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Briefly: Google Glass webcam support, Google Play offline games

07/25, 8:31am

Google Glass developer kit adds support for external webcams

Google has added support for external cameras to Google Glass, on top of the existing built-in imaging sensor. Android Police reports the latest Glass Development Kit update enables the use of an external webcam connected via a USB On-The-Go (OTG) cable, though it warns plug-and-play does not work, and if it includes a microphone, it may disable voice commands. Glass owners looking to try it out will have to wait for a developer to create an app for it, as Google does not supply an application to view through a connected webcam.

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Briefly: Google Play Store upgrade, Cortana prepares for China launch

07/23, 5:23am

Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app

Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.

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EU: Apple failing to make 'true cost of apps' clear on App Store [U]

07/18, 6:34pm

Company yet to offer commitment, details for required changes

[Updated with Apple rebuttal] Despite both Apple and Google being asked to take measures to make the "true cost of apps" clearer before they're downloaded from an app store, Apple is providing "no firm commitment and no timing" for action, according to a statement from the European Commission. At issue are so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" apps, which are technically free to use, but often require in-app purchases to make real use of them. Some games, in particular, have exploited lax authorization measures around those purchases to lure children into buying dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars' worth of digital content without their parents' consent.

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Google Play Store makeover image leak hints at Material Design use

07/14, 7:02am

Android L UI design appears in alleged Play Store upgrade screenshots

Google may be preparing a visual upgrade to the Play Store, if leaked screenshots are to be believed. The images, apparently taken from within the Android app, appears to show a greater emphasis on screenshots, video stills, and other graphical elements to create a large background, while the core app information and pricing details are made more apparent to the viewer via a central placement on a white background.

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Apple tried nudging FTC into investigating Google Play, email reveals

07/09, 12:00pm

General counsel forwarded Consumer Reports article to commissioners

Apple's general counsel, Bruce Sewell, tried to get the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate in-app purchase policies at Google Play, an email obtained via the Freedom of Information Act shows. Days after Apple agreed to pay a $32.5 million settlement over its own approach to in-app purchases, Sewell forwarded a Consumer Reports story to FTC commissioners Edith Ramirez and Julie Brill. The article accused Google of being equally lax, and letting children spend their parents' money "like a drunken sailor."

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Three Android devices disappear from Google Play Editions range

07/09, 5:46am

Sony Xperia Z Ultra, LG G Pad 8.3, HTC One M7 removed from Google Play

The roster of Google Play Edition devices available from Google Play directly has halved in size. Thee of the six smartphones involved in the program, which offered stock Android on popular devices, have been permanently removed from sale after being listed as out of stock since last month, though neither Google nor the manufacturers involved have provided any explanation for the disappearance.

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Briefly: Skype 5.2 for iPhone, Google Play Music for iOS updated

07/07, 2:55pm

Skype rolls out iPhone app update, re-introduces voice-message support

Microsoft has released v5.2 of the iPhone version of its Skype app. Users can now receive recorded messages from when they are offline within a conversation stream, and it can be listened to directly. User profiles can be viewed from one's contacts, displaying status, username, location and more. Additionally, participants can be added to existing conversations through the main menu on the bottom right-hand side. Skype v5.2 is free to download through iTunes.

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Korean government asks Apple, Google to change app store policies

07/07, 9:30am

Companies ordered to make changes to refund systems

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission has ordered Apple and Google to change their app store policies, according to the Korea Herald. Apple will have to change its default no-refund policy, and send out notifications to App Store users whenever it changes contract terms; Google will have to devise a refund scheme for Google Play that can be tailored to developers' individual policies. The two companies may also have to address other "unfair provisions," though the FTC's announcement doesn't specify what those might be.

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Briefly: Android Wear in Google Play, VLC for Android update

07/04, 8:40am

Google adds Android Wear section to Google Play

Google has started to compile a list of apps compatible with Android Wear smartwatches. The "Apps for Android Wear" collection, spotted by The Next Web, currently includes 29 apps, including Google's own Android Wear companion app, with the list consisting of a number of contributions from prominent apps and their developers, including IFTTT, Duolingo, Pinterest, and American Airlines.

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Briefly: ScottEVest's RFID Vest, Google Play Service 5.0 released

07/03, 11:28pm

New Radio-Frequency Identification blocking vest launched

ScottEVest, a developer of tech-enabled clothing, has launched a new series of products that aim to protect wearers from others exploiting weaknesses in cell phones, credit cards and passports. The Radio-Frequency Identification Blocking Vest features pockets lined with RFID-blocking materials, so that vulnerable objects can be carried securely. ScottEVest's travel vest is its flagship product, with a "men's" style offering 26 pockets and "women's styles" 18 pockets.

