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3 years ago

PAC-MAN + Tournaments updated with new features, swaps out ghosts for Androids

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Classic Pac-Man with a few new twists and turns.

Namco Bandai has just pushed out an update to its free-to-play Pac-Man + Tournaments game, which adds new gameplay features and a small Android Easter egg in tournament mode. New in this update is a feature called "My Mazes", which lets you add specific levels to your own collection to play whenever you want. Also added this update are bonus levels, a handful of stability fixes and the option to install the game on your SDcard.

The current tournament running in the game also has a nice little Android-only feature — instead of navigating around mazes to avoid the classic ghosts, you'll now be chased by multi-colored Androids. While it may not change the dynamics of the game, it's nice to see Namco Bandai give a little nod to the Android gamers out there.

Rightfully so, Google Play has even featured the game in the Play Store this week. You can grab your own download from the link at the top of this post.

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3 years ago

Google Play Books updated with textbook rentals just in time for school

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Purchase or rent textbooks for a fraction of the paperback cost.

About a month before most college kids get ready to start making book purchases and head into class, Google has flipped the switch on digital textbook rentals in Google Play. Announced back in July alongside Android 4.3 and the new Nexus 7, rental textbooks in Google Play Books will be a great way for tech-savvy students to save money every year.

Google has penned deals with major textbook publishing houses to offer both textbook purchases and rentals at deeply discounted rates when compared to traditional paper books. Textbooks rented in Google Play will be available on any device with a Google Play Books app — such as an Android or iOS device — as well as on the web through Google Play, which is a nice touch.

Great tools for students include bookmarking, annotating and global book search, which can be a lifesaver when you're studying. You can head to the Play Store and start checking out books now, with many titles offering free samples.

More: Official Android Blog

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3 years ago

Google bringing 'relevant ads' to Maps search on mobile

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Google recently rolled out a new look for Maps on Android, bringing it in line with other Google properties and focusing on search, with a prominent search bar at the top of the screen. Now the company says it's going to start displaying local, "relevant" ads at the bottom of the screen after users search within the Maps app for Android and iOS. The new ad system, Google claims, will be "attractive for users and more effective for advertisers."

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3 years ago

Facebook beta updated, adds a couple new options

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The beta track for the Facebook app got an update tonight. 

New in Version 3.6 is the ability to cancel a photo upload while it's in progress, and you'll like and comment on Pages recommendations.

You'll need to join Facebook's beta group if you've not done so already — and be sure to follow the instructions. (By the way, that's the same process you have to go through to take part in the beta track for our app, too.)

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3 years ago

Light Flow update adds a bevy of new features, including remote notification clearing

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Notification support added for 72 new apps, including the new Skype app

One of the most popular notification light apps, Light Flow, has received a major update today. Along with new features to support the latest version of Android, more support has been added for multiple new apps, including device-specific support:

  • Swipe away notifications
  • Remote clearing of notifications read on other devices (e.g. hangouts, email)
  • Handle restricted profiles for users
  • Support for new Gmail folders (e.g. promotions, social, updates etc)
  • Exclude notifications from sleep mode
  • Support for incoming calls
  • Samsung multi-window support
  • Better support for HTC one root users

While many of these new features are great, the most notable is surely the ability to (finally!) remotely clear notifications. This feature was made possible by a new API that was made available with the Google Play Services update.

Previously, getting a new email meant triggering Flow Light to activate an LED notification that would persist even after clearing that notification via the web or another device. Now, once that email has been checked elsewhere, Light Flow can turn off Android's LED notification, giving some clarity about new versus old notifications.

Click through the Play Store link up top to download the newest version of Light Flow.

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3 years ago

Shameless self-promotion time ...

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It's shameless self-promotion time here at Android Central. (Which is any damn time we please, actually.) If you're running Android 4.x and have yet to try out our app, now's a really good time. We're getting ready to ramp up on Version 1.4, which should bring some new features as well as some much-needed improvements in stability. 

So hit that link above, give it a go — and know that we're hard at work making it better with each version.

