You may think that the Play Store is a fine place to get Android apps, but Verizon apparently isn’t very happy with Google’s dominance — it wants carriers to have some control. Sources for The Information claim that Verizon is in early talks with both other providers and hardware makers to create a global Android store that lets developers make full use of the “specific features” of a given network. Developers would be encouraged to hop aboard by getting the freedom to advertise, and there would be dynamic app recommendations that not only suggest downloads based on where you are (like iOS), but also the time of day and friend activity. Think of it as an adaptive interface for apps you don’t own yet.
The company isn’t commenting on the rumor, and there’s no guarantee that the discussions will bear fruit. However, the motivations behind launching such a storefront are clear. Verizon would potentially reduce Google’s say over the Android app world, and could offer more apps that convince people to subscribe. It might even get a cut of each paid app, although it’s not clear that Verizon is insisting on sharing revenue.
Whether or not Big Red would succeed is another matter, and history suggests that the odds aren’t in its favor. Stores from platform creators, such as the Play Store and Apple’s App Store, succeeded precisely because they avoided the pitfalls of the carrier portals they replaced — they targeted broader audiences and weren’t afraid to host software that competes with network services, like internet calling apps. Verizon’s most recent attempt at a store shut down in 2013, in part because it was only ever offering a fraction of the content you could find elsewhere.
Also, attempts at creating app stores by committee have traditionally fallen flat. Remember the Wholesale Apps Community? It was supposed to provide a more universal app store, but a carrier-by-carrier negotiation process, reluctant phone makers and watered-down features (it was originally based on web tech) doomed it to failure just two years after it got started. Unless Verizon and crew can offer you at least as strong an app selection as what you’re already getting, you might not have much incentive to change your shopping habits.
Source: The Information
Secret’s app is ostensibly meant for office gossip and getting transgressions out of your system, but it has also been abused by bullies wanting to intimidate and shame others. Well, one Brazilian judge is fed up with that misuse — enough so that he’s ordering Apple and Google to remove Secret not just from their respective local app stores, but from people’s devices. Microsoft also has to yank Cryptic, an equivalent Windows Phone app. If the companies don’t take action within 10 days, they face fines of 20,000 Reals ($8,876) per day. That’s a drop in the bucket given their massive revenue streams, but it’s reasonable to say that they’d rather not pay that much just to keep one title available in one country.
The request is certainly feasible. All three companies have removed apps from their stores, and they can technically pull or block software installed on gadgets. However, that last measure is primarily used as a last resort, such as in the event of a malware outbreak; Apple, Google and Microsoft might be reluctant to act unless they have no choice. Whether or not they’re stuck isn’t clear. Brazil’s Constitution bars anonymous attacks that don’t let you defend yourself, but there are arguments both that the data isn’t truly anonymous (Secret knows the culprits) and that the ban hurts freedom of expression. Don’t be shocked if one or more tech firms contest the ruling.
Source: Estadao (translated)
Once you tiptoe past a certain age, ignoring calls from mom and dad sort of becomes de rigueur as you go about your day. That sort of filial nonsense doesn’t fly when you’re younger though, and now there’s an app to make sure you return you young’uns return your parents’ calls – it’s called Ignore No More, and it essentially works by locking down your smartphone until you call them to verbally check in.
For better or worse, the setup process takes just a bit of doing. Parental units need to create an account and make sure the app is installed on all the phones in question (at a cost of $2 a head). Once that’s done though, all it takes is a few taps to lock down access to nearly everything else on the device — the only way to regain access is for the phone’s owner to place a call to someone on a preset list of contacts. Voilà: parents have a surefire way to get junior on the phone whenever they’d like. Fortunately for the Apple faithful, this app is Android-only for now; feel free to dodge your folks with impunity until the iOS version is released.
