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Thursday, July 17, 2014

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Amazon's Fire Phone ad highlights Prime, little kids using it like adults

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 03:42 PM PDT






As we close in on a week until the Amazon Fire Phone becomes available, Amazon has just released its first 30-second ad for the product. Building on the messaging that was put in the launch event of the Fire Phone, the short ad shows two children using the phone and talking up a few features to their older counterparts who don't yet know about the device. "It comes with Amazon Prime — tons of stuff, for no extra charge," the little girl says convincingly after going through her library of apps and content on the phone.





















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Sony gives Xperia Z2 a minor update

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 03:24 PM PDT






It looks like owners of the Xperia Z2 are starting to notice a minor firmware update being pushed out to them from Sony. The firmware version number is 17.1.2.A.0.314. Though the update is rolling out now, it doesn't bring the latest Android 4.4.4 to the table as it keeps the Xperia Z2 at Android 4.4.2.


At this time, there is no change log to report on, so we're guessing that Sony may be ironing out some performance issues and bug fixes.


Have you gotten this latest firmware build? Are you noticing any big changes or improvements?


Source: XDA via Xperia blog





















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Mysterious Motorola battery cover leaked with Kevlar material and 2 large holes – could it be the Moto X+1?

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 03:21 PM PDT

Motorola Droid X Plus 1 leak hellomotoHK


The folks at HellomotoHK stumbled upon a mysterious batter cover for an alleged Motorola device, posting the image to their Facebook page for all to see. The image — which we've color corrected — shows black battery cover with kevlar-like material woven throughout. It's not too unlike the back covers we've seen on the Motorola Droid line, currently exclusive to Verizon.


Although there appears to be 2 HTC One M8-style camera holes, we wouldn't go that far in our assumptions. More than likely, the bottom hole will be used for the Motorola logo (which is absent on this battery cover), although we will admit it's a bit strange to have a cutout for what is normally a printed logo.


Now, exactly which device this leaked battery cover belongs to is anyone's guess. HellomotoHK lists off a few possible devices, naming the Motorola Moto X+1, a Google Play edition of the same phone, or some upcoming Motorola Droid 2014 device as likely candidates.


We hope this is only the beginning of a flood of leaks that will begin pouring out like we saw with last year's Motorola Moto X.




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Thursday’s Top Accessory: Google’s Nexus Wireless Charger

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 02:43 PM PDT

Nexus-Wireless-Charger-2 Every Thursday we write about a particular accessory we've been using over the course the past week and today we're focusing our attention on Google's second-generation universal Wireless Charger, which hit the stores alongside the search engine giant's revamped edition of the Nexus 7 back in 2013. This charger is perfect if you want to



The post Thursday's Top Accessory: Google's Nexus Wireless Charger appeared first on Cult of Android.


















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Motorola soak test brings Android 4.4.4 to Verizon Moto X

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 02:39 PM PDT






Moto X owners on Verizon Wireless are beginning to receive soak test email notices. We've been tipped by loyal Android Central readers that these emails are beginning to go out, though no specifics were mentioned on what the soak tests will be for we are guessing that an update to Android 4.4.4 KitKat is imminent.





















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Google posts Q2 2014 earnings report: $15.96 billion in revenue, 22% increase from previous year

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 02:21 PM PDT

Google 2014 Q2 earnings


Ahead of their Q2 2014 earnings call, Google has issued an official press release for their Q2 earnings. Revenue is up 22% from last year, hitting a cool $15.96 billion.


Operating income came in at $4.26 billion (up from $3.47 billion the previous year), making for 27% of their revenue. When all is said and done, Google's net income came in at $3.42 billion. For those curious about how Google did last quarter, they posted $15.4 revenue and $4.12 billion net (27% of revenue). That's a nice 3% increase.


Google sites (Google owned properties like YouTube, Maps, etc.) accounted for $10.94 of their total revenue, a 23% increase from last year (partner sites accounted for $3.42 billion). Paid clicks saw a 25% increase from 2013, while cost-per-click dropped 6%.


Patrick Pichette, Google CFO Patrick Pichette said during the call:



"We are moving forward with great product momentum and are excited to continue providing amazing user experiences, with a view to the long term."



Google also mentions they saw 300% increase in bringing traffic to businesses via smartphones and tablets and when it came to the Motorola team, they're said to still hard at work, seeing "strong sales in emerging markets" with the wallet-friendly Motorola Moto E and Motorola Moto G.




