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3 years ago

A non-official XBMC build released, promises a new level of user friendliness

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XBMC, the well known open-source program that brings a set-top style media player experience to almost any device, has a new custom build tonight from the folks at XBMC for Android. This version is still filled with all the goodies you expect from XBMC -- things like the awesome meta data scraping XBMC is famous for -- and has a few twists that should make it easy to set up and use.

The biggest difference with this particular build is the way a third party media player can be integrated. As of now, XBMC built stock for Android does not support hardware rendering in the player. To fix this, the folk at XBMC for Android have integrated support for MX Player to handle all the heavy lifting, while still using XBMC's interface and options.

Take a look at the source link and give it a go if you've been waiting to try XBMC on your Android device. 

Source: XBMC for Android

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3 years ago

HTC Butterfly reportedly set to launch in India by end of January

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HTC's global 5-incher, the (J)Butterfly, so far hasn't made any kind of official appearances outside of a select few Asian markets, notably China and Japan. Hopes were raised, then dashed, of some kind of European availability, as we were informed the Butterfly -- without the 'J' -- would initially only be launching in China.

Since then, at least one global retailer has managed to snag some to sell on, but the next market to receive the device in an official capacity may well be India. According to well placed sources of Indian Android blog, AndroidOS.in, the Butterfly will be available by the end of January at a cost of INR 44,000. The launch is reportedly set to take place sometime in the next fortnight, with availability likely beginning the same day. 

India is a rapidly growing smartphone market, in particular in terms of Android smartphones. The reported price of the Butterfly will make it the most expensive smartphone on sale in the country, but with a 5 inch 1080p display, Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2GB of RAM inside, the specs at least back up a more premium asking price. 

Source: AndroidOS.in

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3 years ago

Ingress update brings UI improvements and performance fixes

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Everyone's favorite "walk around town and look awkward" game, Ingress, was just updated to version 1.18.1 today. It's a pretty mundane update overall, but with several improvements that should make users eager to update and get back out there. On the user-facing front, we're seeing UI improvements in various places, as well as enhancements in animations (Google specifically notes "XMP explosion animations.) On the back end there are many bug fixes included, along with improved memory usage and faster app resume times for any device with an Adreno GPU. Anyone who has played a lot of Ingress knows it can be a bit sluggish when resuming.

The changelog notes that there's still one big known bug, that portal shields are nearly invisible when viewing them from the map view. Hopefully that one gets squashed in the next update as well.

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3 years ago

Press app updated with background sync, quick-navigation and more

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The folks at TwentyFive Squares have updated the Press app, bringing the most requested features to the popular Google Reader application. Ignoring the important  "performance enhancements and bug fixes" that accompany every application update, the new feature list looks impressive.

  • Quick article navigation to go to next/previous articles -- Use the volume keys to move backwards and forwards inside your article list. Enable this in settings.
  • Background/automatic syncing -- enable frequency of background syncing in the app settings.
  • Sync on app launch -- Your Reader feeds will sync when the Press app is opened.
  • Background syncing notifications -- Get notifications when background syncing finds new content.
  • New text-alignment options -- Left, Right, and Center justification supported.
  • Show image title and URL in the image viewer -- No more guessing at image URLs.
  • Date and time formats now match device settings
  • Article title is now included when sharing to social networks

We're fans of the Press app here, and it looks like this is an awesome update. Check Google Play for your update notification, or if you're looking to try Press for the first time ($1.99; Android 4 or higher) you can click the Google Play link above.

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3 years ago

Google tops the Fortune 100 best companies to work for, Apple doesn't even place

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Fortune today released its annual list of the top 100 companies to work for, with a definite case of score one for Google. Sitting pretty in the top spot, Google is deemed to be the best company out there to work for. It isn't the biggest surprise, after all, this is the fourth time the folks at Mountain View have claimed top honors. 

What makes Google so great to work for? You can't sit someone at Number 1 without explaining why:

The Internet juggernaut takes the Best Companies crown for the fourth time, and not just for the 100,000 hours of subsidized massages it doled out in 2012. New this year are three wellness centers and a seven-acre sports complex, which includes a roller hockey rink; courts for basketball, bocce, and shuffle ball; and horseshoe pits.

In what we could see as a double whammy, while Google sits high atop the mountain in first place, the folks down at Cupertino had a quite different result in the Fortune 100. Apple, who seems to just print money, hasn't placed anywhere within the top 100. Just goes to show, making money doesn't always make all of the people feel good. 

