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Thursday, May 22, 2014

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The latest Google+ update is telling a different kind of story

Posted: 22 May 2014 03:23 PM PDT

A fresh interface and yet another great Auto Awesome feature have us loving the latest version

It wouldn't be a step too far to call this week's Google+ app update one of the biggest redesigns since the app first arrived on the Android Market (yes, that long ago) back in 2011. The update changed the look of the entire app, switched up how you navigate through it, and if that wasn't enough also included a brand new featured called "Stories."

This is a big step in terms of design and features for Google+, and we like the changes. There is quite a bit to get used to in this latest refresh, though, and we're going to walk you through all of the changes and new features.

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Just in time for summer, Jawbone Big Jambox is $80 off: $220 with free shipping

Posted: 22 May 2014 03:08 PM PDT


If you're looking for a decent Bluetooth speaker, you won't find much better than the Jawbone Big Jambox. It's loud, rich, deep sound is perfect for those times when you're simply looking to play some jams from your phone while you work (or play), but it's also perfect for taking calls on a speakerphone and more.

For those that plan of taking their Bluetooth speaker with them wherever they go, the Jambox has the added benefit of providing water-resistance and a shockproof design. Of course, great sound quality and performance comes at a price — and it's a high one.

Normally at $300, this speaker is far from cheap but if you're a sound aficionado looking for a Bluetooth speaker that's reasonably portable while still providing a high-performance experience, it might be worth price tag.

For those that just can't bring themselves to spend that much on a speaker, the good news is that you can now get it for just $220 on Amazon, the next cheapest we've been able to find the speaker is $250 at Best Buy. The Big Jambox is also offered in several colors: Graphite hex, red dot, red platinum, whit platinum, and white wave.

What do you think, is the Big Jambox worth this discounted price? Any other Bluetooth speakers you'd recommend around the same (or lower) price range? Let our readers know in the comments!

Jawbone Big Jambox on Amazon

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[Deal Alert] Plex For Android On Sale For $0.99 (Or 99 Coins) On Amazon With 30 Coins Back (Originally $4.99)

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:21 PM PDT

61 Benr4MNL._SL500_AA300_ Amazon is really pushing its Android Appstore now that the Fire TV is a thing. Even if you don't have a Fire TV, you can get plenty of free Amazon Coins from downloading free apps, plus extra Coins when you buy things. The Plex app is usually $4.99 in Google Play and Amazon, but it's down to $0.99 (or 99 Coins) right now.

2014-05-22 15_06_58-Amazon.com_ Plex_ Appstore for Android

Plex is a media streamer app, but that's only part of what it does.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

[Deal Alert] Plex For Android On Sale For $0.99 (Or 99 Coins) On Amazon With 30 Coins Back (Originally $4.99) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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FreedomPop now offering more Samsung Galaxy devices, new ‘Unlimited Everything’ plan

Posted: 22 May 2014 02:06 PM PDT

FreedomPop has made a number of improvements to its offerings recently that've made it an increasingly attractive option for folks on the hunt for cheap wireless service. Those include support for select Sprint devices as well as the big yellow carrier's LTE network. However, one downside to FreedomPop is that it hasn't really ever offered high-end smartphones. Meaning that folks who want a newer handset have been out of luck.

That's changing today. FreedomPop has announced that it's now offering several new higher-end Samsung smartphones. Those include the Galaxy Victory, Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4, which are priced at $119, $189 and $349, respectively. FreedomPop also sells the iPhone 5 for $399.

In addition to these new 4G LTE-capable smartphones, FreedomPop has taken the wraps off a new "Unlimited Everything" plan. Priced at $20 per month, the new offering includes unlimited talk, text and data. It's worth noting, though, that a user's data will be throttled to 3G speeds after 1GB of LTE data usage. The Unlimited Everything plan also includes free tethering support.

While FreedomPop's new Galaxy smartphones aren't exactly bleeding edge, they're certainly higher-end than some of its other offerings, like the aging HTC EVO 4G. With the launch of these new Galaxy phones, as well as its Unlimited Everything plan, FreedomPop has become a much more attractive option for consumers that want cheap service along with a respectable smartphone to pair it with.

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Nest’s Tony Fadell says there will be no ads on their thermostats

Posted: 22 May 2014 01:34 PM PDT

Nest privacy

CEO and founder of Nest, Tony Fadell, says that Nest will not be running ads on its thermostats. The news comes ofter the Nest Protect smoke detectors were formally recalled due to a possible flaw as well as an SEC filing that implied that Nest planned to put ads on their thermostats.

