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3 years ago

Making apps beautiful: The icons

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Beautiful apps start with a beautiful icon, and Google's Android design team offers some great advice for all developers.

Google's Android developers are constantly working with the growing community of application developers and designers to help makes apps that not only do great things, but look lovely while doing it. Building responsive and unique apps is only half the battle, because you and I aren't going to install them -- let alone recommend them to others -- if they don't look good.

In today's segment, they focus on the app icon itself. It's the first thing we see when we install an app, and it's important that it make a good impression. The blog posting lists all the important things to consider when designing your application icon, including the various sizes and formats that will make it look great on every Android device.

Android has taken the world by storm, and a big part of the reason is the rich app catalog. You want to make apps that stand out, and using tips like this will help. It's a must-read for any developer, and worth reading for the curious layman as well. Follow the source link and have a look.

Source: Android Developers

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3 years ago

Join the Android Central podcast live at 4 p.m. EDT!

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What a week. We've had exclusive leaks of Google and ASUS' new Nexus tablet. The still unreleased Android 4.3 leaked out on the Nexus 4. We got hands-on with the new HTC One Mini. And we've got the Moto X and a bunch of new Droids landing next week at events in New York City and San Francisco — and the latter could well bring a brand new version of Android, too. So there's a lot to talk about and a lot to look forward to, and we're going to tear through it all tonight on the Android Central podcast. Plus we'll even have a few more of your emails.

The action kicks off at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT, 9 p.m. BST), and you can watch at androidcentral.com/live or through the awesome Android Central app (make sure you're up-to-date on version 1.3). See you in a few hours!

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3 years ago

MLB.com At Bat now compatible with Ford SYNC AppLink

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Get instant, hands-free MLB updates in supported Ford vehicles

Red-blooded Americans who drive a Ford and follow our greatest American pastime can now do both at the same time, safely. MLB.com At Bat is now accessible in Ford vehicles that support the Ford SYNC AppLink. This includes 2012, 2013, and 2014 models like the Fiesta, Fusion, F-150, Super Duty, E-Series and Expedition.

Ford SYNC AppLink allows drivers to use simple voice commands to interact with Android applications. Users of MLB.com At Bat can use these commands to access schedules for all 30 Major League Clubs and get game scores in real time. Having a subscription to MLB.com At Bat 13’s premium features enables users to connect their Android devices to listen to the home and away games of the regular season and postseason, which includes the 2013 World Series.

Those without a subscription to MLB.com At Bat 13 can sign up for a free trial through July 31, 2013. After the trial ends, a one-time seasonal fee of $9.99 will buy access through all supported platforms (including iOS). Those that are already MLB.TV Premium subscribers get this service for free.

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3 years ago

Another Nexus 7 leak shows wireless charging and possible release date

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New leak confirms old information, reveals possible retail launch of July 31st

The new Nexus 7 leaks are shifting from a light drizzle to a full downpour. The folks at Engadget got their hands on a photo of a product info tag, confirming much of what we already know. The following specifications all seems to agree with our previous exclusive leak:

  • 1.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • 7" screen size
  • 1.2MP front-facing and 5MP rear-facing cameras
  • Android 4.3 operating system

The new information comes from the 'Key Features' side of the info tag, which lists:

  • Slim port supports 1080p output for playing HD content
  • Charges wirelessly

It is also being reported that the new Nexus 7 will go on sale at Staples on July 31st, with units arriving in-store as early as July 24th. That date sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

Google Play Books now official in 13 more countries

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Thousands of titles, both new and old, are now available for reading on your Android, iOS device and the web across Europe.

We've been getting reports of Google Play Books showing up on phones and tablets in new countries across Europe since the beginning of the week, and today Google has made it "official" and announced that their book store and reader is ready to go in: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Sweden.

Books are available to purchase and add to your library on the web, on your Android devices and on iOS devices in the new countries.

The revamp of the Google Play Books app makes this news even better. You're not only able to read your books purchased from Google in the cloud from anywhere, but your personal ePub files and pdf files can be uploaded and added to your library, and the app syncs your place and bookmarks as a proper app should.

