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TRENDING APPS: Puzzle Pets is polished, fun take on match-three puzzlers



Gameloft, makers of numerous movie-based, driving, and comic-based games is at it again. Instead of bringing something entirely new to the table, they attempt to play on the same field as Candy Crush Saga and other match-three puzzle adventures. It’s bright, colorful, fun, and offers a high replay value. Will you bite?

They say:

  • Match up to 6 pet friends, including the fox, koala, panda and more, to create over 10 colourful combos!
  • Watch these wild and free pets turn into Helpers during your adventure, unveiling stunning new tricks!
  • Train and master your fun Helper friends.
  • Match your way to victory in 126 exciting levels.
  • Be as clever as a fox to find your favourite strategy with 7 power-ups, from the spectacular Tornado to the curious Chameleon’s Tongue!
  • Join exciting in-game events and help all your friends in the community to unlock free prizes, including extra cool and rare Helpers.

We say:

As yet another take on the familiar game mechanics, Puzzle Pets still delivers the goods. There’s plenty here to keep things fresh, including fun characters with incremental powers and abilities. The side-quest stuff is a nice twist every few days and provides opportunities for extra goodies. If only it were easier to earn coins along the way.

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The post TRENDING APPS: Puzzle Pets is polished, fun take on match-three puzzlers appeared first on AndroidGuys.


An Apple a day keeps the doctor away

It has been found that people who own iPhones visit the doctor less often. Not because they are healthier, but because they just don’t have enough money left to pay for the visit.

While iPhone owners have no regrets about their $1000 brick, they are often found playing Angry Birds while waiting in line for their food stamps to help them live from month to month.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this picture. Why shouldn’t someone spend hundreds of dollars on a phone before they feed themselves? There can’t be anything wrong with that. Not at all.

If I were a parent, I would definitely want to make sure that I could show off my shiny iPhone 6+ with 128 GB of storage. My children don’t need to eat. Not at all.

I can’t stand the thought of someone catching me with any other phone. How embarrassing would that be? No, I much rather them find me in a line for government support than be caught without an iPhone.

Doctor visits and food are the luxuries in life anyways. Now an iPhone, that is something that you can’t live life without. I would DIE if I couldn’t own an iPhone, but I can live without food.


Note: This is a satirical post. It is meant for humor, not insult.


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The post An Apple a day keeps the doctor away appeared first on AndroidGuys.


OLALA C2-a Battery Pack Review

Poor battery life is something that plagues smartphones. While there are phones out there that can last a day without a hitch, it should be a standard that all phones can be used throughout the day for calls, texting, games, videos, and more without having to worry about battery life. While we wait for the technology to exist within smartphones everywhere, we need to rely on external battery packs. OLALA’s C2-a battery pack is an interesting offering. Let’s take a look.

olala c2-a


The OLALA C2-a is a sleek device. It has a nice smooth finish that is done with a “piano paint finish.” On the front there is “OLALA” printed along with four LEDs that display the battery percentage of the battery pack. On the right side there is a micro USB and regular USB slot, along with a cord that pulls out of the battery pack. This cord is a nice touch, as you don’t need to worry about carrying a cord with you when you want to use this battery pack. All in all, it’s a simple, but nicely done design.


Battery packs have a handful of things they need to be good at: charging phones, and being charged, and… oh. I guess that’s it. Well, it does these two things just fine. A full charge of this pack holds about 3 charges for my first gen Moto X, which would be about what I would expect for a 6000 mAh battery. It also charges at an average speed, not very fast but not too slow. This battery pack does not have anything special about it, except its design. If you’re looking for a battery pack that just does what it’s supposed to, then this is it.


