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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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Google snaps up streaming music service to hit back at Apple

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:51 PM PDT

songza The entire country is busy watching America's rebels take on the Belgium Red Devils at World Cup, but while everyone else is focused on the football pitch, Google is busy readying its plans to take on Beats Music with a music service acquisition of its own. Songza, a music streaming service that specializes in finding

The post Google snaps up streaming music service to hit back at Apple appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Google officially acquires streaming music service Songza

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:51 PM PDT

Google's list of acquisitions is growing once again today, as the Big G has snapped up streaming music service Songza.

Songza has officially announced that it's been acquired by Google. Details of the agreement aren't yet known, but Songza promises that there are "no immediate changes" planned for its service. However, it does say that it plans to continue to make its streaming offering "faster, smarter and even more fun to use."

Rumors about a possible Google acquisition of Songza began swirling last month. It's not known exactly what Google plans to do with Songza and its music curation technology, but if I were a betting man, I'd wager that we could end up seeing Google utilize the tech to improve Google Play Music All Access's playlist and music curation capabilities.

Have you ever used Songza?

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Best Android apps of June 2014

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:45 PM PDT

We've already blasted through the best Android games launched over the last month, and now it's time to dig into every other kind of Android app. Utilities, social apps, photography, launchers, custom keyboards... we're trying it all. Of course our awesome community will likely leave some solid suggestions in the comments, plus we've got our weekly app round-ups from the editors to take a look at if this isn't enough.

Ready? Let's go!

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Rdio's TastemakerX looks to compete with Google's Songza, Apple's Beats

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:24 PM PDT

On the heels of Google's acquisition of Songza to compete against Apple's $3 billion Beats Music deal, Rdio has announced that it is bringing TastemakerX under its umbrella. The deal will allow Rdio to offer better music discovery to its streaming audience.

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Android 4.4.4 pushing out to the Google Play edition HTC M8

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:24 PM PDT

HTC is now pushing out the Android 4.4.4 update to the Google Play edition HTC One M8. The update is listed as improving performance, security and stability, as well as fixing a few bugs. As with the Nexus devices that received the update, don't expect to see much difference in user-facing areas — this is a behind-the-scenes fix.

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PSA: That Picture Of Migrating Google Voice In The Hangouts App Doesn't Tell Us Much, Has Likely Been Around For Months

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:21 PM PDT


The image you're seeing below popped up on Reddit this morning, and likely various tip boxes of numerous websites, offering a glimpse of what appears to be impending Google Voice and Hangouts integration - the holy grail we've all been seeking since the very announcement of Hangouts as a thing.


Exciting, right? Well, curb your enthusiasm, because there's really not much to see here, in all likelihood. We've seen this migration message inside the Hangouts APK since April, and the graphic assets for this prompt have probably been in there for a while, too.

PSA: That Picture Of Migrating Google Voice In The Hangouts App Doesn't Tell Us Much, Has Likely Been Around For Months was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google Buys Songza, Has No Immediate Plans To Kill The App

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:21 PM PDT

se Google has just announced its acquisition of music streaming and curation service Songza. We don't have any details on the value of the deal, but Songza is by no means a heavyweight in the music streaming ecosystem. The deal was rumored a few weeks ago with a possible purchase price for Songza at about $15 million. Only in the land of Google acquisitions is that a small number.


Google doesn't have any plans to change or (gasp) kill the app or service.

Google Buys Songza, Has No Immediate Plans To Kill The App was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google buys Songza to improve curation on Play Music and YouTube

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:59 PM PDT


Following rumors surfacing at the beginning of last month, Google has announced today that it will acquire music streaming service Songza for an undisclosed sum.

Songza, founded in 2007, is one of the smaller players in the highly competitive music streaming industry, with about 5.5 million active users, a part of whom are paying $0.99 per week for the premium ad-free service. The tiny user base – compared to giants like Pandora and Spotify – explains the relatively small price that Google is reported to have paid for the startup, $15 million. However, TechCrunch reports that Songza was in discussions with other suitors besides Google, which may have inflated its price to some extent. The Songza team will join Google's New York team, and the service will continue to function unchanged for the near future.

What's Google's interest in Songza? Google already has a strong music product in Play Music and plans to offer a YouTube music streaming service by the end of the year. However, Songza could help improve Google's streaming radio features, and especially the curation element, which is one of Songza's strongest points.

Songza employs expert curators that assemble playlists based on a variety of criteria, and Google could use that expertise to improve the quality of curation on Play Music and YouTube. Songza's data trove, consisting of information on user preferences based on location, time of day, and other aspects, is likely another asset that piqued Google's interest.

