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2 years ago

HTC releases new APIs for Beats, Sense lockscreen, device management and MediaLink

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HTC has announced that they are opening up a bit more of the OpenSense SDK, and including APIs for Beats Audio, the Sense 4.0 lockscreen, Mobile device management, and the MediaLink HD system. This opens many new features to application developers, and apps can include these calls so that they are differentiated on HTC Sense phones, yet function on all phones with the same software build. 

In layman's terms, this means the people who build apps can now include things like Beats Audio support, lockscreen widgets and shortcuts, remote control through websites like htcsense.com, and leverage the media streaming ability of the MediaLink HD docks. If you have a Sense 4.0 phone, you'll get all these perks, and the apps can be written so users without a Sense 4.0 phone get the same exact app, without the Sense features and functions. That's less work for developers and it means faster and better updates -- something all Android junkies love.

The new OpenSense SDK will be available in the coming weeks, in the meantime we can prepare for things like a video player that uses Beats Audio, with a lockscreen widget or Web app to control it, streamed to your television via MediaLink. I think we're ready.

Source: HTC

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2 years ago

Twitter for Android updates, adds performance and security fixes, swipe shortcuts and more

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The official Twitter app for Android has today received another update, bringing it up to version 3.1.1. The latest iteration includes the usual security enhancements, bug fixes and performance improvements, particularly for Android 4.0 users. One particularly welcome change will be the increase in scrolling performance, an area in which the official app has traditionally lagged behind other Twitter clients.

Also new in version 3.1.1 are swipe shortcuts for individual tweets -- swipe left or right to show a menu for retweets or replies -- as well as support for Filipino and Simplified Chinese languages. We've got the full changelog after the break, along with the QR code and Android Market linkage.

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2 years ago

OnLive Desktop arrives in the Android Market, aims to bring the power of a PC to your Android tablet

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For a lot of folks, tablets are a great alternative to PC's but for some -- it's hard to complete some of the same actions as a PC on one. Looking to bridge that gap is OnLive with their new OnLive Desktop application. Using a cloud based PC you can connect to, you can now complete some of those tasks.

Features:

  • Instantly view, edit and create documents using actual Microsoft® Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Easily transfer files between OnLive Desktop and other devices
  • Experience high-performance, instant-response PC applications
  • Interact with lag-free animation and video
  • Works with most Bluetooth keyboards and mice (left-click only)

The OnLive Desktop app is available for free with the basic offerings or you can jump up to the paid OnLive Desktop Plus services for $4.99/mnth which allows for some advanced features such as accelerated browsing, full flash support and additional cloud storage for your files.

Something to note however, is the compatible devices. OnLive notes support for the Acer Iconia Tab A500, ASUS Eee TF101, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, and HTC Jetstream but I've had no luck getting it installed on my Mototola Xoom. You can try it yourself though, just jump past the break for the download link.

Source: OnLive

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2 years ago

Android allows apps to see your photos, like every computer does [FUD]

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Let's file this under "anything for a story about Android". The New York Times has decided that Android is also "vulnerable" to apps being able to see your pictures, just like it was designed to do. It all stems from some press recently where iOS had a loophole that allowed apps without permissions to access photos stored on a user's mobile device. There is a big difference here though, and it's in the design. 

iOS was designed so that nothing but the gallery on your device, or iTunes had access to your pictures. Developers that had to access GPS data could get in the Camera Roll, because a lot of pictures have and use GPS data. Rene does a really good job at explaining this over at iMore, and you should read it. Personally, I didn't think it was a severe security hole on iOS, but it was a loophole that Apple decided to fix. That's good -- if you're going to have a permissions policy on a certain part of the file system, you should enforce it. Even a silly permissions policy.

Android, on the other hand, was not designed this way. It's like a Windows computer. Or a Mac computer. Or a Linux computer. Or a digital camera. Even the computer used to write the story at the NYT allows complete access to photos -- they all do. It's standard file input/output, and just because Apple decided not to use it makes no difference. It doesn't stop there, either. Documents, videos, music, all media is able to be shared in a modern operating system. I can use Microsoft Office and see the pictures folder on every computer here at my house, because it was designed that way. It makes things easy to use and share, because we like to use and share digital media.

