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3 years ago

Android 4.1.1 - an early look at a compiled build

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As the resident Android Central code-monkey (a badge I proudly wear) I've been running on fumes and caffeine to test out the AOSP 4.1.1 code since it dropped last night. You knew I had to do it, I knew I had to do it, so there was no use fighting it. For the nerdly inclined out there, building it is easy -- just change the branch to 4.1.1_r1 and go. We'll update the tutorial in the forums as soon as we're sure there are no new nuances we need to address. In the meantime, we were curious about the local search "issue" and if Google had made any changes in the code itself to be Apple-certified™.

Building the unedited, bone-stock Android 4.1.1 and using the Google apps from the Google I/O units and their Jelly Bean update, it looks as if on-device search still exists. Our theory (it's always a guess until Big G says otherwise) is that changes to search will be done with a change to the Google Now and Search applications themselves, which are part of the closed-source Google apps. That's why we see no changes here -- we're still using the old ones. This theory was further bolstered when we learned that Sprint removed local search from the Galaxy S III, but it could be restored by using the old search box app. 

There are two things to take away here -- when we see an OTA update for the Galaxy Nexus, Xoom, and Nexus S, we expect a newer set of G apps that remove the local search options, and that it will be easy enough to restore the functionality if you're willing to root your phone. 

I'll keep building and tinkering with 4.1.1, and if I come across any real changes (it seems a bit faster loading apps, but the placebo affect is strong) you'll be the first to know.

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3 years ago

Twitter for Android updated to version 3.3 - adds better search and notification options

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Twitter for Android, the official Twitter application for Android devices has been updated today and the update brings along some pretty awesome new features. The folks at Twitter have been hard at work listening to users and refining the way things work, and attempting to deliver the best experience possible. In trying to do so they have released an update for the Android application, and the update brings the following new and enhanced features.

  • Expanded Tweets: when you view Tweet details containing links to partner sites, you can now see content previews, view images, play videos and more. [this feature is rolling out gradually]
  • Push notifications for Tweets: choose to receive notifications from people you follow anytime they tweet or retweet
  • Improvements to search autocomplete for users
  • Tappable avatars that take you directly to user profiles
  • Many other tweaks, polish, and bug and crasher fixes

The update is pushing its way through Google Play currently, so be sure to check for the update shortly, and as always let us know how you like it! [Download from Google Play]

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3 years ago

Smart Tools turns any Android device into a handyman's best friend

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Your Android device has a ton of sensors - why not use 'em with Smart Tools?

Smart Tools has earned one of the top seller spots in Google Play by offering a whole suite of useful measurement tools for Android devices. These run the gamut of distance, angles, and even sound, vibration, and magnetic fields. Sensors like your Android device's accelerometer, magnetometer, camera, and microphone all act in concert to offer rough measurements, if not clean and precise ones. The developer offers a bunch of these tools stand-alone apps in addition to the single paid bundle for $2.50; the only one that isn't included in the bundle is the Speed Gun, which is available for free separately. 

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3 years ago

Songza updated with suggested playlists

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Songza, a free music service that somehow manages to get away not serving up audio ads, has updated their Android app with a feature called Concierge. Concierge has been available on iOS for awhile, and now Android users can get suggested music based on the time of day. For example, this Tuesday afternoon, the app offers expert-curated playlists for the summertime, needing an energy boost, or work/study music without lyrics. After picking your current situation, you can provide additional criteria to further tailor a playlist to your mood.  

There are a bunch of different ways to explore playlists, including by mood, activity, genre, decade, or tailored based on your listening habits. Songza has all of the other standard features you'd expect from a streaming music app, like marking songs as favorites, and sharing tracks over Facebook and e-mail.

Songza for Android for is optimized for ICS and available for download at the link below. Just keep in mind that though the web streaming service might be available in your area, the mobile app might not be - that's the case here in Canada, anyway. 

Source: Songza Download: Songza

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3 years ago

Sky News app for Android gets updated with better image support for tablets

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This may not be the biggest app update of the year but due to the popularity of the Sky News app I thought it was news worthy.

Todays update brings only one new feature and that is high resolution images for large screen devices. We all know that Android smartphones seem to be getting bigger and with better screen technology. So it makes sense that apps take full advantage of this.

In addition, the update will be perfect for Tablets. With the Google Nexus 7 recently announced and due to hit the shelves this month I suspect that app developers are under the same opinion as me; that the tablet is going to be a hugely popular piece of hardware. Once again, a perfect reason for devs to update their apps to make them look as fantastic as possible on a larger screen.

