Thursday, May 30, 2013

Motorola X Phone Launch Set For Late Summer

After unexpectedly confirming the Motorola X Phone during a D11 interview, Motorola has issued a brief press release for the handset, mentioning a launch window for the device.

During the interview, Motorola’s Dennis Woodside told the audience that the handset will be manufactured in the USA in a former Nokia-owned facility that will employ 2,000 people by August.

At the time, we speculated that the phone should be unveiled at some point after that, once mass production has started. Woodside revealed the device would be launched by October, with multiple carriers that have apparently offered a great response to the Moto X.

In the short press release that focuses on the fact that the Moto X is “the first smartphone assembled in the USA,” Motorola says that the handset will hit stores this summer. A specific release date is not provided, but Droid-Life has confirmation from Motorola that we’re looking at a “late summer” launch.

Other important details including complete specs, features and pricing are not official at this time, so we’ll just have to wait for more information. Not even a press image of the device is available.

What we know is that the Motorola X Phone will be a flagship device, an iPhone and Galaxy competitor, and that it will feature contextual awareness capabilities. We also know that three unannounced Motorola handsets have passed through the FCC, all potential Moto X candidates, including the XT1058 (AT&T), XT1056 (Sprint), and XT1060 (Verizon)

Google Calendar App Gets New Update

google calendar color code
The Google Calendar app for Android is the latest app from the Mountain View company to receive an update, after the last few weeks have brought us a flurry of news on this front.

Just after the Google Play app has been updated, and to go with the news about the new Gmail update still ringing in everybody's ears, the Calendar app also got some welcome additions.
Most users will likely appreciate the ability to change the colors of the various events in your calendar in order to differentiate them from others at a glance (it looks somewhat similar to the palette in Google Keep).

Adding recurring events also offers more options now, making it easier to set them. Also, the time picker that lets you create a new event has been updated with a new design and a searchable time zone picker has been added to make things more convenient.

The new update is currently rolling out to users, so you should be getting it on your device soon.

HTC One Nexus Experience Confirmed, Available June 26 for $599

htc one google
Sundar Pichai is on stage at D11 this morning, and right out of the gate announced that they will sell an HTC One “Nexus Experience” through Google Play on June 26 for $599. This device was rumored and denied and rumored again shortly after Samsung and Google announced their “Nexus Experience” edition of the Galaxy S4 at I/O, but over the last week, rumors picked up that HTC would indeed be offering a similar experience on their newest flagship. 
Update: Hugo Barra just confirmed it on Google+ as well, along with the beautiful image of it at the top of this post.
HTC has also announced the device now. We’re looking at the 32GB version of the HTC One, running stock Android, capable of running on T-Mobile and AT&T LTE, for $599 through Google Play. The device is running Android 4.2.2, has an unlockable bootloader, and somehow keeps Beats Audio (even though it’s stock).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 To Support Verizon's Upcoming LTE Expansion

The Samsung's Galaxy S4 will be able to support AWS on Verizon when it launches later this year. The phone will require a software update to activate support for the spectrum, which is being used to increase LTE coverage and speed in different areas. Verizon announced that devices with AWS support would ship by July likely before the network itself launches and it's certainly met that deadline.
However, Verizon has taken its time in rolling out the new spectrum. While the company has continued to purchase licenses, it only recently announced that it intends to have some of the AWS spectrum up and running by the end of this year. According to Bloomberg, that launch will begin in major cities, including New York, where network congestion has become a problem as more consumers adopt LTE.

LG Officially Announces The White Nexus 4

LG has officially announced the device is launching May 29 in Hong Kong, making its way around the rest of the world in the weeks to follow.
Spec-for-spec, the white Nexus 4 is identical to the original black model. It still comes with a Snapdragon S4 Pro, 4.7-inch 1280 by 768 True HD IPS Plus display, 2GB of RAM, and of course, stock Android. The only way the two models are different is how they will initially be sold. The black Nexus 4 was released first in the US through Google Play, while the white Nexus 4 will be released first in Hong Kong, and then “will roll out globally in select markets in Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East over the next several weeks.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

Yahoo Willing To Spend Up To $800M To Aquire Hulu

Yahoo could pony up $600M-$800M for Hulu, report says
Just a few days prior we posted an article stating Yahoo! was interested in bidding on Hulu. Reports have said that Yahoo! is willing to pay in upwards of $800 million to acquire Hulu, a video streaming site which is currently owned by Disney, Fox and NBC Universal.

