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2 years ago

Why you'll never have the latest version of Android

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Inside the ‘broken’ Android updates process

If you have an Android phone, chances are it’s not running the most recent version of the OS, 4.1 Jelly Bean. According to Google’s own figures, just 1.2 percent of active devices run the latest version of Android. Some 57.5 percent remain on Android 2.3, a version rapidly approaching its second birthday.

If you were lucky enough to buy a Nexus device -- the right Nexus device -- you might get the latest sweet treat from the Mountain View chocolate factory immediately, or within a few weeks of it being finalized. But for most of the countless millions of active Android devices, it’s quite a different story. They’ll probably never run the latest version of Android, whatever that may be. They’re on ICS if they’re lucky, Gingerbread if they’re not, and by the time they get Jelly Bean we’ll already be singing the praises of Key Lime Pie.

This vicious cycle is a product of Google’s approach to its OS, combined with a mess of other factors including carriers, manufacturers and users’ own expectations. It’s one of the platform’s most significant issues, and one that’s all but impossible to solve. Read on to find out exactly why, as we dissect the Android software update process.

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2 years ago

Carbon for Android potentially days away according to developers

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Carbon for Android has been a long time coming, and has to be one of the more hotly anticipated apps of recent times. While the original projected release date may have come and gone, no-one can deny that the developers, Dots and Lines, have been working hard to complete. A recent tweet posted to the official Carbon for Android account gives further hope that soon we'll be able to try it for ourselves. 

Turns out, that we might only be a few days away from launch; 

Matter of a few dayz now...yea, still alive and kicking! Next up will be a full video and our Google Play link...

Exciting news for sure. The Twitter client space has seen some interesting competitors in recent months such as Boid and Tweet Lanes, but it's no secret that this is the one a lot of people are going to want. And of course, it's going to be free. 

Source: @CarbonAndroid

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2 years ago

Apps of the Week - Tasker App Factory, ESPN Radio, Bombshells: Hells Belles and more!

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We've got a jam-packed week of app picks for you guys today. Everyone around Android Central is chiming in with their favorite app. This is another diverse week where we hit all the different app genres -- games, sports, productivity, tools and more. The best part about these picks is they're all either completely free, or have a free version. That's how we like it, folks. Read on.

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2 years ago

Ebay pushing an 'update' to previous version of the app, v2.0 has been recalled

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The official eBay app recieved a much needed update just a few days ago, bringing a much improved visual experience and some new features depending on where you are in the world. Now though, v2.0 has been recalled, and replaced with an 'update' to the previous version of the app, which is now live in Google Play. There isn't much clue as to what the issues may have been -- unless you experienced them personally -- as eBay is being a little vague at this time. Whatever it is, must be something pretty big. Opening the application now greets you with a message as we see here, and has been accompanied by an email from eBay which dropped into our inbox this morning. 

By now, you have probably noticed that we experienced an issue with the latest version of our Android app. As a result, we have temporarily replaced the latest version with the previous one. We value our customers and regret any inconvenience. Delivering the very best shopping experiences to our customers is our goal – anywhere, anytime and on any device.

Thank you,

eBay Mobile Team

So, there's no choice in the matter, even if it worked perfectly OK for you. To carry on using eBay on your Android Device head on over to the Play Store and grab the latest -- and previous -- version. In the meantime, what issues did you guys see? Sing out in the comments below and share with us all. 

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2 years ago

Google Wallet no longer working on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus

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Verizon Galaxy Nexus users have had a long and shaky history with using Google Wallet on their devices. Now it seems that some entity -- be it Verizon or Google -- may have finally pulled the plug on this one. Users in our forums are reporting that the Google Wallet app is no longer working on their devices and is unable to be updated or installed in the Google Play Store. We're not sure at this point why the app is pulled or whether it will be coming back, but hopefully we'll hear something more definitive soon.

We recommend you go check out the thread in our forums where users are reporting their findings. There's a good chance some ingenious hackers will find a way around this soon enough: Verizon Galaxy Nexus Forums: Google wallet problem.

