3 years ago

Want early access to the new Google Play developer console? Sign up to request early access now


During the first day of Google I/O, one of the post-keynote developer sessions was dedicated to Android Apps in Google Play. While the buzz was all about the newly announced Jelly Bean update, and the Nexus 7 tablet, the real meat of Google I/O was going on in the developer sessions. 

Google Play is an ever increasingly important part of the Android ecosystem, but still remains the best way to distribute, and consume Android applications. After all, before Google Play, it all started with just apps in the Android Market. 

One of the new developer features announced at the conference, is a new Google Play developer console. The emphasis is on being faster, and easier to use. It isn't ready for general use just yet, but, if you're a developer that fancies taking it for a "test drive," Google is accepting registrations for early access now. Just hit the source link below, and head on over and enter your details. 

For a more in depth look though, you'll find the entire I/O session embedded after the break. 

Source: Google Play

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Sky Go for Android gets fresh on-demand content, ICS support inbound


British broadcaster Sky has announced some major updates to its Sky Go streaming application for Android. The update adds on-demand streaming of Sky Movies content, and "popular entertainment channels" including Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts 1. The new channel listing brings the Sky Go Android app up to par with its iOS cousin. There are also additional account controls built into the new app, which allow customers to view their Sky package and monthly bills.

Compatibility is still an issue, as Sky's been slow to test and certify new devices (likely due to licensing restrictions rather than the broadcaster's own intransigence.) Right now official support is only available for the HTC Desire, Desire S, Desire HD, Incredible, Sensation, Sensation XE, as well as Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. And they're only supported on Android 2.2 and 2.3, so you're SOL once you get that long-awaited ICS update.

In any case, Sky says a future update, due by the end of July, will add support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note. There's no word on Jelly Bean support, though right now the app refuses to install on our Nexus 7 and I/O edition Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Note, it seems, is currently supported, according to the Google Play Store listing.

If you're a Sky subscriber, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on with the new version. We've got Sky's press release after the break.

Download: Sky Go

Read more and comment

3 years ago

AirDroid gives your Android device its very own webtop [App Review]


After poking through some of Josh and Jerry's favorite apps of last year, one that kept coming up in the comments when talking about file management over PC was AirDroid. After playing around with it for awhile, I can see why readers were eager to suggest this handy little remote access app.

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Google Now ported to Android 4.0 devices running an AOSP ROM


Back during Google I/O 2012, we saw the unveiling of Google Now for Jelly Bean devices. Sadly, Google never released it as a stand-alone app so any device running Ice Cream Sandwich now essentially needs to be upgraded to Jelly Bean in order to make use of it. I say essentially because the fine folks in the Android community have now found a way to make it work on any Android 4.0 device running an AOSP ROM though there is one lingering issue with it. You can't use voice. Sure, the no voice thing is a bit of a bummer but for those who are interested in loading it up, you can do so with only a few steps required:

  • Rename the APK to GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk
  • Go to System/App and rename the original GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk to 3, something else (Or delete it)
  • Copy in the GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk the one you renamed from (Velvet-theos0o.apk)
  • Set the permissions, to the /System/App/GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk to RW-R--R--
  • Reboot and it should work

As you can tell by looking at the instructions, it's not going to be for everyone. However, if you're willing to give it a shot you can find the download over at XDA Developers to get started. Just remember, you must be on an AOSP ROM in order for it to work.

Source: XDA

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Samsung launches official UK Top 40 chart app on Galaxy Ace II


Samsung has teamed up with music app-maker MusicQubed to launch an official UK Top 40 chart app across its range of smartphones. The app will debut on the Galaxy Ace II, which Sammy says is launching today in the UK.  Presumably it'll later start begin roll out across the Galaxy line through the Google Play Store. Unfortunately we're not able to use it on our Galaxy S III due to our being on an "unsupported network" (go figure), and our Jelly Bean'd Galaxy Nexus was deemed incompatible, too.

For those with both a a compatible handset and supported carrier, the MusicQubed chart app, Samsung says, gives users unlimited plays of the current UK top 40. It apparently works by caching these tracks overnight, meaning there's no need to stream out of your precious cellular data allowance. The app also delivers "daily celebrity news updates," if you're into that sort of thing. There's also social integration via both  Twitters and the Facebook. Galaxy phone owners will get free access to the app for two months, after which it'll cost £1 per week.

