Firefox for Android beta brings per-tab private mode

Firefox for Android beta has gotten an exciting new upgrade in the Google Play Store. One of the biggest features users can look forward to is per-tab private browsing, meaning you can have all your usual tabs open alongside just one or two private tabs if you so wish. That’s not the only thing that’s different, though, so let’s jump into the rest.

Firefox has lowed the system requirements to devices with just 384MB of RAM and QVGA displays, so a whole new crop of devices can get in on the fun. Sure, you’d be hard-pressed to find many Android devices within that spec range these days but it’s nice to know any stragglers still owning such hardware will be supported.

Top Sites in about:home can now be customized, too, so you can have your own favorite sites appear whenever you open a new tab. Firefox is also introducing H.264/AAC/MP3 hardware decoding for those on Gingerbread and Honeycomb, so the outrage over these particular versions of Android not being included in that particular list should soon die down. Finally, “various” audio and video enhancements have been made, and canvas now supports blend modes.

Those on the beta track can get their upgrade straight from the Google Play Store. There’s no telling how long it will take for these features to head to the stable version of the browser but if past updates are any indication then we shouldn’t be waiting long for Firefox to bring a substantial upgrade to that particular app. Give it a shot.

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US Cellular launches 4G-enabled Galaxy Note 10.1

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is no spring chicken by now, but some who have been waiting for 4G-equipped versions of the Wacom-enabled tablet to hit their favorite carriers might still be looking out for it. US Cellular is the latest to add the 10.1-inch tablet to its ranks as it has just announced availability.

Starting from today, you can grab the 16GB tablet for $500 when paired with a data plan that offers at least 2GB of bandwidth. Available both in-store and online, the Galaxy Note 10.1 brings you Samsung’s S Pen experience to the bigger screen, with unique features such as multi-view, AirView, S Note, the Learning Hub and more.

For specs, you can look forward to a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5 megapixel camera on the rear, a 1.9 megapixel camera on the front, and more. It’ll come with Android 4.1 out of the box. Grab your wallet and head to US Cellular if this is something you’ve been waiting for. Read on for full press details.

U.S. CELLULAR LAUNCHES THE 4G LTE-ENABLED

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE™ 10.1

Portable, lightweight tablet is available online and in stores, delivering premium productivity and creative capabilities

CHICAGO (February 27, 2013) – U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) and Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile), the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the United States,announced the 4G LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Note™ 10.1 is now available in U.S. Cellular stores and at uscellular.com. The 16GB Galaxy Note 10.1 is $499.99 when paired with a plan with 2GB or more of data.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 joins U.S. Cellular’s innovative line-up of 4G LTE devices that includes the Samsung Galaxy S® III, Samsung Galaxy Note® II and the Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 10.1. Customers who purchase the Galaxy Note 10.1 from U.S. Cellular receive benefits no other carrier offers, including a valuable rewards program that recognizes customer loyalty.

“The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 makes it easier to get more work done and stay connected while you’re away from the office, and enhances the moments you share with your family too,” said Edward Perez, vice president of sales and marketing operations for U.S. Cellular. “Its speed and performance are even better when backed by the 4G LTE network, which delivers data up to 10 times faster than 3G.”

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1’s integrated S Pen offers users with the precision of a pen and the control of a mouse.  With S Pen, users can take meeting notes, personalize emails, edit documents and more. The S Pen can also be used as a tool for PC-like shortcuts and to preview content simply by hovering.  There’s also a multi-window capability to browse the web, check emails, watch videos and work on office documents at the same time. The Galaxy Note 10.1 includes a free preloaded version of Adobe® Photoshop Touch and 2GB of free file storage in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Consumers and artists alike can use Adobe Photoshop Touch to create presentation graphics, works of art, or simply modify photos. With the S Pen, it’s a breeze to cut away layers or paint new backgrounds.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 also includes Samsung’s Smart Remote, leveraging a universal remote control application and integrated infrared (IR) blaster to optimize TV watching experiences.  Control any TV from your Galaxy Note 10.1 and get a personal guide that makes it easier to find something everyone wants to watch. 

With the powerful Android™ 4.1 operating system, users can browse swiftly and smoothly through apps and all of the functions and features of the Galaxy Note 10.1. Google Now sends automatic and real-time notifications such as traffic alerts, sports scores and weather bulletins customized to the user’s location and interests.  Google Voice Search allows you to get search results on-the-go by simply speaking the question directly you’re your phone.

Highlights:

  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Quad-Core, 1.4 GHz Exynos processor,  2 GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 5 megapixel autofocus rear-facing camera
  • 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera

U.S. Cellular, in partnership with King Street Wireless, currently offers 4G LTE service covering 61 percent of its customers in select cities in Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. By the end of this year, 87 percent of U.S. Cellular customers will have access to 4G LTE speeds. For more information about the 4G LTE experience, visit uscellular.com/4G.

Samsung, Galaxy, and Note are trademarks of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.  Other company names, product names and marks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and may be trademarks or registered trademarks. 

Purchase of a data plan is required, and a new two-year agreement and activation fee may apply for new customers. Additional terms, conditions and/or charges may apply.

