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3 years ago

Face Unlock in Jelly Bean gets a 'Liveness check'

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One of the more frivolous features introduced into Android with Ice Cream Sandwich, was the Face Unlock. While it's always been something cool to show off against your iPhone toting friends, it's never really been overly useful, or secure. It's not the most reliable feature in the world,  and it can be duped by a photograph, and generally makes unlocking your phone longer. 

Enter Jelly Bean, and an improvement to Face Unlock. Pointed out in the Android Central Forums, by member ​Jays2Kings​, within the security settings menu in Jelly Bean is a new option -- Liveness check.

So, this is supposed to get round the potential picture duping issue, by making it so Face Unlock will check for the person in front of it blinking. In other words, making sure you're alive. While it's good to see solutions for potential security risks, ​Jays2Kings ​also points out that it doesn't really pick up normal blinking too well. Seems that it works best when you have your eyes open really wide, and all it seems to do is to further slow down the process of unlocking your phone with Face Unlock

How about you guys? Anyone who's running one of the Jelly Bean ROM's already out there, and tried this out, shout out in the comments and let us know how it works for you. 

​thanks Jays2Kings!

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3 years ago

Google announces 'Save to Wallet' for offers and payment cards

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Google I/O has been jam packed full of new, and exciting Google software and technology. While the headline acts are no doubt the arrival of the Nexus 7 and Jelly Bean, there has been some pretty interesting stuff going on in the developer sessions. One such session, dedicated to Google Wallet, unveiled a new feature, called Save to Wallet. Initially for offers and payment cards, it is seen as the first step in opening up Google Wallet to a wider audience. 

So, what's it all about. Taking offers first, the Save to Wallet API will allow consumers to save offers from a stores website, directly to their Google Wallet. Wallet will then remind you to take advantage of it before the coupon expires. The offers can then be applied in the store, either by showing the offer code in your Wallet, or by using the NFC capabilities on your smartphone. Pretty slick. 

Adding the Save to Wallet button to an existing website requires little more than a piece of Javascript code. The benefits to retailers pretty much speak for themselves, but the consumer benefits are really nice too. By managing your offer coupons for you, Wallet will give you the notifications, to remind you to use them. After all, we all want to save some money, right? 

The Save to Wallet API also applies to payment cards as well. It works pretty similarly to offers, and allows payment card providers the ability to provide the same button on their website, and offer a seamless way to enter your card into your Google Wallet. 

Naturally, since we're dealing with potentially sensitive data here, the API isn't just opened up to anyone who wants it. It will be opened up to a limited number of users initially, in a closed beta. Anyone interested can register, but Google will only be releasing the API to approved partners. This applies to offers, as well as payment cards. 

And, what about the future? As the slide here shows, Google are promising more, coming soon. It's a smart move, if they can make a go of it. Apple's Passbook is likely the beginnings of their own Wallet solution, and Windows Phone 8 has theirs on the way. Google's taking a good first step here into expanding the functionality of Wallet. What we need now, is greater adoption -- we'd like to use our phones to pay for stuff in Europe too, Google. 

For your viewing convenience, we've embedded the Google Wallet session after the break. 

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3 years ago

WiFi issues on your Verizon Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean? Here's your fix

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If you're among the many who have flashed a Jelly Bean ROM onto your Verizon Galaxy Nexus you no doubt realized there appears to an issue with the WiFi suffering from weak connections. No matter though, XDA member mwalt2 has taken things into his own hands and checked out the situation. Conclusion being, there is a singular file difference causing all the hassle and now that it's been figured out, it can indeed be corrected with a simple flashing of said file in CWM. Head on over to the source link to grab the file, read the instructions -- just remember, back up your device first.

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

Plight of the Zombie arrives with over 30 deliciously brainy puzzles

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Although I'm not normally a fan of games that require me to think a lot, a new puzzle game named Plight of the Zombie has me rather engaged at the moment. In it, you must figure out how to collect as many brains as possible all while trying to avoid getting killed by those blasted uninfected humans.

  • Play over 30 deliciously brainy puzzles
  • Support a savory cause by helping end zombie hunger
  • Appetizing store with plenty of tasteful accessories for your zombies
  • It’s free! Some people say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. We beg to differ...

