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3 years ago

Opera browser leaves beta, stable version now on Google Play

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New WebKit-powered Opera 14 stable now available for Android

The Opera browser for Android has exited beta and arrived on the Google Play Store as a fully-fledged stable app. The mobile version of the long-running browser is based upon the WebKit rendering engine -- the same software used by the stock Android browser and (for the moment) Google Chrome.

But it's user-facing features rather than technical details that Opera's counting on to help it compete on Android. Speed Dial has long been part of the desktop Opera browser, allowing quick access to frequently visited bookmarks. The "Discover" tab provides a summary of news items. The "Off Road" mode uses data compression to make the most out of slow or expensive connections. And text reflow is included in the initial release, too.

Opera for Android is available now on Google Play at the Play Store link above. If you decide to take it for a spin, be sure to hit the comments and let us know what you think.

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3 years ago

Yahoo announces changes for Flickr, including a new Android app

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Free storage has been bumped to 1TB,  and a new version of the Android app is on the way

EDIT: The update is now live in Google Play. Go get it.

Yahoo is doing more than buying blog platforms today, and during an event in New York they have announced a complete revamp of Flickr. The interface of the website has changed, and now features content blocks and full bleed images instead of the thumbnail or list view of the past. In addition, registered users now have 1TB (as in a terabyte) of free storage space to keep their photos, more than any other online service. That's all well and good, but we're mostly concerned with the update to the Android app.

Last December, the Flickr app for iOS received a nice update, and today Yahoo says the Android app will be updated to the same version. That includes a UI change away from the grid we have now to a more content-focused layout resembling the website, as well as better social sharing through Facebook and Tumblr, photo editing and filters via Aviary, and photo-viewing enhancements like zooming and photo details. The update is expected to go live at any time, so if you're a user be sure to check Google Play for the notification, or try the link above.

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3 years ago

Google+ for Android updated with new photo enhancements, improved location sharing

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Official Google+ app hits version 4.0 with Snapseed photo tools and more

Update: The new version of Google+ is now live!

Following on from the 41 new Google+ features announced at Google I/O last week, Google has unveiled one more to bring the count up to 42 -- a new Google+ app for Android. The new Google+ version 4.0 incorporates many of the photo management and enhancement features of the latest update to G+ on the web. Specifically, Google+ will automatically show you "highlights" of each photo gallery, saving you from digging through large galleries of imperfect shots. It'll also allow you to preview or undo automatic photo enhancements. "Auto-awesome," the tool that lets you create animations or panoramas from still shots, is included as well.

But the biggest news for Google+ photo sharing might be the addition of Snapseed photo enhancements directly within the app. A selection of filters including Drama and Retrolux can be accessed from with in the app, alongside bread-and-butter tweaks like cropping, rotating and exposure changes.

Location sharing is also a bit smarter in Google+ 4.0, allowing you to see friends who are sharing their location directly on a map, in a new "locations" section. Automatic hashtags, added to Google+ on the web last week, makes its way to Android in this latest update too.

Source: Google+ blog

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Hubble Space Center, Sonic the Hedgehog, Field Trip and more!

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A game and a couple of tools highlight this abbreviated list of picks

The combination of Google I/O going on in San Francisco and BlackBerry Live in Orlando this week has our team a little sparse, but we think there are a few great picks to be seen this week regardless. Whether its just four apps or ten, we do our best every weekend to bring you apps that each of the Android Central writers have been using regularly the previous week.

Stick around after the break and see how this week's picks stack up against the rest.

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3 years ago

Hangouts updated to correct tablet compatibility issues

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Nexus 7 and other tablet users can now update to replace the Google Talk app

Following its announcement at Google I/O, the new Hangouts app from Google has had a bit of a rocky rollout to certain devices. Because it replaces a pre-installed system app (Google Talk), there are some complications with pushing an update that makes so many changes. When the app first hit the Play Store many users wouldn't get the option to update, especially if they were on tablets. Google has just pushed out an update today that should fix those issues, making the app compatible with tablets of all sizes.

The app's description has also been updated to note that it is aware of some compatibility issues, and that Hangouts is actually being rolled out over the course of several days. That would explain why some users that were eager to install saw some hiccups. Rest assured that as of now most devices (using Android 2.3 and up) should be good to go with an update from the Play Store directly.