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3 years ago

Quick look: Android versions and the Android Central app

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Vast majority using Jelly Bean, 19 percent already up-to-date on Android 4.3

The Android ecosystem as a whole is a large, slow-moving ship, and it's taken a while for Jelly Bean to become the most prominent flavor of Google's OS. Even Android 2.3, Gingerbread, is still going strong after almost three years. So it's interesting to see how Android Central app users compare to the ecosystem at large.

The Google Play developer console allows devs to keep track of which Android versions are being run by their users, and there's a striking difference between Android as a whole and the AC app install base when it comes to platform versions.

We'll start off by pointing out that our app requires Android 4.0 or higher, which eliminates Honeycomb, Gingerbread and older versions. Nevertheless, some 92 percent of AC app installations are on a Jelly Bean (4.1-4.3) device, with 4.1 being the most popular version at 44 percent. A surprising 19 percent of users are already on the just-released Android 4.3, while the 18-month-old Ice Cream Sandwich release (Android 4.0.3-4) accounts for just 8 percent of users.

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3 years ago

Netflix updated to address issues with Android 4.3

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If you were experiencing issues running Netflix on your phone or tablet with Android 4.3, you'll want to grab this one. Netflix has been updated, and the words everyone wanted to hear are in the change log:

  • Fixes and optimization for devices running Android 4.3.
  • On the new Nexus 7 HD, this version requires all Android 4.3 system updates to be installed.

This is of special interest to everyone using a Chromecast with their Android 4.3-powered device, and an update we're happy to see. Give it a try, and let everyone know how it works out for you in the comments below. You can grab the update from the Google Play link above.

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3 years ago

Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 update gives a much needed boost to internal storage

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OTA update repartitions on board memory giving 'Internal Storage' 1.5 GB

Lenovo's recent launch of the IdeaTab A1000 had the unfortunate problem of having only a few hundred megabytes of usable internal storage, due to the "interesting" partitioning done to the tablet's 16 GB of on-board memory.

Lenovo took notice of the problems users were having, quickly running out of memory after installing just a few apps, and sent out an over-the-air update. The update increases the internal storage partition from 512 MB to 1.5 GB, giving some much needed breathing room for applications. The update will wipe all user data, so make sure to backup before accepting it.

While 1.5 GB is better, it's still not ideal. The best solution would be to merge both partitions into one, so the complete 16 GB of storage could be used as the primary place to install apps and games. According to Lenovo, increasing the internal storage to 1.5 GB was all that could be done at this time due to "technical reasons," but they " are also looking to change the whole storage to be integrated in one partition." One this is done, this tablet's storage problems should finally be over.

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3 years ago

Instagram adds video uploads from gallery, Android 4.0 support for video

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Upload, clip and selectively crop videos originally taken outside of Instagram.

Instagram has announced today that it is pushing out the first major update to its app since the release of Instagram Video back in June, putting the app to version 4.1 and adding new features and device compatibility. First up is a new feature that lets you upload any video from your device, rather than just limiting video to what you capture from within the app. When selecting a video from your gallery you can select just the part you want to share, as well as selectively square-crop the best area of the clip.

Additionally, Instagram is expanding video capabilities down to devices running Ice Cream Sandwich, which opens up the service's latest feature to millions more devices. One new feature, "Automatic Straightening", is hitting with this update on iOS but at this point hasn't been announced for the Android app.

The app update doesn't seem to be live in the Play Store just yet, but it slated to be available today. You can grab the latest version when it propagates in the store at the link above, and in the meantime see screenshots of the new video UI at the source link below.

More: Instagram

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3 years ago

Android Device Manager web page going live for some users

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The second component of the Android Device Manager looks like it's slowly going live

We saw the Android Device Manager, Google's find (and wipe) my phone utility, starting to push out it's phone component over the weekend, and today the web interface is live for some folks. It's the second piece of the puzzle you'll need to remotely manage your lost or stolen Android, and something Google has let third-parties handle until now.

