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4 years ago

Google Search receiving design improvements on mobile, Google Now getting more conversational

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Consistent design and syncing across devices on all platforms

It has been 15 years since Google first appeared as a search engine, and on its anniversary Google is rolling out new search features to mobile devices. First up is a new and improved mobile web search experience across all devices, which puts it more in line with the "card" view of Google Now. Search results are now cleaner and more touch-friendly, focusing more on clusters of information in individual cards to help you get what you need.

On the back end, Google is laying out new improvements in its search algorithms and new keywords in the Knowledge Graph. For instance you can now ask for a comparison such as "compare butter with olive oil" to receive a nutritional breakdown of each, or filter down results with a broad query like " tell me about impressionist artists" to get information about who those artists are and view other artistic genres.

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4 years ago

Slacker Radio gets a major overhaul, adds 'My Vibe' listings

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New UI, mood-based playlists highlight update

Slacker Radio has long been one of our go-to apps for online music, and the app is getting a pretty major overhaul with Version 5. First up is a pretty drastic visual refresh — it's worlds better than Version 4, we think. More and bigger images, an easier layout to navigate — good stuff all around. You've got four "quick start" tiles on the bottom of the home screen, and easy access to all the available stations.

And then there's the new "My Vibe" section — sort of a mood-based playlist picker. Categories include "Morning Coffee," "News," "Exercising," "Driving" and "Waking up." (And that's just for starters, but we do question the choice of "Road Rage" as an option in the "Driving" category.)

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4 years ago

Some 'unlocked' Galaxy Note 3s apparently SIM-locked to specific regions

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European SM-N9005 and Latin American SM-N900 locked to SIMs from their respective regions

Update: Check our breakdown of exactly what's going on with region-locking on the Note 3 for more details.

Here's some alarming news for those wanting to pick up an unlocked, SIM-free Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and use it internationally. Reports have been surfacing over the past day from Note 3 owners in Europe and Latin America that their devices come with stickers warning that they're only compatible with SIMs from their particular regions.

Like many others, our European Galaxy Note 3 box is sealed with a sticker saying it's "only compatible with a SIM-card issued from a mobile operator within Europe," before going on to list individual countries. And while we were able to load a T-Mobile USA SIM into our UK-specific phone without any error messages, enough other "unlocked" Note 3 owners are reporting problems to indicate a widespread issue.

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4 years ago

Android Central App updated; beta testing moves to Google+ community

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A quick heads up, folks, that we've pushed out an update to the Android Central App that addresses some bugfixes and crashes involving the widget. It'll be available to everyone in the next couple hours.

Just as important is that we're moving the beta track from Google Groups to a Google+ community. Everything still works the same — you'll just need to be a part of the G+ beta community going forward. This update — V1.4.4, for those keeping track at home — is available to both beta groups, but we'll start using the Google+ community going forward.

Have at it, folks!

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4 years ago

Smartphones in the car: entertaining, powerful, and distracting - Talk Mobile

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When it comes to expensive purchases, cars rank right up there. Not only are they designed to go fast, they're designed to do so in relative comfort and safety, while costing as little to do so as possible. Even with all of that design they're still complicated machines to operate. Yet, they can simultaneously be boring. What's engaging about coasting down an open stretch of highway? Nothing.

So we've devised ways to keep ourselves entertained, typically through passive entertainment from the likes of music or talk radio playing through the car's stereo. But recently the smartphone has stood to change the way we think about entertainment in the car, along with disrupting other things.

So how can we put mobile to work to provide the same level of entertainment in our cars as it does in our homes? Are the mapping services on our smartphones good enough to replace a dedicated GPS unit in the car? And is it even safe to be using these things while we drive?

4 years ago

Nexus 7 LTE 'coming soon' to Best Buy

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If you're looking to snag a Nexus 7 with LTE data but for some reason don't want to do so through Google Play, it ilooks like Best Buy will have them at some point — they're listed as "coming soon" on the retailers website. Pricing appears to be in line with Google's listing — $349 for the 32GB version. 

Source: Best Buy; Thanks, Jeremiah!

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4 years ago

Boost Mobile's Warp 4G LTE now available

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Boost Mobile this morning announced the availability of the Warp 4G LTE. It's running at $199.99 off off-contract when you sign up for a $55-a-month plan. 

Specs include a 4.5-inch IPS display, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 8MP camrea and Bluetooth 4.0.

More: Boost

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - 2014 Edition gains a hyphen, Oct. 10 availability

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U.S. preorders start at midnight Sept. 27

Samsung this morning announced that the Galaxy Note 10.1 — 2014 Edition will be available in the United States on Oct. 10, with preorders starting at midnight Eastern time on Sept. 27.

Price is set at $549.99 for the Wifi-only Note 10.1 with 16 gigabytes of storage, and $599.99 if you want 32 gigabytes. It'll be available in either Jet Black or Classic White.

Retailers will include Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile, BestBuy.com, Amazon, PC Richard's, Fry's, Tiger Direct, Walmart and Samsung.com.

The new Note 10.1, as we're want to call it, made its debut in Berlin just a few weeks ago at the IFA conference (see our hands-on), and we found it to be a fast, svelte 10-inch tablet full of the same features as the new Galaxy Note 3. This U.S. version also comes with 50 gigabytes of Dropbox storage free for two years, a one-year subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek, and a 12-week subscription to The New York Times.

