4 years ago

You won't believe what happens in this #CESlive wrap-up video!


OK, maybe you will believe it. Maybe you stuck with us through all four days of #CESlive coverage last week from Las Vegas (to say nothing of the work we put in before the show even started). Maybe you hung on every word John P and Cali Lewis had to say from the each of the 80 or so interviews we did from the Mobile Nations/GeekBeat booth in South Hall. Maybe you even stuck around until as long as we did, long after the CEA's Gary Shapiro helped us pop the cork on the Prosecco and toast to a successful week.

So maybe you'll believe all that.

Anyhoo. It was a great reminder of a great week that was, of all the great people we met, of all the great interviews we ... interviewed — and of how much more awesome we're going to make it next year.

As always, thanks for coming along for the ride with us. See y'all at CES 2015.

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4 years ago

Google releases Play Movies & TV for iOS


Watch the shows and films you've purchased right on your Apple iOS device

We know that plenty of you fine folks have an iPad or even an iPhone as a companion for your trusty Android. It's cool, none of us here judge and most of us have an Apple product or two laying around as well. They just got a little bit better if you're entrenched in Google Play.

The Play Movies & TV app for iOS has been released, and it's not half bad. You can't purchase or rent through it — we imagine that's a way around Apple's fees — but you can watch anything you've rented through the Android app or from a desktop browser. Protip — Chrome for iOS is a desktop browser. Wink wink, nod nod. There's even support for the Chromecast.

Anyhoo, if you've been wanting this one, you can grab it through the App Store.

Via: iMore

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4 years ago

When it comes to carrier networks, compatible doesn't mean good


'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means'

T-Mobile is certainly making a splash on the U.S. carrier scene lately. And if you believe even half of what you read on places like Google+ and Twitter, a lot of folks are considering switching from where they are now to the John Legere dog-and-pony show. For some folks that will work well, for others not so much. All we can say is to check things out very well before you do anything permanent, and to remember that T-Mobile loves your money more than they love you — just like the rest.

But right now, we want to talk about the networks and what it takes to be fully "T-Mobile compatible." When the Google Play edition Moto G was announced, Google said it was T-Mobile compatible. It's right there on Google Play in the footnotes even. The Galaxy S4 Google Play edition says the same thing in the footnotes on its page, too.

But these two phones will act very different for most T-Mobile customers. We mentioned network support when we told you about the GPe Moto G the other day, but we want to take a few minutes and explain how all this mess works.

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4 years ago

Chrome data compression exits beta, available in coming stable release


Cut data usage when browsing by up to 50%

Chrome's data compression feature, which has been in the beta channel since version 28, is making its way to the stable channel for all users. The feature, if you haven't used it before, channels your data through a proxy server to cut down on the mobile data you eventually use on your phone or tablet. The result is a decrease of up to 50 percent in data usage from browsing — that's nothing to shake a stick at.

On a side note, the latest Chrome release will also enable a feature that lets you pin shortcuts to pages on your homescreen. Simply hit the menu button and you'll see a new option of "Add to homescreen" — no more bookmarking and adding a bookmark widget to your phone manually.

We're not yet seeing an update to Chrome on our own devices, but when it does finally roll out it will have these two features enabled. To turn on data compression, simply head into the settings, tap "Bandwidth management" and toggle the button to "on." It's that simple.

Source: Google Chrome Blog

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4 years ago

HP Chromebook 11 back in the Play Store, LTE model (sort of) shows up at Best Buy


$100 bump in price gets you connection to the Verizon network

Following an extensive recall of faulty chargers, the HP Chromebook 11 is finally back up for sale in the Play Store. Equipped with a newer (and much nicer) charger, you can pick up the Chromebook 11 for the same $279 price — that'll get you an Exynos 5250-powered laptop with 2GB of RAM and a 1366 x 768 display. Every color is in-stock, save for the white with blue accents model.

As liliputing found this morning, Best Buy has quietly listed the HP Chromebook 11 with an LTE connectivity option at its online store as well. While the laptop doesn't quite show up in search results just yet, a direct link to the listing shows a $379 price with the potential for a $50 mail-in rebate. You'll be limited to just Verizon LTE, but if you're a Verizon customer you'll be able to add it to a shared data plan for just $10 — not a bad deal.

While we don't recommend the HP Chromebook 11 head-to-head with better options like the Acer C720, the existence of an LTE option may put a few people over the edge into buying territory on this one.

Source: Best Buy; Via: liliputing

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Moto G Google Play edition


It's a Moto G, minus some Motorola software

Let's just get this out of the way: There's very little difference between the "regular" Moto G and the Google Play edition Moto G. It's worth arguing that a GPe version of the Moto G (at this point in time) doesn't really make sense. In fact, you lose some functionality, not being able to use Motorola's custom camera and "Assist" apps, to name but two. On the other hand, you get some easy unlocking capability, if that's how you roll.

