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4 years ago

Google's new Chrome Experiment shows off the mobile web, and will fascinate Tolkien fans

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Google's new Chrome Experiment shows off the mobile web, and will fascinate Tolkien fans

Middle Earth goes mobile
On a chromebook

Middle Earth goes mobile

Web technology and the right browser engine bring the land of dwarves and hobbits to life in the latest Chrome Experiment

If you're a fan of Middle Earth, web technologies, or mobile in general you have to check the latest Chrome Experiment out. It's an interactive map of Middle Earth — a place well-known to readers and viewers of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings — built with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It's magnificent. It's also just the beginning.

Tapping and selecting a location from the map brings up another layer, with parallax scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, and great performance on the desktop, mobile and ChromeOS. Again, this is all built with standard web technologies. 

Finally, each location offers a sort of mini-game, where user input and swiping (or mouse and keyboard action if you're not on a phone or tablet) allow you to outwit trolls, spring forth greenery at Rivendell, or run away from spirits at Dol Guldar. 

This is a serious time-waster, but it also shows what can be done with the right tools and the right browser engine. When you have half an hour or more, you need to check this out from your Android device or any computer with Chrome, Opera or Firefox. Jump past the break for a short trailer.

Journey through Middle Earth Chrome Experiment

Source: Google Developers Blog

4 years ago

Google Wallet Card now available to order, ships in 10-12 days

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Google Wallet Card now available to order, ships in 10-12 days

Google Wallet Card
Google Wallet Card Confirmation
Google Wallet Card Confirmation

Google Wallet Card

One card can be used to access funds from a variety of other cards and accounts

While the NFC-based Google Wallet payment system may not have taken off, Google is taking another swing at things with a physical Google Wallet Card. Yes, this is actually a physical credit card that basically fills the same role as the Google Wallet app tried to do previously, acting as a prepaid debit card that then pulls funds out of any connected account.

The Google Wallet Card is a physical prepaid debit card that allows you to access your Wallet Balance in the real world, at ATMs, banks, and wherever MasterCard® Debit is accepted.

If you're in the U.S. and have the option to get a Google Wallet card, you'll be prompted in the Google Wallet app or on the Google Wallet website, where you'll then have to verify your identity and request the card. Verifying your identity is as simple as giving your name, address, birth date and social security number, but Google already had the necessary information from previous purchases for us to order with just two clicks.

4 years ago

Opera 18 is updated to Chromium 31 and brings a new tablet UI

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Opera 18 is updated to Chromium 31 and brings a new tablet UI

Opera

Opera

A better tablet interface joins the features in the Opera browser, and a new blink engine should make the whole experience faster

Opera has updated their Android application today, and along with a bump to Chromium 31 for the internal browser engine brings an all-new tablet UI and a handful of bug fixes. The new tablet layout isn't just a scaled-up version of the phone app, the folks at Opera say they have tuned every element to take advantage of the larger screen size. Of course, things like off-road mode and the speed dial new tab page are still in place.

The full list of changes:

  • based on chromium 31
  • new UI for tablet devices
  • improvements in search engine list
  • new remote debugging feature (requires new permissions)
  • fixed issue with fullscreen video playback
  • fixed issue with HW back button on Discover
  • fixed issue with viewport size in new tab
  • fixed issue with keybord staying on screen
  • fixed issue with page reload when leaving text input in off-road pages
  • various stabilization and performance improvements

We know plenty of people are big fans of Opera and their business philosophy, and it looks like you'll have a great new version to use. You can grab it at the Google Play link above.

Source: Opera

4 years ago

Google rolls Play Magazines and Currents into Play Newsstand

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Google rolls Play Magazines and Currents into Play Newsstand

Google Play Newsstand
Google Play Newsstand.
Google Play Newsstand.
Google Play Newsstand.
Google Play Newsstand.
Google Play Newsstand.
Android Central
Google Play Newsstand.