More information/Download Sky News for Android

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3 years ago

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean released to Android Open Source Project

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Android Open Source Project guru Jean-Baptiste Queru sends word that the new version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean, is being released to AOSP today. This process is the first step in the official release of Jelly Bean, allowing anyone and everyone to download the Android 4.1 source code and compile their own version of the OS. It's also an important milestone towards getting Jelly Bean out there on existing devices. The exact version number that's being released is Android 4.1.1_r1, so it's likely that this will be the final shipping version of Jelly Bean, just as Android 4.0.1 was for ICS. (We're seeing no OTAs on our Google I/O Jelly Bean devices just yet, though.)

The code being published right now includes proprietary binaries that allows Jelly Bean to be built for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7, and Nexus S and Motorola Xoom binaries are promised in the near future. As always, note that this source code is for developers only -- you can't download this and magically get Jelly Bean on your device -- it's a bit more complicated than that. Nevertheless, today's release will be exciting for Android devs and custom ROM enthusiasts, as it starts the process of getting popular custom ROMs merged with the Jelly Bean code, and eventually pushed out to eager ROM flashers.

Source: JBQ on Google Groups

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3 years ago

Official GitHub for Android app released

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If you're a code junkie, then you likely dig around GitHub quite a bit. To take it even further, if you're an Android code junkie you've likely looked in the Google Play Store for a GitHub app and found there was nothing official to be found. That changes now though as GitHub has finally rolled out their own Android app for their services and more importantly, it's built using Open Source projects such as ActionBarSherlock, Android-ViewPagerIndicator, Maven and SyntaxHighlighter. So what all can you do with the app itself? Quite a bit actually:

  • The app features a dashboard for quick access to all your created, watched, and assigned issues so you can always stay connected with the discussion and progress. You can also view and bookmark any repository's issue list with configurable filters for labels, milestones, and assignees.
  • Includes support for working with Issues and Gists as well as an integrated news feed for keeping up to date with all your organizations, friends, and repositories.

Also, in keeping with the nature of GitHub if you're looking for the source code of the app, it's available for viewing and download as well. Code Junkies, you'll find the download below so you can get started.

Source: GitHub Download: GitHub for Android

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3 years ago

Endomondo gets big UI overhaul, smattering of new fitness features

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If you're thinking of getting in shape this summer, Endomondo has just updated their fitness tracking app with a new look and a whole bunch of new features. The tracker in version 8.0 now has a pause state before full stop, since a lot of users were accidentally stopping their workout. The history page now lets you switch between total distance, duration, and calories sorting for days with more than one workout, along with a revamped summary screen for individual workouts. There's now a rating system for routes along friend tracking and records, so you can pick the best places to run, bike, and otherwise burn off calories. The social news feed has been tidied up so it 's easier to see what friends are up to, as well as being easier to drill into their specific profile.

Endomondo is hugely popular among fitness freaks, and even if you're only casual about your exercise regiment, the free version should be enough to keep you on task. Go ahead and get downloading at the link below! If you're still on the fence, check out our review over here.

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3 years ago

LiveShare group messaging app tries to muscle in on crowded turf

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Android already has a ton of different messaging options - what can one more really add to the mix?

LiveShare, an instant messaging and photo sharing app for Android, iOS, and the web, was updated recently with a bunch of new features. 

For one, they're getting cozier with Facebook, so not only can users register for an account through the massive social network, but they can also share pictures from their group conversations to their wall. There's a new activity tab so chatters can see all of the latest conversation updates and photos at a glance. A new contact tab pulls in people from both Facebook and a device's local address book, making new additions easier. Lastly, the whole app got a fresh coat of paint by way of a user interface overhaul.

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3 years ago

We have your invite to the Scope for Android beta!

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Not long ago, Scope for Android (formerly known as SocialScope) entered beta bringing a ton of new features and great updates. This all-in-one social app has support for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and Tumblr. The main home screen lists all your different services, providing each with a colorful icon with which to identify them. It breaks down all your social content into various sub-categories, allowing you to simply swipe between them. Besides breaking it down by service, content can be viewed by type. Scope will highlight any posts that are posting photos, or videos, or check-ins, breaking each off into their own category. 