Other notable, Android related, companies to place in the top 100 include chip makers Qualcomm, at number 11, and Intel at number 68. Besides topping Apple in the charts, all three also placed higher than Microsoft, who came in at number 75. See the Fortune 100 list in full by hitting the source link below. Oh, and for a little taste of just how awesome it is at Google, be sure to check out the video above. There's a slide, and there's Phil Nickinson. We won't spoil the rest!

Source: Fortune top 100

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3 years ago

Android 4.1.2 update reportedly rolling out to unbranded Australian Samsung Galaxy S3

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Owners of an unbranded Samsung Galaxy S3 in Australia have cause for celebration -- the Android 4.1.2 update is reportedly rolling out to those devices right now. The guys at Ausdroid received the initial tip from one of their readers, and it seems the update is available to download via KIES. There's no word on an OTA variant pushing out just yet. 

Besides the 'Premium Suite' goodies the 4.1.2 update brings such as Multi Window, it's also said to contain fixes for the Exynos exploit and the so called 'sudden-death' that was affecting some handsets. If you own one of these eligible Galaxy S3s and have snagged the update for yourselves, be sure to share your experiences with us in the comments below, or head on into the Samsung Galaxy S3 forums.

Source: Ausdroid

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3 years ago

Xperia Z shows up on O2 Germany with LTE support

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We're still waiting for hard facts on pricing and release date for the newly announced Sony Xperia Z, but at least one carrier in Germany, O2, is committing to carrying it. The handset has shown up on the O2 Germany website with an expected release window of "February," but no specific timing other than that is available at this time. There's also no pricing, and your only option is to make a reservation price-unseen.

One interesting thing to note is that as one of Germany's LTE carriers, its version of the Xperia Z will have LTE support on-board, provided you're willing to pay the extra tariff to have the faster data speeds. Extra connectivity options aside, this is looking like the same device we've seen before, in the same black and white color options. Eager Germans among us can head to the source link and reserve one, again price-unseen, if you know that the Xperia Z is the device for you.

Source: O2 Germany; Thanks, Dhatam!

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3 years ago

EE to close 78 retail stores before the end of April, affecting locations with multiple stores

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It's been a busy few months for the UK's first -- and only -- LTE carrier, EE. Swiftly following the launch of their LTE network, the company made up of the merged Orange UK and T-Mobile carriers embarked upon a complete rebranding of their retail operation. In many locations this meant going from having an Orange store, and a T-Mobile store, to having 2 EE branded stores. However, this won't last for too much longer, with todays announcement that the carrier is to close 78 of its retail stores in locations it deems unsuitable for multiple presence. 

However, thankfully for the majority of the staff, jobs are to be retained. Unlike some British High Street retailers who have recently found themselves on hard times, this move from EE isn't down to floundering finances. It almost seemed inevitable from the outset. For instance, in the town I call home, there are now 2 EE branded stores within 50 yards of each other, and anyone can see that isn't the best way to spend money. Sales staff will be transferred from closing stores to their sibling store, however management positions are reportedly under consultation. 

In addition to the closures, 4 new EE Stores will be opened at currently undisclosed locations. By the time the closures have gone through at the end of April, EE will be left with 626 stores, easily leaving them with the most retail presence of any UK carrier. And the only UK carrier with any LTE for the foreseeable future. 

Source: Mobile News

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3 years ago

Temple Run 2 jumping and sliding its way onto Android on Jan. 24

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While we may not today be basking in the glow of Imangi Studios' sequel to their smash hit Temple Run like our iOS friends, we shall not be waiting long. British newspaper, The Guardian, ran a lengthy interview with the developers, and garnered a release date for the Android version of Temple Run 2. One week from today, Thursday Jan. 24. 

Temple Run 2 looks on the face of it a lot like its predecessor. After all, it's still an endless runner. But, Temple Run 2 has more aspects to the game this time around in that you pilot a runaway mine cart, running isn't just straight lines, and you get to slide down zipwires. There's also an in-app purchase available of a coin-doubler, and what looks like a power up for some crazy fast running. We'll naturally be giving Temple Run 2 the once over next week when it launches in Google Play, but for now, we'll make do with the official launch trailer. 

Source: The Guardian

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3 years ago

Real Racing 3 continues to look incredible, due to drop in February

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Real Racing 3 has looked downright gorgeous ever since we were first teased of its existence back in August. The latest video in the Developer Diary series showcases some more incredible looking visuals, along with a little background on the process of creating the circuits in the game. The short version -- this is a game we're looking forward to seeing. 

