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3 years ago

Times Square Official Ball app updated to ring in 2013


The official Times Square Ball app has just been updated to help you count down to 2013. Not everyone has a chance to be in Times Square for the new year, but at least with this app everyone can (assuming device compatibility) get part of the experience. It's not the smoothest or flashiest thing ever, but the app serves its purpose. You get a nice countdown to the new year, a livestream viewer of Times Square (you can watch the 2012 party currently) and you can even upload a photo to be shown on the big screen if you're lucky.

Sound interesting? You can grab a download for free at the Play Store link above. It probably doesn't do you much good over 10 days out from the party, but you'll have it installed and ready to go for New Years Eve. 

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3 years ago

Adding a great video experience to Android apps just got easier with the new Youtube Android Player API


Google has finally released the Youtube Player API for Android that they previewed at Google I/O 2012, making it easy for developers to integrate a proper video experience into their apps. The API will allow developers to embed and play any Youtube video natively, without sending users off to the Youtube app or browser. The official list of benefits:

  • High-quality video playback supported on Android 2.2 (Froyo) or newer
  • Easy integration with your Android application (no WebView required)
  • Fullscreen and orientation change support
  • Closed captions display
  • Support for YouTube ads
  • Programmatic access, similar to existing Player APIs, to most aspects of the YouTube video playback experience
  • Integration with the Android YouTube app using a standard set of YouTube Intents

Google has been working with a few partners, so we already have a few apps using the new API. They include Flipboard, Buzzfeed,, SoundTracking, and Fitness Flow (pictured above).

If you're a developer, you'll want to read the documentation and code examples -- find all that info at the source link. If you're an end user, you're job is easier (but just as important). Support these developers who use the right tools and deliver amazing Android apps. Hit the break for a Google Developers Live recording all about the new API.

Source: Youtube blog

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3 years ago

Initial hands on and first impressions of the Kobo Arc


Back in late August, we received an invite to a press event being held during the IFA 2012 show in Berlin. Nothing out of the ordinary there, after all, press events are the bread and butter of such shows. This one was a little different though, it came from Kobo, better known for their e-readers and their e-book store. Kobo has ventured into the Android world before, with the less than impressive Vox. Despite gaining Google certification during its life, the Vox was a little limp as an Android tablet. 

What Kobo had to show us this time though was something quite different. The Arc was immediately noticable as a huge leap forward from the Vox. A 7-inch device, with a 1280x800 resolution display, front facing stereo speakers, Android 4.0 and the full Google suite of applications this time straight out of the box. Underneath, a 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP 4470 processor, 1GB of RAM and 16, 32 or a whopping 64GB of storage. Click on past the break for some first impressions and hands on with the device.

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3 years ago

The 2012 Android Central Awards will run until Monday, Dec. 24


We're running the 2012 Android Central Awards through the weekend, making sure everyone has a chance to vote for their favorites. We spend the year talking about the devices and apps we love, but this is your chance to tell us what you love. It's an easy to take survey, complete with a write-in slot for each category in case we overlooked something.

We're keeping things open until Monday, then we're going to close it up and tally the votes. We'll go through them all and let you know what devices and apps you, the great AC community, thinks are the best of 2012. Hit the link below from your computer or phone and let us know what you think!

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3 years ago

Amazon streaming video app now available for LG Google TV sets


The Amazon Instant Video app is now available for another Google TV device, as it's now in Google Play if you're using an LG Google TV set. Users can download the app and install right from their TV, and enjoy full HD content from Amazon.

Previously, to access Amazon's streaming video service you had to use the built in Chrome browser, which was less than an ideal experience. The release of the App for the LG sets means better searching and better frame rates that using the browser. You can download the app at the link above.

Still no signs of an Amazon VoD app for Android tablets yet, and that's a bit puzzling. Maybe they want to hold it back as an exclusive for the Kindle line, or they have concerns over Android openness, much like we saw from Netflix last year.

