4 weeks ago
Latest Sony Xperia ZL C6506 update now rolling out OTA
OTA starts rolling for the latest update previously only available with a manual install
Well then, here's a nice surprise. Our unlocked Xperia ZL (that's the C6506 model) has just received a 66.1MB OTA update touting improved battery life, user experience and software performance. The update is to version 10.1.1.A.1.253, which is the build that has been available for a couple of days (according to Sony) but only via its desktop companion software. After quickly downloading, the update will install with just one more tap and indicated that it will take "about 9 minutes" to update (which seems about right). You'll still be on Android 4.1.2 and likely won't see any other cosmetic changes from what we can tell.
We obviously haven't had enough time to evaluate whether or not Sony's claims of improved battery life and software performance are true, but we'll take any improvements they have for us. If you have an unlocked Xperia ZL, be sure to head into your settings menu and check for the update.
More: Sony Xperia ZL Forums; Sony Support
4 weeks ago
Watch this Google I/O session on Android design principles because it's awesome
Real world examples and practices from the Android design team make this session from Google I/O 2013 a must-watch -- even if you'll never write your own app.
See how Android apps should look and act, and see what the folks behind Android say about why they should be this way. Whether you're into design, or just into great looking Android apps this one is a treat. Catch it after the break.
4 weeks ago
Ingress app gets a major update
Major update delivers new features and support for new animations, notifications, bug fixes
Ingress, everyone's favorite sci-fi virtual reality simulation game, got a major update this afternoon. Everything you love about the game is still there, with less bugs, but a couple very nice features were added.
Portal health and faction control info on Portal Keys in the Inventory carousel.
Android Notifications for "Portal under attack," "Portal neutralized," and "@<codename>" messages.
Support for Jarvis Virus and ADA Refactor objects.
New Recharge visual animation.
The new notification system will get all the attention, but the new information displayed about your Portal keys in inventory is probably the change people will use the most. The Jarvis Virus is something new started earlier this month, and it will flip an infected Portal to the opposing faction.
You can get today's update from the Google Play link above, and learn more about Ingress (and try to score an invite) in the Ingress forums.
4 weeks ago
Zoes now even more fun with Google+ Auto Awesome motion
HTC's Zoe feature is a perfect way to play with Auto Awesome motion on Google+
Google+ got some great new image tools and toys last week and Google I/O, including the "motion" portion of the Auto Awesome tweaks. How it works is, it takes any series of pictures of the same subject that have been shot in quick succession and transforms them into an animated gif image. You can then share it on Google+, or download it to share anywhere. Everyone loves animated gifs!
As it turns out, the Zoe feature on HTC's Sense 5 camera software is perfect for this. A Zoe is a series of high resolution stills that get stitched in series to create an animation on the phone, and since they are individual jpg files, Google+ can work its magic the same way.
To play with it, you'll have to either turn on auto-upload to Google+ on your HTC One, or find the frames of your Zoe and upload them individually. You'll then find all 20 stills, the small video that your phone exports, and a single gif file of the full animation in your Google+ photos. If you're a nut about housekeeping, you can then delete the 20 stills and the video, leaving your animated masterpiece available for the world to see.
Now get out your Ones, hit the Zoe button, and drop some links in the comments to show off your stuff! Hit the break to check one out.
Via: Android Central forums; Phil's humidifier
4 weeks ago
Opera browser leaves beta, stable version now on Google Play
New WebKit-powered Opera 14 stable now available for Android
The Opera browser for Android has exited beta and arrived on the Google Play Store as a fully-fledged stable app. The mobile version of the long-running browser is based upon the WebKit rendering engine -- the same software used by the stock Android browser and (for the moment) Google Chrome.
But it's user-facing features rather than technical details that Opera's counting on to help it compete on Android. Speed Dial has long been part of the desktop Opera browser, allowing quick access to frequently visited bookmarks. The "Discover" tab provides a summary of news items. The "Off Road" mode uses data compression to make the most out of slow or expensive connections. And text reflow is included in the initial release, too.
Opera for Android is available now on Google Play at the Play Store link above. If you decide to take it for a spin, be sure to hit the comments and let us know what you think.
4 weeks ago
Yahoo announces changes for Flickr, including a new Android app
Free storage has been bumped to 1TB, and a new version of the Android app is on the way
EDIT: The update is now live in Google Play. Go get it.
