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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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Google Now Launcher adds auto-rotate and consistent icon sizes

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 02:17 PM PST

Do you use the Google Now Launcher? If so, there are a couple of new features that may be of interest to you. Google is now pushing out an update to its home screen launcher that includes bug fixes as well as new capabilities. First off, the update for the Google Now Launcher adds support for auto-rotation, meaning that your homescreen will now rotate horizontally and vertically, as nearly everything else within Android is able to do. This has been requested for a good long while, particularly as most third-party launchers allow for auto-rotation on the home screen.

The second new feature deals with icons. Google has had issues in the past with developers not following its icon sizing guidelines, so it's taking a new step to keep them in check for users utilizing the Google Now Launcher. With this latest update, the Google Now Launcher will use software to automatically shrink overly large icons and expand overly small icons, giving a consistent icon size. This has been available in third-party launchers, too, but it's good to see Google integrating it right into the Google Now Launcher.

The update is now rolling out, though it may take a bit of time to hit your device. Be patient and drop a comment down below when you get the update!


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Google Play Books Flip Open In 9 Newly-Supported Middle Eastern Countries

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 02:13 PM PST

Screenshot 2016-01-13 at 10.55.41 PM

On a new Android device (or an old one), opening up the Play Store is the quickest way to get your hands on a digital book. Thing is, that's only the case if you live in a supported country. Today Play Books are making their way to nine countries throughout the Middle East.

The nine names we've seen added to the relevant support page are:

  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

Rita, located in our Lebanon bureau, has noticed plenty of Arabic content alongside English and international works.

Read More

Google Play Books Flip Open In 9 Newly-Supported Middle Eastern Countries was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google’s self-driving cars aren’t quite ready for the open road

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 01:33 PM PST

Minority report driverless carsAs it stands now, self-driving cars may be more accident report than Minority Report. In a disclosure to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the search-engine giant outlined specifics of its driverless-car testing from November 2014 to December 2015. Demo vehicles reportedly logged about 423,000 miles over that period. During that time, testers recorded over

The post Google's self-driving cars aren't quite ready for the open road appeared first on Cult of Android.











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Google+ 7.0 Automatically Hides The Bottom Tab Bar When Scrolling [APK Download]

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 01:28 PM PST

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 11.26.20 AM

The Android app for Google's favorite social network (guess) has received an update that will make the experience more pleasant for a solid number of you bothered by a specific design choice. Need a moment to figure out which one? Here's a hint—it's the black tab bar at the bottom of the app.

In 7.0, the bottom tab bar should disappear once you start scrolling. It doesn't work yet on the notifications screen, and quite a few people say the feature isn't kicking in for them yet at all.

Read More

Google+ 7.0 Automatically Hides The Bottom Tab Bar When Scrolling [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Wildcard Is A Fast, Curated News Discovery App On Android

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 12:58 PM PST

wwI've been struggling to find something that can replace Circa on my phone ever since that app shut down last year. It's not quite the same thing, but I think Wildcard might scratch the right itch. It's an app that relies on human editors to find the right stories and present you the best sources the get a quick overview of events.

2016-01-13 20.19.53 2016-01-13 20.18.50 2016-01-13 20.19.41

Stores in Wildcard are (big surprise) shown as a series of cards.

Read More

Wildcard Is A Fast, Curated News Discovery App On Android was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google Cardboard SDK updated with more immersive audio

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 12:47 PM PST

While Google Cardboard certainly isn't going to be competing spec for spec with the big boys in the increasingly crowded VR market, it is continuing to make the case that it can be the best option for those that aren't looking to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to experience VR.

Today's update to the Cardboard SDK for Unity and Android brings with it something that is every bit as critical to the immersive nature of VR as the visuals, namely spatial audio. What this means is that sound will be delivered in a fashion simulating how we perceive sound in real life. Rather than isolating sounds to the left or right channel, the new SDK factors in the listener's head as well as the position of the sounds to deliver the feel of sounds coming from one direction to the other. The SDK even allows for differentiating the sound by environment, so that  sounds in an open field would sound very different than those in a small room.

According to Google, they have optimized for mobile CPUs, and this additional functionality should have a minimal hit to performance. If necessary, developers can reduce fidelity on less critical sounds to reduce CPU load.

