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Posts tagged ‘Android 4.3’

30
Jun

Google Translate gets more conversational


mountain view  ca usa   nov 2 ...

Google Translate is notorious for spewing out either oddly worded or overly formal results, but the company says it’s getting better thanks to people’s help. Mountain View’s online translator is now more adept at figuring out informal speech — for instance, it can tell if you want to ask “Is everything alright?” when what you’ve typed in has another more literal translation, as you can see below the fold. That’s all made possible by the volunteers who spend time translating phrases and checking the quality of other people’s submissions on the Translate community website. The company promises to incorporate more and more translations over time as its service learns each language better. Hopefully, that means locals won’t look at us funny next time we try to use it overseas.

[Image credit: shutterstock]

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Source: Google Translate

29
May

Google I/O keynote roundup: all the announcements in one place


Google IO 2015 google photos avilable today

We haven’t got any new hardware, but Google made it up to us with a ton of software and platform news. We already covered most of the big stuff, but if you just want everything in one place, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are the top news from the Google I/O keynote today.

Android M preview

As expected, Google launched the M preview version of Android, with a consumer release scheduled for Q3. Read more or check out the main features:

  • Chrome custom tabs – WebView got an update, with Chrome state preservation and support for custom buttons on top of the frame. Read more.
  • Granular permissions – Apps developed for Android M will feature granular permission control, in-app and in-settings. Read more.
  • Doze mode – when in Doze mode, Android M devices will consume less power, without interfering with notifications or alarms. Read more.
  • USB Type C support – Android M will support USB Type C connectors out of the box. Useful for reverse charging and more. Read more.
  • Fingerprint sensor support – stock Android now supports fingerprint sensors out of the box; any app can use the feature for authentication. Read more.
  • Android Pay – built into Android M, Android Pay will allow fast, secure, contactless payments across US retailers and online. Read more.
  • App state backup – apps running on Android M now have their state backed up to the cloud, making it easy to transfer your settings from device to device. Read more.

Android M developer preview images

Google has made developer preview versions of Android M available for the following devices:

Project Brillo

Project Brillo is Google’s Internet of Things operating systems. Based on a barebones version of Android, Brillo will give developers and manufacturers an easy way to create and run connected devices. Read more.

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is finally available without an invite. New features coming are availability for Google apps accounts, trip bundles, undo send button, custom signatures, swipe to delete option and more. Read more.

Google Photos

Google has decoupled the Photos functionality from Google Plus into a standalone app that offers unlimited storage, improved auto-tagging, revamped autoawesome features and more. Read more.

Google Now on Tap

Coming with Android M, Google Now on Tap makes the virtual assistant accessible from any app through a home button long press. Now with more contextual awareness. Read more.

For developers

Google announced Android Studio 1.3, Polymer 1.0, a new Material design library and more tools to help devs create awesome apps. Read more.

Offline Google Maps

Full offline functionality is coming to Google Maps by the end of the year. Read more.

Android One updates

For developing markets, Google is serving optimized versions of websites to ensure the best possible user experience. Read more.

Android Nanodegree

Want to learn everything about Android development? In six months, that is? Google’s new Nanodegree is for you. Read more.

Google Family Star

Family Star is a sort of G-rated section of the Play Store that kids can peruse without fear of bumping into something inappropriate. Read more.

Developer pages

Google now gives developers a nicer home in the Play Store and lets them A/B test app variants. Read more.

Virtual reality

Google is releasing an improved version of Cardboard VR that is compatible with more devices, as well as Jump and Expedition, two programs designed to spur the development of VR. Read more.

HBO Now

Finally, HBO Now is no longer exclusive to iOS devices. The service is hitting Play Store this summer. Read more.

Woah, that’s a lot of news. And it’s not even all of it – keep it tuned to Android Authority as we look at what’s new in Android M!

28
May

Lenovo announces Lenovo Cast streaming device


Lenovo-Cast_01

Google introduced its Chromecast nearly two years ago and since then, we’ve seen a myriad of competitors also launched. Today, at its TechWorld keynote in Beijing, Lenovo has announced the Lenovo Cast, a competitor to Google’s streaming device with a difference as it also supports the DLNA and Miracast standards.

