Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts

Google Brings New Carrier Billing Options To Google Play Store

Android has offered carrier-based billing for some time now, letting you purchase apps without using a credit card tied to your Google account. Over the years, it's brought the feature to users on more and more carriers around the globe. That trend of extending access to the service continues today, not with the addition of another carrier, but by increasing the scope of just what you can purchase through carrierbilling

Access to these new abilities is restricted by region and carrier, but if you're in the US or Japan, you may find that you can now bill all sorts of purchases made in the Google Play store through your cellularprovider. T-Mobile subscribers in the US get the broadest access, covering all digital content Google sells. The selection is just a bit slimmer in Japan, with only movies covered in addition to apps. According to Google, Sprint will soon join T-Mobile in the States with the same sort of expanded access. 

Obviously, this is good news to users who would rather not pay by credit for whatever reason, but are the rest of you happy to see it arrive? Would having all your phone-related expenses on one bill simplify your life, or are you quite content with the way things are now? 
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Google Drive Vs. Dropbox - Pocketnow Face Off (Video)

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With Google's launch of Drive yesterday, we know many of you were left with the dilemma of either jumping ship or sticking to the cloud storageservice you already use. What makes Google Drive interesting is that it's got everything that users have come to love about Dropbox, but with some enhanced features that make it a no-brainer for Google Doc users. For some, having a little bit of everything in each cloud storage service available is good, but for others, the hassle of having to manage files everywhere is just a waste of time. 

Dropbox has really nailed ease of use in their service. Not only have they innovated with a close-to-perfect desktop experience, but instant photo uploads on Android even beat Google Drive to their own platform. Hopefully our video will help you decide to either stick with Dropbox, or try Google Drive, which is more than just another "me too" attempt by Google in our opinion. 

120425 GoogleDriveVsDropboxChart
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Chrome OS coming to ARM?

Many moons ago, Google made it quite clear we wouldn't  

be seeing its browser-based OS on any tablets or phones, but it never said Chrome OS wouldn't run on devices powered by similar silicon. In fact, the issues tracker at the Chromium OS project shows that work's being done to get Chrome OS compatible with ARM architecture, and in particular a Samsung Exynos 5250 chip. That Sammy silicon appears to be inside a new bit of hardware, codenamed "Daisy," but deeper digging failed to provide further details about the mystery device. While it certainly seems like Google's working on a new ARM-powered gadget, it's important to note that the Chromium project functions largely via user contributions, so the work might not be directed by Mountain View. You don't have to take our word for it, though. Head on down to the source link to see the evidence first hand, and feel free to form your own opinion. 
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Google+ Circles heading to Google Voice, creepers heading straight to voicemail

If you've spent some quality time with Google+, we're sure you've encountered Circles. You know, the feature that enables you to control who sees your G+ posts and who doesn't. Now, the folks in Mountain View have added the social network management tool to Google Voice. You can organize your contacts into groups who can actually ring your Galaxy Nexus and those who are sent straight to voicemail. Custom greetings can also be added to each Circle, should you feel the need to offer some Punch Brothers instead of the boring ol' standard ringback. Looking to take 'er for a spin? Hit the Groups & Circles tab in your Voice settings in order to customize your sets of contacts, but take note that your existing Google+ Circles are getting cozy there already.
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Google Fixes Wallet Security Hole

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Google officially announced that they "restored the ability to issue new prepaid cards to the Wallet". Additionally, the company "issued a fix that prevents an existing prepaid card from being re-provisioned to another user". 

These improvements in the update above come hot on the heels of exploits discovered recently related to Google Wallet. The easiest among them was to clear the app's data under settings; once done, the application was asking for a new PIN but Google prepaid card information was remembered. Now that you're safe once again, let us know whether you have any doubts in using the offering (knowing that the brute-force method is still present, though requiring root access). 
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Google TV, take two, arrives next week with Honeycomb, Android Market

It has been a long year for Google TV. The first (and only, so far) round of hardware started shipping in October 2010 and at the time, promised the Android Marketplace with its wealth of third party apps early in the next year. That clearly didn't happen, and it quickly became most notable for what it was beingblocked from doing, like streaming video from TV providers like Hulu and various network TV websites. After various false starts and delays, Sony Google TV and Logitech Revue hardware will finally receive updates to Android 3.1 Honeycomb (congratulations Google, now where's Ice Cream Sandwich?) starting this weekend with Sony up first and Logitech "shortly thereafter." The biggest additions are the aforementioned apps, a new interface, and a refocused system for content discovery that starts with the new TV & Movies app pictured above. Check out the gallery for more pictures of the new Google TV, while more details and videos follow after the break.

Talking to VP of Product Management and Head of Google TV Mario Quieroz and Lead Product Manager Rishi Chandra it's evident that much has changed since we witnessed our first demo last May. At the time, they showed off its ability to search across different video sources by including episodes available for free streaming on network TV websites and playing them back, but that was quickly snuffed out. While that puts a serious kibosh on the plans of those who'd like a Google TV to become their optimal cord cutting device, much of the focus this time around is about showing how it plays well and expands upon the traditional pay-TV experience most viewers are still tied to. As you can see in the new TV & Movies app, there's an emphasis on including content that's available both airing live and for streaming from services like YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. It can sort content in a variety of ways, but the plan is to make this a preferred option by including a whole new level of personalization in the TV experience.

