Jelly Bean - Featured Articles

Motorola

Moto E specs allegedly leak, thinner body and low-price inbound

The Moto G is as of now Motorola's lowest-priced smartphone offering, but the highly-popular G might soon be looking down at an even cheaper phone: the Moto E. Since its launch in November last year, the Moto G has gone on to be Motorola's best-selling smartphone in history, thanks in no small...
Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 going for $99.99 on Amazon

Looking to save some cash on the new Samsung Galaxy S5? Then you're in luck if you've been wanting it on Verizon. Head to Amazon where you'll be able to save over $100 off the on-contract price. Verizon offers the Galaxy S5 for $199 with a contract, while Amazon is has the same device for just $...
Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition

Android 4.4.3 tipped for Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition by Bluetooth SIG

There are so many groups and organizations that certify devices for compatibility and safety, so it's not terribly surprising when one of those groups publishes data on something that's yet to be announced — like Android 4.4.3. Earlier this week saw Sprint announcing an update to Android 4.4.3...
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Google Camera

The only complaint you can make is that Google didn't release these features sooner.

Google has dropped a pretty notable update to its stock camera app, given it a proper name and at the same time opened it up to non-Nexus devices running KitKat in the Play Store. While the interface still isn't mind-blowing, it has changed pretty dramatically from what you'd be used to if you used a Nexus 5 just yesterday. Google has overhauled the picture-taking interface for regular shots, panoramas and Photo Spheres, while also adding a brand new feature called "Lens Blur."

We've taken some time to walk through the new interface, and you can color us impressed with the changes that have been made. While we know most of you will be able to get your hands on the app right away and give it a try for yourself, we're going to take a run through all of the latest features of the Google Camera app and give you a few tips for getting the best shots possible.

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Head into the Google Play Store and you'll see YouTube sitting at version 5.5.27. The last time we covered an update for YouTube on Android was in late November when the app improved search results and channel pages. The changelog listed is old, but there are reports that there is now support for casting live videos to Chromecast.

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Over on Twitter, smartphone leakster evleaks has shared a new image of an upcoming Android handset from LG. It's called the LG L65 and appears to be a device aimed at emerging markets.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 help: Blocking mode

Samsung's do-not-disturb option is oddly named but easy to use

Sometimes Galaxy S5 features need quite a bit of explanation. This isn't one of those times. Blocking Mode is a poorly named but extremely useful function that serves as the phone's do-not-disturb mode. You'll find it in Settings>Personalization, or as one of Samsung's numerous quick settings in the notification pull-down.

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Defocus all the things

New camera options bring a little extra to your pictures, but who does it the best?

The new rage in smartphone cameras these days is selective focus. Think of a really nice portrait you've seen of a friend or family member, where they were in focus and there was a lovely background that was slightly out of focus. It really makes the subject "pop" and photographers — both professional and amatuer — love the look. It's only natural that this made it's way onto our phones. It's not really something new, as there have been apps that do the same thing for a while now. But seeing the folks who make our phones get into the game means more adoption, and hopefully, better results.

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Google's first quarter 2014 results are in, and the company unsurprisingly made buckets of money. Revenue was up to $15.4 billion, a 19% increase from the same quarter a year prior. Earnings were also up, clocking in at $4.12 billion — 27% of revenues. That's an increase in the raw profit from last year, but also a drop in the share of revenue (it was 29% this time last year).

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Real Racing 3 has been updated to include a batch of open-wheeled cars. These new rides include the Caterham Seven 620R, KTM X-Bow R, Ariel Atom 3.5 and V8, plus the Porsche 911 RSR (2014) and Hyundai Veloster Turbo have been tossed in for good measure. That Turbo actually has a special event associated with it where you could win a real trip to Italy. There’s also a new Road to Le Mans live event with unique rewards to be won. Finally, you can now check out the collections of your friends, because who doesn’t like drooling with envy?

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Chrome Remote Desktop

Just a couple of weeks after a full-fledged Chrome Remote Desktop app entered closed beta testing it has been opened up for all to use through the Play Store. The completely free app will let your Android device — assuming it's running Android 4.0 or above — connect to and control any computer you have the Chrome Remote Desktop software installed on.

The client is simple, but mimics closely what you find doing computer-to-computer remote access with its existing Chrome and desktop clients. You can see all computers listed by the Google account they're associated with, connect by entering a PIN and control your computer from anywhere. You simply swipe around on the screen to move the cursor, tap to click and tap and hold to drag for selections or to move windows. The app offers a full on-screen keyboard for text input and a one-tap ctrl-alt-del button for those controlling Windows machines.

The app has worked pretty smoothly on our Nexus 7, but it's clear that you won't be getting any super heavy work done on a small screen controlling a full desktop operating system. For those who need remote desktop in pinch though, Chrome Remote Desktop is one of the simplest ways to go now.

