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1 week ago

Goodnight Lad — an augmented reality bedtime story

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Goodnight Lad

I don't usually bring my smartphone in for a bedtime story, but a recent Kickstarter reward I received gave me reason to consider it. Goodnight Lad is a young children's story where every page is extended through the use of augmented reality. You install the app, point your phone at the page, and the main character and his friends spring to life for your child.

It's a clever use of AR, not because it's a kids story, but because the experience is so complete. Each page can be read to your child through the app, and the Kickstarter included outfit changes and cards to extend the story and share with friends. The app itself is nice and easy to use, and it locks on to the AR targets on the page nice and fast. It's by far the most compelling and enjoyable AR experience I've seen in a while, right down to the interactive menu on the first page.

The book is now available for $20, though currently the extra cards from the Kickstarter don't appear to be available. There's a demo in the app if you're not quite sold on the idea yet, which you can check out through the Google Play Store. I wouldn't go so far as to call this the next big thing in bedtime stories, but for $20 it's a nice way to shake things up and have some fun while reading a book.

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1 week ago

Google acquires Pixate to help developers make better mobile app prototypes

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Google has bought yet another small tech company. It revealed that it has acquired the Palo Alto, California-based Pixate, which was formed in 2012. Pixate creates tools for developers so they can make quicker and easier prototypes for mobile apps.

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1 week ago

The Google Now Launcher, revisited

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Google Now Launcher

How does Google's predictive card-equipped launcher measure up in 2015?

On June 28, 2012, we asked when Google Now would eventually become your home screen. On November 1 the following year, we got our answer. One of the big new features on Android 4.4 KitKat on the Nexus 5 was a re-vamped launcher that incorporated Google's predictive search and assistant app in its own panel off. The Google Now Launcher, as it was later named, followed HTC BlinkFeed as one of the first Android home screen setups to offer additional information as well as an assortment of icons and widgets.

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2 weeks ago

Open your watch face options with Minimal and Elegant for Android Wear

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If you thought minimalist meant there was no information but the time displayed, then boy were you wrong. The Minimal and Elegant watch face is exactly what it claims to be, but is also a gorgeous watch face for Android Wear With access to tons of customizable features, weather, time, and the full date, it tells you everything you need at a glance without appearing cluttered or messy to the eye. If you haven't checked out this watch face yet, then keep reading!

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2 weeks ago

Google+ Photos shutting down on August 1 in favor of Google Photos

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Now that Google Photos has been live for a couple of months, it looks like it's time to shutter Google+ Photos. Google announced today that on August 1, the photo section that was integrated into the Google+ app will be shut down in favor of the separate Google Photos app.

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2 weeks ago

Adobe Lightroom update makes it easier to find and edit your favorite image

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Adobe has pushed out an update for Lightroom users that will make finding their favorite images even easier. Beyond just finding the images faster, you can now edit them easier, thanks to the redesigned experience for cropping images, as well as some other changes.

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2 weeks ago

From the forums: The little tweaks in Android M Dev Preview v2

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Android M

The slow march to the launch of Android M, and the devices that will accompany such a launch, continued this week as users and developers the world over updated to the second version of the Developer Preview and took a look at the tweaks Google has made to the experience. We know the dark theme hidden in Developer options and the alphabetical markings in the new launcher have gone away for now, and while Now on Tap can be activated in Settings there's not much you can do with it yet. It's a handful of tweaks that, above all, remind us we're not looking at a finished product by any means.

While there aren't any huge shiny things to explore in this updated version of the preview, many of the folks in the forums using the update have had some important experiences so far.

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2 weeks ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Onca Clock Widget, Songkick Concerts, This War of Mine and more

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Apps of the week

Our weekly app picks

It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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2 weeks ago

Technology makes your workout easier to track

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Fitness apps and mobile technology have already come a long way. Now with Android Wear, they're going even further. The Wear Fitness Personal trainer is an intuitive app that actually counts your reps for you while you are mid-workout. That's not all either, this app comes packed with all the features to make your workout seamless with technology. So if you've been looking for a way to find tracking your workout easier, then we may have found the app for you.

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2 weeks ago

Weekend fun: 5 free and fun puzzle games

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Free puzzle games for Android

A lot of us use our Android phones for important things. Serious bizness and stuff. We need to stay in touch with our people, keep up with our calendar, listen to our boss deflate our spirit and destroy our dreams over Slack and other things that aren't nearly as fun as we want them to be. It's a necessary evil, and part of being an adult and having a job.

But there is always time to squeeze in a little fun when nobody is looking. (Don't look, Phil.) And there are plenty of games that you can play for just a few minutes at a time to get that fun injection. Whether you want a relaxing way to power through a bathroom break, or pass the time while your significant other is shopping for things you can't be bothered to care about (there's a reason they put benches in the mall), here are five great little apps that will help you pass the time.

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2 weeks ago

Make sure your phone is never lost again with Wear Aware

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Wear Aware is here to save those of us who constantly are losing our phones. Whether it's putting down your phone and walking away, leaving it in the car and heading into the house, or forgetting you put it down in public, nobody likes the feeling of not being able to find their phone. That's where Wear Aware comes in, it's here to make sure you never walk away from your phone — and it doesn't walk away from you.

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2 weeks ago

2014 Moto G starts receiving Android 5.1 in China

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Motorola has announced that it has started rolling out Android 5.1 to the second-generation Moto G in China. The news comes from a Google+ post from Motorola's David Schuster.

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2 weeks ago

Microsoft's Hyperlapse for Android is out of beta

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Microsoft is letting all Android users access its Hyperlapse video app in the Google Play Store. The app was previously offered as a closed beta in May.

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2 weeks ago

Google makes setting Inbox snooze timers a tad more convenient

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Snoozing emails in Inbox by Gmail is getting a bit more convenient for things like hotel reservations, package tracking, and more. Google has announced a new one-tap option when snoozing that will allow users to set emails with dates and times to pop back up at just the right time.

Now, when you swipe left to snooze an email, the popup box that allows you to set the snooze duration will have an extra option for emails with dates and times included. For example, if you're snoozing a restaurant reservation, you'll have the option to set the reminder for an hour before your reservation time. Here's a list of the types of emails that the option will cover:

  • Package tracking updates
  • Restaurant and event reservations
  • Calendar invites
  • Flight confirmations
  • Hotel reservations
  • Rental car reservations

It's not a huge change, but it should be welcome as a nice improvement over fumbling around with setting the exact date and time manually. If you want to try the feature out, Google notes that it should be available starting today.

Source: Google

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2 weeks ago

Plex for Android gets a Material Design overhaul, adds some new functionality

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Plex, a popular streaming media app, has pushed out an update bringing with it an all new Material Design overhaul, as well as some new features and functionality. Along with the fresh coat of paint, the Plex team has squashed a ton of bugs, and brought some new stuff to the app as well.

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