Headlines

3 years ago

Muzei Live Wallpaper brings classic art to your homescreen

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Curated classics or your own pictures make for an excellent wallpaper when treated through Muzei

Roman Nurik, Android Developer Advocate at Google — and developer of Dashclock, the widget everyone loves — has just released one of the snazziest live wallpaper apps we've ever seen.

Muzei (from the Russian for "museum") grabs a new piece of artwork daily, curated by Nurik and his art teacher fiancée +Liza Gordon and gently blurs the piece to display on your home screen. A quick double tap deblurs the art for a few moments so you can appreciate it. The transition is really slick, and some of the best app animation in Android we've ever seen. If you prefer, you can use your own local photos in lieu of the curated collection. Because it uses the standard file chooser, you can also set up a Dropbox folder or use Google Drive.

Just like Dashclock, Muzei is completely open source and extensible via an open set of APIs. For more information about the API, click here, and for the source click here.

Grab Muzei Live Wallpaper from the Google Play link above and give it a spin.

Source: +Roman Nurik

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3 years ago

Go for Android parent company may be set to acquire GetJar

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Purported deal to be worth over $50 million

Sungy Mobile Limited, a China-based company behind the popular Go for Android apps, is reported to be buying out GetJar, one of the first app stores for mobile devices.

Sources have told Gigaom that the purchase price is over $50 million dollars, and expected to be announced next week.  

Sungy Mobile is said to have realized the need to provide app discovery to their customers, which number upwards of 325 million, and absorbing GetJar — who has been doing apps and discovery since 2004 — is a great way to do it.

A quick look at the GetJar: Paid apps for free application in Google Play shows that Go for Android branding is already in place, so we're pretty sure these two companies have been talking to each other for quite a while.

There's no indication how, if at all, this will affect users of Go for Android apps. Signs point to a Go appstore, but it's possible they have other plans for their new GetJar purchase.

Source: Gigaom

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3 years ago

Pebble tells us why we still don't have the new 2.0 app and appstore

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Android's Pebble 2.0 app lagging behind is a matter of resources

There has been a good bit of outcry about Pebble releasing their new version — and their appstore — on iOS before Android, and even more that we still haven't seen the official version of the app in Google Play.

Lead software engineer from Pebble Kean Wong took the the blog to tell us why, and what they're doing to rectify the situation.

The reason why the Android version of the 2.0 Pebble app has lagged the iOS version is fundamentally pretty simple – it has purely been a matter of resources. In order to ship a high quality, reliable Android experience that will work for many thousands of users across the myriad of devices and operating systems, we need engineers working on the Android app who are both fantastic engineers and great Android developers.

Make no mistake — we're talking about some complicated and intricate code here. Not only do the developers have to make a product that works as well or better than the previous Android app did, but they have to worry about app versions, automatic upgrading for watch apps and watch faces, and users who may not be tech-savvy if things go wrong. I do not envy these guys.

The current beta version of the Pebble 2.0 app is available for those brave souls who want to try it out. We're using it, and can tell you that it's not even close to ready yet. Trust us when we say you do not want this to be released to the general public, and it's very much still a developer preview. We love the new functionality, but when lots of little things go wrong it makes for a poor experience that normal users won't want. Pebble is wise to hold this back.

The good news is that Pebble is actively looking for Android engineers and developers — ones with the right credentials who can back it up with results. Those folks are few and far between, because most are already employed elsewhere because of the high demand for quality Android coders. 

This is a situation that will correct itself, but only after a lot of hard work and long nights. While we all want the latest and greatest for our Pebble, sometimes it's better to wait.

Source: Pebble Blog

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3 years ago

Radiohead's PolyFauna app is triptacular

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The 'imagined creatures from your subconscious' come to life in Radiohead's new app

PolyFauna takes the song "Bloom" from Radiohead's recent The King of Limbs album, adds in some ethereal moving art, and packages it up as a trippy and cool Android app. 

Radiohead's Thom Yorke hit the nail on the head when he described PolyFauna as "A window into an evolving world" and there's really no other way to describe it. Imagine Motorola's Windy Day app, with a hefty dose of LSD and imagination, then some distinctly Radiohead sounds tossed in the mix. Hold your phone up, look at the screen and move it around. The landscape changes and rolls (the trails are lovely) and when you see the red dot you can follow it for a gateway to a completely different scene.

There's nothing to learn here, and no bad guys to kill. But it's one hell of a ride. Grab it from the Google Play link above.

