Popular narrative-based game returns for third season, release date unknown
During last's weeks San Diego Comic Con, Telltale Games, the developer of narrative-based adventure games like The Wolf Among Us, announced that it would be producing a third season of its popular The Walking Dead game. Details on the next season of the title are scarce as it was only mentioned during a panel for Skybound Entertainment, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's imprint. The game likely won't be out and time soon as the company still hasn't wrapped up season two of The Walking Dead. It's also looking to release narrative games in the same style with Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones.
Campaign funds a second low power screen for Android devices
It's time for Thursday's edition Crowdfunding Critic. Every Tuesday and Thursday here on MacNN and Electronista, we're going to look at crowd-funded projects that we find interesting. Keep in mind that we aren't specifically endorsing any projects, or telling you that there aren't any risks in funding a prospective project, we're just pointing out something we found that we like. Please do your research before investing! Today's selection brings an underused technology, e-ink, to smartphone cases -- the InkCase Plus by Oaxis.
App masquerading as Flash, others, can break Android sandboxing
Mobile device researchers Bluebox Security have discovered a serious flaw in Google's Android operating system that dates back to version 2.1, and is still present (albeit weakened) in the new 5.0 preview. The "Fake ID" security flaw allows a fake app to include an invalid security certificate, claiming that it is an app with sandbox-breaking privileges, in essence, giving the malicious app root access to the phone and all its contents.
South Korean release for combined Android notebook, tablet from LG
LG has revealed a version of its Tab Book, a combined tablet and notebook, running on Android instead of Windows 8.1. The new Tab Book 11TA740 uses an 11.6-inch Full HD IPS display which can slide up and uncover a physical keyboard, with the Android device weighing 1.05 kilos (2.3 pounds) and measuring just 16.7 millimeters (0.65) thick when used as a tablet.
Android L focuses on look, feel, performance rather than features
Google's Android L preview has been made available to developers and any other interested users who own a Nexus 5 smartphone or Nexus 7 tablet. It marks the first time that Google has released an early preview of the latest version of its mobile OS, while is also the first major revamp of the Android UI since Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' which was released three years ago. In that time, Android has become the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. However, despite its popularity, it has slipped somewhat on the technology front with Apple iOS making the leap to 64-bit in August last year. Android L seeks to redress this by adding an all-new 64-bit runtime (ART), coupled with other system enhancements designed to improve performance and battery life.
Publisher activates anti-piracy measures after thousands of plays turn up online
It turns out that winning an early access to game isn't enough to satisfy every fan, as mobile developer Gameloft recently learned. In a contest that gave fans access to Modern Combat 5: Blackout before its expected July 24 release date, one of the lucky winners decided to crack the game and upload it for illegal distribution. Afterward, thousands of players turned up in the game before its release on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices.
Skype update allows linking of phonebook with Microsoft account
Microsoft has made a few changes to Skype for Android, adding the option to connect the smartphone's address book to the service. At the same time, Microsoft has revealed it is releasing a version of the messaging app client for Amazon's Fire Phone, one which will take advantage of the smartphone's home screen and graphical effects.
Patent lawsuit over notifications asked to be tossed based on Supreme Court ruling
Google has stepped into the ring for another patent dispute in East Texas, this time involving its Android operating system, Samsung and the Rockstar Consortium. Last November, the consortium filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that Samsung phones using the Android operating system infringed on seven patents that Rockstar holds. The patents in question include messaging and notification systems found on mobile devices, but Google asked to have the case thrown out.
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.
Previously released for iOS in August, turns tablets into notebook, sketchpad
Those looking for a note-taking solution or a sketchbook for Windows 8 and Android-based tablets have a new option to look at today. Wacom has expanded the availability of Bamboo Paper, adding tablets beyond the iPad, including the Kindle Fire, Surface 2 and Galaxy Tab 4, to the mix. Bamboo Paper was originally launched for iOS devices in August.
Mobile app from Amazon stores retailer card details, no mobile payments by card yet
Amazon has quietly launched an app to help people manage gift cards and loyalty cards with stores. The Amazon Wallet app for Android and the Fire Phone is able to store membership cards for retailers on the smartphone, allowing shoppers to digitally carry all of their store cards and gift cards without having to also bring along the physical versions.
