Headlines

2 years ago

Amazon Cloud Drive adds picture sharing and iPhoto exporting

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Amazon's remote storage service, Cloud Drive, has recently been updated to allow users to quickly share photos with friends and family through the web interface. This update also allows those that manage their albums through iPhoto to get their photos uploaded in two clicks through the desktop app. Beyond features, the update also opens up Amazon Cloud Drive to Spain and Italy, following closely on its debut in the UK, Germany, and France. This is also hot on the heels of the launch of Amazon services in Japan. Obviously Amazon is getting ready to go big for the launch of the new Kindle devices. 

Though tightly related, Amazon Cloud Drive is a little different from the Cloud Music Player. Cloud Drive lets you upload all sorts of files to the cloud, while the MP3 player is more geared towards selling you and storing your songs. You can get the full tour in our combined review from awhile back.

Any European readers preorder one of the new Kindle Fire devices? How quickly will you fill up that free 5 GB of storage? Are you tempted at all to upgrade to one of the bigger tiers? Are there other cloud storage services you guys prefer to Amazon?

Source: Amazon

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2 years ago

Motorola acquires facial recognition company Viewdle

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Motorola recently confirmed that they've acquired Ukranian facial and gesture recognition developer Viewdle for an undisclosed amount (though rumor has it that the deal went down for between $30 and $45 million, and that Google and Motorola have been considering snatching Viewdle for the last couple of years). None of Viewdle's apps, including their augmented reality game or their social camera app, are showing up in Google Play or on any of their product pages. A Motorola rep issued a statement on the acquisition:

"Motorola Mobility today announced that it has acquired Viewdle, a leading imaging & gesture recognition company. Motorola and Viewdle have an existing commercial agreement and have been collaborating for some time. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.”

So far, the only real facial recognition technology we're seeing in Android is for unlocking the device, but Viewdle has clearly explored the space in a number of directions that Google and Motorola could take. Tagging photos from the camera, touchless gesture recognition, and augmented reality are just some of the areas Viewdle has been working in. Best of all, some of their technology can work locally on the device, so you don't even have to rely on a data connection to get these things working. We saw the technology in action last year, and it seemed to be working pretty smoothly. 

So, how would you guys like to see Motorola and Google implement these features in Android? Are they simply additions to the native camera app, or should they be folded into something like Google Goggles? There was a lot of concern over privacy awhile back when Google first started about facial recognition; are you worried about Google and advertisers knowing what you look like? 

Via: TechCrunch

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2 years ago

TomTom navigation now available for some Android devices

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Popular dedicated navigation software arrives on Android, but many devices are incompatible

TomTom has launched its popular navigation service for Android on Google Play, bringing stand-alone offline navigation for many territories around toe world to the platform. Unlike Google Maps navigation, the app doesn't require a data connection to work, instead storing all the relevant data on your device. Maps are priced at around $50 per territory (between £31 and £50 in the UK), and come with host of features, which naturally includes turn-by-turn directions in multiple languages. There's also TomTom's "HD traffic" overlay, a 3D driving view and "fast" on-device route calculation.

However, a wide range of popular Android devices aren't compatible with TomTom's apps, including the HTC One X and One S, Google's Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus, Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Sony's Xperia S. Bizarrely, the just-launched Galaxy Note 2 is compatible. And we can also confirm that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, HTC One V, Samsung Galaxy S Advance, Sony Xperia P and Xperia U are marked as compatible, which makes for a rather haphazard selection of phones.

To see if you phone is supported, check the Google Play link above to view the U.S. and Canada version. Other territories are linked on that same page.

We went hands-on with the TomTom app for Android at IFA 2012 in August. Be sure to check out our hands-on report and video to learn more about what to expect form the app.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 receiving small OTA update

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The Galaxy Note 10.1 has had some mixed press since its release. Today, the Note is back in the news, but in a good way. Users in our forums are reporting that their Galaxy Tab 10.1's are pulling down a small OTA update -- about 75MB in size -- that's bringing a few much needed bugfixes to the device. Although the update keeps the device on Ice Cream Sandwich, it looks to fix compatibility with 64GB SDcards, change some UI issues that keep menus from moving and fixes a bug that would show/hide the keyboard erratically.

Have a Galaxy Note 10.1 laying around? Head to the settings menu and check for an update, you may just be greeted with a 75MB download. If you receive the update, hit up the forums and let us know how it goes.

More: Galaxy Note 10.1 Forums

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2 years ago

How to follow the 2012 Presidential Debate on your Android device

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Although I'm not much into politics, there is plenty of good reasons to be following along with the 2012 Presidential Debate. If you're looking to tune in and hear which each of the candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have to say there is no shortage of ways to do so on your Android device be it, via audio or via live video. Jump below to find out more about how you can tune in.

