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Monday, June 9, 2014

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Facebook slips and launches Slingshot prematurely, their new app to take on Snapchat

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 03:18 PM PDT

Facebook Slingshot

After reportedly failing to secure Snapchat for $3 billion, it appears Facebook will soon fire back with a competitor of their own: Slingshot. The app, which landed in the Apple App Store earlier today, seems to have launched prematurely, with Facebook promptly removing the app while they prepare a formal press release no doubt. Before it was removed we were able to get a sneak peek at what the app will be about when it does launch, offering a unique take on sending photos and videos to friends.

Like Snapchat, you'll be able to share or broadcast images or videos to a group of friends, only in order for them to view your media, they'll first have to send you something in return. After unlocking your photo/video, they then have the opportunity to "react" to said message using a handy button in the app. This is a great way to check in with friends and is a fresh way of saying, "Hey, what are you up to right now?"

The real question is whether or not Facebook is planning on bringing this to Android as their slip up this morning was only for the iOS version of the app. As we await a formal announcement, tell us: do you think Slingshot has a chance at competing with a giant like Snapchat?


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Win a Galaxy S5 just by charging Samsung Apps purchases to your O2 phone bill

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 02:35 PM PDT

Wireless carrier O2 has announced a new way to pay for apps purchased through Samsung Apps, Samsung's app store that lives in parallel to Google Play on many Samsung phones and tablets. Now, customers on O2 can opt to pay for these apps by having the purchase price billed to their phone bills in addition to the standard PayPal and credit card options already available. Prepaid customers can even do this by opting to charge their app purchases to their Pay & Go credit.

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T-Mobile moves Uncarrier 5.0 event to new location

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 02:33 PM PDT


T-mobile announced today that they would be ditching plans to host their June 18th Uncarrier 5.0 event in Los Angeles, and instead moving it to Seattle.

While we still do not know exactly what will be announced at the event, rumors have been floating around. T-Mobile's Uncarrier plans tend to be permanent and industry changing, so announcements about plans and payment are expected.

Come comment on this article: T-Mobile moves Uncarrier 5.0 event to new location

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Monday Need-To-Know: You do not have to entertain your smartphones integrated file manager if you don’t want too

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Android-KitKat-4-4 Google packages its own, traditional file manager application into every build of the Android operating system that it distribute. Although it's adequate, many manufacturers tend to remove and replace it with their own version. Unfortunately, though, they always seem to be extremely overwhelming and much too difficult to use. However, you can change your default

The post Monday Need-To-Know: You do not have to entertain your smartphones integrated file manager if you don't want too appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Walnut replaces rosewood as a custom back for Moto X

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:57 PM PDT

Well, that didn't last all that long. Rosewood had been an option as a custom Moto X back for about two weeks now, but it appears to have been replaced by walnut. Bamboo, ebony and teak round out the other three options available at MotoMaker.com.

And that we just wrote any of those sentences seems a bit silly, but whatever. Wood phones are cool.

Thanks, Ryan!

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Rumor: Lytro to release Android powered camera this fall

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 01:52 PM PDT

The ability to shoot photos first and choose a focal point later has become hugely popular in Android devices. Even Google has gotten in on the trend, adding the feature to their Google Camera app. Similar to other implementations, Google uses photo analysis to give you options on where to focus and where to blur pictures. But the company that originally brought the feature to the mainstream takes a different approach, and they're rumored to be working on a device that will be powered by Android.

According to @evleaks, Lytro, with their light field technology, is said to be working on a camera running Android. Lytro cameras do essentially the same thing as HTC's hardware implemented Duo Cam, and Google's Camera, but much better. Lytro cameras are light field cameras which use "a microlens array to capture 4D light field information about a scene." At the risk of embarrassing myself by spouting misinformation, I'll leave it at that and suggest you read more on the Wikipedia page for the topic.