Twitch overhauls Android app interface, adds user profiles
Game streaming service Twitch has updated its Android app to version 3.0. The app has received a visual upgrade with an updated user interface, while the addition of user profiles provides more details about individual channels and the option to chat on channels which are not broadcasting yet. The app also allows viewers to access offline channels, an improved search, and the option to swipe between channels and users.
Meeting between executives concerned Android Wear, Tizen use in smartwatches
Google is unhappy by Samsung's choice to use Tizen for its main smartwatch platform instead of Android Wear, according to a report. CEO Larry Page is said to have spent time earlier this month with Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee in a "tense private meeting" over the smartwatch software issue, with Samsung allegedly spending more on devices running Tizen than Google's new Android offshoot.
Android Amazon Instant Video app, 4K video mentioned by marketing director
Amazon is said to be preparing to launch an Android app for Amazon Instant Video for non-Kindle Fire tablets. An executive allegedly confirmed the long-awaited app for normal Android devices is "imminent" to a report, a move which would finally bring the video streaming service in line with competitors, such as Netflix, in providing a cross-platform video streaming experience.
Linux gets better Chrome App Launcher
Google has issued Chrome 36 updates for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users. The new version is mostly a maintenance release, making stability, performance, and security fixes. It does however implement several cosmetic changes across desktop platforms, for instance improving rich notifications with a "flatter" look, and giving Incognito mode a new tab page (below) that's cleaner and easier to read. Likewise, the Chrome App Launcher for Linux has been revamped.
Designed to save time wasted on incompatible content
Google has implemented a change to the way mobile search results are displayed, warning users if a website uses Adobe Flash. On devices running iOS or Android, results may now show a tag saying "Uses Flash. May not work on your device." Below this are links letting users "try anyway" or learn more about the problem.
BBC points to the newest Shield being powered by K1, utilizing same software
The BBC has learned through anonymous sources that the next iteration of the Nvidia Shield could be used to play Android and stream PC games in a new way. The rumored device looks to build on existing technology surrounding the Shield, including the use of the GeForce Experience and GameStream to stream games from a host computer powered by an Nvidia GPU.
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.
New offering attempts curated approach at apps for Galaxy-series devices
Samsung is rebranding its mostly quiescent app store. The Korean manufacturing giant has announced "Galaxy Apps," a new version of its app store for Android devices. The refreshed offering will be available to all users of Samsung smart devices, and will be divided into three major divisions -- best picks, top, and "For Galaxy."
Plans for HealthKit support still in the air
Misfit, the creator of the Shine wearable activity tracker, has announced a partnership with Beddit enabling sleep tracking in the official Misfit apps for iOS and Android. Rather than relying on the Shine, there is now a Misfit/Beddit-branded sleep monitor. The device is placed on a mattress, and tracks breathing, heart rate, restlessness, snoring, and ambient sound. The apps analyze this data over a seven-day period, and can also use it to trigger an alarm during a light sleep phase, ensuring a more refreshed feeling.
Android Wear devices can take photos using paired smartphone camera
Google has updated its Camera app, allowing it to work in tandem with a smartwatch running Android Wear. Version 2.3 of the app, slowly rolling out on Google Play, adds the ability for Android Wear devices to remotely control the camera app's shutter function, though the update also introduces a few other new additions to the software at the same time.
Android users can stream smartphone display to Chromecast
Google is starting to roll out Chromecast screen mirroring to Android devices. Previously only available through Chrome for desktop, and demonstrated at Google I/O last month, the function lets smartphone users display what's on their screen on a nearby television via the Chromecast, with the update beginning to appear on devices via an update to the Chromecast app.
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.
Bundled Wear apps not reading encryption file correctly, only free apps install
Earlier this week, a significant issue was discovered in Android Wear devices, keeping users from installing paid applications on the wearables. According to news from Android Police, when the apps are downloaded to the phone and then channeled to the watch, a key piece of information isn't accessed correctly. In the process, the encryption key that ties an app to a device, as part of Google Play's App Encryption, cannot be read -- leaving the apps unable to be installed.
OnePlus One will receive Android L within three months of Google release
The OnePlus One will be receiving an upgrade to Android L, OnePlus has confirmed. Writing on the device's support forum, the phone manufacturer promises to have the update ready for rolling out to devices within three months of Google releasing a final build of the mobile operating system. Though exact dates are unknown, Google is expected to release Android L sometime in the fall,, suggesting the OnePlus One will gain it before the end of this year.
