US first to see changes
Google has redesigned the Android and iOS versions of its News web app with a variety of improvements. The look of the app has been cleaned up to make it easier to read and track different stories, and it can now be customized with light or dark themes, adjustable font sizes, and/or bigger story cards that include more content. Navigation has been streamlined by funneling access to every section, including customized ones, through a News icon in the top left; Google Feedback can be reached through a menu in the upper right.
Brightest Flashlight app shared location data with advertisers
An app developer has settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that it had shared user data without permission. GoldenShores Technologies, creators of the free Brightest Flashlight app, "deceived consumers" by collecting and sharing geolocation data and unique device identifiers to advertising networks and third parties.
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.
Apps were previously English-only
Google has updated its Android and iOS Search apps with voice support for French, German, and Japanese. The upgrades let people both speak commands and hear responses in the new languages. Previously, non-English speakers had to type in any search requests.
Unexpected high sales of entry-level Android tablet causes stock shortages
Sales of the Tesco Hudl entry-level Android tablet have been sufficient enough for the British supermarket chain to plan for a sequel. After selling more than 35,000 just days after launch, the retailer has revealed that it has managed to shift more than 300,000 units of the tablet from its shelves, far more than the company originally planned for the run-up to Christmas.
Camera app overhauled and optimized
Google has reportedly focused on Nexus 5 camera functionality with the upcoming Android 4.4.1 update, which is expected to begin rolling out this week. The software tweaks promise to resolve problems with the current camera, improving autofocus time and exposure in low-light conditions.
Court appears skeptical of Judge William Alsup ruling
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, appears to be siding with Oracle in the company's lawsuit against Google over Android APIs. A formal ruling has yet to be handed down, however Reuters' Dan Levine and The Recorder's Scott K. Graham, both in attendance at today's hearing, published Twitter posts suggesting that the appeals court is likely to reverse Google's earlier win.
Remote record expanded to include on-demand programming
British broadcaster Sky has made a number of updates to its online services. The Sky+ app for iOS and Android has received some usability updates, Sky Go for Android now has a version specifically made for tablets, and its Sky Store streaming rentals service has been opened up to all of the UK, including those not subscribing to Sky's satellite TV offering.
Products initially announced in September for November release
Without much fanfare and very little marketing buildup, HP has commenced sales on four previously-announced tablets, which it previously said would be available in November in time for the holiday season. The four Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) tablets are the HP Slate7 Plus, the HP Slate7 Extreme, the HP Slate8 Pro, and the HP Slate10 HD. All of the tablets in the new line are available for purchase and shipment today.
Asus tablet variants in filing will run Windows, Android, or both
A tablet from Asus capable of running two operating systems has appeared in an FCC filing. The tablet, going under the model names M82T, L82T, and R82T, is able to run on both Android KitKat and Windows 8, though a further six variants are listed as Windows-specific and Android-specific models, suggesting there will be a total of nine available using the same base hardware.
Apple tablets top-selling item at most major retailers
A survey done by retail analyst InfoScout based on over 100,000 Black Friday sales receipts from iOS and Android smartphone owners has revealed both expected and unexpected trends: the fact that Apple's latest iPad models were the runaway top seller among both tablets specifically and consumer electronics generally is not surprising -- but that 40 percent of iPad sales went to self-identified Android smartphone owners was less predictable. Even that, however, is not the most surprising finding.
Similar BenQ smartphones differ in processor choice, rear camera
Display manufacturer BenQ has rejoined the smartphone industry, by introducing a pair of quad-core devices in Taiwan. The F3 and A3 are both entry-level Android devices with similar 4.5-inch 960x540-resolution IPS displays, and though they both share the same external design and similar internal specifications, the two differ in terms of processor and rear cameras.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Nokia successor says it's targeting Android devices
Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimaki says that his company's Sailfish OS is indeed compatible with Android devices and that Jolla will make it available to run on those devices in the near future. Pienimaki's remarks came in the course of an interview with Talouselama Magazine, and the Jolla chief pointed to the Chinese market as a potential area of expansion for the company. He also reaffirmed that Jolla is both a devices business and an OS business.
