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2 years ago

New version of Google Music Manager allows easy downloading of purchased tracks

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Here at AC, we love Google Music, and some of us have it cranked high all day long while the lovingly sweet sounds of Led Zepplin or Motorhead coax us through the workday.  But I digress, and maybe that's only me.  We especially love it when changes get made to makes things easier, and today is a good day for easy.  Google has updated the Google Music Manager program to allow for easy downloading of songs you have uploaded or purchased from the Android Market.  Music Manager is the portion of the service you run on your computer to upload and manage your library, and we have to admit when compared to competitors like iTunes or Zune it's a little sparse.  

With today's update, you can download all your legitimately *cough* purchased and uploaded music with just a few button clicks.  Right click on the Music Manager in your system tray, open the options dialog and choose the "Download" tab.  From there you have the option to download your library.  If you've downloaded it before, you'll also have an option to only download newly added songs.  The tracks are saved in the folder you specify as 320 kbps .mp3 files.  Your songs still stay in the cloud, but now you've got a local copy as well.

In addition, server side changes now allow you to share the Youtube video for purchased songs with your Google+ circles.  Click the dropdown next to the song title to share the video with your circles, and they'll see it in their Google+ timeline.  Now if only the rest of the planet could use Google music, it would be perfect.

Source: Android Market support; via +Android

 

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2 years ago

Google's Android developers want you to say goodbye to the menu button

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Goodbye menu button, hello Action Bar overflow!  Today on the Android Developers blog Scott Main, lead technical writer from Google, wrote up a nice piece of prose about how developers should migrate away from the traditional menu-button based way of designing applications.  You see, Ice Cream Sandwich allows for the folks designing phones to do away with all those buttons we've grown accustomed to at the bottom of our screen, and replace them with software based buttons built into the OS and apps.  It's something we first saw in Honeycomb tablets, where the need for menu buttons was removed by the introduction of the ActionBar class.  

Google wants developers, and in turn us users, to learn to love the Action Bar.  Scott gives examples of how the new Action Bar "overflow" (those three dots that replace a menu button in ICS) can replace what we traditionally needed a menu button for, and even how to build applications to use both methods -- developers don't want to forget all the devices that haven't been updated to Ice Cream Sandwich yet.  It's an interesting read for those who keep up with Android application interface guidelines, and a must-read for all you developers out there.  

Most importantly, Scott stresses that the application UI should have all the important  elements right up front for the user to see, and the overflow should be used for things not important enough to be on the screen.  He also gives instruction on how to make the legacy menu button not appear if it's not being used, and how to get rid of the whole Action Bar if an application doesn't need it.  As developers get their apps updated for ICS and beyond, we'll be able to say goodbye to those three dots we chase all over on "buttonless" phones and tablets.  That's a good thing.

Source: Android Developers Blog.  Thanks, Sebastian!

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2 years ago

Motorola: 18.7 million smartphones, 1 million tablets sold in 2011

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Motorola's just announced it's fourth-quarter and year-end earnings, and we're getting a pretty clear picture of what sold -- and what didn't -- in 2011. Here's the breakdown:

  • For all of 2011, Motorola sold 18.7 million smartphones and 1 million tablets (Motorola Xoom, Xyboard/Xoom 2)
  • For the final three months of the year, Motorola sold 5.3 million smartphones and 200,000 tablets.

Quarterly speaking, that's a bit of an increase. For Q3 2011, Motorola sold 4.8 million smartphones and 100,000 tablets. But it still pales in comparison to the more than 40 million iPads Apple sold in 2011, never mind iPhones.

As far as earnings go, Motorola announced a net revenue of $3.4 billion, but a non-GAAP operating loss of $19 million and an earnings loss of 27 cents per share.

Motorola does mention the Google merger in its earnings report, but that's it. No update on progress. And for that reason, Motorola's also not hosting a conference call with the report.

Source: Motorola

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2 years ago

Mobilicity launching the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Feb. 6

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Canadian carriers have been rolling out the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for quite a while now but has just added their name to the mix. On their Twitter account they've made it known the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be available from them on February 6th. No pricing details were released for now but it'll no doubt fall in line with the rest of the carrier offers meaning -- it should arrive for around $600, possibly less if Mobilicity wants to be nice.

Source: Twitter

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2 years ago

Amazon offering the Galaxy Nexus for a deeply-discounted $100

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We here at Android Central refuse to ignore a bargain, espcially one as great as this: Amazon is currently selling the Galaxy Nexus for a mere $99.99, a full $200 less than what you'll pay Verizon. The sale price is for new customers only, and you'll need to sign a two-year contract, of course. If you've held out for the current Android king, this is likely the best price you've seen to date, though the device is finally starting to see some respectable discounts (newegg.com, for example, is currently offering the Nexus for $200).