Flagship phone comes out on AT&T ahead of competitors, G Watch at discount
LG's new phone, the G3 and the company's first Android Wear entry, the G Watch, will be available to AT&T customers starting tomorrow. While the availability starts as a pre-order for the G3, retail locations are said to offer the devices on July 11. The announcement follows news from Sprint and T-Mobile that they would offer the G3, but AT&T is the first carrier to make it available to consumers.
Android dominant but stagnant, no growth despite arrival of Galaxy S5
According to the latest statistics from ComScore MobilLens and Mobile Metrix, Android remains the most widely-used mobile OS in the US -- but has stagnated in terms of growth, while Apple iOS devices slowly climb. As of the end of May, iOS accounted for 41.9 percent share of US smartphone users, a gain of 0.6 points from the month before. Android overall remained steady at 52.1 percent marketshare, but Apple continued to be the top individual manufacturer.
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.
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.
Foundation discovers phones less than three years old broadcasting visited locations
Recently, the Internet advocacy and legal group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) discovered that a number of Android devices could be sharing location information when not connected to Wi-Fi. The Android phones in question periodically send out information on Wi-Fi networks it knows in order to speed up the process of connecting. However, in doing so it gives off previous location data based on stored wireless networks in "human language."
Battery life gain of 36 percent found in tests compared to Android KitKat
The next version of Android could give a significant increase to the battery life of smartphones and tablets, early testing of the mobile operating system has shown. Project Volta, an attempt by Google to minimize the amount of battery used by apps and Android itself via various internal improvements and new development tools, has been found to help extend one test device's battery life by over a third.
Android version of Office apps allegedly scheduled for release later this year
Microsoft is building a full suite of Office apps for Android, a report claims. Following the official port to the iPad it launched in March, Microsoft is said to be privately testing separate apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the mobile operating system, with the company apparently seeking businesses and individuals to provide feedback on pre-release versions.
Limited deal gives Ouya owners access to more than 800 games for free
The team behind the Android gaming console Ouya is trying its hand at a new pricing structure that could draw some extra attention. Polygon found a listing on the Ouya Shop today that offers an "All-Access Pass," giving Ouya owners access to more than 800 games for the price of $60. Ouya states the deal is worth $2,000 for 12 months of free game access through the pass.
Android Wear, TV, Auto must use stock appearance
Android Wear, Android Auto, and Android TV will only use the stock visual style, according to a report. Google engineering director David Burke advised in an interview that third-party device producers, including LG and Samsung, would not be allowed to change the user interface at all, with Google not only controlling the overall appearance of the software, but also the underlying software.
Feature integration with Google Drive apps prompts removal of QuickOffice
Google has confirmed it will be removing QuickOffice from both Google Play and the App Store. Set to take place in the coming weeks, QuickOffice is being taken down following Google's updates to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides that allowed the apps to work directly with Microsoft Office files without first converting them, among other new additions.
Controller images found in Android L SDK, confirmed with picture of dev kit
Those thinking that Google wouldn't be taking any real step into gaming with the Android TV set-top box may want to reconsider. A Reddit user digging through the system developer kit (SDK) for Android L, discovered a directory full of images of an Android TV controller, which also detailed all of its pieces. Photos from Google I/O of the developer kits for Android TV would affirm its existence.
Head of Android Engineering at Google refutes claims of Nexus death
Google will continue to offer Nexus devices for the foreseeable future, the head of Android Engineering has confirmed. Putting to rest rumors of the Nexus line's demise, Dave Burke advised it will not be replaced by the rumored Android Silver nor the recently-announced Android One program, with new Nexus devices to be expected when the next version of Android is officially released.
Android L developer system images installable on Nexus 5, Nexus 7
Google has released the preview version of Android L to developers. Following its formal unveiling at Google I/O yesterday, the company has made an early version of the mobile operating system available to download, with developers able to install the next iteration of Android onto just two devices: the Nexus 5, and the Wi-Fi version of the Nexus 7 2013.
Three staffers discuss the good and the bad of the 2014 IO keynote
With a massive industry keynote, such as yesterday's Google I/O event, comes discussion. Google gave us a lot to toss around with L, Android One, Android Auto, and Android TV, all four both good and bad simultaneously. Join MacNN editor Charles, and Electronista writers Mike and Jordan as we evaluate the ins and outs of the 2.5-hour keynote kicking off Google's annual I/O conference.