Lytro cameras have shown a lot of promise over the last couple years, but have failed to make a big splash. Maybe Android will be the extra push they need. With a rumored release date of "next quarter," we'll find out soon enough.

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Secret Dens wants you to anonymously dish on school and workplace gossip [COMING SOON]

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:43 PM PDT

Secret Dens screenshots

If you and your friends weren't already badmouthing the company you work at the watercooler, the anonymous social network Secret is now hoping you'll bring that conversation to their app. In a new feature dubbed "Secret Dens," Secret is looking to provide users with an easy way to limit their Secret network to only a specific circle, namely one for the workplace, school, or other organization.

We can't help but wonder if Secret has actually ever seen what their users are posting to their app, but they seem to be under the impression this will be a fun way to share lighthearted inside jokes, even going as far as saying any company would love having a den of their own. Uh.. we're not so sure.

Right now, the Dens feature is being internally tested, with a few invites going out to lucky testers. How it'll work is you'll need to add a secondary school or work email to your account — that's how Secret will know which Den you belong to. After that, appending a simple @yourorganization to the end of a status update will post that secret to your specific Den.

Secrets in Dens can't be publicly shared like a normal secret, and although you wont know specifically who is in your Den, you can block or kick someone out by adding their work email in the settings. This is a good way to ensure your boss isn't eavesdropping in your den.

Secret recently saw an explosion of new users since expanding their app to Android users a few weeks ago. Since then, we saw a massive drop off in new Secrets being posted. The app is only as fun as the amount of friends, and the dirt being exposed. We think Dens could be a fun new way to get more users actively involved. Nothing quite like workplace gossip now.

If you'd like to signup your workplace or school for Secret Dens, send the developers an email at dens@secret.ly.


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Moto G now receiving Android 4.4.3 and Motorola Alert

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 12:43 PM PDT


Motorola is once again showing how quick they can update their devices. The latest version of Android, version 4.4.3, is now being pushed out to the Moto G. Devices purchases in the US or Brazil should be seeing the update. The changelog for 4.4.3 has never been made official, but we do know a few new features.

The Phone and People apps have been updated slightly, and for the Moto G they added the Motorola Alert app. This is the app that can help you in emergencies. If you have the Moto G you can check for the update now. We love how speedy Motorola has been with updates lately. Hopefully they continue this in the future with the Moto X+1.

[via Android and Me]

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Just in time for Father’s Day: Nexus 7 2013 for $190, Moto X for $274, GS4 for $349 and more

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 11:31 AM PDT


Father's Day is just around the corner, and so if you're looking for a great gift for your tech-loving dad, you might want to check out one of the many great deals on Ebay right now.

For those looking for a good tablet, the Asus Nexus 7 32GB model can be yours for $189.99. This is an excellent deal compared to the $270 standard retail price, and shipping via USPS is completely free. For those wondering, this is a new model and not a refurbished or used one.

If you'd rather pick up a handset, you can get the 16GB Moto X for $275, or all three colors of the Nexus 5 16GB for $335. There's also the LG G2 for $433, and the Galaxy S4 for $350. Like with the tablet above, these devices are all new — no refurbs or used devices here. While the Moto X and Nexus 5 are unlocked, the former two will either need to be unlocked or will require you to use them on AT&T's network.

Either way, if you're looking to impress dad with a new phone or tablet (or just buy yourself a nice gift) without breaking the bank, Ebay seems to be the go-to place right now.

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QuickClick lets you assign handy shortcuts to volume key sequences

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 10:09 AM PDT

QuickClick Don't you wish your Android's volume keys could do more than just adjust volume? With QuickClick from Blor, they can. This unique app lets you assign key press sequences to a whole bunch of handy actions, such as launching apps, toggling your flashlight, or even making a call. QuickClick doesn't take away the regular functionality

The post QuickClick lets you assign handy shortcuts to volume key sequences appeared first on Cult of Android.