Via: Radiohead

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3 years ago

Getting '403' errors in the Play Store today? You're not alone

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Don't worry, everything will be back up and operational soon

Folks from all around are reporting issues downloading apps and updates from the Play Store today, receiving an error "403" in the process. It's safe to say at this point that Google Play is both herping and derping, and it should be sorted out soon. Here's a quick explanation of what that 403 error means, technically:

Generally a 403 error means your request was "forbidden." That doesn't mean you did anything wrong, just that the server (in this case Google's Play store servers) were programmed to deny the request you sent. Typically, you see a 403 error when you try to browse the file structure of a server that wasn't configured to allow this sort of access.

What's likely happening with Google Play is because of traffic shaping, where the normal request was altered and the server gets a request that it cannot allow. There's nothing you can do to fix them, though some people have had luck deleting their Google account and adding it again. The best thing you can do is wait it out, even though that's something nobody wants to do.

We go through these sorts of widespread errors from time to time, and they always get sorted out quickly. Hang in there.

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3 years ago

Apps World: Join penguins on an adventure in XnO for Android

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Endearing characters and high-quality art set XnO apart

Catapult games are a big deal on mobile – just look at Angry Birds and the many games the series has inspired as proof. The style of gameplay – aiming projectiles at something and trying to knock it over – works perfectly with touch-screen devices. You can classify these games as physics puzzlers, but they feel more action-oriented than most physics games.

At Apps World last week, I discovered a 3D catapult game from indie developer Digital Eclairs called XnO. The 3D perspective adds a new layer of depth to this type of game. XnO also has an endearing set of characters and delightful, high quality art style to set it apart. It’s also one of the few participants in the Big Indie Pitch that has already made it to market, so you can download it right now.

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3 years ago

How to: Tell Google Now who your mom (or dad) is

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Add relationships to your contacts with simple voice actions to make hands-free calling and texting simpler.

Google Now is getting smarter and more useful by the day, and Google's latest development is in voice actions with relationships rather than people's names. Starting today, you can now use Google Now to call people with close relationships to you via voice command. For example, you can now simply say "Call Mom" or "Send a text to my wife" rather than using their full names. If you have yet to assign a relationship status to a contact, you'll get a simple on-screen prompt to assign contacts to the relationship.

If you're interested in setting up this capability on your own phone, it's an extremely simple process:

  • Open Google Now and tap the microphone button at the top (or use the "OK Google" hotword on the Nexus 5).
  • Simply say "Call my ..." appended by the person you wish to call (mom, brother, wife, grandfather, etc.).
  • If you have yet to assign a relationship to that name, you'll be prompted again to speak the person's name.
  • Tap to confirm the name, or pick from your contacts manually.
  • If there are multiple numbers associated with the contact, select your preferred number for voice dialing.

And that's it! From that point forward, you can use relationship names rather than people's names for voice actions. While we're sure there are more, we've found these actions to work with: mom/dad, girlfriend/boyfriend, sister/brother, cousin, grandmother/grandfather. Give it a try with calls and texts — it may save you some time the next time you need to make a hands-free communication.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Spectralink and Android poised to revolutionize communication in your hospital

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The Spectralink Pivot is part of a complete WLAN solution for healthcare professionals, and it runs Android

Android has been noticeably absent from industry applications, like assembly factories, warehouse facilities and hospitals. The function is there, and the open-source Android code is a complete operating system and application framework that nobody has done much more than phones or tablets with. Spectralink is going to try and change that.

As part of their unified communications systems, the new Spectralink Pivot is a handheld Android device that does traditional voice calling, video and data transmission over WLAN, complete with a 1D/2D barcode scanning system built in. While this is a perfect application for many use cases, Spectralink is directly marketing it towards healthcare facilities.

This is exciting stuff, folks. We think about phones and tablets when we think about Android, but as a complete embedded platform Android is capable of running on all sorts of equipment. While the Spectralink Pivot may resemble a traditional handheld device, the addition of the scanner when paired with custom software makes for a great single communications device for the Nursing staff — who we all know does all the work at the hospital and needs every tool they can get to help do their job. The same goes for workers in a giant warehouse, or a production facility. Right now, most places using similar technology are using late-model iPods or iPads with extra equipment hanging off of them to do this. Switching to Android means they can run custom firmware, and install applications as needed without any interference from App stores or platform rules. That's a big plus for the IT guys who keep this sort of system running.

To be sure, products like this aren't designed or built — or priced — for the consumer. The $950 Spectralink Pivot 8753 is just a small part of a complete WLAN communications package, and is designed to replace existing systems that have outlived their usefulness. We're still pumped to see this sort of thing, though, because we know how powerful Android can be. It's great to see more of its potential being used like this.

