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3 years ago

Smart Camera 2.0 brings together remote shooting and sharing

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A few days before CES 2013 started in earnest, Samsung launched a new app called Smart Camera 2.0. It brings together features from companion apps for their various Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, including remote viewfinder and photo transfer to a mobile device (either automatically or manually).

Only smart cameras made from 2013 onwards will be able to take advantage of the new app, which can be found now in Google Play. Any Samsung smart camera owners out there? How have you found the current handset and tablet companion apps? Are they reliable and useful? If you end up using apps like this a lot, is there any reason to not just get the Samsung Galaxy Camera?

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3 years ago

Dropbox app updated with new photo sharing tools

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The Dropbox for Android app just got a nice little update, and now it's even easier to share a photo or a collection of photos with friends and family. The new tools allow you to create albums from any images inside your Dropbox, and share the created albums through the Android intents system. This means any app that could forward a link somewhere -- Twitter, Google+, Facebook, GMail, etc, -- can now be used to share a folder with your albums or individual pictures inside. 

When the addressee gets your link, they are directed to the Dropbox website to view your photos, or download them to their own Dropbox. While this method is good advertising for Dropbox, it's also a bandwidth-friendly way to share a ton of photos. You can get these features (and the obligatory tweaks and fixes that come with any update) at the link above, or simply check for updates in the Google Play app if you're already using Dropbox.

Source: Dropbox blog

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3 years ago

Developers can now promote apps with localized badges

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Here's a small but really cool customization for app developers that Google just announced: You can now build the Google Play badges (you see them whenever we write about an app) in 47 languages, from Afrikaans to isiZulu. (That's from the top of the list to the bottom.) So instead of just "Android app on Google Play" or "Get it on Google Play," you'll see "Jetzt bei Google Play" (in German) or "Disponibile su Google Play" (in Italian). 

For those of us who are still working on our conjugations, it's kind of cool to play around with the tool and see the translations in real time, too. If your an app developer, give it a whirl!

Source: Android Developer site, via +Android Developers

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3 years ago

Help improve weather prediction with mPing

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Here's a cool little crowd-sourced project from the National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma. (Boomer Sooner!) The "Precipitation Near the Ground" project (aka W-PING) uses reports from civilians (that's you and me) to match against what radar sees. And as noted in the app description, radar doesn't see too well near the ground at long distances, and those snazzy automated sensors that can tell the difference between snow and rain and some dude spitting in the gutter are found only at airports.

That's where you and I come in. If it starts raining or snowing or whatever it does wherever you are (here in Florida it's either "build an ark" or "welcome to Hell"), fire up the app, let it detect where you are, then choose the closest description to what it is you're seeing, particularly with cold-weather storms.

Think of it as a cool way to give a little back to science, when science has given so much to you.

More: The Ping Project; via @jimcantore

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3 years ago

Upcoming Dead Trigger 2 demoed on NVIDIA Project Shield

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We've all been drooling over the NVIDIA Project Shield device, and though its biggest feature will be streaming in games from your PC, there are some very excellent Android games that will take advantage of the fancy new Tegra 4 chip and run well on the Shield, including a mobile version of the first-person mech shooter Hawken, and a sequel to everybody's favorite zombie run-and-gun, Dead Trigger 2.

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3 years ago

Chrome Beta channel now available for Android

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Good news everyone! The Chrome Beta channel for Android kicks off today with version 25.0.1364.8. Like the Beta channel for the computer, it's a preview of features and fixes that has already passed the development channel and is running through the final testing before it makes its way into the final version. That means it's a great way to try out things that may be broken, but still allow the software to work as a whole. Today's release comes with the following bugs:

  • Performance is sluggish, noticeably on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S
  • Frequent freeze on devices with specific versions of Qualcomm GPU driver
  • Text autosizing may break formatting on some sites
  • 164632 - Editing bookmark feature is broken
  • 165244 - Text position handler jumps or disappears when moving
  • 163439 - Clicking on links in yahoo.com not navigating on Nexus 7
  • 166233 - Unable to submit comments on Facebook posts in desktop version of Facebook
  • 165244 - Text handler jumps or disappears when moving
  • 167351 - Youtube video controls are lost after returning from fullscreen video mode
  • 162486 - iframe scrolling broken

Scary, but you get used to it if you run the Beta channel on the desktop. On the plus side, Chrome 25 brings huge improvements in HTML5 support and JavaScript performance, so it's worth it to many.

