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Google Preparing ‘Android TV’ Set-Top Box with Native Apps, Simple Interface, Voice Search

Google is gearing up to release a new Android TV set-top media box that utilizes a simple card interface with native apps and games, voice search, and a proactive recommendation system, according to new documents obtained by The Verge.

The documents note that while Android powers the box’s experience, the interface will be represented by a simple “cards” interface that represent a variety of mediums, including movies, shows, apps, and games. Users will be able to scroll through the interface with a four-way directional pad that contains Enter, Home, and Back buttons, with the set-top box reportedly featuring “optional” game controllers.


“Access to content should be simple and magical,” reads one Google document, which adds that it should never take more than three clicks or gestures to go from the homescreen to enjoying a new piece of content. Even search appears to be secondary to intuitively understanding what you want and delivering it as soon as possible, though search will be still be one of Android TV’s primary tools. In addition to universal search, pressing the Search button on the controller will let you search from within individual apps as well.

Moreover, Android TV is said to contain support for voice input, notifications, and search, with the set-top box also being able to recommend content based on a user’s interests and resume content viewed elsewhere the moment Android TV is turned on. Google is reportedly asking select developers to create games and apps for its new set-top box with optimized interfaces for the TV, as apps for Vevo, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora are expected to ship with the device. The company will also work in its own apps including Play Movies, YouTube, and Hangouts.


“Android TV is Android, optimized for the living room consumption experience on a TV screen,” writes the company, but the focus is on simplicity for now. Google is stripping away unneeded features like telephony, cameras, touchscreen support and near-field communication to keep developers focused, and handing them ready-made interfaces where they can hopefully just plug in shows, games, photos, music, and films.

Google is also expected to keep its popular Chromecast HDMI streaming accessory with the release of Google TV, with The Verge noting that developers will be required to build two different interfaces for the two different devices.

It is not known specifically when the device will launch, but it is clear that Google’s Android TV will enter a growing market of set-top boxes – just this past week, Amazon launched its own Fire TV media streaming box with voice search, game support and more that competes with others devices such as Apple TV and Roku.

The move comes as Apple is said to be preparing a new version of the Apple TV that will integrate with Comcast’s network to enable a streaming TV service for users. Apple is expected to unveil its new Apple TV sometime in the near feature, although some rumors have suggested a launch as early as April.



Wilson introduces what could be the basketball of the future

Ahead of the NCAA men’s Final Four, which takes place today and you can watch via March Madness Live 2014 or on TV, sporting goods maker Wilson has revealed its new, smart basketball. Due to launch this winter (around the holiday season, we’re told), Wilson’s attempting to revolutionize the game of hoops by placing performance-tracking sensors inside of a basketball. The technology, developed by Wilson in partnership with Finnish artificial intelligence firm SportIQ, will allow ballplayers to pair the ball with an app and use it to easily track performance data. This means you can see how well you’re shooting; which spots on the court you’re most efficient from; and the amount of time it takes you to let a shot go.

As it stands, Wilson says its newly minted intelligent ball is a consumer-focused initiative, but that it is “certainly extendable” to future basketball competitions. Wilson’s VP of Digital, Tom Gruger, told Engadget that development for the ball started more than two years ago, and the goal from the beginning was to “provide actionable data to players so their training could be more focused on ‘actual’ rather than ‘perceived’ performance.” Gruger also said the company is working to bring a similar type of tech to products from other sports: “Wilson is pursuing solutions in all of its primary sport categories. We’re excited by the roadmap ahead and feel that we can change the way that sport is approached.”