The OLALA C2-a battery pack is $29.99 on Amazon, here. Here is where I am at: this is a nice looking battery pack, with a functional cord placement, that is fairly thin and light and therefore easy to carry. The actual charging is average, and nothing different from other battery packs. If design is worth the moeny, then this is not a bad deal. However, if you’re looking for something particularly unique, then you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Overall, this is a nice battery pack that will work well, and has nice design. It should serve you well were you to get this battery pack.;Operation=GetAdHtml&%23038;MarketPlace=US&%23038;source=ss&%23038;ref=ss_til&%23038;ad_type=product_link&%23038;tracking_id=smarter03-20&%23038;marketplace=amazon&%23038;region=US&%23038;placement=B00RTKRSHW&%23038;asins=B00RTKRSHW&%23038;linkId=NWO7QV4GALAEE6AT&%23038;show_border=true&%23038;link_opens_in_new_window=true

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The post OLALA C2-a Battery Pack Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.


SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS Updated With Emoji, Flow Typing on iPad [iOS Blog]

SwiftKey is one of the most popular third-party keyboard options on iOS, and today it received a major update adding a highly requested feature — emoji. Emoji can be accessed by tapping on the smiley at the bottom of the keyboard, and there’s also a new predictive emoji tool that learns the most frequently used emoji and suggests them while typing.


We’ve built emoji right into SwiftKey Keyboard so you can now express yourself when words don’t quite cut it. Just as it learns the words and phrases that matter to you, SwiftKey also learns and predicts which emoji you use most often so you can spend less time looking for that perfect smiley (or slice of pizza — whatever you’re into).

Using a lot of emoji in text will cause emoji to pop up more frequently in the word prediction box, making it easier to insert fun characters into text.

Today’s update also includes SwiftKey Flow for the iPad, a feature that was previously limited to the iPhone. With SwiftKey Flow, it’s possible to type faster via swiping on the screen. Finally, there are also 11 new languages available in SwiftKey, including Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Hinglish, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, and Turkish.

SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


Facebook’s privacy rules reach new levels of creepiness


Facebook can now gather data from all your activity on any website. In their newest privacy changes, Facebook will know everywhere you visit on the Internet so that they can make more money off personalized ads.

Rather than allowing Facebook users to decide whether they want to opt-in to this lack of privacy, Facebook is simply implementing these changes whenever an existing user signs into Facebook. That’s it.

As one site noted:

If you want to prevent Facebook from tracking your Internet usage altogether, then you’ll have to contact the Digital Advertising Alliance in the US, or its European and Canadian equivalent, which will prevent individual Facebook ad targeting altogether. You can also alter your settings with your mobile device to prevent Facebook tracking you via your smartphone. – CraveOnline

Even though Facebook has been questioned for years about their privacy moves, this latest move to track users who are visiting other websites seems quite extreme. Meanwhile, Facebook seems oblivious to this concern by continuing to act like customers actually care how detailed their ads are rather than simply being honest and stating that businesses are the ones who want more detailed targets.

“When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests.” – Facebook Statement


On top of this, if you opt-out of this privacy invasion, there are already questions about whether the opt-out will actually stop Facebook from tracking your every move.

Then there is the fact that Facebook’s facial recognition software is already being talked about by advertisers. The hope by advertisers is that can follow and profile you wherever there’s a camera. Considering Facebook already puts in rules stating that they can claim “any photo or media posted” to Facebook, it is clear that Facebook sees many dollar signs with this type of advertising.


New head of Google Glass wants to ‘start from scratch’ with the headset – report

Google Glass with earbud

A little over two weeks ago the Google Glass project graduated from the Google X labs, the facility used by the company to push forward major technological advancements. In addition to Glass’ announcement, Nest co-founder Tony Fadell was set to take over the Glass project from here on out. Usually when a project leaves the X labs it means that its generally going well, and that we should begin seeing some major progress coming soon. However, in a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Fadell doesn’t have plans to release the 2nd Generation Glass to the public anytime soon.

