Google Search gets expanded functionality for users, brings new cards and improved Voice Search abilities



One of the major pieces of awesomeness at Google I/O was the introduction of the revamped Search function. Right off the bat, the new Search function for you Google Now users includes not only new cards, but also the ability to set reminders or see real-time public transportation updates. So whenever you want that reminder to “take out the trash before 7am” or want to see continuous updates for the A train at New York’s Penn Station (or other select cities), then Google certainly has you covered. Voice Search users aren’t left in the dust either, as Google has gone ahead and implemented some extra functionality to the nifty tool— so users can ask more questions such as “what time it is my flight leaves Thursday” or something of that nature.

The update is already live in the Play Store now, so be sure to grab it by clicking on the Play Store link below.


Play Store download link

New Google Maps makes the Map the UI just a little better and easier for all


Google’s new Maps feature that we told about earlier today is officially a reality. So many things to list and such little brain power to remember them all. Let’s try and cover the stuff that got the most reaction from the crowd. There have been some major improvements to the 3D rendering. Getting to see St. Peter’s Basilica in 3D at I/O on Google Maps is excellent, but what really took the cake was the integration of user photos of the Basilica. By clicking on a user submitted Geo-tagged photo, Google Maps now helps to bring the interior of the Basilica on other wonders of the world right into your house through the browser.

And of course like all of the other neat services, Google Maps can now become more personalized as you use it more and more. Picture this: you see a restaurant that may be of interest to you in a particular area, so Google Maps will showcase only the important items like specific roads or landmarks it is for you to get to the restaurant, so Maps will only show the information to you that matters most. Oh and you have friends that may +1 a restaurant or locale, so Google Maps will begin offering you recommendations based off of your friends’ interests. Pretty cool indeed. So the more you interact with the map, the better it gets. When you set your Home and Work locations, star favorite places, write reviews and share with friends, Google Maps will build even more useful maps with recommendations for places you might enjoy.

ZTE reveals Grand X2 In with Intel CloverTrail+ processor capable of taking 24 photos per second


ZTE is no stranger to Intel’s up-and-coming CloverTrail+ project, including one of Intel’s chips in the ZTE Geek we reported on about a month ago. Today we bring you Intel and ZTE’s newest collaboration, dubbed the ZTE Grand X2 In. The Grand X2 In is a sleek purple device with a 4.5-inch, 720p display. It runs Android Jellybean and is powered by Intel’s 2GHz Atom Z2580 chip. Also under the hood is 1GB of RAM, 8GB of expandable storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1-megapixel front-facing camera. While this phone is not going to compete with today’s flagships, it does have some features that set it apart, most notably the aforementioned camera. Capable of 24 frames-per-second, zero shutter lag and image stabilization, the camera alone puts this mid-range offering ahead of many other comparable devices. Hit the break for the full press release. 

Google announces Google Play for Education at Google I/O 2013

If schools decide to give out tablets to each student, Google has now built a service with them in mind. Each student would be given a Google account which the teacher would have access to. Probably the coolest feature of the new service is taht the teacher can load an education related app onto the students tablet for the student to use. Schools will still be responsible for the cost of integrating tablets into their school, but Google is providing a framework for them to work with. Google has also add the option for schools to pay with a pay order instead of a credit card. Here is a pic of schools that already use Google apps in some way or another:

Samsung Galaxy S III comes to StraightTalk using Sprint’s LTE network


Pre-paid carriers are getting more and more high-end phones every day, and StraightTalk is no different now that they offer the Samsung Galaxy S III. A user on HowardForums posted a photo of the Galaxy S III’s StraightTalk retail packaging, and as of now you can purchase it directly from StraighTalk’s website. The phone is unbranded and comes at the very reasonable price of $439.99. Aside from StraightTalk’s website, the S III should be available at Wal-Mart soon.

Google Play Developer Console gets a major injection of new features



Google I/O 2013 keeps churning out awesome new additions to services they offer, and the Google Play Developer Console is no exception either. As you can see in the picture above, the service includes Optimization Tips, App Translation Service, Usage Metrics & Referral Tracking, Revenue Graphics and the most applauded, Beta Testing & Staged Rollouts. All of these services are intended to help developers make better apps. App Translation helps users see were there app is used the most. If the developer see that his app is being used in Russia, however the app isn’t translated into Russian, the new service can help in that area.

As I stated earlier, Beta Testing & Staged Rollout got the most reception from the group at I/O. The service is just what the name suggests. Developers will now be able to rollout better apps in the form of betas as well as getting updates to them faster. Revenue Graphs allow developers track where they are making most of their money from, whether it be in-app purchases or the app itself.

Stay with us as we try to bring you all the info for these new features, as Google I/O progresses over the next few days.


Google announces unlocked Samsung Galaxy S 4 with stock Android coming June 26 for $649


We told you last night about the possibility of this happening, and today at the I/O keynote, Google made it official that they will be releasing an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S 4 running stock Android.  The LTE compatible, completely unlocked phone will come with an unlocked bootloader and will work on AT&T and T-Mobile. Storage will be 16GB and the device will arrive on June 26 for $649.  The crowd at I/O went silent, with a few boos audible when they heard about the high price tag.

This is the first non-Nexus device to get this kind of Google treatment. It’s a little surprising Samsung is on board with this, considering how much they market their TouchWiz UI’s additions to the Android experience.

