Firefox teases its upcoming Android launcher

by Macky Evangelista on
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Today Firefox announced that they are currently working on an Android launcher. While they didn’t really reveal too much on its features, they did give us a screenshot giving us a small sample of what it looks like. According to the Firefox team:

Firefox Launcher for Android makes it easy to discover the content you want in any moment and is optimized for the way you use your phone. The app integrates the contextual adaptive app search from EverythingMe with the Firefox for Android Web browser to offer users a personalized and customizable Web experience that is fun and intuitive.

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Pebble releases beta version of app store for Android users

by Jeff Causey on
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Earlier today Pebble released an app store for their smartwatches for users mating them with iOS devices. Not wanting to leave out Android users, Pebble’s developers have released a beta version of the Pebble Android mobile app that includes code for the app store for the first time on the Android platform. The app is intended for developers, so access to the app store even on a beta basis means having to register as a developer. You will also have to know how to sideload apk files to get it installed.

As a beta release, Pebble’s development team is aware of problems. The good news is the beta works, along with the app store component, albeit it runs slow. Users do have to contend with Pebble’s limitation of 8 apps installed at any one time as well. Hopefully Pebble will be able to attract enough testers to provide some solid feedback so the app can move out of beta and to an official release for all users in a short period of time.

source: @PebbleDev

Samsung and Google announce 10-year global patent license agreement

by Jeff Causey on
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Samsung and Google have announced a new, long-term partnership to cross-license patents “covering a broad range of technologies and business areas.” The agreement covers both existing patents as well as any new patents filed during the next 10 years. Although Samsung and Google in general are not antagonistic toward each other, outside of the occasional small spat, they did take the opportunity to dig at other companies using litigation-based strategies with regard to their competition.

Samsung’s intellectual property lead, Dr. Seungho Ahn, stated the agreement shows “the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes.” Meanwhile, Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents with Google noted that, “by working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation.”

source: Samsung Tomorrow Blog

Spotify app updated once again, now includes artist touring details

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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Beats Music has been out for just a few days and barely even works— don’t tell me you forgot about Spotify already!

Today, Spotify released a new update to its app which adds a new section in Artist views. The section includes details on touring for artists, and provides full Google Maps integration for directions. You can also buy tickets through the app, essentially making Spotify your one-stop-shop for all things music.

Here’s the, uh, ehrm, change log:

Improved: Spotify Connect will be on its best behaviour when you play radio.
Fixed: We’ve tickled some pixels and dealt with some crashes.
Fictitious: This app was assembled from old clock parts.

Hit the break for the link to the app in the Play Store.

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KatKat update for HTC One to be certified on all major US carriers by next week

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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In a surprise announcement on its Twitter account, HTC USA said that final KitKat software has entered carrier labs for final testing. They also noted that we should  expect certification for all four major US carriers next week.

Certification is currently in the third of four stages involved in pushing out OTA OS updates to devices. Shortly after passing carrier certification, the update should start getting sent out to devices.

More progress should be announced next week, especially considering how transparent HTC has been with the update process as of late. 

Source: @HTCUSA

Chromecast’s best competitor is finally here— but will it survive?

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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Airtame

It may not come with the same branding and reputation that Google’s Chromecast does, but Airtame certainly has plenty to boast about.

Airtame, the result of an Indigogo crowdfunding campaign, received $1,268,148, going way (way, way, way) over its initial $160,000 goal. Yeah, a lot of people believe in this product.

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Android 4.5 to possibly break compatibility with current root apps

by Christian de Looper on
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Android 4.4 was only released a couple of months ago, but there are already rumors surrounding the upcoming Android 4.5. Many of the rumors aren’t based on any hard evidence, but sometimes we get something that actually has some weight.

A bit over a week ago, two commits were made to the AOSP Master Tree that prevents SU from executing files that are stored on the /data partition. The only problem with this is that a lot of the current root apps have files that are stored in directories on this partition. Because of this, if the commits are not reverted, many root-enabled apps will need to be updated in order to work with future versions of Android.

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Nest CEO Tony Fadell speaks out on privacy concerns after Google acquisition, promises transparency

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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A lot of people saw Google’s purchase of Nest, the popular modern thermostat manufacturer, as a sign of some pretty scary things to come.

For example: If you have your (internet-connected) thermostat set to stop heating your home while you’re on vacation, Nest (and now Google) will have access to that information. Imagine if that information was leaked, hacked, or sold to advertisers— do you really want the world knowing when you’re on vacation or out of your home? I certainly don’t.

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