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3 years ago

Google wants a $50 entry point for Project Ara devices

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Even the price is modular, and it starts small

Project Ara is in the news today because of the big developers conference planned for April, but maybe the best news so far is Google's target price for the entry-level unit — $50.

Dubbed a "grayphone" the unit is pretty barebones. You have the touchscreen, a Wifi module, and the internals to run them both. Nothing more, but how much more can you expect for a measly $50?

Former DARPA director and current head of Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group Regina Dugan and team have bold plans after the sale, as well. They want specialized kiosks where customers can purchase and customize their grayphones, complete with the tooling to add the needed modules.

While the goal of a $50 device may be unobtainable in the long run, Google is focused on making the product a great way to get another five billion people on the Internet instead of making the product profitable. Look for a working prototype soon, and there's talk of the retail version hitting the market in early 2015.

Source: Time

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3 years ago

Boeing reveals the Boeing Black — a super-secure smartphone for those with super security needs

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This phone will self destruct in ten seconds…

In this day and age of malicious apps and intrusive government surveillance, you might be wondering how to keep your data secure. You could turn to a solution like the up-and-coming Geeksphone Blackphone, with a modified version of Android and sets of secure communications services. Or you could do what the government does and turn to Boeing.

Yes, Boeing. The company that makes massive jetliners, fighter jets, satellites, and all sorts of high tech military hardware is getting into the smartphone game. Their Android-powered entry is the ominously-named Boeing Black. Because stealth.

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3 years ago

CrackBerry's celebrating its 7th birthday with a giveaway… and it's not a BlackBerry!

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Our friends at CrackBerry are celebrating their 7th birthday this week (as if they needed a reason to celebrate this week), and they're doing it by giving away a batch of cool stuff. Oh, and it's cool not-BlackBerry stuff.

"What kind of cool not-BlackBerry stuff?" you ask? How about this:

Entering this contest is as easy as you might think: just leave a comment on this post on CrackBerry.com saying which one of those seven prizes you'd like to win. Entries are open until Sunday at midnight Pacific Time. Commenting is easy — as a member of Android Central, your Mobile Nations Passport account already logs you in to CrackBerry. Just click on over and enter away!

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3 years ago

Barnes & Noble's revenue from Nook plummets by 50%, but they're planning a new one anyway

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Turning to the next page

Barnes & Noble is in a tough spot. Their book selling business, anchored by a nationwide chain of massive and expensive stores, isn't doing well in the face of digital competition. Their effort to jump into the digital realm themselves, first with the Nook e-reader and then Android-powered Nook tablets, did well for a while and has since floundered. In the last quarter, Barnes & Noble's Nook division (encompassing devices, digital content, and accessories) saw revenues of $157 million — down 50.4% from the year prior. Device sales made up two thirds of that revenue, and even with an increased userbase, Nook saw a drop of 26.5% in digital content sales. That's revenue, though. Losses in the Nook division topped $129 million, a 67.5% increase from last year.

That Barnes & Noble didn't release a single new Nook tablet over the past year might have something to do with that, though they admit that their plan was to sell through a glut of existing device inventory. And seeing these numbers, we'd have thought that the Nook tablet (and eventually Barnes & Noble) was done for this world. But it's not so, said Barnes & Noble CEO Michael P. Huseby:

"We remain committed to delivering world-class reading experiences to our customers through our reading centric e-Ink and color reading devices. Barnes & Noble is actively engaged in discussions with several world-class hardware partners related to device development as well as content packaging and distribution. As a result, we plan to launch a new NOOK color device in early fiscal 2015."

So Nook isn't dead, nor is Barnes & Noble, at least not yet. We generally liked the previous Nook tablets — they offered a decent bang for your buck — but it's hard to say how they'll be able to compete against today's budget offerings, both from Google and a more direct competitor like Amazon. Let us know in the comments if a new Nook tablet interests you.

