Google Search update brings new commands and Olympics cards to Google Now

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A few days after the update went live, we are finally starting to see some more additions to the Google Search app. While Google Now currently alerts users when a set event is approaching, it will now notify when the best time to leave to arrive on time. So Google Now will make sure you make it to a doctor’s appointment, dinner reservation, or airport in a timely fashion. Also added to Google Now is the voice command to call or text contacts. Say “Call Justin” and the device will do so. If you have contacts with overlapping names, it will ask you to clarify.

With the Olympics taking over the world for the next few weeks, Google has added cards pertaining to the games. French, German, Japanese, and Korean languages are all supported. So if you are away from a TV or computer, cue Google Now and check out what’s going on in Sochi easily.

Two Galaxy S5 variants benchmarked on AnTuTu, specs very different

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With rumors about the Samsung Galaxy S5 getting more and more frequent, we keep seeing a number of different variants of the device pop up. This time it seems that two variants, the SM-G900H and the SM-G900R4, have shown up in AnTuTu‘s database, and it seems like the specifications of the devices are very different.

In fact the specs are completely different, and the only thing that is the same is the camera sensors. This could be evidence to prove what an analyst said a couple days ago – that there will in fact be two main models of the Galaxy S5, similar to what Apple are doing with the iPhone 5S and 5C.

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Specs for the HTC M8 Mini leak

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HTC isn’t giving up on the compact smartphone market just yet. Over on Twitter, @evleaks posted what would be the specifications for the HTC M8 Mini. Yes, the M8 Mini. Prior to today, we have not heard anything of substance about the device; however, @evleaks has graced us with its specifications.

This Mini will have a 4.5-inch 720p display. On top of it all is Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6.0. Powering the device is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with 1GB of RAM. Along with 16GB of internal memory is a microSD card slot. Bluetooth 4.0 support is present along with a/b/g/n/ac for WiFi. And thankfully, it will sport on-screen buttons. Interestingly, the camera specs are 13MP/5MP, presumably for the rear and front, respectively. This would be a huge bump from the camera on the HTC One.

HTC may be launching this device alongside the M8 in New York City next month. Read more

Droid Zap updated to work on all Android devices running 4.0 and higher

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Motorola’s picture and video sharing application originally only supported the company’s recent line of DROID-branded devices, and now a recent update changes availability options.

The update makes the application available to all Android devices running 4.0 and higher, as well as a newer user interface which looks less “Droid-looking.”

The app hasn’t really taken off as Motorola probably thought it would when it was released, but this is definitely a step towards making it more popular in the Android realm.

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

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HTC and Nokia sign a patent and technology collaboration agreement

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Nokia and HTC have decided to bring an end to the long patent war that they were having for quite some time now. Both the companies have settled all pending patent litigation and signed an agreement to licence each other’s technology. HTC will be paying Nokia to license its patent portfolio and they will also collaborate for future opportunities. The details of the agreement were kept confidential and will not be released

“We are very pleased to have reached a settlement and collaboration agreement with HTC, which is a long standing licensee for Nokia’s standards essential patents,” said Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia. “This agreement validates Nokia’s implementation patents and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities.” Read more

Verizon to close Vodafone deal on February 21, ‘One Verizon’ will be formed as a result of the takeover

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Last year, Verizon agreed to buy Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for a whopping $130 billion which will give Verizon full control over its wireless operations. According to FierceWirelessVerizon will finally close the deal on February 21. Verizon Wireless’ long successes in the U.S wireless market has attracted Verizon to acquire them. It might also be due to the pressure from its rivals in the market. T-Mobile is offering to pay customers early termination fees if they switch to T-Mobile, AT&T is providing discounts on its Mobile Share family plan, and Sprint recently started offering the cheaper “Framily” plan. As a result, Verizon is also hoping to profit from its acquisition of Verizon Communications and compete efficiently in the market. Read more

cloud.tv is offering a refund to customers who bought the Dayframe Prime feature last Thursday

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A few days ago, cloud.tv updated its Dayframe app bringing support for Chromechast. However, an update was pushed out later in the afternoon that removed Chromecast support upon Google’s request. The reason behind this is that Google would not release the Cast SDK until the updated version of Google Play Services app has been released. This means that developers are not yet allowed to release any Chrome Cast compatible apps in the Play Store.

We also heard that cloud.tv will be offering refunds to customers regarding this issue. Read more

Tim Cook calls out Google on Motorola and Android’s “crappy” tablet experience

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Apple CEO Tim Cook typically has nothing nice to say about Android. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s head honcho gave his opinion on Google letting go of Motorola. He calls the deal “a logical transaction” because Google was not “committed to” doing anything with Motorola. Cook then said “it’s really hard to do hardware, software and services” as a single company; however, he claims this is “what makes Apple so special.” Cook fails to mention products like the Chromebook Pixel or Google Chromecast. And I’m quite sure Google has a decent amount of influence on the design of Nexus devices.

Then came the harshest of Cook’s comments. On the subject of the Android experience on tablets, Cook feels it “is so crappy because the app is nothing more than a stretched out smartphone app.” Had Tim Cook said this a few years ago, he would be right. But now with devices like the Nexus 7 (2013) becoming more mainstream and accessible, developers have definitely noticed Android tablets.

So there you have it. Tim Cook throwing some more fire at Google and Android. But hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Digits

TalkAndroid Daily Dose for February 7, 2014

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With hectic schedules, it can be hard to keep track of everything in your news feed. That’s why we created the TalkAndroid Daily Dose. This is where we recap the day’s hottest stories so you can get yourself up to speed in quick fashion. Happy reading!!

Guides

7 top lock screen replacement apps for Android [February 2014]

Apps

DO Launcher brings Sense 5′s launcher to any device

Carriers

Boost Mobile offering $35 plan with unlimited data for 6 months after buying an LTE device

U.S. Cellular expected to offer the Motorola Moto G on February 10 [update – now official]

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