4 years ago

Google+ Photo app now available for all Chromebooks


The Google+ Photos app we saw Google release last June for the Pixel is now available for all Chromebooks

The Google+ Photos app was always able to be installed and "hacked" to work for Chromebooks and computers that weren't the Pixel, but now you can officially load it up and run it on all Chromebooks. The application allows for easy sharing photos from your Chromebook, and is a great front-end for viewing and sorting out your Google+ photo collection. It even starts up when you insert an SD card with pictures into your Chromebook.

Installation is easy, you just click and install from the Chrome Web Store. If you have a large collection of photos on Google+. or plan to build one, and use a Chromebook you will want to give this one a look.

Source: The official Google+ account

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4 years ago

Facebook improves sharing, Open Graph options in latest SDK for Android


Improved developer tools creating a better user experience across apps

Since revealing its new strategy for Facebook as a platform on mobile, it has been making steady improvements to its SDK for Android which lets developers integrate Facebook features into their apps. First up is an improvement to the Facebook sharing experience, which now won't require a Facebook login at the time of sharing assuming you have the Facebook app installed. Users will be quickly redirected to the share menu in the Facebook app, and sent right back to the original app once the item is shared.

Additionally, the latest SDK is making it easier for developers to access and use Facebook's "Open Graph". Developers no longer need to host webpages and can simply use an Object API to insert Open Graph objects into their app. The biggest user-facing change in this SDK update is an improved login UI, which looks more modern and has a simple "Log in with Facebook" button. This change will come without any code changes on behalf of the developer.

Today's updates are pretty important to developers, and most importantly will end up making an improved experience for end users. Be on the lookout for these changes as developers integrate the new SDK into their apps.

Source: Facebook Developers

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4 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Back to school


Some serious prizes await two lucky picture takers this week

We've been getting back into our weekly photo contests, and we're hoping to get even more people involved with a special edition three week long contest this time.

The topic this week is a very fitting one — "back to school". The middle of August is the time when kids are getting ready to head back to grade school, teenagers are heading to high school or college and even adults are getting ready for education be it for themselves or for their children. It's a fun time for some and a not-so-fun time for others, but one thing is certain there are many pictures to be had that can express what "back to school" means to you.

As we teased before, this week's contest has some seriously big prizes to it.

We have two Chromebook Pixel laptops and one of each Google Play edition device, a Galaxy S4 and an HTC One to give away. Two lucky winners from this contest will walk away with both a Pixel and a Google Play edition phone.

We're also giving you more time to enter, given the huge prizes.

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in a post below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll pick a winner in three weeks, Tuesday (September 10) night at 11:59 PM ET, and announce them on the blog with next Wednesday's contest.

Enter this week's photo contest

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4 years ago

T-Mobile outs Nexus 4 OTA, says security fixes coming today


JWR66Y update said to contain security fixes, checks in at 1.8MB

While it isn't the bug-fix 4.3.1 update many are wanting (welcome to the world of owning a Nexus!), T-Mobile has put up an information sheet about the JWR66Y update that they say was released today (August 20th).

We've heard rumor of a small OTA for the Nexus 4 that would be coming very soon, so we're not completely surprised, but seeing confirmation from T-Mobile -- who carries the Nexus 4 in stores and online -- is always a good thing.

The update itself is said to be about 1.8MB in size, and should deliver some unknown security fixes. There is no word on the update for other devices (though I've heard all current Nexus devices should get it) or Google Play editions, but we imagine that when security is involved Google will push things as best they can.

Anyone out there seeing the update today? If so, holler out in the comments and let us know.

Source: T-Mobile

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4 years ago

Google Play Services 3.2 rollout complete


All users running Android 2.2 or higher should now have access to the latest version of Google Play services for their device

The latest Google Play Services (version 3.2; exact build varies by device) has completed its rollout and should be available for all Android users running Froyo or higher. This is good news for end-users, as we've talked before about how this wrests control of Android features away from manufacturers and carriers, and gives it back to Google. With more resources to devote to Android, we're glad to see Google have a bit more say in the features everyone gets to have and enjoy.

Speaking of features, Google Play Services 3.2 brings a few new ones. We've seen and talked about the improvements to location services, which allows things like Android Device Manager to work without destroying your battery. Like wise for the new Photo Sphere viewer and its compass viewing mode. Both are subtle, but nice little additions.

