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3 years ago

Google Play TV shows, movies, and music now on Google TV

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Google TV owners will now be able to access all of their movie, TV, and music purchases from Google Play on the big screen. Purchases can be made directly on the system, and include options for auto-updating subscription billing. This is a long time coming, though some models, like one of Sony's, have already been dabbling in Play movies. In any case, it's good that this trove of content is getting a widespread rollout. 

How many of y'all own a Google TV? Have you been hurting for access to Google Play content, or have you been getting your shows from elsewhere? Those of you that don't have a Google TV, does improved access to Play store content make it any more appealing? It seems weird that it has taken this long for Play shows to find their way to Google's set-top system, but I'm sure it's been an uphill battle against cable and satellite service providers and the agreements they have with various studios. 

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Angry Birds Star Wars hits Android on November 8

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Last week Rovio teased the announcement of a Star Wars-branded Angry Birds game and today they have officially taken off the wraps of the project. Angry Birds Star Wars is due to hit Google Play and the Amazon Appstore on November 8, featuring stages based on classic settings like Tatooine and the Death Star. As you can see, there will be plenty of familiar characters there as well. As hinted by the original invitation to check out Toys 'R Us, there will be a big merchandising push, but it won't kick off until October 28.

It's still early, so it's hard to say if the game will be significantly better or different from previous Angry Birds titles, but the Rovio CEO boasts that this will be "the best Angry Birds game we've ever done". Angry Birds Space added a nice spin on the classic gameplay, though it was still very much in line with what we've come to expect. 

Needless to say, lots of people love Star Wars, and there's something to be said for piggie-shaped TIE fighters. Is the Angry Birds brand still fresh and lively to you, or does this kind of co-branding qualify as jumping the shark? It certainly feels like between the merchandising and the endless tide of off-shoot games, the brand is been worn out, but maybe that's just me.   

Source: Rovio

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week - Best Deals, Blue Skies Live Wallpaper, Huebrix and more!

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You've gotta love when the Android Central writers bring you a greatly diverse set of app picks for your Saturday afternoon reading. With these picks, we'll save you a few bucks, make your homescreen look nicer, kill some time with a game or find the nearest cell tower. As is normally the case, you just don't want to miss these picks, so read on.

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3 years ago

Rovio teases Star Wars-themed Angry Birds

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Rovio Entertainment has just slipped out a cryptic animated GIF of one of the Angry Birds with a lightsaber. Whether that means we'll see a full-blown Android game with little green pigs dressed up like stormtroopers is anyone's guess, but Rovio promises that we'll learn more at an event in Times Square, New York, at 10 AM EST on October 8 (next Monday). They also gently suggest that we hit up Toys R Us at 8 AM EST, so it's entirely likely that this is just some kind of new plushie they're selling.

Rovio is no stranger to licensing deals, having scored a fairly big one with Disney for the film Rio last year. More recently, Rovio is coming off of their launch of Bad Piggies, a physics-based building game featuring the antagonists of their first hit mobile game. An excess of cross-branding deals like this could make the Angry Birds brand even more stale than the plethora of toys, calendars, and other merchandise have. Then again, if they have a fresh spin on the Angry Birds gameplay and do the Star Wars franchise justice, it could freshen up the birds for another couple of months.

Are you guys optimistic about the next Angry Birds, or has it been done to death? Star Wars fans, do you find this kind of cross-licensing tacky or cute? 

Via: @AngryBirds

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3 years ago

Google Gesture Search updated with tablet support

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Google has just updated its Gesture Search application with proper support for tablets, including the Nexus 7. If you haven't used the Gesture Search app before, its a pretty interesting concept. Similar to what Google has been offering on the mobile view of it's search page, Gesture Search lets you spell out words by writing on the screen one letter at a time, and then instantly returns search items. You can choose what sources to search -- such as contacts, browser bookmarks, apps and more.

In addition to tablet support, Gesture Search now offers compatibility with even more languages. Simplified Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish are now supported as of this latest update.

Gesture Search is useful for when you've only got one hand free and need to make a quick search, though it's not the most high-profile Google app around. Take a look at the Google Play Store link above and try it out for yourself.

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3 years ago

Ustream updated to support 7-inch tablets and better streaming

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A little something for all you 7-Inch tablet owners out there who've been missing out on Ustream. v2.0.3 of the Ustream app, which includes support for such device as the Nexus 7 has now arrived in the Google Play Store and is ready for download.

