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Showing posts from May, 2015

ZenWatch 2 unveiled at Computex: now in two sizes, refreshed design, and magnetic charger

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At the Computex technology trade show in Taipei, Asus just unveiled the second generation of the Android Wear ZenWatch 2. Following the well-received original from last year, and confirmed to launch by Asus brass, the ZenWatch 2 brings aesthetic refinements and small functionality improvements that make the package a bit more attractive.The ZenWatch 2 is available in two sizes: the bigger one is the same size like last year, with a 41 mm face and 22 mm band, while the smaller edition is 37 mm with an 18 mm band. Asus seems to have taken to heart criticism about its wearables being too large for many users; however, it’s not clear for now whether the smaller version features a smaller display or is simply more compact.The displays are OLED and protected by 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3, while the processing tasks are handled by an unnamed Qualcomm chip (probably the same Snapdragon 400 as in the predecessor).The new ZenWatch 2 features a crown on its side, which is supposed to feature some func…

Diving into M: tablets get split keyboard and dynamic notification shade placement

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We were all very excited by the new features and software upgrades released and announced at Google I/O 2015 this past week. Included was the release of the Android M developer preview for a short list of Nexus devices. Including the Nexus 9 tablet, which we just happen to be giving away for free this week.As we dive into the new Android release, we’ve found a number of cool new features, including a split keyboard option for the Google keyboard on your tablet, and a three position dynamic notification shade drop down. Let’s take a look at those real quick.Image credit: Duncan Adkins via Android Police The split keyboard functionality is not a new thing for Android, especially on tablet sized devices, however, this is a first for Google’s keyboard. The premise is simple, it can be a little difficult to extend your thumbs all the way across the screen of a tablet, so the keyboard splits into two and pushes the buttons to the sides to make it easier to reach when two thumb typing.The dyn…

Android Authority this week – May 31, 2015

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Android fans, it was an amazingly busy week in the Googleverse. At its annual developer conference, Google introduced Android M, which brings few visual changes, but many much needed improvements and refinements, including doze mode, better volume controls, Android Pay, app state back up, and Google Now on Tap. It wasn’t just M; Photos is now an independent app; Project Brillo was announced as Google’s new IoT operating system; updates were announced for Inbox, Google Maps, and the Play Store; and Google ATAP blew our minds with its new projects – Jaquard, Soli, and Abacus. In other news Lenovo showed off some crazy concepts; Sony introduced the Xperia Z3+; the Galaxy S6 Iron Man edition launched; and Microsoft unveiled Cortana for Android.Inside AA HQIt probably won’t be a surprise that we spent this preparing for Google I/O, and from Thursday, in a mad dash to bring you all the news coming out of Google’s announcement-packed conference.We’re all pretty excited to try out Android M, …

Nexus 9 International Giveaway

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Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone or tablet each and every Sunday.A big congratulations to last week’s winner of the Galaxy S6 giveaway: Arrys E. from Philippines. This week we are giving away a Nexus 9!This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Blood Brothers 2. The highly anticipated sequel to BLOOD BROTHERS, a strategic RPG enjoyed by over 25 million players worldwide.Blood Brothers 2 is a strategy RPG released by DeNA. It’s the sequel to the acclaimed Blood Brothers game that amassed over ten million downloads during its run. It’s a strategy RPG with some monster collection elements and a bit of online multiplayer thrown in. It was a fairly solid game already but DeNA recently released a huge update to make it even better. Let’s take a look.Related: Nexus 9 reviewBest Nexus 9 casesJoin Now!Nexus 9 Giveaway!

