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3 years ago

Chrome Beta to add web app 'install to homescreen' option in version 31 [update: it's live]

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A more seamless experience for web apps on mobile

Update: The latest version of Chrome Beta has just been pushed out in the Play Store, including this new web app functionality along with a refreshed "new tab" page that loads faster.

Original story: Although it isn't available for download just yet, version 31 of Chrome Beta for Android will bring a new option to pin web apps to your home screen. The so-called "install to homescreen" option will let web app developers make apps that identify properly as being able to pin to your home screen, and then launched in a full-screen "app mode." The option to pin these apps will be found in the main menu, as shown above.

You already have the ability to pin bookmarks to your home screen that open up individual sites, but the difference here is that you will be able to add these apps directly from the page and have them open up differently than your normal web page. These full-screen experience will be more akin to native apps, will show up in the task switcher separate from your regular Chrome browser instance and won't have the standard browser UI around them.

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3 years ago

Facebook Home opens up to show media from Flickr, Tumblr and others

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Multiple content sources can now populate your home or lock screens

Facebook is rolling out a new feature to its Android beta testing group that enables the ability to add other media content sources to Facebook Home or your lock screen. The ability to set Facebook Home as just your lock screen and not primary launcher isn't new, but being able to customize what media sources populate it is. Now when setting up Home, you can choose to sign in and add Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram accounts to the service.

After setting up your accounts, you will now see a mixture of photos from all of the services you've selected on your lock or home screens, rather than just content from your Facebook friends. You'll be able to "like" or comment on the pictures and simply hit the "view on" button to open the media in your browser as well.

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3 years ago

O2 UK customers experiencing network outage

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Third widespread outage in 18 months for the UK carrier

British mobile network O2 is experiencing a major service disruption this evening, with users on Twitter reporting trouble using the operator's voice and data network.

We've confirmed that O2 seems to be experiencing issues using a SIM of our own — for us, the data network was dead, while texts and calls were working. Other O2 subscribers are tweeting about more widespread problems, however. The network's official Twitter account is offering its apologies to affected customers, and the O2 service status page confirms an "intermittent issue," which it says its engineers are monitoring.

It's the third high-profile network disruption for O2 in the past 18 months. In July 2012 users experienced up to 24 hours of downtime due to a software error, which resulted in compensation being offered to customers. A similar issue emerged last October, affecting some 10 percent of subscribers.

If you're on O2 in the UK and have been affected by the outage, shout out in the comments. 

More: @O2_UK, O2 service status

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3 years ago

ZTE to bring Grand S and Nubia 5 to the US market Oct. 5

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Two competitively-priced unlocked handsets coming to the US

A full 10 months after it was announced, ZTE is finally ready to bring the Grand S, and another device the Nubia 5, to the US market. Following launches around the world — and even on Sprint in the US under a different name — this is the same Grand S we've seen before. We're looking at a 5-inch 1080p display in an extremely thin chassis, powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 1780mAh battery and with a 13MP camera.

The Nubia 5 is a new device, and shares the same 5-inch 1080p screen, Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and camera with the Grand S — but has a larger 2300mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and a new design. Both devices run Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with a few of ZTE's own tweaks as well.

ZTE says that both devices will go up for "preorder" starting on October 5th from "Amazon and other channels," with pricing of $399 and $449, respectively, for the unlocked HSPA+ (sorry, no LTE) handsets. Hit the break for a few press images and full specs on these two phones.

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3 years ago

Archos launches new 'Platinum' Android tablets

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Archos 97b Platinum HD, 101 Platinum and 80b Platinum announced

French manufacturer Archos has today announced the launch of three new Android tablets at varying sizes and spec points. First up, the Archos 80b Platinum packs an 8-inch, 1024x768-resolution IPS screen and 1GB of RAM. The more premium-focused Archos 97b Platinum HD doubles the resolution to 2048x1536 on a 9.7-inch panel, while the Archos 101 Platinum includes a 10.1-inch 1280x800 display. The 9.7 and 10.1-inchers both include 2GB of RAM.

All three tablets are powered by an unnamed quad-core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.6GHz. They're running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, including the Google Play Store, and include 8GB of internal storage, expandable through a microSD card. Archos declined to include any pricing information in today's press release, but claims its tablets will arrive at a "better" price than rivals from Apple and Samsung.

