Since announcing Google Play for Education at Google I/O earlier this year, things got quiet related to the initiative. However, last week we saw the official launch of the project including the addition of a specific app to support school administrators who want to deploy Nexus tablets to their students. » Read the rest
Although not as successful as they had hoped, the HTC One was highly regarded by the tech community, including myself. HTC had a clear winner in terms of design so they figured they would build upon that by “enlarging” the phone into a phablet since the demand continues to grow for phones that are large and in charge. The HTC One Max looks just like the One, only much bigger. HTC wasn’t able to compete with the likes of the Galaxy S 4 in the 5-inch category so will they be able to compete with the Galaxy Note 3 in the phablet category? HTC is hoping a few extras like a fingerprint scanner and a microSD slot will entice you, but is it enough and does the greatness of the HTC One translate to a much larger version? Hit the break to find out.
Google has really been ratcheting up their Google Wallet app the last few weeks. The release of Android 4.4 saw the ability for Google Wallet to be used for on any device regardless of the carrier, which was a major hurdle for Google to get past on the way to greater adoption. Earlier this week we saw Google release a physical card connected to a user’s Wallet account so they can make payments anywhere a debit card could be used. Google has now released an update to the Android app that adds the ability to add a credit or debit card to the account just by taking a picture with the device’s camera. Google claims the number and expiration date will be captured automatically. Hit the break for download links. » Read the rest
If you’re more interested in a physical card to shop with rather than NFC payments, Google has created the Wallet Card. With this physical card, you gain access to ATMs, banks, and wherever else MasterCard Debit is accepted. The card will use funds from your Wallet Balance to make payments, much like a regular debit card. Just make sure your Wallet account has the proper amount of funds. There’s no annual or monthly fees, so you can use the card freely.
The Google Wallet app will be updated later this week to allow users to order their Wallet Card. Or if you’re in a hurry, login to your Wallet account from a computer. For now, Google Wallet Card is only available in the United States.
Source: Google Commerce
It’s amazing how popular Nexus phones are considering they get so little mainstream attention, but hardcore Android fanatics go hog wild for them. Each year around this time, Google releases their handcrafted phone to Android fanboys and fangirls all over the world. The Nexus phone usually sports a few killer specs along with a few not so killer specs. However, it’s the price that gets everyone so googley. Priced at $349 for 16GB or $399 for 32GB (both off contract and unlocked), it appears to be a tremendous value. I don’t think anyone can argue about that. The real question is if its flagship-worthy as everyone makes it out to be? You know the drill by now, hit the break and lets get started.
Google started rolling out an update for the Google+ client on Android devices today. The bulk of the improvements involve the Photos app with support for Android Beam so images can be shared via NFC, an option to uses Photos as part of Daydream when the screensaver is running, and the ability to pull up photo details from a dropdown menu. This last feature has been well received by many, showing that not all improvements have to be some awesome new function. In addition to the new capabilities added for Photos, Google has fixed a problem with Locations that was causing friends’ current locations to not display properly. » Read the rest
According to new documents, Sony may be working on a WiFi-only model of their Xperia Z Ultra. Sliding through the FCC is a device that is listed as a “mini-tablet” and a “portable handset.” This mystery device has 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and even a GPS; however, there is no cellular radio. With a screen that is sized at more than 6-inches, is Sony trying to aim for a new market with a small-screened tablet? We’ll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned for more info on the possibility of this interestingly unique device.
It was two years ago when Samsung unveiled the very first Galaxy Note, which ended up starting the phablet craze. However, it wasn’t just about the “size” of the Note, it was the functionality with the S Pen, something many manufacturers fail to offer with their own phablets. The world thought the stylus was gone forever, but Samsung brought it back from the dead. Of course, the S Pen is no traditional stylus, it’s a lot more polished with wacom technology.With each edition of the Galaxy Note, Samsung has not only increased the screen size, but also improved the S Pen along with its functionality and features. Is the Note 3 the must have phone of the year or just another phablet? Hit the break to find out.
We had another busy week at TalkAndroid so here’s a recap of all the top stories. Google announced the Nexus 5 and KitKat on Halloween with little fanfare, but the excitement level was overflowing. Still no word on an updated Nexus 10, but is Google also prepping a Nexus 8? Google didn’t stop with the Nexus 5 and KitKat as they announced a slew of new features for Google+. Pandora is finally Chromecast compatible and what is going on with that mystery barge in San Francisco? It’s time to get caught up and get ready for another exciting week.
Android 4.4 brings a major change to NFC payments that could finally be the kick in the butt that Google Wallet needs. Kit Kat brings support for Host Card Emulation (HCE), which means any Android NFC device could be used for mobile payments without needing access to a secure element. With HCE any app can emulate an ISO/IEC 7816 smart card that use the contactless ISO/IEC 14443-4 (ISO-DEP) protocol for transmission.
What does all of this mean in a nutshell? This means it can work on any device on any mobile carrier. Not only that, third party apps can manage payment information in the cloud or on the device. Of course, devices will need Android 4.4 for this to work, and it remains to be seen how long it will take for most of the popular devices to get the update. It will take some time, but it could just be what the doctor ordered for Google Wallet to finally succeed.
source: Android Developers