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3 years ago

New Google Play Store app sighted on Google+


A visual refresh could be coming soon to Google's content portal

The last time the Google Play Store app got a major redesign, it was still called the Android Market. So we're about due a visual refresh, and it looks like a new version could be headed our way sooner rather than later.

YouTube's Eileen Rivera posted the screenshot above on Google+, showing a lighter, more colorful design with more prominence given to the main store areas, and larger app icons below. "Games" also gets its own entry, whereas before it was found under "Apps."

Right now it looks like Google's just "dogfooding" this new version of the Play Store among its employees -- check out the little dog bowl icon on the top left -- but if Googlers are posting pictures of the new app publicly, chances are we won't have too long to wait for the public roll-out.

Source: +Eileen Rivera

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3 years ago

Kyocera Torque review


Some people need a phone they don't have to worry about breaking, and the Kyocera Torque was made just for them

Sprint has a long history of offering capable Direct Connect and Push-To-Talk devices to a specific set of customers. The Kyocera Torque is the logical progression of these phones into 2013 with a capable set of internal components, wrapped in gratuitous amounts of hard plastic and rubber to make it water, dust, shock and vibration proof -- all running a lightly skinned version of Android. 

There are certainly sacrifices made in terms of usability when it comes to making a phone next to indestructible, but those of you looking for these features probably know that going into it. Read along with us after the break and see how the Torque can make you consider that tradeoff for a rugged phone.

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3 years ago

Facebook shows us what life can be like with Facebook Home front and center


You'll never be lonely when all your friends are just a tap away, but Facebook thinks you'll have more fun when they are right up front

A long plane ride is a pretty boring thing. Sure, you could get out your laptop and work, or keep handing over your plastic for those tiny bottles of entertainment, but Facebook has another idea -- with Facebook Home and the HTC First you can bring along all your friends. And cats.

While we imagine the average Facebook user's feed will be slightly different (and a lot less safe for work), this is a good ad that gets the idea across. I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more like it.

Source: YouTube

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: AppSales, Goodreads, Epoch and more!


It's "Apps of the Week" time, and the first weekly post of April is looking to be a good one

If you haven't been keeping up on things, each of the Android Central writers take the opportunity every week to tell you about an app that they've been using regularly on their device. We package 'em up nicely and post them on Saturdays -- Apps of the Week. This week we have a good way to get slick deals on apps (how meta), a way to keep up on your reading, a great new game and a few odds-and-ends.

Hang tight, as you'll be able to see every one of our picks this week after the break. Let's see how they stack up.

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3 years ago

What the fork is a 'fork'?


Forking code isn't a bad thing. It isn't a good thing. It's just a thing.

The past couple of days you've probably heard the word "fork" more times than you can count. Facebook forked this (even though it didn't), Amazon forks that, the Chrome team forked the whole web, and so on and so on. While everyone is talking about who's forking who, nobody is bothering to explain exactly what forking is, and why so many people have an issue with it.

Forking, or shattering, got a bit of a bad rep back 20 years or so ago, as it tended to split up developers into separate factions who weren't sharing the code with each other. In the days of things like the Gnu-Emacs/XEmacs split, this was important because there weren't nearly as many people capable of working on these big, open-source projects, and having two branches or forks meant it takes longer to add features and address issues for both sides. In some cases this still happens, I'm sure, but for the most part there are plenty of developers who can fill the void left by those that have a separate vision and will fork off code to follow it. But some folks never forget, and the stigma attached to forking forkers gets passed down. Having said all this, we can't pretend bad forks don't happen. We just need to look past the act itself before we make our decisions.

I know a few of you out there know what all this means, and are just trying to ignore all the noise, but for many it's confusing. Let's try to fix that.

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3 years ago

Facebook addresses privacy concerns over Facebook Home


Facebook answers important user privacy questions. Read them before you install or buy anything.

A lot of folks have serious privacy concerns about Facebook's new Home application. Questions about location gathering, message reading, and the general "safeness" of Facebook tracking what you do on your Android phone. We have our own here as well, and have had plenty of internal discussion.

