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4 years ago

SwiftKey 4.3 beta debuts with new keyboard layouts, we go thumbs-on

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New 'thumb,' 'compact' and undocked modes make it easier to type on larger screens

The team behind popular third-party keyboard SwiftKey has announced a new version of the app today — SwiftKey 4.3. Dubbed "layouts for living," the new version of SwiftKey introduces a host of new layout options designed to make it easier to type on all kinds of Android devices, from smartphones to tablets and everything in between.

There are three main layout modes to choose from in SwiftKey 4.3, all accessible by pressing long-pressing the SwiftKey menu button. "Full" is the regular SwiftKey layout existing users will already be familiar with. "Compact" gives you a smaller keyboard aligned to the left or right side, depending on which hand you want to use. And "thumb" mode gives you a split keyboard for easier two-handed thumb-typing, best suited for tablet users.

More after the break.

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4 years ago

LG G Pad 8.3 available at BestBuy.com today, in stores Nov. 3

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Sleek LG G Pad 8.3 tablet costs $349, available in two colors

LG today announced that its new G Pad 8.3 tablet is available now from BestBuy.com for $349. It'll be available in stores starting Nov. 3.

The 8.3-inch tablet, as we found in our initial hands-on at IFA in Berlin and in a couple weeks' worth of more recent use, is one hell of a tablet, with a sleek design, great display (8.3 inches at 1920x1200), running Android 4.2.2 and powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. 

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4 years ago

Will Google ever bring Android and ChromeOS together?

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When Google acquired Android in 2005 and subsequently unveiled it in 2007, there was no such thing as ChromeOS yet. Google’s entire OS effort was on Android, and separately the company worked on the Chrome browser for desktop and mobile operating systems. 

Over the last year we’ve started to see Google have success with ChromeOS in the notebook computer market. Android and ChromeOS are both based on Linux, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. ChromeOS is a very thin client, almost everything is done via the browser.

On a personal level, I’ve now gotten to the point where I’d rather consume content on a touch screen device. I prefer swiping my finger on a screen to navigate a website rather than being forced to use a trackpad. This tells me all computers will be touchscreen soon, just like all mobile devices already are.

(UPDATE: A few people interpret this to mean I'm suggesting keyboards or mice/trackpads will be taken away.  I didn't think this clarification would be required considering some Windows machines and the Chromebook Pixel have already introduced touch as an added input mechanism without taking anything away, but apparently it is necessary to make explicitly clear.)

So this raises the question — why would Google want to maintain two operating systems down the road? I don’t think they want this. And I’m trying to get my head around the possible solutions.

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4 years ago

Moto Maker now automating iCloud-to-Google switching

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Moving from an iPhone to Moto X? Motorola's hoping to make things a lot easier

Switching between mobile platforms is never easy, but Motorola's hoping a new addition to its web-based Moto Maker service will make things a little less painful for iOS converts. According to a Google+ post by Motorola's Punit Soni, it's now possible to migrate your iCloud account over to Google as part of the Moto Maker customization process.

First, users enter their iCloud login details, then they're given an estimate of how long the conversion process will take. Then, after a successful conversion, they're linked to their new calendar and contacts on Google. The Moto X help page advises switchers to use Google's built-in tools to check for duplicates.

Many other manufacturers, including HTC, Sony and Samsung, have their own software-based solutions for porting over iOS users' stuff to their handsets, but this is the first time we're aware of that it's been done over the web. And it's especially slick that this can be done as part of the ordering process, so the new phone arrives pre-populated with the customer's stuff.

Soni says "there is a long way to go, but its a start."

Source: +Punit Soni, Motorola

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4 years ago

Kindle Fire HDX now up for pre-order in the U.K. and Canada

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Amazon's latest launches starting November 13 in Britain, November 26 in Canada

Amazon's latest effort in the tablet space, the Kindle Fire HDX, is now available to pre-order in the U.K. and Canada for shipping in mid to late November. Both the 7-inch and the 8.9-inch versions are to be available in the full range of storage sizes, though WiFi only appears to be it in Canada. In the U.K. Amazon will be selling a 4G LTE version of the HDX in partnership with Vodafone, which will be available from November 27. The 8.9-inch HDX with LTE won't be available until mid-December. 

