Google Sync Services quietly adds a couple new settings

by Jeff Causey on
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With Google I/O 2013 about to open, Android users poking around in their settings have noticed some new sync settings are available for their Google accounts. The additions appear to be part of an update to the Google Sync Services app that was pushed out to Android users over the last few days, taking the app up to version 3.1.36. The first new addition is a toggle to sync or not sync “App Data.” It is unclear whether that means Google is syncing data about the apps on a device or whether this is a new service that app developers can use to have in-app data sync’ed via Google’s services. The second new toggle is for “Sync People details” which is different from contacts. Again, it is not clear exactly what data may be getting sync’ed. It could be tied into Google+ or it may possibly be related to the new Google Play Games service expected to be announced at Google I/O 2013. » Read the rest

Samsung start rolling out Jellybean 4.1.2 update to Galaxy Ace 2 users

by James Gray on
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Samsung have begun rolling out a Jellybean 4.1.2 update to Galaxy Ace 2 users in Germany, with other markets on the way. The update breathes new life into Samsung’s entry-level device, completely updating their Touch-Wiz UX interface. Samsung also says the device should feel faster and bring improvements to battery life as well. If you are in Germany, feel free to get the update through KIES/OTA. If you prefer to flash manually (or aren’t in Germany) hit the source for downloads. » Read the rest

Yup, Android 4.3 is confirmed thanks to a search result listing on a developer website

by Roy Alugbue on
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Google I/O is finally here and we have the first official unofficial confirmation of the day: Android 4.3 is very much real and is on the way. Thanks to what appears to be a major snafu, a search listing on Google’s developer website— clearly indicating that Android 4.3 is of a major focus. Of course Google quickly realized the major gaffe and quickly removed the listing from its developer website, but not before some crafty folks caught hold of it as seen in the below screenshot.

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Of course we are still waiting to see what exactly the next iteration of the Android software will bring, but we’ll find out everything soon enough once everything finally kicks off.

source: The Verge

Sony Xperia Z smartphone receives minor software update

by Roy Alugbue on
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A quiet software update has surfaced for you Sony Xperia Z smartphone owners out there. The firmware update keeps the Android software version at 4.1.2, but brings the device to version firmware number 10.1.1.A.1.253 and brings performance tweaks, along with the display calibration tool, new software key and navigational bar colors going from grey to black and the ability to disable the pesky notification light. For now, it’s looking like devices in the French markets are getting the update first, but devices in other markets should follow sooner than later.

source: Xperia Blog
via: Phone Arena

Google planning to launch subscription-based music service to compete with Spotify

by James Gray on
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Google is planning to introduce a new subscription-based streaming music service to compete with Spotify and other similar services. The feature will be integrated into Google Play and could be introduced as early as this morning at Google I/O, Google’s annual developer-centric conference.

The service has been in development for some time now, and when launched will put Google at an advantage over competitors like Apple and Amazon, who have yet to launch an integrated streaming music service to their platform. And with the lackluster sales the Play Music Store has accrued, this could be the jump-start to help them catch up with iTunes, the largest retailer of music in the United States. » Read the rest

Google Play developers now able to reply to user reviews

by Aditya Thawardas on
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In line with Google’s priority of strengthening communication between developers and their users, they have given developers the ability to reply to user reviews via the Google Play Developer Console. Responses by developers will appear publicly below the  original comment in the Play Store. Once a developer replies to a user’s comment, the user will receive an email and can then either reply to the developer directly by email, or update their review.

Back in November, Play Store reviews became integrated with Google+, with the goal of less anonymity leading to higher quality comments. Today’s update strengthens communication a step further. It’s a feature that’s long overdue and should help improve app development.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Android’s Sundar Pichai teases Google I/O 2013 plans

by Roy Alugbue on
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Google I/O is just a few days away and if you were expecting to see a brand-new OS or a revolutionary device— then you will probably be a little disappointed at this tidbit of news. Android head Sundar Pichai recently expressed some hints of what we can expect to see, especially for all of you developers out there:

“It’s going to be different. It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system. Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things. We will show how Google services are doing amazing things on top of these two platforms”.

Yeah— it’s definitely a bummer, we know. Fortunately there is a silver lining to look forward to: the development and arrival of some pretty neat concepts and improvements to the Android and Chrome platforms. In his interview, Pichai highlights that because of the Android platform’s flexibility and design, consumers are able to see the arrival of Facebook Home, part of many ”welcome innovations“. Additionally, items like Amazon’s Kindle Fire series of tablets and its customized Android software represent the computer explosion of today, which is a benefit for consumers of all.

source: Wired

New app brings Google Now wallpapers to any compatible device

by James Gray on
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For those of you longing to bring the Google Now wallpapers to any homescreen, developer Bongoman has created a live wallpaper app that allows you to do just that. While it is technically a live wallpaper, the only time it changes is when switching from day to night, which means virtually no battery drain. The app allows you to flip through Google Now-esque cards and then simply tap to apply the desired wallpaper. All the locations included in Google Now are here and there’s even a separate app for those of you with an HD display. Both versions of Google Now Wallpapers are available from the Play Store free of charge. Hit the break for a slideshow and Play Store links.

» Read the rest

New Samsung video provides walk-through of SideSync features, allows for connection between PC and a Galaxy phone

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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Samsung released its new SideSync software that they say “connects the PC and mobile as one.” We couldn’t agree more, as this innovative application allows for a sort of dual-screen feature from your PC to your Galaxy phone. You can drag and drop files from your computer and place them right on your phone’s home screen, copy clipboard content from one device to the other, and even use a screen sharing mode which lets users view their Galaxy phone’s screen on their PC monitor to use it as a virtual phone. From this mode users can take full advantage of all of the functions of their phone, and can also resize the phone’s screen on the PC monitor.  All of this can be done while effortlessly navigating both devices using the PC mouse.

Check out Samsung’s walk-through video of SideSync after the break.

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Bulletproof is a 3rd Party Application That Brings A Much-Needed Lockscreen to Google Glass

by James Gray on
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In what is definitely a huge oversight on Google’s part, the Glass software has no built-in lockscreen function. Obviously it can be assumed that there will be many changes before the rumored Spring 2014 release date since it’s a Beta product, but the problem remains for now.

Developer Mike DiGiovanni didn’t want to risk having his contacts and personal information easily swiped so he set about doing Google’s job for them, and Bulletproof was born. In a post on Google+ DiGiovanni explains its function saying, “Use combinations of swipes and taps on the side touchpad to unlock your device. The app knows when Google Glass is off your head and locks the device only at that point.” Pretty handy, and very useful. Click past the break to see it in action.

» Read the rest