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3 years ago

Google Earth updated with Street View, better search and directions, new interface


Check out the world without ever leaving your chair, Street View has come to Google Earth

The Google Earth application has received a major update today, and with version 7.1.1 comes a trio of great changes. The most obvious, and definitely the coolest, is that you can now zoom the whole way down to Street View to check out the world at street level. Long a staple on Google Maps for Android and the web, this is a nice addition.

Besides Street View, Google has improved the search functionality, made directions allowing you to see a 3D view of transit, walking, bike and driving directions. Another major change comes to the UI, which now offers a slide-out panel from the left side much like the Google+ app. 

Google Earth has come a long way, and it's nice to see an app that can take advantage of today's high-powered phones and their processing muscle. If you've never tried it, or if it's been a while since you had a look, grab it from the Google Play link above.

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3 years ago

Gameloft's Blitz Brigade coming to Android and iOS May 9


Grab your weapons and 11 friends, and get ready to play Blitz Brigade, a new multiplayer FPS from Gameloft coming tomorrow

Way back in January we talked about Blitz Brigade, an upcoming team FPS from Gameloft. We just got word that we'll be able to get our hands on the official release May 9 -- that's tomorrow. The game, which is a total rip of Team Fortress 2 combined with Battlefield Heros (not like that's a bad thing), looks like a lot of bloody fun.

Set in WWII, the free to play title will be focused on team-style multiplayer, but there will also be a full set of 120 single player challenges if that's more your style. Teams can be up to 12 players, using four different maps and in death match or domination mode. With five different classes (Soldier. Gunner, Sniper, Medic and Stealth), three different vehicle types, and over 100 upgradeable weapons it sounds like a whole lot of fun.

We'll know more, and have a good look at Blitz Brigade, after it launches tomorrow. In the meantime, hit the break for some more screen shots and the original game trailer.

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3 years ago

Apex Launcher hits v2.0 with new features, improved settings


Several new "Pro" features and even more tweaks now available in the settings

One of the most well-known names in third party launchers, Apex Launcher, has just made the jump up to version 2.0 with several new features and improvements across the app. The biggest improvements come if you've paid for the "Pro" version of the app, where you'll now get folders in the app drawer, integration with Apex Notifier and notification badge support. If you've yet to spring for the paid version, you'll still see some big changes. The free version has added support for changing vibration duration, update translations, improved the activity and wallpaper pickers and made important changes to the settings menu layout.

If you haven't taken a look at Apex in a while, now may be the time to do it. You can download the free version from the Play Store link at the top of the post, and if you want some more advanced features pick up the $3.99 paid version right here as well.

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3 years ago

Sprint adds Path to preloaded 'Discover It' widget on Galaxy S4, HTC One


This is just "a first step" of Sprint and Path collaboration

On its official blog, Path made a quick post today explaining that it will be included as one of the apps highlighted in a "Discover It" widget that is loaded on some of Sprint's latest devices. The widget, which effectively has stub apps that let you download the full apps with just one tap, is preloaded on the home screens of phones like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One. While this is pretty innocent and something that many carriers participate in, we're a little weary of the promise from today's post by Kevin McGinnis, vice president of product at Sprint: “Sprint and Path are finding ways to collaborate to enhance our customers’ experience. This is a first step."

Which certainly hints at further integration of Path into at least some of Sprint's devices going forward. Given Path's less than stellar history of protecting user's privacy even when they willingly download and sign up for the service, we're not so sure that's a great idea. We'll be keeping an eye out for further Path "integration" on Sprint going forward.

Source: Path

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3 years ago

The OUYA gets an iFixit teardown, rates 9 of 10 for repairability


With just a few common tools you can have your new OUYA torn apart and spread all over your desk

The $99 OUYA console is gradually making its way into the hands of Kickstarter backers, so the folks over at iFixit had to do what they do best -- tear it apart. The news is good here, and if you're the type who regularly has their electronics all over a workbench in multiple pieces, you'll appreciate the internal design and engineering.

The casing of both the console itself and the controller are simple to crack open, and extracting the big pieces is easy. No special tools are necessary, and you can put away that heat gun as you'll only need hex and Phillips head drivers to completely disassemble both parts. In fact, the only "difficult" user-servicable part to remove is the CPU heat sink, which is soldered in place versus using metallic clips.

