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3 years ago

The official Android Central app passes a major milestone, so let's give away something!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. We're proud to announce that the official Android Central app has surpassed, for us, a major milestone, amassing more than 100,000 total downloads. (And, quite frankly, with a keep rate that even I'm astounded by.) 

So from all of us to everyone who's tried the application, thanks! We've still got plenty of work to do with the app — features to add, items to improve and bugs to squash — but we're making great progress. Huge props to our developer Neil for all the hard work.

And as but a small token of appreciation for helping make us the No. 1 source for all things Android, we're going to give away a new Nexus 7 we've got laying around here. Still in the box, of course. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post. That's it. We'll close down the comments at midnight Eastern tonight, pick a winner and get the tablet shipped out on Thursday, so the winner can have it ASAP.

And if you haven't already, please give our app a try!

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3 years ago

Google+ gets Auto Awesome notifications

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Auto Awesome — the photo enhancer built in to Google+ — just got a little more awesome. Now, whenever Auto Awesome does its thing, you'll get a notification telling you so. That saves you from having to dive into your photos and figure it out on your own. This works on the app as well as the web, of course.

A bugfix update reported is coming down for the Google+ app as well, so be on the lookout for that.

Source: +Virgil Dobjanschi

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3 years ago

Action Launcher updated to v1.9, brings 'vastly improved overall experience'

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Android developer Chris Lacy has updated his great home replacement app Action Launcher, and brings a promise of a much more stable and enjoyable experience. In version 1.9 of the app, the base launcher code has been updated to the Android 4.3 launcher base. this will make Action Launcher faster, use less resources, not suffer from any redraw issues and be "smoother and more responsive than any other release to date."

The changes aren't all under the hood though. Two highly requested features have been baked in — the ability to hide the status bar, and the ability to change your "desktop" icons on an individual basis. In addition, users with a Galaxy S4 can now enable a transparent status bar.

These new features, combined with covers, shutters and the quickdrawer make Action Launcher worth having a look at in our opinion. You can grab the full version from the link above for $3.99, and read the full release notes here.

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3 years ago

Messaging app imo launches video calling

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Instant messaging platform imo sends word that it's launched video calls across its Android and iOS mobile apps. The feature works over Wifi, 3G and 4G connections, adds to imo's array of messaging features, which includes support for nine third-party IM services.

To call a contact, users simply select the video icon that appears next to the person's name. Video calling joins existing imo features, such as group text chats, video messages and voice messages.

The new video calling feature should be hitting imo on Android and iOS in an update landing right about now, so hit the Google Play link above if you want to try it out.

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3 years ago

Samsung steps up BBM marketing push in Africa

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A few weeks ago Samsung confirmed that it'll be offering BlackBerry Messenger through its Samsung Apps portal, with particular focus being given to the African market. Now our pals over on CrackBerry have unearthed some of the manufacturer's advertising efforts for BBM on Galaxy devices, which also seem to be specific to that region.

CrackBerry forums users report that ads for BBM on Galaxy phones has appeared in football matches on South African TV. And it also seems Samsung Ghana has been promoting the upcoming BBM launch through YouTube and Facebook.

So far we've not seen any similar push in Europe or the U.S., but it's possible we might see more around the time BBM for Android launches. The messaging software is set to go multi-platform before the end of the summer, with both Android and iOS versions in the works.

More coverage: CrackBerry

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3 years ago

Sony releases maintenance updates for Xperia S, SL and acro S

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Camera, apps, battery and navigation fixes included

After pushing out updates to Jelly Bean earlier in the year, Sony has released maintenance updates for the Xperia S, SL and acro S to fix issues based on user feedback. On the camera front, Sony has fixed issues with white balance in pictures, improved the "quick launch" button and improved 1080p video recording to reduce lag. In terms of apps and data, EAS (Exchange Active Sync) has been streamlined, 2G network stability is improved and an issue that removed third-party default app preferences after a reboot has been fixed.