Unfortunately, all the fuss over "private" data lately has even Google second guessing themselves:

We originally designed the Android photos file system similar to those of other computing platforms like Windows and Mac OS. At the time, images were stored on a SD card, making it easy for someone to remove the SD card from a phone and put it in a computer to view or transfer those images.

 

As phones and tablets have evolved to rely more on built-in, non-removable memory, we're taking another look at this and considering adding a permission for apps to access images. We've always had policies in place to remove any apps on Android Market that improperly access your data.

This could just be PR spin, or Google really may have to make things harder for us all because of silliness. I don't want this, I'm assuming that most of you guys don't want this either. Do yourself a favor, and don't fall into this trap.

Source: New York Times

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2 years ago

Amazon MP3 app updated to v2.4.1, including the return of the search button

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Amazon has updated their Amazon MP3 app, which among other things, puts the search button back next to the search bar. They had taken it away, forcing users to hit enter/search on their keyboards once they typed in their query in the bar. Needless to say, it's nice to have the button back.

Other than the addition of the search button, the update brings a few fixes, including the lock-screen playback issue on some devices  and the unexpected streaming network errors on some Sprint devices.

To get the latest update or if you're interested in the free app from the Android Market, please find links after the break.

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2 years ago

Waze [Android App Review]

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The world of consumer electronics is not for the faint of heart. A company comes up with a brilliant new product that suddenly gets enormously popular but then before you know it, the next big thing arrives and the previous market demand evaporates. Exhibit A - just a few years ago, netbook computers were all the rage right up until the moment Apple launched the iPad in early 2010. 

Closer to the garage, Apple also triggered disruption in how we find our way to our driving destinations. Earlier in the last decade a new generation of smaller, cheaper GPS receiver chips made low cost personal navigation devices (PND) a very popular replacement for old school paper maps. When the first iPhone came to market in mid-2007, it ushered in an era of new smartphones with built in GPS. One of the first apps on those iPhones was Google Maps

At first Google Maps was limited to showing your current location on the map helping users to find their way around in unfamiliar places. It wasn’t until November 2009 when Google launched version of 2.0 of its own Android mobile operating system on the Motorola Droid that the end-times arrived for the makers of PNDs. For the first time, the new version of Maps included full turn-by-turn directions capability just like a PND and it was free of charge.

Since then, a wide array of free and low cost navigation apps have appeared for both the Android and Apple iOS platforms with Waze being one of the more interesting examples. Google creates its own map database from a variety of sources including its fleet of Street View cars that are driving around the world recording and photographing the world’s roads.

Waze on the other hand relies primarily on its community of users to produce maps and provide real-time traffic data that is shared with the entire community.

Warning: Tin-foil hat types that worry about being tracked everywhere they go probably should not use Waze. Actually, if you are that concerned about being followed, you shouldn’t even be carrying a mobile phone but that’s a whole different story. Follow the break to see more about Waze, and to get a download link for the application.

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2 years ago

Google Wallet updated with core fixes, prepaid cards still borked

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Google Wallet has been updated with a pretty extensive (and detailed) change log. You can now use a PO box in the address and be able to top up your prepaid card, and that address can be longer (good news for those living in Winchester-on-the-Severn, Maryland), reward card syncing has been fixed, "improvements" have been made to support more handsets, and fixes to the core wallet system have been applied.

One thing that hasn't been fixed is the prepaid cards. You can't add a new one, you can't retrieve your data for an existing one, and you'll get an error about system upgrades if you try. I know, because i tried both. I'm getting the feeling my $11.40 is gone forever.

All kidding aside, I'm sure some of you guys did drop a decent amount of cash in the prepaid card, have wiped your phone since, and can't get it back. I understand the need to change and fix a few things on the security side (Google Wallet is still very beta after all), but it would be nice to be able to access my fortune next time I wanna buy a cup of coffee. We can only hope Google gets it all figured out shortly.

