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3 years ago

Flappy Bird taken down to save us from ourselves, apparently

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Game designed to be played while relaxed became anything but says developer

The world's brief love affair with Flappy Bird may now be coming to an end thanks to its removal from Google Play and the iOS App Store, but the developer has now come clean about his reasons for doing so. Despite an apparent issue with intense media attention, developer Dong Nguyen has spoken to the folks at Forbes about just why the bird flaps no more. 

Nguyen, it seems, was saving humanity from itself. He says he designed Flappy Bird to be played for a few minutes a time while relaxing. Of course, what we actually got was rage quits, swearing, and all manner of unhappiness with how damn hard it was. And yet everyone kept going back for more. It's this addictive nature which Nguyen claims was the final straw, and was the ultimate reason that the bird has flown away for ever. Not any issues with Nintendo.

Of course, if you really, really need that kind of game to play, there's a ton of clones and rip-offs already flooding the market to give you your fix. Or we could all just play something better, whatever. 

Source: Forbes

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3 years ago

Samsung teases Galaxy S5 event with new app icons

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New Unpacked image showcases the power of five

We're just under two weeks away from seeing what Samsung's been cooking up for its Feb. 24 "Unpacked 5" event in Barcelona, Spain, and the manufacturer's dropping even more hints in a post published this morning on its official blog. The new image from the Samsung Tomorrow site shows nine new icons all raised to the power of five — Speed, Outdoor, Curiosity, Fun, Social, Style, Privacy, Fitness and Life. If you've been following the recent UI leaks from various new Samsung apps, you'll see a clear resemblance between Samsung's teaser and the expected UI style of the Galaxy S5 — flat, colorful icons with white outlines.

"Also we are sure that you have noticed that there is lots of 5s," Samsung slyly notes.

Whatever it all means, we'll be live in Barcelona to see Samsung's next big thing on Feb. 24.

More: Samsung Galaxy S5 forum

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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3 years ago

Android 4.4.2 update for HTC One unlocked and developer editions now pushing

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Latest version of KitKat and HTC Sense 5.5 round out the 312MB OTA package

If you've got a developer edition or unlocked carrier-free model HTC One in your pocket, it's time to whip that puppy out and check for an update.

Users are reporting a 312MB OTA that brings the device to Android 4.4.2 and Sense 5.5, which should also improve system stability and adjust the screen time out when making a phone call.

The Software number for folks in the Americas is 4.19.1540.4, for those who need that information as well.

No word on when to expect updates on other HTC Ones that need them, but we know HTC claims to have done their part and it's now all up to your carrier.

Source: Android Central forums. Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Virgin Atlantic staff in London flying high with Google Glass

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Heathrow Upper Class concierge kitted out with Glass to assist passengers as part of a trial

Considering Google Glass isn't officially available outside of the U.S, Richard Branson has been especially kind to Virgin Atlantic's London Heathrow check-in agents. The members of staff looking after the airline's Upper Class passengers are being given Google Glass as part of a six week trial to guide their customers through the check-in process. 

Glass can identify the passenger, see their flight details and selected preferences and present the necessary flight information to the concierge. Glass then proceeds to check the passenger in for the flight and can update with travel information, as well as details such as the weather and local events at the destination. 

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3 years ago

Analyzing HTC's latest financial result

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Despite weak performance, the balance sheet looks pretty good

HTC shareholders absorbed some pain today as the stock dropped almost 4% on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The drop followed the company’s release of its Q4 results for 2013 along with a discussion of expected Q1 and 2014 results.

The main reason for the stock’s decline today is probably the Q1 outlook. Revenue guidance is between NT$34 billion and NT$36 billion whereas analysts expected, on average, NT$39.3 billion according to a survey by Bloomberg. The company is also expected to post a wider loss than analysts had been anticipating.

