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3 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Night' winner!

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Nighttime doesn't have to be boring or bland, and this week's contest entries show that well

The photo contests keep on coming, and each week we receive dozens of fantastic entries. This week we were looking for "night" photographs, and there was no shortage of interesting pictures and perspectives taken in very low light situations.

This week took an extre-special picture to win as we were tasked with picking just a single photo to win an unlocked BLU Life One X phone. Hit the break and see who won this week and what picture got them the prize.

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3 years ago

Google Currents update kills Google Currents - long live Newsstand!

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Today's update wipes Currents from your device and points you at Newsstand

There's an update for Google Currents slowly pushing out, and it has a very simple change. When you install it, it will direct you to install [Newsstand(http://www.androidcentral.com/google-rolls-play-magazines-and-currents-play-newsstand).

All your Currents subscriptions are transferred over, and the Currents app itself is shrunk down to a stub, removed from your application drawer, and has all of it's data erased. The only thing you can do with it is uninstall it, which you probably should do.

Getting started with Newsstand is easy — especially with all your Currents subscruptions migrated over. One that you'll want to be sure to subscribe to is Android Central, which is pretty easy to do right from the Newsstand app via a quick search for us, or click right here if you're reading this on your computer.

Folks that want to keep using Currents should skip this update, of course, but with so much of the app done server-aide, chances are it will stop working eventually. You'll need to figure out what service you want to go with when that happens, and be prepared.

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3 years ago

Lynda.com launches redesigned app for phones and tablets, enables offline viewing

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App responds to the size of your device, lets you create playlists and download courses for offline viewing

Lynda.com, an online education company, has just launched a brand new version of its Android app, bringing a fresh look and a bunch of new features. If you're not familiar with Lynda.com, it's a service that gives you amazingly in-depth courses in a wide variety of topics for a single monthly subscription. The most noticeable change today is a redesign to work great on both phones and tablets in a single app, with proper use of design that makes the most of whatever screen size you're viewing courses on.

The new app also makes it easy to switch between devices and save your position in a course, as well as share courses to social networks. If you want to save on data, you can download courses for offline viewing, as well as create and manage playlists right from your phone or tablet.

The newly redesigned app is free in the Google Play Store at the link above or from the Amazon Appstore as well — you'll need a Lynda.com subscription to make the most of the service, but you can still get a good taste for the new app for free before you choose to get in on all of the content.

Via: Lynda.com

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3 years ago

Visa and MasterCard throw support behind NFC payments via Host Card Emulation in KitKat

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Simpler NFC payments with a wide variety of apps could be coming in the near future

The potential for NFC payments to grow has been increased with the move to Android 4.4 KitKat, and now both Visa and MasterCard are showing support. Using a new feauture of KitKat called "Host Card Emulation" (HCE), both Visa and MasterCard have announced they will be supporting various NFC payment apps with cloud-backed payment infrastructures. Rather than relying on a phone's "secure element" for storing card data, HCE now allows the payment information to be validated and stored off-site, enabling for more NFC payment options.

Visa plans to quickly expand its "Visa Ready Program" to include any app that wants to interact with its payment network using HCE on a KitKat device. Visa Ready provides tools, standards and services to ensure apps work seamlessly with the Visa payment network. MasterCard will also provide secure cloud-based processing of payments to be paired with custom phone-side software to interact with its network. Details on MasterCard's implementation are expected at some point in the first half of 2014.

While HCE has the initial benefit of opening up Google Wallet to more devices without bothering with a secure element, the interest expressed by Visa and MasterCard show we could be in store for many more NFC payment apps on Android in the near future. Considering KitKat still has relatively low adoption there really isn't any rush, but once more devices push up to Android 4.4 this could turn into an interesting space.

Source: Visa; MasterCard

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3 years ago

Xiaomi kickstarts their global plans with launch in Singapore

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Chinese smartphone powerhouse Xiaomi has long had eyes on the global market, and today they started making progress in expanding outside of the People's Republic with their first launch in Singapore. ZDNet reports that Xiaomi's mid-range Redmi Android handset is now on sale in Singapore for S$169 (that's around $134 USD), while the flagship Mi3 is expected on March 7 for S$419 ($332 USD).

The Redmi is launching on all three of Singapore's carriers — M1, SingTel Mobile, StarHub — and while their combined 8 million subscribers pale in comparison to even the smallest carriers in China, it's a start for Xiaomi's global plans. To celebrate the launch, Xiaomi customized its MIUI interface with "Singapore-centric app icons and a wallpaper of the city's skyline."

