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3 years ago

AT&T and T-Mobile expected to bid for Verizon's 700MHz spectrum

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Valuable block of spectrum could net Verizon a big profit on the sale

Verizon may be considering a sale of its 700MHz "A block" spectrum, and its no surprise that T-Mobile and AT&T are both in line to make a bid for it. Although Verizon continues to actively use the 700MHz spectrum, it has indicated previously that it would part with the valuable piece of airwaves for the right price, naturally. It purchased the rights to the A block for $2.4 billion, and has indicated that it won't part with it for less than $2.75 billion.

Reportedly both AT&T and T-Mobile are poised to bid for the spectrum. AT&T already holds the rights to adjacent 700MHz spectrum, and certainly has the cash to buy it if necessary. T-Mobile on the other hand operates its network primarily in the 1900MHz and AWS (1700/2100MHz) frequencies, and the 700MHz spectrum is undeniably more valuable than what they hold now.

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3 years ago

Google Play Books now available in 5 new countries

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Google's book store now available in 44 countries around the world

Google Play Books is expanding to five new countries starting today. If you're in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru or Venezuela, you'll now have access to the Google Play Books ecosystem, bringing the total number of countries up to a staggering 44.

If you're in one of the above countries and want to check out the reading collection that Google Play has to offer, head to the Play Store and pick up a couple of good reads.

Source: Google Play Support

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3 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Transportation

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It's time to show us how you get from here to there

Planes, trains and automobiles — we're always moving around for one reason or another. At least around this time of year, we're more likely to be traveling than not. "Transportation" is the prompt for this week's photo contest, but that doesn't have to mean a big hunk of metal moving at high speeds — we all get around more modestly sometimes. If you think about it, there are plenty of ways to express the concept of "transportation."

This week we'll have a single winner for this contest, and for their efforts they'll receive a Sony Cyber-shot QX10 lens camera accessory.

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in a forums post at the link below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll pick a winner Tuesday (December 10) night at 11:59 PM ET, and announce them on the blog with next Wednesday's contest.

Enter this week's photo contest

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3 years ago

Google search now includes the data from installed apps

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Relevant results from your own data now included

You've been able to search for installed apps by name for a while now, but today Google opened up a feature we first heard about when KitKat was announced — search hits from your installed app data.

You won't have to do anything, but developers of third party apps will. Some are ready, with names like IMDB, Wikipedia and Open Table already displaying relevant results. For these apps, the search result will include an "open in app" button that does exactly what you think it will — open the app with the relevant information ready for you. 

In addition, searching for apps will now show relevant results. A search for downhill ski app (Google's example) will show results from Google Play with a handy button to go fetch them.

Google is actively working with developers to get more apps included. If you're a developer and want in on the action, visit here to get started.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Bluetooth 4.1 introduced with new features, development flexibility

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Latest release focuses on aiding developer and manufacturer innovation

The Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) announced today all of the new features coming with the latest release of the standard, Bluetooth 4.1. As you would expect with an incremental point release the bump to BT 4.1 isn't groundbreaking, but makes several solid improvements over 4.0.

The latest version focuses first in improving usability for end users — the BT SIG has worked to make sure Bluetooth and LTE radios can cooperate and not interfere with each other's transmissions in a device. The latest spec also lets manufacturers have more control over Bluetooth connections in terms of reconnection times and disconnect thresholds.

A big part of BT 4.1 is making it easier for developers to use the technology. Working to be at the center of the "Internet of Things," Bluetooth 4.1 lets any device be both a peripheral and a hub at the same time — for example a smartwatch could be a peripheral to a phone, but also be a hub to other peripherals such as a heart monitor or pedometer.

The Bluetooth SIG certainly sees even more potential in its technology, and with the new technological advances in 4.1 the spec is getting even more powerful.

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3 years ago

Google Santa Tracker 2013 page live, Android app coming soon

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Google is getting ready for Christmas, and they want to help you keep track of Santa

Google has once again built a neat little Santa tracker page, complete with an advent calendar and interactive web elements. Point your browser right here, and you can count down the days until he makes his rounds, and click a few things in the calendar to keep track of all the happenings in Santa's village.