Otherwise? That's it. Same $179 (or $199 for 16GB) phone, sans contract. No LTE data. Same removable back cover (you'll have to go to Moto directly for different colors). Physically, these are the same phones.

It's also worth a quick mention that the Google Play edition box is showing the same launcher as the Nexus 5, which some folks have taken to calling the "Google Experience Launcher," or GEL. But just like every other Google Play edition device we've seen, that launcher isn't actually on the phone. Is that a nod toward a Google Play release of that app? Dunno. It could well just be a marketing error. For now, it is what it is.

This Moto G has Android 4.4.2 already installed (with a slightly lower build number than the Moto Moto G, for what that's worth), so no waiting for an update, or installing one first-thing, as most Moto Gs have already seen their over-the-air update roll out.

And that's that. Peep the video after the break for more.

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4 years ago

CyanogenMod installer for Mac enters public beta


The Android application may have been removed from Google Play, but that hasn't stopped the folks behind the CyanogenMod Installer project from pumping out a public beta of the Mac OSX version. 

In case you're not aware of exactly what we're talking about, the CM Installer is an easy — some say bulletproof — way to swap the software on your supported phone out and install CyanogenMod. You need a computer for this sort of thing, and the Android application was a helper to make sure you have everything set up and ready, both on the phone (or tablet) itself and the computer you're using. Before, this was a Microsoft Windows-only affair. Now it's not.

Getting started is easy enough, you'll just join the Google+ community and follow directions in the sticky post to download and install. Not sure you're ready to start doing things like flashing phone software? That's good — it means you're thinking. Jump into the forums for your Android device and poke around a little to see what's involved and how people are doing all this.

Source: CyanogenMod Installer for Mac Google+ community

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4 years ago

Let Nest be Nest ... (And Motorola be Motorola, and Aviate be Aviate)


Companies get bought and sold all the time, with and without our approval (or lack of expertise).

It's easy to be a skeptic. Skepticism is safe. It's a warm blanket of knowing that if shit indeed happens (and it will, from time to time), then you were right, it went bad, and you can tell everyone so. And if you're wrong and the world doesn't end, well, that's fine, too. Because who doesn't love a happy ending? Skepticism is a win-win for the skeptic, and a bore for the optimist.

And this quickly rang true Monday when Google announced it was buying Nest for $3.2 billion. Obvious jokes were obvious. Watch a 30-second ad before adjusting the temperature. Join Google+ to turn on your heat. Funny, but obvious. And not really helpful.

And it's almost like Google can't drop $3.2 billion without everyone becoming an expert on what it all means, hashed out in mere hours. Google bought Nest for the data. (Duh.) It bought Nest because Android@Home never got off the ground. (Again, duh.) Google bought Nest because it wants to know everything it possibly can about you. (No kidding?) And probably it bought Nest because there are ridiculously smart people working there.

So why is that a problem?

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4 years ago

'Blackphone' aims to be a secure Android experience


Preorders for joint venture between Geeksphone and Silent Circle to begin at Mobile World Congress

Coming next month at Mobile World Congress, we should get a look at the "Blackphone," a joint venture between Geeksphone (you know them as being an early CyanogenMod supporter) and Silent Circle. BlackPhone aims to give a traditional Android experience that "prioritizes the user's privacy and control, without any hooks to carriers or vendors."

Specific details are slim at this point, but Blackphone promises "revolutionary communications" with secure phone calls and texts, file sharing and video chat. 

It's calling its version of Android (and we don't yet know the base platform) "PrivatOS" and is headed up by Phil Zimmermann, who created the PGP standard of encryption widely used in e-mail. Other co-founding execs include Geeksphone's Javier Aguera and Rodrigo Wilva-Ramos, PGP's Jon Callas and ex-Navy SEAL and founder and fomer CEO of SOC Mike Janke.

More: Blackphone

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4 years ago

SwiftKey Beta updated with new emoji layout


Performance and memory issues also addressed

SwiftKey has pushed a rather large update to their beta track today. Besides the under-the-hood changes that always come with any beta software, the emoji keyboard UI has been completely revamped, with gestures to switch tabs, a backspace bar, and layout changes. The full change log:

  • Secondary characters on the top letter row modified when number row is enabled
  • Redesigned emoji UI including new space and backspace bar, swipe gestures to switch emoji tab and changes to how the layout works under the hood
  • Fixed performance issues when switching between tabs
  • Emoji now appear larger
  • Fixed issue where emoji still predicted even when disabled
  • General memory problems fixed
  • Fixed issue where Ice theme used extra RAM
  • Fixed keyboard freezes
  • Fixed issues when syncing
  • Fixed problem with Trending Phrases not updating
  • Fixed incorrect vibration feedback when scrolling

You can read what SwiftKey has to say and grab the apk file at the link below.