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3D MMO Celtic Heroes – Indie app of the day

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:32 PM PDT

celtic heroes review

What is Celtic Heroes?

Celtic Heroes is a MMORPG that is free to play on Android. It features a lot of questing, some multiplayer features, and pretty decent graphics. It's based around Celtic mythology so many of the quests, story lines, and characters revolve around that premise.

The game play is fairly straightforward. You use the left thumb to move the character and the right thumb to move the screen. It's admittedly a little clumsy feeling at first but you get used to it pretty quickly. Celtic Heroes takes place in a pretty big world that you can explore and play around at your leisure. It's actually pretty impressive for a mobile game in terms of size and scope.

In terms of multiplayer, you can communicate with others via in game chat or through a built-in set of actions like waving, jumping, or giving someone a thumbs down. You can also add friends, join clans, and travel in groups to go questing together. There is even a trade system where you can trade equipment and items. There was a huge opportunity here for Google Play Games services that we felt Celtic Heroes missed out on but the multiplayer experience was still solid.

During my playthrough, the quests seemed fairly straight forward. You go places to do things or kill things to earn stuff. There wasn't all that much imagination in the setting up of quests and the story line is pretty bare bones. It's pretty clear that the big pull of this game is playing with friends and dueling PvP style. The story line or quests aren't unpleasant but like many MMORPGs, you just get kinda tired of them after a while.

celtic heroes review

Better than average but not without issues.


  • The graphics are actually fairly decent.

  • There is a lot of content for a free game.

  • One of the better multiplayer experiences available.

  • If you have a mid to high end device, the game should play pretty smoothly.


  • If you don't have a mid or high end phone, avoid this game.

  • If you have a bad internet connection or dislike 'always connected' games, avoid this game.

  • Could use a better story.

  • Some bugs have been reported depending on device and internet speeds that may prevent you from downloading or playing the game.


Overall, this is an above average experience on Android. Of course, your mileage may vary based on what kind of device you own and the speed of your internet connection. It's free to play so there's no harm in trying it out. If you're into MMOs and the game works for you as well as it worked for me then you'll likely enjoy playing this at least for a little while.

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Google takes on Beats with Songza acquisition

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:30 PM PDT

Google is taking on Apple's acquisition of Beats Music with its own acquisition of Songza, a streaming service that delivers "contextual expert-curated playlists" to listeners. Right now, Google is running Songza as a separate company, but Google Play revealed in a Google+ post that it expects to roll Songza's beloved features into Google Play.

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Deal of the Day: Seidio OBEX Waterproof Case for Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:30 PM PDT

Seidio's OBEX Case utilizes advanced technology that not only safeguards your device against drops, but also keeps external elements like water, snow, mud, dust and sand from damaging your device. It features both a TPU core and a polycarbonate cover to absorb shock, enhanced with a built-in screen protector to boot.

The OBEX Waterproof Case is available for just $59.95, 25% off today only. Colors include black/gray and black/red.

Save 20% on all other Android accessories during our 4th of July Sale using coupon code: J414 (Coupon not valid for Daily Deal)

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Top app, device and accessory sales for July 1, 2014

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:11 PM PDT

If you can pry your eyes away from the World Cup games for a few minutes, we've got a few deals of note worth noting that we'll note here:

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Google Docs and Sheets get big updates with new UI, ability to create Office files, and more

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:08 PM PDT

google docs update

Following the announcement that the Quickoffice app will be sunset, Google is pushing substantial update to its Docs and Sheets apps, bringing a new UI design and many new features.

The updates for the two productivity apps bring a slew of new features, starting with a welcome visual refresh that nudges the apps towards Material design. The blue menu bar at the top has been tweaked and is now cleaner, and there's a new floating button for creating new documents, similar to the create post button in Google Plus. Google also tweaked the aspect of the account selection dropdown and reorganized the options from the left side menu.

google docs update (4) google docs update (3) google docs update (2) google docs update (1)

In terms of new functionality, the new Docs is able to differentiate between Docs files and Word files (previously, that was only possible in the web version). Users will be able to create and edit Word files (.docx), open files from the device's storage, and share files as PDF or Word via email. There's also a revamped editing interface and the new document view that Google introduced on Drive last week is now accessible from Docs.

Similar changes are coming to the Sheets spreadsheet editor – you can create and edit Excel files from the app, there's a new details page that includes editing history and sharing information, the app differentiates between Excel files and Sheets files, and the spreadsheet editing interface was refreshed. Other new features include the ability to create charts, open files from device storage, and share files in Excel format.

