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4 years ago

Google reportedly working on Android-powered watch, game console and next-gen Nexus Q


Self-branded hardware could showcase features of the latest version of Android made for more than just phones

Google is concurrently working on three new self-branded Android devices to expand its reach into new market segments, if current rumors are to be believed. According to sources of The Wall Street Journal, Google is currently developing an Android-powered watch, home gaming console and also a successor to the failed Nexus Q media streamer. At least one of the products, WSJ sources report, will be launched to consumers by the end of this year.

The purported Google smart watch will (as expected) pair to a user's phone over Bluetooth, much like Google Glass currently does, but details beyond this are murky. They certainly aren't the only ones looking at watches though -- Samsung has expressed interest in making a smart watch-style device previously, and Sony has even released products to consumers in the category.

As for the expected refresh to the Nexus Q, reports are that the new version will be much less expensive (remember the original Nexus Q had a sticker price of $299), and as was the case with the first iteration be a portal for Google to sell more content such as music and movies through Google Play. No surprises there, but it helps calm some worries that nearly all functionality in the current Nexus Q has been lost through app updates.

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4 years ago

Google expanding 'Street View Trekker' program to third-party organizations


Interested groups can now offer their services as Google Street View mappers

For some time now Google has been using a 360-degree view backpack-mounted camera system to map popular locations on foot, and it is now ready to open up the program to third-parties. Google wants to map the whole world, and it means the whole world. From the tops of mountains to the bottom of the ocean, there are so many places that just can't be mapped by traditional Google Street View cars, nor can satellite imagery do them justice.

Google's new "Street View Trekker" program is hoping to increase the number of interesting places it has high-resolution mapping data on by letting interested groups get suited up and explore the world. Groups such as tourism boards, non-profits, governments, universities and research organizations can apply with Google to take the Street View Trekker backpacks out on their own, growing Google's database of street view imagery.

If you have a group that is interested in mapping places on foot for Google, you can apply with a simple form from the Google Maps Blog at the source link below.

Source: Google Maps Blog

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4 years ago

Android 101: Keep your apps up to date


Those apps aren't going to update themselves ... by default, that is

One of the best parts about owning a smart phone is the limitless possibilities of installing apps that can do so much more than the phone can out of the box. The unfortunate downside is trying to keep up with the seemingly constant flow of app updates coming to your device every day. But you're in luck, as Android has had automatic updating of apps through the Play Store since back in the day when it was still the Android Market, and it's a simple process to get set up.

Head to the Google Play Store on your device, hit the menu button and go to "settings". If it isn't already set by default, go ahead and tap the "Auto-update apps" setting and choose the most appropriate setting for your needs -- no updates, updates only on Wifi, or all updates. Most people with limited data buckets will be best-off with the "Auto-update apps over Wifi only" option. Once you have turned on automatic updates of either kind, you can always turn off automatic updates for a particular app by navigating to its Play Store listing (from the "My apps" area) and tapping the menu button, then un-checking the "Auto-update" box.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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4 years ago

Google Play Movies gets a new look, drives another nail in Nexus Q's coffin


Google Movies & TV today got visual refresh that also takes away another third of the functionality of the already defunct Nexus Q.

First, the important stuff: The app got a new layout and design that brings it more in line with Google's other apps, borrowing from the likes of Gmail and Google Play. The new navigation drawer is your portal to "Watch Now," which tries to predict what you'll want to see next, along with "My Movies," "My TV Shows" and "Shop," which takes you to Google Play. There's a shortcut in the overflow menu that'll take you to videos that you've shot with your phone or tablet, which is nice.

And now, the slightly disappointing part.

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4 years ago

Facebook introduces Android app beta testing via Google Groups


Proper beta testing with a feedback network to help squash bugs and improve performance

Facebook has had a rocky past of questionable app quality and a couple instances of side-stepping Play Store guidelines for updates, but the social network is hoping to correct some of those issues today by introducing a proper beta testing program for its app. In an effort to try and solve some of the issues associated with having an app that needs to be able to run on probably the widest range of hardware of any other app -- from the cheapest unlocked device in the developing world up to the Galaxy S4 -- Facebook will now enlist the help of beta testers to flush out bugs.

Somewhat surprisingly, Facebook will use Google's newly created beta testing feature tied to Google Groups, which it introduced at Google I/O this year. The process will be pretty simple -- just join the Google Group that Facebook has set up for its app beta testing, opt-in to the test and go download the latest version of the app from the Play Store. Further discussion about new versions and associated bugs will continue in a specialized Facebook group, where beta testers will have the ability to discuss issues directly with the developers.

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4 years ago

Google expands enterprise BYOD management options for Google Apps


New Google Apps administration tools make group Android device policy management easier

Google is improving the number of tools available to Google Apps administrators today with new features to help control devices brought in by employees. Companies using Google Apps with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs in place can now give administrators better control over corporate data with less effect on user's personal data. Admins can now do selective wipes of devices, cleaning Google Apps data without wiping the entire device. Additionally, when a full wipe is needed, the policy can now force an SDcard wipe along with the internal storage of the device if necessary.

Two new improvements will help the deployment of Google Apps policies as well, one of which requires the latest version of the Device Policy app to be installed to keep security policies up to date on every device. Admins can also now set Wifi configurations for every device with a Google Apps policy by letting them set it once and push to all managed devices at once.

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4 years ago

Delta updates its Android app with better international, seating features


Delta Air Lines today announced version 2.1 of its official Fly Delta Android application, adding new features directly related to getting your butt in the seat and the plane on its way.