Check past the break for the full presser.

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Dead Trigger now on Google Play - all the zombies you can kill for just a buck


Madfinger Games has brought their latest highly anticipated FPS to Google Play, and Dead Trigger is now available for just $0.99. The same folks who brought us Samurai II:Vengance and Shadowgun now deliver a fast-paced FPS that's chock full of zombies and blood. It's an alternate reality apocalyptic style game placed in today's times with today's modern weapons, and your job is to survive. Sounds like a winner already, doesn't it?

It gets better. Unlike some games where zombies are just brain-dead shambles that will happily hurt you if you bump into them, Dead Trigger has programmed an aggressive AI into these particular undead and they're more than happy to hunt you down and have a healthy brain snack. Add in a story line to progress along, a shop full of weapons and power-ups, spectacular Unity-engine graphics and a catchy soundtrack and you've got a real winner on your hands. 

Dead Trigger is available for most Android devices (there looks to be some issues with Sony phones and tablets) but it really shines with a Tegra 3 powered phone or tablet. The great graphics get even better with specular effects, normal tiled maps, highly improved ragdoll physics, and lifelike water and fog. On top of that, Tegra devices have game controller support baked into the app to really bring things to the next level. 

It might have taken a couple extra days (I've been counting them down!) but it sure was worth the wait. This is my new battery waster of choice. We'll give it a thorough look and revisit, but I just had to let you guys know it was ready for your killing pleasure. Grab it from the link below, and check out the trailer after the break!

Download Dead Trigger from Google Play

More info at the TegraZone

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Huawei's Emotion UI site goes live, not yet available outside of China


We first heard about Emotion UI -- Huawei's new, custom interface -- back in May, ahead of it's supposed, planned release in June. The Chinese OEM now seems to be about ready to push it out though as of today, as the official site has gone live. Download links are present, but at the moment, only Chinese consumers can get the software. 

Emotion UI is compatible with Huawei devices running Android 4.0, and at this time only the Honor, Ascend P1 and Ascend P1E are showing as being supported. The P1 also still shows as "coming soon." 

Notably missing from that list, is the as yet un-released, Ascend D-Quad. It's highly likely that Emotion UI will be coming to the upcoming Huawei flagship too. 

Emotion UI promises to bring a (Chinese only) Voice Assistant, cloud services, an "intelligent contact finder," and unique homescreens, customizations and animations. From the images we've seen so far, it looks like it might not be too bad, it's a shame that for now at least, we don't get to play around with it. 

Source: Huawei (translated) via Unwired View

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Google Maps go indoors in the UK


Indoor maps has been announced today by Google for UK Android users. Currently 40 maps are now available ranging from train stations to indoor shopping centers.

It may not be a feature that we all use very often but as more and more indoor maps become integrated with Google, the more I see its use increasing. And it is a pretty handy thing to have at your disposal. There is nothing worse than arriving at a large train terminal for example and having no idea where the platform you need is. Especially after a few drinks!  Now all the information is right at your fingertips.

It is just a case of zooming in on the location in question and the map will automatically adjust to show you the floor plan. Simple. And it works beautifully. I just tested it on the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Clever stuff.

Thinking about it I can't understand why we didn't have this feature before. I reckon I can shave some time off of taking the Mrs shopping with this!

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Crank your volume to 11 with Volume+


Ever wish you could crank the volume on your Android device up to an 11 so you could actually hear the notifications or boost the volume during calls? After purchasing my Galaxy Nexus I found that the sound level was a little low for my preference, and I immediately began looking for ways to boost the volume. There are a bunch of sound applications in the Google Play Store, but unfortunately many of them just seem to help change the sounds, and not actually boost the volume.  Luckily for me a search of the Android Central forums led me to a great application, Volume+, that just so happens to have a free and paid versions.

I began with installing the free version to see what types of enhancements it could bring me, and I was immediately pleased with the results. One the application is launched there are options to change speaker, headset or Bluetooth settings, as well as giving the option to upgrade to the full version. If you are looking to get louder notifications from the device speakers, or crank the music a bit higher, click on speaker modification then check the first option. Towards the bottom it gives you a volume level option in which you can add +1 - +4 to the sounds, depending how loud you want it to go. The paid version will bring you all the way up to +8, which is likely more than any of us will really need. In addition to volume enhancements you can change the bass levels and in the paid version there are EQ settings as well.

