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3 years ago

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


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


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


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


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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3 years ago

AT&T's Galaxy Tab 8.9 receives ICS update, but only via Kies


Remember Android 3.0 Honeycomb? Well, if you have an AT&T-branded Galaxy Tab 8.9 (SGH-i957) you're likely all too familiar with the software. Fortunately, AT&T and Samsung are ready to bring you an update to Ice Cream Sandwich today, which is long overdue even when compared to the other models of the Tab 8.9. AT&T's variant will sadly only be updated via Samsung's Kies desktop software, however. There's no indication at this point that an OTA is coming either.

A quick bit of warning for those updating, several different settings and apps will be reset in the update. Samsung's support documentation indicates that homescreen placements will be reset, contacts stored on the device may be erased and the music app's playlists and settings will also be reset to default.

We really wish that AT&T would just push these updates OTA. Most people won't have Kies installed or want to go through the trouble to install the update manually in this manor. We saw this same scenario with the recent Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy SIII (S3), and we just don't care for it.

Source: Samsung; Via: Android Police

More: Galaxy Tab 8.9 Forums

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3 years ago

Scope update brings new feeds, bugfixes


Scope, a client meant to help you manage all of your social media accounts, has been updated today with several improvements. On top of your usual Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr feeds, the update brings new feeds such as Reddit and Slickdeals that you can add to your account. Now with an increased number of feeds available, you can select individual streams within each that you want to follow specifically as well.

There's also a couple of bug fixes included, such as an issue that caused double notifications of updates. You can grab a download at the Google Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Gloomy puzzle game Contre Jour comes to Android for $1.99


Contre Jour, a dark and gloomy puzzle game that has received numerous awards as an iOS app, is finally coming to Android today. It's got a dark vibe, but that adds to the interesting gameplay that will lead you through various types of levels. It's hard to explain, but something about the gray scale design is compelling. The trailer on the Play Store gives you a good idea of what you're getting into.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't have price parity with the Apple ecosystem, which has the game for just $0.99. Either way, go ahead and give it a try at the Play Store link above for $1.99, this looks like a game that'll be worth your money.

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3 years ago

Yahoo! Mail gets new UI and name change in latest update


Yahoo! Mail just received a notable update to version 2.0 this morning. As is the case when making a move to a new version number, many changes are in order. Right off the bat you'll notice a much-needed updated UI that brings it into the present period of design. It's clean, usable and even follows much of Google's new design guidelines -- no menu buttons to be found here. The changelog also indicates that the new app should be easier on battery, provide more reliable push notifications and has SSL turned on by default for enhanced security.

The app has also changed names, now being called "Y! Mail" for some reason. Whatever the name change, this UI update is something every Yahoo! Mail user should be excited about.

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3 years ago

Hulu Plus update adds dedicated kids section and new discovery features


It's been quite a while since we've heard from Hulu but a new update is available right now on the Google Play store that has some nice additions to it. Rather than sticking with the typical bug fixes and improvements, Hulu has added a new dedicated section for kids. Knowing that Hulu contains some stuff you might not want your children watching they have also introduced a new Kids Lock that feature allows parents to restrict access to Kids-only content on their devices.

Finally, if you have issues with finding something to watch on Hulu, they've amped up their discovery tools as well. This isn't overly exciting but if you're a channel flicker like me, it might help. When you open up the app, they now show you more of their available content on the homepage giving you options of new shows and movies to choose from.

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3 years ago

NYTimes for Android updated with improved tablet support


The official New York Times app for Android has been updated to version 3.0 today with a substantial improvement in UI and usability. The big news is that this new application is responsive to many more screen sizes, rather than just being optimized for one size. Previously, the app was really only designed for phones and 7-inch tablets, but now users with 10-inch devices (and sizes in between) will be able to benefit from the increased screen real estate. The new UI will offer a better column setup for reading, along with larger images and scaled typography.

There are also several general improvements to the app, including improvements to breaking news alerts, a better "Top News" layout and general performance enhancements. You can grab a download of the app at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google Play Books and Movies now live in Russia


Google is continuing its expansive rollout of content to different countries today by offering Google Play Books and Movies to the Russian market. On the Books front, Google Play will be offering over 1,000 Russian-language publications, as well as best-selling books from numerous authors. For Movies, Russian users will have access to not only international new releases but also local films. Movies can be rented starting at 49 rubles (about $1.60), and purchased starting at 99 rubles (about $3.22).

We're glad to see Google is taking the international markets seriously. It's not just the devices, but the content and ecosystem behind them, that make Android a great platform. People all around the world deserve to have access to all of the great things Google Play has to offer.

Source: Google Russia Blog

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3 years ago

Sky Go for Android updated with support for 14 new devices, including Jelly Bean


It looks like British TV network Sky is starting to catch up with the the pace of Android OS upgrades. Today it's launched a new version of its Sky Go mobile TV app, introducing support for 14 new devices along with Android versions 4.1-4.2.1 (Jelly Bean). Today's update brings Sky Go to a wider audience, after an update over the summer first opened it up to ICS phones.

From our own device history, we can confirm that Sky Go supports the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Galaxy S3 LTE, Galaxy Note 2, Sony Xperia T, LG Optimus 4X HD and Jelly Bean'd Galaxy Nexus, amongst others. Notable exceptions include the HTC One X+ and One S, which unfortunately remain unsupported.

Other changes in the new version of Sky Go for Android include improved navigation and various other UI changes.

Sky subscribers can grab the app from the Google Play link above.

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3 years ago

Youtube app updated with new 10-inch tablet layout


There's an update to the Youtube app waiting for you in the Google Play store, and if you're using a 10-inch tablet (like the Nexus 10), you're in for a treat. The update adds a new layout for large screen devices that brings a great two-pane experience to everyone's favorite video service.

The update uses the concept of Android fragments, where both can act independently yet have influence over each other. The smaller fragment on the left allows for things like app navigation and selection, and your content appears to the right. It's a great way to build apps for large screen devices, and allows one app to have the best UI and layout for any size screen.

Hit the link above for the update, or just check your Google Play notifications.

Via: @WinDroidGuy

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3 years ago

Instagram update brings new filter, performance improvements


Instagram is having a little spat with Twitter right now, but that's not stopping it from coming out with an update today. The update is bringing a new black & white filter called "Willow," as well as numerous bugfixes and performance enhancements. If you're a fan of filters you won't look down on this, and it at least shows that Instagram isn't forgetting about its app on Android.

Now unfortunately this isn't a UI refresh like those iOS users just got... but we'd expect to see that soon as well.

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3 years ago

Official Twitter app updated with photo filters


The official Twitter for Android app just got a heck of an update, bringing a full set of photo filters built-in to the client. We all heard this would happen before the end of the year, but few expected anything this soon. The included filters are vignette, black & white, warm, cool, vintage, cinematic, happy, and gritty; also included are standard editing features like cropping and zooming.

Created by Aviary, the filters and tools promise to help you share the world around you in the style that's become popular with smartphone users. You can also preview your photos in a nice grid layout, and your photos are viewable directly from your timeline. 

It's looking to be a great update for folks who like to share photos on Twitter, and should balance out the loss of Instagram sharing we saw last week. Hit the break for a short video from Twitter and some screen shots, and grab the app at the link above.

Source: Twitter

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