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4 years ago

You can now customize the Google Bar layout on Google pages

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You can now customize the Google Bar layout on Google pages

Google Bar

Google Bar

Feature to roll out over the next couple of weeks

Google finally transitioned from the solid black bar at the top of all of its sites to using more of an "app launcher" style approach, and just like on your Android you can now organize the Google Bar to your liking. What used to require a third-party extension is now easily done natively by simply clicking and dragging the icons in the app launcher to whatever view you'd like.

When you click an icon you'll also notice the window expand so you can choose to swap or expand the list with slightly less-popular Google services. If you're looking for something extra obscure you can even click "Even more from Google" and add services like Google Scholar or Orkut to your app launcher. It's such a simple change that it's hard to think that this wasn't included in the initial rollout, but at least it's available now.

Google says it could take a couple weeks for you to see it, so keep an eye on your Google Bar for the change going forward.

Source: +Google

4 years ago

Carphone Warehouse Galaxy S5 pre-orders go live from midnight GMT

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Carphone Warehouse Galaxy S5 pre-orders go live from midnight GMT

Galaxy S5

Galaxy S5

Black and white models available April 11, gold and blue to follow later

UK retailer Carphone Warehouse has announced that it'll begin taking Samsung Galaxy S5 pre-orders from 12:01am GMT tomorrow, Friday March 28. The retailer will be offering Samsung's latest flagship for free on contracts starting at £42 per month — that's a Vodafone 4G plan with 3GB of data — or for £579.95 outright should you prefer to go the SIM-free route.

Pre-ordered Galaxy S5s will be delivered from the global launch date of April 11 for the "shimmery white" and "charcoal black" variants, while the more colorful "electric blue" and "copper gold" models are expected by April 22 and May 20 respectively.

More: Carphone Warehouse

More: Samsung Galaxy S5 hands-on and initial review

4 years ago

Get into a robot firefight with Epoch 2 for Android

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Get into a robot firefight with Epoch 2 for Android

Epoch 2 for Android

Epoch 2 for Android

Amazing graphics and gameplay, and hey, robots

A most excellent 3D shooting game has found its way to Android recently called Epoch 2. Players control a badass robot through a desolate post-apocalyptic landscape in a mission to save the princess.

Along the way, you find useful bits of scrap, slap them together, upgrade your frame, and blow up a lot of other robots in the process. The controls are very finger-friendly thanks to swipe-based dodges between bits of cover, and a targeting/firing system that finds a good balance between ease of use while maintaining challenging gameplay. To get a sense of what's up here, check out our review of the original Epoch. Keep in mind the graphics have had a hefty overhaul and there are a lot of new gameplay mechanics.

Epoch 2 is one of my favorite shooting games on iOS, and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed with the Android version. In-app purchases are employed if you want to fast-track progress, though in my experience they're very optional. Epoch 2 is just $2.50 up front as part of a half-off launch sale. Who's in?

4 years ago

Gameloft releases Captain America: TWS to the Play Store, free-to-play for first 2 levels

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Gameloft releases Captain America: TWS to the Play Store, free-to-play for first 2 levels

Captain America: TWS
Captain America: TWS

 TWS  TWS

Square off with traditional Marvel villains with all of the powers you expect

Gameloft is releasing another hit game title today, leveraging recent popularity with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The game is a comic-styled third-person shooter, letting you play as Captain America supported by a powerful S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Team moving through a full campaign of protecting the world. You'll have full choice of your tactics, growing your Strike Team over time and making use of Captain America's skills, including the indestructible shield and Avenger support.

You'll square off against traditional Marvel villains such as King Cobra, Taskmaster, Puff Adder and more in the campaign mode, but there's also an online multiplayer mode. You can join clans to challenge rival players, track your progress on leaderboards and earn special rewards with limited-time events.