Source: SwiftKey. Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

AT&T's HTC One X+ has an Android 4.2.2 OTA on the way


And everyone knows ahead of time this will be its last update

In an unfortunate flow of events, HTC has just confirmed that the last update for the AT&T variant of the HTC One X+ is on its way to users. After independently confirming to users that the One X and One X+ will not move beyond Android 4.2.2, HTC has just explained that that very update has passed testing and will be hitting AT&T users' devices later this week.

Android 4.2.2 with Sense 5 customizations will be a solid improvement to a device that went on sale back in October of 2012, but it will always come bittersweet knowing ahead of time that it will be the last software update that handset will ever see.

If you're using an HTC One X+ on AT&T, be sure to keep an eye on your device for an update in the coming days.

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4 years ago

Chrome OS adds new window switching, shows which tabs are casting and making noise


Never be confused as to which of your 30 tabs is making a racket

The latest build of Chrome OS (in the stable channel) is bringing a whole grouping of new features to all Chrome devices, save for the Chromebook Pixel (for now). First up is a new window switching feature, which can be accessed with a tap of the overview mode button (F5) or a swipe down with three fingers on the trackpad. Just like Mac users have come to expect with Mission Control, you'll see a zoomed-out view of all open windows on your machine.

Further, build 32.0.1700.95 integrates the newest features that were brought to the Chrome browser for other platforms as well. That means you'll now be notified at the right edge of a tab if content on that page is being displayed on a Chromecast, if it is accessing the speakers or has control of your webcam. You will also see a more stern malware warning on potentially compromised sites, and can help manage another user's Chrome install with a new "Supervised Users" feature.

We're quite enjoying the new window switching feature, especially as we often find ourselves browsing in full-screen mode even when we have multiple windows available. You can catch a couple screenshots of the new features in action after the break.

Source: Chrome Releases; Google Chrome Blog

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4 years ago

My Verizon Mobile app updated with new splash screen, bug fixes, and a trio of new permissions


New permissions are a bit troubling, and no explanation is given

You may love the My Verizon Mobile app because it's an easy way to manage the data you're using. Or you may hate the My Verizon Mobile app because it's bloatware that sucks precious resources away that could be better spent elsewhere. Either way, it got updated today.

The list of changes include a new splash screen and some bug fixes. No big deal, and it's the sort of thing we see every day. Also included, but not mentioned, are three new permissions that seem to be a bit out of place for what the app does. Specifically, we're talking about permission to send and receive SMS messages, initiate Bluetooth pairing, and retrieve a list of all the apps running on the phone.

We can think of plenty of good, legitimate reasons to have these permissions in this sort of app. Like sending messages to Verizon with questions and comments, right from the app. Or to check what apps are running and give you a recommendation of things to do that might save battery. The problem is, this app doesn't do any of those things on our Droid Maxx but still needs those permissions. And we can't think of any good reason for this app to need a Bluetooth connection. 

The problem is easy for the end-user to solve, thankfully. If you're the casual type, just deny the update and even disable the app in your device settings if you like. Done. If you're a more power-user type you can use something like "app ops" to kill permissions you don't want the app to have, at the risk of breaking things. But that's just a Band-Aid.

It's great that Android tells us the permissions an app has before we install it. It's the best way to do things, and we hope that never changes. But you would hope they could do a better job explaining what they all mean. These scary line items do no service to developers or users alike.

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4 years ago

Nexus Wireless Charger now available in 4 new countries


Get your fancy magnetized charger in more places globally

Google's second-generation wireless charger is now available in a handful of new countries. As announced by the Google Play Twitter account, folks in Australia, India, Japan and Korea can get their hands on the Qi-compatible charger that also packs magnets to keep your Nexus 5 stable during the charging process.

Pricing and shipping costs will of course vary across countries (it's $49.99 in the U.S.), but we're never going to turn down expanded availability of accessories from Google Play. Hit the Play Store link above if you're in one of the above countries and want to get your hands on the first-party charger.

Source: @GooglePlay

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4 years ago

Nest co-founder discusses Google's future in the connected home


OK Google, turn on my air conditioner

Nest co-founder Matt Rogers was on the stage at CNET's SmartHome Panel at CES last week, and he had a little bit to say about Google and how things may play out as things push to a connected home.

The timing is interesting, of course, as Google just acquired Nest and their smart controls, and we imagine they have plenty of other smart ideas lined up for Google to make happen.

Could this be the beginning of Google Now in your house? Maybe. Rogers seems to think it is, and we certainly can't argue with someone in his position. There will be privacy concerns, and there will be safety concerns, and there will be all sorts of other pitfalls. But when it all gets sorted — and it will — the connected home working with your Internet of things will probably be worth it. 

Source: CNET

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