Now we don't expect (nor do we recommend) that the average user will get out a set of screwdrivers and tear apart their new OUYA. But it's nice to know that if you ever need to do something like replace a dust-choked fan, or the circuit board of the joysticks, it's easy to do yourself or to have someone else do it for you. Hit the source link for a complete walkthrough of the process, chock full of part numbers and pictures.

Source: iFixit

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3 years ago

Spring Cleaning: Win an ASUS MeMO Pad tablet!

Comments are closed folks. Look for more spring cleaning soon!

Let's make a pretty big dent in the pile on my desk, shall we? The ASUS MeMO Pad might be far from our favorite 7-inch Android tablet out there, but that doesn't mean we don't want it to go to a good home. Despite what the box shows, we're giving away the same one we reviewed, in its "cherry pink" color. (Which really is more cherry than it is pink.)

To win this guy, just leave a comment on this post. We'll shut things down at midnight EDT tonight and pick a winner. (And, yes, we'll be announcing all the winners later this week.) Good luck, everybody!

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3 years ago

LG holding 'Optimus G series' launch event in Macau


A wider Asian launch for the Optimus G Pro? Event scheduled for May 30.

LG has sent out "save the date" invites for a launch event in Macau, China on May 30. The event, which will focus on "a member of the Optimus G series" has started going out to members of the press, and the invite seems to suggest the LG Optimus G Pro will be seeing a wider Asian launch following the Korean and Japanese releases earlier in the year. (What's more, that phone in the image sure looks a lot like the black Optimus G Pro.)

We'll have to wait and see what LG's got up its sleeve, but with the event taking place in China, we suspect whatever it is will be tightly focused on that market.

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod 10.1 RC1 builds now available


Release candidate builds now available for some forty devices

Following the third "M snapshot" build just under a month ago, the CyanogenMod team is pushing ahead with the roll-out of the first "RC" or release candidate build of CM 10.1. RC1 of the Android 4.2.2-based firmware is now available for a total of forty devices, and in its announcement news post today the team says it expects this to be one of the last milestones before the stable release of CM 10.1.

The list of devices with RC1 builds available includes the current crop of Nexus phones and tablets (and the Nexus Q), various U.S. Galaxy S3 phones, U.S. Galaxy Note models, the international HTC One X and LG Optimus G. You can see the full list of codenames over at the CM announcement post, linked below. As usual, the builds themselves are available from the official download page at Happy flashing!

Source: CyanogenMod

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3 years ago

AT&T's HTC First down to 99 cents on contract for a limited time


'Facebook Phone' currently selling for next to nothing on 2-year plan

If you've been tempted to pick up the Facebook-centric HTC First on AT&T, the carrier's hoping a temporary price drop might push you over the edge. The First, which runs the social network's Facebook Home software atop near-vanilla Android, is today selling online for just 99 cents with a two-year service agreement, down from $99 at launch.

However if you want to get the First at this significantly reduced price you may not want to hang around. Engadget's Brad Molen tweets that the price drop is a promotional change rather than a permanent reduction.

In our review of the HTC First we praised its build quality and ergonomic form factor, though we had some misgivings about the usefulness of Facebook's home screen to the average smartphone user. Of course, you could always disable Facebook Home and be left with an attractive mid-to-high-end HTC phone running a vanilla Android UI.

Source: AT&T; @phonewisdom

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3 years ago

Using the HTC First without Facebook Home


Just a few taps in the settings turns the First into an entirely new device

When we reviewed the HTC First, we found the hardware and performance to be decidedly top-notch considering its pricing and placement in AT&T's lineup. For $100 on-contract -- or $449 off -- you could have a phone with a great screen, acceptable specs and a form factor that fits in your hand without contortion. Discussion of the HTC First then took a turn towards intrigue when it was discovered that you could quickly and permanently turn off the Facebook Home software. It continued when we then saw that sitting underneath Home was something that genuinely looked like stock Android 4.1.

Just like any other Android launcher, there are no strings attached here -- turning off Facebook Home disables it until you choose to turn it back on. A small, well-built device that can simply be changed over to run a more vanilla Android experience is something that many have been looking for as average screen sizes have ballooned in the last couple of years. So what's it like to use the HTC First with Facebook Home permanently turned off? Well, it's actually a generally great experience. Stick around after the break and see some of the details.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 comes to Staples


If you're in the market for a new Samsung Galaxy S4 and need to pick up some printer toner, a pack of ballpoint pens, and a new label maker, then you might just want to get yourself to your nearest... Staples. The office supply store is now carrying the Galaxy S4 for all major US carriers (that'd be AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon), with varying availability in stores and online depending on your carrier of choice.

