Archive for category Samsung

Android announces more devices to get Ice Cream Sandwich

Samsung mobile and tablets users can now check to see if their device is next in line to receive Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich software update.

Ice Cream Sandwich coming to more devices soon

 AT&T customer using the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Captivate Glide, and Nexus S smartphones are slated to get the software update as well as Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy users.

Mobile users with Verizon with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be getting a bite of Ice Cream Sandwich.

It’s a little unclear what devices with T-Mobile and Sprint will be getting the Android update. However, Samsung claims it has been working with both carriers to decide which devices will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich.

While there is no specific time frame on when these carries and devices will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich, Samsung is confident the updates will be available in the new future.

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Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Aviator

Given that my personal cell provider is US Cellular, I was pretty excited to get my hands on its first 4G LTE device and potentially my new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S Aviator.

The Aviator’s touch screen measures in at 4.3 inches. The size seemed to be a good compromise between practicality and flashiness. The screen is big enough to text, watch videos and browse web pages easily, but sleek enough where it doesn’t feel like an inconvenience to tote around. Actually, if two features that you look for in a mobile are thin and lightweight, I would definitely look into the Aviator.

Aside from the design, a few other notable features include the camera and HDMI output. The 8 – megapixel rear camera takes good pictures, similar to that of the iPhone 4s or Galaxy S Skyrocket. The HDMI output allows users to connect to other devices to watch videos or movies on bigger screens. While I’m not that savvy on how to utilize the HDMI port, it seems pretty convenient if that’s your thing.

The Aviator’s biggest draw is its 4G LTE capability. I was expecting the device to default to the 4G LTE setting, but I found I had to do some Google work to switch the settings. Through my searches, I also found that keeping your mobile in 3G unless you’re doing heavy web surfing or downloading will make a significant impact on your battery life. So if battery life is important, try keeping it in 3G whenever possible.

When I did switch the Aviator to 4G LTE, there was I a dramatic improvement when running the applications and browsing the web. Loading and streaming videos had little buffering time, and downloading web pages was a breeze. Unfortunately, the 4G LTE network is currently only available in some areas including Madison,  Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Appleton, Monroe, Platteville and Portage, so Wisconsin residents outside elsewhere in the state won’t be able to take advantage of the 4G LTE network just yet.

Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Aviator

Aside from network issues, I hope the device is in the running for the Android Ice Cream Sandwich update. Straight out the box, the Aviator currently runs Android’s Gingerbread platform, which is fine for the short term. Though as newer devices are coming out with Ice Cream Sandwich, it would be good to see an update made available for the Aviator to keep it as current as possible.

Generally, I like US Cellular’s choice to go with the Samsung Aviator as its first 4G LTE smartphone. As I mentioned earlier, the device is flashy but still user friendly and includes all the bells and whistles you could want in a smartphone. In the future, I’d like to see a software upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich and less work to connect to 4G LTE.

The Aviator is currently available for $199 with a two-year contract in most US Cellular stores. However, if you live in one of US Cellular’s new 4G LTE network areas, you will receive a $100 rebate and only pay $99 for the Aviator.  Though I had problems with the 4G LTE network initially, it’s still worth going into a US Cellular store and seeing it for yourself, especially for only $99.

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Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

After US Cellular’s announcement earlier this year that it would be rolling out its in 4G LTE network starting in March, I was interested to see what devices would also be introduced in conjunction with the new network.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from US Cellular

US Cellular chose the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 as its first 4G LTE device. The Galaxy line from Samsung has been a hit for several other carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, so it’s a safe move for US Cellular to bring the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to its customers. On the other hand though, some devices on this line have already been on the market for the last six months and, with the Apple’s new iPad out as well, customers may be looking for something new.

The Galaxy Tab’s 10.1-inch screen is similar in size as other tablets including the new iPad and HTC Jetstream. Users concerned about size and bulkiness shouldn’t worry; I found the Galaxy Tab to fit easily into my bag without adding a noticeable amount of weight or bulk. My only grievance with the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the power button on the side that’s easy to hit. There were a few times while watching a video I would accidently hit the power button and shut down the tablet. However, I’m sure this problem can be easily avoided with regular use.

With the 4G LTE network, I was expecting the Galaxy Tab to make smooth transitions, have little video buffering and speedy downloads. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Transitioning from applications to web browsing was a breeze. If you’re anxious to upgrade your current device to 4G LTE, I would definitely suggest checking out the Galaxy Tab. While the tablet currently runs Android’s Honeycomb software, I’m hoping that an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich will become available to users in the near future.

 If you’re interested in picking up a new tablet, check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for $399 after $100 rebate and a two-year agreement.