Expect an update notification for Docs and Sheets any minute now. The third app in Google's productivity suite, Slides, which launched last week, is already sporting the new design.

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Google shuts down QuickOffice, updates Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides with Material-ish design and new features

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 01:04 PM PDT

Google Docs Sheets Slides update

Earlier today, Google announced that they'd officially be closing the door on QuickOffice and in a round of updates that began last night, the entire Google Drive suite of apps is seeing an update on the Google Play Store to version (yes, all of them). The update introduces new features to help fill the void left by QuickOffice's soon departure, as well as compatibility with Android L and Google's all new Material design interface.

The apps now have a floating "create" circle button not unlike the one found on the Google+ app, color coded to fit the specific color theme of the app. Following closure of QuickOffice, the there's new compatibility with files from Microsoft's Office suite as well. Docs can now create and edit Word docs, Sheets can create and edit Excel — you get the picture. There's also an in-app Help menu which should make things speedier when looking for, well, help.

The updates are rolling out right now on Google Play with download links for easy updating provided below.

Download/update on Google Play: Google Drive | Google Docs | Google Sheets | Google Slides

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FTC claims T-Mobile charged customers millions for bogus SMS subscription fees

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 12:57 PM PDT

The Federal Trade Commission says that T-Mobile has placed "hundreds of millions" of dollars in bogus charges into customer bills. In a press release issued today, the government office alleges that T-Mobile included premium SMS fees that it knew were fraudulent because of the high cancel-rates from subscribers. This is a practice the FTC calls "cramming."

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Deal Center to offer one place to see Amazon Appstore discount

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Amazon has announced it will have a new feature in its Amazon Appstore, at least for its Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets, called Deal Center, where all of the discounted apps that are available from the storefront are located in one place.

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Samsung releases report on its Chinese suppliers

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:50 AM PDT

Samsung has previously had problems with its suppliers, as have all companies, so it decided to investigate. The company commissioned independent inspections of 100 Chinese suppliers it uses to see how much illegal activity is going on. And sadly, the results aren't very good.

59 out of the 100 suppliers did not have proper safety equipment or monitoring systems, 33 didn't dispose of waste properly, and more than half didn't provide overtime hours mandated by Chinese law. There were plenty of other violations as well, but luckily, no cases of underage workers was found. Still, it's a pretty poor situation.

It's surprising and pretty decent of Samsung to publicly release these reports, as such negative press would drive many other companies to cover it up. Let us not forget that many companies use these suppliers, but most haven't done anything about such issues. However, it seems Samsung is dedicated to changing this. The company has worked with many suppliers before to train workers and change poor conditions, so we might see this continue on a bigger scale. Good on Samsung for actually doing something to improve the lives of the workers, instead of installing anit-suicide nets and leaving it at that.

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Rumors of a Samsung Galaxy S5 Google Play Edition continue to strengthen

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:50 AM PDT


We've come to expect all the big flagship Android smartphones to have Google Play Edition tag-alongs by now. We thought it a bit odd to see the HTC One M8 get a non-Sense (no pun intended… OK, maybe a little) version of the device without seeing Samsung's Galaxy S5 join in on the fun.

We were tipped off to the existence of a possible Google Play Edition version of the phone when a Samsung Galaxy S5 with stock Android was used as the main image for the Samsung Galaxy S4 listing. We thought that was odd, but at the time it could have been nothing but a silly error by an inexperienced intern or something.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Google Play edition Play Store

But @evleaks has it on good word that the Google Play Edition Galaxy S5 is still happening, and that we will predictably seeing it at some point this year. There was nothing much else to go on, but this rumor creeping back up could indicate that we're inching closer to a launch.


Adding fuel to that fire is a graphic of Android phones that recently popped up on Google's Android site. You'll see it sitting right in the middle of a sea of other Google Play products, including the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and the HTC One M8 Google Play Edition.

Not lost on us is the fact that all these images in all these leaks show software navigation buttons when the Samsung Galaxy S5 already has a set of its own hardware to perform those functions. It's likely just placeholder imagery while the marketing minds at Google find time to slap a proper image on these renders. We're likely to see those buttons removed by the time the phone actually lands so don't think much of it. Let's hope an official announcement isn't far out.