 

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3 years ago

Sprint Spark launches in Philadelphia and Baltimore

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Network improvements will also include HD Voice in the coming weeks

Sprint announced today that its new network, dubbed Sprint Spark, is available in another two U.S. cities. The new network, which takes advantage of three different blocks of spectrum to increase speeds, offers theoretical throughput of up to 60mbps if you have a Spark-capable device. Today's expansion to Philadelphia and Baltimore brings the total number of Sprint Spark cities up to a whopping 14 across the country, although Sprint claims it will hit 100 cities with Spark in the next three years.

In the coming weeks, these two new Sprint Spark markets will also be upgrade to utilize HD Voice. Just like Spark, HD Voice requires a capable handset (and in this case both ends of the call need a capable handset), but if you do have the right phone you'll notice a dramatic improvement in audio quality. Both Sprint Spark and HD Voice are great initiatives for increasing data speeds and call quality, and provided it can roll out the features quickly they can be a great selling point of the Now Network.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

Sprint reports Q4 2013 results: $7.2 billion revenues lead to $576 million loss

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Full-year losses of $1.9 billion on $28.6 billion in revenues

A handful of months after it was purchased by SoftBank, Sprint has reported another losing quarter and year on the books. The third-place carrier posted a Q4 2013 loss of $576 million, although that improved 22 percent year-over-year, on revenues of $7.2 billion, also up slightly. Sprint added a total of 682,000 net customers in the quarter, although only 58,000 were postpaid customers. ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) was its highest ever at $64.07.

For the entire year of 2013, Sprint posted operating loss of $1.9 billion on revenues of $28.6 billion, which is up 5 percent year-over-year. It sold a total of 20.5 million smartphones for the year, and a record 95 percent of quarterly postpaid handset sales were smartphones. Sprint ended the year with a total of 53.9 million customers, a record, with over 30 million customers being postpaid.

On the network side, Sprint claims over 200 million people are now covered by its LTE network, and Sprint Spark is now available in 14 "of the largest" U.S. cities. It says that 33,000 towers have been updated with Network Vision improvements, an increase of 24,000 in the last year, and that Spark will make its way to 100 cities in the next three years.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

EverythingMe Launcher review: You just don't know me

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Sometimes predictions are great, but usually you just want your phone to look the same every time you unlock it.

As the current phrasing goes, when it comes to software and services, "context is king." Being able to look at your habits, usage patterns and tendencies to then make smart decisions on what you'll want next is being trumpeted as the next frontier of mobile computing. We're seeing Apple and Google get in on this game with smart calendar appointments and services like Google Now, but a new breed of contextually-aware launchers and apps have been the talk of the town in the Android world as of late.

The latest entry in this arena on everyone's tongues is EverythingMe Launcher, the product of talented developers EverythingMe (go figure) that wants to help simplify your phone experience and offer compelling new content with little user setup required. The system is pretty simple — look at the apps you have installed, when and for how long you use them and then tailor a homescreen layout to show what it thinks you want before you do.

It sounds like the mobile utopia of our dreams, but this particular time machine needs a little more tinkering before it realizes its true potential. Read with us after the break and see how EverythingMe Launcher is making an argument for being your next launcher choice.

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3 years ago

Geeksphone Revolution gives you Android and Firefox OS for €289

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European launch coming on February 20 for interesting looking hybrid

When Firefox OS first started going on devices, Geeksphone was first out of the gate with some of the developer devices. While it hasn't exactly taken off, we're a little further down the line and Geeksphone is back with its latest Firefox OS smartphone. Only this one is a dual-booter with our favorite mobile OS. This hybrid smartphone is coming to market in Europe later this month on Feb. 20 for €289, though early buyers may get a €20 discount. 

Inside the Revolution is a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel CPU, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of on-board storage with a microSD card slot. Out front is a 4.7-inch qHD display, and round back there's an 8MP camera. The 2000mAh battery isn't huge, but then Intel devices have generally done pretty well on battery life in the past. 

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3 years ago

Qualcomm Toq gets another update, adds world clock and activity monitors

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It's been a few weeks since the Qualcomm Toq last had an update, but the latest makes it well worth the wait. This time around it's not just some new pretty faces, but also a bit of functionality to kick things up a notch. In addition to a new "World Clock" clock style, you also get access to the new Activity applet that tracks you over a 24 hour period and reports back to the app on your phone. 