The game is free in the Play Store, giving you access to the first two levels with no strings attached. If you want to unlock the full game, you'll be dropping a modest $2.99 on an in-app purchase. Another quick thing to note is that the app's description says it requires an internet connection to play — something to keep in mind if you plan on playing as you ride the subway to work.

4 years ago

Microsoft Office goes completely free for Android phones [Update: it's live]

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Microsoft Office goes completely free for Android phones [Update: it's live]

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office

Office document viewing and editing on your phone now completely free — no subscription required

Update: The latest version of Office for Android is now in the Play Store, removing the requirement of an Office 365 subscription.

Original story: Alongside the much-awaited announcement of Office for the iPad, Microsoft dropped a bit of a bombshell today by making Office for Android completely free to use on phones. The app itself has always been free, but you needed to have a paid Office 365 subscription in order to make any use of it.

Now it's open to everyone so long as they're using an Android phone (or iPhone), giving you the ability to fully view and edit Microsoft Office documents without any restriction, just as you would expect on a Windows Phone. This is a pretty big step towards getting more folks interested in eventually paying for Office on the desktop, considering the ubiquity of Google Docs and the myriad of other office solutions on mobile devices.

We're still waiting for the update to go live in the Play Store (it just hit the Apple App Store moments ago), but once the latest build is up you will no longer need to log in with an Office 365-linked Microsoft account to edit. Keep your eyes on the Play Store at the link above.

Source: Microsoft

4 years ago

Seattle is the next stop for Google Glass showcase event, running April 5 and 6

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Seattle is the next stop for Google Glass showcase event, running April 5 and 6

Seattle Skyline

Seattle Skyline

Folks in the Pacific Northwest can try out Glass for themselves with no strings attached

Google has been hitting the road over the past several months, going to major cities around the U.S. to show off Google Glass to the public. Falling in behind Durham, Detroit, Austin and Atlanta previously, the latest stop is Seattle.

Just like previous events, you'll have the opportunity to try on Glass and talk with some Googlers about the device and the experience of using it on a regular basis. This is a bit more than your standard "showroom" experience and should give you a better look at the head-mounted wearable.

The event is being held at a place called "Sodo Park," which despite the name isn't actually a park at all but just a cool old building that's often used as a wedding and event venue. It's a handful of minutes south of the downtown core of the city, and should be easy to get to for folks even if they're not familiar with the area.

If you live in the area and want to give Glass a try, this may be a nice event to attend. While you're in town, you can swing up to the downtown area and grab some Starbucks, a Top Pot doughnut (or five) and walk through the Pike Place Market — there are certainly worse ways to spend a weekend afternoon. Anyone can RSVP for the April 5th and 6th event at the source link below.

Source: +Google Glass

4 years ago

Amazon sets April 2nd event, likely a media streamer for your TV

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Amazon sets April 2nd event, likely a media streamer for your TV

Amazon TV event invitation

Amazon TV event invitation

Today Amazon sent out an invitation for an event on April 2nd, and by all expectations we'd be surprised if we didn't see a TV media streamer announced. The invite — sent to TechCrunch and others — simply reads "Please join us for an update on our video business". It also displays a couch (a living room staple, if you were not aware) and popcorn (which, you know, people eat while watching things).

4 years ago

Turn-based Star Wars: Assault Team now available in Google Play

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Turn-based Star Wars: Assault Team now available in Google Play

Star Wars: Assault Team

blank

Another bit of Star Wars gameplay for any fan of the series

More Star Wars games are coming to mobile devices lately, and the most recent release is a turn-based game called Star Wars: Assault Team. The game is a card battle style layout, where each player will assemble a team and fight enemies, all set with the characters and scenes you know from the movie series. You'll play through a variety of missions, using each character's abilities to move through the levels. There's even a player-versus-player battle mode where you can go up against others online to win extra rewards.

The game is free in the Play Store at the link above, and of course has in-app purchases associated with it for in-game content. The game style may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's worth a look if you're a fan of the franchise.