Prices start at £199/$254 for the 7-inch HDX and £329/$399 for the 8.9-inch version. Additionally, both countries are accepting pre-orders for the new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, which will begin shipping on October 24. Prices for these start at £119/$149. For more information and to pre-order, hit up the relevant source links below. 

More: Hands-on with the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX

Source: Amazon (U.K.), (Canada)

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4 years ago

Verizon Galaxy S4 updated with Optical Reader, bug fixes

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150MB update for Verizon's GS4 now rolling out

Verizon's Samsung Galaxy S4 has a new update pushing out for it right now, bringing a couple of new features, tweaks and bug fixes. The 150MB update to software version VRUDMI1 is rolling out over the air and through Samsung's Kies software, though as always it may take a little time before it filters through to everyone.

The main new addition for Verizon GS4 owners is Samsung's Optical Reader app, which can create contacts from business cards using the rear camera and optical character recognition, in addition to translating printed text between languages. Other major changes and tweaks include improved Wifi connectivity, S Memo bug fixes, support for three-way calling when roaming on the Bluegrass network, and roaming support for TELUS in Canada.

If you're upgrading your Verizon Galaxy S4 to the new firmware today, hit the comments and tell us how you're getting on.

Source: Verizon (PDF), via: Android Central forums

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4 years ago

No plans to bring HTC One Max to Canada

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'The current HTC line up of devices is sufficient for the Canadian marketplace'

U.S. carriers Sprint and Verizon might be getting their hands on the HTC One Max later in the year, but there's no such luck for anyone looking to pick up the gianormous HTC handset north of the border. A statement from the company's Canadian arm confirmed to MobileSyrup that there are no plans to launch the 5.9-incher in Canada —

“HTC devices differ from country to country, we work closely with carrier partners in each region to determine what is best for their consumers. Every market is different and has specific needs and demands. We consider a number of factors such as, the HTC devices currently available, the competition etc. At this time the current HTC line up of devices is sufficient for the Canadian marketplace.”

On the other hand we weren't exactly blown away by the One Max during our time with the device, so with the more compelling HTC One already widely available in Canada, perhaps Canadians aren't at such a disadvantage.

More: HTC One Max review

Source: MobileSyrup

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4 years ago

Netflix for Android updated, brings smoother performance all around

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Update brings performance boost, but profiles are still nowhere to be found

The latest Netflix update is rolling out hard and steady this evening, and we've had a chance to give it a spin. The app has a newly tweaked UI with the hamburger menu we all know and love (that's a nerdy term for the slide-out menu apps are adopting) and better lock screen controls when using the Chromecast feature. But that's not even the good part.

What this app brings that everyone will appreciate is a much smoother overall UI. No more janky, stuttery transitions between views, and everything seems nice and fluid while navigating through both your queue and the categories. Huzzah!

What we aren't seeing is the new profiles feature, that seems to have made its way to every platform except Android. Multi-user support for an app like Netflix, which is heavily influenced by user preference, is a big plus. Hopefully we see it soon for the world's most popular mobile platform.

You can try your luck getting the update via the Google Play link above, but as is usual for big updates to popular apps, Netflix is pushing on a controlled rollout. You'll get the new version eventually — just keep checking.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom leaked for AT&T

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Samsung's hybrid camera and phone device shown with carrier branding and 2013 release date

Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom looks to be making it's way to AT&T sometime this year, if @evleaks is correct. The device is best described as a hybrid of a "decent" phone and a "decent" camera, and is certainly a niche device. That's not a bad thing by any means, as other niche devices have seen great sales and plenty of success.

Alex had a look at the Galaxy S4 Zoom last month, and while he wasn't left blown away, the phone was fluid across the board, and he found the auto mode on the camera did a good job capturing photos in most conditions. While you'll surely find better phones and better cameras, this could make for a really interesting device for some folks.

We'll keep out eyes peeled, and as more develops we'll fill you in. Seeing this come to AT&T makes a lot of sense, and we expect this rumor will pan out.