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3 years ago

Pocket Casts updated with improvements and fixes galore

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Continuous playback over notifications and more bug fixes than you can shake a stick at

Since making the move to a completely new design with Pocket Casts 4, a few lingering bugs have been piling up. Those are getting squashed today, along with a few new feature adds, with a big update to the app today. First up, the update brings the option to have playback not be interrupted by notifications, which is still set to be off by default. The sharing menu for podcasts has also received a tweak that gives you three simple options -- email, other apps, copy link -- to cut down on the interface clutter. You can now mark every episode from a certain podcast as "unplayed", and long-pressing on the "next" button will skip to the next item in a playlist.

Some of the big user-facing bugs, such as duplicate episode downloads and action bar bugs that showed extra action buttons have been notably fixed. When episode downloads fail, they now properly show up in the "not downloaded" filter once again. There are also many more back-end issues that have been fixed as well. If you haven't had a chance to see Pocket Casts in action, now may be the time -- grab a download from the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google I/O Hunt is likely the nerdiest scavenger hunt you'll ever see

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Have a little fun discovering hidden clues around Moscone Center

It's not all crazy long keynotes and intense developer sessions at Google I/O, sometimes you get to have a little fun too. Google just published an app called "Google I/O Hunt" in the Play Store today to let attendees of this year's conference have some fun exploring everything around I/O. As the name suggests, this is a scavenger hunt game you play around the Moscone Center to try and find "Alex the Android Dog" by following instructions and finding clues. You'll answer Google trivia questions, scan hidden NFC tags with your phone to get clues and unlock achievements throughout the game.

Now of course you won't be able to play if you're not at Google I/O, but hopefully at least a few of you out there get a chance to see what Google has you running around the conference for. The Google I/O Hunt trail starts off from the Google+ Office Hours counter.

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3 years ago

Original Sonic the Hedgehog now available in the Play Store

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SEGA brings yet another classic Sonic game to mobile devices

Just a handful of weeks after SEGA let everyone know that it would be releasing a natively written version of Sonic the Hedgehog for Android, it has finally arrived in the Play Store. Sonic fans will appreciate that this is the complete original game from start to finish, remastered to make the gameplay experience higher quality. Users will get access to every original level, but with an improved soundtrack and all-together new features like leaderboards, achievements and a Time Attack game mode. A new feature has been added to let players unlock Knuckles and Tails as playable characters through the game as well.

Best of all SEGA is releasing the entire game for $2.99, which is a great price for another iconic piece of classic gaming on your phone or tablet. You can grab a download of Sonic the Hedgehog at the Play Store link above.

More: SEGA Blog

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3 years ago

Pudding Monsters adds 25 new levels in 'Sky View' update

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New levels that will keep the game fresh and let you move mountains

Pudding Monsters, the latest game from the makers of Cut the Rope, is expanding the number of levels it offers today with a new "Sky View" update to the game. Sky View adds 25 fresh new levels with new gameplay and mechanics for everyone to enjoy, whether you're on the paid or free version of the app. Developer ZeptoLab says you'll be introduced to a new character, "Mr. Powerlifter Monster", that will come in handy when moving some mountains in the new levels.

You can grab your download or update to the free version of the Pudding Monsters app from the Play Store link above, or the paid version right here as well.

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3 years ago

Evernote, Twitter and Facebook apps for Google Glass announced

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Major players get official apps for Google's smart glasses

Following the start of this year's Google I/O developer conference, Evernote, Twitter and Facebook have announced official apps for Google Glass. If you're among the lucky few people packing "explorer edition" Glass devices, you can turn on these new applications by heading to your MyGlass page at google.com/myglass and enabling the app you want.

While the Facebook app for Glass is primarily focused on sharing pictures you've taken on the device, the Twitter app offers much of the functionality of a full-blown Twitter app, including the ability to send and receive regular tweets, images retweets and direct messages. (You might remember Twitter for Glass has been rumored for some time.)

Evernote, on the other hand, focuses on quickly added photo or video snippets to your notes, and sending existing notes to your Glass timeline, so it's always within view. These are small first steps, but it's early days for Glass, and we can't wait to see what developers come up with in the months ahead.

If you're rocking Glass already, be sure to hit the comments and share your thoughts on these new apps.

Source: EvernoteTwitter, Facebook

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3 years ago

'SMS integration is coming soon' to Google Hangouts [Updated]

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Update: Dori Storbeck now says Google has "nothing to announce at this time."

Original: If you were wondering why the new Google Hangouts app asked you to confirm your phone number, this might be the reason. Googler Dori Storbeck, Community Manager for Google+ Hangouts and Chat, has confirmed in a Google+ post that SMS integration will eventually be headed to the new messaging app.

