Google equips Street View cars with methane sensors to detect gas leaks

Street View cars are primarily used for collecting panoramic imagery of major cities and tourist attractions around the world, but that’s not the only task they’re mandated with. Google has outfitted a few Street View cars with methane sensors that enable the cars to check for natural gas leaks in the surrounding areas.



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Deal of the Day: LLOYD Flex Case for Samsung Galaxy S4

Made from shock absorbent and scratch resistant TPU, this flexible case provides great protection for the Galaxy S4 from day to day use and accidental drops. The back of each case features Android Central’s mascot, LLOYD, surrounded by a glossy, easy to grip exterior.

The LLOYD Flex Case is available for just $2.95; that’s 85% off today only. Backed by our 60-day return policy and fast shipping!



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Samsung teases Galaxy Note 4 handwriting features

September 3 is the day, and we’re pretty sure all of you Samsung Galaxy Note fans have that permanently marked on your calendar already – it’s the day we get to see the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4. But here is a short video coming from the South Korean gadget giant teasing about what most people should like about the new Galaxy Note.

In fairness, the video harps on a real-world situation – that people rarely write these days. The video shows that the great human tradition of handwriting can continue on with the Galaxy Note series. This is done specifically through the S Pen stylus, making it possible for people to scribble away on their Galaxy Note devices.

The current Note device – the Galaxy Note 3 – brought some interesting handwriting features to fore when it launched, including the automatic conversion of handwriting to either digital notes, contacts or memos. A few passes over the video and we understand that we should expect to see more new handwriting features from the incoming Galaxy Note.

The Galaxy Note 4 will be launched in two weeks’ time, at Samsung’s IFA 2014 event in Berlin. Given the hype that the new device has had, it would be a relief to finally see it launched. Are you excited about the new device?

SOURCE: Samsung

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A Beautiful Collection of Zen Apps Graces the iOS App Store

Zen Sketch - The Art of Drawing and Sketching Zen Sketch – The Art of Drawing and Sketching
Rating: not yet rated
Price: $1.99  App Store


Fishington Studios announced today that it has released two new apps to complete its suite of “Zen Apps”. Each individual app seeks to fulfill a common productivity need in a way that is peaceful, elegant, simplistic and intuitive.

The Collection Includes:
* Zen Stories (New)-Record and capture the moments, stories, photos, thoughts, and text you care about
* Zen Maps (New)- Amazing and Beautiful Locations-Create pins of your favorite spots and save them to the location. Pins can have photos and text added to them, and icons or pin color can be customized
* Zentries – The Art of Journaling
* Zen Lists – Simple and Easy Tasks, ToDos, and Checklists
* Zen Sketch – The Art of Drawing and Sketching

With this collection, users not only enjoy beautiful and tranquil themes, but also cutting edge design and technology. Whether it’s journaling about a recent trip, organizing photos, sketching out ideas for a major project, creating a shopping list or simply mapping out a run, the Zen App Suite will help you do so in a more peaceful and effective setting.

Finish reading A Beautiful Collection of Zen Apps Graces the iOS App Store.

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TalkAndroid Daily Dose for August 22, 2014

TalkAndroid_Daily_Dose

With hectic schedules, it can be hard to keep track of everything in your news feed. That’s why we created the TalkAndroid Daily Dose. This is where we recap the day’s hottest stories so you can get yourself up to speed in quick fashion. Happy reading!!

Accessories

Convenient, but is it efficient? Samsung’s upcoming USB cable charges three device at once

Android Wear

MacroDroid update brings Android Wear compatibility

Chromecast

Price of Chromecast in the UK slashed

Deals

[Deal]: Grab a Samsung Galaxy S5 from Radio Shack for $79.99 with a new two year contract

Gaming

Google pulls all Swing Copters knock-offs from Play Store

Google

Google acquires Gecko Design to integrate with research lab

Google Knowledge Vault will be presented next week as a massive information repository

Phones

LG G3 customers having issues with cracks in microphone area

Motorola’s next flagship could actually be called the Moto X One

Alleged Motorola DROID Turbo (XT1254) specifications show eye-opening 640 ppi display

Moto X+1, Moto G2 details surface on Brazilian retailer site

Motorola XT1112 shows up in shipping manifest, possibly another “Shamu” contender

OnePlus launches Summer Shots Contest with 10,000 One invites at stake

Samsung releases teaser video for September 3rd event

Samsung details manufacturing process behind the upcoming Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha pre-ordering opens August 28 in the U.K.