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2 years ago

To-Fu 2 slingshots onto Google Play

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To-Fu 2, a free and addictive puzzle game, is now on Android. Some of you might have played the original, which also featured the headband-toting wobbly white cube which you stretch and release to fling through treacherous mazes.

Players have to hit the big pink fortune cookie at the end to win, though you earn extra merit for gathering all of the Chi orbs throughout the level or completing the whole thing within a limited number of moves. The levels are really mind-bending, and require precision and timing to make sure you ricochet and stick to the right spots. The new version of the game includes a whopping 115 levels, and a new time trial mode to see how many Chi orbs you can collect within a certain time limit. There are ads, but buying any of the vanity items through in-app purchases will remove them. 

I played the first one a bunch, and To-Fu 2 is just as fun. Give it a shot!

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2 years ago

International Xperia Ion receiving Ice Cream Sandwich update

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Back at IFA in Berlin a couple weeks ago, we got a look at a yet to be released version of Ice Cream Sandwich running on the Xperia Ion. It looks like the official release wasn't far behind that build, as the international version of the Ion has started to receive its update. Only the LT28i models are seeing it at the moment, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come for those of you with the Ion running on AT&T's network here in the states.

Also, if you're one of those Sony types -- or just appreciate hard working designers -- and somehow missed our great piece by Alex with the Sony design team, it's definitely still worth a look.

Source: Xperiablog

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2 years ago

Tetris available for free today on the Amazon Appstore

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Classic puzzle game Tetris is available today for free on the Amazon Appstore for today only. You know the drill: shaped blocks come down from the top of the screen, and you have to guide them down to create solid rows to make them disappear. Players earn bonus points for knocking out multiple rows at once, though the blocks come down faster as you plow onwards. The remake has a few new twists to the original, such as a variety of challenge missions and power-ups to help clear away blocks. 

The game's normally $2.99, so definitely worth picking up while it's free. Head on over to Amazon to get downloading. 

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2 years ago

US Cellular launches Wi-Fi Now app

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U.S. Cellular is taking steps to help its customers find public Wi-Fi hotspots when they're out of the house by launching their own Wi-Fi Now app. The app, which is available for download from the Google Play Store (and soon Amazon App Store) for current customers, runs on the device and will automatically connect to known good Wi-Fi access points. The app can also be configured to automatically connect to Wi-Fi at home after manually entering the connection information. U.S. Cellular also states that it will be loading the Wi-Fi Now app on all Android devices it sells from this point forward. If you're willing, using an app like this can really help cut down your monthly data usage.

Compared to having a persistent Wi-Fi button in your notification bar bugging you all day like some recent Verizon and AT&T devices, we think that U.S. Cellular has a better approach here. Giving the user the choice on whether or not to automatically connect is a good thing.

Take a look at the full press release after the break.

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2 years ago

Google Wallet usage has doubled in usage since opening up to all credit cards

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The last big update to Google Wallet allowed users to add whatever credit card they wanted to the NFC payment app for Android. Google proudly proclaimed today that usage of the app has more than doubled since then. Though users can add any card, Google has been gently prodding credit card companies to optimize their own section for the Google Wallet app, like Discover had recently done

As a Canadian, my biggest interest in Google Wallet's increased adoption is geographic spread. Sure, the U.S. is the biggest market for this sort of thing and will be for the foreseeable future, but it's a big world out there, and Google has enough of a head start on mobile payments that they can get a foothold in new markets well before other smartphone platforms. 

Quick show of hands, how many of y'all are using Google Wallet now that you can drop in any credit card? Is your phone going to be replacing your real wallet any time soon, or do there still need to be more NFC terminals out there for that to be practical? 

