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4 years ago

Quick app: Battery Core Live Wallpaper

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A neat new live wallpaper that adapts and changes as your phone's battery depletes

We've taken a look at several different great live wallpapers out there, and we've stumbled upon another that's worth showing off. It's called Battery Core Live Wallpaper, and it's nice to look at but also functional for monitoring your battery state and usage. Live wallpapers have come a long way as device specs have improved, and this is a nice example of a wallpaper that can be turned on and not be a big resource drain.

With a whole bunch of features even in the free version, it's certainly worth a look. Skip down past the break and see a little more of what Battery Core Live Wallpaper has to offer.

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4 years ago

The Archos GamePad review

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It’s one of those products we want to love on principle alone - but does it measure up to expectations?

Imagine a 7-inch Android tablet, and in the housing there’s a built-in game controller, complete with dual joysticks, directional buttons, even shoulder buttons. That’s what you have with the Archos GamePad. Android gamers have long been using controllers of one sort or another with their phones and tablets with varying degrees of success, but the GamePad is the first device to bundle everything together in one unit.

Just having the controls there is not enough, though. They have to function well to be useful, and integration into the games we love to play is a big deal. This is where Archos has to succeed, and quite frankly they have failed. Read through and see what I mean.

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4 years ago

DISH's bid for Sprint is a good one all around

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More money for Sprint, a potential life-saver for DISH

Early Monday morning, satellite TV innovator DISH Network threw a monkeywrench into Softbank’s plans to acquire a 70 percent interest in Sprint. It did so by offering a 13 percent premium over Softbank’s bid, and rather than buy a majority of Sprint, DISH is proposing a full merger.

For those of you who really want to understand the thinking that went into this, watch the AllThingsD video interview with DISH chairman Charlie Ergen. It’s a long video, but damn, you have to admire the straight-up answers Ergen gives to the audience. 

My take on the whole thing is pretty simple.  DISH Network is part of the old world, just like cable TV, except that it has no easy way to deliver broadband access. Cable companies, at least, have DOCSIS networks. So even if the whole planet starts to cut the cord and adopt an over-the-top Internet TV model, cable companies can still get paid for the plumbing.  Satellite? Not so much. Without adapting a new business model, these guys are dying a slow death.

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4 years ago

Logitech's next living room move makes greater use of your Android smartphone

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Using your Android smartphone to control your home entertainment system isn't exactly a new concept, especially for Logitech, maker of one of the first Google TV set-top boxes. And today, the company -- which actually is getting out of the remote control business -- announced a pair of new devices that make even greater use of your Android smartphone.

As you'd expect, the new lineup -- comprising the Logitech Harmony Ultimate and Logitech Harmony Smart Control -- includes remote controls, but that's just half the story.

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4 years ago

Rando isn't picture Chatroulette for Android - it's just boring

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Sending an receiving anonymous pictures from random people across the world - how bad could that possibly be?

It's completely possible, I suppose, that your experience with Rando will be completely different than mine. After all, this is an Android app that delivers random pictures that someone took in exchange for some of your own. Give a random picture, get a picture.

And it's completely reasonable to predict that a photo-sharing service such as this, in which the sender is as anonymous as the receiver, would quickly be inundated by random acts of nudity. (And, face it, that's hardly the worst thing that I've imagined could anonymously show up on my screen.)

But, no. I've not been bombarded by anonymous body parts. Or any kind of parts. Or anything remotely interesting, actually.

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4 years ago

Galaxy S4 pops up on AT&T website with April 30 ship date

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16GB pricing confirmed at $199 on-contract, $639 off-contract

It looks as though the early Staples document that leaked a release date of the Galaxy S4 on AT&T as April 26th was off by just a couple of days. Folks have pointed out to Engadget that they're seeing official pre-order availability and pricing for the S4 on the AT&T website. It's showing up for us as well, with pricing as you'd expect -- $199 and two years of commitment for a 16GB model in either white or black. Those willing to go off-contract will pay the hefty $639, and if for some reason you want just a 1 year contract, you can shave that down to $449.

If AT&T is your carrier of choice for the Galaxy S4, the anxious among us can get their pre-orders in today from the source link below. The site indicates free shipping, and people who have gone through with it are receiving estimated arrival dates of May 3rd for the devices. Have you pulled the trigger on this one yet? Sound off in the comments and let us know.