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Source: Wilson


Here’s what you missed at Microsoft’s 2014 Build conference

Here's what you missed at Microsoft's 2014 Build conference

We came, we saw, we barked orders into a phone. Though Microsoft’s annual developer conference is technically called “Build Windows,” we actually spent far more time at this year’s event playing with handsets — almost no PCs, come to think of it. Indeed, the star of the show was a husky-voiced lady (fembot?) named Cortana, Microsoft’s new Siri-like personal assistant. Of course, Cortana wouldn’t exist outside of the next version of Windows Phone (that’d be v. 8.1.), which we also got a glimpse of this week. In case you missed our three-hour liveblog — or were too busy following our Amazon Fire TV coverage — we’ve got a neat recap below. We promise we’ve left out all the boring bits about developer tools. Mostly, anyway.

Windows 8.1 Update

OK, we lied: there actually was some Windows news this week. And yes, we did play with at least one full-fledged PC. Microsoft announced a fairly modest update for Windows 8.1, and almost all of the improvements are aimed at winning over mouse-and-keyboard users. For instance, you can now pin Metro-style Windows Store apps to the desktop, with the Windows Store shortcut pinned by default. Speaking of the desktop, PC makers now have the option of booting to the desktop by default, though you’re really only likely to see that on traditional PCs, maybe not hybrid devices.

Other changes: when you right-click on something on the Start Screen, you’ll see your options pop up right there, where your cursor is, not at the bottom of the page. Wrapping up, there are dedicated power and search buttons on the Start Screen; you can pull up the desktop Taskbar even when using Windows Store apps; and Metro-style programs now have a Title Bar up top allowing you to close out by hitting an “X” in the upper-right corner. Really, lots of things that should have been baked into Windows 8 to begin with.

Return of the Start Menu

Oh, and speaking of things that should have always been part of Windows 8, Microsoft casually dropped some major news toward the end of its epic keynote: the company is planning to bring back the Start Menu you all know and miss. This time, though, it won’t just include a list of desktop programs, but there’ll be a second pane over on the right showing Live Tiles with Windows Store apps. Smart move, we say: not only would it make Windows 8 feel more familiar to new users, but it would drive home the point that whether it’s a desktop app or a Windows Store download, it’s all the same OS.


Who needs Siri when you can have an assistant named after the life-saving sidekick in Halo? Though Microsoft’s new voice recognition program isn’t perfect, it’s at least rich in features, and does basically everything you’d expect of a modern voice-controlled personal assistant for your phone. That means, you can use Cortana to help you compose emails and texts, set reminders, take notes and search the web (with lots of help from Bing, of course). Also, much like Google Now, Cortana gets smarter over time as she learns more about your various likes, interests and late-night taco addictions (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Using a Notebook feature, you can input a lot of this information yourself, including Quiet Hours when you’d rather not be interrupted by phone calls (even then, select people, like your family, can still get through).

In our brief hands-on, we found that Cortana only responded when we phrased our queries in a certain way. (Pro tip: start with verbs. As in, “Remind me to ask Brian for a status update.”) Also, you have to press a button on-screen anytime you want Cortana to start listening. Still, Cortana’s only in beta and indeed, Microsoft tells us it’s working on an always-listening mode similar to what you’ll find on the Moto X. Better language recognition is also in the works, according to company reps, which means you might get away with saying “Can you find me a Thai restaurant in Palo Alto?” Lastly, Microsoft promises the final version of Cortana will have even more “personality” — whatever that means.

Windows Phone 8.1

But there’s more to Windows Phone 8.1 than just Cortana. The OS update, which will hit existing devices in the coming months, brings a number of new features, including a drop-down Action Center for notifications that looks suspiciously like the one in Android. Windows Phone users also get a customizable lock screen and a Windows Store that makes it easier to find featured apps — two improvements we first saw on Windows 8.1 for the desktop. Additionally, Windows Phone 8.1 ushers in a Wi-Fi Sense feature that automatically accepts the terms of service for networks, and securely shares your router’s password with contacts in Facebook, and Skype. Thus, you can give them guest access to your internet, but not your full network. Finally, there’s a new weekly view in the calendar, and you can use “Shape Writing” to draw letters on the keyboard, à la Swype.

