Headlines

3 years ago

Larry Page on the Android 'patent situation'

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Google was asked about the "patent situation" during Thursday's second-quarter earnings call. The "situation," of course, is that Google recently lost a bid for a major bunch of patents -- and lost to a consortium including many of its main competitors in the mobile space. Meanwhile, developers are having to fight (or pay off) patent trolls, and we're seeing more licensing deals being made between Android OEMs and Google competitors.

Here's what Page had to say:

"Android's really on a tear. I mentioned there are over 550,000 new Android activations. There's over 400 such devices. Thirty-nine OEMs. Two-hundred-and-thirty-one carriers in 123 countries, and over 78 Open Handset Allience partners, and that velocity's only increasing.

"Now, of course, despite the efforts of some of our competitors, there hasn't been any slowdown in any of those things. And, you know, partners and developers are continuing to expand the Android ecosystem.

"And I should say, of course, we're really committed to Android and continue to support that platform and ecosystem, and do it in a cost-effective manner."

See also: Editorial: How long can Google and Android afford to remain silent on patents?

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3 years ago

Google+ app updated in Android Market, brings UI changes, new features, and bug fixes

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The Google+ app has just received a pretty major update that brings bug fixes, some UI changes, and new features to Googles new social media venture.  From the changelog in the Android Market:

  • Customize the main stream view to show streams from individual circles
  • Fixed some issues encountered by users with the Swype keyboard
  • Set permissions for who can start a huddle with you (Anyone, Your Circles, Extended Circles)
  • If someone you've never huddled with before invites you to a group huddle, you can now dismiss the invitation
  • New UI allows adding multiple people or entire circles to a huddle
  • Set photo as wallpaper
  • Performance improvements and bug fixes throughout the app

This addresses the biggest gripes I've been hearing about the mobile app -- a way to add entire circles to a huddle, and a way to customize which circles are visible in your main stream.  I'm sure the Google+ team is still hard at work and things will only get better.  If you don't have your Google+ invitation yet, be sure to hit the forums and sing out -- invites seem to be wide open.  Download links for the Market are after the break.

If you don't have an Android phone, you don't have a Google+ app. 

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3 years ago

Spotify now live in the United States

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Take just about every feature from every streaming music service available, and you you get Spotify. But until today, those of us in the United States were left on the sidelines. No more. Spotify's now live. Create playlists, share music, search from millions of songs, play offline. And, most important, play on your Android phone.

Free invites are going out fast and furious this morning, and there are deals that can get you bumped up to the premium levels pretty quickly. Or if you don't mind paying monthly, $4.99 a month gets you the basic service, sans advertising. For $9.99 a month "premium" (and this is the one most of you will be shooting for), you gain full Spotify access on your Android smartphone, offline mode, and better streaming quality.

We're right in the middle of deep-diving this thing, but so far, Spotify's living up to its expectations.

More: Spotify

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3 years ago

Swiftkey X comes out of beta for Android smartphones and tablets

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Swiftkey X -- the latest generation in what has proven to be an excellent predictive-type keyboard for Android -- exits public beta status this morning and enters the Android Market as a full-fledged paid app.

Available for 48 hours at $1.99 (it'll increase to $3.99 thereafter), Swiftkey X is the phone version of TouchType's venerable keyboard app. It combines the two major facets of an on-screen keyboard -- predictive typing and the skinning of the keys themselves -- for what has quickly become (yet again) one of our favorite third-party Android keyboards.

Also available today is Swiftkey Tablet X, designed for Honeycomb tablets and their larger screens. It's available for 48 hours for $1.99 as well, and increases to $4.99 thereafter. With Swiftkey Tablet X, you have the option to type in a typical keyboard design, or you can switch to the thumb layout (seen above).

If you've previously purchased Swiftkey, you'll be upgraded to the full version of Swiftkey X for free.

We've been using Swiftkey X in its various beta builds for the past several months. The key to its success lies in its Fluency 2.0 engine, which learns the way you type and adapts to better predict your next word. You also have the option (it's opt-in) to connect Swiftkey X to your Facebook, Gmail and Twitter accounts, where it can better learn your typing habits. Are you particular in your hunting and pecking? Or do you just kind of go for it, and rely on autocorrect to get your message across? Swiftkey X can work with both.