The acquisition of Tumblr was to bring Yahoo a demographic; the company is going through a series of drastic changes at the moment. Yahoo has cut services that aren't bringing in much traffic to the site; Yahoo has also released their own search, mail and weather apps for iOS and Android. These are all moves to bringing in more users and the acquisition of Tumblr and Hulu will help that happen.

Hulu is only as valuable as the content licenses that are signed over with the company; the exclusive content is why Hulu's users pay their monthly subscription fee. Services like Hulu are very popular among the cable cutting portion of society that doesn't want to pay for channels that they won’t watch.

Samsung Hosting Galaxy And ATIV Brand Focused Event On June 20

Samsung Premiere 2013 Galaxy and ATIV event
Samsung today announced that it's got a "Premiere 2013" event planned for June 20, less than a week after Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference wraps up. The gathering, which is taking place in London and will kick off at 19:00 BST (1:00 p.m. EST), will be focused on Samsung's Galaxy and ATIV brands.

Source: Samsung

Friday, May 24, 2013

Yahoo Reportedly Places Bid To Buy Hulu

Add one more name to the Hulu bidding war Yahoo!, which just announced plans to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion, has made an offer on the video website as well.

The Web giant submitted a bid for the video site this morning, according to a person familiar with process. Other people looking to buy all or a piece of Hulu include:
  • Directv,
  • Time Warner Cable,
  • William Morris Endeavor, along with with PE backer Silverlake,
  • KKR,
  • Guggenheim Digital,
  • The Chernin Group
As AllThingsD reported earlier this month, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and COO Henrique De Castro have met with Hulu’s team recently for a get-to-know-you; Yahoo! had previously tried to buy a large stake in French video site Daily Motion, but that bid was stymied by the French government. Yahoo! declined to comment.

The question, as it always is with Hulu, is what its owners News Corp., Disney and Comcast are actually willing to sell, and at what price. The three media conglomerates provide the site’s most valuable programming, primarily via shows that have already aired on their broadcast networks. Disney and News Corp. have been at odds about the best way to manage the site for some time; Comcast gave up its management rights as a concession to Federal regulators a few years ago. (News Corp. also owns this website.)

In 2011, Hulu’s owners put the company up for sale and were looking for a bid of at least $2 billion; in exchange, they would offer content licenses that would run for two to three years. But they ended up pulling the site back off the sales block after a few months.

Last month, former News Corp. COO Peter Chernin submitted a starting bid of $500 million, with the understanding that he would be willing to pay more for extended licenses. Bloomberg first reported on the KKR and William Morris Endeavor/Silverlake bids today.

Hulu hasn't had a formal M&A process, but had asked prospective bidders to make an offer by Wednesday. That deadline apparently isn't a firm one, so it’s worth wondering if the field will grow more crowded before this over.

Google Considers Waze Acquisition

Bloomberg reports that Google is considering making an acquisition offer for mapping company Waze. Numerous reports over the past few weeks have claimed that Facebook is also eyeing an acquisition of the maps firm.
Google Inc. (GOOG), maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze Inc., setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook Inc., people familiar with the matter said. Waze is fielding expressions of interest from multiple parties and is seeking more than $1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The Palo Alto, California-based startup might also remain independent, instead seeking to raise a round of venture capital financing, the people said.
Waze’s price-tag is current said to be around $1 billion.