Plan your route, grab some brains and move on to the next level. If you get stuck, you can optionally purchase items to help get you past the harder levels but it's more fun trying to get past them the old school way. Plight of the Zombie is available now for free in the Google Play Store. You can jump below to check out the game trailer and grab the download.

Download: Plight of the Zombie

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3 years ago

Get the Droid RAZR MAXX for $180 during Best Buy's June 29-30 sale

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If you're in the market for a new Android phone, Best Buy will be putting the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX on sale for two-days (June 29 and 30) at just $180 with a new agreement. While other phones have come along that may have better specs or fancy new features, the RAZR MAXX has that 3300 mAh battery to keep running long after all other LTE phones have bit the dust. It's an impressive beast, and we still recommend it to folks on Verizon who need a dependable Android phone. 

Thanks, anon!

 

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3 years ago

Missed the Day 2 Keynote from Google I/O? Watch it back now

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If, for some reason, you missed out on the livestream of the Google I/O Day 2 Keynote yesterday, fear not. The presentation has been uploaded in full, for you to enjoy at your leisure. Day 2 was pretty much all about Chrome. We saw some impressive stats on the Chrome Browser, our iOS friend being treated to Google Drive and Google Chrome, and another look at the Google Glass skydivers. Enjoy.

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3 years ago

GameStop to carry the Nexus 7 as well, starts accepting pre-orders

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Ordering online is not something that everyone wants to do, for folks like myself the instant gratification of purchasing and taking home the same day is rather important. GameStop has announced that they will be selling the Nexus 7 in stores and they have began their pre-ordering process as well. To spice up the deal, and bring folks in they will be accepting trade ins on other tablets, and any trade ins that are done specifically towards the purchase of the Nexus 7 will gain you an extra 30% in store value. GameStop understands that Android tablets are becoming increasingly popular, and many gaming customers are looking towards the purchase of tablets for their on the go experience, and they hope to capitalize on this with offering the Nexus 7 in store instead of having customers have to wait to purchase it online. So, will you be ordering from Google Play, or looking for some old items to trade in and grabbing one from GameStop?

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3 years ago

Three UK customers can grab Android 4.0 for the Sony Xperia S

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This post will be short and sweet and more than likely overshadowed by this weeks Google I/O news, however Sony Xperia S users on the Three network will be happy.

Three kindly dropped me an email today to confirm that their customers can now proactively download the Android Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Sony Xperia S. The update is via PC Companion only so users will not get a push notification which is odd, however Three are the first UK network to offer the update to the Xperia S. Good news!

Missed our Sony Xperia S review? You can catch up here.

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3 years ago

The Amazing Spider-Man now available from Google Play

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Roll up, roll up. Get your daily super hero fix here. Well, sort of. If you are a Spider-Man fan or just a gamer on your Android device you will be pleased to hear that The Amazing Spider-Man is waiting for you to download it from Google Play.

It does come with a hefty price tag of £4.99 which isn't cheap but it sure looks fun. With 25 action packed levels will you be the one to save Manhattan from the evil Lizard?

FREE NEW YORK CITY
• Explore the city through its five distinctive districts (Central Park, Business, Downtown, Pier and Residential)
• An exciting and enjoyable fighting system with melee, ranged, combo attacks and much more
• A wide selection of upgrades to customize your style, attacks and skills

It looks like Gameloft have given us another cracker. Sweet.

Download here

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3 years ago

Huawei set to kick off TV advertising for the Ascend P!

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It looks like Huawei are going from strength to strength these days and it would appear that they are all set to start promoting the Ascend P1 Android smartphone on television.

The following video cropped up today on Huawei's YouTube channel and like many other smartphone commercials around at the moment it doesn't focus so much on the actual device but trys to portrait a message. The message here is quite clear:

The Ascend P1 is beauty meets brains -- proof that technology and good looks can go hand-in-hand.

I think Huawei are making a lot of sense here as the device certainly matches up to its image. With a dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4460 Cortext-A9 processor, measuring 7.69mm thin and 64.8 mm long, combined with a 4.3-inch super AMOLED 960 x 540 touch screen with Corning® Gorilla® Glass, an 8-megapixel BSI rear-facing camera and Dolby Mobile 3.0 + 5.1 surround sound technology the Ascend P1 is not a phone to be sniffed at.

You can check out the new TV commercial below and if you didn't see our full review of the device you can do so here.

