- Sprint HTC One M8 and E8 now receiving international WiFi calling update
- Google updates AppCompat so developers can bring Material Design to pre-Lollipop devices
- Motorola DROID Turbo leaked in the flesh ahead of its Oct 28th unveiling
- Google Wallet’s upcoming ad campaign hopes to spread the word about rival Apple Pay service for Android
- Digits is Twitter’s new tool to help developers avoid using passwords
- The T-Mobile G1 is 6 years old, let’s take a trip down memory lane!
- Samsung reveals plans to sell Galaxy Note 4 developer edition for Verizon
- Gmail’s new “Inbox” app wants to help make sense of all your email [VIDEO]
- Retry by Rovio aims to cash in on the ridiculously hard game trend
- Microsoft Garage brings interesting Android apps from bored engineers
- Samsung teases Lollipop on the Galaxy Note 4
- Blizzard commits to bringing Hearthstone to Android tablets by year’s end
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:51 PM PDT
Yesterday, the HTC One M8 on T-Mobile received an update to Android 4.4.4 with the all new EYE Experience camera app and as promised, earlier today the Verizon model followed suit. Still trailing behind is the Sprint HTC One M8 and HTC One E8, 2 models that are seeing an update today — but not to the EYE Experience + Android 4.4.4.
Instead, these 2 devices — which differ only in build materials and camera hardware — are getting an update to enable Sprint’s international WiFi calling (a previous update introduced WiFi calling for the states) which enables free calling when connected to WiFi to, from, and between the US, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The One M8 gets software build 3.30.651.2, while the One E8 gets 1.22.651.1. Here’s the full list of goodies from the changelog:
You should find the update hitting your Ones starting today and rolling out over the next few days. For those that don’t feel like waiting, you can pull the update by jumping into your Settings > About phone > Software updates. Although HTC hasn’t said as much, we expect Android 4.4.4 with the EYE Experience will arrive soon after. Sit tight.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 05:23 PM PDT
When Google first unveiled their fresh new Material Design interface for Android 5.0 Lollipop (then known as Android L), we just about flipped. A mixture of colorful, clean UI and gorgeous animations, we’ve never seen Android look so beautiful and full of life. Since then, we’ve seen bits and pieces of Material make its way to Google’s core apps like Google+ and more recently the Google Play Store.
Now, in an update to AppCompat (V21), Google is looking to provide developers with the resources they need to bring the Android 5.0 look to older Android versions still running on the vast majority of devices (and will be for some time). They’ve also updated the RecyclerView, CardView and Palette libraries, which should be of some use.
Google is also introducing the Toolbar widget which they say supports a more focused feature set than the Action Bar. The Toolbar can contain elements like a navigation button, branded logo image, title and subtitle, one or more custom views, and an action menu with optional overflow menu for additional actions (see above).
By giving developers the resources they need to beautify their apps with Material, Google is creating a more unified look to the apps that are made available in the Play Store. Getting developers to use these new tools, however, is another story. For more details on getting your pre-Lollipop apps updated with a Material Design, hit the link down below.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 03:54 PM PDT
The Motorola DROID Turbo has probably leaked more times than Motorola or Verizon may have liked. Even though we still have a little more than 5 days until Verizon’s DroidDoes site fully reveals the beastly Android device, the folks at AndroidSpin are giving us an early look at the phone in the flesh.
Despite being an eyesore, it’s not too different from the variety of leaks we’ve already seen, but does once again confirm a few of the phone’s insane specs like a 2560×1440 resolution display, and 3GB of RAM. October 28th all will be revealed, but we have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the DROID Turbo.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 03:21 PM PDT
By now, much of the world has heard all about Apple Pay, Apple’s newly launched NFC-based mobile payment service. It’s not too unlike Google Wallet, another NFC mobile payments system Android users have been enjoying for the past 3 years now and despite being as easy to use as Apple Pay, has failed to hit the mainstream. But Google’s not mad. In statement from Sherice Torres, Google’s director of marketing for commerce, she says:
It doesn’t help that Google hasn’t really advertised Wallet much, nothing like what we’ve seen Apple and credit card companies have done with Apple Pay (see above example). Outside of the initial George Costanza wallet video, you’d be hard pressed to find a single ad talking about Google Wallet. But that will soon change.
