Google updates Google+ app for Android focusing on photos, but has to temporarily halt rollout

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Google started rolling out an update for the Google+ client on Android devices today. The bulk of the improvements involve the Photos app with support for Android Beam so images can be shared via NFC, an option to uses Photos as part of Daydream when the screensaver is running, and the ability to pull up photo details from a dropdown menu. This last feature has been well received by many, showing that not all improvements have to be some awesome new function. In addition to the new capabilities added for Photos, Google has fixed a problem with Locations that was causing friends’ current locations to not display properly. Read more

Rumors surface indicating Cyanogen, Inc. ready to get into smartphone business with their own device

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According to undisclosed sources, Cyanogen, Inc. is working on producing an “official” CyanogenMod smartphone powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8974AC processor running at 2.5GHz, a slight step up from the current crop of devices running Snapdragon 800 chips at 2.4GHz. Reports indicate the device will be built specifically to run CyanogenMod, although it is unclear what other physical differences there may be compared with something like the Oppo N1 that supports CyanogenMod. Speaking of Oppo, although they were quick out of the gate to support Cyanogen with a special edition of the N1 that comes with CyanogenMod pre-installed, no one is saying whether they will be selected as the OEM for the new device. Another player in the Chinese market, Gionee, has surfaced as a possible contender via their upcoming ELIFE E6 device. Read more

Android 4.4 KitKat Google Now Launcher (aka Google Experience Launcher) walkthrough on the Nexus 5

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Android 4.4 KitKat might not be a complete makeover of the Android OS, but it still brings about a few significant changes, especially with the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 is the only device to get the Google Experience Launcher (GEL). Most things are straightforward, but things like adding homescreens, not so much.

With the Google Experience Launcher, you get transparency in the app drawer, updated hands-free voice search, and wallpaper tweaks. Google Now is also a little different in that it now has it’s own dedicated homescreen. Speaking of homescreens, you can add as many as you want, and widgets are no longer part of the app drawer. Now some of these features will make its way to other devices with KitKat, but the bulk of it will be exclusive to the Nexus 5 for now.

Hit the break for our walkthrough that shows you how these updated functions work.

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Sony and Steve McCurry create Lifeframes, an exhibition of photos taken with the Xperia Z1

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Steve McCurry, the photographer best known for his photo “Afghan Girl”, and Sony Mobile have teamed to up to create a contest and exhibition of photos taken entirely with the Sony Xperia Z1. They have called this contest “Lifeframes”, and the aim of it is to celebrate the fact that thanks to smartphones, important moments are captured every day.

The top 10 photographers of the contest, dubbed lifereporters, were recently announced and the results are simply stunning. Who knew that smartphones could capture such incredible photos!?

An exhibition showcasing the top photos will take place on the 11th of December this year, and will be open to the public in Milan, Italy. In case you can’t make it to Milan in December, hit the break to see a gallery of some of the top photos of the contest!

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Best Buy halting HP Chromebook 11 sales, others yank the device too

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According to The Verge, sources say Best Buy is not selling the HP Chromebook 11 for the time being due to urgent internal instructions. Best Buy managers are being told “stores should stop selling the HP Chromebook 11 effective immediately” and should “partner with Sales Support to pull the product off the sales floor to a secure location in the warehouse.” Even online, listings for the device has disappeared. And Best Buy isn’t alone. Amazon, who Google also partnered with for the sale of the HP Chromebook 11, has taken it down as well. All retailers of the device — Amazon, Best Buy, Google Play, HP — no longer have it available at this time. Why this is happening so rapidly, we’re not sure. Perhaps a defect has been found? Stay tuned for an update.

Source: The Verge

Moto X to receive 4.4 KitKat update in coming weeks, update to Moto G to follow

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When KitKit was initially announced, Motorola came out with a list of phones that would be updated to the new OS, including their flagship, the Moto X, and the newest line of Droid phones. However, the company didn’t release a timeline for the update.

At the Moto G press event this morning, Moto CEO Dennis Woodside said that the Moto X would be receiving the update in a few weeks, and that the Moto G would get it by the end of January. We’d assume that “a few weeks” wait for the update to come to the Moto X would be before January…

Let’s hope that Moto hits their marks this time— it could make for some very positive news if they were to roll out KitKat so quickly to their devices.

Asus planning on launching two budget Chromebooks next year priced at $199 and $249

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Asus is one of Google’s closest manufacturing partners, having manufactured both versions of the Nexus 7, but they’ve never released a Chromebook despite pushing hard in the tablet landscape with Android. That’s going to change early next year, according to Asus.

Right now, Asus has a $249 Chromebook on the map to be released in Q1 of 2014.  No official specs or anything, but they have announced that it will use Chrome OS and it’ll be competitively priced. On top of that, the company is considering launching another slightly cheaper Chromebook beside it for just $199. Those are two very attractive price points for a full Chromebook with Asus hardware.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen seems to think that Chromebook shipments will make up about 10% of all laptop sales next year, so he obviously wouldn’t want his company to be left out of that slice of market share. I’m sure we’ll hear more about these two new laptops within the next month or so.

source: Focus Taiwan

via: G For Games

Verizon will carry the Moto G on their prepaid network in early 2014

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Verizon has announced via Twitter they will be offering the Moto G on their prepaid network starting early next year. Considering the Moto G does not have LTE, it’s not really a surprise Verizon won’t be offering it on their postpaid network, but it’s slightly disappointing either way. As long as Verizon doesn’t try to overcharge for the device, though, it’s still a good deal for their $60 prepaid smartphone monthly plan.

Anybody planning on picking one of these up early next year?

source: Twitter

Motorola’s Moto G has its first commercial, highlights the compact device’s punch

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This morning in Brazil, Motorola unveiled the Moto G. At the end of the presentation, the company gave us a look at the device’s first commercial. The layout of the spot seems to highlight the power of this compact, affordable device. Shown are the replaceable backs, Google services integration, guaranteed update to Android 4.4 KitKat (since it ships with 4.3), “all-day” battery life, a quad-core processor, and a 4.5-inch display that Motorola touts as “the sharpest in its class.” Hit the break to view the commercial. Read more