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6
Apr

New BBM beta offers the ability chat with people outside of your BBM contacts


With warning given well ahead that a new BBM beta was expected, the BlackBerry Beta Zone has now sent out emails to those who are a part of the BBM beta group and there’re some interesting changes to be found. Both iOS and BlackBerry 10 have been updated with the additions for each being identical, but the iOS version has few more bug fixes included and has more ‘known issues’ within the beta.

Read More »

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6
Apr

Is Google bringing Android and Chrome OS together?


LG ChromeBase Chrome OS CES 2014 AA-6

Is Google bringing Android and Chrome OS together? In a word – yes, but maybe not in the way you think.

The speculation about Google merging Chrome OS and Android has been a constant over the last few years. Why does Google have two separate systems when everyone else is merging? Why doesn’t Chrome just get folded into Android? Google has to kill one of them off. It’s odd that the tech world insists on Highlander rules – there can be only one. But the truth is that Google can bring them closer and closer together, and create a seamless experience for us, and it doesn’t need one to assimilate the other in order to do that.

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Chrome OS is here to stay

People have strong opinions about Chrome OS, though a lot of them have never actually tried working on a Chromebook. Ever since it was first announced, back in 2009, commentators started queuing up to proclaim it dead on arrival. There have been plenty of assertions about its failure since then. They all suppose that Chrome OS is designed to replace Windows, but it doesn’t have to beat Windows across the market.

Regardless of whether it has met expectations, Google is committed to Chrome OS

According to NPD data, via Betanews, Chromebooks accounted for 14 percent of laptop sales in the U.S. last year, up from 8 percent in 2013, and that figure is still rising. When you consider how cheap Chromebooks are compared to the competition, and how well-suited they are to education, it’s inevitable that Chrome will continue to grow. It only looks like a failure because people use the dominant OS as a yardstick. You can argue about its relative merits (low prices, speed, no updates) and weaknesses (offline, heavy lifting, photo editing), but it is a very good fit for a specific audience and it is still improving.

Regardless of whether it has met expectations, Google is committed to it, as evidenced by the recent Chromebit unveiling alongside four budget-friendly Chromebooks, and not long after the new Chromebook Pixel.

If Chrome OS isn’t going anywhere, then is it on a collision-course with Android? Shortly after the Chrome OS announcement, back in 2009, Sergey Brin said, “Android and Chrome will likely converge over time,” but what did he mean by that?

Android and Chrome converging

Chrome OS is looking more and more "Android-like" with each update.

Chrome OS is looking more and more “Android-like” with each update.

Talking about the recent Chrome releases to Forbes,Google’s VP of product management for Chromebook, Caesar Sengupta, said something very telling:

“From a user’s perspective, it doesn’t matter what code is running underneath, Android and Chrome originated in different places. We’ve tried to bring the teams together.”

What we’re actually seeing is an increasingly common aesthetic for the interface, and even more so with the current beta version of Chrome OS. We’re getting Google Now cards whatever device we’re on. Google is making it as easy as possible to get Android apps running in Chrome and Chrome OS apps running on Android. There’s even a new tool that makes it easier for developers to test out their Android apps on Chrome OS devices. The fact Google has folded Chrome tabs into your multitasking menu on Android is worth noting here, too.

There’s even added value for people who use both devices, through handy features like easy unlock, which will unlock your Chromebook when your Android phone is within range. We’re also going to see Android notifications on Chromebooks, so you get phone and text pop-ups or warnings that your phone needs charged on your desktop.

However, none of this means that Android will replace Chrome OS or vice versa.

Why would it be Android anyway?

Google Chrome Chromebook logo HP aa

A lot of people assume that, if it was to merge, then Chrome OS would disappear into Android. This is mostly because Android is so successful. It’s already on the majority of mobile devices, what does Chrome OS offer that Android doesn’t? Actually, given Google’s focus on the Internet, Chrome OS would be preferable. It may not have the same level of apps (yet), but it also doesn’t suffer from fragmentation. It’s simple, it’s very fast, it’s secure, and Google is firmly in control.

But the truth is that Google doesn’t have to choose. If the future for a lot of apps is browser-based, and it looks like it is, then all that really matters is support for the browser. Maybe Chrome OS eventually wins out, when web apps are good enough, maybe web apps never get good enough and it fades quietly away. Developers will probably determine what happens there.

