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3 years ago

Logitech's next living room move makes greater use of your Android smartphone

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Using your Android smartphone to control your home entertainment system isn't exactly a new concept, especially for Logitech, maker of one of the first Google TV set-top boxes. And today, the company -- which actually is getting out of the remote control business -- announced a pair of new devices that make even greater use of your Android smartphone.

As you'd expect, the new lineup -- comprising the Logitech Harmony Ultimate and Logitech Harmony Smart Control -- includes remote controls, but that's just half the story.

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3 years ago

Rando isn't picture Chatroulette for Android - it's just boring

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Sending an receiving anonymous pictures from random people across the world - how bad could that possibly be?

It's completely possible, I suppose, that your experience with Rando will be completely different than mine. After all, this is an Android app that delivers random pictures that someone took in exchange for some of your own. Give a random picture, get a picture.

And it's completely reasonable to predict that a photo-sharing service such as this, in which the sender is as anonymous as the receiver, would quickly be inundated by random acts of nudity. (And, face it, that's hardly the worst thing that I've imagined could anonymously show up on my screen.)

But, no. I've not been bombarded by anonymous body parts. Or any kind of parts. Or anything remotely interesting, actually.

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3 years ago

Galaxy S4 pops up on AT&T website with April 30 ship date

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16GB pricing confirmed at $199 on-contract, $639 off-contract

It looks as though the early Staples document that leaked a release date of the Galaxy S4 on AT&T as April 26th was off by just a couple of days. Folks have pointed out to Engadget that they're seeing official pre-order availability and pricing for the S4 on the AT&T website. It's showing up for us as well, with pricing as you'd expect -- $199 and two years of commitment for a 16GB model in either white or black. Those willing to go off-contract will pay the hefty $639, and if for some reason you want just a 1 year contract, you can shave that down to $449.

If AT&T is your carrier of choice for the Galaxy S4, the anxious among us can get their pre-orders in today from the source link below. The site indicates free shipping, and people who have gone through with it are receiving estimated arrival dates of May 3rd for the devices. Have you pulled the trigger on this one yet? Sound off in the comments and let us know.

Source: AT&T

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3 years ago

Google details Glass specifications - bone conduction audio, 12GB usable storage, full day of 'typical use' battery life

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Full device specs round out an evening of Google Glass news

We've seen that Google is getting ready to ship out Google Glass Explorer units, the developer preview of the Mirror API, and the Android companion app already this evening, and now it's time for the device specs. Google has released the tech specs of Google Glass, and it should answer some of the questions folks have. 

  • Fit: Adjustable nosepads and durable frame fits any face. Extra nosepads in two sizes.
  • Display: High resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.
  • Camera: Photos - 5 MP; Videos - 720p
  • Audio: Bone Conduction Transducer
  • Connectivity: Wifi - 802.11b/g; Bluetooth
  • Storage: 12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage. 16 GB Flash total.
  • Battery: One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive.
  • Charger: Included Micro USB cable and charger. While there are thousands of Micro USB chargers out there, Glass is designed and tested with the included charger in mind. Use it and preserve long and prosperous Glass use.
  • Compatibility: Any Bluetooth-capable phone. The MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging.

We're not really worried about things like CPUs and GPUs, or on-board RAM, and it looks like they have covered what's going to be important. The all day battery life is almost a must have with any wearable computer, so we hope that rings true. Also worth noting that Any phone with Bluetooth is said to be compatible. We'll soon know more about both I imagine.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

'MyGlass' companion app hits Google Play

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Manage and configure Glass from your phone... if you actually had Glass

There's a whole lot of Google Glass news hitting today, and this is a pretty important piece of the puzzle. Google has just published the "MyGlass" companion app in the Play Store, which will be a critical part of using your Glass and phone together. Google makes it clear that the app is really only of use to Glass owners, stating in the description: "If you don't have Glass, then downloading this will be a waste of time.", but that's not going to stop us -- or anyone else intrigued by the idea -- from installing and taking a look it it.

The interface is nice and looks just like any other recent Google app, with a grey and white color scheme and simple controls. You can't get much farther than the first few screens without an active pair of Glass nearby, but the process requires accepting some terms and turning on both Bluetooth and Wifi for the pairing process. If you want to poke around with the app in hopeful anticipation of the Glass launch, grab it at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google releases Mirror API documentation and code examples for Google Glass

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Developers can inspect the API and check out some examples -- a great way to get ready for when their pair ships

I'm betting you're going to start hearing a lot about Google Glass in the coming days and weeks. Much of it will be from bloggers who couldn't resist the lure to get in early and talk about Glass. You can probably safely ignore them, because the important stuff is going to come from the developers. 