The only real drawback to the app was that unless you already had an account from being a BlackBerry user or you got an invite from a current user, you were out of luck and left out of the beta. Well, we'd like to help you change that. The awesome team at Socialscope has hooked us up today and is giving 500 of you the chance to join the beta. All you have to do is head over to the Google Play store and download the app. Use the invite code androidcentral and you're in! Invites are on a first come first served basis, so you'll want to hurry and get signed up.

If you're not familiar with Scope or why you would want to be part of the beta, you will definitely want to check out Richard's inside look at the app.

Download: Scope for Android

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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' app picks for July 7, 2012

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Here we are, back again. Another Saturday we get to spend together checking out some of our favorite applications, and sharing them with you. We know you guys have your favorite apps as well, so this week we challenge you to list them out -- we love hearing about the apps folks are using! Let's hit the break and see what we have for you this time around.

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3 years ago

The Amazing Spider-Man slings webs, beats up bad guys on Android

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The Amazing Spider-Man swung into theaters this week, and along with him came an Android game. 

The Amazing Spider-Man by Gameloft follows closely in the spirit of their previous web-slinging title for Android, Total Mayhem - you'll find the same 3D beat-'em-up gameplay, open world exploration, interactive cinematic sequences, and Spidey-sense dodging. 

There's plenty that's new, however - namely, the graphics have had a complete overhaul for the movie and to take advantage of the horsepower in the latest Android devices. There's also an extensive talent tree structure that allows players to unlock new abilities and tailor Spider-Man to their style. 

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3 years ago

Get all hot and steamy in the shower with your Android device - wait, what?

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We can control our music from our Android devices. And our TVs. Open garage doors. Play instruments. And now, control your steam shower. If you've got a ThermaSol ProSeries, you apparently can control the start of your "steam session," including setting the time and temperature, so long as you're connected to your home's router. You also can control light and music settings, and it'll hook up to Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services for your steaming enjoyment. And it'll also run the diagnostic and maintenance features, which we presume is some sort of self-cleaning mode and that it doesn't just call over the local plumber's crack.

We're currently in the midst of a no-holds barred cage match to see who gets to demo this one. Rubber ducky not included.

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3 years ago

YouTube Android Player API finally bringing proper YouTube content to Android apps

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Quick question -- how many of you used the I/O 12 Android application to stream the live developer sessions from Google I/O? If you did, as it turns out, you were taking advantage of a brand new, as yet un-released YouTube Android Player API. The API was 'pre-announced' during one of the YouTube developer sessions, with a full announcement and release in the coming months.

At present, viewing YouTube content on your Android device -- outside of the YouTube app anyway -- isn't a particularly seamless and enjoyable process. There are three ways in which such content can be presented. The first, a browser plugin/flash based embed, but this isn't a true mobile experience, there is no access to the YouTube player API, and suffers when there's no flash of course.

The second -- which we use to embed videos here on AC -- is the iFrame based embed. This does offer access to the player API's, but has to be embedded into a webview, and is un-supported on older versions of Android.

The third way, is to throw in an instruction to open up the content in the YouTube app itself. All well and good, but it's an extra step for consumers, and for developers, it means that those consumers are having to leave your application to view the content.

And that, is where the new YouTube Android Player API will come in. In simple terms, it will allow for a full, native YouTube video experience, right within an application with full player controls to boot.

This sort of integration has been a long time coming, but with the sheer volume of content shared through YouTube today, it's a very necessary step too. No-one likes having to leave an application just to watch a YouTube video.

The API will be optimized for all the form factors that Android supports, mobile, tablet and Google TV, and will support OS versions right back to Froyo. For developers, integration will be made as easy as possible, with the basic code requirement sitting at just three lines. It will provide automatic support for fullscreen and orientation change, and will adjust the quality of the stream based upon the strength of the network connection.

Importantly too, for content providers, the release of this API will allow support for monetized content. Everyone has to earn a few bucks, after all.

The session itself goes into all the nuts and bolts, and you'll find it ready to watch after the break. It's something we know a lot of you will be excited about, just as we are. The ability to play YouTube videos, in line, within the Google+ app -- yes please.

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3 years ago

Ready Steady Bang brings pixelly western shootouts to Android [App Review]

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Ready Steady Bang has made the leap from iOS today, and thankfully left the pricetag behind. 

Ready Steady Bang is a positively charming one-touch western game made by a London design firm called Chambers Judd. The game is a dead-simple test of speed, pitting you in a series of old-timey shootouts with AI-controlled enemies, or against a friend in local multiplayer. 

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