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3 years ago

Ubi plug-mounted Android device gives your phone eyes and ears in the home

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A Kickstarter project out of Toronto called Ubi recently reached its funding goal for a tiny Android-powered computer that plugs directly into a power socket. It's riddled with sensors and hooks up to the local Wi-Fi network so it can push out notifications to your phone about the room's conditions - lights, temperature, sound, movement... Even humidity. It's got a full-sized USB and headphone jack and RF and Bluetooth capabilities for added connectivity. There's an LED light on the back plus speakers so the Ubi can do some communicating of its own, plus a decent amount of horsepower under the hood to keep things running (800 MHz processor, 1 GB of RAM). The unit itself will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is going to have its own app ecosystem with a handful launching with the device.

  • Voice-enabled Internet search
  • Speakerphone
  • Indicator light (light changing based on events, e.g. weather, stock, email)
  • Home speaker system with sound piping
  • Virtual assistant (audio calendar, feed reader, podcast etc)
  • Voice memos
  • Alarm clock
  • Intercom system
  • Baby monitor
  • Noise pollution monitor
  • Controlling the climate of your home perfectly (through web enabled thermostats like Nest) 

It's a pretty sweet little device by the looks of things. In some ways, I prefer Belkin's Wemo, since it has the ability to power on or off home appliances within a wide range of criteria, but maybe these two home accessories could work in tandem (especially if Ubi has support for IFTT). The main use case here is going to be making voice-activated web searches without even having to pick up your phone, but no doubt developers are going to find all sorts of other fun things to do with the Ubi. 

The funding campaign is ongoing, so if you want your own unit, you'll need to pitch in $189. They should be hitting retail in early 2013 for $199. Who's biting?

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3 years ago

ESPN Goals updated with soccer video streams

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ESPN UK announced an update to their Goals app for Android with a bunch of new features for soccer football fans. Here's a run-down of the major changes. 

  • Fans can watch video from selected ESPN studio-based programming, such as its pre- and post-match studio analysis around its live televised football coverage, and video previews of upcoming matches featuring ESPN’s line-up of football experts.
  • Introducing in-app social media functionality: video highlights can be shared with other ESPN Goals users and friends who do not have the app
  • Enhanced video quality and design across all platforms: a new club personalisation tab allowing fans to track all videos, fixtures, news and scores around their clubs
  • Goal and video alerts including half time, full time and weekend round-up clips
  • Key season stats – top scorers, assists and discipline
  • New Android version plus widget on home screen displaying live information when games are on

They also announced another Android app to go along with their new ESPNFC brand, though details on that are a bit skimpier.  Anyone in the UK will be able to download the latest version of ESPN at the Google Play link above. Any football fans in the house? Which apps do you use to keep tabs on the latest matches? 

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3 years ago

Dunkin' Donuts goes mobile with the release of payment and gifting app

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The daily grind can be tough on some folks. For that there is coffee. Mass amounts of coffee. Looking to keep up with competitors such as the infamous Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts has now gone ahead and launched a new app that will help caffeine deprived individuals get their fix a little bit faster. It's a combination app that allows you to process payments, send virtual gift cards, look up store locations and finally, check out the menu and nutritional facts.

  • Purchase, manage, and reload a Dunkin’ Donuts Card: Guests can purchase a new mobile Dunkin’ Donuts Card (selecting from multiple designs for many occasions), add money to an existing card, and view all previous card transactions. The Dunkin’ Mobile App supports American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and PayPal.
  • Pay right from the app using a virtual Dunkin’ Donuts Card: Guests can purchase Dunkin’ Donuts products with the Dunkin’ App by simply tapping the mobile Dunkin’ Donuts Card and presenting the screen to the crew member to be scanned. Balances are updated immediately after purchase.
  • Send an mGift: Dunkin’ Donuts Cards can be sent to friends, family, or colleagues via email, text, or Facebook. Dunkin’ Donuts is now the only national coffee retailer to offer people all of these options for sending an mGift. Dunkin’ Donuts Cards can be sent in denominations between $2 and $100.
  • Locate the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts: A detailed restaurant locator makes it easy to find directions to and information about local Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants, including store hours, in-store Wi-Fi, drive-thru availability, and more.
  • Find nutritional information: The Dunkin’ App makes nutritional facts available for guests’ favorite Dunkin’ Donuts menu items.
  • Link to Dunkin’ Donuts’ social media communities: Dunkin' Donuts is actively engaged within leading social media channels, with more than 6.8 million Facebook fans and 160,000 Twitter followers. Easy links to “Like” Dunkin’ Donuts on Facebook or follow @DunkinDonuts on Twitter can be found in the “Social” section of the Dunkin’ App.