Google Play Newsstand

New destination for newspaper, magazine and online content on Google Play

Google has today taken the wraps off Google Play Newsstand, its new app for consuming newspaper and magazine content on mobile devices. Newsstand combines Play Magazines and Google Currents, and is available as an update to the former on the Play Store from today.

For the first time users can subscribe to newspapers as well as magazines, with launch titles including The New York Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Huffington Post. These join the range of magazines already available through the old Google Play Magazines app, as well as web-based content you may have subscribed to through Google Currents. The main "Read Now" section incorporates all this content into a scrolling card-based view, and you can view and manage individual subscriptions from the "My News" and "My Magazines" areas. It's also possible to save individual articles of interest and pin them to the "Bookmarks" section for quick access later on. And naturally, these are synchronized across all your devices.

So Newsstand is supposed to be your one-stop shop for written content on the web, whereas things were split between Currents and Play Magazines before. And the addition of leading newspapers to the mix is an important step for Google, to be sure.

Google says Play Newsstand will be available on devices in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia as an update from Play Magazines in the next few days. Other countries can download it directly from Google Play. Check past the break for more screenshots and Google's introductory video.

4 years ago

Sprint's Samsung Galaxy Note 2 getting Android 4.3, Galaxy Gear support

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Sprint's Samsung Galaxy Note 2 getting Android 4.3, Galaxy Gear support

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

A heads up for you folks rocking the Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note 2 — a software update is headed your way. Sprint has posted the changelog for version PAMK4, which brings Android 4.3 Jelly Bean to the device.

In addition, you'll also be getting improvements for HD voice, Samsung KNOX, and compatibility for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

Sprint notes that it'll be a staggered rollout, so you might not get it first thing. (And with the way updates have been going lately, that's not necessarily a bad thing.)

Source: Sprint; More: Sprint Galaxy Note 2 forums

4 years ago

Qualcomm goes 4K with new Snapdragon 805 processors

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Qualcomm goes 4K with new Snapdragon 805 processors

Qualcomm

Qualcomm

2.5GHz Krait 450 CPUs paired with new, Ultra HD-capable ​Adreno 420 GPU

Mobile chip giant Qualcomm has just announced its new high-end processor, the Snapdragon 805. Superseding the current Snapdragon 800, the 805 ups the ante in terms of both graphical and computational capabilities. The new processor includes a quad-core Krait 450 CPU with speeds of up to 2.5GHz and memory bandwidth of up to 25.6 GB/second (compared to 14.9 GB/s on the current Snapdragon 800).

The new Adreno 420 GPU boasts 40 percent more graphical horsepower, according to Qualcomm's press release, enabling 4K displays on devices as well as the ability to drive Ultra HD content on an external display over a wireless connection. Other highlights for the new GPU include hardware tessellation and geometry shaders — features typically found on high-end PC graphics cards — and hardware 4K HEVC (H.265) decoding for more efficient video playback.

Qualcomm also boasts new tricks for gigapixel-per-second throughput for cameras, along with new low-power sensor processing tricks it says will enable "a wide range of sensor-enabled mobile experiences."

The company says its new chips will begin shipping in devices during the first half of 2014, so there's a chance we might see more at CES 2014 in Las Vegas next January.

4 years ago

Toshiba Excite 7 review

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Toshiba Excite 7 review

Toshiba Excite 7
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.
Toshiba Excite 7.

Toshiba Excite 7

An inexpensive 7-inch tablet with a display and performance worthy of the price tag

Toshiba has a history of keeping a fresh lineup of medium and large Android tablets running alongside its Windows offerings, and the latest in that lineup is the Excite 7. A decidedly lower-end device than the latest refresh of its 10-inch Excite Pro tablet, and not to be confused with the previously-released Excite 7.7, the Excite 7 is a $169 7-inch tablet with one clear vision — sit on store shelves with a great price and a few key specs hoping to sell well.

At this price level you're not going to get any fancy features, bells and whistles or flair, but sometimes that's a good thing. Realizing what you can reasonably do in a tablet for $169, Toshiba has put together a pretty solid package in the Excite 7 that undercuts offerings from other manufacturers by $30 to $80, and that's a big deal for many consumers, especially this holiday season.

