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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet looks to be headed to Verizon

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 12:35 PM PDT

Sony and Verizon appear to be getting chummy as of late. A new leak shows Sony's Xperia Z2 Tablet with a Verizon logo stamped on the back. @evleaks reports that the tablet is slated to hit Verizon this year but other than that, there aren't any more details. Just as a refresher, the Xperia Z2 Tablet is the world's thinnest and lightest waterproof tablet, and it features a 10.1-inch full HD display and Snapdragon 800 processor. Quite a nice tablet, in fact.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

How many of you would be interested in picking up an Xperia Z2 Tablet on Verizon?

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Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Concrete' winners!

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Our latest weekly photo contest has ended, and following a week of entries — roughly 70 in total — in the forums we've come down to picking out the winners. It's always tough to go through so many wonderful photos and pick just a couple to win prizes, but showing off your work with everyone else is part of the fun regardless of if you're one of the prize-winners in the end.

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HTC One Remix image leak shows Verizon logos

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 12:21 PM PDT

Rumors have been swirling around regarding a phone dubbed the HTC One Remix. Our favorite leaker, @evleaks, today brought us a leaked image of the device that appears to be Verizon-bound. The HTC One Remix looks to be the One Mini 2 but headed to Verizon with a special name. The only difference appears to be a smooth metal back rather than the brushed metal one found on the One Mini 2. Other than that, we can't tell that anything has changed.

Verizon customers, would you be interested in the One Remix?

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Angry Birds Stella spin-off coming this fall, Rovio shares gameplay screenshot

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 12:17 PM PDT


Rovio knows that we all just cannot get enough Angry Birds in our lives. So the developer has announced the spin-off Angry Birds Stella will arrive in September. The image above was shared and shows the titular character beside her friends and foes.

Shortly after the game is available this fall, Rovio has a short television series ready to be released. It will tie-in with the game and be comprised of thirteen episodes that are six minutes each. That segment of Angry Birds Stella should be ready in November along with plenty of other Angry Birds Stella franchise-related items.

Hit the break to see a gameplay screenshot from Angry Birds Stella.


Source: @AngryBirds (1) (2)

Come comment on this article: Angry Birds Stella spin-off coming this fall, Rovio shares gameplay screenshot

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Instagram for Android is still killing the quality of your uploads, but not the iOS version

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 12:05 PM PDT

Instagram test og ios android

(Click for full size image)

Yesterday, we watched as yet another update for the Facebook-owned Instagram app rolled out onto the Google Play Store. We already gave you guys the full spiel in yesterday's post, with Instagram 6.0 introducing a new bag of tricks to help make your photos look even more awesome. There's just one big problem: if you're using the Android version of the app, your photos will look just as crappy as ever.

This is because of a well documented and ongoing issue we've seen practically since Instagram first debuted on Android. Instagram's upload quality — unique to the Android version of the app — compresses images to high hell before uploading and posting to the social network. What's even more frustrating is that the iOS version doesn't suffer from the same quality issues. We know, it's not bad enough to that it would be blatantly obvious to the casual user, but it's enough that people will notice photos taken with the iPhone (and uploaded to Instagram) just look better.

Original vs Android

Original (left), and the quality after uploading to Instagram on Android (right)

Don't believe us? Just take a look at our sample image (above) to see the differences between the iOS and Android versions of the exact same image. While a loss of some image quality is to be expected — even in an age of 1080p smartphones, Instagram still insists on resizing images to a shockingly small 640×640 — the fact that the most recent version of the Android app pales in comparison to its iOS counterpart is in no other words, simply unacceptable.

What we'd really like to know is if this is somehow intentional, or merely an oversight. It's clear the problem — which affects millions of Android IGers around the world — has been going on long enough that we know it's not a priority. Funny too, given Instagram is one of the world's biggest photo sharing services with millions of dollars in backing. You'd think they'd be on top of this.

As an Android user who spent X amount of dollars on a fancy new smartphone with a cutting edge camera, what can you do? Not much. But if you're looking to show off your photos to the world — and don't want them to look like they've been shot with a potato — we'd suggest checking out rival services like Flickr (who also recently overhauled their Android app) for the time being. It's a shame given Instagram was, at one time, one of our favorite social networks.

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Nova Launcher update brings “OK, Google” hotword and slight design fixes from the beta

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 12:05 PM PDT


One of everyone's favorite Android launchers is receiving an update that puts it even closer to the stock launcher. Nova Launcher's latest update adds the "OK, Google" hotword commonly found with the Google Experience Launcher. This feature requires Android 4.1 or higher and a device than can sit in low power consumption while listening (as not all devices can do so). Another addition is the fixes, tweaks, and changes made within the beta version of Nova Launcher. They have all been brought over to the stable release in the Play Store.

Hit the break for download links.

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Play Store Download Link

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Play Store Download Link (for Prime)

Come comment on this article: Nova Launcher update brings "OK, Google" hotword and slight design fixes from the beta

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A4WP expands Rezence wireless charging spec to power laptops, tablets in future

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:40 AM PDT

The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) is announcing an expansion of its current Rezence wireless charging specification that will offer up to 50 watts of power in the future — allowing charging of multiple devices, including laptops and tablets, with a single charger. With upgrades to the base spec expected to be finalized by the end of 2014, A4WP will have Rezence capable of powering laptops, tablets and other consumer electronics with different power requirements.

