4 years ago

European flights get the green light for electronic device use


EASA follows the FAA in allowing gate-to-gate use of personal electronic devices

Following the recent FAA rulings in the U.S. the European equivalent, the EASA, has also now approved the use of personal electronic devices for all stages of flight. Providing everything is turned into airplane mode during travel, you'll be able to use devices such as your Android smartphones and tablets gate-to-gate once airlines have adopted it. 

Bulkier items such as laptops will need to be stowed during taxiing, takeoff and landing, but smaller devices can remain in your hand and in use. The guidelines are expected to be published by the end of November, and here's hoping the European airlines adopt them with speed afterwards. 

Source: EASA via The Verge

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4 years ago

T-Mobile now selling the Nexus 5 for $449


A quick heads up that T-Mobile is now officially selling the Nexus 5 online. You can pay $449 outright — that's an extra $50 over (OK, OK, $100 over the comparable 16GB version) what you'll pay at Google Play, mind you — or $17 a month over two years with $41 down.

Otherwise, same ol' Nexus 5 we've been enjoying for weeks now.

Source: T-Mobile

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4 years ago

This week's sidebar poll: Do you sideload OTA updates?


Good things come to those who wait, but it comes to those who sideload faster

It's the time of year that we all start thinking of Android version updates (or the lack of them) and that means we are getting impatient. New hardware, like the Nexus 5, on the scene running the new version doesn't help much, because it's naturally going to dominate the news for a while. Those of us that aren't buying the new shiny for one reason or another sit and patiently wait for our turn.

Then when we finally get an announcement that an update is coming, we're ready. Of course we still have to wait, because Google, manufacturers and carriers like to have what I call a #trollout — where they take their time and gradually pass out the goodies slowly, hitting just a few at a time and never you. It can be infuriating.

All that can go away once someone a bit handy gets the OTA. They can download and mirror it, it even get the URL so we all can download it ourselves and apply it with a little bit of work and a few tools. These vary by device type, but you can always fins someone in the forums that knows how where and why to get it done. 

So do you wait for your turn, or do you pounce as soon as you have the means? I won't lie — the second I have a URL I'm all over it. I won't speak for anyone else here (but we all totally jump on those links, we're Android fans) or for you guys, because we have a poll where you can speak up on your own. You'll find it in the sidebar to the right or after the break (depending on how you're reading this). Let us know how you do what you do, then hit the comments for discussion about why. 

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4 years ago

Hands on with the new Moto G accessories


Flip cases, replaceable rear shells, bumpers, headphones and battery packs accompany Moto's new affordable wonder

Launching alongside the new Moto G is a pretty decent stack of official accessories. During the launch event presentation, Motorola spoke of how important they feel customization is, and while we won't be seeing a Moto Maker for the Moto G, there is a bunch of different colored cases, shells and bumpers to make your new phone your own. 

Beyond customization, Motorola was also showing off new battery packs and color matched headphones, while also talking about forthcoming wireless speakers produced in partnership with JBL. 

Here in the UK, the Flip Shell will cost a respectable £18.99, while the Grip Shell aka the bumper is even more wallet friendly at £9.99. The wired earphones will run you for £34.99, and the battery packs we were told would vary in price depending on region. 

We didn't see all of the accessories in all of the colors, but we did manage to grab plenty of snapshots of what we could get our hands on, so jump on past the break for the full gallery. For more on the Moto G, be sure to check out our first hands-on, and jump into the Moto G forums where we're hosting a Q&A. 

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4 years ago

Moto Maker customized Moto X for Verizon just $49 on-contract until Nov. 18


Save an additional $50 on your custom Moto X this week

It may be just a few days since Moto Maker went live for Verizon, but the carrier is putting out another discount on the handset. Following up on a $100 on-contract price drop that put the handset at just $99, you can now pick up a customized Moto X on Big Red for $49.99.

There's no special coupon or promotion at play here either — just head to the Moto Maker site (directly or via Verizon) and go through the process, the $50 deduction will happen at checkout.

Source: Verizon; Motorola; Thanks, Ben!

