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3 years ago

New Google Maps app starting to seed on Google Play

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Update 'rolling out to Android 4.0.3+ users over the next few weeks,' according to Play Store listing

A little under two months ago at Google I/O, Google offered a preview of the next version of Maps for Android. Stand-out features included a completely revamped UI, with a search bar front and center, together with smoother visuals, a re-tooled Zagat experience and Google Offers support.

Today it seems the new version of Maps — ver. 7.0 to be precise — has started to push to some users though Google Play. If you're not seeing it yet, you're not alone. None of our devices are seeing the update, and the "what's new" entry for the app suggests it could be weeks before many get access to the new Maps — "This update will be gradually rolling out to Android 4.0.3+ users over the next few weeks."

Google also highlights a re-worked UI for Android phones and tablets, including a new tablet UI with less chrome and clutter, and a greater focus on the actual map. There's also enhanced navigation including "live traffic updates, incident reports and dynamic rerouting," and a new "explore" section showing shops, restaurants, hotels and other attractions nearby.

Google's transitioning certain features away from Maps, and as such check-ins and Latitude support are absent in the new version (the company's blog post says it'll be retired altogether from Aug. 9). "My Maps" support is also absent for the moment, as is offline map caching, at least as officially — you can still cache areas of the map by typing "OK Maps" in the search box, in a sort of Easter egg.

As always, the version of Google Maps available to you will vary based on your device and which version of Android you're running. If you're on 4.0.3 or above, hit the Google Play Store to see if your update is ready, and let us know if in the comments if you manage to pick it up.

More: Google previews next major Maps update at Google I/O

Source: Google Maps Blog

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3 years ago

Samsung offering $4 million prize pool for Tizen app developers

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Developers submitting apps by November 1 could grab up to $200,000 for their effort

In an effort to pull some developers over to making apps for its up-and-coming platform, Samsung and Intel have put together a $4 million prize system for Tizen app development. As one would expect, app developers are currently spending far more time (or all of their time) developing for the most popular mobile operating systems out there -- such as Android, iOS and even Windows Phone -- far before even considering Tizen. By offering up some big prizes for the best apps it receives in this "Tizen App Challenge", Samsung is hoping to at least kick off development for the platform.

App submissions are categorized into "Games" and "Non-Games", with multiple sub-categories in each. The top app for each category in "Games" will win a $200,000 prize, with 2 runners-up making $100 and 3 more making $40,000. For "Non-games" the prizes will be $120,000, $60,00 and $30,000, respectively. This will certainly create a fight amongst the willing devs to make the best app, but we would have to think that Samsung might be better off spreading out the money to try and draw in more entries at this point.

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3 years ago

'Recon Jet' Android-powered HUD glasses won't ship until December

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'Pilot Edition' still just $499 until July 21; $599 thereafter

Recon Instruments new Android-powered HUD glasses, called the Recon Jet, won't be shipping until December of this year according to the company's website. After announcing that it is selling an early "Pilot Edition" to eager wearers that were willing to drop $499 on a pre-order a couple of weeks ago, those users will likely be waiting several months for their glasses. Recon Instruments' website indicates that even the Pilot Edition glasses will be shipping on a "first-come, first-serve" basis starting in December. As for general availability of the glasses after the Pilot Editions ship out, it's anyone's guess at this point.

If you happen to be in the target market of dedicated athletes that are willing to give the Pilot Edition Recon Jet glasses a try, you still have the option to pick them up at the $499 price -- in either black or white -- until July 21st. After that date, the price will rise by another $100 for the general consumer launch. 

Source: Recon Instruments

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3 years ago

New Droid MAXX leak claims 48 hours of worry-free battery life

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Leaked commercial story board for Verizon's Droid MAXX is big on battery life

Update: We've had to pull the leaked image. A handy Google search may help if you missed it.

