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3 years ago

Google Maps lands in Apple's App Store


Just a week before the Mayan Apocalypse, Google Maps is back on iOS. It actually looks pretty good, and should help keep folks out of dingo territory. Rene and company are looking it over, expect all the comparison you could ever want in the coming days over at iMore.

Me? I'm just glad the lamb and the lion have laid down together. Things work much better when the big boys play nice.

More: iMore

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3 years ago

Google releases its Zeitgeist 2012 'Year-in-Review' app


There's just over two weeks left in 2012, and that means every major site and service is doing some kind of "year in review" feature. There's one company that has some of the most interesting data to analyze though, and that's Google. The search giant has packaged up all of its search data and insights from 2012 and released an app to let Android users have a look. The app itself is functional and works just fine, but what's cool is everything inside.

You can choose to view a "Global Top 10" or just United States lists, but in either case you get a breakdown of the top 10 searches in different categories. There's News, Pop Culture, Fashion, Lifestyle, Science, Tech & Gadgets (several Nexus entries here), Sports, Humanities and Cities available -- each having more granular categories within. There's also a pretty great video that gives you a look at the year all in one quick summary.

This is definitely worth a look in both the app and on the web. You can find the former at the Play Store link above, the latter at the source link below.

Source: Google Zeitgeist 2012

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3 years ago

Foursquare update improves 'explore' interface


With the last update to Foursquare we saw improvements to the usability of the "Check In" UI, and now it is improving the "Explore" tab to follow suit. When searching a location or type of establishment, you'll be greeted with a friendlier UI that shows off pictures and a preview of the place right in the results. If you tap into a specific place, you can now swipe through user-submitted photos and relevant information like address and phone number as well.

The interface is very user-friendly while remaining dense enough with information that you feel like you're getting what you want out of it. We have a couple screenshots of the UI for you after the break, and you can grab a download at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City now available on Google Play


We knew it was coming and now after a slight delay thanks to a proclaimed early listing and some pesky XAPK errors, it has finally arrived. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has landed in the Google Play Store and is ready for download. Rather than a straight up port of the original, Rockstar Games has redone the game as part of their 10 year anniversary celebrations and as such have included high res graphics, customizable control layouts and improved targeting as well as a slew of other enhancements:

  • Massive campaign with countless hours of gameplay
  • Compatible with the MoGa Wireless Game Controller and select USB gamepads
  • Integrated with Immersion tactile effects
  • Tailor your visual experience with adjustable graphic settings

In addition to all of that love, supported languages include English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Japanese so that people around the world can check out the mobile version. If you're looking to pick up Grand Theft Auto: Vice City the pricing is set at around $5 so be sure you check compatibility before you dive in. Also, check your storage space -- you'll need around 1.5GB available to make use of in order to run the game. Bring on the big hair and pastel suits!

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3 years ago

On the trail of the elusive HTC EVO 4G LTE update - maybe tomorrow?


There's a whole lot of people waiting on the Jelly Bean update for the HTC EVO LTE. They are an anxious bunch. There's a good reason for the anxiety, as dates keep coming and passing, with no update being delivered. It's frustrating reading about all the Jelly Bean features, having a phone that's kick-ass enough to run them like nobody's business, and having to wait for it. 

Maybe. just maybe, the end of the waiting is near. A look at the most recent Sprint Playbook shows the 3.15.651.16 update becoming available tomorrow (Dec. 13). Of course, it's not the first date the Playbook has spat out that didn't come to fruition. Nor is it the second. In fact, it's reached the point where we have no idea what to expect or believe. We just know that your EVO LTE will be better, stronger, and faster when it comes.

I sure hope that day is tomorrow. You'll know as soon as it happens if you follow along with the hawks in the EVO LTE forums.

More: Android Police

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3 years ago

Field Trip updated with 'save cards' feature


Field Trip has been updated today with some very notable improvements, first and foremost with the ability to save location cards for later viewing. When viewing a location or event card, you can drop a flag on the location, adding it to a favorites list. When adding it, you also have the option to quickly share the location to friends. This is a nice feature, because we don't always have enough time to stay and read through an entire card right when you're at the place.

Additionally, the update lets users report wrong locations, images and problems directly to the Field Trip group at Google. This version should also reduce battery drain -- important if you've used Field Trip much -- and several other nondescript "bugfixes." If you haven't checked out Field Trip yet, it's worth a look at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Eric Schmidt: Android is winning the tech war with Apple


Last evening we saw a reserved Larry Page talk a bit about Google, mobile, and all manner of tech. In contrast, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt always has plenty to say. He sat down with Bloomberg and talked about the economy, taxes (Google pays plenty, but has no shame about trying to pay as little as possible), and growth in the mobile sector. The economy and taxes are topics I don't have the expertise or nerve to tackle, but mobile talk gets me interested.

