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4 years ago

Dozens of developers on-board for multiplayer gaming

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Developers get ready for the latest in Google Play Gaming features

Google has just rolled out a huge number of features related to gaming at Google I/O 2013, and even on day 1 over a dozen developers are partnering to have the new services ready at launch. Popular names like Miniclip, Glu, Spryfox, Ironhide Game Studio, HandyGames, Hemisphere and several more are all on board to provide multiplayer game services, the new game data syncing feature, and more. These are the developers that make many of the top games we know and love, which will be great to get multiplayer gaming the exposure it needs right from the start.

We'll continue to bring you more from the Google I/O 2013 keynote as it becomes available.

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4 years ago

Google Play Game Services gets officially official at Google I/O and it's going cross-platform

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The worst kept secret from Google just became officially official. Google Play Game Services has just been formally announced by Hugo Barra in San Francisco. We'll be taking a more detailed look at this later on, but the service centers around a few key elements:

  • Cloud Save - progression and game states saved to the cloud and synchronized across devices. 
  • Achievements
  • Leaderboards
  • Google+ Circles to make connections

Perhaps more impressive still, though, is that Google is making the Google Play Game Services cross-platform. There is an API for the web and for iOS. So, Google will be taking on Game Center on Apple's own turf. Interesting stuff! 

Follow our live coverage of the Google I/O keynote for the rest of the day's news!

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4 years ago

Google+ Sign-In API improved with cross platform sign-in

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We're at Google I/O, where they just announced improvements to their Google+ Sign-In API, which is cross platform sign-in. What does that mean? If you find a cool website that you like (they demoed it with Fancy), you can sign in with Google+. If you do, you will automatically be asked if you would like to install the app on your Android device. If you say yes, the app will download and log you in automatically on your current device and other Android devices on your account. Very cool improvement to a good API. 

Follow our live coverage of the Google I/O keynote for the rest of the day's news!

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4 years ago

Google Cloud Messaging now part of Google Play Services, new features added

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Upstream messaging, sycnhronized notifications and persistent connections

Google's Hugo Barra has just taken the wraps off new features for Google Cloud Messaging, at the Google I/O keynote in San Francisco. In addition to rolling GCM into Google Play services, Barra unveiled three major new features for the push messaging service.

  • Persistent connections between developers' own servers and Google's, allowing a large number of messages to be sent out at once.
  • Upstream messaging, so devices can push messages back to GCM.
  • Synchronized notifications, so users can dismiss notifications on one device, and have them dismiss on all other devices.

The last two in particular were met with much applause from the assembled developers and press.

The new GCM features will be "rolling out progressively," Barra said. Keep watching our Google I/O liveblog for live coverage of the day's events.

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4 years ago

Google unveils three new location APIs for developers

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Save battery life and improve location data for every app

We're live here at the Google I/O 2013 keynote, where Google has started off with talking about APIs for Android. As one of its first announcements, Google is rolling out three new APIs  for developers to access the location of a device. First up is "Geofencing", which lets apps define virtual fences around areas to then do actions when the user enters or leaves the area. Every app will be able to set up to 100 different geofences.

Next, we now have "Activity Recognition", which tracks movement without the use of GPS. Using different sensors like the accelerometer, apps can track the location and movement of a device. Finally, we have a new service called "Fused Location Provider", which sounds fancy but the end result is that it improves GPS efficiency for apps. GPS will drain no more than 1-percent per hour when locking to a user's location.

We'll keep on bringing you more from Google I/O 2013 as we see it!

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4 years ago

Google Play has now passed 48 billion app installs

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Hugo Barra just took to the stage in San Francisco at Google I/O 2013, and the first thing he talked about was some extremely impressive statistics for Google Play. 

Google Play has now seen an astonishing total of 48 billion app installs, with 2.5 billion installs in just the last month alone.  Better yet for developers, revenue per user is up 2.5 percent in the last year, so things are looking good for developers distributing their apps through Google Play. 

Follow our live coverage of the Google I/O Keynote for the rest of the days news, as it happens!

