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3 years ago

Google introducing confirmed clicks into all mobile advertising banners

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Mobile ads are sometimes really, really annoying, but they serve a purpose -- devs got to get paid. However, perhaps the most frustrating  thing of all is when you accidentally tap on an ad banner, soon finding yourself nowhere near the app you were in. Google is putting an end to that today, with the announcement that confirmed clicks are to be implemented into all in-app image advertising banners on smartphones. 

It's incredibly simple, but sure to delight users around the globe. From their research, Google has deduced that the biggest majority of accidental clicks occur around the outer edges of the banners. So, going forward, taps in these areas will prompt a confirmation button to appear before heading out to any related websites. Google claims it will be good for the companies that are buying advertising, as they will be getting valuable clicks for their money instead of a number of people who didn't really care much for the advertised product or service. 

And, of course, it's fantastic news for us, the end user. People still get paid, and we lose a big source of frustration. 

Source: Google Mobile Ads Blog

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3 years ago

Elf on the Shelf gets a new Android game

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The Elf on the Shelf is everywhere. That's kind of the point, right? It bounces around various spots in your home until Christmas, keeping an watch on who's naughty and who's nice, reporting back to Santa each night before staking out a new hiding place. You can't hop on Facebook or Instagram or walk through a store without seeing one of these things.

And, yes, the Elf has an app. A game, actually, with the slightly double-entendre'd title of "Slide n' Glide." (Remember, even Santa has a naughty side, too.) The premise is you move the Elf to determine how far a package will fly off a chute and onto a platform. Get all the presets loaded, and you move onto the next level.

More: See other Android kids games

It's a simple (and free!) game, and adults won't get much out of it. But your kids? Chances are we just found another reason they'll be fighting you for the phone. (Plus there are more than Slide n' Glide available.) We've got some demo video on a Galaxy S3 (the game apparently is having issues on some phones) after the break.

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3 years ago

Google reportedly not keen on building out apps for Windows

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Google is gradually building out its apps portfolio for non-Android platforms, notably iOS. In recent months -- and since being pulled from the platform at OS level -- we've seen Google release dedicated YouTube, GMail and now Maps applications for Apple's mobile OS. But, what about Windows? Windows Phone 8 is gathering momentum, and Windows 8 will eventually be on billions of machines worldwide, or so you'd think, surely the next investment of time for Google? 

Not so, it seems. Clay Bavor, a Google Product Manager, went on record speaking to V3 about where the future may lie for Google expanding their apps to the latest Windows platforms: 

We have no plans to build out Windows apps. We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8. If that changes, we would invest there, of course

Ouch. It all makes perfect business sense of course, if there's no market, Google wouldn't target it. Both platforms are in their infancy, and we'd expect -- from Windows 8 especially -- increased user numbers to come with time. But, we all know the best way to get the best Google experience on our devices, right? 

Source: V3 via WPCentral

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3 years ago

Football Manager Handheld 2013 released into Google Play for $9.99

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Football Manager is the premier desktop soccer football management simulation game, with millions buying it every year. Last year, Sega brought the title to Android for the first time, in the form of Football Manager Handheld 2012. That was then, and this is now, and the latest version is here. And, it's called -- you guessed it, Football Manager Handheld 2013. The price isn't cheap, and as with last year will cost $9.99 or £6.99 depending where you are. 

With a new year comes new stuff, the first of which is in-app purchases. The very thought of in-app purchases in a game that costs $10 is difficult to get your head round, but the idea kind of works. In the same way as the real football world works, if you splash the cash, you can attract wealthy investors and improve your stadium quicker. There's also 'fresh challenges' available for purchase should you ever require them. It's still difficult to swallow though having dropped all that money for the game in the first place.

Other new features for 2013 includes additional leagues -- we now have leagues for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland -- media improvements, player photos, player comparisons and form updates, and of course the full licensed information for the 2012/13 season. There's no MLS included though, so American managerial wannabe types will have to make do with teams from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Wales in addition to the two new Irish leagues. 

Best of all, the file isn't huge -- although there is a first time download file you'll have to get -- and it's available to anyone using Android 2.2 and above. 

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3 years ago

Google releases its Zeitgeist 2012 'Year-in-Review' app

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There's just over two weeks left in 2012, and that means every major site and service is doing some kind of "year in review" feature. There's one company that has some of the most interesting data to analyze though, and that's Google. The search giant has packaged up all of its search data and insights from 2012 and released an app to let Android users have a look. The app itself is functional and works just fine, but what's cool is everything inside.

You can choose to view a "Global Top 10" or just United States lists, but in either case you get a breakdown of the top 10 searches in different categories. There's News, Pop Culture, Fashion, Lifestyle, Science, Tech & Gadgets (several Nexus entries here), Sports, Humanities and Cities available -- each having more granular categories within. There's also a pretty great video that gives you a look at the year all in one quick summary.

