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.

Amazon’s set top device could support full PC game streaming

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When images of a controller linked to Amazon’s rumored set top box device leaked a few days ago, you may have noticed it was very reminiscent of a full blown game controller similar to an Xbox or PlayStation gaming console. That might seem like overkill for Android based games, but it isn’t too much if the games are full game titles like you would find on a gaming console or PC. The latest rumors about Amazon’s device indicate that ability could be part of the package.

Xiaomi Redmi Note gets confirmed by CEO

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After being exposed a few days ago, the Redmi Note has been confirmed by the CEO of Xiaomi. The Redmi Note is a budget smartphone with a 5.5-inch 720p display. Don’t take ‘budget’ to seriously, though. The handset has an octa-core processor (MTK6592) clocked at either 1.4GHz or 1.6GHz. Xiaomi’s chief executive offer, Lei Jun, explained that the Redmi Note’s focus would be on performance and battery life. With an octa-core processor combined with a 720p display, Jun sounds like he is making a pretty accurate statement.

On Wednesday, March 19, the Redmi Note will be available for pre-order. The pre-order process will be done exclusively through Xiaomi’s very own social network, Qzone, in conjunction with Tencent. The official release date is on March 26.

Source: Weibo
Via: The Next Web

Samsung SM-G9098 flip phone gets certified

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Samsung refuses to let the flip phone die. Over in China, a Samsung-made flip phone with the model number SM-G9098 was certified. And with certification in China comes pictures. So above, you are looking at what the actual device looks like.

This flip phone has two displays. The first is the usual one that sits inside and becomes visible when opening the device. The second is on the outside and displays information without having to actually to do anything. Both displays have a 800×480 resolution sized at 3.67 inches. Inside seems to be a quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz with 2GB of RAM. GSM Insider speculates that this is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 based on the clock speed. This device is running Android 4.3 out of the box.

If history is any indication, the SM-G9098 flip phone will be released in just China and Korea. So consumers outside of those regions, keep looking for a ‘smart flip phone’ to satisfy your needs.

Source: GSM Insider
Via: GSMArena 

Amazon Appstore is turning 3, two weeks of deals incoming

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I remember when the Amazon Appstore first launched back in 2011, I immediately installed it on my DROID X. Every morning, one of the first things I would do is check out what the Free App Of The Day was with anticipation. For those of us that have access to the Google Play Store, that got old pretty quickly. However, there are many people with a Kindle tablet that don’t have a choice. If you’re one of those people or you just like to use the Amazon Appstore, you will be happy to know that Amazon will be running some deals to celebrate the Appstore’s 3rd birthday.

The actual birthday is March 22, but the festivities have already begun.

Google Now reminders to possibly include person-proximity

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Google Now may be getting even smarter if this rumored feature becomes a reality. Currently, Google Now’s reminders can be based on time and location. But according to Android Police, reminders will be expanded to the people in a specific location. What this would do is let a user know when they are near or with another user, presumably a friend or acquaintance.

The above image is a mockup generated by Android Police. It shows what this feature may actually look like. The assumption is Google+ would be the backbone for the feature through its Location Sharing service.

So would you be excited to be reminded when you are nearby someone you know of? Or did Google Latitude never appeal to you?

Source: Android Police

Samsung plans on expanding Gear compatibility to outside devices at some point

 

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Want to buy a Samsung wearable but don’t own one of their smartphones? In the future, Samsung does actually plan on expanding Gear compatibility. In an interview with Android Planet, Luke Mansfield, leader of Samsung’s product innovation team in Europe, said that “I don’t know what the roadmap is for that, but I’m confident that that would be the case.” Samsung is clearly not turning away from the idea, which is a good sign. The reason for this is that the switch to Tizen-powered devices allows for more smartphones to be supported.

For those unaware, non-Samsung devices cannot be used with their wearables. Because of this, non-Samsung device owners have to turn to other wearables which can occasionally mean a less feature-packed experience. So what is the timetable for this expansion? Certainly not this year, that is for sure. If it is on Samsung’s “roadmap,” this could mean it is two or more years away.

Source: Android Planet
Via: SamMobile

OnePlus One camera won’t compete with DSLRs, but will take great pictures

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In case you have noticed, OnePlus is slowly telling us about their OnePlus One. It’s kind of cool because it stops all the crazy leaks that go on with other flagships, ahem, the HTC One 2014.

Today’s topic is the camera, and it promises to be a very good one. They made it clear that they aren’t trying to compete with DSLRs, but they wanted to come up with a compact camera that takes “beautiful pictures in any situation.” They have chosen Sony’s Exmor IMX214, which is 13MP and sports an aperture of f/2.0. They continue on to explain that low apertures can produce photos that are distorted on the edges. To combat this, they have added a 6th lens element.

Cross-platform support for Google Play Games is now official

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This morning, word got out that Google Play Games would support multiplayer for both Android and iOS. So now Google has decided to move forward by making it official. As we noted in the previous post, this massive update for Play Games adds multiplayer iOS support, multiplayer invites, deeper statistics, and gift giving. Much of the update includes behind the scenes pieces for developers. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco tomorrow, Google is scheduled to give an in-depth introduction of the new features.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Google Nexus 8 may come with an 8.9-inch screen

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New indications from Asian news source DigiTimes suggest Google is working on a 2014 Nexus device, the rumored Nexus 8, that will come with an 8.9-inch screen. The last two versions of the Nexus tablet from Google, in 2012 and 2013, have both been 7-inch devices. They have proven to be very popular, albeit sales of the 2013 version have been a bit disappointing, and helped drive the tablet market to the 7-inch class size. Meanwhile, larger tablets have lagged a bit, accounting for only 30% of the tablet market. Apparently Google thinks this move will help entice manufacturers to move to larger devices, even at the lower end of the range, as opposed to extremely large tablets. This move could also help differentiate tablets from phones as the line between them, at least based on size, continues to blur as phones get larger.

Earlier this year Samsung released several tablets in the large tablet category, including the recently released 12.2-inch Note Pro and Tab Pro devices. However, other manufacturers who had been looking at the extremely large tablet market have started to back off. Supposedly Apple was considering a 12.85-inch tablet, but that has now been scrapped. Meanwhile, Asus has delayed a 13.3-inch tablet. All these signs point to interest in extremely large tablets not being as large as expected.

Do you think 8.9-inches is a good choice for Google for their next Nexus tablet or should they have gone for some other size?

source: DigiTimes

South Korea decides not to label Samsung Galaxy S 5 as a medical device

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When the first buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S 5 get their hands on the new device, one gadget they may want to check out will be the heart rate sensor included in the device. Rather than relying on tools like the camera, flash and apps capable of interpreting the data, Samsung went ahead and included a dedicated sensor for users who want to monitor their heart rate, especially when exercising. This small nod toward a portion of their market has the potential to put Samsung in the position of dealing with a slew of regulations related to medical equipment.