Terms & ConditionsThe giveaway is an international giveaway (Except when we can not ship to your Country.)If we can not ship to your…

Huawei and Volkswagen partnering for connected cars effort

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This week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai, notable Chinese smartphone maker Huawei announced a partnership with Volkswagen to bring connectivity to cars. Together they showed off a suite of apps that will allow users of Huawei phones to safely link their devices to infotainment systems mounted in select Volkswagen vehicles. Included in this suite are apps to aid navigation, text messaging, music, and phone calls.To manage all of this information in real-time, Huawei has utilised MirrorLink to seamlessly connect devices. MirrorLink is an open technology standard designed to bring instant information to the car screen. It has gained ground abroad, but has not  been introduced to the US.Android Auto has also began rollout in the US, and Google has also created a partnership with Volkswagen, so it is unclear about how much ground MirrorLink will gain in the US, if any. Currently, only the Volkswagen Lamando and Golf 7 are running MirrorLink with Huawei’s suite o…

Diving into M: Revamped volume controls and Do Not Disturb mode

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Android Lollipop was without a doubt the most massive change to Android since Ice Cream Sandwich, but all that change also brought a number of bugs, and some clunky implementation of certain features. Thankfully, Android M is less about changing the formula and more about refining it, making its relationship to Lollipop similar to the role Jelly Bean played in refining what was first introduced with ICS.Want to dive even deeper? Check out our full “Diving into M” series by clicking here.During the IO keynote earlier this week one of the new changes that Google highlighted was simplified volume controls. As you can see, pushing the volume button now brings up a volume slider with an arrow that expands the menu to also give you control of alarms, notifications, and media separately. Want to silence everything but the alarm? Hold down the volume key all the way, and eventually it will launch into that mode as well.Overall the volume controls aren’t massively different, but they are an im…

ATAP’s Project Abacus aims to eliminate passwords from our lives

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Following the incredibly futuristic announcements of Project Soli, Vault and Jacquard, Google’s ATAP team had yet another crazy announcement at its presentation earlier today at Google I/O. This next endeavor goes by the name of Project Abacus, and it aims to eliminate passwords for good by looking at the way you type, walk, talk and a variety of other signals. By confirming that you are in fact the one holding your smartphone or sitting at your computer by means of the aforementioned signals, Project Abacus would like to get rid of passwords altogether, and use the data collected about you as sufficient verification.During the presentation earlier today, head of ATAP Regina Dugan explained that previously, research completed by academic institutions had a difficult time creating a system that was as secure as even a four-digit PIN code. So, Google partnered with multiple universities, along with 25 experts from separate institutions to take part in a 90-day research period in hopes t…

Google and Qualcomm are building a Snapdragon 810-powered Project Tango smartphone

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While we didn’t see any new Project Tango hardware at Google I/O this year, that doesn’t mean Google forgot about the platform in the slightest. Google today announced that it’s teaming up with Qualcomm to create a Project Tango smartphone powered by the Snapdragon 810 processor. These new smartphones will unfortunately only be geared towards Tango developers and device makers.Qualcomm has just issued a press release, detailing that the smartphone will be available for purchase for developers in Q3, though no price estimate was given in the release. The image below gives us a good example as to what the Tango/Qualcomm phone will look like.Now, there are already Project Tango smartphones out there, but they’re only available to a small subset of devs. But now that Google is partnering with a notable manufacturer to bring its augmented reality platform to a smaller form factor, it’s clear that Google’s intentions are to bring Tango devices to the public, even if it’s not sometime soon.T…

Smart Lock for Passwords and Saved Passwords website are now available to all

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Earlier this morning we told you about a new feature that was included in the newest version of Google Play Services, which is rolling out to devices as we speak. The feature is called Smart Lock for Passwords, which will automatically sign you in to compatible applications, as long as you’ve saved your login credentials into Chrome. Since this feature is specific to Google Play Services version 7.5 and not Android M, starting today, everyone will get to take advantage of the new service.To access all of your saved passwords in Smart Lock, simply head on over to passwords.google.com. This new interface allows you to easily manage, view and delete passwords without the need to do it on your smartphone. From here, you can also disable auto sign-in or Smart Lock altogether. On the phone side of things, you can find your Smart Lock Passwords menu in your Google Settings. The new option can be found all the way on the bottom of the screen. From this page, you can disable Smart Lock for Pass…