We got this leaked storyboard for an upcoming Droid MAXX commercial in our inbox this evening, and one thing really stood out to us. No, it wasn't the scantily clad beautiful people in the pictures, or the idea of a tropical paradise, or even an exotic speedboat. All those things are nice, and will make for yet another great commercial from Verizon, but what really hooked us was this line:

48 hours of worry-free battery life, the new DROID MAXX.

It makes us think of Google CEO Larry Page, who told us that battery life was one of the important things Google wanted to showcase in Motorola's upcoming phones last April. And one of the most common complaints from any smartphone user is about their battery life. It's important, dammit and the folks making our phones have got to start working on it in a meaningful way. 

While we're a little skeptical about claims of 48 hours battery life on any smartphone (see those outlandish talk-time estimates) just making a statement like that has us believing that someone at Motorola has gotten serious about  how long our batteries last between a charge. 

We're pretty sure the next Droid is going to have some pretty nice internals, but it looks like someone finally cares about one of the most important specs of all. We've dropped this one in the forums for discussion, so be sure to join in the fun while we wait for more information.

[LEAK] "48 hours of worry-free battery life" at Android Central forums

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3 years ago

Bluebox Security Scanner attempts to scare the living shit out of you

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Somewhere, someone is going to make this a thing. Only, it's not really a thing. So let's just get out in front of it here.

Bluebox — the group behind this "Master Key" scare — has an app that will tell you if the exploit is on your phone, or if it's been patched. Cool. But remember:

  1. We're really not all worried about this. Here's the long version of why we're not worried about it.
  2. It's an exploit that needs to be fixed, and it's being fixed.
  3. Google took care of things on the server side, in Google Play.
  4. Google is patching things in the code side and working with the manufacturers to get it pushed out.

What we don't like to see is all of those scary "Unable to scan app xxxxxx, it may be trying to evade the scanner" lines. As if the apps themselves — apps we've been using for years — are to blame. That's bullshit.

And a word of advice, folks: If you're going to try Bluebox's little scanner app here, make sure you download it directly from Google Play, so you know it's safe. It'd be bad if someone used the "Master Key" exploit to circulate a malware-laden version of the scanner app without breaking the signature.

Us? We're uninstalling this thing ASAP.

Via Android Central Forums

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3 years ago

Phone calls via Hangouts makes its triumphant return

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Fear not telecommuters -- phone calls via Hangouts are coming in the next few days

If you decided to take the plunge and move to Hangouts in your Gmail account or install the new Chrome extension, you might have noticed that the ability to initiate a phone call was missing. Unlike the Chat feature that came before it, where you could make a voice call to any of your contacts, you only had two options -- a text Hangout or a full-fledged video-conferencing Hangout to another party with a camera. Plenty of us missed that feature.

Now its back! Or it will be soon, according to the official Gmail blog. Included with today's news are a couple new features. Calls to the US and Canada are now free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. And international rates remain "super, super low." Additionally, you can now add multiple voice and video participants to the same Hangout, and Google has a couple fun effects (like a laughing voice) you can use for a bit of added foolery.

The change will be rolling out to users in the next couple of days. To check if you have it, or to use it when you do, simply look for the new phone icon in the new Hangout box in your Gmail, or the "Call a phone" entry in the Chrome extension menu. Nobody here at AC has the feature enabled just yet, but we're ready.

Source: Official Gmail Blog

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3 years ago

LG Optimus G2 shown off in clearest photos yet [update: video]

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Svelte design, thin bezels and on-screen buttons coming to future LG flagship

Update: A video of the handset has also surfaced on Youtube, with a better view of the hardware and software. You can catch it after the break with the additional photos.

Original: A set of extremely clear photos has just leaked out of what is reportedly the LG Optimus G2, a successor flagship device to the original Optimus G from last year. The photos, obtained by Engadget, show a large plastic device with extremely small bezels all around the screen which is rumored to be a 5.2-inch 1080P panel. Helping the bezels remain small are on-screen navigation buttons, although it worries us a bit that a software "menu" key seems to be taking place of the traditional multitasking key.