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Kyocera's Sapphire Shield will let Android phones take on the iPhone 6 in durability

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 02:09 PM PDT






It's no secret now that Apple's iPhone 6 is rumored to come with a resilient and durable synthetic sapphire glass screen, though Apple may not be the only one to release a scratch- and shatter-resistant phone. Thanks to Kyocera's work on what is being branded as Sapphire Shield, various other Android OEMs may be able to source synthetic sapphire glass for their phone's screen as well.





















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Google announces its Q2 2014 earnings: $16 billion revenue leads to $4.26 billion income

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 01:29 PM PDT






Google has just released its Q2 2014 earnings, where revenues hit $16 billion, up 22 percent from the year previous. Operating income was $4.26 billion, 27 percent of revenues, up from $3.47 billion the year earlier. Net income was $3.42 billion in the end, up just slightly from Q2 2013. Earnings Per Share (EPS) came in at $4.99, up from $4.77. This all compares to the previous quarter, where Google posted revenues of $15.4 billion and profit of $4.12 billion (27 percent of revenues).


Google sites generated $10.94 billion of the company's total revenues, a 23 percent increase over Q2 2013, while partner sites accounted for $3.42 billion of revenues. Paid clicks for ads increased 25 percent over the last year, and cost-per-click was down approximately 6 percent in the same period.


We'll be bringing you all of the news from Google's earnings call, which begins at 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET.


Source: Google





















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Internal FBI report sees autonomous cars as rolling bombs that obey the rules of the road

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 08:58 AM PDT






Driverless cars are still very much works in progress and several years out from being a reality you in which can ride away from the dealership, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation isn't conducting their own threat analysis on the future of automated automation. The internal report states that "Autonomy … will make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today."





















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Android Wear will switch to Android L, bring custom watch face API

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 08:35 AM PDT

This fall, Android Wear will make the switch to Android L and bring along the much-anticipated custom watch face API. Since its launch at Google I/O, developers and early adopters were disappointed to find out that Android Wear didn't have an API to create a custom watch face. Some developers have worked around this by turning the watch face into a stand-alone app, but this method obviously has drawbacks and isn't a long term solution.


Wayne Piekarski, senior developer advocate at Google, took the time to give us some insight into the situation via a Google+ post:


Custom watch faces are activities running inside another process. However, they have some special considerations due to interactions with the stream and always-on ambient mode--including using a shorter peek card, moving the status indicators for battery and mute, and rendering the faces differently in ambient mode. Right now, without an official API, making a really great watch face currently takes a fair bit of tweaking.

We are working to make this as simple as possible for you so that it's easy to make good-looking faces that work well across multiple form factors, conserve battery, and display the user's card stream nicely. Some of these changes won't be ready until we migrate Android Wear to the Android L release later this year, but don't fret: they're coming!Wayne PiekarskiGoogle



As Piekarski explained, the watch face API is a bit tricky to create with the special considerations that come with it. Nonetheless, Google is working hard to create it so that developers can quickly and easily create custom watch faces. Piekarski also confirms that Android Wear will update to run on Android L come fall. At this point is when we'll likely see the custom watch face API be released. Finally, Piekarski gives a word of warning to devs: hold off on publishing your apps today, or if you do, use the alpha and beta channels of the Play Store, because there's a good chance that your workaround app won't work with the API once it's released.





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Microsoft killing off future Nokia Android-based smartphones

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Microsoft-Patent


As Microsoft finalizes its acquisition of Nokia by fully merging Nokia into the larger Microsoft organization resulting in layoffs of 18,000 employees, they indicate they will also be putting an end to Nokia's efforts to produce Android-based smartphones. This move comes as Microsoft has been expending some effort to ensure their software offerings are available across a wider range of platforms. When it comes to hardware though, especially smartphones, the company has decided to make Windows Phone the only platform that fits in their strategy.


Nokia had two Android-based smartphones in its portfolio, the Nokia X released earlier this year and the recently announced successor, the Nokia X2. Microsoft indicates they will continue to support those devices, but all future phones will be built for the Windows Phone operating system. This decision is part of an effort by Microsoft to target the budget and mid-tier portions of the market with their Lumia line of devices. According to a letter released by Microsoft,



"We will be particularly focused on making the market for Windows Phone. In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia. In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products."



