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4 years ago

Google is killing Google Reader on July 1, 2013

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As part of an annual "Spring Cleaning" post, Google casually has said that it is killing the Google Reader service effective July 1, 2013. Among the other Spring Cleaning casualties are some CalDAV API support cases, Google Building Maker, Google Cloud Connect and the Google Voice Blackberry app. The less-used services are pretty understandable cuts, but we're left a bit surprised by the quick cutoff of the Reader platform. Google's post had this much to say about it:

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

Google Reader has become a platform for RSS aggregation for numerous apps and end-users alike and is a great option for reading lots of news feeds or keeping up on shows and podcasts. It's a big cut, and it will be interesting to see what (if anything) takes its place as a Google-operated RSS service. Apps like Google Currents can handle some of the news reading aspects, but power users know the best way to get some things done is with good ol' RSS.

Source: Official Google Blog

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4 years ago

We need you! Come work for Mobile Nations!

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Kevin has made himself Employee of the Month for six years straight and we’ve finally had enough. We need new blood to spice things up a bit. Before we start a bigger process of recruitment we want to reach out to you, our community, first.

We have two positions open right now that we need help filling and since we love our community SO MUCH we’re giving you the head start before reaching outside. Do you have what it takes to oust Kevin from the Employee of the Month plaque?

Are you the right person for the job or do you know someone that would be? Right now we are looking for a Medium to Senior PHP developer, ideally with Drupal experience, and a Junior to Medium Web Designer with CSS skills. 

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4 years ago

Apple's Phil Schiller can't stop talking about Android

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As the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is likely to be the most popular selling smart phone for the summer, is being announced tomorrow in New York, we find that Apple's senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller just can't help but talk about Android. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Schiller once again brings up the fragmentation argument, along with some dubious accusations about integration of services.

When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with. They don't work seamlessly together.

Something tells me Mr. Schiller has never used an Android device. 

Of course, company executives are going to talk smack every once in a while, especially on the eve of a major announcement from the competitors. And people reading it are going to overreact and say more outlandish things. It's pretty good entertainment, but I'm going to have to side with Rene over at iMore and say let the phones and tablets do the talking. There is room for more than one monopolistic evil giant in the mobile race.

Source: Wall Street Journal; via: iMore

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4 years ago

ASUS Padfone 2 now available on Vodafone in the UK, free on new £33 per month contract

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Back in Barcelona alongside the Padfone Infinity announcement, we also learned that its predecessor, the Padfone 2, would finally be launching on UK shores. The phone/tablet combination officially launched in the UK on March 1, and now it has become available subsidized on a new 2-year contract at Carphone Warehouse. 

Best of all, the Padfone 2 can be had for free on contracts from £33 per month. All deals are being offered on the Vodafone network, but considering what you get hardware wise it's not a particularly bad deal. Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the forthcoming Padfone Infinity, the Padfone 2 is no slouch. With a Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB of RAM and a Super IPS+ HD display, it still packs some impressive hardware specs. And, since the tablet portion is also included, it's pretty decent value for money too. 

Source: Carphone Warehouse

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4 years ago

'Value Pack' update for Optimus G Pro to bring eye-tracking software and more

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LG is planning to bring a "Value Pack" update with extra features to the recently announced Optimus G Pro as well as other high-end LG devices. This update will bring two headline features -- Smart Video and Dual Camera -- to the Optimus G Pro in the Korean market. Smart Video is eye-tracking software that will pause video playback when the phone recognizes that the user is looking away from the screen, and then resume when they look back. Dual Camera is an extension of the Dual Recording feature LG recently debuted, and will let the user take simultaneous pictures from the front and rear cameras.

In addition to these new features, the Value Pack will bring improvements to the QRemote app for increased functionality in controlling TVs. The home button LED will also receive an update with new software to more granularly control its flashing, and a new video camera feature will let users stop/start video but save to one continuous file.