Nest previously stated that they wanted to separate their future plans from those of Google, saying that they had no intention of sharing their user data with Google. Fadell tried to clarify by saying that Nest was being independently run from the rest of Google, and that ads were not the right thing for the Nest user experience. This comes after a statement from Google saying that "a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities."

Source: Recode

Come comment on this article: Nest's Tony Fadell says there will be no ads on their thermostats

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Yelp will soon allow users to upload videos via the app, arrives next month

Posted: 22 May 2014 01:34 PM PDT

yelp video upload 1

As a big-time Yelper, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about a new feature making its way to Yelp's mobile apps. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Soon, users will be able to capture short videos using the app for uploading to Yelp's new "photos & videos" section.

The new feature will first rollout to Yelp's "Elite" users — those who have proven themselves by submitting quality reviews and content over the years — but can be viewed by any of Yelp's millions of members once uploaded. After the initial introduction phase, Yelp says they'll open up the feature to everyone else. Before anyone gets any ideas of uploading anything in appropriate, Yelp says they'll be filtering videos constantly to ensure nothing questionable turns up on the site.

Yelp video upload 3

Like Instagram, video clips can be up to 12 seconds in length, but it's uncertain if Yelp will use a similar record/pause method to help capture multiple scenes (you can imagine how helpful it'd be to view dinning rooms, bathrooms, and/or multiple food dishes). At first, users will need to stick to using the app to record videos, but Yelp says they have plans to allow uploads from a device's gallery down the line.

Capturing video is a great to show off the ambiance or noise level of a restaurant or business and only further catapults Yelp as the go-to service for reviews and restaurant discovery. The video update will arrive for both Android and iOS next month.

[Business Insider]

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Any.Do takes its productivity to the web

Posted: 22 May 2014 01:04 PM PDT

Purchase this image at http://ift.tt/1n3Ky1v

Any.Do, a productivity application that focuses on completing tasks, is adding a web component. Users have waited very long and the developer finally delivered. The purpose is, of course, to connect the application to a web experience on a computer. Being able to sync between devices provides a seamless experience to make sure tasks are completed.

Two modes make up the web experience. Focus Mode puts everything into one folder so users have a single location for all tasks. Planning Mode breaks tasks down by dates; therefore, you can pick and choose what has priority. As usual with Any.do services, the web experience is free.

Source: Any.Do

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Hisense launches Android 4.2.2-powered H6 55" Smart TV at Walmart for $700

Posted: 22 May 2014 12:54 PM PDT

Hisense has been rolling out plenty of devices as of late, including large screen TVs, and the latest to go on sale is the H6 model Smart TV. Powered by Android 4.2.2, the Hisense H6 Smart TV offers a 55-inch 1080p (and 120Hz) screen along with all of the high-end functionality you'd want in terms of apps. You have access to Google Play interestingly enough, with all entertainment apps ready to load up and watch on the big screen. The TV is sporting Wifi, Bluetooth, ethernet, numerous HDMI inputs and even HDMI output to work as a passthrough device.

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Samsung shutting down content hubs, Music Hub is next

Posted: 22 May 2014 12:35 PM PDT

By now, everyone is probably aware of Samsung's push to replace everything Google with an equivalent Samsung service. The company has everything from an app store to two music services available for Galaxy users to use instead of Google's offerings. However, it now looks like Samsung is moving away from many of these services.

Samsung's content hubs were its first efforts to introduce alternatives, with Samsung Hub Books taking on Google Play Books and Samsung Music Hub taking on Google Play Music. However, Samsung Hub Books has already been replaced by a Kindle app, and the service is shutting down July 1. Unsurprisingly, Samsung Music Hub is next.

Not only is the service directly competing with the much bigger Google Play Music, it's also functioning alongside Samsung Milk Music, another music service from Samsung. With Samsung's focus currently on Milk Music, Music Hub will be shut down on July 1. Users are getting emails to download all the music they have before the shutdown.

I don't think anyone is really upset by this news. Though I'm sure some people used Samsung Music Hub, I assure you that there are far better alternatives. From Spotify to Google Play Music, you won't be disappointed. How many of you actually used Samsung Music Hub, even for a moment? How did you like it? Tell us in the comments!

