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3 years ago

Facebook introduces Android app beta testing via Google Groups

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Proper beta testing with a feedback network to help squash bugs and improve performance

Facebook has had a rocky past of questionable app quality and a couple instances of side-stepping Play Store guidelines for updates, but the social network is hoping to correct some of those issues today by introducing a proper beta testing program for its app. In an effort to try and solve some of the issues associated with having an app that needs to be able to run on probably the widest range of hardware of any other app -- from the cheapest unlocked device in the developing world up to the Galaxy S4 -- Facebook will now enlist the help of beta testers to flush out bugs.

Somewhat surprisingly, Facebook will use Google's newly created beta testing feature tied to Google Groups, which it introduced at Google I/O this year. The process will be pretty simple -- just join the Google Group that Facebook has set up for its app beta testing, opt-in to the test and go download the latest version of the app from the Play Store. Further discussion about new versions and associated bugs will continue in a specialized Facebook group, where beta testers will have the ability to discuss issues directly with the developers.

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3 years ago

Delta updates its Android app with better international, seating features

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Delta Air Lines today announced version 2.1 of its official Fly Delta Android application, adding new features directly related to getting your butt in the seat and the plane on its way.

Most important is that you'll now be able to purchase Preferred Seats (ie aisle and window seats, as well as exit rows) within 24 hours of departure. You'll also be able to book international flights directly from the app.

For the iOS folks, Delta has added Facebook integration that will let you document your travel and create a "virtual passport" through the Facebook Collections feature. You'll also be able to share when you've planned a trip, when you check in, and when you arrive. That's not listed in the Android changelog, though, and we're not seeing any options for it.

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3 years ago

Get Photosphere on non-Nexus devices with the 'Google edition' camera app

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Camera app from Google Play GS4, HTC One can easily be loaded onto other phones

Yesterday we covered the new camera application in the "Google Play edition" Galaxy S4 and HTC One — a slightly redesigned stock camera app that's a little easier to get around. In the past day we've been digging around in the devices' system partitions and we've discovered that the app, as it exists on the Google Play edition devices, can be installed directly onto other devices running Android 4.0 or higher.

Unlike earlier methods for getting Photosphere — Google's 360-degree panorama tool — on non-Nexus handsets, you don't need to root your phone, or manually push it to the /system/app directory. To install it, it's just a case of downloading it directly via the web, or putting it on your device's internal storage and selecting it from a file manager. Of course, bear in mind that you're using the app on a phone it wasn't designed for, so proceed at your own risk.

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3 years ago

Moving to Feedly? Here are a few more app options to access your feeds

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We're in a transitional phase, but there are a few great choices for Feedly RSS clients out there

While we've already voiced our position on which RSS reader is still at the top of the heap after the move over to Feedly, we know that not every app works for every person. In the move over to new back-end syncing solutions from Google Reader we've lost (or are in the process of losing) a whole lot of well-made clients. Luckily a few have stayed quick on their feet and have made the transition away from Google Reader so that users still have a few choices in the RSS client space.

Let's also hope that more readers can come out of the woodwork and offer even more options going forward, but for now there are still a handful of great options in the Play Store. Hang with us after the break and try a few more RSS readers on for size, and see if you can find one that fits your needs. 

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3 years ago

Google Now update brings new cards for TV shows and Google Offers

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Google improves location-aware and voice-controlled features for Now

An update to Google Now is bringing two new types of cards, TV shows and Google Offers, to users starting today. For those who have an internet-connected TV on the same network as their mobile device, Google Now can now listen to the show you're watching and offer more information -- such as actor or show details -- right on your device. For Google Offers users, Google Now will show reminders for upcoming saved offers when you're near a store that you can use the offer at, which expands on Google's current location-aware shopping and research cards.

Additionally, the latest update also includes a new voice action to play music from Google Now. You can now say "Play [artist name]", and a prompt will pop up letting you select your preferred music app from the ones you have installed. The app will then open and begin playing from the artist you asked for.

The new TV show card is U.S.-only for the moment, but the other new features should be available for everyone. You can grab the latest updated Google Search (which is Google Now) app from the Play Store link above.

Source: +Android

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3 years ago

T-Mobile HTC One S update fixes Jelly Bean battery life

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OTA notifications start today, along with a manual update path

Since T-Mobile updated the HTC One S to Android 4.1.1 back in April, many users have seen a noticeable drop-off in battery life. This unfortunate bug soured an otherwise much anticipated update for One S owners who waited patiently on Ice Cream Sandwich for many months.

The newest update -- bringing the software version up to 3.14.531.17 70RD -- is solely focused on fixing the lower battery life caused by the update to Jelly Bean. Those wishing to update need to already be on software version 3.14.531.11 710RD, have a device that is not rooted, and ensure they have at least a 50% charge before beginning the update.

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3 years ago

Press is still the best for RSS on Android after moving to Feedly

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Google Reader is going away, but Press is here to stay and integrates perfectly with new services

When Google casually noted that it would shut down its RSS aggregation service Reader back in March, news apps that relied on it as a backbone were left scrambling. As alternative services to Google Reader such as Feedly and Feed Wrangler popped up on the scene, a few of the aforementioned apps pivoted quickly to integrate the new services. We gave one of such apps, Press, the review treatment as a Google Reader client back in December and came away extremely impressed with its design and performance.

