4 years ago

#CESlive update: Awesome guests, sponsors, a Vegas meetup and more!


With CES fast approaching, it's time for a quick #CESlive check in! We have a few important updates to relay in regards to the awesome show coverage we'll be bringing you from the floor of the biggest electronics and tech show of the year.

In case you missed the announcement (and if you did, you should read the press release and watch this video), Mobile Nations is teaming up with Geek Beat to put on #CESlive. We have a big area in South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center where we'll be broadcasting a whole bunch of awesome interview from. Between the two teams we'll have THIRTY people at CES - so outside of the live stage we'll be running and gunning the best coverage you'll find at the show. It's going to be awesome.

Now onto the updates!

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4 years ago

This interactive Moto X magazine ad is pretty ingenious


Choose your Moto X color, now in a paper advertisement

Motorola is taking its increasingly-clever advertising into the print world. A new magazine ad for the Moto X will run in the January edition of Wired that goes a step above other plain-old printed paper advertisements. 150,000 issues distributed across New York and Chicago will contain a completely interactive Moto Maker experience, with touch points that change the color of a Moto X displayed prominently on the page.

The ad is made possible by paper-thin electronic elements that make up a battery, LEDs and even a keyboard-like membrane for the color selector. We've seen interactive ads in limited runs of magazines before, but this one just fits the Moto Maker idea so well. You can check out a video demo of the ad above.

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4 years ago

Moto G getting Android 4.4.2 KitKat starting today!


No preamble needed: Motorola is delivering Android 4.4.2 KitKat starting today for the Moto G.

Here's the full changelog:

  • Android 4.4, KitKat: Android 4.4.2, KitKat, is the latest release of the Android platform. KitKat includes enhancements such as restyled status and navigation bars, a new full-screen mode, color emoji support, improved closed captioning support, stronger security, smarter power use, and more tools and capabilities for better app development.
  • Phone dialer: Improved the phone app with the ability to look up contacts directly from the dial pad, see and tap frequent contacts, and search your corporate directory easily.
  • Camera - Focus and exposure: Enhanced the "touch to focus" option with a new circular, on screen control that can be dragged by your finger around the viewfinder to adjust a photo's focus and exposure.
  • Gallery - Photo editing: Added new photo editing options to the Gallery app including new filter effects, draw on your photos, advanced cropping, and adjustments to color, exposure, contrast and more.
  • Printing documents and pictures: Added support for printing photos, Google Docs, GMail messages, and other content via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and hosted services like Google Cloud Print and HP ePrinters.
  • Hangouts - SMS/MMS support: Incorporated a new version of Google Hangouts that supports integrated SMS/MMS messaging. Hangouts can be set as the default SMS app under Settings > Wireless > Default SMS app.
  • Accessory: support Added support for Square credit card reader.

The update is for both the U.S. and global versions of the Moto G.

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

Plague Inc. Mutation 7 now available with loads of new content


New diseases and gameplay modes to keep the game fresh

A new mutation (update, if you prefer) to Plague Inc. is now available, bringing new gameplay modes and features. You can now experiment with real life diseases of all kinds in 14 new gameplay modes, opening the door to new strategies to infect the entire globe. Above all other diseases the Black Death may be the most interesting, and it's available in the latest version.

You can also see how your diseases would change the world if it was also undergoing another worldwide event, such as a mini ice age or a financial crisis. Just more variables to take into account when playing the game if you so choose.

The latest version of Plague Inc. is available from the Play Store link above. The game is free with one scenario also being free — additional scenarios can be purchased for $0.99 each, or $2.99 for the whole lot. Those who have played Plague Inc. a lot will no doubt say it's worth the money.

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4 years ago

Holiday Photo Contest: Day 7 collectible winner!


The seventh of 14 winners in our extra-long photo contest

We have reached the halfway point in our two-week long Holiday Photo Contest, and that means seven people have been selected as winners of Android mini collectibles. Each winner has submitted a photo in the forums that shows the idea of "holidays," and we've had a great time looking at every submission.

Hit the break to see today's winner, and be sure to get your entry into the contest thread in the forums if you haven't yet participated. Good luck!

Enter the holiday photo contest​

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4 years ago

Win a Nexus 5 Ballistic SG MAXX Case from ShopAndroid!

You heard right, folks. Starting today, we're giving away a Ballistic SG MAXX Case for the Nexus 5 to one lucky contestant!

All you have to do to enter is head over to the ShopAndroid Accessories Blog to check out our detailed hands-on review of the Nexus 5 SG MAXX Case. After reading, simply visit the entry form link at the bottom and share the post on Facebook and/or Twitter. You'll then automatically be eligible to win yourself a brand new case!