Facebook doesn't want folks to worry, so they released a privacy FAQ about the new product. It's a short read that everyone who might install the app needs to look at, but here are some highlights:

  • You can use Facebook without using Facebook Home
  • Facebook Home is just another app you install from Google Play. You can uninstall it at any time.
  • Facebook Home collects your Facebook activity, location, Facebook messages, and the apps in your Home app launcher. This data is user-identifiable for 90 days.
  • Facebook can not collect any data outside of the Home app, unless you use the HTC First  -- then it can track what apps generate notifications, but not the content of the notification.

We're not going to judge any of these policies -- that's for you to do. We are going to tell you about them and direct you to the full statement so you can read it and discuss. And you should.

Read Facebook's FAQ on Home and privacy

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3 years ago

Android Central 130: That forking Facebook phone


Audio-only stream below

We're freshly back from the Facebook Home event in California, so naturally we start things off talking about the HTC One. Oh, sure, there's plenty of talk about Facebook Home and the HTC First and forking and stock this and that, but really you're here to hear us drone on about the same phone we've been talking about for weeks, right? No? Fine. Lots and lots of Facebook phone discussion, too. Join us! 

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3 years ago

US Cellular letting users 'test-drive' service for one week before buying


No commitment service coming to a limited number of markets at launch

One of the so-called "second tier" carriers, U.S. Cellular, is hoping to wrangle in more customers by launching a "test-drive" promotion to let users try out the service for one week before buying it. Initially launching in just a few markets, users can sign up at a participating store to try out the carrier's network without a commitment. In almost every case a handset purchase will be required to use the network, which can be a tough sell if you've never used (or even know someone who has used) the network.

It doesn't cost a whole lot for U.S. Cellular to run this promotion, and it may net them a few more customers going forward. If you're interested in trying the promotion, hit the source link below to see if you live near one of the very few test markets.

Source: U.S. Cellular; Via: FierceWireless

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3 years ago

Magic Fluids: Fun with water and smoke animations


There isn't exactly any functional purpose to it, but that doesn't mean it's not incredibly fun

Magic Fluids is an animation app that simulates the effects of liquid and smoke with a bit of artful flair. With a pretty robust number of settings to tweak and play with, you can spend hours getting lost in this app. When you're done actively using it, Magic Fluids can be turned into a live wallpaper as well.

While it doesn't have any value other than being extremely cool to look at, Magic Fluids is still worth playing around with. Hang with us after the break and see what it's all about.

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3 years ago

U.S. Cellular's Galaxy Axiom gets Jelly Bean


Galaxy S3's little brother gets over-the-air update to Android 4.1.2

U.S. Cellular has announced that the Galaxy Axiom -- its version of the Galaxy S3 Mini -- is today getting its update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The Axiom first launched back in November, with a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, a 4-inch WVGA display and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The upgrade to Jelly Bean should bring a performance boost to the handset thanks to Google's "Project Butter" enhancements, while also unlocking the ability to use the new Google Search app with predictive "Google Now" capabilities.

To grab the update, Galaxy Axiom owners will need to be connected to Wifi. Then it's just a case of heading to Settings > About Device > Software update.

Any Axiom owners out there? Hit the comments and let us know how you're liking the newer version of Android.

Source: U.S. Cellular

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3 years ago

HTC launches 'HTC One Live Experience Tour' in the U.S.


Manufacturer will tour major U.S. cities as new flagship launches

HTC has announced new marketing efforts in the U.S. ahead of the HTC One's North American launch. Like the HTC One City tour in Europe (pictured above), the U.S. tour will see HTC bringing its new handset to 11 "major U.S. markets" in the run up to its launch. It'll also be bringing a new strapline along for the ride, as it seeks to convince buyers the HTC One is "Everything Your Phone Isn't."

The tour will consist of the three main parts. First up, and launching today in Columbus Circle in New York, Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco, Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles, Wrigleyville in Chicago, Franklin Square in Philadelphia, and Perimeter Mall in Atlanta, HTC BoomSound Lounges will give members of the public the chance to demo the HTC One's prominent front-facing speakers for themselves. The BoomSound Lounges will also serve as a connection for three Live Nation-produced concerts for HTC Fans, including performances by Pharrell in New York, Grouplove in Chicago and Manchester Orchestra in Los Angeles. Tickets are available to buy now at

Next up, HTC One showrooms will start appearing in eight cities -- Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. -- from next Thursday, Apr. 11, where they'll be deployed for a minimum of three months. As was the case on the HTC One's European tour, these showrooms will be used to demo the handset's major features, such as the new BlinkFeed home screen reader, UltraPixel camera, HTC Zoe and Sense TV. 