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Briefly: Google Play Books, Movies expands, Nokia teases announcement

06/20, 5:58am

Google extends reach of Play Books, Movies to more countries

Google has expanded the reach of its Android film and book stores into more countries. Android Central reports Google Play Movies has gone live in 21 new countries, including a large number of markets in eastern Europe, while Google Play Books is now available in 11 extra regions. This now means Google Play Books has a presence in 56 countries, with Movies appearing in a total of 90 markets.

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Aptoide files European antitrust complaint over Google Play dominance

06/18, 1:10pm

Claims Google abusing position over third-party app store measures

Google is abusing its position as the dominant Android app store, according to an antitrust complaint from another app marketplace. Aptoide, a store from Portugal that hosts 200,000 apps and has 6 million active users, has met with European Commission representatives in the last week, and claims that Google makes it unfairly difficult for Android users to use a different app store with their device instead of Google Play.

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Briefly: Motorola Assist's voice feature, Logitech's Color Collection

06/04, 11:22pm

Motorola adds 'Talk to Me' text reading feature to Assist app

Motorola today updated its Assist app, adding a "Talk to Me" feature that reads text messages aloud. Users can have calls verbally announced as well as incoming text messages, and the update also includes improved driving detection using audio. The "Talk to Me" feature is the new home mode for the app, and needs to be enabled to use. The Motorola Assist app is available for download from Google Play.

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Square Enix's Dragon Quest VIII RPG turns up on iTunes, Google Play

06/01, 7:25pm

Ten-year old game makes its way to mobile devices with optimized experience

After showing up on the New Zealand iTunes store, Square Enix has officially announced that Dragon Quest VIII has been released for iOS and Android. The game, which was a popular Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) released for Playstation 2 in 2004, comes to mobile gaming almost 10 years after its release in North America.

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Italy investigates Apple, Google, others over 'free-to-play' games

05/21, 9:52am

Apps allowed to be marketed as 'free' despite costing money for progress

The Italian Antitrust and Competition Authority has launched an investigation into Amazon, Apple, Gameloft, and Google over complaints that the corporations are misleading people in the way they market "free-to-play" games. A number of mobile games -- including many targeted at children -- are nominally free, but in reality require in-app purchases of digital items, currency, levels, or features in order to make progress. Figures from the European Commission suggest that 80 percent of app revenues now stem from in-app transactions.

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Briefly: Google Play accepting PayPal; GTA III on Amazon tablets, Fire

05/16, 1:35am

Google Play now accepting PayPal as payment for digital goods

PayPal is now an official payment option for purchasing digital content within Google Play. Though a direct competitor with Google's own Wallet payment service, users can activate the new payment option by clicking "Add PayPal" and typing in one's login details. Google Play has also expanded its carrier billing and gift card availability to more regions, including Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.

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Apple, Google offering game developers incentives for mobile

04/21, 10:53am

Platforms now in more equal competition

Apple and Google are each offering game developers special incentives to prefer their app store over their rival's, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. The prime example given is EA's Plants vs. Zombies 2, which Apple promised to advertise prominently at the App Store. In return, EA was expected to keep the game an iOS exclusive for two months, which pushed the Android release into October. Another developer, ZeptoLab, agreed to three-month App Store exclusivity for Cut the Rope 2 in order to get better advertising. Asphalt creator Gameloft says it was offered exclusivity, but decided that a simultaneous iOS/Android release made more financial sense.

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Briefly: Google refunds fake-app purchases, Galaxy S5 on MetroPCS

04/21, 8:15am

Google refunds, provides extra credit to buyers of fake antivirus tool

Google is providing refunds to buyers of the fake Virus Shield app for Android. Discovered by Android Police, the paid $3.99 app was discovered to just switch between different sets of graphics, and failed to provide any protection. The app was removed from the Play Store shortly after the discovery, with more than 10,000 downloads recorded. Google has started to send e-mails to affected customers, promising a refund within 14 days and a $5 promotional credit for Google Play.

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Briefly: Chrome beta 35 for Android, TiVo firmware update

04/11, 8:12pm

Latest Chrome beta for Android improves Chromecast support

Google has announced that it has begun rolling out a Chrome 35 beta for Android users today. Featuring improved Chromecast support, users can now send some video clips from the browser to a Chromecast-equipped TV. Additionally, Chrome now offers full-screen videos and improved support for multi-window devices. The update is available through Google Play.