The puck-shaped Lenovo Cast is compatible with just about any Miracast or DLNA device and can be connected to any display that supports HDMI. The Lenovo Cast features a microUSB and a micro HDMI port along with dual-band Wi-Fi support (unlike Google’s Chromecast, which is limited to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi only), support for broadcasting in full HD and a range of 20 metres, including streaming through walls.

The Lenovo Cast comes measures 70mm diameter by 15mm thick and weighs just 50 grams; unlike the Chromecast, which just sticks out of your TV’s HDMI port, you can mount the Lenovo Cast to the back of your TV if you so wish. The Lenovo Cast is compatible with iOS, Android 4.3 and higher and selected Windows 8.1 devices.

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The Cast will launch at the beginning of August at a cost of $49, which – although higher than the $35 Chromecast – is cheap enough to still be an impulse-buy item that offers value for money.

13
May

Google, Nestlé come together again to stamp YouTube’s name on 600,000 KitKat packages


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The relationship between Google and Nestlé remains as strong as its ever been. Google released Android 4.4 in 2013 and applied the KitKat name, a product that Nestlé owns and licenses to Hershey in the United States. Now the two are back together to replace the KitKat name with YouTube’s on more than 600,000 packages in the United Kingdom. It is all part of Nestlé’s ‘Celebreate the Breakers Break’ campaign. Also, searching “YouTube my break” on a mobile device will return results with the top four videos trending from around the world. Google and Nestlé want people to make the most of their unused time.

nestle_youtube_break_package

Click here to view the embedded video.

Source: Nestlé

Come comment on this article: Google, Nestlé come together again to stamp YouTube’s name on 600,000 KitKat packages

2
May

LG launches Watch Urbane-exclusive LG Call app to Google Play


lg watch urbane aa 9

LG has just released a new app to the Google Play Store that allows you to place calls on your phone from your watch. But unless you own an LG Watch Urbane, you won’t be able to use it. So far, the app is sitting at a measly 1.5/5 star rating on Google Play, and for good reason. Unfortunately, LG doesn’t make very clear the app’s exclusivity to the Watch Urbane in the app description, and that’s certainly upsetting a ton of G Watch and G Watch R owners.

LG Call for Android Wear

However, if you do happen to own a brand new Watch Urbane, you now have the option to initiate phone calls from your wrist. With the LG Call app, you’ll be able to scroll through your recent calls, favorite contacts, and take advantage of the interesting rotary phone UI LG has selected for this app.

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It’s possible that LG is limiting the number of supported devices because the app is still in the testing process. But in any case, we’ll have to wait and see if the company decides to expand compatibility to more devices. If you’re interested, head to the Google Play link below.

Get it on Google Play



24
Jan
image-405687.jpg

Google addresses WebView security concerns, makes recommendations on how to stay safe


Android Security

If you are still waiting for Google to do something about the WebView vulnerabilities in older Android releases, you may not be a fan of their official response to the matter. Google says they’ve already fixed it, sort of, but at least offered ways that you can protect yourself and your data going forward.

In a recent Google+ post, echoing an older DevBytes video and our own take on the matter, Google has addressed the WebView issues that have been of growing target for complaints of the free and open source Android OS. Android releases prior to KitKat, that is, versions 4.3 and older, have a known code injection flaw in the WebView element.

WebView is broken, don’t use it

WebView is a tool within Android that allows apps to display web content within the app, you’ve all seen these before as ads at the bottom of a free game or an in-app web based help page. Although the Google+ post goes on to describe a few best practices, the underlying message is unforgiving and clear, WebView is broken, so don’t use it.

Perhaps Google’s advice is easier said than done, especially for the casual gamers in the crowd, but disabling the default Android browser and installing Chrome, Dolphin or another full web browser is good advice regardless the issues. Developers, please familiarize yourself with the best practices for your apps, to keep us secure.

android 4.4 kitkat logo 4

Now, didn’t you say that Google fixed the issue? Well, yes, sort of. Google took the time in the Google+ post to explain that they have limited resources for working on older versions of Android. Plainly put, Android 4.4 KitKat included the fix to the WebView bug. Keeping in mind that KitKat is over a year old now itself, having been through versions up to 4.4.4 before giving way to Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is also a couple versions in already. Android 5.0.2 Lollipop is already shipping out to some devices.