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Even though it's not for another month, Google is holding a Mother's Day sale on the Google Play Store, offering major discounts on certain books, as well as magazine subscriptions.

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Google Camera

Google’s official camera app has received an update today with a few new things. We’ve got a new background blur effect that has become all the rage with SLR wannabes like the HTC One M8 and a new UI with extra-big capture button. It's also worth noting that the aspect ratio of the shot is properly reflected in the preview now, a longtime issue with the old stock Camera app. And the much maligned radial menu for controlling shooting modes has been dumped too, replaced with an overflow menu near the shutter key, which gives access to guidelines, HDR, flash and the front camera.

The new version has a lot in common with recent leaks purporting to show future Gmail and Calendar apps. It’ll be great to see what else gets updated in the near future, as Google appears to be exploring a new visual direction for its Android apps.

Photospheres have been updated as well and now support resolutions of up to 50 megapixels.

The update is available for phones and tablets on Android 4.4 and up, so you don't need a Nexus or GPe device to take it for a spin. Download it now and let us know what you think.

More: +EvanRapoport

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There have been many murmurs about the LG G3 lately, and a launch is creeping closer to reality with a leaked image of the retail packaging revealed by The Verge. Apparently the gold color on the front is going to match the device itself. There aren’t any new pictures of the G3, but a leaked LG handset due for Japan may give you an idea of what to expect. When reached for comment, LG would only confirm that their next handset would have the 1440 x 2560 display that we had glimpsed earlier, thought not the exact size.

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A few months back saw Sprint introduce their new Framily Plan discounts that allowed customers to see reduced per-line prices for each line added to their account, and now prepaid carrier Aio is firing back with their own version of the concept. They're calling it Group Save, and it could save Aio customers up to $90 when they have five lines on their account.

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After yesterday's open-to-all Google Glass sale, Google seems to have run out of the expensive headset. The Glass Explorer program, which previously was open for anybody to sign up (and then maybe be admitted by Google at a later point) is now closed.

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HTC has released the preview SDK for its Dual Lens API. The HTC One M8 Dual Lens system with a 4-megapixel "Ultrapixel" sensor, working in tandem with a smaller camera that senses depth to capture information about distance, allowing users to do things like defocus parts of an image. Developers will be able to use the APIs in the SDK to build new effects for the camera and use the dual-sensor set-up in their apps.

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A popular photography app called Frontback just found its way from iOS to Android today. Though it’s fundamentally another photo-sharing app, it’s got the resonably fun gimmick of shooting from both the front and back camera at the same time. Both images are posted, one on top of the other, leading to some interesting pairings.

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If you just picked up Google Glass from the one-day sale yesterday and you’re planning a vacation, you’re in luck (and not just because you’re going somewhere sunny with a shiny new gadget). Starwood Hotels has announced that they’ve got a beta app ready to go to book your room. The app offers calling, reservations, GPS directions, and photos, though it’s still in beta, and is likely to add more features over time. For those without Glass, Starwood also has an app for Android handsets and tablets as well.

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LG is teaming up with TSMC to manufacture their own processors. LG has long used Qualcomm processors in their devices, but the move to design and build their own processors follows in the footsteps of Android rival Samsung, who has been manufacturing their own Exynos processors for years. Apple, too, has been designing their own processors, including the Apple A7 that powers the most recent generation iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad Mini.

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Galaxy S5 Finger Scanner

The value of a strong password to protect your stuff is as high as ever

There's been a bit of a hubbub around the web about the "hack" of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Finger Scanner, and how "easy" it was.

First things first, it wasn't easy. If you're stealing a phone with the necessary equipment to also lift and reproduce someones fingerprint, then OK. You're also probably a more intense criminal than someone who randomly snatches peoples' phones.

It isn't a "hack" really, either. It's a "spoof," just as it was on the iPhone 5s. In fact, it's the exact same method that Apple's Touch ID was fooled by. So it's not so much an issue specifically with the Galaxy S5, more a flaw of fingerprint scanners in general. But that doesn't make for sensationalist headlines. So, just like the iPhone 5s and Touch ID before it, the Galaxy S5 falls into the spotlight.

And once more it highlights something we should already be aware of: use strong passwords on all of your private stuff.

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active has been graced with an update to KitKat 4.4 today. This includes the user interface update, better music and camera access, an integrated location menu, wireless printing, new sound controls, and all of the other goodies in KitKat 4.4.

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There's a lot of folks getting excited about the as yet unnannounced OnePlus One Android smartphone, and a week out from launch we've got some confirmations on the where and the how much. It's good news for Europe and the U.S., where you'll be parting with under $400/€350/£290 to pick one up. Here's the full launch list:

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