Google’s potential bid would likely create a bidding war with the Menlo Park-based social network. Bloomberg reiterates that Apple is not in discussions with Waze. Rumors from earlier this year claimed that Apple was eyeing an acquisition, but many of those claims were immediately debunked. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

OtterBox Aquires Rival Casemaker LifeProof

OtterBox, which makes the top-selling protective case for smartphones, has announced the acquisition of LifeProof for an undisclosed amount.
News of the acquisition comes one day after a lawsuit filed by OtterBox against LifeProof for patent infringement was dismissed. OtterBox told the North Carolina Business Report that the acquisition was not related to the lawsuit or any settlement. Headquartered in San Diego, LifeProof also makes protective cases and accessories for smartphones and tablets.
Over the next 30 days, OttberBox will beginning incorporating the LifeProof brand into OtterBox’s product lineup. More information about product availability and alignment will be available after that period. OtterBox currently has about 650 employees worldwide, while LifeProof, which was founded in 2009, employs about 250 people, who the companies say will remain in their San Diego location “for the foreseeable future.”
“Our strategy is to utilize our combined brand momentum, and world-class talent to create a great customer experience that generates OtterBox brand ambassadors for life,” Thomas said in the acquisition announcement.
In addition to its extremely durable smartphone cases, which are designed to withstand drops, water immersion and debris, OtterBox also makes protective coverings for other mobile devices such as tablets, as well as screen protectors and accessories. LifeProof’s cases are designed for people with very active lifestyles (or who are especially accident prone around mountains, concrete and bodies of water).

Source: OtterBox

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Samsung Acquires 10 Percent Stake In Pantech

Samsung said Wednesday that it recently acquired a 10 percent stake in Pantech for about $48 million. While that may seem like a bizarre move, especially since the two firms compete in the lower-tier Android smartphone market, Samsung said it will help its business relationship with Pantech.

“Samsung Electronics has agreed to acquire a 10-percent stake in Pantech, valued at approximately KRW 53 billion,” the company said in a statement provided to The Next Web. “The investment is aimed at solidifying our relationship with Pantech, a key component customer of Samsung. Samsung will have no involvement in Pantech’s business management in any way or form.” Pantech purchased 235 billion won worth of components from Samsung last year alone, Yonhap News said, noting that the smartphone maker trails behind Samsung and LG in the South Korean cell phone market.
Samsung is now the third largest shareholder in Pantech. Qualcomm holds the largest share with an 11.96 percent stake in the company and Korea Development Bank holds an 11.81 percent stake.

Google Drive Android App Updated With ‘Scan’ For Storing Physical Documents


Google announced on its Google Drive blog today that it is rolling out an updated Google Drive app for Android that includes a couple notable new features.

The app’s UI has been overhauled and now displays your Drive files in a familiar grid style view:
You can swipe between files to see large previews that let you quickly review and discover the information you’re looking for. And if you want to keep some Drive files on your Android device, you’ll now be able to “download a copy” from the actions menu inside settings.

Another big update included in the latest version of Drive for Android is the ability to ‘scan’ and store physical documents as PDFs. The new scan option will allow users to snap photos of documents and save them within Drive as a PDF. Thanks to Optical Character Recognition, you’ll also be able to search for the scanned docs using keywords.

The update includes a number of other improvements as well including the ability to download a copy of your files in Drive your device’s local storage, improvements to editing features in Google Sheets, and much more:

What’s in this version:

  • New grid view makes it easier to find your files
  • New quick preview lets you view photos and other files from within the app
  • Scan documents, receipts and letters for safe keeping in Drive; then search by contents once uploaded
  • Download a copy of files to your local device (Honeycomb+)
  • Spreadsheet editor now supports changing fonts, colors and cell alignment
  • View properties of files from within the editors
  • Bug fixes and visual improvements

Google Play Store download link

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Yahoo announces Flickr Storage Has Been Bumped To 1TB

Yahoo is doing it big today, and during an event in New York they have announced a complete revamp of Flickr. The interface of the website has changed, and now features content blocks and full bleed images instead of the thumbnail or list view of the past. In addition, registered users now have 1TB (as in a terabyte) of free storage space to keep their photos (depending on the photo size is anywhere between 100,000 to 300,000 photos), more than any other online service.
Last December, the Flickr app for iOS received a nice update, and today Yahoo says the Android app will be updated to the same version. That includes a UI change away from the grid we have now to a more content-focused layout resembling the website, as well as better social sharing through Facebook and Tumblr, photo editing and filters via Aviary, and photo-viewing enhancements like zooming and photo details. The update is now live, so if you're a user be sure hit the Google Play and iOS link below to download.

