Headlines

4 years ago

Facebook to expand targeted ad network to third-party apps

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Leveraging social signals to serve more interesting ads in your free apps

Facebook is testing a new ad network model that could leverage its vast customer data to serve ads in third-party mobile apps in the future. In what is simply being called a "test" at this point, Facebook says it is working with a small number of advertisers and app developers to show Facebook-generated advertisements in free apps on mobile.

The social network has dabbled in this sort of thing before, but has always used an outside ad network to make the process run smoothly. Cutting out one of the middlemen means more control (and profit margin) for Facebook, provided it can manage the entire process. Google famously makes amazing profits on its AdSense ad network because of the number of signals it can collect from customers using its products — the same could be true for Facebook on some level.

Given how successful Facebook's advertisement targeting has been in recent months in its own app — ad revenue isn't the highest, but it's doing relatively well — it makes sense that it would want to leverage that experience with third-party apps also. There's no indication at this point which apps are using Facebook's new ad network, but it does say that it is open to new partnerships at this time.

Source: Facebook Developers Blog; Via: Wired

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4 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Metal

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A simple prompt that gives you some creative freedom

It's Wednesday, and that means we're gearing up for another week-long photo contest focused on a prompt of our choosing. We like to keep things broad, usually, and we're going to stick with that theme by using the prompt "metal" this week. That could certainly be represented in a variety of ways, so we're ready to see your creativity come out with this one. As always, there will be a prize involved.

This week we're picking a single winner, and their photo entry will win them an HP Chromebook 11 (customized with an Android Central sticker on the lid, of course)!

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in a forums post at the link below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll pick a winner Tuesday (January 28) night at 11:59 PM ET, and announce them on the blog with next Wednesday's contest.

Enter this week's photo contest

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4 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Lights' winners!

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See who made the best use of 'lights' this week

We've come to the conclusion of yet another successful photo contest, with plenty of entries to take a look at. We fortunately had the opportunity to give away prizes — in this case SOL Republic Jax headphones — three different winners this week, but there were plenty of great entries that followed the prompt "light" that weren't picked to be highlighted here.

Hit the break and see the three winning photos for last week's contest, and get ready to enter a new image for the upcoming week as well.

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4 years ago

Beats Music kills new sign-ups while they sort some bugs

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Current users can carry on as normal, also get an extended trial period

You probably know Beats Music launched yesterday. With an Android app, 7-day trial and special deals for AT&T customers and all. It was a pretty big deal for Dre and his posse. Looking at user feedback around the Internet, it looks like it was a pretty big deal for customers, too.

Maybe that is part of the reason why Beats had to stop taking new customers so they could fix a few things. In a post on their blog, and in a message they sent to subscribers, they say "Due to the extremely high volume of interest in our service some users are experiencing issues." They go on to say that most people aren't affected, but they still want to slow things down a bit while they get out the wrenches and make some adjustments. Hopefully, these fixes will help the Android app, as we're seeing some wonk with fetching lists and streams, as well as some general UI bugs. 

Users who claimed their name already still will have it, and Beats will let you know how to proceed. For the rest of us, they say to install the app and register, and they'll get things sorted ASAP. They are even throwing in another 7-days of free trial for folks who registered this week to make up for the hassle.

Making the next Spotify or Pandora is hard — even if you're Dr. Dre or Trent Reznor. We'll wait and see how things progress.

Source: Beats Music

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4 years ago

Waiting for new Plants vs. Zombies 2 levels? Here's how to make the most of that time!

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You're going to need some help in the new world in PvZ2 — we've got a few tips to get it for you​.

We're not going to name names, but a few of us here are more than a little addicted to Plants vs. Zombies 2. And for good reason — it's one of those mindless time sucks that you can put down as easily as you pick it up. That's a good thing. And PvZ2 took us out of Dave's backyard and into three new worlds — Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas and Wild West — in which to kill zombies. With plants. All in search of a precious taco, or something.

Anyoo. If you're like me — erm, us — you've by now completed those three worlds and are awaiting a fourth. (Is that some sort of Futurama-like city?)

And before you go moving on to some other game of the month, we've got one tip that's going to make that fourth world a whole lot easier once it's available.

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4 years ago

Yes, Chrome may be listening — because you told it to

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Windows with permission to listen to your microphone keep listening until they are closed

There's news today about a new exploit in Chrome, that centers around the recently-introduced listening features. The new feature is not just limited to Google search, and any webmaster can implement it on his or her site with minimal coding. That is exactly the sort of thing that leads to scary-sounding issues, like the one today. 

In a nutshell, a website can ask for permission to use your microphone. Once granted, it can open another window from the same domain, and listen to the sounds coming in from your mic. Even if you surf away from the original window that asked permission. This becomes a problem when users lose track of what windows they may have open, and leave a sneakily placed pop up window running all day long to listen to everything it can hear.

But is this the expected behavior? Read on.

More: Talater.com

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4 years ago

Do you use the Infrared transmitter on your Android?

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IR remotes on your phone — who is using them?

2013 was not officially the year of Infrared. We think that happened sometime back in the late 1970s. But it was the year we started seeing phone manufacturers add IR transmitting abilities to their high-end phones. Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG all jumped on board and now anyone and everyone can buy an Android phone or tablet with an IR transmitter built right in, and there are built-in applications to use them to control the stuff in your entertainment center.

Since its inception, better alternatives to IR have come along. Things like IP-based controllers (using Wifi or even cellular data) work better and have almost unlimited range, and cloud-based controls are the new big thing. But IR isn't going anywhere anytime soon, because it's cheap, and limitations like line-of-site and distance aside, it works really well.

