Dozens of fantastic entries showing all modes of transportation
When we posted last week's photo contest we expected to see some variation in what folks called "transportation," but it seems we underestimated things. Along with beautiful shots out the window of commercial airliners and from the handlebars of bicycles, we saw so many great pictures that perfectly captured the prompt this week.
Although we found many great shots in the 150+ entries this week, we had to pick just one to win the prize, a Sony QX10 lens camera. Hit the break and see which one came out as our favorite this time around.
Wireless printing directly from the app available for KitKat users
The latest update to the Gmail app is adding a few often-requested features. First up, just in time for holiday vacations, is a vacation auto responder that can be enabled right from the app — no more going to the web interface to get that set up when you're going to be off the grid for a while.
Next is improvements to file attachments. Previously you were restricted to simply adding pictures or video from the menu of a new Gmail message, and now you can attach just about any kind of file you may have on your device. Attach documents, PDFs, .zip files and more right from the menu button.
Lastly, if you're a KitKat user with the latest app you'll find simple options to print emails directly from Gmail. Hit the overflow menu button and select "print," and you'll be given the new print dialog to send the message to your cloud print-enabled device
The first true Google Play edition tablet from LG and Google
We've been using the LG G Pad 8.3 for a while now, and we've been excited to get a look at this one since Google announced it yesterday afternoon. LG makes one heck of a tablet, and their display technology is legendary, so what happens when you pair Google's Android with it should be really interesting.
So far, it has been. LG strays pretty far from the vanilla Android experience, so these two stop feeling the same the minute you turn them both on. The Google Play edition feels "darker", and pretty sparse. Designed to be fortified with applications from Google Play's app store, out-of-the-box Google Play devices seem bare-boned. That's a good thing for many, and an easy to overcome issue for everyone.
A Google-sanctioned way to return to the latest stock build
Update: It looks like the broken links are now fixed. Go grab your factory images!
Original Story: Following tightly (as usual) behind the broad release of Android 4.4.2 over the air, full factory images of the latest build of Android for Nexus devices are now available. If you have a Nexus 4, 5, 7 (2012 and 2013) or 10, you now have a Google-sanctioned and supported way to return your phone or tablet to it's stock state on the latest firmware possible.
Now this isn't immediately as useful for many considering OTA update files are already available for these devices, but now if you're tinkering with things and need a wholesale reset back to stock, these images will come in handy. If you need a bit more guidance on how to apply these factory images, be sure to find your device in the forums for some great guides.
The Chrome App Launcher is an easy shortcut to all your Chrome apps
You've probably heard talk about Chrome desktop apps. It's something Google is trying that allows some Chrome apps or extensions to be used stand-alone in their own sandbox that run like any other desktop application would. The jury is still out on how effective or popular this will be, but it's something worth having a look at if you're a Chrome user on any platform.
To facilitate things — running stand-alone apps, but having to launch them from the browser defeats the purpose — Google has made the Chrome App Launcher available. On a Windows computer we can find it in the system tray, but on the Mac it will plop itself right into your dock. Once there, you can treat it like any other dock shortcut. You can dismiss it if you hate it, or set it to open automagically at login if you love it. Move it around, mistreat and abuse it. Just like any other app shortcut.
When you click on it, you'll see a list of all your chrome apps. Some of them, like Google play or Google+ will open in a regular browser window. Others, like Keep or Pocket, will open in their own window that can be minimized.
Getting things set-up is easy enough. Just point your Chrome browser at the "For your desktop" collection in the Chrome Web Store, and installing any of the apps will place the launcher in your dock. From there, it's all up to you.
On the fifth day of Christmas AC and Sprint gave to me ... A Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
The good people at Sprint have partnered with us to do something awesome for the holidays, and we're giving away a great Samsung phone or tablet every day for the next 12 days.
We've got a pile of great stuff, including the Galaxy Tab 3, the Note 3, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 mini. Winning one is easy, but you'll need to follow the rules.
Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win today's prize. Only one comment.
We'll close the comments after 24 hours and pick a winner at random.
Make sure the contact details you have entered when you signed up at AC are good, because that is how I will get in touch with you.
Today's prize is a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.0 7-inch. It's an excellent light-weight Android tablet, and chock full of the features that make Samsung devices a favorite. Be sure to get your name in the hat for this one!
The 12 days of Christmas giveaway is brought to you by Sprint, and their truly unlimited plans.
The white Nexus 7 is upon us, having been announced just yesterday alongside the two new Google Play edition devices. Today we've got our hands on the freshened-up version of Google and ASUS' 7-inch slate, which on the inside is the same tablet we've been using since the summer — a 1920x1200 display, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on this particular model. And yes, it's still running pure, unadulterated Android 4.4 KitKat.
On the outside things are just a little different. It's white, not black, with a slightly glossier, more reflective finish — most likely to prevent the device from picking up scuffs and marks. The difference is similar to the contrast between the white and black Nexus 5s — a different look and glossier texture on the white model. (And like that device, the front bezel around the screen remains black.)
We've got a hands-on photo gallery waiting after the break.
With an update to its app, Spotify has dropped the paid subscription requirement for using its music service on mobile. Although a free component was previously available to desktop users, a subset of features is now available on mobile as well. What you'll find in the free version of Spotify is what it calls "shuffle play."
That basically just means "radio," and with shuffle play you'll have the option to listen to your own (and shared) playlists, or a specific artist, in random order. This brings the free offering down to parity with something like Pandora, which offers effectively endless radio for free on mobile and the desktop.
Make no mistake, the free version of Spotify is clearly set up to upsell you to the paid version of the service — and we're okay with that, if you see the value in the app and service and want more, you can expect to pay.
The Sony Z Ultra loses the Xperia tag, but gains the 'Google experience'
A big phone or a small tablet? Neither? Both? It's the same Z Ultra we've seen before, with a little more Google in it. Big, bold, and waterproof, it's one we all were surprised to see when Google announced it.
For fans of big phones — or small tablets with a phone on board — there is a lot to like here. As we saw with previous Google Play experience devices, you have Google's version of Android, with a few essential OEM customizations added on top. Additions like the X-Reality display software are great additions, and the combination makes for the best experience.
You've got everything Google as well. The Google applications we're used to seeing — minus the AOSP Gallery app, which has been fully replaced with Photos — including things like Google Earth and Google Currents are on board. The same goes for Google Wallet and the tap and pay function. The back of the Z Ultra says Sony, but you'll know you're holding a Google device in your hands.
Do you have the need for speed, but would rather not dole out the cash to get it? We get it - cars are expensive, and why pay for a game when you don’t have to? We’ve combed through Google Play for some of the best-looking white-knuckled racing games on Android that are completely free, barring the odd prompt for in-app purchases. These freemium racing games are all really good and offer a little something for everyone.
Pull on up to the starting line, and check out these outstanding free racing games for Android.