The Galaxy S4 for Sprint from Staples is available online only in 'white frost' or 'black mist' for $199.99 on a two-year contract (or $715.99 off contract). Going for Verizon (again, white or black) will be $179.99 with the standard two-year contract or $715.99 without, though they're currently on preorder and not expected to arrive in stores and ship until May 30. T-Mobile currently only has the white Galaxy S4 available via the Staples website ($249.99 on contract, $715.99 off) and it's supposedly available now in stores. AT&T's the current laggard in Staples availability, with the S4 only to be available in stores, with no publicly projected date of availability.

So go grab yourself a ream of paper, get some business cards printed, and pick up a Samsung Galaxy S4 while you're at it. Especially if you're looking at Verizon - it's $20 cheaper on contract through Staples than the carrier.

Source: Business Wire

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3 years ago

HP Slate 7 Review


Two years after the debacle of webOS, HP's jumping back into tablets with the Android-powered Slate 7. Priced at just $169.99, just how good can it be?

A titan of Silicon Valley, HP has seen more than its fair share of struggles over the past few years. The company long has grappled with the tablet formula, though often at the mercy of whatever Microsoft pushed down from Redmond. They've launched several Windows XP and Windows 7 convertible tablets, and most recently launched a pair of Windows 8-powered tablets.

But they've all been more PC than mobile device. The most spectacular of HP's consumer failings in recent years came in the form of a mobile-derived tablet: the webOS-powered HP TouchPad. Unveiled in February 2011 and launched in July of the same year, the TouchPad was generally well-received by the technology press but failed to catch on with consumers. Of course, one could easily argue that given its cancelation 49 days after launch it didn't have a chance to catch on. But all that is in the past, and after two years of turmoil, HP's dipping its toes back into the tablet waters.

Where the TouchPad ran webOS 3.0, had a 9.7-inch screen, and carried a $499.99 price tag at launch, HP's newest tablet offering tacks in a different direction. It's the HP Slate 7; it runs Android 4.1.1 on a 7-inch screen, and it's priced at an affordable $169.99. Unlike the Google-financed Asus Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, HP doesn't have a software ecosystem to be supported by selling the Slate 7 at or below break-even. Even so, it looks like it should be competitively spec'd for its price bracket - but how does it really measure up?

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3 years ago

Congratulations to the winner of the AT&T HTC One!


The Android Central (and Mobile Nations) community is made up of countless awesome people. Sometimes I think that amid all of the phone talk, carrier discussions, debates regarding bugs and build quality, and general techy banter, people forget that real live actual people are behind those words on the screen. I think that's why I really enjoyed last week's contest for the AT&T HTC One. We decided the requirement for entry was to post a video of you doing your favorite hobby or showing your talent, and the entries were amazing!

Now, we couldn't judge these entries and choose who was the "best". It was never meant to be that kind of contest. So we've put all the eligible entries into our magical contest winner picker machine and you can find out the name of that lucky Android Central member is below!

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3 years ago

How to get to Google Now on the Samsung Galaxy S4


Google's predictive search app is alive and well on the Galaxy S4 -- and there are a few ways to get to it quickly

On many Android phones with on-screen keys, getting to Google Now -- the excellent predictive/voice-controlled search app in Android 4.1 and above -- is simply a matter of swiping up from the bottom of the screen. It's not quite as simple as that on the new Samsung Galaxy S4, but fear not, there are still a few quick and easy ways to get to the new Google Search app.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia S, SL, Acro S Jelly Bean firmware certified ahead of launch


Android 4.1.2 firmware shows up on certification forum, release could be days away

As tends to happen with upcoming Sony firmware, the official Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the Sony Xperia S (LT26i) has appeared on the website of the PTCRB, the North American wireless device certification forum. It's also joined by official Jelly Bean firmware for the Japan-centric Xperia Acro S and the Xperia SL, an upgraded variant of the S with a higher-clocked CPU.

With the firmware for these devices being certified, it's likely a matter of days or weeks until the update starts hitting handsets. It's been some six months since Sony announced that the Xperia S would be getting Jelly Bean, and almost a year since we first laid eyes on Android 4.1. So to say it's about time Xperia S owners got their Jelly Bean update might be something of an understatement. Fingers crossed for a OTA roll-out before the end of the month.

Source: PTCRB, via: ​XperiaBlog

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