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4 years ago

Android reaches 900 million activations

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At the Google I/O keynote in San Francisco, Android and Chrome head Sundar Pichai has just revealed that Android has passed the milestone of 900 million activations, up from 400 million in 2012 and 100 million in 2011.

Pichai called the milestone "an extraordinary ecosystem achievement," but joked "there are 7 billion people in the world, so we have a long way to go, and we think we're just getting started." 

Follow our live coverage of the Google I/O keynote for the rest of the day's news!

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4 years ago

Google I/O 2013 keynote liveblog

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Full coverage of all Google's announcements, live from San Francisco!

OK, boys and girls. This is it. We're live from the Google I/O developer conference this week in San Francisco, for all the developer/services/apps/hardware/whatever Google can throw at us.

Kicking things off today is the week's only keynote, and it's a 3-hour whopper. We're all charged up and ready to go. The keynote starts at 9 a.m. PDT -- that's noon on the east coast and 5 p.m. in the UK.

So join us for the livestream, our photos and commentary, and basically the best Android coverage on the planet.

Hit the break for the whole kit and kaboodle.

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4 years ago

Google Play Games outed by game changelog ahead of launch

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It's turning out to be the worst-kept secret of this year's Google I/O -- 'Google Play Games' has cropped up once again in game changelogs ahead of its presumed launch during today's keynote. Eufloria HD has been updated with support for "Google Play Games achievements," and a note adding "We hope you enjoy using Google Play Games to save and share achievements!" A number of Gameloft titles have been updated too, with more subtle references "game services" support being included.

We're sure it'll all be official in just a couple of hours or so. Stay tuned to our Google I/O keynote liveblog for all the latest.

Source: Google Play

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4 years ago

Android Central App Version 1.1 brings landscape support, scrollable widget

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Updates are always good, and this one is filled with some of the things you've been asking for

Our awesome Android Central app just got .1 more awesomer, as we've pushed out an update that addresses some of the things you've been asking for. With version 1.1, you've got a sexy new scrollable widget (which is also resizable and will work with your lock screen if you're running Android 4.2.2) that puts the latest Android news right on your home screen, keeping you up to date. (It currently refreshes every half-hour -- we're looking at making that more frequent in a future update.)

Normally, that in and of itself would be enough to make a new release, but that's not how we roll here. In addition, you've got landscape support throughout the entire app, including the settings panel tucked on the left side. That same side menu now works on all screens, too. 

One last thing -- when we write a story that includes a link to Google Play, you'll now have a shiny Google Play Store icon in the Action Bar across the top of the app. Tap it, and you can open the link to the app directly in Google Play using Android's powerful intents system. 

We think you'll enjoy this latest version, and we're already hard at work on the next -- using your feedback as a guideline. Update your copy of the Android Central app through Google Play, or you can just tap the link above to check it out. You'll also find a handful of screenshots after the break.

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4 years ago

SwiftKey keyboard updated to version 4.1 with new themes, bug fixes

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Paid version also half-price for a limited time

Popular keyboard replacement SwiftKey has hit version 4.1, and the new version is now rolling out through the Google Play Store. SwiftKey 4.1 adds three new themes -- dusk, pitch and regal -- and fixes a variety of bugs and other issues. Glitches with Facebook personalization are reportedly fixed, as are bugs with the ".com" button in Google Chrome. The Opera browser also receives better support in SwiftKey 4.1. On top of that, there's a wide variety of crash fixes.

To celebrate the launch of version 4.1, the paid version of SwiftKey is now half-price for a limited time. That brings it down to an insanely cheap $1.99 / £1.49 / €1.99.

To grab the latest version of SwiftKey, hit the Google Play Store link up top. If you've already got an earlier version installed, just head to "My Apps" in the Play Store app. You can find the full SwiftKey 4.1 changelog down in the source link.