Source: Barnes & Noble

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3 years ago

Asus outs a pair of charging docks for the Nexus 7

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Plug it in or go wireless, the choice is yours

If you've got a Nexus 7 (2013), then you know what it's like to charge it. You have to do crazy things like plug it in or set it on a tiny little pad to go inductive. Asus knows how much of a hassle this is, so today they announced the Asus Dock for Nexus 7 (2013) and the Asus PW100 Wireless Charging Stand.

The Asus Dock for Nexus 7 (2013), aside from having a tremendously descriptive name, is a fancy USB dock. The dock is designed to work in vertical and portrait orientations, supporting the tablet when turned on its side with a little ledge, and in both orientations kicking back a few degrees to make the viewing angle more comfortable. It also has an HDMI-out port so you can use it to hardwire a line to your TV (or you can get a Chromecast).

The Asus PW100 Wireless Charging Stand, on the other hand, it's Nexus 7-specific, but it's still designed to work with it. It's a Qi charger, but tilted up at 60° so as to hold the tablet up at an angle you can use instead of sitting flat on a table. The charger also has a handy little light at its base that illuminates when it's done charging. Unlike the plug-in dock, the PW100 Wireless Charging Stand works with Nexus 7 cases (assuming they're not too thick).

Both docks are available for order now on Amazon.com. The Asus Dock for Nexus 7 (2013) is priced at $49.99, while the Asus PW100 Wireless Charging Stand clocks in at $89.99. We agree, that price is giving us a nosebleed too.

Source: Asus (YouTube)

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3 years ago

Google+ app updated with great new photo features

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Shutterbugs will be delighted with today's update

It's Wednesday, and that means a slew of Google app releases and updates. We've seen Chrome get a small one, and the Google Launcher made a big splash in the Play store, but we can't not talk about the big Google+ update slowly trickling out.

If you're the type who loves taking and sharing pictures, you'll love this one. All the major changes are for the Google photos side of the app, and they all look really nice.

  • Non-destructive photo editing across devices — Starting today you can start your edits on one device, and continue (or start over) on another. This means you can backup full-resolution photos from your desktop, edit them in seconds on your phone, then add some finishing touches from your tablet. (And you can revert to your originals at any time!) The technical term for this experience is non-destructive editing in the cloud, and we think you'll really enjoy it.
  • Brand new filters and creative tools — Now when you edit your photos, you’ll have a powerful set of tools (like crop and rotate), 1-touch filters, and Snapseed-inspired enhancements (like Drama, Retrolux, and HDR Scape). Mix and match to make your photos look their absolute best.
  • A single view of all your photos — The new ‘All’ view displays your entire photo library — whether it’s on your current device, or backed up in the cloud. If your library is really large (> 10s of thousands of photos), the app won’t show all your photos initially. But stay tuned, because we’re supporting larger and larger libraries over the next few weeks.
  • An easy way to browse your photos by date — In addition to search, there’s now another way to find your photos fast. Just swipe through your photos in the ‘All’ view, and look for the scroll bar on the right. Dragging the scroll bar up or down will quickly move you forwards or backwards in time.

As usual, this is the standard slow rollout from Google, so you may not see the update for a little while. Feel free to try your luck using the Google Play link up top.

Source: +Vic Gundotra

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3 years ago

Google holding Project Ara developer conference in April

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Google wants to help others build smartphone parts

Google has announced that the first Project Ara developer conference will be held this April 15 and 16 in Mountain View. The events will also be streamed with an interactive question and answer set up, as admission to the event itself will be limited.

What they're going to do here is the really cool part. Project Ara is the continuation of Motorola's Lego-like modular phone design concept. Different modules can be built, and when pieced together you've created a custom smartphone. It's ambitious, to say the least.

To bring a concept like this closer to reality, you need people able and willing to design the custom modules. The Ara Module Developers’ Kit will be unvieled in April, and it will be the focus of the conference. Google says there will be detailed walkthroughs and feedback sessions, which sounds like an excellent way to get things started. The full conference agenda will be posted soon at http://projectara.com.