If you are a Google Cardboard developer interested in checking all this out, hit the source link below and you'll find a sample Android app as well as documentation.


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Get a 5-year subscription to ZenVPN for just $25 [Deal]

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 12:03 PM PST

e0ec58d95a9a66de1530655334256c1d0a6822d5_main_hero_imageSurfing the Web on a public Wi-Fi connection can be dangerous business. Steer clear of hackers with protection from ZenVPN. You'll be free to access any of their servers located in 32 locations around the world, and can rest easy knowing your activity and data is fully encrypted. Plus, by virtually traveling across borders, you'll

The post Get a 5-year subscription to ZenVPN for just $25 [Deal] appeared first on Cult of Android.











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Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 12:02 PM PST

New apps need lovin' too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We've shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.

Trackendar

Trackendar

Description: This app helps you to track common events, habits and chores. Presents them on a nice monthly view so you can see at a glance what's been going on and provides reminders so you don't forget to log what happend each day.

 

Pander – Food Delivery

Pander - Food Delivery

DescriptionHarness the variety of restaurant options available, without having to trudge through tons of menus – let Pander learn what you like, and then build meals tailored specifically to you with just one tap.

 

Bodyweight Fitness

Bodyweight Fitness

DescriptionLevel up your fitness and strength, gain flexibility and learn more about calisthenics. Make a healthy change in your life by becoming more active, aware and motivated. Exercises are presented in an easy and simple way to understand.

 

Seeso

Seeso

DescriptionSeeso lets comedy fans stream hand-picked, ad-free, and on-demand comedy from the comfort of your favorite device. Stream an extensive collection of never-before-seen Originals, quotable classics, next-day NBC late night, stand-up specials, bingeable library shows, and so much more.

 

Radio Disney Junior

Radio Disney Junior

DescriptionDownload the official Radio Disney Junior app! Join host Genevieve Goings (from Disney Junior's Choo Choo Soul) and listen to Radio Disney Junior on your phone or tablet anytime, anywhere!

 

PhotoAffix BETA

PhotoAffix BETA

DescriptionPhotoAffix allows you to combine photos together, in vertical or horizontal orientation, to create one single image. A common use case for this is to create multiple device art screenshots of an app, and combine them together to make a showcase image.

 

AT&T Landline Texting

AT&T Landline Texting

DescriptionAT&T Landline Texting allows customers to send and receive text messages from an existing landline or toll-free phone number in the United States and Canada.

 

Podcast

Podcast

DescriptionIntroducing the Podcasts app, an amazing way to discover, subscribe to, and play your favorite podcasts. Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts in the Featured tab, or browse Top Charts to see what's hot right now.

 

Contact Lenses Time

Contact Lenses Time

DescriptionLENSES TIME is a reminder for contact lenses. You don't need to remember when to change your contact lenses! Insert lenses duration and the app will update automatically the counter of days left until the expiration of your contact lenses.

 

Chromium Watch Face

Chromium Watch Face

DescriptionChromium Watch Face! Analog watch face for Android wear with a dark background with chrome numbers.

 


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Google gives Nexus 5X a permanent price cut

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 11:03 AM PST

Nexus 5X is now even cheaper. Photo: GoogleGoogle has permanently slashed $30 off its new Nexus 5X, reducing its starting price to just $349 only four months after the handset made its official debut. The move makes it even easier for Android fans to get their hands on Google's latest OS — without third-party tweaks. The Nexus 5X may not be the

The post Google gives Nexus 5X a permanent price cut appeared first on Cult of Android.











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Spatial audio comes to the Cardboard SDK

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 09:29 AM PST

Originally posted on Google Developers Blog

Posted by Nathan Martz, Product Manager, Google Cardboard

Human beings experience sound in all directions—like when a fire truck zooms by, or when an airplane is overhead. Starting today, the Cardboard SDKs for Unity and Android support spatial audio, so you can create equally immersive audio experiences in your virtual reality (VR) apps. All your users need is their smartphone, a regular pair of headphones, and a Google Cardboard viewer.