More: Archos

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3 years ago

Rdio 'Stations' now free in hopes of challenging Spotify and Pandora

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New free listening option will hopefully build a user base that can convert to paying subscribers

Streaming music service Rdio is opening up its "Stations" radio service to everyone starting today, meaning that you'll no longer need to pay a subscription to use the base level service. Much like Pandora and Spotify, Rdio is now lowering the entry point for its service to everyone, giving unlimited listening of randomized stations — based on artists, albums, genres or tracks — for free. Stations are now free in the US, Canada and Australia, and at the moment are ad-free as well.

To coincide with Stations going free, the Rdio app has also received a few new features that help tweak your listening experience. In the new Stations, you can now "tune" the station to be more adventurous with its selections or more strictly stick to one artist. There are also new playlist views if you're a paying subscriber.

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3 years ago

TripAdvisor launches refreshed native app with improved performance, interface

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New interactive map and 'Hotel Price Comparison' makes it easier to research

Travel planning and research app TripAdvisor has refreshed its app with a new interface, features and drastically improved performance this week. Along with a simultaneous launch on iOS, the new TripAdvisor Android app is completely rebuilt natively to offer a better experience and integrate everything the service has to offer. You'll notice a new and simple UI for quickly researching or booking travel plans, focusing on a search box and a few quick buttons for hotels, restaurants, attractions and flights.

With the redesign you also have access to TripAdvisor's new "Hotel Price Comparison" feature, which compares booking options at a glance. You'll also be able to look at hotels easier on an interactive map, which displays results alongside nearby attractions and restaurants you may want to visit.

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3 years ago

Kindle Fire HD 2013 torn down to the screws, few surprises found inside

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Many parts taken from old Fire and Fire HD, with a few spec bumps

When amazon unveiled its new Kindle HDX tablets last week, they stole most of the spotlight from a cheaper refreshed Kindle Fire HD. Well the folks at iFixIt have their hands on the new $140 Kindle Fire offering, and just as you would expect immediately took it apart. The 2013 edition of the Fire HD seems to have a lot of familiar internals to the old version, with a few strategic changes.

For the most part we're looking at a similar motherboard and internals to last year's Fire HD, but with an upgraded dual-core processor and curiously removed camera. The display is made by LG and unlike last year isn't fused to the glass on top of it, improving the repairability score from iFixIt.

The Kindle Fire HD 2013 gets an 8 out of 10 for repairability, which means if you're really willing to crack one of these things open you may have a good chance of fixing a few things yourself. You can read the full teardown at the source link below.

Source: iFixIt

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3 years ago

Samsung HomeSync coming to the U.S. on October 6

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Android-based media center box will land in the U.S. this Sunday

Samsung HomeSync, the Android-powered media center device we first played with back in February, is finally ready for its U.S. launch. Released in the U.S. this Sunday, Oct. 6, HomeSync connects to your TV and allows you to play back content from Google Play and Samsung's own ecosystem, using a Galaxy smartphone as a remote. The $299 box comes with a one-terabyte-capacity hard drive and support for up to eight accounts, each of which can have its own sync settings.

HomeSync also allows you to access you stuff on the go, as well as pushing content to the box from a Galaxy smartphone. Samsung says HomeSync owners can register their devices and claim $50 to spend on movies and TV shows from its MediaHub platform.

We got a detailed walkthrough of Samsung HomeSync back at this year's Mobile World Congress show, so hit the link below to find out more about Samsung's latest Android device for the living room.

More: Hands-on with Samsung HomeSync

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3 years ago

HTC elaborates on Android 4.3 plans for HTC One on other U.S. carriers

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HTC One 4.3 update coming to AT&T + T-Mo mid-October, Verizon by month's end; no firm date for UK yet

After yesterday's Android 4.3 rollout for the Sprint HTC One, the official HTC USA Twitter account has revealed that One owners on other U.S. carriers shouldn't have too long to wait. The update is being targeted for mid-October on AT&T and T-Mobile, while owners of the fashionably late Verizon version will see 4.3 by the month's end. (The Verizon version, it should be noted, launched on 4.2 with many of the new Sense features already included.)

Meanwhile HTC UK has told Twitter followers to expect more info on Android 4.3 "soon," adding that it's "currently working with our partners" to bring the update to UK customers.

The U.S. developer edition and Canadian HTC Ones were updated to the new version of Android last week.