The report states that ‘some people with knowledge of Mr. Fadell’s plans’ say that he wants to completely redesign the product and won’t release it until the product achieves perfection. There will also be no public experimentation with the 2nd Generation product, so, that means there will be no Explorer Program for the new model. One person close to Fadell explains:

Tony is a product guy and he’s not going to release something until it’s perfect.

This can be taken as either a positive or a negative. On one hand, not releasing Glass until it’s perfect and ready for consumers would be great. A significantly cheaper model ready for the public is what many people think Glass needs to survive. On the other hand, many people sill believe that Glass was too much, too soon. An Explorer Program would likely make sense in this scenario.

So, if the report holds validity, we might not see Google Glass 2 arrive for the public anytime soon. We’ll be sure to let you know if we hear anything regarding Glass in the future. What are your thoughts? Do you think there should be another Explorer Program, or do you back Fadell’s stance on holding back until it’s perfect? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Leaked Sprint doc reveals One M8 and G3 Lollipop updates coming soon

LG G3 Vs HTC One M8-89

When it comes to market penetration, Lollipop still has a long ways to go before it reaches a meaningful number of Android users. After all, the update is currently sitting on just 1.6% of Android devices. Thankfully, OEMs seem to be much more aggressive with Lollipop than previous Android updates, and this week alone we’ve seen Lollipop rollout to the Verizon Galaxy S5, the Sprint HTC One M7 and the Sprint Galaxy S5. Now it seems that Sprint is rolling out at least two more Lollipop updates this month, at least if a leaked release schedule proves correct.

The leaked schedule comes from Android Central, and indicates that the One M8 and the M8 Harman Kardon Special Edition will see the update on February 13th, with the LG G3 following on the 16th. It goes without saying that the dates listed are tentative and could certainly be subject to change, but the bigger takeway is that most major OEMs are holding true to their promises to bring Android 5.0 Lollipop to their flagship devices in the earlier part of 2015.

What do you think of the way the Lollipop update has been handled by carriers? What do you think of Lollipop in general? Let us know in the comments.


Top 5 things the media gets wrong about Google

Another day, another round of media pundits pumping out quick articles detailing how Google is falling behind and Apple is the chief innovator of the technology world.

So what is a reader or investor to do about all this news? Take it for what it is: a great way in determining which journalists you shouldn’t be reading.

A recent article queued up on my Umano app discussing all of the failings of Google and how the Mountain View giant is becoming aged and worn out. The problem? None of the points the author made warranted being labeled as failures or completely lacked a full perspective of the matter.

Let’s take a moment to hit on some of these points.

#1: Google Glass

If you think Google’s attempt to bring information to an optical, head-mounted display has ended in failure, then you don’t understand what Glass was to begin with.

Google launched Google Glass in April 2013 with a purchasable prototype available only to a select few, dubbed “Glass Explorers”. It has, to this day, never had a public release.

Where a lot of people who just skim the news, but fail to actually learn something about the prototype, get hung up on is the recent news that Google is folding the Explorer program.

That’s not where the news stops, though. Glass graduated from the Google X labs and the team was given its own business unit, still ran by Ivy Ross, all under the purview of Tony Fadell. Fadell is the man in charge of Google’s Nest Labs.

If one had been watching Glass the whole time, one would know that there was an area that Glass really shined in: the business sector. Is that not the point of an Explorer program, but to find a role where something fits in best?

Sorry Glass didn’t appeal to the guy or gal going to Starbucks to buy a cup of coffee. It’s such a shame that doctors and surgeons found a much better use for it instead. That’s a total failure, right?

Furthermore, Google is still allowing developers to design Glassware apps. I imagine these apps will be more focused on enterprise and service solutions instead of camera apps for taking the best pictures of your cat.

#2: Google+

I cannot say enough how much I love Google+. The ability to categorize people into different “Circles” is unmatched by any other social media service, and the ability for me to follow meaningful science and technology related news is without comparison. Plus, my mother isn’t on there… (Just kidding, mom, love you.)

