Headlines

2 years ago

Google Play Books updated; Now available in India and 'over 90' issues fixed

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Google tossed out an update to Google Play Books this evening, making it a whole lot better by fixing "over 90" issues, allowing users in India to be able to install and use the app, and finally tossing in some UI improvements. While they don't go into any detail about the 90 issues that were addressed they do tell us that they added a drop-down menu in the library to filter books by type, and now place names are identified on the current page when the controls are up and showing. Of course, support for India and the growing smart phone user base there is huge, and long overdue.

What wasn't addressed is the lack of the ability to import your own DRM-free books. Until that happens this is one I'll hide in my app drawer, no matter how great the app is. Hit Google Play to update or click the Google Play link above.

Thanks, Anshi!

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2 years ago

Field Trip adds more sources, lets you 'snooze' notifications

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Google's Field Trip app may not be at the front of everyone's mind, but it's still being developed and improved. The latest update has added several new sources of information and added a new way to dismiss and snooze notifications that appear. You will now see more content from Art Nerd New York, Cultureist, Mad Girl Eats, Weekend Sherpa, Wilderness Press and more when searching for local info. There has also been a pretty big overhaul of the notification system of Field Trip. One of the complaints early on was Field Trip being a little too notification happy -- turning on your screen, talking and vibrating too often -- which made many people turn it off or uninstall it completely.

When you receive a notification on the lockscreen now, you'll have options similar to an alarm: swipe right to unlock, up to "snooze" (and not receive notifications for the rest of the day), and left to dismiss. There are also more configuration options for how you would like to be notified, letting you receive regular status bar notifications and keep Field Trip from waking the screen when they arrive.

There are a lot of major usability improvements in this update, so you may want to give it another try if the early issues pushed you away before. You can grab a download at the Play Store link above.

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2 years ago

MLS MatchDay updated for 2013 with new interface, tablet support

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The 2013 MLS season kicks off in just three days, and the MLS MatchDay app has been updated right on time with a new interface and full tablet support. Last year's update was functional but certainly not easy to use or perfectly designed. For 2013, they've pulled out all the stops and gone with a complete redesign that should keep Android users happy for the whole season. The interface has taken on a holo design, shedding the legacy menu button and adding a slide-in panel to improve navigation. There are also now more granular notification settings, so you can see when lineups are available, to get condensed match stats, and breaking news alerts.

The new update also added tablet support, which takes advantage of the larger screen to display news articles in a newspaper-style format rather than a list, and offer more navigation options on individual team and match pages. Over and above the new interface, you can now watch matches directly on your devices with MLS Live, as well as see Goal of the Week videos.

Stick around after the break and see the new phone UI, along with a few comparisons to what the new app does on a 7-inch tablet. Then head to the Play Store link at the top of this post to get the app.

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2 years ago

Super Sync Sports makes Chrome sync between devices fun!

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The latest Chrome Experiment out of Google shows off the power of sync between devices with a fun little game called "Super Sync Sports". Head to chrome.com/supersyncsports on your computer and g.co/super on your phone or tablet (Android 4.0 and above), enter the code to get them synced up and you're off to the races. Literally. You use your phone or tablet as a controller, with the computer display as just a portal to view the game. Select a character, and you can run, swim or bike against the computer or friends that you invite.

It's a fun game to play, especially with more than one device, but it what it really shows off is the power of Chrome to provide real-time syncing between devices using just a browser. When on Wifi, there isn't any perceptible lag between actions on the phone and the response on the screen, which is quite impressive considering that you're just using an HTML5 game in two browsers.

Google loves to do fun little experiments like this, and when they show it off to the public it's even better. Hopefully this means that it is planning to leverage these technologies in user-facing Chrome products in the future. Head to the source links to learn a bit more about how it works and to play the game for yourself.

Source: Google; More: Play Super Sync Sports

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2 years ago

Sony releases experimental Firefox OS ROM for Xperia E

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Firefox OS has been on the horizon for a while now, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona saw the first device partnerships announced for the fledgling mobile operating system. Though not showing any hardware in Barcelona, a press release was issued detailing Sony's plans to release a Firefox OS powered smartphone in 2014 in partnership with Telefonica. 