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HTC updates HTC Gallery app to enhance UFocus blur function, other tweaks

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 09:51 AM PDT


HTC has updated their HTC Gallery app to add user adjustability for the UFocus Blur effect. Owners of the HTC One (M8) with HTC's new Duo Camera know they can just tap on an image to change the focal point. By changing that focal point, the rest of the image is blurred to create a bokeh effect. The new feature adds a slider so that users can customize not only the location of the focal point, but the level of blur that is applied to the rest of the image. Users can now increase the level of blur even more than what the HTC thinks the default should be or decrease it so no additional digital blur is added.

If you have a device with HTC's Sense 6 interface, the new Gallery update also adds the ability to access the Dimension Plus effect which lets users slightly adjust the angle from which the photo was taken. Several of these images can be stitched together to create a pseudo-3D animation. HTC has also added access to the Pan 360 function, their version of PhotoSphere images. Of course, there are some bug fixes and other unspecified "improvements" included as well.

If you have an HTC One (M8) or an HTC device with Sense 6, hit one of the download links below to grab the updated Gallery app from Google Play.

qr code

Google Play Download Link

Come comment on this article: HTC updates HTC Gallery app to enhance UFocus blur function, other tweaks

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HTC Gallery gets a new update, brings ability to adjust UFocus and more

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 09:29 AM PDT


HTC is bringing out an update to the Gallery app for all Sense 6 owners today, introducing Dimensions Plus and Pan 360 to all supported devices.

For those that don't know, Pan 360 is basically HTC's equivalent of Photosphere and Dimensions Plus lets you add minor 3D effects to your photos. In addition to these two new features, all Sense 6 owners can expect to see minor bug fixes and performance improvements as well.

For those that own the HTC One M8, the update also brings a new adjust option for UFocus. The feature uses the Duo Camera to add depth-of-field blurring effects to photos, but you can now control exactly how much blur is applied.

None of today's changes are massive ones, but they are still welcome additions and highlights just how important pushing system apps to the Play Store is when it comes to introducing timely updates. To grab the latest HTC Gallery update for Sense 6 you'll want to head over to Google Play.

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Xperia Z2 takes even better photos with this camera mod

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 09:24 AM PDT

Sony-Xperia-Z2 The Xperia Z2 camera is by no means inadequate but that does not mean it cannot be improved further. An XDA developer — Rizal Lovins — has released a Cybershot camera mod for the Z2 which further boosts the imaging capabilities of Sony's latest flagship. The camera mod improves the image quality as well as

The post Xperia Z2 takes even better photos with this camera mod appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Boost Mobile adds the waterproof Kyocera Hydro Icon to its lineup

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 09:21 AM PDT


Some people just don't want or need that expensive smartphone. Sometimes they just want durability. So Boost Mobile customers can now take a look at the Hydro Icon. This Kyocera device, carrying a differently branded name, brings mid-range specifications to Boost Mobile customers for $149.99 without a contract. To protect it, Kyocera made sure it had IP57 certification. This means it can be submerged in up to 1m of water for 30 minutes. The Hydro Icon can absorb shock from drops and falls thanks to its Military Standard 810G design. Interestingly enough, the device supports wireless charging right out of the box (PMA standard).

The 4.5-inch display has a qHD resolution and the glass panel itself is touted as being very durable, too. Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz. If the 8GB of internal storage worried you, there is a microSD card slot to add 32GB. On the back is an 8MP camera and a 2MP one sits on the front. To keep the Hydro Icon going through the day, the 2000mAh battery has some battery saving modes.

Come comment on this article: Boost Mobile adds the waterproof Kyocera Hydro Icon to its lineup

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Logitech Harmony Update Introduces Speech Recognition, Integration With Sonos Music Players/Amazon Fire TV, And More

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 08:51 AM PDT

Harmony-Thumb The Logitech Harmony Android app has received an update to version 3.3 that enables users to take control of their Sonos wireless HiFi sound systems from the comfort of their Android devices without having to switch back and forth between apps. The software should work from anywhere in the home and gives users control over volume, tracks, and playlists. It will also work with Amazon's spiffy Fire TV.