Google Play Store link 
Apple App Store link

Sprint Improves Clearwire Bid, Says Its 'Best And Final Offer'

Sprint entered into an agreement to buy the remaining 50 percent of Clearwire that it doesn't already own for $2.97 per share, or around $2.2 billion. This morning Sprint announced that it's decided to up its bid to $3.40 per share, putting Clearwire at a value of $10.7 billion. Sprint says that this is its "best and final offer" for Clearwire and that it's bid is the "best strategic alternative" for Clearwire and its shareholders.
This improved Sprint bid bests the offer that Dish Network made for Clearwire in January 2013, which was set at $3.30 per share. While it remains to be seen which offer Clearwire will ultimately take, things definitely appear to be leaning in Sprint's favor. Not only does Sprint now have the higher bid, it also has the support of Clearwire's Special Committee and its board of directors. What's more, Sprint says that it's been told by Comcast, Intel and Bright House Networks that they all plan to vote their shares of Clearwire in favor of Sprint's merger. Those three companies own a total of approximately 26 percent of Clearwire.

Source: Sprint

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dish Network Reportedly Makes $2B Offer For LightSquared Spectrum

Dish Network is quite interested in entering the wireless business, and according to a new report, the company is now targeting LightSquared as a way to bolster its existing spectrum holdings. Source speaking to Bloomberg claim that Dish chairman Charlie Ergen recently offered to buy LightSquared's spectrum for $2 billion. The offer was reportedly made on May 15, and LightSquared's is said to have until May 31 to make a decision. Neither company has officially commented on the rumors, but the tipsters claim that LightSquared would use the funds to pay off its secured debt. 
LightSquared previously tried to build out its own 4G LTE wireless network, but the FCC shot down its plans to do so over concerns that its spectrum could interfere with GPS systems. Things went downhill from there, with Sprint ending its spectrum hosting agreement with LightSquared, followed by the company's decision to file for bankruptcy. LightSquared submitted new network plans with the FCC toward the end of 2012, but the federal agency has yet to approve that spectrum for use in a wireless network.
Meanwhile, Dish's spectrum has already been a go ahead by the FCC for use in a wireless network, and since then the company has been trying to find a partner to help it break into the wireless industry. The company has already made offers for Clearwire and Sprint, and now Dish apparently sees LightSquared as a good way to help it bolster its existing spectrum. Considering how desperate Dish has been to get into the wireless business, it's no surprise to see that it's now gunning for LightSquared's spectrum, especially after the issues that LightSquared has been having getting approval for its own network.
We'll have to wait until May 31 to see how this matter plays out, but it'll be interesting to see if Dish can snag LightSquared's spectrum and how that could influence Dish's potential deal with Sprint. It's also worth noting that Bloomberg's sources claim that Dish's offer is a "stalking horse agreement," which means that other company's could come in with a higher bid for LightSquared's spectrum. The next 11 days could be quite a bit more exciting than we'd previously anticipated, stay tuned for more details as they emerge. 

Source: Bloomberg

Sprint Gets Approval From SoftBank To Negotiate With Dish

Nearly a month after Sprint was given the ok from SoftBank to speak to Dish and gain more details about its $25.5 billion offer for the Now Network, it appears that the discussions are going to escalate a bit. Sprint tonight announced that it's received a waiver from SoftBank to discuss "non-public information" with Dish and to hold negotiations regarding Dish's bid for Sprint, two things that Sprint was not allowed to do during its previous talks with Dish.
Sprint also reminds us in its announcement that, as part of the terms of its deal with SoftBank, it can end its agreement with the Japanese carrier in order to pursue a better offer. Sprint is quick to point out that it hasn't yet determined if Dish's offer is superior to SoftBank's, though. The No. 3 carrier also says that its board of directors still supports its existing deal with SoftBank.
Sprint originally entered into an agreement with SoftBank late in 2012 that, if completed, will see the Japanese carrier dropping $20.1 billion for a 70 percent stake in Sprint. Dish then surprised most everyone with its own $25.5 billion offer for Sprint in April 2013, and since then Sprint has been contemplating the bids while SoftBank and Dish exchange comments about whose offer is superior.
Exactly how this whole situation will play out is still a mystery, but SoftBank's bid for Sprint did recently get approval from the SEC, and Sprint's shareholders are now scheduled to vote on the offer on June 12. SoftBank also expects the deal to close on July 1. Meanwhile, Dish is still fighting for its offer, and the company has even put in a $2 billion offer for LightSquared's wireless spectrum that could increase the odds of its bid being selected. If you were Sprint, which offer would you choose?