New Lumia phones

What would a Windows Phone update be without some new hardware to go with it? Once Microsoft finished its three-hour opening-day keynote, Nokia held a party of its own, where we had a chance to play with the newly announced Lumia 930, 630 and 635. Though the 930 is clearly the flagship, it’s also incredibly familiar. In fact, it’s basically the Lumia Icon we reviewed two months ago, just with support for global LTE (the Icon is exclusive to Verizon in the US). But, for those of you outside the States who have been ignoring the Icon for just that reason, here’s a quick refresher: the phone has a 5-inch, 1080p screen, a 20-megapixel PureView camera and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. The main difference, aside from those foreign LTE bands? The color options. Yes indeed, while the US model comes in just black and white, the 930 will be also available in orange and neon green.

Moving on down the line, the 630 and 635 are more or less identical to each other — at least on the outside. Both have a 4.5-inch screen with a 854 x 480 display, 5-megpaixel camera, Snapdragon 400 processor and a modest 512MB of RAM. The main difference is that the 630 is 3G-only with a choice of a single-or dual-SIM setup. The 635, meanwhile, runs on LTE and uses just one SIM. The Lumia 630 will cost $159 / $169 off-contract, depending on whether you get the single- or dual-SIM version. The 635, meanwhile, will cost $189.

Windows Everywhere

Get ready to see even more Windows apps on even more devices. As part of its opening-day keynote, Microsoft told a crowd of developers that it will now be possible to write a Windows app for one platform — say, Windows Phone — and then port it over to the tablet or desktop, all with minimal work on the back end. From there, developers will have the option of offering their apps in such a way that consumers only have to pay for it once, though they’d still be able to download it multiple times across different kinds of devices (tablets, PCs, et cetera). In theory, devs will also be able to write universal Windows apps for the Xbox too, though Microsoft will still curate the selection, as well as decide which apps require an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Additionally — and this is big news — Microsoft announced that Windows would be free for phones, tablets smaller than nine inches, and miscellaneous gadgets that fall into the “Internet of Things” category. That gives manufacturers a bigger incentive to build Windows devices, which can only mean more options for you, the consumer. Finally, Microsoft also said it intends to bring Windows to robots and a “new class of small devices,” which we can only assume means wearables.

A look at Office for Windows tablets

It was just last week that Microsoft came out with Office for iPad, and now we’re seeing a glimpse of what Word, Excel and PowerPoint would look like on Microsoft’s own Windows OS. After teasing a touch-friendly “Metro” version of Office last year, the company is now ready to give us a slightly deeper look. The company used its day-one keynote to show us a few screenshots of the app-in-progress, which sports the familiar Ribbon UI and makes good use of gestures like pinch-to-zoom, and finger-highlighting. No word yet on how feature-rich it will be, but we can only hope it will be just as functional as the new iPad suite.

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How to install the Amazon App Store on your Android


Is the Google Play Store not giving you what you want? Perhaps you may want to try the Amazon Appstore.

Although seasoned Android users may already know about this process, here is a walkthrough for those new to the platform. For those who don’t already know, you can download apps from sources other than the Google Play Store. Probably the next most popular way to do this is from the Amazon Appstore (the same app store that the Kindle Fire tablets use).

Amazon offers a free paid application everyday, something that Google Play only does on a rare occasion. That may be reason enough to install it, but it also offers some great recommendations as well as exclusive apps.

Since the Amazon Appstore isn’t available in Google Play, you need to do a few extra steps in order to get it installed. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install it on your Android.

1. Enable “Unknown sources” on your device

Before we begin, there’s a setting that needs to be changed on your device. First, navigate to the Security tab in your Settings menu. If you’re on an older Android device, you may need to navigate to the Apps menu under Settings. Once in the Security menu, scroll down until you see “Unknown sources”. Make sure the box is checked.

Amazon App Store 10

This feature is on your Android device to ensure that your phone stays safe. When this box is checked, it allows applications to be installed on your device that aren’t in the Play Store.