LG hasn't specified which other "premium smartphones" will receive the Value Pack update, but we know that at minimum the Korean Optimus G Pro will receive it first starting next month.

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4 years ago

Andy Rubin reminds us he is an 'entrepreneur at heart' in a letter to Android partners

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In a letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Andy Rubin takes some time to talk to Android partners about the growth of Android, and why he feels it is the right time to step away and leave things in the capable hands of Sundar Pichai

Tucked in amongst the praise for the Android team and and remarks about Android's astonishing growth, Rubin lets everyone know he has always been "an entrepreneur at heart" and is ready to start a new chapter at Google. 

We've no idea what that new chapter might be, but we're pretty sure it will be awesome -- we expect no less from the father of Android. The full text of the letter is after the break.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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4 years ago

We're live from Samsung Unpacked tonight!

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In case you've been living under a rock the past couple weeks, Samsung's throwing a little party on Thursday night in Times Square, and we're here in New York to partake in the festivities. That giant "4" in the middle of all the signage isn't an accident, of course, and we're all expecting to see the Galaxy S4 be unveiled.

So be sure to be around at 7 p.m. EDT (that's 4 p.m. on the left coast) for the Android Central Galaxy S4 liveblog, Samsung's live stream, and the mountain of stories that are sure to come out of it.

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4 years ago

Google removing ad-blocking apps from Google Play

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Google has removed several ad-blocking apps from Google Play this afternoon, and sent letters to the developers explaining that they were breaking one of the rules. Section 4.4 of the Play store developer distribution agreement says:

You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market.

While technically these apps do interfere with the normal way other apps operate, we all know that Google makes money from ads. At some level that has to come into play, and it's no surprise that Google would want ad-blocking software to disappear from their official marketplace. It sucks, but it is their store to run how they please, and whether it be Nazi themes or ad blockers, if they don't like it they are allowed to remove it.

But we don't have to stop using them. A big draw of Android is the ability to sideload apps without rooting or any fancy trickery. Hopefully, the affected developers will find somewhere safe and trustworthy to host their apps for download, and things can continue just like they are now. The full text of the letter sent to developers is after the break.

This leaves one question -- is the Chrome store next?

Source: @jrummy16

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4 years ago

SIM free Sony Xperia Z in purple available in the UK from early April

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Purple might not be the first color choice you think of when choosing a new smartphone, but Sony's Xperia Z actually looks pretty hot in that color. In the UK, carrier O2 managed to snag themselves the early exclusive on the purple versions, but that looks set to end pretty soon. 

Retailer, Clove Technology, has today announced that they will begin to sell the purple Xperia Z, completely carrier unlocked and SIM free beginning in early April. Orders for the phone can be placed now ahead of their shipping date next month. Pricing is the same as the black and white versions, at £498. Clove also says that the Xperia Z has proved pretty popular so far, with the other colors currently having sold out with more stock becoming available at the end of March. 

More: Sony Xperia Z Review

Source: Clove

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4 years ago

Motorola announces RAZR D1 and D3 for Brazil

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Motorola is announcing two new affordable additions to the RAZR line for Brazil -- the RAZR D1 and RAZR D3. Brazil has often received one-off designs and SKUs of devices to address its particular market segment, and that seems to be what's happening here again with these new RAZR devices. Both devices look very similar to that of the RAZR M, but hit two different markets and price points. The D1 is the lower-end of the two, with a 3.5-inch display, 1GB of RAM, 1GHz processor, 1785mAh battery and 4GB (plus SDcard) of storage. The D3 sports the same RAM and storage, but bumps up to a 4-inch display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 2000mAh battery.

An interesting thing to note about this announcement is that Motorola is launching both devices with Android 4.1 on board, as well as "a guaranteed upgrade to the next Android version". It seems Motorola since being acquired by Google is continuing its push of software updates as a feature of its devices, and we'd tend to agree that it is.