Xiaomi recently poached former Google Android VP of Product Hugo Barra to head up their expansion plans, and Barra was on hand in Singapore along with Xiaomi co-founder Lin Bin. Xiaomi's set up a service center for local customers and will soon be opening a regional corporate office and distribution center to serve the whole of southeast Asia with localized support and features.

For now, Xiaomi is focusing on Asia, targeting Singapore's neighbor Malaysia for their next launch. Jumping the Pacific Ocean for the Americas is apparently not in the near-term plans, though having gone from their first launch three years ago to 15 million devices last year and a target of 40 million sales this year, Xaiomi is certainly on a roll — the rest of the globe can't be too far off, eh?

Source: ZDNet

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3 years ago

Google maps out the nine US cities they're considering for the next Google Fiber deployments

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Google Fiber is the sort of thing that nerds lust over — who wouldn't want access to gigabit speeds? — and today they've laid out the nine cities they're considering for the next expansion of the network. So far Google has rolled out Google Fiber in Kansas City (both the Kansas City in Missouri and the one in Kansas) and Provo, Utah, as well as committed to launching in Austin, Texas.

But who is next? There are nine cities Google is considering across the nation:

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • San Jose, California
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

San Jose makes sense, being in Google's back yard, and Salt Lake City and San Antonio are right nearby existing Google Fiber deployments (Provo and Austin, respectively), so there's already local support infrastructure in place. Of course, part of Google's plan in announcing this is to keep potential customers in the loop, but more importantly they want to galvanize said potential customers into pushing their municipalities to offer the kind of support to Google Fiber has enjoyed in Provo, Kansas City, and Austin. That's sure to ruffle some feathers in the cable industry, but given the current state of the competition, we'll take whatever feather ruffling we can get.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Meizu and BQ announced as Ubuntu smartphone partners

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More devices from other 'household names' to come in 2015

Canonical, the folks behind the Ubuntu project, has announced their initial hardware partners for the Ubuntu smartphone launch. BQ of Spain and the Chinese giant Meizu have signed on, and will both be delivering products running Ubuntu in 2014.

In a live-broadcast event this morning, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth made it clear that they wanted their initial partners to be specialists at penetrating the emerging markets. That means low-cost handsets are the goal, and while we don't know much about what BQ will be offering we do know that Meizu plans to build an Ubuntu version of the MX3 — which currently runs Android. He went on to say that both BQ and Meizu are a perfect match for Ubuntu

These are two great companies. Two Fiesty companies. Two companies that are great for Ubuntu

We have no details on availibility or pricing, or where these phones will be sold. Shuttleworth has spoken before that Canonical has excellent carrier support and backing, and that he wants Ubuntu smartphones available everywhere. We're going to catch up with Canonical at MWC, and see what else we can learn.

More: Ubuntu

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3 years ago

Four indie games set to strike it big on Android

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Indie game development is where many of the most exciting Android games come from nowadays. Sure, we all love big releases from Electronic Arts, Sega, and the like. But so many today’s most popular mobile games (including Flappy Bird) came from small development studios or even individual creators.

We caught wind of several exciting indie games during the recent Apps World event in San Francisco. Let’s Duel is a motion-controlled sword fighting game that you can get right now. In the near future, we’ll also be playing the eccentric and beautiful running game Mr. Runner 2, a match-3 game with actual controllable characters called Puzzle Raiders, and Zato – a slashing game starring a blind swordsman. See them in action after the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S5 could use 'side touch' camera button

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Touch-sensitive area of chassis might work as a shutter button, new camera modes also reported

In the run up to next Monday's Galaxy S5 launch event in Barcelona, a few more details about the upcoming Samsung flagship are starting to trickle out online. Today Samsung fansite SamMobile, which has previously unveiled portions of the GS5's software, says it's gotten hold of some details about the handset's camera capabilities. Echoing earlier rumors, the blog says the GS5 will feature a 16-megapixel camera, as well as 4K recording at 30 frames per second and 1080p at 60fps.

But more interestingly, there's a claim that the Galaxy S5 will feature a new technology called "side touch." A touch-sensitive on the lower right side of the case will work like a capacitive shutter key, though its use will apparently be limited to certain camera modes. The "side touch" feature could give users a more natural way to take photos, and it's also possible that Samsung might choose to use this touch-sensitive area in other apps outside of the camera experience.