The contest kicks off right now and ends on Monday, December 23 at 12pm PST. One lucky winner will be chosen and contacted via the email used on the entry form. So keep your eyes open and good luck!

Review: Ballistic SG MAXX Case for Nexus 5: The OtterBox Rival?

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4 years ago

Riptide GP 2 adds immersive mode for KitKat devices


Get rid of the navigation bar when playing this awesome game

Riptide GP 2 is one of the better graphical and gameplay experiences out there today, and it's about to get even better with immersive mode support for KitKat devices. Immersive mode lets apps (and in this case games) take over 100 percent of your screen real estate if you're using a device with on-screen navigation buttons. That means along with the status bar disappearing, your navigation bar gets out of the way to give you just that little bit more space to see and play.

Along with the improvements to KitKat support, Riptide GP 2 is also adding native support for x86 processor devices, and fixed multiple bugs across the game. If you haven't had a chance to see immersive mode in action on your own device, now may be a good time to check it out with a great game.

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4 years ago

AP Mobile app gets a badly needed redesign


For you news junkies who love the Associated Press but loathed their Android app, be aware that it's been completely redesigned and is now available. This one's for Android 4.0 and up, but you get some new features along with the new tiled design. 

The same old banner ads are there, though — we'd love to see an option to buy out of them. But for now, this is a much better app than it was a week ago. Give it a look-see.

Source: Associated Press

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4 years ago

CyanogenMod receives new round of funding, talks about future plans


Expanding the team to push CM even further

The folks over at CyanogenMod have announced today that the company is closing another round of funding. Building on a Series A round of funding of over $7 million to get the new company off to a start, this Series B round is bringing another $22 million into the fold from investors Andreessen Horowitz and Tencent. Initial investors Benchmark and Redpoint will still be involved as well.

CM says that the new hefty chunk of capital will be put towards more team members across every bit of the company — engineering, UX, design, products and more. As for the end users of CyanogenMod, they shouldn't expect too many immediate changes. The long-tail effect of this new funding will of course be new apps, features, services and even more devices that are pre-loaded with CM. We can be sure that this is just the beginning of what CyanogenMod wants to accomplish.

Source: CyanogenMod

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: How much would you pay for your 'perfect' Android phone?


If you ever find your Android dream-phone, what is it worth to you?

The phones we carry around aren't cheap. Even the so-called budget models like the Moto G cost about $200 US, and that's more than pocket change for most of us. The flip-side is that for many of us, our Android phone is our secretary, our address book, our calendar, and of course our telephone. You need a pocket computer that can do the things you need it to do, and those cost money to make. Real money.

Having said that, and having used the Moto G for a while, a person probably can get by spending just $200 on a phone that will help manage their lives. But most of us want more. We want games and entertainment, or a portal to the Internet. We want it all, and have an idea in our head about the "perfect" Android phone. 

So what is that worth to you? For some, the budget phone does it all and they're not interested in spending hundreds of unnecessary dollars for the extras. For others, no amount of features is enough and the more things their Android can do, the better. Or maybe the perfect balance is the Nexus 5. None of these choices are wrong, they are just different.

Tell us what you would pay for your Android dream phone. Be realistic, as I tried to be with the choices. You'll find the poll in its usual spot — the sidebar to the right, or after the break to make things easy on mobile. Make a choice, then dive into the comments to discuss what your perfect phone is, and how much it should cost.

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4 years ago

Android 4.4 KitKat update hitting Droid Ultra, MAXX and Mini


Update rolling out 'in phases' starting today

Verizon has taken to Twitter to announce that the Droid Ultra, Droid MAXX and Droid Mini will start receiving their over-the-air updates to Android 4.4 KitKat from today. The update is rolling out "in phases" according to the carrier, following a short soak test over the weekend. In addition to the new Android OS features, today's Droid update includes a new version of the Droid Zap sharing utility with a revamped interface, according to the official changelog.

It's a remarkably quick turnaround for the Verizon-branded handsets, coming a month to the day after the Moto X KitKat updates started, and less than two months after the Android 4.4 open-source code drop.

If you're seeing KitKat on any of the 2013 Droid phones today, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

Source: @VZWNews; More: Verizon Changelog (PDF)

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4 years ago

Zedge releases version 4.0, brings slick new UI and recommendation engine


Uber popular app Zedge now does more than deliver content - it helps you discover it

Zedge has long been an Android favorite. One of top 15 apps in the Android Market (remember that?) and Google Play since 2010, chances are you use it or know someone who uses it. 

it just got a lot better.