While simplifying the user experience and "getting out of the viewer's way" was their first mandate after observing the initial reaction to Google TV, the second is finding a better way to answer that eternal question: What is there to watch? Other than just aggregating sources in search, what Google TV is able to do now is create an entire channel of content from all of those sources based on a query. We'll still need to see some way to tie in access to VOD and DVRed recordings from providers other than Dish Network to make this truly appealing, but it's a start. Expanding upon the traditional sources of TV with online video is a theme, and one that Mario describes as the way cable TV expanded on network TV a few decades ago. While the major television networks didn't go away, we added hundreds of cable channels. This time around, Google sees the ability to wrap content people are interested in viewing from the millions of internet video source out there, most notable on YouTube. YouTube and Google Music have both received new dedicated apps in the update, with a clear focus on bringing both the stuff you're used to, and introducing new internet options alongside them.

Other than finding new things to watch on TV in a few new ways, the addition of Market apps is the biggest difference between Google TV and all the other connected TV platforms out there. So far, there aren't yet APIs to tell third party apps what you're watching and allow them to interact with it, but they're described as "heading down that path." Some of the 50-or so apps that will work on Google TV at launch include ones we've seen from TBS, TNT and other providers, as well as TV friendly versions of common apps like Flixster and IMDB. For music there's still Pandora and Napster, joined by Plex, Qello and more right out of the gate. Sports fans can try out Thuuz and Are You Watching This?! XL to get alerts and immediately tune to whatever game is deemed the most interesting, while there's also an AOL HD app that brings some of our videos to the TV as well. One of Google TV's strength has always been its ability to handle a wide range of internet content, and that's not changing this time around. The Chrome browser and search is a little more simplified, along with a My Photos app that checks another box on the "family friendly" features list by pulling in pics from your online albums.

As important as new hardware will be to determining the quality of Google TV's second chance, the situation there is still unchanged. While current partners Sony and Logitech remain on board as Samsung and Vizio wait in the wings, definitive word on ARM processors, new control interfaces, or additional manufacturers will have to wait until 2012. For now, the biggest question is if Google really can provide a new kind of content discovery experience that thrills viewers and reels in wary content partners; and more importantly, can they do it before efforts from familiar mobile competition like Microsoft and Apple take over the living room game? One thing is clear, as Mario and Rishi refer to the future as a marathon and not a sprint, whether or not Google is the most successful in changing our TV experience, we're sure they won't stop trying.
New Interface and Android Market Bring the TV and Internet Convergence to the Next Level

SAN DIEGO, October 28, 2011 – Sony Electronics today announced a software update to the Google TV™ platform, which powers the unique entertainment experience found on Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV and the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc™ player. This latest version not only powers existing Google TV features, but also adds the Android Market for apps, which at launch includes hundreds of apps, including many designed and optimized for television. This update will roll out to all connected Sony Internet TV devices by early next week.
Sony released the world's first TV based on the Google TV platform in the U.S. last October - today's update brings a simpler and clean interface, improved performance, better search functionality and the Android Market to all currently installed Sony Internet TV and Sony Internet TV Blu-ray owners. Additionally, future consumers of Sony Internet TVs and Blu-ray Disc players will receive the update during the initial start-up installation. Other new benefits include better integration with Android™ and iOS devices, like smartphones and tablets.
"Connected experiences are a pillar of Sony's value to TV consumers and Sony Internet Television powered by Google TV certainly brings 'smart' connectivity to the highest level," said Steve Haber, EVP, Sony Electronics. "We very much look forward to the possibilities the Android Market will create for customers to personalize their experience. Users will enjoy the new features that this update brings to their interactive engagement with home entertainment programming, either through Sony Internet TVs or Bu-ray Disc players."
With the Android Market integration, new fun and useful apps will be added regularly, allowing television viewers unique and customizable entertainment experiences. At launch, original Sony applications will include TrackID®, which searches and identifies music heard on television broadcasts, packaged media or streaming video. Additionally, Sony Select will deliver a curated collection, highlighting featured applications to consumers in an easy-to-browse manner.
The Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV brings more entertainment choices to TV every day with unprecedented viewing options from cable/satellite or internet based services. Whether it's favorite network shows, movies, YouTube™ and other online clips, or the latest cool new app – whatever you want to watch, whenever you want to watch, it's all on your Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV.
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Editorial: Why My Next Smartphone Will Be The Galaxy Nexus

 Why My Next Smartphone Will Be The Galaxy Nexus
Some pocketnow readers have called me an Android "fanboy". I can't entirely disagree. I'm passionate about the things I'm interested in, but try to keep an open mind, and be objective in my reviews and articles. 

In addition to Android, I could also be called an "HTC fanboy". Even back in my Windows Mobile and Pocket PC days I gravitated to devices made by HTC. My personal Android smartphones have included the T-Mobile G1, Google Nexus One, andT-Mobile G2; all built by HTC. 