Source: Sprint

Dell’s $100 Thumb Sized Android PC To Ship To Developers By July


Project Orphelia, a thumb-sized drive that turns any display with an HDMI port into an Android PC, is to start shipping in July at a price of around $100, reports PCWorld. It’s similar in form factor to a USB key, and simply plugs into any modern TV or monitor.

The first units will be offered to developers, with consumers expected to be able to get their hands on one around August.

While the portability of the device is appealing, you’re still going to need a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to do anything useful with it, raising questions as to how well it can really compete with a tablet or ultrabook. But Dell says it is working on a “keyboard like technology’ to go with it.

Google Working On Nexus Q Replacement

An FCC filing suggests that Google may be working on a new streaming media player to replace the Nexus Q, the device Google announced, shipped to pre order customers free of charge and then withdrew from the market.

The Nexus Q was a $300 device that streamed only a limited amount of content to a TV, so was a tough sell against alternative approaches like an Xbox or Apple TV box. There are unfortunately no clues as as to how this new device might differ from the Q.

Friday, May 17, 2013

DirecTV Consider Bid For Hulu

DirecTV is weighing a potential bid for Hulu, the latest company to show interest in the six-year-old video site, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Hulu’s owners, including Walt Disney Co., News Corp., and Comcast Corp., are considering various strategic options for the site including a sale. Other firms that have bid or expressed interest in Hulu include cable operator Time Warner Cable Inc., Guggenheim Partners, Yahoo Inc. and former News Corp. president Peter Chernin’s investment group.

Yahoo Rumored To Be In Talks To Buy Tumblr For $1 billion

Yahoo is rumored to be on the verge of shelling out $1 billion for hosting site Tumblr. This could easily be a win-win deal as Yahoo needs the infusion of young blood while Tumblr is looking for liquidity. There is speculation that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has had her eye on the company for a while and has already met with its executives including Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp.

Tumblr has raised $125 million at a valuation of $800 million, so a $1 billion price tag would certainly be in the ballpark, especially since 
the microblogging site starting adding mobile ads to its mobile app in March. Over the past 6 months, the number of those using Tumblr's mobile app has quadrupled. Tumblr's growth is right now off the charts. The company had $13 million in revenue last year and is expecting as much as $100 million this year.
Yahoo has been shutting down many of its mobile apps and one estimate is that 80% of the company's apps could be gone by the end of the year. But a purchase of Tumblr would add a mobile app that could revitalize Yahoo in the mobile space, where it has yet to make a name for itself.

According to sources close to the situation, the Yahoo board plans to meet Sunday night to decide whether to approve a $1.1 billion all-cash offer for New York-based blogging site Tumblr.

Source: AllThingsD

Samsung Announces The Availability Of Samsung TecTiles 2

Samsung has announced the next generation of their TecTile NFC offering. Dubbed TecTiles 2, the programmable stickers are designed to be fully operable with all NFC enabled handsets from Samsung, including the Galaxy S4.

As with the original TecTiles launched alongside the Galaxy S3, TecTiles 2 feature a companion app for Samsung smartphones that allows users to create custom NFC-based functions. You can get an idea of this from our review for the original TecTiles, but basic interactions include toggling settings like Bluetooth or WiFi, opening a specific application, or checking into Foursquare or Facebook.

You can buy them starting today direct from Samsung and soon from other retailers. A pack of five cost priced at $14.99.

