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4 years ago

Nexus 7 travel covers to be available outside the U.S. within 2 weeks?

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The whole Nexus 7 purchasing process has been a mixed bag for many people, but outside of the U.S. one thing in particular is still lacking. The official OEM cover isn't yet even an option to pre-order in countries such as the UK and Australia. And, that's discounting any potential forthcoming colorful ones. It's frustrating to say the least, there are third party options out there, but for many OEM accessories are the only way. 

The guys down under at Ausdroid are as frustrated as everyone else, and they've been badgering Asus Australia for some information. The response -- via Twitter, it should be noted -- was such: 

@phroghollow At the moment I don't have a date for you but it should be within the next two weeks.

We should remember that messages via local social media accounts are far from the most reliable source of information. Needless to say, it doesn't sound unreasonable either. That sort of time period puts it about a month after the initial launch of the tablet, and that's got to be long enough to get some cases up for sale, right? 

If you've got a hankering for one of these, so far elusive, Nexus 7 covers then don't forget to check out our review.

Source: Ausdroid

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4 years ago

Google Play developer policies have been updated, we like where this is heading

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Google has sent out an e-mail about updates to their Google Play developer policies, and it's clear that they are trying to reign in some questionable behavior that goes on in our beloved app store. There's some standard stuff to go along with new features, like guidelines and cancelation policies for the new subscription billing service, but the bulk of the new changes are user facing and designed to make our experience better all around. Here's a quick bullet point of the major changes:

  • Restricting the use of names or icons confusingly similar to existing system apps in order to reduce user confusion
  • Providing more detail on the kinds of dangerous products that are not allowed on Google Play. For example, apps that disclose personal information without authorization are not allowed.
  • Giving more examples of practices that violate the spam policy.
  • Adding a new section that addresses ad behavior in apps. 

The first couple of points are easy enough to understand, and Google is stepping in to keep folks from being tricked by unscrupulous developers. With over 600,000 applications in Google Play, there are bound to be a few who just want your eyeballs on ads and will do anything to make that happen. A lot of these apps also will try to work around the rules and just want your address book or web history. It stinks, but just like the rest of the world some folks take the low road to make a buck. With these new policies in place, Google can show them the door if they get crafty and don't play fair.

The third point is downright awesome. Have a look at the complete policy here, and see how Google makes it plain about what is and isn't allowed in their store, and just what they consider as spam. This is how we like to see things explained -- in clear, concise language with no weaseling around. In their house, you play by their rules, and now you know them.

Finally, they are getting a grip on ad SDKs and networks that practice in shady behavior. With words like deceiving consumers and disruptive behavior, Google has lain the smack down and let these companies -- and the developers who use them -- know that the days of the wild west are numbered. A clear set of rules on how ads can behave has been a long time coming.

Google is still wide open. With the tick of a checkbox users are free to install any application they please, and we wouldn't want it any other way. We also want a consistent, and dare we say better, experience from Google's own store. We're tired of fake Temple Run games and apps that seem to exist only to harvest marketing data. As savvy users we tend to quickly ferret out these kind of apps and give them the boot, but now it looks like Google is prepared to step in and help those who may not be Android enthusiasts. With the apparent push of the Google Play brand, we say the timing is perfect.

Check out the full text of the e-mail after the break.

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4 years ago

Gears & Guts brings together zombies and reckless driving

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Gears & Guts cruised into Android today, bristling with all manner of unlikely weaponry. This free top-down action game puts players up against a horde of zombies that they have to clear out with car-mounted chainsaws, flamethrowers, and machine guns. Here's what you can expect. 

  • Wide-open combat in massive environments.
  • Sports cars, monster trucks and armored vehicles.
  • Dozens of cars and items to earn, including rare, experimental weapons.
  • One car vs. hundreds of zombies, like...
  • The Walker: Cannon-fodder, but deadly in groups.
  • The Bruiser: A walking mountain of undead flesh.
  • The Runner: Keep your speed up or they’ll drag you down.

Glu recently churned out Mutant Roadkill with an obscene reliance on in-app purchases and ads, and was also oddly about running over mindless shamblers. I've played around with Gears & Guts for a little bit, IAPs and ads aren't quite as obnoxious, though they're still a big part of the picture. If you're into gore, give Gears & Guts a shot. 

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4 years ago

AOKP nightly ROM's, Nexus Q orders [From the Forums]

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Just in case you missed out on some of the Android news today, now is the time to go ahead and get yourself fully caught up. Here on the blogs and in the Android Central Forums there is plenty to talk about. Have some questions? Need some help or just looking to chat Android? You know where to go, check out some of the threads below to get started.