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4 years ago

Imo messenger adds 'People Near Me' feature


Popular messaging service Imo added a new feature today that helps friends meet up. The feature is called "People Near Me," and while the idea may not be new to the group messaging space its an important addition to a popular app. When you open the People Near Me page, you'll see other users with the app open to that page in a specific (although unknown) radius based on your GPS location.

The feature will show profiles of nearby friends, but also of nearby users that are not in your contacts list. Imo is positioning this more towards befriending people who you've met in person and just want to swap contact info, say at a concert or social event, but you could theoretically add friends and start chatting with complete strangers, if you both wish to do so. It's an interesting way to swap contact data considering the other options like using NFC, Bluetooth or something like Bump, but the end result should be about the same.

You can grab an update to Imo at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update now rolling out


Galaxy Gear support, new features land in 719MB update

Right on the heels of its cousin on U.S. Cellular, the Galaxy S4 on AT&T is receiving its Android 4.3 update. Coming in at a whopping 719MB with build number JSS15J.1337UCUEMJ9, the update brings support for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, a new KNOX enterprise security suite and of course the latest features from the new version of Android. It is also landing on the very day that leaked documents showed it would, be that a coincidence or not.

Several members in our forums are starting to pull down the update, so it seems to be heading out in at least some capacity. Seeing it on your own Galaxy S4 yet? Head to the forums and let others know how it's going.

More: AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 Forums

Thanks, Casey!

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4 years ago

Google Search update brings new features and new cards to Google Now


OK Google — show me the Google Search update

Make no mistake, Google Now is the future of Android. What we see in the Nexus 5 and Google Glass updates tells us as much, and what we're hearing around the rumor mill fits right in. Google is going all-in with Google Now and their slightly creepy but informative and useful contextual style of pre-search, or whatever you want to call it.

As predicted, an update to the Google Search app today makes it even better. A new Website update card will bring you the latest blog post from a site like Android Central (yes, we really dig that one), the improved News topic card will keep you informed on the news you care about, as determined by the news you search for on the mighty Goog, and the What to watch card will give you recommendations of things you'll not want to miss on the boob tube.

Of course, you'll need to update your Google Search app to see any of this, and as usual it's a gradual rollout ( I like to call it a #trollout) and chances are you won't see it right away. And no, this doesn't cure baldness or erectile dysfunction. But it will help you keep track of the things you're interested in on the web and on the telly. Try your update luck at the Google Play link above.

Via: +Android

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4 years ago

Newly redesigned Facebook Messenger now available for all


The all-new design and features can now be used by everyone

The latest update to Facebook Messenger, which was first announced about two weeks ago, is now rolling out to all users. Previously only available to a limited number (presumably to catch bugs), the new version with an all-new design and features will be available for everyone to download.

Along with a new white and light blue design (that frankly looks iOS 7-inspired) and faster performance, along with new chat features like the ability to message someone with just their phone number, the latest update is worth a look. It now stands in pretty high contrast to the stand-alone Facebook app, which can be kind of jarring, but the Messenger experience is now much improved.

Grab an update to the latest version at the Play Store link above.

Via: Facebook

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4 years ago

Phones 4U carrying the Moto G in the UK, available to order now


In-store availability begins November 15, white back exclusive to the retailer in the UK

Following today's Moto G launch event, specific availability is starting to emerge and here in the UK Phones 4U is straight out of the gate offering the new device. Both 8GB and 16GB versions of the Moto G can now be ordered online for delivery showing as November 22, but it will hit brick-and-mortar stores this coming Friday, November 15. If that's not enough, Phones 4U is also claiming exclusivity to the white colored back. 

The 8GB Moto G will cost just £119.95 plus a £10 top-up voucher on pay-as-you-go, and the 16GB will run for £149.95 plus the same £10 top-up voucher. At this time there's doesn't appear to be a SIM free option available to purchase, though Phones 4U has confirmed it will cost £134.95 for the 8GB model, in line with todays pricing information from Motorola. 