This is definitely worth a look in both the app and on the web. You can find the former at the Play Store link above, the latter at the source link below.

Source: Google Zeitgeist 2012

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3 years ago

Foursquare update improves 'explore' interface

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With the last update to Foursquare we saw improvements to the usability of the "Check In" UI, and now it is improving the "Explore" tab to follow suit. When searching a location or type of establishment, you'll be greeted with a friendlier UI that shows off pictures and a preview of the place right in the results. If you tap into a specific place, you can now swipe through user-submitted photos and relevant information like address and phone number as well.

The interface is very user-friendly while remaining dense enough with information that you feel like you're getting what you want out of it. We have a couple screenshots of the UI for you after the break, and you can grab a download at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City now available on Google Play

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We knew it was coming and now after a slight delay thanks to a proclaimed early listing and some pesky XAPK errors, it has finally arrived. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has landed in the Google Play Store and is ready for download. Rather than a straight up port of the original, Rockstar Games has redone the game as part of their 10 year anniversary celebrations and as such have included high res graphics, customizable control layouts and improved targeting as well as a slew of other enhancements:

  • Massive campaign with countless hours of gameplay
  • Compatible with the MoGa Wireless Game Controller and select USB gamepads
  • Integrated with Immersion tactile effects
  • Tailor your visual experience with adjustable graphic settings

In addition to all of that love, supported languages include English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Japanese so that people around the world can check out the mobile version. If you're looking to pick up Grand Theft Auto: Vice City the pricing is set at around $5 so be sure you check compatibility before you dive in. Also, check your storage space -- you'll need around 1.5GB available to make use of in order to run the game. Bring on the big hair and pastel suits!

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3 years ago

Field Trip updated with 'save cards' feature

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Field Trip has been updated today with some very notable improvements, first and foremost with the ability to save location cards for later viewing. When viewing a location or event card, you can drop a flag on the location, adding it to a favorites list. When adding it, you also have the option to quickly share the location to friends. This is a nice feature, because we don't always have enough time to stay and read through an entire card right when you're at the place.

Additionally, the update lets users report wrong locations, images and problems directly to the Field Trip group at Google. This version should also reduce battery drain -- important if you've used Field Trip much -- and several other nondescript "bugfixes." If you haven't checked out Field Trip yet, it's worth a look at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Gameloft addresses Modern Combat 4 download issues, adds controller support

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Gameloft just rolled out its latest revision of the popular Modern Combat series just a few days ago, but unfortunately it was struck down with some major download issues. Users were purchasing the game -- at $6.99 -- and then either weren't able to download, or downloaded bad files that caused game issues on first launch. The issue is now fixed, and downloads should be working without a hitch.

Now that the bugs are out of the way, Gameloft is also letting us know that Modern Combat 4 supports the MOGA Mobile Gaming System controller from PowerA natively at launch. If you happen to have one of these controller contraptions available, it may be worth a look to see how it operates.

More: PowerA

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3 years ago

Sound Search widget now available on Google Play

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Sound Search (affectionately known as Google Ear to the Android faithful) has landed in Google Play, ready for downloading on devices running 4.0 or higher. In case you're unaware of exactly what this is, it's pretty much like Shazam -- let it listen to a song that is playing, and it will identify what song it is, and in the case of Sound Search, link you to Google Play Music where you can buy a copy. 

It's nifty, and can be useful at times. I'd not know who Nicki Minaj is without it, so there's that. But what most people will be interested in is how this works with devices that already have Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean, but didn't have access to Google Sound Search before (looking right at you HTC). The good news is that most anyone in the US with ICS or higher can go grab it from Google Play at the link above, slap the widget on their home screen, and have some fun with it.

The bad news is that it is not showing up during an on-device search from the UK or the rest of the world. You can find it via a direct link, but the only device we've found that is compatible with a UK network location is the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, a Verizon phone. This mimics a lot of the services and goods that Google offers, and something needs done to get a handle on the situation. Google wants your pound notes and Euros and Won as much as they want my dollars and cents, so hopefully they are doing something about it.

Of course, getting it installed on just about any phone will be easy enough once the files get into the right hands, but that's not the solution. Come on Google, #FIXIT

Source: Official Android blog

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3 years ago

Google Play Magazines now live in the UK

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We first saw magazines begin to appear in the UK Play Store just yesterday, leaving us sure that the additional content wasn't far away. Turns out that hunch was right, and this evening Google's selection of magazine content is available for purchase both on the web and Android applications. If you're not seeing the new section show up yet, you can always try the old trick of heading into Settings>Apps and then force closing, clearing data and re-starting the Play Store app. 