But I’d be lying through my fingers if I didn’t say that Google really thought more of Google+ than what it is. There was a time where Google wanted everything about its company to revolve around the Google+ social media platform.

One of the best things that came out of that failed attempt was the creation of a Google services-wide account for users. Originally it was all linked up to Google+, but now it is just a simple Google Account. This feature allows you to be linked into all the Google products without having to login to each of them individually, over and over again, unlike other “innovative” companies.

And let’s not forget to mention one of the most powerful features that came out of Google+: Hangouts.

In many ways, Hangouts is now its own beast to be reckoned with. Starting from a simple messaging service, Google Hangouts is now the video conference service to beat. Used globally for live events, business meetings, or communicating with your loved ones who are away from home, Hangouts has long surpassed the likes of Skype or Facetime.

To Microsoft and Skype’s credit, both they and Hangouts are working on bringing real-time translation to video calls. And that is nothing short of groundbreaking.

#3: Google Wallet

Ever since Apple Pay was unveiled, I have been plagued by people talking about how either it’s just “so innovative” or “Apple beats Google in mobile payments” or “Google doesn’t offer anything like this”.

What a hefty, steaming load of garbage. I’ve been wowing store clerks for over a year now by being able to pay with my Nexus 5 at the registers using the Google Wallet app.

I don’t know what people are thinking Apple Pay is going to do for them that Google Wallet hasn’t been doing for a while now. The only good thing to come out of Apple Pay is that the Apple cult will demand more NFC terminals at registers, which benefits me as well.

So good job, Apple, you have breathed new life in the eagerly waiting Google Wallet giant.

And Google has been waiting and planning accordingly.

Further reading: Google rumored to be purchasing Softcard

#4: Google’s hold on all things search dropping

There has been a lot of talk lately of Google’s main bread-winner, search, and how they’ve lost a few percentage points in the search market. The numbers are along the lines of a 4% drop (from 79% to 75%), according to Bloomberg.

Who cares? That 4% drop is a smaller variance than what we see during the United States election primary seasons.

A lot of that change went to Yahoo, who recently closed a deal with Mozilla to have Yahoo Search as the default search engine found in Firefox.

Internationally, we see Google facing some opposition in the European Union (EU) with the whole right to be forgotten along with some other anti-trust legislative actions. Whatever happens, Google will adapt to EU regulations as it always has.

The media also likes to point out that Russia and China prefer to use their home-grown search companies. What the media fails to point out is that many of those countries’ citizens are forced to use those search engines because those governments heavily monitor the results and taint many results to spread disinformation. Google has no ability to really change this situation so it’s outlandish to claim that Mountain View is under siege in this topic.

Additionally, I’ve been running the Windows 10 technical preview for a few weeks now. (I absolutely love what Microsoft is doing with the Windows platform.) I can tell you that the percentage points in the search market for Google are going to take a little more of a dip because Windows 10 is very Bing-centric.

Front and center on the taskbar is a Bing search box and, to this point, I’ve yet to figure out how to change that to Google’s search engine.

Also heavily featured in Windows 10 is Cortana, the Google Now and Siri rival. Again, as far as I know, she comes married to Bing.

But this brings up another point where Google is doing just fine, and that’s with Google Now. The app is deeply integrated in Android, straight to the core, along with all of Google’s other services. Digging from your account in Google’s wide range of services, combining it with the power of the Google search engine, Google Now is delightfully creepy and unrivaled. At no point in the future will I expect Siri or Cortana to match it.

In conjunction with Android’s indomitable market share and Google Now’s breathtaking utility, I foresee Google Now becoming an active selling point for Google. This will more than ensure that Google remains top dog in the search market.

#5: Lack of innovation

It’s such a sad state of affairs that I even have to include this point. What can I do, though, when there are still people out there who claim “only Apple has managed to innovate after becoming so big”?

Apple has done nothing innovative in years and for all of the latest love-fest over Apple CEO Tim Cook, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s a copypasta artisan. This is fine, Apple was going to have to play catch-up at some point, but let’s call it like it is.