Source: Google Commerce Blog

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2 years ago

eBay app hits version 2.0 with UI redesign

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The official eBay app for Android has just hit version 2.0, bringing a major facelift to the online auction app. When launching the new app you're greeted with a prominent search bar and My eBay, Motors and Sell an item options at the top. The rest of the front page is filled with useful items like reminders, messages, saved searches and eBay deals. The latest offering dumps legacy Menu button support and adds an overflow settings button instead, which reveals Sign in / Sign out, My eBay and a refresh button. Search has suggested entries, voice input and even barcode scanning right from the search box. There are a few other changes behind the scenes as well:

  • Find cars, trucks, motorcycles as well as compatible parts and accessories with the mobile-optimized eBay Motors experience (US only, more countries coming soon)
  • Improved My eBay list access
  • Simplified navigation throughout the app
  • View bidding history on an item
  • Add up to 12 photos when listing an item with the app
  • Users in Italy and Spain can now list items with the app
  • Payment support for Malaysia and Singapore

You can get your hands on the latest version of the app at the Google Play Store link above, and we've included a few screenshots of the new UI after the break.

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2 years ago

Intel completes Android 4.1 Jelly Bean port

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Intel has a short and shaky history of putting its chips into smartphones, one that will hopefully go a bit farther into the future now that it has completely ported Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Intel has to go through this porting process because Android is traditionally made for ARM processors, which operate differently from Intel's. Before this port was complete, Intel devices were only capable of running either Android 2.3 or 4.0. While no one at Intel was willing to give a timetable on when current 4.0 devices will be updated to 4.1, we can hope that the process goes smoothly. Intel's "Medfield" Atom processors seem to be a pretty good option right now, but we'll see how they do in the future against the onslaught of great ARM chips out there.

We're already hearing rumors that the Motorola RAZR M will be coming to the UK with Intel inside. Motorola and Intel have also reminded us that they're taking us to the edge on September 18th. Guess we'll see what they have up their sleeves soon enough.

Source: PCWorld

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2 years ago

Chrome for Android updated with stability and security fixes

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Google Chrome for Android has been updated over Google Play, the first such update since Google's mobile browser exited beta at Google I/O back in June. There are no major feature additions in the new version 18.0.1025308, but there is a selection of fixes for "medium"-rated security issues, as well as stability fixes.

The new Chrome also seems a tad speedier on image-heavy sites like Android Central -- let us know in the comments if you're noticing the same effect.

If you're already running Chrome, head to the "My Apps" menu in the Google Play Store to grab the new update. If you're not, you can use the Google Play link above to jump straight to the latest version. Note that you still need to be on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or 4.1 Jelly Bean to install Chrome.

Source: Google Chrome Releases

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2 years ago

Imo instant messenger updated with NFC and location sharing

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Popular instant messenger app "imo" has just received quite the useful update. Imo has added two new sharing options: NFC for profile sharing between devices -- by holding them back to back -- and location sharing between friends. As far as NFC goes, imo is supporting the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S III (S3), HTC One X and Nexus 7. Anyone who is using a standalone app for managing multiple chat clients is likely interested in knowing where friends are at -- and vice versa -- so its a good thing that you can now report your location, either exactly or roughly, to your friends.

It's not the biggest update ever, but these are features that we'd like to see more apps integrate. Take a look at the Google Play Store link above to download or update imo instant messenger.

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2 years ago

OfficeDrop refreshes Android app, releases tablet version

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OfficeDrop, a service -- and accompanying apps -- that helps you organize documents electronically by scanning them in via your device's camera, has released a tablet app and refreshed its Android phone app (the iOS app was refreshed as well, for those of you who use those kinds of things). The premise is simple but has plenty of potential. Whenever you have a document or something important that you'd like to keep electronic record of, you can open the OfficeDrop app and scan in the document, which is then uploaded to your account. With the latest version, document scanning has improved, with proper trimming and improved image quality. Once imported, OfficeDrop will perform OCR (optical character recognition) on the document, making it easily searchable not only by file name but by content. Documents in your account can be quickly shared thereafter in PDF form, which is convenient and platform agnostic.

Hit up the full press release after the break, and find the OfficeDrop app at the Google Play Store link above.

Source: OfficeDrop

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