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3 years ago

First look at the lockscreen widgets in Android 4.2

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Lock screen widgets work, and they work well – but there also are some troubling security concerns

Finally, we get our first real look at the new lockscreen widgets in Android 4.2. This is a feature that was teased at the outset, but our prerelease units have now been updated with them, and it's time to put them through their paces.

Actually, this update does more than just add the ability to add lock screen widgets. It changes the way you use the lock screen itself. Previously, you'd slide the unlock button to the left to quickly access the camera from the lock screen. That's gone. The camera app itself sort of serves as a widget. Slide one panel to the right, and there it is.

Also, we've now got a clock widget, free of charge. As we've already got the world clock enabled (see our clock app walkthrough for that one), it's visible on the lock screen by pulling down. Huzzah.

But the meat of this update is in the widgets you can choose to add. Calendar, Digital Clock, Gmail, Messaging and Sound Search. They're all there, ripe for the choosing. 

And that's where the big question of security comes in.

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3 years ago

GoPro app for Android now available

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GoPro has launched a free companion app for their rugged mountable HD cameras. The Android app provides access to the whole suite of settings, and offers a live preview of what the camera sees, which should help with framing when you're about to leap out of an airplane, wingsuit to the slopes, land on a snowboard, pop a backflip off the first jump, and chug a Mountain Dew mid-air.

Before getting all extreme, be sure your phone is running Android 4.0 and up and that your GoPro camera is loaded with the most recent software. Also, the Hero 3 cameras aren't compatible just yet. though updates are on the way. For the time being, only Hero 2 cameras with Wi-Fi BacPac accessories work. 

Any GoPro owners out there? What do you use the camera for? Will a mobile app really help things along? 

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3 years ago

Google Play Music now live in selected European countries

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Google Play Music services are now live in some European countries. Warner Music Group artists now available worldwide.

Today isn't just Nexus Eve, at least, not in Europe anyway. Today also sees the long awaited arrival of Google Play Music on these shores! Customers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain can now not only make use of Google's cloud storage service -- officially, at least -- but also purchase music right from within the Google Play Store. With the recent announcement that the Warner Music Group artists joining the catalog, we've got all the major players to choose from.

That's not all though. Perhaps as reward for waiting so long, Europeans also get to try out Google's new 'iTunes match' type service. Uploading all your music to the cloud isn't going to be for everyone, and whatever your internet connection, it takes some time. With this service going live -- initially only in Europe -- there is actually a viable alternative to uploading all your music manually. 

It's been a long time in coming, but a huge missing piece in Google Play's ecosystem here in Europe is finally with us. Hit us up in the comments below and let us know your thoughts and experiences with Google Play Music.

Note: If you're not yet seeing the Music tab in the Google Play Store app, head to Settings > Apps > All > Google Play Store, and hit "Clear Cache," then "Force Stop." Upon returning to the store, your Music tab should appear under "Apps." Thanks to Paul O'Brien of MoDaCo for the tip!

Source: Google Play Music

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3 years ago

The Nexus 4 sold by T-Mobile doesn't have Wifi Calling

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There's been a lot of back and forth about the specs of the Nexus 4 being sold by T-Mobile. We already gone over one hurdle confirming that all Nexus 4's are HSPA+ 42, and now we're going to clear the air on Wifi Calling. We've been saying since the end of October that Wifi Calling will not be included, and we're happy to report that we can confirm this independently. We've reached out to T-Mobile directly, and a spokesperson has confirmed for us that indeed there is no Wifi Calling on-board on the Nexus 4.

Let's all reflect on the fact that this is actually a good thing. Not having carrier software included on the Nexus 4 coming from T-Mobile reaffirms the idea that this is the exact same model being sold by Google in the Play Store. Users who buy their phones from a carrier shouldn't have to be second class citizens to those who buy directly. This is a good move by Google (and T-Mobile) and it will save a lot of frustration down the road when it comes to software support.

