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3 years ago

Google Play Services brings two great new APIs to the table: Photo Sphere viewing and vector-based maps

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Google Play services is now at version 2.0, and a couple of great new features are on board.

First is an update to the Maps API for Android apps. Version 2 of the API now includes vector-based maps, with both 2D and 3D views, as well as tilt-rotate visuals. Google’s also added UI design elements that can be scaled up for tablets.

Apps will also get to use Maps layers like satellite, hybrid, terrain and traffic information. The latest indoor maps layer covering airports and shopping center layouts is in there, too. Google’s been calling for building participation in the project, and stores like Ikea are early participants.

Additionally,  full details about the Photo Sphere tool are available, and these new APIs will help interested third parties create standalone viewers using the new metadata from Adobe. With the open XMP format, Photosphere is now open to all. We like open around here, especially because it means we should finally (eventually) be able to view Photo Sphere pictures in the Google+ application.

Hit the break for a developer video from Google about the new API.

via: Android Developers

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3 years ago

Starbucks updates app with Android 4.2 compatibility

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Starbucks lovers with a device running Android 4.2 -- quite a few of us now -- have been out in the cold waiting for an update to fix compatibility with the latest OS update. Some problem with the app in Android 4.2 caused a nasty bug that made the app crash almost every time it was opened. Thankfully, the wait is over and today's update fixes the issues.

Go grab that download at the Play Store link above and get back to paying for your latte (or quadruple extra hot venti caramel macchiato, if you're me) without a wallet.

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3 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update hitting Kies

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Coming up on 3 weeks after the T-Mobile Galaxy SIII (S3) started receiving an OTA update to Jelly Bean, users in our forums are reporting seeing the update become available via Samsung Kies for their AT&T Galaxy S3s. There's no indication of when (or if) this will go out via an OTA package, but willing users that are impatient can always go with the Kies desktop software route.

Take a look at the source link below to our forums where the discussion about the update has already begun.

Source: AT&T Galaxy S3 Forums

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3 years ago

First look at the Verizon Galaxy Note 2

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What more is there to say about one of the hottest phones on the market today? Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 is poised to be one of the biggest (literally) smartphones this holiday season, and the country's largest carrier just launched its iteration. You won't find any differences under the hood-- same Exynos quad-core processor, same 2 gigs of RAM, and same super-slick Jelly Bean OS. What you WILL find, however, is a heck of a lot of branding. Some would say too much, and others would say way too much-- don't panic though, there are ways around it. So sit back, hit the break and enjoy the unboxing, and be sure to stay tuned for how the Note 2 competes with the rest of Verizon's holiday portfolio, including HTC's Goliath DNA. 

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3 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: The search for Google Play gift cards

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The Google Play gift card is an elusive beast. Supposedly available at big box stores like Walmart and Target, specialty stores like GameStop, even grocery stores and electronics stores like Kroger or Frys, but they sure are hard to find. At my local Target they had some in stock at the beginning of November, but right now they are all sold out. Of course sold out matters more when you know how many you started with, for my purposes it's a bummer because I can't find any gift cards to toss in the stockings. Phil had to drive to a few stores to find some as well. 

Now we understand how (and why) Google struggles selling stuff. They aren't a retailer, and certainly have a lot to learn about becoming one. But Walmart knows a thing or two about selling  -- especially low-priced impulse stuff like gift cards. If they aren't on the shelf at Walmart, it means there are none to put on the shelf. Items sitting in the back don't make any money for the storefront. 

Hopefully, this means demand is high and they are selling a good many of them. Alternatively, it may mean that they are selling all they can get, which is very few. Or maybe I just live in some little bubble where Google Play gift cards are all the rage and they are available everywhere else. I don't know, so I'm asking. Hit the poll (in the sidebar to the right or after the break) and let me know.

Before we go, last week's poll needs a look.

Are 1080p screens the next big thing?

Looks like folks want some of the sweet 1080p. I have a feeling it will soon become the norm.