There's also a range of contracts to pick up the Moto G on, but honestly, at this price the best option all round is to try and pick one up off contract. For more on the Moto G be sure to check out our first hands on, or jump into the Android Central forums where we're hosting a Q&A on the Moto G

Source: Phones4U

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4 years ago

The best shopping apps for Android


We've rounded up the very best shopping apps on Android to help you save more over Black Friday, the holidays, and year-round.

Getting in and out of the mall with your sanity intact can be a challenge in and of itself, nevermind trying to save money in the process. Life can be made just a little easier with the help of a few apps on your Android device, however. We've found some of the very best apps for finding deals, amassing coupons, and checking prices.

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4 years ago

How to manually update your Nexus tablet to KitKat [updated]


With the right tools and a little knowledge, there's no need to wait for your OTA

Update: Nexus 7 (2012) link has been added. Get to flashing!

Update 2: And the Nexus 10 is now good to go.

The Android 4.4 update has started rolling out to the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets around the world. But if your tablet has yet to receive the update, then don't despair — we've got a quick walkthrough that'll get you updated in a few minutes, assuming you've got a little experience with a command line.

Note that this is for stock Nexus tablets, and for people who want to update without really doing any real hackery, but don't mind a little command line work. Nothing we do here is permanent, other than the update itself. If you've already flashed a custom recovery, you should be able to update manually using that, instead of our method. And with that...

Caution: This guide is intended for technically proficient users only. Proceed at your own risk. Dragons ahead, etc.

The prerequisites

Check past the break to see the full manual update process.

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4 years ago

HP puts the brakes on Chromebook 11 sales due to charger overheating issue


Owners may use any other Micro USB charger on the laptop in the meantime

Google and HP confirmed today that the companies have halted sales of the Chromebook 11 in all stores. Although at first the reasoning was not known, Google and HP have now given a statement clarifying that a small number of reports indicating that the laptop's Micro USB charger is overheating is the reason. The post from Google and HP is pretty succinct:

Google and HP are pausing sales of the HP Chromebook 11 after receiving a small number of user reports that some chargers included with the device have been damaged due to overheating during use. We are working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify the appropriate corrective action, and will provide additional information and instructions as soon as we can.

In the meantime, customers who have purchased an HP Chromebook 11 should not use the original charger provided with the product. In the interim they may continue using their HP Chromebook 11 with any other Underwriters Laboratories-listed micro-USB charger, for example one provided with a tablet or smartphone. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The Chromebook 11 has been out of stock on Google Play for a couple of weeks now, but until today it was readily available at both Amazon and Best Buy. The positive side of this is that the machines themselves are not faulty, and will charge just fine off of another Micro USB charger you may have.

Source: Google Chrome Blog

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4 years ago

The Blur app will give your home screen wallpaper a fresh new look


Use your own pictures or ones borrowed from the Internet as a fancy blurred background on your Android

Want a really cool effect for your home screen wallpaper, but aren't a PhotoShop guru? If so, you need to check out a new app called Blur in Google Play. Blur allows you to take any picture and apply an adjustable blur effect and set it full resolution as your home screen wallpaper.

It's really simple to do, and the whole routine involves only choosing a picture and adjusting a slider. The paid version (just 99-cents) also allows you a bit of control over the colors, while the free version will randomly do a bit of adjustment if you like by tapping on the image. The free version also has some ads in a banner at the top.

Blur registers as an Android intent, so you can share pictures into it right from the gallery, and the entire process is live and with a real-time view. I tend to keep things pretty simple when it comes to the home screen on my devices, but I'm digging this one, and gladly sprung for the paid version. Check out the short video of just how it works and the end result after the break.

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4 years ago

Weekly Photo Contest: Skylines


Let's see the best pictures of the cities where you live and visit

Following up on our Halloween photo contest extravaganza, we're going to get back into the flow of things with our regular weekly photo contest. That means you'll have just a week to go take your picture and enter it, but it also means there are more prizes to give away to more winners. The prompt you'll be following this week is "skylines," and we hope to see the best pictures you can take of the city skyline where you live or travel.

We'll be picking out one winner this week, and that lucky photographer will receive a Sony SmartWatch 2.

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 (November 19) 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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