Responding to a question about the unification of Hangouts and SMS, Storbeck said "SMS integration is coming soon - it is one of our most requested features!" There's no information on when this feature might arrive, nor what the implications might be for built-in SMS apps. If nothing else, it's another baby step towards the true unification of messaging that Hangouts aims to deliver.

Source: +Dori Storbeck

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3 years ago

Trek Episode Guide warps onto Android

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Star Trek Into Darkness has been in theaters around the globe for a few weeks now, but today brings the first showings in the United States, with a wider release rolling out tomorrow. To celebrate - and to take advantage of the building Trekkie craze - AppGlu today released into Google Play the new Trek Episode Guide.

The free app isn't an official one, but it what it provides is likely far better than an official app could. Late last, CBS Interactive released an official Star Trek PADD database app for iOS and, well, it was a massive disappointment. The database used by CBS was poorly written, occasionally inaccurate, and woefully lacking in detail - and the images offered in the PADD app were likewise poor and typically of a depressingly low resolution.

CBS could have done better, and in spite of lacking some features, AppGlu's Trek Episode Guide does so. Let's get this out of the way to start: Trek Episode Guide doesn't have any form of built-in search, and it's focused solely on - as the name would imply - the episode and movie summaries. Granted, that's still 716 episodes and 12 films. But you can't tap on a character's name and read everything about that character. For a character like Worf, who appeared in 271 episodes across two series, in addition to 4 films, there's a lot to be brought together.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with Hangouts, Google's first step towards unified messaging

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Lots of great new features, but this may not be the unified messaging service some hoped for

We've heard a whole lot about "Hangouts" as a headline feature of Google+ since its launch, but Google is repurposing that branding today for its latest group chat service. There was a whole lot of crazy speculation and expectation leading up to Google I/O about a unified messaging platform from Google, and unfortunately Hangouts just isn't that service quite yet. As if Hangouts coming to phones as an update to the Google Talk app wasn't a good indication, this is more of an instant messaging client then an all-encompassing messaging service.

That being said, if you and the people you talk to most are all-in with Google, this update just gave you a whole bunch of new features. Read on with us past the break for a little introduction to Hangouts, Google's next step in messaging.

More: Android Central @ Google I/O 2013

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3 years ago

Android Studio is what's new in Android development tools

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To build great apps, you need great tools. The folks at Mountain View are giving us those tools

After this morning's epic three-hour Keynote event, it was just a quick trip next door to see Xavier Ducrohet and Tor Noybe give what is always one of the most popular developer sessions of the conference -- What's New in Android Developer Tools. 

If you were paying attention during the Keynote, we got a quick look at Android Studio, seeing how the new IDE can make the life of a hard working Android dev easier. Based on IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio is a free and open source IDE specifically designed for building Android apps. Complete with templates, wizards, and some awesome WYSIWYG-style layout editing, it looks like someone at Mountain View is very serious about devs getting the tools they need.

Eclipse isn't gone, and in fact there's still plenty that has not made it's way to Android Studio just yet. But clearly, this is the future of Android app development. It's great to see the tools developers need to build the next set of great apps! If you're a developer or just want to have a look at things, visit the link below to check out an Earl Access Preview of Android Studio.

Getting Started with Android Studio

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3 years ago

Google Play Books updated with new design, PDF and EPUB uploading

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Keep up to 1,000 of your own PDF and EPUB files in the cloud for free

Caught up in all of the hullabaloo around the keynote, Google Play Books received a notable update in the Play Store to not only bring new UI elements but also a new way to view your own documents. First up is the design, which follows many of Google's latest design principles with a new left edge slide-in navigation panel and high contrast blue and white design. The interface on Play Books has always been simple, but it can't get much cleaner than it is now. You can "Read Now" (remember you can "Listen Now" in Play Music), view "My Library" or go "Shop". Very simple.

The big back-end feature that was enabled by this update is user uploads, which lets you now upload from the web (at play.google.com/books/uploads) or directly from Google Drive any PDF or EPUB document of your choice. Those documents uploaded on the web are then available for sync and download on your phone or tablet to read at any time. Users can store up to 1,000 documents at once with the service, and uploaded documents have their page position, bookmarks and notes completely synced across devices.

Play Books may not be on of the fanciest or most talked-about Google apps today, but these are huge improvements in usability that make the entire Android platform (and Google ecosystem) more compelling.

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