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3 years ago

Word Lens review - great translations for single words

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How well can an Android device translate text locally and in real-time?

Word Lens arrived on Android last month, promising the uncanny ability to translate text from a live camera feed from your device. The demo video would have you believe that simply pointing your phone's camera at a sign would magically recreate that sign on your display with fully translated text. 

For $4.99, users get two-way translation between English and one language of choice: Spanish, French, or Italian. Anything beyond the first costs an extra $4.99 After the camera focuses on the text you're aiming to translate, a pause button allows users to capture the translated text with each word linked so that you can tap them and see compare it to the translation.

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3 years ago

Plex for Android gets updated, adds remote control features for ease of use

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Although I'm sure many folks are waiting to see what XBMC on Android will fully offer, there is some pretty good options that already exist in the Google Play Store for streaming content around. One I like to use is Plex and a few days ago, it got a nice healthy update that brought one of the most requested features to Android as well as quite a few bug fixes:

  • Android devices can now be remote controlled.
  • Network logging for troubleshooting
  • Media Info displayed at top of screen when playback controls are visible.
  • Experimental Transcode method (Quicksilver)
  • FIX an issue where sometimes Plex would get stuck on 'Loading'
  • FIX playback issues on some ICS devices (e.g. HTC One)
  • FIX an issue where hints in setup screens were not appearing on some devices
  • FIX weird seekbar skipping behavior

The remote control feature is of course, what I was referring to feature wise as it allows you to control various Android devices running Plex from another Android device. Now, I can sit with a tablet connected to the TV and control it with my phone which, makes for a great experience overall.

The other big change in the app comes by way of Quicksilver transcoding. It's a new experimental encoding method that Plex is trying out that is specifically tuned for Kindle Fire users to offer better streaming to those devices. As it stands, it's not enabled by default so if you're a Kindle Fire user, you'll need to enable it in the settings. The update is live now, and available for purchase in the Google Play Store.

Source: Plex, Download: Plex for Android

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3 years ago

Keeping ideas synced while on the go using my Android device

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Lately I have been looking for various ways to refine how I work, the goal is to have things synced to be able to access from various places. Since I am not always at the computer, or the same computer for that matter, it can be difficult to keep my ideas with me all the time, and even more difficult to continue on an idea that I may have already started. Dropbox has proven to be a great tool for me, I can upload things that I want to be able to access later, and then download them elsewhere, and I have been looking for a tool to compliment that well on Android. When I was using the iPhone 4 there were many note applications that synced directly to Dropbox, but I haven't found any that worked well for me on Android, as most of them require you to save, then upload and that isn't what I was ultimately looking for. Let's hit the break to see how I was able to solve this issue, and what you can download to do the same.

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3 years ago

UNO & Friends to give classic card game major social overhaul

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Gameloft has just announced a new version of UNO for Android that will launch simultaneously alongside iOS, Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita, and Facebook iterations. UNO & Friends will be, as you might expect, all about multiplayer; the new game will allow players from all of the above platforms to play against one another. Though Gameloft is being shy about screenshots right now, I don't suspect the gameplay will differ much from the original Android game (pictured above).

Odds are you've played the original UNO card game at some point, but if not, it's pretty simple - everybody is trying to discard all of the cards from their hand until there are no more to draw from the deck. Cards that are played have to be the same number or the same color as the previous play, though there are lots of action cards that can change the active color, force opponents to draw more cards, and all sorts of other nasty tricks. It's a lot like Crazy Eights. 

Gameloft promises Android and iOS versions to and Facebook to be available "later this year" while the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita versions will come out in spring 2013. 

Any big UNO fans out three? Have any buddies with an iPhone you'd like to trounce?

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3 years ago

How to replace icons on the Home screen dock on the Galaxy S3

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Moving the icons you want into your Galaxy S3 homescreen dock is a great way to configure your device in a way that makes sense for you.

The Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) is highly configurable. In many ways, the new TouchWiz interface simplifies using the device. In other ways, TouchWiz can make seemingly simple tasks a bit more complicated.

Here's how to swap out the apps that are in the homescreen dock on your Samsung Galaxy S3.

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3 years ago

How high is 'unbelievably high' piracy? Dead Trigger dev's not saying

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This morning Madfinger Games took to Facebook to explain why it lowered Dead Trigger from 99 cents to free. The reasoning? Rampant piracy. "Unbelievably high" piracy, actually. "The piracy rate is soooo giant," the developer continued.

One thing, though: We have absolutely no idea what that means. 