On the inside we're looking at the (previously confirmed) Snapdragon 800 processor at 2.3GHz, with 2GB of RAM alongside it. Around back we're looking at a 13MP camera sensor, along with an interesting volume button configuration underneath the camera pod on the back of the device.

Stick around after the break for a couple more views of the front and back of the device, with a full picture gallery at the source link below.

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3 years ago

Yahoo! Mail adds seamless Dropbox attachments

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New attachment functionality rivals Google's Gmail and Drive integration

Dropbox and Yahoo! announced today that the companies will be integrating to offer seamless file attachments in the Yahoo! Mail Android app. Unveiled at its "DBX" developers conference, Dropbox and Yahoo! have now teamed up to challenge the added functionality Google offers with Gmail and Google Drive. Users that authenticate with their Dropbox account from within the Yahoo! Mail app will now be able to select either local or Dropbox files from the "attach" menu, and simply send out files that are stored in the cloud.

This pretty much directly mirrors what Google currently offers for sending large file attachments with Google Drive, with the added bonus that Dropbox is still the de facto cloud storage solution for so many people. The update is set to be live in the Play Store today from the link above, but doesn't seem to be available just quite yet.

Source: Yahoo!

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3 years ago

Kyocera Torque receiving Jelly Bean update starting today

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The rugged device makes a necessary move up to a modern version of Android

Sprint's latest rugged device offering, the Kyocera Torque, is making the jump from Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean today via an OTA update that is rolling out now. The update, which Sprint says will roll out to users "during the next few weeks", includes all of the expected Jelly Bean improvements such as Google Now, Project Butter and expandable notifications. We were relatively happy with the performance of the Torque when on ICS, so we expect things can only get better with the upgrade to Jelly Bean.

It's nice to see a relatively timely update to Jelly Bean for a device that launched with ICS far beyond the window of acceptance for that software. As we have seen in recent Platform Version numbers, more and more devices are making that move up to Jelly Bean every month.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

Take our Social Networking and Communication Survey for a chance to win a $100 Best Buy Gift Card!

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We're fans of numbers and quantifiable data here at Mobile Nations, and so following after the third week of Talk Mobile 2013, we're turning to our good friend the survey to help compile some data. Week three was focused on mobile social networking and communication. If you missed any of the content, be sure to click over to our Talk Mobile hub and check it out.

The mobile social networking and communication survey will only take a minute or two to complete, and as an extra incentive (not that you guys and gals need it, but we like to give things away), by completing the survey you'll be entered for a chance to win a $100 Best Buy Gift Card. Hit the link below to take the survey!

Click here to take the Talk Mobile State of Mobile Social Networking and Communication Survey!

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3 years ago

Verizon, AT&T Galaxy S4s also getting software upgrade [Updated]

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New firmware includes apps-to-SD, Samsung Knox

Update: Looks like AT&T is pushing out a similar GS4 update over-the-air.

Original story: Following the international and Sprint versions of the phone, Verizon's Galaxy S4 is today receiving a software update with a couple of significant new features. While a full changelog isn't yet available, the new "VRUAME7" firmware update seems to include apps-to-SD card support as well as Samsung's Knox security software for BYOD — both features found in the recent Sprint GS4 update. In addition, the same firmware update for the international GS4 brought improved performance, so that's something else to watch out for.

Knox in particular might be of concern to rooted users wanting to maintain superuser access to their devices, so if you're rooted you might want to hold off applying this update for the moment. Right now it seems the new firmware is only going out through Samsung's Kies desktop app, rather than over-the-air, as a hefty 1.8GB download.

Source: Android Central forums; Thanks, Jason!