What looks increasingly likely is that the Chrome browser will be the heart of Google’s offerings. It’s the glue that ties your Google services together and enables you to share across devices. The more Google can put in the browser, the less the underlying platform matters.

What is Google really up to?

Where is the burning need to officially merge Chrome OS and Android? There simply isn’t one.

Ultimately, Google is doing the same thing it always does – it wants as many people as possible to use its services online. It’s not trying to make money by selling you hardware or software, at least not primarily. They are a means to an end, which is why Google wants to hit the budget end of the market so hard. It wants to make sure newcomers are using Google services.

It also doesn’t want to “win” a platform war. It already makes its services available on competing platforms. Android and Chrome OS are about reaching new customers first and having the control to offer a better experience second, but as long as you’re using Google services, it doesn’t really care what devices you’re using.

It makes sense to offer a unified experience where you can share your online world across devices as seamlessly as possible. It makes sense to have a single sign-in and account that goes across all your different devices, and even platforms, tied together by the Chrome browser. If Google can present that seamless experience, regardless of the device you’re on, then it’s done its job. Who cares what code runs beneath, as long as it works?

Where is the burning need to officially merge Chrome OS and Android? There simply isn’t one.



6
Apr

Camera shootout: Galaxy S6 Edge, HTC One M9, iPhone 6 Plus and Xperia Z3


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge-25

With so many major flagship devices on the market, it can be difficult to tell which handset boasts the best camera of them all. Big players like Samsung, HTC, Apple and Sony tend to pique the interest of many users, so let’s take a look at how each camera performs against one another.

Brought to us by Flickr user Matthew Miller, the photos attached below pit the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, the HTC One M9, the Apple iPhone 6 Plus and the Sony Xperia Z3 against each other. We’ll have a few camera shootouts of our own coming to you soon, but for now, let’s take a look at the images below. (Order of photos from top to bottom: Galaxy S6 Edge, One M9, iPhone 6 Plus, Xperia Z3)

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S6 Edge

m9

6 plus

z3

Before we get into specific situations, we should get some specifications out of the way. The Galaxy S6 Edge has a 16MP sensor with OIS and an f/1.9 aperture. Samsung decided to ditch its ISOCELL technology it used on the Galaxy S5 in favor of a more conventional sensor. The HTC One M9 has a 20.7MP with no optical image stabilization and an f.2.2 aperture. While HTC decided to move its UltraPixel tech to the front this time around, the lack of OIS and poor low light performance leaves a lot to be desired. Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus has an 8MP sensor, 18mm squared sensor shooting at a 4:3 aspect ratio and an f/2.2 aperture with image stabilization. The iPhone 6 Plus’ camera is known to be one of the best on the market, but perhaps it’s finally feeling the heat from the competition. Finally, the Xperia Z3’s camera has a 20.7MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and no optical image stabilization. In our full review, we praised the camera for its powerful camera, though the software-based image stabilization tech just doesn’t compare to true OIS.

Take a look at the images of the gum-covered wall above. It’s easy to spot that the S6 Edge and iPhone 6 Plus cameras pull out ahead, offering up more true to life colors, while the One M9 and Z3 photos are more washed out. The One M9’s shot is particularly bad in this situation, struggling to capture the correct amount of light.

s6

m9

6 plus

z3

The flowerpot images are some of the more low light shots in the gallery, and the differences are less stark than the first photo set. The Galaxy S6 Edge and Xperia Z3 offer the brightest shots, but the Z3 struggles with contrast a bit more than the rest. The HTC One M9 has the darkest shot out of the bunch, but the most well-lit areas are spot on in terms of saturation.

s6

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6 plus

z3

As for the last photo set, the four flagship cameras are tested out in a fish market with very low light. The S6 Edge’s photo looks to be much warmer than the others, really bringing out the details in areas with little light. The iPhone 6 Plus also brings out a good amount of detail in these areas while the One M9 and Z3 suffer in low light performance.

These camera samples go to show that megapixels don’t mean everything. Samsung and Apple’s cameras both have the lowest megapixel count, and generally speaking, both performed the best in all of these situations. We will of course have some more camera shootouts for you in the future, but for now, hopefully these sample images help you decide which camera is your favorite. There are quite a few more images posted on Matthew Miller’s Flickr account, so I’d urge you to check those out for some more clarification.

So what did you think? Which camera came out on top?

