Microsoft announces OWA for Android coming later this year

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Microsoft made some announcements related to upcoming Office features and the evolution of its email products today and within the blog post announced an upcoming OWA app for Android.

OWA, that’s Microsoft’s Outlook Web App that is already available on Windows Phone and through an iOS app, will arrive later this year as a native Android app. That doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t continue working directly with Android manufacturers to integrate Exchange support, but the app will give Android users access to the latest OWA features whenever they are ready to roll out.

Microsoft didn’t provide any other details but said that OWA for Android along with other email features announced in the blog post will roll out to Office 365 subscribers later this year.  Read more

MLB At Bat app updated for 2014 season w/ new expanded instant replay feature

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This season will be the first that Major League Baseball uses a new expanded instant replay system that it first announced back in January. Now, the MLB At Bat app for Android devices has been updated with support for the 2014 season and the new replay system. That means that users of the app will be able to view “every decisive instant replay video clip and review explanation,” the same footage the umpires review, through the app’s Gameday feature. 

A little more on the new replay system from the MLB’s announcement: Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 “best smartphone display ever tested” by specialist test company DisplayMate

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DisplayMate Technologies, which makes display test kit for every major screen manufacturer in the world, has declared that the new Samsung Galaxy S5 has “the best performing smartphone display that we have ever tested” with “a long list of new records.”

While OLED screens have long been considered to be playing catch-up with LCD, DisplayMate says that the S5 demonstrates that the race has now been won.

In a span of just four years OLED display technology is now challenging and even exceeding the performance of the best LCDs across the board in brightness, contrast, color accuracy, color management, picture quality, performance in high ambient light, screen uniformity, and viewing angles …

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Android shows significant growth in last three months, led by success of Moto G and LG G2

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 12.30.20

Kantar Worldpanel has released its latest report on smartphone marketshare for the last three months. Android share is up significantly compared to a year ago, with Kantar calling out two devices in particular for their contributions to this increase: the Moto G and the LG G2.

In the US, Kantar says that Android has a 55% share of smartphone OS sales share, up from 51.1% in February 2013, an increase of 3.9 percentage points. This compares favourably to iOS’ performance, which fell 4.9 points year-on-year to a 38.7% share. Incidentally, Windows Phone was the only other platform to grow in the US, rising from 4.1% in 2013 to 5.3%.

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Is Android the real target of latest Apple vs Samsung patent battle that starts today?

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Pieces in the NY Times and the WSJ suggest that the real target of Apple’s second courtroom patent battle with Samsung may be Android.

Some features in Samsung devices that Apple objects to are part of Google’s Android operating system, by far the most popular mobile operating system worldwide, running on more than a billion devices made by many manufacturers. That means that if Apple wins, Google could have to make changes to critical Android features, and Samsung and other Android phone makers might have to modify the software on their phones …

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Review: HTC One (M8): Excellent hardware improves, confusing software worsens

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If hardware quality was the only factor in buying a phone, you could stop reading right here and go out and buy the HTC One M8 – it is the best looking, best built (AFAICT after 3 days) phone out there, bar none.

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The front will look familiar, if elongated, to current One owners. It still has separated stereo speakers which incidentally are again the best you’ll hear in a phone by a long shot, but the screen is bigger and unfortunately so is the bezel around the screens.

That extra length tallies to a centimeter taller than its predecessor making an already big phone now almost phablet-like in stature. Add to that HTC’s insistence of putting a power button on top of the phone which you must shimmy up and down to reach and you’ve got yourself some usability experience issues before you even turn on the phone.

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The back of my gray “stainless steel” unit matches up nicely with my fridge in the kitchen. I mean that in the nicest possible way. It looks gorgeous, though I’m not sure I’d say the same for other color variations offered, particularly the gold model. The improved curves are super nice in the hand and also look the part. You’d almost forgive how long this thing is…almost.

The M8 may not be terribly repairable by iFixit standards, but HTC has your back with a pretty impressive repair plan called HTC Customer Advantage. In it, you get a free screen repair within 6 months, a somewhat vague promise to keep Android updated to the most recent version (the website says “We are committed to keeping you current” but at the show they said 2 years of upgrades), and 25-50GB of extra Google Drive space.