Microsoft is implementing a new phone business unit, based on the former Smart Devices and Mobile Phones business units, that will be responsible for both the Lumia line of smartphones and devices as well as the transition of Nokia X over to the Lumia line.


source: Microsoft




Come comment on this article: Microsoft killing off future Nokia Android-based smartphones





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Amazon testing $10 per month Netflix-like service for eBooks

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 08:20 AM PDT

kindle unlimited


With the skyrocketing success of Netflix, many companies have been exploring low-cost monthly subscription models for many different services. Video is the obvious choice to copy for most people, but Amazon is looking to go a different direction — they want to do for eBooks what Netflix did for video.


The company was found to be testing a service called Kindle Unlimited that will cost $10 per month and give you unlimited access to over 600,000 eBooks and audiobooks. It wouldn't be the first platform of its kind, but there's no company with a backing as big as Amazon's currently in the arena. Amazon's clout and money give them a significant advantage to offer a service that provides a great deal more value than what's currently out there.


This isn't the first time Amazon would have tested such a model. They currently offer a much smaller incentive included with their Prime subscription program, allowing users to rent one free book per month alongside all the other benefits that come with Prime. Kindle Unlimited would be on a far larger scale.


That might come with a few drawbacks, though. For starters, the biggest, hottest and latest releases are probably out of the question — you want access to those right away, you'll probably have to buy them. But that would be no different than having to wait for older shows and movies to reach Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.


Basically, you'd get what you pay for — the potential to read books at pennies on the dollar instead of the $5 or $10 they might otherwise cost if bought individually. We obviously wouldn't recommend this to folks who don't read a lot, but if you're one to thumb through a stack of books each month it could be worth your while. Let's hope we hear something official soon.


[via GigaOM]




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Guardians of the Galaxy movie tie-in arrives to Android, no in-app purchases

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 08:13 AM PDT

guardians-of-galaxy


What is one thing nearly every movie-tie app has in common? If you said, a freemium model littered with in-app purchases, you are correct! Thankfully this doesn't seem to be the case with Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon, a premium game that will set users back $4.99.


While the game is in fact a tie-in to the movie's upcoming release, the story here isn't the same as the movie. The game is essentially an action RPG that allows you to play as Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax. You can also unlock 25 additional characters, all of which can be upgraded with new talents and skills.




In total, there are 60 levels in the story mode, and there's also an arena mode that pits you against various foes. And best of all, there are NO in-app purchases, and you don't need to be online to play. To check out the game for yourself, you'll want to head on over to Google Play.




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Magic 2015 brings dueling wizards to Android

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 07:39 AM PDT






Magic: The Gathering fans will be able to get in on card-by-card deck customization in the latest iteration of the classic strategy card game. Magic 2015 launched on Android today and brings familiar one-on-one card duels in either single-serving practice games, long-term campaign, or online multiplayer matches. Check out our hands-on with the iPad version at E3 for a closer look.





















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The Galaxy Note 4 will tell you to apply sunscreen when the UV index is high

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 07:28 AM PDT

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 jet black aa 15


Samsung has been developing the health and fitness component of its high-end smartphones, and now it's reportedly taking the concept a step further with the addition of an ultraviolet sensor on the Galaxy Note 4.


As reported by Sam Mobile , the new sensor will allow the Note 4 to determine when the UV index reaches potentially harmful levels and offer recommendations based on it. The functionality will be integrated into the S Health app, but the readings won't happen automatically – reportedly, users will need to hold the phone at "over 60 degree angle of elevation towards the sun against the back of the sensor".


It's not clear where on the Note 4 the UV sensor will be located. In addition to it, the phone will also feature the heart rate monitor first launched on the Galaxy S5.


Based on the UV readings, the Note 4 will assess the UV threat from Low to Extreme and offer practical protection advices, such as wearing sunglasses, applying sunscreen, and avoiding going out during certain times of the days. You can check the full recommendations on EPA's site.


The Galaxy Note 4 will probably launch at the IFA 2014 electronics show in Berlin, in the first week of September.


Do you consider having an UV sensor an useful addition to the Note 4?