2. Download the Appstore

In the browser on your phone, head over to the Appstore download page. Once there, click the big orange “Download the Amazon Appstore” button. You should see a message reading, “This type of file can harm your device. Do you want to keep AmazonApps-release.apk anyway?” Click “OK”, and the file should begin to download.

Amazon App Store 3

3. Install the Appstore to your device

In your notification shade, you should see the AmazonApps file. Click on that notification, and you will see this screen:

Amazon App Store 6

Read through the permissions if you’d like, and click Install. After it’s done installing, you’re all done! Sign in with your Amazon username and password, and you can begin downloading anything you’d like.

Oh, and remember to go back into Settings and uncheck that Unknown Sources box.

Still having trouble? Head to the comments and we will do our best to help you out! If there is anything you would like to suggest to AndroidGuys or to any other readers, feel free to use the comment section below!

The post How to install the Amazon App Store on your Android appeared first on AndroidGuys.


You can now search Yelp on mobile using emojis

Are your Twitter friends jumping down your throat for flooding them with emojis? Well, you might want to let off some emoji-filled steam on Yelp instead, because the business directory app now lets users search for establishments with the popular ideograms. Yes, it’s just what it sounds like — on mobile, the app parses any emoji you put in the search box (even if it’s that smiling turd icon, as you can see after the break) and returns relevant results.

It’s fun, but unless you’ve memorized the symbols on your phone or tablet, it’s not any more convenient or faster than typing in words. So, if you’re scratching your head wondering why Yelp’s developers would even bother adding the feature, the answer is, well, they don’t exactly have a reason. A spokesperson told us that the app’s engineers came up with the crazy idea during a recent company hackathon, and guess what? Yelp’s higher-ups ended up loving it so much, they officially added it to the app.

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Via: The Next Web


Rec Reading: Game of Thrones’ costume clues, women in tech and the legacy of Jim Ross

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books dealing with subjects that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Deciphering the Hidden Messages in “Game of Thrones” Costumes
by Rebecca Greenfield, Fast Company

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Game of Thrones starts back up this Sunday with the season 4 kick-off. Chatting with Fast Company, costume designer Michele Clapton offers up some tidbits on what viewers can glean from this season’s character’s costumes upon further inspection. You’ll get a closer look at Daenerys’ iconic blue dress that sports with its scale-like pattern and what the golden hand that Jamie Lannister is due to receive this season says about his sister Cersei.

A Day in the Life: Women Tech Innovators
by NPR

Okay, so this one’s more Recommended Listening, but it’s still a great selection that’s definitely worth your time. In case you missed it, Tell Me More’s Michael Martin led a series of features on women in tech throughout the month of March. Here, the goal was to “meet women who are driving the rise of the technology sector in this nation’s economy.” Topics range from tech education initiatives to Victoria’s Secret and Prada model Lyndsey Scott chatting up her app design and computer science skills.

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Driven: How Zipcar’s Founders Built and Lost a Car-Sharing Empire
by Arielle Duhaime-Ross, The Verge

You might remember Zipcar making headlines in January of 2013 when of of the largest rental car companies in the US, Avis, snatched up the car-sharing outfit for a cool $491 million. What you may not know however, is that both of the companies founders left over a decade ago. The Verge’s Arielle Duhaime-Ross takes a look at the story behind Zipcar and exactly how “as the company came together, its co-founders grew apart.”

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Good God Almighty, It’s Jim Ross!
by Thomas Golianopoulos, SB Nation

For those of us who grew up watching professional wrestling (or wrasslin’, depending on who you ask), Jim Ross voiced the move-by-move commentary for all of the “slobberknockers” during a span of four decades. This year though, ol’ JR is moving on, and back to Okla. SB Nation takes a look back at the announcer’s great ringside career which includes the amazing call from The Undertaker vs. Mic Foley in 1998′s epic Hell in the Cell match. You know the one: “GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! THEY’VE KILLED HIM.” Just reading that sends chills down my spine.

