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3 years ago

Jelly Bean update coming soon to a Droid 4 near you


Update: Updated information from Verizon actually pegs the update as pushing out in phases, beginning Tuesday March 19. Even better news!

Those of you rocking a Droid 4 might want to gather round at this point. Seems Verizon has approved a pretty special software update for the QWERTY slider that will bump it up to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and all the goodness that comes with it. 

The rollout hasn't actually got underway yet, nor do we know exactly when it will. But, support documentation over on the Verizon website confirms the bump to Jelly Bean so Droid 4 owners will soon be able to experience that buttery smoothness of Project Butter and of course, Google Now. 

Aside from bumping up to Android 4.1, the update package will also include some device specific improvements. These include improved voice and data connectivity, improvements to mobile hotspot connectivity, and the removal of the pre-loaded MOG and Sling applications. 

Droid 4 owners will naturally be excited by this, so be sure to head on down to the Droid 4 forums to share it with us all. 

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Grand in India seeing Group Play update pushing out


The Samsung Galaxy Grand is an interesting device. Despite having a 5 inch display -- the current standard for the high-end -- the Grand is definitely aimed at the mid-range market. It carries all the software bells and whistles of the current lead devices in the Samsung stable, with Android 4.1.2 and the latest version of Touchwiz, but has a dual-core CPU and a WVGA display. But, in India, the Galaxy Grand is reportedly seeing an interesting new update pushing out. 

The small OTA, weighing in at just 27.86MB, brings with it a version of the new Group Play feature recently announced on the brand new Galaxy S4. We've previously heard that Samsung plans on bringing elements of the Galaxy S4 software to the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 in particular, but that a mid-range device such as this is seeing some love is fantastic news. 

Group Play on the Galaxy Grand allows users to share music, documents and videos across devices when connected to the same WiFi network or via WiFi direct. 

Anyone out there snagged this update for themselves? Be sure to hit up the comments below and share it with us. 


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3 years ago

Gmail updated with actionable notifications for Jelly Bean users


Google has just updated its Gmail app to include new actionable notifications for incoming email on devices running Jelly Bean. This means that incoming email can be archived, deleted or replied to directly from the notification pane, rather than by entering the app first. Since being introduced in Android 4.1, actionable notifications have been seemingly underutilized compared to simple expandable notifications. It's good to see Google putting the new functionality to use in its own apps.

Many users are unfortunately reporting that this update to Gmail is causing Light Flow -- which controls LED flashing for notifications -- to crash uncontrollably. The only fix seems to be to uninstall the app for the moment, and hopefully the developer can be quick with a fix.

The update also enables faster search on devices with Ice Cream Sandwich, and performance improvements for users on Froyo and up. You can grab a download or update of the official Gmail app from the link above.

Source: Official Gmail Blog

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3 years ago

T-Mobile LTE network ready for late March, Galaxy Note 2 update starting today


T-Mobile has previously stated that its LTE networks in Las Vegas and Kansas City are complete, and now it's saying that the network is ready to launch for consumers by the end of March. Testing the new network via a local macro site with no other users on it, the speeds seem to fall right in line with what we've seen from other carriers. Keeping in mind that these are pretty much maximum theoretical speeds, LaptopMag was averaging downloads in the 30 to 50 Mbps range and uploads in the 20 to 25 Mbps range.

The nation's fourth-largest carrier is hoping to have the network launched in "late March", so we should be seeing more official announcements soon. Following the same line as before, T-Mobile says that its new LTE network will cover 100 million people by mid-2013.

Coinciding with this announcement, the carrier has started pushing out an update to its Galaxy Note 2 that enables the use of LTE. The T-Mobile support site indicates that the T889UVBMB4 update is pushing out both OTA (Over The Air) and via the Kies desktop software. At this point in time, the only two supported LTE devices announced for T-Mobile are the BlackBerry Z10 and the updated Galaxy Note 2.

Seeing the update on your Note 2 yet? Head to the forums and let other members know your experience.

Source: T-Mobile Support; LaptopMag
More: T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 Forums

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3 years ago

Google Drive wonky? You're not alone


Google Drive has an issue, Google says this morning. And ... that's it. Fact is it's slow as hell on the web -- if it loads at all -- and mobile's only slightly better.

Google now says service should be restored by 1 p.m. EDT. Here's the official word:

Google Drive service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users within the next 1 hours. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change.

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3 years ago

Bowling Blocks: physics puzzle fun


We're always on the lookout for well-made puzzle games and time-wasters, and Bowling Blocks hits that area perfectly. It's a game that's low on frills but has a solid set of fundamentals and an original gameplay idea. The graphics are funky and unique, with a fitting soundtrack that ties it all together as well.

While it's certainly fun, it's also a little physics lesson every level. Hang around after the break to see what Bowling Blocks is all about.

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3 years ago

Pocket Tanks: classic arcade tank battles


Games like Pocket Tanks have been around in some form or another for decades, on who knows how many platforms. Pocket Tanks itself has been around since 2001, and is now bringing a little slice of nostalgia to Android. The game certainly looks like it is over 10 years old but plays smoothly like a game that was made today -- and best of all is free to play.

Jump into our time machine after the break and check out Pocket Tanks for Android.

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3 years ago

Feedly sees 500,000 new users since Google Reader closure announced


The news that Google Reader is to be closed down for good later this year has hit a lot of us really hard. For many it's the go-to way of getting their daily news fix, and for others -- including everyone on staff here -- it's an integral tool to help us get through the working day. There will be alternatives, but we will miss Google Reader. 

