Jake Smith

January 3, 2013

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The latest numbers from Android’s Current Distribution page reveal somewhat exciting results for the folks in Mountain View. Android 4.1 – 4.2 Jelly Bean has now crossed the 10 percent threshold for all Android devices on the market. It now sits at 10.2-percent. Additionally, Gingerbread has dropped below the 50 percent mark for the first time in over a year, as Ice Cream Sandwich made gains to get close to 29.1-percent total share. Maybe this is how things should have always been. But, at any rate, sales from the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X, and more seem to be paying off.

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Ahead of CES 2013 taking place in Las Vegas next week, the folks at Corning have unveiled Gorilla Glass 3. It is a new glass composition aimed at next-generation smartphones and tablets. The stronger Gorilla Glass 3 offers a new feature called “Native Damage Resistance” that brings 40 percent reduction in the number of scratches a device’s screen may take and a 50 percent boost in retained strength after the glass becomes flawed. Several Android handset manufacturers have incorporated Gorilla Glass on many of the most popular smartphones on the market, so we would not put it past Corning’s new screen tech to be found in almost all the new devices landing this year. We’ll take a closer look at CES with our hands-on coverage. (via Engadget)

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January 2, 2013


Samsung has unveiled a new version of the Series 3 Chromebox this afternoon, a Mac mini-like device offering quick-and-easy access to Chrome OS. We plan to get a closer look at CES 2013 next week, but for now we know the new version of the Chromebox is pretty much the same hardware as the 2012 version, just featuring a new coat of plastic. It features a 1.9 GHz Intel Celeron B840 processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB of RAM, 16GB SSD, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, 2W mono speaker, 6 USB 2.0 ports, a DVI port, headset jack, and 2 Display Ports. The 2013 model is now available in the UK for 279 GBP ($453.50), with no word on a US release. However for those who cannot wait, Amazon offers the 2012 model for $315. We’ll have more soon, but in the mean time you can find a photo of the back arrangement after the break. It moves away from the Mac mini look, eh? [Samsung via Liliputing]

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Google has announced that it plans to report Q4 2012 earnings on Jan. 22 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The press release typically goes up a few minutes early, with a conference call taking place over on Google’s investor hub with top executives. As it does every quarter, the report gives us a look into how the folks in Mountain View are performing. Let’s just hope they don’t report earnings a little too early this time. Stay tuned! expand full story

If a new rumor is to be believed, the launch of HTC’s new flagship may be coming sooner than we thought. Prominent XDA Forum member Football4PDA tweeted that the One X+ successor, the HTC M7, may be announced at a CES 2013 event by HTC and not at Mobile World Congress. The M7 is rumored to feature “several industry firsts,” boasting a 4.7-inch display with a pixel density of 468PPI and a number of visual improvements. It will also sport a second-generation 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal flash storage, and LTE. There are also believed to be several camera improvements, with a 1080p, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1080p front-facing camera. A CES announcement may give the device a quicker launch, with Sprint and Verizon looking to be the destination stateside. We will cover CES from the show floor next week and will bring you the latest as we get it. expand full story

ubuntu for android

Canonical has announced a new version of Ubuntu that is aimed at the smartphone and built around existing Android kernels and drivers, reported The Verge. The mobile OS will support both ARM and x86 and is said to be very easy for OEMs to adapt on their Android devices. The main difference between Ubuntu and other versions of Android is that Java Virtual Machine is not being utilized. According to the folks at Canonical, this is said to let “all core applications run at full native speeds with a small memory footprint.”

Ubuntu phones are expected to be shipping in early 2014, according to Canonical, while the device is being demoed today at a media event in London (as seen above). Additionally, downloadable versions of Ubuntu are expected in the coming weeks for the Galaxy Nexus to let developers begin tinkering. An app marketplace is in the works, as more devices will be added in the coming months.

Canonical has detailed the system requirements for smartphones running Ubuntu. The “entry level” Ubuntu device is expected to run a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, 512MB – 1GB of RAM, 4-8GB eMMC + SD, and a multi-touch display. The high-end Ubuntu “superphone” calls for a Quad-core A9 or Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM minimum, multitouch, and desktop convergence. The desktop convergence part certainly sounds interesting, as Canonical called it a “a full PC desktop accessible just by docking the device to a monitor and keyboard.”

An initial hands-on report from Engadget said the OS relies on heavy edge swipes instead of buttons, much like Windows 8. Canonical will showcase the devices even more at CES 2013 next week, and we’ll definitely take them for a spin. In the mean time, you’ll find a gallery of Ubuntu running below.

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According to a report from the Economic Times, new data centers in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are set to bring more speed to Google’s services for many areas. Construction on these data center sites began in 2011 at the sum of $300 million, and, according to today’s report, they are pegged to bring a 30 percent speed increase to Google services for neighboring regions. The Singapore facility is expected to go up in the next few months, while the Taiwan is pegged for the second half. No timetable has been given on the Hong Kong facility.

