B&N Nook HD devices getting big shot of Google starting today

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Barnes & Noble announced today they have entered into a new partnership with Google to bring several new apps to their Nook HD and Nook HD+ products. Foremost among the additions is the Google Play Store, which will increase the number of available apps for Nook HD owners from about 10,000 to well over 700,000. B&N CEO William Lynch indicated the new partnership is a result of research and sales data from the recently completed holiday shopping season that indicated users are shifting to more general purpose tablets instead of e-readers. To be successful in the tablet market, “the breadth of applications available is really critical.” Read more

Google Fiber continues expansion, coming to Shawnee, Kansas

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Google announced an additional location to its growing Fiber network, and this time it is Shawnee, Kansas.  This makes sense because of it’s proximity to Kansas City, which has already been selected to receive Google Fiber service.

Google says that they selected Shawnee as a Fiber candidate due to the city’s vision of keeping their citizens informed and involved using the internet.  This is awesome news for the people of Shawnee, whose city council announced the news after voting on bringing Fiber to town.  There is no expected date for Fiber’s arrival in Shawnee, but engineers will be working hard to get the service up and running as soon as possible.

Source: Google Fiber Blog

Acer announces updated Iconia B1 with 3G and quad-core options

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The Acer Iconia B1 just became available only a couple of months ago, but Acer just announced new versions slated for June. They will now offer a 3G version that will feature a MediaTek quad-core processor. The WiFi version will still have the 1.2GHz dual-core MediaTek processor, but both versions will get bumped up to 1GB of RAM as opposed to 512MB of RAM. You will also have your choice of 8GB or 16GB for storage, but they offer a microSD slot for expandability. The display on both devices remains the same, 7-inches with a resolution of 1024 x 600. Last but not least, the materials are more of a premium feel similar to the Iconia A1, and the back will be white.

Pricing starts at €129 for the WiFi version and €179 for the 3G version. Expect to see these mid-June in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Hit the break for the full presser.

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Instagram adds Facebook-like photo tagging features in update

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After Facebook bought Instagram, I think we all expected there to be a little crossover in features between both services. Instagram has already introduced a location service with their photos, and now they’ve debuted a photo tagging feature called “Photos of You.” You or your friends can tag each other in pictures, and there’s now a separate section of your profile where you can view photos that you’ve been tagged in. If this sounds similar to Facebook’s photo albums, well… That’s because it is similar to Facebook’s photo albums. Fortunately, you’ve got a few days before those tagged photos go public, so you can change your privacy settings to tone down who can see what or who can tag you in photos. Hit the link below to get the update and start checking it out.

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Play Store Download Link

Verizon Galaxy Note II receiving incremental 4.1.2 update

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Verizon has started rolling out a small Android 4.1.2 OTA update for Galaxy Note II users. While there’s nothing major in the update, you do get more applications added to multiwindow, as well as the ability to change your quick toggles in display settings. Verizon is also removing the Zappos app and throwing in a handful of bug fixes across several apps. Nothing major, but definitely an update worth getting. Hit the source below to get the full changelog from Verizon.

source: Verizon Wireless

Acer unveils the Iconia A1 tablet with 7.9-inch 4:3 IPS display

Acer Iconia A1 photo forwardAcer just announced the Iconia A1 tablet that will feature a 7.9-inch (1024 x 768) IPS display with an aspect ratio of 4:3. It will include a 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, 8 or 16GB of internal storage, microSD slot for expanded storage, 5MP rear camera, front camera (not specified), microSD, microHDMI, Bluetooth 4.0, and WiFi 802.11b/g/n.

It also features Acer’s new “Touch” theme. While the tablet is off, you can press five fingers on the display to wake it up to any app of your choosing. You can also opt for tapping just your thumbs for a different app.

The Acer Iconia A1 will be available starting in June with a suggested retail price of $169 for the 8GB version and $199 for the 16GB version. Full presser after the break.

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Samsung responds to criticism of lack of usable storage on 16GB Samsung Galaxy S 4

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As Samsung’s newest flagship device starts to land in the hands of retail buyers, some of them are discovering a nasty surprise lying in wait. New owners of the 16GB version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 have discovered the device only has about 8GB of useable memory available. The other half is eaten up by the operating system and built-in apps. In a statement released in response to the criticism, Samsung says:

“For the Galaxy S4 16GB model, approximately 6.85GB occupies [the] system part of internal memory, which is 1GB bigger than that of the Galaxy S3, in order to provide [a] high resolution display and more powerful features to our consumers… To offer the ultimate mobile experience to our users, Samsung provides [a] microSD slot on Galaxy S4 for extension of memory.” Read more

Featured Android App Review: Dinamotxt [Communication]

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Have you ever wanted to send and receive SMS text messages from your tablet? There are a number of apps available in the Google Play store that will allow you to do this, but I wanted to tell you about a newer one called Dinamotxt. It was developed by Openmind, and it syncs your tablet with your phone so that your tablet will receive SMS text messages at the same time as your phone.

Dinamotxt is a full texting interface so you will have all the same capabilities as if you were using your phone. You can not only reply to current texts, but you can also create new conversations from your contacts or any phone number. You can also change the look with the included themes. They have eight colors to choose from along with a nice looking paper and vanilla theme.  You can delete any threads you no longer need, and they will be deleted from your phone at the same time.

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Paranoid Android’s new Halo notification system gets demoed in video

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As we recently reported, the awesome developers over at Paranoid Android have come up with an incredible new feature for their ROM inspired by Facebook’s Chat Heads. They are calling it “Halo” notifications and they’ve described it as the first step to solving Android’s lack of true multitasking. It works by forwarding all notifications system-wide to the Halo bubble. Clicking the Halo bubble opens a tiny applet where you can respond to any notification.

Halo will be included in upcoming builds of the popular Paranoid Android rom which is available for a plethora of devices. One lucky user got his hands on an early build and was nice enough to film a demonstration. Hit the break for the video and check back for more news on this feature as we get it.

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Motorola XFON leaks, shows AT&T apps installed

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Motorola’s fabled X Phone is easily one of the most speculated about devices today. It seems like every week, a new rumor pops up, and it usually conflicts with the rumor we heard the week before. Google and Motorola have effectively kept this phone a secret by leaking out tons of mismatched information.

Today, though, we have more concrete X Phone information. As in, evleaks has kindly released some pictures of a phone, running Android on AT&T’s network with the model XFON on the back. Normally, these rumors are pretty hazy, but that’s pretty clear. The phone itself doesn’t really get too friendly with the camera, as it’s boxed in some kind of case, but the picture below shows a carbon fiber backplate with a model of XFON ATT, which suggests that it definitely won’t be a Verizon exclusive. The phone shows the AT&T SIM name in the status bar, as well as AT&T’s LTE icon, and a My AT&T app in the app drawer. Aside from that, the software seems pretty bone stock, which we would naturally expect from a phone co-developed by Google.

It’s also worth mentioning that this does appear to be three different devices, as noted by the differing Motorola logos on the top of the phone. If the phone is showing up in leaks like this, hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer for an official announcement from Motorola or Google. Read more