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Sex! Drugs! Apps! SXSW Interactive at 20
by David Peisner, Fast Company

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of South by Southwest in Austin. From modest beginnings back in ’94, the event has bloomed into one of the year’s most popular gatherings that combines “nerds, rock-and-roll hippie freaks, and business suits.” After interviewing over 100 people, Fast Company has compiled its e-book SXSWi Uncensored: The Complete Oral History as Told by the Entrepreneurs, Geeks, and Dreamers Who Remade the Web. This entry is an excerpt from that book that’s available March 3rd.

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5 Remedies when you really require Computer Support

You’re writing ceaselessly on your PC, moving from index to files when the screen surprisingly flashed to dark. When you blow a gasket and toss your machine against the divider, recall that much the same as any mishap, machines can crash when never expected. This could be disappointing particularly when you have pivotal due dates to meet. All you need then Computer support Bognor to stand in aid, to save you from imminent trouble. Settling PC issues might be extremely confused; notwithstanding, essential troubleshooting can help you to tackle some effortlessly mendable and regular issues. By going through the accompanying steps and you’ll rapidly see whether your PC is still in working position or requiring the aid of an expert. 5 remedies are discussed in this regard.

5 Remedies when you really require Computer Support1Remedy-1

Methodical Process

Don’t lose your nerve when your PC whether desktop or laptop crashes suddenly. Be ready to thoroughly consider issues in light of the fact that troubleshooting is an orderly method which needs you to take control of the circumstances without frenzy. The steps you take taking after an accident can have the effect between losing and recouping your important information. Hence if you are entirely ignorant about computer facts take help from Computer support Chichester.


Recovery and Backup

Spare any open indexes before troubleshooting. Spare records on an outside drive, flash disc, the hard drive, or on a web database. As long as you have reinforcement records, you won’t be about as worried if your workstation crashes. Make a reinforcement document on a system drive or CD-ROM. This ought to be carried out while the PC is even now running and before closing it down. This is crucial on the grounds that emulating a crash the PC may not start-up once more.

5 Remedies when you really require Computer SupportRemedy-3

Check Cables and Hardware

No matter how evident it appears, checking links could be the highly required. Links and machine associations get detached hence whether you like it not verify them all if they all fit snuggly. Likewise verify workstation and memory cards are solidly put in their particular openings. You’ll likewise need to check any hardware alters. Right click on my computer to check the equipment. Click on equipment and after that the mechanism administrator tab to open the dialog box. A catalogue of all your equipment units will show up, and a yellow shout check on any methods the unit is not working legitimately. When you twofold click on the unit a dialog box will open demonstrating subtle elements of the issue and proposals on the most proficient method to resolution the issue.


Audit Changes and Update Drivers

Introducing another program or overhauling the hardware drive can make the PC crash particularly when not completed legitimately or because of similarity issues. Survey all late changes, and you may discover what brought about the accident. In the event that the machine crashed because of mechanism glitches, introducing programming overhauls may alter it. This could be carried out straightforwardly from the apparatus manufacture’s site.


Filter and Reboot

With Computer support West Sussex you could run a complete framework filter with your upgraded anti-virus programming. Make a point to give careful consideration to any spyware, adware, and malware. In the wake of finishing the virus output and evacuating any hurtful records, turn off the PC and restart it after a couple of minutes. Off and on again a failure in the machine commands can prompt workstation crash. Issues like this might be transitory and settled by rebooting the PC. For complex issues that can’t be explained utilizing the aforementioned steps, exploit Computer support West Sussex. You can undoubtedly gain access to data and master assistance from hardware and software designer’s websites.


The conditions which apply for bad credit mobile phone deals

Even if your credit score is poor there are retailers who are ready to offer you mobile phone on contract. But in such cases your mobile will work out to be much expensive yet restrictive when compared to that offered to a person having a good credit score.

The conditions which apply for bad credit mobile phone dealsThe offers imposes restrictions

In cases when the retailers do not ask for the credit status you will find the following restrictions imposed on your Bad Credit Mobile Phonesdeal.