This sounds like a great way to make this exciting project come to life. My dreams of the Jerryfone have only just begun!

Source: +Google ATAP

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3 years ago

Chrome for Android updated to version 33, brings minor user-facing changes

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New version will roll out to users over the next few days

Google has updated the Chrome browser for Android today, bringing the version number up to 33.0.1750.132. Along with the usual performance and stability tweaks, there are several changes highlighted by the Chrome team.

  • Download progress notification for file downloads using the Chrome network stack
  • Updated help and feedback UI
  • Support for <datalist> tag

The new help and feedback UI is a simple modification that opens the help center in its own view, with its own action bar. The functionality is the same, just with a new look.

The new version will follow the usual Google #trollout, and all users should expect to have it within the next few days. Try your luck by using the Google Play link above.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

HTC teases the all-new HTC One as having boomier BoomSound

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#Beatboxing engineers

So… there's an all-new HTC One coming, and it has speakers that are good for a man making awesome sounds, moose mating calls, Viking sopranos, and two horns. The original HTC One's dual front-facing stereo BoomSound speakers sported a Class-D audio amplifier for the loudest, highest quality speakers we'd seen heard on a smartphone. The all-new HTC One, apparently, has redesigned audio components that make it more [womp womp]. We'll find out more next month.

Source: HTC (YouTube)

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3 years ago

Google Now Launcher availability expands to Nexus and Google Play edition devices

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No longer for just the Nexus 5

Attention Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Google Play edition device owners: You too can now use the Google Play Launcher that was previous reserved for just the Nexus 5. That's right, no longer must you suffer with Google Now being a tap-and-hold or widget away, you can now install the Google Now Launcher and swipe right to launch right into Google Now.

It's not just easy swiping access to Google Now. That omnipresent search box is updated in the Google Now Launcher to be always listening for the phrase "Ok Google" — just say it to launch voice search. And it's a visual update with larger icons, relocated widget preferences, and other tweaks that make it easier and faster to use.

So long as your Android device is a Nexus or Google Play edition (that'd be the HTC One, LG G Pad 8.3, Moto G, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Sony Z Ultra) running Android 4.4, you can install the Google Now Launcher. It's not visually perfect on our HTC One Google Play Edition (there's some weird spacing), but it's nothing that can't be fixed with a few tweaks and an update. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Thanks to everybody for the tips!

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3 years ago

San Francisco woman attacked and robbed for wearing Google Glass in a bar

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Bar owner was excited to see the technology, some of the patrons, however, were not

Bay area resident Sarah Slocum says she was verbally and physically assaulted at Molotov's on Haight Street in San Francisco Friday night, and it was because she was wearing Google Glass. Slocum was able to retrieve her Glass unit during a fist fight between her attacker and her male companion, but her handbag and her cell phone are still missing.

Witnesses say the bar owner and several of the patrons were excited to see a demonstration of the new technology. During the demonstration, other patrons expressed their displeasure at the possibility of being recorded by throwing dirty bar rags and firing off insults to Slocum. One of the unhappy barflies then grabbed the Google Glass unit and pulled it off Slocum's face. Her companion retailiated with his fists, and during the scuffle Slocum was able to retreive her Google Glass.

Police are looking for the gentleman who pulled Slocum's Glass off her face, and the fact that she was showing other patrons how Glass can record video will come in handy. Hopefully there's a nice, clear picture of the fellow for the police to have a look at.

Growing pains are one thing, but this is taking it a bit too far. Two things need remembered here — your right to "privacy" stops the minute you're in a public place, and violence is never the right reaction. Hopefully, the perpetrator is found and punished accordingly. Wanting the government to make Google Glass "illegal" in public is one thing, but taking the law into your own hands is another.

Source: CBS Local San Francisco

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3 years ago

Samsung announces new hexa- and octa-core Exynos 5 processors

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Plus new camera sensors and radio chipsets

Mobile World Congress isn't just big smartphone announcements — like any big trade show there are announcements small and big, consumer and technical. This one trends more on the side of technical, and it's Samsung's latest application processors: the Exynos 5422 and Exynos 5260.

