Google Releases Nexus 7 LTE Android 4.4.4 Factory Image For Reverting Back To Stock

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A few months back Google released the current factory (stock) image of Android 4.4.4 (KTU84P) for the Nexus range of devices. If you have not heard of factory images, the quickest explanation of these is that they are a way to effectively reset your device. If you are one of the people who are constantly flashing or installing alternative or customs ROMs then you are effectively installing the opposite to a factory image. Google release these images as a means for its users to re-flash their device back to a stock state. This is rather helpful if you want to sell the device, check out the new features offered on stock or just simply undo the effects of custom ROMs.

Although Google did release the factory image for Android 4.4.4 already the original release did not include the factory image for the LTE variant of the Nexus 7. Although it has been awhile since the original release it seems Google had not forgotten about the LTE version and have today released the factory image. If you are interested in installing it then you will need some knowledge of flashing. You will need to have the fastboot tool installed on your computer which can be obtained from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). In addition, you will need to make sure your computer has up-to-date USB drivers for your Nexus 7. Once these are in place you can use the fastboot tool to firstly make sure your bootloader is unlocked (this is necessary for flashing the factory image) and then using fastboot to execute the flash stock command. Once the factory image has been flashed your device will automatically reboot.

At this point is it recommended you then lock the bootloader again for security reasons. It is worth noting, flashing the factory image will delete all your current data and information on the device as it effectively wipes clean the device. So do make sure you backup everything you want to keep before beginning. For a more detailed description on the procedure of flashing the factory image and of course the actual image needed then head over to Google’s relevant factory image page on their developer site by clicking here.

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Android Headlines Show Episode 79 Tonight: Nexus 6 And New Data Plans

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We’re live again tonight for the Android Headlines Show. We’re talking more Nexus 6 rumors, new carrier data plans with double the data, Sony Xperia Z3X rumors, and a whole bunch more. The AH Show will be live right here at 930pm. Come hang out!

The Android Headlines Show is every Thursday at 930pm Eastern. You can watch on our YouTube channel and our Google+ page where you can ask us questions live.  You should also subscribe to The Android Headlines Show podcast on iTunes or download the show directly from our podcast page. Listen to us on Stitcher and Pocket Casts! Don’t forget to rate the show on iTunes and Stitcher, too. It helps us out by giving us feedback as to what we can do to make the show even better! We want to bring you a fresh take on what’s going on in the world of Android, Google, and tech. There’s always something new to talk about and we want to discuss what’s important to you. If there is something specific that you want us to talk about, let us know! Drop us a note in the comments or tune in and ask questions live on the air. You can send us a message on TwitterFacebook, or G+ too. We always love to hear from you.

News

Hardware

Software and Apps

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo Might Answer to Masayoshi Son of SoftBank In The Future

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Yahoo has had a rough time since Marissa Mayer became the company’s CEO in 2010.  By Yahoo, I mean Mayer’s Yahoo, the one that she recently, in a letter from Alternative Investment Management & Research, got told would be better off managed by Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japanese cell phone carrier and owner of Sprint in the United States SoftBank.

“We think that Yahoo would be far better off under the stewardship and vision of Mr. Son than under Yahoo’s current top management”.  Ouch right?  First, you get told that the investor in Yahoo, which AIMR is, thinks that you’d be better off under someone else’s control, and then follows up with not being either brave enough or rude enough (you pick) to call Yahoo’s ‘top management’ by name(s).

The reasoning, however, is not so unreasonable.  SoftBank apparently is in partnership currently with Yahoo Japan, and something they are doing is making those investors happy.  The letter quoted above was sent both to Yahoo and the SoftBank on Monday (yesterday) the 29th.  Another thing to know about SoftBank is that they supply both mobile and Internet service for their customers, and would be a great company for Yahoo to work with and under.

The issue that I, and some of you readers, may have is that this seems to be two things, other than a suggestion of improving leadership.  It might seem like people have been saying to Mayer that not only is she doing the right thing with acquiring companies but that she should leave it to someone else entirely.  This could also be an instance of ‘oh a woman’s running the company? Let’s fix that’ syndrome, especially regarding technology companies.

AIMR also said that Masayoshi Son of SoftBank would also do a better job of managing Yahoo’s current massive mound of cash to invest and spend.  That seems reasonable, right?  We think so too.  But it’s still off-putting that people want Marissa Mayer out of her top dog position at Yahoo in favor of foreign guidance.  What do you think about handing Yahoo’s reins over to the folks across the Atlantic, just like Sprint did a while back?  Let us know down below.