There's a link after the break to the Market, but be warned -- it only will work if you've got a Sprint Nexus S 4G or an unlocked Galaxy Nexus with an AT&T SIM card in it. The rest of us will have to resort to hackery to get it installed. I'm sure the apk will be posted somewhere soon enough.

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2 years ago

Skitch for Android - Now includes highlighting of maps, saving to your SD Card

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You ever come across one of those applications where it seems like an obvious feature is missing and you wonder why the heck it isn't there? I felt that way about Skitch until tonight. Previously when using Skitch, you couldn't save files to the SD Card fo your device but now with the latest update you can do that and more:

  • Maps in Skitch  - Skitch is great for eliminating ambiguity: draw attention to a person in a photo or point out where that new sofa should go. And now, you can even take the ambiguity out of giving directions. With the new map feature, drop a pin with an address, then use arrows, shapes and lines to show exactly where you mean.
  • Save to the SD card - This is one of our most requested features. Now, anything you have in Skitch can be saved to your SD card. Do this by tapping on the Save icon. You can also find your saved images by tapping on that same icon.
  • Move your text - We also made it easier to add and move text. When you start typing, your text appears in place over the image. Tap and drag the text to move it to a different location, pinch the text to change its size. You can do all of this without changing to the finger tool. Easy.

Skitch has also included some bug fixes and general improvements with this release. You'll find in the Android Market right now available for download. If you've not used Skitch as of yet, go ahead and jump past the break -- you'll find a download link there waiting for you.

Source: Evernote Blog

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2 years ago

Android App Review: Who Becomes Rich

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Who Becomes Rich is a fun multiple-choice trivia game where you compete to win big bucks. It closely resembles Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and is very addicting, so watch out.

The questions start out incredible easy, but gradually get more difficult as the monetary value increases. Topics include: general knowledge, sports, movies, politics, geography, biology, computer science and mathematics.

Each question has four answers and you're given three lifelines to last through the entire game. 50/50 eliminates two of the answers, ask the audience is self explanatory, and you can scrap the current question for another one.

Once you lose the game, you can enter your name to submit it to the leaderboard and even share it to Facebook if you wish.

Options include the ability to change 'Answer Clicked Wait Time', and 'Answer Solving Wait Time'.

The game app is available for free in the Android Market. Please find links to it after the break as well as more screenshots.

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2 years ago

Google+ updated with several stability improvements and bug fixes

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If you haven't hit the Android Market yet today, then you may not be aware the Google+ team has pushed out the latest release. While no new features have been added, it is noted to contain several stability improvements and bug fixes and that sounds like something everyone should be interested in. Looking for the download? You'll find it past the break.

Source: Virgil Dobjanschi

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2 years ago

Dolphin Browser HD - Search the web and navigate the browser using Dolphin Sonar

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The folks from MoboTap have now released the latest version of Dolphin Browser HD bumping it up to v7.4.0. Aside from the usual bug fixes typically inlcuded with all updates, this release actually introduces a new feature called Dolphin Sonar that allows you to issue voice commands to help navigate the web. Once installed, you can open up Dolphin, give your device a shake then tell it what you want to do.

"Our Gesture-based browsing function was a game-changer in terms of the way people browse on their mobile devices, and Sonar is the logical next step," said Yongzhi Yang, CEO of MoboTap, makers of Dolphin Browser. "Just as sonar is used by dolphins to navigate, Dolphin Sonar interprets sound to get you where you want to be online. We are continuously thinking of new ways to heighten our users' mobile browsing experience with new and innovative features."

Having given it a quick run through, it fairs quite well when issued commands. I'm not so sure I would use it all the time but I suppose that's the good thing about it -- you don't have to but in case you want to, it's there. You can find the full press release and download link past the break.

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2 years ago

Sprint provides free Mobile Accessibility app to users with low vision

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Today at the 27th annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference Sprint announced that they will begin offering a free application to ease the use of Android phones for people who are blind or have low vision. The app, written by developers at Code Factory, is free in the Sprint area of the Android Market for Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile customers.