Say the developers:

Real Racing 3 lets gamers compete against friends and rival drivers from around the world. Fans can race on real world circuits with powerful dream cars from all-new manufacturers like Porsche, Audi, and Dodge. With the improvements achieved with Real Racing 2, the team aimed to raise the bar on expectations and continue to give their artists the ability to create the most realistic graphic effects on cars on an individual basis. Including realistic reflections, customizable cars and improved details down to glosses and finishes, Real Racing 3 delivers the unique experience of speeding in some of the best cars on world famous race tracks.

The video also talks us through creating a brand new, unique track for the game in Melbourne, Australia. This isn't a rehash of the Grand Prix circuit, but a creation from scratch based on the city streets. The latest release news is that we can expect Real Racing 3 to drop some time in February, and hopefully it will be cross platform at launch.  We want this one. We want it a lot. 

via iMore

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3 years ago

SEGA's Kingdom Conquest II hits the Play Store

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As a follow-up to the very popular Kingdon Conquest game, SEGA is releasing Kingdom Conquest II on Android today. This RPG (Role Playing Game) style game brings in traditional action-packed gameplay along with some strategy that gives the game long-term playability. As a worthy successor to the first game, the storyline continues but is improved with new graphics and gameplay. There are solo, cooperative and multiplayer modes available, giving you plenty of options to play with other users around the world. You'll have a big pool of players to choose from as well, as the game has already been downloaded over 100,000 times. SEGA says the original title was downloaded over 3.5 million times worldwide.

Kingdom Conquest II is free, which is nice if you're looking to get a quick look to see if you like it. You can grab a download at the Google Play Store link at the top of this post.

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3 years ago

Xperia Z assembled by Sony engineer in 5 minutes flat

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Gadget lovers always want to see the insides of the products they use, and there's no better way to see it than an engineer from the company assembling a device themselves by hand. This video was first seen by attendees of Sony's press conference at CES in Las Vegas, and is now up on Youtube for all to see. Each of the three boxes show an engineer assembling a different Sony device, and the Xperia Z comes together easily with no rush at all.

If you're interested in the Xperia Z being built, keep an eye on the bottom left box. If you're a camera nerd like some of us, re-watch the video when you're done and check out the top boxes where engineers assemble Sony cameras.

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3 years ago

Carbon (the Android Twitter app) may yet live on

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Developer, after months of silence: 'We're back ... we're listening'

You're going to meet the following sentences with a great deal of skepticism. And you should. For it's been the more than a year since we first heard that Carbon, an excellent Twitter app that originated on webOS and then made (briefly) it to Windows Phone, would be coming to Android. It's been six months or so since one release window came and went. Another passed by in September. And then, Carbon disappeared without a trace, leaving the odd (odd) blogger to tell tales of alpha testing late at night after many beers. So, you're right to be skeptical. We all should be.

Only today the developer, through the @CarbonAndroid Twitter account, tweeted the following:

No ETAs. No hints yet as to what, when and how we'll ever see Carbon for Android. Just "We're back!" Read through the Twitter stream. Read the replies to folks who were thinking what you're probably thinking now. Read the mea culpas. Is Carbon back? Will it stand a chance in a world in which Twitter itself is clamping down on third-party clients, and apps like Falcon Pro have achieved near universal approval? We'll see. But we're definitely keeping one eye open for it again.

Source: @CarbonAndroid; via Android Central Forums

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3 years ago

Samsung 'Galaxy Note 8.0' purportedly outed ahead of MWC reveal

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We've come across the Samsung GT-N5100 and GT-N5110 a couple of times before in benchmarks and certification listings. We've even speculated that based on the model number and specs, they're likely candidates for Wifi and 3G versions of a new, smaller Galaxy Note tablet. Now Samsung fan site SamMobile claims to have uncovered details of the GT-N5100/10, which it says will come to market as the "Galaxy Note 8.0."

The site has a good track record when it comes to digging up info on unannounced Samsung products, nevertheless, keep in mind that these details haven't been officially confirmed in any way. With that out of the way, let's break down some of the purported specs --

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3 years ago

Lode Runner Classic hits Android

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What's the price for nostalgia? If you're a child of the '80s, $2.99 and 24 megabytes will get you Lode Runner Classic from Tozai. For those three bucks you get 150 levels, a pair of game modes -- expedition and time attack -- a magnification effect that zooms in on the runner, multiple speeds, a slew of settings and more.

The controls, which as you can see are pretty damn large, take a little getting used to, and you lose a good bit of actual gameplay real estate. On the other hand, these are 8-bit graphics we're talking about, so what the hell. 

Now excuse us while we throw on some Huey Lewis and the News, pop open a bag of Doritos and live the good life for a little while.

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