Google Play Services sees update to version 4.1 with several new features


Google has updated their core Play Services to version 4.1 which includes a handful of nifty new features. They’ve added in turn-based multiplayer for Google Play games with support for up to 8 players and a new transition splash screen for when games ask to connect to Google Play. Developers will also now have access to a Google Drive API which they can use to allow apps to read and write files saved to Google Drive so apps and programs can remain synchronized across devices. That’s something that will definitely take the headache out of switching devices in the future.

There are also some minor tweaks, including updates to Google’s Mobile Ads SDK and improved Google+ integration. Nothing major in this update, but there are enough cool new tricks to stay interesting. Like all of Google’s new updates, this Play Services update will likely roll out over the next few weeks to your devices.

source: Android Developers Blog

Huawei takes a stab at the Android video game console market with Tron mini-console

Huawei Tron console

Android video game consoles are a popular trend lately as we’ve seen with the OUYA console and the Mad Catz MOJO console. And of course, anything that’s worth doing is worth overdoing, so Huawei is going to throw their hat in the ring with their latest mini console titled Tron. It’ll run a slightly tweaked version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and Huawei’s own digital store for content. That probably means no Play Store, unfortunately.

The actual hardware isn’t bad, with a Tegra 4 CPU, 2 GB of RAM and standard WiFi radios. The Tron will be available in 16 and 32 GB storage variants, as well as black and white color schemes. The console itself is cylindrical and looks pretty basic with no LEDs or anything. The controller sticks out the most looking like an Xbox 360 controller with a touchpad crammed between the buttons. That touchpad will likely come in handy when trying to play touch-screen only games, though, so you can’t fault Huawei for trying. Read more

Hands on with the Epson Moverio BT-200 augmented reality smart glasses at CES 2014

Moverio_BT-200_Smart_Glasses_01Epson unveiled the second generation of their Moverio augmented reality smart glasses at CES 2014, and we came away quite impressed. The BT-200 is the successor to the BT-100 that was released about a year and a half ago. Since then, Epson has come a long way in not only the design, but also attracting key developers.

Now the first thing we need to get straight is this is NOT a Google Glass competitor. This isn’t a product that you will wear while you are driving, grocery shopping, or any other like activity. This is meant for your personal time, when you can kick back and play an augmented reality game or watch a movie. It can also be used for certain business applications.

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Motorola now offering free Chromecast with purchase of off-contract Moto X

Moto X

With most of the sweet holiday deals on the Moto X having already ended, you may have decided to move on from the idea of buying one. However, Motorola isn’t stopping their awesome offerings anytime soon— the company will now throw in a free Chromecast with the purchase of an off-contract Moto X. Combine that with the permanent $100-off price reduction, and you’re getting a very nice deal.

Be sure to purchase the phone before January 14th because the deal ends at midnight on that date. Add a Chromecast to your cart after putting in a 16 or 32GB Moto X and enter the code “STREAM.” The only way to make use of the deal is through the Moto Maker and with Developer edition phones.

Source: Motorola

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in Rose Gold heading to Verizon


For the people who have been holding out on a Rose Gold smartphone, Samsung is finally bringing you one in the United States. According to @evleaks, Samsung’s Rose Gold Galaxy Note 3 is heading to Verizon.

No word on when this will happen, but I am sure there are many women out there that have been waiting for this. Actually, this wouldn’t be a bad idea for a Valentines Day gift, right? Read more

Nokia A110 Android smartphone benchmarks appear on AnTuTu

nokia-normandy-benchmarksYesterday, we got to see leaked pics of the Nokia Android phone’s user interface, and today we have some more juicy info. Famed leaker @evleaks got us a peek at the AnTuTu benchmarks of a a device called the Nokia A110. The benchmarks reveal that the device, codenamed Normandy, has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 854×480 pixel resolution display, a 5 megapixel rear camera and Android 4.4.1 pre-installed. 

There’s no news on when, or even if, the device will be launched, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Source: @evleaks

Samsung and Apple to meet at mediation session before March court battle begins


The Samsung vs. Apple battle is truly never going to end until one of the two companies agrees to leave the tech industry forever. But this time, the two sides were able to come to a mutual agreement…to meet at a mediation session before battling in court once again in March over smartphone patents.

The session will be attended by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon along with their in-house lawyers.

The past has been rough for these two companies, and don’t expect anything to clear up anytime soon either.

Source: Reuters 

Samsung issues guidance suggesting Q4 profits down sharply


Samsung Electronics issued guidance earlier this week suggesting operating profit fell a stunning 18 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the third quarter. This is not the position the company wanted to be in, which sees two-thirds of its profits from smartphones, as it braces for Apple’s entry into the Chinese market. Rumors also abound that Apple is (finally) working on larger screens for their smartphones to be able to better compete in the market. Samsung suggested 2013 will go down as the year with the weakest profit growth for its smartphones since they started making them in 2007.

Samsung suggested at least part of the reason for the decreased profit is a special bonus paid to employees as part of the 20th anniversary of a “New Management” strategy implemented by Chairman Lee Kun-hee. Analysts suggest the payouts were much larger than anticipated, in the 300 to 700 billion won range ($282 – $658M USD). Increased marketing costs are believed to have also had a negative impact on smartphone profits.

Samsung is estimated fourth quarter sales will be 59 trillion won ($55B USD) compared to a forecast of 61 trillion won ($57B USD). Profits are now estimated at 8.3 trillion won ($7.8M USD) which would be the lowest level since the third quarter of 2012.

source: Reuters

Hisense announces series of Android-powered UHD televisions at CES


Yesterday at CES, Hisense announced a new line of Android-powered Ultra High Definition (UHD) televisions, including the H8c series and Hisense H9 3D series.

The H8c will be available in 65-inch, 55-inch, and 50-inch models, and the H9 will be available in much larger sizes, including 85-inches and 75-inches. The H9 also comes with Bluetooth 3D glasses, an RF remote with NFC, and Smart Interaction capabilities including voice/gesture controls.

Both televisions will ship with versions of Android 4.2 and will include features such as Netflix, Vudu HD Movies, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, Chrome, and YouTube. Best of all, the TVs are Google Play certified so you’ll be able to easily download other applications as well using your Google account.

A third television, the H8s, has a curved UHD display and a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution. This TV has the same features as the other two series TVs, including built-in HDMIx4, 3 USD ports, the AirBridge Digital Media Player and Receiver, and the Merlin Air Mouse remote control.

Hit the break for the full press releases the new televisions for Hisense.

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