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4 years ago

Facebook quietly adds Facebook Home support (and unofficial support) for Galaxy S4, HTC One, others

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New persistent notifications also part of undocumented update

Facebook -- facing increasing negative reaction to its Facebook Home launcher as AT&T (at least temporarily) dropped the price of the HTC First to a mere 99 cents -- has silently added support for the HTC One as well as unofficial support for the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The change comes as the official Facebook app received an update just hours after Facebook held a small press conference at its campus in Silicon Valley, touting some 1 million total installations, apparently without listing how many active installations it has. (And that still wouldn't account for anyone who has installed Facebook Home but isn't actually using it.) Following that event, the Facebook application itself received an update. The Facebook Home launcher has not been updated as of April 22.

That brings us to the Samsung Galaxy S4, which you see above. Without a mention in any changelog in any of the Facebook Apps, our Galaxy S4 now show the option to "Use Home Anyway." Tap it, and Facebook Home launches just fine. Same goes for the Sony Xperia ZL.

Additionally, Facebook Home is working without this "Use Home Anyway" intercept on the HTC One. It wouldn't surprise us in the least to see it working -- with or without the warning -- on other devices. Both the HTC One and Galaxy S4 were listed as "supported" devices when Facebook Home was announced, but until now they'd been unable to officially run the launcher.

Also, the Facebook app update has added a new notification -- a persistent "ongoing" notification that lives in your notification pull-down. You can turn it off in the settings menu.

If you've been waiting to try Facebook Home but your device hasn't been supported -- and let's face it, that's probably not a whole hell of a lot of you reading this -- give it a shot now.

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4 years ago

NVIDIA posts Q1 earnings - $78 Million profit, $955 Million total revenue

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Profits are up 29-percent year-over-year, revenue up by 3-percent

NVIDIA has posted their Q1 2013 financials, and while profit, at $78,000,000 is down by 55-percent compared to last quarter, the year-over-year numbers is up by 29-percent. Earnings show a similar trend, with today's $955,000,000 down by 13-percent from last quarter, but up 3-percent year-over-year. Today's news beats the projections by Wall Street, and we expect the stock to reflect that when the market opens tomorrow.

NVIDIA  CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says the successful quarter comes from the Kepler GPU, and the Kepler and Tegra 4 platform are both expected to drive next quarter's numbers further into the black.

The success of Kepler-based GPUs within and beyond the PC helped drive another quarter of record margins. Kepler is capturing share among gamers, strengthening our workstation and supercomputing segments, and will fuel new growth opportunities for our GRID server graphics solutions. With Tegra 4 devices and Tegra 4i certification on the way, we're gearing up to return to growth in the second half.

All you financial types can check out the full statement at the source below. 

Source: NVIDIA

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4 years ago

YouTube launches paid channels, aims to provide richer content

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Channels will start at a 99 cent monthly subscription and have a 14-day trial period

YouTube made a big announcement today: paid subscriptions for certain channels. It had been rumored for some time that YouTube was readying some sort of paid model and today that becomes reality. This is the beginning of a pilot program that will likely see many more premium channels in the future.

So how does it work and how much is it? There are a select few YouTube Paid Channels launching today with that are partnering with YouTube to provide richer content starting at $0.99/month. Some channels offer discounts if you subscribe annually. All channels also offer a 14-day free trial and they insist that you use it to see how you like it. Once you subscribe, you can watch on your computer, mobile device and television.

For example, I am a huge fan of Big Think, which is a channel that brings together thinkers from around the world and produces short videos dedicated to specific ideas. They are launching a premium channel called Big Think Mentor (seen above), which will provide more videos and longer content. By making it paid, this allows them to gauge their audience and produce content that is demanded.

YouTube is a great platform and has always provided countless free videos with the support of ads. That model is still the same and will not change. However, I think YouTube wants to be able to offer its users the chance to access higher quality content aimed at a certain audience that is willing to shell out a little money. Let's be honest, 99 cents is not that much and if the creators use the platform and money strategically, I feel  that it could be a success.

Source: YouTube

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4 years ago

OpenTable v2.5 brings new maps, calendar integration

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Interface improvements that make booking and managing reservations easier

OpenTable has taken a big step forward in interface design today with an update to v2.5 of its app, which makes several much-needed changes. First up is the mapping experience, which is dramatically improved thanks to Google Maps v2, and now gives you more freedom to browse the map in different areas and have reduced pin clutter from lots of restaurants. Next are the restaurant pages, which have received a facelift as well. You can now modify your reservation -- date, time and party size -- right from the restaurant page rather than your account. OpenTable has also improved the load times of menus and reviews for restaurants.