In addition to the web site, Google will be releasing this year's Android app once "the elves approve it" in mid December.

This looks like a lot of fun for the little ones in your life, or the big ones who still act like little ones around Christmas time. Be sure to check it out.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Action Launcher 2.0 released with latest features, new free version

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Pro version just $1.99, 50% off, for a limited time after launch

Popular third-party launcher Action Launcher has made a notable jump to version 2.0 today, bringing with it new features and a slightly different business model. Version 2.0 brings Quickdrawer, Covers, Shutters, Quicksearch and Quickpage out of beta for everyone to use, and also introduces a free version of Action Luncher.

Previously you had to go all-in with a $3.99 purchase of Action Launcher, but you can now get a taste of what it's all about for free and simply pay to unlock the "Pro" features at a later date. Those who have already purchased Action Launcher will have their version turned into an unlock key, and be prompted to download the most up-to-date version of the "free" app to get the latest features.

To celebrate the release, the Pro version is 50 percent off for a limited time as well, meaning you can pick up all of the latest features for just $1.99. You can take a quick video look at the latest version after the break, or head to the Play Store to download Action Launcher at the link above.

Source: +Chris Lacy

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3 years ago

Google Calendar improvements make it easier to get together for events

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Never give out the wrong address for an event again

Google is rolling out changes to Google Calendar on the web that make it even easier to get friends and family together for events. To help ensure that everyone gets to the right place, when you type into the "where" box for a new event, you'll receive auto complete options for places pulled from the Google Maps database. When you go back to view the event later, or someone you invite views the event, you can simply click the "map" button and be taken to Google Maps to view the location.

Universal search is also being improved in Google Calendar. Just like in Gmail, you can start typing in the name of the event, attendees or location and get a list of results as you type with relevant events containing those key words or people. While these updates are specifically for the web version of Google Calendar, the existence of the new back-end could make this very easy to implement in later versions of the Android app.

With the latest changes, if you create events on the web with the new location search and select a specific place, that location will be a link to open Google Maps on your phone — it's a good start, and we look forward to both the location and search functions being improved on mobile soon.

Source: Gmail Blog

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3 years ago

Customers being charged for Acer C720P Chromebook orders from Amazon [update]

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Product now 'in stock,' shipments should be on their way

Update: Amazon's page is now listing the Acer C720P as "in stock" for $299.99 with free shipping — no more pre-order status.

Original story: Those who pre-ordered the latest touchscreen Acer Chromebook from Amazon are being charged for their pre-orders today. Although the product is still indicates on the Amazon page that it hasn't been released yet, if the retailer is taking your money for an order then there's a good chance it's ready to go.

The Acer C720P is nearly identical to the other models of C720 that were released in the previous month, but with the addition of 32GB of storage and a touchscreen — all for $299. That's a pretty attractive package, and the first touchscreen Chromebook outside of the Pixel.

If you're looking to pick up a Chromebook this holiday season and have been holding out for a touchscreen model, chances are if you order now it'll be delivered in short order. You can place an order from the Amazon link below.

More: Pre-order the Acer C720P Chromebook from Amazon

Thanks, Marc!

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3 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Family' winners!

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Dozens of great entries again this week

It was a holiday weekend for many of us in the states, and we felt it was appropriate to have this week's photo contest be about "family." Although we can understand that the entries were a bit low this week considering the travel many of us undertook, we still received some excellent entries this week.

And best of all, we were able to pick two winners this week to receive a prize rather than our usual one. Each will be receiving an Incipio FIXIE Universal Tablet Stand for their winning entry, so let's check out the winning images after the break.

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3 years ago

KitKat for US Cellular Moto X rolling out in phases

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Welcome to the KitKat club, US Cellular

If your Moto X is U.S. Cellular branded, you'll want to check for an update to the OS. Motorola's Punit Soni has announced that the KitKat update for USC models of the Moto X is currently rolling out in stages,

When finished, don't expect things to look very different. Under the hood though, well that's another story. Changes to resource management will keep your Moto X running snappy even while more apps are open and running, and as new applications are written that take advantage of 4.4 features, you'll be ready for them.