What we have here isn't quite a Sony Firefox phone, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, what it is, is a working experimental build of Firefox OS for the Xperia E. In line with their plans to develop devices carrying the software, Sony hopes that interested developers and early adopters will take a look and garner valuable feedback. 

The key thing to remember is that Sony has released this as an experimental developer ROM. It isn't meant to be a daily driver, although from the promo video we see here it looks reasonably functional, with even the camera app working properly. 

We know some of you kids like playing around with new stuff -- our own editor-in-chief Phil Nickinson played with an early, early build of Firefox OS -- so if you happen to have access to an Xperia E and try this out, be sure to share your experiences with us. 

Source: Sony Developer World

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2 years ago

Robo5: simple, fun and free puzzle game

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Robo5 takes cool steampunk style and draws it in fun, cartoon artwork to provide hours of both casual and intense gameplay. The concept of the game is simple, but you can tell that's exactly what the developers were aiming to accomplish. It's hard to argue with the combination here, especially when it's free to play for a large set of levels and just $1.99 to unlock it all.

Hang with us after the break and see a little more about what makes Robo5 a fun game.

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2 years ago

Falcon Pro releasing new version of app to sidestep token limit

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Twitter client Falcon Pro is attempting to step around Twitter's 100,000 token authorization limit by releasing a new version of the app with a separate application ID. Just a few days ago, the client had to stop authorizing new users because it hit the Twitter-imposed limitation, which users feared would stop development. Taking to its official Twitter account (naturally), the developer explained the situation, and how he intends to fix it -- at least for the time being.

The plan right now is to release a new version of Falcon Pro -- just the small step to 1.6.7 -- that has a new application ID, which would technically identify it to Twitter as a new client, with a fresh new set of 100,000 user tokens to assign. In order to do this, old user tokens have to all be revoked, and anyone opening a previously installed version will have to re-login. By wiping out old tokens and "starting over", Falcon Pro is hoping to stay active for a while longer.

The price has also been raised -- to $1.95 (€1.49) from $0.99 previously -- to hopefully slow down how long it takes to hit the limit again. The last version hit the 100,000 token limit with less than 50,000 official paid Google Play downloads though, which is disconcerting. We know that a "token" is not a user, and those with multiple devices and accounts occupy multiple tokens, but the average tokens per user is likely well under 2.

For now, Falcon Pro v1.6.6 is still a comical $132.12 in the Play Store, with a reminder in the description not to buy it because there are no tokens left. The developer plans to release the 1.6.7 update to the Play Store tonight, and we'll have to see how long it takes to hit the limit again.

Source: @Falcon_Pro (Twitter); Via: AusDroid

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2 years ago

Chrome for Android gets major update as ver. 25 graduates from beta

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The stable version of Chrome for Android has received a major upgrade, from version 18 all the way up to 25 -- the version that was in beta until recently. Major changes include significantly improved scrolling performance, improved JavaScript and HTML5 processing speed and speedier pinch-to-zoom.

The new build is rolling out right now, so hit fire up the Play Store to update your devices. Alternatively, if you've yet to try Chrome for Android, you can pick it up using the Google Play link to the right.

When you're done updating, be sure to hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

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2 years ago

Adobe Photoshop Touch: No longer just for tablets

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Adobe has taken their excellent Photoshop Touch application for tablets, and shrunk things down to fit on the smaller screen. Available as a separate download -- with it's own $4.99 price tag -- The app offers the same great features the tablet edition does, which are essentially the core features of the desktop version. The app includes the ability to work with layers, filters, and brushes all bundled into an intuitive, gesture-based interface. In addition, the application is integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud, giving users 2GB of free storage to sync projects between the tablet app, the phone app, and the desktop. 

I use the tablet version of Photoshop Touch frequently, transferring images taken with my phone to Dropbox, then importing them into my tablet. The app is really well done, and takes mobile image editing to the next level. I'm not sure how well this will translate to my phone -- I'm currently using the Nexus 4 -- but folks with a Note 2 or even the original Note have another great use for the S Pen. You can find Adobe's press release after the break, and the download link from Google Play above.