4 years ago

Samsung introduces new Smart Bulbs controllable by Bluetooth

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Samsung introduces new Smart Bulbs controllable by Bluetooth

Samsung Smart Bulb
Samsung Smart Bulb
Samsung Smart Bulb

Samsung Smart Bulb

Bulbs provide 10 years of efficient light before burning out

Never to be outdone in any consumer electronics category — especially by LG — Samsung is introducing a new range of LED "Smart Bulbs" for residential lighting. The new line consists of a standard lightbulb shape, a higher-performance lamp style (in two variants) and a more efficient tube form factor. The basic Smart Bulb (shown above) will provide up to 15,000 hours — equivalent of 10 years of normal use — of lighting, with the ability to dim down to just 10 percent brightness and tune from 2700K to 6500K for different ranges of whites.

For more advanced applications, there's also a PAR (Parabolic aluminized reflector) style light, which offers a swivel head and improved lighting suitable for professional lighting applications. There's also a "Classic Lamp" that's designed to fit larger light fixtures and provide a simple light that is reminiscent of incandescent lights. Finally there's the L-Tube style light, which is most likely to be used in commercial or garage applications, and comes in 600, 1200 and 1500mm sizes.

What sets these new Samsung Smart Bulbs apart from others is that they're controlled directly by your phone over Bluetooth rather than via Wifi with a router in the middle. By just installing an app on your phone or tablet you'll be able to control up to 64 Smart Bulbs at a time. While this cuts down on the usability when you're not in the room, it makes setup and control drastically simpler for a number of applications where a router just isn't available.

Samsung isn't spilling the beans on pricing or availability on these, but you can expect them to make their way out at prices higher than your average lightbulbs.

4 years ago

AT&T's Galaxy Note 3 getting KitKat update today

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AT&T's Galaxy Note 3 getting KitKat update today

Galaxy Note 3

Galaxy Note 3

AT&T's Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the latest model to receive its Android 4.4 KitKat update, with the OTA now starting to push out to devices. Like previous Note 3 KitKat updates, owners can expect a slightly refreshed UI with white notification bar icons, along with standard Android 4.4 features like immersive mode, album art on the lock screen and wireless printing support. AT&T also says GPS performance should be improved in this latest update.

The carrier has the full list of changes over on its blog for those wanting more details. If you're seeing the update on your AT&T Galaxy Note 3 today, make yourself known in the comments!

Source: AT&T

4 years ago

LG G Flex headed to Rogers on April 3

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LG G Flex headed to Rogers on April 3

LG G Flex

LG G Flex

$199.99 on a two-year contract

A quick heads-up for folks up in Canada, that LG has today dropped word that Rogers will be exclusively picking up the G Flex. It'll run you for $199.99 on a new, two-year contract when it goes on sale on April 3.

For more on the G Flex, be sure to check out our full review of the AT&T version.

4 years ago

Freemium Rising: Mobile game developers on the 'freemium' trend

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“I think everybody’s happy with free-to-play for now.” That's Kyu Lee, founder of Gamevil, a veteran mobile game developer with more than a decade of experience. They’ve been churning out freemium games — free to download and play, but full of in-app purchases — at a solid clip for years now, resulting in plenty of players and a well-known RPG series.

Will Stallwood, founder of Cipher Prime, is on the other side of the fence, saying, “Having a paywall is almost disgraceful.” Cipher Prime has been carefully crafting paid games since 2008. The music is amazing. The gameplay is varied and polished. The graphics are beautiful. You won’t find ads or purchase prompts anywhere. Playing any of their titles is a pure experience.

On the one side are established developers that are casting a wide net and trying to maintain user loyalty. On the other you find a group of independents trying to maintain the experiential integrity of a game, and leaving players alone once they’ve paid up. Which one is doing it right?