The web address is https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager?u=0, and if available for your account will require you to be signed into Google on a modern web browser. I'm lucky enough to have everything working with mine, but reports from the rest of the AC staff range from partial completeness to nothing yet.

With the new service, you can locate your phone or tablet on a map, send a command to ring the ringer at full volume for five minutes (don't try this with the HTC One if dogs or small children are around), send a notification to the device to initiate setup, and once properly set-up wipe all your personal data off the missing device. 

We're going to play with this for a bit, and I'll even sacrifice my Plague, Inc. data to test the remote wipe feature. In the meantime, see a few screenshots after the break. Be sure to holler if you're seeing the Android Device Manager live on your Google account.

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3 years ago

WhatsApp updated with new voice messages

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Messaging service WhatsApp has updated its mobile apps with support for one-press voice messaging. The new feature, activated by holding down the microphone icon, allows short message clips to be recorded and exchanged as part of a conversation through the instant messaging service.

Effectively a touchscreen-based push-to-talk feature, the new voice messaging button in WhatsApp records when it's pressed down, and to dismiss your own message you simply swipe it away. It's also possible to listen to voice messages privately by holding the handset up to your head — WhatsApp detects the change and switches speakers accordingly.

The new feature is rolling out on Android, as well as iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and even Symbian devices.

Source: WhatsApp

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3 years ago

Twitter app updated with new login security options and photo search gallery

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New verification system will help tablet and international users have a more secure Twitter account

The official Twitter for Android app has been updated, and version 4.1.4 introduces a new two-step verification process, and a more refined photo search experience. The official change log reads:

Now you can protect your account with login verification in the app. This is a new form of two-factor authentication that you can turn on in your settings and manage through push notifications.
Also in this release:
• Enjoy a new gallery view for photos in search results
• Other bug fixes and improvements

The new login verification works with push notifications, so SMS messages (or even a phone number) are no longer required. This opens things up a bit, and now tablet users as well as international users can have a bit more security on their Twitter account.

The new photo search gallery is accessed by by choosing "view more photos" in the search results, and you'll see a nicely laid out photo grid where you can see more visual, and since we're talking photos, more relevant results. All in all an update you should take if you use the official Twitter app. Grab it at the Google Play link above.

More: Twitter

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3 years ago

NFL redesigns mobile app, inexplicably blocks rooted users

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A whole bunch of good changes, and one bad one.

Just as the NFL preseason kicks off, the NFL Mobile app for Android has received a serious facelift and also an unexpected issue for rooted users. On the design front the app looks and seems to perform much better than previous iterations, which is a big deal for the hardcore fans out there. The app now also offers even more video content including game highlights right from the app.

The last item in the changelog is puzzling to us however: "NFL Mobile not supported on rooted devices." Now we can't say that we're surprised a content producer is "afraid" of rooted devices, but it's hard to be okay with a blanket blocking of root users. Just because a phone is rooted doesn't mean that its owner is trying to do anything wrong or illegal with your content — and while it may be a small market in the scheme of things it's still a group of customers that shouldn't be blocked.

In the end its your choice whether or not to support the NFL, and by the looks of some of the recent comments on the app after its update many people are choosing not to. Grab a download of the update and check it out for yourself at the Play Store link above.

Via: @Eks193

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3 years ago

Samsung Apps to offer BBM for Android

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Release confirmed for Africa on all Galaxy smartphones

Samsung has announced that it'll offer the Android version of BlackBerry's BBM messaging app upon its release. A press release issued today confirmed that BBM will be "available to all Samsung GALAXY smartphone consumers across Africa" on Google Play as well as Samsung's own app store. And while today's presser refers to Africa specifically, it's likely Samsung owners in other territories (not to mention other Android device owners) will be able to download the app too.

Samsung also states that BBM "will form part of Samsung Messaging Hub" on Galaxy devices, suggesting some kind of deeper integration with the built-in Messaging app may be on the cards.

There's still no word on exactly when BBM for Android (or iOS) will appear, but it's understood to be in beta testing right now, so the public release probably isn't far off.

Source: CrackBerry

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