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4 years ago

Reminder: Google Maps is looking out for your safety with public alerts

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Google's public alerts system can save your bacon by keeping you up to date with important safety information

Michael wrote in about something he noticed in Google Maps for Android. Seems there is a Flash Flood Warning for parts of New Hampshire, and Google Maps made sure he knew about it when searching for a location. It's not only pretty cool and pretty important, but it serves as a reminder that your Android phone can provide safety information as well as play Words With Friends.

Google started adding public alerts to Google Maps in January of 2012, but most of us have never seen them. Besides severe weather alerts from the US National Weather service, maps also has the ability to give safety warnings from the following:

  • US Geological Survey (USGS)
  • West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center
  • AMBER alerts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Nixle
  • Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)
  • Environment Canada

These are all trusted partners and verified public safety authorities. The alerts you can see will depend not only on what alerts may be active, but also their severity, location settings and of course your location or the location you're searching. The goal here is to provide relevant safety information tailored to your needs and location. This is a really good thing.

To see all the live alerts, you can visit the Google Public Alerts homepage. While the service has been around a while, it's still fairly new so not every location has pertinent local information. If your hometown doesn't seem to be listing anything, and you're in a position to influence policy decisions (or know someone who is), direct your attention here. Google has set up steps to make it easy to publish the data in a web-friendly format so that they, and others, can use the data to keep people warned.

Thanks, Michael for this great reminder!

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4 years ago

Google Play edition reviews: The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4

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For better or worse, you've got official 'stock' Android on two of the hottest phones around 

Forget, for the moment, the “why” of the “Google Play edition” HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. That’s the official moniker given to the two stock(ish) phones available now, as the name suggests, through Google Play, alongside Google’s own Nexus line. While ours certainly is to question their existence, today we hold these phones in our hands and simply attempt to enjoy two of the best smartphones Android manufacturers have to offer, with some of the leanest software -- damn near Nexus-like Android -- that’s available.

But these are not Nexus phones. Pure Google they are not, though they’re damned close, and fact is that the differences probably won’t matter much to those who buy them.

Today you can order the Google Play edition of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. And today, we bring you our take on this new breed of phone.

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4 years ago

Sony 'Honami' camera app ported to Sony Xperia Z, ZL and Tablet Z

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Android 4.2.2 and root are required for camera app installation

The rumored Sony "Honami" -- Sony's potential flagship phone for 2013 -- is said to be a camera-centric smartphone with a 20-megapixel camera and a 1/1.6-inch sensor. While this sounds like it will make for some amazing pictures, software can be just as important as hardware when it comes to digital photography.

Owners of the Sony Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, and Xperia Tablet Z can preview some of this software now on their own devices. Thanks to krabappel2548 of XDA Developers, users on Android 4.2.2 that have a custom recovery installed (i.e. are rooted) can check out the "Honami" camera app in action. Flash and HDR were recently fixed, and a script was added to remove the old camera app upon installation.

Source: XDA Developers;  Via: Xperiablog

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4 years ago

Samsung introduces 'HomeSync Lite' backup and streaming software

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'Cloud' storage and sync from your existing PC without a separate hardware purchase

Samsung is introducing new PC software to turn your home computer into a cloud backup location for all of your other Samsung devices. Similarly to its stand-alone hardware backup device -- the Samsung HomeSync -- this new HomeSync Lite software will install on your home PC and provide a central location for multimedia storage without any additional fees or services. The basic premise is that once you have the software installed and all of your Samsung devices linked up with a Samsung Account, you'll be able to backup and access the same content across all phones, tablets and cameras seamlessly. Content stored on the PC will be available on other devices, streaming directly between the two without an additional service.

Now naturally this will only work with Samsung's own mobile devices -- the promo video shows tablets, phones and smart cameras -- but for those who have their whole world rooted in the one manufacturer this can be a compelling setup. As the amount of media stored piles up, the software also interfaces with external drives to expand storage. HomeSync Lite supports up to 5 users accounts per PC and up to 6 devices per user account, making this a great option for a family or shared home PC setup.