We've no idea when Books or other services will push out to more countries, and content deals can be tricky. We're just glad every time we see more content available for more users. If you're looking to get your library started with Google, hit the Google Play link above for the Android app.

Source: +Google Play. Thanks, everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

The bright, foggy future of mobile computing - Talk Mobile

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Smartphones have come a long way from the days of the Palm, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile phones of yore. Heck, they've come a long way in just the last few years. What were once merely appliances, simple tools of siloed information and conduits are now adaptable powerhouses that have worked their way into nearly every facet of our lives. We're more connected than ever before, and thanks to the rapidly advancing reality of smartphones and the services that support them, we're likely to be even more connected in the future.

3 years ago

Join our daily Talk Mobile Hangout at 1 p.m. EDT!

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We're back for one final live Talk Mobile 2013 Hangout this week. On tap today is the little subject of the future of mobile computing. No biggie.

Join us at 1 p.m. EDT as we recap things live!

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3 years ago

Sony rumored to be prepping 'lens and sensor' accessory for smartphones

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High-quality imaging as an accessory could be Sony's answer to latest 'cameraphones'

Here's a crazy (but plausible) rumor for a Friday afternoon. While other manufacturers are releasing camera-centric smartphones — such as the Galaxy S4 Zoom and Lumia 1020 — Sony might decide to take a different route and offer high-end imaging as a smartphone accessory.

The latest rumors from Belgian camera site SonyAlphaRumors suggest that the manufacturer is preparing a lens with built-in imaging sensor and battery, that will mount to a smartphone and communicate wirelessly, after pairing over NFC. The device would also be usable on its own, though renders of the purported gadget seem to lack a screen of any kind. As such, the main use case involves attaching it to the back of a smartphone and viewing a live, wirelessly-beamed feed.

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3 years ago

Rovio Account now available on Android

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Service allows game sync between devices

Mobile gaming giant Rovio has announced that its own game sync service is now available on Android. A rival to Google's own Google Play game services, Rovio Account addresses one of the major gripes of multi-device gamers by allowing them to easily sync progress across their devices. Multiple accounts also means multiple users can play the same game on the same device without overwriting each others' progress.

Rovio Account is now live for the original Angry Birds and The Croods, with more games to follow in the near future. The service is also launching today on Apple's iOS.

Source: Rovio

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note 2 to skip Android 4.2, go straight to 'newer version,' says Aussie carrier

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Note 2 could go from 4.1 to 4.3, Telstra document suggests

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 might never see Android 4.2, but instead jump straight to the next version of the OS — presumably Android 4.3. In its latest update advisory, Australian carrier Telstra said of the Galaxy Note 2 4.2 update —

"Samsung have elected globally to skip the 4.2.2 update for this device and will instead go to a newer version of Android. No schedule has been provided for this update."

There's been no official confirmation of this from Samsung, nor do we know whether this situation might affect Note 2 devices outside of Australia. But with the Android 4.3 launch seemingly close at hand, it wouldn't surprise us to see certain Android 4.1 phones skip directly to this next version of Jelly Bean.

While Android 4.2 is a relatively minor update for skinned devices, the extra time needed to roll out 4.3 could result Note 2 waiting a little longer for new TouchWiz features. In any case, hopefully the update situation will become clearer once Google officially unveils Android 4.3, something which is expected to occur at next Wednesday's San Francisco press event.

Source: Telstra

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3 years ago

HTC One Mini UK availability and pricing [Updated]

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Coming to CPW, Phones4u, O2, Vodafone and EE; first SIM-free prices​ starting to appear

Yesterday saw the official unveiling of the HTC One Mini — the manufacturer's miniaturized, lower-priced version of its current flagship. And we've published a full hands-on preview, walking through the device's features and comparing it to the full-sized One, as well as Samsung's rival Galaxy S4 Mini.

Over the past day we've started to see the first signs of when and where UK buyers will be able to pick up the device. Network operators O2 and Vodafone have confirmed on Twitter that they'll be offering the One Mini for sale — O2 says it's "coming soon," while Voda promises an August launch. EE spokesperson confirmed to Android Central that it'll be offering the HTC One Mini on its 4G network, but didn't offer any pricing or release date. 