Now that Apple Pay’s 220,000+ retail supporters will already have NFC-based credit card systems in their stores, Google will ride its momentum by spreading the word about Google Wallet with a new ad campaign launching later this year. Although specifics about the ad campaign weren’t mentioned, we’re guessing Google will take the opportunity to educate Android users in the fact that Google Wallet can also be used at all the same places as Apple Pay. And while Apple Pay is limited to specific credit card issuers, Google Wallet is compatible with all bank and credit cards.
It’s exactly as we said in a post a few weeks ago — now that Apple Pay is spearheading NFC payments, you’ll finally be able to use Google Wallet in a lot more places.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 12:58 PM PDT
As part of Twtiter’s first mobile developer conference in 4 years — dubbed Flight — the social network talked about their latest efforts to add millions of new users by way of eliminating the password. What’s wrong with the password? Well, aside from being easily forgotten (the more secure ones anyway), easily hacked, or just a pain in the butt to type out, they mostly rely on the user having some sort of email address.
After traveling the globe, Twitter’s Senior Product Manager found that when outside the US, not too many people have email accounts. This is why Twitter is now introducing Digits, the company’s new method of killing off passwords once and for all. It’s really not too different from the sign in method you’ve seen a few apps use already, and works by sending an SMS verification code to a phone, and then authenticating the user.
The big deal about Digits is that it’s not just Twitter’s new method for signing in users, it’s available to any and all developers looking to integrate the sign in method into their apps (and for free). Like Vine before it, the Twitter-owned Digits will act as its own separate brand and is yet another way for Twitter to help diversify themselves.
Developers interested in integrating Digits int their apps can learn more via Twitter’s developer site here.
[via The Verge]
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 12:34 PM PDT
It’s the year 2008. “Britney Spears” is the most-searched term on Yahoo.com. Tina Fey is impersonating Sarah Palin on SNL. Google and HTC release the very first phone to run a new operating system called “Android.” The T-Mobile G1 is different in almost every way from the trending Apple iPhone 3G. What is Google, a search company, hoping to achieve with a phone? Will anyone buy this thing?
Yes. Yes they will, but more importantly, they will buy a lot more of the devices that follow the G1. Today marks 6 years since the G1 launched on T-Mobile and kickstarted the Android movement. A lot has changed since then. Your first Android device may not have been the G1, but without the G1 your device would not exist. Let’s take a trip back to 2008 to see what we thought about the G1 when it was brand new.
Have you ever heard Rob sound so
We did more than just rap about the G1. We also reviewed it. A lot has changed in just six short years, and nothing proves that more than reading our review of the G1. Things that were cool back then are completely gone nowadays, and the specs barely match those of a smartwatch in 2014. Here are some quotes from our review of the T-Mobile G1.
I’m sure keyboards will be popular on phones for a long time…
Icon Sets you say? That sounds like a pretty good idea!
That’s our trip down memory lane. It’s been a fun six years in the Android World. Who would have thought such a funky phone would start a revolution? We certainly believe it would, and we’re sure many of you did too. Share your own G1 memories and stories with us below, or check out the thread in Android Forums to reminisce. Happy Birthday T-Mobile G1!
Oh, and here is a picture of Chris from the G1 days.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 12:33 PM PDT
Samsung and Verizon always seem to be cuddle buddies when it comes to developer editions of their phones. The two have once again come together to offer a developer edition of Samsung’s latest flagship, with said flagship being the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The device won’t be offered on-contract and presumably won’t be available through Verizon Edge, so you’ll have to fork over $660 if you want it.