More: Google Nexus 4 Forums

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3 years ago

Google Play Music updated with gapless playback support

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It's almost as if someone at Google was listening to the podcast... After an interesting question about gapless playback in Google Music on our 115th show, Google Music has been updated to support it. This means that during playback of an album, there will be a seamless transition between the songs. This was a deal-breaker for some audiophiles out there, but was still a nuisance to everyone else. Gapless is the way to go.

This update has also brought with it the ability to keep thumbs up/down, Last Added and Playlists on the device locally, as well as auto-generated Instant Mixes on your in your Recent tab.

And ahead of tomorrow's Google Play Music launch in Europe, the Play Music app now shows up directly in on-device search results from European devices.

Head to the Play Store link above to download the app or grab the update.

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Need for Speed Most Wanted, Storage Analyser, Nexus Revamped LWP and more!

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On this, the eve of the new Nexus, we have another set of great app picks for you. Spend a few bucks on some great games, pick up a couple of free productivity apps and take a look back at something retro with an old-school live wallpaper done right. So take a look, this is an all-star lineup you have to see.

Oh, and can you spot how many Nexuses there are in this post?

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3 years ago

Spotify Premium carrier billing coming to Sprint Nov. 11th

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Subscription music service Spotify has struck a deal with Sprint to offer carrier billing for customers who want to upgrade to Spotify Premium, their paid unlimited service. Starting tomorrow, November 11th, Sprint customers will be able to add the service as a recurring charge on their account for $10 per month according to Engadget.

It's nice to have choices when it comes to purchasing things on your device. Some would prefer to just bill their carrier account rather than have separate credit card entries around for each individual service.

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

Light Flow updated with Nexus 4 and GMail 4.2 support

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Light Flow has been a go-to app for users that want to keep their device's notification LED flashing appropriately. It gained a lot of popularity with the Galaxy Nexus given stock Android's lack of settings to control the LED, and now the app has been updated with Nexus 4 -- and GMail 4.2 -- support just a few days before the device's launch. It seems to support just about every popular app you could think of, and even more are unlocked in the paid version.

There's a "lite" version of the app that you can pick up at the Play Store link above, and if you like what the developer is doing consider dropping them $2.49 for the paid version.

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3 years ago

Motorola to let users 'Test Drive' future software updates before release

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Following the announcement that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is rolling out to the Droid RAZR M, Motorola introduced a new initiative they're calling "Test Drive". The idea behind Test Drive is to let a small number of registered users have access to the latest version of a software update before its general public release. Starting with updates to Android 4.2, a "few hundred consumers" will have access to the software to give a try and provide valuable feedback to Motorola before an official release.

Motorola didn't provide any official information about when or how users will be able to register to be included in Test Drive, but you can bet it'll be quite a rush to get into those few hundred open spots.

Source: Official Motorola Blog

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3 years ago

Official Jelly Bean update hitting Motorola Droid RAZR M today

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We saw a leak of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for the Motorola Droid RAZR M just shy of a month ago, and Verizon has just taken off the wraps on the official update today. The official support page is now live, and the update will start rolling out in phases -- as is typical -- starting today. The page also indicates that eager users will be able to manually check in and download the update in the next week.

The update is bringing the whole host of Android 4.1 features including Google Now, smart keyboard predictions and a few Motorola tweaks like an enhanced notification pane thrown in. Love it or hate it, the update is bringing along ISIS mobile payments as well. Surely we would have preferred to see the device launch with Jelly Bean on board, but a hasty update right after launch is the next best thing. It looks like Google kept its promise on this update.

Source: Verizon; More: Motorola Droid RAZR M Forums

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3 years ago

My Little Pony for Android: Basically 'My First RPG'

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I'm the only one here at Android Central who has young daughters, so it came as a bit of a shock that I had to fight off the other guys for first dibs at the My Little Pony game for Android. (Take that, Hildenbrand!)