There always will be piracy. It's unfortunate, but the fact remains that so long as applications can be stolen, they will be stolen. We wish that wasn't the case. How many people stole the 99-cent Dead Trigger? Raise your hands if you dare. Was it 10 instances? One hundred? One thousand? Dead Trigger is currently in the 100,000 to 500,000 download range on its Google Play listing. We've e-mailed Madfinger Games in hopes of getting some more details on this. If 1,000 instances of piracy were noted, that's just 1 percent of the minimum total downloads. We've got an e-mail in to Madfinger seeking some details. 

Here's Madfinger's complete statement on moving Dead Trigger to free:

Regarding price drop. HERE is our statement. The main reason: piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high. At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible - that's why it was for as little as buck. - It was much less than 8$ for SHADOWGUN but on the other hand we didn't dare to provide it for free, since we hadn't got XP with free-to-play format so far. - However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free. Anyway - DEAD TRIGGER is not FREEMIUM, it always was and still remains FREE-TO-PLAY, that means, all players are able to play it without IAP! We stand up for this statement, because all members of our team are playing (and enjoying) DEAD TRIGGER without IAP.

This is important just as it's important in the television industry, where piracy also is a real issue (though more self-inflicted, we'd argue). The vast majority of Android users out there, we presume, don't download pirated apps. 

Anyway. Kudos to Madfinger for making a great game even greater by making it free -- not that 99 cents should have kept anyone away. But let's hope the next time the piracy card is played, we see some numbers to back it up.

Source: Facebook

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3 years ago

Minecraft creator sued for patent infringement in Android game

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Uniloc, a patent protection company specializing in anti-piracy technologies, is suing Mojang, developer of Minecraft, for infringing on an Android-related patent called "System and Method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data". It's basically a system for authenticating license data. The lawsuit reads:

Mojang is directly infringing one or more claims of the ’067 patent in this judicial district and elsewhere in Texas, including at least claim 107, without the consent or authorization of Uniloc, by or through making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing Android based applications for use on cellular phones and/or tablet devices that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including, but not limited to, Mindcraft.

(You'd think they could at least get the game's name right.) You can see the full lawsuit over here. Notch, the beloved creator of Minecraft, is vocally against software patents. After getting handed the lawsuit, he wrote up am astute blog post linked below and tweeted: 

Ric Richardson, the founder of Australia-based Uniloc, begs to differ

It amazes me that people complain about paying a royalty for a technology that stops up to a third of a software companies sales from being lost to piracy. What are you saying? "Its all right to steal from Uniloc as long as it helps stop pirates stealing from me? ... I had to spend $40,000 back in 1992 to protect my idea. It was not frivolous for me... it was the difference between having a deposit for a house and having a patent.

Uniloc is requesting a jury trial and that Mojang pay in both previous damages and in future royalties. Hopefully Mojang can get away with simply changing the supposedly infringing lines of code. Let's just hope that these Uniloc guys don't start taking their litigations to other app developers.

Do you guys agree with Notch that software patents are obtrusive to innovation, or is there a legitimate use for them?

Source: The Word of Notch

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3 years ago

Samsung Spare Battery Charging System review

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Your Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) might get you though a full day of use on one charge – but it might not.

When most people get a smartphone with the capabilities and beautiful screen of the Galaxy S3, they tend to use it…a lot.  Even though the Galaxy S3 comes with a rather large 2100mAh battery, the size of the screen and the use of LTE can still drain the device before the day is done.

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3 years ago

How to use S Memo on the Galaxy S3

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Samsung has put a bunch of proprietary software on the Galaxy S III (S3) and some apps, like S Memo are particularly useful.

There are lots of note-taking apps for Android.  Some of them sync with cloud servers like Google Drive and others sync with desktop note-organizing apps like Evernote.

Samsung has attempted to create a proprietary note-taking app that syncs with all these services, uploads to Dropbox and allows you to post your notes to your various social media networks. In short, S Memo tries to be all things to all users, and, surprisingly, it does a pretty good job. 

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3 years ago

Staples president alludes to 10-inch Amazon tablet, among other versions

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The president of U.S. retail for Staples has thrown more fuel onto the blaze that is the Amazon Kindle Fire -- specifically, the next version (or versions) of the online retailer's Android-based tablet.

Reuters reports that Demos Parneros says Amazon "is to introduce up to five or six tablet SKUs," and they we will see different sizes, including a 10-inch model. 