Developer Edition devices tend to be a hot commodity as their unlockable bootloaders make way to easy hacking and custom ROMs. Unfortunately the grass isn’t all that green across the entire field as developer devices don’t tend to be on the same upgrade path as your typical carrier-provided option. The device would have to attract a pretty big development community to get the most out of it, but that’s not always something that’s guaranteed (even if the device is intended to appease those tinkering types).
Adding more adversity to its plight is the advent of the Nexus 6, the first Nexus smartphone to be offered on Verizon’s network since the Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus 6 will likely capture everyone’s attention and be home to a much larger development community, especially considering all North American Nexus 6 units are identical under the hood. We’re sure many will still find a need to have a Galaxy Note 4 free of carrier and OEM chains, but we wouldn’t be surprised if its popularity fails to live up to its promise. You can order one on Samsung’s site right now, and read our Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review if you’re on the fence about whether the device is worth your money.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 11:07 AM PDT
The Google team is seemingly never satisfied with what they’ve been able to create with Gmail, and they’re always looking to improve on their class-leading email service with new features and ideas. The company has introduced their biggest evolution since bringing priority inboxes and smart categories.
It’s an app by the name of Inbox, and it aims to not only group your emails in a meaningful way, but allow you to act on them in appropriate fashion. Inbox is an extension of your Gmail inbox so it uses the same email you already receive to your typical inbox. The difference is Inbox will do a few different things to help you organize that email a few different ways.
One of those ways is Bundles — Inbox can group similar emails into the same thread to give you a quick look at all of them without an issue. Say, for instance, you’re going on vacation and need to see information about your flight, itinerary, car rentals and what have you. Inbox would know to show you all of those things in a “bundle” instead of you having to peck down each individual email. Not all of it is left up to Google’s algorithms as you can teach Inbox what you would like to see grouped together over time.
So you’ve organized it, now how does Inbox help you act on it? It might automatically add relevant bits of info to your email. A flight check-in confirmation might provide a link to your boarding pass, or a reservation for a restaurant could embed a map to its location within the email to make sure you know how to get there.
More vanilla features include things like snooze and reminders to make sure you come back to an email that you couldn’t tend to the moment it came in. This prevents them from slipping their way into the low pits of inbox hell and makes it much more likely that you’ll remember to check on those lost emails later on. The reason I refer to them as vanilla is because you can get access to some of these features on the desktop version of Gmail today through the use of handy plugins and extensions.
So why not bring any of this into the current Gmail app? It’s tough to say. Google boasts this as an efficient way to tackle one of the biggest communication problems folks deal with on a daily basis, but why do we need a separate to do any of it? My guess is Google doesn’t want to drastically change the way email works without first giving it proper trial and error in its own little sandbox.
This route will allow them to iterate and bring new features, update and changes to make the experience more pleasant and natural. Humans are notoriously afraid of change so it’s likely Google didn’t want to bring any sweeping changes to the core Gmail experience and scare folks away.
And that’s probably why it’s in invite-only status right now — yes, you’ll need an invite to even use the new app. You can easily request one from Google by sending an email to email@example.com, and if past invite-only Google services and programs are anything to by it shouldn’t be all that difficult to find your way in. Let us know if you’ll be looking to take part, and if you’re already part of the invite-only affair be sure to let us know how Inbox is treating you in the comments below.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 09:59 AM PDT
Rovio has a new game being dolled out this morning. It’s called Retry, an 8-bit airplane maneuvering obstacle course that’ll have you doing dips, dives, turns and twists to try and make your way through each level without crashing. The company is quite proud of the fact that the game might make you want to pull your hair out due to its difficulty. I mean, its name is Retry, after all.