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FreedomPop sweetens its free phone service by adding 4G LTE, also adds a premium $20 unlimited plan

Posted: 22 May 2014 12:32 PM PDT

samsung galaxy s4 back side aa

FreedomPop first introduced its free U.S.-based mobile phone service in October of last year. At the time, they promised 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages and 500MB for absolutely free, aside from the initial cost of buying a phone. There was even an unlimited talk/text option for $10.99, though no way to expand the limited amount of data.

Fast-forwarding to today, FreedomPop still offers the same amounts of data, texts and voice for free, but it's sweetening the pot by introducing a $20 "Unlimited Everything" option for those that need even more. With the unlimited package you not only get unlimited talk and text, but you can also consume as much data as you like.

So what's the catch? As you might expect, they do limit the amount of high-speed data. You can utilize 1GB of data at LTE speeds each month, after that you can continue to eat all the data you want, but at 3G levels instead. All new LTE-supported devices on FreedomPop also offer free tethering as an added bonus.


Smartphone choices just got a whole lot better

In October, FreedomPop didn't offer 4G LTE. Heck, the only handset they gave us at launch was the aging HTC Evo Design. Things got a bit better when they introduced a bring-your-own device program in November that allowed you to bring the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Nexus and a few older (non-LTE) handsets over to their Sprint-based network.

Now FreedomPop is raising the bar once again, offering the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 LTE and the Samsung Victory 4G LTE. Pricing is $349, $189 and $119 respectively.

So how does FreedomPop work? In a nutshell, it uses Sprint's 4G LTE network and places all calls and texts through a VOIP system, as opposed to using a traditional method for making calls/texts. Of course, FreedomPop will only be worth your consideration if you happen to live in an area with strong Sprint coverage.

Anyone interested in giving FreedomPop a try now that it's embracing 4G LTE? Any existing FreedomPop customers reading this, and if so, what do you think of the service based on your experience with it?

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T-Mobile VoLTE heads to Seattle

Posted: 22 May 2014 12:18 PM PDT


T-Mobile has announced the addition of voice-over-LTE in the Seattle market. What does that mean? Nice, crisp calls over T-Mobile's advanced LTE network, basically.

VoLTE will ensure more reliable phone calls, and even if you happen to veer off the path of LTE in your city you will be seamlessly transitioned to HSPA-based radio bounds with no interruption to your call. T-Mobile VoLTE also comes paired with HD Voice calling, so the benefits of VoLTE are both tangible and intangible.

Unfortunately the roster of VoLTE-equipped T-Mobile phones is quite small right now — only the LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Samsung Galaxy Light have the capability to use it. We imagine T-Mobile won't let many other phones launch without the functionality, though, as they say they have only just begun. Give it a shot if you stay in the upper left corner of the country.

[via T-Mobile]

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'Ok Google, set a timer' now actually sets a timer

Posted: 22 May 2014 12:10 PM PDT

For as smart as Google Now is, it's often kind of... stupid. A great example of this was using it to set timers on your phone. Up until today, when you said "Ok Google, set a timer for 15 minutes" it would simply set an alarm for 15 minutes in the future. That wasn't all that useful, and it filled up your alarm list with a bunch of useless entries.

Now, with a server-side update to the Google Now service, asking your phone to set a timer will actually set a timer. Just like before you'll have a quick countdown after making the request to confirm the time, and you can even go more specific and add seconds to a timer. Once the timer is set, the clock app will launch and start counting down.

It's a pretty great feature, and one that should've worked right from the start, but we're glad everything's working as it should now.

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Motorola Modality Services now updating via Play Store, can precisely follow phone state

Posted: 22 May 2014 12:03 PM PDT

Motorola is now pushing out the Modality Services update to its latest generation Droid and Moto X smartphones. Now available as a download through the Google Play store, Modality services is compatible with the Moto X, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, and Droid Mini.

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Google Now finally sets timer when asked

Posted: 22 May 2014 11:48 AM PDT

Google Now has a ton of functionality built in, allowing you to control many functions of your Android device with just your voice. And on devices that have Google Now voice activation on the home screen, or even better everywhere, it becomes a very useful way of using your phone on a daily basis. However, like with all Google products, Google Now has had its quirks.

Luckily, one of these quirks has finally been fixed by the folks at Google. Asking Google Now to set a timer now works properly and will set a timer in the default clock app. This even works on custom skins, like TouchWiz. Ask it to set a timer, hit one button or wait a few seconds, and a timer you have.