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Motorola to run new 'Moto X' ad in major papers July 3

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New advertising campaign focuses on device customizability and 'Made in the USA'

Following the unveiling of its new logo as "a Google company", Motorola is set to kick off a new advertising campaign for its upcoming "Moto X" device starting July 3rd. According to Ad Age, the full-page ad is set to run in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, emphasizing the customizability of the upcoming device. Billed as "The first smartphone that you can design yourself.", the Moto X isn't pictured or further described in the ad, leaving a lot of questions unanswered.

The advertisement also prominently displays the fact that the phone will be designed and assembled in the USA, which makes sense considering its placement right before the July 4th national holiday. We have high hopes that the customizable features of the Moto X go beyond simply selecting colors, but we have to wonder how the logistics of offering anything deeper than that would play out in a consumer setting.

We'll certainly be looking forward to the advertising push that starts with this ad on Wednesday. You can see the full (extremely tall) advertisement after the break.

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4 years ago

A lucky contest winner gets his OUYA on

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OUYA consoles are shipping out rapidly, and our very own contest winner has received his unit

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we held a contest to pick our Android Central user name for the OUYA service.  We rounded up all the entries and picked a winner -- glazedfaith came through with the name LloydOfTheRings -- and it was all finished except the waiting. 

The wait's over, and glazedfaith has received his OUYA! Like a true gracious winner, he's taken the time to thank us for holding up our end and getting the OUYA console out to him as soon as they could be shipped. 

On behalf of all of us here, you're welcome glazedfaith. We hope you enjoy the heck out of the OUYA, and keep sharing your experiences with it. The best part about working here is knowing that folks like you are out there and appreciate what we do. 

Everyone head into the forums and check out the pictures, and hopefully glazedfaith can give us some real-world user impressions of the OUYA while he puts it through the paces.

Android Central forums: Thanks AndroidCentral!

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active rooted by iPhone hacker Geohot

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An application package from Geohot's webpage provides the root exploit

Being the owner of a less popular phone variant often means having to wait a little longer when it comes to support from the hacker community. For owners itching to root their Samsung Galaxy S4 Active devices, the wait is over. Infamous hacker Geohot -- most known for being the first person to carrier unlock the original iPhone -- has published a root method for the Galaxy S4 Active.

Some very vocal users on XDA Developers started a bounty, each individually pledging dollar amounts for the ability to root their beloved Galaxy S4 Actives. Not long after an official bounty forum thread was started, hacker Geohot answered the call by rooting his first Android device and making an application package available for download on his own website. Users simply visit the website, download the application directly onto a Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, and run "activeroot." 

Credit to who actually found the root exploit has been questioned, however.

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4 years ago

MEEP! tablet update adds requested features, boosts performance

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Firmware 2.1 update package can be downloaded over the air or via PC

An update for MEEP! tablet owners is now available, adding some very cool features along with the promise of increased overall performance. Instead of having to use the Parents Portal on a computer, parents can now manage parental controls directly on the tablet itself or on their own devices via Android and iOS apps. This will allow parents easier access to approve requests for virtual currency, MEEP! Coins, and game downloads

Parents Controls become more robust in firmware version 2.1, adding a new “white list”, “blacklist”, and “bad word” list to more finely control keyword and website access. Parents also gain the ability to monitor online activity, limit play time, and set up allowances for app purchases. Kids will be able to burn through those allowances at an even faster pace now, thanks to this new firmware that "optimizes content and provides faster performance."

Quite an impressive update for an Android tablet from last year that's marketed squarely at kids. For the official details on how to receive and apply this update, follow the link below.

Update: meeptablet

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4 years ago

Your daily (more or less) Talk Mobile Hangout!

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We're back with another one of those fancy Talk Mobile daily Hangouts!

On tap today: Why do we let smartphone notifications rule our lives? Join us ... NOW!

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4 years ago

HTC: No Android 4.2.2 update for HTC One S

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Aluminum-clad 4.3-incher 'will remain on the current version of Android and HTC Sense'

Bad news for HTC One S owners this afternoon, as HTC has confirmed to Android Central that the One S — one of its 2012 flagship devices — will not see any official upgrades beyond its current software version. That means as far as official firmware goes, users will remain on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and HTC Sense 4+ for the remainder of their devices' lives.