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Google rolls out Play Music, Movies and TV to more countries

03/18, 7:52am

Play Movies and TV reaches 39 more countries on Android, 32 on iOS

Google has expanded the reach of two of its Google Play services, allowing more users access to its content. Google Play Music and Music All Access has been enabled in four more countries, while the Google Play Movies and TV apps gain increased language support and a service expansion into up to 39 new markets on Android, 32 new countries on iOS.

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Google updates password request options in Play Store app

03/14, 9:15am

Password can be requested for all in-app, store purchases

Google is starting to roll out an update to the Google Play Store app, changing the way it deals with purchases. Version 4.6.16 of the store now allows users to request for the account password to be entered for every single purchase from within apps and from the store itself, rather than allowing for a 30 minute password-free window after the password's entry.

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Apple, Google to meet with EU to talk in-app purchases

02/27, 11:39am

Europe asks for safeguards to prevent accidental purchases

Apple and Google will soon be meeting with the European Commission to talk about problems with in-app purchases, according to a press release from the political body. The two companies will be asked to provide measures to protect customers, primarily parents, from accidental in-app purchases. A number of game developers publishing to the iOS App Store or Google Play have been accused of marketing "free" games that lure and/or deceive kids into buying digital items and currency; Apple and Google have sometimes been blamed as lax about putting up barriers to those purchases.

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Flappy applications now rejected from app stores

02/16, 12:50pm

iTunes and Google Play putting a stop to more flappy clones

Applications trying capitalize on the success of Flappy Bird in order to jump to the top of the charts on iTunes and Google Play will have to take another approach today, as both Apple and Google has started to reject applications that contain the word "flappy" in the title and descriptions. In the wake of the original game being pulled by developer Dong Nguyen, both services have been flooded with clone applications trying to fill the void left by the game's departure.

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Android customization app pulled over trademark concerns

02/10, 11:00pm

Copied the look of iOS 7, icons too closely; return delayed

A customization app for Android called Themer, which featured a number of themed "looks" for modifying Android smartphones including an iOS 7-like theme, has been removed from the Google Play store with no indication of when it will return. Google pulled the app on February 2 after Apple complained that the iOS 7-esque theme used icons that infringed on Apple's patents. The developer says it has since addressed Apple's concerns, but Google has not yet restored the app.

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Dungeon Keeper rating prompt limits negative reviews

02/08, 3:05pm

Game hinders users ability to rate lower than five stars

Information has surfaced about the new free-to-play Dungeon Keeper game that has lead to a public outcry against Electronic Arts by gamers and fans of the series. In information reported by Gamasutra, the game uses questionable means in order to secure five star ratings on the Google Play.

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Google releases red-colored Nexus 5 smartphone on Google Play

02/04, 4:21pm

Red Nexus 5 joins white, black versions, sold at same price

Google has released a third color option for its popular Nexus 5 smartphone, with the rumored device fitting alongside its existing black and white-colored offerings. The red version of the LG-produced device has gone on sale through Google Play, with the smartphone sharing the same specification, storage options, and price as its more stand-colored stablemates.

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Briefly: Chrome Apps for iOS and Android, Sound Cloud's visual player

01/28, 12:58pm

Chrome apps offers early developer preview of Apache Cordova-based toolchain

Google has launched of Chrome apps for Android and iOS, which offers an early developer preview of a toolchain based on an open-source mobile development framework, Apache Cordova. Developers can wrap their Chrome app with a native application shell, enabling Google Play and Apple App Store distribution. Chrome-packaged apps are written in HTML, JavaScript and CSS, and launch outside the browser.

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Google suffers widespread outage of Gmail, other services

01/24, 3:14pm

Outage affected Gmail, Google+, Hangouts, Google Play

Google suffered an outage on its e-mail service that affected all users of Gmail, as well as affecting Google+, Hangouts, and Google Play. Starting at approximately 2pm Eastern Time today, the outage prevented Gmail users from accessing the service at all, instead presenting "Temporary Error (500)" message, though after 20 minutes, a number of users started to regain access to various affected services.

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Google Play app arrives on iOS in US, Japan, UK

01/15, 5:44pm

Supports Chromecast, but currently acts as little more than a catalog

In an odd move, Google has release an iOS app for its Google Play movies and TV offerings, but limited it to streaming already-purchased movies and TV shows. The application also supports the company's Chromecast TV device, finally bringing a way for iPhone users to stream purchased content from the phone to the device -- but does not allow users to purchase or rent content from within the app.

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Low-cost Moto G gets plain Android Google Play edition

01/14, 2:49pm

Google adds Moto G to Google Play lineup

Google on Tuesday revealed a new version of its budget-oriented Moto G handset, a version that sports a plain vanilla version of Android 4.4 KitKat. The Moto G Google Play edition showed up on Google's Play Store on Tuesday in two configurations: one an 8GB model and the other a 16GB model. The low-cost Motorola handset is the latest addition to the Google Play edition lineup, a lineup that does not yet include the Moto G's higher-end sibling, the Moto X.

