Headlines

2 years ago

Is Google developing a Voice Action remote for Google TV?

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Google may be developing a voice activated remote for Google TV devices, if we're to believe the rumors around the Internet today. Last year Google filed for a patent with the USPTO for a new remote and/or Android application that uses Google's cloud assisted voice recognition technology to navigate through the menus on your Google TV. Of course, everyone is comparing it to Siri, but Google has been working on this technology since they were first to market with Voice Actions in August of 2010.  

According to the filings, users will be able to speak into their Android smartphone or dedicated Google TV remote, transmit their speech to Google's servers to be analyzed, then the correct intent will be sent back through the network to the GTV unit.  There's also indications here to allow the process to work up to a quarter-mile away, so we can tell our television to be on and have Wheel of Fortune playing when we walk in the door. From the patent filing:

the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within 1/4 mile of the home), and the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query

Add in additional uses like music controls and application commands, and you'll have a full featured voice remote.

Using your Android phone as a remote for Google TV is something we expect from the people in Mountain View. Tying the two together is natural, and we've already seen an Android app remote that uses voice input, and it works well. Having Google take this further can only mean good things for anyone who's interested in talking back to their television. Hopefully, we see something more about this in the near future -- I'm ready for it.

Source: Patently Apple

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2 years ago

Chrome boss suggests full-screen browsing and desktop view coming to Chrome on Android

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Google released the first beta version of Chrome for Android a couple of weeks ago, giving Android 4.0 phone and tablet owners the chance to try out the new mobile version of its web browser. Today Google's senior vice president of Chrome, Sundar Pichai, gave the first hints about which features to expect in upcoming releases, in an interview with CNET.

Answering a question on consumer reaction to Chrome for Android, Pichai said that two features in particular had been frequently requested -- full-screen browsing and a "request desktop page" option. Both features are present in the stock ICS browser, but neither is available in the current Chrome beta, but Pichai seems to indicate that may change in the future -- "both fully make sense", he says, but "we just want to do them correctly and well."

Of course, there've also been a few complaints about the lack of Flash support in Chrome for Android. On that subject, the king of Chrome says that the fate of Flash has already been decided by Adobe -- "following their road map, [Adobe] clearly said they'll not support Flash for mobile in the future."

Elsewhere in the interview, Pichai restates Google's commitments to Chrome OS and Chromebooks, despite continuing suggestions that Google's second OS should instead be rolled into a future Android release. He says, "we got a lot of positive feedback, and we are really looking forward to the next generation of Chromebooks."

Source: CNET

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2 years ago

Able Remote [GoogleTV app review]

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I'm turning into a Google TV junkie.  I freely admit it, have no shame in saying it, and am having a ton of fun while it happens. I thought things couldn't get better, until I stumbled across Able Remote in the Android Market. It's a simple concept, and one we've seen before direct from Google -- use your Android smartphone as a remote to control your Google TV. Where the official Google TV remote app begins, Able Remote grabs the reigns and pushes things further in a way that's intuitive, full featured, and a mix of geeky and fun. Yeah, I never thought I'd use the word fun to describe a remote control, either. But it fits.

All the basic features you would want and expect are there. You can search, control playback of video (and your DVR if you're so equipped), enter text and control the pointer and all the other functions you need and want to control your GTV, both as a television as well as an Android-powered funbox that happens to sit in your living room. Setup is a breeze, you simply install the Able Remote app on either your phone or your GTV and fire it up. If you installed it on your phone, firing it up will give you a button to click and install it directly to your GTV from the Market. If you installed it on your Google Television, you scan a giant QR code to install it on your phone. There is no guesswork, and nothing to screw up. Trust me, I tried. So far, everything looks good.  Fully functional, foolproof control of your GTV from your phone. Then it gets cool.

A quick trip into the settings and you'll see something that immediately catches your eye -- a setting to forward notifications from your phone to your Google TV. You have to enable Able Remote as an accessibility service (again, click and you're directed right to the correct place to do so), then restart the app and when a notification comes in while you're using it, it pushes right to your television. On paper, this sounds annoying. Especially if you get a lot of messages. But the first time you watch a movie while you're supposed to be working, and instead of having to pull your phone out of your pocket to see what's up, you get a small unobtrusive pop up near the bottom of the screen. From there, you can decide if you need to answer, of just ignore it until your show is over.  I recommend the latter -- life is short.

