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3 years ago

The Masters Golf Tournament app updated for 2013 with live stream improvements

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Now is the time to get ready for the most prestigious tournament of the year

The Masters golf tournament tees off on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club, and right on time the official Masters Golf Tournament app has been updated for the occasion. The latest update today aims to improve the quality of the live streams this time around. The app will give you access to eight concurrent live streams, with enhanced coverage of the most popular holes around the course, available to any device with a data connection. You of course get live scoreboard coverage and news stories in the app as well.

The app is useful before the tournament itself even gets going, with coverage of practice rounds, the Par 3 Contest and extra analysis from experts. If you've got plans to follow The Masters this weekend, you'll need to have this app loaded on your device. Head to the Play Store link above and grab a download.

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3 years ago

Select Disney apps now free in the Play Store (updated)

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Get six of Disney's previously 99 cent apps, for free

Update: all 6 of the Disney apps have gone back to 99 cents. It appears this was an error in Play Store pricing that only lasted a few hours. The original story is below.

Six of Disney's apps went on sale today in the Play Store. Previously coming in at 99 cents each, all six can now be downloaded for free. This includes one live wallpaper and five games:

It's interesting that some of these apps already have free versions in the Play Store, and Disney chose to also offer their 99 cent counterparts for free. We don't know how long these apps will stay in the Play Store as free downloads, or if more will be added to the list, so download them now if any of these interest you or your kids. Temple Run has always been very popular, and Wreck-It Ralph was previously chosen as an App of the Week. Feel free to hit the comments with your own picks and recommendations.

Update: Apparently that was a temporary feature bug, and you should now have to shell out for the apps again. Hope you grabbed 'em while you could.

Thanks, Abhishek!

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3 years ago

Google Play Store gets a new look

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Google's content portal gets a lighter, brighter visual refresh

Following some recent leakage, it seems the new look Google Play Store app is finally official. Google has just announced that the new-look Play Store app will begin rolling out to Android devices today.

In today's announcement post on the official Android blog, Google says the new-look app is aimed to be "simple" and "clean," with a renewed focus on entertainment content. Based on the official promo images, that certainly seems to be the case -- Google Now-like greys and whites dominate the UI, while a lot of screen space is given to large images for music, movie and book content.

The purchasing process has also been streamlined, Google says, which hopefully means fewer taps to buy apps and other content through this new version of the store.

The new Google Play Store will begin pushing automatically to devices running Android 2.2 Froyo and above starting today, so keep a lookout in the hours ahead. In the meantime, hit the comments if you've managed to get it already.

Source: Official Android blog

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3 years ago

Competitors launch European antitrust complaint against Google over mobile apps

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Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle and others call Android 'a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps'

A group of Google's competitors have sent an antitrust complaint to the EU, claiming that the search giant's licensing of the Android OS and Google Apps give its mobile apps an unfair advantage. Reports from the New York Times say Fairsearch Europe, which consists of Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, TripAdvisor and others, accuses Google of using Android “as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today.”

According to today's NYT report, Fairsearch's lead lawyer, Thomas Vinje says OEMs wanting to use Google mobile apps (e.g. YouTube, Gmail, Chrome) on their Android devices "face contractual requirements" to use all these apps and give them "prominent placement" on their home screens. The suite of Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps are, of course, licensed separately to the Android OS, the source code of which is available freely.

Fairsearch pulls no punches in a press release this morning, claiming "Google’s predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform." It goes on to say the prominent placement of Google apps on devices running GMS apps "disadvantages other providers."

Following the filing of a complaint, the European Commission must now decide whether to take up the case against Google, the paper reports.

The news comes in the midsts of an existing EU antitrust inquiry into Google's web search practices, in which it's claimed the company abused its position to push its own web-based services. According to the NYT, antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said the EU was already looking into Android separately to the web search complaint.

Source: New York Times; Fairsearch Europe (PDF) via The Verge

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3 years ago

WhatsApp denies rumors of a Google buyout

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WhatsApp is staying independent according to business development head

In a statement to All Things D this evening, WhatsApp’s business development chief Neeraj Arora said the rumors of Google buying the chat service were unfounded.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular applications on all platforms, providing cross-platform chat and file sharing. The past few days there has been talk of Google buying the company and integrating it into their rumored unified messaging service, aptly named Babel. The application is free for the first year on Android devices, with a $0.99 yearly fee afterwards. If you're interested in giving it a try, hit the Google Play download link above.

