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3 years ago

BBM bests 1 million installs in its first day on Android

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We're getting our first look at the popularity of the recently released BBM for Android. Fresh out of the gate, the Google Play listing has placed the app in the 1 million to 5 million category. Those are total installations, and not "current" installs, so you've got to keep those numbers in context. Still. More than 1 million installs — and potentially as many as 5 million (we've got an e-mail in seeking more specific numbers) in a day is nothing to sneeze at.

Additionally, BBM's garnered more than 87,000 star reviews on Google Play — with the vast majority a full five stars.

A pretty big caveat, though — remember that there's a waiting list. So you can install the app, but you might not be able to use it just yet.

It's also worth keeping in mind that BBM doesn't work on nearly 30 percent of existing Android phones. BBM runs on Android 4.x, which as of the beginning of October made up 69 percent of active devices, according to the Android platform versions chart.

But either way, it's pretty damned impressive for BlackBerry — and for what many of us consider a dying platform.

Update: BlackBerry has made it official — more than 10 million installs on iOS and Android. We don't get any more of a breakdown than that, but BBM's already climbing the charts.

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3 years ago

Every podcast we've ever done — all in the Android Central app!

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We're suckers for nostalgia. And so today we're taking a look back at our 156 episodes (not counting a few special editions, mind you) of the Android Central Podcast!

And the easiest way to listen has got to be the official Android Central App! You can download or stream, right on your phone, at your leisure. 

It's a gas to listen to those early episodes. Give 'em a go if you've only recently joined us. And thanks for listening!

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3 years ago

SwiftKey keyboard half-price for one day only

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SwiftKey celebrates five years of Android phones with 50 percent off deal

Popular third-party keyboard SwiftKey can be had for half the usual price today, in celebration of five years since the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, launched in the U.S. That means depending on your location, you can pick up one of the best aftermarket keyboards out there for $1.99, £1.49 or €1.99.

SwiftKey's also pushing ahead with the next major version of the app, which adds more keyboard layouts for easier operation on tablets and larger smartphones. Check out our hands-on preview at the link below.

Also see: Hands-on with SwiftKey 4.3 beta

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3 years ago

New version of Google Play Store app pushing out, brings pull-out menu and little else

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No secret KitKat changes came with today's Google Play store update

You may have noticed a new look in your Google Play app this evening, as the 4.4 update is rolling out to users. There's not a lot to talk about with changes, because the only thing we're able to see different is the new hamburger menu is now implemented in the app, leading to a more consistent feel across Google's closed and proprietary applications.

This does affect users who still have a menu button on their device, as now instead of opening the overflow the menu button only opens a window with a "settings" and "help" entry, while the rest of the shortcuts are in the drawer. Other than that, it's the same Play store app you're used to, with the same wish list screen, my apps pages, and shopping menu as always.

If you haven't received the update, there are a couple things you can try. There are (as always) mirrors floating around out there, but if you're not keen on trusting a file that updates a system app when you don;t know where ti comes from, we found a few ways that ended up forcing the updates here.

  • Just reboot. That's how Andrew was able to get the update pushed to him.
  • Uninstall updates for Google play in settings > applications. This worked for Alex.
  • Clear cache and data for Google Services Framework in your settings, then reboot (advanced). This is what I had to do.

Or just wait it out, because you're not really missing anything except a cleaner app navigation system. We've got a handful of screenshots after the break.

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3 years ago

BBM has an annoying persistent notification — but you might not want to turn it off

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That persistent icon is there for a very good reason, and it's not going to get 'fixed' any time soon

One of the biggest gripes from people who tried BBM during the original failed launch was that you had to live with a persistent notification in your status bar. BlackBerry responded with a setting in the beta version — which found its way into today's actual launch — that allows you to turn off that nagging notification in your status bar.

But you probably want to leave it alone — if you actually want to get messages, that is.

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3 years ago

AT&T U-verse opens up over 100 live TV channels to Android users

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Just 20 channels available for streaming when outside your home network, however

Building on the announcement earlier this month that it would be bringing live TV streaming to mobile devices, AT&T U-verse has just announced that Android users now have access to over 100 channels in its app. The service lets U-verse TV subscribers authenticate within its app on either a phone or tablet and have access to live TV along with On Demand programming and the ability to manage your DVR remotely.

There is a caveat, however. The quoted 100 live TV channels are only available when streaming on your home network, and the number of available channels dips to about 20 when you're out-and-about. We can likely blame this on media rights holders, but it still stinks to see such a pared-down offering out of the house where you're most likely to take advantage of such a service.

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3 years ago

A reminder: BBM only works on one device at a time

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It's 2013, the era of the cloud. But for whatever reason — it really doesn't matter why — BlackBerry's still stuck in a one-device frame of mind.