If that weren't good enough, the folks at Entertailion have built voice control into the app. Yes, voice control. Change channel by name or number if you're watching TV, start an application by saying "app Google Music" or "app Netflix", search by keyword and even run macros you've set up if you buy the $0.99 premium version. Add in the ability to forward photos and video from the gallery on your phone to your television, and push a website from phone to TV, and you have a real winner here. Able Remote is more than just an app -- it ties your Android phone and Google TV together to make an entertainment ecosystem. Grab it for free in the Market, you'll be glad you did.  Download links, a video, and screenshots are after the break. 

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2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for Feb 18, 2012

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Looking for something new to try out on this long President's Day Weekend? Well, if you already grabbed some accessories at a discount the next thing to do would be to check out some new applications for your device, right? Let's hit the break and check out some of our favorites this week!

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2 years ago

Angry Birds headed into space on March 22

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Maybe Rovio's running out of holidays, because it's sending the Angry Birds into Space next month, as part of a deal with brings in NASA and National Geographic as launch partners. Details from Yahoo Games suggests that the new version of Angry Birds will introduce new gravity-based gameplay as well as slow-motion puzzles and "lightspeed" destruction.

Rovio plans a simultaneous launch across all mobile platforms, including Android, from Mar. 22.

We've got the full teaser trailer after the jump.

Source: Yahoo Games, Rovio

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2 years ago

Android app permissions - How Google gets it right ...

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And how we, the users, still need to take responsibility

There's been a lot of news lately about a lapse in either security or judgment -- both, really -- at Apple that allows iOS applications to borrow your contact data and send it off to parts unknown without your consent. Apple has addressed the issue to members of the U.S. Congress, and will take steps to hold tighter control in a future iOS update. That's good news, and we're glad to see it happening.

But what about Android? During all this focus on apps doing things without explicit user permission, you see people referring to the Android permissions model. We're going to break it all down for you.  It's not perfect, but it works pretty well -- and it's certainly better than no permission system at all.

Let's walk you through permissions on Android, and how you need to be sure to do you part.

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2 years ago

Google TV YouTube app update coming, faster and with new features

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The official YouTube app for Google TV will be seeing a big update over the next few days, says Google TV product manager Jurek Foryciarz .  The update will make the app work "faster with smoother navigation", and also bring a handful of new features designed to make the app work better with the GTV remote.  While everyone with the slightly anemic first-generation device hardware will certainly appreciate faster and smoother, the new features look really nice as well.

The new "Discover" tab will allow you to browse YouTube channels by category, making new channels and content easier to find and preview.  That's half the fun of YouTube, especially on your big screen.  The channel pages themselves have been overhauled as well, making it easier to navigate through playlists and subscribe right from the channel page.  Specific functions for the Google TV remote have been added that allow scrolling through things like related videos, and the information screen where you can thumbs up (or down) a video and comment without leaving the page.  As a user who watches a lot of YouTube, this all looks really great.

Could this be part of the "big announcements" that coming up for Google TV?  That's a possibility, even though we all want to hear hardware news the software is just as important.  Maybe even more so when we're talking a set-top box, where entertainment and content is the focus.  We've been hearing about a big push for Google TV from the folks in Mountain View for about a year now, and it looks like they may be starting.  Bring it, I say.  Hit the break to see some more previews of the upcoming update, which will be available in the GTV Market soon.

Source: Google TV blog; via +GoogleTV

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2 years ago

Minecraft Pocket Edition updated, brings long awaited survival mode

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Mojang's Minecraft Pocket Edition got itself its first major update which has finally brought with it the long awaited survival mode. Survival mode also gets day and night modes, with night bringing about the appearance of monsters.

Besides survival mode, there's a selection of new blocks to choose from most notably doors and and fences. We also get the addition of flying into the creative mode, mobs with sheep and zombies being the first of these, and new tools serving different purposes such as digging and shearing.

This update will make a lot of Minecraft P.E players very happy. If you've still to try out this cult favourite hit the download links after the break. 

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2 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for Feb 11, 2012

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The never ending hunt for awesome Android apps can really take its toll on not only your battery, but also your brain. Lucky for you we take the time each week to bring you some of our favorites so you can check them out as well, so let's hit the break and check out what we got in store for this week.

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2 years ago

Google disables prepaid cards in wake of Google Wallet exploit

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Google late Friday night disabled the ability to provision new Google Preaid Cards, fallout from the discovery of a flaw in the Google Wallet app. The gist is that if someone were to find your phone, they could reset the Google Wallet PIN and gain access to your Google Prepaid Card. In a separate incident, rooted phones were found to be vulnerable to a brute-force crack.

And so, Google has temporarily disabled provisioning of prepaid cards as an interim step, and it says it will have "a permanent fix soon."

