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3 years ago

Is 2013 the year of the smart appliance? LG thinks so, and is bringing them to CES

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LG is a big ass company. Like Samsung, another Korean electronics giant, they make a little of everything -- if you plug it in, chances are LG makes several different models of it. Of course they make appliances, and their new breed of "smart appliances" look to be pretty damn cool if you're an Android fan.

Get your fridge, or oven, or dryer (you get the picture) installed and turned on, then touch your LG Android smartphone to it and the magic of NFC sets it up so that your phone controls your appliance. You have a Smart Control app to use if you like, or you'll be able to use your voice -- "Home-bot, start cleaning" starts up the Roboking cleaning unit, or "Have you got a few minutes, washer?" will tell you the status of the load of laundry you've got washing. As long as you're on the same Wifi network, you're in control.

While it's not quite the level of automation control we see from Hollywood movies, it sounds awful damn cool (and expensive). You bet your ass we're going to look at these next week at CES.

Source: LG (Korea)

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3 years ago

Dailymotion app updated with new UI and features

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Dailymotion Streaming Video, an app that is the second largest video provider on the internet, has just updated its app substantially in both design and functionality. This newest version -- 3.0.1, to be exact -- has a completely overhauled UI that fits nicely into Android 4.0 and above's holo design, taking advantage of the new tabbed interface, overflow settings button and UI fragments.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a lot of new behind the scenes fixes to improve overall responsiveness of the app. The video player is quicker, there's a new offline mode and improved search suggestions. The latest small update brought many bug fixes to keep everything smooth as well. If you want to know a little more about Dailymotion you can take a look at the press release after the break, or just head straight to the app at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

What I used in 2012: Richard Devine

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And so, with 2012 now behind us, the traditional reflection on the year past begins. Being British, last year was pretty memorable -- the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Summer Olympics in London two standout moments. We've also seen the mobile world continue to grow at an incredible rate, as our smartphones and tablets become an increasingly integral part of every day life. 

AC's editor-in-chief, Phil Nickinson, couldn't have put it better -- "In this job, you can't help but be buried in plastic from time to time." It's true of each member of the team. We talk about devices and apps all day every day, but we don't really talk about what we're using in our own, every day lives. It's been a heck of a year in these parts, so click on past the break to find out what I've been using the most during 2012. 

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3 years ago

Nova Launcher updated to version 2.0 with tons of new features

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Popular homescreen replacement Nova Launcher has just hit version 2.0 with a whole bunch of notable feature adds and improvements. The free version gets most of the improvements including custom wallpaper cropping, increased maximum desktop grid size and an infinitely scrolling app drawer setting. There's also a fix to force wallpaper scrolling on U.S. Galaxy SII (S2) variants, as well as a setting to force the phone to keep the launcher locked in memory.

As for the paid "Prime" version, users can now set custom icon sizes and use their swipe actions on any homescreen, rather than just on the main one. You can give the new features a try by downloading Nova Launcher at the Google Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

CM nightlies start the year with a new widget - 'Chronus'

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If you're running CyanogenMod nightlies on your Android device, you'll notice a little something new in this evening's builds. Aptly named Chronus, it's a widget that's a conglomeration of the clock, weather. and calendar, and it's fully customizable. The idea of more information in one widget isn't anything new, but this one looks like it is very well done. Hopefully the clock typography is one of the custom settings.

It will sit happily on either your home screen or lock screen, and display differently based on the size. On your phone, the lock screen widget is like the standard Android clock widget, meaning that you'll need to swipe down to see it all, but on the home screen you can set the size as you would expect. Tablets display the full size lock screen as they do with the standard Android clock.

This is why open-source wins. Google releases a bare-bones version with all the necessary information for folks to take it and create something great from it. For now, you'll need to run a CM nightly to have this one, but we expect someone to pull it out and publish on Google Play for all devices if possible. Be sure to grab tonight's build for your device and check it out.

Source: +David van Tonder

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3 years ago

Falcon updated with YouTube API integration

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One of our favorite Twitter clients for Android, Falcon, updated just in time for 2013 with a bunch of new features. The biggie is that Falcon now uses the fancy YouTube APIs for Android that Google introduced before Christmas, but there are also a few subtle tweaks that have been added, including a spam reporting button, a slider for setting refresh rates, and a logout button. Here's the full changelog for Falcon Pro 1.4.

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3 years ago

What I used in 2012: Simon Sage

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It's time to get up close and personal with the Android Central editors. You get a taste of the apps we're trying on a week-by-week basis, but what about those that actually stay on our phones for the long haul? Given, all of the authors here have wide and varied preferences, but hopefully this series will give you guys an idea of which apps have serious staying power. 

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3 years ago

Notification Weather: an elegant way to check the forecast

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The release of Android 4.1 and 4.2 Jelly Bean brought several improvements to the handling and functionality of notifications. With expandable, actionable and prioritized notifications, developers can manage their apps and take control of what goes on when a notification is presented to the user. Notification Weather, as the name implies, takes advantage of the new notification options in Jelly Bean to elegantly present the weather to you when you drop down the pane.