Samsung Galaxy S 5 issues Ice Bucket Challenge

Smartwatches

Details on upcoming Samsung Gear 3 leak, could debut in two weeks

Tablets

Upcoming Nexus tablet manufactured by HTC gets WiFi certification

Virtual Reality

Photos of Samsung’s upcoming Gear VR have surfaced showing off sleek design

Come comment on this article: TalkAndroid Daily Dose for August 22, 2014

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Motorola XT1112 shows up in shipping manifest, possibly another “Shamu” contender

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We’ve seen a ton of devices with different model numbers that could end up being a Motorola Nexus 6, and today you can add the Moto XT1112 to that growing list. The XT1112 showed up in Zauba’s database, which is an import/export system that tracks devices coming in and out of India. Interestingly, though, the description for that particular model is “SHAMU PHONES (PROTOTYPE) (FOR DEMO PURPOSE) MOTOROLA XT1112″ which could just mean that particular model is the version that’s going to be sold in India. Or, it could be something else entirely. At this point it’s anyone’s guess.

On top of this XT1112, there are multiple other models for the new Moto G devices, the Moto X+1, and that rumored new Droid Turbo that would inevitably end up on Verizon. I guess Motorola proves that the best way to keep your devices relatively secret in the digital age is to flood benchmarks and internal systems with as many different model numbers as possible. Maybe they’ll clear some of this up at their event in September.

Are you still excited for a potential Motorola Nexus?

source: Zauba

via: Droid Life

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Upcoming Nexus tablet manufactured by HTC gets WiFi certification

htc_flounder_tablet_wifi_certification

It is expected that a Nexus tablet will arrive this fall to coincide with the release of Android L. We have seen it referred to as Flounder, Volantis, and Nexus 9. The tablet, regardless of what you call it, is widely expected to be manufactured by HTC and a tablet matching its profile has received WiFi certification on August 15.

The certification is filed under the “Tablet (Wi-Fi and other)” section rather than WiFi-only. This means that Google is presumably going to carry both a WiFi version and an LTE-ready version. Here, have multiple stock keeping units (SKUs) and that likely confirms the different various; however, it could also indicate a choice of color or storage for this Nexus device.

Source: Wi-Fi Alliance [PDF Download Link]

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Alleged Motorola DROID Turbo (XT1254) specifications show eye-opening 640 ppi display

DROID_Ultra_Back_DROID_Logo_Motorola_Logo_TA

The latest trend for mobile devices at the end of 2014 seems to be incredible displays. After all, it is the one part of a device that is always being used. Now it seems that Motorola and Verizon will have an upcoming device that will please even the most demanding viewer. A CPU-Z identification test reveals that a Motorola device with the model number XT1254, and codenamed Quark, will have a 4.59-inch display with 2560×1440 resolution. This means that it has a whopping 640 pixels per inch.

The internal specifications are no slouch either. The Snapdragon 805 processor clocked at 2.65GHz has 3GB of RAM to go along with it. So this device, believed to be the DROID Turbo, is going to be as fast as the name suggests. The internal memory is set at 32GB, but it is unknown if there will be other storage options. The front camera is 2MP and the rear camera is an impressive 20MP. And right out of the box, Motorola will ship the DRIOD Turbo with Android 4.4.4 which is the latest version of Android.

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Do you believe that this device will have 640 pixels per inch? While it does seem odd to be cramming all of those pixels into a screen at 4.59 inches, it is not impossible to imagine.

Source: Android Authority

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Google Knowledge Vault will be presented next week as a massive information repository

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Google is on the verge of introducing something big. The company will present the Knowledge Vault that Google Research’s Kevin Murphy describes as “the largest repository of automatically extracted structured knowledge on the planet.” The Knowledge Vault, though, has much more depth to answer a question that requires much more depth and detail. It will use machine learning to pull information from across the internet. By being able to reach out for new content, the Knowledge Vault has the ability to remain updated on its own.