To get on the Beta track, you'll need to directly click this link, as it's not publicised or available via search in Google Play. It installs along side your current version of Chrome for Android, so you always have a fail-safe. Grab it, and have fun!

Source: Google Chrome Releases

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3 years ago

Angry Birds Space updated with 'Pig Dipper' levels

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Angry Birds Space gets a content update this afternoon. The Pig Dipper update brings 30 new aquatic-themed levels to the popular game, extending its life and keeping players hooked like only Rovio can. The new levels require a bit of a strategy change, as you're now fighting gravity and buoyancy at the same time. 

You can have a crack at the new levels by updating via the Google Play app on your phone or tablet, or if you haven't been sucked into this one yet and want to give it a try, use the link above to the free version. An ad-free version is also available for a buck, and you can get it here. Just watch out for the mermaid -- we hear she is tough.

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3 years ago

Fitbit recruiting private beta testers for Android sync, Galaxy S3 and Note 2 owners only need apply

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With the launch of their latest personal fitness product a few days ago, Fitbit also brought news that syncing with Android devices was finally on the horizon. As such, they're now recruiting for willing volunteers for a private beta test. Initially, only Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 owners need apply, and only users of the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip.

They're also looking for people who will put the application seriously through its paces. Participants need to be able to donate 1-3 hours of time per week to update the developers with issues. Additionally, the key word is private, and all participants will be asked to sign an NDA that they won't share any information outside of the programme. If this sounds like your thing, hit the source link below and send in your application. The beta test will run between Jan. 13 and Jan. 25. 

Source: Fitbit

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3 years ago

Facebook Pages Manager now available in the U.S. and UK

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The Facebook Pages Manager application for Android launched initially last week. Sort of. While the app was no doubts in the Google Play Store, it wasn't actually available in a number of countries around the world, including the U.S. and the UK. As of today, the app is showing an update in the Play Store, but still remains on Version 1.0, but is now available in the U.S Play Store and in the UK too. 

Facebook Pages Manager does exactly what it says on the box. In much the same way the Facebook application enables users to manage their personal profiles, Pages Manager does the same for page admins. Looking through the Play Store comments though, there does seem to be an issue with the notifications -- reports suggest that you simply can't just turn them off permanently. In any case, if this is something you've been waiting on, grab yourselves a copy from the Play Store link above. 

Thanks droid4g32!

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3 years ago

Three UK pushing out Android 4.1.2 update to Samsung Galaxy S3

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The update train for the Samsung Galaxy S3 continues to roll, and next up to push out Android 4.1.2 to the S3 is Three UK. Some users are reporting that they received the update this past Sunday, but Three has officially confirmed that they are indeed pushing out 4.1.2. 

With the update also comes Samsung's 'premium suite' that includes a range of new Touchwiz features, including multi-window. Three says that the update is available to download now via Kies, but an OTA is also rolling out. If you've managed to snag it for yourselves, be sure to share your experiences with us in the comments below or head on into our Samsung Galaxy S3 forums. 

Source: Three UK

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3 years ago

Chameleon Launcher for phones finally shown off on video

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Chameleon Launcher garnered quite a bit of attention when it first launched for tablets. Its widget centric UI may not be for everyone, but it's different, and makes great use of tablet screen real estate. There has been talk of a phone version coming to market, and the developers, Teknision, have recruited for private alpha testers of the product. But, how well will it work on a phone? 

Some of the curiosity is laid to rest, as on the official developer blog the first video footage of Chameleon for phones is shown off. It looks pretty interesting, and might surprise some as to how well it transitions to the smaller screen. They show it running on the Galaxy Note 2 and the Nexus 4, and highlight features such as the scrollable app tray, and folders. 

To get to the phones, you need to skip ahead in the video to 1:52. Before that though, Teknision shows off some new features surrounding folders on the tablet version. 

As we mentioned, Chameleon for phones is in a private alpha testing stage at present, but Teknision hopes to release a public beta to their Kickstarter supporters of the app soon. Additionally, the developers are present at CES 2013 in Las Vegas this week, showing off the product in person.