Battery life should improve with the latest update due to improvements in power consumption and heat dispersion, and battery level notifications have also been corrected. Working to build a more consistent navigation experience, the home key will now access Google Now when long pressed, and launch recent apps when double pressed.

Sony says that these handful of fixes will be coming to all three handsets, with variations in availability based on market and carrier, naturally. This is a good grouping of fixes and improvements, so keep an eye out on your own handset.

Source: Sony Mobile Blog

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3 years ago

Asphalt 8: Airborne and the Nvidia Shield is a match made in Android gaming heaven

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The built-in controller of the NVIDIA Shield makes it a perfect match for Asphalt 8: Airborne

Like many of you guys, I've been playing Asphalt 8: Airborne and destroying my battery for the past couple days. It's without a doubt a fun-as-hell game, and one of the best we've seen yet for any mobile platform. But while playing, and drifting my way around the corners, trying to catch the ramp "just right" for the barrel roll, I had to think to myself — what this really needs is a controller.

That's where the NVIDIA Shield comes in. I was delighted to find out the Asphalt 8: Airborne was optimized for the Shield, and you get that level of control you want in a fast, action-packed game that really needs it. A look at the image above tells you everything you need to know. The dual joysticks are perfect for this one, and with just a little more practice I'll be ready to take on all of Google+.

If you picked up a Shield, you really need to spend the buck and check this one out!

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: ASUS AiCloud, Wag.com, A Ride into the Mountains and more!

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Another week, more great app picks from the AC writers

It's been a big week here at Android Central with a hotly anticipated device review to focus on, but we're not going to skip a beat on our Apps of the Week column for anything. We've still built up a post containing an app picked from each of the Android Central writers to put on display and give a few words about why it has found a place on their device.

Today you'll find a handful of tools a couple of really fun games to keep you efficient and entertained through the weekend and into the work week. Stick around after the break and see how they stack up.

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3 years ago

Google Now update hitting devices, bringing new and improved cards

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Sports and travel cards get the focus in this update

That latest Google Now update that the official Android Google+ account teased us with a couple of days ago is now rolling out to devices, and it even brings a few more features than expected. If you need a quick refresher, the update is bringing brand new cards for car rentals, concert tickets, sharing your commute and for NCAA football scores.

The update is also improving a few other cards. Public transit cards show dramatically more information, you can now set reminders based on your searches and more information will be displayed based on what you're watching on TV. Not announced in the original post but revealed in the actual update are two other quick features — related websites for your location, and improvements to sports cards to show real-time data instead of on a 15 minute refresh interval.

This is a big update, with lots of useful improvements. Head to the Play Store at the link above to grab your update.

Thanks, mooniefresh13!

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3 years ago

Introducing Version 1.4 of the Android Central App!

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Earlier this week we released Version 1.4 of the official Android Central App. OK, technically we're already at v1.4.1 thanks to a quick bugfix. But point is, we're continuing down our roadmap. 

We've added some new features — and most notable is a slightly revamped design — and kept our focus on speed and improving stability. And we're not done yet, of course.

New in v1.4.1 are:

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3 years ago

Pandora update adds sleep timer, Nissan car integration

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Streaming service also announces it will remove 40 hour mobile listening cap Sept. 1

Find yourself drifting off to sleep listening to your classical music station on Pandora every night? Well the latest version of the Pandora app has you covered. A new, and apparently highly-requested, feature of a proper sleep timer has arrived in the latest version of the app. The timer can be accessed by sliding in the settings panel from the right edge and can easily be set to 15, 30 or 60 minutes before the music stops playing. It would be nice to set your own time, but we're not going to look this gift horse in the mouth.

On a related note Pandora has also announced, in its quarterly financial results of all places, that it will stop restricting mobile users to 40 hours of streaming per month starting September 1st. The limit was put in place back in March, and Pandora says that it only affected 4 percent of its monthly active users. Under those circumstances it makes more sense for Pandora to be able to advertise unlimited mobile listening than it does to shut down the highest users it has.