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3 years ago

How to enable Gmail 4.2 swipe and zoom features

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Starting today, that fancy new Gmail update -- version 4.2 -- is bringing the much-requested features of pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-delete to any device running Ice Cream Sandwich or later. But curiously, the best settings and features aren't even enabled by default.

So how do you turn those settings on? It just takes a few extra taps into the settings menu, so read on and see how.

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean now on 6.7% of Android devices

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Jelly Bean's install base got a huge boost in the past 30 days, but it still only powers less than 7-percent of all Android devices. Today's version number release from Google sees Jelly Bean with a 4-percent jump from November, while Ice Cream Sandwich sees a smaller increase of 1.8-percent with a total of 27.5-percent of all devices sampled.  We see Gingerbread still holds the lion's share (and likely will for a while), and Jelly Bean growing faster then ICS. This is because many of the phones running Gingerbread aren't going to be supported with an update, and phones that shipped with ICS are getting updated to Jelly Bean.

The sampling process is pretty simple, just keep track of the version on every phone that visits Goggle Play in a 30-day period. This means devices that don't have Google Play services aren't counted, and devices that do have Google Play but weren't designed to are being counted. It's a bit of a mess, but one that we should be used to by now. Next year, ICS will be dominant while we look at the small number of devices running Android 5.0. We don't have to like it (especially when it's one of our phones a version or two behind) but there's not much that can be done about it. We expect a similar picture next month.

Source: Android Developers Dashboard

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3 years ago

Earpiece buzz not unique to the Nexus 4, but it's there [buzz]

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First thing this afternoon when I got to my battle station, Phil gave me a call. This isn't unusual, we talk a lot, but today he wanted to ask me what I thought of the Nexus 4 and the crazy hissing/buzzing/evil sound you can almost hear coming from the earpiece. The one I can't hear and had never heard of. We threw some ideas back and forth, even got nerdy and spoke of vibrating crystals on the PCB that may be firing the eardrum and tiny bones inside the skull to create a sound, and I told him I would dig around the Internet and see what I could find. That's how this job works a lot of the time. Anyhoo, my non-buzzing Nexus 4 and I went in search of what could be happening.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE Android 4.1.2 update package emerges

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Samsung has been hard at work preparing Android 4.1.2 updates for a number of its Galaxy smartphones, and it seems the first device to get the upgrade will be the international 4G LTE version of the Galaxy Note 2 (GT-N7105). That's the version that supports LTE on Euro-friendly 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz bands, not to be confused with the 3G/HSPA-only version we reviewed back in October.

Today's firmware package comes via unofficial Samsung update archive Samsung-Updates.com, which shows it has the build number N7105XXDLK7. The version available right now has Vodafone South Africa branding, but that shouldn't stop it working on other carriers' Note 2 LTE devices, assuming they carry the model number GT-N7105. We imagine we'll begin to see Android 4.1.2 rolling out over-the-air for various Samsung devices soon. Earlier rumors had suggested the first Samsung 4.1.2 updates were due to begin in December.

Android 4.1.2 is a minor update to the OS, introduced in October, shortly before Android 4.2 hit. Aside from the usual bug fixes and tweaks, the most visible changes include subtle alterations to the way the notification shade works -- in 4.1.2, notifications can be expanded with a single finger swipe down.

Fingers crossed for more Samsung updates later in the month. The Galaxy S3's 4.1.2 update is rumored to include a particularly tasty festive treat, in the form of the multi-window feature from the Galaxy Note 2.

Source: Samsung-Updates

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3 years ago

Android Central 2012 Gift Guide: Phil's holiday wish-list

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Insert your favorite holiday cliche here. Go ahead. Do it. I won't judge. 'Tis the season. Deck the halls with something something. It's that time of year again.

We're starting our annual holiday gift guides. And this year, we're personalizing them. Perhaps you've already seen Jerry's glazed ham? (OK, who hasn't seen Jerry's glazed ham.) Now it's my turn. 

Read on for my must-have Android-related gifts for 2012.

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3 years ago

State of the Mobile Nations Survey: We need your opinion!