Source: @HTCUSA, @HTC_UK

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3 years ago

WSJ: LG 'G Flex' with curved 6-inch display coming next month

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Concave handset with curvy OLED screen reportedly coming soon

Samsung has long been rumored to have a curved handset in the pipeline, with recent hints from the Korean electronics giant pointing to a release sometime in October. But it seems that device won't be alone, as The Wall Street Journal reports rival LG will debut its own curvy smartphone not long afterwards.

The newspaper says the phone, dubbed the "LG G Flex," will have a 6-inch concave display with a "plastic OLED screen," giving it the flexibility to curve in this way. Sketches obtained by the WSJ show something very similar in appearance to the LG G2, only much less flat. It's unclear from the images whether the G Flex will have back buttons like the G2, or more traditional side-mounted keys, however.

The LG "G Flex" is due for launch sometime next month, the Journal reports.

Source: WSJ (Paywall)

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean now on almost half of devices, according to latest platform numbers

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Android 4.1 to 4.3 now accounts for 48.6 percent of devices accessing the Google Play Store

Google has released its latest set of monthly Android platform data, showing that Jelly Bean — Android 4.1 to 4.3 — ran on almost half of devices accessing the Google Play Store in the week up to Oct. 2. Some quick points to note from the latest set of platform data compared to last month's

  • Though Jelly Bean as a whole represents some 48.6 percent of devices, most Jelly Bean devices are still running the year-old Android 4.1.
  • That said, Android 4.1's share actually fell slightly compared to last month, going from 36.6 percent of the total to 36.5.
  • Only Android 4.2 and 4.3 grew their market share, the rest remained flat or fell.
  • Froyo (2.2), Gingerbread (2.3), Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) all lost market share, as did Android 4.1, the earliest version of Jelly Bean.
  • Honeycomb (3.x) remained unchanged at just 0.1 percent.

Android 4.3 itself is measured for the first time in this latest set of platform data, debuting at just 1.5 percent. That's not too surprising considering until recently this version was limited to Nexus and Google Play edition devices. With the launch of high-profile 4.3 phones like the Galaxy Note 3, as well as 4.3 updates for devices like the HTC One, we'd expect that number to increase in the month ahead.

You can find the full stats, including details on screen size and OpenGL versions, at the source link below.

Source: Android Platform Versions

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3 years ago

BBM for Android returns to beta with new features, improved interface

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Persistent notification now optional in latest beta build.

It has been a long and shaky road for BBM's released on Android, but there may be a little more hope now as beta testers of the app have just received a new version to try out. Members of the beta testing group report that the updated version of BBM has a new welcome screen explaining functions, as well as an overall refreshed UI that has several improvements.

That nagging persistent notification can now be turned off in the settings as well, which alone is worthy of applause. Naturally the release of a new beta doesn't indicate that an official launch (no, for real this time) is imminent, but it at least indicates that the wheels are turning over at BlackBerry.

Source: CrackBerry

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3 years ago

Google Now adds 'OK, Google' hotwording, reminders for notable people

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Keep up to date with all of that Justin Bieber news, nobody has to know

Google Now is picking up an update today with a few new features to improve your search and predictive information experience. First up is a new "hotword" that can be detected  — "OK, Google" can now be said to initiate a voice search if you're in the US, although the regular old "Google" still seems to work just fine for us.

Once you've performed a search, if it happens to be for information on a "notable person" Google will offer you the ability to have new cards show up in Google Now for updates on that person. There's no indication of what makes a person notable, but we found searching some regular famous musicians and celebrities yielded the desired result.

Google also says that "more beautiful search results" are rolling out gradually, but you can get the two aforementioned features with an update to the latest version of Google Search at the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Google acquires gesture technology startup Flutter

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New technology for potential future touchless interfaces

Although it acquires companies at a pretty regular pace, Google acquired a notable startup this week called Flutter. You may not have heard of Flutter before, but it is a startup that focused on gesture recognition technology for use with standard camera interfaces such as webcams. Its only shipping product, a popular Mac and Windows app, will continue to work according to a statement posted on its own blog confirming the purchase.

Even though it may not have a long history of popular products, Google must have seen something in the company that was enticing. Touchless interfaces are one of the future input methods being researched by many companies, and Google is surely one of them. Maybe a few folks who know a thing or two about seeing and recognizing gestures could help with some future products in the pipeline.

Source: Flutter; Via: TechCrunch

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