LG will add Android KitKat to G2 late in first quarter of 2014
The LG G2 will receive the latest version of Android early next year, allowing the device to skip past Android 4.3 entirely. Version 4.4 of the mobile operating system, also known as KitKat, will appear on the company's flagship smartphone late in the first quarter of 2014, or near the end of march, according to details passed from LG Canada to Mobile Syrup.
Real-world usage again shows iOS far ahead of Android, other rivals
Yet another real-world usage statistic has surfaced showing that users with iOS devices are far more engaged with them than those of any other platform. Among Black Friday buyers who used mobile devices to shop online, 82 percent were on the iOS platform doing so, with the remaining 18 percent using Android. Using mobile devices to shop on Black Friday was up 9.8 percent overall from last year, with mobile devices accounting for 38 percent of all Black Friday shopping traffic and 21 percent of online sales.
Android tablets from Gigaset launching initially in Germany
German electronics producer Gigaset is stepping into the world of Android tablets, by launching two new devices. The 10-inch QV1030 and the eight-inch QV830 are aluminum-clad slates running Android 4.2.2, and while the larger version targets the high-end market, the smaller model attempts to tempt those looking for a more generic, mid-range device.
Virgin TV Anywhere boasts 67 channels through mobile app
British cable service Virgin Media has updated its Virgin TV Anywhere service, by introducing an Android app to compliment its existing iOS offering. At the same time, the company is adding nine more live channels to the service for both platforms, as it continues to compete against dominant broadcaster Sky and its similar Sky Go service.
AT&T killing support for U-Verse on Xbox 360 at end of 2013
AT&T will stop supporting the Xbox 360 under its U-Verse service after December 31st of this year. The service, which allowed the game console to act as a secondary set-top box for watching TV, with a representative advising Polygon that it was being pulled due to "low customer demand," and that it will not appear on the Xbox One. An e-mail sent out to a number of subscribers details a $99 credit to cover part of the cost of Xbox Live Gold membership, as well as the required conversion kit.
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.
Real-world use makes Apple the more valuable mobile platform
Various studies from a variety of analytics firms which measure real-world interaction with devices (rather than the nebulous "shipments" number) have once again determined that Apple's iOS platform far outweighs Android in two key areas: rewarding developers and user interaction. A study by Adfonic found that ad impressions on iOS outpaced Android (which supposedly has about a 6x larger base) by two to one. A Business Insider report found that developers for iOS make five times what they do on Android.
BlackBerry Messenger to be preinstalled on some Android smartphones
BlackBerry is rolling out its social network-style content feeds to BlackBerry OS devices today. The announcement that BBM Channels is leaving beta comes at the same time as reports that the company has struck deals with a number of Android smartphone producers to have the messaging platform preinstalled on devices.
Inflated scores removed from benchmark listings after cheating discovered
Benchmark scores for smartphones and tablets from Samsung and HTC have been removed from one ranking site, after it was discovered that they were manipulated for a higher mark. Futuremark has delisted smartphones caught cheating its benchmarking app, including the HTC One and One Mini, and both processor variants of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Note III.
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.
Android cameras to get higher-end photo features
Google has confirmed that it is working on building support for the RAW photo file format into its Android mobile operating system, as well as a burst mode that allows for rapid image capture. The company spoke to Cnet on Monday, saying that the new features have been under development and may be opened up to developers in the future. Reportedly, the features are already present in Android's hardware abstraction layer, the part of the operating system handling inputs from a mobile device's hardware.
Android app allows NFC payments, offers sticker for non-NFC devices
Vodafone has launched a mobile payments system in Spain, one which will be making its way to other areas of Europe in the future. The Vodafone Wallet, and first accompanying payment app Vodafone SmartPass, will be able to make payments using their Android smartphones, with funds being transferred from a nominated bank account.
White version of Android console has double internal storage
Ouya has released a limited edition version of its Android-based game console. At the same time as revealing the white edition, available just in the United States, the company released a firmware update to existing versions of the console, which introduces an updated menu system and support for USB-connected external storage.