Google also reminds us that rooted devices are by definition not as secure as un-rooted phones and "we strongly discourage [rooting] if you plan to use Google Wallet because the product is not supported on rooted phones."

In addition, Google provides toll-free phone support 24 hours a day if you have concerns or questions about Google Wallet. In other words, just like with a traditional credit card, call if you lose it. Or have issues. Or just need a friend.

Source: Google Commerce Blog
via Android Forums

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2 years ago

Pulse News updated with support for international characters in articles, bug fixes for tablet reading

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Pulse News is currently rolling out their latest update to the masses. (That would be us.) This release will bring some much needed supported for articles written in international characters as Pulse previously sometimes jumbled things up a bit on that front. It also includes some bug fixes for tablets, if you've been having issues with that. Personally, I've not seen any issues with tablet mode, but apparently enough users have to warrant some bug fixes for it. Jump on past the break and get the latest release, should show as v2.7.5.

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2 years ago

Put an end to that pesky junk mail at your house with PaperKarma

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No one likes to open their mailbox and find a pile of junk mail and solicitations in their box, right? The folks at Readabl have come up with a rather interesting solution with their PaperKarma application. The concept behind the application is quite simple, you create an account, scan the information from the junk sender, and upload it through the application. In order to create an account you will need to give some personal information such as your phone number and address, but this is required for them to make the stop requests on your behalf. 

Once you receive some junk mail you wish to stop, you simply snap a picture of the senders information, you don't need to include your own since it is already in your account settings, and upload it through the application. The team at Readabl will submit a request to the offending company requesting you be removed from their lists, and just like that the junk mail ends. It will take a little bit of time to process on their end -- the image runs through the database of companies they have, and you can monitor the progress of the submission right through the application. After the submission has been processed you will receive a push notification to alert you. The only unfortunate thing is currently there is no control over the sounds it makes so you can't set them to silent, yet.

The process is so simple, you snap a picture, upload it and let the people behind the scenes do the work for you. Watch for results as you fetch less and less junk mail from your mailbox, and only the important things you wish to receive.

Head on past the break for download links.

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2 years ago

WordPress now available for the Nook Color, Nook Tablet & Kindle Fire

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If you're the proud owner of either a Nook Color, Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire who also happens to own a WordPress blog you might have been a little bummed out when you found the app was not available for your device(s). No matter though, the folks from WordPress just needed some extra time to get it completed and that extra time was worth it:

We paid special attention to the post editor on theses devices, enhancing the layout to make it super simple to edit your post content in either landscape or portrait orientation. You’ll find everything there that you’d want in a WordPress app, including support for editing post content, adding media, viewing your stats, comment notifications, and more.

Now, you can do all the mobile blogging you want from your device. Each of the apps are available in their respective stores. Click on the source links below to get the apps downloaded.

Source: Amazon App Store, Nook Store via: Wordpress

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2 years ago

LinkedIn set to introduce advertising into mobile apps

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LinkedIn, the business professionals choice in social networking, is set to introduce advertising into their mobile applications according to their Chief Executive.

On an earnings call this week, Jeff Weiner said that the company is ready to "start to introduce advertising in our mobile solutions." No timeframe was offered for this, but he went on to talk extensively about the mobile opportunities for the network. 

Rumours are rife around the internet that Facebook are also set to introduce advertising into their mobile applications as well. Whatever happens with both of these networks, it is sure to be met with a fair share of criticism from users.

Source: The Telegraph

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2 years ago

Chrome vs. Safari - Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S

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Check out our Chrome for Android Walkthrough!

The race for the best mobile browser is just about dead even. Android's browser has certainly competed with its Webkit cousin in mobile Safari for several versions now, partially from borrowing bits and pieces of Chrome code. (Anybody remember this demo from Google IO 2010?) But while the browsers might have been fairly level under the hood, Safari's definitely had the edge in what the end users see, with scrolling and zooming that's buttery smooth.

With the introduction of the Chrome browser on Android (currently available in beta form), the mobile browsing playing field has been leveled that much more. Behind the scenes, things are running as fast as ever. And out front, on the display, the Android's browsing experience has taking another evolutionary leap forward.

We've got a quick comparison video and some more benchmarks after the break. We're not looking for the most scientific of results here -- though the benchmarks speak for themselves. Really, it's the feel of the Chrome browser on Android (and, again, remember that it's still a "beta" product, for what that's worth) that we're most interested in.  

Click on through to the other side, and be sure to check out our pals from iMore.com for their thoughts on the Chrome-Safari showdown.

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