This simple functionality went too long without actually working as intended, so we're happy to see if work. Try it for yourself and tell us how you like it!

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Samsung preparing a VR gaming headset to be announced later this year

Posted: 22 May 2014 11:47 AM PDT

A man walks out of Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul

Here's your crazy rumor for the week: Samsung is preparing a virtual reality headset, and they're planning on launching it later this year to try and beat the Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus to market. Apparently, the prototype devices are far enough along in development that Samsung has already sent out some headsets to developers to use with their current flagship Samsung devices. Whether or not you think Samsung getting into the VR space is good, bad, or just plain crazy, there's some pretty substantial evidence that it's going to happen. It's also a completely separate project from Samsung's rumored Gear Blink device, at least at this point.

The headset is rumored to sport a pretty nice OLED screen and look pretty much like what other VR headsets look like right now. It's not clear how the device will connect to your phone (or tablet?) but as Engadget points out, it'll probably have to be wired to cut down on any lag, or the VR experience will be pretty awful. The headset will also likely only be compatible with next-generation Galaxy smartphones, so don't expect it to work with your shiny new Galaxy S 5.

Perhaps the most important aspect of a device like this is the pricing, and Samsung is said to be trying to hit a low price point to undercut Oculus and Sony. It's obviously still a complete virtual reality headset, so it's still not going to be cheap, but if Samsung can make something relatively affordable when all of the competition prices itself like Google Glass, they might stand a chance at dominating the market despite having no experience in making games or virtual reality. That'd be ironic, right?

However this plays out, if Samsung is serious about launching this device by the end of 2014, we've only got about six months left in the year. Shouldn't be too much longer until we hear more about Samsung's stab at a brand new market.

source: Engadget

Come comment on this article: Samsung preparing a VR gaming headset to be announced later this year

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Galaxy S 5 on T-Mobile gets SMS/MMS fix in latest update

Posted: 22 May 2014 11:34 AM PDT


T-Mobile's Galaxy S 5 is getting an update today to patch up some intermittent SMS and MMS issues that the device was having. There's nothing else in the update, so no extra features, improvements, or bloatware. Just a quick patch.

Keep an eye out for the update OTA, or you can hook up your device to Kies to do things manually.

source: T-Mobile

Come comment on this article: Galaxy S 5 on T-Mobile gets SMS/MMS fix in latest update

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Paranoid Android’s Peek app now available to purchase in the Play Store

Posted: 22 May 2014 11:34 AM PDT


Paranoid Android's Peek function is one of the coolest and most popular features of the ROM. It was so popular, in fact, that the functionality was ported into an app for any device on Android 4.4 to use. The only downside was that the app had to be sideloaded instead of being installed through the Play Store, so keeping it up to date would be a major headache.

Skip ahead a couple of weeks, and Peek has jumped onto the Play Store with some refreshing improvements and extra functionality. Navigating and setting up the app looks much, much better than the sideloaded version, and there a few new features like blacklisting specific apps. The whole experience is improved from top to bottom, and it really shows. The app runs about 4 bucks, which isn't too bad considering that it saves you the hassle of loading up a custom ROM.

If you're interested, you can check out a gallery of screenshots from the app and the download link below.

qr code

Play Store Download Link

Peek1 Peek2 Peek3 Peek4

Come comment on this article: Paranoid Android's Peek app now available to purchase in the Play Store

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T-Mobile pushing Samsung Galaxy S5 update to fix SMS/MMS issue

Posted: 22 May 2014 11:32 AM PDT

Heads up, Samsung Galaxy S5 owners on T-Mobile, because you've got a new software update headed your way.

T-Mobile announced today that it's now pushing an update to its Galaxy S5 that includes a fix for a bug that would cause intermittent incoming SMS/MMS failure. The update bumps the GS5 up to software version G900TUVU1ANE5 and weighs in at 131.31MB.

As iPhone owners who've switched to another platform can attest, it can be pretty annoying when you don't receive text messages from others. It's nice to see Samsung and T-Mo pushing out this bug fix. The update is rolling out from now through June 10 and can be grabbed by heading into Settings > General > About device > Software update.