Yahoo is doing more than buying blog platforms today, and during an event in New York they have announced a complete revamp of Flickr. The interface of the website has changed, and now features content blocks and full bleed images instead of the thumbnail or list view of the past. In addition, registered users now have 1TB (as in a terabyte) of free storage space to keep their photos, more than any other online service. That's all well and good, but we're mostly concerned with the update to the Android app.
Last December, the Flickr app for iOS received a nice update, and today Yahoo says the Android app will be updated to the same version. That includes a UI change away from the grid we have now to a more content-focused layout resembling the website, as well as better social sharing through Facebook and Tumblr, photo editing and filters via Aviary, and photo-viewing enhancements like zooming and photo details. The update is expected to go live at any time, so if you're a user be sure to check Google Play for the notification, or try the link above.
4 weeks ago
Google+ for Android updated with new photo enhancements, improved location sharing
Official Google+ app hits version 4.0 with Snapseed photo tools and more
Update: The new version of Google+ is now live!
Following on from the 41 new Google+ features announced at Google I/O last week, Google has unveiled one more to bring the count up to 42 -- a new Google+ app for Android. The new Google+ version 4.0 incorporates many of the photo management and enhancement features of the latest update to G+ on the web. Specifically, Google+ will automatically show you "highlights" of each photo gallery, saving you from digging through large galleries of imperfect shots. It'll also allow you to preview or undo automatic photo enhancements. "Auto-awesome," the tool that lets you create animations or panoramas from still shots, is included as well.
But the biggest news for Google+ photo sharing might be the addition of Snapseed photo enhancements directly within the app. A selection of filters including Drama and Retrolux can be accessed from with in the app, alongside bread-and-butter tweaks like cropping, rotating and exposure changes.
Location sharing is also a bit smarter in Google+ 4.0, allowing you to see friends who are sharing their location directly on a map, in a new "locations" section. Automatic hashtags, added to Google+ on the web last week, makes its way to Android in this latest update too.
Source: Google+ blog
4 weeks ago
Apps of the Week: Hubble Space Center, Sonic the Hedgehog, Field Trip and more!
A game and a couple of tools highlight this abbreviated list of picks
The combination of Google I/O going on in San Francisco and BlackBerry Live in Orlando this week has our team a little sparse, but we think there are a few great picks to be seen this week regardless. Whether its just four apps or ten, we do our best every weekend to bring you apps that each of the Android Central writers have been using regularly the previous week.
Stick around after the break and see how this week's picks stack up against the rest.
4 weeks ago
Hangouts updated to correct tablet compatibility issues
Nexus 7 and other tablet users can now update to replace the Google Talk app
Following its announcement at Google I/O, the new Hangouts app from Google has had a bit of a rocky rollout to certain devices. Because it replaces a pre-installed system app (Google Talk), there are some complications with pushing an update that makes so many changes. When the app first hit the Play Store many users wouldn't get the option to update, especially if they were on tablets. Google has just pushed out an update today that should fix those issues, making the app compatible with tablets of all sizes.
The app's description has also been updated to note that it is aware of some compatibility issues, and that Hangouts is actually being rolled out over the course of several days. That would explain why some users that were eager to install saw some hiccups. Rest assured that as of now most devices (using Android 2.3 and up) should be good to go with an update from the Play Store directly.
Show More Headlines
4 weeks ago
Pocket Casts updated with improvements and fixes galore
Continuous playback over notifications and more bug fixes than you can shake a stick at
Since making the move to a completely new design with Pocket Casts 4, a few lingering bugs have been piling up. Those are getting squashed today, along with a few new feature adds, with a big update to the app today. First up, the update brings the option to have playback not be interrupted by notifications, which is still set to be off by default. The sharing menu for podcasts has also received a tweak that gives you three simple options -- email, other apps, copy link -- to cut down on the interface clutter. You can now mark every episode from a certain podcast as "unplayed", and long-pressing on the "next" button will skip to the next item in a playlist.
Some of the big user-facing bugs, such as duplicate episode downloads and action bar bugs that showed extra action buttons have been notably fixed. When episode downloads fail, they now properly show up in the "not downloaded" filter once again. There are also many more back-end issues that have been fixed as well. If you haven't had a chance to see Pocket Casts in action, now may be the time -- grab a download from the Play Store link above.