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Motorola's Droid family to skip straight to Android 4.4.3 update

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:40 AM PDT

If you're waiting for Motorola to roll out the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update for the Verizon Droid Ultra, Maxx, and Mini, don't hold your breath. Fortunately, there is a lot of good news as the latest batch of Motorola Droid-branded phones for Verizon will be skipping over to Android 4.4.3 instead, bringing it to the latest Android release that was recently made available for Google's Nexus line as well as the Google Play Edition phones.

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Google Play Books Are Now Available For Purchase In Norway

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

PlayBooks-Thumb We post about a ton of games around these parts, but those nifty Android devices of yours are good for more than shifting around pixels as quickly as possible. They're also great for reading, and those of you in Norway are now able to purchase digital books from Google Play. Just head over to the virtual marketplace to see Google's recommendations for what reads are hot right now or what the company thinks you may be into.

Google Play Books Are Now Available For Purchase In Norway was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Motorola Assist Gets An Update With Better Driving Detection And Voice Announcing Of Callers And SMS At Home

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:23 AM PDT

a Assist is one of the many clever features Motorola included with the Moto X. This service monitors conditions and triggers changes to your settings and preferences as needed. It's not as powerful as some third-party options, but it's build in at the system level. Today's update includes a few improvements, as well as the customary bug fixes.

2014-06-04 17.24.16

Here's the full changelog for Assist.

  • When you're at home, Assist can now announce callers and incoming text messages

  • Improved driving detection using audio

  • Bug fixes!

Motorola Assist Gets An Update With Better Driving Detection And Voice Announcing Of Callers And SMS At Home was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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HTC One 'Remix' bound for Verizon looks like a One Mini 2 with a Verizon logo

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:12 AM PDT

It was a few weeks ago that we first heard about the HTC One 'Remix' coming to Verizon, a supposed Verizon variant of the HTC One Mini 2. That render was drenched in bright blue, a surprising choice for a phone on Big Red. The new render from evleaks is quite a bit more reined in for its supposed 2014 debut

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Why you should buy a fitness tracker

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:56 AM PDT

It's #MobileFit Month here at Mobile Nations, and that means we're looking at all of the best devices to get you fit and healthy. A big part of that group is of course, fitness trackers.

There are people who like to exercise and those who avoid exercise at all costs. The exercising group may be more willing to strap on a fitness tracker, however we'd argue that those who avoid exercise are the ones that would benefit much more. In fact, it seems the non-exercising group are the ones that should consider buying a fitness tracker.

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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet bringing all that bezel to Verizon in 2014

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:56 AM PDT

What you see above is a render of a Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet with surprisingly restrained branding from Verizon. The LTE variant of the 10-inch tablet with its wide bezels is apparently coming to Big Red later this year, according to evleaks.

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Google Translate now shows definitions, synonyms, usage history, and more

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:48 AM PDT


Next time you need to know how to say "hello" in French, Google Translate may give you more than just that. Google is experimenting with offering much more information than just a straightforward definition. Basically, everything down to the word's usage history can be found through Google Translate.

I have noticed Google Search doing all of this for a few months, but now it seems that Google Translate is getting the same kind of attention.

Source: Google Translate

Via: Google Operating System

Come comment on this article: Google Translate now shows definitions, synonyms, usage history, and more

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Image of Verizon branded Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet surfaces

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:42 AM PDT


We have read rumors that Verizon was considering adding the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet to its portfolio of tablet devices available for consumers. That rumor picked up some new steam today thanks to a leaked image posted by Twitter tipster @evleaks. The image is a front and back view of the Xperia Z2 Tablet showing Verizon branding laid down right in the middle of the back of the device. Of course, we still have no idea of when this may happen, but the existence of a pre-release image could be an indication that the wait may not be too much longer.

source: @evleaks (official site)

Come comment on this article: Image of Verizon branded Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet surfaces

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Motorola Assist now lets you put down the phone at home

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:41 AM PDT

Motorola today has updated its Assist app with a new feature that lets you let go of your phone while you're at home. With the update, it'll learn where you live (doesn't look like it learns from Google Maps; I had to tell it manually) and then read incoming callers and texts aloud, so you don't have to have the phone in your pocket all the time, and you don't have to go scrambling for it.

Along with that new feature, Motorola says it's also improved its detection of when you're driving with more audio enhancements, and there also are other bugfixes.

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How to use your songs as alarm tones on the Samsung Galaxy S5

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Wake up to your favorite song every morning in a few simple steps

Waking up in a morning is a chore at the best of times, but waking up to some of your favorite music can make it, well, a little easier. On the Samsung Galaxy S5 you're able to add such songs to the stock alarm clock app with ease. You only need to know where to look.

So head on past the break and we'll show you how.