As an Internet-relying company, one big focus area for Google is speed. The new data centers are going to hopefully bring more speed to areas that normally aren’t as fast. Lalitesh Katragadda, head of product at Google India, explained: “Internet connectivity speed in India is not very high. These data centres will be crucial to this market due to its proximity.” Outside of Asia, Google has seven other data centers across the world. Several are in the U.S., with one each in Finland, Belgium, and Ireland as well. [Economic Times via TNW]

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January 1, 2013

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From 9to5toys:

Perfect to hook-up to a television, Amazon is offering the MK802 Mini Android PC for $35.21 — lower than the regular list price of $59. For those unfamiliar, this little gadget offers a full Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich experience in the size of a USB flash drive. A mini HDMI port is on the device for connecting it to an external display, making it a compelling device for the living room.

Additionally, the Mini Android PC features a full-sized USB port to connect to another computer or add peripherals. It ships with an HDMI, USB, and power cable and supports 802.1b/g/n Wi-Fi. Of course you’ll need a keyboard and mouse, so something like the Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard plus a Bluetooth Micro Adapter may be the perfect solution. [Amazon] expand full story

As 2013 kicks off, Babak Parviz, head of the Google Glass project that launched in spring of last year, sat down in an interview with IEEE Spectrum to give word on what to expect next.

We saw several prototype versions of Google Glass, as it readies shipping to the mainstream, and today, Parviz gave some insight into what has changed. “We constantly try out new ideas of how this platform can be used. There’s a lot of experimentation going on at all times in Google,” said Parviz. “We’re also trying to make the platform more robust. This includes making the hardware more robust and the software more robust, so we can ship it to developers early this year.” The early 2013 shipping time was announced at Google I/O 2012. It is nice to see Google is still on-track; however, new features for the platform have not been revealed. “The feature set for the device is not set yet. It is still in flux,” Parviz said.

Parviz also covered how Google will make a business out of Google Glass, and, maybe as a surprise to many, the Mountain View company currently doesn’t have plans to include advertising—its bread and butter. The business model is still being worked on: “This is still being worked on, but we are quite interested in providing the hardware…At the moment, there are no plans for advertising on this device.”

Other revelations in the interview include a cloud-based API so developers can integrate their Android apps into Google Glass. An example given was email and calendar services. Lastly, Parviz said the Glass team has worked hard on battery life and making sure the device is safe on the eyes. You can read the full interview for more. [IEEE Spectrum] expand full story


December 28, 2012

Since the removal of YouTube, and Maps as preloaded Google apps within iOS, Google has been especially adept at developing its own set of iOS apps. We previously detailed how Google wants to own the iOS ecosystem on the apps level, providing users with an alternative universe to most of the core features of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Even with its dominance on the App Store top charts as of late, Google has launched a web ad campaign, including on the 9to5 sites, promoting its presence throughout iOS. Google detailed what its iOS apps have to offer in the video above, including: Google Search, YouTube, Chrome, and Gmail. Google Maps is noticeably absent (we assumed that is because of when this ad was made).

The focal point of the advertisement is Google’s attempt to recruit software engineers for its iOS mobile apps team. “Do cool things that matter” the advertisement brags, almost as if Apple’s set of apps doesn’t bring any benefit to iOS users. The advertisement links to a page with a full breakdown of what the Google iOS mobile apps team has to offer and a chance for prospective employees to apply for a job. “It’s fun. People have misconception that we just copy and paste existing Google products to the iOS platform. But we have a lot of freedom and try to innovate beyond anything that Google’s done so far,” the page states. “We are always working on ideas to push the envelope on mobile search, and we collaborate closely with Google Web Search engineers to implement new features.” Interestingly, the iOS mobile apps team appears to be working as one unit now, rather than each app being done by a separate group.

It is true that Google’s iOS apps have their own distinctive design language, much different from their Android counterparts. As an example, critics claimed that the Maps application on iOS is better than the Android app—something that Google doesn’t dispute.

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December 27, 2012

In June, we told you about BlueStacks. It is a tool that allows Android apps to run on a Mac. The alpha only officially supported 17 Android apps, with Pulse and Words with Friends being the two of the more notable apps at launch, but the application has improved immensely. As Venture Beat first noted, BlueStacks has moved into beta this morning. It now allows users to run every Android app that the Google Play store has to offer. Some may be puzzled at the need to run a mobile application on the desktop, but it does come in use for apps like Instagram and Flipboard that have no desktop equivalent. BlueStacks reminds us a lot of Parallels or VM Ware, and it definitely becomes more useful with the added apps.