A much-awaited feature of being able to add reservations to your calendar has also been added -- no more excuses for missing a dinner reservation. All of these new features can be accessed much easier as well thanks to general improvements to the navigation elements in the app that have been moved to the top action bar, reducing the number of times you have to jump back and forth between the settings. You can grab a download of the new OpenTable app from the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Spring cleaning: Win a Mophie Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3

Slowly but surely I'm starting to see the dust at the bottom of the mess that is my desk. Up for grabs today is a Mophie Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S3. This thing'll protect your phone while it charges it up, basically giving you another battery cycle before you break down and plug it in.

If you're in it to win it, leave a comment on this post. We'll shut things down around midnight and scoop up a winner. Good luck!

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4 years ago

Mosaique: An elegant and fun puzzle game

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Simplistic gameplay and an infinite number of levels make a winning combination

It's hard to get the right mix of gameplay difficulty, simple rules and design in a puzzle game (or any game for that matter), but luckily we've found another that has struck that balance. The game is Mosaique, and it has put all of the components in the right places to make an excellent title. It has a simple design and premise that is easy to pick up but extremely hard to master, and with a gameplay model that gives an effectively infinite number of levels you won't get bored with it.

Mosaique was just released in the Play Store this morning, so hang around with us after the break and see what makes it such an enjoyable gaming experience.

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4 years ago

Walking through the new and improved Android Central app

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As you by no doubt  have heard, there's an all-new version of the Android Central App amongst us. And now we’re going to walk through it in all its awesomeness. It's got full access to the Android Central blogs, forums, wallpaper gallery, store, podcast, and videos. Our people have worked hard on this, and there are still plenty more features on the way. 

Have a question about how things work? Give us a few minutes of your time, and we'll walk you through it.

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4 years ago

Megapixels and Ultrapixels: The Galaxy S4 versus HTC One camera shootout

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We compare image quality on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 rear cameras

Though they're direct competitors, the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 are two very different smartphones. That's especially evident when you look at the way they handle photography. The Galaxy S4 packs a 13-megapixel shooter with f/2.2 aperture, improving upon the 8-megapixel, f/2.6 unit in last year's S3 with the potential to capture even more detailed images. The HTC One trades sheer megapixel count for larger (2-micron) pixels on the sensor itself, allowing for improved low-light capabilities when combined with its wide-angle f/2.0 lens.

That's the basic hardware at work, but specs only go so far. That's why we've prepared a few direct comparison shots from the European HTC One (on the latest 1.29 firmware) and the international Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-i9505). Check 'em out after the break.

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4 years ago

Flipboard for Android hits version 2.0 with curated magazines, new sharing options

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Flipboard Editor for magazines also launched on the web

Popular news magazine app Flipboard has been updated to version 2.0 today, with new features focused on allowing users to create curated magazines of their favorite content. Articles and posts on Flipboard can now be added to users' own custom magazines to create a custom-built Pinterest-like arrangement of favorite articles, social posts and other content.

Each article on Flipboard now has a "plus" icon that can be used to add it to one of your own magazines, and magazines can be shared with friends through the app. It's also possible to "flip" other content into one of your magazines using Android sharing intents.

Flipboard has also launched the Flipboard Editor on the web to allow users to manage their magazines. Found at editor.flipboard.com, it's a simple web-based tool that provides an overview of everything you've curated.

In addition, the Flipboard team has announced that Financial Times content is now available through its app. FT blog and video content is available to all users, while FT.com subscribers will get access to all of the paper's content.

To grab the new version of Flipboard for Android, hit the Google Play link above.

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4 years ago

Huawei CEO speaks to press for the first time, denies espionage claims

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Huawei

Ren Zhengfei spoke to reporters for the first time since founding Huawei in 1988

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei denied allegations that its products represent a threat to U.S. national security. Speaking directly with the press for the first time today, Ren also denied any illicit ties to the Chinese government, a central part of U.S. concerns over the Chinese communications giant, according to reports from Reuters.

Last October a damning Congressional report concluded that Huawei and local competitor ZTE "cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems." The panel behind the report also singled out Huawei for criticism, saying it'd received evidence of corruption, bribery and copyright infringement at the firm from industry experts and Huawei employees.

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4 years ago

BlueStacks announces Android-powered GamePop gaming console and subscription service

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Popular mobile game titles on your TV, using your phone as a controller

BlueStacks, which is best known for letting users run Android apps on Windows and Mac computers, is going in a completely different direction with the introduction of a new gaming console called GamePop. But the console is just half of the story -- GamePop also encompasses a monthly subscription service that lets users play as many games as they want on the console with no additional charges. The console itself is running Android, and can be connected to your TV and controlled from either your phone or a dedicated game controller. Outside of that, we don't have any details on the internals of the device, although the design certainly looks interesting.

To make sure there's a good selection of games to choose from, BlueStacks has partnered with some of the biggest mobile developers out there right now. Names like Halfbrick, Glu Mobile, OutFit7, Intellijoy, Deemedya and many more are all on board to bring their titles over to GamePop. From the developer's perspective, they will receive 50-percent of the subscription price per user -- based on gameplay time -- for having games available on the platform. Additionally, BlueStacks will not take a cut of any in-app purchases if developers choose to have them in their games. Hopefully this generous revenue sharing model can help boost the number of games that come over to GamePop.