It seems like everyone's got a favorite weather app loaded on their device already, so does Notification Weather have what it takes to become your new favorite? Read on past the break and see what this one has to offer.

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: What we're using, 2012 edition

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As we close out the year, it's time to take a look back at things. I've never been all that keen on "year's best" lists for applications, though that doesn't mean they don't necessarily serve a purpose. There are so many good apps, so many updates. Instead, I think it's a little more fun to take a look at how each one of us uses our phones and tablets. 

Are they travel companions? I, for one, remember all too well navigating the backwoods (or what seemed like the backwoods) or Louisiana and Mississippi and Georgia and Florida during my school-age years, playing soccer. We did it with maps. On paper. That didn't move. Or update. That any of us made it back alive is a miracle.

What about bedside readers? Does your tablet even make it out of the boudoir? Does it spend as much time (or more) in the bathroom as you do?

I'm always fascinated to read about how folks use their technology, and inevitably I learn a trick or two that I'll want to try as well. So let's walk through what I used in 2012, and how I used it. In the coming days, you'll hear from the other names and faces behind Android Central and see just what it is we use on a daily basis. Want to get in on the fun yourself? Hit up this forum thread and share your stash with the world.

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3 years ago

Amazon's Kindle daily book deals are a great way to build your library

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If you got a Kindle device this year for the holidays, don't forget about the Kindle Store Daily Deals. There are always plenty of books for just $1.99, and they change daily. It's a great way to build your library on the cheap.

You need a Kindle or Kindle Fire to buy them, but once purchased they are in your Amazon account and can be read on any device with a Kindle app. With WhisperSync taking care of your bookmarks, you'll be hard pressed to find a better reading solution anywhere. To find them, just open the Kindle store from your tablet and look for the Daily Deals link on the right. 

You'll always find deals and specials in the music and video store as well, but the Kindle deals are a solid perk for having one of Amazon's tablets. Take advantage of it if you like to read and have a Kindle device. I just picked up William Alexander's "The $64 Tomato" and plan on spending the evening enjoying the warm indoors with it.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: BBC iPlayer, Bloons TD 5, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and more!

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It's Saturday, and that means it's time for the Android Central app picks. We've got another smattering of random apps, games and utilities for your enjoyment here this week. This is our last roundup of app picks for 2012, but fear not, we're coming back stronger than ever in 2013 with more apps for you to check out. See how we did wrapping up 2012 after the break.

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3 years ago

New York's MTA subway data hits Android in beta form

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New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority this week released its "Subway Time" app for iOS, which gives real-time updates for trains in and and around New York City. Need to know how soon a certain train will be at a certain station? That's the app to have. 

Only, we use Android around these here parts. And MTA's not making an app for us. But what it is doing is making the data freely available to anyone -- and we've already seen our first "unofficial" app released in beta. Subway Time for Android, released by The Holodeck, taps into that MTA data and brings a fairly functional app to Android. There are bugs. There are layout issues. But those can be fixed. That we're seeing the app ported over in just a matter of days is proof positive that we're on the right side here, folks. So break out those MTA cards and let's give this guy a go.

More: MTA Developer Resources; Thanks for the tip, @EladKatz!

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3 years ago

Press: Google Reader done right? Or just different?

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Press, a brand new Google Reader news client, has been the focus of the Android app community since its release, being heralded for its great design choices and general ease of use. It certainly isn't the first -- nor will it be the last -- in this arena, but right now its one that has everyone watching, and early indications are that it's living up to the hype.

Do the design and features offer enough of a draw to pull you away from another reading app of your choice? Stick around after the break and see if Press is worth your consideration.

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3 years ago

Google Music scan and match only adding clean versions of songs

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It seems that users taking advantage of Google Music's new scan and match feature aren't always getting exactly what they expected added to their music libraries. The new feature, which launched in the U.S. just a week ago, lets users bypass uploading of new music by instead "matching" the music on the user's computer with the same file in Google Music automatically. That's all fine and dandy if it works, but users are reporting that songs with explicit lyrics are having the clean versions of songs added instead. This doesn't come as a complete surprise considering the same reports came out when iTunes started its own matching service, but this still shouldn't be happening.

Whether its because of a licensing shortcoming or technical issue with identifying music, we hope that Google can get this one figured out. Users with explicit music usually have it for a reason, and don't really want it replaced erroneously because a service isn't operating properly.

Source: Droid Life

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3 years ago

Bluestacks for Mac now in beta

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Here's a quick heads up for those of you who just have to run the occasional Android application siloed on your computer -- Bluestacks is now in beta for Macs. If you're new to Bluestacks, the idea is that it works as a sort of an emulator for Android apps -- some 750,000 of them, actually -- giving you full control with a keyboard and mouse. And while your experience may vary a little bit depending on hardware, it's actually a really good implementation, though it's not necessarily the quickest to load. 

There's also the argument that it's a little silly to use apps like Facebook and Instagram as an Android app on a desktop, but whatever. It's still pretty damn cool, especially for games.

So, go get the Mac beta if you want to give it a go, and remember that there's a Windows version available, too.

Download: Bluestacks

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