4G LTE not available in all areas. See uscellular.com/4G for detailed coverage info. 4G LTE service is provided in partnership with King Street Wireless. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.

Samsung Mobile is the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the United States based upon reported shipment data, according to Strategy Analytics, North America Handset Vendor Marketshare, Q4 2012.

About King Street Wireless, L.P. 
King Street Wireless, L.P. currently holds 700 MHz wireless spectrum in 27 states and is partnering with Chicago-based U.S. Cellular to deliver high-speed 4G LTE service to U.S. Cellular’s customers in several of the carrier’s markets.  King Street Wireless is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia where it is recognized for its involvement in its community both through its economic development and philanthropic efforts. To learn more about King Street Wireless, visit www.kingstreetwireless.com.

About Samsung Telecommunications America
Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC, a Dallas-based subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., researches, develops and markets wireless handsets and telecommunications products throughout North America. For more information, please visitwww.samsungwireless.com.

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. 
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in technology, opening new possibilities for people everywhere. Through relentless innovation and discovery, we are transforming the worlds of televisions, smartphones, personal computers, printers, cameras, home appliances, LTE systems, medical devices, semiconductors and LED solutions. We employ 236,000 people across 79 countries with annual sales exceeding KRW 201 trillion. To discover more, please visit www.samsung.com.

About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular rewards its customers with unmatched benefits and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by its high-speed nationwide network that has the highest call quality of any national carrier. Currently, 61 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds and 87 percent will have access by the end of 2013. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Champion in 2012 for the second year in a row. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.

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LG Optimus LTE 3 leaks

It looks like LG will soon come to town with a new LG Optimus LTE as the third edition in this line has leaked. It was spotted in LG’s home base of Korea, and it will apparently come with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, a 720p display,a 2,420mAh battery, and will come with Android 4.1.2 out of the box.

It gets iis name from the LTE radios sitting inside, obviously, so you can expect 4G speeds, as well. This device won’t challenge LG’s new Optimus G line, but it could be a nice option for folks who need a 4G smartphone at inexpensive costs. The Optimus LTE 3 is said to be headed to store shelves later this year, but don’t be surprised if its launch is limited. SK Telekom will be offering it, at least, so we know LG’s got its home front covered.

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Chrome for Android update brings improved scrolling performance

The Chrome for Android team has been quite busy lately. A new build for Android devices has come to the stable channel, it brings a lot of improvements and changes. The most notable change will be the improved scrolling performance in webpages. It’s a gripe many of us have had ever since the browser launched, and it’s one that Google hasn’t been as quick to address as other areas. The hatchet is buried for the time being now, though, so head to your favorite site and start flinging around to see just how much smoother it is.

Another big change is the increase in responsiveness to pinch-to-zoom on web pages. Again, it’s something we’ve all let out a slight moan about even if the implementation wasn’t bad enough to drive us away from the app. Other changes include faster interactive pages due to an update V8 javascript engine, continuous audio playback while Chrome is in the background (it will pause when a phone call is in progress, though), support for more HTML5 features, and more.

A few users are already raving about some of the changes in the Google Play Store so get over there and give it a whirl for yourself. For you new folks, it’s a free download, so if your stock browser, Firefox, Opera, or whatever other browser you currently prefer has been giving you trouble lately then you owe it to yourself to at least give it a shot.

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Google Stores to launch by holiday season [RUMOR]

Google may not be ready to call itself a successful online retailer, but it seems they may be taking the next step very soon. If the latest rumors are to be trusted, Google could be releasing its very own physical retail store by this year’s holiday season. Yes, you might be doing your Christmass shopping at a Google store this year!

The source comes from 9to5Google, who claims this is an “extremely reliable source”. We have no idea what that means, but they must be pretty sure that the insider has a good sense of what goes on behind Google’s closed doors.

The idea seems to have sparked from wanting to market Google Glass to the general consumer. The best way to do this would be to hand the units to shoppers and let them test the emerging piece of technology. Having the expensive and rare devices available in a retail store could mean the difference between failure and success, if you ask us.

Though we are quickly moving to an internet-dominated market, brick and mortar stores still play a huge part of marketing. Consumers want to be able to use something before making the decision to purchase it. They want to hold it, feel it, smell it, use it, see its capabilities, experience it first-hand and compare it to the competition.

It’s the same reason why people go to dealers instead of just ordering a car from the manufacturer’s site. I know I often purchase products at Best Buy instead of Amazon for this very reason, even though Amazon tends to have products a bit lower priced most times.

Of course, Google would also be taking a huge risk. They have been offering a rather depressing experience selling their own few devices from the Google Play Store. We understand online and physical retail stores are completely different entities and they could end up offering the best experience, but the Search Giant simply hasn’t proven itself in this area.

Our very own Quentyn has recently written a great editorial on this topic. He goes into detail about the pros and cons of Google opening a retail store, so check that article out to learn more about what could come out of this.

I personally think it would help more than it would harm. It would bring some exposure to Google TV, Nexus devices, Chromebooks, Google Glass and any other upcoming Google products. Tell us what you think, though! Do you think Google will totally screw this one over?

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