Via: Digital Trends
Source: Ignore No More
Portable projectors aren’t a new thing. There have been a number of them over years that have popped up, the Brookstone Pocket Projector is one that we looked at a while back. Samsung even gave it a run with a pico projector of sorts built right into a phone. Sprint even has the LivePro . While I have seen a number of pico projectors that range in price tags, abilities and brightness, there are very few that can offer up an interactive touchscreen to the projection. The TouchPico uses an infrared stylus that allows you to touch the surface of where the image is projected, allowing you to play games and control applications like you would with your finger on your touchscreen. This alone gives the TOuchPico a pretty unique ability and a totally different set of use case scenarios. The TouchPico goes beyond just being an independent device though. It also offers up the ability, via its own Wi-Fi creation, the ability to mirror your Android devices screen through the TouchPico without the need for wires. The device also offers up your traditional HDMI in port, AV/VGA in port and USB OTG port as well. That expands the conectability to your laptop, digital camera and a plethora of other devices. It also offers a micro SD card slot along with an audio out port.
The TouchPico is an interesting enough device to take a look at. I can see a use for it with my wife and kids as a fun way to play a few games together on the wall and for watching movies in a more theater style experience without the higher price tag of a more traditional projector. As the video depicts, the TouchPico would be a pretty cool teaching tool that gets kids up and interacting digitally.
The IndieGoGo campaign started out on July 27th and was looking to raise a small $55,000 to get these off the ground. It didn’t take long for that goal to be met and exceeded. They are sitting at nearly 1000% of their goal, that’s $527,838. The first round of deliver devices is already sold out at the $349 early bird price tag. The second round of $150 is up for grabs at $379 now with about 114 units remaining. When the device launches it will retail for an expected $499, so getting in now does save you a little cash. They also still have a number of ‘pay later’ backing options where you pay $99 now and the remaining later. The company has also just launched a new Thank You Program too. You can find the link on the page, but basically if you share out the campaign with your referral link and people come fund the campaign you can earn some credit towards your own purchase. A good way to get an even steeper discount. Near as I can tell, the referral program will refund you all the way up to the cost of the TouchPico or $349 in cash. Not a bad incentive. You will need to make your pledge first though.
TouchJet is also very interested in bringing developers on board. If you are a developer and make a pledge to the program they will coordinate immediately with you offline and can have a TOuchPico in your hands in 2-3 weeks. If you create something special for the device they will be pre-install it to every TouchPico sold this year.
To get more details and to make your pledge, direct yourself over to the TouchPico IndieGoGo campaign page.
The post Android Powered TouchPico pocket projector puts an 80-inch screen in your Pocket appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
The transition from mobile to desktop seems like a natural evolution for Mailbox, which began as a clever time-saving email app for iOS. Four months ago, the Dropbox-owned venture excited fans by announcing that it would soon have an option on Mac as a limited beta. Today’s the day: Mailbox is ready to roll out the app to the first batch of early adopters. The service will begin rolling out to those who’ve signed up for the beta online, as well as a handful of current Mailbox users. If you’re not one of the lucky winners tomorrow, be patient — the rollout will come in batches, and the company assures us that you’ll still get your hands on it before the final version is ready. Each beta tester will be issued a betacoin (not to be confused with other forms of digital currency), and you’ll even receive additional betacoins to share with friends as soon as you download the app.
The app, which is compatible with OS X Mavericks and later (sorry, Mountain Lion users), is double-paned with a rail on the left side. The latter lists your folders, drafts and archives, while the former handles your inbox (or whatever folder you open) and the body of individual messages. It tries to maintain a minimal look, much like what you’d see on the mobile version, and it even comes with the same swipe gestures (both regular and long swipes are supported). There are plenty of hotkeys, and Mailbox makes it easy to remember which shortcut takes you to which feature: As soon as you hit the command key, each icon on the screen transforms into a letter or two that serves as a hint at what you’re supposed to press.
Mailbox has also integrated a feature that lets you hit snooze on an email on your phone and it’ll reappear when you get back to your computer (and vice versa). This makes it easy to push off a message until you have the time and ability — and faster typing with the keyboard — to take care of it efficiently.
