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3 years ago

Google's music ID service doesn't play well with HTC Sense


We just finished having a look at how well the new Google Now music ID service works, and here we are with some not-so-good news. It's broken on HTC Sense. At first, you'd get an ugly error, and a force close when you tried to use it. But Google has changed something on the server side and you're presented with a slightly more friendly note that "this action is not support on this device." Neither is good, but the latter is better, I guess.

The reason why it doesn't work is simple -- the original Jelly Bean Google Ear app isn't included in Sense 4+. The new Google Now method is simply calling it with a different interface, and since it's not there it is no bueno. We're not the only ones who noticed this either -- Russell over at came to the same conclusion we did -- if you can sideload the app you can get it to work.

That's fine for you and me (and Russell). We can deal with little nags like this, but in the bigger picture HTC and/or Google are hopefully going to address this. We've reached out to HTC to see what they say, but since we saw the server-side change we wanted to address it tonight.

The "real" fix is for Google to drop the music ID service into the Play Store, and change the message for HTC devices that it is a required download. Or for HTC to just send out an OTA to take care of it, but that one is a stretch. In the meantime, be sure to hit the forums if you feel like fixing your DNA or One X phone by hand.


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3 years ago

Testing the Google Now 'what's this song' feature



With the big update to Google Search today, there were a few really cool features dropped into Google Now. They're all pretty useful, but the "what's this song" feature is one we can have some fun with. Since Phil and I like really cool hipster stuff you've probably never heard of pretty crappy music, we decided to give it a test.

You might not know it to look at us, but Phil is a headbanger at heart, and I'm that guy from high school with the blue mohawk and leather boots. We like music that most well-adjusted people don't and decided to see what Google could do with it. The results were a mixed bag.

To get started on an experiment of your own, just fire up Google Now (yes, you need Jelly Bean) and tap the voice search button. Lean into the mic and ask "What's this song?" It will register for a sec, then tell you it's listening. Let it hear the music for a few, and it will come back with either an answer or tell you it has no clue what you're listening to.

On the surface, it looks like indy metal music and 1970s hardcore punk really trips up the service. We went about 50-50 with the less-that-socially acceptable stuff. After further investigation, it seems like it only finds music that Google sells in the Play Store. Makes sense, as they have all those tracks digitized for the "coming" music match style service.

We had a little fun with it, but really for the most part it's gonna find what you're listening to. Hit the break and see just how deep it can go if it needs to. Find a failure? Sing out in the comments.

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3 years ago

Droid DNA vs. Galaxy Note 2-- It's Day 1, and I'm heading to work


I'm carrying two of Verizon Wireless' best devices to date in my pocket, and sharing my thoughts, complaints, and gut reactions as I try to decide which will earn my money this holiday season. It's day one, and I'm heading to work...

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3 years ago

US Army launches SGT. STAR - a virtual assistant recruiter app


The US Army understands the value of intelligence before commitment. Whether you think they do a good job at it or not, they know the best informed soldiers are the best overall soldiers. In that sprit, they have released SGT. STAR: Army's virtual guide -- a virtual assistant app to answer all the questions one might have before they enlist.

I've been playing with it for a few here, and they did a good job with it. It provides the correct answer to valid questions, responds with a touch of humor at the silly questions (I now know the Army is not the place to find hot chicks with guns, that's what online dating is for) and keeps a straight face while dismissing the ridiculous questions. Yes, I had to try.

We're not sure how valuable this will be in the quest to find good soldiers, but it certainly can't hurt. If you're thinking of enlisting and have some questions, or are just curious, grab it from the Google Play link above.

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3 years ago

The Instagram - Twitter love affair looks like it's on the rocks


You may have noticed that Instagram pictures in your Twitter stream look worse than usual lately, with portions of the images cropped out or improperly scaled. This isn't a new hipster filter -- it seems that Instagram has decided not to follow the rules and they have stopped using the "Twitter cards" integration. Twitter cards is the name for the fancy way Twitter has been rendering multimedia since their visual refresh, and when services (like Instagram) don't use it, things get a little ugly. Or uglier in this case.