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With new Apple, Android and Windows Phone 8 devices hitting the market this fall, and new BlackBerry 10 phones just around the corner in early 2013, there have never been so many amazing phones on the market to choose from.

Before the holiday season hits, we wanted to pause for a moment and check in to see where everybody is at. It'll only take a minute or two to fill out this State of the Mobile Nations survey, and we'll love you forever if you do. Thanks for participating!

Take the Survey!

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3 years ago

Polk Audio announcing 3 new headphones made specifically for Android

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Polk Audio, makers of quality headphones and speaker systems, is announcing today that it will be offering three different headphones made specifically to work with Android devices. The headphones offer full call, volume and music controls with microphones as well. The models are part of the "UltraFit" line and are appended with "a" in the model name to indicate their functionality. You'll find the UltraFit 1000a, 2000a and 3000a are available now in the $70 to $100 price range.

Although there is a spec for headphones that work with Android devices, we've yet to see quite the set of offerings that users of Apple devices have had for years. Hopefully with Polk kicking things off, other manufacturers can follow suit.

Source: Polk Audio

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3 years ago

Gmail 4.2 update now available for non-Nexus devices

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Just a quick heads up that there's an update to your Gmail app that brings you the same version that we've been enjoying on the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.2. That means you've got swipe to archive/delete, zoom into HTML e-mails (be sure to turn it on in the settings) and other bad-assery. The full update's available for any device on Android 4.0 and above. Here's that changelog:

  • Auto-fit messages to screen and message zooming
  • Swipe messages to archive or delete
  • Attach photos and videos from within Gmail
  • Larger photo previews and gallery view for photo attachments
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements

If you're on Android 2.2 (and above), you'll get new labels for third-party app developers, and other performance improvements.

Hit the Play Store app on your phone (or the link above) to get your update on.

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3 years ago

Google says Nexus 4 ordering available in Canada today

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If you live in Canada and haven't been able to get your paws on a Nexus 4, Google has now sent out an email letting everyone know they'll be offering the well sought after device online today. 12:00 noon PST is when things kick off and no doubt, you'll need to be quick with a browser to get in on this action. Anyone going to try their luck? If so, may the force be with you.

Source: Google Play, Thanks @bjom77!

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean begins pushing for the Droid RAZR HD/MAXX

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With the official 'heads up' having arrived last week, Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR HD MAXX owners can now delight in the wonder that is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. By now, we're sure you are all aware of the enhancements that come with it but just in case you're not, Motorola has outlined a few of the finer additions on the blog:

  • Google Now – Shouldn’t your phone be able to anticipate what you’ll need throughout your day? With Google Now, you get answers before you even have to ask. Real-time notifications let you know whether you should pack an umbrella for later in the day or if you need to grab the train to avoid the accident that’s backing up I-495. Plus, you’ll receive the score of your favorite team’s game from last night. Though Google Now can’t make your morning coffee, it will provide you the convenience you want to keep you one step ahead.
  • Voice Search – Want a voice-search experience that doesn’t only work in TV ads? Google Voice Search on Android™ 4.1 lets you speak your questions directly into your phone. Run a quick search that will give you everything from great Italian restaurants on the Lower East Side to the next train leaving from Clark and Lake. And if you want to test Google Voice Search’s foreign language skills, go ahead. It currently supports 34 languages from around the globe.
  • Richer Notifications – Its always good to see a missed call or new email notification, but wouldn’t you rather just take action? With Android™ 4.1, now you can. You just received a meeting reminder and know your call is running long. No problem, you can tap once to email the team that you’ll be there in a few minutes. Missed calls can be returned with a single tap, all right from the notification shade.

There are plenty of bug fixes in place plus, the preloaded Color application has been removed only to be replaced by the Amazon suite of apps, same as what we've seen on the Droid DNA. If you've not grabbed the update yet, go ahead and check for updates. If you have, make sure you stop by the Android Central forums and let us know how things are going for you.

More: Droid RAZR HD (and MAXX) forums

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