There are still a gazillion great wallpapers and notification sounds to be found, but looking for them will be easier with the new slide-out menu and Android-centric user interface. It will almost make you say HOLOYOLO while looking for just the right wallpaper for your set up. Things are nice and fluid, everything is easy to navigate through, and most importantly, the focus is still on the content.

Speaking of the content, finding what you like is easier, too. You simply search for a wallpaper, or sound or game, and the recommendation engine  — which has paid attention to what you look at in the app — presents you with the results it thinks are most relevant. It seems to work well, and after some time testing things I get different results than my wife does for the same searches. And both of us think they are more relevant to our tastes than things would be if we switched phones for a few minutes.

Of course, some folks will have privacy concerns, and Zedge provides a big fat link to their policies that you need to agree to before you use the app. Read them before you click.

The app update should be pushing out right about now, and first-timers can find the Zedge app at the Google Play link above. The full press release is after the break.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Gear (U.S.) finally gets new firmware and expanded notifications


... but there's still plenty of room for improvement.

We've been patiently awaiting the updated firmware for the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and this morning it is finally available.

The firmware update brings the software to MK7. The big seller is you now have better notifications from non-Samsung apps (but you'll have to dive down a couple layers in the Gear Manager app to activate them). Notifications themselves could still see some improving. In Gmail, for example, receiving a single e-mail gives you the ability to actually read the body, as well as the sender and subject. But if you get multiple emails at once, the Gear shows you the sender and subject line, but that's it — and all the subjects run together. (The Qualcomm Toq suffers from this same malady.)

Here's the full changelog:

  • Improved range and connection: Samsung says the Gear can now stray a little farther from the phone before losing its connection. That's good — it felt pretty short before. The automatic connection feature has been improved as well.
  • Improved battery life. Again, that addresses one of the chief complaints about the Gear. We'll have to see how much longer it lasts.
  • S Voice search should be faster.
  • "Your Gear's performance has been improved and its features have been enhanced." Whatever that means.

We're going to spend a few days with this new-and-improved Galaxy Gear to see what's what. For now, make sure you've got the latest version of the Gear Manager app, and see if you can update over the air. If you get a message saying "The maximum number of roll-outs has been exceeded," you can download Samsung's KIES software, say a little prayer, and update over USB.

More: Galaxy Gear forums; SmartwatchFans.com

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4 years ago

Sony PlayMemories app refreshed, QX-series firmware update coming soon


Sony is in the midsts of updating its PlayMemories Mobile app for Android and iOS, bringing them up to version 4.0 and 4.0.1 respectively. The app allows smartphones to connect to Wifi-equipped Sony cameras, including the QX-series "lens camera" accessories which clip onto the back of handsets. The latest update introduces a quick photo browser to make it easier to see shots taken with the connected device, as well as support for the new version 2.1 PlayMemories Smart Remote Control app on Sony cameras.

And there's a sizeable update coming for Sony's QX10 and QX100 lens cameras too, Sony says this morning in a press release. A firmware update due to arrive next month will bump max ISO levels to 3,200 for the QX10 and 12,800 for the QX100, allowing for sharper low-light snaps. Both devices are set to receive 1080p widescreen video recording, while the QX100 will be updated with a shutter priority mode.

The new PlayMemories app is available on Google Play now; the firmware update for the QX-series lens cameras will land in January, Sony says.

We've got the full presser after the break.

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 f launches in Japan


Miniature Xperia Z1 hits Docomo amid rumors of upcoming international version

As expected, today's the day the Sony Xperia Z1 f hits store shelves in Japan. The Docomo-branded phone is effectively a shrunk-down version of the Xperia Z1, Sony's current high-end handset. However unlike many "mini" versions of flagship smartphones, the Z1 f retains the high-end internals of its big brother — including a Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS camera unit — all packed into a smaller chassis with a 4.3-inch 720p display.

Full price for the phone is listed at ¥79,800 ($768), which is reduced when buying on contract. The device comes in white, black, lime and pink color options.

The Japanese launch comes as rumors swirl surrounding a possible international version for the Xperia Z1 f. A device codenamed "Anami" recently passed through the FCC looking very similar to the Japanese model, but with radio bands suggesting it may be a European handset. The name "Xperia Z1 S" has been suggested as a possible name for an international version, and if the reports are accurate then it's possible we could see this device at Sony's CES 2014 press conference in early January.

Source: Docomo

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