The really cool stuff in the latest Google Play Services is for developers. The Fused Location Provider (a "smart" way to get location that uses the most power-efficient method) supports a low-power mode option for those times you need to get a users location, as well as supporting mock locations for easier and better testing. The geofencing APIs have been updated, so devices with supporting hardware (the Nexus 4 was used as an example) can use hardware-based geofencing to consume "significantly less" battery, and a snapshot feature has come for the maps API that lets developers grab an image of the current map for those times when an interactive map isn't needed. Also, new options and support for Google+ sign-in, analytics, and InstantBuy are included.

Most of us will just enjoy less power-hungry location services and the compass mode in the Photo Sphere viewer, but developers and those who are curious should visit the source links for all the details.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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4 years ago

New Motorola Droids available from Verizon today


Today's the official street date for two of Motorola and Verizon's new Droid phones, the Droid Ultra and Droid MAXX — and posters on the Android Central forums are already picking up their handsets. The devices are going on sale in brick-and-mortar VZW stores today, and you can also buy them online with an Aug. 27 shipping date.

The Droid Ultra and Droid MAXX are Moto's flagship devices for Verizon, with 5-inch displays and similar internals to the Moto X. They also boast all the software features from Motorola's customizable handset, including active notifications, voice controls and Motorola Assist.

The smaller Droid Mini is listed as shipping by Aug. 29, though some readers are reporting it's already available to buy in certain stores.

We're currently putting the new Droids through their paces, but you can find more on the Droid Ultra in our hands-on feature and initial review.

Source: Verizon, Android Central forums

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4 years ago

1 Minute Survey: How many times per day do you use your phone for the "basics"?


We're in the process of cooking up another sweet Talk Mobile infographic (this one based on our social and communications week) and in doing so we need to reach out to the community with one more big question.

Specifically, we're looking at how many times per day you use your phone to do the basics... send a message or email, check what time it is, add an appointment to your calendar, etc. Easy stuff.

The survey will take you only a minute, so hit the link below and getter done and we'll love you long time.

Take the Survey!

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4 years ago

Google Maps and Waze updated with crossover features


Maps gets Waze incident reports; Waze gets Google Search, Street View in map editor

Following Google's acquisition of Waze back in June, we're starting to see the first signs of cross-pollination between Google's Maps and the collaborative navigation app. From today, Waze-reported incidents are starting to appear in Google Maps on mobile, and Waze users can also benefit from new Google features in their app.

Accidents, construction, road closures and other incidents reported by Waze are appearing in Google Maps for Android and iOS in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the U.S.

Wazers are also getting a couple of new features from Google. Google Search will be added to the Android and iOS versions of the Waze app, and the Waze map editor now includes Google Street View data.

It's likely we'll see more co-operation between the Waze and Maps teams as time goes on, however at the time of the acquisition Google made it clear that the two teams will continue to operate separately.

Source: Google LatLong Blog

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4 years ago

MHL 3.0 spec unveiled with 4K support


MHL, the standard for sending high-definition video from portable devices, has today announced its version 3.0 specification. The highlights in MHL 3.0 include 4K video support (up to 2160p30) and the ability to use input devices and other peripherals — mice, keyboards, touchscreens, etc. — thanks to a higher-speed two-way link.

Also listed in the new spec are charging at 10W, 7.1 Dolby surround sound, HDCP 2.2 content protection and backwards compatibility with the MHL 1 and 2 standards. The standard will be "connector agnostic," according to the MHL group, with the ability to operate over as few as five pins.

The full MHL 3.0 specification will be available to download in early September. There's no indication as to when we might see the first smartphones and tablets with support for the new MHL standard, but as the spec has just been finalized, it's unlikely we'll see anything in the immediate future.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy NX now available in the UK


Android-powered 4G LTE mirrorless camera retails for £1,299

Around a month after we first got wind of the Samsung Galaxy NX's UK pricing, the Android-powered mirrorless camera is now available to purchase in the UK. Brits can pick up the Galaxy NX from outlets including Jessops, PC World and Currys, where it's available with an 18-55mm OIS kit lens for a whopping £1,299 ($2,033). Of course, the Galaxy NX is no ordinary interchangeable-lens camera -- it's also packing 4G LTE connectivity, a 4.8-inch HD display and a software suite including Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and Samsung's TouchWiz UI.

If you want a professional-class Android-powered camera, this is where it's at for the moment -- but it's not going to come cheap.

More: Samsung Galaxy NX video walkthrough

Source: Currys, Jessops; via: TNW

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4 years ago

UK supermarket Tesco reportedly working on cheap tablet


British supermarket chain Tesco is reportedly reportedly working on its own-branded tablet computer, which will compete with the likes of the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire. The news comes from UK-based newspaper The Sunday Times, which says the tablet will retail around the £100 mark -- significantly cheaper than most Android tablets -- and come with built-in support for Blinkbox, the streaming service acquired by Tesco in 2011.