More than just the difficulty of it, though, the studio is priding itself on the retro graphics, sound and feel of it all. “Next gen? How 'bout first gen,” they exclaim in the app’s description. But beyond the pile of 8-bit pride is a bit of depth. Here’s the feature list being touted in this 1.0 release:
So beyond its pile of 8-bit inspiration is actually a unique set of gameplay elements that should make this a very interesting way to pass some time. Be sure to find the free download over at the Google Play Store.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 08:45 AM PDT
Microsoft has unveiled a new initiatives to get their engineers working on projects that interest them. It’s called Microsoft Garage, and it’s not all that dissimilar to the 20% time Google gives their employees for working on side projects every week. As Microsoft puts it:
It’s an awesome new initiative by Microsoft that should breed the same innovation that’s helped Google come up with some of their best services and apps. Microsoft Garage has already spawned some very interesting creations, and funnily enough many of those creations are made for Android.
There’s Journeys and Notes, an experimental social network that emphasizes places as much as people. Folks who beat the same path can come together to share their experience, whether it was a simple ride to work or a refreshing jog in the park.
Next Lock Screen is a lock-screen replacement that brings your calendar appointments, messages and most used apps to the forefront. It’s not the first or most exciting smart lock screen we’ve ever seen, but it does seem to be designed pretty well and also comes with a couple of unique features (such as the ability to automatically change lock-screen wallpapers based on time of day or location).
Finally there’s Bing Torque, an Android Wear app that connects you to Bing with the simple flick of your wrist (as opposed to using the voice-activated OK Google command to be whisked away to Google’s search engine). Bing Torque is voice-capable after the initial flick of your wrist so you won’t ever have to touch the watch to perform whatever search you need.
It’s very telling that Microsoft Garage has spawned more Android products than products for Microsoft’s own platforms to this point. That could change in the near future, but for Microsoft this isn’t just about improving their own platform and bottom line — it’s about inspiring and promoting innovative ideas from within their company to help change the tech world however they can. Kudos to Microsoft for a much needed culture change.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 07:13 AM PDT
In what would otherwise be an ordinary social media marketing pump, Samsung posted a photo of the Galaxy Note 4 noting that its Quad HD Super AMOLED display is “super sweet.” On the display was a picture of some sweet, sweet looking lollipops. This leads us to believe Samsung is no doubt excited bout Android 5.0 Lollipop and will be looking to bring it to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, though we can’t say we weren’t already expecting it considering it’s their latest flagship smartphone.
We’re sure you can expect Lollipop for the Samsung Galaxy S5 too, but any other devices are up in the air. Samsung has yet to formally detail plans for bringing Lollipop to any of their smartphones, but we’re sure they’ll be getting a move on development as soon as they can and look to have the upgrade out before the candy goes stale. We’ll be reaching out to Samsung to see if they have anything to share on their Lollipop plans.
Posted: 22 Oct 2014 06:17 AM PDT
Fans of Hearthstone, one of the fastest growing new collectible card games to launch within the past year, will be excited to hear this news: Hearthstone is headed to Android tablets by the end of this year! While Blizzard already stated they wanted to get the game up on Android before year’s end, that was very early on and if you know Blizzard then you know they love taking their sweet time on things. Today’s affirmation so late in the year is a good sign that things are still on track and that Android folks will be able to enjoy their card-dueling goodness on the go before too long.
Hearthstone is a card game that draws its inspiration from the vast World of Warcraft universe. Players build decks using 1 of 9 hero classes (Druid, Mage, Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Warrior, Shaman, Warlock and Priest) to go head-to-head with other players not willing to let you slide by easily.
Its simple mechanics allow for new players to pick it up easily, while its free-form deck building lets advanced players get even deeper. Hearthstone is a free-to-play title supported by in-app purchases of card packs and arena tickets. Be sure to check it out on your PC (or iPad) right now if you’re wondering what all the hubbub is about.
Blizzard also touched on forthcoming support for Android phones (and iPhones). The company said while they have an internal build humming along, they feel it won’t be ready for launch by the end of the year. They state the smaller screen real estate of a phone as the challenge keeping them from rushing the game out. Better for them to take more time and make sure the user experience is top-notch than to rush out a shoddy port that will annoy users to no end. Let us know if you’ll be looking forward to its arrival.
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