Besides the length coupled with the power button, I’m still a huge fan of the exterior. But then there is the interior with HTC’s insistence on Sense 6.0 and this new 3-camera system… Read more

Report: New Android devices require “Powered by Android” branding for access to Google Mobile Services

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Following rumors that Google was preparing to starting forcing manufacturers to brand new devices with a “Powered by Android” logo, AndroidPolice today posted what appears to be evidence of the new requirement. Not every device using Google’s Android OS will have to bear the logo, but those that use Google’s Mobile Services— just about every Android smartphone from the major OEMs— will soon have to do so as part of Google’s updated requirements. Android has long been split into two distinct pieces: The Android Open Source Project that allows OEMs to freely use Android on their devices, and the closed Google Mobile Services, which gives access to Google Play services and Google branded apps like Maps and Gmail for manufacturers that agree to various guidelines.

It appears manufacturers are already putting the logo on new devices, although there’s no direct evidence that the device makers are required to do so. The Powered by Android logo appears of the startup screen of the new Galaxy S5 (as you can see in the screenshot above), as well as HTC’s new M8, but AndroidPolice notes it’s not on the Verizon variant of the device. Other reports claim that some devices show the logo on the startup screen every time the device is turned on, while others only show it the first time. There doesn’t appear to be strict guidelines about where the logo has to appear, but today’s report claimed sources say the branding is indeed mandatory.  Read more

Philips announces first 4K TV lineup running Android will arrive in Q2

Philips has just revealed some details of an upcoming 8000 series lineup of TVs for 2014, which will likely be the first lineup of Ultra HD TVs that hit the market running Android. Philips has three models running Android- Full-HD 8100 and 8200 Philips TVs and the Ultra HD 4K 8800 series— all of which come packed with Google Play store access and Google services like Chrome, YouTube, Google Play music and movies, and search. Read more

HTC One’s revamped BlinkFeed coming to more Android devices as Foursquare launches integration

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HTC spent a good amount of time at its event yesterday talking about its customized version of Android known as Sense 6. One of the big new features is a redesigned “BlinkFeed” home screen that the company has decided to open up to developers this time around. That means that app developers like Foursquare are going to be able to present users with info as soon as they switch on their phone through BlinkFeed. It’s not just getting opened up to developers, however, as HTC confirmed in its press release yesterday that it will bring the feature to other Android devices soon:

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T-Mobile’s HTC One (M8) arrives April 11, $0 down/$26.50 per month

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We already got launch details from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, and now the last of the major US carriers, T-Mobile, has confirmed pricing and availability for HTC’s new One (M8) smartphone.

Unlike the three other carriers which are all already selling the HTC One M8 for $199 on contract, T-Mobile’s version of the device arrives on April 11 through online and brick and mortar locations. It will sell for $0 down and $26.50 per month on instalment plans (a similar financing plan is also offered by AT&T’s and Verizon), which brings the total cost of the device up to $636, slightly less than the unlocked $700 asking price for the Google Play Edition selling through Google.

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New HTC One (M8) barely improves repairability, remains one of hardest to repair smartphones

HTC-One-teardown

Following yesterday’s official launch of HTC’s new flagship smartphone, the new HTC One (M8), today we get our first look inside of the device courtesy of a teardown from our friends over at iFixit. In case you forgot, last year’s model, the first generation HTC One, got the all-time worst repairability score ever from the site, and the new generation unfortunately hasn’t made any big improvements. First, the good stuff:

Screws! Glorious screws! Here’s the missing link to make this unibody design repairable. Whenever we see gobs of adhesive and tough clips replaced with screws, we know we’re in for a (slightly) happier time…. To our delight, the pesky display cables of yesteryear have given way to spring contacts—so this time, the phone assembly comes out cleanly… No mangled aluminum here—the rear case remains intact. Apart from the NFC antenna and some nice machine work, there’s not much to see.

While getting the rear case off proved easier, one area that iFixit found to be not improved from last year is the glued-down motherboard. The site also noted that “you have to remove the motherboard to get to the battery, again, which is more than lightly adhered to the LCD shield.”

In the end the HTC One (M8) gets a 2 out of 10 repairability score, slightly up from the 1 out of 10 score for the previous generation, but a long way from the 7 or 8 out of 10 given to devices like the iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy line, and the Nexus 5. Here’s a summary of iFixit’s observations followed by the chips it found inside the device and a video of the teardown:

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