Officially a part of Facebook, a few weeks back Instagram updated their web presence with a clear eye on keeping people engaged on their own site. Millions and millions use Instagram to share pictures, so it's a natural progression. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stated at the LeWeb conference in Paris, 

We want to direct users to where the content lives originally. Where do you go to interact with [an Instagram] image? We want that to be because that’s a better user experience.

The timing isn't all bad for Twitter either, who has been rumored to be building their own set of photo enhancements and filters. This would negate the need for any third party program to make pictures look horrible, as all the tools would be a part of Twitter. I can see this being a feature that only the "official" Twitter app can use, further locking folks into the official offering.

I've no idea how this will play out, but it's interesting to sit back and watch the drama unfold from an outsider position. I'll keep sharing my pictures on Google+ and watch these two slug it out.

Via: All Things D

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3 years ago

Google Voice, Authenticator, and Translate also updated today


Google Search (AKA Google Now for folks with Jelly Bean) isn't the only app from Google to see an update today. While not as forwards facing and glamorous, Voice, Translate, and Authenticator were also bumped up a version.

Google Voice promises a couple much needed bug fixes, notably to fix the delay in SMS notifications and make inbox syncing actually work across devices. We sure would love a fancy new UI to match the rest of Google's apps, but we'll certainly take the bug fixes. Grab it from Google Play.

Google Translate also received two very welcome changes: the addition of Chinese, Japanese and Korean text recognition from the camera, and recognition of a few new languages for handwriting -- Afrikaans, Croatian, Czech, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Welsh. The Asian language text recognition is a big deal folks. If Translate can successfully recognize the intricacy of something like Kanji or traditional Chinese, there's no telling what comes next. Install Google Translate from Google Play by clicking this handy link.

Finally, the Google Authenticator app has been updated with "bug fixes in the account setup flow" and small UI improvements. It's nice to see work going into an app as utilitarian as Authenticator, which really doesn't have to look good to work well. Grab the update or install it from Google Play.

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3 years ago

Google Search update brings new features to Google Now, including post to Google+


Android's Google Search app just got a pretty good update, and that means we've got new features for Google Now as well.

Of note are improvements for travelers. If Google Now knows you're going somewhere (and there's a pretty good chance it will), it'll show you weather information for your destination. And if you're flying on United Airlines, you'll even be able to get to your boarding pass right from Google Now. (Of course, that might be the least of your worries on UA.)

Voice search is beefed up, too -- it can listen for a song playing in the background, find product info and post to Google+, all without typing a thing.

Hit the link above to get your update on.

Source: Google Android blog

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3 years ago

Dramatic point-and-click adventure Yesterday comes to Android


Yesterday, a dark point-and-click adventure game, was launched on Google Play today. Players follow three different characters that are trying to piece together a series of grisly murders while staying alive themselves. Puzzles litter the path to solving the mystery, but there's a hint system if things get tricky. Though Yesterday looks like it's mostly very grim and gritty, apparently there's some solid humor in there too. 

Yesterday enjoyed solid reviews during its stay on iOS and PC, and though I haven't given it a shot yet, it looks like a refreshing, adult experience with a strong narrative. There's a free lite version linked above, or you can get the ad-free version in Google Play for $4.99. Anyone interested? What's your favorite point-and-click adventure game to date? 

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3 years ago

Hot in the forums: The impending EVO 4G LTE update


If you've never spent time in a forum for a Sprint device, well, things can get a little a little rowdy. Such is the case for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, which never really got the respect it deserved. (Much of that probably should be placed on Sprint's shoulders, but we digress.)

Currently the hot topic is a rumored update. Is it Jelly Bean? Is it just some other maintenance release? And just when will said update ever see the light of day? These questions -- and more -- in our EVO 4G LTE forum.

