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5 years ago

ZTE Grand X 2 In announced, launch scheduled for Q3

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ZTE Grand X 2 In announced, launch scheduled for Q3

Grand X 2 IN

Grand X 2 INSecond-generation Intel handset from ZTE, running Atom Z2580 CPU

ZTE has announced a new Intel Atom-powered smartphone, the Grand X 2 In. The somewhat clumsily-named handset is the successor to last year's Grand X IN, which saw a limited global release late last year.

It's powered by a 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU -- that's CloverTrail+ for those of you keeping track of platforms. The x86 number-cruncher is backed up by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD. On the front there's a 4.5-inch 720p display and 1-megapixel front-facing camera, around the back an 8-megapixel camera.

On the software side you're looking at "Android Jelly Bean" -- we're guessing 4.1, since ZTE isn't saying which exact version is on there. That's lightly skinned with ZTE's own MIUI-like user interface.

The ZTE Grand X In 2 is due for release in Europe during the third quarter.

Source: Press Release

5 years ago

Google I/O 2013 keynote recap

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Google I/O 2013 keynote recap

IO Live
Larry Page
900 million
Android Studio
Google Play Music All Access
New Google Maps
Galaxy S4 Google Edition
Game services

Larry Page

Missed yesterday's keynote and announcements? Here's a quick-fire look everything you need to know

Google I/O 2013 kicked off at Moscone West in San Francisco yesterday, with keynote announcements from the Android and Chrome teams, as well as new features for Search and Maps, a re-vamped Google+ and a new Hangouts app, as well as a brand new music subscription service. Oh, and a Galaxy S4 running stock Android. The keynote was rounded off by a some words of wisdom from Google CEO Larry Page, followed by a Q&A session.

Although we didn't get a new version of Android or (strictly speaking) any new devices, the first day of I/O was packed with stuff you need to know about.  Check past the break for a quick run-through of all the major points.

Want to watch the full three-hour presentation instead? The video's available over here.

5 years ago

Bluetooth Low Energy support coming to future Android version

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Bluetooth Low Energy support coming to future Android version

Bluetooth

Bluetooth

API version 18 will bring Bluetooth Smart support in 'a few short months,' AVRCP 1.3 also coming

As many expected, it's been announced that Bluetooth Low Energy support -- also known as Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready -- will be coming to a future version of Android. Android API level 18 (the current 4.2 Jelly Bean release is API level 17) will introduce support for the feature, which is designed to significantly reduce the power usage of Bluetooth while maintaining comparable data speeds and ranges of operation.

Certain Android devices -- such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 -- already implement Bluetooth Low Energy, however the new platform version will bring native support to all Android devices with compatible Bluetooth hardware.

In related Bluetooth news, Android API version 18 will also include support for AVRCP version 1.3, a standard for controlling TVs, Hifi equipment and other devices over Bluetooth. AVRCP 1.3 includes methods for showing metadata from music tracks and querying the status (i.e. playing, stopped) of the music source.

Googler Sara Sinclair Brody, who presented the 'Best Practices for Bluetooth Development' session at Google I/O, says API version 18 should be landing in "a few short months." That also means we can probably rule out any major Android releases for the immediate future.

Source: Google+, Google Developers, Press Release

5 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 gets TCO certification

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Samsung Galaxy S4 gets TCO certification

Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4

First smartphone to meet TCO standards for environmentally friendly and socially responsible manufacturing

Samsung has announced that its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, has become the world's first to win TCO certification. The award from TCO Development, an organization focusing on sustainability in IT products, intends to showcase products that meet standards for environmentally-friendly, economically viable and socially responsible manufacturing.

Today's press release gives details of the conditions Samsung met in each category --

In the social category, Samsung demonstrated that it is committed to socially responsible manufacturing and is compliant with International Labour Organization and United Nation conventions. In the environmental category, it was found that the GALAXY S4 was free from many hazardous materials such as nickel, beryllium, and mercury which, if present, would have severely restricted its potential to be recycled at the end its lifecycle. In terms of economic viability, the power efficiency of the charger was praised, as was the smartphone’s industrial design which boosts reliability. 