4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S5 yours to try from today at Phones 4U

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Samsung Galaxy S5 yours to try from today at Phones 4U

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Ten stores across the UK offering a sneak peek ahead of pre-orders opening

If you're anxious to see the Samsung Galaxy S5 for yourselves, Phones 4U in the UK might be able to help. Ahead of pre-orders for Samsung's latest and greatest opening there tomorrow, the retailer sends word of demo units in 10 stores across the country for folks to go and get their hot little hands on.

So, where are the 10?

  • Birmingham, Bullring
  • Cardiff, Queens Street
  • Cambridge, Thurrock Lakeside
  • Manchester, Trafford Centre
  • Newcastle, Metrocentre Gateshead
  • Glasgow, Dundee, Overgate Centre
  • Crawley, Southampton
  • London, Westfield White City
  • London, Stratford Westfield
  • London, Oxford Street

If you're close to one of those stores, head on out and take a look! Phones 4U also took the opportunity to remind us that pre-orders for the Galaxy S5 open at 00:01 tomorrow, March 28 on their website.

4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z2 will still be available in the UK in April

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Sony Xperia Z2 will still be available in the UK in April

Xperia Z2

Xperia Z2

Sony working hard to deliver pre-orders made through key partners though demand might not be met across the board

There has been some talk that the new Sony Xperia Z2 may be delayed from its expected April availability in the UK and other locations. The potential issue was highlighted once more by Android Central Forums member, jiggyb21, who received an email from Unlocked-Mobiles declaring stock delays until May. But thankfully, it's not all bad news.

We reached out to Sony and they came back with a slightly less doom-and-gloom outlook:

Xperia Z2 will be available in the UK during April and we are expecting to deliver to all consumers who have placed a pre-order through our key partners. We are working tirelessly to maximise stock levels in April but currently we do not expect to meet the high demand across all our sales channels. Please stay tuned for further information and confirmed retail availability.

So, some folks might not be getting theirs in April, but largely Sony still expects to deliver on time. Since no specifics were mentioned on which sales channels may be, if you're concerned the best course of action is to speak to the retailer you lodged your pre-order with.

The Xperia Z2 was launched back at MWC in February, and there's a lot of folks eager to get their hands on one. For now at least, things are largely unchanged, and April is going to be a very, very busy time.

More: Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on from MWC

4 years ago

Lego Minifigures Online MMO bringing signature blockiness to Android this fall

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Lego Minifigures Online MMO bringing signature blockiness to Android this fall

At GDC 2014, we scoped out a very exciting Lego game coming from Funcom. Unlike most of the mobile Lego games which latch onto a franchise like Batman or Harry Potter, this new multiplayer action game will cover the whole swath of classic Lego settings, like Pirate World, Medieval World, Space World, and lots more.

Here's the gist: you control and switch between three Lego minifigures, each with their own unique abilities. Like most MMOs, you team up with friends, embark on quests, amass loot, and progress each character through ten levels of experience. There are a few twists that makes Lego Minifigures Online particularly interesting. For one, this is going to be fully cross-platform between PC, Android, and iOS when it launches this fall. The demo we had at GDC was primarily on PC, though we did get to sneak a peek at early versions for mobile. The other cool thing is the tie-in with physical Lego figures. You can already go out and buy specialty minifigs in individually wrapped bags, but starting with a certain series, they'll start printing codes on the inside packaging which you can punch into the game to gain access to that character. As much as I'd like to mix and match parts in the game, the Funcom guys opted instead to have highly specialized and unique animations and attacks for every character, which isn't very practical with modular gear.

As a kid I played a ton of Lego, so this is pretty exciting. It looks like Lego Minifigures Online has enough depth to keep adult players interested; defender, striker, and builder roles spread across over 100 characters is a lot to explore. The game is going to be free-to-play, so players can spend in-game stars to unlock new characters, which are acquired through gameplay or in-app purchase. Hit up the Lego Minifigures Online site for more information and update notifications. Any takers?

Aaaaand now I've got Everything is Awesome stuck in my head again.

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