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Rogers and Fido Offering the New HTC Desire 510

HTC Desire 510-1HTC, the “quietly brilliant” company, is finally making some noise going into the world of low-mid range devices with a solid entry they call their Desire 510.  Rogers and Fido of Canada announced that they are carrying the Desire 510 in the Terra White or Meridian Grey for $0 on a two-year term or a flat $200 outright.  It will be competing directly with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Core LTE and Motorola G LTE in Canada, where the Moto G was the best-selling phone in Motorola’s history.

The HTC Desire 510 has a 4.7-inch FWVGA display, meaning that we are looking at a 854 x 480 pixel resolution.  It is feed its processing power through a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core, 32-bit processor (North America) clocked at 1.2GHz with a full 1GB of RAM and 8GBs of internal storage.  If you need more storage, not to worry, as there is a microSD card slot to expand up to 128GB – plenty for all of your pictures, videos or song collection.  It has a barebones 5MP main camera – no flash – and a VGA front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies, and if you must, an ocassional video chat.  This is all powered by a 2100mAh battery and running Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6.0 – one of the most popular skins today…this is HTC’s cheapest LTE device that it has available. It measure in at 139.9 x 69.8 x 9.99mm  and weighs in at 165 grams.

HTC is treating their new entry-level LTE device with a lot of respect and realizing that buyers want accessories, will even produce a special Dot View Case for the Desire 510 – one of the most popular cases for the HTC One M8 flagship device. This smartphone is a great choice for first-time smartphone buyers moving from a ‘full-featured’ device.  It is also an excellent choice for young kids or families that are trying to outfit the whole crew with cellphones…or even at the other end of the spectrum, older people that are only interested in a good, solid device and not the specifications of their smartphones.

Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if the HTC Desire 510 will be a device that would interest you and if you may be picking one up…as always, we would love to hear from you.

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Sponsored Game Review: OMG! Fortune FREE Slots

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Description: OMG! Fortune Slots is a game for Android that aims to recreate the fun of slot games without the need to gamble real money, and like many online games that are similar, OMG! Fortune Slots features all sorts of different games. There’s a level-up system included as well, with other games only becoming available once you have climbed up the ladder a little bit. With a good variety of different slot games on offer, with no need to gamble any real money, OMG! Fortune Slots might be the next slot game that you’ve been looking for. Take a look at the trailer below and read on to see what we thought of it.

Click here to view the embedded video.

How it Works: You’ll first need to download OMG! Fortune Slots from the Play Store. After that, you’re asked to pair it with your Facebook account, which isn’t needed, but it might be fun for a lot of you out there.

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Once you’ve done that, you can go ahead and choose the slot game you want to play – remember that other games will become available as you rank up from playing these slots.

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Playing your slots are pretty straightforward and if you’re familiar with them then you’ll know what you’re doing, all you need to do is to adjust your bet and then hit the spin button.

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Somewhat surprisingly, I found that I was winning coins quite quickly once I started spinning, and I soon found that I was having quite a good time OMG! Fortune Slots.

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One thing I thought was a nice touch here is the level system, while I’ve seen this in other games like OMG! Fortune Slots, it’s done a little better here. For one thing, it quickly unlocks other levels, and it also gives you some more money to keep on playing. So while the game does ask for in-app purchases for more coins and such, you are rewarded for playing in the first place, which is how it should be.

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When you climb through these levels, you’ll unlock more slot games to play, again rewarding you for staying with the game.

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All of these games are quite different from the last one, here Mad Birds obviously has a little Angry Birds about it, but there’s a lot of games on offer here, and it’s fun just to keep on unl0cking them as you keep spinning for more virtual cash.

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Opinion: I’ve played a lot of slot games over the past few years here at Android Headlines and while there’s clearly a lot of them out there, and only so much you can do with a slot game, OMG! Fortune Slots is a very competent offering. While it does ask for in-app purchases, nothing forces you to keep on putting money into the game, I won quite a lot of virtual cash without spending a single real penny, and just like there’s nothing forcing you putting another quarter in the machines at the casino, OMG! Fortune doesn’t force you here, either. I enjoyed the slots with their varied nature and they look good with some decent animation to them. My favorite aspect was the level-up mechanic, it’s simple to understand, rewards players for actually playing and gives the game a sense of purpose.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – Everything runs smoothly, with very little slowing me down from spin-to-spin.
  • Features (4/5) – A good variety of slots on offer, with a sense of purpose given through the use of a level-up system, OMG! Fortune Slots is one of those games that won’t disappoint slots fans, that’s for sure.
  • Theme (4/5) – There’s some good animation here, things look good on high-resolution displays and it’s all nice, colorful and lively.
  • Overall (4/5) – A solid option for slots fans, as well as casual gamers looking for something a little different from the Angry Birds and Flappy Birds out there, OMG! Fortune is a game that anyone could take to easily.