This isn't the first Samsung product to be awarded accolades for its environmental credentials. Last year the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Ace Duo were awarded PAS 2050 certification by the Carbon Trust. Before that, it played up the eco-friendly Samsung Replenish, which was available on Sprint and Boost Mobile.

It's also the second such award to be given to the Galaxy S4 -- Samsung says its new phone was also awarded UL's ECOLOGO certification.

5 years ago

Trek Episode Guide warps onto Android

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Trek Episode Guide warps onto Android

Star Trek Episode Guide
Trek Episode Guide warps onto Android
Star Trek Episode Guide
Star Trek Episode Guide
Star Trek Episode Guide

Star Trek Episode Guide

Get Trek Episode Guid on Google PlayStar Trek Into Darkness has been in theaters around the globe for a few weeks now, but today brings the first showings in the United States, with a wider release rolling out tomorrow. To celebrate - and to take advantage of the building Trekkie craze - AppGlu today released into Google Play the new Trek Episode Guide.

The free app isn't an official one, but it what it provides is likely far better than an official app could. Late last, CBS Interactive released an official Star Trek PADD database app for iOS and, well, it was a massive disappointment. The database used by CBS was poorly written, occasionally inaccurate, and woefully lacking in detail - and the images offered in the PADD app were likewise poor and typically of a depressingly low resolution.

CBS could have done better, and in spite of lacking some features, AppGlu's Trek Episode Guide does so. Let's get this out of the way to start: Trek Episode Guide doesn't have any form of built-in search, and it's focused solely on - as the name would imply - the episode and movie summaries. Granted, that's still 716 episodes and 12 films. But you can't tap on a character's name and read everything about that character. For a character like Worf, who appeared in 271 episodes across two series, in addition to 4 films, there's a lot to be brought together.

5 years ago

Copy ups its free storage offering to 15GB, introduces 'Fair Storage'

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Copy ups its free storage offering to 15GB, introduces 'Fair Storage'

Copy app

Copy app

Multiple users can show split the bill for shared storage costs

The latest entrant in the cloud storage arena, Copy, is increasing the amount of free storage it offers to try and pull users away from other services. Following the announcement by Google that it will be unifying its free storage across services, Copy is now giving all free accounts 15GB of storage to start off with, up from 5GB previously. If you're not familiar with Copy, it also grabbed some attention for having a generous referral policy, which gives 5GB of extra storage to both the referrer and the referee with no limits on the extra storage that can be obtained. Copy also does not have file size limits, another plus over its competitors.

Along with the announcement of increases in base storage, Copy is also rolling out a feature it's calling "Fair Storage" that helps split the cost of shared folders between the users that access them. For example, if four users are sharing a 20GB Copy folder, each one will only pay for 5GB of that storage, rather than each paying for all 20GB every month. It's a system that makes sense logically but isn't the way that other companies are approaching shared folders.

Copy certainly has a lot of good ideas, but as we've seen in the past it can be hard for new challengers in the cloud storage space to come in and challenge the likes of Dropbox. Even Google's own Drive product has struggled to catch on for the average user. We'll see if the seriously interesting storage incentives from Copy can help them get a foothold.

More: Copy

5 years ago

Hands-on with Hangouts, Google's first step towards unified messaging

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Hands-on with Hangouts, Google's first step towards unified messaging

Hangouts
Hangouts
Hangouts

Hangouts

Lots of great new features, but this may not be the unified messaging service some hoped for

We've heard a whole lot about "Hangouts" as a headline feature of Google+ since its launch, but Google is repurposing that branding today for its latest group chat service. There was a whole lot of crazy speculation and expectation leading up to Google I/O about a unified messaging platform from Google, and unfortunately Hangouts just isn't that service quite yet. As if Hangouts coming to phones as an update to the Google Talk app wasn't a good indication, this is more of an instant messaging client then an all-encompassing messaging service.