Other features: Swiftkey X now supports 22 languages and can interpret as many as three simultaneous for you tri-lingual typers out there. Look and feel are also greatly improved, and the long-press timing is as good as we've seen. And Swiftkey X now has three themes from which to choose -- dark, light and neon.

Check out videos of Swiftkey in action after the break.

Download: Swiftkey X (phones); Swiftkey Tablet X

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3 years ago

Motorola Electrify (aka Photon), LG Optimus Black top US Cellular's Q3 roadmap

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Way, way back in early June, US Cellular teased seven Android phones and tablets to be released by the end of the year. The breakdown went thusly:

  • Three HTC devices -- two smartphones and a tablet (which we presumed would be the Flyer
  • A 4.3-inch Motorola device with a dual-core 1GHz processor and world phone radio
  • An LG device with a 1GHz dual-core processor, 4-inch touchscreen and "ultra-bright LCD display that is easy to view in sunlight." We figured that to be the LG Optimus Black
  • Plus, entry-level phones from Samsung and Huawei.

We've since seen the HTC Desire II and Wildfire S show up in USCC's inventory. So put a check to them.

As for the other devices? We've got US Cellular's entire third-quarter roster after the break, if you're into that sort of thing.

Thanks, Anon!

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3 years ago

Toshiba Thrive initial review

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It's been some six months since we first saw the Toshiba Thrive at CES. At the time, it didn't have a name, and it wasn't even a Honeycomb tablet -- more of a hardware prototype running Froyo.

That all ends today. Let's start with the obvious: It's not the most svelte Android tablet out there. No, that crown still belongs to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Thrive's actually thicker than the Motorola Xoom while weighing about as much. But the Thrive more than makes up being a bit portly with its hardware features. Let's explore them after the break.

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3 years ago

Adobe announces 'AIR App Challenge' and Flash Player support for Sony Tablets

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With the new Sony S1 and S2 tablets set to hit the market soon, Sony has now teamed up with Adobe for a couple of things. The first, being the announcement that all Sony tablets will indeed support Adobe Flash when they arrive at retailers. The second, being a new contest for Adobe AIR developers.

The ‘Adobe AIR App Challenge Sponsored by Sony’ contest offers developers a chance to win $200,000 in total cash prizes and the promotion of the application on ”Sony Tablet” devices. Adobe and Sony are challenging developers and content publishers to build breakthrough mobile apps optimized for the S1 and S2 tablets. The contest will give selected developers pre-release access to “Sony Tablet” prototypes and the latest version of Adobe tools. Contest categories include Entertainment, Lifestyle and Community, Games, Business and Productivity, and Innovation. A panel of Adobe, Sony and third party judges will evaluate application submissions based on quality and performance, innovation and creativity, as well as overall user experience. The contest is open to submissions from the U.S., Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K.

The contest opens up to everyone today, if you're interested in learning more you'll find the full press release below or you can click on the source link to be taken to the AIR app challenge website directly.

Source: Adobe

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3 years ago

Motorola Xoom drops to $499 in Canada

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While Woot is currently offering the Motorola Xoom for $399 as a refurb, that will only last for a while. Future Shop locations across Canada have now started offering something a little more solid. Right now, you can pick up a Motorola Xoom WiFi for only $499 -- that's exactly $100 off what it was previously for Canadians. Any takers?

Source: Future Shop

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3 years ago

Verizon puts LTE into the Cisco Cius tablet for businesses

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Hey, all you IT types. You might recognize the Android-powered Cisco Cius tablet above -- we first told you about it more than a year ago. Today, Verizon has announced that it's putting its LTE muscle behind it, giving its enterprise and government customers the option of moving secure video conferencing and messaging from the boardroom to the road.

The Cius tablet, as you'll recall, sports 7-inch high-resolution color screen, an Intel Atom 1.6-GHz processor, 32GB of flash memory to store marketplace apps, a detachable/replaceable 8-hour battery, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and 3G/4G data, Cisco collaboration applications, an HD soundstation, HD audio, 720p HD video with Cisco TelePresence for video conferencing and integrated security.

Again, this isn't a tablet for the masses. But for road warriors and corporate types, it could be pretty juicy. Presser's after the break.

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3 years ago

A Motorola Xoom for $399? Woot, indeed!

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Not much to say here, folks. The venerable Motorola Xoom (32GB Wifi-only version) is just $399 today on Woot. It might not be the thinnest or lightest Honeycomb tablet, but for today, it's just about the cheapest.

Source: Woot; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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