Sandwich (with Sense UI 4.0 on top). It will probably be announced quite soon, as the release is rumored to come by the end of June.
Source | Via
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Savored Launches Official App For Android, Offers Free Reservations, Discounted Dining Up To 40% Off In Select US Cities

Savored, an app exclusively partnered with OpenTable to bring users an excellent reservation system and great savings, launched officially on Android today, bringing users in select cities across the country the ability to book reservations at quality dining establishments and save a ton of cash at the same time.
Savored's arrival on Android coincides with the end of its $10 booking fee, meaning reservations (along with membership) are totally free. Better still, the incredible discounts Savored offers are coupon-less, with discounts applied automatically to your bill.
The only down side to Savored is that it is as yet only available in select cities (including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. with "many more cities" coming soon).
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That being said, the app is extremely easy to navigate and works like a dream. Offering easy map functionality and a fairly intuitive interface, Savored makes booking a table at your favorite restaurant an absolute breeze, and is definitely worth checking out if you're in one of the cities listed above. Just hit the widget below to grab the app.
Download Savored from Google Play
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Alcatel OneTouch 995 hands-on

Alcatel OneTouch 995 hands-on
Alcatel's OneTouch 995 first graced our pages back in November, which promised pumped-up specs and a departure from the company's traditional low-end lineup. We've now managed to lay our hands upon the device, and while it sports only Gingerbread (which contradicts those Ice Cream Sandwich rumors), it's really quite nice -- especially given the low price. While the hardware is relatively unassuming, that's not a bad thing. Instead, the OneTouch 995 manages to include just enough quality components to make the handset both attractive and functional. It features a 1.4GHz CPU, along with an admirable 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 IPS LCD display and a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. We were also pleased to see a stock Android 2.3 interface, and Alcatel's addition of a micro-HDMI port with DLNA support is most definitely welcome. The enclosure itself is quite plasticky, but it's also comfortable to hold. We're told the OneTouch 995 will arrive on the market in the near-term, and will sell in the neighborhood of $270. As an important feature for some, it'll also be available in a variety of colors. To see the company's finest handset to date, be sure to check out our gallery below.

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Google Maps for Android takes you inside with improved walking directions

All right, so Google Maps has gotten you safely to your destination. Now what?! Don't panic -- the company is rolling out indoor walking directions for the app's latest Android release. Version 6.7 also features 360-degree photo views of businesses, to help ensure that you really don't get lost once inside. Also new is nearby deals that can be accessed by clicking "Offers," so you can nab some sweet deals within arms' reach. The latest version is up for the download now via Google Play. If you're still lost, please consult the instructional video after the break.

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Google shares an image taken with its Project Glass prototype

Google shares an image taken with its Project Glass prototype
Google continues to tease its unique and futuristic “Project Glass” HUD glasses. The Internet giant recently made a short post on its Google+ page and shared an image taken with its Project Glass prototype. “We announced Project Glass in part to let our team start testing prototypes outside the office,” the company wrote. “Sebastian Thrun, one of our project leaders, tried one out last weekend and we just had to share the result.” Thrun’s image, as seen above, has gone viral and in less than 24 hours has been +1′d nearly 2,000 times and re-shared by nearly 1,000 individuals, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
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May 9, 2012

Google Play Store surpasses 15 billion downloads

Google Play Store surpasses 15 billion downloads
After reports surfaced claiming the Google Play Store was about to reach 15 billion app downloads, Google confirmed to TechCrunch that it reached the milestone “a few weeks ago.” Apple reached the same number of downloads in July 2011 and recently surpassed 25 billion downloads in March. The gap between the two marketplaces seems to be widening slightly, with Google seeing about 1 billion app downloads per month while Apple is serving about 1.25 billion app downloads per month. The Google Play Store currently has more than 500,000 apps, while Apple’s App Store has some 600,000. There have been reports, however, that claim iOS developers are making more money than their Android counterparts. Analyst Horace Dediu noted that up until the end of January 2012, Google has paid developers $320 million compared to $4 billion from Apple, but the Cupertino-based company’s app download rate is reportedly slowing, having fallen by 30% in March. Google expects to earn $35.9 million from its app store this year.
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May 5, 2012

Facebook App Updated To Version 1.9.2 – Say Goodbye To Messenger And Camera Shortcuts

You may remember the recent Facebook update that added two rather controversial app shortcuts on users' devices, with icons that had to be revised because they looked a little too similar to a couple of Android's stock icons.
If you found the added shortcuts to be redundant, confusing, or just plain useless, you're in luck - with the app's latest update, the shortcuts have been totally removed.
It's not exactly clear why Facebook so quickly yanked the shortcuts from the app, but rumblings from the user community about the – in many cases – unwanted installation of extra apps may have something to do with the decision.
If you haven't already, just click through the widget below and grab the update.
Download Facebook from Google Play
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May 4, 2012

Watch Samsung’s Galaxy S III launch event [video]