Given Amazon's name-brand and solid reliability, this deal is just too good to ignore for those who have been waiting patiently to take a bite out of Ice Cream Sandwich. Hit the source link for Amazon's product page.

Source: Amazon

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2 years ago

HTC EVO 4G and EVO View 4G reportedly reach end-of-life status

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It was a landmark Android device, and it's been an iconic phone for Sprint, but it seems that this past week finally saw the venerable HTC EVO 4G reach end-of-life (EOL) status. According to an internal memo obtained by Sprintfeed, the EVO View 4G, Sprint's version of the HTC Flyer, will also be put out to pasture from Jan. 29. And there's bad news for our friends at CrackBerry, too, as it seems Sprint also plans to stop offering the BlackBerry Playbook from "late January".

While the EVO View (and the Playbook) haven't exactly been runaway successes, we're sure a few of you will have fond memories of the EVO 4G, which first appeared way back in June 2010. Hopefully we'll see these devices replaced by more compelling Android phones and tablets as the year progresses.

Source: Sprintfeed

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2 years ago

Rift MMO launches Android app with in-game items

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Massively multiplayer game Rift has just launched its first companion app for Android. Not only does it have the usual stuff like chat with in-game friends and event notifications, they've also included mini-games through which you can win proper in-game items. Here's the full feature list.

  • Chat with friends and guildmates - Check if your comrades are online, and communicate instantly from anywhere! Send messages from your phone to in-game, or plan your adventures mobile-to-mobile! Push Notifications help your friends call you back to Telara.
  • Full guild support - Guild and Officer chat run smoothly on your mobile device, so you never miss a big decision.
  • Guild MOTD and Guild Wall - View your Guild Wall and Message of the Day at anytime, anywhere.
  • Zone Event notification - Hear the call when Zone Events erupt on your shard, and pick your battles with flexible alert settings.
  • Earn in-game loot! - Win real loot through the mobile app with Lootables. Artifacts, crafting items, and planar treasure shoot straight to your character’s mailbox!

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2 years ago

LG Prada 3.0 comes to Phones4U early, first stock arriving tomorrow

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Independent retailer Phones4U has announced that it'll be the first in the UK to sell the new Prada Phone by LG 3.0 (aka LG Prada 3.0), with stock arriving from tomorrow, Jan. 27. The latest collaboration between the Korean manufacturer and the Italian fashion giant has resulted in a thin, high-end Android smartphone with distinctive hardware and software. As we said in our hands-on preview, though, the device's monochrome UI may not be to everyone's tastes.

A quick glance at Phones4U's site reveals that it'll be selling the LG Prada 3.0 with contracts from O2, Vodafone and Orange. The best value seems come from Voda, which offers the phone for free on a £31 per month, 2-year plan, though O2 isn't far behind with a similar deal for £32 per month. If earlier Phones4U exclusives are anything to go by, they'll likely sell you the device in-store without a contract, though you may end up paying a considerable mark-up.

Other British retailers are expected to begin stocking the LG Prada 3.0 from the second week of February, with SIM-free prices of around £430 (~$670). We've got Phones4U's press release after the break.

More: Phones4U

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2 years ago

AT&T breaks its own Android sales record, but iPhone still rules the roost

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AT&T released its Q4 2011 earnings this morning, saying it set sales records for Android devices in the three months ending Dec. 31. (It doubled Android sales in Q3 2011, you'll recall.) While it declined to give specific Android numbers, AT&T did say that it sold 9.4 million Android and iOS smartphones, 82 percent its postpaid sales were smartphones, and it activated 7.6 million iPhones. Do the math there, more or less, and you've got a boatload of iPhones, and some Android phones. But we're not one to look broken records in the mouth, and neither is AT&T, we reckon. The company also said it sold twice as many Android devices as it did in Q4 2010. 

Source: AT&T

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2 years ago

Late night poll: Your Android phone manufacturer

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There's a lot of Android phones out there, from a slew of manufacturers.  In the US alone there's over 70 different current models to choose from, and world-wide the number swells into the hundreds.  We all have our favorites, and we thought it would be fun to take a quick survey to find out which OEM is the most popular amongst us all.  Take a second, fill out our poll and we'll find out!  If you have more than one phone, pick your favorite.  And if you pick "other", be sure to let everyone know what you're rocking in the comments.  

 

Which brand of Android phone are you using?

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