Pros

  • OMG! Fortune Slots doesn’t ask much from the player, just some minor setup and a button to spin – that’s it!
  • No need to put in real money unless you absolutely want to.
  • Seems pretty generous to me with its payouts, as I managed to build up a good amount of virtual cash in a short space of time.
  • Level-up system gives the game a sense of purpose, and with more slots becoming available after each new unlock, it gives the game a sense of progression as well.

Cons

  • Might feel a little familiar to a lot of keen slots players, but it does have its own sense of feel.
  • More than one slot available at the beginning would be nice, but they are unlocked quite quickly as you level up.

Conclusion: OMG! Fortune Slots is a slot game that I can see becoming very popular with casual gamers as well as slot players looking for something fresh. There’s no need to spend any real money here, and everything looks good at high-resolutions, too. It’s a polished game with a cool level-up system, some nice gifts for those regular users and a generous pay-out system. It does feature in-app purchases, but there’s no need to pile real money into this game at all, not unless you want to of course.

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Xolo Launch Q2100 Smartphone With Fingerprint Scanner In India For $220

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We’ve heard a lot of talk recently about companies like Xiaomi who are making big waves in India with their Redmi 1s devices. Similarly, OnePlus are also being highly anticipated by Indian consumers who look forward to joining the countries which can purchase the OnePlus One. However, these are all Chinese based companies who are trying to create a foothold and dominate in emerging markets such as India. With these companies making big moves it sometimes easy to forget about India’s home-grown manufacturers. Xolo is one of them. Xolo is an Indian smartphone who should not be overlooked and especially with claims like they were the first company to introduce a smartphone with an Intel processor. More locally they were the first company to announce a 4G device in India, the LT900.

Fast forward and Xolo have now just launched their newest device in India, the Q2100. This is another first for the company as its first device they have launched that comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner and as you would expect with an Indian device the Q2100 offers dual-SIM functionality. In terms of the rest of the specs the Q2100 offers a 5.5″ IPS display with a mid-level resolution of 1280 x 720p. Inside the device comes with 1GB RAM and a 1.2GHz Quad-Core MediaTek MT65882 processor. If snapping pictures is your thing then the Q2100 offers a medium level 8MP rear camera (with Full HD recording) and a 2MP front shooter. The device offers 8GB internal storage and also a standard microSD card slot for additional storage (up to 32GB). The device will come running on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and comes powered by a decent-enough 2,800 mAh battery, although it’s probably worth noting the back is non-removable.

So they are the details but of course what is most likely to determine the success for a device like this is the price. India is becoming flooded at the moment with mid-level devices and as such price is becoming ever more important in this region when creating a device that has a chance of sustainable success. Well, in terms of the Q2100 the device is being listed locally for Rs 13,499 which equates to just under $220. So what do you think? Do you like this device at this price point? With Android One available in India at half the cost, are the slightly better specs and inclusion of a fingerprint scanner enough to make you pay the higher price? Let us know what you think

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Sony Announces the Xperia Z3 Will Arrive in Canada October 31

18_Xperia_Z3_Group_AngleSony Mobile Communications announced today that the long awaited Sony Xperia Z3 flagship smartphone would launch across Canada on October 31 on multiple carriers.  The Big Three – Bell, Rogers and TELUS – will carry it, as will MTS, SaskTel, WIND Mobile and in Sony Stores.  Tim Hernquist, Vice President of Marketing for North America, Sony Mobile Communications said, “Consumers demand and deserve greatness from their smartphone – in design, camera and battery life.  That’s precisely what we deliver with Xperia Z3, delivering leading innovations such as PS4 Remote Play in a beautifully designed, fully waterproof smartphone.”

The Xperia Z3 is a beautiful phone that follows in the tradition of the Xperia series design – it has a 7.3mm thin rounded aluminum frame and durable tempered glass panels – top and bottom – and weighing only 152 grams, it is easy to hold and use.  It is also practical, with its IP65/IP68 dust and waterproof rating, you can take it anywhere with confidence that a spilled drink or a downpour will not slow your Z3 down – even take it for a swim and capture some underwater pictures or videos.  With Sony’s Battery STAMINA Mode your 3100mAh battery can get up to two days of usage on a charge.