A desktop email client also needs support for writing drafts, and Mailbox made sure to include it not only in the Mac beta, but in the mobile apps as well (on iOS right away, with Android coming “very soon”); company reps said that they wanted to keep the experience as consistent across platforms as possible. The only catch is that you’ll need to be signed into your Dropbox account to save your drafts, since it’ll use up your cloud storage space.
Mailbox reps didn’t want to nail down a specific timeline for when the final version will be ready to ship, though they felt confident that it won’t be too long. But since the beta is all about getting feedback from early users and fine-tuning the app, the company’s more focused on making sure it’s done correctly, rather than quickly.
Microsoft’s OneNote has long been available for Android (among many other platforms), but this latest update makes it easier to use specifically on tablets. The note-taking app now comes with handwriting support that takes advantage of the devices’ relatively bigger screens, as well as with better options for formatting your notes. If you’re going back to school soon and have a Windows device, though, OneNote for Windows sounds like the better choice with its new ink highlighter, printing support and ability to insert files and PDFs. Finally, the latest Livescribe+ update lets you set up a OneNote notebook where the Livescribe 3 pen can automatically upload what you’re writing down on paper. All these changes are rolling out right now, so expect to get pinged for an update soon if it hasn’t appeared yet.
If you’ve been wondering just what parts let Google’s Project Tango tablet work its 3D mapping magic, iFixit is more than happy to show you. The DIY repair outlet has torn down the experimental Android slate to reveal a truly unique sensor array. While it resembles a Kinect at first, Google notes that it had Mantis Vision build a custom infrared projector (which bathes the world in a light grid) that works in tandem with the 4-megapixel IR camera; there’s no way you’d replace either with off-the-shelf parts. The big, dual-cell 2,480mAh battery was also made to order, since the ATAP team wanted to let developers draw as much power as necessary for their 3D-savvy apps. The Tango tablet is undoubtedly a very clever design, then, but you’ll have to handle it with kid gloves if you ever try it — you probably won’t get another one if it breaks.
Looks like you won’t have to wait for Mozilla’s streaming dongle to stream from Firefox: the browser’s nightly Android test build now supports Chromecast natively. Mozilla’s Lucas Rocha casually mentioned the new feature on his Google+ page and, sure enough, if you download the latest build it’s there – hidden under the tools section as “mirror tab.” The feature works, but it’s early: in our tests the mirrored tab was more than five seconds behind the handset, and was prone to crashing. Want to try it for yourself? You can download the Android APK at the source link below.
Via: Android Police
HTC has its metallic-hewn, well-received One smartphone series. Oh, and its cheaper Desire collection, which has also hit a creative groove of late. But then there’s the company’s Butterfly phones: high-spec Android devices that rarely make it out of Asia. (We say rarely because one snuck into the US under Verizon: remember the Droid DNA?) Now, in Tokyo, HTC has announced the Butterfly 2 — the practically-identical, globetrotting version of Japan’s HTC J. The company hasn’t confirmed whether the model will leave Asia, but it could be a real shame this time around, because going on our early impressions, the Buttterfly 2 could well be better than the HTC One M8. Yeah, we said it.
Let’s get the major similarities out of the way — before we touch on some major changes to the camera. Both 2014′s HTC One and the Butterfly 2 (B2) have a full HD 5-inch, Super-LCD and it’s still great. There’s the same high-end Snapdragon 801 processor, the same flattened, simpler Sense 6 software UI, compatibility with those curious Dot View cases and capacitive Android buttons are now part of the screen — and there’s three of them, like most Google-powered smartphones. Oh, there’s still a pair of BoomSound speakers on front too, although this time they’re plastic panels almost camouflaged into the black screen.