We'll start with the Exynos 5422, an octa-core chipset that, like previous Samsung octa-core processors, is really more like two quad core processors combined. The Exynos 5422 includes four powerful ARM Cortex-A15 cores that can be clocked up to a blazing 2.1GHz, and four ARM Cortex-A7 cores running at up to 1.5GHz for lighter loads. Samsung claims the Exynos 5422 can "deliver up to 34 percent higher performance than in previous Exynos Octa models." All this power means the processor can handle 4K displays with aplomb, though it's not likely we're going to see those any time soon, so that extra oomph can instead be directed at other tasks. The 28-nanometer process used to fabricate the Exynos 5422 is said to result in a 10% reduction in power consumption.

The Exynos 5260, on the other hand, is a hexa-core processor with two big 1.7GHz ARM Cortex-A15 cores paired with four 1.3GHz ARM Cortex-A7 cores. The 6-core model isn't quite as powerful as its 8-core brother, having both a lower clock speed and fewer cores, but Samsung still projects it to be able to handle displays all the way up to WQXGA (2560x1600). The Exynos 5260 is currently in production, while the Exynos 5422 is scheduled to start mass production in the first quarter of the year, so be looking for both in future Samsung products.

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3 years ago

First hands on with Running Shadow, coming soon to Android

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We recently visited multinational game publisher Game Insight in San Francisco to check out their latest mobile title The Tribez & Castlez, which launched earlier this week. During the visit, Game Insight also gave Android Central an exclusive first look at their next major release: Running Shadow. An endless runner with distinct levels, intuitive combat, and impressive 3D graphics, this one looks like it could be a hit when it arrives on Android.

Running Shadow doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can learn more and see it in action after the break.

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3 years ago

A closer look at the Intel Merrifield 64-bit chipset

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The reference device isn't bad either

Intel announced its first 64-bit chipsets for Android this week at Mobile World Congress. Following this we stopped by to take a closer look, including checking out the first Merrifield reference device. Since it's not a consumer product there was little point going too deep – so no hands on in the traditional sense – but we did learn a little more about the platform.

To recap; Intel announced two different 64-bit chipsets this week, Merrifield and Moorefield. The dual-core LTE Merrifield will be coming to market in the first half of 2014 while the quad-core LTE Moorefield will follow in the second half.

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3 years ago

Rumored prototype Motorola smartwatch surfaces, looks a lot like a MOTOACTV sequel

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Remember the MOTOACTV? Yeah, Motorola's fitness-tracking, music-playing, wrist wearable from 2011, that one. Back before "smartwatches" were really a thing, Motorola and a few other companies were experimenting around with the concept of devices you could wear on your body, mostly for fitness tracking. And so, Motorola released the Android-powered MOTOACTV, and it was… interesting.

Was there to be a follow-up? If a report by Android Police is any indication, yes. They describe it as a prototype "Google Watch", though to be honest, looking at it we're not so sure that's accurate.

For one, Google very deliberately kept a distance between themselves and Motorola from the moment they purchased the handset maker, and will be even more so once the sale to of Motorola to Lenovo goes through. Motorola hasn't produced any Nexus devices since they were acquired — that's been LG for both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, ASUS for the Nexus 7, and Samsung for the Nexus 10. Why would Motorola then be tasked with designing a Google smartwatch with Motorola branding on it?

More likely this is a prototype follow-up to the MOTOACTV. The control layout very closely mimics that of the original MOTOACTV and the design overall screams "fitness watch" to us. Hell, even the one image a settings screen looks precisely like the MOTOACTV interface.

But maybe Google should be making a Nexus smartwatch to show the likes of Samsung and Pebble how they'd do it. Motorola's confirmed that they too are working on new wearble devices, so let us know in the comments what you think — maybe a new MOTOACTV is in the cards...

Source: Android Police

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