Anyone on USC seeing this yet? Shout out in the comments!

Source: +Punit Soni

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3 years ago

Moto G Flip Shell review

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Plenty of color options and durable construction are highlights of this official accessory

Part of the charm of the little Moto G is the assortment of candy-colored back shells you can buy. It's a veritable rainbow of choice, and you'll find one to suit your tastes if you want more than the basic black that comes with the phone. Moto has carried much of this over to the official flip shell case as well.

It attaches the same way the normal, non-flippy case backs do. Stick your fingernail under the shell at the USB cut-out, and peel back like a banana. The current case back will pop off, and the new one snaps in using plastic clips around the edges. It's pretty simple.

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3 years ago

The best free Android games

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Did you just pick up a new Android device? Maybe you’re looking for a new, cheap way to kill time? You’re in luck - we’ve got some games here that look and play great on the big and small screen alike, and they’re all available for the low, low price of free.

It’s worth keeping in mind that just about all of these employ in-app purchases of some kind or another. We know there are plenty of you that would willingly pay up front for a quality game, but there are plenty of good free games out there too. We’re trying to avoid “lite” games, since you won’t get a lot of replay value by only having the first couple of levels and being pestered to upgrade (pay) for the rest. That said, if the freemium model is a dealbreaker, this probably isn’t the round-up for you. Developers gotta eat.

Without further ado, here’s our list of the best free Android games.

3 years ago

Moto X holiday sale now live [Update: sold out!]

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Moto X $150-off promotion sells out almost immediately

Update, 12:10pm ET: That's it. Motorola is out of codes for today. The next chance to buy a Moto X at the promotional price is 12 noon ET next Monday.

Original story: As promised, Motorola has opened up its Moto X holiday sale, following the ill-fated Cyber Monday promotion that saw many customers unable to place orders. To make up for this, Moto X buyers in the U.S. can head over to motorola.com/holiday2daysale now and get a coupon code to claim a $150 discount code for a customized Moto X through Moto Maker. (Developer editions are excluded from this promotion.)

As outlined by the manufacturer yesterday, you'll receive your code within a couple of hours, and you'll then have seven days to complete your customizations, meaning you don't have to rush through the process.

If you're trying to get your hands on a discounted Moto X today, hit the comments and let us know how you get on. There'll be another chance to bag an off-contract Moto X at a reduced price next Monday, Dec. 9.

More: Motorola Holiday Sale

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3 years ago

Amazon shaves $10 off Belkin WeMo light switch

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Looks like Amazon's deals just keep coming. As part of its Cyber Monday Deals Week, Amazon is offering the Belkin WeMo light switch for $39.99. That's about $10, or 20 percent, off the normal price.

This little doo-dad allows you to do what its name suggests: switch lights on and off. The thought is enough to send many a gadget geek's heart racing. This is done by installing the receptacles you get from Belkin, hooking them up to your Wi-Fi network, and you're good to go.

Just in case you're having a hard time imagining the possibilities, some recommendations from the manufacturer include turning your lights on and off from anywhere your tablet or smartphone has an Internet connection and programming your lights to turn on and off at certain times.

Our very own Jerry gave it a little spin. Here's a little excerpt from his review:

...The ability to control and automate your home right from your Android opens up a world of convenience. I've already ordered two more switches for my front porch light and the lights on my patio, and the wife and I are discussing how and where we might find a use for the receptacles. If you're interested, find out all about the WeMo switches and get ordering information from Belkin.

It seems as if it works pretty well. If you're thinking of making the plunge, you should seriously consider checking out the review. It has more details about the installation process, how it works and even a video demo.

Just be sure to seek your friendly local electrician's help if you have doubts about installing it yourself. We do not want to hear of any incidents. Once the installation has been safely and successfully completed, the fun can begin!

You can find Amazon's ordering page here.

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