Despite the above points I’ve mentioned being a rebuttal to this claim in and of themselves, there’s still plenty of other areas Google dabbles in that negate this point of view.

Let’s talk about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and Google’s newest employees, Ray Kurzweil and Geoff Hinton.

Google is putting together what one DeepMind investor told Re/Code “a Manhattan Project of AI”. Between Google’s purchase of Boston Dynamics and Nest Labs, Google’s eyes are square on the future.

We’ve already seen a glimpse of where Google is wanting to take us, sometimes literally. Driver-less cars have been one of the most talked about prototypes to come out of Mountain View and Google recently discussed a wearable bracelet that will detect cancer cells.

If one were to take a macroscopic view at Google’s work over the past few years, ranging from Google Now to driver-less cars to Project Tango, it’s plain to see that what puzzle Google is piecing together. It’s obviously headed down the path where humans live in a Jetsons-like age, with Google at the helm.

Take Project Tango for example. The prototype device is able to map its surrounding environment in three dimensions and has already successfully been applied to current robots, like those used by NASA on the International Space Station. I can see this as a clear first step towards vision processing for autonomous robots.

For all the talk of innovation, I only see one company really doing so, and it’s not Apple. You might say, “We’re talking about phones, though!” You can keep your smartphones, I’ll take whatever Google is selling in the next decades as a result of all of its hard work.

In conclusion, whatever may happen between now and that day, whatever journalists and bloggers might say, you shouldn’t worry about the big G. It’s doing just fine and will continue to do so. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to measure the real validity of what you might read on the Internet about Google’s demise.

Those that don’t pass the metric? You can easily just unbook- well, you get the idea…

Come comment on this article: Top 5 things the media gets wrong about Google


Disney CEO: ESPN’s standalone service won’t arrive anytime soon

Georgia Tech v Duke

If the rumblings of ESPN’s standalone streaming service back in the fall got you all spun up, you may want to take a seat. Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger tempered the excitement this week with statements that indicate a cable-free option for the sports network isn’t part of any immediate plans. “We also are mindful of the value of the expanded basic bundle to this company, and we do not believe that there is any reason for us to attempt to take out some of this product, particularly ESPN, quickly or right now,” Iger explained. “In other words, there’s time.”

He went on to say that Disney’s other properties, like Marvel and Star Wars, are capable of powering standalone projects on their own, which is certainly interesting to think about. For now, the plan is to keep an eye on the streaming space to see when, or if, it’d be beneficial to cut out the cable companies — or “middle man,” as Iger puts it. ESPN is at least dipping its toe in the water, though, as the sports giant’s content is available via the new Sling TV service, and it’s offering subscriptions for individual sporting events like the Cricket World Cup. For the time being, it seems the folks at Disney aren’t quite ready to follow HBO’s lead and cater to the cord cutters… yet.

[Photo credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images]

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Source: Multichannel News


New UXKit developer framework identified in Photos for Mac

Apple released 10.10.3 to developers today, offering up the first release of Photos for Mac, the long-awaited replacement for iPhoto. It’s not available publicly yet — only to registered developers and others with access to Apple’s development builds of OS X Yosemite, at this hour. But something’s caught the eye of developers who have downloaded it. Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors:

Today Apple dropped Photos for Mac via a developer release, and some developers are reporting signs that Apple has built this new app using something called UXKit, which sits above the Mac’s familiar AppKit frameworks and strongly resembles UIKit on iOS.

UIKit is a programming framework in iOS that helps developers manage an iOS app’s user interface, user input and manage interaction with the system. UIKit hasn’t existed on the Mac, which makes it more difficult for developers already invested in iOS to bring their products to the Mac.

UXKit may be Apple’s attempt to bridge that gap. If so, it’d be a big step towards simplifying the approach of writing applications that will run on iOS and Mac.

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