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1 year ago

Coca-Cola My Beat Maker review - remix the Olympics

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Coca-Cola My Beat Maker is yet another one of the many official Olympics 2012 apps to hit Google Play, and unlike most of them, which focus on accessing scores and event information, this one is entirely for fun.

Coca-Cola My Beat Maker lets users create their own custom tunes by mixing together various sound effects and beats. Up to six loops can be layered on top of one another, which are built by shaking your Android device when you want sounds to come in. A simple wheel lets users switch between a variety of different sports and instruments.

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1 year ago

Gmail updated with improved 7-inch tablet support, new labels API

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For the first time since the launch of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the official Gmail app for Android has been updated. The new version is available right now through the Google Play Store, so head to the "My Apps" tab to get yourself up-to-date.

There's not too much in the way of radical changes in this latest Gmail app update -- the changelog reveals that Google's rolling our improved 7-inch tablet support on Android 4.0 and above, and a new "labels" API for third-party apps on Android 2.2 and above. The former obviously refers to the Nexus 7, which is now starting to make its way out to consumers around the world. Despite the news of 7-inch tablet improvements, we haven't been able to track down exactly what Google's changed on our Nexus 7. The UI is much the same as it was before, so we're likely looking at subtle alterations for 7-inch tablet owners. The new labels API is also a bit of a mystery. It's possible this is a replacement for functionality removed around a year ago which disabled third-party Gmail widgets, though this too is mere speculation.

Users on all versions of Android also get a healthy helping of bug fixes and performance improvements, so that's reason enough to upgrade even if you're not a Nexus 7 owner or an application developer.

If you've noticed any dramatic changes in this new version of Gmail, hit the comments and let us know what you've found.

Download: Gmail on Google Play

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1 year ago

Google Wallet update takes things to the cloud, lets you add any credit card

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This is big, folks. Google Wallet finally has been opened up to more payment methods. Mainly, it now works with any credit card and lists credit cards previously tied to your Google account. It's taking a new approach to mobile payments, moving everything into the cloud and off your device. That means a couple things. For one, you'll still need a PIN to use Google Wallet, and Google (and us as well) recommends you have a lock on the entire phone. But should things go awry, you can lock and remotely disable Google wallet on a lost phone. As Google points out, that's not something you can do with your leather wallet.

After that, alls you need is a Google Wallet-compatible device (here's the list of 'em), and you're off and running. No more exclusives. No more errors.  So head to the Play Store and smash that update button, and be sure to let us know in the comments how it goes adding cards to the app.

Source: Google Commerce Blog

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1 year ago

Tablified Market HD revamps dedicated tablet app store

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​Tablified Market HD has been offering an easy way to find tablet-optimized Android apps for awhile, but they've recently updated with a whole new user interface (including a dedicated one for 7-inch tabs like the Nexus 7), fewer ads, and faster load times. The core functionality of finding categorized apps that are built for bigger screens is still the same, of course. There are a few features reserved for pro users, such as filtering by price, one-click downloads from Google Play, font resizing, and marking apps as favorites. 

It can be a pain to find quality Android apps that aren't just blown-up smartphone versions, so it's great to Tablified Mark HD around and staying up-to-date. If you're thinking of going pro, we're giving away 20 copies of the pro version in our forums. You can always make do with the free version at the download link below.

What are your favorite Android tablet apps? How do you usually find new ones?

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1 year ago

Gears & Guts brings together zombies and reckless driving

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Gears & Guts cruised into Android today, bristling with all manner of unlikely weaponry. This free top-down action game puts players up against a horde of zombies that they have to clear out with car-mounted chainsaws, flamethrowers, and machine guns. Here's what you can expect. 

  • Wide-open combat in massive environments.
  • Sports cars, monster trucks and armored vehicles.
  • Dozens of cars and items to earn, including rare, experimental weapons.
  • One car vs. hundreds of zombies, like...
  • The Walker: Cannon-fodder, but deadly in groups.
  • The Bruiser: A walking mountain of undead flesh.
  • The Runner: Keep your speed up or they’ll drag you down.

Glu recently churned out Mutant Roadkill with an obscene reliance on in-app purchases and ads, and was also oddly about running over mindless shamblers. I've played around with Gears & Guts for a little bit, IAPs and ads aren't quite as obnoxious, though they're still a big part of the picture. If you're into gore, give Gears & Guts a shot. 

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1 year ago

Browse all of your online pictures with Pictarine for Android

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A new photo app called Pictarine was launched today, tying into multiple photography sites and offering a single a dashboard to flip through them. 11 networks are currently supported, including the biggies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr, as well as some smaller ones like 500px, Photobucket, and Shutterfly. It can even tap into your Google account, Tumblr blog, or Dropbox for pictures. Depending on the networks you plug into, you can also see what your friends are sharing and leave comments or likes without leaving the app. Here's a quick feature run-down. 

  • Connect Pictarine up to 11 social networks, streamlining photos and activities like commenting, liking and sharing.
  • Rediscover your memories through our selection of the photos that matter most to you. You will be surprised!
  • Get photos from all of your services in your pocket, so they are always one touch away.
  • Bookmark your favorite photos in playlists
  • Works with Android versions 2.2 and above

It seems like this is a great little app for those that don't want to get too invested in any single network. Where do you tend to share most of your mobile pictures? Are they scattered in a million different places, or do they tend to all get dumped in the same spot?