That being said, if you and the people you talk to most are all-in with Google, this update just gave you a whole bunch of new features. Read on with us past the break for a little introduction to Hangouts, Google's next step in messaging.

Android Central @ Google I/O 2013

5 years ago

Android Studio is what's new in Android development tools

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Android Studio is what's new in Android development tools

Android Central

Android developers

To build great apps, you need great tools. The folks at Mountain View are giving us those tools

After this morning's epic three-hour Keynote event, it was just a quick trip next door to see Xavier Ducrohet and Tor Noybe give what is always one of the most popular developer sessions of the conference -- What's New in Android Developer Tools. 

If you were paying attention during the Keynote, we got a quick look at Android Studio, seeing how the new IDE can make the life of a hard working Android dev easier. Based on IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio is a free and open source IDE specifically designed for building Android apps. Complete with templates, wizards, and some awesome WYSIWYG-style layout editing, it looks like someone at Mountain View is very serious about devs getting the tools they need.

Eclipse isn't gone, and in fact there's still plenty that has not made it's way to Android Studio just yet. But clearly, this is the future of Android app development. It's great to see the tools developers need to build the next set of great apps! If you're a developer or just want to have a look at things, visit the link below to check out an Earl Access Preview of Android Studio.

Getting Started with Android Studio

5 years ago

Google Play Books updated with new design, PDF and EPUB uploading

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Google Play Books updated with new design, PDF and EPUB uploading

Google Play Books

Google Play Books

Keep up to 1,000 of your own PDF and EPUB files in the cloud for free

Caught up in all of the hullabaloo around the keynote, Google Play Books received a notable update in the Play Store to not only bring new UI elements but also a new way to view your own documents. First up is the design, which follows many of Google's latest design principles with a new left edge slide-in navigation panel and high contrast blue and white design. The interface on Play Books has always been simple, but it can't get much cleaner than it is now. You can "Read Now" (remember you can "Listen Now" in Play Music), view "My Library" or go "Shop". Very simple.

The big back-end feature that was enabled by this update is user uploads, which lets you now upload from the web (at play.google.com/books/uploads) or directly from Google Drive any PDF or EPUB document of your choice. Those documents uploaded on the web are then available for sync and download on your phone or tablet to read at any time. Users can store up to 1,000 documents at once with the service, and uploaded documents have their page position, bookmarks and notes completely synced across devices.

Play Books may not be on of the fanciest or most talked-about Google apps today, but these are huge improvements in usability that make the entire Android platform (and Google ecosystem) more compelling.

5 years ago

Sprint Galaxy S4, HTC One and Galaxy Note 2 now have Google Wallet support

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Sprint Galaxy S4, HTC One and Galaxy Note 2 now have Google Wallet support

Sprint Galaxy S4

Sprint Galaxy S4

Google and Sprint team up again to allow three of the most popular devices to have Wallet access

Not everything makes it into the Google I/O keynote, but that doesn't mean it's not still important. As a tweet from the official Google Wallet account, it announced that the Sprint Galaxy S4, HTC One and Galaxy Note 2 (also on U.S. Cellular) will all be given access to the Google Wallet app directly from Google Play. This is pretty big news, as those are likely three of the most high-profile and best selling devices available on Sprint today. The carrier was originally one of the few partners that has stuck with Google through the ups and downs of Wallet, so it's good to see that the two companies are still working together.

Users on any of the three aforementioned devices should be able to grab a direct download of the app from the Play Store, which can be found at the link above. Now all you have to do is find somewhere to actually use those NFC payment abilities.

Source:  Google Wallet (Twitter)

5 years ago

Android Central 134: Google I/O Podcast Special!

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Android Central 134: Google I/O Podcast Special!