We've got nearly 1 million members helping members and nearly 2 million posts in our Android Forums. Are you one of them? Join today!

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4 years ago

Poll: Did you preorder a Nexus Q?

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You might have heard that Google is postponing the retail launch of the Nexus Q, and as compensation they are giving one to everyone who preordered for the low price of free. It's a shocker, and more than anyone expected to hear when we found out that the Q would be held back to add some more functionality. I'll leave the comparison to Oprah for the comments.

We're all busy discussing what sort of awesomesauce Google could bake into the Q, and words like mirroring and Wifi Direct are getting thrown all over my Gtalk. We're just speculating of course, but we're genuinely excited to see what G has in store for the cannonball. All we know for now is that it's been delayed for a it, and that Google is handing them out for free if you preordered.

Which of course means we have to ask, just how many folks did preorder the $300 Nexus Q? Everyone who doesn't have one seems to hate it, and those that do have one (Google handed out about 6,000 of them at Google I/O 2012) seem to be divided about how useful the device is in its current state. We don't imagine very many folks jumped at the chance to get one, and that now everyone wishes they had, but rather than guess, we'll just ask. Let us know in the poll!

Did you preorder a Nexus Q?

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Tipo tipped for Aug. 8 UK release, pricing info emerges

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Entry-level ICS handset to cost £89.95 on PAYG, or free on £10.50 p.m. contracts

Earlier this week we heard that Sony's new budget-oriented Xperia Tipo would be arriving on O2 and Orange in the UK in August, and now we have the first firm information on pricing and availability. Independent UK retailer the Carphone Warehouse is now listing the Xperia Tipo for pre-order on a range of different price plans.

If you're after a network-subsidized Tipo, you'll pay nothing for the handset itself, which Carphone is offering on-contract with O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Talkmobile, starting at £10.50 per month. Pre-paid (PAYG) customers get the best deal, though, as the Tipo is just £89.95 when bought with a £10 top-up on your network of choice. Those after an unbranded handset, fresh from Sony can pick one up for £119.95. The Tipo is due to ship to pre-order customers starting next Wednesday, Aug. 8.

The Xperia Tipo is a fairly basic Android handset, with an 800MHz single-core CPU, a 3.2-inch screen and a 3.2MP rear camera. Nevertheless, it's a nicely-designed little phone that runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. You could certainly do a lot worse for your 89 pounds and 95 pence.

Source: Carphone Warehouse; via: UnwiredView

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4 years ago

AT&T Inspire 4G update now available, Sense 3.0 included

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HTC has been busy trying to justify their lack of ICS on the Inspire 4G / Desire HD to users but that doesn't mean they've forgotten about the device entirely. AT&T Inspire 4G owners should soon see an update notification on their device or if you're unwilling to wait, you can download the RUU direct from the HTC website. As noted on their support site, the update has quite a few changes in it:

New features:

  • HTC Sense 3.0
  • Task Manager
  • AT&T Address Book

Fixes/Updates:

  • Call optimization improvements (fewer dropped calls)
  • Improved security functionality
  • SMS/MMS Thread – Contact Display Fix
  • Background Data Use Improvement

Even though it's not Android 4.0, it's still a nice update. Keep in mind, if you download the RUU you'll need HTC Sync installed and you'll lose all your current data on the device. With some patience though, you can just wait for the OTA update to arrive and don't forget to drop by the forums and let us know how things are working out.

Source: HTC, via: Android Central Forums

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4 years ago

Browse all of your online pictures with Pictarine for Android

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A new photo app called Pictarine was launched today, tying into multiple photography sites and offering a single a dashboard to flip through them. 11 networks are currently supported, including the biggies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr, as well as some smaller ones like 500px, Photobucket, and Shutterfly. It can even tap into your Google account, Tumblr blog, or Dropbox for pictures. Depending on the networks you plug into, you can also see what your friends are sharing and leave comments or likes without leaving the app. Here's a quick feature run-down. 

  • Connect Pictarine up to 11 social networks, streamlining photos and activities like commenting, liking and sharing.
  • Rediscover your memories through our selection of the photos that matter most to you. You will be surprised!
  • Get photos from all of your services in your pocket, so they are always one touch away.
  • Bookmark your favorite photos in playlists
  • Works with Android versions 2.2 and above

It seems like this is a great little app for those that don't want to get too invested in any single network. Where do you tend to share most of your mobile pictures? Are they scattered in a million different places, or do they tend to all get dumped in the same spot?