Read on past the break and see what the Toshiba Excite 7 has going for it.

4 years ago

Moto G versus Nokia Lumia 625

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Moto G versus Nokia Lumia 625

Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625
Moto G vs Lumia 625

Android Central

Nokia stands tall in the budget smartphone space right now, so how does the Moto G stack up?

The budget smartphone space is an interesting place right now, and Motorola just made a big splash with the launch of the Moto G. It's a different take on the concept of a cheaper Android phone, where low cost doesn't equate to a sub-par experience. It currently stands pretty much alone in the Android space at the around £135-160, but it doesn't mean it's the only option. 

Nokia, once the juggernaut of the mobile phone world, now stands pretty tall in the budget category with some of their Windows Phone 8 devices. Hardware aside, the experience is largely the same on the cheaper phones as it is on the top-of-the-line offerings like the Lumia 1020. So, how does the Moto G stack up in a face off with one of these? We've got the Lumia 625, currently available in the UK for £150, and we're putting it up against Moto's baby. 

4 years ago

Samsung offering U.S. Galaxy Note 3 owners $50 Google Play credit

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Samsung offering U.S. Galaxy Note 3 owners $50 Google Play credit

Galaxy Note 3

Galaxy Note 3

If you've got a U.S. Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung's running a promotion until Jan. 6 that'll allow you to claim $50 of free Google Play credit. Simply hit up the promotion site, enter your details — including phone number, address, email and IMEI — and you'll be able to score $50 credit to use on apps, music, movies or other content on Google Play. The offer is open to all U.S. Galaxy Note 3 devices regardless of when you purchased, but you'll need to sign up before the Jan. 6 cut-off.

And you'll need a valid U.S. Galaxy Note 3 IMEI to complete the process — even if you fake your way through the address and phone number requirement, a non-U.S. IMEI won't work.

Hit up the promotion page to get started.

Source: Samsung Promotion; via: SamMobile

4 years ago

HTC reveals more KitKat update details

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HTC reveals more KitKat update details

HTC One KitKat

HTC One KitKat

HTC One on track to get Android 4.4 in the UK and US by end of January, Droid DNA by end of Q1

HTC has shown remarkable transparency in recent months in letting users know exactly when they can expect Android OS updates for their phones. A couple of weeks back HTC America President Jason Mackenzie revealed the company's 90-day strategy for getting KitKat onto carrier-branded handsets by the end of January, and onto unlocked/developer editions within 30 days.

Now the manufacturer has revealed a little more information update timings through its official Twitter accounts, including additional details on Android 4.3 updates and the upgrade path for Droid DNA owners. First up, HTC UK reaffirmed its commitment to begin its Android 4.4/Sense 5.5 update process by late January. (British HTC One owners started receiving their update to Android 4.3 and Sense 5.5 in the past month.)

HTC USA also addressed the question of Android 4.3 and 4.4 updates for the Verizon HTC One, which yesterday received a small update to its existing 4.2-based firmware. HTC describes this as a "compatibility update," to be followed by a 4.3 OTA in December. The delay to the Android 4.3 rollout on Verizon won't affect the planned 4.4 launch on the carrier in late January, HTC's message added. There's good news for Droid DNA owners too, as HTC says it plans to update the handset to KitKat by the end of Q1 2014, "pending certification from your carrier."

Meanwhile there's no sign of the Android 4.4 update for the Google Play edition HTC One, which HTC said it had delivered to Google late last week.

Source: @HTCUSA, @HTC_UK

4 years ago

Nexus 4 KitKat OTA updates are starting!

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Nexus 4 KitKat OTA updates are starting!

Nexus 4
Nexus 4

Nexus 4

238MB update brings users from 4.3 to 4.4

To end a busy day filled with updates in style, the Nexus 4 OTA to KitKat seems to have begun. We've seen several reports of users getting the new KRT16S build pushed to them this evening — which should end a lot of tension for fans.

