Google IO 2016 Coverage

Koushik Dutta’s AllCast app now updated to support Chromecast

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After a long ordeal Koushik Dutta’s AllCast app is now officially compatible with the Chromecast, thanks to Google’s release of the Google Cast SDK yesterday. If you remember, Koush was one of the first developers to offer an app that could send photos, music, and videos to the Chromecast, but Google put the kibosh on it since most apps were only supposed to work on whitelisted Chromecast devices at that time.

Koush went ahead and released the AllCast app in the Play Store for other devices like the Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, and just about any DLNA renderer. Even so, Chromecast was something people were waiting for, and the wait is over.

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LG G Pro 2 camera to feature 4K video recording, HD slow motion, and ‘OIS Plus’

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LG already announced that the LG G Pro 2 will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress, and for whatever reason they have released a little more info about the phone’s camera. The rear camera will be 13MP, while the front-facing will be 2.1MP.

The rear camera will come with what they are calling OIS Plus. OIS stands for Optical Image Stabilization, which helps you take much better pictures by removing the “shake”, but it also helps in lower light situations as well. OIS Plus will just do an even better job with the addition of an Electro Image System (EIS).

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Samsung will offer the Galaxy S 5 Zoom this year

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We already got word that Samsung will offer an Active version of the Galaxy S 5, but in the no shocker news for today, Samsung is also readying a Zoom version as well. The Galaxy S 5 Active is for those that plan on being around  lot of water and dust, while the Galaxy S 5 Zoom are for those that really want a great camera in their smartphone. The Galaxy S 5 Zoom appeared in the Zauba import database for R&D purposes.

Samsung is the king at offering variants, so again this isn’t shocking. I do understand the Zoom version, but I don’t understand why they just don’t make the Active version the official version of the phone. Last year’s Galaxy S 4 Active was a really nice phone, and most people could use the waterproof and dustproof aspects of the device.

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Sprint adds Push-To-Talk support for six new devices

sprint-logo-1For longer than Android’s existence, Sprint has had push-to-talk functionality. The feature isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be, but that doesn’t stop Sprint from adding support to more Android devices. An update to the official Android app adds support for the Samsung Galaxy S 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G2, LG G Flex, LG Optimus F3, and Kyocera Hydro Edge. Support for the ,Samsung Galaxy S 4 Mini, Galaxy Mega, and Galaxy S 4 with Sprint Spark is coming soon, according to the carrier.

Source: Sprint Newsroom

Google adds 30 new holiday calendars to Gmail’s Calendar

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Google’s Calendar app is pretty fantastic. It integrates cleanly with Gmail, it’s well-designed and organized, and the mobile apps are top-notch. To make it even better, the Gmail team is adding holidays from 30 new countries to their Calendar app, ranging from Australia to Brazil.

Like all Google improvements, this update is going to roll out in phases over the next few days. If you’re itching to put another country’s holidays in your calendar, just hang tight for a few days until you see the update.

source: Gmail Blog

Verizon launches Smart Rewards program, offers points for monthly plans, bill payments, and more

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Verizon’s answer to AT&T’s new, slightly cheaper rate plan isn’t a rate plan of their own. Nope, Verizon is launching a rewards program for customers. This won’t help you lower your bill, but it will give you rewards points for having a higher data cap that you can spend on… gift cards.

The rewards program works pretty much like a credit or debit card rewards system. Whenever you pay your bill online, you get 10 rewards points for every dollar you spend. For every GB in your data package, you get another 1,000 points. Adding lines to your account or signing up for different services also gives you points. Read more

Ting drops pricing on rate plans in celebration of two years in business

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Ting is one of the newer MNVOs in the market, backed by Sprint’s network and offering rate plans that only charge you for what you use. They first opened shop two years ago, and in celebration of making it this far they’re permanently dropping prices on their rate plans.

Most of the price slashing came on the high end of Ting’s plans, especially in the data packages. Using between 100 and 500 megabytes of data will now cost a dollar less per month, but using between 500 and 1000 costs five dollars less. Even better, using between 1 GB and 2 GB of data has been shaved down thirteen dollars, which is a pretty substantial markdown. On top of those rate changes, once you’ve reached the 2 GB cap, you’ll only be charged 1.5 cents per megabytes as opposed to the previous rate of 2.25 cents per megabyte. This change also applies to minutes, which received a 0.1 cent reduction. To complement this rate change, the top XXL tier of minutes, messages, and data has been removed entirely, which you can see in the chart above.

These new plans take effect immediately for both new and existing customers, and they definitely look more attractive if you’re a heavy data user. Anybody on Ting happy to see these new prices?

source: Ting

Apex Launcher gets updated, features app sorting, updated notifications

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Apex is a top of the line home-screen launcher, and includes a ton of great features that can instantly upgrade your device. It’s new update adds to the list of features, including the ability to sort apps in the app drawer, and some notifications tweaks. Unfortunately, the app sorting feature is only included for Pro users.

Hit the break for the full change-log and a link to the app in the Play Store.

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Pebble releases beta version of app store for Android users

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Earlier today Pebble released an app store for their smartwatches for users mating them with iOS devices. Not wanting to leave out Android users, Pebble’s developers have released a beta version of the Pebble Android mobile app that includes code for the app store for the first time on the Android platform. The app is intended for developers, so access to the app store even on a beta basis means having to register as a developer. You will also have to know how to sideload apk files to get it installed.

As a beta release, Pebble’s development team is aware of problems. The good news is the beta works, along with the app store component, albeit it runs slow. Users do have to contend with Pebble’s limitation of 8 apps installed at any one time as well. Hopefully Pebble will be able to attract enough testers to provide some solid feedback so the app can move out of beta and to an official release for all users in a short period of time.

source: @PebbleDev