Google I/O 2013 Keynote: Play Store will bring more personalized recommendation, apps that will be “Designed for Tablets” and new All Access music subscription service



There’s no doubt that Google Play has seen some extensive improvements, but Google I/O is highlighting some of the cool functionality that users will see using the service moving forward. One of the great things that Google does for its users is learn about its users, so the Play Store can now give personalized recommendations of games, music, movies and whatever else may be good for users. Additionally, Google has implemented a new strategy for its ever-growing tablet users by showcasing a brand-spanking new “Designed for Tablets” section— ensuring the various tablet apps out there will operate at a smooth level. Oh and for you music lovers out there— Google Play Music All Access is Google’s first subscription-based music service, which allows listeners to enjoy the huge library of songs Google has— complete with the ability to customize your music as you choose— all for $9.99/month. “Radio without rules” is the motto of the All Access service, which means that we may have yet another means to enjoy our awesome music.

Look for the new improvements to start rolling out over the coming weeks.

Karateka Classic: Director’s Cut launches tomorrow for Android and iOS for a buck

Karateka Banner

While the Play Store has no shortage of emulators and knockoffs of classic games, karate-adventure Karateka Classic will be available to play tomorrow (May 16th) for the first time since the 80s in its complete, remastered glory. Perform cool jump kicks and save the princess in an unparalleled retro setting for just a dollar when Karateka launches on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store tomorrow.

To add to the awesome throwback feel players have the option of revisiting Karateka on a monochrome screen with the sound of floppy disks sputtering along in the background. Hit the break for a trailer and remember to grab Karateka tomorrow when it launches!

Google I/O 2013 Keynote: Android activations account for nearly 1/7th of the world’s population with 900 million total activations



The Google I/O Keynote is here and we have some fun stats for you. Not only has Android grown as the OS of choice for mobile users, but the platform has grown at an extraordinary pace. Activations have gone from 200 million activations in 2011 to a stunning 900 million activations as of today. While there are 7 billion people on the planet, the fact that Android accounts for nearly 1/7th of the world’s population is a impressive feat. Complimenting the number of activations is the stunning tally of 48 billion app installs, with an eye-popping 2.5 billion app installs in the last few months alone. Yes friends—- the Android platform is not just kicking some ass— but it’s here to stay.


New Google Maps sign-up page goes live for a brief moment and gives us a glimpse of new features in the process



Google has been rumored to be working on a new version to Google Maps and last night the world stumbled across a sign-up page for it, giving the rumor more credence. With this discovery, we now have an idea of what Google has in store for us with the new version. Even though the sign-up page was removed just as quickly as it went up, some pictures and information was still gathered from it. In the pictures, we can see that Google’s new version of Maps is taking on the Google Now card look, as well as improving areas of functionality. 

Japan’s NTT DoCoMo releases summer 2013 device portfolio including Sony Xperia A


Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo has revealed their portfolio of devices for the summer months which includes a new Sony Xperia A device. The Japanese version seems to be a bit different from the device carrying the same name that recently slid through the FCC on its way to U.S. carriers. The Japanese version sports a 4.6-inch screen, 1.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, and runs Android 4.1. This seems to put it as more of a mid-tier device whereas the U.S. version mirrors the top-tier Sony Xperia Z, only with a removable battery.

In addition to the Xperia A, NTT DoCoMo is also adding Sharp’s Aquos Phone Zeta and Aquos Pad, two devices that incorporate new, thinner displays. The Zeta device comes with a 4.8-inch full HD screen while the Aquos Pad is a 7-inch tablet that is approaching a full HD display resolution. Other manufacturers got their devices added to the portfolio, like the Panasonic Eluga and the 5.2-inch Fujitsu Arrows NX. All of these devices from Sharp, Panasonic and Fujitsu will come with Android 4.2.

source: NTT DoCoMo
via: phoneArena

HTC Backup now available for AT&T users as free download from Google Play


For those of you who have the AT&T version of the HTC One, HTC has released their excellent backup tool (fittingly named HTC Backup) as a standalone application on the Play Store. For whatever reason AT&T did not include this backup tool with their version of the One, opting to use Google’s standard backup function.

Now One users can get HTC Backup from the Play Store for free. Once downloaded all you need to do is sign in with your HTC account and let the app back up and restore your phone through Dropbox. Again, if you do not have the AT&T variant of HTC’s flagship device then this is irrelevant to you. Hit the break for a Play Store link and let us know in the comments what you think of HTC’s tool.

Samsung officially outs Blue Arctic Galaxy S 4 in Japan

galaxy s4 arctic blue

 Some rumors earlier this week pointed to Japanese carrier Docomo getting a blue variant of Samsung’s Galaxy S4. Samsung released several different colors of its Galaxy S III, so it’s not much of a surprise to see new colors already popping up, especially as carrier exclusives. Today, the blue version of the device, dubbed Arctic Blue, was made official, and Android Beat did an excellent hands on video comparing the black and blue variants of the device. I used to think the black S4 looked a bit blue in the right light, but putting it side by side with an actual blue phone definitely changed my mind.

No word on if the color will make its way to other shores, or if there’s any other colors in the works, but knowing Samsung, we’ll probably see it elsewhere with a few new colors before long. Hit the source below to check out the hands on video. Anyone want an Arctic Blue S4, or would you rather hold out for another color?

source: Android Beat

Google Sync Services quietly adds a couple new settings


With Google I/O 2013 about to open, Android users poking around in their settings have noticed some new sync settings are available for their Google accounts. The additions appear to be part of an update to the Google Sync Services app that was pushed out to Android users over the last few days, taking the app up to version 3.1.36. The first new addition is a toggle to sync or not sync “App Data.” It is unclear whether that means Google is syncing data about the apps on a device or whether this is a new service that app developers can use to have in-app data sync’ed via Google’s services. The second new toggle is for “Sync People details” which is different from contacts. Again, it is not clear exactly what data may be getting sync’ed. It could be tied into Google+ or it may possibly be related to the new Google Play Games service expected to be announced at Google I/O 2013.