Even though Google Reader will close its doors on July 1st, Press lives on as a fantastic RSS client that will work with (among other systems) the Feedly account you may have set up to save yourself from losing everything. The developers have made some great settings and user interface improvements along the way as well, so let's take a refreshed look at Press.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with Android 4.2.2 for the Sony Xperia ZL

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Several subtle but noticeable changes create an overall improved experience

In case you missed it, Sony started pushing out an Android 4.2.2 update to its Xperia ZL (and now Xperia Z) handsets, including the unlocked LTE model available in the U.S. market. We have loaded up the update on our own ZL, and wanted to give a quick look at everything that has changed both user-facing and under the hood.

Hang with us after the break where we break down the changes that come with an update to Android 4.2.2 on the Sony Xperia ZL, one of the few devices currently available with the software.

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3 years ago

YouView launches first Android app, TV guide and remote record included

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Check the schedules and set your YouView box to record with this handy Android app

YouView TV customers in the UK now have their very own Android app to download that gives them a couple of great features to add to their overall TV watching experience. The new app gives full 7-day listings for the 70 or so channels offered by YouView, and by connecting the app to your box you can also take full advantage of the remote record feature. Remote record requests need to be submitted around 15 minutes ahead of time, but when you're out of the house it's a fantastic feature to have at hand. 

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3 years ago

Rdio updates its family plans, now allows up to five on one subscription

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Most expensive plan now $32.99 per month, limit increased from three people to five

Rdio, the popular music streaming service, has updated their family subscription plans to now allow up to five people to subscribe for one monthly payment. The previous plans only allowed for three different people, but thankfully those with slightly larger families can now take advantage. 

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3 years ago

BlackBerry launches Secure Work Space platform on Android

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A secure area to keep all enterprise apps, data and communication safe without a VPN

Following up on its goal to have the products released by the end of June, BlackBerry has just put its Secure Work Space apps into the Play Store. The pair of apps -- "Secure Work Space for BES10" and "Work Space Manager for BES10" -- together let enterprise network administrators control corporate data on users devices and keep it safe. The app provides an alternative launcher that gives access to a completely sandboxed set of enterprise apps such as email, calendar, contacts and a secure browser. These apps and their associated data can be controlled by the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) administrator just like any other BlackBerry can, which is a huge step in the right direction for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs.

Although they won't do you much good until your company has set up your device (and its back-end) to use the service, both of the apps are now showing as available for download in the Play Store. Now is the time to go talk to IT at your place of work to see if they can get you set up -- more information can be found at the source link below.

More: BlackBerry

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod 10.1 general release is on its way

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Any device that received an RC build will get the stable release; builds hitting servers as soon as possible

The CyanogenMod team announced on its official blog today that it will be ending the release candidate (RC) phase for builds of CM10.1 and moving to a general release. Following a few quick releases of the latest RC builds, the general release is currently being built for any device that has received an RC of CM10.1 and will hit servers for download as soon as possible. Absent from this CM10.1 general release are Tegra 2 devices, as are many Samsung Exynos devices -- the team says it will give an update as to the status of CM for those devices soon.

The launch of a general release also marks the time when we get back into the M-release cycle for experimental features to be added to CM10.1 for willing flashers among us. CyanogenMod says it has already incorporated its new Privacy Guard feature into the latest nightly build and surely has many more up its sleeve to come.

Source: CyanogenMod

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3 years ago

Start spamming your friends today for an early shot at Jay-Z's new album

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Samsung is teaming up with rapper Jay-Z to bring 1 million copies of his upcoming album "Magna Carta Holy Grail" a few days before it goes on sale, and the Android app that'll do it for you is now available for download.

You'll need to have the Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 2 to participate. And then you'll need to log in using either Facebook or Twitter. And then you'll have to spam share content from the app with your friends. At 12:00:01 a.m. July 4, 1 million lucky fans will get the record that might or might not leak early anyway, a full three days before the official July 7 release.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Ghostbusters Fans, Tasker, GetGlue and more!

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News, tools and fun - we cover all the bases this week

Welcome back to yet another edition of our Apps of the Week, where we show off the apps that the Android Central writers have been using over the past week. We have another full and diverse list for your enjoyment, and that means we're likely to show off at least one app that grabs your attention. What matters to us is being able to show off apps that we've personally enjoyed, because app discovery can be tough sometimes.

Hang with us after the break and see how this week's picks stack up with the rest. If you find one that you like, be sure to let us know how it works for you.

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3 years ago

Vine for Android updated, brings performance updates, Facebook sharing and ability to clear cache

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The six second video app Vine gets a major update

Vine has been updated to version 1.1 in Google Play today, bringing along some much needed boosts in the performance category, Facebook sharing and the ability to clear out your local cache in the app settings. A quick look through the reviews of the original version in the Play store shows that plenty of folks weren't having a great experience with the app, and hopefully today's update alleviates most of their issues.

The change log has been posted, here's the sweet sweet bullet point version:

  • Search for users and hashtags
  • Share to Facebook
  • Improvements to capture speed, quality, and audio/video synchronization
  • Clear cache option available in Settings
  • Other bug fixes and UI improvements

Interesting that Facebook sharing came so quickly after the release of Instagram with video, but on Android that should have been an easy enough fix. What we're happiest seeing is a setting to wipe the local cache. What it does is erase any unposted Vines from your devices storage, freeing valuable space for other things. It's a step in the right direction, but it still doesn't address the real issue -- dumping possibly unwanted Vines there in the first place. We'd much rather see something asking you if you'd like to save your unposted Vine before just leaving it there. Every little bit counts -- especially with video files.

To update or try Vine for the first time, click the Google Play link above.

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