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5 days ago

Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 might have an ultraviolet sensor, and it might actually be useful

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It has already been confirmed by Samsung that the Galaxy Note 4 will have an ultraviolet (UV) sensor, but there wasn't much information available. Now, according to a report over on SamMobile, we have some idea as to what consumers can expect to see from the built-in functionality. The new component will integrate itself within Samsung's S Health app, providing yet more personal data for the owner to take advantage of.

Is it gimmicky? Sure. It's Samsung, the home of the smartphone heart-rate monitor, but it is cool at the same time.

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5 days ago

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet arrives on Verizon

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The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is now available on Verizon's LTE network. Customers can get Sony's slim and waterproof new tablet for $599.99 up front. However, if you're willing to sign a two-year contract, you can knock $100 off of the price, grabbing the Xperia Z2 Tablet for $499.99.

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6 days ago

Official Android Wear watch face API coming later this year

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Android Wear LCARS

Google's wearable OS also will shift over to the L release once ready

It was sort of a surprise — and a bit of a disappointment, to be perfectly honest — when Android Wear launched without a properly supported way to add custom watch faces to the likes of the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and, eventually, the Moto 360. We've talked a little bit about how custom watch faces were coming, however, and indeed they have — as standalone apps. But that obviously was a workaround, as there's no real API available for custom watch faces.

Overnight, Wayne Piekarski, a senior developer advocate at Google, explained what's up with custom watch faces on Android Wear. The short version is that, no, there's not an official API yet, and watch faces are a little complicated because of the way they interact with the card stream and are contained inside another process. An API is coming, however, and we should see it along with the L release later this year.

And, yes, that (unsurprisingly) means Android Wear will be running L.

Writes Piekarski:

Custom watch faces are activities running inside another process. However, they have some special considerations due to interactions with the stream and always-on ambient mode--including using a shorter peek card, moving the status indicators for battery and mute, and rendering the faces differently in ambient mode. Right now, without an official API, making a really great watch face currently takes a fair bit of tweaking.

We are working to make this as simple as possible for you so that it's easy to make good-looking faces that work well across multiple form factors, conserve battery, and display the user's card stream nicely. Some of these changes won't be ready until we migrate Android Wear to the Android L release later this year, but don't fret: they're coming!

Piekarski recommends that developers not just publish standalone watch faces to Google Play wholesale, but instead to use the beta and alpha channels, and that watch faces cobbled together today might well not work once Android Wear shifts to L.

You can read Piekarski's full post here.

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6 days ago

Three UK to provide free Wi-Fi on London Underground

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Three UK has announced that it is partnering with Virgin Media to provide its customers with free access to Virgin's Wi-Fi network on the London Underground. Other carriers like EE, Vodafone and O2 have already made similar deals in the past.

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6 days ago

Hitman Go Airport update adds 15 levels, new game mechanics

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Square Enix's turn-based puzzle game Hitman Go has received a new update that adds 15 levels along with new enemy types and gameplay mechanics.

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6 days ago

Snapchat may be planning a mobile payment service

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Snapchat may be looking to monetize by launching a mobile payment service, according to trademarks filed earlier this week. The documents reveal that the ephemeral message service is looking to process peer-to-peer payments, money transfers and online payments.

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6 days ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Reflection

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 Reflection

While there are plenty of great opportunities to take pictures throughout the day, sometimes you need to think outside the box to find some really interesting subject matter. Looking for shiny surfaces that reflect light and colors from other areas can be a good way to go about it, and that's why we're making this week's prompt "reflection." Show off your best photos taken this week that implement some sort of reflection, and they'll be in the running for the contest.

We're picking out two winners this week, and each one will receive a pair of RevJams Xec On Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones.

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in a forums post at the link below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll pick a winner Tuesday (July 22) night at 11:59 PM ET, and announce them on the blog with next Wednesday's contest.

Enter this week's photo contest

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6 days ago

LG G3 Beat brings familiar styling with mid-range specs

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LG G3 Beat (left) and the LG G3

LG tonight announced its expected mid-ranger of the year, and it's got a familiar name. The LG G3 Beat — that's its Korean name; in Europe and the CIS it'll be known as the "LG G3 s" — brings along a 5-inch display at 720p, an 8MP camera — and a lower price. It also carries with it the looks of its big brother, the LG G3. (You can see both in the image above.)

The G3 Beat sports a 2,540 mAh battery — only about 15 percent less capacity than the G3 proper — and is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat with the same UI.

The G3 Beat will be available July 18 in South Korea. It'll make its way to Europe at the Commonwealth of Independent States nations (again, as the G3 s) in later weeks, at which time pricing also will be announced.

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6 days ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 for AT&T hands on

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Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 arrives on AT&T's shelves in a matter of days boasting LTE connectivity and an affordable price tag.

We're here in New York at AT&T's annual holiday preview where the carrier is showing off its latest wares, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0, available online beginning July 15 for $269.99 with a two-year contract, or for $369.99 outright.

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6 days ago

Hands-on with the HTC Desire 610 for AT&T

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HTC Desire 816

It's plastic, it's made by HTC, and we experienced it firsthand at tonight's AT&T 'Hands-On.' Meet the Desire 610.

Just hours after its formal announcement, the HTC Desire 610 made its first stateside appearance this evening at tonight's AT&T "Hands-On" holiday preview here in New York City. The budget-conscious device, which packs a 4.7-inch qHD display, Snapdragon 400 processor, 8MP camera and LTE connectivity, will arrive on the carrier's shelves on July 25 for the cool price of $200 with no annual commitment. We spent a bit of time with the 610 and while it doesn't match the higher-end HTC One M8 in style or functionality, it still packs a hefty punch.

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