GamePop is available for pre-order starting today, and interestingly will be offered for free with a monthly subscription of $6.99 during the month of May. After the initial May pre-order period ends the console will have an up-front cost associated with it, however, which hasn't been specified. Given the quick rise in number of users of its desktop software to run Android apps, we have to think BlueStacks may be onto something. Does it have what it takes to challenge competitors like OUYA though? We'll have to see going forward. Stick around after the break to see a nice introductory video and a full press release for the device, and follow the source link if you're interested in pre-ordering a GamePop console.

More: GamePop

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4 years ago

Get your comic book fix with Marvel Unlimited, now available on Android

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13,000 Marvel comic books at your disposal on your Android smartphone or tablet for $9.99 per month

Comic book fans are sure to be excited for this one, for Marvel Unlimited has finally made its way to Android. Having been available on iOS for a couple of months now, it's our turn to dive into 70 years worth of content over 13,000 back issues. For anything more recent, you'll still likely need to turn to something like Comics by Comixology, but for the classics Marvel Unlimited should more than have you covered. 

Subscription rates stand at $9.99 per month, but until May 15 you can take advantage of a special discount on a yearly subscription: down to $59.88 from the regular price of $69.00. The Android app allows you to save up to six comic books to your device for offline reading, as well as being able to use your subscription to read content on your computer. 

Grab the app from the Play Store link above, and we'll kind of forgive you if you go quiet for a little while. But be sure to jump into the comments and let us know what you're reading. 

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4 years ago

OUYA gets $15 million in new funding

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OUYA and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers today announced that the Android gaming upstart has raised $15 million in funding. The money comes in part from NVIDIA, the Mayfield Fund, Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners. That's alongside the $8.5 million (give or take) pledged through Kickstarter in 2012.

OUYA's goal is to be a nimble, $99 Android gaming console, with frequent updates and the big-name titles you'd expect. 

“The message is clear, OUYA founder and CESO Julie Uhrman said in a news release. "People want OUYA. We first heard this from Kickstarter backers who provided more than $8 million to help us build OUYA, then from over 12,000 developers who have registered to make an OUYA game, next from retailers who are carrying OUYA online and soon on store shelves, and now from top pioneering investors.”

OUYAs are shipping to the early backers now and will hit stores in late June.

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4 years ago

How to get lock screen widgets on the Samsung Galaxy S4

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Lock screen widgets are easy to enable on the Galaxy S4, but there are a couple of extra settings to get to grips with

When you first pick up the Samsung Galaxy S4, it might appear that lock screen widgets aren't available. After all, the default lock screen is just a big clock widget with "life companion" or some other message up top. But as an Android 4.2 device, the S4 includes full support for lock screen widgets, it's just a case of enabling them in the phone's lock screen settings.

Head to Settings > My device > Lock screen and check "Multiple widgets." Once you've done that, you're able to swipe to the right and add more lock screen panels. There's the standard list of Google widgets as well as some new stuff from Samsung, including a new WatchON widget. This ties into the WatchON app, which is the Peel-powered universal remote included on the Galaxy S4, giving you an expandable universal remote right from your lock screen. Third-party offerings like Dashclock Widget should work just fine, too.

In stock Android, there's always a camera shortcut on the right-most lock screen panel. On the GS4 you can choose what goes here -- either a big, Nexus-style camera shortcut or a grid of favorite apps. Head to Settings > My device > Lock screen > Lock screen widgets > Favorite apps or Camera to configure this.

Like some of the other Samsung widgets, the main clock widget is customizable too. You can change or get rid of the message, have a dual clock if you're roaming overseas and customize the style and size of the on-screen fonts.

Check the quick video demo above to see lock screen widgets in action on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

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4 years ago

Jelly Bean update rolling out to Samsung Galaxy Note in Canada and the UK

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TELUS, Rogers and Bell Galaxy Notes get Android 4.1.2 update, as does the UK SIM-unlocked version

Just a few days after the AT&T model got its Jelly Bean update, other Samsung Galaxy Note variants are starting to see the update to Android 4.1.2. According to reports from MobileSyrup and XDA, the Canadian carrier-branded versions on TELUS, Rogers, and Bell all have updates waiting for them. Meanwhile on the Android Central forums, a number of OG Note owners in the UK report that their GSM unlocked Notes are getting a similar update.

The Galaxy Note Jelly Bean update brings the new Google Search app with Google Now and improved responsiveness through the "Project Butter" performance enhancements, in addition to a new UI and a selection of newer software features from the Galaxy S3.

If you've updated your Galaxy Note to Jelly Bean, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

Source: Android Central forums, ​MobileSyrup, XDA

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