Chaos Rings III arrives to Google Play

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Chaos Rings III has all the elements of a classic Square Enix RPG, despite being built from the ground up with mobile in mind. In Chaos Rings III, the main character is thrown into an intense story-driven adventure that takes him to an azure planet called Marble Blue. What’s special about Marble Blue is that it hosts monsters, treasure, unexplored lands, and legends. Like all other Square Enix RPGS, there is a massive amount of lore, and incredibly large weapons.With high-quality graphics, Square Enix is giving you your monies worth which is great as they are charging a series record of $20. For such a high price tag we would expect that there would be no in-app purchases, and thankfully, there are none in sight. New to this installment is a battle system with three or more character parties, where previous installments had a minimum party of two. Though this change came as an unwelcome shock for some, the game has a 4.4 star rating based mainly on international reviews. Also new to C…

Google Now on Tap Demo at Google I/O 2015

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Never autoplay videos At I/O 2015, Google took the wraps off of the latest iteration of its OS, Android M. While the upcoming M release does not feature, or require, the aesthetic overhaul that was Lollipop, what it does bring to the table are a slew of enhancements and upgrades to Google apps and features currently available, with a large focus on ease of use. One great example of this is the further improved Google Search integration in Android, in the form of Google Now on Tap.The basic idea behind Google Now On Tap is to get access to information when you need it, without having to leave what you’re doing to go into Search. Contextual awareness is the name of the game here, giving you the ability to take advantage of any assistance from Google, regardless of which app you have open on the phone, and what you are doing. This might seem a little confusing, but the examples mentioned below should allow for a better understanding of what purpose Google Now on Tap serves.For example, sa…

Google teases Hands Free mobile payment system, will arrive later this year

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Just yesterday Google announced its new Android Pay platform, which allows users to pay for products with their mobile devices without the need to open an app. The new mobile payment system isn’t slated to make its way to the public until sometime in Q3, but that’s not stopping Google from releasing yet another mobile payment system. The new system is called Hands Free, and it will begin testing in the San Francisco Bay Area sometime later this year.So what is Hands Free? Well, we’re not exactly sure yet. The not-so-informative video (attached above) shows a bunch of people having a really difficult time paying for things the old, boring way. The end of the teaser shows a woman saying, “I’d like to pay with Google”, and the teller just hands over the customer’s items. We’re assuming this has something to do with your phone’s Bluetooth connection, though like I said, details are still pretty scarce at the moment.Google explains:When you make a purchase, your full card details will not …

Project Ara put together on stage, shown off as fully working

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Google’s ATAP session at this year’s Google I/O brought a few fantastic new technologies such as capacitive textile, a micro radar, the Project Vault SD card, and much more. But it wasn’t all new projects being shown off, as Google’s ATAP team also demoed Project Ara, the world’s first modular smartphone.Project Ara has been shown off before, but the big difference here is this is the first time it has been shown off fully working. Googe engineer Rafa Camargo not only built the phone on stage by adding modules into the frame, he also turned it on, let it boot, and took a picture of everyone in the audience.For those not familiar with Ara, it is a smartphone built by you, for you. It’s like Motorola’s Moto X times a hundred. You don’t only get to customize the finish, but also the processor, camera, RAM, battery, and many other components. It truly is a phone that is made for you, because it allows you to purchase the components that matter the most to you. Someone who plays a lot of g…

Google ATAP’s Project Soli will make interacting with wearables a breeze

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Wearable devices and smaller screens are popping up everywhere nowadays. Smartwatches and the crazy new Project Jacquard initiative are great examples of how far wearables have come over the years, though different companies seem to take a different approach on how exactly we navigate around these tiny screens. Google wants you to interact with your Android Wear device by voice dictation, and Apple wants you to control your Apple Watch by touching it. But thanks to a new project out of Google ATAP, wearables (as well as other forms of tech) may soon be controlled in a much different way.Project Soli, which was just announced at Google I/O, aims to create a new way of controlling the technology around us, especially smaller screens. Instead of physically touching our devices, Soli wants us to use our “hand motion vocabulary”. The technology Soli is working on would be able to detect incredibly small motions, allowing you to use natural hand motions to perform specific tasks. So, if you…