Tablet, smartphone makers must license browser or make their own
Smartphone and tablet manufacturers hoping to use the latest version of Android in their product will not receive a browser as part of the mobile operating system. Instead, mobile device producers will be forced to either license Chrome from Google or build their own browser for customers to use straight from the box.
Android 4.4 'KitKat' brings further user interface refinements
Android 4.4 'KitKat' officially landed on October 31 initially as an exclusive for the Nexus 5 smartphone, just three months after the arrival of Android 4.3 'Jelly Bean' on the Nexus 7 tablet. Google has seen fit to move away from the 'Jelly Bean' theme this time around, partly because it has revised the user interface more substantially than in previous releases, while it has also added a number of new features to the operating system. So what exactly has changed from a user interface perspective in Android 4.4 'KitKat'?
Moto X to be joined by Razr HD, Razr Maxx, more
Motorola surprised much of the tech world on Tuesday by revealing that the 2012 line of Droid devices would be receiving an update to Android 4.4 KitKat. The news came just a day after Android updates began rolling out for the Verizon model of the Moto X. The Google-owned manufacturer did not, however, give any information on the time frame for the new wave of updates.
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.
KitKat update for Nexus 4 weighs in at under 240MB
Google has started to roll out Android 4.4 to the Nexus 4 smartphone. Reports claim that Nexus 4 owners are starting to see the Android KitKat update being made available for their devices, with the operating system upgrade coming to the smartphone after being made available on the Moto X, the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10 tablets.
Opera adds tablet mode to Android app
Opera has updated its browser for Android with dedicated support for tablets. Rather than taking the approach of Coast, version 18 of the Chromium 31-based Android app continues to offer a similar experience as before, with the Discover, data-saving Off-Road and Speed Dial being updated to match the larger display size. Improvements to the search engine list, fixes to fullscreen video playback, and other stabilization and performance changes are also touted.
Search results now show all relevant tweets, adds trending timeline
Twitter has pushed out an update to its iOS and Android apps, offering a revamped search function, related trending tweets, improved login verification and more. Users can now search tweets by media type (photos or videos) in a grid or list layout, and the search function can also separate "news" tweets from those from a users' friends. In addition, the search now offers a "everything" view, and the ability to see all tweets rather than "top tweets."
Phased rollout of new Android hits Moto X
Moto X owners with Verizon as a carrier should see access to Android 4.4 KitKat starting today. Motorola announced today that Verizon would begin rolling out an Android 4.4 update in phases, and the notification should begin appearing on the devices of Moto X users. The new update comes just over two weeks after Motorola promised a rapid update cycle for its new flagship device.
New camera API for Android not included in KitKat release
Google could be working on a way for Android devices to handle RAW image files, alongside the current JPEG images created by the current camera. The public source code for the mobile operating system shows a camera API for Android that was not added to KitKat before its release, due to a comment claiming it was "not ready yet" for inclusion.
Leaked images claim Android, iOS platform support on the way
Nokia Music could be heading to the iPhone in the future, according to an allegedly leaked graphic. The app, which currently provides streaming music to Nokia Lumia and Asha smartphones as well as through Windows 8, 8.1, and RT devices, may end up on both iOS and Android devices as Nokia expands the reach of the service.
Google Play store pricing aimed at driving Android platform domination
Further evidence that Google subsidizes the cost of the Nexus 5 smartphone has emerged after the official off- and on-contract pricing for the popular Android handset was made public in Australia today. LG and Telstra have partnered to launch the Nexus 5 on the carrier's 4G LTE network with off-contract pricing listed at $696 and other retailers at $699 beginning late November for the 16GB model. The same handset is available to Australian customers through the Google Play online store at just $399, a price difference of $300. Australian customers have the option of purchasing the 32GB model through Google Play for just $49 more. As a point of comparison, the iPhone 5s retails from $869 outright in Australia.
HTC M8 to have 1080p 5-inch screen
HTC's follow-up to this year's One flagship smartphone will pack an even larger display than its predecessor, as well as the newest version of Android at launch. This according to well-sourced leaker @evleaks, who posted specs on the as-yet-unreleased device. The newest information on the M8's specs indicates a Snapdragon 800 processor powering the device.