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3 years ago

Miss the Google I/O 2012 Day 1 Keynote? Watch it now

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If for whatever reason you happened to miss out on the Google I/O 2012 Day 1 Keynote, you can now sit back, relax and take it all in. Google has posted the video to YouTube so you have no reason to not set aside some time and get yourself caught up. You'll get to see Android 4.1 Jelly Bean announced along with the Google Nexus 7 tablet and finally, the Nexus Q.

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean's new notifications take center stage at Google I/O

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The above was pulled from the documentation for Android long past, but truer words were never spoken. Notifications can make or break a platform, and Google came up with a winning plan in their notification shade. After a few hours with Jelly Bean, I'm here to tell you things just got better. A lot better.

Notifications in Android 4.1 are now dynamic, feature more information displayed in a delightfully tactful way, are customizable for creative developers, and worth having a second look at. Phil and Alex will tell you, I've become enamored with the new notification system. The information I want need is there for me to see, and if I choose to interact I can take things a step further. To me, the new notifications are by far the best part of the update!

Miss a call? Google Voice can give you a notification to tell you who it was, and a quick way to get back in touch  -- either via the telephone or with a message. Want to see more than a sender's name for a Gmail notification? The two-finger magic will expand it and you can preview the message, without marking it as read. Developers also have plenty of options, a quick look through the gallery after the break shows you what companies like Spotify or Pulse can do in the notification bar now. This is progress. 

Of course, eventually a developer will abuse this and get creative with the spam in your notification bar. Google has you covered. Long press on any notification and you'll see exactly which app posted it, and a simple tap takes you the app management screen where you can uninstall the offender. 

We said that Jelly Bean would probably prove to add a bit of polish and character to ICS versus be a new UI overhaul, and things like the new notifications are a wonderful example of how a mature operating system can be fleshed out and improved. We only hope OEM's don't take it all away. Hit the break to see a gallery of the presentation slides showing it all off.

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3 years ago

Nexus 7 Guidebook available for free in Google Play Books

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Read enough about the Google Nexus 7 yet? Just in case you haven't, and you need some light reading while waiting for your shiny new Nexus 7 to arrive, Google's got you covered. Downloadable for free, as we speak, is the official Nexus 7 Guidebook from Google. 

OK, so it's basically an instruction manual. But, there's a couple of really nice sections in there. There's a chunk on the new Google Now service -- and how to disable it -- and another section centered on the new notifications area in Jelly Bean. It's free, and worth a read just for  these two sections alone. To grab yourself a copy, fire up Google Play Books and go get it. 

Download: Google Nexus 7 Guidebook

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3 years ago

Hugo Barra on Nexus 7 first day pre-order numbers: 'It's Big!'

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Little more than 24 hours has passed since the official unveiling of the Google Nexus 7, and the subsequent pre-orders becoming available in selected countries around the world. It's pretty much a given that it's bound to be a popular device within the Android community, but, how popular? 

The folks at Business Insider caught up with Hugo Barra last night at a press session at Google I/O, and asked the question a lot of people would be curious to know the answer to. How has the first days pre-sale gone? 

While Barra wouldn't disclose specifics -- hardly surprising -- but he did say they were really, really good. Pressed for a ballpark figure, he simply said, "it's big!" 

So, given Barra's position at Google, you'd be excused for thinking it's just a bit of positive PR. Well, we've some actual cause to believe him. 

Our contacts way up in Canada -- a guy called Chris, you might know him? -- have informed us that the 16GB Nexus 7 is no longer being accepted for pre-order. Seems for that, you now have to sign up to email alerts to let you know when they're available. 

So far, we've not heard any further reports of the pre-sale devices going off sale anywhere else in the world, but that's not to say they won't follow suit soon. If you want one at launch, it's looking like a pretty useful idea to pre-order as soon as you possibly can. 

Source: Business Insider

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3 years ago

How long before Google Now becomes your homescreen?

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Let's just throw this out there. Google Now is pretty awesome. A little scary, maybe, which we talked about a bit in last night's Google I/O podcast, but awesome nonetheless. The ability to predict what it is you want to see in the form of widgets is some high-tech schtuff.

Right now it's just an app within Jelly Bean.

But what if it weren't. What if Google Now was your homescreen, giving you all that information you currently have to build manually with widgets and app icons, based of your search history. A scary proposition, but an intriguing one, too.

We'll talk more about this in the coming weeks, for sure. 

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