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3 years ago

Archos releases Android-powered GamePad for €149.99

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Archos announced back at the end of August an interesting product it called the GamePad. The idea was the make an Android tablet that was very gaming-focused, with a full host of physical gaming controls flanking the screen (much like a PSP or PS Vita). When it was announced, it seemed to be written off as a concept device that wouldn't make it to market. Well, here we are just three months later and the GamePad is going on sale in Europe for just €149.99.

The device has a 7-inch 1024x600 display between those controls, and is powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core processor with a Mali 400 MP GPU. The device has 8GB of internal storage (expandable by SDcard) and is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The press images are flattering for sure, but the device really is quite thin at just 10mm.

The device is on sale now in Europe and is expected to hit the U.S. in Q1 2013 according to Archos. More info can be found at the source link and in the press release below.

Source: Archos

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3 years ago

WordTag: It's like Draw Something, only with words

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Want to play a game where someone has to describe a word somehow, and you have to guess it? Not new, we know. But WordTag takes the the style of the old "Password" game with the new hotness of Draw Something, only minus all that pesky artistic necessity.

Here's how it works: You've got 120 characters in which to describe a word. And there are six "locked" words. Don't use 'em, unless you wanna "pay" for it. Your opponent has to guess the word, as quickly as possible. You know how it goes. Play friends, play strangers, earn badges as you go. You can sign up with your e-mail address, or through Facebook, if that's your thing. And WordTag is a cross-platform game, which is good. There's a free version (which we're linking to here), or a premium version for $1.99.

We've got demo video, the presser and some screen shots after the break.

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3 years ago

The basics: How to install the Nexus 4 SIM card

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This one's super basic, but we've had enough people ask, so here's how to install the SIM card on the Nexus 4.

With the phone's display facing you in your hand, look on the left-and side. (If you see "Nexus", you're looking at the back, and so the SIM card tray will be on the right.) Look just below the volume rocker, and you'll see a little pinhole next to the SIM card tray.

In your Nexus 4 box there's a little metal SIM card tray ejector tool thingy. Kinda looks like a circle with a little pin sticking out of it. Press is straight into that pinhole, and the SIM card tray will pop out.

There's only one right way to insert the SIM card into the tray. Look for the notched corner, and make sure it matches up with the notch in the tray. The slide the tray back into the phone. (The printed side of the card faces the same direction as the front of the phone; the gold contacts face the rear.

You'll need to reboot once you've got the SIM card installed. But after that, you're golden.

Need more Nexus 4 help? Ask a question in our Nexus 4 forums!

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3 years ago

Soundcloud introduces new UI and features with latest app update

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Soundcloud has always managed to have a pretty respectable app across platforms, and the latest update to their mobile app keeps that tradition going. The app has been revamped with a new UI that uses the sliding panes we've seen in many apps as of late. It not only looks great but more importantly, it works great. Smooth and fluid describes it nicely. Aside from the UI change, Soundcloud did manage to add in a few new features as well that improve the experience as well:

  • Hear, favorite, repost and comment on sounds shared in your Stream
  • Record your own sounds with one touch and share to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr
  • Includes optional Record Widget for the home screen
  • Lock screen playback supported

The core features remain as well, they've just been improved. Searching for music, following artists and discovering new music with the app is better than ever. According to Soundcloud, over 10 hours of music & audio are posted every minute to their services so alas, you can take Taylor Swift or whatever it is the cool kids are listening to these days off repeat and go out and discover some new music.

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3 years ago

Snapseed for Android now available

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Snapseed developer Nik Software, now owned by Google, has released an Android version of its photo sharing app. The app has several filtering and tweaking options to allow photos to be improved, distorted or stylized. And of course there's a big Google+ button up top, so there's no doubt as to where Google wants you sharing your snaps.

Bundled image tools include basic stuff like cropping, brightness and contrast controls, as well as more exotic capabilities like framing, "grunge" and "drama" filters.