Most important is that you'll now be able to purchase Preferred Seats (ie aisle and window seats, as well as exit rows) within 24 hours of departure. You'll also be able to book international flights directly from the app.

For the iOS folks, Delta has added Facebook integration that will let you document your travel and create a "virtual passport" through the Facebook Collections feature. You'll also be able to share when you've planned a trip, when you check in, and when you arrive. That's not listed in the Android changelog, though, and we're not seeing any options for it.

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4 years ago

Take our Apps Survey for a chance to win a $100 Best Buy Gift Card!


We're fans of numbers and quantifiable data here at Mobile Nations, and so following after the second week of Talk Mobile 2013, we're turning to our good friend the survey to help compile some data. Week two was focused on apps, apps, apps and developers, developers, developers. If you missed any of the content, be sure to click over to our Talk Mobile hub and check it out.

The mobile apps survey will only take a minute or two to complete, and as an extra incentive (not that you guys and gals need it, but we like to give things away), by completing the survey you'll be entered for a chance to win a $100 Best Buy Gift Card. Hit the link below to take the survey!

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4 years ago

Get Photosphere on non-Nexus devices with the 'Google edition' camera app


Camera app from Google Play GS4, HTC One can easily be loaded onto other phones

Yesterday we covered the new camera application in the "Google Play edition" Galaxy S4 and HTC One — a slightly redesigned stock camera app that's a little easier to get around. In the past day we've been digging around in the devices' system partitions and we've discovered that the app, as it exists on the Google Play edition devices, can be installed directly onto other devices running Android 4.0 or higher.

Unlike earlier methods for getting Photosphere — Google's 360-degree panorama tool — on non-Nexus handsets, you don't need to root your phone, or manually push it to the /system/app directory. To install it, it's just a case of downloading it directly via the web, or putting it on your device's internal storage and selecting it from a file manager. Of course, bear in mind that you're using the app on a phone it wasn't designed for, so proceed at your own risk.

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4 years ago

Rokform RokDock Galaxy Dock review


One of the ways to gauge the popularity of a smartphone, and one that I’ve found quite interesting throughout the history of Android is the availability of quality compatible accessories. I started getting jealous of iPhone owners back in 2011 – I was hunting for a measly screen protector for my HTC Thunderbolt while they were rolling in thousands of cases, docks, speakers and lenses flooding the market. Times have changed and with Samsung’s meteoric rise over the past year, accessory makers have caught on to the fact that Galaxy owners love their add-ons just as much as iPhone owners do.

But that popularity and the booming market it creates brings with it the inherent rise of ridiculously unnecessary products -- enter the Rokdock by Rokform, a $100 paperweight that is the very definition of the frivolous, overpriced accessories a popular smartphone can spawn.

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4 years ago

Moving to Feedly? Here are a few more app options to access your feeds


We're in a transitional phase, but there are a few great choices for Feedly RSS clients out there

While we've already voiced our position on which RSS reader is still at the top of the heap after the move over to Feedly, we know that not every app works for every person. In the move over to new back-end syncing solutions from Google Reader we've lost (or are in the process of losing) a whole lot of well-made clients. Luckily a few have stayed quick on their feet and have made the transition away from Google Reader so that users still have a few choices in the RSS client space.

Let's also hope that more readers can come out of the woodwork and offer even more options going forward, but for now there are still a handful of great options in the Play Store. Hang with us after the break and try a few more RSS readers on for size, and see if you can find one that fits your needs. 

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4 years ago

Apple can't add Galaxy S4 to Samsung patent suit, judge rules


Adding another device to the case deemed a 'tax on the court's resources'

Apple's attempt to add the Samsung Galaxy S4 to its patent infringement suit against the Korean manufacturer has failed after a judge ruled it'd consume too many court resources. Bloomberg quotes Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal as saying that adding another product to the case would constitute a "tax on the court's resources."

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4 years ago

Android 4.1.2 update available for AT&T's Samsung Galaxy Tab 2


You'll lose some of your customizations in the process, however

AT&T this morning dropped word that its version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 can now update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. 

That's the good news. The bad news is that you have to do it with Samsung KIES on a Mac or PC. A tethered update is better than no update at all, of course.

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4 years ago

Verizon's LTE network 'substantially complete' with 500th city


Verizon this morning announced that the fine folks of Parkersburg, WVa., are the proud recipients of its 500th 4G LTE market, and that the rollout of its high-speed data is "substantially complete," blanketing 99 percent of its network. Verizon says more than 95 percent of the U.S. population — some 298 million people — have access to its LTE network. (Though obviously they're not all Verizon customers.)

Some 57 percent of of data Verizon served up is done over its LTE network.

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4 years ago

Element Case announces two new cases for the Galaxy S4 - Enter to win one now!


Element Case makes some mighty fine cases for smartphones, and they have just recently released two new designs for the Galaxy S4 that are sure to delight you. The ATOM and the ECLIPSE are super impact-resistant and feature a unique sound boosting technology, or SBS (Sound Boost System) that channels resonant amplified audio from the phone’s back speaker toward the front, perfect for music, movies and speakerphone. They are constructed from impact-resistant TPU that’s both lightweight and soft to the touch as well as an aerospace-grade carbon fiber back plate.

To celebrate the release of the ATOM and the ECLIPSE for the Galaxy S4, Element Case is giving Android Central readers a chance to win a free case! Head over to the links below and check out the cases, then come back here and leave a comment letting us know which one you prefer and why. Four lucky readers will win one of these awesome cases for their Galaxy S4. Good luck!

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