Along with the sleep timer, this update brings support for NissanConnect touch screen and steering wheel controls in select Nissan cars, which is important for listening to your music while driving. You can grab the latest version of the Pandora app at the Play Store link above

Source: Pandora; Via: SlashGear

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3 years ago

Chrome Beta adds universal image search, new gestures for tabs and zooming

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New navigation paradigms are more natural, cut down on accidental actions

Chrome Beta has just received a notable update that changes many of the usage and gesture paradigms in the browser. Most notable are the new ways to switch tabs — a swipe down on the toolbar expands the tab switcher (previously only revealed with a tap of the tab button), and swipe left or right along the toolbar to switch between open tabs. This is a far more intuitive way to manage your tabs, and completely prevents accidental tab switching when scrolling pages.

For navigating the Chrome Beta menu, you can now tap the overflow menu button and keep your finger pressed, sliding down the menu options and releasing your finger on the one you'd like to select. Google has also implemented a new one-finger zooming paradigm that is most memorable from Google Maps — double tap the screen and hold the second tap to either slide up or down to zoom in or out on the page.

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3 years ago

BBM for Android user guide appears online

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The "late summer" launch window for BlackBerry Messenger on Android is fast approaching, if not already here. And with beta builds already creeping out into the wild, it should come as no surprise to see support documentation also showing up online ahead of the anticipated release.

Designed to instruct new Android users on the ways of BBM, the docs cover the basics of getting your account set up, viewing friends' profiles and trolling CrackBerry Kevin. (OK, maybe not that last part.)

In any case, there're a lot of instructional bulleted lists and no screenshots to be found, so if you're after a peek at what BBM will look like on Android you'll have to make do with leaked screenshots for now.

Similar documents have also appeared for the upcoming iOS version of BBM. Hit the source link down below to grab both manuals, courtesy of our pals at CrackBerry.

Source: CrackBerry

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3 years ago

Asphalt 8: Airborne launches on Android

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Gravity-defying racer available today on Google Play

As promised, Gameloft's latest racing title Asphalt 8: Airborne is now available to download on Google Play, priced at $0.99. The game was one of a few titles shown off at Google's Android 4.3 event, where it was used to showcase the new graphical effects made possible by the new OS's OpenGL ES 3.0 support.

More importantly, it looks like a lot of fun. The developer promises 180 events, 47 vehicles, including licensed cars, and "gravity-defying" tricks and jumps. Reviewing the iOS version recently, iMore's Simon Sage said —

"If there’s one thing the Asphalt series had going for it, it was a ridiculous, over-the-top gameplay style, and it very much stays true to that spirit. Asphalt 8 is built for adrenaline junkies in a bunch of ways. For one, boosting now has a mini-game element built into it. When you tap once, you initiate your boost, and when you tap again, you go into a faster, second-phase boost. After the first tap, your nitro meter starts going down, and if you tap a second time when it reaches a small target zone, then your secondary boost will be even, uh, boostier."

If you're a racing fan — particularly a racing fan with a new Nexus 7 — you're going to want to check this one out. Hit the Google Play link above to get started.

More: Asphalt 8 review

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3 years ago

Contra: Evolution now available for Android

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Scroll sideways. Shoot aliens.

Retro run-and-gun platformer Contra: Evolution has landed on Android this morning, bringing Konami's classic shooter franchise to the platform for the first time. If you're not familiar with the series, which dates back to the 1987 arcade cabinet original, it's all about finding the biggest gun you can, and shooting aliens in the South American jungle.

The gameplay is both familiar and easy. It's a virtual joystick game, where the left stick controls your direction, and the right is the jump and inventory virtual buttons. Your toon never stops shooting, and whatever direction you turn is also the direction your weapon fires. Work your way through this side-scroller, where of course there are plenty of enemies shooting back, landscape items and scenery that will trip you up, and a boss fight at the end of each level. If you've played any of the Contra series on your old console, you know what to expect here. The Android version seems very true to form, and is just as fun to play as the originals.

Contra: Evolution is available from Google Play now for $0.99 in the U.S., or £0.63 in the UK. Grab it at the link above, or head past the break for our first-look video.

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