Bottom line, users of devices running Jellybean and older are just out of luck. Please take the precautions discussed, or have a look at installing a custom ROM, if one is available for your Android unit.

Is this an acceptable response from Google, or should they dedicate more staff to fixing older Android releases? Before you answer, I might suggest taking a look at the latest Android distribution numbers.



21
Aug
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HP SlateBook 14 review: Android? On a laptop?


There’s mounting evidence that HP, once the leading PC maker, does not know what it’s doing. After announcing plans to cut up to 5 percent of its work force, the company is basically throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Recent experiments include a luxury smartwatch, Chromebooks, a $199 Window notebook and now, a laptop running Android. Here’s the sales pitch, and bear with me if this doesn’t make sense: The SlateBook 14, according to HP, is for students and teens who already use Android on their mobile devices. In other words, they already own a Galaxy S5 or what have you, and they should have an Android laptop to match. The idea is that they might choose this over a Chromebook because it has more apps, and because it’s more familiar. Ditto for Windows laptops — except, you know, Windows actually has lots of apps too. Setting aside HP’s flawed logic (they never said Windows users should stick to Windows Phone): Why would you pay $430 for a laptop running an OS that was primarily meant to be used with the fingers?

Hardware

DNP HP SlateBook 14 review Android On a laptop

Take what I say here with a grain of salt: The same way Vogue editor Anna Wintour is allowed to like a dress covered in futuristic space-snails, I’m allowed to like a laptop decked out in Lamborghini yellow. Personally, I kinda dig how the black lid and keyboard deck contrast with the bright hinge and sides. The only place where HP goes too far is the bottom side of the machine. It’s all yellow — right in your face. Ditto for the prominent Beats Audio logo, located on the right side of the hinge, right in your line of sight whenever you’re looking at the screen. In any case, whether you love or hate the yellow accents, I think we can agree on this: It’s insane that in addition to releasing an Android laptop in the first place — a niche product if ever there was one — HP chose the most polarizing design possible, and didn’t even offer any color options. Want that yellow to be cyan instead? Tough noogies, kiddos. You can have a yellow laptop running Android or… something else entirely.

It’s a shame, because this is otherwise a fairly well-made laptop, especially for $430. The lid is made of aluminum, and while the rest is constructed from plastic, those bits still feel solid; the thing never bends when you grab it by the palm rest. The 1080p touchscreen is sharper than almost everything else I’ve seen in this price range, and while the LED-backlit panel doesn’t provide the best viewing angles, the quality is still a big step up over every Chromebook I’ve tested. The keyboard is sturdy too, with well-spaced buttons that provide a decent amount of travel. And of course, Beats Audio offers better sound than what you’ll get on other budget notebooks. Still, I can see where someone might overlook all of that if they couldn’t get past the screaming yellow.

DNP HP SlateBook 14 review Android On a laptop

At 3.71 pounds, the laptop is on the heavy side. Not for a 14-inch laptop, mind you, but it’s still much weightier than a smaller Android tablet with a detachable case or keyboard dock. It’s also heavier than most Chromebooks, as well as some budget Windows laptops (I’m talking about the netbook-sized 11-inch models here). Considering Android isn’t that useful on a laptop, I have to question whether owning a relatively heavy notebook is worth it when you could just buy a tablet or Chromebook and call it a day.

It’s also not like you get that many more ports on a machine this big. As on some Chromebooks, there’s a full-sized HDMI socket, a headphone jack and a memory card reader to help offset the rather paltry 16GB of built-in storage. Incidentally, that slot actually takes microSD, not SD, cards — a normal spec for phones and tablets, but an oddity on a 14-inch laptop. All told, the main difference in I/O between this and a Chromebook is that you get three USB ports here instead of two, but I’d hardly call that a selling point.

Performance and battery life

DNP HP SlateBook 14 review Android On a laptop

Excuse me while I point out the obvious: Android was not designed to be used with a mouse. Personally, I use the Moto X as my daily driver. I spend more hours a day staring at KitKat than I’d like to admit. And yet, when I opened the SlateBook for the first time, I paused for a moment, unsure of what to do next. After a couple seconds, of course, I came to my senses and did what any reasonable person would do: I reached up and touched the screen. And so it went. Several days into using the SlateBook, and I’ve rarely touched the trackpad. It happens to be a very nice trackpad, and it comes in handy when I’m reading a website and would rather not reach across the keyboard to scroll down the page. Otherwise, though, I use my fingers, just as I would on my phone.