The app is available in the Google Play Store right now, though it does seem as though it's only available for folks in the U.S. and it doesn't appear to be compatible with any Android tablets. If you prefer Dunkin' over Starbucks, it might be worth checking out.

Source: Dunkin' Donuts via: CIO

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3 years ago

Gift cards likely headed to Google Play, APK teardown reveals

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Gift cards for the Google Play Store have been a much-requested feature for the service, and now it seems Google may be preparing to launch them. The Play Store APK (application file) was recently updated to version 3.8.15.

After finding that the new version was a few kilobytes heavier, the guys at Android Police decided to decode the APK and start digging around, and they uncovered a wealth of evidence in support of the existence of Play gift cards.

The new APK apparently intercepts links to the URL play.google.com/redeem (currently inactive). There are also code references to activities in the app associated with redeeming gift codes, as well as new art assets for the pages where they’re to be used. And a couple of enterprising hackers even managed to tinker around and open up the hidden gift code redemption pages, as evidenced by the shots above.

So we think it’s pretty much guaranteed that Google will be introducing this feature at some point in the future, and given that most of the code to enable this is now on consumers’ devices, we hope it’ll be rolled out sooner rather than later.

Source: Android Police

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3 years ago

Google Maps update brings improvements to Transit information

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Google Maps for Android has received a boost to version 6.10 today, bringing some pretty interesting improvments to the transit information in particular. In addition, Google is now boasting schedules for more than 1 million transit stops across the globe in nearly 500 cities. Impressive. 

The update brings some changes to the transit layer within the application. Now, a specific mode of public transport can be selected, and the others will be hidden. So, if you catch a lot of trains bus rarely use a bus, you can isolate the train routes and get rid of the buses. 

Station pages have also been tweaked to be more useful. They're accessed in the same way -- a simple tap -- but will show departure times, destination distances and lines serving that station. 

In addition to the transit improvements, the following features have also been squeezed in for good measure:

  • Now, whenever you search for a city or postal code, the borders of that region are highlighted.
  • Under My Places you’ll notice we’ve added new tabs, which will help you access all your information from a single place; from your saved maps for use offline to your starred places and Custom Maps created on your desktop.
  • If you enable Location History, you’ll be able to browse the places you’ve been on a daily basis with an updated Location History dashboard.

It's been said so many times before, but if you're an Android user, Google Maps is an essential application. 

More: Google Lat Long Blog

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3 years ago

What the 'death' of Flash means for Android and the web

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Now that Adobe has dropped Flash for Android, it's worth a look to see how this will change things and what direction we may be headed. Of course, you can still sideload an older version, but that's far from an end-game solution. We're all thinking that Adobe has something in mind, but let's focus on the current state of Flash -- both on the web and in applications.

Contrary to what you might have read today, Flash is far from dead. Only the ability to see it in our stock browser on Android. Adobe still supports Flash on Windows and Mac OS X, and Google's Chrome is pushing it forward for Linux. Flash is alive and well on the desktop, and will probably remain that way for a long while. You might be asking why -- that's a reasonable question. Adobe made it really easy to create Flash content, that's why. The tools to build Flash files were fairly expensive, but as easy to use as a standard video editor. Professionals could tweak it and do wonderful things, but more importantly anyone could dump a few things together and create Flash content. When something is that easy, people will use it. And the cost was easily mitigated by about a million torrents of the software.

We don't know how long Adobe plans to support Flash on the desktop, but the content won't be going away any time soon. HTML 5 does a great job at some things, but it needs a company like Adobe to step in and build tools to allow the average Joe (or Jane) to do anything with it. You can bet Adobe has some ideas here -- making the tools used to create content is what they do best. As more developers use HTML 5, and companies start making it easier for non-techies to use, it will grow in popularity. That's a good thing. A thing we want to happen, and it will. 