The HTC One will also be making an appearance in movie theaters across the U.S. as part of the "HTC Live Cinema Experience," which aims to showcase the phone's entertainment chops.

So it's an extensive and concerted marketing effort for HTC, quite unlike anything seen for any of its previous U.S. handset. But the HTC One will face strong competition from Samsung over the coming weeks as it prepares for this important launch. If you're near any of the venues, hit the comments and let us know if you plan on attending.

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3 years ago

Being 'First' may be a bad thing for HTC


The HTC First is the second big-name phone in just weeks for a company struggling to sell a single message​

First, there was the HTC One. Now, second, if you will -- secondarily, perhaps -- there is the HTC First.

In our little blogging world here, cries of "First!" are all too common among commenters looking to make a name for themselves by being the first to spam the comments. So you can forgive us if the name itself immediately leaves a bad taste in our mouths.

When the design of the phone as well as its name leaked the day before Facebook's event, you couldn't help but wonder. "First" what? First Facebook phone? Are we stating the obvious? Or is that alliteration gone bad?

It was AT&T's Ralph de la Vega who probably said it best: "The first Facebook Home-optimized phone in the world."

And I worry that it has HTC's name on it at all.

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3 years ago

HTC One now available to pre-order on Sprint


Silver model only for now, $99.99 with 'bring your number' discount

If you're looking to secure yourself an HTC One on Sprint, you can now do just that over on the carrier's website. A Sprint HTC One will usually set you back $199.99 up-front on a two-year plan, but new lines can get it for $99.99 with a $100 'bring your number' discount. An up-front price of $549.99 is listed, though it's not possible to pre-order at this price.

Currently Sprint is only offering the silver model for sale -- the black one is said to be coming soon. (We've seen similar delays of the black model in Europe, where wide availability isn't expected until mid-April.)

Order today and Sprint says it'll endeavor to deliver you shiny new handset by the Apr. 19 launch date.

Rival AT&T opened its pre-orders yesterday, and will also begin shipping Apr. 19.

Source: Sprint

More: HTC One review, HTC One forum

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 available in the UK today


Samsung's 8-inch stylus-toting tablet arrives today at flagship London store

Samsung has announced that the latest member of the Galaxy Note family, the Note 8.0, has today gone on sale in the UK. The tablet is initially available at the Samsung Experience Store at the Westfield Stratford City shopping center in London, the same flagship Samsung store at which the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 first launched.

The Wifi-only Note 8 goes on sale today for £339.99, and the version with cellular data is expected to follow shortly. Besides cell data, you've got a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos CPU running the show, 2GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD. There's also a 5MP rear shooter and 1.3MP front-facing camera. On the software side, you're looking at Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean wrapped in Sammy's TouchWiz UI.

To sweeten the deal, Samsung's offering a pack of software goodies worth £60 to buyers who pick one up before Apr. 15. This includes a £20. Samsung Learning Hub voucher, a two-month subscription to The Times newspaper, AVG Pro, a month of Samsung Music Hub access, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Sonc 4: Episode 2. Being a Samsung device, the Note 8.0 also lands you 50GB of free Dropbox storage for two years.

More: Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean starting to hit Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus


Budget 7-incher gets Android 4.1.2, with users in Austria first to report update

The humble Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has come a long way since its launch in late 2011 on Android 3.2 Honeycomb. And today it seems the budget tablet is getting its promised Jelly Bean update, as owners in Austria are said to be receiving Android 4.1.2 in an over-the-air update.

According to SamMobile, the new firmware version XXMC3, build on Mar. 25, is currently rolling out to Austrian Wifi-plus-3G Tab 7.0 Plus models (GT-P6200) ahead of a wider launch. So anyone with the Wifi-only GT-P6210 variant may have to wait a little longer. In any case, Jelly Bean should give Tab 7 Plus owners a lot to look forward to -- aside from the obvious performance improvements, there's Google Now, re-vamped notifications and improved text-to-speech capabilities.

Shout out in the comments if you're getting the update on your device this morning.

Source: SamMobile

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