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3 years ago

Heroes of Order and Chaos brings lane defense to Android


Gameloft's much-anticipated lane defense game, Heroes of Order and Chaos, launched this morning on Google Play. The Dota clone is free to play with plenty of in-app purchases, and a very familiar gameplay style.

Two teams of five players each have to join waves of AI troops to take out enemy towers and ultimately a base at the end while the opposition tries to do the same. Maps are broken up into multiple lanes, and players pick signature heroes with highly-specialized abilities to do their part. Matches can be played against others online or with simple bots locally. Over the course of every game, heroes level up, unlock new abilities and weapons by slaying opponents. Between matches, you can develop specialized talents for particular roles of characters, such as fighter, mage, support, or guardian, as per your play style and unlocked heroes. 

I've been playing Dota 2 on PC off and on, and the formula is proven and polished. It will be interesting to see if Heroes of Order and Chaos can reach the same level of high-end competitiveness. I've only played a little bit of the iOS version, but so far it has yet to disappoint - so long as you can deal with the usual prodding to upgrade through IAPs. So, who's in?

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3 years ago

The best Android phone you can buy, as of December 2012 (International edition)


A lot has changed since we published our last round-up of the best Android phones available, and awarded the top prize to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. At the time, the Gnex outshone the competition thanks to the blistering performance and innovative features delivered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

But that was five long months ago. Since then, screen sizes, resolutions and core counts have continued to rise. There’s a new Nexus, and Android OEMs have had the chance to get their own Jelly Bean-based devices out into the wild. And this time around, it makes more sense to split things up and cover the U.S market separately (look for our U.S. round-up in the days ahead). In this article we’re going to focus on the best international Android phones, and recommend one unlocked world phone for Europe, Asia and beyond.

Join us after the break to find out more about our top four devices, and learn which gets our recommendation for international buyers.

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3 years ago

The Nexus 4 Yellow Box of Death


That's what the kids are calling it, anyway. Looks like a new set of shipping notices has been sent out. But the wait continues. We're hashing it all out in our Nexus 4 forums

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3 years ago

Samsung opens their first 'Mobile Store' in Paris, France


Samsung has continued their seemingly endless quest for Global domination with this, the opening of their first "Samsung Mobile Store" in Paris, France. The concept of a brand store isn't totally new to Samsung, London has one for example, but unlike the British store this one is concentrated solely on Samsung's mobile products. That doesn't just mean Android either, lest we forget the ATIV range of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices. 

The store itself looks like a pretty nice place to shop. It doesn't look much like an Apple Store -- thankfully -- but similar service can be expected. Samsung will have a number of 'consultants' on hand to guide consumers through everything Samsung Mobile. 

It's not all just about the adults though. The store has a dedicated childrens area where the young ones get to experience their own hands on with Samsung's mobile devices, but in a less boring, more kid friendly kind of way with drawing and writing games to keep them amused. 

The store has already opened to the public, and can be found at 5 Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris. If you happen to stop by whilst in the neighborhood be sure to hit us up in the comments and tell us how you found it. Visit the source link below for more images of the store. 

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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3 years ago

Droid DNA down to $149.99 on Amazon Wireless


A quick heads-up -- Amazon Wireless is now offering HTC's Droid DNA for $149.99 with a two-year service plan. That's a $50 saving compared to Verizon's own list price of $199.99 -- not a heap of cash, but every little helps with a major purchase like a new smartphone.

The Droid DNA is the first "full HD" smartphone to hit the U.S. market, with a whopping 5-inch screen packing in 1920x1080 pixels. It's powered by a quad-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, with 2GB of RAM, and runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and HTC's Sense 4+ UI.

For more on the DNA, be sure to check out our full review.

More: Droid DNA on Amazon Wireless

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3 years ago

Eric Schmidt talks Apple, Android, patents and Google Play


Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss all manner of things relating to to Google, its competition, its products and its future.

Topics of discussion included Apple, Android, the ongoing patent wars and other legal troubles, Google Play and Google Fiber.

Rather than paraphrase the entire interview, we've got a few half-dozen quick hits on some key areas after the break.

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