Google may be partnering with LG for the LG G Watch

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Google has announced a new platform for wearable devices called Android Wear and already word is out that LG may be working on a Google device using this new platform. Early indications are that the device is being called the G Watch and besides the Android Wear platform, Google Now will be featured on the device as well as the ability to initiate voice commands using “OK Google” similar to Google Glass devices or the Motorola Moto X. If accurate, this would be the fourth device produced by the duo of LG and Google, joining two Nexus smartphones and a Google Play Edition tablet.

Google officially enters the wearables game with Android Wear, smartwatches coming later this year

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It has finally happened. Google has officially announced Android Wear, a version of Android designed specifically for wearable devices. In an official blog post, Google explains that Android Wear will focus on getting key information to users at the right time, displaying health and fitness information, and providing an extra display to use throughout the day. As you can see in the image above, Android Wear (for smartwatches) is designed to closely resemble Google Now and, basically, it functions the exact same way. In fact, voice searches are still done through the “OK Google” activation.

Who is making Android Wear devices? Here is what Google had to say about that:

“We’re also already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.”

Google could be preparing to kill off Google Voice, merge into Hangouts

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It has been a slow haul for Google, but rumors suggest they are getting close to finally merging all of their communication apps into a single platform. Over the past couple years Google merged their Messenger platform into Hangouts and then added support for SMS text messaging, killing off the Messaging app in the process. The final piece is Google’s Voice and sources believe the company is close to merging that into Hangouts.

Report: Amazon smartphone could finally land in 2014

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An Amazon smartphone has been rumored for several years now, but it might finally come to fruition this year. Yes, I know, you have heard that before. I’m not saying it will happen, but reports seem to indicate that Amazon is ramping up for a release.  Last week, The Information reported the phone is codenamed “Project Aria” and it would be released this year. Now DigiTimes is chiming in saying, “The smartphone supply chain is starting to prepare smartphone component orders from Amazon for a device set to release in 2014.”

It appears that Amazon was close to launching a phone in the past, but decided to go back to the drawing board. After many revisions, they appear ready to go. Specs still are unknown, but we have heard numerous reports that it will include 3D gesture tracking. Stay tuned because it could be a busy year for Amazon. A gaming / set-top device is also expected for this year.

source: DigiTimes

Facebook introduces beta program for Messenger

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Facebook already took advantage of Google’s beta program with the Facebook app, and now they are including Messenger. This is a good thing since they can get feedback from a lot of users before releasing enhancements to the general public.

If you are already a beta user for the main Facebook app, you still have to sign up for Messenger. The good news is both are independent so you don’t have to be part of both. You can choose one or the other. Hit the break for full instructions for the Messenger beta.

No delays for Sony Xperia Z2, but supplies could be limited

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Last night we reported that Sony halted pre-orders for the SIM free Xperia Z2, which only added fuel to the “phone is going to get delayed fire.” Sony commented on the matter by basically saying that the April 11 launch is still intact.

The bottomline is the demand is going to be higher than the supply. Whether that means that demand is much higher than previous Xperia handsets or they are actually having production issues to meet average demand, it probably results in a shortage. The fact that they halted pre-orders of the SIM free version doesn’t bode well.

Hit the break for Sony’s statement….

Samsung to offer low-end smartphone running KitKat

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Low end phones usually have one achilles heel, and that is that they usually can’t run the latest version of Android. Things have changed with KitKat since it supports devices with only 512MB of RAM. Flagship phones had 512MB of RAM back in 2010.

Details of a new Samsung phone with the model G310 has surfaced thanks to FCC filings and Zauba’s import minifest, not to mention a NenaMark 2 benchmark. Piecing things together, the G310 will sport a 4-inch WVGA (800 x 480) display, a Broadcom chipset with two Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, a VideoCore IV GPU, 512MB of RAM, 1,500mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0 +LE, NFC, Wi-Fi b/g/n (2.4GHz), and dual-SIM option.

TalkAndroid Daily Dose for March 17, 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!!

Apps

Pocket Casts now comes with Chromecast support

[New Chromecast App] Cast Store for Chromecast is a storefront… just for Chromecast apps

Carriers

Vodafone offering gold Samsung Galaxy S 5 in the U.K.

Looking forward to Rovio’s upcoming Angry Birds Epic game? Check out the gameplay trailer

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With Rovio releasing their Angry Birds Epic game (turn-based RPG style) in the near future, the team released its first teaser video that features the game play. I’m sure many of you are curious as to what the game is going to look like, so check out the video below and let us know what you think! Does it make you any more excited for the release?

Play Store’s Games subcategory reorganization has gone live, oddly includes Live Wallpaper and Widgets still

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We noted back in December that Google would reorganize the Games section of the Play Store with twenty subcategories. That change went live today, one month after it was expected. It was originally believed that Live Wallpaper and Widgets would be shown the door and the new total would be eighteen. Unfortunately, they remain and that is why the subcategory total is twenty. For some odd reason, Google has not axed them just yet.

If you head over to the Play Store on your device or the web (like the image above), you will see the reorganization present.

Google Play Movies expands to 37 new markets

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Looks like Google has finally expanded the availability of their Play Movies feature to 37 new markets across the globe. You can expect Play Movies to hit these following markets:

Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Gabon, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Rwanda, Senegal, Sweden, Togo, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zambia.

Anyone in these markets excited for it finally being available to you?

source: Google

Big update for Google Play Services rolling out

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With support for Google Play Games being extended to the iOS platform, developers will need tools to enable this throughout their games. That will be coming forthwith as Google prepares to rollout a new SDK for developers in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Laying the groundwork for that, Google has started rolling out an update to Google Play Services that includes new APIs.

Sony halts SIM free Xperia Z2 pre-orders

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We see a lot of crazy things in the world of mobile, but one thing you rarely see is pre-orders for a new flagship phone being halted. That’s exactly what has happened with the Sony Xperia Z2. We are talking about the SIM free version that Sony has listed on their website. Before today, you were able to pre-order the phone, but although Sony hasn’t pulled the phone from the site, you  can no longer place your pre-order.

Now there have been rumors that the Xperia Z2 could suffer a delay. This situation could definitely indicate the rumor is true, or it could be nothing about nothing.We heard earlier today that Samsung is having issues with the production of their camera for the Galaxy S 5, so if the Xperia Z2 joins the party, it can only help the HTC One 2014. Stay tuned.

source: Xperia Blog

[New Chromecast App] Cast Store for Chromecast is a storefront… just for Chromecast apps

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One of the newest apps to make some noise in the Play Store is Cast Store for Chromecast. It can be rather difficult to find applications for the Chromecast, so rather than having to sift through the Play Store, Cast Store for Chromecast is a singular place that is exclusive to Chromecast applications. It provides categories from games to media applications and features a suggestion option in case a user is still lost. Also, users can create their very own list of favorite Chromecast apps. It is a handy little app that seems to be very much worth a download.

Hit the break for the gallery and download links.