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6
Apr

Humble Mobile Bundle 11 now available with 80 Days, Riddick: The Merc Files and more


Humble Mobile Bundle 11

The newest Humble Bundle for Android has just been released, bringing you a number of different games for just under $5. Six games are currently being offered and more will be added in the coming days. All of the games on the list usually sell for more than a few dollars each in the Google Play Store, so you may want to consider taking advantage of this deal before it’s too late.

Here are the games you’ll receive if you pay whatever amount of money you’d like:

  • Bounden
  • Auro
  • Avernum: Escape From the Pit

To get the next three games, you’ll need to beat the average price. Usually the average fluctuates a bit, but it’s currently hovering around $4.18. Once you pay more than that, you’ll receive:

  • 80 Days
  • Kingdom Rush Origins
  • Riddick: The Merc Files

Bounden is normally $2.99 in the Play Store, and 80 Days will run you $5. Kingdom Rush Origins is also $2.99, but this version comes with all of the premium content unlocked, so you’re saving a significant amount of money in this deal.

As always, all of these games are DRM-free and a portion of your money can also go to charity. This time around, you can choose to divvy up your money between the developers or two charities – Electronic Frontier Foundation and World Land Trust. If you don’t see anything that interests you, be sure to check back in a few days.



6
Apr

Google partners with ChowNow to bring Google Wallet to thousands of restaurants






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ChowNow, an online ordering and marketing platform for restaurants, has partnered with Google to bring Google Wallet to thousands of restaurants across the United States.  As of today, any restaurant who is a client of ChowNow, can now allow customers to pay using Google Wallet through their phones or tablets.  Having the ability to pay with Google Wallet is much easier for the customers as well as the restaurants.

Since ChowNow is an online ordering service, customers were forced to manually input their credit card number and billing address to place an order.  Now customers can open their Google Wallet app, and click “pay” like they would do for buying a movie or an app through the Google Play store.

Google and ChowNow have just made it that much easier to spend your money.

Press release





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The post Google partners with ChowNow to bring Google Wallet to thousands of restaurants appeared first on AndroidGuys.

6
Apr

Packaging issues might be causing AT&T Galaxy S6 to accidentally turn on


gs6attmemo

AT&T is sending out an internal memo to its employees about a potential retail packaging or box related issue with the Galaxy S6/Galaxy S6 Edge. It is said that the design of the packaging might be causing the device to accidentally turn on while on its way to the customers, leaving the device completely drained of battery.

The solution according to AT&T is to suggest customers to recharge the device for several minutes, until the low battery indicator is displayed. It’s good to know that the carrier is already prepared for any eventualities as the customers might be worried about the state of the device as they receive it later this week.

It is likely that this issue is not just limited to the AT&T version of the Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 Edge as the retail packaging comes directly from Samsung. So if you find that your AT&T Galaxy S6 is not turning on as you remove it from the retail packaging, charging it for a while should certainly help.

Via: Phone Arena

Come comment on this article: Packaging issues might be causing AT&T Galaxy S6 to accidentally turn on

6
Apr

The ASUS MeMo Pad 7 LTE will be available exclusively from AT&T on Friday, April 10


asus-memopad-7-lte-att-press

Today, ASUS announced that its latest Android-powered tablet, the MeMO Pad 7 LTE, will be available exclusively through AT&T in the United States starting this Friday, April 10. The slate can be yours for just $0.99 if you purchase a smartphone on AT&T Next or $8.75 for 20 months on the AT&T Tablet Instalment plan.

The MeMO Pad 7 packs a 7-inch full HD display powered by an Intel Atom processor, a Power VR G6430 GPU, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 16/32GB of internal storage (expandable up to 64GB via microSD), a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter and a 15Wh non-removable Li-Ion battery.

The full press release can be seen below:

AT&T, ASUS, and Intel announced that starting Friday, April 10 the ASUS MeMO Pad 7 LTE will be available in AT&T stores, and select national retailers.

The tablet can be purchased for as low as $0.99 when you buy any smartphone on AT&T Next. It is also available to purchase for $8.75 per month for 20 months with the AT&T Tablet Installment plan, or $74.99 with a two-year agreement. You can add the MeMO Pad 7 LTE to a new or existing Mobile Share Value plan for $10 per month.