Source: All Things D

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3 years ago

Twitter updated with 'Me' tab and HTC menu bar fix

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HTC phone owners can get a full-screen experience, and 'Me' tab wonkiness is fixed in latest update

The official Twitter app for Android, given a major visual overhaul last week, has been updated again today with a couple of important bug fixes. First off, the "Me" tab, which would occasionally fail to load, should now be fully functional at all times. And owners of HTC devices will welcome the fix for an issue which left them with a dead menu bar at the bottom of the screen. (That's not listed in the official changelog for the new ver. 4.0.1, but we've confirmed it on our own devices.)

HTC devices without a physical menu key -- including the HTC One -- must use an on-screen menu bar in certain apps, losing a portion of the screen in the process. Since last week's update the official Twitter client no longer used the legacy menu key, however the app still continued to show the (now non-functional) bar on HTC phones, much to the chagrin of users. As you can see in the photo above, that's no longer the case.

The changelog also lists UI improvements for Honeycomb devices, if anyone out there's still rocking an Android 3.x tablet.

To grab these latest fixes, hit the Google Play Store or use the handy link above.

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3 years ago

Tumblr for Android gets a new look, spiffy animations, and pictures that 'pop'

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The new interface and features make tumblr for Android a beautiful and functional application

Tumblr for Android got quite the update today, bringing an overhaul to the entire interface. Gone are the boring, scrolling lists and static squares of old, and the new interface is a bit of Path or Flipboard wrapped up inside a Holo design frame. It's all very well done, if I'm allowed to interject my own opinion here.

In addition to the overall design changes, tumblr has built in some snazzy animations. Pull to refresh or tap a button to post and you'll see things bouncing and popping up, making it a bit more engaging and fun to fiddle with. The way images inside posts are shown has been tweaked as well, and they now really stand out in the stream.

It's a really nice piece of work. If you're a tumblr user, you'll love it. If you're not a tumblr user, it may be enough to make you one. In either case, it's worth having a look if you appreciate great app design. Grab it from the Google Play link above.

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3 years ago

SuperBeam: Transfer files using Wifi Direct, NFC or QR codes

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A great file transfer tool for power users

As advanced as modern mobile devices are, getting files from one phone or tablet to another can still be problematic. Cloud storage apps like Dropbox can clog up your Internet connection. The BlueTooth-based Android Beam is slow, and can only be used for certain items. And S Beam, though faster, is restricted to Samsung devices.

Enter SuperBeam, an app that aims to take advantage of a range of wireless technologies to juggle files between Android phones. The heavy lifting is done over Wifi or Wifi Direct, with an NFC connection or QR code being used to get things going.

First up, both devices must be running the SuperBeam app. Next, select the file you want to send -- either in the gallery app, or a file manager Astro or OI -- and choose SuperBeam. The app will then ask you if the device you're sending to is on the same network. If so, it'll send your bits over that network; if not, a Wifi Direct connection will eventually be established between the two.

From there you've got a few options. The easiest is NFC -- hold the two devices back-to-back and press the screen on the sending device. Alternatively you can use the "SuperBeam Scanner" app from the app drawer and scan the QR code on the sending device's screen.

Transfer speeds will depend on the Wifi capabilities of the devices (and infrastructure) you're using, but we got solid transfer rates of up to 20Mbps between our Nexus 4 and HTC One on a 5GHz Wifi N network. SuperBeam isn't as simple as S Beam or Android Beam, but its ability to transfer just about anything between just about any device makes it more versatile for power users. It's available for free on the Google Play Store for phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and above.

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3 years ago

Marvel Comics app offering 700 free first issues: the sequel

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About a month ago, Marvel offered 700 free first issues through its Marvel Comics Play Store app. Not even the sum of Marvel's top superheroes could defend the comic giant's servers against the incredible beating that fans dispensed that day, during the struggle to grab as many free comics as possible. The result was an unusable app for most, with problems lasting beyond the free-download deadline.

Marvel issued an in-app message saying they were working on making things right, and have since come up with a new strategy to get those free comics to their fans. To minimize server strain, downloads will be offered to groups of users in waves. Head over to the registration page to sign up for the promotion. Starting April 11, Marvel will be sending emails to those that registered to let them start downloading any of the 700 free first issues being offered.

Sign ups end on April 9 at 11:59 p.m. EDT (as in midnight tomorrow night), so don't waste any time -- this offer might not be a trilogy.

comiXology sign up; Thanks Steve!

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3 years ago

Facebook Home cobbled together from leaked ROM

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'Chat heads' feature missing from this developer build; full official app available for free on Friday

MoDaCo's Paul O'Brien has thrown together a trio of files with which you can get a half-working version of Facebook Home onto your phone -- five days before it'll be available to everyone as a free download.

