4 years ago

Android 4.4.2 factory images now available for Nexus 4, 5, 7s and 10


A Google-sanctioned way to return to the latest stock build

Update: It looks like the broken links are now fixed. Go grab your factory images!

Original Story: Following tightly (as usual) behind the broad release of Android 4.4.2 over the air, full factory images of the latest build of Android for Nexus devices are now available. If you have a Nexus 4, 5, 7 (2012 and 2013) or 10, you now have a Google-sanctioned and supported way to return your phone or tablet to it's stock state on the latest firmware possible.

Now this isn't immediately as useful for many considering OTA update files are already available for these devices, but now if you're tinkering with things and need a wholesale reset back to stock, these images will come in handy. If you need a bit more guidance on how to apply these factory images, be sure to find your device in the forums for some great guides.

Source: Factory Images for Nexus Devices

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4 years ago

Chrome App Launcher now available for Mac


The Chrome App Launcher is an easy shortcut to all your Chrome apps

You've probably heard talk about Chrome desktop apps. It's something Google is trying that allows some Chrome apps or extensions to be used stand-alone in their own sandbox that run like any other desktop application would. The jury is still out on how effective or popular this will be, but it's something worth having a look at if you're a Chrome user on any platform.

To facilitate things — running stand-alone apps, but having to launch them from the browser defeats the purpose — Google has made the Chrome App Launcher available. On a Windows computer we can find it in the system tray, but on the Mac it will plop itself right into your dock. Once there, you can treat it like any other dock shortcut. You can dismiss it if you hate it, or set it to open automagically at login if you love it. Move it around, mistreat and abuse it. Just like any other app shortcut.

When you click on it, you'll see a list of all your chrome apps. Some of them, like Google play or Google+ will open in a regular browser window. Others, like Keep or Pocket, will open in their own window that can be minimized.

Getting things set-up is easy enough. Just point your Chrome browser at the "For your desktop" collection in the Chrome Web Store, and installing any of the apps will place the launcher in your dock. From there, it's all up to you.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

12 Days of Christmas giveaway day five: Win a Galaxy Tab 3 (7-inch) from AC and Sprint

On the fifth day of Christmas AC and Sprint gave to me ... A Samsung Galaxy Tab 3

The good people at Sprint have partnered with us to do something awesome for the holidays, and we're giving away a great Samsung phone or tablet every day for the next 12 days.

We've got a pile of great stuff, including the Galaxy Tab 3, the Note 3, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 mini. Winning one is easy, but you'll need to follow the rules.

  • Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win today's prize. Only one comment. 
  • We'll close the comments after 24 hours and pick a winner at random. 
  • Make sure the contact details you have entered when you signed up at AC are good, because that is how I will get in touch with you. 

Today's prize is a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.0 7-inch. It's an excellent light-weight Android tablet, and chock full of the features that make Samsung devices a favorite. Be sure to get your name in the hat for this one!

The 12 days of Christmas giveaway is brought to you by Sprint, and their truly unlimited plans.

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4 years ago

In pictures: The white Nexus 7


Like the black Nexus 7, only white

The white Nexus 7 is upon us, having been announced just yesterday alongside the two new Google Play edition devices. Today we've got our hands on the freshened-up version of Google and ASUS' 7-inch slate, which on the inside is the same tablet we've been using since the summer — a 1920x1200 display, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on this particular model. And yes, it's still running pure, unadulterated Android 4.4 KitKat.

On the outside things are just a little different. It's white, not black, with a slightly glossier, more reflective finish — most likely to prevent the device from picking up scuffs and marks. The difference is similar to the contrast between the white and black Nexus 5s — a different look and glossier texture on the white model. (And like that device, the front bezel around the screen remains black.)

We've got a hands-on photo gallery waiting after the break.

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4 years ago

Spotify on mobile goes free, replaces a paywall with shuffle play


Listen to artists or playlists at random for free

With an update to its app, Spotify has dropped the paid subscription requirement for using its music service on mobile. Although a free component was previously available to desktop users, a subset of features is now available on mobile as well. What you'll find in the free version of Spotify is what it calls "shuffle play."

That basically just means "radio," and with shuffle play you'll have the option to listen to your own (and shared) playlists, or a specific artist, in random order. This brings the free offering down to parity with something like Pandora, which offers effectively endless radio for free on mobile and the desktop.

Make no mistake, the free version of Spotify is clearly set up to upsell you to the paid version of the service — and we're okay with that, if you see the value in the app and service and want more, you can expect to pay.

Source: Spotify

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4 years ago

Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition unboxing and hands-on


The Sony Z Ultra loses the Xperia tag, but gains the 'Google experience'

A big phone or a small tablet? Neither? Both? It's the same Z Ultra we've seen before, with a little more Google in it. Big, bold, and waterproof, it's one we all were surprised to see when Google announced it

For fans of big phones — or small tablets with a phone on board — there is a lot to like here. As we saw with previous Google Play experience devices, you have Google's version of Android, with a few essential OEM customizations added on top. Additions like the X-Reality display software are great additions, and the combination makes for the best experience.

You've got everything Google as well. The Google applications we're used to seeing — minus the AOSP Gallery app, which has been fully replaced with Photos — including things like Google Earth and Google Currents are on board. The same goes for Google Wallet and the tap and pay function. The back of the Z Ultra says Sony, but you'll know you're holding a Google device in your hands.