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4 years ago

Some Hangouts messages reportedly being sent to wrong recipients [Update: fixed]

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Update: Google says the issue has now been resolved.

Original story: Google Talk — the service behind the company's Hangouts messaging platform — appears to be experiencing a fairly major issue this morning, as some users report messages being delivered to unintended recipients. Reports from Twitter suggest that in some cases messages are being routed to users outside the sender's contact list, presenting obvious — and quite serious — privacy and security concerns.

For its part, Google has updated it service status page to indicate it's investigating an issue with Google Talk, so hopefully the issue can be resolved before too long. In the meantime, you might want to avoid typing anything too private or incriminating into a Google Hangout chat window for the next few hours.

via: The Verge; More: Google Service Status

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4 years ago

Samsung exec: Galaxy Gear support coming to Galaxy S4 next month

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Galaxy S3 and Note 2 to get updates with Gear support by year's end

Right now if you want to use Samsung's new smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, you'll need a Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy Tab 10.1 2014 Edition to go with it. That's because only those devices feature the built-in "Gear Manager" app that links with the watch. However, at the announcement event in Berlin earlier this month Samsung mentioned that other devices would be updated with Gear support in the future, and it seems we now have a rough timetable for that process.

Speaking at a press conference in Korea, Samsung's president of strategic marketing for mobile business, DJ Lee, told reporters to expect a Gear-enabling update on the Galaxy S4 by "next month," to be followed by Gear support for the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 by the end of December. Lee's comments were reported online by The Korea Times newspaper.

Of course we should note that this timeframe might not apply to all markets — and it's worth considering that this information was given at a Korean press conference, too. But at the very least it gives owners of unlocked S4s, S3s and Note 2s a rough timeframe to work with.

Source: The Korea Times

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4 years ago

EE lights up 4G LTE service in another 12 UK towns

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EE, currently the UK's largest 4G LTE network, has announced that it's switched on LTE services in another twelve towns across the country. From today EE's 4G should be available in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Beaconsfield, Blackburn, Burton upon Trent, Coalville, Chester-le-Street, Fleet, Gerrards Cross, Halifax, Hinckley, Houghton-le-Spring and Reigate, bringing the total number of EE 4G markets to 117.

This, EE claims, brings it to 60 percent UK population coverage, eleven months after it launched its LTE network. The carrier will face renewed competition from the likes of O2 and Vodafone, which have just launched their own 4G networks, as well as Three, which will do so before the end of the year at no additional cost to customers.

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4 years ago

The best f---ing weather widget you can install [AC After Dark]

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Sometimes a weather widget can exist simply for entertainment purposes

Everyone has a favorite weather widget that fits their style or craving for loads of information, but sometimes you want a widget that's made specifically for entertainment purposes. FWeather widget is one of those apps, and if you look closely at the picture above you can see why.

The latest update to the widget has now added a settings panel and a refresh button, which are welcomed additions. You can now tweak refresh interval, set a manual location for weather, choose what items are shown on the widget and switch to a "dark mode" if you'd like.

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4 years ago

Youtube updated with a few simple changes, no full changelog just yet

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Better sharing and video management along with a few quick bugfixes

An update to Youtube is rolling out for some users in the Google Play Store right now, and although we don't have a complete changelog from Google just yet we have noticed a few changes. Right off the top, version 5.1.1.10 offers you a quick way to share videos or add them to watch later, favorites or a new playlist straight from the recommended or search results page with a tap on the overflow button. Previously you could only add them to "watch later."

Another tiny change is the inability to subscribe to your own channel — makes sense, and we consider this one more of a bugfix than anything. Also new is a simple two-tap way to clear your video history from the overflow menu when viewing the list of your recently watched videos.

We're still waiting to see a full proper changelog from Google in the Play Store (we're still looking at the big one from last week), but you can still go check for and download the update.

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4 years ago

Android 4.3 update hitting HTC One Developer Edition

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Latest OTA with new Sense enhancements now hitting Developer Editions

Following word that the update to Android 4.3 for the HTC One was hitting some phones in Taiwan, we have just grabbed the 564.04MB update on our unlocked Developer Edition. The update to software version 3.22.1540.1 brings all of the enhancements of Android 4.3, along with improvements to HTC's Sense 5 customization. This falls right in line with what president of HTC America Jason Mackenzie stated earlier this week, and if all goes to plan we'll see other models get the update soon as well.

We're also hearing reports of other unlocked international versions pulling down the updates. If you have an unlocked or Developer Edition of the HTC One, you may want to grab your phone and check for the update now — and let the rest of us know in the forums how the update goes.

More: HTC One forums

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4 years ago

Google expands Play Books store to several new countries

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Total number of countries with access to Play Books reaches 36 worldwide

Google is expanding the availability of Google Play Books today to New Zealand and several new countries across Asia. Taking the total number of countries up to 36, these nine new countries now have access to one of the largest online book stores in the world:

  • Indonesia
  • Hong Kong
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • New Zealand

Folks in the above countries can download the recently redesigned Google Play Books app and begin to browse through free and paid titles in the Books section of the Google Play Store. Together with a large expansion in availability to 13 new countries back in July, Google has tripled the number of countries that have access to books in 2013.

Source: Google Play Support; Via: Android Police

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