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Android 4.4.3 OTA updates hitting Nexus and GPe devices [Updated]

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Over-the-air update files now available for multiple devices

Following the recent release of Android 4.4.3 for Nexus devices in factory image form, the first over-the-air updates have started rolling out this morning. So far we've confirmed it's rolling out for the Nexus 7 2013 (Wifi), Nexus 5 and Google Play editions of the Galaxy S4, HTC One M7 and HTC One M8. We'd expect more Nexus devices (and eventually Google Play editions) to follow with OTAs in the near future, and as always not everyone will get the update immediately. In the meantime, impatient Nexus owners can always fall back on a manual install of the update if they're feeling adventurous.

We've got download links and more info after the break.

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[New Game] Hitman GO Slips Stealthily Into The Play Store After Strangling The Guards With Piano Wire

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

h Agent 47 is back, but this time he's a bit less animated. In fact, he and all the guards he's going to strangle are game pieces in the new Hitman Go from Square Enix. This is a strategy game that aims to keep all the core strategic elements of the Hitman games while making it more playable on a mobile device.

Hitman GO is a puzzle game that pits you against an assortment of dangerous enemies.

[New Game] Hitman GO Slips Stealthily Into The Play Store After Strangling The Guards With Piano Wire was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Chrome Web Store now links to Android apps

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT


A new update to the Chrome Web Store was recently launched, now showing links to extensions and apps that will also work on Android. The store will have a link that says "Available for Android," allowing users to link directly to the Google Play Store.

The links are currently only one way, and links to the Chrome Web Store from Google Play are not yet shown. This move might signal that Google is planning on merging the two stores.

Source: Google System

Come comment on this article: Chrome Web Store now links to Android apps

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Hitman Go brings dioramariffic assassination to Android

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Square Enix's hugely popular puzzle game, Hitman Go, snuck into Google Play today. Players control a piece representing Agent 47, an iconic character from their PC and console franchise Hitman. Players work their way around a board, turn by turn, to eventually take out their mark. Enemy patrols move after you move, and combined with special tiles for hiding and bonus objectives, you'll find yourself in some very tricky situations.

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LG L70 bound for Cricket

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 09:56 AM PDT

Cricket is bringing in another entry-level device into the fold called the LG Optimus L70 real soon. This one has already landed on MetroPCS after making its debut at Mobile World Congress.

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Android, Samsung maintain strong positions in U.S. smartphone market in April

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 09:49 AM PDT


comScore has released their latest numbers for the U.S. smartphone market from April 2014 showing Samsung and Android continue to grow at the expense of almost everyone else. Samsung saw the number of smartphone subscribers owning one of their devices grow by a full percentage point since January 2014, up to 27.7% of the market. Of the top five manufacturers, Samsung was the only one to see growth during that period with both Apple and LG suffering the biggest losses of 0.2% and 0.4% respectively. Motorola and HTC also saw their market share slip slightly.

In terms of operating system platforms for smartphones, Android continued to maintain their position on top, improving from 51.7% to 52.5% of the market during the period of January to April 2014. Meanwhile, Apple lost 0.2% of the market and Blackberry continued their downward spiral losing another 0.6% of the market to only hold 2.5%. While it may be small, Redmond fans will be glad to know Microsoft was able to buck the trend of most platforms and managed to grow their market share by 0.1% to 3.3%.

comScore also released data on the top ranking smartphone apps. Facebook claimed the top spot landing on 74.1% of all smartphones. Google managed to land three apps in the top 5 including Google Play, YouTube and Google Search in positions two, three and four. The fifth place app was Pandora Radio. For social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram also managed to make it to the top 15 along with Facebook's Messenger.

According to comScore's data, 167.9 million people in the U.S. own smartphones as of April 2014, which they say makes market penetration right at 70%. This is up 5% or roughly 12 million new smartphone owners since January which seems like a significant change given the maturity of the U.S. market.

comscore_apr_2014_app_share comscore_apr_2014_mfg_share

source: comScore

Come comment on this article: Android, Samsung maintain strong positions in U.S. smartphone market in April

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Deal: $100 off T-Mobile tablets for Father’s Day

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 09:34 AM PDT


Father's Day deals are ramping up and T-Mobile has gone live with one of their own. You can now get many of their tablets for $100 cheaper than they typically would be. The tablets are still $0 with monthly payments for 24 months, so you're essentially getting an off-contract discount.

Some of the Android options on tap include the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. There are also a couple of bitten fruit products up for grabs if you're into that.

Don't forget that you can get free data for life if you need, and there's a special promo giving you up to 1GB extra for free if you pair it with a compatible voice plan. You can take a look at all of your options over at T-Mobile's site.

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Sony releases SmartBand in the U.S. for $99.99

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 09:33 AM PDT


Sony has officially released their new SmartBand SWR10 in the U.S. for $99.99. The fitness band is available through their online store, or through selected retail stores.

Currently the device is only available in black, but two additional colors are expected to be released later in the month. The SmartBand SWR10 is designed to work with Android devices running Android 4.4 KitKat. Hit the source link to buy the device for yourself!

Source: Sony

Come comment on this article: Sony releases SmartBand in the U.S. for $99.99

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