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3 years ago

Ting now selling the Nexus 5, would still prefer if you bought from Google Play

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Save $95 and bring your own Nexus 5 to the MVNO

Sprint MVNO Ting is now selling the Nexus 5 on its own website, but you'll be paying $445 (a $95 premium) to buy it from Ting instead of Google Play. And the carrier isn't making any illusions about the fact — it is telling customers to just buy the phone for cheaper from Google and put a Ting SIM card into it. As it explains on its official blog, even with selling the Nexus 5 at below cost, Ting just can't match the $349 unlocked price that Google is charging.

We've seen this price discrepancy from other third-party retailers that have offered the phone, but few have been so open about the situation. Given the circumstances, it's in the best interest of both you and Ting if you simply pay $10 for a SIM card from the carrier and pop it into your Nexus 5 ordered from Google Play. Ting will still sell a Nexus 5 to those who simply prefer to buy it from the carrier they'll be using it on, but we love to see the transparency regardless.

Source: Ting

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3 years ago

Five Flappy Bird replacements to fill the pipe-sized gap in your heart

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Flappy Bird is dead. Long live Flappy Bird replacements.

Flappy Bird was removed from the Play Store this weekend, leaving many self-professed addicts high and dry (and in some cases, absurdly angry). You’re in luck!  There are many great games on Google Play which can certainly fill the void.

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3 years ago

Verizon (finally!) gets its Nexus 7 tablet on Feb. 13

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Previously purchased tablets can be activated after a software update.

Finally, Verizon is getting the Nexus 7 tablet. It'll be available Feb. 13 — that's this Thursday — in stores and online. It's the same price as on Google Play — $349.99 off contract. But if you sign up for two years of service, you can shave $100 off that. If you want to add it to a Share Everything Plan, it'll cost $10 a month.

And what's more — those who already have a cellular-enabled Nexus 7 — which Google from the start said would work on Verizon — will be able to activate on Verizon as well (as you should have all along) after receiving a software update.

Google at the Nexus 7 launch event in July 2013 said the cellular-enabled version would work on Verizon. But the carrier never officially certified the tablet. Verizon gave an update in September, saying they were working on it. And in November, Verizon released its own $250 tablet, the Ellipsis 7

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Nokia's first Android phone to be released this month, according to WSJ report

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Device will naturally feature Nokia and Microsoft apps instead of Google Play

Nokia may finally release its long-rumored Android phone, and the announcement is expected as soon as this month. According to sources of The Wall Street Journal, Nokia engineers have continued to work on the budget-minded Android device as the company prepared to be acquired by Microsoft. As you would expect, Nokia doesn't plan to put Google Play on the device nor highlight any of Google's services, choosing instead to fill the phone with its own apps such as Here maps and services from Microsoft.

The phone is expected to be a low-end replacement for its current "Asha" devices, which are targeted at emerging markets and have used an in-house developed operating system even as all of its higher-end devices moved to Windows Phone. Minimum spec requirements have kept Windows Phone off of these budget phones, and it seems Nokia plans to test the waters with using Android rather than try and shoehorn WP8 onto the handsets. The report claims that Nokia is ready to show off this new Android-powered device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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3 years ago

Huawei reportedly jumping into the smartwatch arena at Mobile World Congress

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Wearable expected alongside new phone and pair of tablets

In case you weren't convinced the smartwatch was the current 'in thing,' Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will reportedly see yet another contender in the space emerge. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese manufacturer will be taking its own wearable creation to Spain.

Little else is known, besides the accompanying information that Huawei will also be unveiling a new flagship smartphone and a pair of tablets. Neither are particularly surprising, since it has been some 6 months since the Ascend P6 and Huawei isn't shy about firing out tablet after tablet after tablet. Whatever Huawei may or may not be taking to Barcelona in a couple of weeks, you can bet we'll be there to get our hot little hands all over it.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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3 years ago

Sen. Franken's fear of Google Glass facial recognition app is premature

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The NameTag app for Google Glass isn't anywhere near ready for prime time, but it still manages to get attention.