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Google Play Services update adds turn-based multiplayer, Drive tweaks

01/10, 11:42am

Developers can create Android games with asynchronous multiplayer

The latest update to Google Play Services has started rolling out to users, including a number of small changes to the software platform. Changes to the way the mobile operating system works with Google Drive, in-app advertising, and mobile games are included in the update, along with a claimed improvement to battery life through alterations in Google Location Reporting.

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App Store revenue grows 18 percent in December, Google Play slows down

01/09, 10:02am

Wider Apple product range could be factor

App revenue from the iOS App Store grew 18 percent month-over-month in December, according to new data from analytics firm Distimo. Revenue from Google Play apps was up a comparable 17 percent. Significantly, however, Google Play has usually been outpacing the App Store for the past two years, which could mean that Play sales are flattening out, if December's figures aren't an anomaly.

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Google Play Music All Access users can now buy Google Glass

01/01, 6:06pm

Google Play Music All Access users get Glass Access

In the run-up to a wider release of its Google Glass wearable computing device, Google is giving users of its Google Play Music All Access service the chance to join the Glass Explorer Program. The program allows the willing to purchase the head-mounted computer for $1,500, thus joining the other Explorers who have had the device for some time. This is but the latest in a series of widenings of the program, as Google is continually expanding access to the device before it launches perhaps some time later this year.

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Kanye, Chvrches albums free in Google Play year-end sale

12/27, 12:06pm

Kanye, Chvrches free, others discounted for limited time on Google Play

Google's Play Music Store is currently offering Kanye West's Yeezus and Chvrches' The Bones of What You Believe for free as part of its year-end music sale. The Play Store team named the two as their Album of the Year and Breakout Artist of the Year, respectively, and users can pick the two offerings up for free at the Google Play Store. Alongside those two works, Google is giving away a number of other editors' picks as their top tracks, including works from Anoushka Shankar, M.I.A., The Arcade Fire, and The Dillinger Escape Plan.

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Distimo: App Store leads revenue, Google Play growing faster

12/17, 4:17pm

Google platform dominates in Korea, Japan

Apple's App Store has reportedly held its leading position this year in terms of revenue, though Google Play has maintained a stronger growth rate, according to data published by app analytics firm Distimo. Between January and November, Apple's revenue share had fallen from 70 to 63 percent while Google's share jumped from 30 to 37 percent.

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Japan outspends US in App Store, Google Play revenue

12/11, 1:31pm

Game revenue driven by five publishers

Japan has reportedly taken the lead position in mobile app revenue for both iOS and Android platforms, according to data collected by analyst firm App Annie. The US previously held the top spot, however Japan's four-fold jump in revenue from mobile game sales has helped the country maintain a stronger growth rate over the past year.

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Briefly: BBC adds HD channels, Google Play cards on sale in Japan

12/09, 6:30am

BBC adds five free HD channels to high-definition lineup

The BBC will be adding five new channels to its lineup in the United Kingdom tomorrow for Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media users. The broadcaster will be adding HD versions of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC, and CBeebies to its existing high-definition channel lineup, with the BBC advising that this brings the total subscription-free HD channel range from the corporation to seven. Earlier this year, the BBC revealed it would be shutting down its dedicated 3D channel, due to a lack of viewers.

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Briefly: Google updates Play Music, Google Play in-app purchase notice

12/06, 7:34am

Google Play Music update allows music caching to memory card

Google has updated its Google Play Music app for Android, introducing a wide array of track sharing options. The update also includes the ability to choose the storage location for cached or downloaded music, with Droid-Life noting that storing to the external SD card will free up the device's main storage, and a number of subtle user interface tweaks.

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CyanogenMod app pulled from Google Play after request from Google

11/28, 5:20am

Possible Play Store rule violations could have forced CyanogenMod exit

CyanogenMod has been kicked out of the Google Play Store, potentially for violating the store's rules. The app, which allows users to install the CyanogenMod version of Android, is now no longer listed in the Android app store after Google Play support contacted the development team and asked for its removal, otherwise they would remove it themselves.

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Briefly: KitKat hits Google Play Galaxy S4 and HTC One, ChatON update

11/26, 10:51am

Android KitKat heads to Google Play editions of Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One

Updates for Android KitKat are heading to the Google Play editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. The two devices, running on stock Android instead of the Sense or TouchWiz versions provided by HTC and Samsung respectively, will start receiving over-the-air updates from today onwards, upgrading the devices to Android version 4.4.