Demand for Android is at an all-time high. the last numbers from Gartner show that Google holds 72-percent of the market, and the number keeps growing -- with 1.3 million devices activated every day we expect huge numbers. Schmidt compares this with the desktop race of the 1990's between Microsoft and Apple, with Google being the clear winner.

This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago; Microsoft versus Apple. We’re winning that war pretty clearly now. The core strategy is to make a bigger pie. We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems.

By giving the Android source code away, Google is guaranteeing that there will be an abundance of devices running software that is compatible with their most lucrative service -- information gathering. Much fuss is made about the data Google gets from users, but they make no bones about what they collect, how they use it, and how you can have it all deleted. In return, we get great products (like Android devices) and awesome services (like Gmail). It's a situation that has treated Google well.

It's also clear that Google is riding the wave of Android's success, even though devices sold don't directly equate to profit from sales. As Schmidt puts it like only he can, Google is winning.

Source: Bloomberg

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3 years ago

Gameloft addresses Modern Combat 4 download issues, adds controller support


Gameloft just rolled out its latest revision of the popular Modern Combat series just a few days ago, but unfortunately it was struck down with some major download issues. Users were purchasing the game -- at $6.99 -- and then either weren't able to download, or downloaded bad files that caused game issues on first launch. The issue is now fixed, and downloads should be working without a hitch.

Now that the bugs are out of the way, Gameloft is also letting us know that Modern Combat 4 supports the MOGA Mobile Gaming System controller from PowerA natively at launch. If you happen to have one of these controller contraptions available, it may be worth a look to see how it operates.

More: PowerA

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3 years ago

Sound Search widget now available on Google Play


Sound Search (affectionately known as Google Ear to the Android faithful) has landed in Google Play, ready for downloading on devices running 4.0 or higher. In case you're unaware of exactly what this is, it's pretty much like Shazam -- let it listen to a song that is playing, and it will identify what song it is, and in the case of Sound Search, link you to Google Play Music where you can buy a copy. 

It's nifty, and can be useful at times. I'd not know who Nicki Minaj is without it, so there's that. But what most people will be interested in is how this works with devices that already have Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean, but didn't have access to Google Sound Search before (looking right at you HTC). The good news is that most anyone in the US with ICS or higher can go grab it from Google Play at the link above, slap the widget on their home screen, and have some fun with it.

The bad news is that it is not showing up during an on-device search from the UK or the rest of the world. You can find it via a direct link, but the only device we've found that is compatible with a UK network location is the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, a Verizon phone. This mimics a lot of the services and goods that Google offers, and something needs done to get a handle on the situation. Google wants your pound notes and Euros and Won as much as they want my dollars and cents, so hopefully they are doing something about it.

Of course, getting it installed on just about any phone will be easy enough once the files get into the right hands, but that's not the solution. Come on Google, #FIXIT

Source: Official Android blog

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3 years ago

Google Play Magazines now live in the UK


We first saw magazines begin to appear in the UK Play Store just yesterday, leaving us sure that the additional content wasn't far away. Turns out that hunch was right, and this evening Google's selection of magazine content is available for purchase both on the web and Android applications. If you're not seeing the new section show up yet, you can always try the old trick of heading into Settings>Apps and then force closing, clearing data and re-starting the Play Store app. 

In addition, you'll need to grab a copy of the Magazines app from Google in order to read your content. Hit the download link at the top to grab a copy, but users with a Nexus 4, 7 or 10 may find an "enable" button in place of an install button on the app listing page. 

The good news for UK buyers is the UK-centric content available for purchase -- for the run down check out the list we posted yesterday. It's great to see more Google Play content arrive on British shores, and as it sits now we're only waiting for TV Shows before we have the full set. 

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3 years ago

Samsung Muse review: The S Pebble cometh


It's a basic MP3 player that happens to be able to sync music from a Samsung phone that's sold millions - got a problem with that?

What the hell are we doing basically reviewing an iPod Shuffle in Galaxy S3 clothing? I mean, c'mon. It's nearly 2013. We can launch rockets from our phone. Play back a lifetime's worth of music that's never once hit a local hard drive. Why, then, are we holding this little blue pebble of a device in the palm of our hand called the Samsung Muse?

Because we can. 

When Samsung showed the Muse (at the time it was called the S Pebble) at its Galaxy S3 event in London in May, we didn't pay it all that much attention. We've seen MP3 players before. This one at least brings something different to the table in that it will connect to your Galaxy S3 (among other devices) and sync music directly from the phone. Yeah. Kinda sounds like a pain in the ass to us, too. In actuality, though, what we're holding is a simple MP3 player that looks good, sounds decent and does a little something extra.