The application normally sells for $99 US, and is for anyone who has trouble reading the small print on a smartphone. It's simple user interface and voice guided instructions help users make and receive calls, texts and mail messages, as well as access things like their contacts, calendar, and even browse the web.

We're hard on the carriers here sometimes. Sometimes they deserve it. But I want to take a moment and say on behalf of all of us at Android Central that we applaud Sprint for what they're doing here. The people that will find this application useful may not be able to afford a hundred dollar Android app, and offering it for free is a nice way to give back to customers. Nice work Sprint. 

It's available in both English and Spanish, free for Sprint customers with Android phones running 2.1 or higher. Download links are below, and a short video and the press release are after the break.

Download Wireless Accessibility in English

Descargar accesibilidad inalámbrica en español

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S II inexplicably wins smartphone of the year at MWC

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The GSMA -- the group that puts on the fine Mobile World Congress we've been attending all week -- has released 17th annual Global Mobile Awards for this year's show. Of note for you Android fans out there are:

  • Angry Birds Rio (Rovio), best mobile app for consumers
  • WhatsApp (WhatsApp), best overall mobile app
  • SwiftKey (TouchType), best innovative mobile app
  • Google Maps for Android (Google), best consumer mobile service
  • Galaxy S II (Samsung), best smartphone
  • Samsung, device manufacturer of the year

We have absolutely no idea how one of last year's top smartphones -- the Galaxy S II -- won an award this year, especially with the likes of HTC, Sony, LG, Nokia, ZTE and Fujitsu all bringing new products to Barcelona. OK, OK. Yeah. It's last year's phones. We get that. But we're also under an avalanche of this year's phones. We know what we liked. We wanna see what everyone else like from the show, too.

The judges' comment was "A phenomenal success around the world, this has outperformed all its Android rivals and demonstrated the maturity of the ecosystem." We wouldn't argue against that. But that was last year. It's also worth noting that the categories have changed a bit. In 2011, the iPhone 4 won Best Mobile Device (never mind that Apple is nowhere to be seen around here), and HTC was Device Manufacturer of the year.

You can check out the full list for yourself at the link below.

Source: GSMA Global Mobile Awards (2012, 2011)

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2 years ago

Twitter to start pushing "promoted tweets" into main timeline on official Android app

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Twitter will be pushing mobile advertisments through their official Android and iOS applications, much like LinkedIn began doing just a month ago. You won't start seeing pop-up ads like we do in something like Angry Birds for example, but rather "promoted tweets" will begin to appear in your main timeline. 

At present, the promoted tweets and trends are only seen when you access the search pages within the app. Twitter have said though that initially only a small number of users will begin to see these tweets appear on their timeline from brands they follow. 

Twitter have tried to pretty it up and make the whole deal sound more user orientated -- but let's face it, it's straight up advertising. Mobile ads are here to stay though, and with 55% of Twitter traffic coming from mobile, it was only a matter of time before we saw something like this emerge.

Source: Twitter 

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2 years ago

Camera ICS+ brings Ice Cream Sandwich camera to non ICS phones

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The stock Ice Cream Sandwich camera application is pretty nice. Clean and simple interface, really easy to use, and of course that built in panorama mode is awesome. A developer by the name of Moblynx has taken the stock app, and tweaked it ever so slightly to add some nice extra features. Up until now the app has only been available for Honeycomb and ICS devices. Today it received an update, that now lets anyone on Froyo and Gingerbread join in. 

There is a free version -- but seriously who wants ads in their camera app? The paid version currently sets you back £0.79/$0.99. For that you get the stock ICS camera application with some added bonuses. You get some built in photo effects like mono and sepia, silent mode, a picture quality setting that goes all the way up to ultra, a silent mode and of course the panorama feature to name but a few.

Running the app on an ICS device also gets you additional video stabilization features and 720p face effects. 

Besides opening up to 2.2 and 2.3 devices, todays update also includes Intel x86 support, configurable volume buttons and a host of bugfixes. Download links to the paid version can be found after the break. 

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