Android Central

 

Jerry and Phil catch up on the first day of news from Google I/O 2013 in San Francisco! We've got new Android features. New Google+. New Google Maps. New Chrome. New Google Music. And the one podcast to cover them all.

5 years ago

Relive the mammoth Google I/O keynote in full

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Relive the mammoth Google I/O keynote in full

Google I/O

Clear your evening, you'll need in excess of three hours for this one!

If you missed todays mammoth keynote from Google I/O 2013, there's no need to be disheartened. You've got a couple of options. The first -- and one we recommend -- is to hit the Android Central Google I/O portal to catch up on all of the days news. Once you've done that, Google has put the whole thing online for you to watch back at your leisure. 

Be warned though, you'll need to clear your evening. All of it. Or watch it in two parts. The keynote clocks in at well over 3 hours long if you count the Q&A time at the end with Larry Page. Which you should, because it's Larry Page. So, enjoy it, and drop into the comments below and let us know what your favorite part was out of everything you saw today.

5 years ago

Google TV gets updated to Android 4.2.2, swifter updates promised for the future

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Google TV gets updated to Android 4.2.2, swifter updates promised for the future

Google TV

Android Central

Google TV also now moves on to the latest version Chrome, jumps onto the six-week regular Chrome update cycle

Despite being omitted from the 3-hour Google I/O keynote completely, there is some good news coming out of San Francisco for Google TV. Google already pushed out the update to their YouTube app for the platform, but also announced today is the bump up to Android 4.2.2. And, with the jump to the latest version of Android, the latest version of Google Chrome is also on board, with Google TV joining the regular six-week update cycle for Chrome. 

Chrome for Google TV also gets support for hardware based content protection. Simply put, this means that developers have the ability to include premium high definition TV content within web apps for Google TV. 

The good news doesn't end there either. Alongside the software updates Google is also announcing that they have refactored Google TV so that OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in "a matter of weeks rather than months." 

The update to 4.2.2 is expected to roll out to current Google TV devices "in the coming months" with new devices expected to be seen later this year. Great news for the Google TV fans out there that Google continues to push the platform forwards.

Source: Google TV Developers

5 years ago

Hands-on with the new Google Play Music app and All Access subscription service

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Hands-on with the new Google Play Music app and All Access subscription service

Google Play Music All Access
Google Play Music All Access
Google Play Music All Access
Google Play Music All Access
Google Play Music All Access
Google Play Music web interface

Google Play Music All Access

Improvements in design highlight the latest music subscription service

At today's massive Google I/O keynote, one of the bigger announcements was centered around music. Not only did we get the rumored Google Music subscription service -- now called "All Access" -- but we also got a completely refreshed Play Music app and web interface to go along with it. Google is making a pretty compelling push with its new music service, which goes beyond just radio and just streaming to offer customizable playlists with unlimited skips as well as unfettered online and offline access to any music in the Play Store catalog. You can also now access that music through  a beautifully redesigned Android app and web player that just tie the entire experience together.

Hang with us after the break for a closer look at Google's refresh of Play Music, one that is likely to be a hit well after the Moscone Center empties this week.

Android Central @ Google I/O 2013

5 years ago

YouTube for Google TV gets updated with a whole new homescreen UI

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YouTube for Google TV gets updated with a whole new homescreen UI

YouTube for Google TV

Android Central

New home screen UI, paid subscriptions and enhanced playback controls the name of the day

While all eyes were on the 3+ hour monster keynote at Google I/O, Google quietly slipped out a decent looking update to their YouTube app for Google TV. Top of the order is a nice looking new user interface for the homescreen, that simplifies everything and makes it all a little more user friendly. 

Official support for Google's new paid subscription channels is also included, with Google TV surely being a prime option to take advantage of the new content. Playback video controls are also improved, and it's easier to subscribe to that content creator's channel. Grab it now from the Google Play Store, and be sure to let us know what you think of it. 

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