Samsung Galaxy S III announced
Samsung unveiled its flagship smartphone for 2012 during an action-packed, occasionally bizarre press conference held in London on Thursday. The device has some big shoes to fill considering the success of the Galaxy S II and all its variants, so a spectacular Unpacked event was in order. The South Korea-based vendor tried to stream the event live on its Facebook page, but many eager onlookers reported difficulties when they tried to load Samsung’s video player. For those who were unable to watch the event live, or for those who just want to relive the magic, a re-broadcast of Samsung’s Unpacked 2012 event is now available, and it can be watched below in its entirety.
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LG announces Optimus LTE2 with 2GB of RAM

Not to be outdone by its Korean counterpart, LG announced its own flagship smartphone on the same day as the the Galaxy S III. The Optimus LTE2, as it is called, is no less when it comes to features and specifications and in some aspects even outdoes Samsung's offering.

For starters, the design seems to be a bit better. While Samsung has gone with an all plastic body, LG has opted for a bit of glass and metal, in other words, something befitting of a flagship device.
The display on the phone is something that LG likes to call TrueHD IPS display. It's likely to be a 720p display and the 'True' part comes from it having a standard RGB subpixel layout, unlike the display on the Galaxy S III that uses a PenTile RGBG layout. Looking at the performance of recent LCDs, we think the display on the Optimus LTE2 is going to be more than a match for the one on the Galaxy S III.
The main feature here, however, is the inclusion of a stonking 2GB of RAM, a first for any smartphone. While it is debatable if the extra gigabyte will make any noticeable difference, at least you will never have to worry about running out of memory while multitasking.
Other features include wireless induction charging, LTE connectivity, a camera that can be operated using your voice, 2,150mAh battery and Android 4.0. Unfortunately, there is no mention of what processor the phone is running on but the presence of LTE suggests that it could be (and we hope it is) Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4.
The phone is expected to go on sale in Korea by mid-May. Hopefully, LG announces international availability soon, along with some proper specifications.
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Apple and Samsung get 99% of the total mobile phone profits

Looks like it's a grim time to be a mobile phone manufacturer if you are not Apple or Samsung. According to the latest report by Asymco, Apple and Samsung accounted for 99 percent of the total mobile phone profits, with HTC taking the remaining 1 percent.

Out of the 99 percent Apple took the majority of it with an astounding 73 percent, with Samsung being left with the remaining 26 percent despite being the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer right now. As mentioned before, HTC took 1 percent out of the total and everybody else, including RIM, Nokia, LG, Motorola and Sony Mobile reported a loss in the first quarter.

With the launch of the Galaxy S III and the HTC One series phones, these two are likely to expand their share of profits over the coming quarters. However, it is going to take quite a bit of effort to dethrone Apple from the number one position, which it has managed to maintain despite not having the greatest market share.
For a more detailed analysis, click on the source link below.
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Carphone Warehouse: pre-order Galaxy S III, get a free Tab 10.1

The Samsung Galaxy S III deals for the UK keep rolling in - Carphone Warehouse have it up for pre-order both on contract with several carriers and SIM free. Here's the kicker - if you go for the on-contract option, you'll be getting a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Yes, that's the original Tegra 2-powered Galaxy Tab 10.1 with 16GB, though the differences between the Tab 10.1 and Tab 2 10.1 aren't that big. By itself, carphone Warehouse currently offer the Tab 10.1 for £400 (though it's cheaper in other places, £350 on Amazon UK, for example). Anyway, the offer is valid only for the first 1,000 pre-orders.

Anyway, you'll also receive a free car charger and a Zagg InvisibleSHIELD screen protector to go with your Galaxy S III. Carphone estimates their price at £30.
The contracts you can choose from are all 2-years long and most offer the phone for free with £36 monthly payments. There are contracts for Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile.
If you want to go the SIM-free route, the price for the Samsung Galaxy S III is £500. But you won't be getting the tablet or the other two goodies. Delivery is set for May 30, just like the other UK carriers. Note that both the on and off contract offers are for the 16GB version of the S III.
For more, check out yesterday's article about Galaxy S III pre-orders in the UK.
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First Samsung Galaxy S III TV ad goes live on YouTube

Click here to find out more!

During the official announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S III, a new TV was shown off and has now made its way to YouTube. Samsung is really playing up the human element with this new ad campaign, so much that you almost don’t see the phone itself enough in the new ad.
The Galaxy S III is full of surprises and we’re glad to see that Samsung didn’t let us down. That said, the decision to go with capacitive buttons below the display isn’t our personal favorite but it does allow the user to take advantage of the entire display, which we can’t really complain about. Throw in the new quad-core Exynos processor, sensors galore, and a spruced-up version of TouchWiz running on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and Samsung has achieved exactly what it set out to do, which was make a worthy successor to the Galaxy S II that’s more than worth the upgrade.
We still have to wait before we can get any solid dates for the US variants of the handset and it will be interesting to see if this ad campaign is retained.
What do you think about the ad below? Effective or a bit sappy?

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