Though not specifically mentioned in the report, the low retail price and streaming focus suggests that the tablet will likely run Android in some form or other.

The move could be seen as way for Tesco to claw back revenue lost through declining physical media sales, while also expanding into a potentially lucrative market. The supermarket's prominence in the UK would present it with ample opportunity to get its new tablet in front of shoppers.

Source: The Times (Paywall); via: The Independent; Thanks for the tip, John!

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4 years ago

CM team to offer CyanogenMod account to track your lost phone, new dual-releases planned


Big news from the CyanogenMod team this evening. They are introducing a CyanogenMod Account service to help track and remotely wipe lost or stolen phones, and to help on the security front they will be moving to a dual-release of stable ROMs.

The first bit is pretty self-explanatory. They are building their own service that offers the device tracking and remote wipe we see from Google in the new Android Device Manager service. They state the existing services are not secure because company employees or "malevolent attackers" can access your location data without your permission. The optional (and free) service will be maintained by CyanogenMod, and they will be putting up privacy policy and users can learn more about the service on their What is a CyanogenMod Account page.

The second bit is interesting as well. Previously, CM ROMs were signed with "test" keys — generic keys that ship with the Android SDK. In the near future, they will be moving to a dual-release where a User branch is signed with private keys, locking down the system and bringing it in line with the Android security model. For folks who will want to build themes and edit apps, the test key releases will continue as they are now. This should allow users who want a secure setting to have it, and users who want to modify and tinker still can do so.

These changes are coming soon, but won't be included as part of the nightly builds. For more information, visit the official source below.

Source: CyanogenMod

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4 years ago

Motorola Droid Ultra: First look video and pictures


We've found the Droids, but we're not sure yet if they're the ones you're looking for

Verizon's Motorola Droid Ultra hits stores tomorrow, August 20th, and we've got our hands on the device a little early for you guys to look at. For all intents and purposes, the Droid Ultra is a larger, more plasticky and generally more Verizon-ized version of the Moto X with most of the same DNA (no, not that other phone) inside.

In general, you're getting the same software experience as the Moto X — plus some extra Verizon bloat — wrapped in a different shell, hitting the same price point to boot. Hang on after the break for a few more impressions, hands-on video and several pictures of the middle entry into the latest Droid lineup on Verizon.

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4 years ago

Custom engraving won't be available on the Moto X at launch


A little bit of disappointing news for those who were hoping for a bit of custom engraving on their Moto X, at least initially. Motorola has confirmed to us that the option won't be available when the phone and its Moto Maker custom designer go live later this week. "We love this feature. We're going to make it happen," a Moto spokeswoman told us this evening. We'll just have to wait a bit. No ETA was given.

Moto X will be available on AT&T starting Friday, and the carrier currently has an exclusive on the Moto Maker customization. (Verizon will get it later this year, it says.) All the custom colors we showed you in our preview last week will be available, as will a custom boot message. If you want engraving, you'll have to wait.

And, actually, waiting might not be the worst idea in the world. There are 18 design options currently available for Moto X, but it'll gain more later this year — including a wood back.

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4 years ago

Big YouTube app update brings new UI features


Major update continues Google's new application look and feel, brings a unique multi-window view 

There's a big app update for YouTube beginning its slow rollout today, and while there are the standard bug fixes, the focus is on app design. Keeping with the current look and feel of Google's applications (forget all about Google Voice for a bit, Google seems to have) you have your sliding menu pane on the left, cards everywhere and a new multi-window feature that lets you keep one video playing while you look through your feed or search. While there is no official change log on Google Play just yet, somehow I was lucky enough to get the update today and here's what I'm seeing.

  • The new "hamburger" menu
  • A card based UI for your feed and search list
  • History, playlists, favorites and uploads are now at the top of the menu for easy access
  • A new icon
  • The ability to search for playlists
  • The new multi-window display

The majority of the changes are self-explanatory, for the new multi-window trick is something that needs explaining a bit. While playing a video, you can shrink it down to the bottom right corner by swiping down, tapping the down arrow overlay, or by pressing the back button. The video will continue to play while you're sent back to the UI, where you can look through the app and check your feed, look through a search list, or do just about anything else in the app while it continues to play. If you want rid of it, just swipe it away or drag it up to return it to its original position. 

As usual, this is a Google staged rollout. That means you may be waiting a bit until it's time for your account to see the new update, or it may be there waiting for you right now. (Of course, you can also download it from one of the hundreds of file mirrors that are already posted, providing you trust side-loading after the last security scare.) It's a great update, and worth the wait. See a gallery full of screenshots and pictures after the break.

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