It sounds similar to the existing Knowledge Graph that quickly pulls organized data to respond to direct requests. The Knowledge Graph is what backs Google Search and Google Now when asking a question. With the Knowledge Vault, there is an opportunity for Google to further its lead over Apple’s Siri assistant if implemented into the Android experience. Some see a pitfall in the Knowledge Vault’s privacy. It is believed that Google will require data from services like Gmail or Google+ to function properly and the Knowledge Vault would then contain information about everyone.

Source: CIKM
Via: Engadget

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MacroDroid update brings Android Wear compatibility

Macrodroid_wearMacroDroid’s latest update (2.3.8) comes with Android Wear support, which will give users a plethora of new features for customizing your android experience. Using the Android Wear trigger from within the app will allow you to set up certain macros to invoke from within the app. the Trigger can also be set up to start as soon as your device connects to your phone. You can also quick launch the app by swiping down from the top corners of your device when the screen is on.

The app can be used to open a specific action on the device, create a notification with up to 4 customisable actions, cause the wear device to vibrate on a specific pattern, and set the brightness on the wear device. One feature that deserves special attention is the notification feature. The notification feature allows you assign a title and message text and up to 4 actions to appear when you swipe left from the notification using the Android Wear mechanism.

Are you planning to use this app with your Android wear device? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: MacroDroid blogspot

 

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The HTC Nexus a.k.a. Volantis a.k.a. Flounder tablet is spotted getting Wi-Fi certification


HTC NexusWith all the talk about the Motorola-manufactured Nexus 6 lately, this gem nearly slipped by. The other notable Nexus device release that is expected this year is a tablet manufactured by HTC. The so-called ‘HTC Nexus‘ has been referred to by many namesFlounder, Volantis, Nexus 8, Nexus 9 – but it seems an almost inevitable fact that such a device is going to be released very soon. A new tidbit of information regarding the HTC Nexus has been unveiled today, with the device appearing to go for Wi-Fi certification at the Wi-Fi Alliance.

It’s relatively easy to spot why the device shown here is most likely the HTC Nexus; the company cited is of course HTC, and the operating system of the device is “Android, version: L”. There appear to be a few variants of the device, possibly a LTE-enabled version, but the information here definitely suggests that the HTC Nexus is nearing its release date. The HTC Nexus is expected to be a 8.9-inch device carrying NVIDIA’s new Tegra K1 processor and will be available starting at $399, as per previous rumours.


What do you think about this Wi-Fi certification information? Are you excited about the HTC Nexus’ release? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Wi-Fi Alliance via Phandroid



The post The HTC Nexus a.k.a. Volantis a.k.a. Flounder tablet is spotted getting Wi-Fi certification appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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The HTC Flounder (aka Volantis, Nexus tablet) receives its WiFi certification as we inch closer to a release

HTC Flounder WiFi Certification

We’ve been hearing a lot of chatter around the internets in recent months about an HTC Volantis, otherwise known as the HTC Flounder. The tablet, which is rumored to be HTC’s entry for the Nexus 9, recently made a pit stop at the WiFi Alliance.

The tablet’s certification clearly lists HTC Corporation under the company name, along with the tablet’s codename appearing in the firmware as “flounder” and the operating system as “Android version L.” Doesn’t get more obvious than that. Also interesting are the 3 separate model numbers for the HTC tablet: 0P8210000, 0P8220000, and 0P8230000. Now the obvious assumption is that it could be referencing different color options, or possible the usual WiFi/LTE equipped models — but then what about the 3rd? We suppose that’s still anyone’s guess at the moment.

It was back in May we first references to an HTC-made “Flounder” tab appear in AOSP and in June, some of the device’s specs were tipped off. While WiFi Certification doesn’t really tell us too much, it is a clear indication of the device’s existence and that — ever so gently — we’re getting closer to an official release.

[WiFi Alliance: PDF Download]

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Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review: Serious protection for your Device


Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 ReviewWe’re big fans of Moshi‘s products here at AndroidSPIN – they’re not to everybody’s taste nor are they the most heavy duty accessories around, but they more than make up for it in style and functional quality. Today, we’ll be taking a look at two screen protectors that Moshi has made for the Samsung Galaxy S5, the iVisor XT and the iVisor Glass.

Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 ReviewWe’ll start with the iVisor Glass. As the name suggests, the iVisor Glass is a tempered glass screen protector that Moshi currently only has available for the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S/5C. Moshi claims that their screen protector features “an atomically-strengthened structure that is stronger than glass found in typical glass screen protectors”. A very impressive claim.

Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 ReviewApplying the iVisor Glass is extremely simple, with a suction cap provided to help you get that perfectly aligned installation, as well as for removing the protector. Moshi says that their proprietary design will prevent any bubbles ever forming under the screen when applying the screen protector, and we’re likely to believe them; I applied and re-applied the iVisor Glass several times and not once did I see any bubbles.

Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 ReviewNext, we’ll take a look at the iVisor XT. We’ve had a look at some of Moshi’s iVisor range before, in particular the iVisor Anti-Glare for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (read the full review here), and the iVisor XT is another screen protector in this line, this time made of plastic.


Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 ReviewThe iVisor XT is likewise very easy to apply with no risk of bubbles thanks to Moshi’s proprietary design. As you might expect from a plastic screen protector, you do feel a lot closer to the screen than with a glass one, and gives a great feel for the screen.


Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
A neat thing for both these screen protectors is that they can be removed, cleaned off with water and reapplied, effectively extending their lives as screen protectors should you feel the need to try something else in-between. Regarding the toughness of these screen protectors, I didn’t put them through rigorous tests, but I can personally vouch for their performance – I have been using the iVisor Anti-Glare protector on my Note 2 since I reviewed it a year again and there are only a few minor cosmetic marks on it.

In terms of pricing, the iVisor XT will set you back $24.95 USD whereas the iVisor Glass will be $39.95 USD.

Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 ReviewIn closing, the iVisor XT and iVisor Glass looks like a fantastic way to protect your Galaxy S5 depending on the level of protection you want. Both of these screen protectors are premium quality, and come with a big personal recommendation from me. If you’re hoping to pick one up, you can check out the product page for the iVisor XT here and iVisor Glass here, or we’ve provided Amazon links below too.

Gallery of Photos

Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review



The post Moshi iVisor XT and iVisor Glass for Samsung Galaxy S5 Review: Serious protection for your Device appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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Get the digital magazine TechLife News on Magzter today

Magzter – Magazine & Book Store Magzter – Magazine & Book Store
Rating: 3
Price: free  App Store


Promising light, intelligent, innovative reading at your fingertips is TechLife News, a digital magazine, now available to global readers on the world’s largest and fastest growing global digital newsstand and magazine store, Magzter. A digital publication distributed worldwide only on newsstands, TechLife News combines a unique, dynamic and intelligent approach with exquisite design and easily accessible interactive content. TechLife News delivers up to the minute information on Apple related news, products and services as well as reviews of the latest in music, books, podcasts, films, TV series, apps, games and much more – right to your fingertips. Like Magzter, TechLife News too is tapping the maximum potential of digital technology, using it to increase the habit of digital reading.

“TechLife News is a must-read for everyone who loves Apple and everything about it. It is packed with just the right amount of information about the products that you can’t get enough of.

Finish reading Get the digital magazine TechLife News on Magzter today.

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Mobileaze Announces Ripil for iPhone

Ripil Ripil
Rating: not yet rated
Price: free  App Store


Mobileaze LLC is pleased to introduce the Ripil app for iOS devices. The app will allow you to earn badges and increase your kindness score by logging everyday deeds, recruit new people to Ripil, and by getting your deeds passed on. The interactive Ripil map will allow you to follow the next step in your deeds journey. Your deed could be passed on to a friend, someone you’ve never met, maybe even a popular celebrity or athlete, even the President of the United States. Who knows, your “ripil” could lead to a world change.

Become the kindest person in your city via the Ripil Leaderboard that keeps track of the Top 10 kindest people in the Top 25 kindest cities around the world. This platform is also well designed for Educators and schools. It will allow students and teachers to track their acts of kindness, connect classmates and watch as their influence and habits grow kinder.

Compete in “head to head” kindness challenges with your friends, have your city go up against another city to see who is kinder, or have a local school challenge another school to see who’s students can hit a certain amount of deeds first.

Finish reading Mobileaze Announces Ripil for iPhone.