Sound the way you hear it

Many apps create simple versions of spatial audio—by playing sounds from the left and right in separate speakers. But with today's SDK updates, your app can produce sound the same way humans actually hear it. For example:

  • The SDK combines the physiology of a listener's head with the positions of virtual sound sources to determine what users hear. For example: sounds that come from the right will reach a user's left ear with a slight delay, and with fewer high frequency elements (which are normally dampened by the skull).
  • The SDK lets you specify the size and material of your virtual environment, both of which contribute to the quality of a given sound. So you can make a conversation in a tight spaceship sound very different than one in a large, underground (and still virtual) cave.

Optimized for today's smartphones

We built today's updates with performance in mind, so adding spatial audio to your app has minimal impact on the primary CPU (where your app does most of its work). We achieve these results in a couple of ways:

  • The SDK is optimized for mobile CPUs (e.g. SIMD instructions) and actually computes the audio in real-time on a separate thread, so most of the processing takes place outside of the primary CPU.
  • The SDK allows you to control the fidelity of each sound. As a result, you can allocate more processing power to critical sounds, while de-emphasizing others.

Simple, native integrations

It's really easy to get started with the SDK's new audio features. Unity developers will find a comprehensive set of components for creating soundscapes on Android, iOS, Windows and OS X. And native Android developers will now have a simple Java API for simulating virtual sounds and environments.


Experience spatial audio in our sample app for developers

Check out our Android sample app (for developer reference only), browse the documentation on the Cardboard developers site, and start experimenting with spatial audio today. We're excited to see (and hear) the new experiences you'll create!


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WordPress 4.9 Introduces An Updated Media Detail Screen, Fingerprint Unlocking, Multiple Image Uploading, And More

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 09:28 AM PST

Screenshot_20160113-113622

The WordPress Android app probably won't have you closing your laptop to go do most of your blogging from the backseat of a car, but it does a decent enough job, and the app looks pretty. The latest version of the app continues the march towards both replicating the desktop experience and integrating with Android's design language.

Version 4.9 introduced a spruced up the screen that tells you the size of your images and their file names.

Read More

WordPress 4.9 Introduces An Updated Media Detail Screen, Fingerprint Unlocking, Multiple Image Uploading, And More was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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[Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub] Pocket Mortys Takes Adult Swim's Rick & Morty To The Pokemon Dimension

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 09:28 AM PST

2016-01-13 16.44.07If you haven't yet checked out Rick & Morty, Adult Swim's delightfully foul science fiction cartoon, you're missing out - and not just on obscure Android Police posts. The show is only two seasons old, but it's taken the Internet by storm, filling the irreverent, high-concept, mean-spirited place that Futurama used to hold. For those of you who are already addicted and waiting patiently for season three, take a portal ride over to the Play Store: Adult Swim Games just released a licensed game that drops Rick & Morty into a tongue-in-cheek version of Pokemon.

Read More

[Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub] Pocket Mortys Takes Adult Swim's Rick & Morty To The Pokemon Dimension was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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The LG G5 could have a removable battery that slides in using a ‘Magic Slot’

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 09:02 AM PST

The LG G5 is destined to be one of 2016′s biggest flagships, but the rumor mill has been surprisingly quiet regarding the device. But a new report from CNET Korea is changing that, with the site reporting that the LG G5 will have an intriguing new design to allow for a removable battery. Rather than simply peeling off the backplate to access the battery, the G5 will instead use what LG is calling a Magic Slot, which will allow the bottom of the device to be removed, so as to allow users to slide batteries in and out at will.

You can check out the render up top, which is based upon eyewitness accounts of the design. LG is reportedly utilizing the Magic Slot in order to create a unibody device while still allowing users the option of a removable battery. Very few devices continue to offer removable batteries, making the feature a bit of a selling point for the G5.

Interestingly, the bottom portion of the device also appears to house the microphone and possibly the microSD card slot, which could technically make the LG G5 one of the first modular phones on the market. That being said, the design only allows for removing and inserting a battery, so the modular flexibility isn't nearly as great as a test device like Project Ara.

We'll keep you posted on further news regarding the LG G5.