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3 years ago

New Samsung ads skewer iPhone and iPad

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Samsung has something of a mixed track record when it comes to commercials — ranging from the cool and nostalgic to the surreal and just kinda creepy — but the company shows strong form with its latest TV spots for the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. Poking fun at arch-rival Apple's iPhone and iPad, Samsung actually does a decent job of showcasing both devices' strengths over the iOS-based competition — "two things on screen at once, versus up to one thing on screen at once."

Check out the Tab Pro spot above — a riff on this iPad "pencil" ad, by the way — and head past the break for the second ad, featuring LeBron James on a Galaxy Note 3.

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3 years ago

HTC M8 leaks out in full render form, looks like an HTC One

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Dual cameras seen again, metal appears to extend round the sides

Just 24 hours removed from the announcement of its launch event, we're seeing a full leaked render of the HTC M8 courtesy of @evleaks. If you're thinking it looks a little familiar, then you're absolutely right. Oh, and this particular one is in gold, if you like that sort of thing.

Taking a closer look at what we're seeing, there is a lot that's familiar. Boomsound speakers out front and the same overall design language as the current HTC One. There's nothing wrong with that, since the HTC One is a pretty darn handsome thing. The dual rear cameras we've seen in previous leaks are present and correct, as is a dual-tone LED flash. What lacks still is any actual solid purpose for those dual cameras.

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3 years ago

The best Muzei live wallpaper extensions

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Freshen up your home screen with these add-ons for Muzei

Roman Nurik's Muzei live wallpaper brings a new piece of fine art to your home screen every day. But that's only the beginning — Muzei is also infinitely expandable through its extension system, allowing developers to bring content from all kinds of sources to the app. We've been digging through the Google Play Store in recent days — as well as looking at readers' suggestions — and we've come up with a list of some of the best out there.

Check past the break to take a look!

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3 years ago

Microsoft OneDrive goes live, adds Dropbox like way to get free space

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Android app gets camera backups in the process

A quick heads up for anyone using Microsoft's brand of cloud storage, that today sees the big switch over to OneDrive. The Android app has been updated to reflect the new name and add camera backups, and you can now earn free space in a Dropbox style fashion by referring folks to boost your own GBs.

The big name change came about following legal action involving UK TV broadcaster BSkyB, and so Microsoft has been forced to remove the reference to sky from it's cloud locker. There's a bunch of other stuff included in the big changeover that affects folks on other platforms, and our buddies over at Windows Phone Central have the handle on what's going down.

Source: Microsoft

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3 years ago

Galaxy Note 3 update to fix third-party accessory support rolling out now, starting in Poland

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Update also addresses issues with writing to external SD cards introduced in the previous update

Following up on an odd bug in the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update that broke compatibility with some third-party accessories, a new update to address the problem has started rolling out just a few weeks after Samsung claimed it was working on a fix. As is usually the case, things are kicking off in Europe on the quad-core Exynos version (N9005) of the handset, specificially those sold in Poland and Russia. Users in those countries are seeing build number XXUENB3 pulled down to their phones with a normal OTA update.

On top of a fix for third-party accessories, the update also reportedly fixes issues with writing to external SD cards that was introduced in the update as well. Folks here in the U.S. with Qualcomm-based Galaxy Note 3 variants from carriers will likely have to wait a little while for the update to pass testing and jump through the proper hoops, but we wouldn't expect it to take too long.

Source: SamMobile

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3 years ago

US Cellular Galaxy Note 3 also gets KitKat Feb. 19, says these docs

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Another staggered rollout begins February 19 for KitKat on the US Cellular Note 3

The US Cellular Galaxy S4 won't be the only Samsung phone on USCC getting a KitKat update tomorrow. These docs say that the carrier's Galaxy Note 3 also has the new hotness coming.

Like the Galaxy S4 update, it's a stanged rollout that is expected to be 100 percent complete in 10 days. Also like the S4, the preloaded apps Daily Perks and MobiTiles are getting pulled out of the operating system, but will be available for download from Google Play.

To make sure you're ready, you need to be on the latest stock firmware, have a Google account and be able to connect to Samsung's FOTA (Firmware Over The Air) update server. If you have any issues, starting tomorrow (Feb. 19) you can visit a USCC location and they'll get you updated with that magic file.

Thanks, Anon!

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