HP SlateBook 14 NVIDIA Shield Tablet Tegra Note 7 Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Quadrant 2.0 16,482 20,556 16,066 18,597
Vellamo 2,458 3,055 3,314 1,672
3DMark IS Unlimited 16,040 30,970 16,473 12,431
SunSpider 1.0 (ms) 685 463 586 1,109
CF-Bench 34,655 43,033 34,386 31,695
SunSpider: Lower scores are better.

The same way there’s only one color option for the SlateBook, there’s just one spec configuration. That would be the $430 model I tested here, which has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage and an NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip — the same one used in the Note 7 tablet. But in a way, the performance is moot. I mean, of course you want the device to run smoothly. And it does. Apps launch quickly. The OS is quick to respond if I want to see a list of my open programs; closing and switching applications is a breeze. Web pages load quickly, albeit not as fast as most Chromebooks. The thing is, the SlateBook’s quad-core Tegra 4 processor can handle even more than that. You know, like games. But on a device like this, why would you even bother? Who wants to cradle a 14-inch, 3.7-pound laptop, all so that they can tilt their way through Need For Speed? Who wants to reach across the keyboard when you could rest a tablet in your lap? And if you’re content to only play browser games, why don’t you use your $430 to buy a proper laptop?

The more I use the SlateBook, the more I think Android users would be better served by a tablet that can pair with either a keyboard case or detachable keyboard dock; you’d get more portability, similar battery life (more on that in a minute) and greater versatility when it comes to gaming. And yet you’d still have that keyboard when you needed it. If you’re the sort of person who does a ton of typing — email, web surfing, office docs — you’d be better off with either a Chromebook or a Windows machine. At least those operating systems were meant to be used with a mouse.

Battery life

HP SlateBook 14 9:03
ASUS C200 11:19
ASUS Transformer Book T100 10:40
Dell Chromebook 11 8:37
ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C 8:26
NVIDIA Shield Tablet 8:23
Samsung Chromebook 2 (13-inch) 8:22
Toshiba Chromebook 8:15
Acer C720 Chromebook (Intel Core i3) 7:53
Acer C720 Chromebook (Intel Celeron) 7:49
HP Chromebook 11 5:08
Chromebook Pixel 4:08 (WiFi)/3:34 (LTE)

The SlateBook 14′s 32Wh battery is rated for nine hours of runtime and indeed, I got exactly nine hours and three minutes of continuous video playback (that’s with WiFi on, fixed brightness and Facebook and Twitter set to poll periodically). On the one hand, that’s great for a laptop; it’s the sort of longevity you’d expect from a $1,000 Ultrabook, but not necessarily a bargain-basement notebook, especially not one like this with a bigger screen.

On the other hand, nine-hour battery life is only marginally better than what most Chromebooks are capable of, and again, those tend to be more portable than the machine we have here. It’s also on par with Android tablets, like the new NVIDIA Shield tablet or the ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C, which costs $299 with a keyboard dock. Even if you wanted a Windows system, you could find a low-powered laptop or hybrid that delivers long battery life. (There are plenty of options in the 11-inch range.) Have I made my point clearly enough? Long battery life is not a good enough reason to buy this.

Software

DNP HP SlateBook 14 review Android On a laptop

Not that it matters — I’m recommending you don’t buy this — but the SlateBook runs Jelly Bean (version 4.3), with an upgrade to KitKat expected to arrive sometime in Q4. Thankfully, HP left Android as is; there are no skins here, no home screen panels that are impossible to remove. Nope, this is Android as Google meant it to be experienced. Really, the only mark HP left on the device is a handful of pre-installed apps. These include ones for Box.com, Evernote, Skitch, Skype, Hulu Plus, Splashtop, NVIDIA TegraZone, Kingsoft Office and CyberLink PowerDirector Mobile. You’ll also find some apps from HP itself, including Connected Drive, Connected Music, Connected Photo, ePrint, Media Player and File Manager. There’s also a “Games” app, which is really just a store for WildTangent titles. In any case, if none of this strikes your fancy, you can always uninstall them in the settings and free up a little bit of space.

