Headlines

3 years ago

Samsung TecTile app bumped to version 3.0

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Samsung has updated its TecTile app to add more features like batch actions and the ability to set tags to private.

The mobile app is meant to program Samsung TecTile NFC hardware tags that can be used to automate tasks. Users can tap their phones on tags to perform common tasks. You can launch a running app and the music app before a workout, for example, or tap one by the bedside to mute the ringer and launch the alarm clock app.

The TecTile tags were first released in June, together with the launch of the S3 to show off its NFC capabilities. The version 3 update accompanies the entrance of the Galaxy Note 2 on U.S. shores, and brings a number of new features.

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3 years ago

Nuance launches Siri-esque Dragon Mobile Assistant

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Today Nuance kicked off the beta for a new app called Dragon Mobile Assistant. It lets users talk to their phones in a natural human voice for a variety of tasks, including booking calendar appointments, dictating messages, updating Facebook and Twitter, getting GPS directions, finding businesses, and checking the weather. It even has an S-voice style audio wake-up command so you don't have to press a button to initiate a query. Sure, Personal Assistant has a lot in common with Dragon Go, but this is packaged in a way to more directly offer an Android version of Siri. 

Nuance is in a good spot for launching a voice activated personal assistant given its pedigree (especially now that they've acquired Vlingo), but it's hardly the only show in town. A small start-up called Maluuba has a very sharp-looking app that focuses on specific silos of content. Of course Samsung's S-voice is an option on pretty much all of their newer phones, plus the latest version of voice search built into Jelly Bean can handle a lot. There's Evi, though it wasn't particularly great the last time we used it.

Dragon Personal Assistant is free, but it's only available in English in the U.S. for devices running Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0. They're expecting to launch more broadly before the end of the year, at least. Which voice-activated personal assistant do you use on Android? Are there any that are fast enough to be more practical than just typing in a query or manually navigating to something on your device? How do you think these options stack up against what's available on iOS?

Source: Nuance

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3 years ago

Beach Buggy Blitz updated, sheds Tegra exclusivity in the process

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Vector Unit, developers of such titles as Riptide GP and Shine Runner really outdid themselves with their latest title Beach Buggy Blitz. A completely free, yet completely amazing game, the only downside was that you needed a Tegra device to play it. Well, everyone else now has cause to celebrate. The latest update to Beach Buggy Blitz brings it to non-Tegra devices. 

Compatible with "most modern Android devices," you'll still need to try it for yourselves to be sure. But, since it's free, that's not too much of a hassle. 

For those of you who've been playing Beach Buggy Blitz for a while, there's some additional treats on board. As we approach Halloween, we get 2 new characters and a special, Grim Rod, car available too. There's also a coin doubler added to the in game purchases, along with a smattering of performance and bug fixes. 

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3 years ago

Foursquare app updated with new check-in UI

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The Foursquare app has been improved quite a bit in the last few months, moving to a new, cleaner UI that got rid of some of the confusion. Today it is receiving another small update to improve one aspect of the app, the check-in screen. The update gives the check-in area a cleaner UI, with a simple set of toggles next to the text box to manage sharing (now how about Google+ sharing?) and a single button to mention any Foursquare friends that you're with.

If there's one area of the Foursquare app to get right, this is it. You can grab the Foursquare app from the Google Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

CoPilot Live switches to Google search, adds additional Android integration

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  The CoPilot Live GPS navigation app has been recently updated with a whole bunch of new features. High on the list is the replacement of Bing with Google search, and some deeper digging into the native Android experience, such as being able to launch directly into a navigation query from an address in an e-mail. The full changelog for CoPilot Live 9.3 reads: 
  • Free map update – the latest NAVTEQ street maps
  • Google search – CoPilot’s Local Search is now powered by Google
  • Android integration – allowing tasks such as navigating to an address in an email
  • New info display – including Current Road
  • Themes – four new free colour schemes are available*
  • Drive for a cause – a paid-for pink theme in support of Breast Cancer Awareness (all proceeds go to charity)*
  • Numerous user interface enhancements

The uber-expensive European versions have been updated, as well as the bare-bones free version, though the South Africa, New Zealand, and Australian versions are still a bit behind. We've got a full review of t CoPilot Live here, and will have a Q&A with the devs going up sometime this week. 

Anybody using CoPilot regularly? How does it fare compared to the core Google Maps experience? Is there any room for third-party GPS apps when Android provides a fairly robust one out of the box? 