Project Vault is a security system on a microSD card

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During day 2 of Google I/O 2015 the ATAP group showed off a number of new projects, including a unique new security device called Project Vault. At first glance, the Vault would appear to be nothing more than a typical SD card but there’s more here than meets the eye. Underneath the surface, the Vault contains its very own microprocessor running ARTOS, NFC for communication, and 4GB storage. As ATAP’s Regina Dugan puts it, “Project Vault is your digital mobile safe. Big security, small package”.Thanks to its microSD form factor, the Vault works in just about any device with a microSD slot including computers, Android phones, Macs with SD slot adapters, and the list goes on. So what exactly does it do? In short, it allows secure storage no matter what, with no special drivers needed for the device it is plugged into. How the security works is obviously a bit more complicated, though in a demo ATAP showed off how Vault could be used to secure messages in a chat conversation by encryptin…

Google ATAP aims to bring touch-sensitive clothing to the mainstream with Project Jacquard

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Google ATAP has brought us incredible advancements in technology like Project Ara and Project Tango, and now it’s time for the next crazy initiative from the group. It’s called Project Jacquard, and it aims to bring wearable technology to a whole new level. Jacquard actually makes garments interactive, allowing the user to tap or swipe on a certain portion of the clothing that will actually result in communication between the article of clothing and a user’s mobile device. The end goal here is to bring touch-sensitive fabric to the mainstream, and it looks like Google already has a great start.The Jacquard loom is able to weave together both regular and super-conductive fabric into a single textile, which is the area users will interact with on the clothing item. The I/O demo shows off this concept already in action, giving attendees the ability to control lights and a media player with the fabric-made trackpad.The conductive area communicates with the devices by means of a low-power …

ESRB and Pegi ratings arrive to Google Play

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A number of changes are heading towards Google Play in the weeks to come that will make the storefront much easier to navigate for parents and children alike. While the Family Star effort isn’t live just yet, one of these promised changes has gone live: ESRB ratings. As you can see in the screenshots above, the everyone / low maturity / medium maturity / high maturity rankings have been replaced in favor of ESRB ratings in the US, PEGI ratings for Europe, and a generic rating system (3+, 5+, etc) for those regions without a standardized system.As you can see in the screenshots above, the everyone / low maturity / medium maturity / high maturity rankings have been replaced in favor of ESRB ratings in the US, PEGI ratings for Europe, and a generic rating system (3+, 5+, etc) for those regions without a standardized system.You’ll find the new ratings in two places. The most obvious of these places is right under the app’s name, but you can also locate the ratings in the “Read More” secti…

Some big changes are coming to Google Wallet now that Android Pay is here

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The first day of Google I/O 2015 was filled with a ton of new announcements, including one that will make paying with your mobile phone much easier. The new platform is called Android Pay, and it aims to make paying for products, whether in person or online, as simple as possible. The technology involved in Android Pay builds on NFC and host card emulation, which will allow you to place your smartphone on an NFC terminal and complete the transaction – without the need to open any application whatsoever.But, couldn’t Google Wallet do that already? Well, not without opening up the app first, but the two services basically complete the same functions. It sounds like Android Pay is trying to do what Wallet couldn’t. So if Pay is going to be the new payment standard on Android, what’s going to happen to Wallet? Well, a new post on the Google Wallet Google+ account is trying to help clear up this muddy situation.According to the post, the Wallet service has seen a ton of growth in the numbe…

5 Android Apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

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Sponsored by: Anytime Gallery for Wear[Price: Free / $2.40]
Anytime Gallery for Wear is a gallery application that allows you to sync photos between your phone and your Android Wear smartwatch. In the free version you can sync up to 20 photos and if you go premium, you’ll be able to sync an unlimited number of photos. It’s a simple app that seems to work well and even includes support for pinch to zoom on the Android Wear device. It’s a fun little app and a great way to see your pictures on your wrist. Give it a try and show your support for Android Apps Weekly!

Here are your headlines from this week!Last week we talked about the latest Humble Bundle. This week, as a gift, anyone who gets the Artifex Mundi Humble Bundle will also receive Steam keys for Mac, Windows, and Linux so you can play on mobile or on your computer. It’s still a nice way to give to charity and a good way to get some cheap games.An interesting new development may add Quick Reply functionality to any messaging base…