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Rhythm Studio 1.10 for iOS Puts Recording Studio at Your Fingertips

Rhythm Studio Rhythm Studio
Rating: not yet rated
Price: $0.99  App Store


Pulse Code today is pleased to introduce another update to its premier universal electronic music making app, Rhythm Studio. The latest update to Rhythm Studio includes core audio enhancements.

What makes Rhythm Studio stand out?
Rhythm Studio balances advanced music making features by using an easy to understand interface resembling real instruments. This means that one button does one thing just like it would with real hardware. Knobs turn, switches slide, and buttons press. You won’t get lost in abstract interfaces, menus, or design.

Imagine having a studio of rare vintage synths and drum machines in the palm of your hand. Beautifully rendered synthesizers make seeing the app as enjoyable as hearing it. Rhythm Studio is the next best thing to having the real hardware.

Main Features Include:
* Full music production studio
* Emulations of classic synthesizers and drum machines
* TB-3 Digital Bassline Synthesizer
* Gemini Two Oscillator Synthesizer
* Phoenix SuperSaw Synthesizer
* FM-3 Frequency Modulation Synthesizer
* ST-1 Sample Tone Synthesizer
* Hornet Ribbon Synthesizer
* DR-8 Digital Rhythm Drum Machine
* DR-9 Digital Rhythm Drum Machine
* Easy to navigate workspace
* Multiple ways to make music to suite your creative process
* WIST sync
* Bluetooth song sharing
* Background audio support
* Audiobus support

Rhythm Studio 1.10 is on sale for one week at only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Music category.

Finish reading Rhythm Studio 1.10 for iOS Puts Recording Studio at Your Fingertips.

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MacroDroid releases wear app

Macrodroid_wearMacroDroid’s latest update (2.3.8) comes with Android Wear support, which will give users a plethora of new features for customizing your android experience. Using the Android Wear trigger from within the app will allow you to set up certain macros to invoke from within the app. the Trigger can also be set up to start as soon as your device connects to your phone. You can also quick launch the app by swiping down from the top corners of your device when the screen is one

The app can be used to open a specific action on the device, create a notification with up to 4 customisable actions, cause the wear device to vibrate on a specific pattern, and set the brightness on the wear device. One feature that deserves special attention is the notification feature. The notification feature allows you assign a title and message text and up to 4 actions to appear when you swipe left from the notification using the Android Wear mechanism.

Are you planning to use this app with your Android wear device? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Macro-Droid blogspot

 

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Google acquires Gecko Design to integrate with research lab

gecko_design_google_acquisition_message

The Google X research lab will be getting help with a company experienced in product design. The product design firm is Gecko Design Inc., based in California’s Bay Area, and has worked in the past with companies including HP and FitBit. Gecko Design will be integrated into the research lab at Google to work on future products that are currently unannounced. The Google X research lab has been responsible for Glass, the driverless car, Project Loon, and contact lens that check for glucose levels.

The message above was left on Gecko Design’s site, praising past clients and thanking Google for its new opportunity.

Source: Bloomberg

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Moto X+1, Moto G2 details surface on Brazilian retailer site

Moto_X_Back_Camera_Lens_Motorola_Logo_TA

A retailer in Brazil, Livraria Logos, has leaked information regarding two upcoming Motorola devices. This is the same retailer that previously leaked accurate information pertaining to the Moto E prior to being released. The two devices that Livraria Logo has prematurely detailed include the Moto X+1 (or Moto X One) and the Moto G2.

The Moto X+1, which is the name we will stick with for now, is said to have a 5.2-inch display that makes it larger than the original Moto X. The processor that quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz is paired with 2GB of RAM. The internal storage is sized as 16GB, and a microSD card slot is not expected. A 13MP camera will be featured. Right out of the box, Android 4.4.4 will be present. The retailer did highlight build materials for the back panel. Customers can choose between wood (including bamboo), plastic, and leather.

The Moto Titan, allegedly the Moto G2, is also getting a display size boost to 5 inches. It will also have a quad-core processor, but this one is clocked at 1.2GHz with only 1GB of RAM. The rear camera will be 8MP. This device, too, will have 16GB of internal storage and ship with the latest version of Android.

Everything will be made official on September 4.

Source: Livraria Logos
Via: Android and Me

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha pre-ordering opens August 28 in the U.K.