In addition to the Android launch, the iOS version of Snapseed is available for free from today.

Hit the Google Play link above to get downloading, and let us know how you're getting on with Snapseed down in the comments.

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3 years ago

Google announces Google+ communities; G+ now at 235m active users

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The first of Google's big social announcements today is a new addition to Google + -- communities. Communities are groups of people arranged around a Google+ hub page dedicated to a specific topic. Community membership can be public or private, Google says, and support anything from local neighborhoods to groups arranged around a common interest or activity.

Like circles, Google+ will let members share to particular communities with posts, photos, +1's and hangouts, so the community experience should be a familiar one for regular G+ users.

We're not seeing Google+ Communities on our accounts just yet, but we'd expect to see them appearing for most people later today -- check the sidebar menu on the right.

Alongside today's announcement, Google also dropped in a couple of stats detailing the progress of its 18-month-old social network. Some 500 members have "upgraded" their Google accounts to Google+, while 235 million are "active" on the service. Google includes users taking part in hangouts and +1ing items on the web and Google Play in this number; the number active "on stream" is apparently 135 million.

More details in today's promo video after the break.

Source: Google Blog

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3 years ago

Our long national nightmare is over ...

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It appears the Nexus 4's Yellow Box of Death (remember, we didn't make that up) seen by many who ordered in the Nov. 27 wave overnight has morphed into the Green Box of Jubilation, and devices are on their way. (We might have made that up.) Folks in the forums are seeing it as well, and all is right in the world.

For now ...

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3 years ago

Tasks update adds lockscreen widget for Android 4.2

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Tasks is a bit of a favorite in these parts. We all rely on Google's services immensely day in, day out, one of which is Google Tasks. In lieu of any kind of official application from Google, Tasks is the next best thing. Simple, excellent looking Holo UI, and of course, syncing up with Google Tasks. Today, the developers have pushed out a little update aimed specifically for users on Android 4.2

We're talking about a lockscreen widget. While the whole notion of widgets on the lockscreen is a point of debate for some, the ability to add something like a tasks list is potentially a great time saver. You get the same great widget as on the main homescreen, without the need to unlock your phone. 

Additionally, theres a bunch of minor bug fixes, and an updated app icon for anyone with a Nexus 10 and other ultra high density screens. Tasks comes in free and paid versions, and the updates apply to both. You'll find a link to the free version at the top of this post. 

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3 years ago

HTC November financials show signs of improvement

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While HTC remains profitable, the past year has brought a steady decline in the company's revenues. However, the Taiwanese manufacturer's November 2012 financials show possible signs of a turnaround in its fortunes. According to the company's unaudited November numbers, it brought in NT$21.2 billion ($729 million), up from NT$17.2 billion ($529 million) in October.

The boost in revenues can be attributed to the launch of key new high-end products, including the Android-based Droid DNA and J Butterfly, as well as the Windows Phone 8X, which is the signature handset for Microsoft's mobile OS.

Despite this uptick, HTC's November performance was still weaker than its monthly revenues over the summer. In July it brought in NT$25 billion, while August saw revenues of NT$24 billion.

With the last of its 2012 products now making their way into consumers' hands, HTC will no doubt be focusing on its early 2013 devices, which will likely include a new Android-based successor to the One X. If previous years are any indication, there's a good chance we might see such a device at Mobile World Congress in February.

Source: HTC

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3 years ago

SwiftKey Flow now available – we go finger-on

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It's been interesting to watch the continued evolution of Android keyboards. Google's didn't start getting decent until the last year or so, but it lacked the excellent prediction of SwiftKey or the trace input of Swype. SwiftKey could read your mind, but Swype had -- well, Swype. The latter half of 2012 has seen parity come to your fingertips. Swype got itself some prediction. Google got itself some gesture typing. And SwiftKey found its Flow, which as of today is now available for download in beta form from SwiftKey's VIP forums. (More at swiftkey.net/flow as well.)