It's important to note the use of the words "up to," meaning we may as as many as five or six, or as few as one or two. Also, note that the Reuters report says "five or six tablet SKUs." An SKU is a "stock-keeping unit," so we could be talking two or three versions of a single model. For example, 16-, 32- and 64-gigabyte versions of a single tablet would mean three SKUs. So it's unlikely we're looking at a 5-, 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-inch versions of a Kindle Fire tablet. (Though if we were talking about Samsung here, it wouldn't be out of the question.

Regardless, yes, we'll most likely see an improved Kindle Fire this year. 

Source: Reuters

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3 years ago

PSA: Galaxy Nexus GPS problems on Jelly Bean? There's an easy fix

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Some Galaxy Nexus users who've recently updated their devices to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean have been experiencing issues with the phone's GPS capabilities. Specifically, some Gnex owners are unable to get a GPS fix, even with several satellites in view. It's a pretty nasty bug that, at worst, can leave you unable to track your location.

To check if you're affected, open up an app that constantly tracks where you are, like Google Maps, (and wait a while -- GPS takes time to kick in) then check the notification shade for a GPS message. If the text says "Searching for GPS..." and you're not seeing a flashing icon, that means you're not getting a GPS lock. To confirm that you're affected by the bug, you can download the GPS Test app and see if you have satellites within view.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix for anyone experiencing problems -- simply go to Settings > Location services, uncheck and re-check "Google's location service," and you should be good to go. We've confirmed that this remedies the situation on our own phones, and we've heard that it's worked for others, too. It looks like this is just a weird server-side glitch, and clearing and re-enabling Google location services resets things on the phone's side.

If you've been experiencing GPS issues on the Galaxy Nexus, let us know how you're getting on down in the comments.

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3 years ago

International Xperia GX (LT29i) sighted in leaked pics

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While it's been releasing quirky low-end phones like the Xperia Miro and Xperia Tipo, there's one Sony phone we've been fawning over, the Xperia GX. So far the GX is exclusive to Japan, though we've heard rumors that an international variant, dubbed the LT29i Hayabusa, is headed for Western markets in the third quarter of the year.

Now it seems we have confirmation that such a device is in the works, as photos of the purported phone have cropped up over on XperiaBlog. Though we can't confirm the specifications of the device shown in the leaked images, it looks almost identical to the Japanese version, except for the lack of an NTT Docomo logo. That phone has a 4.6-inch 720p display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU and a 13MP rear camera, along with on-screen buttons and Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. The device pictured seems to sport the same slimline, Xperia Arc-style chassis with a slight camera bulge up top. On the "About phone" page, it identifies itself as an LT29i.

Nothing's been confirmed just yet, but we're hoping for an announcement at this year's IFA show in Berlin at the end of August. The device recently piqued our interest when it appeared at the FCC sporting a pentaband HSPA+ radio.

Source: XperiaBlog; via: Recombu

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3 years ago

HTC sells back half of its stake in Beats Audio

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HTC has sold half of its 50.1 percent stake in Beats Audio, less than a year after it acquired its share of the company for $309 million. The move leaves HTC with a 25.57 stake in Beats, with the remaining 24.53 percent being bought back by the company's founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, for $150 million. This comes after a year in which Beats failed to emerge as a major differentiator for HTC's smartphones, and after the company reversed its decision to include premium Beats-branded earphones with its high-end HTC One series phones.

In a statement, HTC said it will continue to "work closely" with Beats, and despite the sale, it's expected HTC will continue to include Beats software enhancements in future smartphones.

HTC remains in a somewhat uneasy position, following strong competition from Samsung and Apple in the mobile space. The company's second quarter numbers showed a 57.8 percent year-on-year fall in net profits, following lower-than-expected sales of the HTC One series. Despite this, HTC remains a major force in the smartphone world, as recently released Nielsen numbers show the manufacturer with a 14 percent market share in the U.S., behind Samsung's 17 percent.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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3 years ago

10 million Galaxy S III phones sold, says Samsung Mobile head

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Samsung Mobile head JK Shin has reportedly told the Korean press that the company's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, has sold more than 10 million units worldwide. The news follows earlier reports that Samsung intended to reach the 10 million milestone by the end of July, which it's now achieved with weeks to spare. In the two months since the device made its international debut in London, the Galaxy S III has gone on sale in all major smartphone markets, including the U.S. and Sammy's native South Korea, where it enjoyed record first-day sales.

The number puts the Galaxy S III on track to surpass sales of its predecessor, the Galaxy S II, which sold 20 million units worldwide inside of its first year of availability. By contrast, that phone took around five months to reach the 10 million mark.

Source: Yonhap; via: BI

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