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4 years ago

The best free Android racing games


Do you have the need for speed, but would rather not dole out the cash to get it? We get it - cars are expensive, and why pay for a game when you don’t have to? We’ve combed through Google Play for some of the best-looking white-knuckled racing games on Android that are completely free, barring the odd prompt for in-app purchases. These freemium racing games are all really good and offer a little something for everyone.

Pull on up to the starting line, and check out these outstanding free racing games for Android.

4 years ago

Android Device Manager app launches on Google Play


Like the web interface, the new app lets you remotely track and lock down your other Android devices

Google has launched a new Android app allowing users of the Android Device Manager feature to remotely track, ring, lock down or wipe their other devices. Not to be confused with the Google Play Services feature that launched a few months ago, the ADM app duplicates the functionality of the web interface, meaning you can track or control one phone or tablet using another — provided you've first enabled this feature in the Google Settings app.

If you've not yet set up remote locate or remote wipe on your target handset, you can send a notification to it through the Android Device Manager app on the second device. (Fun fact: select the device you're using the app on and it marks its location as "in your hand.")

To get started, grab the new Android Device Manager app from Google Play at the link above.

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4 years ago

Stock Android 'Gallery' app is no more on the new Google Play edition devices


GPe Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3 ditch 'Gallery' in favor of G+ 'Photos' app

We suspected it was coming ever since we powered on the Nexus 5 to find both "Gallery" and "Photos" occupying the app drawer. And now the inevitable has come to pass — the stock Android "Gallery" app has been phased out in the new Google Play edition Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3, having been completely replaced by the new Google+-based Photos app.

It's a curious move given that the Nexus 5 shipped with a new Gallery app just over a month ago, and that Google highlighted a bunch of new editing features in that app as part of the 4.4 release. That said, the writing was clearly on the wall when Nexus Camera app was integrated with "Photos," not "Gallery" in the recent Android 4.4.1 update. The move also raises the possibility that future Nexus devices will follow this lead, though precedent suggests that "Gallery" will remain on devices that currently have it.

The elimination of "Gallery" means the new Google Play edition devices will have to make do without the comprehensive photo editing features found in the app. "Photos" offers some editing options, such as filters and frames, but nothing as full-featured as its rival. We're willing to bet these capabilities — including exposure, contrast and curves sliders, among many others — will be patched into "Photos" at some point in the near future, completing the transition from Gallery to Photos.

In any case, it's another example of the expanding reach of Google+ across all the various Google properties. And that could be seen as a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion of Google's social network.

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4 years ago

A sneak peek at #CESlive!


We're knee-deep in planning for our #CESlive coverage next month in Las Vegas, but we found a few minutes this week to catch up with John and Cali from Geek Beat and chat about what's in store.

It's going to be insanely awesome. Check it out.

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4 years ago

Nexus wireless charger now available in the UK


New Nexus-branded Qi charger selling for £34.99

Alongside that new white Nexus 7, UK buyers can today pick up the official Nexus wireless charger, priced at £34.99 and shipping in 1-2 business days. It operates using the Qi (pronounced "chee") wireless charging standard and is designed to work with the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 5 — though if you've got other Qi-supporting gadgets they should work too.

Here's what our own Phil Nickinson had to say after a brief time with the inductive charging plate —

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4 years ago

Qualcomm Toq now available on Amazon for $349


If you've got an Amazon gift card burning a hole in your virtual pocket, now might be a good time to take a look at the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch. It's now available on Amazon for the same price as you'll get it from Qualcomm — $349.

Still no sign of the white model, but if you've just got to have the black version, Amazon Prime can have it at your door as soon as tomorrow. 

via Smartwatch Fans

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4 years ago

Twitter's Android app is now nearly unusable: Try these instead


Tired of ever-changing layouts and the important features not being where you want them? Try these Twitter Android alternatives.

Twitter's been experimenting on us, its users, for some time now with its official Android app. But the latest update might just have sealed the deal for many. We don't necessarily want to call it an abomination, but pretty clearly Twitter's all about expanding your timelines — thus the moving of the "discover" and "activity" tabs front and center — rather than showing you the information that you want, when you want it, where you want it.

It's kind of a mess, and it only appears to have gotten worse over time.

So now's a good time to take a look at a few of our favorite alternatives.

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4 years ago

White Nexus 7 now on sale in the UK


Available in Wifi + 32GB version only, priced £239.99

The new white Nexus 7, announced yesterday for the UK, U.S. and Japan, is now available for Brits to buy. The tablet appeared on the UK Google Play Store yesterday along with a "coming soon" notice, but now it's on sale at the regular price of £239.99 for the Wifi-only version with 32GB of storage. As is the case in the U.S., that's the only white Nexus 7 available at the moment — so if you want LTE connectivity or the cheaper 16GB storage option you're limited to the traditional black version.

White Nexus 7s ordered today in the UK are due to ship within 1-2 working days, with free ground shipping being offered "for a limited time."

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4 years ago

Google Translate updated with nine new languages


Additions including Somali, Zulu and Punjabi bring total supported languages to 80

Google has updated Translate service with support for nine new languages from Africa, Asia and Oceania, bringing the total number of supported languages up to 80. The new additions include Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Somali, Zulu, Mongolian, Nepali, Punjabi and Maori, with more than 200 million native speakers between them. In the case of Maori, spoken by just 160 thousand people, the addition is the result of a volunteer effort by native speakers of the language.

The new languages are available now through Google Translate on the web and on mobile, including the Android app in the Play Store.

Source: Google Translate blog

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