Just as a reminder, the Xperia Z3 has a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 424 pixels-per-inch (PPI).  A Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz powers the device with 3GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage that is expandable another 128GB with a microSD card.  It has an excellent Sony 20.7MP main camera with a 25mm wide-angle lens so you can capture more in each photo.  Besides the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, the Z3 packs a FM Radio, Stereo Front Facing speakers and can be used as a PS4 Remote Play device with an optional hand control.  It is running Android 4.4.4 with Sony’s Xperia UI on top.

Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are excited about the Xperia Z3 coming to Canada – I know we are here in the U.S. – and will you be looking to pick up this device or do you have your eyes set on another smartphone…as always, we would love to hear from you.

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Deal: Poweradd Pilot X3 10400mAh Dual-Port Portable Charger – $18.99

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Looking for a nice battery pack to keep your devices charged up while you’re away from the outlet? Well the Poweradd Pilot X3 is a great one to pick up. Right now it’s on sale for $18.99 if you use promo code – NBX883SL – and it has to be sold by PoweraddDirect, or else the promo code won’t work. That will give you $4 off. Which isn’t a big amount, but hey a 10,400mAh battery pack for under $20 is nothing to sneeze at. You can pick it up from the link down below.

Poweradd Pilot X3 10400mAh Dual-Port Portable Charger – $18.99

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Is this the Nexus 6, Being used on Someone’s Commute?

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We’re starting to see more and more Nexus 6 rumors trickling out. Earlier this week we saw a render of what appears to be the real deal when it comes to the Nexus 6 aka the Shamu from Motorola. It’s basically a larger Moto X. It’s said to be a 5.9-inch display, otherwise, the hardware is pretty identical to the Moto X, as far as the looks go. We’re expecting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 3200mAh battery inside.

From this image (hat tip to Android Police for this one), we can’t tell a whole lot. But we do see a front-facing speaker as the top one is likely just an earpiece as it is on the Moto X. But it is a rather large device, and it appears to be in some kind of TPU case as well. We can see, at least the Android L back key. While his hand is in the way of the other two buttons (home and recents). The status bar icons are a bit tough to see, but they appear to be bolded, like we saw yesterday in that video.

It’s really hard to tell how big this device is because well we don’t see many other objects. But with it being a 5.9-inch device and Motorola using pretty small bezels, I’d venture to guess it’ll be slightly larger than the LG G3. Which already has pretty small bezels. However, Android Police doesn’t believe that this is the smaller 5.2-inch model. But just the 5.9-inch one, that’s been codenamed Shamu.

It’s not a bad looking device, but I really hope that they put out a 5.2-inch one, as rumored as well. Because I know I’m not the only one that doesn’t want a big device like this. There are plenty that do, but there are also plenty that don’t. How many of you are looking forward to the Nexus 6?

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Verizon Follows the Crowd, Doubles Data on Family Share Plans

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On Saturday, AT&T announced it was doubling their data in the higher tiers (15GB and 30GB). Earlier today, Sprint announced they were doubling data for those with data caps as well. Not to be left out, Verizon has also doubled data. While not all of their plans have doubled in data, a few have, and others have seen nice increases. Verizon has increased their $110 plan from 12GB to 15GB. Their $130 plan was 16GB and is now 30GB, their $150 plan jumped from 20GB to 40GB, and their $375 plan went from 50GB to 100GB. So they haven’t doubled everyone’s data, but it’s still a nice increase over what we had previously from Verizon.

It’s interesting to see that Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have all doubled or increased data caps, instead of dropping prices on their existing plans. Which I’m sure more people would have liked. But then again they’ve gotta keep their investors happy. These new data caps are available on their Family Share plans only. Which means your data bucket is shared among all the devices on your account. Including tablets, and other connected devices. So it’s important to keep that in mind, if you’re thinking about jumping ship to Verizon. It’s interesting to see this hit on the day that they are beginning throttling of their grandfathered unlimited data users.

While it’s not unlimited data – I highly doubt we’ll see Verizon or AT&T bring back unlimited data – 15GB of data for $110/month isn’t bad at all. It’s definitely a plan I’d jump on. Verizon does still have the most reliable network. It may not be the fastest everywhere, but it is the most reliable. And it’s great to see them getting into these price wars with the other competitors. How many of you are going to be hitting up Verizon to get your data caps increased now? Let us know in the comments below.

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