What's new:

  • New “World Clock” clock style allows you to toggle through the local time and weather in your favorite cities
  • New Activity Applet (Beta) monitors your activity while wearing Toq and tracks your activity “points” over a 24 hour period. View a history of your daily activity point totals in the Toq Android app.
  • New ”Activity” clock style shows the time plus your current activity ‘points’ at a glance
  • Adds ability to select temperature scale in either Celsius or Fahrenheit

The Activity Applet is still in beta so it may or may not work too great right now. We haven't played around with it too much yet but we'll definitely report back if it turns out to be any good. 

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3 years ago

ARM announces Cortex A17 processors for '2015 and beyond'

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New 'energy-efficient' chips for future mid-range phones

Anticipating growth ahead in the mid-range mobile market, chip design giant ARM has unveiled a new range of processors for the mid-level phones and tablets of the future. ARM's Cortex A17 is 60 percent faster than current Cortex A9 designs with improved power efficiency, the company says, and is designed to deliver "today's premium user experience" in next year's mid-range products. Cortex A17 supports the big.LITTLE processing technique with full-system coherency, and example configurations show A17s twinned with A7s in quad-, hexa- and octa-core arrangements.

The A17 processor is paired with ARM's new Mali-T720 GPU, designed for entry-level mobile devices, as well as smart TVs and streaming boxes. The "cost-optimized" GPU supports OpenGL ES 3.0 (added to Android in version 4.3), RenderScript and OpenCL, allowing it to back up the CPU by handling general computing tasks as well as graphics.

In addition to phones, tablets and entertainment devices, Cortex A17 is also targeted at industrial and automotive "infotainment" systems, which are sure to be a key area for Android in 2015 as the Open Automotive Alliance kicks into gear.

Source: ARM

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3 years ago

SanDisk Dual USB Drive is a quick and easy way to transfer files

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Desktop computer business up front, mobile party microUSB in the back.

SanDisk today announced its new "Dual USB Drive" — basically a flash drive with a USB 2.0 connector on one side for plugging into a computer, and microUSB on the other side for plugging into a phone. Price starts at $19.99 for a 16GB model and hits $49.99 for 64GB.

Sandisk slipped us a 32GB unit. And, true to form, it's pretty simple to copy files just like you would with any other drive. At least on the computer side, that is. Phones get a little more complicated, but SanDisk helps out with that as well. Many Android devices don't have USB on-the-go (OTG) support. So it's possible you'll plug in this drive, fire up your favorite file browser — and nothing will happen. (Samsung is a notable exception, though — and rooted devices can get around this easily with any number of apps.) 

To that end, SanDisk today updated its Memory Zone app to support the Dual USB Drive. Plug in the drive, open the app, and you've got a file browser capable of reading whatever's on the drive. Images, video, music — whatever.

Pretty simple, and it's a handy little accessory.

More at SanDisk's site.

SANDISK ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST DUAL USB DRIVE DESIGNED TO TRANSFER AND BACKUP CONTENT BETWEEN MOBILE DEVICES AND COMPUTERS

MILPITAS, Calif., Feb. 11, 2014 – SanDisk Corporation , a global leader in flash storage solutions, today announced the SanDisk Ultra® Dual USB Drive, a USB flash drive featuring both a micro-USB and a USB 2.0 connector in a sleek and sturdy form factor. The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive is designed for Android™ smartphone and tablet users who need an easy way to move content such as photos and videos from their mobile devices. The drive allows users to safely store and backup files, free-up space, or simply transfer multimedia between their smartphones, tablets and computers.

“The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive provides a simple, convenient way to offload and backup files from smartphones and tablets – with the peace of mind that comes with the trusted SanDisk brand,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president, product marketing, SanDisk. “This new drive integrates with SanDisk’s Memory Zone app to make freeing up space on mobile devices simpler than ever, improving the user experience.”

The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive provides a convenient way to transfer content via an Android-powered smartphone or tablet’s micro-USB port and a computer’s USB connection. While other methods of transferring files from a mobile device to a computer require wires, applications or a wireless set-up, the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive simply needs to be connected to a mobile device supporting USB on-the-go (OTG)1 to access up to 64GB2 of ‘plug and play’ storage capacity. Additionally, the drive’s dual USB ports feature a retractable cover, meaning no caps to lose while still keeping the connectors safe. 

SanDisk is making content management even easier with the SanDisk Memory Zone app, available for download on Google Play™. With the SanDisk Memory Zone app, users are able to better organize files stored on internal and external phone memory for management, viewing, copying and backup – further easing the hassle of freeing up the memory on their mobile device.

Pricing and Availability

The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive is available worldwide and on www.sandisk.com in 16GB to 64GB capacities carrying MSRPs of $19.99 to $49.99.

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