In addition to the new device support, Ustream has also included several streaming improvements and various other bug fixes. Oh, and in case you didn't already know. The Ustream app is a great way to take part in the Android Central podcast, when we're live.

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3 years ago

Plague Inc. game infects Google Play

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Plague Inc., an excellent and hugely popular epidemic simulation game, has found its way to Android. Players gently coax a variety of virus types across the globe. Your plague starts off as a modest cough, then mutates with new and insidious forms of transmission, deadlier symptoms, and greater resistance to medication.

Plague Inc. involves a lot of finesse, since you don't have much direct control over the virus, so must simply make calculated mutations, pay attention to pertinent world events, and adapt accordingly. It's harder than you think to wipe out the entire globe; airports shut down, governments are alerted, and before long, the whole world is banding together to find a cure. 

On the one hand, Plague Inc. is an incredibly morbid game, but on the other, I've always had a hard time putting it down. It's available for free with an unlockable full version with fast-forward enabled, so go ahead and check it out. 

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3 years ago

SlingPlayer for Android updated, higher video quality for ICS+ phones

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Hey SlingBox users, good news! Your SlingPlayer app was recently updated. While the changes aren't breathtaking, they are very welcome, as are most updates.

If you're using SlingPlayer on your phone you'll be greeted with an updated look to the app and a new program guide.  However the biggest update comes if your device is running  ICS or Jelly Bean, as you'll be happy to see higher quality video with this update. Nexus 7 users have received an optimized interface with the new update and a common update for both is the ability to set reminders for upcoming shows.

source: Google Play - SlingPlayer for Phones & Tablets

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3 years ago

Samsung Kies for Windows and Mac receives some polish with latest update

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Although it's not our most favorite desktop software to use, Samsung Kies does come in handy at times. It's been a while since Samsung updated the desktop syncing solution but now Samsung has shown some love to both Windows and Mac users as the latest update has now been released.

A change log for this release seems to be absent but a quick look at the updated app reveals that Samsung has put some time in to improve the UI a little and make it more visually appealing. For Mac users, you'll find this latest release also works with Mountain Lion correctly.

Whether you use the app daily or just want to have installed just in case, you'll find the links below.

Source: Samsung

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3 years ago

Series of Google Apps updated in Google Play, some changelogs M.I.A.

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During the last 24 hours Google has pushed out a series of updates to their Android applications. While some are simply for bug fixes, some -- as is becoming a little too frequent -- have no sign of a "whats new" changelog. Frustrating. 

We'll hit the ones we do know about first. Up on the bug fix front we've got updates to Google Play Movies and Google Street View. Google Play Music is also included, this time described as receiving "minor fixes." 

Google Gesture Search also received an update. Its changelog reads a little like this:

  • Now available on Android tablets such as Nexus 7.
  • Faster search performance for large user data set.
  • Support for searching multilingual contents using romanization, including Simplified Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
  • The action for contacts is now customizable, e.g., changing calling to messaging.
  • Contacts without phone numbers now became searchable.
  • More UI improvements.

Also getting updated with a couple of new features is Google's own shopping focused app, Shopper. There's nothing earth shattering on board, but we do get a couple of additions: 

  • Filter weekly sales at featured local stores by category so you can focus on your favorite deals
  • Browse visually similar products when searching for apparel
  • Improved performance and stability

Then, on the less helpful front we have both Google Drive and Google Wallet. Both still seem to reflect previous updates to each app, which probably means there isn't a lot new. But, it would be nice to know all the same. 

If you're seeing anything new in either of these two be sure to hit us up in the comments below and share. 

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3 years ago

20 new levels coming to "Where's My Perry?"

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Disney's follow up game to the very popular "Where's My Water?" app on Android (and iOS), "Where's My Perry?", is picking up 20 new levels today. Similar to its predecessor, "Where's My Perry?" directs players to use different gadgets -- in this case lasers -- to break through different obstacles and get to the spy at the end of the level. With this update, players now have 20 more levels to get through.

Coming from Disney, the animation and story line are top notch, and now you have 20 new reasons to give it a look. It's available for free at the Google Play Store link above, and you can buy the full version for $0.99.

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3 years ago

Acer outlines Jelly Bean upgrade plans, older tablets being left out in the cold

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If you're an owner of one of Acer's range of Android tablets, you'll no doubts be wondering if and when you'll ever see some Jelly Bean action. Well, Acer has come forth with the details, so wonder no longer. While it's good news for some, inevitably it will herald bad news for others. Here's the long and short of it though. 