Galaxy-Alpha-official-colors-21

Folks in the United Kingdom will not have to wait very long to get their hands on the Galaxy Alpha. On August 28, the Samsung device will be up for pre-ordering. Samsung’s online store and retail partners will take pre-orders. Then customers can go and retrieve their Galaxy Alpha on September 10 with the device’s availability widening on September 12. The color options available to pre-order are Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue.

Via: SamMobile

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Stop the presses! Top 5 news readers for Android

Thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, we live in a world where we get an almost never-ending flow of news available at our fingertips. So much so that now our problem is how to best handle that flood of information rushing towards us. News readers have become not just our source but also our filter and our shield, not just letting us choose the news and topics that we do want while keeping others at bay, they also give a bit of a visual flair to those bits of information, making the reading experience more pleasurable and engaging. Here are our top 5 picks for news readers on Android.

Zite

This one is an oldie but goodie. Zite is one of the earliest entries in the news reader category and exemplifies the basic concept of many modern readers today. You are basically given a curated list of topics to choose from and, using that initial selection, it builds up your personal Zite, with news selected specifically for those categories gathered from various sources. However, it doesn’t simply dump all news items on your lap, though it may in the beginning. Zite allows you to thumbs up or down articles so that it will know the kinds of articles and topics it will bump up to the top of the list in the future.

Unfortunately, Zite hasn’t been updated since October last year, which isn’t surprising considering it was acquired by Flipboard, which we’ll tackle later. The app will soon disappear once Zite is satisfied that it has pushed enough of its features and technology into Flipboard. That said, Zite still has a loyal following and some cases, like sharing with social networks and sending to Evernote or Pocket, are adequately handled by Android’s sharing framework itself.

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News360

Another old and mainstay news reader is News360, a service that launched back in 2010 with its Android app following in 2011. Like Zite and many other news readers, News360 offers a curated list of topics to choose from. The number of broad categories presented to new users is a bit deceptive, making you think that is has fewer options. However, News360 has a search feature that opens up even more items to choose from. In fact, search is one of the features that it has over something like Zite. You can also search for news, topics, and whatnot, letting you jump directly to the content that matters most to you. One other unique feature you might not find in other news readers of its ilk is the option a Local News category, where you can gather stories relevant to your particular location, either from your device’s GPS or via manual input.

Although updated regularly, News360 is showing its age in terms of appearance. While it might have fans, its semi-skeumorphic design might not win any awards in terms of aesthetics, a topic that our next two contenders will have something to say about.

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Google Play Newsstand

Of course, Google has its now news reader. And no, it isn’t that odd duck Google Currents, which it replaces anyway. Play Newsstand is both a news reader and, for supported regions, a magazine reader. For our topic, however, we will focus on the more widely available functionality. Again you get the curated selection of topics. This time, however, you can actually choose the news sources from that particular category instead of being presented with a mishmash of various sources. That said, you still can’t add your own source that isn’t included in Google’s list. But since we’re talking about Google here, there is a handy search function to check if it isn’t already there. If you’ve been a Google Reader user, your previous feeds are automatically included in Newsstand.

While the app has the staples of any news reader, like saving offline for later perusal, Newsstand really stands out in its design. As a Google app, it exemplifies Google’s current aesthetics and design language, employing clean interfaces and swatches of colors. It will most likely be updated to Material Design in future iterations.

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Flipboard

This app is probably the most popular news reader when it comes to visual design. As the name suggets, Flipboard uses a flip page turning animation to add a bit of fanciness to your reading, almost like a physical magazine, something felt more on the tablet interface than on smartphones. Like other readers, you get to choose your sources from a set of recommended categories as well as sources. However, you can also search for other topics or sites and Flipboard will present to you relevant results that can be added to your collection, ranging from social network feeds to RSS, if any.

Perhaps one of the key features of Flipboard, aside from its fancy animation, is the ability to create your own magazine by gathering articles from your various sources. This gives users an easy way to share with others the things they care about in bulk and in a visually appealing way. It is, however, a bit more confusing to use for first time users, especially those migrating from other readers, as it doesn’t use the same workflow or concepts as other apps, so you will have to invest more time in trying to find your around. It might, however, be worth it.