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

Google details Glass specifications - bone conduction audio, 12GB usable storage, full day of 'typical use' battery life

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Full device specs round out an evening of Google Glass news

We've seen that Google is getting ready to ship out Google Glass Explorer units, the developer preview of the Mirror API, and the Android companion app already this evening, and now it's time for the device specs. Google has released the tech specs of Google Glass, and it should answer some of the questions folks have. 

  • Fit: Adjustable nosepads and durable frame fits any face. Extra nosepads in two sizes.
  • Display: High resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.
  • Camera: Photos - 5 MP; Videos - 720p
  • Audio: Bone Conduction Transducer
  • Connectivity: Wifi - 802.11b/g; Bluetooth
  • Storage: 12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage. 16 GB Flash total.
  • Battery: One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive.
  • Charger: Included Micro USB cable and charger. While there are thousands of Micro USB chargers out there, Glass is designed and tested with the included charger in mind. Use it and preserve long and prosperous Glass use.
  • Compatibility: Any Bluetooth-capable phone. The MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging.

We're not really worried about things like CPUs and GPUs, or on-board RAM, and it looks like they have covered what's going to be important. The all day battery life is almost a must have with any wearable computer, so we hope that rings true. Also worth noting that Any phone with Bluetooth is said to be compatible. We'll soon know more about both I imagine.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

'MyGlass' companion app hits Google Play

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Manage and configure Glass from your phone... if you actually had Glass

There's a whole lot of Google Glass news hitting today, and this is a pretty important piece of the puzzle. Google has just published the "MyGlass" companion app in the Play Store, which will be a critical part of using your Glass and phone together. Google makes it clear that the app is really only of use to Glass owners, stating in the description: "If you don't have Glass, then downloading this will be a waste of time.", but that's not going to stop us -- or anyone else intrigued by the idea -- from installing and taking a look it it.

The interface is nice and looks just like any other recent Google app, with a grey and white color scheme and simple controls. You can't get much farther than the first few screens without an active pair of Glass nearby, but the process requires accepting some terms and turning on both Bluetooth and Wifi for the pairing process. If you want to poke around with the app in hopeful anticipation of the Glass launch, grab it at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Google releases Mirror API documentation and code examples for Google Glass

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Developers can inspect the API and check out some examples -- a great way to get ready for when their pair ships

I'm betting you're going to start hearing a lot about Google Glass in the coming days and weeks. Much of it will be from bloggers who couldn't resist the lure to get in early and talk about Glass. You can probably safely ignore them, because the important stuff is going to come from the developers. 

As a starting point, Google has released the Mirror API documentation and code examples so those same developers can get their projects ready for the day their pair of Google Glass arrives. They've outlined the major features of the API, provided guidelines to ensure the best user experience, and even put up a sample page where Glass Explorers can try out an example. Quick start tutorials have been provided for developers coding in both Java and Python.

Google Glass just might be the next disruptive piece of technology. For it to succeed, consumers will have to adopt it en masse, and the best way to ensure that is to have a robust set of utilities and applications that use it. Google understands this, and we're glad to see them getting ready and providing developers with the tools and information they need. Hopefully, when the consumer edition goes up for sale, we'll all have a reason to buy a pair.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

Netflix now available on ARM Chromebooks via HTML5 player

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HTML5 "Premium Video Extensions" to replace Silverlight, first implementations now available on Chrome OS

Although relying on Silverlight as a video player had many advantages for Netflix, one of the unfortunate side effects was its inability to play on platforms that couldn't support the plugin -- like Chrome OS. With the (not so quickly) approaching deadline for Microsoft's shutdown of Silverlight, the move to HTML5 had to happen at some point, and luckily that move is starting today. With the combination of what Netflix is calling "HTML5 Premium Video Extensions", the player is now available for the latest ARM-based Samsung Chromebook.

The player still has some hurdles to overcome because Chrome OS doesn't natively support WebCrypto for streaming protected content, but Netflix has a temporary fix in place. Using two of its three extensions it is able to currently provide and the crypto it needs until Google brings its own into the OS. Provided these early versions work well on Chrome OS, Netflix plans to also extend them to all browsers going forward.