Analysts fear a drop in profit of up to 16 percent year-over-year
On top of an early warning in April that profits would be down from the year-ago quarter in fiscal Q2, a rare public statement from Samsung's CFO has sent the Galaxy maker's stock tumbling on a warning that the balance sheet "doesn't look too good." The statement was later confirmed by Samsung, amounting to a full-throated warning on earnings that sent the company's stock tumbling nearly two percent, on top of a month-long 8.5 percent decline. Initial blame for the disappointment is centering on sales of the Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone.
Android TV set-top box set for fall release with an emphasis placed on gaming
One of the first Android TV boxes has already been announced, but it might not come from a vendor consumers were expecting. Gaming company Razer, famous for their mice and keyboards, said today it would be creating a micro-console based on Android TV technology which Google confirmed on Wednesday at the I/O conference. The console comes at a time when there is a single major Android gaming machine, the Ouya, already on the market.
New platform integrates with Android Wear controllers, Bluetooth controllers
Google is taking yet another shot at the set-top box industry. Announced today, Android TV is a new software platform with similar functionality to the Chromecast or Apple TV. The platform will be made available on a wide array of 2014 and 2015 4K television models, bringing Android integration into the living room for those investing in the new HDTV platform.
Forty partners launch Open Auto Alliance, 20 manufacturers making cars
A new "Android Auto" product was unveiled by Google today at its I/O conference. The car-centric branch of Android prioritizes safety and navigation with a large, custom interface with voice control. The implementation links an in-dash screen to an Android phone carried by the user. Android Auto will be available to users with the public "L" release, with 40 partners in the Open Auto Alliance, with the first Android Auto cars being sold later this year.
New Android branch specifically for wearables sped up, made more flexible
At Google's 2014 I/O conference, the company has given more details on the its previously-announced Android Wear platform. Amongst other improvements, the operating system for wearables supports both rectangular and circular screens natively, in a large array of sizes. Some of the abilities of the platform, such as instant data sync across devices were demonstrated. Additionally, sending data to a linked phone was displayed by swiping the note over to the device.
Material Design aesthetic used in next iteration of Android
Google has previewed the upcoming major update to the Android mobile operating system, Android L, at Google I/O. The latest iteration is said to be built for multiple types of displays and devices, from smartphones and tablets to large-screened televisions. New design elements were tackled, including an overhaul in how the user interface operates, a new flatter appearance and other new additions.
Program launches in India now, spreads worldwide before end of year
At today's Google I/O conference keynote, Google's Senior Vice President of Android announced a new company initiative for emerging markets called "Android One." The new program invokes a vendor qualification process, making sure that prospective low-cost Android smartphone vendors meet unspecified performance criteria. Additionally, the process enforces some rules for builders, including the use of stock Android on the devices.
Investment bank study shows strong interest, even if bigger screen costs extra
A new survey of future smartphone buyers by RBC Capital Markets suggests that a new iPhone with a larger display could help Apple chip away at some of Samsung and other rivals' sales of Android-based big-screen smartphones and "phablets." Analyst Amit Daryanani, who recently raised his 12-month target price for AAPL stock to $100, told investors that the study showed that screen size was a significant factor in consumer resistance to buying an iPhone.
New Android version to go on display at event says Sundar Pichai in interview
Google Senior Vice President of Android Sunday Pichai said that the next major version of the Android operating system is going to be previewed during Google I/O. In an interview with BusinessWeek, Pichai let the news out as the company is looking to add more transparency to what the team is doing. The preview comes ahead of the fall schedule that Android versions are usually released under.
Entry-level Nokia X2 first Android smartphone launched under Microsoft ownership
Nokia's Devices and Services business has launched its second generation of Android smartphone, its first Android launch under the ownership of Microsoft. The Nokia X2 takes after the Nokia X launched in February, using a heavily customized Android implementation and a physical design reminiscent of the Lumia range, and though it is still a low-priced entry-level smartphone, it still offers a few improvements on the original.
Promises messages will disappear within 24 hours
Social network Path has spun off its chat functions into a separate app for iPhone and Android users, Path Talk. One of the app's key features is security; although messages won't vanish instantly, Path is promising that they'll be deleted from servers 24 hours after delivery. Another feature is Ambient Status, which can be used to tell Path contacts when a person is nearby, traveling, or even when their device is low on battery.