(Background image)

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1 year ago

SeatGuru by TripAdvisor helps you get that extra legroom on your next flight

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Today TripAdvisor launched a new Android app called SeatGuru, which helps users book flights, pick seats, and monitor flight status. The app has access to over 700 seat maps across almost 100 airlines, as well as a plethora of user reviews from their travel network to make these choices a bit more easily. 

The last we heard from TripAdvisor, they were focusing mostly on city guides, but they've made a name for themselves by hooking up travellers with hotels, flights, restaurants and events across the world for awhile now. 

As a dude who measures in a six-foot-eight (or 203 centimeters for our metric friends), I can appreciate an app that helps me get that exit row seat before anyone else. Anyone booked anything through TripAdvisor lately? Any testimonials as to the quality of their service? Which mobile app do you usually use to book flights?

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1 year ago

Verizon to pay $1.25 million for blocking tethering apps on C block devices

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The FCC has released a statement today concerning its investigation into Verizon Wireless blocking access to applications (specifically tethering apps) for devices using the "C block" spectrum they use for LTE services. Under the terms of the settlement announced today, Verizon will be paying $1.25 million to the U.S. Treasury, and implement a "compliance" plan consisting of more training to ensure that they do not violate the C block rules in the future. 

The issue stems from the rules of the C block auction, which Verizon bid on and won to get the spectrum they use for LTE. I won't bother going into all the numbers here, but the wavelength of the C block makes it a very desirable piece of the airwaves, and the FCC placed a mandate that the auction winner must allow customers to freely use devices and applications of their choosing when accessing the frequencies. Verizon had successfully blocked tethering apps from appearing in Google Play, including their LTE devices. This is against the rules, and the FCC had to take action. 

There also are couple things here we need to keep in mind. Other carriers (hello, AT&T!) can block apps from the Play Store, as they didn't win the C block auction and don't have to follow those rules. The second is that while Verizon has to allow access to the applications, nothing was mentioned that said they had to allow free tethering on its LTE network. It can still block access server-side, or monitor accounts and charge users that download and use applications to tether. We're not sure what, if any, precautions Verizon is going to implement here, but before you celebrate by downloading Easy Tether and burning through a few GBs of data, keep in mind that few things in life are actually free. 

Source: FCC

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1 year ago

Amazon Cloud Player now matches iTunes purchases and CD rips

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Amazon Cloud Player has been updated with a bunch of new features, including some hefty new licensing deals with Sony, EMI, Universal, and Warner to beef up their music selection for sale. There's also some new ways to make sure all of the music on your computer is in line with what's being stored in the cloud, namely that 250 of your songs (even ripped or purchased iTunes music) is automatically added from Amazon in 256 Kbps audio. 

  • Amazon MP3 purchases — including music that customers purchased in the past — are automatically saved to Cloud Player, which means that customers have a secure backup copy of the music they buy from Amazon, free of charge.
  • Amazon scans customers’ iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and matches the songs on their computers to Amazon’s 20 million song catalog.  All matched songs – even music purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs – are instantly made available in Cloud Player and are upgraded for free to high-quality 256 Kbps audio.  Music that customers have already uploaded to Cloud Player also will be upgraded.
  • Any customer with a Kindle Fire, Android device, iPhone, iPod touch, or any web browser —and soon, a Roku streaming player or Sonos home entertainment system — can play their music anywhere.

Soon, Amazon Cloud users will be able to access their remote libraries through Sonos and Roku boxes too - a palatable option for real music junkies. Currently, Amazon Cloud offers 5 GB of free storage with plenty more available for $24.99 annually. Of course, any music you buy on Amazon doesn't count towards your storage limit, which is a nice touch. A significant change starting today is that Amazon Cloud Player and Cloud Drive will be separate storage bins and have their own subscription fees. That's not so great news for those that use the service for both tunes as well as documents, though they've lowered the Cloud Drive price to $10/year for 20 GB.  

You can get more information about signing up here, but us international folks are out of luck on this one, unfortunately. How many of y'all are already Amazon Cloud Player users? Are you happy with the experience, or is Google Music doing the job for you just fine? Would these new features get you to switch?

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1 year ago

Romney to announce VP pick via Android, iPhone apps

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will announce his running mate ... on his official Android and iPhone apps.

The Android app, which gives you plenty of opportunities to sign up, sign in and donate (via a poorly formatted web view) will be the first place to learn who will join Romney on the Republican ticket this fall. In fact, jests the app, you'll learn it before just about anyone else. (Of course that's not actually true, but it's a nice selling point.) Says the app:

"Who will be Mitt's VP? There's no telling when the announcement will be, so check back often and enable push notifications to get the exciting news before the press and just about everyone else (except maybe Ann)."

The app gets some kudos for properly having an option to turn off push notifications (actually, they're off by default), and it's attractively designed, though it doesn't really follow Google's design cues.

Download: Mitt's VP

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