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Galaxy S7 edge+ to launch months early alongside smaller siblings

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 08:33 AM PST

The Galaxy S6 edge+ could be outdated early this year. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of AndroidFresh leaks suggest Samsung will launch this year's Galaxy S7 edge+ alongside the smaller Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. If all three devices go on sale in March as expected, then last year's Galaxy S6 edge+ will be outdated just 7 months after making its debut. It makes a lot of sense to launch the S7

The post Galaxy S7 edge+ to launch months early alongside smaller siblings appeared first on Cult of Android.











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Plex App Updated With New First-Run Experience, Audio Player Mix, And More

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 08:28 AM PST

Plex-ThumbPlex is getting an update today that will be of interest to regular users of the app. There are a pair of new features, but also a boatload of fixes and tweaks.

2016-01-13 16.11.55 2016-01-13 16.12.02

Here's the changelog for the latest v4.18 update.

NEW:
  • New awesome first run experience!
  • Add Plex Mix (and other "related content" actions) to tracks in the audio player.
FIXES:
  • Updated Video Player to fix various bugs.
  • Improve video player resources usage.
Read More

Plex App Updated With New First-Run Experience, Audio Player Mix, And More was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Latest Pushbullet Update Lets You Send Picture Messages (MMS) From Your Computer

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 08:13 AM PST

banner

Pushbullet began as a quick way to send files, links, and other data from one device to another. Along the way, the team took the infrastructure it had in place and introduced instant messaging (through a phone using SMS). Last month the feature grew to include group conversations. Today, the service has evolved to support sending picture messages.

When you drag an image into a SMS conversation, Pushbullet will now convert the message to MMS.

Read More

Latest Pushbullet Update Lets You Send Picture Messages (MMS) From Your Computer was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google App v5.8 Beta Brings Back Launcher Auto Rotation On Phones And Now Normalizes Icon Sizes For A Bit Of Consistency [APK Download]

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 07:58 AM PST

google

Following the big improvements to Maps on Monday night, Google is hitting us again with another update that is sure to make quite a few users happy, at least for those that use the Google Experience Launcher (a.k.a. GEL). Support for a rotating launcher screen on phones is back, and if that's not enough, there's also a nifty new rendering feature that resizes app icons so most of them will look more consistent on your home screen.

Read More

Google App v5.8 Beta Brings Back Launcher Auto Rotation On Phones And Now Normalizes Icon Sizes For A Bit Of Consistency [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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iPhone 6s was the most powerful smartphone of 2015 by a mile

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 07:33 AM PST

There's only one winner here. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of AndroidApple's latest iPhones are proof that mobile devices don't need octa-core processors and bags of RAM when they have the right software. Despite lagging behind their rivals on paper, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were the most powerful smartphones of 2015 — by a mile! That's according to the 2015 Performance Ranking Report from benchmark experts AnTuTu.

The post iPhone 6s was the most powerful smartphone of 2015 by a mile appeared first on Cult of Android.











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Vainglory – experience one of the most vast & addictive multiplayer online battle arena games

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 07:32 AM PST

Vainglory - experience one of the most vast & addictive multiplayer online battle arena games

In Vainglory you outplay real opponents in this deep, uncompromising real-time MOBA. Fight with lightning-fast controls using powerful heroes. Destroy the enemy Vain crystal and claim glory! GAME FEATURES FREE TO PLAY AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. Dive into a complete MOBA by veteran developers from top AAA studios. Immerse yourself in a stunning world... View Article

Vainglory – experience one of the most vast & addictive multiplayer online battle arena games is a post from: AndroidTapp

The post Vainglory – experience one of the most vast & addictive multiplayer online battle arena games appeared first on AndroidTapp.


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Video: hands-on with the Huawei GX8

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 07:02 AM PST

When it comes to Android, Huawei clearly dominated the headlines last week during CES. The Huawei Mate 8 is possibly the most powerful Android smartphone we have ever seen, but the new Huawei GX8 is also worth considering if you're not willing to shell out $600+ for a new device. 

With the GX8, you get quite a lot. It comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 615, 2GB of RAM, 16GB expandable storage, 13 and 5-megapixel cameras and a 3000mAh battery. It also sports a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, but Android 5.1 and Huawei's EMUI might make it a little tough to choose over similar devices like the Nexus 5X. On the design front, the Huawei GX8 feels as premium as the newly announced Mate 8, but it is bit chunkier in the hand. The display is bright and crisp and the camera is quick and seems to capture pretty good pictures. 