If you desire to have louder volume during calls on your headset or Bluetooth you can make modification to those in the same fashion as the speaker. This allows you to make things a little louder than the headset you are using wanted it to be, so proceed with caution while cranking this up. Overall the application is great, it is super simple and that is all it needs to be. Let those pesky quiet notifications be gone, and take control of your sound levels today!

Download: Volume+

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Let your Android device teach you how to tie your tie


Ever find yourself getting ready for a big date, or an important dinner, only to realize you have no idea how to tie your tie? Now you need to grab some ties, run across the house, hop on the computer and hope that YouTube has a good video for you to follow, right? Well, wrong. Grab your Android device, download a free app and boom -- learn how to tie one of many knots while on the go. Whether you want a Kelvin, a Windsor, or maybe just a Simple Double, you can learn with ease all from one free application.

The application itself is quite simple, launch it, check out the pictures to see which kind of knot you prefer, and then click on that one. Once you have opened a knot it will then teach you in a few simple pictures how to properly tie it, and then you are ready to go. If you are unsure of which type of knot to use for which occasion, clicking on the knot will bring a quick summary of when it is ideal to tie that type, and that will help you decide.

As far as options go you won't find many of them here. From the main page you can access a small menu that allows you to view the pictures normal, or as you would view them in a mirror. This can be a huge help since many will probably be attempting this in front of a mirror, and with the pictures showing as such it will make it easier to understand. The application is free, and ad supported, and while you won't use this type of thing regularly throughout your day, it could definitely come in handy. Grab the application from the download link provided, and challenge yourself to a new knot today!

Download: How to Tie a Tie

Read more and comment

3 years ago

What is a Nexus stock image, and how do you use it?


Hacking your Galaxy Nexus is cool - but even cooler is being able to fix it and get back to stock

With all the Jelly Bean ROMs floating around out there, more than a few of us have put our Galaxy Nexus devices so far off the official path that we need breadcrumbs to find our way back. Custom firmware is half the fun of owning one of Google's wide-open phones, and we encourage everyone to learn what they can and see if it's something they want to try. But sometimes, you just want to go home again. Getting your Galaxy Nexus back to the state it was out-of-the-box is pretty straightforward for most variants.

We say variants, because "official" images exist only for the yakju (GSM), takju (Google Play version) and mysid (Verizon) versions. The good news here is that plenty of unofficial methods will help you if you have a different version, and our Galaxy Nexus forum is just the place to find them. If you're rocking the Sprint version, or one of the Samsung world versions, head there and ask the pros. For the rest, it's pretty easy.

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Official VLC for Android build enters beta, if you can get it


We heard from VideoLAN a couple of weeks ago with suggestions that an official VLC build for Android was finally nigh. Well, nigh becomes today, as the first official beta of VLC for Android is available for download from Google Play right now. It comes boasting, as we would expect, a pretty impressive list of features and support:

  • Plays all files, in all formats, like the classic VLC.
  • Audio and video media library, with full search.
  • Support for network streams, including HLS.
  • Supports Android from version 2.1 (platform-7).
  • Supports ARMv6, ARMv7 and ARMv7+NEON.
  • Subtitles support, embedded and external, including ASS and DVD subtitles.
  • Multi audio or subtitles tracks selection.
  • Multi-core decoding, for Cortex-A7 A9 and A15 chips.
  • Experimental hardware decoding.
  • Gestures, headphones control.

For anyone who isn't familiar, VLC is an extremely powerful, open-source, media player, that can pretty much play any type of media file thrown at it. An official build for Android has been a long time coming, but there have been several, unofficial builds to play with. We've been using one for quite some time now, and the results are pretty impressive. True to its word, we've yet to find a video that has stumped it. And, despite expecting bugs, it has proved surprisingly stable thus far. Bodes well for the official build. 

There are a few conditions though. This is the NEON version only at this time, but other builds will be coming that support a wider range of devices. And, VideoLAN has published a list of recommended devices to try out the beta on, but it's not a compatibility list, so go take a look. But, do be warned, we are seeing a big old list of incompatible devices.

From what we've seen so far, there's every possibility it's a location based issue and not an actual device incompatibility. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is listed as a recommended device by VideoLAN, but on the American side of the Atlantic, we're seeing the "cannot be installed in your device's country" message in both the U.S. and Canada. 