The D1 will hit stores today in single- and dual-SIM variants at R$549 (about $280 USD), and the D3 will follow in "several weeks" at R$799 (about $408 USD). While the D1 is clearly aimed at lower-end markets, the D3 could be an acceptable prepaid phone in places like Europe and the U.S. in the future. But for now, you'll have to be in Brazil to get your hands on one.

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

Android installs hit 750,000,000 milestone

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While announcing that Andy Rubin was leaving the Google Android team, Google CEO Larry Page also dropped another big bombshell -- there are now over 750,000,000 installs of Android devices.

Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world: we have a global partnership of over 60 manufacturers; more than 750 million devices have been activated globally; and 25 billion apps have now been downloaded from Google Play. 

That's 750,000,000 official installs, which isn't counting spin-offs like the Kindle series, knockoff craplets, or phones that aren't running any of the Google apps or services. Three quarters of a Billion bona fide devices have the little green robot we all know and love inside them. And they've downloaded 25,000,000,000 apps. 

We fully expect this number to climb. Who knows how many devices will be running Android this time next year.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch now for sale in Europe and Japan, lower price in tow

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Amazon is announcing both wider-scale availability of its largest Kindle Fire -- the HD 8.9-inch -- along with a price cut of both Wifi and 4G versions. Starting today the new, larger tablet will come to Europe -- UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain -- as well as Japan. That's quite a big increase in availability, as Amazon has typically struggled to push out its Kindle products to other countries which has likely been due to a lack of content deals to sell media on the devices. Along with the increased availability, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch is receiving a price cut to $269 for the Wifi model and $399 if you want a 4G data connection.

That's a drop of $30 on the Wifi model and  whole $100 on the 4G model. As for the data pricing on the 4G model, the plans are staying the same at $50 per year for 250MB of data per month through AT&T. In typical Amazon fashion the new, cheaper Kindle Fires are immediately available for purchase.

Source: Amazon; (2)

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4 years ago

Andy Rubin leaving the Android team, Chrome boss Sundar Pichai to take over

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Google has announced today that Android founder and longtime leader Andy Rubin will be leaving the Android team to explore a "new chapter at Google." Larry Page posted the announcement on Google's Official Blog, which delved into how much Android has grown since its inception and under Rubin. Google says that Sundar Pichai, who currently leads Chrome, will take over. Sundar will continue to work on Chrome as well as take on Android, so he will be taking on quite the workload.

It's a big deal when one of the original founders leaves Android and he will be missed. But it sounds like he has found other opportunities at Google that he would like to explore.

Where will Android go under Pichai? Leave us with your best idea in the comments!

Source: Official Google Blog

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4 years ago

Reviewing Humble Bundle 5: Super Hexagon

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Super Hexagon has been out for a little while in the Play Store, and it's just as insanely difficult now as part of the Humble Bundle 5 as it was when it was released. The retro arcade styling and accompanying soundtrack keep you sucked into this game for hours, and we're completely fine with that. For some reason we enjoy playing a game that feels impossible to get a high score on.

This is the same Super Hexagon many of us know and love, but if you haven't yet seen it stick around after the break and see what it's all about.

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4 years ago

Google I/O 2013 tickets sell out in under an hour

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Update: Fifty minutes after, Google I/O tickets are officially sold out. That's a little longer than it took last year, however that's likely down to Google's new method of allocating tickets rather than any decrease in demand. Shout out in the comments if you were lucky enough to snag a ticket.

Original story: Google I/O registration is now open for general attendees and academic tickets. GA costs $900 and academic will set you back $300. If registration is anything like last year, we can expect tickets to sell out in record times. And as such, Google's warning against refreshing, attempting to register in multiple tabs or browsers, or fiddling with JavaScript to get ahead, saying these "will decrease your chances of getting a ticket."

Good luck to everyone trying to pick up a ticket today!

More: Google I/O registration

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