Google will be screening all Android TV apps in the Play Store

google-play-logoOne of the best (or worst) features of Google’s Play Store is that Google doesn’t screen any apps before they’re released to the masses. There are a few requirements that the apps have to pass so they aren’t malware, but otherwise, Google doesn’t monitor quality control for third-party apps.

Within the Play Store, it’s a mostly effective strategy. Low quality apps get low reviews and are generally filtered to the bottom, while better designed apps get more and higher review scores, so they become more visible to users. It looks like Google is taking a different approach when it comes to Android TV apps, however.
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[New Android Wear App] Display Brightness for Wear calculates brightness based on location

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Not all Android Wear devices have an ambient light sensor. Both the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch, Android Wear’s inaugural devices, shipped without one. The Motorola Moto 360 became the first in its class to do so. So it can be tedious to constantly manage the brightness rather than having the device do it automatically. For those without an ambient light sensor, there is Display Brightness for Wear. According to its Play Store listing, it “uses the coarse location to calculate sunrise and sunset times, as well as the Google Play Services activity detection API to automatically set the display brightness.” When the sun goes down, the brightness will be way down low. When the sun is up, it will adjust according to the user’s activity. Brightness levels for particular activities can be adjusted manually as well.

Hit the break for the gallery and download links.


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Motorola Spotlight announces new “Duet” short

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Motorola Spotlight has been one of the phone manufacture’s most under utilized apps. Until now, the animation viewer that lets you control the camera only had one new story, but they’re soon coming out with a new “Duet” short. It’s based on the Oscar-nominated short of the same name, after the company teamed up with director Glen Keane., who is a former Disney animator. 

The Spotlight story will follow Mia and Tosh as they grow from babies to adults, and (obviously) fall in love. It’s not available quite yet, as its hyped as coming soon, but download the update via the link below and check it out when it’s released. Also check out the preview video past the break.


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Not all devices will take advantage of Lollipop’s new camera API

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Android 5.0 Lollipop has a new camera API that allows the capture of RAW photos. Many people have noticed the change with the Nexus 5, but those with a Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 haven’t. The reason is that it’s hardware based. Devices that use a processor for image processing that is not part of the SoC (external ISP) will not be able to take advantage of it. The Nexus 4 and Nexus 7′s fall into that category.


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Skype now available in a web browser without downloading any apps

skype_bannerSkype has announced that they’re finally detangling the video chat service from its traditional Windows or OS X desktop program and offering it in beta through a web browser.

Skype for Web will let you quickly sign into the service on Skype’s web page and immediately begin making video calls without having to download any apps or programs. According to the Skype page, you can get the service started on any modern web browser, but it specifically mentions Chrome for Windows. That’s good news for Chrome users, but the wording of the support page makes it sound like Chromebooks are going to be excluded. 
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Is Google Glass’ allure fading away?

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Just months ago, Google opened up the purchase of Glass to the public, but for the insane price of $1,500. Of course, the units are meant for developers only, but one might question when the prototype will hit its final stage and get released to the mass market for an affordable price.

According to a recent report by Reuters, the allure of Glass is starting to wear off — a miserable, miserable sign for Google, especially since the public hasn’t even gotten its hands on a finished product.


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Snapchat threatens to ban anyone using its service via a third-party app

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Following tons of negative press for its weak security protocol over the past few weeks, Snapchat has today announced a permanent ban on Snapchatters utilizing third-party applications to access its service.

All users recorded signing into the Snapchat servers via a third-party app will receive an email requesting them to stop, change their password and revert to the official application. If they fail to do so, their account may be “permanently” disabled.

Snapchat promises it will be developing a public API in an effort to put a stop to such security breaches in the future, but gives no indication as to when its likely to be up and running

Hit the break below to see a copy of the email Snapchat is sending out; requesting users to stop using third-party apps.


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Shhhh – Google removes silent mode from phones with Lollipop

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When Google first announced Android L last summer with a developer’s preview edition and then in October made the official announcement sans a final version being available, it was clear Google had all hands on deck to try to wrap up all the details that go into a major operating system overhaul. So it should be no surprise that some things may have been overlooked. At least, we hope this one is an oversight and not something intentional on the part of Google. Android Lollipop users have discovered that silent mode has been removed when running on a smartphone and other volume and notification management choices are just not well thought out.
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