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The Witcher Battle Arena to battle on all mobile platforms later this year

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:41 AM PDT

The Witcher is a popular series of console games based on the novels of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. In the medieval fantasy world of The Witcher, powerful humans with mutant traits called Witchers seek out and destroy the monsters that threaten humanity's survival. Polish gaming studio CD Projekt RED is currently hard at work developing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.

As the Witcher console games become more well-known and poised to take on the Elder Scrolls series in a fight for role-playing gamers' hearts, the series will also be venturing onto smartphones for the first time. CD Projekt RED has just announced that The Witcher Battle Arena will be coming to iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone and Windows 8 in the fourth quarter of this year. Battle Arena will be a free-to-play MOBA with emphasis on RPG-style progression and fairness to players.

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Samsung Galaxy S5, two months on

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:41 AM PDT

We've had our hands on the Galaxy S5 for over two months now — it's time to share how we feel Samsung's flagship has held up over time.

Each year, Samsung garners a massive amount of attention for its new flagship Galaxy S phone, and for good reason. With its official unveiling coinciding with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and satellite events all around the world, Samsung did things up big with the Galaxy S5 just as you'd expect. Thankfully this wasn't another Broadway-style production with useless fluff blurring the message either, as Samsung absolutely had legitimate reasons to be proud of with the GS5.

The Galaxy S5 ushered in a new level of hardware refinement that made many of us rethink what defines Samsung's hardware design. It dropped most of the shiny hard plastic in favor of a nice soft-touch back plate, bumped up the internal hardware to check all of the boxes, improved the screen quality in nearly all metrics and kept the Samsung fans happy with a removable battery, SDcard and physical home button. The GS5 also introduced a new finger scanner in the home button and an interesting heart rate monitor alongside the camera flash on the back of the phone, showing some real hardware innovation.

It was apparent that Samsung spent plenty of time on the software as well, giving it more than just a fresh coat of paint and instead really unifying the whole software suite under a single design language. Samsung went with a flatter, more harmonious interface that uses a simpler color palette and fewer crazy neon highlights — this isn't the TouchWiz of 2010.

The real question is: how have all of the improvements in design and functionality in the Galaxy S5 translated into real-world use?

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Samsung factories are still a horrible place to work

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Samsung-worker Samsung wants to be one of the world's top 10 places to work by 2020, but according to the latest third-party labor conditions report, working for the South Korean smartphone maker is still a horrible experience, especially if you're one of its Chinese suppliers. An audit of 100 of Samsung's suppliers in China found issues

The post Samsung factories are still a horrible place to work appeared first on Cult of Android.

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[New Game] Denny's Atari Remix Is The Weirdest Discount Restaurant / Arcade Game Crossover You'll See Today

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:24 AM PDT

unnamed (10) Classic American diners and 70s-era video games go hand in hand. No, wait a minute. That's an insane statement. Those things don't have anything to do with one another... until now. Denny's, the after-hours haunt of college students and cross-country travelers all over the United States, has launched a special version of three Atari video games. The app icon has Denny's bacon strips in place of the iconic stripes in Atari's logo.

[New Game] Denny's Atari Remix Is The Weirdest Discount Restaurant / Arcade Game Crossover You'll See Today was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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SuperSU 2.01 update gets support for Android L Developer Preview

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:20 AM PDT


Chainfire's SuperSU app has been updated today to build in support for the Android L developer preview. Before now, rooting the developer preview involved a few workarounds with custom boot images so root permissions should work properly, but that should all be fixed up now.

If you've been using the L developer preview, have you tried rooting it yet, or are you fine with using a non-rooted device?

source: XDA Developers

Come comment on this article: SuperSU 2.01 update gets support for Android L Developer Preview

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With one day left, we're oh-so-close to a Reading Rainbow Android app

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:12 AM PDT

With 24 hours to go, LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign is drawing to a close, has set a record for the number of backers (and still climbing at more than 97,000 as of this writing) — and is nearing its $5 million goal. More rewards have been added (including a sweet Reading Rainbow Live with some of the cast of BSG), and the clock's ticking.

A quick reminder that should the $5 million goal be reached, we'll finally get a proper Android app. My kids have loved the iOS version, but c'mon. Android's where it's at, right? If you haven't yet pledged, we encourage you to do so.

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Samsung Gear Live now available from Google Play in Australia, Japan and South Korea

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Just as folks who ordered the Samsung Gear Live on day one get ready to receive shipping notifications, Google Play has expanded availability of the watch to Australia, Japan and South Korea. This isn't too notable of an expansion, actually, as the LG G Watch was already available in the three countries — this simply brings the Gear Live's availability nearly up to par with that of the G Watch.

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