Minor bug fixes included within updated BlackBerry Messenger app
Just as promised by the company yesterday, BlackBerry has updated BBM for iOS, allowing it to be run on iPads and iPods. At the same time, BlackBerry Messenger receives a number of bug fixes relating to the Android version, with both versions also gaining more options for sharing and connecting with other users on the service.
Hands-on with Dell's low-end enterprise slates
The mobile computing revolution has largely left Dell – along with most other traditional PC giants – in the lurch. Even as it goes private, Dell is still striking out into the mobile device market, releasing new Android and Windows tablets aimed at providing enterprise clients an option for low-cost touchscreen devices. We just received a review copy of the Venue 7 Android slate, and we've got a few first impressions to share on Dell's latest touchscreen device.
Mac client going without web payment tech for now
Google has released Chrome 31, an update of its web browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and Chrome OS. The primary addition is better payment support, in the form of allowing site access to Chrome's auto-complete data (with user permission). This lets people save payment information in the browser for quicker access. Google says, however, that Mac compatibility will only be included "in a future release."
Google begins greater push for educational segment
Google on Wednesday launched a new, education-focused segment of its Play Store Android app repository. The new feature will allow Google to spotlight the teaching- and learning-oriented apps on its popular mobile operating system, and perhaps to carve out some space in the educational market for tablets. That segment is currently dominated by Apple's iPad.
Budget Moto G offers 4.5-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 400 processor
Motorola has launched its rumored Moto G smartphone at its live event in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The smartphone, a budget offering when compared to the preceding Moto X, offers a 4.5-inch, 720p, edge-to-edge display with a pixel density of 329ppi, in a device said to be the third of the cost of premium smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S 4.
PlayStation 4 development team working to add music playback after launch
Sony will be adding MP3 and CD audio playback to the PlayStation 4 in the future, following an online outcry. The change in plans by the console producer comes at the same time as it releases updated companion apps for the PlayStation 4 on both iOS and Android, ahead of its launch in the United States on November 15th.
Android 4.4 starts global rollout stateside, tablets first in line
Android 4.4 'KitKat' updates have started rolling out to Nexus 7 Wi-Fi-only and Nexus 10 users, according to Google. Users will be able to update their devices over-the-air, although Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 with mobile data are advised that their respective updates will be available 'soon.' Android 4.4 is the latest version of Android and comes pre-installed on the Nexus 5 smartphone, bringing with it speed and user interface enhancements along with new features.
Most buyers still existing iPhone owners
The number of new iPhone buyers switching from an Android device increased during the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c, a new Consumer Intelligence Research Partners study claims. The firm interviewed 400 buyers of the new iPhones during the devices' first 30 days, and found that about 20 percent of them were coming over from Android. That compares with only 16 percent for the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012.
Streaming PC games to Android console could happen after launch
Mad Catz is working with Nvidia to add its GameStream technology to the M.O.J.O. Android game console. The device, shipping on December 10th, could see the same in-home game streaming technology used in the Nvidia Shield handheld console added to the low-cost Android device shortly after it goes on sale.
Galaxy Note II set to receive first major update
Owners of Samsung's Galaxy Note II will likely be receiving an update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean in the very near future. A screenshot showed up on the Twitter account @bhanusoi, clearly displaying that the device in question was running Android 4.3. Observers have noted that the Android build is likely already in the hands of Samsung's service centers, and it may be rolling out to assorted carriers in a short period.
App marketplace may not be as crowded as suspected
Overcrowding in the Android and iOS app marketplaces may not be as big a problem as some have postulated, as new figures from app analytics company Flurry has found a growing "middle class" of apps that are not as dominant as the big names in mobile, but that have user bases strong enough to support a business. The findings run counter to claims that names like Facebook and others take too much of users' mobile activity time for smaller apps to survive. Instead, Flurry finds that the number of mid-level apps is steadily increasing, with independently-owned app developers seeing considerable growth in the process.