Source: +Google TV 

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3 years ago

Motorola said to be working on the 'X Phone' to bring the ultimate Android eXperience


Motorola's handset division is rumored to be hard at work building not just the next big thing for the smartphone market, but Google's "X Phone," according to a post earlier this week in the Android Central forums. That post has grown some legs with a story today from the Wall Street Journal. The "X Phone," undoubtedly a code name (but that'd be a kick-ass retail name) is rumored to encompass everything from a bendable screen for durability to a ceramic unibody (though that might possibly be along the lines of that micro-arc oxidation treatment we've seen on the likes of the HTC One S), it is to be the phone to change the way we interact with our smartphones.

This might not be a Motorola Nexus, but something new and different. Running stock Android at its core, there will be a set of applications and a UI that is modular and runs on top of the OS -- meaning no extra time for updates, according to our tipster. These features are said to be things like new voice commands and gestures, and the "ultimate" camera software plus -- get this -- buttons on the back of the phone -- one for the camera, plus volume buttons.

Google and Motorola can freely play and innovate here, without having to modify the stock Android build underneath. This is huge, as current OEM layers are deeply built into the Android system and are not stand alone. This causes plenty of delay when it comes to software updates. 

From our rumored devices forum:

Apparently this phone is called the "X Phone" or something along those lines and has buttons on the back of the phone. He said that a camera button is in the middle of the phone with volume up and down buttons on both sides of it all on the back face of the phone. He said it is supposed to be more ergonomic while holding the phone.

He also talked a lot about the phone having a ton of new voice command features and swiping gestures to accomplish tasks. He said the idea of this phone is to completely change the way we ergonomically have to interact with our phones. I.e. that it would take less than two seconds from the phone being in the pocket to using the camera. These features would be built on top of android as a stand alone proprietary suite app so that moto can be dedicated to updating to all new google updates in 3 months or less.

The hardware is said to be no slouch either, with "every premium piece of technology that Moto has" being used. We can expect a quad-core processor, 2GB RAM minimum, a huge battery, and Motorola's legendary cellular radios. 

While this is still just a rumor, it makes sense for Google to use Motorola to finally take the reigns of Android and release a consumer oriented device that fills their vision of what that device should be. We see and hear about the benefits of controlling both the hardware and the software from Apple and Microsoft, and we think Google can do it better. If things turn out as rumored, expect a big push in mid-2013, and the device we've all dreamed about to follow soon after. Google I/O might be pretty interesting this year.

Source: Android Central forums. More: WSJ

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3 years ago

T-Mobile puts most phones on sale with Value Plans until Dec. 31


T-Mobile is rolling a promotion until the end of the year that is dropping prices on most of its phones to $0 on contract. For the next 10 days, you can get your hands on most of T-Mobile's high-end offerings, such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) and HTC One S, as well as everything in the mid- and low-end range. The Galaxy Note 2 and Nexus 4 are the notable omissions from this deal. This promotion also only applies to T-Mobile's "Value Plans," which separate the cost of phones and plans, that will require monthly installments (usually $20/mo for about 20 months) to pay off the rest of the handset. They end up being a better deal over the life of a 2-year contract, and even more so when you can skip the $200-$300 down payment to start the plan.

Considering that T-Mobile is moving completely to Value Plans starting in 2013, this will be a good push to get new customers onboard with the idea at the end of 2012. If you (or a family member) are interested in any of these handsets, it may be a better time than any to go pick one up before 2013. Check out a full list of devices on sale at the source link below.

Source: T-Mobile

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3 years ago

Google not-so-subtly reveals Nexus 10 dock in holiday video


That "Happy Holidays from Android" video was adorable, wasn't it? Well if you weren't taken back by the Android meeting up with all of his bugdroid friends for a holiday get-together, you may have noticed a Nexus 10 being put in a dock on a desk. Alongside a Nexus 4 and a couple of Nexus 7's, the biggest Nexus was dropped right into this dock you see above to show off a Photo Sphere.

The Nexus 7 dock has come up for pre-order through 3rd party retailers in the last couple days. Your guess is as good as ours when the Nexus 10 dock could make an official retail appearance.

Grab another look at the video after the break. The Nexus 10 fun starts around 1:00 in, and you can see it again at 1:14.