Wrap-up

DNP HP SlateBook 14 review Android On a laptop

The SlateBook is an interesting specimen. That’s why I wanted to review it: because I was curious about the idea of an Android laptop, and thought you might be too. And it is interesting. But by no means should you actually buy one. The SlateBook takes Android, an otherwise intuitive operating system, and manages to make it… cumbersome. It’s a pain to use with a mouse, and yet if you want to use your fingers, you have to reach across the keyboard. Because that keyboard doesn’t detach, the device is far heavier than a standalone tablet, and the battery life isn’t even that much better.

If you love the Android experience, just buy a tablet with a keyboard case. If the typing experience is paramount, there are Windows laptops that are less expensive and more portable. Even a Chromebook would make more sense than the SlateBook; at least Chrome OS was designed to be used with a mouse. Samsung’s 13-inch Chromebook 2, for instance, has just as sharp a display and costs $30 less, and there are loads of options that are even cheaper. Frankly, I’m not sure I’d recommend an Android laptop at any price, but for $430 the answer’s easy: Just don’t do it.

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2
Apr
image-195575.jpg

KitKat Sees a Nice Jump in New Platform Version Pie Chart


Android-Platform-Distribution-April-2014-kitkat

Another month has past, so another platform chart has been released to see who is running what on their devices. We always hope to see the newest versions of Android take most of the pie, and it looks like Android 4.4 KitKat has seen a nice percentage raise to 5.3%. Last month the percentage was roughly 2.5%, so they are doing their best to get that KitKat out there to us. Jelly Bean is still the victor in this pie, by taking 61.4% of devices out there, which is about a 0.6% decrease from last month. A very lovely number indeed, which is what Android is striving to achieve, by making their newest versions easier to get on all the many devices out there. Cut down that fragmentation.

Still makes me laugh that there are still people rocking Froyo out there, but at least that Gingerbread and ICS number has gone down. Let us know what you think about these new numbers.

Source: Phandroid

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4
Mar
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Android 4.3 OTA Outed for T-Mobile Sony Xperia Z, Starting Today?


Android 4.3 for Sony Xperia Z T-MobileIn typical information cruising we came across a post over at Android Geeks that said the T-Mobile Sony Xperia Z Android 4.3 update was starting to roll out. The page they referred to was the T-Mobile support page for the Xperia Z. That is is all on the up and up, but it seems that shortly after it was published, it was removed.

Priory to its vanishing act, the AndroidGeek guys got a screenshot of the page. It outlined that as of March 3rd, today, there would be an update to Android 4.3 for the Xperia Z. It would be labeled with firmware version 10.4.C.0.797. The improvements sections lists a few niceties though.

  • Software Stability Improvements
  • UXP Air user interface redesign
  • WiFi Calling user interface redesign
  • Stock keyboard switched from Nuance XT9 to Swiftkey
  • 5 signal bars instead of 4

A few things could have happened that forced it to be pulled back down. One, the publication wasn’t finished. Seriously, there is an extra bullet point with no writing.

Xperia Z T-Mobile Android 4.3Second, while today is March 3rd, they have all day to start the roll out. It is most likely still coming, just not until later this evening. Or third, which we don’t want to have happen, it started its roll out and and failed or screwed up some devices. We didn’t see any reports of issues, or of anyone getting the OTA yet for that matter, so we are going to go with the first two reasons for now.

For those sporting the T-Mobile branded Sony Xperia Z,  keep your device charged up and don’t stray to far from a WiFi connection. The file size that was listed comes in at 308 MBs. If you happen to see it pop-up, let us, and the rest of the users, know about it.

Source: Android Geeks / Android Police

18
Feb
image-188935.jpg

Android 4.4 KitKat for the Sprint Galaxy S4. Sony Brings Android 4.3 to Multiple Devices. – Device Updates


Samsung Galaxy S4 Sprint ANdroid 4.4.2 KitKat

Hello Android friends. Time for that time of the week where we talk about those updates that happened this passed week. The Sprint Galaxy S4 should be getting some Android 4.4, and Sony is getting a few of their Xperia devices up to Android 4.3. Other than that, a pretty slow update week.

Device Updates
Sprint Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 update rolling out
Sony Xperia devices getting Android 4.3

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