In addition to the postpaid options, this is AT&T’s first tablet offering GoPhone pricing options with no annual contract required. Customers will be able to purchase a GoPhone version of the MeMO Pad 7 LTE at AT&T stores starting April 24 for $174.99. You can pre-pay for 2 GB of data service for $25 per month, 5 GB for $50 per month, or 8 GB for $75 per month.

ASUS MeMO Pad 7 LTE Features The ASUS MeMO Pad 7 LTE is an affordable Android™ tablet with dual front stereo speakers designed with entertainment in mind. The HD IPS+ display features a 178 degree wide viewing angle with vibrant colors, making it an ideal device for watching videos and playing games while on-the-go. The tablet has a five megapixel rear-facing camera with advanced shooting modes like Time Rewind and Selfie. It also has an anti-fingerprint coating that helps keep the display clear of smudges.

The ASUS MeMO Pad 7 LTE is the first connected Android tablet from AT&T to feature an Intel processor. The powerful 1.3 GHz quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor combined with Android KitKat 4.4.4 enables you to access apps and the internet quickly and effortlessly. Additionally, the MeMO Pad 7 LTE comes with 16 GB of storage and up to 64 GB of expandable storage via the microSD card slot (card sold separately).

Come comment on this article: The ASUS MeMo Pad 7 LTE will be available exclusively from AT&T on Friday, April 10

6
Apr

Apple Retail Employees Outfitted With New Shirts Ahead of Apple Watch Launch


Apple’s retail employees were today given newly redesigned shirts that will be worn during the Apple Watch launch, MacRumors has learned. The shirts are a dark shade of navy blue, much darker in color than the existing brighter blue shirts employees wear now. Employees have been given two T-shirts each and have been instructed to wear the shirts beginning on April 10. Apple also typically distributes polo shirts and T-shirts with longer sleeves, but employees have not yet received these.

The new shirts Apple employees are receiving for the Apple Watch mark the second wardrobe change that’s been enacted this year. In January, Apple distributed redesigned T-shirts and polo shirts all in a dark shade of blue, with an Apple logo located at the top left of the shirt, over the heart.

apple_watch_shirt
Apple’s head of retail Angela Ahrendts was rumored to be behind the first style change, and she’s likely handling the new look for employees during the Apple Watch as well, using her expertise as Burberry’s former CEO to find a uniform look that’s suitable for employees handling every day sales and those dedicated to serving high-end retail customers as Apple prepares to start selling its first luxury item, the gold Apple Watch Edition.

Along with new shirts, the launch of the Apple Watch has brought many changes for retail employees. Employees are undergoing rigorous training in order to get ready to sell the Apple Watch, which is being positioned as a fashion item. As we’ve learned from leaked training materials, employees are learning how to interact with customers in all new ways, evaluating customer style and preference to make product recommendations.

apple_watch_shirt_bag
Training is still ongoing, and as of this week, employees have been learning what store-front displays will look like and they’ve begun to receive word on which stores will be carrying the gold Apple Watch Edition. It appears that only a limited number of flagship stores will have the higher-end device available for sale, and safes are being installed in some of these stores this week.

Employees are also beginning to receive details on how reservations and try-on appointments will be handled (try-on appointments will be worked into the Mac queue), and they are preparing for a major overnight revamp of stores, which will include the installation of Apple Watch try-on tables and display stations.

The Apple Watch will go on sale online this Friday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time. It will be available in all first-wave launch countries simultaneously, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.



6
Apr

Apple Maps integrating TripAdvisor and Booking.com hotel reviews in results


In addition to Yelp reviews for local points of interest, Maps is now showing TripAdvisor and Booking.com’s hotel reviews in search results.

At this stage, Booking.com results are more prevalent than TripAdvisor for international search queries. Apple is yet to formally acknowledge the addition of these services, with its Maps attribution page currently listing Yelp as the only source for local reviews.

Apple is bolstering the amount of available on its in-house Maps service by adding new locations to the 3D Flyover feature along with bringing new local data partners on board. There’s also the suggestion that the Cupertino giant is looking to introduce a Street View-style feature in Maps.

Via: AppleInsider

6
Apr

myTube warns of changes to features brought about by new YouTube API


With no official YouTube app on Windows Phone, several third-party apps such as myTube have filled the void by offering a near-native experience. However, it looks like an upcoming version of the YouTube API will enforce restrictions on the amount of information that can be displayed by services like myTube.

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