In addition, you'll need to grab a copy of the Magazines app from Google in order to read your content. Hit the download link at the top to grab a copy, but users with a Nexus 4, 7 or 10 may find an "enable" button in place of an install button on the app listing page. 

The good news for UK buyers is the UK-centric content available for purchase -- for the run down check out the list we posted yesterday. It's great to see more Google Play content arrive on British shores, and as it sits now we're only waiting for TV Shows before we have the full set. 

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3 years ago

BBC talks future of iPlayer app - higher quality streams, Android 4.2 support and new features coming

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The BBC has posted an extensive update on its future plans for the BBC iPlayer Android app. In the coming months, the corporation says it's main aims are to reach feature parity with the iOS app, and introduce new, high-quality streams and better support for large-screen devices.

In a blog post, BBC iPlayer boss Dave Price says the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are now in the top five devices used to access iPlayer content. And in order to give 7-inch users the best experience, Price says a "significant engineering team" will be put behind improving iPlayer playback on Android devices.

Firstly, the BBC will improve video quality for higher-end devices on fast networks. This will start with new, higher-quality streams for Wifi users before Christmas, followed at a later date by additional high-quality streams for playback over 4G mobile networks.

In order to close the gap in functionality between iPlayer on Android and iOS, features like mobile downloads and iPlayer Radio (including background playback) will be brought to Android in the near future. A future version will introduce a new UI, upon which this new functionality will be built in the months ahead.

What's more, Price says a pre-Christmas iPlayer update will enable Android 4.2 support. (Current support tops out at version 4.1.2, though it is possible to install the app on a 4.1 device, then upgrade to 4.2 and use it without issue.) The same update will bring a "richer tablet experience" on devices like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, while future updates will prioritize optimizations for "the most popular devices."

The current iPlayer app has offered a decent but basic experience on Android, so we're pleased to see the Beeb taking a greater interest in optimizing for up-and-coming devices. And of course video quality improvements are always welcome. We'll look forward to trying out the new iPlayer update in the next couple of weeks. If you're after more technical details, the full blog post over at the source link is definitely worth a read.

Source: BBC Blog

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3 years ago

Verizon releases Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean support docs, update on the way

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It was just a matter of time before we got something official out of Verizon indicating that its Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) would be receiving a Jelly Bean update. Verizon has just published support documentation regarding that very update, and it says that Jelly Bean is on its way to a handset near you. The update is apparently just 62MB, and will be coming OTA (Over The Air) instead of via Kies -- exactly as it should.

Along with all of the usual Android 4.1 goodies -- like Google Now and expandable notifications -- Verizon indicates that this update brings Isis Mobile Wallet and also unlocks global roaming on the device. There are a whole host of bugfixes included as well, from Email sync to the Wifi connection. Take a look at the source links for Verizon's support docs, and then hit the forums to see what other members are saying about the OTA.

Update: And ... Verizon has reverted the support, say the folks in our forums. Messin' with our emotions!!!

Source: Verizon Support; (2); via Verizon Galaxy S3 Forums

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3 years ago

Google Currents updated with UI improvements, widget

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Google's own news reading aggregation platform, Currents, is receiving an update today with pretty much a complete UI overhaul. When first launching the app, you're now greeted by your news stream. In new Google design fashion, you have a main page, and a navigation bar comes in from the left side to help you select other stories and categories. You can swipe left or right between panels to switch categories, or within an article view to switch between articles. There's also a new widget that's similar to previous Google widgets (like the YouTube one) that let's you flip through cards of recent stories.

More: Get Android Central on Google Currents

Overall the UI is a big departure from what Google was trying to do with Currents in its initial release. This UI feels much more like a "power user" interface more suited to the crowd using Google Reader to aggregate RSS currently. It loses a lot of flare and goes back to the general Google style of efficient minimalism.

You can grab a download at the Play Store link above, and we've got a couple screenshots of the new UI and widget for you to look at after the break. Google has also run through a few details on the update on its Android blog, you can find it at the source link below.

Source: Official Android Blog

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3 years ago

The best free games for Android

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We’ve compiled our favorite free strategy games, shooter games, sports games, action games, role-playing games, racing games, board games, simulation games, word games, and puzzle games for Android.

Lucky for us cheapskates, Google Play is chock-full of excellent free games. It can be hard to find them sometimes, and you’ve got to weather a barrage of prompts to pay for in-app purchases in the process, but ultimately it’s possible to have a ton of fun on your Android phone or tablet without spending a dime.

Now, a lot of these I’ve pulled from my list of favorite iOS games, but there are more than a few unique entries here, particularly among the NVIDIA-optimized titles. Like I said, the vast majority of these will have in-app purchases, which may be a deal-breaker for some of you. I’ve also excluded lite versions of games, since they rarely provide a rewarding experience on their own without an upgrade.

So, if you’re looking to stock up on Android games, take a look and get downloading.

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