This article we wrote back on April 27th explains why the original Samsung Tectiles will not work with the Samsung Galaxy S4, check it out here....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Missed Google I\O 2013, Check Out The Entire Google I/O 2013 Keynote Presentation

Did you miss the 3 hour Google I/O keynote from yesterday? Google decided not to do a day 2 keynote, they packed everything into day 1, with topics ranging from Google+ to Chrome to Android and even Google Maps. 

The Keynote presentation ended with a 30-40 minute Q&A with Larry Page.
To see all of our coverage from Google I/O 2013.

Google Updates Google TV With Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2

Google TV didn't receive any stage time today at the Google I/O keynote, it will be receiving Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and the latest version of Chrome. While Google has not elaborated on what new features Jelly Bean 4.2.2 will bring to Google TV, it is worth noting that this update will allow manufacturers to deliver updates within weeks instead of months.
Additionally, Chrome for Google TV will see update cycles every six weeks. The latest Chrome update will bring hardware-based content protection, a move that will make developers happier in respect to preventing piracy.
Current Google TV owners should anticipate Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 to be pushed out through their respective manufacturers “in the coming months”.
We've seen Google work with various partners to put Android on pretty much anything (e.g., TVs, gaming devices, cameras). Certainly Google TV has been around for a few years but it hasn't caught on as quickly as the Mountain View company would have hoped, hopefully this upgrade to 4.2.2 and the new Google features unveiled today entices developers to add new apps and make the platform more appealing.

Google Wallet Now Available For Sprint’s Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2 And HTC One

Google Wallet
This morning, Google announced the availability of Google Wallet for new Android devices. The newly approved devices are Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2, along with the HTC One on Sprint. US Cellular also got some love, as their Galaxy S4 is also now compatible with the mobile wallet service. 
If you own one of those devices on Sprint, you can pick up the Google Wallet app through Google Play, starting today.

Google Play Store link

Source: Google+

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Google Integrates Google Wallet With Gmail

Following its I/O keynote address today, Google just announced on its commerce blog that it will soon be integrating Google Wallet features into Gmail to allow users to send and receive money. The feature will be available to those with a Google Wallet account and will initially be available to users 18 and older in the US.

Google Wallet is now integrated with Gmail, so you can quickly and securely send money to friends and family directly within Gmail — even if they don’t have a Gmail address. It’s free to send money if your bank account is linked to Google Wallet or using your Google Wallet balance, and low fees apply to send money using your linked credit or debit card.

Google will be adding a new $ icon next to the paperclip icon for attachements that will allow users to “attach money” to messages in Gmail by simply entering the amount and clicking send.
Google noted that the feature will first only be available on the desktop, but that users can also send money through on mobile devices.

Look for the feature to start rolling out in the coming weeks but earlier access will be granted to those that receive money from others using the feature. You can learn more about sending money with Gmail here.

Hangouts For Android And Chrome Goes Live

google hangouts
Google Hangouts, the new unified and cross-platform messaging service announced by Google at I/O, is now live on all platforms. For most of us, we care about Chrome and Android, but if you are an iOS user, you can find it in the App Store as well. Go grab it!
To install to your phone, you’ll need to install through the web Play store for the time being. This replaces Google Talk.

Source:  Hangouts Google Play LinkChrome Link

Google Announces Hangouts, New Cross-Platform Messaging Service

google hangouts

Google has announced Hangouts, their new messaging service. It works across platforms, meaning it works on Chrome, Android, and iOS.

During today’s Google I/O keynote, Google and Vic Gundotra announced Hangouts, their new messaging service (previously codenamed Babel). It works across platforms, meaning it works on Chrome, Android, and iOS. It also utilizes cross-device notifications, which allows you to check one device and have the notifications on others clear away. This is the unified chat that has been rumored for weeks now.

I will post the download link when we get our hands on it...

Google Play Music “All Access” Now Live (Link Included)

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 12.53.26 PM

Google made their new streaming music service official. Google Play Music “All Access” gives users the ability to search through Google’s huge amount of songs and the ability to play them instantly. 