It also was a bit of an unwelcome surprise that for a kids game, you have an extra 87 megabytes of data to download. And don't hand your phone or tablet over to your kid just yet -- there's a scrolling scroll of scrollable legalese to acknowledge before you get anywhere near those beloved ponies.

And once you get through all that (OK, it's not all that difficult, but c'mon, this is a kid's game!), finally you're in Ponyville, where apparently Nightmare Moon (whom I believe was one of Frank Zappa's prized mares) has cast the entire town into darkness. A little confusing because the sun's up and birds are singing, but whatever. Just tell your kids it has to do with last weekend's time change, and they'll be none the wiser.

From there, the game blissfully walks you through the ins and outs of whatever it is you're supposed to be doing with a few helpful arrows. I'm still not quite sure what it was I was doing, or which character was doing it, or why that blasted hot-air balloon kept flying by and distracting me. But I'm also pretty sure the little girls who just stole my Nexus 7 do, and that's all that matters. They also don't seem to mind the in-game advertising, which is good, since the game was free in the first place. 

So if you wanna be the best parent ever this weekend, hit the link above and kiss your Android phone or tablet goodbye for a few days. Because it's Pony Time.

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3 years ago

Pulse News 3.0 introduces unlimited pages and improved search

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Pulse News recently launched version 3.0 of their reader app for Android, which has a few significant changes. For one, there's no limitation on the number of pages that can saved to your Pulse account, which is great considering it was previously limited to five sections. There's a new sidebar to easily jump around these multiple content channels, as well as tweak your profile and view saved stories. There's also a new search mechanism that can haul in content from  Tumblr YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, Google, Flickr, and other sources. Oh, and there's a new icon.

As always, Pulse offers their own curated, categorized library of content to subscribe to and view view them in a slick browser with scrollable rows for every site. Of course, you can always punch in RSS feeds for any kind of content you like and get a decent stream going on any of your categorized pages. They also have a web app that syncs up with your subscriptions and reading habits, if you'd rather catch up on the big screen.

Which reader apps do you use on a regular basis? It seems like the most direct competitor to Pulse is Flipboard, since they're so focused on cool design, but are there others which are of the same caliber?

Source: Pulse

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3 years ago

Curiosity developer 22cans issues video response to game bugs and downtime

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22cans' mobile game experiment Curiosity launched on Tuesday, tasking players with the goal of tapping their way to the center of a mysterious cube. However, the game attracted so many players that it's been struggling to keep up with demand over the past few days. Players have been presented with error messages when trying to connect to the game, and in addition a troublesome bug has cropped up resulting in in-game coins disappearing into thin air.

Today the developers took to YouTube to update players on their work to bring Curiosity back to life and fix the remaining bugs. The 22cans team, including head honcho Peter Molyneux, say they've been hard at work over the past few days, living out of the office as they work on the game. No timeframe is mentioned, but Molyneux says as soon as the fixes are in place, the game will become available once again.

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3 years ago

GroupMe version 4.0 hits beta for willing participants

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One of the more popular group messaging services out there, GroupMe, has just released a beta of its latest update -- version 4.0. The whole idea of version 4.0 is a cleaner and simpler to use interface, and looking at the screenshots it seems to be the case. To participate in the beta, hit the source link below. It'll involve allowing installation of 3rd party apps in your device's settings and installing it manually, but may be worth a look if you're a big GroupMe user.

GroupMe is hoping to get participants to try out the beta who have already been using the most recent stable version to get the best feedback, but if you're interested in trying out the beta you can always download the previous version first (at the Play Store link above) and register to move to 4.0.

Source: GroupMe Blog

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3 years ago

Angry Birds Star Wars review

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After a few weeks of teasers, Rovio has finally released the next iteration in their Angry Birds franchise, this time with a focus on the classic Star Wars brand. Recognizable settings such as Tattoine, Degobah, and Hoth make an appearance, not to mention all of the birds are dressed up as characters from the movies, each with their own signature special abilities.

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