It’s all but officially confirmed that Samsung will be unveiling their brand new phablet, the Galaxy Note III in Berlin next month at IFA 2013. We have a good idea of the phone’s hardware specs, but we haven’t been able to figure out what version of Android the device will ship with. The LG G2 (which was announced on Wednesday) will be shipping with Android 4.2.2 and will upgrade eventually to 4.3— disappointing, but not a huge deal.
Good news today on the Samsung front though, as SamMobile tweeted out that the Note III will indeed come with 4.3 right out of the box. This gives the phone a head start over most other phones, and could also possibly mean that Samsung will be ahead of the curve for the impending release of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie later this year.
The Galaxy Note III is shaping up to be an absolute beast so far— so that just leaves one question: Will you be grabbing at the LG G2 this year, or will you end up going with Samsung’s new flagship phablet, the Note III? Hit us up in the comments.
This is why I love Android. The simple fact that developers can take their stake in a product and customize tools to fit their own (and other users’) needs is a beautiful thing, and is perfectly displayed in what Koush from CyanogenMod has been doing for quite a while now (here, here, here, here, etc.).
Today, Koush announced that he has successfully built Chromecast into the CyonagenMod framework, now allowing any app with audio or video to cast directly to your TV. Yep, that’s right. You don’t have to wait for your favorite application to come out with Chromecast support anymore. So if you were holding off getting Chromecast until that glorious day finally came, it is no longer an acceptable excuse— unless of course you don’t want to load up CyanogenMod onto your phone, which is obviously a huge barrier for many of us that don’t want to deal with the rooting process.
Koush is pretty much breaking records right now considering the amount of stuff he’s developed for Chomecast so far, including streaming local videos/pictures to Chromecast, Dropbox support, RSS video support, and now showing Cast support built into the CM framework. Crazy stuff.
Check out the video after the break of Koush demonstrating it all for you, himself. Let’s hope this becomes available very soon!!
We already knew that the Moto X was going to head to the Google Play Store eventually, but we didn’t have official confirmation on whether it will be Google Play Edition (full stock) or whether it will include all of the software enhancements as it is sold on any other carrier. It seems as though the latter is true, as Leo Laporte said yesterday on This Week in Google that Guy Kawasaki (Motorola) said that it will come as sold as it is anywhere else.
This means that none of the Moto enhancements will be stripped out which is great news, because a Moto X without the enhancements is essentially a mid-range phone that has a good feel in the hand, and probably wouldn’t sell very well on the Play Store. Even if they were to decide to make the phone Google Play Edition, it wouldn’t really make much sense because the Moto X is so close to stock anyway, with just a few extra “add-ons” including Active Display notifications UI, Moto Assist, and Moto Connect.
Google’s put a ton of work into their latest iteration of Google maps, and the newest change you can expect to see from it is coming in the form of updated advertisements. Google is an ad company after all, and location data is extremely valuable, so it makes sense to see them push for some location-aware ads in their applications.
Starting today, ads will reflect businesses that may be near your current location while browsing Google maps. Whether that’s for restaurants, gardening stores, or movie theaters, the ads will pop up at the bottom of the screen when a user performs a relevant search. The ads are pretty unintrusive, and when tapped or swiped upwards, they’ll expand to give you the full details of whatever it may be advertising. That tap-or-swipe will count as a click as far as Google’s payment system is concerned, so this looks like it’s going to be a win-win for everyone involved. The changes should start happening relatively quickly on Android and iOS applications.
Any Google Maps users noticing the changes yet?
Google Wallet is undergoing a surprising fundamental change. Loyalty program linking, one of the features Google has hyped ever since the launch of Wallet, is going to be phased out. Basically, any Wallet-stored gift card or loyalty card will not work past August 21. If you still have the physical card, you’re fine, but if not, Google recommends spending your balance before that deadline.
Google says they are still working with retailers on other options for gift and loyalty card redemption. In the meantime, you can still handle credit and debit card transactions through the service.
Google announced today that textbooks are now available via the books section of the Google Play Store. A long list of publishing partners, including Pearson, Wiley, Macmillian Higher Education, Random House, McGraw-Hill and Cengage Learning are on board. You can rent a book for up to 80% off of it’s regular purchase price.
The process of downloading a textbook is the same as downloading an ordinary book from the Play Store – you need to just head to the books section, download, and your textbook will be accessible on your Android tablet, phone, iOS device and on the web. Once downloaded, you can search, bookmark, highlight, and annotate within the textbook.
Source: Official Android Blog
Well here’s some surprising news for a Friday morning. I would have bet a lot of money that Samsung would be making the Nexus 10 refresh, but apparently it’s going to be ASUS. ASUS did a fantastic job with the Nexus 7 refresh so I’m sure they will do a great job with the N10. Still, one has to wonder why Google would switch from Samsung. The Nexus 10 wasn’t the most popular tablet, but it was a darn good one with the amazing display and performance. Maybe ASUS outbid Samsung or maybe this is Google distancing themselves a little from the beast that Samsung is.
Whatever it is, we may never know, but one thing we can be sure on is that it will be available by the end of this year and priced the similarly. We can probably expect the same resolution of 2560×1600, but the processor is likely to be switched to Qualcomm. I would like to see the Snapdragon 800, but based on what is in the new Nexus 7, that might be wishful thinking.
If you just picked up the new Nexus 7 and having problems with the GPS, you’re not alone. Many users are saying that it will get a satellite lock and work great, but at some point it will go back into a “searching” mode with the GPS icon blinking. The length of time that it’s locked in seems to be different for everyone. We have seen as low as 2 minutes and as high as 30 minutes. Rebooting can help, but not guaranteed.
The good news is that Google is aware of the issue and a fix is coming soon. Don’t ask me when because we don’t have a timetable just yet, but it shouldn’t be too long since Google is the one working on the fix.
Are any of you noticing the problem? I haven’t even attempted navigation with mine.
Google’s distance tracker application, My Tracks, has received an update in the Play Store adding a handful of helpful features for users of the app. The app has always been able to track the places you’ve been (as well as the distance you’ve traveled) but now when displaying places you’ve been to, it will show a better looking, precise picture of that location. It’s also received the three-dimensional rotation abilities for close-to-street-level view that Google Maps has had for a while.
Among the other features the app added is support for landscape view, (did that really take this long?) the ability to select multiple tracks to edit or delete them, and the ability to merge your tracks into Google Earth and replay them. Hit the link below to update the app, or give it a try for the first time if you never have before.
Play Store Download Link
When Google introduces new apps, services or devices, one thing that frequently irritates potential customers is the bias shown to the U.S. market, frequently without any offerings in other markets. This recently occurred with Google’s new Play Music All Access service. Google is working to address that situation though and today the service is available in nine new countries in Europe. The locations include Austria, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain. Those countries join Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. with access to the service.
Users can sign up for a 30 day free trial of the service, similar to what Google did when it initially launched the service. If you sign up to continue the paid service prior to September 15th, you can lock in a rate of £7.99 ($12.39 USD) per month for the life of the subscription. After that, the regular price will be £9.99 ($15.49 USD) per month.
source: Google Play Support