It's also important to note that this is an early beta, and it's likely to be full of bugs. But, it does come with a homescreen widget. Things will change before the final release too. In any case, it's finally here, and the developers are keen for users to join in the testing, and engage with them in their official forums. 

For the full rundown, hit the source link below, and head on over to Google Play to grab yourselves a copy. We know a lot of you guys have been waiting on this one. We're going to go away and have a good look ourselves

Source: VideoLAN; Download: VLC Beta for Android

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Android developers demystify application security (the sky is not falling!)


As soon as the schedule for Google I/O 2012's developer sessions was announced, I knew the Security and Privacy in Android Apps session was going to be a must-attend session. The Internet and its FUD machine gives Android security a lot of bad press, and while some of it is warranted, some of it is just sensationalism. Android is a big name and big names in big headlines sell papers. 

I'm so glad I felt forced to attend this one. The presenters (Android security engineer Jon Larimer, and Android framework and security engineer Kenny Root) did a wonderful job. It was developer-oriented for sure, but laid out in a way that even novice coders (or rusty old ones) would understand. The gist of it all was typically Google, and typically open -- the tools and methods to provide a very secure Android application are there, developers have to use them correctly. Android's open-market model means there is no one to review every app before it goes in Google Play, and with easy sideloading just about any code can find its way on your device. (Hopefully with your knowledge.) It's up to developers to use the tools to make a safe, secure, and useful application. It might sound like Google is passing the buck on security here, but we have to remember that the alternative is a locked-down garden of corporate evil  model like Apple where they control everything that goes in or out of a phone you paid for. I prefer the open model, and I imagine that most of you reading will agree.

The basics, like Android's sandbox, were covered, as well as some outside-the-box thinking, like the risk of Web containers and home-made encryption. We saw examples of how to use the correct app permissions (and only use the correct permissions), developer account security to keep your good name safe and untarnished in Google Play, and even the insecure nature of being online was covered. Larimer and Root did a great job telling the attendees (the room was so crowded they had to turn folks away to meet fire-safety code) about the hazards that exist and the tools to combat them. It was the perfect example of why Google I/O is important to all of us -- developers need to hear this stuff. The short of it:

  • Our mobile devices are full of very important (to us) and private data.
  • Applications must be designed to protect data.
  • Any and all data exposed to your application must be kept secure.
  • Android uses application sandboxing and the Linux security and permissions model, so you have to be wary of what other apps are going to ask your app to do for them.
  • Permissions are of the utmost importance. Learn what each one does, and only use the ones you must.
  • Intents and APIs should be used instead of global permissions.
  • Your (the developers) name is on the tin. Spend the time to make sure your product is secure and user info is kept private.

It's a relatively simple set of guidelines, with about a million ways to go wrong. Luckily Google is ready and willing to help with sessions like this as well as various code-jams and developer hangouts across the globe. 

What was initially something I thought I had to attend, like it or not, turned out to be the highlight of the entire event for me. Google is serious about application security and your privacy, and they want to help every developer write great apps that keep users data safe and sound. If you're not an Android dev, you can feel good that Google knows what the issues are, and is doing everything they can to keep you safe. If you are a developer, you need to watch this session. We've got the video (about an hour) and a gallery of some highlights after the break. 

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Drag Racing - Bike Edition [Android App Review]


If you ever got into web games, odds are that you have heard of and likely spent many hours or days already having played the Drag Racing series. For those unfamiliar with the game the idea was simple, you bought a virtual car, then raced it to win money and points to get upgrades, and you tried to have the best and fastest car possible. These games have since evolved, and been brought to the mobile space, and they have made a spin off, Drag Racing - Bike Edition. As you could imagine from the title this game is very similar, except with the use of motorcycles instead of cars. Let's hit the break and see exactly what the game is all about!

Read more and comment

3 years ago

Google Wallet updated, still doesn't work on the EVO 4G LTE


Here's one of those good news/bad news stories. Google Wallet has gotten itself an update today for "Support for new device form factors," "prepaid top-up improvements" and "security enhancements." Sweet.

The bad news is that it still doesn't work on the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE, and that's still no good. The EVO is one of the top two phones in Sprint's lineup right now, and Google Wallet's one of the major features touted. And it still doesn't work.

Anyhoo, if you're using Google Wallet, be sure to get your update on ASAP. 

Download: Google Wallet for Android; more: EVO 4G LTE forums

Read more and comment

Show More Headlines