And you know what? I kinda like it.

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3 years ago

BBC talks future of iPlayer app - higher quality streams, Android 4.2 support and new features coming


The BBC has posted an extensive update on its future plans for the BBC iPlayer Android app. In the coming months, the corporation says it's main aims are to reach feature parity with the iOS app, and introduce new, high-quality streams and better support for large-screen devices.

In a blog post, BBC iPlayer boss Dave Price says the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are now in the top five devices used to access iPlayer content. And in order to give 7-inch users the best experience, Price says a "significant engineering team" will be put behind improving iPlayer playback on Android devices.

Firstly, the BBC will improve video quality for higher-end devices on fast networks. This will start with new, higher-quality streams for Wifi users before Christmas, followed at a later date by additional high-quality streams for playback over 4G mobile networks.

In order to close the gap in functionality between iPlayer on Android and iOS, features like mobile downloads and iPlayer Radio (including background playback) will be brought to Android in the near future. A future version will introduce a new UI, upon which this new functionality will be built in the months ahead.

What's more, Price says a pre-Christmas iPlayer update will enable Android 4.2 support. (Current support tops out at version 4.1.2, though it is possible to install the app on a 4.1 device, then upgrade to 4.2 and use it without issue.) The same update will bring a "richer tablet experience" on devices like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, while future updates will prioritize optimizations for "the most popular devices."

The current iPlayer app has offered a decent but basic experience on Android, so we're pleased to see the Beeb taking a greater interest in optimizing for up-and-coming devices. And of course video quality improvements are always welcome. We'll look forward to trying out the new iPlayer update in the next couple of weeks. If you're after more technical details, the full blog post over at the source link is definitely worth a read.

Source: BBC Blog

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3 years ago

Sony releases motiongraph animated .GIF creator app


Sony has many divisions, one of them being Sony Digital Network Applications (SDNA), that are always working on cool projects. Today Sony released one of these projects, an animated .GIF creator called motiongraph, into the Play Store. The basic premise of this app is to create animated pictures, but ones that may not have the entire image in motion. You can take a short video of a subject, then select a certain portion to be animated while the rest stays put.

Pricing will vary by location, but here in the U.S. we're looking at $0.99, and Sony has quoted the U.K. price at £0.83. Stick around after the break to see a demo video of the app in action as well as the full press release.

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3 years ago

Republic Wireless devices now shipping, $19 a month gets all you can eat


Republic Wireless is now shipping out the phones many have pre-ordered, and the $19 monthly hybrid network is up and running, ready to go. After a beta period where users had a chance to try a modified LG Optimus One, the retail Motorola Defy XT units will soon be in customers hands, including ours.

This isn't about specs, or playing the high-end phone of the month game. This is geared towards folks who want reliable service from their smartphone, and don't want to pay 75 to 100 dollars a month for it. Republic offers unlimited voice, text, and data for the $19 monthly fee, and the handset itself has an up front cost of $249, making a years service cost just $477 -- about five months worth of service from one of the big four on a contract. 

It works by using a hybrid tech of VoIP and cellular for voice, text, and data. When you're in range of a Wifi hotspot or router, you use it for calls and data. When you're not in Wifi range, you are using the Sprint 3G network. There is nothing for the end user to fiddle with, it just works. It's something new and disruptive, and something that is new and disruptive is exactly what the US telco situation needs.

We're very curious how well this new system is going to work, and our demo unit is out for delivery. I'll be seeing how it all handles things in various settings and locations, and see what it takes to break it. Here's hoping Republic can shake up the status quo a little bit. There's a video and press release after the break, and you can learn more at the link below.

More: Republic Wireless

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3 years ago

Verizon releases Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean support docs, update on the way


It was just a matter of time before we got something official out of Verizon indicating that its Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) would be receiving a Jelly Bean update. Verizon has just published support documentation regarding that very update, and it says that Jelly Bean is on its way to a handset near you. The update is apparently just 62MB, and will be coming OTA (Over The Air) instead of via Kies -- exactly as it should.

Along with all of the usual Android 4.1 goodies -- like Google Now and expandable notifications -- Verizon indicates that this update brings Isis Mobile Wallet and also unlocks global roaming on the device. There are a whole host of bugfixes included as well, from Email sync to the Wifi connection. Take a look at the source links for Verizon's support docs, and then hit the forums to see what other members are saying about the OTA.

Update: And ... Verizon has reverted the support, say the folks in our forums. Messin' with our emotions!!!

Source: Verizon Support; (2); via Verizon Galaxy S3 Forums

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