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2 years ago

Plume for Twitter updated with expandable Jelly Bean notifications

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One of the leading Twitter clients on Android, Plume, has updated into the Jelly Bean era with expandable notifications. New in Android 4.1 is the ability for app developers to make dynamic notifications that can show more information when swiped down to expand. Plume takes advantage of this by giving you reply and retweet options right from the notification when expanded, also showing the number of tweets/mentions/messages you have. Even though Jelly Bean is only running on about 1.8 percent of devices, this is the kind of thing we hoped to start seeing from the big app developers at this point. It's good to see Plume taking the lead, and with quick updates like this you can see why it's one of the more popular Twitter clients out there. Also with this update, Plume has added the ability to view pictures full screen and fixes for draft, tweetmarker and facebook.

Plume is the go-to client for many of us, and definitely worth a look. It's free in the Google Play Store at the link above, with a premium version to remove ads at just $4.99. We've got a couple shots of the new notifications after the break.

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2 years ago

Manage your business cash flow with Xero accounting for Android smartphones

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This one is for you business owners out there. If you fancy keeping a close eye on cash flow all from within your smartphone the new Xero app may well be the perfect solution. Already a big success on iOS the app is designed to track your finances whether they be check bank balances, invoice customers, upload receipts or submit expense claims – all while you’re on the go.  

The Xero Touch app for Android contains unique features that give users instant insight into where their business stands – a mere screen tap allows users to check account and credit card balances, as well as detailed descriptions of transactions. Benefits that small business users can gain from using the Xero Touch app include:

  • No more delayed invoices. Create invoices on the spot right from your phone, as inventory functionality makes it fast and easy to itemize invoices. With customer contact details available in the app, new invoices can be emailed right away and overdue invoices can be followed up on with a call and re-sent with just a few taps.
  • No more lost receipts. Gone are the days of crumpled expense receipts lurking in pants and purse pockets. Users can snap photos of receipts that are then instantly uploaded into their accounts. Expenses can be submitted right from their phone.

Other features of the app include:

  • View all your accounts on your Android device – bank accounts, credit cards and PayPal balances, outstanding invoices, expense claims and all your contacts.
  • Create, approve and send invoices directly from your phone.
  • Upload receipts by taking a photo and do your expenses on the spot.
  • Find contacts, call customers and suppliers, view them on a map, and quickly save your notes.
  • Multi-currency support for foreign exchange transactions.
  • Integrates with payroll, CRM, inventory management systems, e-commerce and other popular apps including Freshbooks, 37 Signals Highrise, Salesforce, PayPal, Shopify, Zen Cart and Magento
  • Save a 4-digit PIN code to login quickly. 

Xero is free to download from Google Play - yes, that does sound too good to be true, but it's the truth! Business owners should check this one out for sure.

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2 years ago

PlayStation Mobile game store starts trickling out to select Android devices

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Today's the day that PlayStation Mobile launches, and not just on Sony's own Xperia devices. Keep in mind that the list of non-Sony phones compatible with PlayStation Mobile is still pretty short. Even if you have a compatible device, you'll need to live in Japan, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, or Australia to get in on the action. I still can't download it here in Canada, but you can expect the switch to be flipped soon. The initial selection of games in the new store isn't great, but Sony promises that new titles will be added every Wednesday.

  • Frederic – Resurrection of Music ($3.99 / £3.19)
  • Loot The Land ($3.99 / £3.19)
  • incurvio ($7.49 / £5.89)
  • Wipe! ($1.49 / £1.19)
  • Magic Arrows ($4.99 / £3.99)
  • Everbody’s Arcade (Free trial / IAP)
  • Underline ($2.79 / £2.19)
  • Nyoqix ($5.49 / £4.49)
  • Numblast ($2.99 / £2.39)
  • Super Crate Box ($3.49 / £2.79)
  • Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender ($3.49 / £2.79)
  • Flick Hockey ($2.29 / £1.79)
  • Word Blocked ($1.99 / £1.59)
  • Rebel ($1.99 / £1.59)
  • Tractor Trails ($2.29 / £2.59)
  • Hungry Giraffe ($2.99 / £2.39)
  • Beats Slider ($0.79 / £0.65)
  • Fuel Tiracas ($0.49 / £0.40)
  • Twist Pilot ($3.49 / £2.79)
  • Samurai Beatdown ($0.99 / £0.79)
  • Beats Trellis ($0.79 / £0.65)

Once purchased, these games can be played on up to three devices. More info on PSM can be found at Sony's landing page. Are any of you guys able to get into the new PlayStation Mobile store? Are any of these games really catching your eye, or are there particular titles that you'd like to see make the leap from PS3 to Android?

Via: PSNStores

Source: PlayStation Mobile

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2 years ago

Nest Mobile for Android updated with tablet compatibility and stability improvements

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If you've bought yourself a fancy Nest thermostat, you'll want to go ahead and grab the latest software update for it that is currently rolling out. If you're an Android user though, Nest has gone a step further and addressed some of the concerns from owners looking to access their thermostat on the go. Previous versions of the mobile app were not compatible with tablets or even later versions of Android for that matter but a new version has been released and brings a whole slew of changes:

  • Now works with all Android devices (Android 2.2 "Froyo" or above), including tablets like Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire.
  • Improved speed and stability
  • Support for the 2nd gen. Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Support for System Match features (Early-On, Heat Pump Balance, True Radiant)
  • Ability to remotely lock your Nest
  • More info in Energy History
  • Nest Learning is now called Nest Sense
  • Now also available in French and Spanish
  • Overall bug fixes and improvement

If you're a Nest owner, go ahead and give it a go and let us know how it's working out for you. If you're looking to learn more about Nest and the recent updates, hit the source link below for further details.