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Briefly: Google Play 'Designed for Tablets,' Amazon Coins in UK

11/22, 6:09am

Google adds Designed for Tablets section to Play Store

The Google Play Store has been updated to showcase apps "Designed for tablets," something Google announced it would do last month. Tablet users will see the tablet-aimed apps as the default view in Google Play, according to an Android Developers Google+ post, with apps that do not meet specific criteria to be "Designed for tablets" to be marked as "Designed for phones" instead.

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Google Play Newsstand merges magazine subscriptions, news sites

11/20, 12:59pm

Initial launch limited to Android devices

Google has launched a new Android app, Google Play Newsstand, that provides access to more than 1,900 free and paid publications. Users can pick from various magazines, newspapers, blogs and news websites, and the app will automatically format and optimize the content for viewing on a tablet or smartphone.

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BlackBerry denies rumor suggesting Google Play store in BB10 update

11/12, 12:15pm

No planned support for Google Play on BlackBerry devices

The Google Play store will not be available to BlackBerry users in the future, the phone producer has confirmed. A spokesperson for BlackBerry has outright denied a rumor that the Android app store would be heading to the platform, a rumor started by relatively convincing photographs of Google Play shown running on a BlackBerry Z10.

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Briefly: CoverMe officially debuts, Ssmart Dynamo wristband released

11/05, 1:00pm

Encrypted private messaging platform officially launches after successful beta

CoverMe - a secure private texting, document sharing and phone call app -- has officially launched. During its beta period, over 500,000 users signed up for its service, exchanging 500 million messages with military-grade encryption. CoverMe protects personal contacts, call logs, messages, documents, and more, and provides the ability to recall or remotely wipe sent messages from a device. Its private 'vault' allows users to store photos, videos, documents and communication histories so that a lost device does not lead to a privacy breach. Users are immediately notified when a recipient has read a sent message, and the app provides an option to embed messages with a 'self-destruct' option. Available on iTunes and Google Play, CoverMe is free to download (with in-app purchases available).

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Alleged Google Play leak shows new Google Nexus 10 specifications

10/28, 6:04am

8MP camera, 2560x1600 display touted in upcoming Google tablet

New specifications for what is believed to be the Nexus 10 have allegedly leaked, with details apparently appearing on the Google Play store before being removed again, just as it did for the Nexus 5. The display of the Nexus 10 will apparently have a resolution of 2560x1600, giving it a pixel density of 300ppi, and protected by Gorilla Glass 3.

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BBM suffers from fake Google Play reviews, iOS app bug

10/24, 1:33pm

iOS bug, fake Google Play reviews mar BBM app launch

BlackBerry's second attempt at launching its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app for Android and iOS has run into issues again, after a promising start. Suspicious reviews on Google Play are suggesting some form of review shilling is taking place, and the phone manufacturer is also looking towards fixing an issue found in the iOS version of its messaging client.

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Briefly: U-verse adds Android devices, Control v2 headphones debut

10/22, 2:56pm

AT&T's U-verse expands its live TV streaming service to include Android devices

AT&T's live TV streaming service, U-verse, has expanded its availability to include Android devices and web access on Uverse.com. Earlier this month, the company announced more than 100 live TV channels had been added to the U-verse app. AT&T has also launched the U-verse App on Android tablets, making live TV channels available on more than 30 devices. Offering users On Demand TV shows and movies, the U-verse app additionally features remote DVR management, and advanced content search functionality.

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Google: no new hardware at October 24 press event

10/21, 5:04pm

Event for press to 'better acquaint themselves with Google Play'

While a new Google event at the end of the week is public knowledge, what is being discussed is not. Electronista has learned that there will be no new hardware debuting at the get-together, with a Google representative telling us that the mixer is intended for consumer press to familiarize themselves with Google Play.

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Google event invite for October 24 could be Android, Nexus 5 launch

10/18, 3:15pm

Sources claim no hardware, software announcements at Google Play event

Google has started to send invitations to an event on the 24th of October, one which could feature a number of software and hardware announcements. The event, asking attendees to "Join us for a night out with Google Play," could potentially be the launch of Android 4.4, KitKat, as well as the expected official reveal of the Nexus 5 smartphone.

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Google Play to highlight tablet-optimized apps by default

10/11, 2:21pm

Tablet apps automatically shown for larger devices

Google has announced its latest plans to improve visibility of tablet-optimized apps in the Play Store. Starting next month, the "Designed for tablets" view will appear by default when someone visits the store from a tablet and views the top listings, such as Top Free or Trending.

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