HTC's statement reads —

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4 years ago

Pebble Smart Watch appears on Best Buy website

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While many Kickstarter backers are still be waiting to receive the Pebble Smart Watch they bought and paid for, the device itself is headed to Best Buy

We heard rumors last night that the Pebble Smart Watch would be headed to Best Buy, and today we know the whole story. The Bluetooth powered smart watch will indeed be sold at Best Buy, and be available in stores July 7. The black version (already on the Best Buy website) will be for sale at first, with cherry red coming later in August.

The wearable, which will cost $150, connects with your Android or iOS device through Bluetooth and offers an interface to things like text messages and incoming calls. There are also available programming interfaces so things can be extended, and we expect more than a few applications for the smart watch will become available once it reaches more hands. Being available over the counter at a big box store will help make that happen.

We've reached out to the folks behind the Pebble, asking how this news will affect the people still waiting for the product they bought through Kickstarter. While not being able to fill demand is a problem many companies would like to have, you never want to leave a bad impression on your early adopters. 

I'll head over to my local Best Buy this Sunday and pick one of these up and see what the fuss is all about. What about you? Is the Pebble an accessory you're interested in using? Be sure to tell us the answer, and why you feel that way in the comments.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Messaging overload: Why have we let notifications rule our lives? - Talk Mobile

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Sorting the signal from the noise is a major problem when it comes to mobile communication and social networking. As social networks grow, they become filled not only with real people, but also with advertisers and brands, and worse -- inundated with trolls, griefers, spammers, and more. You're forced to make a decision between a manageable existence where you can keep up with what's going on, or just accept the influx and go with the ever-quickening flow.

4 years ago

Google not changing privacy policy for Google Glass

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Concerns of user privacy and Google Glass seem to go hand in hand and the time for debate is now

Google has responded to Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus with a letter focusing on new privacy concerns that surround the wearable device. Of particular interest is Google's clear, yet controversial, privacy policy and if it would be amended or changed to deal with Google Glass

According to Google VP of public policy and government relations Susan Molinari, they have no plans to change anything and the existing privacy policy will remain in effect.

Use of Google Glass will be governed by the terms of the Google Privacy Policy and no changes to the Google Privacy Policy are planned for Glass.

Congressman Barton is disappointed, as he feels this doesn't address the way the new technology can affect the "social norms" as it changes the ways users interact with the public. 

We like to think that anyone buying into the wearable computing market would take a few moments and understand how their data is being used, plenty of people simply won't do so. Google has clarified their data privacy policy in the past, and the concise, simple language spells out what they can and will do with the information they collect from you.

We're not sure how things need to change to protect users of Google Glass, but we do know that now is the time to hash it all out. With wearable computing becoming a reality in the very near future, these concerns and others will need to be addressed by the people on both sides of the issue. 

Follow the source link for a PDF download of Google's four page letter to congress, and click here to read their existing privacy policies.

Source: Marketing Land

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4 years ago

Sphero is Amazon's Deal of the Day, on sale for $84.99

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You all know Sphero, the robotic ball that is controlled via your Android phone. If you've been curious about one of these but were hesitant about the price tag, you can get it discounted today for $84.99, marked down from $129.99, as it's Amazon's Deal of the Day.

As mentioned above, Sphero is a ball that is controlled with your mobile device, Android or iOS. There are many apps that you can download from Google Play to allow you to control your Sphero in a different way or play games.

At a price of $129, many were hesitant to commit to the purchase. A $50 discount is attractive and will likely lure many more to try the robotic ball. How about you guys, at this price, are you more likely to buy a Sphero?

Source: Amazon

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4 years ago

Get dedicated Tapatalk apps for all the Mobile Nations forums!

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Good news, everyone! We now have dedicated Tapatalk apps for all of your favorite Mobile Nations sites. That's your fast-track ticket to the forums of Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore and WPCentral — and they're all available now in Google Play.

(And for those who have asked, yes, we'd love to get some iOS action going on, but — surprise, surprise — Apple rejects anything that has to do with Android Central. Go figure.)

Here's where to get your download on:

And as always, don't forget to check out the Official Android Central app, which also gives you full access to the blog side of things in addition to podcasts, forums, wallpapers and more!

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