This provided screenshot comes from an iPhone, but the Android UI shouldn't look too different.

Logitech Harmony Update Introduces Speech Recognition, Integration With Sonos Music Players/Amazon Fire TV, And More was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Stay on top of World Cup with Calendar and Google Now

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 08:42 AM PDT


In preparation of the 2014 World Cup, Google is making it easier than ever to keep track of your favorite football (soccer) teams.

Just a few days ago Google added World Cup information to Google Now, allowing you to view scores and other information about your favorite teams. Club teams would even show up as a card in Google Now automatically when you searched them, making it even easier to keep track of what's going on. Now it seems that Google has added Google Now cards for national teams as well.

For those that want to ensure cards for their favorite teams are generated, you can also go into the customize menu (wand-looking icon at bottom of Google Search app) and manually add in your teams.

Want to follow the action even closer? You can even add the World Cup calendar to Google Calendar. To do so you'll need to head to the web version of Calendar first, calendar.google.com. You'll then need to log in with the Google ID you utilize for your phones and tablets. Once in, you should see an "other calendars" option on the left sidebar, you can click on the drop-down arrow here and add the following URL:


That's it, you now have the entire World Cup schedule for viewing directly from the Calendar app on your device. The dates and timing for these events will also be displayed in your local time zone.

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Orange is the New App is Netflix's new app for Litchfield Correctional

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 08:22 AM PDT

Orange Is The New Black's second season went live on Netflix Friday and the reviews have mostly been positive for the sophomore season of the acclaimed series. Now Netflix is spreading the love to iOS and Android devices thanks to the release of Orange Is The New App (yes, that is its real name).

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HTC Gallery update adds new features for One M8 and Sense 6 devices

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 08:18 AM PDT

htc one m8 wm_3

HTC has begun pushing out an update to the One M8 for the Gallery. This update allows users to adjust UFocus intensity, which is sure to make M8 owners very happy. UFocus is notoriously strong with the bokeh effect, but now you can adjust it to your liking with a new slider bar. One M8 users are not the only ones to get new Gallery features.

All Sense 6 devices can now use Dimension Plus and Pan 360. With Dimension Plus you can add minor 3D effects to your photos, and Pan 360 is HTC's version of Photosphere. You can also expect bug fixes and performance improvements in this update. If you have a HTC One M8 or Sense 6 device you can get the update for HTC Gallery in the Play Store at the link below.

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Microsoft’s Surface Smartwatch gets a test drive, shows several hardware sensors and multiple OS support

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 08:06 AM PDT

microsoft logo

Over the weekend, a report surfaced about someone using Microsoft's upcoming smartwatch in the wild. Fortunately for us, that means we get to know a little more about the details of the watch and whether or not it'll still be available for our Android devices.

The report went into detail about the hardware of the Surface Smartwatch and mentioned that it has a rectangle screen, similar to the Gear Fit, instead of the square design like Android Wear devices. It also has enough sensors to cover just about everything you could imagine using it for, including a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS. Outside of the sensors, though, the hardware seemed a little disappointing, as it has a low resolution screen and the glass was flat, not curved to the wrist. This was clearly just a prototype design, so hopefully those small details are improved before Microsoft makes anything official.

As for platform compatibility, the Surface Smartwatch is going to work with nearly every device out there, including desktop operating systems like OS X and Windows 8, all major mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) and even the Xbox One. I don't think we've seen any smartwatch that's geared towards being used with a game console, so that'll be interesting.

