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4 years ago

Google I/O Hunt is likely the nerdiest scavenger hunt you'll ever see

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Have a little fun discovering hidden clues around Moscone Center

It's not all crazy long keynotes and intense developer sessions at Google I/O, sometimes you get to have a little fun too. Google just published an app called "Google I/O Hunt" in the Play Store today to let attendees of this year's conference have some fun exploring everything around I/O. As the name suggests, this is a scavenger hunt game you play around the Moscone Center to try and find "Alex the Android Dog" by following instructions and finding clues. You'll answer Google trivia questions, scan hidden NFC tags with your phone to get clues and unlock achievements throughout the game.

Now of course you won't be able to play if you're not at Google I/O, but hopefully at least a few of you out there get a chance to see what Google has you running around the conference for. The Google I/O Hunt trail starts off from the Google+ Office Hours counter.

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4 years ago

Original Sonic the Hedgehog now available in the Play Store

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SEGA brings yet another classic Sonic game to mobile devices

Just a handful of weeks after SEGA let everyone know that it would be releasing a natively written version of Sonic the Hedgehog for Android, it has finally arrived in the Play Store. Sonic fans will appreciate that this is the complete original game from start to finish, remastered to make the gameplay experience higher quality. Users will get access to every original level, but with an improved soundtrack and all-together new features like leaderboards, achievements and a Time Attack game mode. A new feature has been added to let players unlock Knuckles and Tails as playable characters through the game as well.

Best of all SEGA is releasing the entire game for $2.99, which is a great price for another iconic piece of classic gaming on your phone or tablet. You can grab a download of Sonic the Hedgehog at the Play Store link above.

More: SEGA Blog

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4 years ago

Pudding Monsters adds 25 new levels in 'Sky View' update

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New levels that will keep the game fresh and let you move mountains

Pudding Monsters, the latest game from the makers of Cut the Rope, is expanding the number of levels it offers today with a new "Sky View" update to the game. Sky View adds 25 fresh new levels with new gameplay and mechanics for everyone to enjoy, whether you're on the paid or free version of the app. Developer ZeptoLab says you'll be introduced to a new character, "Mr. Powerlifter Monster", that will come in handy when moving some mountains in the new levels.

You can grab your download or update to the free version of the Pudding Monsters app from the Play Store link above, or the paid version right here as well.

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4 years ago

Archos introduces the 80 Xenon tablet, arriving in June for $199

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Quad-core, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and 3G capabilities in Archos' latest 'Elements' line tablet

Archos has today introduced another tablet to their Elements series, the Archos 80 Xenon. This 8-inch tablet comes with 3G and WiFi, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 1.2GHz processor and a 1024x768 resolution IPS display. So, we're looking at a solid mid-range tablet, with Jelly Bean and full Google Play access as is now the norm for Archos tablets. 

Other specs to mention include 1GB of RAM, but just 4GB of on-board storage expandable by way of microSD card. It comes with a pair of cameras, though neither is much to shout about. The rear camera is just 2MP, with a front facing 'webcam.' 

The 80 Xenon is set to be available sometime in June, priced at $199.99. 

Source: Archos

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4 years ago

Evernote, Twitter and Facebook apps for Google Glass announced

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Major players get official apps for Google's smart glasses

Following the start of this year's Google I/O developer conference, Evernote, Twitter and Facebook have announced official apps for Google Glass. If you're among the lucky few people packing "explorer edition" Glass devices, you can turn on these new applications by heading to your MyGlass page at google.com/myglass and enabling the app you want.

While the Facebook app for Glass is primarily focused on sharing pictures you've taken on the device, the Twitter app offers much of the functionality of a full-blown Twitter app, including the ability to send and receive regular tweets, images retweets and direct messages. (You might remember Twitter for Glass has been rumored for some time.)

Evernote, on the other hand, focuses on quickly added photo or video snippets to your notes, and sending existing notes to your Glass timeline, so it's always within view. These are small first steps, but it's early days for Glass, and we can't wait to see what developers come up with in the months ahead.

If you're rocking Glass already, be sure to hit the comments and share your thoughts on these new apps.

Source: EvernoteTwitter, Facebook

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4 years ago

Sony 'Xperia UL' could be headed to Japan's KDDI AU

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Codename 'Gaga' device pictured, rumored to pack Snapdragon 600 CPU, 1080p display

Things could be getting a bit more crowded at the high end of Sony's smartphone range. Recently-leaked images obtained by Chinese site CNMO suggest that a new handset may be on the way. The "Xperia UL" -- previously known by its codename "Gaga" -- is shown in images that seem to have been taken during regulatory testing of the device. From the front and back the "UL" looks a lot like the Xperia ZL, with a similarly curved back and featureless front. From the side we can also see Sony's iconic round power button.