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New apps for Note users

With the Samsung Note set to launch this weekend, AT&T is giving a preview of the applications for the “phablet, ” known by its brand name of Samsung Note. The hybrid of a tablet and smartphone, the Note’s exclusive applications utilize its S-Pen, otherwise known as a stylus. Here are a few applications that will make a splash with Note users:

  • Soonr Scribble—Make edits on any PDF or WordDoc with this application. Users can scribble notes in the margins or highlight important sections the save them to a secure cloud network.
  • ZenBrush—This application will give the S-Pen the same characteristics as a brush or pen. . The Note screen is pressure sensitive and so brush strokes will change based on how hard or light you press.
  • TouchRetouch—Just like Photoshop to go. Remove unwanted content from your photos easily.  Either “lasso” the object or “color” over it and hit the “play” button and watch the object disappear. 

Screenshot of SoonrScribble for Samsung Note

These applications are just a few The Note will have. Check out our review of Samsung’s Note coming soon.

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Samsung introduces element resistant smartphone

Samsung’s newest device, the Rugby, is up for grabs from AT&T starting March 4. The waterproof, dustproof  device is one that users will not have to worry about handling with care since it also withstands extreme temperatures. Rugby is good fit for any avid outdoors people or a typical college student.

Samsung Rubgy

While other mobiles have been coined as “splash proof,” Samsung’s Rugby can allegedly withstand being submerged for 30 minutes. Again, this is a great feature for campers and college students who are more prone to liquid mishaps with their phones. The Rugby also claims to be shock proof and can sustain accidental drops so there’s no need to buy bulky cases.

The Rugby may be pretty tough, but it still has the bells and whistles of a top-tier smartphone. Its 3.7-inch AMOLED screen will offer sharp graphics, and the integrated flashlight will probably come in handy whether you’re in the city or at a campsite. The Rugby will run on an Android platform, giving users access to a nearly an infinite number of applications.

If you’re in the market for a extremely durable phone, the Rugby is worth checking out. You can pick one for $99 with a two year contract.

We’re eager to get out hands on the Rugby to see if it is as tough as it claims to be. In the meantime, check out this video testing the Rugby’s durability.

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Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II

Although Wisconsin residents can’t experience AT&T’s LTE network quite yet, we were still eager to get our hands on the Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II. The 4.5-inch touch screen with AMOLED Plus display runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and comes with an 8-megapixel camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

My initial reaction when handling the Skyrocket was I couldn’t believe how light it was. I expected the Skyrocket to be comparable to the HTC Titan, which felt like a brick in my hand. The light plastic cover probably has a lot to do it. Though light, this mobile isn’t a great phone to have an “oops” moment with.

Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II

Aside from the hardware, the AMOLED Plus display on the Skyrocket is outstanding with vibrant colors and sharp images. While I’ve seen several mobiles with better resolution, it’s been on bigger and heavier phones. The screen is also responsive to taps and swipes, but not overly sensitive where you’ll be pocket dialing everyone in your phonebook.

The screen also has a few bonus features. When the right settings are activated, you can flip the phone over to mute it, and you can tilt to zoom in and out with two fingers on the screen. I’m not convinced these features make the phone that much more useful, but they are nice extras.

The biggest disappointment with the Skyrocket II is the limited availability of LTE networks. Without an LTE network in Wisconsin, it’s difficult to fully experience the Skyrocket II. Though even in Wisconsin, where we are still on 3G, the phone quickly loaded web pages and applications.

The user friendliness of the Skyrocket II may be an issue for some users as well. I would recommend the Skyrocket to existing smartphone users and steer non tech savvy users (aka Mom and Dad) towards a different phone.

Though just because LTE networks are not available in Wisconsin doesn’t mean I would write off the Skyrocket II. It’s one of my favorites as far as mega-screen mobiles go. You can check out the Skyrocket II at AT&T for $199 with a two-year contract.

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An exciting day for mobile technology in Wisconsin

There’s news to report from two of Wisconsin’s major cellular carriers today – and its good news for AT&T and US Cellular customers.

The first announcement this morning was from AT&T, which reported that it has invested more than $1 billion in its Wisconsin wireless and wireline networks during the past four years. AT&T notes that this investment was focused on improving the provider’s overall network performance and broadband coverage.

AT&T has certainly made the effort, activating 15 new cell site and towers throughout the state and improving the fiber-optic connections to more than 250 cell sites. These fiber-optic improvements will enable 4G speeds, according to AT&T. Additionally, AT&T added capacity to many of its cell sites, which is like adding additional lanes to a highway.

Today’s second big announcement comes from US Cellular, and it’s one that this provider’s users will be thrilled to hear. The carrier has firm plans to deploy 4G LTE in Wisconsin this March in the following markets: Milwaukee, Madison and Racine. It’s especially good news for US Cellular customers as this launch has been delayed a few times.

US Cellular also announced two new gadgets to debut with the launch of its LTE network. The first is a new Samsung tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and a new phone, the Galaxy S Aviator. We’re hoping to bring you a review of both of these gadgets soon.

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