Right now, there are plenty of games and other interactive media on the web that uses Flash. Slowly, that will transmute into HTML 5 content, but what about the immediate future? Eventually sideloading an old version of Flash will stop working, and we will still want to see and play with the content that's already published. That's where Adobe Air comes in. There's a good chance you're already using Adobe Air on both the desktop and on your Android device, and don't realize it. Air is a way to build Flash-style content into an application and run it independently of the browser or any install of the Flash player app. Programs on your computer like TweetDeck use Adobe Air (or the Flash enabled Chrome version). On Android, apps like Photoshop Touch integrate Adobe Air. It's fairly simple for developers to use Air to build an Android app around Flash content, and as we've seen, easy is what drives development. Developers can take their Flash content, and using Air and the right tools, create a stand alone app for Android. We expect them to do just that.

Sideload Flash, and install Adobe Air from Google Play. Enjoy the current content as long as you can, and trust that things will work themselves out. They usually do.

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3 years ago

Humble Bundle for Android 3 now up for purchase

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The Humble Bundle for Android 3 has just gone live, bringing five great games to the platform. A donation of your choice gets you Fieldrunners, BIT.TRIP Beat, SpaceChem and Uplink. Donate above the average, which is at $6.06 at the time of writing, and you also unlock a fifth game called Spirits. This really is a tremendous value, especially when taking into account that you receive Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the games for no additional cost.

If you're not familiar with how the Humble Bundle system works, it's a basic "pay what you want" structure. This means that you offer to pay what you feel the games are worth, and on top of that you get to choose what percentage of your donation goes to each of the sources. The great part about the Humble Bundle is the charity aspect, which this time around offers you a choice of donating to Child's Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Interested in getting some great games and donating to charity? Of course you are. Check the video after the break, and head to the source link below to make your donation.

Source: Humble Bundle

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3 years ago

Google+ updated with hangout improvements

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The newly redesigned Google+ app for Android just keeps getting better. This most recent update brings improvements to hangouts, allowing younger users to initiate them and all users to watch hangouts on air. Most notable when you first open the newly update app, you will see a grey bar at the top of the window with sharing options. This is a welcome addition that saves you that one extra tap when you want to share a post.

In addition, the new version has floating timestamps in photo view. For those of you getting frustrated with spam in the new "events" feature, the ability to report abuse straight from the app has been added as well. We've got a couple screenshots of the new UI after the break, and you can follow the Play Store link above to grab the update for yourself.

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3 years ago

London 2012 Paralympics official UK app available now

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The British public is still on a high following the resounding success of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The action isn't over though, as after a 2 week break we have the 2012 London Paralympic Games to look forward too. Tickets have been going like hotcakes, and many will be left disappointed at being unable to attend the events. Fear not though, as with the main games, an official app is here to keep you in the know. 

The Paralympics are not being broadcast in the UK by BBC as the main games were, so their Olympic app won't be of much use. Instead, Channel 4 is the official Paralympic Broadcaster, and as such has released their own official Paralympics application. All the expected is contained within, a live text stream, medals table, results, news etc. Apart from the news and photos, the app is pretty redundant at the moment. But, come Aug 29 when the games begin, the various sections will start lighting up. 

Oh, and unlike the BBC Olympics app, this has no troubles with tablets. We've tried it out with a Nexus 7 and it works just fine. 

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3 years ago

How to manually install Adobe Flash Player on your Android device

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​New devices will soon be unable to get Adobe Flash from Google Play. Here's how to install it manually.

From today, for some new devices, Adobe Flash Player will no longer be available from Google Play, marking the end of Flash’s brief flirtation with Android. That means if you want to get hold of Flash on an Android device that doesn't ship with it, you’ll need to resort to a little bit of trickery. Fortunately, though, it’s pretty easy to get Flash up and running manually, assuming you understand the risks.

Join us after the break to find out how to manually install a legacy version of Adobe Flash Player on your Android phone or tablet.