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3 years ago

Vodafone UK changing pay-as-you-go price structure, will cost you more to talk

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UK carrier to start charging per minute rather than per second for voice calls on PAYG

UK carrier Vodafone is set to change how they charge pay-as-you-go customers. Instead of charging per second as they currently do, they're going to charge per minute. So, even one second over a full minute will cost you for an entire minute extra, of which 59 seconds of it you're not even on the phone. 

Vodafone claims the move is to simplify their charges for their customers, but it has been met with understandable criticism from some of their customers. Rival carriers Orange and T-Mobile already employ such pricing. Simpler or not, from August 1 the new prices will come into effect. Any Vodafone customers out there set to be affected by this? How do you feel about the new structure?

 via BBC News

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3 years ago

Sprint completes its acquisition of Clearwire

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Third-place carrier gobbles up Clearwire for $5 per share

Sprint has completed its acquisition of Clearwire, the U.S. carrier has announced. Sprint, which already held a majority stake in Clearwire, and is itself to be acquired by Japan's SoftBank, said in a press release today that it had purchased the company for $5 per share. As such, SoftBank will walk away with both Sprint and 100 percent of Clearwire when that transaction closes, something which is expected to occur tomorrow.

Today's news follows an aborted attempt by Dish Network to buy both Sprint and Clearwire — Dish abandoned its acquisition plans in mid-June.

Sprint will be looking to take advantage of Clearwire's spectrum holdings to further expand its LTE network.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

Google confirms fix for 'master key' vulnerability released to OEMs

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No evidence that exploit has actually been used, Google spokeswoman tells ZDNet

Last week it emerged that a security vulnerability affecting all current versions of Android could allow applications to be maliciously altered without affecting their cryptographic signatures. You might've heard it referred to as the Android "master key" vulnerability.

At the time it was reported that Samsung's Galaxy S4 had already been patched to address the issue, and now we have further information from Google on the company's response to the incident. According to ZDNet, Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said that the company had already released a fix for the bug to OEMs, and that some manufacturers like Samsung were already shipping the fix in devices.

Scigliano reiterated that Google had found no evidence that the vulnerability had actually been exploited in malware on Google Play or other app stores. As AC's Jerry Hildenbrand mentioned in his write-up of the issue last week, the bug, while potentially serious, is easy to avoid by sticking to official app stores and avoiding pirated apps.

More: Making sense of the latest Android 'master key' security scare

Source: ZDNet

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3 years ago

SanDisk releases world's fastest 64GB microSDXC card

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SanDisk's new high-speed, high-capacity microSD cards were designed with the smart phone user in mind

SanDisk has a new product in their popular line of microSD cards, the SanDisk Extreme microSDHC and microSDXC UHS-I cards. Designed for users who need fast storage for their smart phone, tablet or camera, the new microSD cards offer read and write speeds that are perfect for taking multi-shot high resolution pictures, as well as full HD high framerate video.

In SanDisk's testing, the 64GB model reached read speeds of 80MB/second, and write speeds of 50MB/second. Speeds like this allow you to do things like take more shots in a row using your camera's burst mode, or take beautiful high-quality HD video. Of course, file transfer speeds are also greatly increased, letting you copy those images and videos, or music or ROMs from your computer even faster. 

Ultra-fast, high capacity ​microSD cards are a perfect match for Android phones that support removable storage. Stuart Robinson, director of handset component technologies service at Strategy Analytics puts it succinctly:

Most high-end smartphones are now driven by high-speed quad-core processors, which deliver Full HD content and applications to large, high-resolution external displays. Such applications require high memory bandwidth which is ideal for the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC card, the world's fastest microSDXC memory solution.

We know you all like big, fast SD cards, and this one looks like a winner. To be sure, we had SanDisk send us the 64GB SDXC model and I'm going to see if it lives up to the hype. We'll run it through the benchmarks, but also try it in real-world situations like in an Android phone, a computer, and a DSLR. Look for the results soon! In the meantime, the full press release is after the break. Read through it, and discuss.

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