Some good news this morning for U.S. Sen. Al Franken, and others who worry that anyone with Google Glass is using the $1,500 wearable to stalk them. The esteemed gentleman from Minnesota last week released a letter he sent to FacialNetwork.com, which makes the NameTag app for Google Glass.

Franken doesn't hide his concern for the app when it comes to privacy.

I am writing to express my deep concern about your company's recently announced NameTag app for Google Glass. According to promotional materials, NameTag lets strangers get a broad range of personal information-including a person's name, photos, and dating website profiles-simply by looking at that person's face with the Glass camera. This is apparently done without that person's knowledge or consent, which crosses a bright line for privacy and personal safety.

Fair enough. But Franken's fear is based off "promotional materials." 

We've spent a few minutes actually using the NameTag app. And even in that short time, it's obvious that Franken has nothing yet to fear.

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod 11 M3 builds now rolling out

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Another milestone for the KitKat-based firmware

Visit the CyanogenMod download page and you'll see CM11 M3 builds are starting to roll off the servers. "M" builds are milestones along the development process as the KitKat-based CyanogenMod 11 approaches release candidate, and eventually stable status. So M-snapshot builds are supposed to be more stable than nightlies, but may still contain a few bugs.

At the time of writing we're seeing M3 builds for a wide range of devices including the Galaxy S4, HTC One and LG G2, along with many Nexus devices and legacy handsets. If you're already set up with a custom recovery on your device, you can hit up the source link to find the full list CM11 M3 builds ready for flashing.

Source: CyanogenMod

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3 years ago

Installing Google Glass onto the prescription frames doesn't look too tough

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If you've got Google Glass but have been hesitant to pull the trigger on the official prescription frames because you were worried about the installation process, Matt Coddington does a great job of showing just how easy it is to swap them out.

A single screw holds the guts of Glass to the titanium band. Loosen that up, put it apart, then reverse the process for the new frames. Really, the toughest part will be getting the lenses put in, we reckon.

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3 years ago

HTC makes modest net profit in Q4 2013, but revenue declines

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Sales down as company looks to mid-level devices

HTC has released its finalized financial results for the fourth quarter of 2013, showing that the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer avoided a second quarter of losses, but with a drop in revenue. Quarterly revenues were NT$42.9 billion, down from NT60 billion in Q4 2012, with net profits of just NT$310 million (around $10.2 million). EPS (earnings per share) was NT$0.38, while gross margin was 17.8 percent and operating margin was -3.7 percent. 

In today's earnings press release, HTC CEO Peter Chou said the company would focus on "building a compelling mid-range portfolio," alongside its high-end offerings. That sentiment was echoed by Chairwoman Cher Wang in an interview with Reuters today. Wang admitted that HTC "didn't do well" in 2013, saying that it had "missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market." In the same interview CFO Chailin Chang said HTC was targeting the $150-300 price range for its upcoming mid-level products. 

Meanwhile at the high-end, HTC execs reportedly said invites would be sent out in a couple of weeks for the launch event of HTC's next flagship phone. The successor to the HTC One, known by the codename "M8," has appeared in online leaks in recent days.

Looking ahead, HTC predicts revenue between NT$34-36 billion for the first quarter of 2014, with a gross margin between 21.5 and 22 percent.

Source: HTC, Reuters

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3 years ago

Revel game wins the Big Indie Pitch, coming soon Android

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Last week’s Apps World was an event dedicated to mobile games and apps - and the craft of making them. Apps World culminated with the Big Indie Pitch, a contest in which game developers pitched their games to members of the press. I look forward to telling you all about my experience with the Pitch very soon.

In the meantime, let’s look at one of the two games that won the Big Indie Pitch. New York-based developer Odin’s Hammer bought their social interaction/photo game Revel to the show. Revel is a unique scavenger hunt-style game in which players take photos of things in their environment and try to outdo their peers. Read on to learn why we’re so excited that it’s coming to Android!

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