As of earlier this month, the Silicon Valley-based company passed 5 million installs on both Windows and Mac. BlueStacks also plans an even more impressive growth with partners AMD and ASUS, as TechCrunch noted, where the software would be pre-installed on over 100 million devices. Upcoming features include an App Discovery system in the Mac app to make it easier for users to find apps. Interested? You can download the beta from BlueStacks.

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December 21, 2012

As the holidays quickly approach, Mountain View-based Google has rolled out Amazon’s Instant Video service to the Google TV. Google is beginning with LG’s line as the first batch of supported devices and promises more will be able to download Instant Video soon. It’s worth noting Amazon has always had an app placed on the Google TV, but it just loads Amazon’s web page which users have found works half the time thanks to Flash.

For those unfamiliar, Amazon Instant Video offers United States customers 140,000 movie and television titles, all of which are available to rent or purchase. The users that will really benefit from this addition is people who buy and store their media with Amazon, rather other services like Google Play, and Kindle Fire owners who don’t have access to anything but Amazon.

There’s already a long list of devices that support Amazon Instant video, including Xbox 360, PS3, and many TVs, so LG Google TV owners will definitely be pleased. To add the app to their Google TV, the media-obsessed can download it from Google Play.

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December 20, 2012


On Tuesday, rumors surfaced that camera manufacturer Polaroid was set to enter the Android-based camera game with a new mirrorless solution, surely firing up the Android and camera fanatics alike. Today brings better news. Without confirming any specs, Polaroid CEO Scott Hardy confirmed the rumor in a statement to Imaging Resource, announcing: “There will be an Android powered, interchangeable lens camera introduced by Polaroid at CES 2013.” The camera is rumored to feature an 18-megapixel sensor and 3.5-inch LCD for photo perusing, all while running Android 4.0 as the base operating system.

The main players in the Android camera game right now are Samsung’s Galaxy Camera and Nikon’s s800c—both of which have received mixed reviews. But, with higher megapixels and interchangeable lens system, what is to stop Polaroid’s solution from being all that? We’ll make sure to bring you a full hands-on as soon as we can, as 9to5Google is your prime spot for all-things Android at CES 2013. [Imaging Resource via Gizmodo]

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December 18, 2012

If you’re like us, you just can’t wait to hear the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s final ruling over Google’s antitrust case that has spanned more than two years. Recent reports tipped the ruling to come in as early as this week. However, Bloomberg reported this evening that the ruling has been delayed until next year. We presumed the settlement talks are continuing, resulting in a delay, as Google tries to skirt any formal settlement or lawsuit and rather provide “voluntary concessions.” The report earlier this week mentioned that the debacle, centered on antitrust litigation and allegations, is said to end with Google coming out relatively unaffected. expand full story


Google Music

Similar to iTunes Match, Google has updated its Google Music service in the United States with its new scan match feature that previously was only available in Europe. The feature is definitely welcomed, as it scans a user’s local library for songs and matches them in the cloud, doing away with any lengthy upload periods. Engadget reported that U.S. users who have already put their music library on to Google Music will begin seeing the process take place in the coming weeks, which means matched songs will be streamed at 320Kbps. Want to know the greatest thing about Google Music’s scan and match? It’s entirely free if you stay under 20,000 songs, unlike rival services. expand full story

December 17, 2012

Google has launched YouTube Capture for iOS on the iTunes App Store this afternoon, allowing users to upload video “in as few as 3 clicks.” The folks at YouTube released the app to make it easier for users to film and upload video to YouTube, as the app allows for video to be filmed from right within the app, uploaded, and shared to Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Besides the speed, the app is also welcomed because it offers an easier way to upload videos than iOS’ finicky uploader does. We have to wonder why this feature was not just included into the YouTube for iOS app—but, hey, we’ll take it. [iTunes]

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With the highly anticipated Google Maps for iOS now among us, Google SVP of Commerce Jeff Huber shared some interesting download numbers this afternoon. In just 48 hours, Huber said that a whopping 10 million users downloaded the Apple Maps alternative from the iTunes App Store. Also, as the app climbs up the charts to the top free app, the number of downloads is likely rising quick. Google Maps for iOS was well received, garnering positive reviews and ratings, with even Google admitting that its iPhone version of Maps is better than its Android version. Additionally, things look to get even better: Google shared last week that iPad support and offline mode are launching soon.
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UnwiredView has more details on the rumored HTC M7 this afternoon—a device that is set to replace the company’s One X line. According to the report, the HTC M7 will feature “several industry firsts,” boasting a 4.7-inch display with a pixel density of 468PPI and a number of visual improvements. It will also sport a second-generation 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal flash storage, and LTE. As for the camera, one of the focuses of the One X, the latest device, is said to feature several camera improvements, with a 1080p, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1080p front-facing camera. As for the software, not much seems to change. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with a Sense 5 overlay is expected. Sprint and Verizon look to be the destination for HTC’s latest flagship, with a Mobile World Conference announcement in sight this spring.

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