We've been using SwiftKey Flow for a couple days now, and our digits have been dancing ever since. Hit the break for our thoughts on the latest update to our 2011 Editor's Choice.

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3 years ago

Google's music ID service doesn't play well with HTC Sense

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We just finished having a look at how well the new Google Now music ID service works, and here we are with some not-so-good news. It's broken on HTC Sense. At first, you'd get an ugly error, and a force close when you tried to use it. But Google has changed something on the server side and you're presented with a slightly more friendly note that "this action is not support on this device." Neither is good, but the latter is better, I guess.

The reason why it doesn't work is simple -- the original Jelly Bean Google Ear app isn't included in Sense 4+. The new Google Now method is simply calling it with a different interface, and since it's not there it is no bueno. We're not the only ones who noticed this either -- Russell over at Geek.com came to the same conclusion we did -- if you can sideload the app you can get it to work.

That's fine for you and me (and Russell). We can deal with little nags like this, but in the bigger picture HTC and/or Google are hopefully going to address this. We've reached out to HTC to see what they say, but since we saw the server-side change we wanted to address it tonight.

The "real" fix is for Google to drop the music ID service into the Play Store, and change the message for HTC devices that it is a required download. Or for HTC to just send out an OTA to take care of it, but that one is a stretch. In the meantime, be sure to hit the forums if you feel like fixing your DNA or One X phone by hand.

More: Geek.com

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3 years ago

Testing the Google Now 'what's this song' feature

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With the big update to Google Search today, there were a few really cool features dropped into Google Now. They're all pretty useful, but the "what's this song" feature is one we can have some fun with. Since Phil and I like really cool hipster stuff you've probably never heard of pretty crappy music, we decided to give it a test.

You might not know it to look at us, but Phil is a headbanger at heart, and I'm that guy from high school with the blue mohawk and leather boots. We like music that most well-adjusted people don't and decided to see what Google could do with it. The results were a mixed bag.

To get started on an experiment of your own, just fire up Google Now (yes, you need Jelly Bean) and tap the voice search button. Lean into the mic and ask "What's this song?" It will register for a sec, then tell you it's listening. Let it hear the music for a few, and it will come back with either an answer or tell you it has no clue what you're listening to.

On the surface, it looks like indy metal music and 1970s hardcore punk really trips up the service. We went about 50-50 with the less-that-socially acceptable stuff. After further investigation, it seems like it only finds music that Google sells in the Play Store. Makes sense, as they have all those tracks digitized for the "coming" music match style service.

We had a little fun with it, but really for the most part it's gonna find what you're listening to. Hit the break and see just how deep it can go if it needs to. Find a failure? Sing out in the comments.

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3 years ago

Droid DNA vs. Galaxy Note 2-- It's Day 1, and I'm heading to work

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I'm carrying two of Verizon Wireless' best devices to date in my pocket, and sharing my thoughts, complaints, and gut reactions as I try to decide which will earn my money this holiday season. It's day one, and I'm heading to work...

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3 years ago

US Army launches SGT. STAR - a virtual assistant recruiter app

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The US Army understands the value of intelligence before commitment. Whether you think they do a good job at it or not, they know the best informed soldiers are the best overall soldiers. In that sprit, they have released SGT. STAR: Army's virtual guide -- a virtual assistant app to answer all the questions one might have before they enlist.

I've been playing with it for a few here, and they did a good job with it. It provides the correct answer to valid questions, responds with a touch of humor at the silly questions (I now know the Army is not the place to find hot chicks with guns, that's what online dating is for) and keeps a straight face while dismissing the ridiculous questions. Yes, I had to try.

We're not sure how valuable this will be in the quest to find good soldiers, but it certainly can't hurt. If you're thinking of enlisting and have some questions, or are just curious, grab it from the Google Play link above.

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