We'll be sharing our final thoughts on the Huawei GX8 in our upcoming review. 


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Sony Xperia C6 pictures show off near bezel-less display

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 07:02 AM PST

With CES behind us, our focus is now zeroed in on Mobile World Congress and all the new flagship phones that will be announced at the end of February. We're expecting Samsung, HTC and LG to show off new devices, but it looks like Sony may have something in store for us as well. Leaked images of the upcoming Sony Xperia C6 have hit the web, showing off the front of the phone and its near bezel-less display, which appears to be wrapped in 2.5D Gorilla Glass. Based on its specifications (5.5-inch 1080p display and octa-core MediaTek MT 6755 processor), the Sony Xperia C6 will likely fall into the "premium mid-range" category when it is unveiled.

There's no word on when the Sony Xperia C6 will hit store shelves or show much Sony intends to charge for it, but it will be facing some steep competition from devices like the Huawei GX4, Xiaomi Redmi 3 and Honor 5X, which are all pretty affordable.

Are you looking forward to buying a decently-spec'd mid-range Android smartphone or are you holding out for a premium flagship device from HTC or Samsung?

Sony-Xperia-C6-1


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Motorola denies reports it is ditching Moto G and Moto E

Posted: 13 Jan 2016 03:33 AM PST

The Moto G is too good to die. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of AndroidMotorola has dismissed claims that it is ditching the Moto G and Moto E, and insists that recent comments made by a Lenovo executive were misunderstood. Motorola will be "streamlining" its smartphone portfolio going forward, it says, so we'll see fewer Moto devices — but its most successful handsets are going nowhere. Lenovo's plans for

The post Motorola denies reports it is ditching Moto G and Moto E appeared first on Cult of Android.











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Google I/O 2016 Dates Announced, Will Be Held Near Google HQ This Time

Posted: 12 Jan 2016 10:30 PM PST

Google-IO-2015

Google I/O 2016 has just had its dates confirmed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.



A tweet sent out by Sundar himself confirmed when and where the event will occur. For the first time, the company will hold the event near its own headquarters at Shorline Ampitheatre Mountain View, California. It will be held from May 18th to the 20th.

Pricing has not yet been announced but expect it to be similar to last year's pricing of $900 per person (or $300 for students).

[Twitter]

Google I/O 2016 Dates Announced, Will Be Held Near Google HQ This Time is a post from: Android in Canada Blog

The post Google I/O 2016 Dates Announced, Will Be Held Near Google HQ This Time appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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Nexus 5X and 6P $100 off from Google Store

Posted: 12 Jan 2016 09:09 PM PST

nexus-2015

The Nexus 5X and 6P are two brilliant devices, we need not remind you, and at $100 off either model in any storage configuration, now might be the best time to snag one.

One user from OzBargain happened to come across the offer, and while it's unclear what the occasion for the deal is, a good deal is still a good deal, so it's worth checking it out.

When both models dropped late last year, for many it was the price which was a jab in the gut. Neither handset is particularly affordable, and for the Nexus 5X we reviewed, our main complaint was how pricey it ended up being locally. Now at $100 off, the 16GB model ...

The post Nexus 5X and 6P $100 off from Google Store appeared first on Android Australia.


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LG’s ‘Play begins’ MWC event taking place on February 21

Posted: 12 Jan 2016 04:14 PM PST

Just days after CES 2016 came to an end, LG is helping us to gear up for MWC 2016.

LG is sending out invitations to an MWC 2016 event that'll take place on February 21 in Barcelona, Spain. On the invitation, we can see an image of a jack-in-the-box as well as the words "Play begins."

lgmwc2016invite

As for what LG is planning to show at the event, that's still up in the air. The LG G5 is the probably the first thing that most folks will think of, but the LG G4 and G3 were introduced in April and May, respectively, so while anything is possible, the G5 seems a bit unlikely. LG could be planning something totally new, too. We haven't really seen any leaks about what LG might have planned for the show, so for now we'll just have to wait and speculate.

What do you think LG will announce at its "Play begins" event?


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