Independent retailer Phones4u also has a pre-order page up for the silver One Mini, and promises £50 Google Play credit for pre-orders on EE, or £25 for all other networks. On the SIM-free side, Handtec is the first British retailer to post a pre-order price for the device — £379.99 inc. VAT, or £316.66 exc. VAT. Carphone Warehouse is the only retailer offering a similar price — £379.95 — with an Aug. 9 release date.

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3 years ago

Huawei announces MediaPad 7 Youth with 1.6GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.1

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Solid specs and aluminum construction hitting a whole host of markets in Q3

Huawei has just announced the latest device in its "MediaPad" tablet lineup, the 7-inch MediaPad 7 Youth. As the name would lead you to believe, the MediaPad 7 Youth is targeted a younger generation, and in that vein is supposed to be light, portable and powerful. With a nearly full aluminum back plate, the tablet is 9.9mm thick and weighs 350g (.77lbs) which is about average for this size device. As for specs, Huawei has put an unnamed (presumable in-house designed) 28nm 1.6GHz dual-core processor, along with a 4100mAh battery and a pair of cameras in the MediaPad 7 Youth.

While the screen resolution isn't specifically listed, Huawei claims native 1080P video playback indicating that resolution for the panel. The device will also come with HSPA+ 21 networking capabilities, which is a nice plus to have as a default option. The device is also running on Android 4.1, although the software customizations aren't listed or shown off at this time.

As we would expect, the MediaPad 7 Youth is targeted at a smattering of markets including Russia, China, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Europe in Q3 2013. Pricing and specific availability will likely vary and has not been announced at this time.

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3 years ago

Verizon CFO: 'We will not touch our service pricing' after launch of VZ Edge

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Deployment of VZ Edge expected to have no affect on financial results

Following both the release of its new "Verizon Edge" upgrade plans and Q2 2013 financial results, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo had some interesting statements regarding the new upgrade scheme. When asked if there was any plan to change Verizon's service pricing to reflect the new off-contract and unsubsidized "Edge" upgrades, Shammo clearly stated "We will not touch our service pricing." That's a big disappointing to many of us who have done the rough math on VZ Edge, which shows how much more expensive it will be for customers. T-Mobile, by contrast, reduced the cost of its service plans to reflect the subsidy component being moved to an "Equipment Installment Plan".

Further, Shammo does not expect many customers to move over to the new VZ Edge plan, expecting them to continue along with the two-year contract and subsidized phone model. So few customers are expected to try the new system when it launches August 25th that it will have no impact on Verizon's earnings.

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3 years ago

Incipio announces Galaxy S4 3100mAh battery case

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An additional 10.5 hours of talk time and some rugged protection all in one

For those who need a little extra juice and don't want to carry around separate batteries to swap in-and-out, Incipio has just released a quite large 3100mAh battery case for the Galaxy S4. The aptly-named "offGrid" battery case is a two-part ordeal that consists of a back plate and a rubber bumper that come together around the phone, which provide both protection and a quoted 10.5 hours extra talk time when fully charged. The case slits into the Galaxy S4's USB port on the bottom, and then has its own USB port for charging, along with an LED battery status indicator on the front.

Just like the other battery cases we've seen from other case manufacturers, you're certainly going to feel the extra bulk of this case. But for those who need the extra battery life and protection, it's a worthy tradeoff. The Incipio offGrid battery case has just gone up for pre-order with an estimated ship date of 3 weeks, and rings up at $89.99. You can see a few more pictures of the case after the break, or head to Incipio's site to pre-order now from the source link below.

Source: Incipio

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3 years ago

The Android Central App: Which theme should be the default?

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I don't think we ever got around to actually asking this one officially, so let's do it now. We've got two themes available in the official Android Central App. One's light, one's dark. Right now we serve up the light theme by default. And it's a fine theme.

But that dark theme just keeps calling to us. It beckons us into the settings every time we install some new test build.

And, so, we put it to you. Which theme should be the default? Light? Or dark?

Choose wisely. Poll's after the break.

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