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3 years ago

Xbox SmartGlass second screen experience coming to Android in early 2013

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Today Microsoft expanded SmartGlass for Windows Phone, which promises to easily share web, music, movie, and game content to (and from) your TV through an Xbox. Though Windows Phone is predictably getting first stab at the service, it looks like Android phones running 2.2 and up have been able to try out the SmartGlass app since the launch of the Xbox Live beta in August. A full release of SmartGlass for Android is due early next year, according to a recent statement from Microsoft. Whether or not Xbox Music is following the same timeline is anybody's guess. 

As is, the My Xbox app already offers a bit of interplay between Android devices and the big screen, though like beta SmartGlass app, there's no tablet-optimized counterpart yet. Presumably SmartGlass will simply just be an update to that existing app. SmartGlass promises to offer quite a few handy functions, including music playback control, voting on the outcome of live sports, actors on-screen during movies or TV shows, and context-sensitive information for tailored video games. Dance Central 3 and Forza Horizon are some of the games that have been demoed using SmartGlass, though we can expect quite a few more in the future. 

One of the more subtle features I'm looking forward to in SmartGlass is being able to use the native system keyboard on my mobile to type into Xbox. Moving around a big virtual keyboard with the d-pad on the big screen has been an age-old thorn in the side, and I'm way too much of a controller purist (or cheapskate) to buy one of those hardware keyboards. Hopefully it's usable throughout the Xbox experience and not just within the few content silos described by Microsoft. 

For more info on the launch of SmartGlass and a few other new services, check out the Microsoft blog post or hit up the video demo below. Gamers, would you consider a switch to Windows Phone knowing that it would play more nicely with your Xbox than an Android device? Will the Android version of SmartGlass be perpetually worse than that on Windows Phone?

Via: Pocket-Lint

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3 years ago

'My Xperia' trademark filing points to possible Sony cloud service

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A trademark filing by Sony Mobile suggests the company may look to launch its own mobile-centric cloud service in the future. Sony has applied to trademark the term "MyXperia" at the European OHIM (Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market), and the listing is available online for all to see. 

The trademark application lists a number of mobile-based services for MyXperia, including “upload, storage, retrieval, download, transmission and delivery of digital content and media." That's a fairly vague definition, but it points to a possible proprietary Sony cloud service for exchanging photos, music and other data between Xperia phones and other devices.

Previously, Sony Mobile has relied on a partnership with Box.net to bring cloud storage to Xperia smartphone buyers.

The company also owns MyXperia.com, though currently that hosts nothing more than a nondescript login page.

With more and more mobile device manufacturers -- including Android giant Samsung -- getting into the cloud storage game, we wouldn't be too surprised to see MyXperia making an appearance on upcoming 2013 Xperia phones. Precisely what form it'll take, though, will remain to be seen.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

Google Wallet coming to the MetroPCS Galaxy S3

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The Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) has just gone out to MetroPCS stores for widescale availability, so it's fitting that the official Google Wallet twitter account has just confirmed that the device will be compatible with Google's NFC payment system. Galaxy S3 users on the regional carrier will now be able to download the Google Wallet app from the Play Store directly, and have it work at any of the thousands of stores where Google has implemented its Google Wallet payment terminals.

We're happy to see more and more devices supported officially by Google Wallet, especially the more popular ones like the Galaxy S3.

Source: Google Wallet (Twitter)

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3 years ago

LG Lucid and Spectrum get ICS update

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Verizon has announced that they're rolling out Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the LG Lucid and LG Spectrum. We had already heard that the Spectrum would be getting an update soon, so this doesn't come entirely as a surprise. If the details are hazy on those devices, you can check out our reviews of the Lucid and the Spectrum when they still had Gingerbread. 

Of course, owners might be a little sour that the update isn't for Jelly Bean, but one can only imagine that LG and Verizon a little busy trying to make sure the latest devices have the newest updates. Any Spectrum or Lucid owners out there get their update yet? Will ICS be good enough to tide you over until your next phone, or are you going to find a custom JB ROM to stay with the times? 

Source: Verizon

More: LG Spectrum forums

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3 years ago

BeyondPod updated with Jelly Bean fixes and UI improvements

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One of the front runners in podcast apps, BeyondPod, received a notable update in the Play Store today. The bulk of the changelog is focused on improvements in UI and usability, which is always welcome. The general player and playlist UI has received a bit of polish, with better use of gradients and shadowing to properly highlight unplayed shows. Additionally, the player notification -- provided you're on Android 4.0 and above -- has received a facelift, offering better playback controls. Under the hood improvements in streaming, downloading and bug fixes are also included.