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Android Wear watch face API still in the works, likely to arrive alongside Android L

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 07:28 AM PDT

LG G Watch unboxing initial setup (12 of 13)


Android Wear is still in its early days, and so it's really no surprise that there are parts of the platform that aren't fully ready to go just yet. In particular, current Android Wear custom watchfaces arguably leave a lot to be desired as they employ several workarounds and act as standalone apps in order to work at all. This means that certain things don't work just right, in particular the way the faces interact with incoming cards can be a bit wonky.


So what's the deal here? Wayne Piekarski, a senior developer advocate at Google, has now taken to Google+ to clarify what's going on. In his post he says that Google is still working on the custom watch face API and so he suggests that developers hold off on releasing their custom watch faces, at least outside of beta and alpha channels, until everything is ready — though obviously many developers have already ignored this advice.


So when will we see the API? While Google doesn't give an exact timeframe, Piekarski does say that some of the changes needed for the API will require Android L, so we'd imagine that Android Wear users will be waiting at least a couple more months. In the meantime, if you want a custom watchface, you'll have to put up with some of the potential issues and glitches found in the current unofficial offerings on Google Play.




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Scheme your way to power in Game of Thrones Ascent

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 07:01 AM PDT






Game of Thrones Ascent is now available on Android. Previously available only online and on the iPad, Ascent puts you in the role of a noble in Westeros, the setting of George R.R. Martin's books. You can work with or plans schemes against other players as you plot your way to the top.





















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How to use battery saver on the LG G3

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 07:01 AM PDT






LG has some built in tools to help you string out your battery life a little further


All the major high end Android smartphones from this year have some way to try and extend your battery life when things get low, and the LG G3 is no exception. While it doesn't go as far as something like the ultra power saving mode on the Samsung Galaxy S5, battery saver on the G3 can certainly help you to get more life when you're running close to empty.


Let's take a look at what it does and how you use it.





















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Deal of the Day: Incipio NGP Impact Resistant Case for LG Nexus 5

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 06:25 AM PDT





This case blends the perfect mixture of plastic and silicone into one streamlined design. These cases wrap all the way around your device for a snug, sure fit. The skin itself is completely stretch and tear resistant, yet the exterior's smooth matte finish almost feels like a hard case.


The Incipio NGP Impact Resistant Case is available for just $13.95, 30% off today only. Colors include black, pink, turquoise and mercury.


Never miss a deal. Sign up for Daily Deal alerts!





















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Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy arrive on Android

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 06:25 AM PDT






Tieing in with the launch of the movie of the same name, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is available today on Android for $4.99 from the Google Play Store. Despite the tie in, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon is an original storyline and falls into the 'action role playing game' genre.





















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Microsoft considers shifting Nokia X product designs to Windows Phone

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 06:25 AM PDT






In an email to Microsoft employees, CEO Satya Nadella announced that the software giant would trim its global workforce by 18,000 over the course of the year. The first batch of layoffs will begin later this year, and will see over 13,000 employees leaving the organization.





















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Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 will have an ultraviolet sensor, but it's actually useful

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 06:25 AM PDT






It has already been confirmed by Samsung that the Galaxy Note 4 will have an ultraviolet (UV) sensor, but there wasn't much information available. Now, according to a report over on SamMobile, we have some idea as to what consumers can expect to see from the built-in functionality. The new component will integrate itself within Samsung's S Health app, providing yet more personal data for the owner to take advantage of.


Is it gimmicky? Sure. It's Samsung, the home of the smartphone heart-rate monitor, but it is cool at the same time.





















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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet arrives on Verizon

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 06:25 AM PDT






The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is now available on Verizon's LTE network. Customers can get Sony's slim and waterproof new tablet for $599.99 up front. However, if you're willing to sign a two-year contract, you can knock $100 off of the price, grabbing the Xperia Z2 Tablet for $499.99.





















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The Android L keyboard is back via the Amazon Appstore

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 06:05 AM PDT

Android-L-keyboard The official Android L keyboard, which was released and then pulled from Google Play earlier this month, is now back. In an effort to avoid another run in with Google, however, the developer behind the release has chosen to make it available through the Amazon Appstore this time instead. Shen Ye, a recognized Android developer



The post The Android L keyboard is back via the Amazon Appstore appeared first on Cult of Android.


















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Three UK to provide free Wi-Fi on London Underground

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 04:41 AM PDT






Three UK has announced that it is partnering with Virgin Media to provide its customers with free access to Virgin's Wi-Fi network on the London Underground. Other carriers like EE, Vodafone and O2 have already made similar deals in the past.





















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