(Background image)

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4 years ago

Nexus 7 official travel cover review

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Our Nexus 7 official travel cases have arrived, and of course we want to share some quick thoughts and impressions with you guys, The gray travel case has so far been pretty difficult to get, as they would disappear from Google Play as soon as they appeared it seemed. Late last week we jumped in and ordered a couple as soon as they became available, and they arrived very well packaged in this afternoon's UPS run.

Once you crack it open, you'll find a very bland dark grey TPU case with a folding cover. We're not complaining -- in fact I prefer the nondescript and subtle grey color -- but if you're looking for something fancy or colorful you'll need to look elsewhere or wait for the leaked cases we saw yesterday to appear for sale. What you get here is a plain, yet very protective piece to keep your shiny new Nexus 7 shiny and new. 

The case is form-fitting, and easily slips on and off the tablet. The ample cut-outs provide easy access to the ports, microphones (there's two) and external speaker assembly. The edges and corners wrap around to keep the case from coming off when you don't want it to come off, and the familiar raised TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) blocks are present so you can find and operate the volume and power switches. Of course, the full-face cover will keep the screen of your Nexus 7 from getting scarred up while in a bag or backpack. Unfortunately, there is no magnet embedded to activate the switch and power on the tablet when the cover is opened. I'm searching amazon for supplies to cut and insert one of my own, and I'll be sure to get that in the forums if and when I find out more.

The only real drawback of these cases is the price. One will set you back $30 after shipping, and it's very likely that you'll be able to find a more inexpensive option on Amazon or even locally sourced. These are manufactured by ASUS, and OEM equipment, so we expect to pay a bit extra. Price aside, they do seem like a great way to keep your Nexus 7 from getting scratched and otherwise damaged, and are worth considering if you prefer a simple, utilitarian option. Hit the break for a short video hands-on and a handful of pictures, and if you're interested in buying you'll find a link to Google Play below.

Order the Nexus 7 travel case from Google Play

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4 years ago

Google postpones Nexus Q retail launch, will give pre-order customers a free sphere

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Google has postponed the consumer launch of the Nexus Q to add additional functionality. To make up for it, Google will give those who pre-ordered a Nexus Q a free device.

Here's the e-mail that just went out:

We have an important update about your Nexus Q pre-order.

When we announced Nexus Q at Google I/O, we gave away devices to attendees for an early preview. The industrial design and hardware were met with great enthusiasm. We also heard initial feedback from users that they want Nexus Q to do even more than it does today. In response, we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.

To thank you for your early interest, we'd like to extend the Nexus Q preview to our pre-order customers and send you a free device. If you had other items in your order, your credit card will be charged for those items only.

Your Nexus Q will be on its way soon and you will receive a notification and tracking number from Google Play when it ships.

The Nexus Q Team

The Nexus Q, for those of you who don't have one -- which is most everyone -- is a small sphere that connects to your Google account and streams music, Youtube and movies and TV shows to a television and stereo set or bookshelf speakers. And that's all it does, though it certainly does so stylishly. The device is hackable, and folks have already gotten CyanogenMod and Android apps running from it, and XBMC has plans as well.

It was nearly a week ago that we first noticed that Google had limited new orders of the Nexus Q -- if you'd already ordered one, that was it.

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4 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich arrives on the Sprint HTC EVO Design 4G

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Hot on the heels of this morning's Sprint HTC EVO 3D Ice Cream Sandwich update, it looks like the Android 4.0 update is also rolling out for the EVO Design 4G. Promised around the same time by the carrier a couple of weeks back, the EVO Design update consists of the same cocktail of Android 4.0.3 and HTC Sense 3.6, and the OTA package weighs in at just over 256MB. The update's arrival follows the launch of ICS for the international EVO 3D and HTC Raider, earlier this month.

So you've got a slightly polished up version of HTC's custom UI, in addition to standard Ice Cream Sandwich features we've become familiar with over the past eight months --

  • A refined, evolved user interface that is simple, beautiful and useful
  • Face Unlock: use state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to unlock your phone with a smile
  • Redesigned camera app which introduces Scenes like Panorama, and Effects such as Vignette, Depth of Field, Vintage and Posterize
  • Web browser now lets you sync Google Chrome™ bookmarks, request full desktop versions of sites, see your open tabs in a new layout
  • People: browse friends, family and coworkers, see their photos in high-resolution and check their latest status updates from Google+
  • Improved keyboard with incredibly accurate typing, an inline spell checker and improved copy and paste support
  • Redesigned Gmail™ app that now lets you swipe between conversations to catch up quickly and search for emails even without a data connection
  • Google+ integration that lets you hangout and video chat with up to 10 friends using your front-facing camera

Sprint EVO Design 4G owners will want to head to Settings > About phone > Software updates and hit the button to check whether their update to ICS is ready. If you're rocking an EVO Design, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on with ICS.