The latest tablets are all in the 'yes' column. The new, 7-inch, A110 actually launches with Jelly Bean, but the larger A210 and A510 will both see an update to Android 4.1. They weren't offering any timeline for said updates, but still good news. The A700 Jelly Bean rollout reportedly started rolling out this past week. 

Then, to the bad news. The older generation of Acer tablets won't be seeing a Jelly Bean update. So, that's the A100, A200 and A500 reaching the end of their Android upgrading lives. There's always the community to turn to though, and we're sure there will be unofficial methods of getting Jelly Bean onto those devices. 

Source: Computerworld

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3 years ago

Amazon Cloud Drive adds picture sharing and iPhoto exporting

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Amazon's remote storage service, Cloud Drive, has recently been updated to allow users to quickly share photos with friends and family through the web interface. This update also allows those that manage their albums through iPhoto to get their photos uploaded in two clicks through the desktop app. Beyond features, the update also opens up Amazon Cloud Drive to Spain and Italy, following closely on its debut in the UK, Germany, and France. This is also hot on the heels of the launch of Amazon services in Japan. Obviously Amazon is getting ready to go big for the launch of the new Kindle devices. 

Though tightly related, Amazon Cloud Drive is a little different from the Cloud Music Player. Cloud Drive lets you upload all sorts of files to the cloud, while the MP3 player is more geared towards selling you and storing your songs. You can get the full tour in our combined review from awhile back.

Any European readers preorder one of the new Kindle Fire devices? How quickly will you fill up that free 5 GB of storage? Are you tempted at all to upgrade to one of the bigger tiers? Are there other cloud storage services you guys prefer to Amazon?

Source: Amazon

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3 years ago

Motorola acquires facial recognition company Viewdle

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Motorola recently confirmed that they've acquired Ukranian facial and gesture recognition developer Viewdle for an undisclosed amount (though rumor has it that the deal went down for between $30 and $45 million, and that Google and Motorola have been considering snatching Viewdle for the last couple of years). None of Viewdle's apps, including their augmented reality game or their social camera app, are showing up in Google Play or on any of their product pages. A Motorola rep issued a statement on the acquisition:

"Motorola Mobility today announced that it has acquired Viewdle, a leading imaging & gesture recognition company. Motorola and Viewdle have an existing commercial agreement and have been collaborating for some time. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.”

So far, the only real facial recognition technology we're seeing in Android is for unlocking the device, but Viewdle has clearly explored the space in a number of directions that Google and Motorola could take. Tagging photos from the camera, touchless gesture recognition, and augmented reality are just some of the areas Viewdle has been working in. Best of all, some of their technology can work locally on the device, so you don't even have to rely on a data connection to get these things working. We saw the technology in action last year, and it seemed to be working pretty smoothly. 

So, how would you guys like to see Motorola and Google implement these features in Android? Are they simply additions to the native camera app, or should they be folded into something like Google Goggles? There was a lot of concern over privacy awhile back when Google first started about facial recognition; are you worried about Google and advertisers knowing what you look like? 

Via: TechCrunch

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3 years ago

TomTom navigation now available for some Android devices

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Popular dedicated navigation software arrives on Android, but many devices are incompatible

TomTom has launched its popular navigation service for Android on Google Play, bringing stand-alone offline navigation for many territories around toe world to the platform. Unlike Google Maps navigation, the app doesn't require a data connection to work, instead storing all the relevant data on your device. Maps are priced at around $50 per territory (between £31 and £50 in the UK), and come with host of features, which naturally includes turn-by-turn directions in multiple languages. There's also TomTom's "HD traffic" overlay, a 3D driving view and "fast" on-device route calculation.

However, a wide range of popular Android devices aren't compatible with TomTom's apps, including the HTC One X and One S, Google's Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus, Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Sony's Xperia S. Bizarrely, the just-launched Galaxy Note 2 is compatible. And we can also confirm that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, HTC One V, Samsung Galaxy S Advance, Sony Xperia P and Xperia U are marked as compatible, which makes for a rather haphazard selection of phones.

To see if you phone is supported, check the Google Play link above to view the U.S. and Canada version. Other territories are linked on that same page.

We went hands-on with the TomTom app for Android at IFA 2012 in August. Be sure to check out our hands-on report and video to learn more about what to expect form the app.

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