Google sues Apple/Microsoft-backed consortium Rockstar, not the makers of Grand Theft Auto

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Google is making moves this week to protect its Android partners as the Apple, Microsoft-backed “Rockstar” patent group seeks to sue numerous Android partners. Google has asked a San Jose court for a declaratory judgement to rule that Google and thereby the Android ecosystem does not violate seven of Rockstar’s patents.

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Android 4.4 now rolling out to the Moto G, here’s what’s new

Last week, Motorola announced that the Moto G would soon begin to be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat. Today, it looks like the update has finally started rolling out to users, as both Seth and I have received the update on our respective Moto G devices. The update comes in at roughly 191MB and bumps the device to build number 172.44.4.en.US.

New in the update are many of the changes we’ve come to know and love in KitKat. For one, all the new white-gradiants are present, replacing the blue, as is the new transparent notification bar. Not included is the new launcher found on the Nexus 5, though Google touts that as being exclusive to Nexus devices. You can always side load it, of course. Motorola also touts that new camera controls, such as manual focus and exposure, are included, though that was also included in an update to the Motorola Camera app on Google Play.

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And the best OEM of 2013 is…LG or Motorola?

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While the world may be looking at Samsung with loving eyes thanks to the wild success of the Galaxy line, I wouldn’t call 2013 the year of the Samsung. Instead, I’m prepared to give that title to the folks at Motorola with a dose of LG on the side. There’s little question that Motorola roared back this year with the Moto X and the Moto G just boosted their game at the very end of the year. That’s not to say LG didn’t have a great year, but with the success and great reviews of the Nexus 5 comes disappointing sales of their flagship the LG G2.

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Amazon offering $5 Appstore credit for downloading any app, freebies include Where’s My Perry, Angry Birds Star Wars II

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Through the holidays, Amazon is offering a $5 App Store credit to anyone who downloads an app from the newest version of the company’s Android Appstore. The promotion will run from December 24th through December 28th. The $5 credit will be valid on any apps, games, and in-app purchases in the Amazon Appstore (via SlickDeals).

In addition to the $5 credit, Amazon is also offering more many paid apps for free over the next week. On December 25th, Amazon will be offering a “Free App of the Day Welcome Pack,” which includes things like a note taking app, alarm clock, and more. On the 26th, Amazon will be offering Office Suite Pro 7 for $.99, down from $4.99.

Other deals include:  Read more

Twitter tipster shows off another image for Nokia’s rumored Android device

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Perhaps one of the greatest “what could have been” stories in recent (tech) times is definitively the question of what Nokia would be like today had they gone with Android over Windows Phone? There’s little question Nokia’s fortunes might have changed dramatically and as a result, the fortunes of every other Android OEM not named Samsung.

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AllCast now available on the Play Store, allows Android users to beam local content to Apple TV, Xbox, and more

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Earlier this month, ClockworkMod developer Koushik Dutta made his AllCast app available in beta to people willing to provide feedback on the app. This morning, however, Dutta released the app to the Play Store, making it available to everyone. AllCast is free to download, although there is a $4.99 premium option available to remove ads, splashscreens, and the limit on video length.

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Samsung believes popularizing the Galaxy Gear begins with getting the girl

For a moment there I didn’t think I would find a creepier marketing spot than Nokia’s Lumia 2520 “mullet.” Well, Samsung has gone and taken “creepy marketing spot” to a whole new level with “Are You Geared Up?” The 2.5 minute features two guys, one with the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear smartwatch, the other with just a run-of-the-mill smartphone and of course the bombshell blonde.

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The 9to5Google top Android smartphones of 2013

2013

To say that 2013 has been an interesting year in the world of Android would be putting it mildly, but has it really been a banner year? The release of Android-oriented products like Google Glass, Google Hangouts/revamp of Google+ and the beginnings of Google Retail led the way for a whole new approach for Google to take on the competition.

As we look back at the Android-based smartphones that launched in 2013, there isn’t any one handset that truly stands out as a market revolution. Instead, 2013 saw improvements and innovation on existing brands and lines that were already incredibly popular. For example, the Galaxy S 4 which kicks off our list below didn’t really raise the bar over the Galaxy S III in a truly big way, but it did improve on an already market-leading experience from the Galaxy S III.

So without further adieu, here are the 9to5Google’s top Android smartphone picks for 2013: Read more