We've played with it for a few minutes now, and it'll basically give you the look and feel of Facebook Home. But it doesn't quite match the performance (at least on our Nexus 4) that we saw on the HTC First, nor on the Galaxy Note 2 we used it on at Facebook's launch event lasts week. It's also lacking the "chat heads" messaging -- that's a huge part of Facebook Home. There's also no Google Search bar in the app drawer. That's consistent with the installed version of Facebook Home we used on a Galaxy Note 2 at Facebook HQ, but it's different than what you'll find on the HTC First. (Edit: Ah. There's a toggle for that in the settings, it seems.)

So, again, this is a dev version off a leaked ROM -- not the official release. If you're just dying to see what all the fuss is about (and, again, Facebook Home looks really nice), Paul's got full instructions at the link below.

Update: Looks like Facebook might have killed things on its end, as our Coverfeed has gone blank.

Source: MoDaCo

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3 years ago

Skala View comes to Android, helps designers make better looking apps

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Skala Preview and Skala View are brilliant pieces of software from the brilliant piece of software makers at Bjango. It's not an app combo for everyone, but for Android app designers and developers who have long been seeking a way to preview pixel- and color-perfect versions of their app designs on Android devices, it's a miracle. Now Fair warning: Marc Edwards, who runs Bjango, is also my co-host on the Iterate podcast so some may think I'm predisposed to give his stuff a defacto recommendation. Far from it. It just means I was fortunate to have known about it in advance.

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3 years ago

New Google Play Store app sighted on Google+

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A visual refresh could be coming soon to Google's content portal

The last time the Google Play Store app got a major redesign, it was still called the Android Market. So we're about due a visual refresh, and it looks like a new version could be headed our way sooner rather than later.

YouTube's Eileen Rivera posted the screenshot above on Google+, showing a lighter, more colorful design with more prominence given to the main store areas, and larger app icons below. "Games" also gets its own entry, whereas before it was found under "Apps."

Right now it looks like Google's just "dogfooding" this new version of the Play Store among its employees -- check out the little dog bowl icon on the top left -- but if Googlers are posting pictures of the new app publicly, chances are we won't have too long to wait for the public roll-out.

Source: +Eileen Rivera

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3 years ago

Facebook shows us what life can be like with Facebook Home front and center

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You'll never be lonely when all your friends are just a tap away, but Facebook thinks you'll have more fun when they are right up front

A long plane ride is a pretty boring thing. Sure, you could get out your laptop and work, or keep handing over your plastic for those tiny bottles of entertainment, but Facebook has another idea -- with Facebook Home and the HTC First you can bring along all your friends. And cats.

While we imagine the average Facebook user's feed will be slightly different (and a lot less safe for work), this is a good ad that gets the idea across. I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more like it.

Source: YouTube

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: AppSales, Goodreads, Epoch and more!

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It's "Apps of the Week" time, and the first weekly post of April is looking to be a good one

If you haven't been keeping up on things, each of the Android Central writers take the opportunity every week to tell you about an app that they've been using regularly on their device. We package 'em up nicely and post them on Saturdays -- Apps of the Week. This week we have a good way to get slick deals on apps (how meta), a way to keep up on your reading, a great new game and a few odds-and-ends.

Hang tight, as you'll be able to see every one of our picks this week after the break. Let's see how they stack up.

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3 years ago

Facebook addresses privacy concerns over Facebook Home

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Facebook answers important user privacy questions. Read them before you install or buy anything.

A lot of folks have serious privacy concerns about Facebook's new Home application. Questions about location gathering, message reading, and the general "safeness" of Facebook tracking what you do on your Android phone. We have our own here as well, and have had plenty of internal discussion.

Facebook doesn't want folks to worry, so they released a privacy FAQ about the new product. It's a short read that everyone who might install the app needs to look at, but here are some highlights:

  • You can use Facebook without using Facebook Home
  • Facebook Home is just another app you install from Google Play. You can uninstall it at any time.
  • Facebook Home collects your Facebook activity, location, Facebook messages, and the apps in your Home app launcher. This data is user-identifiable for 90 days.
  • Facebook can not collect any data outside of the Home app, unless you use the HTC First  -- then it can track what apps generate notifications, but not the content of the notification.

We're not going to judge any of these policies -- that's for you to do. We are going to tell you about them and direct you to the full statement so you can read it and discuss. And you should.

Read Facebook's FAQ on Home and privacy

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