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Feedly

Another popular app, or more properly platform, is Feedly. In a league of its own, Feedly started off as one of the many Google Reader clients that presented RSS feeds in a prettier way than Reader’s spartan interface. However, when Google tragically shut down Reader, Feedly stepped up to not only catch former Reader users but also to become a platform itself, completely filling in the hole left by Google Reader’s demise. That is why Feedly supports the RSS/ATOM “news feed” formats that lets you add arbitrary blogs and websites to your list. That said, it still offers an Explore functionality that lets you browse through its curated categories, in case you were in an adventurous mood.

Feedly can perhaps be considered a power user app, offering a lot more options ranging from default saving tool to the visual presentation of content. As a cross-platform service, Feedly has the advantage of having other third-party clients meet the needs or aesthetic bents of users on other devices or operating systems. One thing that it doesn’t have that apps like Zite and New360 offer is learning capability. It doesn’t rank articles for you and just presents them as they come. In short, you are in total control of what you get, which is just what some users might prefer.

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Wrap-up

There are a plethora of news readers out there, some with their own preferred backend service. We haven’t even covered the custom news readers that specific to OEM’s like Samsung’s Flipboard-powered My Magazine, HTC’s BlinkFeed, or Sony’s Socialife News.

Do you have a favorite news reader of your own? Or do you have a favorite feature in one of the apps mentioned above? Come share with the community in the comments below!

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Clear solar panels foreshadow self-charging mobile devices

One of the biggest issues for all Android devices on the market today is run time. People are away from homes and outlets for long periods of time and keeping their devices charged up and running is a big challenge. While some devices allow for swappable batteries, others require external batteries to keep running. One bit of tech that could mean longer run times for devices in the future are solar panels.

The typical solar panel is a black device that you can’t see through that would have to be used on the rear of a tablet or smartphone. Researchers at Michigan State University in the US have developed a new generation of clear solar panels that may one day be integrated right over the screen of your smartphone or tablet. That would allow the devices to generate power while you use them and increase run time.

The Michigan State University researchers aren’t the first to make transparent solar panels, but they are the first to make them without tinting of any sort. These new transparent panels are designed to glow in certain wavelengths of light and the glowing pushes the light to the edges of the sheet where the photovoltaic solar cells are placed.

The panels don’t absorb or emit any light in the visible spectrum making them look clear to the human eye. One big pitfall to these solar panels for now is that they aren’t very efficient. Right now, they are only able to convert energy at a rate of about 1%. The researchers hope to make the panels about 5% effective in future refinements of the clear panels. Exactly when this tech might make it to the commercial world is unknown. We have seen solar panel screen tech int eh past for powering smartphones, such as the Wysips screen we talked about back in 2011.

VIA: SlashGear

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VidOn Box runs a custom version of Android XBMC

A new Android XBMC powered set top box is up for pre-order called the VidOn Box. One of the big features of this set top box is that it has a low price with pre-orders underway for $49 right now. The device can run Android apps along with a custom version of the XBMC called VidOn Media Center.

Owners can also run apps from the Google Play Store on the set top box. A custom home screen is designed to make it easy to navigate the menus on a TV screen. The hardware portion of the set top box is $49 as I mentioned, but the company offers a subscription service that gives users some premium features with support for Blu-ray movies and backing up data from Android or iOS devices.

One downside to the set top box is that it does appear to require a monthly subscription on top of the $49 purchase price for the hardware. The normal price for the monthly subscription is $3.99 monthly, but when it is ordered with a VidOn Box device, you can get an entire year bundled with hardware for $72.88.

Inside the set top box hides an Allwinner A31s ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core CPU, PowerVR SGX544 MP2 graphics, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. The box has an integrated Ethernet port and WiFi along with USB 2.0, HDMI output, and S/PDIFF. An integrated IR receiver lets the box work with an included remote.

VIA: Liliputing

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How it’s Made: Samsung Galaxy Alpha metal frame

One of the interesting features of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone when it was unveiled earlier this month was the metal frame of the device. If you wondered exactly how that metal frame was made, a few details on its construction process have been unveiled.

The construction of the Alpha requires some advanced techniques, as you can imagine. The build process uses a number of CNC processes with automated tools controlled by computers to build the metal frame. The first process sees the frame carved and trimmed to a rough material shape for the smartphone’s design.