While BeyondPod is powerful, it sometimes runs into a predicament, walking the line between offering a lot of functionality and being overwhelming with too many options. This update works to help with that problem, making some of the UI elements more intuitive.

More: Full changelog

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3 years ago

Modern Combat 3 goes international on Major League Gaming, celebrates with 99-cent sale

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Shooter game fans will be happy to hear that Gameloft's big-name title Modern Combat 3 is on sale today for a buck to commemorate its international launch on Major League Gaming. Unfortunately, Gameloft's other MLG title, N.O.V.A. 3, isn't on sale, but the competition for it is open internationally now as well. The first rounds started off in mid-August, but were limited in geography. Since then, they've been dishing out $250 first place prizes every two weeks or so, with $150 going to second, $50 to third, and an extra $50 to the top Xperia player. Players can link up their Gameloft and MLG accounts so stats get recorded quickly and accurately. 

Mobile has been skirting around this competitive circuit for awhile now, thanks in no small part to Sony since the launch of the Xperia Play and the PlayStation Mobile brand. Gameloft has been pushing their two big-name titles to the forefront of mobile MLG, and thanks to them we could in time see an interesting new segment of hardcore video gaming emerge. No doubt the upcoming Heroes of Order and Chaos will follow closely in the competitive footsteps of League of Legends and Dota 2. 

Any gamers out there play competitively on other platforms? Maybe some StarCraft II, or Counter-Strike? Anyone interested in getting involved with MLG can hit up their mobile site. Modern Combat 3 is on sale for today only, so get downloadin'

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3 years ago

Camera Zoom FX app updated with UI overhaul and new features

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One of the more popular photography apps on Google Play, Camera Zoom FX, has been updated with a brand-spanking-new user interface, and a whole bunch of new features. Here's the partial changelog for version 4.0.

  • Portrait mode
  • Brightness, exposure, ISO, metering
  • Horizon indicator
  • Stable indicator
  • Golden spiral grid
  • Pinch zoom
  • Prevent screen timeout
  • Light leaks + bokeh
  • New frames: elegant
  • Video switch
  • H/W acceleration
  • Support for xhdpi
  • New custom actions
  • Flip photo

It sounds like the performance has improved significantly, and that's a long list of new features. Any Camera Zoom FX fans out there digging the big update? Which photography apps are you using these days?

Thanks Phil!

More: Weekly photo contests

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3 years ago

Google Wallet site hints at possible multi-platform future

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Google’s teasing a new version of its Google Wallet over on the official site, and what's interesting is it might finally be rolling out to non-Android devices.

Upon requesting an invite on the site, you're prompted as to whether you’re using an Android, iOS or “other” device. Can we expect Google Wallet to become more ubiquitous, or perhaps see it in a version for iPhones, BlackBerry devices or Windows Phone?

This could allow you to bring your Google Wallet across different devices. The upcoming Windows 8 phones from HTC and Nokia will bring NFC capability too, although that leaves the iPhone 5 out of the tap-to-pay game for now. Maybe Google Wallet for Apple devices will help with the shopping online part of the story, or replace the Passbook app’s ticket collection function.

Then again, it's possible Google is just gauging interest from users on different platforms. We'll keep you posted on any further developments. In the meantime, hit the comments to share any speculation of your own.

Source: Google Wallet, Thanks, Eli Fried!

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week - Max Payne Mobile, History Here, Funky Smugglers and more!

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We're getting into that time of year when device rumors are swirling, but when it comes down to it we still care about finding the best apps in the Play Store for your enjoyment every week. When we find 'em, we let you guys know. We've got a couple games (as usual) and some utility apps for your enjoyment. Read on past the break to see how we've done this week.

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3 years ago

LG Spectrum Ice Cream Sandwich update imminent

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One of Verizon's many mid-range LTE phones from early this year, the LG Spectrum (remember that one?), is poised to receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich soon. The update to software version VS920ZV7 will bring the device up to Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, and include many of the features and design that we've seen on other recent LG devices. The support page notes that a couple Verizon "enhancements" will be coming with the update as well -- Verizon Remote Diagnostics and a Viewdini app.

The Verizon support PDF doesn't indicate a specific date for when the update will be rolling out, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the users in the forums will be talking about it the moment it starts.

Source: Android Central Forums; Verizon (PDF)

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