Source: Netflix

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4 years ago

Google Voice app updated to improve SMS delivery

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It's just a one-item changelog, but we'll take any improvements we can get

From the outside looking in, it doesn't seem like Google is giving too much time towards improving the Google Voice app or service, but it certainly makes us hopeful when we see an update arrive in the Play Store. Today's update has a single item on the changelog: "Improved the reliability of SMS delivery". Anyone that has used Google Voice for some amount of time knows that things can be a little shaky sending and receiving texts when in low or slow signal areas (and sometimes even in great signal areas), so hopefully this update addresses some of those issues.

As for the future of Google Voice, we can only wonder. In the meantime we know at least some amount of time is being spent over at Google maintaining the app. You can grab a download of this latest version from the Play Store link above. Noticing any improvements with the latest update? Let us know in the comments.

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4 years ago

Google Glass Explorer now ready to ship says Google in letter to participants

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Google Glass units will soon be in the hands of developers who signed up for the project last year

Google has sent out an email to folks who are part of the Google Glass Explorer project, and the units themselves are ready to begin shipping. The devices will ship in waves, as not all the units are off the assembly line just yet.

This meshes well with the news we heard a couple weeks ago, where it was expected for all participants to have received their gear by the time Google I/O rolls around. We expect to see plenty of folks sporting them in San Francisco for the annual developers conference, and hopefully the actual developers who expressed interest will have some great ideas for apps. We also expect to hear even more about Google Glass during the keynotes and developer sessions. Hit the break to see the message that was sent.

Via: @nerdtalker

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4 years ago

Verizon to offer smartphone payment plan, but no break on subsidies

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'Verizon Wireless Device Payment Plan' for smartphones starts April 21

In an update to a recent announcement of longer upgrade times, Verizon is giving customers who want to upgrade more frequently another option: extending the Device Installment Program to smartphones. Previously only available for tablets costing over $349.99 and the Samsung Galaxy Camera, this plan breaks up the full-price cost of a device into 12 monthly payments (along with a $2.50/month finance charge).

Be careful not to confuse this new move with 'unCarrier' plans. Unlike T-Mobile's new plan model, there is no option for a cheaper monthly plan to go along with Verizon's Device Payment Plan. That means if you're making use of the new installment plan, but have an upgrade you haven't used yet, you're basically making two phone payments for one phone.

If you like having multiple phones to switch between, or you lose or damage your uninsured phone, this plan could be for you. Many people will likely stick to their traditional -- now once every two years -- upgrades. Is this something you can see yourself using? Hit the comments and let us know.

Source: Verizon

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4 years ago

Press adds widgets, several usability improvements

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In light of the impending Google Reader shutdown, Press pushes on with new updates

Although Google may be pulling the rug out from underneath a lot of reader apps, Press doesn't seem to be bothered by it. In an update to its app today, Press added several new features that will enhance the overall user experience. First are a pair of widgets -- one large, resizable and scrollable widget and one 1x1 widget that simply lists the number of unread stories. The widgets are simple and clean, with a slightly transparent black background. Once you're in the app, there are several more improvements to be seen.

You can now continually scroll vertically through news stories, rather than swiping horizontally to switch. There are also several new options when long-pressing in articles to make it easier to star, share and mark articles as read. Press also prominently displays on its app description that the app isn't going away. We look forward to seeing what the developers end up choosing as a new back-end solution to replace Reader.

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4 years ago

Adobe to contribute to Google's Blink browser engine

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Director of engineering for the Web Platform team at Adobe Vincent Hardy has announced that Adobe will contribute to Google's new Blink browser engine

A week or so ago, we talked about Google forking off WebKit to create their own browser rendering engine. Chrome and Chromium deal with multiprocessor architectures differently than other WebKit based browsers, and because of the big changes and confusion it can cause, they decided to go their own way.

Adobe's Vincent Hardy thinks this will strengthen an "already healthy" browser competition, and announced that Adobe will be a contributor to Google's Blink. Adobe has traditionally been a contributor to both WebKit and Google's Chromium project, as well as Mozilla's Firefox, and will continue to do so. By doing so, they "hope will help keep the web open and foster innovation as long as all browsers strive to implement ‘the same web’."

We're not sure of how this will affect the web in the future -- things may work out well, or there could be a huge rift between browsers. What we do know is that Adobe is going to do what they can to make their products work on them all.

Source: Adobe

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