Thanks, Anon!

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4 years ago

SeatGuru by TripAdvisor helps you get that extra legroom on your next flight

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Today TripAdvisor launched a new Android app called SeatGuru, which helps users book flights, pick seats, and monitor flight status. The app has access to over 700 seat maps across almost 100 airlines, as well as a plethora of user reviews from their travel network to make these choices a bit more easily. 

The last we heard from TripAdvisor, they were focusing mostly on city guides, but they've made a name for themselves by hooking up travellers with hotels, flights, restaurants and events across the world for awhile now. 

As a dude who measures in a six-foot-eight (or 203 centimeters for our metric friends), I can appreciate an app that helps me get that exit row seat before anyone else. Anyone booked anything through TripAdvisor lately? Any testimonials as to the quality of their service? Which mobile app do you usually use to book flights?

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4 years ago

Rogers rolling out update for the HTC One X, corrects WiFi issues

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Although there has been a few updates to the international and AT&T versions of the HTC One X, Rogers in Canada has been taking their time pushing things out but finally, a new update has arrived. Showing as version 1.94.631.3 and coming in at 67MB this update according to Rogers will fix some WiFi connectivity issues as well address Media Link improvements. If you've got a Rogers One X, you can hit that software update button and grab the download.

Source: RogersBuzz

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4 years ago

Verizon to pay $1.25 million for blocking tethering apps on C block devices

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The FCC has released a statement today concerning its investigation into Verizon Wireless blocking access to applications (specifically tethering apps) for devices using the "C block" spectrum they use for LTE services. Under the terms of the settlement announced today, Verizon will be paying $1.25 million to the U.S. Treasury, and implement a "compliance" plan consisting of more training to ensure that they do not violate the C block rules in the future. 

The issue stems from the rules of the C block auction, which Verizon bid on and won to get the spectrum they use for LTE. I won't bother going into all the numbers here, but the wavelength of the C block makes it a very desirable piece of the airwaves, and the FCC placed a mandate that the auction winner must allow customers to freely use devices and applications of their choosing when accessing the frequencies. Verizon had successfully blocked tethering apps from appearing in Google Play, including their LTE devices. This is against the rules, and the FCC had to take action. 

There also are couple things here we need to keep in mind. Other carriers (hello, AT&T!) can block apps from the Play Store, as they didn't win the C block auction and don't have to follow those rules. The second is that while Verizon has to allow access to the applications, nothing was mentioned that said they had to allow free tethering on its LTE network. It can still block access server-side, or monitor accounts and charge users that download and use applications to tether. We're not sure what, if any, precautions Verizon is going to implement here, but before you celebrate by downloading Easy Tether and burning through a few GBs of data, keep in mind that few things in life are actually free. 

Source: FCC

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4 years ago

Amazon Cloud Player now matches iTunes purchases and CD rips

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Amazon Cloud Player has been updated with a bunch of new features, including some hefty new licensing deals with Sony, EMI, Universal, and Warner to beef up their music selection for sale. There's also some new ways to make sure all of the music on your computer is in line with what's being stored in the cloud, namely that 250 of your songs (even ripped or purchased iTunes music) is automatically added from Amazon in 256 Kbps audio. 

  • Amazon MP3 purchases — including music that customers purchased in the past — are automatically saved to Cloud Player, which means that customers have a secure backup copy of the music they buy from Amazon, free of charge.
  • Amazon scans customers’ iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and matches the songs on their computers to Amazon’s 20 million song catalog.  All matched songs – even music purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs – are instantly made available in Cloud Player and are upgraded for free to high-quality 256 Kbps audio.  Music that customers have already uploaded to Cloud Player also will be upgraded.
  • Any customer with a Kindle Fire, Android device, iPhone, iPod touch, or any web browser —and soon, a Roku streaming player or Sonos home entertainment system — can play their music anywhere.

Soon, Amazon Cloud users will be able to access their remote libraries through Sonos and Roku boxes too - a palatable option for real music junkies. Currently, Amazon Cloud offers 5 GB of free storage with plenty more available for $24.99 annually. Of course, any music you buy on Amazon doesn't count towards your storage limit, which is a nice touch. A significant change starting today is that Amazon Cloud Player and Cloud Drive will be separate storage bins and have their own subscription fees. That's not so great news for those that use the service for both tunes as well as documents, though they've lowered the Cloud Drive price to $10/year for 20 GB.  

You can get more information about signing up here, but us international folks are out of luck on this one, unfortunately. How many of y'all are already Amazon Cloud Player users? Are you happy with the experience, or is Google Music doing the job for you just fine? Would these new features get you to switch?

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