Thanks, rfmike!

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3 years ago

First look: Pitfall for Android


Now that we've got our initial excitement out of the way, let's take a slightly deeper look at Pitfall for Android. What we've got is a rebooted version of the classic 1980s video game, one of the original side-scrollers we grew up with on the Atari 2600. Things have changed a little.

The game starts out with a cool look at the original, which then zooms out to Pitfall Harry viewing the classic on a tablet of his own. Only, it's time to run. Damned volcanoes.

The game itself is simple -- very simple. If you've played Temple Run, you've got the gist of Pitfall. Jump over things. Slide under them. Turn left and right, whip enemies, collect silver treasure. Try to run as far as you can. (Hint: Get to a checkpoint as soon as you can.) It's a nice little time-waster, but that's about all.

It's a free game, so that means in-app purchases, which can help speed you on your way. Or you can take your time, play the game, and eventually buy new power-ups and outfits. (Yes. New outfits.)

We've got a little hands-on video after the break. Enjoy!

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3 years ago

Google's annual Android video Christmas card


Awwww, little Bugdroid just wants to go outside.

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3 years ago

Pitfall! Now! On! Android!


Too many exclamation points?

We're downloading now!

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3 years ago

The checkered, slow history of stories about Android updates


Android was not designed to be updated like iOS, but good luck getting everyone on board with that idea 

Here we go again. Another year, another "Let's see how long it takes Android updates to roll out" story. The latest comes from Ars Technica, titled "The checkered, slow history of Android handset updates." It takes a look at how long it takes manufacturers to push out major releases to their handsets. Lots of charts. Lots of months. All done with the misconception that phones must be upgraded to the next, major release of Android, or something's wrong.

Only, here's the last graf of Casey Johnston's piece:.

Updates certainly aren't the most important aspect of picking a new phone—if an OS version works well, then you may be content simply to stick with that. But for those who like the latest and greatest, it’s clear that the need for update improvements plagues the entire Android ecosystem.

Hang on. There are, like, 30 paragraphs detailing things that, in the end, Ars says "aren't the most important aspect of picking a new phone." So what did we just finish reading? Circumstantial evidence that shows ... what? Android is not iOS?

Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon.

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3 years ago

Sony C660X 'Yuga' rumored to emerge as Xperia Z


Sony's extensively-leaked C660X 'Yuga' smartphone is to come to market as the Sony Xperia Z, according to reports from XperiaBlog. The blog, which before the last major Sony release cycle correctly called the 'Hayabusa' as the Xperia TX, also claims to have a few new details about the device's hardware.

The 'Xperia Z' will apparently have water and dust resistance ratings of IP55 and IP57, same as some earlier high-end offerings from the Japanese manufacturer. And the phone's 1080p screen is said to include 'OptiConrast' tech, of the sort usually found in Sony TVs. Amongst other benefits, OptiContrast reduces on-screen reflections through its use of a special resin coating on top of the display.

We'd also imagine the Sony (Mobile) Bravia Engine, another holdover from Sony's TV tech, will be included, just as it has been on previous Sony phones.

Based on the large amount of information that's leaked over the past month, the Yuga, or Xperia Z, looks set to include a 5-inch, 1080p display, with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean running the show on a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU. Sony traditionally announces its first wave of new smartphones at CES, so it's likely we'll get our first proper look at the device in Las Vegas in just a few weeks time.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

AT&T lights up more LTE cities ahead of the holidays


The holidays may be looming, but AT&T continues to add more cities to its growing 4G LTE network. Following a handful of other cities earlier this week, today sees six more additions to the network, for those with LTE-compatible phones  --

  • Lancaster, Pa.
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Hartford, Conn.
  • Bowling Green, Ky.
  • Lexington, Ky.
  • Boise, Idaho

Seeing AT&T LTE reception for the first time this morning? Feel free to gloat in the comments.

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3 years ago

Android Central 120: Scary, cute and cuddly


Audio-only stream below

Instagram, Exynos exploits, Mayans and other things we're not all that worried about, in the scheme of things. It's our final show for 2012, so let's make it a good one!

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