As a starting point, Google has released the Mirror API documentation and code examples so those same developers can get their projects ready for the day their pair of Google Glass arrives. They've outlined the major features of the API, provided guidelines to ensure the best user experience, and even put up a sample page where Glass Explorers can try out an example. Quick start tutorials have been provided for developers coding in both Java and Python.

Google Glass just might be the next disruptive piece of technology. For it to succeed, consumers will have to adopt it en masse, and the best way to ensure that is to have a robust set of utilities and applications that use it. Google understands this, and we're glad to see them getting ready and providing developers with the tools and information they need. Hopefully, when the consumer edition goes up for sale, we'll all have a reason to buy a pair.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Netflix now available on ARM Chromebooks via HTML5 player

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HTML5 "Premium Video Extensions" to replace Silverlight, first implementations now available on Chrome OS

Although relying on Silverlight as a video player had many advantages for Netflix, one of the unfortunate side effects was its inability to play on platforms that couldn't support the plugin -- like Chrome OS. With the (not so quickly) approaching deadline for Microsoft's shutdown of Silverlight, the move to HTML5 had to happen at some point, and luckily that move is starting today. With the combination of what Netflix is calling "HTML5 Premium Video Extensions", the player is now available for the latest ARM-based Samsung Chromebook.

The player still has some hurdles to overcome because Chrome OS doesn't natively support WebCrypto for streaming protected content, but Netflix has a temporary fix in place. Using two of its three extensions it is able to currently provide and the crypto it needs until Google brings its own into the OS. Provided these early versions work well on Chrome OS, Netflix plans to also extend them to all browsers going forward.

Source: Netflix

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3 years ago

Google Voice app updated to improve SMS delivery

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It's just a one-item changelog, but we'll take any improvements we can get

From the outside looking in, it doesn't seem like Google is giving too much time towards improving the Google Voice app or service, but it certainly makes us hopeful when we see an update arrive in the Play Store. Today's update has a single item on the changelog: "Improved the reliability of SMS delivery". Anyone that has used Google Voice for some amount of time knows that things can be a little shaky sending and receiving texts when in low or slow signal areas (and sometimes even in great signal areas), so hopefully this update addresses some of those issues.

As for the future of Google Voice, we can only wonder. In the meantime we know at least some amount of time is being spent over at Google maintaining the app. You can grab a download of this latest version from the Play Store link above. Noticing any improvements with the latest update? Let us know in the comments.

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3 years ago

Google Glass Explorer now ready to ship says Google in letter to participants

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Google Glass units will soon be in the hands of developers who signed up for the project last year

Google has sent out an email to folks who are part of the Google Glass Explorer project, and the units themselves are ready to begin shipping. The devices will ship in waves, as not all the units are off the assembly line just yet.

This meshes well with the news we heard a couple weeks ago, where it was expected for all participants to have received their gear by the time Google I/O rolls around. We expect to see plenty of folks sporting them in San Francisco for the annual developers conference, and hopefully the actual developers who expressed interest will have some great ideas for apps. We also expect to hear even more about Google Glass during the keynotes and developer sessions. Hit the break to see the message that was sent.

Via: @nerdtalker

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3 years ago

Verizon to offer smartphone payment plan, but no break on subsidies

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'Verizon Wireless Device Payment Plan' for smartphones starts April 21

In an update to a recent announcement of longer upgrade times, Verizon is giving customers who want to upgrade more frequently another option: extending the Device Installment Program to smartphones. Previously only available for tablets costing over $349.99 and the Samsung Galaxy Camera, this plan breaks up the full-price cost of a device into 12 monthly payments (along with a $2.50/month finance charge).

Be careful not to confuse this new move with 'unCarrier' plans. Unlike T-Mobile's new plan model, there is no option for a cheaper monthly plan to go along with Verizon's Device Payment Plan. That means if you're making use of the new installment plan, but have an upgrade you haven't used yet, you're basically making two phone payments for one phone.

If you like having multiple phones to switch between, or you lose or damage your uninsured phone, this plan could be for you. Many people will likely stick to their traditional -- now once every two years -- upgrades. Is this something you can see yourself using? Hit the comments and let us know.

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Press adds widgets, several usability improvements

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In light of the impending Google Reader shutdown, Press pushes on with new updates

Although Google may be pulling the rug out from underneath a lot of reader apps, Press doesn't seem to be bothered by it. In an update to its app today, Press added several new features that will enhance the overall user experience. First are a pair of widgets -- one large, resizable and scrollable widget and one 1x1 widget that simply lists the number of unread stories. The widgets are simple and clean, with a slightly transparent black background. Once you're in the app, there are several more improvements to be seen.