Source: SwiftKey 4.1 changelog

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4 years ago

Samsung says it's already shipped 6 million Galaxy S4s

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Four million shipped in first four days, Korean press reports

With strong brand recognition, an colossal marketing budget and plenty of anticipation among smartphone buyers, it was almost inevitable that Samsung was going to see enormous demand for its new Galaxy S4 handset. According to an unnamed Samsung executive quoted by Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the company shipped four million Galaxy S4s between Apr. 26 and Apr. 30, and as of May 10, shipment numbers stood at 6 million.

Of course, a unit shipped isn't necessarily a unit sold to a customer, but the shipment figures do show a strong appetite for Samsung's latest handset among its carrier and retail partners. The Galaxy S4 has benefited from a smoother global roll-out than its predecessor, with Europe, North America and parts of Asia, including Samsung's native South Korea, getting the phone in late April.

If previous Galaxy handsets are any indication, this isn't the last story we'll be writing about shipment and sales milestones for the Galaxy S4. Samsung itself is hoping to hit the 10 million shipped mark by the end of May, the Chosun Ilbo reports.

Source: Chosun Ilbo; via: UnwiredView

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4 years ago

Google 'App Data' sync setting appearing on devices

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We'll probably learn more about the mystery checkbox at today's Google I/O keynote

Well here's an interesting development. Head to the Android sync options for your Google account right now and you'll probably see a new checkbox sitting up top for 'App Data' sync. The new setting seems to have appeared overnight for most people, and we're currently seeing it on all our devices.

What exactly this new sync setting does remains a bit of a mystery, but with the Google I/O keynote due to take place today, chances are we'll find out sooner rather than later. One possibility might be saved-game synchronization through the rumored Google Play Games service, however 'App Data' sounds a bit broader in scope. With just five hours to go until the keynote, at least we shouldn't have long to wait before we find out more.

What's more, the Google Play Store app itself is also being updated on some handsets, with some folks reporting minor visual changes in the UI.

Chances are these won't be the only updates we see from Google today, so stay tuned for our live coverage of the Google I/O keynote, which kicks off at noon EDT.

Update: Reports from the Android Central forums reveal another new checkbox to sync "People Details" which is apparently separate from "Contacts."

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4 years ago

LG 'Optimus it' headed for NTT Docomo in Japan with Android 4.2

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720p display, 13MP rear camera, LTE and Android 4.2, though we may never see 'it' outside of Japan

Japanese carrier NTT Docomo has unleashed their annual summer lineup, and dropping nicely into it is this offering from LG, the unusually named Optimus it. But, while the name may amuse, the rest of the device is serious business, headlined by carrying Android 4.2

While Android 4.2 may well be underneath, it looks very much like LG has gone right over the top of that with their own custom UI. Hardware wise we're looking at a 4.5-inch 1280x720 IPS display, a quad-core 1.7GHz processor, a 13MP rear camera and a 2100mAh battery. Pretty tasty, then. NTT Docomo customers can look forward to picking up the Optimus it at the end of June. 

Sadly, if this one is anything like the Japanese version of the Optimus G Pro, there's a strong chance we'll never see this outside of Japan. Ever. Shame. 

Source: NTT Docomo (1), (2)

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4 years ago

Galaxy S4 headed to NTT Docomo May 23, blue color confirmed

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New color option for Japanese Galaxy S4

Japan's NTT Docomo will start selling the Samsung Galaxy S4 from next Thursday, May 23 -- and as per the pre-announcement rumors, it'll be getting a "blue arctic" color option in addition to "white frost" and "black mist." The Docomo version will also support digital terrestrial TV broadcasts through a pull-out antenna, and FeliCa NFC payment capabilities.

Besides that (and some branding changes) it's pretty much the same old Galaxy S4 we've come to know over the past few weeks. In case you were wondering, Japan's getting the quad-core Snapdragon 600 version most other countries are selling, as opposed to the rarer "octa-core" Exynos version.

YouTuber mappan777 has posted a quick side-by-side comparison between the new blue version and the better-known black model, which we've embedded past the break. (Quick spoiler: you're going to have a hard time telling these two colors apart.)

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Source: NTT Docomo, Video via SamMobile

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