What do you think about Microsoft's stab at the wearable market? Do you think they'll have better luck in this area than they have with smartphones?

source: GearLive

via: Phone Arena

Come comment on this article: Microsoft's Surface Smartwatch gets a test drive, shows several hardware sensors and multiple OS support

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M7 builds of CyanogenMod now available

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 07:59 AM PDT


While many folks use the nightly builds of CyanogenMod there are a select few who prefer a more stable release, myself included. Those few will be happy to know that CyanogenMod has released M7 build of CM 11. The monthly snapshot — said to be more stable than the nightly builds — is derived from the May 22 nightly branch as opposed to the newer May 31 branch. This snapshot includes the following fixes:

* Common: Theme Chooser UI Overhaul

* Common: Calculator app redesign (courtesy Xlythe)

* Common: Performance Profiles

* Common: Improved theming performance on low memory devices (~512MB RAM or less)

* Trebuchet: Move settings to new slide-out panel

* Trebuchet: Consolidate settings for home and drawer options

* Media: Add FFMPEG support (expanded media format support)

* Bluetooth: Improved support for new car audio systems and docks

* Various small bugfixes, global and device-specific

It should also be noted that this is still based on 4.4.2 as the source code for 4.4.3 was only made available last week. Although 4.4.3 has been merged into CM nightlies and the team suggests that 4.4.3 will be seen in the M8 release. So if you have yet to flash the monthly, head on over here to download your respective ROM.

source: CyanogenMod

Come comment on this article: M7 builds of CyanogenMod now available

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HTC Gallery app now lets One M8 owners adjust Ufocus blur

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 07:54 AM PDT

HTC-One-M8-comparisons HTC has updated its Gallery app to give One M8 owners the ability to adjust Ufocus blur levels manually when editing their images. The update also brings Dimension Plus and Pan 360 to last year's One M7, and it's available to download now from Google Play. Ufocus, a headline feature for the One M8, takes

The post HTC Gallery app now lets One M8 owners adjust Ufocus blur appeared first on Cult of Android.

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You can now send a text message with a hoodie

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 07:33 AM PDT


Wearables are all the rage these days. It seems that every company is working on something to slap on your wrist or head. Smartwatches and Google Glass don't even scratch the surface of what a "wearable" can do. Clothing is another industry that is being infused with technology. The latest creation allows you to text your mom with a your comfy hoodie.

New York University grad students have integrated a cellular-equiped Arduino board and switches into a hooded sweatshirt. Why? So you can send text messages through discreet movements of your body. For example, you can cover your head to text your mom, or roll up your sleep to post on Facebook. This could come in handy in dangerous situation where you need to request help, but don't want to draw attention.

Would you be interested in clothing that allows you to send messages through body movement? Do you want technology in your clothing at all? Check out the video below to see the smart hoodie in action.

[via Engadget]

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Kyocera's affordable waterproof LTE-enabled Hydro Icon announced for Boost Mobile

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

Interested in a waterproof smartphone, but don't want to splurge on the Galaxy S5? Kyocera's Hydro Icon may just be the device you're looking for. Announced for Boost Mobile, the Hydro Icon will be available from June 17th for $149.99 off-contract.

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Deal of the Day: Seidio SURFACE Case (with kickstand) for Motorola Moto X

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

The SURFACE Case is perfect for those who are looking for sleek and durable protection. It protects your Motorola Moto X from scratches and drops while adding minimal bulk and convenient viewing with its built-in kickstand. Colors include black, blue, red and purple.

The Seidio SURFACE Case is available for just $17.95, 49% off today only. Backed by our 60-day return policy and fast shipping!

Check out other Motorola Moto X accessories at ShopAndroid.com

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HTC Gallery lets One M8 photographers adjust their UFocus blur intensity

Posted: 09 Jun 2014 06:25 AM PDT

HTC Gallery has been updated today, adding a new feature for HTC One M8 owners: adjustable UFocus Blur. The feature, which takes advantage of the Duo Camera setup on the One M8 to add depth-of-field blurring effects to photos, allows users to now control just how much blur is applied.

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