But unlike the ZL, the Xperia UL seems to feature a removable battery door, allowing access to a 2300mAh juicer. Other specs reported by CNMO include a Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 1080p display of unknown size.

The branding on the back suggests it'll be headed to KDDI AU in Japan, so there's nothing yet to indicate a wider global launch. We suspect the next major Sony launch for the west might be the rumored "Honami," said to include Cyber-shot-inspired optics in a 20-megapixel rear camera.

Source: CNMO; via: UnwiredView

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4 years ago

'SMS integration is coming soon' to Google Hangouts [Updated]

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Update: Dori Storbeck now says Google has "nothing to announce at this time."

Original: If you were wondering why the new Google Hangouts app asked you to confirm your phone number, this might be the reason. Googler Dori Storbeck, Community Manager for Google+ Hangouts and Chat, has confirmed in a Google+ post that SMS integration will eventually be headed to the new messaging app.

Responding to a question about the unification of Hangouts and SMS, Storbeck said "SMS integration is coming soon - it is one of our most requested features!" There's no information on when this feature might arrive, nor what the implications might be for built-in SMS apps. If nothing else, it's another baby step towards the true unification of messaging that Hangouts aims to deliver.

Source: +Dori Storbeck

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4 years ago

Sprint's HTC One getting an OTA update

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Minor OTA bumps the software version up to 1.29.651.10, update is pushing out now

Sprint and HTC are pushing out a software update for the HTC One. It's a minor update, addressing a few issues that the phone shipped with, which means you'll want to get this one installed as soon as you can. Specifics are:

  • BlinkFeed improvements
  • New Sprint Zone client
  • Improved Back and Home key sensitivity 

We expect BlinkFeed "improvements" and adjustments while the service is finding itself, and Sprint needs to keep their Sprint Zone client current. The interesting portion is the Home and Back key sensitivity adjustment. They can get a little wonky, especially when using a screen protector. Hopefully, changes are getting dialed in to make the buttons as responsive as the rest of the phone.

You should see notification of the update soon, and the impatient among us can manually check in settings. When you get this one, be sure to share your experience and let us know how it affects your button sensitivity.

Via: Sprint Community. Thanks, ahaxton!

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4 years ago

ZTE Grand X 2 In announced, launch scheduled for Q3

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Second-generation Intel handset from ZTE, running Atom Z2580 CPU

ZTE has announced a new Intel Atom-powered smartphone, the Grand X 2 In. The somewhat clumsily-named handset is the successor to last year's Grand X IN, which saw a limited global release late last year.

It's powered by a 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU -- that's CloverTrail+ for those of you keeping track of platforms. The x86 number-cruncher is backed up by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD. On the front there's a 4.5-inch 720p display and 1-megapixel front-facing camera, around the back an 8-megapixel camera.

On the software side you're looking at "Android Jelly Bean" -- we're guessing 4.1, since ZTE isn't saying which exact version is on there. That's lightly skinned with ZTE's own MIUI-like user interface.

The ZTE Grand X In 2 is due for release in Europe during the third quarter.

Source: Press Release

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4 years ago

Google I/O 2013 keynote recap

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Missed yesterday's keynote and announcements? Here's a quick-fire look everything you need to know

Google I/O 2013 kicked off at Moscone West in San Francisco yesterday, with keynote announcements from the Android and Chrome teams, as well as new features for Search and Maps, a re-vamped Google+ and a new Hangouts app, as well as a brand new music subscription service. Oh, and a Galaxy S4 running stock Android. The keynote was rounded off by a some words of wisdom from Google CEO Larry Page, followed by a Q&A session.

Although we didn't get a new version of Android or (strictly speaking) any new devices, the first day of I/O was packed with stuff you need to know about.  Check past the break for a quick run-through of all the major points.

Want to watch the full three-hour presentation instead? The video's available over here.

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4 years ago

Bluetooth Low Energy support coming to future Android version

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API version 18 will bring Bluetooth Smart support in 'a few short months,' AVRCP 1.3 also coming

As many expected, it's been announced that Bluetooth Low Energy support -- also known as Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready -- will be coming to a future version of Android. Android API level 18 (the current 4.2 Jelly Bean release is API level 17) will introduce support for the feature, which is designed to significantly reduce the power usage of Bluetooth while maintaining comparable data speeds and ranges of operation.

Certain Android devices -- such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 -- already implement Bluetooth Low Energy, however the new platform version will bring native support to all Android devices with compatible Bluetooth hardware.

In related Bluetooth news, Android API version 18 will also include support for AVRCP version 1.3, a standard for controlling TVs, Hifi equipment and other devices over Bluetooth. AVRCP 1.3 includes methods for showing metadata from music tracks and querying the status (i.e. playing, stopped) of the music source.