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3 years ago

Photoshop Touch to come preloaded on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

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If you hadn't already noticed, we're live at the launch event for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. With the new tablet being very much an ideal candidate for photo editing, it makes sense that Samsung have teamed up with Adobe Systems and have included Photoshop Touch preloaded on the device.

For those of us that either cannot afford the PC/Mac version, or those just looking for an app to play around with the Note 10.1's bundled S Pen, this is the perfect opportunity to do so without having to spend hard earned cash on the app.

The full feature list boasts some impressive capabilities -- 

  • Use Photoshop features designed for the tablet such as layers, selection tools, adjustments, and filters to create mind-blowing images.
  • Use your tablet camera to fill an area on a layer with the unique camera fill feature.
  • Select part of an image to extract by scribbling with the Scribble Selection tool. With Refine Edge, use your fingertip to capture even hard-to-select image elements, like hair, with ease.
  • Search and acquire images with the integrated Google Image Search.
  • Share images on Facebook and view comments right within the app.
  • Browse an inspirational gallery for the styles and results you'd like to achieve. Then follow step-by-step tutorials to easily learn techniques the pros use for great-looking results.
  • Sync projects with Adobe Creative Cloud* and open layered files from Adobe Photoshop Touch in Photoshop CS5 or higher.
  • Free membership to Creative Cloud gives you 2GB of cloud storage plus the ability to sync between tablet and desktop, access files from the web, and easily share with others. Learn more at http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud

We're sure this is one of the first apps new Note 10.1 owners will look to try out, so kudos to Samsung and Adobe for making it happen.

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3 years ago

Swiftkey update brings new summer themes, voice typing and bug fixes

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Swiftkey, one of the most popular Android keyboard replacements available, has released yet another great update for us to all enjoy. One of the most notable changes is the inclusion of two new visual styles, Sky (blue) and Fuchsia (pink), which the SwiftKey team is calling summer themes.

In addition to these visual changes, they have also added the ability to long press the comma key in order to launch dictation, for those who like to tap and talk. This update will also include support for Malay and Urdu, bringing the language count up to 44, which is pretty huge. Beyond these changes they have fixed a slew of bugs, made the experience better while using SwiftKey in Chrome, Google Talk, and many other applications.

If you're a current SwiftKey user be sure to grab the update today, and if you are not currently using it hop into Google Play and download it today!

Source: Swiftkey

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3 years ago

Latest Dropbox beta reveals new features, UI improvements for Nexus 7

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The folks at Dropbox are always letting users in on the latest app betas, and they've just dropped a new one on us with a few basic but welcome features.

  • Thumbnails for video files
  • Better video playback for both ICS and Jelly Bean
  • UI improvements on the Nexus 7
  • Ability to open Dropbox files directly in other apps
  • Various bug fixes

Probably the most important item of the list is updated Nexus 7 support, which shows that the developers over at Dropbox see the importance in properly supporting the latest Google platform release. Take a look after the break for a few screenshots of the latest beta update, and be sure to follow the source link below if you're interested in getting in on the pre-release action.

Source: Dropbox Forums

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3 years ago

Pinterest finally releases an official Android app

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Pinterest finally has an official Android app. The popular social network is currently in the middle of an event where they're showing off brand new mobile apps for their platform. The network that relies on users pinning items for their friends has grown enormously in the past year, which has contributed to the impatience users have felt about an official mobile app. We got a hands-on preview of the app back at Google I/O, but there was no release date at that time.

The official app looks a lot like the website and has been done really well. You see your tiled homepage with all of your friends' pins. You can search for items to pin yourself, re-pin someone else's, like a pin,  and comment on a pin as well. You can also find new friends to follow directly from the app. It's done very well and the app appears very fast in the small amount of time I've been playing with it.

Check it out for yourself at the Google Play Store link, and we've got screenshots after the break.

Source: Pinterest

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3 years ago

CoPilot Live review - a trunk-full of navigation features

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If you’re planning to squeeze in one more roadtrip before the summer dwindles out, you might be shopping around for GPS navigation apps. Google’s own Navigation for Android may do the trick, but is there still a market for traditional GPS nav apps? One of the many options available is CoPilot Live, and you might be surprised at how deep its functionality runs.

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