An all new UI allows you to swipe away songs if you don’t want them and the ability to make radio stations instantly based on one song. The price of this new streaming service is $9.99 per month, but everyone gets a 30 free trial. If you are an early adopter and sign up before June however, your price is only $7.99.

Google Play Music All Access is now live sign up here

Google Will Offer Samsung Galaxy S4 With Stock Android

Google IO 2013 - Google Samsung Galaxy S4 - 010

Google clearly isn't afraid of Samsung’s growing Android presence, with the search giant today announced a completely stock Galaxy S4. Vanilla. Stock. No TouchWiz anywhere. One of the best new Android devices available today just got much, much, much better times infinity.

What you’re seeing here is real: this is a Samsung Galaxy S4 with the same software experience we ship on our Nexus devices. It’s Google’s take on Android and it feels awesome on the S4.”

The vanilla version will be unlocked, sold through Google Play, and available for AT&T and T-Mobile, with LTE support. The bootloader will be unlocked and receive Android updates promptly, no waiting for Samsung or carriers to give the go ahead. Availability is June 26 for $649.

Google All Access Streaming Music Service Announced

Google IO 2013 - Play Music - All Access - 001

Google announced at Google I/O 2013 this morning announced its new streaming music service called All Access.

Using algorithms, Google is going to help you discover new music based off of the tracks you’ve uploaded. Analyzing what you’ve uploaded and listened to, All Access will suggest more tracks that you may like and will blend with your own collection. It will work on phones, tablets and desktops.

Pricing will run $9.99 a month in the U.S., but everyone will receive a 30 day free trial. If you initiate your trial prior to June 30, you will be able to subscribe at $7.99 a month.

New Google API Syncs Notifications Across All Your Devices

Google IO 2013 - Google API - Google Cloud Messaging - Notification Sync - 02

As part of Google Cloud Messaging (GCM), the search giant on Tuesday announced a new feature that syncs notifications across devices. For anyone who has been frustrated by notifications persisting even when you’ve dismissed one on your phone or tablet will be very happy to hear this. Dismiss a notification on your phone and it won’t be there on your tablet, easy. It’s a simple update, but very, very needed indeed. It’s the little things.

Google Play Games Officially Announced

Google IO 2013 - Google Play Game Services - Multiplayer

Android is getting serious about gaming today at Google I/O 2013. Google Play Games, which leaked out over the weekend, has been made official with a host of new features for your mobile gaming.

Some of the new features you can look forward to include Cloud Save which will allow you to save your game on one Android device and resume it on a second device. Also adding to the platform are the popular enhancements of other platforms such as achievements and leader boards.

HP Announces SlateBook x2 Android Tablet

HP SlateBook X2

HP is announcing SlateBook x2 today. We're basically looking at a standard 10-inch Android tablet, but in the configuration of what HP is calling a "two-in-one device" that has a keyboard dock. As is usually the case, the tablet is completely contained as a stand-alone device, with a 1920x1200 IPS display, Tegra 4 processor and 64GB of storage. The SlateBook x2 is also shipping with Android 4.2.2, and what looks like very limited customizations from HP -- it even goes so far as to say this is "HP’s push to offer access to the Google experience". The docking station has a full keyboard and trackpad, along with a USB port, SDcard slot and an additional battery to charge the tablet.

Based on the information given to us right now the HP SlateBook x2 is expected to ship in August in both grey and white lid colors, and the pricing seems quite nice at $479.99. However this is a "starting price", and it isn't clear whether or not that includes the keyboard dock. The tablet market may be a bit different by the time this device hits store shelves, but it certainly seems like it will have a better shot at grabbing sales than the Slate 7 does.

