Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 hit Google Play Store in eight European markets

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We already mentioned that Google’s Chromecast is landing in 11 new countries across North America and Europe, and Google’s transcontinental roll out doesn’t stop there.

As noted by Android Police, both Google’sNexus 5 and Nexus 7 phone and tablet can now be bought on the Google Play Store in several European markets: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden. Read more

Sony begins rollout of Android 4.4 KitKat update for Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1, & Z1 Compact

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Sony announced today on its mobile blog that the rollout of Android 4.4 KitKat for a few of its new devices has officially kicked off. That means that Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Z1 Compact owners can expect the upgrade soon, although we’ve yet to get reports that the update is available. As always, the timeframe for the update hitting your device will vary by market and carrier.  Read more

Good news for Brits buying a Chromecast: the iPlayer app already supports it

If you’re in the UK and plan to finally get your hands on a Chromecast, the good news is that the existing BBC iPlayer Android app is already compatible with the device, reports iMore.

It may take a minute or so, or even a relaunch of the app to kick it into gear. When it’s ready to go you’ll see the standard Chromecast logo along top of the app. To cast your content you need to first connect the app by tapping on the Chromecast logo and selecting which you want to pair to. After that just go ahead and choose what you want to watch and let it do the rest …  Read more

Google releases ‘Android Wear’ SDK developer preview, says Android-powered wearables coming later this year

Following confirmation from Google’s Sundar Pichai earlier this month that a Android SDK for wearables was on the way, Google has now officially announced Android’s entrance into wearables with project “Android Wear.” The Android Wear SDK allows developers to integrate a number of features into Android powered wearables and relies heavily on Google Now functionality, as we were first to report late last year.

Google also confirmed that it’s working with a handful of partners to bring Android Wear powered wearables to market by later this year:

Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.’

What can developers do with Android Wear? Google says the devices will be capable of displaying, for example, the latest posts and updates from social and messaging apps, answers via “OK Google” voice commands and Google Now-like functionality, as well as a number of fitness and health related data points. Google is also allowing Android Wear devices to talk with other devices like your phone or Chrome device through voice commands: Read more

Facebook opens public Messenger beta program on Android

Want to stay on the dangerously cutting edge of social software on Android? Boy, does Facebook have an offer for you.

Announced today, Facebook is opening its Messenger app to beta testers on Android and looking for feedback on its user experience. The program aims to cast a wider net on catching bugs before they ship to general public. While testers will likely have a bumpier experience than users with the general release version, there’s potential to test unreleased features that might never make the public edition.

  1. Join the Facebook Messenger for Android Beta Testers Google group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/messenger-for-android-beta-testers
  2. Allow beta downloads by clicking “Become a Tester” in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester)
  3. Download Facebook Messenger from the Play Store to update your app
  4. Turn on automatic updates, as the beta version of Facebook Messenger for Android will be updated multiple times per week

Facebook launched a similar program for its main Android app last summer. Read more