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2 years ago

Samsung unveils Wallet mobile app to manage tickets

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Samsung has announced a new API for developers to help manage event tickets, boarding passes, memberships, and coupons. Samsung Wallet will be a new application which brings all of these types of content into one place. Time and location-based push notifications will help users get a hold of the ticketing information. 

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2 years ago

Skype update brings back 'classic' UI option for tablets

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Skype has just been updated to give users the option of selecting a "classic" UI instead of the new and improved tablet interface. The previous update to Skype added many new features and a more tablet-optimized interface overall, including a portrait UI for calling -- the curious part was the rest of the app was still locked in landscape mode. Skype is now backpedaling, sort of, by letting tablet users go back to a phone-style UI in the settings if they prefer. The new option is probably a better choice if you're on a smaller screen like the Nexus 7 that is often used in portrait.

10-inch tablet users are still better off with the new "tablet" UI because the larger devices are quite comical in portrait mode. Until Skype figures out how to do a responsive tablet UI that changes appropriately for landscape and portrait use, it's good to have this option. You can grab the update from the Play Store link at the top of this post.

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2 years ago

Nokia's new Windows Phone NFC writer app gives props to Google+

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How do you know you've started to make it as a social network? When Nokia, that misfit manufacturer that's keeping Windows Phone alive one Lumia at a time, adds Google+ to its new NFC tag application.

Our pals at WPCentral have the scoop on this one, but the gist is that you can create a tag to a Google+ link. Say, to the highly popular +Android Central page. That's a good sign for ye olde G+.

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2 years ago

About that Google Settings app that appeared on your device today

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As part of its new Google+ sign-in initiative that went live today, Google pushed a silent update to the Google Play Services app to support the new feature, which also brought along a new app called Google Settings. Google Play Services updates in the background routinely, much like the Play Store itself, in order to have phones up to date and syncing properly. The updates don't usually install new apps, but there's nothing to worry about here, the Google Settings app is indeed supposed to be there.

That being said, it doesn't seem all that useful, as it just provides shortcuts to the settings menus of other apps on the phone -- like Google+, Maps and Location. These settings could all be accessed previously, but in order to have everything working out of the box and have a settings area set up for the new Google+ sign-in, Google had to push something out there. We may have preferred if there was some kind of notice of what was going on though.

Going forward it's likely that Google will use this app to house more than just a few settings shortcuts -- and the functionality could easily just be baked into the general OS settings as well. For now, just let it be -- at least the icon isn't too ugly.

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2 years ago

Pocket Casts 4: more than just a fresh coat of paint

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Pocket Casts has been around for some time, and is always part of the conversation when talking about podcast apps on Android. But like many other apps, it was long overdue for a redesign. This latest update, Pocket Casts version 4, has thrown the app back into the forefront of quality Android design. But the update is more than just skin deep -- underneath that design is a whole bucket of new features that are just as appealing as the visuals.

Hang around with us after the break, and take a look at the completely redesigned Pocket Casts 4.

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2 years ago

TuneIn Radio updated with new Google+ sign-in feature

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Google only just today announced their Google+ sign-in features that are opening up to app developers, but TuneIn Radio is one of the first out of the gate to implement it. Much as they were involved early on with Jelly Bean expandable notifications, the extremely popular radio streaming app is in on the ground floor with Google's latest features. 

To the user, it's exactly the same process as signing in via Twitter or Facebook, without the necessity of course to enter any login details. You choose which of your Google accounts you wish to sign-in with, and that's it. You're also presented with a check box allowing you to restrict who has access to content you share on Google+ -- although sharing something only you can see does seem a little, well, pointless. 

Google+ sign in isn't the only new feature in this update either. TuneIn Radio will now integrate with your calendar, so if you don't want to forget about that big soccer football game coming up, tapping the 'add to calendar' button will produce a handy reminder when the program is about to begin. Additionally, Chevrolet drivers with the MyLink functionality can now access TuneIn Radio directly from the car. Download the free version of TuneIn Radio can be found at the Play Store link above.

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