When Google and Samsung announced the Nexus S I was torn. I'd had the chance to play with the Samsung Galaxy S phones from various carriers, and although I liked their speed, I didn't like their plastic shell and how light they felt compared to HTC and Motorola devices. I wasn't terribly impressed with Samsung phones. Sure, their specs have been great and their benchmarks impressive, but those weren't enough to sway my opinion (whether legitimate, or not). 

On the other hand, the G1 and Nexus One were Google partner "launch devices" -- smartphones that were made primarily to show off "stock" Android, and push the platform forward. The Nexus S was the latest in the series of launch devices, and I liked what I saw -- but it was made by Samsung. 

I decided to pass. 

Now that the Galaxy Nexus has been announced, I have the same decision put in front of me: Do I get the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, or do I wait for an equivalent made by HTC? 

My friends that had purchased Galaxy S phones (the Vibrant, Captivate, Epic, etc.) had all been really happy with their phones. Everyone I had talked to with a Nexus S liked it. I had to assume that my concerns about quality were unfounded. 

Fast forward to today. 

The Galaxy Nexus is the latest "launch device" from Google. It has a very sleek design with its curved back and curved front. It's thin. It has cool new gadgets that I haven't had in any of my previous phones (NFC, a front-facing camera, and barometer). It also has Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It's the latest launch device from Google, so it has the pure Android experience. Since it's a "Google phone" it doesn't come loaded with a proprietary launcher or bloatware. 

Do I want this phone because it's an Android device? Sure, but not because I'm a fan boy. 

I want to buy a Galaxy Nexus because it represents the latest and greatest in the Android operatingsystem

I want to buy a Galaxy Nexus because it represents a paradigm shift in smartphone design. 

I want to buy a Galaxy Nexus because I trust my friends' testimonial of Samsung's quality. 

But enough about me. Why do you want to buy a Galaxy Nexus?
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Google Voice Returns To App Store After Week-Long Hiatus

Last Saturday, Apple users were just settling-in to their first weekend with their new iPhone 4Shandsets, when they may have noticed an odd absence from the App Store: Google Voice was nowhere to be found. We're huge fans of the service, so it's easy for us to imagine plenty of users setting-up their iPhone 4S models for the first time, getting them configured with all the apps they'll need, and scratching their heads as to whyGoogle Voice was nowhere to be found. While they've been without the app all week, it makes its triumphant return to the App Store today.

So where was Google Voice? A nasty bug in the app was causing it to crash on systems running iOS 5.0, and it was deemed so severe that Google swiftly pulled it from the App Store, rather than leave a buggy app available as it crafted a fix.

Today that fix is ready, in the form of Google Voice, replacing the edition where the problem was first noticed. Go snag it now from the App Store if you've been waiting all week. 
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Google Confirms Barometer Intent: Faster GPS Locks

Yesterday we dove-in to the new sensor coming to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, its barometer. Though there's been one on the Motorola Xoom tablet since its release, the sensor will be new to Android smartphones. We speculated about all sorts of ways we might get some use out of it, but now we have some answers straight from the horse's mouth, with Android compatibility chief Dan Morgill addressing the barometer on his Google+ page.

According to Morgill, the intended use for the barometer sensor will be speeding-up GPS acquisition. We had mentioned the ability to gauge altitude via barometric pressure, but focused on its use in estimating altitude independently of GPS, saving battery life. Instead, Morgill says, it's to make initial GPS calculations go faster.

While it's easy to keep-up with GPS satellites, an initial lock-on can take a smartphone's GPS receiver a little while to make. Besides needing to wait to receive satellite constellation data from the GPS birds, the receiver needs to solve a complicated set of equations to figure out your location. One of those values it's solving for is your altitude coordinate, and if you already have a pretty good guess what it's near, you canspeed up the rest of the equation-solving. Of course, you always could use the sensor for any of the uses we mentioned, given the proper app support, but this GPS-assist looks to be the primary motivation for the sensor's inclusion. 
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Google Maps Updates With NFC Support; Did It Just Get Beam?

Google quietly released an update for Google Maps on Android today, and while the one noted change isn't the most exciting we've heard of, additional changes under the hood suggest this could be the beginning of seeing apps arrive with support for Google's Android Beam NFC tech.

The official change is storage related. With this new release, Maps will be more efficient with how it stores downloaded map data. Specifically, it will make sure not to cache images in resolution that's unnecessary for your smartphone's display. If you happen to save a good number of offline maps, and have been running low on flash space, consider this your lucky day.

The interesting part is that the app now requests NFC permissions during installation. While showing off the Galaxy Nexus, Google and Samsung talked about "beaming", the new support for contactless NFC-based transfers of information between phones. You'll be able to use it to quickly share contacts, or pull up the Android Market page for a game your friend's playing. During those demos, it was mentioned how you'll be able to share location data via Beam and have Maps zoom right in to the spot in question. Even though it's not much use without Ice Cream Sandwich and an NFC phone, it looks like that ability just snuck-in to the latest Maps release. 
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