You can now continually scroll vertically through news stories, rather than swiping horizontally to switch. There are also several new options when long-pressing in articles to make it easier to star, share and mark articles as read. Press also prominently displays on its app description that the app isn't going away. We look forward to seeing what the developers end up choosing as a new back-end solution to replace Reader.

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3 years ago

Adobe to contribute to Google's Blink browser engine

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Director of engineering for the Web Platform team at Adobe Vincent Hardy has announced that Adobe will contribute to Google's new Blink browser engine

A week or so ago, we talked about Google forking off WebKit to create their own browser rendering engine. Chrome and Chromium deal with multiprocessor architectures differently than other WebKit based browsers, and because of the big changes and confusion it can cause, they decided to go their own way.

Adobe's Vincent Hardy thinks this will strengthen an "already healthy" browser competition, and announced that Adobe will be a contributor to Google's Blink. Adobe has traditionally been a contributor to both WebKit and Google's Chromium project, as well as Mozilla's Firefox, and will continue to do so. By doing so, they "hope will help keep the web open and foster innovation as long as all browsers strive to implement ‘the same web’."

We're not sure of how this will affect the web in the future -- things may work out well, or there could be a huge rift between browsers. What we do know is that Adobe is going to do what they can to make their products work on them all.

Source: Adobe

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3 years ago

Xiaomi aims to expand globally, ship 15 million devices this year

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Selling devices at cost and online-only seems to be a lucrative tactic for at least one Chinese manufacturer

Speaking at the D:Dive Into Mobile event in New York City, CEO of Xiaomi Bin Lin made some pretty bold statements about the expansion and plans for the company. Xiaomi, if you've never heard of it (we don't blame you), is a Chinese smart phone manufacturer that exclusively uses its own version of Android on high-end devices, which it generally sells at cost directly to consumers. Choosing to spend practically no money on marketing, sales or retail locations, Xiaomi has been producing phones with the highest specs and selling them for about $400 unlocked to Chinese consumers.

Now the company wants to expand beyond just China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Lin expressed that Xiaomi is aiming to hit 15 million devices shipped this year, moving towards a global strategy to sell phones elsewhere. Could this model work in the U.S. and Europe? It's hard to say, as at least here in the states manufacturers generally rely on strong carrier partnerships and huge marketing pushes to sell devices. We'd surely welcome a new player that is willing to come in and mix things up, though.

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

T-Mobile HTC One pegged for April 24 launch in 'select stores'

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Pricing hits at $99 down with $20 monthly payments, or $249 on-contract at authorized retailers

Everyone has been waiting to get their eyes on any availability information for the HTC One, and it looks like T-Mobile is readying the device for an April 24th launch. Coming by way of a leaked internal documents giving the details, it looks as though "select stores" are going to carry the device at launch, with a big marketing push by the carrier. These select stores will have employees wearing HTC shirts and heavily promoting the device for the first few days. T-Mobile's new "Simple Choice" no-contract plans mix up the pricing as well. The One will set you back $99 down and 24 months of $20 payments, or $579 in total. Authorized retailers like Best Buy still sell devices with typical 2-year contracts, and will have the One at $249 on a "Classic Plan".

Some AT&T stores are apparently a bit relaxed on their HTC One sales dates, but if T-Mobile is your network of choice it looks like you won't have to wait much longer. Keep an eye out for official word from your local T-Mobile store to see if it will be one of the select launch stores. You can check out the leaked document after the break as well.

Source: TmoNews

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3 years ago

OfficeSuite Pro 7 update adds new tools, dual screen support

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Word, PowerPoint, and Excel editors get new tools to make working with documents easier

OfficeSuite Pro 7 users should check Google Play, because an update to version 7.1.1222 is now live -- multiple tools and features have been added. The major global change this time around is the new dual screen support.

Word documents can now make use of the Oxford Dictionary of English for spell checking, which comes preloaded (other dictionaries can still be downloaded from the Mobile Systems website). Also added was the ability to perform a Google search from within the Word editor, for easy lookup of words and phrases. Tables resize for separate branches in Word is now possible, as is the replacement of existing in-document images. The PowerPoint editor gains links and shadows support, while the Excel editor gets an improved UI and better font formatting, as well as Autofill with cell dragging. Excel sheets can now be reordered too.

Adding your own images becomes easier, with the ability to take a picture and insert it directly into Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. Problems with Mobile Systems' companion app, QuickSpell, has been worked on and compatibility has been improved.

If you don't already own this app, but Jerry's recommendation was enough to convince you to jump onboard, you can follow the Play Store link at the top to download.

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