Googler Sara Sinclair Brody, who presented the 'Best Practices for Bluetooth Development' session at Google I/O, says API version 18 should be landing in "a few short months." That also means we can probably rule out any major Android releases for the immediate future.

Source: Google+, Google Developers, Press Release

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 gets TCO certification

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First smartphone to meet TCO standards for environmentally friendly and socially responsible manufacturing

Samsung has announced that its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, has become the world's first to win TCO certification. The award from TCO Development, an organization focusing on sustainability in IT products, intends to showcase products that meet standards for environmentally-friendly, economically viable and socially responsible manufacturing.

Today's press release gives details of the conditions Samsung met in each category --

In the social category, Samsung demonstrated that it is committed to socially responsible manufacturing and is compliant with International Labour Organization and United Nation conventions. In the environmental category, it was found that the GALAXY S4 was free from many hazardous materials such as nickel, beryllium, and mercury which, if present, would have severely restricted its potential to be recycled at the end its lifecycle. In terms of economic viability, the power efficiency of the charger was praised, as was the smartphone’s industrial design which boosts reliability. 

This isn't the first Samsung product to be awarded accolades for its environmental credentials. Last year the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Ace Duo were awarded PAS 2050 certification by the Carbon Trust. Before that, it played up the eco-friendly Samsung Replenish, which was available on Sprint and Boost Mobile.

It's also the second such award to be given to the Galaxy S4 -- Samsung says its new phone was also awarded UL's ECOLOGO certification.

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4 years ago

Trek Episode Guide warps onto Android

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Star Trek Into Darkness has been in theaters around the globe for a few weeks now, but today brings the first showings in the United States, with a wider release rolling out tomorrow. To celebrate - and to take advantage of the building Trekkie craze - AppGlu today released into Google Play the new Trek Episode Guide.

The free app isn't an official one, but it what it provides is likely far better than an official app could. Late last, CBS Interactive released an official Star Trek PADD database app for iOS and, well, it was a massive disappointment. The database used by CBS was poorly written, occasionally inaccurate, and woefully lacking in detail - and the images offered in the PADD app were likewise poor and typically of a depressingly low resolution.

CBS could have done better, and in spite of lacking some features, AppGlu's Trek Episode Guide does so. Let's get this out of the way to start: Trek Episode Guide doesn't have any form of built-in search, and it's focused solely on - as the name would imply - the episode and movie summaries. Granted, that's still 716 episodes and 12 films. But you can't tap on a character's name and read everything about that character. For a character like Worf, who appeared in 271 episodes across two series, in addition to 4 films, there's a lot to be brought together.

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4 years ago

Copy ups its free storage offering to 15GB, introduces 'Fair Storage'

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Multiple users can show split the bill for shared storage costs

The latest entrant in the cloud storage arena, Copy, is increasing the amount of free storage it offers to try and pull users away from other services. Following the announcement by Google that it will be unifying its free storage across services, Copy is now giving all free accounts 15GB of storage to start off with, up from 5GB previously. If you're not familiar with Copy, it also grabbed some attention for having a generous referral policy, which gives 5GB of extra storage to both the referrer and the referee with no limits on the extra storage that can be obtained. Copy also does not have file size limits, another plus over its competitors.

Along with the announcement of increases in base storage, Copy is also rolling out a feature it's calling "Fair Storage" that helps split the cost of shared folders between the users that access them. For example, if four users are sharing a 20GB Copy folder, each one will only pay for 5GB of that storage, rather than each paying for all 20GB every month. It's a system that makes sense logically but isn't the way that other companies are approaching shared folders.

Copy certainly has a lot of good ideas, but as we've seen in the past it can be hard for new challengers in the cloud storage space to come in and challenge the likes of Dropbox. Even Google's own Drive product has struggled to catch on for the average user. We'll see if the seriously interesting storage incentives from Copy can help them get a foothold.

More: Copy

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4 years ago

Hands-on with Hangouts, Google's first step towards unified messaging

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Lots of great new features, but this may not be the unified messaging service some hoped for

We've heard a whole lot about "Hangouts" as a headline feature of Google+ since its launch, but Google is repurposing that branding today for its latest group chat service. There was a whole lot of crazy speculation and expectation leading up to Google I/O about a unified messaging platform from Google, and unfortunately Hangouts just isn't that service quite yet. As if Hangouts coming to phones as an update to the Google Talk app wasn't a good indication, this is more of an instant messaging client then an all-encompassing messaging service.

That being said, if you and the people you talk to most are all-in with Google, this update just gave you a whole bunch of new features. Read on with us past the break for a little introduction to Hangouts, Google's next step in messaging.

More: Android Central @ Google I/O 2013

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