We live in a world of multiple screens. Some of us use more than one phone. More likely, however, is the combination of using a phone and a tablet. Being able to access your data anywhere is the crux of everything Google — and therefore Android — does. Apple's stumbled with iCloud, but damned if it's not trying. And for all its faults in the past, even Microsoft had this one figured out long ago with its "Three screens and the cloud" strategy

And then there's BlackBerry. BBM — BlackBerry Messenger — is finally available for iOS and Android. Sort of. You can download the app, then get on a waiting list, as BlackBerry's ramping things up slowly. But know this: You can only use one BBM ID on one device at a time. One ID, one phone. Or one tablet. 

And not at all (yet — it's coming) on a desktop or laptop computer.

Anyhoo. This isn't a surprise to anyone who's used BBM before. (Or the popular WhatsApp, for that matter.) But for those of us used to accessing our conversations on any connected device, it's a bit of a shock.

And it's really not how things work in 2013. 

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3 years ago

Official BBM how-to videos show the ropes to new users

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Got BBM on Android? Here are the basics.

BBM is starting to get (kinda-sorta) rolled out today on Android, and to get folks acclimatized, BlackBerry has posted a few how-to videos on their YouTube channel. Videos show how to manage groups, how read/delivered receipts work, handling multi-person chat, checking status updates, sharing files, and adding contacts.

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3 years ago

BBM for Android finally here today ... later ... eventually ... NOW!

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Some will be waitlisted when app is available this afternoon

Update: OK, folks. The app is (mostly) live. Go ahead and get on the list.

OK, folks. Here's the deal. BBM for Android — that's BlackBerry's proprietary messaging system — is finally going to be publicly available later today, BlackBerry announced in a blog post.

Only, things aren't quite that simple.

Here's the deal: BlackBerry is going to release it in Google Play and in Samsung's own app store in a few select locations. (Yes, Samsung has its own app store.) If you've already registered with BlackBerry somehow, you'll be good to go and BBM should work. If you've yet to sign up, you'll be able to today — and you'll be placed in waiting list. No telling how long that list will be.

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3 years ago

Remastered Sonic 2 for Android among SEGA winter line-up

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Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed also coming to Android this winter

Veteran games publisher SEGA has announced its winter line-up of mobile titles, which includes a remastered version of fan-favorite Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Android. Like the original Sonic and Sonic CD, the remastered Sonic 2 will feature upgraded audio and visuals, and 60fps gameplay. Release is scheduled for sometime in November.

Four other SEGA titles are coming to mobile this winter, though three — Demon Tribe, Go Dance and Rhythm Thief & The Paris Caper — will be skipping Android and heading to iOS only. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed brings transformable vehicles and four-player online and local multiplayer to the kart-racing series. The title will be heading to both Android and iOS, though there's no firm release window just yet.

Presser's after the break.

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3 years ago

Facebook is both herping and derping this morning

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It's not just you. Facebook's having issues this morning, returning any number of errors on mobile as well as the old-fashioned World Wide Web.

Our suggestion? Hit us up on Google+. Or, alternatively, go outside, or read a book. Have a real conversation with an actual person. Ahhhhh, those were the days, right?

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: One Today, Final Fantasy V, Re-Volt: Classic and more!

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Another great grouping of apps for you to check out this weekend

While all of this impending Nexus and KitKat news may be taking all of the spotlight in the Android world, we're still carving out some time for the Apps of the Week. Each Saturday we get the writers here at Android Central to tell us about an app that they've been using in the last week. No matter the genre, styling or overall popularity of the app, we just want to show off what the folks here at AC have been using on their own devices.

This week we have another nice grouping of apps, including a way to donate to charity, a few great games and some odds-and-ends. Read along with us after the break, see how this week's picks stack up against the rest and maybe you'll come away with a few new apps to try this weekend.

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3 years ago

Shooting game Aces of the Luftwaffe gets new campaign and plane

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This free-to-play shooter is even better with new night time battles and a skilled new pilot

You might not think that the shoot-em-up genre and the free to play business model would mix all that well. Yet somehow German developer has crafted a shmup called Aces of the Luftwaffe that is both fun and free. Set during World War II and featuring a charming retro art style, Aces will instantly appeal to fans of the genre and especially Capcom’s classic 194X series of shooters.

Handy Games has just updated Aces of the Luftwaffe with loads of new content and fixes. Head past the break for a trailer and our full impressions of the new content.

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3 years ago

Chromecast Android app now available internationally

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But the device itself is still U.S.-only

Good news for anyone outside the U.S. who's managed to import a Chromecast into their country. We're hearing reports that the accompanying Android app can now be downloaded through Google Play by international users, and we've confirmed that that's the case in the UK. (AC readers have chimed in saying they're seeing it in many other countries, so it appears all regional restrictions on the app may have been lifted.)

Previously the Chromecast app, like the dongle, was unavailable to all outside the U.S. Unfortunately the device itself is still cannot be purchased from the UK Google Play Store, though the app's new international availability may signal possible changes ahead.

Thanks, Gary! 

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3 years ago

PSA: We're up and running with Pulse once more

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Just a quick heads up for those of you who rock Android Central on the Pulse News app. We had a little hiccup with our feed earlier this week. But we've got new hamsters in the wheels, and everything's feeding smoothly now. We apologize for the disruption in service and any inconvenience this might have caused you. 

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