After that rough frame out of the shape, spaces for the battery and window parts are machined. The next step sees the outer edge shape developed more, making the curved corners of the device along with slots for buttons and the antenna.

After that process, the case is dipped into a color anodizing process to tint the metal frame to the desired color. After being colored the frame is diamond cut to create a finish difference with matte and shiny for grip and looks. The frame then gets its electronic parts and is sent to testing before shipping to consumers.

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SOURCE: Samsung Tomorrow

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WeTransfer app makes it easy to share photos and videos with friends

If you share a lot of photos and video with your friends, the WeTransfer app has been updated and promises to make sharing your content easier. WeTransfer has now hit version 1.0.20 with an update this week. The app measures 5.3MB and requires Android 4.0.3 and higher to operate.

Once installed, the app aims to make it much easier to share photo and video content with your friends. Using the app, you can share content up to 10GB in size and the app gives you some cool backgrounds to look at as the transfer happens.

Your friends will receive an email with a download link to click to get the content you are sharing. The app has a number of features to make using it easy and fast such as tap to select content and tap and hold to preview photos and videos shared.

Users can also tap the first image and then double tap other images or videos to share a range of content. A double finger swipe in your content will scroll between months and a three-finger scroll goes to the bottom of the list. The Android share button also allows you to share field from anywhere in the OS. Shares can also be paused and resumed later to save data if you go off WiFi.

Download: WeTransfer

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ComScore: Most people in the US don’t download apps on a regular basis

While smartphone apps come in handy for a variety of uses from sharing photos to navigating a new locale, it appears that most folks in the US barely download them at all. According to ComScore, 65.5 percent of those users 18 and above who wield a handset in the US go a full month without visiting their respective app store for new material. This means that 34.5 percent load up at least one new selection every 30 days, and figures indicate that the top 7 percent of users are responsible for around half of a month’s total. What’s more, the iOS crowd primarily focuses on news, radio, photos, social networks and weather, while the Android faithful fire up Google Search and Gmail most often. And to the surprise of no one, Facebook is tops in terms of popularity and amount of time spent on its app. All of that said, most folks seem to load up their phones with the usual suspects early on, and don’t tend to divide their attention too often thereafter.

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Source: comScore

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Apparently, Porsche Design is still working with BlackBerry

Since 2012, Porsche Design and BlackBerry have worked together on two high-end handsets that offer a retooled exterior and… not much else. That didn’t stop the duo from selling the tweaked aesthetic for over $2,000, though. It seems that the pair is up to its old tricks once more, as the P’9983 (code named “Khan”) phone has unofficially broke from cover. According to N4BB, the second QWERTY device from the two companies will sport BlackBerry 10 on its 3.5-inch touchscreen with 3GB RAM, a dual-core 1.7 GHz processor and 64GB of storage inside. BlackBerry is also set to debut its rather unique 4.5-inch square Passport device soon, complete with its own personal assistant. But this leak begs the question: Why?

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Via: The Verge

Source: N4BB

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Weekly sidebar poll results: Is $250 the right price for the Moto 360?

Numbers don’t tell the whole story

Everyone’s a little excited about the Moto 360, and when it was leaked that the price may be $250, we had to ask and see what everyone thought of that. We made the poll simple, and asked if you would buy a Moto 360 for $250.

Over 67-percent of us would.

So it appears that Motorola found a price point that people could swallow (if that $250 price is right). We also asked for folks to spill it all in the comments and let us know if they will be buying a Moto 360 if they said “yes”, or why they won’t be buying one no matter what their answer. Some interesting conversation going on in there.



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We’re giving away HTC One M8 Phunk Studio Edition No. 1!

OK, folks. This is going to be fun. Because not only do we have one of the 64 only living copies of the HTC One M8 Phunk Studio Edition — we’ve got copy No. 1. Numero Uno. The very first one.

And one of you is going to win it next week, on the 200th episode of the Android Central Podcast.

Pique your interest? Read on.



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Gecko Design acquisition would help Google commercialize advanced research projects

Google is showing that it may be moving more into the hardware space thanks to the acquisition of Gecko Design, a mechanical engineering and product design firm, that was announced today. Though details of the deal were not disclosed, Gecko’s design team will be joining Google X, the Internet search giant’s laboratory for advanced technology research projects.



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