Source: @evleaks

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4 years ago

Talk Mobile 2013 wrap-up

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This marks the conclusion of Talk Mobile 2013. After fifty episodes, more than a hundred breakout videos, and two hundred essays, it's time to wind down the insanity and take a step back an look back at what all transpired. While Talk Mobile brought new tools to the mix, both technical and editorial, the crowning accomplishment was the conversation - not between the writers, but the community.

And that's a conversation that has only just begun.

4 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Animals

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Keeping things lively this week with your best pictures of animals

We're ready to jump into another weekly photo contest, and give away some great prizes to the best photographers that enter. This week we're going away from abstract topic prompts to go a little narrower – this week our prompt is "animals." Whether it's your faithful companion dog, a lion at a zoo or a painting of a dragon, we want to see what you can do with this week's topic.

We'll be picking out three winners this week, and each will receive a Pebble smartwatch to connect to their phone.

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 (October 22) 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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4 years ago

Google Offers receives a facelift in latest update

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Cleaner, faster interface that's easier to navigate

Google's coupon and deals app, Google Offers, is getting a nice update today to modernize and improve the interface throughout the app. The new main screen of the app is separated into three tabs — Browse, Featured and My Offers — that can be navigated between simply with a slide. Each tab is scrollable, and the Featured tab will of course have the most content. Scroll down to the bottom and you can switch between offers displayed in your own location or a different city.

The new interface continues into the individual offers, which follow more of the modern "cards" UI that Google has been putting into many of its apps today. The offers are still information-rich, with details on the store, the coupon, and where the nearest store that accepts the coupon is. The latest update also lets you redeem offers without a network connection — something we're suprirsed wasn't included before.

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4 years ago

Riptide GP2 update splashes its way into Google Play

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New vehicles, female riders and a new game mode round out a very nice update

Vector Unit has sent the big update for Riptide GP2 that players have been waiting for, bringing a new multi-player game mode, a new high-end hydro-jet, female riders and some touch interface changes. They've been teasing the new features on their Google+ page, and the sizable fan base (including yours truly) has been looking forward to the changes.

The new Scorpion looks pretty awesome, the long-time-coming female character avatar looks like you would expect any female player in an action game to look (for better or worse) and the interface changes — including a new method for manual acceleration — are welcome. But the big news is the new VR Challenge game mode, where you can challenge your friends on 14 different tracks to see who gets the best time.

I've long been a fan of the Riptide GP series, and this update looks like a real winner so far. Grab it from the Google Play link above.

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4 years ago

Aviate isn't 'spying' on anyone, it's just being sloppy with your data

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Storing your location and installed apps in plain text is at issue here, not collecting that data in the first place

A lot of fuss is being made about the Aviate launcher the past couple days, with things hitting a fever pitch today. Besides the endless requests for invite codes on every social media site known to modern man, it's come to light that the launcher is sharing the data it collects on you with the world. Sort of.

Let's back up a tad. Aviate is a launcher that reconfigures itself — the apps it thinks you need to see right this second — depending on where you are. It's been in private beta for a while, and opened up to more users this week.

The to-do is that your location and list of installed apps are available via a publicly accessible API — but only if you know your unique device identifier. That's not good, but it's not necessarily the end of the world, either.

The good news is that Aviate has said this is something they are fixing, and have made it a top priority. (Update: Looks like the web access has been killed, as promised.) In the meantime, here's what you need to know if you're going to use the app.

Source: +Arvid Gerstmann (1), (2)

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4 years ago

Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Panorama' winner!

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A whole lot of beautiful scenery was on display this week

Another weekly photo contest has come to a close, and after seven days of entries we saw an awesome amount of turnout for this one. The prompt this week was "panorama," which opens up the topic structure again and gave everyone a chance to explore a way of taking pictures that is outside of the norm.

After going through nearly 300 entries across 25 pages in our forums, we had to bring it down to just one winner this week. We saw a lot of great entries this week, but we think we found one that hit the spot just right. Hang around after the break and see who was picked as the winner this week.

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