The differences are found around the back. And the sides. And… the front. Not only is the Butterfy 2 made of a shiny, uniformly curved polycarbonate shell, but the entirety of it is water resistant and IP57-rated. This means it’ll survive a 30-minute dip at depths up to 1 meter, but almost as importantly, HTC has ensured its aqua protection forgoes any fiddly flaps to cover up power sockets and such. HTC isn’t elaborating whether its rubber seals or a nano-coating that’s keeping the phone working.
Alongside similar lines of simplicity, trays for both the nano-SIM and micro-SD card don’t require a pin to spring them open: they’re now (satisfyingly solid) pull-out trays. Other minor upgrades include an incrementally larger battery (2,700mAh vs. 2,600mAh on this year’s One), and a trio of shimmery, bold-colored models to choose from. Well, Blue, Red — and a White option. (HTC’s told Engadget that the white model here has a special stain resistance treatment now, which sounds like a detergent ad, but means it’ll stop scratches and mishaps from tainting the white finish). The plastic finish is a divisive one, but in real life, both the red and blue finishes ares luminous and quite attractive. For those that liked HTC’s metal unibodies, however, you’re likely to be a little disappointed. It’s difficult to determine whether the phone will be repurposed outside of Asia: for 4G band nerds, it packs FDD bands 1,3,7, 8, 28 and TDD bands 38, 40 and 41. In short, this smartphone doesn’t click with any of the major US carriers. At least, not this particular model.
HTC has been pushing its camera skills for a few years. More recently that’s involved bowing out of the megapixel-count with a 4-megapixel ‘UltraPixel‘ camera sensor and offering some very impressive low-light performance with it. Well, things have changed on this phone — and we’re not sure what to make of it just yet.
First up, the secondary depth sensor first seen on this year’s HTC One is very much here, adding improvements to autofocus speed as well as the ability to add a bit of post-processing magic to your shots based on depth info. But the main shooter itself is no longer an UltraPixel camera — it’s now a 13-megapixel sensor with, we guess, just normal pixels. It’s a double-edged sword: HTC’s philosophy with the camera sensors in its One series were refined and focused on offering up high performance photos in low light. Pixels were given room to bathe in more light, but that came with a trade-off in the sheer number of pixels. On the front, you’ll still get a wide-angled 5-megapixel front-facing sensor to keep that selfie habit going strong.
With the Butterfly 2, HTC has cranked the resolution up substantially on the front-facing camera, meaning you could now crop and zoom, and your photos (if you need it) are simply more detailed, given the wider canvas. During our early tests, the difference in detail is noticeable once you pinch-and-zoom a little. However, we’re still waiting to test the Butterfly 2′s camera in less favorable lighting settings to see how it handles it. HTC’s spokespeople reiterated that it’ll continue with its UltraPixel cameras, but that the Butterfly 2 offered a different kind of camera sensor. Fortunately for us, and you, we’ve taken possession of a review sample. Expect our verdict in the coming weeks.
You don’t have to wait until Motorola’s September 4th event to get more details regarding the Moto 360 smartwatch, it seems — Best Buy appears to have the scoop over two weeks early. The big-box retailer has posted a product listing for the timepiece that appears to reveal many (though not all) of the specifications. Reportedly, the device’s signature not-quite-circular display is a 1.5-inch, 320 x 290 LCD. You’ll also find a heart rate sensor and a pedometer, so the 360 may be a good fit if you’re an amateur athlete.
Best Buy isn’t saying just when the gadget will ship, although it’s listing the same $249 price that we saw a couple of months ago in a contest. That’s a good deal for what’s arguably much nicer-looking wristwear than either the G Watch or Gear Live. However, it’s probably wise to take the pricing (and possibly the specs) with a grain of salt. Motorola warned us back in June that pricing wasn’t set in stone, and the mention of 802.11n WiFi is odd when existing Android Wear devices only use Bluetooth to communicate with your phone. As such, it won’t be alarming if there are at least a few surprises left when the Moto 360 makes its official debut next month.
Source: Best Buy