Source: Teknision

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3 years ago

Firefox for Android updated with better JavaScript performance and more

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Mozilla has updated Firefox for Android, and mixed in with the rest of the changes is a new JIT JavaScript compiler known as IonMonkey, which claims that it will allow web apps and games will run up to 25-percent faster. We all love faster. Of course, that's not the only change under the hood. The browser is now able to be used with the Google Now search widget, meaning if you do a search Firefox is listed as a way to carry it out. Another neat new feature is integration with "Safe Browsing." We've all seen notes from Google that a website we want to visit may be "harmful to your computer", and now that same database is in use in Firefox for Android. There is also a handful of boring but essential bug fixes and tweaks.

Firefox for Android has come a long way, and it's well worth trying again if you were unsatisfied with it in the past. It's becoming my browser of choice on Android for general web-surfing. It's free (of course), grab it at the link above.

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3 years ago

Nuance and ZTE make multi-year deal to bring voice services to devices

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Voice app provider Nuance has signed a multi-year deal with handset manufacturer ZTE to integrate its services into upcoming devices in 2013. Announced at CES 2013, the well-known voice service provider will partner with ZTE to bring better voice control to its "Car Mode" app. The app can be operated completely with voice, not even requiring any viewing of the screen.

You can wake up Car Mode with a wake-up word, and manage everything via voice (input and output) from there. After waking, users can dial contacts and numbers, launch navigation apps, get the local weather and play music on the device. While enabled, the app will also audibly announce incoming caller names as well as read aloud incoming text messages.

This is all necessary technology to help people be as safe as possible when driving with their phones. The new Nuance-enabled Car Mode app will be pre-loaded on ZTE's entire 2013 line of phones, and will offer voice control and feedback in 25 languages.

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3 years ago

Lenovo and Bluestacks partner up, pre-loaded Android apps on Windows 8 PCs

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Lenovo and BlueStacks have come together in a partnership that will see the Android app player come pre-loaded on Lenovo's idea branded consumer PCs. At CES in Las Vegas, Bluestacks is showing off their latest version which is designed and optimized for Windows 8 Ultrabooks, laptops and tablets. The partnership with Lenovo follows similar tie ups with Asus and AMD.

The full press release can be found after the break. 

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3 years ago

Nuance unveils Swype Living Language -- brings crowd sourcing for the keyboard

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Nuance, the folks behind Dragon voice recognition, and of course the Swype keyboard, has announced a new version of Swype beta, complete with a new feature you'll want to check out. They are calling it Living Language, and it takes auto correction and word prediction to a new level with crowd sourced data.

First, let's talk about a few other important, but not quite as flashy, updates to Swype. The correction engine has gotten an upgrade, and the new Smart Editor now analyzes your entire sentence, flagging any errors for correction or suggesting the best substitution based on the context of what you're saying, not just the word order. And now, it can do it in 12 new languages, including Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Malay, Romanian, Slovak, Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian. I'm not a keyboard engineer, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have a feeling building a keyboard that is as complex as Swype for completely different character sets is no small feat. These features and upgrades won't get the glory a new way to personalize the auto correction and prediction experience will, but they are pretty damn important. Especially if it was your native language that was missing.

Those features tie in nicely with the new Living Language feature. How it works is that you can connect to Swype online through a service they're calling Swype Connect, and share your usage data to help improve prediction and auto correction. You can also elect to let Living Language auto update with new crowd sourced words. Languages are funny, and often times you need to learn by listening and talking -- Swype does, too. Yes, people will question how much privacy this gives up (and we imagine it's a good bit) but the service is opt-in both ways. You don't have to contribute or receive updates unless you ask to.

So how's it work? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'm been fiddling with it, and I think you'll like it. The Swyping works as well as it ever did, or possibly better -- I'm not the biggest Swyper out there -- and the prediction and auto correction seems to work as advertised. While I've not had a long time to let it learn from me, I can see a bit of improvement in just a few short days. It's certainly something you will want to try yourself, and you should. My takeaway from using it is that you don't necessarily need to use the swipe, err Swype feature to love this keyboard. I'm going to continue using it for a bit and see how it matches up to the competition.

It's becoming clear that there's two "killer" features a good Android keyboard must have -- Swyping, and a great prediction engine. Swype's new beta offers both. There's a lot of big competition in this space, and Swype is an excellent choice. Hit the break for a handful of screenshots and the press release. You can download Swype by visiting http://beta.swype.com.

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