Seeing the new build lends credence to the opinion that Google didn't push out an OTA until they had the bugs properly squashed. We have to agree. Also worth noting that these reports come from folks who didn't sideload the factory image earlier in the week.

We're digging for the URL so everyone can join in. Once we find it, we'll be sure to post it here.

Update 11/21: You can get the OTA URLs here.

Via: @fakeninjitsu; Android Central forums

4 years ago

Xbox One SmartGlass app hits Google Play ahead of console release

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Xbox One SmartGlass app hits Google Play ahead of console release

Xbox One SmartGlass

Xbox One SmartGlass

Be ready for the next generation of Xbox

Three days ahead of the retail launch of the latest Xbox, Microsoft has released a new version of its companion Xbox SmartGlass app. Just as before, the Xbox One SmartGlass app provides a second screen experience on your phone or tablet for the Xbox One in your house, giving you access to useful information on the content you're watching, your friends list, game achievements and much more.

You can also use the app to navigate the console's interface with the touchscreen, and enter text with the on-screen keyboard, which can often be drastically faster than using a standard game controller. You can grab a download of the Xbox One SmartGlass app at the Play Store link above, and stare at it solemnly as you wait for your Xbox One to arrive on Friday.

4 years ago

Motorola now offering $0 down and 0% financing for purchases on its online store

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Motorola now offering $0 down and 0% financing for purchases on its online store

Motorola Financing

Motorola Financing

Take 18 months to pay off your brand new Moto X

Motorola is now offering $0 down and 0 percent financing for any order from its website. While it is being called a "credit account" rather than a credit card, the deal seems about the same — make purchases from Motorola's online store and check out with a $0 balance if you're an account holder, and pay it off over time instead. You then have up to 6 or 12 months to pay off your bill (it isn't clear what the dollar threshold for those are), or 18 months to pay if your purchase was over $549 — conveniently the price of an off-contract Moto X.

As is usually the case with credit, you'll be charged at an interest rate of 28.99 percent if you don't meet the terms, so you'll probably want to pay off that customized Moto X before the year and a half runs out. Motorola indicates that the minimum payment per month on purchases will be the total purchase amount divided by the number of months to pay off — $30.50 monthly for a $549 Moto X, for example.

It probably isn't the route that everyone will take to pick up phones directly from Motorola, but it can surely take the sting out of that $549 (or more) price when buying off-contract.

Source: Motorola

4 years ago

Google pushing a bugfix for Android 4.4 KitKat [KRT16S], new factory images available for Nexus devices

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Google pushing a bugfix for Android 4.4 KitKat [KRT16S], new factory images available for Nexus devices

Android

Android

Word has come down from the Android-Build group that new source code for Android 4.4 KitKat is on the way, containing a number of bugfixes.

This new build KRT16S. (The original pushed out was KRT16O).

In addition, new factory images — including binaries — are available for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7s and Nexus 10.

No word yet on exactly what's changed, though we did discover a pretty significant audio bug in the Nexus 5. However, the N5 isn't mentioned with this update.

This could, however, help explain the sluggish push of over-the-air updates for the Nexus devices. 

Update: We've got a couple OTA links for those who aren't seeing any OTA and want to do some sideloading:

Source: Android-Build group

4 years ago

Twitter adding search improvements and filters in latest update

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Twitter adding search improvements and filters in latest update

Twitter

Twitter

Filter results by category, media type and specific people

The latest version of Twitter is focused on helping you find information that matters with refinements to search. Now when opening up a search box and typing in a name, topic or hashtag you'll be given the option to view both "Top Tweets" and "All Tweets." You can also tap the settings-like button next to the search box to refine your search results to show just photos, videos, news and specific sets of people.

Search has always been an area that Twitter has needed work on, considering the crazy amount of data it needs to get through to get relevant information to you with just a keyword search. It looks like the latest version is moving towards making Twitter searches a bit more useful.

The new search features are already available in the latest Twitter Beta release, and are making their way to the wider masses through Google Play "soon" according to Twitter's blog post. You can check for the latest version at the Play Store link above.

Source: Twitter Blog

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