Source: Nest

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2 years ago

Barnes & Noble updates Nook reading app

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Not to be overshadowed by all of the recent Amazon news, Barnes & Noble is following up on its latest Nook hardware announcements with an updated Nook reading app for Android (and yes, iOS). This update to version 3.2 of the app adds lots of good features, including zooming for comic books, improved fonts and margins, a full dictionary and a fix for pre-ordering with the app.

Many people have pretty much locked themselves into Amazon if they're big book readers, but if you've yet to lock yourself into a certain book ecosystem, it's always worth looking into all options before taking that plunge.

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2 years ago

Galaxy Note 2's Smart Rotation solves the ultimate first-world problem

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We've all been there before. You're reading something on your smartphone while laying down on a bed or sofa. You turn sideways, and the screen rotates. Suddenly, whatever you were reading is at 90 degrees to where it needs to be, and you're left trying to read at an awkward angle. Fortunately, we found a feature on the Galaxy Note 2 that seems to have been developed for this exact eventuality.

"Smart rotation" makes its debut on the Note 2, and like the Galaxy S3's Smart Stay, it uses a bit of front-facing camera trickery. When the phone rotates, the device uses the front-facer to work out what orientation your face is in and then match the orientation of the screen accordingly, based on the built-in sensor. That means even if you're reading at an angle, the Note 2 can recognize this and keep things the right way up. In our experience it functions pretty well, though the fact that it uses the front-facing camera means you need a little ambient light in order for it to work.

Smart Rotation is switched off by default on the Note 2, but can be enabled under Settings > Display. Perhaps not the most practical or necessary software feature ever conceived, but damned if it isn't cool.

If you're reading this article at a 90 degree angle, be sure to shout out in the comments.

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2 years ago

Skype, on the Nikon Coolpix S800c

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Look, the Nikon Coolpix S800c runs Android, so it's not all that strange for us to put the Skype app on the ... camera ... and give it a go. The speaker leaves a lot to be desired, and don't even think about doing a video call. But still. How cool is this?

But be warned: You will look a little funny walking down the street with a camera to your ear.

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2 years ago

HTC to deliver Jelly Bean and Sense 4+ upgrade for One S, X and XL this month

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Alongside today's HTC One X+ announcement comes the news that HTC will upgrade some of its earlier One series phones to the latest versions of Android and Sense. The Sense 4+ and Jelly Bean update is scheduled to hit One S, X and XL phones later this month, and HTC tells us that every feature of the One X+ that doesn't require additional hardware will be made available on these devices. Note, as ever, that carrier-specific versions of these phones may take a little while longer to see this update.

Sadly, there's no mention of the One V -- or any other existing HTC phones -- in today's announcement. It's unlikely HTC will leave its entire back catalog in the lurch, but the lack of any announcements for earlier devices isn’t encouraging news for owners of these phones.

Nevertheless, it's a welcome development for the many One S, One X or One XL owners out there.

More: HTC One X+ announcement, HTC One X+ hands-on

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2 years ago

Over 25 percent of Android devices now running 4.0 and above

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As it tends to do, Google has released a breakdown of what versions of Android devices out in the wild are currently running as of today, October 1. We're now over the milestone of having one in every four Android devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher -- unfortunately Jelly Bean makes up just 1.8 percentage-points of that right now, but let's not be too down on these numbers. Rounding out the rest of the chart is 2.3 Gingerbread at 55.8 percent, naturally, with all previous versions adding up to just 16.8 percent of active devices.

Android 4.0 and above has seen a pretty quick pickup in adoption since a large number of the world's best selling devices have launched or been updated to it at this point. This is really good news in terms of user adoption, but it also means that app developers have more incentive than ever to start following those "holo" guidelines we seem to ramble on about at times. Be sure to check out the full report at the source link below.

Source: Android Developers Dashboard

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2 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy S Blaze 4G Ice Cream Sandwich update available Oct. 3

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T-Mobile has just put up a support page indicating that the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G (seriously, these names are getting to be a bit much) is going to be receiving an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich starting on October 3rd. The latest software -- version T769UVLF4 -- will bring all of the latest ICS features in addition to a Mobile Hotspot and Email fix. Unfortunately, it will only be available via Samsung Kies and not over the air like the previous update. That being said, we've got to be thankful that ICS is coming to the device via official means.

One interesting thing to note here is that T-Mobile specifically points out that the device cannot be rooted and receive the update. Of course most of us know this, but seeing it pointed out specifically in the support documentation is probably a good thing.

Source: TmoNews; T-Mobile Support

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