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Samsung scrambles to launch virtual reality headset before Facebook

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:54 AM PDT

The-Oculus-Rift-headset-i-012 Samsung's like the spoiled brat you went to school with: they have almost everything, but if another kid comes in with a toy that's not part of their collection, mummy and daddy will make sure they get it. Rumor has it the South Korean company is now developing its own virtual reality headset that will

The post Samsung scrambles to launch virtual reality headset before Facebook appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Pushbullet now syncs your notifications across all of your devices

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:54 AM PDT

Pushbullet has received a big update today that now allows you to sync notifications between all of your Android devices and your computer at the same time. Previously you could sync your phone notifications with your computer, but now you can check and dismiss notifications on any device. That means you can see who's calling your phone when you're on your tablet, or dismiss a new text message from your computer automagically.

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Apples plans on fixing iMessage issues to alleviate the horrors for those that switch to Android

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:47 AM PDT


iMessage is a lovely little app, as long as you are in the Apple ecosystem. Unfortunately that is how it works for all of Apple's products. What happens when someone wants to get rid of their iPhone and buy something more useful like an Android phone? Anybody who has done that, and kept the same phone number, knows that all those messages that were sent through iMessage are stuck in Apple's lovely cloud.

Things have gotten so crazy that Apple is already being sued over this. One woman claims that Apple's control of these text messages violate California's unfair competition law. not to mention the fact that it interferes with the wireless carriers in that they cannot deliver their services effectively.

This problem isn't even just the loss of text messages. I see constant issues with iPhone users who send or receive texts to/from Android users. iMessage simply is worthless unless everyone you know uses an Apple product and you plan on staying in Apple's walled garden.

Apparently Apple is aware of the issue, how the hell couldn't they, and supposedly will remedy it soon. Exactly when and how effective it will be is anyone's guess.

In the meantime, if you are an iPhone user and plan on switching to Android with the same number, you're best best is to turn off iMessage on your iPhone and uncheck the phone numbers from any other Apple devices that previously used iMessage. You need to do this before you make the switch. Unfortunately there is no guarantee this method will work, but it's worth a shot. Let's all pray Apple does something sooner rather than later.

source: re/code

Come comment on this article: Apples plans on fixing iMessage issues to alleviate the horrors for those that switch to Android

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T-Mobile Voice over LTE goes live in Seattle, three Android devices support it

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Following AT&T and Verizon's announcements of their Voice over LTE (VoLTE) launch plans earlier this week, T-Mobile today revealed that it's got some VoLTE news of its own.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray announced today that T-Mo has launched VoLTE service in Seattle. Ray says that the LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light are compatible with the service thanks to a software update that's rolling out. This update can be snagged by going into Settings > General > About device.

Ray explains that this VoLTE service will benefit consumers that still like to use their phones as phones by offering call setup that's nearly twice as fast as non-VoLTE calls. Users will also be able to enjoy LTE data speeds while on a call.

As for non-Seattle markets, Ray says that T-Mobile is working to roll VoLTE support out to more cities and devices. No specific details were given.

T-Mobile has been offering HD Voice service nationwide since January 2013, and this new VoLTE service sounds like another step up for phone talkers on T-Mo. Sure, lots of folks prefer to send texts or IMs instead of making phone calls, but anyone that does still make calls on T-Mo should get pretty excited about this news. Here's to hoping that Magenta can quickly expand its VoLTE support to additional cities and devices.

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EE in the UK to roll out reduced EU roaming charges from July 1st

Posted: 22 May 2014 05:28 AM PDT

Good news for UK smartphone owners that are on the EE network. From July 1st if you travel into Europe your roaming bills are going to be a wee bit cheaper!

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Any.do task manager for the web is here, launches today

Posted: 22 May 2014 05:28 AM PDT

Popular task manager breaks out its first full client for the browser and we take a quick look

Any.do has been around for some time now keeping our to-do lists in perfect order – and sync – across our mobile devices. Today sees the release of the service's very first fully fledged web application – there is already a pretty decent extension available for Google Chrome – bringing your productivity to whichever computer and whichever browser you're using at any time.

We've had a little sneaky peek at the new app already, so head on past the break to take a look.

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Lenovo is the latest manufacturer to signify interest in the wearable segment

Posted: 22 May 2014 04:54 AM PDT

Lenovo will launch its first wearable device in the near future, according to Liu Jun, president of Lenovo's mobile division. In an interview with Mobile Geeks, Jun stated that a wearable device would make its debut by the end of 2014 or early next year.

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