Google 'App Data' Sync Setting Appears On Android Devices

Head to the Android sync options for your Google account right now and you'll probably see a new check box sitting up top for 'App Data' sync. The new setting seems to have appeared overnight for most people, and we're currently seeing it on all our devices.
What exactly this new sync setting does remains a bit of a mystery, but with the Google I/O keynote due to take place today, chances are we'll find out sooner rather than later. One possibility might be saved-game synchronization through the rumored Google Play Games service, however 'App Data' sounds a bit broader in scope. With just five hours to go until the keynote, at least we shouldn't have long to wait before we find out more.
What's more, the Google Play Store app itself is also being updated on some handsets, with some folks reporting minor visual changes in the UI.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BlackBerry Announces BBM Coming To iOS And Android

BlackBerry has been rumored to bring its BBM messaging platform to iOS and other devices before, today the company has made things official announcing at its event that support for both iOS and Android will be arriving in the coming months. The service, which BlackBerry says currently has about  60 million monthly active users, will come to devices running iOS 6 and Android 4.0 or above when it’s launched as a free app sometime this summer in the App Store and Google Play.

The company said that it would be bringing messaging and groups functionality to new platforms first but also has plans to introduce voice features, screen sharing, and its just announced ”social engagement platform” dubbed ‘Channels’ in future releases. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is “committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured” as possible.

While features such as screen sharing and voice will come later, the following features will be available to the iOS and Android apps at launch:

  • The immediacy of BBM chats
  • Multi-person chats
  • Voice note sharing
  • BlackBerry Groups, where BBM users are able to set up groups of up to 30 people and share calendar, photos, files and more
BlackBerry notes in its press release that Apple and Google will first have to approve the planned BBM apps (as always) before launching in the App Store and Google Play.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Google Bringing It All Together With 15GB Of Shared Storage

Shared storage copy
Today, Google announced that they are taking all that storage space and making them all into a tight little package for everyone. All Google users now have a free 15GB of storage space across the three applications and Google Apps users will receive 30GB of space. 
Life gets a bit easier when your Google products work well together whether that’s inserting a Drive file into an email or sharing a photo from Drive on Google+. As this experience becomes more seamless, separate storage doesn’t make as much sense anymore. So instead of having 10 GB for Gmail and another 5 GB for Drive and Google+ Photos, you’ll now get 15 GB of unified storage for free to use as you like between Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos.
With this new combined storage space, you won’t have to worry about how much you’re storing and where. For example, maybe you’re a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2 GB in Gmail. Now it doesn’t matter, because you can use your storage the way you want.
We’ll also be making updates to the Google Drive storage page, so you can better understand how you’re using storage space. Simply hover over the pie chart to see a breakdown of your storage use across Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. And if you need more storage, this is your place to upgrade, with plans starting at $4.99/month for 100 GB.

Tip: This change means you’re no longer limited to a 25 GB upgrade in Gmail any additional storage you purchase now applies there, too.

These changes to Google Drive storage will roll out over the next couple of weeks. Google Apps users will also be getting shared storage, so visit the enterprise blog to learn more. 

Check Out Samsung SideSync For Phone And PC


If you own a Samsung PC and Samsung smartphone, then you might want to check out SideSync, a new application that connects the two devices and lets you perform some pretty convenient functions. A new YouTube video shows off some of the tricks that SideSync can perform including using your keyboard and mouse on your phone, copy and pasting between the two devices, and drag and dropping files from one device to another.
The app is only available from the Samsung App store, so owners of other devices will not be able to try it out. I happen to have a Samsung laptop and a Galaxy S 4, so I’ll be testing it out later and reporting back on the experience. Check out the demo video below and let us know if you get it up and running on your Samsung device.

Source: Samsung Apps

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Google I/O 2013 App Goes Live In The Google Play Store

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 12.58.25 PM

You can now download at the Play Store with a lot of new features this year:

  • NEW! Scan attendee badges via NFC
  • NEW! Schedule changes are immediately synchronized between devices
  • NEW! Lock screen widget for viewing your agenda on the go
  • NEW! Vector-based maps with session info
  • NEW! Dedicated HDMI video output for livestreams
  • NEW! Automatic WiFi setup for attendees
  • NEW! Off-site attendee mode for livestream-only viewers
  • Use Google+ for login
  • Support for viewing Office Hours sessions
  • Improved support for devices with RTL locales

Additionally Google reminds us that if we can’t make it to Moscone, they’re streaming everything so stop complaining about not getting a ticket.

Google Play Store download link