We like all this, in theory. Now we want to know if anyone is really using it. Look past the break and see the poll, and let us know.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1s now available on T-Mobile

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$0 down and $22 per month for the phone, or $528 outright

Right on schedule, the Sony Xperia Z1s launches today on T-Mobile in the U.S. Sony's latest handset costs $528 outright, which is split into 24 payments of $22 per month. As usual with T-Mo it's $0 down, and you pay for your service on top of the monthly device fee, so you're looking at total bills starting at $72 per month for 500MB, rising to $92 per month for unlimited data.

The Xperia Z1s is essentially an Xperia Z1 tweaked for T-Mobile, with a lighter plastic frame, some minor external differences and 32 gigabytes of storage versus the Z1's 16. It's powered by the same Snapdragon 800 processor as its international cousin, with 2 gigabytes of RAM, a 1080p "Triluminos" display and a 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS camera.

Our own Anndrew Vacca came away impressed following his time with the Z1s. From his review:

The Z1s’ design is striking and unique, and its UI is empowering without being overbearing. I love the display, despite its quirks, and the Z1s’ battery life is some of the best I’ve ever encountered. And though the camera stumbles in low light, it’s fun to use and capable of producing some really great results.

Picking up a Z1s today on T-Mo? Shout out in the comments!

More: Sony Xperia Z1s review

Source: T-Mobile

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4 years ago

AT&T lights up new LTE markets

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AT&T has announced that it's lit up 4G LTE service in "several" new markets today, including 20 highlighted in today's news release. Check out the full list after the break.

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4 years ago

UK mobile customers hit by mid-contract price hikes must be allowed to leave

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Providers have to give you a month's notice, but you can still leave under new guidelines

Score one for UK consumers, as Ofcom the UK communications industry regulator has stepped in and declared that anyone hit by a mid-contract price hike should be allowed to leave. The new guidelines come into effect tomorrow, January 23. 

From tomorrow, consumers and small businesses taking out new landline, broadband or mobile contracts should be allowed to exit them without penalty if their provider increases the monthly subscription price agreed at the point of sale. This follows an Ofcom review into the fairness of contract price terms. This found that many consumers, in particular, were caught unawares by price rises in what they believed to be fixed price contracts.

A few of the UK carriers have implemented price increases in recent times, and while the monthly increases were small, we weren't given a choice over whether or not we were happy to pay. Sadly, it only applies to contracts taken out from tomorrow, so for those of us still signed in to one, we're stuck for the time being. But at least things are starting to swing back in our favor a little. 

To read the new guidelines in full, hit up the source link below. 

Source: Ofcom

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4 years ago

Tanktastic wins new maps, tanks, and MOGA controller support

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Android gamers who want a World of Tanks-like experience on their phones and tablets can’t do much better than Tanktastic from G.H.O.R. Corporation. Tankastic features online multiplayer, multiple game types, and tons of tanks – all in an easy-to-swallow free to play game.

Just because they’re at the top doesn’t mean the Tanktastic team is resting on their laurels, though. The game recently received a massive update, and we’ve got exclusive details on the new features it brings – plus news of a contest to win MOGA controllers!

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4 years ago

Gold HTC One arrives at UK retailer SIM-free

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Bag a champagne gold HTC One without a monthly contract

We were pleasantly surprised by the gold HTC One when we got our hands on the device recently. But until now UK buyers have been limited to picking up the golden phone through Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u, both of which have been limiting sales of the device to on-contract customers. Today UK retailer Expansys sends word that it's begun stocking the gold HTC One, which it's selling SIM-free for £479.99 a pop. That's not cheap, especially with a new flagship phone from HTC expected in the next month or so — but if you absolutely must have the HTC One in this exclusive color then it's probably your best bet.

Hit the source link for the product listing, and check out our hands-on feature with the gold HTC One for to get a closer look.

More: Gold HTC One hands-on

Source: Expansys

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4 years ago

KDDI shows off some impressive new Android devices for Japan

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Sharp coming up with the goods in the form of a new tablet and smartphone, not that we'll see them in the west

KDDI over in Japan has been rolling out a bunch of new devices today. Among them are some we're already familiar with such as the LG G Flex and the new WiFi only Sony Xperia Z Ultra. And then there are those we'll never get to see in western markets, such as this tablet, and a new smartphone from Sharp. Both of which are packing some pretty impressive hardware specs. 

The Aquos Pad pictured here is a 7-inch tablet, running the now somewhat outdated Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. But the interesting part is taking place around back. For this tablet contains a smartphone-class camera; a 13MP rear shooter. We don't know if it's actually any good, but if you're one who enjoys taking photos using a tablet, it has to be up there with the best of them. And, with a 1920x1200 display round the front, those full resolution photographs should be pretty great to look at. 

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4 years ago

Enpass wants to manage your passwords in the cloud

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Enpass is an Android application that is purely designed to store your passwords and important information. And it offers a couple of main attractions — firstly it’s a real beauty on the eye and super easy to use, and secondly, it allows for two cloud syncing options. As well as a backup and restore feature using the web, you can also sync your passwords with Dropbox. Of course, you don't have to sync at all, but bear in mind that if you were change to a new Android device you would lose your saved information.

Once you launch the application you will need to create a password to enable you to access the app each time. Within the settings you can alter the auto-lock time - just in case you leave your phone unattended.

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4 years ago

Minuum keyboard shown on the Galaxy Gear, solution to a problem we don't have yet?

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There'll be no thumb typing here

This video from the folks at Minuum shows off its innovative Android keyboard running on the Samsung Galaxy Gear. As a proof of concept, it's pretty cool, no doubts. But while it's awesome it can be done, is it a solution to a problem we don't have yet? And I'm not just talking about the fact that the Galaxy Gear isn't exactly widespread in its ownership. 

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