1.   Your choice of mobile phones will be limited and hence you are not to get the pleasure of choosing from a large population of mobiles selecting the right features suiting to your requirements.

2.   The fees which will be charged for the calls, messages and the monthly fee will be much higher than the normal ones. So you have to bear a higher running expenditure for the mobile.

3.   They will ask you to sign for a longer period of service contract than they offer normally for safe cases.

4.   Even the interest rate which you will be paying will be higher.

Other varieties of offers

But there are companies which accept a lower acceptance level. You can get less expensive mobiles where the regular rates like call, messaging and monthly fees will be lower.

Different companies have their own sets of rule as regards the lower acceptance level of credit status which you have to search out from the internet. Big and reputed dealers have various in house levels for approving the credit. You may take advantage of your credit score with them.

Some companies offer Bad Credit Mobile Phones contract against an upfront security deposit.

Many mobile companies are getting sympathetic to the mobile phone aspirants with bad credit score on account of the economic meltdown conditions. They are also coming up with reasonable offers.


Flixster, Rhapsody and AutoCast are the newest apps to get the Chromecast Treatment

Flixster, Rhapsody and AutoCastWith each passing week, more apps are added to the pile which have added Chromecast support which is making the little streaming dongle look like a more and more formidable investment. The latest apps to add Chromecast support are Flixster, Rhapsody and AutoCast, the last of which is actually a new app.


Flixster, Rhapsody and AutoCastThis could be a pretty important addition to your list of Chromecast capable apps depending on what service you have your UltraViolet movies saved on. Flixster has today added Chromecast support which will allow you to watch all your purchased content on your bigger screen. Note though that Chromecast support in Flixster is currently restricted to the U.S. only, which is kind of a bummer but presumably global support will roll out in the near future.

The update to Flixster also adds some other fixes such as movie download support for HTC phone users and SD card download support for KitKat devices, which is always nice.

Application: Movies by Flixster

Play Store Link

Price: Free



Flixster, Rhapsody and AutoCastRhapsody has also announced that their app now supports Chromecast streaming for its subscribers allowing you to play your music on the big screen. Rhapsody’s 2011 acquisition, Napster, also gets Chromecast support too; the two apps are very similar, however Rhapsody is available in more markets than Napster.

If you’re wanting to try Rhapsody out, the app offers a 14-day trial after which a subscription will cost $9.99/month; links are below.

Application: Rhapsody

Play Store Link

Price: Free



Flixster, Rhapsody and AutoCastThis might just be the most amazing Chromecast-enabled app to date; sorry AllCast. AutoCast, created by João Dias, is a new Tasker add-on app which gives you a breadth of new abilities to access and manipulate your Chromecast homescreen and functions, allowing you to viewing useful things like notifications or battery life all from the “default” homescreen to multitasking and running two apps concurrently like music and a slideshow, and even enabling multi-user activities too. It’s a really impressive effort, and although its still in its early days, it looks to be one of the more useful options out there right now, and all for free. Check out the video below to see AutoCast in action:

Application: AutoCast

Play Store Link

Price: Free


Source: Droid-Life, Android Police, engadget

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This is Earth’s malware threat, visualized

Ah, nothing like good old fashioned scare tactics to get you to install anti-virus software. In a thinly veiled advert for its security suite, Kaspersky Labs has created a real-time cyber threat map — painting the globe with six shades of malware. The brightly colored map lists Russia as the world’s most infected country, followed closely by the United States, India and Vietnam. It’s a mesmerizing visualization, but take it with a grain of salt: the data it presents is pulled exclusively from Kaspersky’s own security network, which might explain why the Russian security outfit’s home turf is the “most infected.” More users in the motherland probably translates to more virus’ detected. That said, if you’re looking for a colorful view the world’s malware, you won’t be disappointed. Check it out at the source link below.

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Source: Kaspersky Labs

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