One such alternative is Feedly, and the team has announced a huge influx of new users. In the first 48 hours since the announcement by Google, Feedly has seen 500,000 new Google Reader users join their ranks. Not bad numbers, considering the service is supposed to be in decline. Feedly also has clients for iOS, Chrome, Safari and Firefox, so it's got a big chunk of the bases covered. The reason behind the influx is most likely the fact that Feedly is developing their own system to transition Google Reader users over seamlessly when turn off day finally arrives. 

Feedly has also announced how they're coping with the increased user base, including massively increasing their bandwidth and adding new servers. And, if you're all about function and less about fashion, the Feedly team has also written up some sweet tips on how to make it less pretty and more functional. Great stuff. 

Source: Feedly

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3 years ago

iRig Recorder for Android now available from Google Play


IK Multimedia first announced that their iRig Recorder app would be coming to Android back at CES in early January. Back then, we were told to expect it to land by the end of January. All went quiet, January became a memory, and the app never appeared for download. Better late than never though, iRig Recorder is now available as a free download from the Google Play Store. While the app is free, full functionalities can be unlocked for the one time fee of $4.99.

Besides being a full featured recording and editing app, iRig Recorder is compatible with the existing iRig hardware, previously only supported by iOS devices. Accessory makers have been notoriously slow to adopt Android, but the arrival of the iRig suite of audio equipment and the Recorder app is fantastic news for anyone who needs to make good quality recordings on the go.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: The Walking Dead, MightyText, Feedly and more!


Things around here have been pretty busy (if you haven't noticed) because of the Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement, but we still managed to get together some great app picks for you. This week is a little utility-heavy, as we have a great crop of apps that will help you get things done. There's still a couple of fun ones thrown in though, naturally.

Hang around after the break and see how our app picks stack up this week.

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean update rolling out for European LG Optimus L9


The LG Optimus L9 was introduced to European markets in the second half of last year as the then newest member of the Optimus L-Series of devices. We first went hands with the LG back at IFA 2012 in Berlin, we found a surprisingly nice mid-range device. Since launch, the L9 has been running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, but now it seems that European owners are getting a Jelly Bean flavored treat on their devices. 

According to reports, the update to Android 4.1 is rolling out in the Baltics region, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and for the European Open devices. It can be downloaded via the LG Update Tool as well as OTA, but it's a pretty weighty one coming in at 575MB. What's more is the relative speed at which this update has appeared. LG traditionally isn't too good with software updates, but the L9 has received Jelly Bean now within six months of the device's launch. Still not amazingly fast, but given LG's record it's still pretty impressive. 

Source: XDA via GSM Arena

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3 years ago

Facebook updating their Android app outside of Google Play for some users


For the past couple of days users have been seeing a download notification for a new Facebook build (140579 or 141046). The notification would get stuck for many folks, and reboots or battery pulls just caused another notification and stuck download. The whole thing pretty much acted like a clunky, amateurish malware attack.

It's not. The update is legit, and from Facebook. They are pushing out an update outside of the Play Store (which is a direct violation of the developer agreement, by the way) to some users to test new features. If you have the setting checked to allow installations from unknown sources (sideloading) you might have seen this. You also might still be stuck fiddling with the notification that won't go away. To fix that, hook up with some Wifi -- Facebook won't download the update while you're using your data connection.

Let's ignore that Facebook may be breaching their developer agreement. Lets also ignore that they are silently pushing software to a users phone, when that user is unaware and didn't ask for it. We'll also overlook the way Facebook thinks all Wifi is free and unlimited. But we can't overlook the fact that they let this go on for three days and still haven't posted a little something to their blog or dropped a little blurb in the Google Play app description to let the users -- you know, the ones who are worried what the hell this fake Facebook download is doing -- know what was going on.

Anyhoo, if you see the notification about it, just turn on your Wifi and it will overwrite your current Facebook app with something -- nobody knows exactly what, because Facebook hates change logs, too -- newer, and hopefully better.

Via: The Verge

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3 years ago

Pocket Casts hits v4.1 with new dark theme, various playback improvements


Pocket Casts just received an update to version 4.1, bringing a new "dark" theme and several notable playback improvements. Even though it just recently made the major jump to version 4 with a complete redesign, the updates don't stop there. Version 4.1 has a new dark theme, which should be easier on the eyes when viewing in dim environments and generally just please the crowd that likes a darker UI. On the playback side, v4.1 adds global playback speed options, set "start from" times for episodes, larger buttons and various other little fixes.

If you haven't taken a look yet, the new and redesigned Pocket Casts 4 is certainly worth consideration. You can grab a download from the Play Store at the link above, and stick around after the break for a quick side-by-side comparison of the light and dark UI.

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3 years ago

Beam Player: simple, clean folder-based music player


There are countless music players out there offering buckets of features and flair, but sometimes you just want a basic app to play music from a folder structure. Beam Player fits the bill for this use perfectly, and doesn't go over the top on design or unnecessary features either. Best of all it's holo, tablet responsive, and has great widgets and notification controls.

Hang with us after the break to see more of what Beam Player has to offer as a simple music player.

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3 years ago

Press plans to continue development post Google Reader shutdown


One of our favorite Google Reader clients, Press, released an update to its app today explaining that it plans to continue development after Reader shuts down on July 1, 2013. First and foremost, Press is not shutting down when Google Reader goes away. The team is already looking into another backend syncing solution, which will ideally be cross-platform one. Noting that they, too, just found out yesterday about the shutdown, they state:

"We have used RSS for many years and believe it's a powerful and efficient way to follow your favorite websites. We're absolutely committed to keep working on Press. We've poured a lot of time and energy into it, and we love our app."

Press isn't alone in their search for a new platform to provide cross-platform RSS news syncing. There are dozens of popular news readers and podcast managers that rely on Google Reader as a syncing platform that will all be either shutting down or looking for a new means to keep going.

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